Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ways you can tell you're in the South

- On Saturday night, the top story on the local news is tomorrow's Titans-Jets game. The second story is the Vanderbilt-Tennessee game.

- On Sunday night, the top story is a recap of the Titans-Jets game, with interviews asking people how they plan to continue living after the Titans loss.

- Sitting next to us at Cracker Barrel at lunch yesterday are two standard-middle-management-looking guys in button-down shirts. They are discussing bowhunting and what firearms they have recently acquired.

- Not familiar with Cracker Barrel? It's a chain restaurant that aims to replicate the classic Southern "meat and three"-style eating establishment. For about $7, you get an entree (like pork BBQ, chicken, ham) and a couple of side dishes (like green beans, pinto beans, hashbrown casserole, fried okra, and the like) and some cornbread or biscuits. It's delicious, maybe because every dish involves pork fat in some way. Cracker Barrels are ubiquitous in the South, and come equipped with a gift shop and semi-intelligible waitresses.

- AM radio has several different stations featuring religiously-themed programming. Every day of the week. You can pass 5 or 8 churches in a 5-minute drive.

- Almost everyone is super-friendly, except for me. Kidding. I'm trying.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Somebody set up us the bomb

I have been issued, at my workstation, the "Bomb Threat Checklist" pictured at left, to be deployed in the unlikely event that someone calls me with a bomb threat.

In such an instance, I am to use the checklist to gather pertinent info from the would-be bomber. Some of the stuff is pretty basic, and I could have thought of it myself, like "Where is the bomb now?," "When is the bomb going to explode?," and "What does the bomb look like?"

I am also to note the bomber's "demeanor," whether it be "calm, excited, angry, incoherent," etc.

BUT my favorite part of the whole checklist are these two questions:

"What is your full name and address?" and "What is your call back number?"

"Oh, it's Jackson S. Blowshitup, and my number is 415-282.....hey, wait a minute!!!"

Happy Friday, everyone!

Tomorrow Super Hot Irish Girlfriend and I will cram ourselves into very small airplane seats and be catapulted across this great land to spend some quality time with Dad 'n sister 'n steps 'n halfs 'n relatives that I'm not sure how I'm related to. Fear not! Updates will continue to arrive apace.

Have you seen Chuck Klosterman's review of Chinese Democracy? It's pretty great:

Reviewing Chinese Democracy is not like reviewing music. It's more like reviewing a unicorn. Should I primarily be blown away that it exists at all? Am I supposed to compare it to conventional horses? To a rhinoceros? Does its pre-existing mythology impact its actual value, or must it be examined inside a cultural vacuum, as if this creature is no more (or less) special than the remainder of the animal kingdom? I've been thinking about this record for 15 years; during that span, I've thought about this record more than I've thought about China, and maybe as much as I've thought about the principles of democracy.

I'm interested in the album as a cultural artifact far more than as music, because I was never a huge G 'n R fan, but I'm looking forward to hearing some of it, in some strange way.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Maybe I'm going to the wrong places

- I assume we've all been following the Douchiest Bar in San Francisco discussions over at EaterSF. 122 comments on the thread! Wow, that's a lot of douche.

From my rather cursory glance at the comments, it seems like Medjool and MatrixFillmore are the front-runners. But the more the comments go on, the more it looks like any bar someone doesn't like is going to get mentioned.

I've been to both places and have actually been pretty lucky. I've never been to Medjool when it's at Full Douche, which, judging from all the sparkly shirts and gelled hair in line when I pass it on the way to Mission Bar, appears to be Thursday to Saturday nights after 10. I have been to the rooftop on a Sunday afternoon, which was actually perfectly pleasant and douche-free.

I've also been to at MatrixFillmore at an off-time, Saturday afternooon around 5 or 6. Super Hot Irish Girlfriend and I were the only two people there, so I can safely report that it was COMPLETELY DOUCHE-FREE. The bartender was still a bitch, though.

I think the douchiest places in SF that I've been to are the Blue Light in the Marina (every bad Marina stereotype - loud frat boys, backwards baseball caps, chest bumping, "DUDE!," all that shit), Momo's before Giants games (same exact thing as Blue Light, but outside and packed), and the Redwood Room ($15 cocktails so people can pretend they're in LA, with cosmetic surgery to match).

I never go to dance clubs, but those are probably all much worse than any of these places.

- My dog is a total flirt. Walking last night, he comes to a dead stop in front of a girl who's coming out of her house. She goes, "Oh, what a cute puppy!" He goes wag wag wag wag. I pull on the leash a little. "Leland, c'mon," I say. Nothing. He stands there and looks at her. Wag wag wag wag. She smiles one more time and gets in her car and I can finally pull him away. Geez, dude, get some game. Don't come on too strong. Chicks hate that.

- I know Top Chef is back, and I'm watching it and everything, but somehow I'm not as fired up about it any more.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Top 5: This past weekend edition

1. Yesterday we took Leland to Stern Grove with our friend Aimee and a couple of other dogs. She's a professional dog trainer/walker person, so she was helping us out with some tips.

He did good around the other dogs, mostly. Little nervous, but I guess if you're a 15-pound chihuahua/terrier mix and a 60-pound lab comes barreling up to you at top speed, you'd have reason to be a little skittish. Overall, he did really well, though.

Here's what we found out: we should only be feeding him once a day and also we're not squealing "GOOD BOY!!!! GOOD BOY!!!!!" nearly enough.

2. I made pot roast from this recipe yesterday in the crock pot. I know, how June Cleaver is that? Anyway, it was really pretty good, and now I have like 2 pounds of leftover meat to eat on for the rest of the week.

3. In case you hadn't noticed, Vanderbilt is now bowl-eligible for the first time since 1982. Congrats, Vandy!

4. It's kind of a cop-out to say the weather, but c'mon, it was in the high 70's/low 80's all weekend? I mean, really.

5. Joel Gott sauvignon blanc. Citrusy! On sale at Safewizzle for $9.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Every 26 years, just like clockwork

Well, it happened. Vanderbilt is now bowl-eligible, after beating Kentucky 31-24 tonight.

Wrap your head around this: the last time Vanderbilt won 6 games in a season was in 19-fucking-82.

You know how long ago that was? There was no Internet. There weren't even CDs. The personal computer was an Apple II. It cost $10,000 and could only run BASIC. Popular songs included "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John and "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor, songs so bad that even their writers would probably deny any knowledge of them today. People slept under crude bearskin comforters and Andy Rooney was young and vital. It was a different time.

Well, wake up, America. Vandy is almost definitely going to a bowl game. And you know what? Fuck it, so am I. So hello, Independence Bowl or, God help us, Papajohns.com Bowl. Yes, I will be spending part of my holiday season in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana or Birmingham, Alabama. And you know what? That's fucking awesome. Because seeing Vanderbilt in a bowl game is one of those things you thought you'd never see happen. Like a black President. Oh wait.

Friday, November 14, 2008

One of these things is not like the other

- Temperature right now in San Francisco: 80 degrees.
Temperature right now in Chicago, Illinois: 47 degrees.

I'm fine here, thanks. But seriously, 80 degrees on November 14? That's some straight-up earthquake weather. Make sure your earthquake kit is up-to-date! Hmmm, we drank the vodka that was in ours. I'll have to replace that.

- Happy Friday, everyone! I have a music recommendation. I have been obsessively listening to Jenny Lewis' new album Acid Tongue. It's beautiful and rocking and just great.

- You know what's nice? When you have to take your car to the shop and it turns out to be much much cheaper than you thought.

The Foxy Box was leaking massive quantities of coolant and besmirching every surface he came into contact with. I was afraid of massive radiator damage, but luckily it was only a heater valve. $35. Well, plus the $85 in labor.

I would like to take this opportunity to give a shout-out to Skillcentre at 1458 San Bruno. Great guys, great work. I was not given a discount for this message. Unfortunately.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Next week: The Dog Conference on Why We Love Cats

Dear God, help me. I just found myself agreeing with Brian Sussman.

As regular readers know, I often tune into the "Suss-man" show when I need a good laugh and a dose of the crazy. I think it's fair to say that Brian and I disagree on most issues. He thinks Obama is a Muslim terrorist and I love sunshine and happiness.

Anyway, tonight he was talking about this conference on religious tolerance at the United Nations. The funny thing about this conference - or, indeed, anything with the word "tolerance" in it - is the fact that it was convened at the behest of Saudi Arabia, that noted world leader in the field of respect for the religions of others.

Brian and I both call bullshit on this charade. Saudi Arabia is one of the most famously religiously intolerant places on Earth, with roaming gangs of religious morality police who administer beatdowns if you practice another religion in public. Saudi Arabia is so bad that it's one of the few countries that almost everyone hates. The far left hates it for its treatment of women as chattel. The religious right hates it for the fact that it's a Muslim theocracy. Everyone with a GMC Yukon hates it for how much it charges for gas. Never mind the fact that the majority of the 9/11 hijackers came from there and not from Iraq, the country we actually went to war with.

So why would Fuckedupistan convene a conference on religious tolerance? To try and score some points with the other countries? Not really, according to this scary as shit story:

Saudi King Abdullah, who initiated this week's special session, is quietly enlisting the leaders' support for a global law to punish blasphemy – a campaign championed by the 56-member Organization of Islamic Conference that puts the rights of religions ahead of individual liberties. If the campaign succeeds, states that presume to speak in the name of religion will be able to crush religious freedom not only in their own country, but abroad.
So there you have it. This shit is scarier than The Ring and Go-gurt combined. And the Suss-man and I finally agree on something.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

From the Sports Desk (broadly defined)

- Big congrats to young Timmy Lincecum on winning the Cy Young. I happen to have a baseball signed by the last Giants winner, Mike McCormick, who won in 1967. He gave it to Super Hot Irish Girlfriend after she sat in his lap. Long story.

- I've been avoiding watching the 49ers more or less since around 2003 since, well, they've sucked pretty relentlessly. I did watch a little bit of last night's game against the Cardinals, and I have to say, they looked totally not bad except for that STUPID FUCKING CALL ON THE LAST PLAY OF THE GAME WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING SINGLETARY? There's 4 seconds left and you're 2 yards out and you hand it off to Michael Robinson for a run up the middle? I don't get it. Predictably, he got stuffed. Game over, Niners lose.

- When Vanderbilt was 5-0 and ranked, what, 18th in the country, my Dad, always the optimist, said "They won't win another game." Sadly, he might be right.

- This is sort of sports-related. Since we got Leland the Dog, the cat, whose occupancy at our residence predated Leland, has more or less secreted herself in the bedroom and only come out to hiss at him, eat some food, and slink back to her lair.

But in the last day or so, she figured out that Hey, I can take this guy!! Now she's starting to come after him a little and scare him out of her way and he's learning now not to fuck with her. This will improve interspecies relations all around, I feel.

No puppy cam in the future, sorry.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The SFGate comments section: where crazy comes to play

If you're like me (and by that, I mean you enjoy the bizarre, incomprehensible rantings of the criminally insane), you love the Comments on SFGate. A little backstory , in case you haven't had the pleasure: a few months ago, SFGate started providing a space for anyone to post comments on every story they post on the site. Now, I'm not trying to brag or anything, but San Francisco is chock full of urbane, witty, intelligent folks, so the comments section of SFGate would naturally be replete with choice bon mots and trenchant obervations on the stories, right?

Wrong. The comments section of SFGate - which, again, I love - is an absolute sinkhole of human misery and depravity. It's like taking look into the reptilian brain of the Bay Area, and it's scary and wonderful.

Let's see an example. Last week, there was a story on SFGate entitled "If Prop. 8 passes, what about those who wed?" about whether same-sex couples who got married before the election would still be married after Prop. 8 took effect. However you feel about this emotionally-charged issue, put it aside for a second, because that's not why we're here.

There were 727 comments on the story. That's a lot, even by SFGate standards. Many people weighed in with their views on same sex marriage, both pro and con. And then there's this:

Entire country can be an ACORN housing project. If Iran attacks Israel, then a community organizer can provide homes for Iranians in an ACORN housing project. If Russia attacks the United States, then a community organizer can provide homes for Russians in an ACORN housing project. If terrorists attack the United States, then a community organizer can provide homes for terrorists in an ACORN housing project. If North Korea develops nuclear weapons, then a community organizer can provide homes for North Koreans in an ACORN housing project. If an illegal immigrant kills a father and his two sons in San Francisco, then a community organizer can provide homes for illegal immigrants in an ACORN housing project.

Ummm...OK then! Not sure what "ACORN housing projects" have to do with same-sex marriage, but I'm sure the voices buzzing in your meth-addled brain made the correlation.

Here's a tragic story, "CHP: Speed likely factor in students' crash," about a tragic accident in which three Stanford grad students in a Jeep Cherokee went off the road on Highway 1 and died. Now, most people would extend sympathetic thoughts and prayers for the families, right? Not your SFGate commenters!

who speeds in a jeep cherokee? physics anyone? now the next time i am going 3 miles over the speed limit some self righteous cop straight out of the military with no chances of getting any other job is going to use this story to drive home some constructed preachy story about going slow and obeyng the blah blah blahing. your life was fine stanford fools, what a pontless waste of your parents' monies.

You're not only dead! You're stupid! And now cops are going to pull me over because you're dead and stupid!

I'm not even going to get into SFGate commenters' strange fascination with prison rape, but suffice it to say that any story that is tangentially related to the criminal justice system inevitably brings comments about the despicable acts the defendant will be subjected to while incarcerated. It's beyond weird.

Don't go changing, SFGate commenters! You make me feel a little more sane every day.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Please welcome the newest member of our team

Everyone, please welcome Leland aboard.

Leland was referred to us by executive search firm/placement service Rocket Dog Rescue, as they felt he had a skillset compatible with the needs of our operation. After a successful interview, marred only by Leland shitting on the floor because he was nervous, Leland joined our firm as a full-time employee.

Leland comes to us from Los Banos, where he was previously employed in an unknown capacity, but which clearly did not involve any knowledge of the words "sit," "stay," or "Do not hassle that cat, Leland! She will take your fucking face off! You are messing with the wrong goddam cat!"

Leland, 6, plans to live here at 40goingon28 HQ. He is gregarious and has the energy of a hummingbird on Ritalin. In his spare time, he enjoys walking at a breakneck pace, relaxing on the couch, and anything bacon-flavored.

Please join me in extending a warm welcome to the newest member of our team.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

So that happened

There's very little to say at this point that hasn't been said already, and better, by observers both smarter and more literate than me. I will say that it's kind of awe-inspiring and heartening that we, as a nation, have overcome a shameful legacy of discrimination and finally elected someone who used to smoke pot. Maybe we've finally moved past the divides that once rent us apart.

To the left: Don't count on universal health care and group meditation in the Rose Garden just yet.

To the right: It's not going to be as bad as you think.

Obama's a smart dude, and anyone who watched Clinton's massive fuckups in his first year would know not to go down that path again. He'll start out cautiously, I bet. I feel sorry for the guy, actually. It's like finally getting a date with Megan Fox, and then Megan Mullally shows up in her place. Urgh. Anyway, Obama's got a pile of shit to turn into a petit-four and he's only got 4 years to do it. Best of luck, my man.

OH, I almost forgot. This cracked me up. I'm watching Fox News last night after it's all done and Shepard Smith and some chick are post-morteming the whole thing, and he starts talking about how the negative campaign was a disservice to McCain. Remember, this is on the same network that used to run Jeremiah Wright clips on a 24-hour cycle like it was a tornado alert. And then the talking head next to him clucks along and says the attacks on Obama were "very distasteful." O. M. G. Physician, heal thyself!

One last thing. McCain's concession speech kind of ruled. If he had talked like that the whole time.... well, he still probably wouldn't have won, but you get the idea.

OK! That's that. Let's talk about something else now.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Don't you dare say San Francisco doesn't represent America

They're singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" outside my place, around the corner.

Here's some shit you won't get on CNN

Today, Ronn Owens on KGO had a "30 second" special, where anyone can call in and say anything they want for 30 seconds without interruption and without any discussion or response. This show should be known as the "OMG I'm on the radio listen to my crackpot insane theory" special.

ANYWAY, some woman called in and reported that she was sad to inform us that Obama was going to lose, because, astrologically speaking, he was nominated in a "void month" and no one nominated in a void month has ever won.

She went on to acknowledge that this "might sound crazy." NO! What are you talking about? Makes perfect sense to me!

So you heard it here first. McCain wins. Void month.

No we can start thinking about 2012! Yay!

- Voted this morning. There was already a line when I got there at 6:55 a.m. Got out of there around 7:45 a.m.

WHEW! Glad that's over. I'll miss you, flag pins, "all of them," "that one," Jeremiah Wright, socialism, Joe the Plumber, nation of whiners, fundamental differences, clinging to guns and religion, Trig, Cindy, Axelrod and Schmidt, purple states, the Bradley Effect, daily tracking polls, town hall meetings, PUMAs, Paulites, Nader - again?, the Straight Talk Express, you betcha, mavericks, and my friends. Until next time.

- Some big changes afoot in the TK/Super Hot Irish Girlfriend residence. More details later.