Friday, January 30, 2009

Love the new rug

This makes me laugh every time. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the look on the dog's face.

This too:

For a few weeks right after this appeared in The Onion, all Super Hot Irish Girlfriend had to say was "cat general," and I would crack up.
Happy Friday, everyone! It's a beautiful day and the weekend is coming and God knows the last thing I want to do is get involved in the urgent matter of whether there should be an American Apparel on Valencia Street. Seriously, it's good to see people involved and caring about their community, but hey, at least it's not a Hot Topic or a Fuddrucker's. In the universe of chain stores, American Apparel is probably on the low end of the offensiveness scale.

Have a good weekend! If I had a gun to my head, I'd say Steelers by 3 in a surprisingly low-scoring game.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lutherans, Republicans, and wedding photographers

First, two political-y things. If you don't care for that kind of stuff, please feel free to skip ahead.

One - Yesterday a California Court of Appeal ruled that California Lutheran High School in San Bernardino had the right to expel lesbians. It seems that someone was snooping around on some students' Myspace pages and found out that two female students had expressed their love for one another. The principal of the school questioned them, they admitted they were in love, and they were expelled.

Now, I'm willing to accept the ruling, which basically says that the school is a private, religious enterprise and can kick anybody out who doesn't adhere to its religious principles. But I have to wonder - is this really what Christians are all about? Because that sucks. If Jesus taught school, and two of his female (or male) students said they loved each other, do Christians really think Jesus would have said, "Out! Get the fuck out of my school. You're expelled!" Because that's not the vibe I get from what I know about him.

So carry on, California Lutheran High School. Do whatever you want. But I can see what turns people off about religion sometimes.

Two - Former Republican National Committe Chairman Rich Bond:

“We need a great deal more tolerance for the other guy’s point of view,” Bond said. “Not everybody comes from the same constituency as a majority-white homogenous district in the South where all people care about is keeping their guns and taxes.”

I'm sure waves of outrage will now flow from these homogenous districts in the South "where all people care about is keeping their guns and taxes," right? Just like it did when Obama said essentially the same thing? Right?

Moving on. Last night we met with Chris, who's photographing our wedding, at Laszlo. As you might imagine from looking at his website, he's not really a wedding photographer and, in fact, that's exactly why we picked him to do it. "Here's the deal," I said. "We don't want any lineups of the bridal party. No intertwined hands with rings. No bride gazing meaningfully into middle distance." Chris got it immediately, and he's cool with that. So our wedding photos are going to look just like Debaser!

Better than the alternative.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Overheard at Crissy Field yesterday afternoon

Marina Girl: "So then he says 'You'll do that, but you won't have sex? That's much more than sex.' So I said 'Not to me, John! Not to me!' "

[Incidentally, Leland loves the beach. LOVES IT.]

Keep getting the peony? The piney?

Did you read the article on Gavin in this week's Newsweek? Here's my favorite part:

Newsom's time as mayor has prepared him for a dramatic fight. Earlier this month he escorted a NEWSWEEK reporter down Market Street, near city hall. Most everyone recognized him—and had something to say. Some were fawning. "I just have to ask you for a picture," said one woman, " 'cause you're the sexiest mayor I've ever seen." Newsom smiled for the camera and demurred: "It's all relative when you're talking about mayors." Others were less fawning. "F––– you, Gavin," a man shouted across a busy intersection. "Get out of my life." Everyone thought they could talk to the mayor as if they knew him, some too well. "Keep getting the p–––y, Gavin," shouted one admiring citizen.
LOLz! Hard to imagine someone shouting "Keep getting the pussy" at Mayor T. M. Franklin Cownie of Des Moines. Although, Christ, Franklin might be the biggest poonhound on the Mississippi, I don't know.

Anyway, the most interesting part of the article is basically about why in the fuck he would commit what seems now like political suicide by ordering the county to issue marriage licenses to gays and basically set off the huge gay marriage fight back in 2004. Before that, he was considered a rising star in the Democratic party and people were saying things like "Governor" and "unlimited potential" and maybe even President. Now the general consensus is he's kind of a joke the party has to keep hidden like Cousin Frank who comes to the reunion and gets shitfaced on Bud Ice and pukes in the trunk of someone's car.

So why would he do such a thing? I can think of three possibilities:

1. He misread the direction the state and the country was going and thought he would be at the vanguard of social change and that everybody would be all GAY MARRIAGE YAY.

2. He was trying to curry favor with the far left, for some reason.

3. He honestly believed it was the right thing to do.

Of these, #3 is obviously the hardest to accept because we've been conditioned to categorically reject the idea that politicians ever do what's right just because it's right. But who knows? Maybe he actually did do it because he believes in his heart it was the right thing to do. Reasons #1 and #2 don't make that much more sense, anyway.

We'll see what happens in the primary race for governor. I don't think he's got much of a shot against Jerry Brown, but God knows I've been wrong before.

Hope you had a good weekend. We're in the process of finalizing our wedding invitations. They're going to look like the cover of "Oh, Inverted World," except with a dark red background. Cool!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Just give me the money and no one gets hurt

I just hied myself on down to Ye Olde Bankrupte Banke to withdraw about $18,000 to fund the TK-Super Hot Irish Girlfriend Wedding Extravaganza that's coming up this summer. Apart from the fact of my mild surprise that YOBB actually had the 18K to give out, my request caused a mild-to-moderate tizzy in the branch.

The teller, who we'll call "Joan" for no particular reason, looked at my withdrawal slip and said, "Eighteen thousand dollars? Do you want that in cash?"

I was a little startled by that question and said no, that a check would be fine. I pictured myself carrying a paper bag full of bundles of twenties out of the bank. Would they drop a die pack in just out of force of habit?

Joan consulted with a nearby teller and opined that she wouldn't mind it being deposited into her account. I bet, Joan! I provided, upon request, a driver's license and major credit card. Calls were then placed to higher-ups.

Joan and Higher-Up consulted telephonically about how to handle this unforeseen circumstance. Information from my CDL was transmitted. Joan then asked the puzzling question of where I lived BEFORE the address on my license. That was like 10 years ago and I had to think hard. I finally came up with the street name and, after some reflection, the street number as well. I guess I got it right, because our little game of This Is Your Life continued.

Meanwhile, I have selected a blue lollipop from a bowl on the counter and have been busily sucking away at it. SHIG informs me that my entire mouth - teeth, tongue, lips - is now a rich blue color. Will this affect me getting the money?

Oh, here's Joan. "What state were you born in?" I only have to think about this one for a second, and I got it right, too!

Joan asks who to make the check out to, and jokes for the second time that she'd like it in her account. BACK OFF, JOAN. YOU'RE NOT GETTING THE MONEY. It goes into SHIG's name for deposit in her account, for various complicated financial reasons that I'm not at liberty to discuss. We walk across the street and immediately deposit it into her account. She looks gleeful.

I haven't heard from her in over an hour. Starting to get worried.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Media I am absorbing right now

TV: Lost

Now entering the 5th season, this sci-fi/time travel/soap opera/mindfuck/excuse for Josh Holloway to walk around without a shirt on continues to confuse and entertain, along with annoying Super Hot Irish Girlfriend because every few minutes I ask her "Now what just happened? Who's that?" Plus, Evangeline Lilly!

Music: The Streets, Original Pirate Material

Just came back to this 2002 release and it still sounds great. Mike Skinner's genius idea was to rap about everyday life for a regular bloke in Britain. Forget Benzes and Cavalli furs; he's talking about getting fucked up on lager and getting into fights and not calling girls back too soon so you don't look desperate.

Important note for American listeners: "Geezers" means "guys" in British, not "old people." This album may be very confusing if you don't know that.

Book: Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America, by Sen. Jim Webb

Forget the English Cavalier artistocracy and the prim New England Puritans. The Scots-Irish were the mongrel pioneers who settled much of Appalachia and are the ancestors of most of what we consider the White Middle Class today. Jim Webb, a senator from Virginia, has a bit of an overblown style, but the history is fasciniating, especially if you're one of them, like I am.

Movie: 28 Days Later

Just saw this a couple of nights ago. Nice, creepy little quasi-zombie movie, except the zombies are really really fast and not exactly the undead. Oddly, screenplay by Alex Garland, who also wrote the hippie backpacker's ur-fable, The Beach.

Typically hilarious.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Civic Center Plaza, Jan. 20

Good speech, but man, you gotta practice that oath of office ahead of time!

OK. Where my change at?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Weekend in Review

Friday evening around 5:40 found Super Hot Irish Girlfriend and I at the Argus Lounge on Mission for some pre-dinner drinks. Notable: Stack of Playboys on the bar; enormous yellow Lab brought in by customer; Trumer Pils on tap.

Dinner was at the Blue Plate up the street. Notable: Excellent meatloaf; very good focaccia; pretty good pork.

Then drinks at Knockout back down the street. I've only been to Knockout when it was really really really crowded, so it was kind of nice to go and sit at the bar and enjoy it as a bar and not a jampacked sweatfest. Notable: Hipsters!

Saturday I met up with SHIG after band practice at the 3300 Club, a pretty awesome dive where we were the youngest people there. Notable: The guy with the pronounced Scottish brogue telling a profanity-laced story at TOP FUCKING VOLUME. Also, when SHIG declined to order anything by saying "I'm fine," the bartender replying "I know you are, love." Awesome.

So we were going to go get some Japanese but decided at the last minute to go to Emmy's instead. Amazingly, there was no wait. That's never happened before. Notable: The Ruby Red Martini. DFL. The food was just OK. Also, Hipsters!

Then we went to Oakland to see our friends The Morning Line at the Starry Plough. They sounded great, especially considering they hadn't played a show in like a year. Notable: One girl dancing like a grasshopper on meth. She was very enthusiastic!

Yesterday I went back to the East Bay to watch some NFL playoffs at Stephen and Jessica's. Then we went to eat at Filippo's in Rockridge. It was better than I expected, for sure. Notable: The chicken piccata was delicious. The gnocchi it came with was good, too, but the pesto sauce left a little to be desired.

After-dinner drinks down the street at McNally's, which feels more or less like every bar I went to when I was a freshman in college. Notable: Another enormous fucking yellow Lab. Where are these people getting all these pony-sized Labrador Retrievers?

So, as is apparent, that's a lot to pack into one weekend. Luckily today is a holiday and I can sleep in, right? WRONG. Apparently it's not a holiday for the construction crew that's disassembling the sidewalk in front of my house beginning at 8 a.m. Fuck.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My backyard vs. cover of R.E.M.'s "Murmur"

My backyard:

Cover of R.E.M.'s "Murmur":

Friday, January 16, 2009

We're totally going to go to Colicchio's place

Planning a wedding is kind of a drag. So far, I've nailed down the tent guy and the caterer and the photographer. I think we have a bartender. We still have lots of odds and ends to take care of. I understand now why people have wedding planners.

Anyway, it's much more fun planning the honeymoon. Right now, it's looking like 3 days in NYC and then a week in Turks and Caicos. Pretty fucking awesome. We're currently selecting restaurants in New York where we want to go. In T&C, I figure we'll pretty much just exist on whatever fruit they put into a mai tai.

Happy Friday, everyone!

If I admit to watching The Real World, would you think less of me? That's OK, because I have to get this out: this new season SUCKS. It's like they went out of their way to find the most boring people they could. I mean, c'mon, you've got a transgendered person and a Mormon guy who's gayer than Christmas but thinks he's straight and the obligatory tatted-up San Francisco barista activist, and it's still fucking boring? Take me back to the days when they just casted a bunch of really hot people and then let the free booze flow. Yes, Las Vegas, aka the Best Season Ever.

OK. Heading out into the 72-degree late-January heat to give a speech in Berkeley, then meeting Super Hot Irish Girlfriend for drinks and dinner back in civilization. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Subscribing to the paper is for suckers

Call me Mr. Dinosaur, but I purchase and read the San Francisco Chronicle every day, including weekends. I know it's all free online and welcome to the late 20th century and blah blah blah, but it's very hard to prop up a laptop and read it when you're standing on Muni. Likewise, there's something about getting back into bed on Sunday with a cup of coffee and an actual paper instead of a cup of coffee and an iPhone.

I buy my morning paper M-F at the newsstand in the 24th Street BART station. 50 cents a pop, plus a very nice "Good morning!" from the cheerful woman who staffs this kiosk. I get my Saturdays from the machine, usually, and my Sundays at my corner store. Sundays are $1.68 or something. I'm usually too tired or hungover to remember the exact amount.

So the total, per week, is roughly $4.68. Money well spent.

A few days ago, it suddenly dawned on me that "Hey! They have this service where they'll deliver the paper directly to my abode and that way I won't even have to face the public on Sunday to get my paper! And it'll just be sitting there for me every morning! Man, I gotta get me some of that!"

As it turns out, subscribing to the Chronicle costs $62 for 8 weeks, or $7.75 a week. That's right. Home delivery costs you about 3 bucks more a week.

Am I totally remembering this wrong, or did home delivery used to be cheaper than buying daily copies?

Anyway, I don't know what this says about the dying newspaper business or whatever, but sorry, Chron, I love you but I can't justify subscribing to you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I usually just read it over my girlfriend's shoulder anyway

As I mentioned before, I am one of the few lonely souls who still hasn't joined Facebook. Now I've got Farhad Manjoo all up in my grille about it:

Friends—can I call you friends?—it's time to drop the attitude: There is no longer any good reason to avoid Facebook. The site has crossed a threshold—it is now so widely trafficked that it's fast becoming a routine aide to social interaction, like e-mail and antiperspirant. It's only the most recent of many new technologies that have crossed over this stage. For a long while—from about the late '80s to the late-middle '90s, Wall Street to Jerry Maguire—carrying a mobile phone seemed like a haughty affectation. But as more people got phones, they became more useful for everyone—and then one day enough people had cell phones that everyone began to assume that you did, too. Your friends stopped prearranging where they would meet up on Saturday night because it was assumed that everyone would call from wherever they were to find out what was going on. From that moment on, it became an affectation not to carry a mobile phone; they'd grown so deeply entwined with modern life that the only reason to be without one was to make a statement by abstaining. Facebook is now at that same point—whether or not you intend it, you're saying something by
staying away.

Really? What am I saying? I don't want to "poke" anyone or be "poked"? I'm not especially anxious to hear from some (OK, maybe all) of the people I went to high school with? I don't want to get constant updates on what my faux-friends are doing?

I guess my bottom line is that, even though I have a blog and broadcast some of my personal life to literally tens of strangers daily, I feel like Facebook is sort of weirdly intrusive. All the updating and writing on people's walls and everyone knowing when I eat lunch just seems like a lot of work or something.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Your Craigslist post of the day

Here's the text:

I need to buy a new refrigerater!

But here is the deal. I am not poor but I am not rich.

Any generous donations of money would be greatly appreciated!

Whomever donates I will repost a list of names on here!

Donate with PayPal my address for PayPal is

I told you, this bailout thing was a bad idea. Now every sub-retarded keyboard monkey thinks they are entitled to some free cash for whatever needs crop up. At least if you donate to the Refrigerator Now program, you get your name on a list reposted on Craigslist! Oh, the joy!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Oh well. 9 days counts for something, I guess.

It has become somewhat of a tradition to take a couple of weeks off from drinking in January to dry out after the alcohol-intensive Holiday Season and just kind of get your shit together. It also saves a lot of money, which is good because I'm usually broke in January.

This year, I fully and completely intended to not drink from Jan. 1 to Jan. 16. I know, it's not exactly a monumental achievement, but it's what I was going to do.

Well, believe it or not, I couldn't even make it to this easy-to-achieve goal. I blame Super Hot Irish Girlfriend. She hasn't been on board this year although, to her credit, she's only had like 2 glasses of wine since Jan. 1. Anyway, we made it through Friday night actually having people over and playing games without drinking, which is kind of amazing. Then on Saturday afternoon, she starts dropping the hints. "I mean, what are you trying to prove?" she says. "You know what?," I said. "You make a good point. Let's go."

We went to Valley Tavern and had a couple of beers there, then went home and had a few more while we watched a movie. I know, it would be a better story if we stayed out until 3 am draining one bottle of Veuve after another, only to wake up under a bench in Dolores Park, but reality doesn't always live up to the hype. Maybe I'm learning moderation!

P.S. Sober January seems to be a not-uncommon idea. They're doing it. And them. And her.

To me fellow would-be Sober Januarians, then, I say: Sowwy.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

It's not THAT bad

In 2008, there were 99 homicides in San Francisco, about the same as last year. Sound bad? Sure, of course 99 murders is nothing to be proud of, but when you stack it up against other cities, it's actually pretty low. Let's go to the numbers.

The population of SF, give or take, is about 800,000. So that's about 12.25 murders for every 100,000 people.

The two cities closest in size to SF are Jacksonville, Florida (805,000) and Indianapolis, Indiana (759,400). Last year, there were 143 murders in JAX, or about 17.88 for every 100,000 people. The rate in Indy was 16.18 per 100 grand, about the same. Both higher than SF.

Even placid-seeming Tucson, Arizona, home to 525,000 sun-irradiated souls, saw 78 murders, for a rate of 14.86, also higher than San Fran.

Some cities are just way bad. Philadelphia - who loves ya, Philly? - had 392 murders on a pop of 1,449,000, for a rate of about 27.05 per 100 thou. But you think things are tough in Philly? You ain't seen nothing yet. I'm looking at you, Baltimore, with 234 murders and 637,455 peeps, for a staggering rate of 36.73 murders per 100,000 residents. Yikes. Scratch Baltimore off the "to-visit" list.

At the other end of the spectrum is NYC. Yes, NYC, which once had an annual homicide rate above 2,000, had a scant 522 murders in 2008 on a population of 8,274,000, for a low low rate of 6.31. 6.31 per 100,000! There's probably a higher rate of people who find crumpled-up $20s in bar bathrooms. Way to go, Big Apple!

So don't feel to bad, fellow SF-ers. You still have a better chance of being killed in a lot of other cities.

P.S. In case you're wondering, LA had 376 murders and a population of 3,834,000, for a rate of 9.81. Hrmph.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Top 5: New Year's Resolutions

I’m not really a resolutions kind of guy. I’ve never made any before, so I’ve never had to keep any. In fact, these aren’t really resolutions, per se. They’re more vague goals that I will write down in the hope that writing them down will motivate me to actually do them.

1. See at least one live music show a month

In 2006, I think I went to about 25 to 30 shows. In 2007, it was about 15. Last year, I think I maybe went to 8, if that. That’s lame. I love seeing live music and there’s no way I’m playing the “I’m getting older” card, so I hereby resolve to see at least 12 shows in 2009. One per month.

2. Learn how to make wine at home

This is going to be my new hobby. I’m not trying to make knockoff Opus One in my kitchen or anything; I just thought it would be a cool project. I’ll keep you posted.

3. Try to be more cool and patient

You may not have picked this up about me, but I can be wound a little tight at times. I'm sort of constantly cursing other people under my breath for real and perceived slights against me, like (1) standing there blocking the door of the BART train looking around instead of just fucking walking into it; (2) standing to the left on escalators, when everybody knows it's stand right, walk left; (3) taking too long at the ATM; (4) turning without using a turn signal; (5) you get the point.

So I'm going to try to calm down a little and take things more in stride instead of mentally screaming "YOU FAT FUCK!!! MOVE THE FUCK OUT OF MY WAY!! I KNOW YOU'RE MORBIDLY OBESE, BUT YOU SURE WON'T GET ANOTHER DOUBLE CHEESEBURGER JUST STANDING THERE IN FRONT OF ME!!!" Calm blue ocean. Calm blue ocean. Namaste.

4. Shoot up smack with a Thai hooker in the back room of a secret members-only bar in the Tenderloin

Wait, that was a 2006 resolution. Sorry.

5. Exercise more / eat better

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!

So that happened.

New Year's Eve, about 8 pm, I'm waiting for the J Church. And waiting. And waiting. 4 trains go by in the opposite direction. Almost 40 minutes later, a J pulls up. It's packed to the gills. Somewhere in the middle of the train, a big group of kids is screaming and jumping up and down. I can see them passing around a bottle of Jager and a 20-ounce Diet Coke to chase it with. Ugh.

So the party at The Sister's place turned out to be a lot of fun, but for some reason, I just wasn't in the right party spirit. Super Hot Irish Girlfriend didn't feel good and had to be left at home. At the party, there was lots of good food and wine and beer, and the company was great, but I was just tired or something. Anyway, I stayed for the countdown and champagne and then, miraculously, found a cab at Church & Duboce to take me home.

Speaking of champagne, that's one of those things where the difference between the low end of the spectrum and the high end is so vast that it's like two separate beverages. If all you know is Korbel, when you have something really good, like J Vintage Brut, it's kind of a surprise and a revelation.

Yesterday SHIG and I went to Target and bought a new HD TV. Word to the wise: New Year's Day is a very good day to go to Target. It wasn't crowded at all.

So everybody's saying how glad they are that 2008 is over and they hope 2009 is a better year and whatever, but I gotta say, 2008 was pretty good, as far as I'm concerned. I got engaged, I still have a job (for now, anyway), we elected a President I'm kind of excited about, and Vanderbilt won a bowl game for the first time since 1955. I know we're in a Global Economic Crisis and all, but hey, I'm trying to brightside this thing.