Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More fun with Top Tweets

No offense, Rev, but God sounds like kind of a passive-aggressive jerk.

"Hey, whaddya got there, God?"

"Oh, nothing. Just something I'm planning on giving you."

"Really?! Oh, cool! That's nice, thanks!"

"Sure, no problem."


"So what?"

"So are you going to give it to me?"

"You have to ask."


"You have to ask for it or I won't give it to you."

"What the fuck? You want me to ask for something that you already planned to give to me? Why? Actually, you know what? Fuck it. If that's how you're going to be, just keep it."

It was probably a divorce or typhoid fever anyway.

Ugh. Tony Robbins fucking bugs, doesn't he? You know what's impossible, Tony? Living the rest of my life without working and without having to peddle self-help bullshit to gullible middle managers via a headset mic and a PowerPoint presentation. So how can I do that? Push out of the "comforble"? Take some massive action? Specifics, man. I need specifics.

The amazing thing is that a ton of people retweeted this and favorited it and whatnot (and, God help me, it pains me to use the term "retweeted" but I guess that ship has sailed) and it doesn't mean anything at all. I mean, I guess it's saying that you can make impossible things happen if you get out of your comfort zone and take "massive action," but that's total bullshit. If your house is being foreclosed on and you can't find a job and your unemployment benefits just ran out (oh, BTW, make sure to Thank a Republican Congressman for that), the only "massive action" that's going to fix shit up at that point is knocking over a 7-Eleven. DON'T DO THAT. But you get my point.

How did "The Secret" work out for you, after all? Get everything you wanted?

Today's Worst Groupon of the Day

$50 for a Narrated, GPS-Guided GoCar Tour ($103 Value)

Hey, ever wanted to feel like a complete fucking idiot? I guess you could wear a WWE t-shirt or watch an episode of "Two and a Half Men," but what if you wanted to get some fresh air and see some sights at the same time?

Ever feel like tooling around town in a banana-yellow plastic box with a lawnmower engine while wearing a helmet and trying to pretend people aren't laughing at you?

Then Groupon has a deal for you.

We may be smiling, but our souls are dying.

That's right! For only $50, instead of $103, you can be one of those people! VROOM VROOM! It has a racing stripe. You have finished First in the Please Kill Me 500.

(Incidentally, in case you haven't heard, Google is in the process of buying Groupon for FIVE BILLION DOLLARS. I am not fucking kidding. FIVE FUCKING BILLION DOLLARS. I mean, obvi people like Groupon and it's a big success all around and YAY LOOK WE GOT 20 CUPCAKES FOR $5 and whatnot, but JESUS FUCKING CHRIST $5,000,000,000?!!?! WHAT THE FUCK.)

(So at first I was like "Awww, I shouldn't make fun of plucky little Groupon, but FUCK THAT. Now the founder of Groupon who's probably 24 years old and was born after Scooby-Doo went off the air is going to be filling his hot tub with $100 bills and Cristal and Thai hookers.)

Now, when I see someone in a GoCar - which isn't very often, since I'm rarely in the Fisherman's Wharf area, except when I need to pick up an "Alcatraz Mental Ward" sweatshirt or eat at Bubba Gump's - I usually resist the urge to cut them off and see how a GoCar fares against an American-made bumper, but I can't guarantee that all drivers will be so charitable.

(SIDE NOTE: Have you ever looked at the list of stores in Pier 39? HOLY SHIT. "Lefty's, the Left Hand Store"! 2 different magnet stores! "WE BE KNIVES"!!!! The mind reels.)

This has been your Worst Groupon of the Day.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

In which I take a detour into the American Health Care System and emerge relatively unscathed.

Yesterday on the plane flight from Denver to SF my right elbow swelled up like a grapefruit and turned bright red. Dr. Google suggested it was bursitis and that I should ice it and rest and whatnot. Did that last night to no avail so I went down to the UCSF Ambulatory Care Center, which is basically Emergency Room Lite.

The wait's not that bad when you get there at 8:30 on a Saturday morning and other than the bitch who yammered constantly on her phone DIRECTLY UNDERNEATH the "NO CELL PHONES PLEASE" sign, it was basically uneventful.

They called my name and I went in. Pulled up my sleeve. "OH MY GOD," Dr. Ong said, which is simultaneously worrying because a doctor just looked at you and said "OH MY GOD," which is maybe not the first thing you want to hear when a doctor looks at you and also validating because you know you didn't overreact by going to the Ambulatory Care Center.

Anyway, as it turns out, I'm going to live but now I'm on some pretty heavy antibiotics and also an NSAID, which is fancy talk for a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory something or other that starts with "D." I also have a RAGING cold and so I'm holed up here watching one episode of "48 Hours Mysteries" after another and feeling sorry for myself.

Still have a bachelor party thing to go to later. That should be good.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Here is the Thanksgiving Day schedule we have devised

11:00 a.m. Breakfast (English muffin, coffee, 1 scoop ice cream).

12:00 p.m. Mimosas.

12:35 Cheese and crackers. Shrimp cocktail. More mimosas.

1:00 p.m. Open first bottle of wine.

1:10 p.m. Open second bottle of wine.

1:15 p.m. Retrieve previously-hidden bottle of Jameson from bedroom, have shot, resume conversation with family.

1:36 p.m. Tell distant cousin it's a shame you don't get together more often; give her fake email address; will explain to Dad later.

2:00 p.m. Announcement from kitchen: "We're about an hour away."

2:15 p.m. Open third bottle of wine.

2:30 p.m. First ruling from kitchen that a particular dish is "Ruined. Dammit, it's totally ruined."

3:00 p.m. Open fourth bottle of wine. Start mentally calculating if there's going to be enough wine. Tell everyone "This is the last bottle."

3:05 p.m. Hide 3 bottles of wine in closet upstairs under sheets & towels.

3:30 p.m. See McDonald's ad; mouth waters. Treat with more wine.

3:50 p.m. Query re: Estimated Arrival Time of Dinner met with icy "Soon. OK? Soon."

4:15 p.m. First crying jag. Luckily, the source is a 2-year-old. THIS TIME.

4:17 p.m. "OK, it's ready."

4:25 p.m. Finished.

5:16 p.m. Wake up in sitting position on couch. Try to remember where remaining wine is hidden.

5:18 p.m. Open fifth bottle of wine.

6:45 p.m. What the fuck is with this relative and his bizarre, unprecedented success in Trivial Pursuit? What did you do, memorize all the answers? Did you really memorize all the fucking cards? Because you either memorized all the cards or you got a brain transplant because there's no fucking way you were this smart last year.

7:12 p.m. Ugh, I can't drink any more wine. Are there any of those beers left? I don't feel so hot.

7:43 p.m. Man, I had this guy all wrong. He's actually pretty fucking cool. "Yeah, you should totally come out! You can stay with us and everything!"

8:12 p.m. Where did the rest of the wine go? We cannot be fucking out of wine.

8:32 p.m. Wonder aloud if that dog show program is on yet.

9:06 p.m. Fall asleep.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

True Tales of Holiday Air Travel

Now is that time of year when Family Members who aren't in Prison or Too Drunk are summoned out to Dad's place for the Thanksgiving Thing. In my case, this necessitates some Air Travel, which has been in the news lately as you might have noticed and thus I was kind of interested in a morbid way to see what kind of indignities the TSA would visit upon me.

ANSWER: Nothing. They barely looked at my bag as it slid through the X-Ray machine or what have you. I could have packed a set of Ginsu knives or a baggie full of China White in there and no one would have been the wiser. I strolled through that metal detector like a motherfucking BOSS and never broke stride.

My biggest problem was the balding, birdlike man behind me who seemed to think that he could accelerate the screening process by SURGICALLY ATTACHING HIMSELF TO ME and NEVER STRAYING MORE THAN ONE MICRON FROM ME like he was some kind of Security Remora and I was his Leader Shark. BACK THE FUCK UP JOEL IT'S NOT MAKING THINGS ANY FASTER.

Meanwhile The Wife was selected to go through the Porno Machine and so somewhere there exists a full-body nude of her and she was all "If that gets you off be my guest."

Our only real issue, in fact, was getting goddam AIRBORNE so we could get 4 minis of Skyy and be on our way. And now we're here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Today in NIMBY: Opera singer will now be allowed to utterly destroy quality of life, children's dreams in North Beach

God, I hate people sometimes. OK, all the time, but who I hate at any particular time changes.

There's this Italian restaurant called Colosseo on Columbus Ave. in North Beach. I know, what are the odds? Anyway, it must be fairly new because it wasn't there when I lived in North Beach. Oh shit, I moved out of NB in 2004, so maybe it's not so new. Tempus fugit, etc.

For those of you outside the 415/510/650/707 area codes, North Beach is the faux-"Italian" neighborhood in SF. At one point, many years ago, it was actually an Italian neighborhood but now it's just the Italian restaurants and a few other remnants.

There's a big hill called Telegraph Hill that probably had something to do with telegraphs at some point that rises over NB. I used to live right on top of that hill, at Vallejo and Montgomery. There is a neighborhood group called the Telegraph Hill Dwellers who are the villains of this piece and to whom we will return shortly.

OK SO, Colosseo had a quaint idea! They will import the uninomial "LUCA," who, we are told, is a "highly trained opera singer," and LUCA will "serenade customers while they dine." BUON GIORNO LUCA!!! How quaint. Tourists will clasp their hands to their chests and go "This is a uniquely San Francisco moment." I love it! Bring LUCA on!

Did you think it was going to be that E-Z? You funny. It seems that LUCA would be accompanied by "a small speaker system that will provide orchestral backing."


This small speaker system caused the politically powerful Tel Hill Dwellers (henceforth "THD") to lift their dragon-shaped heads from the primordial muck in which they rest, shake off their slumber, and cast a jaundiced eye on LUCA and his boom box. Take it away, Chron!

Representatives from the Telegraph Hill Dwellers did not return multiple calls and e-mails seeking comment. The group has successfully stalled a number of projects in San Francisco, including a plan to build a 430-foot condo tower near the Transamerica Pyramid and the redevelopment of the Pagoda Palace Theater, vacant since 1994.

In comments to the city's Planning Department, the group suggested that it was concerned giving the restaurant a permit for amplified sound could allow the owners, or a future owner, to turn the property into a dance club or concert venue.

That's right. Instead of singing "Non più andrai" from Marriage of Figaro, THD fears that LUCA will sing "Back That Azz Up" from Juvenile's justly-praised "400 Degreez." MUCH AS WE MAY WANT THAT, it is unlikely to occur.
LUCA performing. (As conceptualized by THD.)

Now, a complete review of THD's activities over the years is well beyond the scope of this piece, but let me just say this: You look like idiots.

Luckily, the Planning Commission, FOR ONCE, didn't bow and scrape and now LUCA will be free to sing to the delight of a Couple from Grand Rapids and their bored 13-year-old.

Moral of the story? Now matter how innocuous, how charming, how utterly perfect an idea you have that will bring Joy to the Hearts of Many or maybe Cure the Cancer or whatever, SOMEBODY in this town is going to be against it. In this case it happens to be THD, and they have a history of doing this kind of thing, but it happens all the time. I'm not advocating tearing down Postcard Row and replacing it with a Jiffy Lube and a Rite Aid, but I mean, really, COME ON, when you complain about a guy singing opera with a boom box in a restaurant on a busy street around the corner from a two-block-long Ed Hardy nightmare of strip clubs and vodka-and-Red-Bull bars, you really are crying wolf. Go back to stopping libraries or something.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Live! Nude! Girls! At your local airport.

Text from The Sister:

HOLY FUCK. You should get to sfo like hours before your flight. The security line is so long there is a holding area to wait in to even get in the line.

Ever since the post-9/11 TSA security theater dance began, I've been wondering what it would take for the American people to finally say "Enough." I figured it would take a lot, because, on the whole, we're pretty much willing to accept anything if you affix an American flag to it and say it's for "national security." I'm pretty convinced that if a couple of guys in military uniform showed up to most people's houses and said they had to search the whole house because they were looking for terrorists, people would go "OK, go ahead!"

But maybe we've finally found the outer limits of what people will put up with. The new full-body scanners (or, if you prefer, "porno-scanners") that show, erm, pretty much everything, have finally got people upset. (Or, if you prefer, you can get a full-body patdown - now including free labial touching!!)

I guess this was occasioned by the "Underwear Bomber," the guy who, as the name implies, tried to blow up a Northwest flight over Detroit with a bomb in his underwear.

(SIDE NOTE - Wouldn't it suck to be the Underwear Bomber in prison? Like, you'd be out in the exercise yard, and Ted Kaczynski comes over and he's all "Hey, I'm the Unabomber" and Terry Nichols is all "What up, I'm one of the Oklahoma City bombers," and you go "Oh, hey guys, I'm the Underwear Bomber" and they look at each other and start snickering and go "Underwear Bomber, huh? What did you do, eat the enchilada platter after drinking all night? That'll bomb some motherfucking underwear, for sure!" And you go "No, for reals! I could have blown up a plane!" But they're already laughing and now even the Shoe Bomber is pointing and laughing at you.)

Remember after the Shoe Bomber, when we had to start taking our shoes off every time we wanted to get on a plane? Now we basically have to make a sex tape or get felt up by a guy with a GED and a French blue shirt just to get to O'Hare. If the next bomber packs 20 grams of C-4 into his rectum, I AM DONE WITH FLYING FOREVER.

ANYWAY. I don't know how this is gonna shake out, but it's nice to know there's one thing that World Net Daily and Salon.com can agree on. THIS FUCKING SUCKS. I get to fly next week, yay.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock Hotel": A Critical Reappraisal

"Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock Hotel" is a television program in which grotesquely oversized steroid-addled higher primates with a surprising amount of disposable income and the microbikini-clad females who mate with them purchase $1,000 bottles of champagne, jump up and down and shout "REHAAAAAAAB" into a camera, and get into fights around a hotel swimming pool in Las Vegas, Nevada. I've previously considered the merits, or lack thereof, of the show, but it's been a few years and it seems time to revisit the topic.

(I don't believe the show is, as my friend Generic would put it, a Signpost of Cultural Death, although, it is true, that in 2008 I called it "yet more evidence of the decline and fall of whatever was left of American civilization." That seems a little harsh to me now.)

Long story short, this season isn't as good as last season.

(I know, I'm actually comparing seasons of "Rehab" now. Hey, life can't all be Jonathan Franzen.)

For lack of a better word, this season just seems staged. I know what you're saying: "When did you undergo a frontal lobotomy?" I mean, "What do you mean, staged? Aren't all reality shows staged?" Well, no, not really, and if they are, sort of, not as blatantly, I guess.

This is Jonna, which, for some reason, is pronounced "Jon-NAY." Recognize her? If you do, you have no room to talk to me right now, because you recognize her from The Real World season in Cancun.

(Let's pause here for a second. I don't watch the Real World any more, and I think I only saw a few episodes of the Cancun season, but it really is amazing that a show that started out with some charged conversations about race and class has devolved into essentially a multi-episode filmed Spring Break with more booze and dumber people. Also, the Cancun season featured something named "Ayiiia," three "I's," which sounds very much like the name of one of the blue things in "Avatar." Anyway.)

Why did I post her picture? I forget. Oh wait, I remember. Because she is on the show not as an actual waitress, like the waitresses in the first season, but as an actress playing a Goofy Waitress who Always Fucks Up and Is in Trouble All the Time. Krazy Hijinx ensue. They got rid of the first season manager, Justin, a normalish guy with a regular-looking girlfriend who didn't appear to be a bikini model or stripper, and replaced him with MATT, a combative little megalomaniac whose job seems to consist chiefly of apoplectic outbursts of sheer and unvarnished rage directed at his hapless staff, who seem to be trapped in some kind of Stockholm Syndrome relationship with their terrorizing nemesis.

It goes on. Whole episodes seem staged now, what with a troupe of drunk midget wrestlers causing problems or the inevitable don't-let-my-fiancee-catch-me bachelor party or the escaped snake or whatever.

I suppose the viewing interest here is essentially the same as something like "Jersey Shore" or, going back a ways, touring the Bethlem Royal Hospital to point and jeer at the hapless inmates within; something between an interest in a strange and foreign subculture and the basic need to feel superior. But, that being the case, TruTV, give me the actual subculture. Believe me, it doesn't need your help.

Monday, November 15, 2010

This is all over the place. Sorry for the lack of a unifying theme. Not all blog posts will be gems.

Sure, we 're having record-breaking heat today (as it's supposed to be 82 degrees in SF), but we got nothing on Mankato, Minnesota. From today's SF Chronicle:

Wow! 91 degrees on November 14 in Mankato, Minnesota! Oddly, the website of the Mankato Free Press doesn't mention this weather anomaly at all. Instead, it discusses the ChiliFest (success), the Campus Kitchen program (going strong!), the "Gusties" (ending the 2010 season with a win), and "businessman's LSD" (i.e., drug bust turns up a pound of DMT, whoa).

That change in weather must be even more shocking, given that it's 28 degrees in Mankato today. And you thought our temperature swings were bad!

ANYWAY. Couple of things from the weekend:

- Can't recommend Barbacco highly enough. Wow, really fantastic food, excellent service, not too expensive. We sat at the bar and were attended by Gretchen, who looks sort of like Catherine Keener with blonde hair and was totally helpful and nice and everything else. Make reservations, though. Some people standing behind us (we were seated at the bar near the door) were waiting half an hour, easy.

- Went back to Burritt Room for the second time in three days. It's a little different on Friday night. First of all, maybe not so surprisingly, it was pretty fucking packed. Second of all, also probably not surprisingly, it was packed with decked-to-the-nines Marina girls ordering vodka sodas, despite the presence of a thoughtful, interesting cocktail list. Oh well. Man, they wear a lot of perfume, don't they? If you're into Marina girls, though, this is the place. The Female to Male ratio was like 2 to 1.

- I know "Marina girls" is a stereotype and a well-worn trope and so forth, but at least the New York Times isn't writing boring, self-parodic pieces about What Being a Marina Girl really means.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Bar Night: Union Square edition

(I've gotten like a shitload of new readers over the past few days mostly because of the "50 Reasons to Love/30 Reasons to Hate SF" posts which is great except that some people took the Hate list completely at face value and now think I'm some kind of jackass who belongs in Tulsa because I require plentiful free parking and hate puppies. Oh well. What are you gonna do. Not take everything so seriously, I guess.)

(Also, I'm wicked hungover and we're out of Advil. I found 2 Advil P.M. but I don't really want to go to sleep again.)

What's it been, since March that we had a New Bar Night? I'm sorry, I slacked. That's like when "Lost" would air like 4 episodes in a row and you'd be all "OK NOW! I'm down with the narrative. I see where we're going here!" And then it would POOF disappear off the air for 6 months and instead you'd be watching reruns of The First 48 and going "DUH IT'S THE GUY WITH THE BLOODSTAINS ON HIS SHIRT I'M NOT EVEN A DETECTIVE AND I CAN SEE THAT."

Do you ever go to Union Square? No, you don't. There's no reason. You're not from Out of Town. But what if you were on a date, for some reason, and you ended up near Union Square and you wanted to shock and awe your date with some sweet cocktails? There was no answer before. Now there is. It's Burritt Room, and it's on Stockton, just above Sutter, near the oddly graffiti-free Stockton Tunnel.

You go in through the Kubrickianly-clean lobby of the Crescent Hotel and go up some stairs and then all of a sudden you're in a really nice exposed brick/distressed wood kind of room where they make Artisanal Cocktails with Black Tea Infused Rum and shit like that. I'm not gonna lie, the drinks were off the heezy. When we first got there, there was a huge crowd of Squares with Nametags because, you know, it's a hotel bar, but they cleared out once we stationed ourselves at the bar and started yelling.

OK, business time. The cocktails were fucking excellent. I should have written down what was in them because they were fiendishly complicated and every drink had like 5-7 ingredients and different kinds of bitters and unpronounceable liqueurs and shit like that. Plus they're only $10 each which is a pretty good deal for that sort of thing. I think we liked the place a lot, and that was even before the chick next to us who looked like a taller thinner Lily Allen started flirting with Olu to the consternation of her boyfriend who then had to loom over her as if to cast a protective shield and we were all "He's not going to steal your girlfriend dude, we're here for New Bar Night, not New Chick Night."

Lily Allen wearing some kind of panda costume. Picture for reference only.

The bartender was super friendly too. You should go to this place.

Not so much with the next place, though: Cantina, up the hill a bit on Sutter. Sometimes you just don't know where a bar goes wrong. It's hard to pinpoint. Cantina's like that. It's not specifically a Mexican place (although Jason did get a $16 shot of tequila, like WTF Jason), but there's a nod to that. It feels kind of hotel bar-y. Like sterile or something. I will say that the Carmen Amaya (Rittenhouse straight rye, Cointreau, fresh lemon & muddled basil, amontillado sherry, thank you online menu for Cantina) was tasty, but I can't see hanging out there. The Australian guy at the bar seemed to be having a good time, though. We split.

Had a brief delay up the street on Sutter because Olu stopped to buy a 1.75 liter bottle of Skyy vodka with the security thing still on it from a Guy on the Street for $10. That's a good deal! Guy on the Street assured us that he came by the 1.75 liter bottle of Skyy vodka legitimately, so what's the big deal?

I've been to Ambassador before, but they hadn't, so it counts. The door guy let Olu check his $10 1.75 liter bottle of Skyy vodka so we could go in! That's nice. You know what? They have $3 beers and well drinks on Wednesday. That's cheap as fuck right there! It was also fucking EMPTY at 9:30 p.m. It was weird because there was more staff in the place than customers. It was like us and 3 Russian guys who looked like extras from the Russian Mob episode of Law and Order. So we stationed ourselves in one of the booths and drank some $3 drinks. Our waitress, bless her heart, was ADORABLE but maybe not the Brightest Star on the Horizon but she did a great job and we love her very much.

(Incidentally, is there a law or something that says all Door Guys have to have Scraggly Goatees? That seems to be a rule.)

Had a few rounds there until the DJ turned up the music SO LOUD that it was impossible to talk and you KNOW we are all Algonquin Round Table when we go out and if I can't hear Jason's fucking witty bon mots I'm just not into it. Plus, the music was terrible but I guess "California Gurls" is de rigueur now and you might as well get it out of the way at 10:30 before actual people show up.

They were making eyes at Osha Thai Noodle across the street but I ate dinner before I went out because I'm a FUCKING PROFESSIONAL so I just took a cab home.

To summarize:

Burritt Room: Yes. Four $10 bottles of Skyy vodka.

Cantina: No. One and a half $10 bottles of Skyy vodka.

Ambassador: Eh, maybe. Two $10 bottles of Skyy vodka.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

30 Reasons to Hate San Francisco

30. It's cold and windy almost all the time. While the rest of the country enjoys a pleasant summer day, it's Ice Station Zebra up in this bitch.

29. There's nowhere to park.

28. Too crowded. Why is everyone always where I want to go? Don't you people have anywhere else to go?

27. Hippies.

26. Homeless. Esp. the person who took a shit on my front steps earlier this week.

25. Everything is too fucking expensive. $1250 for that studio in the Tenderloin? That's like a 3-bedroom house anywhere else. BONUS: No whores.

24. Too many weirdos.

23. Too loud.

22. Earthquakes. How about a completely random event that can destroy your house and everything you own and kill you and your family? Great, where do I sign????

21. There's no Target. I know, I know, there's going to be one over on Masonic, if it EVER gets built, which brings up:

20. NIMBYs. Including people who never want to change anything or see anything new.

19. Hipsters.

18. Bros.

17. Marina chicks.

16. Gavin Newsom.

15. Pretentious, heavily-tattooed waiters who think you're scum because you're not working on a screenplay or art installation. Why don't you install that flatiron steak right the fuck over here, asshole.

14. Muni. These people shouldn't be operating the Little Puffer Miniature Steam Train at the zoo, much less the transit system of a major metropolitan area.

13. People who say "I'm a fourth-generation San Franciscan." I'm a fifth-generation Who Gives a Fuck.

12. 4 Non-Blondes.

11. The Incredibly Useless Board of Supervisors. If we've gotten around to banning Happy Meals, I guess all the other problems have been cleared up. Right? Right?

10. Tourists.

9. Bike snobs. People who say "I choose not to own a car."

8. Terrible drivers.

7. Too many hills.

6. Chris Daly.

5. Chevy's.

4. Drunks. People yelling outside your window at 2:30 a.m. after the bars close. STFU.

3. Foodies. Why have a pizza when you can have an Artisanal Crispy Flatbread with Burrata from Cows Massaged Thrice Daily and Locally-Produced Dry-Cured Prosciutto Seasoned with Herbs from the Chef's Special Garden for $23?

2. Rainbow Grocery. People who shop at Rainbow Grocery.

1. People who bitch about everything.

Shit, I forgot Burning Man.

Monday, November 8, 2010

50 Reasons to Love San Francisco

50. It was 81 degrees last Thursday. NOVEMBER 4.

49. It’s usually 60 degrees on July 4. TAKE THAT, REST OF AMERICA.

48. The view from Bernal Hill.

47. The view from Tank Hill.

46. The view from the 20th & Church corner of Dolores Park.

45. Ritual Roasters, Blue Bottle, Caffe Trieste, Philz, or any of the other hyperspecialized coffee purveyors you depend on.

44. Making fun of tourists. Giving tourists directions. Rolling your eyes anytime someone says “Fisherman’s Wharf.”

43. 6-hour brunches.

42. The Neptune Society Columbarium. (Seriously, go if you’ve never been. It’s amazing).

41. Fresh focaccia from Liguria Barkery on Stockton.

40. Irish coffee.

39. Walking/biking through Golden Gate Park on Sunday when the streets are all blocked off.

38. Bay to Breakers. In whatever incarnation it currently has.

37. Red’s Java House.

36. Going to the Attic for the first time in 10 years and finding out that the cute bartender looks exactly the same.

35. Finally breaking down and going to Alcatraz and finding out it’s actually pretty cool.

34. When you’re out of town and someone asks you where you’re from and you say “San Francisco.”

33. The endless amusement in bitching about Muni, even though it almost always gets you there. Eventually.

32. The Ferry Building. $6 tomatoes.

31. The Heart of the City Farmer’s Market at U.N. Plaza. 6 tomatoes for $1.

30. Arguing about Critical Mass.

29. It’s-Its. Especially Mint It’s-Its, the obviously most superior It’s-It.

28. Frank Chu.

27. Sunny afternoons in Dolores Park. Cold beer, cold water.

26. The roast chicken at Nopa. The shaking beef at Slanted Door. The salt & pepper crab at R&G Lounge. The cioppino at Caesar’s. The sand dabs at Tadich Grill. A burrito from El Farolito.

25. Burritos in general.

24. Anchor Steam. Speakeasy. Toronado. 21st Amendment. The incredible beer culture and obsessive devotion to, and interest in, beer.

23. Earthquakes. Earthquake stories. Knowing with absolute certainty there is going to be a massive, devastating earthquake and not doing anything to get ready for it. Except putting a battery-operated radio and a pint of vodka in a shoebox and calling that your “earthquake kit.”

22. Taking the ferry to Tiburon and having brunch at Sam’s.

21. Herb Caen. (R.I.P, and kidz, if you don’t know, go read his stuff.)

20. Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge (BONUS: It’s 58 degrees, the wind is 40 mph, and it’s so foggy you can’t see the water).

19. Beach Blanket Babylon, The Marsh, and one-person shows with 6 people in the audience.

18. As bad as they are now, the San Francisco 49ers. Remember 1994? How about ’81, ’84, ’88, and ’89?

17. The Embarcadero Center lights at Christmas. Union Square at Christmas. The fucking puppies and kittens in the windows of Macy's at Christmas.

16. Happy hour at Zeitgeist, the 540 Club, the Royal Exchange, the Hi-Dive, the Ha-Ra, or wherever you happen to be at 5:00. Or 4:00. Or 3:00. Or, fuck it, 2:30.

15. Seeing live music in the basement of Li Po, at Stern Grove, Symphony Hall, the Fillmore, the Independent, or any of the other hundreds of places you can see live music any night.

14. Watching the fog roll in and slowly take over. Fog in general.

13. Santarchy. (I know they have it in other cities, but it started here, so there.)

12. Street food, from the bacon-wrapped hot dog guys on Mission to the Crème Brulee cart to the Korean BBQ truck and on and on and on.

11. Corner stores. Your corner store might have a better wine selection than most American cities. You could walk out with a Watermelon 4 Loko, a wedge of camembert, a Philips head screwdriver, and a jar of olive tapenade.

10. Amoeba Records (and Aquarius too, for that matter).

9. The Pride Parade. The Dyke March. Pride Weekend in general.

8. Your urban family.

7. Street art.

6. Dogs. Dogs everywhere. Fort Funston. Crissy Field. Duboce Park. Dogs in bars. Dogs on barstools next to you. Dogs in cabs. Knowing more dogs personally than children.

5. The neighborhoods. The Lower Haight is less than 2 miles from Cow Hollow, but you could live your whole life in one and never visit the other.


3. SF MOMA, the DeYoung, the observation tower in the DeYoung, the Palace of the Legion of Honor, the Cartoon Art Museum, and Specs 12 Adler. All important cultural institutions.

2. Never having to grow up if you don’t want to. (Don’t I know it.)

1. You know what? Be as weird as you want. Work on your rock opera about the Boxer Rebellion. Be a barista/dominatrix. Talk almost exclusively about your conspiracy theory linking albinos and aliens. That’s cool. Let’s grab a drink and you can tell me all about it.

(In response to "50 Reasons to Be Pretty Damn Euphoric You Live in New York City," which appeared on the Village Voice's blog last week.)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Happy Friday! The zombies and eggheads edition.


Did you guys watch the premiere of The Walking Dead on AMC? Since our lives are temporarily Draper-less, AMC wants us to fill that sad and gaping void in our souls with zombies. The basic premise is that a guy wakes up and there are zombies. I really don't need to explain it any more.

BUT OK, here's my thing. In one scene, The Main Guy (who's apparently a British actor and whose American accent is wonderfully fungible, flitting without a care from the Midwest to the South and back again) has met some of the Other Survivors and they are attempting to explain to him what's going on and what those creepy shuffling people outside are.

SO HERE'S THE THING: I realized that people in zombie movies or shows don't have any independent knowledge of zombie movies!!! So there's no frame of reference for them! Like, if you and me woke up in a newly zombified America (INSERT POST-ELECTION JOKE HERE HAR HAR HAR) and we found a Survivor and said "What the fuck's going on?" they could just say "Oh, it's zombies," and we'd be all "OHHHHHH, gotcha, that sucks, pass me a gun and a baseball bat. Are they fast zombies or slow zombies? Head shot do the trick on them or is there some other bullshit rule?"

But the people in zombie movies have never seen a zombie movie, so it doesn't work. In their universe, there was never a "28 Days Later" or even a "Shawn of the Dead." So some poor fuck has to explain the whole thing to them from scratch. Sucks to be you.

(AMUSING SIDE NOTE: How great would it have been if "28 Days Later" had been a sequel to the Sandra Bullock rehab story "28 Days"? And you had, like, zombie Sandra Bullock shuffling around going "BRAAAAIINS," and "I COULD UUUUUUSE A DRIIIIIINK." Anyway.)

Oh, shit! I just realized the Brit in charge of "Walking Dead" is that guy from "Love, Actually"! Another crossover potential! "Zombie Love, Actually"!


OK, since I'm a white male in a coastal city with a postgraduate degree, I listen to this podcast called the "Slate Culture Gabfest" in which other overeducated white people suck all the fun out of popular culture. Here's an example from a couple of weeks back. See if you can guess what the egghead is talking about:

Well, let me begin by saying I think there are two pretty obvious reactions to have to [this thing]. The first is, in a weird way, the most obvious one, I think, in this day and age, is to have a kind of “Oh, it’s Rabelaisian, it’s, you know, it’s Howard Stern meets skater punk meets Rabelais meet de Sade meets Buñuel,” like a kind of, you know, the high-low mish-mash that every critic alive . . . likes to employ as a way of patting themselves on the back for their postmodern eclecticism. And the other obvious response is the Rome-is-burning response. And I found myself having incoherently and somewhat frenetically toggling back and forth between those two responses.

Give up? He's talking about "Jackass 3-D." Yes, the movie where a guy gets shot up into the sky in a Porta-Pottie full of shit. I don't know what "Rabelaisian" is, so maybe "Jackass 3-D" really is Rabelaisian, I don't know, but fuck, do we have to grad-seminar everything? Can't anything just be stupid and meaningless? Let's continue:

Another way of looking at it is sometimes Rome does burn, and there is something profoundly disturbing about how this is not – if this is on the margins of a culture, I think there’s kind of a celebratory vitality to it that one can participate in. When it moves to the very center of the culture, you then have to start thinking about what it’s displacing and what it means and what it means that these people are approaching middle age. . . . We can stop talking about – as if there’s some horrible nanny figure, a Mr. Chips figure, that’s the dominant mode of American thinking and feeling that’s somehow being flouted here. This is the dominant mode of American thinking and feeling. I think it demands being regarded seriously.

No, you silly goof, this is not the "dominant mode of American thinking and feeling." I'm not even that cynical. If you're basing your view of what the DMOATAF is on box office receipts, then the DMOATAF is wanting to be a 12-foot-tall blue creature who flies around on a pterodactyl and where everything looks like you're shrooming.

It's entertainment. I mean, I don't personally find it entertaining, but it's probably healthier to watch than public executions or bear-baiting or any of the other really fucked-up shit people used to watch for entertainment. I wouldn't freak out. There's a huge box office for uplifting and educational shit too.

That's what happens when you overthink everything. Eggheads.

Have a good weekend, everybody!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Just a couple of pics from the parade and then I swear to God I will stop talking about the Giants until next year

Unless they sign Jayson Werth or something.

About a million people got together in San Francisco yesterday for a bigass parade and celebration thing in Civic Center. Pretty fucking amazing, considering the population of the entire city is about 800,000.

"Crowded" isn't the right word. It was fucking packed down there. Plus, it was 78 degrees, which feels like 95 in SF, because we're used to 57. (When you look at this picture, you have to imagine the overpowering scent of marijuana. The whole thing smelled like a Cypress Hill concert.)

The parade came down McAllister and then into Civic Center Plaza. The float with all the anthropomorphized snack products was bumping that horrifying "Fist Pump" song they played late this season at the park. The Salt & Vinegar Kettle Chips was way into it.

If Buster Posey was any more clean-cut, he'd probably ascend to Heaven right now, where Mother Theresa would say "Who's the square?" He saluted the crowd in his inimitable, aw-shucks way. Meanwhile, Brian Wilson was running around like a crazy person high-fiving and striking poses in the middle of the street. Closers have traditionally cultivated a me-so-crazy image, and B-Dub seems to love playing that role.

Then it was time for the Ceremony on the Steps of City Hall. Each player was awarded 10 virgins or something, I think. I couldn't hear very well. Then Aubrey Huff did a little dance and pulled a red thong out of his pants. Whatever, it's Civic Center. I've seen a woman taking a shit while smoking crack here, so pulling a thong out of your pants is nothing.

Everybody seemed to have a nice time. DPW cleaned up the place real nice. Let's do it again next year.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Here's my explanation of why professional sports are satisfying and necessary

"There's some part of our reptilian brain that needs to conquer and dominate others. It's hard-wired into us. We used to satisfy this intense, unstoppable urge by actually conquering and dominating others. But now we have evolved and don't do that as much as we used to. So, even though it would be incredibly satisfying and rewarding for all of us to march on Dallas, burn it to the ground, sew the soil with salt so nothing ever grows there again, sell the citizenry into slavery, and take their gold and HDTVs, our society frowns on that kind of thing. So instead, we assemble a team of surrogates to represent our city-state and we give them a fearsome name like 'Giants' and we send them forth to do our conquering for us. And now there is only ritual humiliation and defeat, but it's all we've got and we enjoy it nonetheless. That's why we have professional sports.

"Also, two or more guys can't sit around and drink beer and talk. There has to be something on in the background. Televised sporting events enable male friendship to exist without awkwardness."

World Series Game 5: FUCK YEAH

I think Eric Karros is still picking the Rangers to win it all.

Hey, guess what? THE GIANTS WON THE WORLD SERIES. I know, right? Before the season started, Olu and I were talking and we were all "Maybe if they just made the playoffs, yeah, that would be cool," without even imagining that they would win the playoffs. Remember how shitty August was? Losing to Cincinnati 12-11 and then losing to Arizona 6-0 and then losing to Arizona 11-3? Sure, they won the next day, but that still sucked.

Every step of the way, no one gave them a shot. It's like a movie and the Giants are the Retarded Kid or the Team of Plucky Underdogs or the Last Man on Earth! But really, if I had to hear Eric Karros or Mitch Williams or some other shitbag say the other team was going to win one more time, I would shoot myself in the face and not seek immediate medical attention. It really was almost comical. ALMOST.

So you already know what happened. Lincecum fucking mowed through the Texas lineup except for one HR and fuck it, that ain't no thang when you got Edgar Renteria hitting HRs like he's 25 again. Seriously, Edgar Renteria? Ten bucks says half the people watching the Series didn't know he was still on the team. Edgar had his own game: lay low for the entire regular season, let the other teams get confident, THEN bust out in the World Series. Whatever, it worked!

Speaking of that Renteria HR, did you even think it was going out? That fucking Texas ballpark, I can never tell. Guys hit these lazy fly balls and they just keep going and going and then they're home runs.

- Here's a Giants fan for you: postgame, one of my comrades said "I really was hoping for a shutout."

- And I was a little disappointed that Brian Wilson didn't put 2 on and have a man at 3rd with 2 outs. That would have just been fitting. He gives me fucking heart attacks all season, then fucking makes it look easy in the playoffs? What kind of shit is that?

- Best thing I heard all night: apparently, the Giants fans in Texas who stayed in the stands after the game were chanting "BEAT L.A.! BEAT L.A.!" How fucking cool is that?

- So we walked down to 22nd and Valencia and got some beers from the Latin and stood on the sidewalk and high-fived everyone who walked by. Strolled down to 22nd and Mission for the Ritual Burning of the Mattresses. I was thinking, where do these mattresses come from? Is there a Mattress Guy who keeps them on hand for easy distribution any time a sports team wins a title or a white cop is acquitted of something? Where do the mattresses come from? Some people were calling it a "riot," but Detroit is all BITCH PLEASE. YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT A RIOT IS.

- Of course, the Giants have a legacy of outstanding pitching.

Christy Mathewson's Giants won the 1905 World Series over the Philadelphia Athletics. Mathewson was the starting pitcher in Game 1, and pitched a 4-hit shutout for the victory. Three days later, with the series tied 1–1, he pitched another 4-hit shutout. Then, two days later in Game 5, he threw a 6-hit shutout to clinch the series for the Giants. In a span of only six days, Mathewson had pitched three complete games without allowing a run.

Christy Mathewson says: "3 complete games in 6 days. You guys are pussies."

Before we go, I want to give a shout-out to some folks I think of when I think Giants:

- Of course, The Wife, who knows how to keep score, can discuss the pros and cons of Santiago Casilla intelligently, and is basically the best person to sit next to on a sunny Saturday at AT&T Park.

- Olu and Jason know where to buy shots of Jameson in the park. And outside the park.

- Stephen took me to one of the Red Sox games, which sucked but I don't hold it against him but I am glad the Red Sox weren't even in the playoffs.

- Stoney apologized for the loss in Game 3. He forgot his dog's Giants collar. Collar back in place, the Giants went on to win the rest of the Series.

- Kate, Generic, The Tens, Allan, Tamagosan, JohnnyO, Brock, and all my other go-to online sources. McCovey Chronicles, duh. And anyone else I forgot, SORRY. I'm still a little drunk.

- Is it too early to start worrying about that Dodger game on April 1, 2011?

- Pitchers and catchers report in 107 days!!!!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

World Series Game 4: This kid looks like he might have a future in baseball

What were you doing when you were 21? I was trying to figure out how to work my remote, drinking a lot of Milwaukee's Best, and smoking pot out of a pipe I made from spare PVC fittings. God knows what I inhaled. That might explain a lot.

When Madison Bumgarner was 21, he was methodically mowing down the best hitting team in baseball in a World Series game. Jesus Christ. When I was 21, I'd be lucky if I could find the World Series on television. This kid is busy making Vladimir Guerrero look like the guy on your softball team who only gets to hit when Big Rick gets too drunk to go to the plate.

(Did you hear the huge cheers George Bush got when he threw out the first pitch before the game? Texas, man.)

As great as he was, Mad couldn't do the whole thing himself. I fucking hate the DH but tonight it turned out fine because in the 3rd inning Aubrey Huff launched one that went a fucking mile. That pitch was just fucking SMOKED, I shit you not. 2-run HR.

On to the 7th. Bumgarner is cruising. Edgar gets on and Torres hit a double to score him. 3-0. I'm on Beer 6.

Top of the 8th. Buster hits a high fly ball. Josh Hamilton runs around in the outfield and wishes he could still drink. I go "Oh, too bad" because it looks like it's going to be caught and then it just keeps going and going and going and then I have to jump up because it's a solo HR. SORRY I SAD "TOO BAD" ABOUT YOUR HOME RUN, BUSTER, IT FOOLED ME.

Bumgarner finishes the 8th. B-Weez has a 1-2-3 9th. Giants up 3-1 in the Series.

What did the Rangers fans have to say after the loss? Let's find out!

"They let a guy who pitched crappy all year long....made him look like he was a great pitcher."

What are you, some kind of fucking retard? Rhetorical question. No, I will not explain to you what "rhetorical" is. Look it up. Bumgarner was 7-6 with a 3.00 ERA this year. He's the Giants' fourth starter. Almost any team in the major leagues, yours included, would give their left fucking nut to have a second, third, or fourth starter like Bumgarner. I get that you don't know anything about baseball, but you really should keep your fucking mouth shut; you look like an asshole.

Oh no! He called us "gay"! Wow, imagine if your insult ability stopped progressing at 6th grade. You know what! You're a big stupidhead!!! And you smell like farts!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Also, tc-mavs, yes, we did indeed sell our souls to the devil. In exchange, we got to not live in Texas. Totally worth it.

ANYWAY, whatever. Tim Lincecum-Cliff Lee rematch tonight. Do tune in.