Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Urban etiquette: Modern Air Travel

Lo, we are here in Peak Travel Season. You know what the busiest travel day of the year is? WHATEVER DAY I'M FLYING. On the one hand, the availability of reasonably-priced airline tickets has made the convenience and speed of air travel available to Americans of all income classes. On the other hand, the availability of reasonably-priced airline tickets has made the convenience and speed of air travel available to Americans of all income classes. Now that I have seen (1) a guy spitting tobacco juice into a bottle, (2) mouth-breathing mall rats loudly comparing their sexual and alcoholic misadventures, and (3) people wearing what appear to be their pajamas and taking off their shoes, all within 2 rows of me, the Ship of Air Travel Decorum has long since sailed, crashed into an iceberg, and come to rest at the bottom of the Southwest Airlines Ocean.

Perhaps if we all agree to follow a few simple tips we can make the experience more palatable for all of us.


Here is our first chance to get a look at our fellow passengers up close. Ew, that's enough. Say, could we maybe silence the feature that makes your cell phone keyboard audibly CLICK every time you type a letter? Because your CLICK CLICK CLICK is slowly driving me insane. Otherwise, go to town: this is your chance to get the ya-yas out of your system before we're all imprisoned together in a metal tube at 39,000 feet.


No issues here! Just sit back and enjoy the complimentary gourmet meal we will be served.

Not really. What I need you to do is sit quietly in your seat.

Unless you're Miranda Kerr or Freddy Sanchez, I probably don't want to talk.

If you're in the window seat, you get one trip to the bathroom per flight, so plan accordingly. I would go in the airport right before you board and then think dry thoughts.

It's fine to carry on your luggage - fuck, since it takes a minimum of 30 minutes at SFO for them to get the luggage on the goddam carousel, you should always carry on unless you're going to Tibet or something - but if you somehow manage to sneak one of those sarcophagus-sized rolling monsters past the gate agent and then fill up an entire overhead bin with it, there is a special place in Hell for you where you keep getting bumped from your flight over and over again for all eternity.

Are you trying to have a conversation with the person across the aisle from you? Do you know why you have to YELL? Because you're 35 feet away from a 40,000 horsepower Pratt & Whitney jet engine. You are not going to win this fight. STFU and talk about it when you get to Raleigh-Durham.

Did you just laugh out loud to something you saw in "Mr. Popper's Penguins"? Now the whole world knows. That's sad.


OK! We've landed. EVERYONE JUMP INTO THE AISLE. Our latest scientific research has shown that standing in the aisle increases your chances of getting off the plane sooner by around ZERO FUCKING PERCENT. I know you're going to do it anyway, but next time, ask yourself, "Why am I standing in the aisle?"

Once you get your bag and make it down the jetway and into the airport, make sure you FREEZE AT THE DOORWAY and look around at this strange and magical land called Phoenix Sky Harbor and MAKE SURE no one else can get around you. Now you're doing it right!

We look forward to serving you again soon.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Two anecdotes that illustrate how the New South continues to resemble a Flannery O'Connor short story

Anecdote one:

A few days before Thanksgiving, something broke on one of the upstairs toilets at my Dad's house and water leaked through the ceiling into the living room on the first floor. It was kind of a mess but didn't destroy Thanksgiving or anything.

Anyway, Dad's next door neighbor is a plumber and he came over and shut off the water to the offending toilet and then proceeded to tell us, in more or less an unbroken monologue, about how his house was once saved from burning down in the middle of the night because there was a tiny hole in a bathroom pipe that spewed out water and extinguished a fire that had started in the bathroom (!!!!). He opined that it would have been extra tragic if he had died in a fire because when he was 12, "both of my grandparents burned up in a fire when they lived next door." He left and later returned with a dehumidifier that he rented for Dad.

Anecdote two:

A cashier at the grocery store told my sister "I haven't seen you in a while." She said he must have her confused with someone else, because she doesn't live there. He said, "Oh no, I remember you. You were in this store eight months ago. The Lord has blessed me with the ability to never forget a face."

The Lord has also blessed him with the ability to win big by card counting in Vegas, but he didn't mention that.

(If for some reason you've never read any Flannery O'Connor, do yourself a huge favor and pick up a copy of her Complete Stories. You won't regret it.)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Today's Worst Groupon of the Day

$9 for 10”x17” Personalized Letter from Santa ($19.99 Value)

Jesus Christ. Is this what it's come to?

Wait, I think I can make out the text!

Dear Insert Child's Name,

It has been a cold and snowy winter here at the North Pole. Making presents for all the children is hard, but not as hard as parenting! Keeping up with you little shits while Dad and Mom are trying to put together some semblance of a living wage in this postmodern fuckhole we call an economy can be very taxing. So when they get home from a day of eating shit to placate their demented paranoid schizophrenic boss, they don't really have time to break out the old calligraphy tools and pen a faux letter from the God replacement we call "Santa." So they hired this company to do it instead! They know how much you love insert name of store-bought crap here and insert $5 check from Grandma here, so you'll be getting that. Now they're going to have a box of wine and glaze out to NCIS so please shut up.

Also, fuck paying $19.99 for this shit. 9 bucks sounds more their speed.

In other news, making the usual Thanksgiving trip to the Red States, so updates may be severely limited, etc. You'll be fine.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Negative Ticket Pricing and You

From the estimable Mission Mission (via the lesser-known but still very nice I'm sure Slob on My Blog) we learn that "$1,800 VIP tickets to Kreayshawn’s New Year’s Eve Show are sold out."

Sayeth MM:

Here’s what you could’ve gotten had you acted faster:
  • Luxury Limousine transportation to and from the show
  • Red Carpet Treatment (Sound Check attendance, Pre and Post-show Meet & Greet, VIP seating)
  • Personalized Engraved Limited Edition NYE Pot Leaf Dog Tag
  • Limited Edition Signed T-Shirt – designed personally by Kreayshawn and autographed at the show. Design to be revealed prior to performance!
  • Admission for (6) six to Kreayshawn’s NYE 2011 show
Bummer, dude.
Appended to this disturbing story is the following comment:

It's all well and good to go to a show if someone pays you to do it, but the more interesting question is how much you would pay not to go. This is a subject that we have discussed for years: NEGATIVE TICKET PRICING.

What is NTP, you ask? Simply put, it is the amount of money you would pay to NOT see an event. In other words, if a deranged, meth-addled Nickelback fan (I know, redundant) pulled out his rusty fish-scalin' knife and held it to your ribs and said "You ARE going with me to see Nickelback live in concert at the Sleep Train Pavilion," the NTP is the amount of money you would give up to get out of that kind of dark and sad fate. (Incidentally, my Nickelback NTP is around $80-135, depending on how much I have in the bank and with the realization I'm going to need at least $100 to get blackout drunk at the show just to make it through.)

SO, for example, the NTP for any kind of Glee-related production is about $75. Not sure how much I'll need in reserve for drinks because I don't know if they even sell alcohol at shows like that. The repetitive Eagles reunion tour tickets are always something ridiculous like $300, which exactly mirrors the NTP for the same show. In fact, the basic rule for any Formerly Huge Arena Rock Powerhouse that has reunited is to flip the actual ticket price and that's the NTP. (EXCEPTIONS: Cheap Trick and Judas Priest).

For any kind of dinner theater, it's about $30. If there's any type of audience participation, it goes way, way up. Maybe $50. For a Comedy Hypnotist, easily $100

The NTP for the Vans Warped Tour is your age multiplied by 1.5. So if you're 18, it's $27, but if you're 38, it's $57, and if you're 38 and you wouldn't pay $57 not to go to the Vans Warped Tour, you're probably a Megan's Lister.

Let's see who's coming up at the Oakland Arena!

Katy Perry, November 21! Hmmm, I bet there would be a lot of hot Moms there. Nevertheless, I'll go $29 not to see her. I also note that there are "Katy Perry VIP Packages" available. The Katy Perry NTP VIP Package includes a bottle of Wild Turkey, transportation away from the show in a repurposed SuperShuttle, and a cassette of T. Rex's "Electric Warrior."

Live 105's Not So Silent Night, December 9, featuring Jane's Addiction, Mumford & Sons, Florence & the Machine, Bush (!!!), and Young the Giant. Ugh, Huge the Puke. Wait, Bush is still around? What the fuck? $68.

Bob Seger, December 21. It would be almost worth it to count the grey ponytails, but on the flip, you would have to sit through "Turn the Page" and that truck commercial. I'll throw down $50 not to go and I'll drive to Konocti Harbor, where this show would have been held if Konocti Harbor hadn't shut down.

Oh, and Kreayshawn? Hell, I'd not go see her for $5.

What about you guys? What would you pay not to see Lady Antebellum? Yanni? Sting? Skrillex? ($76, $110, $63, and $254, respectively, for me.)

UPDATE: Right on cue, Groupon pops up with today's deal: "One Ticket to See Pink Martini at Paramount Theatre in Oakland on November 20 at 7:30 p.m." It's $22 for balcony seating. There's something sad about selling tickets for your show on Groupon. Anyway, I don't know anything about Pink Martini at all, but based on the picture, the name, and the Groupon blurb - "The sonic ensemble of Pink Martini dazzles listeners with a multilingual repertoire that spans classical, jazz, old-fashioned, and pop genres" - I'll also pay $22 not to go.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Let's talk about Walking Dead for a second

I need to talk about some Important TV right now. Walking Dead was on last night, so if you haven't seen it yet and care about it, you should probably stop reading because I may unintentionally mention things that happened last night and then you'd be all "HUH!!! SPOLIERS!!! YOU DIDN'T SAY ANYTHING!!!" and get all mad and we don't want that.

Walking Dead is a show set in a post-zombie-apocalyptic future. We have learned from this show that in the zombie future, people talk about their feelings a lot more than they do now. Like, here's the basic plotline of every episode:

CHARACTER 1: Feelings feelings feelings feelings.

CHARACTER 2: Boring boring blah blah blah.


CHARACTER 1: That was awful. Feelings feelings feelings.

Despite all that, Walking Dead continues to upset and frighten me. You know that disclaimer at the beginning? When it says "Portions of this program may be too intense for some viewers"? Or something like that? Guess what. I'M SOME VIEWERS. Remember last week, or I think it was last week, when there was that white bloaty zombie trapped in the well and they lowered Glenn down by a rope to lure the zombie up (or something like, I'm not excatly sure what the thinking was with that) and the thing they had the rope anchored to broke and Glenn fell down towards the bloaty zombie and whatnot? FUCK. I thought I was gonna have a heart attack or die.

ANYWAY. So I really the like the show but I'm getting sick of how nothing ever happens. I mean, STOP SEARCHING FOR SOFIA ALREADY AND MOVE THE FUCK ON. Jesus, we've been looking for that girl since, what, episode 1? A 10-year-old girl couldn't make it alone for a week in fucking DISNEYLAND, much less a zombie-infested wilderness. Really, the problem with the show now is that it's static. All that happens now is lot of talking about feelings and then something happens when people are out looking for Sofia. Gotta movie it along now.

And also Darryl is the best thing about the show because he's the only character with any personality beyond a steely jaw and a firm resolve and long stares into middle distance. That's why last night was so scary what with the arrow through him and then that fucking chick almost killing him! Oh, I guess she doesn't get to use the gun any more, by the way. FUCK.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Everybody's teleportin'

A while back I was at bingo with some good Christians and we were talking about what superpower we would like to have. I remember invisibility being tossed around but really, what good is invisibility? So you can sneak around and spy on people? You don't even need to do that anymore, because everyone puts everything on Twitter and Foursquare anyway. Plus, who cares? Invisibility doesn't do anything.

TOTALLY UNRELATED INTERJECTED STORY: A while back, they had this little display thing at AT&T Park with pictures of Giants players and like a question-and-answer type thing. And one of the questions was something like "If you could have one wish granted, what would it be?" And Barry Zito, who is just such a tool, you can totally tell, said he's like to have a jaguar for a pet or something tool-y like that. But God bless Matt Cain. He said his dream was to "visit Australia." CAN YOU IMAGINE? All he wants to do is visit Australia! It almost made me cry. His dream is so simple and attainable that it seems sad. It's like he doesn't realize that he can totally visit Australia! He's so humble he doesn't even realize it. It's like if someone asked you what your dream was and you said "To get an Icee at Target someday."


Flying. Big whoop? So what? You can fly. The novelty of that would wear off after about a half-hour. And then it would just get so rote and boring and your friends would call you and all be like "Yo, I'm heading to North Beach right now, can you fly up there and find me a parking space and then fly down and stand in it until I get there? Thanks."

SO YOU KNOW WHAT WON? TELEPORTATION. Think about it. One second you're here. ZZZZOOOOOOTTTT. Now you're in Paris, France. Also, in our rules you have the ability to teleport anything or anyone you're touching at the time you teleport. So you can grab ahold of your girl and then ZZZZZOOOOTTTTT beach on Kauai. Or grab some bros and ZZZOOOOOTTT Wrigley Field. Teleportation! It's what's for dinner. Seriously, there is no better superpower. Think about it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Serving California and the world – since 2008

Dear Loyal Customer,

We admit it. We made a mistake.

We know you’ve come to count on 40 Going On 28’s wry blend of news, information, and humor, and you’re understandably distressed when there are no new posts for a while. You feel like you’re not getting the service you’ve paid for, and you’re right.

Although we hate to make excuses, we have to tell you that the last few weeks have been kind of a trial and whatnot. We’ve been in the process of completing a rather complex transaction we’ll tell you more about later, but suffice it to say at this point that we’ve been dealing pretty much 24/7 with a parade of idiots that make your typical preschool class look like a meeting of Phi Beta Kappa at M.I.T. Seriously, it is sort of mind-boggling that the people who are in charge of managing one of the most complicated things you’ll ever take part in can’t figure out what the fuck they’re doing. It’s frustrating!

But we know what you’re thinking. “Boo hoo, like I give a shit. WHERE’S MY CONTENT.” Fair enough. We’ll be back on track pretty soon with all the rage and bile you’ve come to expect and need.

We value your loyalty, and appreciate your patience during this trying time.


Friday, November 4, 2011

TK's Official San Francisco 2011 Election Endorsements



Megalon is currently the only cockroach/beetle-like arthropod in the race. With the ability to shoot lightning from a horn-like appendage on his head and launch napalm bombs from his mouth, Megalon has the tough-on-crime solutions that San Francisco needs now. He lives in Glen Park with his wife Margie and their children Brad, 15, and Taylor, 10.

SECOND CHOICE: Ivan Doroschuk of Men Without Hats.



His campaign slogan says it all: "I will whip San Francisco into shape."

SECOND CHOICE: Seth Bullock. Or Timothy Olyphant, either way.




SECOND CHOICE: Woman Whose Recorded Voice Announces the Stops on Muni. I love how she says "VALENSHA" for Valencia.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

If you know what red orach is, you're already ahead of me

It was Halloween again last night, and you know what that means! Throwing together a poorly-thought-out costume, getting knee-walking drunk, and having terrible sex with a stranger! No, not really. Well, not for us. For us, it means the Mystery Dinner at Maverick.

Longtime readers will recall that I also attended this same event in 2009 and wrote about it then, but if for some reason you haven't committed all my posts to memory for the last 2 years (and, in that case, what the fuck is wrong with you?), here's the basic idea. You get three courses, each with wine pairings. You have to guess as many components of each course as you can. The person who gets the most right at each table wins a bottle of wine. There are three separate dinners, so for a 4-top (like us last night), only 2 people will have the same dinner.

ANYWAY. Sounds easy, right? WRONG.

The first course was clearly some kind of pâté thing. There was some yellowish sauce and little bits of some other stuff. I guessed goose liver pate, candied pineapple, and pancetta. HA HA HA WAS I EVER WRONG. It was foie gras with persimmon, chestnut, tobacco (!!!), oats, and marigolds. Tobacco! WHAT THE FUCK.

It came with some kind of very sweet wine. I guessed muscat. It was Pacherenc Du Vic Bilh. OH COME ON GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK.

The second course had some kind of little disk in the middle and other vegetable-y stuff scattered around it. I thought it was maybe a duck terrine. It tasted vaguely duck-y. WRONG AGAIN. It was "Red Orach Sformato." I know what "red" means, but I don't know what any of that other stuff is. As it turns out, "red orach," "also called Red Orach, Mountain Spinach, or French Spinach, is an annual leaf vegetable with a salty, spinach-like taste." That's right, I ate a vegetarian entree and thought it was duck terrine. FUCKING GENIUS.

The wine was a pinot noir. I guessed cabernet sauvignon. What can I say, it tasted like a cab.

Dessert course. Some kind of pudding thing, a cookie, and some nuts. I guessed pomegranate tapioca. It did have pomegranate seeds in it, but it was pistachio pudding. The wine was served in a little dessert wine glass JUST TO THROW YOU OFF because it was fucking CHARDONNAY. At this point, I had given up and just written down "I don't know." Sad.

My takeaway from this is that red orach sformato is a vegetarian dish you could serve to carnivores and get away with. And that it's a mind fuck to serve chardonnay in a little dessert wine glass. Needless to say, I didn't win.

Oh and then I got woken up at 1:30 this morning by some guy in the building that faces our bedroom window who was out on his back stair YELLING INTO HIS CELL PHONE IN SOME UNIDENTIFIABLE LANGUAGE that must be some Eastern European thing because he looks like a Russian gangster and it sounds like this:


And it was weird because it wasn't inflected at all. Every word had the same stress, I mean. Weird. Anyway, I wanted to go out there and tell the guy to shut the fuck up but (A) that would require getting out of bed and putting clothes on and (B) I didn't especially want Sergei to go all Eastern Promises on me, so I let him finish up his beheading threat/arms sale/extortion conference call in peace.

I was going to write a whole post about people should just be more fucking considerate of each other but now I'm tired of talking about this.