Thursday, October 31, 2013

Do you want to know why non-Bostonians hate Boston sports? This is why.

Yay, Boston won the World Series! Good for you, Red Sox.  Bad for the rest of us.  Because we now have to read insufferable articles like this, by terrible baseball "writer" Jayson Stark.  Take it away, Jayson:

BOSTON -- Every once in a while, an evening comes along in your lifetime where sports aren't just sports.
What we witnessed Wednesday night at Fenway Park, where a century-old ballpark throbbed with passion and joy, was one of those nights. 
To call this a mere sporting event doesn't do it justice. To call this just a baseball game would not be adequate.
Even to describe this as the night the Red Sox won the World Series doesn't really capture it. 
Not on an evening when 38,447 people charged through the gates of Fenway and became part of what was very likely the most momentous sporting event to take place in the city of Boston in their time on this earth.
Did they ever think they would live to see this? Did they ever think they would live to experience this?
Holy fuck, did Jesus descend from heaven and go 3 for 4 with a dinger against Cards pitching and I fucking missed it? That must have been that brilliant shaft of light in the 1st inning! No? Oh, he's just talking about the Red Sox winning the World Series? LIKE THEY DID IN 2004 AND 2007?

Where do we start? With the smoke and the sadness of Patriots Day and the Boston Marathon?
With the collapse of 2011 and the disaster of 2012, which threatened to unravel a seemingly unbreakable bond between this team and the people who have spent their lives caring about the Red Sox way more than human beings should ever allow themselves to care about any little old sports franchise?
Or how about with 1918 -- and 95 frigging years of waiting? Uh, 95 years is kind of a long time, you know. Over these past 95 years, an incredible 1,166 players got at least one plate appearance for the Red Sox -- and never did this.
An astounding 701 pitchers walked to the mound wearing a Red Sox uniform -- and never did this.
Which serves as an excellent reminder that 1918 wasn't exactly last week, either.
Oh my fucking God.  My head. ATTENTION, JAYSON STARK: I need you to sit down, because I have some pretty amazing news.  In fact, this is going to blow your fucking mind.  THE RED SOX WON THE WORLD SERIES IN 2004 AND 2007!  Man, is that fucked up? You didn't know that, right?

I get it. I know he's talking about winning the last game in Boston.  Which, fine, fair enough.  But for Chrissakes, don't act like this is the Greatest Event in Human History when the Red Sox REGULARLY WIN THE WORLD SERIES.

It goes on and on and on and on this same vein - 56 unbearable paragraphs - including a drooling tribute to David Ortiz, who is on so much Human Growth Hormone that his head is roughly the size and shape of a basketball, but unlike Jayson Stark "weep[ing] for what [Alex Rodriguez] has done to the sport", it's all cool because David Ortiz plays for this scrappy band of brothers that just happens to have the 4th highest payroll in baseball.

Let us put ourselves out of misery:

This was a life experience for millions of people. And that's not something you can say on the final night of every World Series.
Actually, I think you can say EXACTLY that about EVERY final night of EVERY World Series.  Unless Kansas City ever wins it.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dulera TV commercial set in SF riddled with factual errors

DULERA is probably some kind of medication; I'm not sure, because the ad is SO FULL OF FACTUAL PROBLEMS that it made it impossible to focus on whatever kind of snake oil they're selling.

First problem: the spot is officially called "Amy's World," which is SUPER CREEPY and sounds like it will be set in the attic where Amy has been imprisoned for her entire adult life.  But no, it's mostly set in San Francisco.

When the ad begins, we see a young woman who we must assume is the "Amy" of the ad's title.  She is holding a Golden Gate Bridge snow globe and standing in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Thanks to DULERA, she is able to realize her dream of coming to San Francisco.  Maybe DULERA is a pill that makes air travel more affordable.

We see Amy and her male companion at a souvenir stand at around what is probably Fort Point.

SECOND PROBLEM: To my knowledge, THERE IS NO SUCH SOUVENIR STAND AT THAT LOCATION.  Viewers who see Amy's World and expect to purchase souvenirs where Amy did will be BADLY MISLED.

The action the shifts to YET ANOTHER SOUVENIR STAND.  It appears to be somewhere around the Wharf, based on Coit Tower in the background.  Amy and her unnamed male companion seem to be hell-bent on hitting up every souvenir stand they can find.  Here, Unnamed Male Companion, bored of photographing Amy, begins to PHOTOGRAPH THE SOUVENIRS.

Jesus Christ, dude.  It's just a pile of stuffed blue crabs.  Turn the camera around and take a picture of fucking COIT TOWER.  It's right behind you!

Next, we're on to the cable cars, obvi.

Third problem: WHERE THE FUCK IS EVERYBODY?  Is this the post-apocalyptic San Francisco?  If so, why does Amy want to be there?  (It's certainly not post-Rapture San Francisco, because everybody would just be where they normally are.)

After a brief sojourn to Lombard Street and Chinatown, we see Amy and UMC.....IN A CONVERTIBLE.

Are you shitting me, Dulera?  IT'S TOO COLD TO RIDE IN A CONVERTIBLE.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I went to see Gravity and have a few thoughts about it


I mean, duh.  Anyway, I went to the 3-D IMAX showing of "Gravity" at the AMC 14 Van Ness and since it's getting all kinds of press (97% on Rotten Tomatoes! Oscar talk!) I naturally assumed you'd be interested in my pointless, disgruntled opinion.

It's really impressive visually, I'll give it that!  The 3-D looks great and the visuals are stunning.  OK.

The dialogue is laughably, screamingly bad.  In the first part of the movie, George Clooney and Sandra Bullock trade repartee that wouldn't have ever made the cut at any mid-range ABC sitcom.  And the whole wisecracking thing just keeps reminding you IT'S GEORGE CLOONEY IN A SPACESUIT!  Especially when he makes repeated cracks about how attractive he is and how attracted to him she should be.  There is not one sentence that George Clooney says that sounds anything remotely like how you would expect an astronaut in space to sound.  They do all sound, however, like George Clooney on his pool deck in Malibu.  A LOT.  In fact, I wouldn't mind seeing an hour and a half of George Clooney at a party next to his pool in Malibu.

Whatever they're saying right now, I guarantee you it's cringe-inducing.
There's an Indian-American character who might as well be wearing an "I'M SO DEAD" sign on his back.  In fact, we don't see his face until it's been blown apart and hollowed out by space or whatever.

(Or maybe we do - I had to leave in the very early going for like 5 mins to take a call from our babysitter, i.e., my sister, because our child was freaking out about something.  She was fine, as it turns out.)

The plot itself, such as there is one, is mostly Sandra Bullock breathing very rapidly and trying to get from one ruined spaceship to another, interspersed with shots of Sandra Bullock in boy shorts and a t-shirt.  There are lots of lingering shots of Sandra Bullock's extremely toned legs and ass weightlessly sliding through doorways in space stations.  It's like a high-concept Hanes ad sometimes.

It's admirable that the filmmakers chose to have a woman as the hero and main character, and in fact, much of the film is Sandra Bullock alone.  BUT when she's about to give up and die, she is saved and prodded on to live by......THE WISECRACKING GHOST OF GEORGE CLOONEY.  FUCK, can't she just win on her own, without help from Alpha Male?

Then she makes it back to Earth and her space capsule crashes into some lake somewhere and she wriggles out of her space suit - hello boy shorts again! - and at this point, I was fully expecting a crocodile to menace her and her having to fight it off because the entire movie is her going from one life-threatening crisis to another.  So she swims up to the shore and to the final long, loving shots of her buttocks.

(Also, did I miss the explanation for this or where were all the Chinese on the Chinese space station?  Did they all just bounce?  Because they left the place a total mess.)

I know this sounds like a whiny rant, and I do want to say the film is worth going to see for the visuals alone. It certainly was tense and suspenseful, and that's fun in and of itself. But when something starts to get near-universal adulation, BE WARY.  I know I am.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The San Francisco Haunted House will terrify you!

You will enter through the TUNNEL OF TECH WORKERS!!!!  These technological terrors will DISRUPT your heart and bore you STOOOOOOOOPID with their mindless buzzwords and their pointless apps!  Don't get run over by the GHOSTLY GOOGLE BUS!!!

Next you'll find the HALL OF WHOLE FOODS!!!  You'll panic as the ZOMBIE CLERKS clean out your wallet!!!!  Flee in terror from the YOGA MOMS blocking the aisle as they make GHASTLY GAB on their CELL PHONES OF DEATH!  What's this?  A $6 tomato? AIEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

You'll be reeling as you fall into HIPSTER HORROR!  Oh, you're still listening to MGMT?  How MAAAAAAAAIIIINNSTREEEEEAAAMMM!!!!  Yes, these dead-eyed, tattoo-covered ghouls will judge you TO DEATH!!!  Maybe a refreshing cup of cofee would help?  LOOOOOOOOK AT THAT LINE!!! AND YOU'RE ORDERING IT ALL WRONG!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Don't even think about taking mass transit out of this hellhole, though!  You've stumbled into MUNI MADNESS!!!!  When's the next train?  NEVER!!!!!  Watch as these BEASTLY BUSSES crush your dreams, along with any plans you had to get anywhere on time!!!  Step down......TO HELL!!!!!!!

You'll back away reeling until you realize you've entered the BRO-DOWN!!!!  "Mommy, why is that man wearing flip flops, a tank top, and a visor when it's 50 degrees out?"  "Becuase his SOUL IS ALREADY DEAD, honey!!!" MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Immediately next is the REPUBLICAN RUMPUS, one of our most TERRIFYING ROOMS!!  Watch as these gun-toting monsters try to SLASH CORPORATE TAXES TO DEATH and BURN YOUR PORNOGRAPHY!!!!!  Get out before you get stuck with a PRO-LIFE PIN!!!!!!

Just when you think you can't take any more, you've arrived at ELLIS ACT ISLAND!!!!!  As soon as you start to get comfortable and think the terror is over, LOOK OUT!!!  Two yuppies with Facebook money will FORCE YOU TO LEAVE!! GET OUT!!!!!!!!  Hope you can find your way to $2500 STUDIO SALON, or else you'll be sent to OAK-LAND!!!!!!  NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

OAK-LAND is just actually the city of Oakland.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

It Was 20 Years Ago Today: Music Edition

UPDATE: Hey, did you come here via a link on Facebook? If so, whose Facebook page? I can't tell and it's driving me crazy. Can you leave a comment or email me and let me know? Email address on right. Kthxbai. 

Remember our new feature, where we look at the Chronicle from 20 years ago on this day and see what we can see?  It's back.  Today, we will be focusing on music, because I found a bunch of music ads and they are pretty great.

(If we were playing It Was 24 Years Ago Today, today would be VERY EXCITING.  Or tomorrow, I guess, since the Very Exciting Thing didn't happen until 5 pm.)

Let's see who was playing at Slim's that week.

 Wow, in one 3-day period, you could have seen the Jesus Lizard, the Catherine Wheel (with the Connells?  What an odd bill.  Whatever.) and Redd Kross.  And I love No Doubt opening up for the Dance Hall Crashers on the 21st.  Those two bands were headed in different directions, no doubt.  SEE WHAT I DID THERE.  Also, Widespread Panic, ugh.

Personally, I am PAINED that I didn't go to the Uncle Tupelo/Giant Sand show on November 11.

Moving on, how about the Warfield?

SKAVOOVEE '93!!!!!  With the Special Beat, Skatalites, the Selecter, and the Toasters.  I bet that was fun.  Skavoovee.  Also, Green Day opening up for Bad Religion!  And best of all, Radiohead opening for Belly!  What a world.

You guys, there used to be a bar called The Boathouse on the shores of beautiful Lake Merced.  I went there once, I don't remember why.  Probably not to see California Hardbodies Oil Wrestling or the Black Hole Gang.  Over at Bottom of the Hill, they had Love Battery and Heavy Into Jeff.  Does anyone remember Tarr & Feathers at 2140 Union Street?  I have no memory of its existence, except from seeing it in ads like this.  There's something called The Brixton there now.  I didn't know that existed either, until I Googled the address this very second.  I guess I need to get out more.

Guess what?  The Independent used to be called The Kennel Club back in the day.  And by "the day," clearly I mean "October 17, 1993."

Lotta 90's in that listing.  Voivod, Jesus Lizard again, with Cop Shoot Cop, and MCM & the Monster.  Oh look, it's Yo La Tengo on November 3!

You know I wouldn't wrap this without some Real Estate Pr0n.  Wanna get a place in Noe Valley?  How about this one:

$299,000 364 28th St. Sun 1-4 2nd Open! 3 sty VU cottage. 2 BR 2 BA hot tub, pkg.

That's right.  A 3-story home in Noe Valley for under $300K.  Current Zillow estimate: $1,260,000.  Jesus APR Christ.

Friday, October 11, 2013

These mugshots from 1870's England are fantastic

It's 4 pm on Friday!  Nobody's reading this. I guess you're reading it in the future. Anyway.

Whilst perusing the Internet, I recently came across this dynamite gallery of mugshots of criminals in Newcastle, England between 1871 and 1873.  It's like the of 19th century England!  FASCINATING.

Here's John Grieveson.  He got busted for stealing pigeons!  That implies people wanted pigeons, for some reason. I guess to eat, ew.  Anyway, put a hoodie on John and you could plop him down in Dolores Park this afternoon and nobody would notice.  Except they would go "HEY MAN WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU EATING PIGEONS!"

William Brankston did a month bit for stealing four rabbits.  Lots of animal thieves in Newcastle.  Anyway, he looks like a kindly hobbit.  Also, love the coat.

Hey, if you're a girl, have you ever said to yourself "I HAVE GOT TO HAVE THOSE BOOTS!"  I bet you have.  That's what Alice Mulholland said, too.  Except she didn't pay for them and did three months in gaol.  (NOTE: Many of Newcastle's Most Wanted do the hands-clasped pose for their mugshot.  I guess that was the Style of the Day.)

OK, you guess:

What do you think Edward Shevlin stole? BOOZE, RIGHT?  That's what I thought too!  Nope, it was a coat.  Hopefully not the one he's wearing here, because that shit is BUSTED.  He is from Ireland, though, so that explains why he looks shitfaced.

James Richley stole trivets.  Trivets!  Which, CBS helpfully tells us, "were used as supports for kettles."  James Richley is not the kind of man who WOULD SET A KETTLE DOWN UPON A TABLE WITHOUT A TRIVET.  GOOD DAY TO YOU, SIR.

Last but absolutely not least, the star of our show:

Robert Hardy, ladies and gentlemen.  I think he's a bartender at Pop's, no shit.  The next time you're in Pop's, casually ask the bartender who looks like this guy about time travel and see if he spooks.  Anyway, Robert Hardy served four months in Newcastle Gaol for "stealing ale in 1873 with two accomplices." RIGHT FUCKING ON.  You go steal your pigeons and rabbits, other Mugshots of 1870s Newcastle.  I'll just be over here having some ales with Robert Hardy.

ALES TIME!!!!!!!!

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Color Me Conflicted

The new City Target at Geary and Masonic is opening to the public today, although the official Grand Opening or whatever is Sunday.  Not gonna lie, The Wife and Baby Beyonce will be there today, because the kid needs diapers and some other shit and The Wife was already planning the 30-minute drive to the Target at Serramonte.  Now it's a 4-minute drive to the new store.

Photo stolen from SFGate
Naturally, I'm sorta conflicted about the whole thing.  On the one hand, San Francisco is currently engaged in some bitter struggles about chain stores moving in.  And I kinda agree with that!  I don't want to see San Francisco turn into Everytown, where everything's a chain store and anyplace is indistinguishable from anyplace else.  If you got blindfolded and dropped into most cities, you would literally not be immediately able to tell if you were in Phoenix or St. Louis or Lexington except for maybe the accents and the weather because most American cities have become so homogenized.  That's bad!  And we don't want that here.

ON THE OTHER HAND, that Geary/Masonic shopping thing has been sad and mostly empty for years and Target will create a lot of jobs and they really do offer a lot of great products at very low prices.  But it's still a chain.

It's weird, though.  Target seems to get a pass from people in SF.  They're not universally loathed like some other chains, although I suspect if you tried to put a City Target into, say, the old Tower Theater on Mission, people would lose their fucking minds.  I'm not sure what it is about Target that insulates them from the same shit other chains get if they try to move in.  Same with Trader Joe's.  We can't get enough Trader Joe's.

I don't really have any point here, except that there are a lot of questions about chain stores in SF I don't have answers to.  That is a pretty lame point.  Oh well.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Let's look at 38 Dolores!

38 Dolores is that new building on the corner of Market and, duh, Dolores, sort of diagonally across from the Market Street Safeway.  Here's a not very good picture of the exterior I stole:

It's the thing on the far left.  I was just at the Safeway yesterday; I totally could have taken a better picture but I didn't.  Sorry.

(Also, there was more crazy than usual at the Safeway on Market yesterday morning.  One older guy who looked otherwise completely normal, like a college professor or a retired attorney, was being led out while telling the Safeway employees "Your district manager is going to hear from me, this is not going to be allowed to continue," and I bet they were SOOOOOO SCARED.  Another guy who definitely looked homeless and had a shopping cart full of Gatorade and nothing else was moaning loudly about "my medicaaaaaaaaaaaation" and OMG yes, please get him his medication.  ANYWAY.)

So as it happens 38 Dolores is rental apartments and not condos!  Let's see what they're renting for.

It appears that 38 Dolores is actually 3 buildings, one on Market (the "Mint Collection," presumably because it faces the killer karaoke bar The Mint (where I haven't been in YEARS but where, I assume, they are still reeling from my experimental interpretation of "Folsom Prison Blues" that might have set the Cash catalog back 30 years), one mostly facing Dolores (the "Palms Collection," because of palm tress) and one mostly facing 14th (the "Terrace Collection," for some reason, and, I shit you not, the website says "Nestled under 38 Dolores’s eco roof and the watchful eye of the butterfly habitat," WAIT WHAT).  Let's pick a place in the Mint Collection so we can watch drunk people stumble out of the Mint from our balcony or living room or whatever.

Floor Plan 3 is a 1 BD/1 BA, 714 square feet.

The price? SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS.  No, not really.  It's $3,850.  That's a lot of money!  What else could we get in the general area for $3,850?  Check this out!  A "Classic Victorian Flat" at Pearl and Market, just down the street, for $3700. And it's a 2-BR!  No butterfly habitat listed, but I'm sure you could start your own.  So it looks like you're paying a premium to live at the 38 Dolores.  I'm sure it's very nice.

One other thing.  On the slick 38 Dolores website, it says "See Your New Home," like so:

And when you click on it, it goes to the Google Street View of that corner!  Perfect, right?  Sure!  Here's the Street View for that corner:

Yay!  Who wants to live in an abandoned car dealership with me?  I call the Sales Manager's Office!  You guys can hang blankets in the showroom to make little rooms.  We'll create a true Urban Utopia.  Butterfly Habitat and all.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Your Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Lineup

Looks good!

Maybe I'll see you at Emo Band Playing Acoustic!  Hey, I guess Actual Bluegrass Band From the 50's didn't make the cut this year.  Oh well.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What am I going to watch on TV now?

Breaking Bad ended! Oh, spoiler alert, sorry.  Anyway, now that Walt Jr. will blow through $9 million on a new heroin habit, what are we gonna watch on TV?  If you need a new habit, I have some suggestions.

Stop me if you've heard this before: a brooding, troubled detective with a checkered past arrives in a small, isolated town populated by squirrely characters to solve a crime involving a child.  I know, sounds like a combination of Popular Serious Cable TV Tropes, but the BBC series Broadchurch still does it up good.  This time, the detective has a thick Scottish accent and a permanent five o'clock shadow.  It was apparently a monster hit in the UK, and there's only 8 episodes, so you could do it in a weekend, or spread it out for a while like we did.  NO SPOILERS PLEASE, we're watching the finale tonight.

It's basically a whodunit, with a couple of subplots.  I like it!  Well-written, and the acting is great.

Our next show is called Top of the Lake, and in it, a brooding, troubled detective with a checkered past arrives in a small, isolated town populated by squirrely characters to solve a crime involving a child.  This time, though, the BTD is Elisabeth Moss from Mad Men and she's got a New Zealand accent that comes and goes.  Winningly, the show also features Holly Hunter as a wackadoodle guru of some kind.  Jane Campion was involved, and I guess she has a contract rider that specifies Holly Hunter has to be in anything she does.  Anyway, it's 6 episodes? Or 7?  I can't remember, but again, pretty compact.  Worth a look.

If you haven't been watching Sons of Anarchy from the beginning, you're kind of lucky, actually, because you get to skip season 3, which the rest of us had to sit through.  Other than that, it's a pretty enjoyable series about a biker gang in San Joaquin County and all the shit they get up to.  It's actually kind of stunningly graphically brutal for TV, so watch out if that bugs you.

Also, if you get HBO, Veep is the funniest comedy on TV right now.  The new season is about to start (or already started? I'm not sure) but if you haven't seen it you get the sublime pleasure of watching all the old episodes in a row.  Seriously, funniest thing on TV, no lie.