Monday, March 30, 2015

Can you eat at the Rainforest Cafe and live to tell about it? Possibly!

Last Wednesday was my daughter's second birthday.  Happy Birthday Beyonce!  We took the day off work and went to Fisherman's Wharf to see the sea lions and ride the carousel and that kind of shit.  A couple of observations: (1) if you have to go to Fisherman's Wharf, it is much, much better to go on a Wednesday in March than, say, a Saturday in August; and (2) Pier 39 is still as terrifying and touristy as ever.  A shop that just sells puppets!  A man wearing a Bikini Inspector t-shirt!  Italians!

Then we went to eat at the Rainforest Cafe, which is what would happen if the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland opened a restaurant.  Lots of animatronic animals that go off every few minutes and a very loud soundtrack of Reggae for White People.  You enter, of course, through the Gift Shop, where one might purchase such items as a "Bag of Rocks" for $6 I swear to God I am not making this up.  I was hoping it would just be a random bag of gravel and sand but it's those polished rocks but still.

The actual restaurant is upstairs.  The best way I can describe the odor is that it smells like a wet dog.  I guess after years and years of dampness (and it is really humid or something in there) you just can't get the smell out of the carpet any more.

GODDAMIT this picture turns sideways when I post. Fucking Blogger.  Seriously I should have broken up with you a long time ago. Is it impossible to edit pictures in WordPress?  Because in Blogger you have to fucking join Google+ or some shit just to edit pictures.  Fuck that.

That was the view from our table.  The tiger would go off with a loud recorded roar every five minutes or so.  The elephant in the background flaps its ears back and forth.  The kid, of course, found this all delightful.

The food was not as bad as I thought, somewhere between airport and hotel banquet.  It was expensive as fuck, though.  Lunch was $64 after tip for 3 of us and we didn't even have booze, although RC is not shy about pushing fruity tropical drinks on you like you're on spring break.

But fuck it, the kid had a blast and it wasn't anywhere close to as bad as I imagined it would be.  Plus our server, Oscar, was incredibly friendly and nice and he must get stiffed by Europeans all day and to stay that nice must really take it out of you so I tipped him like 25% and should have gone higher but by that point I was starting to feel dizzy and overwhelmed and that tiger kept yelling at me.

There's also a downstairs bar that wasn't in use when we went.  On the way out there was a guy using a selfie stick (ugh) to take a picture of himself in the empty bar.  Where are you in your life when you're using a phone on a stick to take a picture of yourself alone in an empty Rainforest Cafe bar.  Are you shooting an ad for Despair?

Anyway, if I had an extra $100 burning a hole in my pocket and was at Fisherman's Wharf around lunchtime, I might go back.  Not alone, though.

Thursday, March 26, 2015


Remember how everybody used to smoke?  (Does not apply if you're a millennial; watch Mad Men and you'll get the idea.)  Now hardly anybody smokes.  I even used to smoke and I quit.  One thing that happened is that everybody who smoked died.  Also, people started looking at smoking as gross and nobody wanted to be around it.

By now, you know that almonds take a gallon of water APIECE to grow.  Think about how much water we could save if people stopped eating almonds!  So here's my idea: a massive PR campaign making almond eating as shameful as smoking.

Here's a few I threw together just to get us started.

(Quick note, I haven't registered yet, somebody better get on that before Big Almond swipes it out from under us.)

We'll also need to lobby local governments to set up NO ALMOND ZONES in restaurants and bars.  "Almond consumption only in designated areas," like by the compost bin.

Might take 15-20 years, but we can make almond eating so repulsive and shameful only West Virginians will do it.

Monday, March 23, 2015

16-year-olds and Debra J. Saunders: People who should not be allowed to vote

Letting 16-year-olds vote is a dumb idea.  Reading a Debra J. Saunders column isn't only a dumb idea, it can actually be physically painful.

With the exquisite rarity of a solar eclipse, Debra and I occasionally agree.  We both agree, for example, that 16-year-olds should probably not be voting.  The only thing dumber than a 16-year-old is a 17-year-old.  You don't magically become smart at 18 but you can legally have sex and smoke and anyone who can smoke and have sex at the same time is cool enough to vote in my book.

I'm getting sidetracked.  OK, so let's get to the part where Debra Saunders is even stupider than a 16-year-old:

Failes-Carpenter added: “San Francisco has been losing young people, has been losing families,” She wants teens to be “involved in crafting solutions.” The resolution notes that there were 8,000 fewer school-age children in San Francisco in 2013 than in 2000. She sent me a link to a Politico piece, “Why the voting age should be 17,” by Peter Levine of Tufts University’s College of Citizenship and Public Service. (Note: He didn’t say 16.) One sentence jumped out at me: “If the government affects you, you get to vote.”
Hmmmm, methinks, I work in Francisco. I pay taxes in San Francisco — as well as the pesky 10-cent bag fee. I drive in San Francisco. I use city services — and would like to see more public sanitation. If I am charged with a crime, I will be charged as an adult. But just because I live in the East Bay, I cannot vote in San Francisco. If it is fair for teens to vote because city government affects them, why isn’t it fair for me to vote too?

Right on, Debra!  I went to Redding once, so why don't I get to vote there?  In fact, under Debra's chuckleheaded logic, you should get to vote in literally every city you've ever visited.  Holy shit, New York just got 700 million new voters.  And I am going to have to clear my calendar to study the ballots for every one of the 300 or however many cities I've been to.

Or maybe Deb just means she should be able to vote in places she goes every day?  Or what about once a week?  What if I don't drive or pay that 10-cent bag fee?  No voting?  This is going to get confusing.

(Also, that bag fee is Debra's personal bĂȘte noire.  She mentions it ALL. THE FUCKING. TIME.  I have got a HOT TIP for you, Deb: YOU CAN USE YOUR OWN BAG ANY TIME YOU WANT.  Magic!  No bag fee.  Maybe Debra believes you aren't allowed to use your own bag?  In fact, nobody tell her and we'll put a measure on the ballot to fix it AND SHE WON'T BE ABLE TO VOTE FOR IT HAHAHAHAHAH)

You get my point.  You get to vote where you live.  That's just the system.  Age is a completely separate issue.

In closing, neither 16-year-olds nor Debra J. Saunders should be allowed to vote.

Friday, March 20, 2015

We Were Promised Better Band Names

IN THE BEGINNING it was easy.  If you had a band, you picked an object, put a "The" in front of it, recorded a three-chord song, and died penniless and broken.  The Platters, The Shirelles, The Temptations, The Beatles, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, The Animals.  Even Bill Haley and the Comets, still one of the best band names of all time.

That got boring.  We had to branch out.  But with greater choice comes greater opportunity for error.  And lo, upon these lands was sown much error.

I'm not even going to get into the obscure bands who will never get a chance to have their terrible name widely known.  If you want to find your own obscure horrible band name, feel free to peruse the master list of SXSW bands and discover your own Rangleklods or Guantanamo Baywatch there.

No, these are just my Least Favorite Band Names.

First of all, we have the leftovers: Leftover Salmon and Leftover Crack.  One reminds us of rotting fish and one sounds like something an 8th grader trying to sound edgy would think of.

!!! is annoying just for the sake of being annoying.

The Morning Benders had a perfectly good name and then blew it by changing it to POP ETC, a truly horrible name.  (They changed the name because "bender" is apparently a derogatory British term for gay.)

Jam bands have a long and storied history of choosing terrible names, like The String Cheese Incident and Umphrey's McGee, and fuck it, for that matter, Phish.

Hoobastank and Kajagoogoo and Slightly Stoopid and basically anything with two O's in a row.

Panic! at the Disco is a Terrible! Band Name.

I started thinking about this because I was recently introduced to Australian band Dick Diver.  It makes no difference that this is a character in a Fitzgerald novel.

(There are some band names that are obviously intended just to be outrageous and taboo, like Anal Cunt, but that doesn't bother me nearly as much as Perfect Pussy, which is just horrible.)

There is one that stands above all others, though.  This "Israeli psytrance/ electronica/psychedelic/indie duo" (thanks Wiki) have a name befitting such a terrifying-sounding description.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Worst Band Name of All Time:

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

We are totally fucked

I used to have an existential dread of major, crippling earthquakes.  Like I would honestly just sit on my couch and worry about that.  But that got old and it never happened anyway so I have now focused all my existential dread on something real that really is happening:

The Drought.

We are so fucked by this drought that we can't even begin to comprehend how fucked we are.  The LA Times is here to scare the shit out of us:

Right now the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing. California has no contingency plan for a persistent drought like this one (let alone a 20-plus-year mega-drought), except, apparently, staying in emergency mode and praying for rain.
The article goes on with some suggestions that are so stupid and painfully obvious it's insane we aren't doing them.  Like mandatory rationing.  NO FUCKING SHIT.

Picture from the same LA Times article. I have no idea what this is.  Perhaps this is our New God that we must worship to get delicious water.
Of course we should be fucking rationing.  My sister has been up in Tahoe since January and she reports that her neighbors wash their FIVE CARS regularly.  That's not cool!  You know what else?  One single almond takes a FUCKING GALLON of water to grow.  Almonds aren't even that great!  BAN ALMONDS.

EDIT/UPDATE: Almonds are bad, but you know what else?  Fucking WALNUTS take almost FIVE GALLONS of water apiece to grow.  For one stupid walnut!  Walnuts are fucking disgusting anyway.  We could lose walnuts today and be better as a society and a people.  If you think you like walnuts, you've been tricked.  Walnuts are a fucking scam.  If you really sat down and tasted one, you'd be like "Ugh, I can't believe I've been putting this garbage food into my mouth.  I feel like throwing up just thinking about the number of times I've eaten this tree jizz. Yuck. I would rather die than eat another walnut."  BAN WALNUTS.

UPDATE #2!!!!: Thanks to loyal reader Rusty Staples I have learned that "Trader Joe's is recalling walnut products due to the potential health risk from Salmonella"!!!!!  SEE I TOLD YOU!  Walnuts aren't just gross as fuck, they also give you salmonella.  FUCK WALNUTS.

Also, Palm Springs, this is your fucking fault.  From the same Mother Jones almond truther article linked above:

Holy shit, Palm Springs!  That's what you get when your economy is built on golf and swimming pools.  Both golf and swimming pools should be banned.  There should be one golf course, that's it.  If you want to play golf, get in line.  Or get a drier hobby, like sand painting.  Also, Tahoe City is apparently full of people washing their cars too much.  So here's the deal for you, Tahoe City: you can use whatever snow you can melt from your backyard to wash your cars.  THAT'S IT.

Everyone says we should just build desalination plants!  OH SURE NO BIG DEAL LET'S JUST BUILD SOME DESALINATION PLANTS.  We have to have a fucking ballot measure to build a 4-story building so, sure, I don't see any problems in building an industrial plant right on the ocean.  Maybe nuclear powered!

To sum up, we should all probably move.

(Incidentally, vis a vis earthquakes, yep, we're also fucked there too.)

Friday, March 13, 2015

The 5L doesn't really work

Christ, what could be more pedestrian than complaining about Muni? But HERE WE ARE. You want hyperlocal coverage?  YOU GOT IT.

The 5L Fulton line seems like a good idea.  Make limited stops as compared to the poky old regular 5 line and you'll just fly through the city on gossamer wings, right?  The only problem is it doesn't fucking work.  At least at rush hour, in my experience.  What actually happens is that it is either the same speed as the regular 5 or slightly slower.  This to me is as inexplicable as quantum mechanics but here's two days of anecdotal experience.  These are not atypical experiences BTW.

WEDNESDAY there was a regular 5 with a 5L right behind it.  I thought I'd be all smart and get on the 5L because there is no way, given our current laws of physics, that a bus making every stop could beat a bus making like every 5th stop.

We never caught up to that damn bus.  Frustratingly, I could see it in front of us the whole goddam time.

THURSDAY the 5L was in front and the 5 was behind it.  Imagine my shock and horror as the supposedly slower 5 PASSED US and jetted off to the coast for a drink 'n tan.  I shook my fist in impotent rage, as I do at least once a day.

WHY IS THIS HAPPENING.  As with many things, the causes are numerous.  First, it appears that many more people are riding the 5L, making each stop exponentially longer as all the #sheeple slowly get on and off with their backpacks and whatnot and then stand on the bottom step so the doors don't close and oh god it's just agonizing to watch.  Meanwhile there are fewer people on the regular 5 so it just pulls over for a sec and then is on its merry way.  FACTUAL SUPPORT FOR THIS BELIEF courtesy of Streetsblog (from whence the above pic was sourced also): "New 5L-Fulton Limited Muni Line Has Brought 2,000 More Daily Riders," and they are all SLOW AS FUCK.

Also, our driver on Thursday was one of those Turtle People who fears disrupting the spacetime continuum if they push it to more than 5 mph and also lets every car in the fucking universe go at every stop sign until there aren't any more cars left in the City & County.

Maybe it's better at off-peak times, but at rush hour anyway, the 5L is like Muni itself: a good idea, really poorly executed.  I'm going back to the regular old 5 (which has the newer better nicer buses anyway).

Sorry this was so boring.  Have a nice weekend.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Bachelor: The Utterly Predictable and Boring Conclusion!!!

Yes, we have reached the end of what Chris Harrison calls the "wildest season in Bachelor history" which I guess is true if you think milk is wild.  Back in the frozen wasteland of Arlington, Farmer stares at the void to which he is trying to entice a mate.

Here comes Baby Voice.  Meeting the Farmily drives her pitch up to a level audible only by dogs.  Let's meet Mom, a sturdy type who looks like she could farm the shit out of something, and sit down for, what, sloppy joes?  Really?  That's the best we can do?  You know you're on TV, right?  BV goes around telling everyone how she can't wait to destroy her fulfilling career she's dreamed her whole life of having and move to this desolate abyss.  Farmer, meanwhile, informs the Sisters Three that he thinks Baby Voice will keep him "grounded" like what the fuck if you were any more grounded you'd be a fucking potato.

Next up is the Virg.  Playing to type, she brings cookies instead of wine like that whorebag from yesterday.  She gets the same sitdown with the sisters but blows it by telling them she's not sure she wants to move to Lunar Surface, IA.  Virg tells Mom she can't figure out why Farmer is single.  Fuck, I can even figure that out: because the only humans he ever comes into contact with are his own fucking family, duh.  Anyway, at this point it's so screamingly obvious how it's going to turn out that we all as a nation kinda lost interest.

Back in Dubuque, the Rio de Janeiro of Iowa, Farmer is going on family-free dates with our two finalists.  Farmer needs to have an important talk with Virg but it's hard because she's apparently staying in a Motel 6 by the freeway.  

Virg isn't 100% sure she wants to move to Arlington and says she doesn't know what she would do there.  I guess you don't know that my neighbor's sister makes $87 hourly on the computer . She has been without work for five months but last month her income was $21602 just working on the computer for a few hours. learn this here now..............

Dubuque proves too exciting and Baby Voice's final date is back on the farm.  They're going "harvesting" but it looks like they're working a big field of deadness so all BV will be harvesting is boredom and despair.  In a rare bit of insight, she says "This could be my future for a long, long, long, long time."  Then it's back to the Farmer pad, which looks like someone paid to stage a freeway rest area.

Let's get to the fucking finale of this borefest.  Usually the Big Proposal is in Fiji or St. Maarten or some other place where you can get a fucking drink, but this time it's BACK ON THE FUCKING FARM.  Here comes Jeweler to the Stars Neil Lane who looks a little stunned to be in Iowa like WHAT IS THIS PLACE WHERE IS MR. CHOW OH GOD ONE OF THESE PRE-LEATHER JACKET THINGS BRUSHED UP AGAINST ME.  Looks like the proposal will be at a creepy abandoned barn left over from filming True Detective.  WHO WANTS TO PROPOSE IN CARCOSA!

Virg arrives at the Death Chamber first.  He lets her down with the old "you're gonna make somebody incredibly lucky."  That person is actually you, Becca!  She actually doesn't even cry in the Crying Limo.  Meanwhile Farmer stares at his tractor for a long time.  WHY CAN'T YOU BE A PERSON I LOVE YOU TRACTOR.

Blah blah blah he gets engaged to Baby Voice.  You really can get married after 3 1/2 dates!  Love is so real.

I didn't watch the whole aftershow but The Wife informs that the Shocking Announcement is that instead of just Kaitlyn being the Bachelorette, she and Britt are going to have to compete and let the men choose which one.  Oh for fucking fuck's sake, ABC.  God forbid we do anything without men deciding.  Fuck everything.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

What do we want? The same crappy Walgreens! When do we want it? Yesterday!

Behold, the corner of 16th and Mission, a utopia on Earth where happy denizens lead cheerful rewarding lives:

lol j/k.  It's actually just a shitty Walgreens ("Hope this store goes out of business soon...  It is really like shopping in hell") and a Burger King.

Along comes Maximus Real Estate Partners.  "Hey you guys hey you guys we've got an idea," they say.  "How about instead of a rundown Walgreens and a BK we put up a 10-story apartment building with 345 units of housing?  You guys are always talking about how housing is so expensive, so how about we make more of it?  And plus instead of the usual requirement of 40 below market rate units, we put in 90?  Win-win, right?"

NOPE.  You're in San Francisco.

First of all, I might suggest that it might have been a good idea to create a subsidiary for this project alone with a name other than "MAXIMUS REAL ESTATE."  Maximus Real Estate sounds like an evil monolith that wants to evict your Mom.  How about something a little more PR-friendly, like "Daisy Homes" or "Smiling Face Emoji Group"?  Just really anything other than MAXIMUS.

Anyway, people are so mad:

“If Maximus builds these condos on 16th and Mission, there will be massive gentrification in this neighborhood,” housing activist Tommi Avicolli Mecca told a gathering crowd. “New people who move in will call the police to get rid of the poor people”
Dude, have you been to the Mission in like the last 3 years?  The Massive Gentrification ship sailed like in 2011.  Now the billionaires are gentrifying out the millionaires.  We're on like 5th-wave gentrification.  Maximus is offering to build 90 BELOW MARKET RATE UNITS.  Right now, the only market rate unit at 16th & Mission is the bench by the BART entrance.

Not good enough for Mr. Mecca:

As Tommi Avicolli Mecca, of the Housing Rights Committee and Plaza 16, said at Monday’s protest: “There’s no community benefits that will make us support this project, all we want is 100 percent affordable housing.”
This is lunacy.  This is like getting surgery to replace a heart valve and telling the surgeon, "As long as you're in there, please also do some plastic surgery and make me look like George Clooney."  Then the doctor says "I can't do Clooney, but I can give you Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park," and you say "NO!  CLOONEY OR NOTHING" and rip off the gown and storm out of the hospital.  I've got news for you, son.  Goldblum gets mad tail.  You just fucked yourself.

So here's my counter.  Right now, the building is scheduled to be 345 units.  You want 100% affordable.  OK, new plan.  You get 345 affordable units, and they get to build a 100-story building with a total of 1380 units.  Everybody wins!