Thursday, October 29, 2015

Proposition F isn't really about Proposition F at all

Proposition F - the anti-Airbnb ballot measure, for lack of a better pithy descriptor - has become the shitstorm of this election. It's turned comments sections from trash into Superfund-site-level toxic sludge, made Nextdoor even more hilariously unhinged, and filled everyone's mailboxes with the papertrash equivalent of 3 Examiners a day.  It hasn't helped that Airbnb is financing an anti-F campaign that makes the Willie Horton ad look like a Harvard debate club salon.

Forced to do what?  To report to the government when you're sleeping in your own bed, according to this not-at-all fearmongering and hilarious No on F ad.

The actual proposition tinkers with existing regulations in more or less minor ways - reducing the total number of nights you can rent out your place from 90 to 75, and allowing neighbors to sue you if they think you're violating the terms, along with some other stuff - but to hear the anti-Prop F people, you'd think it was the Apocalypse combined with the Cuban Revolution and now everyone will have to leave their houses and let a poor move in.  They also say the current system is working, which is patently bullshit, since we have a newly-operating full-time Airbnb hotel 2 doors down from our house and no one's doing shit about that.

As you can probably tell, I'm lowkey pro-Prop-F, but it doesn't make any difference because Airbnb's Gigantic Fun House of Money combined with a total voter turnout of about 48 people, most of whom work for Airbnb, pretty much ensures that they've got this one in the bag.

Still, it's become obvious to me this isn't actually about the proposition itself.  It's about two views of a changing San Francisco.  A lot of people (me, to some extent, included) see San Francisco changing quickly and, to their minds, unpleasantly, and Airbnb is a very visible, very loud manifestation of that.  Remember that nice family that lived down the street?  They had to move to Fairfield, and now their place has a kegerator instead of a playpen and it's like Phi Delt is recreating the Fall of the Roman Empire there every weekend.  To this group, Airbnb is a huge shining symbol of the New New San Francisco - Our Garbage City - where the tech companies shit all over it and do anything they want because there's a perfectly good city government that they paid good money for.  To them, Airbnb and Uber and all the rest are the New Boss, swaggering around town and telling them exactly how it's going to be now and why your way sucked and the new way is better and just shut up and look at your phone.  There's a velvet rope in front of Bi-Rite now, and it snakes through the Mission to the front doors of Vida.

The others side is a strange agglomeration of super-libertarians who are all IT'S MY PROPERTY I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT and Tech Kids who think anything with a .com at the end shits out cotton candy and genuinely well-intentioned people who really do use Airbnb to rent out an extra room once in a while and don't understand why everyone is so pissed off about that.

So this isn't really a vote about whether or not you should be able to rent out your place for an extra 15 days or whether the busybody neighbor is actually going to get their shit together and calm the voices raging in their head enough to sue you, it's about fear of what this city's becoming or may have already become.  This observation probably isn't unique or even interesting, but maybe helps explain why everyone is so fucking worked up.  Maybe.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Tech Fuckup Pool: Join today!

The big Airbnb shitshow last week was a hoot!  From the time that one tech company trashed Dolores Park to the time that other tech company painted shit all over the sidewalks (and that's just the ones I remember from the past few months), one thing's for sure; TECH COMPANIES KEEP DOING STUPID SHIT.

Which means it's going to happen again.  Probably soon.

Which means we need to get a pool going.

My initial idea was going to be that you have to pick a tech company AND a type of stupidity, so like if you had "" and "Homeless-related" and paid homeless people $5 to hand out flyers that said "Don't be as dirty as me" then you'd win.  But there are too many ways in the universe to fuck up, so let's keep this simple.  You just pick a tech company you think will fuck up in the next, say, 6 months, put it in the comments, and if you want to you can make a guess about how they do it but that's not required.  So of course it's better if you say LYFT CHRISTMAS PARTY FEATURES ENDANGERED ANIMAL HORS D'OEUVRES but you can just say LYFT and that will do it.

Will there be a prize?  Of course there will be a prize!  I was thinking about making the prize this "Webvan Advertising Floaty Pen Eskesen Denmark Twist and Click Grocery Service" but if you read the fine print it doesn't even write any more!  Just like Webvan itself, it is sadly defunct.  I don't know, I'll think of something.

The deadline for entries is FRIDAY OCTOBER 30, for no particular reason.  Let's go fuck up, tech companies!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

These Airbnb ads are really something

You've probably seen some version of this story by now:

Airbnb Apologizes For Tone-Deaf Hotel Tax Ads, Will Take Them Down “Immediately”

For the past couple of hours, Airbnb has been getting slammed on social media for a San Francisco bus stop ad that was shared on Facebook. How bad was it? People (including Martha Kenney, who first shared the ad) started speculating that it may have been hoax, perhaps posted by someone who wanted to make Airbnb look bad.

via Techcrunch, and ultimately Martha Kenney, I guess. Thanks, Martha Kenney!

The other ones were even worse:


Friday, October 16, 2015

Here's another Music List that maybe only one person will be interested in

Mostly just because GG asked for it.

But then it turned out to be unexpectedly interesting!  Maybe mildly interesting.  Interesting because my list of my favortie songs of all time had one distinguishing demographic characteristic: ALL WHITE DUDES.  But then  I made this list of my favorite songs from the last 5-6 years and it's at least a little more diverse.  I mean, it's still not a Benetton ad, but it's at least a 5 Fulton.

Does Benetton still make ads?  Is that reference still relevant?

Here are My 20 Favorite Songs, 2009-2015.  As always, in no particular order:

TV on the Radio, "Second Song"
Azealia Banks f/ Lazy Jay, "212"
Vampire Weekend, "Worship You"
Elbow, "Leaders of the Free World"
Mikal Cronin, "Weight"
Kanye West, "Black Skinhead"
Kanye West, "Runaway"
Foxygen, "No Destruction"
Generationals, "TenTwentyTen"
Waxahatchee, "La Loose"
Woods, "Moving to the Left"
Ryan Adams, "Ashes and Fire"
Sturgill Simpson, "Living the Dream"
Sturgill Simpson, "You Can Have the Crown"
Carly Rae Jepsen, "Call Me Maybe"
Haim, "The Wire"
Neko Case, "This Tornado Loves You"
Sleigh Bells, "Crown on the Ground"
Lorde, "400 Lux"
Avett Brothers, "I And Love And You"

WHAT DOES IT MEAN.  I don't know.  You'll see that Sturgill and Yeezy are the only two artists with 2 songs each, and boy what I wouldn't give to see that double bill live.  I bet they'd totally be into it too!  Let's make that happen.

Have fun at Treasure Island, everybody!  The National, ugh.  I know, turn in my Dad Card at the desk.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

SONG BATTLE: The Aftermath, plus Complete Lists

A while back, I happened to mention on Twitter that I had done the very Gen X white male semi-music-obsessive task of compiling a list of my 20 favorite songs of all time, a task heretofore reserved for those on the spectrum and guys who identify with John Cusack in "High Fidelity."  One thing led to another and before I knew it I was locked in some Mortal Combat for Music Geeks-type situation with Olu wherein we would both go on Burrito Justice's radio show on, Monarch of the Airwaves, and have some kind of competition, I guess, pitting some of my songs against some of his songs.  Seems fine.

(Apropos of John Cusack, please enjoy this Internet thing "John Cusack's 30-Year-Dating History Is B-A-N-A-N-A-S."  John Cusack had sex with Janice Dickinson on a plane!  Janice Dickinson [who is on this season's Couples Therapy, BTW] is CRAZY but in that really kind of disturbing way and not the fun throws-plates-on-the-floor-at-parties way.)

AAAANYWAY it was lots of fun and we probably only bored about half the people listening, which would be a new personal best for me.  If you were doing literally anything worthwhile yesterday and missed it and now your life is an Empty Void and has No Meaning, you can listen to it here.  NOTE: If your life is an Empty Void, you will especially enjoy the Joy Division vs. Elliott Smith duo about halfway through.

We didn't get to all our songs, so in the interest of completeness, here are our lists.

TK's Top 20 Songs of All Time

in no particular order

(Like I said, I first compiled this list in 2009.  Before the show I went back and made a few changes because I've grown as a person since then and also I fucked up in a few places like putting "Ghosts" by The Jam on the original list instead of "In the City," which is about 1000x better.)

First, the ones that made the show:

Rolling Stones, "Monkey Man"
Guided by Voices, "Everywhere with Helicopter"
The Jam, "In the City"
Wolf Parade, "Shine a Light"
The Clash, "Rudie Can't Fail"
Beulah, "Landslide Baby"
The Weakerthans, "Reconstruction Site"
Elvis Costello & The Attractions, "Beyond Belief"
The Shins, "So Says I"
The Libertines, "Can't Stand Me Now"
The Replacements, "Bastards of Young"
The Velvet Underground, "Cool It Down"
Elliott Smith, "Independence Day"

And the ones you didn't hear:

The Wrens, "Ex-Girl Collection"
Trashcan Sinatras, "Circling the Circumference"
R.E.M., "Disturbance at the Heron House"
Modest Mouse, "Gravity Rides Everything"
The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl, "Fairytale of New York"
Pavement, "Spit on a Stranger"
Game Theory, "We Love You Carol and Alison"

And now presenting Olu's Top 20 Songs of All Time

also in no order that I'm aware of

The ones you heard:

Built to Spill, "Else"
DJ Shadow, "The Six Day War"
Blonde Redhead, "I Am Taking Out My Eurotrash" [Ed: This wins for Best Song Title of the Day, if nothing else]
The Roots, "You Got Me"
Fugazi, "Waiting Room"
Cat Power, "Cross Bones Style"
Guided by Voices, "Watch Me Jumpstart"
Joy Division, "Twenty Four Hours"
Brand Nubian, "Slow Down"
The Pharcyde, "Passing Me By"
Galaxie 500, "Ceremony"
Bill Withers, "Who Is He and What Is He To You"
Shannon, "Let the Music Play"

And here's what Olu left on the bench:

GZA, "Duel of the Iron Mic"
Sonic Youth, "Tunic (Song for Karen)"
Gossip, "Heavy Cross"
Souls of Mischief, "93 'til Infinity"
Nas, "New York State of Mind"
Notorious B.I.G. f/ Methid Man, "The What"
Elliott Smith, "2:45 a.m."

Olu also noted that he was "missing" 2 songs which means I guess they'd be on there if he had a redo, The Clash, "Guns of Brixton" and Neutral Milk Hotel, "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea."  You know what?  I might put NMH's "The King of Carrot Flowers" on my list if I did it again.

Who won, you ask?  Who knows?*  It seemed pretty evenly split to me.  And it's really not about the competition.  It's about the spirit of togetherness and enjoying good music.

*I won.

I'm looking forward to the next one!

Friday, October 9, 2015

The One-Offs

Oh, California Department of Public Health Most Popular Baby Names 2009-2013, how I love thee.  Everyone already knows that the most popular California boys' names in 2012 would be Jacob and Ethan and Matthew and, God help us, Jayden.  So go on with your Emilys and Mias and Sofias.  We all see you.  The best part of the CDPHMPBN is that it lists how many babies in a given year got that name.  So, for example, in 2012, exactly 1,007 Zoes arrived in California, followed closely by 1,006 Madisons.  There is a 100% chance there will be a Zoe or Madison in your California life at some point.

But we don't care about them.  We care about the ONE-OFFS.  That's right, those names that were bestowed just one time in the State of California in a given year.  And we've learned that, if nothing else, California parents are fucking CREATIVE AS HELL.

So for example in 2012 precious ZEPLIN and ZESAR and ZIPO zipped out of some forward-thinking Moms.  "Popsicle you have, now to me you must give," young YODA might say.  SOCRATES and PERICLES are giving democracy a spin, while SAW and BLAYDE are just cutting up.  MOBY and TIESTO and ZEDD will be manning the playground decks, while CHAOS seems to be in trouble all the time.  No worries though, BUD's here.  And why settle for just one when you can have ERICS?

The girls are having just as much fun.  In fact, they're a RIOT.  Wait, is SANSA a Game of Thrones character or a beta blocker?  I forget.  TAEDYN seems like the wreckage left after two more popular names collided.  Maybe CASHLYNN can help pick up the pieces.  I hope SNOW WHITE and CINDERELLA are in the same class; the other kids' minds will be fucking blown.  I hope they go to Disneyland with RAPUNZEL one day.

Finally, presented without comment:

There's gotta be a story, right?  I hope there's a story.

If you're Bored at Work, feel free to go mining and do share any good gems you unearth therein.  Have a good weekend, everybody!