Thursday, August 11, 2016

That should about do it

When I started this blog in 2008, I initially intended to write it for one year.  But the voices didn't stop and so it went on and on and on.  Since then, I got engaged, got married, had a kid, went to some bars, that kind of thing.

It's been a blast but to tell you the truth, my heart's not in it any more.  Maybe I've mellowed out a little and am not periodically seized by the fits of rage that ended up fueling my expletive-soaked rants here?  Who knows.  I just don't feel like posting enough any more to keep this A Thing.

For the record, the most popular posts of all time were "This $10,500 rental in the Mission is absurd" and "It's not a party without American Red Cups," followed closely by "30 Reasons to Hate San Francisco," which people STILL READ and STILL TAKE SERIOUSLY even though it was intended as a lovingly snarky followup to the starry-eyed and embarrassingly heartfelt "50 Reasons to Love San Francisco."  Reading both of those now, it strikes me how much SF has changed since 2010.  Regardless, for the record, I still love San Francisco.  God knows it has problems, but I still don't want to live anywhere else.

Maybe the suburbs when I'm older, I don't know.  Looking for parking gets old after a while.

It's not like I'm vanishing off the Internet anyway.  I will maintain, I'm sure, a vibrant and dumb Twitter presence and may occasionally post longer form pieces somewhere.  Medium?  Ugh, I guess, whatever.  Better than taking a screenshot of a wall of text and posting that on Twitter.

In closing, thanks for reading.  It's been fun.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

It's time once again to review the San Francisco Giants' walkup songs

Just like we did in 2012!  Man, that was two World Serieses ago.  Time flies, etc. I should have been doing this annually but I fell down and couldn't get up.

Let's reprint this Explainer from 2012:

(Walk-up music, if you're not a baseball fan or something, is the music played in the stadium in the time that it takes the player to walk up to the plate - ergo, "walk-up music." For pitchers, it's usually the music that plays when they're warming up. But more than simply that, it is a window into the soul of the player, and should be regarded as such.)

Some players have more than one walkup song.  That's great!  You go, girl.  I, however, am compelled by no law, earthly or spiritual, to discuss every one of your songs.

OK, on to the show.


Brandon Belt, "99 Problems" (Beyonce's husband) - Iconic, but I'm not sure it sends the right message when you're coming up to the plate.  What if one of your problems is you let your right shoulder drop?  But you can't argue about the song.

Derek Law, "I Fought the Law" (The Clash) - What you did there, I see it.  But this is such an incredible get-fired-up song that every relief pitcher should use it, whether or not they're named Law or Clash or Joe Fucking Strummer 2.

Brandon Crawford, "Fuck Up Some Commas" (Future) - Finally, a song about the Oxford comma.  I don't know what part of the song they play when Brandon is actually walking to the plate but it is almost guaranteed to have a "fuck" in it and for that it's all worth it.  (Is this the only rap song to mention Groupon by name?  I hope not.)

Sergio Romo, "El Mechon" (Banda MS) - This song is as much Sergio's #brand as facial hair, fist pumping, and striking out Miguel Cabrera.

Javy Lopez, "The Humpty Dance" (Digital Underground) - Javier Lopez is about as old as me so this makes sense.

Joe Panik, "Moment of Clarity" (Beyonce's husband) - It will not surprise you to learn that Jay-Z is heavily represented on every team's walkup music roster.  It's probably because he has a lot of songs that sound like anthems and also sound great in a booming, echoey stadium.


Hunter Strickland, "You Shook Me All Night Long" (AC/DC) - I have a fraught relationship with Hunter Strickland. I think he's come into his own as a relief pitcher but he will never know that because he blocked me on Twitter two years ago and APPARENTLY HOLDS A GRUDGE.  Let's be friends, Hunter.  I know I said some very mean things about you but that's back when you were giving away home runs like cops give out badge stickers.  You're better now, and so am I!  We cool?

George Kontos, "Harvester of Sorrow" (Metallica) - Whoever harvests beets, if you ask me!  WACKA WACKA

Will Smith, "Stranglehold" (Ted Nugent) - Oh, too bad we just acquired Will Smith yesterday and now HE HAS TO LEAVE.


Buster Posey, "Hell on Wheels" (Brantley Gilbert) - Same walkup song he's had since at least 2012, and probably his whole life.  I doubt Buster gives a shit, and some teammate in Salem-Keizer probably picked this for him and he was like "Fine with me, I only care about my family, the Lord, and the Game."


Hunter Pence, "My Boo" (Ghost Town DJs) - I don't know why this cracks me up.  Maybe because of this video, using the same music:



Kelby Tomlinson, "Christ In Me" (Jeremy Camp)


Hope you don't have anything to do this afternoon, because this site compiles walkup music for EVERY PLAYER IN MLB.  Let's see who can find the Worst Walkup Song of All!

(SPOILER: I figured I'd just go straight to Bryce Harper and win AND his are bad but not The Absolute Worst.  He has 5: J. Cole, Sinatra, Bieber, Bassnectar, and Moby.  I am not in the least bit surprised that Bryce Harper finds it necessary to have 5 walkup songs.)


Animal Collective
Architecture in Helsinki
Rod Stewart
Elvis Costello
Lionel Richie
Lana Del Rey


Prince Fielder

Friday, July 29, 2016

Music Friday: Balloon Drop

Since a key feature of Music Friday is analyzing major party candidates' balloon drop song choices, let's take a look at Hillary last night.

She went with a Girl Power mix, starting with Sara Bareilles' "Brave," which is certainly more upbeat than Donald's "You Can't Always Get What You Want." LOOK OUT MILLENNIALS, WE'RE COMING FOR YOU!!!

(It was extremely hard to find embeddable video of this moment, so I had to steal it from LA Times reporter Mike Memoli.  Thank you Mike Memoli.)

If you're old, you couldn't help but remember the First Clinton Balloon Drop.

Man, everybody looks a lot younger. But come on, even if you're not old, that is some pretty good shit.  Those Clintons know how to get nominated for president, that's for sure.  By the time it's Chelsea's turn, her song will probably be "What If The Mirror Is Real And We Are The Reflection" by Jaden Smith.

Speaking of political music, here's "DonaldTrumpMakesMeWannaSmokeCrack." (Donald Trump also apparently took my space bar.)

This song, which actually isn't nearly as bad as it should be, is currently #2 on Spotify's "Viral 50" chart.  Here's a boring article about how Spotify determines what goes on the Viral 50 chart.  Here's a more interesting article about the actual human people who compose playlists for Apple and Spotify and Google Play.

Hey, guess what?  My friends in the Morning Line are making music again. Woods is playing at the Chapel tonight. And next weekend, of course, is Outside Lands.  This year I'm finally doing what I threaten to do every year and leave town so I don't have to listen to Outside Lands in my living room when I'm just trying to watch Dateline.  We're going to Guerneville for the weekend, so will there even be a Music Friday next week?  I don't know.  I don't know.

From the archives, but still relevant: Your Guide to Complaining About Outside Lands.

Haha, remember one year when Outside Lands had the Dave Matthews Band and the Black Eyed Peas on the same day? Haha.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Step right up for the worst explanation of why Donald Trump is not a racist you could imagine

There's a hedge fund guy named Anthony Scaramucci who was against Trump but is now for Trump and is now raising money for him. For reasons known only to Anthony Scaramucci, he sat down and agreed to be interviewed by Jacob Weisberg, editor-in-chief of the Slate group, which I would not say is particularly friendly towards Donald.  The interview is about 20 minutes long and fascinatingly revealing.

At first there's a lot of boring stuff about how Scaramucci - "The Mooch" to friends, apparently - used to support Scott Walker but now supports Trump because Trump is now the Republican nominee.  Whatever, raccoons dig for trash in packs, I get it.  What I wasn't expecting was The Mooch's explanation about why Donald Trump isn't racist to be breathtakingly racist in and of itself.

The relevant portion starts at around 17:30.

OK. So, so, here’s the thing, here’s what happens.  There’s a gigantic arbitrage spread between what people think of him based on what they’ve read about him and snippets of him in the media world and then when people actually meet him – and my wife said this to me, we did a fundraiser for him in East Hampton two Saturdays ago, at Wilbur Ross’s home.  And we were coming out of the fundraiser and my wife turned to me and she said, “You know, I wish people could see him in this environment, answering the questions, getting a full sentence in about the questions, maybe even a paragraph so it’s not sliced on him and not taken out of context, what he said.”

I'm not saying that anyone who uses the term "arbitrage spread" in normal conversation is a dickhead, but it's like wearing a visor backwards - maybe you're a cool guy who just likes turnin' that visor around, but I doubt it.  Anyway, yes, the problem is that DONALD TRUMP IS NOT GETTING THE CHANCE TO GET HIS MESSAGE OUT.  That is seriously what The Mooch (or The Mooch's wife, I guess) wants us to believe.  Stupid press!  Why won't they let him speak?

Wait, it gets so much worse.

But some things are said in jest, and here’s the thing I don’t like about the society right now, if you don’t mind me being a little bit editorialization.  We say some things in jest in the society.  We do have ethnic jokes.  I have been the butt of ethnic jokes in my life.  And I find them humorful.  OK?  There’s also a show called “The Sopranos” that was on for 10 years that took every Italian-American stereotype that you could imagine and manifested itself for one full hour on national TV.  And I met with the Reverend Al Sharpton one day and I said “Hey, why don’t we do The Jacksons?  And we take every racial African-American stereotype, we talk in ebonics to each other, have spinners on the Escalades, and we shoot at each other with Glocks, and we have a whole prostitution ring going, I mean, and so on and so forth, are you guys gonna be sore about that?”  He admitted that he would be sore about it.  But as an Italian-American, you know, I believe in the First Amendment, and I can deal with the fact that we are typecast in shows like The Sopranos, OK?  I get the joke.  And so, he’s not a bigot, and he’s not a racist.

Hey, idiots!  The Mooch is Italian, and The Sopranos used Italian stereotypes, and it didn't bother The Mooch, so quit crying racism!  The Mooch has overcome how Italians were brought to America as slaves and then enslaved here for 300 years and then after they were freed Italians were subject to Jim Crow and the vilest discrimination and state-sponsored killing and redlining and still have a fraction of the family wealth that other Americans have.  Italians have suffered so much!

This is called a "false equivalency," and people honestly believe shit like this.

I don't even know what to say about The Mooch's show "The Jacksons."  I have a hard time believing he related this concept to Al Sharpton because Al Sharpton probably would have punched him in the fucking face if he said this kind of shit, and with good reason.

Finally, NONE OF THIS PROVES THAT DONALD TRUMP ISN'T A RACIST. The fact that "The Sopranos" trafficked in Italian-American stereotypes and it didn't bother The Mooch one bit and The Mooch had the gall to spout every African-American stereotype that popped into his head at an undoubtedly horrified Al Sharpton does not in any way mean Donald Trump is not a racist.  Saying that a judge was unfit to hear Donald Trump's case in court because of his ethnic background makes Donald Trump a racist, OK?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Music Friday: The Science of They Might Be Giants

Not to dwell too much on the apocalyptic, flaming-rats-are-falling-from-the-skies-to-devour-your-children's-limbs speech by that dimestore Manuel Noriega last night, but since this is Music Friday I'm allowed to say that choosing "You Can't Always Get What You Want" as the song for the celebratory balloon drop is either the Biggest Fucking Troll of All Time or shows a frankly breathtaking lack of awareness or, fuck it, who knows, maybe both, given this shambling shitshow of an election.

I didn't see it, actually.  I was at the Fillmore watching They Might Be Giants, which is the exact opposite of Donal Trump.

TMBG is sui generis in American music: a band that writes clever, quirky, catchy songs, doesn't take itself seriously at all, and has a wry sense of humor.  It's music for science geeks and (former) record store clerks and mathletes.  In fact, at one point during last night's show, the audience began chanting "SCIENCE! SCIENCE! SCIENCE!" like we were at a crazy Republican rally is bizarro world where they just nominated Neil deGrasse Tyson and were dropping carbon offsets instead of balloons.  I am not kidding, they actually chanted this, in response to some stage patter about science.  I am also not kidding about the stage patter about science.

I haven't listened to a lot of TMBG lately (and by lately, I mean since the mid-90's), but I quite liked "Apollo 18," their 1992 release.  Among other eccentricities, it has a song about mammals that contains the words "nuclei," "monotreme," and "allotheria;" a whole set of seconds-long song sketches smashed together at the end, and perfectly fine pop songs like "I Palindrome I," a catchy ditty about matricide.  TMBG is basically kid's music for adults.  It's charming and happy, which made it the perfect antidote to what was going on in Cleveland.  Couldn't they just leave Cleveland alone?  They have enough problems already.

Speaking of "Apollo 18," the show was billed as "They Might Be Giants plays Apollo 18," but, being They Might Be Giants, they played a bunch of other songs first and then played the album, in order, but backwards.  I mean in backwards order, not playing all the songs backwards.

It occurred to me while watching them that it's kind of perfect music for people on the spectrum because, other than mirth, I can't see TMBG generating any kind of emotional response, like some music does.  The last time I saw the Weakerthans I was moved almost to tears by the song "Left and Leaving" (go ahead, listen, you might burst into tears).  I can't imagine any TMBG provoking that kind of reaction.  And there's nothing wrong with that!  God knows we could use a little levity.  It was a fun, if tiring, show (they didn't go on until after 9 pm, and I had to leave around 11:30; they still weren't done).

We were also talking about pre-show music last night because TMBG had a nice mix going on the house PA before the show, with everything from Kendrick to Lily Allen to the Offspring and I happened to mention my Theory of Pre-Show Music, which is: The harder the pre-show music, the more twee the band.  EXAMPLE: I saw Belle & Sebastian years back and they played Geto Boys as their pre-show music.  Twee band, hard rap.  Conversely, I've seen some pretty aggro rock and they played classical or something before.  Try it and see.

THE OTHER MAJOR MUSIC STORY OF THE WEEK had something to do with Kanye, Taylor Swift, and Snapchat.  The Wife explained it to me but I wasn't really paying attention but I think it has something to do with some behind-the-scenes dealing and skullduggery and now everyone hates Taylor Swift?  I guess go to Buzzfeed or something to learn more.

DID I GET TICKETS TO FYF FEST YET: No. Saturday tickets are currently $194 on StubHub.  Humorously, 2-day tickets are $190, which means more people want to go Saturday than go Saturday and then discard a Sunday ticket. Throwing something in the trash is not worth $4 apparently.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

New Bar Night: Mid-Market Edition

Mid-Market is a long-bedraggled area of San Francisco that has apparently been on the skids since they tore up Market Street to build BART back in the 1850's.  Last night we were trying to figure out exactly what the boundaries are.  I guessed 5th to roughly Guerrero but wow was I off; according to Wikipedia it's 5th to Van Ness.

Twitter was supposed to save Mid-Market by moving into the huge old Furniture Mart at 1355 Market, so it seemed fitting to begin there, at Dirty Water, which I think is actually a restaurant more than a bar but whatever.  They have the usual $14-16 cocktails but a nice happy hour special - either a Moscow Mule or a very good Old Fashioned made with Buffalo Trace for $8.  Obviously I got the Old Fashioned because how else would I know it was good.  It was good.

[Oddly, Dirty Water's URL - - redirects to the OpenTable page linked above. In fact, Dirty Water doesn't seem to have its own website at all, which is strange in 2016 for a big expensive restaurant. The significance of this, if any, is left to you.]

The place was pretty empty at 5:30 on a Tuesday and happy hour ends at 6 anyway so we split and went across the hall to the food court/bar thing called The Market they also have in the Twitter building so we could watch the Giants pathetically get shut out by the Red Sox and also have a few slices from Tony's Slice House, which were excellent, and a couple of Firestone Pilsners, which were also excellent.

We were actually sitting at the bar of the Tapas Bar but it's pretty much all interchangeable and you can eat the food from one station at another station.  We were surrounded by a couple of open laptops on the bar and lots of Attractive Young White People.  The only disconcerting thing was that every 30-45 seconds there was a huge muffled BOOM like someone was dropping something extraordinarily heavy on the floor directly above us.  We asked the bartender.  She speculated that it was maybe the bass.  It was not the music.  Obviously there is something fucking going on and the employees have been instructed to keep silent.

Next we went to the Hot Spot, a longtime Market Street dive that closed for a while when next door neighbor Alta CA was getting built and then reopened, after some difficulty.  I hadn't been in since the remodel.  It looks nice and now there are electrical outlets every 5 feet so you know that shit was done to code.

I have no idea what Hot Spot is like on a normal Tuesday because last night it was fucking PACKED with kids because Phish was playing virtually next door at the Bill Graham.  They were yelling and drinking craft beers so Olu and I retreated to the upstairs loft where the pool table is.

Taken from Hot Spot's Yelp page. I have no idea what this dog has to do with Hot Spot. I assume thew picture was taken there? Anyway, this dog sadly contemplating the world looks like we did surrounded by 20-something SCREAMING at Hot Spot before the Phish show.
Anyway, $8 for 2 PBRs.  Would return on a non-Phish-show night.

Final stop: Mr. Tipple's Recording Studio.  God, enough with the cutesy names already.  Ugh.  Ugh.  Mr. Tipple's looks like a fairly nice hotel bar and there was live jazz playing.  It's the usual fancy cocktails, with a twist - they're all a couple of dollars more than the price on the menu because the bar automatically adds 20% for tip!  Ha, what an unusual surprise to order a $12 cocktail and only get $5 and some quarters back!  I was going to ask the bartender why I was getting shorted and then saw this on the back of the drink list:

Please know right up front that we're applying 20% to each check to be distributed to all hourly employees who work tonight. This eliminates your need to tip, it will have already been included.

Well, Mr. Tipple's, if you want people to know "right up front," put it on the front page of the damn menu because we were surprised as hell. I guess if you're in the Exciting Mid-Market area and you want to grab a $15 drink that contains kirschwasser, whatever the fuck that is and don't have to say the name out loud to anyone, Mr. Tipple's is your place.

Monday, July 18, 2016

How many Uber/Lyft cars do you think you'd see on a random Sunday drive across town?

For reasons far too boring and stupid to recount here, I spent a lot of the weekend driving around San Francisco and environs.  I actually don't drive all that much and when I do it's pretty much the exact same route - our house to day care or preschool - so I don't see a lot of the town.  On all my perambulations around the City this weekend, I was hit by one recurring thought: HOLY SHIT, THERE ARE A LOT OF UBER/LYFT CARS OUT HERE.

"A lot" doesn't mean much, so I did what any Junior Scientist would do and decided to count.  First, a couple of definitions: an "Uber/Lyft car" will hereby be defined as an car with a visible Uber or Lyft placard (or, most commonly, both) in the window.  90% of the time, in my experience, anyone with a smartphone bracket on the front widshield just above the dash is also one but I'm being strict and requiring the telltale logo.

I decided to start counting yesterday, a seemingly normal Sunday, and I happened to be at 26th and Bryant when I started.  I went from 26th and Bryant to Ocean Beach, taking a not particularly direct path.  Behold, the route:

OK, now for the fun part.  (Or, I guess, the "fun" part).  How many Uber/Lyft cars do you think I counted on a normal Sunday afternoon in San Francisco going roughly across town?  20?  30?  More?

Not even close.  I counted 61.  And that's just the ones I counted while also driving!  I could have easily missed some.  61 seems a lot to me.  For comparison, during that same drive I saw 6 cabs, and 4 of those were on Polk while I was stopped at the light.  Polk is a very big cab street!

There were so many Uber/Lyft cars that my guess would be they represented 1 out of every 4 to 5 cars I saw.  Sometimes they even appeared in bunches.  Here are two in a line waiting to turn left at California and Hyde.

Another time I was boxed in by 3 of them at once, one in front and one on each side.  It was vaguely frightening!  What if they decided to use their powers for evil?

So my first question is "How did all the people using all these Uber/Lyft cars get around before these services existed, back in the Dark Ages of 2003?"  Three answers spring to mind:  (1) For one thing, there are about 100,000 more San Franciscans than there were in 2000, so these new services are needed to transport all the shiny new SFers to and from their coding stations and food delivery incubators; (2) They took cabs or Muni or walked; and (3) People didn't go as many places because life wasn't as interesting in 2000.

I don't know.  I DO know that a lot of these Uber/Lyft cars drive like complete assholes.  I had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting one that blithely drifted into my lane on Franklin going about 35 miles an hour.  They routinely just stop wherever they happen to be and throw on the hazards, not giving a single fuck about the line of cars behind them, which is one thing if you're on deserted 28th and Noriega and quite another if - as I saw this weekend - you're on very crowded Fell Street, which is essentially a three-lane freeway with timed lights and on which any impediment immediately causes a blocks-long backup.  And so on.

I'm not advocating getting rid of Uber and Lyft.  I've used their services and may do so again in the future.  But it seems a little crazy that we've allowed this many essentially unregistered cabs to flood the streets with no screening process or driver safety and etiquette class or anything.  61 cars in a relatively short time is a lot.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Music Friday: Whither the live album?

I'm not 100% sure, but I believe the first long playing record album I bought with my own money was "Wings Over America" by, you guessed it, Wings.

[Brief explanatory note: Wings was a band fronted by kindly grandfather Paul McCartney, who you may know as Stella McCartney's dad.  He was also in a band before Wings called "The Beatles."]

This was before the Vinyl Renaissance, when it was just vinyl and that was the only way you could buy music.  WOA was an impressively heavy gatefold TRIPLE album with, IIRC, a poster and some stickers inside, along with the record.  It's actually a really good album!

Back then - and by "then" I mean the late 70's, early 80's, live albums were really A Thing.  I think everyone I knew had a copy of either "Alive" or "Alive II" by Kiss.  Neil Young's "Live Rust" isn't just a great live album, it's a great album album.  "Cheap Trick at Budokan" was playing all the time everywhere.  James Brown's "Live at the Apollo" is a legend.  It's a Pitchfork 10! And of course, every kid's older sister had Frampton Comes Alive, or at least the poster.

And today?  Crickets.  You just don't see live albums that much any more!  There was a spate of MTV Unplugged discs that were pretty good (Jay-Z's "Unplugged") to certifiably classic (Nirvana's), but the era of the live album is essentially over.  Once in a while something big drops - like maybe LCD Soundsystem's "The Long Goodbye," in 2014 - but they're no longer the ubiquitous cultural omnithings they used to be.

I found this List of Live Albums Recorded in the 2010s.  Make my Metamucil a double, bartender, the dance floor at the assisted care isn't going to pack itself! A sample:

HOLY SHIT REO SPEEDWAGON STILL FUCKING EXISTS.  They were Classic Rock when I was mowing lawns for snack bar money.  Slash pressed "record" at two different gigs and I guess enough people bought the first one to inspire a second.  Status Quo, who I thought broke up in 1975, is apparerently still giving the fans what they want and what they want is MORE LIVE ALBUMS.

Bruce Springsteen I understand.  Why the world needed a The Prodigy live album I don't.

So what happened?  Part of it, I'm sure, is that music is so fractured now that no single album is big enough to be a Huge Thing like Frampton Comes Alive anymore (with certain exceptions like Tay and Adele).  I read somewhere once that in today's market, you only have to sell like 4,000 records in a week to crack the Billboard Top 100.  (Incidentally, the biggest selling and therefore best album of the 2000s is The Marshall Mathers LP. Oh well.)

Also, when you can go on the YouTube and essentially watch a Video Live Album for free anytime, why bother just listening?  Visuals, that's what we want.  So live albums, dead.

DID I GET TICKETS TO FYF FEST YET: No, but they fell from $200 on StubHub to $180, so the dream is not yet dead.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The One-Stop Pokemon Go Thinkpiece

Jenna Ashworth hadn’t been out of her house for over 13 years.  Then, last Sunday, something amazing happened.  “I downloaded Pokemon Go,” she says, “and it just happened.  I was outside before I knew it.  I know this sounds crazy, but Charmander cured my agoraphobia.”

But Pokemon Go could be even more meaningful than that.  Pokemon Go is actually a sign of the demise of late-stage capitalism.  Freed from the vertically integrated model that delivers products from manufacturers to customers, bleeding edge companies will no doubt use PG-type technology to connect directly with perfectly targeted consumers.  Why keep a warehouse full of stuff nobody wants when you can deliver exactly one thing to one person who wants it?

Besides that, Pokemon Go is a dramatic symbol of our classist society.  The “haves” – freed by wealth and status from having to work regular hours at a menial job – are free to roam the landscapes that we all share, collecting choice Pokemons while the rest of us must make do in the little time we have.  The rich will loot the Pokeballs from the nearest Pokestop just like they looted the Capitalgainsballs from the Treasurystop.

One silver lining, though: Pokemon Go will end racism. 

That is, unless Pokemon Go fails to listen to its players, who long for a better way to connect.  Millennials are lonely and adrift and long for meaningful interaction.  No, Millennials are fine and just want to be left alone.  They want to catch a Pokemon – and then catch up with their friends on Snapchat.  No, Whatsapp.  No, they’re building and using telegraph machines.  No, they have retreated to caves and eat bison now. 

Pokemon Go will finally spell the end for laptops.

Pokemon Go’s first victim will be Marissa Mayer.

Pokemon Go means that the Trump campaign is dead in the water.  

Is Pokemon Go the new Zika?

Friday, July 8, 2016

Music Friday is off today

Music Friday will be back next Friday.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Music Friday: AMERICA

Sorry MF is late, I had a work thing to do.  It's still Friday and you have a whole extra day to read it anyway.

Speaking of patriotism and tradition, I'm glad to see the New York Daily News getting on board with FINALLY stopping the singing of "God Bless America" at baseball games.
But it wasn’t long before heartache became headache. The Yankees still play it at every game, but most teams, like my beloved Mets, play “God Bless America” only on Sundays or holidays. But even that’s too much.
Part of my outrage stems from ponderous Mussolini-esque introduction of the song, when fans are asked to rise, remove their caps and place them over their hearts.
Reality check, friends: “God Bless America” is not the National Anthem. The only songs Americans should stand for are “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Here Comes the Bride.”

PREACH.  I've been a GBA truther for a long time now.  9/11 was 15 years ago, for Christ's sake. Give it a rest.

Not that there aren't a host of excellent America songs to pick from!  No 4th of July party is complete without Kim Wilde.

Oh that reminds me, here's a great interview with Kathy Valentine of the Go-Go's about the song "Vacation."  This has nothing to do with July 4th or America except in the sense that Kathy Valentine is an American but for some reason "Kids in America" always reminds me of the Go-Go's so you can see my train of thought here.  Anyway.

Then there's your dad's America song:

Or maybe your grandad's. "Comments disabled until after the election." GREAT JOB, GARBAGE PEOPLE.

There are lots of others.  If you're making a killer playlist for your cookout, you can find some here and here.  Those lists are boring and predictable, though.  Esquire has a better version here, with stuff like Kendrick's "Alright" and Father John Misty's "Bored in the U.S.A."

Did you watch Aziz Ansari's very very very funny show "Master of None"?  If you didn't, you should watch it right away.  Apart from being funny, it also had a killer soundtrack.  There's a Spotify playlist you can use if you have Spotify.  If you don't have Spotify, you probably feel smug because you're not ripping off artists.  Anyway, one plot point in one (or maybe two episodes) is a Father John Misty show and how hard it is to get tickets and how everyone wants to go to the Father John Misty show and I like FJM just fine but really?  It's not like a surprise Beyonce show at Mezzanine or something.  It's Father John Misty.  Calm down.

Somehow I'll find a way to wedge and Elliott Smith song into this feature every week.  This one for obvious reasons.

That's about it. Get your pets into Thundershirts and your sausages on the grill because IT'S JULY FOURTH MOTHERFUCKERS.  Be safe out there.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Lyft, Airbnb, and Unintended Consequences

Because I drive and live in San Francisco, I come face to face with Lyft and Airbnb every single day of my life.  Lyft (and Uber, too) because their ubiquitous cars are constantly stopping in the middle of the street and blocking traffic and turning without signaling and generally driving like they don't give a shit about anyone else.  Airbnb because the sight of a bunch of Europeans with wheeled suitcases and track jackets going into what appears to be private homes instead of hotels is now commonplace.  And there's a full-time Airbnb hotel on my block, as I've mentioned.

It occurs to me that both of these companies have similar origin stories and similar trajectories from high-minded idealism into rank Monolpoly-man-style capitalism.  According to its origin myth (recounted at some length in this excellent TechCrunch piece "Lyft-Off: Zimride’s Long Road To Overnight Success," Lyft (then Zimride) began as a way, basically, to coordinate carpools.
If the Santa Barbara MTD gave Logan reason to question the future of transportation, it was a trip to Africa after graduation with his friend Matt Van Horn that gave him hope: Locals in Zimbabwe used carpooling to get around more efficiently.
“The streets were quiet because nobody was driving, and the government was too busy ruining the country to think about providing services like public transportation,” Logan says. So instead, people piled into shared minivans as a way to get around.
“There was this crowdsourced transportation network where anyone could be a driver and they could set their own routes,” he tells me. It impressed Logan that a country like Zimbabwe, which he says “had close to zero resources,” in many ways had a better transportation network than an affluent city like Santa Barbara. When he returned from his trip, he set out to change that.
Great stuff.  Who could be against a service that puts people going the same direction into the same car, reducing the number of single occupancy cars on the road?

Fast forward to today.  The current business model of Lyft, at least in San Francisco, appears to be: Dump as many untrained drivers, unfamiliar with San Francisco[*], onto city streets as possible, and encourage them to pick up and drop off as many people as possible.  It's gone from Casual Carpooling to a Vast Unlicensed Unregulated Off the Books Taxi Service.

[*] I say this because in my limited experience taking Lyft rides, I have yet to meet a single driver who lived in the city.  Many - if not most - had only a vague idea or none at all about where my destination was.

Airbnb has a similar story.  In the begining it was just a couple of guys renting out air mattresses on their floor for $80 so they could afford their rent.  Aw, that's sweet!  Now it's a global behemoth that pushes city governments around and encourages people to evict their tenants to operate off-the-books full-time hotels.  (Not everyone, of course.  There are still people who occasionally rent out a spare bedroom to help pay the bills.  To those people, Godspeed and have fun.  That's not who I'm talking about.)

What does it all mean?  I guess that people want to make money, and if your beautiful idea to improve humanity doesn't make money, either (1) it will stop being a thing, unless it's a charity, and no one thinks transporting drunk millennials around town is charitable, or (2) someone will monetize the fuck out of it.

Who cares?  We'll be under water or living in a Mad Max style dystopia in 30 years anyway.  Release the hounds.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

This conversation I had kinda bummed me out

I had to take our car into the shop last week and I had a conversation with the owner I've been thinking about ever since.  Because cars are mysterious and temperamental creatures, I had to take it to a different place than we usually go to.  Anyway, the owner - super nice guy BTW - was taking my info and when I told him my address he said "Oh, I grew up like two blocks from there."

"No kidding," I said.  "Where do you live now?"

"Over by Lake Merced," he said.  Then he said the interesting slash depressing thing I've been thinking about ever since.

"But we're looking to move," he said.  "This city's getting crazy."  I nodded like I knew what he meant, although he could have meant any number of things.  Then he said, "Amd we've got a kid now and we can't send him to San Francisco schools."

I didn't really ask for clarification because, hey, he's a guy working on my car and we're not here to debate the merits of San Francisco schools but MAN IS THAT DEPRESSING.  I have a kid who's going to be going to school in a couple of years and it never occurred to me to just dismiss SF public schools out of hand like that.  I mean, we fully intend to do the whole lottery thing and whatever and see what happens.  (I assume he meant "San Francisco public schools" when he said "San Francisco schools" but who knows, maybe he just can't conceive of his kid attending any school in the city limits in which case never mind.)

It occurs to me that this attitude might be more prevalent among SF natives like this guy than with people who have moved here in the last, say, 26 years like me?  From what I understand, SF public schools used to be worse and have been improving greatly over the past few years, so maybe that's it?

This picture has nothing to do with this story except it's a cool picture of San Francisco. From some astronaut's Twitter, I think. 

The second depressing aspect of this brief exchange - and yes, I can manage to extract two depressing points out of a 20-second conversation - is that this is the kind of guy San Francisco desperately needs and can no longer keep.  A regular, middle-class guy who runs a local business and is raising a family in the city and isn't trying to commodify parking spaces or figure out yet another way to get food from a restaurant to your door.  I feel like we're losing the Normal Guy demographic and that's a vital part of this city or any city.

(Again, I'm making some assumptions here based on the fact that it's a guy who owns an auto repair shop and lives out by Lake Merced.  Maybe he's actually a billionaire who created the auto repair app but I didn't get that vibe.)

That's about it.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Music Friday: Work

This seems apropos today:

Baby Britain feels the best
Floating over a sea of vodka
Separated from the rest
Fights problems with bigger problems

Did Elliott Smith predict Brexit? PROBABLY!  There's no way he could have predicted Music Friday, though, because nobody could have predicted Music Friday.

You know how people who are older than the target demo for whatever kind of music is most poplular always say "Bahhhh all those songs sound exactly the same"?  Do they say that?  They say something like that.  I was taking one of my occasional spins through the Top 20 and you know what?  THIS TIME THEY'RE RIGHT.  In fact, two of the Top 20 songs in the US are almost exactly the same song.

Here's Rihanna's "Work," which has seeped into your consciousness one way or another even if you studiously avoid popular music:

And here's "Work From Home" by Fifth Harmony, a video that makes softcore porn look like The Godfather:

What the fuck. I guess "Repeating the Word Work Between 4 and 28 Times" is the hot new genre.

The rest of the Top 20 is Drake songs and "Panda" by Desiigner or "Desiigner" by Panda, I'm not sure.  As far as I can tell, there isn't a song that could reasonably be called "rock music" in the Top 20, or maybe even the Top 50 or Top 100.  In fact, the first rock song might be "The Sound of Silence" by Disturbed at #66 which, amazingly enough, is really and truly a cover of the Simon & Garfunkel song.  I was all set to write that it "disappointingly is not a cover of the Simon & Garfunkel song" and then I went to watch the video and now I can't stop laughing.  Here is a picture of a man singing "Sound of Silence":

That was fun, Disturbed!  Do "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" next PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!!!! Then cover "Work Work Work Work Work."

In summation, the Billboard Top 100 is not really for me.

We should all collabo on a Worst Covers of All Time list.  I'll get you started:

Sorry!  I'm sorry.  I had to do that.  I want you to hurt like I hurt.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

I posted a snarky response to an Airbnb ad on Twitter. You won't believe what happened next. Or you probably will totally believe it, I don't know.

Last night "Airbnb Action," which I assume is some political lobbying arm/whitewashing patrol of Airbnb, caused a tweet to appear in my timeline, proving conclusively that Twitter has no idea how to target ads.  Me being me (i.e., a snarky asshole), I felt moved to respond.

Har har. Obviously (if you've been following the issue), the reason that the Board of Supres is "pushing new rules" (that is, "enacting legislation according to their City-afforded capabilities") is that the current enforcement mechanisms are comically ineffectual.  Current law requires everyone who rents their place out on Airbnb to register with the city.  So far, "roughly 1,400 of the estimated 7,000 or more residents who rent their homes and rooms have done so, the city estimates." SO, first of all, no one is trying "2 prevent homse sharing;" we were told we didn't need Prop F because the current system works and now the current system definitely doesn't work.  Even the fucking CEO OF AIRBNB didn't bother to piddle with the little city registration system.  Why would anyone else be a sucker and follow the law?


Then some dog got all up in my business.

I guess this means that since Prop F was defeated, Airbnb is now free to do anything they want.  BASED ON OUR NEW POLICY, AIRBNB CAN NOW RAID YOUR FRIDGE ONCE PER WEEK.  PLEASE LEAVE YOUR DOOR UNLOCKED.  THE VOTERS HAVE SPOKEN.

It went downhill from here.

BAD DOG!  First of all, he or she didn't answer my question.  I asked what we should do when the vast majority of Airbnb hosts are not in compliance.  The response was "No the STR office. #duh They are the police."  I suppose that means we should just let the STR (Short Term Rental, btw) office handle it?  That actually makes sense if you're an Airbnb host and you don't want to bother following the law. #duh.  By the time the STR cops catch up to you, the Earth will have been consumed by the Sun and Airbnb hosts on Titan will be advertising "STUNNING RING VIEWS!!!!"

As if it couldn't devolve any lower, the sad denoument:

Of course. My opinion that Airbnb hosts follow the fucking law necessarily means that I support vandalism.  Also, that is some shitty lettering.  Maybe something like this instead?

The real stupidity about the whole thing is that, based on the link to the Airbnb advertised on Dog's Twitter page, it appears that Dog rents out a room in Dog's house.  I basically have no problem with that (within some limits).  What I have a problem with is someone taking an entire home or apartment off the market and converting it into an illegal, full-time hotel.  Like the one on my block - a 3-bedroom apartment that used to be occupied by 3 tenants and which is now occupied, at $300 a night, by a rotating cast of jackoffs smoking on the stoop.  Or with building owners evicting tenants so they can rent out the rooms on Airbnb.

Is Airbnb solely responsible for the housing crisis in SF? Of course not.  Partially responsible?  Of course. Are rhetorical questions the best mode of making an argument? Not even close.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Music Friday: Old people like festivals too

The Treasure Island Music festival lineup was announced this week (or, "dropped," I guess. The lineup "dropped" on Tuesday.) and it is EVEN MORE DISAPPOINTING THAN USUAL.

Sigur Ros, really?  I mean, even if you like Sigur Ros, they don't jump to mind when you think "festival headliners."  Maybe the Kill Yourself Festival, with Nine Inch Nails, Mark Eitzel and a hologram of Joy Division.  I remember seeing Spiritualized at TI one year - during the daytime, no less - and thinking about how incongruous it seemed.  Spiritualized should only be experienced in a dark and smoky club with ample whiskey, not on a beautiful sunny day from the top of a ferris wheel.  Sigur Ros should only be experienced in a teenage cutter's room with lizards in formaldehyde in jars and an unopened bottle of Wellbutrin.

I guess Ice Cube could be fun.

But honestly, there isn't another band on there I would pay money to see.  What the fuck happened, Treasure Island Music Festival?  There used to be some good lineups.  I mean, in 2008 (the aforementioned Spiritualized year) you had TV on the Radio, Vampire Weekend, Okkervil River, Fleet Foxes, Hot Chip.  That's a good lineup!  Now we get "Glass Animals," whatever the fuck that is. I know a lot of people like Car Seat Headrest, but it just doesn't do anything for me.

Don't tell me it's because I'm getting old.  I'M NOT OLD, YOU'RE OLD. I LEARNED IT FROM WATCHING YOU.

Speaking of festivals, I recently learned that there is such a thing as the Animal Collective Camping Weekend in Big Sur and that sounds like it might be like taking acid inside a mescaline factory.  Nothing I'd rather do than sleep on the ground with 333 Animal Collective fans talking to each other in Bjork lyrics and whatever else people who would camp out to watch Animal Collective do.

Then on the other end of the spectrum you've got Desert Trip, popularly known as "Oldchella," because FINALLY someone is catering to Baby Boomers.  Haven't they labored in resolute silence long enough?  The lineup includes the Stones, Bob Dylan, The Who, Neil Young, and other proto-Mesozoic acts.  I have no idea how whatever the remaining members of the Dead are calling themselves today escaped this bill.  Apparently the olds are going to camp out, just like the kids!

You better have an "on-site locksmith," because there is no way Peepaw goes 3 days without locking his keys in the Seville.

Finally, the #1 "viral track" in the land, according to Spotify, is "Fuck Steph Curry," a nuanced and incisive analysis of Stephen Curry's faults as a basketball player and citizen.  Not really, it's actually just a guy saying "Fuck Steph Curry" over a backing track.  There are some other lyrics too. It's not very nice.

Here's "You Can't Hide" by Maktub.  It sounds like drinking beer in the sun.  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

San Francisco needs 200,000 new units of housing. No problem.

A couple of weeks ago everyone was talking about Eric Fischer's amazing blog post "Employment, construction, and the cost of San Francisco apartments," in which he aggregated historical rent data for the city going back decades and found out there's no big mystery, rents go up when there are more people here making more money.  GEE I NEVER.

How do we fix it?  Eric knows:

Well, we certainly don't want to have a 51% drop in employment or a 44% drop in salaries (not my salary, anyway, although I wouldn't mind a 44% drop in the salaries of the shitstorms on Valencia every weekend night), and nobody liked my idea to offer 100,000 people $20K to leave, so all we need is 200,000 more housing units!


1190 Mission, part of the Trinity Place development, has 418 units in a 24-story building.

To get our 200,000 units, then, we'll need about 478 of those mothers.  NOT A PROBLEM.  We can wedge 478 of those in here.

Let's start in the same neighborhood.  Hmmm, that Best Buy on Harrison is pretty big for a store that sells a bunch of shit you're going to get on Amazon anyway.  And look at that parking lot!

Looks like we can get at least 6 1190's in there.  (That's what we're calling our Standard Housing Units, BTW, "1190's," after their original ancestor at 1190 Mission.


That was easy.  Poof, I just put 2,508 new units of housing where a bunch of flat screen TVs and parked cars used to be.  We're over 1% done and we've barely even started!  I CAN FEEL RENTS FALLING ALREADY.

A common refrain when talking about new housing in SF is that new building is always concentrated in SOMA and Mission Bay and never on the west side of town.  That has to end.  SUNSET RESERVOIR, MEET YOUR NEW NEIGHBORS!!!

I know, I know, we could probably fit like 16 1190's here, but the people across the street are already going to a series of massive coronaries and strokes followed by more heart attacks as soon as this is proposed.

We can even use 1190's to improve society!  BEFORE:


Ahhhh, that's better.

OK, now just have to find room for 468 more.  Don't piss me off or your block is next.

This one is called the Burrito Justice Arms, for obvious reasons, and it's actually very very expensive.  You can't live here.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Music Friday: The blood-dimmed tide is loosed

 Why do I hate Train so much?  Is it their blandly calculated Mom-rock, which sounds engineered in a lab and specifically designed by a team of specialists to appeal to suburban white women, 29-54, who still think of themselves as edgy because they have half a joint left over from a party a few years ago and enjoy the occasional shot of Mezcal and softcore porn?  It should come as no surprise, on that front, that some of their biggest "hits," like "Hey, Soul Sister" and "Drive By" were cowritten with Norwegian production team Espionage, who generally make their scratch writing for American Idol lower-tier finishers, which are about comparable to Train's level of competence and/or enjoyability.

Or is it the utterly insipid and often laughably inane lyrics, which sometimes, for example, feature singer Pat Monahan portraying himself as a "shy guy looking for a two ply / Hefty bag to hold my love," which would make him eligible for sex offender registration in several states?  Or their continued and desperate-seeming need to connect themselves to San Francisco, where they got their start, despite the fact that they have long since decamped to Seattle or whatever?

I don't know.  All of it, I guess.  But just in case you need a little more, Train has gone and released a song-by-song cover of Led Zeppelin II.  Even if you're not a huge Led Zeppelin fan - and I'm not really, although of course I was once a 16-year-old pot smoking youth and thus have done more than enough Led Zeppelin listening - this news should frighten and confuse you.  Why?, you might ask.  Why would you do such a thing?  Led Zeppelin never did anything to you.

Because I love and respect you and would never want you to be hurt, I went and listened to some of it.  It's not terrible.  It's extraordinarily faithful to the original.  Which means, what was the fucking point?  Last year, Ryan Adams released a song by song cover of Taylor Swift's 1989, which I enjoyed quite a bit, largely because he Ryan Adams-ized the songs so completely that it sounded like a decent new Ryan Adams album.  This sounds like when a TV show can't get the rights to the original recording of something and hire studio musicians to cover it as closely as possible.

They're playing it at the Great American Music Hall on Tuesday.  It's sold out, of course.

If you wanna go, here's a guy on Craigslist selling tix for $250 each.  Your funeral.  Here's a great article in the New York papers about the pointlessness and ennui of the whole project.

Speaking of existing in a hellscape of heat and pain, Bonnaroo is this weekend! I was just in Middle Tennessee and I could only be outside for 25 minutes at a time under the blinding sun and searing 90 degree heat and 50 percent humidity but if you want to stand in that to watch Jason Mraz, go for it.  Actually, there are some bright spots in the lineup - Waxahatchee, Tame Impala (playing from 1 am to 3 am! They don't make enough cocaine), the always fun LCD Soundsystem, Vince Staples, Father John Misty - but what with the heat and the hippies and the camping, I can't even.  I'm stuck with urban festivals only from here on out.

Finally, have you ever discovered a band that you've never heard mentioned by anyone before and you can't figure out why they're a big secret and man, this album is pretty good!  That just happened with me and the band is Ultimate Painting and the album is Ultimate Painting.  Predictably, there's also a song on the album called Ultimate Painting, but here's a different song.

The Velvet Underground is strong in this one. I like it. It says on their Internet web site that they're playing the Chapel on July 25, but nobody told the Chapel apparently.  Hopefully they sort that out.

And with that, go blessedly into your weekend.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

How to disrupt the car rental industry, which needs some disrupting

We've been traveling a fair amount lately and that means renting cars and there may be, what, I don't know, 10 different car rental #brands like Avis and Budget and Hertz and Dollar and whatever else but it's always the same thing.  

1. Get to counter.
2. Give ID and credit card
3. Clerk tries to upsell you.  "How about a BMW 550?  Perfect for this weather!" This actually just happened to me.  No thanks, I can look like a dickhead just fine by myself, I don't need a BMW 550 to help!
4. Clerk warns you darkly of your financial ruin should you pass on the rental insurance.  "Sure, your insurance might cover it, but until their coverage kicks in, you will be forced to squat in a mud hole, covered in ants!  That could be very unpleasant!!!!"
5. Finally get your Mitsubishi Galant or similar.  Have you ever seen a Chevy Malibu other than as a rental car?  Does Chevrolet even make Malibus for sale to the general public?

Well, all that is about to change.  Meet, the new car rental agency that will change the way you look at car rentals.

Here are the features of the disruptive rental car agency I just made up:

- We have normal cars.  Like you can get a VW Passat or a Subaru Outback or even a Prius if that's your Life Path.  Your funeral.  No "Buick Verano," whatever the fuck that is.

- All the insurance is rolled into the cost of the rental.  Sure, we cost a couple bucks more, but you're totally covered if you back into the Gateway Arch or whatever.  (Does not include windows being broken if you leave a laptop bag on the seat, you fucking moron.)

- Bring it back with however much gas is left, we don't care.  We'll fill it up and bill your credit card at whatever price the closest gas station to the airport is charging.  Don't worry about it, we cool.

- Our website will have a cool interface like Tinder or something but without the pain of constant rejection and disappointment.

- Is it going to cost a little more?  Of course it's going to cost a little more!  OK, a lot more.  But paying more just means you're important and cool!  

- Why  Chinchillas are known as the car rentals of animals.  No, I just made that up.  It's because was available as of this morning.  Go innovate with us!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Music Friday: The Birth of Music Friday

Hey everyone, welcome to Music Friday, a new feature here where you can take advantage of integrated social network posting to reach job seekers on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.  Oh wait, no, that's not right. That's someone else.  Actually this is a new feature where I will talk about music every Friday.  You know what they say, it mix the bourgeoisie and the rebel.  So let's go.

Recently Spotify Discover Weekly (more about which below) served me up something surprising and cool.  Now, if I said to you "how about a reggae cover of a Radiohead song" you'd probably say something like "they don't make weed big enough" or "can you reload for me I accidentally fired that one off the side of my head" but BELIEVE IT OR NOT this cover of "Let Down" by Toots & the Maytalls (under the Easy Star All Stars aegis) is actually pretty great.

It's not just me! According to reliable sources like their marketing agency, "Thom Yorke, 'in a rare moment of onstage chatter' according to USA Today, praised Toots and the Maytals' version of 'Let Down,' while Yorke's bandmate, guitarist Jonny Greenwood, calls it 'truly astounding.'"  Listen for yourself; I think it's pretty great, and I'm the kind of person who would normally break out in hives at the phrase "reggae cover."

(Why did SDW serve up this odd choice to me?  Probably because I listened to some Radiohead. Did I listen to some reggae at some point?  I don't think so, but BLACKOUTS HAPPEN!!!!)

Turning to matters more conventional, as you know, I love Sturgill Simpson a lot, which is to say more than other modern country music and less than beer.  I didn't love his latest album, "A Sailor's Guide to Earth" as much as his prior 2 albums, but it's still better than a lot of things.  Anyway, Sturgill did a WTF podcast with Marc Maron and it's illuminating and fascinating, not just because I'm a fan of the artist but also because he's just had an interesting life, going from rural Kentucky to the Navy to working for the railroad in Utah and other country-music-type-stuff.  Worth a listen.

(That being said, I might be heretical here but I don't really care for Marc Maron's interviewing style, which often seems to be Marc Maron talking about Marc Maron while the guest patiently listens.  He's like a rougher, recovering alcoholic Terry Gross.)

Listening to that led me to the catalog of Jason Isbell, an artist I have tried out once or twice but never really followed up on but then hearing Sturgill talk about him like he was God I went back and checked some stuff out again.  HOLY SHIT, I should have paid more attention the first time.  This blew me away:

Trigger warning, don't listen to this if anyone you know has ever died, or if you're a person on the Earth.  It is fucking DEVASTATING.

I promise I don't exclusively listen to reggae covers and morose alt-country!  While recently listening to someone's show on BFF.FM, the Only Station That Matters, I happened to hear Warm Soda's "Tell Me in a Whisper."  What a fun song!

Cool, huh? Wait, was there something else? Oh yeah, Spotify Discover Weekly, the service where Spotify serves you a playlist specifically tailored to what you might like.  Or should like.  Unlike every other one of these type things, Spotify Discover Weekly actually prodcues results.  It's magical!  Here's a great article about how they do it.

Finally, I really want to go to the Saturday set at FYF Fest in LA.  Seriously, check out this lineup:

Unfortunately, it's sold out.  Maybe I'll be the tenth caller or something, who knows.

If you go see Brian Jonestown Massacre this weekend, CONGRATULATIONS! You're probably older than me.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

This Dolores Park fee thing smells like some bullshit, even if it's somehow not

What are we outraged about today?  Why, the Rec and Parks Department renting chunks of Dolores Park, the beloved humanity hive in Mission Park.  Patient Zero for Today's Rage appears to be SFist:

This should end well. A two-month pilot program from the Recreation and Parks Department now allows people to reserve sections of Dolores Park for periods of at least seven hours. And no, not the picnic table areas (which you've always been able to reserve), but just straight up sections of grass near Hipster Hill/Fixie Flats. What's more, on weekends Rec and Parks plans on having staff on site to enforce the reservations — so you better not sit in someone's spot.
Yes, it costs money. And yes, the primary way to book the spots is online. The new practice of course calls to mind the infamous Soccer Field War of 2014 in which longtime, Mission-born players ran up against a new reservation system being used by recent transplants and tech employees, ultimately causing neighborhood kids to get kicked off what they saw as their own fields.
According to the Rec and Parks website, in order to reserve your own little piece of Dolores heaven, now all you have to do is apply and pay the fee of $33 to $260 (depending on group size, and not including the $200 security deposit). "All requests for Mission Dolores must complete an online Picnic Application," the site explains.

The predictable Blinding Rage Kabuki followed: (1) Rage Trigger; (2) Angry Twitter; (3) Wait, this isn't a big deal; (4) My dumb opinion.

Number three took the form of tweets like this:

Well, sure. Everyone knows you can rent picnic areas (which is basically a picnic table or two and a grill that has been used so much it looks like it was dipped in molten iron and then hastily left to dry, or maybe Forged in the Fires of the Ur-Griller Carbo.  I was at such an event last Saturday in Golden Gate Park, even!  Some people even know you can rent the picnic areas in Dolores Park.

But this seems different.  We're not talking about a clearly delineated area like a picnic table.  No, this is just an imaginary square in the middle of the grass.

See that "NW-A"?  Unfortunately, it's not a set-aside area for performances by the legendary Compton ensemble.  It's picnic area A, and I guess if you rent it you have the right to control who shall enter and stay upon your private grasstangle.  You better get some velvet ropes and a big fucking bouncer, because based on how crowded Dolores Park gets on weekends, keeping the Undesirable and the Uninvited out of your Rented Piece of Paradise is going to be a Grade A Bitch.

So Rec & Parks' position is basically "Nothing new here, it's always been this way, we have always been at war with Eastasia," but I've been going to parks for a long time and I have never seen any square of grass that someone was claiming squatters rights on and telling me not to sit there because they had a fucking permit.

The problem OF COURSE like everything else in Our Garbage City is bigger than just this latest flap.  It's about the Public Good being sold off for Private Use and it's just another chapter in the Dropbox Soccer Bros tale of the newly arrived wealthy and entitled kicking the rest of us off of public facilities that we've been paying for a lot longer than they have.  RESENTMENT SELLS and gets clicks to boot.

So I don't know, maybe Rec and Parks really has been selling imaginary sections of the park off for daily use since Time Immemorial and we've just never noticed because we've never accidentally trod onto someone's private square of park, but the whole thing seems fishy as hell.

(All that being said, I still don't get why people shove themselves into every square inch of Dolores Park whil,e acres of other parks sit empty.  Convenience, I guess.  Still.)

UPDATE!!!!!!: It's over.  They're not doing it.  You can reserve the picnic tables, but the Grasstangles 2016 is dead.  RIP grasstangles.

(POSTSCRIPT: I know my assignment today was Day 2 of Computer Generated Week of Blogging, specifically "14 Common Misconceptions About Booze," so just repeat to yourself "alcohol is universally good or bad" 14 times.)

Monday, May 23, 2016

Computer-Generated Week of Blogging, Day 1: Take This Inane Quiz!

Thanks to this tweet by Twitterer Julie Polito:

I learned there is something called "Hubspot" and that it can generate Great Blogging Ideas presumably designed to Engage My Core Audience and Develop Quality Content that will Drive Marketing Success and Engagement.  I haven't been blogging as much lately what with the Kid and also being a regular person taking up so much of my time so WHAT THE HELL I figured, Hubspot, give me some Fresh and Dynamic Content ideas.

I typed in three nouns that interested me and Hubspot gave me a veritable cornucopia of potential content:

Just for me!  OK, Hubspot, your wish is my command.  Let's start today with #1!


Please answer "True" or "False" to the following 14 questions!!!

1. I spent junior year abroad in Spain so let me tell you how inauthentic these tapas are.

2. Things were better in another time that isn't now.

3. There is a stick that protrudes perpendicularly from the right side of my steering column. I have no idea why it's there or what it does.

4. I sometimes takes quizzes with titles like "Think You're Cut Out for Doing San Francisco? Take This Quiz"

5. I think it's a pretty good idea to open a ping pong bar that cost 5 million dollars.

6. I like dogs.


8. I'm special too.

9. I could pay $4,000 for a one-bedroom apartment but a $15 cab fare halfway across town is ridiculous.

10. I moved here from Different City. It's different here. Let me tell you about it, based on my barely informed perceptions after being here for 6 months and some commonly held if not necessarily true beliefs.

11. I wear hoodies all the time, unlike in other cities.

12. I believe that all these new people are destroying the city so I sold my house for $3,000,000 and moved to Denver.

13. I have seen people less fortunate than myself and was able to come to terms with the fact that they are human beings too.

14. There aren't enough bubble tea shops anywhere.

If you answered TRUE to even one of these questions, CONGRATULATIONS!!  You are cut out for doing San Francisco.