Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I love this story as an allegory of the new new San Francisco

Something's afoot at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium!  We don't know what.  Nobody knows. You're not allowed to find out about it.

I stole this from the Chroncile's web site. The whole story doesn't appear to be on SFGate? They're hiding that from you too.
From our friends at the Chronicle:

Dozens of parking spaces surrounding Bill Graham Civic Auditorium are closed for nearly a month. Lanes of traffic on Grove Street and Hayes Street are shut down in the already congested area. Sidewalks around the building are blocked off.
Police officers and private security guards on Tuesday formed a perimeter around the building, huge air conditioning machines were in place outside, and the city’s Planning Department is considering allowing the temporary removal of the huge glass windows on the facade for signage.
Something big is being planned. But what?
The online tech rumor mill is speculating that the auditorium could be the site of Apple’s annual autumn media reveal, the date for which is likely to be Sept. 9.
A monthlong hassle for Civic Center users for a one-day presentation of the next iPhone? It’s certainly possible, but everybody involved claimed not to know or wouldn’t say.
“I’m even the landlord of the building, and they won’t tell me,” said Rob Reiter, project director for the Civic Center. “I’ve never seen anything like it before, but I’m just a guy in the basement,” he said of his office in the bowels of City Hall.

Hahahaha.  Did you get that?  The fucking self-described LANDLORD OF THE BUILDING doesn't know because the Actual People in Charge of Our Garbage City have patted him on the head and told him he doesn't need to know.

(Also, I assume Rob Reiter is a nice guy and whatever but he really sounds beaten down by life to the point where he describes himself as "just a guy in the basement.")

Furthermore,

The Planning Department is reviewing a permit request from Another Planet to remove four huge windows from the Grove Street facade of the building, secure them with bubble wrap (yes, bubble wrap) and install temporary signage. Drawings on the permit request show big stars would be placed in the window-shaped signs.

The tech industry so thoroughly owns and operates this town now that it can command total secrecy as it reconfigures a PUBLICLY OWNED THEATER and maybe even swaps out the fucking GLASSWORK to its own specs.  We are all truly players on Apple's stage.  I guess that makes us iMovie elements. San Francisco is their set, and we just live here now.  Someone has to populate the background of EXT. STREET SCENE - NIGHT.

(Also, "big stars" in the windows sounds tacky as fuck, but what do I know, I'm not a technology conglomerate with a mayor on retainer, I'm just a doofus with a blog that operates thanks to a different technology conglomerate with the same mayor on retainer.)

Supervisor Jane Kim, whose district includes the auditorium, said she’d heard the Apple rumor but didn’t know for sure. Police officers and guards standing out front said they didn’t know, either.
Even the fucking cops don't know.  "Hey man, what are you guarding inside there that's so valuable?"  "Fuck if I know!"  HOW WOULD YOU KNOW WHO TO SHOOT THEN OR IF SOMETHING IS GOING WRONG.

Maybe you'll find out.  Maybe you won't.  Maybe Apple will have its next product launch in your fucking kitchen.  Shut the fuck up and don't eat all the English muffins, there's important people coming through.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Let's see what's going on over at Nextdoor dot com



I think I saw a brown person. What should I do?
Sandra Hofnagel from Volvo Heights

Hi neighbors - I don't want to scare anyone unnecessarily, but I'm 99% sure I just saw a brown person on the sidewalk here in the neighborhood. It looked like he might have been drinking from a can which I suspect was probably "malt liquor" or another kind of crime drink. He was casually glancing at some of the houses on my street which is known as CASING THE JOINT. He also has some kind of backpack which I assume was full of stolen goods.  I didn't call the police but I certainly will if I see another one.  Be careful out there!

Preston thanked Sandra


Skip Teva from Broey Valley
Thanks for the warning, Sandra! I too have seen a brown or dark brown person in the neighborhood but just assumed he was on his way to catch a bus after being released from prison. I didn't think about the possibility that he could be committing brand new crimes! You've opened our eyes. Thanks. Yes, definitely call the police or the army next time.
Please leash your dogs!  
Phil Angina from Cattle Guard
I know that you think you have your dog under "mind control" but as others have said IT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO KEEP YOUR DOG ON A LEASH. Just last night an unleashed dog got into my garbage area and made a mess of things.  I managed to snap a picture of the doggie (see below) and if this is your dog YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF.



Preston thanked Phil

New market in neighborhood "Wall Green's"
Dorothy Smak from Inner Matlock

It looks like they finally got rid of that eyesore cafe with the whipped cream drinks and replaced it with a beautiful new market, "Wall Green's." I couldn't believe all the merchandise and it was so clean! The little Oriental girl who helped me find some new reading glasses was as nice as she could be. There was a man asking for money outside but I don't believe he is affiliated with Wall Green's.  Do yourself a favor and visit Wall Green's.

Preston thanked Dorothy

Free kittens!
Bebe Good from Spackle Hill

Our mama cat Siamese B. Anthony had another litter and we've got 8 adorable cuddly kittens to give away!  Free to a good home!

Preston thanked Bebe


Peacewind Sandpainting from Toggletown
Um, I hope you realize you're perpetuating the patriarchy and the oppression of all living things by suggesting that kittens can be given away like feelings or crystals. ANIMALS ARE NOT PROPERTY. I suggest you place the kittens in a human-free setting after they've been treated for PTSD arising from your horrible attempts to dominate them.
Gerhard Vorschlicter from Mountain Valley
I would like to rent a house soon I spend 2-3 days in the city per month so nothing too expensive but it should be spacious and cleaned regularly also a dining room table and a chair

Suspicious bicycle
Brick Oven from Shanty Creek

There's a bicyle parked in front of my house right now. It's been there for several hours.  If someone doesn't claim it soon I'm going to saw it in half and put the pieces under my neighbor's ugly Scion.

Preston thanked Brick

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

TK's Recipe of the Week: Gnocchi with Bacon and Escarole

Pasta used to be just dump a sauce over some noodles and call it a day.  Well, fuck that.  Here's how you do pasta: some kind of pasta + some kind of meat + some kind of green + something red.  I like gemelli and Italian sausage and spinach and chopped tomatoes.  This recipe is another version of that.  It's super easy to make but looks hella fancy like from a restaurant.  

I know what you're saying.  "Is gnocchi pasta?"  I don't know, ask Quora.  Who gives a fuck.  This tastes good.

I think I originally got this recipe from Food Network or something.  I definitely stole this picture from Food Network.



Ingredients

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces.
1/2 onion, chopped
1 small head escarole, roughly chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 17 .5-ounce package potato gnocchi
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven or something over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Add the onion and continue cooking until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the escarole, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook until the escarole is completely wilted, about 3 minutes.  Then stir in the tomatoes.

WHILE ALL THAT IS GOING ON, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi and cook as the label directs. It usually takes like 2 minutes and gnocchi comes with its own built-in timer that works like this: when it pops up to the surface of the water, it's ready!  How cool is that? Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain the gnocchi and add to the pot with the escarole mixture. Add the reserved cooking water and stir to coat, about 1 minute. (Or you can skip the reserved cooking water thing; I usually do, and nothing bad happens.  I guess it's good if the gnocchi starts to stick together but whatever.)  Sprinkle some parsley on top.  Bask in the warm glow of a job well done.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Million Dickhead Listing SF: Turning and turning in the widening gyre

Just like last week, we've got a new crop of greedheads anxious to cash register out of their homes and siphon money from Google into their voracious mouths.  Unlike last week, it mostly doesn't work this time.

Justin meets up with old high school pal "Kevin" at Milennium Towers and I for one am curious about where the fuck this high school is.  (Oh, it's Gateway; here's a 2002 SF Gate piece on a much younger Justin interning at City Hall. Sounds like he wanted to go into politics instead of getting loathsome people houses in SF, but there you go.)  I hope Kevin is a long-form performance art piece with his dog named Kevyn Jr. and his stupid polar bear sweater and his apartment and his desire to become a jam enterpeneur because if this is all real AND it's coupled with his insane request to get almost $4 million for his little apartment (later talked down to 3 mil) then he's just a gluttonous snake like the rest of them who happens to think he's so quirky and charming and that's much worse somehow.

For some reason Justin thinks the way to blood-draw 3 million dollars from some sucker for this place is to have a fashion show?  So he gets some guy to put a bunch of mannequins fucking inside? And that will make people swoon and hand over their Dropbox fortune?


I don't know anything about fashion or real estate but the only thing this makes me want to buy is a flamethrower.  Eventually some mental deficient offers $2.8 for this place and of course Kevin won't take it.  We'll taste jam in hell together Kevin.

Andrew is not in San Francisco at all, which is a positive development for everyone else in San Francisco but unfortunately it looks like he's only temporarily detained in Livermore, where a little guy with a beard spends his days rolling around a 7000 square foot mansion that keeps getting described as Tuscan although it's in fucking Livermore and not Tuscany and also having red tiles and a pergola does not make any McMansion "Tuscan."  It's surrounded by a chardonnay vineyard because of course.

Returning to SOMA, as we often do, Roh is at the Metropolitan, where Ching would like him to sell a room at the W furnished by Ikea with an assist from the Free Stuff section of Craigslist.  Oh, there's a tenant they can't get rid of, and this little cockroach has committed the grave sin of leaving its shoddy belongings all over the unit.  The apartment is owned by MR. WONG, an "investor in China."

Mr. Wong's lair I mean office
Mr. Wong initially demands ONE POINT FOUR MILLION AMERICAN DOLLARS for this place but that is ridiculous even by San Francisco standards and Roh convinces Mr. Wong to go at the more reasonable 1.25.  Next a parade of assholes stomp through the place and pronounce it "ugly" and "horrible," just like their souls.  Eventually "Heidi," who has cultivated an aesthetic somewhere between truck stop waitress and Divine, comes forth with an offer: one million dollars.  Roh gets her to come up to 1.25 but I HAVE A BAD FEELING ABOUT THIS.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.  Mere offers of under asking are loosed upon the world.  Jam Magnate/Complicated Hairstyle Kevin will not sell Mannequin Fuck Palace for under 3 mil, so our work here is done.  Tiny Wine Tycoon suddenly remembers that he has a daughter who wants to get married 'midst the rolling hills and lifted trucks of Livermore and so he cannot bear to sell Tuscan Towne for 3.8 or any other price.  Roh meets with Heidi fresh off her shift at the Flying J but she is about to grind out a Benson & Hedges in his eye when she finds out that Mr. Wong is no longer selling.  Instead, he is transforming the tenant into a postapocalyptic cyborg warrior who will do his dark bidding.  One day Mr. Wong will be the landlord of all of us.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Journalism! Oh well. Part 2.

I'm going to assume that Time magazine has gone to some kind of vanity press model where you can publish anything you want on Time.com as long as you pay them enough because that's the only rational explanation I can come up with for this sub-Debra-J-Saunders pile of drivel.  Or maybe it's just a naked, trolling pageview gambit because if any editor at Time thought this piece had any more journalistic worth than Weekly World News filler, journalism really is dead and US Weekly is our new New York Times.

The piece I am referring to, of course, is "Netflix’s New Parental Leave Policy Could Make Things Worse for Women," by one "Suzanne Venker."  It begins thusly:
No doubt people are dancing a jig with Netflix’s announcement Tuesday that the tech company will allow its employees to take unlimited maternity or paternity leave during the first year after their child’s birth or adoption—while earning their normal pay.
I'm dancing a jig!  No, I'm not, because I don't work at Netflix.  Also, who has used the term "dancing a jig" since FDR's fireside chats?  "Twenty-three skidoo, Ethel, I'm dancing a jig over the new warshing mechanism!  What's a Netflix?"

Suzanne Venker darkly sees many problems with Netflix's fantastic and generous policy that is a great benefit to employees and which I desperately wish my wife's company had:

First, offering an unlimited leave policy in the first year to new moms and dads means the remaining employees who don’t fit the bill will be left to pick up the slack. This will likely, in turn, strain relations among co-workers and make the workplace environment less effective.

[citation needed]  It will likely strain relations among co-workers!  This sounds serious!  I'm sure this is a well-documented problem that Suzanne Venker can support with studies and research.  Oh, when it's "likely" you don't need evidence.  This is the equivalent of Ancient Aliens' common use of the term "Isn't it possible that.....," as in "Isn't it possible that the stones used to build the Great Wall were quarried by ruby lasers attached to the foreheads of barely-sentient orgone slaves imported from Io?"  You can get away with anything like that!  Sure, Suzanne, it's likely!

Second, it isn’t fair to babies. By encouraging mothers, who are the still the primary parent at home, to bond with their baby for a long period of time with the expectation they’ll return to work at the end of the year means the baby will become even more attached to his mother, and separation may become intolerable.

Suzanne Venker is on much firmer ground here, because a vast amount of research supports the notion that separation may become intolerable when a mother returns to work after a year.  Oh no, wait, it's exactly the opposite!  I suppose it "may" become intolerable, sure.  If even one baby has trouble adjusting, we shouldn't do it at all!  Good thinking, Suzanne!

Offering new parents full pay for up to one year is akin to putting a band-aid on a gaping wound. The needs of children are huge, and they do not end at one year. On the contrary, they just begin. Taking a year off of work to meet those needs merely scratches the surface.

Get the message, Mom?  NEVER LEAVE YOUR CHILD'S SIGHT, NOT EVEN FOR A SECOND.  Any absence creates a "gaping wound."  Hope your college fund is for 2, because you're going with him/her!

It goes on and on in this vein, trying to shame women into staying at home instead of going to work.  Which, if you can do it and that's your choice, fine, but a lot of women either can't or don't want to and that's fine too and the last thing we need is Suzanne Venker trying to make someone feel bad with completely fabricated arguments supported by zero evidence.

We will later learn, although it is not disclosed anywhere in the article or the author's note, that Suzanne Venker is the kind of person who tweets things like "The war on men is real. And it has only just begun" or "Feminism is evil in disguise" so I'm starting to get the sense that Suzanne Venker isn't a 100% neutral source on this topic.

Fuck's sake, Time magazine.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Journalism! Oh well.

To understand this Journalism Thing, you need to know a few background facts:

1. The San Francisco Chronicle is San Francisco's only big-time, still-printed-on-paper-every-day newspaper.  I get it delivered to my door!  I'm old school like that.  Also, just old.  Anyway, being the single most important newspaper in SF comes with a Civic Responsibility, I think.  It is my belief that a city's newspaper should serve as the citizenry's watchdog, unafraid to keep a careful eye on what government is doing for and to its people.

2. There have been some questions about whether the Chron is living up to this solemn responsibility.

3. Former mayor Willie Brown writes a weekly column for the Chronicle, which appears on Sundays.  It is a strange, although not-unpleasant melange of lightweight political observations, very, very lightweight movie reviews, and almost certainly fabricated anecdotes in which normal folks encounter Willie and inevitably share quoteworthy bon mots.  (Example:  A guy came up to me at Town Hall on Thursday night and asked me, “You know what is both the shortest and the longest sentence in the English language?” “I do.” Complete strangers apparently approach Willie Brown at dinner with sub-Borscht-Belt level jokes.)

4. The defense in the Raymond Chow case has suggested, in court filings, that Mayor Ed Lee accepted bribes, a parctice he inherited from former Mayor Willie Brown.

Now, that sounds like a juicy story for a newspaper to investigate!  Not one but TWO former mayors taking bribes!  But wait!  Is the San Francisco Chronicle going to investigate San Francisco Chronicle columnist Willie Brown?

They don't need to!  Willie Brown has told us, on the pages of the San Francisco Chronicle, that he didn't take any bribes at all!  

I could feign surprise or even indignation at seeing my name dropped in FBI wiretap transcripts as having taught the folks at City Hall the art of “pay to play” politics. But in all honesty, after 40 years of innuendo and countless investigations, I’m used to it.
So when federal court filings quoted former Human Rights Commission compliance officer Zula Jones as telling an FBI undercover agent in the Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow case that I taught her everything there is to know about laundering campaign contributions, I could only chuckle.
I have never talked about campaign contributions with Jones in my life. And I would not know her cohort who shows up in the Chow case, former Human Rights Commissioner Nazly Mohajer, if she bumped into me on the street.
I do know, however, that for years the FBI has targeted sting operations at black officials and other minority politicians all across the nation. That is why, in all my years in office, I treated every phone call as if it were being taped and everyone I spoke to as if they were wearing a wire.

So stand down, citizens.  All is well!

I tweeted about this apparent - well, you could say apparent or you could say GLOWING LIKE THE SURFACE OF THE SUN OBVIOUS - conflict of interest yesterday:




Through the good replies of my fellow citizens, I found that questions about the relationship between Brown and the Chronicle have been raised before, like in this article by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez in the sadly defunct Bay Guardian. Somebody should pay Joe to look into this more.  Surely with the billions of dollars sloshing around this town we can fund some investigative reporting.  One less laundry app!  Uber for muckraking!

(It feels weird to write about questionable journalism without Debra J. Saunders being involved, but don't worry, Debra, I'm sure you'll be featured again soon.  The odds are in my favor.)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Million Dickhead Listing SF: So much fucking greed. Greed pouring out of people's eyes.

Remember Gordon Gekko's famous greed speech speech from the movie "Wall Street"?



What seemed somewhere between disturbing and obscene in 1987 now seems positively quaint.  And compared to the viperous house-leeches on last night's episode, Gordon Gekko is basically St. Augustine.  These people don't just want obscene gobs of money for their houses; they want huge, dripping bags of money, with gold coins falling out the top and huge dollar signs on the side.  Every extra $50K gives them visible full-body orgasms.  It's quite a scene.

Justin finds himself in SOMA, as we call it, where some people bought a boring-ass loft a few years ago for $1.2 million and now want $2.1 because symmetry.  He decides the way to market this thing is with an Airnstream trailer at Off the Grid Fort Mason because, in his words, "If you want to find dumb rich hipster techies you have to go to a food truck festival."  Finally, we agree on something, Justin!  He shows the box to a stream of dejected buyers, disappointed in the lack of a gym or rooftop deck or why is this kitchen not bigger and why didn't Mommy look at me every second I'm so special.

Roh is trying to move some huge pile in the Marina - a "very sexy area," he says.  If the Marina were a person, you would probably fuck it.  Anyway, the owner of  this huge 2-unit pile that looks like a hotel in Sarasota bought it for $3.2 mil 10 years ago and now Roh thinks he can get her 4.6.  She and her accent seem cool with that.

Andrew, meanwhile, is in what they're calling Nopa now, which, he says, "used to be a shithole," like everywhere else he goes in Our Garbage City.  Some dude with some yappy dogs is trying to move his condo for too much and Andrew gets him to set it at $1.098 mil.  After everything else on this fucking show, that seems like a huge bargain.

Back in the Marina, Roh is having trouble moving Casa Grande, maybe because everyone knows that it will melt like hot wax and sink into the warm, bubbling mud as soon as there's any earthquake over a 6.5 and you're basically paying almost 5 mil to rent a house until that happens.  He actually uses the word "liquefaction" at one point which is a better buyer repellent than saying there was a torture-murder in the solarium or the prior owner was a cat hoarder.

HERE COMES THE GREED.  Everyone's getting offers and none of the money-breathers want to take them.

GREED #1: Roh gets a full-price offer for a building that is literally going to vanish into the liquid Earth sometime in the next 30 years and SHE WON'T TAKE IT.  She wants more money!  MORE MORE MORE MORE MONEY MORE FOR ME MONEY MONEY MONEY

GREED #2: Justin meets up with Stephanie who I guess is the SOMA box's seller agent at Big 4, which must have a kickback arrangement with this show, for a couple of blood orange bellinis and TURNS DOWN his all-cash no contingency offer of $1.7 million.  ARRRRGGGHHH FUCK ALL THESE PEOPLE.  But they'll take 1.8.  This is the kind of dick-swinging that even people named Stephanie do for fun.

GREED #3: Roh gets it up to 4.7 million.  Greedhead wants MORE MORE MORE MORE but finally takes 4.8.

GREED #4: Even the nice little man with the 2 dogs and the tastefully furnished place in "Nopa" is getting in on the action now.  1.098 million?  NO I WANT MORE MONEY PLUS I WANT TO KEEP LIVING THERE FOR FREE.  Surprisingly, tentacles do not burst forth from the ground and drag this man screaming into a dark netherworld but the buyers instead are like "OK sure!  Here, take more money and keep living there for a few more months."

In closing, this show is depressing as fuck.