Friday, April 24, 2015

What bar will your building have?

Noted local radio host/IPA enthusiast Burrito Justice had a bold proposal:



I like it! Maybe because I had a similar thought not long ago and I always like it when people mirror at me.  That's how I get my self-worth and validation.

Anyway, it made me think.  If Burrito's plan becomes reality, what kind of bars would go with what kind of development?

3500 Nineteenth Street is a "balanced blend of urban living and comforatble luxury, rising above the rest."  Ugh.  Here's a 2-bedroom rising above the rest at $10,000 a month.  The Thought Leaders and App Monetizers who will live at 3500 Nineteenth demand a bar that understands their particular blend of infinite arrogance and crippling social disability, and now they have it:  SWIPE, a bar at which no human interaction is permitted.  Simply use the bespoke SWIPE app to order a $16 Red Bull & vodka, find out if vaping is allowed inside (only in the VapeShape Room, please), or message that cutie at the end of the bar.  Oh she works here.  OK.

The Massive Project at 16th and Mission has already been dubbed Royal Gate by local wags, and it shall have a bar befitting both its on point nickname and its location: DT's.  DT's will feature a fun, not really that friendly enviornment, where getting blackout drunk is on the menu! At DT's, you'll never have the embarrassment of having to ask where the bathroom is - it's everywhere!

The Proposed Condos at 16th and Albion have arrived at a fraught time in Mission development history, so its bar shall be called Moratorium.  Moratorium will feature drinks like the Planning Commissioner, which costs $3500 and use of your condo in Maui for a week.  Nobody saw you order it!

Surely you don't believe that the Richie Riches in Laurel Heights will ever allow 500 units of housing that are 40 feet tall at the UCSF Laurel Heights Campus do you?  The bar there will be called No Fucking Way.

I'm sure that the people who move into one of the Nine Condos Directly Behind Bottom of the Hill will be totally chill with loud music until 2 am and that awesome back patio where everyone totally keeps their voice down all the time. But they don't have to go next door to get a drink!  They can visit the onsite bar, Noise Complaint, which has a big bowl of earplugs on the bar and your city supervisor on speed dial.

The Elbo Room Condos will boast ElboRoomLand, an immersive experience that's guaranteed to take you back to your old Elbo Room days.  You'll enjoy sharing a joint with a white guy with dreadlocks as you bounce your head to the fourth-best touring Sublime cover band!  JAH LIKE.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Anatomy of Date Night gone wrong

When you have a kid, Date Night is a big deal because you get to go out with your Life Partner and someone else is taking care of your deal and so you want everything to go right because it doesn't happen that often.

Last night, everything did not go right.

The first part of the plan was to meet up with some friends at a Restaurant That Shall Not Be Named at around 6:30.  This plan was immediately complicated by the existence of April 20, which used to just be the day in April between the 19th and 21st but somehow in the past few years became 420, a big party in Golden Gate Park near our house where a bunch of stoners stand outside and smoke pot inside of sitting in their living room and smoking pot like normal people.  As a result, thousands of brain-damaged youth get someone to cover their shift at Carl's Jr and drive their cars from Concord or Antioch or whatever into a tiny corner of the city where my house is.  A trip of about 10 blocks leaving my house and heading for the Mission took about 15 minutes.  We were going to be very late.

[Not sure why this GG Park thing started.  It didn't happen a few years ago.  I blame Facebook.]

We got to the RTSNBN a little before 7:00, so actually not that bad!  It was very crowded.  Very, very crowded, which seemed odd for a Monday.  But the waitress appeared relatively soon and we got our drink orders in by say 7:00 p.m.

The FIRST INSTANCE OF CREEPING DREAD came when the waitress disappeared for the next 30 minutes.  No drinks, no taking our orders, nothing.  HERE is where I should reveal the rest of Date Night: we were going to see Porchlight, a monthly storytelling series at Verdi Club.  As it happens, one of our friends would be performing.  To make it more interesting, he was going on first, at 8:00 p.m.!  There's no way we wouldn't be done with dinner by 8 if we arrived at a nearby restaurant at 7, right?

Right?

Drinks appeared around 7:20, brought by Someone Who Was Not Our Waitress and in fact did not seem to know the names of the drinks.  We still have not ordered food.

The SECOND INSTANCE OF CREEPING DREAD came when I managed to flag our waitress down like I was a Semaphore Flag Operator in the Navy in 1942 so we could order food.  Now, at this point, I'm thinking, "OK, 7:30, get the food by 7:45, choke it down violently like a wolf eating a dismembered rabbit, and we can still make it by 8:00."  I asked for the check as we ordered to make this impossible dream feasible.

The THIRD INSTANCE OF CREEPING DREAD came when we passed 7:40 with no sign of food, waitress, drinks, anything.  I pulled out my Flare Gun and shot a flare at the ceiling.  It bounced back onto floor and spun crazily, sparks shooting out in every direction.  The waitress somehow saw us.  "We're trying to make an 8:00 show," I said.  "Is there any chance we'll have our food soon?"  She said she would check.

Having already paid, we finally got up to leave at 7:55 p.m.  We never got any food.  There was a manager type at the door.  He explained he knew what was going on, presumably because the waitress who could have been using her time getting us food or drinks was talking to him.  There was some confusion about whether he could just box it up or whatever but I think we concluded he would just credit our cards back.  TO RTSNBN'S GREAT CREDIT, it looks like they completely refunded the whole meal, drinks and everything.

We made it into the Verdi Club right around 8:00.  Saw our friend perform.  He was great.  At 8:15 I walked/jogged in a dizzy low blood sugar daze to the McDonald's on 16th and Potrero and Jose set me up with a Quarter Pounder with Cheese (for me) and a Filet O Fish (for my Date).  We ate them huddled in the corner of the Verdi Club like animals.  It was delicious.  

Last Night a QPC Saved My Life
By then, all the seats were filled and neither one of us felt like hearing any stories.  We watched a little standing in the back of the room and split.

I want to reiterate that RTSNBN did the right thing, maybe even more than the right thing, by totally refunding us.  The 2 free drinks apiece were nice.  But still, man, you gotta get your shit together if you're serving the public.

There will be other Date Nights, but there will never be another QPC that tastes as sweet.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Urban Etiquette: Parking Wars

We open on a busy San Francisco thoroughfare.  The time is earlier this morning.  Our protagonist, ME, is just returning to his street from dropping off his adorable daughter at day care.  (Or, as she would put it, "day tare."  She can't do hard c's or k's yet.)

Our Protagonist rolls up to his block and LO AND BEHOLD there is a parking spot not 3 buildings away from his building.

[BRIEF INTERJECTION: I am #blessed enough to live on a street specifically, and a neighborhood generally, where parking isn't that hard.  You can usually find a space within 5 to 7 minutes.  On weekdays during the day, you can find a space basically anywhere you want.  I USED to live in North Beach and no fooling one Sunday night I once spent almost an hour looking for a space and finally found one on Bay Street which if you're familar with the area is NOT REALLY in North Beach at all.]

O.P. pulls into the spot and parks.  BUT WHAT'S THIS.  There's a pickup truck up ahead with its backing up lights on.  Let me illustrate our relative positions with a diagram.

I love trolling with Comic Sans. Someone is going to feel COMPELLED to say something about the Comic Sans.  The yellow thing is a bike lane BTW.
As you can see, Pickup Truck is double parked at least 3 cars up ahead.  O.P turns off his car and then sees Pickup Truck backing up towards him once the traffic clears.  Pickup Truck has his window down and is saying something.

Pickup Truck is staffed by a maybe early to mid-20's kid with a an attempt at a beard.  "Hey man," he says.  "I've been waiting for that space.  I was waiting for traffic to clear so I could back up."

"What, from all the way up there?" O.P. says.  Notice that O.P did not shrug and say "Tough shit, kid."

"Yeah," Pickup Truck says.

Now, at this point, O.P has two options.  He's already IN the space, so he could get out of his car, lock the doors, and walk away.  Like everything else in life, it's like that scene from Seinfeld.


O.P., however, chose Option Two: Roll Eyes So Broadly It's Visible From Heaven, say "Fine," get back in the car, and park around the corner.

HERE'S WHERE YOU COME IN.  Was that right?  Did Pickup Truck have any sort of viable claim on the space from 3 cars ahead?  If he wanted that space so bad, why wasn't he waiting, say, RIGHT NEXT TO IT?  Did someone pull out just as I arrived, when P.T. was already way ahead and he saw it in his rearview and decided to impose a Retroactive Space Save on a space he had absolutely no entitlement to?  What is right?  What is the nature of justice?

In a related humorous story, when The Sister lived in the Lower Haight she was getting ready to pull into a space when an angry woman pulled up next to her and yelled "YOU SAW ME TURN AROUND BITCH" implying that if you see someone turn around to get a space you lose all rights to that space.  I don't even think she saw her turn around bitch in the first place.  Life is complicated.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Show Report: The Replacements, Nob Hill Masonic Center

The Replacements are a group of older gentlemen who play music.  I think I was 15 or 16 when I bought my first Replacements album.  From a record store.  With cash, because credit cards hadn't been invented yet.  They had a moment in the 80's and then a couple of them died and one of them played in Guns N Roses for a while, surprisingly.  Now they're touring again!  Good for them.

We met up at the Summer Place, a divey bar a couple of blocks from the Nob Hill Masonic Center, which hosts music shows when the #Illuminati aren't in there doing up the New World Order.  The Summer Place looked like a Halloween party where a bunch of middle aged people were dressed up as record store clerks in 1988.  Someone put some Replacements songs on the jukebox which felt a little too much like wearing a band's t-shirt to that band's show to me but hey it's a free country.

It was my first time at the NHMC.  Nice room, good sound, all that stuff.  John Doe was opening and I know he's a legendary figure in punk history and blah blah blah but all his songs sounded like a truck commercial.

The crowd was so fucking great because I finally WASN'T THE OLDEST PERSON AT THE SHOW.  It was so dadcore that it made other shows look like day care.  A sea of salt and pepper bobbing along to songs that were fleetingly popular when cigarettes cost 99 cents and Barack Obama was bogarting joints at Harvard Law.  My people had been summoned home.  Look, everybody, I can still fit into my Descendents shirt!

The band was great, of course.  I'm 6'4" and am used to having no trouble seeing at shows.  Hilariously, just as they started, a guy even taller than me came and stood right in front of me.


The Replacements used to be famous for their shambling, insanely drunk shows.  At their advanced age, they can't really drink three 40's of Mickey's and then play anything resembling a coherent show, so instead they just pretended to be drunk.  At least that's what Stephen thought.  Who knows?

Here's the setlist, or at least the closest approximation that Setlist.fm users have cobbled together.  They played pretty much everything you wanted to hear.  "I Will Dare" was messy and fun.  Paul Westerberg forgot most of the words to "Bastards of Young."  I loved the cover of "20th Century Boy" because it's objectively one of the best rock songs of all time so how could you not.  I left shortly before the end so I missed the last 2 or 3 songs but I have to get up at 5:40 in the morning so give me a break.

It was a fucking blast.  Now that the Pixies, Pavement, and The Replacements have all played reunion shows, all I need is for the Smiths and Jason & the Scorchers to get back together and my whole record collection from high school will be complete.  OLD N PROUD.

(Oh, one note - they close the bar apparently at 10:15 or so.  Why you gotta do that to me, NHMC?  There was a lot more music left!)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Look upon the face of evil

Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez wrote the songs for "Frozen." If you have a child[*], these are who you can blame for having "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" stuck in your head for the last year.


[*] I don't have a male child, so I don't know if Frozmania is gender-nonspecific, but as far as I've heard, it seems to be at least a girl-centric phenomenon.  The protagonists are both girls, then young women, and the men in the film tend to be either lovable goofs or duplicitous schemers.  Maybe that's why.

You may not probably don't know this, but Robert Lopez also co-wrote The Book of Mormon, a fairly overrated but somewhat enjoyable musical better known as a creation of the South Park dudes.  The only thing Frozen and The Book of Mormon have in common are the fact that they both involve musical notes.

It is also claimed that Robert is an EGOT winner (i.e., Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony), but he won a Daytime Emmy, which I think you can win just by wathcing enough episodes of Judge Judy.  I might have won a Daytime Emmy and the notification is stuck in my spam folder.  Until he wins a Real Emmy, his EGOT comes with an asetrisk.

Anyway, those of you without kids may be wondering what I'm going on about because you don't have to listen to the Frozen soundtrack - or, indeed, watch the Disney film of the same name - over and over and over and over.  I don't know what it is about that movie but our 2-year-old is absolutely entranced.  It's basically the only thing she will sit still and watch all the way through which is actually kind of nice when you're home and need to unload the dishwasher.  What's not so great is how we have to listen to "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" and "Let It Go" EVERY SINGLE MORNING in the car on the way to day care.

I guess I'm kind of glad she isn't that crazy about Olaf's song any more, because I actually kind of like it and it hasn't been ruined by being forced to hear it 250 times.




Not bad, huh? If that really is Josh Gad singing, he's pretty good at singing!

There's no real point to this post.  I'm just sick of the Frozen soundtrack and needed to let it out.  The other day I had this realization, and the actual words as they formed in my head were "Blogging is just about seeking and sometimes obtaining validation."  This is so blindingly self-evident that I felt bad for even thinking it.  So this post, I guess, like every other post, is a naked attempt to get validation, in this case for the relatively uncontroversial position that kids like Frozen and the soundtrack is wearing me down.

Here's what I have to look forward to, I guess.  These are movies I have never seen but expect to see a lot of, soon:

The Lion King
The Little Mermaid
Beauty and the Beast
Any of the Cars movies
Aladdin
Pocahontas
That one that looks like it's set in New Orleans that I can't remember the name of

I hope I never have to watch Up again.  That was a total snooze.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Regrettable online fundraising campaigns through history

By now, you know the drill: do something awful, get a lot of press, and someone sets up a fundraising page and you are handsomely rewarded.  (Here's just the latest example.)

If only GoFundMe had existed in the past.








Friday, April 3, 2015

What SF landmark will we lose next?

It seems like not a week goes by without some announcement that a treasured San Francisco institution is closing its doors forever.  Just yesterday, we found out we're losing Capp's Corner, a North Beach institution for like 50 years, and the Orbit Room, a mid-Market bar that I went to once in like 1993 and thought was just OK.  But still!

[BRIEF DIVERSION: It really sucks about Capp's, an old-school family-style Italian place with huge buckets of linguine and red wine in water glasses and shit like that.  Totally sad, but it actually wasn't as good as Gold Spike, which closed years ago.  Still miss you, Gold Spike.]

With all these changes, WHAT'S NEXT?  

Tadich Grill

Is it the oldest restaurant in San Francisco?  Maybe!  Known primarily for angry waiters and sand dabs, this crusty old place is just begging for a makeover.

WHAT'S REPLACING IT: Sp┼źn, a minimalist Peruvian-Roman small plates macaroni and cheese fusion restaurant.

Spec's

Undoubtedly one of the best bars in San Francisco, at least on weeknights.  No frills, just booze and cheese.  What a bar should be.

WHAT'S REPLACING IT: Bird & Another Bird, a craft cocktail bar specializing in Midori.

Tosca

Another old-school eccentric institution with no-nonsense drinks and a opera-heavy jukebox.

WHAT'S REPLACING IT: Tosca, a fantastically overrated nouveau Italian joint with $42 chicken.   Oh shit, wait.

The Legion of Honor

A resplendent neoclassical museum in a gorgeous setting with a so-so collection of mostly European art.

WHAT'S REPLACING IT: It will be the new home of Yelp co-founder Jeremy Stoppelman.


Golden Gate Park Carousel

Since 1914, this carousel has entertained generations of kids who think going around in a circle for about two minutes is fun.

WHAT'S REPLACING IT: The Spinninizer, an interactive Xtreme Xperience that uses space-age technology to spin kids around at over 300 miles per hour with only a 20% chance of death!!!!!!!

The Transamerica Pyramid

An iconic part of the San Francisco skyline, this instantly recognizable tower is what many people think of first when they think of the city.

WHAT'S REPLACING IT: A Chipotle.

Rain

A regular winter feature of San Francisco for thousands of years, this airborne hydration method has appeared in such films as "Vertigo" and "Basic Instinct."

WHAT'S REPLACING IT: Searing, unending drought.  Almonds.

Mayor Ed Lee

A comically ineffectual figurehead installed to do the bidding of Evil Overlord Ron Conway, a Bond movie-type villain who somewhat-secretly controls everything.

WHAT'S REPLACING IT: Mayr, an app that brings government to your door, usually in less than 30 minutes.  TRY MAYR.