Friday, August 31, 2007

They're Toasted!

If you haven't been watching AMC's "Mad Men" you should be. And this Sunday you'll have a chance to catch up on the season thus far, as AMC will be running a marathon starting at 10am. Set those TiVos! Set those timers! Set your alarm! Just watch the show.

For those who have never heard of it, it takes place at the end of the 1950s, and centers on some advertising execs ("mad"= Madison Ave.) and their families. Since the show is set during the early '60s, they basically had me at the sight of the first circle skirt-wearing housewife, but the show is much more than mere sets and costumes. I don't know how accurate the situations in the show are (I mean, did people REALLY smoke that much back then?) but it feels authentic. I don't want to say much more, mostly because I find the show hard to describe, but also because I think it works best to go into it without knowing too much. It's simply the best new show to premiere this summer...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Loaf of Bread, a Container of Milk, and a Stick of Butter

This is so ingrained in my memory that when I go to the store, it's all I can ever remember to buy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I Love You Beasties, Oh Yes I Do

I saw the Beastie Boys this weekend at the Greek Theater in Berkeley. It was a pretty great show. I had originally wanted to go to their all-instrumental concert the night before, but I couldn't get tickets (and indeed, I have no idea how anyone got tickets; they never seemed to actually go on sale), but I'm glad I saw the show I saw. It was fun to scream along with the audience during "No Sleep Till Brooklyn." Here's the best video I could find--it's the best because the audio is pretty good, although they bleep out the swear words for some fucking reason.

I think I've seen the Beastie Boys almost every time they've come to the Bay Area. The first time was during their "License to Ill" tour at the Stone on Broadway, while I was still in high school. I also saw them during a Lollaplooza tour. And for their "Hello Nasty" tour, which was a concert in the round, and was awesome. And then a few years ago at the Bill Graham auditorium. And I think I'm forgetting one or two shows in there.

I might be stretching the analogy here, but I kind of think of the Beastie Boys as my Beatles. When they started out, they were just a few years older than me, so they were basically kids doing silly hip-hop songs, and then they got older and went to India (well, Tibet) and gained enlightenment, but still made popular records. Yeah, not really an apt comparison, but there's just something about getting into a band that's about the same age as you, and watching them grow up alongside you. Like, you both kind of realize at the same time that having giant penises as stage props is actually not that great an idea. Although I don't think the Beatles ever had to face that in their career.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Do I Need a Protractor For This Class?

I started another semester of school today, and it's the first time I've taken a non-night class in, oh, probably a decade. (I'm hoping to prolong my college career to so many years that I can say during my graduation, "When I started college, we actually had to attend classes, in classrooms, instead of the direct to brain download courses they have nowadays!") One of the benefits of taking night classes at San Francisco State is many older students tend to take those course since they've usually got full-time day jobs, so I never really felt that out of place; there was always someone else my age or older in the class. But today? Hoo boy. I was definitely the oldest person there, and I wouldn't be surprised if the professor is younger than me (but I sure hope not).

That said, I'm pretty happy with the class so far, which is called "Critical Study of Popular Culture." That basically means we'll be examining the popularity of the "Chocolate Rain" and "High School Musical" using Marxist and feminist theories. And I love crap like that.

Speaking of feminism, when the teacher brought it up, he asked how many people in the class considered themselves feminists, and out of about 100 people, five people raised their hands (one of them was me). Now, I would expect that kind of reaction from an introductory class full of freshman who think feminism is all about militant lesbians who want to castrate all men, but this is an upper division class. These people have had at least two years of college studies behind them--two years of SAN FRANCISCO college studies. And they're still afraid of the term "feminism"? My hopes for the future of womankind have dwindled considerably.

The only thing that raised my spirits a bit was going into the campus bookstore and finding a whole stack of Pee-Chees for sale! Alas, they weren't the classic peachy color; instead they had them in blue, pink, and green. And the graphics are different. But there's still a guy on the back cover with a basketball in his hands, perfect for rendering into a human head, if I only had the talent to draw that. Instead I'll just be adding the usual afros, black-eyes, and track marks to the Pee-Chee's exceedingly cheery athletes.

Suicide Mondays

I've got a brief post about the movie "The Bridge" up on SFist now. That coupled with the news that, apparently, Owen Wilson tried to kill himself this weekend, makes for a rather bleak Monday, doesn't it?


Saturday, August 25, 2007

July Round-Up

Once again, a monthly round-up comes almost in time for a new month's round-up. Oh well.

Movies Seen: Thirteen--that seems to be the magic number, with two seen in a theater. One was "Ratatouille," which was great. I don't think I can say anything more than that. It was great. There's no reason not to see it. The other theatrical experience was "1408." Yeah. I don't really know why I chose that one. I guess I was hoping to finally see a scary movie that was actually scary. And it...wasn't. It had its moments, but the biggest scare was given away in the trailer, which pisses me off to no end. I wouldn't say the movie was bad, it was just relentlessly adequate. As for the DVD movies, they were all just kind of meh. The most fun was the 1975 satanists versus a Winnebago epic "Race With the Devil," starring Peter Fonda and Warren Oates. I'm not saying the movie is good. But c'mon. It's satanists chasing two couples and their RV! That's entertainment!

Books Read: Four, and here's the weird thing. Three of them have the word "thinking" in the title. “What Was She Thinking?: Notes On a Scandal,” “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking,” and “Rethinking Thin.” I'm thinking! Say that word a few times..."thinking." It's pretty goofy! As for non-thinking reading, that would have to be Paulina Porizkova's "A Model Summer," which was surprisingly good. Not great, but a lot better than a summer read--or a book written by a former model--needs to be.

Fancy Dinners Out: Two. One was at Ducca in San Francisco, which was good, but the place really feels like a hotel restaurant; one of those huge dinning room places. I can't really remember the meal, but I remember thinking it wasn't incredible. The other dinner was at Starlite in San Diego, and that was great. It's a really cool looking restaurant, with a great bar and interesting drinks, and the food was delicious. I had a steak, with fingerling potatoes. (Dirty!) It was yummy.

Live Shows Seen: None. Unless you count Comic-Con as one long, exhausting, four day show. But I've already talked about that at length elsewhere. I will say a few words about where I stayed while in San Diego, though. The Hotel Del Coronado!

Which was beautiful. It's right on the beach, and the building is stunning and antiquey, and the room was nice. But none of it was worth the amount of money we had to spend to stay there. The base price of a cheap room is already ridiculous, but then they tack on a 20-27 dollar a day parking fee, and a 20 dollar daily "resort fee" which entitles you to the use of....the hotel! You know, stuff like the beach and the pool, and a crappy daily paper, and Internet access, stuff that usually comes with a hotel room. Why do they tack that on separately if there's no way to opt out of it? Why not just include that in the base cost of a room? And for that kind of money, I would expect incredible service, and it just wasn't. We had to wait forever for our room, only to find out we didn't get the double we had reserved months ago--and the people around us were having the same issues. (Is there any reason to even make reservations and room requests anymore?) One morning we had breakfast at one of the hotel restaurants, and had to wait in a huge line even though there were plenty of tables open in the dining room. And I also had the most bizarre poolside experience I've ever had at a hotel.

Since most of my time was spent at the convention, I only got about an hour of pool time for my entire stay at the hotel. I got there around 6pm, just in time for the sun to go behind a building and cover the whole pool area in shade. Doh! So I got in the pool for a few minutes, which was swarming with kids, and then just sat on a lounge chair and relaxed. Soon, this loud obnoxious guy on a cell phone walked by, swearing into his phone saying things like, "They're fucking us up the ass! And they know it!" You know, business talk! And he kept on doing it, just walking around the pool area, loudly talking into his phone for the entire time I was there. A lot of the parents around me were giving him dirty looks, but he was oblivious. One complained to a pool boy, but he did nothing about it. So there was that. Then a guy on crutches and one leg came to the poolside, put down his crutches and dove in--while wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

And then a midget walked by.

And then--THEN!--a pool boy told everyone to get out of the pool because there was...something in it. And they had to figure out what that something was. It was a poo scare! So they scooped it out, and lo and behold, someone had pulled the old "Caddyshack" candy bar trick.

All that for only 20 bucks a day? What am I complaining about?!

Shoes Bought: None! But I did bowl in my new bowling shoes, and I think I had my highest score yet. Still not 100, but close!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Peoples Summer

I've got a post up on SFist about two documentaries you should check out on TV this weekend. Go there and find out what they are!


Thursday, August 23, 2007


God, I hate Comcast cable. I am seriously considering switching to DirectTV because I am sick of dealing with Comcast's bullshit. But I am also extremely lazy and unmotivated, so I probably won't.

The thing is this morning I woke up to find the TiVo telling me that a channel line-up change had occurred. Some new channel called "Seth" was added, and Oxygen was dropped.

Oxygen dropped? Oh, HELL no.

So I went to TiVo's channel selection screen, and sure enough, 165 was no longer there. And for some reason, channel 204, which is the DIY network, was now unselected. And indeed, when I went to channel 204, all I got was a blank screen.

What. The. Hell.

So I called Comcast to find out what was going on. I was then told that Oxygen has never been offered by Comcast--even though I have been getting the channel for over a year now. Also, DIY isn't offered as channel with the digital package I get. Once again, even though I have been watching that channel for over a year. When I told the customer service lady that TiVo had been recording these channels for me for a long time, she told me that for some reason some people with TiVo can sometimes get channels that Comcast doesn't even offer. (Yet another reason to love TiVo.)

This doesn't make a lick of sense to me. Comcast doesn't carry the Oxygen channel, and yet I was able to get it through their cable system. So, obviously, it is possible to get that channel, they just don't LET anybody get it. There wasn't a lot of stuff on that channel I watched, but I was enjoying "Tori and Dean: Inn Love," so I am pissed that I can't see it anymore.

I definitely wanted to keep getting DIY, and some other channels that I apparently can't get (but was getting) with the cable package I had, so I had to upgrade to another package for three more dollars a month. Fine. They're already raping me, so why not throw three more bucks at them? I also learned that if I wanted to upgrade to the package higher up, and get HBO, I would have to pay FORTY MORE DOLLARS A MONTH.

That? Is pure insanity. Why is Comcast able to monopolize cable television like this? There is only one other cable company in San Francisoc, called RCN (now Astound), but they don't provide service in my neighborhood. Which is Nob Hill. So I can totally see why they wouldn't want to provide service to the deadbeats around here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Belated Bloggy Birthday!

It totally slipped my mind, probably because I was still coming down from Comic-Con, but this blog turned three on July 31st!

Three? Only three? It feels like I have been doing this so much longer than that. Freaky.

For those feeling nostalgic, here's that first day of posts, from an ancient time before Flickr, YouTube, and easy image uploading.

Friday, August 17, 2007

At Least I Didn't Kill a Monkey

"Flight of the Conchords" has been renewed by HBO, which is good news because I love it. I'm actually late to the game on this one as I didn't start watching when it first came on, and instead just watched the entire season online last week. Below is my favorite episode. I could set it up, but I kind of think it's best to just go into the show not knowing too much about it....but I will say my favorite bit is Jermaine's Jemaine's reaction to the muggers saying they don't have time to go to the bank.

Here it is, in three parts.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I'm Not an Angel, But at Least I'm a Girl

Witness my current obsession.

Some of you may know it is from a weird ass movie called "Streets of Fire," which I rewatched a few months back. It's still weird, and makes little sense, and wasn't as entertaining as I hoped it would be. It did, however, remind me how much I love the two songs "sung" by Diane Lane in the film.

For years I had presumed she was lipsyncing to Bonnie Tyler, but in fact, it merely sounds like Bonnie Tyler. Instead, it is "Fire Inc.," a fake band headed by Holly Sherwood under the creation of Jim Steinman--who also created the genre known as "Wagnerian Rock," (which includes several songs by Meatloaf).

I always knew those songs all sounded similar, but I had no idea they were a genre unto themselves. Which leads me to the inevitable question: What are the Wagnerian rock songs of today?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Brooke. Shields. She's a Beautiful Doll!

Why does watching this old commercial again make me so incredibly happy?

Thanks, Brooke!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Further Proof That I Can't Draw

In high school, I think during my sophmore year, I took a Creative Writing class, and one of the assignments was to make a comic strip. I didn't have any drawing ability (and still don't), so the assignment took me for a loop. I thought about just cutting out images from magazines and turning that into a comic, but I of course waited until the last minute to do the thing and didn't have time to search through a bunch a magazines and come up with some kind story. So, instead, I found some pictures of Prince, drew some stick figures, and made a comic out of an absurd poem a friend and I had written. Click on the image above for a larger view.

I think it's almost brilliant in its stupidity. And the teacher must have felt the same way. B+!


Thursday, August 09, 2007

I Don't Think I'll Be Using This When I Start My Night Class at the End of the Month

But it would be kind of funny if I did.

A few months back, the topic of Pee-Chee folders came up, and I promised to scan an old one I still had around. Here it is! Buried in some boxes somewhere I think I still have some others. One of these days I'll dig them up, too...

You can see the back of the folder here. Or click on the photo to go to its Flickr page and click on "All Sizes" to view a larger image.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I-Caught Youz! Oh Noze, I Di'nt!

Last night ABC premiered a show clearly aimed at the over 60 crowd who don't own/can't understand how to use a computer and the Internets and its crazy YouTubes. Called "i-Caught" (ironically, their Web site doesn't seem to be working too good right now) it shows the viral videos that are sweeping the nation, and interviews the people involved with them. Most of what they featured I had already seen (Merry Miller, for instance) but they did show a video I hadn't that was, apparently, a huge phenomenon on YouTube. Called "The Battle at Kruger" it's the most amazing nature video ever. If you haven't already seen it, watch it below, and be sure to stick around until the end, no matter how painful it may be to do so, because it has a finale you don't usually see in these kinds of animals-attack-animals videos. As someone said in an interview on the show last night, if Disney had scripted this thing, everyone would roll their eyes at how unbelievable it is...

Monday, August 06, 2007

...Made Me Cross the Street the Other Day

This week's reality TV locals post is now up on SFist!

And just because I don't want to be the only blog in the world that hasn't posted this, please to enjoy this song that may or may not be about me.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

I Want Another Day Off

Which is crazy since I was on vacation from Thursday through Tuesday. But as you know, my time in San Diego wasn't exactly relaxing. Monday I was able to sleep late, but then I had to run errands and return the rental car. And on Tuesday I, again, slept late, but then spent the rest of the day writing my Comic-Con recap. (Yes. It took me several hours to write that. Shut up.)

But really I mention wanting another day off just as an excuse to post this cartoon. While in San Diego Chuck introduced me to the work of his friend Graham Annable, which includes many animated shorts. I suggest you watch them all, starting with this one, entitled "Day off."

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Final Word on Comic-Con

My Comic-Con wrap-up post is now up on the SFGate: Culture Blog!

Many Bothans died to bring you this read it!