Thursday, March 31, 2005

Building Envy

I'm sorry, but this proposed skyscraper in Dubai kicks ass!

It's nice to see there are still people in this world who are interested in erecting ridiculously tall buildings for no apparent reason. Sadly, the U.S. has abandoned that kind of spirit.

(By the way, this Web site on skyscrapers is way cool. You can look up high-rises by city, and they even have proposed and fantasy buildings — including the San Francisco Glass Tower from the "Towering Inferno" movie.)

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Kid-Free City

So in addition to having more Starbucks than pot clubs, San Francisco also has the smallest percentage of kids of any city in America. The New York Times did a story today on how Portland is trying to avoid San Francisco's fate but can't seem to keep young families in the city.

I'm still not quite sure why this is a bad thing. I hate to be the one to say this, but most kids are annoying. They can't carry on an intelligent conversation, often babbling incoherently. And they have serious personal hygiene issues. We already have people like that in San Francisco — they're called homeless people.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Starbucks Vs. Pot Clubs

Mayor Gavin Newsom is apparently alarmed about the fast-growing number of medical marijuana clinics in San Francisco. The are at least 37 of these pot clubs, and he wants to put a lid on the opening of new ones for a while.

This got me thinking, wow, 37 seems like a lot — I wonder if there are now more pot clubs in SF than Starbucks? So I went to the Starbucks Web site to find out, and sadly, no, there are still WAY more Starbucks (71, in fact). Oh well, at least it's less than a 2-1 ratio.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

"24" Problems

It's interesting that today's Bizarro comic strip should poke fun of "24," because the show has really been stretching credulity lately. For those of you who don't watch, each episode takes place in real time, so an hour on screen is exactly an hour in the life of the characters. (In the Bizarro strip, a promo for "24" announces that Jack Bauer gets caught in traffic and the plot cannot be advanced that week.)

In last night's episode, Michelle persuades Chloe to return to CTU (Chloe had been the most annoying character on the show -- that is, until CTU Director Driscoll's autistic daughter took on that role, but she mercifully killed herself). Anyway, so Michelle does this just before the commercial break. And then after the break, Chloe is already back at CTU. What the heck?? Even if she lived across the street, this seems unlikely.

I'm willing to accept the implausible action scenes -- like Jack taking out a team of commandos with a camping fork. But the show should at least abide by the real-time constraints!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Tower of Power

One of the cool things about our new condo is that we'll be a couple of blocks from the new federal tower being built at 7th and Mission. This building, due to open next summer, looks like it will kick some major architectural ass.

The Chronicle describes the "stark" building as a "concrete slab...clad in glass, and draped on the long southern wall by perforated steel panels that open and close." Here's a picture. The architect, Santa Monica-based Thom Mayne, just won the Pritzker prize -- the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for architecture.

Anyway, it should be fun to watch it go up.

Feed Me

Has anyone noted the real irony with the Terri Schiavo right-to-die case?

She got into this whole mess because she had an eating disorder (bulimia/anoxeria or whatever) that caused her heart to stop. That robbed her brain of oxygen and put her in her current vegetative state.

Ok, fine. But now they're fighting over whether they can keep her connected to a *feeding* tube?? Can you imagine a more nightmarish scenario for an anoxeric woman -- being force-fed 24 hours a day? Maybe that's how her husband should couch his arguments.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

What Up, Homie

So I probably shouldn't jinx this by posting it on the blog, but it looks like we're going to be buying a home!

We made an offer on a place yesterday, and they accepted. So unless there are some big problems with inspections, it looks like a done deal. The place is South of Market, around 7th and Folsom, about eight or nine blocks from where we live now. We had been looking mainly at lofts, so it's a bit surprising what we ended up with. It's a three-level condo in a small building (only three other units) that dates to 1906. Even more surprising: There are two bedrooms!!

The only negatives are that there's no parking space and there are tenants currently living in the place (but they supposedly plan to move soon). And the neighborhood might be regarded by some as "sketchy" and "graffiti-strewn"...I prefer to think of it as condusive to my thug appeal.

Anyway, here are pictures with commentary by Kelly.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Down With Dre

Slate.com has a good story on Dr. Dre — and how he consistently produces quality tracks. The piece inspired me to compile a list of my 20 favorite Dre-produced songs. Hopefully this list will trigger another firestorm of controversy on the comment boards!

1. Dr. Dre: Nuthin' But a G Thang (1992)
I'm sure we all still remember the first time we heard this song back in 1992. The synthesizer line + the remarkable style of Snoop Dogg — relatively unknown at the time — were pretty mind-blowing. And it still holds up.
2. NWA: Express Yourself (1989)
"I'm expressing with my full capabilities / and now I'm living in correctional facilities." I don't know how many times I've said that myself.
3. 50 Cent: In Da Club (2002)
A real simple hook but so infectious. Certainly one of the greatest party tracks of the 2000s.
4. 2Pac and Dr. Dre: California Love (1996)
Another club banger. It's a shame Dre and 2Pac had a falling-out before Pac died.
5. Dr. Dre: What's the Difference (2000) / Blu Cantrell & Sean Paul: Breathe (2003)
My favorite track off the "Chronic 2001" album. The beat was repackaged as "Breathe" by Blu Cantrell. Dre is so at the top of his game here, it was no crime to use it twice.
6. Snoop Dogg: What's My Name? (1993)
Snoop really came into his own on this track — and Dre understood perfectly how to spotlight his talents.
7. Dr. Dre: Xxplosive (2000)
This song has it all: Nate Dogg, Kurupt and chronic leaves with no seeds.
8. Snoop Dogg: Gin & Juice (1994)
Another mid-1990s anthem.
9. G-Unit: Poppin' Them Thangs (2004)
My favorite G-Unit track. Dre prefers to use live instruments and it really pays off with this piano-based beat.
10. Jay-Z: The Watcher 2 (2002)
I liked the original "Watcher," off the "Chronic 2001" album, but this takes it up a notch — even if Jigga's rhymes are a bit ridiculous as he tries to demonstrate how much longer he's been in the game than others: "I was taking a Peter Pan bus; you was puttin' Peter Pan up in your room." Huh?
11. Busta Rhymes: Break Ya Neck (2001)
I find Busta to be a little grating, but this is probably his best song — though "Woo Hah" would be up there too.
12. Knoc-Turn'al: Bad Intentions (2002)
"I don't give a f**k 'cause I'm just drinkin', smokin', straight West Coastin' / bitches puttin' ass in motion..." True dat.
13. Snoop Dogg/Eminem: Bitch Please (1999)
This song got released in a couple versions — both good.
14. Eminem: My Dad's Gone Crazy (2002)
A real epic, but perhaps due more to Eminem's rapping chops than Dre's production.
15. Mary J. Blige: Family Affair (2001)
You're probably sick of this song, but it was great before it got tedious. Why you hatin'?
16. Lady of Rage: Afro Puffs (1994)
A sentimental favorite: "Let me loosen up my bra strap, and let me hit you with my raw rap." For some reason, Lady of Rage never really caught on with mainstream audiences.
17. Xzibit: X (2000)
Xzibit's first album had quite a few great tracks — this is probably the most memorable.
18. The Game: How We Do (2005)
Not sure how will this will hold up, but for now it's a guaranteed way to pack the dance floor.
19. Eminem: Business (2002)
Another solid yet underappreciated track from Eminem's "Show" album.
20. Knoc-Turn'al: Knoc (2002)
Nice hook by Missy Elliott — before she started talking backwards.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Peace

We can all breathe a sigh of relief, since it looks like 50 Cent and The Game have called a truce (and 50's album is solidly No. 1 on the charts -- in fact, it enjoyed the sixth-best sales debut of any album ever).

Nonetheless, the Rev. Al Sharpton wants to get in on the fray by demanding that radio stations ban rappers involved in violence. He wants a 90-day moratorium on airplay after a violent outbreak (not sure if they would do that on a per-bullet basis).

Monday, March 07, 2005

BuboBlog Reviews 'Troy'

We finally watched "Troy" over the weekend. I had planned to see it much sooner since I'm a Greek mythology fan (a Homerphile? Hmm... that sounds kinda gay), but I read so many negative reviews I wasn't sure what to think.

My prognosis: This movie is about as good an adaptation of "The Iliad" as you could hope to get. Sure, they didn't have the gods in there, but I think that would have been a bit laughable if they did. And there were some other liberties with the story, such as the fact that it seems to take place over about two weeks vs. 10 years. And Paris doesn't die, whereas Agamemnon does (in myth, Agamemnon isn't killed until he returns home to his angry wife). But all of these changes were necessary to make the sprawling story more compact and satisfying. They make the movie better not worse.

My main fear was they were going to mess up the emotional crux of the story, which is the part where Priam asks Achilles if he can have his son Hector's body back for a proper funeral. (If you want a very moving adaptation of this passage, read "Achilles" by Elizabeth Cook.) "Troy" pulls it off pretty well, thanks in part to the always-competent Peter O'Toole, who plays Priam. Now, in the Iliad, this is where the story ends. Of course, "Troy" couldn't really do that, so the story continues to cover the Trojan Horse episode and the fall of Troy. That's fine by me too, since you need some closure.

There were some other nice touches, such as a quick exchange between Paris and Aeneus, where Aeneus gets the sword of Troy. If I were to do a sequel to this movie, instead of going the obvious route and doing "The Odyssey" (which has a bit too many metaphysical elements to do in a straightforward manner), I would do "The Aeneid" by Virgil. Then you could follow Aeneus out of Troy and to the founding of Rome.

Best line in the movie: After Menelaus asks his guards where his wife Helen went: "She left with the Trojans!" That's something you never want to hear.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Uh-Oh

As most of you know, it's been my longstanding goal to create a breed of half-man/half-chimp creatures called chumans. Since chimps and humans are more than 99% identical genetically -- closer than horses and donkeys or lions and tigers, both of which have been bred successfully -- I figure it won't take any fancy science, just willing participants.

But now I'm concerned that this latest news may not help my efforts. Apparently these chimps in Bakersfield went berserk and ripped off a guy's face and mauled his testicles (interesting how a lot of the stories only mention the testicle thing at the bottom -- talk about burying the lead!).

In light of this, fewer human women may be willing to breed with a chimp. And on another sad note, it looks like they've already shot and killed the offending chips. Is that fair? I feel like if they're 99% human, they should get 99% of our legal protections. (But then, I'm not quite sure what 1% of rights we should withhold -- perhaps the right to vote?)

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Eerie Coincidence

OK, so during my years living at the Parkmerced apartment complex, I had four roommates: Dan, Pete, my brother Max and Jon. That's five people total (including me).

What do all five of these people have in common? They're all getting married!

In the 12 months between September 2004 and September 2005, all five will have gotten married. Max got married last September (and will again in May). Jon got married last October. And Dan, Pete and I will all be getting married this year (though not to each other).

What the HELL is going on here??

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

How We Do


For those of you who get your hip-hop-violence news exclusively from this site, here's the story: 50 Cent announced Monday on Hot 97 (a New York radio station that caters to hip-hop) that he was severing ties with The Game, his former protege. Apparently The Game refuses to take 50's side in the rapper's feuds with Nas and Jadakiss.

The Game's entourage immediately went to the radio station to confront 50, and gunplay ensued. A member of The Game's group was shot (luckily, he was only wounded).

All this smacks of a publicity stunt, since 50's album is due to drop this week. Now I have no problem with that. But in the old days, 50 Cent or The Game would get shot themselves (total combined bullet wounds: 14).

These days, members of the entourage have to take the bullet. (And I can only assume the guy who got shot was a generic crew member who nobody remembers seeing before.) It's a sad state of affairs.