Tuesday, November 29, 2005

BuboBlog Reviews 'Harry Potter'


I caught the new "Harry Potter" film while in Atlanta. There were a lot of loud children in the theater. You forget living in San Francisco that there are children in the world and that they sometimes like to go to children's movies. Anyway, annoying.

As for the film itself, good stuff. It was a bit hard to judge, though, since I had finished the book mere hours before. At times (especially early on), the movie felt like a highlight reel of plot points. On the whole, they did some judicious cutting of extraneous plotlines (the whole thing with the house-elves, for instance). And they played up the interpersonal elements pretty well (Harry fighting with Ron, Ron fighting with Hermione, etc.)

But I was a bit disappointed with Voldemort. He just wasn't that scary. Basically a guy with a smooshed nose. That's supposed to terrify all of wizardom?

Another point: These kids just keep getting uglier. Ron, Neville, Harry — even Hermione. I don't think they're blossoming into attractive adults. I mean, I know it's probably hard to cast good-looking British children, but c'mon. This could turn into the single ugliest franchise cast in movie history (yes, including this one).

It's like Harry's neck is too fat or something...he has a bit of the Corky about him. And Ron...geez, let's just say if he continues on his downward trajectory, *he'll* be able to play Voldemort — without makeup.

Mac Dre Update


There's a good recap of the Mac Dre saga in today's Chronicle. I didn't realize the plot was so complex! (And naturally, it involves a dead Vegas hooker -- as all good stories do.)

I also like the fact that they all drive such crappy cars (Tercels, Saturns, etc.).

Cheap Gas

I just learned today that I was quoted in a front-page story in Sunday's Mercury News about how gas prices are lower in S.F. than elsewhere in the Bay Area:

Your SUV, pickup or hybrid is thirsty. You want the cheapest gas around.
Head to San Francisco. 
Yep, the city that almost always has the most expensive gas in California and the United States now has some of the lowest prices around. A gallon of self-serve regular averaged $2.42 a gallon Saturday and was as low as $2.29 along 19th Avenue, the busy San Francisco street where prices approached $3.25 after Hurricane Katrina. 
That current San Francisco price is two cents cheaper than the San Jose average of $2.44. It is also three cents lower than the state mark of $2.45 and 20 cents under the
$2.62 figure in San Luis Obispo, the most expensive price in California, according to the daily AAA survey. 
``I've been blown away by what's happened to gas prices in my neighborhood,'' said [me], a 32-year-old editor at Investor's Business Daily who lives south of Market Street in San Francisco. ``There's a Chevron station on Harrison and Sixth that was charging $2.35 last time I checked. It might be less now.''

I e-mailed with the reporter last week, but I wasn't sure if he was going to quote me. Turns out he used me as the "money quote" (as we say in the industry).

Speaking of cheap gas: In Atlanta, I saw prices as low as $1.87 a gallon.

What's All This Then?

I'm back from a Thanksgiving trip to Atlanta...it was pretty surreal to hear Oakland all over the news back there. I'm still getting up to speed on the story, but it sounds like 11 men in bow ties and suits ransacked two liquor stores in West Oakland last week (one of the stores was later burned down). Their demand: that the stores stop selling to African Americans.

This all seemed odd viewed from Atlanta -- a city where they still remember the days when stores refused to sell liquor (or anything else) to African Americans. I feel like we as people have generally decided this was a bad thing.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Mystery Solved

Okay, it appears that the movie is "The Pursuit of Happyness," a true story about a San Francisco homeless man who makes good.

I remember reading about this movie in the Chronicle a few weeks ago, but I guess I didn't put the pieces together. Anyway, it stars Will Smith (whom we did not encounter Saturday).

Time Travel

Does anyone know what's going on in the Powell Bart/Muni subway station? We were down there Saturday and suddenly noticed that all the ads were from the early 1980s. There was an old Ban de Soleil ad, others for the premiers of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Close Encounters" and one for a defunct airline.

As we walked deeper into the station, I noticed a map of the Bart system that also was way out of date. It only had two lines, and they weren't nearly as extensive. That's when I started to freak out, thinking that maybe I can stepped into a time portal. (Where is that fat guy from "Sliders" when you need him?!).

But it occurred to me that maybe they were filming a movie set in the early 1980s, and wanted it to seem authentic. If that's the case, two questions:

1. What movie is this? And is it a Steven Spielberg film, since they seem to be promoting his other works?

2. Um, hello. How confusing is it to Bart riders to have a completely outdated map on display?...with no explanation whatsoever. We were surrounded by tourists and other clueless-seeming people, so I can only imagine what was going through their heads.

H&M Update

So we went to Union Square on Saturday because Kelly wanted to look at magazines at Cody's Books (we may be the only people who fight the crowds at Union Square to look at magazines, but it's not a bad walk from our place).

Anyway, the line stretching out of H&M (which had just opened earlier that morning) was CRAZY. It started at the entrance near Powell and Geary, stretched all the way down the block, around the block at O'Farrell, down to Stockton and all the way back to Geary. It seemed to be mostly young women with a smattering of parents.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Say What?


It seemed pretty exciting that San Francisco was finally getting an H&M store (first one on the West Coast) -- that is, until I learned today that there's an H&M in the Holyoke Mall!

I realize they're expanding East to West, but that's just embarassing. Holyoke done beat our ass!

Left-Eye Moody

So I'm reading "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" right now (yes, I only read the Harry Potter books right before the movie comes out -- don't judge me!).

Anyway, I've been trying to avoid seeing anything about the movie until I finish the book (734 pages -- are you kidding me with that?). But I did come across this photo of Brendan Gleeson as Mad-Eye Moody, the defense against the dark arts teacher.

Um, how lame is this costume?! I realize the British have a history of bad special effects, but they basically just stuck an eyepatch on this guy.

Congratulations!


Hey, so my brother passed the bar. Way to go, Max!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Self-Commenting

Apparently some people are annoyed by the fact that I comment on my own blog entries.

Burning Question


I was amused by recent reports that France is back down to "normal" rates of just 100 car burnings a day. That still seems pretty high to me, but apparently carbecues are a la mode for them.

Anyway, it got me thinking. How does that compare with the number of car burnings here? I mean, California has more than half as many people as France. Do we have 50 car burnings a night?

So I did a little digging...

Car burnings are classified in crime statistics under car thefts. In California last year, there were 664.5 car thefts per 100,000 people. Typically about 4% of car thefts result in the car being burned or flooded.

Assuming a 2004 population of 35,893,799, some 239,000 cars were stolen. About 9,500 of those were burned (or flooded). Let's assume half the cars were burned.

On a daily basis, that means 13 cars in California are torched.

Go Pilots!

Huh. Did anyone else know that San Francisco has a new ABA professional basketball team, the Pilots? This bit of news somehow slipped passed my radar (and my gaydar for that matter).

Anyway, I guess they play down at the Kezar Pavillion, and tickets start at $5. Could be fun. Not sure I get the name, though.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

'Happy Hour'

Since hip-hop artists have a reputation for being homophobic, it's perhaps a promising sign that THE GAYEST SONG EVER is getting heavy airplay right now on mainstream rap radio (and BET).

Has anyone else heard this track, "Happy Hour," by Cee-Lo and Jazze Pha? It goes: "Hey girl...hey girl...hey girl, let's go have some drinks. Apple martinis, cosmopolitans, pina coladas -- I got a lot of numbers..." and continues in such a fashion for several minutes.

Now, if you watch the video (which you can download here), you'll see that the song is ostensibly about men trying to pick up on women at a bar. But c'mon. This track is so flaming, it singed off my eyebrows. I look like this right now.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Let's Get Retarded

I get automatic e-mail updates whenever there's a change to the AP Stylebook. Anyway, today's alert was somewhat odd:

A new entry has been added to the AP Stylebook:

retarded

That's all it said. So I'm wondering, does that mean it's OK to call people retarded again? Because certainly this isn't a new term that AP has just gotten wind of.

I tracked down the full entry in the stylebook, and it says this:

retarded Mentally retarded is the preferred term for those with
significantly subaverage intellectual functioning. Do not use retard.

So I guess as long as you don't say "retard," you're in the clear. Sadly, there's no guidance on whether you're allowed to use the increasingly popular 'tard.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Factoid Alert


I did pub trivia last night, and we were denied an outright victory (we won the "peewee" division, for teams of three or fewer) because of one question: What car, introduced in 1966, is the best-selling passenger car in the world?

My guess was the VW Beetle, though I thought it might be the Honda Civic.

But surprisingly, the answer was the Toyota Corolla. I checked this today, and it's true (this MSN site has the Corolla as No. 6 in their list, but it explains that the car is No. 1 worldwide).

More than 27 million Corollas have sold in 140 countries. I'm assuming a lot of these are in Asia and Latin America, since I don't recall seeing many in Europe (and it's never been the best-selling car in the U.S.).

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Restaurant Review: Tres Agaves


Remember in November, when I mentioned that Sammy Hagar was opening a restaurant south of Market? Well, the restaurant finally opened and we ate there last night. It's called Tres Agaves: Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Lounge, and it's basically a high-end Mexican place (not as high-end as, say, Maya, but definitely a step up from Chevy's).

Since a lot of restaurants near the ballpark have struggled, we assumed we would be "throwing this place a bone" by showing up on a Wednesday night. Not so! It was packed, and we had to wait at the bar for several minutes before they could seat us. I also assumed the restaurant would be cheesy, due to its affiliation with Hagar (former lead singer of Van Halen and Sarah Jessica Parker's doppelganger). Again, I was wrong. Not only was it uncheesy in a figurative sense, it literally wasn't cheesy -- in keeping with authentic, non-Americanized Mexican cusine, few of the dishes contained cheese.

The tequila lounge aspect of the restaurant is really cool. I ordered an $8 tequila, which they served neat in a port glass. And the bartender gave me an unsolicited chaser: a shot of chilpachole. I had no idea what this was, but it tasted like very salty bloody mary mix. It was all very cool, though the tequila didn't even need the chaser. It was surprisingly smooth.

When we sat down for dinner, they brought out some delicious chips and three kinds of salsa. And the spiciest of the salsas was actually spicy -- even by Mexican standards -- not the typical stuff that only a Midwesterner would find spicy.

We then ordered two entrees: Carne en su Jugo (Jaliscan-style slow cooked beef in a rich broth with bacon, cilantro, onions and lime) and Chile Relleno con Huitlacoche en Salsa Jitomate (Poblano chiles stuffed with cheese and Mexican truffles). All the dishes come with beans, rice, tortillas and a salad served family style. Both of our dishes were very good. I especially liked the beef, which was incredibly flavorful (or maybe just incredibly salty, according to Kelly...whatever, it was delicious!).

Next time we go, I'd like to try one of their tequila flights. These work the same way as wine flights (where you get to try a series of different wines). I'm especially intrigued by the $200 tequila flight, but Kelly indicated that if I took that flight, it better be a one-way trip (not sure what that means).

The bottom line: Tres Agaves was Très Awesome.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Pirate Power


The Chron ran a story today on a new golf phenom who goes to my high school. According to her coach, "She could beat most women in the world right now, on any stage." (I assume most people would prefer to play golf on a green not a stage, but that's still quite impressive.)

By the way, it appears to be "out" to refer to Robert Louis Stevenson high school as RLS -- everyone seems to call it Stevenson School these days.

Anyway, hopefully if this girl becomes famous, it will trump Kelly's latest claim to fame, which is that R&B star Ciara would have gone to Kelly's high school in Atlanta -- if the school hadn't been closed under mysterious circumstances.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

R.I.P. Mac Dre


Today is the one-year anniversary of the death of Mac Dre, the seminal Bay Area rapper who was gunned down in Kansas City.

It's a hip-hop cliche, but police have yet to solve his murder. Mac Dre (nee Andre Hicks) was riding in a van down Highway 71 at 3:30 a.m. on Nov. 1, 2004, when someone in a second vehicle fired at him. Police don't appear to have any concrete suspects.

Though he always had a core group of fans, Mac Dre was never a huge commercial success. But he wasn't afraid of supplementing his income with criminal activity. As a member of Vallejo's Romper Room gang, he robbed banks and pizza parlors in the early 1990s. Dre then spent five years in prison for conspiring to rob a bank in Fresno.

As some of you know, there's a huge Mac Dre mural on our block (Langton St). Click on this Web site to check it out. (Please wait for all the pictures to load, because the one where the three guys are posing in front of it is quite delightful).

And if you want to check out his music, KMEL is feting him today by playing some favorite tracks ("Feelin' Myself" perhaps being the best-known).