Friday, December 29, 2006

Parkmerced

I haven't really been following this case about the guy who shot a cop in San Francisco's Sunset district last week. But I was interested to learn today that the killer used to "live" in Parkmerced — my old apartment complex. (I say "live," because it sounds like he was sleeping illegally in a storage room there.)

When I was living there, it seemed to be nothing but 90-year-old women and Russian immigrants. Apparently things have livened up a bit since then.

It's amusing that the Chron calls the place "The Villas." After I moved out of the complex, they changed their name to "The Villas at Parmerced," which didn't really seem true to the complex's Soviet-style aesthetic sense.

By using the "Villas" name, the Chron reporter has become a pawn in their marketing campaign!

Overrated Movies

As most of you know, I'm creatively fueled by my hatred of the movie "The English Patient."

So I was shocked and saddened to see that it wasn't included in Premier Magazine's list of the 20 most overrated movies. What gives?!

Here's their (woefully incomplete) list:
20. American Beauty
19. Chicago
18. Clerks
17. Fantasia
16. Field of Dreams
15. Chariots of Fire
14. Good Will Hunting
13. Forrest Gump
12. Jules and Jim
11. A Beautiful Mind
10. Monster's Ball
9. Moonstruck
8. Mystic River
7. Nashville
6. The Wizard of Oz
5. An American in Paris
4. Easy Rider
3. The Red Shoes
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey
1. Gone with the Wind

Cities Visited

I was checking out fellow blogger Anh-Minh's site, and as a fun exercise she recounts all the cities she's visited in the past year. The idea is to only list places she's spent at least one night.

"Hey, I can do that too!" I thought.

But it's actually harder than you might imagine. I couldn't remember most of these until I went back and did research.

Anyway, here's my list:

1. Los Angeles
2. Santa Cruz, Calif.
3. Portland, Ore.
4. Chicago
5. Marietta, Ga.
6. Alexandria, Va.
7. Northeast Harbor, Maine
8. Monterey, Calif.
9. New York
10. Rome, Ga.
11. San Diego
12. Wilmington, Del.

Now, my cities aren't quite as exciting as hers (big ups for Wilmington). And I didn't exactly "leave the U.S." But my 11 cities beats her 10. Oh yeah, this blogosphere feud is ON!

UPDATE: I remembered that we stayed in Monterey for my high school reunion. So I'm at 12 now.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

BuboBlog Reviews 'Pursuit of Happyness'

I'm on a movie-watching spree!!

Tonight we went to see "The Pursuit of Happyness." As you probably know, this film is set in San Francisco during the early 1980s. That made it a double-whammy for me, since I could try to spot both anachronisms *and* errors in geography!

The film stars Will Smith as the only homeless man in the history of San Francisco to not drink or use smack. Very inspiring! The unfortunate part was, I didn't spot as many mistakes as I expected.

Here's my lame list of goofs:
—A number of skyscrapers built after the early 1980s were visible — including a certain building where I work.
—There's no way a cab ride in the early '80s from downtown to Potrero would cost $17. That's crazy. Even back in the late 1990s, I could get from downtown all the way to Parkmerced for $19.
—A guy goes to a 49er game on Monday and then goes to another game that Sunday. Unless there's been some change in NFL scheduling since that time, you can't have two games in the same week.
—Will Smith gets into a Bart station via Duboce Park (this is sort of a goof, but really it's pretty awesome that they built this station just for the movie).

(I won't count the fact that Cecil Williams — who plays himself in the film — would have been much younger in the early 1980s. Reminds me a bit of Billy Idol's cameo in "The Wedding Singer.")

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Day the Streetcars Rolled

In the spirit of catching up on recent movies, I also watched "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951) the other night. (The movie apparently won a Golden Globe for Best Film Promoting International Understanding. If they still have that category, hopefully "Jackass 2" is in the running this year.)

Anyway, I enjoyed seeing shots of Washington, D.C., from that era -- especially the streetcars. It made me a little sad that the streetcars have disappeared (though streetcars of that era do prowl the streets of San Francisco). So it was funny to see a story today about a plan to restore streetcar lines in the city. Unlike in S.F., they'll only be using new cars -- not vintage models.

BuboBlog Reviews 'King Kong'

I know you've all been waiting patiently for me to weigh in on the "King Kong" movie. Yes, I realize it came out in 2005. But as this blog is an authority on man-simian mating, my silence on the film has been a woeful omission.

I saw the movie last night, and on the whole, I'd say it was good. I'd give it three asterisks (out of four). I had a few issues with the film, though.

Too many camera tricks: What was with director Peter Jackson occasionally doing jerky slow motion or slowing down the shutter speed? It didn't add anything to the film and seemed to break tone. Maybe he was trying to be artsy, but it looked like a 1980s effect — like the view from the Predator's perspective.

Too long: At more than three hours, the movie could have used some editing. Lots of subplots lead nowhere. What was with the Hayes-Jimmy mentoring thing? Does Jimmy go on to accomplish anything — or even get any screen time — after Hayes dies? No.

Too many themes: They played up the "Heart of Darkness" angle, hinting that this was a movie about discovering the darkness within us all. Maybe it was. But it was also about confronting fear. And it was about respecting the sanctity of nature. And it was about how love could lead to one's undoing. A little more thematic clarity would have been nice.

Too much Skull Island: This movie should have been called "Crazy Sh**t on Skull Island...which happens to include a big gorilla." There were so many dinosaurs, giant insects, slugs, etc. on the island that King Kong himself didn't seem so special. I realize there were dinosaurs in the original film, but it kept most of the attention on Kong.

If Jackson had fixed those problems, I think the movie would have been truly great and let us focus more on the most powerful element: the love story. That part totally worked, I thought. I even liked Ann and King Kong ice skating on his ass. You really don't see enough of that in film.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Like Whoa Part 2

OK, so that was weird. I was sitting in exactly the same spot as the other night — upstairs in front of our computer ("working on my music") — and once again Kelly was downstairs in the kitchen. There was another jolt of an earthquake (felt exactly the same as last time), and once again Kelly didn't feel it.

Sure enough, it was the same magnitude quake (3.7) and the same epicenter (Berkeley, on the Hayward Fault).

This feels kind of ominous, like it's the start of something bigger. But maybe the plates are just relieving a little pressure.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Along came a spider (that lived inside the keyboard)

Kelly, who contributes to the Macworld editors' blog, did a piece about a spider that got trapped in her keyboard -- and my efforts to extricate and destroy said spider.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Like Whoa

Did anyone else feel that earthquake last night? I was sitting at the computer when the whole house lurched like a Muni bus. But Kelly, who was downstairs, said she felt nothing (except me running around shouting).

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Tree's On

Season's greetings from all of us here at BuboBlog LLP.

Here's a picture of our tree this year. As you can see, it's not much bigger than last year's tree -- a source of disappointment to Kelly (note the happy-sad expression on her face), who wanted to upgrade. But I like being able to cram the tree down the garbage disposal afterwards.

Check out how Kelly wrapped the side table as a gift -- very clever! (That's called turning a negative into a positive, kids.)

Our small-tree ways were documented in a recent Chronicle story (written by budding freelancer and sometime BuboBlog correspondent Anh-Minh).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

You had me at 'world's tallest man'

Speaking of the world's tallest man saving a dolphin...wait, we weren't talking about that? Well, we should have been! Really, how often do you get to read the headline "World's Tallest Man Saves Dolphin." Once or twice a year, tops?

Big Mouth

Speaking of people making fun of Asians, what's with this Rosie O'Donnell business? Apparently Rosie did a pretend Chinese accent -- basically by repeating ching-chong a bunch of times. People got offended, so she "apologized," saying something like, "I'm sorry for those people who were hurt." Shockingly, people aren't satisfied with this apology! (It does sound a lot like the apologies I give to Kelly: "I *am* sorry...sorry you feel that way!"

Anyway, this brings to mind something I've wondered a really long time. We've all heard people doing this fake Chinese speaking -- and maybe for some other languages like French or German. I'd be really curious if anyone in Asia ever does mock-English. And what on Earth would it sound like? I'm pretty sure if I ever heard this it would BLOW MY MIND.

More Ed Jew

The SFist blog did a lighthearted photo caption featuring our favorite San Francisco politician (pictured with Mayor Gavin Newsom). Funny that they didn't go for the low-hanging comedic fruit and make fun of his name. I guess they're classier than us.

P.S. For any out-of-town readers, the joke about Gavin calling the kettle black is funny because Gavin always wears the same blue tie.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Less Literate than...Atlanta?


Hey, did anyone see this list of the most literate cities in the U.S.

Seattle was No. 1. I don't know, maybe that's plausible. But what's with San Francisco being all the way down at No. 9 -- below Atlanta?!

This didn't make sense to me, so I drilled down a little. It turns out Atlanta got its score because the people there read a lot of magazines. Hello, that doesn't count!

Most Literate Cities' Overall Rank
1. Seattle
2. Minneapolis
3. Atlanta
4. Washington, D.C.
5. St. Paul, Minn.
6. Pittsburgh
7. Cincinnati
8. Denver
9. San Francisco
10. Portland, Ore.

Cities' Rank in Reading Magazines and Journals (i.e., "Sassy")*
1. Washington, D.C.
2. Atlanta
3. Boston
4. Cleveland
5. New York City
6. St. Louis
7. San Francisco
8. Cincinnati
9. Minneapolis
10. Pittsburgh

*Parenthetical comment added by me.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I'm offended! Oh, right...

Lately I keep seeing potentially offensive headlines about San Francisco politics.

For instance:

Jew Victory Reflects Splits Among Democrats

--or--

Jew Scores Big in Choosing Meskunas as Aide

I think, "What the heck?!" Then I remember that Ed Jew (who is actually Asian, and therefore, probably not Jewish) was recently elected to the San Francisco board of supervisors.

It's fortunate that Dan White is no longer a supervisor (well, that's fortunate for a lot of reasons, I guess), because then you'd probably have headlines like: "White and Jew Team Up to Control Banking System, Oppress Minorities."

More Chuman News

As some of you noted, there was a piece in the New York Times about human-chimp hybrids today. Once again, they didn't address the issue of why no one is working on one today. Cowards!
On hearing of Darwin’s theories, the wife of the bishop of Worcester supposedly exclaimed: “Descended from apes? My dear, let us hope that it is not true.” Now the geneticist David Reich of the Broad Institute at Harvard and M.I.T. has advanced a theory that the bishop’s wife would have found even more disturbing: human and chimp ancestors, after diverging into separate species millions of years ago, came back together and interbred.

Reich came up with the idea after comparing the genes of humans and chimps. When two species split from a common ancestor, their genes will continue to diverge, or mutate, at a regular clip over time. Reich and his team of researchers, after comparing some 20 million base pairs (the “rungs” of DNA) from humans and chimps, found that different genes began diverging at different times — with genes located on the X chromosome of humans and chimps parting ways most recently.

Reich’s explanation is that the two populations interbred on repeated occasions over hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years, producing hybrids of protohumans and protochimps. The male hybrids were likely to be sterile, but Reich posits that the female hybrids (with their two X chromosomes) were able to mate with males of one of the original species. This would explain why genes on the X chromosome of humans and chimps diverged more recently.

It’s a radical concept. Conventional wisdom holds that the development of separate species happens quickly, most often when populations become separated by a geographical barrier. Even if these groups meet again and manage to mate before diverging too far from one another, their offspring will be unfit and die out. Or so the thinking goes.

By contrast, Reich argues that hybrids could play an important and positive role in speciation, introducing advantageous traits into a gene pool — including ours. If Reich is correct, the customary image of the human family tree, with its neat and discrete divisions, should be replaced by another metaphor: a dense and impenetrable thicket of branches concealing countless acts of interspecies sex. It’s enough to make a bishop’s wife blush.

Monday, December 04, 2006

New Template

My blog felt very 2004, so I tried to spruce it up with a new template. Let me know what you think.

BuboBlog Reviews 'Casino Royale'

We went to see the new James Bond movie, "Casino Royale," and both enjoyed it — though I thought it was maybe a bit long. Also, was anyone else confused about the guy with the black lens on one side of his eyeglasses. He wasn't LeChiffre, right? Because (*Spoiler Warning*) wasn't he already dead? Then who the heck was he? And why would they have two characters with some kind of eye problem? Did an ophthalmological organization sponsor the movie?

I digress. I also thought some of the financial elements weren't too realistic. For instance, the airline company that I think was supposed to be Airbus. The bad guy loses millions of dollars betting the stock will go down. In real life, people don't lose money shorting Airbus!

And I had some issues with with the soundtrack. I'm pretty sure they took it from a 1970s-era Bond film, or perhaps an episode of Fantasy Island. Every time the villain's foxy Italian wife would show up, they would play sexy flute. Excuse me, flute? I'm fairly certain the Film Composers Guild agreed in 1982 to stop using sexy flute to introduce hot-women characters.

Otherwise, good stuff. I give it *** asterisks (out of four).

[Worst review ever. -ed.]

The Crazy Continues

We were walking home from the movies just now ("Casino Royale" -- more about that in a bit), strolling down 7th Street, when we heard some crazy homeless guy shouting in a threatening manner. This woman nearby (who seemed a bit crazy herself) decided to respond by pulling the alarm on one of those fire-alarm boxes they have on street corners. This was exciting because I've never seen anyone pull one of those. I was like, "You can do that just if someone's acting crazy?!" Well, she walked away and then a couple minutes later a huge firetruck and an ambulance show up, lights on, sirens blaring. I don't think they were interested in the crazy homeless guy. I think they realized pretty quickly that it was a false alarm because they pulled away shortly. But I was impressed with how fast they arrived.

Look who it is...

Note: This exploitive video was made without Kelly's consent.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Bringing the Crazy

I've had an especially high number of run-ins with crazy/drunk people lately, and at first I couldn't figure out why. Then I remembed that yesterday was Friday *and* the 1st of da Month -- a perfect storm, if you will [I think you need three things for a perfect storm. -ed.]

We were taking the No. 30 home from a party last night when I heard this woman in the front of the bus babbling incoherently. I looked over and was delighted to see that it was my favorite crazy lady! Who knew that she also rode the No. 30?! It was especially exciting because Kelly had never seen her before. And crazy lady was in rare form. She talked everyone's ears off and then as her fellow passengers were getting off the bus, she ran over behind them and tried to kick them in the butt. I think she was only pretending or her coordination was off a little, because fortunately she didn't make contact.