Sunday, August 31, 2008

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Getting a Bad Name

As someone who will soon have to name a baby, I took interest in the children's names of new vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

She has five kids, including Track and Trig.

I've determined that you can earn respect for any name — no matter how unusual — as long as it's short for something else. That gives it legitimacy. So I was hoping those names were short for Trachadarius and Trigonometry.

Sadly, it looks like they aren't.

This is the New York Times' Maureen Dowd's explanation of the names:
Track (named after high school track meets), Bristol (after Bristol Bay where they did commercial fishing), Willow (after a community in Alaska), Piper (just a cool name) and Trig (Norse for “strength.”)


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Confusing Sign at Subway

(a.) Is the hand supposed to help people determine how much five dollars is, in case they can't read numerals and need a visual cue?

If so, they probably can't read dollar signs either. They might think that Subway is bartering their sandwiches for high-fives, or possibly severed hands.

(b.) Or is it there just to provide scale — to show you how long a foot is? If so, I feel like something other than a hand maybe have sufficed, such as...a foot.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Three Weeks to Go

As of today, the baby would not be considered premature if it had to come out now. Hooray!

I picked up some medical forms from work so that we can add the baby to our insurance after he's born. For some reason, I was freaked out by the box for his social-security number. What madman would give this clump of cells a social-security number? That's just crazy.

Blistering Barnacles: a Tintin Update

A while ago, I blogged about a plan by Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson to produce a Tintin trilogy.

It looks like they've chosen the stories for the first film: "The Secret of the Unicorn" and its sequel "Red Rackham’s Treasure" (both will be covered in one movie). Those were two of my favorites, and I think that's a good place to start, even if they aren't the first books in the series.

The first few Tintin books — "Tintin in the Land of the Soviets," "Tintin in the Congo" and "Tintin in America" — all have elements that would probably distract someone who was new to the series. Plus I'm not sure if "Soviets" was ever published in English (I have a French copy), so that limits the fan base. "Red Rackham" also introduces Professor Calculus, a cherished character.

They're going to use performance-capture technology to make the films (like with "Beowulf" or "Polar Express"), which is usually pretty creepy. But it's probably a good call here since it's hard to find an actor with Tintin hair.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Steepest Streets of San Francisco

As any San Franciscan worth his salt-water taffy knows, Filbert (between Hyde and Leavenworth) is the steepest street in the city.

Ah, but is it?

According to the San Francisco Citizen blog, 22nd Street (between Church and Vicksburg) is exactly the same grade, 31.5 percent. So I guess the two streets are actually tied.

Now I have fodder to correct people the next time this comes up. Kind of like when people say that Lombard is the crookedest street in San Francisco (it's actually Vermont Street), or claim that Mark Twain said that the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in San Francisco (it's wrongly attributed to him), or that the Jonestown cult drank Kool-Aid instead of...well, you know.

Correcting people is awesome!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Speaking of Music...

Last night we were walking around the Civic Center when we saw this CD discarded on the street.

Tragically, Kelly wouldn't allow me to pick it up. But based purely on what's written on the surface, it sounds like the GREATEST ALBUM OF ALL TIME!

Musical Deja Vu

I was reading Rolling Stone magazine (Kelly has a subscription due to a clerical error — she's supposed to be getting Real Simple), and they had a Q&A with Katy Perry (pictured), who sings "I Kissed a Girl." They asked her who came up with the lyrics for the song.

She responded:
"I did, actually. One morning, I woke up with the chorus and was like, "'[Gasp] I love this! This is so taboo, though!'"

I'm thinking, didn't a different song with the exact same title come out when I was in college?

I posed this question to Kelly and she said she remembered the old song and then started singing Ace of Base's "I Saw the Sign" — only with "I Kissed a Girl" as the chorus. I think she actually did not remember the old song.

Anyway, so I found it online — it was released in 1995 by an artist named Jill Sobule.

I guess there's nothing wrong with Katy Perry also writing a song about kissing a girl and using the same title...but don't go acting like [gasp] you're being taboo, Katy Perry. Unless you mean by 1995 standards. (Back then, tattoos were still taboo.)

This reminds of when Robin S. had a hit with a song called "Show Me Love" in 1993. And then five years later, an artist named Robyn had a hit with a different song by the same name. WTF? Two people named Robin/byn using the same title? Were they just trying to screw with my head? If so, bravo...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Amish Versus Shakers

Apparently the Amish population is booming. A study found there are 227,000 Amish these days, almost double the number in 1992. The reason? Amish families typically have five or more kids.

That's forcing them to expand beyond their traditional strongholds of Pennsylvania and Ohio (haven't seen any on Folsom Street yet, though).

This got me thinking: With the Amish flourishing, how are the Shakers doing? You don't hear much about them these days.

Well, according to this story, there are currently four Shakers (as in, 4). They live in some community in Maine. And actually, the article is a couple years old, so maybe some of them have died.

The lesson: Having five kids each = good for your religion. Having no sex whatsoever = bad. (Though still better than having all your followers drink cyanide-laced Flavor Aid.*)

*Score! Another opportunity to mention Flavor Aid.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Haverford Versus Stanford

Forbes magazine, fearless about list-making, has a new college ranking.

Unlike U.S. News and World Report, Forbes groups the big universities together with the small colleges.

The result? Haverford (pictured) ranks 22nd. One notch above Stanford.

Both schools were well below such esteemed institutions as Wabash College (No. 12) and Kentucky's Centre College (No. 13).

University of Pennsylvania doesn't pop up until No. 61. Berkeley checks in at No. 73, and Emory was No. 82. Ouch.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ikea Says, 'You're Bad Parents'

We made two trips to Ikea this weekend as we got the nursery ready.

Apparently you can't store your baby in this giant plastic bin.

Well, there goes that plan!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Death Star in San Francisco

This maybe goes on too long, but it's pretty cool.

It's basically a "Cloverfield"-style video of the Star Wars Empire setting its sights on S.F.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

May I Butt In?

Today I saw a guy on our street cleaning up all the cigarette butts. What a good samaritan, I thought.

Then I noticed he was only picking up the ones that weren't fully smoked, and putting them in a little box for later.

Hmm...should I still be grateful?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Thug Life

We noticed this odd product at Ikea. It's a pillow with little holes for a child's feet.

Is there a danger that this will acclimate kids to the idea of wearing cement shoes?

Perhaps it's good to warn children early on about what happens to snitches.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Frog Plague

Maybe it's the euro or the fact that it's August, but San Francisco is overrun with the French right now (and other Europeans). It's impossible to escape their loud talk, their flashy designer clothes, their ostentatious displays of we locals try to eke out a hardscrabble existence.

Don't they see that I'm just a proud peasant with a young pregnant wife, and I don't have time to direct them to the Metreon because my bus is about to arrive?

Allow me my dignity, sirs!

[About that, you promised to pay me 80,000 goldmarks. -F.N.] I told you, you're doing an unpaid internship!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

BuboBlog Reviews 'Pineapple Express'

We went to see "Pineapple Express" tonight. I was afraid it was going to be mobbed, since the last few Apatovian films we've been to were super-crowded. But it didn't seem to be sold out.

I'm wondering if it's because the target audience was sitting on their collective couch at home and asked, "Dude...was there a movie we were going to see tonight?"

Suffice to say, the people in attendance were so high, you wondered how they got there. I went to the bathroom and found a guy laughing like a hyena as he stared at his hands under the faucet. His friend was saying, "Dude, stop it. I'm going to pee on you, I swear."

I was afraid the movie wouldn't be as good for those of us who were sober, and maybe it wasn't, but there were plenty of laughs (favorite line: "You threw up in my printer"). I also enjoyed the soundtrack, which featured such songs as "(I Know I Got) Skillz" by Shaquille O'Neal and "Poison" by Bell Biv Devoe. I feel like a good portion of my cassingle collection from the 1990s was represented.

Beware, the movie is disturbing violent. I think that element of the film has drawn some criticism, since people think it detracts from the movie's good-time nature. But I say, if you're going to go violent, you might as well go disturbingly violent (severed ears, scalded faces, people crushed by Daewoos). It was a valid creative choice.

I'd give it three asterisks *** (out of four).


Hmm...I found this photo on my camera phone, but I can't seem to recall where or when I took it.

That's faintly disturbing.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

San Francisco: Less Drunk Than Milwaukee!

Forbes magazine carved out a lucrative niche for itself with its world's-richest-people lists, so they decided to start making lists about everything. It's getting a little ridiculous: the 10 most luxurious port-a-potties, the 100 smelliest CEOs, the five best places to find a cheap Ukrainian prostitute...

Okay, I made those up, but this one is real: the 15 drunkest cities. They tried to find the U.S. cities that consume the most alcohol, and lo, San Francisco is right up there at No. 3.

Here's the ranking:
1. Austin, Texas
2. Milwaukee
3. San Francisco
4. Providence, Rhode Island
5. Chicago
8. (tie) Cleveland
8. (tie) Seattle
8. (tie) St. Louis
9. Boston
10. Cincinnati
11. Pittsburgh
12. Virginia Beach, Virginia
13. Portland, Oregon
14. Jacksonville, Florida
15. Detroit

Apparently 59.4 percent of San Franciscans reported having at least one drink in the past month.

Wait, that means 40.6 percent of people haven't had a single drink in a month. That actually seems really low. I mean, aside from Kelly and the guys chain-smoking in front of the detox clinic around the corner from us, where are all these teetotalers?

Maybe the next list will be "the most stoned cities." If so — sorry Austin — but I think we'll have that one in the bag. Especially if we can include Berkeley in the metro area (and maybe Humboldt County).

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Pregnant Woman Suffers Discrimination (Part 2)

Yesterday I rode BART to Oakland with Kelly. It was a crowded car and there were no empty seats when we got on. I was really surprised when no one offered Kelly a seat, since she clearly looks pregnant (enough to frighten cab drivers).

She says this is very common on transit. She also says men are less likely to give up their seats than women.

This surprised me. I would figure men would be more likely because (a) they have some lingering sense of chivalry (b) women usually keep to themselves and avoid eye contact on transit because there are a lot of scary people who will try to talk to them.

Among the male population, Latino men are the most likely to give up their seats for her.

Maybe it's just that white men are afraid of insinuating that she's fat. If so, I applaud their sensitivity!

UPDATE: Today Kelly said a white man offered his seat to her. But it was a gay man. So maybe we can narrow the offenders to straight white men. Bastards.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Here's an Idea

It looks like Lindsay Lohan is getting ready to marry her girlfriend Samantha Ronson. [Should I know who that is? -Guest Editor Friedrich Nietzsche.]

This gets me thinking: Now that gay marriage is legal in California, maybe we need to set some new ground rules. For instance, you shouldn't have a gay marriage if you were ostensibly straight a couple weeks ago. There should be a six-month cooling-off period.

This would apply in the other direction as well. For instance, Ellen Degeneres' former girlfriends couldn't rush off and marry men immediately. They'd have to wait six months first.

Unless you've been married to Liza Minelli or Michael Jackson, then you can just get a pass. [Clay Aiken too. LOL. -F.N.]

Monday, August 04, 2008

It's Official...

Usually when a trend or catch-phrase makes its way into BuboBlog, it's the official signal that the trend is already over. Witness the time I used "hells yeah." Did you ever hear that phrase again afterwards? I didn't think so.

So imagine my surprise when someone was even later than me in acknowledging the whole "staycation" craze. I saw it last weekend in a column printed in the Alameda Journal. Some woman named Ginny Prior — who writes the kind of column for which, "I enjoy chatting over coffee" is a perfectly acceptable lede — shared her experience taking a so-called staycation to San Francisco. (Bonus: She wears a big floppy hat in her picture.)

Why am I reading the Alameda Journal, you ask? Well, twice a month my writing group meets in Alameda. A friend and I like to go a cheesesteak place afterward and I check out the local papers. Interesting sidenote: It's the first place I've ever gone to in my life where I have a "usual." The lady starts writing down my order right when I come in — without me having to say anything. For a while in my 20s, I tried to order a Black Russian all the time, hoping it would become my usual. But it never took...which is probably for the best since Black Russians are disgusting.

Oh no, the preceding story was boring. I've become the very thing I set out to mock! Damn you, Ginny Prior. [He who fights monsters must take care not to become one. -Guest Editor Friedrich Nietzsche.]

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Highlights' Lowlights

As I rapper/actress writer/editor, I've faced my share of rejection. I've had people pass on articles, screenplays and stage plays (and they certainly would have rejected my novels if I had ever finished them/showed them to anyone). But I've never had a rejection from Highlights magazine.

That's why I was intrigued to read about the recent experience of Kelly's cousin Bob. He sent a short story to Highlights (something about an insect in the pupa stage of metamorphosis), and they turned him down. He posted the rejection letter on his blog.

First of all, I wasn't aware that Highlights magazine still existed. More surprising was the check-the-box format of their rejection letter. You can see it here.

A sample of their rejection criteria: The story involves stereotyped roles. Or it requires or encourages readers to mark on their pages. (Is this a tacit admission that their publication only exists in pediatrician waiting rooms?)

From what I read about Bob's story, it sounds awesome. So, it's their loss. At least he didn't get dinged with the stereotyped character accusation. (Not sure what a stereotyped pupa character would be exactly...)

Saturday, August 02, 2008

'Speed' (Mis)reading

I'm not one to defend Los Angeles ("City of the Angels? more like a concrete jungle full of macks, Cadillacs and crack sacks")...however, I was a little perturbed by the New Yorker's review of "In Search of a Midnight Kiss," which is set in L.A.

Reviewer Anthony Lane, who generally liked the film, says the following:
Being carless for most of the time, they take the [L.A.] subway. Viewers in other countries, who know the city only from films, could be forgiven for not realizing that it has a subway; they know that it has at least one bus route, thanks to “Speed,” but beyond that their best guess would be that Angelenos are born in their cars and die there.

Um, anyone who's seen "Speed" would know that the finale is set inside the subway. How does Anthony Lane think Dennis Hopper's character gets decapitated? Maybe he fell asleep during that part.