Monday, March 30, 2009

That Is Crazy

This is the description of a show on ABC called "Cupid":
Trevor Pierce is a larger than life character who insists that he is Cupid, the Roman god of love. He claims that he has been sent to New York City by Zeus to bring 100 romantically challenged couples together before being allowed to return to Mt. Olympus. His persistence eventually lands him in a mental institution.

No wonder he wound up in a mental institution, since why would Cupid be communicating with Zeus (rather than Jupiter)?

[And yet, still better than naming a 45-year-old Conner. -Ed.]

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lost-Cat Poster

If Elliot ever goes missing, I think we could use this same approach.

Snuggie Update

The Chronicle had a story today about Snuggie fever, along with pictures from the San Francisco Snuggie pub crawl the other day.

Sadly, we missed the event. But I would like to point out that Elliot was rocking blankets-with-sleeves before they were cool.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Quite a Detour

Why are there two Chicago PD squad cars parked in front of the Embarcadero Hyatt?

I took a close look and they seemed authentic, with a little winter salt grime and everything. How'd they get this far from home?

Is San Francisco standing in for Chicago in a movie or TV show? If so, that's pretty odd. Though maybe not as odd as it standing in for the 1980s East Village in "Rent."

UPDATE: It occurs to me that they may be here to attend the funeral of the Oakland police officers.

From the Chronicle story yesterday (boldface added):
In an emotional farewell, more than 20,000 grateful citizens and law-enforcement officials from across the country gathered Friday to honor the lives of four Oakland police officers who were shot and killed in the single deadliest day in department history.

Never mind.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Blast from the Past

I went out for a jog tonight and was running past Katie O'Brien's when I nearly collided with a woman staggering out of the bar.

"Run, Forrest!" she said to me.

Wow. I haven't heard that since 1999, when I was running through Parkmerced and someone shouted it from the sunroof of a limo.

Didn't the lady know she should be making references to the "new" Forrest Gump — Benjamin Button!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Graffiti Update

Maybe someone saw the BoingBoing piece and decided to ruin the graffiti-permitted box in our neighborhood.

Because take a look at it now. The directions appear to have been deliberately blotted out.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Getting a Bad Name

Remember when I called out Hollywood for having unrealistic names for New England towns?

Well, I'm back with another gripe: giving characters names that no one that age would have.

The other day we watched a new show on TNT called "Trust Me." It's about two advertising executives in their 40s named "Connor" and "Mason." Those are their first names.

As someone who recently had to name a baby, I can tell you that both those names are quite popular right now. You know when they *weren't* popular? In the 1960s, when these characters would have been born.

Here's the chart for Mason, from the NameVoyager site (click to enlarge):

And here's Connor:

Is it *possible* for a man in his 40s to be named Connor? Sure, it's possible. But highly unlikely — it essentially didn't exist as a first name before the 1980s. It's like naming a 40-year-old woman "Madison." It just rings false.

The most popular boys' names in the 1960s? Michael, David and John.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009

But I Love Him Platonically

Kelly saw this "I heart Captain Haddock" mug at a store today and says she was very tempted to buy it for me.

I think the concern was it would seem kind of gay — especially in light of recent speculation. No problem with that, of course, just maybe confusing for my co-workers when I take the mug to work.

Pretty Sneaky, Chronicle

I love the way today's Chronicle split up one of its headline above and below the fold.

This part is above the fold, meaning people can see it inside newspaper racks and boxes.

This is what the rest of the headline says.

Well, shoot. There goes 50 cents.

The Face of a Winner

Elliot is all ready to root for Cal in the NCAA tournament!

Wait, what's that?

Never mind.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Free Taxi Rides

Apparently they're offering free cab rides for St. Patrick's Day tonight:
The Safe and Sober Free Ride Home for St. Patrick’s Day program will give residents in Alameda, Oakland, SF and Berkeley rides home for free.

Can I get one to take me to Safeway? I promise to act drunk at the time.

Okay fine, I will be drunk. You wore me down.

Happy St. Patrick's Day from BuboBlog

This leprechaun would like to say, "Stay away from me pot o' gold!" (Since he plans to take it to CoinStar later.)

Smell You Later

You have to hand it to the marketing wizards at Tom's of Maine.

Here's a company whose toothpaste tastes like licking the inside of a horse uterus. And yet, people can't get enough of it.

The other day, I came across this deodorant from them — unscented, of course. The company clearly knows how to target the consumer who thinks, "I smell just fine the way I am, but I guess I'll pay $4 to rub the equivalent of an old candle under my armpits, why not?"

Still, I wonder if they're pushing the envelope a bit with the "12-hour" protection. I guess the idea was: If we're going to invent something that's clearly imaginary, why be conservative with our claims?

Maybe they're also working on 12-hour dragon repellent? Or possibly, a 12-hour gravity-maintainer?

In fairness to the company, the product probably does work just as well after 12 hours as it does after one. So no refunds!

Monday, March 16, 2009

More on 23rd Century San Francisco

Remember when I pointed out the shot of San Francisco in the new "Star Trek" movie trailer?

Well, some guy posted a YouTube video complaining that the city would never allow buildings that tall. The video is actually kind of lame and not that funny, but I will link here to the SlashFilm blog entry about it. (It also bothers me that the guy uses an out-of-date "current" picture of San Francisco. The One Rincon and Millennium towers are missing.)

On the plus side, it provides us with this still image of the movie shot in question.

Side note: There seems to be some confusion as to which bridge is shown in the shot (the guy who posted the YouTube clip says it's the Bay Bridge). I think it's fairly obvious if you look at the cables that it's the Golden Gate — though the gray look of the city may be compounding the confusion.

The Golden Gate:

The Bay Bridge:

If it is the Golden Gate, much of Presidio gets developed in the future. That would seem to be the bigger story here — since Don Fisher can't even manage to put an art museum in the Presidio without fierce opposition.

UPDATE: There's now an "answer" to the original YouTube clip. Check it out.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cereality, R.I.P.?

Remember Cereality, the restaurant focused on cereal?

I was thrilled when I first heard of this concept back in 2004. They opened up locations in Philadelphia and Santa Cruz.

Sadly, I never got a chance to try it out. And I learned this weekend that the Santa Cruz location is closed! It appears from the company's Web site that the Philly location is gone as well. The only remaining outlets appear to be located inside Cold Stone Creameries.

Is this company doomed? If so, was it the concept or the economy?

Oddly, I came across this site that said they're opening a new Cereality in Terminal C, Gate C6 of Dallas-Ft. Worth airport. Is that the one recession-proof part of America?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Celebrities That Resemble Animals

The PopCrunch site has a feature comparing various celebrities to animals.

Most of them are a bit of a stretch, but there is one that's germane to many previous discussions on this blog.

All Elliot All The Time: Month Six

Another month gone by, and that means another photo album from Kelly. We'll see if she can keep this up until he goes off to college. That means 216 of these, Kelly!

Some highlights...

Elliot just chillin'.

Is this a baby hug or an ultimate-fighting showdown? (No eye-gouging, Elliot!)

Waiting for Muni.

Firefighter Helps Woman Mess Up Taxi

Remember when a cab driver tried to deny a ride to Kelly because she was pregnant? At the time, I questioned how many taxi-cab baby deliveries occur in real life.

Well, it looks like one happened this week in Brooklyn. And the cab driver was no help. A firefighter had to swoop in and save the day.

"The baby started to come [and] the cab driver, I guess, freaked out,” the hero firefighter said. The child's umbilical cord had wrapped around his neck. [Firefighter Severino] Genovese quickly freed the boy, who immediately started drawing healthy breaths.

Paramedics arrived moments later, cut the cord and rushed the new family to nearby Lutheran Medical Center.

If anything, this incident will make taxi drivers more likely to discriminate against pregnant women in the future. It sounds like it was pretty scary.

And in fairness to the cabbie, the firefighter probably didn't hang around to clean up afterwards.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

BuboBlog Scoops BoingBoing — Again!

This week the BoingBoing blog did an entry on the graffiti-permitted wall in my neighborhood.

Welcome to the party, guys — I first wrote about this back in September. I then updated the story here, here, here and here. (I clearly sensed I was onto something big.)

This isn't the first time BoingBoing has followed my lead, as you'll recall. Maybe I should start sending them my ideas directly. Hopefully they want stories about coin collecting and eczema cream.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Elliot Disappointed Balloon Cannot Fit in Mouth

We went to the Icebee and one of the employees gave Elliot a balloon — his first ever.

The employee was a teenager and probably unaware that you don't usually give balloons to babies.

Elliot wasn't sure what to make of it at first.

When in doubt, lick it.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

San Francisco Is Third-Least-Manly City in America

According to a new survey, Nashville is the manliest city in the U.S.

San Francisco was No. 48 (out of 50). The city was only deemed more manly than Los Angeles and New York — odd, since I feel like we would get our ass kicked in a street fight with either of those cities.

According to this AP story:
Cities lost ranking points for "emasculating" characteristics like the abundance of home furnishing stores, high minivan sales and subscription rates to beauty magazines.

Nashville grabbed the top spot in the ranking thanks to its high number of NASCAR enthusiasts, popularity of hunting and fishing, and concentration of barbecue restaurants.

I guess no "manliness" points were given for not showering and wearing assless chaps.

Maybe building this will score us points.

The complete list (note that Oakland was 44th):
1. Nashville, Tenn.
2. Charlotte, N.C.
3. Oklahoma City
4. Cincinnati
5. Denver
6. St. Louis
7. Columbus, Ohio
8. Kansas City, Mo.
9. Indianapolis
10. Toledo, Ohio
11. Memphis, Tenn.
12. Richmond, Va.
13. Columbia, S.C.
14. Orlando, Fla.
15. Dayton, Ohio
16. Salt Lake City
17. Milwaukee
18. Minneapolis
19. Cleveland
20. Detroit
21. Jacksonville, Fla.
22. Phoenix
23. Birmingham, Ala.
24. Grand Rapids, Mich.
25. Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.
26. Harrisburg, Pa.
27. New Orleans
28. Las Vegas
29. Pittsburgh
30. Philadelphia
31. Louisville, Ky.
32. Atlanta
33. Providence, R.I.
34. Dallas
35. Buffalo, N.Y.
36. Rochester, N.Y.
37. Baltimore
38. Boston
39. Houston
40. Seattle
41. Sacramento, Calif.
42. Miami
43. San Diego
44. Oakland, Calif.
45. Washington, D.C.
46. Chicago
47. Portland, Ore.
48. San Francisco
49. Los Angeles
50. New York

BuboBlog Reviews 'Watchmen' 'Hancock'

I can't provide a "Watchman" review, since we weren't able to see it this weekend. However, we did watch the "Hancock" DVD — so if you're looking for a review of a superhero movie that came out last year, you've come to the right place!

"Hancock" got a fairly bad reception (the Rotten Tomato rating was 39 percent), so I was hesitant to see it. But the New Yorker called it "by far the most enjoyable big movie of the summer."

Having now seen the film, I would say the New Yorker was definitely overselling it. It wasn't bad, though. In fact, what made the movie frustrating was how good it was — before veering off on an ill-conceived tangent.

The first hour of "Hancock" is almost pitch-perfect. Will Smith, who plays a drunk, foul-mouthed superhero, manages to make him lovable. Jason Bateman does a fine job as a public-relations man who wants to fix Hancock's image. Charlize Theron, who plays Bateman's wife, is great as well.

Then comes the "second-act reveal," which is a disaster. It turns out (spoiler warning) that Charlize Theron is also a super-hero and that she and Will Smith are the last two of their kind — they're gods or angels or whatever — and they're meant to be together. But they lose their powers if they spend too much time in each other's presence. After Hancock and Theron's character both get shot, Hancock has to leave town in order to keep them from becoming mortal and dying.

The twist totally doesn't work, and it's a wonder that it wasn't fixed by a script doctor (since at least one worked on the screenplay). I can name at least three reasons why it was a mistake:

1. The movie spends a good portion of the first half getting you emotionally invested in Jason Bateman's marriage. You are rooting for him and his wife to stay together. So you're not going to be moved by Hancock's ancient love affair with Theron's character Mary. It just leaves you cold and slightly creeped out.

2. It clutters up the premise. Here you have an interesting idea: What if a superhero were a drunk asshole? There's a lot you can do with that concept, and the best parts of the film are spent mining its potential. So then when you have all the stuff about him being one of the last two gods, etc., it muddles the story. It takes what was most fun about "Hancock" and complicates it with elements that don't reinforce the main premise.

3. Every superhero movie needs a way to make the protagonist vulnerable. That way, when he has a final showdown with the villain, the stakes are high. This movie accomplishes that by having Hancock lose his powers after spending too much time with Mary — just as a trio of escaped convicts decides to take their revenge on him. But the actual mechanism of his losing his powers totally overshadows the showdown itself, which gets short shrift. The villains aren't given much personality or screen time, and you have no idea what motivates them (aside from revenge) or why you should care.

So if you watch "Hancock," enjoy the first hour. And maybe then use it as a case study on how not to do the second half of a movie.

BuboBlog Rating: 2.5 asterisks (out of four).

Saturday, March 07, 2009

False Advertising?

I hate to pick on a small business trying to make it in this economy, but Little Joe's on Mission Street (at Fifth) needs to rethink their sign.

Because the place was nearly empty.

Maybe they should try to appeal to urban youths by changing the name to Lil' Joe's.

Elliot Is Circus Freak Large

I'm a pretty average guy — average height, average weight, average Parcheesi player. So how on Earth did I spawn this enormous baby?

They measured Elliot at the doctor's yesterday, and he's in the 90th percentile for height. Hopefully he won't continue on this trajectory or he'll be able to beat me up by age 13.

Hit It and Twit It

Say, friends: I now have my Twitter feed in the upper-right corner of the blog. What is Twitter? It's a service that lets you send out 140-character messages to friends and strangers. Kind of like this blog, only less informative.

I haven't been very good at making "Tweets" in the past, but maybe I can improve on that count.

I tried to put a photo of me in my Twitter profile, but it cut off half my face (I guess I didn't choose one that was square enough). Then I decided this was probably an improvement.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Is Beard Fever Back?

Either Elliot is now eating solid foods, or he's growing a kick-ass carrot-based goatee!

Elliot Stupified by 1850s Technology

Today Kelly opened an umbrella over Elliot's head.


Wait till he finds out about the Internet.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Where's Illinois?

I've been collecting state quarters since the U.S. Mint began issuing the coins in 1998. Why? Because I'm one bad-assed dude.

When Elliot was born, I decided to step up my efforts to get all the coins, so that I could pass them down to him as a family heirloom (hey, we're in a recession — this is the best I can do). My mother-in-law even provided me with this nifty album.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to find an Illinois to save my life. I have every other coin except for Hawaii (that one shouldn't be hard to pick up since it's the most recently minted one).

The Illinois coin was minted seven years ago, so it's gotten scarce. I'm scared that I'll never see one. I guess I could order it on eBay or something, but that seems like cheating.

Even if I get Illinois and Hawaii, my work may be far from over. Now I'm seeing that they're doing quarters for the District of Columbia and five territories. When was this announced? Are they just trying to squeeze a little more cash out of poor saps like me? Was a quarter commemorating the Northern Mariana Islands really necessary?

So if anyone has an extra Illinois, let me know. I'll pay a hefty premium over face value (shall we say, 400 percent?).