Thursday, July 30, 2009

You Could Lose An Eye In That Thing

The new NBC medical show "Trauma" is filming this week at Justin Herman Plaza near the Embarcadero Center.

Next to all those ambulances and police cars was...a bouncy castle?

I can only imagine that the episode is going to deal with bouncy-castle injuries and their terrible toll on society.

At last, Hollywood has the guts to examine this important issue!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

'Fool, I Got Skillz'

Elliot exhibits his amazing abilities (and some that are not so amazing).

Who Needs a Menu?

Elliot dines at Custom Burger (photo courtesy of Kelly's cousin Jenn).

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

So Wait, You're Not Impressed?

Anytime a movie comes out that's based on a book, it's important to impress people by indicating that you have in fact read the book.

This works especially well if the book is long and/or obscure. Like say, you've read Upton Sinclair's "Oil!" — the source material for "There Will Be Blood." (This is extra impressive, since there's no evidence that director P.T. Anderson read more than 150 pages. That's how much of the story is covered in the movie.)

I don't have as much time to read these days, so I've had to try to wow people with having read young-adult fiction ("Harry Potter") or comic books ("Watchmen").

Now that a movie version of "Where the Wild Things Are" is coming out, I'm wondering if I can get bragging rights for having read it. Maybe I should mention it casually in the office and see what the reaction is.

Monday, July 27, 2009

How Hot Is Too Hot for an Alpaca Hat?

When I was 12, we moved to Santa Cruz from Massachusetts. The California winters seemed mild to me, so I was surprised to see so many people bundled up in wool caps. I made the mistake of thinking people in Santa Cruz got cold easily. Actually, they just really like wearing wool caps.

I was visiting my parents this weekend and took a jog down West Cliff drive. It was sunny and quite hot. And yet several people seemed to be wearing those alpaca hats — you know, the ones with the ear flaps.

Can this be comfortable? Probably not. But people here live by a different code. Respect that.

I haven't done my calibrations for Berkeley yet.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

BuboBlog Reviews 'The Half-Blood Prince'

The new Harry Potter film is one of the higher-rated movies in the franchise (at least according to Rotten Tomatoes), and I can see why: It has some amazing visuals, poignant scenes and isn't afraid to be very dark.

It also doesn't suffer from a problem in pretty much all the other films: feeling like a highlight reel. The other movies were so determined to cram as much as they could from the books, they leaped from sequence to sequence — it must have been bewildering to people who didn't read the source material.

This film doesn't feel as hurried or overstuffed. (In fact, parts felt downright slow.) The filmmakers chose to jettison scenes, characters and plotlines from the book. I don't begrudge them that — that's what good adaptation is all about. I just wonder if they made the right choices.

The book sets up the final showdown between Harry and Voldemort by fleshing out the villain's character. It uses flashbacks to show how Voldemort transformed from the orphan Tom Riddle into the world's most dangerous wizard. The movie attempts to do a bit of this (showing the young Tom at an orphanage and later at Hogwarts), but a lot got cut out. It also gives short shrift to the horcruxes — the objects that Voldemort uses to preserve his life. The film doesn't really explain why the objects were chosen or how he went about turning them into horcruxes (maybe this will be given more attention in the final two films).

When Harry and Professor Dumbledore travel to a lake inside a cavern to retrieve one of the horcruxes, you don't really know why they're there, what the horcrux is and how it was created. It's basically just an excuse to do a cool action scene. (And to be fair, it is cool — probably the most terrifying sequence in any Harry Potter film.)

In an ideal world, the filmmakers would have freed up space to fill in these gaps by abandoning a different subplot: the story of the Half-Blood Prince. This part of the book is never really given its due in the movie anyway, and there isn't much payoff at the end. It was mainly just confusing (I don't think they made it clear enough that Harry was using curses from the book when he attacked Draco Malfoy, for instance).

I understand why they didn't do this, of course. It would have been hard to have a movie version of "The Half-Blood Prince" with no Half-Blood Prince. They would have had to rename it "Voldemort's Rise" or something. (And that wouldn't fly, since you can't really say Voldemort in polite company.)

BuboBlog Rating: three asterisks (out of 4).

What, You Don't Love Us Anymore?

Remember the discussion about how the Golden Gate Bridge is the preferred target for destruction in movies these days?

Well, I was watching the trailer for "2012" (the Mayan-doomsday film with John Cusack), and the following landmarks are destroyed:

1. The Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio
2. The Los Angeles freeway system
3. St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel
4. The Eiffel Tower
5. The Washington Monument
6. Air Force One
7. The White House

Did I miss any?


What gives?

Plus, the president in the movie is black. Like that's plausible.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Does Elliot Share Obama's Taste in Pants?

What's up with his elastic-waistband "mom jeans"?

Life Happened

I'm another year older today, and apparently my standards for what defines a "good birthday" have changed.

I didn't have to change a poopy diaper, my newspaper wasn't stolen, I caught the correct bus to daycare and another bus to work that arrived on time, I got home by 7, Elliot went to sleep after only one reading of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," we got Piccolo pizza (and I got to pick the best pieces, even if they weren't contiguous), I had cake, ice cream and my signature jalapeno martini. Life is good.

I've also managed to pass Mozart in the being-alive-longer competition. I haven't really written a Requiem or Symphony No. 41 in the past year, but I have managed to produce an heir .

I don't know what died-young composer I should move on to now. Maybe Mussorgsky (pictured)?

Apparently he had too many jalapeno martinis. I feel like I can take him.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

This Explains My Lack of Wisdom

I got into an argument with my dentist about whether I've had my wisdom teeth removed.

He claimed that I must have had them out. But I'm pretty sure I never did, and I feel like I would remember. I mean, it's painful, right?

Finally, he said something like, "Fine, maybe they never came in" (and then under his breath: "craaazy").

Then it hit me, maybe they were harvested!

I brought my concerns to Kelly, and she asked if I remember waking up in a bathtub filled with ice, and seeing "Call 911" written on the bathroom mirror.

I don't remember that happening. But maybe that's just more evidence that it did happen!

Hopefully someone at least used my wisdom teeth for something nice — like a cane fashioned out of human ivory.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Once Again, You Heard It Here First

First it was the BoingBoing blog taking all of BuboBlog's story ideas. Now "60 Minutes" is guilty.

In this hard-hitting piece on fruit, Andy Rooney confirms that papayas are weird and confusing — a story first reported here.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Some of his other shocking revelations:
Lemons — one of the great fruits, so versatile. So many things you can do with them. Of course you can’t eat them.

Mango, they’re good but the pit is strange shape and very hard to get at, you need a sharp knife and it takes about a half hour to get at what you want to eat.

Sadly, he beat me to the mango story. I need to step up my investigative journalism.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

No Mention of Ponies, Though...

Someone should tell Tom about this.

If You're Happy and You Know It...

We came across a woman in the neighborhood with a tattoo of the Chronicle's Little Man on her shoulder (standing and clapping, naturally).

I didn't see her other shoulder, but hopefully she has the sleeping man on that one.

Maybe tattoo licensing can get the Chronicle out of its financial problems? Though they probably shouldn't partner with this place.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A City Boy's Brush With Nature

During a trip to Yerba Buena Park this week, Elliot discovered grass.

As with any new object, there was a period of mystification, followed by an attempt to eat it.

Nature is awesome!

Friday, July 17, 2009

'Fissure' Review

The Film Snobbery site gave a very nice review to "Fissure," calling it "like a Tarantino film, with a touch of M. Night Shyamalan thrown in."

An excerpt:
Overall original, fun, entertaining, gripping, and thought provoking to watch. It really will keep you guessing until the last five minutes. The way the director and writer blend genres to make this movie is expertly accomplished and surprising given that this is their first film.

How Can Tom Tell?

I haven't given an update on the graffiti box situation lately, so here you go.

Where's My Props?

The New York Times has a Q&A with a baby photographer on how to take good pictures.

The photographer — a woman in San Diego — does seem to take nice shots, but I wonder if I should take personal affront at this part:
Q: What are the mistakes that people most commonly make when photographing babies?
A: ...oftentimes, I see too many props or loud props that steal the thunder from the baby. This is totally a personal preference, but I say keep it clean and simple. this wouldn't work?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Queued Up

This is exciting: You can now add "Fissure" to your Netflix queue (it's also available from Amazon and iTunes).

The movie won't come out until August, but if you want to support "Fissure" now, you can just stick it in your queue. (Maybe put it below "Citizen Kane," but definitely higher than the Fat Boys movie.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Touch Me

Kelly recently started getting a catalog called "Touch of Class."

I find the name a bit mysterious, since I searched through the entire catalog and was unable to locate the titular "class." Maybe they mean "touch of" as in "trace amounts"?

I did find this Young Love Shelf Sitter Sculpture:

An awesome optical-illusion curtain:

And "Daddy's Baby" (too late for Father's Day, alas):

I haven't been this confused by a catalog since I started receiving "International Male."

Sadly, I was only on their mailing list briefly. I didn't even have time to figure out what function I could wear this to.

The office picnic?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Monkey Boy

We found a monkey suit in one of Elliot's hand-me-down boxes of clothes.

Until I can legally own a chuman, I guess this is the next best thing.

He hasn't quite mastered the tail.

Do not taunt monkeyfied Elliot. He'll turn on you.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Why the Gerber Baby Is So Disturbing

As a parent, I often find myself staring at the Gerber Baby logo.

There's something vaguely unsettling about the picture.

At first I thought it was because the baby's face is so asymmetrical, but actually it goes further than that.

One side of the face is clearly evil, as you can see if we do a mirror image of each half.

The good side:

And the evil side:

I'm not sure why the Gerber people thought this terrifying Jekyll-and-Hyde logo would help sell baby products, but at least they've finally been exposed!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Really, Elliot...Mandals?

Now that Elliot is walking around outside (with heavy assistance), he has begun wearing his first pair of shoes.

I'm wondering if these are the best choice. Is it really a good idea to start him off in this world with man-sandals, also known as mandals.

Important fashion question: Would it help or hurt to have him wear socks with these?

(Not that we're not infinitely grateful for receiving these shoes and all his other hand-me-downs — he is growing creepily fast, and we need all the help we can get.)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

I'll Just Stick With the Baby Bjorn, Thanks

Kelly owns a few baby slings that she uses to carry Elliot. They seem pretty comfortable, but I've never dreamed of wearing one myself — since I was under the impression that they were exclusively for women (not unlike the Hooter Hider).

Well, a company named Kangaroo Korner aims to disabuse me of this notion.

We were in a baby store in Berkeley and I came across a collection of Kangaroo Korner slings. While examining the packaging, I was shocked to see men wearing the product in some of the pictures. Here's one example.

I guess it's good to break down gender roles. But wait, what exactly is going on in this picture?

It looks like some kind of born-again baptism in rural Kentucky. If so, how did the baby have time to become an alcoholic or meth addict?

Or is the dad simply trying to drown the infant for not being a boy?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Rice-a-Roni Says, 'Oh No, You Dih-int'

These ads are all over the Muni stations right now. They're promoting some new upside-down ice-cream cake product.

Not sure who has more street cred with San Franciscans: Rice-a-Roni, which is now part of Chicago-based Quaker Oats Co., or Vermont's Ben & Jerry's, which irked hippies (or hipsters?) by putting a store at Haight and Ashbury. (By the way, Ben & Jerry's considers that location "the most famous Ben & Jerry's scoop shop in America.")

Hey, That's In Good Condition!

A local photographer likes to take pictures of abandoned baby strollers (and vacuum cleaners).

I wish his gallery gave street addresses. I'd like to go pick up some of this stuff.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Horsing Around

Elliot rode his first merry-go-round the other day — the carousel outside the Zeum children's museum.

He was super-excited to get on the horse, which he naturally assumed was an ornate licking-pole.

Apparently he wasn't daunted by the fact that children have been slobbering on this carousel for more than 100 years (it dates from 1906).

He wasn't as excited when the thing actually started moving. (Why would it do that?)