Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween From BuboBlog

Unfortunately, I was a victim of censorship this year: We have a hand-me-down hot dog costume for Elliot, and I had hoped to pair that with a reprise of my turn-of-the-century meatpacker outfit from last year. You know, to show the full cycle (from steer to cylindrical meat product).

Kelly rejected the idea out of hand. Apparently she doesn't like the idea of our son being exsanguinated*, processed and pumped full of nitrites.

Doesn't she realize I have to use that plastic butcher's knife at least three times before it pays for itself!

*word of the day.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Don't Be Cross

In today's Chronicle, three of the five sections have a picture of someone crossing their arms in the upper-left corner.

Maybe they should change their slogan from "The Voice of the West" to "The Voice of White Guys Crossing Their Arms."

This is what the Wikipedia entry on body language has to say about the gesture:
"This can indicate that a person is putting up an unconscious barrier between themselves and others. It can also indicate that the person's arms are cold which would be clarified by rubbing the arms or huddling....In a serious or confrontational situation, it can mean that a person is expressing opposition."
(I didn't know about that arm-rubbing tip. Thanks, Wikipedia!)

Anyway, if the Chron decides to reshoot its photos, I have some suggestions for different poses they could take (all from people with Bay Area connections).


Bruce Lee:

Patty Hearst:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Biped...and Loving It!

Elliot has starting walking unassisted in the past few weeks — something I've been meaning to document on YouTube.

For now, these still images will have to do.

The next challenge for him is trying to look less like a tyrannosaurus rex.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Question for Whole Foods

If these are "Earth bananas"...

...then where the HELL did these ones come from??

And why are they the same price?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Babies and Bathwater

A few weeks ago, I surveyed some parents about whether it was acceptable for a child to drink his own bathwater.

I got a range of answers, but most thought it was probably okay (especially if there's no pee in there — and maybe even if there is, since pee is sterile). As we know from this earlier post, baby pee wee may also have healing powers.

Anyway, I was excited to see that fellow dad Eminem has also weighed in on this debate...sort of.

In his new song, "3 a.m.," he says it can be "fun" to drink bathwater.

Unfortunately, "3 a.m." also sings the praises of dismembering family members, massacring the staff of a McDonald's and putting a flashlight up Kim Kardashian's [CENSORED. -ed.].

So I'm not sure this is the trusted source I'm looking for.

(By the way: "3 a.m." is the Elliot equivalent of Jim Croce's "I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song" (1974).)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

An Exercise in Feeling Old

In last week's episode of "Glee," a high school student says that "Bust a Move" is way old-school. That's no shock, I guess, since the song came out in 1990 — 19 flippin' years ago. (Also, Young MC is now 42. So not so young anymore.)

To a current high school student, "Bust a Move" is as old as the Temptations' "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" was when I was in high school.

But it gets really scary when I start thinking about Elliot. I'm 35 years older than him. So songs that still feel contemporary and hip to me are going to seem ancient to him.

Consider this: For Elliot, Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" (2008) is equivalent to Gladys Knight's "Midnight Train to Georgia" (1973) for me.

Montel Jordan's "This Is How We Do It" (1995) is equivalent to "Teen Angel" by Mark Dinning (1960).

The Smiths' "The Queen Is Dead" (1986) is equivalent to Nat King Cole's "Too Young" (1951).

The Clash's "London Calling" (1979) is equivalent to Bing Crosby's "Swinging on a Star" (1944).

Led Zeppelin's "Houses of the Holy" (1973) is equivalent to the Andrews Sisters' "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen" (1938).

One mitigating factor: It's going to be hard for future musicians to exceed their 1990s counterparts in use of profanity, sexual imagery and the N-word — not to mention glorifying violence and drug use, and threatening the police. So we'll always have that, I guess.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I'm McLovin

I went to the liquor store and had possibly the most awkward attempt to buy alcohol ever (at least by a man in his mid-30s).

Clerk: How old are you?
Me (laughs nervously): What, I'm 21.
Clerk: Really?
Me: I mean, I'm older than 21. I just meant I was at least 21.
Clerk: Okay.
Me: I thought you were being funny.
Clerk: So how old are you?
Me: Oh, I'm 36.
Clerk: Can I see ID?
Me: Sure.

Then I take out my license, which causes additional confusion (the photo was taken during the short-lived Beard Fever of 2007). I think he looked at it and assumed I had gotten a fake license from a 36-year-old Vietnam War veteran.

Clerk: You look different.
Me: (I thought about explaining the 2007 popularity of Eric Dane-style beards, but I didn't.) I used to have a beard.
Clerk: Hmm...(long pause). Okay.

He finally rang up my purchase, but looked at me suspiciously until I left the store. Maybe he thought I was a socially awkward youngster with a mild case of Progeria?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Putting My Foot Down

San Francisco's mandatory composting law went into effect yesterday. Since last night was trash night on our street, I wanted to check what kind of items should go into the compost bins.

A Google search brought me to this site:
The City of San Francisco signed into effect the nation’s first law mandating that all residents and businesses separate their recycling and compost material from normal trash. While many other cities in the US require recycling, no other city requires separation of food scraps and foot material to be composted.

Wow. I'm prepared to compost my food scraps, but the "foot material" sounds a little extreme. Would they be happy with toenail clippings?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bubo in T-Shirt Form

Check out this cool Bubo T-shirt, available from a site called Psycho Reindeer (thanks for the tip, BuboBlog Southern California Correspondent Kasey).

I'm not sure they've officially licensed the design, since the description just says: "That robot owl from that one movie..."

Unfortunately, they're all sold out of larges. Maybe I can work my way down to a medium via a diet of Icelandic candy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ease Up There, 'Saw' Franchise

According to the posters plastered around my neighborhood, there's a "Saw 6" coming out this week.

We're up to No. 6 already? Never has a movie franchise's rate of output so outstripped my ability to view its films.

(With the possible exception of the 11 movies featuring Tyler Perry's Medea character. Eleven!)

I haven't even seen the first "Saw." It's been stuck at No. 37 in our Netflix queue for a suspiciously long time (due possibly to tampering by Kelly).

I can only hope that Dave Eggers isn't writing novelized versions of the "Saw" films, or I'll really have my work cut out for me.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Harrowing Tale?

I was perusing the New York Times' list of most-read stories when I came across two interesting articles.

One is about a reporter getting trapped in a bleak, desolate wasteland and being denied even the most basic necessities of civilization.

The other is about Afghanistan.


[There go all our central Virginia readers. -ed.]

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Families Targeted

Today we accidentally wandered into an event called "Target Family Day" at Yerba Buena Park. (We were going there to use the playground.)

I'm not sure what this is about, but it's hard enough to raise kids in San Francisco without being hunted for sport!

Elliot was unable to resist the allure of jumping on inflatable mattresses, which seemed to be a central component of the event.

Is this the ghetto version of a bouncy castle?

Where Were You?

This weekend marks the 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake, which wreaked 15 seconds of destruction on Northern California.

At the time, I was living in Santa Cruz — not far from the epicenter.

True, I was on a school bus when it hit, so I didn't even notice the quake at first (thank you, industrial-grade shock absorbers). But once we came to a stop and saw people running around like crazed chickens, our suspicions were aroused.

The rest of the bus ride was a terrifying experience. We were heading toward the epicenter, and the only information we had came from increasingly disturbing radio reports from our Walkmans. (The experience wasn't unlike "Heart of Darkness.") As it turns out, a lot of the reports were wildly inaccurate.

We heard that hundreds were dead (possibly thousands)...actually, it was 63 people.

We heard that the whole Bay Bridge collapsed...actually, it was a small portion (pictured here).

With that said, the damage to Santa Cruz wasn't exaggerated. Because most of downtown is built on sand dunes, the quake devastated the area. Even today, it's not fully rebuilt (though I would say the current downtown is a vast improvement on the 1980s version).

It was a bit surreal to see George Bush Père land at Santa Cruz High's baseball field in a helicopter and take a tour of the damage.

Thankfully, our house is on bedrock and suffered only minor damage. We spent the first night sleeping outside (for fear of gas leaks), but after that, we weren't really inconvenienced.

The scariest part: My swim trophy ("most improved swimmer"!) was shaken off the shelf and landed on my pillow at the head of the bed.

If the quake had struck at 5:04 a.m. instead of p.m., I might not be here. (Or at least, my nose would look quite different.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

From China With Love

Now that everything is made in China, it's interesting to see the ways companies try to make us feel good about it.

Kelly bought leg-warmers for Elliot that claim to be "made with love in China." (We'll debate whether Elliot needed leg-warmers in a separate post.)

I'm not sure how they put the "with love" clause into their manufacturing contracts.

Then there's Apple famous message: "Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China." (It makes the assembly part seem like a small afterthought.)

UPDATE: Apparently Microsoft's Zune (a competitor to the iPod) has its own take on this. It says "Hello from Seattle...assembled in China."

Technically, Microsoft is located in Redmond, Wash.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Baby Vs. Train

Surprisingly, the baby wins (spoiler).

Clearly it's not safe to keep your child in a "pram" (whatever that is). She should have used a baby carriage.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Baby Power!

One of the criticisms of "The Matrix" is that humans don't generate enough BTUs in body heat to make them a practical energy source for computer overlords. (A nuclear reactor would be much easier.)

The screenwriter John August recently addressed how he would have fixed the problem if he had written the script.

I think there may be another solution: If you take a 1-year-old boy out of his crib in the morning and place him in his parents' bed, you'll have enough energy to power several cities (which is unfortunate if you're the parent who's still trying to sleep).

This car (spotted in the Western Addition neighborhood) also tackles the issue of baby power. (The photos are courtesy of the San Francisco Citizen blog.)

Apparently there's a Honda Civic under there. Figures that the Japanese would be years ahead of the U.S. in developing alternative "baby-juice" vehicles.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Search At Your Own Risk

Remember the movie "2012"? Earlier, I complained about them not destroying San Francisco in the trailer.

Now I've been seeing cryptic ads that urge people to enter "2012" into a search engine. (When you do, you'll see promotional sites for the movie, as well as general information about how the Mayans supposedly expect doomsday to come during 2012.)

It's a good thing this marketing technique wasn't used for "Fissure." Because entering that term into Google yields some disturbing results.

I'm assuming "2012" is getting a good response from its ads. Still, if I became convinced that the world was going to end in two years, would I really spend two hours watching a Roland Emmerich film?

He still owes me $10.52* for "Godzilla."

*Adjusted for inflation.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Oh My Gods, You Guys

This blog is named after Bubo (pictured below), the mechanical owl in the original "Clash of the Titans." So I've been on pins and needles over whether the little guy will make an appearance in the remake. I've noted before that it seems unlikely, since apparently Hollywood has lost its love for chirping sidekicks (R2D2, Twiki).

Some pictures have now emerged from the set of the new film, and there's no Bubo in evidence. People have also complained that the near-nudity of the original movie has been replaced with heavy gold costumes.

Pictured here is Liam Neeson as Zeus:

It does seem odd that Zeus needs that much armor — since he's immortal, no? But maybe they're taking the character in a new direction.

At least they didn't give him a historically inaccurate pink vacuum cleaner!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Embarrassing Anachronism

Toys "R" Us is promoting this Snow White toy set.

The Snow White character was loosely based on Margarete von Waldeck, who lived in Brussels in the mid-1500s.

It seems unlikely that she possessed a pink vacuum cleaner.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

'You Wouldn't Do This...'

In Connecticut, this billboard is causing a stir.

I'm not exactly sure what the message is (I was distracted by its busy layout and terrible production values), but I think it's admonishing people who take pictures of babies with beer bottles.


You Think You Got Problems?

There was a story today on NPR about Rhode Island's budget crisis. Apparently the state's government struggled to close a $68 million budget deficit.

That's "million"...with an "m."

Not to downplay Rhode Island's problems, but $68 million is the cost of a house in Pacific Heights (or at least, it was before 2008).

It's a rounding error.

It's the budget of "Hudson Hawk."

In contrast, California's budget deficit was $42 billion this year.

In San Francisco (a 46-square-mile thumbnail of a city poking into the Pacific Ocean), our deficit is projected to be $615 million next year. And we have a smaller population than Rhode Island.

In other words: Boo-hoo, Rhode Island. Go check your couch cushions.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

BuboBlog Reviews 'District 9'

(Hey, "District 9" is still in theaters...sort of. So this review isn't totally useless. Anyway, it's the only movie I've seen in a few months.)

Last year's "Cloverfield" depicted an alien attack on New York City through the lens of a camcorder. Some people complained that the premise was unrealistic — not the part about a giant alien creature, but the fact that the characters would continue to film everything while running for their lives. But you had to give the filmmakers credit for adopting a concept and sticking with it. And I think it worked well: The viewer felt like an eavesdropper on the action, yet it still managed to be thrilling and — at times — deeply poignant.

"District 9" doesn't take as consistent an approach. It starts with a documentary style, using news clips and talking-head interviews to set up the story: Twenty-eight years ago, an alien ship arrived in Johannesburg filled with sickly aliens. The creatures were shunted into a shanty town called District 9. Now there's a plan afoot to relocate the aliens to another location, farther from the city.

After a while, the film shifts gears and starts showing private scenes that couldn't possibly be captured by the documentarian's camera — including subtitled dialogue between the aliens.

It's a perfectly valid creative choice, but it's worth noting that the documentary portions had a verisimilitude that was lacking in the other scenes. And some of the private exchanges between the aliens had the feel of cheesy, sci-fi dialogue.

With that said, the film had great pacing, an intriguing look and a thought-provoking premise. It centers on Wikus Van De Merwe, a white South African who works for the company that maintains District 9. While he starts out with a cavalier attitude toward the aliens (in one scene he torches a nest of baby aliens as if he were popping popcorn), his views are challenged after he undergoes a physical transformation — forcing him to choose sides.

There's also a nice subplot between one of the aliens and his son. (It may have been especially touching for Kelly and me because of our own little alien at home. Some things are universal.)

Definitely worth seeing. BuboBlog Rating: 3.5 asterisks (out of 4).

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Thanks a Lot, Dave Eggers!

Remember when I was expressing my excitement at having already completed the book "Where the Wild Things Are" before the movie came out (a sentiment that was apparently shared by white people everywhere)?

Well, Dave Eggers had to go and Monday-to-Fridaying ruin everything!

He has written a 300-page novel inspired by the children's book, and the new movie is actually based on that story. Three hundred pages, people!

I have a baby at home. I don't have time for this.

[Is there a graphic-novel version? -ed.]