Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Welcome, Cool Dads!

I was excited to see that BuboBlog was nominated for CBS San Francisco's Most Valuable Blogger Award (in the Lifestyle and Family category).

Here's the tagline they wrote: "Finally, a parenting blog for cool dads!"

I really want to live up to this billing, so I should probably go ahead and delete all the posts about my commemorative quarter collection.

Mostly I'm happy not to be competing in the same category as Burrito Justice, a fellow dad/blogger of formidable talents. He was nice enough to endorse BuboBlog on Twitter, so please return the favor by voting for him here.

'The Six Ways You'll See Your Dad'

This video is making the rounds online.

It's a bit hokey, but truisms are expressed.

I'm glad Elliot is still in the first stage, since it appears to be downhill from there.

Monday, August 29, 2011

When Vegetables Grow Their Own Vegetables

We found some long-forgotten vegetables in our kitchen pantry that seemed to be thriving on neglect.


I'm not sure I would eat these, but Kelly turned them into some gorgeous photos. The potato looks like it's growing a Dr. Seuss forrest.

(Yes, I realize potatoes aren't vegetables. Simmer down.)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Here We Go Again

A few months ago, Elliot became concerned that Alice didn't have her own Yaya. So Kelly went out and got one for her. Like his, it's a small blanket with an animal head in the middle (hers has a sheep, rather than a duck).

This seemed to satisfy Elliot's sense of propriety (what kind of baby has no Yaya?). But it took Alice awhile to grow attached to it.

Now she's at the point where she has trouble sleeping without it.

And so it begins.

Kelly has already purchased two identical Yaya for Alice (as I've mentioned before, the plural form of Yaya appears to be Yaya), and who knows how many we'll need before this is all over.

Have we learned nothing from history?

Friday, August 26, 2011

When Movies Say Their Names

As loyal readers know, I'm a big fan of movies that include their titles in the dialogue.

So I was excited to see there's a new compilation devoted to this important issue.


In light of the "Hot Tub Time Machine" example, maybe there should be a new category: movies where the character says the title and then stares at the camera.

But still no "I Love You, Man." What gives?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

How About the Richmond-San Rafael?

I guess there's no reason other Bay Area bridges shouldn't get the same treatment as the Bay Bridge.

Behold: If a novel's cover art featured the Richmond-San Rafael, this is probably what it would be.

Someone stop me before I do them all.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Maybe It Wasn't an Error?

Old Navy is catching flak for a punctuation mistake on its college-themed T-shirts.

As the New York Daily News reports, "instead of reading 'Let's Go Stanford,' which would be the proper punctuation, they read 'Lets Go Stanford.'"

I'm not convinced "Lets Go" was a mistake — rather, it's the answer to a question.

What does a Cal fan do if he's helping a Stanford fan out of a ravine?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I'm Here to Give the Bay Bridge Its Literary Due

Since authors aren't willing to give equal time to the Bay Bridge, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I didn't actually write a book, but I did design a dust jacket.

See, the Bay Bridge can be sexy!

You're welcome, people.

Monday, August 22, 2011

No One Wants to Read About the Bay Bridge

Following the discussion about the Golden Gate Bridge's role in cinema, the Chronicle did a slideshow of all the books that feature the bridge on its cover. Here's one of the 27 examples.

Apparently the sex appeal of the world-famous landmark is a cheap way to sell novels. Meanwhile, I'm sad to say I've never seen the Bay Bridge as cover art.

But here's where it gets confusing: One of the novels they feature, Marcia Muller's "Dead Midnight," is about a man committing suicide off the Bay Bridge.

And yet, they still put the Golden Gate Bridge on the cover? (Maybe the graphic designer realized that jumping off the Bay Bridge is pretty difficult to do.)

I'm not familiar with the author, but when I looked up her bio I found she lives in Sonoma. That makes it strange that there's misinformation like this on her website: "Stretching flat across the water, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is a popular spot...for jumpers." It is?

Perhaps the book is set in the future, after the new Bay Bridge opens. Like the Golden Gate, the span will have a walkway.

Friday, August 19, 2011

This Product Is Great...If You Enjoy Being Terrified

Kelly bought a device for making baby food called the Baby Brezza.

It steams food (such as carrots or apples) and then automatically blends it when the steaming stage is done.

It's pretty cool...other than the fact that it's guaranteed to make you pee your pants. Every time it erupts into blending mode by itself, I jump out of my seat. Has a chainsaw-wielding killer entered our house through the kitchen?

Oh right, it's just the butternut squash.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Update on Elliot's Photography Skills

As I've mentioned before, Elliot has taken an interest in photography.

So, what's the best photo a 2-year-old (nearly 3) can take?

Kelly under blanket (by Elliot)

This, apparently.

It's a pretty cool shot, even for an adult — though I'm still not sure how he measures up against the macaques.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The TV Is On The Fritz, Circa 2011

When I was my son's age, we didn't have color television (yes, it existed — we just didn't have it in our home). We got a color tube in 1980, and other amenities, such as cable or a remote control, didn't come until I was a teenager.

So I spent much of my childhood staring at swirling snow. In the best-case scenario, there were four or five channels. Worst case, we were watching "The Fall Guy" for the dialogue alone, because the picture wouldn't come in.

Elliot and Alice won't experience any of that, but they have their own challenges.

We're moving to an Internet-streaming world, which means the kids can only see their shows if the broadband connection (and the Wi-Fi to our Roku box) is working properly. We now rely on Netflix and Hulu Plus for programs — along with whatever we can pull out of the air with our HD antenna.

I imagine someday Elliot will tell his children about how long he would have to wait for the Netflix red bar to load.

Given how slow it is sometimes, I'm hoping this teaches him patience and how to cope with adversity.

I'm not exactly sure what I learned from trying to make out "The Golden Girls" in poor reception, but I think it was character-building.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

BART Protest Effective, If Unglamorous

The hacker group Anonymous prodded protesters to take over several BART stations tonight. Demonstrators were encouraged to wear Guy Fawkes masks (like the ones in "V for Vendetta"), but it only looks like a handful of people actually did.

That made for a less stylish protest than I had expected.

Whatever the tactics, the protest managed to shut down Embarcadero Station (along with several others). So I had to make my way to the Transbay terminal, where lines were long and buses were short.

As I was waiting in line for a Berkeley-bound bus, the guy next to me opened a gigantic bag of sour-cream potato chips. I guess we all knew it was going to be a while.

He didn't share.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The 1990s Are Dying Before My Eyes

I just posted a clip that made me nostalgic for the 1990s, an era that doesn't feel that long ago to me — until I'm confronted with the video evidence. (Though in fairness, the last clip wasn't really shot in the '90s. Hello, Chrysler 300.)

Now I learn that the lead singer of Warrant is dead at the age of 47.

Do you think Jani Lane knew in 1990 that the most famous words he'd ever utter would be:
She's my cherry pie
Cool drink of water such a sweet surprise
Taste so good make a grown man cry
Sweet cherry pie, yeah.
If so, I hope he was OK with that.

UPDATE: Somehow the fact that he died in a Comfort Inn manages to demean both Jani Lane and the Comfort Inn. Sad.

Is Somebody Reading My Mind?

Back in the mid-1990s, I was obsessed with gangsta rap AND I was a major consumer of Lunchables. So it's hard to imagine who this video is aimed at other than me.

Folks, behold the (possibly apocryphal) banned Lunchables ad from 1996. It pretty much sums up everything worth remembering from that era. (Warning: This might not be safe for work, and it's satirically misogynistic.)

Berkeley Spelling Controversy Widens

Check out the Berkeley Patch site today, which takes up the topic of local misspellings:
A quick search shows that there are a range of documents on the city's website where Berkeley is misspelled. Perhaps, for example, you'd like to apply to be on the Mental Health Commission? Just fill out the Application for Appointment to Berkley/Albany Mental Health Commission. Maybe you want some information about the classes available at the Berkely High Warm Pool? If you need the number for the City of Berkley Refuse Collection or Berkley City College, check out this Statistical and Economic Profile on the city's website.
The instances of misspellings extend throughout the online sphere. Despite spelling Berkeley correctly on their Cal gear, Ebay sellers seem unable to add the extra 'e' in the listings — selling, instead, a UC Berkley coffee mug, UC Berkley kids hoodies, UC Berkley tees and a UC Berkley bumper sticker. How about a UC Berkely blanket or UC Berkely flip flops?
On Twitter, the assault on Berkeley's name is perpetuated in real time. Berkley and Berkely are everywhere. Even @Cal_Politics tweets about "UC Berkley" Law Professor Goodwin Lui's nomination to the California Supreme Court.
I'm glad to see Patch's Emily Henry seize on this issue. However, I'm sad to report that none of my activism has convinced South Berkeley's Maxwell Anderson to spell pertinent correctly.

Folks, you really can't fight city hall.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

More Golden Gate Bridge Mayhem

Over at The Poop blog, Peter Hartlaub weighs in on the Golden Gate Bridge's frequent cinematic peril.

“It Came From Beneath the Sea”
These are his choices for the worst attacks on the bridge — and the rest of San Francisco. Note: "Movies that involve a natural disaster ('10.5,' 'The Core') or real-life events ('San Francisco') were excluded. So were films that star Nicolas Cage."

5. "X-Men: The Last Stand" (2006)
4. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" (2011)
3. "It Came from Beneath the Sea" (1955)
2. "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1978)
1. "Terminator Salvation" (2009)

What, no "Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus"?

Sim Simma, BART Got the Keys to My Bimmer

BART suffered a major service disruption tonight, stranding thousands of passengers. (I made it home just before it happened.) The event marred a day when the transit agency had exciting news: BMW has designed new cars for the rail system, and they're ready for public feedback.

The new cars are coming none too soon. BART says it has the oldest fleet of any transit system in the country. (I'm assuming Muni's cable cars are excluded from this ranking.)

The designs look pretty cool, but you have to wonder about the implications of going with BMW.

Some questions:
1. Will BART be pressured to service its cars at the dealer, even after its warranty has expired?
2. Are urban youths going to start stealing BART medallions to wear around their necks?
3. Will BART riders use this to pick up women? "Hey ladies, I came here in a BMW."
4. What, BART is too good for Volkswagen?
5. How soon before the jokes start? "This BMW rides like it's on rails." "What's the difference between a BART BMW and a porcupine? The pricks are on the inside."

I hope transit officials will take these issues into consideration.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Why Does the Bay Area Hate 'The' So Much?

One of the pleasures of living in Berkeley is taking our children to Little Farm, nestled in the hills of Tilden Regional Park. The farm features cows, pigs, chickens and other livestock, and kids are allowed to feed the animals (celery and lettuce only).

Everyone refers to the place as "Little Farm" (and if you're an East Bay parent, you refer to it a lot). But as I was looking at the windpump, I discovered that it's actually called "The Little Farm."

A visit to the Tilden website confirms it: "The Little Farm was built in 1955 and features a variety of farm animals including cows, sheep, goats, rabbits, chickens and pigs...."

This all brings me back to an ongoing question for Bay Area linguists (one I've addressed on this blog before): Why do we insist on scrubbing the definite article from everything?

We don't say "the Muni" or "the BART," as Bank of America learned after its billboard flub. In Boston, meanwhile, they happily call their subway "the T." The Bay Area also never uses "the" with freeways — a contrast from Southern California and some other parts of the country.

And Mark Zuckerberg had to be told by a Bay Area resident (Sean Parker) how to fix the name of TheFacebook: "Drop the 'The.' Just 'Facebook.' It's cleaner."

If the British alternative band The The had tried to make it in San Francisco, it would have been called "___ ___."

I think there are two trends at work here. First, there's the rise of texting and tweeting — communication needs to be more succinct, especially in the tech-obsessed Bay Area. Who needs an extra "the"?

Second, definite articles are used in phrases with superlatives and specifics: "He's the fastest," "Mark is the big man on campus." Bay Area residents are less likely to believe in bright-line demarcations. We're more into gray area.

That means we're not willing to say we're riding "the" BART — it might just be one of many BARTs. (Maybe locals also are more likely to subscribe to multiple-universe theories.)

It's worth noting that BART never carried a "the" — even when it was still in development. Check out this video from the 1967, subtitled "a progress report from BART."

In fairness, we aren't anarthrous about everything. It's still "the Campanile," "the Transamerica Pyramid," etc. But the general trend is to shed the definite article from most Bay Area institutions, and that seems to have been the case with Little Farm.

Like Facebook, I guess it's "cleaner" now. But maybe "Littlefarm" would be ever better?

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Most Popular Posts of All Time

I updated my settings: BuboBlog now lists the site's 10 most popular posts (based on hits) along the right side of the page.

It's a surprising list. The top entry is about infant sign language, followed by one on the Gerber baby.

I have the sinking suspicion that parents are arriving at this site in search of legitimate child-rearing advice.

If so...sorry!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Maybe It's Not the Bridge We Should Worry About

Remember my discussion about movies using the Golden Gate Bridge as their favorite landmark to destroy?

Well, after a lull in Golden Gate abuse, it seemed as if "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" was a return to form, with its trailer depicting apes overrunning the bridge. I haven't seen the film, but I hear it involves a South San Francisco biotech corporation (perhaps modeled on Genetech). A supersmart chimp is produced, who ultimately leads an assault on the Golden Gate.

So I was surprised to see this full-page ad in my Chronicle this morning.

Apparently they destroy everything BUT the bridge.

Friday, August 05, 2011

'Don't STOP Til You Get Enough'

This one comes courtesy of danmartell on Twitter/Instagram.

You can tell it was shot in San Francisco not Berkeley, because the message isn't humorless and/or overtly political. (What? I kid.)

To see the whole series, I've created a "Stop Signs" label.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Stop Hurting That Tree!

Our neighborhood had what has to be an only-in-Berkeley moment this week.

A city worker came out to cut down a large tree across the street. As he began the job, several neighbors approached him with concern. After all, we like our leafy street and didn't want to lose a mature tree. He said it was diseased and had to come down.

The neighbors weren't placated, so the man tried to ease everyone's conscience. He said he had studied tree biology extensively and the tree wouldn't suffer or feel any pain as it was being cut down.

Right, THAT was what we were worried about.

It makes me wonder if this is the usual complaint the guy encounters in Berkeley. Maybe I'm just a tree exploiter — ruthlessly using them for shade, fruit and oxygen — but I've never given much thought to the pain tolerance of plant life. (I guess if I had seen "The Happening," I might be concerned the tree would turn on us.)

Anyway, the tree is gone now, though I'm sure I will be haunted by its silent screams in my sleep.

Why Boys Don't Have Laws Named After Them

The other day I was noting that every recent child-protection law seems to be named after a girl (Megan's Law, Jessica's Law, Amber Alert, etc.). You would think a few would be named after boys. In fact, I can't think of any — at least here in California.

Anyway, maybe cases like this one are part of the reason why...

From CBS San Francisco:
Antioch police reported a 16-year-old boy, originally the subject of a statewide Amber Alert, was arrested Tuesday afternoon in connection with a Monday barber shop robbery.

Police said the boy, Hasaan Ameer Ford, has admitted his involvement in the robbery, as well as the feigning of his kidnapping.
Dude, not helping our cause here.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Even the City of Berkeley Can't Spell Berkeley

I've noted before that many people find Berkeley hard to spell: They typically underestimate the number of E's.

I even contemplated a blog devoted to misspellings of Berkeley (something akin to the "Blog" of Unnecessary "Quotation Marks"). But my wife pointed out that it would be even more boring than this blog, and that's saying something.

Still, it's worth noting that Berkeley is frequently misspelled in a surprising place: the website of the city of Berkeley.

There are 331 pages and documents on the site that spell it "Berkley" and another 61 that spell it "Berkely," according to the site's internal search engine (powered by Google). There's also one "Berkelee" (along with seven references to the correctly spelled Berklee College of Music in Boston). It's cold comfort, I suppose, that it never appears as "Berkly."

The city is at least an equal-opportunity offender. In 2008, the intersection of Berkeley and California streets had the city spelled correctly and the state spelled wrong: ("Califorina"). It was fixed, as you can see below.

Photo: Jonathan Curiel / San Francisco Chronicle

Even the pages maintained by our esteemed councilmembers aren't immune to misspellings. The representative for my district in South Berkeley, Maxwell Anderson, promises to "post important and useful information pertinate to our constituents." I don't know what "pertinate" information is, but it sounds kind of dirty.

I realize we're living in a time of budget cuts and stressed-out civil servants, but can we can at least get "Berkeley" right?

After all, E's are free.