Monday, December 27, 2010

What's more dangerous than...

This guy driving on the freeway?

Probably the guy taking a picture of it with his camera phone...

Nevertheless, check out that bbq grill sitting about 20 feet off the ground traveling 70 MPH! Turns out I wasn't the only one who thought this was ridiculous, since about 10 seconds after I snapped this photo the truck got pulled over by the CHP - hopefully to give him a handshake for somehow getting a bbq grill that high, and a ticket for endangering everyone on the 101 and being a general idiot.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"We're All Going Down"

Tonight's installment is being brought to us by one of the best sites on the internet, 1000 Awesome Things. Sadly, it's a little bit 'real' for this blog, but I think it's important to talk about. Generally, I try to keep most of the serious stuff off of this blog and try to keep it lighthearted, since, for all the things happening in "real-life," the internet is a perfect place to 'get-away'. Perhaps I'm actually getting away from myself. Let me tell you about my morning.

As per my routine, I wake up at 5:15am and wipe the sleep from my eyes . I get ready to hop in the shower, and as soon as I turn the water on I realize that the water heater has decided it would not be cooperating with me. A quick, brisk shower later; suited and booted, I head out the door for my 40 minute morning commute. With the sun still yet to rise, I arrive at work a few minutes before the market opens and begin reading through my emails.

Reading from the bottom up, I find a message from our Director addressed to us all about 4:15pm - long after most people have left for the day - asking us to pray for a co-worker who was in the hospital after having a heart-attack over the weekend in Boston while taking a walk around his hotel. Apparently (and luckily) an off duty police officer witnessed him fall to the ground and immediately began administering CPR. When he got to the hospital, and all tests had been done, he was scheduled for a quadruple bypass surgery to be administered late last night.

I took a moment to think about how crazy it was to come out of the blue like that, and how lucky we all truly are to make it through each day. I wished for all the best to him and his family, and went back to my emails. *Note: I'm not one to pray for myself, but if it's to help someone else, I generally figure it can't hurt.

About 3 emails later (and 3 hours time wise last night), there was another email from one of the man's sons (the man and his two son's all worked together at our office). It stated simply and quite sadly, something to the effect of: "Dad is looking down on us, telling us to party, and saying GOOOOOOO BEARS!"

Apparently, having heard of his scheduled surgery, he elected to push it back a day so that his daughter who was flying in from Hong Kong would be able to see him before he went under the knife. As it turned out, he hung on just long enough to see her and say goodbye, before passing away.

And I was irritated about having to take a cold shower this morning...Fuck.


I'm sure you are wondering how this is related to a blog called 1000awesomethings. Right? Well, Awesome Thing #347 is titled "Laughs at a Funeral," and from everything I know about the man who passed away, there is little he would have loved to see more at his service, than everyone out having a good time, cheers-ing him and remembering him for the joy he brought others.


Why am I telling you this? Why am I ruining your perfectly good evening with sad stories of people you don't know? Simple. We are all susceptible to this sort of thing. Not saying we'll all have heart attacks, but that we are all running a race against the clock. Some of us have more sand in our hourglass than others do, but nevertheless, the fact remains that we are all going down. Everyone around us is going down, too.

So, while you head into the final stretch of Holiday shopping, crammed freeways, packed flights, and overall anxiety, do me a favor: take a breath and realize everything you have. Not your bank account, or your clothes, or your house, or your car, or that shitty material gift you're giving someone that will more than likely end up regifted or in the back of a closet. These things won't remember you when you're gone. Think about your family, friends, and loved ones. These will be the ones reminiscing about the good times, laughing about the inside jokes you had, partying in your honor, and crying because you're not there to see it all.

As taken from the site:
"People, it’s sad but it’s true: nothing’s gonna stop your big final drop. So live it up now, live it up large, because at the end of the day you aren’t really in charge. Look, we’re not spinning, gninnips, spinning on this wet rock for long, so let’s all enjoy singing our songs with big days full of belly laughs, loving moments, and late nights with close friends."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gearing up for 2011

While most people are busy worrying about what they're going to be doing come 11:59pm on December 31st, the folks over at 7x7 are already looking forward to what is going to be happening in 2011. From their website, here are the things we should all be 'getting ready for'. I've made my notes in red:

1. Ghirardelli Square

Though the businesses in the Square are in foreclosure, Gary Danko asserts he’s still going to open his long-awaited American brasserie.

*No one actually ever willingly goes to Ghirardelli Square, unless they are entertaining newbies to the City or really, really fuckin' bored - so this one strikes out.

2. Pier 35

Get ready for the tourists: San Francisco port officials predict a 39 percent increase in the number of cruise ships docking in the city this year.

*Again, who gives a shit. Pier 35, Pier 39? It's like Happy Gilmore's Gold Jacket/Green Jacket debate. NOTE: The video is of terribly horrible quality.

3. Golden Gate Park/Ocean Beach.

For the first time in history, Bay to Breakers will ban alcohol from the race, making it much harder to lower your inhibitions and run naked.

*This one is something that is actually on everyone's minds. For as long as I can remember the NIMBYs along the course have been trying to "ban alcohol", something that was supposedly in effect for at least the last two years...yeah, if you were there you know how well that worked out. As one of the quintessential San Francisco events (actually hitting 100 years in 2011) it's sad to see the level with which the ridiculousness from both sides of the event have gotten. The folks who come out here, having no ties to the City at all and destroy it vs. the folks who live along the route and can't allow a 100 year old tradition to continue without busting everyone's balls - one that only interrupts the neighborhood one day/year. Anyway, it'll be interesting to see what kind of enforcement they're able to pull together. Something more than the previous few years? Non-registered "runners" not allowed on the course? Like most everything else in the land of NIMBYism, only time will tell.

4. Hayes Valley

PROXY—a rotating, temporary group of boutiques, art galleries,
and mini-restaurants housed in shipping containers designed by SF-based Envelope
Architecture & Design—will take over two empty lots.

*Umm, cool?

5. Mid-Market

CityPlace value retail mall will break ground as part of the city’s ongoing attempt to make Market Street more inviting.

*Another issue that has been talked about for years. I wouldn't mind seeing mid- market cleaned up a bit; if only to get some viable storefronts back out there. The crackhead/homeless population is a whole 'nother issue, but one that may get some attention if business owners are willing to work proactively with the police force in an effort to keep the area sustainable and more inviting to, not only tourists, but folks who actually live in the surrounding 'hoods.

6. Bay Bridge

By the spring, the engineering marvel that is the new Bay Bridge’s self-anchored suspension tower will finally be erected, making for a stunning East Bay commute. (Just don’t drive off the bridge while watching this take place.)

*Oh, you mean that whole bridge thing that is costing us $1.43 billion? Yeah? Oh, that's cool. Wait, what's that? It's not scheduled to actually open 'til 2013? Awesome. Why is this "stunning" again?

7. Dolores Park

Renovation begins on Dolores Park. Relax, hipsters: Work isn't scheduled to start until June at the earliest and will be done in stages. There’ll still be lots of room for Hula-Hooping.

*Waaaah, wahhhhhhh. In what looks like the folks at 7x7 were trying to be funny, it's actually a pretty big deal. As one of the City's premier parks, it's not only one of the warmest places in the City, it's also one of the few places you can actually convince a group of people to meet at. Starting in JUNE? Come on, really? The busiest time of the year? Well played, city planners. Well played...

8. Mission

More good news for jazz lovers: Preservation Hall will open its second branch in the old New College Building (which used to be a mortuary), bringing a little New Orleans flavor to the heart of the Mission.

*Cool. I s'pose. One less morgue and one more music venue works for me.

9. SoMa

Borders Books, RIP. In its stead, Lucky Strike Lanes is slated to open on King Street, bringing SoCal-style bowling (loungey, lowlit, cocktails in hand) to NoCal.

*Borders is going the way of Old Yeller anyhow, what with handling everything they have - and more. So fuck it. Better than trying to throw another big container store in its place. In fact, I'm down to see a stylish little bowling alley pop up in it's place. Something that doesn't have me driving all the way out to the Presidio in order to knock some pins down, have a beer and play some arcades, is fine by me. Although, anything "SoCal Style" is always a bit of a warning sign for me. Again, we'll have to wait and see.

10. Mission Bay

More new developments on Third Street. Construction will begin on the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay, a LEED gold–certified hospital spread over 14.5 acres that will focus on the care of women, children, and cancer patients.

*Women, children and cancer patients? Sounds like fodder for Family Guy, but I won't touch that with a ten foot pole. Or did I just do that?

Speaking of gross...

You never know what you'll find at Rite-Aid...

Who wants to place bets on what she's reading?
  • Women's health?
  • Outdoors?
  • Vogue?
  • Cosmo?
  • Food? Yeah, probably...

At least now I know what happened to my missing tanktop.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Return of Gross Eater Guy

For the past few weeks, Gross Eater Guy has been out on FMLA to help his mother who had to have heart surgery or something like that. While I typically don't engage or speak to him on daily terms, I was pleasantly surprised to come across this ever so welcoming sight in the fridge this morning, knowing it could only mean one thing:


I mean, you can't even be mad at that. It easily dwarfs the half gallon of soy milk someone has back there. The intense level of disgust is quickly overcome by the simple admiration for someone who can not only drink this amount of soda, but the fact that this was a back up for the one he had on his desk. Bravo.

Welcome back, "G.E.G." Welcome back.

Tom Slick

Working off a pretty sweet hangover yesterday, I decided to put in some miles on my bike. Not really having a destination in mind, I ended up taking a round about trip heading first to the Richmond for one of the most delicious turkey sandwiches on the planet over at Arguello Super Market. We're talking full roasted turkey carved right there to put on the sandwich. Anyway, after slamming that and a Gatorade, I shot downtown and ended up winding through the Embarcadero and up through North Beach. As soon as I hit Washington square I was presented with the rather normal sight of a few teenage kids smoking some of that "cheech-and-chong". The thing that caught my attention however, was the individual they happened to be smoking with:

Most people remember him as "Epic Beard Guy" or "Vietnam Tom". I personally enjoy "Tom Slick," as this is also how he likes to refer to himself. As I sat on the bench next to these guys and snuck in a few pics, I was actually pretty intrigued by the stories he was telling. One of the best quotes was: "You don't give whiskey to a homeless man. Shit. You want him to go crazy and fight somebody?" Even so, it became apparent that Tom knew one of the kids and was recounting stories of him growing up, to which the kid actually corroborated. Pretty neat.

Knowing that Tom can get a little crazy, I made sure to take in my celebrity shock from a good viewing distance. I mean, the guy was made famous in a video beating the piss out of a guy who taunted him on an AC Transit bus. A hero to many, but a bit 'off' nonetheless. I don't know about you, but a 67 year old man who wears a shirt like this is not the kinda guy you wanna mess with.

Having taken it all in and watching Tom disappear into the distance, walking with the gait and size of a linebacker behind St. Peter and Paul Church, I rode the rest of the way home with a little bit of a smirk on my face, gently pedaling and enjoying the undulations of Russian Hill and the final ascent up Corbett to Clayton, all the while wondering who else could be in and around The City at any given moment - just waiting to be found.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Weekend Special


This sign is fantastic. "Third World" Beer Specials, up off of Fillmore - in the Fillmore. Only made better since the name of the place is actually Third World Market. Check out those reviews and those specials! Rainier? Yes. Please.

Note: Nothing that costs $22.49 is a "special". Stick with the $1.50-$1.75 'out the door' beers and you're still a player at player prices.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Lesson Learned - Functional Wisdom You Can Use

Damn, it's been almost 2 full weeks since any postings yet so much has happened. The move went down, and with it everything that accompanies moving: changing your address, changing all the contact information with everyone and everything: Banks, DMV, Credit Card Companies, etc..etc...Though we all know how painful it can be going through the more bureaucratic aspects of moving, I was able to find a few entertaining things while I was at it, and a couple words of advice for you guys next time you head in to any sort of "take a number" type setting where they give out numbers like H288 and A017.

After waiting at the San Mateo DMV for about an hour, I was able to get my vehicle registration changed over to my new address. While nothing particularly awesome took place in the people watching department, there were several people "smelling" experiences within the hour that piqued my sense of disgust. Not sure what these people ate throughout the day, but if they went through the new TSA scanner, they could have easily been caught for smuggling limburger cheese and wads of wet dog hair on their person.

The other 'awesome' thing I found at the DMV is below:

Now, this is a picture of what I originally thought was some tribute to America's Bad-Ass-Ness. However, I noticed later that this was actually the most ridiculously gaudy nameplate I've ever come across. I can only hope that the lady in the picture is actually the Manager that this nameplate serves to absolutely memorialize. I think the plaque at Pearl Harbor is smaller than this thing. Anyway, I'm pretty sure she felt I was taking a picture and picked up that stack of paper, since, the other 10 minutes I was standing at the counter she was simply turning in very slow circles "supervising" - much like the 3 guys that "work" for CalTrans (read: lean on shovels) while the other 2 guys actually bust their asses to get shit done.

Anyway, I'm sure she spent years dealing with jackasses like me who try to game the system - sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Is it worth a shot? Absolutely.

Here's what you do:

At most of these places, they start you a line where you walk up to somebody who generates a tag for you (C288, K314, etc.) at which point you sit on your thumb for an hour and hope your foot doesn't fall asleep, since getting out of your chair and falling on the ground in front of people at the DMV would be more embarrassing than having to be at the DMV in the first place. Now, the reason they give these tags with random numbers and letters is simply so you have no idea what order people are actually being called - this is also why you see people who got there after you, go in front of you. Here's the kicker though: I learned this past week that there is a "secret button" that will generate what is known as a "Front of the Line" ticket. Seriously.

How do you get one of these? Aside from having relations with the person giving out the tickets, I've found that you can often get away with one of these Golden Tickets if you do a few things in a very specific order.

1) Go on the website and find a number for the specific bureaucracy you are dealing with: SFMTA, DMV, Social Security, etc... It really doesn't matter which one - almost all of them have the same prefix throughout the building, just make sure it's close enough to make the guy at the desk think you actually got the number from someone there.

2) When you walk up to the counter, the person is going to try and rush you. DON'T LET THEM. Speak calmly and directly. It also helps to have a bunch of papers in your hands - preferably the forms you need. Most importantly, have the number you wrote down from the website handy. Here is where it gets critical - tell the person: "I was here earlier in the day and was given this number to call to have the system updated since it wasn't previously recognizing my information. The guy 'over there' said once it was done I could come to the front and get a 'quick ticket' or something where I wouldn't have to wait so long to update my registration/change my picture/etc..."

Important: Try not to sound like you know about these "front of the line" tickets. If they get specific with who you spoke with, say it was a few hours ago, and you don't see them anymore. Mind you, these folks hear and see all sorts of shit everyday. They don't like attitude, and they sure as hell don't like people thinking they know how the system works. Worst they can do is give you a regular ticket and you wait the requisite time. If you're an ass, I'm sure they have a ticket that can make you wait even longer...

Using this strategy I was able to get my new parking area permit in less than 10 minutes instead of 40 to an hour. Unfortunately, I actually had to call the "database guy" and get my address entered into the system. This was the day before though, and I wasn't going to waste another hour sitting around stank ass people. So, I told him I was there earlier and the "guy on the end" said I could go to the front. It worked. This isn't full proof by any means, but if you follow the steps outlined the odds of you decreasing your wait time are infinite compared to just walking in and taking the number given to you. Also, wear something that makes you look important and very busy. Carry a briefcase, or throw on a suit if you've got one. Trust me. People love to act like they don't play favorites, but study after study shows they do.

Good luck out there.