Friday, August 31, 2012

yet another sign louis ck is my soulmate...

Louis C.K. is afraid of turbulence. AND I AM TOO. I guess our honeymoon is going to have to be a roadtrip, or a big, hilarious scene in what I assume will be first class.

Anyway, have a motherfucking special 3-day weekend. I hope all of your travels are like this:

Thursday, August 30, 2012

you don't need no credit card to ride this train...

Occasionally, I have to take the bus in the morning without my bus buddy Blair, and thus, listen to music. I need some song recommendations, because I suspect I am listening to lame music for a glamorous ride through a beautiful city on public transit. This morning, I put on my 'Dinner Party' playlist, and the only good song that came on was "Power of Love" by Huey Lewis and the News.

Please tell us what is your favorite bus jam. I will then download it and pretend I'm you on the bus.

Also, any tips on how to board a bus with good hair and have it still in place upon disembarkment? 30 minutes of sitting perfectly still somehow result in my looking like I got in a fight by the time I get to work. It's a bizarre scientific mystery. I am considering one of those see-thru rain bonnets...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

a compassionate look at jeffrey dahmer...

I've been an idiot. I've never even considered reading a graphic novel because it just didn't seem like my kind of thing. I've never understood comic books. I've never even understood cartoons (except for Scooby Doo and Muppet Babies, obviously). So for years, I have considered graphic novels the USA Today of books.

No longer!

My father joined Tara, Kate, and I to watch Rear Window at the Top of the Mark last night. And not only was he dressed in a suit with a red pocket hanker chief, AND paid for the drinks of a bunch of 30-year old women, he brought me a present. Both of my parents have taken to very generously buying me books when they see something I'd like. And now even my uncle Ted is in on the action.

One of the best books I've ever read was "Popular Crime" by Bill James, which just arrived at my door for no reason. My folks rule with their free book program. Also, please read Popular Crime.

Last night, dad handed over "My Friend Dahmer", a gift from my Uncle Ted. Turns out, serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer went to high school with artist and writer, Derf Backderf. (That can't be his real name.) Halfway though (just tonight) and my whole perception on graphic novels is flipped. Maybe it's the author, but I suddenly get why people love books like these. It's not a comic or cartoon, nor is it a regular book. It's ... art. Anyway, I'm really enjoying this book and feel like an asshole because I spent years rolling my eyes at my brother and my cousins for reading books with pictures on family vacations.

I stand corrected...

suuuuuper quick...

Will you please vote for my friend Sara as the best wedding planner in Nashville. She is wonderful and funny and it takes two seconds.

Thanks, y'all...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

i had a bad dream...

I am awake because I had a nightmare that my mom, my brother and I were all in a suburban public school which was also a Kaiser Permanente, and there was a mass shooting. I woke up after grabbing Joanne and Alex to hide in a closet. It was one of those dreams that was REAL. Typing this on my bed pre-dawn, I am still ready to leap into action. Also, I didn't know you can still have nightmares when you're 34. So, while I'm up, several things:

1. Jesus. I'm 34. Typing that sucks, almost as much as having a mass shooting nightmare.

2. Did you read the comments on this week's Tourist Trapped? I love them. People ask me all the time, I think kind of dickishly, 'How do you deal with all the nasty comments?' At first I hated them, took them personally, etc. Brock does an amazing impression of a commenter. Now, I get worried when no one responds. No mean comments? Shit, no one read this. When I was talking Chris into dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, I mentioned that someone pointed out in the comments that I've been liking places too much, and they weren't even tourist traps. The commenter wanted me to go somewhere SUPER touristy. I agreed with them. In a rare moment of putting himself in my shoes, Chris said, "You can't win. If you write that it sucked, you're an elitist asshole who is also dumb and a girl, which makes you even more dumb. If you love it, you're boring." I wonder how he feels about the most recent comment, "No one cares about your dining experiences with Big Chris. Nobody."

3. Blair and I walked to BART after work, and we passed by Togo's. Naturally, I said, "Togo's is my jam." Blair responded, "I can't eat there. There's something about their meat." (OMGLOL) Blair and I both work in a weird neighborhood that has limited lunch options. If you're willing to walk 10 minutes into the FiDi, great. There's tons of expensive salad bars, sandwich bars, booze bars, etc. I am partial to Lee's Deli. But to run outside and grab something quick, our options are really limited. A Subway just opened on the corner. And it's packed. Two blocks down is a Togo's. I've done extensive research on the two.

Subway is good because it's literally across the street from my job, and they have a low-calorie breakfast sandwich that co-worker Bill and I enjoy "before 11." But for an actual sandwich, even though you can get it on flatbread, Subway is ridiculous. Subway is set up like a conveyor belt, so several people manhandle your sandwich with great confusion. I like the 6" Turkey Bacon Avocado with lettuce, onions, and Honey Mustard. This sandwich requires a team of people forgetting about the bacon in the microwave, attempting to apply tomatos and constantly holding your half-made sandwich in midair while asking the next guy in line what he wants. WHICH IS ALWAYS PASTRAMI. (Sick.) At Togo's, on the other hand, only one person deals with your order. Instead of flatbread, they have wraps. I get the Asian Chicken Salad Wrap with Low-Fat Honey Mustard, because it's better than their "Asian" dressing anyway. And since only one person has to deal with me, I never have to announce to an entire sandwich shop, "Um, I think my bacon is still in the microwave." As a result, I am on Team Togo's, or as Mel calls it, "To GO's."

4. Finally, and most importantly, Melissa is in Tampa covering the Republican Convention for CBS SF. She'll also be at the Democratic Convention (phew.) She is gone for WEEKS, and taken all this time off her real job as a fancy lawyer to follow her dream. I am getting lots of text messages about what Tampa looks like, and Melissa has strict instructions to propose to Cory Booker on my behalf. Follow her on FB and Twitter, if you're into that. Tune into the (awesome) CBS SF morning show, if you're up a 6:45am. And also, this is Mel's dream. She is, after all, in a motel in Tampa alone...

Monday, August 27, 2012

tourist trapped: the hard rock cafe...

Maybe it was just us, but Big Chris and I didn't feel so hot after dinner last night. It's all up now (heh) on SFGate's Tourist Trapped. Eat it up HERE...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

the language of television is universal...

I just got HBO and DVR, like it's 2007. As a result, I am back to being SUPER INTO TELEVISION. I started watching The Newsroom at my folks (they have every channel ever, and never watch anything but like, the radio). I was so sucked in by my sick love of anything from Aaron Sorkin, I called up Comcast and gave them the ole', "I don't even want it, but just out of curiosity, how much would adding HBO be?"
Apparently, because I have been a Comcast customer since I moved to my flat (in 1953), I get 6 months for free, and DVR for $5. After the 6 months, my HBO is $15, but basically, they reworked my whole deal so we're paying less with HBO and DVR than we were paying for crummy basic cable before.
Thank God I was responsible about one bill, and one bill only. Comcast!
Okay, here are my shows. I need to know which ones you're watching so you can come over and we can discuss:

The Newsroom: Say what you want about Sorkin, but he wrote "You can't handle the truth!" when he was 28. So, you know, haters gonna hate. I still miss Studio 60. I love The Newsroom because I like to pretend that I work there, even though I work for a website of a local affiliate, but whatever. Journalism, etc. I love Mackenzie McHale, even though that's the fakest name ever. I like that she's so talented at what she does, but also into everyone else's drama.
And I can not STAND the assistant who got promoted and can't stop freaking out over her boyfriend and her roommate and the cute guy at work. Shut up! Much to my horror, my mother loves her big time. Does the guy from Slumdog Millionaire play more than one character? That said, I love him. And while Jeff Daniels makes me uncomfortable, and Sam Waterston seems to have the shakes, I really like everyone. Everyone except promoted assistant. I won't even learn her name, I hate her so much. Gloriously, my coworkers all agree with me. "She sucks."

Real Housewives of New Jersey: This is the only Real Housewives I watch anymore. I can't even get with New York. I am very pro-Manzo, I love Greg the gay roommate, I am a Chris girl, not an Albie girl, and Chris Laurita scares me but I like it. The Manzos make me want to marry a big friendly Italian and have babies and raise them lovingly but strictly while shoving food in their faces. If Lauren dumps Vito, which she shouldn't, I will marry him and work at his parents deli until I start popping out sons.
I'm not the biggest Theresa fan, but OH HELL NO JOE GUIDICE. I don't want to like the Gorgas, but I think they are (Brock laughs when I say this) well-intentioned. And I love the Wakiles! I would feel right at home at Kathy and Rich's.

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo: What? Like you're not watching this? Mama June makes me feel great about myself, although I think she can do better than Sugarbear. I love them all, and I want to see her Forklift Toe.

Hotel Hell: This is Chef Gordon Ramsay's show that is very similar to Kitchen Nightmares, but with hotels. Kitchen Nightmares involves Chef Highlights going into struggling restaurants (in the UK and USA) and screaming and cursing them back into business. Hotel Hell is basically the same thing, but with hotels. I found out about this show thought Rain's must-read column on the SF Appeal, Appealing TV. So actually, Hotel Hell was the first show I DVR'd to see if I felt watching at leisure. Now I look forward to it. The series opener is a 2-parter, so I recommend you do the same.
Hotel Hell is actually a reality show I would recommend to my folks. Hotel Hell is very Spotswood Family in the TV Room eating homemade blondies (right?) and screaming at the TV, a la The Amazing Race.

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution: It is adorable, and it also makes me feel like I know a lot about green vegetables being good for you.

Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Miami Dolphins: What can I say? I got sucked in. A guy headbutts (sp?) his lady and gets fired on camera? I am in. They have a Rookie Talent Show. It's a lot like 'The Franchise" about the SF Giants, going behind the scenes of a professional sports team. The head coach reminds me of Mr. Lippi, my favorite history teacher at SI. Also, I work with all guys. And I have to post news stories about sports. Watching this helps me know what the hell everyone else is talking about.
When my brother Alex allows me to watch sports with him, he will conveniently point out things like, "He just lost his mom to breast cancer" or "That guy has been married eight times." This is how I like watching sports, and this is Hard Knocks. According to Alex, they do this with a different team every year. Who knew?

And then, I just started Small Town Security. It's about a small rural Georgia town security firm. One of the security guards is transgendered, and he is EASILY the most relatable, non-controversial person on the show. Actually, Small Town Security could be good for America because even Todd Akin would be like, "Dennis is the only one making any sense. Thank God for Dennis."
THIS is a pretty amazing scene. But otherwise, no one really cares that Dennis used to be Denise and they all have their own drama and weirdness to deal with.

So, this is my TV jam. I am dying to both discuss and take on recommendations. Hit me...

who says print is dead...

As an internet nerd, I get really upset when OLD PEOPLE at obligatory family functions get all confused and bewildered, "Now, explain this to me again. Where can I read your work? On a cellular phone?"
I want to scream, "You are dying and you don't understand how things work anymore!"
But I went to the 7x7 Magazine party last night (at Neiman Marcus. Boom.) to celebrate the launch of the September fashion issue. And my first print article in ON PAGE 90. I just stared and stared at it and kept thinking, "I wrote these words. I wrote them on my laptop at home. And now it is in a magazine, all edited and glossy and stylized. AMAZING."
I am pretty excited. And very grateful to Brock for recommending me for this gig, Eve for giving me tons of advice and help, and to 7x7 for letting me write an article that contains the names Getty, Traina, and Tommy Lee Jones. Pick up the September issue! (Or I'll just link when it's online. And you can read it on your cellular phone...)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

it's like going to a tony bennett concert and he dedicates all the songs to you...

Having my annual dinner with Grey Cloud is like going on a 5-hour honeymoon with Cary Grant immediately after he won the lottery. It's like Frank Sinatra with one arm around your waist and another arm punching some thug for looking at you the wrong way. Our once-a-year dinner is what Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston would do if they had any fucking class...

Monday, August 13, 2012

and the dad said, 'well (pause) probably...'

A tourist father and his 12-year old son were sitting near me on the back of the bus last weekend. The kid was obviously very nerdy and obnoxious, much like I was at his age, and still am. None the less, he was driving me nuts with his constant need to read every single sign we passed.
He was like the neighbor kid in Home Alone who screws up the count when they're going to the airport, thus resulting in Kevin's being left... Home Alone.
Anyway, I was sitting there futzing with my phone regretting all of the obnoxious things I've ever done, when the kid reads a sign. "SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY."
"That's right." Says his dad.
Even the dad had a bit of a tone. "What do you think is in there?"
And without missing a beat, the kid goes, "AN ELEVATOR."
My head whipped from side to side, trying to find one other person with who I could share the, "an elevator?" look.
No one met my look. It was probably my punishment for being 68264 times more obnoxious than this kid, but at least I would've said books...

a gentleman's beauty routine...

Today, Brock was telling me that he bathes twice a day. I asked him to detail his beauty routine, and this was Brock's response:

"I use a soothing body wash made for men and use a facial scrub one every other day. I wash may hair 2-3 times a week. I condition daily (what with my voluminous, body-filled hair, it's a must.) And I use a special soap for my back because the conditioner will give me the RARE zit. Then, I use a paraben-free deodorizer and moisturizer, the latter of which contains SPF 40. A dab of kheil's oil behind the ears... and that's it!

My body = temple."

UPDATE: Eve insists that I add the following to this post. "I'm sorry to be so demanding, but this is vital."

Friday, August 10, 2012

creepy documentaries...

Yesterday evening I took myself to see the documentary, "The Imposter." It's really great, I recommend you go see it, and then let me know when you want to discuss what you think happened. Because I was walking out of the Lumiere trying to talk to strangers. "We agree with Charlie, right?"

Anyway, it reminded me of all of the really creepy documentaries I've seen. Here, in case you hate going outside on gorgeous weekends, are my Top 4 Creepy Documentaries. I was going to pick 5, just because that is one one does on the internet, but these four are all so equally amazing, well-done, and each will haunt you for the rest of your life:

"Capturing the Friendmans"
"The Bridge"
"Dear Zachary"
"American Experience: The Donner Party" (I have seen this so many times, I can perform it word for word. It is best watched on a rainy afternoon with a nerdy relative and hot tea.)

Do you have any good ones? Dear Zachary was recommended to me by Lisa in the comments on this very blog, so keep 'em coming...

i'll never roll my eyes at your muni complaints again...

Now that I take the bus most of the time (Brian still can't get over this), I've discovered that I'm not only saving A FORTUNE, but I am bombarded with life experiences every goddamn day. Some are magnificent, acts of human kindness or fashion do's, all of which I hope to remember forever.
For example, gold-rimmed aviator glasses with blonde highlights and celedon jeans. 
Wednesday was very much the opposite. 
Calmly along for the ride (as it were) was my friend and bus buddy, Blair (who is already famous for riding the 12.)
Since I'd started riding in June, I'd seen hints of the horrors of Muni I'd read about, heard about for years. I'd seen pee, I'd seen drugs. But Wednesday, I realized what everyone is always complaining about.
Through our various apps, Blair and I noted that our usual bus had fallen off the grid. The later one seemed to be lagging behind as well. We followed the 12's progress. There was one 34 minutes away, and another one 36 minutes away. 
I know the rest of you know this, but for my mother et al, the buses Blair and I take are supposed to come every 20 minutes. And through these marvelous iPhone apps, we can see when the next bus is due, what the closest alternate routes are. It's all very impressive. 
So by the time Blair and I met up, we were hoping to get on a bus 40 minutes after our usual, which had never shown up, nor had its predecessor. That meant that a TON of Financial District workers wanted to get on that 12, ANY 12.
Wisely, Blair suggested that we walk up a few stops to beat the crowds. Both buses seemed stuck at the "7 minutes" prediction time.
"We're going to die here. This is the worst day ever. We could be in our respective homes by now. Is Keri (Blair's fiance) home yet? I bet she is. Should you tell her that we're trapped, dying, that the bus will never come?"
Blair is very calm about these things. "If the bus doesn't come in 20 minutes, we'll split a cab."
I pretended to complain, but she had calmed me down. I am saving HUNDREDS of dollars a month by taking the bus. I could afford to split a cab. But still, usually my 12 comes every 20 minutes and it's so easy and direct. Why, God? Why is the bus being unreliable?
After AN ETERNITY, the bus finally came, and Blair's plan to walk up a few stops payed off. We got seats!
Two stops later, the 12 was backed with all of God's creatures, many of whom stood in the two stairwells. Blair tried to convince me that Diana Ross sang, "I'm Coming Up (Not Out)" as two men pushed their way onto the bus. One was younger than me, and very loud. He seemed drunk. His "friend" was much older, having lived a very rough 55-ish years. The older one had what Blair diagnosed as an "abscess." To me, it looked like he had a football inside his cheek. White liquid was squeezed out of one corner of his mouth. He was even more inebriated than the first guy.
Crushed into the bus, they proceeded to have one of those conversations for the sake of everyone else, everyone else who had suddenly fallen silent due to the unspoken, collective, "Oh shit."
I have learned on Muni that you can't show fear, because that's what the scene-causers like. But we were packed like sardines on this bus. Yet these two just screamed their conversation, mostly about Chevy cars.
"WAS IT MOTHER#%%&*^ BLACK AND $#%&$%^&^ GOLD?"
"NO #^$%#$#! IT WAS BLUE."
I would further repeat their chat about previous car-ownership, but these two dropped the N-word every other word. And all of this was screamed. Blair whispered, "Wow. Maybe this is performance art?"
When they finally got off the 12, I expected the masses left onboard to react with visible relief. Nope. Nothing. Like it never happened.
Was this a test of my political correctness? If I find a man with an oozing abscess on his face screaming racist and curse words on a city bus of concern, am I a horrible liberal person?
Actually, I feel like more of a San Franciscan for complaining not only about weird people on the bus, but about Muni's unreliability. I mean, honestly. How do TWO BUSES disappear? Is no one concerned? Maybe it's like the movie Speed, and someone should notify the authorities... or Keanu Reeves.

Related: Go see Muni Diaries Live tomorrow night! I don't know if I can go, but Blair will be there, so go say hi to her. It will be a hilarious and fun night of Muni stores better than the one above. And buy your tickets HERE.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

dad dreams of sushi...

On this week's Tourist Trapped, Big Chris and I head to Original Joe's in the middle of the afternoon and manage not to kill each other. Up RIGHT HERE.

And on today's Culture Blog, my dad and I took a sushi-making class together, basically because we found the documentary 'Jiro Dreams Of Sushi' FASCINATING. I like including my dad on the CB because he gets such a kick out of it. And also, my editor was like, "I love it when Dick Spotswood makes an appearace!" Dads are Chron-approved.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

character actor of the month...

Who knows if this will stick, but I feel like I've been neglecting this blog so please welcome a new feature, "Character Actor Of The Month."

I was raised in a home where character actors were revered. You wanna impress my father? Drop the name "Bob Balaban." Anyway, our first entry in what I think could be a monthly post of great character actors, is Harriet Sansom Harris.

Maybe you know her as "Bebe," Frasier's awesome agent on "Frasier."

The show Frasier employs some fantastic character actors. So let's begin with Bebe. What a character Harriet Sansom Harris created! Think of how hard it might be to be "Bebe Glazer." And Harriet just went there. She made Bebe AWESOME.

Harriet Sansom Harris was on "Murder She Wrote", "Desperate Housewives", "Caroline In The City", "The X Files", a million other things. She is awesome. She is an artiste. She is our first Character Actor Of The Month


Next up, Gil Chesterton...

Friday, August 03, 2012

my brother is pretty psyched about the whole thing...

Amidst real news this morning is the story that Jenna Jameson told a CBS SF "staffer" that she supports Mitt Romney for President.


She actually told two of us. I was with my plus one who was hell bent on asking J.J. about politics. We've spent all morning listing who's picked it up. I'm most excited about Comedy Central. He's pretty stoked about actual news outlets. The real story is that hot pink lipstick. Yes? No? Thoughts? I need to know...

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

i'm the creepy guy in the arcade...

Monday's Tourist Trapped is up! Melissa and I spent a morning at Malibu Grand Prix "amusement park" and ... the manager grew concerned. Read it now, over at SFGate.

And today's Culture Blog takes a look at the many, many Facebook pages of SF's candidates for Supervisor. It too, is up on SFGate.

This past weekend was BFF bonding weekend at Dinah's Garden Hotel, where Mel and I sat by the pool, shopped Stanford Mall, and ate prepared salads in bed while watching the Olympics. I think it is fair to say that we have Olympic Fever. At least we do when we're watching it.

There's so many complicated rules and semi-finals and questions, that I mainly shouted out questions while Melissa looked them up on her iPad. The rules of men's gymnastics, and who gets to compete in what event was a little overwhelming for dumb old me, because I was still hung up on, "Wait, how do you even get on an Olympic Team in the first place? Who decides?"

That said, and I feel bad about this, I'm pretty sick of Michael Phelps...