{ metropolis devoured }
a tribute to my san francisco

3/4 oz scotch whiskey
3/4 oz local politics
1/4 oz public policy
1/4 oz disaster preparedness
1/2 oz alamo square

Shake over neighborhood dives & venues, strain into a chilled cocktail dress, garnish with a sprig of gov 2.0, and serve.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Our earthquake.

Earthquake, San Francisco, not particularly unusual. 8:05 pm, I am in the middle of a heated discussion, standing in my restroom doorway in my apartment. The mirror on the north wall of my livingroom rattles against the wall. Something sounds like it's rocking back and forth in the ceiling but that's about it. The folks on the third floor probably felt it more than us. The light posts outside my windows are swaying slightly.

Folks over at SFist are discussing the potential for animals to sense natural disasters ahead of time. Doesn't sound completely implausible, and this guy claims his "golden" was going crazy, but over the course of his comments on this site I've generally come to accept 99.9% of things he says as complete bullshit (plus, who says "my golden"?). This person claims his cat was crying - you know what my domestic animal was doing? The same damn thing he was doing all evening. Sleeping on a pillow in a chair. Thanks for the warning, PJ. Let's see how well you survive on carpet lint for a week.

But seriously, we get more of a rattle when two buses pass each other.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Doom and destruction.

Currently reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road, an intense and dark post-apocalyptic journey story, and I find myself strangely drawn to how full of doom and desolation it is. I definitely like it, but if I was the author, I would've made it illustrated. I would love to see a couple of pages of black and white photos of complete destruction, leveled buildings, crushed asphalt roads, a totally decimated civilization. I think it would help to set the image in stone. Lots of dust. Ash everywhere. The body of the man struck by lighting. The woman who killed herself because she thought their feeble attempts at survival were futile.

Am I anticipating certain doom, or is this just my much needed anti-anti-depressant? By the time I find myself curled up and completely engaged with the story, it's 3 in the morning and I'm feeling strangely calm and at peace.

(ignore the quaint little town tucked into the bottom left corner)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Busdriver scares the crap out of punkass kids.

It's a relatively warm Saturday afternoon and after a long, lazy day of lounging on my couch I'm headed downtown to pick a girlfriend's birthday gift. I take the 38L Geary with my roommate because for some reason it's a more pleasant bus ride than the 5 Fulton or the 21 Hayes which run closer to my locale, maybe just because there's more of them so they're more frequent. We pass Jones St. and she gets off. Across the aisle from me, a large and very much in charge off-duty bus driver in her uniform, short hair, and glasses strung up on a cord, gets up and walks toward the back of the bus, where some 12-year-olds (although I'm usually wrong about kids' ages) are being cool and tagging the windows with red permanent markers.

She tells them they're being irresponsible and that they're not thinking about others. She says, "It's everyone's bus. Not just yours. Not everyone is going to like that, you know. You're doing some very disrespectful." She says it the way a librarian says it in middle school, when you return a book and it's obvious that you spilled juice all over it. I've seen adults tell kids to stop fucking around before, and it's not very effective. The kid who was still holding the marker said he's sorry, ma'am, and he'll never do it again, ma'am.

She says, "Bull. I don't believe you. You're lying to me." The kid tries to convince her, although she isn't threatening him with a fine or to turn him in to the cops, or anything like that. She keeps saying, "You're lying to me right now."

By the time I had to get off the bus, the kid was in tears. His mates looked horrified. The entire time she didn't raise her voice or back down. I wish I didn't have to get off then, I would have loved to shake her hand.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Prop E supporters crash Wilsey fundraiser

This week my adventurous Proggie friends crashed Gavin's fundraiser at socialite Dede Wilsey's Pac Heights mansion (incidentally, the first Google search for her name pulls up an International Herald Tribune article titled "Society queen, evil stepmother or both?" - how fitting). This is the Dede Wilsey who is the worst kind of aging socialite cliche, who believes the Golden Gate Park and its cultural establishments to be a monument to her I-am-larger-than-life self, and who sent hefty checks to Republican goldenboys Romney (who raised the most money but is still 4th in the polls; do they award special mention prizes for primary nominations? didn't think so) and McCain (who scares me more than a little, so I'm not going to say anything about him. at. all.)

The fundraiser was held to raise money to deafeat Measure E, a charter ammendment that would mandate the Mayor to meet with the Supervisors once a month. A little history: last year, ordinary citizens like you and me voted in Prop I, which also asked the Mayor to meet with the Supervisors once a month. The proposition was non-binding, so naturally despite its popularity, the Mayor ignored it. This has been a basic tenent of his administration: ignoring things that aren't held at the Matrix Fillmore.

Unfortunately, I couldn't join my chicken-suited friends because of the whole employment situation, but I'd like to extend my full support to their actions and their great coverage of the event (the outside of the event, anyway). Long live citizen journalism, and to the rude older gentleman who made a cheap shot at the protesters not doing anything with themselves: A big, mansion-sized, high-gloss, diamond-studded, double-parking Fuck you. What, were you expecting something more eliquent for that embittered, dry piece of garbage? I for one am damn tired of the last-ditch-effort link between progressives and umemployment.


Friday, October 05, 2007

Q for Mayor: the fundraiser special.

In the most recent episode of As the Progressive World Turns, titled "Quintin Challenges the Mayor", my friend Q filed for candidacy for office, summoned the rag-tag team of the usual suspects headed by Progressive philanthropist Andy Blue, put together a solid platform, and opened office in the Lower Haight. A little late in the game, but better late than never to stir up conversation and remind the mainstream media that not everyone challenging Gavo is a complete loonie (nsfw).

Q with manager Andy Blue and Dan

Q for Mayor Website / Q for Mayor Myspace

In the two months that Quintin has been a mayoral candidate, he has won the endorsements of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, the Harvey Milk Dem Club, a number of indispensable community leaders, and yours truly. Sick of Gavo and his gel-haired posturing? Then don't sit this one out. There are some important propositions on the ballot that you should look into, anyway. Just remember this on November 6:


Now, a confession: I avoid 80% of all fundraisers unless I help to organize them. And when I do attend, it's either for a cause I really stand behind, or to shamelessly steal event ideas for my own projects (I mean educate self in the advanced techniques of obtaining money. Yea. That's it.) But now that I've (hesitantly, reluctantly) joined the ranks of the casually suited nine-to-fivers, and am no longer scraping by on a campaign salary, I should really be more conscious of where I make my contributions. I mean, sure, I have more than $20 in my pocket, but I just can't swing being a $500 donor and still comfortably pay for a warm spot to lay my head down at night.

But I digress. Last night I was fortunate enough to have the good sense to attend Quintin Mecke's Absolutely Best Fundraiser Ever, a food hacking experience orchestrated by brilliant chef Marc Powell, whose idea of community building through cooking beats any other "ice breaker" kind of activity straight out of the water. 60 people, four dedicated chefs stirring, flipping, and tossing things over the stove, the rest is up to the guests. Everyone who came had a chance to contribute to the meal in some way: plating, seasoning, playing waiter, tasting mango bits bloated with tequila... and everyone got just a little closer via this collaboration. There are only so many times you can bump into the cilantro seasoning person with your hand full of basil leaves before you introduce yourself.

With the exception of people who have food-related phobias or are uncomfortable eating around others, food puts people at a natural ease. Doubly so if you have a room full of people falling in love with soup or making noises one typically hears in bedrooms (yes, the food was THAT good.) The lesson here? When asking people for money, offer something in return that they will love.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Becoming a Democrat
(and Save the Castro!)

In order to start the D5 Prog Dems, I had to finally commit to registering as a Democrat. I won't say what I was registered as before, but let's just say it wasn't Green, Socialist, Independent, Republican, or DTS. I had some initial reservations about this from my time combing through the master voter file (MVF) this time last year, pulling out names that match a particular description. For example: under 30, frequent voter, registered Dem. People will assume you'll vote a certain way and start rotating your name from volunteer caller to caller for some campaign or other until you finally answer your phone, frustrated as hell, at which time they will procede to talk to you about a candidate or issue until you're either blue in the face or hang up. (And if you hang up, they'll probably call you again.)

So now I fit a category. Under 30, frequent voter, registered Dem. Fab.

I may as well make use of this now. I joined the Harvey Milk LGBT Dem Club to see how a well-functioning club is run, and since the LGBT community as a whole tends to be in line with progressive beliefs, there'll be a lot of overlapping issues that I need to learn how to process. Alix Rosenthal, who somewhat less than successfully ran for D8 Supe last year, did a very informative presentation on Halloween in the Castro, which in so many words is going to be a total clusterfuck and a hotspot for crime this this month, thanks to SFPD's lack of committment to public safety during this classic event and the City's complete mishandling of the situation. Alix made a couple of excellent points about how the dissolution of city services for the event aren't going to actually discourage the folks from all over the Bay from coming when she said that the city tried to cancel Halloween in the Castro, not realizing that it isn't theirs to cancel.

At a recent police commission hearing, transgender Commission President Theresa Sparks addressed her concerns about the community so close to her heart: "If we're successful in shutting down the Castro, those people are going to go somewhere. How are we going go address 200,000 people spreading throughout the city?" The 200,000 people are being addressed through a $40,000 publicity campaign to discourage locals from attending because they'll have "no fun". David Perry, the communications consultant in charge of the campaign whose list of clients includes many performance arts groups and local flavors, forgets that the forbidden fruit always tastes the sweetest... or at least people will seem to think so.

I anticipate that the next time I get around to writing, the entry will be tagged "crime". Not to be a pessimist, but I don't think I'll be down in the Castro this year. I can't imagine better news for drug dealers: a massive public congregation of costumed folks at an event that the police isn't dedicating special monitoring resources to.

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