{ 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.

Monday, April 28, 2008

On the high seas...

Yesterday marked the official opening of the San Francisco Bay for the boating season (always the last weekend in April), and they could not have had better luck with weather: gorgeous, warm sunshine that makes sailing bearable without a heavy water-proof parka. Now, I'm a newbie to the marvelous world of seals and choppy waters and boats that seem like they're about to tip over, so I wasn't there.

But I did go out on the Bay the day before on the charter yacht Ruby under the heavy supervision of Captain Josh, who sold us Anchor Steams, gave us sandwiches, and told us to hold on to the railing, all in all making sure that we got back roughly in the same condition we departed in. Captain Josh is an interesting character, the boat ride is fun as hell (especially all the tipping and sliding sideways), the music is 90's hip hop, and overall it's a great way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon. Also, hands down, most interesting view of the San Francisco industrial piers that you can hope to get. Maybe I am a sailing kinda gal after all.

Captain Josh


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Taking the internet a little too seriously?

When the Main Independent Journal first decided to poll its readers on their preference for D3 State Senate candidates with a simply-scripted widget, I knew it would be trouble. Throwing around the results of poorly conducted unofficial polls that leave no room for an accountability audit is like wasting perfectly good tequila on an already roaring fire. Lo and behold: evidence that the Leno camp, full of paranoid glory, cheated by removing cookies and voting multiple times. A pol cheating on an internet public opinion poll to skew the results, to further infuriate his opponent? Oh no! (Very tempted to write "oh noes" here, btw.) Who could have thought?! Just how threatened must one feel to resort to throwing out nonsense like "In the 'is she really still here?' category" about an online tool with fictional results (provided by similar online tools)?

From the real world, here, where real results and not internet media scares drive campaigns: Carole is getting plenty of positive responses, plenty more than her termed-out opponents... from real people, each with an address and a voter ID and a voice. Not guys that have nothing better to do than vote all day on an online poll.


Friday, April 11, 2008

There is no actual candy at CandyBar, bummer.

I keep putting off my "review" of CandyBar SF in hopes that it'll take the negative cues it's getting from eye-rolling neighbors and patrons alike and leave. Then I wouldn't have to write something negative, which I really don't enjoy doing about a fledgeling business, especially of the around-the-corner nature. But I can't help it. I admit I had some strong preconceived notions about what a dessert lounge would be like in my down-to-earth haven where everyone mellows out once the lights dim in our local haunts, but I really tried to put those aside and enjoy the menu. And you know what? That's not easy to do in this place. As soon as my party and I sat down, a manager told us the kitchen was closing (it was 11:20!) and that we'd have a limited amount of time to drink our $8 beers, followed by an embittered rant about how the permitting process for our neighborhood is so difficult and that CandyBar could only obtain one that lets them stay open until midnight on weekends.

According to their business statement, they aim to be an "after dinner dessert lounge" where folks who aren't satisfied with the limited sweets menus at NOPA, RNM, and Solstice could come after their meal and relax with a night cap. This is a great concept that I would have absolutely welcomed to the 'hood for those nights when you just want to relax with a small circle of friends for a thinktank vs. graduate blog discussion (I am on the grad. blog side, fyi). I envision: comfortable chairs, dim lighting that's easy on the eyes, unusual desserts, and creative cocktails made with soju and sake since they are allowed under a beer/wine license.

Instead you get a cranky crew working under glaring 200-watt lighting, constantly having to apologize for its booze selection and hours; stiff blocky chairs; ultra-industrial decor that reminds me of a pricey bathroom showroom; food you can find anywhere else (Chowhound sites "conflicting elements" when it comes to taste); and subsequentally, you and your friends leaving with an agreed "Let's go get a real drink somewhere."

So go ahead and stay at NOPA, RNM or Solstice for dessert. Nothing about this place is really worth it.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Neighborhood stuff...

Ever since I wrote about Minibar, a barbershop-turned-another-bar on Divisadero (a very appropriate parallel to how the street's changed over the years), I've been on the lookout for something that seems like a perfect new hangout. Well, I guess I haven't been looking that hard, since I keep missing its very unassuming storefront-like location. Is it even open?? I want a beer, already.

Meanwhile, Bar Crudo has applied for some kind of a license. I'm assuming (hoping?) it's to sell booze, but it may be something building-related. Will they let neighbors dine in sweat pants? I hope so.

Taking the place of the corner-staple Bars & Stools, which kindly let neighbors park in its driveways after business hours, is Plant-It Earth, a hydroponic/organic gardening supply company. Sadly, I have a feeling that something with "organic" in its name is going to be less forgiving about our parking shenanigans.

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2, 4, 6, 8, Carole's gonna dominate!

Alright, alright, I'll bite. The CA Democratic Party Convention in San Jose, 2008, was the most blatant, shameless display of the kind of dirty politics that laymen always accuse politicians of. And rightly so! Here you have a situation where the accomplished Senator's main opponent pledges to run a "clean campaign", putting on that big used-car-salesman smile of his in hopes that the gullible masses will believe him (and golly gee, they do), then promptly turns around at an advantageous time and starts slinging(1) dirt(2). Such dirt that if you look at it closely, you'll notice contains only quips from obviously biased sources and out-of-context headlines - things that usually appeal to insiders who know the full story, but get distributed to the general masses who have better things to do than think critically. But what's more important is what the fliers don't contain: a union bug, despite the tradition of Democratic Party candidates standing in solidarity with organized labor. It looks like Mark, whose campaign is run by a consulting powerhouse that should have known much better, has no problem turning his back on such a solid relationship.

The smear campaign against Carole is focused on several things - ethics, compliance/transparency, and her personality - although if I were in Mark Leno's shoes I wouldn't go around calling the kettle black on all three accounts. Leno supporters will balk at the idea of "stealing an election" or "member stacking", but that's exactly what his campaign did at the CDP when uninterested and unformed delegates from the entire state of California overturned the endorsement of the regional caucus. When asked, many of the Leno supporters hawking their non-labor-printed fliers and clipboards said that Carole has at some point personally offended them. You know what offends me? That, according to Leno, someone from Los Angeles is better suited to make decisions about which of our candidates the party should support. While I'm at it, why don't I let some sorostitutes from the Marina choose my Supervisor for me, too?

Speaking of ethics, which was the topic of choice for the Leno campaign when attacking the Senator, what was the situation exactly? Whichever version of the story you choose to believe, let's at least agree on the facts - tangible, untouchable, balanced facts - surrounding the case. There were issues with Carole's financial filings, which she never denied or attempted to mask. Her solution was to defer the decision about the fines and campaign funds to the court, the most transparent solution possible. The court affirmed her that her actions in regards to her campaign funds, which have been exaggerated both in the media and by the Leno campaign spin doctors beyond any recognition, are justified. So, to recap, we have some uninformed Leno folks going around telling anyone who'll stop to listen that the Senator's actions are unethical... meanwhile, the courts say they are. Who shall we listen to?

For a more organized write-up on this topic, check out Chris Daly's article in the Fog City Journal.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Dangerous things...

More from my unamused big brother. His sentiments: "We basically have more people than work...it is SOOOOOO distrubingly comfortable here".