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WTF San Francisco?! When did we turn into Raider Nation?

I am really ashamed right now and I don’t even know who to blame or how we fix this as a society. I am a proud 49ers fan and have been for many, many years. I always enjoyed going to games at The Stick with my Dad. I prided myself on the fact that “our” fans were the civilized ones. The rowdy and at times criminal behaviour was for Oakland and the Raider Nation. The Niner fans had their tailgate parties reminiscent of a neighborhood social in Mayberry or Stepford. The Raider fans were crude, rude and socially unacceptable. The Red and Gold set snubbed their noses at their loud “reindeer games”.

True, I haven’t been to a Niners game for some time now, at least a decade if memory serves. My parents moved back East, ticket prices soared out of reach, even when we were the Charlie Brown losers of the league. I was so thrilled by our teams win last weekend against such an amazing team as the Saints. It seemed like all our hard work and waiting was coming to fruition.

And then it turned to ashes in my mouth. My friend Thayer, who moved to New Orleans with her hubby, had a friendly bet with me (as friends will do). As the game went back and forth and near caused me heart failure, never once did I think to trash the Saints or their fans. Those guys played like warriors and everyone’s fans deserve to root for their team. Remember when we were at the bottom of the pile for so long?

Well, this is what she told me – “Hey, are they talking about how badly the Saints fans were treated at Candlestick? Have some friends of friends that were being verbally attacked (Really hurtful stuff, re: Katrina references) so viciously they left early because they were afraid of physical violence if the Saints won. They said other Saints fans on the flight home had similar stories. [:(] ”

That is upsetting to me. WE are suppose to be the civilized fans from the “Enlightened” city. I thought perhaps it was a few bad apples. Then I read this in the San Francisco Chronicle with increasing horror and unease – from a Saints fan. Here are some letters to the Editor – and here is the letter from the gentleman with his daughters one of the writers referred to –

This behaviour is appalling and must stop. Is our society so broken, scared and cowed that hooligans and criminals are allowed free reign? As a city we watched in horror as a Giants fan was bludgeoned near to death at a Dodgers game. We were outraged, as we should be and guess what? We should be outraged now. This behavior is unacceptable! The problem? How do you stop a stadium of tens of thousands of people from turning into a blood thirsty mob worthy of the Circus Maximus? Don’t know what that is? Crack a frackin book and look it up!

Do we stop going to the stadium and just watch on the tele? How do we fix this problem? I really would like some solid ideas because I haven’t a clue. I can understand the fear of standing up to drunk, abusive people especially if you have your children with you. The very real threat of violence or death is not a fantasy. Do you lock up thousands of idiots? SF and Daly City PD just don’t have the presence to police this.

Will I root for my team on Sunday? You betcha! Will we be having my bet-winning King Cake as part of our spread? Yes we will and raising a pint to New Orleans as well! Will I bash anyone who roots for the Giants other than good old fashioned ribbing over a beer? Of course not! We need to clean our houses people. Not just over a football game but in all aspects of our lives. This behaviour does not exist in a vacuum.

And here is where I apologize to the Raider Nation. We all know what they say about people who live in glass houses….

Whack-A-Doodle Wednesday Christmas Street Surprise

It seems this didn’t post yesterday due no doubt to my fat fingers so here it is a day late.

Here in the City by the Bay we know how to get into the holiday spirit! Salvation Army bell ringers? Old hat. Ice skating rinks with fake ice? Soooo last century! Midnight mass? So Catholic. No, we have something better than all of those holiday traditions. We have naked Santa’s. In fact, one of the largest (if not THE largest group of naked Santa’s) ever assembled.

Don’t believe me?

Why? I have no idea. Perhaps it’s like climbing a mountain because it’s there. This is especially true if it involves nudity or herbal substances. San Francisco actually has no laws against public nudity. It only has laws against lewd behavior so don’t pet your reindeer in public or display your North Pole upright and you are good to go. Why would someone want to go starkers in a city where the temperature rarely climbs above 68 degrees? You tell me. I haven’t a clue.

Even walking to work you see all kinds are things that make you shake your head in wonder. There was a woman in a red Santa-type skirt dress with green tights which lead me to believe she was on elf duty at Macy’s or one of the other large department stores. She looked frazzled with wandering dead eyes. Yup, definitely elf duty. You get that look after shepherding hundreds of screaming children to the North Pole Annex for a six-hour shift. I hope she was on her way to Kate’s or another tavern of note here in Soma. She needed a good cup of Christmas cheer.

The strangest thing I saw this week was in South Park. No, not Colorado. It’s a cool little neighborhood down by AT&T ballpark. I almost ran into a guy dressed completely in green spandex. He had a helper, a bit like a seeing eye dog, guiding him down the sidewalk. Why? Because when I say covered I mean covered. Head to toe. He looked like a giant lime green tic tac or an upright slug. What was he doing? I have no idea. In San Francisco, you don’t ask. You just go on your way. Nothing really fazes you. It’s like New York that way only our streets are wider and there is less snark, more fab.

The last observation for this week was a guy in red, green and white stripes riding a bike. Striped socks, striped sweater, striped pants, hat, gloves, scarf, everything was red, green and white stripes. He was riding down Folsom on his merry way to whatever elf convention, murder mystery party, performance art venue he was bound for.

We may not have snow but we do have our share of Merry.

Asshats Abound In San Francisco And Two Try To Run Me Down As Well

Whack-A-Doodle Wednesday is back! After over a month of “outdoor theatre performance eating my brain” I have returned. Granted, I am parceling out my time between writing a first draft of my second humor novel but I’m determined to at least stop in her twice a week at least.

The news is full of the disaffected nowadays. Occupy Wall Street, Occupy San Francisco, Occupy Winchell’s Donuts, the list goes on. My heart goes out to them. The state of our Union is failing. I am all for earning money through hard work. Believe me! I would LOVE to work hard and have a beautiful house in Newport Beach. It took me SEVEN YEARS just to find full-time work. I was not proud, I was not uneducated, I had experience. I was willing to do whatever would pay me money though I stopped short of selling crack to school children. I will admit there were times when that was looking pretty damned attractive but I fought the urge to become a criminal.

I understand the frustration of seeing uber-wealthy people and corporations take the money of the middle-class (after screwing us out of our life savings) and then screwing us again. It would be humorous if it wasn’t so sad and pathetic. Will we ever learn?

So what I have learned from this? I’ve learned that a great many people don’t live in San Francisco or Los Angeles or Reno. They live in the State of Me. They exist in a deluded state of entitlement that puzzles and pisses me off. Rules are for other people. They don’t apply to them.

Case in point, the other day I was almost killed twice in a ten-hour period by self-entitled asshats.

I get into the office early, I’m talking up at 4:45 or 5am and in the office at 6:45am. This is what I like to call the “butt crack of dawn”. It is still dark at this time of year. I was crossing the street to my office at 2nd Avenue and Harrison. The light was green and I was in the cross walk. A pickup truck comes around the corner nearly hitting me then has the nerve to stop and bitch at ME for being in the cross walk when he wanted to turn. Evidently I was supposed to stop for HIM.

Note for any future asshats who want to pull this shit, don’t get into this kind of idiocy with me at oh butt thirty when I haven’t had my grande, non-fat, no water Chai tea latte! I yelled at him to keep on driving, pedestrians have the right of way and the light is green or is he too stupid to figure that out. He then yells that I need to move, I tell him hitting me will move him to a jail cell where I would make it my life’s mission to make sure he was sold to the con with the most cheese sandwiches. He then drives off.

Cut to 4pm. Same day, same corner. SAME DAMN CORNER only this time it’s a woman in a brand new Mercedes who comes flying around the corner literally 12 inches from hitting me. Again, I’m in the cross walk with a green light. I lose it. I took down, see a small rock and toss it at the clueless bimb in the new Benz. Yes, I hit her car. Did it dent it? I have no idea. I’m sure it didn’t. It wasn’t much of a rock. Maybe it nicked her paint job.

The real question is how much more damage would she have done to me if I was walking just a touch faster when she barreled around the corner, talking (non-hands free) on her cell phone and paying zero attention to the road.

Yes, I am surrounded by self-entitled asshats. I can only hope that majority of us sane people re-assert ourselves and work to take our lives back. It is better than petty violence though I admit, hitting that car did feel good.

The Rise of Anarchy in The City

Well there was a 5.9 earthquake in Virginia that sent tender-hearted east coasters, screaming into the streets, changing their religion and basically thinking the world was coming to an end. The west coast ex-pats just looked on amused. There was also a 3.6 earthquake in San Leandro that I completely slept through. No stories have emerged about that rumble heralding the rise of Satan, civil unrest or Sarah Palin. And to cap it off, a naked guy went on a rampage in his apartment building in New York, stabbing various people while yelling the world was coming to an end.

Welcome to Whack-A-Doodle Wednesday.

I am still in the middle of moving hell, my right arm has gone on strike and is operating at about 20% capacity and there is no Trader Joe’s in close proximity to my house. My stockpiles are running low and I am contemplating exactly what to do with a can of beans, a can of coconut cream, some Ponzu sauce and a handful of dried pasta. Hey Iron Chefs! A little help would be appreciated.

However, I’ve had to spend more commute money than normal these past few weeks to avoid BART on Monday’s due to the idiot anonymous “protestors” and I use that word loosely. I had to drive so I could be guaranteed to get home and not be delayed for hours trying to catch a BART train. Even with a lame arm, I still want to kick each and every one of these idiots in the junk…. hard…. with steel toed pointy shoes.

Readers Digest Condensed Version: They “say” they are protesting BART police violence (a BART officer shot and killed a crazy, homeless man brandishing a knife) and BART turning off cell phone service on their private underground property to keep these idiots from communicating with each other and causing mayhem.

Homeless guy – that was self-defense. I want to buy that officer a fruit basket.
Cell Service – that is not a right, it is a privilege. There is no guarantee to have cell service any time, any where – ever. That is insane.

Hey! Idiots! If you really want to do some good, how about protesting the inner-city violence? Where is your outrage when little, innocent kids get gunned down on a street corner in front of their Mom and siblings or get shot through a wall while at piano practice? How about people who get mowed down by hit & run drivers? Where is your indignation for REAL tragedies? Oh yeah, it’s because you bunch of idiots are just sad, pathetic losers. You aren’t activists. You don’t want to make things better, you just want to throw a tantrum and be on the news. Guess what? You aren’t that important. Perhaps we should just ignore you. Ignore your “demands”, ignore your yelling, ignore your 3-year-old melt down. Unless you try to keep me from commuting… then boot to the junk baby. I’ll give you something to cry about.

Asshat Bikers On BART – A Lesson In Humility

The general rudeness of people never ceases to amaze me. Last week I was on the BART train at rush hour. BART has rules about bicycles. Either they are only allowed in certain trains or are not allowed at all during certain hours or one certain lines unless they fold. There is a large sign that says NO BIKES when that rule is in effect.

So here we were smashed into a full car when this self-entitled asshat pushes into the car with his full size racing bike. You can tell this guy rides and rides a great deal. In addition to the riding ensemble of helmet, racing shirt, Lycra shorts with package enhancement and gloves, he was wearing the special clip shoes. You see his bike doesn’t have regular pedals, it has these nubs that “clip” into the bottom of the cyclists shoes. This dude was no Clueless Clara. He rides. He rides all the time. He travels on BART all the time. He knows the rules but he doesn’t care. The rules don’t apply to him and his huge bike.

So here I am, standing, mashed by the door and the handlebars of his bike keep poking me in the peesch. OK, this is really on my last nerve. I pull out my iPhone and post about it on Facebook because that’s what we do now to deal with the stress of self-entitled asshat’ s on public transportation. I posted that if those handlebars poked me one more time, that bike owes me dinner.

Then my friends in cyberspace started egging me on. “You should tell him that. I totally dare you.”, “OMG; I am totally in on that dare. Go Dre! Go!”, “Do it!!” Hell, with all this Facebook support, I pulled up my big girl panties and turned to the poking offender.

“Excuse me, are you aware that bikes aren’t allowed on the train at this hour?” The asshat just stares at me with a blank “WTF” look. I continue, “Because if the handle bars of your bike poke me in the peesch one more time, that bike is buying me dinner.” I refer back to my phone that just updated, “or jewelry. My other friend said jewelry”

The asshat looks like a carp. His mouth is opening and closing but no sound is coming out. The people around in the close train confines are staring at him like he is an exhibit in the zoo. One lady had this terrified expression on her face like this bike dude was going to start flinging poo any minute now.

He stammers “Whaaa.. Are you posting this?” “Yeah, on Facebook.” I reply. “Your behavior and lack of consideration for others is really rude.” The train pulls up to West Oakland station. He stumbles out near smacking “please don’t fling poo on me” woman with the wheel. He stumbles getting onto the platform. The train applauds. The old man opposite me smiles and gives me a thumbs up.

Attention Self-Entitled Asshats: This world is not just about you. Try having a little consideration for those around you. Otherwise you may get on the wrong side of “Public Shaming Girl” and it’s an uncomfortable place to be. Ask the biker asshat. I think he wet himself. My job here is done.

People Watching In San Francisco

So I was in The City the other day for a job interview. I have decided that while jobs in The City are preferable since they pay more, it also costs more to get there to interview for a job you may or may not get. Let’s see:

Bridge Toll – $5
Ferry Toll (round trip) – $11.20

So that is a bare minimum of $16.20 just to get there. What about BART? What about it? Let’s see, $7.80 round trip plus $1 for parking for a grand total of $8.80. A savings of $7.40. $37 cheaper per week and $148 cheaper per month. Though if you are making decent money, it’s worth it to have a nice 35 minute ferry ride in comfort, walk 20 minutes to work and drink a beer on the way home as opposed to being shoved into a smelly car, standing the whole way next to people with questionable hygiene.

But that wasn’t it. It was the parking. There wasn’t any. You see, when you need to go into The City mid-day, the BART lots are full and street parking is restricted to two hours. So it’s the ferry. But the ferry lot was full so I park across the street in the “overflow lot” which may or may not have been parking for Togo’s but I took my chances.

Once there, I was dazzled by the wonder that is the Ferry Building and tried to keep myself from buying everything in sight with my near non-existent money. As I started walking down Market towards Montgomery I played “Who Is This?” with the passers-by. I try to imagine based on clothes and look who these people are. What do they do? Are they tourists? Are they bankers? Are they Jason Bourne and his latest exotic but kick-ass female companion on the run from international terrorists?

There were a great many beautiful, willowy Asian women, looking ageless and chic in their designer clothes and perfect matching bags. I felt old and dumpy and mortal by comparison. I found myself trying to look for flaws just to convince myself these lovely creatures were real. Finally found one. On the bottom of one perfect aubergine shoe was a price sticker. Ah HA! I feel better about myself and my old, but Italian, shoes.

There were harried businessmen, some sans jackets, talking on cell phones, yelling into cell phones, playing with cell phones. Hell, you’d think the cell phone was the same as a remote control in front of the television. There were moms herding children, groups of tourists chatting excitedly in languages I did not recognize. I pretended they were from Outer Moldavia, a small country in Europe which sits against the Carpathian Mountains next to Transylvania. Then again, they might have been from Sweden.

I saw a tiny cubbyhole of a sushi roll place that had a line out the door and down the block. The receptionist at the place I was interviewing told me the sushi place just opened a few weeks ago. She said it’s okay but not amazing. I think because it is wee and new and wee all the hipsters are flocking there for the sheer smugness of it.

On my walk back to the Ferry Building I saw a woman, eating a burrito and talking to herself. Nowadays you have to look to make sure she isn’t talking into a Bluetooth but her conversation was a bit into the “crazy, homeless lady or soon to be homeless lady” category. She was saying “Now you hush up because I’z da one that talks to the voices in my heads and not you and you shuts up you voices!” Wow, she told them!

Back at the Ferry Building, I found myself drawn to some of the best chocolate in the world, Recchiuti. To quote Yelper Irene C “This place makes Godiva look like it’s peddling poo… as in, obscenely expensive strawberries covered in poo.” Crude but true. This place is better than Vosges and they are my favs for gourmet chocolate. Tiny, wee bites of heaven these chocolate bits are. Expensive Heaven. It’s the Heaven where near perfect people who take care of lepers go, that Heaven. Heaven also comes with a price. A large price. Yeah, plan on paying about .80 – $1.00 for a piece of chocolate that can range from the size of a nickel to the size of a silver dollar. Everything is by weight. They have such lovely flavors like Lavender Vanilla or Rose Ginger or Lemon Verbena or Bergamot Tea. I am drooling just thinking of them and the $2.85 I spent on 3 wee pieces.

So that makes my grand total of money spent on this job trip $19.05. Oh, I forgot the Starbucks Grande Non-fat, no water, chai that I HAD to have because I did a good job in my interview. Do I count it if it was on a card? I guess I will since the card I used I paid for and wasn’t a gift. Oh, and I bought 2 rolls from Acme Bakery for dinner and breakfast tomorrow as well as an almond croissant. Don’t judge me.

Grand total for my job interview in The City – $30.65. ouch. Hell, just the $16.20 was pricey. I should learn. Every time I think I did a great job, I buy something to celebrate the soon to be happening job with its rain of cash and prizes and I always get the zonk. Every time. Next time I swear, no extras. Just my $16.20 of travel expenses and I can put a power bar in my purse.

Now to make things even better, I got a follow-up email for a job I applied for two weeks ago that I really want! Hopefully the Gods will smile and soon I will be back on the ferry and able to afford the trip. Who knows? I might be riding with the “Young Geeks In Love” again. (check my back blogs) I love people watching in San Francisco.

Is it Open Season on Bikers Yet?

(In the aftermath of NaNoWriMo, I have been doing final edits on my book from last year. This Monday I am featuring a classic column from last year. It’s a topic that still gives me facial twitches.)

Yesterday I was cleaning and playing Rock Band because that’s what you do when you don’t go outside. Today I am doing some editing, learning some new software packages to make myself more attractive to a potential employer, worshipping Steve Jobs as the God he is and drinking a Raspberry Woodchuck Cider. So life is good.

My Mom called. She heard what I said about birthdays as a kid and wanted to let everyone know that we weren’t destitute when I was growing up and she didn’t make my sister and I share a birthday cake. Here is the conversation:

Mom: Your sister and I have a correction. You never had to share a birthday cake.
Me: Yes we did.
Mom: No you didn’t. Your sister doesn’t remember that and neither do I. You did have a combination cake for graduation.
Me: No, we were on Heather Drive. It was chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and white lettering.
Mom: You are making it up.
Me: I am not. I remember it. It was in the kitchen.
Mom: How old were you?
Me: I don’t know. 2nd or 3rd grade.
Mom: Nadine doesn’t remember. 3rd grade? Your sister wasn’t even born then!
Me: YES SHE WAS! She is 4 years younger than me. If I was in 3rd grade, she would have been in Kindergarten. Look I don’t care if you don’t remember it, I do.
Mom: Why do you have to tell everyone?
Me (in my head) Wait till the book comes out. (out loud) It’s what I do.

Welcome to my family.

My family is great, honestly. They have been very supportive, honestly. The fact that my Mom is not reading this because I have the mouth of a sailor on shore leave is perfectly fine with me. In fact I chewed her ear off for nearly an hour ranting about my latest pet peeve, obnoxious bikers.

First let me say I am not talking about motorcycles, so all the Hells Angels, leather clad weekend warriors and other bike enthusiasts can stand down. Nor am I talking about professional cyclists such as the ones I follow during the Amgen Bike Tour. I am talking about the Bay Area, Self-Important, Holier than Thou, Entitlement Minded, Selfish, A-Hole bike riders. You know which ones I am talking about.

You see them every day in the City. They are the ones full of the self-important, too-cool-for-school vibe. They refuse to obey any of the rules of the road. They speed through red lights at intersections, they cut off cars and pedestrians alike, they ride on the sidewalk, they run into your vehicle and assault your property because it’s your fault your “fossil fuel, pollution spewing assault on Mother Nature” car has the audacity to be on the same street they are on let alone be in the place they want to ride. Yeah, it’s my fault that you ran into my car and you won’t pay for any damage you caused. You will just scream, spit, harass and then try to arrest ME?! Did I just fall down a rabbit hole?

You did if you are in San Francisco. You see, there is a monthly event dedicated to insanity called Critical Mass and it gives the rest of the nation another reason to laugh at us. Critical Mass is a leaderless, awareness protest the last Friday of every month. While other cities seem to be able to deal with this type of event due in part to considerate cyclists, the event in San Francisco is pure anarchy. A great many cyclists refuse to obey traffic rules, hit cars, pedestrians, cause damage, curse and behave like a bunch of buffoons and of course, the police don’t do a thing. Even if the offense happens right in front of them. I can’t blame the San Francisco Police Department really, they have the lowest case resolution rate in the State, have been plagued with corruption issues and just don’t seem to have the energy or balls to actually apprehend law breakers. If you think it’s just me being a pill, let’s hear from someone else.

Matthew posted this on the new SFCriticalMass blog: “Friday was the first time that I actually encountered Critical Mass. I was leaving work and I tried unsuccessfully many times to simply cross the street (I was walking). I finally just went for it, when I was knocked by a cyclist. I yelled “excuse me, pedestrians have the right away!” Four cyclists stopped and proceeded to yell “F%$K YOU.” over and over again. One got off his bike and said “what are you going to do?” He got back on his bike and called me a “F%$king Pu$$y”. I managed to cross the street and see several of the cyclists kicking cars that were trying to cross the street with the light. These people should not be allowed to break traffic laws and disrupt traffic the way they do. I was assaulted physically and verbally. Something needs to be done.”

Something needs to be done indeed Matthew. I’m all for supporting bike riding and driving less but this is a totally different animal. These bikers need to learn some manners and this self-entitlement attitude just needs to stop.

Hell, I can’t even go to a wine tasting without running into them, literally. You see them all over the wine country. The lanes of Sonoma are full of them. They take up the entire road, forcing you to poke along at 10 miles an hour. They do this on roads that were designed for automobiles and paid for with my tax dollars. I don’t mind sharing the road but I resent them taking up the entire thing and daring me to run them down. Guess what? I just might do that. Open Season doesn’t sound like too bad of an idea right now. It’s a way of culling the herd. We are overpopulated anyway.

I know there are considerate bikers out there just like there are considerate smokers but this is frustrating. These bikers are the equivalent of PETA or the people that protest shit and have no idea what they are protesting like the ones who protested water.

Haven’t heard of that? Oh, this is a doozy! Penn & Teller had a pretty girl circulate a petition to ban DiHydrogen Monoxide. This garnered hundreds of signatures without one person knowing exactly what it was they wanted to ban. They were told, truthfully, the side effects from mass ingestion of DHMO include excessive sweating, excessive urination, and vomiting among other things. Nuclear plants use this, as do chemical plants, Styrofoam companies and farmers spray this in your food. Your babies ingest this for crying out loud! What is it? Di (two) Hydrogen and Monoxide (1 oxygen) is what? Yes, H2O. Water. They signed a petition to ban water!

This started in 1989 at UC Santa Cruz as a joke to illustrate how if something sounds scary, people will think It is regardless of the facts. Are we dumbasses? Sort of but also I think a lot of “socially conscious” people are joiners instead of informed participants. When people just join things without any kind of intellectual buy in, they can turn into dupes at best and rude, invasive, annoying and dangerous asshats at worse. Just like my bikers!

So here is the bottom line, you have no right to damage my property, assault my person or impede my egress on lawful byways that I have paid for. If you cannot share and abide by the same rules I do, you need to have your bike melted down, used for scrap and will have to walk or take public transportation to your destinations. You don’t get a car because if you are that annoying on a bike, I shudder to think what you are like in a Prius.

Reader Mondays: Is There A Limit To The Greed In San Francisco’s Government?

I was born in The City.  I’ve lived in other places during my life but moved back to the Bay Area over a decade ago.  You can drink the water, the weather is fairly mild and it has some of the best views around.  I like that most people are well-read, open-minded and aren’t inclined to tie me to a stick and set me on fire because I don’t share their religious beliefs.  But there is something I have heard that disturbs me.  Parking.

Not just the regular parking mess that always plagues San Francisco.  We know The City is small and there are a shortage of parking spaces, terrible traffic snarls and that idiot bike rider riot that happens once a month.  What I am annoyed with is holiday metered parking.  All of my driving life, it has been a fact that you don’t feed the meters on Federal holidays or Sundays.  These holidays traditionally included New Years Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.  Some places would also give you Martin Luther King Day, Columbus Day and the day after Thanksgiving.  Well San Francisco is poor.  We know the economy is shit and while the city by the bay is far richer than Squirrelbutt, Arkansas (apologies to the wonderful people of Squirrelbutt), they are cash strapped.

I understand the need to save money but instead of saving money by cutting bureaucratic waste (of which there is a TON), they have decided to grab some more pennies at the expense of the working man.  They have eliminated the holiday meter freebie on certain federal holidays.  Since most of us had no idea that “pick and choose” holiday meter roulette was the new law, tickets fell from the skies.  One of my readers, Ling, had this experience:

“So, on Monday, Labor Day, I went shopping in the Laurel District of San Francisco when I noticed a meter cop distributing tickets on a row of parked cars. Last time I checked, Labor Day is a national holiday, and parking has always been free, like Christmas or MLK Day. Here in the East Bay, holidays, including Labor Day, are listed as free days. Apparently, the City of San Francisco is so strapped for money that it decided to change the holiday free parking law and ticket its residents for street parking on a national holiday!”

Yup, you are correct and it sucks!  I went on-line and found the official scoop.  Everyone take notes.  You can park for FREE at meters on these holidays in San Francisco: New Years Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The city website stated the 4th of July is “Not Enforced in 2010 due to holiday falling on a Sunday”.  So does that mean you have to pay in future years when the holiday falls during the week?  You are going to ticket people on the holiday celebrating the birth of our Nation?  REALLY?!

What pisses me off even more are the holidays NOT covered: Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day and the day after Thanksgiving.  I’ll give them the Friday after Thanksgiving but Veteran’s Day?!  HONESTLY?!  I am ashamed at the thought that a person who fought and bled for our country would get a ticket on Veteran’s Day.  Hey Newson!  I know you’ve never served in the military.  Don’t you think this is a travesty or are you too busy with your own political aspirations to care about the City you are suppose to be leading?

The cost of living in San Francisco is through the roof.  A tiny one-room apartment is pricier than a unit of the same size in the Village in New York City . The once friendly, laid-back, progressive image of San Francisco has been replaced with money-pinching politicians, stringent laws and ineffectual police officers. What is happening to our city?  If you really care, you will look harder at the fat that exists within the government rather than taxing your already overburdened citizens.  You still have time to make this right.  You are the Mayor.  If you want to make it happen, you can.  As for the rest of the “unwashed masses”, here are the breaks you DO get on ALL holidays:

  • Street Sweeping: Not enforced (M-F street sweeping that is… the few streets that have 7-day street sweeping will still be enforced)
  • Residential Permit Parking: Not enforced
  • Commuter Towaway: Not enforced
  • Green Zone: Not enforced (short term parking – usually 10 mins Monday-Saturday 10am to 6pm)
  • My advice?  Move out of San Francisco and move to the East Bay, the weather is better anyway and you are still close to the City so you can visit.  How do we change this rule?  Well, a start would be a well worded letter to Mayor Newson asking him to do the right thing and remind him that if he can’t do such a small thing for the citizens of his city, he loses your vote for Lt. Governor.

    Come Fly With Me! – Review of Peter Pan

    Straight from London, this fabulous new production of Peter Pan 360, theatre in the round, is playing now in Ferry Park across from the Ferry Building. This is a great show but you need to go in with the right frame of mind so allow me to outline a few things:

    This is the play based on J.M. Barrie’s book Peter Pan.  This is NOT the Disney version of Peter Pan and just because people fly on wires does NOT mean this is Cirque.  This is also a play (running 2 hours, 20 min with intermission) and not a musical.  While there is some music in the show, there are no big show numbers.  The web site is serious when it says you must give serious consideration to bringing small kids to this show.  It could scare or bore them. It is a lot to sit through.

    The theatre is impressive.  Intimate yet open.  It is theatre in the round with projected scenes on the scrim around the top of the arena.  There are few “bad seats” and while there are bleachers, they do have individual seats though they do not have arms.  It is an engineering marvel.

    Once the show starts, you must accept a few things.  The main issue is that all the kids are 23-25 years old.  Wendy, Michael, John, Peter, Tink, the Lost Boys – they are all grown people – they kinda have to be in order to do this show so you just have to let it go and accept that reality.

    The Original cast members from London are Hook, Wendy, John, Michael, the Lost Boys, the puppeteer and Jane.  This has both positive and negative results.

    Tinkerbell seems to be imagined by the director as a homeless Russian Gypsy punk rocker.  It’s a little jarring at first to people who are use to Disney’s Tink but it works and I feel is closer to Barrie’s concept of the character.  A fairy who can only experience one emotion at a time which makes for a very scattered, fractured personality.

    Wendy is a wonderful mixture of spunk, maturity and innocence.  I think she does a great job and is the perfect foil for Peter.

    Hook (as well as Mr. Darling) is played by Jonathan Hyde.  He did a letter perfect J. Bruce Ismay in Titanic, was superb as the hunter Van Pelt in Jumanji but in this role, I just wasn’t feeling Hook.  I’m sorry.  I thought he was a little flat.  To me Hook should be larger than life.  Perhaps I was so impressed with what Dustin Hoffman did in the movie Hook but I wasn’t sure if he was suppose to be evil, a coward or a fop.  He didn’t really commit to any while dabbling with all of these in a cursory way.

    The puppetry was first rate especially the Croc!  It was AMAZING!  This will scare the crap out of tiny kids especially if they are real close.  This puppet is driven by 2 people and is impressive.  Nana the dog is so expressive as well.  With the advent of more puppeteer shows such as Avenue Q and The Lion King, I don’t think audiences really mind having a person on stage with the puppet.  Your mind blocks it out after a bit.

    The “underwater scene” with the mermaids has 2 gals doing ribbon ballet and it works sooo well for the beautiful but dangerous mermaids.  The ribbons form their tails however in their leotards they almost have an eel quality to them.  They are a wonderful addition.

    The horrid disappointment in this show was Tiger Lily.  I heard they cast a local gal and I really wish they hadn’t.  OK, I’m going to address the elephant in the room.  I am really tired of white girls playing parts for non-white actors.  Are you seriously telling me you could not find an actress of Native American or ethnic coloring to play Tiger Lily?  If just her physical appearance wasn’t enough, then she opened her mouth.  Damn.  She sounds like a whiny High School girl wanting to hang at the mall.  Sure she’s hot and can stand flat on one foot while raising her other leg over her head without using her hands but she’s not right for the part.  This reminds me of the movies from the 30’s – 50’s that cast white women as the “Indian Princess” or the “Harem Girl” or “Nefertiti”.  I thought we moved beyond that and we have a great many gals (like the actress from LONDON) who can do this role!  It just annoyed me.  A lot.

    Peter was great.  I am a HUGE supporter of having Peter Pan played by a MALE.  This whole idiot concept, started in the beginning of having a female play Peter runs against the underlying attraction and awakening sexuality between Peter and Wendy.  THANK YOU for putting a boy in the part and one who is talented and hot as well.  Thank you so much for that!  While not the original actor from London, he inhabits the role well, showing us the perfect man-child who is willful, fun, petulant, angry, creative, gentle and fierce with a sense of wonder and a deep sadness that touches you.

    The supporting cast of Lost Boys, Pirates, Jane (Wendy’s daughter) and Mrs. Darling are all great and add to the overall impact of the show.

    Large tents are set up next to the show tent for food and drinks.  While I ate at the Ferry Building before the show, I did get a glass of Gloria Ferrer Va de Vi.  It was a disaster.  Not the bubbles, the service.  There were 2 people in front of me.  It took “brainless chick” 8 minutes to get one lady 2 glasses of wine.  Here was my experience:

    Me:  One glass of Va de Vi please

    She stares

    Me: Va de Vi

    She stares

    Me. A glass of Va de Vi

    She rings up $3.50 and starts for the soda case.

    Me: NO!  VA DE VI – GLORIA FERRER VA DE VI, it’s champagne, not soda and it’s $11, not  $3.50.  That is wrong.  Ummm, you swiped my card for $3.50

    Her: (Gets wine) I’ll charge it right.

    Me:  NO, you are doing it wrong (as she rings up $8,50).  8.50 plus 3.50 is $12, not $11.  You have charged my card too much now!  She gives me a dollar from the till.  I take my drink and my dollar and do not tip because she is a FRACKIN MORON!!!!!!  Now I only have 10 minutes left of my 20 minute intermission.  The tent is also filled with lollipops and candy displays.  The air smells like popcorn, beer and unrequited love.  I am confused by the sign at the entrance to the tent that clearly states drinks are allowed inside but food is not.  However they are peddling food inside and people are taking food inside.  I am sooo confused.  As long as I can take my drink back to my seat, I’m good.

    Parents, another tip: Don’t let your little darling wear fairy wings.  Sure, they are cute but they get in the way.  We are in close quarters and if your kids wings are poking me, they are going to get bent.  Just sayin’.  Also, to reiterate, this is a play.  Lots of talking, not a ton of action.  This is old school Peter Pan, not a Disney show.  It’s still cool but just need to say again, it may bore your very small child.  If your kid cries or fusses you must take them out.  If you don’t , you will be removed.  You can watch on closed circuit TV until your kid is able to sit still and watch without talking, crying, screaming, etc.

    Bottom line, this is a very fun show.  Tiger Lily isn’t there very much and she does her big pole dance number (without the pole) in the 2nd act and then is never seen again – Thank The Gods!  I recommend you give this one a gander.  I went for the 2pm matinée and even the “cheap seats” are decent and affordable.  I would definitely give this one a turn while it is in town.

    Cheese Rolling – A Way Out of Economic Depression?

    I had a dream.  Not the kind unfortunately where everyone comes together, behaves like decent human beings, holds hands and sings Kumbaya.  No, I had a dream about cheese rolling.  Yes, last night I dreamed I should write about cheese rolling in San Francisco.  Unfortunately when the clear light of day dawned I realized there was no cheese rolling in San Francisco.

    Cheese rolling exists, don’t get me wrong, but it is a British thing as evidenced by

    (I love the fact you really get a good look at Borat around 1:45 as well as a cow… sort of) for the Official Cheese Rolling Facts.

    Gloucestershire has been rolling the cheese for hundreds of years.  Someone back in the annals of time thought it would be a good idea to chuck a wheel of hard Double Gloucester cheese down a hill, giving the wheel a second head start, and then sending strapping young lads careening after it.  Whoever crosses the finish line first gets the cheese because with a round of cheese traveling at speeds of up to 70 MPH, it is unlikely that any long-legged monkey is going to catch it.

    In the tradition of other British sports such as football (rugby) sheep tossing and tiddlewinks, injuries and fights abound.  Yay!  I figure it is a little like Hockey but on grass and without the sticks and with dairy products.  So why the talk of the cheese?

    I think San Francisco should get on the band wagon and have our own cheese roll.  No, think about it – we already do many weird things in the name of fundraising such as the Bay to Breakers race.  Why not cheese?  We could raise money for the City coffers by charging an entrance fee, sell official souvenirs such as “The Cheese Cut Me” or some such AND to make it even better than the British we can do it on Lombard Street.

    I know, I know, those poor people have it bad enough already with the ton of tourist buses and looky loos that inhabit that area 24/7 BUT they knew what they were getting into when they bought their house!  How could they not?  You are living on the world-famous “Crookedest Street in the World”.  It’s the San Francisco equivalent to the largest ball of string. In case you’ve been living in a hole:

    We could set up giant inflatable barriers so people wouldn’t be flying into houses or cars and the course would be more challenging because of the cement.  No whimpy grass for us!  We are ‘Mericans!  We can chase cheese on bone breaking asphalt!  We can have different races, courses, age categories.  It is a cash cow I tell ya!

    I say if you want to support your City, you need to get behind the Big Cheese!