Thursday, February 27, 2014


Rather enjoyed this podcast "The Moment" with host Brian Koppelman and Chuck Klosterman.

My favorite part was Klosterman talking about his biggest fear being unable to see something completely obvious about himself that everyone else knows, but he doesn't.  Funny insight.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Something Happening Here

Woman in SF bar attacked for wearing Google glasses.  For those who don't pay attention to what's happening locally in San Francisco, there's been rising tension over the past year or so about the status of tech workers in the city.  The big thing earlier this year was Google buses, which transport Google workers from the city SF to the Silicon Valley for work.  They use Muni stops and disgruntled San Franciscans started protesting the buses.  There were other issues of grievance - the city basically paying twitter to keep their offices on Market Street, some recent graffiti on Atherton houses targeting the 1% and now, some thugs grabbing a woman's google glasses and stealing her purse.

The big factor underpinning this "movement" if you can call it that, is rising rents.  Anecdotally, rents are absurdly high in SF.  I have a buddy renting a 2bd 2bath in Western Addition, which is hardly a tony neighborhood, for $3600 a month.  Another friend claims he could rent his Mission 1 bedroom with a parking space and deck for over $3000 as well.  Some "joe average" San Franciscans are pissed and blame the tech workers.  This is silly, of course. The tech workers themselves are not to blame.  And fundamentally, the issue is simple: envy.

What's happening here is an exaggeration of other trends in the economy.  The wealth is not being spread around.  The top 10-15% are benefitting and others feel themselves falling behind.  This is emotional.

Solutions?  Who knows.  What's ironic is the situation is pure liberal vs. liberal tension.  Maybe the solution is getting rid of rent control.  And re-signing Jim Harbaugh (which is the other big issue of the moment.)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Indeed, we still have available the list of beverages served at a 1787 farewell party in Philadelphia for George Washington just days before the framers signed off on the Constitution. According to the bill preserved from the evening, the 55 attendees drank 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, eight of whiskey, 22 of porter, eight of hard cider, 12 of beer, and seven bowls of alcoholic punch. 
That’s more than two bottles of fruit of the vine, plus a number of shots and a lot of punch and beer, for every delegate. That seems humanly impossible to modern Americans. But, you see, across the country during the Colonial era, the average American consumed many times as much beverage alcohol as contemporary Americans do. Getting drunk—but not losing control—was simply socially accepted.
From an Instapundit link.

From LBN:
It may be one of the best years in recent memory for high-quality Hollywood film, but two-thirds of Americans have yet to see any of the movies nominated for the best picture Oscar, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Sunday. Among other questions, the poll asked 1,433 Americans whether they had seen any of the nine best-picture nominees, plus two other films competing in other categories. The Academy Awards will be hosted by comedian Ellen DeGeneres on March 2.
All the media keep saying it's been a great year for movies.  I've yet to notice and apparently, so have 2/3 of all Americans.  Has our movie culture died?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Food and Drink of the Gods

Pre-dinner vodka martini:  Ketel One, splash of vermouth, olive brine from Castelvetrano olives. Ice. Shake. Pour. 2-3 olives.

Boiling Crab take home feast - snow crab, shrimp, potatoes, corn, sausage, clams.  Medium spicy. Damn.  Shrimp was the least awesome of all the food and the shrimp is fucking great.
Lena Dunham on Bill Simmons

An interesting test for me.  I enjoy listening to almost every Simmons podcast and I can't stand Lena Dunham, so I gave it a try.  I lasted about 3 minutes and had to turn it off.  I realized it might just have to do with the sound and cadence of her voice.  I get a physical reaction to it, like the sound of crunching styrofoam.  Some people hate nails on a chalkboard, but the sound never really bugged me.  Really just crunching styrofoam and Lena Dunham's voice.
Late To The Game

But I finally started listening to Marc Maron WTF and watching the show.  I'm into it.  Reminds me a bit of Howard Stern without the whack pack.  The Freudian unpacking schtick is familiar and does not embark on any new ground, but it works.  If you looked closely at most popular American shows or movies, my gut is they would be the descendent of Freud, Shakespeare, the Greeks, or Nietzsche.  I'll have to think about this more.
Really, The Atlantic?

What happened to those great David Samuels pieces of long form journalism?  Here is one called "The Dark Power of Fraternities."  I stopped reading halfway through because the article is about, get this, drunk kids falling.  I'm not kidding.  Try not to laugh.  The Atlantic's cover story is about drunk college kids falling out of windows and off decks.

How the mighty have fallen.  I hardly go to the website anymore.  What happened to this once great publication?

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Film: The Great Beauty

A terrific Italian movie  I suppose it was really about Rome.  One day, I hope someone makes a film about Los Angeles in this way.  Who could do it?  Tarantino?

Film: The Hunt

I was rather disappointed by this film.  I love Mads Mikkelsen.  Am a big fan of Vinterberg.  But the situation and writing seemed a bit absurd to me.  They went to such great lengths to establish his innocence and yet every adult in the film so easily turns on him, even after the police dismiss the case.  If you watch a play like The Crucible, you feel the heat of injustice, but in in this particular film, I felt frustrated with the basic manipulation of character behavior by the filmmakers.  Reading about the Woody Allen case is more interesting and nuanced.

Yesterday was a foreign language Oscar nominees day!

Friday, February 21, 2014


What if we were winning and no one noticed.

Peggy Noonan criticizes politicians for being in House of Cards.  I couldn't get into the show.
 I don’t understand why members of Congress, the White House and the media become cooperators in videos that sort of show that deep down they all see themselves as . . . actors.
Agreed.  PS - this is why I didn't want to do a "wedding video."  I didn't want the day to be a performance.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Renting Cheaper Than Buying

In LA and a few other places.
Real estate experts say the high costs, without corresponding income growth, have depressed sales.
“The cost of financed homeownership is becoming dangerously disconnected with still-stagnant median incomes,” RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist said in a statement.
I've been noting this for awhile.  I still don't see why we didn't just let the bottom fall out of the housing market.  I imagine a lot of decent folks could have gotten a great deal on a first home and become the building block of a nice community.  Instead, the politicians decided to favor anyone who got themselves in over their heads.  I guess they didn't want breadlines, so they just snatched money from savers and handed it to the borrowers.

Monday, February 17, 2014


TV: True Detective, Ep. 5

I continue to enjoy True Detective, but there's this lingering 10-25% of my mind that remains suspicious of the show -- like I'm being sold a fake painting or something.  I don't know why.  Maybe it's the prestige and the HBO-ness, or the internet re-caps proclaiming brilliance and "best-show-on-television."  Or maybe it's Cohle digressing about "membrane" theory and the 4th dimension, the type of discussion one might overhear brainy 16-year-olds having instead of working up the courage to talk to girls. (spoken from experience)

That said, I really look forward to watching the show.  I found the last couple of episodes quite creepy and enjoyed the time jump to 2002.  Thought the mystery beats hit really well, especially the quick reveal LaDoux might not be the killer.  Don't really care for this notion that Cohle is being investigated.  It sounds clever on paper, but I don't think the audience buys for a moment that Cohle could be behind the killings.  It wouldn't make any sense.

On a side note, I somewhat enjoy reading recaps and listening to people talk about this show.  And in that way, True Detective is a great show for this era of twitter, blogs, and the need to be talking about something online.

Random notes on this commentary:

1.  Is it just me or is the biggest cliche any can say about a mystery genre is "the show isn't really about the mystery, it's about the characters?"  Cue ohhs and ahhhs from freshman literature students.  If I have to read this once more as if it were insight, I'm going to vomit.  I don't see why critics who write about these shows are so dismissive about the "whodunnit" aspect.  First of all, mysteries are never just whodunnit -- they are whydunnit.  That's why we enjoy mysteries.  It is also why most mysteries fail and why most mysteries about "characters" end up being deeply disappointing in the end (see any adaptation of a Dennis Lehane book).

The move for mysteries that works pretty well is disguising a 2nd mystery within the primary mystery.  The classic case being Chinatown with the incest storyline intertwined with the murder storyline.  Same with Lonestar (again, an incest storyline).  And with Top of the Lake (again, incest).  Actually, maybe the lesson is just to introduce an incest plot.

2.  Fanboys are annoying no matter what the subject.  See this.
Or is he a character in a TV show railing against his audience? Aren't we the creatures of that higher dimension? The creatures who can see the totality of his world? After all, we get to see all eight episodes of his life. On a flat screen. And we can watch him live that same life over and over again, the exact same way." 
The thought was dizzying. Sure, True Detective is a page-turning crime yarn. But at least according to its creator, it's also a meta-page-turning crime yarn—a story about storytelling. Pizzolatto had transformed m-theory into a metaphor for television—and television, perhaps, into a metaphor for existence itself.
Que?  Am I the only one overhearing the squeaky sounds of someone jerking themselves off with lube?  Metafiction?  What are we even talking about?  Who isn't aware they're watching a tv show?  Or making a tv show?  I feel like if you get a boner for metafiction, the genre you really want to explore is the sitcom with a live audience.  But a story about storytelling.  Huh?  Aren't all stories about storytelling?  I dunno.  I'm staring to bore myself to death thinking about it.

Saturday, February 15, 2014



20 Feet From Stardom

This was a wife pick, but I thoroughly enjoyed the film.  The best parts of the movie happen early, but the music was awesome.  Definitely a rock-doc.  Well worth the free guild member entrance.

Bad Grandpa

I certainly laughed.  Every now and again these Borat-Jackass style prank movies are a fun diversion.  Worth the $1.30 redbox.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

A serviceable action film, but missing a good twist.  I was the only person in the theater at 11:20am showing at the Arclight.

The Grey

Re-watch on Netflix.  Holds up.  Damn good movie.


Death of a Salesman

So sad.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


A nice documentary called "The Finish Line," about Steve Nash.

What does he expect will happen?  Even in the best case scenario, Nash gets to 100% for 1.5 more years and the Lakers still won't be going anywhere in the playoffs.  I think for him, just playing is the reward and I for one, would like to see it.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Tuesday, February 04, 2014


Film:  Inside Llewyn Davis

Even sadder on the 2nd watch.  I feel strong, melancholy emotions watching this film.  I'm not sure whether that's a good thing.

I'm reading East of Eden and Steinbeck refers to Weltschmerz as "the world sadness that rises into the soul like a gas and spreads despair so that you probe for the offending event and can find none."

Today, we'd just call it depression.  In any case, I get a strong feeling of Weltschmerz watching Inside Llewyn Davis.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Phillip Seymour Hoffman

My mom asked me whether he was married.  I didn't know.  My mind suddenly thought:  wait, is Phillip Seymour Hoffman gay?  I was of course thinking of Boogie Nights and one of the most awkwardly painful, cringe-worthy, scenes I've ever seen when PSH shows Mark Wahlberg his new car.

"I'm an idiot.  I'm a fucking idiot....I'm a fucking idiot...fucking idiot...fucking idiot..."

So I looked it up.  He had a partner.  3 kids.  So I realized:  the guy was THAT good...that my memory of his performance in a single scene caused me to question his sexual identity in real life.  Michael Douglas, Heath Ledger, Tom Hanks, Al Pacino, all these guys have played gay in movies and never once did it transcend acting.  PSH did it in one frigging scene.

I like to remember movie people by three movies...Hoffman was an actor, not a movie star, not a producer, not a creative force behind his projects.  Here's my memory of him:

Dicky Greenleaf in the Talented Mr. Ripley
Scottie in Boogie Nights
Gust Avrakotos in Charlie Wilson's War

I Don't Think That's A Winnable Battle

Facebook battles to stay young and cool.

Sunday, February 02, 2014


How much wrong could I be?  This Super Bowl came down to execution, not game plan, and the Broncos couldn't execute anything.

Is it safe to say three NFC West teams are better than everyone in the AFC?
I'm In This Camp As Well

Climate change is a problem, but there is very little that can be done about it.

I was recently in Taiwan and Hong Kong and there are too many people and too much pollution.  These places are unruly and unnatural, and yet, what can be done?  Nothing, as far as I can tell.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Something To Consider... the Kaepernick contract negotiations:  only Andy Dalton had worse stats during the playoffs.