Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year From BuboBlog Enterprises LLC & Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of BuboBlogCorp

This is my last entry for 2008 — my most productive year ever as a blogger (326 entries!).

Today I heard that as of this month they're no longer selling Zima. How sad. I feel like Zima was a big part of my early adulthood — the one beverage you could count on being ridiculed for bringing to a party.

We're heading out shortly to a party and I tried to find Zima for a New Year's Eve swan song, but sadly, San Francisco liquor stores appear to have already stopped stocking it.

Goodnight sweet prince, Zima.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cities Visited: 2008 Edition

The last couple of years I've done a year-end list of all the cities I've visited — part of a rivalry with fellow blogger Anh-Minh, who does the same thing. The rules: You have to sleep over in a city and you can only count it once, no matter how many times you visited it or how long you stayed there. And you don't include your home city (San Francisco, in my case).

Since it seems unlikely I'm going to visit any new places in the remaining two days of 2008 (though who knows where I'll wake up on New Year's Day), here's my tally:

1. Las Vegas (twice)
2. Santa Cruz, Calif. (many times)
3. Lake Tahoe, Calif.
4. Sydney
5. Wellington, New Zealand
6. New York
7. Marietta, Ga. (twice)
8. Los Angeles
9. Alexandria, Va.
10. Camping (near Castro Valley, Calif.)
11. Lake Mead, Nev. (on a houseboat)
12. Portola Valley, Calif.

So that's one fewer than last year, and the same number as in 2006.

My traveling dropped off sharply after Sept. 4. Not exactly sure why.

UPDATE: Well, it looks like Anh-Minh beat me again this year — with one more city than I had. Maybe I need to find another blogger to challenge, someone with acute agoraphobia.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Burrito-Eating Dog

Gosh, knowing how easy it is to mistake a baby for a burrito, I won't be letting this dog near Elliot!

I wonder how Bronte feels about Mexican food.

'A Perfect Gentleman'

In his quest to become dignified, Elliot learns to use a napkin.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

'Button' Your Lip

I liked "Benjamin Button" okay — but definitely not enough to shoot someone for interrupting the movie!

Yet that's what happened at a theater in South Philadelphia.

From CNN:
A man angry that a family was talking during a movie threw popcorn at the son and then shot the father in the arm, according to police in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

James Joseph Cialella (pictured), 29, was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and weapons violations, a police report said.

The victim was taken to Jefferson Hospital with a gunshot wound to his left arm, police said.

Cialella was carrying a Kel-Tec .380-caliber handgun clipped inside his sweatpants, police said. He was arrested and taken into custody.

First of all, have the travails of Plaxico Burress taught us nothing?! Don't carry a gun in your sweatpants, dude!

As for being angry about talking in a theater, I'm a bit confused. I thought talking during movies was a grand tradition in Philadelphia — along with using cell phones, texting and listening to boom boxes.

I once went to a Philadelphia showing of "Mission Impossible" where a gentleman brought in a television and began watching that during the movie. And I mean a fairly large TV set (this was the 1990s, kids, so we didn't have V-Cast).

Apparently Cialella went back to his seat after the shooting and continued watching the movie. I will say, that is pretty bad-assed.

Litterbugs Threatened on a Biblical Scale

Funny that I've never noticed this before: On Highway 17, at the summit of the Santa Cruz Mountains, there's an odd little rest stop. It has a spigot for "emergency water" and a porta-potty, along with some totem poles and two very menacing signs.

This one threatens people who misuse the toilet, saying, "Your sins will be visited on you or your family."

The second one is even more alarming: "God says, anyone who litters this place risks the fires of hell. In this life they will be blind in one eye, and paralyzed in one arm, as will their descendants unto the seventh generation."

Was this approved by Caltrans??

In all fairness, the area did look pretty clean!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

BuboBlog Reviews 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'

We got to see another movie in the theater today, thanks to Elliot's grandmother agreeing to watch him. Our selection: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."

I had misgivings about this movie from the start, since I would have preferred a film version of a different aging-backward story — "The Confessions of Max Tivoli." (It's one of my favorite books and a fully fleshed-out tale, perfect for a movie.)

Instead, the filmmakers opted to use F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story, which is a brief comic fable. And the movie didn't actually take a single thing from the story other than the title (and with that, the name of the main character).

Fitzgerald's story is set in Baltimore, starting in 1860. The movie is in New Orleans, beginning in 1918.

In the story, Benjamin Button was born as a full-sized old man (Fitzgerald doesn't even attempt to explain how this would be possible). The "baby" had a beard, talked in full sentences and enjoyed smoking cigars. In the movie, he's born as a very shriveled, decrepit infant (something much closer to the way it was done in "Max Tivoli").

In the story, Button is raised by his father, a dry-goods magnate. In the movie, his father (who runs a button company) abandons him and he's raised by the black caretakers of an old-age home.

I don't know, but something about seeing a white-haired guy being raised by black parents was a little too similar to another movie — "The Jerk."

And even the one thing they kept from the short story (the title) gives a misleading impression. The "curious case" part implies a clinical view of the story's events, either from a scientific, medical or legal standpoint. That's not borne out by the movie.

The movie also is told in flashback during Hurricane Katrina. I have to say, the Katrina thing was a pretty useless gimmick. Not much payoff at all, unless the idea was to suggest that everything dies, even cities. But to buy into that, you'd have to have the assumption that New Orleans died in 2005. Maybe it did, in one sense, but I doubt most people see it that way.

With that said, I mostly enjoyed the film. It was very touching in parts, especially near the end, when Button (mainly played by Brad Pitt, pictured) descends into childhood and loses his wits. The movie was probably a bit too long and portions felt like they were only included to give Button's life the required sweep. (There's even a montage in which the two lovers paint their apartment. I was waiting for one in which they try on many hats, but this must have been edited out.)

Many characters are introduced ceremoniously, appear briefly and then disappear. It had the feel of a novel adapted for the screen — as if the filmmakers were giving a quick taste of characters that they know readers would want to see mentioned. But since there was no novel, and none of these characters was in the short story, the approach seems an odd creative choice. The film felt a lot like "Forrest Gump" in this respect. And in fact, it had a "Gump"-like visual element. (Instead of a feather, they use a hummingbird.)

If you're willing to overlook all this — and put up with a nearly three-hour movie — it's pretty enjoyable and moving. Still, it leaves you wondering how great a "Max Tivoli" adaptation would have been.

Rating: *** asterisks (out of four)

Elliot Gets Called Fat for the First Time

Today we went to our usual haunt for lunch and were served by a new waitress.

She looked at Elliot and exclaimed, "That's a big baby! How much does he weigh?"
"About 15 or 16 pounds," Kelly said.
"He's very stocky," the waitress responded.

I think we all know what that means!

This picture was taken shortly before I upended the table in rage and stormed out.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Hope You Had a Very Bear-y Christmas

Elliot gets a new outfit.

Just so you know, it's not cool to wake someone up by placing a baby in the bed — though it is highly effective.

Elliot regales Nick with some of his adventures from the Crimean War.

"I'll keep him!" Kelly says.

Elliot practices his 1,000-yard stare.

Come let us adore him.

'Elliot's First Christmas'

Not since the finale of "Stepmom" has a Christmas scene elicited so many tears.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Always One Step Ahead

I'm a regular reader of the BoingBoing blog (and even cited one of their posts earlier this month).

I like the blog because it seems cutting-edge and offers a glimpse of what the young people of America are interested in.

So I was surprised to see two BoingBoing posts yesterday that were shameless retreads of topics that BuboBlog addressed some time ago!

One was the news clipping about the burrito that resembled a discarded baby. I wrote about that back in October.

The second one was about the store in the Fillmore that sells "Everything or Less." Remember when I posted my own photo of this — back in May?

What's next, BoingBoing? An exclusive story on chumans and the unattractiveness of Sarah Jessica Parker?!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sounds Dirty?

Whoever designed this outfit has a perverse sense of humor. It seems a clear reference to the line in Prince's "1999": "I got a lion in my pocket, and baby he's ready to roar."

I'm not sure what that line means exactly, but I'm pretty sure it's not appropriate for a baby!

Elliot looks like he knows something, but he's not telling.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Thanks a Lot, Abby...Jerk

This has to be one of the worst "Dear Abby" responses ever.

A woman writes in to share a touching, if off-beat story — AND ABBY TOTALLY CRUSHES IT!

DEAR ABBY: I have a "pennies from heaven" story you might appreciate. My best friend, "Darrel," was a smoker who collected quarters. His apartment had two distinguishing features — stacks of quarters and the smell of secondhand smoke. Because we were both busy people, we had seen each other only twice in about a year, but maintained a phone and e-mail friendship.

I had planned a trip out west to spend time with family and had e-mailed him about it. Unbeknownst to me, Darrel had been very ill, and he died the day I sent the e-mail. I learned about it while I was in transit to my destination. There was nothing I could do. I had no way to get to his funeral and no way to say goodbye.

When we reached our hotel — part of a smoke-free chain — my husband and I opened the door to our room and were greeted by a familiar odor. It smelled just like Darrel's apartment! And when I walked to the dresser to unpack, two quarters were sitting on top. It was then that my husband and I agreed that Darrel had stopped to say goodbye on his way to heaven. —QUARTERS FROM HEAVEN

DEAR QUARTERS: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your friend. [Abby's cold, boilerplate preamble in these cases.] I'm glad you received some comfort in your time of need. However, it's entirely possible that the guest who occupied the room before you broke the rules and puffed away in a room that was supposed to be nonsmoking. I hope you notified the front desk so you could be switched to other accommodations, and the room could be thoroughly cleaned and deodorized to prevent someone with a sensitivity to smoke from walking in and experiencing a severe allergic reaction.

Uh, thanks?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Was His Statement Coerced?

It feels a little wrong to put such a self-serving message on an unsuspecting infant.

Shortly after the photo was taken, Elliot spit up all over the bib. I hope that isn't a sign of his true feelings!

UPDATE: I now have a tag for "Baby Fashion," so you can see all my posts about baby clothes. Everybody loves baby fashion!

All Kinds of Awesome

I spotted this today while doing some Christmas shopping. I pointed it out to Kelly, who didn't seem to run with the idea of giving it to me for Christmas. Apparently we disagree on how classy it is (with me on the side of "very much so").

Friday, December 19, 2008

Cali Is Where He Lays His Mack Down

It's always been my dream to have a Native Californian in the family.

Now we do — and there's proof!

I was excited to see the part where they list him as "SINGLE." I figured they knew what a player he was and wanted to make that clear. But then I realized that they meant he wasn't a twin. Oh well...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Flipping Out

Sorry for the Elliot YouTube overload lately, but here's another one.

Elliot rolled himself over for the first time today, and Kelly managed to capture it on film. Now, be warned: She created this movie, so it doesn't have my usual production values. I would have included slick effects and transitions, and set the whole thing to the soulful rhythms of Steve Winwood's "Roll With It Baby."

Straighten Up and Fly Right

Emirates Airlines, the company that decorated the Montgomery subway station with palm trees, is apparently causing a stir. (I mistakenly referred to them as Air Dubai in the original post, since corrected.)

Now that the airline has direct flights between San Francisco and Dubai, some people are noting that it has harsh policies.

From today's Chronicle:
Take Emirates' flight attendants, for instance. A recent Wall Street Journal piece on the airline says that "tough rules are enforced, including some that would be deemed discriminatory in the West, such as weight requirements and a no-pregnancy policy for unwed women. Further, the paper says: "Openly gay male attendants need not apply."

No gay male flight attendants — are there any other kind? (What, I kid.)

Kind of bad timing for the story, because the airline took out a massive ad in the Chronicle today — the whole outer wrapper of the paper is one big Emirates Airlines promotion.

I'm looking at the ad now and it says there are personal in-seat mini-bars. So I guess they're willing to overlook Islam's ban on alcohol.

Another inconsistency: redecorating the subway station did seem a little gay.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Seeing Double: Part Two

Remember when I blogged about how Hollywood studios always seem to release two movies on the same topic at the same time (two Truman Capote movies, two asteroid movies, two volcano movies, etc.)?

Well, it's happening again: two movies about mall-security cops (?!).

There's "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," with Kevin James (due Jan. 16), and "Observe and Report," with Seth Rogen (coming out April 10). The film with Rogen (pictured above) is NOT a Judd Apatow film, by the way, so the quality is anyone's guess.

Interesting that Patton Oswalt plays a role in the "Observe and Report" film (as a Cinnabon vendor), and not the movie with Kevin James (pictured below) — despite being a regular on James' "King of Queens" sitcom.

By the way, the second Harvey Milk film, which prompted me to write the original post, is now dead. So I guess we won't get two Harvey Milk movies after all.

'Elliot Moves Out'

As of this week, Elliot no longer sleeps in our room — he's living full-time in the nursery. I documented the occasion with this YouTube video. Note: It's a little longer than my other films, so it might just be for diehard Elliot fans.

UPDATE: YouTube disabled the audio on this film. Something about "music copyright violations."

I've uploaded it to Flickr instead. Unfortunately, it only shows the first 90 seconds — I think because there's a storage limit. (Actually, the forced editing may be an improvement.)

SECOND UPDATE: Okay, I am posting the full video directly to the blog. Finally, Elliot's true story will be known!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Going Downhill

Tonight we took Elliot to a Christmas party in Portrero Hill. Let me just say, holding a baby at a party is quite the conversation starter. On the downside, it makes it much harder to load up on drinks and appetizers.

On the way home, we pushed the baby carriage down 18th Street, which isn't the steepest street in San Francisco (as we know from this post), but it's definitely one of the steepest. It was pretty scary — Kelly was very concerned I was going to lose control of the stroller.

I managed to capture the scene on film, so you can see what happened.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Elliot Theatre Presents...

A very amateur production of "Streetcar Named Desire."

UPDATE: Kelly has declined to post this video on her Facebook page, due to it being "weird."

That means it's a BuboBlog EXCLUSIVE!

Graffiti Mystery Solved!

Remember when I first began writing about the graffiti box? (I updated the story here, here and here.) I said at the time that it seemed "pretty obvious that the graffiti predates the box."

Well, what an ass I am. Because the box predates the graffiti. You can read about it on this site.

Now if only someone would tell me who Chong is, and whether or not he did indeed f*** himself.

The Real Jesus Would Not Do This, Right?

Not to make light of this tragic incident, but do you think life is confusing if you're a friend of Jesus Calderon-Franco?

Because if you're grappling with a problem and you say, "What would Jesus do?" Someone might respond, "Well, in this situation, Jesus would clearly stomp a kitten to death."

From the Mercury News:
A 33-year-old man agreed in San Mateo County Superior Court on Wednesday to spend up to 16 months in prison for stomping to death a young girl's kitten in late November, a deputy district attorney said today.

Jesus Calderon-Franco initially denied killing the kitten but pleaded no contest Wednesday to charges of felony animal abuse and accepted a plea deal of up to 16 months in prison, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

The kitten, named "Pucci," belonged to the 4-year-old daughter of Calderon-Franco's roommate. Calderon-Franco reportedly killed the cat because he was angry the girl had drawn on the bathroom door.

See, this is why people shouldn't name their kids Jesus!

Friday, December 12, 2008

How's the Weather up There?

Tonight I walked by the new One Rincon Hill weather beacon for the first time. It's pretty cool: The light at the top of the tower tells you visually what's happening with the weather.

Red means it's getting warmer. Blue means it's getting colder. Green means it's going to rain. And yellow means the weather is going to stay the same.

It's been noted that in San Francisco, the beacon might be hidden in fog much of the time.

Full disclosure: The picture above was not taken by me — I found it online. The picture I took (with my cell phone) wasn't quite as impressive. And the beacon was blue. Brrr.

Another Middle-Eastern Tourism Campaign

In contrast with the Dubai faux palm-tree stunt (which I discussed Tuesday), there's this billboard on Harrison Street promoting Israel.

Hmm...not quite as impressive, though I guess it does have a low-budge charm. The photo looks like it was taken from a 1980s Berlitz textbook.

I'm not sure the slogan, "Different from the Israel in the news," quite works. First of all, it reads like it was written by an ESL student. Second, it's probably a bad idea to be defensive like that. It just makes people wonder what all this news is that they should be worried about.

As a tourist, my main concern is usually, "Will I get blown up?" And I guess this ad helps reassure me a bit. But is the picture of the women supposed to make us think of "Sex and the City"? Because that might be even more horrifying.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Worst Movie Review Ever?

This is old, but I just saw it mentioned in Roger Ebert's Q&A column: Apparently this review of "Role Models," which ran on the Web site of FHM magazine, is being called the worst movie review ever.

Here's an excerpt from the review, which doesn't carry a byline:
Role Models feels like a dysfunctional family film. It’s got a lot of that warmness, but there is also cursing and boobies. It’s got a good moral in the end, that you would want to share with your kid, but might feel uncomfortable with the nudity, or not. It’s a little bit like a dirtier Meet the Parents.

A+ to the Casting Department for Role Models. Paul Rudd plays a sarcastic, asshole, a role he has played to much acclaim in Knocked Up. Seann William Scott plays a character that reminds us of a Stifler in his 20s. This may sound like a bad thing, they play their characters well, and work well together as a comedic duo. Besides, we always wondered what happened to Stifler.

Couple things: Didn't we find out what happened to Stifler in his 20s? I mean, he appeared in two sequels to "American Pie." I'm pretty sure by "American Wedding," he was in his 20s. And in fact, Sean William Scott is currently 32, so his 20s have come and gone.

This sentence is also quite something: "This may sound like a bad thing, they play their characters well, and work well together as a comedic duo." It is both ungrammatical and nonsensical.

But the bottom line is: This was the worst movie review ever — until my review of "Role Models" appeared! I'm pretty sure I bumped it off.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ignore the Title

Speaking of travel, I came across this Q&A with author Peter Greenberg today in the Examiner.

He wrote a book called, “DON'T GO THERE! The Travel Detective’s Essential Guide to the Must-Miss Places of the World.”

In the interview, Greenberg says:
It’s high time people got credible information in which they can make smart travel decisions....there are certain places in Paraguay and Moscow right now where it’s like the Wild West. The book doesn't try to discourage you to go, it’s just that if you’re going there this is what you need to know so you don’t get literally or figuratively beaten up.

Sure, the book doesn't try to discourage you from going anywhere. Oh wait, except the name of the book is, "DON'T GO THERE!" (With an exclamation point.)

But other than that, no discouragement.

A Taste of Dubai in San Francisco

Weird, the Montgomery subway station has been transformed by the Emirates airline into a palm-tree forest. Okay, I'm not sure you can have a palm-tree forest, but they have taken all the pillars in the station and turned them into faux palm trees that promote Dubai.

Kinda cool. But I wonder about doing this kind of promotion in a city that already has a large population of palm trees. I mean, it's not like they make me think of some tropical locale. More like, they remind me of the guy I saw defecating near a palm tree on the Embarcadero.

I came across a blog that complimented the marketing campaign:
I for one like this rough-and-tumble invitation to think of Dubai as the Phoenix of the Islamic world.

Hold on, is the assumption here that someone would actually want to go to Phoenix?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A Onesie with a Shocking Twist Ending!

You'll recall my fondness for baby clothes that state the obvious, such as Elliot's outfit that says, "Baby."

Well, I thought that's what we had here. See, it says, "Kid."

But if you turn it around, there's a twisteroo: They mean kid as in baby GOAT!

Ha, gotcha.

[That doesn't explain why there's a gratuitous apostrophe next to "kid," but we'll just ignore that. -Ed.]

Tree Hunting

It's Baby Elliot's first Christmas, a mere 2,008 years after Baby Jesus' first Christmas.

On Sunday, we set out to find a tree. As Elliot knows, it's important to dress appropriately. Check out his sweater!

It took some time to pick the right tree. Elliot made it harder by wearing his cap as if he were in a Latino prison gang — he could barely see!

When we got home, it was time for a nap. Elliot isn't quite living up to his T-shirt's slogan here.

Mom strings the lights...

...and we're good to go.

"What is that thing?"

Dad's turn to hold Elliot.

Happy Holidays from all of us at BuboBlog Enterprises LLC.

Planet of the Apes: Chuman Inspired?

Apparently Hollywood is working on a new "Planet of the Apes" prequel. It won't have anything to do with the last film, directed by Tim Burton, which everyone seems to have decided was terrible (I kinda liked it).

Anyway, this is exciting: The new film will focus on the development of intelligent apes.

From the Slash Film blog:
The film won’t have talking monkeys and will not end with chimps taking over Earth. Instead the film will be a hard science fiction film about humans that use science to create hyper-intelligent chimpanzees.

That's right, that means it's chuman time! Finally an intelligent look at our society's imperative to use science to create chumans (we won't dwell on the part where they rise up and kill their masters).

Monday, December 08, 2008

Sign of the Times: Part Two

I noticed this in the window of a Shoe Pavilion, which is liquidating its assets.

Not much of a range there, but I guess they were hesitant to offer 90%-100% off. Maybe next week.