Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween From BuboBlog

This morning I was awoken by a boy in a monkey costume.

I was disoriented at first and feared the worst. "You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!"

Fortunately it was just Elliot.

Watching the Game

We don't currently have a television, which means I've had to get creative with ways to view the World Series. Adding a toddler into the mix is an additional complication. Surprising as it may be, a 2-year-old doesn't relish the idea of watching three hours of baseball.

We spent Saturday evening at a pizza place, where Elliot interacted with fellow patrons and made things out of orange Play-Doh.

Sadly, this is still the closest the San Francisco Giants have come to a World Series ring. (Today, at least.)

UPDATE: The Giants now have real rings (no Play-Doh needed).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Breaking News: Moon Appears in Daytime

Elliot (age 2) has become increasingly obsessed with the moon in recent months. Every night before bedtime, he demands to be taken out onto the balcony to see it. (This being San Francisco, the fog often leaves him disappointed.) He used to ask to see the moon during the day too, but we've explained to him that it goes to sleep during the day and wakes up at night. I feel a little bad not providing a more scientific explanation.

This morning we got off on the bus and began walking to daycare when Elliot saw the moon in the sky. He was gobsmacked.

Elliot pointed repeatedly at the sky, saying "Moon...moon...moon!" Some passers-by tried to say hello to him, but he only wanted to tell them about the moon. They laughed and kept going. Elliot seemed pretty sure he was sitting on the story of his life, and no one cared. Fools, don't you realize? THE MOON IS AWAKE IN DAYTIME.

The universe is a mysterious place.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Little Too Real?

To stay dry last weekend, we took Elliot to the Westfield San Francisco Centre's rotunda, one of my favorite spots for rainy-day loitering.

It turns out Sony had taken over the floor to demonstrate the new PlayStation Move, which uses motion-activated controllers and cameras to create an augmented version of reality on screen.

It's pretty cool, but only served to make a 2-year-old and 37-year-old feel equally incompetent. Elliot mainly stared at the wrong screen and occasionally tried to put the controller in his pants.

When I tried to play, I thought the object was to hit a dog with a racket. But then a 10-year-old ambled up and explained that the dog just keeps you company. The idea is to use the controller to squirt water at targets (or something). He took over, and while I still wasn't quite clear on the point of the game, I had to admire his skills.

Suddenly, I felt wetness on my feet. Wow, I thought. This virtual-reality stuff is amazing. It actually feels like I'm being sprayed with water. It turns out the kid got overzealous with the controller and accidentally dumped out his Sunkist soda.

He quickly handed me back the controller and ran off, leaving me to take the blame.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nature Doesn't Smile on Tenderloin Sunday Streets

San Francisco is now in its third year of Sunday Streets — the mayor's project to close roads on certain Sundays in order to promote walking, bicycling and other non-automobile activities. The idea is to make the city more livable and kid-friendly.

It seems like it's been pretty successful so far, though we hadn't personally participated until now. The photo below shows how Sunday Streets works ideally — this is from a previous iteration when they took over the Embarcadero (picture courtesy of the Sunday Streets site).

This week's Sunday Streets was slated for the Tenderloin and Civic Center, and the city was waiting with bated breath to see if the area's drug dealers, crazies and prostitutes were going to take part. Sadly, a rainstorm and 20-mile-an-hour winds pretty much prevented *anyone* from showing up.

Since this is the closest Sunday Streets has come to our neighborhood, we felt like it was our duty to stop by. We were pretty much the only people there, and they ended up closing down at noon.


At least Elliot was able to retreat to his weatherproof chamber and eat a PB&J in comfort.

The good news: The Tribe Origins tent gave us all their free samples of hummus. We have enough for weeks!

The Showdown of the 'No-Crown Towns'

BuboBlog congratulates the San Francisco Giants on winning the National League pennant and advancing to the World Series.

When people talk about droughts in Major League Baseball, they invariably mention the Cubs, which have now gone 102 years since their last World Series crown. Pretty soon there won't be many people left who were alive in 1908, let alone were cognizant enough to follow Chicago area sports.

Still, I have to assert San Francisco's supremacy in the worst-drought category. Our city has never won a World Series, and we've had baseball for 52 years. Chicago's other team, the White Sox, won their last title in 2005. That means Chicago's drought has lasted a mere five years.

As you can see, San Francisco's opponent in this World Series — Dallas-Ft. Worth, i.e., the Texas Rangers — also has never won a title. But they've only waited 38 years.

UPDATE: While I'm pushing "Showdown of the No-Crown Towns" as the nickname for the World Series, another contender appears to be emerging on Twitter: "Queers versus Steers."

I somehow doubt the Fox announcers are going to use that.

SECOND UPDATE: Really, AP? You went with a San Francisco treat pun in the lede of your story?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Graffiti Box Gets Violent

It's been a while since I've checked in with the graffiti box.

Sadly, it appears to have been the scene of some gun violence.

Either that or someone is using very runny paint (folks, remember to keep it inside the lines).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Has Baby-Name Analysis Gone Overboard?

A few months ago, I stumbled across a baby-naming blog called Swistle: Baby Names. It’s quite something. The entries mostly consist of people writing in for baby-naming advice to a woman named Swistle, who dispenses friendly guidance.

Swistle’s suggestions are usually pretty good (hey, she promotes the name "Elliot"). But the best part is the people who write in. They invariably have absurd rules for their baby names, a self-important attitude and a penchant for referring to their husband as “hubs.” (As far as I know, I’m the only man who has ever read the site.)

The first name is just a small part of the equation. Swistle is hit up for plenty of middle-name advice as well, and then people want to make sure the names aren't too popular, "match" the names of the child's siblings and create appropriate initials. For instance, "SAW" won't work because it's too reminiscent of the horror-movie series. (Considering the fact that we accidentally named our son "Elliot" and "E.T.," we clearly didn't pay enough attention to this ourselves.)

The site is a window into the desperate search for meaning that people want for their names. A woman will defend her use of the name “Emma” (currently vying with “Emily” as the most popular name in America) by saying she chose it nine years before she became pregnant after reading Jane Austen (wow, original). Another says she wants to use “Grace” for her child’s middle name because it came to her in a dream. (It also could have come to her because it's seemingly the middle name of every girl born in the United States since 1985.)

But I really shouldn’t pick on people using common names. The alternative is far worse.

Here’s a sampling of letters to Swistle:
We are expecting our 4th child October 25th and are going crazy trying to figure out a name. My other kids are Cameron Jakob (boy), Brayden Nickolas (boy), and Addison Mackenzie (girl). I feel strongly that we should keep the naming pattern of ending in the letter "n" and having 7 letters, paired with a middle name with a "k" in the middle, but we are not agreeing on anything. I like Teaghan or Karigan Viktoria for a girl.
I need help saving our unused boy name from being stolen! My brother and sister in law are due with their first child in the middle of October and want to use our boy name.
We are pretty much decided on the girl name, Jubilee Lynn Skinner. However, the boy name have proven to be quite difficult. Here are some contenders: Orrin, North, Radnor, Goodwin, Tennessee.
My hubby and I have debated the name Rilea (RYE-Leah) Elizabeth as a name for a future daughter. Does this sound like a normal name? We are both teachers, so this is one of the few names not wrecked (or sweetened) by past students. But, being academics, we are hoping to have a name that could also sound educated without being stuffy. [The response from a commenter: "I was surprised to read that both you and your husband are teachers. I would have guessed parents with just high school educations might come up with this name."]
Our 3-year-old is named Allegra Grace, last name Watson. Early on with this pregnancy I felt strongly that this one have a name that was, well, strong, possibly with a reference or connection to the sea, and not overly crazy feminine. I really want a name that isn't popular, but that people can pronounce.
I'm due September 24 with our fifth baby - gender unknown. Our others are Liberty Skye, Eden Rayne, Sterling Blaine, and Ruby Alexandra.
My husband likes:
Maximus Areilius
Mac Austin (to be called Mac Mac) He really wants the initials to be M.A.C but it is not an absolute necessity.

It's not like I can claim superiority over these people. I too have done a TON of online research to help choose our girl's name — a choice that will no doubt disappoint relatives or just leave people thinking, "Enh."

I wonder if the Internet isn't leading people to overthink their choices. In the old days, you didn't really know if you were choosing the most popular name in America (you just knew you liked "Jennifer" or "Jessica" or whatever). Or you just used a family name. Back then, did any of those people (or their children) really regret their choices?

Compare that with now, when you have to name your son "Caspian" because you want it to match your daughter "Marin."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Ski-Mask Way

Diesel's Market Street store raised eyebrows earlier this year for its homoerotic window display (well, it raised tourists' eyebrows at least). Now they have a display that would seem to be inspired by the Palestinian youth protest movement.

It's hard to say whether this is an endorsement, since their current ad campaign is "Be Stupid."

I didn't have time to see if they actually sell the ski mask.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Are New Licenses More 'Gangsta'?

Apparently the new redesigned California licenses, which add features to prevent counterfeiting, are causing computer glitches at DMV offices.

But the real development is that under-21 licenses will now be vertical, to make it easier to tell if someone is underage. That means teens will have to hold them differently.

If we've learned anything from pistol grips, holding things sideways only makes them more badassed.

Do our youths really need this kind of encouragement?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

San Francisco Giants, Actual Giants Both Poorly Represented

A Google image search for "Giants" yields 41 pictures on the first screen.

Thirty-six of them depict the New York Giants.

Two are of the San Francisco Giants.

Two are of actual giants.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Haverford Gets Shout-Out in Keats Film

Last night we watched "Bright Star," a Jane Campion-directed biopic of John Keats that came out last year. I noticed that Haverford (my alma mater) got mentioned in the credits. It turns out the film uses a Keats letter from Haverford's collection.

Nice to get the mention, but I wish Haverford researchers could also have helped with some of the film's many anachronisms and inaccuracies.

For instance:
1. No one in 1818 would use "hello" is a polite greeting. They would say, "Good morning," "Good day," etc. The word "hullo" did exist as an expression of surprise or maybe to get someone's attention, but "hello" didn't come into popular use until the telephone.
2. Keats' lover, Fanny Brawne, wouldn't have been able to capture tropical butterflies in the English countryside — then or now.
3. Fanny appears to use a steel-ribbed umbrella that didn't exist until the 1850s.
4. It's unlikely that Charles Armitage Brown would be able to do a spot-on impression of a gorilla, since they were unknown in Western culture until the 1860s.

With that said, I enjoyed the film — though it was slow in spots. I'm also not sure Campion quite conveyed the excitement of poetry on screen, but that may just be a limitation of the medium.

Brown, who was a close friend of Keats, is presented as a boorish cad. He spends much of the first act of the movie insulting Fanny. That's only weird because the setting of the film puts you into a Jane Austen state of mind. And if this story were one of hers, Fanny would have wound up with Brown, not Keats.

BuboBlog Rating: 3 asterisks (out of 4).

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Infant Social Networking: Is It Wrong?

A study found that 92 percent of American babies have a social-networking presence. I guess this isn't too big a shock (in fact, it makes you wonder who the parents of the other 8 percent are). But it does give one pause.

I blogged during Elliot's birth and posted his first video of him throwing up within seven weeks. (Looking back now, I'm surprised it took me that long.)

But clearly I'm not alone. The other day I was looking at the computer and Elliot crawled into my lap demanding to see "BABIES." (With his sister on the way, he's become increasingly interested in them.)

I told him, "You're in luck, Elliot. There's a website devoted to pictures of babies. It's called Facebook."

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Monday, October 04, 2010

This Park May Be a Little Too Scenic

As loyal readers know, I've extolled the Walk Score website for years. It lets you plug in any address and provides a walkability rating — a great source of bragging rights for those of us in densely populated areas.

Our neighborhood scores a 95, making it a "Walker's Paradise." Sadly, I'm now beginning to wonder about the accuracy.

According to Walk Score, our nearest park is the "Market Street theater" and it points to the location of a well-known burlesque.

The neighborhood's actual park — located just a block away from our address — isn't recognized at all.

Was this an editorial judgment? I'm afraid to alert them to the mistake, in case it lowers our score.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Mini Golf With a Mini Person

You know what would be fun? If they made mini golf more challenging by having a toddler run onto the course every hole, pick up your ball and try to helpfully put it in the hole.

No wait, I've tried that and it's a TERRIBLE idea.

Apparently Tiger Woods was already playing golf at age 2. Elliot has made it clear that he will never be Tiger Woods.