Archive for October, 2006

David Sedaris comes up short

October 30, 2006

David Sedaris

Genre:  Comedy / Spoken Word
Venue:  War-Memorial Opera House / San Francisco CA

Highlights

  • In great company, seated right next to the Intern (JC)
  • Amazing building—the SF Opera House
  • 15 minutes of David Sedaris speaking off-the-cuff
  • Sedaris’s familiar and soothing voice

Things to remember

  • To avoid being seated in the 2nd-to-last row upper balcony corner, purchase tickets sooner
  • Don’t eat so much candy throughout the day and during the show
  • Remind yourself you can always listen to Sedaris audio books, which is basically the same as seeing him performing live

Performance notes

I like David Sedaris because of his unique wit. And whether I’m reading one of his books or listening to him read to me on a rebroadcast of This American Life, I find I usually connect with him and his stories—I get it. Experiencing him perform live at the SF Opera House was a let down. At least 80% of the time he read scripted material. He also spent 20% of his time reading someone else’s material. He spent very little time talking about his family, with the exception of Amy. And even then there was no charisma. He was onstage for no more than 70 minutes—which would be OK for a comedy club, but not a sold-out opera house. In addition, you’d expect he’d try to connect with the audience. He didn’t. Most importantly, this time—I didn’t get it.

I’m starting to realize I’m not that big of a fan. My favorite work of his was the first book I read—Me Talk Pretty Someday. I read his earlier books but didn’t enjoy them as much. Now seeing him live and being disappointed, I can’t see myself investing any more energy in him. If I were to send him an email, it would simply read—David, I’m not one of your fans. At least not anymore. No hard feelings.

Comparing this show with 2.5 hours of non-stop Kathy Griffin gossip, or 3 full hours of Henry Rollins rants, Sedaris comes up short.

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Don’t be such a BULLY

October 29, 2006

Bully, by Rockstar Games

Rockstar Games changed the gaming world when they delivered Grand Theft Auto. Intended for adult audiences, the key is to be a badass thug criminal. Parents and family organizations went ape shit insisting the game sent out the wrong message to teens that were determined to get their hands on it. The debate seemed to go on forever and the spotlight followed Rockstar Games long enough for them develop and release an entire series based on the game. Not only did they win some of the gaming industry’s top awards, they made BANK.

Today Rockstar Games is at it again, this time with a schoolyard storyboard—Bully. Several countries are trying to ban the sale of this new game, which directly targets easily-impressionable tweens and teens. Critics claim it’s too violent. I’ve seen the trailer and dozens of screenshots. In my opinion it barely deserves a PG-13 rating. The cyber-private school Bullworth Academy is like Beverly Hills 90210 but with plaid uniforms and different theme music. I don’t think Bully glorifies teen violence, nor do I think it teaches kids how to be bullies. In fact, I think it may help kids recognize bully behavior and make it less acceptable. Perhaps it can help promote anti-violence and set a higher standard for the new generation of teenagers. And what if playing the game as the Bully character teaches some sissies out there how to handle the real life situation. There may be some built-in lessons in how to stand up for yourself.

I’m not much of a gamer, and I haven’t actually played the game—or ANY game in the last 15 years. But I did grow up watching John Hughes films. I wonder if it can somehow be compared to The Breakfast Club. TBC’s ensemble cast represented all types of high school wannabe—Jock, Princess, Nerd, New Waver and Head Banger. On some level I was able to relate to each of their characters. If the characters in Bully are similar to the cast of TBC, then perhaps playing Bully might help some teens understand their peers better. If this is in fact the case, then I applaud Rockstar Games for putting some thought into its development. And most important—Hell-o!—maybe the MOST important thing to consider—I hope it’s actually a fun game to play.

Is ‘Bully’ fun to play? Like, for real
From MSNBC.com

OK, after a little more digging, I’m not surprised why some parents are up in arms over Bully. What a twist! Check out what I found on youtube. What kind of a message does this deliver? I think it’s brilliant. And hilarious!

Hold up…
Since we’re already discussing Rockstars and boy-on-boy kissing, check out Mr. Rockstar himself, Tommy Lee and Lukas Rossi, winner of Rockstar Supernova. Click image for a closer look. Was that one of Lukas’s prizes for winning? Or is that how he won the competition? Let me holler at Dave Navarro or Brooke Burke. I’ll let you know what I find out.

Tommy Lee and Lucas Rossi—winner of Rockstar Supernova

StL Cards win World Series

October 27, 2006

A sea of red celebrates as the Cardinals win the World Series

Lucky-Charm-Michelle helps the St. Louis Cardinals win another World Series. They beat the Tigers in just 5 games. Tonight’s final game (Game 5) was one helluva sloppy game. Super-sloppy. 

Congrats, Michelle! Now that the series is over, meet us at the Library!

Howard St. CLOSED… For what?

October 26, 2006

Oracle OpenWorld 2006

I knew Howard & 3rd would be closed from 10/18-27. The lite-brite sign started announcing this more than a month ago. Closed for what? I assumed road construction. Wrong. 

I don’t know why I didn’t put 2 + 2 together. Oracle has been front page of everything in the City for the past two weeks. They closed Howard from 3rd-4th Streets to make room for acres of air-conditioned tents and dozens of 3-story multi-media Jumbotron billboards. Apparently the Moscone Convention Center (and all of its annexes) was just not big enough for Oracle’s Open World Conference.  An estimated 42,000 people attended the conference, plus a couple thousand more to staff the 5-day event. Apparently finding a hotel room during the week was no easy chore—many last-minute attendees were forced to share rooms with colleagues, some with complete strangers. Of the City’s 50,000 total hotel rooms, at least 15,000 were occupied by tech professionals attending Open World. The event was expected to pump $60 million into the local San Francisco economy. That’s $12 million per day.

Did I attend the conference? No, but my friend Jane did. She said every day it was crazy getting in, crazy getting around, and crazy trying to leave. She said the women were definitely outnumbered. Every breakout session was standing room only… “Just a bunch of boys standing in the back of the room shoulder-to-shoulder wearing dorky glasses and and doing work punching keys into their Blackberries. They weren’t even listening to the session sepakers!”  

Jane let me tag along with her to the Wrap-Up closing party on the final day. I was joking around about wearing a big red hat, but no one got my joke. (I bet you didn’t get it, either.) My ticket in to the party was a left over conference ID badge. We were greeted at the entrance by a 6’5″ woman with a super-deep voice. “Welcome, Jane. Welcome, La Vonda.” I politely said “Thank you” and ran as fast as I could to the nearest bar. The closing party was nothing special. I was hoping to catch some of the vendor exhibits, but they all packed up earlier that morning. However, I did get to see the Oracle BMW racing vessel up close—it’s pretty sweet. 

Earlier in the week Oracle had a few tricks up their sleeves. They tried going from geek to chic by rolling out the red carpet and throwing an A-list after-party with special performances by Elton John, Joan Jett, Devo and Berlin. This party was held at the Cow Palace. I heard very few people showed up for the concert. Where was everyone? Rumor has it conference-goers were all back in their hotel rooms on their laptops searching craigslist for other entertainment. By searching the term “oracle” in the San Francisco region, there were pages of ads like these — A | B | C 

These Trix are definitely NOT for kids.

Anyway, here’s a clip of Joan Jett performing at the Cow Palace.

Noreen O’Reilly (1939-2006)

October 25, 2006

Noreen O’Reilly (1939-2006)

One definition of a Teacher:
In education, teachers are those who help students or pupils learn, often in a school. The objective is typically a course of study, lesson plan, or a practical skill, including learning and thinking skills. The different ways to teach are often referred to as the teacher’s pedagogy. When deciding what teaching method to use, a teacher will need to consider students’ background knowledge, environment, and their learning goals as well as standardized curriculum as determined by their school district.

About Mrs. O’Reilly:
As my 7th and 8th grade English teacher, Mrs. O’Reilly challenged our class every Friday with written vocabulary tests. She also taught us the essentials of writing and composition—

  – You need a strong BEGINNING that clearly states one main idea.
  – The MIDDLE should contain 2-3 supporting paragraphs.
  – At the END, restate your main idea and tie everything together.

It’s because of her—now I can write really good. (LOL)

Mrs. O’Reilly was so much more that just a teacher. She was a friend. She took a personal interest in all of her students, held them to higher standards, and helped them to believe in themselves. She helped shape so many of us into confident young adults.

Religion was very important to Mrs. O’Reilly. She was a devout Catholic and talked about religion with so much passion and conviction. At one point she had me believing I was Irish-Catholic, too.  She cherished prayers. I remember how she used to close her eyes when saying prayers at Mass, but you could see her looking out of the corner of one eye to make sure we weren’t goofing off. She’s right, prayers have special power. So today, Mrs. O’Reilly, I pray for your eternal soul and spirit. I also pray for your family as they mourn your death and celebrate your wonderful life.  And I will continue to say prayers of thanks for the impact you made in my life and in the lives of so many others. You will never be forgotten.

Noreen O’Reilly battled cancer over the past several months, and passed away on Friday, October 20, 2006.

Memorial service – Wed 10/25 @ 7pm
Funeral – Thur 10/26 @ 11am
Both will take place at St. Anne’s Church (SF)
SFGate.com obituary (Read the guestbook, it’s awesome)

5-year old kid crashes supermodel party

October 24, 2006



Kindergarten Kyle spent Saturday afternoon partying with the girls from America’s Next Top Model. This half-pint tricked them into believing he was Angelina Jolie’s son, and that Brad Pitt would be picking him up when the pumpkin carving party was over. Out of all the tall pretty girls, Kyle said Cat and Danielle are his favorites. He plans on inviting them to his 6th brithday party next year.

Foosball—Insecure no more

October 21, 2006

Foosball

Back at 160, I didn’t play foosball with the rest of them. I was insecure. And the one time I did play, the self-proclaimed A-listers said I played like a spaz. Ouch. Yeah, my feelings were hurt, but I didn’t cry or anything.

Now at 333, I’m one of the new guys. And when Nancy dropped out of the recent charity foosball tourney at the last minute, a small group was huddled around the commissioner’s desk scrambling to find another beginner to replace her. I just happened to be walking by and overheard them. And out of nowhere I found myself saying, “I’ll play.” Although insecure when it comes to foosball, I’ll still do anything to see someone writing my name on a whiteboard.

They paired me up with Jumper, top-ranked tourney hustler. His table skills are awesome and he plays smart. No drama. Doesn’t mouth off. Just plays his own zen-like foos. Knowing I’m new to the game, he spent five quick minutes going over the basics, including keep my feet up when I’m playing attack so I don’t block his shots from the backfield. No problem.

The tournament was successful. We raised money for some local school or kids’ group. And I raised my game. Jumper and I finished undefeated and won the tournament. Everyone that played in the tournament was super-nice and supportive. I made some new friends, which is always nice. Most important, I learned that I CAN play foosball. I know, I need to keep practicing. Give me some time.

Soon… Spaz show you how.

Spiralling

October 17, 2006

Spiralling images

If you like spirals, you’ll love this. Check it out 

Honey, bring your fake ID

October 15, 2006

SF Mayor Gavin Newsome [Photos from SFGate.com]

Recently I learned three things about SF mayor Gavin Newsom:

  1. We both graduated from the same high school—St. Ignatius in San Francisco’s Sunset district.
     
  2. The new girl he’s dating is not old enough to drink yet. If he wants the media to leave her alone, he should help her get a fake ID. However, it’s my opinion if you’re old enough to date the mayor, you’re old enough to drink.
     
  3. See above Gap(RED) campaign—this is what Newsom looks like with glasses and when his hair isn’t slicked back like Pat Riley. He kinda looks like a younger skinnier better looking version Kurt Rambis. Interesting…
     

Like mother, like daughter

October 14, 2006

Britt—Volleyball 

Did you know…?
When my sister Gladys was 13 years old, she won the Principal’s Award for top 8th grade female athlete. She had a volleyball serve that was near impossible to return.

It must run in the family—like mother, like daughter. Sometimes watching my niece Brittany playing sports is like watching a mini-version of her mom. Britt already has a collection of at least 20 trophies, medals and ribbons. Only 9-years old and just starting 4th grade, I can’t wait to see how many awards she racks up by the time she graduates from high school (hopefully SI). She and her teammates play well together in all three sports—volleyball, soccer and basketball—and they’re fortunate to have coaches that stress the importance of teamwork and sportsmanship. Keep it up, SC Irish!

This season, CYO girls teams are playing volleyball. Britt’s 4th grade team is currently undefeated (6-0) with two games left in the regular season.

By the way, look closely at the middle picture above. I just now noticed after uploading the images, both of Britt’s feet are off the ground.

Space tourism made possible by Virgin Galactic

October 13, 2006

Virgin Galactic space space travel

Notes borrowed from Yahoo! News

Virgin Galactic, part of British billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, has sold some 200 tickets to passengers for suborbital flights, starting in 2008.

It has collected $15.6 million in deposits for the flights, a ticket for which costs $200,000. Virgin Group is building five spaceships and two airplanes by 2010 for the venture.

Travelers will take seats in a spaceship that will be attached to a separate airplane. Following takeoff, the spaceship detaches itself from the plane at an altitude of about 49,000 feet. It then enters suborbital space for about 15 minutes — including five minutes of weightlessness. After its journey into space — at 87 miles above Earth, it returns to the ground. The total flight-time is about 2 hours and 15 minutes, and the voyages will initially launch from the Mojave Desert in Southern California before relocating to a permanent base in New Mexico in 2010.

Google buys YouTube

October 9, 2006

In January of 2005, Chad and Steve, two friends in their mid-twenties, sat in a garage and scribbled notes on a whiteboard. Not even two years later, these notes evolved into YouTube, a startup website featuring shared personal videos that are now viewed by several millions of people all over the world. How much is this company worth today? Guess again…

Earlier today, Google announced it’s purchase of YouTube for $1,650,000,000. Yes, you read that correctly—1.65 billion dollars. Not cash, but Google stock. Google intends to leave the social video network website in-tact while allowing them to leverage Google’s technology to grow even bigger.

YouTube—a social network phenomenon | Google’s $1.65 billion purchase

Here’s a message from YouTube founders Chad and Steve

Al Pacino & Wells Fargo

October 8, 2006

Do you think Al Pacino ever checks his own bank account balances? Sometimes he has to—like the time he wanted to buy an astronaut bed, but he didn’t have enough money in his checking account to cover the purchase.  Pacino calls Wells Fargo to ask WTF? This SNL skit aired a couple weeks ago. Bill Hader does a good Pacino, and Kristen Wiig is a believable Wells Fargo customer service rep on the other end of the line. This video is hilarious!

Mark, who’s handling your PR?

October 8, 2006

Ann Coulter (freak) tours with Mark on the Foley Damage Control Tour 

Mark Foley announced he’ll be doing the news circuit with everyone’s favorite girl—Ann Coulter. On the first leg of Foley’s Damage Control Tour, they met with Bill O’Reilly. What’s the stratgey behind hiring Ann Coulter to do his PR? After America has another look at this fire-breathing dragon, maybe they’ll forget all about his m4m indiscretion. It’s a proven fact… anyone standing next to that freak Ann Coulter is guaranteed to look better.

Who Knew Congressman Foley Was a Closeted-Democrat?
by Ann Coulter

Response to “Who Knew Congressman Foley Was a Closeted-Democrat?” by CounterCoulter.org

Matt Lauer is over her, and Henry Rollins writes Ann a letter