Back when I was a kid, Blogs were called 'imaginary friends' and were only slightly more pathetic.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Still Running Around Like A Jackass

It has occured to me over the last couple of weeks that the phrase that self-help types and Career counselors use, "Do what you love and the money will follow" doesn't apply to people who really enjoy sitting around doing nothing.


Sunday, August 28, 2005

More Bar Reviewin'

Blurring the line between casual and problematic drinking, Barrespondent Drew does the ‘hard work’ of walking into unfamiliar bars of the bay area. That way if he gets nearly beaten to death for not being a local, you’ll at least have a negative review to serve as a heads up. My, what noble work!

Coming to the slightly shocking realization that there just aren’t that many parts of town we haven’t completely worn out our welcome in bar wise, this week we decided to check out an area the drinking gods have conspired to keep us away from for far too long, the Outer Mission.

Sure, everyone and their bridge and tunnel brother knows all about the Inner Mission. Just try getting served at even the most mediocre of spots around 16th and Valencia and you’re in for a wait. The privilege of getting to stand shoulder to shoulder with your friends and shout at the top of your lungs is alluring for sure, but we think you’ll find high quality slumming awaits if you’re willing to stay on the 14 bus for a few more stops and head on south past Caesar Chavez.

The 3300 Club on Mission and 29th (not 33rd, which would seemingly make a lot more sense) is a wonderful throwback to the way bars ought to be. It’s garnered a reputation as a ‘locals’ bar with good reason. If you’re looking for a bachelorette party or frat guys pounding Coors Light, then this is probably not gonna cut it, but if you’re looking for a comfortable little dive with super friendly service and a mellow, laid back vibe, this is the spot for you.

Nothing terribly fancy on tap here, but anything more sophisticated than Anchor Steam would only serve to spoil the atmosphere here. This place is, above all else, simple. Simple drinks served to run of the mill people (and we mean that in a good way) in a relaxing, dark and dingy setting. Perhaps 10 years ago, we may have found this place boring, but as it stands today, it’s just perfect.

The bartenders here are the single most friendly we’ve encountered anywhere. One of the taps ran out halfway through pouring our beer and I thought for a second our keep was going to drop to her knees and cry until we forgave her. That combined with genuine ‘thank you’s for bussing our own table made us realize that politeness isn’t dead after all, you just have to go to a place that isn’t crawling with so many people that taking the extra time to be nice doesn’t cause a delay for the other 20 people at the bar also waiting for drinks.

So if ‘pleasant and inviting’ has moved above ‘trendy and choked with twenty-somethings’ on your list of what’s important in a bar, then definitely check out the 3300.



Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I'm Not Asking You, I'm Telling You. Kick This Ass

I'm am beat.

Nothing lets you know how ridiculously out of shape you are quite like running through a grocery store for 8 hours. In the next week, I expect to either become a lot less sore or collapse. Either way, should make for a good story.


Monday, August 22, 2005

Staggering Through Fog

Clutching his photo of his one and only true hero, Henry Chinaski, Barrespondent Drew makes it through another week of imbibing to let you know which booze-holes are worth a Muni ride.

The Irish/English bars of San Francisco are just great in our opinion. Sure, other cities may have a lot more 'across the pond' immigrants (N.Y., Boston), but just having more doesn’t equate directly to a better bar scene. We’ve been to a lot of the Irish bars in Boston, Manhattan and The Bronx, and truth be told, a lot of them are depressing. And we like despressing dives.

The trouble with a lot of these places is that once you start into the third or fourth generation coming to a place, a lot of the ‘Irish-ness’ has been sucked out of the joint and it’s just like any other neighborhood bar.

A lot of San Francisco’s English/Irish pubs benefit from, a) being fairly new, and b) being in one of the most transitive cities in the world. Stagnation is something you really have to work at in this city. So the charm of a place being all ‘shamrock-ey’ doesn’t wear off as fast because you’ve got a new batch of people moving into the city that it’ll impress every second.

The Pig N’ Whistle on Geary really embodies the word “pleasant”. It’s well lit, but not bright, it’s dark without being scary, and usually has a friendly crowd in it happily munching on fish and chips and throwing back a pint of Guiness.

The Pig doesn’t try too hard because it doesn’t really have to. It’s got a little bit of Irish, a little bit of English and a whole lot of comfortable charm. The food here is quite good for pub fare and the staff always seems to have a smile for anyone who shows up.

We’ve never seen it overly crowded here, but it can get a little socked in on Friday and Saturdays (true of just about everywhere). So check out the Pig N’ Whistle for a little bit of the stout before you head down Geary to the beach or whatever.

Liver… Out!!


Saturday, August 20, 2005

Suproops The Trops!!

Bob Odenkirk has another genius piece up at Bob and It's all about how great yellow ribbons are. Here's a bit;

I immediately began supporting the troops. I put yellow ribbons up around my house. Literally everywhere (On my bedposts, on trees outside, on the mailbox pole (17 of them!)! I took pictures of the yellow ribbons and sent those to the troops. Can you imagine how thrilled they must be to know my yellow ribbons are everywhere! Yellow ribbons! And ribbon stickers on the back of my car! The troops must be ecstatic to know of all my yellow ribbons! Imagine you are a young father or mother. You have been away from your family, your newborn kids, your young husband or wife, you haven’t seen them in months. You are scared shitless of every civilian around you, whom you are supposed to be protecting. You have to travel in crudely armored vehicles from here to there and you have no idea when you’ll be back home or if you are making any progress of any kind. Then, you get a picture of a yellow ribbon on a tree in Los Angeles! A picture of a yellow ribbon! Think of it! A yellow ribbon! How great is that? That must be an awesome feeling! Fuck, I wish I was one of the troops just so I could feel the greatness of knowing somebody put a fucking yellow fucking ribbon up in reference to me! Ribbons of Yellow!


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Let's Do The Time Warp Again

Hell, if creepy mannequins can graduate, what's my excuse?

Talk about surreal...

I just got back from my first day of college in 10+ years and I start working part time at a grocery store on Tuesday. That's right, 35 1/2 years on this planet and I'm livin' the life of some 19 year old idiot. While deep down I know it's the right thing to do, boy friggin' howdy does this feel odd. Sure, it's easy enough to sit around and SAY that the last decade didn't amount to much, but to actually go the extra mile and step back in time is just fucking bizarre.

Until I transfer to a legit school in the spring, I'm going to Laney, which is a community college in downtown Oakland, so if you need to find me, just look for the white guy. Actually, there's a few of us scattered around campus, giving each other the 'white man's nod' as we pass each other (something I perfected while living at the Parkchester Apartments in Bronx, NY). It's always fun to be such a minority that you feel as though you HAVE to acknowledge it when you see someone else remotely like yourself.

So there I am, big giant bookbag in front of me, sitting at a table in the half-assed 'quad' of Laney College. I haven't gotten the bus timing down yet, so I'm pretty early. I settle in for a smoke and some people watching.

I've been told I have a 'helpful face', which in practice means I'm a magnet for all things batshit crazy. I'd been seated for all of about 2 minutes when I accidentally catch someone's eye and send them hurtling across the campus to ask me something. A polite way to descibe this woman would be 'vaguely homeless looking', a more honest way would be to say that she carried herself like the victim of a recent auto accident. You know, like Sherilyn Fenn in Wild at Heart, running her fingers through her hair wondering what the 'sticky stuff' is before she passes out and dies from a massive head injury.

Anywho, here's the ver batum conversation we had;

"Excuse me. Do you know where I'm supposed to go. I never got a print out."

"Did you try Admissions, they can probably print one up for you there."

"They're closed. Everywhere's closed. (This while I'm sitting in the middle of a quad of open buildings with students rushing in and out of them. One of them being admissions).

"I'm not sure what to tell you then. I, uh, don't know."

"Could a computer print them out?"

(Desperate to shoo her off somewhere) "Yeah, maybe the library would have one of those."

"Is this your first semester here?"


"(proudly) It's my second semester here. So brace yourself, this is what you're in for."

(At this point I'm just nodding and trying to look in another direction while secretly wondering if this woman actually exists at all or is just some psychotic manisfestation of my own shit-scared reservations about what I'm about to do). Then she says;

"You're probably more organized than me. And probably have more money too!"

And with that, she walked away.

What?! How did that happen? Perhaps if I were sitting in the quad in an Armani Tux sipping a mojito before class this would've made sense. I look down to make sure I didn't accidentally wear spats and an old tymey pocket watch, but I didn't. For chrissakes, I'm wearing no name jeans from some big and fat guy's catalog. I'm fairly certain that I wasn't giving off a 'snobby vibe'.

Anyway, I had my man-servant beat her to death and hopped in the Hummer limo waiting to take me to my Tex-Mex cooking class.


Monday, August 15, 2005

We Get Letters...

I've found the level of the room!

Apparently I can stick red hot flaming pokers of peppermint coated fire right up President GW Bush's business-hole and I get nothing for responses, but the moment I dare to declare Criss Angel's Vegas-ey levitation-filled magic show anything but the greatest thing since refrigerated milk, I'm labeled as the biggest basement-living loser since... well... since the people that wrote in complaining about me writing anything slightly critical of Criss Angel.

So let's answer some fan mail!!

Anonymous wrote: "ur a fuckin fag...that dude is awesome and its pretty pathetic that ud make a blog just to smash his rep...pathetic fuckin comuter nerd!"

While I do in fact take public transportation, I feel like that makes me a responsible member of society and not a 'comuter nerd' as you suggest.

Anonymous wrote: "your FUCKING STUPID! Criss Angel is GOD!!!! 10 times better than your god. FUCKING RETARD."

More than anything, I'm just curious how the math works here. Most people who believe in God also attribute him with infinite powers (so that some 7th level Cleric won't be able to roll a double twenty and kill him, I guess). So for one God to be ten times better than another bespeaks a humanity that would disqualify him from being a God. And furthermore, what makes a retard engaged in sexual intercourse worse than a regular retard?

- hater of this fucking mom fuckers blog

p.s. get a fucking life faggot"

You sort of contradict yourself here. If I'm a 'mom fucker', then I'm not a faggot. C'mon, they still teach sex education don't they?

"All i have to say is that criss angel is a respectable person. I personally love the guy. So you think he sucks? So what? Hes taking all that sucking ability he has and putting it into practice where not only is he getting fame hes also getting money. Unlike you, faggot, whos sits at home on the computer doing shit all day but trash other peoples work. Get a life. Pathetic."

Ah, I was waiting for 'Worthington's Law'. He's making money and is therefore beyond criticism. Extra irony points for labeling me pathetic and calling me 'faggot' for trashing other people's work. A 'teh ghey' away from a masterpiece.

"Okay, I might as well say the same as everything else. It's ridiculos that you would smash someones rep over a blog. I mean sure it's questionable about the stuff he does, but it's called entertainment. I to believe in magic to a point, but I still hve my questions about it. Dont' fucking diss people just cause u don't believe in things!"

I'm trying to imagine how a business transaction would work with this person. "That '86 Nissan you just took for a test drive? It's $50,000.". "Ok, I guess I have no choice but to pay because I don't diss people just cause I don't believe in things."

And Finally, my favorite; "yah ahhhh.....your gay....nuff said
why dont you go back you mommy and get her to wash the rest of your slacks and turtle neck shirt while you daddy spanks you and you jerk him off.......yah ive seen the videos you fuckin' homo. that shits jst wrong.....only ppl who actully get pussy know wat good entertainment is buddy....shit dick"

Brilliant from beginning to end! I always thought 'slacks' was just another word for pants, but apparently, it's the first item of clothing you put on if you're a 'fuckin' homo'. I'm also not quite sure how I would jerk my dad off WHILE he's spanking me. I mean, I suppose it could be done. I guess if you stood on your hands and... ah, forget it. I also love the ending of this comment. Is he signing off like, Sincerely, shit dick, or is it just an aggitated string of profanity because he doesn't know what else to say?

Oh well. I hope this answered some of your questions. Until next time, Shit Dick everybody!!


Sunday, August 14, 2005

SFeest a week late

Likely to start throwing chairs if he hears the words ‘Virgin Pina Colada’, Barrespondent Drew continues his quest to find a bar so seedy and unscrupulous that they’d spike your kid’s Shirley Temple given half a chance.

Whether it’s because of a deep seeded and constantly flip-flopping jealousy or our subconscious desire to pigeonhole every person in the city into predefined little categories, we continue to hold on to the belief that San Francisco is a city divided between two major factions. Hipsters and Preppies, Artsy types and Opera types, Bikes and BMWs, Falafel and French Laundry. Like the Jets and the Sharks, these two groups wage a constant (and well choreographed) war for control.

Opinions vary on where the front line of this war is. Some think it’s the top of Twin Peaks, others the border of Chinatown and North Beach. A few believe that any inter-city bickering is pointless and that the true battle is between the entire city and the marauding hordes of effete snobbery directly north in Marin and south in San Mateo.

But since trenches haven’t been dug yet and businesses continue to operate right along each and every conflicted border in the city, there must be a bar that straddles both of these worlds, a place whose front entrance opens up on hipster slackerness while the rear deposits you in overpriced opulence. We believe we found such a place. Details after the jump.

The Nob Hill Tavern (formerly Rich's Sports Bar) on California and Hyde exists on the outer edges of The Tenderloin’s dingy credibility while at the same time butting up against Snob Hill, the Top of the Mark and a number of the city’s other shrines to the upper class. Perhaps more so than almost anywhere else in the city, here you will find both extremes of people in the Bay area, traveling as far as they’re willing to go into enemy territory.

The funny thing is, ask just about anyone inside The Nob Hill Tavern, and depending on who you’re talking to, it’s gone too far in one direction or the other. Either they’re not doing a good enough job keeping the riff-raff out or it’s just another sickening collection of backwards baseball hats and little black dresses that belongs on Union Street.

As a bar goes, The Nob isn’t that great. It’s not quite blanketed in enough televisions to be a top notch sports bar and is just a little too jock-infested to be a good place to hang out for any other reason. Service and selection are average at best, and unless you’re desperate for foosball or a crowded game of pool, there’s not a whole lot of reason to make a special trip here.

So if you want to see what a cultural no man’s land looks like, wedged in between the war of the classes, then by all means check out the Nob Hill Tavern. Just be careful of spies and turncoats who’ll try to pull you to the other side.

Liver… Out!!!


Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Real Real O.C.

Currently in the city of Orange, the Orange County-est part of the Orange County-est section of Orange County. Came down for the Mrs.' uncle's funeral, so not exactly a pleasure trip. My apologies to any number of people I keep promising to look up when I get down to SoCal. Your time is coming, I swear! Here's some random observations about life in the Big Naranja;

- Local news down here is AWFUL. I mean, I've lived down here before, so I kind of knew what to expect, but Great Odin's Raven! Each newscast contains about 2 minutes of actual news surrounded by 58 minutes of mindless chatter and feeble attempts at jokes.

- Racism may be something that people whisper down here, but homophobia more than picks up the slack. You can loudly call someone a fag in any situation amongst completely mixed company and have absolutely no fear of anyone saying anything but, "Yeah, he probably is a homo.".

- You can say the phrase, "I think you can low-ball them and get that house for $800,000" without anyone pointing out what a motherfucking obscene amount of money that is.

- Diversity means you hang out with white people that are conventionally good looking and unconventionally good looking.

- Everyone is religeous. EVERYONE. And not "I'll do my thing, you do yours" religeous either. If you've gone 20 minutes without someone mentioning accepting Jesus, you've probably wandered into San Bernardino County.

Oh yeah, and it's hotter than two Sumo wrestlers dry humping on the surface of the sun.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Me No Come From No Monkey... Oook...Ooook...

I always knew Shriners were the missing link!

The very fact that there's an argument about Evolution vs. 'Intelligent Design' (the best marketing name change since they made Tab into Diet Coke) sort of tilts the argument in favor of evolution. After all, monkeys are the only 'lower' creatures smart enough to realize that their own shit makes for a good projectile, but unfortunately are still dumb enough to actually do it. And indeed, hurling feces makes about as much sense as most of the religeous right's arguments for 'magic pixie science class'.

Ten years ago I took a few religeous studies classes, got up to the midterm and dropped out, got drunk and played EA Sports NHL '94. So, needless to say, I consider myself an expert on these matters. That being said, I'll try and break this down into language lay-people can understand.

The word "theory" is very wide-reaching. After all, the 'theory of gravity' is considerably different from my 'theory that Nelson Mandela and Ken Berry of Mama's Family are the same person'. One of those theories has stood up against every possible negative proof that has ever been posited toward it (i.e. I can't fly), whereas the other theory only seemed credible after doing enough gravity bong hits to kill a small Jamaican village.

Look, I know that businesses like Starbucks and Burger King have convinced people that they can always get whatever they want and 'have it both ways' if they like. Triple bacon cheeseburger and a diet coke? Makes sense to them. Chocolate caramel fudge brownie latte with non-fat whipped cream? Of course. Good luck with your diet. There is one thing you can't have both ways, however. YOU CAN'T BELIEVE IN SCIENCE AND A MAGICAL SKY FAIRY THAT CREATED THE EARTH 5,000 YEARS AGO AT THE SAME TIME. No. You may not. Please take your business elsewhere. Sir, you forgot your backpack.

The theory of Intelligent Design is NOT an alternative to the theory of Evolution but rather an alternative to ALL science. It is philosophy, religeous studies, elaborate fiction, folklore, and to some (like me) high comedy, but never science. No science class in the history of mankind has started off with the words, "Hey, all this stuff that's going on around us is just too complicated, so it must be magic.". That's ID in a nutshell. "We ams too dumb to figure it out, so blame it on the big bearded guy in the sky." And people pushing this have the gilded gold balls to say that NOT teaching this will make kids ignorant?

Of course, I think that the religeons of the world have a vested interest in keeping people ignorant for their own selfish gains.

But that's just my theory.


Friday, August 05, 2005

The Not Electric Acid Test That Had Nothing To Do with Kool Aid, Part One

This is my favorite true story of all time. As far as I'm concerned it's got everything. Drugs, road trips, identical twins and land that used to belong to the richest man in the world. If I had to impress and frighten someone within 10 minutes, this is the anecdote I would drag out.

The year is 1993. A young Bill Clinton has just started un-fucking the economy, the nation's still awash with Dream Team excitement, and Grunge music is teaching the world to stop giving money to people like Lita Ford and Cinderella. During this era, I inexplicably find myself living and going to school in Coalinga, California. Anyone who's ever driven the stretch of highway between San Francisco and Los Angeles will remember Coalinga as the place where all you can see right up to the horizon are cows and all you can smell for 10 miles in any direction is cow shit. At one point in my life I was so desperate to get out of southern California that this seemed like a good alternative.

Anyway, at the time I was living with a guy named Richard Gaeta. Now Richard was just your average SoCal 20-year old from Simi Valley who also happened to be a pretty decent basketball player. We had moved up to Coalinga the previous year so that he could try and play his way into a division one school and so that I might be able to educate my way back into a decent college. Oh, and one other slightly interesting thing about Richard is that he has an identical twin brother that joined us in this godawful shitkicker of a town for the Spring semester.

Over Christmas break of that year, I had come into a small amount of LSD (2 hits). Upon returning to central California, I then had the brilliant idea of inviting the twin brothers on a road trip wherein we would ingest said drugs and chill out on the beach or something. Being 1 hour away from Fresno and 3 hours away from anything else, good ideas were hard to come by. So we hopped in the car, pointed it towards the coast (also about a 3 hour drive) and off we went.

About an hour outside of San Simeon, the former hometown of William Randoph Hearst and one of the largest 'fuck you's ever built in this country, the Hearst Castle, we all took the acid. Being a big dude and slightly more experienced, I took a full hit whereas the identical twins took a half a hit each. We drove up and down the coast for a little while before settling on the beach located under a cliffside hotel. We hoped that the craggy outreaching rock would protect us from authority figures or anyone else that might be harmed if they gave us any sort of 'surprise'.

We hung out for a little while, shivering in the midnight cold, waiting for the chemicals to really grab hold. Anyone who's taken acid before knows that there's usually a period of an hour or so after you take it where you manage to convince yourself that you got bunk shit and you're in for a night of sitting around cursing the guy who sold you this crap. It's almost always at that exact moment that something fucked up usually happens.

In our case, it was that all the rocks on the beach turned into human skulls...

To Be Continued...


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Please Don't Worry About Upper Management, They've Been Given Golden Parachutes.

I regret to inform you that Scamboogah Enterprises will be downsizing. In order to remain competitive and assure our stock price viability, many of our manufacturing elements will be moved overseas having the regrettable effect of closing down several plants in Wisconsin and Nebraska.

The policy of posting every day, while providing many employees with stable careers that they've come to count on, has not turned the kind of profits that management had hoped for and in order to compete in the 21st century marketplace, we are forced to streamline our operations to maintain the liquidity required to move Scamboogah forward.

Stagnant readership numbers combined with crushing ennui have wreaked havoc on the blogging industry recently, and I assure you that while there was some discussion about whether or not posting was necessary at all, in the end it was decided that even though financially it makes just as much sense to stop posting altogether as it does to post 5 times a day, our customers deserve some sense of continuity as we go through this restructuring.

So while this means that the days of 'check out this link' and 'here's a reprint from another blog' are over, rest assured that there will be posts now and again when we actually have something to say. For while it is the job of newspapers and magazines to fill up pages and pages with meaningless crap so that you don't feel you've wasted your hard earned money buying it, clogging up the internet with links and reprints and 'I've got nothing, so here's a picture of a guy fisting a horse' doesn't make sound business sense. Scamboogah industries feels you deserve better than that and will therfore abandon the idea of every day posting effective immediately.

In a way, this is all your fault as well. If only you employees hadn't unionized and demanded pipedream pie-in-the-sky bullshit like 'a living wage' and 'medical benefits', vomit-inducingly wealthy executives like myself wouldn't have been put in such a tough position in the first place. Ah, who am I kidding? We would've done it if you had been making anything more than the .25 cents an hour the Philipino taking your job is getting. Probably had you goin' there for a second, huh?

It is our hope that once you get back on your feet, get a job at WalMart and are able to once again afford a dial-up internet connection and a used Pentium 2 that you'll enjoy the 'new Scamboogah!!'. Sure, it won't be as regularly updated, politically insightful or interesting to read, but since we plan on putting a portion of what we're saving on payroll into marketing and advertising, it WILL be more popular than ever, and that's really all we're concerned about. After all, the last time I checked, you can't buy a cigar boat with integrity and fancy words. Am I right people?


Actually, it's just a combination of going back to school, the fact that I needed to get a job 2 months ago and the ever-dawning realization that just about everyone who does this with machine-like regularity is either, a) raising kids at home, b)living off a massive trust fund, or c) 14 years old. I should also include d) people that are just a hell of lot more prolific and energetic than me and are able to type for an hour without then collapsing for a 2 hour nap to rest up for a night's drinking.

Of course, you never know, perhaps this series of small breaks will make me realize that I've got just TONS to say and regular posting will resume at a fever pitch in a couple of weeks. We'll see.