Our friends from Austin, Texas, Misa & Rick Rojo, visited the city this weekend with their two kids, Esai and Maya. Rick was in town to run a half marathon and they took the opportinuty to visit us and hang out in the city. We had a cozy dinner at our place on Friday night, went to Alcatraz and Fisherman’s Wharf on Saturday, and had an amazing dinner at Michael Mina last night followed by cocktails in the Starlight Room. As icing on the cake we’ll be going to see the Giants play the Washington Nationals with Misa and the kids tonight at PacBell Park. If you have the time, check out the pitures from their visit.

Now that sizeable off-shore oil and gas reserves have been found in Cuba. Economists speculate that the embargo, and ideological war, against Cuba has outlived its usefulness and may no longer make economic sense.

What a big surprise. I’ve felt that the U.S. has been hypocritical by doing business with the largest communist regime in the world, China, but claiming that they can’t do business a communist, Castro. C’mon, it’s not ideology that the U.S. cares about, it’s money plain and simple. If the U.S. can save money on energy by buying Cuba’s oil and gas you better believe that the embargo will be over.

Last month in a conference in Japan, a Dell laptop exploded on a table while onlookers panicked. Luckily, the owner of the laptop did not have it on his lap or it would have been, “Adios, amigos.” And by “amigos” I of course mean “balls.” A couple of days ago in an office in Vernon Hills, Illinois, another Dell laptop caught on fire, smoked up an entire office, and had to be put out by firefighters. After these two incidents it is clear that I just don’t have big enough balls to own a Dell laptop. Ultimately, I may have small balls, but I’d certainly like to keep ’em.

Note: I had a Compaq laptop firmly on my lap, and close to my balls, while I posted this.

Fat Bastard Lee Raymond

Exxon Mobil earned $10.7 billion this last quarter, which equates to $1,318.00 in profit every second of every day for the entire quarter. The company gave its outgoing CEO Lee Raymond, the fat bastard pictured here, a retirement package worth about $400 million, I guess they could afford it! I mean, what’s $400 million amongst friends, right?

This guy was the perfect oil baron. I mean, he doesn’t believe in global warming, thinks getting cozy with murderous regimes abroad is just “good business,” and on top of that he’s spoken publicly against abortion and gay rights. Plus he looks the part. I mean, look at the jowls on this bitch. This guy is real, not some caricature created by a political cartoonist.

Meanwhile, the little people are paying upwards of $3.75 per gallon to fill up. That’s just crazy.

Straight out of 1981, Galaga hits the Xbox Live for $5. I remember that I used to pump about $5 a week into that infernal machine, so paying that much now sounds reasonable. Of course, if you don’t mind playing it on your computer screen, and you already own the ROM, you can play it on Mame32 for free.

While republican-sponsored climatologists claim that there is no such thing as global warming, the current heat wave is breaking all kinds of heat records in the Bay Area and in Northern California. In the last two weeks, at least one Northern California city has hit 100 degrees every single day. This is by far the longest hot streak, beating the previous hot streak of only two days set back in 1972.

I can say that the hottest it has ever felt in San Francisco was last Saturday when it was in the mid-90s with at least 40 percent humidity. The high that day, July 23rd, was 97 degrees and I thought that we were all going to die. Having skylights on our condo increased the greenhouse effect and made it feel pretty miserable. I am glad that the fog has rolled back in since Monday cooling things off in the late afternoon. At least we’re baking and not shaking–that would be bad.

San Francisco is still in the running for 2016 Summer Olympics.

Sorry for the crude title, but I just couldn’t resist the rhyme. Lance Bass, former ‘N Sync singer and teenage heartthrob, came out of the closet today by announcing his gayness and undying love for Reichen Lehmkuhl. Reichen of course was half of the Reichen & Chip team that won the Amazing Race 4. Reichen & Chip split shortly after winning the race and supposedly are still really good friends. Whatever. Reichen is back in the news because of Lance. Now, let’s get back to our daily lives and forget about both of these guys again.

Michael Dobrich was busted out in 66th place in the WSOP Seven Card Stud High-Low 8/OB tournament and won $1,793 from a $1,000 buy-in. Not bad. I wish Mike luck in the other satellites and tournaments that he’ll be playing this week!

Check out pictures of this mouse pointer kite. Awesome. I totally want to buy this kite if only to fly it around and take pictures of it pointing at stuff in the park. Also, check out the Air-YO which is made by the same folks at WindFire Designs.

One of my coworkers, Michael Dobrich, is playing several events at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. Last night, he knocked out Greg Raymer out of the Seven Card Stud High-Low tournament. This was a big enough achievement that Cardplayer.com took his picture for their stats database. The tournament started with 788 players yesterday and there are still 98 players left. The top 72 spots are in the money. Here’s hoping that Mike can pull off a victory, or at least a top 20 finish. Play resumes at 4:00PM today. Good luck to Mike!

Sweet San Francisco Fog

Ahh! That’s the smell of sweet fog in the air baby! After the near death from heat exhaustion experience that we suffered during the last two days, fog finally returned to the city of San Francisco to save us all from certain doom. Statewide there was a risk that there would be rolling power blackouts but they were averted when power demands were less than officials expected. I can’t speak for the rest of the state, but San Francisco is happy to be chillin’ in the fog by the bay again.

Richard Hatch starts serving a 51-month prison sentence today. What a loser.

Miss Universe 2006, Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza

Miss Puerto Rico Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza was crowned Miss Universe tonight. Tonight’s win is Puerto Rico’s fifth crown in this prestigious event. Miss Japan Kurara Chibana, was first runner-up, followed by Miss Switzerland Lauriane Gillieron, Miss Paraguay Lourdes Arevalos, and Miss U.S.A. Tara Conner.

Amazingly, Miss Japan grew up in the city of Naha, on the island of Okinawa, very close to where Mama’s mom currently lives, and Miss Puerto Rico is from Salinas, which is only a couple of miles from where my mom was born in Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico. Of course, my mom sees the first and second place finish as some omen for us having a baby. But then again the wind blowing is an omen for us having a baby lately.

But I digress. Big ups to Miss Puerto Rico on her win and to Miss Japan for the runner-up. Also, if you can read Japanese you may want to check out Miss Japan’s blog for some cool commentary on the Miss Universe Pageant experience. If you can’t read Japanese, just check out the pictures. That’s what I did.

Star Trek XI Poster

The movie poster for the upcoming Star Trek XI film (pictured here) was released yesterday to much fanfare, from fanboys like myself. For those of you that don’t know, J.J. Abrams, of Alias and Mission Impossible III fame, will be producing this next edition of the Star Trek series. The film will be scheduled for release in 2008.

Rumor has it that the next film will focus on the lives of a young Kirk and Spock at Star Fleet Academy as they head out on their first mission. This has many fans worried that the film could devolve into “Star Trek 90210,” but that is less likely with someone like Abrams at the helm. The cast for the film has not been finalized as of this writing and many fans are carefully watching the industry press to see who they cast for these iconic young Kirk, Spock, and McCoy roles.

There’s a high degree of difficulty in making a prequel to the original series. Still, the idea of a prequel is very exciting. Stay tuned.

Omagah! It’s already 76 degrees inside our place. Who the hell knows how hot it is outside right now. The heat is expected to be just as bad today as it was yesterday before it starts to cool off on Monday. If this beatdown continues we are going to have to go to the movie theatre just to find air conditioning. Who cares what movie is playing? We’re going.

It’s too hot to even go out and shop for a fan. The high today is supposed to be 86 degrees (with 70% humidity), which incidentally would make it hotter than yesterday, and the low tonight is to be 66 degrees. I am sure that the Florida contingent is hearing these temperatures and thinking that it doesn’t sound that bad and people in Vegas are laughing because it’s 20 or more degrees warmer there. But all those places have air conditioning. Not here.

Again pray for fog, find air conditioning, and try not to kill anyone in this crazy heat.

I am officially a San Franciscan and not an Angelino. It’s 84 degrees in the city right now and it feels like I am melting and about to burst into flames. Apartments and condos in the city don’t come equipped with air conditioning units because it’s never supposed to be this damn hot! This is by far the hottest summer we’ve seen in the city and proof positive that global warming is real. Pray for fog.

A man struck by a Caltrain this morning survived with only a broken arm. The engineer of the train said he was blaring his horn profusely at this guy, but the he was wearing earphones while walking on the tracks. Doesn’t everybody do that? You know, grab your iPod, crank up the jams, and walk on the train tracks during your walk to wherever the hell it is you go in the morning? No? Does a guy this dumb deserve to live to pass on his dumb-as-a-stump but lucky-as-all-shit genes to his offspring? Life just isn’t fair.

As prices keep inching up, many more can’t afford to buy a home. This in turn is making the demand for rentals and rents surge upward. Good news for people that already own, bad news for those that didn’t get in the market a few years ago.

I’ve always hated AOL, and apparently my hate for the company was well-founded. Last month, there was a recording of a call made by a guy named Vincent Ferrari trying to cancel his AOL account that was nothing short of appalling. Yesterday, the Consumerist revealed the icky AOL Retention Manual used by the douche bags answering the phone there as well as a breakdown of the Vincent Ferrari phone call. Apparently, AOL doesn’t realize that today business is about being crazy customer-focused, not focused on making the customers crazy.

Reports say that the U.S. is lagging in its efforts to evacuate 8,000 Americans from Lebanon. Additionally, the State Department is coming under fire for asking Americans to reimburse the government $150 for their passage. Frankly, I am sure people will gladly pay the money to get picked up. The problem is that if Hurricane Katrina is any indication, these poor Americans in Lebanon will be blown to smithereens long before they are evacuated.

At the G-8 summit yesterday, Bush walks into a room where the German Chancellor and the Italian Prime Minister are speaking. He proceeds to approach the German Chancellor from behind, places his hands on her shoulders (as if about to give a back rub), and she immediately clenches her shoulders and raises her hands as if saying, “Eeew, get the hell away from me!” Check out the video here and read the story here.

This man is, and will obviously continue to be, an embarrassment to our country. Did he forget that he is the President of the United States? Perhaps he thought he was at a coed college party and that he was walking up to the “coke table” to get a hit. They are at a conference to discuss global issues and make decisions that affect hundreds of millions of people. Did he not know that a gesture like this could be seen as him exerting power over a woman, or dare I say, over Germany? She did *not* like the gesture at all.

I for one think he’s lucky that the German Chancellor chose not to make a big deal out of the incident. She probably didn’t make a big deal because she, like many others, think that our President is a big fat joke. He’s barely qualified to speak, let alone be there. He’d rather be a jester than a leader. At his core he is unintelligent and emotionally immature, and when he’s not reading from a script this becomes painfully evident.

The fact is that Clinton, an intelligent man with much more maturity and charisma, may have been able to pull that off. However, Clinton did not have to resort to “back rubbing” to get any point across. His sharp intellect and depth on almost every issue spoke for itself. No scripts, no prepared speeches, just off the cuff coolness. He was like a cucumber, or dare I say, like the other side of the pillow.

To channel Stuart Smalley let me just say, sorry George, you are not cool enough, not smart enough, and doggone it, people hate you.

Oprah said yesterday in a statement that she does not have a gay relationship with her friend Gayle. Gayle added, “if we were gay, we would tell you, because there’s nothing wrong with being gay.” Yeah, I agree that there’s nothing wrong with being gay, but I doubt that they both come right out and tell us. Oprah has a $1 billion fortune to protect and she’s not going out like a punk. Bottom line is that if she is gay she is *not* telling us.

Another tsunami off the coast of Java in Indonesia has killed 86 people. This tsunami, like the big one last year, was caused by an undersea quake measuring 7.7 magnitude. I think it is fair to say that because of the seismic craziness near Sumatra, and it’s not just Krakatoa (aka Krakatau), living in beachfront property on the islands of Sumatra and Java is not highly recommended. Actually, based on last year’s quake and tsunami, anywhere near Sumatra where the earth does a little shake rattle and roll is probably not a good idea.

Young people assembling iPods in China earn $130 per month while working 12-hour days. They are given “factory housing,” where hundreds of workers share common rooms, bunk-style, in large dorms. The dorms have no air conditioning and the temperature can reach 96 degrees in the summer. Since the factory floor is air-conditioned, working a Saturday shift sometimes is better for these workers than resting in the hot dorms.

Top-of-the-line iPods sell for $400 here in the U.S. and are about $420 in China. They are priced higher there because they appeal only to the wealthiest clientele. Needless to say, the people that make the iPods are not spending three months of wages to buy one. They aren’t having weekend getaways to Hong Kong to go shopping. They are working their asses off to build something that they will never afford. That just seems wrong. Great story by the Chronicle.

Golf phenom, Michelle Wie, withdrew after nine holes on Friday due to exhaustion. This girl obviously needs to take it easy. She’s sixteen and is furiously trying to make a PGA cut by playing every single day and flying to tournaments every other week. There’s no need for that. Just chill Michelle, if you make the cut at 17 or 18 it’s still an amazing record!

Kobe has minor knee surgery, will miss world’s, but will be ready for NBA season.

The surviving sister of the Tongan royals killed a few weeks ago says that she and her family forgive the 18-year-old woman charged with killing the royal prince and his wife. Although the courts due process must take place they “bear no malice” towards her.

After two days, Israel is still bombing the crap out of Lebanon and the Lebanese people are caught in the middle. Israel seems determined to destroy the Hezbollah leaders at all costs and wants the Lebanese government to cooperate. They have already destroyed the Beirut Airport as well as most of the major highway between Beirut and the Syrian capital of Damascus. When the violence will end is unclear since both the Lebanese and the Israeli governments have no plans to back down. Stay tuned.

Well, I’ve just upgraded to Movable Type 3.31 with no major issues except for a few search template changes to accomodate having two separate blogs now, the original and the moblog. Apparently the original blog wouldn’t default to the default template after the upgrade to 3.31 and I had to explicitly set one up for the blog. Other than that, it was cool. The new version includes tagging built in, so look for a tag cloud in the future.

Photos of street art installations in Washington, D.C. by Mark Jenkins.

Go to baseball game, catch ball, sell ball, and buy home. So simple.

Below is a letter that a mini fridge seller wrote to the buyer of his mini fridge on Craigslist. I laughed so hard when I read it that I almost peed my pants. I think Mama actually wet herself this morning when she was reading it, which I didn’t understand at the time but now I know why. Craigslist posts expire after a few months and I thought that a piece of comedy this good had to be preserved for future generations. So, without further ado here’s a reprint of the full post:

Dear Crazy-As-Bat-Shit-Lady: The fridge doesn’t come with a pedigree!
Date: 2006-06-25, 8:44AM PDT

Dear Crazy-As-Bat-Shit-Lady:

I am honored that you chose my ad for a mini fridge out of all the ads you could have chosen. It makes me feel good that my mini fridge will be supplying you with the ice cold beverages you’ve obviously become accustomed to.

Next time you answer one of my ads, please note the following:

1. I am not Home Depot. If you travel thirty minutes to pick up a bulky 40-pound object, please come prepared with the necessary items you’ll need to secure it to your vehicle. Yes, I have rope. I have a lot of rope. I have many different colors and sizes of rope. No, you can not have my rope. The ad said I was selling a fridge, not a fridge with rope. Nor was I selling a fridge with padding so that the pleather seats on your piece of crap car don’t get marked up.

Read more

Frank Chu

I have to admit, I was a bit fascinated with Frank Chu when I moved to the city and took a bunch of pictures of him in 1999, including the one pictured here. Well, apparently I am not the only one fascinated by this guy. Eighty Four Films has created a 16-minute documentary about San Francisco’s most well-known eccentric and favorite protestor titled Lunch Inside the 12 Galaxies.

Unfortunately, the documentary runs a little choppy on Google Video, since I don’t think it’s as good as YouTube, but in any case the video is fun to watch. Check it out if you have the time. Oh, and the next time you see Frank on the street, please be sure to take five minutes of your time and say hello. You may get an earful from Frank about how famous he is, but it will be worth it. He’s a nice guy. Crazy, but nice.

More pictures and commentary from around San Francisco yesterday on Metroblogging San Francisco.

MSN worked with data from the CDC to compile this interactive animation of how the United States obesity rates have increased over the last 20 years. It’s actually pretty scary how quickly things have gotten out of control. Via BoingBoing.

“Calling Dr. Bombay, Calling Dr. Bombay! Emergency! Emergency! Come Right Away!”
— Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery), Bewitched, 1964-1972

Seven to eight bomb explosions rocked train stations and trains in and around Mumbai, India. The blasts were strong enough that they could be heard two miles away. Another bomb which did not detonate was found and defused by police in one train station. Reports claim that 135 to 138 people are dead and about 300 others injured. The government claims that this is the work of terorrists, though no group has taken responsibility for the blasts.

The new video game commercials ain’t got shit on this old one for the Atari 7200. I think every commercial should start out with the announcer yelling at the audience. Via Boing Boing.

A transformer blew up on Clara Street, the block behind us, and knocked the power out from Brannan to Howard Streets and Sixth Street to Fourth Street. Amazingly, PG&E came out and fixed the problem in the time it took us to get a bite to eat, about an hour and a half. It was so fast it may not even make the Chron.

According to letters found today, Einstein had six hoes on the side while married.

Taking a cue from America, the bastion of democracy, Mexico is going to have the most revered of all electoral processes, the court mandated recount. That’s right, leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is expected to file election fraud charges to force a recount. Who knows, the Mexican court could just appoint the next president of Mexico, just like here in the United States! Isn’t that sweet? Ah, they want to be just like us.

When Italy beat France earlier today, fans took to the streets to celebrate in droves. And of course, no place was wilder than North Beach. This article has great photos of fans celebrating all over the city. I’d like to say that Mama and I were out there partying, but instead we chose to go to the gym and later to the park to relax. Still, the energy could be felt even South of Market at Yerba Buena Gardens.

All over San Francisco, and in other urban centers, the yuppies have morphed into gruppies (aka grups). A recent article in New York magazine explains this new phenomenon and the end of the generation gap as we know it. As a whole, urban dwellers are refusing to turn into their parents and redefining adulthood.

Well, I’ve finally stepped into the “future of web publishing” and setup a moblog on the Nug. I’ve been ironing out the kinks in the last couple of days and I think it’s now ready for prime time. Moblogs have been around in full force since about mid-2000 and the term was officially coined in 2002 when the first moblogging conference was held. The moblog will allow me to document events very quickly using one of my two mobile devices: a Motorola RAZR V3 and a Palm Treo 650.

Technically, what I’ve created here is combination moblog and photoblog, since I expect that all of my moblog entries will have at least one photo. Hey, a picture says a thousand words and I suck at typing text messages on phones, so there. Please visit the moblog by clicking the photos at the top of the home page and let me know what you think. Enjoy.

Members of Tonga’s royal family were killed in a car crash in Menlo Park yesterday. They were killed when a teenager racing her car crashed into their vehicle at high speeds. And of course, as luck would have it, the reckless teenager was not seriously injured.

Ken Lay suffered a massive heart attack in his Aspen home early this morning and died. He survived the trial that found him guilty of one of the biggest corporate frauds in history, but he died before his scheduled September sentencing date. No justice here. Justice would have been for him to die in prison. Ken Lay died in debt due to his conviction but still lived as a very wealthy man, as evidenced by his death in one of his luxurious homes in Aspen. In sentencing, many speculated that it was likely that he was not going to Club Fed, but to a real federal pound-you-in-the-ass prison. Surely the thought of being a prison bitch was just too much for him to bear. Adios Kenny Boy, no presidential pardon for you.

Some analysts now predict that the PS3 will be unable to overcome its $600 price and may be in last place for market share, behind Microsoft and Nintendo, in the next generation console wars.

New San Francisco Skyline

San Francisco’s skyline has been dominated by the Transamerica Pyramid and the BofA Center for decades. However, new SoMa construction and a proposed new project may change the city’s skyline forever. As we speak, construction of the One Rincon development is well underway. It is a huge $290 million two-tower complex right at the foot of the Bay Bridge that will transform the neighborhood and bring more clientele to the existing restaurants and shops in the SoMa area.

As if this weren’t exciting enough, there is talk of a 100+ story building going up a few blocks away above the new Transbay Terminal. San Francisco planners want to make a new center for downtown at the Transbay Terminal with a 1000+ foot tower that will become the tallest buiding west of Chicago, taller than even the U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles. At this time, nobody has bid to make the new buildings, but the discussions are underway.

I personally think that the Transamerica Pyramid has enjoyed a 35 year run as the center of the San Francisco skyline and it’s time to pass the torch. Chicago has a beautiful and tall downtown area and San Francisco is ripe for expansion. It hasn’t had a 50+ story development for over two decades and now has the opportunity to make a statement with these new towers. The city is progressive and ready for change–let the change begin.