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The Lusty Lady Goes Down…

The Lusty LadyWell shoot. Yet another San Francisco institution is coming to an end. A few days before my birthday on September 2nd San Francisco’s first unionized strip club The Lusty Lady will close its doors for good. Being the first worker owned unionized strip club in the United States wasn’t good enough to keep it open. It’s rent has been jacked up to an unaffordable rate now so it’s time to close.

The saddest part when I read about it were some of the comments people had made such as, I went there three times or so, spent two or three quarters each time, and am really glad I did. OK well I’m no accountant, but I think it takes more than three quarters three times to keep the doors of an establishment open. I have to admit that it’s been over 20 years since I last visited The Lusty Lady [which I’m sure my wife has no problem with]. This is probably a good part of where the problem is that caused The Lusty Lady to have to close it’s doors — people weren’t coming and spending money there.

This is a problem with many San Francisco small businesses in that it’s difficult for them to compete. Everyone will probably say how much of a shame it is that The Lusty Lady is closing or any other San Francisco business that closes, but when was the last time they visited the place and actually spent money there. I’ve heard several times people say about small businesses in town that, it’s a nice place, but I don’t think I’d buy anything there. This is a part of the reason why these places end up closing and going away.

Well in the case of The Lusty Lady it was a little more than that. They’re rent way back in the dark ages of 2001 was $5,500 a month. Through a number of rent increases it had been raised to almost $17,000 a month. That’s a serious increase and when you’ve got that much money going to rent a building you don’t own it’s pretty hard to come up with money to make the building you don’t own look better — especially when the landlord doesn’t want to help you out.

It turns out the owner is Roger Forbes who owns most of the strip clubs in San Francisco and he wants to expand the Hustler club to fill the space The Lusty Lady now occupies for a couple more weeks. Oh great. Pull in more frat boys. The Lusty Lady was always a different sort of place. The girls weren’t all airbrushed perfect and blonde like you’d see in Playboy magazine, but built more like regular girls you’d see. OK, maybe regular girls with pink or purple hair, tattoos and piercings, but not all of them were like that. If nothing else The Lusty Lady reminded us that it wasn’t just centerfold models who were naked under those clothes but every woman.

The place was not in the best shape, but I’ve yet to see a strip club that was, especially if you turn the lights up [which would probably make you never go in one again]. It still holds a place in my heart of a part of San Francisco that you would have to do at least once. Too bad once wasn’t enough to keep the doors opened. As one of the girls stated, Why would someone get in their car and drive from Palo Alto or wherever, find parking, to see a naked girl when they can do it from home? Well I’ll tell you why because The Lusty Lady has LIVE nude girls, like right in front of your face. I guess that’s not enough though.

It’s going to close, but if you want to be a part of it one last time, go in, throw in a dollar, say ‘Hi’ to the ladies and give them a good send-off. Maybe Wife will let me make one last visit.

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Hi! My name is lard-ass

Well my doctor who can be blunt at times, which is good because I tend to take blunt people more seriously told me I was out of shape today and need to walk at least fifteen minutes a day. I kind of got an idea that something was wrong the night of the SF Weekly awards when I walked out of the metro station and by the time I got down to 111 Minna I had broken out in a sweat. I did that walk every day for years and never broke a sweat unless it was a very hot day. So things have changed for me and I sat down and thought about it for a bit.

For the last two years I’ve been unemployed except for a short 3 month stretch with a start up company that required me to sit at home in front of the computer and record voice overs for a cool iPhone app called HearPlanet. It turns out that being that sedentary all day long isn’t good for you. I spent most of my days at my computer, looking for work, doing freelance work or watching Hulu and Netflix and tweeting and Facebooking. This is not a good habit to have.

The weird thing is that I feel like I should look like the guy in the picture, but I don’t. I could lose five pounds, but I don’t look overweight for my age. I’m pretty close to my BMI which is good, but if I break out in a sweat after walking a block something’s got to change. As you may have noticed, my posting has been reduced a bit with my new job. I’m going to need to step away from the computer a bit more now so that I can get myself back to being able to walk six blocks to the store easily. That means I’ll try to have at least three posts a week.

It’s time I turned myself around so the guy in the picture can’t beat me in a sprint. We love our wide screen TV’s and computers and all the big techie stuff you can sit in front of for hours on end staring at here in San Francisco, but it’s not good for you. While my doctor has said my heart is in good shape, I still don’t want to die in my 50’s due to natural causes. Now it’s time to get up and take a walk after which I will call my friend Clint the yoga master down in Costa Rica for some yoga tips. For what it did for him, it might get me back in shape.

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SF Weekly Web Awards

Ye Gods! My head is still pounding from Friday night. After working for years right across the street from 111 Minna I finally had an excuse to go in. I definitely would have to recommend the place for people to visit if you want to get the hipster vibe of San Francisco.

There is so much going around in my head that I want to cover I hope I get to all of it. First the hip vibe of the place. Two bars with a wide selection of liver degrading beverages to offer. On this night it was open bar on Blue Moon Beer and fair trade Quinoa produced vodka. I started with samples of the vodka and then their goji berry infused vodka. Pretty good stuff I have to say, but since I hadn’t eaten anything yet I definitely started to feel it quickly. Everyone in the place had a smartphone [usually an iPhone] in their hands the entire time.

I ran into Greg Dewar of the NJudah Chronicles and then the Blue Moon started to flow. Greg made me realize that there is a part of social media that we often leave out, that’s the part where you get away from your computer and go outside your house and actually meet the people you tweet/facebook/foursquare with. Greg knew just about every blogger of influence in San Francisco and he introduced me to them [if they were there and not home writing their blogs].

My first introduction was to the most fabulous [and tall] Beth Spotswood. I frequently read her blog at sfgate.com and I think I’ll focus more on checking it out after I’ve met her. She is bubbly and vivacious and when she walks into the room you know she’s there. You don’t have to look for her. I couldn’t even get a picture of her because she always had a crowd around her.

Then I got to meet Broke Ass Stuart. WOW, what can I say. I had never seen a picture of him but he was exactly what I expected him to look like. Rockin’ a suit and tie I had about 60 seconds before a wave of hotties crashed all over him and he was swept away. I didn’t even have a chance to remind him that I was featured as the broke ass of the week on his blog a few months ago when I was a broke ass, but he was definitely the pimp daddy of the evening. Ah I remember the days when I had that kind of mojo. I need to get out more and meet these people.

There was Tom Prete of Ocean Beach Bulletin and Woody LaBounty of the Western Neighborhoods Project who I’ve know for a while. I was a bit honored when Woody referred to me and the local bloggers of the Sunset as his media reps. These are two blogs that people with an interest in the Sunset District and the Old San Francisco should definitely check out. I was sorry that I didn’t get a chance to meet Breanna Lambert of ScoutMob since we tweet back and forth with each other frequently, but it was probably an in/out for her since ScoutMob had their own party going on in the Haight.

Now let’s talk about the food. Inside there was The Heartbaker offering up some yummy desserts and luckily I got to them when it was early and I was their first customer. I tried one of their carmel brownies with sea salt. Now I’ve seen sea salt as an addition to chocolate, but I haven’t had a chance to try it. I have to say, it’s not weird. It’s great. I started to feel like one of the judges on Chopped while I was talking with them about how you’re first hit with the chocolate then the carmel slides onto your tongue adding sweetness to balance the tart of the dark chocolate followed by a salty burst at the end. Just as a side note, I have to say that seeing a group of pretty girls with lots of tattoos that could cook was a real treat. 15 years ago pretty girls with tattoos that I knew couldn’t make a cup of coffee.

Outside was where the real action was. The Bacon Bacon food truck was working the alley and they were a big attraction. Bacon, Bacon and more Bacon. Once again, they had Bacon dipped in chocolate, dredged in toffee. It was very, very good, but I could barely taste the bacon with all the great chocolate that was on it. Just so you all know Bacon should always be capitalized. That is not poor grammar on my part.

The only downside of the evening was the DJ. Not that the music was bad, but I decided to pull out my decibel meter to check and I can give the rating at Motorhead loud. It was definitely past 120db’s which isn’t very good for your hearing in the long term. Plus you pretty much had to scream to talk with anyone or go outside.

All in all it was a fun evening that warranted not just one photo, but a gallery all to itself. I would have taken more pics, but after I started meeting people I had to stop for a bit.

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Things you need to know about unemployment.

I really like to devote this space to San Francisco, but there are a few things that come up that make me have to turn away for a moment. Today that’s unemployment. There’s a dirty little secret that the unemployment office doesn’t want you to know and today I’m going to tell you what that is.

As the regulars around here know I’ve been unemployed for quite some time. I was working for a company last year that hired me through the jobsnow program that repaid my employer for my salary because I was an unemployed Dad. The program ended on September 30th, 2010 and wasn’t set for renewal so I once again became unemployed along with a quarter of million other people. I reapplied for unemployment not sure what would happen and it turned out they reopened my previous claim.

I continued looking for work, but I was only able to find 3-4 jobs a week to send my resumes to. I received a letter from EDD shortly after January 1st 2011 telling me that a new claim had been opened for me because I had new wages to base the claim on. It turns out that I started to get about $40 more a week that I was getting before so we were in a bit of a better place.

I continue looking for work and suddenly find that the 3-4 jobs a week had turned in to 5-6 jobs a day. Now I’m starting to get calls back and even an interview or two. Then at the beginning of this month I received a letter from EDD telling me that my benefits have run out. Well that’s happened to lots of people. That’s what all the benefit extensions we’ve been hearing about mean right? WRONG. In my case because I did indeed work last year and became unemployed and the EDD automatically filed a new claim for me based on my new earnings that gave me more money I still didn’t have enough money banked to cover my first 26 weeks of unemployment therefore I have been cut off for the rest of the year from receiving unemployment insurance.

I have filed an appeal, but even in talking to someone at the EDD office they told me that if you run out of money before your initial 26 weeks has finished that you are cut from receiving any more unemployment benefits for that year. I am not someone who is trying to cheat the system. I have been looking for work and there is no where on the EDD website where it says you need to cover your first 26 weeks or you will be dropped for the rest of your benefit year from receiving benefits.

This is the dirty little lie that no one wants you to know. I see the 99ers screaming about how they’ve been collecting benefits for 99 weeks and are now being cut because they’ve run out of extensions. I was 12 weeks into my claim and now I’m cut off for the rest of the year. Luckily things for me are looking up in the economy, but if I get a job that lasts only a few weeks or months I still can’t get unemployment again because what I earn won’t go on record until next year.

Luckily I have a good chance coming up with a very stable company that should work in my favor if I can get it. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

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