Chipotle Needs Mexican Coke!

Our family outing today ended with a trip to Chipotle. While fast food restaurants offer you food that you usually know what it’s going to taste like where ever you go, there’s the downside in that they usually offer unhealthy food.

Now lots of people have said that Chipotle’s Burritos and Burrito Bowls have a HUGE amount of calories and they do. I was into their burrito bowls for awhile until I discovered I had put on an extra 10lbs because I was eating close to a full days worth of calories in one sitting.

All that being said, you do have to give them kudos for trying to use as much organic food in the supply chain. My favorite is two carnitas tacos with black beans, sour cream and cheese with chips and guacamole on the side. Their pork here in SF comes from Niman Ranch so it’s locally raised and organic. 40% of their black beans are organic and all the the dairy used in the cheese and sour cream [crema agria which translates to “angry cream” a Mexican co-worker told me] is 100% organic.

Not too shabby, but the one thing any self respecting taqueria offers is “Mexican Coke“. What’s that? It’s Coke from Mexico where they use cane sugar instead of HFC [High Fructose Corn Syrup]. The taste is different and even Coke admits that. Cane sugar being more natural and Mexican Coke coming in bottles instead of cans or fountain syrups is, while being higher in calories, is better for you than American Coke. I thought Californians were the only ones to enjoy this luxury of a soda, but apparently there are several other states that have it as well. In San Francisco, it’s all over the place. You don’t have to go to a Taqueria to find it, Target has it, Costco has it. Major grocery stores usually don’t, but your corner liquor store probably does. If Chipotle is trying to show that it wants to show that it’s trying to be healthier then it should cut out the high fructose sodas and offer so real Mexican sodas like Mexican Coke or Peñafiel [go for the Guayaba if they have it].

Who Dah Thunk It?

I had a bit of pleasant surprise today. My boss asked me to get some color copying done for him and I started to take a walk down 7th street to Harrison. Now this is normally something in my mind that you wouldn’t want to do, but it had been a long time since I had been down in the that neck of the woods walking so I guess things change.

As I start to come close to 7th and Harrison I notice new condos and the building start to look nicer. There were still a few crazy people around, but not same type as you see at 7th and Market. There sandwiched between a set of condos and Carmichael Elementary school [I didn’t even know there was a nice looking school like that down there] I find this Russian Orthodox church. At least that’s what google identified it as even though the  crosses are wrong.

Note the lack of feces on the street in front of the church, but the gates are still locked shut. Apparently people respect this place and it was good to see that one of the seedier parts of town has started to make a comeback. Now if I could just get lunch for under $10 at 8th and Mission I’ll be happy.

San Francisco 94116

Well the computer’s back so it’s back to focusing on the blog. I’ve decided to make a few changes. While I’ll still be writing about San Francisco I’m going to focus a little more on the Sunset District. Also since I’ll soon have an iPhone I’ll be taking more pictures and video [which I should have done yesterday morning].

As I was walking to the L-Taraval street car yesterday morning to go to work I saw something I hadn’t seen in the Sunset before. A homeless guy asleep on the sidewalk at 33rd and Taraval. I’ve been here for 47 years and the “homeless” people you see usually standing outside a 7-11 are more “financially challenged” than “homeless.” They’re generally pretty clean, some are funny, like Donald who usually hangs out at the 7-11 in the evenings on 32nd and Taraval, or Willy who hangs out in the lower part of Judah street. Willy could use a bath, but I think he’s encamped in GG Park because I never see him asleep on the streets.

You don’t feel threatened by these people, but this guy looked more like the picture. Dirty, smelly and while I can’t say for sure I did see a few open sores that meant he was probably carrying some sort of disease with him. I’m going to start taking pictures and maybe Taraval Police station will start doing something about it.

With that said, we made another trip to the Zoo today. So I’ve talked enough about the zoo so I’ll focus on their food today. Part of me misses the dumb simple food they used to serve, but at least they still have hot dogs. We went to the leaping lemur cafe to have some food and I decided to try their bacon cheese burger because who doesn’t love bacon? My wife had the “gourmet international deli sandwich” which translated into a packaged turkey, swiss cheese and a slice of bacon on a croissant with a bag of chips and of course our daughter had to have some “all natural french fries”.

Price: $22.91. That’s with the 10% members discount too. The food was pretty awful. While they’re trying to come off as a healthy food place like the Academy of Sciences, they don’t come close. The bacon cheese burger was tasteless. All I could tell is that it had indeed been cooked. My wife asked me if I’d like a “taste” of her sandwich. Taste usually implies you’re going to actually taste something. Well, I didn’t. The best bet were the french fries which were actually crispy and hot, but no salt, no flavor. Our daughter enjoyed the fries for a little while at least. This is when I noticed that there were lots of families who brought their food and were sitting down outside eating. Note to self, do this next time.

On the upside we got to see a lot and our daughter had a good time even though we had a lot of walking to do to see everything. They have a new area called Greenie’s Conservation Center that has one of the original 1906 earthquake shacks that was a cool find. It was in great condition and had two lights that were so old that they were probably originals. They’ve got a nice garden you can walk through that’s fed with collected rainwater and, uhm, “animal compost”. I remember they used to sell that for $1 a bag calling it ZooDoo. I suppose it was another attempt to look green, but it was small. They should have taken it a step further or two. There were still lots of empty cages and pits and there were a lot of exhibit areas that are now blocked off by fences, probably because they don’t have anything in the areas there. The only problem with this is that some of these walkways were great cut aways to get where you wanted to quickly. Now you have to walk a long way between exhibits that are clumped together with lots of unused space. You can get a better idea from the map. What they need to bring back with so much walking you have to do is bring back the old elephant train. I wish I could find pictures of it, but they stopped it back int he 80’s.

Become one with your inner macintosh…

Be well my friends. I have come unto you as a changed man. My computer has been returned to me most excellently and my life is whole again. I am one with technology.

Wow 4am poetry can be kind of sloppy, but the iMac is back in full effect a full day early. I’ve been so happy [and so has my wife] that I’ve been prodding and poking it to make sure it wasn’t still broken to make sure it didn’t need anymore fixing.

I have my big shiny screen back and the full memorex, hair blowing sound system back in order. All my apps are working except for a few that required me to re-enter the serial number [only 3 so far]. Life has returned to normal for me and my wife has her computer back all to herself. Overall, while still an obvious mac addict I manage to cobble through 4 days without a mac of my own to call home. I think now that I am back in order I should move on to solving whirled peas and fixing problems with my new employer’s iPhone app.

Day Three: Getting better, sort of…

OK, so it’s actually going better than I expected and the laptop and work iMac are making it a little bit better, but it’s still not the same. I find myself daily checking Apple’s website to see if my repair is coming along faster than they told me, but still no change.

I feel a little frazzled still because they’re so much I could do if I had everything back the way I wanted it to be. I feel like the guy to the right on the inside, but at least I don’t look that way on the outside.

I think part of the reason is that I can’t do whatever I want on any of these computers. Well that and I miss all the big sound and big screen. My boss and several associates use skype frequently and it isn’t the same when they’re a tinny little voice coming through small speakers vs. them sounding like they’re in the same room with me. My wife is waiting for me to get my computer more so I can get rid of all the junk I’ve put on her computer and give her a bit more time, but today it felt more like a divorced couple with joint custody of a child than the threesome it felt like yesterday.

Oddly enough with the free time I had on my hands today without a computer I found myself sitting out in front of my house squatting down and talking to the gopher/s that have been destroying our lawn for the past few months. I have tried every way I can think to mercifully move them off somewhere else so I now it got nasty and I started to talk to them. Talking to gophers is a sign that I might turn into the guy in the picture very soon…

I’m not sure I can hold out a week

OK, so today I was a little twitchy and bitchy because what I’ve had at my disposal was not my big beautiful 24″ iMac. I have a small MacBook that I appropriate from my wife which has me leaning over the keyboard staring into the tiny 14.4″ screen and the 21″ iMac at work that’s old, slow and like the MacBook, doesn’t have the 500w powered studio speakers to back it up.

This is giving me a feeling like switching from Marlboro cigarettes to Marlboro Ultra Lights. You’re getting something, but just not enough of what you want. This is like 3.2% beer in Minnesota compared a full flavored Boddington’s. It’s like a $2 hook…OK enough of the analogies. It’s just not the same, but I think I can hold out for the rest of the week.

I’ve been finding things to do that most computer geeks like me never think of. Like cleaning up around my “computer squat.” After the iMac was gone I realized how much dust had started to build up on the desk in places you don’t normally get to see when you’ve got a huge 24″ screen in your face. I started thinking, “Geez, this is a man cave…complete with all the dirt.” I actually found a glass from an indeterminant year hidden behind the hallowed place that my iMac once occupied that had the remains of some reddish liquid that could have been fruit juice, kool-aid or both plus of course lots of dust. Since I had the time on my hands it went up to the dishwasher quickly.

I’ve also noticed that there were lots of cords behind the computer that didn’t need to be there anymore because it turns out they hadn’t been hooked up to anything in probably a few years. Did these just grow out of the back of my computer in an attempt to ensnarl and engulf everything around it and turn it into a borg like creature? That would be a very scary thought…”I am Eric of iMac, resistance is futile.”

Oh crap, I’m making Star Trek references now. [Note to self: GET A LIFE!]

Hi I’m Eric and I’m a Mac Addict

Yes, I admit it. I have an addiction to my iMac. I’m not going to go all Mac is better than PC thing because it would probably be the same if I had a PC and it was suddenly gone. I noticed something was wrong with the computer when it started to get really slow and programs started to hang. I took it into the Apple store and they said they could see the drive, but I should back it up and bring it in for a replacement of the hard drive.

YIKES! I hadn’t been able to do a time machine back up since April 11th and realized that I might end up loosing some stuff so I took it home, loaded snow leopard on to an external I happened to have lying around [this is why you have externals lying around]. After three days I managed to get all the files off the computer and realized, “Hey, if it’s cleaned off maybe I can just erase and reinstall from the back up!”

Well, it started off fine, but eventually it showed me that the entire hard drive was screwed and I’d need to bring it in. Now this isn’t so bad because at least my wife has a MacBook with an account on it for me [this is why you have more than one mac], but she might want to use the computer at the same time I’m using the computer. So hear in is the beginning of my week without my own computer. The iMac is like my buddy. It does everything for me. It’s my recording studio, it’s a phone, TV, radio,,,Geez our lives can revolve around our computers and you don’t realize it until they’re gone. My wife didn’t realize what the 21st century was like until I got her the MacBook that I have know stolen from her possession to post this article.

I have an iMac at work, but it’s not mine and while it acts like my buddy [due to the syncing of my information between computers] it’s also a lot of other people’s buddies because there are like 10 accounts on it. This is the closest to my buddy that I’ll have. It’s kind of like having a threesome with your wife, only a computer is involved and not some blond cheerleader with that waka waka funk music playing in the background.

Apple tells me it will be a week to replace the drive because they’re all backed up at the store. This is something I’ve always noticed about Apple Stores. If you go to a mall, look at how many people are in the other stores, then look at how many people are in the Apple Store. The Apple Stores are always packed. It’s like the hottest club in town without a happy hour. So now with my luck I’ll be a week without the iMac and Apple will suddenly process my order for my new iPhone 4 and get it to me before the iMac is back in action [yeeee=ah beeaches!]

P.S. to Apple: I heard your conference on Friday and know the problem is fixed with the iPhone 4 so can you speed up the 3 week wait a bit?

iPhucked…by the “wertsgeflauben”

What the hell did he just say? Wertsgeflauben. It’s a word I just made up and there’s a good reason for it. It’s a word you use when you want to tell people something that you don’t want them to understand. Weird things like this pop into my head at times, not like visions of Kathy Bates riding naked on a donkey singing Sondheim tunes [oh wait, where the hell did that come from?] While it sounds German, I’m sure it doesn’t mean anything in German. It’s just some stupid nonsensical word like “unbundled” which is what Apple is using instead of “discount”. I started my new job today with a tech company that writes apps for the iPhone. I figured I should probably get one so I started to look into it. I’m looking at the new iPhone 4 and running through choices and decide to select 16Gb black iPhone 4 [oooo all you mac groupies dontcha just wish you were hot like me!] I start through the process and it says $199 with a little 2 superscript next to it which I should have realized meant scroll to the bottom and read the fine print. Here’s the fine print:

Requires new two-year AT&T wireless service contract, sold separately to qualified customers; credit check required; must be 18 or older. Existing AT&T customers who want to upgrade from another phone or replace an iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS should check with AT&T or use For those who are not eligible for an early upgrade or who wish to buy iPhone as a gift, the prices are $499 (8GB), $599 (16GB), or $699 (32GB). In CA, MA, and RI, sales tax is collected on the unbundled price of iPhone. Service may not be available in all areas or at the signal strength, rates, speeds, or bandwidth as demonstrated. Wi-Fi Internet access required for some features; broadband recommended; fees may apply. Some applications, features, and services are not available in all areas. Visit to check AT&T network coverage in your area. iPhone is configured to work only with wireless service provided by AT&T. Warranty information available at When available, transferring your mobile number to a different service provider will terminate your service with your existing provider; termination fees and other charges may apply. Some features may require added fees. Contact your service provider for more details. Use constitutes acceptance of Apple’s software license agreement and third-party terms located in the iPhone box. Unauthorized modification of your iPhone software violates the software license agreement. Inability to use an iPhone due to unauthorized modifications is not covered under your warranty.

OK, that shouldn’t have been a big deal because I noted that I was upgrading [after my two year contract ran out] so this shouldn’t matter. So this phony surcharge shouldn’t apply. When I put in my zip code they tell me that my tax is $56.12!!!! That works out to about 28% sales tax and I quickly clicked on the speak with a representative button and all that Coreen could tell me was that it was because it was “unbundled” and they had to charge the full price. She never told me what the full price was or how I could bundle it with something else so that I could pay only $17 [state tax] or $18 [San Francisco tax]. She just kept telling me that it was because of Uncle Sam that I had to pay that much. Which I suppose Uncle Sam is going senile and forgot that California sales tax is 8.5% and in SF it’s 9.5%. I finally told her thank you for being so unhelpful and closed the window and picked up the phone and called Apple. This time I got Ryan who sounded a bit more American than the person I had been typing with since his grammar was much better and he finally told me that “unbundled” meant “discount” after I told him that nowhere on the page does it say that $199 is the discounted price. This came after 5 minutes of him trying to get around me asking him what I could “bundle” it with to reduce the tax. I finally said, “Ah so you’re saying ‘unbundled’ when you really mean ‘discounted’. Ryan politely said yes, very softly because I think he realized what a scam it sounded like.

The worst part of all of this is that I’ve been an evangelist for the Apple line for over 20 years. I even gave Steve Jobs a selling point when I said in my previous blog From where I sit, “Apple Macintosh, it just works” long before they used it for their ads. I even said he could use it if he’d give me the choice of Apple products each year. He never returned my email by the way. I’ve gotten quite a few PC people to convert over to the Mac and they love it and they’ve thanked me for making their life easier.

So now let us all embrace the word that means nothing and everything, “Wertsgeflauben.” It will save you money and get you out of a bind. Didn’t get the work done that your boss asked you to? It was because of the wertsgeflauben. Can’t pay your bills? It’s because of the wertsgeflauben. What was that sound? The WERTSGEFLAUBEN! Geez, I think I’ll start writing Dr. Seuss style books now. I have created a monster.

Hi, I’m Eric and I’m a Fish Geek

Welcome to the first meeting of fish geeks anonymous. I’ve been keeping fish for over 30 years as pets and as decorative accessories to add a little umph to my dwellings. At the worst I had over 11 fish tanks in my home. Then I kicked the habit for the most part, but held onto my 55 gallon fish tank. I’ve had freshwater, saltwater, brackish water fish tanks. It became a bit of an addiction for awhile.

It got so bad that I became the President of the San Francisco Aquarium Society where I was on the Board of Directors for 10 years and served as President for 4 years. Not something many other fish geeks can claim. I thought I had gotten over the whole fish thing and then I was looking around through my book collection and found a book long forgotten, “Breeding Killifish”. You notice it wasn’t titled “Raising Killifish”. What’s a killifish you might ask? Well the picture along with this post is of a killifish. This is a killifish that when I first saw it I wanted it big time, but no one had it. It doesn’t have a common name like many killifish, but it has a scientific name of Aphysemion elberti “Bafoussum”. The Bafoussum part means it’s from a part of Africa called Bafoussum. Killifish are interesting fish. They’re the most colorful fish in freshwater and give many of the saltwater fish a run for their money. They’re easy to care for, don’t need a heater unless you might live in Alaska and they breed like teenagers in heat [i.e. daily]. They have somewhat hard eggs that if you build a little mop out of knitting yarn they’ll lay eggs daily that you can pick off with your finger and drop in something as simple as a baby food jar with some water and they’ll hatch in 2-3 weeks. These are the top spawners I like. There are bottom spawners that  lay their eggs in peat moss [in an aquarium] or mud [in the wild]. I don’t like the bottom spawners as much because I’m an impatient type of guy and don’t like to wait 6 months for the babies to hatch out.

I have searched for over 20 years for this species of fish and today I finally met up with my new bestest buddy in the killifish world Ryan Grisso who gave me a pair and insisted that he wouldn’t take a cent for them. Ryan is a member of the Bay Area Killifish Association and these guys are serious about killies. These guys breed killies from all over the world and trade and sell them at their meetings. One of the few things I’ve never seen someone with killifish do is set up a nice planted tank filled with these fish. I had a friend once who was big into them and brought me over 100 of them for my 55 gallon tank and told me to feed them every time I passed the tank. The fish tank was the focus of the Christmas party I had that year. People didn’t know how colorful these fish were, how easy they were to take care of and how you can keep making more of them.

Most killifish come from water that isn’t that great in dissolved oxygen so they’re used to doing odd things like jumping out of the water and living the wet grass next to the water. The bottom spawners tend to be like a phoenix in that they breed in puddles that dry up and then when the rains come later on in the year they’re reborn again.  I’ve never heard of a fish that lives in conditions like that.

Now before you get all excited and are going to run out and get some of these fish you have to remember one thing. Normal pet stores won’t carry them. Probably because the wholesalers don’t carry them and also because they’re so colorful people think they’re tropical fish and keep them in warm water and they die. There are a few stores in San Francisco that will occasionally have some, but that’s nothing compared to the mollies, swordtails, guppies and neons that are standard fair in most fish stores. Killies are a rare treat as they’re easier to keep than goldfish [they’re smaller so they don’t poop as much]. You can actually send them across the country via priority mail and they’ll get their alive. They don’t need a lot of maintenance and for the most part they will live fine on flake and freeze dried food. So tell your fish store that you want killifish so that they start carrying them or if they don’t contact me. If you need more info on them drop killifish into google and see what pops up. It will boggle your mind.

What the HELL happened to radio?!?!?

My wife and I have been having trouble with radio in the car. We’ve got three stations we hop between and can’t really figure out which one to stay with. Here’s our choices:

  1. 107.7 The Bone: The all Metallica, AC/DC, ZZ-Top station and if you listen long enough you might hear some else, like Led Zeppelin or George Thorogood.
  2. Live 105: We’re Modern Rock. We don’t know what the hell we’re playing, but we have lots of emo sounding crap that we mix in with old rap and here’s an AC/DC song for you!
  3. The Band 103: OK, we admit it we’re old enough to admit we’re old and listen to classic rock, oh, here’s an AC/DC tune for you!

ACK! It’s bad enough that the top radio station in the city by the bay has always been an AM talk radio station, but COME ON! This was the center  of the summer of love bands in the late 60’s, in the 80’s we were thrash central and the music stations were all very defined. I think I’ll have to blame it on grunge music from the 90’s.

When grunge came out the hard rock stations like 107.7 said, well, we’ll have to adapt and there’s distortion on the guitars so we’ll live with that. Then Live 105 must have said, well, we don’t have new wave anymore and it’s quickly becoming old wave so I guess we’ll mix in some grunge. The band doesn’t really count because they just showed up one day with, hi we’re going to copy you, but with a softer hand. We’ll focus on Bryan Adams and John Cougar (Mellencamp half decaf latte with soy milk). Oh and here’s an AC/DC tune!

When I have to listen to radio on the internet to hear new bands or even to find out that old bands I liked are still around is ridiculous. We’ve already seen the music business going to hell in a hand basket quick style and I guess that means radio has to follow along. I worked for two local radio stations in the early 80’s and both of them could define their music style in a sentence, KFRC was “Top 40”. You knew what that meant. K101 was “Love songs, nothing but love songs.” Well, until people realized that wasn’t going to sell, but at least it was defined. Now if I could figure out how to stream internet radio in my car I’d be fine because for most of them there’s no bottom line, it’s only that they love the music they’re playing. I wish I could say the same for commercial radio here in SF.