Race Wars

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Normally I don’t delve into this stuff because I’m spoiled by who I surround myself with, unless some rookie happens to get under my skin.

       For worse or for worse, Facebook has amplified a new range of voices. Shit, everyone’s a philosopher nowadays (why even go to school). I mean, it’s great that technology has encouraged a wave of intellectual awakenings, but watching people try to reinvent the wheel can be frustrating. Everyday now (or really every time I check the damn thing) people are sharing links and liking posts, positioning themselves alongside random internet gospel in an attempt to manufacture confidence in the beliefs they’ve duct-taped together. In discussions, all it comes out to be is a half-assed blurting of other people’s half-assed stuff to try and score ego points here and there in never-ending asinine back and forths (the equation for ignorance is half-ass^p, after all).

       The current trend is to invade discussions about solutions to racism. The banter usually boils down to talking about how we are not actually a post-race society; and how certain efforts are or are not successful at transforming us into that post-race society. On my view those efforts fall into a few different models: bruteforce solutions (over-compensatory), passive solutions (equilibratory) and role-modeling solutions (singular).

       On the brute force model, people attempt to manufacture equality by countering racism with anti-racism. Here, the plan is to force demands for equality down societies gullet through methods like protests and boycotts, thereby squeezing racism out of humanities butt-hole and hopefully reaping the benefits. One recent example is the Bay Bridge blockade. The other day my Uber passengers were unaware of why the Bay Bridge was being blocked off. I explained to them what the cause was, but they didn’t seem sure it worked. Of course, some will say nothing was accomplished (SF/Oakland is still seeing robberies in broad daylight, Flint isn’t now getting clean water and killer cops aren’t getting re-tried), while some say it served its purpose (by virtue of getting an aloof Uber-riding couple to talk about something other than getting drunk).

       Another example, Jada Pinkett-Smith was on record as saying she wants to boycott the Oscars. She wants to force the awareness of the blinding absence of minority representation within these kinds of events. Of course, some will argue avoiding the already all-white celebration is the right move (in order to avoid playing the token black woman and risk humiliation), while others will want to argue that merely being there helps to scrub away some of the white washing (Jada could be the one carrying the torch and she’d surely be a good fit to do it). I mean, can she (or the protestors) ever really win in people’s eyes? Jada, the people on the Bay Bridge, and others like them will always end up damned if they do (people will argue that nothing really changed) and damned if they don’t (people will argue that they did not help to bring awareness to issues at all).

       On the passive model, people try to create an idyllic piece of reality under the hope it will be embraced and dispersed by society itself. In other words, by behaving as if all things are equal and showing what equality can look like, the rest of society will follow suit and just make it happen. A popular example is Star Wars’ Black lead actor, John Boyega. On the one hand, he plays a Jedi (thumbs up…and spoiler?), while on the other he’s a servant and a galactic janitor (thumbs down). Some people say that Finn represents a billion(s) dollar invitation to Hollywood to put more minorities in lead roles, which will encourage the rest of the studios to catch on and do the same (emulating and propagating equality). Others argue that Finn is just status quo for Hollywood and that other studios will continue to mock minorities one way or another (sabotaging attempts at equality).

       A similar case is  Black Entertainment Television (BET), which is a channel (just like PBS, CNN and NBC) that produces its own content (just like Two Broke Girls, Big Bang Theory, and How I Met Your Mother). Yet, the channel is at once supported by a part of the community and also disdained by another. Some think it is necessary to keep the channel alive to maintain minority representation (else there wouldn’t be any to speak of; just having it up might inspire other bigwigs to put out more channels and content for minorities in a mostly white washed space). Some argue that merely having that channel running doesn’t do enough to provoke racial equality (citing endless reruns of syndicated shows and no unique, thought-provoking content; what good has really come of endless Lil Wayne music videos). Again, damned if you do (people say passive efforts carry some embedded racism anyway) and damned if you don’t (what examples of equality would there be if no one even attempts to show what it could look like).

       On the singular model, though, an individual places the burden on herself to encourage change with both passive and bruteforce methods. In other words, this is the “do work” solution. See, I was watching ESPN and Marlon Wayans was actually asked if he would boycott the Oscars (his friend Jada already said she would). Besides saying he wasn’t invited (in a joking way), he said that his primary concern is putting his head down and producing, writing and creating content. In this case, Marlon believes he carries the responsibility as an individual minority actor/filmmaker to represent other potential minority filmmakers (proving it is possible to succeed) and also help others to become creators (making others succeed). He is a classically trained actor (some would call him whitewashed) who produces pretty dumb movies (some would call him an Uncle Tom). No matter what, people are going argue about whether he is doing good or bad for equality. But no one can say he he hasn’t put in the work to demonstrate and encourage success (look at the commercial for his new movie and it is minority actors in the spotlight). Marlon wants to earn his right to get invited to the Oscars and decline if he so chooses, and is helping get others to the point where they can get invited to shows (and decline). Quite frankly, he doesn’t care what people think about his efforts, because he’s actually seeing a payoff (financial, familial and sociological success). There is no damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t in this case, because he has become who he wants to become and is helping others become who they want to be. Who can argue against that? 

       If you’re reading between the lines, the only “model” that matters is the singular individual effort a person makes towards ultimately becoming who they want to become and also helping others do the same. Talking about other people’s efforts (whether bruteforce or passive) does society no actual good (talk is cheap, after all). Each of those people on the Bay Bridge, Jada, John, and Marlon all have shifted society forward in some real way (look into Boyega’s eyes here and tell him he’s an Uncle Tom hurting our chances at equality). If you ask any of them, they’ll tell you they have seen change come about through their efforts and have seen success occur. I’m sure the dude said something like, “be the change that you wish to see in the world” not, “argue how SOMEONE ELSE is right or wrong without ever doing shit yourself.” I mean, maybe I haven’t changed the world by wanting to become some Mexican-Salvadorean,  Latino Honor Roll every year, ADHD researching, salutatorian (Kelly!), news article writing, Cal graduating double majoring, fitness coaching, businessman, tutoring, blogging kid from the Mission, but at least I’ve proven that anyone from the hood can do cool shit, too. There’s just no way I’m gonna let a sideline Facebook troll tell me I haven’t tried to put up my end of the bargain in this thing. 

 

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Top 5 Reasons (insert blog name here) Should Shut The Hell Up

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Top 5 Reasons (insert blog name here) Should Shut The Fuck Up
 
 
Shots bout to be fired. You know what’s good. It’s a hot summer. BOWBOW.
 
 
 
1. Brunch
 
 
 
Ok, all these weak ass “bottomless” brunch lists all sound the same. Boring as hell. Wannabe fancy shit. Boring. Come fuck with my Safeway, 10-bucks-for-a-fat-ass-bottle-of-Cooks BRUNCH. Unlimited for real. No 3pm time-limit weak shit, either. All day mimosa, son! On deck! No reservation needed (hell you really don’t even need clothes, to be honest). Just head to the fucking park and pass out if needed. No need to buy filling ass artisanal gluten-free French toast either (interferes with the drinking part). Just hit up that there Safeway and you’re golden, every day of the week. So suck on that.
 
 
 
2. Burritos
 
 
 
If I here y’all say Tacqueria Cancun one more time I’m gonna walk on over and snatch your MacBook, pussies. We ain’t no Burrito capitol. We out here eating hella different shit. The fuck is a burrito, anyway? Bunch a bullshit you could just get in a taco, like with a normal tortilla, but somehow the flour tortilla just elevates the experience into a bloggable phenomenon. Like you guys really spend all day wondering what famous person just ate a burrito where and shit. Lame square bears. Be productive. Like, eat some oatmeal. Y’all ever eat oatmeal? That right there is something to blog about. How about a top 5 favorite oatmeals? Why’s that not a thing yet? Because it really should be.
 
 
 
 
3. Art
 
 
Nope, those fake ass 3-D pictures are not poppin. Wack. Those silly maps y’all be makin of the city? Wack. Leaving little bullshit stickers and drawings and whatever other bullshit on the ground and taking a picture of that shit and pretending Van Gough blessed our city and that obscure little area and posting it on your blog it’s a worthwhile thing? Wack. Throw some doodles on that bitch. Preferably my doodles. Can’t even compete with my Goku doodles. Wanna take your little three-d pics of my Gokus and Vegetas? Nah you can’t. Suck my dick.
 
4. Honestly Just Fuck You
 
 
5. Innovation
 
 
Weak as fuck. Talk about cool shit for once. Talk about how over at Samy’s on 24th and Bryant they got a mother fucking office space in that bitch. In a liquor store! That’s some innovation shit right there. Something positive in the Mission. A god damn start up right smack dab next to the beer and chips. We gon make it for real. But no instead you gotta talk about some new ugly ass bar with whatever dumb sounding food and boring ass craft beer. Really don’t care about your favorite stupid NY burger-bagel-pizza-taco-toast-horseshit fusion shit. Eat some oatmeal.
 
 
Go ahead. Say something about there not being any Latin American Club margarita mentions here. Duds.

Two Crimes & One Punishment

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It seems to me that a breach of human goodness is a greater offense than a breach of privacy.

Recently, we had a situation where a certain kind of law was exposed to be broken, albeit only with the help of having to break another certain kind of law. By now, everyone has drawn an opinion about Donald Sterling (the L.A. Clippers owner) and his “alleged” voice recording. He has essentially been caught (hook line and sinker) practicing his best Leonardo DiCaprio cum Django and talking all kinds of racist gibberish. Now, some are obviously mad about the fact that this guy (an owner of a basketball team with mostly African-American players; it’s exactly as bad as it sounds) has been allowed to continue to prosper under his racist mindset. Some, though, actually want to make the argument that there is a second (potentially worse) offense; that the act of the voice recording is also punishable and maybe even more offensive than the actual racist content of the recording itself. I, though, want to say that of the two acts (the recording and the racism), racism is the higher-order offense, and also that the racism itself is the only act of the two deserving of punishment.

Firstly, there are some people who truly think the first offense in the Sterling debacle is the recording of the conversation (and not the conversation itself). Understanding that people care about privacy, I can see how a private recording of a conversation might be a crime all on its own. After all, no one wants to be recorded talking to their lover during the act, or simply telling their children a bed time story. It would be strange and seems obviously wrong (even potentially malicious). After all, everyone has a right to wipe their own ass in privacy without showing the world how the process works. It doesn’t make sense to want to show the world the things that do not concern or affect them without my permission. So, sure, intrusion of privacy, and subsequent exposure of private matters, is totally offensive.

But in this case, intrusion of privacy was used to expose a punishable offense of a higher order: racism. The fact of the matter is, by hook or crook, we have found a still-thriving racist. I mean, can you believe it, in this day and age, a still-fermenting germ of racism exists and has grown to reach pretty far up the social ladder. This guy is a billionaire and owns a basketball team and real estate. It isn’t hard to see how he could resemble a slave owner and his team resemble (through his perspective) his slaves. It, of course, is not the first time he has been exposed for having the mindset he does. He once led women to the locker rooms, allowing them to marvel at his belongings (or players, in non-racist speak). The commissioner of the NBA thankfully exterminated that germ in the best ways he could (exile from the NBA and multi-million dollar fines). In this case, we unfortunately got to see someone wipe their own ass (in private) with humanity itself.

See, the distinction is quite simple: one wrong doing was/is more wrong than the other. In other words, racism is a higher-level issue than privacy. If you’re racist, you’re at risk to affect the lives of everyone that comes in contact to you and even those at a distance (internet, phone calls, etc.). As we’ve seen, slavery became a hugely prevalent crime when that racism germ was allowed to grow and spread. Racism is an incredibly damaging offense that is still being tended to today (and will be forever tended to, it seems). There is still pent-up tension about what took place all those years ago, not to mention the different versions of racism that are thriving elsewhere (Palestine/Israel, South Africa, Mexico, etc.).

On the other hand, the biggest consequence of privacy intrusion is the complete exposure of one’s own individual total-sum of information. For instance, one’s credit card information, one’s private photos, and one’s home and belongings could all be taken through a breach of privacy. But in those cases, it does not seem impossible to recover from all the possible damages. One can call the bank and cancel their card, or become famous through the exposure of private photos (Kardashians, etc) or just use insurance money to re-buy belongings. In short, it seems much more easy to fix or at least recover from privacy intrusion than from racism.

To clarify, I think racism is a more damaging offense than privacy intrusion. It is clear that privacy intrusion on its own can be a crime, but if the intrusion merely served as a means to prove the existence of a more dangerous offense, then the intrusion itself cannot be interpreted as the actual offense. Sure, this might sound like Patriot Act jargon, but in this case, where there are actual people arguing that the recording itself is a comparable offense to racism, I have to disagree. Whether privacy still exists at all or not is a different matter. I simply think that, while it might be true that there seems to be a breach in privacy here, there is also a breach in human goodness. I think human goodness should be preserved more so than privacy, and if it means exposing a few racists in order to help exterminate racism and keep it from growing, I’m ok with it. I mean, I have to believe that most people would prefer to have a racist-free America than a tinted-window car. If you get a tinted window car, you might get profiled, stopped and all that jazz (even with those privacy-screen windows). Of course, if you ask for a racist-free America, you might not get stopped simply for the sake of getting stopped. That’s how I see it.

Finding Fault

 

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Topic has been beaten to death, revived and done over many times, but I did have a good discussion about what type of responsibility (ultimate or immediate) one should weigh as more responsible-er.

It is quite common to hear about people becoming resentful of their new neighbors. Whether it’s fair or not, I’m not sure yet. I’ve been going back and forth about who really holds the responsibility for the eviction of the middle-class problem, or whatever you want to call the disappearance of the local families and individuals in San Francisco. Ultimately, lots of different kinds of people are at fault; the more opportunistic individuals already living, or even native, to the city being the most at fault. That is, those San Franciscans who are successfully selling precious spaces in the city at increasingly higher prices, thereby trickling down certain expectations onto business owners (such as the one that people now living here can afford to pay more for stuff; $20 sandwiches, $15 PBR can, $300 dollar-a-month gym memberships, etc.), are the ones heavily catalyzing the shape-shifting of the city into one that fits snugly into the back pocket of the wealthy. Clearly, there is a real estate equivalent of a gold rush taking place within the city and the bidding wars for those precious spaces are tearing the city apart. Naturally, locals are increasingly resentful about the rise of living-space prices and the ensuing evictions. Some people seem to resent the newcomers moving into the city, while some would rather blame those who actually allow it to happen.

At first blush, some people might want to direct their resentment over the changes in the city towards the new neighbors coming in. In speaking with my friend, J, she admitted to blaming the “whitewashing” of the Mission on the newcomers themselves. That is, the evictions of loyal Mission families and the sprouting up of unwanted juice bars and random art galleries is totally the fault of the newcomers. She argues that, had these individuals not chosen to overcrowd the Mission, the local communities could have stuck together (and not disintegrate across all the greater bay area). On her view, the newcomers could easily have chosen to live or start business somewhere else, considering spaces in places like the Sunset neighborhood or even the Daly City outskirts are cheaper (and still mighty close to those hipcool Valencia Street bars). Basically, it does not make sense to want to crowd a place more than it already is unless you are simply trying to impose your greedy will on a situation (like forcing your way onto a severely overcrowded MUNI; making life harder for others, but at least getting what you want and getting to where you want to get to). It makes sense to want to resent the overcrowding on those who are ostensibly aware of the neighborhood and the dire situation, but still choose to compound the issue.

I would argue, though, that it would be somewhat irresponsible of those effected by the real estate rush to direct all of their resentment at the neighbors and none on the landlord. For example, my friend J lives in a building that is owned by a San Francisco family. Ironically enough, this family has a history of lucky strikes. They found gold back then and have lived off those profits ever since (even own a popular restaurant in the Mission). But now, in the second coming of the rush, they have taken notice of another opportunity to cash in. Let’s say J and her family pay approximately $700 a month for rent. J and her family are safe for now, thanks to the relationship between her mother and the landlord, but say the day comes when the mother and the landlord are no longer around. J believes the landlord’s heir would evict J and her family to make room for other, wealthier people willing to pay closer to $1500. In this case, it is clear to me that the blame should go to the landlord and not whomever actually moves in. It is a more clearly evil act to cash in on an opportunity that is guaranteed to betray people, whereas contributing to the overcrowding itself (as a human body taking up space) is merely a consequence of the evil act. In other words, it is worse to promote and instigate gentrification (as a landlord) than to play the role of a pawn (or newcomer) in the gentrification itself.

Now, those people directly moved or affected by the eviction problem have all the right to ration out their resent in any amounts and directions as they please. It just appears that maybe the greater share of the blame ought to be heaped on those eager to promote the availability of the Mission (all while undercutting the wellbeing of those already living here). The newcomers are merely the players in a game being refereed by the landlords. It’s a crappy game because the teams winning most of the time are the ones being protected by the refs.

 

16th and Protesto

helladowngentrification

When turning up gets political.

More and more frequently protests are propping up all around, mostly in the Mission. Some are less rowdy than others, but they seem to aim to escalate to a certain class of mob-like gathering. Just the other day (read a little about it: http://missionlocal.org/2014/01/mission-protesters-take-on-condo-dwellers-cops-cafes/) there was another protest, calling for people to “shoot the cops” and “burn the coffee shops”. The intent of this protest (and many others) is, of course, to engage in anti-gentrification catharsis, but the explicit reality is that it comes across as a crude and unfocused attempt to remark on the flaws of the current version of (Neo) San Francisco.

Firstly, to ignore the problem of burglary and instead aim vitriol at cops is sort of irresponsible. Some claim that the increased presence of officers on 16th and Mission (and other shady parts of the hood) can be attributed to the increased presence of richer folk. That might be true. At worst, the wealthy have proven that they can flex their influence and impose their will on the city by making things happen. At best, the wealthy’s influence has manifested itself in the form of increased police presence in places that might be dangerous for your girlfriends, mothers, and family to walk through on their way home from work late at night. Of course, it’s harder to walk around with a 40oz, but I think the trade off ultimately benefits more people than it hurts. Hell, I’ve been written up a time or two (stay away from 24th late at night fyi; cops be like grizzlies at the river hunching over for salmon) and even I’m ok with the increased police presence. I’ve come to terms with the fact that the city streets aren’t just my own personal playground (the streets are other people’s storefronts, baby-stroller lanes, pathway from work to home, etc.) and I’d rather more people feel safe than I feel free to debaucherize the town.

Secondly, to incite people to arson isn’t a safe idea for the community. Something about destroying property tends to lead to more property destruction. As was seen last year, some people don’t know how to do that shit right (supposed to burn Dodgers jerseys, not sacrifice MUNI buses). I can only imagine what would go wrong if people started burning places. I’m sure more than a few instances of friendly fire would piss people off (aim for Generic Coffee Shop, hit local mom and pop trinket store; misfire). Besides, what good is anyone’s brilliant creativity behind bars if convicted of arson? It would be like an infantry shooting themselves in the foot and taking themselves out of a war that needs as many soldiers as possible. Staying out of trouble is probably a wiser move.

Plus, this call for shootings and burnings could make the big-picture problem worse. If the new residents start seeing all this violence, they (with all that influence) are gonna call for even more police enforcement and then people are gonna feel they have to match that with even more violence. Eventually, the area would become a sterile no fun zone with a cop at every corner, thanks to the people who weren’t thinking hard enough about what could happen later if they continue all this irrational behavior. It’s like one gigantic party foul. Though, luckily, nothing too crazy has happened, it is wise to at least appreciate that nothing has, and to maintain that nothing will, happen. We don’t need to b martial law guinea pigs.

Protesting itself is not a problem, of course. I just think town hall type meetings would portray  a better image of the rebellion (rather than broken windows, death threats, etc.) and could actually squeeze compromise and creative solutions out of people a lot better than the rowdy rallies. For instance, the issue of the condos and the possible pros and cons that come with them. Some people argue that the condos would be a huge eye sore to the city. The condos could also displace other establishments that have been around for a long time. That car wash near 16th and Potrero doesn’t need to transform into a sun-blocking monolith representing the rise of the rich. Still, others could argue that the condos would allow certain people to move in there rather than displace families in other places by bidding on higher rent around the neighborhood. They could potentially block the rise of evictions (and serve to quarantine the rich). See, there are points of discussion here that I don’t think rallies always help to illuminate.

Rallies keep people occupied with doing the wrong things (threatening, throwing, drinking, etc.). Blogs can only do so much (fun to read, but not truly mobilizing). I’d rather meet with local business owners, neighbors and all relevant parties (maybe at the city college campus every Tuesday, or at Crepe House across the street) to come to an agreement about what’s the best way to articulate our worries with the City’s officials. It’s too easy to want to hate all cops, all coffee shops, all new residents, etc. It’s harder to focus that anger on the particular individuals themselves, simply because it costs mental energy to figure out who is actually at fault. But if people could meet and help each other understand who exactly should be called out, then the entire cause would become clearer and more legitimate.

Pain & Gain

HELLADOWNMRI

Pleasure now and pain later or pain now and pleasure later?

I tried to walk this stupid injury off. Did an OK job of it, too.  For 5 months I was convinced that it was a better idea to gain money now, rather than later. Afterall, who knows what would happen if I were to choose to take time off from work and pursue surgery. I could lose out on making money, even lose my job, and limit my ability to pay off that dumb debt (I’ve since cut it in half). That would be a pain in itself, wouldn’t it? So long as I can secure some kind of financial safety in my present situation, I was content to limp from home to gym to bar to home to sleep. Wasn’t particularly fun having to put my socks on very uncomfortably (bad leg gets extra attention and awkward bending), or having to shower with one straight leg and one sort of bent leg (left vastus lateralis/medialis and rectus femoris got mighty strong at this), but I managed. The goal was to avoid surgery and to live as normal as possible, in spite of the injury. I chose to put off the ultimate pain (surgery) until later, so that I could enjoy whatever security I had now (money, approximately normal quality of life, etc.).

Looking back, maybe it was a bad investment of resources (time, energy and money) to try and put pain off to later, rather than sooner. I could’ve chose to have the injury right then and there (in the present then), rather than put it off into the future (what happens to be the present now).  I could’ve been healthy by now (had I taken care of it then). By now, I’ve managed to become a certified personal trainer, a blogger, and more (that stuff will be shared later). But because I’m pretty much crippled for another few weeks (really up to two months, according to the Doc), my worries now are that I can’t really engage in the things I would like to (gym time, writing time, project time, etc.). I mean the surgery would have truly handicapped me at the time and would have restricted me from doing anything (where as at the time I was able to do most things). But now, it seems I’ve really handicapped myself at the moment (like a time bomb blowing my legs out from under me). Who knows how much money I could be making now had I just chose to go under the knife 5 months ago.

It’s the same thing with drinking. Living here in the City, it’s a challenge just staying sober for more than a few hours. We’d rather get fucking wasted now, fully understanding the looming pain. We know this 30 pack of tecates is gonna lead to a 30 turds. But we don’t care because we want the good company, funny shit, hook ups, etc. now, rather than who knows when. People will invest money or whatever to make sure that a positive experience is secured. It would be painful to know that all your buddies are out at ol’ Pop’s while you’re doing dishes instead. Better to have fun than not fun, right? So better to drink than do dishes. Of course, what happens is that a negative experience is also secured, but for later. That Jameson doesn’t taste as good coming up, does it? Those bottles of Beringer should’ve stayed in the kitchen, not on the living room carpet. That pregnancy test should never have come into play. Lots of painful shit comes not long after all that pleasure. But for most people, that pain which sucks so bad in the moment (hangover, fight injuries, car window smashings, etc.), soon gets left in the dust and it’s like it never happened and lets to it all again next weekend. In other words, always prefer pleasure to pain, and whatever pain you do experience try to put it behind you.

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I’m trying to point out how instincts, attitudes and beliefs are time-sensitive. For example imagine someone is asked to drink an entire bottle of Patron for 1 million dollars. One option is, I give the person a 1 million dollars now, but a month from now that person would have to drink the bottle. The other option is to drink the bottle now and get the million dollars immediately after. It’s a difficult position to be placed in, but after reconciling the present with the future, a person could go either way. Some people could use the money to pay off debt now and be relatively worry free (that looming torture, though…) and maybe even buy a fixer upper and set up shop for the family. Not a bad rationale. Of course, the person could go full retard and drink the damn bottle now, suffer the greatest hangover of all time, and stumble out with money. That person would have nothing at all to worry about a month from now (just focus on recovery). Ultimately, which option is “better’ depends on how close or how far someone is to that pain.

After choosing the full retard option so many times, maybe its time to choose the slightly less painful option of taking the money and running far away. That stupid YOLO, live everyday like its your last bullshit only gets you so far. So maybe living everyday like its tomorrows yesterday is a good change of pace. Maybe staying sober and not spending as much money getting drunk will be good in the long run. Yeah, maybe you won’t get laid as much (not that you’d remember, anyway), but you could live to see another day (a painless day). Also, choose surgery right away rather than not at all. Don’t be the guy at the gym showering like a flamingo. Getting healthy now will give you more healthy days in the future. That’s what matters, after all. Choose good health and run away from pain. Don’t let it find you. Be afraid.

That concludes this Public Service Announcement.

P.S. Once I’m healed we out here regardless. YOLO.

Crazy Talk

San Francisco has become the home of weirdo psychopaths. Even the homeless are scared of ’em.

In what has become my morning routine, I read another controversial bit of news (or gossip, really). Mr. Greg Gopman was caught posting under the influence of egotrip and wondered out loud, “Why the heart of our city has to be overrun by crazy, homeless, drug dealers, dropouts, and trash.” and goes on to claim he “[has] no clue” why it is this way. Oh, brother (here’s the link: http://valleywag.gawker.com/happy-holidays-startup-ceo-complains-sf-is-full-of-hum-1481067192?utm_campaign=socialflow_gawker_facebook&utm_source=gawker_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow).

First off, he goes on to claim San Francisco as his city. Or more importantly, their city. Let’s get the obvious issue out of the way. The sense of entitlement that some Goobers, outsiders, techies, whatever you wanna call them, just quite frankly irks me. When a kid, who is born and raised in the City,  claims SF to be their city, I accept it. The kid might not even understand the history of the City, or have a good world sense of what makes it their City, but I understand there isn’t some kind of malice or hidden agenda on the kids part. But when a dude who hasn’t lived here for more than a few holiday seasons (came from Florida) wants to claim the City as theirs, merely because they have a hipcool website, I’m gonna be tempted to have a stern talk with that person. Wealth, websites, and stock-options does not beget one the ownership of a city. It’s a toxic belief to hold; that I can waltz on into any restaurant and demand a burger at a sushi spot simply because I have an enterourage, hundreds in my pockets and a nice ride. I’d get kicked out of every resutaurant acting like that. Just doesn’t work that way. Certain privileges are make-believe (childish demands, really) and Mr. Gopman seems to think playing house in SF makes the city his, or theirs. Sorry bruh, but nah.

Second, this guy has a problem with the supposedly crazy homeless folk in the city. He’s afraid of them. He would rather avoid having to rub elbow to bloody elbow with them. But let me be charitable here and say most people don’t like getting along with their local hobos. It’s true. Not everyone is kind enough to strike up a convo and find some interesting advice on the streets or buses. People tend to get up from their seat on the bus to move to a far away (less stinky) seat. So maybe this Mr. Gopman (or Gooberman) is not a bad person for being afraid of them.

But my problem is he believes them to be crazier and more unwanted than he is, and I think there’s a fair bit of irony in that belief. Mr. Gopman mentions a crazy homeless lady who goes around kicking people. Now, that seems unpleasant, right? Unwanted, even (shin kicks hurt). But is she all that crazy compared to someone who has the capacity to not only kick back (if he wanted), but to mandate his entourage to go around kicking all homeless people (including kicking lady) out of the City by money-funded force? Here’s a lady who is probably out of a job (no money), out of a home (no friends, famaily or entourage) and has no access to the world (no hipcool blog or start-up). By all accounts, this lady is of no harm to me. But here’s a guy (Mr. Goober), who most likely has way more money than most homeless people, a way bigger network of friends and influence, and has the means to advertise his thoughts (and rally the troops) on the internet. We’ve seen how the non-homeless entrepeuners (some of them, at least) machinate. If they want someone out, they can make it happen. Honestly, I’m less afraid of a kick to the shin than a kick to the curb. A genocide of vagrants sounds crazy and scary, doesn’t it? No homeless lady is gonna decide to claim the City as hers and start buying up apartments, homes and local buisness just to make a point, but I’m afraid a psycho like Mr. Gopman would.

Finally, Mr. Gooberman ties his statement up with a bow and claims he “has no clue” why San Francisco isn’t his city. His sense of entitlement has him so confused. Poor guy. Like any good villain in a movie, novel or video game, he can’t believe he hasn’t assumed ultimate power yet. I mean, he has it all, money, goons, and an audience. Of course, villains always lack the respect of the people they try overpower. It’s what causes the dissent, the battle, the war. It just seems to me he is out of touch with what San Francisco really is. There’s a reason he is the villain (or one of them). The people you’re trying to conquer aren’t exactly gonna just lay down, vacate the city and remove themselves from your red carpet (there is no red carpet, that’s just Market St, just so you know). So long as people like Mr. Gopman exist, who have the belief that things should always go their way, there will always be angry people to oppose them. A hero doesn’t want to allow the bad guy to assume maximum power and control of the universe. Just doesn’t happen that easily. So get a clue, dude. Those under the 7-figure salary line aren’t just gonna excuse themselves out of your way all like that.

Now, whether this guy merely ended up just kicking his foot straight into his mouth (a one-time mistake) remains to be seen. Who knows, he might just be trouble-shooting his brain so that he could eventually arrive at sanity. He did, after all issue some sort of apology (it’s a kinda weak-sounding one, to be honest). Still, my assessment remains: people like Mr. Gopman are way crazier than the homeless people on Market St. Not only is this guy (probably) a kleptomaniac, he’s also too powerful for his own good, and delusional. Like Bowser, Ganondorf, Team Rocket, or any fictional super-villain, this guy is way more dangerous than a merely-mortal homeless person. Be afraid of people like this guy, who speak recklessly and have the potential to follow through on their threats. Don’t be too afraid of the people waking down Market street. Some of them are really just the ghosts of the people who were, too, outcasted by the wealthy, and who are cursed with the task of haunting the privileged rich. If anything, they’re the closest thing to being the City’s guardian angels.

Just my take.