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Dog Bites 

Summer in the City; I See Dead People; Worker's Playtime

Wednesday, Apr 5 2000
Summer in the City
What to make of the 83-degree weather? All through the hot, echoing city, while daffodil blossoms shriveled on their stalks and residents emerged, blinking and carrying straw bags full of bottled water and sunscreen, into the glare of the strangely deserted streets, there was a sense of mild disbelief. But then, the new Pac Bell Park had just opened to rapturous response, and anything was possible -- even the use of mass transit to get to the game.

"If the weather were like this all the time this would be the greatest city in the world," opined a friend of Dog Bites later that evening. And it was pretty great, although the dumpsters on Stockton, where we'd scored Kojak parking just around the corner from the Blind Tiger, were already a little high. Nevertheless, it was nice to run around in sandals without having cold toes, and yes, thanks, a Mandrin and tonic was just the drink.

The hottest thing out there, though, was the rumor that Board of Supervisors President Tom Ammiano had called up former DA candidate Matt Gonzalez to suggest Gonzalez run for supervisor. Could it be true? "Yes. Abso-fucking-lutely," says Ammiano. "We talked this weekend. I put my sights on Matt Gonzalez when I heard he actually did live in that district. The conversations have now turned out wonderful results and he's going to be running for supervisor."

Gonzalez considered Ammiano's proposal for a while, and the more he did so, the more he liked it. "I started saying, 'Hey, what about this?'" he says. "I think we're going to have a kickoff party at the end of the month."

Evidently, it's not too early for Ammiano to start coalition-building; Gonzalez, an attorney in the Public Defender's Office, will run in District 5, the Haight, which doesn't have an incumbent now that the city is returning to the district electoral system. "It's a very progressive district -- they did support me," notes Ammiano.

I See Dead People
In the midst of our unseasonable yet brief heat wave -- and let's just say now that it was almost a relief to wake up to fog this morning; sunny, hot weather, we feel, puts too much pressure on us to enjoy ourselves -- Dog Bites was gruntled to open our mailbox and find the April issue of Harper's Bazaar, whose theme, apparently, is "Fashion Gets Wired."

And just in time! It would appear the fashion industry has noticed with dismay that although there is plenty of money in the dot-com world, its denizens aren't spending nearly enough of it on designer clothing. In an article titled "Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire?" reporter Nancy Jo Sales slams indigenous San Francisco fashion, or lack thereof. "This is a town where Birkenstock has its own showroom (silver-lamé sandals in the window for the most daring of gals)," she writes, and later cattily observes that most of the women at a new media industry party "look as if they just came back from a camping trip."

Sales set out to find a Silicon Valley gold digger -- a woman whose avowed purpose is to marry dot-com money -- but didn't have much luck. Whether this was because such a woman is probably too canny to admit her choice of, uh, vocation to a national magazine, or because all the stock options in the world aren't enough inducement for even the most desperate bimbo to put up with the deathly dullness that is a mere drinks date with the average dot-commander, was unclear. Quite frankly, we were a little disappointed; you'd think the heady new-car smell of all that money would have been enough to get someone talking.

Sales does, however, introduce readers to "eligible bachelor" founder and CEO Rob Reid, coincidentally a Dog Bites acquaintance, describing him as "a panda bear of a man." What does that mean, we wondered? That he's pale, seriously overweight, and has dark circles around his eyes? Reid has always struck us as pretty normal-looking; we've even observed him eating on several occasions, and there were no bamboo shoots involved.

After noting, somewhat puritanically, that he drives a '91 Sentra ("Oh, God, I don't know why he doesn't just replace that thing. He could," said a mutual friend, on being read the relevant paragraphs in the course of a hilarity-filled phone call), Reid told Bazaar, "I do have the Palm VII, and the BlackBerry pager, and the new Nokia phone that looks like a cigarette lighter, the one that's harder to get than Springsteen tickets 10 years ago. Ya hear that, ladies?"

Goodness! Even the love-scarred Dog Bites got that fluttery pit-of-the-stomach feeling, although this may also have been due to the fact that we were somewhat hung over and the cat had just vomited a large hairball onto the hall floor. But does the Nokia 7110 even work in North America? Admittedly, Dog Bites isn't an expert on mobile phones, but we'd heard the expensive little wonder, which allows users to play video games, browse the Web, get stock quotes, and send e-mail, isn't actually compatible with cellular networks here, so we phoned Reid to ask him about it. Unfortunately, by press time he hadn't returned our call; we're sure that was only because he had better things to do, and not because he couldn't dial out.

Worker's Playtime
Driving home last Thursday, Dog Bites had the -- well, how to put this? -- unusual experience of having someone deliberately try to hit us with her white SUV (corner of Haight and Masonic, approximately 6:10 p.m., bleached blonde angry that Muni bus had gone off wires in her lane).

At least, we were hoping this sort of thing was unusual. But we're afraid it's not. There is a sense, simmering away in this once-mellow city, that a lot of people out there are really, really crazy, and the more we bring this up with people we know, the more scary stories we hear. Which makes us wonder: If San Francisco is so wonderful, and we're all so lucky to be here, why are there so many angry, nasty people in the city?

Well, basically, everyone who lives here thinks he or she is being screwed: screwed on rent, screwed on parking, screwed out of a choice of places to live, screwed every time they try to drive across town, screwed by the loud yuppie neighbors, screwed out of time to relax, screwed by the junkies from the next block who've tried to break in twice, screwed on salary, screwed on stock options (especially if they don't have any), screwed out of ever being able to buy a home, and, most galling of all, screwed out of ever being able to get into Ruby Skye.

But despite these dire portents Dog Bites is oddly happy: The Ikea opening is now mere days away, and while we're normally too dysfunctional to believe anything good is going to happen until it actually does, and sometimes not even then, we find ourselves putting what's left of our faith into knock-down Swedish furniture. We're not alone; people keep calling us to confess to similar feelings of helpless optimism at the prospect of wandering through acres (yes! acres! this will be the biggest Ikea store in California!) of tastefully modern vignettes before hauling home a flat-pack étagère.

Who says social democracy can't help America?

Tip Dog Bites -- especially if you're disgruntled. Phone 536-8139; fax 777-1839; e-mail

About The Author

Laurel Wellman


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