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Dog Bites 

Server Farms and District Six Democrats' Parties

Wednesday, Jan 31 2001
The Great Uninvited

It will come as no great shock to anyone but Dog Bites that, once again, we have failed to make the Nob Hill Gazette's Red Hot Singles List. But this blow to our social profile is nothing -- nothing! -- compared with the fact that we haven't received an invitation to the party the District Six Democrats are throwing at Backflip.

We just know if we miss this chance to get down with the Residential Builders' Association's Joe O'Donoghue, we can kiss any hope of making next year's Red Hot List goodbye. 2001 is still young, but it's hard to imagine that anything else that happens in the next 11 months is going to be anywhere near as cool as sipping a Mandrin and tonic out by the pool, chilling to some deep house while the supervisor who co-sponsored legislation proposing a six-month moratorium on new live-work loft projects hangs with O'Donoghue, a sponsor of the Backflip party and an, um, outspoken defender of those same lofts.

We mean, huh?

"It's not really my party," explained the supervisor in question, Chris Daly, who nevertheless plans to attend the event -- though he said he expects it will be "awkward."

The Fangxaminer had reported that the party is a fund-raiser to retire Daly's campaign debt; Daly said it's actually a benefit for the District Six Democratic Club, which supports the district's Democratic candidates, and noted many of the party's sponsors had in fact been heavy backers of his opponent, fellow Democrat Chris Dittenhafer.

"It was a bit of a PR nightmare for me," added Daly, who said he spent very little money on his own campaign, and isn't worried about his debt. He also told Dog Bites he wouldn't take money from anyone who might later have business before the Board he would be opposing. "It's not like it's life or death for me," he said. "If [the District Six Democrats] write me a check, I'll decide whether to deposit it or not."

Food, Beverages, and Interior Decoration

What with the Super Bowl and the Lunar New Year occurring within days of each other, Dog Bites felt this was not the week in which to begin any rigorous programs of dietary reform, and settled instead for an extra trip to the gym to offset the effects of a New Year's dinner at Broadway's industrial-sized Golden Mountain restaurant. (Oddly enough, our first choice of destination, Clement Street's Tong Palace, where we'd eaten far too much dim sum Sunday, had suffered a suspicious fire early Wednesday morning; some of our friends took this event rather personally.)

After our feast, we wandered up to Li Po and the Buddha Bar, where the gutters were drifted with tiny shreds of red paper left by exploded firecrackers, then back down to -- of course -- DJ bar Rosewood, brought to you by Jon Gasparini and Greg Lindgren of 15 Romolo. Dog Bites has been so confused by conflicting feng shui advice that we can't tell if our own apartment is harmoniously decorated or not; nevertheless, we feel confident predicting a prosperous Year of the Snake for the brand-new bar, which is almost directly across the street from the Blind Tiger but a significant distance away in sensibility. The titular wood panelling is a very post-millennial backdrop for dramatic downlighting above concrete tabletops and the standard Mies-ish tufted black leather seating; our only quibble was with the Afro-Celt Sound System on the stereo, but then, it was a Wednesday night.

Oh, God, we're such snobs.

Actually, we also feel fairly confident predicting that the feng shui craze has pretty much run its course. We spent early Saturday browsing at Builders' Booksource in Ghirardelli Square and saw relatively few new titles on the topic; in fact, feng shui is losing major trend-ground to vastu vidya, the Indian system of placement, which -- Dog Bites noted with horror -- has completely different recommendations on where to put your stuff, and is the subject of a growing number of lavishly illustrated, just-published books priced in the $30 range.

Thinking to fortify ourselves with a cup of tea before what would undoubtedly be a strenuous afternoon of furniture moving, we stopped by the Fountain and Candy Store, and immediately saw a mini-backpacked tourist slipping a chocolate peanut butter bar into her purse, conveniently level with the wall-mounted candy bins. We tried giving her a reproving look; she responded with blank-faced defiance. Flummoxed, we glared wildly at the various chocolates for a minute, imagining how much their prices were inflated to offset rampant shoplifting, before stalking out without buying so much as a truffle.

Still, we reflected that although we have happily abandoned most theology in favor of activating our lucky corners, the idea of karma retains its appeal, and regardless of what might happen to the chocolate thief in her next life, she was already getting her comeuppance in this one: a big butt.

Information Economy

We can't even express how excited we are by the news that top-level, top-secret meetings are being conducted over at the Chronicle: New publisher John Oppedahl is presiding over planning sessions for a brand-new Sunday edition, to be launched at the end of April. Details were not available at press time -- a phrase we like to toss in every so often to give the illusion this column contains breaking news -- because the project is still in the brainstorming stages, but Dog Bites hopes something can be done about that fist-gnawingly boring Sunday magazine, like maybe putting all copies of the thing onto a raft, pushing the raft out onto the bay, and setting fire to it. Oh, sorry -- was that not constructive enough?

In other updates, readers Jef Poskanzer and Steve Leibel expressed doubt that the server farm to which we referred last week could be using the equivalent of 1.2 million homes' electricity. "A server farm using as much as 1.2 million homes [per day] would be using 1.2 gigawatts," wrote Jef. "That is as much as a commercial nuclear reactor puts out, like one of the two at Diablo Canyon. Note that all of that power degrades to heat after use, and the heat must be removed if you don't want your server farm to turn into a glowing hole in the ground. If a server farm had huge cooling towers putting out cubic miles of steam, I think we'd notice."

Not only would we notice, it would be, well, sort of cool. You'd be driving visitors down 101 or something and they'd be all, "Wow, it really is foggy here," and you'd be all, "No, that's just the steam from the Internet," which would undoubtedly give pause to those convinced the information revolution is somehow de facto environmentally healthy. Dark satanic mills indeed!

Forced into reportorial mode, we did some checking ourselves, and according to figures from Mountain View's Equinix, the average data processing center uses the equivalent of 10,000 to 65,000 homes' electricity, with the largest centers sucking up 100,000 homes' worth. We hope everyone is satisfied.

Meanwhile, we've been doing our part to degrade power to heat and its lesser-known by-product, completely useless information, by typing "dumb motherfucker" into the search field at Google, our favorite search engine. If you haven't already gotten the e-mail on this, we won't ruin the surprise for you, though we will note that this particular amusement may not be available much longer, as a message at the resulting Web site now reads, "If you have arrived at this site through inappropriate references via a search engine, please be assured that we did not utilize this language in our site, our HTML, nor in our Internet promotion of this site. What happened was the result of a malicious act and we are pursuing remedies through the efforts of our staff and attorneys."

All we're going to say is that Dog Bites was highly disgruntled to find the "W Stands for Winner" T-shirt doesn't come in small.

About The Author

Laurel Wellman


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