Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Special Topic: Network Neutrality

If you have no idea to what this hot topic is about, you’re not alone. But because you are using the internet this debate over network neutrality is very relevant to you. In short, net neutrality is the determining factor on the content we consume, and the speed in which it gets to us. The crowd rolling with the idea wants the government to make sure that the web is open to everyone equally. This includes the freedom of content as well. Opposition of net neutrality mainly wants the keep the government out of internet regulations. And that internet providers have the right to control what comes out of the wires they own.

Naturally, this topic is divided in the politic world. That is maybe why I have not caught wind of this discussion until now. To be frank, I hate politics. This stems deeper than because I am young, and they are boring. Which both so happens to be true. Politics are ugly, and one idea is always better than the next. Resolutions that make both sides happy are few and far between. I may be picturing a place that is too good to be true, but that is how I make my decisions, so why can’t politicians. We live in a time where there are no definite yes or nos. Things get done in the grey area, at least they should. So being that my anti-political stance has been taken; the topic of net neutrality transcends it.

The father’s of the internet had the vision of a place to connect information freely. It was to be open for everything, for everyone. The controlling power of the internet was not established because it was never supposed to be. Being that the creators hand is off of their baby, a new controlling step dad (opposition to net neutrality, i.e. ISPs) is trying filter the baby’s (the internet) growth…I just need to step back a moment and digest my own analogy. Yeah, it makes enough sense.

Now, my understanding is that the already controlling ISPs wants to regulate the content and speed to which we and receive information. Or at least that would be a possible outcome of no network neutrality. This can easily lead to content much like a network TV station; uniformed, exclusive, and not that entertaining or informative. This cannot happen. The internet is a tool to connect people and ideas, no matter the opinion or the person. The platform is an equal stage for the average American, as well as the unrepresented minority anywhere in the world. That is the beauty of the internet. I can hear a voice I would not normally witness. And it does not matter about the social class or location.

This is a global medium, just not an American monopoly. This is the time where the definition and function of the web will be established. I cannot even begin to comprehend the thought process of wanting to limit the internet. (Of coarse is comes to the almighty buck). Other than the obvious benefit of the heads making more money, how would this benefit the internet itself? It’s original function is going to be replaced with a selfish money making venture. What a shame.

I can see why a government intervention is annoying. Why must the government step into another area of life to which it normally would have nothing to do with it? When people are robbed of a platform created for them, something must be done. Net neutrality will keep the power of information with the people. It is our right to choose how we exchange the information that is important to us. This medium was invented to transcend TV and radio, to connect ideas and people. There is no reason to use the same controlling format on this medium. It is different baby and should not be trying to be like it’s competing cousins. It was not made for filtered information, so why try and resemble the different models and are controlled.

So when it comes down to it, network neutrality will insure that the original function of the internet is maintained. So if some broke person chooses to read up on how to enjoy San Francisco on a budget, they can. And without the ISP dictating whether my blog is important enough to get through to the viewer. It is none of their business to what I enjoy ingesting. Their taste, I can promise you, would not by shared by me. But by all means, more power to them if they enjoy it. Just don’t make me watch it, and we will be just fine. The function of the internet serves a greater good than the ISPs are envisioning.
To get informed on the issue, read these.

Net neutrality advocates cheer AT&T concessions.

McCain comes out against Net Neutrality.

The Threat is Real.

House rejects Net neutrality rules.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Riot watch, movies and boring foods

So hopefully you are not going to be near a computer in a few hours. The Olympic Torch is coming to town. This is the only North American stop for the torch run, and San Francisco is lucky enough to host it. The run will start at McCovey Cove, and will end at the Justin Herman Plaza for a little celebration. It starts at one, but unfortunately I will be in class. It seems to be worthy enough of a cause to skip, but group projects are holding me down. No hope for me, and by the time you will read this, chances are it is long gone for you as well. So if you aren’t going to make it, you can still watch it. A website is doing a live feed of the relay and of course protests. It could be a safe place to watch all of the mayhem that is expected.

So if you want something you can actually plan on, there is a free movie tomorrow night. Dolores Park has a free out door movie once a month. Tomorrow night they will be showing Fast Times at Ridgemont High. This is the only movie that actually makes me jealous of the 80s. Good flick.

Now to switch gears to a personal note, I have got to figure out a cheap yet healthy way to eat. This is a problem that most of us face, and it is hard to get out of. Last night I reached a new low. My dinner consisted of three bags of seventy-five cent Corn Nuts. Cheap, flavorful, and crunchy…yes. But is it wholesome and nutritious? Not even a bit. So it is widely known that eating cheap does not usually translate to healthy. The healthy way of life costs money, which leaves most of us in the dark. Fruits and vegetables are a luxury now and are priced in the same manner.

So here are some tips I have used (when I am feeling motivated). It is no fun, but when on a budget, plain tends to be healthy. For me, it takes a rationalization to get through the day. I either eat for health or for taste. It is as simple as that. When I shop for eating at home I focus on things with strict nutritional value. This includes bags of carrots, apples and what ever else is quick and healthy. When getting bread it is always 100% whole wheat. When buying meat it is always turkey. Thing of ground turkey will give you turkey burritos for a week. Deli turkey leads to turkey sandwiches for any meal. Yeah, I’ve done it. And have also with peanut butter sandwiches and eggs. I buy things I could eat quickly at any time of the day, with nutritional value. For the time being I have lost all concepts of breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is more of a matter getting the nutrition regardless of habitual factors.

So that was my little tid bit on trying to eat healthy. I obviously have a flawed system, but it is something to build off of. If you have any thoughts or successful methods for yourself please share them. Mainly so that I don’t die premature, due to damaging habits I create now.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Let you in on a little something

Doing your thing out in San Francisco is not cheap by any means. I don’t know about you, but it does start to wear on me after awhile. You need to find those little things that get you by everyday. Even if it is the littlest thing that may not numerically amount to that much. I will fill you in on a little secret, here. Paper towels are God’s gift to the broke. This is my little victory that I relish everyday.

There is nothing you can't do with papers towels. Paper towels are my favorite tool. The uses are countless and then you just throw them out till you meet your next obstacle. Need to hold a sandwich? Forget the plate and use a paper towel. Need to clean something up? Skip the laundry and use a paper towel. Don’t feel like buying toilet paper this week? Be gentle and use a paper towel. I think you all get where I am going with this paper towel rant. But I am not going to stop there, because I think I am on to something. Need a telescope? You called it, grab a roll of paper towels. Need a friend? You have a loyal one in paper towels.

So it may be clear that I am loosing my mind, and I am not really going to argue with that. So I will move on to another little secret you might actually find useful. And based on earlier posts, you would just think that I’ll share another cheap spot to drink at. I will give your liver a break this week, because it is time to get cultured. Museums are scattered everywhere in the city, and are there supporting our lack on money.

For the longest time I had no idea about how the first Tuesday (and in some cases Wednesday) of every month has selected SF museums with free admission. You read it right. You can be a kid at the Exploratorium once again for no cost on the first Wednesday. On the first Tuesday you can get into the Cartoon Art Museum, the SF Museum of Modern Art, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Gallery, and the Legion of Honor to name a few. Take advantage of these days, so you can feel smarter and not talk to paper towels.

Also, I have to share this for all of you Nintendo Wii addicts. There will be a Super Smash Bros Brawl tournament with prizes and no entry cost, on April 5th. The gamers out there might enjoy this, and are lucky I don’t own a Wii.

Once again everyone, feel free to share some of your cheaper hobbies, adventures, and clever ways of surviving the city on a dime. We are all in this one together, and any advice could make someone’s day just a little more affordable and enjoyable.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Use your Useless Knowledge

So I’m not sure how the fascination of answering questions while drunk came around. But oddly enough it is damn fun, granted I do not have the think too long or hard about it. Plenty of bars and pubs around the city are channeling the craze of pop culture trivia. People get excited about this. It must be because the lack of quality TV on Mondays and Tuesdays. People are just happy to have found something to do on those typically boring nights. And did I mention that entering these quizzes is FREE. Just to entice the trivia addicts these pubs have food and drink specials also.

So before I go any farther you might be curious to where these trivia nights reside. One of the most popular and rowdiest would be at the Bitter End. Now please don’t come here expecting a nice, quiet, polite game of trivia. That is not the name of the game here. Team names are intended to make fun of the host and his mom. Comments get raunchy and juvenile, but I’d say that is right up my alley. If you can put up with it and even dish out the comments you always think but withhold, you’d dig this place.

If you are looking for something a little more wholesome, the Chieftain Pub is the place. The crowd would be a little older, which may translate to maturity. Chances are you are going to get an honest game of trivia here. With the location in downtown, it attracts a different crowd of trivia goers.

There are at least 18 bars and pubs in San Francisco that host trivia nights. I spotlighted two that lie on the opposite sides of the spectrum. With so many to choose from there is bound to be a place that suits the atmosphere you are comfortable with. The bottom line is to just enjoy yourself, and community drinking games that don’t cost you anymore than you drink, is not a bad night.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

If a bum can live there, I can afford it.

I have realized being broke has put some limitations on getting out. Nightlife is a challenge (that we are trying to work out), but during the day it is like a walk in the park. Really, get off your ass and walk your self to the park. Golden Gate Park has a lot to do, maybe even too much. I mean really, who is going to go fly fishing in a little stagnant pond with no fish. I think I should change gears before I ruin it, because the park has so much to offer that most people don't know about.

Firstly, if you are going there with zero dollars you can enjoy...people watching? There are trails, grass fields and picnic areas covering the whole place so you can enjoy just being outside and whoever you are with. If that certain someone is kind of boring and you still don't have any coins there are free guided tours at the San Francisco Botanical Garden . But if you are not fifty yet and would like a little more action in your day, the disc golf course would do you right. Come equipped with the discs and the course is free.

If you want to leave the park a little more cultured, you have some things to choose from on little cost. Firstly, the Japanses Tea Garden is pure serenity in the crowded city. If I remember correctly it is free if you go in for the last hour or so. I say just pay the $5 so you have the time to sink into the pace of the gardens. It is well worth it. Right next door is the De Young Museum It is free if you go on the first Tuesday of the month. If not its about 10 bucks, and you save $2 if you show a Muni pass or transfer. I got there within the last half hour of closing so I got in free and ran through only one of the many halls they have. I don't recommend seeing it in that fashion, but walked passed it and walked in.

So thats that. There is so much more in this park than you could tell from the outside. Just go in a explore the place. Finding new things don't cost a damn thing. However actually doing them might, so tough rocks.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Drinks are on me…only from 4-7

Working the city to fit your budget means you must be flexible. We all know what that’s about, and some of us do it a little better than others. This includes knowing the bus routes and figuring out the next best way once you miss it. It means to hold out on eating till Wednesday because you know that is when the new coupon period begins. Above all of these different aspects of having little leisure money, I have mastered the pinnacle of flexibility. I can get drunk by seven.

Happy hour has become a valued commodity in my alcohol consumption. Now I’m no lush, but sometimes your out with friends and you have to make things happen. And so I do. A great place to do so is at Palomino. Like most places the hours are between four and seven. This place is a bargain with $3 draft beers, (about 15ish to choose from) margaritas, mojitos, and house wines. Appetizers are half off, and pizzas are $5. You can easily have a good time and spend the only Jackson you brought. At that hour the place is full of people from the financial district. But you don’t have to talk to them, they are with their own. Plus there is a patio, so you have the bay to stare at with your lazy eye after spending $12 on four drinks. I am quite impressed with the prices and my quick mental math skills.

Another place I must fill you in on is the Cigar Bar. It is a chill place with live music, a pool table, and plenty of lounging space. The deal is $3 draft beers and chips and salsa. So I will admit that I have seen better deals, but the atmosphere makes up for it. The live Latin music doesn’t start till 9:30 on Thursday and 10 on Friday and Saturday (no happy hour on weekends though). But the place still works for a good happy hour. The crowd is made up of mostly creatives from the production houses in the area. There is a heated courtyard, and the place just has a good vibe.

So drinking cheap is not the easiest, unless it is at home by yourself. But that is just sad. So here are some other places I have heard good things about. And if you have any ideas, it will be ok to share. No one is going to read this, you can tell me all the gems you don’t want blown up.

- Calzones

- Little Star Pizza

- Aces- happy hour is all day!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Welcome friends, students, cheap fools and broke folks

So there are many levels of fun and adventure you can get into here. It is as simple as what do you want out of it? I'm a simple man with needs of cheap drinks, cheaper food and good friends. Now that "good friend" idea is pivotal, because I could do just about anything with the right folks...If this guy were my friend I would enter any pillow fight in town.

My point is, after finishing an $8.99 bottle of E and J spilt between three or so heads the fun ensues without dumping all of that pocket change I'm living on. And if you don't drink then you just saved three bucks. That's a loaf of bread right there! Or a load of laundry, or maybe even two rides on the Muni to get you to and from that pillow fight.

With the help from you, good cheap fun about the city will be spotlighted. So your next time out won't be your last till your next paycheck.

Sf Pillow Fight 2008

Taco Tuesday and Movie Night

Maybe I'll see you there...