September 30, 2012

Size Matters

Good morning and greetings, NBA training camp fans. Well, September, like any hopes of the oil companies earning a trillion less in profits per year to help out with global warming, is now history. Suffice it to say, boys and girls, “too little, too late” is heading right down the pike, and our children will be the beneficiaries of this oncoming ecological train wreck. In the words of humorist Dave Barry, “If you asked me to name the three scariest threats facing the human race, I would give the answer most people would: nuclear war, global warming and Windows.” For my money, you can throw in cell phones, texting and tweeting.

So now that we’re off to a positive start, let’s trot out the weather map. September in Santa Cruz was supposed to be the warmest month of the year, but no one told my Tommy Bahama sweatshirt. I don’t want to say it’s been a tad chilly, but when I went down at the wharf the other day, I saw a sea lion buying a fur coat. This past week of persistent fog and gray skies reminded me of wintertime in my humble westside abode, when we don’t clean the house, we just defrost it.

And that brings us to this week’s subject du jour. Now I am very fortunate to live in a nice home with plenty of room. It’s not Trump Palace or the Taj Mahal, but it’s comfortable and equipped with two TiVos. I believe it was Katie Holmes divorce attorney who once said, “A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams.”

And as I am well aware, everyone in this country is not as fortunate, as some people are forced to live in condos and igloos. As German playwright Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said between bites of wienerschnitzel, “He is the happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home with Direct TV Red Zone.”

Then we have our basketball, hip hop stars and presidential candidates, who live in 20,000 square-foot palatial estates, and let’s fact it, for some, a house is not a home without 18 bedrooms, a car elevator and a bowling alley. But despite these outrageous displays of ostentation, many cities are in need of a new housing model (New York, Boston) or an NFL team (Los Angeles.)

In story by the Associated Press, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors are set to vote this week on a proposed change to the city’s building code that would allow construction of the smallest, thimble-sized apartments in the country. Under the plan, these matchboxes, er apartments could be as small as 220 square feet, which is a little more than double the size of some prison cells, which has the residents at San Quentin in hysterics. And their digs come with free room and board.

These downsized petri dishes, which has sardines puffing out their chests, include a kitchen, bathroom, closet and guest house, which will be perfect for a small munchkin. We’re talking about living life to the fullest in an area the size of a full-sized parking space. It’s like living in a hotel without room service or housekeeping leaving a chocolate on your pillow every night.

According to the Grateful Dead archives, current regulations require the living room alone to be the size of these new souped-up shoeboxes. Schematics for the 300-square-foot planned units include window seats that turn into spare beds, beds that turn into tables and glasses of water than turn into bath tubs.

Proponents say the smaller coffins, er apartments would provide a cheaper option for the city’s many single residents, who have been priced out of the rental market as the region experiences a resurgent technology industry.

Let’s face it, Giant fans, city living ain’t cheap. San Francisco apartments rented for an average of $2,734 in June. These mini-submarine-sized micro-units are expected to rent for $1,200 to $1,700 a month. It allows them to accommodate up to very thin two people and requires an additional 100 square feet of space for each occupant above that number, like a goldfish or baby shrimp.

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Weiner, who drafted the legislation for these tiny abodes where your bedroom, living room, kitchen and closet all fit neatly into a hat box says “Although in our fantasy world everyone would live in a single-family home or a huge spacious flat, the reality of life is that not everyone can afford that.” Or as NBC news anchor Brian Williams commented, “If you have a backyard, count your blessings.”

But critics and the old woman who lives in a shoe counter that the units wouldn’t help families and could boost population density, straining public transit and have San Francisco ending up looking like Singapore without the gambling casinos.

Housing experts and Dr. Ruth say that going from big to small, “can be liberating. If you downsize your stuff along with your expectations of square footage, you really can do more with less.” And you never have to worry about hosting holiday meals, pot-luck dinners, tupperware parties or orgies. But you would have room for the grapes.

Interior decorators and claustrophobics say that the smaller the space you have to work with, the bigger your imagination and creativity becomes to accommodate it. That may be true, but I don’t want to take my bubble bath in a soup bowl.

But, of course, there are ways of being resourceful. For example, you can sleep on your sofa bed at night, use it as a couch during the day and the rest of the time bang your head against it when you realize you’re paying $1700 a month to live in place that’s slightly larger than Rover’s doghouse. Futilities not included.

So to kickoff the new month, we are going back in the time tunnel, starting off with a couple of shots from a late September sunrise. Next we are cyber traveling back to two years ago today, October 1, 2010. This was an unusual sunset, as the pinkish-purplish hue emanating from the clouds (photo #5) was coming from the east, where normally the most vivid colors trend from the west. I haven’t seen this scenario very often, perhaps as frequently as I agree with something a Tea Party member says. Just a spectacular fall night on the bay.

On to some late night. “Congratulations to both Mitt Romney and President Obama. They both won Emmys for their performance on “60 Minutes” last night. Obama won for acting as if everything has gotten better over the last four years, and Romney won for pretending to care about that other 47 percent. “A civil rights group said that up to 10 million Hispanics could be blocked from voting in the upcoming election because of these changes to the voting laws. 10 million. And that’s just here in LA.” –Jay Leno

“A lot of people are commenting that Mitt Romney is looking extremely tan lately. In fact, if Romney gets any darker he’s not going to vote for himself.” –Conan O’Brien “Mitt Romney just released a new campaign ad aimed at seniors too. It’s called, ‘Least we can do’ — named after how much he plans on doing for seniors.” –Jimmy Fallon “A new book claims the reason Texas Gov. Rick Perry did so terrible in the debates and forgot everything was due to a sleep disorder. Apparently the disorder was he slept through grade school, high school and college. “Obama has gone from ‘Yes we can.’ to ‘I’m sorry. No one can.’” –Jay Leno

“They taped Mitt Romney explaining his positions in a roomful of rich bastards, I’m sorry, I meant heroic job creators. And he said 47 percent of Americans are basically welfare bums who are mooching off the government. And he said, ‘My job is not to worry about those people.’ You know, where do people get the stuff that Mitt Romney is a heartless, calculating mother******?” “This tape is like so incriminating. Everything that liberals suspect mitt Romney says behind closed doors, now there’s a tape of Mitt Romney saying that exactly behind closed doors. It’s like if Republicans had a tape of Obama where he was reading Karl Marx with a highlighter while forging a birth certificate and getting serviced by Cleopatra Jones.” –Bill Maher

Ah, he paints such a pretty picture. So that’s our first blast for October. Big birthday wishes go out next Sunday to my old Ivy league pal, Dr. Michael Schur. The Rory Mcllroy of pediatric anesthesiology is a modest man, as few people know that he is the person who actually designed Dean Smith’s four corners offense.

We’ll catch you helping bring pro football gamblers back to their senses. Aloha, mahalo and later, NFL referee fans.


  1. As Chris Farley would say, “I’m living in a van down by the river.”

    Comment by Tiny Tim — October 1, 2012 @ 9:45 am

  2. It’s all about marketing. Shouldn’t call it 220 ‘square’ feet, maybe 220 ‘very hip’ feet? And it might be smart to target members of the Lollipop Guild.

    Comment by John Holmes — October 1, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Follow Sunrise Santa Cruz on Twitter
Sunrise Santa Cruz in the news!