Fantastic fantasy

Dragon Age II is as elaborately polished and stage-managed as its predecessor was rough-hewn and idiosyncratic

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GAMER When they first announced a new game called Dragon Age: Origins, the prizewinning developers at BioWare were enjoying the success of Mass Effect, their wildly popular space opera, which had just introduced the public to the intergalactic potential of the studio's imagination by creating an entire sci-fi universe from scratch. If Mass Effect was all about the future of role-playing games, Origins was all about their past. Read more »

Anticlimax

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Dear Andrea:

I'm living with my first "serious" girlfriend and everything is great except the sex. As far as I can tell, she is having orgasms but I'm not. When we have sex I have to finish myself off with my hand. I don't think it's supposed to go this way.

Love,

Disappointed

Dear Dis:

You don't say whether you've ever had intercourse with anyone else before Serious, but I'm going to guess not.Read more »

5 Things: March 15, 2011

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>>1. (PARTY) HELP FOR JAPAN SF's nightlife community is already pulling out the fundraiser stops for Japan. First up: Thursday night's Good Foot party at SOM, a rad hip-hop and funk-soul affair with special superstar guests Lyrics Born and Trackademics. Read more »

Showdown time for Twitter/Tenderloin tax break

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After months of backroom deals to enlarge the tax giveaway zone – which I detail in this week's Guardian, based on my review of thousands of pages of public documents – the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Sub-Committee tomorrow (Wed/16) will finally consider the mid-Market and Tenderloin payroll tax exclusion zone.Read more »

SF health food stores selling out of potassium iodide **UPDATED**

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***UPDATE***

OK, we've got some new information here, which is different from what the California Department of Public Health told us a little while ago: U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin told media she supports the idea of buying potassium iodide as a "precaution." Read more »

How taxes on millionaires could save the NBA

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March is heaven for basketball junkies. The NCAA tournament goes full-tilt boogie and for fans of the pro game, playoff jockeying intensifies into overdrive. As a member of the latter camp whose team sits atop the NBA East, there is a river of joy flowing through the ventricles of my pumping heart.Read more »

Board considers extra $75.4 million for Mission Bay redevelopment

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UPDATE: An earlier version of this post reported that the Board was meeting in closed session. This was incorrect.

The Board is meeting today  to consider amending the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency’s (SFRA)  budget to issue an additional $70 million in tax increment bonds and appropriate $75.4 million ($70 million in bond proceeds, plus $5.4 million tax increment). The request, which comes on the heels of last year’s $64 million request, represents a 109.4 increase of tax increment bonds in 2010-2011. The city says thiis has nothing to do with Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to eliminate redevelopment agencies. But the last-minute timing of today’s session looks a tad fishy at best. And it's playing out as a vote on Treasure Island's final environmental impact report approaches, and against a backdrop of extreme funcertaintly related to all things Redevelopment, as Mayor Ed Lee and other city leaders try to figure out ways to prevent or reduce the affordable housing fallout from the governor's elimination proposal. Read more »

Editorial: The Willie Brown loophole

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As the stories in this issue show, open government laws are critical to democracy. Without the city’s sunshine law, we wouldn’t know how the proposal to give Twitter a tax break ballooned into a major giveaway. Without the sunshine laws, Tim Crews, the embattled publisher of the Sacramento Valley Mirror, wouldn’t have been able to use his small paper to hold public officials accountable.

That’s why the laws on the books need to be enforced — and sometimes strengthened. One example in San Francisco is the lobbyist registration requirement. Read more »

Twitter tax: It's not all about Jane Kim

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Randy Shaw's latest piece announcing that (duh) the Small Business Commission supports the Twitter tax break makes it seem as if the entire opposition to the deal is based on dislike for Sup. Jane Kim:Read more »

Eating green, gay crow

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Well it looks like our St. Patrick's Day coverage included more disreprencies than just last week's nomenclature kerfuffle. As Rob Blackwell, president of the Lesbian and Gay Band Association informed us via email yesterday, the Key West, Queens, and San Francisco St. Paddy's promenades are not, as we reported in the March 8 “March to the rainbow” article, the only shamrock shuffles in this country that welcome the participation of the LGBT community. In fact, writes Blackwell: 

This year and every year, several member organizations from the Lesbian and Gay Band Association march in similar events across the United States. Read more »

The net: Young victory and top-ranked tennis musings at the BNP Paribas Open

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The process of parking and getting to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden is a bit of a roundabout involving dusty lots and a bus ride. On the morning of March 11, day five of the two-week BNP Paribas Open, touring tennis professionals drive up and sidle through a lot by the main stadium, some passing two-story two-dimensional images of themselves on the building's wall. Read more »

5 Things: March 14, 2011

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>>1. DEVIL'S FOOD Well, why the hell not overlay a map of Mission cupcakeries with one of Mission gangs? Either it's a statement on encroaching gentrification -- or it's giving us a craving for a Norteño with cinnamon sprinkles.

Read more »

Looky-loos and show ponies: A day in the life at the BNP Paribas Open

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On one side of the main stadium at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, white picket fences separate the players, their entourages, and assorted tour types from the fans. There's a small plot of green grass near the practice courts, where the athletes jog after matches, or – like Scotland's Andy and Jamie Murray – kick a soccer ball around to pass the time. The setup has a looky-loo and show pony quality, like a human version of horses being led around before a race, though in truth, the BNP Paribas Open presents one of the most free and easy atmospheres in terms of player-fan interaction, with many of the pros walking through the complex amongst the general public. Read more »

The madness of nuclear power

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By Norman Solomon

Norman Solomon is president of the Institute for Public Accuracy and a senior fellow at RootsAction. His books include “Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience with Atomic Radiation” (1982), co-authored with Harvey Wasserman.

Like every other president since the 1940s, Barack Obama has promoted nuclear power. Now, with reactors melting down in Japan, the official stance is more disconnected from reality than ever.

Political elites are still clinging to the oxymoron of “safe nuclear power.” It’s up to us -- people around the world -- to peacefully and insistently shut those plants down.

There is no more techno-advanced country in the world than Japan. Nuclear power is not safe there, and it is not safe anywhere. Read more »

Delhi 2 Dublin brings the St. Paddy's bhangra

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It's St. Patrick's Day and everyone is Irish. Truly -- the West coast brand of ethnic identity is a far cry from that of New England and New York, where families ran straight from the Potato Famine to set up shop in certain neighborhoods, maintaining their Celtic colors even now. Nope, by the time the gene pool wagon-wheels its way to California, most people are some amalgamation of several cultures. Which is to say that the Vancouver-based Celtic electro-bhangra of Delhi 2 Dublin should be seen as less of a new bastardization of world musics as much as a let's-all-get-down reflection of who we are today.

But I'm waxing more sociological (per usual) than the band does itself. We caught the group's DJ, Tarun Nayar, on a layover in an airport he was having trouble identifying ("Baltimore?" he guessed). The only concrete location we were able to get out of him is that the band is playing Mezzanine on St. Patrick's itself, Thurs/17, after its show at the Aubergine in Sebastopol on Tues/15. Other sureities? Go to either and you're gonna have a high-energy, border-blurring dance party on your Guinness-wielding hands. Read more »