Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I am running. That's right. Don't chase me or track me down.
Low clouds blanket The City taking off the regular chill. Headlamp...check, although it's not needed thanks to the moon, even behind the clouds. It breaks through every now and then to make sure we know it is there. A single spotlight atop The Transamerica building urges me up the hill...then a thousand lights applaud.
I am running. Don't try to call me, text me or track me down. Whatever it is it can wait. Besides, who cares. I am coming back with a clear state of mind.
An owl. Those foolish souls with earphones can't hear you greet them. Eucalyptus...then redwood, energizing scents push me further. The Bay is calm, flat and flirtatious. Lights flicker from all over. Richmond. Berkeley. Closer now than in daylight. Each step a different journey. Changes my eyes don't need to see.
Icons illuminated. Beacons at sea bright. The largest glow of all now crystal clear above me. No clocks. No demands. No question I am alive. I am running.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Luckily for me I don't believe in ghosts or the afterlife. I always knew the area where I live used to be a cemetary. This part of The City was full of cemetaries; Laurel Hill, The Chinese, Odds Fellows, Lone Mountain, Masonic, Calvary and others. As The City expanded the graves were moved to Colma just to the south. More dead people live in Colma than alive. The lone reminder is the Columbarium that is about 2 blocks from the apartment and the only place to rest for 'eternity' in SF. There are other reminders if you look close, like broken head stones used as filler for cement in some places. Inside the Columbarium are many of the names who built this fine city. Including one named Milk.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
It is Dungeness Crab season. I can buy them at the Ferry Building for $5.99 per pound or on Clement Street for $3.69. Hum. While the Ferry Building gets all the hype the hot buys are elsewhere.
Here in the epicenter of the local food movement there's one area where almost nobody sticks to their locavore ideals: If you want to serve fish, it pretty much has to be imported. With the collapse of the commercial salmon and herring fisheries and the shortage of petrale, Dungeness crab is the only local seafood still readily available. And that's just barely hanging on. "The confluence of expanding global markets and more assertive local controls has produced dramatic change. One fishery after another petered out in the wild, and regulators curtailed fishing to preserve species," Katherine Ellison wrote in the New York Times today. On the plus side, Tomales Bay oysters seem to be doing fine, and those wild Dungeness are proving hard to decimate. When they go, we might as well pack it up and move to Oklahoma. At least the rents are cheap.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
And speaking of security when are we going to stop being on 'security threat level Orange'? What a worthless designation. Is the capture or death of Osama Bin Laden going to bring it down to Green? Airport security is so inconsistent it is laughable. I see people go through the trouble of putting their little belongings into clear plastic bags while I have never done this and have yet to be stopped. I carry nail clippers in my carry on. Watch, next time I fly I will be stopped and it will be confiscated.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Las Vegas has me confused. Part of me loves the extravegance while part of me is repulsed by it. Having just returned after a three year absence the place amazes me with its growth and change. This expansion seems to be distancing itself from the common human. The newest hotels/casinos are opulent palaces catering to the weathly; The Hotel at Mandalay Bay, The Wynn, Encore, The Palazzo and while I was the there the new Mandarian Oriental opened up. All of them exude money and exclusivity. Walking though I am struck by how much money I am surrounded by; the art, the decor, the stores.
Nothing is cheap in Vegas anymore. You can visit a Chanel or Dior store just about anywhere. Need a new Rolex? It is here and over there. What does the common person or family do? I don't think they go to downtown or old Vegas, they want the 'Vegas experience' and head to the strip and they likely have to save or go in debt doing it.
Unless you are a big money maker or work for a company paying for you to attend a convention don't plan on a cheap Vegas vacation. You won't find a buffet for under $15. Tickets for shows can't be found for less than $60, although you can find 2-for-1 day of deals. I feel for a family of four.
All of this excess while so much of the world struggles. Take a quarter of what is spent in Vegas and I bet it could support a few countries. Heck, a buffet could probably feed a a few hundred starving villages.
Now at the same time this is America. This is what it is all about. Go big or go home. Live large or don't live it all. But can't there be a balance? I want to see a new hotel/casino go up that does not charge over $150 per night. I want to see a new casino where the majority of minimum bids are $2 to $5. I want see a place where I can buy a $5 sandwich instead of $15. I want to see a new casino that has class, art and atmosphere while allowing me and the common human to escape and live the Vegas experience. And I want it on The Strip. Enough of my rant. I am heading back to Vegas at the end of January. Viva Las Vegas!
Friday, December 04, 2009
In the 1870s a five-block stretch of Fulton Avenue in the Inner Richmond District, across from Golden Gate Park, was known as Beer Town. Dozens of saloons serviced the patrons of the adjacent Bay District Race Track. Beer Town and the racetrack was serviced by the Geary Street, Park and Ocean Railroad which ran down D Street.
The Midwinter Exposition held in Golden Gate Park in 1894. Soon demand for drinking establishments grew and by the middle of that year, Seventh Street alone had seven saloons side-by-side in one half-block. When the Exposition closed and the racetrack folded, Beer Town didn't miss a beat. The old racetrack was converted to an Army base, Camp Merritt holding 7,000 soldiers. The number of saloons swelled to 44 and were accompanied by a number of brothels. Camp Merritt closed in 1898 and still Beer Town thrived due to the popular nearby amusement park, the Chutes.
Even the earthquake of 1906 and an angry neighborhood improvement committee failed to shut down the saloons and the brothels. What eventually caused the demise of Beer Town was an extended rail strike and the closing of the Chutes. By 1910 only five saloons remained and the surrounding Richmond District was fast being converted into a residential area. The final drinking establishment, the Jockey Club was torn down in 1914. Today, the only remnant of Beer Town is this train waiting shelter located at Futon and Seventh Street on the edge of Golden Gate Park.
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
San Francisco with pink cheeks, chapped lips, fog on its breath, eyes straining across the next hill, sharply etched wonders to behold. On a day like this everything is close enough to touch.
It is hard to imagine the Presidio Heights area as an empty expanse. But prior to the 1860s, the western two-thirds of San Francisco, the 'Outside Lands', was only sand dunes and coastal scrub. The undesirable land had no level ground and was covered in ever-shifting dunes, some more than 100 feet tall. However the growing city needed land, so local developers began to employ huge steam shovels to level the sand hills and fill in the extensive tidal marshes. By 1864 the area had it's first toll road, Geary Blvd, extending from the city, seven miles west, to the ocean.
At first the area attracted only businesses that required lots of cheap land like race tracks, cemeteries, dairy farms, and orphanages. But eventually the road prompted many downtown residents to move out and settle along the road. Within a few years there were 3,000 residents and local boosters, hoping to attract more homeowners, renamed one area 'The Sunset' and another 'The Richmond' due to its perceived similarity to Richmond, Australia.
Soon prestigious neighborhoods were also being developed, such as Presidio Terrace, Lake Street, Sea Cliff, and Presidio Heights (photo above). By the turn of the century the reclaimed area, highlighted by the lush, expansive Golden Gate Park, had been transformed from barren sand dunes into a series of residential neighborhoods with trees, lawns, parks, and landscaped hills. The former Outside Lands were no longer recognizable as the Great Sand Waste.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
During the early 1900s Tessie Wall was San Francisco's most famous madam. Born in San Francisco, Tessie a former dancing girl, was already well known for having out-drank boxing champion John L. Sullivan when she opened her first "lodging house" on O'Farrell Street in 1898. Successful from the start, Tessie opened a second high-class establishment on Larkin Street after the earthquake of 1906. It was then that Tessie met Frank Daroux, a Republican state political boss who quietly ran a number of gambling parlors and pool halls. The two fell in love and married in a secret civil ceremony in Philadelphia to protect Frank's public political reputation.
Tessie's wealth allowed her to indulge in her passion, buying antiques. She bought gilded oil paintings, a Napoleon bed, dinner service designed for William Rockefeller, and european draperies from the Spreckles mansion, she also became famous for every year buying hundreds of tickets to the Policemen's Ball and becoming the unofficial queen of the annual events. Wearing a diamond tiara, she would slam hundreds of dollars on the bar and yell, "Drink that up boys! Have a drink on Tessie!"
In 1917 Frank sued for divorce citing long quarrels and Tessie's unwillingness to give up her businesses and move away with him. Heartbroken, Tessie tried to stab herself with a carving knife and then unsuccessfully attempted to patch up their relationship. After a wild, public divorce trial Frank was finally granted his request by a judge. A few months later Tessie spotted Frank coming out of the St. Francis Hotel with a woman on his arm, Tessie ran up and begged him to return to her. Frank refused, turned away, and Tessie shot him three times with a revolver. As she was arrested she famously cried, "I shot him 'cuz I love him, damn him!"
Frank survived the attack, refused to prosecute his ex-wife, and eventually moved to the east. Tessie sold her businesses for a small fortune and retired to this townhouse, filled with her antiques and numerous portraits of Frank. Tessie's last public appearance was at the Policemen's ball in 1932. She appeared in a high blonde wig, a flowing white satin gown and wearing all the diamonds that she owned. She died a month later at the age of 63, still in love with Frank.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
1. TSA Airport Security is a joke. This more so after news of Britney Spears being allowed to board her Big Gulp. I don't travel with my hygenic items in a clear plastic bag and have never had any trouble. I pass through with my carry on containing lip balm, a tube of sunscreen and other so-called banned items everytime. The metal detector does not catch my cell phone, watch, belt, ring or other metal objects I never remove before passing through. I understand it is a veil of security but doesn't that veil also have to have some teeth?
2. Baggage fees. $20 bucks to check my bag? It causes more trouble when I carry it on. You have the baggage staff there and they are already loading bags, what is the need for the charge?
3. I requested to change to a flight leaving one hour later than my orignal. There were plenty of seats available and I would not have to fly stand-by but it would cost me $150 dollars to change. What? Why? The airline is not losing money by allowing me to leave an hour later on the same airline. So what, somebody has to type in some new flight information. That is whay they get paid to do.
4. When an airline says it will have an ontime departure or arrival it sounds like it wants a pat on the back. That is what I paid you to do.
5. Don't tell me to arrive 1 1/2 hours early only to have to sit and wait in your dreary airport lounge for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
6. Fix the automatic check in computers. Why is it half of them are out of service?
7. If you are going to charge people to pay for headphones to watch a movie then why do I have to listen to your commercials and public relations messages over the cabin speakers? Let those idiots who paid for headphones listen to that crap.
8. If you are going to be so stingy and tight on security why don't you crack down on the regulation size of carry-on bags? I am tired of seeing people squeeze mid-size bags into overhead compartments.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
I got some new wheels for training runs. The Run Avant+. I usually run in the Structure Triax+. The Run Avant+ is a lot like the Lunar Glide but .06 ozs lighter, at 10 oz., perfect for tempo and speed runs which I am now doing. The Run Avant+ is a bit lower to the ground and generally a bit more minimal than the LunarGlide+. It does, however, feature the LunarLite cushioning system and the new Dynamic Support midsole design architecture, so most runners should find that it provides support appropriate for up to mild overpronators (while feeling like a really well cushioned neutral shoe if you don't need added support). There is no stability strap like in the LunarGlide+ and a bit stiffer.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
This is from last year's Chihuly exhibit at the deYoung.
Chihuly uses glass while Vuitton uses cheap plastic pipes.
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Monday, September 07, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Shoelaces Not Needed Everyone knows how to tie shoelaces but most don’t know how to properly adjust them. That uncomfortable shoe could just be a matter of tension. Technically you should readjust every 4-5th wear. Why even bother if there’s something better? The No Shoelace Shoe uses a single strap that wraps around the entire width of your foot’s arch. By simply tightening or loosening a velcro strap, you achieve the perfect fit. Designed for runners but this simple design could easily translate into any footwear. Designers: Seon-Keun Park & Jin-Sun Park (via No Shoelace Shoe Design by Seon-Keun Park & Jin-Sun Park » Yanko Design)