Saturday, December 18, 2010

Stairway to Hell

Saw this and had to laugh. A Stair Master in a stairway

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tired of Sports Talk

I am a sports fan. I am not a fan of sports talk. I heard this tonight, "On offense they like to score points." Duh. I can not name an offense that does not like to score points. That is one of my all time favorites. Others, "The team with the fewest mistakes is going to win the game." Ya think? "If their defense can shut 'em down they'll win." Boy, I would not have known that.

Same can be said for news reporters stating the obvious. "Police are investigating and looking for clues," when reporting on some crime. Really? Hum, I did not know they did that.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Food Truck Fake

Here is a sign the food truck frenzy has gone too far. The Whole Foods Food Truck. Thankfully is was not busy. I'll pass.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tale of Two Street Festivals

One thing that makes this City so great is its diversity. (I almost added openness as well but this place is not as open as it claims or people make it out to be but that is for another post)

This weekend saw two of the most different street fairs possible; the Cole Valley Street Fair and the Folsom Street Fair. Luckily I made it to both and felt equally at home while also out of place at each. I think the photos will clearly explain why...if you do not already know.

Cole Valley:
Folsom Street:
A bit different, yes. I never feel good about myself after attending the Folsom Street Fair because nearly all of the guys are, um, ripped, in shape and have serious pecs. At least it gives me motivation.

I could have provided you with more graphic photos from the Folsom event but I am going to try to keep this PG rated.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Convention Coolness?

Since when was it cool to walk around with a convention badge draped around your neck? I have attended maybe a half dozen large conferences in my life and I can not recall not immediately taking off my badge when walked out the door. I usually did not even wear my badge while inside the conference. I don't want to look like a geek attending some convention.

San Francisco has its share of big conferences and this week is one of the largest, the Oracle Open World Conference. All over downtown you see conventioneers wearing their badges; walking around, eating, shopping. "Do you get a discount in Macy's if you wear your badge?" I asked an employee after seeing a group of men buy shirts. "No." she replied.

Maybe it is just me and my lack of enthusiasm for the OOW (Oracle Open World). Maybe for these conventioneers is a like a badge of honor. But who are you going to impress? Others attending the conference? Not too impressive if so many others are wearing badges as well.

I guess I would wear a badge if it was exclusive or gave me a certain privilege. I would wear a badge if it was the IQ Over 300 Conference or the Conference of Those Who Walked on the Moon. That is impressive. If the badge gave me the right drink in public or the entitled me with the power to make spontaneous laws...I would wear a badge for that. Attending a the OOW with 43,ooo+ others, not so imprerssive.

Friday, September 03, 2010

$2.8M Fixer Upper

So what do you do after you buy a $2.8M house? How about replace the entire roof, rip out the elevated backyard deck and add an extra room. That is what's happening directly across the street.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Shark Sighting - Oh No or So What?

There was recent shark sighting in the waters off Linda Mar near Pacifica. Signs went up warning beach-goers and news organizations went ga-ga over it. Every time this happens I always ask, "What's the big deal? That is where they live." Where do you expect them to be? And just because some official puts up a sign warning people to stay out or prevents people from swimming in the ocean the shark is going to be there. And it is going to be there long after those warnings and signs are gone. Same holds true for mountain lions spotted in foothills. It was there first. We are the ones who built the house in the mountains to get away from the city and now you are worried about mountain lions?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Longing for Watermelons of Old

What ever happened to seeds in watermelons? I have enjoyed my fair share of watermelons this summer since it is one way to make it feel like summer without having the summer heat here in SF. The only watermelons I can find are seedless. While these are nice and convenient I miss the childhood fun of spitting seeds, especially the idea of me doing it out of my third floor apartment window. I am not sold on those 'personal' watermelons either. The beauty of a watermelon is lugging this huge melon home pondering how it is humanly possible to eat the whole thing and joy of sharing. And what happened? Watermelons used to be oblong, now they seem to be more round.

What do you spend?

Sometimes, finding out how much other people are spending on different things affects my own financial behavior in positive ways. If I learn that I'm spending less than the regional average on something, I figure, Hey, I'm doing something right. Let's keep on keeping on. If I blow well above an average on something, it's time for a little re-evaluation of how I'm spending.

According to, the typical San Francisco household spends the following sums monthly:

* Food and drink: $370 on groceries; $419 on restaurants and takeout

* Housing expenses, excluding mortgage or rent: $238 on home improvement; $179 on utilities; $107 on phone-related expenses

* Shopping and consumer goods: $231 on clothing and shoes; $482 on department stores and wholesale clubs; $54 on hobby-related purchases

* Gasoline: $148; auto loan payments and related expenses: $211

* Diversions: $293 on travel; $51 on cable or satellite TV; $96 on live entertainment, gaming and tourist attractions

* Insurance and services: $358 on insurance; $103 on prescriptions and doctor visits; $125 on school and childcare expenses; $110 on gym memberships, haircuts and other personal care-related services; $89 on charitable donations; $37 on pets

How do you compare? You can check out other cities on bundle by following the link.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Summer in San Fogcity

Put away the shorts and grab those sweaters, it is a typical San Francisco summer. Covered from high it's like the city is grabbing the covers to hibernate for a few weeks. We all need that once in a while. Like it or not America looks to San Francisco to lead the way in many things and maybe San Francisco gets tired and needs to escape the spotlight. We all need to recharge. The revolutionary tradition seems to permeate the ground here and before long The City will emerge with a bolder plan for a better tomorrow.

Maybe The City is trying to keep a secret. It whispers around corners and through tunnels to only those delicate few willing to have the patience.

I never tire of the fog. I find it consoling, like the rain. It is another layer between me and the world. The light is softer. Sounds are muffled. It pushes one inward. Outside the fog horn comforts.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

SF Summer - Only The Food

Summertime in San Francisco means mostly gray days, lots of wind, chilly temps., and the ever present fog. The only way to get a taste of summer is by going to the market and right now my sunshine is provided by super sweet corn from nearby Brentwood. If it wasn't for these along with mounds of melons and tons of strawberries I would think it was January. So while most are sweating it out in 100-degree temps or suffering through insane humidity, we here in SF are wearing jackets shivering home with bags filled with 10 ears of corn for $1. Makes for a nice summer.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fire Alarm

Imagine you are at work and the fire alarm goes off. What would you do? That happened at work today for me and a strange thing happened; nobody did anything. Everybody just sat their desk, looked around, looked annoyed by the piercing sound and continued to work. There was no mad rush for the doors. Nobody even got up from their chair. Do we not believe the fire alarm? Do we have to smell smoke or see flames before we leave? By that time isn't it too late? It turned out the alarm was set off by somebody burning their popcorn in the microwave. No need to panic.

Monday, July 19, 2010

I am Officially City-fied

I have officially become 'city-fied'. I don't like driving, I don't like malls, and I don't like extra value meals. Becoming 'city-fied' likely happened some time ago but I am just now coming to the realization and understanding of what it means.

I actually like driving as long as it is no where near the suburbs or San Jose. I have become a recreational driver. I had to make the drive San Ho for work over the weekend; too many cars, too many bad drivers and too much time spent waiting for a green light with no cross traffic.

Next up the mall. A gathering place where people can buy more shit they do not need. Strollers the size of shopping carts and acting like one too. And when the stroller does have a kid inside that kid is big enough to walk...maybe even ride a bike. And you would think that with all the walking done in the mall it would be good exercise and people would be in shape.

That brings me to extra value meals. I am all for a good size meal...but let's make that meal nutritious and balance it out with some variety. Seeing so many people consume colossal sized drinks and portions is frightening. Overweight kids who can't help it because their parents are overweight. The general public is generally not so good.

The way I look at it would be content in either a big city or out in the country, which makes sense knowing where I grew up. I don't need a lot of space but if the space is there I sure do not need a lot of people. I will step off my soapbox. I just need a place to vent every now and then.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mapped Run

It has been awhile since I mapped a run and shared the link, which you can click on in the title. Along the way I saw houseboats, homeless and man playing holiday songs on an Erhu. What is an erhu you ask? It is a two-string Chinese fiddle. I am sure you have seen one. Along the way I also passed the Ferry Building and its farmer's market. While I love how the Ferry Building has been transformed into a destination, the prices there still amaze me. $4.99 for a cantaloupe! I just bought one on Clement street for $.99. Yes, the cantaloupe at the Ferry Building is organic...but it is really worth four more dollars?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

What Happened to Canes?

The pigs where there. The 4-H and FFA members were there. The judge was there. But there is something missing at the recent livestock show at the Contra Costa County Fair.


Back when I was a lad raising and showing pigs we used canes to 'guide' the hog around. Now everybody uses a whip or a think stick. Whips were rare in my day. The cane was the preferred method. A nice varnished wood cane, sometimes decorated and personalized nicely. No more. Not one cane in sight.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 66 Miler

You know sometimes when it comes to food your eyes can be bigger than your stomach? That was me with today's bike ride. With food you can just stop eating. Riding a bike you pretty much have to finish what you bit off.

I normally do 40 milers with regularity so I was not too worried about this one going in and it would have been okay if the route was flat or had rolling hills. The climb before and after Alpine Lake had me cursing out loud. Once I made it up to Ridgecrest and Panoramic I knew I would be okay, especially after Pantoll Ranger Station because then it is downhill to Mill Valley.

Beautiful day though with some great vistas along the way. The photo is looking back towards Bolinas and the Pacific Ocean. You can check out the route by clicking the title.

Thank you!

From The Presidio National Cemetery. The GGNRA refurbished a trail behind the cemetery complete with benches overlooking the bridge. It is a touching place of reflection.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Heart Rates and Checkups

46 beats per minute. That is what registered during my annual check up today. "Is your heart rate normally that low?" asked the nurse. I felt a bit embarrassed telling her I was disappointed in the number. I was hoping for something around 42. "You're in good shape." she said while making a strong arm gesture.

For an adult, a normal resting heart rate ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute (bpm). For a well-trained athlete, a normal resting heart rate may be as low as 40 to 60 bpm. It has been reported Lance Armstrong has a resting rate of 32-34.

Just because one has a low heart rate does not necessarily mean that person is in good shape.

A better measurement of physical fitness is checking your heart rate after exercise and see how long it takes to get back to resting rate. This is called the recovery rate and is much more important when looking at how fit you are.

After exercising, your heart rate should drop below 120 bpm 2-3 minutes after stopping your cardio workout.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Presidential Visit

It is not everyday you get to see The President. Okay, didn't actually see him but saw his car. He was having a dinner/fundraiser at the Getty House on Billionaire's Row (Broadway and Lyon) about 1/2 mile from my humble apartment. Do you think they have enough motorcycle officers?
Notice the gray car parked on the far side of the street in the first photo? That is a Tesla Roadster. A 100k car just parked on the street.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Enough with the Fees

I thought complimentary meant free. When did the meaning of this word change? Was it part of the stimulus package? Recently stayed at a place up north and had to pay for complimentary services.

This was part of disclaimer on the bill: All prices quoted is US Dollars and are PLUS, applicable taxes, recovery fees, eco-fee of $ 6.80 per room, per night and resort fees of $ 25 per person, per stay. Resort fees offset complimentary services and amenities, including our outdoor hot tubs, free local & long-distance phone calls, private hot tub access, high-speed wi-fi internet, parking, spa lounge, full service breakfast and more.

The fee offsets complimentary services. Huh? Here's my advice to all businesses: don't charge me a fee, just raise the price and include the fee in that. Fees only make consumers feel like they are being nickle and dimed for everything. Especially when you claim certain items are complimentary.

As for the 'eco-fee', I asked what it did special to warrant this fee and was told they along with other properties are trying to be economically efficient but was given no specifics.

Needless to say this will be the last stay here.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I'm Yours San Francisco

It is easy to enjoy running midday errands in a place like this. I had to venture out along the Embarcadero today and it got me thinking of the many gifts San Francisco has offered me. I’m perhaps most grateful for how it’s opened me to realize creative passions and taught me the spirit of acceptance. This place values and protects diversity, some would say to a fault. But wouldn't you rather have it like this than no tolerance at all?

Nothing here is cookie cutter. Okay, with the exception of all of the Starbucks and Walgreens. But there is so much vitality and unabashed glory here to make up for it. Yeah, life is good here. San Francisco, I’m yours as long as you’ll have me.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Run

In honor of St. Patrick's Day I did my best to pass as many Irish Pubs as I could tonight. Being that I live near the 'Irish Mile' it was not too hard. Here is the list in the order I passed them:
Ireland's 32 on Geary
O'Keeffe's on Geary
Plough & the Stars on Clement
Bitter End on Clement
Pig & Whistle on Geary
Edinburgh Castle on Geary

Needless to say each was busy tonight

Sunday, March 14, 2010

12 miles of Sun and Surf

I have not posted a map (gmap) of my running route in quite some time. This is a 12 mile route starting from Ocean Beach. This is a great route for a sunny day (yesterday) as it takes you along the coast and through Golden Gate Park. The only kicker of this route is there are a lot of stairs. There are quite a few along the Coastal Trail by Land's End, then again going from Lincoln Blvd up into the Presidio.

Monday, March 08, 2010

The City By the Bay

San Francisco has always been a place of amazement for me.

It’s astonishing how much wonder and power can be held in such a small area. Some of the most radiant people in the world live here. There are stories on every street corner and in the corner of every apartment. We live in a combination of history and future. This city is electric.

People complain about the trash, and the homeless, and the crime, and the rents, and the public transportation or whatever — I certainly have. But cities are supposed to be messy, chaotic things. After a bike ride to Ocean Beach, or cresting the hill past Alamo Square on the 21-Hayes, or stumbling upon a hidden stairway, it will suddenly strike me that I live in the most beautiful place full of the most beautiful people in the world, and it’s worth all the money and heartbreak and temptation I can stand.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

613 Miles

These shoes have 613 miles on them. I always find it tough to know when I should retire my shoes. Nike says shoes last anywhere between 400-600 miles before the cushioning starts to breakdown and the shoe becomes less effective. It could be just a scam to get you to buy more shoes. Lucky for me I have not purchased a pair of running shoes in a few years. (thanks Nike!)

I am lite and efficient runner so I tend to think my shoes last a bit longer, maybe I am wrong. I wish there was a better gauge. Some visual reading showing you how much cushioning and support you have. Sort of like the power reading on a battery.

Some runners can get a good idea by the tread wear. Me, not so much. The bottom of my shoes are not unevenly worn. Others start to notice pain in their knees or hips. Again, me, not so much. The link in the title of this post has some pretty good guidelines. No matter what I will just keep running.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Marathon Heavy Medal

Look what came in the mail. I ran two Rock-n-Roll Marathons in one year and I get this, a Silver Note. Pretty cool. If you run multiple marathons you get a special medal. I don't know if I will shoot for three in one year but maybe.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hike Whitney Anyone?

Anyone care to hike Mt. Whitney with me?

Some time ago some friends and I had the bright idea to hike Mt. Whitney. Do to lack of planning we turned around along before reaching the top...much to my displeasure, but in hindsight it was the right thing to do. We were young and thought we could do it in one day. You can but the 22 mile journey has to start long before the sun rises. Well, time to try again. This time with better planning

Reservations have to be made in February to hike the trail with the best time to do that in late August after the snow melts and before the thunderstorms hit. The plan would be to hike part of the way, stay over night, summit and hike all the way down on the second day.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

We Don't Run Alone

I run alone, or so I thought. With the exception of leading groups through marathon training programs I lace up the shoes and put in the miles by myself. I have come to realize no one is an island. No one runs in a vacuum. There is always someone watching you leave the house, dig it out, come back and do it again. There is always somebody who sees you on the street. The driver of the passing car, the shoppers at the store, the kids everywhere. We are inexorably entwined with each other's influence. We're more connected than we think and those action can theoretically help make healthier, fitter, and happier just by our contagious behavior. And it is not limited to running. Keep that in mind next time you walk outside. We never run alone.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

More Barefoot Running

Barefoot running excites me and the idea is gaining in popularity. Why?

You wouldn't let an inexperienced driver take the wheel of Porsche or other high performance vehicle. You could but the driver would not get the most out of the vehicle. Same holds true for shoes. Today's running shoes are high tech marvels that pamper your feet. For runners to get the most out of them your feet have to be strong.

The foot is composed of 26 bones (25% of all the bones in your body), 33 joints, and over 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments. All of these components work in tandem to support your body as your run and walk. Problems or flaws in the feet often can cause problems in other parts of the body. The idea is if you have stronger feet you will be a stronger runner.

While your feet will get dirty there is a growing amount of research that is showing that taking off your shoes might be a good idea; fewer chronic ankle injuries, greater agility, improved balance, prevention of varicose veins...and it is just plain natural.

My last few runs I have taken off my shoes and ran on the beach (not a bad place to run barefoot). But what about when there is no beach? There are several new shoes on the market for this growing trend. Vibram Five Fingers and Nike Free are two of the most popular.

Oh, added benefit of going barefoot...fewer deformed toes. The top is an image of what a normal foot should look like. The bottom image is one that has been abused by shoes.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Neon Nights - Tommy's Joynt

The place is always packed and always warm.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Boston Resolution

I not one for New Year's Resolutions. I believe if you want to change something you should have the will-power to do at at any time. If you need the New Year to give you the motivation the likelihood of you sticking to it are slim.

That said, here is my non-New Year's Resolution. Boston.

I have always held the Boston Marathon as beyond my capabilities. When asked I always laughed, shook my head and was content with just running. You see, in order to run Boston you have to qualify and for a person my age that means running a marathon in 3:15...a RIDICULOUSLY fast time. To put it in perspective Lance Armstrong finished the NYC Marathon in 2:50. I find it hard to imagine me or anybody 25 minutes slower than Lance...even if he is not a runner. While I still am content and always will be with whatever I can do, I believe it is possible for me to qualify. I have to cut about 20 minutes off my time. Possible. Not probable. There is a big difference.

As you should know by now I run for pleasure. I don't want running to be a chore or to overtake my life. That is where the Boston goal gets tough. Even when getting ready for a 'usual' marathon I don't follow a 'normal' training regimen and don't meet mileage markers most do. In order to make Boston I have to maximize the 'little' time I spend running, shorter and faster runs, more intense non-running workouts, longer weekend runs.

No matter what I will enjoy the run.

Friday, January 01, 2010

First SF Sunrise 2010

Okay, not much sun but it is really not needed. And technically it is an Earth Rise...but it's tradition.