Archive for July, 2004

Apartment hunting

At the cusp of a new job (though I wouldn’t count the chickens just yet), I’ve pretty much decided that we should move from our current apartment to some place else. Partly to get out of our rut, and partly to be closer to our respective jobs. I’ve perused the listings on Craigslist, and it has sent my brain into a tizzy. I’m left wondering about which neighborhood I want to be in, how much exactly can I afford, and whether having a decent kitchen is really that important (I’ve decided — it really is). We’re looking for a 1 bedroom specifically, and before I start venturing eastward for rental opportunities, I wanted to give the City a chance. The Sunset and Richmond are favorites, with Noe Valley and Haight a close second. However, I’m open to other neighborhoods depending on the location.
So I guess the question is: How did YOU find your current abode? Through Craigslist? A friend? Any recommendations on how to go about the apartment-hunting process? Tell me your stories.

I am the Miles Davis

Toot toot tooty toot!
That’s the sound I make when playing air trumpet, pretending to be headlining at the North Beach Jazz Festival. All this weekend, in Washington Square park, a lot of food and music should be going on.
Tooty toot Toot Toooot!

Top of Coit – looking even higher

Sometimes, the busy streets and jagged buildings aren’t as much fun as some basic colors and shapes. If you can get above the fog, the skies here really are pretty . . . .

Return of the Metreons

A few weeks ago my husband and I saw our first movie in San Francisco. Previous cinema trips had been over at the Art Deco-licious Paramount in Oakland to see Casablanca and my grandmother in The Women. Finally, we scrimped and saved our pennies and were able to treat ourselves to the $9.75 tickets to see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban at the Metreon.
We don’t go out to a lot of movies. In fact, we really prefer to rent especially since Netflix makes that process so deliciously easy and because I have grown so intolerant of Other People in Movie Theatres. For instance, during the previews the chick two seats away from me hissed “I’ve gotta pee!” Thanks, I really wanted to know that. Then there was this other girl down in front, who didn’t just stop with the ballsy move of answering her cell phone, she actually proceeded to have a complete conversation. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MOVIE! And it was on one of those walkie-talkie cell phones where you have to pull the phone away from your ear to talk into the mouthpieces and then Over the chirp back.
I think it’s because we go so infrequently that, when we actually do take in a picture show, I’ve totally become Dolby’s bitch. Even supposedly bad movies (Nemesis) totally pull me in with the BIG screen, the SURRRROUUUUND SOOOUUUUND, and the popcorn with fantastically fake butter.
In fact, movie theatres might actually be the best place to give me bad news because I’d be all “My editor did WHAT to my piece?! Ooh, previews…pretty….”

Adrian Tomine at Cody’s in Berkeley

I finally got back from a fantabulous trip to the San Diego Comic Convention a few days ago, hence my absence on this fine blog for the past week or so. I’m a huge comics fan, and I may blog up something about the fabu indie comics scene in the Bay Area some time. When I was there, I got wind of an Adrian Tomine signing at Cody’s later today at 7:30 p.m. If you have not heard of Adrian Tomine, I urge you to pick up a few issues of Optic Nerve, the comics that garnered him a huge following and international fame. You can browse through a collection of his works here. Optic Nerve has been described as the definitive “emo comic” and certainly has quite an introspective feel. The stories are inspired from Tomine’s own life, and he is unusually self-deprecating about his work, as amazing as it is (His art is so intricate, it verges on fine art). Also, Tomine is Bay Area born and bred, and is just one of many fine artists who call the Bay Area their home.
Anyway, he’ll be having a signing/talk later today at Cody’s in Berkeley. Here’s the info about the event on their page:
in conversation with ELI HOROWITZ on SCRAPBOOK. Adrian Tomine has been writing and drawing the internationally acclaimed comic book series Optic Nerve for over a decade, earning a reputation as one of the country’s preeminent young cartoonists. For nearly as many years, he has pursued (and was pursued for) a variety of side projects both inside and outside of the comics industry. The best of this extracurricular work – including rare and unpublished strips, illustrations for such notable magazines as The New Yorker and Esquire, album covers, posters, advertisements, and private sketchbook pages – is collected for the first time within SCRAPBOOK. A comprehensive survey of a professional career in progress, SCRAPBOOK is a revealing, visually impressive document of an artist’s versatility and evolution. Tomine’s previous books include Summer Blonde. Joining Adrian this evening is Eli Horowitz, managing editor of McSweeney’s. 7:30 PM at Telegraph Avenue. (FRIDAY, JULY 30)
Hope to see you there!

SF in Film

I found Jonathan Kiefer’s article on how San Francisco has been depicted really clever.

Even though I have been in SF for almost a year, I am only beginning to know it. I heard once that cities are like people: they have distinct personalities that require time to uncover. Some you think you know right away, maybe because the connection is strong or you have things in common, but others remain mysteries for a while.

I didn’t connect to the city instantly. I liked it enough — especially the funky cafes and constant chatter about politics, music and more — but I didn’t fall madly in love as I had with Manhattan (where I lived just before). There was the weather problem, which I can moan non-stop about, but also a chilliness in the people I met. Not that people aren’t nice, they just seemed uninviting. In New York you could start chatting with someone on the subway and, ten minutes later, have their business card and a lunch date. Not so in SF.

As time goes on, and as I find my community, I am developing a strong affection for this city. I am learning that things don’t come easily here; there is a harshness and cynicism that is glossed over by pretty houses and great restaurants. But it has a characteristic I really love: even though the city doesn’t hand you anything, once you find what you want whole different neighborhoods, activities and people start to reveal themselves. It may be too soon to tell, but it strikes me that SF could be the kind of friend that you can never grow bored with as there is always something else to know.

When Kiefer talks about the city’s fog being a deeper metaphor, he is really on to something.

It’s Not Really Advocacy

This just happens to be the only kind of event I know about this week – since I’m spending most of my free time watching, thinking, or blogging about the Democratic National Convention in Boston.
Tomorrow night, there will be many events around the city for the politically inclined to get together to watch John Kerry accept the Democratic nomination.
Most likely, I’ll be at the San Francisco Democratic Party’s “Democratic County Convention – West” at the Marriott Hotel, 55 Fourth St (4th off Market). Festivities start at 5:30 for donations from $25 on up at the door. You can RSVP at 415.333.4338, though I’m sure they’d take your cash at the door without having your name on a list.
For those wanting to avoid the cover charge, check out Temple Bar (610 Polk Street at Turk in the fab ‘loin) for the Young Democrat set.
If you don’t want to head downtown, you can find a Kerry party near you via the Kerry website. So go party and show a little civic responsibility.
I promise to advertise a Bush or Republican event in August during their convention – if there are any in this city.
I report – you decide whether to attend . . . .

Who knew?

So here’s what’s weird and wonderful about SF.
I’m hanging out at my neighborhood bar in a predominantly chinese neighborhood that’s about 4 doors down from my second favorite Korean restaurant. I’m off to see Goh Nakamura, a very talented Japanese American singer perform there. And I get a speakings to and education re: the Irish Mafia there. There’s a fricking Irish Mafia in this town. I thought it was all just Chinese Mafia and Russian Mafia and Mexican Mafia.
I’m so in love with this city I could cry.

Home Sweet Over-priced Home

For kicks, last week I picked up one of those free real estate guides from the kiosk next to the Examiner and SF Weekly. I knew, before I opened it, that the Bay Area housing market was like a speedo on the mediterranian – tight and high. Little prepared me, however, for the shock of seeing in cold, hard, 12 pt. Helvetica font that a mousy, rundown home in my Inner Sunset neighborhood would set me back around $890,000.
Good news, yesterday, however, since I’m still a renter – SF is no longer the highest market in the land. The honor now goes to LA and Orange County. The glee in the local radio announcers voice was such that I half expected to find a rebate check from my landlord waiting in my mailbox. No such luck.
Today, in the SF Chronical, however, is an article pondering that maybe our home-comforts crazed, queer-eye-for-the-straight-property-owner, Free Martha culture has made homes more valuable and therefore more costly. It’s an interesting idea, and somewhat sensible. Everyone wants something in which to sink capital and hang curtains. Last year, there was an article in the Chron Sunday Magazine about how increasing numbers of renters were upgrading their rental digs because they’d long since given up any hope of owning a home of their own.
I’ll confess that as often as I’ve wanted to restore the lovely crown molding in my living room or figure out if the wainscotting is salvageable, I’m not about to buy a power sander or even a quart of paint.
But is our housing infatuation just another byproduct of our consumer culture? We need gagdets. Damn, no we need a place to put gadgets. It’s not an investment or an asset – it’s a storage shed.
Friends of mine recently purchased a home in Tracy. That’s way the hell in the Central Vally. It’s got big box stores and lots of sun. Does it have “culture” like SF? None to speak of.
So there’s the choice – stay and burn money enjoying my painted over fireplace or leave something of interest so I can acheive domestic goddess (with a career) status by planting my own herbs and matching my Kitchen Aid to my countertops.
So what is it – why do we need a home of our own – especially at nearly $1m for a crappy 2 bedroom with no yard? Is it because we need land of our own, or just a place to keep our crap and continue to follow popculture inspired trends?


So, a few days ago, I blogged about the Courtland Pear Fear, technically, it’s the Delta Pear Fair, and today, I went. I missed Gilroy and the garlic – maybe next time.
Did you know we have a delta region in California? We have rivers? I know, it’s crazy – and personally, if it’s not the ocean, I don’t get it. But today, having finished my 5 mile “fun” run (at mile 4, it is not fun if you’re as out-of-training as I am), jumping in the river and borrowing someone’s wakeboarding equipment seemed like a great idea – since it was already in the mid 80’s and getting hotter.
I think the old farmer above was having a great time jamming to the local band playing past the next set of haystacks.
There were pear crepes, pear pies, pear smoothies, pear cooloers, and, duh, pears. It’s one of the smaller ag fairs around the Bay Area (Delta? Central Valley? You make the call), which makes it more manageable, but maybe a little less exciting.
The most disturbing find of the day was a jewelry vendor selling what appeared to be military academy class ring knock-offs. Somehow that seems wrong. Like – what conversation does that lead to? “Hey Chuck, great ring, where’d you get it?” “Thanks, I graduated from Annapolis. Your’s is nice too, where’d you get yours?” “Why, the Pear Fair, of course.” No, sorry, just doesn’t work very well.
Now – back to San Francisco . . . .
To prepare for this run, I’ve been running (not often enough) in Golden Gate Park. Spectacular idea, these urban parks. It’s one thing I’ll give SF over LA. Griffith Park just isn’t convenient to the whole city, but GG Park? Perfect.
One thing – and here’s where you readers come in – anyone have any idea how long some of the main jogging paths are in the park? There don’t seem to be trails per se – and I know that were I to jog straight down to Ocean Beach from my house on a street, it’s about 2.6 miles – but in the curvy park – how’s a girl to know?
For that matter – what are your favorite park spots? Meadows? Paths? Features? I’m partial to the Bison – and this one, random pond thing with turtles and some ill-tempered, unidentifiable fish.
And you?

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