Archive for September, 2004

6.0 Magnitude Rumble in Central CA

This came as a surprise to me, but some of you may have felt it. Apparently there was a 6.0 magnitude earthquake along the San Andreas Fault yesterday morning, with the epicenter being 21 miles northeast of Paso Robles. The Chron says the quake was strong enough for folks in San Francisco to feel it. BART was delayed for trains to be checked, and the Scott Petersen trial in Redwood City was also recessed for awhile. So far no damage reports, however.
Here’s the USGS information page concerning the earthquake.

Ahoy, you filthy land lubbers.

Hey there,
I know, I know, you’ve missed my regular posts about where to get drunk in the city. I’m sorry I’ve been such a wuss about going out on weekends. See, I’ve been spending 6 hours a day for the last 4 weekends learning how to sail. You know, trim the main sheets, back the jib, walk the plank. I got to shoot past the bay bridge, past Alcatraz, down Racon Straight, and around Angel Island.
If you didn’t know already, the Bay has some of the most challenging sailing there is: High winds, Fog, strong currents, and lots of containerships lumbering through channels. Its hard. I actually lost the dummy that I was using to practice man overboard rescue drills on. (oops, sorry dude)
Anyway, I’m certified to skipper 27 foot boats from Spinnaker Sailing now, and can theoretically take out up to 50 foot boats say, in calmer waters, like those off the Virgin Islands.
Your loving skipper

Craigslist rental listings have “pic” indicators now

I confess: I’m a Craigslist addict. I look up job listings, rental listings, sales ads, etc. almost every single day. I have no idea why; I often don’t really need anything, and I’m not really looking to move any time soon. I guess I just like looking at other people’s stuff. That’s right, I go to Craigslist mainly for the pictures. So it pleased me to no end when I hopped on to the apartment rental listings today, and found the words “pic” in orange text alongside listings that have pictures. Now I don’t have to go hunting for the entries that have the words “pic” or “photo” in the listing title itself; I can just look for the orange “pic” text. A lot of the listings that do include pictures don’t actually state that in the title, so this is a great help.
Now to browse through those fancy-lookin lofts in downtown San Francisco…

Excuse me? What do you use to get couscous off of leather?

Tomorrow marks the 2005 Folsom Street Fair.

What’s absolutely briliant is that every year preceding the fair, I will be grocery shopping at a Trader Joes and will see a slew of leather daddies cruising each other in the aisle of vegan soy chips.
All sorts of mischief to be had.

From the Inside of Urban

I’m not going to tell you that I’m about to report on a veritable mecca of used goods and acessories. I’m not going to tell you that you will be able to find anything you want if you decide to explore the nearly half-block warehouse of jumbled doors, counter tops, used clothing and light fixtures. I’m not going to tell you these things because they simply aren’t true.

But here’s the deal.

Urban Ore is an enormous, and I really mean enormous, Berkeley area warehouse and yard full of old fixtures, bathtubs, records, uniforms, stereos, chairs, desks and old hockey skates. They take donations and sell them ‘as is’ to anyone who is willing to take the time to explore. They’re mission statement reflects a desire to “end the age of waste by advocating and developing total recycling”. I found everything from old school pictures and half empty fish food, to art deco glass and hand painted furniture. The soundtrack to this whole excursion was some amazing noise band called Lightning Bolt that echoed aggressively from a stereo in a far corner.

Also, there are cats. Lots of them. They jumped from behind headboards and milled around used sinks in the parking lot.

I’m not recommending you voyage to Urban Ore because you’re looking for that perfect sofa on the cheap. That’s what craigslist does so very well. But for sheer adventure’s sake, you could probably spend an entire afternoon poking through the corners, and emerge, if not with the new perfect sofa, perhaps a coffee table from 1920, a boyscout uniform and 3 armloads of vinyl. Don’t have a a record player since you broke your old one in 1987? No worries. They’ve got you covered there, too.


My last post was on why dating in SF sucks – from the hunting standpoint.
This one is on why dating itself – the act of going out on a date, is fabulous.
I’ve mentioned before that I found (and, in fact, find still) this city very difficult. I love a challenge – but to me, San Francisco is cold, impersonal, angry, kinda dirty, and cynical – even as it’s wrapped in rainbows (no flag allusion) and fir trees and whale-saving and tolerance. It turns out that finding someone with whom to share this city – or more to the point – finding someone who will share his version of the city with you – is essential to understanding and enjoying San Francisco.
This service can be provided by good friends, of course, but in the interest of creating a thematic arc, I’m going to focus on Dating in the City.
Compared to Los Angeles (which I still love dearly), SF dating is a snap: no designated driver concessions, no gas pump price shock just trying to get to your beloved’s house, no getting stuck in what turns out to be a boring part of town. North Beach not so hot tonight? No problem, a few dollars Muni-money or cab fare later and presto – you’re on the Mission, or the Marina, or wherever. Everyone needs a guide – someone willing to experiment – someone who has experimented who can nix Bar A and lead you to Bar X – hidden up an alley or tucked in a quiet hotel.
Dating in SF gets you to the best East German restaurant, to see the Buffalo in Golden Gate Park, to quiet North Beach street corners; from super fancy high cuisine to super good tamales. It’s kissing in the Sunset. It’s strolling Union Square.
The danger, of course, is that what starts as sharing a city with a person, turns into sharing the person with the city – until the two are so entwined that the bison and the street corner and the tamales are never quite the same again.
San Francisco on its own isn’t really much. If you can find the right set of eyes, however . . . . it’s – to be corny – magic.

SF Metblog Readers: Chat away!

Well, Sean Bonner recently announced this on the Metroblogging site, so I thought I’d take it upon myself to announce the San Francisco Metroblogging Boards. It’s a forum for you Metblog Readers to talk amongst yourselves, to discuss the Metblog, and whatever else tickles your fancy. I’m currently the only moderator there, so be gentle :)
You can also take a peek at the rest of the Metroblogging boards.

Cheap Things To Do

Unemployment is an interesting thing. You go through days and days of inactivity, of just eating, sleeping, and applying for jobs. Sometimes you get kinda antsy, so you leave the house and have something light to eat — nothing too expensive, because money is tight. But sometimes you get tired of the really cheap stuff, and you spring for something that costs a little extra. All the while wondering if your next job will cover all these miniscule expenses.
So here is my contribution of the places I usually go to wile away those unemployment blues while not paying a heckuva lot of dough:
1. Hang out at the Ferry Plaza. I know, there are a lot of expensive things to buy here, but you can actually get by with $10-20 if you just control those shopping impulses. I would avoid the really pricey stuff and go for the affordable bento boxes at Delica rf-1. Delica rf-1 is a Japanese delicatessen that serves really scrumptious shrimp and scallop cakes, as well as potato croquettes. A bento box typically includes some of the shrimp and scallop cakes, a tofu stir fry, a chicken salad, and some sticky rice, all of which only costs about $9. Plus, if you walk around the place, you can snack on free food. The shops usually have trays of little samples you can try out. This may not sound like much, but believe me, you can get a pretty good “dessert” just by snacking on some free chocolate and gelato samples.
The reason I suggested the Ferry Plaza is because it’s just so beautiful. You can walk over to the nearby park at the Embarcadero and have a mini-picnic. Or you could just stare out onto the Bay. It just melts those blues away.
2. Golden Gate Park. This is an old stand-by, which I admittedly haven’t been to in awhile. Just wandering around here can free your mind, plus you can sit around and people-watch, which can be rather amusing.
3. Cheap Asian restaurants. Specifically pho and noodle shops. I especially enjoy New Loi’s on Taraval and King of Thai Noodle House on Clement (They also have a branch on Mason St. in Union Square). For under $10, you can get a very hearty meal that will fill you up. You just can’t beat the bang for the buck deal of these shops. As for Pakistani-Indian food, I have to mention Pakwan. It’s been a Bay Area favorite for years, and there’s a reason — you get really cheap food, that tastes really good. It’s no-frills — that means the customer gets his or her own food from the counter — so most people get their food to go. How cheap? $5-6 per entree. For some of the best curries and breads, it’s a steal.
4. I’m not sure if I would recommend this late at night, or in dodgier areas of the city, but I actually just like to walk around and window-shop along the sidewalk. You get to stumble across the most interesting things. Like just the other day, I decided to walk from the Ferry Plaza to Powell Street. I came across Fog City News, an interesting little newsstand that sells gourmet chocolates and imported magazines. I also came across Jeffrey’s Toys, a large toy and games store with a little nook of comic books at the back.
5. The folks at Chow! will lay testament to this: I go there a lot. Not every week, or every day, but enough so that the behind-the-counter people recognize me. The reason is clear: mouth-wateringly delicious food, with really affordable prices. Their short ribs are to die for. Their daily fresh fish is equally amazing. And when I’m there for lunch, I almost always order their daily sandwich (which comes with a free side dish). Prices are generally around the $10-20 range, but if you just order a sandwich, it’s less than that.
So what’s your favorite cheap way to wile away the blues in the City?

Heart Attacks

The former head of the Mayor’s Office of Disability has filed a complaint about the 5-foot hearts that are all over SF right now.
He says they are a hazard to the blind and don’t have braille plaques that would allow blind art lovers to enjoy equally the public exhibition.
I love the hearts – but I’d never really considered what would happen if you didn’t know they were there. I can’t help, however, but wonder about most of the other moving hazards – jewelry sellers, hot dog carts, pedestrians . . .

Lebowski…Big Lebowski

Look: A Lebowski-fest is going down in Oaktown. Swim through a sea of Dudes swilling white russians, and get a good seat at the drive-in showing.

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