Archive for November, 2004

San Jose: Through The Lens

San Jose is celebrating it

A Knit Wit I’m Not

In an effort to cut costs and lend my Christmas gifts a little personal flair, I’ve decided to expand upon my beginning knitting prowess and knit me up some cute little Xmas prezzies (Nothing with Christmas trees or snowmen, don’t worry). With the help of the Stitch ‘N Bitch book as well as the Knitting Pretty book, I’ve unearthed a couple of awesome San Francisco yarn shops that provide everything a knitter needs to get started.

First is the Artfibers store in downtown SF, right next to the Montgomery BART/MUNI station. It’s a little tucked away on the second level of a building, but once you’re in, you’re faced with a plethora of yarn stacked right up to the ceiling. I have to admit, the store feels a little claustrophobic, but the variety of yarn more than makes up for it. Artfibers also offers knitting classes for those that need a little more hands-on guidance with their knitting. When I was there, the crowd was made up mostly middle-aged women, but I did notice several twenty-somethings who were just coming into the craft.

Next is probably my favorite of the two, Imagiknit in the Castro. In stark contrast to ArtFibers, ImagiKnit feels open and airy. The store is huge, with two separate sections dividing up the main cashier area and what looks like a class area. Both sections are, of course, filled floor to ceiling with yarn of all kinds. I felt like a kid in a candy store, browsing through shelves of fancy cashmere and fuzzy mohair. The crowd here was definitely more diverse, with ladies of all ages, and a few men as well. The staff was quite helpful in answering questions and are also available to fix any knitting disasters. The store also sells hand-knitted scarves and hats, as well as little knitting kits. Like ArtFibers, ImagiKnit also offers knitting classes for all levels.

Heaven knows if I’ll actually complete any knitting by Christmas much less 5-6 projects, but it’s a start at least. In any case, I’m sure I’ll find what I need in either of these two stores.

PS. Apparently there’s a Stitch ‘n Bitch group in San Francisco called Chicks with Sticks. Looks like a pretty fun group… I might join up!

I’ll Have the Ecru.

So, I’m in the T-Mobile store on Valencia and 17th just down the street from my apartment and I’m talking to the salesperson about getting a new phone. My old crappy Motorola was getting zero reception in the new pad and I thought it was high time to get me one of them fancy phones that plays, like, Usher songs or whatever…and works in my apartment. The guy informs me that often cell phones don’t work in older San Francisco homes because of lead paint and/or chicken wire. I just nod my head and said “ah, that must be it.” I then purchase this rather large Nokia 6600 that takes pretty pictures (for blogging, obviously), and go on my merry way.

My new phone works better in my apartment than my old one, but if I’m not in the front room with the bay window or in the back near the porch, I don’t get reception at all. And that got me thinking about lead paint and chicken wire. Well, lead paint, anyway.

According to Cole Hardware (which, if you didn’t already know, is the urban alternative to Home Despot, offers a “frequent shopper” card and reminds me of the hardware store in the small town where I grew up) 93% of San Francisco housing units built before 1978 contain lead-based paint. So that’s, what, nearly all the housing units in the city? I’m not especially worried, since I have no plans to do any “dry abrasive blasting,” but it was a bit of an eye-opener.

So was the notion that “your child might eat sweet-tasting lead-based chips.” Bust out the salsa. These lead-based chips are flippin’ sweet.

Movin on up!!!

I’m going to be in SF for the latter part of the week looking for a place to live. If you know anyplace that’s open please feel free to drop me an email or a comment. I am going to be doing this in record time so any help I can get I’ll take. I want to live in the city, not too far from 3rd and Harrison I believe and looking for something under $1300 a month and they gotta take cats.

Secret Playground: Corona Park

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The Chron’s got an article about the Hills of SF.

Most noteworthy to you, dear metblog reader, is the mention of Corona Heights.

This secret sanctuary, little nook of urban relief, sits at the end of 15th street, a short walk only a few blocks away from the busy Castro/Market St intersection. There’s a playground, some tennis courts, a good portion of flat ground suitable for a bacci tournament and maybe a sun drenched picnic if you prefer. And if you want a real view, the short hike up to the peak of Corona Heights 510 foot summit allows for one second to only the Twin Peaks themselves.

Try and make it on a nice sunny day (as long as we have a few left.) Take a date — who doesn’t like to find out about secret parks they’ve never heard of before? And because Corona Park nearly begs to be forgotten when you’re not there enjoying it, I’ll repost when its spring.

Corona Park and Heights — walk 3 blocks or so up 15th St., from Market, away from the Castro.

Weird places…Miyako Hotel in J-Town

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Have you ever been inside the bar at the Miyako Radisson in J-town? I went there to have drinks with some editors before a screening of The Incredibles.

Its so weird. The bar — which should be the most tokyoesque in all the city — has freakin budweiser banners, and cheesy neon signage in the windows. I did like the scrolling pickup lines going across the bar’s LED display.

When one drink turned into 4, the most lush coworkers and I missed the screening. And the more I had, the more I could not ignore the unguarded “do not enter” sign at the foot of a dark spiral staircase. I took a final swig of gin, and jumped the velvet rope with an equally mischievous friend. Upstairs, I found plush carpet, statues of poodles, zebra skin chairs, and familiar paintings tweaked to give all its subjects big, honkin, testicles. Yes, I said balls.

The House of Balls, owned by Joe Boxer, is a trip! It was closed off when I went, and the bar was locked when we tried to fix ourselves a free drink (drat), but I imagine the comfortable room is a nice place to have a cocktail when its open.

Miyako Hotel/Dot Lounge/House of Balls

Freaking weird, but I think I’d go there before or after a movie/meal in j-town.

Not So Silent Night 2004

Friday, December 10th Bill Graham Civic

Modest Mouse

Franz Ferdinand

The Killers

Interpol

Muse

Taking Back Sunday

And the winner of the Soundcheck Local Band Competition will kick off the show.

Dan the Automator spinning in between acts!

Tickets are $30 bucks plus applicable service charges.Tickets go on sale this Sunday, November 7th, 10am at Ticketmaster. Fillmore Box Office is a no service charge boxoffice on Sunday from 10am

Funny yet sad result of Elections

Looks like a bunch of San Franciscans have taken upon themselves to attempt a secession from the United States. The site is called “US out of SF” and they state: “That’s right, America, we here in San Francisco are officially sick of your shit, and we’re not going to take it anymore.”

If only it were that easy.

The Fix is In

Forgot to post this earlier, but if you’re looking for something fun to do tonight, and you want to support an amazing independent local business, head out to Berkeley, to Comic relief.

Comic Relief has been a mecca for comics fans and comics creators. Rory Root has supported small press and indie DIY comics, and been an amazing resource to the comics community for years, and his store is arguably the best in the whole Bay Area.

Unfortunately, they are being evicted from their current premises on University Ave. To help support their move, Comic Icon Warren Ellis will be doing a signing from 5-7 pm tonight at the shop.

There is no cover and no cost, just the opportunity to revel in a store that has won countless awards and been part of Comics history for almost 20 years. Sequential Tart Marcia Allass sums it up beautifully:

Comic Relief is so much more than just a comic store. From the start, it set out to be a comic bookstore – with the emphasis on the ‘book’ – and for twenty years owner Rory Root has worked towards that aim. Rory, together with manager Todd Martinez and the hard-working staff have shaped Comic Relief into one of the most influential and respected stores in the US, and anyone setting foot inside their door can see why. The first store ever to win an Eisner Spirit Of Retailing award, and the only store to win a Friends of Lulu award, they can regularly be found running booths at major comic conventions and book fairs. Sales of graphic novels and trade paperbacks to libraries provide both an additional source of revenue, and an effective outreach programme to those who may not be regular readers of sequential art.

Comic Relief is within blocks from a BART station, and there’s tons of bars and amazing restaurants within walking distance, as well.

Where: Comic Relief, 2138 University Ave.

When: Warren Ellis signs from 5-7 pm, but store hours run until 9 pm.

Why: Help support Comic Relief as they prepare for their impending eviction and imminent move to a new location.

“A king of Men am I”

So. Last night, as I was went to vote, I thought about the whole experience of, and what an amazing thing it is. Unlike the previous tear, when I voted on the recall at a local elementary school, this year I voted in someone’s garage. Far from fearing potential for fraud, I felt a real sense of community under the fluorescent lights and pop open ballot booths. The polling station was a block away from my house, and in the fading light I could see small groups of people walking towards the polling station. There was the smiling young woman with her dog, the couple with their baby who was allowed to go vote in the kitchen, and myriad others who joined my partner and I as we queued up to cast our ballots.

It seemed like such a beautiful moment, all these smiling people doing their civic duty before heading off to dinner, a movie, or whatever else they chose to do until, ostensibly, they could watch the rest of the results roll in.

As for me, I had already called my family in Ohio, who was actually afraid to answer the phone because of the plague of calls asking them “Have you voted yet?” Apparently, despite the fact that no one in the world likes to receive phone calls from strangers, that’s the best get-out-the-vote effort the political supporters could think of. I suppose it’s better than kidnapping pets, and sending ransom letters threatening their demise unless their owners vote, but still.

After casting my ballot, I happily plastered the little oval proclamation “I voted!” onto the lapel of my leather jacket, and headed into the city. As my friends and I walked to find a Thai restaurant that apparently no longer exists, I was surprise at the amount of supporters holding signs saying “Have you voted, yet? Vote for…” Seems to me that at 7:30, if you haven’t voted yet, you probably have no intention of doing so. Of course, people were still in line in Ohio and Florida at 12:30 at night, so maybe the sign-holders had a point.

When we failed to find the Thai place, because it didn’t exist, we went instead to a Japanese restaurant that has the best Wasabi I’ve ever had. This has nothing to do with voting, but their Wasabit was the kind that burns your sinuses and causes you to tighten your thighs in anticipation of the surge of pain and the adrenalin that follows.

I also loved the fact that, the moment we walked in the door, a couple in the middle of dinner looked up and asked “Has there been any news, yet?” I told them what I’d heard at that point; Kerry had won two states, but Bush had won about 5, and poll results from the East were still coming in. And, of course, that Obama had won. This moment of solidarity marked the high point of my evening, because it was right after we left dinner that the poll results started flooding in.

We watched the results from a living room filled to the brim with technology. A large television, replete with Tivo for replay, broadcast C-span while two laptops were busy reporting on the latest local results, as well as information about challenges, injunctions and court orders. There were also Trios and camera phones, ready to record the momentous occasion, and periodically someone would call to get reports from people in other cities, other states, try to find out the news that wasn’t being reported yet. And no matter what screen we looked at, it just continued to get progressively more and more red. At around 1 in the morning, when Ohio had been stuck on green (green? Why green? wouldn’t purple have made more sense?) for what seemed like hours, it became clear that no resolution would be made in the small hours.

We all drifted away towards our respective corners of the city. 11 states had passed ammendments to discourage or ban gay marriage, including Ohio, which, despite opposition from Republican senators and their Republican governor, passed an amendment that bans gay marriage as well as civil unions. Across the nation voters went further to the right, tossing out senate minority leader Tom Daschle and adding an additional 4 Republicans to the Senate and 3 to the house.

I went to sleep, uneasily, with a faint hope that things might look different in the morning. Instead, all I woke up with was a hangover.

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