Archive for January, 2005

Neiman Carcass

While threading my way through the throngs of tourists in Union Square on Sunday afternoon, I came across a small protest outside of Neiman Marcus. Representatives for The Fund for Animals were (given the upscale location) ever so politely picketing and leafleting in front of the entrance. Three young and attractively clad women were working the crowd quite nicely. Here

A call for soup dumplings

I have a serious craving for soup dumplings right now. Like mad insane cravings that threaten to devour my soul. Problem is, I don’t know where to find them in San Francisco. Yes, I’m Chinese, and I should know these things, but I don’t.

So I beg of you — where do I go in this fine city for some awesomely delicious Shanghai soup dumplings?

Celebrate Diversity

I was born and raised in the Bay Area. My parents moved here from the Philippines when they were young children. They are both more American than Filipino, although my siblings and I are the first generation of our family that are American-born. My grandma still lives in the same house in SF that my mom was raised in. So yes, we are a Bay Area family… always have, always will be.

In thinking about my family’s history here in the Bay Area, I was prompted to look up some population stats, and would like to share some with you.

The following are SF stats from the 2000 US Census:

White: 385,728 (49.7%)
Asian: 239,565 (30.8%)
Hispanic/Latino: 109,504 (14.1%)
Black: 60,515 (7.8%)
Other race: 50,368 (6.5%)
Two or more races: 33,255 (4.3%)
American Indian and Alaska Native: 3,458 (0.4%)

And, more of a personal interest, to break down the Asian contingent:

Chinese: 152,620 (19.6%)
Filipino: 40,083 (5.2%)
Japanese: 11,410 (1.5%)
Vietnamese: 10,722 (1.4%)
Korean: 7,679 (1.0%)
Other Asian (other Asian alone, or two or more Asian categories.): 11,527 (1.5%)
Asian Indian: 5,524 (0.7%)

(Of course, this is a general summary of the results. You can see see the full results for detailed info)

I guess I can say I’m not entirely surprised by these census results. It makes me proud to live here, actually. The Bay Area is one of the most diverse areas in the country.

I do sometimes take our diversity for granted. Getting a peek into so many different cultures and learning from them is priceless. Oh, and one of the other things I like best about the Bay Area and its diverse population is the amount of good authentic restaurants that are around. ;)

This Is Not New York City.

I had such a lovely day today. I walked all the way from my apartment in the exciting, scenic Tenderloin, to my friend Carol’s house at 25th and Cabrillo. Actually, I couldn’t make it non-stop. I had a serious need for a fuel-infusion in the home stretch, so I ducked into Gordo’s on Geary near 19th (I think) and had a chicken burrito.

I hold Gordo’s in very high esteem in Category: Burritos. My friend, Stephanie, opines that Gordo’s burritos are tasteless and maybe she’s right. I do tend to enjoy rather bland food, so perhaps my recommendation is rightly an indictment.

We girls, Carol, Stephanie, Nina and me, had made a plan to meet for “coffee.” We had been seated at Starbucks for all of about five minutes, when Stephanie and Nina required lunch and it had to be immediate and sushi. Damn! And me with my stomach full of an enormous burrito.

Carol and I sat in Kitaro (Geary near 19th, 20th?) and watched Stephanie and Nina snarf down some truly beautiful looking sushi. Carol’s non-eat excuse was that Monday is her payday. What does this say about us, her mean friends, none of us offering to treat her?

Did you know (I didn’t) that SFUSD teachers only get paid ONCE a month? How do they do it? I guess they end up sitting in restaurants, watching their friends eat on the 30th of the month, huh?

That is less shocking, however, than another factoid I learned today. Carol, who is a speech therapist, receives no supplies from SFUSD for her classes. Yes, you heard me right. No paper, no scissors, no pencils, NOTHING. Call me naive, but I was utterly floored by this.

Carol told me that each teacher receives an Office Depot gift card with $200 on it that represents that teacher’s supply money for the ENTIRE year. Outrageous! Carol teaches 50 kids. That’s $4 per kid, per year. What the hell can be done with $4?

After Nina and Stephanie departed, rubbing their happy sushi bellies, Carol drove me home. (God bless her!) Her son, Michael, 13, came along for the ride. He is such a great kid. Today he was chattering about S.F. landmarks, most specifically, Coit Tower. “Have you ever seen it?” he asked me.

“Are you kidding me?” I retorted.

It turns out that Michael, born and raised in this fair city, had never seen Coit Tower. Carol and I gave him a short tour, including North Beach, the Broadway strip (I described the old Carol Doda Condor sign to him), Lombard Street and Coit Tower. I told him the story of Lilly Coit, her obsession with firemen, and her towering (so to speak) tribute to the firemen of San Francisco. Since Michael is only 13, I couldn’t make any jokes about firemen’s hoses….

I know people grow up in New York City without ever seeing certain sights, because New York City is so damn big, but San Francisco? Can people really grow up in this city and not have seen these sites?

It was a shocking afternoon all around….

Comedic Misunderstandings Ensue

Theatre Tableau Vivant is yet again presenting another round of

SF Metrobloggers Flickr Group

I spent a great day at Ocean Beach and took a bunch of pics which you can see on our Metroblogging SF Flickr group. If you’d like to join the group just add me (JPDeFillippo) as a contact and in the note just mention that you want to be added to the group. Only pics relevant to San Francisco are welcome :-)

Anybody got a quarter?

So they’re hiking up the prices on the MUNI. I still think that $54 for a monthly fast pass is the best thing in town. I’ve driven my car twice in the past month and I’m in hog heaven. I’m sure this little price hike will stir up a load of whining but not from me I can guarantee. It’s such a deal to not have to worry about paying for parking tickets or the hassle of the other idiots on the road that I’ll gladly fork over the extra $9 a month.

It Felt Like Saturday…

I had such a terrific day with my mother today. We met up at the Powell Street cable car turnaround (our usual spot). On my way down Powell Street to meet Mom, I watched the cable cars depart the turnaround and head north toward the wharf. I don’t know why I’d never noticed this before, as many gazillion times as I’ve walked that stretch of sidewalk, but all the people sitting inside, hanging off of, each cable car look so damn happy. I mean it. It’s really a beautiful thing if you think about it. For so many people, this is a dream destination, a place that one honeymoons, that one saves up for to have that once-in-a-lifetime vacation. Next time I’m feeling cynical about this old place we call home, I’m just going to go down to Powell Street and watch the cable car clingers with their beatific smiles.

Back to the world of the mundane. Wasn’t the weather schizophrenic today? I didn’t know whether to open my umbrella or slather on the sunscreen at any given moment.

Mom and I lunched on scrumptious dim sum at City View Restaurant on Commercial Street, a little alley off of Montgomery in between Sacramento and Clay. I thought it was awesome dim sum, nearly on a par with the stellar Yank Sing. My mother eats like a bird so for each bamboo steamer with a threesome of nibbles nestled inside, I scored two, tiny Mom, only one. Works for me! Even better, including tax, title and license, the whole bill came to $21. I was shocked to pay so little for such fabulous food.

Our afternoon’s post-prandial entertainment was bowling, at Yerba Buena Center. I’d never been there (for the bowling option) and was pleased to learn how cheap it is (at least during the work day). Mom and I rented shoes and bowled two games, all for $20. (Can you tell by my logging of dollars and cents that I’m currently unemployed?) I was thrilled to see my score increase from game 1 (50) to game 2 (55). Poor Mom. She slid from a mighty 62 (I wish!) to a lowly 50. We’ve both resolved to aim high, for breaking 100, some day.

It was such a pleasant day about town that I came home and started thinking, should I go to Glide Memorial or First Unitarian for a service tomorrow? Then I realized, the weekend has barely arrived. Hallelujah!

Happy weekend, y’all.

Supes to Drive Hookers Further Underground

Next up on the Supervisors’ hit list, Peskin wants to confiscate cars used for soliciting hookers.

How about this – instead of imposing your morals on others, why not decriminalize the pratice so that prostitutes aren’t forced on to the streets? Or maybe just cite the assholes who make excessive use of their car horns? Nah, it’s more fun to dictate the use of women’s bodies.

As a former resident alien of The Netherlands, I can attest that Holland and Belgium have this right. The red light districts are safe for patrons and women, and regular testing ensures there is no spreading of disease. Very sensible people, the Dutch.

On a separate note, in case you didn’t hear, there was a happy ending to one recent story. The aid package was denied, much to the chagrin of Chris “Temper Tantrum” Daly. One day that kid is going to mouth off to the wrong person and get knocked out.

Compromises Compromises

2 things that I don’t miss about LA living are random gunfire at all hours of the night and the inevitable ghetto bird* 20 feet above your roof at 3:30 a.m. for a good hour or so while you sit there fuming and ready to go buy yourself an RPG just to shut him up. Those two things I don’t miss at all. And with like all things you have to give a little to get a little. The one thing I wasn’t really prepared for when I moved into the neighborhood was that it pretty much smells like a giant pot field on fire 24 hours a day. It just wreaks of the ganja. Also the damn dirty hippies. I figured (desperately hoped) most of them had died off or gotten real jobs by now but there are still quite a few of them. The damn dirty hippies have been joined by the suburban gutter-punk wanna-be squad. I’m regularly accosted by 150 dollar shoe wearing, cellphone talking “homeless” looking for change. It takes all I got not to toss them under a bus but we were all young once. So I’m learning to love the quirks of my new home town. Slowly but surely… I’ve been here two months though and still haven’t been to a proper protest.

*ghetto bird is what the kids call the police helicopter in the slang of the day.

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