Archive for March, 2005

Lights out

Power’s back on here in the Upper Haight after about a 2 hour black out. Not sure how widespread it was since everyone I could ask was out and about and didn’t return my calls or SMS’s. Last time this happened it was fairly localized and my friends up the road are on the same grid as the hospital so they weren’t affected. Anyway it was really nice actually. The streets went dead quiet after a short while and I could hear someone serenading his sweetheart by acoustic guitar several houses away. I lit candles and watched the last 2 episodes of the new season of “Wire in the Blood” on my laptop until the lights came on halfway through the last episode. So I paused and turned off the lights and went back to the solitude. The streetlight outside my window has the same cast as the candles so it didn’t bother much at all. It kind of added to the warm glow in the apartment. Tonight is a stark contrast to last weekend when we had one day with 2 separate incidents with the police outside my door. Literally outside my door. First was some domestic squabble in the street having to do with kids and some irate woman in a BMW. 4 squad call on that one. Later in the evening when my friend and I were walking back from North Beach Pizza I saw a guy getting pummeled by some gang banger looking creep coming out of the McDonalds parking lot. All seemed well until said banger came running past us in the middle of the street talking on his cell phone (does EVERYONE have to talk while doing something else? Where do we draw the line?) in hot pursuit. We got to my door as they caught up to each other and the screaming began. Beaten guy started talking shit about having a knife then no less than 4 seconds later was screaming to the street in general to call the police and for help. Cops arrives about 3 minutes later. An the Haight… The smell of the ganja now wafts merrily in from the street. All is well in the hood again.

Other People’s Shoes

Walking through Civic Center on my way to work this morning (late again! damn you DJ Bus Station John), I came upon a pretty powerful exhibit/demonstration. With the new Bright Eyes disc appropriately and coincidentally playing from my headphones, as well as my

An Easter Sunday Indulgence


So, a few weeks ago, a “naughty Easter egg” suddenly appeared, hidden behind the hallway door, on my floor of my apt building. I had found a “Sperm Egg” – complete with a tiny bottle of lube attached with a flourish of pipe cleaner. Since my apt door is right next to it, apparently I was the only one for a good 10 days who noticed it was there. I had no clue what it meant but I loved the idea that someone in my building had staged an Adult Easter Egg Hunt. I left it there for others to discover, and ultimately someone pulled it from behind the door in order for all to see on the landing itself. Where it again remained for at least 3 days before finally disappearing.

Had I opened it, I would

Well, If Everyone Jumped Off A Bridge . . . .

Then would it be worth $2m?

The Chronicle reports today that the GG Bridge District benefits from federal money it wasn’t previously aware of, that it will use for a $2m suicide barrier study.

Two MILLION Dollars? Wow.

Obviously, any form of suicide barrier is controverisal – pitting families of victims against those interestes in protecting the Golden Gate’s architectural and artistic integrity.

In the few articles I’ve read on the topic (there’s a nice collection of them listed in the article’s sidebar), I’ve yet to see any really good depiction of what such a barrier would look like. All I can imagine is a higher fence or railing that would discourage jumpers. It’s a pretty easy vault right now.

I only recently became a frequent Bridge pedestrian. It is a little scary up there: a waist or chest high railing and then nothing but the clear blue sea. Having lost a friend to suicide (cliff-diving, in his case) during high school, I’m sensitive to family desires to protect other families from similar pain.

But would it work?

I’ve read several studies showing that while women attempt suicide more often, men actually commit suicide more often. Men are more likely to choose methods that are less likely to fail (guns over medication, etc). Those who choose the Bridge, I would assume, are more sure about their purposes. One wonders, then, how effective a suicide barrier would be.

In other words, though the number of attempts from the Golden Gate Bridge would decrease – would suicide rates in the Bay Area change at all?

One writer cites a 1978 Berkeley study of 500 people who had been prevented from jumping. Only 6% went on to commit suicide another way. How many others contemplated or tried, however, aside from those who were “prevented?” There are as many unknown variables in such studies as there are states of mind.

Would the $2m approved for the study – and the $15 – 25m for the barrier itself – be better spent on mental health programs? Suicide prevention and intervention programs?

This is a case where the “how” detracts a dangerous amount of attention from the “why,” along with uglying up the Golden Gate Bridge – a stereotypical San Francisco landmark even I have come to appreciate lately – specifically for its unfettered views of the city and the Pacific.

PSP Madness

In about 3 minutes from now, the Playstation store in the Metreon will be deluged with crazed video game fans who are dying to get their hands on the Sony PSP. Word is that they have camped out at the Metreon ever since early Wednesday morning — complete with sleeping bag and folding chair in tow — in order to get their hands on the coveted handheld gaming device. Ah, the addictiveness of video game crack. Not that Sony does anything to discourage it — they decked out the parking lot building next door with an enormous replica of the PSP, complete with video game demos and clips playing in loop. And no Metreon event is complete without a huge rotating searchlight casting a white glow into the nightsky causing the people in the surrounding area to go “Hey! What the !@#% is going on over there?!” Like moths to a flame.

When I was there, it was already 7 p.m., and the line had stretched all the way to Howard St. There were police barricades and cops roaming the area. Not that anything really violent will happen. I mean, these are video game geeks. What are they going to do, stab them with a stylus? (Note that I myself am a video game geek and am allowed to make such statements). Then again, I’ve heard that at past video console releases, some people got really assaulted. With real weapons. So who knows.

The thing that really tickled me was what I saw people playing with when they were waiting. Some people in line ALREADY HAD PSPS. And they were playing with them right there. With the other people looking on. I’m guessing they were waiting in line just to get more PSPs. The sheer audacity. You gotta love it.

Check out some of the photos on Flickr that are being tagged PSP and Metreon in order to view the craziness from early on (the PSP tag might show you the launch queues from other parts of the country as well).

Metroblogging: New, Improved, With ‘Best Of’ Fun

Make sure to check out the updated – it’s swanky, informative, oh so chic, and makes a lovely housewarming gift. Also – a new “Best Of” section to showcase, well, the Best Of Metroblogging’s content across our many jurisdictions. Since I can’t do it better, I’ll let creator Sean explain:

This is one of those things we’ve been talking about forever and finally buckled down and finished up. If you check out the newly redesigned you’ll see the Best Of section prominently featured. What is the Best Of section? Well, after looking at the traffic we realized that a good portion of the readers for each city site were coming from places outside of those cities. Of course it doesn’t make sense to limit the audience of a site to the people who live in one city, even if that’s who the content is created for, but on the other hand expecting people to read more than 25 blogs a day to find out what is happening all over the world is a little far fetched. That’s why we created the “Best Of” section – by reading one site or subscribing to one RSS feed readers can catch a glimpse of some interesting things happening in many of the metroblogging cities without having to read each site on a daily basis. We’re pretty excited about it and think it will be a great way to encourage people to check out what’s happening in someone else’s corner of the world. Hope you enjoy it!

Oh, we will, Sean. And we hope you readers do as well.

Black Tights & Beanie

O beato solitudo! Where have I flown to?
stars overturn the wall of my music
as flight of birds, they go by, the spirits
opened below the lark of plenty
ovens of neant overflow the docks at Veracruz
This much is time
summer coils the soft suck of night
loan unseen Eagles crash thru mud
I am worn like an old sack by the celestial bum
I’m dropping my eyes were all the trees turn on fire!
I’m mad to go to you, Solitude – who will carry me there?
I wedged in this collision of planets/Tough!
I’m the trumpet of King David
The sinister elevator tore itself limb by limb

You cannot close
You cannot open
You break your head
You make bloody bread!

Philip Lamantia

March 7th one of the beat poets, Philip Lamantia, died at age 77.

Even though he was one of the lesser-known poets of the Beat Generation he was impassioned with Surrealism, and an important part of the fiber of the City.

So find your black tights and beanie, and show homage to one of our own.

Memorial Service, April 3rd at 2pm
Enrico’s Cafe
504 Broadway, San Francisco

Made It: Across the Bay ’05

A few weeks back, I mentioned that I started training for the SF Marathon. I also mentioned a 12k run that fit into our program’s training schedule.

That was the Across the Bay 12k – held yesterday from Fort Baker in Sausalito to Aquatic Park in San Francisco. The Marin Independent Journal covered the race and explained how it almost didn’t happen:

Late last week, race director Dave Rhody was informed the Presidio Parade Grounds was to be closed off yesterday morning as it was the only launch site large enough for Cheney’s Chinook helicopter. The Parade Grounds happen to be Mile 5 of the 7.5-mile route from Marin’s Fort Baker, across the Golden Gate Bridge, to a finish at San Francisco’s Aquatic Park. Rhody was faced with the near-impossible task of rerouting, remeasuring, and recertifying the course in a day or two; it had to be accurate as Across the Bay is the Northern California 12K championship.

The race was saved via contacts and the threat of negative publicity – which on the one hand makes me feel better about the chance at normalcy under the Bush administration and on the other hand makes me a bit concerned for security (really, bad PR is all it takes? Though, I suppose, this is less homeland security as it is second-banana security).

I suppose there aren’t many places around here to land a big ‘ol helo. Still, I’m glad they found a better place.

The race itself was exciting – my first large scale running event. The weather held, despite some menacing clouds in Marin and some really unpleasant headwinds across the bridge. And I was only about 60 minutes off the winner’s time – so I think next year will really be my year.

One guy ran the race barefoot – taking frequent stretch and yoga breaks – and the most disconcerting moment was recognizing that first wave, elite runners had not only finished by the time I passed mile 6 or so (much sooner than that, really) but these show-offs were still running back along the course. Bastards!

I toyed with the idea of blogging from the road (my personal site supports audio posts), but decided no one needed to hear the sound of one blogger dying on the trail.

Will Campbell, from our sister site, blogged the L.A. Marathon a few weeks back. So we know it’s at least possible . . .

Next up, Bay to Breakers . . . .

Organized Religion in San Francisco


To me it seems like something so traditional in such a nontraditional city – or alternatively-traditional city – is, in fact, the most cult-like and underground thing you could do. In this case: going to mass felt a little edgy.

That’s a foolish, stereotyped based generalization, of course. But it’s there, nonetheless. Like a pro-life protest in Justin Herman Plaza, attending Palm Sunday services seems a little dangerous.

I’m Catholic (as a Mexican/Irish/Italian-American, there really wasn’t anyway to avoid it) and since I moved to the city several years ago, I’ve yet to find a church to which I really felt I could connect. In Sacramento, I was head over heels for my parish, it was the right size, the right mix of old-school and new times sensibilities, it was pretty, and I had Catholic friends who’d attend services with me. Living in the ‘loin when I moved here – Sunday mornings were always a little iffy on the street (the only people out where those too high or ill or drunk to crawl home/to a shelter/etc). The Sunset has several churches within walking distance – but one is much too vast and the other is much, much too progressive for my tastes.

The Cathedral is alright – but sometimes a girl needs architectural tradition over a monolithic, modernistic, architectural oppressive washing machine agitator.

So when my friend invited me to St. Dominic’s (2390 Bush Street, at Steiner), I jumped at the chance.

It’s possible I also jumped at the chance because it’s the start of Holy Week and I’ve got plenty of Catholic, I’ve-been-missing-mass-too-often guilt to work off.

The church is lovely. It’s like someone took an east coast cathedral and shrunk it down to neighborhood proportions. I especially like that it has flying buttresses. Perhaps just because I like saying “flying buttresses.” (Interestingly enough, by the way, those flying buttresses – ding! – were added in 1991 as part of the structure

Going Back Home

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usOne of my blogging buddies, Melissa,(in green) has been in the Bay Area this last week. She and her friend had a great time exploring and falling in love with San Francisco, and the area.

When I heard they would be flying back home to Detroit, out of San Jose Airport, I offered my taxi service. I met them this morning at 5am. Very nice young women.

Melissa has a personal blog about life in Detroit that is interesting and informative. She is eagerly anticipating a Metroblogging Detroit. Melissa will be a welcome addition.

One other cool thing this morning, my name in the San Jose Mercury News because one of their reporters reads Metroblogging San Francisco.
The article.

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