Archive for August, 2005

World-Class Suckage in San Francisco

This post is dark and bitter: you have been warned. It was supposed to be cheerful, with wonderful pictures of San Franciscans enjoying the bonfires at Ocean Beach. Instead you’ll read about yet another kick in the seat of the pants. Sorry.

The city of San Francisco aggressively enforces the closure of the public parking lots at Ocean Beach. Okay, you say, at 3 am on a Saturday night? 2 am? No; get this: 10 pm!

That’s right, this “world class” city shuts down your ability to hang out at 10 pm. Shameful.

Three or four police cars cruising up and down the parking lot, threatening a $76 ticket for cars not moved. Great use of resources, but that’s not my point at this moment. We chatted with one of the officers (while his dog kept barking and smashing his face into the rear window; impressive). This is how the conversation went:

Me: You guys are shutting down the beach at 10 pm?

Officer: Oh, no. The beach is open. It’s the parking lot that’s closed.

Me: (trying to figure out why the parking lot needs to be closed, to save it for tomorrow?) Uh, okay, well, where can we park near-by?

Officer: I can’t really advise you on that. (Seeing my face of “uh, you can’t get help from a police officer these days”, he tried to help.) There’s no legal parking anywhere around here.

Me: So what you’re telling me, if I understand you, is that the beach is open, and my children and I may enjoy the bonfires, but we can’t park the care here, nor anywhere near-by, nor anywhere in this area at all?

Officer: Yep.

What a sad state of affairs. How low have we come when we have to deal with such a pointless Catch-22? What could possibly be in the public interest to close a parking lot at such an early hour?

It’s yet another thing which makes us look foolish, as a city. This is the best we can do? Sigh.

Scenes From A MUNI Station

A guy walking down the stairs in front of me stops abruptly and for no apparent reason. Accordingly, I stop. Wait a beat, and then step around him. I’m already in a bad mood since the fare-gates by the entrance through which I came were closed, forcing me to trudge to the other end of the station, again, for no apparent reason.

On the platform stands a man in overalls. Just when I’m wondering who still wears overalls (at least without a paint bucket in one hand), he pulls out three small bean-bags, black and yellow, and begins to juggle. Not just juggle, but toss-em-behind-his-back juggle. He drops the occasional bag, but still, a fairly impressive, if completely insane display of talent.

A train pulls up and the juggler leaves. I’m surprised when he does not continue to juggle on the train, thinking that would be especially impressive.

Moments later, a man in his late 30s or so pipes up about the cold war, how the presidents never change, how Reagan kept saying the cold war was over, but how could it be when the coal is still used and it doesn’t need to be when simple plastics are as strong as steal anyway so we don’t need the cold anymore but the cold war isn’t over, but they say the cold war is over, the cold war ain’t over.

I stare warily at the sign overhead pleading silently that it will say “N N 2 min” very, very soon.

From the right, next to the escalator, comes the sound of one freak singing.

Laying on the ground is a man in an orange shirt sucking on what appears to be a Los Angeles Public Library card. He has started singing in long, loopy tones. La Laaaa La La La.

In what can only be described as a sign of the coming apocalypse, Mr. Cold War Ain’t Over begins to sing along with Library Card Sucker. The MUNI freaks, I realized, alarmed, have joined forces.

Card sucker stops singing. Mr. Cold War Ain’t Over says, “c’mon brother man, don’t stop, sing out,” and continues to repeat the four note ditty.

Card sucker sings again and each time he does, Mr. Cold War Ain’t Over joins in.

The N arrives, Mr. Cold War Ain’t Over heads toward my car. I dart into the second car in time to avoid the listening to the world’s worst political history lecture.


Icer Air 2005 – Put On Ice!

Olympic medalist (and local guy

Guns and Dope Parties

The iron is hot right now. Those of you who think the bill of rights is still worth fighting for should get involved with these groups and these happenings:

From the Coalition Against Prohibition:

Thursday, August 25th, 6:30 PM

Your presence is requested at the next meeting of the Coalition
Against Prohibition, to join the fight against Proposition H, the
attempt to outlaw handguns in San Francisco. This meeting will be
larger than the last (organizational) one, and will include
well-known pro-gun friends from around the Bay Area. We have invited
a number of important San Francisco speakers to give you the inside
story of what has been going on. You may be surprised who is
supporting us.

* Sponsor: The Coalition Against Prohibition
* When: Thursday, August 25th, 6:30 PM
* Where: Pan Pacific Hotel, Terra Vista Room at 500 Post Street,
corner of Mason, in downtown San Francisco
* Cost: Free

Fundraiser for the Committee Opposing the Handgun Ban:

Saturday, Aug. 27, 3-6 PM
Join anti-gun ban supporters to help raise funds for windows signs, flyers, buttons for grassroots campaign against Prop. H.

Ed Yee Store, 200 Balboa Street, San Francisco. Free food, wine.
Suggested contribution:$50

The single-issue Mary Jane Party is looking to give us Libertarians some company in the drug legalization camp. The open house invitation reads as follows:

The California Marijuana Party invites you to a Open House Jam Session

Saturday, August 27th 4:20pm-???
223A 9th St. San Francisco

Come on by and check out the CAMJP Bookstore and Headquarters. Food & drink provided. Live music & Karaoke.Bring an instrument or your voice and join in on the jam session, or just soak up the atmosphere and feel good.

And while I’m here, I may as well plug my own FSP get-together.

Northern Cali Free State Project participants and interested friends are welcome to join us on 8/27 at 1pm. We will discuss FSP happenings, and enjoy a talk with monetary expert Bernard Von Nothaus, founder of the Liberty Dollar.

Pyramid Alehouse
1410 Locust Street
Walnut Creek, CA 94596
Telephone: (925) 946-1520

Resident Tourist

One of the many reasons I love San Francisco is that even though I’ve only lived here about five years, I feel as if it would take me another twenty to fully explore it. I’ve lived in three different neighbordhoods and had five different jobs. I’ve had many reasons to explore many places…except for North Beach. My cousin had a birthday party once in the loft at Molinari’s Deli…and I’ve ridden my scooter up to Coit Tower in the middle of the night. I think the real reasons I have yet to discover it are 1) Parking and 2) Tourists. I try to stay away from such touristy areas like The Wharf, Chinatown, and of course, North Beach. There’s nothing wrong with tourists, I deal with them a LOT at my jobs…but I’d wish they’d use mass transit instead of renting cars. Seriously. I can’t stand bad lost drivers. There’s also just something, I dunno, cheap about really touristy areas: the souvenir shops and overpriced restaruants, merchants with a cause.

But now that I’m attending the San Francisco Art Institute starting next week, I am eager to get the low down on the area. I walked around a little today trying to find parking if I decide to drive (I live on the other side of town), side streets if I scoot. Caf

Culinary Scavengers

Culinary Scavenger HuntLast week, my office held a truly awesome department event in The City.

The California Culinary Academy hosted a Culinary Scavenger Hunt for my entire department, roaming the streets of neighborhoods such as North Beach, Chinatown and Japantown. Armed with only a pen and paper, we had to answer questions about Italian, Chinese and Japanese foods by raiding local restaurants, cafes and markets.

My team, stationed in Japantown, attempted to find answers to questions like “What is the Japanese name for a chopstick holder?” (amusingly enough, the shopkeeper we asked didn’t know the answer to this one, and said it was just called “A Chopstick Holder”), “Name 5 different Japanese vegetables”, and “What is the process of making sushi rice?”.

Sushi MakingUpon return to the CCA from the scavenger hunt, students instructed us on the preparation of different foods native to Japan, China and Italy… well, stereotypically, at least: Sushi, Dim Sum and Pasta. We all donned complimentary CCA aprons (that we got to keep!) and had some hands-on training, supervised by students and staff. The best part? We got to eat our creations. Side lesson learned: don’t wolf down a piece of sushi someone else (namely a co-worker that’s never made it before) makes unless you’ve verified that there is a minimal amount of wasabi in it. I consumed a large chunk of wasabi without prior knowledge, resulting in ultra-clear sinuses and involuntary tears.

Many of us were under the impression that this was our lunch. But that wasn’t all… we were in for a treat! We were subsequently off to the Academy’s CarĂªme Room, where a gourmet buffet lunch was being served (open to the public for a fee every Thursday and Friday). Two rooms, separated into large spreads of hot and cold dishes, awaited our stomachs. It felt a little strange to sample foie gras while wearing jeans and a hoodie, but hey, how often does one get to do so?

Gourmet BuffetIt’s things like this that makes me love my job (although not exclusively, but it helps, *grin*). We get to do awesome stuff like this every once in a while, and it definitely makes the work environment a better place to be.

Interested in the program? There doesn’t seem to be any info on the CCA website about this corporate activity, but I’m sure one could find out by contacting CCA directly or calling them at 1-800-739-9700.

Hunters Disa-Point

Although Hunters Point has a reputation for being an unsafe neighborhood with its higher crime than other SF ‘hoods and its presence of toxic waste, there is also a large community of artists and other folk that like the low rent and fairly quiet bayside housing. Friends of sf.metblogs, Laughing Squid, housed their headquarters at the historic Albion Castle in Hunters Point for many years. The Golden Gate Railroad museum also calls Hunters Point home.

Although it is a good thing that the toxic waste cleanup will be in full swing early next year, the efforts will push out the hundreds of the inhabitants that live and create in Hunters Point. Notices were sent to some of the tenants that they need to be out in six months.


In my recent searches for an apartment, I’ve been tempted by the low rents and creative community in Hunters Point, but right now probably isn’t the best time. I look forward to seeing the area grow and improve in the next few years!

photo by Nicole Lee, taken during the Laughing Squid Blog Launch Party at Albion Castle this past April

Nooooo! Don’t Leave Me Like This!

Plopping down in Cafe Evolution’s Alice chair, I noticed this rather disconcerting yellow paper obscuring my view of the people passing outside.


That, dear readers, is a change of ownership sign. At first, I though, hmmm, well, the owner did look a bit frazzled last time I saw her, and the restaurant business is notorious for chewing up and spitting out many who think “gee, a cafe would be fun.”

Strolling over to chat with my favorite employee, however, turned this day (already not the best because of that whole first-day-of-school thing) into a total loss.

One month from today, Cafe Evolution will shut its doors, remain dark for one month’s renovation, and return as . . . .

A vegan and raw food restaurant.

A WHAT? We’re the Sunset for crissakes. Keep your crazy hippie food restaurant away. Like in the Mission or something. We eat meat. There are damn buffalos down the block. Isn’t it enough that we go without sunshine for much of the year (dangerous lack of Vitamin D), now you want to chip away at our sources of iron and essential amino acids?

Gone will be the chicken and cheese sandwiches. Gone the pear salad with chicken and topped with cheese shavings. Gone will be what’s become quite the hot study spot. Yeah, you heard me UCSF, USF, and UCH students: restaurants aren’t cafes.

How? Why? Why now? And VEGAN? Damn, (and here’s where I’m just inviting nasty, self-righteous comments the likes of which have not been seen since I took on the self-deluded pit bull lovers of SF) I have met, to date, one bearable vegan. Just one. One girl who doesn’t feel the need to interject her self-imposed dietary restrictions on every single conversation and every blessed meal planning discussion in which she takes part. The rest roam the city, clearly hungry and suffering from malnutrition, squawking about their vegan needs and inability to eat what God and Mother Nature found just fine for humans since we climbed gingerly from primordial slime, sprouted fur, and embraced the Toyota Prius. I am convinced this behavior is attributable to the simple fact that they are starving and their protein deficient bodies have begun to ravage themselves in hope of finally getting some red meat.

And yet . . . . no, no, I don’t hate you, vegans. I just hate that my neighborhood haven is being taken from me after such a short period of time. I’m sure the restaurateurs of Cafe Gratitude who are Cafe Evolution’s new owners will give something shiny and new to this neighborh- . . . NO! Cafe Gratitude? Even the name is wishywashy.

And so my time posting from Cafe Evolution is nearly at an end it seems. Check it out before it goes. Even though they STILL haven’t linked back to Metroblogging SF, they’ll still be missed.

East Coastin’ It On Polk

I don’t want to brag or anything, but when it comes to sandwiches, I know my stuff. You want turkey? I know the best. You want the right kind of bread? No problem. I can point you to someplace that can get you the kind of sandwich with the kind of stuff you’re looking for. It’s a pride thing. When asked about favorite foods, most people answer “Italian,” “Chinese,” or the like. My answer? Sandwich.

Which is why I was shocked and dismayed that it took me until just last week to discover Miller’s East Coast West Delicatessen.

Located on Polk (at Clay), East Coast West is exactly what is says it is. Knishes? Done. Blintzes? Here you go. Need some Matzo Ball soup? Step right up.

Oh, you want a sandwich? Good luck making up your mind from the endless menu of deli hot and cold choices: Ruebens, Rachels, Cheese Steaks, Toasted Hoagies with names like The Barkley, The Truman, and the Datzu, and the mother-of-all-turkey-options – Boar’s Head Maple Glazed Turkey.

Having worked for a gourmet shop that served Boar’s Head in a previous life, I zeroed in on the heavenly stack of meat immediately, getting mine on a hoagie roll with swiss cheese, lettuce, mayo, and onions. Pre-stuffing myself with a hot bowl of Matzo Ball soup (rather dense, and huge, but tasty still) may not have been the best idea, even though I’d ordered only half-a-sandwich. No matter – what I did have room for was as good as I’d hoped. And they pile so much damn meat on there, I could’ve easily brought home the surplusage for late-night snacking needs.

Add shoe-string fries and half-sours to your group’s table and forage to your heart’s content. The atmosphere is relaxed and uber-casual. The friendly staff is patient and helpful – likely because they are used to waiting as customers’ eyes glaze over in sheer awe and delight at the endless menu above.

East Coast West, I don’t know how I lived without you for so long, but I’ll be seeing you again. Soon. And often.

Miller’s East Coast West Delicatessen: 1725 Polk Street (at Clay), San Francisco; 415-563-3542; sandwiches $6.99-$9.99; burgers $6.49-$7.49; sides $1.99-$5.99; features an array of salads, bagels, traditional fish appetizers, hot plates, sides, desserts, and did I mention the Maple Glazed Turkey? Catering available. Delivery available through Waiters On Wheels.

Strength and Unity

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“Don’t think; feel. It’s like a finger pointing away to the moon. Don’t concentrate on the finger, or you will miss all the heavenly glory.” Bruce Lee in “Enter The Dragon” (1974)

After seeing the film “Fists of Fury” I knew I would be forever fascinated with the Martial Arts.

The INTERNATIONAL MARTIAL ARTS FESTIVAL 2005 will be more than just a Tournament there will be performances by San Jose Taiko, Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley, and the Chinese Performing Artists of America to enjoy.

August 20-21
San Jose Civic Auditorium
135 W. San Carlos St. San Jose.

Saturday 4-6pm Opening Gala
Competition starts & Master classes 7-9pm

Sunday 8am-3pm Martial Arts Tournament
4-6 Closing Extravaganza

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