Archive for March, 2006

Prepping for a shaker

I lived in LA for about 8 years on and off so I’m used to living with the threat of earthquakes and even went through a few mid-sized ones. Now, with the 100th anniversary of the big 1906 quake here in the bay area only a few weeks away, I’m seeing tons of spots here and there on TV and on the web. Lots of scare pieces and chicken little stories to say the least. What I did have back in LA that I don’t have here is my own personal earthquake kit. I have some minor preparations just in case but nothing that would really save my ass if we had a really nasty one. So in the spirit of not getting screwed I’m going to start putting together a decent quake kit this week. To that end I did a little research tonight and found this great page called “Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country” (also available as a PDF). It’s got a lot of really good info on local projections on earthquakes and common sense tips on what to do and what not to do. It’s also got some pretty funny illustrations. There are a lot of things I’d forgotten since leaving LA and if you live here you probably have too. It’s a good refresher for everyone. As I put my kit together this week I’ll post other cool links I find about resources in and around the city, just in case. And if you have anything you’d recommend please post it in the comments.

USGS Preparedness & Response Links

BART cards demagnetizing – zoinks, a mystery

Here they are – 4, count them 4, demagnetized BART cards – it’s up to $100 worth, a freaking BART401k savings account. One lasted a meager 40 feet from purchase to demagnetization. The BART employees say you can go to their special station and get the value back, but who has time for that, and, I would need to to buy another ticket to get there! it’s a trap! Further testing is needed, I’ve tried to demagnetize them with cell phones and credit cards purposely (this is what the BART employees say kills the cards) – but in a controlled enviroment I cannot reproduce what seems to happen when I actually need to go somewhere and don’t have time to play Magneto. Developing story…

Resources and reference:

  • BART cards – Link.
  • 3 BART cards demagnetized 6/2005 – Link.
  • “BART tickets are easily demagnetized (by credit cards) and destroyed by water.” – Link.
  • Eel skin wallets and credit cards, Mythbusters – Link.
  • Magnetic Stripe – Link.
  • MTC Transit connectivity study (they note card demagnetization) – Link (PDF).
  • Google – “Demagnetized BART cards” – Link.

Spring Fishing Expo

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Mel Cotton’s is having a cool Fishing Expo this Sat. and Sun. March 25th & 26th. You can see, for free, interactive fishing seminars.

The kids can catch fish in a big pond, you can get bait that is high tech, and get involved in protecting the Klamath River Salmon.

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Baby Elaine

Elaine Castillo was born in San Francisco in 1975 and she has touched my heart, and I don’t even know her. She has scanned her family’s photographs of before, during, and onward during the first year of her life. Check out the entire “Baby Elaine” set on Flickr.

Rain, Rain, Won’t Go Away!

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A taxi fare I picked up at the San Jose Airport was begrudging the rain and the damper it could put on his bike riding plans for this weekend. I suggested he visit The Tech.

Vocabulary lesson


Japantown is one of my favorite places in the city to take photographs, as well as hang out. Last weekend, I was there and had my camera on me, so… It’s one of the few places where I still feel like I’m in a city, but not in the city, you know?

Brief Conversation

Upon stopping at one of my fav cafes in Potrero Hill, I noticed quite a few guys in plaid and jeans standing out front and around with earpieces on. They didn’t look like construction workers so I assumed they were part of a film crew. Potrero Hill is used often for various indy and studio pictures. Inside, I sat down next to three of them and pulled out my laptop, and casually listened in on their conversation.

Guy 1: “I can’t believe he was late to call today, I mean, isn’t Noon late enough?”
Guy 2: “Yeah, some balls on that kid”
Guy 3: “So, he goes up into the apartment and fetches out the pimp and the girl?”
Guy 2: “…and then?”
Guy 1: “What happens next?”
Guy 2: “I thought he went in the side door?”
Me: “So, are you guys shooting in the area?”
Guy 2 (Shocked) : “Shooting?”
Me: “Yeah, you don’t look like construction workers, nice radios”
Guy 2 points at Guy 1: “I think he’s a police officer”
Me: “Oh.”


A New Kind of Joy Ride

Last night when I came home, I found a pile of trash piled up behind my Vespa. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was the contents of our recycle bin. I then noticed that our recycle bin was gone altogether. Who would steal a recycle bin? The contents are what are worth some money, no? Don’t we get the blue cans for free?

Later my neighbor came to tell me what had happened. He said he was home early, around 2:30pm, when he saw a heavy-set teenage male walking down our street, talking loudly on a cell phone. He abruptly hung it up, and went to our side yard and picked up the bin and proceeded to pour out the contents. My neighbor started yelling at him, “Hey, what are you doing?” and the kid yelled some profanities back, and then HOPPED INTO the can and rode it down the hill.

Now, this is where my neighbor and I are lost. First of all, we live at the top of a pretty steep hill, high above any high school, and my neighbor has been here for over a dozen years, and doesn’t recognize the kid. Could he have been visiting someone else and needed a ride down the hill? Isn’t it easier to walk down hills these days? How is the navigation in such a thing? Seems pretty dangerous to me. I went looking for our bin at the bottom of the hill, nowhere to be found since all the neighbors down the hill had theirs out for pickup today. We needed a bigger bin, anyway.

Overheard on Haight Street

While passing by the American Apparel store, a woman pointed at it and said: “Isn’t that a Canadian company?”

Also, a friend was carrying his Canon DSLR while walking around with us. We passed by an apparently homeless man. My friend never touched his camera, but the man said: “You better pay up if you took a picture of me, or I’ll sue your motherfucking ass.”

Happy Anniversary to The Rock

Today is the 43rd anniversary of the closing of Alcatraz so here’s to you ya, ya big tourist trap. I did my time on the rock one day taking some friends out on one of the obligatory tours and I was not a fan in the least. Bad mojo I tell ya. Great view of the city though! I definitely don’t plan on going out there again anytime soon.

My photos of the trip

A Brief History of Alcatraz

Alcatraz official website

Sparkletack Alcatraz Episode

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