Archive for April, 2006

Reason Why I Love San Francisco #147: Jet-Powered VWs

You’ve probably never met Ron Patrick, but chances are, if you see him on the road after reading this SF Chronicle article, you’ll remember his name.

When bugs fly: Auto geek hits highway for surreptitious runs in jet-powered VW
The Navy surplus General Electric T58-8F is that menacing, giant cigar-like item sticking out of the VW’s hatchback. When he fires it up, standing next to it is a bit like standing next to one of the engines of a Boeing 737 or an Airbus A320 while the thing is about to back off from the gate. This, however, is a Volkswagen bug with a 1,450-horsepower jet engine sticking out the back, idling away at 13,000 RPM.

In the future, we will all have jet-powered cars.

The Books of San Francisco

dirtyjob.jpgThis weekend I found a gem of a book called “A Dirty Job” by Christopher Moore. Chris wrote one of my all-time favorite books, “Lamb. The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal” which is quite possibly the best book I’ve read in at least 5 years. Well his new book is a lot like the Showtime series “Dead Like Me” (which Showtime should be shut down lock stock and barrel for cancelling) but done in that insanely snarky Chris Moore style. The book is set in San Francisco and does an incredible job of lampooning all of our distinct neighborhoods and personality disorders. The author splits his time between here and Hawaii, which would have come in handy during our recent monsoon season, but also gives him a voice that rings true on all aspects of the city. A fantastic read on all fronts and a great perspective on our little town. And yes, it gets serious SF cred for making me laugh hysterically out loud to the hordes of homless guys while riding on Muni.

Film Fest: Eric Steel’s “The Bridge”


For one year, a film crew sat with cameras and watched the Golden Gate Bridge. They changed tape every hour. They filmed 23 suicides; missed one and caught on film a man saving a girl from jumping by physically hauling her up by her jacket. And one failed attempt when a boy jumped and survived by landing upright, and then was miraculously kept afloat by a Bay seal until his rescue by the Coast Guard. While watching, the camera crew had their cell phones on speed dial to the bridge authorities, and in doing so foiled six near suicides.

That’s what you learn when you watch The Bridge, a film directed by Eric Steel and shown this afternoon at the Kabuki as part of the SF International Film Fest. My coverage of the ‘fest has been cold this far, but if anything was worth seeing, it was certainly this remarkable film. Being condemned as tragedy tourism and even called ‘an abomination’ by critics, it is by far the most honest, nonjudgemental and purely naked presentation of San Francisco’s biggest dirty little secret. That is, the fact that the Golden Gate Bridge is the most popular suicide destinaiton worldwide, and we have a successful suicide here on average every two weeks.

Guinness at Babies


Guinness the adorable Daschund nestled in some doggy clothes at my favorite pet store in the city: Babies, where not only do they sell the best pet stuff in San Francisco with the least attitude, they also don’t mind if you make photos in the shop (which is sure-fire way to my heart). If you live in San Francisco and have a 4-legged friend, give them a look. They’re in Hayes Valley (235 Gough Street). Tell Guinness I said hi.

Parking, San Francisco style

This picture made me laugh. I could see myself doing the same thing!

via snarfedorg:

I saw this last Sunday at Filmore and California in SF. The woman who did it (standing in the far right) said she’d been looking for parking, got frustrated, then saw this spot and ‘gunned it’ to get it before someone else. There was a large crowd gathered, mostly laughing. The cops even laughed a bit. The tow-truck guy laughed.
What blows my mind is that the car was not damaged except for hitting the parking meter. The untold part is what happened when the tow truck got there. The guy just hooked a chain to the front of the top car and pulled hard. The top car came off, and it tore off the front part of the car beneath (which had until then exhibited no damage other than a dent where the top car rested on it).
The kicker is that the top car emerged from it unscathed. It bounced to the ground and someone got in and drove off. The bottom car was a disaster.

NB: Gangsta’s Paradise

I read this headline in the Examiner: Thug Haven! It converged, in my mind, two really different things: our Broadway late night issues, and elegy rap songs. Call me crazy.

Quoted at interdepartmental meeting on the North Beach “issue”: “We want to make North Beach the vibrant place that it once was, not the thug haven it’s become.” That’s right: he said thug haven. Far be it from me to make fun of poetic musings at otherwise boring community meetings. I actually attended the Tel-Hi meeting on similar “issue.”

(warning: long bit on elegy rap lyrics)

Beyond Representation art opening tonight

daddysgirl.jpgI’m naturally suspicious of anything with the word “Scion” attached to it, but one of my favorite painters in the whole world Michael Hussar (browser resize warning) is going to be in SF tonight for Beyond Representation, a group show curated by Shawn Barber and presented as part of the San Francisco Dashboard (Scion) series. At tonight’s show in Hayes Valley starting at 7pm, the opening presents works by Shawn Barber, Kent Williams (!), Kevin Llewellyn, Kristi Ropeleski, Sterling Hundley, George Pratt, Jennifer Poon, Sean Cheetham, Mercedes Helnwein, Dennis Brown, James Kei — and my favorite Michael Hussar, who will be showing several oils from his personal collection, and two limited edition Daddy’s Girl prints will be on sale. (Shown at right.) I’m bringing a drool cup; it’s a mind-blowing lineup.

Scion Dashboard Gallery (wtf is with the fact that there’s no URL for this!?)
Show preview @ Shawn Barber
opening tonight 7-11pm; show remains up for a week
580 Hayes Street @ Laguna

Maker Faire highlights

Maker Faire? Wasn’t that last weekend? Well, yes, it was, but finals start this week and I’m so swamped that I usually don’t get around to eating Monday’s lunch until Wednesday night. Hence, this post about the highlights of the Maker Faire. Read on for giraffe-bots, difference engines, Throwies, and more!

Tree house… Land’s End… guy from Guam…

cliff_sm.JPG SFGate article here. Down at Land’s End, they found, in a treehouse, the remains of an elderly man. It was about a year old. There was no skull. I have to say, sounds like a nice place to spend your last moments, if it was a natural death. My friend lives a few blocks from there, and whenever I visit at night at least, it has a spooky kind of “end of the world” feeling, apt for its name.


vloggerpic.jpgThose crazy kids — you know the ones, the neighbors in the Mission Vic next door with all the awesome-sounding parties and really cute freinds and all the antennas sticking out of their windows and you think you might be getting free wifi off them — they’re having a really big party in June. That’s right, the seriously evolved geeks with cameras from at least 15 minutes in the future at Geek Entertainment Television (and Five Fingers of Power and more) are producing Vloggercon. It’s the sexy mutant conjoined spawn of Webzine 2005 people and their posse; in the words of their 2.0 doublespeak:

“Vloggercon 2006 is the intersection between media-makers and technology. A space for dialog and interaction. Of creation and collaboration. In the past year, videoblogging has grown into a myriad of forms with a worldwide voice. Vloggercon is a two-day collection of round table discussions about the emergence and the future of this new medium; not a series of lectures. Just starting a videoblog? No problem! Vloggercon is chock-full of workshops! (In fact, we won’t let you leave the building without starting your first videoblog.)”

Vloggercon 2006 will be held June 10 & 11 at the Swedish American Hall, 2174 Market Street, San Francisco CA 94114. Tickets are $40 for one day, $60 for both days. No videoblogger will be turned away. Save $10 by getting tickets through the website. It’s sponsored by, Serious Magic, Yahoo!, Outhink, Peachpit Press, and

Being from the salty loins of Webzine peeps, I can only wonder… will Miss Webzine 2005 make a cameo? Will the redheaded stepchild of Gawker lurk in the shadows, watching? Will clueless VC’s use the word “snark” in their schwag in a pathetic attempt to tap into the “youth market” like the old guy at the hotel bar who always tries to give me his unsolicited phone number at every convention? Will we all do embarrassing things on video in exchange for alcohol/sex/shiny things/cool stickers from Scott? Hopefully; yes; yes; and an enthusiastic yes.

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