Archive for April, 2006

Tamale Lady tribute revisited

The Tamale Lady. Oh how we love you. How we look forward to your presence at late night Mission bars, as we quaff our thirst and leave our worries behind. How we look forward to your delicious cheese tamales with the extra hot sauce. Sure you’ve got competition: we’ve seen a tamale guy around the Financial district, and who knows if there are other streetside vendors vying for their share of hipster cash. But not to worry — there are people who are loyal to you, and will not buy from anyone else. Just ask the House of Shields patrons who passionately refused to buy a tamale from that other guy the other day. No substitutes, they said.

The Tamale Lady is a San Francisco institution. Much like Frank Chu and Emperor Norton, she has a massive fan base. Sure she doesn’t have a Wikipedia entry, but it’s only a matter of time. Why, she even has her own page. Plus read this SF Chron story about her from several years ago.

And, of course, there’s the documentary (links to a .mov file). Yes, a documentary.

Here’s to you Tamale Lady. Here’s to you.

Smell Feelings


Last night walking around downtown I had one of those weird flashes where you smell something, but don’t know what it is, and it’s from your memory, you don’t know which, but you feel the way you were feeling last time you smelled that.

wi-fi hearings this afternoon many people know, our mayor decided that we should all have free wi-fi in the city last year, so a team formed to put together a request for proposals and solict bids. Unfortunately, most of these meetings were in secret, with “anonymous” participants, no records were kept of these meetings and now top contenders have been chosen as finalists — big names like Earthlink and Google.

Last friday was the first half of city hearings, where supervisors did their best to find out how these decisions were made and why; I watched the hearings and was surprised to watch supervisors cross-examine the guy in charge of the project, make him sweat and sigh and look like a criminal trying to remember who was in these meetings, how decisions were made and why some of the participants needed to remain anonymous (this question was not answered to any satisfaction). Here is the ACLU, EPIC and EFF’s letter to Chris A. Vein, the Acting Executive Director at SF’s Department of Telecommunications and Information Services.

It was like watching our supervisors try to figure out why we’d negotiate a Hetch Hetchy water deal with Coke; and if the wi-fi panel continues in the direction it’s going, our citywide wi-fi will be the equivalent of drinking all our clean water in Dasani bottles. Their plans and implementation ideas are weak: the kind of corporate wi-fi we’d get would track users, have antiquated bandwidth (unless we want to pay to upgrade), would have questionable coverage (hello, Hunter’s Point?), has no emergency backup system planned for disasters (uh, didn’t we just have some kind of anniversary a while ago…) and would give no city control over the wi-fi. No municipality is bad. I also found it curious and disturbing that one of the top contenders, Earthlink, is owned by Scientologists. (interstingly, I received two private offlist emails about this from people with one saying ,”I actually went to a private scientology school with sky dayton.”) One responsible way to select contenders would be to copy Philadelphia’s model: 5 vendors demonstrate on 1 square mile (and not Union Square — try Bayview where it’s needed); after that a vendor demos on 15 miles before any contract is signed, and making them all answer to questions about privacy, security, disaster preparedness and coverage.

Anyway, the second set of hearings are this afternoon. Be a dork like me and tune in if you can; watch them on cable channel 26 or online at SVgov (select SGTV and hope it works). The hearing starts at 1, but the wi-fi is last on the agenda; last week it started roughly around 3pm. More information is forthcoming on Webnetic: San Francisco Techconnect – Stop the backroom deal, let the people speak.

Image: crazy people on a rooftop near you.

Game 4

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Nashville Predators 4

San Jose Sharks 5

Castro accident in pictures

This is a live followup to Casto on fire. There are lots of people and news crews, and it’s very, very quiet. I ran into my dear friend Sister Mabel Syrup, as the Sisters were on their way to do Dining Out for Life at Catch when — and this is incredible — the accident happened and one of the Sisters pulled someone out of a burning car. Sister Mabel was in tears and they were all looking for the heroic Sister.

There were what looks like eight cars in the accident; in one photo you can see the crushed motorcycle, which is where the gas came from that ran down the street in what witnesses were calling a “river of fire” under cars behind the accident.

More pictures after the jump.

Castro on fire

This the scene right this minute. The guys at the corner store told me it was a three-car, one motorcycle accident where the motorcycle slammed into a car, both burst into flames and the fire may be spreading to a building. It’s awful. They said there are fatalities with the motorcycle and a passenger that burned.

Update: video after the jump.

Update: news brief on SFgate.

Stop AIDS/Dining Out for Life tonight


Go out to eat tonight. Even if you can’t afford it, have someone take you out because tonight is Dining Out for Life, the Stop AIDS Project‘s super-awesome fundraiser — a brilliant idea where restaurants citywide agree to be part of the evening and donate 25% of that evening’s meals to the Stop AIDS Project. All you do is show up, eat and chat with the volunteers. And then somewhere, someone living with HIV/AIDS gets a meal delivered, or something else they really, really need. The volunteers are key to the whole experience — after you’re seated, someone sweet and chatty shows up at your table and explains the fundraiser, tells you how to donate more if you like, and what prizes you can win by giving an extra donation. The prizes are no small chump change, either: this year prizes include free airfare anywhere in the US for two, free tickets to Hawaii for two, wine club membership, a free year at Gold’s Gym and more. Last year volunteers here helped raise over $150,000.

In fact, that was my intro to this yearly do-gooder dining experience; a friend was volunteering and his co-volunteer dropped out and he asked me to understudy. It was awesome! We hosted the Capri Ristorante in the Castro and it was a blast — I’d never been to the Capri before and got a chance to meet the family that runs it, and we stayed late with a party of friends drinking chianti into the night after the fundraiser was over. The next year I returned to the Capri as a diner to see it staffed by Sisters! Sure, we’d been outdone, but I practically had a Sister in my lap by the end of the meal so I was quite happy regardless.

Here is the list of participating restaurants tonight in SF. So go out tonight and join people all over SF in this awesome tradition — and if you ever want to co-staff a Dining Out for Life evening, drop me a line. I’d do it again in a red-hot, HIV/AIDS lifesaving minute.

Make Money Driving

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Who’da thunk It we could make money while driving to work in the Bay Area. Rideshare is offering a deal where new carpoolers can rack up miles and receive gas cards or if your food dollar has stretched to the snapping point the other option Rideshare offers is a Safeway gift card. The Rideshare Rewards Program will run May 1 through October 31 or as long as the cash holds out.

Married… in a Marathon

I got this today in my inbox.
Do people really get married during a marathon? Enough to have a casting call about it?

Burning to be Caught

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While most people living in the quiet residential area of Willow Glen were still enjoying their early morning sleep something sinister was happening out on the street. In the predawn one or more low-down, deranged deviants where vandalizing and torching cars.

The physical damage that took place on Coastland and Johnston Avenues was significant but what this viciousness has done to the mental well being of a neighborhood is nothing less than despicable.

I spoke with an elderly woman who was terrified the arsonists would return. I told her even if they were that stupid I bet that more than a few of her neighbors would be spending the night with one eye open.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Crime Stoppers line at (408) 947-STOP

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