Archive for August, 2006

Infographic: Popular Suicide Spots on the Golden Gate Bridge

I recently went for a leisurely drive with a friend around town, and when we were near the Golden Gate Bridge I mentioned my Metblogs post about Eric Steel’s documentary about bridge suicides (we have a jumper on average every 2 weeks). My friend asked if I’d seen the bizarre suicide spot popularity chart that the Chronicle made a while back. I told him I hadn’t, but could he show me… And there it is — from this October 2005 article (popup warning).

It’s interesting to note that most people jump to the east. There’s a bad, bad, bad Onion spoof in here somewhere… (“Suicide is more popular than ever. Where’s everyone jumping from?”)

A nice fireman explains it all

a fireman explains

Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.

In a random encounter on our street, two firetrucks pulled up to inspect some apartment building fire extinguishers. The guy who stayed with the trucks chatted, showed us all the hoses and clamps and valves, with explanation that went in one ear and out the other for me. It will be the same when I get a tour of an alien spaceship, someday.

In theory all little kids are obsessed with fire trucks, because they’re huge, shiny, loud, and powerful. I put my 6-year-old in the drivers’ seat for a moment, 8 feet up in the air. Way up high… he grinned with wild fear. Never one to be obsessed with fire trucks. Instead, as a baby, he would sob hysterically and try to hide at the sound of sirens approaching.

The sun pounded down on the sidewalks and asphalt and dirt and weeds around us; the truck gleamed; the kind fireman told me he lived in San Jose because houses were cheaper. It was a small-town moment, small town because the pace of life slowed down. There are always minor small-town moments to be found in the middle of the Bay Area’s sprawl.

Bay Crossing

Here’s a truly bizarre little film about crossing San Francisco Bay in a homemade rowboat. Some guy named Steve MacDonald emailed me to let me know about the film, which he put up on You Tube. The film consists of footage of MacDonald rowing across the Bay, accompanied by audio of “recorded telephone conversations between Steve and various representatives of local agencies (Coast Guard, Parks and Recreation, etc.).”

Tragedy of the commons

2000s_sac_dollar_obv.jpgLeah Garchick’s column in today’s Chronicle contains a bit about a new trend she has uncovered in the city: people leaving a handful of quarters with shopclerks and asking them to feed the parking meter.

To her credit, Garchick reminds readers that feeding meters is illegal; the maximum time on the meter is the maximum time you are permitted in the parking spot, not a renewable lease. And in response to the recent entry here by KathyMe, who says that getting a ticket even once a week is cheaper than the monthly rental on local parking spots, I remind readers of one of the favorite saws of the NYT’s “Ethicist” columnist: a fine you can afford to pay is not a license fee. If the city could afford to rent people street parking for $25 a week, there would never be an open parking spot in the city again.

But I’m not one of those superior people who say get a bike or take Muni. I have a car, too, and for most of my errands, I have to use it. So what to do?

Teenage Aspirations

Friday night I was waiting for my friends to meet me at the restaurant, and I was super early, so I stopped in at City Lights. Their “staff picks” are always interesting and worth a look… or I just jot them down in my daytimer and rent them from the library… I am standing there reading them and my eyes fall across a familiar name. So, for some reason my friend’s book on Ezra Pound and James Laughlin is on the Staff Picks! I’m so proud of the author, I took a few pictures, none of them catching the little short description (and why part of it was blacked out!) . Greg was the reason I decided to study English, because the parties were far better in that department. Ah, and finally that day has come, the one you thought about when you were sitting around the campus cafe, daydreaming about what you’d all be like years from now in your different professions.

Dorothy, We Ain’t in the ‘Burbs Anymore

One of the things that fascinates my ‘burban family and friends about life in the city is the parking situation. In my neighborhood, The Lauridio, parking spaces – if you can rent them at all – average about $250 a month. I figured for that rate, I could afford to get a ticket every week. And I don’t even HAVE to get a ticket. Meaning parking is free.

But sometimes you can outsmart yourself. I’ve only “lost” my car once, forgetting where it was parked for a few days but finding it in time to move it before the dreaded street cleaning timeslot. Admittedly, I was a bit slow to catch on to this parking-ticket intensive time when I first got here, racking up 5 tickets in about 4 months – but not a one after that. Until.

There’s a Monday 7-9 zone on the street behind my apartment, and I have moved my car there on Monday mornings in the past around 8:45. The street seldom looks like it was actually CLEANED, but there’s usually one lone car sitting sadly with a ticket on the windshield, and I give a silent fist-pump, then offer up a “Sorry, dude,” to the fates in order to avoid bad karma for taking glee in someone else’s misfortune.

Last Monday, I had to get to work early. Seeing other cars on the street, I ass-umed these people must ALSO be sly and know it was safe to park. It wasn’t. Sadly, I cannot fight my ticket. I played the odds, and lost. This Monday – I know better.

Lunch on the Ferry

Found this ad during my daily commute to Sausalito via the Golden Gate Ferry. Its not the nicest ferry boat I’ve ever been on, however, it could be a nice break in the day, especially if the fog stays clear of the bay:

“The always-popular Lunch for the Office Bunch returns every other Friday beginning August 25 onboard the Golden Gate Sausalito Ferry and Alameda/Oakland Ferry. Jules Broussard, David Landon and Mojo Madness are on tap to play their infectious music this year. So assemble the gang and start the weekend on an upbeat note! Bring your lunch or enjoy a snack from the onboard full bar.”

A Step Out of the City, #1


Welcome to the first installment of an occasional series titled, “A Step Out of the City.” Though MetroBlogging has a dedicated cadre of intrepid reporters outside the San Francisco city limits, I want this series to reflect places a city resident can visit by a short (usually) trip over a bridge or down the peninsula.

On the occasion of a friend’s son’s first birthday party today, my family drove over the Golden Gate into Marin. In twenty minutes we were in the shadow of Mt. Tamalpais at the newly renovated Eastwood Park, a short distance up Highway 1 past the Tam Junction.

(Don’t) Bite Me!

images-1.jpgYesterday morning as I was cruising around Willow Glen checking out the garage sales, I noticed people walking home from the Willow Glen farmers’ market. They had their customary bags full of fruits and veggies etc., but what caught my eye were the flowers. I had to have some.

The *Willow Glen farmers’ market offers organic-foods, produce from local farms, bread, and seafood. I also saw a small selection of, pottery, jewelry, arts and crafts. One of the best things that can be found there on Saturday mornings is the feeling of community. It is a good place to hear the latest news, to see old neighborhood friends and possibly make new ones. 

After I had picked up some of the fresh-cut flowers that I had been admiring, I happened to overhear two women talking about mosquitoes and the West Nile Virus. One of the women, Andi, is a vendor at the market specializing in **potted plants. Andi also works for the Santa Clara County Vector Control. I joined in on their conversation about the need to get out the information that would be beneficial in stopping the West Nile virus threat.

Alameda County Drivers…

…drive slowly. Seriously. Today, my mother and I had to venture out of Livermore into the South Bay and Peninsula, with our final destination being Redwood City. Coming back, we went over the Dumbo and into Fremont. Our problems started when we decided to take Niles Canyon Rd. instead of 680. First, we are stuck behind a blue PT Cruiser, probably going 10 MPH under the speed limit (45). Luckily, that person turns off at Palomares Rd. We make it another mile or so before a blue Audi (blue cars are evil?) pulls right in front of us, going 30 miles an hour. Then we notice a sign in the rear windshield. “Rookie Driver,” it reads. I want to sob.

You’d think it’d be over by now, right? Wrong. After all, things come in threes. As the rookie driver Audi goes straight, we turn left on to Pleasanton Sunol Rd., thinking all would finally be well. Once again, how wrong we were. A measly 1/4 mile up the road, a red truck turns into our lane. A mud flap proudly declares it to be property of “Tom’s House of Hydraulics.” Reluctantly, we mosey on down the road. Finally, we reach Pleasanton and 4-lane road. Finally.

It could have been much worse, I know. Traffic could have actually been backed up and whatnot but it was still quite frustrating to see the Sunday drivers out in full force on a Saturday.

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