Archive for December, 2006

To call the cops

Walking on De Haro today past the (deep breath) International Studies Academy at the Enola D. Maxwell Campus (whew), I heard an odd clicking and banging sound. I glanced into the landscaped area tucked into the hillside and saw a guy fooling around with a pistol — mostly dry-firing it, it seemed, although some of the small bangs sounded like they were coming from a cap gun, not a real gun with bullets.

It could be a cap gun, I thought, but better safe than sorry. I called 911, a cop came, the guy ran, and the cop chased him down and tackled him. Some more cops kept showing up; maybe it was the most exciting thing happening that hour. I kept waving the cops around the corner where the chase ended up; finally one cop said, “Yeah — it was a plastic gun. But — good spot anyway.”

Cue music: “Bad Day.”

The advantages of not being the one WEARING the lampshade

I love it when the city is quiet. Especially the raucus neighborhoods that are usually wall-to-wall people. That generally means being there at the crack of dawn, before most people are up and about. I’m not a morning person, so I rarely see that side of this city, but occasionally I stir bright and early, and get to see my city during such a lull.

This week involved getting an early (for me) start in picking up a UHaul truck and trekking down to Newark to clear out a storage unit. It was going to be a long day of manual labor, and I promised my ‘help’ that I’d carbo-load them in anticipation. We headed to the Pork Store on 16th, where my good friends Bacon and Sausage are known to throw a good party. I anticipated the worst, waiting list wise, it being a weekend morning precious few days before a major holiday and all, but to my great surprise, the joint was nearly empty. We nestled right in, tucked into a Tasty Nest, and I enjoyed TPS’s incandescent lampshade collage above the dining room.

Quiet stroll through the Mission, good food with no wait? Maybe I ought to work on that ‘morning person’ bit, after all.

Scandal in Midway Village

Brain and stomach cancer. Asthma and bronchitis. Miscarriages and stillbirths. All are health problems suffered by residents of Midway Village. Why won’t authorities close it down? Good freaking question!

I must admit that when it comes to those weekly newspapers, I judge by the cover. Short on time, taking the time to read them usually isn’t in the card – unless the cover story happens to grab my attention. The most recent edition of SF Weekly did just that. From an eco-geek standpoint, there is no way I could resist reading about something that felt the need to feature a biohazard symbol.

I hope this article stands to draw attention to the current issues in Midway Village; if you haven’t read it, do so, and let me know what you think.

Really great boiled dumplings

In case you’re planning Chinese food for Christmas – I thought I’d mention the great pork dumplings at San Tung on 10th and Irving. We must have beaten the rush because we got to sit down almost right away, and as we were leaving people were cramming into the door and lined out outside. The main dishes we had were okay, but not outstanding. Everything was cheap. Now that I’m reading other people’s reviews, I see there are specific recommended dishes – the homemade noodles and dry fried chicken.

The boiled dumplings were divine: fresh, tender, tasty and gingery, with green onion, and perfectly cooked.

Erotic 1920s Arthur Allen Photos on eBay


A few months back on my friend Russ Kick’s blog Rare Erotica, he posted about rare Arthur Allen prints being auctioned off on eBay — and there are still a bunch available. Allen photographed a bevy of beautiful girls in wonderfully erotic scenarios and lingerie (or fully nude), mostly dancers, in San Francisco between 1915 and 1930. The funny thing is, my ex had two of these prints he’d found at a garage sale and I tried like crazy to get him to part with them when we broke up, to no avail. (They are the “chorus line” photographs; more nice Allen prints for sale here, crappy subscription-only article on Salon here.) I had no idea they were local beauties; what incredibly gorgeous women we’ve had in our amazing city, beautifying our erotic history. It’s cool to page through the individual photos and wonder if they were shot in a nearby Victorian…

San Francisco Shorthand (or why it’s not called “San Fran”)

It was kindly pointed out to me that when my last post (about the way in which San Francisco’s open personality lets people be who they are without bother) included the name San Fran in the title, I had committed a local faux pas. I suppose that I knew this when I wrote the title, although I have to admit that I didn’t think much about it at the time. I wrote San Fran for the same reason that I sometimes write SF – to save space and that extra millisecond of time.

People have said that it’s because I’m not a San Francisco native that the various methods of shorthand for the city don’t mean anything to me, but I think it’s actually because I come from a family where everyone has a dozen nicknames which we use interchangeably without a second thought. Although, come to think of it, if anyone outside of my family was to call me “K”, I’d probably cringe.

Gingerbread Houses- Fisherman’s Wharf

Pier 39 Walking along Fisherman’s Wharf the other night- it’s great because it’s totally vacant this time of year- I stopped at a deserted storefront and saw this collection of gingerbread houses. I’ve seen the gingerbread house creations at the Smithsonian- Jan Curry- (no appropriate link found) and appreciate Fisherman’s Wharf’s own efforts. The merchants association here has an annual event, I take it, of making houses of their buildings. See the whole set here. I like the duck boat going into the water, and the Mariner’s and Seamen’s Chapel.

Xmas music tonight

choir.jpgJust in case you are at loose ends and are looking for something cheap and Christmassy tonight:

A Concert of Choral settings of favorite carols and a carol sing-along
accompanied by the church’s pipe organ
and the Choir of St. Francis Lutheran Church
David Schofield, Director
Saturday, December 23, 8:00pm free admission
152 Church St. btwn 14th and Duboce

Some moderate shaking

earthquake1221.jpgThis morning at 9:21 there was another moderate quake, a 3.5 on the Hayward fault. That makes three 3.5+ earthquakes in the last four days and the second one in 12 hours.

For those of you outside the Bay Area, such earthquakes amount to no more than a brief rumble and jolt, such as you might feel if a very large truck hit a pothole outside your house, only the shaking lasts for ten or fifteen seconds instead of two seconds — that’s the main way I can tell the difference, as I live near busy Cesar Chavez St. and big trucks hit a certain spot every hour or so, causing palpable vibrations.

Earthquake on Dec. 20 reported by Anna

Negotiating in Chinatown

Pacific AveI needed to buy about a few umbrellas, and as I walked down Stockton street, I checked the prices in a few stores. mostly it bottomed out at $3.99 for a tall walking one. A lady in front of one of the produce markets told me it was 3$/umbrella. Well, she just held her fingers up. I started asking her if I got a discount if I bought more than one. Quickly realized she doesn’t speak any English. So this is a first for me- negotiating in Chinatown, which I’ve put off doing for 2 years, despite negotiating quite a bit in China itself. I broke down and said, in Chinese-Mandarin “How much for 2?” and she got a big smile on her face. The charm only went so far since she still refused to go below $3, and pulled in some woman walking by to translate that it was, really, just 2 for 6$, not cheaper. The lady she pulled of the street wants me to follow her up the street to her store-saying this in Mandarin. I say I’m walking the other way, towards home. As I start to walk, the umbrella vendor yells above the crowd ‘Hao!” – roughly, good, ok- and, I say “2 for $5” And she agrees, and we start to exchange money.

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