Archive for June, 2007

California bullet trains might go somewhere, someday

A piece in the Examiner today talks about several possible alternate routes for bullet trains through the Bay Area. They might go by Modesto, they might go by Gilroy. They might go past places you’ve never heard of, called Shinn and Greenville. They might even go in a tube across the bay.

Or nothing might happen at all.

Overheard F Market

Which is worse – preteen conversations on cell phones, or two old transit geeks?

Newsom continues ‘Less is More’ strategy

waiting-at-bus-stop.jpgFlickr photo by goodista

After last week’s announcement announcement by Mayor Gavin Newsom that reducing the number of trash cans will reduce litter comes this week’s exercise in counter-intuitive mayoral thinking: reducing the number of bus stops means better Muni service.

The mayor could be on to something here. What are some other ways in which, by actually cutting something, he could improve it?

BART ponders improvements

Last week, to celebrate its 50th anniversary, BART released its vision for the next 50 years: more frequent trains, new stations on existing lines, reconfigured cars, prettier stations.

Today, we’re back to earth: the headline was BART has little cash to fund big dreams. Among the ideas being questioned was to erect canopies over underground entrances. Pigeons would poop on them, and they “would add visual clutter to the already crowded streetscape.”

Not if they’re done right. Could anyone object to a 21st Century update of the classic Parisian Metro entrance:

Dyke Drunk Dialing? of the Dyke March and Flickr, here’s my take of my favorite Pride event. (Apologies to those who may have to log in btw.) A friend of mine hosted his annual DM party at the corner of 18th & Guerrero. Since that’s right near where the parade kicks off, it’s the perfect vantage point to cheer on the women. It’s especially cool because everyone is still in the ‘excitement honeymoon’ phase. So when they look up and see all of us shouting at the top of our lungs with our signs, they go nuts. (I’m always blown away by the looks of sheer joy on those faces below.)

A Pride weekend moment

Saturday night I was picking up some takeout at my favorite low-budget sushi place, Miyabi Sushi, when I encountered four young women standing outside trying to hail a cab. It was that time of the night before the parade when the drunks at the Castro street party start to outnumber everyone else, and many people decide to bail. This meant that every taxi cab in the city was occupied, so the women were still fruitlessly trying to wave down taxis ten minutes later when I came out of the restaurant with my dinner.

I had my big Volvo four-door, so I impulsively said, “You guys want a ride?” and a minute later I had a car full of dykes heading back to their hotel on Van Ness and Geary.

The conversation went something like this:

Geek invasions and analysis of stickers

kaliya’s laptop stickers

Originally uploaded by Liz Henry

There’s a lot of geeks in town this week; you may have missed them because it’s Pride week as well. Just fyi, the Web 2.0 hipster influx for Supernova & also for Foo Camp.

I had some serious laptop sticker envy at Supernova. Do you like the stickery punk look on a laptop? I had someone either east-coast or middle-of-the-US tell me that laptop stickering was an obnoxious habit of San Francisco / Silicon Valley brats, that it reeks of privilege, as if to say “Screw you people who don’t think of a computer as disposable, I can take a $2000 machine and crap it up with stickers, it means that little to me.” And in fact that just carrying your laptop everywhere is obnoxious and means your survival does not depend on your computer not being at risk for damage or theft.

This point had not occurred to me at all — since I *am* that brat. I love the stickery thing because it takes the uptight business appliance and makes it a beautiful collage. Fine, it’s mostly a collage of corporate logos… but not always. If you think of the laptop as already having a logo on it, why not deal with that ubiquity of branding by taking control of it and getting a handle on it through bricolage?

The criticism is also a bit weird to me because I’ve never heard anyone say that putting a bumper sticker on a car is an act reeking of privilege and yet a car is an even more expensive appliance. So the principle her is, take an expensive thing, and trash it to show you can, and then carry it around with you all the time as a sort of status symbol. I disagree with that perspective because I don’t think it trashes the computer; it decorates it. And I carry the computer around with me because I’m a geek who likes to be online and (often) because I’m working, so it is no more pretentious than carrying a reporter’s notepad.

I wish there were more people who airbrush and etch their laptops and arted them up. Since I am lazy, and also spent my teenage years making dorky “punk” collages, I’m sticking with the stickers.

If you look at the Flickr Laptop Stickers pool, I wonder how many computers there are West Coast, or specifically SF Bay Area?

What *does* it mean?

Concord is NOT San Francisco

On a recent trip trip to SoCal, I met some bay area residents at a graduate school orientation. We were asked to introduce ourselves, give our little speech about why we wanted to go to that institution and identify which city we hailed from. When the two guys to my left both announced they were from San Francisco, I beemed with delight thinking I was on my way to making great local career connnections. We met up after the orientation and I was excited to learn which neighborhood they lived in and talk about this wonderful metropolis. Needless to say, when they said they were from the suburbs, my smile quickly faded. “Suburbs? Where specifically?” One of the guys responded, “oh from uh…from Concord.” I was half shocked and half angry because, Concord is NOT San Francisco.

Hey Mister, I pay a significant premium, perhaps foolishly to live in “the city” and call it my home. You do not get to say you live in San Francisco or even hail from San Francisco, when you’re more than 60 miles away and in a different county all together. Granted we were in SoCal and Concord isn’t exactly a place that most folks are familar with. In which case, saying you’re from the Bay Area would be acceptable. But I repeat, Concord is NOT San Francisco.

Have I become a SF snob or is there any merit to what I’m saying?

Glamorously Kick Off Pride Weekend
Tonight, my sweetheart neighbor, Jose Guzman Colon (a.k.a., fierce local drag queen, Putanesca) unveils more decedent photographs from his ongoing tablebook collaboration with Montreal-based photographer, Marianne LaRochelle. In typical SF fashion, it lobs a sequence-studded bomb at traditional notions of gender, sexuality, and of course, glamour. Documenting many of the “musicians, dancers, singers, adult entertainers, and most prominently, drag performers” of the San Francisco scene, it’s yet another glittery celebration of this town this weekend. Having seen many of these local talents perform live, it’s equally entertaining to see fantasy representations of themselves lavishly captured on film. FYI: Trannyshack fans should see a fair amount of representation – in the crowd as well as on the walls. And since it’s partially a fundraiser, I suspect some of the items may be for sale. Possibly even the artwork. [tired joke, yes]
Michael Finn Gallery, 814 Grove St. 7:00 – 10:00pm.

Central subway to Jackson/Stockton

centralsub_new_sm.gifMuni has made some changes in the Central Subway project to connect 4th and Townsend to Chinatown. According to the Examiner story, the subway will run under 4th St. instead of 3rd St., and instead of stopping at Clay and Stockton at the end of the Stockton Street vehicle tunnel, will go two blocks farther, to Jackson.

A graphic in the Examiner this morning (not online, but scanned in here — click it for the whole thing) showed the new route.

In addition to the extension, the new plan includes an extended platform for a Union Square station with a pedestrian tunnel that connects to the main Muni Metro lines on Market St.

The line would open in 2016, according to the plan. Given Muni’s experience with the T line, you shouldn’t hold your breath. The year 2020 might be a better guess.

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