Archive for July, 2007

Threshold of nosiness

PBS.org media blogger Mark Glaser, who is based in San Francisco, writes in his MediaShift blog about a service called Front Porch which signs up residents in specific neighborhoods as “hyper-local” blogger/reporters.

You can only sign up for the neighborhood you live in, and then you start getting email newsletters with news tidbits, items for sale, business openings, and more — submitted by people in the neighborhood. They are closed lists that aren’t accessible to the public, and each posting includes the person’s name, mailing address and email address to verify who they are.

Hmm. Does this strike anyone else as being on the intrusive side?
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Touch of Beijing: Attended Bike Parking

I saw these all over Beijing and now we have that brilliant idea too. Check in your bike, get a ticket, and pick it up after the game. Excellent! From SF Curbed. My issue with biking is always bike theft- and this just solves that problem.

From StreetFilms

Oakland to Celebrate 4th of July – Tonight ?

Headlines abounded earlier this month when it became apparent Oaksterdam mayor Ron Dellums and his administration of mysterious task forces somehow failed to check the calendar and order up the traditional July 4th Fireworks show at Jack London Square.
dellums-pelican.jpg
Instead the celebration was to be postponed until tonight, July 28th for some reason, perhaps simply to prove that in Oakland, the terrorists win or something. Well…uh, hold your bong hits folks, and guess what…

The “re-scheduled” fireworks are now canceled following new concerns that the endangered California brown pelican would be totally bummed. The announcement that slipped out on Friday, was oblique, but paid some much needed lip service to not disrupting the breeding and roosting birds.

But fear not dudes, a “friendly alternative” laser show has been substituted at 9pm ..way to go dudes…

Details on the today only Portfest World Music and Jazz Festival, and Map of the Middle Harbor Shoreline park area after the jump…
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Summer in the City: DiMaggio Pool

Sure, in the morning the city is fogged in, but at least in North Beach it warms up around noon. Behind the library and bocce ball courts, there’s a long 60s-style looking building that is the indoor pool for Joe DiMaggio rec area. I’d heard from neighbors that the lap swim time was great, and some other firends told me the swim lessons are good too. So, while babysitting 10 & 6 year-old niece & nephew, we decided to try it out. We waited for 10 minutes in a 30-kids deep line for the 2:30 “recreation time”.
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Homeless Watch City Workers Work…Yay! While Plants & Taxpayers Pay…Hey?!?

“The purpose of Golden Gate Park is to serve as an open space preserve in the midst of San Francisco. This historic park is a cultivated pastoral and sylvan landscape, defined by abundant evergreen woodland. It is designed and managed to afford opportunities for all to experience beauty, tranquility, recreation, and relief from urban pressures.”

That’s an excerpt of the “Golden Gate Park Master Plan, Resolution 9810-141″ as denoted & sent to me by Mr. Chris Duderstadt, who is a concerned neighbor, citizen and member of the PROSF neighborhood group.

Duderstadt, has previously compiled historic photo collections of his San Francisco neighborhood to share at his website SFPIX long before Flickr appeared , and to his credit, Chris also keeps actively abreast of city & park policies. This week he seems a bit concerned about recent chainsaw gardening & plans afoot to destroy more of the park’s greenery for what seems to be an excercise in human futility.

The same Park & Rec honcho behind the recent clamp downs on beer & bands, has now announced his intention this past week to strip park borders of shrubs, foliage & other potential hiding places for ne’er do ‘ells & campers along park borders. Might sound great until you realize that it ain’t the bushes alone that cause our city park’s to teem with wascally wildlife of a distinctly damnable sort.

I’ll let Chris take it from here himself, since he’s more than capable of describing the situation:

On Tuesday (7/24) afternoon Yomi Agunbiade, Recreation and Parks Director, called the entire Golden Gate Park staff to a special meeting where he instructed all gardeners to suspend regular duties and to remove all of the greenery from the park bordering Fulton and Lincoln.

IF Mr. Agunbiade were to visit the park, or at least review the map posted in Chronicle, he would understand that destroying the “cultivated pastoral and sylvan landscape” will not solve the homeless issue. It will only punish all of us that use the park for “relief from urban pressures,” by bringing the city into the park.

At this recreationally vibed, delightful day in the parks pic taken while celebrating Agunbiade’s appointment, I couldn’t help but note the casual outdoor dress & “natural” type of foliage the Mayor & his “clappers” approve of…
newsom + yomi + geraniums
I can hear the slick City Hall voicemail messages on Yomi’s phone now…

“You got three kids buddy, and looks like the mayor’s diggin’ yer wife, so ya wanna keep yer family, then ya better keep that mess ankle high at tops Yomi…or yer ass is grass…Don’t go soft on us buddy, or we’ll trim yer budget in that personal way if ya know what i mean?…Hack it back, cause we’re in the weeds, polls are mixed & we need to really hit one out of the park here pal…show ‘em whose boss…yours in particular…”

More on the egregious augmentations by the dutiful Agunbiade admin to the Golden Gate Park Master Plan, as observed by Duderstadt after the jump…
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Car Pool Etiquette

This morning I found myself commuting to the city from the East Bay. I had done my home work the night before figuring out the logistics and the cost benefit of taking the AC Transit Line vs. Bart. I decided to take the NL line to enjoy the ride and views of the Bay Bridge instead of becoming another sardine in a packed Bart train. What I didn’t figure into my calculations was the option of casual car pool–only because I didn’t know anything about it. So as I was walking to the bus stop this morning, a car pulled up and the driver asked If I was interested in carpooling. I took a quick look and saw there was at least one female passenger and felt comfortable enough to hop in the backseat.

I felt like a fish out of water riding with two complete strangers. Not knowing carpool etiquette, I decided to remain quiet, observe the interaction between the driver and the other passenger and listen to their conversation. What I was able to figure out during the brief ride (which may not be news to anyone who’s tried this before) is the following:

1) Salutations–Greet your fellow passengers, it seems like this one would be obvious no?
2) Requests–Passengers are the co pilots here so making requests about the volume or radio stations or air conditioning is not welcome. Once again, seems obvious but I was surprised that the other passenger in the car actually made these requests.
3) Dating–Just because a passenger is in your car Mr. Driver, does not mean such passenger is interested in dating you. The free ride is great but you can’t honestly expect me to say yes to a date?!

This is based on my first experience, but there have to be other “rules” that apply. So if any of you have suggestions or if there’s some kind of Roberts rules of Order for carpooling, can you all share? I can get used to riding in a nice luxury car to work every day.

Sorry About Your Passport, America

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Does this RFID chip make my ass look fat? Image via.

Leaving the country is going to take a lot longer than you thought.

When it was finally my friend Molly’s turn to step up to the bulletproof glass window at the San Francisco US Passport Agency to get her passport, she was sunburned, frightened, hungry and nearly hysterical. The girl behind the glass looked, to Molly, to be about nineteen years old and in a similar mental and emotional state. Molly apologized before beginning, saying, “I just want you to know I’m really frustrated with my government right now. I’m not mad at you.” The passport office girl blurted out, “I’m not even supposed to be doing this job. I don’t belong here, and I’m not exactly sure what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m a temp. I really understand why they have bulletproof glass here.” The girl paused to add, “I hate it here.”

While AP reports from July 23 state that Assistant Secretary of State Maura Harty, who is in charge of passports for U.S. citizens, has accepted “full blame” for the delays in US citizens getting their passports, it does little to ease the situation. The delays are due almost exclusively to the The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), mandated by Congress in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. WHTI requirements for air travel took effect on January 23, 2007. Requiring citizens to now need passports to travel to places like Mexico and the addition of RFID chips to US passports in so-called efforts to thwart terrorists — along with budget problems, and a passport redesign — has turned a routine six-week application process into a Kafka-esque nightmare for hundreds of thousands of citizens. And, a boon for price-gouging passport fulfillment sites.

Molly (who requested a pseudonym for this piece) purchased a ticket to Europe with two other artists in hopes of catching the ten-year occurrence of the Venice Biennale and Germany’s Documenta happening in the same summer. Only after, did she realize that because her passport expired within six months, she was required by law to have a new passport for travel. Thus began her descent into present-day US passport hell.
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Bike Stolen Part 2

Me, on phone to sister #3 in Baltimore: “Remember that bike you had as a bike messenger in Portland?”
her: “yeah.”
me: “It got stolen last night.”
We both laugh.
her: “They were doing you a favor!”
me: “I know! It’s burning man time- all the junkers get stolen and resold.”
her: “It’s not even worth $5!”
me: “Can you imagine that on the dessert? The gears drop out, it’s like 20 pounds, and with sand in in… ugh.”
her: “They saved you from lugging it out of your garage!”

And on the burning man note- N Judah Chronicles has a hilarious t-shirt for sale. Yes, I am a Playa Hatah. The best burning man was squatting in my friends apartment watching cable for 3 days with my other hatah friends. Howzah!

Fond memories of my first posts to SF Metblogs- on the traumatic event of my valuable bike being stolen.

Fake Valets

Captain Dudley has focussed on chronic crimes, and namely a scam that occurs on Embarcadero quite a bit, that of someone impersonating a parking lot attendant. Problem is, the cars that park there get towed. I witnessed this in Hayes Valley once – and it seems to be more prevalent during special events. Quoted blotter after the jump.
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Power Outages = Internet Crash!

Yesterday’s power outages affected many internet companies and websites, including Six Apart (who brings us LiveJournal, TypePad and Vox), Technorati, Yelp, AdBrite, and 1up.com.

This report from The Onion is eerily similar to the power situation, but of course, with a heaping dose of irony and sarcasm:

Breaking News: All Online Data Lost After Internet Crash

Scott Beale has posted an almost disturbing collection of downed websites’ screen shots in his Laughing Squid blog entry “Power Outages in San Francisco Down Major Websites”.

Also see: previous reports from fellow Metbloggers Anna and Mark.

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