Archive for July, 2007

San Francisco Symphony: Summer in the City


Last night, myself and a few other lucky bloggers were fortunate enough to be a part of the first blogger’s night at the San Francisco Symphony. It was a wonderful opportunity to get out of our digital worlds and immerse ourselves in the an analog world of orchestral music.

The SFS started off the evening of “Classical Romance” with Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, Fantasy-Overture, conducted by 27-year old conductor James Gaffigan. It’s a piece that many are familiar with (further info and link to download a recording on Wikipedia), and was a lovely opener. This was immediately followed by a performance of R. Strauss’ Don Juan, Opus 20. As Gaffigan noted, although both stories and pieces are tragic, the most beautiful things are often tragic.

After intermission, we were treated to an awe-inspiring performance of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Opus 30, by 23-year old pianist Gabrielle Martinez. A long and intense piano piece (accompanied by Gaffigan and the SFS), Martinez pulled it off flawlessly, and without sheet music!

Startup attempts end-around on SF’s muni wi-fi

meraki.jpgIf you’ve been around the Inner Mission over the last few days, you’ve probably noticed these posters. Wi fi for everybody? Isn’t the city still arguing about how it’s going to make that happen?

This isn’t the municipal wi-fi effort, but an end-around by a private company, Meraki. By putting up wireless antennas around a neighborhood, then selling small “repeater” antennas to individuals, they aim to create a “wireless mesh network” across selected neighborhoods of the city.

Curious about the plan, I spoke on Wednesday to Sean Gaddis, Meraki’s head of marketing.

What are you guys trying to do?

Gaddis: The vision of the company is to bring internet access to the next billion people, to make the internet universal and accessible for all. The way we do that is to change the economics of internet access, providing access where it wasn’t possible before, by empowering individuals to create wi fi communities.

How’s it work?

Economist on SF

July 12th article in the Economist on SF’s strange boom (or non boom?). Interesting spectrum, from Boogaloos to Chicken John, of course. San Francisco’s City in a Bottle Socketsite quotes the article in its familiarity, according to local historian Starr, with Monte Carlo: “Just Quotes.” As a resident, I have noticed more pied a terre type of living situations amongst my neighbors. But in North Beach, and previously the Mission, the demographic was quite young.

Choose Your Own Adventure in the Mission

I haven’t had a chance to go explor ethis, but I desperately want to. I love the idea of sidewalk stencil graffiti telling a story, especially a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style story with branching plotlines and dead ends. It’s a story writ in physical space, literalizing the text.

I would love to see more stories scribed across the andscape, turning our streets to palimpsest.

From Flickr:

The mission stencil story is an interactive, choose-your-own-adventure story that takes place on the sidewalks of the Mission district in San Francisco. It is told in a new medium of storytelling that uses spraypainted stencils connected to each other by arrows. The streetscape is used as sort of an illustration to accompany each piece of text.

Its a love story with 2 characters who start in different locations. His story starts at 16th and Valencia, in front of the Crown Hotel / Limon Restaurant with the text “He Leaves his Lonely Apartment.” Her story starts at 21st and Guerrero in front of a stunning mansion with the text, “She Leaves her Lonely Apartment.” Eventually their paths merge, at the point where they meet, and their paths travel together until drama pulls them apart.

Their are two possible endings, happy and tragic, and two other points where the story can end unexpectedly if the viewer chooses the wrong ending. All in all, there are 4 possible endings.

Seen here.

The San Francisco Ultra-Niche Political Club Generator

sfmayorlolcat.jpgI had the distinct pleasure of going out to dinner with San Francisco mayoral candidate Chicken John last night; I got to ask him the question I’ve wanted to ask every elected official — why? Being a politician, he artfully dodged me and had me swooning about free MUNI in no time, but thanks to his efforts, I now know about the bring-a-tear-to-your-eye, utterly beautiful and most glorious SF Political Club Creator over at Usual Suspects. Simply click the “Join Club” button, and create your very own SF-centric special interest group. “It’s so funny, you will pee someone elses’ pants.”

I’m a member of:

* the Hunters Point Catholic Artists Cell
* the District 8 Austrian Dog Advocates Ninja School
* the Diamond Heights Armenian Taxpayers Dance Troupe

SF Political Club Creator (

Overheard in Other Languages

Despite it not quite being August – the vacation month European visitors- we are getting an early heavy flow this year, perhaps due to the weak dollar. I’m not sure why, but I have managed to recall various conversations I’ve heard on the street in French and 1 in Chinese. Enjoy! Sorry for nothing more interesting to post- I’ve been working too hard on (ahem) paying gigs.

(French)* New Trader Joe’s worker, closing up a call on his cell phone: “Call me back, OK? OK BYE.”

(French) Couple in their 40s, near Lombard, heads down over a cell phone. “It’s 415…. no 416…. wait, no 415….”

And it wasn’t even ‘Bring Your Daughters To Work Day’

A coordinated effort by San Francisco police during All Star Week to crack down on prostitution — called Operation Strikeout, get it — led to the arrest of over 100 people, including a 16 year old sex worker who brought her 8 month old daughter to an outcall at a South San Francisco hotel.

Another reason why low cost child care is a necessity in San Francisco.

Fun with Google Maps

googlemaps.jpgHave you noticed this subtle yet incredibly useful feature in Google Maps?

If you know you want to avoid certain roads and/or highways, you can simply drag your route away from the undesired route and the directions are re-calculated! Way cool!

For example, I wanted to avoid getting on the highway to get to South Park, so I dragged the point that instructs me to get on 101 over to Van Ness, and a new route was planned out on the fly!

Also, I just noticed the “Avoid Highways” checkbox. Sweet! I had always used Mapquest for this in the past.

Check out a video about the new feature here.

A Giant Sucking Sound: Swept by LA, Bonds drops F-bomb

bondsmooninite_75.jpgThe week of good feeling around the All Star Game, the tribute to Willie Mays, Barry Bonds’ valedictory election to the starting lineup, and the line of charm he dropped on the national press ended yesterday in the worst possible way: a three-game sweep by the Dodgers at home, and Bonds dropping the F-bomb on local press. Asking for his reaction to the sweep and to going 0 for his last 20 at-bats, the reporters found the charm tap in the off position:

Yeah, it’s an embarrassment for me to be wearing this fucking uniform because of the way I’m playing. Now go away.

That’s from this morning’s SF Chronicle, but the quote was being played incessantly on the Giants’ flagship station KNBR 680 AM — if you turn it on now, you can probably still hear it. They’re running it like every five minutes.

Let’s break down that ejaculation after the jump.

Riding the new hybrid Muni bus

On Saturday morning I found one of Muni’s new hybrid buses pulling up to my stop.

According to Muni’s page, there are 86 hybrid buses in the fleet. Somewhat misleadingly, they say “Electric Powered” on the side by the front door.

The almost still-new bus was comfortable, the ride a little smoother, and somewhat quieter than a regular diesel bus — but not completely without engine noise. The rear seating area is raised, while the main deck is much closer to the street than older buses.

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