Archive for November, 2007

On Friday, buy nothing

buy-nothing-day-poster-2007_small.jpgThe decorations have been going up since Halloween. The commercials started two weeks ago. And the annual buying frenzy has already started.

Aren’t you already sick of Christmas?

Then participate in the annual Buy Nothing Day, in which you pledge not to choke the freeways, waste resources, go into debt and deal with a lot of screaming Christmas shoppers just so you can load your friends and family down with a lot of shiny, useless crap. Again.

Instead, participate in the Credit Card Cut-Up… the Zombie Walk… the Whirl-Mart… and other fun activities. Particpation is free.

You can date your boss, but would you want to?

nine_to_five.jpgWith respect to the now widely-reported story about yesterday’s Board of Supervisors’ refusal to outlaw relationships between city managers and their employees, I have only this to say: When was the last time you had a boss you wanted to date? Either this notion is — like many of the ideas considered by our city’s governing body — strictly theoretical, or the managers of city departments are some kind of special breed of desirable bosses. I mean, I’ve liked a lot of the bosses I’ve had, but…

Consider this: A judge in Kentucky has ruled that a man who suspects his wife, a state employee, of having an affair with her boss can force the state to surrender copies of email between the two. (Courtesy

So many people were paying attention to the vote that they missed Supervisor Jake McGoldrick’s proposal to make enforcement of prostitution laws a “low priority” for police. Robert Anderson, an also-ran for McGoldrick’s District 5 seat in 2000 and 2004 predicted in June of this year that McGoldrick “wants to legalize prostitution” — I had to read Anderson’s screed a couple of times before I realized that Anderson was opposed to the idea — but that’s not what Sup. McG wants. He just wants prostitution to be a low priority, according to KCBS, because its “real victims are prostitutes themselves who fear reporting assaults and other crimes against them.”

Cat saves man from burning house

cat-house-fire.jpgA cat saved its owner from a burning house this morning in San Mateo.

The cat woke the guy up once, and he sleepily let the cat out and went back to bed, not even noticing his house was on fire. The cat continued yowling from outside and when the man got up again to yell at the cat, he finally noticed the house was on fire and called 911.

The cat was not harmed. (Photo is not from this incident.)

ATM thieves condemned to heck, and other crimes

beagles1.gifSome thieves in need of holiday cash stole an ATM machine from a location in San Mateo and dropped it off in a Pacifica parking lot, leading a San Mateo cop to say: “For all the work they did, they got very little money out of it,” despite going through “heck in a handbasket to get this thing.”

In Windsor, about 50 miles north, a teenager who pitted his car’s GPS device against a cop’s radar gun was still convicted of speeding.

And in Vallejo, the man who was just elected mayor by four votes apologized for his arrest for being drunk over the weekend in Palm Springs. Still unclear whether he was celebrating his impending victory, or celebrating the hope that he would not have to become mayor of Vallejo. I’m thinking the latter — thus the apology.

Book critics to meet in SF

The National Book Critics Circle has announced it will hold a meeting in San Francisco the second week of January, with several free panels on book culture, Northern California writers, and the future of literary culture. The climax of the event will be the announcement, on January 12, of the finalists for the organization’s 2008 awards in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, criticism, biography, autobiography, lifetime achievement and book reviewing. All events are free. More info.

Spanksgiving Food Resources

I’m not a huge Citysearch fan, but this season I was looking for food resources for the holiday and came across their simple and excellent Thanksgiving Planner. It has places to get birds both vegan and animal, ready to cook and pre-cooked; pre-assembled meals that you can order in a few minutes online (for pickup at Whole Foods locations around town), and even local restaurants that are doing dinners and events. Who knew Waiters on Wheels will cater your Thanksgiving with, say, a turkey meal from Lefty O’Douls? The planner iz truly excellent if you’re having an event or want to go out. Then again, the holiday is an odd one; best to rent Addams Family Values and enjoy all the free, open parking. One year for Thanksgiving, instead of orphan potlucks or suffering with other people’s families, I took acid with a bunch of friends and wandered around SF in daylight hours. We tried to fly a kite. It took us a while to realize there was no wind. Good times.

But — I was excited to see this on the Citysearch list: my favorite (and not cheap) gourmet vegan restaurant Millennium is doing a $60 five-course feast from 2:30pm to 7:30pm (the menu is in their events).

Turkey Ride

dusk and au lait So I have the honor of making Thanksgiving dinner for half of my large family this year. I was at the Ferry Building the other day, taking a break while biking home from the gym, when I talked to Golden Gate Meat Co., and they told me to buy one right away (this was Sat.) as folks have ordered 3 weeks in advance and they only have two left. I bought a 15 pounder, and had them hold it until I swung by with the car. I’m walking around the Ferry Building checking out the recipes, veggies, and whatnot, and thinking, it’s never easy to double park here, and parking is a drag. Why not just put the turkey in my bag? I have a Timbuktu smallish messenger bag. So I return to the butcher and hold open the bag, and we manage to squeeze it in. One of the butchers says, “Trying to get a turkey in a messenger bag, it’s that season.” I strapped the other side of my bag down for balance and security, and managed a very nice stately bike ride home along the embarcadero. I now know I’m not going to gain 15 pounds, because my legs really hurt the next day. Anyways, that’s the story.

Metblogs in SF Weekly

In SF Weekly’s online Snitch blog today, a piece about Metroblogging, with quotes from co-founder Jason (mostly) and me (once).

Writer Tyler Callister emphasizes how the city-focused blogs in the world-wide network respond to local crises. In addition to the Pakistan cities Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore which have reported on that country’s recent upheaval, last year the Bangkok metblog reported on the Thai military coup; when bombers hit the Indian city of Hyderabad earlier this year, they were on it, as were Bangalore metrobloggers when riots struck the city in April 2006.

To see all the cities with Metblogs, click on the image of the world map at the top right of this page.

For Web 2.0 millionaires only?

I had to laugh when I saw this ad in Sunday’s SF Chronicle real estate section. I think the ad’s headline writer is out of sync with whoever chose that stock image of a giggling fortyish couple — unless they made their money in high tech and are hip enough to understand what “ginormous” means.

Ban cars once weekly?

I just caught up with this week-old entry on the Capricious Commuter blog and the interesting questions it raises. The basic question posed by the writer is this: What if — as on a recently-broadcast television episode — the government made it illegal to drive cars one weekday a week? How would that affect the Bay Area?

I thought:

  • It’s not hard to agree with his contention that mass transit here could not handle the sudden extra load.
  • He doesn’t mention telecommuting, but that’s only for a segment of white-collar workers. If everyone telecommuted who could, it would probably take only ten or fifteen percent of the cars off the road.
  • Silicon Valley would certainly be less congested, dur to the higher percentage of its workers who could telecommute. But its suburban layout, and that of the suburbs, would mean many people would be effectively cut off in their subdivisions.
  • Of course, that’s something residents could plan for, just as people plan to get through store closures on Christmas day.
  • Though the idea of outlawing cars one day a week is a great jumping-off point, I like much more the idea of outlawing a percentage of cars — say, on Mondays you could outlaw cars whose license plates end in 0 or 1; on Tuesday 2 and 3; and so on. Fully-loaded carpools could be exempt.
  • Then there’s congestion pricing, as practiced in some European cities. Because of San Francisco’s small size and the ease with which access can be controlled from bridges and freeways, many have suggested it’s a natural. New York was looking at it too — but an article today suggests the idea is facing some tough questions.

And by the way, I’m one of those people who is lucky enough to be able to telecommute from time to time; I’m doing it right now.

Your thoughts?

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