Archive for June, 2009

NASA 3D View of the San Andreas Fault!

From Nov. last year, but posted recently as a NASA image of the day we bring you a killer 3D view of the San Andreas Fault running up the peninsula and out to see north of Pacifica. This project is about mapping which parts of the fault are creeping past each other with little “stickiness,” and which parts appear to be locked together—places where pent-up stress may be released suddenly in a major earthquake.

San Andreas Fault Satellite Imagery

San Andreas Fault Satellite Imagery

To read more about NASA’s mission to map the San Andreas and related faults with radar imagery, please read Scientists Search for a Pulse in Skies Above Earthquake Country.

Inna Gadda da Vida on Bernal Heights

Chris Carlsson has a fantastic post about walking around Bernal Heights and encountering an Edenic enclave of gardens, stairways, fruit trees and wildlife.

Funny to think of San Francisco as a windswept, barren, sandy and flea-ridden peninsula. These days it’s starting to look like a garden oasis, and if you spend time walking on the hills, behind Noe or Eureka Valleys, on Telegraph Hill or Russian Hill, Bernal or Potrero, you are in for a treat!

His Nowtopian blog is solid on my RSS feed.

Upset at beggars? Pick the right target

The Chronicle’s C.W. Nevius writes about a woman with a four-year-old son begging on the street in the Financial District. Nearby office workers, led by a sympathetic woman named Anna Samovol, got the woman and her child winter coats and Christmas gifts and eventually paid for them to go live with relatives in Pennsylvania.

Feel-good story? Not anymore. The woman and her kid are back. Samoval said, “I saw her at the BART station. I was pissed off.”
 
I’ve felt frustrated by beggars too. When I worked downtown I would encounter the same beggars on the same corners literally for years on end. When a familiar face was replaced by another mendicant, only to return a day or two later and reclaim his spot, I joked with co-workers that the unfamiliar guy must have been a temp. On another day, I passed a beggar with an amusing sign, then encountered another beggar a little farther on.

Me: You should have a sign like that guy back there.
Second beggar, unamused: The other day he had a kitten.

But generally I found them not a source of amusement but a pain in the ass. I told myself that they were lazy, that it was their fault they were there, that if it wasn’t their fault then they probably had something wrong with them that couldn’t be helped by my small donation. A story like the one about the woman and her son who were shipped to Pennsylvania only to return to the streets of San Francisco seems to reinforce that idea. If a ticket back home to relatives won’t help, then what good can I do by giving a dollar, or even a hundred dollars?

Finally I realized that all these projections on my part were futile. If I give someone a quarter, or a plane ticket, they don’t owe me anything in return. They don’t owe me improved behavior, or recovery from whatever is oppressing them, or disappearance from my sight. They don’t owe me anything. A gift is just that.

If I want to be pissed off by the fact there are beggars on the streets, there are plenty of good targets for my anger: start with Proposition 13 and the war on drugs, and go from there.

Save a City College class!

Eight hundred City College classes are being cancelled during the next school year due to the California budget disaster and the generally crappy economy, but you can save a class and have it named after you by donating $6000 to the school.

Just find the cancelled classes in their online schedule — the Music Department, for example, looks like this, with the cancelled classes highlighted in red:

cancelled_classes

As a late Father’s Day present, how about choosing something your Dad loves, and naming a City College class in the subject after him? For example, The A.E. Pritchard class in electric organ. (I don’t think they have a class in electric organ, but you get the idea.) Does the $6000 sound a little pricy in this economy? How about getting your friends to chip in? Maybe your writing group would like to sponsor a “Basic Writing” class. Because it’s time to stop making fun of people who can’t write and do something about it.

Five cops versus a non-resisting suspect — guess who won?

This San Francisco blogger on Open Salon writes of a “disturbing” police takedown of a fleeing suspect who was, judging from her account, pretty much not fleeing when they tackled him.

He was practically standing still when they tackled him. There was no shout, no order. The first cop hit him squarely from the back, another hit him from the side. They knocked him face down on the pavement, hitting his head on the neighbor’s motorcycle fender. More cops jumped on top. There was no resistance from the guy at all. Now there was a lot of hollering, which seemed to be about handcuffing the guy. It sounded like the cops were saying to each other to get the cuffs on him. There were so many of them — five cops — on the guy, I’m sure it was difficult to do even the simple task of handcuffing an immobilized, unresisting suspect. The guy must have had an even harder time breathing.

The man survived the arrest.

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Surfrider Fundraiser Tonight

Looking for something to do tonight after work? Why not head on out to the Park Chalet, it’s kind of foggy so wear something warm. There will be live music and fish tacos, cold beer. All the best of the park chalet has to offer.

When: Happy hour 6pm – 9pm (but open late)
What: Donate $5 to our organization and enjoy drinks and appetizers at happy hour prices; $3 pints and $5 apps for extended happy hour (till 9pm). Also enjoy the musical stylings of Polemo.

Show me what you got, Nihilist. Dipshit.

Lebowski Fest returns to the Bay Area on July 24th with the Bowling Party at the Classic Bowling Center and the Movie Party on July 25th at The Fox Theater. Two parties, two tickets… $28 for Bowling (includes shoes) and $22.50 for movie showing. More info

lf_sanfrancisco_400x600

Oakland hopes street fair attracts the right people to downtown

uptown_unveiled_poster

Oakland businesses and city agencies will hold an event tomorrow called the Uptown Unveiled Street Fair to draw attention to the north side of downtown, an area including the renovated Fox Theatre, arts school, ice rink and other attractions. Among other events, the new branch of the Piedmont Piano Company will be open 5-10 pm with free music, food and drink.

Click here to see the above poster full-sized. CLick here for a PDF map of the event.

Touring writer has WWD blowout

Just to show Writers With Drinks still rocks the San Francisco literary scene, here are last night’s tweets from novelist Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Into the Beautiful North, who ended his national book tour at the Makeout Room last night. The reference to the Chronicle refers to a negative review the paper is about to give his novel.
urrea_twitter

Rumpus launches live performance evenings

Thao Nguyen. Flickr photo by Switchburn

Thao Nguyen. Flickr photo by Switchburn

Musical guest Thao Nguyen, pictured at right at an Austin gig in 2008, heads the lineup Monday at the first monthly live event sponsored by The Rumpus, writer and editor Stephen Elliott’s website.

The evening also features readings from authors Peter Orner, Andrew Greer, Damion Searls, and poet Barbara Jane Reyes, performance by Word for Word Performing Arts Company, films by Wholphin, and music by The Yellow Dress.

The show starts at 8:00 pm Monday at the Makeout Room (map). Get information and advance tickets.

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