Archive for September, 2009

COP “I’ll break your arm like a twig”

Illegal to skateboard in San Francisco?


Never mind that this cops understanding of the law is way outdated, try 6 years old. It is a matter of fact, Skateboarding is allowed in all those places he claims it is not. Read for yourself, the only provision in the county code when Skating isn’t allowed:

San Francisco City and County law

“a) Prohibits skateboarding on any city street at any time, on any sidewalk in any business district at any time, and on any non-business district sidewalk commencing 30 minutes after sunset and ending 30 minutes before sunrise (Traffic Code, Section 100)”

Snipped from the Supes Legislative analysts memo from 2003.

Skateboarding is only illegal at NIGHT. This kid looks to be right, this cop is acting like a fucking dick. I mean fer chrissakes we even have a SF Skateboarding Task Force (PDF)!

Natasha Wimmer, Bolaño’s translator, to appear

NatashaWimmerNatasha Wimmer, translator of Roberto Bolaño’s two major novels The Savage Detectives and 2666, will be the featured guest at 12:30 pm Tuesday, October 6 at the Center for the Art of Translation‘s lunchtime reading and lecture series. Wimmer will read from her translations of Bolaño, the Chilean author who died in 2003 who has become the new superstar of Latin American literature, thanks in part to Wimmer’s sensitive, fluent translations.

Wimmer and Jeffrey Yang are guest-editing the Center’s journal of translation studies, Two Lines, with the deadline for submissions of 17 November 2009. Wimmer will also be appearing at 6 pm on Oct. 7 at the Lone Palm bar on 22nd St. in conversation with Daniel Alarcón.

Read this Publisher’s Weekly article, Translator helps turn a Latin American novelist into a U.S. sensation. And read interviews with and articles by Wimmer:

Full Bay Area rail map makes Marin exclusion painfully obvious


Back when BART was being planned in the 1960s, each Bay Area county decided whether or not to support it, and the original system (map) — as it existed from the 1970s to the 1990s — reflected the fact that both Marin and San Mateo Counties were left out of BART. (The stations built in San Mateo County south of Daly City station, connecting BART to San Francisco International Airport and to Caltrain in Millbrae, are the result of several whoops-I-guess-it’s-actually-a-good-idea votes in the late 90s.) This new map of all Bay Area rail (large .gif file) by SF Cityscape highlights Marin County’s isolation. (Courtesy CurbedSF)

It’s a local urban myth that snobbish Marin voters rejected BART because they feared it would bring the hoi polloi to its gentle shores. But the truth is more complicated. As told in the book “Paying the Toll: Local Power, Regional Politics, and the Golden Gate Bridge,” by Louise Nelson Dyble, the 1962 decision to eliminate Marin from the BART district was the result of Golden Gate Bridge District intransigence and indecision by the Marin County Board of Supervisors. Read a page of the book from the Google Books scan.

Death and the Giants

Villalona. Photo by Tony Medina, courtesy San Jose Giants

Villalona. Photo by Tony Medina, courtesy San Jose Giants

Nineteen-year-old Giants prospect Angel Villalona, a first baseman who hit .267 for the minor-league San Jose Giants this year, is the prime suspect in a killing last night in his home country of the Dominican Republic, the Associated Press and other news organizations reported today.

Villalona, a 2006 draft pick, turned himself in to police twelve hours after the killing of 25-year-old Mario Felix de Jesus Velete in a bar in the coastal city of La Romana. He could face up to twenty years in prison. Villalona, who had been ranked among the top 50 minor league prospects by, had returned to the Dominican Republic to play winter-league baseball.

Meanwhile, the big club’s prospects for the postseason continued to fade as they dropped two out of three games in Los Angeles this weekend even as the team they’re chasing in the Wild Card standings, the Colorado Rockies, won two out of three. The Giants’ 6-2 loss to the Dodgers today (scoring summary) was painful for many reasons, but I think a new low for the season was reached when the Giants batted in the top of the fifth inning.

Trailing by a score of 4-1 on a hot day, 2008 Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum was clearly already exhausted. He had just suffered a long fourth inning in which the Dodgers had scored twice, and he badly needed a breather. As he was due up third in the inning, it was up to the usually ineffective hitters Ryan Garko and Aaron Rowand to, at the very least, extend their at-bats and give Timmy time to catch his breath. Instead, Lincecum hardly even had time to sit down before Garko popped out and Rowand struck out. Utterly gassed, Lincecum (14-6) grounded out quickly, then in the top of the inning walked the first two batters and was pulled from the game.

The Giants scored only one run the rest of the game, and were left to watch the scoreboard helplessly as the Rockies overcame a one-run deficit and overpowered the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Giants’ loss and the Rockies’ win puts the Giants four and a half games back with just 13 games remaining in the season.

New Humane Society – Silicon Valley

Approximately 5 or so months ago, a brand spanking-new Humane Society opened up, and wow, it’s amazing. Individuals can sponsor the cost of a little room for a pet, until it gets adopted. The entire facility is huge, with lots of socialization rooms, a fenced in big yard, outdoor little yards for the pet rooms, etc. It was a tear-jerking walk through – the cutest animals ever are there, I swear.

It’s off Montague down in Milpitas (I haven’t visited the one here, so can’t compare). I was down there adopting a cat a friend had fostered. The staff is nice, and I sense mostly volunteer. Great response to a social issue- if you’ve ever visited Cat Beach in Foster City, you know what I mean. Hundreds of cats are abandoned there by former owners.

I asked one of the workers there if they had seen an increase in abandoned/donated pets, and she said they had, in the past few years, as more owners are moving out of their homes and into rentals, or moving away altogether.

Also, check out great article on San Jose Metblogs re: the opening (Thanks Gary!).

Former SJ Merc sportswriter Ann Killion goes solo

Former San Jose Mercury News sportswriter Ann Killion, who left the newspaper at the end of July, now has her own sports blog at You can also follow her on twitter @annkillion.

I would say her blog needs more frequent updates — the most recent post is 5 days old — but I think anybody who loses a job they’ve had for more than 20 years is entitled to some time for readjustment. I love her writing, so here’s hoping for more of it.

Cathedral Hill Hotel to become hospital

      Gene Hackman as Harry Caul monitoring the goings-on in the Jack Tar Hotel

I was shocked to see this Curbed SF story on the proposed conversion of San Francisco’s Cathedral Hill Hotel to a hospital by the octopus-like California Pacific Medical Center. I don’t know about you, but the first thing I think about whenever I pass that hotel is that part of the great Coppolla film The Conversation (1974) was filmed there when it was known as the Jack Tar Hotel. (Part of it was also filmed at the Embarcadero Center, and somehow that office complex does not evoke the same associations.)

A personal memory I have of that hotel is the 1990 and 1991 Out/Write conferences, which brought together the whole LGBT literary world for the first time. Searching for some mention of these conferences on the web, I found a lovely piece by Edmund White, in which he gives a glowing description of the 1991 conference.

Also read: Curbed SF on the Jack Tar Hotel

Ranting About Biking In the City and BART

bikin on BART

Regarding BART:
> A bike-friendly BART car is in the works (haven’t seen one for myself yet, though)
> Why exactly can’t we take bikes on escalators? Whoever made that rule- have they ever carried their bike up 100 steps, each day?

My least favorite moments on my work commute – because if I can’t rant here, where can I rant?!
– Hipster girl who sped past me at a stoplight as I was starting off, nearly hitting me. On a fixie.
– Cars that race in front of you on a green light, so you have to fall in behind them, then they screech to a halt at the next red, while you cycle up past them. Why do cars race to the next light? I’ll never understand.
– Those big black limo-van things hog the lane and swerve into the bike lane. Each one of them.
– Pedestrians who step into the street while checking traffic. Check traffic, then step into the street! Key intersections: Embarcadero & Market, and Bay & Embarcadero, Sansome & California. Also, I ahve to say pedestrians are so focused on cars they miss cyclists.

On a good note:
– Buses and shuttles have been very courteous to me, on my routes (EmeryGoRound, the 10-Townsend).
– It’s been gorgeous out in the morning and afternoon
– Cycling in SF is so fast- everything is so close together
– It feels like there’s been more people out on bikes, doing errands and stuff. Bike racks seem really full
– Most bars/restaurants/public places I’ve been at, if I ask if they have a place for bikes, they usually do! It’s this neat kind of underground chivalry.

Time Lapse of Bridge Being Built

Who knows how to post YouTubes on Metblogs (tips welcome), but here is a time lapse of the bridge being built!

I want to go to there

Courtesy the beautiful and generous Michelle Richmond, here’s a nice piece on Associated Content, “Five books that make me want to travel to San Francisco.” They include Richmond’s own novel The Year of Fog as well as the Zuni Cafe Cookbook and the classic coffee table collection of pictures of Victorian houses, Painted Ladies.

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