Archive for the ‘The City’ Category

What We Need is More Ts.

At the Renegade Craft Fair at Fort Mason recently I came across Campfire Goods, an Ohio-based company graphic design trio that prints typographic city-themed T-shirts. It’s not an earth-shattering concept, but their simple use of illustration makes the wares interesting. Personal favorites of the Bay Area variety include “City of the Sunny Side/Oakland” and an iconic Alcatraz cutout (although “I Got My Burrito In San Francisco” feels less than fresh). It seems unclear how the company plans to keep a location-based fashion idea novel, but it makes for an easy summer birthday gift for now.

Smart(er) Parking in the Future

Parking Meter
[Photo by Nate Enyedi for Wikipedia.]

A few years ago, the Port of San Francisco wanted to study parking-use patterns at a third of the 950 meters it controls along the Embarcadero, using a technology developed by the SF-based Streetline Networks Inc. — little sensors glued to the street that transmit a wireless signal to a central database when a parking space is occupied or vacated. Now SFMTA has picked up the idea for another purpose: to (hopefully) make free spaces easier to find on the fly, by transmitting the data to a service you will apparently be able to subscribe to, according to this NPR story. (An iPhone app, perhaps? Maybe by the time it’s ready Apple will be done hosing their own servers.) The same sensors will be capable of monitoring the speed of traffic past the spaces, and that data will be transmitted as well. SFMTA intends to analyze the data they collect from this network, and based on that, they will set policies to adjust the price of parking in response to demand, aiming for a vacancy rate of 15%. (Expect a glacial pace on that, with lots of legislative bickering once it comes down to choosing actual prices. Dynamic server-to-meter price adjustments are a distant dream.) Reportedly San Francisco is the first city to reach this stage with the technology.

(Unrelated, but the question occurs to me: why do I have to rely upon the New York Times and NPR to bring me local news of this potential significance? And then the Chronicle wonders why they’re losing money.)

The Reverse Graffiti Project

Ever heard of reverse graffiti? Neither had I until earlier today. Reverse graffiti artist Moose makes a big statement about clean in San Francisco’s Broadway Tunnel. Shot by documentarian Doug Pray. For most information visit


Dogs Are People Too…

I washed my dog this morning, clipped his nails and got out the door to go see the vet for his regular check-up. Because I did not have any cash on me, I walked a little further to get coffee, to a place that takes cards.

I go in this place frequently enough. Though the “law” says dogs cannot go into food establishments, both of my closest coffee shops allow them. When I bring the pup in there, I carry him in my hoodie, just to be respectful of others.

Today, I go in and order a mocha and bagel to go. I have my dog on my shoulder.

I’m waiting for my food, when I get the feeling that someone is staring at me. I look around and my eyes land on one of the most foul specimens of human waste I’ve ever seen. Literally, this man is the human version of “Jabba the Hut”. He is a desending pile of tires of fat, rings of flesh telescoping towards the ground. He is shaped like a fleshy soft-serve, ice cream cone. His skin is yellow from jaundice and his eyes are bright red in the lids and whites, showing “Pink Eye” at the very least.

This foul man-pile yells at me from his stench-seat, “The dog goes outside”. I reply, “Are you the owner? I’m not leaving him outside.” I go back to waiting… “It’s the law” says flesh-sore-man, “Are you above the law? I’ll call the Board of Health.”

I grab my stuff to go and say to him loudly, so the whole cafe gets the message, “When you call the Board of Health, tell them you have a full-blown case of the infection known as “Pink Eye”, and that everything you have touched, including that stainless steel spoon someone else will later use, is infected.” I continue, “Tell them the money you gave the cashier, has now been handled by the same people handling the customer’s food. Tell them you have now exposed your infection to everyone in the cafe. Maybe you should think about THAT next time you worry about health codes…”

Do I need to take my 4th Anger Management class? YES.

Is it ridiculous that in San Francisco, an 8 pound, freshly-bathed dog is a health hazard, when in EVERY corner of this city, the average San Franciscan comes upon human fecal matter on every train, door handle, cafe, bathroom they use because this city is swarming with filthy, homeless crackheads?

YES, more than I need Anger Management, YES.

I pick my dog’s crap up, no matter where it lands. EVERY DAY when I walk to work, I dodge SEVERAL piles of human waste. The people who made those piles can go into any establishment they like. But I can’t bring my 8 pound, clean dog on my shoulder to get a coffee to go without having some ridiculous law spouted at me from Jabba the Jaundiced?

The LAW must GO!

Newsom gets behind Meraki’s free wi-fi model

Meraki rooftop antennaA year after Meraki, a startup with a grassroots model for blanketing an area with wi-fi signals, gained its first foothold in San Francisco, and ten months after the city’s first attempt with Earthlink collapsed, Mayor Gavin Newson is supporting Meraki’s model as a way to get wi-fi to a majority of San Franciscans.

When I spoke to Meraki last summer, their intention was to pay for the free wi-fi by putting an advertising bar in the browser of everyone who uses them to connect to the internets. I’ve never been able to find one of their signals, so I don’t know if they’re still doing that.

See my original post from July 2007 for an explanation of their scheme.

Newsom walking Castro for Prop. G, no on Prop. F

Newsome Visiting Bars in Castro June 1, 2008

Gavin Newsom was walking from bar to bar in the Castro district of San Francisco yesterday urging voters to vote YES on Prop. G. No on Prop. F.

Proponents of Prop. G say it will clean up the shipyard; make new housing, shops and park area available to San Franciscans. They also say the deal with Lennar Corp. to develop the area will not go through if Prop. F is passed.

Opponents of Prop. G say Prop. F will guarantee 50% of all developed housing be affordable to people who already live in the area. The proposed townhouses for the area would start at least $500,000, and be out of reach of the neighborhood families financially.

Whatever you choose, get out and vote on Tuesday!

State-Approved Art?

My wife works for the city, and she recently got a letter in the mail that promised to contain something of culturally uplifting value:

Official Ballet Enclosed

Wow! Wonder who the choreographer is?

Actually, it just turns out that somebody at the Health Service Board can’t spell:

HSB Envelope

On that note, don’t forget to cast your own ballets in ten days, and joking aside, please vote NO on 98!

What’s in Gavin’s desk? Altoids and Rolaids

Gavin Newsom applauded by staff after gay marriage decision by Calif. Supreme Court. AP photo by Eric Risberg

One of the photos accompanying today’s Chronicle story on about the gay marriage decision gives a glimpse into San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s desk drawer: Altoids, and a large bottle of something that looks like Rolaids, or maybe aspirin. Both standard equipment for a busy politician. (What, no hair spray?)

A Companion for Your Commute?

There is a reason I carry a camera in my bag every day. I have three digital cameras, constantly charging, of various sizes, on the ready to capture news, odd sightings or anything in my path.

Many questions from folks have been launched at me while wandering into BART on a daily basis… “Do you want to take a FREE personally test?”, “Do you have some change?”, “Do you know where I can get some pot?”…

Yesterday, I heard, “Would you like to buy a rat for $5.00?”

(Insert trusty camera here)

This is Mia, and she sells rats in BART for $5.00.

(I used to have rats for pets and it broke my little heart
when they only lived to their meager lifespan of 2 years)

Mia and her rats

Dozens sickened at Moscone conferences

The annual Java One conference in San Francisco is still going on, and if there are a lot of sick tech geeks today, it’s because they just discovered that dozens of attendees caught norovirus, the same fast-spreading illness that has afflicted cruise ships for the last several years.

People with norovirus (CDC page) experience vomiting, fever and diarrhea for up to 48 hours. It’s not fatal but when you’re in its grip you may wish it was.

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