Archive for August, 2005

More information on the explosion

Declan from CNET wrote to show me a gallery of his photos from the explosion today. His gallery and post are here.

Boom

For those near Kearny & Post around 10am this morning... There was an underground explosion at Kearny and Post this morning at 10am, leading to evacuation of a couple buildings in the area. The storefront of Ralph Lauren got blown out, and one woman suffered burns. Local Flickr kid Don was forwarded this shot (used here with permission) of firemen standing around afterwards, and Thomas got some shots of the blocked-off area.

Bear Party

This weekend, San Francisco plays host to another street fair. This time, it

FREE Kid-Friendly Magick in the Castro

Two Sundays ago, after enjoying our first visit to the newly-opened Gelateria Naia, my daughter and I crossed Castro Street and headed home.

2005-08-07-010

Strolling by the Le Bon Gateau caf

Frigid Fillmore Freaks Over Fresh Snow

Seems Johnny Moseley’s birthday plans involve covering part of Fillmore street with 10k cubic feet of snow, inviting an MTV crew, and general having a rip-roarin’ snow boardin’ party in a few weeks.

Naturally, America’s most tolerant city won’t tolerate such things.

“Icer Air 2005,” sponsored by a Nevada company that makes snowboard wax, will feature 10,000 cubic feet of snow, a ski jump, an MTV crew, a DJ and thousands of cheering fans in the heart of San Francisco’s grandest neighborhood.

“What the hell are you guys thinking?” said Bruce Miller, who lives in the area and, like most of the neighbors, just found out about the Aug. 27 event recently. “The arrogance of this organization is outrageous. This whole thing is unacceptable.”

Despite what Miller and other objectors say, though, the company staging the event received city permits to close Fillmore Street from Broadway to Green, and Vallejo from Steiner to Webster, on Aug. 26 and 27. Residents will not be able to drive to or from their homes.

So, they have permits, and, the article goes on to explain, they’re expecting only a few thousand people. There won’t even be any food or drink sales.

There’s an irate bride as well – her wedding is in the jump zone. I suppose I’d be mad too – but when she says she went to a Mission bar for her 30th and didn’t require any street closures, it’s hard not to ask for a bit of a break.

Again, I know it sucks, and it’s an inconvenience for residents – like the city’s many street fairs – but it’s also the price you pay (well, this and those ungodly rents) for living in our little postcard world. Most of the NIMBY arguments sound like a Pantene commercial: don’t hate us because we’re beautiful! Don’t penalize our gorgeous, scenic neighborhood – once you have the cash for a $10mil home, then you can hang out here too.

Democratic Women’s Mentorship Program – Learn About it TONIGHT!

TONIGHT! EMERGE INFORMATION SESSION IN SAN FRANCISCO! Please pass this link on to any women you know who might be interested. It’s a FANTASTIC program!

Emerge is a political leadership training program for Democratic women in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Our mission is to identify, educate and inspire Democratic women who want to pursue elective office at the local and state level in California. Emerge makes a long-term investment in these future leaders by honing their political skills; expanding their knowledge of local issues; and connecting them with mentors.

For more information check out the website at www.emergeca.org.

Emerge is holding information sessions around the Bay Area:

San Francisco: Thursday, August 18, 6:30pm-8:00pm, Kearny Capital Partners, 222 Kearny Street, Suite 600, San Francisco. For more information or to RSVP, please call Gretchen Schoenstein at 415-874-7433. Of course, feel free to stop by even if you can’t call ahead! All are welcome – there’s no pressure to apply, just a chance to learn about this pioneering program.

Selection Criteria:
Emerge seeks bright, self-motivated women who are committed to effective political leadership and who have:
-evidence of political leadership experience or potential, and meaningful involvement in workplace or community interest in running for political office
-demonstrated ability to bring together disparate groups to achieve a goal
-ability and desire to build effective networks
-ability to articulate a personal political vision
-demonstrated ability to inspire others

Applicants must be Democratic women, who reside in one of the following nine Northern California counties: San Francisco, Marin, Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Sonoma, Napa and San Mateo.

Emerge will select between 20 to 25 women from the Bay Area who meet the above criteria and who we believe have the potential to be political leaders.

Emerge embraces diversity and encourages applications from all women regardless of age, race, color, national or ethnic origin, marital status, religious affiliation, sexual orientation or physical abilities.

Running Away With the Circus

general_sm_clown.gifDig out your squeaky shoes and red noses, because the circus is in town!

Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus comes to the Bay Area beginning tonight at the Oakland Arena.

I have many fond memories of attending the circus at the Cow Palace with my family as a child. The cotton candy and popcorn always tasted better while watching motorcycles circling inside a globe-shaped cage (a.k.a. The Globe of Death!). I owned more than a couple of the souvenir colored flashlights that we could only buy there.

Ah, memories. I can smell the cotton candy now. Not to mention, the elephant poop.

Circus Schedule ’round the Bay:
Oakland Arena: Aug 17 – Aug 21
HP Pavilion (San Jose): Aug 24 – Aug 28
Cow Palace (SF): Aug 31 – Sep 05

You can buy tickets via Ticketmaster.

Chocaholics be afraid, very afraid

Here’s what I don’t understand about big business: why a huge company tries to buy out niche boutiques in an attempt to expand their market share. Either they (1) drive the previously successful companies into the toilet or (2) keep everything just as it was and claim the profits of their new acquisitions as their own, correct in accountancy but poor in karma.

Hershey, that fine purveyor of reasonably unimpressive chocolates, has announced it’s gobbling up Joseph Schmidt Confections and Scharffen Berger. This after they’ve noshed on Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut, maker of all the Hawai’ian tasties you’ve bought when visiting the islands.

For the love of all that’s dark and sweety, why? To provide the expertise gleaned in decades of making milk chocolate for school-children? How depressing. Soon all that’ll be left to our San Francisco palattes will be Ghirardelli, which is light years away from Hershey’s proud offerings of Ice Breakers, Good ‘n Plenty, and Swoops (a chocolate version of potato chips).

I think I’m going to fire up the stove and make a hot cup of Ibarra hot chocolate and drink my sorrows away.

For Shame, San Francisco

In 1998 I wrote of my unhappiness with Santa Cruz, and it’s policy of aggressively ticketing tourists. I suggested that visitors eschew SC and take their monies elsewhere.

Well, sad to say, now I must make the same recommendation with regards to several of our fair cities neighborhoods, those which have upgraded parking meters which eviscerate visitors to the tune of twenty-five cents per ten minutes. I’ve never seen a meter chew through spare change faster.

I encountered this ugly phenomenon twice in as many weeks, today at the north end of Columbus Street, nearest Fisherman’s Wharf / Ghirardelli Square.

I’m ashamed to be a citizen of a city which has fallen so far to use meter maids as a major force for balancing the budget. Run, don’t walk, to cheaper neighborhoods. It seems as though neighborhoods become too expensive or have far too few parking places (think Clement Street and the Haight-Ashbury).

We’re not doing a good job of making our city a pleasant place for inhabitants and visitors. Until the Mayor and Supervisors do better, spend your money wisely.

Swing Kids

Stompy JonesI was looking for a change of pace. I was looking for something new and fun to do. So one of my good friends turned me onto swing dancing about a month ago, and I haven’t looked back since.

For almost a month now, I have been taking Lindy Hop lessons, and I love it. It’s a good release of energy, you meet a lot of nice people, and how could you not smile when you hear that big band play?

I have only just begun, dabbling in the South Bay swing scene (which is growing rapidly), yet I hear the scene in SF is crazy. Swing is on the rise again, and if it intrigued you the first time around (maybe ten years ago?), be sure not to miss it this time! It’s hoppin’!

A few of the resources I turn to for the Bay Area Swing scene:

  • SF Bay Area Lindy List: A very comprehensive list of Lindy events in the Bay Area. This is the bible for Bay Area Lindy Hoppers.
  • Steppin’ Out Productions (Sunnyvale): the studio where I am currently taking group lessons. It’s a great deal, $40 for a 4-week group session! They also offer Salsa, Ballroom and Blues, if you are so inclined. I love this place. Their site also has a ton of great videos.
  • Starlite Dance Club (Sunnyvale): Another dance club in the South Bay. I haven’t attended here yet, but I hear glowing reviews from many people.
  • Swing Central (Redwood City): Another highly-recommended studio, located on the Peninsula.
  • Kevin and Carla: Kevin and Carla are competitive dancers, and they teach lessons at the above mentioned Swing Central. Their site has a handful of lessons on video, plus they sell their lessons on DVD.
  • Hep Jen (SF): Hep Jen is a local instructor who specializes in Lindy. She teaches the free “Lindy in the Park” lessons on Sundays in GGP.
  • 9:20 Special (SF): Located on Sutter Street, this club offers classes, dances, parties, and a unique DDR programmed with Swing Tunes and steps!
  • Trevor and Megan: These two are my current Lindy instructors at Steppin’ Out. They both also teach at various other clubs in the Bay Area, including Swing Central and 9:20.

The above should be enough to get anyone interested in the Bay Area swing scene moving. Who knows? Maybe I’ll see ya at the next Lindy Bomb (that is, a sort of swing dance Flash Mob)!

Above photo is of Stompy Jones, a local swing band, during their live performance at Steppin’ Out earlier this month.

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