Archive for February, 2006

11pm News Flash

Tonight’s late breaking news: Metroblogging is run by a duo and I just met 1/2.

Or maybe the two parts of the 1/2 (the man and the woman who puts up with him). Might that be 1/4 + 1/4? No matter the math, I just spent an evening with Jason D, one of the Metroblogging co-founders and I have only one impression: joe-cool.

This would have nothing to do with all the free beer he plied me with, or his woman’s sparking personality or stunning beauty. No, I’ll give Jason straight-up props for being a cool guy all on his own. And as a shocker, surely to give Tom a pause, we even agreed on handgun control in SF + DC.

So my SF Metblog reading fools, there are people behind this screen. Or at least we say there are…

Soviet San Fran Transport #2 – Tramvai

The Russian Version

SF green with envy

Taking yesterday’s trolleybus lead, the second San Francisco transportation option straight out of the Soviet Union is the Soviet tramvai.

You might call it a trolley, but those of us who travel too much know its really a tramvai, and no matter what it answers to, we all get out of its way.

Big, slow, and riding roughly on rails, it takes over streets worldwide. The San Francisco version is a direct cousin to the Soviet ones. Not sleek like Amsterdam’s or Istanbul’s, but old, rickety, and with that tooth-rattling ride that’s great for all involved.

Many cities, including DC, tore out their tramvai’s in the 1950’s to make way for more cars. As much as the ride is jarring, I do wish we’d kept ours. They add a classic touch to the city, and if modernized, are a very cool way to travel.

Me, I’ll stick with the trolleybus till you get the Euro-tramvai upgrade.

Stormy San Francisco

Stormy San Francisco
That was some insane batshit windstorm yesterday, wasn’t it? I could barely walk outside without getting drenched, and having an umbrella was near useless thanks to it being blown away every few seconds. Our office building lobby has all glass walls, and whenever the wind slammed the doors shut, the walls would shake like we were in the middle of an earthquake. Also, I heard reports from friends and family that trees were falling left and right, motorcycles were tossed about like spinning tops, and power outages were a-plenty. Here’s a couple of SF Chron stories about the storm yesterday and the effects it had throughout the bay:
Storm causes widespread outages: Fierce wind gusts close to 100 mph in parts of Bay Area
21,350 without power in Bay Area
‘Course, a buddy from the mid-west said it wasn’t that big of a deal and we were making a big brouhaha over it. Which is probably right. But we’re wimps, remember?

Photo by rgrjnr

Good Morning San Fran!

It was a beautiful morning at 6am, when my jetlagged ass crawled out of bed and went for a head-clearing run. Leaving the thigh-burning Telegraph Hill alone, I wandered around Nob Hill and was captivated by San Fran views.

Unlike DC that has its own majestic views of Capitols and monuments, here its all about hills, sea, and sky filling the eye with awe. And fill my eyes it did. I have to say, I ran like a tourist, stopping and staring, mouth agape, at the stunning scenery.

Damn mountains and trees, give me humans living perched on an edge or up in a tower!

Today’s Lesson in Lewd Grooming (Outside a salon on 18th near Castro St.) OMG, I totally spaced! Looks like no festive indecency for me today. Bummer.

Quick! Everybody Sin!

So, tomorrow is, depending on your culture, religion, location, or personal traditions, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras (yes, I know that’s the same as the first just in another language), Shrove Tuesday, and/or Pancake Day. Whatever you call it, for millions around the world, it’s a day to get out all your sinning before the start of Lent, the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter.

In some parts of the world, like New Orleans, the pre-Lenten celebration includes some Girls Gone Wild type action, copious consumption of booze, and all out debauchery in preparation for obligatory fast and abstinence days (not that kind of abstinence, no). In other parts of the world, this day is celebrated not with beads, booze, and boobs but with . . . pancakes?

No, really.

In England (here and here, for example), Shrove Tuesday is also Pancake Day. I’ve been told – possibly just to make me sounds stupid by repeating it to a limitless web audience – that Pancakes aren’t normal breakfast fare in the UK aside from Pancake Day. This, combined with their lack of actual biscuits makes me question their being called a civilized nation, but hey, who am I to judge. But let’s be clear, New Orleans and Rio: drunk, naked, parading the streets. England: pancakes, whilst fully clothed, at the table.

I haven’t had pancakes in a long time and since it’s too cold to run topless through the streets, I think I’ll celebrate pancake day myself tomorrow and spend the time while I’m eating wondering what I’ll give up for Lent. How ’bout you all – anyone out there follow those traditions? Giving up anything good this year?

So Happy Pancake Day!/Mardi Gras!/Etc! If you celebrate any of those in any way, feel free to share your plans and stories below!

Can’t Even Give it Away in San Francisco

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What is a good way to help the hungry and homeless in San Francisco? Make an announcement, like Joe Canada did, that you will be handing out cash at a certain location at a specific time? Last Friday there was a near riot at the Civic Center. The expectant crowd grew large and Joe for an unknown reason left before the big $10 giveaway even happened. Joe may have a big heart but he needs to find another way to make good on his word.

Not Our Port, But Still Our Concern

As the national debate continues on who should run several key, East Coast ports, our own Metroblogging Dubai rings in with their take on the situation.

Soviet San Fran Transport #1 – Trolleybus

The Russian Version

Making contact in SF

Wandering around San Francisco, I can’t help but notice that ya’ll have transportation options straight out of the Soviet Union. The first example is the Soviet trolleybus.

Direct from Russia with love, you have the clean diesel-free ride. You have that funny electric motor sound. And you have the joys of bus arms loosing contact with their overhead wires.

Jumping on one, I had an immediate flashback to my Ukraine wanderings. Why? There, I took the world’s longest trolleybus ride, from the train station at Simferopol to the beaches of Yalta – over two hours of trolleybussing!

The San Francisco version is much cleaner, of course, and the people are less gruff. But they go about the same speed, slow to mosey, or just right for a wandering to the Mission to be with my people.

Yeah, I ♥ trolleybuses. Do you?

The meaning of life + 1

Hot on the heels of us turning 42 (My personal favorite number. Just look at the footer if you had any doubts.) we’re please as punch to announce our 43rd city! Yes, FORTY THREE! Welcome to our new friends in Nashville! Welcome aboard and Happy Monday. Don’t let your hat blow away in all this wind.

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