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In The Crowd

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Then and now

Just saw a fascinating link to a page comparing 1968 San Francisco architecture to 2002 San Francisco architecture, as shown in the movie Bullitt. I consider this fascinating because:

a. It is set in San Francisco, the city in which I live
b. I appreciate both architecture and history
c. San Francisco is a particularly lovely place
d. I love action movies, and Bullitt is a great one
e. I've had a crush on Steve McQueen since I was about seven

Vertigo has also received this treatment , but I'm less enthused about Kim Novak. Go figure.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Americana nirvana

Yesterday was the day I had been waiting for. A beautiful warm sunny day, an empty stomach, cash in my pocket and a friend joining me for lunch. Without too much effort I convinced Martha to walk over to the St. Francis Fountain with me. I'd seen it there on the corner before, it's neon sign was hard to miss even with the screaming colors of the signs around it. To be honest I was expecting to be disappointed, or I would've visited sooner. I'm still mourning the loss of the State Street Woolworth's luncheonette, which finally closed about fifteen years ago. Nobody I talked to had ever even been to the St. Francis, which is not a good sign in a food-obsessed town like San Francisco. Still, it would be a nice walk and if it was really awful there was another place I wanted to try next door.

It was not disappointing. Let me repeat that, it was not disappointing. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that the decor and layout have not changed since it was founded in 1918. A long formica counter with raised stools runs along one side, with menus and condiments and tall canisters filled with spirals of red fountain straws. On the other side is a glass cabinet filled with candies, and behind that tall wooden booths. Next to the kitchen is a tiny wood-shuttered telephone box, and just enough chrome accents are sprinkled around to let you know you are in for some serious diner food. The menu is heavy on the breakfast offerings (note to self: brunch with mom), along with classic lunch sandwiches and all the fountain drinks you could want. Probably thirty different syrups to add to your Coke if you want, shakes, malts, sundaes, floats, egg creams. I had a Reuben, Martha had a bacon cheeseburger and we split a chocolate sundae for dessert. Not hot fudge (they have that too) but a old-fashioned chocolate sundae with vanilla custard ice cream, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, toasted almonds and a cherry on top. Perfection.

Not that it hasn't changed a little through the years. The waitresses were all tattooed hipster chicks who seemed to have bought their dark brunette haircolor in bulk, the ice cream is made by Mitchell's up the street and not in-house (despite signs everywhere that they make their own), the candy is no longer homemade but appeals to their local crowd with Star Wars pez dispensers, Alf bubble gum cards, licorice ropes and candy bars. The essentials are intact though, and that's what counts. I know where to go the next time I need a tuna melt.

1 Comments:

  • At 10:42 PM, Anonymous shoshie said…

    And where to take Shoshie when she comes to visit you. Mmmmm... chocolate Cokes...

     

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Monday, April 25, 2005

A suggestion

As I was waiting for the start of the movie the other night, a discussion started comparing the unintentional crappiness of sequels with the intentional (and hilarious) crappiness of B movies. My solution? Every sequel a zombie sequel. Just to give you an idea of how great this would be, I present to you a few potential sequel titles and brief plot summaries:

- The Remains Of The Day Before (A butler in WWII England becomes a zombie, no one notices the change)
- Schindler's Other List (Allies liberate a concentration camp, only to discover that the Nazis have been using it to contain the zombie population)
- Unusual Suspects (Zombies infiltrate a movie production, police struggle to identify the zombies amongst the bad actors)
- 12 Zombie Men (One zombie on the jury panel manages to slowly eat the brains of the others)
- Mementos (Zombie has no memory of his life before the bite, just a collection of gaping wounds)
- Zombiespotting (A group of disaffected Scottish men become zombies, but discover the need for brains controls their lives)

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Sunday, April 24, 2005

Mmmm, brains

This weekend kicks off the SF Int'l Film Fest (tagline: every movie is a foreign movie somewhere). As part of the festival they're showing a few midnight movies, I was invited to see last night's selection Zombie Honeymoon and who can turn down an invitation like that? They're charging the extortionary rate of $12 each for film fest movies, but the midnight movies have the advantage of being sponsored by Stella Artois. This means that as you enter the theater, a smiling volunteer whispers conspiratorially to you that "the Stella Lounge is open on the third floor" and so you find yourself trying to chug free Belgian pilsner in the 30 minutes before the movie starts. Just in case you were concerned about drinking and driving, Stella also provides strong mints in cute little tins. So thoughtful.

The movie itself, as the review linked to above will tell you, has created a whole new subgenre: the zombie chick flick or "rom zom". Yes, it is a romantic tale of a young couple in love and the difficulties they face together. In this case, their difficulties center around the fact that one of them is turning into a zombie. The movie takes the romance portion pretty seriously, apart from the eating people and a little rotting flesh it could be any cutesy date movie. The sound effects are pretty spectacular, but the gore is not too outrageous. It's a pretty good movie.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Photo ban rescinded

Okay, I caved. I know I said I wouldn't post photos here, but sometimes I just feel like it. Like today, when I went to the UN Plaza farmer's market. There's just too much good stuff to keep to myself, go check out my Flickr page and see.


Addendum: A few more pictures added, primarily for the benefit of Jason.

1 Comments:

  • At 6:59 PM, Anonymous Jason said…

    Many thanks. I especially dig the Pepsi One Billboard.

     

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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Things is back!

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Sunday, April 17, 2005

East Bayyyyy!

I spent a few hours (okay, seven) last night hanging out with the MeFi crew in Berkeley. The meet up was at the Albatross, where people are serious about their games. As in, don't come and waste table space if aren't planning a Connect Four deathmatch. Apparently it's close to the graduate student housing for UC Berkeley and has a fiendishly difficult and popular pub quiz, held at the civilized hour of 8:30 pm as opposed to some quizzes I could name. Several inventive games of Mao and a few games of darts were played, and a large quantity of beer and pizza was consumed. The women of course provided the flair.

5 Comments:

  • At 2:08 PM, Anonymous shoshie said…

    Speaking of flair... we still need "I <3 Shosh" buttons for the jar at UO. How are we ever to establish a fanbase of mythical proportions without the heart buttons?

     
  • At 3:43 PM, Anonymous jason said…

    That's a cheap shot, Alicia. You know damned well that if any restaurant in SB deigned to remain open past 10 pm, we'd have the Pub Quiz at a later hour.

    A man's gotta eat.

     
  • At 10:43 AM, Anonymous Jonathan Nolen said…

    yo. step off, now.

    The pub quiz at the Albatross is all corporate 'n shit. A chain! Nuthin' but sell-outs. We're keepin' it real in SB, a'ight?.

     
  • At 10:44 AM, Anonymous Jonathan Nolen said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
  • At 6:14 PM, Anonymous kristan said…

    oh nuh uh! now you've done it! GIIIIIIRL, if you can bring out the ghetto in Jonathan you are in some serious trouble. Ya know?

     

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Friday, April 15, 2005

The Ides of April

Yes, it's that day again. Having procrastinated since the middle of January, I was pleasantly surprised yesterday when I sat down to finally do my taxes to find that the California State Franchise Tax Board has a workable, straightforward, free and speedy interface for filing. Took me all of about 10 minutes once I unearthed the paperwork. Of course, this year I didn't panic over the sudden appearance of the use tax on the form.

Note to the California State Franchise Tax Board: I make sure that ALL my purchases are from the California businesses I so dearly love to support. Every. Single. Last. One.

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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Sincerity is not enough

Unitarian Jihad!.

Brother Gatling Gun of Patience notes that he's pretty sure the world is out to get him because everyone laughs when he says he is a Unitarian. There were murmurs of assent around the room, and someone suggested that we buy some Congress members and really stick it to the Baptists. But this was deemed against Revolutionary Principles, and Brother Gatling Gun of Patience was remanded to the Sunday Flowers and Banners committee.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Progress: nil

Entropy. The tendency for all matter and energy in the universe to evolve toward a state of inert uniformity. I like to call it the "permanent Sunday afternoon", and it very nicely describes my life right about now. There are a million things I should be doing, including getting a job, and I am making process on exactly zero of them. Okay I did make some buttons, but that was only with a lot of help. The fact is, I've done so little that all I can post about is my lack of anything interesting to post. Somebody get up here and give me a swift kick in the rear.

5 Comments:

  • At 7:32 PM, Anonymous kristan said…

    I'm here doing the opposite of kicking, though I suppose that would be punching and I'm not doing that either. As someone who is currently working somewhere in the <40 hour week range and spending ridiculous amounts of time wedged into one of those stupid lecture hall writing desk, please, for the love of humanity (and especially the friends you love dearly), don't go back to shillin' for the man until you can't hold back any more.

     
  • At 11:40 PM, Anonymous Jonathan Nolen said…

    dude, let's go hear some crazy austrialian indie-pop. That new lucksmiths' record is rockin'.

    Also, new the new Teenage Fanclub is pretty damn cool, too. Love the indietorrents.

     
  • At 12:50 PM, Anonymous shoshie said…

    Your description of entropy evoked the non-dairy-creamer-enchanced-coffee-out-nose response that I've taken to freely associating with the act of reading your posts.

    Ignore the man as long as you are able, says I.

     
  • At 6:51 AM, Anonymous Ian said…

    Count yourself lucky being unemployed in SF is about one million times better than being unemployed in Santa Babs, its driving me up the wall. Althoug I am currently in a coffee shop on Byres Rd in Glasgow - the soy latte here sucks. Think I will have an interview in SF so expect a visit from She and I.

    I must check out the new Teenage Fanclub.

     
  • At 1:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    doh! I really do know the difference between greater than and less than. I swear it. It's the working >40 hours plus school that's making my typing less than perfect.

     

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Sunday, April 10, 2005

Taking it to the streets

5 Comments:

  • At 10:10 AM, Anonymous shoshie said…

    To paraphrase the majority of commentators on that page, "That is just, like, wow." I so want one now, rabbit and all.

     
  • At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Jason said…

    An open letter to Jonathan:

    This guy could have like 600 dates now. All of the comments on his post were from women, and EACH ONE OF THEM was your type (look no further than the chick who nicknamed her ibook "Samwise"). Start modding now. And I'm not talking about computer mods that turn your old IIe into an aquarium. Think ACCESSORIES.

     
  • At 2:18 PM, Anonymous shosh said…

    Hmm... what type of girl, then, names her mactop after after an Egyptian deity? Who names everything after an Egyptian deity, actually? Just curious.

    And I don't really think that guy was earning dates with that contraption, Jase. More like pattern requests and "What could you make me from a rubber duck and my old mp3 player?" queries if anything.

     
  • At 4:37 PM, Blogger Alicia said…

    No, I agree with Jason. Those girls were all over him, they even dug through his website (sans links) to uncover more about him.

    Chicks dig guys with skills.

     
  • At 12:47 PM, Anonymous shoshie said…

    Nunchaku skills, sure ...but modding skills? Hrmph. You people are silly.

     

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Happily lost

I finally managed to make it to the Alemany Farmer's Market on Saturday. This is exactly what I was hoping the Ferry Plaza market would be; cheap, ripe, delicious produce. And I do mean cheap. A pint of oyster mushrooms for $1, three pounds of kiwi for $1, ten pounds of oranges for $2, and $1 per pound for sugar snap peas. I can see this becoming a weekly stop.

On my way there I got completely lost and somehow managed to make my way to Cortland Avenue in Bernal Heights. I liked it so much I went back to walk around after the market too. I get tired of using the word "cute" to describe San Francisco neighborhoods, but this one really is. It's just like a little village perched at the top of a hill, kind of straddling the line between hippie and yuppie, basically a neighborhood where people appreciate nice things but aren't necessarily flush with cash. It reminded me of some of the nicer parts of Santa Cruz, or even NYC's East Village. The houses aren't as impressive as in many parts of town, but they're almost all single family homes with yards and the views are beautiful. The main drag has pretty much everything you'd need, but without much variety. Not much public transportation either, which is probably why it feels so isolated even if it's only ten blocks from a major road. Ten blocks straight UP, when they say "heights" they aren't kidding. If I were settling down and starting a family this would probably be my top pick in San Francisco neighborhoods at this point. And of course, this being San Francisco, the neighborhood has its own website.

1 Comments:

  • At 5:28 PM, Anonymous Jason said…

    For the record, sugar snap peas at the Santa Barbara market on Saturdays cost $4/pound. I know it's sunny like 300 days out of the year here, but it's hard not to be a little bitter about that.

     

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Saturday, April 09, 2005

Clement Street

Yesterday I got a chance to explore what's called Little Chinatown over on Clement Street in Richmond. It's a small area, about a ten block stretch, but I'd already heard about a few times. The old Chinatown near North Beach has become expensive enough that new immigrants can't really afford to move there, so they've started a second smaller (and tourist-free) community out on the edge of Golden Gate Park. Based on the pubs that still crop up every block (and the giant "SF Celtic Supporters Club" mural on the side of a building coming into the area), I'd say it used to be a predominantly Irish neighborhood. But now the most common businesses are dim sum restaurants and tea houses, where groups of men sit and read the Sing Tao Daily and shoot the breeze over cups of tea and steamed buns. There's also a big supermarket, a hardware store, several herb shops with beautiful and perfectly stmmettrical big clear glass jars lined up on wall shelving, produce markets, storefront acupuncture clinics, and an aquarium shop with the most amazing selection of live coral, sea anenomes and sea cucumbers I've ever seen.

Not that it's completely Chinese, there are still the pubs and Green Apple Books & Music, yet another fantastic San Francisco bookstore. This one has both new and used books and music, so if you're feeling less-than-flush it's a good pick. There's a couple of Russian places too, including a very intimidating-looking restaurant that looks like (and might actually be) the meeting place for the local Russian mafia. All said, yet another great little neighborhood off the beaten track and worth a visit, especially if you're hungry.

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Thursday, April 07, 2005

(323) 462-9609

That's the number for the pay phone in this picture. Go on, call it.

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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Movie night

At least, it was night when I got out. I finally saw Sin City, which I've been both looking forward to and dreading for a while. Looking forward to, because I love Frank Miller and I'd heard good things about it. Dreading because, well, I love Frank Miller. But it was just like the graphic novels as it was intended to be, and it didn't seem rushed despite using up all the plotlines in one film. Only Brittany Murphy and Benicio Del Toro were a little disappointing, but I can handle that. Now if they can just avoid making a sequel that'll be great. And if the greedy bastards try to lay a hand on Dark Knight Returns I'll slice their fingers off.

On the way in, the 19 year old taking my ticket moved very slowly. His eyes were fixed on a point above my left breast, and it took him a full 30 seconds to tear the stub and direct me to the theater. As I turned away, he called out "that's the old NASA logo on your shirt. I mean, the original one." You know, ordinarily I try to go incognito and blend in with my surroundings. But every once in a while you've got to just announce your affiliation loud and clear, so that your people can recognize their own. By the way, if anyone finds my Rebel Alliance pin could you please return it to me? Thanks.

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Monday, April 04, 2005

The wheels of change grind slowly (if at all)

Apologies in advance for a post obsessing over SF's public transportation, but since most of you are moving here soon (with the exception of Shosh, who will take the job I want her to and stop going on about "benefits" and "full time pay") this could be valuable. I'm getting to be an expert on this subject, since I discovered that my car will not fit into the garage no matter how I rearrange things or how much paint I scrape off the side panel trying to squeeze it in. Arrgh. So while I compare body shop estimates and make arrangements to sell it, I've been researching my other options.

The SFist posted this today, which reminded me that SF has a supervisor who not only blogs on company time but also on the official city website. More to the point, it reminded me that commuters who drive their own cars have had Fastrak for five years, and even have real time traffic data based on information gathered from Fastrak transponders. Meanwhile, the genral public attempting to use public transportation are still not even allowed to purchase a Translink card yet, and even those fortunate enough to get into the pilot program have only a limited number of locations where it will work. I know it's more complicated to set up, but the software was installed three years ago. Time to get hustling, people. Chop chop!

1 Comments:

  • At 3:34 PM, Anonymous shoshie said…

    Heeeeyy... wait a minute... you're just trying to keep me out of your silly "Bay Area Club," aren't you? I see what you're doing. Fine. See if I share my public transportation expertise with the likes of you! Hrmph! ;)

     

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Monday again already?

Time flies when you're having fun, I guess. I had a great weekend. Kicked the whole thing off on Thursday by checking out the Latin American Club, which despite its name is not Latin American at all. Well, it's in the Mission, but that's about it. It is pretty fun though, a little place with very eclectic decor (I like the cuckoo clock collection in particular) and good beer on tap. We sat outside and watched as the place filled up, then stumbled home while evaluating the desirability of the free office furniture sitting out on Valencia St. Note to self: Thursday is free office furniture night.

Saturday I met up with my (formerly imaginary) friend Tina, visiting from London, and we hit a few more bars and checked out a local Thai restaurant. I think she was a little embarrassed when the bartender at Amnesia asked where we knew each other from and I told her. I've gotten used to meeting people through various online boards, blogs, etc. but I guess it still sounds strange to most. Maybe it doesn't bother me because I know these are friends and not dates, so I don't have a big emotional investment in it. Hmmmm. In any case, I'm happy to say that Tina was as normal and fun in person as I thought she'd be. Which was a good thing, because on Sunday we spent the entire day hanging out together with even more internet friends. I'd actually met Leslie and Randy before at a music festival, they're possibly more obsessed with live music than I am and of course they're both engineers. Two out of every three people I meet will inevitably turn out to be engineers, someday scientists will isolate the Engineer Attractor gene I'm carrying and sell it for big bucks to major headhunting firms.

We started out at MoMA, where I highly recommend you check out the Robert Bechtle retrospective if you get the chance. Then on to Sausalito for lunch, and hiking in Muir Woods in the afternoon. Despite the rain, it was beautiful and exciting to see, especially for Tina who had never seen our famous North American ancient trees before. We finally ended up at Insalata's for dinner. It was Leslie's choice and a good one, I had the Estofado with a 2001 Marimar Torres, Russian River Valley Pinot Noir from Don Juan vineyard. The Estofado is a kind of Portuguese pot roast with a bitter orange gravy, which paired very well with the heavier black currant and cedar flavors of the Pinot Noir. I think I just slipped back into wine geek mode, sorry about that. Leslie and Randy insisted on paying for everything, which of course means I'm planning my retaliation right now. They've set the bar pretty high, but I think I can top it. We'll see.

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