Saturday, July 31, 2004

Current song on heavy humming rotation

Good Luck - Lisa Kekaula & Basement Jaxx

Current excursion.

Wandering Chinatown and the Nob Hill areas.

The only way I can determine Ive crossed over into Little Itialy are the tri-bands on the poles. Otherswise, its all Chinatown. Sorta.

Im at a boba-drink place on their wireless connection. Boba and wi-fi, hey.
Its on Polk by Clay Street. Guess this is Nob Hill.
I only came in cuz theyve got a 59 cents special. And the wi-fi.

They dont have Horlicks boba, man.

And naturally, I asked them to leave out the tapioca balls.

Theyve got J-Pop, K-pop, HK-pop and all the other asian pop playing on plasma screen TV's. Loud.

So, Ive got the current song playing louder on my headphones. Eesh.

Oh yeah, I got some Thai shrimp chips in a can in Chinatown. Good stuff for a buck fifty.

And steamed chicken buns,2 for a buck 10.

Different chicken, bro.
By the way, Im not coming back to this place. Boba, Wi-fi or no.

Its a pet peeve.

I never go back to a place that tells you when you ask to use the rest room "It's broken".

That's usually code for "We dont want undesirables using it, particularly black people."

Lost track of time, got to the Cable Car museum as it was closing.

I did get to see the massive wheels that run the cables of the cable cars. Wow.

These things date back to the 1890's.

Gotta go back.

Yeah, it's good to meander around without a camera. Painful, but forces one to really look at a place, not to see as a camera would.

But, not for much longer.

This place wont have it. :)

As a homeless guy said to me the other day

"Its a sin to walk around San Francisco without a camera."

Sho' nuff.
Whoo. Im at the Apple Store, about to head in.

Dawg tired.

These excursions take a lot out of me.

I see a lot in a short time, the hills are steep, and experience from New York tells me that the simple, constant noise fog of a big, bustling city will wear your arse out.

The honks, horns, sirens, subterranean rumble, clatter, sudden noises, whang, sparks and clatter, which is why I feel rejuvenated when I find a quiet high point in the City.

Unfortunately, these days, the wind and cold at the top of those hills dont make you wanna hang around long.

And there goes your rest.

Ahh well.

I'll try to do all again tomorrow, but different.

Peace out.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Hells On Wheels

The Hell's Angels are having a convention in town, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the san Francisco chapter.

For them, theyre keeping it kinda low-key.

Been watching them blast thru Frisco, the deep *blaaatt* of multiple unmuffled Harleys reverberating off the canyons of downtown SF.

At the bus stop I saw an older woman with a glitter Harley-Davidson t-shirt, so I asked:

"Are you in town for the Hell's Angels convention?"
"Oh no, I work in an office here. But Ive been listening to them go by all day *vroom vrooooom*"
"I figured with that t-shirt.."
"Oh no, I got it because we just put in order for a Harley."

Then, the punch line:

"Haha! I might be hell on wheels, but Im no Angel!"


THAT would make a great t-shirt. :)

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Looking ahead

In exactly
one month, Im gonna be 40.

Acceptance is hard, man.

I remember the cruel jokes I flung at my big brother on his 40th, who good-humoredly took the jibes, paused, smiled and said "It'll be your turn next."

Shoo, I was still in my mid-thirties. A long time. I laughed and made more jokes.

5 years later, it's coming to pass.

But I know what I will be doing on that day.

Denny's. Ben and Jerry's. Baskin-Robbins. Free birthday breakfast, lunch and dinner.

And ice-cream.

Im gonna hit every single one in the city.

Free, free, free. :-)

**(scratch that. Denny's doesnt do free birthday meals anymore.)
The other day, riding on the F-Market trolley up Market Street to the Castro, I saw an empty parking lot .. and I thought the Bagdad Cafe had been torn down.

Guh. It was one of those times that I was hating change, as the old disappears, replaced by something else, the experience a mere memory unlikely to be shared by others.

Good thing I was mistaken.


Turned out it was a little further up the street, still in the same place.

Back in 2002, I had celebrated a midnight birthday there.

Good times.

In 2003 I was outside in Berkeley.

I barely remember that one.

I do remember enjoying it tho.

Doing what I want to do, when I want.
On rotation
Sarah smile - Hall & Oates

Its hard for me to appreciate that this is a Hall & Oates song.

Its one of those songs, like Earth, Wind & Fire's "Love Holiday" that is simply perfect, just by the melody and harmony and defies categorization.

That's why I start singing along when I hear it.

Even tho I sing like dirt. :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Decided to travel light today

I left behind
the laptop.

10 pounds on yer back adds up after awhile, and I just wasnt feeling it.

Good thing I did, for I saw some cool shytte today, things I wouldnt have seen if I were lugging the laptop bag.

- On top of the hill above Corona Heights, high above the city, a red-tailed hawk hovering on the wind, hunting for gophers.

Amazing display of aerobatics, balancing as if on a platform, wings spread, tail feathers and talons down - for a good forty-five minutes.

A magnificent creature just hovering overhead with a beautiful background for 360 degrees.

Gawd. A camera woulda come in handy then.

By the way, even tho I wasnt prey, a big-ass hawk hovering by you at eye-level, 6 feet away is *kinda* intimidating. Trust me on this.

Fierce, man.

At the bottom of the hill is the Randall Children's museum. Also pretty cool. Heh, the volunteers take the resident snakes and turtles out for air everyday.

"Arent you afraid the snakes are gonna escape?"
"Oh, this King snake did that once."
"Whoa, what happened?"
"He escaped from his enclosure, and disappeared into the building for a year. Then one day, he just re-appeared back into his enclosure."
"How did he survive?"
"Oh, he probably ate the wild mice that have escaped in the past, living in the building."
"And then he just re-appeared after a year?"
"Yeah, we think he got hungry and went back to where he knew there was guaranteed food."

Oh yeah, I got the privilege of seeing a snake leave spoor behind.

As the 4 foot red and gold reptile essed into the bushes going after shade, he spurted a gold-yellow-black pool, like a dog doing its business.

I dunno, none of the nature shows mention that snakes defecate.

"Whoa, never seen a snake do *that* before."
"No. What do you feed him anyway?"
"Dead mice."
"Where do you get them?"
"The San Francisco zoo sends them to us."
"Why not live mice?"
"Because we dont want the risk of the mouse attacking the snake and hurting him."
"Yeah, I can understand that."

Take the #37 bus in the Castro by Market, get off at Museum Avenue. There is a dog park there at the base of the hill.
Today's horrorscope sed:
Your life is unfolding according to a preordained plan, one that was fixed at the time of your birth. However, there is still an element of chance involved, and what happens today is not part of your grand design, so don't take it too seriously. Sometimes things happen for no apparent reason. It's one of the variables that keeps life interesting.

In a strange twist of fate, the replacement driver on that #37 MUNI was the very same one who drove me up to Twin Peaks back in 2000.

The day I decided to follow my dreams.

Yerp, a day I will remember the rest of my life.

"Yes, in fact, I *was* driving this bus back then!"
"The reason I remember you, is that I remember everything about that day, cuz that was the day I decided to live my life differently."
"Excellent! Did it work out for you?"
"Yyyyeeesss. Just way differently than I expected."
"Right on."


Speaking of which, people keep on handing me their cameras to take pictures of them.

Heh, at one point today, I was handed 5 cameras at once to take pictures of kids and camp counselors on top of the hill today.


Its giving me an idea.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

The Killing Fields

My pops
used to raise pigeons on our roof when I was a kid, kinda contributing to my casual fascination with the birds.
(He didnt raise them for food or racing. He just liked doing it.)

So, in my idle times, i will stand stock still and watch them soar, swoop and circle, marvelling at their flying skills.

Got a little soft spot for the rock doves, except that I'm convinced the anti-social bastards use humans for shitting practice.

So, as I walked through the United Nations square by City Hall, I saw a seagull grab a young squab by the tail, the bird fluttering frantically to escape the grip of the larger bird.
Enraged I ran over and swiped at the gull to let it go, which with a squawk it did.

No wonder I keep seeing pigeons around the city with missing tail-feathers.

Theyre ravenous little buggers too. Someone threw out some grain and a crapload of feathers descended en-masse to devour them.

Easily 60 birds in a living, flapping, roiling mass of wings, feathers and beaks, the crowd extending to the street.

The light changed, and the ball extended powerful flying muscles and ascended.

*vroom* *boom* *Crump* *whump*

For some, not fast enough as a Acura rice-burner and delivery van took them out.

One was literally flattened to the roadway, but still alive with his head still up.

One second later, his head was also one with the roadway.

Later, I saw a seagull stripping another pigeon in the United Nations fountain, everything but the keelbone and wings, leaving behind macabre-ly intact angel wings.

You see them all over the square.

Ironic that the square dedicated to the founding of the United Nations is such a killing field.

Showed my face while over in Berkeley the other day.

My hawai'ian friend gives me her scorpionic look..

"You look good."
"Thank you."
"Yeah,you look... happy... that youre in San Francisco."
"Oh yeah?"
"Yeah, almost too happy.."


Actually, I just dont feel as trapped as I did without my ID in Berkeley.

Weird how it arrived when it did.

Among the stuff I picked up were some of my books and magazines I use for reference.

Too much stuff.

So, I started reading through them, with the intent of tossing the ones I didnt absolutely need.

Flipping through the February 2004 issue of PDN (Photo District News - the industry bible for working professional photographers, founded by a photographer I once worked for), reading an article about phone cameras, the name "Manuel Wanskasmith" caught my eye.

"Wanskamith? My friend Manuel?"

Sure enough, they had featured some of his phone pictures prominently.

This qualifies as a Big Deal. A Very Big Deal.

But I didnt remember him mentioning that he had been in PDN. So, I emailed him telling that Id seen the article, had he seen it, and did he want the magazine before I tossed it.

Ha! I kept waiting for them to publish that and then I gave up.
Yes, send it up please!

Thanks, Joe!

Heh. Absolutely. Im honored. :-)

Monday, July 26, 2004

The colors of Law Enforcement.

Song currently on heavy humming rotation

Extraordinary - Liz Phair

Im just your ordinary
average everyday sane psycho...

That just tickles me. :-)
No, I actually asked this of a SFPD cop yesterday...
"Where is the nearest donut place to here?"

At least he had a good sense of humor about it. :)
It wasnt until I saw the MASSIVE San Francisco sherrif's star hung on the side of San Francisco's Hall of Justice (fancy name for the county/city police station/courthouse complex) that I clocked onto something uniquely western about law enforcement here out in the West.

They tend to wear the sheriff's star out here.

Security officers, almost every police jurisdiction et al, their insignia is a variation of the Wild West star.

Innaresting tradition.
Oh yeah, and most of the city police cruisers are painted black and white.

This was pointed out to me as someone explained what law enforcement looks like in LA and most of California.

Yup. Still doing my research.