San Francisco Has Wood – Ladders

Ours is the only fire department in the country that makes and uses wooden ladders. Before the fir used to make the ladders can be utilized it has to sit and age for 15 years. Amazingly, they repair ladders that are close to 100 years old for future use.

This is a fascinating piece. I could do without the cheesy anchorman voice-over, but other than that, I was riveted for the whole 3:55 duration.

The video’s been around for about a month now and I don’t know how I missed it.

North Beach Old and New

North Beach Boundaries, Fresh Italian Blood; San Francisco

Presented through the eyes and hands of local North Beach resident, John “Gianni” Mola, a former poverty lawyer and Old World Italy aficionado, this video first touches on Chinatown’s growth into previous North Beach territory, then presents some restaurants that are part of what Mola sees as a trend of Italian immigrants coming back into North Beach.

It finishes with him sourcing and making a gnocchi dish from scratch. Do not watch this video while hungry!

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Timelapse Footage of San Francisco and its Fog at Night

This is the first time I’ve seen fog undulating in quite the way it does here. Also amazing are the quality of the exposures and how they capture the glow of the city at night, and the planes landing and taking off at SFO. Oh, and that final shot of the moon setting into the fog bank. Good God!

Prepare to be stunned.

(Spotted @)

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It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Smashes Their Nuts

I’d probably risk it for 30 seconds, at which point I’d be sucking wind too hard to stand up. Otherwise, the longer I jumped, the more likely my bad aim would place one or both of my feet into the edge holes.

Seriously, how do you get insurance for something like this? The bars in between trampolines don’t even look padded.

Sally Rand in 1933: Unfair to Nudism! (NSFW)

Last week I posted some photos by Seymour Snaer from 1939, a couple of which were of Sally Rand’s Nude Ranch from the Golden Gate International Exposition that took place on Treasure Island. Rand is worth a closer look, if you know what I mean. Take a peep after the jump…
Continue reading Sally Rand in 1933: Unfair to Nudism! (NSFW)

Mayhem on the Streets of San Francisco

I know squonk about video games, but apparently there are expectations that the new San Francisco edition of this languishing franchise will revive its cred:

Driver: San Francisco takes the long-running yet languishing Driver series back to its purest, most French Connection-y roots, and introduces several new game mechanics, hundreds of licensed vehicles and plenty of graphical improvements to bring the game up to speed with other next-gen racing titles.

It sure looks beautiful. I dig the Seventiesploitation soundtrack and, naturally, the locations (don’t you miss the old Muni shelters?):

Feels Like Independence Day

I didn’t see any fireworks over the weekend. Boo hoo.

But after watching this latest video by Daniel Jarvis, I feel like I can miss fireworks for the next three years.

Filmed at Dolores Park, 24th and Harrison, The Uptown, The Phone booth, Bernal Heights, and all over the roads of San Francisco.

Song is “Being a Teenager is Free Palestine” by The Downer Party.

Walking the Wiggle

Joel Pomerantz,

On the recommendation of Haighteration blog, I took the ThinkWalks walking tour of the Wiggle on Thursday evening.

Guide Joel Pomerantz was bursting with knowledge about the history of the bike route, going all the way back to pre-colonial times (no, the Ohlones didn’t have bikes, but they supposedly followed the same route when walking), and also is an expert on San Francisco generally. Notably, he charmed a random anarchist on a BMX who tried to sieze control of the crowd at one point – the kid ended up sitting and listening for a bit, before bumping fists with Joel, screaming, “Anarchy in the USA!” and riding off.

I enjoyed Joel’s thoughts on SF’s hidden waterways (an ongoing obsession of this blog), and especially his warnings that when the 100-year storm hits, the MUNI tunnel, tubes, and grates in the Duboce/Church/Market St corridor will quickly submerge, forming an underground river that will rush across the Bay and produce a geyser on the other end in Oakland! Great stuff.

There was an impressively low median age on the free tour, and it was almost all locals. (Hey, passers-by who snickered, “tourists” under your breath – suck it, joke’s on you.)

The Wiggle Mural, San Francisco

We met up at the Wiggle mural on the backside of Safeway, and there I became fixated with the fantastic diversity of traffic that converges at the Church/Duboce intersection. I’ve lived in this neighborhood and walked through this spot millions of times, but you get a totally different feel for it when you linger in this spot for a bit, especially at rush hour.

Bonus time lapse video below:

Pulled From the Bay – An Angry Stingray

Clearly, the stingray is the star of this video, as it should be. The cruel, matter-of-fact way that the fisherman handles it doesn’t seem to lessen its sinister awesomeness.

Perhaps it’s a good symbol for this whole area of San Francisco.

This video covers Candlestick Point, Yosemite Slough, South Basin, and India Basin. Stay tuned as we explore the entirety of San Francisco’s coastal edges in an ongoing series of vids.

The Stingray, San Francisco

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Tearing Down El Herradero for MSF’s Commonwealth

Saw this on the way to work this morning. It did occur to me to stop recording and hold the ladder for the guy doing the heavy work in this maneuver, but you know, I didn’t want to get in the way or anything.

Charitable restaurateur Anthony Myint and company have gone a couple grand beyond their Kickstarter goal, and are well into renovations, having closed up shop at Mission Street Food.

What I want to know is, are they gonna take down the awesome El Herradero sign? And if so, can I have it?

El Herradero, San Francisco; photo by Burrito Justice
Photo by Burrito Justice

“I Got It At Ross”

You will be singing the ridiculous chorus for hours, I promise.

I’m unsold on whether Abraham Linkin is “an unpredictable, unapologetic and extremely creative Alternative Comedy Hip Hop duo,” but I will say this: Daniel Jarvis cut one helluva video for their ode to bargain shopping.

You can’t go wrong with such great San Francisco locations, funny interaction with the streets, a catchy hook, and solid editing skills.

“Pots for mah kitchen!”

UPDATE: Just realized Uptown Almanac blogged a low-res version of this yesterday.

A Surreal Encounter Above Dolores Park (video)

I’m sure weirder things have happened at Dolores Park. But the weirdness combined with being four stories up on a bright, sunny day, really pushes this encounter into the red.

I was at home being all Sundayzee and thought about ignoring Daniel Jarvis‘ call at first, but then answered…

Jarvis: Dude, crazy dancing chicks on a rooftop! Bring your camera!
Me: I was gonna take a nap.
Jarvis: I said crazy dancing chicks on a rooftop! You’re two blocks away! Let’s go up there! With the camera!
Me: How do you know they even want us up there?
Jarvis (calling up to rooftop): Hey! Hey, down here! Can we come up and film you? We have a camera! Can we? (to me) They said we can go up there!
Me: Okay, Okay…

I think it was worth it.

UPDATE: The song is “Go Do” by Jonsi. Video shot and edited by Jarvis.

Victory of the Mad Viking: Brooks Park

Brooks Park, San Francisco

Not long ago it was a post-apocalyptic den of drug abuse, blood sport, and murder. Now, it has been re-made as a virtual Valhalla by The Mad Viking himself, Peter Vaernet, and is a tribute to the past figures who battled to make something noble out of the parcel of land atop Merced Heights.

Today, Brooks Park is a model for creative land stewardship, urban gardening, and community pride.

Peter Vaernet is a cyclone of positive energy, and has swept folks like gardener John Herbert into the storm. Together they’ve completed the park’s dramatic adventure from its auspicious beginnings with the Brooks family in the 1930s, through its 1970s and 80s descent, to its glorious present rebound.

We took our camera into the fog to Brooks Park last weekend while they were building a temporary tomato greenhouse in the garden, and met Peter and John:

Victory of the Mad Viking, San Francisco from Spots Unknown on Vimeo.

More after the jump…
Continue reading Victory of the Mad Viking: Brooks Park

Skaters Do San Francisco New Jersey Style

We met these kids while exploring Fort Miley a couple weeks back, and although they are way too nice and friendly to behave like their Shore-lovin’ brethren from the Tellievision – figuratively, they kind of Snookie-punched our fair town in the face.

This video has all the key ingredients of a superb skate reel: ballsy stunts/wipeouts, great tricks, sweet camera work, SF, and a puppy!

Hat’s off to Joe Zevallos, Kenny DeVoe, Sean Cornetto, and Kevin Makwinski. Look us up next time you’re in town, guys, we’d love to follow you around for a while.

This Synthetic Bacteria Thing-a-ma-jiggy

This is an interview conducted in my living room in Hayes Valley for a webzine and a podcast I produced back in 2007. (Here are MP3s of the whole interview: Part 1, Part 2)

In it, Dr. Alan Goldstein, a professor of bio-materials at Alfred University, proposes that the creation of synthetic biological life would in fact be our First Contact with alien life.

He also explains that such an endeavor represents the height of hubris if we assume that we can predict what will happen after that point, and whether it will work out well or not for our species.

I wonder how he thinks the newly-announced self-replicating synthetic bacterial cell fits in the context of his A-Prize, a contest meant to emphasize safeguarding humanity against over-ambitious researchers in this field.

Most of the commentary in the media is already being filled with the same old paranoia about “playing god,” and it falls as flat as ever. That’s because we rarely dig down to the existential issue at the core of the fear – our own mortality.