October 20, 2014
Before Red Bull reached American shores in 1997, there were no “energy drinks” on our store shelves. Not knowing what we were missing, we went about our daily lives content with plain old coffee, tea, and soda. Hard to imagine that only 17 years ago, your local liquor store didn’t have an entire shelf dedicated to Red Bull, Rockstar, Monster, and 300 other beverages, each more foul tasting than the last.
But it wasn’t a sudden transition. A year before we had Red Bull, Coca-Cola introduced Surge. In both look and taste it was like an alien version of Mountain Dew. Similar amount of caffeine, similarly artificial flavor, but dyed slime green instead of neon piss yellow.
Around the same time Pepsi countered with the incomprehensibly marked Storm, another lemon-lime flavored soda that was also caffeinated — sometimes. This confusion caused more than its share of caffeine withdrawal headaches and it was dropped in 2000.
Sadly, three years later Surge met its demise as well. In spite of protests from enthusiastic fans and nerdcore rap songs about the beverage, Coca-Cola ignored cries for this fan favorite. Until now.
Coca-Cola is selling Surge again in limited quantities through Amazon in twelve packs of 16oz cans. I was able to get my hands on one of these rare shipments of Surge just before they sold out. Technically you can still find this neo-Surge online, but it’s from hoarders trying to resell the stuff at 20x the price. (Never underestimate the power of nostalgia.)
So, how does it taste? Pretty gross, actually — and exactly like I remember. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to finish this retro soda so I can stay up all night playing Nintendo 64 while listening to the Stone Temple Pilots.
October 8, 2014
The other evening while waiting for a train, I decided to write an intentionally terrible rap song about a relationship gone sour due to irreconcilable differences. Here it is in all its glory:
You ride Muni and I ride BART
That’s why we’ll always be apart
I like the Giants, you don’t like baseball
There’s no chance we’ll get along at all
You smoke pot, and I, crack
The differences between us are a fact
I say “SF” but you say “Frisco”
The only word that rhymes here is “disco”
At first I liked you, you made me feel at ease
Until I found out you still like Thee Oh Sees
Our differences are tall as Sutro Tower
I give you zero stars like Michael Bauer
I live in the Mission but you’re in West Portal
My love for you will never be immortal
Your startup is funded, I’m at the loan shark
We’re as unnatural as Golden Gate Park
Sorry baby but we have to disband
I’m flat broke, I’m moving to Oakland
I’m looking forward to my Grammy nomination.
October 1, 2014
Local backpack and messenger bag company Mission Workshop appears to be moving to the old Therapy Furniture spot on Valencia at 16th. But here’s the interesting thing: their old store on Rondel is right behind the Valencia location.
Here’s a map (original) that I’ve colored for you. Mission Workshop’s new location is in orange, the existing one’s in green:
So the old and new locations share a common wall. If they wanted to — and I should stress that no building permits have been filed as of today — they could bust out some axes and make one huge store. It’d be like a hipster version of Jack Nicholson in The Shining:
“Here’s, uh… John Oliver?”
In the end, I can’t really bring myself to say anything too snarky about this particular change on Valencia. It feels like a step sideways; Therapy’s furniture was well made but pricey. Same caveat for Mission Workshop’s bags. At least we can emit a collective sigh of relief that it’s not another overhyped, overpriced eatery.
September 26, 2014
Since it opening day Moscone West at 4th and Howard has been adorned by a large black rectangle on the side of the building. Careful observers might notice that this rectangle is attached to a somewhat rusty track that goes around the entire building. Soon, this rectangle will be removed.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
When the building was first proposed in the early 2000s art firm Diller and Scofidio (now Diller Scofidio + Renfro) was hired to develop a public art element. And design they did. Their piece is called Facsimile. It was intended to show images of inside the conference center intermixed with playful videos of life in the surrounding hotels, while the screen moved back and forth across the track. While it’s certainly an interesting design, that design never quite translated to the real world.
Despite spending hours scouring the internet for evidence of the piece working as intended, I was only able to find conceptual renderings of what the piece was intended to look like. In practice, on the rare occasions it was switched on the screen didn’t move and only displayed occasional flashes of light.
SF Arts Commission voted to remove Facsimile on September 8th partly due to ongoing maintenance costs associated with preserving the non-functioning art. But if the Bay Area can’t get a piece of technology to work, it’s probably broken beyond repair.
September 19, 2014
For the past year or so, schizo rants similar to the one above have occasionally graced utility polls in downtown San Francisco. Exactly who is putting these up is unknown — the person in question has access to office supplies and seems capable of formulating grammatically correct sentences, which rules out many of SF’s best known colorful eccentrics.
So while it’s an amusingly bizarre read, it’s also a bit sad that the person behind this appears to be in the early stages of losing their grip.
Here’s the full text of the unhinged rant:
You are being influenced with remote-based computer programmed conversational skits when (1) you talk to yourself excessively with imaginary persons, (2) the discussion is with supervisors, friends, or famous people (for better influencing impact), and (3) it seems like you can almost feel what the other person feels like.
How it is done: Each person’s natural & distinct electrical cerebral emissions are assigned human tracking numbers. Our emissions are then constantly attached to thru usage of tracking medium (such as radiowave) which also has an open channel for transferring speech into and from our heads (i.e., our emissions are thus used like a transistor inside a radio – chip implants are not needed). Computers, programmed by operators for conversational manipulation, are at the other end of the tracker medium where our tracking numbers, name, sex, family members, likes, dislikes, and, all of our thoughts and statements are recorded. Libraried conversational skits, are applied into our hearing reception centers. Web query: Mind control and US Patents (beware, many sites include speculation).
Those of our leaders who are still with us and the law, are too manipulated to have sufficiently met and conferred on how to stop this; otherwise they would have informed us of more facts on the topic. WE MUST PUT OUT THE WORD and make this crime more public to enable the leg work by leaders necessary for a solution that entails the cessation of our manipulation.
August 29, 2014
Need to throw up? Just look at that billboard and try to imagine what Bud Light Lime’s awful new concoction would actually taste like.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to run to the bathroom and puke.
The above photo is a newspaper box at the 16th Mission BART plaza, which recently received a makeover. Who needs a boring black box when it can have a painting of what appears to be a girl on Mars pulling constellations out of the sky? More newspaper boxes should be this rad.
(Note: If you know who painted this, please do get in touch so I can update with proper credit.)
August 1, 2014
At some point recently, the ad on a Muni shelter at 16th and Valencia was replaced by a painting. But not just any painting, no — this one depicts what’s behind it. The trash can, the Muni map, the Well’s Fargo, etc.
Though I should point out that the guy in the painting was not, in fact, waiting for the bus when I took this photo. That would have been a little too weird.
Update: On Twitter, Factory 1 Design kindly provided details. This is part of a project called Art City, which is renting billboard space for the purpose of displaying art.
The piece at 16th and Valencia is by Oakland-based painter Brett Amory. See his work and others in the Art City series here.
July 13, 2014
Much has been written on the mysterious Mayan-esque face sculptures that have been appearing over the city in recent months. The only clue is that if you pick them up and turn them over, they say “Bini” on the bottom.
But of course, there is no real mystery here: as Mission Local reported, the painted plaster faces are made by local artist Bruce Hallman, who’s perfectly fine with people “liberating” them.
For more photos, Hallman himself documents the little Bini sculptures on his Flickr stream and in a Flickr gallery.
July 10, 2014
Recently we learned about a hip parking meter in the Mission. Today, I have news to share with you: hip parking meter’s cousin is a big fan of music.
Okay, maybe this parking meter could stand to get some better headphones, but still, pretty smart for a parking meter.