Archive for May, 2016

BREAKING: Second Super Mario Bros. street art mural located in San Francisco

May 31st, 2016

Mario Mural

“It’s-a me!”
 

Located in Cypress Alley between 24th and 25th Street, this Super Mario Bros. mural definitively answers one of the most pressing questions of our time. I only happened upon this mural by chance; aimlessly meandering the streets of San Francisco in an attempt to make my fitness tracker happy, I looked up and there it was: the iconic characters Mario Mario and Luigi Mario standing near a gold star, a magic mushroom, and one of those evil plants sticking out of a pipe.

This clearly raises some questions, but most important among them is this: Could there be a third piece of Super Mario Bros. themed street art in San Francisco? With any luck, time will tell.

Carnaval San Francisco 2016 parade

May 30th, 2016

Carnaval SF 2016 Carnaval SF 2016 Carnaval SF 2016 Carnaval SF 2016 Carnaval SF 2016 Carnaval SF 2016 Carnaval SF 2016 Carnaval SF 2016 Carnaval SF 2016 Carnaval SF 2016 Carnaval SF 2016 Carnaval SF 2016 Carnaval SF 2016 Carnaval SF 2016 Carnaval SF 2016 Carnaval SF 2016 Carnaval SF 2016 Carnaval SF 2016 Carnaval SF 2016 Carnaval SF 2016 Carnaval SF 2016

Click any photo for a larger view
 

This year’s Carnaval parade had all the elements we’ve come to expect: dance groups wearing peacock-style outfits, DJs on trucks spinning music, salsa dancers, stilt walkers, marching bands, and floats from various local organizations and city services. I thought Recology’s dancing garbage collectors were surprisingly on point, running around with recycling and compost bins in the sweltering sunlight.

Here’s some of the more unusual highlights. First, a visit from the masked man himself… Zorro!

 
Carnaval SF 2016
 

A photographer really wanted a photo of this dog, but the dog just wasn’t interested in fame.

 
Carnaval SF 2016
 

Elvis showed up with his pink Cadillac. When the parade stopped for a couple of minutes, he ran backwards through the parade to bust some moves with a burlesque troupe.

 
Carnaval SF 2016

Carnaval SF 2016
 

To complete this post here’s Batala’s drum troupe at the tail end of the parade:

Eight things they don’t tell you about living in a “charming” historic building

May 25th, 2016

Fuses

I moved to San Francisco thirteen years ago, and about half that time I’ve lived in an apartment that was built in the early 1940′s. While it’s not as historic as other buildings in the area, it’s hardly the pinnacle of modern living either. Here’s a list of the things nobody — present company excluded — tells you about life in a charming old building before you move in.

  1. Toxic building materials
    If you’re old enough to read this and you have the slightest amount of common sense, lead and asbestos aren’t much of a threat to your health. But if you’re raising kids (or even have kids over) that’s a different story. Sometimes I wonder if I should be calling Child Protective Services when I see my neighbors carrying their baby around the place.

    Verdict: If you’re planning on breeding, consider a newer home.

  2. Mold
    Don’t sign any leases until you know for certain that you don’t have a mold allergy. And no you can’t just scrape mold off, it will come right back. Besides, that might cause lead paint to chip off.
    Verdict: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  3. Fuses
    You know how if your electricity is out, the first thing you do is go outside and see if you need to flip a switch? That’s called a circuit breaker. Before those came along, they had large fuses (pictured above) that screw into the wall. Each fuse has a different amp rating, and if the current going through the fuse exceeds the maximum amps, a little wire inside the fuse burns out. At that point you have to unscrew it (being careful not to stick your fingers in the socket while doing so) and screw in a new one. In fact, the first thing you should do when moving into an older building is see what fuses your unit has and go buy a bunch of replacements. Otherwise you’ll have to call an electrician to come out and install new ones for you if it’s the middle of the night and the local hardware store is closed. As I found out the hard way, that can set you back a couple hundred bucks. My unit only has two circuits, so if my fridge kicks on at the same time I turn on my computer, that could burn out a fuse.
    Verdict: Electrocution and/or fire, costly maintenance
  4. That lovely natural gas smell
    This one’s kind of specific, but in my building the stoves don’t have an electric ignition system. Instead they rely on pilot lights. The day I moved in the entire building smelled like natural gas, and I quickly discovered why: only one of the two pilot lights in my stove was lit. The other ways just leaking natural gas everywhere! Not having a lighter or matches, I rolled up a piece of paper, caught it on fire with the flame from the functional pilot light, used the rapidly burning paper to ignite the second pilot light, then quickly threw the paper in the sink before the fire reached my hand. I’m not entirely certain how I knew to do this, I certainly never read a manual or anything. It was only later that I discovered the manual for the oven/stove was taped to the back of it. Which, clearly, is the safest place to put a bunch of paper.
    Verdict: Okay, I probably should have reported this one to the fire department.
  5. Ventilation
    You might think with a stove and an oven, you’d need a ventilation system so the fire alarm didn’t go off when you cook, right? Hah! The thing about ventilation ducts is that they eventually get clogged up with grease, and someone has to clean those out because it’s a fire hazard. So your landlord — or some previous owner of the building — had those all sealed off. Ideally they cleaned them out before doing so, but let’s be realistic here; they didn’t.
    Verdict: Another reason to get fire insurance.
  6. Ancient heating technology
    Before fancy things like thermostats and forced-air heating were commonplace, people came up with a variety of strange old methods to heat the interiors of their homes. In my case, we have a steam heater. The way this works is a giant boiler on the bottom floor clicks on twice a day for a couple hours, once in the morning and once in the evening. The steam produced by this boiler is forced into pipes to radiators throughout the building. There’s no way to control how much heat this produces, since steam is pretty damn hot. So while it could be freezing outside, in an apartment with steam heat it could easily be 80 degrees F. If you’ve ever wandered around and seen a building where all the windows were open on a cold day, odds are that the occupants of the building are trying to ward off the artificial heat wave inside.
    Verdict: Hope you like tropical weather!
  7. Rats
    Oh, you know who else likes warm weather when it’s cold and rainy out? Yup, rats. They’re pretty good about finding hiding spots, and you may never even see them except for brief glimpses out of the corner of your eye. But their signature trails of shit across your counters are a dead giveaway. Once a rat managed to get trapped in my bathroom somehow, and it escaped by clawing a hole in the wood window frame. I emailed the landlord about this and they said they’d get back to me. That was five years ago, maybe? Haven’t heard from them since.
    Verdict: Keep paper products, food, and compost in hard to reach areas and the rats might stay in your neighbor’s unit instead.
  8. Washing dishes
    Unless the kitchen was updated in the last 50 years (yeah right) you’re not going to have a dishwasher. That said, you don’t have to laboriously wash your dishes by hand: portable dishwashers are a thing that exist. They’re just like a regular dishwasher, except they’re in a big metal box with a wooden top (read: extra counter space) and they have wheels so you can move them around. Instead of plumbing them in directly, they come with a special gizmo that latches on to your sink. Sure, about a third of the time it will fly off and water will spray everywhere, but that’s still better than the arduous task of cleaning dishes by hand like it’s the fucking dark ages.
    Verdict: Your dignity is worth more than $600

Any others I forgot to add? You can always reach me with ideas for a follow up article, my e-mail address is in the sidebar.

Promises of brunch at 11th and Folsom

May 17th, 2016

Promises of brunch

Thought the place is still under construction, promises of brunch are already being made at the former Paradise Lounge space at 11th and Folsom.

As far as I was aware they hadn’t decided on a name; none was listed on their liquor license. But the signage indicates that it will be called “Calle-11.” They don’t seem to have a web presence yet.

And no that’s not your mind playing tricks with you, the building is painted two different shades of blue at the moment.

Jamie Zawinski, owner of the nearby DNA Lounge posted a full history of the place a few years ago. The last part about the club’s previous owner’s destruction of the place is especially notable:

So they took a completely functional nightclub, that needed at best a coat of paint and some re-upholstery, and they destroyed it. It’s been empty ever since, and at this point, if someone gave you that business for free, I’ll bet you’d be half a million dollars away from selling your first beer.

That sounds about right, except his estimate of “half a million dollars” looks like it was optimistic. According to permits on file with SF Planning, the construction costs exceeded $2 million.

During construction the building was stripped down to its shell and the interior was rebuilt from scratch. This time around, the place features a roof deck which — If nothing else — should be a great place to sip a beer and watch public spankings at Folsom Street Fair below.