Archive for the ‘Local’ Category

Face sculptures in Clarion Alley

July 13th, 2014

Bini faces in Clarion Alley

 

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.

Hip parking meter’s cousin likes music

July 10th, 2014

Hip parking meter's cousin likes music
 

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.

Inside the James Flood Building

June 30th, 2014

Over the weekend, NY Times covered a Dashiell Hammett tour of San Francisco. Great article overall, but one particular paragraph drops the ball:

I met Don Herron, one of Hammett’s pre-eminent appreciators, in front of the Flood Building in Union Square. The structure used to house the San Francisco offices of Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency, where Hammett was an operative during the early 1920s, and is one of the few landmarks to have survived the great earthquake of 1906. It has, however, undergone a transformation: It now is home to well-trafficked outlets of the Gap and Anthropologie.

The idea that the James Flood Building has undergone a “transformation” since Hammett’s days is not entirely true. Sure, the exterior-facing retail has changed, but the inside where Hammett worked? Not so much.

But like LeVar Burton, you don’t have to take my word for it. Here’s some photos I took while I was inside the Flood building recently. Even today, it’s not so hard to imagine a private detective agency behind those marble walls and frosted glass windows.

James Flood building James Flood building James Flood building James Flood building

It’s taco time!

June 27th, 2014

Taco time

Spotted near 2nd and Harrison
 

Tick tock, tick tock!

Yup, it’s that time again — time to get a small tortilla, fill it with your choice of beans, meat, salsa, etc. Perhaps you want to make it “super” (a Spanish word for “guacamole and sour cream”) for an additional dollar. Whatever floats your taco boat.

Hip parking meter is hip

June 15th, 2014

Hip parking meter

A few years ago the city installed new smart parking meters that accept credit cards and are powered by the sun. But did you know they’re also smart enough to wear clothes and enjoy sports?

Well, this particularly hip parking meter at 21st and Valencia is not only hip, but is also a 49ers fan. Take that, dumb meters.

The girly girls

May 23rd, 2014

The girly girls

Rules:
1) Be a girly girl
2) we popular
3) Respect
4) Keep the secret
5) No boys alowed!!!
6) Dont Fight
7) Have fun!!

(Spotted at 15th and Julian)

Silicon Valley takes on Steve Jobs acid trip

April 23rd, 2014

This exchange in Silicon Valley’s 3rd episode may sound familiar:

Erlich: Richard, take Aviato. That’s not a name that I found, it’s a name that found me — on a vision quest. Something that you should do.
Richard: No, no, I’m not going to eat a bunch of drugs and sit out in the desert and hope a name randomly pops into my head.
Erlich: Then I question your leadership.

For those who aren’t familiar with the gossip (or haven’t read Isaacson’s Steve Jobs) the scene contains not-so-subtle fruit clues:

BART to the future fleet

April 17th, 2014

BART's Fleet of the Future prototype BART's Fleet of the Future prototype BART's Fleet of the Future prototype BART's Fleet of the Future prototype

Today BART launched the first of several workshops with a full-scale prototype of their new train cars. They’re looking for rider feedback before finalizing the design. Most of it seems pretty nifty:

  • Comfortable, easy to clean seats
  • Extra set of doors for faster boarding
  • Bike racks
  • Digital signs and maps

BART says their new trains will be quieter on the inside and have better air conditioning, but these features weren’t part of the demo.

I took the time to voice my concerns about the boarding difficulty that the redesign didn’t address. One BART representative suggested a couple mirrors might solve the problem, which is an interesting alternative I hadn’t considered.

If you’re interested in checking out the prototype and giving feedback, several more workshops are scheduled. If all goes as planned we’ll start seeing these new trains in 2017.

Ugly building in “Silicon Valley” show

April 16th, 2014

Mike Judge’s new show “Silicon Valley” satirizes Bay Area tech culture. From Peter Thiel paying kids not to attend college to unconventional social norms to strange business practices, the show has some pretty easy targets to mock.

One of my favorite aspects of the show is the unusual architecture it highlights on the Peninsula. From the Google-inspired “Hooli” campus to the incubator housed in an Eichler, the Bay Area’s architecture has the same experimental quality as everything else here.

Not all experiments are successful. One particularly notable example of bad Peninsula architecture is highlighted in this scene: (click for larger version)

It’s an unusually ugly building on an unusually ugly stretch of El Camino in Palo Alto. Here’s what it looks like on Google Maps:

According to LoopNet this building was constructed in 1961. One can only imagine that drugs were a factor in the decision to attach those garish metal panels to the upper floor of what would otherwise be a tolerably bland building.

But it may not have long for this world — plans are afoot to replace it with a larger office building (PDF warning.)

Perplexing wood box installed on utility pole

April 1st, 2014

Wood box thing

Sometimes in life there’s questions that don’t seem to have concrete answers, like who shot JFK or the career of Shia LaBeouf. Today another such question popped into existence in the form of a perplexing wood box installed on a utility pole at 16th and Guerrero. It’s the kind of thing one wouldn’t notice easily, like a slightly misplaced item you only catch out of the corner of your eye.

Some of the questions I’ve been able to come up with:

  • Who made this?
  • Why?
  • Is it art?
  • Why wood?
  • What does the pattern mean?
  • Why on this pole, of all places?
  • WTF?

If any answers are provided I’ll post updates. Until then, I’ll be scratching my head.