Introducing Sanfranciscius, the temperature scale for San Franciscans

June 9, 2015

Thermometer
Photo copyright Flickr user Ged Carroll. Used under a Creative Commons license.

 
We’re all familiar with checking the weather and seeing the temperature measured in Fahrenheit and/or Celsius. But aren’t those scales a bit arbitrary? Celsius’ 0 to 100 range is based on freezing and boiling water, respectively. Fahrenheit’s scale is based on… well, who cares. It doesn’t make any sense.

But neither scale was invented specifically to represent the weather. I say it’s high time to change that, and moreover to keep it local. The people in say, Honolulu or Copenhagen have very different temperature sensibilities — they can come up with their own scales.

That’s why I’m proud to introduce Sanfranciscius, a new temperature scale custom made for San Francisco weather. Here’s how the scale works:

Sanfranciscius F C Meaning
100 SF 85 30 OMG waaay too hot! Time to strip naked and take the ice bucket challenge out of necessity rather than charity.
50 SF 65 18 Perfect, average temperature! Safe to leave the house without getting burned by the evil sun or freezing to death.
0 SF 45 7 Ugh, are you even serious? I put a jacket over my hoodie but I’m probably still going to get frostbite.

 
Now when your friends from Colorado or whatever come to visit and complain that you’re being a pansy for wearing 6 undershirts when it’s 40 F out, you can respond by pointing out that in your local weather scale, it’s actually -12.5 SF. Freezing!

The best thing about Sanfranciscius is how easy it is to calculate. Assuming you already have temperature f measured in Fahrenheit, the formula is simply:

s = (f – 45) * 2.5

That’s all there is to it! Incredible. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s 87 SF in here — I need to go take a cold shower and think about purchasing an air conditioner.

GOOD.

May 10, 2015

GOOD.
 

Grump Cat wearing a bicycle helmet? I have no idea. Perhaps it’s a statement about bicycle helmet laws, or maybe I’m reading too much into it. Either way.

Spotted this wheatpaste during the Cinco de Mayo festival on Valencia.

Narrow streets, remixed

May 8, 2015

Over at Steve Dombek’s Narrow Streets SF website, he proposes undoing America’s 20th century mistake of building ultra-wide streets here in San Francisco. Instead, the land would be sold off to build new housing, and we’d be left with traditional (or “narrow”) streets like you find in the rest of the world.

Naturally, this idea caught some buzz in the press given SF’s current housing shortages.

To look at one example, here’s Dombek’s plan for McAllister with before and after diagrams:


Seems like a nice plan, right? You get rid of the (largely wasted) space and put in new housing and retail.

But here’s the thing: where will all the money go from selling the land and the subsequent property tax? Well, that’s where my proposal comes in. Before the new structures get built, let’s dig a cut and cover subway underneath them.

I’m not sure McAllister Street would be the best fit for a subway, but to borrow Dombek’s diagram for illustrative purposes it could look something like this:


Personally my choice would be to build Muni Metro subways under a narrowed down South Van Ness and 19th Ave. to make up for Muni’s awful north/south service, and a new BART subway under a narrowed Geary Street. But those are just details.

The important point here is this: this is a way to kill two birds with one stone. And although I like birds, narrow streets with new subways is a win/win in my book. We can get this right.

My solution to the world’s energy problems

April 28, 2015

For years we’ve been hearing about the benefits of harnessing clean energy. Our reliance on fossil fuels has caused toxic pollution, led to numerous wars, and has rapidly altered the planet’s climate.

While solar and wind have potential, let me explain one untapped source of renewable energy: hot takes on Twitter. See, hot takes could be used to heat water and drive a steam engine, must like coal, nuclear, and mirror-based solar power already do.

Here’s a diagram of my proposal carefully illustrated in MS Paint:

The way this works is quite simple:

  1. Hot takes about the latest issue on Twitter create heat
  2. A container of water is placed above the hot takes
  3. The water boils creating steam, which drives a steam engine, which in turn drives an electric generator
  4. After cooling, the water goes back into the container to be heated again

 

In theory, if major national issues continue to be unresolved this could generate enough electricity to power the entire world. Imagine!

Recipe theft: Cafe Madeleine’s butter lettuce salad with goat cheese

Butter lettuce salad

Every now and then you eat something at a cafe or restaurant that’s so good, you have to reverse engineer the recipe and make it yourself. Such is the case with San Francisco mini-chain Cafe Madeleine and their excellent butter lettuce salad.

Don’t know what butter lettuce is? Sometimes it’s called butterhead, Boston lettuce or bibb. You can find it at farmer’s markets, Whole Foods, Rainbow, etc., sold with the roots still attached. It’s kind of like romaine lettuce, except it’s actually good. Fuck romaine.

Vinaigrette:

  • Two parts olive oil
  • One part red wine vinegar

Do you really need directions? Pour it in a bottle and shake it up!
 

Salad:

  • Half a head of butter lettuce, washed and stems removed
  • Small handful of garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas)
  • Half a radish, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 an avocado, sliced
  • 3 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • A couple spoonfuls of goat cheese

Put everything in a bowl and drizzle some vinaigrette over the thing. Salt and pepper to taste. Boom, done!

La Cumbre’s new paint job boldly stakes claim to Mission-style burrito’s origin

April 20, 2015

La Cumbre's new paint job

Recently Taqueria La Cumbre on Valencia got a fire engine red paint job. But far more bold than the color scheme is the claim painted on the building: “Birthplace of the Mission Style Burrito.”

As with any such claim, it’s a hotly contested one. As Wikipedia notes it’s not clear if Mission-style burritos were invented in San Francisco at all. Further adding to the confusion, La Cumbre’s “birthplace” claim refers to the building rather than La Cumbre because the burritos were originally sold there when a meat market occupied the space.

The truth is out there, but until someone invents a time machine we’ll never know for certain where Mission-style burritos came from. If anyone reading this happens to have a time machine and wants to research this, please give me a call — especially if it’s around lunch time.

Top 5 strangest things in Little Delhi’s Twitter feed

April 5, 2015


Photo from littledelhisf.com

 
One of my favorite Indian restaurants in San Francisco is Little Delhi in the Tenderloin. Great food, reasonable prices, and they offer takeout and delivery. Can’t recommend them enough!

But you’d never know how great Little Delhi’s food is judging by their completely off the rails Twitter feed. Here’s the top 5 strangest things they’ve posted on Twitter so far.
 

5. The word “Restaurant.”

Their first Tweet back in 2010 is simply the word “Restaurant.” Not a bad start — after all Little Delhi is a restaurant. Maybe a tweet isn’t the right place for this information but at least it’s true and relevant.

 
4. Netflix’s login URL

If you visit the URL in this tweet you’ll be taken to a page where you can log in to your Netflix account. While Netflix might be useful for takeout customers who are looking for a TV show to binge on while eating, most customers probably have this information already. If not, Netflix is a quick Google search away.

 
3. Some lady reviewing a Play-Doh set on YouTube

Little Delhi is so excited about this woman’s toy review on YouTube that their tweet includes not one but two hearts! Hopefully no Play-Doh extruders are being used in food preparation, although personally I don’t really care as long as they clean the Play-Doh out first.

 
2. An iOS app that turns photos into caricatures

This tweet links you to an iOS app that turns photos into caricatures. I can’t even think of something snarky to say about how this could possibly be related to Little Delhi, that’s how strange this one is. Also, the app has terrible reviews.

 
1. Whatever the fuck this thing is

Finally, their #1 strangest tweet links to a surreal and somewhat disturbing video. The video’s creator took a certain European stop motion cartoon and edited it with new sounds and visual effects. And while I’m no World War 2 expert, I’m pretty sure that one guy’s voice is a recording of Adolph Hitler. Not normally the kind of thing one would associate with traditional North Indian cuisine.

 
So there you have it: this has got to be the strangest Twitter feed of any restaurant in the city. If you want to see more feel free to head over to their Twitter feed yourself. But you’d might as well call in an order for curry and naan while you’re at it.

Reverse Empire (spoilers!)

April 2, 2015


 

Let’s face it: if you’re reading this, you’re the kind of person who’s familiar with the second Star Wars movie, The Empire Strikes Back. You’ve memorized the scene where Darth Vader reveals to Luke Skywalker: “I am your father.”

In a recent episode of The Flash, an evil villain played by Mark Hamill — Luke Skywalker himself! — makes the same revelation to his young trainee.

I’m dubbing this move the “Reverse Empire.”

Everything you do is a balloon

March 29, 2015

Everything you do is a balloon
Spotted at 21st and Mission
 

I imagine the conversation went a little something like this:

“Hey, how should we decorate our storefront?”
“Well, all I have is this bike pump and a drawer full of balloons.”
“Uh… *scratches head* sounds kinda like a plan!”

And there you have it; a storefront filled with balloons.

(With apologies to Boards of Canada.)

New murals on Dolores St.

March 20, 2015

Across from Dolores Park there’s a Christian Science church that’s been shuttered for a number of years. Recently a developer wanted to turn it into housing, but so far that hasn’t happened.

Instead it got boarded up, and now those boards have been filled with some spiffy new murals by fnnch, Analog Monsters, MaxEhrman and others.
 

Dolores St. murals Dolores St. murals Dolores St. murals Dolores St. murals Dolores St. murals Dolores St. murals