There, I fixed it

January 4, 2016

Fixed it!
 

“Delores”? No, a red underline should appear when you type that out. It’s spelled “Dolores” with only one “e.”

This is why we need spell check in real life, so I’ve taken care of fixing that for you.

You’re welcome.

Amos Goldbaum’s Clinton St. murals

January 2, 2016

Amos Goldbaum's Clinton Park murals

Amos Goldbaum's Clinton Park murals

You know that guy who sells t-shirts with line drawings on the street in the Mission? That’s local artist Amos Goldbaum, who recently did the murals seen above (click for larger) on Clinton Street.

The murals are similar in style and color to his shirts, though the larger of the two also contains bright swirls of color in what appears to be depicting a process of creating artistic homemade goods. The larger mural appears to be a tribute to a family member who recently passed away.

If you want to see these in person you’ll find them at Clinton and Valencia, between Burma Love and the Greek church.

Exploring Juri Commons

December 26, 2015


 

Not far from Papalote is a funny little park you could be forgiven for not noticing even if you stroll by it regularly. The park is called Juri Commons and was once a section of railroad before the 1906 earthquake. In the 70′s the skinny quadrilateral lot was converted into a park with a small playground.

Juri Commons Juri Commons Juri Commons Juri Commons

Unfortunately little maintenance has been done since then, although a group of volunteers does their best to tidy up the place. That said, the playground is in particularly rough shape and I decided not to photograph the mural behind the swings because I didn’t want to step on the broken glass of a beer bottle some asshole had smashed there.

Aside from its shape and size the most unique feature of the park is the Sol Flor sculptures embedded in the ground. They were built by artist Jen Alexander in a medium similar to LA’s Watt’s Towers — re-purposed garbage — though these are obviously much smaller in scale.

More details about Juri Commons can be found at SF Parks Alliance.

The wild murals of Erie Street

December 12, 2015

Tucked behind a series of warehouses and repair shops by the old Central Freeway viaduct is Erie Street. Despite the name, it’s actually a small alley that’s only a block and a half long. But it’s also home to some of the more interesting murals in the city. Maybe one day they’ll become as increasingly stale — and frankly, conservative — as the murals approved by the local art groups, but for now the Erie Street murals still have a wild, almost psychedelic sensibility about them.

Check out some of my favorites below. Click any photo for a larger version.

Erie St. mural
Erie St. mural
Erie St. mural
Erie St. mural
Erie St. mural
Erie St. mural
Erie St. mural
Erie St. mural

Giant penny found on sidewalk

November 17, 2015

Fnnch penny
 

Walking along Valencia the other day I spotted a rather large penny painted on the sidewalk. The design features the phrase “IN FNNCH WE TRUST,” alluding to local artist fnnch.

Fnnch is best known for the honey bear designs, and if you look closely there’s an outline of one in the penny.

Other changes deviate from the design of a US penny, but the one that caught my eye is a very subtle — is Lincoln smiling? One has to wonder what’s making him so happy; perhaps he just likes honey bears.

My homemade pipe stool

November 13, 2015

Pipe stool
 

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about design, and specifically how the environments we encounter can suggest that one take a certain course of action. By keeping my shoes near the door to my apartment for my own convenience I’d accidentally created a bad design — a situation that subtly suggested one should remove one’s shoes, but didn’t offer any place to sit while doing so.

I honestly don’t care if people remove their shoes or not but I want people to feel welcome if I’ve inadvertently suggested it. What I needed was a place to sit.

Yeah, I mean I could have just bought a chair or a stool, or even found one on Craigslist. But that’s no fun.

Loosely following the design from this blog post I bought some iron pipe fittings at the hardware store and for the seat I purchased a tree slice from Amazon. I removed loose bark from the tree slice and applied a few layers of spray-on lacquer.

The pipes were more of a challenge. After a couple hours of wrestling with heavy iron pipes (and getting a few bruises along the way) I managed to get the pipes locked tightly into place. Then it was simply a matter of adjusting the caps at the bottom until the thing was level, and the floor flanges on the top so they were all level with the seat.

A few screws later, and I had a most unusual homemade stool. But most of all I solved a small design problem I’d accidentally created in my own living space.

Wait, why did The Flash run past the Transamerica Pyramid?

November 5, 2015


The Flash runs past the Transamerica Pyramid
 

The Flash is a fun TV show based on the comic books. It’s set in the fictional “Central City” and this week’s episode is no different.

So why then, on the way from his headquarters at Star Labs to try to capture Dr. Light at the Bank of Central City does The Flash run west along Washington Street past the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco’s Financial District?

The Transamerica Pyramid is one of those instantly recognizable structures. The unusual intersection with Columbus Avenue seen at the bottom of the screen cap (above) is a crystal clear indication that we’re looking at an image of San Francisco itself rather than merely some Transamerica-like knockoff in the fictional Central City. This is the real deal we’re looking at, no question about it.

Here’s some of my own top fan theories on how The Flash wound up here:

  • On the previous night The Flash had stopped by Vesuvio to read Howl after purchasing it at City Lights. He stumbled out of the place completely shitfaced and forgot to close his tab. No judgement man, it happens. He just had to stop by again when he had a chance to pick up his card.
  • The Flash recently took a free personality test and discovered the truth about “engrams.” He stopped at the Scientology Center across the street from the Transamerica Pyramid to find out more, but after speed-reading Dianetics he ultimately decided Scientology wasn’t for him.
  • Look, it’s kind of embarrassing but The Flash still uses Groupon. I know, I know. But he’s a poorly paid young police detective and he has to take what he can get. So one day he bought a Groupon deal for some pasta at a shitty tourist trap in North Beach. Knowing he had a significant head start on Dr. Light he decided to take advantage of the deal before it expired, running all the way to San Francisco for a quick bite at The Stinking Rose.
  • The Flash ran faster than the speed of light, causing his GPS to malfunction. He wound up in San Francisco by mistake.

Okay, that last theory is off the table because there’s no way The Flash could break the speed of light. But the others? Totally plausible.

At the end of the day my theories are just ideas from a fan. I hope one day this popular TV show finally reveals the true secret behind this curious jaunt from Central City to downtown San Francisco!

Joel from MST3k Halloween costume

October 31, 2015

Joel from MST3k costume
 

This year for Halloween I’m just another face in a red jumpsuit: specifically, I’m Joel from Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Much like last year’s costume, this is one of those where you either get the reference or you don’t. If you were watching a lot of Comedy Central in the 90′s (or you had friends that did) you probably remember the show where a silhouette of a guy and his two robot pals sat at the bottom of the screen, watching unbelievably terrible movies and making wisecracks the entire time. That show was Mystery Science Theater 3000, or MST3k for short.

The costume itself is remarkably simple: it’s a red jumpsuit I got from Amazon with a Gizmonics patch I bought from Etsy hastily sewn on. The hard hat (which Joel wears in the intro to the show) is a cheap yellow hard hat from Amazon. I found the “G” logo from Google Image Search, printed it out, and hot glued it to the hat.

A more advanced builder than I might have made a Tom Servo and/or Crow T. Robot puppet to go along with the outfit, and indeed many folks have done exactly that. Instructions are a quick Google search away for those with a lot of spare time on their hands.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got movie sign!

Graffiti just a list of Linux distributions

October 23, 2015

Linux graffiti
 

You know you’re in San Francisco when the graffiti is just a list of Linux distos.

For touchier Linux users this list of distributions will no doubt invoke very negative responses. On one side you’ll have a bunch of whiners upset that their favorite one isn’t on this list. In some other corner there will be a bunch of weirdos yelling at you for not calling it “GNU slash Linux.”

Linux users can be like that.

Bat Boy rides again

September 27, 2015

Bat Boy rides again

 
The Weekly World News no longer graces the checkout at your local supermarket, but that hasn’t stopped Bat Boy from taking up skating. Bat Boy rides again!

Spotted just outside The Sycamore