Archive for December, 2010

Lily Pond at Golden Gate Park

December 31st, 2010

Check any map of Golden Gate Park. Near the Conservatory of Flowers is the “Lily Pond.” But what exactly is the Lily Pond?

Here’s some recent photos.

Lily pond

Lily pond

Lily pond

What the photos don’t capture is that there’s water under the green slime. Aside from a few ducks treading water, you might not even notice there’s water. It looks like a slime pit.

But what is that slime? According to the Chronicle, it’s an infestation of duckweed that took over the pond in 2010.

Duckweed, as it turns out, is the smallest flowering plant. Duckweed grows rapidly! Just two years ago, Cheshire Cat Photo described the Lilly pond as a relaxing pond with turtles Who knew?

Eat your fractals

December 31st, 2010

On Monday I was acquiring sustenance at Rainbow Grocery when I came across an edible fractal in the produce section.


The label described it as romanesco broccoli. I immediately whipped out my iPhone and looked it up on Wikipedia. Sure enough, Wikipedia describes romanesco broccoli as having “…a visually striking example of an approximate fractal in nature.”

Yes, a fractal you can eat!

But then it gets stranger. The following day my family was in town for a visit to Golden Gate Park. For lunch we headed to Park Chow. My order came with a side of — guess what? — romanesco broccoli! I was surprised to say the least.

As for the taste, it’s got a broccoli flavor with a denser texture, a bit like cauliflower.

Fast forward to the following morning, when I was reading BoingBoing. And guess what? They illustrated their post about vegetarian diets with nothing other than a photo of romanesco broccoli.

What would Carl Jung say about all this? I wasn’t alone in my ignorance, a dozen or so friends and family I quizzed had never heard of romanesco broccoli before. Could it be the ghost of the recently deceased Benoit Mandelbrot is contacting us from beyond the grave with edible fractals?

Christmas at City Hall

December 30th, 2010

Since I never leave the Mission, I was surprised how impressive City Hall looks all lit up for the holidays. As far as I can tell there’s no chimney for Santa, but it doesn’t matter since Newsom and the Board of Supervisors weren’t exactly good little children this year.


City Hall Christmas

The glonous history of chopstlks

December 23rd, 2010


Today I was introduced to Yamo, a cheap and decent Chinese lunch counter at 18th and Mission. I was also introduced to some wonderful Engrish text on the chopstick wrapper, which I’ve transcribed below for your enjoyment.

Welcome to Chinese Restaurant.
please try your Nice Chinese Food With Chopsticks
the traditional and typical of Chinese glonous history.
and cultual.


Why is there an empty lot at 15th and Dolores?

December 17th, 2010

San Francisco
There’s been an empty lot at the corner of 15th and Dolores for well over a decade. Despite a sign promising condos to be built in “Fall 2010” (oops!) the empty lot is only used once a year to sell Christmas trees.

So what used to be there? It turns out the lot was once home to the First Southern Baptist Church, aka the Dolores Street Baptist Church. According to their website, they were a very liberal Baptist church that accepted LGBT folks.

In 1993, the church received an angry letter from a member of the Aryan Brotherhood who disagreed with the church’s views. The next day, the church was burned to the ground by an arsonist. Coincidence? Probably not, but nobody knows for certain.

Since then the site has been an empty lot.

Oh, and what about the boarded-up house next to it that’s falling apart? That was the parsonage of the church, aka where the pastor would have lived. The building is partly fire damaged and is slated to be rebuilt eventually.

The church’s congregation finally disbanded last year, but the community center they spawned, Dolores Street Community Services, is still in operation.


Death Metal Rooster

December 8th, 2010

I can’t stop watching this.

My life is… My home is…

December 8th, 2010

You may remember the ads a few years ago that read, “My life is San Francisco, my home is Parkmerced.”

Live Large at ParkmercedAdvertisers aren’t know for telling the truth, and this is no exception; the ads seem to be implying that Parkmerced is part of San Francisco, which while technically true, is at the same time an assertion most San Franciscans would find somewhat dubious.

If they wanted to be honest, the ad would be like one of the following:

  • My life is waiting 45 minutes for the M Oceanview, my home is Parkmerced
  • My life is SFSU and smoking weed, my home is Parkmerced
  • My life is getting lost in traffic circles, my home is Parkmerced

But why stop there? Other neighborhoods would have much more interesting ads than Parkmerced.

North Beach

  • My life is listening to drunk idiots who think they’re beatnik poets, my home is North Beach
  • My life is being invaded by the Chinese, my home is North Beach

Union Square

  • My life is your art school, my home is Union Square
  • My life is being accosted by hobos, my home is Union Square
  • My life is crass commercialism, my home is Union Square

The Marina

  • My life is SoCal, my home is the Marina
  • My life is arrogance, my home is the Marina

The Mission

  • My life is a non-profit arts collective, my home is the Mission
  • My life is crack, my home is the Mission
  • Mi vida es gringos aburguesado mi barrio, mi casa es la MisiĆ³n


  • My life is work, my home is SOMA
  • My life is other people’s commutes, my home is SOMA


  • My life is going to be short, my home is the Bayview
  • My life is gang-related, my home is the Baview

The Castro

  • My life is focused entirely on my sexuality, my home is The Castro

Fisherman’s Wharf

  • My life sucks, my home is Fisherman’s Wharf

1 Up

December 8th, 2010

Looks like Mario could score an extra life if he stopped by 14th and Valencia.

1 up

1 up

Song parodies from Sesame Street

December 7th, 2010

What makes Sesame Street successful is that it’s fun enough that parents will actually sit down and watch with their kids.

One of their tricks was to re-purpose modern music with clever parodies. Here’s a few I scrounged up on YouTube.

Cereal Girl (parody of Material Girl)

Hip to Be a Square (parody of Hip to Be Square)

(I Can’t Get No) Cooperation (parody of [I Can’t Get No] Satisfaction)

Kids Love to Brush (parody of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun)

Rebel L (parody of Rebel Yell)

Hey Food (parody of Hey Jude)

If they made an album of these, I’d buy it.

Fire in the Inner Sunset

December 7th, 2010

Alexia Anthem sent me this video of an apartment fire in the Inner Sunset. You can see fire fighters are on the roof already, but the fire seems to be on two stories of the building, which is not a good sign. N-Judah service in the area is temporarily stopped.