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October 6, 2011

Celebrate 6+ Years of The N Judah Chronicles With Blockboard at the Blackthorn 10/13!

Reading the news about Muni and the mayor's race has been a disappointing spiral of bogusness lately, so while I keep on writing blog posts on cocktail napkins and in my notebook, after a day of new work plus the fact that, well, my GOD the news is depressing, I end up just reading another book.

Thus, when i got an email from the folks at Blockboard, who make an iPhone app for neighborhood news, asking me if I'd want to go in with them on a happy hour for the neighborhood, let's just say it brightened my spirits considerably, since I was trying to figure out an anniversary party for the blog anyway. Now, thanks to Blockboard, I can invite folks from all over the neighborhood for a happy hour AND offer them a free drink!

If you've not yet tried out the Blockboard app, it's worth a look if only because in the burgeoning field of "local news" apps, it has possibly one of best user interfaces I've seen for these kinds of apps. I've been trying it out for a while and it has some potential. (If you don't have an iPhone you can still RSVP for the party - you just might need to answer some Inner Sunset trivia to attend, so please, attend anyway!)

However, to attend, you do need to RSVP via this EventBrite link in order to take advantage of this amazing offer/event. Just go to this link on EventBrite and be sure to enter in some minimal information, and you'll be all set.

This should be a fun event, where you can meet your neighbors, fellow N riders, and others.

Note: while any politicians running for office can surely RSVP, I would ask that you please not bring a pile of dead-tree pamphlets to the event, since I'd rather you all talk to the diverse crowd that will be here, instead of just leaving behind something that will go into the recycling bin.

March 20, 2011

Remember the Other Cafe? Well It's Back (Sort Of) And There's a Few Free Tickets Available!

If you look carefully at Crepes on Cole, you might notice an old, weathered sign for the Other Cafe, which uses to be in that location back in the 80s and early 90s. That was during San Francisco's Golden Age of comedy, where there were actual comedy clubs all around town, and an explosion of talent. I used to go to the Other Cafe, especially when my friends performed. Many of them have gone on to write or perform for Saturday Night Live, the Daily Show, and other assorted productions. It was a great time to be in the city, and the shows were great - an interactive experience you can't replicate on TV.

Then the 90s recession hit, cable TV started showing stand up comedy, and the clubs began to die off, one by one, due to increasing rents, etc. However, while the Other Cafe may be no more, Bob Ayres, the former owner, is organizing comedy shows again. Best of all he wants you, folks from the "neighborhood" (i.e. Cole Valley, Haight, Sunset) to attend - and he's willing to give you FREE tickets! What a nice guy!

There's a limited supply, so click on this link right now and RSVP, since the show is this coming Saturday, March 26th, at the JCC center on California street. Featured comedians include Don Gavin, Will Durst, and Johnny Steele. The fact that free tickets are being offered is a really cool gesture, so please, don't sign up for them unless you are actually going to attend. This should be a great show, so check it out if you can!

July 16, 2010

Fun Friday: Last Night's Nightlife!

Last night was an especially fun "Nightlife at the Academy" , as the them was the Science of Brewing Beer. Representatives from many local SF breweries, including our friend Richard at Elizabeth Street Brewery and our neighbors at Social Kitchen and Brewery were on hand to talk about the brewing process and talk about their beers. I posted a few (old iPhone quality) pictures here.

Also on hand were brewmasters from 21st Amendment, the San Francisco Brewcraft supply store, Magnolia Pub, Bison Brewing, and MataVeza.

Whew! That's a lot of links! But all in all it was a lot of fun, and I never pass up a chance to go to the Academy. In fact, this was my second trip in less than a week - last Friday I got to attend a premiere of a documentary produced by the Professional Engineers in CA Government.

Entitled The Next Frontier: Engineering the Golden Age of Green, it was primarily concerned with developing alternative, non polluting forms of energy. It was very interesting to watch, not preachy, and overall rather worth watching. In a few weeks I'll be doing a contest with a copy of the film on DVD as a prize.

This weekend promises some nice weather, even in San Francisco, so be sure to enjoy it as much as you can. I shall be at home toiling away on all sorts of crazy PHP things and whatnots that should be done soon.

Also, I'm still waiting to see if we hear anything regarding yesterday's challenge. I'll post an update if anything happens. (In other words, I'll be working on the roof deck on PHP junk).

July 9, 2010

Fun Friday (Finally!): Fun Muni Apps, Fun Bicycles, Fun Links and a High Five!

IMG_1004.JPGIt's been a heck of a week, what with Fourth of July festivities, World Cup matches, a protest in the Inner Funset, trial verdicts and so on. If ever there was a need for a Fun Friday, this is it.

So, without further ado, here's all sorts of random fun in no particular order.

-Jay, who runs the family owned Sunset Barber on 9th Avenue was off most of the week - because he and his wife just had their first baby boy, Issa (named after Jay's dad)! Congratualtions to Jay and his family! If you're going by the Sunset Barber, be sure to congratulate him when you get your next haircut.

-A bit belated but still good news: The Inner Fog Wine Bar (pictured, via iPhone) on Irving and 7th (same building as One Shot Tattoo) opened on June 2nd. My friend Elaine and I crashed the party after spying Sup. Ross Mirkarimi as we left Pacific Catch last week. It's definitely a fun spot - it's hard to believe Crossroads (which moved down the block) used to have its dressing rooms there.

Now it's a warm, inviting place to hang out with friends over a fine wine. Elaine wrote about our adventures there last week.

-A new Muni App was annoucned today in the Apple Store: Muniverse. This was co-authored by our own Loyal Reader Jamison, and from what I've seen so far, it's yet another unique use of the freely available NextMuni data. This is critical - with open data, many people are able to come up with new and unusual ways to provide said data giving you, the Muni owner, many options. I will be reviewing this app as well as Transporter (which I've been using, along with Routesy).

Special note to Android users: I would love to review any Next Muni Android apps, but I do not have an Android phone, so if you find on and would like to show it to me and help me write a review, feel free to email me.

Finally, Streetsblog posted links to this video of a rather unique take on mobile street food, beer, and bikes. I swear, if you had a bunch of these available to ride during Critical Mass, they'd make a lot of friends REALLY fast.


Have a great weekend!

March 11, 2010

Hey Look! A Thursday Night Special in the Inner Sunset!

btlogo.jpgI've been especially busy this week with a project, more so than I have in a while (hooray getting gigs as a freelancer) and sadly it means that the blog is a bit neglected, which I don't like. So A) if you want to sign up and be a Guest Blogger, please email me, and B)things should be back to normal soon.

In the meantime, our friends at the Blackthorn Tavern on Irving Street alerted us to their new Twitter account, and to a new special on Thursday Nights: "Industry Night" which features free pool, $1 off all drinks starting at 8pm, and $1 pint margaritas from 9-930pm.

Not a bad deal if you can swing by!

February 18, 2010

Looking for Solutions for Your Muni? Don't Wait For City Hall or the MTA....

It was unfortunate to hear the results of the Muni operators' union vote the other day against some minor concessions to try and help stave off the worst of Muni budget cuts, especially since Muni got some rare GOOD news, as the boondoggle at BART was rejected by the Federal Government, meaning that many agencies will be getting a significant amount of money to pay for repairs and maintenance. But after making a few intemperate remarks on that Twitter thing, further investigation by our friends at Streetsblog indicate this was a big ol' TWU leadership failure to inform their members, one which perhaps should be no surprise.

TWU's leadership has traditionally been on the side of the handful of bad apples, going to court to defend them, instead of supporting rules that would reward the good operators in the fleet. We all know this, and it's no secret than in many cases, union membership finds itself with a leadership clique that is out of touch with its members and the public it's supposed to serve.

But don't expect grandstanding politicians like Sup. Sean Elsbernd to be part of the solution. He has made a lot of headlines allegedly being Our Friend Vs. The Evil Muni Drivers with his stupid charter proposal. The problem is, Elsbernd doesn't really give a damn about Muni at all - he loyally voted for Newsom's looting of Muni by other departments - ironically something, in a John Kerry-esque flip flop, now says he's against. As for our "Mayor", Mr. Football Bat, well he's off using taxpayer money for another abortive bid for statewide office, and has never liked Muni anyway, so don't expect any help from him, either.

There's some noise being made by "progressive" Supervisors, but again, it's mostly noise made by freshman Supervisors who have proven more adept at symbolic gestures and big talk, but don't really seem to understand what they're up against, nor do they have a clearer idea of what they would do better.

If you, as the owner and rider of Muni are tired of the political games and nonsense that makes you late to work, to school, and to the things you like to do in your daily life, then, I'm sorry to say, it's going to be you, along with your friends and neighbors, that's going to be the one to get us out of this mess. None of the people at City Hall really care about your daily experiences, be they on Muni or dealing with any city department or issue, so you really can't expect them to do much besides respond to a lot of loud, angry phone calls and emails.

If you really want something to change for the better, we're all going to have to find a way to fundamentally change how the MTA is governed and funded so we don't have these perpetual failures every single year. (And sorry, folks, but this whole "don't let the people or the electeds be involved" bullshit doesn't work, it hasn't for a long time, and anyone who continues to be an apologist for it is no friend of Muni owner/riders)

Just as an aside - when I started writing in 2005, major, systemwide failures were not unheard of, but they did not happen with the consistency we're seeing now. It's now to the point where sometimes I don't even want to turn on Twitter or go online, because I don't want to hear about more misery being inflicted by these fools at the top.

November 30, 2009

Team Nutella Wins 1st Place at the Blackthorn, Heads to League Championships!

Pardon the horn tooting here, but our pub trivia team, "Team Nutella," just took 1st place at the Blackthorn in Brainstormer Pub Trivia's Bay Area trivia league! Needless to say this is kinda fun, and it means we'll be advancing to the finals on December 12th.

What's particularly amazing about our 1st place finish was that our team was never a big one (only 5 people) and on several occaisions, one of us couldn't make it due to other commitments, and yet we still prevailed. One night we had only 3 people make it, and they came in 1st, beating out teams much larger than ours. Most importantly we had a lot of fun, and none of it would have been possible had I not been on a team with so many fun people. Joe, Jenny, Jennifer and Mason are awesome!

During the summer we came in 3rd in the Bay Area at the finals, and I'm hoping we'll do better this time around. However, just because the league is over does not mean trivia is over - you can play Brainstormer trivia at the Blackthorn (which this fall featured barbecues on Mondays!), and at many bars in San Francisco and the Bay Area. Other bars, such as Shotwell's, feature quizzes devised by their own staff, and are also fun.

Besides, where else are you going to find uses for all that algebra and social studies you had back in high school?

November 24, 2009

And Now, Some People Who REALLY Love Their Muni: Video of the Muni Party Last Week...

There's a reason I returned to San Francisco after a silly detour elsewhere, and today I was sent a link to Yet Another Reason Why. That would be the video to the Muni Party last week.

Now, I'm sure that the Grampa Simpsons of the world will get their cackle on, clucking tongues at the Youth of America for being loud and obnoxious. To them I say, STFU.

Why? Because this city has long tolerated the expensive "gimme my cookie" tantrum that is Critical Mass, and those folks don't pay a dime for their use of police time and killing Muni on time reliability for their little party. Fake revolutionary actions for the FAIL!

At least these people all frakking paid up. More importantly, isn't it kinda awesome that the owners of Muni would choose to be this enthusiastic about their rail service en route to a party downtown? No one drove, so no drunk drivers, and well, this is the kind of thing we need - more people reclaiming Muni not just as a thing you endure to go to work, but one as we, the owners, use for what we want it to be.

Pictures, because it happened.

(PS, the video is kind loud so turn down those speakers, friends.)

October 9, 2009

Fun Friday: Fleet Week, Free F-Line Rides, and a Fun Contest

2007-ba_03.jpg We definitely need some fun around here, now that the weather's finally starting to be truly Fall weather, and we've had to listen to the news over-hype an incident on the Muni system over and over again. (Really, people, all it takes is one cell cam video for everyone to lose their sh*t? It's not like this is a new thing, news media!)

Anyway, there's quite a lot going on because of Fleet Week. Before all the whining starts about "the noise" and whatnot, bear in mind that the F-Market line and the 47 will be running free all day Saturday and Sunday to accommodate the crowds wishing to view the event. So everyone wins!

But wait, there's more. The SF Appeal is now compiling all the SFMTA Muni Alerts into one page, so you can find out just what's up with Muni and various events, including the Italian Heritage Parade on Sunday, Oracle World next week, and some Burning Man thing.

And now some more fun: Way back when I got two tickets to the Nightlife at the Academy thing on Thursday nights. Now, this should have been a cool thing since I live so close to the Academy, and so on, but every time I've tried to use them, something terrible happens.

Either something keeps me working late, or in at least two verified cases, the person I was going to attend with was either rushed to the ER with an injury (they were hit by a car!) and another was taken ill with the flu (ironically after getting a flu shot). I'm convinced that these tickets are cursed (for me) so I'm going to give them away since they expire soon. I figure someone else might as well enjoy them.

So, since trivia contests don't work online thanks to Google, I'm instead going to do an essay contest, 21st Century style. Instead of an essay, I'm asking for short blog posts of no more than 150 words, describing why you should win the passes, and who you would take if you won them. The person you can take can be someone you know, someone from history, a celebrity, etc. Do not submit them to the comments below - instead email me your submission.

Points are awarded for originality, good writing, a sense of humor that's cool or witty, and points are taken off for bullsh!t. Keep it somewhat clean and friendly, folks, and have fun with it!

Later today I'll be posting some news recently announced about some attempts to make boarding the Muni trains a bit safer. We've had discussions on this in the past, so it'll be interesting to see what exactly they're announcing today. If it means you can de-board the N without nearly getting killed all the time, well that would be awesome.

Photo courtesy of the Blue Angels/US Navy

August 26, 2009

A Guide to All the Outside Lands Guides Online!

olart.jpgQuite a lot is happening this weekend. Not only is the weather expected to be hot and sunny, it's my birthday on Saturday (yay!) and we on the west side have the (in)famous Outside Lands Festival all weekend, starting Friday.

Last year I composed a quick guide to attractions around the festival, and posted and tweeted many MUNI fails that weekend as well. It seems the organizers have learned from last year, and have tried to mitigate the effect of millions of Tenacious D fans on the Park and our neighborhoods this year.

This year there are so many guides to the festival, it makes it even easier to do a round up of all the places you can get some really good information and plan your weekend accordingly. I'm not attending myself, unless of course I win tickets or something, but I will most likely either camp out on the deck on our roof and watch the masses flood MUNI with a cooler of cheap TJ's beer, or sell treats to drunken festival-goers at street-fair inflated prices for a few bucks.

So here are your guides for the weekend (click through for the list):

Continue reading "A Guide to All the Outside Lands Guides Online!" »

January 26, 2009

WWJRD? (What Would Jim Rolph Do?) - Spring N Judah Pub Crawl

For some time now we'd been kicking around the idea of an N Judah Pub Crawl, but it wasn't until Loyal Reader Carla offered a few weeks ago to assist with the preparations (she has Jedi level event planning skills) that I was able to really do it right.

Right now we've tentatively planned it for just after Tax Time in April, when the weather is nice and we won't conflict with too many events. While I've got a few places in mind, I'd be interested in hearing suggestions from you as to places you'd like to see featured. And of course we'll feature a commemorative T shirt designed by Mason Powell, to celebrate. Post your suggestions in the comments or feel free to drop me an email!

It may seem like a long way out, but my experience with events (as well as other things I'm doing for work) made it clear if I didn't give it some lead time, it wouldn't come off with the kind of fun and flair an NJC event should have!

October 31, 2008

Have a Safe Halloween Friday , Everyone!

Today is a rather unique convergence of circumstances, most of which will affect your day today, in some way. Let's see what we have here:

-Today is Friday (hooray!) and only a few days before the Big Election

-Today is also Critical Mass (sigh.)

-Today is going to get a lot of rain, meaning traffic is going to be extra dangerous

-Today is Halloween, on an actual Friday, which means lots of people out looking to have all sorts of fun (but should be aware the Castro is "closed" there are other things to do tonight.)

Well, you get the idea. MUNI and BART will be running ordinary service tonight, so plan accordingly. Given the convergence of events today, if you really do not have to drive, don't, since it's going to be one giant traffic jam, soaked in rain so the crazy drivers and bicyclists will be extra dangerous since they don't realize cars don't come to a sudden halt in wet weather. MUNI buses, too, need to remember the laws of physics apply to them as well, and not run over anyone by mistake.

The only x-factor in taking MUNI past 9-10pm is that depending on where you are, you can sometimes get stranded waiting for a bus that might take forever to show up. The best thing I can recommend is get access to NextMUNI on your mobile device (either iphone, blackberry, or any WAP-enabled phone) and keep an eye on it.

Last night, for example, against doctor's orders, I went out to an event (a very nice one hosted by Six Apart, who make the blogging software that runs all my sites) but even though NextMUNI was telling me an N at Caltrain was like, in front of me, in fact it was a training car, as were several of them, so I ended up waiting around for a while. Best bet - if you're going somewhere in SF's outlying areas, make arrangements to carpool home or something.

Most importantly, have fun! I don't really go out on Halloween anymore, so I didn't plan a costume, but if I do go out, it'll be at the Blackthorn Tavern, which will feature a costume party and a DJ tonight. Perhaps I could go as the scariest costume ever - the stupid bill from the ER visit I made. Scary indeed!

UPDATE: The Taraval police station will be giving out candy and stickers to kids at the station, located at 2345 - 24th Avenue, from dusk until 9pm. But that's not the only reason I posted an update...if you're not already subscribed to the crime reports for the Taraval station, you're missing out on some interesting information, sometimes with a bit of creative writing. For example, read the following, and note the part I hightlighted:

10/30/08 3:00 pm 2200 block of 14th Avenue

In response to numerous neighbor complaints of trash, narcotics paraphernalia on the sidewalk, noise, miscreants and drug dealing, Captain Paul Chignell assembled a posse composed of Sgt. Steve Quon, Officer Scott Biggs and Officer Chris Oshita. Occupants of the residence were questioned and one was found to be in possession of suspected heroin as well as being in violation of a restraining order. He was arrested. Case #081163409

Awesome!

September 4, 2008

Looks Like Someone Beat Me To It: Pub Crawl In the Inner Sunset!

So there I was reading a weekly paper and saw an ad for a pub crawl in the Inner Sunset. Which is funny because I'd been wanting to do one of my own, but didn't have the time to do it right (and of course there was the debate as to how far down the N line we'd go, but that's another story...)

Anyway, by clicking over to their site you can buy a ticket for $6, and hop around between many cool bars from 4-8pm on Saturday, the 6th. You can also buy a ticket in person at the Fireside Lounge on the day of the event, but the cost goes up.

Right now it looks like they'll be hitting the Fireside, Yancy's, the Blackthorn, the Mucky Duck, the Little Shamrock and...Darla's (?). Anyway, if you're looking for something to do on a warm Saturday afternoon/evening, why not check it out and support some locally-owned bars in the process?

June 20, 2008

More Friday Fun: The N Judah Gets a Shout Out On A Rap Single

Thanks to the magic that is Google News Alerts, I find all sorts of interesting things online that I might have missed during my daily work/internet/work/work routine.

Today's fun find was a music blog caleld The Sound of Young America, which had this post about rapper Richie Cunning's new song, "The City," which I quite enjoyed. It even has a nice shout out to Our Mighty N.

Richie is opening for People Under the Stairs (another group I like) at the Independent on June 26th. Check 'em out!

May 6, 2008

Nightlife on the N: Pacific Catch at 9th and Lincoln

There was no greater fan of the old Canvas Gallery than I - more than once when low-grade home Internet crapped out on me, the Canvas Gallery was a wifi safe haven to continue the bloggy goodness.

However, since it's passing, we've had a new addition to the neighborhood I've found to be a pleasant replacement, Pacific Catch, in the refurbished Canvas Gallery space on 9th and Lincoln.

Now, I have to confess I haven't actually had dinner here yet (although I've seen what others have ordered and it all looks great), but that's because Pacific Catch has been luring me in there with an incredible happy hour, one that's not only from 4-6pm , but also late at night (something we've needed around here for a while), and at both times they serve a great bargain-priced menu of assorted fish and deep fried items, along with some great cocktails.

For example, the spicy tuna roll, which is fairly sizable and quite well made, is only $4.95. I've also tried their sweet potato fries (normally an abomination, but here super awesome), and a friend of mine tried the calamari (also looked good). They also have their own specialty cocktails, which, although costing a bit more than their well counterparts, are made with some pretty exotic ingredients.

They make a great pisco sour, among other pisco-based drinks. But even more amazing? They have more than one kind of pisco! Unheard of, I know! My personal favorite is the "Lime in the Cocoanut" which features toasted cocoanut syrup muddled with limes and pisco, with a splash of soda.

But even if you order a nice, ordinary $4 well cocktail, you're going to get a really well-made drink. No bar mixes, only fresh fruit juice, and the well pours are of good quality. Either way you can have a nice drink and a snack on the way home and get out of there for about $10.

But best of all, this is not some impersonal Tipsy McStaggers "chain" with impersonal waitstaff...everyone that works here is friendly, polite, and makes you feel welcome and want to come back. This is why I've returned as often as I have (about once a week, time and schedule permitting) since I sometimes work a strange schedule and actually have time at the end of the day to do something fun (while other times I'm chained to my desk until late).

Next time you're done with a walk in the park on a warm day, check it out, and you'll find yourself pleasantly surprised!

Pacific Catch
9th Avenue and Lincoln
1 Block from the 9th and Irving N Judah Stop
Right In Front of the 71 Haight Stop

October 23, 2007

There's Some Measure A Thing Going On, Or Something....Meanwhile I'm Taking A Few Days Off So Answer Our Question Of The Day

Rather than try and keep up with work, other duties, the much needed upgrades behind the scenes and post half-baked blog posts, I'm going to take a few days off to just work on some things for the big "upgrade" of the site.

Now, I would have liked to have told you about some pro-Measure A rallies (which you could have attended as a supporter, or as a detractor) that apparently happened, but every time I email or call the pro-A people they never seem to call or email me back.

Thus, I'm going to assume that they've got this thing nailed, in the bag, pwned, whatever, have endless numbers of volunteers, money and support, and not worry too much about it. If it passes, yay, if not, then something else will be on the ballot in some future election that might be better. Right?

In the meantime, if you were to give some advice to a tourist, either from one of the many fine states that make up the U.S., or perhaps a foreign tourist who is staying at a hotel downtown or in one of our many fine tourist areas, what would it be? What hidden treasures of the "real" S.F. would you recommend to them, and how would you recommend they get their on a cable car, MUNI train, or bus?

Thanks for your help and see you in a few days...

October 10, 2007

The Rebirth of Irving/9th Continues: Wunder Brewing Company Rocks!

Lately, it seems we've been having a mini-revitalization of nightlife in the Inner Sunset. First, we had the Blackthorn transform from a run-of-the-mill bar to a great place to have a drink and a good time.

Now, the new owners of what was once the dull, boring Eldos Brewery, have transformed that venue into the new Wunder Brewing Company - and if you haven't been there yet, I strongly advise you to do so. Many may be put off by the space since it once housed such a boring, lame restaurant. Erase said memories and start anew, forthwith!

First, a word about happy hour - this is probably one of the best bargain happy hours I've found in a while. Not only do they sell their beers for a mere $2.25 (i.e. less than what one pays for crap beer at a corporate chain) from 4:30-6:30, they also have a special menu of discount-priced items as well. How good is the food? Well, put it this way - I hate sweet potato fries, normally considering them an anomaly at best, and yet they make some so good I actually enjoyed eating them (and no I wasn't that plastered either). I also tried their homemade pretzels (amazing) and the rest of the menu looked pretty good.

Not only is the beer significantly better, the atmosphere of this place is significantly more friendly and in touch with the neighborhood. The staff are friendly and funny, the vibe of the place is relaxed and unpretentious. and from the looks of their website they are planning special events and other attractions in the future.

Once again, the Inner Sunset's nightlife just took a turn for the better, and took a once-dull and cold space and turned it into somewhere you'd want to be. Whether it's having a drink after a craptacular N commute, or meeting up with friends for a night out, your best best is another locally owned, fun, and reasonably priced venue here on the N Judah line.

September 28, 2007

Random Event Roundup: Blackthorn Fundraiser, Blues Festival and the 49ers, Among Others

As I am busy working behind the scenes on some pretty interesting changes to the site, I am doing a quick roundup of a few events around the N, including:

- The NJC's favorite bar, the Blackthorn Tavern will be hosting a benefit concert September 29th for leukemia research. Check it out!

- The San Francisco Blues Festival returns this weekend at Fort Mason. MUNI didn't publish any specific transit information, but the 22, 47, 49, and the 30 Stockton can help you avoid the parking mashup that'll happen if everyone drives there.

- The annual San Francisco Love Parade, with like, a zillion DJs and whatnot, will be on Saturday also. Many MUNI buses and trains will be delayed - hopefully they won't cut service like they did back when this blog got started!

- The 49ers will be playing against the (infamous) Seattle Seahawks this weekend at Candlestick/Monster/Whatever Park. The people at MUNI have provided this guide to using MUNI to go to the game - like a lot of MUNI provided info, it's rather complex and gives you more options than perhaps you're used to, but wade through it and avoid the parking and driving hassles.

If you have an event you'd like to feature here, feel free to email me and let me know about it for future posts!

September 9, 2007

Miller Chill Girls at the Blackthorn!

You know you've picked the right afternoon to make that last stop on the way home of a very productive day of work, at the Blackthorn (where the awesome folks who work there make a late afternoon of rugby and live music like, awesome), and not only do you get to meet the lovely ladies of the Miller Chill crew, but ALSO the Miller Lite ladies giving out free bottle openers.

True, I've been drinking Miller Lite for years with limes and/or hot sauce and tomato juice, but if the Miller Chill ladies are handing out samples, and don't have that awful Clamato crap in their beer, well then let's just say the day was a two-fer.

Yes, the photo is a bit night-goggly, but it's better than nothing. Otherwise I'd be vulnerable to the "pictures or it didn't happen" meme, right?

Woo hoo!

August 28, 2007

Pub Trivia Superheroes At the Blackthorn

I've just returned home from a fun evening at the Blackthorn Tavern, the unofficial bar of the N Judah Chronicles. Thanks to the pub trivia superheroes, recruited by Anna from SF Metblogs, we not only had a great time, we won! Woo hoo!

If you're in to pub trivia and have a free Monday, the Blackthorn's deal, co-sponsored by Brainstormer, is a pretty good one. Not only do they offer a drink special, and free food (tonight's was chicken curry!), you have the chance to win fabulous prizes. Most importantly, the vibe of the crowd is fun, and win or lose, you're bound to have a great time.

We made a bit of a splash when we named our team Stop Global Warming, Ban Burning Man, which was kind of funny. Plus, I got to meet several of the Loyal Readers in person, which was even more fun, including the wonderful person who bought our first BBM t-shirt. Thanks for reading the site!

It's always nice to meet folks who read the site and offer some feedback, and it's especially fun after a Pilsner Urquell and racking one's brain about James Bond trivia, and figuring out who the oldest Rolling Stone is.

Most importantly, it was an evening of good fun in a good locally owned business with good people. Can I use the word "good" any more times in one sentence? Yes? Good. .

UPDATE: I got a nice note from Quizmaster (and Loyal Reader) Stan, who hosted last night's event! Check it out!
Hi Greg,

Thanks for the great writeup of the quiz last night at the Blackthorn. Thomas had mentioned to me after the quiz that the blogger of the N Judah Chronicles was one of the guys who I'd called out for a prize. I'm a semi-regular reader of your blog (I live on 21st and Judah), so I was thrilled. I'm glad you had a good time. Did I say "good?"

Come by and say hello when you're in the Blackthorn for the quiz again. I'm enclosing the pic I took of your team last night, which will be posted this week on the Blackthorn quiz page. You can use it on your blog if you wish, since you're in this one.

http://www.brainstormer.com/venueDisplay.aspx?venueID=170&state=ca
Take care, Stan the quizmaster

June 21, 2007

This Weekend On MUNI: Blackthorn Tavern Grand (Re) Opening and Pride Weekend Service Announcements

The weather is looking pretty good, summer's officially here, and quite a lot is going on in town this weekend! Let's review:

- This weekend, as I mentioned earlier, is the grand re-opening of the Blackthorn Tavern on Irving Street at 9th. This should be a fun day to check out the new and improved Blackthorn. Be sure to tell them the N Judah Chronicles sent ya!

- Also this weekend, there's the big Gay Freedom Day Parade on Sunday, as well as the Pink Saturday festivities and Dyke Parade (yes that's what it's called). There are some service announcements for MUNI at both - you can check out the updates at the MUNI/MTA website. For Saturday's schedule, click here and for Sunday's changes, click here.

If you have friends coming into town for either day, try and encourage them to take Caltrain, or BART into town, instead of driving, if not to "save the earth" then at least to spare them the nightmare of trying to find parking or fighting traffic.

No matter what you decide to do, have a great weekend! And as always, if you see or hear of anything fun, unfun, or just plain San Francisco on MUNI, drop me a line!

June 20, 2007

N-Owl Nightlife Guide: The Blackthorn Tavern Re-Opens June 23rd!

For several years, I've been a patron of the Blackthorn Tavern, located on Irving Street just past 9th Avenue, and it's always been a pleasant place to have a pint and hang out on a Sunday afternoon. I'd always meant to write a review for the site, but never got around to it. For once, procrastination has its merits, as the Blackthorn has been taken over by new ownership, and even before their grand re-opening on June 23rd, the improvements are already starting to show up.

Now, don't get me wrong, there was nothing egregiously heinous with the Blackthorn in its previous incarnations - I've been a patron on and off since 2001 - but even before the many renovations that are being worked on this week, I'd noticed a definite change in the atmosphere of the place.

If I were to put it in one word, that would be "friendly." When I go in for a casual pint after work or on a weekend, I feel welcome and usually end up staying longer just because it's such a pleasant place to be. Not all bars can claim that, and for me it's important. After all, if one is spending their money in an establishment, you at least want to feel welcome, right?

There have been other changes as well. On Fridays, they often have free food at happy hour, and they've added new flat screen TVs as well, so you can watch sports, or whatever, from pretty much any seat in the bar. They are continuing the Blackthorn's tradition of hosting live music, and they've even got Wi-Fi available as well.

I am looking forward to the re-opening this weekend, and hope that once things get rolling, the reviews on Yelp and elsewhere get updated accordingly. Given the Blackthorn's overall coolness, and proximity to the 9th and Irving N-Judah stop, this is probably one of the best bets for a night on the town right on our Mighty N.

Blackthorn Tavern - 834 Irving Street - 415 564 6627
Next Door to Our Favorite Market, the 828 Irving Market!

May 25, 2007

What Isn't Happening Today, May 25th? - Today's Guide

What isn't happening today? I mean, really!

Surely by now you've been forewarned that our well-mannered, kind, and respectful friends of mass transit, Critical Mass, will be having their monthly cookie scream today, right when you're trying to leave work and enjoy your weekend. Patron Saint of Truth, Dan Noyes had an interesting story in the run up to today's festival of rage.

But wait! That's not all! Downtown San Francisco will also be invaded by Zombies at 6pm, also. Oddly enough, the rabid undead that live on human brains have a code of conduct that's actually better than that of the rabid bike riders. Fascinating. If they're looking for brains, however, a fight with Critical Mass may not be such a great idea.

But wait! It's also Towel Day, in honor of the late scifi humor author Douglas Adams. No word on if legions of wannabe Hitchhikers will be awaiting Vogon ships in downtown, but this is San Francisco (which Douglas Adams described in one of his books as "people starting a new religion is just their way of saying hi").

It seems like it was just yesterday I was out taking random photos on a crazy Friday. And just like that day, Park Life Store will be having an opening reception at their store/gallery on Clement Street.

There is plenty of fun for everyone today, and this weekend. I've been trying out Upcoming's website to find events, along with those dependable sites FunCheap SF and My Open Bar as well. Happy Commuting!

UPDATE:Ok, one thing that wasn't happening today - MUNI running properly in the tunnel! I got on an inbound train at Van Ness, only to get the whole "we're moving really slowly through the tunnel, take a surface bus instead" announcement. Thanks to MUNI I was late to another appointment. Thanks, MUNI.

UPDATE 2: Here's a few photos, belatedly posted on Flickr!

May 4, 2007

Friday Fun: Free Comics, Cinco De Mayo, and More!

After all the drama we've been having on the N-Judah (and MUNI in general) I thought it might be time to lighten the mood a little bit and highlight a few random events and things this weekend.

Aside from the alcohol-fest that is "Cinco De Mayo" (which you can safely engage in if you ride MUNI this weekend), it's also Free Comic Book Day at participating retailers around town. You can use this handy locator to find the retailer nearest you -- I'll be heading to Amazing Fantasy on Irving and 8th, and my all-time favorite, Comix Experience on Divisadero, both easily accessible by the N-Judah.

On an unrelated note, I'm curious to know what (if any) social networking sites readers use. I am considering some changes to the site as we approach the anniversary, and would like to hear if any of you use Upcoming, Flickr, the much-dreaded MySpace, VOX.com, Ning, Consumating.com (a site I recently ditched) or any others. There are some new things I'd like to try out here, but I want to get a sense of what would be of use and what would not. Post your responses in the comment section below!

This weekend should have some nice weather, so get outside, take some pictures, ride the N-line and hope that it works for a change this weekend...if I take any interesting photos, I'll be posting them to my Flickr site this weekend!

PS: Feel free to continue posting CC's of complaint letters to our Save the N-Judah entry this weekend too!

October 12, 2006

N-Owl Nightlife Guide - A Tribute to The Owl Tree

Note:Please pardon the gap in entries...my other job is having busy season right now and I can't post as often as I'd like! But fear not! Plenty of MUNI goodness is on its way!

This morning I read some sad news in our local paper - it seems Robert "Bobby" Cook, owner of the Owl Tree has died. And once again, we've lost not just a great bartender or a cool little locally-owned bar, but also a little bit of what makes our city ours, and not someone else's.

I'd actually prepared a backup column for the N-Owl nightlife guide of what I called "theme park bars" in and around The City, and the Owl Tree was one of our stops, for many reasons. One was of course the fact the place was covered in owls. Really. I mean, like, tons of owl pictures, owl statues, owl anything. Perfect for the N-Owl guide.

More importantly, the proprietor, Mr. Cook, was easily one of the coolest, old-fashioned, righteous bartenders in town. "Mason Powell" and I did a tour of three places, and the Owl Tree was one our favorites, because he was a nice guy to talk to, and ran a bar the old-fashioned way. If you were a guy and you ordered a Cosmo, you more or less got shown the door!

I'd gone to the Owl Tree on and off over the years, and inevitably what brought me back was the personality of its owner, and his excellent cocktails. Thus, when I read he'd died, I was really surprised, since the last time I'd been there he seemed to be his usual hard working, personable self. All of us here send our condolences to the family, and to the Owl Tree's many patrons who will no longer be able to rely on Bobby's cocktails and personality to liven up a Saturday night.

April 9, 2006

N-Owl Nightlife Guide: John Colins on Natoma St.

First in a series of reviews of nightspots easily accessible via Muni

Last Friday I had dinner with a cool friend of mine at Osha Thai (previously mentioned on this site). As always it was great food at a great price, and this time we tried out the fried banana dessert. Not only did it taste good, but check out the amazing presentation on the plate. When it arrived I'd assumed it was a painted design on the plate itself!

Afterwards we went to a cocktail mixer hosted via Bay Area Linkup at a bar on Natoma @ 2nd (just a couple of blocks from the N's Montgomery St. Station) called John Colins. I'd never been there before, and although it is not my usual style of bar to hang out at on a Friday night, I was willing to give it a try, especially since it was located literally around the corner from the Thai place.

From the outside it is a very unassuming little place, but the inside of the bar is very cozy, and can get quite crowded at happy hour.

However, despite this, I didn't mind the crowds that much. The atmosphere was quite fun, wasn't nearly as pretentious as some other downtown-y bars can get, and as the meet-up time of 8:30 p.m. approached, the crowd thinned out just enough for our group to find each other just fine and have enough breathing room to socialize.

My good friend took some pictures of the decor in the bar, which had a sort of subdued tiki islander theme, as did the drink menu.

The thing that really stood out for me was how friendly, efficient and skilled the bartenders were at John Colins. Their drink menu is really interesting, and though a bit more pricey than I'd usually like, were well worth it. I ended up trying a few different ones, and as you can see in this lovely candid shot of me with a Mojito they're rather potent, as well.

All in all, if you're looking for a place downtown to meet someone after work before heading out to places in the neighborhood, or on points accessible by our trusty downtown Muni streetcars, John Colins is a good place to go. Places like this get an extra level of scrutiny if they are out of my normal bounds of nightlife, and it passes the test with flying colors. Much of the credit goes to the hardworking bartenders who know to stock more than a couple of brands of rum, and take pride in their work and maintaining a fun place to check out. And being just blocks away from Muni, you can get home safely as well!

Pictures copyright 2006 by Visual Vixen

Got a suggestion for a future review? Email me your suggestions for fun, interesting, and cool places to go that are easily accessible by our beloved Muni!

March 23, 2006

Detours Along Market St. On The Way Home....

Tonight I was introduced to a really fun Thai restaurant, Osha Thai, thanks to a friend who works downtown. Not only was the food great (and spicy - "medium" would scare the heck out of most folks!), and the restaurant's decor and ambience quite nice, but the total bill for two people was really reasonable.

It is always nice to find a fun restaurant in town that doesn't require a second mortgage just to pay the tip, and Osha Thai is now an official entry on my "places I like" list, which will be revealed more fully as time goes on.

On my way home, I took the much-maligned N Judah Downtown Detour. Fortunately it was not raining, hailing, or crowded, so it was a nice quiet ride. Although I'd just as soon take my door-to-door service via the tunnel, it was actually kinda nice to take the detour and take a look at the parts of Market Street I rarely go to, unless I have to. There's all kinds of things to look at, and late in the evening it was nice and quiet. No crazies yelling, no weirdness. Just a calm ride home past the US Mint, et al.

Then the bus dropped me off at Safeway on Market Street. Now, normally I would just keep walking to the N stop at Duboce and Church, but I remembered they had a sale on avocados (4 for a buck) I wanted to take advantage of, so I walked in.

There is a maxim in the grocery store business that if you go in to the store withou a list, you're more likely to buy more things than if you didn't. There is another that for every minute extra you spend in a store on a shopping trip, you're going to spend at least $1 per minute.

Both were proven very true, very fast. They had just enough stuff I "sort of" needed anyway selling for a dollar, or some other such bargain that I ended up getting a basket and buying all sorts of cool stuff. Coke Zero - $1/six-pack, Dozen Eggs - $1, and so on. I ended up spending almost $15.

Then I looked at the receipt with all my "savings" and it told me I had "saved " $15, thanks to my Universal ID Card (aka the Safeway Club Card). Although I had spent $13 more than I had planned, the little "46% savings" tag on the receipt somehow made it "ok."

I headed out and caught the train ride home. Who knew a detour could show you a piece of the city one doesn't always pay attention to, and provide such wonderful bargains!

September 26, 2005

SF Has A Festival For Everyone This Weekend....But MUNI Cut the Buses!

This weekend has a street fair or festival or rally or whatever for just about anyone who wants to come to town. It has been estimated that at least 10,000 extra people will be in the City, and possibly more. As luck would have it, while they tell everyone to "take mass transit" to avoid jams, this is ALSO the first weekend of reduced bus service.

Needless to say, it showed, as crowded buses met up with large crowds all around town. Then again, when you have like, 6 DJs blasting dance music at the Civic Center for the "Love Parade" (and featuring 8 dollar super potent vodka cocktails at Civic Center Plaza), which collided with an anti-war protest, which also was down the street from another street fair, etc etc. you get the picture.

Smooth move, Muni folks. Just when we need to try and get people out of their cars due to the Bay Bridge mess of construction, you cut service, and jack up fares. I realize that in today's business world the idea of charging more for less seems like a great way to do things, but I can tell you for a fact most people on the bus were just irritated at another fare hike coupled with less service. At some point, Muni will be charging us 200 bucks a ride to take cable car that goes nowhere once a day, if this "logic" keeps up.

I took the N-Judah downtown and checked out the festivities at the Civic Center, very loud and crowded, and took off for points elsewhere. Today I'm headed to the Cole Valley neighborhood festival, but I dare say I won't be dropping by the Folsom Street Fair - just not my scene - but I will try and get out on what looks to be like the last good weekend before the weather starts to change for good.

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