April 19, 2012

Weekend Update: A Fix it Fair and Yet More Track Work on the N...

IMG_6260.JPGThis weekend we have a whole host of events going on in and around the N. First off - the fun one: the annual "Free Fix-It" Fair to be held on Saturday, the 21st from 10am-6pm at Irving and 6th. The hosts promise to try and fix anything "except electronics and relationships," and specialize in bike repairs, knife sharpening and the like. If you've never been to an event at the House Formerly Known As Yes We Can House, they are a mix of activities and mingling with neighbors, and are always enjoyable.

This could also be an antidote to the not-so-fun event this weekend - the repair work being done by the MTA on the N Judah tracks. As always, a bus shuttle will run connecting people downtown. If you live in the affected area and have problems, or just want a contact number in case noise or other issues persist, go to the SFMTA page for the project for a list of emails and phone numbers. From what I have heard, progress has remained steady, and best of all once it's done, it's DONE.

April 10, 2012

More Events: Foursquare Day 2012 at Pacific Catch on...4/16

In the grand tradition of The Internet, what started as a joke has once again become a pheonomenon. I'm speaking, of course, about "Foursquare Day," created after someone noticed that 4 squared is in fact, 16 hence April 16th is "Foursquare Day" where one can celebrate the iPhone/Android app that tells the world where you are and post pics of that bacon donut you got.

Locally, Pacific Catch has embraced the event since it began in 2010, and this year will be hosting an event at it's 9th and Lincoln location here in the Inner Sunset. The event will be a benefit for the San Francisco Food Bank, so you can have fun and know your money will go to help others in the community. Last year the event at Pacific Catch was one of the largest in the world, and it raised $6,000 for relief efforts in Japan following the tsunami that hit earlier that year.

The event starts at 6pm, with a "Swarm" check in from 7-730 pm, but there will be happy hour deals all day, and additional sponsors will be there including Scoutmob, Hahn Wineries, Screen Scape, and the Laugh Box. A DJ will also provide entertainment.

If you can, stop by and check it out. Pacific Catch always knows how to throw a party, and with the proceeds going to help others here in town, it's a win/win.

April 9, 2012

Hey! Dogfest Returns to Duboce Park This Saturday, April 14th!

mckinley-site-graphic.jpgThis Saturday, parents, kids and friends of McKinley Elementary will be hosting "DogFest!" which is becoming an anticipated annual event in San Francisco's Duboce Park. After all, you've got everything for a fun time: dogs, activites for kids and adults, local businesses helping the schools, and oh yeah, DOGS! I mean, what's not to like?

I've been attending these off and on for a few years now, and I have to say that every year the event gets bigger and better. That's great, because all proceeds go to benefit arts and science programs at the school, and while it's unfortunate our schools can't pay the bills for things kids need, it's good to know so many people are willing to step up and help out and close the gap.

This year's DogFest looks to be a particularly spectacular event, with a full day's worth of events, a silent auction, a dog show with celebrity judges, and all sorts of other fun activities.

I'm going to try and stop by and take some pictures. If you attend and do so as well, post a link in the comments to your photos.

PS: For Inner Sunset residents, don't forget about the Inner Sunset Community Meeting scheduled for Friday the 13th, as well!

March 27, 2012

Inner Sunset Community Meeting Announced for April 13th!

Inner Sunset residents are organizing a Community Meeting on April 13th and the public is invited! The meeting is being organized by neighbors to get people to know their neighbors and to discuss topics of interest to residents of all sorts. The event will be held at St. John's Recreation Hall at 5th and Irving and will run from 6:30-10:00pm.

The event includes a potluck dinner where people are invited to bring a dish to share as well as utensils and plates, and later will have people break out into discussion groups on topics that attendees propose at the event. It is being orgainzed by the Inner Sunset Park Neighbors and if you'd like more information, or find out how you can help out the event, contact Adam Greenfield via email.

We are fortunate to have so many people who take the time to organize events and other community amenities that enhance the neighborhood as a whole, and promote the idea of the Inner Sunset as a place where people find ways to work together, rather than the choose-up-sidery stuff you see elsewhere. Let's keep up the good work!

October 16, 2011

The Inner Sunset Fair is TODAY! Take Some Pics and Post in Our Group!

IMG_4904.JPGIf you've been busy watching the Niners game, once you're done, go out and attend the Inner Sunset Street Fair today. I was out this morning checking it out, and it is a really well produced event.

I took some photos and will take more once the phone is recharged. If you decide to do so too, post some pictures in our Flickr Group today!

September 29, 2011

Links of Interest: A Few Upcoming Events You May Enjoy...

There's a number of assorted events I've been finding out about that you may enjoy. All are accessible via the Mighty N and other assorted Muni lines, and most are free or cost little to participate!

First, obviously, is this weekend's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park, which starts tomorrow. This is a huge event every year, so you can pretty much plan on having a lot of people concentrated in one place, and expect Muni to be super crowded all weekend. Anyone thinking of driving and finding parking nearby the event needs to rethink that, since there simply isn't an endless supply of free parking on City streets out here, and besides, why ruin a day stuck in your car when you could be at the event?

Next, the folks at Reset San Francisco (aka the Phil Ting For Mayor Campaign) is holding a "Reset the N Judah" event on Saturday, October 1st at 1pm. The event will be held at Villa Romana restaurant on Irving, across from the 9th/Irving stop. This is one in a series of events for specific lines. I have no idea what the format will be, but after attending past events, they are usually pretty open to suggestions from the public. Besides, it's at Villa Romana - how can you possibly go wrong with a venue like that?

Coming up in just a few weeks is the Inner Sunset Street Fair, which will be held on October 16th. There's still time to donate in support of the event or get a booth, so if you're so inclined, contact the organizers immediately and give them a hand. Unlike chain-produced fairs which all have the same booths and same sponsors, this one is much more community based, and is aiming to be more representative of the residents and their interests, so it really is worthy of your support.

Later that evening, the Inner Sunset Anywhere Cinema will be showing movies. Check their site for the location, and enjoy the show with your neighbors. Hopefully the weather will cooperate, and it won't be too cold outside!

Finally, the good people at Market Street Railway will be hosting another charter F Line ride on October 23rd. Weather permitting, this charter ride will be on the famous "Boat Tram" that you see from time to time on the F line. The tour starts and ends at the Market Street Railway Museum at 77 Steuart Street, and will feature historical commentary from Harlan Hirschfeld from City Guides and Mike Frew from Market Street Railway. The cost is $30, which covers the cost of the charter fees. These events often sell out quickly, so if you want to go, be sure to reserve a spot right away!

More events are coming soon, including a Happy Hour with the N Judah Chronicles. Details TBA!

September 3, 2011

The Inner Sunset Street Fair Needs YOUR Help!

Did you know that in just about 6 weeks (October 16th), the Inner Sunset will be having its second annual street fair? Don't recall the one last year in the fall? Well that's because it was held in June, and while a success, suffered from one of the coldest Junes on record. Needless to say community organizers learned from that, and moved the event to our warmer months in the fall. It'll be held at 9th and Irving, in the heart of the neighborhood.

The Inner Sunset Street Fair organizers have sought to distinguish it from other street fairs by avoiding the usual accoutrements put on by out-of-town organizers ($9 meat on a stick, endless booths for banks and food samples) and instead have focused it on being as locally-produced as possible. It has the support of many community organizations, but best of all, people from around the neighborhood will be the ones providing most of the attractions.

That's where the support of locals like you come in. Right now they have a final fundraising goal of $5,000 from individual donations in the next two weeks. This will allow the fair to offer the most attractions, pay for permits, etc. and it's also another way the Inner Sunset can distinguish itself by showing that community events can be produced by and for residents. I know for a fact if even half of the readers of this blog donated between $5 and $50, this goal would be met in no time, so I urge you to give them a hand.

If you'd like to get a booth for the fair and participate, there's still time to sign up for one as well. Who knows? Maybe I'll get one and sell a few t shirts at a discount?

No matter what, I urge folks in the area to support this event in its second year. We have so many good things going on around here lately, so let's build on the momentum and keep making our neighborhood one of the best kept secrets in San Francisco because it's a wonderful place to live!

July 6, 2011

Help Support the 2011 Inner Sunset Street Fair!

If you haven't heard already, there's going to be an Inner Sunset Street Fair this fall on October 16th*. Unlike many street fairs, which are run by out-of-town chains who put on the same old "street fairs" filled mostly with out-of-town faux art, a lot of booths promoting banks, breakfast cereal, and 10 dollar meat skewers (also all from way out of town), the Inner Sunset Street Fair is being organized by volunteers in the neighborhood. Many local businesses and individuals have already pledged their support, and the fair will feature activities and booths oriented towards the people who live here, not the consumers who live here.

Due to the fact this fair is eschewing the usual trappings of faux-street fairs, they don't need as much money as others, but they do need your support. Organizers have created a donation page where you can make a tax deductible contribution online today, and help promote an event that will make a difference in the neighborhood.

This event should be a success, especially since it will be held in the fall when the weather is usually quite nice (unlike our San Francisco summers which can be either wonderfully warm or a bit chilly and overcast), and the more that people participate by staging events, providing entertainment and setting up booths, the better. SF Mayoral candidates flush with taxpayer campaign financing would be wise to pony up for some booths at the event - such support of local events is noticed by voters on the westside (hint hint).

*Yes, the date changed, to avoid a conflict with a major museum event on the original date.

May 24, 2011

The ISOCK is coming to the Inner Sunset May 28th!

labyrinthfilm.jpgThisSaturday, people in the Inner Sunset will get to enjoy the third rollout of ISOCK - the Inner Sunset Outdoor Cinema Kit, which will be showing the movie "Labyrinth" at the Yes We Can house at 6th and Irving. Before I get to details, you might be wondering "what is an ISOCK" anyway?

I talked to Adam Greenfield, who worked with a team of volunteers to put this unusual portable device, which can show movies, slideshows, play music, etc. - all in a self contained unit that includes all the things you'd need to start doing something outdoors without out having to scramble to put all the pieces together. It's an interesting idea and asked Adam how he got the idea for it.

"ISOCK was inspired by something I saw at a Mission Sunday Streets event back in last year's World Cup tournament. People were sitting on chairs outside a garage, watching a soccer game on a projection screen. I took a photo of it (attached). The idea seemed perfect for cash-strapped community-builders; everyone likes watching movies and there are a million places you could set this up. So, here in the Inner Sunset back in November, we collected donations from the community and earlier this year built ISOCK, which is basically a kit that lets you show movies almost anywhere." said Adam.

I have to say I'm always impressed when people take it upon themselves to do something that improves the neighborhood, especially via a grassroots movement like this. Either way, the potential for the ISOCK sounds like a lot of fun. This week's event at the Yes We Can House starts at 8pm and will be held in their amazing backyard, showing the movie "Labyrinth" courtesy of Le Video. Suggested donation is $5-$10, and it is suggested you bring a potluck dish to share. Go to the ISOCK site for more information, and follow this link for a promo for the film.

If you haven't seen this movie yet, this might be a good way to see it again for the first time -amongst friends and neighbors on a Saturday night. I don't think I've seen this movie in ages, so I might stop by and check it out!

May 19, 2011

Perhaps The Only Reliable Muni In the Outer Sunset - The Muni Scooter!

Reader Andy was kind enough to send a photo he'd posted to the iPhone photo app Instagram the other day of a unique "Muni" themed motor scooter. Spotted in the Outer Sunset, it may be the most reliable way to travel from the Outer Sunset these days, as Muni continues to fail, and cabs follow suit.

I have to say, the level of detail on this scooter is rather amazing. To whomever owns this scooter, you have a cool ride.

May 18, 2011

Art? In the Sunset? Of Course! Check This Out!

Many of you might not be aware of an emerging group of artists and fellow travelers out her on the westside. Known as Is Art Here: Art in the Inner Sunset, who aim to promote artistic and community endeavors in the Sunset.

It's kind of odd to think that there are really not that many art galleries around here, and yet you have so many creative people out here doing some really nice work. Art Inner Sunset, however has an especially relevant show coming up that may be of interest to readers of the N Judah Chronicles - a show at Everybody Bikes on Irving at 15th related to the concept of transportation.

From the group's invitation at Facebook:

You are invited to the opening of "ART I.S. Getting Here".

Themes of transportation, journey, process, destination, road less traveled; whatever transporting means to you.

ART I.S. Getting Here will be on display at the Gallery at Everybody Bikes from June 18th to August 13th. On the night of June 18th we will showcase temporary pieces and installations, as well as live performances.

This theme has arisen from ART I.S.'s new collaboration with Everyone Bikes (1352 Irving St @ 15th Av) and as a means to point out that there are no galleries in the Inner Sunset and Sunset District as a whole. We want to let folks in the city know we are here!

Artists are encouraged to submit works on this theme. We are accepting submissions until MAY 27TH.

Apply here!

I think this sounds like a fun event, and if you're interested in submitting something, you really should do so ASAP. Heck, I might submit some of photos from my Flickr account. Either way I plan on attending the main event on June 18th, and hope to see you there!

May 3, 2011

Join Market Street Railway and City Guides for a Charter Ride on May 22nd!

Market_Street_Railway_Logo.pngThe good people at Market Street Railway and City Guides are teaming up to do another "Museum in Motion" charter tour on one of the historic F-line cars on Sunday, May 22nd.

The ride will feature tour guides Ethan Chickering from City Guides and Mike Frew from Market Street Railway, who will regale you with fun and interesting historical notes about San Francisco's diverse neighborhoods along the F Line. The trip will start and end at the Market Street Railway Museum at 77 Steuart Street downtown. Tickets are $30, and proceeds go to support the ongoing efforts of both organizations, and the cost of the charter as well.

I've not yet had a chance to attend one of these, but from what I've heard from those who have , these are a fun way to learn more about the City you live in, and you get to meet all sorts of interesting people as well! If you're thinking of attending, get your tickets ASAP because these events are very popular and you don't want to miss out.

If you do attend and bring a camera, why not submit a few photos to the NJC Reader Photo Group?

May 2, 2011

Having the Crappiest Monday Ever on Muni and in SF...

nsardinecan.jpgToday had to be the worst Monday in a while. Ok that's a bit of an overstatement. More than once, though, I thought I could hear the theme from Curb Your Enthusiasm playing in the background, though.

Everything started off with an eerie calm - I got up and all of the sudden things got very quiet in the neighborhood - no delivery trucks, no garbage trucks, no cars, no N Judah and a bunch of police officers on my block. Odd. As it turned out, there was a "suspicious package" on Irving around the corner from my place, and they'd cleared the area and were keeping people out of potential harm's way. At least tweeting about it was easy since I could just sit in the bay window and watch, but still, it made a lot of people fairly miserable on their morning commute. Sensing opportunity, Muni used the chaos to invent a new way to screw up West Portal trains, causing more commuting misery.

I had some critical business to take care of today, but a last minute call about a potential job meant I had to stay at home and rush to create a proposal, even though I really needed to get downtown ASAP. OF COURSE this mean the computer began to be uncooperative, etc. etc. I managed to get it out the door quickly, but I always have that lingering worry of "did I proof it enough."

I managed to complete some business at the bank without any trouble because my bank is awesome, but then had a nice long wait for the N Judah with the Operator from Hell. While waiting, I noticed something odd. There was this kid in a brand new white BMW that was double parked in front of Pluto's. I figured he was waiting for someone. While he was there, a DPT officer was handing out tickets. Ironically, he didn't give a ticket to the double parker. He did, however begin to write a ticket for a City car, but the City employee ran out and yelled at him. After a while, the City employee's car wasn't ticketed. Hmm.

It got better. Double Parker did an illegal U-Turn (almost causing an accident) and double parked on the other side of the street. Mind you, by now there were plenty of spaces available- 2 across the street and one 1 car down from where he was double parked on the south side of Irving. He kept doing this little double parking ballet dance until finally a spot opened in front of Pluto's.

By now I could barely contain my laughter at this over privileged kid in his stupid BMW, wasting gas and causing traffic problems, all so he could get a spot right in front of Pluto's and refused to take one one door down from the place. As he walked by I said "something wrong with this spot here?" and he glared at me with all the rage a 20-nothing nerd could do and mumbled something bout "not wanting to waste time walking to his car."


Continue reading "Having the Crappiest Monday Ever on Muni and in SF..." »

April 8, 2011

And Now, Some Fun News: Dogfest 2011 is Next Weekend! Also: Help Japan on Foursquare Day.

dogfest2011.pngTime for some fun news along the Mighty N: the fourth annual "Dogfest" at Duboce Park will be held next Saturday, April 16th, from 11am-4pm. This fun event combines all sorts of cool things that we all like: helping support public school programs, hanging out in Duboce Park, dogs, fun events, and it's got its own Muni Metro stop. What more could you want?

I've attended this event on and off over the last few years, and every year it just seems to be getting better and better, and it started out as awesome, so that's a bonus.

This year they'll be featuring a wide range of events for both dogs and people, and will also host a raffle and silent auction. All of this goes to support science, the arts, and literacy at McKinley public school, located in the Castro. Let's face it, public schools have been taking it on the chin for decades now, and it's only with these kinds of events that our schools can survive and give kids the knowledge and experiences they need. How could anyone say no, right?

If you're feeling especially adventurous, why not help TWO worthy causes (and still have fun)? April 16th is also "Foursquare Day," and Pacific Catch, located at 9th and Irving, is once again hosting a special event for the day and offering you a chance to earn a special badge on Foursqaure. This year, they are dedicating the day to raising money for relief efforts in Japan, in parternship with Sapporo Beer. You can't watch the continuing crisis in Japan and not want to do something, so here's one (of many) opportunities to do so. As residents in an earthquake zone, we have a special duty to help others, since we know how chaotic any quake can be - the one on Japan was really severe. So if you're in the area, or just taking a lunch break from Dogfest, hop on the N and take it to 9th and Irving and check it out.

As part of a revival of sorts, I've resurrected the N Judah Chronicles Photo Group, so if you're at either of these events and see something photo-worthy, feel free to submit a photo to the group! Or if you just see something photo worthy on Muni or around town you feel others might enjoy, submit that too! I'll start featuring these on a regular basis going forward!

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!

March 1, 2011

Show Your Support Tomorrow Morning for the Parklet In Person, Or Via Petition!

parklet -3b.jpgRegular readers know that I've been one of the proposed 9th Avenue Parklet's supporters - that's no surprise. As an avid fan of Park(ing) Day, I think this project is a great idea and will be yet another improvement to our neighborhood.

Tomorrow, at 9am, there's a hearing at City Hall, Room 400 where public testimony will be presented on the project. As always, when they schedule these things early in the morning, that excludes anyone who can't have the flexiblity at work to attend (myself included). So, in light of that, you can send an email or sign an online petition indicating your support.

What's nice about this project is that it isn't going to cost the City any money, and if after it's installed, if it doesn't perform as hoped, it can always be moved to a new location (although another permit would be needed).

That's what is nice about this project - and why the handful of negative nabobs's false arguments don't hold up in light of the facts. So join in with the great majority of folks who support the project, and once it's done, I'm sure people will wonder why it didn't happen sooner (which is usually the case in these situations.)

Update: Streetsblog SF reported that the landslide of support for this project was pretty amazing. I'm not surprised, since there was so much outreach done on behalf of the project. It was telling that what little opposition there was didn't obey the rules for public comment, and had arguments so poorly articulated, they were not taken too seriously.

February 22, 2011

Get Ready to Lose It Once Again, San Francisco - Snow MIGHT Be On the Way

SF-206_33ClementSnowB_0232.jpgIf there's one thing you can count on nowadays, it's the fact that the weather of your youth no longer exists. Like shaking a soda bottle and popping the cap, weather nowadays no longer follows the patterns we've been used to. Let's just look at the weather of the past year or so:

- We had a super foggy and cold summer, far chillier than in the past. We had no warm weather from March-September.

- We just had a summer-like heat wave in January/February

- Now we're going to have record low temperatures and the slight possibility of....snow in SF! (We already have snow up in the mountains around the bay.

That's the weather part. Now here's what will happen in San Francisco, based on past weather incidents:

- First, when the snow hits, people will light up Twitter like a Christmas tree. Plan on seeing a lot of twitpics of snow in (insert neighborhood here) with "ZOMG TEH SNOWS!" tweets.

- Next, Something Will Go Horribly Wrong (most likely Muni) because in San Francisco if we deviate even a little from our Usual Weather, people again lose it and either a Muni bus will crash, a car or cars will crash, or something, because in SF, we can't handle any weather changes.

- The news media will regale us with endless pictures and video, because hey, who gives a f*ck about the Middle East or a quake in New Zealand when we can endlessly take pictures of TEH SNOW!

- If the cold lasts more than a few days, then we get a torrent of "I MISS TEH SUNZ! SNOW BAD" tweets.

- Also: all those east coast people we razzed endlessly get to repay the favor.

I'm not saying this is a bad thing, but it is what will happen. As for myself, I figure we'll just get some hail and cold rain...snow at sea level seems unlikely, aside from powder that melts on contact. But you can be sure I'll be taking photos!

PS: Next month I'm going to be taking a cross country train trip from DC to SF (well, Richmond, actually). Whenever I can get Internet access, I'll be posting about my train ride. One thing I could use is some advice about Chicago.

I have basically a day (8am-4pm) layover while I wait for my hotel room on rails, and could use some advice about what to do during that time, since I've never been to Chicago before. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks!

January 24, 2011

Teaching ESL on the 18 to the Legion of Honor

Since I knew today was going to be another one of these amazing January days of sun, I got up early and got all my work done as fast as I could so I could go out this afternoon and take some photos and just enjoy the sun (since we may not have any this summer).

I started out taking the N to Ocean Beach, where the N was having a beach party for 3 trains all stacked up waiting to return downtown. On a whim, I decided to take the 18 to the Legion of Honor and take some more photos, so I got on the bus when it showed up.

As we were leaving the Outer Sunset (and I dare anyone at the Times to call it "bleak" today) a woman tapped me on the back and said "excuse me, can you help me with something?" I assumed she was going to ask for directions, as that is the most common thing I tend to be asked, and it looked like she had a map or something in a folder.

Instead, she was asking for help with her ESL homework. Now I have to say, in my entire life, that has to be the most unusual thing anyone has asked me on a bus, or anywhere. So, I figured what the heck and she showed me what she was working on. From what I could tell, the assignment was to read an essay that uses metaphors, and a bit more abstract language, and then write about what it meant.

I took a look at her notes and she had actually done fairly well so far, but there were certain words that she couldn't decipher, and some of the phrases as well. Now, being the writing critic I tend to be, I have to say, whoever wrote this essay should have been edited a bit because some of the sentences, in an attempt to sound big and artistic, just sounded stupid. But I pushed that aside and we went over a couple of words.

For example, one of the words was "instructive." So I asked her "well, do you know the word 'instructor?" and she said yes. One we established that I wrote down the words:

- instructor - someone who tells you what to do

- instruction - something you read that tells you what to do

- instructive - how you describe something that tells you what to do

Obviously these are simplified, but hey we were on the bus! If we had more time I'd explain this is from a Latin word, etc etc etc.

Once she saw that then she got it. I showed how all these words have the same root, and the modifier changes the word ever so slightly. She had that "lightbulb" moment when I explained how many words are like this so it's easier to figure out what they mean.

We did a few more and then I said "you're doing fine, but remember this- English borrows words and grammar from many langauges, and sometimes uses the same words for different meantings, or worse two words that sound the same that have nothing to do with each other. That's why it's not an easy language to learn - every rule has an exception."

She looked at me and said "You said it!"

We then tackled one last thing - a terribly worded sentence about memory and so on. This is when I did something that will blow my high school English teacher's mind, and will be waved around by English teachers (what few that even do this) around the country:

I diagrammed the sentence.

Now this wasn't an according to Hoyle diagram, but I was showing her how the two halves related to create a sort of paradox. It was perhaps more of an equation than anything else, but once we went through it , she got it.

Before the bus got to the Legion she had to get off, but said "Thank you so much! I think you explained this English to me more here on the bus than I learned in class the other day!"

And with that, she was off.

I never really thought of teaching English, but I have to say it was kind of fun in a way, especially when you basically tell people "hey, English is a great language but it has some crazy ass rules" it seems to make them lighten up a little and realize that they're not going insane.

I spent the rest of the afternoon at the Legion, then took the 18 back, getting off at Balboa. My original plan was to buy a soda and take a 31 to the 44, but it was so nice out and I was feeling great so I ended up walking from way out there to 7th to grab the 44 instead. It was a nice walk, very quiet, and I took some pictures of the more interesting buildings and whatnots out there.

Overall a great way to spend one of these non-blizzard, non-bleak days in Not New York.

January 14, 2011

Two Events On Saturday in the Inner Sunset: Pearl on Irving and Game Night

I just realized I forgot to post two fun events coming up tomorrow! Oops!

First off, Pearl Gallery at 839 Irving Street is having an "Artist and Customer Appreciation Day" from 4-7pm. If you've not yet stopped in at Pearl, you really should stop by and check it out. They have a unique mix of art, photography and other nice things that make for great gifts or decor for your home. Stop by and say hi!

Also, the first Games Night of the year at the House Formerly Known as Yes We Can (502 Irving Street) from 7:30-11:00pm. Bring your favorite board game or just stop by and join in one and meet your neighbors! These events are always fun and you always end up meeting someone new!

January 6, 2011

Let's Use Our Powers For Good- Support The Inner Sunset Parklet!

parklet -3b.jpgEarlier this week Loyal Readers and Twitterfriends were kind enough to elevate me in the online "interim mayor" poll to first place. Woo hoo!

Today, however, I am asking for Loyal Readers and Inner Sunset residents to come out in support of a project that actually has some impact on our daily lives - support for a parklet on 9th Avenue in front of Arizmendi Bakery.

The always-active Adam Greenfield, who's always out there promoting community building events for the neighborhood, has been working with a dedicated group of folks to bring a "parklet" to 9th Avenue. Many such parklets have been established around town already, and if you've ever seen a Park(ing) Day temporary parklet, you get the idea.

The artist's rendition of the propsed parklet for 9th Avenue looks great. However, it needs your vocal support so that the folks in City Hall realize this is something people will value. There will be a hearing (date TBD) but for now it's important you write to Supervisors Elsbernd and Mirkarimi in support, and sign the online petition. We all know how City Hall will, left to its own devices, get in the way or otherwise cause problems, but we also know if enough people speak up, they tend to pay attention.

When you consider the many neighborhood improvements residents (not bureaucrats) have established in the Inner Sunset, it makes sense that we should expand public space where people can enjoy their neighborhood, and this proposed parklet would be a great addition to the area. Let's do something positive for our community!

December 22, 2010

Annual "Happy Now" Party at 6th and Irving on December 26th

In what is becoming a sort of annual tradition in the Inner Sunset, the House Formerly Known as Yes We Can on 6th and Irving is hosting another free community event, the Happy "Now" Year party on December 26th from 6-9pm.

They'll be tenting their large back yard and will have heaters, so you don't have to freeze in the rain while watching the live music or meeting your neighbors. Best of all, it's just down the street from one of the best decorated houses in the area right around the corner, which you can view on your way over. Feel free to bring a dessert with you to share!

November 23, 2010

Is the Yahoo Bus Derby Rigged Against Us? Maybe, Maybe Not...

map-yahoo.jpgSo I was reading my daily Google News Alert about all things Muni related, and I found a post at Funcheap SF about something called the Yahoo! Bus Derby, whereby 20 bus shelters are outfitted with 20 giant touch screens where you can play all sorts of games in the rain, and represent your neighborhood while scoring points. The highest scoring neighborhood gets a concert of some sort.

Now, aside from the bemused reaction of some around here ("does this mean 20 touch screens will be for sale at Craigslist later this week?"), it was hard not to notice that not one of these things is set up anywhere on the westside. I mean of all places, wouldn't Carl and Cole or UCSF stops on the N be perfect for this kind of time killer while you're waiting for the N?

That said, from all indications, the Richmond is winning in a landslide, so if you see one of these things, take a few moments and win some points for the Sunset...let's show those east coasters it's not "bleak" out here like they keep saying it is.

November 10, 2010

The Ten Year Anniversary of My Return to San Francisco

This post has nothing to do with Muni, the MTA, the recent news about said entities, the drama of transit in wake of the election, or anything like that, so be patient and later this week we'll be back to the Usual Stuff, ok?

This week marks a unique milestone for me, personally - it's the 10th anniversary of my return to San Francisco. I'd spent the previous 10 years primarily in Seattle, where I'd moved for a temporary job working on a US Senate campaign, and ended up staying there for over 6 years. My return to San Francisco, however was not planned, nor was it predetermined that my trip in November 2000 would end up with me returning here.

A bit of backstory: it comes as shock to my non-native friends that I spent as much time as possible getting as far away from here as possible after high school. I went away to school, and I later moved to Washington, D.C. thinking I might like it there (it sucks!), and ended up moving to Seattle in the 1990s, during that whole Seattle hype thing. Seattle in the 90s still had some residual qualities of Old Seattle that I liked, and it was cheap to live there, so I stayed. It was nice at the time, but by 2000 it was starting to get more expensive, the traffic sucked, and I was getting a bit restless.

Then I got a call from a colleague in town the day after the election. I'd made enough money running state legislative campaigns up north to take some time off, and perhaps take a much-needed vacation, when he asked me if I'd come to San Francisco and work on a runoff campaign for Supervisor. I was offered a nice pile of cash, and the promise of a place to live (during the Great Dot Com Blowout of the time) in of all places, Chinatown. I figured it'd be a fun paid vacation, I might see some friends, so I packed up my car and drove to San Francisco, figuring I'd return back to Seattle once I was done.

Looking back, I can't believe how different things were. No Twitter. No "blogs" (at least none I was writing). No "smartphone." No Muni (I only took Muni on weekends, I had a car dammit). And, no idea what I wanted to do next. So a paid trip to SF with benefits sounded pretty darn good.

After the initial shock in a "OMG George Bailey in Pottersville" kind of way about what happened to SF, I quickly settled in and spent most of my time working, naturally. But every so often I'd have time off, and there was that moment when I was walking to work on Columbus and was wearing regular clothes in late November and some woman said to me "my GOD you must be freezing?" and I looked at her and said "I was like you once, a native who bundled up when it was 60 degress...I've lived in places far colder and crappier and trust me, this is EXCELLENT weather!"

It was at that moment I began to question why I continued to stay somewhere that I wasn't really enjoying as much as I did in 1994, for many reasons we don't need to get into here. I also wondered why it was I spent so much time and energy getting so far away from a place that was actually quite nice. So, after my time was up and I had to go back to Seattle, I began to make plans to close down operations at my house up in West Seattle (the Sunset of Seattle, and the best part, frankly) and took a chance on coming back home.

It was one of the best decisions I ever made. Through all the ups and downs, I'm glad I'm back. I still enjoy visiting Seattle and visiting friends up there, and there were plenty of good times, but all in all, coming back to SF after staying away so long is something I'd never change, no matter what.

November 4, 2010

Another Reason to Celebrate in SF Tomorrow Night: I Live Here: SF Opening!

It's been an exciting week, hasn't it? First we win the World Series, then we had an (ugh) Election, then a parade where apparently the Entire Bay Area showed up to celebrate the win. That's a lot to take in!

Now, however you have One More Thing to do - go see the I Live Here: SF exhibit at SOMArts, starting tomorrow!

If you've not already been to the I Live Here: SF site, you're missing out on an interesting photography/essay project that Julie (who happens to be my neighbor) has been doing for over a year. Her photography is amazing and the people she finds are truly interesting. It's an example of how a simple idea can start online as a small project and evolve into something big. I've been a fan from the start, and if you go to the exhibit you get to see her photography in print in large sizes, vs. seeing it on your computer screen.

The opening reception is tomorrow night at 6pm. See you there!

September 28, 2010

Meditating on Mass Transit, Literally

entrynowhereinparticular.pngWhenever you have to take a ride on Muni, BART, et al, much of the anxiety and frustration comes from the fact that you really want to be somewhere else: work, school, meeting up with friends, etc. and hence all the angst. However, if you have one of those rare times where you don't have to be anywhere at all, sometimes a long ride on Muni or BART can actually be quite relaxing.

Snicker and snark all you like, but I have found that when the weather's nice and I have a rare Saturday or Sunday afternoon where I don't have anywhere to be or anything (fun) to do, a long ride on a train can actually be quite relaxing. Now, granted, you're not going to get many moments of Zen on some lines (and we all know which ones those are), but there are several lines that an "end to end" ride can be quite nice. Trains also have the benefit of a smoother ride, and often times some sort of air conditioning, which you never get on a bus.

This all started a few years ago, when I was visiting family on the Peninsula and it was an unusually hot, 100 degree day and I wanted to cool off, but I didn't feel like going to a movie theater. So I got on BART at Millbrae station with a Sunday paper, sat in the last train car, and rode it all the way to the end at Pittsburgh/Bay Point. Now, to be sure, once you get off the train there's not a lot in an around Pittsburgh/Bay Point station, but the point wasn't to go there, it was just to have an uninterrupted time with some relative calm, and it worked!

Even though I took the same line to Lafayette to work every day, without the pressure of "omg work teh stresses!" it was actually kind of nice and I noticed a lot of things I ignored previously during my day-to-day use of the line. Plus, I realized just how far away some of those suburban stations are…by the time I got to the end, it felt like I was on Mars or something.

Sometimes I think in all the hullabaloo about "transit" and other obscure ideas, we forget where we live and it's nice to simply take the time to relax, enjoy the ride, and remind ourselves why it is we live chose to move here, or why we stay. I did this again recently on another line and at a time when things have been extremely stressful and not much fun, it was a nice way to relax and it only cost me $5.

Continue reading "Meditating on Mass Transit, Literally " »

September 16, 2010

Tomorrow is International Park(ing) Day! (Updated with More Events!)

pd_logo.pngTomorrow marks yet another International Park(ing) Day, whereby people around the world legally pay for parking spaces on city streets, and turn them into parks and whatnot that people can enjoy.

It's the bane of the Gate commenter types and the elite who want to hyper-regulate your personal freedom in San Francisco, but such overzealous types are the people who always see the glass as half full of arsenic anyway. Instead, go to the International Park(ing) Day site, and find one near your home or office tomorrow!

This is the start of a series of events, unrelated but all coming up soon, including:

-Saturday, September 18th from 10-4pm, the Yes We Can House at 6th and Irving will host a "Free Fix-It Day." If you've got something around the house that is broken (aside from electronics) stop by and someone will help you try and fix it. Or, are you handy with tools and fixing things? Stop by and volunteer your services!

-Sunday is the 30th Annual Comedy Day in Golden Gate Park in Sharon Meadow from 12-5pm. Many people who got their start in comedy in SF will be performing, and as always, this event tends to add on more performers as the day goes by. This has been an institution for local comedy and one I try to attend as often as possible.

Finally, some advice - if you're from Elsewhere and want to go to something in the Park, you really should avoid driving unless it's necessary. Last weekend it was jammed full of people, and often times people think just because there's this "garage" near the Science Academy that somehow there will magically be "parking."

That thing fills up FAST on weekends, and with so many direct routes to the park (71, 44, N, 5, etc.) if you really don't need to drive, don't bother. It's no faster than Muni, and in many ways is MORE miserable than any crammed Muni bus. Also, if you think you'll find parking on the street near the Park, fuggedaboutit. Most side streets are already jammed up with residents' cars due to the many curb cuts here, so thinking you'll find a free spot that's easy and convenient is a lovely dream, but not likely to happen.

Save yourself the aggravation and the parking tickets and just bear with Muni for now, and remember these kinds of problems when you go vote in the future. Your Muni won't get better unless the people you hire know there's a price for screwing up on event days.

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!

May 14, 2010

Bay To Breakers Muni Info! It's $10! Woo Hoo!

This weekend, as I've noted, there's plenty of fun things to do in and around town. However, Bay to Breakers is one of the larger events, and as our friends at SFist and the fine people at the SFMTA have noted, there's some serious impacts on Muni service you may want to know about. Check both sites out for a detailed schedule of service changes.

Easiest way to describe it? The city will be split in two for a while by an array of partiers and runners, so if you have intricate plans to go north or south, be aware you will have delays.

Also, if you plan on using the Special Event Buses and whatnots, PLEASE be aware that the cost is $10 ($7 with pass, as per the SFMTA site, so please stop yelling at me ok?). And, try and buy said magic ticket early, instead of waiting until the end of the race when you and 60,000 other people will all be cramming into slow busy buses and trying to pay (because you're all cool and pay your fares, right?) Yeah I know "$7or10forslowmuniomgwtfcursemutterswear" but let's see if the we can hold off a failwhale fleet this time, shall we?

Finally, if you're wondering just what you can and cannot do at said Bay To Breakers run and wish to avoid being compressed by The Man, our friends at the SF Appeal have a basic list of do's and don'ts for the event. Play nice and play safe, everyone!

May 12, 2010

Inner Sunset Street Fair, A Paper Fair, and More This Weekend!

fairPoster.jpgIf you're looking for something fun to do this weekend, quite a lot of it will be happening right here in the Inner Sunset this weekend.

The biggest event is the first annual Inner Sunset Street Fair, which will occupy Iriving between 9th and 10th, and 10th Avenue between Irving and Lincoln. Go to the website for a complete list of activities and a map of the event. This event coincides with the city-wide Sidewalk Sale by local merchants as part of San Francisco Small Business Week.

On the same weekend, the annual Vintage Paper Fair will be held Saturday and Sunday at the Hall of Flowers in Golden Gate Park at 9th and Lincoln. If you're looking for something unusual to give as a gift, or you're into antique photography, souvenirs and the like, this is worth attending.

And, don't forget that on Sunday, the (in)famous Bay To Breakers race/mobile frat party will begin bright and early. Word is that LinkedIn will be trying to beat the Guinness World Record for longest centipede. (Insert horrifically tasteless Human Centipede joke here).

With all of this, and more going on, plus service cuts, be aware that things may move a bit slower on the weekend that normal. But with all sorts of fun going on here, maybe we should take a cue from our friend Eve at SF Appeal and start calling it the Inner Funset, eh?

April 16, 2010

Happiness (Foursquare Day) and Sadness (N Judah Delays ) on A Friday...

NJudah-postage copy.jpgThis morning was one of those mornings I woke up early, turned on the computer and suddenly got a zillion messages about today's Sunset Tunnel disaster. My first impulse was to turn off the computer, and literally run out of town when these things happen, just because it's so depressing. If ever you wonder why it is that folks literally celebrated that tunnel as a "God-send," taking the shuttle downtown would remind you why.

There are several reports that the reason the wires were collapsed was because someone decided to steal copper wiring, and thought that stealing it from you was a good idea. I'm still trying to verify this, but I've now heard it twice from 2 sources, and from the accounts of the damage, that would be about right. But I'll still try and find out for sure.

However, some happiness to brighten what looks to be a nice Friday, weather-wise. As you may or may not know, today is Foursquare Day, the first sort-of-holiday for a mobile app. What this means is many places are doing specials on drinks, food, etc. You can find a list of San Francisco events here, most notable are the ones at Pacific Catch in the Marina and in the Inner Sunset, who are attempting to get the "Swarm" badge for all who participate. There's also one at the Ferry Buliding too.

Also, don't forget that tomorrow is Dogfest 2010! Whether you have a dog or just think dogs are awesome, this event, which is a benefit for McKinley Elementary School, is always a fun springtime event and proceeds go to a nice cause. Check it out!

As always, why not celebrate the N's fails with a FailWhale N Judah Shirt, or any one of our offerings. Be the best dressed person on the shuttle bus!

April 8, 2010

Hey! Dogfest 2010 is NEXT WEEK in Duboce Park

droppedImage.pngHey! Before I forget, I wanted to post a short piece promoting DogFest 2010, which is next Saturday, April 17th at Duboce Park. The event raises money for McKinley Elementary.

This event is fun whether you own a dog or not, and in addition to many activities for kids, they'll also have a number of dog contests, including best dog costume, best bark, best dog-guardian look alike, etc. They will also feature a silent auction, which often has some really great things to bid on. So check it out!

April 6, 2010

Three Upcoming Community Events: Sunday Streets, a Book Blast, and the Inner Sunset Street Fair!

A quick note on a number of upcoming community events along the N you should be aware that the weather seems to be a bit more cooperative, they should make for a fun time for all.

On Saturday, the House Formerly Known as Yes We Can will be hosting a "Book Blast." What is that, you ask? Simply put if you've got some books you're no longer reading or want to keep, you can give 'em away, and someone else can read it. If you're looking for some new books, you can take some. It's 100% free, and fun. Just go to 6th and Irving between noon and 5pm and look for the crowd!

Next, Sunday Streets is back and they're doing the Great Highway route once again. Basically this means you could walk from the California Academy of Sciences to the SF Zoo, unencumbered by traffic. I went to this last year, and it was fun.

Finally, applications are being taken for the first annual Inner Sunset Street Festival. A joint production of the Inner Sunset Merchants and the Inner Sunset Park Neighbors, the fair will be held on May 15th, and will cover Irving from 9th to 10th, and 10th Avenue between Irving and Lincoln. Let's hope this is the start of a cool annual tradition!

March 23, 2010

Two Things To Do Now: Book Blast April 10th and an MTA Hearing for the 1st Inner Sunset Street Fair!

IMG_0088.JPGWhile I finish up my work (I really do enjoy working late at night as it's so distraction free) I also wanted to get the word out about two events that you might be curious about.

The first is that Barbara and Paul at the House Formerly Known as Yes We Can are hosing a "Book Blast" on April 10th from noon to 5pm. They are in need of donations for this free event, so if you have some books you're no longer reading and would like to share, contact them at 246-4748 and you can either drop them off at their place at 6th and Irving, or arrange for a pickup. This, like the other events they've hosted, look like it should be fun and a great way to meet your neighbors if you live out here, or if you don't, make some new friends with folks around here.

Also, the SFMTA will be having a hearing on Thursday, March 25th, at 9am regarding permits for the first annual Inner Sunset Street fair. If approved, the street fair would happen May 15th, and would close off Irving Street between 9th and 10th, and 10th Avenue between Irving and Lincoln.

This event has support from many in the neighborhood from what I've gathered, and other neighborhoods out here have hosted street festivals and everything works out fine. There's so much potential for things like this. Heck maybe I'll get a booth and sell some T Shirts or something!

March 16, 2010

Friendly Reminder: Inner Sunset Clean Up Day is Saturday, March 20th at 9am!

As I mentioned a while back, the Inner Sunset Clean Up Day is fast approaching, as it's this Saturday, the 20th, from 9am - 12 noon. If you would like to participate, and haven't RSVP'd (so they know how many cleaning supplies to order), please do so via email, like, now. If you put in the volunteer time, not only will you get a light breakfast provided by Arizmendi Bakery and the Beanery, but participants will have a free barbecue aftewards at the Blackthorn Tavern on Irving. Now come on, surely you can't resist a chance to volunteer, hang out with your neighbors, and have free barbecue on a sunny Saturday, right?

In addition to picking up trash and so on, there are now opportunities to help clean up graffiti on public property. Even if you can't make the event, you can still help by emailing in locations of graffiti on public places, and they'll be added to the list to be cleaned up. (Note that graffiti on private property has to go through 311 and the process established for them).

The Inner Sunset is going through a bit of a renaissance right now, with many new businesses opening up, current ones expanding, and it's a great time to get involved and help out!

February 2, 2010

More Transit Map Pr0n and LOST Fun: The Dharma Transit Map!

tumblr_kwv1lj7zKp1qzv1yko1_500.pngI've been trying out Tumblr for a while now, and thanks to Reader Halsted, I was alerted to this pseudo-transit map of The Island on LOST. I thought it appropriate to link to, given that tonight is the Big Night on ABC.

The original, and notes by the artist, can be found here!

January 27, 2010

Blast From The Past: The Blackthorn Tavern, Circa 1950!

834-Irving-Street.jpgCourtesy of Woody LaBounty of the Western Neighborhoods Project (which we should all join and support), I got a copy of this photo of what is now the Blackthorn Tavern, circa 1950, from the WNP's amazing website. It's an interesting photo to say the least- note the second floor in this picture!

Woody is a local historian and all around interesting guy. You may recall that he wrote this guest blog last year, about the celebrations upon the approval of the Sunset Tunnel in the 1920s, back in the days when San Francisco got things done. He is also the author of Carville By The Sea, a history about the beachside neighborhood made up of homes created out of discarded streetcars.

The WNP also produces many short videos, available on Flickr. Here's an interesting one about the lost streetcar of 20th Street. Notice how many of the buildings at Irving and 20th are STILL THERE:

December 19, 2009

The N Judah Chronicles Very Last Minute Shopping Guide!

Many people wait until the last minute to go shopping for Christmas. I know I do - usually because I find the best bargains and get people more gift for the money than I would had I done it all months in advance. Plus these days there are shopping bargains galore. Plus, there's no shame in giving someone a super awesome card with the message their present is on the way - hey if they complain, then they get a lump of coal next year (and no carbon offsets, either).

Because I'm still sending out Christmas cards and so on, I'm going to cheat, ever so slightly and post this link to my guide from last year as a starter. 99% of this is still all true, anyway, and they're all easy to get to, be it on the N or the 71 or whatever.

Also, of course you can always buy some NJC-related presents here, be it a mug, a Failwhale mousepad, or whatever. Already I've noticed quite a few "N is Near" related products out the door, and they make for a nice unique gift. Don't forget the Market Street Railway, which offers some truly unique gifts as well. "Mason Powell" also just got some kick-ass vintage SF street signs at the Cable Car Museum too.

I also wanted to link to some cool shops. Three of them, Foxy Monster (Goth and Kawaii related jewelry and more) Wonderland Dreams (Alice in Wonderland themed jewlery just in time for the new movie), and Superfly Delicious are all run by my friend Z, who was one of the people who encouraged me to start this blog in the first place, years ago.

Another is a site run by Reader Geoff, who not only reads the N Judah Chronicles, he lives just about a block or so away from me. He's got this great Etsy store and he'll be donating proceeds to efforts to repeal Prop. 8, too.

Finally, I'll leave you all with this link I found. Now, I'm not suggesting "buy local" for some sort of "let's all be holier than thou" nonsense. Instead, I suggest it simply as a practical matter to turn things around a little. Sure, we all shop at chains from time to time for a good discount, or for something not easily found locally and that's fine. But if you have the choice, take a look at this graph, which demonstrates what happens to your money when you buy local first.

I think it's worth paying a few extra dollars if that means we keep people in our city employed or in business, and see that money stick around here longer, than if we give every single spending dollar of ours to Wal Mart. Chains do offer some wonderful things (think prescriptions filled 24 hours, etc.) and again, that's fine. However, you can also spend a little more locally, and know your money will not just pay for your items, but also help out in other ways too! Who wants to hate on that?

Free Annual "Happy NOW Year" Party at 6th and Irving December 26th!

photohnyp2009.jpg Next Saturday, the good people who own the House at Sixth And Irving (Formerly known as the "Yes We Can" house) will be having one of their awesome neighborhood parties, from 6-9pm. As always the cost is absolutely free, and there'll be all sorts of good things: live music, food, drinks and of course, your friends and neighbors.

For more information, contact Barbara at 246 4748 or Paul at 810 3776. Should be fun!

December 4, 2009

The Inner Sunset Gets A Little Play in the Chronicle via Kronos Quartet...

The ever alert Eve of SF Appeal passed on this link that appeared at SFGate today, a brief interview with the David Harrington, founder of the world famous Kronos Quartet, extolling the virtues of the Inner Sunset, which is home to the group. (Hey! That's cool!).

While I still consider Amoeba to be in the Haight, overall there's some nice picks in here. You may not be aware of this, but the Kronos Quartet actually wrote a song about our Mighty N, entitled Judah to the Ocean.

I think it's great to live in a neighborhood home to so many different kinds of people and businesses. Craigslist, Kronos Quartet, the Blackthorn, and so many more. Why live anywhere else?

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 23, 2009

Muni Rolls A "Hard Six" on the 43 Masonic, Back and Forth...

No, really.

This Thursday a good friend of mine, Carol of Comcast, invited me to a screening of an HBO documentary about the Obama campaign. Prior to our screening at Fort Mason, she and I and her awesome colleagues at Comcast and I hung out in the Marina (!), which all I can say is now I get it when Beth Spotswood makes that joke about getting passports stamped and currency exchanged in a strange land.

What was once familiar to me ages go was a bewildering place, and thanks to SF Weekly's "Bouncer" column I was able to locate the Horseshoe Tavern, probably the only place out there that doesn't offer "roofies" in the bathroom. (Oh and btw, the bartender there was super nice and pours a nice drink.)

But I digress.

That's because, dear readers, Muni rolled a hard six. It's been known to happen before, for sure, but in these days of anarchy and budget cuts, not likely. And yet, I had that moment when sh*t got done the way we expect it.


So, first off I did some trip planning. The Google and the 511 were telling me to take a batsh!t crazy route that involved the N and the 28, when upon looking at my final destination, I realized the zany 43 Masonic could take me literally from a block away home to the doorstep of my intended destination, Chestnut and Fillmore(!). WTF, computer dudes?

I checked out Nextmuni and OMGWTF? It's actually on time? Holy Frak!

So I got changed and went over to the stop on 7th and Judah and there came my limo/bus. I say that because it was spotless. Now, do recall that the 43 has one of the more interesting routes around town. The fact that late in the afternoon it was this clean and vacant meant...either something was going right or something was gonna go bad soon.

We twisted and turned through Cole Valley, the Haight, through the Tunnel of Death (AKA Masonic via Fell and Oak). We passed the Lucky Store. We turned at the Old Sears Place. We blew through the Presidio.

And then we were There.

Wow. I had door to door service because of ....Muni?

So anyhoo, I had a nice night. I got to see a preview screening of an HBO Documentary about the Obama for President campaign aka "By the People", which was interesting. They had an awesome reception afterwards with all kinds of "Top Chef" like appetizers, including mini corn dogs and mini burgers. (which was fine but the food at Circa was better and they make a decent Old Fashioned).

When we all broke up and everyone drove home from places north (Sacramento), and east (East Bay) and so on, I looked up the NextMuni and OMGWTF? The 43 was either leaving IN THAT MOMENT or in 45 minutes!

Realizing I was looking at a long night getting home at best, and missing the Inner Sunset Neighborhood Group's meetup at the Little Shamrock, I did what anyone would do - I ran.

And lo and behold the Muni driver, noting that there was absolutely no traffic on Fillmore, and seeing me run like an idiot, let me board.

At that moment, the driver could have asked me for a kidney and I'd have been happy, since this meant the indirect 22 to the N/71 home was no more. I was just on the happy bus to home.

While on Le Bus, a passenger boarded and asked "do you go near Irving and 9th?" As the driver had never driven anywhere near there, she was unsure what to say. I shouted "Yes, get on and it's all good!" and our new passenger got on.

We both got off the bus at 9th and Judah. I, headed to the Inner Sunset mixer at the Little Shamrock, my comrade Kim walking to Le Video to return a video. We chatted amiably and then I went to the Shamrock where I and the folks there had a nice time.

All in all, Muni rolled that hard six and all I can say to the drivers of the 43, and Muni in general, THANK YOU! Finally someone at Muni is "doin it rite!" as the LOLCATS might say....

September 21, 2009

Having a Larry David Day on the 44 Turned Out OK

curbyourenthusiasm2.jpgSo I pulled an all nighter for work last night, and then had a conference call bright and early at 6am, so I decided to just keep working and see how long I'd last. I have found this to be unusually refreshing, and no I didn't smoke any meth or drink a lot of coffee, I'm just awake.

This meant I got a lot of work done way earlier than normal, so I decided to take advantage of the uniqueness of being free in the middle of the day to do some mundane errands. So I decided to take the 44 to Safeway. What could possibly go wrong?

I got to the store and I think everyone else who was buying 10x as much stuff as I was had the same idea, because despite my super-organized shopping, I had to wait forever in line. Fine, it happens. But then I kept watching 44 after 44 fly by on Routesy, and I began to wonder if I'd be stuck waiting for 30 minutes for a bus. Instead it was only 22, but I had a tri-tip and some other perishables like vegetables all sitting in the hot sun.

The 44 finally shows up and it is packed to the rafters, worse than I've ever seen. There was no way I and 4 bags of groceries could get on and the Muni driver even shrugged and said "Man, I apologize but there literally no room at the inn." Well, at least he was nice about it and got all Biblical. The next bus wouldn't even arrive for another 24 minutes.

Yay. And I needed to get home fast because I needed to jump back on a project for a client. Double Yay.

So I decided it was such a nice day, I'd just walk it. This is something I'll do with 1 bag of groceries, but not 4. I figured at the very least, I'd be almost home by the time the 44 would even show up. And it's some exercise.

However, I didn't plan on the fact that here's some goofy guy with his black "I [Skull] LA" t shirt on, walking through the scenic beauty of Golden Gate Park with 4 bags of groceries in tow. I think every old lady and tourist had to stop and stare as I made my way past the bandshell and over to the Science Center on the way home. Right about then all I could think of was the theme from "Curb Your Enthusiasm" playing in the background, and I just kinda said "frak it", smiled, and decided to enjoy the walk outdoors, Muni or not.

I did beat the 44, and I got home and nothing went bad. Overall a nice diversion on what turned out to be a great day, weatherwise (and we all know how much we like to talk and/or freak out about the weather, right?) and now I'm getting back to work.

Cue credits.

September 11, 2009

California Academy of Science Free Days This Weekend!

CAS_V_4C_CMYK_sm.jpg I've been rather busy with work this week, so much so I can't post as much as I want. But I wanted to make sure everyone knew about this great piece of news - the California Academy of Science will be FREE to anyone in the 94122, 94116, 94127, and 94132 zip codes Sept. 11-13. This is part of the Academy's ongoing series of free weekends, each time focusing on a few ZIP codes in San Francisco. Follow the link to check for eligibility requirements - you have to have ID or something else that simply proves you are indeed a resident of said ZIP codes. Enjoy!

Also, here's a fun fact - the guy who designed the logo for the Academy is also the guy who designed the logo for the recently departed Culture Bus. No kidding!

Enjoy the weekend!

September 10, 2009

Hey This Sounds Important: NERT Training begins in the Inner Sunset in October!

So this week they're making repairs and upgrades to the unit next to mine, which is awesome, except for the fact that the three guys working can only work well if they yell a lot at each other. Between that and the drilling and sawing, it's been too noisy to work at home. So, while escaping to one of the many wifi locations in the neighborhood, I saw this flyer advertising free NERT training, starting in October and thought, "Hey that's kinda important, I should blog about that."

If you're not familiar with the term NERT stands for Neighborhood Emergency Response Team, and the goal is to teach people what to do in case of an emergency and work together with proper training. The classes are free, and taught by San Francisco firefighters. In the aftermath of a disaster, having more people who know what to do, and be there to help out can make all the difference.

I've always been a big advocate of disaster preparedness, but I'll admit I've been a bit lax in stocking up my new place with water, food, first aid kit, etc. and seeing this flyer kinda gave me the mental jolt to do that this week. We can count on another earthquake hitting us for sure (we're approaching the 20th Anniversary of the Loma Prieta quake after all), but any sort of disaster might require us to be ready to take care of ourselves and others while first responders deal with a crisis.

September 3, 2009

Weekend Fun: Sunday Streets II: Electric Boogaloo and LaPlaya Fixit Party!

SundayStreets.jpgThere's quite a lot going on this Labor Day Weekend. If you haven't heard by now (and I can't imagine anyone hasn't at this point) the Bay Bridge will be closed all weekend, so if you're planning to go to the East Bay, you've been warned. There are alternate routes, and BART will be running extra hours to accommodate people.

Also, on Saturday morning, neighbors at the end of the N Judah line have been organizing to give the area a nice upgrade of all the medians and such. You can read about their plans at their website, and they're having a work party, sponsored by Java Beach, from 9:30-12:30. Block by block, the Inner and Outer Sunset is becoming an even nicer place to live than it already is. That's great, and the volunteers who put in the time to do these things deserve some thanks.

On Sunday, we have the last Sunday Streets of the year. Now, apparently some people think Ocean Beach is hell and gone from "civilization" but I thought the last one they did was a lot of fun, and hey! you can walk all the way from the California Academy of Sciences to the SF Zoo, if you so desired.

A few other notes: The San Francisco County Transit Authority (SFCTA) is accepting applications for people to join its Citizen Advisory Committee. If you're at all interested in how the Prop. K sales tax money is spent, or what the SFCTA is doing, this is a great opportunity to get involved.

And finally, a shout out for my friends at the Blackthorn: they now have their own WiFi signal, free of charge! Just a casual glance around the neighborhood indicates that every block in the Irving/9th area ha some sort of free WiFi signal now. Rather impressive!

I'll update this list as I hear of more things going on around town. Have a great weekend!

August 28, 2009

Open Thread Weekend: Outside Lands, Critical Sass, and More...

This weekend has already gotten off to a great start with the SPECTACULAR weather we're having so far. This should be of benefit to all San Franciscans, but it also means that if you're attending Outside Lands, you won't freeze out west. However, we would direct any and all patrons of the MUNI to our longstanding PSA on personal grooming products as a courtesy to other riders.

Also, don't forget, that today is Critical Sass Day, which sucks because it's super hot and a billion people are coming into town for the music festival. If you can, escape downtown as fast as you can, so you're not caught up in this maelstrom of selfishness. (Then again, Burning Man starts on Monday, so perhaps people are starting to leave town for it, thus making it a bit smaller than usual? One can hope).

Finally, since the weather is so great and it's my birthday tomorrow, I'm going to go light on posting this weekend. Barring a major MUNI fail (and not the usual nonsense) or something else of note, I'm going to leave the comments open on this post for people to report on anything particularly good or bad this weekend. I'll of course be on the Twitter armed with my iPhone as well for short posts + pictures.

In particular, if you're taking pictures, post them online and post the URL in the comments - surely with billions of people attending Outside Lands there has to be something of note to take a picture of.

Finally, I wanted to post this video of the always awesome Beth Spotswood's "Weekend What's Up" created by the always awesome folks. Have a great weekend and enjoy a sunny San Francisco!

Oh wait! SF Appeal has this live coverage online of Outside Lands - if you've got something to say about Outside Lands or whatever, go for it.

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!" »

August 18, 2009

SF Needs to Lighten Up: Belated Report on the Culture Bus Death March

shapeimage_1.pngI had a pretty fun weekend, actually, which started on Saturday with a trip out to check out the New People J-pop center in Japantown, a nice long walk from J-town to the Inner Richmond, and capped it off with a short ride on the last run of the infamous Culture Bus. I took a few pics here and there and tossed them on Flickr for fun.

Plenty of people have recorded this momentous occasion, including our pals at the SF Appeal, the Transbay Blog, and so on. Reader Jamison was there too, and took pictures way better than mine. Sure it was transit nerdy snarkville, but it was kinda fun. Riding it, however, you really do appreciate just what a half-baked idea it was. The line doesn't connect with BART or Caltrain, it's not likely you'd actually go to all the museums in a day (and yet you pay $10), and the end of the line is 2nd and Howard. How fun.

That said, we all realized how this could have been a fun, moneymaking thing for MUNI if the MTA board ever bothered to listen to anyone (we know they don't), instead of some brainiac from the society set. Not only were we on the cleanest MUNI bus I've ever been on, with one of the coolest drivers, but we also talked about how it would be fun to take over a bus with all of our friends and have someone give a guided tour or something about things we care about ("hey there's Absinthe where that guy from Top Chef worked" and so on).

Magically enough, just hours after our ride, the Restore the 74 bus was posted, and it's funny to see how upset some people got at this so quickly. I mean, come on, Internet, lighten the frak up a little! We're not all crankypants SFGate commenters! It's a fun site but it also makes a point:

Nobody knows where the Culture Bus came from or why it started running, but we’re glad that it did. And now that it’s gone, we miss it more than ever. So we want it back. It doesn’t have to be $10. It doesn’t need to make you wait an hour to catch it. It doesn’t have to be the city’s best-kept secret. In fact, it probably shouldn’t be any of those things. But wouldn’t it be great to ride a bus around town, pointing at the cool stuff and stopping to see the fun stuff? Yeah. That would be really great.

But this doesn't have to be a MUNI funded anything. Heck there are some pretty awesome MUNI lines (well maybe after the October cuts, not so many) that go all sorts of zany places and could use a photo safari/guided tour. It'd be fun. And cheaper than the Culture Bus of the Past.

Which lines would you want to try this on? Post your ideas in the comments.

Oh and for fun, here's me looking like a doofus on camera, and many others looking way cooler than me, courtesy of VidSF:

August 17, 2009

Real Posts Later, for Now I Finally Found That Ad They Shot on Irving Street...

I have a ton of "real" posts to do, but for now I wanted to post this short ad that I finally found (Thanks to Mason Powell) of the ad people keep telling me about that was shot on Irving Street.

It's an ad for Travelers and you can see the dog run down Irving Street, and past Pasquale's, and sit at a bus stop on the 28 Sunset line too. It's rare they film anything in this part of town, so it was a bit surprising to see this, finally.

August 5, 2009

Because It's Fun and We Need Something To Write About: Cute Cats On Transit

Casper_1452757c.jpgA vigilant reader sent in this story today ,and it's so full of "awww cute" I had to post a link: it seems in Britain there's a cat, "Casper," who regularly boards his favorite bus at the same time every day, rides the bus out and back, and then gets off. How cute is that?

It's similar to our feathered friends who often board down by the Caltrain Station, but I think cats are more likely to have a Fast Pass around their they're less likely to eat their splattered pals.

However, MUNI could learn something from our friends in Japan, where a cat who "works" as a conductor at a train station has not only saved what was going to be a shut down line, but generates over $10 million in revenue a year. Talk about a stimulus package for transit!

Guest Blogger Wednesday: Mason Powell's Guide To All Those Free Events This Weekend

SundayStreets.jpgGuest Blogger Wednesday gives readers a chance to regale the Loyal Readers with tales of the neighborhoods, MUNI and more. Want to Guest Blog? Email me and let's get you signed up!

These days, anything "free" is nice, especially when it comes to finding something to do on the weekend. And "fun" is nice too, especially after all the crazy accidents and other crazy stuff going on around town. We need a break! Lucky for us, we've got quite a few fun free events this weekend, all around San Francisco, and easy to reach by even our hobbled MUNI.

On Saturday and Sunday, we have two great street fairs, the Nihonmachi Street Fair in Japantown and the Pistahan Parade and Fair at Yerba Buena Gardens, which has like, a a bazillion MUNI lines that will drop you off over there.

Both are really fun (but I'm not eating a balut, no matter how much people keep telling me it's ok). Personally, I always like going to Japantown if only because it's got sort of a retro 60's James Bond in "You Only Live Twice" feel. (I keep looking for the Osato Chemical Concern logo...). All easily accessible by the 38 Geary and the 22 Fillmore.

On Sunday, we'll have all of Ocean Beach closed off for Sunday Streets SF from 10am to 2pm. Now, what you may not realize is that they're coordinating the street closure with the regular one in the park, so you'll literally be able to walk unimpeded from the Academy of Sciences to the Zoo, if that's your thing. Here's a map for your planning purposes. (Also, note that they're going to repeat this closure on September 6th). Hopefully the N won't die that day so you can avoid trying to find a parking spot way way out there.

Sunday is also the same day as the Inner Sunset Really Really Free Market, located at 6th and Irving. (This is the house Greg refers to as the "House Formerly Known as the Yes We Can House.") Located just a couple of blocks from the Inner Sunset Farmer's Market, they offer free anything, including ice cream. How can you resist that? And the N and the 71 will drop you off over there.

With so many fun free things to do, it's hard to choose, but it certainly makes the weekend more fun. And even on our broken down MUNI, you can get to most of these events pretty easily. So go out and have fun, everyone!

Editor's note: if you know of other fun events around town, feel free to share them in the comments!

UPDATE!: On Friday, August 7th, there's going to be a "Renegade Film Screening" on the N and other Muni Metro trains, from 5ish to 9ish that evening. Talk about MUNI street theater! Let's hope the cops and fare inspectors don't totally shut this down the way they did those kids a few years ago.

July 30, 2009

Quick Hit: An Exchange of Money and Goods In Dolores Park Involving Legal Items...

IW4a6hA9lqjalcqmIxXmvyybo1_500.jpgIf you're looking for something unique in MUNI-related apparel, something you can only get in person, well then you're in luck. The guy who does the Sexpigeon blog came up with some really unique MUNI line-related T-shirts, ones unlike any others out there.

From noon until 4 in Dolores Park, you can pick one up for only $15. Check out his site for the exact location and check 'em out!

Unrelated News: Don't forget that today is San Francisco's city-sponsored bike rally downtown at 6pm. The un-permitted monthly event, which receives free police escort, and pays for no costs associated with delays on MUNI buses and such, is in fact today.

Even though this whole thing has jumped the shark long ago, and is more like a rote Civil War Protest re-enactment than any sort of effective political or social statement, expect delays. And remember - the City will happily kick a few lindy hoppers out of the park and demand they pay the Man for some permits, but these precious little dears will always get their way, and you get to pay for it in these tough times.

July 29, 2009

Guest Blogger Wednesday: Showdown on the 45...

If you read Greg's blog, you're most likely a Muni Person. I would preface my tale with lots of facts regarding my public transit street cred, but let's just say I'm a Muni Girl. I love Muni. Yes, love. It's a rather co-dependent relationship ...

Friday. Rush hour. The 45 mid-Chinatown. I have a seat (w00t) and I believe I was reading -Perez Hilton on my iPhone- Harper's. Minding my own business as usual. The bus, of course, is packed, but civil. Then, a 40ish white man gets on the back, where I'm sitting. He doesn't look particularly homeless or smell too foul, but has something of a transient look, wearing all dark colors and carrying a black duffel bag. I didn't notice him until he starts yelling at a couple of Chinese moms and their kids,

"Children shouldn't be eating on the bus! It's illegal! And they're being violent!"

Everyone else's collective reaction was something along the lines of "Whaaa?" I mean, the kids were eating an after-school snack or something. Fritos maybe. It's not like they had a picnic blanket out. As for violence, they might have been horsing around a bit, being wiggly and squirmy in their seats. Because, you know, that's what kids do.

But this guy was having none of it. He continues to yell at and berate the moms until one of them told him to "Be quiet and sit down."

"No! I won't sit down. You should make your kids stop eating. It's illegal." Then he continues,

"It's not because you're Chinese! I like Chinese! I love Chinatown." Everyone rolls their eyes. "But you can't have fucking violent children eating on the bus!"

"Hey! Will you just sit down and shut up?!" Offers a 20-something Marina Girl in the back, getting pissed that no one was stopping this guy from yelling at these kids.

"Who are you? You just got off your shift at the strip club? With all that makeup? You like being a hooker?" The smell of liquor on the asshole's breath starts to waft my way. He proceeds to go on about Jesus and some other totally unrelated things, finally spitting at the girl's feet and calling her a whore and a cunt. Which is where I got fed up. She called for the driver to come back.

Continue reading "Guest Blogger Wednesday: Showdown on the 45..." »

July 1, 2009

Guest Blogger Wednesday: MUNI Memories Through The Years

imageforrowenoftc.JPGAs many have regaled us with their infinitely different stories and homage to Muni, I have been at a loss for words when I was reminded that my date to write was around the corner. (So imminent, in fact, that this post was actually completed the day of.) The individuality of inspired tales were more impressive to me than writing something myself; it shows the dedication, despite many complaints, to a transit system that serves a seven-to-eight square mile metropolis.

So what, then, is my homage to this wheeled wonder? I’ve sat here thinking about that with the cursor blinking monotonously at me, trying desperately to compare my interest in Muni to all the others that photograph, write and tweet about, speak of, and regale many a horror story about. Is it the history, the people, the endless amount of epic fail? I haven’t in the slightest.

The earliest memory I have of Muni is in the 1980s, when I was very small. I am not a native of San Francisco, but my mother was born and raised here, my father moved here, and up until earlier this year, my grandparents were still lifelong residents of this city. Somehow, every member of my small family ends up in San Francisco—it’s practically a tradition. When my grandmother was in her spryer years she was never opposed to taking public transit; it got her where she needed to go, and when I was in town, I would most certainly almost always join her. I’d always had a love of trains (but that’s another story for another post), and the orange and white Boeing-Vertol streetcars were no exception. We’d take them to the zoo (back then, tigers didn’t jump out of their cages); we’d go downtown… it was an adventure any child could find exponential amounts of glee in.

Continue reading "Guest Blogger Wednesday: MUNI Memories Through The Years" »

June 29, 2009

Links of Interest:!

Recently, someone sent me a link at, detailing plans for a 7th Avenue Freeway in the Inner Sunset, which would have been a dramatic change to the neighborhood, to put it mildly. But after checking out the map (complete with lots so you can see if your house would have been demolished or next to a busy freeway), I started reading some of the other articles, and it was quite interesting.

What makes FoundSF unique is the fact that much of its historical accounts are first person stories, or from primary sources, rather than something you might find on (sigh) Wikipedia. Although this means you have to do some checking on who's writing and consider their point of view, it also makes for a more lively read than an encyclopedia. Overall, an interesting place to spend an evening when one should be watching whatever's on Bravo.

Note: I was able to secure a Facebook Page name last night - you can now find us at!

June 26, 2009

Friday, Friday, Friday Roundup - Pride Week Detours, Critical Mass, Videos, iPhone App News, a 4th Anniversary, and More!

P2110078.jpgThere's quite a bit going on this sunny Friday, so I'm rolling several posts into one so I can get outside for some exercise and get back to work!

First off, this weekend marks the 4th anniversary of this site. We had a small event last night at the Blackthorn, which went well. However, I only found out at the last minute that a good portion of my E-vites were marked as spam, and many people never saw the invite, which was infinitely frustrating. I couldn't afford to open it up as a big wide event for tons of people as I don't make a fortune off of the site's T shirt and ad revenues just yet.

So if you missed this event, trust me when I say a) we weren't trying to be lame, and b) we'll be doing more events this summer and fall, formal and informal, that will be wide open to the public so you can hang out and meet your fellow MUNI riders and so on.

This weekend we have a lot going on. Today, of course is Critical Mass Day, which will have added fun as the preparations for the SF Pride Parade are already up around Civic Center. Obviously, this weekend will see a large influx of folks from around the world and on Parade Day itself, you can expect delays getting around town. So, plan accordingly for or around both.

Next up, a shout out to the SF Appeal, for their actual reporting of news regarding the bizarro case of Routesy, caught in a bureaucratic snare. SF Weekly also did some digging and deserve a shout out as well. This is the kind of thing I wanted to research myself, but didn't have the time to do, so I handed it off to the Appeal to do it right. It's nice to see more than one journalistic entity take on a difficult issue with larger concerns for the public and print up something worth reading, esp. since there was no way I could take a few days off work to do it myself!

Continue reading "Friday, Friday, Friday Roundup - Pride Week Detours, Critical Mass, Videos, iPhone App News, a 4th Anniversary, and More!" »

June 25, 2009

Reminder: Gerry Adams Comes to the Inner Sunset on Saturday!

391044348_05017b3aff_o.jpgJust a quick reminder that Gerry Adams, the president of Sinn Fein, will be the host of a forum entitled "A United Ireland - How Do We Get There?" at St. Anne's Hall over at Funston and Judah (right on the N line). It runs from 2pm-5pm, and Mr. Adams and a panel of Irish and Irish Americans will be there to answer any questions the public may have about the situation in Ireland.

The panel will include artist Robert Ballagh and actress Fionnula Flanagan (whom some may recognize as "Eloise Hawking" from the hit ABC show LOST and "Rose Caffee" from the Showtime program "Brotherhood", as well as several guest appearances on "Star Trek: The Next Generation")

It's not often we get international leaders right here in our neighborhood, so if you're interested, check it out. Figure it this way - you're far more likely to get a question about Ireland's future answered by Mr. Adams and the panel than you are from local officials about the future of the N Judah!

June 24, 2009

Guest Blogger Wednesday: Why I Love MUNI So Much!

IMG_3425.jpgBefore I moved to San Francisco four years ago, I had a car and I drove it everyday. I drove it to work. I drove it to go visit friends. I drove it to the store. Sometimes, I would drive it just to drive the dang thing. The year before I moved to the city, I started bartending in a nightclub in the middle of the Tenderloin three nights a week. It was essential that I had my car at that time because I was commuting all the way from San Jose and I wouldn’t get out of work until 3 or 4 in the morning. Every night that I worked in the city, I had to pay $10-$15 to park my car. I didn’t want to risk parking it on the street and get nabbed by DPT for street cleaning or take a chance getting my car broken into. There were some nights that I would end up only to make enough to pay for parking my car.

I had a ton of friends who already lived in the city and tried to keep their car. I heard all kinds of horrible stories about numerous tickets from the DPT, which would lead to the infamous boot on their car. Getting your car broken into seemed to be a common theme in every neighborhood of San Francisco, even if you didn’t leave anything out in plain sight. Sometimes, people would have the urge to just bust your window and then what could you do? And then there were the stories of people having a hard time finding parking every day and night. I thought about all the wasted money, heartache and countless hours I might spend looking for a parking space and decided that when I made the move to the city, I would make it minus my car.

On July 1st, 2005, I handed over the keys to my car to my little sister and drove my U-Haul to San Francisco. That’s right. I gave my car to my little sister. I figured since she lived all the way out in Tracy and was turning 16, she would have a lot more use for the car than I would.

I quickly discovered my love and fascination for all things MUNI upon my arrival here in the city as a full-time resident. I have always been a public transportation fan. I love taking the bus. It’s nice to leave the driving in traffic up to someone else while you watch the city go by and people watch.

My monthly $45 Fast Pass got me everywhere in the city I needed to go. I could ride any MUNI bus or train. I could even ride BART within the city limits. On certain lines (Holla 38!!), I never waited longer than 10 minutes for a bus. It was a whole lot cheaper than paying cab fare and a lot less heartache than having to deal with parking, traffic and fighting the DPT.

Continue reading "Guest Blogger Wednesday: Why I Love MUNI So Much!" »

June 17, 2009

Guest Blogger Wednesday: Going Car-Free In San Francisco

When I originally came to the Bay Area from the land of parking garages and four-lane residential streets known as Southern California, I brought with me my green, 1998 Honda Accord and my understanding of cities built-upon comprehensible grids. Living here would challenge both of these and change my entire concept of transportation.

Growing up in the Los Angeles area taught me to rely on my car. It was both my golden calf promising future prosperity and my fleshy calf providing sustenance in the meantime. The city I learned to drive in had a handful of bus lines, each covering only a few blocks of the main streets with their peculiar urine smells and two hour intervals. In an environment like that, driving a car was encouraged and expected, and the cities were planned accordingly with parking lots and SUVs in mind.

I used to assume this was the norm throughout California until my poorly researched and quickly implimented move to San Francisco. What once had been my tool for prosperity and sustenance now felt like concrete shoes. Compared to Los Angeles, parking in The City was rare or prohibitively expensive. Once one wandered off the main streets, the roads seem to disappear and reappear without good cause and at least a few trips were made assuming that 19th Ave and 19th St were the same thing. At some point, the choice was made to remain in my apartment for periods of several days or escape to cities that were friendlier to cars down south.

Continue reading "Guest Blogger Wednesday: Going Car-Free In San Francisco" »

June 5, 2009

Gerry Adams To Visit the Inner Sunset June 27th at St. Anne's!

391044348_05017b3aff_o.jpgHere's something you don't see every day - an international political figure visiting the Inner Sunset! Gerry Adams, the president of Sinn Fein, will be the host of a forum entitled "A United Ireland - How Do We Get There?" at St. Anne's Hall over at Funston and Judah. There is no charge to attend, and everyone is encouraged to attend and ask questions of Mr. Adams, as well as a panel of Irish and Irish-Americans.

The panel will also include artist Robert Ballagh and actress Fionnula Flanagan (whom some may recognize as "Eloise Hawking" from the hit show LOST and "Rose Caffee" from the Showtime program "Brotherhood")

Many people locally have worked hard on this event, so if you're interested in the issues regarding Ireland, you should definitely attend and bring any questions you may have for the panel. It's being held right here on the N Judah line, and the discussion should be interesting, so check it out!

When space permits, I like to highlight events that may be of general interest to the readership. If you have an event, please email me information and I'll do my best to get it on the site, space and time permitting. Thanks!

June 3, 2009

Guest Blogger Wed.: Celebrating an Epic WIN, Old SF Style with the Sunset Tunnel


City politics and poor MUNI performance got you down? Cynical and skeptical? Perhaps all you need is a feel-good story from an era with a can-do attitude.

Sunset District property owners and real estate men lobbied aggressively at the dawn of the 1920s for new streetcar service to the neighborhood. Transit lines had served the area since the 1880s, but many wanted municipal railway service via tunnel, expecting to significantly cut down commute times and, hopefully, increase property values. With the help of housewives trudging door-to-door across the dunes to get petitions signed, the effort paid off in 1925 when the Board of Supervisors voted for the proposed Duboce Tunnel route for what would become the N-Judah streetcar line.

Although the cars wouldn’t begin running until 1928, the Sunset District couldn’t wait to celebrate. Led by realtor Frank Doelger (brother to Henry Doelger, who would fill the Sunset with blocks of stucco houses in the 1930s and 1940s), the community threw a massive party on the night on April 25, 1925. The supervisors had just approved the tunnel plan the week before, but the celebration organizers had no problem pulling together a ridiculously outsized program.

Continue reading "Guest Blogger Wed.: Celebrating an Epic WIN, Old SF Style with the Sunset Tunnel" »

May 26, 2009

Guest Blogger Wednesday: A Piece of SF History, Right Under Your Feet (Sort Of).


Every Wednesday, we'll be featuring a Guest Blogger who will share their insights into city life, Our Fair MUNI, or anything that comes to mind. This week's guest writer is "Mason Powell," who's been a contributor to the site since its beginnings in 2005, and provides behind the scenes help, including designing our famous The N Is Near T shirts!

Yes, that's a picture of a manhole cover. I took it while leaving the KPIX Eye on Blogs blogger party last fall! Now, I don't usually go around looking at manhole covers, but this one was different. It had the markings of the old United Railroads!

For those of us who are not transit nerds, a little background. The URR was the main transportation provider in San Francisco between 1902 and 1921. After it went bankrupt, it reorganized into the Market Street Railway, which was eventually sold to Muni in 1944. The company's #1,#2, and #3 lines all passed by here. Today the #2 and #3 lines are still running on Sutter Street, more or less, and keeping watch over (or is it under?) all of this is a piece of our transportation history.

Would you like to be a guest blogger? Email me and tell me a little about yourself and what you'd like to write about! Most of our spots are filled for now, but there's always room for more!

May 19, 2009

Two Notable Reports from the SFPD Taraval Station Crime Report Worth Noting...

If you're a westside resident, and not already subscribed to the Taraval Station's daily crime report, emailed out by Captain Paul Chignell, well, I'll once again recommend it to you. It's a great way to keep tabs on what's going on around your home, and occaisionally provides some really eye-opening information. It also provides information on local events in the community as well.

Today I'm going to highlight two incidents: one of the "OMG crime on MUNI can be really bad" variety, and the other in the "Wow, criminals are stupid" category.

First, our Scary MUNI indicident. All I can say is that I'm glad in this case, when unruly teenagers threatened passenger safety, the police were on hand to administer some justice. Anyway, here's the incident from May 14th.

05/14/09 4:48 pm Holloway and Beverly

Officers Juan Gala, Duane Elzey and Jose Guardado were flagged down by a bus driver who had a large group of unruly teenagers on the bus and who kept opening the emergency windows. One of the suspects then stole a wheel block that the driver had placed against a wheel when he had to park the bus to deal with the suspects. The officers located the suspect with the wheel block walking up the street. The suspect resisted arrest and had to be taken to the ground to be controlled. Eventually, that suspect, who lives on the 1800 block of Great Highway, was cited for malicious mischief, theft and resisting arrest. Two other suspects, who live on Ridge Court and the 700 block of London, were cited for terrorist threats. Case #090502367

I'm glad the SFPD were on the scene here, but this is a more common occurance than one might think, and I would hope with the millions in work orders MUNI pays out, we could see more lawbreakers who threaten harm to passengers and drivers arrested for committing crimes.

This next one is a situation where you really just want to walk up to the person, shake them and say "What the HELL were you thinking???". Read on (emphasis added):

05/16/09 2:45 pm 1300 block of 46th Avenue

Officers Jennifer Fiorello. Scott Biggs and Chris Oshita were inside a 7-11 store when they observed a man take a beverage from a cooler, put it in his pocket and walk past the uniformed officers and out of the store without paying for the merchandise. The officers stopped the man and arrested the resident of the 500 block of 36th Avenue for theft. He was charged with felony theft due to having prior convictions. Case #090509573

So many criminals are caught in this area because they seem to think it's a good idea to speed on neighborhood streets with expired tags, and keep large amounts of drugs in plain sight in their car, or drive under the influence. Which is fine with me, but it's still a bit unnerving.

To subscribe, simply send an email to Captain Chignell and indicate you want to be on the list!

May 15, 2009

Fun Friday: Bay To Breakers Info and More!

After all the drama and yesterday's MUNI FAIL, I think all of us could use a fun weekend. The weather is expected to be rather nice, so get outside and enjoy a day at the park, the beach, etc. Here's a few links to some fun things also.

This Sunday, of course, is the (in)famous Bay to Breakers race, which means there'll be thousands of people running, pretending to run, etc. across the City. MUNI has posted this list of service interruptions if you're not in the race and just want to get somewhere. Now, we all know that when these kinds of Big Events happen, inevitably that means crowded Ns, some sort of special shuttle service that costs $7 and doesn't show up, and so on so be prepared. Don't even THINK of driving and parking at the end, since everyone else will do the same anyway and there's no parking in this part of town to begin with.

We'd also like to remind people of our past PSAs on Bay to Breakers regarding personal hygiene, and our other PSA regarding the use of the N Judah as a trash hauling concern. SFist has been kind enough to provide this map of "recharging" stations, where runners can find all sorts of locally owned shops to satisfy their needs. (I will not be in the race this year, but instead on the rooftop deck watching the athletes stumble about the neighborhood).

In addition to the Big Race, there's also a whole host of local events on Saturday, which I profiled the other day, including a community flea market at 6th and Irving. Oh and as a follow up, word is that the Farmer's Market for the Inner Sunset, which we talked about earlier this week has been approved, and should be up and running fairly soon!

Most importantly, get outside and enjoy all the great things Our Fair City has to offer. When the weather's nice, San Francisco can be a fun place to be, so enjoy it while it lasts!

May 12, 2009

A Roundup Of Local Events You Really Should Check Out And A Possible Farmer's Market for the Inner Sunset...

After all this heavy budget talk, it's time to lighten the mood around here, and what better way than to spotlight the many awesome neighborhood events coming up?

There's quite a lot going on this week (and weekend) around the neighborhood, so mark your calendars for 'em and check 'em out. They include:

-The House Formerly Known As The "Yes We Can" House at Irving and 6th is having a flea market May 16th from 12pm-5pm. I know I'll be there trying to find a lamp and a desk for my new apartment. Stop by and say hi to your awesome neighbors here.

-Grattan School will be holding its 4th annual "Fun Fest," also on May 16th, from 11am-5pm. Located at 165 Grattan Street, the FunFest is a great way to show your support for the school. There will be a silent auction, music, games, activities and more. Find out more at the Grattan School website.

-The super awesome Western Neighborhoods Project not only has a new blog, they also have a new office/space at 300 Taraval Street as well. They will be hosting an open house 11am-3pm and all are welcome.

-Supporters of an Inner Sunset Farmer's Market have been working hard behind the scenes to get one established at the 8th Avenue parking lot on Sunday mornings. A hearing is being held downtown by the (bear with us with the name) Interdepartmental Staff Committee on Traffic and Transportation for Temporary Street Closures (mercifully referred to from now on as ISCOTT) on May 14th at 9am to discuss the temporary closing of the lot for the market. The meeting is at One South Van Ness Avenue, Room #7080.

If you'd like to show your support but can't make it to a 9am meeting, but still would like to show your support, you can sign an online petition as well. Farmer's markets aren't just about buying food - they really help boost a sense of community in a neighborhood, and I think such a market would be a fun addition to the area on Sundays.

April 15, 2009

Some Fun Events This Weekend: A Dogfest, A Picnic, and A Fix It Day! (UPDATED)

This weekend the wind is supposed to die down and the weather is supposed to warm up a bit. As you plan for what could be some nice springtime weather, check out a few events right here along the N Judah line:

-The Inner Sunset Facebook Group, which has attracted quite a following and has been holding many well-attended events, is planning a picnic this Saturday, April 18th from 10:30-1pm over at the White Crane Springs Community Garden.

-The House Formerly Known as the "Yes We Can" House on Irving and 6th is hosting a "Free Fix It Day", also on Saturday from 10-4pm, in their spacious backyard. As their flyer says "We'll try to fix anything except electronics & relationships ... for free. Bring your wobbly, loose, broken, frayed, splintered, torn, severed item. If we can't fix it, we'll give you twice your money back. Handy volunteers welcome."

-"DogFest 2009" will also be held on Saturday, from 11-3pm at Duboce Park as a benefit fundraiser for McKinley Elementary School. There will be a dog contest with categories created by the students, and a whole array of activities that should be fun for dog lovers and their friends.

All of these events are sort of happening at the same time, but they're all easily accessible by the N, so you can easily check 'em all out!

UPDATE: TwitterNeighbor Laurel has this new blog which highlights events of interest which you should check out as well. The Acme Steakhouse happy hour sounds like quite a bargain!

Reader Mail: Blind Man Saved by N Judah Riders

Yesterday was BloggerDay, I think. First, I attended a blogger call with Assemblymember Fiona Ma (with the Examiner's Melissa Griffin and others), then later on attended an event at SPUR which focused on local blogging. Panelists were Burrito Justice, Mission Local, What I'm Seeing and Streetsblog, and I got to meet in person many awesome people, including folks from MUNI Diaries, SF Appeal, SFist, MissionMission my neighbors Julie and Megan, and more!

Little did I know, that while we were listening to speakers discuss blogging and local life, some real-life drama was happening on the N. Reader Jeremy sent me this note which I got last night:


I'm not sure who to report this to or how frequent events like this happen, but this evening at about 8pm we had a close call on the N-Judah at Van Ness station when a blind man exited the train and proceeded to fall in the not insignificant space between the 2 cars, and onto the tracks.

I was a passenger at the front of the second car, and was standing on the train near the door. Someone on the platform saw the man fall, and went to try to help rescue him before the train began moving. I hadn't seen the man fall and all I could see was the helper person standing above the space between the 2 cars. I stood in the doorway of the train to prevent the door from closing.

There was a bit of confusion inside the train as one man told me to get out of the doorway (of course he didn't know what was going on). As we began to figure out that someone had fallen, another man radioed up to the conductor. A woman on the platform apparently ran up to the front of the train and banged on the window of the conductor. People on the platform managed to pull the blind man up to the platform.

Eventually the conductor came over, asked the man if he was okay, and then the conductor jumped down between the trains to recover the blind man's walking stick.

Obviously a happy ending, but a close call. Who knows what would have happened if things went a little differently?

I think at a time when the news has been full of the delinquents and criminals and overall Bad People amongst us, it is nice to hear a story of our fellow citizens who are the good people, doing something positive to help out. Bravo to the N riders and MUNI personnel who helped out and prevented a tragedy.

April 9, 2009

Happiness And Rainbows Day: Free Days at the Academy of Sciences, Based on ZIP Code!

Well after all the bad news of this week regarding MUNI budget Armageddon, it's time for something nice and fun. And what better place to have fun than at the phenomenally popular California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park - just a short walk from the N Judah or steps from the 44 O'Shaughnessy?

And for more fun - what if you could go for free? The Academy is now offering some special "free days" based on your ZIP code!

The "free days" will be in May and October - check the schedule and find out when your neighborhood gets a free day at the Academy! Bring some proof of residency and you and your neighbors can enjoy one of the most popular attractions in San Francisco.

April 2, 2009

Guest Blogger: It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood!

Recession fever is doing strange things to San Franciscans. Aside from real concerns about layoffs and the murderous drubbing our 401K's have taken, I've noticed a tendency among the citizenry to look for doomsday scenarios to manifest in our streets. As if we, as sophisticated and diverse urban dwellers in one of the world's most idyllic and expensive cities, are somehow less legitimate if our Main Streets aren't all shuttered storefronts. This is not to say neighborhood businesses aren't vulnerable in an economic downturn, and that some of ours haven't or might not survive this one. But take a closer look around the city, and you'll find the resilient health and vibrancy that comes with well-used public space, diversity of uses and populations, and thriving neighborhood commercial.

Continue reading "Guest Blogger: It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood!" »

March 29, 2009

Guest Blogger: N Judah At Day's End

picture1.JPG Today the N Judah Chronicles kicks off the first of several "Guest Blogger" posts. Today's entry is the first of a series of photos submitted to the site. (Click on the image for full size version).

Within sight of a homeless woman, Amy, and her dog Fire, and oblivious passers-by, an outbound N-Judah train squeals around the curve from Irving Street into 9th Avenue in the Inner Sunset on March 5, 2009 (Christian Goepel photo).

Guest Blogger/Photographer Christian Goepel is a freelance photographer and San Francisco State journalism student. More of his work appears at He can be contacted at

March 27, 2009

Fun Friday: Puppet Show on Carl St. This Sunday!

image017.jpg Greetings from National Harbor, MD! If you've ever watched The Wire or Brotherhood on cable, often times a plot point is some big weird "redevelopment" deal near the water. Well, I'm right in the middle of one - an island of expensive hotels and stores across the Potomac from Alexandria. VA. It's so "new" that Google Maps just shows a big wide expanse of dirt and construction sites.

I'll editorialize on that all later. For now, I'm doing a quick update courtesy of one of the Loyal Readers, Meredith, who is also a Twitter Follower who let me know about a free puppet show on Carl St. by a foreign exchange student from the Czech Republic. She writes:

"So…the final puppet show is this coming Sunday – it’s such a pity I didn’t get this to you sooner. This blue garage is where they are right on Carl. The puppet master, Radek Tuma is from the chez republic, and he’s on a student visa.

He is working on his PHD at the University of Performing Arts in Prague. He is assisted in the theater by Michael Lee Anderson from SF. It’s a really cool event and worth seeing particularly since this coming Sunday is the last performance."

You can see by the picture that it's a rather elaborate setup in a garage on Carl (nearer to UCSF than to Cole St. I believe). Anyway, if you're in the area, you should check it out.

More Guest Bloggers will be posting soon, and we'll also have some wonderful photography that was submitted as well. Thanks to all that are helping and there will be plenty of other opportunities for you, the readers to guest-blog this year!

March 13, 2009

Friday Fun: What To Do This Weekend!

After yesterday's drama, I thought it'd be good to do a Fun Friday post, and hopefully push away any bad luck associated with "Friday the 13th." So first, a joke from Mason Powell, who, upon hearing the news that Roche will be purchasing Genentech, asked "Does this mean the Genenbus will be renamed the Roche Coach?"

Thank you! We'll be here all week!

And now for some you all know, St. Patrick's Day is next week, which means that it's really St. Patrick's Next-Few-Days as we have tonight, the big St. Patrick's Day Parade tomorrow, and then Sunday, and Monday and...well you get the idea.

But tomorrow is not just the big parade....the famous Brides of March will be convening at the Tunnel Top at 2:30 tomorrow for their annual day out and about. You may recall we ran into them last year, along with St. Patrick's Day fans, zombies and Flickr people about a year ago at this time.

Locally, we have a few events worth noting. The always fun Inner Sunset Facebook Group, which has been holding some fun meetups locally, is going to be doing a walking tour of the neighborhood. Go to their Facebook event page, and RSVP for what looks to be an interesting tour of our neighborhood.

Also, Java Beach cafe will be hosting a family-friendly "Green Fest Block Party" in conjunction with the United Irish Cultural Center from 11am-4pm over by their new coffee shop at 2650 Sloat (at 45th). I always like Java Beach at the end of the N Judah line (where I've met many characters including this little bird), and now, they have another location at the end of the L-Taraval line.

I've also been reminded that tomorrow is Pi Day, where people celebrate that little number from geometry class. Go to the Exploratorium's site for a list of activities, and note where you are at 1:59pm tomorrow (get it? 3/14 1:59...)

Also starting up today is the annual SF Asian American Film Festival which always has some really interesting films to check out. I will be making sure to check out You Don't Know Jack, a short documentary about comic actor Jack Soo made by...Public Defender Jeff Adachi. Yes, that Jeff Adachi, who's been making some waves at City Hall because he, unlike some elected officials, seems to take his job seriously, and actually shows up to do it.

This is Mr. Adachi's second documentary - he made one a few years ago about Asian American male actors. It seems we have a Renaissance Man in the PD's office after all! Go Jeff!

Finally, for my fellow nerds out there, while you're watching the first piece of the very last episode of Battlestar Galactica tonight, why not check out this upcoming film series at the SFMOMA of dystopian futures from the past? I forgot to post this earlier, so they already had Logan's Run on last night. But more are coming along so make some plans. (Yes I know that these technically aren't happening this exact weekend, but I wanted to post a link ASAP).

That's all! Remember, if you have an event you'd like to tell others about, feel free to email me or send me a message on The Twitter (@njudah) and I'll try and include it in a future post!

February 11, 2009

Humorous Historical Note: "The Taking of the N-Judah 1, 2,3"

Recently, I found a link to a rather humorous story about the N-Judah's history, courtesy of The Google, and in the process got a nice little history lesson about the N-Judah, the neighborhood, and San Francisco in general.

We start with a story recounted by alumni of the now-defunct Polytechnical High School on Lincoln Way over by what was once Kezar Stadium. (Most of it is now gone, replaced by new housing).

Anyway, in an alumni newsletter, a story was related regarding a particularly crowded N after school in 1955, filled with students leaving school one day. Now, this was in the day when trains had both a conductor and a driver. Trying to figure out why people weren't boarding, the conductor got off the train to investigate, and that's when a little mischeif started when a student pulled the cord telling the driver to take off, leaving the conductor behind!

As the N made its way downtown, students collected fares and gave out transfers, but ultimately were greeted by some fare inspectors and the SFPD. No one was injured or maimed, and students the next day got a stern talking to by The Man, but no one was ever caught. Kind of a funny story, actually.

I ended up checking out some other alumni newsletters and did some Googling about Poly High, and got an interesting view of life in San Francisco, particularly in the 1950s, mostly from the perspective of folks who were in high school at the time. It was kind of fun to read about how different things were back then.

I often find it interesting how we do a good job of preserving structures in town (which is good), but the way of life that once went along with them is long gone, replaced with endless high-end shoe stores and nail salons. And sometimes the most interesting accounts of life back in the day don't always come from history books about political leaders and the like, but the stories of everyday life from people recounting their experiences.

January 9, 2009

Mark Your Calendars....Jan. 10th is the Worldwide "No Pants Subway Ride" in SF...

If you're not already familiar with Improv Everywhere and its local affiliate here in San Francisco you're missing out on some rather entertaining events people can participate in. (One of my all time favorites was this musical, staged at a Southern California food court mall last year.) They also had an event at Dolores Park last fall that was really cool too.

Anyway, this Saturday on BART and MUNI they'll be organizing the 2nd annual "No Pants Subway Ride".

In times like these, it is kind of cool to see some folks willing to do something kinda silly, kinda funny, and provide a little bit of participatory entertainment in an otherwise boring day. I just hope the weather warms up for 'em a little - I can't imagine being without several layers of clothing when it is this cold.

If you happen to run into the event, take a picture and post a link in the comments!

November 30, 2008

The NJC Holiday Shopping Guide! UPDATED!

In the frenzy that is holiday shopping, we often don't realize how many wonderful things are available to us right in our own neighborhood as we set out to Buy Stuff, usually locked in a pattern based on years of experience. So this year, I thought I'd create an N Judah Holiday Shopping Guide for you to consider as you decide what to get everyone on your list. Just about all of them are locally owned and offer you, the consumer, a good value for the money.

It is by no means an all-inclusive list - mostly made up of places I tend to end up at during the holiday season, so if a store you like isn't mentioned it isn't meant as a slight - post something in the comments about places you enjoy as well!

Also, note that from December 7th through February 1st, you can get an all-day pass on MUNI on Sundays. For $1.50 you get a transfer that's good all day (until 6pm.) That's a great deal!

But first, the self-promotion of our two T shirts - the famous "N is Near" and our new "80th Anniversary" shirt which we offer for sale via The quality of these (and our items at sister site Adama For President are of dependable quality. I've bought a few for myself and so long as you hang them out to dry, they do not fade or "chap" like other shirts did in the past.

Likewise, if you have a local history or transit fan among your friends and family The Market Street Railway's online store (and their store/museum on Steuart Street downtown) offer some really fun items. My favorite is their calendar, which features some really nice photography.

Also, I wanted to give a special shout-out to my friend Z who has a new online blog+store at FoxyMonster. She was one of the people who encouraged me to start this site, and her jewelry and other items (offered through and are unique. If you have a friend who likes unique products, or likes zombies, go check it out!

Now let's start, first in the Irving/9th shopping zone. If you are looking for holiday cards that will stand out amongst the many your friends and relatives will be getting this year, I recommend Wishbone on Irving and 6th Avenue as well as Tutti Frutti just a few blocks away. Whenever I need to get a birthday card, it usually ends up coming from one of these places. Wishbone also had this really cool MUNI themed kids wear a while back.

Right in the same block of shops is another favorite of mine - the Amazing Fantasy comic book shop located next door to the Rain Tree Cafe on 8th. It is one of my favorites in town, the other being of course Comix Experience on Divisadero (which is a short walk via Duboce Park from the N). AF tends to lean more towards mainstream comics (superheroes, Star Wars, etc.) while Comix Epxierence has more alternative/independent titles, in addition to a good mix of Marvel/DC comics as well.

Continue reading "The NJC Holiday Shopping Guide! UPDATED!" »

October 15, 2008

"Trolley Dances" Returns to MUNI on October 18th and 19th!

For a cheap and fun outing this weekend, why not check out this year's installment of Trolley Dances, which will be performing on October 18th and 19th on MUNI's T-Third line.

You may recall our past coverage of this unique event and everyone that's gone on one of these rides has said it's a lot of fun. Best of all it only costs $1.50 for your MUNI fare, or "free" with your MUNI pass!

Tours will begin at 4th and Berry in front of the SF Public Library, and last about 2 hours. Start times are 11 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:15 p.m., 2 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. For more information, call (415) 226-1139!

October 10, 2008

Good News! They're NOT Going To Kill Sunny Jim Rolph's Tree!

Over the weekend I was reading my copy of the Sunset Beacon, and read this rather disturbing story about how PG&E was going to cut down a tree in the Sunset. Naturally I was alarmed since there aren't a lot of trees out here, and this particular one was planted by Mayor James Rolph (aka "Sunny Jim" Rolph).

I'd been doing some research on Rolph because as we all know, this month is in fact the 80th birthday of the N Judah line, which he built (and drove the first train out to Ocean Beach in 1928, so needless to say this was a dose of WTF on the front page of my local paper!

So I decided to use my allegedly "evil" connection to PG&E to find out what was up and let folks know that the N Judah Chronicles would be more than happy to shoot a double barrelled post of WTF at the utility, despite the fact I have a temporary job working with them. (Believe me when I say that's not an easy thing to do).

Continue reading "Good News! They're NOT Going To Kill Sunny Jim Rolph's Tree!" »

September 26, 2008

Fun Friday: Post A Funny Story From Your Commute Today!

Friday! Woo hoo! Time to put aside the week's worries and have some fun. Last night I had a chance to meet many of the Bay Area's funnest and nicest bloggers at KPIX's Eye on Blogs event, hosted by Brittney Gilbert and the KPIX internet team. It was a nice, positive, fun event, and it even had fireworks! (Well the fireworks weren't part of the show, but we got to see them from the KPIX offices on Battery St. that have an epic view of the Bay.)

Anyway, let's enjoy today's weather, let's un-suspend whatever it is we were suspending, and have a little fun today. Post a funny thing that you saw or happened to you during your day to day. Be clean, be fun, and let's share some of the good energy this week's weather has brought us.

September 16, 2008

Yes We Can: Obama Event at the Blackthorn 9/18 & Some Awesome Tickets For Sale!

Some random news from the N Judah inbox worth a mention....first, we have news that the Obama/Biden campaign will be holding a campaign volunteer event at one of the coolest (and smartest) bars in the Inner Sunset, the Blackthorn Tavern!

The event will run from 6 to 8pm and if you sign up as a volunteer, the campaign will give you a button or bumper sticker (while supplies last). This isn't the first time the Obama campaign has held events here, and it's great to see a national campaign support a local business. You can rsvp for the event on Facebook or contact Pat Wong for more information.

Also, one of my pub trivia teammates has two tickets to the "So You Think You Can Dance" show on September 30th at 7:30pm at the Oakland Arena. You can see the seating location here and they're a bargain at just $100. Contact Jennifer at" today!

More entries soon as work permits...we've got a hell of a crisis on the cable car system that's in dire need of a serious blog posting....

August 21, 2008

MUNI Survival Guide For the Outside Lands Music Festival and the LaPlaya Block Party

Update: I just took a look at the NextMuni/GoogleMaps mashup, and it seems like there's a ton of N's in and outbound...good luck and get home safe everyone!

For those of you headed to the Outside Lands Music Festival this Friday-Sunday, and for those headed to the LaPlaya Block Party on Saturday, heads up: we may be looking at an epic MUNI failwhale festival, as we've previously discussed. However, the N Judah Chronicles does not exist simply to complain, but to try and assist our fellow citizens as they try and enjoy a nice weekend. Thus, I've come up with a list of things you might wanna do to try and avoid too much mayhem as you head to the various festivals this weekend. UPDATE: MUNI has also posted some guides, including "preferred" places to board the N, 71, et al.

1. Don't drive to the festival! - This may seem a bit counter-intuitive given that MUNI may be on the verge of collapse, but trust me - parking really sucks near Speedway Meadow anyway, but with zillions of music fans all trying to drive there, it will only get worse. And you can bet that DPT will be out there in an "Apocalypse Now" kind of deployment to write tickets (insert "Flight of the Valkyries" music here).

Continue reading "MUNI Survival Guide For the Outside Lands Music Festival and the LaPlaya Block Party" »

August 8, 2008

Help Clean Up the Neighborhood on Saturday!

Courtesy of Taraval Station Captain Paul Chignell's (always informative) daily email, I was alerted to some things happening Saturday, August 9th that aim to clean up our neighborhood along the N. Supervisor Mirkarimi and SF Connect are sponsoring an event that aims to help clean up the Inner Sunset neighborhood this Saturday. Volunteers will be asked to help clean graffiti, litter and the like. You can sign up at

Also, on the same day, if you have bulky household items needing disposal, you can drop them off for free at St. Anne's over at Funston and Irving, and electronic waste is being collected at 7th and Lawton. Too often, people just leave things on the street and "assume" some wayward soul will pick them up. It's much better to take advantage of programs such as these on Saturday, which ensure your junk gets taken away, not left on the streets.

July 31, 2008

And Now, A Serious Post About A Sad Story in Our Neighborhood...

Longtime Friend of the N Judah Chronicles Eve suggested that I use the increase in traffic due to the recent attention this blog has received to ask for everyone's help in finding out the trying to find the sickos who killed a dog that got lost at Ocean Beach.

If you spotted any suspicious activity on July 22nd that may be of use, please do not hesitate to call Animal Control with your info at (415) 554-9400. Yes, there's a reward and all, but that shouldn't be the reason one lends a hand here - it's finding the sick #$&*%#$@! that came to our part of town, stole away a dog, and decided that stabbing it to death was a Good Idea.

Crime is on the rise in San Francisco, and it's time we stopped just bitching about it on blogs, but take some action. If anyone can help out, please do so! Thanks!

July 16, 2008

Viral Marketing for the Batman Movie Extends to Mass Transit...

gcr.jpg Even transit folks such as myself are getting the word about the New Batman Film : a website for Gotham City Rail is now up, and it's even been defaced by a certain villian in advance ot the film.

Combined with the constellation of "faux" websites for Gotham Comcast Cable, and the Harvey Dent for DA campaign websites (complete with faux robocalls), well, it's a bit much. But it is also kinda funny to see a mythical transit system with problems far bigger than edgehogs and crazy drivers crashing into stuff.

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!

June 19, 2008

Holy Crap! Read This Dispatch from the Taraval Police Station!

Recently I signed up for the daily dispatch from Captain Paul Chignell of the Taraval Police Station, and it's been a bit of an eye opener.

This incident, which happened on Tuesday, was a) a bit scary since it happened just a block from my place and b) was reassuring in that the SFPD got the bad guys, and the victim got their stuff back. Read on:

06/17/08 3:00 pm 12th Avenue and Judah

A woman boarded a muni vehicle at 48th Avenue and Judah and noticed two suspects eyeing her. When the vehicle got to 12th Avenue and Judah, one of the suspects forcibly grabbed the victim's Ipod and fled the train.

A witness and the victim jumped off the train and tried to chase the suspects while calling 911. Officers Ron Gehrke and Fred Kwan responded to the area and obtained a description of the suspects.

The witness left the area and boarded another train and to his consternation saw the suspects again on that train. The police were called with Gehrke and Kwan boarding the train. The officers observed the suspects with their hands up and one saying "okay, you got us". The suspects were identified and the stolen property returned to the victim. Case #080633740

Yikes! It's good to know the bad guys got caught...but it's unfortunate that the DA lets people off so easy on these kinds of crimes and bad guys know it. Our police can't do their job if the DA doesn't have their back and keep some of these bad people off the streets.

You can send an email to the captain, and ask to join the email list. Since doing so I've become much more aware of just what goes on in our part of Our Fair City. I think the SFPD should be thanked for providing such a service to citizens so that they may be more vigilant about what happens around the neighborhood.

Links of Interest for June 19, 2008 - Manners in the 'Hood

Today's Links of Interest feature two sites that found their way into my Inbox recently which I hadn't seen before and both are quite interesting. (If you have a site or see something on the Series of Tubes that would make a good addition to Links of interest, please email me!)

Our first link is to the new blog MUNI Manners, which tackles the problems of daily MUNI interaction front and center, with an emphasis on courtesy and common sense solutions. We had a bit of discussion here last year with this issue but it is nice to see some Good Citizens create a forum for this subject all on its own. (Edgehogs, beware).

Our second link is to the blog In My Hood, but frankly, I'd rather call this a magazine online since the profiles of people and businesses in the Sunset are a bit more indepth than the shorter blog format. Grace, the author of the site, did a great interview with the owner of the Sunset Shoe Repair which I really liked. Each week has a new feature and is definitely worth putting in your RSS reader.

As always, you can read about all the sites we link to by clicking on the Links of Interest subject in the right hand column.

PS: I'm still looking for a new place, so my psuedo-contest to you, the Loyal Readers continues - if your tipoff to a rental in the Sunset leads to a successful transaction, you get a prize! A real prize too, not something boring, either.

June 12, 2008

Photo of the Day: The "Yes We Can" House is Awesome

Every day on the N one passes by what I call the "Yes We Can" house, which has the now-famous Obama-esque phrase painted on the fence. I don't know who lives here, but they seem pretty cool.

Last weekend they had an awesome little flea market which gave you free ice cream with every purchase, and now they're going to have a sort of Summer Solstice Celebration.

Whoever you are, Yes We Can House folks, thank you for making our neighborhood a little bit more fun!

May 29, 2008

Links of Interest for May 29, 2008

Thanks to the good people at The Google, specifically their "Alerts," I find all sorts of things I'd not find in my day to day reading. Today we have a number of neighborhood blogs that I've found interesting!

First there's Stepdown Stepdown, the blog companion to Stepdown Magazine which provide a variety of urban life stories, all from the perspective of the MUNI rider. They're fun to read, and have a nice mix that reflects day to day life in San francisco.

Two neighborhood blogs for Westsiders also caught my eye. Sunset Style focus on the architecture and related flourishes of the Sunset District. I particularly like how it picks up on the little details and the variety of architecture we have out here, since the Sunset filled in over time, and not all at once in one particular era.

Likewise, the Avenues Blog, which covers BOTH the Sunset and the Richmond, kicked off this month. Written by local Realtor Luba Muzichenko, it's a nice mix of real estate info and neighborhood news. I look forward to reading this site in the future.

And finally, while not necessarily Sunset related, I would be remiss in not linking to What I'm, which is one of the best photoblogs of San Francisco and the Bay Area out there. There are plenty more (and yes we will link to them, trust me), but I wanted to make sure the site got a mention this week.

That's all! Remember, you can always find past Links of Interest here, and if you have a site you'd like to suggest, please email me and I'll take a look! Thanks!

May 21, 2008

Links of Interest for May 21st, 2008

If ever you thought that only a few people blog about all things MUNI, you'd be wrong. Recently I discovered some very entertaining sites all about Our Favorite Transit System, and want to give 'em a little promo.

First, there's the MUNI diaries, which has an entertaining assortment of tales from daily life on MUNI. Notably, it has a bit about MUNI's problems on Bay To Breakers day, and so on. It plans to have many contributors, so check it out!

Another site I just found was the hilarious MUNI Gone Wild team blog, which built a mini streetcar and keg caddy for the Bay to Breakers race. I particularly liked some of their categories, such as the Seen and Heard section and the MUNI Fashion section. I look forward to seeing their pics from B2B.

Finally, although this site is not really Sunset or MUNI related, the Mission Mission blog is a great example of a neighborhood blog, as it is entertaining and informative about the area. This post, about certain patrons of Medjool absolutely cracked me up.

If you find a blog or website that's funny, interesting, or just plain weird, pass it along and I'll post it in a future Links of Interest feature.

May 16, 2008

Because SFist Did It First, It's Hot, and I'm Tired: Links for Bay To Breakers Info

Ah, SFist. Since I started this little site in 2005, SFist has been one of those constants on the blogging scene, always providing a mix of news and fun and the folks over there just radiate good energy. (I mean that, I'm not being a Snarky McBlogsnot).

And, because they're so darn awesome, they have the two links you need to survive Bay to Breakers: the liquor store guide for the BTB route and the incredibly detailed MUNI press release including added N Judah service. (BTW, has anyone noted the irony of a press spokesman whose last name is "True"? I think that beats out Reagan's press guy, Larry Speakes)

I'd actually planned on doing my own write up anyway, but it's hot, I'm tired, I have a ton of work to do over the weekend, and well, SFist is cool so here ya go. Enjoy and play safe this weekend!

UPDATE: The good folks at the Transbay Blog also have a list of MUNI madness for tomorrow. Enjoy!

May 15, 2008

How Are You Beating the Heat Today?

Time to lighten the mood around here....first by posing a question to the Loyal Readers - how are you beating the heat today?

The home office here is wonderful because it has so many windows. But that also means it's kind of a greenhouse on days like this (even with the windows open), so I plan to pack up the laptop and find somewhere a bit cooler. I really wish MUNI would post some PSAs about hygiene on the buses and the like. (Maybe we can get those people who do the anti-Meth ads to do some hard hitting PSAs on deodorant? Just a thought.)

Also, in related Fun Stuff, the always awesome Eye on Blogs at KPIX has an incredible round up of yesterday's sunset, with all the blues and reds, on Flickr. It is a pretty darn amazing collection and worth checking out - I've only had time to see a few but they are great!

linked image courtesy of awesome Flickr member keightdee!

May 13, 2008

A PSA from the NJC on Hot Weather, and The Bay To Breakers Aftermath

We don't have any celebrities to do those The More You Know - style PSAs like they have on NBC, but as a heat wave approaches San Francisco and the Bay Area, I felt it was time to resurrect an old PSA I did two years ago,:

PLEASE be considerate and use your favorite personal hygiene products before boarding our Mighty N, or other MUNI trains or buses during the heat wave. PLEASE.

And, for those of you who recycle, either to save Mother Earth, or to collect the CRV on the zillions of cans and bottles that will be dumped all over the Bay To Breakers route, please remember the MUNI system is not a trash hauling concern.

There are plenty of fun activities to enjoy around Our Fair City, and you don't always need a car to get to and from them. However, in a crowded MUNI bus or train, especially those sans any sort of air conditioning, conditions can get rough. So have a great week, enjoy the heat wave, and show your consideration to your fellow citizen by using any one of a number of hygiene products that will ensure if someone's smelling up MUNI, at least it isn't you or a loved one. Thank you!

May 12, 2008

No That's Not A Mirage, Those Are Actual Parking Spaces...

You know you live in San Francisco when the sight of not one, not two, not three, but FOUR parking spots, free and clear on a busy Saturday on Irving Street by the Post Office is so rare, you have to take a photo because no one will believe you if you just tell them about it.

Also, special thanks to our new advertiser, Joe Nation for State Senate, whose ad has covered the entire cost of hosting the site for the next year and then some! (All the regular features are still available, just scroll on down for subject archives, etc.)

If you've got something you'd like to advertise, feel free to email me. And, don't forget to check out our store as well!

April 9, 2008

Links of Interest for April 9th, 2008

What a day it was in blogville (and its suburb, Twitter-ville) today, eh? We had some amazing blog goodness, particularly from Eye on Blogs, CurbedSF, SFist and Fog City Journal, among others.

For today's Links of Interest, however, we'll take a step away from the rush-rush of the day's events and focus on some blogs that take a look at urban life through a MUNI-esque lens. I've found all of them to be quite entertaining in that observational kind of way.

I caught TangoBaby's blog via Google News alerts, and her photo essay on the commute, via the Mighty N, was a nice find. She also did an entertaining post on the reading habits of those of us commuting on the N.

Likewise, if you've not read the dispatches by Rachel over at Fog City Notes, you're missing out on the kind of "as it happens" commentary I used to do more of when I started this blog a while back. And it's thanks to her I also discovered No Line Left Behind, which is an entertaining ride on all the MUNI lines. Her notes as she makes various stops are quite illuminating. I remember years ago reading about a group of people who decided to ride every line on MUNI over a Labor Day Weekend, but have yet to find the article....

Two other observational blogs I've caught on Google Alerts are I Ride MUNI and the awesomely named Stepdown, Stepdown. Both offer yet more eyes on the daily grind that is MUNI, and both are fun to read.

Remember, you can always find our ongoing Links of Interest by clicking on the subject heading in the right column. It's better than trying to cram all the awesome links into a giant column, and you also get a little background on each site as well!

March 17, 2008

A Cavalcade of Whimsy, Sans Mayhem on March 15th....

It's easy to forget why it is one chooses to live here, what with all the shenanigans and whatnots. Saturday, however was one of those days that remind you how fun it can be to live here - and how easily accessible Our Fair City is, courtesy of MUNI and walking. I posted a photoset on Flickr (which CBS5 was kind enough to link to this morning! Thanks!)

"Mason Powell" and I met up at the Civic Center to catch the end of the St. Patrick's Day Parade. I didn't take many pictures, but SFMike took some (as always) great pics here. I did, however, snap a quick shot of the BART car, but sadly, my shot of Frank Chu got blurred. D'oh!

We decided to take a walk down Market Street since its post-apocalyptic feel was on hold for the parade, and eventually made our way to the Ferry Building and the Embarcadero Center. Another "only in SF" moment here - some guy had a huge bag of birdseed and made a triangle, then left, which seemed odd. I mean, if someone is going to go to the trouble of making birdseed shapes, wouldn't they wanna see the results?

As luck would have it, we ran into the "Brides of March" mob as they made their way through downtown, first at a jewelry store, then through Maiden Lane and onward into Union Square. The scene was made even more surreal as the little cafe on Union Square was blasting Perry Como music as the mob of brides stormed the square. A group of tourists watched the spectacle and said "Well, you really know we're in San Francisco now!" and took plenty of pics.

We noticed we had a little time to kill before the Flickr Birthday Party, so we decided to do something touristy, and went to the top of the Marriott Hotel for a drink and an obligatory photo from the 39th floor. Then we headed to the Flickr party just a few blocks away at 111 Minna (as advertised on the back of Frank Chu's sign).

Not only did we get free drinks and whatnot, we also got to see elements of our day come together. Frank Chu was there. The Brides were there. St Patrick's Day celebrants were there. I think even some of the birds from earlier in the day flew by. Tons of pictures from folks around the world. We ran into Jackson West (who we learned is now writing for, and even got to meet Violet Blue.

All in all, a fun day, capped off with a drama-free 1-car N-Judah ride home. Sometimes it's nice to have a day sans MUNI drama and City Hall silliness and just enjoy the civilian silliness that can make SF a fun place to live.

March 4, 2008

Another Larry David Day On the N-Judah: Apparently I Look Just Like Some Kid's Dad!

Today was a nice day. Great weather, and I got done with work early, which allowed me some time to enjoy a free afternoon at the DeYoung Museum, since it was First Tuesday. Wonderful.

So, after a quick client meeting downtown, I hopped on the Mighty N and started reading The Onion, and the train was not too crowded. Little did I know my Larry David Day was going to be starting up fairly soon.

Sometimes people-watching is part of the MUNI experience, but today was not one of them - I just wanted to go to the museum and avoid any MUNI related mayhem. As such, I did not notice the mom with the two kids get on the train at Duboce and Church.

More people got on the train. And all the while I didn't really pay attention to these folks and this noise a few seats away. Finally one of the kids built up into a crescendo of noise. "MOM! Look over there! MOM! Look over there! MOM! Look over there!"

Jeez, kid, why don't you record it on an MP3 and relax the vocal cords. Whatever. I kept reading The Onion.

"MOM! You SAID Dad was on a business trip, but he's not. He's over THERE!"

Ha ha, I thought. Someone's getting busted. This is some serious MUNI Street Theater! I kept reading, looking around for someone who's apparently in some trouble, maybe in some salacious affair or whatnot.

The mom kept shushing the kids, trying to keep 'em in line. Finally the older one (I have no idea how old kids are and can't tell by looking so who knows) says as loud as he can "MOM! He's wearing a black tshirt, he's sitting in the middle of the train, and he's RIGHT THERE READING THE PAPER!"

Oh. Crap. W.T.F???

I did my best to hide. Clearly, I resemble some child's dad, which, while sad for the child and all, does make me feel a little good, but what in the Hell is the Emily Post etiquette for being mistaken as someone's Not At Home Dad by some kid on the N Judah?

I did my best to hid behind the paper, but it was for naught. Fortunately, "Mom" was cool and said "Kids, that is NOT Dad, and I'll prove it."

Oh. Frak. Me.

The woman came over and smile and said "I'm really sorry about do kind of resemble my husband, but I need to prove it, and, um, well I can't get my kid to settle down."

We were winding down Carl Street at this point and frankly I would have been happy to press a magic button and get an ejector seat out of that frakking N just to avoid this very situation. Give me violent hobos any day.

"Kids...this is NOT dad. He's just some guy on the train. Now cool it!"

Just some guy on the train. Hmm. Not bad. I was worried she was going to say something worse, but hey, all in day's work. I wanted to give her a card and say "hey I'm not just some guy on a train, I'm the guy who blogs about the train," but then I realized just how seriously lame that sounds and went back to reading the interview with Will Farrell.

Cue the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme.

PS: The museum was awesome, as always, and the view from the tower was spectacular!

February 9, 2008

Enjoy the SPECTACULAR Weather Today!

It's hard to believe that just a few weeks ago the weather was so rainy and cold, and today...well if you haven't gone outside yet, get thee away from thine computer, and go outside!

I will be semi-offline for a few days as the lovely knuckleheads at Comcast and AT&T have found a new way to screw up ordering home internet service. In the meantime, enjoy this piece of art some awesome artist drew on the paper "tablecloths" at Wunder Beer on 9th Avenue.

Brock, over at SFist was kind enough to make this the Photo Du Jour. Thanks, Brock!

February 3, 2008

A Few Random "Eli Stone" Screenshots for Your Enjoyment

While I'm awaiting the start of the Superbowl, as well as all those Awesome Superbowl Ads, I thought I'd post a few screenshots from the first episode of "Eli Stone" on ABC.

For some reason, I have a morbid fascination with movies and TV shows that shoot on location in San Francisco, and now that Journeyman, with its many only-on-TV MUNI moments off the air, means that for now, "Eli Stone" will have to fulfill San Francscans' need to be validated by our cousins to the south in Tinseltown.

Those Loyal Readers who peruse my my Flickr photos may recall that I took some photos on the day they were shooting this scene on the cable cars as it just happened to be a couple of blocks from an apartment I was house sitting in Nob Hill.

Anyway, enjoy the Superbowl, and enjoy the ads! And if you can get outside, enjoy the momentary sun we seem to have as well!

January 15, 2008

Righteous Folks Saving Our MUNI Heritiage, Courtesy of Telstar Logistics!

The seriously cool local phenomenon known as Telstar Logistics which combines coolness, local history, and a dose of kick-ass all in one once again alerts us to some awesome investigation on their part.

Already, we've talked about their blasts from the past, but today, Telstar Logistics tells a story about the the good citizens who make our F-line cars rock like no other.

Lighter lit because once again Telstar Logistics rocks - and once again we're alerted to the good citizens who do the things that make Our Fair City the kind of place that we want to live in.

December 3, 2007

C.W. Obvious Comes to the Sunset, Blogging Mayhem Ensues - The NJC Perspective

Over the weekend, Chronicle readers were treated to this column by CW Obvious on a really horrible stabbing that happened in the Outer Sunset. Thank God the poor woman (an exchange student from Germany) survived and isn't dead, but I can only imagine the pain (mental and physical) such an attack would cause. On behalf of the good people of San Francisco, we all want to say "we're sorry" our City sucked so much you got attacked.

As you might imagine, CW's safari into the strange and mysterious wilds of the Outer Sunset set off blogging mayhem, SF Style, with all sorts of accusations and recriminations, not to mention a torrent of angry comments on SFGate. Feel the love, people.

For me, however, I found the whole situation to be Yet Another Example of how local media might better serve their dwindling readership if they took some classes at the No Duh Institute.

It's no secret that whenever the 5-0 roust the perpetually ill or perpetually addicted from one spot, they go elsewhere, preferably somewhere with some spare change, but without a lot of police or citizen hassle. Too often, that's meant the outer neighborhoods, and we've seen what happens when we get to critical mass. Neither the "homeless" or the citizens win in the end.

Sure, CW and the Chronicle may feel great when they take pictures of "the rabble" being rousted out of a portion of Golden Gate Park - but they don't seem to be aware that the warm, squishy feelings don't change anything - "the rabble" simply pick up sticks and move elsewhere, often using our MUNI.

Now, you would think in a city with as many allegedly intelligent people as ours, folks could turn down the irrational emotions and sensational articles for a few minutes, think about the many issues involved, listen to each other and those involved in said issues, and come to a reasonable solution.

I don't know that the "homeless," drug addicts, or the mentally ill are served particularly well by having them living around the streets, hurting themselves and others, and not being on the medication that can literally save their lives. On the other hand, I've seen enough demands for detention camps (and worse) for folks guilty of the crime of Not Having Money or Having a F*cked Mental Illness to make me wonder just how "enlightened" San Francisco really is.

Instead, as with MUNI, people are content to scream and yell from their respective ideological corners, the louder the better, and to Hell with the Other Side. Too bad that in this case, as with MUNI, the reasonable people of San Francisco are caught in the middle - and end up the ones who lose the most.

November 13, 2007

Reader Mail: A MUNI Driver and Our Fellow Citizens Come to the Rescue!

Reader Alexandra writes in with an interesting tale of a blocked entrance at Fillmore and Duboce, a "get it done" MUNI driver, some helpful passengers, and a crabby cabbie. Read on:

On the 9th around 1440 I was on my typical daily commute home...All of a sudden on filmore & duboce the J halts-there's a truck blocking the tracks...driiinnnng drinnnng nothing happens now there's a taxi on the right site blaring his horn.

So the driver gets out with his coffee and it turns out that the truck broke down. The driver then announces over the intercom that he needs some guys to help push the truck out of the way. Oh..and he also tells the obnoxious driver politely to get his ass out of the taxi and help push.

What followed was just this great comical relief. The driver with his coffee, his back against the truck pushing with several guys from the J-Church and then the disgruntled taxi driver. About a second after they push the truck out of the way the muni help truck roars in....and the driver simply tells them that its all done.

When GTD comes to MUNI, everyone wins!

September 27, 2007

A Really Great Documentary You Should See: New Urban Cowboy: The Labors of Michael E. Arth

Although not technically "MUNI" related, I wanted to get the word out about a documentary at the 6th Annual SF Documentary Film Festival that is well worth the time and trouble to go see - New Urban Cowboy: The Labors of Michael E. Arth.

I had the opportunity to meet the filmmaker, Blake Wiers, earlier this year and see a rough cut of the film and even in its unfinished state, it was a remarkable film. The story itself seems simple - Michael Arth, an architect and urban planner, decides to put his theories to the test by selling his home in California, moving to Deland, Florida, and doing what no sane person would do - buy houses in the crappiest part of town ("Cracktown") and try and make it into something better. And guess what? He did!

What's interesting about this film is that it shows the power of doing something about a problem, instead of talking and doing nothing. When you see the before and after pictures of this neighborhood (which is now called the "Garden District") you're simply amazed. But when you realize that this happened not with endless bureaucracy, or politically connected nonprofits, but instead by the hard work and determination of someone who decided to do something, then you realize that there's more to this story than just that of some guy fixing up a neighborhood.

I am looking forward to the final cut of the film next week, and would urge you to check out the film if you can. Too often, as citizens of Our Fair City, we are resigned to accepting things that don't work : MUNI, housing, job creating, whatever, and look upon city problems as too complex and "unsolveable".

Sadly, we also have a leadership class that's all too willing to reinforce this view. Seeing this film makes you realize that sometimes you don't need endless talk and studies and whatnot to make a difference - sometimes you just need a nail gun and the will to do what's needed.

September 13, 2007

Friday Fun: "SF Summer" Weather and the Autumn Moon Festival on Saturday

While others see September as a month of cooler and cooler weather, we in San Francisco are finally getting our summer. I'd been working as fast as I could to get out of the office today and enjoy some of it while it lasts.

Also, right along the Mighty N's route is the Autumn Moon Festival on Irving Street between 22nd and 25th. They usually have something fun to do at these kinds of events, and it's easy to get to - just take the N and get off at 22nd and walk to Irving Street!

Enjoy your weekend and hopefully today's commute won't suck too much!

August 20, 2007

How About A Party for The Rest of Us Who AREN'T Going to Burning Man?

Hey fellow San Franciscans! As you may or may not know, the infamous Burning Man shindig starts on August 27th and lasts through September 3rd. Now, while I have nothing personally against the .02% of San Franciscans who engage in this (or any other) fun activity, I do get tired of some people in town telling me if I don't go to Burning Man, I'm somehow not cool enough to live in the Bay Area.

So, maybe it's time we had a party whilst the better-than-us crowd is out of town...any ideas, folks?

August 7, 2007

A Non Work Safe Post For Tuesday: Splattered Birds On The N!

Because your day is not complete without at least one non-work safe gross out post, here's one of a series I'm compiling entitled "The Splattered Birds of the N Judah Line."

It seems like almost every day now, I see a newly splattered bird on or near the tracks of the N. This was the first, with the additional gross-out factor of another bird apparently taking advantage of the free food on the N line, and the second was this one, I saw on Sunday.

And there's been others, but I wasn't in position to take pics. What gets me is that these are almost always at stops and it's not like the bird cant, you know, fly away from the oncoming slow train!

July 31, 2007

Jury Duty Day 3....Gavin on the N...and the NJC on SFist (again)

So I'm stuck on jury duty (again) and at Caffe Roma on Bryant for lunch (again) but this time I'm armed with the laptop and checking in on all things online during the lunch break.

SFist Leanne has once again featured one of my "found" photos, and I once again say thanks for the link. And as is the custom at SFist these days, an innocent snapshot becomes the fodder for a troll war. C'mon kids, it's just a picture taken for fun!

Also, in the "SFist Contribute" section, an anonymous contributor noted that Our Mayor was on the N Judah this morning around 9am. Too bad I was stuck in court for jury duty - I might have had to ask Mr. Invincible about that problem with the Irving/9th and Judah/9th intersections that make life miserable for cars, pedestrians, businesses and MUNI....

Back to the it just me or is waiting to be put on the panel for jury duty kind of like being on "The Price Is Right" but without any Turtle Wax or chances to win a new car?

July 28, 2007

Having A "Larry David Day" on the N and Around Town....

As I mentioned previously, I managed to avoid the latest MUNI goof-fest on the KLM lines going downtown on Friday. Little did I know that upon leaving my home for downtown to go see the Simpsons Movie, I was going to have what I have named a "Larry David Day" in honor of the star of the show Curb Your Enthusiasm, and those odd situations one sometimes find themselves in around town.

The fun started when I boarded the N on Carl St. at Stanyan and was a bit surprised to find so many apocalyptic looking old hobos on the train. These were not your usual less-fortunate citizens sharing a ride as part of our usual diverse N Judah riders. These were the kind of angry, older, pissed off types that all have that look on their face that says "I'm gonna go down and don't mind taking as many as you with me as I can." I've written about these types before.

Anyway, as we traveled downtown, our mix of commuters, apocalyptic hobos, and geeks such as yours truly made our way without too many incidents, aside from a loud argument over the relative value of plastic bottles vs. cans (No I am not making that up). I got off the train at Civic Center and met up with colleague Mason Powell, to go see the movie and get a sandwich at one of my favorites, Tommy's Joynt. Aside from a few dumbass fratboy types from out of town who blocked the line with their incessant guffaws, body slamming, and dumb questions (tourists, behave, please) it was fine.

Continue reading "Having A "Larry David Day" on the N and Around Town...." »

July 24, 2007

If You Can Read This You're Lucky....Power Outages in SF....

Well that explains a lot....I was wondering why so many sites were "down" and our intrepid friends at SFist are reporting about all sorts of power outages down town. Valleywag posts that in fact part of the problem seems to be a drunk employee at a downtown data center. Yikes! For now, my sidebar blog at VOX is down as are a whole lotta sites....

So, if you can read this article, I suppose you should consider yourself lucky! Let me know if any MUNI drama results - I'm working safely in the Sunset all day today and managed to avoid any MUNI commuting today!

July 19, 2007

Reader Mail: Finding an Apartment in SF - The Cold Hard Facts

So many people rent in San Francisco, so anything rental housing-related catches many people's eye. Reader Ethan, who, like me was/is confounded at finding a decent apartment at a good price, decided to take a look at the SF housing market through the prism of Google Maps and Craigslist ads. CraigsStats is the end result of his work.

There is a lot of information here, all presented using data from Craigslist and combined with Google maps in a way to make it easier to understand. If you've ever had to look for a new place in the last year or so, it's worth looking at and see what you've been dealing with in terms of the ways rents go up and down around town. If you're about to start looking for a new place, it's also worth looking at to see how things have been going as of the last year or so.

I've been meaning to do a mashup of Google Maps and MUNI stops and Craigslist rental ads, but I'm not as proficient in programming as others, and Real Life keeps interrupting my time to spend on developing the site (as it has this week). For now, check out Ethan's hard work and learn something new today!

July 13, 2007

The Lighter Side of...Blogging: Misc. Updates from the N Judah Chronicles

This weather has been spectacular, hasn't it? Makes it esp. hard to focus on all things blogworthy since I'd rather be outside. For today, let's lighten the mood with a few pieces of news....

First, I got an email from the folks at Outside.In (whom I have linked to in the past). It seems they've found a way to put Google maps and blog postings together. Upon reading this, my first reaction was to wonder where's the wacky ad with a guy carrying a jar of blog postings has some groovy chick with a bar of Google Maps collide, with blogolicious results?

Although it looks like I may need to make a few minor changes to make sure all mappable entries are mapped as such, you can still see the results so far and if anything it just confirms I really do like the revamped Blackthorn Tavern.

This weekend I'll be putting together a new photo feature, so be sure to check in later on and see what we come up with. Despite a tiny scheduling snafu we fixed, it should turn out quite nicely, esp. since it looks like this weather is going to hold.

Enjoy your weekend, and be sure to get outside and enjoy the nice weather. Remember, though, if you come to the Irving and 9th intersection to please be careful, and we'll continue to put pressure at the approrpriate online blogs as well!

Endut! Hoch Hech!

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that I Spy Gallery on Market will be hosting the artwork of Georgianne Fastia tonight, and will have an opening party. They will also be offering 15% off anything for sale in the store, so if you're redecorating your home and are looking for some interesting items, check it out. I've attended their openings before and they are usually pretty fun. And it's right on the F-Market line!

May 31, 2007

MUNI Street Theater PSA: Why You Really Shouldn't Eat or Drink on MUNI

We live in a society of folks who don't like rules. Well, more correctly they like rules for everyone else but they sure as heck don't like rules for them. For that reason, we have MUNI Street Theater.

The other day we had a special PSA provided by our players: "Why You Shouldn't Eat or Drink on MUNI." The show was short and to the point, just like those sugary little bits of wisdom on TV, and similarly, made a point that only the terminally clueless wouldn't get.

After having lunch at Zazie in Cole Valley, I got on the N to go back to the Sunset, and a guy rushed on with the tallest coffee one can buy.

Without a lid.

And, like a horror movie where one sees Victim #2 about to open the door where the murderer is hiding, I wanted to shout advice to the cast member, but realized it'd be futile. Sure, one should not eat or drink on MUNI and in this case it was a matter of practicality - given the sudden stops the N has to make, it was likely that at some point Our Zero Hero was going to be wearing his coffee. However, I also realized that in our Era of No Rules, saying so would be pointless.

Continue reading "MUNI Street Theater PSA: Why You Really Shouldn't Eat or Drink on MUNI" »

April 28, 2007

Friday Foto Fun: Critical Mass, Park Life Gallery, and Mayhem on Geary Street

In what is becoming an almost weekly ritual, I have another Flickr Photo Set of various events from Friday afternoon and evening.

Among the notable events - Critical Mass folks at the Ferry Building, art and more at Park Life Gallery and Store on Clement Street, and a really bad accident that happened on Geary and 3rd while I was on the way home (and watching the media copters cover the cookie monsters on wheels).

More today if I get a chance...if you're not already outside enjoying today's weather, get away from the computer and do so now!

April 25, 2007

A Faux MUNI Ad I Found By Way of SFist....

Courtesy of SFist, I found this link to a faux ad for MUNI that was somewhat amusing. Check it out!

April 22, 2007

Weekend Fun Photos on Flickr!

This weekend I spent a lot of time out and about. On Friday, I took the Mighty N down to City Hall, where I checked out the latest "Third Friday" art exhibit at Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi's office This time the featured art was of San Francisco movie theaters (working and forlorn) that are a part of the Left In The Dark exhibit.

Aftewards, I walked to the I Spy Gallery on Market Street, where they featured the art of Ryan McGavin, as well as the assorted items they sell in their store. Afterwards, I went home and caught a 6 Parnassus where I was treated to a mini-feature of Muni Street Theater before heading home.

Check out the various photos I took at Flickr, and I'll post more photos soon!

March 29, 2007

The N-Judah Chronicles Is On The Move, In The News, and More!

Loyal Readers: The N-Judah Chronicles headquarters is on the move, and since I had so much luck selling off some items last year on this site, I thought I'd put out the word I'm looking for a new place.

I've had to move earlier than I thought due to the fact a water leak in the building has created some odd situations (including the collapse of a ceiling in a hallway it's an old building and no one knew about the leak for years!), so I need to move, like, fast.

Although I peruse Craigslist regularly, my experience with places in the Inner/Outer Sunset, or anywhere near UCSF, is that many units never make it into an ad. This is especially true for studios and 1 bedroom places, since there aren't as many around as there are houses and flats. (and while I love Duboce Park and Cole Valley, I think they tend to be a bit pricier than elsewhere on the line).

Although I plan on doing a long walk through the neighborhood scouting for "For Rent" signs this weekend, if you know of a place that's coming on the market (esp. now that school will be letting out soon for most colleges), feel free to email me and let me know what you see out there!

Also, in unrelated news, the San Francisco Chronicle quoted me in the paper regarding recent additions to the NextMuni (aka NextBus). I had the chance to speak with Rachel Gordon while attending a meeting about the Transit Effectiveness Project yesterday that was quite interesting, and I'll post more on it later this week!

March 3, 2007

Hot Dog We Have a Weiner: Meet Pica, Our First Duboce Park Dog of the Week!

Sorry, I couldn't resist recycling that line from the Simpsons

I'm happy to announce the first entry in the N-Judah Chronicles' new feature, Duboce Park Dog of the Week, where we'll be featuring our fellow citizens' dogs! And who doesnt like a good dog picture to break up a boring workday, right?

Pica (short for Picante) is a feisty little 2-year old pug that likes to go to the park and to the beach. Her "mom", Ellen Sherrod, takes Pica out when she's not busy running Ellen Sherrod Design, an award winning print and web design company based in San Francisco.

Want your dog featured in the N-Judah Chronicles? Email me your info and a picture of your dog. Who knows? Maybe yours will be the next Duboce Park Dog of the Week!

March 2, 2007

A Moment of Truth, Almost Daily, On the N-Judah

Being the kind of person I am, I think about all sorts of things. One, though that crosses my mind almost daily as I take the N-Judah inbound is what I call the "Moment of Truth" when it passes through the Duboce/Church intersection and into the tunnel.

Almost every time, it needs to stop just before it enters the tunnel to allow for traffic from other underground lines headed for the stations downtown. And every time it does, I begin to wonder what would happen if the power was cut (due to technical delays or a natural disaster) and suddenly, all of us on the N were stuck in the car.

There's no easy way out. The space between the doors and the sides of the tunnel entrance are extremely narrow, and even if one could override the doors and open them up, it's hard to see how you'd evacuate everyone out, esp. seniors, the disabled, etc. And I've yet to see an escape hatch on top (although perhaps it's just camouflaged?) like one has on a bus.

I certainly hope neither I, nor any of my fellow MUNI riders ever get stuck there, but if anyone has an escape plan email me ASAP!

February 25, 2007

Fare Evader Junkie Logic - Celebrity Style

Whenever I listen to the plaintive cries of fare-evaders I wish I could tape the "junkie logic" these folks use to try and explain away why they boarded without paying like the rest of us citizens.

Just the other day I couldn't help but laugh at yet another well-heeled upscale hipster, trying to explain why he didn't have a transfer or a pass in the Van Ness station that utilized such extreme junkie logic, even the MUNI fare inspector had a look on their face of "Oh my God, I've finally heard it all." Trying to remember it properly just gives me a headache.

Then I opened up the Examiner and read junkie logic, boomer celebrity style in the form of Ken Garcia's column in the Examiner. Now, normally I don't spend a lot of time reading Ken's columns since I pretty much know what he's going to say in advance on any issue, but the headline made me curious.

After reading it, it was clear what the problem was - he doesn't mind the MUNI fare inspectors doing their job and applying the rules to Everyone Else, he just doesn't like it applied to his own kid or her friends. While admitting, yes, they screwed up, he feels his kids and their friends should have gotten a mere warning, while you, I, and Everyone Else should get a big ticket and more.

Apparently, fare inspectors are to deduce that kids from the good part of town deserve a pass, while another kid with the same story (and from a part of town Mr. Garcia doesn't like) should get a ticket and a slap upside the head.

After all, shouldn't MUNI inspectors just "know" that "good kids" (i.e. his) deserve a break? And if they don't, that must be because (as he alleges without any statistical evidence) "most" transit inspectors are ex-thugs and not qualified to do their job - simply because, well, they did it "too well." See how junkie logic works? Yeah, my head is spinning too. And not in the good way.

It's not his kid's fault, and it's certainly not his fault as a parent for not buying his kid a bus pass, it's always Someone Else's Fault. (Thank you, baby boomers for that gem of current American life) But if you or I screw up on MUNI, don't look for any sympathy from Mr. Garcia and his band of junkie logic practicioners - it never works that way!

February 16, 2007

A Sunny Friday on the N-Judah

It was too nice to stay cooped up inside today. I mean, really - after all that crap-tacular rain the other day, it was great to get out in spring-like weather.

I took the N all the way to the end, with the idea I'd get a drink and hang out at the always nice Java Beach Cafe, but every other person in the area had the same idea....there was literally nowhere to sit!

So, after hanging out for a little bit, I made a retreat to the always reliable Yancy's Saloon where they have reliable WiFI and friendly bartenders. I got a little work done, enjoyed the view, and had a nice chat with one of their servers and discussed the merits of Google Earth.

I took a couple of quick camera phone photos and posted them to this Flickr Photoset. Enjoy the rest of the good weather while it lasts!

January 26, 2007

Ever Had a Day That Made You Wish You'd Stayed At Home?

Some days make you wish you'd stayed at home. Today was mine. And it wasn't because of the rain. Rather, it was one of those days where doing the simplest tasks took longer than they should have, and the many irritants we have come to know on the N-Judah all got together and had a Rainy Day Party.

Now the rain is fine, it wasn't that big a deal, just a minor annoyance on way out the door from the 150th day of noisy upgrades and repairs at my building. It's an older building and it's groovy the owners are fixing up all sorts of stuff that needs to be done - but the constant noise + random power outages make it hard to do my work. So I escaped, rain be damned.

After heading down to the Civic Center to take care of some business, I had lunch, and took a look at the NextBus listings for the N-Judah line. Why, in only 25 minutes my N Judah train was due to show up at Van Ness! And I was a mere 10 minutes away on foot! How fortuitous!


Instead, as is the case every time I use the Van Ness Station and am in a rush, the moment I entered the station, the quantum resonance of the universe changed, and I (along with 100 deep of my fellow N-Judah riders) were stuck waiting a lot longer than 25 minutes or 10 minutes or whatever the heck it should have been, and got to watch an unending conga line of Ks, Ls, and Ms, with hardly any passengers. How does this happen?

Continue reading "Ever Had a Day That Made You Wish You'd Stayed At Home?" »

October 19, 2006

Cars Are Cool. Really!

Cars are cool.

Yes, I said it. Cars can be really cool sometimes. Much as I enjoy taking the N, or sometimes a cable car, to my intended destination, the reality is that sometimes the best efforts of MUNI, BART or any mass transit agency can't meet the needs of the average resident.

Recently I sold my groovy IKEA desk to a loyal reader, and the reality is that trying to haul that thing on a MUNI car would have been a fool's errand. Not to mention the glares I'd get from my fellow passengers. So I rented a U Haul van for a very reasonable price, and was zipping all around town. It was great!

Now, that said, I quickly found myself in the quagmire that is San Francisco parking. Unbeknownst to loyal readers, I once had only one super-power, and unfortunately it's nothing as cool as bending time and space, or flying. It was my Jedi-like ability to find parking in even the most difficult neighborhoods of SF. When I had my super cool (but just a bit too big and awkward) car in San Francisco, I managed to find parking all the time. However, that power has gone by the wayside it seems. I began to wonder if somehow the city had bent space and time to actually make it harder to park a freakin' van.

But it was then when I realized what the real problem was. When you need a car, either to haul something big and ugly, or to take small children safely from place to place, or to accomodate an elderly parent or relative, you really need the streets to run smoothly and the parking situation to not suck as much as it does. I can only imagine the frustration parents must have in San Francisco taking kids to a music lesson or the doctor when traffic + parking conspire together to make one's day suck.

Which, ironically is why you really need MUNI to work properly, and not be a hotbead of fingerpointing, dysfunction, and a daily example of lurching stupidity. If people who really don't need to drive are offered an affordable, pleasant way to avoid the parking/traffic two step from Hell, they will - and free up the street for deliveries, and for those who can't take a MUNI because it just doesn't work.

We all need to take our heads out of the sand on this one. A good transit system makes it easier for cars to get around when they really need to - and takes them off the road when they don't. If we build something that works, and we show people it's worth the risk - they'll do it. San Francisco was once the City That Knew How - let's take it away from those who now make it The City That Knows How To Whine, and see what happens.

October 14, 2006

Tragedy at Church Street Station

Ever walk into a room or building and immediately know something is seriously wrong, without actually knowing specifically what it is? That's how I felt when I decided to take a MUNI ride via the Church Street underground station this afternoon after running errands.

Right when I walked in, something just didn't seem right. And after walking through the fare gate, I could tell something was up. People were standing all around on the walkway that is above both tracks and everyone had this quizzical-to-weirded out look.

At first, I thought someone had thrown a bottle or something at an incoming car, because I could see the remains of what seemed to be a large green-glassed bottle. But then when I got downstairs, they turned off the train entirely, and the train operator had a distressed look on her face. It turned out someone had jumped in front of the car and killed themself.

One hears about this from time to time, but it's different when you're there. If I had literally walked in 10 minutes sooner, I would have had the distinct horror of actually seeing it happen. For lack of a better, non-New Agey term, the energy in that station was just plain f--ked up and sad.

Within minutes they evacuated the station and the emergency response people were at the station. I took off and took my normal N a block away. So if you were wondering why there was no doubt a delay on some inbound lines, well, there you have it. A sad event, for sure.

(By the way, a big FU to the many cars on Market Street, including a limo, who refused to get out of the fire engine's way. Don't you people know how to drive?)

September 22, 2006

Weekend Fun For Everyone On The N-Judah Line

It looks like our still-spectacular weather will stick around for a few more days, which is good news, because that means you can enjoy some of the weekend events without having to dress for summer (colder) weather.

Just like last year, the annual Love Parade will be held at the Civic Center, and no doubt feature many, many DJs, and many many other things to look at and listen to. I went last year and was astounded at just how loud it could get, and yet, I didn't have that awful pain in the head one gets at a live show. I think the 8 dollar vodka cocktails helped, though.

Also, on Sunday, you can take the N-Judah to Carl and Cole for the Heart of Cole Valley Festival. Definitely smaller than other neighborhood fairs, but also a bit less prefab, as well. All of the local merchants will be particpating, but best of all, local artist Niana Liu will be there. Her special brand of art, focused on San Francisco, and often times the N-Judah line and MUNI has always been a favorite here at the Chronicles, and we've bought a lot of her postcards to send to our friends Elsewhere.

Let's just hope no one gets killed or hurt in any MUNI accidents, and that the weather holds for a few more days!

September 19, 2006

Sunny Fall Days in San Francisco and Some Things for Sale on Craigslist

Hopefully, you got out this weekend and enjoyed some of the spectacular warm weather we had recently, as a respite from the many woes of MUNI this past week. Even today, with its sunny weather (even out here in the humble Inner Sunset), you're reminded of why September in our fair city can be truly enjoyable.

In unrelated matters, the international headquarters of the N Judah Chronicles is moving, and I'm selling off a few very nice items I don't need in my new place. One is a 4.5 month old IKEA desk in excellent shape that I would love to keep (but no longer need). The other is a really nice designer microwave that I've had in storage for a year. It's also in excellent shape and has all the manuals, etc. So, if you're interested, drop me a line - I'm willing to deal!

August 31, 2006

It's A Sunny Day Despite MUNI's Computer Woes

After a couple of weeks of less-than-stellar weather, it was a nice belated birthday present to see the sun come out here in the Inner Sunset. As Comcast Internet is down at home, it gave me yet another reason to get out of the house and post away at the Canvas Gallery, one of the many free WiFi spots here in the neighborhood.

Don't let those tales of MUNI woe or those mean folks on wheels get you down - get outside and get to the park and enjoy our remaining days of summer!

Also, loyal reader Steve Rhodes alerted me to the Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema, which will be showing the short film N-Judah by Sam Green, on September 2nd. Apparently the short is available as a features on this DVD as well!

Thanks for the heads up, Steve!

August 24, 2006

Friday Fun on the N Judah Line

While reading, easily my favorite local website (and who threw a great party last week), I came across this story, about plans by a group of folks to take over an N Judah car and turn it into a party car.

I have to say I was amused, partially because I like the idea of occasional take-overs of public space and transport by these kinds of random events, and partially because I had planned at one point to do an N-Judah pub crawl this weekend, but put it on hold until later so I could plan it just right.

Plus, it is important to remember that back when San Francisco had a full network of rail lines in town, there were private cars one could rent to have drinks and dinner with friends on the way to the opera, etc. The practice ended when some conductors got loaded and crashed one of the cars (fortunately no one died)

If I check it out tomorrow, I'll try and get some pictures and let you know all how it went. If you're interested, show up at the 4th and King St. Station at 7:59pm and see what happens. Should be interesting.

August 8, 2006

What A Great Day To Be In The Sunset District!

No special reason....just enjoying the fact I'm working out of my home office for some great clients, and enjoying this spectactular weather we're having. It's sunny, breezy, not too hot, not too cold - just right. And since I'm working at home it's ok if I have a michelada while I work.

All in all, a great time to be in the Sunset. Who cares if people think it's "cool" or not? By my reckoning, with the sun in the sky and the sea breeze flowing, it's "cooler" than a lot of places I could be in the USA right now. So there! :-)

July 21, 2006

Friday Fun: Photos From A Sunny Day In San Francsico

Yesterday, "Mason Powell" and I did a photo shoot for my work, taking advantage of the unusually clear and bright weather we're having. Here are some samples, with pop-ups. Most were taken at the park in the Golden Gate Heights neighborhood, which is just a few blocks from my house.

This is a nice photo of the Sunset, framed by the trees of the park:

Here's another from the park, looking towards the city. Later we went to the Presidio, and over to the Marina. San Francisco is really not that big of a city!

Here's a view of Sutro Tower and Twin Peaks from Moraga Avenue, on the way to the park:

The Mighty N-Judah making the turn at Ocean Beach:

And some birds at the beach, enjoying the sun:

June 27, 2006

"You're In the Blog, Buster!"

One of the rewards of writing The N-Judah Chronicles is that the many irritations and perceived slights in life that once were filed away in some dark recesses of the brain (if remembered at all) now fuel my writing. So, when MUNI does something dumb, I no longer grumble internally - rather, I grumble externally online for the entire world to see.

For example, today, I was running to catch an approaching N-Judah I'd found on NextBus and all indications were that I'd just barely make it. However, the MUNI driver had other ideas, and did a nice California Stop, and didn't even bother to stop for any potential passengers.

I waved my hand in the air to indicate I was running to the stop, and very very reluctantly, he stopped his California Stop and let me on. But then I got a nice rude lecture from the guy about how it was all my fault because I wasn't "at the stop on time" and continued to give me a load of 'tude, rudely.

What I wanted to say: "Frak you very much, Mr. OverpaidCityWorkerWhoDoesn'tCareAboutHisJobOrServingThePublic. YOU were the one doing a California Stop. YOU were the one not stopping on time. YOU are the one being a jerk!"

What I ended up saying: "Fine. Just so you know, you're in the blog, buster."

Possibly the emptiest threat, and most mystifying comment a rider could make to a MUNI conductor. Sure it sounded a little bit like Jack Lemmon in the Out of Towners, with his "sue list", but so what?

Maybe when the N-Judah Chronicles ascends to its rightful place as one of the "cool" blogs in town, that everyone is reading and quoting, it'll have some more impact.

For now, it's a really funny joke only I seem to get in these situations, but I figure it's better than squeezing rage into a bitter ball and, well you know, the whole whiskey bottle thing.

June 22, 2006

June 22nd aka "Official San Francisco Goof Off Day"

If Mayor Gavin and the Board of Supervisors want to get more popular in this city, they need to stop all this policy jazz, and come up with some cool gimmicks. For example, when it was a spectacular 80 degrees even on the westside today in San Francisco, they need to call a press conference, issue a proclamation declaring it "Official San Francisco Goof Off and Enjoy the Weather Day" and give everyone a free pass on the Muni.

True, it won't solve the world's ills, nor will it satiate the dour, serious types that seem to dominate policy chatter, but guess what? No one cares. On days like today, it's time to put away the speechifyin' and enjoy a nice day outside.

Now, until recently I've had to work on site for a client, but as of yesterday I'm back to my home office routine. One of the very few benefits of said routine is that if the weather is hot and windless at 10am on a Thursday, I can declare it my own "Get the Hell Out of the So Called Office and Get Outside Day" and do my work at night when it's cooled off. So that's what I did.

But like many, when confronted with a random day off, the question came up - what to do first? I decided that since it was a Save the Air Day, I'd use our Might N and affiliated routes to randomly have a tour of the city. (The fact that I already buy a monthly bus pass did nothing to confuse the exuberance of the moment).


So after mailing off some Netflix DVDs at the post office, I flipped a coin. Heads, I was headed to Ocean Beach on the N. Tails, I was inbound.

Continue reading "June 22nd aka "Official San Francisco Goof Off Day"" »

June 21, 2006

Ride Free on Muni, Pretty Much Everywhere, On Thursday!

If you didn't have enough to celebrate here in San Francisco, what with the hot, sunny weather we've been having and all sorts of exciting outdoor events downtown, now you have another reason to enjoy the week - and ride for free on Muni!

June 22nd has been declared a Spare the Air Day, due to the combination of heat and lack of wind, and to encourage people to get out of their cars and ride mass transit, you can ride for free on pretty much any mass transit system in the Bay Area!

For a complete list of participating agencies, check out this list at and if you aren't already a mass transit rider, take a chance tomorrow.

If nothing else, try taking a cable car on one of these sunny days (like I did today). Times like these reaffirm why it's kinda nice to live here. And it makes up for those gloomy days we had during the Haight St. Fair a few weeks ago!

June 10, 2006

More Drama on the N-Judah Line - Bank of America Gets Robbed!

A day late with the news, to be sure, but then again I didn't see anything in today's Chronicle right away either...yesterday as I was getting ready to run my goofy errands of the day, I decided for some odd reason not to go to the post office like I'd planned. There was some noise, sounded like a bunch of fire trucks, and I got a call, so I ended up catching the next N outbound, vs. inbound, instead.

As it turned out, I missed a pretty nasty bank robbery at the Bank of America on Irving and 9th as a result. I did notice a number of unmarked police cars driving around, and suddenly all these guys standing at every corner. As the N went west, I saw more cars driving around, more standard patrol cars, and more police. This was getting odd. Was it real or just a filming of the pilot for Streets of San Francisco - 2006?"

I got off just before Ocean Beach, and there were even more. Now it was starting to look like an episode of "24" when the local policia are called in to assist Jack Bauer in kicking some ass in a residential neighborhood. I saws a news truck and asked them what was going on and he told me. Now, I would have "blogged" about this or ran out and got a camera phone to provide some local-news style entertainonews, but I suck, I figured I'd see something in the paper, but I didn't.

Anyway, the last I heard they had caught one guy and were on the way to catch the other one, and the FBI was involved. Even people at the coffee place two doors down had no idea there'd been an armed robbery that day.

Car fires, armed robberies, all on the N-Judah line. What's next?

June 7, 2006

Fire on the N-Judah Line!

While taking a late afternoon walk on Irving Street, I caught a good old-fashioned car fire right at Irving and 9th right as the trusted N was pulling up. It started out as an awful smoky smell coming from a passing car, and moved quickly to a bigger, smokier fire, and finally shooting flames out of the car.

Now, if I was a true "blogger" I suppose I would have used my super duper camera phone, or even a digitial camera to capture the drama, but I have neither, so all I can say is that the sheer amount of smoke being pumped out by this fire, coupled with the shooting flames made for some drama. Fortunately, no one was hurt, although the passengers were a bit shaken up. As I walked by the burnt out hulk of the BMW, I could see why.

What made more more drama, however, was the totallly bizarre 911 response. I tried calling on my cell, and I can only assume that because others saw the problem and called in as well, that must have been why my call didn't even go through. I spoke with one of the owners of the Irving St. Market (one of my two favorites on Irving St.) and he had called three times, without getting through. Many other residents expressed frustration at their problems calling 911 as well.

It makes one wonder, if there were a bigger emergency, what would happen? Now we were fortunate los bomberos de San Francisco arrived when they did, but all I could wonder is why it is we have so many posters asking for 911 operators to apply for the gig, and why it is we have so many questions about our disaster preparedness chief, Annemarie Conroy.

Another day, another drama on the N-Judah Line.

May 25, 2006

When is an "L" Not an "L?" When You Connect From BART to Muni At Embarcadero...

Get lately I've been doing the long-haul commute from SF to far out in the East Bay every day for a client for a while now...every day I dutifully get on the N-Judah very early, connecting with BART, and heading out. Now, in the morning it is pretty smooth and so long as I get up early enough and catch one of two N's, I make it out in time. Since most people on the N that early in the morning are either asleep, listening to music, or reading, there are few incidents on which to report for my faithful readers.

Ok, so that's groovy, but here is the strange part. Every night when I get back into SF, I get off at Embarcadero to catch an N-Judah home. And almost every time, the same thing happens. I get off the BART, walk down to the MUNI platform, and wait. Every time the automated voice announces "outbound trains" and counts off a pile of L's, M's and whatnots, and it seems from the announced times a mighty N-Judah is a ways away.

Then the weird thing happens - within moments, an "N" shows up out of the blue, totally unannounced! Now I'm not complaining per se - not having to wait 20-30 minutes for an N after all those random L's, M's and whatnots is nice. That said, I wonder why this keeps happening, and can imagine how frustrating it is for those taking an L-L, M or whatnot.

At this point I've stopped trying to figure it out and just count the blessing of not having to wait forever for the N to take me home after a long day of work!

May 21, 2006

When A Street Fair is an Island of Calm

Saturday I had all sorts of errands to run and took the N-Judah to the bank past 19th Avenue. In my rush to get over there I realized in a "no duh" moment that there was a reason the traffic was so weird - Saturday was the day for the big annual Asian Street Fair on Irving St. Never mind that there were only, say, a ton of posters all over the neighborhood - I'd been so busy with work lately it just sorta slipped my mind.

So it was a nice "surprise" if you will - my only regrets were I didn't bring my camera, and that I didn't have more time to hang around. After a hectic work week and contending with over a month of no home internet connection (screw you, Earthlink), it was a nice diversion that had nothing to do with the hassles of the week.

I wish I'd brought a camera, if for no other reason than to get a picture of the wacky little BART train with a big cartoony happy face on the front that was parked out as part of BART's outreach to the community. Me describing it doesn't do this wacky little thing justice.

I also got a chance to meet San Francisco's elected Public Defender, Jeff Adachi. Now, some San Franciscans may know him as our elected official in charge of running the Public Defender's office. But many more may not realize he's also a filmmaker, and his first documentary, The Slanted Screen was just released, and is playing through May 25th here in town. (The Infamous 22 Bus will take you right to the theater, too!)

Mr. Adachi was a truly pleasant person to talk to and exchange movie chat with, and it's kind of amazing a guy like this can be so nice and so smart, and yet also be successful in the rough and tumble of San Francisco public life.

And the pleasantness kept rolling along. I had to take care of an unusual (but not bad) matter at Washington Mutual Bank, and the people there were so unusually nice, I just had to give 'em a plug in the blog. It is so rare, esp. as a mass transit user, to be treated politely by competent folks in customer service these days, you almost feel a need to reward people for doing what used to be standard (i.e. treat customers and citizens the way they should be, not the way they usually are)

But after meeting Mr. Adachi and dealing with the nice folks at WaMu, I was feeling so good I did not mind the slowest freakin' N-Judah ever recorded, which took forever to get me downtown to meet my mom and brother for lunch. I guess the residual serotonin boost from the good vibes on Irving St. at the fair were helping. Thanks to all for making my N-Judah ride powered by turtles not nearly as irritating as it would have been otherwise.

May 17, 2006

A Public Service Announcement from The N-Judah Chronicles

The Following is a Public Service Announcement from The N-Judah Chronicles

Now that the 40 days of rain is behind us and we all welcome the warm weather of summer, it's time for some advice for those of you choosing to enjoy the hot weather (such as we had last weekend) and the many activities around our city.

If you choose to go outside and enjoy a day at the park, an afternoon cocktail, a run or bike ride, or just a plain old fashioned walk, please remember that when it gets hot outside, people get hot too. And when they do, they can smell bad.

This is not aimed solely at our vagrant population! Many people are unaware that when it's 90 degrees outside, or even 70 or 80, without proper antiperspirant or deodorant, they can smell worse than a hippie deadbeat looking for "buds."

Worse, many of these people have no idea of their offensive condition, but their fellow MUNI passengers do!

Thus, we at the N-Judah Chronicles ask you to please remember to use your favorite personal hygiene products before you go out. If you’re unsure which to use, please consult your neighborhood store, and choose one of the many products sold by America’s biggest corporations.

Save the environment and do a favor for your fellow MUNI riders! The N-Judah Chronicles and the people of the City of San Francisco thank you for your cooperation!

I'm getting a brand new Comcast cable modem any day now! Then I can post on a regular basis! Earthlink Sucks!

May 1, 2006

"Next Time, Take The Train"

This weekend, I had to take a short trip to Sacramento, scenic capital of our fair state. Not exactly a party destination, I know, but it was for work. Rather than rent a car to drive up and around town, I decided to take the Amtrak/BART/Muni Capitol Corridor connection instead.

It turned out to be a pretty smart move, financially (given how expensive gas has become) and it was way more convenient than I'd expected. Even missing the right BART train to Richmond was no big deal - I just had to do a sprint down the stairs, across the station, and up the stairs (with luggage) to the AMTRAK station at Richmond.

I was lucky in that a) a much larger, faster gentleman than I was ahead of me, clearing the way and b) the train was delayed by about a minute. I made it on board with literally 30 seconds to spare.

Once I got on, however, the trip was really nice. I've driven up 80 to Sacramento countless times, and know the terrain rather well - or so I thought. Taking the train took me through many familiar locations, but in a totally different way. I just wish I'd brought my camera to take pictures - it was quite scenic, and much of it is on the waterfront.

Overall it was a great way to head up north, and the connections with BART and MUNI are as smooth as they're gonna be, and it certainly is cheaper than driving these days!

April 23, 2006

Who's Your Favorite Muni Driver?

Notable neighbor Craig of Craigslist made a mention of one of the more popular N-Judah Muni drivers on his blog last week, the unnamed driver who reminds us all that "Muni Loves You". Other blogs have noticed our happy driver as well.

I was on the N yesterday on the way home from a medical supplies run to Safeway on Market Street. I'd been sidelined by one of the worst allergy attacks I've had since I was a kid, and graced fellow riders with my red-eyed, runny self on the way and back. I'm sure they loved that.

Anyway, on the way back from said supply run, I had another driver (or maybe it was the same one) who was lightening up the mood by not turning off his microphone right away after announcing each stop. What was really funny was his reaction to a myriad of incompetent double parkers and bad drivers who were driving around like maniacs in front of an oncoming train.

"MOVE OVER RED ROVER!" he boomed at one point, and followed it up with "Please move aside, thank you sir!" and so on. It was one of those "had to be there moments" but it was pretty funny.

This reminded me of a conversation I overhead between two women commuting home one day, also noting the different kinds of drivers on the Muni, and one suggested someone come up with trading cards of popular Muni folks.

Interesting idea, eh? What kinds of trading cards could you come up with for Muni?

April 17, 2006

Simple Equation for No-Cost Fun In San Francisco

A simple equation for a no-cost afternoon in rainy San Francisco with a friend:

N-Judah to Powell + Powell/Hyde Cable car to Lombard = BYOBW (Bring Your Own Big Wheel)

Truly a San Francisco moment. I mean, racing Big Wheels (and their variants) down the crookedest street in the world, made even more entertaining by the slick surface caused by our own monsoon season? Combine that with semi-grouchy to semi-amused residents, bewildered tourists, and whole lotta folks just having some good clean fun, and you have a great Sunday. Besides, where else can you see a guy riding a Barbie Big Wheel, or the drama of using the Cable Cars to block the oncoming traffic to allow for the race to start? NOWHERE, that's where!

It was a lot of fun, especially when the rainbow showed up for a short time by Coit Tower. Afterwards, my photographer/videographer and I went to Kennedys for some Indian food and
, as it turns out many of the others watching and participating did as well. And thanks to my good friend VisualVixen, you can watch a short video by clicking here!

April 7, 2006

A Moment of Sun on the N and the 43

As you all know, we've been getting some rain this past month. No, make that a lot of rain. Day after day of dreary skies and wet days. It's been driving me nuts - I'm one of those people who really needs to be in the sun daily, otherwise it starts to affect me a little.

So yesterday, when I got an unexpected call from a friend who was in town, I decided to leave my home office early (around 3pm) and get outside. Plus, thanks to the inventors of this gadget I got way ahead on some work I was doing, so I was out of the office.

Immediately I felt better. So, I decied to meet my friend at USF, which usually calls for a 43 to campus. I got on the N to get to 9th Avenue, but started to wonder...should I get on the 43 at 9th, or should I stay on the famous N to Carl St. and Cole St.?

These are the questions someone who's been inside too long starts to debate in their head.

I decided on the latter, not realizing I was about to participate in a realtime comparitive test of the Muni system. You see, a couple of the more wildly dressed "youths" got off the train at 9th and Irving. The only reason I really noticed was because they were dressed in such a way you couldn't notice them. Longtime SF residents know exactly what I'm talking about.

Anyway, I got off the N at Carl and Cole and waited for a 43. When I finally got on the 43 I walked ot the back and whom did I run in to? The two youths who got off at 9th and Judah to take the 43! So the results of the unintended experiment were in - it made no difference which way I went - the timing was exactly the same!

I met up with my friend at USF, and we ended up stopping off at Tommy's Joynt before he headed off to some diplomatic affair at the German Consulate. If you haven't walked by this place, you really should sometime. Located on Jackson St., It looks like it belongs in a Le Carre novel or a James Bond movie. I kept expecting a clown to crash through the window with secret codes or something.


Thanks to Daylight Saving Time and the sun, I didn't feel like running home right away so I ended up taking a walk and ended up at Kennedy's on Columbus, had a Guinesss ($2!) and took a cable car back to Powell Station and talked to some of the day's tourists, and some natives catching a ride thanks to their Muni Pass. It was fun.

The sunlight and exercise and the Guinness moved me out of winter blahs and into a near euphoria by the time I got home. My roommate probably thinks I'm insane by now since I was so "up" when I got home. But that's what a little bit of sunlight can do for some folks.!

March 30, 2006

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the 44 O'Shaughnessy

So I was on the way to the 44 O'Shaughnessy at 9th and Judah the other day to see if going to the "other" Safeway (i.e. not the Market St. one on the N-Judah line) would be faster than taking my door to door service from home to store.

When I got there a Muni Bus was parked, doors closed. And instead of having a route on its LED board up front, instead it simply read "Nowhere In Particular." I couldn't see if someone was in the driver's seat or not.

I'd never seen such a thing before. But when I mentioned this to my friend "Mason Powell" (the nom de plum of my erstwhile deputy) he said that this is not unheard of, and the tradition started during the streetcar era (i.e. when streetcars went everywhere not just on the J, K, L, M, N and F lines).

Sure enough Google and Flickr, our two best friends, found this shot on Flickr of a bus just like the one I saw, and this reference to the classic streetcar signage of yesteryear.

Things like this make living here rather pleasant. I'll leave the bashing of the city to the naysayers and the choose-up-siders from out of town and elsewhere. And, my bus did come on time....and the trip to Safeway was just fine.

March 27, 2006

The N-Judah Chronicles is Officially Open!

Today marks the "official" opening of The N-Judah Chronicles online. After an intense month learning about the technical details of setting up a Movable Type blog, migrating files, learning CSS and PHP, et al, it's up and running. Hooray!

First, let me thank two people who helped make the move to this site possible: my friend Lauren Oliver, whose insight, design of the site's new logo, and overall willingness to listen to me late at night earns my profound thanks.

I also want to thank future contributor "Mason Powell" (a nom de plum) for his help moving the archives and debugging the site. He will be adding entries as time allows on a range of subjects, and has already been commenting on the site.

So what will you find here at the N-Judah Chronicles? Everything that makes living in San Francisco at once wonderful, and a pain in the ass, all at the same time.

Among the subjects you'll find: the Great SF Tradition of trading stories about the Muni's Follies, and the occasional chatter about Muni Policy (but not too much - we try to keep the mood light).

There are also articles discussing local history and reports from the shenanigans of our fellow citizens on Muni. And what blog is complete without snarky comments on the decline and fall of Western Civilization?

Later this month you'll start to see postings giving you a guide to nightlife along the N-Judah line and suggested places to go out on the weekend that are fun, affordable, and accessible by mass transit. It's not so much that I hate cars - I just hate having one in the city.

To everyone who's already been reading, thanks for stopping by, and for new readers, welcome!

UPDATE A very warm thank you to Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist for posting a link at his cool blog. Thanks! I always walk by the Craigslist world headquarters on the way to my all rock.

March 25, 2006

"V for Vendetta" on the N-Judah Line

I'm going to the AMC to check out V for Vendetta, based on the comic novel of the same name by one of my favorite authors, Alan Moore.

The poster artwork for this movie has been amazing, and I was surprised to find a complete set of four posters along the N-Judah line near Sunset. You can click on the image and see them full size, photo and photoshopping courtesy of N-Judah contributor "Mason Powell."

March 16, 2006

Please Don't Inhale the Paint....

Over the next couple of days you may notice the colors shifting on this site....please don't inhale the paint while we experiment with a more compatible color palette and background images for this site! It'll all be done very very soon!

UPDATE: 90% there...but who knew changing the background color on a few elements to light grey could be so weird? If you're an MT expert and can spare 20 minutes of instruction, drinks are on me.

March 14, 2006

Armageddon Comes to the N-Judah or The Trolls of Irving Street Rebelled

Ever had one of those days where it feels like Armageddon is right here, right now? Not so much because of any hellfire or damnation about, more due to the sheer chaos and weird crap you're seeing happen all around you.

Take today. Our on again, off again weather gave us some temporary sun, while I was cooped up inside wrestling with PHP and CSS, with mixed results. I had some little errands to run (a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk and a stick of butter) and a trip to my local Radio Shack. I put it all off to the end of the day. What could possibly go wrong?

This is when the Gods of Muni and the Gods of Weather got together and decided to do an Armageddon foxtrot on me and every other soul in San Francisco. Har-de-freakin'-har-har, gang.

Now, I'm not stupid. I know it's been raining a lot and figured some showers might occur, but it looked so darn peaceful and overcast, I figured my window of opportunity, while closing, wasn't that bad. So I headed out for my trivial endeavour. Estimated time of completion: 45 minutes.

The gods struck up the band, and it was time for the dance to begin.

Continue reading "Armageddon Comes to the N-Judah or The Trolls of Irving Street Rebelled" »

March 10, 2006

Next Stop on the N-Judah - Party with Gonzalez And the Gang

Q: When is an open house at a law office not an open house, but instead one heck of a great party?
A: When it's an open house hosted by Gonzalez and Leigh, LLP!

No kidding. A friend of mine invited me to the open house for ex-Supervisor Matt Gonzalez's law firm, which was celebrating their new offices on Shaw St. downtown, (located conveniently near the Montgomery Street Station) as well as welcome attorney Rita Hao (known to many as one of the editors of, among other things) as a partner in the firm.

I dropped by to meet Ms. Hao and some of the SFist folks in person - who by the way are some of the coolest people you could meet at a party - and to see who might be there. I figured it to be a tony, low key affair with some wine and crackers. Boy was I wrong. It was one hell of a party!

Not only did they have top shelf drinks and food, the crowd was big and counted many of San Francisco's political and legal elite, mixed in with veterans of Matt Gonzalez's past campaigns and assorted interested folks. Local political analyst, blogger and gadfly H. Brown was there early and often, as was former columnist, mayoral candidate, and all around character Warren Hinkle. (How often do you get to see him around town these days?)

A random sampling of the crowd included Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, City Attorney Dennis Herrera and his spokesman, Matt Dorsey, a whole host of downtown attorneys and other folks, whose names I didn't take down after I decided to go "off the clock" and enjoy both the event, its partygoers and several Stella Artois beers.

The oddest encounter I had was with Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin. When introduced to him by a mutual friend he immediately recognized my name as that of the infamous scotch whisky. As is the custom, I usually follow up such a recognition with the fact that the inventor of Twinkies was none other than a James Dewar.

Usually this gets a laugh or something, but Peskin immediately looked at me, said "So you're responsible for killing my mayor?" and spun around and took off. I think he was kidding but our mutual friend and I were looking at each other a bit puzzled. I say cut the guy some slack - he is a fellow UCSC alum, after all!

Overall a fun evening, all a few stops away on the N-Judah. Who knew the lefties and their ilk could be such great hosts? Now if they could just replicate this more often, who knows what might happen>

March 8, 2006

Who Are The People in Your Neighborhood -or- An Afternoon With Janet Reilly and Leland Yee...

One thing that continues to astonish many people I know in town is how you really can get to just about anywhere on the Muni if you do your homework. It's most noticeable in people who talk about "the environment" but have yet to step out of a car and on to a bus, even if it's just to the corner store. It's like I have some Jedi power or something - when I really don't. I guess one has to take what praise they can.

A few weeks ago I attended a very well attended neighborhood meeting for Assembly Candidate Janet Reilly and Assemblyman/Candidate for State Senate Leland Yee at the Twin Peaks home of the Linnenbach family - easily one of the best places to take in the view of the City and the Bay, as far as I can tell!

Some people were surprised that I took the bus to the event - located just under Sutro Tower in one of San Francisco's finest neighborhoods. Yet it was actually faster for me to jump on a 43, get off at the Laguna Honda station, cross the street, and take a 36 than it would have been had I drove and tried to find parking in a car. Plus I got a nice brisk walk up the hill and a great view once I got to my destination. And I even beat my friend who drove to the event by about 30 minutes - which was quite a surprise.

My point is not to be one of those haughty psuedoenviro types who lords over their alleged supremacy to all -rather it is simply to make a point that if you think things through you can avoid the hassles of parking in San Francisco without a lot of effort. I'll let others quibble about this or that with regards to The Earth - all I know is that I can't stand parking, parking tickets, or a hassle, and if there's an easy way to avoid both, I will!

Although I've written about Janet Reilly at my other, soon to be retired blog, I was mostly interested in her campaign because she's running for office, and yet when the discussion of the proposed rapid transit expressway on Geary Boulevard came up, she didn't opt for the easy way out - lots of nebulous talk without anything of substance - and instead came out forcefully for a real, long term solution, and not a band-aid approach we're used to.

It's that kind of straight talk that we could use, especially when it comes to city transit issues, after years of broken promises and empty rhetoric. Maybe it's time we reward people who speak clearly and honestly, for a change, eh?

March 6, 2006

Random Monday Fun With Google and 24

I just moved into a new place and haven't had a chance to set up the wifi network, so I had a whole weekend without The Internets. It was weird at first, but also kinda fun...I plugged in and had over 100 email messages waiting for me (and not all of them were for "V1agra".) That was cool.

Today, I found out about a number of Google Map-enabled sites, that show once again why Google kicks so much ass. They build things that are useful, that work, and that people are allowed to use for their own purposes, without a lot of hassle. And, I found them thanks to one of the few "big" blogs of use out there, Lifehacker.

Continue reading "Random Monday Fun With Google and 24" »

March 3, 2006

Don't Mind The Dust As The Construction Continues...

As I've noted before, the layout of the site is still a work in I am new to CSS and the intricacies of Movable Type, I'm finding that I still have a bit to learn before I get some of what I want done the way I want....of course if anyone reading has suggestions for a good CSS tutorial or something a bit more clear than some of the Movable Type help forums (some assume a bit more knowledge of CSS than I may posess), that would be great.

Until then, wait for the final rollout and the "real" launch later this month!!!

N-Judah Chronicles Movie Review: Kontroll

What with all the talk of fare cheats and turnstile jumpers on Muni in the papers, it seemed appropriate I write a review of the Hungarian sorta sci-fi, sorta not film Kontroll. I watched it last night thanks to Netflix (and to the fact that Initial D - The Movie is on Super Long Wait).

Although the film was shot entirely on location in the Budapest subway system, it'd be a mistake to say the film is "set" in Budapest. Rather, it uses amazing cinematography and a cast of characters to create an otherworldly feel. Oh, and did I mention that the main characters were a gang of hardcore ticket inspectors?

Yes, you read that right.. Our film focuses on one "gang" of ticket inspectors (who look more like undercover cops in the bad part of town than civil servants) and they're always chasing after people who haven't paid to alternately comic and tragic effect.

One scene tha stood out as a Pulp Fiction-like moment was when our heroes are chasing after the most notorious turnstile jumper in the vast underground. That scene alone makes the film worth it.

Also notable is the opening scene, which includes a lengthy statement from a manager of the Budapest Railway Company, explaining that while they were happy to help the director make his movie, and felt that it was a great story of good and evil, that the "world" depicted in it is fictious. Never underestimate the one constant in the bureacuratic universe - the need to cover one's backside, even when you really like the project.

I don't like to write reviews that spoil the film by doing a plot recap, so instead I'll just say this - if you're bored of watching the Same Old Stuff, or if Netflix isn't giving your favorite DVD rentals quick enough, try this one for something that's a little different, but ultilmately very entertaining.

And for the folks at Muni who are wondering what to do about the scofflaws and the fact that a lack of stable revenue means we're due for a total collapse of the system, perhaps they could take some notes. Maybe all we really need are roving gangs of toughs to rough up those who think the world owes them a ride for free...

February 11, 2006

A Funny Map of Powell St. Station and Hallidie Plaza....

This past Friday, my brother (who is the photographer for this site) was headed to Sacramento. Rather than drive, however, he chose to take BART to the BART/AMTRAK station in Richmond and catch a speedy train up north. Oddly enough it works, despite the fact that, well, it's Amtrak.

Anyway, he had some things for me that had been delivered to his address and wanted to hand them off to me on his way up north. Rather than get out of a BART station, hand off my boxes, and then have to pay to get on, he suggested we meet up at Powell Station where Muni and BART share a tunnel.

The only thing about Powell Station is that there are several places to meet someone who is standing in the BART paid area while you are not, and it's long enough that you can literally not see someone in the station. That, and the fact that the station opens on the much maligned Hallidie Plaza (recently the subject of well-deserved scorn from Chronicle architecture critic John King.)

So to make things easier, I was provided with a hastily drawn map that was eerily accurate:

I don't know what made me crack up more - the map, or the fact he was using Tintin style fonts.

What's funnier is while I was at the station there literally was a "music dude," a "ticket scammer" and the rest. Perhaps I should have taken some pictures...

February 3, 2006

Irving and 9th Avenue at Sundown

My brother took this photo at Irving and 9th. I think it came out rather nicely.

January 25, 2006

Why Is A Well-Behaved Child So Rare in America 2006?

Kids in public these days are a mixed bag. If you get a couple of kids who are with Useless Parents, the kind that can't bear to teach their kids how to behave in public or act like parents, they're a true horror to be around.

Recently I had a nice dinner at a restaurant spoiled by two children (probably 7 and 10) running around the restaurant, screaming, crawling around and making life miserable for those of us who actually have to pay for our meals.

Of course, the parents couldn't be bothered and when some brave soul told them to make their kids knock it off, they respond with some pseudo-hipster babble about free spirits or something like that.

News flash, wannabe hipster faux parents: if I have to listen to your bleating kids ruin my meal, the only talk of "free spirits" I want to hear about are some free cocktails so I can get the ringing out of my ears from your little dears. Otherwise, you're just hurting America.

Nowadays that's more or less the standard. Most of these folks seem more concerned about their iPod than they are about their kids. It's more like the kids are just the latest "accessory," in an attempt to keep up with what "everyone else" is doing. My brother nicknames out of control kids like these "stereos" - loud, expensive accessories you show off to the world, but don't really care about.

Ok, now, rant said, it's time for something positive - when kids and their parent(s) or guardians are out in public and behave. It not only makes the rest our lives a little better, frankly it's better for the children too. (and won't someone PLEASE think about the children?)

Continue reading "Why Is A Well-Behaved Child So Rare in America 2006?" »

January 3, 2006

Muni Rolls Snake Eyes OR....Why The Bus Sucks

Oh Muni.

SF Muni.

You had me at Christmas, doing exactly what you're paid to do....get me to where I want on time.

Then I took the 30 Stockton the other day with my brother after a fruitless search for San Jose Sharks memorabilia. We shoulda stayed at Kennedy's in North Beach for way more $2 Guinness than sitting on that infernal machine. Oh wait, that would assume we could have actually sat DOWN on said bus.


I won't bore you with details. All I can say is this....if you're wanting to do the right thing and NOT have a lot of $2 Guinness or 2 for 1 beers at Kennedys, DON'T rely on the 30 Stockton to take you away, ESPECIALLY on a rainy night.

Continue reading "Muni Rolls Snake Eyes OR....Why The Bus Sucks" »

December 27, 2005

A Christmas Gift From The System...or...Muni Rolls a Hard Six

Ever tried to coordinate a trip on Muni with a trip on Caltrain or BART? Although technically with all the schedules and whatnots and websites, and this and that, one SHOULD be able to plan a trip using both or all three systems. It doesn't usually work that way though. Especially on rainy days!

So when I left on Christmas Eve morning to go visit my mom in Burlingame, I just assumed I'd have to wait wait wait, and have the Usual Crazies on board my train, and just hoped for the best. Then, it seems, Muni decided to give me a Christmas present in the form of a flawless ride.

I walked up to the stop, and within a minute, the N-Judah showed up...on time. We made a short stop to add another car....but no matter....everyone on board was polite, friendly, and best of all, not screaming crazy. Even better, there seemed to be at least a dozen good looking women on the train too. What gives?

Even with the (brief) delay adding the 2nd car, and even with a tiny wait at Civic Center BART's ticket vendor machine, I walked down to BART and magically, a Millbrae/SFO train pulled right up. I literally did not stop moving from the time I left my house to the moment I got to my destination in Millbrae/Burlingame.

It was a great Christmas present from MUNI. Now, if only the Christmas Spirit of Muni would continue throughout the year.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2006 to all, and to all a good ride.

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.

September 21, 2005

Muni Street Theater: Version 2.0

Today was a great day to be in San Francisco. Our almost unknown fall, which can be warm and sunny (even way out on the westside at Ocean Beach) made itself known. It was great. Especially because after returing my lame Nokia 6101 cell phone at the T-Mobile store at 9th and Irving, I had the afternoon to enjoy.

After getting my mail, on a whim I decided to take the N-Judah all the way to the end, at Ocean Beach. Most of the ride is fairly dull - the streetcar goes through the "Sunset District" of San Francisco (possible the lamest name for this area given that it's the foggiest) but when you get to the end there's a handful of motels, a great little coffee house with WiFi, and of course, the beach.

It was nice. Sunny, not that windy, and you couldn't even smell the poop of the SFPD horses in the 'hood. It was really nice.

After hanging out for a bit, I decided to take off in the other direction and see what happened next. I departed for the eastside of SF and ended up jumping off at the Powell station and took a look at the iPod nanos at the Apple Store, and points elsewhere. The iPod nano is really something to check out - I can't believe it's THAT SMALL and holds as much as the iPod mini.

That done I wandered around and then decided to go home. Like an idiot, I decided to take the 38 Geary to the 22 Fillmore to the 6 Parnassus.

Ok, for those of you who don't speak Munigeek, here's the translation - I took the LONG STUPID WAY home.

First the long way - from downtown I took the 38 Geary - once a rail line - now a horribly mismanaged route thanks to the hippies at Muni Central who don't get the concept of "if you want people to take mass transit, why not serve an arterial with more service" concept. That was fine. But then we had Mr. Warbler, who was part of Muni Street theater, providing the ladies with his special version of crooning, nutcake style.

In this case he was grunting his lengthy grunting tunes but puncutating them with grunting acknowledgements of any female on the bus. Needless to say, this tax-funded street theater was not well received.

A fellow Muni patron remarked what I was thinking. "Who knew a buck fifty got you entertainment on Muni?"

This was my "I'm a big idiot, I'm gonna talk" entre nous....or is that noose?

I regaled him and a patient young woman about my experience earlier with Muni Street Theater and everyone had a nice nervous laugh. Mr. Warbler accomdated the nervousness with his excessive bad weirdness. WTF?

Finally the tension broke. We all left the 38 Limited and dispersed - the others to points unknown, me to a couple of Japanese and Korean markets that specialised in goods only they have, and even a Safeway. I hopped on a 22 Fillmore to a 6 Parnassus for a safe trip, door to door, home, and enjoyed what the Fillmore and Japantown had to offer.

Life was good. It was warm, it was nice, and the crazies weren't too threatening. Even when not taking the N-Judah, life can be good in San Francsico. At least on one of our rare Fall Hot Days.

Man, working in an office for the Man must suck on days like this!

Some pictures of the faux BART Station in Duboce Park

Courtesy of my brother Dave, here's a picture of the faux BART station. Filming is on Wednesday!

September 3, 2005

Other People Commenting on the N-Judah You Can Read

I don't know how many of you folks read the Metroblogging websites, but they are kinda interesting...not sure how one becomes a "metroblogger" or not, but they've been doing the same N-Judah commentary you've seen's one that was kinda funny, and another that reflects some of the weirdness on Muni Theater here as well.

SFist, another group city blog also has some commentary from time to time on Our Fair Muni, including a rave for the N Judah a while back.

More recently they commented on Muni's payout of almost $30 million to the family of a girl killed by a Muni bus (aka Muni-cide), which sadly is not as uncommon as you might think.

All you need is one driver wacked out on 100 hours of overtime to boost his pension, and you have a recipe for disaster. It's not like it hasn't happened before, either.

Enjoy the weekend and for easy access to the Park, or other attractions, leave the car at home and take the N Judah! (Besides gas is a fortune up here and there's nowhere to park!)

August 10, 2005

Iron Yuppie II - Electric Boogaloo

"I hate that Iron Yuppie. He thinks he's so big."
-Homer Simpson

So do I, Homer, so do I.

There's a certain, shared sense of space on the N-Judah streetcar in San Francisco. It's not the biggest streetcar on the planet, and at rush hour Muni finds ways to not put enough cars on the tracks, so like it or not, you're going to be shoved up against each other. No one cares about your station in life - no one has time to even think about it, because there's so damn many people on the train!

Life's rough. People take mass transit at rush hour in the real world.

There's also some decorum involved. That is, if you're a young hip professional with iPods and cell phones, and Blackberries (oh my!) and Elderly Frail Citizen climbs on board, you give up your seat for their use. It's not just courteous - it also happens to be the freakin' law.

However, the class of rider I nickname the "Iron Yuppie" does not think so. Not only do they not give up their seat, they get quite upset when you gently remind them of said rules.

This happened the other morning, a particularly crap-tastic one at that, given that the weather has gone from its usual summer coldfest to a particularly crap-tacular one. No one is happy about going to work anyway, and now they're wearing cold weather clothes. (Those that end up in the warmer parts of town are going to be sweltering later on, and they know it, so they're REALLY not happy).

So we're all on the N-Judah, accomodating each other as best we can. Iron Yuppie is sitting in the elder citizen/disabled citizen seats, reading his paper and listening to some fabulous Dave Matthews Band on his shiny, white iPod. How nice of Apple to make a device that matches its owner's appearance.

Then we stop. A kindly elderly woman makes her way up the steep streetcar stairs to go to wherever it is she's going. All of the seats up front are taken up by equally old and/or disabled folks. She looked around for a seat and people wanted to offer her a seat further in the car, but due to the mass of folks, no one could move out of the way to let her in. It was that packed.

All eyes gazed upon Iron Yuppie. Now, he was a clever one, pretending "not to notice" what was up, but it was clear to me he knew wha was up, and that he was NOT giving up "his" seat. After all, he has a freakin' iPod. Who are we to tell him what to do? Why should he abide by the rules we live by?

Kindly Elderly Lady was too polite to ask him to move. A shared moment amongst us riders was done so, silently, as we telepathically considered our options? A polite tap on the shoulder? A quick yank of the iPod headphones? A swift kick to the goolies? What?

Finally, the glare of one woman was enough to get Iron Yuppie's attention. She asked him to move so the Elderly Lady could sit. The train had arrived in Cole Valley by now and was packed to the rafters. No one was moving much at this point. Iron Yuppie would not be moved, though. He said (in a clipped tone) "Well I'm getting off past Embacadero, she can sit in my seat then."

This was not a good answer. My first thought was to simply say "Hey! Buddy! Get your freakin' ass off the freakin' seat before someone kicks your freakin' ass, motherhumper!" (yes I"m editing the language for the kiddies.)

But I didn't because, well it's crowded and well I'm good at talking smack. Inside my head.

Remember though, this ain't New York or Tokyo. This is San Francisco. If you've been reading you know that in SF, there's always Someone Who Will Speak Up. In this case it was the loud woman with the gold jewlery. She took up the Cause of the Elderly Lady, and gave Mr. Iron Yuppie a dose of 'tude that he would not ignore.

I was silently cheering. The noise of the train made it hard to hear every word, but the words "How dare you disrespect your elders" and "How would you like it if someone treated your mama like that" were loud enough to embarass even the steeliest of Iron Yuppies. When he started raising hackles, she just raised the volume and the 'tude. Thank you, God, for this woman who for now is an instrument of your Divine Will. And thank You for sticking it to the Iron Yuppie. Rat bastard iPod listening f-ck.

He slinked off at the next stop, and Elderly Lady got her seat. The packed train was happy. Justice had been served yet again on Muni, a rare moment when the Forces of Evil did not win this round.

There are plenty of times when Evil wins, but for a crappy morning in August, we had justice. It made the rest of the day just a wee bit better, and Elderly Lady didn't have to stand the whole way on the bus. All in all a nice way to start the day.

Coming up next: More Muni Etiquette and another installment of Muni Theater!

July 13, 2005

Who Uses "" ? Here`s a Sample Ad...

Just in case you saw an ad for around San Francisco and wondered "just what is this thing called and who uses it?" here is a sample ad from the classifieds that appeared on my home page (God knows why):

Doula needed for puppet birthing 3 views since posting on Tuesday, July 12, 2005. Respond bookmark | e-mail to friend Location Haight Ashbury I'm birthing a number of new puppets from my creative womb, and am looking for a fully accredited puppet doula to assist in the birthing process. I prefer graduates of New College of California, especially those with a minor in miming. Didgeridoo player a plus. Please respond with CV and natal chart.

No, I am not making this up. Out of towners, start your finger pointing.


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