Governor Schwarzenegger Opens a new Overpass

Cupcakes from Caltrans Okay, I admit I’m posting this a bit late. I have been really busy and we actually had some hot weather for the first time in about a year last weekend, so I haven’t been blogging. Last week, Caltrans (the California department of transportation) threw a festive gathering in front of my office to celebrate the new overpass that has been under construction on the other side of the wall at my office for the last year. They call it the “West Approach” because it is the west approach to the San Francisco Bay Bridge. The Governator showed up, but nobody actually saw him. He pulled up in an SUV on the overpass, out of site of the party, and gave a speech the was telecast to people standing on the ground about 200 feet away. Following the speech he drove away. It was completely surreal. Then, they served really awful (free) food including vegetarian baked beans that tasted like wet packing peanuts. Oh, and cupcakes. Sweet, delicious blue and orange cupcakes. Unfortunately the frosting melted instantly in the sun. Special thanks to my friend Angela and her iPhone for the photos.
Freeway Opening Festivities

The Olympic Torch meets the Bay Quackers Bus in San Francisco

The Quackers Bus and the TorchAs you may be able to see in this blurry photo I borrowed from the CNN website (and they apparently got it from the local KRON4 helicopter) the infamous Olympic Torch struggled to make its way through San Francisco today. While thousands of people on all sides of the China issue were gathered at the baseball stadium and the waterfront downtown (the official route), the Torch was being secretly run through several of the most unsuspecting parts of the city accompanied by the Bay Quackers Bus. What is this bus, you ask? It is a duck-themed amphibious tour bus for tourists. Thank God they upheld the dignity of the Olympics. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to cancel the whole thing before it even started?

You can check out my photos from the protests at flickr.

San Francisco Olympic Torch Protest

A thin film

Buffalo CIty Hall

At least half of my childhood memories of looking out a car window are slightly clouded by a film of salt on the window. It is a weird phenomenon to me now since I live in San Francisco. I guess the only equivalent is riding on the bus and trying to see out the window through the film of hair gel and graffiti on the inside and pigeon droppings on the outside, but the bus seems to be like that anywhere so that’s not really a San Francisco observation.

Coyotoes on the Loose

Coyote on the loose

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, wild coyotes attacked a pet dog in Golden Gate Park today. It’s not a surprise that the coyotes live there, there have been a number of them living in the city for some time. People are a bit taken aback by the fact that they are lashing out at dogs (after all, dogs are the new babies).

In a statement to the Chronicle, the Animal Control Department says that “We have officers looking for the coyotes, and we are letting the public know about these coyotes.” Okay, great. What exactly does that mean. They are “looking” for the coyotes? What are they going to do to them? Is that like when parents tell a kid that their dog “went to live on a farm”?

I think people should keep an eye on their pets and learn to live with wild animals. You can’t be 100% insulated from natural world all the time, especially if you choose to go to a huge park that has a lot of nature in it. The Chronicle article says that “the coyote bit a Rhodesian ridgeback, a large type of dog that can weigh more than 100 pounds and was originally bred to hunt lions.” According to wikipedia, the end-all be-all authority on every topic, the average coyote weighs 31 lbs. The average adult Rhodesian ridgeback (also known as the African Lion Hound) weighs 70-85 lbs. and has been known to grow to 160 lbs. If a dog that was bred to assist in the hunting of lions can’t stand up to a coyote less than half its size it’s clearly a case of the dog being a total wuss.

I hope that people leave the coyotes alone and let them do whatever they normally do. There isn’t a whole lot of space left for nature, which is made very obvious by this sign on Ocean Beach:

Endangered Species Area

Apparently unleashed dogs bother endangered animals, but people having drunken, out of control parties on the beach and massive amounts of graffiti do not bother them.

And now, for Matt, an embarrassing photo from his birthday party at Zeitgeist:

Matt and Mark

Bad judgement: camera phones & estate sales

I was walking home from Dolores Park today and a cardboard box with the words “Estate Sale” scrawled on the side caught my eye. I turned on to a tiny side street and there was another piece of cardboard with a hastily scrawled arrow leading me up a stairway to a dark second floor apartment. I ascended the stair, my eyes barely adjusting to the darkness after spending a few hours outside in the sun.

The apartment looked like it had either been occupied by an elderly packrat or a band of hipsters with an eye for ironic furnishings. Because it was billed as an estate sale, and most of the furnishings had clearly been in this exact apartment since at least 1984, I had to assume that the owner was closer to 80 than 20. The sign at the curb had advertised “lots of art” but the only things I spotted that resembled art were a postcard of puffins in a gold wooden frame and a poster from the 49ers last Super Bowl appearance (in the Joe Montana days).

I walked in to the back room and noticed an abundance of VHS tapes. That is probably an understatement, short of a video store I have never seen this many tapes in one place. Then I turned around and noticed a huge bookshelf full of blank tapes that were still sealed in their original packaging, sorted by brand:

VHS tapes on a bookcase

This is where the first bout of bad judgement comes into play. Instead of reaching in my bag and using my 7 megapixel digital camera, I decided to use my piece of crap T mobile camera phone to take this photo. I didn’t even have it on the highest resolution (which still looks like a security camera photo blown up 300% and reproduced on newsprint) but instead I had it set to 170 pixels wide. This photo is all I ended up with.

It’s a shame that I didn’t have my good camera out. I walked into the bedroom next to the kitchen and there was a full size bed in the middle of the room. What, you ask, was for sale in this room? None other than the mattress pad on the bed that the previous tenant probably died on. This mattress pad was selling for a whopping $10.00. There was also a large wedge-shaped pillow for sale on top of it but I didn’t see the price tag. To top it off, across from the bed was a television with a sticker on the front that read “$10. Stuck on mute. You fix.” I can just imagine the scenario now. The deaf and incontinent resident of the apartment was stuck in bed all day, and the live-in nurse broke the television by permanently sticking it on mute so that he or she didn’t have to listen to the “Price is Right” and “Matlock” reruns on full volume from morning until night.

I’m not sure if it was worse judgement to sell a used mattress pad and broken television or if it was a bad call on my part to go to an estate sale advertised via a sharpie and cardboard box. At least I got a photo.