A long time ago, in an apartment building far, far away, we had a neighbor who was a former pizza delivery ace.
She got pretty good at it. The pizza company had regional contests for fast delivery. The winners got big bonuses — brass rings worth jumping pretty high for. So she took crazy risks getting the pizza out to the customers fast fast fast. If I remember the story right, she did win one of those bonuses. Something like $500 back when a hundred dollars was worth something, in a town where some people worked for $6.50 an hour.
One day, driving fast on her way with a pizza, she spun out. Empty road, no other drivers, no pedestrians, just herself, unhurt. Herself coming to a stop at a funny angle in the middle of the road. Sitting still in the car in the middle of that road suddenly thinking hard about what is worth how much in this life. Continue reading
I have a guest post on Failed Architecture about the uproariously tin-eared marketing campaign for San Francisco’s NEMA apartment complex.
Here it is. Editors Mark Minkjan and René Boer did a lovely job. Especially René’s choice of the opening image. Very Sirens of Titan.
In case you’re wondering, the people crossing the street outside in Santa and Christmas-tree costumes were part of last week’s Santacon pub crawl.
Closely argued urban criticism will be appearing in this space soonish. For now, here is a picture of signs on a gate that make me sad.
Because I have a thing for wrongfooted warning signs (see also yesterday’s item):
Below is a sign in Fremont Peak State Park on the other side of Salinas from there.
Each one of these signs marks a huge patch of poison oak, which can release dangerous oils from the stems even when not in leaf. By comparison with which, who’s afraid of a little old mountain lion?
From my collection of Not Allowed signs, some favorite warnings against the special misfortunes of stick figures:
The smart commenters on Socketsite, a local San Francisco real estate blog, are having a two-day conversation that may document a key moment in U.S. housing history. I’ve put up a Storify about it here, including counterpoint from an anti-gentrification conversation that some of us had about it on Twitter.
All this started early yesterday afternoon with the news that a developer proposed to build a new “upscale” residential hotel. For some time now, San Francisco developers have been putting up small units for frugal single professionals. But until now it has been under the heading of “micro-apartments“.
The first few Socketsite commenters responded with confusion and distaste, thinking of hotels as places where poor people live. But they’re not dumb. As of last night, and continuing today, the conversation has turned toward seeing middle-class hotel life as a business opportunity.
At left: hole in the patch in the fence that they put up after they shut down the King Street camp. At right: Fence on the north side of the highway onramp, blocking the shortcut between the Berry Street housing and the Fourth Street rail station, taken from near the place where they shut down the King Street camp.
Right: five no-trespassing, no-parking and no-dogs signs. Count ’em, five.
Below: Telling myself the scary Disney billboard is about Santa, not taking your car. That’s 850 Bryant in the background, AKA the Hall of Justice. Continue reading
When Richard Brautigan went Trout Fishing in America he told a tale of riding the Number 15 bus — that means, south on Third Street along San Francisco’s southeast waterfront — to the Cleveland Wrecking Yard where they had a trout stream for sale by the linear foot. Fictional-sounding kind of geography to the place. Part of it is an outdoor storage yard but it also has a front show window. And then it seems to have a second story too since “the waterfalls are upstairs in the used plumbing department.”
So it turns out the Cleveland Wrecking Yard was real, and (if you ask me) the funny geography may be explained by the real thing having existed on two properties. The erudite Brautigan.net fan site says Brautigan really did help a friend buy a used window at the Cleveland Wrecking Yard in 1958. As location it gives: “2800 3rd Street; Quint Street” and, on second reference, “a demolition business on Quint Street”. That has to mean two different places. The Third Street address is a few blocks north of Islais Creek near the San Francisco Bay waterfront. All of Quint Street is farther inland (i.e. west) and definitely south of the creek. Continue reading