Archive for September 2009

Urban Forest

September 30, 2009

I took a spur of the moment hike thru the Presidio a few days ago and was again impressed by the Goldsworthy art.  Nearby, I came across these recently cut down old and diseased cypress trees:


Over the past few years, the Park Service (the Presidio is National Park) has been slowly cutting down old trees from these lovely groves and replacing them with new baby trees.  It’s part of a long term plan to replace the “even-aged” forest of cypress, pine, and eucalyptus with a “uneven-aged” one.  There are now a few big holes in the scenery where the little trees are just starting out.  But in time, a new, more sustainable majestic forest will again reign.  I’ve become resigned to the fact that like the oxidizing of the DeYoung Museum from bronze to green and the construction of the new Bay Bridge, this is a local phenomenon whose progress will be marked by the passage of decades and whose completion I may not live to witness.

a new baby tree

a new baby tree

the sculpture surrounded by some juveniles

the sculpture surrounded by some juveniles

the once and future forest

the once and future forest

The Goldsworthy statue will eventually be obscured by the growing young grove that now surrounds it:

bonus spooky pic from the hike

bonus spooky pic from the hike


There Where the Air is Free, We’ll Be (We’ll Be) What We Want To Be

September 27, 2009
What’s bigger than Christmas or the Olympics and comes around every 3 years or so? The Pet Shop Boys Pandemonium 2009 Tour finally rolled into town last Tues and Wed. I’d been following their twitter feed and knew a bit of what to expect. Like the blocks and wall motif. And that they’d be playing a few early songs (“Two Divided By Zero”, “Why Don’t We Live Together?” and the b-side “Do I Have To?”) that I had never heard live before at the 4 previous concerts I’d attended. As always, they didn’t disappoint.
"Go West":  always a favorite in SF

"Go West": always a favorite in SF

Highlights of previous concerts:

#1- 1991, SLC, “Behavior”: still in the closet (like the boys), “This Must Be the Place I Waited Just to Leave” sung in a boys prep school set segueing into a naughty “It’s a Sin” sequence (causing some scandalized co-ed friends to walk out… sigh)

#2- 1999, SF, “Nightlife”: going with Brent, waiting in line forever at Tower for autographs and my only face to face with the boys

#3- 2002, SF, “Release”: first concert with Dan, Neil playing acoustic guitar, “You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk,” buying a kids t-shirt by mistake

#4- 2006, SF, “Fundamental”: at Bill Graham (really too large a venue), “The Sodom and Gomorrah Show”

One memory from this year will be the t-shirt. I wanted a large, and discovered that the M and L sizes only had the European dates on the back. If you wanted one with the American dates– well, those only came in XL sizes. Draw your own super-sized conclusions.


yes.. very reminiscent of the pumpkin-headed ballerinas of the 1991 tour

Naturally, they played stuff from the new CD “Yes” along with a few classics: (not SF, but the same show)

I really need to congratulate our friend Rowan (a guinea pig) for his recent posting– I think probably the best Facebook status update ever:

Rowan Cavia got excited, but is now suffering from jealousy, because the Pet Shop Boys, who’ve come West, will NOT allow PETS at their concert later tonight. It’s a sin. A pig could get arrested. What has he done to deserve this? That’s being boring. But he can forgive them, because they’re absolutely fabulous. So, later tonight, he’ll be home and dry, single, left to his own devices, but he’ll get along..


Dan vetoed my request that we dress up like these fans for the concert (interesting that it’s always “Very” that inspires costumes) Eagle-eyed readers will recognize in these girls an image seen throughout this blog almost from day one…

note:  from earlier in the tour

note: from earlier in the tour

Finally, speaking of “Very”… It’s sad that in the concert sequence above, the boys didn’t tour the US to support the “Very” CD in the mid 90s. They were smarting from waning US popularity (as a recent documentary noted, Europe loves their gay pop stars, the US… not so much in the 90s). “Very”, of course, will always play a prominent part in my own coming out story, from memories of dancing to “I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind of Thing” to getting down to “Go West” and dreaming of returning to CA and settling down with some adorable bookish, card-playing, constitution-writing Japanese historian. As it turned out, I am now “rubbing my eyes at a dream come true”.

Film Review: “FUNUKE: Show Some Love, You Losers!”

September 20, 2009

I’ve been looking forward to checking out the new cinema in the basement of New People (aka Harajuku West). They will be showing anime and other Japanese cinema that doesn’t get wide release (or any release, i think) in the US. I stopped by today to check out the movie “FUNUKE: Show Some Love, You Losers!” It was a dramady about a nerdy sister who is writing secret manga about her psychowitch older sister while they and their stepbrother are dealing with the sudden violent death of their parents. Some scenes seemed very much like a live action manga movie. None of the characters were sympathetic and overall, I’d give the movie a thumbs down. Great title, though.

family dysfunction in the Japanese countryside

family dysfunction in the Japanese countryside

Pros: -The VizCinema was beautiful, clean, larger than I expected. And it was almost empty for the 12:30 matinee– my kind of a movie theater.

– previews for upcoming Japanese films featured Kyoto landmarks that I now recognize (thanks, Dan!)

– Wasabi popcorn was quite good. So spicy that you can’t eat it too fast and don’t overdo it. You can really only eat 2-3 kernels at a time.

Cons: – inappropriate albuterol inhaler use. I’m sorry to say this, Brad, but the movie industry is helping perpetuate the inappropriate use of inhalers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a proper spacer device used– the character always just pops the inhaler straight into their mouth, pumping the medicine right into their oral cavity where it will do no good. Hollywood could really help the asthma problem in this country if they showed people responding appropriately to an asthma attack by using a spacer so that the cloud of medicine gets inhaled down into the lungs.

– there were about 9 endings too many

– I wanted a nice Gibraltar or cappuccino afterwards, but was informed by the cafe staff that they only serve their nice Blue Bottle Coffee drinks in paper cups. Which is a total blaspheme. Especially when they are using name brand beans and trying so hard to look like a real cafe that takes pride in their work.


I just realized the entrance is a giant Tori gate

I just realized the entrance is a giant Tori gate

We built this city …

September 9, 2009
Mind the bees ...

Mind the bees ...

We took a pleasant walk on Labor Day. After a picante lunch at Nopalito, we strolled through the panhandle, which was full of picnickers and frisbee tossers. Full of food, and in a sunny mood, we decided to push on through the Park, and found ourselves sprawled on the lawn in front of the Conservatory, soaking up rays and watching revelers toss bocce balls, baseballs and footballs (the latter by two women, one of whom demonstrated a credible “fast-pitch softball” motion with the pigskin).

All very groovy and San Franciscan.

We decided to look in on the Rose Garden, and took some time to smell them. And then I suggested we walk back home on Fulton, along the edge of the park.

Discussing the architectural merits and ages of various buildings along the way, we came to this edifice:

2400 Fulton Ave.

2400 Fulton St.

I said, there has to be a story about that house. It looks sooo different from everything else on this block, or in San Francisco. A few seconds later, Troy’s phone provided the answer:

2400 Fulton Street is a compilation album of music from the San Francisco rock band Jefferson Airplane, originally released in 1987. The title is taken from the street address of a house the band maintained near the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco in the late 1960s.

There were, apparently, and as you would expect, legendary parties held there. While the photo of the house with a Space Invaders game taped to its front windows (how cool is that?) didn’t turn out so well, we did spot a ratty old car parked on the slope down toward Lucky’s with this bumper sticker on the side (!?!):


Their neighbor caught us snapping the photo, and pointed out that they were from Salt Lake City. Which we’d figured, since they had Utah plates, and Troy had been warmly received there a few months ago, despite not being as “hip” as most of their regular clientele.

We capped off our 4 and 1/2 mile walk with coffee at Mojo, and were so satisfied with our perambulation, that we decided to share it with you. Or maybe we were just in a good mood from the Sing-A-Long Mary Poppins screening at the Castro Theatre we attended with these adorable girls:


A spoonful of sugar ...

Troy thinks Mr. Banks had it good.

Very Local Stimulus Package

September 8, 2009

We were pleased to get this notice the other day:


Thanks, Obama.

Looks like some of that stimulus money is going to be put to use smoothing out our street.  So the next time Critical Mass comes by, they’ll have fewer bumps in the road:


Bonus Google Commuter bus

Best and Worst of San Francisco

September 3, 2009

From Best to Worst in 60 seconds. It’s great to live in a town where, walking home from lunch, you can look up and see large banner of Bjork up in your neighborhood:


But then it stinks to be next faced with the utter collapse of the 24-Divisadero bus…


that's "67 minutes"-- better than the 72 min. the wait was initially

[fyi- this was a couple of days ago. If you are currently waiting for the 24, it’s feeling much better tonight]

With this delicious pint, I thee…

September 1, 2009

Wow, Ben and Jerry is on a roll.  I thought I couldn’t love them any more after their latest BART station ad campaign, but then they go and come out with this:

nee "Chubby Hubby"

Nee "Chubby Hubby"

Who was it that said selling out is the new keeping it real?  Being bought out by some German food conglomerate hasn’t made this ice cream afraid of its lefty roots.   Congratulations to all those Vermont couples who can start getting legally married today.  Expect stories about proposals via wedding-ring-hidden-a-the-tub-of-ice-cream in about 2 weeks.   (h/t sfEater)