Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tribus de L'OMO / Hans Silvester

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In this stunning collection of photographs, Silvester (Ethiopia: Peoples of the Omo Valley) celebrates the unique art of the Surma and Mursi tribes of the Omo Valley, on the borders of Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan. These nomadic people have no architecture or crafts with which to express their innate artistic sense. Instead, they use their bodies as canvases, painting their skin with pigments made from powdered volcanic rock and adorning themselves with materials obtained from the world around them—such as flowers, leaves, grasses, shells and animal horns. The adolescents of the tribes are especially adept at this art, and Silvester's superb photographs show many youths who, imbued with an exquisite sense of color and form, have painted their beautiful bodies with colorful dots, stripes and circles, and encased themselves in elaborate arrangements of vegetation and found objects. This art is endlessly inventive, magical and, above all, fun. In his brief text, Sylvester worries that as civilization encroaches on this largely unexplored region, these people will lose their delightful tradition.

Check it...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My afternoon run

I'm headed out to Aquatic Park.  This afternoons run will be followed by a delicious lunch of 1/2 of a steak and a green bean salad.  I am so looking forward to lunch....mmmmm.

Oh, I guess I should tell you about the clause I've added onto my no-drinking-for-the-month-of-January-New-Years-deal.  Before the holidays my weight was pretty steady around 190-194lbs.  Since then I have yet to drop under the 200lb mark.  So I made a deal with myself that I can't have a drink until I get down and stay below 194lbs for a week.  Wish me luck.

Oh, since we are talking about deals I might as well mention the deal I made with one Mr. Ryan Dempsey.  He's my best friend, but his presence has been lacking.  You see, though he lives only about 10 blocks away, he works weekends as a bartender in the East Bay.  Losing out on your best mate week after week for months on end has started taking it's toll on me.  So the other night, Dempsey and I made a deal; he must find work in the city of San Francisco by July the 4th or I get to punch him square in the face.  When the time comes I suppose I'll offer to wear a glove and give him a shot of his drink of choice before and after.  That's it.  

SF Stuck in a Rut

A great article from StreetsBlog about urban planning and the development, or lack there of, our streets/bike plan/transit first policies/etc....

Monday, January 26, 2009

Old Salt

That's it.  I have decided.  I want to be able to charter and captain a boat by my 27th birthday (20.5.2009).  In June of 2008 I went through Basic Keelboat I & II with OCSC.  They are a great school, ranked very high.  One of the things I really liked about them was, well, there were many things I really like about them.  For one, they limit four people per boat.  That's 1 teacher for every 3 students.  Second is that they guarantee that you will get certified.  This means that if you don't pass upon completion of the coarse then they will continue to offer you free training sessions until you do pass or until you feel comfortable performing all of the skill sets.  
This is about a $900 dollar undertaking.  Fortunately I've quite drinking (for a short while longer) and have limited myself to $120 a week.  I should have enough saved up for a rainy day to make this expense more than manageable.  So, I'll see you out on the water.

Sakkis/Limnios Girls

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Last night, in my weakened state, I went home to my parents house to heal.  My brother had come home too.  He'd decided to spend the night there with me.  He and my sister were talking in the kitchen.  They were young.  The colors were muted.  My mom had long hair and was cooking dinner.  My dad wore a mustache and a stripped shirt.  While my brother and sister talked and played I stood still, arms folded on the counter, my chin resting on the tile.  I watched as my mom stirred the stew.  From nowhere the piano made a noise.  A single note.  I looked up to see if anyone else had heard it.  No on had.  Again, a single note escaped, and again, no one looked.  I walked over to the door separating the kitchen from the hallway and dining room.  I leaned against the door frame and watched.  A series of notes floated from the room and yet the piano bench remained empty.  My mom slowly walked up behind me.  She had heard.  I didn't look at her face, I didn't need to, I could tell she know who it was too.  I could feel her body tense, frozen in disbelief.  My brother, sister and dad finally took notice and wandered over to investigate.  As soon as we were all together standing in the doorway the piano let loose its music.  We stood still, silent.  We watched.  I whispered to my mom, 'I see her.  I can see her.'  In the window I saw the reflection of my grandmother.  It was a reflection of her I had never seen but one that I knew would be the grandmother my mom would be familiar with.  Younger.  Her hair darker.  Her skin more colorful.  Her body thinner and more bubbly.  She played and we watched.  I don't know how long she played but I know that we stood there in the doorway long after she had gone.  We stood with our bodies touching, staring at the empty piano.
Right then it hit me.  This is the first time my grandmother has visited me since she passed.  It's been, god, I don't even know how long, 13 years or so.  She aged and prepared us perfectly.  Not as we would have been when she passed but younger.  To the age we would have been when there were frequent sleep overs.  Pancakes.  Cookies and milk.  Trips to the zoo.  To the movies.  Television programs.  Enchiladas.  Lemon Cake and vanilla bean ice cream.  
It was nice to be a child again.  To have all my problems cured just by being in the vicinity of caring parents, family.  The comfort of knowing that no matter what there was my fathers lap to crawl onto while he sits in his recliner reading the paper.  That there would be the kitchen where I could chop vegetables for my mom while she wold reinforce who I am, where I've come from and where I'm going.  
This morning I woke up feeling the most vulnerable I've felt in a long time.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Song of the day.

This is the song I'm going to leave work with.

Status report.

Hey there readers.  I'm not doing so hot.  What is an amazing week in American history is a crap week for me physically.  As you know, I volunteered in the bush on Monday clearing vines.  Well, it looks as though I may have been allergic to something out there.  I didn't see any poison oak, though my skin is telling me that I may have encountered some anyway.  The skin on my forearms is a bit pink, raised and itchy.  What's worse is that before I washed up I used the restroom.  You know what that means, right?  Well, if you don't then I'll tell you.  It means that while I was handling myself, aiming and what not, that the poison oak oil spread from my hands/clothes to my junk.  Yup, I am finally a member of the poison oak on the junk club.  It sucks.  I kept waking up scratching my...self.  If you've never had poison oak then let me try to describe what it feels like.  It feels like a bunch of electrically charged static-y hairs contained with in the walls of your skin, not under your skin, but between the outer wall and the inner wall.  As if your skin is composed of these tiny little hairs that are having a little rave and are dancing and jumping around and tickling and tingling.  The more you scratch, the more they dance.  Oh, they also seem to heat up with scratching too.  Like hot, hot.  Now cover your junk with that and try to sit at a desk like a normal person and not rip out the crotch of your pants and pour ice water on your...self.  I dare you.
Also, I seemed to have twisted my back in my sleep last night.  I woke up this morning and felt like two of my vertebra were fused together.  I can barely hold a pint of water out in front of me with out a sharp pain searing my upper back.  All this and The Walkmen show is tonight.  I've been looking forward to this show for a while now.  Hopefully it will take my mind off of my crap condition.  
Wish me luck readers.  

The West. Pappou. Sling Shots.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Here we go...

Ocean Beach, San Francisco, California

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bike Riding and Volunteering

On this beautiful MLK morning my agency decided that we'd spend some time volunteering.  We decided to join with the GGNRA to help clean up the Presidio.  There were around 8 or 9 Amazons that participated.  Our specific task was to go through and cut away the ivy.  Is is a parasitic plant that grows all over the ground and up into the trees drowning out the sun and killing the plants below.  As you can imagine I was super stoked to do this.  I had two pairs of sheers, one tiny and one lumber jack sized.  We spent about three hours climbing through the plants and hacking away and the evil ivy.  
Anyway, this was my bike route to the site and then to work after.

This was the tree being strangled by ive...
Just call me jack...
Half way to freedom.
The Amazons
I'm super excited to get dirty and rip out some evil ivy.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Street Meat

Seriously, why doesn't the Lower Haight or the Divis. Corridor a.k.a. I'll never call it NOPA have street vendors?  I'm not just talking the bacon wrapped hot dogs (which are total blegh unless you are like, ten or twelve deep) or the Tamale lady but anyone.  I want to get this thing going.  I think I'm going to start it off by starting a series of Sunday Stoop BBQs.  Highlights will be Loukanika (Greek Sausage with oregano and lemon), Corn (not in the husk, that's not how you do it, c'mon/with a butter and salt), pork ribs (dry rub, of coarse.  sauces are for the birds).  I may even start a gourmet BBQ pizza series using an almond flour crust, of coarse.  You just wait and see.  I'll show you how great street meat can be.  Come on by, toss something on and join in the gastro event of the year.

Miami Bus Driver Charged in Hit-and-Run

Taken from the Miami Herald....

"'If he hadn't realized he hit the victim, we would have probably not 
charged him, but we have several witnesses' statements that say 
that they told him he had hit the bicyclist,'' Daddario said."

This was a statement given to a  Herald reporter by Sgt. Mike Daddario.  A police officer said this.  Do you think that if the bus had swiped a car or hit a pedestrian that he would be charged regardless of weather or not he realized he had hit something or someone?  This is generally how bicyclists are treated.  I've been charged at by vehicles.  Run off the road.  Side swiped.  And every time I've tried to call the police to report the driver, even if I had the license plate number, I was told by the officer on the other line that I could make the report but that they probably wouldn't do anything about it.  
So thanks.  Thanks for protecting and serving.  

Thursday, January 15, 2009

San Francisco to Santa Cruz

I am planning to ride from San Francisco to Santa Cruz sometime in May.  It's about an 80 mile route and I want to enjoy it so I'm planning on doing it over the span of two days instead of one.  With a little beach camping on Saturday night.  I've been wanting to do this ride for a while but have just never gotten around to doing it.  I think it's finally time I got this one under my belt.  Below is the route that I plan on taking with a slight detour near Pacifica called the Planet of the Apes route.

Possible Route:
Distance:  approx 80 miles

Meet at Panhandle statue
with who ever is willing.
L @ MLK Dr.
R @ South Dr.
L @ Upper Great HWY
HWY 35/Skyline Dr.
L @ Crenshaw Dr.
R @ Palmetto Ave.
L @ Clarendon Rd.
R @ Francisco blvd
Francisco turns into Bradford Way
L @ Morris Point Rd.
This is the start of the Planet of the Apes route
Exit HWY 1 @ Linda Mar Blvd.
Go inland on Linda Mar Blvd.
R @ Adobe Dr.
L @ Higgins Way
Higgins Way turns into San Pedro Mtn. Rd.
Reconnect with HWY 1

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Save the Market and Octavia Bike Lane


In 2007, the SFBC held a huge rally that gained safety improvements for the intersection- most notably the installation of Soft Hit Posts and a Concrete Barrier Island that physically separated the bike lane from car traffic. Now the City wants to take this away.

Join SFBC members at the corner of Market and Octavia this Friday, January 16, for an important rally to demand the City stop it’s plan to remove the bike lane on Market Street at the Octavia intersection. Stop by anytime between 7:30am and 10am to sign our petition and lend your support.

7:30 AM Rally Begins- Market & Octavia Intersection
9:00 AM Press Conference- Market & Octavia Intersection

Hucking the Chuck

Mark Ryan and I ran it together and it was damn amazing.  

What you normally have to do, if you don't run it inside your boat, is let your customers off above, wade out to a pool just above the falls and shove your boat out into the middle of the river so that it goes into that slot.  There is another slot just to the right of this (if you are looking down river.  So in the photo it would be to the left).  It is a keeper slot as the water pours through two rock and will trap your boat and ruin it.

However, this is a two man job, for you cannot just push your boat over a waterfall and expect it to be waiting nicely for you at the bottom.  The job of the second man is to hike down below, climb up a rock about 20 feet above water level, and jump out about 15 feet to an eddy (a spot of calm water) about five feet by five feet that is right behind a rock.  Mind you that this is all in the middle of rapids that are trying desperately to wash you down stream.  You have the falls above you pushing all this water in your face and at your back you have a series of class IV rapids about ten meters down stream.  

You then must scramble/slither up this rock (you can see it in the above and below shots, it's the one in the bottom right hand corner).  Wait for the boat to be shoved down the falls, then, as it's rushing past you you must leap into the boat and paddle it into an eddy where the customers are waiting.  

As you can see, my friend Alejandro styled it so no one had to do the jump.   
Not bad, eh?

Two Books...

Traffic tells us what our driving says about us.  It doesn't sound very interesting but it apparently is.  And as a cyclist I have a particular interest in this subject.  

I have just heard amazing things about this book.  That's it.  I want to read it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lives past

This is the life I gave up to become a cube rat.  

Different, but the same...

Like you or I, this alligator has butt cheeks.  

Monday, January 12, 2009

This weekend marks the end of my alcohol consumption....for January.  I will remain sober for the next three weeks.  I'm not worried about my drinking habit ruining my life.  Sobriety will probably reek more havoc on my social life than beer and wine and tequila and fernet ever did.  I'm doing it to get a bit healthier, save a bunch of money and to be a bit more productive on the weekends.  I feel like too many weekends were wasted sitting in the park drinking beers.  I own a raft and would much rather spend my weekends on the river in the sun with no shirt, no shoes and no problems.  Anyway, we'll see how it goes.  

Friday, January 9, 2009

Summers in San Francisco, and by summers I mean October.

I should go swimming. We should go swimming. We should get on the phone and invite each other swimming. Who knows the best place to swim? Gina only likes lake-swimming, but the nearest lake is a forty minute drive. No one can manage that, it’s exactly the wrong distance. Tina only likes pool-swimming. There is a public pool about a mile away, but everyone gets the feeling that it’s kinda gross. Swimming would be perfect. Jokes about a kiddie pool. About the gutter, about puddles. Does anyone have a lawn? A sprinkler? We could downgrade this to beer on the grass. We could wear sunglasses in the park. We could get cold drinks at a bar with a patio. We could lie on the floor of your apartment. We could just fall asleep."

Taken from SexPigeon

I totally <3 China Town

Seriously, I love it.  A few things I love about China Town in no particular order....

1-Old Chinese people and their side walk snot rockets.
2-Old Chinese people and not knowing what do do when the side walk gets blocked.  Seriously, they just stand there, perk up, and then look back at the ground.
3-Cheap ass eats.  $3.50 for a big ol' plate of rice, chicken/pork and eggplant.
4-That they don't cut the fat and grisle off of their meat....and i eat it because it makes me feel like I'm in a different country, which I desperately need to feel right now.
5-Socks are so cheap.  And rad.  I think I might buy girls socks next time because they are prettier and more interesting.  
7-I'm also really into the way old Chinese men dress.  They are all dapper hats and button up shirts and flannels or wool sweater vests or v-neck pull overs.  I think I'm going to buy a flannel and a sweater.  
8-I like that pretty much anyone I bump into is forced to kiss my belly button.  Seriously, if you are anywhere near six feet tall then China Town has the best view and it also feels like you are walking around in a city of children.  Totally not racist.
9-I really like checking out the fish markets.  Especially the treys of dead skinned frogs.  They kind of look like Muscle Men from when we were a kid.  I imagine what they'd look like with a battle axe or a mace in their hands.  Super yoked legs and kind of mutanty.
10-I especially like wandering into odd stores.  You'd never be able to tell from the entrance but each and every store in China Town is magical.  The dimensions of the building are simply baffling.  If you look in from the street you can clearly see that the back of the store is six feet behind the counter, however upon entering you find that they is isle after isle of never ending useless nick nacks.  The best one yet was when I wandered into a butchers and walked straight back for probably three hundred yards until I came upon where they keep all the rare birds and animal parts.  They were glass rooms filled with qual eggs, chickens, cow feet, tails, and all kinds of magical fish.  It was very, very real and it smelled that way too.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

BBQ's in Morgan Territory

Last night my best friend came home for one last BBQ at her dads house.  We, of coarse, met up at my parents old place.  We hung out in the pool house, Carl, Jay, Dempsey and I playing pool and my brother manning the tables playing amazing record after amazing record.  She was dancing.  We were all dancing.  It was summer, the end of summer, so we were all in our swim suits.  We were drinking beer and champagne.   After our game of pool we got in the hot tub, splashing around, trying not to get water in our bottles and cans.  We were doing flips off the brick ledge, seeing who could actually go the whole way with out back flopping.  It was all so perfect.  We all had a perfect relationships with her.  It was like she was a girlfriend to each and every one of us.  Taking turns making us laugh, talking trash, sitting on our laps, nuzzling our necks.  Perfect.  Like in the movies where a scene is so perfect that the director can't do anything to make it better except to pull the camera away, fade out the laughs and talking and cheering and splashing and fade in the music.  
Soon enough we had all settled in and were getting ready to drive out to Morgan Territory where her dad lives.  It was a silent drive.  It was evening now and the night chill was arriving so we all bundled up in sweaters and beanies, though we refused to change out of our shorts.  We arrived and George was standing on his porch opening cans of beans and chili and corn per his usual BBQ greeting.  Madeline and Sandy were there too.  Maddy in the garage and Sandy in the house.  Soon the mood was lively again as we built a fire in the pit, played darts, and tended the BBQ.  We were all a little tipsy on wine by now.  I remember sitting at the picnic table, one leg on either side of the bench when she came and sat in front of me.  She leaned back into me, her hood crumpled against my neck.  I new it was time for her to be going.  That it would be a long, long time until I saw her again.  The back of her head was nuzzled against the right side of my neck.  I bent my head down and slowly took a deep breath.  She smelled exactly how I remembered.  Stale cigarettes and Ora perfume.  But some how, over all that, the scent of her skin came through perfectly.  Some how it smelled exactly how it felt.  How it looked.  I breathed her in as much as I could.  As slow as I could and as long as I could.  Then with out looking back she slowly rose to her feet and walked down the long gravel driveway.  We all sat in silence, stretching our ears to hear each and every last fall of her feet until we were all just sitting.  Silent.
That night during dinner her father, her mother, her brother, her sister, Dempsey, Jay, my brother and I sat around and laughed and toasted our sister, our girlfriend, our daughter and our best friend.  At the end of dinner I stood in front of the table and raised my glass to toast our girl but before I could get a word out my throat swelled and I broke down sobbing.  Sobbing at how ridiculous it is to raise a glass for someone who isn't there.
That's how I woke up.  To a wet pillow case, a snotty nose, swollen eyes and a broken heart.

My hatred of undergarments

Today I decided I'd give underwear another chance.  I immediately regretted it.  This morning I picked out a nice soft pair of boxer briefs and threw them on under my pants and almost instantly I began to hate life.  I don't know how you people do it, with that cloth crammed into every crack and crevice.  Today life is miserable.  Thank goodness it's Friday tomorrow.

To hell with layers.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Market and Octavia and Bicycles and Cars

The SFMTA is attempting to eliminate the Eastbound bike lane on Market Street as it crosses the Octavia/101 on ramp. If you remember, since its opening there have been problems with cyclists being hit by cars illegally turning right from Market onto the 101 on ramp. In order to put a stop to this a barrier was finally put into place. (I would upload pics but apparently I'm at my max). What is now being proposed is that they tear out the bike lane and force cyclists to merge with morning commute traffic claiming that being in line with the cars will be safer than being side by side.
There are a few different theories out there about weather being in traffic (bikes are leagally considered and must obey all traffic laws) or separate (and supposedly less visible) is safer. I'm of the opinion that where there is a decent bike lane I'll ride in it, however where there is none I ride in traffic, behind/in front of cars. I actually prefer to be in traffic, it just feel safer taking a lane rather than trying to stay right when. At least in my history of cycling, drivers make no effort to go around. I've repeatedly almost been clipped by side mirrors and have several friends who have gone down from just that. However, riding in traffic isn't the best option for most cyclists, especially those who aren't as comfortable cycling in traffic or those who cycle just for their commute.
I almost want to say that if this were proposed on any other street I wouldn't have a problem with it. But to eliminate something that has been as "effective" as this has on such a highly trafficked bicycle commute is crazy. Nuts.

This post was inspired by StreetsBlog

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Big Sure with Justin and Patrick 1.2-1.5.09

Heading out, just past the trailhead, in the Andrew Molera State Park.

It's about an eight mile loop.

We saw this.  Bad omen?  Not a chance.

See, our spirits are high.

From here, we climb.

...and climb...

...and climb...

Pat dries his armpits...
Justin follows.

...and we keep climbing.

We get to this little look out.  There is a house behind me but you can't really see it because it is built into the hillside.

...and climbing.  Still climbing.
We ended up climbing about 1,100 feet in just over a mile.  It was sweaty.

If you count this then there are four Fun Guys on this trip.

This was the next day.  We decided to just drive and walk what ever trails we find.  This one went down to the beach.

Cheese, Guac, Wine, Bread, Tostada's.


I feel like the sandman.