Tag Archives: only in san francisco

Critical Mass

Participating in Critical Mass has been on my to do list for several years. But for several years I haven’t been much of a bike rider and I never mustered up the motivation to partake. Some might say I am bike rider now, so last week I finally decided to join in on the chaos, and with my friend Brian, took over the streets of San Francisco during pre-Holiday weekend rush hour with several hundred other commotion-creating bike riders.

If you’re not familiar, Critical Mass is a bike event held all around the world every Friday of every month. The purpose is part protest and part social movement. Basically, it’s a bunch of bike riders flexing a little commuter muscle over motorists by riding en masse around the city, blocking intersections, disobeying traffic signals and reminding drivers that we own the road too. Critical Mass started in San Francisco in 1992 and last Friday was the 224th riding.

There is no official organizer of Critical Mass so the whole experience is a little loosey goosey. Brian and I showed up at Justin Herman Plaza at 5:30 PM and we quickly realized we were among the first to arrive. Over the next hour we were joined by several hundred bikers, including but not limited to, old naked men, hipsters and hippies, Financial District professionals, athletes of all shapes and sizes, and even some tourists on their Blazing Saddles rental bikes. There were even a handful of companies tapping into the diverse and captive crowd, including 5-Hour Energy and Nestlé Quik, dancing bunny and all.

Nothing unusual about this picture

The Quik bunny getting down

Around 6:30 PM, critical mass was (apparently) achieved and we all hit the streets. We traveled down Market, wound our way through SOMA and the Mission, cruised up Van Ness en route to the Broadway and Stockton Tunnels and clogged intersections in Union Square – all while running red lights, bringing traffic to a standstill and dancing around the streets with our bikes over our heads.

Re-grouping in the middle of Mission and South Van Ness, yes right in the middle of the intersection

It was an hour of chaos and joy. Brian and I had huge grins on our face the entire time. One of our favorite moments came when a woman in a beached taxi in the middle of Van Ness popped her head out the window and went off on a tirade about how we could all go to hell because she was sitting in an inactive taxi with the meter running.

Success! That is what critical mass is all about, in my opinion. It’s not the end of the world honey, we’re all just having a little fun.

If there’s Critical Mass in your city, I insist on your future participation. It was one of the most enjoyable things I’ve done in a long time.

Cruising through the Broadway Tunnel

Lucky running

File this under blog posts I’ve been meaning to write for months.

Every time I go out running I realize how lucky I am to:

  • a) live in such a beautiful city and
  • b) live in an apartment in a location that affords me the opportunity to go in two different directions and enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery.

Head east and I get 6 miles of round trip waterfront running past the Ferry Building, Cupid’s Span, the Bay Bridge and AT&T Park. Head west and I get 8.5 miles of round trip waterfront running past Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, Fort Mason, Chrissy Field and the Golden Gate Bridge. If I feel like adding another 3 miles I can head up through the Presidio and run across the Golden Gate Bridge.

Now  you know why running hasn’t been such a hard hobby to pick up.

4th of July in SF

Every 4th of July that we’re in town, Dave and I venture out into the madness that is our neighborhood for fireworks on the waterfront. Cars start looking for parking at like 2 PM and many get stuck in traffic at 9:30 PM when the fireworks start. The thing we always forget (we’re usually away on a weekend vacation) when we do stick around for the holiday is that San Francisco is one of the worst places in the world for 4th of July fireworks because of the inevitable summer….. FOG.

We hoofed it up to Telegraph Hill this year only to discover that you could only see the bottom half of the fireworks display due to fog over the Bay. Oops.

After 5 years we’ve finally realized, that as sad as it is to admit, San Francisco is not a very great 4th of July city. I’d take a Midwest 4th of July over this any year.

It’s all in the name

Usually people pick pretty boring and/or systematic names for their wireless networks. For example, ours is simply called dave. Imagine my joy the other day when I found that I was within range of connecting to the following creatively named network:

I thought I had seen it all

I had thought I had seen it all… that was until Booger started receiving his own junk mail.

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Tourism just took an interesting turn…

My sister was in town with her friend Megan this weekend and I was tasked with playing tour guide for the 324th time since moving to San Francisco 4.3 years ago. Jaime has been to SF a half dozen times so she’s done it all. Megan had never been to San Francisco (not even Calif.), so she hadn’t done or seen anything. So of course I had to find some sort of balance. I wanted to show Jaime things she hadn’t seen before but still show Megan some memorable and worthy sites.

So instead of potentially scarring them for life with a visit to the Folsom Street Fair on Sunday, Dave and I slapped together a fun little agenda: the Point Bonita Lighthouse, the Marine Mammal Center and………. the Presidio Pet Cemetery! If I might say so myself, a unique little trio of activities. If you’ve never been to any of the above, you should definitely put them on your to-do list. (What can I say, I’m pretty good at this tour guide stuff.)

The Presidio Pet Cemetery was particularly bizarre. I don’t know how many of you loyal readers out there have been to a pet cemetery before but there is something uniquely strange, comforting and interesting about them. Unfortunately it seems like the maintenance and upkeep at the Presidio Pet Cemetery is on the decline. They’ve recently chopped down a bunch of trees and it seems like there has been a lot of damage to the plot markers. All of that aside, it’s still a place worth checking out and wandering through.

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SF: Somany Flakes

If I say I’m coming to your housewarming party… I come. If I say I’m coming to your bonfire… I come. If I say I’m coming on your camping trip… I come. If I say I’m coming to your birthday dinner… I come. If I say I’m coming dancing with you… I come. If I say I’m going to do something… there is a 95% chance I’m going to do it. On the other hand, if you invite me to do something and I don’t think I’m going to want to come, I just tell you from the beginning… no I don’t think I’m coming.

Not many people in San Francisco seem to have any sense of commitment. I love this town but the one thing that has the potential to drive me away is the excessive flaking that goes on by its residents. I don’t know what it is about this city but it’s full of flakes. They say they’re going to come do something with you and then the bail. They’re tired. They’re sick. There is always an excuse.

I don’t know if I attract flakes as friends, but I’m over it. Some people say they know who their real friends are based on them “being there” during a rough time. I know who my real friends are based on their willingness to keep a commitment.