29 May, 2009

Daily Bread

There are many unusual experiences in the rich urban pageant that is the life of a regular MUNI patron.
This sight isn't really all that strange considering my many experiences, but it does set the mind to wondering about the individual and the circumstances that brought it into being.

Precariously Perched

The many hills of San Francisco feature some of the most desirable, and expensive, homes to be found anywhere. But unless these homes are on the tops of those hills, they don't often have level land beneath them. The Bay Area, and a good bit of the rest of California, is also very earthquake-prone.
It would seem unwise to build a house on stilts in this place, but people do.
I'm sure they do it very well... but still. This example sits on the side of Forest Hill. I think it has about 3 feet of frontage that's attached to the actual hill. The rest juts out over a VERY steep slope. The views are magnificent, but I wonder if the residents ever give our geology a thought.

22 May, 2009

Go's Gets 'um

My favorite sign of the week. I'll give the shop owner the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps "go's" are just another sort of fixture that must be liquidated.
What perplexes me about this sort of sign is that someone had to go through the process of creating it and having it printed. Someone along the way (wife, husband, child, printer operator) didn't bring up the "go's" issue? One wonders.

18 May, 2009


I came across an old friend on a recent stroll. He looks pretty good, seeing as he's over 40 and has been around the track a few times. I don't know what he'd be doing parked near USF Lone Mountain Campus, but it's really none of my business.
Herbie has a particular significance for me as "The Love Bug"
was the first movie I saw more than one time. In fact, I saw it at least 5 times in it's initial release in 1969 (it was the #1 box office hit that year). I drove my family crazy as I tried to convince every adult relative to take me to see it. My father even painted a model Volkswagen in Herbie's colors. It was the only way to have my own Herbie in the age before massive movie tie-in marketing.
Of course, San Francisco is Herbie's home town. It's nice to know he hasn't forgotten his roots.

16 May, 2009

Architectural Glory

When people think of San Francisco's sights, I imagine that they might picture the Golden Gate Bridge, the Transamerica Pyramid, Coit Tower, Cable Cars or the Victorian houses that line our beautiful streets. While many people here DO live in Victorians (or, in my case, Edwardian) homes, many live in something VERY different!
Take, for example, this beauty. In many ways, perhaps, a more typical San Francisco residence of the modern age. To me, there's nothing more San Franciscan than a row of "contractor's specials" squashed up against each other, marching into the horizon, on a foggy street near the ocean. This is a very special example near Golden Gate Park. It's a nice area, but it won't be appearing on any postcards. These kind of homes (probably valued at well over a million dollars) are typically situated on lavishly landscaped streets like this one. Curb appeal, indeed!

10 May, 2009

Five and Dime

Once a fixture of every Main Street in America, the five and dime (or "five and ten cent store", as in the old songs) is a vanishing species. This place is still (I hesitate to use the word "thriving") plugging away on Irving Street. I love its steadfast refusal to commit to any accepted form of window display.
I love its meticulously maintained signage. I just plain love it. I don't imagine there's much in on the shelves in the nickel and dime range. Still, I'd shop here and pay double the price, rather than give my money to some soulless Home Depot, any day of the week.

03 May, 2009

Movie Palaces of Mission Street

Taking advantage of an unseasonably rainy Sunday, I took a stroll to visit a few buildings that seem to look better on a gloomy day; the abandoned movie palaces that line the "miracle mile" of Mission Street. Second only to Market Street in its heyday, Mission St. featured several grand theatres showing second and third run pictures. All have been closed for years now and are in various states of decay. Some saw a second life as churches or discount stores, one (the El Capitan) has been a parking lot since the 1960s. The undisputed queen of the street is the New Mission Theatre. Designed by the Reid Bros. in 1916 and remodelled by Timothy Pflueger (architect of the Paramount in Oakland and the Castro Theatre in The City) in 1932, The New Mission ceased showing films in 1993 and did time as a low-rent furniture store. Recently it was designated City landmark #245 in an effort to save it from demolition by SF City College. Plans for restoration have gone nowhere, though. The (mostly intact) interior was recently vandalized by know-nothing ravers who gleefully posted their "work" on flikr (sigh, I'm only linking this so you can leave a nasty comment on their page!). There's nothing quite so sad and evocative as an old, abandoned movie house, at least that's true for me.