Fear of the dark, where is it?

This pops up every once in awhile and I think it’s about time I said something about it. I got to pull another late shift at work last night and was driving home close to 8pm. I drive through the park, because there really isn’t much other way to get from the Richmond to the Sunset off of the bridge, but driving through the park. While Golden Gate Park has street lights, it also has lots of trees, some of which block the light.

Now during this drive I saw several very smart people. They were bike riders and joggers who had front and rear facing lights strapped to them. Maybe they weren’t so smart for biking and jogging through Golden Gate Park at night, but at least you could see them. Unfortunately when I turned off of transverse drive things changed.

I almost hit a guy who was jogging across the street, not in a crosswalk even, who was wearing at black shirt and black jogging pants. I can see a Darwin award coming for this guy. The next were three bikers that were riding next to each other that had cheap dime store reflectors that were probably as old as me. It was so dark in that part of the park that I turned on my high beams just so I could see the faded out road divider and not hit one of the somewhat undetectable asphalt curbs. As I finally made it to Sunset Blvd and turned onto it things got brighter and there was no one in danger of being hit, anymore.

There was one other problem that had nothing to do with bikers or joggers though, As I was driving up Taraval after a stop at a local store I decided to turn back onto Sunset and almost hit a pedestrian — wearing all black with a set of headphones on. Now, I may be getting a bit older and sometimes I think my night vision is starting to slip sometimes even though my Opthamologist disagrees with me, When you’ve got several car headlights beaming in your face while you’re trying to turn it sort of cancels out your visibility of darker objects, like people dressed in black walking at night.

I think that our street lights need to be brighter in the first place. The street I live on is one of the long blocks in San Francisco. It has two street lights on either side of it. As you can see from the picture up top, I live on a very dark street at night and it’s really hard to see. I’ve even seen people walking with flashlights at night sometimes because you can’t see what’s in front of you on the ground. Hell, after I took this picture I tripped walking back out of the street because I couldn’t make out the curb very well.

So my words for everyone whether they’re a biker, jogger or pedestrian, if you’re going to walk at night in dark clothing and aren’t doing ninja work prepare not to be seen. Now I think I’m going to have to email Supervisor Carmen Chu this article to bring it to her attention. I haven’t talked to her in a long time. Maybe I could talk her into having a few drinks at one of the Sunset’s fine drinking establishments.


Tempura Guy™ Strikes Back!

A long time ago in a Trader’s Joe’s far away…wait, nope scratch that, I mean the Trader Joe’s at Stonestown. I went in the other day because we had run out of…tempura shrimp. Alas there was nothing in the freezer case and I walked to the back to ask an employee if they had any in stock in the back. She rushes out to verify that I had just told her there is no tempura shrimp in the house. She then runs off to find a manager or someone to ask about when it will be coming in. I wait…

About five minutes later she comes back and informs me, Oh, we don’t have it because we’ve discontinued stocking it. WHAT?!?! Now if you remember back a few days you’ll remember that they had discontinued it, but at my request restocked it only to find out that it was selling and that they had sold out when I went back only to have the staff running around frantically to calm down Tempura Guy™ so that he would not level the store.

Well apparently I wasn’t scary enough the first time since this impish little waif did not fear The Wrath of Tempura Guy™. Tempura Guy™ goes into stealth mode and upon returning home visits the Trader Joe’s website and using the contact form sent a noted regarding the Stonestown Trader Joe’s that they had discontinued, then restocked, then discontinued again a produce in less than a month! Add major sabre rattling and huffing and puffing to the electronic correspondence and click submit.

Tempura Guy™ loves his keyboard lycanthropy and the power it brings him. Tempura Guy™ feels good about himself and his love of the holy tempura shrimp, hallowed be thy panko encrusted name. Then, it happens. The Darth Vader theme ringing from his iPhone alerts him to a phone call from Trader Joe’s. Tempura Guy™ answers and hears the voice of a stammering store manager apologizing profusely, something akin to…Lord Vader, we, I a mean…uhm, well…I am terribly sorry Tempura Guy™, I don’t know who told our crew member that, but they were terribly misinformed and we have two cases in the back to fulfill your needs and desires for tempura shrimp and we are stocking our freezer cases right now. Ok, that sounds a little creepy to me. I mean it’s not like I’m buying it for sexual gratification, I just like the taste of it. He really did use the words needs and desires.

So now I am off to Trader Joe’s where I will hear whispered conversations as I pass the crew members of, it’s Tempura Guy™ as the crew members step out of my way. I think I will add to the frivolity by asking to speak with the manager and shake his hand for coming through for me. If I had the time I would make some sort of stupid plaque that says something like, Tempura Guy™ blesses this Trader Joe’s.

Tempura Guy™ is happy now. Apologies to Lord Vader and Khan.



Happy New Year to all! GOOD MORNING!

I got out of bed this morning at 7am. Probably because I went to bed at 11pm last night ushering in the new year with the citizens of New York and Nashville. I don’t need any more fun than that since being in my late 40’s and it’s cold and rainy out and we didn’t have access to a babysitter [like you could find one on New Year’s Eve], so we hunkered down with the television for enjoyment.

We laughed as the people complaining about snow and not being able to get to work or the grocery store when we just have to worry about putting on another layer of clothes and a thicker jacket when we go outside. For being the New Year’s Day, I woke up feeling pretty good, but I can’t remember the last hangover I’ve had in years and I still drink. I think my ability to get up happy in the mornings is because now that I have a daughter I get exercise again. We have year round available playgrounds although sometimes in winter they’re a bit wet, we have good weather here, neither too bloody hot or too bloody cold. We don’t need to blow all our dough on air conditioning in summer and heat in the winter, thought we’ve had to turn the heat on a bit this year.

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions, but I’m going to make one this year. As you can see I’ve changed the look of the blog. I’m also going to be using 2011 to expand and make the site look more professional. I WILL NOT be adding adsense crap that no one clicks on to make my site look uglier. I will move around the city more and get outside the Sunset District more to show you more of San Francisco. I will be using better equipment to bring you better pictures and video and lastly, I will be interviewing some of the more interesting people around the town for the occasional Baghdad by the Bay podcast. Mostly audio, but sometimes there will be video involved as well.

I’ve always prided myself that I can get you to any street in San Francisco [barring traffic] within less than 30 minutes. I know this town and how great it is. I have friends from around the world who want to know how they can migrate here to live. Some do and make it, for others it’s just a working vacation that lasts them a few months and then they leave dejected that they couldn’t make it here. I wouldn’t look at it that way. I’d say you had a long vacation that you had to put in some work. Those of us who were born here usually have a family member who wisely invested in a house so you have some equity to draw on at some point.

We get people like Anthony Bourdain who dislikes San Francisco because of Alice Waters which when I meet him someday I’m going to knock him upside the head with a big white truffle and point out to him that Alice Waters is in Berkeley, not San Francisco. He’s beginning to warm up to us after he did a show here, but he hasn’t yet found some of the rockstar chefs we have here or cultural spots that don’t involve people sitting on urine stained bar stools picking up their drinks off of bars soaked for the past 75 years of swill being spilled onto them and maybe cleaned up afterwards. Bourdain needs to see the Beach Chalet/Park Chalet. He needs to see Java Beach and Surfer’s Row at the foot of Judah street that’s growing into a thriving community. YOU need to see these places too if you haven’t because there’s a calmness to the area that you don’t feel like you have to drop an eight ball of coke to fit in.

Then of course there are places like Mara’s bakery in North Beach that has a wonderful selection of Italian pastries and cannolis to cry for. Some of the Mission street taquerias where you better know how to count in Spanish because that’s how they call your order number. Let us not leave out the sourdough bread that people would buy at the airport to bring home with them or the dungeness crab that made this city. These are the things I’ll be bringing along in 2011.

Lastly I wanted to share a bit of amusement I had this morning. I was checking my stats for the site and was looking at what words people were using to find my site. Now it used to be my talking about why medical marijuana would increase revenues to the California coffers. Now apparently I’m attracting readers who are looking for drunk+redneck+sex. I guess my one article about Sunset rednecks is reaching farther than the wafting smoke of marijuana.

To all of you I wish you a prosperous new year that will put you and San Francisco in a much better position than 2010 did. May the year bring you smiles and happiness which is because you’ll be making more money at a job that doesn’t suck for a change.