Robert “Fleetwood” Bowden of KPOO

Yesterday I was invited down to KPOO 85.9 FM radio to talk with Robert Bowden of the Fleetwood Report show. This was one bad dude. His Dad was king of heroin dealing in the Bay Area and he emulated his Dad and from the age of 12 spent the next 17 years of his life in and out of prison for pimping, drug dealing, you get the picture. This could have been a lot worse, but this is a guy who has turned his life around and now writes books about it and runs organizations to get ex cons back on their feet.

When I got there I sat in with him while he was doing a few voiceovers for his show which runs from 12pm-9pm Monday through Friday. I first saw him and he reached out and shook my hand and smiled at me and I kind of took the smile as one of those, I’m going to eat you alive type of things, but I realized after we sat down and talked that I totally got it wrong.

He’s actually a pretty good guy who’s written five books in addition to doing his radio show and is also reaching out to people though cable TV in many cities around the nation. He’s been at KPOO for about five years and has been out of jail since 1997. He runs a group call the to help ex cons to keep from going back to jail. He told me that when you get released from jail you’re given $200 which will last you about 72 hours and then you’re back to doing what you did which ends up putting you back in jail again.

This is a guy who’s had a hard life and the fact that he could turn himself around and help other people who’ve gone through what he’s gone through and turn them into better people is a good thing in my book. I recorded my interview so what you hear it very raw, like he is and he didn’t hold back at all. I was glad that he did that because I’ve watched a bunch of the scared straight shows and this little chat did more to make me to want to keep myself straight than any TV show.

My main fascination was asking what it’s like to be on the inside. Again, he didn’t hold back. The food is awful, the guards are predators on the prisoners and their main goal is to break you down and destroy you. I could understand that if they were breaking down the bad side of you that caused you to be there, but it seemed more like they were breaking you down to destroy your self respect. Fleetwood managed to use spirituality to keep himself together. I don’t normally like to go in that direction, but Fleetwood was really speaking from his heart and he’s someone that isn’t a criminal anymore.

If you listen to the recording, please remember that while Fleetwood is talking from the heart, he will say something’s that will shock you, but he’s a good guy and he taught me a lot while I talked to him.

Baghdad by the Bay: The Show

It is official! I have decided to expand for the new year by not just writing about San Francisco, but also I’ll have a podcast available in iTunes of interviews with the famous, infamous and unknown people in and around San Francisco offering their take on what life in San Francisco is all about for them.

This will probably start on a monthly basis, but expand as time goes on. If you have something to say about San Francisco and are interested in being on the show then by all means contact me.

First, the show will be audio only, but as time goes on I may add video to the show as well. It will be available through iTunes and as always, sponsors for the show are always willing to be considered. Hopefully, you’ll be a San Francisco based business since the website is dedicated to San Francisco.

Here’s a little promo you can listen to, or if you’re a podcaster and use it on your show make sure to let me know so that I can give your show a plug back as well. Enjoy!

If you could, please click on my sponsors ad below. You don’t necessarily have to purchase anything unless you want to, but at least the click will add money to my daughter’s schooling fund, or if you like you can click on our donation link and donate even a dollar.

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SF Public Library: It’s more than just a website!

I did something today I normally don’t do. I got talked into visiting my public library by my wife. This is the main branch that’s downtown. I’ve never been much for public libraries after I graduated from college. They always seemed to be like they were dank and archaic and the “new books” area always had books from 10 years ago.

OK, I got a big surprise, shock is more like it. This place is huge. Six stories with a lower level that has a cafe. Everywhere you look there are tables with power outlets and ethernet cables so you can hook up to their internet. They even have computers there if you don’t have one that not only give you web access, but some of them have Microsoft Office on them as well and there are printers that they actually let you print out to for free! Let’s also not forget all the meeting rooms you can reserve for free!

I’ve always been an online type of guy. Life with google makes it easy to find information, but today I realized that you can get more information from a book than a google search. I know what most of you are think, yeah, ok, DUH. It just hit home with me today after of course noticing that the librarians now aren’t the old grandmotherly type women with scours on their face and those glasses with the little chains on them going around their neck. The librarians are hip now!

The architecture of the building is incredible and you can get off at Civic Center BART/Muni station and all you have to do is cross the street to get in. They also have many rooms with displays and exhibits making it a sort of free museum as well. The Main library also has the largest collection of historical records for San Francisco. I was able to find all the specifics of my home and information on the builder and saw all the permits. I have to say I was pretty impressed by it all and it’s more than just books. They have a large audio visual collection and the machines for you to watch DVD’s, VHS or listen to CD’s. If you haven’t been, you definitely have to check it out since it has more than you local branches have to offer, plus when you get your free library card you can also access their online collection of eBooks and podcasts as well. If you’re not a resident you can get a visitor’s temporary card from them as well.