Now that daylight savings is in effect and we’ve got more sunlight along with warmer weather coming in I thought I’d share some tips that I’ve developed over the years for how to enjoy the warm weather on the cheap. There are benefits to this that I’ll get into later, but expect to see some old school references to how to do this. There are few things you’ll need which can be adjusted to your needs.
2. Lawn chairs/chaise lounges
3. Cooler [filled with beer]
4. Radio/music device
Those are the basics. Feel free to add to the list, but don’t subtract. Start by pulling the car out of the driveway and setting up two chaise lounges [old school] or lawn chairs. Place cooler of beer [budweiser or if you’re a hipster PBR] between them and turn on the music. Don’t forget to invite a friend or neighbor for the other lounge/chair. Long 70’s mustaches not necessary unless you’re going for a retro vibe.
That’s how we used to do it. Sort of like in the picture only with a better fashion sense. While I’m not positive I do believe that it came about from Dad’s getting up in the mornings on the weekend and mowing the lawn and doing all the front of the house gardening and then after cleaning up it would be around noon and they’d pull out the chaise lounge to admire their work.
There wasn’t really much other times you would sit out in front of your house so that makes the most sense to me. If it was a particularly warm day you’d hose down the driveway and sit there in the steam that the breeze would cool down making it a rather enjoyable outing. The Western side of the city doesn’t get a lot of sunny days so you enjoy them more when you do get them and for people here anything above the mid 60’s temperature wise has them passing out with heat stroke so you have to do what you can to cool the place down aside from waiting until around 4pm in the afternoon when the wind kicks up.
If you don’t have a real driveway [a personal parklet?] you can still find a way to make it work. There are lots of areas with smaller half sized driveways or pretty much no driveway in front of the garage that you can find some way to squeeze in a couple of chairs, cooler and radio.
There’s another benefit to this in that you get to walk people walking down your street. Most of them are probably your neighbors. This was the way I met most of my neighbors and if they start talking to you and you offer them a beer you’ve just created a connection that both of you might have a use for in the future. You’ll suddenly find that your next door neighbor likes to tinker with cars and that maybe you can help them fix their plumbing problem. I got rid of my gophers thanks to a neighbor which I gave him some orchid bulbs from my yard in exchange [side note: anyone need some cymbidium orchid bulbs? I’ve got tons of them. Will trade for chocolate.]
Doing this lets you take life slowly for a little while and all it costs you is the beer. Maybe you’ll break out the little grill on a hot day and cook up some burgers with your neighbors [which is a good reason to have a freezer in your garage.] It lets you have company without having to clean the house. Gives you a chance to meet your neighbors and if you live on an East/West facing street you might get invited across the street when the sun goes away on your side or invited over before you get the sun in the afternoon. Think about it, we need more of this.
For some reason this popped into my mind over the weekend and I had to see if I could dig anything up on this, but back in the late 60’s/early 70’s when I was a young pup the elementary schools at the end of the school year would sell matinee tickets to your local movie theater for a Tuesday or Wednesday showing and each movie ticket cost 15¢. You would buy enough to cover you for the summer and once a week your parents would cart you off to the local theater and dump you there for the day. Life was good back then.
I’d like to say 15¢ was worth more back then and I’m sure it was, but this wasn’t breaking anyone’s bank that I remember. A small box of candy, which would be considered large by today’s standards, at my local Parkside Theater was 16¢ [the extra penny was for tax], so getting rid of your kids for a day each week in the summer was worth the price of a candy bar. I don’t know about other theaters at the time, but the Parkside also served ice cream and sandwiches which was a bit odd for back then as they weren’t pre-packaged, but hand scooped and hand made.
As I remember the movies started at around 11am or so and ended around 4-4:30pm. They’d show a cartoon movie and then a live action movie, all kid oriented of course. You could go in and watch Jungle Book followed by Treasure Island and for a little kid having the big screen to share with his friends and not having your parents around was great. Before every movie they showed a few cartoon shorts for the kids with short attention spans to help hold them over through the movie. In between movies they had an intermission which meant time to buy more candy so you could properly fuel your sugar rush for when you came home. I would be sent off with a dollar in my pocket and always get candy, popcorn and a soda and come home with change.
While I only went to the Parkside, I think the summer movie thing was done all around the city. I seem to remember using my tickets at a theater in the Richmond District once or twice because my Mom’s best friend lived there and I’d sometimes go with her kids. It’s kind of hard thinking back to those times because today you’ve got entertainment available from so many different sources. Back then we didn’t have channels to change, I don’t even think we knew what movies they were going to show. I believe the tickets just had the day and the date and 15¢. Maybe the school name was on it because it was probably a way for the schools to add to their coffers.
Now here’s the funny thing, I found out that the Parkside Theater back in those days seated 1329 people, so on a sold out matinee they would make only $199.35 from ticket sales. You couldn’t buy them at the door, you had to get them from your school. Anything extra they got was from selling foods at the snack bar. I’m sure minimum wage was awful back then since the first real job I got was in 1977 and paid $2.20/hour and at that price I bet they could barely cover the cost of the staff if they weren’t selling lots at the snack bar. Working then wasn’t too much fun because if you did something incorrectly they could cut your pay for the day and I’m sure that was over used because in the mid 70’s they made it so you had to be paid for the hours you worked. No one seemed unhappy working at the theaters back then though, but I was only 7 so what did I know.
Those days are gone now with most of the small neighborhood theaters disappearing [the Parkside was a first run theater that got the movies as they came out] and I’m sure we’ll start to see some of the larger theaters disappear as the home screens keep getting bigger and people like to eat less over processed crap that they can make cheaper at home. It’s kind of sad though because it was a very memorable time for me. I haven’t been to a movie theater now in close to ten years, mostly because I can get close to the experience for a fraction of the price without having to walk across sticky floors to sit in an uncomfortable seat and eat junk food that everyone says today will take 10 years off your life, but when you’re a kid you don’t notice those things.
If you’re going to San Francisco, September is the time to visit. During the Summer it’s always funny to watch the tourists who you can tell by their shorts and sandals in weather that’s cold and foggy, but come September we start our Indian Summer [or as the People’s Republic of Berkeley refer to it Indigenous Summer].
Some people call them the dog days of Summer, but since we had a huge Native American population here I was raised calling it Indian Summer. It gets a little drier and definitely warmer and sunnier. This is the time to wear your shorts and sandals. I think I can finally hang up my Winter coat and thermals that I wore during the Summer and get into some thinner clothing.
This is the time to sit outside at the local cafe drinking a cup of coffee with your sunglasses on and just enjoying the neighborhood. This is a time to trot down to the beach or search out some of the more rural areas down on the peninsula where it will be very hot. Take a trip down to Monterey and stroll along Cannery Row on the weekend. It’s the most beautiful time of year for San Francisco and the Bay Area and it’s the best weather you’ll ever see.
It’s one of the few times of the year where you will actually see a sunset in the Sunset District and the broken clouds out over the ocean only make the sunsets more spectacular. Travel up to Twin Peaks in the evening and you’ll get hit by a heat wave because all the sunlight from the day radiates upwards at night and the top of the hill on a clear night is an experience we all need to have at least once. This time of year I like to sit out on my deck at Sunset and enjoy some Hawaiian food as the sun goes down because it feels like Hawaii without the oppressive humidity.
Sure, I love the fog. That’s why I live out in the Sunset, but with the days shortening the blast of sun and warmth during the day that radiates into the night is one of the reasons I feel the most comfortable at this time of the year.
Since my daughter’s off from school now we have to find things to entertain her so we took her for a trip to Sigmund Stern Grove the other day. It’s really come a long way from when I was a kid and it’s a definitely good place to take a walk.
It was purchased by Rosalie Meyer Stern after the original owner George Greene who Trocadero Inn that’s still there, but closed it in 1916 with the oncoming of prohibition he was afraid that that bootleggers would make their way to his hidden hideaway. Rosalie donated the area she named after her late husband to the City of San Francisco in 1931. She was the President of the city’s Playground Commission which would now be SF Parks and Recreation.
When I was a kid it was the place to go on the weekends to drink beer. During the day on the weekends they might have a concert or two. Not the type they have today, but mostly local rock bands nothing as big as they get today. It was always a place for music and in 2005 got a major overhaul by Lawrence Halprin giving it a new stage better natural seating with a sort of bleachers being made out of grass and rock.
The east end where the Trocadero Inn is [I don’t know what it’s called today, but I’m sure it’s had a few renovations and is available for rental for events I still believe] is a heavily wooded area with picnic spots and grills. If you’re lucky and are having a big party you’ll want to get the double bricked in grills up in the northeast end. There’s a pond in the midst of the trees that used to have koi in it, but I didn’t see any this time. It was a great place to have a picnic when I was a kid and we always loved running around the trees.
In the middle is the concert area that’s pretty massive.The stage now has a hangar of lights and there’s lots of lights around the seating area as well for night time concerts. I didn’t get close enough, but there did look like there was a concession stand for those who forgot to bring some food during the concerts. Be careful when you walk around the place because since there’s grass there’s gopher holes. Not as many as in other places and I’ll have to find out what they do to keep it that way.
On the west end you’ll find dogs. Lots of dogs. It’s become an open dog run area and it’s huge so you’ll see lots of big dogs that need the exercise out there. At the far west end is Laguna Puerca [literally pig lake]. It’s one of the few natural lakes in San Francisco and you can tell by all the pond scum and duckweed floating around. I would not suggest you go for a swim there on a warm day. the water is pretty nasty. There’s also a building where they hold the Pine Lake summer camp. Oh, by the way they changed the name from Pig Lake to Pine Lake. Image is everything needless to say.
Up and around the north end there are lots of trails for hikers so there really is something for everyone here. There’s not a whole lot of parking here, but there is an east and west lot that the only connection is a service road that’s not available to the public. I prefer to enter through the west entrance off of Crestlake Avenue as it’s much wider than the road in from 19th Avenue. My daughter enjoyed the trip especially being around all the dogs. The owners will warn you if their dogs aren’t good around kids, but we didn’t find that to be the case. Enjoy the pictures.
There is a little known fact about San Francisco. We like Australia don’t get our summer in summer. June, July and August are normally in the low to mid 60’s and foggy. It’s actually rare that the sun comes out in summer on even a single day. Well thank you global warming, things have changed.
San Francisco typically has its summer wrapped around people’s normal summer. Usually May the weather warms up and the heat rises only to cool down when June comes around. Then sometime late in August we get our Indian summer which runs up to late October. When we have the El Nino weather it’s gone on to last through New Years where one year I remember barbecuing on New Year’s in 80° heat.
Ocean Beach has never been a place for the faint of heart. You usually need a very rustic bearing of Scottish sea farer to stand up to the hardships that Ocean Beach gives you. That wasn’t so yesterday and it won’t be today either. My weather app told me that we could expect up to 78° yesterday and I had the chance to meet up with an old friend out in the Bayview. When I left at noon I walked outside in steamy 90° heat that you never get in June in San Francisco. I immediately turned on the AC only to realize I was half way home before I could feel that there was cool air coming out of it.
As I got home a sweaty mess it was at least in the upper 70° out by the beach. I double check my weather app and notice that the temps are going to stay hot for the rest of the week. I’m come to notice that whatever the weather app says is pretty close to what happens. At least it looks like we’ll be seeing some proper June weather for San Francisco by the weekend when the temps should drop to the upper 60’s, but it’ll be overcast. THAT is what a summer is like in San Francisco.
Stay cool my friends.