Saturday, March 27, 2004


i went for a long walk this morning on my own. here are the pictures.

i'd been talking with a friend the other night and he asked me what I would prefer to do, after a hard week: walk around with friends, or stay home and curl up with a book? i don't think i'd asked myself that question in too long, and i had not deliberately taken a walk in much, much too long.

i got up early, got a bagel and a coffee and headed for the hills. i worked up a good sweat going up and down. it was perfect. it had rained during the night and everything was glistening still. the dog walkers were out, and probably constituted 80% of the people i saw on my 3 and a half hour walk. it is funny what it takes to get us outdoors.

the neighborhoods were mostly empty, the most common sounds being cars in the distance, and birds, although some neighborhoods seemed to lack even the birds. one ritzy-ish little neighborhood was so still that i felt as though i needed to tip toe through it so as to avoid disturbing anyone -- the only ones that i disturbed were two bluejays, flying out of some shrubery to keep an eye on me. one neighborhood had people out doing chores, a few cars and a motorcycle being washed, two kids being pulled on a wagon, two older hispanic woman on walk, a mom and two boys: one dressed in a karate uniform standing next to his mother as she opened a garage door, the other in soccer gear, standing on the stairs. An older man, trying to get his three dogs to pay attention and not get tangled in their leashes and around trees.

there were the usual strange houses, odd knickknacks in windows ( a horse draped by an american flag, a silver bird lengthened into a bench ), ugly strip malls, vistas of ocean, the city, the far bay, rain clouds passing in the distance.

i want to say that i will make a habit of this because it generally makes me happy, it is good and meditative, the ideas flow; alas i know myself and habits well :-)

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

dog days

If this heat keeps up, I can see SF residents beginning to snap in the heat. It's been a week now with amazing weather and warm nights. It feels like we've been transported to some distant clime.

a friend wondered the other day on the way to san jose, if sf's character would be permanently changed if our weather was always like this. no complaining about the fog or the uncalfornian chill.

we were on our way to see a indi film shot in sf, quality of life about the relationship between to graffitti artists on the cusp of change. driven to do graffitti, but increasingly under pressure to give it up and be legit. nicely shot, good atmospherics and a decent story that carried all the way through. some really funny comic scenes. the sound wasn't the best, and one friend complained of its clicheness, but as good as most hollywood ever gets in the end.

Friday, March 12, 2004

anger management

it is hard to bike around the city and not run into some form of ANGER. it is another traffic hazard that I have to be keenly aware of as I am aware of car doors.

sometimes the source is ME. a car cuts me off, a biker does something stupid, a scooter rides in the bike lane flooding my lungs with Taipei nostalgia. it can be overwhelming and all consuming and i can spend the whole ride fuming to myself, replaying the whole little scene over and over and over... i try to recognize it, get over it, focus back on the road.

sometimes i see other people explode. and i know i don't want to be like that. one guy the other day, a truck driver, a water delivery dude, had a handcart sitting out next to his truck on market street. bikers were forced to go out into the middle lane, worse we had to cross the MUNI tracks which is always dangerous, i'd seen a guy go down on them just a day earlier. a woman asked him to move the hand cart.

maybe it had been slightly impolite, but she did not yell. he did. "FUCK YOU. WHERE THE GODDAMN HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO PUT IT," he said in the loudest nastiest voice I could possibly imagine. there was no room for any discussion in it. the bikers just continued to ride on by.

another explosion occured on Valencia street, this a car on car thing. a woman pulled out of a parking space near a traffic light as the light turned green. she cut off a guy, and he went nuts, gunning his engine to get abreast of her, not letting her completely cut him off, yelling all the while. they caught up to the car in front and then a light, and they all began yelling at each other about not being able to drive.

another example was on folsom street when a biker was in the middle of the right lane as the light turned green. bikers do it to let cars turn right. in this case a pickup truck was behing him, and he was furious at being slowed down honking and gunning his engine to get around him. half a block later we were passing him as he had to stop behind traffic. instead of shame or chagrin though, he flipped a bird in the rear window of his pickup as well passed, not daring to look at us though.

a final example is when i tried to inform a driver that their lights were not on. I kept pointing at the front of his car and he kept shooting past me flipping me off. finally, he pulled over to let someone off and I stopped to tell him. instead of listening he opened his door and flung it at me. i left, pointing one last time at his light. he flipped me off AGAIN as he passed me. when he finally turned on his lights he ignored me.

what is it about cars, bikes and roads that drives us to such excess anger? i don't like it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004


yes hot. it is hot -- it is in fact marvellously warm here. above and beyond the unpredictable niceness of spring days here. of course, there are a lot of SF residents who are complaining about it.

our apartment is finally settling into some semblence of a home. a guy came by last night and took most of the furniture we had been trying to get rid of. A nice surprise, even nicer that we feel it is ending up in a decent home... frogwood retreat center in Mendicino

he came a day after i'd posted it on a good way to pass on your junk ( your junk after all is generally another's treasure ).

Tuesday, March 02, 2004


a common site on the streets of san francisco these days is telltale white earphone cords. every time i see them I somehow feel left out, like I am not the member of some strange but pervasive cult thriving in our midst.

it reminds me of a couple ways that I feel that I am not your typical "american." cars and music.

one is that I have no interest in cars. none. tell me you have a porsche and i'll yawn and ask you what books you are reading. occassionally, I'll see a car and think, wow, nice car. they tend to be old old cars, or something like a hybrid. but i don't really care about the car per se. give me a nice bicycle to roll around in anyday. not to say that they have not been useful in my life, or that I don't have one now. but i just don't give a darn. it's been this way since I was a teenager at least. probably since one of my high school coworkers spent most of his time complaining about fixing his car. not the way I want to spend my money.

secondly is -- to the point of this post -- music. do i like music. yes. do i buys cds, listen to the radio, like to go to concerts. no i do not. i do listen to music every once in a while, I do like going to see bands in small cafes and bars, like dancing, like playing music -- but i have no urge, no keen desire to go out and listen to all the latest and greatest. i have no depth of musical knowledge and I don't care. and it's always been that way. don't know why.

my friends will laugh at this and ask, "what about food, adrian. pickles? ketchup? mustard? mayo? peanut butter!?!" and while I will not deny that I abhor those things ( unless the peanut butter is with chocolate ), it is hardly unamerican. or maybe it is. make that 3 things.


i voted yesterday, tramping down to city hall on my lunch hour -- a nice little excursion on a wet, cold and blustery day (no sarcasm intended). the election area wasn't too crowded and I dumped off my ballot nice and quickly.

on the way upstairs, I got to witness a same sex marriage. it made my day. two young tall handsome men, dark pants, white shirts, bedecked with hawaiian leis, clutching roses and each other as they made their way up the stairs. upon the pronouncement they kissed, one suddenly kissing hard and hugging tight, holding onto the moment. the assembled crowd of passerbys and other waiting participants clapped happily.

i'm glad I live in san francisco where that moment is not begrudged.