san francisco tech visual

Google street-view meets new apartment

Mara and I just moved into the Low­er Haight ear­li­er this month, and Google just released a new Maps fea­ture — Street View — that has a pic­ture of our place. If I weren't writ­ing about this, I'd be speech­less. Wow.

Our new place on FillmoreOur place is the yel­low two-sto­ry walk-up that is bustin out of the top of the frame. I love that it was cap­tured on one of those semi-sun­ny days where lit­tle wisps of fog drift through. So nice to not live in the fog belt. Inci­den­tal­ly, here's the Chronicle's fog fore­cast. Doesn't look good.

Street Lev­el seems like use­ful func­tion­al­i­ty, esp. for fan­cy mobile devices, which I don't have. The con­trols are pret­ty straight­for­ward and easy to use on a desk­top, but I won­der about the ease with which one could nav­i­gate up and down the streets with those tee­ny arrows on a Palm or Black­ber­ry. This is real­ly nit­picky, but I think it would be effec­tive to intro­duce more map nav­i­ga­tion into the image, i.e. skip­ping to the next inter­sec­tion, return­ing to the orig­i­nal des­ti­na­tion, etc. Future-wise, it would be awe­some to be able to do stuff with the images — eas­i­ly insert them into oth­er things, string them togeth­er in con­nec­tion with direc­tions, etc. What I want to know is: How the heck did they do it? Thx, kot­tke.

basketball san francisco visual

Warriors / Drama, elevation, a posterization, terrible officiating

The War­riors play­off ride is over, the Jazz's ride will come to an end some­time in the next week or so, but Baron's dunk over Kir­ilenko will live on FOREVER. Let's just sit back and appre­ci­ate it for a minute. (It's much bet­ter live).

the rise-upBaron ele­vates and ele­vates; he begins his leap before Kir­ilenko and is still going up as Kir­ilenko descends. Mind-bend­ing. To his cred­it, Kir­ilenko said after the game that it was an awe­some dunk and that "at least I got to be on the poster." Also to Kirilenko's cred­it, he didn't foul Baron; if any­thing, it was an offen­sive foul. More on the stu­pid NBA offi­ci­at­ing later.


stomach shotAs impres­sive as the dunk itself was Baron's stom­ach flash after he land­ed. Not real­ly sure where this came from. The ele­men­tary school play­ground? An And1 mix­tape? Wher­ev­er it came from, it was a stroke of genius in that par­tic­u­lar set­ting — Fri­day night, Oak­land Col­i­se­um, West­ern Con­fer­ence Semi-final blowout. You could prac­ti­cal­ly feel the Bay Area ele­vate that moment.


the dust-offAgain, haven't seen this before, out­side of a play­ground game in the Pan­han­dle, but Stephen Jack­son appeared to be dust­ing some­thing off Baron's shoul­ders. The remains of the rim? Some mag­ic dust from David Blaine?

Inci­den­tal­ly, the best pic­ture of all was not tak­en off my TV, but by an AP pho­tog­ra­ph­er from the oth­er end of the court. It cap­tures Baron as he descends from the dunk.

I really did believe

Like every­one in the NBA uni­verse has already said, the War­riors were huge­ly fun to watch this post-sea­son, and it was sad to see them go. It would have been nice to see more scrap­py, inspired Matt Barnes moments; more Stephen Jack­son dag­gers; more Baron Davis PERIOD. I've always liked Baron, but this post-sea­son he had it all work­ing: his fast-break vision, his high-arc­ing three-point bombs, his cross-over, his abil­i­ty to get in the lane and dish out to open shoot­ers. (More of Baron's finest career moments on YouTube.) It was nice to see Mon­ta get his game back in games 4 and 5, and Biedrins had some real­ly strong moments, by which I mean some ridicu­lous dunks and a few improb­a­ble free throw conversions.

Yes, the Jazz deserved it

At the same time, I admired Utah by the end of the series. Jer­ry Sloan is an ass­hole, but he proved in this series that he is an ass­hole who knows what to do with tal­ent­ed play­ers. The 3‑D guard play (Deron Williams, Dee Brown and Derek Fish­er) was unex­pect­ed­ly sol­id and impres­sive. Memo and Booz­er were Sports­Cen­ter fix­tures through­out the sea­son, but I was sur­prised at how eas­i­ly Memo was tak­en out of his game by the quick­er War­riors. I was sim­i­lar­ly amazed at how great Booz­er has become. The guy rose to the occa­sion, took lots of big shots, fre­quent­ly changed the momen­tum of the game and was by any mea­sure a badass among badass­es. To say those things about a for­mer Duke play­er requires a lot of pride-swal­low­ing on my part.In con­trast to the uneven, streaky War­riors, every Jazz play­er was tena­cious and grit­ty while exhibit­ing a pro­fes­sion­al­ism and char­ac­ter that has been miss­ing from the West­ern Con­fer­ence play­offs this year. Why are so many play­ers, espe­cial­ly War­riors, con­tin­u­al­ly try­ing to draw charges? Play defense. Draw the charge when it comes to you, but don't try to sub­sti­tute actu­al defense with step­ping in front of a play­er as they go to the bas­ket. Stephen Jack­son! Dude! You were huge in the Dal­las series, but against Utah you took your­self out of the game by try­ing to take charges and then get­ting pissed that the refs didn't call them! You know this: the refs are not going to give you those calls when the only thing you're doing is try­ing to draw them. Same goes for Barnes and Har­ring­ton. UPDATE: Hen­ry Abbott of True­Hoop has some thoughts on this very sub­ject:

There are a lot of fouls called on play­ers defend­ing against the dri­ve. What occurs to me more and more is that it's smart to do the whole "draw the charge" flop onto the butt, and only in part because you might draw the charge. A big­ger rea­son is that if your hands are up, and you're jump­ing, and there's con­tact, you have NO chance of get­ting the call, and it's like­ly a foul on you.

An inter­est­ing point; per­haps it's all part of an effort to enable slash­ing and to com­pli­cate phys­i­cal defen­sive play. On the oth­er hand, super­stars seem to get calls even if the defense seems to be legit. Baron obvi­ous­ly drew a lot of charges and hacks, which I think is evi­dence of a huger prob­lem: THE F%@$$%$ING CONSPIRATORIAL OFFICIATING. 

What the f%$#@%$?

It real­ly seems like the ref­er­ees go into each game with an agen­da. Like, the Jazz got every call in game one. Why? Did they want to even things up from the pre­vi­ous series when it seemed like there were some quick whis­tles on Josh Howard? The lop­sid­ed­ness of the calls make you won­der things like that. I mean, even Stephen Jack­son had some legit beefs that night! Then in Game 5, Baron got pret­ty much every call. He lit­er­al­ly ran over Deron Williams a cou­ple of times, no whis­tles. When Williams would so much as touch him, whis­tle. Did the NBA want to pro­long the series? Did they want to give Baron the super­star foul exemp­tion? UPDATE: And don't even get me start­ed on the role of the NBA front office in all this. If the sus­pen­sions of Diaw and Stoudemire end up cost­ing the Suns the series, I'm going to … protest. Some­how. How can the NBA be so bad at inter­pret­ing their own rules? Every sport in the world func­tions effec­tive­ly by imple­ment­ing the spir­it of its rules, not the let­ter. Why go by the let­ter in this case? Stoudemire and Diaw didn't esca­late any­thing; they didn't incite fur­ther may­hem; what gives?In spite of it all, great play­ers make great play­offs. Thanks War­riors, and go Suns.

san francisco the ancient past visual web

Living all over / Google-mapping my life

All over the place

So how come I just now learned that you can cre­ate your own Google Maps mark-up? As a lover of both maps and per­son­al doc­u­ments, the abil­i­ty to cus­tomize an online map has the poten­tial to have a Shabu-like effect on my life. The above map has all the places I've lived in the Bay Area. Check out the com­plete, inter­ac­tive thingy here. It has essen­tial, all-impor­tant com­men­tary on each place. Maps I want to make: killer runs in SF; fun night-time wan­der­ings in SF; lit­er­ary locales of SF (from fic­tion and from real life); TV/movie locales of SF; (this guy already made a cool music-relat­ed his­to­ry of SF); crazy work trav­el trips of the past few years; places I want to go; a bur­ri­to tour of the Mis­sion; the list GOES ON.

flickr music san francisco visual

Music / Lightning Bolt explodes 12 Galaxies

Flickr photo

A few years ago, it would have been sur­pris­ing to see a San Fran­cis­co indie crowd move its feet around in a dance-style motion at a live show. Last week, Light­ning Bolt got peo­ple mov­ing at 12 Galax­ies; it wasn't exact­ly "danc­ing" but (from my van­tage point in the bal­cony), it appeared kinet­ic — lots of mass mov­ing back and forth, a lit­tle crowd-surf­ing, a lit­tle flail­ing around. I took a lot of pic­tures from my perch above the drums.

inside art san francisco the ancient past visual

Small worlds / Phil Collins, The World Won't Listen

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I met Phil Collins (the British artist, not the British pop star1) at a bar in Brook­lyn in the mid 90's. At the time, I didn't know him as "the British artist," I knew him only as my friend Tom's leg­endary boyfriend. I remem­ber lit­tle of the night, but I do remem­ber a hub­bub accom­pa­ny­ing Phil Collins's wan­der­ings around the bar; he seemed to cre­ate some kind of event wher­ev­er he went. At some point, he approached the table with two tall drinks, placed them in front of me, and said some­thing like "These are from an admir­er of yours." As it turned out, they were from an admir­er of his, and this admir­er per­ceived, shall we say, a lack of grat­i­tude when his drinks were giv­en away. There was a con­fronta­tion, as I recall, and Phil said some­thing like, "Well, I'm sor­ry, I nev­er turn down a drink, but you can't hon­est­ly expect me to drink [dis­be­liev­ing voice] rum & coke?" (Or what­ev­er the drinks were). All of which serves as back­ground to my reac­tion to Phil Collins's piece, The World Won't Lis­ten, at SFMOMA, which was pret­ty excel­lent. The premise is pret­ty sim­ple: He filmed young Turk­ish folks singing along to The Smiths best-of com­pi­la­tion "The World Won't Lis­ten." The effect, on the oth­er hand, is deep and res­o­nant. The Smiths' odes to teenager­dom — all vac­il­lat­ing emo­tions, frus­trat­ed inar­tic­u­la­tions, pierc­ing moments of under­stand­ing, sex­u­al ambi­gu­i­ty — take on a deep­er social dimen­sion through the voic­es of (in many of the cas­es) non-Eng­lish speak­ers. Add to this the fact that the singers are Mid­dle East­ern, and it becomes dif­fi­cult to avoid a polit­i­cal read­ing. Songs like "There Is A Light That Nev­er Goes Out" sounds less the over-dra­mat­ic nihilism of a West­ern teenag­er and more like a very real plea from a teenag­er caught in an increas­ing­ly fun­da­men­tal­ist world:

Take me out tonight­Be­cause I want to see peo­ple and IWant to see lifeDriv­ing in your carOh, please don't drop me home­Be­cause it's not my home, it's theirHome, and I'm wel­come no more 

Real­ly impressive.Cool: a web post­ing for the event that he filmed.1 Speak­ing of the British pop star, here's a clas­sic: The video for "Sus­su­dio" [YouTube]

inside art san francisco visual

Missed former SF locals / Chris Johanson

Chris Johanson

Once upon a time, a San Fran­cis­co res­i­dent strolling around these chilly city streets could brush by Chris Johan­son pret­ty often. Even before I knew who he was, I'd seen him around the Mis­sion a lot; when I final­ly con­nect­ed the dots, I real­ized that he was the guy who had drawn lit­tle signs and bits that I'd been lov­ing for years. As I recall, he drew a lit­tle guy above the uri­nal at the Uptown (or some­where I peed a lot); either way, his sim­ple fig­ures and their cryp­ti­cal­ly expressed thoughts would be burned into my brain for hours after I saw them. He moved to Port­land a while ago, and San Fran­cis­co has been a lit­tle less visu­al­ly excit­ing ever since. For one thing, his beard is an inspi­ra­tion to any aspir­ing bear­do, and his lead­er­ship in this regard will be sore­ly missed. More: A cool pro­file of Chris from Spark, a local PBS art show.

flickr new york san francisco the ancient past

Thanksgiving remix

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Thanks­giv­ing 2006 came and went, attend­ed by friends, fam­i­ly and the cus­tom­ary dra­mas. An East Coast / West Coast feud flared up in the week before the hol­i­day. Gabriel (East) sent what some in the West per­ceived as "a sal­vo across the bow" in the form of a Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tion (a slide of which is pic­tured below). It con­tained a finan­cial-style analy­sis of Thanks­giv­ing: how Thanks­giv­ing East has per­formed over the past decade, trends, pro­jec­tions, and out­lines for future growth. Some saw this as evi­dence of a dia­bol­i­cal plan; I was naive and asked for clar­i­fi­ca­tion on specifics:

Dear Gabe, TYs (Thanks­giv­ing years) 2003–2004 were char­ac­ter­ized by broad guest sec­tor diver­si­fi­ca­tion. What is the like­li­hood that a diver­si­fied strat­e­gy, with expo­sure to the Shana­han sec­tor, for exam­ple, will be pur­sued in the future? Sec­ond­ly, to what extent will "val­ue" guests (e.g., McClo­rys and Preslers) con­tin­ue to anchor the port­fo­lio? Will you pur­sue more (poten­tial­ly) volatile "growth" guests in order to boost per­for­mance in the com­ing years? 

Gabe replied:

Gabe's projection infographic

Like oth­er mis­sion-relat­ed offer­ings, we believe that diver­si­fi­ca­tion is impor­tant for ensur­ing steady, depend­able per­for­mance in any envi­ron­ment to pro­tect against sec­tor-spe­cif­ic risk. But our com­mit­ment to diver­si­fi­ca­tion goes beyond our con­cern for the bot­tom line: indeed, we believe that it reflects our group's core mis­sion. We are con­vinved that when we serve a broad range of atten­dants and when our offer­ings range across the geo­graph­ic and social spec­trum, our Thanks­giv­ing is ulti­mate­ly stronger.I want to empha­size that we con­sid­er all of our par­tic­i­pants "core" can­di­dates. Alas, our com­mit­ment to value–illustrated by our proven track record of offer­ing Thanks­giv­ing at a deep dis­count to its intrin­sic value–means that we are not always able to serve as broad a con­stituen­cy as we would like. For exam­ple, many of our sought-after par­tic­i­pants fall out­side of our geo­graph­ic uni­verse; we are par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ed in oppor­tu­ni­ties in California. 

Need­less to say, this kind of talk elicit­ed skep­ti­cism and cries of region­al pride among the West Coast­ers, feel­ings which became even more acute when addi­tion­al news arrived: The East Coast guest list had grown so large, so ginor­mous, that the hosts scram­bled to find larg­er accom­mo­da­tions for their dinner. 

Now [East Coast Thank­giv­ing] reports that their 2006 expan­sion plan has been so suc­cess­ful that they're relo­cat­ing to a BAR for their fes­tiv­i­ties. clear­ly the bar has been raised. are we going to let presler corp. out­do us at what we do best? we have to ral­ly around the turkey and show the east coast who rules this holiday.

Would cool­er heads pre­vail? Some West Coast­ers called for "focus."

i hate to say it, but this whole thing reeks of a ploy to take us off our game. start chas­ing the presler-yamadas with this whole thanks­giv­ing at the bar thing, and next thing you know you'll be doing blow off some stranger's anato­my at 5am while real­iz­ing that you for­got to even *buy* a turkey. we have to stick to what got us here. the fun­da­men­tals and an easy-going atti­tude that there's no rea­son to get stressed out because our moms are at least like a thou­sand miles away … focus, people.

Laying on of hands

Of course, Thanks­giv­ings of yore were char­ac­ter­ized by spon­tanae­ity that often resem­bled chaos. (See right. More here.). To this end, there were appeals to pull together: 

If Robert Alt­man taught us any­thing it's that great works of art are NOT cre­at­ed with scripts, busi­ness plans or Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tions. We will hon­or his tra­di­tion and fol­low our usu­al free-flow­ing, impro­vised pat­tern. We will cre­ate a rich­ly lay­ered Thanks­giv­ing that will touch on all of the major themes of mod­ern life in a heart­break­ing, at times com­i­cal, at times vio­lent, but always inci­sive way. Like Alt­man, we are not afraid of fail­ure. How­ev­er, it's also true that some great works of art were cre­at­ed with blow (John Belushi, the DeLore­an, Dwight Gooden) …

In the end, there was focus and togeth­er­ness on the West Coast, and, by all accounts, steady growth with div­i­dends in the East. A wise man once said: "Let love rule." It shall.

flickr music san francisco street art visual

Music / Peggy Honeywell at Mollusk

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Being car-less keeps me (most­ly) around the south­east­ern neigh­bor­hoods of San Fran­cis­co, but every once in a while I'll ven­ture out to the fron­tiers. Last Fri­day, we went out to Mol­lusk, the arty surf shop on 46th-ish Avenue and Irv­ing, (i.e. WAY Out­er Sun­set), for an art open­ing and a per­for­mance by Peg­gy Hon­ey­well, i.e. local art star and beau­ti­ful los­er Clare Rojas. The surf shop set­ting was infor­mal and cozy; the acoustics actu­al­ly weren't bad; there were dogs walk­ing around; all in all, it makes me wish that I got out there more. This inti­mate set­ting was lots bet­ter than the cav­ernous, loud, obnox­ious-peo­ple-filled place I saw her per­form last, Bar­ry McGee's open­ing in Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia a cou­ple of years ago.

bikes san francisco

Bike-to-work day 2006

Today is Bike-to-Work Day, which means that Mar­ket Street was slight­ly more alive this morn­ing. As every­day is bike-to-work day for me, I would real­ly rather see the "ener­giz­er sta­tions" (PDF map of the Bike Coalition's cov­er­age) out there dur­ing the win­ter, when the wind is howl­ing, the streets slick, and the cyclists few in num­ber, but still, it's nice to see a few more peo­ple out there dodg­ing pot­holes and Muni tracks, and the snacks were tasty. Thx, SFBC.

san francisco tech tip

Free WiFi to roll into SF

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So appar­ent­ly Google and Earth­link are team­ing up to pro­vide free WiFi ser­vice to all of SF (via Giz­mo­do). While we're still a ways from know­ing what this will actu­al­ly mean — main­ly, will be acces­si­ble at 14th and Valen­cia, third floor apart­ment? — it is intrigu­ing to me that Google is involved. Unlike Earth­link, Google has nev­er gouged me, or failed to pro­vide ser­vice that I've paid for, or sold my name and home address to direct marketers. 

So I guess you could say that I'm hope­ful. Maybe some­day soon I'll be able to work from Pac Bell (er, I mean, SBC … er, I mean AT&T) Park, or Bue­na Vista Park, or the lit­tle red­wood grove out­side the Transamer­i­ca build­ing.
Or from my roof. (See the photo).