It’s bad enough when your primary mode of transport (motorbike) is not working right. Ignition problems.
But it’s worse when your backup mode of transport (car) craps out. The clutch won’t declutch.
And the repair shop is 15 miles (1.3 hours via local roads) from my house!

Are you a native San Franciscian?

I received this email yesterday. If you are a native and grew up in The City, you will probably get most of these.
Native San Franciscan
If you have spent any time in bookstores lately, you might have noticed that there are books on San Francisco’s past, present, and future; books that tell you where to eat, where to drink, where to drive, where to take a bus, where to stay, what to look at, and even how to cook in the San Francisco style, whatever that is.
But no book tells you how to act like a native San Franciscan, because it is widely assumed that the breed, if it ever existed, is extinct. One book, “San Francisco Free and Easy,” subtitled “The Native’s Guide Book,” says on the first page, “San Franciscans are notorious newcomers. You’ll find few people here with the sort of roots common to East Coast cities.”
Another, written by a carpetbagger named John K. Bailey, is called “The San Francisco Insider’s Guide.” It begins, “On! my first visit to San Francisco, 15 years ago….” Fifteen years ago? ! I know a cat who’s lived in San Francisco longer than that!
A terrible thing has happened to native San Franciscans. They have become strangers in their own city. Their whole culture is in danger of being swallowed up by foreigners from New York, Ohio, New Hampshire, Denver, and other places Back East — not to mention Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Phillipines, Russia, India, and Mexico. These newcomers all assume everyone else is a newcomer. The first thing to go is the language. Despite everything you’ve ever heard, there IS a distinctive San Francisco way of talking and it is important to make note of it, for the record, before it becomes as dead as the Latin they teach at S.I.
Here’s how to talk like a San Franciscan.
The first lesson – learned at birth – is never to call it “Frisco” or “San FRANcisco”. Most resident tourists have settled on something that sounds like an Anglicized version of the Spanish San Francisco, but natives run the two words together, and it comes out “Sanfrencisco.” It may also be called “thecity” which is one word. It is never called “the city”, which is two words and tacky.
Another way to tell true, native San Franciscans is that all native San Franciscans know something about other native San Franciscans. This cannot be faked. The first test comes when a native San Franciscan is introduced to someone he does not know at a party. Sooner or later,one will ask the other where he or she is from. The correct dialogue goes like this:
Q: Whereya from?
A: Here.
Q: Oh yeah? Whereja go to school?
A: S.H.
Q: Oh yeah? Da ya know (fill in name of acquaintance)?
At once, the two people realize they are both natives and doubtless have friends, experiences, and a whole subculture in common. There are several keys to this small bit of conversation. First, as I’ve already mentioned, the true native runs all the words together. He never says, “Where are you from?” because that is the way they talk Back East (which is anything East of Denver.) When he asks where you went to school, he means high school – not college, not trade school, and certainly not P.S. 178.
The correct answer is one of several San Francisco high schools. “S.H.,” of course, means Sacred Heart High School (now known as Sacred Heart Cathedral), which not only reveals your high school but often what district of the city you came from, and other details. If, for example, the answer is “S.I.” you know the guy went to St. Ignatius High School (or College Preparatory, if after 1969) and was probably raised a Catholic and is from an upper-middle-class family.
If the person says Poly, they probably grew up in the shadow of Kezar Stadium in Golden Gate Park — the site of many memorable high school football games, or in the Haight-Ashbury.
If the response is “Mission” or “Bal” (for Balboa High), you know he is from the Mission District, and his father was probably a member of the working class, called “a workinman” in the San Francisco dialect. If he went to Galileo, he is probably a North Beach Italian, and not a Mission District Italian. If he went to “Wash”, chances are that he is either from the Richmond or the Sunset and didn’t make the cut into Lowell.
Women, too, can be identified by the school they attended. If they went to Mercy (on 19th Avenue), they probably grew up in the Sunset or in Daly City, or maybe even in St. Francis Woods or Forest Hill. If she responds “Prez,” she went to Presentation High School on Masonic, and may have grown up in the Haight or the Richmond.
One has to be careful, though. Some women, if asked where they went to school, will respond that they went “to the madams.” A tourist will immediately leap to the conclusion that the poor woman was raised in a whorehouse, but natives understand immediately what this woman means: She attended Convent of the Sacred Heart, conducted by a ritzy order of nuns, and is doubtless from a wealthy family. She is not necessarily a Catholic, however. Diane Feinstein went to the madams.
The next thing to note about this conversation is that the proper response to a remark is “Yeah?” not “You don’t say so?” or “Is that right?” San Franciscans say “Yeah” a lot, but it doesn’t always mean yes.
Now you are ready for your geography lesson. Oakland, Berkeley, and all those other places are “across the Bay.” The largest city in Santa Clara County is “Sannazay,” not “San Jose.” Sannazay is on the way to Sannacruise. To get there, you have to go down the Peninsula, past South City, Sammateo, Rewoodcity, Paloalto, and a whole buncha other towns.
“The River” is the Russian River, and no other, but “the Lake” is Lake Tahoe (if your family was wealthy); otherwise, “the lake” is either Clear Lake or Lake Berryessa. The town on the river is called “Gurneyville”, even though the correct pronunciation is Gurnville. San Franciscans know the correct pronunciation, but choose not to use it. If corrected on this, a native will likely say, “If those guys up there are so smart, what’er they doin’ livin’ there? People who live in Gurneyville all year are a buncha Okies anyway.” (It should be noted that being called an “Okie” – as in persons from Oklahoma or anywhere south — is among the worst insults a San Franciscan can offer; it means a person lacks taste or
Natives are often asked for directions, sometimes by tourists and often by pseudo-natives. A San Franciscan of course, has no idea where anything across the Bay is, but he knows all about San Francisco. To start with, unless a street is tiny, like Saturn Street or Macrondray Lane, it is never called by its full name. You never say
“Taraval Street,” for example, only “Taraval.” When you direct someone to go “out Geary,” it means you go West. You know, toward the beach. One never goes “in Mission,” or “in Geary.” To head in the general direction of downtown, one goes “down Mission” or “down Geary.”
It is “the beach,” too, not the seashore or the coast. The coast is down the Peninsula, near Sharp Park. There are no beaches on the Bay, despite evidence to the contrary – only on the ocean.
San Franciscans know there are 30 numbered streets and 48 avenues; they know Arguello is First Avenue and Funston is 13th Avenue. They know that First Street is not the first street, and that Main is not the mainstreet.
The Richmond district is always called “The Richmond,” and the Sunset District is always called “The Sunset,” but Noe Valley has no article in front of its name; neither does downtown or North Beach. No one knows why.
But natives do know it is always 24th (pronounced twennyfourth) and Mission, not Mission and 24th. It’s Second and Clement, not Clement and Second. The street is not pronounced “CLEment” but “CleMENT.” There is no need to make a distinction between Second Street and Second Avenue in this case, since San Franciscans know that Second Street and Clement do not intersect.
They know several other things, too: that Alcatraz is not called “The Rock,” that Yerba Buena Island is called “Goat Island” or “YBI”, that French bread is not called sourdough bread and never was. The name “sourdough” was invented by advertising guys from Chicago or someplace. They know that Italians do not eat pizza. They eat spaghetti, tagliarini, or some other stuff, mostly in North Beach, but sometimes in small places in the Mission.
Most of us grew up under the delusion that everybody was a native San Franciscan. It was the largest small town in the world, and we thought it the only city that counted. Occasional tourists complimented us on the city, but we never dreamed they’d move here and take over.
One native San Franciscan, after she bought a house in the Richmond, one of her new neighbors asked her where she was from. “I moved out here six months ago,” she said. “Oh, from the East or Midwest?” the neighbor asked. “No,” she said, “from California and Buchanan.”
There is only one way to be a native San Franciscan. You gotta be born here. “Anybody,” my grandfather used to say, “can be born in Oakland, or Back East. It’s an honor to be born in Sanfrencisco.”

Funny but true!

The Terminal

So I finally got around to seeing “The Terminal” tonight.
As I suspected, it was sappy, sentimental, well made and romantic.
Note to the Rat Pack members who may read this site from time to time. The Terminal is a good date flick.
But here are some nits I have to pick. This movie is science fiction! Why? Well…
Hugo Boss suits at an airport store for US$199?
If that’s true, I’ll fly into JFK and buy several!
Quarter refund for SmarteCarts?
I thought they cut that out because bums were living in the airports harassing folks for their carts.
Asshole Gov’t Employees?
Well, that’s probably true for some of them.
Catherine Zeta Jones as a sweetheart UA flight attendant who’s 39 and unattached with issues and stillittos?
Hmmm. Can’t see it. Nope. And the issues part of that is the only thing that keeps this movie in the “Science Fiction” category and not in “Fantasy”.
But the way she deals with her issues, that part of the movie belongs to Jerry Springer…
So gist of the story is “good guy stays true to self, doesn’t get girl”. Kinda bittersweet, dont’cha think?

Ha ha HA!

Yes, I’m still here.
Not really going anywhere this summer. “Anywhere” meaning overseas.
Autumn is the time to go because I will have saved up some money and tickets are cheaper.
dot dot dot
So there’s a new movie coming out called “The Terminal“. It’s a story about a man whose country disappears while he is in route to JFK. Because of that his passport and travel documents are worthless once he lands. It’s a dramedy and Catherine Zeta-Jones is a UA flight attendant who befriends him while he’s in limbo. Disclaimer: UA was involved in the filming of this flick.
Now this is where the movie jumps to science fiction. Since WHEN did UA flight attendants look like Catherine Zeta-Jones?
Short answer: They don’t. They look more like Kathy Bates (with the same attitude) in Misery.
Which ironically is what most passengers are in when they’re on UA.
But despite this, I’ll probably check it out. Although it’s obviously a date flick, the fact that Catherine Zeta-Jones is in it makes it worthy to see.

moan moan

Is it too early to rant about not being able to travel overseas because it’s high season and everyplace is hella expensive?
Nope? I thought not.

Thirsting for Wanderlust

I found this useful map that points out where you can get something cool and replenishing to drink.

Mmmmm. Sweat! There’s even a handbook! And if you must absolutely have it in english, click this. It’s not quite as interesting looking tho.

Yep, I’m over the deep end a bit because it’s 22 degrees out site and I’m not:

A: in LAX

B: in HKG

C: in SIN

D: in NRT

or any other place that’s supposed to be hot. Makes me think of traveling.

Otaku outed at Bandai Museum

Today marks 7 days until I gotta go back to SF so I decided to do something absolutely silly.

I went to the Bandai Museum in Matsudo where I saw stuff like this:

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Right next to Matsudo Station on the JR Joban Line
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Entrance on the other side of Matsudo eki
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Quick, identify every character here! 

This is the Bandai Museum and there are features on every show and franchise Bandai holds.

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Kamen Rider, the first from 1971 and the start of the franchise
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The original Gorangers, the first of the Super Sentai series

The Gundam part of the museum is upstairs.

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Here you are immersed in the world of Universal Century (UC) Gundam.

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A 1/30000 scale model of a O’Neill cylinder that the Earth Federation built for space colonization.  
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One of several infographics that explains the physical attributes of a Zaku
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Only nine?  A Zaku looks heavier than that.  Especially with its onboard nuclear reactor
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A life size Zaku head with illuminated mono-eye

Zakus usually fall to this guy

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A life size RX-78 Gundam head
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These cosplayers are here for an event. Nice!

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And of course, you’ve got the Gift Shop at the end where there are silly things to see and buy

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Haro, pink Haro and a Zaku head…all plushy! 
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Come again!  
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Do as the sign says, otherwise….”swatch!”

Summer = Stay at Home Season

Amazing how quickly the year has moved…it’s already Memorial Day!

Over here in the US, Summer travel season begins on the last Monday in May and ends on the first Monday in September.

For me personally, this is the beginning of the “Stay at Home” season, since it’s high season out there. High airline ticket prices, high hotel rates, high humidity and temperature…

That’s not a problem in SF…we had 4 days of 80 degree (24 degrees C?) weather. That’s a lot of summer for around here! Now, we’re moving into our classic summer pattern of 58 degree days with gusty 20 knot winds blowing in from the west. In short, COLD!

What all this moaning really means is that everyone else in the world (or at least in the office I’m in for 9 hours a day) is getting onto airplanes and flying somewhere where they have to reset their watches. I’ve got a backyard full of weeds and an Elite 250 to reassemble.

I’d rather be traveling…