How could we have allowed this architecture atrocity??

While San Francisco is experiencing an extreme population boom and even more severe housing crisis, it is very easy for those who do not know or really care to just walk with the mindset of lets tear it down to be able to house more people with a new, bigger building….

Before thinking so recklessly, let us use this example below to keep this all in our perspectives.  The tearing down of the Fox Theater and replacing it with Fox Plaza is one of the most outrageous oops’s SF has done to itself and even today, it stands as a landmark as to what not to do…. Continue reading

This is how cool San Francisco USED to be! Boy those days were GOOD!! **UPDATE!!

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My friends started this company called Bulletproof in San Francisco in the early 1990’s. Continue reading

Living on the eve of a new dawn… and not being able to stop that sunrise!

The Dawn!

The Dawn!

They always say that

“One never knows what they have got until it is gone.”

This is not and has not usually been the case for me. Nope. Instead, i can see that things are really good right now and they are changing and the changes are not ideal. I realize when i am living in one of the apex’es of my life… On the verge of a new, darker dawn. A time where things are now as intelligent and as open as they may ever be. I can see a new dawn before me, yet i am still standing in yesterday or what is today.

It is a strange feeling to be living in what feels more like a memory than the now. Usually when i think of the right now… it feels exciting and innovative and current. But sometimes it feels like the now is the yesterday or yesteryear. The golden era that once was… the good ol’ days. And it feels like right now is actually part of the past because I know what the future is looking like.

Usually when i have this kinda like reverse deja vous, it makes me very melancholy and i just wish i could push that button on that stopwatch so I can just stop time before things move into this new outline i see before me. Like a line drawing that is about to be colored in. That is what the future feels like. You know what it is going to be (in its simplest form) and you know what these changes are going to do to the reality that you have grown your life around and into. You know that big things are about to change. Drastically.

The familiar markers that you thought were a part of the landscape that was a permanent fixture of the main picture. You thought that certain infrastructures as a part of the fabric that you have come to count on would be part of that picture forever. That, without that part of the landscape infrastructure, it would or could never survive. That it has relied on these components for so long that you assume that it is and will be like that forever.

I think that this is an optimistic and naive perspective and not surprising from someone who’s generation has never seen the face of a drafted war or famine.

I am sure that all of those jewish people who were just living their lives in Germany, going about their business like they had been doing for generations were caught off guard when all of a sudden their friends and colleges were being harassed and eventually moved into ghettos. They never thought that that would be their reality or that they would not be doing what ancestors had been doing for generations. No, Their reality and future was MUCH much different. They would be fighting for their lives with many of them losing that fight, and the ones that managed to survive, their towns, and their families and communities did not.

My point is this… What if those German Jewish people were able to see what was in store for them before it was actually become a reality? It would make one despondent yet so desperate to try and capture the reality before the darkness. To remember it and keep it with you for always.

But that makes one not really interact within their lives. Because it feels more like interacting with a scene on a set. You cant really dig roots or make any plans for one’s future when that future is so different and unknown. What do you do?

I think this has been how it has been for me for a good portion of my life. At least my adult life. I think that this is EXACTLY why i have never gotten married or had any children and i think it is a huge contributing component to why i have suffered depression so severely over the past 20 years. It can be a never ending downwards free fall of despondence. Along with that guilt and a warm fuzzy feeling of nostalgia.

I guess i am saying that it is a very weird feeling to be having a lifetime apex moment and at the same time being so totally aware that things will never be better than this very moment and you can not hold onto it. It is elusively slipping away as the seconds tick by. It kinda feels a little bit out of body experience.

It is just bizarre.IMG_1292

A few generations away and boy the times have changed!

One of my favorite websites is called FoundSF.org.  It has such great articles about San Francisco and all of its colorful history.  Sometimes when i am bored, i go to it to just read.  My ancestors were some of the founders of San Francisco.  I did not learn this fact until i was the age of 19, at which point i began studying San Francisco history as well as my own lineage.

When i came across this article this morning, i could not believe how perfect it was… like it was written just for me!

I have always had trouble understanding just how my ancestors lives influenced my own.  It is several generations away and clearly lifestyles have changed greatly.  But i feel the past.  I feel my relatives around me.  They push me to become a better person and to continue to be proud of the Koshland name as well as my closely related relatives. Continue reading

Overnight fire at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Est. $200,000 damage.

The beautiful front of Chez Panisse burned last night also burning the front porch.  Alice Waters who started the restaurant with partners in 1971 said that they will rebuild.  Only the front porch area which sat 8-10 people saw the flames. The upstairs cafe, kitchen and first floor dining room were sparred, however the first floor will take longer before we see it back in action due to more severe damage.  Mrs. Waters said that she will be looking into re-designing the front porch area to try and include more seating in the new design.

Fire damage at Chez Panisse

Chez Panisse made an international name for its self due to her use of locally grown fresh ingredients sourced as close to the restaurant as possible.

I have only eaten at Chez Panisse once, but the restaurant is not very far away from my brothers house and it was an incredible meal.  I am sad to see this random event strike such a great eating establishment.  I along with others will be watching and waiting for them to rebuild.

They are canceling reservations through March 23 2013.

I look forward to when Chez Panisse looks back like this….

Chez Panisse

Open letter to the residents of the city of Oakland….

English: The of . Français : Temple mormon d'O...

English: The of . Français : Temple mormon d’Oakland, en Californie (États-Unis). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know that things are starting to change over there for you in Oakland.  Rents are rising and the vacancies are less.  There are more people moving to Oakland because the locals are being forced out of places like mostly San Francisco due to the new sweetheart deals our douche-bag mayor arranged to bring in new tech firms and along with them over 50,000 new soul-less, uncultured, ass-brained tech workers.

This topic of gentrification has been one i have been writing about for a while now and is probably the issue that weighs down on me more than any other. It is such a heavy subject that i actually see it changing the way i see society and my general outlook on people in general. It is making me a little bit discriminating towards certain new crowds. And i know that there are probably a few cool ones in all of that gentrification… but i hate you regardless… i know… it is wrong…. Continue reading

Just exactly how many Mountain Lions are still here in the Bay Area? Are there enough to not extinct them like we did the Grizzly Bear in the Santa Cruz Mountains just over 100 years ago?

The majestic Mountain Lion

There is a proposal being put together that addresses this issue that i hold dear.  It is a proposal to put into the books a new way to deal with wild predators that we come into contact with and, more specifically,  its effect on our own wild mountain lion population.

Now, if ever a mountain lion is spotted (even if it is in a thickly forested area), if it is seen, it is shot.  We kill on site.  If we can not find it, we go searching for it to kill it.

Why is this necessary?  Do we even know how large that population is?  Do they have enough animals not to go extinct if we kill each one that happens to wander into “human’s territory?”… wherever that may be?  How many used to be living here that we have displaced and or killed or just taken its habitat away? Why can we not just tranquilize these beautiful animals and transplant them into deeper forest and NOT kill them?  These are a few of the questions that wander through my mind. Continue reading

This is just one random home that is currently for sale in San Francisco… Can you see the change?

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Just incase we need a visual to get an idea of what San Francisco real estate market has been doing in the last couple years, here is a lovely chart thanks to Zillow. I know right now, i am just lucky to still be here! It wont be forever unfortunately. At least according to charts like this (and the rest are all the same…:(.

Dear new “tech generation” that has just landed in our fair city of San Francisco… and think that major changes need to be made for you…

… I would like to address this to all of you.  You know who you are.  You are incredibly arrogant to believe that you have a right to the really REALLY unbelievable attitude you seem to feel you deserve towards our city and its residents that already live here…  Here is a response to a response from an article that i read in support of these tech assholes who are (to me personally) out of their fucking minds…  Here you go.. I think it explains it pretty well to you all.

This is the problem we have with you all and your point of view….

Ps.  i am a little bit mad.. If you go and read the threads above mine, you can see where this agression lies….  I do apologize for the tone in this setting for you….

Six Sisters Houses, San Francisco

“What the F*** I mean is who the hell do you think you are to think that you have any right to come into a world class town and abolish its history.  You godam tech narcissists think that the world owes you a world of gratitude and the ability to take whatever you see that you want.  Again, i have to ask you… Who the F*** ARE YOU? … other than some ignorant uneducated in ANY OTHER field than the tech industry egomaniac?  Are you serious here?  You are going to look back (i would normally expect but with you lot, i am just going to hope.) and feel so ashamed.  Ashamed of your shortsightedness, ashamed of your greed, ashamed of your insensitivity and ashamed of your choice to want to destroy history for many generations to come.  You at that point SHOULD feel ASHAMED!  SHAME ON YOU!!  I think it is time for you all to open up some books… real books,  Not some C+ manual.  Take a look (and then… try to..) read some of them.  You will soon learn just how deeply entrenched the REAL (curent or former) SF means to people outside of your little foggy bubble.  Right about now, i bet that most of us “old timers” would actually chose to give up “technology” and go back to the dark ages if it were to mean that we could have our people filled with soul and compassion and diversity back as our neighbors.  I know i would trade you and all of the tech that you so praise in a HEARTBEAT.  I lived once without it and did just fine… i am sure I could survive just fine… Dont so much know how well you all would do though.  Cant wait to find out maybe someday.  When that happens, i am grabbing my popcorn and chair and catching a front row view of your well deserved melt down!!  As well as i am pretty sure quite a few others.  You aint makin any friends here with that f***** up attitude of yours and it needs a re-evaluation… FAST!!”

If you want to read the actual article and ALL of the comments (beware they can get a little agressive.  Clearly this is a passionate topic for all involved)… you can read it here…

http://pandodaily.com/2012/12/01/san-francisco-can-become-a-world-capital-first-it-needs-to-get-over-itself/?hubRefSrc=email#lf_comment=58083266

 

Let me know what you think and what side of the coin you chose to fall on ok?  Thank you!!

Oh how things have changed for me… (from High School to House music… some of the things that influenced who i became….)

I have not always been the person you may see me as today.  As a girl growing up I was much sweeter and sentimental and isolated.  I suppose that is because i lived in a well grounded, well loved and well disciplined family out in the redwoods with little to influence me into bad things other than maybe being defiant or talking back.  But, when you get grounded and can not watch tv or talk on the phone and live near no friends or civilization, (keep in mind that this was in the days of no computers, cel phones or hand held devices let alone more than 4 channels to watch on tv… no cable) one tends to stay in line pretty much.  Plus i always wanted my parents to be proud of me and i felt terrible if they were ever disappointed in me.  Psychological manipulation!  Boy it sure worked like a charm on my brother and me.

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I lived in this lush dark wonderland for the first 14 years of my life.  By the time i had gotten to Junior High, i had gone my entire k-6 education in the same school and the last 2 years with the same teacher! (Hi Ms. Daniels!).

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I had tried out at the end of 6th grade to be a cheerleader in 7th grade.  I made the squad so that pretty much kept me busy after school after we moved into the big house in 8th grade.

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I think i may have been the last generation of kids that lived their high school years closer to the way the movies in the 80’s portrayed.  To give you an idea of how different things were back then, the first year i was in high school, we had a smoking section ON CAMPUS!  The next year, they said they (the smokers) had to go down the trail to smoke.  I only walked down the trail a couple times because my car was usually on the other side of campus since i lived a 20 minute drive from school.  The trail was a side cut down into town, with no room for cars to pull over or park.  I never felt weird going down the trail.  I had friends down there too.  I had friends in the library, in the Ag dept.  In the quad, in the doughnut, and in the art room.

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Everyone was friends with everyone.  There was little divide by color.  More by the sport (or activity but since it was a great weathered surf town, sports were everywhere) you chose to associate yourself with… Football player, Surfer, Drama crowd, Basket ball guys, WATER POLO guys (gosh i loved the water polo guys!!), cheerleader, student council etc.  But it was ok to cross mix.  We all mingled.  if people did not get along, they did not on personal grounds not because they were mexican or in band.

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We were able to come and go on and off campus at will.  You could drive to lunch downtown or you could walk down to the mini mart across the street and down from the school.  You did not ever even think about someone coming to school with a gun and kids were not having sex in 3rd grade.  Not even 5th grade as far as my school went. (we all would have known!  Trust me! It was school news if someone was seen kissing sans tounge!)  We went roller skating on the weekend and went to school dances and pep rallies.  We stayed late to make posters or watch swim team practice.  We had REALLY good teachers and faculty for the most part.  They were intelligent and challenging and loved their jobs and cared.  And we showed up!   We did the work for the most part as well.  We liked and knew each other and it was cool.

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The year after i graduated, i had heard that the school had gotten a lot rougher.  They had a closed school policy and there were a lot of fights at lunch time… one time there were 10 fights one lunch, 6 of them being between two girls!  Woah!  that would have never happened while i was at school.

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(i am third from the bottom second from the left.)

By the time i was in Jr. High, i had become one of those that would rather not make waves than rock the boat.  It was just easier to just agree to do something that i thought was boring then make a big stink.  I did not know how to say no either.  People knew this and really used it to their advantage.  This started as a pattern very early on.

Grad Night Party. 1992

Grad Night Party. 1992

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By the time i had graduated, i was already practically more in SF than i was at home.  I was a raver.  Now this was the early 1990’s in San Francisco and there was something that was incredible that happened there at that time so i will never be ashamed of saying that i was a raver in the early 90’s.

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I was not wearing day-glo paint on my face and blowing whistles and sucking on lolly pops.  I was hiking over rock and sand to dance under the full moon on the beach on the coast of California.  I was going to map point parties that would take several maps and destinations/hand off/ exchanges for new map point parties. I went to weekly’s on Thursday nights. I would go and hear the Hardkiss Brothers play in the basement of Coctails which is now Asia SF on the corner of 9th and Howard St.  The basement club was called The Pit and its ceiling rained sweat on you.  It was gross but amazing too.

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I would go to Townsend and King Street and Big Heart City, Trocadero, DV8 and . as well as DNA Lounge (where they would lay grass out in front of the club on Sunday mornings for people to hang out on), and of course the EndUp.  There were many others places and parties…(The Gathering, Bulletproof boat parties,Comeunity, Wicked, Love Garage, Groove kitchen, Pleasuredome, Martini Fridays, Spundae,  Equinox, Osmosis, Universe… the list goes on and on and on).  It was amazing.. Kinda like our own little version of our Woodstalk.  So, to me, drugs were something that were experimented with not pushed on street corners and to little kids.  It was fun and enlightening and i would have to say that that was maybe the best times in my life.

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The music and the acceptance of diversity and warmpth from strangers was an amazing thing.  Truly it was the music though that brought us all together, and has remained powerful enough to have kept a lot of us all still connected.

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I digress.  Fast forward 20 years and i have come around 180 degrees.  I definitely know how to say no now.  In fact, i will probably be the first and the loudest to say “Hell NO!!  Have you gone lost your mind??”  I know how to defend myself and others around me.  Sometimes it feels like i am the only one who will stand up for someone.  People dont want to get involved these days for the most part it seems.  Which to some extent is smart, but if someone is being unfairly picked on or if some one is unfairly attacking someone eles i have no problem stepping in and telling them to lay off.

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I suppose i have come so full circle that my nickname in the house is “The Hammer”!  Hahaha.  That is so funny to me i tell you.  The Hammer!?  Who ever would have thunk!  Not me if you had paid me back in the day.

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My bottom line here people, you can change and you do change as you get older.  You slip into bad habits and you break out of others.  You figure out who you really are and realize that that was not who you thought you were going to be.  You become ok with yourself and you start being able to use your experiences to help you to avoid doing it again the same way.

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You get over those things that you used to procrastinate so, because you realize that it takes up so much more energy stressing over trying to forget about it (but not) than actually just getting up and doing it.  Your learn to appreciate some bigger things in life and thus life gets smaller and simpler.  You dont feel the need for the same amount of attention from loads of strangers.  You just want attention from those that you love.  You enjoy time. You realize what time is and how if you have your health and your family and food and a roof then the rest is just toppings.  You learn to want to enjoy life on simpler terms.

Photo with no makeup is proof that i have grown up!

Photo with no makeup is proof that i have grown up!

Yet you still love your good house music!! …and always will!

This is a Super Bowl for the history books…. Especially for San Francisco!

Since i was a little little girl, I have been a San Francisco 49ers fan.  I really had no choice.  Technically i am a 3rd generation 9er and SF Giants fan because my grandma who lived in San Francisco my whole life, for being a little old lady, was a huge local sports team fan (9ers and Giants only.  There is only so much time in a year!).  She would complain about how cold and windy Candlestick was which was why she never that i can remember actually went to a physical game (the fact that she had SEVERE arthritis maybe had a little bit to do with it too….) but it seemed for months at a time, we would be forced to sit in front of the TV and watch a lot of green grass move back and forth.

Initially, i LOATHED these LONG & BORING tv broadcasts.  We may have only gotten 4 channels (this was before any cable, or even remote controls) but there had to be something better on to watch than this display of testosterone!  But *sigh* i was out ranked and out numbered and was forced to sit with the rest of the family for what seemed to be HOURS watching 49er games and Giants games.  (i liked the football games better to watch on tv, because the Giants in Candlestick was a pretty slow experience for a child to have to sit through AND the Giants were perpetually losing during this period of time… BUT i am no fair weather fan! I am just an antsy fan).

We had playoff games taped over movies on our VHS’s and my mom even broke the crystal face of her watch one year (i think it was the year that we beat the Bronco’s that year) when she jumped up to cheer with so much gusto that her jade bracelet careened into the poor watch.  It was a very enthusiastic event when there was a good game in my house.  It holds many memories for me as a child.

I suppose its like having to go to church as a child & that the repetitive drilling at a young age kinda implants a feeling of comfort in you.  If you do the same thing when you get older, It is an old friend.  Its like a hot toddy on a cold night.  You may not even like hot toddys early on, but when it comes back to you at a different time, the familiarity makes it taste damn like home and quite tasty!  This is the same thing for me and my childhood sports teams.

Now as an adult, i have been able to make my own decisions about wether or not i actually do like football and baseball.  The consensus is for me that YES.  I like our 9ers and our Giants A LOT!!

The two things that i like the best about these two teams are

  • They are classy.  They actually behave like role models for our youth.  You never hear of poor sportsmanship or lewd behavior and they are always gracious… even when on a losing streak (and in the 70’s the 9ers and the 80’s the Giants really were).
  • They are also old school SF.  Now I know that the Giants came from New York in 1958 but they have been here now longer than they were there (i think!) and the 9ers are true local SF, first playing at Kezar Stadium before moving to the Stick.

Local pride runs (or now days more like ran) thick through me.  Maybe it is my family link to the city through my ancestry being a descendent of Levi’s or the fact that my grandma lived here my whole life and my parents met here the first year that Perry’s restaurant opened where my dad worked, (my mom worked at the Cooperage which is now a different name a couple doors down.) in the 1960’s.  I have been coming to the city to see my grandma my whole life.  I then moved here as soon as i was out of High School.  She died a few years later, but i have stayed and made this city my home ever since.  I am very attached to this city.  What can I say.

This Super bowl is a really important event for the city of San Francisco because this is the last and final year that the 49ers are actually SAN FRANCISCO 49ers.  Next year they will have traded up to a more lucrative town and deal.  It is an end of an era.

Not only that but it is the first time in history (and possibly only time in history) that brother vs. brother will be competing for the ultimate prize.  This is going to be one serious hell of a game here on Sunday.  Maybe the biggest deal of any Super Bowl yet to take place.

I hope that the game is an exciting one.  I have a feeling it will be (can you imagine how exciting it must be for Jack Harbaugh?!  Which son to cheer for?  BOTH OF COURSE!

The Ravens will be tough to beat.  They won 9 AFC Championship games since 2000 winning the Super Bowl in 2001 against the NY Giants.  But we have the golden child Colin Kaepernick and the amazing Frank Gore.  We have good defense and quick offense.  We will just have to wait and see.

Colin Kaepernick and Jim Harbaugh

amazing Frank Gore

But if we are able to win the Super Bowl, then SF will have taken both the World Series AND the Super Bowl all in the same year, the last year that the 9ers are here.  It would be a moment to remember forever.

Regardless it will be a moment to be remembered forever because it is the 9ers last SF game and that is something sad and yet special.

Jim Harbaugh

GO 49ERS!!! Do it for the city who has loved you for a VERY long time!! (and then just leave.  just leave us…. Waah!! kidding… kinda.)

Is 2012 truly the mark of a new era setting in or just another year?

When i finally made it here to Las Vegas to see my dad for christmas, after a long mean winter storm hitting just before me having to fly, thus delays of course… My dad said to me… “So we are still here.  I guess those Mayans were wrong!”.

My immediate reply was… “No.  I think that they may have been right.  But i think it is a different kind of end of the world than those have been projecting.  I think it is now an era where we have almost 2+ full generations that have lived exclusively with only technology.  They do not know what the world was like before cordless things and multimedia.  They did not see how a community works together to trade information and form friendships as well as a form of community that no longer can exist when nobody is forced to talk to anyone to receive any piece of information when it can simply be googled. “

I said… that i thought that this is the era where we become closer to being enslaved (again.).  We are having our freedoms taken.. no… GIVEN away to a greed machine that has only one goal….  And you and i having any quality of life does not go well with squeezing out the bottom line drop by drop.

We have been hoodwinked… programed… set up…. We are prime for it.  Our little mega processors in our skulls are definitely programable.  That is after all what helps to  make us so adaptable.  Yes.  We may be crafty enough to have our species survive for a while, but just surviving and living a forced existence through forced behavior, labor and life, (just think Metropolis by Fritz Lang or  Orwell’s 1984.  There are people working on that dream like scenario for us right now!).

I think that for me as well as for society, this has been the golden years.  The dream like ferrie tale has been now.  And i fear is soon to be a memory.

So, if our freedoms and our ability to provide a quality of life for ourselves i

On such a day of thanks, How could it be that one of my dearest friends Reid Gilbert passes away when he is in the prime of his life?

 

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loss 2012

  On Christmas night.  Right after finishing a lovely Christmas dinner with my dad and 3 of his friends, i receive the news.  Reid is dead.  What?!!?  NO!!  How on earth could this happen?

Reid and his boyfriend John Fox have been 2 of my closest and dearest friends for almost 20 years.  They moved to Mexico two years ago after Reid’s brother (who was living in Mexico) went missing and was later found to be murdered.  In the process of looking for his brother, Reid fell in love with the community that his brother had decided to call home for 21 years.  After dealing with a lot of paperwork and legal tangles here in the states, John and Reid ended up moving down to the community that his brother had made his own.  They had been down there for a little over a year.

We dont know what the cause of death is (possibly a blood clot from some small surgery to his toes 2 days prior.  Regardless, he passed in his sleep while staying with John at his mom’s house.

When someone asks you… do you know anyone who has a perfect relationship?  Most of the answers will be no.  However, i did have one.  One perfect pairing that lasted from start to finish for 21 years.  This is John and Reid.   They found each other early on in life and decided to be together then and there.  Since then, they have formed a bond so tightly that they worked almost more as a single unit.  They perfectly complimented each other.  There was never a time where some other person put their relationship at risk.  They loved being a couple.  They were one.

How John will go on with the last half of his life?  It is going to be tough i am sure.  They planned on being together for much MUCH longer than this!  John is strong though.  He was the one that was more of the anchor and i am glad that it is him and not the other way around that has to pick up the pieces because i dont know if Reid could have if the tables were turned.

So on this season of thanks, i have to thank you Reid Gilbert.  You brought this world so much happiness.  You were one of the very best ones one could find.  Even if you did not know Reid, we all have lost a giving loving soul.  He was an amazing person who will be missed so much for so long.

So, for me, although the world did not stop for us all on Dec. 21, 2012, It did stop for Reid, and in turn, our lives (those who knew him) have ended an era as well.

I LOVE YOU REID GILBERT!  I HOPE YOU CAN SEE FROM ABOVE, THE POSITIVE IMPACT YOUR LIFE HAS MADE ON SO MANY AND THAT YOU ARE AT PEACE.  THANK YOU!!  I miss you so!

Sorry folks, My cursed month has continued into…

…and has finally reached my MacBook. My little toshiba was gutted and destroyed by someone calling themselves a friend a couple weeks ago. (Of course… My main one finally breaks 2 weeks after I lose my backup… Cursed I’m telling u!

So, I am hoping to get it fixed in the next day or 2 but, if my curse follows me into December, you may see a lul in my postings. I have not forgotten about all of you dear readers!! Infact I had not realized how much of a theraputic aid it has become to sit down at the machine & write. Just what I need… Another stress relief outlet closed…. (& it is supposed to rain all week so no hiking!:(. I’m gonna have a nervous breakdown if I’m not careful!!)

Anyway, I am doing all I can to be back to u with an opinion and up and running ASAP!!

Thanks for your understanding!

Holiday gift giving just isnt what it used to be. Mostly because they have our cash hijacked once we spend it… Even if it is a gift!

itunes gift card

itunes gift card (Photo credit: 401(K) 2012)

 

I was having a conversation tonight with a couple of friends about gifts and gift cards as well as exchanges and returns.  After about 5 minutes of discussing the gift card industry and things associated with it (Specifically a gift card i received for christmas early this year.  This was a gift card that came with a gift receipt.)   We started to realize that there was Zero, 0, Zilch. Non, Nada reason for one to be included with the card.

Then we started to realize that with the implementation of Gift Receipts, even if paid for with cash, one can ever only get store credit or an exchange.  With the gift receipt we can never prove that cash was spent on the item because they so graciously leave off form of payment so they can force you to contain the money within their company or store.

Once a gift card is purchased, the money has to go to the store.  You can not change your mind and get any kind of refund anymore.  People used to pay with checks and if you wanted to return something, and you paid by check, they would return to you cash.  Since checks are practically antiquated, the only way to get your money back is to have the original receipt and within that first 7 days, you can free your money in what ever form that you chose to pay with.

Then we started to think about how many BILLION$ and BILLION$ of dollar$ that are floating out there in our wallets, our pockets, the dumpster, the sidewalk, the cushions of the couch etc.  with a small remainder of credit on that very gift card that will NEVER be used.  Just think about the amount of money that is generated on that odd remainder!  That is technically our money still.  But it is already with the company so they really are making a double double double profit.  Profit from the initial gift card purchase and then the mark ups when spent on the items and then the unspent remainder.  All benefiting the company and the company alone.

I remember years back when we didnt like something that we got, we could go back with the tags in place within the seven days and we could get some money.  Nordstrom did this for MANY MANY years to many returners (and scammers) appreciation.

Now i think about how much money is going one way never to be able to come back if it is something we dont want these days.

Now I  can definitely see the benefit of these gift card trading (buy and sell) sites as well as places like ebay and amazon to be able to resell your brand new perfectly unused unwanted item to retrieve some cash said item.

All in all, they are fleecing us dry by the looks of it in a lot of ways, that are less obvious than higher interest rates and inflation.  There are the fees and the 1 way money flow… out of our pockets & into theirs.  It is pretty scandalous and we dont even see it or realize it happening or at least the bigger impact of what these policies truly mean for them stealing our money.

So on this year of gift giving… Do your loved ones a favor… Just give them CASH for godsake!  It is a different time than it used to be.  It is no longer seen as lazy or tacky to give cash.  It is only what we work our whole lives for!  Cash=freedom so you are actually giving them the feeling of freedom when cash is given!

People are not judged by how much they spend, but on what they spend. Give your loved one the right to chose where that hard earned money should be spent.  That way, A. the change stays with them and B. they will have a receipt showing that they paid cash incase they change their mind when they get home.  The bottom line is you are at least giving the windfall to the one you are giving to and not some financial corporation for them to take over the free world with!

Plus.. Cash is pretty!

Lets remember that warm day in October when the earth REALLY shook!

I like to remember things as they were when they happened.  I find my own personal memory faulty and i do not trust modern day media editing!  So… Lets watch once again, right from the footage that aired back then.  I remember that day in 1989 when i was waiting for my ride home from swim team practice, less than 10 miles from the epicenter!  You could definitely say i was there!

…And a friendly reminder that everywhere SOME natural disaster can hit at any time.  Get that emergency kit ready.  You need enough food and water (and pet food) for at least 3 days per person!

Dreams can actually come true in Detroit! Just look what a few dollars can buy you! You wont believe your eyes!!!

I want you to take a look at these pictures and then guess how much this mansion is asking on the market in Detroit….

649 Van Dyke Place, Detroit

649 Van Dyke Place, Detroit

(you can see all of the other pictures that were not able to be copied to this post over on Curbed.com’s detroit site.  Use this link… http://detroit.curbed.com/archives/2012/02/interoir-reveal-van-dyke-mansion.php).

…ARE YOU READY?  ok.. here goes.. take a seat or hold on to something tight…
This house.. no Mansion.. is selling for a whopping $One Hundred and Fourty-Five Thousand Dollars!!!

You can not even get a Studio in the Tenderloin here in SF for that much!!  It makes me light in the head just thinking about it!

……

Gosh Dang… I LOVE this place.  Living in San Francisco with the insane prices of, well, EVERYTHING, but especially home prices (even worse, rent prices…), i can not even comprehend a home like this selling for the price listed above.  Sheesh, (hopefully no one will do this), but just the architectural salvage would bring in more than they are asking.  I wish i could buy this beauty and live in it while i watch the city rebuild around me!  Detroit is now the perfect place for a huge artist community to come in and be able to finally create without worrying about how to come up with $2000 a month for a dinky studio apt.  With prices like that, how could an artist actually afford to make art unless they have already made it big?  I think there are big and awesome things in store for Detroit.

It is so sad to see what has happened to a major metropolitan mecca and almost unbelievable!  But i dont think that this city is going to be dead like this forever.  For many many americans (and others), this situation, that has happened to it has allowed dreams that were always only a fantasy, to come true.  There is actually a place now for those dreams to be lived out.  I have so much hope for Detroit, unlike SF.  The hope actually makes me happy and excited!  Sf is almost too far gone to try and grasp it back down to reality!  I wish it werent so far, or i’d take my measly $$ and actually try and become a home owner!
I have faith in you Detroit!  And… You will come back!

It is not your usual fleet week in San Francisco and here is why… Something smells (again!) fishy when it comes to our terrible mayor Ed Lee and his sweetheart back room deals!

Blue Angels over SF

As i am approaching 20 years living here in San Francisco, i have always been very aware and involved in our city’s politics and events (and just general city issues).

There are a few things that one can count on like clockwork here in SF.  Fleet week has been one of those things.  They have had their week down to a science and (up until this week) here is how it goes down….

  1. It always falls on Columbus Day weekend.
  2. The Blue Angels fly into SF usually on Wednesday night.  You will see aircraft high up in the sky (i have always assumed that they were taking their measurements and plotting their landmarks as well as checking out the city. ) They always fly high on this first wednesday night.
  3. Thursday… the fun day!  Thursday seems to be somewhat of  a free day.  Back in 1994, they took this “play” to a whole new level by zooming tall buildings and flying back and forth UNDER the bridges.  Drivers were having nervous breakdowns getting sonic boomed from below!  There were concerns that accidents would be caused by this.  The workers in the (then) tallest buildings were having their nerves were shot by having an F16 fly 100 feet past their office windows 40 floors up.

Blue angels flying low under the bridge

(on a personal note, this year in 1994, my dad and i happened to be visiting my Grandma who at the time lived  on the top floor apt. across the street from the Comstock bldg on Jones st. (the very top block of Nob Hill).  I swear to god it was like they flew 3 yards over our heads.. I thought it had killed my grandma and i have (still to this day) NEVER seen my dad jump so far and so fast in my life.  We got the noise before we could see the plane and they were sonic booming us big time!)  After that, the city decided that there would be no more of that.  The fun thursday play day free for all was OVER.  It was still a free day, but they had distances that they had to fly above and under the bridges was OUT. (if i see a plane fly under a bridge this weekend, it will be absolute proof that money is the only thing talking with this admin.).  They also could not go more than so many mocks fast.  No right overhead sonic booms unless it was part of the routines.  That was the last time i have seen a plane fly under the bridge or fly that low that fast.  They decided it was just too distracting and dangerous and nicked it.  Put down the rules.

4. Thursday night you can see the Blue Angles doing their serious plotting and surveying in the night sky for their routine for the following 3 days.

5.  Friday (i like to see it as a locals performance) they do their routine like it was the show.  If you are a local and you love (you either love or hate the Blue Angels.  I personally have always loved them!) them, Friday is the day to go over to TI or Twin Peaks and watch the show without all the crowds and traffic.  It is the exact same routine that they do for the masses on Saturday and Sunday.

6. Saturday and Sunday, they fly on time every time and do the routine that was seen on Friday.

7. Monday (always having been labor day) there are no planes flying but Fleet Week is in full effect still.  Good time to go see the Jeremiah O’Brian or one of the big ships that have come for the event.

an angel and one of the little zippy planes that fly the course in the bay.

And, let me note, there are usually between 4-7 f16’s that fly in the Blue Angels each year during fleet week.   There are also a bunch of other planes that have performances here too.  Old ww2 prop planes, little rocket type jets that Red Bull uses in their air races (they have a course usually over the water that they have to fly around this flag and over to that one etc. and it is timed.  They are small and super fast and extremely maneuverable.  Like little rice rockets!) as well as sometimes Fat Albert, the big WW2 transport jet (i personally LOVE Fat Albert!).  So, the F16’s are by far not the only airplanes in SF to fly, but they are the dominating strength that is felt by the people on the ground.

Infamous Fat Albert

So, how is this year different?  I will tell you how. Mayor Ed Lee decided to cash in on this event and use it as a lure and a perk when negotiating the bringing over of all of these big tech firms.  I am sure of it!

To start, instead of coming in on Wed. night like always, this year, on the Sunday night BEFORE Labor Day, our skies were FILLED with planes. (normally this is the night that the planes are leaving to go back to wherever they came from.)

I counted close to at the very minimum, 20 planes flying low and slow and clearly with no rules over the sky.  The planes were EVERYWHERE that night.  Because it was not Fleet Week, i did not realize that the next day was even labor day.  I kinda got freaked out and relieved when i heard it was going to be Fleet Week the coming week. (by the way, this night happened to be an incredible blue (full) moon).

I heard them flying up until 4:00am.  This is unusual.  ESPECIALLY 3 whole days before they always have arrived! and every night and day infact since Sunday night, the planes have been all over the SF skies.

The following night, after it cooled down (it was 91 deg. f. in SF that day.  It was squelching!) i went for my hike up and around Bernal Hill.  During that walk, it all came together for me.  I know why what has worked like clockwork… a well oiled machine had fallen so far outside their usual doings.  It all came back to our horrible mayor Ed Lee (who shouldnt even be mayor because when he was appointed by Gavin Newsome, he had repeatedly said  (yes even promised!) that he was not going to try and run for Mayor.  Right before the election (and may i note, after the other candidates had been spending their budgets on their campaigns, in comes Lee with the deep pockets of Rose Pak and former (lets just call it as it really is… STILL our mayor but from behind the curtain) Willie Brown to “power campaign” for him over the last 2 weeks.  Somehow, he cut in line and won the post.)  (However, although not reported, i heard a LOT of incidents that could have definitely been considered voter fraud, from having workers telling the voters who to vote for to losing ballots.  If he wasnt being placed from the inside or it was any of the other candidates, there would have been an investigation i am sure of it!  I personally did my own little test and in asking, i found NOT 1 SF resident that actually voted for Lee.)

the mighty Blue Angels

Anyway, Brown is well known as being Super corrupt and selling out SF.  He did this yes, however, he did it with some flair and style.  He was personable and made it feel like he was working for you not just having his back pocket wide open and filling (although everyone knows that his pocket was getting stuffed.  EVERYONE!) It is kinda part of his legacy.

Mayor Lee is trying to be Willie with the chrisma of a grapefruit.  It is a total “pay to play” administration.  And Ed Lee, has been getting PAID.  The only thing he seems to have time to do since obtaining office seems to be funneling money into his pockets.  He has made just about as many backroom sweetheart deals (selling to the highest bidder of course!) so far in his term than Brown did in an entire term during his reign.

Who know what was put on the table as an incentive to companies like Twitter, AirBnB, Zynga etc. to talk them into moving their headquarters to SF, but as of this weekend, i am able to see one of the incentives….  Full moon city flights with full access to all of the airspace over SF. a whole week before Fleet Week as well as the same week as Oracle’s anual big trade show or party or whatever it is.  I also heard that Cloud had a conference this week.  It makes sense.

I imagine that a few of those planes up there flying on our tax dollars also contained a few big campaign contributers since it is after all an election year.

Why push back fleet week a week?  Just for that reason… full moon, holiday weekend, 2 major tech events happening in the city between the Sunday night flights and the Saturday daytime air show.  There are some big heavy pay off’s being handed out this week.  I can feel the corruption bubbling out of the city this week.

So, to finally answer the question i posed earlier, after 18 years of Fleet Week being a clockwork routine, why this year is it not the usual…  Because it is part of the political ass kissing and back pocket revenu building the mayor has created to help sell out the soul of the city while he gets rich and probably powerful.

At least when Willie Brown was fleecing the city, he did it looking super suave!  Lee is a plain, dumpy, not very well spoken, want-a-be.  However regardless of his less than minimal people skills to his public and his unmatching disheveled appearance, he seems to be siphoning off the hard earned tax dollars and political pay outs with ease.

(Considering how much of his own pocket he has lined since his short time as our pathetic soulless mayor, he could at least get a decent looking tie and a haircut!)

I now am watching the skys with more than just how cool the planes are in my mind.  I am seeing the outcome of some of the perks that he gave out in order to appear to be amazing at brokering big tech to set up shop at our house of SF.  So, they bring in tax money to help replace all the loot he has spent making it feel like SF is the Google of employers with slides and everything!  (Slides that slide our hard earned cash into his personal coffers!)

Anyway, i hope all of this BS ass kissing has not effected the focus of the air squads. I  know that our Blue Angels have had to do more this year away from their own performance to assist with these deals.  Lets just hope that they have not filled their week with so much other bullshit that something goes wrong because there was just too much distraction going on up above our heads!

I will just have to wait and watch and hold my breath which is really more like steam because i am so angry about the state of our elected politicians, and hope that there is nothing that goes wrong.  (i know technically it already has, but this time i mean an accident.).

My days as a child sure are different than they would have been now, but i am thankful and they taught me a LOT!

 

 

Pete and me and my blanky and waldo. circa 1978

I was born in the early half of the 1970’s.  Things were SO different back then.  Not the obvious… I played as a kid, i went to school, i did the family obligations, i had friends, i went to sports practice and games and girl scouts… you get the picture….

What was so different is HOW i played as a kid, and Why i went to school, and What my family obligations were etc.

It was a much slower time back then.  AND a time with SO MUCH LESS unwarranted fear.  So much more communication and planning.

You couldn’t just go by the ATM machine when you got low on cash, you had to make sure that you made it to the bank before 4:30 and if not, you wrote a lot of checks (and probably cashed one at the grocery store!).

You had to have LOTS of patience when trying to reach someone, because, the answering machine had not been invented, nor the cordless phone.  This meant that you let the dang thing ring for at least 30 rings just incase they were in the yard, bath etc. There was no caller ID so if you just missed the call, you would have to just sit there wondering who it was and if and when they might call back.

Back then, we could play unsupervised.  This meant OUTSIDE.  Now, we had markers that were supposed to corral us into not wandering too far (not farther than the field at the end of the Petersen’s lot type thing), but this freedom gave us not only the freedom to adventure and discover, but it gave us an independence that i think carries into the rest of our lives.

Things just moved slower because they had to!  Which ultimately meant we all lived with more patience.  You had to have patience because if you needed to reach someone, you just had to wait, hope and keep trying.

Meals were simple and nutritious.  You know, like a lunch with a pbj sandwich, carrot sticks, cheese and crackers and a milk or juice or something to that effect.

I remember as a kid, you had to get creative (in your own mind!) when it came to playing inside.  We had no video games, or vcr’s or dvd’s.  For god sake, we did not even have any cable tv.  We had 3 network tv channels and 1 public broadcasting station.  THATS IT!  so, tv was not really that much of a deal.

Instead, we had things, like board games, and Light Bright and even musical instruments to have a marching band through the house.  My brother had a chemistry set and an erector set that we would play with and i had Linkon Logs and a tutu!

I would go picking wild flowers and then leave them on the front porch and ring the doorbell and run and hide every May 1 (may day!). And i was sure that my mom couldn’t have known who had done it! lol.

We had a dog and a cat and a bunch of fish, a few hamsters, a gunny pig and a few turtles not to forget a couple of parakeets over the years.  My dog and cat were with me my entire childhood so they were also played with a lot.

I still played with dolls (which i would walk down to the creek in their little stroller:) but i also played with Star Wars action figures with my friends usually the boys.

I lived deep in the redwood forest near Santa Cruz, so i was more isolated than most of my friends that lived in town… So, it was somewhat lonely for me out there and what i am sure i would have said extreem bordom… but that ended up being beneficial to me to have lived through, now in modern time.  It allows me to escape into isolation and enjoy it.

We had respect and even a little fear of our parents.  Not because they ever beat or hurt us, but because we did not want to disappoint them!  We had chores.  A bunch of them that we had to do before we could make plans or go out and play.

If we were bored, my mom would say, “well, you could clean your room or read a book.”  …I managed to find something to do…. :)

The thing that i think my childhood did for me was, teach me that if you work hard, you deserve to reward yourself but not the other way around.   And that it is up to me to be responsible and reliable and honest.  And if i am, i should feel good about myself no matter what the successes and failures i may encounter.

I was taught to love, and trust (when it is earned) and to show respect.  Not only to myself but to others around me.

I was taught not to be ungrateful for what i dont have because SO many people on this plannet would do anything just to have those same situations… and that things could always be worse so look on the bright side.

Most importantly, i was taught not to take for granted so much that i am so blessed for.   We get so caught up in all the things that we cant have or didnt get or achieve…

That is not the way to see the world.  If you are healthy and have people who love you and do not have to live in constant fear and have the freedom to make your own decisions, then …LIFE IS GOOD!!

Take that with you today.. It is so easy for us to get bogged down and feel the weight of all of the bs of life on our shoulders, but for one day, dont.   Dont let it get you down, because you have got it REAL GOOD!!  Enjoy it for a day for a change!  All that bullshit will still be there waiting for you tomorrow… take a day off and enjoy this beautiful planet with all of its beautiful life and colors and forms.  Simplify.  Life really is good even if you have a bunch of bills that need to be paid!

:)

I can’t wait until in like 20 years, this shirt will be one hilarious novelty!

20120902-200806.jpg

Until then, I will wear it to clean house! :). Note* I found and did not, repeat, DID NOT buy it! ;)

Can you imagine this? Cost of living in San Francisco in 1904….

 

Thanks to the people over at San Francisco History website, i found this article on the cost of living in 1904.  It is interesting to read, partly because as i go through the same thought kept going through my head…  This woman could totally be writing for her blog….  Haha.  I suppose that thoughts expressed will hopefully be thoughts expressed right from the writers mouth.  That is, if you can find one that has not been sold out and totally corporate-ified.  For me personally, my math skills are so bad, that i did not even try to figure out the percentage that costs have gone up in 106 years but it is more than x10 and x10.  It is really quite incredible if you think about it.  I really think back then, you got much more of what you were paying for and not all of the packaging, advertising and insurance costs.  I think it would have been really a hard working existence back then, but it also would have been really exciting and really cool!  Probably pretty dusty and in winter muddy though!   I hope you enjoy going back in time to the era of my great grandparents….

San Francisco History
Cost of Living


Some Facts About the Cost of Living in San Francisco.

By Evangeline Adams.

Can a family of four live on $14 a week in San Francisco? Yes, they can and do—hundreds of them. They may not often have porterhouse steak nor wear tailor-made gowns costing from $75 to $100, or swallowtail coats for social functions; but that need not mean that they do not have plenty of good meat and are not becomingly dressed.

And right here let me say—seeing that the subject of dress has come up—that the workingman’s wife has often quite the advantage of her sisters who have more money to spend on clothes, in that she numbers among her friends the actual makers of the beautiful shirt-waist suits, shirt waists, skirts, collars, hats, etc. that fill the shop windows. A lady who claims many friends among these apprentice girls said to me just the other day: “I have such a beautiful new stamine dress and it didn’t cost anything to speak of. My friends made it for me. One friend made the skirt, another made the waist and another the collar, and I don’t know when I have had a dress that I liked more.” And in this way friends make for friends, often with no charge at all, and never with anything more than what would seem a nominal price to those of us who pay the prevailing high price for such work.

HOW THE MONEY IS SPENT.

It is a very difficult matter to find out how people spend their money in any particular except in the matter of rent. They are always quite ready to tell you what rent they pay and shake their heads over the high prices, or, in a very few instances, chuckle over the fine bargain they have been smart enough to find. But when it comes to telling how much they spend on food—how much on clothes—how much goes into the savings bank for the proverbial “rainy day”—they either do not know or will not tell.

For instance, the family of four—three grown people and a child going to school—pay $8 rent for a three-room flat and $32 per month for food, light and fuel, making living expenses $40. The housekeeper is a good manager and they live well on that amount. But what they spend on clothes and pleasure, we have no idea, because we do not know their income. And so I might quote the expenditure for a number of families—just so far and no farther.

ESTIMATES BY THE LABOR BUREAU.

The July bulletin of the National Bureau of Labor gives the result of the expense accounts of over 2500 families living in industrial centers, selected at random from thirty-three states. Taking $14 as the weekly income, the average expenditure would be about as follows:

Food
$5.9556
Rent
1.8130
Fire
.5866
Light
   .1484
Total
$8.5036

This would leave for other expenses $5.4964. The estimated amount for clothes would equal $1.9658—nearly $2 a week.

The other expenses included:
Taxes.
Insurance.
Principal and interest on mortgage on home.
Fees for labor and other organizations.
Church.
Charity.
Furniture and utensils.
Books and newspapers.
Vacation.
Liquor.
Tobacco.
Sickness and death.
Other purposes.

Comparing with the average of five workingmen’s families in good employment in Prussia (Daily Consular Reports, Department of Commerce and Labor, No. 2033) we find:

Rent (three rooms, per week)
$1.5300
Fire
.3372+
Light
.1212+
Food (four persons)
2.8497+
Clothing and all other expenses
   1.8772+
Total
$6.7166+

Again comparing with the average of five Saxon families. (Same consular report):

Rent (three rooms, per week)
$1.0710
Fire
.5220
Light
.1380
Food (four people)
2.4196
Clothing, etc.
   1.5709
Total
$5.7224

[Note: the last total should have been $5.7214.]

It will be seen that the Saxon and Prussian pay a little less for rent, light and fuel; less than half as much as the American for food; and about as much for clothes and all other expenses as the American pays for clothes alone. And let me add—everyone of the ten Prussian and Saxon families put something in the bank each week.

CONDITIONS IN SAN FRANCISCO.

Then came the question: Are these averages true of San Francisco and vicinity? And it was this that I set myself to find out.

I found the rent in San Francisco to run from $7 to $17 for a small flat of from three to four rooms, sometimes with and sometimes without a bathroom. Those who had cheap rents paid car fare as a rule, although this was not necessarily true. The rooms were light and with the same proportion of them sunny as in higher priced flats. These houses are usually on side streets and alleys and the plumbing is good, but not the most modern.

I found a washerwoman and three children who had kept an expense account for the months of June and July, 1902. This woman had two children of her own and they were so well taken care of that the ladies of the Associated Charities felt justified in placing a child to board with her. Her two month’s account averages as follows:

Groceries (per week)
$1.70000
Meat
.43750
Fruit and vegetables
.44375
Rent
2.00000
Total
$4.58125

The above includes light, but not fuel. They lived near the bay and the children picked up drift wood. Milk was included in the groceries.

Consulting the bulletin of the Bureau of Labor again, I found that the retail prices of food have decreased 5 per cent since 1902, so that this woman and the three children can still live on the same amount in the same way assuming that the conditions are the same in San Francisco and vicinity as in other parts of the United States.

HOME EXPERENCE COMPARED.

But can a family of four live on $14 a week and be happy? In the short time of my search, I could not find a family who were living on just that amount and were willing to say so and tell how it was done.

So I asked my mother to weigh everything that we ate and to keep also a record of the number of people at each meal. I found that during eleven days the equivalent of 165 meals had been served to one person.

There had been used:

15
pounds flour.
2
pounds sago and rice.
9
pounds bread.
14
pounds sugar, honey and molasses.
2 3/4
pounds coffee.
7 7/8
pounds eggs.
17 1/3
pounds meat.
3 1/4
pounds fat (butter, olive oil and fat).
72
pounds fruit.
19 1/2
pounds potatoes.
6 1/2
pounds green vegetables.

I live where prices are the highest for everything. So I made some inquiries as to prices on Market street and south of Market street, between Third and Sixth. I give a few items of what I found:

On Market South of Market
Steak
50-55c
25-30c (same weight)
Chops
5c each
2 for 5c
Bread
1 loaf 10c
6 for 25c (same size)
Tomatoes
6 or 7 for 10c
10 for 10c
Lettuce
2 heads for 5c
3 heads for 5c

Using the cheaper prices where I knew them and the average price on Market street where I was in doubt, I made the following expense account, per week:

Rent ($15 per week))
$3.500000
Light (from bulletin)
.148400
Fuel (our own acct. from one stove
capable of warming three rooms)
.500000
Food
4.561452
Cost of housing and food
8.709850
For clothes and other expenses
5.300000

[Note: the total for cost of housing and food should have been 8.709852.]

HIGHER RENT PAID HERE.

Comparing the average cost of living for the United States with my estimated cost for San Francisco, I find that we pay almost twice as much for rent as the average workeman in the United States and a little less for food, the other items remaining much the same.

Again consulting the bulletin, I find that the cost of food in the Western states is perceptibly lower than in any other group of states. Perhaps I should state that those 165 meals which are the basis of my estimate were fed to hungry and hearty people, who during that time did not happen to have any of the nourishing foods that go a long way, such as beans, split peas, cheese, dried fish, cracked wheat, dried fruit, etc. so that I am confident that the estimate is high enough.

Glancing over the expense account for the past two years for the clothes of a large family of ladies, I find (not counting their work, and they do considerable) that the labor is two-thirds of the cost. The wife of the workingman can make her money go over twice as far, on account of her many friends engaged in industrial work. Putting that together with the difference in the price of food which I found within a few blocks, we begin to see how the workingman’s wife can make her money go so much farther than other ladies can.

Taking a last glance at the bulletin, I find that in 1903 wages were 16.3 higher than the average between 1890 and 1899, and that the retail price of food was only 10.3 per cent higher than the average for the same time, thus making an increase in the purchasing power of money of 5.4 per cent. The entire cost of living has advanced somewhat less than the cost of food, however, because there are certain fixed items which change only very slowly.

I found also that 34.3 per cent more persons were employed in 1903 than in 1894. Verifying that statement for San Francisco, I was told by workers in the various charitable organizations that they had not been called upon for assistance in the past two years by any skilled laborer, and almost never by an able-bodied man who was willing to work. And as for supplying the demand for women and children, they had not been able to come anywhere near doing so.

Judging from all these facts, a family of four can live on $14 in San Francisco and spend some money for fun.

I think i have helped unlock to the key to my unease of the gentrification of San Francisco… Again!..

 

 


 

A conversation with one of my roommates led us to talking about the infamous after-hours nightclub / gay bar pioneer in SF, The Endup.  (It has quite the story ending with a fight for power after the third brother of the founder challenged the former club manager for the estate after his two first brothers passed away, one from AIDS and the next from a shooting accident.  I have not gotten that far in my research to tell you what happend there…. The Endup was turned over to brother 3 because of mismanagement of the moneys and some shady unpaid bills type history, which enraged the manager which kinda made him go kinda crazy to the point that he shot the brother in the back and then committed suicide after a 10 hour stand off with police two weeks later….anyway…) The Endup is a legend and thankfully to historical landmark distinction will be for years to come.  It is the one place they are gonna have a heck of a time getting rid of!  It is true SF fabric.

Of course in normal fashion, my roommate and i got into a good healthy discussion (argument) that i was not buying (one of my roommates has a vivid creative mind and memory!) and decided to try and fact check him (which is a regular activity for me and i hate to brag, but i am 98 out of 100 times right, or at least proving he is wrong actually usually.)

This in turn led me back down memory lane  which has become a bit foggy in areas which is always surprising (remember… WRITE IT DOWN NOW!! You will not remember it in 20 years most likely no matter how sure you could not forget!), and right into my old beloved home away from home…The Endup!

The Endup is a SF Landmark and now thankfully a little more protected for the future generations to use and experience and find themselves as the last almost 4 decades of generations have.  The Endup sits right under the Hwy 80 overpass and merging onto the Bay Bridge part of the freeway that runs right between Harrison and Bryant at 6th St.  Ironically it is also across the street (and on the opposite side of the 80 overpass from 850 Bryant, AKA the Hall of Justice (the popo station and jail.) ( Infact, now days, when you forget to move your car at 6am for commute flush down 6th, and your car get towed, you only have to go one block to not only retrieve your car, but pay your tickets that release your car.  In the old days, you had to go to 850 to pay and release and then (usually back) to 11th and mission to get your car from the infamous City Tow… unless you were REALLY having a bad day and they were full at City Tow and they took it to the city overflow lot at Pier 70 (way out down by Bayshore/ HP.).

When reading different articles about the crazy end of the era that i was there regularly (1992-1998ish) attending, i came across this AWESOME article that is truly the pre-curser to my writings regarding the fear and sadness in the changes i have seen in this city.  It brought it all back.  It is incredible that i forgot truly how horrible the dot com loft explosion fucked up our town.  It really took a huge blow.  One that was so immense that i did not know if it ever could truly recover.  I guess we will never know now because it hit before full recovery.  I was watching closely, but never imagined a just few years later it would happen all over again only instead of the all the industrial and lot spaces being made into these so called live/work-loft conversions all over town and especially SOMA and China Basin, but now, the only difference is that it is vertical.  They are putting up more high rises than i had ever realized until i watched a video on utube of the city from 1992.  It was so sparse then.  It is filling in and in and in and in!  And not picking the most beautiful of high rise structure always either unfortunately.  Hopefully the ugly ones will soon be covered  by yet another new layer of bldgs. OR, an earthquake takes em back down!

I am so upset by this, because i have lived this before!  How could I have forgotten so soon?  It is like tangible Deja Vous.  The kind that you can go back into for hours and bite onto.  I have watched the soul of this beautiful bohemia get sucked dry one time already and now i am horrifically watching it happen all over again.

To give you an idea of what it was like, you must read the article.  It was so close to home for me because i know a bunch of the people mentioned in the article (Kato, Charlotte the baroness, Martel & Pollywog).  These were my people.  This was my 20’s-30’s.  Now all over again for my 30’s-40’s only unfortunately now, without any real kind of kick ass underground or at least grounded parties:(.  Heart breaking i am telling you. H E A R T B R E K I N G !!!! ! ! !

Now re-live the boom that was the 90’s dot com invasion….

A huge THANK YOU and BRAVO to Michelle Goldberg circa 1998 in its full form….

 

_______________________________________________________________________

[MetroActive News&Issues]

SF Metropolitan | MetroActive Central | Archives ]

All We Want to Do Is Dance

[whitespace] IllustrationSan Francisco may not be facing the end of nightlife, but we are looking at the end of the mega-club, the end of the club-as-institutionBy Michelle Goldberg
Illustrations by Katherine Streeter

 

 

 

At 3pm on a Saturday, the EndUp is still going from the night before. On the dance floor, a girl–totally bald except for a tiny gelled spike of hair like a baby unicorn–gyrates in lime-green platform shoes and fluorescent orange hip-huggers. A stunning white-blonde from Austria sits on a banister and sways while her boyfriend, a compact man from Ethiopia with a long, black goatee and tiny rectangular glasses, moves with funky, serpentine grace on the dance floor. He’s been at it since midnight the night before, she tells me. The dancers spill out onto the Edenic back patio, where the sound of fountains mingles with the insistent thump of house music. Bright and lush with palm trees, the back yard of the EndUp is a kind of country club for the underground, where people who still look shockingly attractive after nearly 20 hours of partying stretch out in the San Francisco springtime sun. No wonder local scenester Miss Polly called her book I Found God at the EndUp.

But the EndUp, like nearly every other club South of Market, could be gone by 1999, forced out by a locust-like invasion of lofts and their attendant noise complaints. “It’s a basic struggle for life. It’s almost like the Native Americans that were overrun,” says Carl Hanken, the EndUp’s avuncular, white-haired owner, a former research chemist. “The EndUp could go. It’s a distinct possibility. It’s almost a week-to-week existence for the club industry. Each week I hear of some other problems.”

San Francisco may not be facing the end of nightlife, but we are looking at the end of the mega-club, the end of the club-as-institution. It’s one of many ironies in this unfortunate situation that San Francisco’s booming economy is threatening the very vitality that accommodated so much of our region’s famed technological development. The fate of SOMA could indicate something much larger–whether bohemia can coexist with our decade’s gonzo postindustrial hypercapitalism.

“Money has destroyed San Francisco’s bohemia and attitude,” says Hanken. “Young people were once more driven by idealism; these are more driven by the buck. They operate more with the head than with the heart. That’s why we have the confrontation.”

Hanken says that it would be impossible to open up a club like the EndUp today, and most club promoters agree that for the last few years the club scene has been moving to smaller bars and lounges. There’s currently a moratorium on after-hours permits in SOMA, and while some of San Francisco’s best parties are held in small bars–Kate O’Brians, Liquid, The Top–they can never approach the grandiose decadence of a 1015 or a Club Townsend.

Whether or not SOMA nightclubs are able to survive depends on whether the notoriously apolitical nightclub scene can pull together to fight a gentrification process that has become so ingrained in big cities that it’s seen as inevitable–first the “pioneers,” the nightclubs and artists, move into an industrial wasteland, making it both habitable and hip and popularizing its new name. The yuppies follow, rents skyrocket, and the nomadic creative types start the whole process again somewhere else. Many see it as a foregone conclusion that what happened in New York’s SoHo–where an artists’ neighborhood became a shiny maze of chichi boutiques–will also happen to San Francisco’s SOMA.

“What happened in SoHo is clearly happening here,” says San Francisco senior planner Paul Lord. “In New York, Alphabet City wasn’t far behind. Here, Alphabet City could be the back side of Potrero Hill or the South Bayshore, but where’s Manhattan’s Alphabet City now? That’s gone yuppie, too.” New York’s quality-of-life-obsessed Mayor Rudy Giuliani has been padlocking nightclubs and yanking licenses for years now, and San Francisco is following in his ignoble footsteps.

Of course the greatest irony in all this is that SOMA is becoming a victim of its own coolness. The professionals who are moving into SOMA lofts go there seeking hipness–the new live/work spaces are essentially condos built to look like converted warehouses, their faux-industrial chic as transparent as that of an Urban Outfitters or a Starbucks. And just as the notorious coffee monolith has strangled so many of the boho java joints that inspired it, so SOMA’s culture is being trampled by developers selling “authentic” hipster lifestyles for half a million bucks.

As a result of land-use laws passed in the ’80s in order to make SOMA more hospitable to artists, the area is zoned for both living and light industry. That means that nightclubs are being forced to comply with the same noise-abatement limits as residential neighborhoods. SOMA lofts were supposed to go to artists, people who really did live and work in their spaces. But here we have the situation’s second great irony–there are no guidelines in place to decide what constitutes an artist because the artists themselves resisted efforts to legally define them. They didn’t foresee that SOMA would become a hot address for technology professionals who can afford to plunk down the $250,000 to $500,000 asking price for the area’s new lofts or “live/work units.”

Loft development has risen exponentially–there are 1,000 units pending right now, according to land-use attorney Sue Hestor. And as new residents with early bedtimes move in, they’re calling the police and demanding enforcement of noise laws. As a result, the VSF is close to having its permits revoked, the Holy Cow has had its permits temporarily suspended, and other clubs are feeling an increased police presence. “We haven’t had a noise complaint in 10 years, until last weekend, when noise abatement was knocking on people’s doors and asking them if they had a problem with us,” says Robin Reichert, owner of the Paradise Lounge. “In large cities, noise ordinances are a way to select or select out what kind of businesses are going to be in an area. In the next three or four months, we could lose all the clubs.” The officer in charge of noise abatement, Edward Anzore, responded that Reichert is “a pain in the butt” and said that knocking on neighbors’ doors is standard during noise-abatement investigations, which are conducted “the same way we would do a criminal investigation. We knock on neighbors’ doors and say, ‘Do you hear the music?’ If the noise can be heard inside a person’s apartment, it’s a violation of the noise ordinance.”

SOMA loft-owners don’t see themselves as interlopers but as a fledgling community. “Longtime SOMA residents are bitching and moaning about yuppies like me moving in,” says one new-media professional who recently bought a $350,000 loft at Seventh and Brannan. “There’s a core group of people who won’t be satisfied until SOMA returns to what it was five years ago, an industrial no man’s land, but the bottom line is that people like me outnumber people like them 10 to 1.”

He continues, “The fact that they close SOMA’s nightclub district doesn’t mean that San Francisco is going to lose all its nightclubs. They’re just going to have to find a new place. If you go to China Basin, it’s like SOMA used to be. Very few people live there, and more and more nightclubs will be moving into that neighborhood.”

But the yuppification treadmill has speeded up tremendously in the past few years, and San Francisco is only about 50 square miles. Perhaps the clubs could move to China Basin, but the lofts will surely follow, and after that, there’s just ocean. “We are right now in the middle of a white-hot economy where the pace of change is very fast,” says Richard LeGates, director of the urban studies program at S.F. State. “Processes which may have taken 20 years in Greenwich Village are happening in the space of a few years in San Francisco.”

IllustrationBesides, club owners who have owned their buildings for decades can’t just pick up and move every few years–the EndUp has been on Sixth Street for 26 years. The argument that neighborhoods necessarily go from clubland to yuppieville is just “onanism of the mind,” says Hanken. “They like to massage themselves in comfortable places. It’s a sugar-coated excuse. These people are nine-to-fivers. They’re not involved in the club scene, and they see us as transient. That is their problem. They simply do not understand us. We cannot move. We have many encumbrances. There are handfuls of licenses to maintain. All they need is another buck, or five hundred thousand, and they’ll move. We’re stuck.”

Lord says that even if the clubs did move, they can’t be assured that the new neighborhoods will remain conflict-free. “Until we get some controls in place, the club owners don’t have a high degree of certainty about where they can locate and not be in proximity to a residential development,” says Lord. “Right now all of the industrial areas are fair game for live/work development.”

The building that houses the Holy Cow has been a fixture in San Francisco’s nightclub scene since 1966, when it opened as The Stud. Last year it was bought by Jeff Thompson, Matt Goodrich and Bill Herrmann, three 31-year-old guys who met as barbacks in the club in 1990 and traveled the world together in 1992. The three work in the club up to 20 hours a day, and under their ownership the Holy Cow had been an overwhelming success. Then, a month ago, they lost many of their permits–they can no longer allow dancing, DJs, pool or pinball. While they wait for provisional permits, their business is down 70 percent. It’s like some kind of twisted version ofFootloose–they’re forced to patrol their club and make sure patrons don’t start dancing.

“Moving for us means bankruptcy,” says Thompson. Adds Herrmann, “For the people who have told us to move to China Basin and Hunters Point, my answer to these people is that if you like that area so much, you move down there. That’s a long way for people to go just to go dancing, especially for tourists. There’s a need for residences, but you can’t blanket the whole city and turn San Francisco into a suburb.”

Then there’s a third irony. Tourism is San Francisco’s No. 1 industry, and the nightclubs are a huge part of our city’s draw. Mayor Brown is often criticized for being wildly pro-business, yet he’s sitting back as developers blithely destroy one of San Francisco’s most vital industries–entertainment. What’s even stranger is that Brown is known as the party mayor–he’s been spotted at the EndUp and at the New Year’s Eve Treasure Island rave, and his son, Michael Brown, is one of the city’s biggest club promoters.

“Maybe Willie Brown’s son should be sensitizing him to this problem,” says Lord. “If you have that natural sort of entry, maybe the nightclub owners really need to get to the mayor’s son and say, ‘Look, you’ve got to bring this to his attention or get us a meeting with him so we can bring it to his attention.’ “

Lord continues, “What seems strange to me is that this city will sit and watch while certain types of nighttime entertainment disappear for youth, while things like Crazy Horse and the Gold Club are going in their place. I don’t understand the city’s priorities when it comes to giving young people an alternative. Dancing is a healthy thing to do. A lot of people have seen that if young people do not have some place to go and let off all this incredible energy that they’ve got, it’s going to lead to trouble in one way or another. I don’t know what the state of the rave scene is anymore, but that was something where people said, We want to keep partying, and we’re going to do it after-hours, we’re going to get into buildings that maybe we shouldn’t even be in.”

The club owners will need an economic argument to counter the financial powers behind loft development, says Lord. “One of the major industries in San Francisco, one of the things that drives our office market, is insurance and real estate,” he says. “Mortgage brokers and financial institutions, they’re making the loans on these properties that are selling from anywhere from a quarter of a million to half a million dollars. There are literally billions of dollars involved in the live/work development process. If you look at the major downtown businesses that are involved as brokerage agencies, as mortgage companies, as title companies, as lawyers representing the condos, these are major, major players in the San Francisco political scene.

“The club owners themselves need to be organized to protect their rights,” Lord says. “They are a legitimate business concern in San Francisco that brings large numbers of tourists and visitors to the area. In fact, a case could be made that the proximity of the nightclubs to the Yerba Buena center has an influence on people deciding to have conventions in San Francisco of one sort or another. The club owners need to let their decision-makers, from the mayor to the Board of Supervisors to the Planning Commission, know what is at risk. If you look at the gross receipts, payroll taxes and other influences that the clubs have on attracting visitors and tourists to San Francisco, it’s an important aspect of the richness that is San Francisco and the diversity that is San Francisco. Visitors and tourism are the No. 1 industry in S.F. [Clubs] need to be able to demonstrate that they are a significant and important player in that sector of the economy and, in doing so, show the city what’s at risk if they aren’t here anymore.”

The organization that Lord spoke of has already started. On a recent Tuesday night, a hundred or so club owners, musicians, artists and old SOMA residents gathered at the Transmission Theater to form a coalition aimed at fighting development in SOMA and saving the area’s businesses. Hestor, who’s been in the thick of the loft controversy for years, explained the conflict’s history to the crowd of political novices. Said Brainwash owner Susan Schindler, “We need to know what we’re talking about besides knowing what pisses us off.” The crowd got increasingly passionate as Hestor elaborated on live/work abuses. One girl shouted, “They’re for people who want to live like pimps with their exposed brick walls!” Someone else added, “We created the fad, that’s the whole problem!” To which a third person replied, “We can’t help it if we’re cool!”

But despite Tuesday evening’s energy, some in the club scene feel that it’s not necessarily the city government’s job to safeguard hipness, and others are just giving up on San Francisco. Even Martel Toler, who with his partner Nabil Musleh is the owner of Sushi Groove and the club mogul behind parties like Release, Eye Spy and Leopard Lounge, says he was thinking about splitting. “San Francisco already is not a major party town or a town where there’s a ton of places to go out at night. I was even thinking about moving, especially in the last year, to Miami, New York or L.A.”

Some of the city’s biggest promoters and DJs believe the club scene thrives on adversity. “I don’t want it to happen, but I also believe in the natural evolution of things,” says Kato, the impresario behind Royal Jelly. “Until alternative art culture and club culture have no place to go, it’s a matter of not holding on to situations and realizing that maybe we do need to be uprooted sometimes. I actually have been getting tired of the same old spaces.”

DJ Charlotte the Baroness is reluctant to blame gentrification for destroying the nightclub scene. “You haven’t been able to open up a major nightclub in this city for years, but we have a Catch-22, because while the gentrification that’s going on in SOMA is definitely affecting the ability to have more nightclubs, at the same time gentrification has really helped the nightclub scene. Those people are the ones going to clubs and spending money on drinks. Those are the people who are paying our bills.”

She continues, “This challenges people. The rave scene has now moved back into the big club scene, and now if there’s going to be a problem there, it will motivate people to start doing underground parties again. It’s just another chapter in the dance-music scene. I would welcome people starting to get more innovative about parties again.”

DJ Pollywog says she’s so frustrated with the lack of venues to play at in San Francisco that she’s planning on moving to New York. “Clubland for the most part has been pretty weak,” she says. “It’s the same old clubs doing the same parties. I love San Francisco and I wish there were more opportunities out here. If there were a more thriving nightlife here, then there would be no reason for me to leave.”

Like Kato and the Baroness, Pollywog thinks that clubland could find new energy away from the SOMA corridor. “When you change to a different location, you change the vibe of your party. That’s why, in a lot of ways, San Francisco nightlife is tired. It’s ‘Oh, same club, same thing.’ It’s a little bit stale if it’s the same spaces over and over. Part of the underground is wanting to stay fresh, and it takes those creative, pioneering types to build up something. Established clubs make it easier because all you have to do is show up. Creative people in the underground are almost against that, because it’s important to have fresh energy.”

Still, Pollywog says that without the big clubs, San Francisco can’t attract big-name DJs. “If we lose these big clubs, we’re going to lose so much credit on the international scene. No small club has the capital to fly in Dimitri from Paris or Dimitri from New York. Some underground people are like ‘Oh, the big clubs suck,’ but I know that they definitely have a place and are vital in keeping the scene alive. It’s important to have yin and yang.”

Back at the EndUp, DJ Jason Hayes says that the lack of replacements for the big clubs is affecting his career, and his friend Peter Letourneav fears that San Francisco is being turned into a kind of faux-chic Disney World. Inside, though, manager Alison Page is smiling as she surveys the crowd, convinced that bulldozing developers are no match for the ecstatic energy that keeps people dancing through the dawn and into the next evening. “After the comet hits,” she says, “after the earthquakes and tidal waves, the EndUp will be left standing.”

San Francisco | MetroActive Central | Archives]

 

 


From the May 18-31, 1998 issue of the Metropolitan.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Maintained by Boulevards New Media.

 


Foreclosures – Real Estate Investing San Jose.com Real Estate

 

 

berg who wrote the following piece written in i believe the mid late 1990’s.

One Hundred and Six years ago today, our city shook and burned to the ground.

But after the ashes comes the new. Rebirth. San Francisco took a major catastrophe and came back bigger and brighter than ever.  Maybe the lavish personal excess curbed down a bit after the 06′ quake and fire, but maybe it should have been anyway.  Maybe not too much different from today.

Well, here is my homage to the city my ancestors helped build and re-build and that i have had the privilege to call home for almost the last two decades and that laid the landscape to my relationship with my great aunt and one of my dearest departed family members.  This city is me.  It is what makes me feel like i am home.  It is what i identify my identity with.  It is what created the person that sits here now.  It is what drives my research about my ancestry and allows me to try and imagine walking in the footsteps my for family did.  Thank you lineage for allowing me this adventure and quest to find out not only who you are but where i came from and who i am.

Here is to the spirit that fules rebirth and connection.  And rebuild they did! And rebuild

we always will!

And today…

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I am going to start a new topic about things that i love that are no more…. Starting with Kai Tak Airport….

They just dont make em like they used to… seems to be a regular phrase coming out of my mouth.  Some of these things are obscure objects, some, like Kai Tak Airport, a complete part of a city.  Some of these things you may remember, some you may have never had the luxury of hearing ever existed.  But as long as they aren’t forgotten, they can remain a part of the fabric of my mind’s memory and maybe yours too.

… On to Kai Tak!

Kai Tak Airport was Hong Kong’s International hub from 1925 to 1998 when it was finally closed and replaced by the new Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok, 30 km to the west.  Kai Tak was located on the west side of Kowloon Bay in New KowloonHong Kong.  It was one of the worlds most deadly of airports due to the high volume of sky scrapers and mountainous surrounding terrain.

There was a specific way one had to enter to land at Kai Tak due to these configurations.  First Hong Kong installed a big red and white checker board wall that was used by the pilots to plot their trajectory to line up to the landing strip.  The pilot had to fly straight in until they reached the checkerboard  wall and then the pilot had to make a 47 degree visual turn to line up to land at runway 13.  This bay was also known for its heavy cross winds which added to its difficulty in landing.

The planes had to fly so low to the 6 story high rises that it is said “that people could see the flickering of tv’s in peoples apartments upon decent.

I personally have never been to Hong Kong and unfortunately am now unable to actually experience seeing a plane and buildings work together so closely (pun intended).  I imagine living under the noise of the constant overhead jet may not have been super fun after the novelty wore off, but for me, having never been and never living  underneath, it is the coolest factor Hong Kong had going on.

At least thanks to Youtube, i can spend hours watching footage, imagining that i was actually there.  It really puts man’s amazing ability of engineering on display in every great way!

Here’s to you Kai Tak!  May you live on in the minds of many!

Hong Kong's Kai Tak's approach to runway 13

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