Listen up people… One of ours is missing!!

As i was hiking in the park today I came across this notice. This is pretty serious for us in our neighborhood so people keep your eyes peeled let’s hope we find this missing kid!!!


Bad fences, a not so ideal door and a super dog!!

So, while out on my daily workout, I came upon some interesting things….

First: Bad fences. There were two of those…




Then, there was this house with two gates on their home… The second gate is not in such an ideal spot dontcha think? I would have a very hard time reaching my key in there to get that sucker open! I suppose that would be good.


And finally… Superdog. This little half-pint of solid muscle literally rocketed straight up this vertical cliff all the way to the top! I was amazed how strong this pooch was! I would not want to meet him in the wrong mood I tell you!




Well, there you have it folks! Another exciting workout in the wilds of San Francisco!!

An open letter to my neighborhood…


Dear Neighbors,

I write you today to ask for your understanding. You see, I live in the house that you can’t stand.

You know the one.  The blithe on the block.

We dont look unusually bad in appearance (not particularly good either but it is on the corner and is 100 years old so, its design is generally not too offending plus, we are a dirty color of white so we dont really stand out except if you begin to look closely.  That cheap1960’s want-to-be wood grained paneling that is broken in places and entirely painted white… probably in the 60’s!, doesn’t exactly look regal i know).

No it is not our appearance that is so offending.  It is us. Continue reading

This is just too cool not to show you! AND it is invented by a neighbor who lives just a couple streets down!


Bernal is kicking out some serious talent here. By the time you are finished watching this video, you are going to be thinking just what i did after i saw it… I WANT ONE!! Keep your eyes peeled. The only thing better than good design… Is local good design! Now you have been illuminated! (bad pun i know and am sorry! 🙂

I would like (those that are unfamiliar) to introduce you properly to my little neighborhood… Bernal Heights.


One of the best little neighborhoods in the world. I am grateful to have ended up over here. Before here i had lived in the panhandle (now days it is called NOPA) but since as the new name tells you, it has been almost thoroughly gentrified. Not Bernal! Hopefully it never will be! THANKS BERNAL! I love you back!

By the way… Happy Valentines Day All!!

Fleet Week’s Blue Angels final day flying. Seen from atop Bernal Hill. Oh what a beautiful day!!

I dont think that once in the last 20 years, have i seen an entire week (yes i mean 7 whole days!  and it is still going now!!) with incredible weather during Fleet Week.  Usually we get a couple days, but (as in last year), the fog came in right around the time they started flying and only were able to do one trick and pass over the bay before having to call it.  Some years, they dont even fly.  If they cant see their plot points it is very dangerous as well as if it is too foggy, we cant see them.  This week though, none of that issue as you can see below.. It was maybe the most beautiful weathered Fleet Week in the last 2 decades!  It was really awesome. 🙂

Blue Angels doing their loop-de-loop over SF bay. Thank heavens they use the smoke or i’d have never been able to capture it on my iphone!

One of my favorite members of the Blue Angels team… FAT ALBERT!

From atop Bernal Hill at the top by the Microwave tower. the little speck in the sky fat albert leaving scene of the fly by!

Oh what a view!

That speck up there is not a plane, but a beautiful Red Tailed Hawk.

Neighbor and his boy were enjoying the sites at the top too. They were very nice.

Hey hey hey!

Oopsie… a little bit of trouble atop the tower. I dont know if the girl who was running on the roof of the tower got arrested or just warned. Note… should never trespass on city govt. property while hundreds of people are there watching.

whoops. another guy being talked to by the popo. i saw him later though so they let him go. yea.

pretty steep up here at 436 feet up.

while we are here, lets check out our 49ers! Candlestick is just to the left of the bluff.

I hope you enjoyed the photo recap.  I know we dont have the best view to see all the exciting flying, but i personally think that 1. the views of the city make it worthwhile!  And 2. not having to fight the traffic makes it all doable!

I saw some interesting things a couple days ago on my daily hike on Bernal Hill… and it was oh so Bernal….

On my walk a couple days ago, i decided to go early (9:00am ish) unstead of later (4-6ish).  It was a very different scene up there in the morning.  I saw a lot of ladies. most of them with dogs a few with babies.  But even more that the female race, i saw so much wildlife!  As well as some things that are just oh so Bernal!  I hope you enjoy!

The morning light reflecting off of the bay looking south east from Bernal.

One of my favorite Bernal monuments… This rock is always being “artified” with a purpose! This time… in support of gay marriage!

Close up reading “My hand, Is there, Holding yours.” supporting gay marriage.

Secret (not so considering one of them is wearing reflective cal-trans style vest and they all had clip boards!) meeting on Bernal Hill.



Now, you’re gonna love this one. This is clearly covering some overnight graffiti, the unusual thing, the buffers (ones that paint it all out) left a note and taped it to the ground! (so artistic too with the dog poop on the left corner!)


Just gotta love the “Wet Paint, by Buff King” sign taped to the pavement… but wait…. this is not the only one!

Here is more of Mr. “Buff King’s” handy work… you are gonna love this one… just check out the “buffing paint job” the king employed here…


Now, that is one heck of a buffing! Nice paint job(s?)! I wonder which part of this is actually the wet paint painted by the Buff King? Seems like maybe he needed more paint! haha!


Sad that this big tree had become rotted and had to be cut down. I think because of that, these little finches were all in turmoil… And all over the place. Clears up a photo op view tho!

Here are those poor traumatized finches in flight. This was only a small number of them but you get the idea.


usually i do not do my hiking early in the AM, but i was surprised how much wild life i saw out in the mornings. I love these little birds!

I do think i like the haze of the other hikers/joggers/walkers/dog walkers in the late afternoon with that somewhat glazed look over tdheir faces as they pass in loops.  So much more is on your mind at the end of the day than at the begining of the day.  I did not get half as friendly of a hello or a smile while passing the AM crowd compared to the PM crowd.  I think that the AMers are used to their crowd being the ones up there and are leary of anyone new they may pass on the trail.  Or, they were just living in the my shit dont stink and yours does mentality.  Regardless, i loved all of the quirky things that i ran across in this am walk, but i think i will most likely be sticking to my busier afternoon crowd personally.  I am not going to be acquiring a dog or a baby any time soon, so i will most likely be given the eye of tresspass again if i do the AM walk.

Who knows, maybe it was just this one day.  I better not judge an entire time period on one day.  …We will have to try again and see if this is the norm or i just caught a bunch of snobby fridged females on this walk.





Can you name the steepest street in San Francisco? I bet you are wrong!!

I found this GREAT article (here is the original link… about San Francisco’s true steepest streets!  I know we are known for our steep streets, partly because my grandma lived on Jones at Clay my whole live and going over california every single time proved a rush! (almost as much as going up on the roof of her building and pushing the buttons in the elevator!).

Now almost 20 years later, i find myself living on the steep slopes of Bernal Heights.  Now, i started this exercise thing a couple months ago by walking every day around the steep streets of bernal and around the rock.  I have intimate knowledge of these steep hills as i find myself losing a lung trying to get up these SUPER steep grades.  So much to the point that in about 7 weeks, i have lost 9 lbs by walking 2-3 miles a day 6 days a week.  

I am getting stronger but do not ever see a marathon on my future!  I just enjoy being out in my beautiful town breathing the cool sea air and catching views of the whole bay.  Life while hiking, aint too bad i tell you!…  Enjoy!


The Steeps Of San Francisco

In Search Of The City’s Steepest Street


A Steep San Francisco Street

A Steep San Francisco Street

Ask a San Franciscan about the City’s steepest streets, and four out of five times, he’ll say something like “Great for scaring the bejeezus out of tourists!”

Or, sweat beading upon his brow, he might recount that Damp Morning when he drove his Manual Transmission up the Impossible Grade, and was forced to stop, just below the top! In frantic pantomime, he’ll pull the emergency brake and disengage the clutch. Crane his neck to peer anxiously at the car sniffing his downhill bumper. Bulge his eyes. Gun the engine. Pop the clutch. Release the brakes. Lay down some rubber with a piercing squeal. Float his steed slowly onto the flat. Wave the smoke from his eyes. Pump his arms in brief celebration. And finally, grouse about that sadistic driving instructor who got him into the pickle in the first place. What a jerk!

Flush with the desire to frighten out-of-town guests, or to take the aforementioned test of motoring skill, you’ll need a suitable road with hill. Google the “steepest streets in San Francisco” and you’ll find this:


The Steepest Streets in the City, Purportedly
1. (tie) Filbert between Leavenworth and Hyde (31.5% grade)
1. (tie) 22nd between Church and Vicksburg (31.5% grade)
3. Jones between Union and Filbert (29% grade)
4. Duboce between Buena Vista and Alpine (27.9% grade)
5. Jones between Green and Union (26% grade)
6. Webster between Vallejo and Broadway (26% grade)
7. Duboce between Alpine and Divisadero (25% grade)
8. Jones between Pine and California (24.8 grade)
9. Fillmore between Vallejo and Broadway (24% grade)
Source: San Francisco Bureau Of Engineering.

Impressive? Most certainly. However, might I register a beef, please?

The grade measurements look okay, but the locations overlap the traditional haunts of hipsters and sightseers, seemingly to the exclusion of the rest of town. Hills dot the entirety of the City, so a similarly-steep street must lurk elsewhere within its 49 square miles. Right?

At the exact moment of that realization, my inner Chivalrous Knight rose from slumber, knowing that he must canvas every corner of San Francisco, no matter how nondescript or unpleasant, for its steepest thoroughfares – if for no other reason than the Defense Of Equitability and Advancement Of Knowledge.

A Map!

Frisco encompasses some 1,400 miles of paved roads, so the first step was to narrow my search. Combining the National Elevation Dataset’s 1/3-second data with the Open Street Maps grid, I created the following map of the City, with streets colored by slope:

A map of San Francisco with streets colored by slope.

A map of San Francisco with streets colored by slope.

Despite the map’s warts – and a geography geek will find more than a few – it served its purpose: to pinpoint areas of interest. After scouring the associated topos, I’d assembled a dozen candidate intersections, ripe for inspection.

The next day, I loaded my crude surveying rig – a level and builder’s square – into the car, checked the brakes, changed the oil, kissed my wife and kids goodbye, mumbled a prayer toSaint Christopher, and embarked upon the Steepest Search.

High Grade

Most people naturally describe steepness with an angle. However, road builders speak ingrade, the ratio of vertical rise to horizontal run, expressed as a percentage, allowing them to quickly perform useful calculations without resorting to Troublesome Trigonometry. Angle and grade are not synonymous: for example, a slope that rises one foot per two feet of run is about 27 degrees from level, but has a grade of 50%. With that in mind, let’s continue!

My first target was 10th Avenue above Quintara, a straight shot to the top of Forest Hill. On approach, it looked mighty indeed, and measurements showed 4.75 inches of rise per 20 inches of run: a respectable, but not record-shattering 24% grade. The subsequent procession of streets – on Mount Sutro, below Twin Peaks, in Diamond Heights – clocked in likewise: at 23%, 24%, and 25%, but nothing steeper!

A century ago, when San Franciscans began swapping their goat-drawn carriages for automobiles, some wise authority must have decided that these new-fangled mechanical animals could not safely climb more than one foot in four. And issued a proclamation: no new street shall exceed 25-Percent!


In support of that theory, the Parade of One-In-Four Grades continued for two more hours, until abruptly terminated by this extremely-steep ribbon of pavement atop Frisco’s Sunnyside:

The 400 block of Baden

The 400 block of Baden

Was it a public street? The local postman didn’t think so, but the city signage, as the dead-end 400 block of Baden, indicated otherwise. However, it was stubby, one lane wide, textured like a lava flow, and if it wasn’t a driveway, it certainly ended at one.

Baden’s lumpiness raised a pertinent question: how to determine the maximum grade? Consider too short a stretch, and potholes, bumps, and gutters skew the numbers. Too long, and the flats drown out the steeps. My eminently-practical compromise defines maximum grade as the most you can tilt your car, axle to axle, driving the road while keeping the wheels on the pavement and avoiding damage.

Measured accordingly, upper Baden topped out at 34 percent: worthy of breaking out the champagne, if it were a bonafide street other than by technicality!


In the Hollywood Adaptation of the Steepest Search, I had reached the dark part of the script, wherein Circumstance tests my Mettle. Sure, I’d assembled the Twenty-Five-Percent Collection and discovered a Heavily-Tilted Single Lane Road With Asterisk. But, despite my best efforts, a full-fledged specimen of truly extreme slope eluded me!

Frustration cast a smug grin in my direction, and I winked back, for I had an Ace Up My Sleeve: Bernal Heights!

In any sane city, a superlative hill like Bernal would have been left completely bare. However, San Francisco was crazy before the 1906 temblor, and a basket case afterwards. Bernal escaped the brunt of the damage, so, to house refugees and the workers who would rebuild the city, the powers-that-be hastily completed and populated its network of narrow streets. These charismatic thoroughfares persist to this day: arranged in a grid here, a jumble there, with dipsy doodles everywhere! Given the chance, don’t miss the staccato ramps and flats of Prospect Avenue. Or, to experience the sensation of being One Hair Shy Of Tumbling Off The Edge Of The World, drive Elsie Street from Virginia to Coso!

Bernal oozes good, funky karma, so poetically, upon its northern flanks, I found Redemption.


At first, I didn’t know whether to believe it or not. Could this be an illusion? A dream? I rubbed my eyes, pinched myself, and looked again. Still, it persisted: Ripley Street, a beautiful, continuous grade, paved in the tell-tale concrete, jutting bravely skyward! With the hallmark, mandatory parking perpendicular to the slope, lest the ever-tugging hand of Mother Gravity transform one’s hapless vehicle into two-thousand-pound Battering Ram Of Rolling Carnage.

Thiebaud's "Ripley Street Ridge"

Thiebaud’s “Ripley Street Ridge”

I jumped from my auto, ran hurriedly to mid-grade, and took a measurement: 31.5 percent! The same pitch as Filbert and 22nd Streets, but with longer sustain, and drivable both ways!

On the topic of Ripley, the Internet Dot Com is more-or-less mum, with one notable exception: renowned painter Thiebaud’s evocative, spot-on, and sought-after Ripley Street Ridge, recently sold at auction for a cool $1,022,500.

More coarsely, if San Francisco’s other steep streets are Boys, Ripley is The Daddy: a broad-shouldered, dominating 400-foot stretch of peeling tires, boiling radiators, and grinding brake pads! Lose control on lesser inclines, and via the proper application of wits, reflexes, hedges, curbs, side streets, and other cars, you just might be able to negotiate a Happy Ending. But screw with Ripley, and you will certainly endure a most Severe Punishment upon the Bottom!

Nevada and Prentiss

Finally satisfied by my discoveries, I headed home to dine with family. Alas, in transit, slightly below Bernal’s rim boulevard, I lost my bearings. The steering wheel of fate guided me into a vaguely-rural area – so steep that half of its lots are vacant.

There, I encountered Nevada, a stripe of loose, dirty asphalt that cascades downhill at a lunch-tossing 36 percent. If you have a heart condition, serious back problems, frequent motion sickness, or are under 48 inches tall, do not attempt to drive it, for a local resident informs me that unlucky motorists lock up in fear and/or careen by on a weekly basis.

Thirty seconds after gingerly exiting Nevada, I rendezvoused with a sassy, petite, curved, concrete street by the name of Prentiss:

Prentiss Street above Powhattan

Prentiss Street above Powhattan

Drive downhill along the inside edge of the turn, and your car will briefly tilt at an astounding 37% grade. Hubba hubba!

Congratulations, Prentiss Street between Chapman and Powhattan, for you have officially earned the title of San Francisco’s Steepest. You soundly trounce your Californian competition, and cross the finish line nose to nose with Pittsburgh’s Canton Avenue, tied as the two most-tilted urban thoroughfares in the world!

New And Improved

Now, with that and some other discoveries in hand, let’s finish the job. Fire the pyrotechnics in five, four, three, two, one…

The Steepest Streets In San Francisco, For Real
1. Prentiss between Chapman and Powhattan (37% grade)
2. Nevada above Chapman (36% grade)
3. Baden above Mangels (34% grade) *
4. Ripley between Peralta and Alabama (31.5% grade)
5. Filbert between Hyde and Leavenworth (31.5% grade)
6. 22nd between Vicksburg and Church (31.5% grade)
7. 24th between Grand View and Fountain (30% grade)
8. Kearny above Broadway (30% grade) **
9. Holyoke between Karen and Woolsey (30% grade)
10. 25th above Grand View (30% grade)
11. Jones between Union and Filbert (29% grade)
12. Dwight above Goettingen (29% grade)
13. Folsom between Chapman and Powhattan (29% grade)

Source: Stephen Von Worley.
Notes: Ties are broken by the length of maximum slope.
* Crude, single lane pseudo-street, 
** Grade unconfirmed.

Mission Accomplished. Inner Chivalrous Knight, time for beddie bye!

Please do read the sequel: More Steeps Of San Francisco!

Another day on the red chert hill if bernal! Isn’t the light beautiful?

A little over a month ago, I woke up one morning and had this total click into different way of life. I started hiking a couple of miles up and down the steep hills of San Francisco’s bernal heights. Where I live (about 350 vertical feet up from sea level in not quite 3 blocks, and another 150 for the next two which get me up to Barnal heights blvd that goes around the hill (if you walk the loop it is .02mi. Short of a mile. Shoot, I can easily go a mile just going the couple blocks to the bank or store on cortland (depending on how much isle strolling I do and what path I take. So, the other day, I was doing my hike up and around the rock and the light was just magic. It was an incredibly beautiful day over the weekend with the Americas Cup at sail at the opposite end of sf. It is just to prove to the world that sometimes one should think of stepping out of the gym and into the world. The payoff’s are so good that you can actually forget that your legs are burning and actually feel a little piece of the universe coming back into you!




This also was the day we buried our beta fish Tyrone. Fitting I thought. Angelic almost!




A clarification of my blog. What it is about, and where it is headed in 2012.

I have been doing some 2012 new thinking lately.  A few things are creating this need to reflect upon my life and what it is all about not to mention this blog.

I started this blog as a neighborhood blog and posted on relavent things that i was interested in (Art and design and craft and clever things.)  It quickly became an outlet for an extreem and sudden loss of my roommates kitty  (who was mine by this time because she had adopted me almost immediately upon moving in 2 years prior and my roommate rarely came home).  She was 19 so it was her time, but it was an incredibly sudden and violent death.  VERY traumatizing.  It all happened over about 20 minutes of horrific body spasms and drooling a lot of blood.  The most heart wrenching yeowling in body writhing pain right on my bed in front of me.  My roommate happened to be home at the time (OH THANK GOD!!) and we were all crying and screaming and telling her it was ok to let go and that we loved her.)  She died in my roommates arms.  Just where she should have because she was born not breathing and he breathed for her and she came to life and so i guess one could say it was full circle.  Regardless, it was HORRIBLE to have had to watch.  I was devastated as was everyone who witnessed it.

My blog now had turned into a healing and honoring device that helped me create closure with the loss.  I also got my new little kitty Arthur 2 days after Tiki died.  The loss of her life allowed me to save little Arthur who was slated to be put to death the following day at 3pm.  I picked him up at 1pm.  He was so terrified but has really come so far in just 3 short months.  He now sleeps and hangs out on not under the bed and now has even let several people other than myself pet him.  Every day or two i have a new breakthrough with him it seems.  It is really rewarding.  And as he becomes more comfortable he shows more and more of his personality.  He is hilarious.  A true character.  More to come on this in the future, but i must get back to my original point.

I went to a great little store opening tonight down the street so i could check it out and do a posting on it (watch for it.  I am going to go back and do some photographing without all of the people there to showcase this cool shop that sells electric bycicles)  I asked someone who the owner was to get permission to take a few photos.  I explained to him that i wrote a little blog.  I may have even said neighborhood blog, but i realize that i have moved from writing and posting really relavent things to me, i had begun using it in a similar way to facebook.  It was a depository of reposted blogs that i thought were interesting with a few personally written blogs intermixed.  I think i needed to do this because not only was i mourning the death of our kitty but also two friends and an ended relationship of a year.  I was really stressed out, scattered and depressed.  The blog although was not my own writings as much, kept me still looking for things that impacted me in a profound enough way to believe it worthy of rebloging or posting.

There is nothing wrong with doing this.  It creates a depository of relavent entertainment to the times pertaining to my life.  A snapshot of culture from my perspective so to say.  But when i started to think about it, i realized that there was no real common thread to my blog.  I hadnt been writing as much about my city and neighborhood.  It was and is kinda all over the place.

I may not correct this 100% but i think it is time for me to really figure out what this blog of mine is all about.  Is it a sort of therapy?  Is it a modern culture statement?  Is it a design and art/craft showcase?  Is it a way to have a voice in this ever failing time?  I dont know, but i promise this to all of you sweet people who have followed the hodge podge of interests posted here so far, that I am going to start really writing again here.  In a sense it is going to also be part online journal.  A way for me to think aloud.

This works well in two ways.  First, i will not ever have to worry about another house fire putting my journals at risk or a move losing them, and second, i can write a lot more before my hands begin going numb while typing than writing.  I will still keep journals.  That will never leave me, but i am going to trust in the readers that they will accept my writing as a thank you to them listening to my thoughts.

It will also continue to be a neighborhood blog as well as a city blog.  However,  i havent wanted to start getting too upset and angry in my observations, and lately, that has been the thoughts associated with things that i see happening in this (once) GREAT! and now Good city of San Francisco (see posting on Sherif Ross Mirkirimi’s political witch hunt).  So i am going to write what i am pondering and what i feel and what i see around me and what i discover, and who i am.

I just thought that of this leap year with the Mayan calendar ending and all, i would begin to clarify my direction hopefully to both you all and to myself.

I look forward to seeing whats in store for us!  I hope you are too.

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