Yesterday, I was out with Mom near her place, returning with her groceries in a City Carshare car. We were waiting to turn left at Monterey and Foerster. All of a sudden, we hear several harried beeps coming from a car across the intersection to our left. We look, and there is a car flying around the corner, out of control. He swerves left, now going west on Monterey. Rather than coming to a stop, he stays on the accelerator, swerving back to the right and very soon runs into a tree.

I quickly pulled into a nearby parking lot, got out, and started running to see if they guy was OK. Unfortunately he had backed up and drove off, car smoking.

His car was smoking so much that I figured the first policeman that saw him would pull him over. I start on my way again, and only a block away I see him again, dirt and grass wedged in his car grill. This time I was able to get his license plate number. I pulled over and called 911. Halfway through my short conversation, I heard sirens.

I am guessing he was caught. It didn’t look like he did too much damage to the tree, but he certainly should be held accountable for reckless driving. Besides that, there was clearly something wrong with him that I am sure he could use help for. Hopefully the police were able to connect him with the help he needs.

I wonder if the folks who made this ad realized that they are giving people like me no reason to not vote for these “cronies.” I am represented by Chris Daly in City Hall, and he isn’t up for re-election this time, so this ad doesn’t apply to me anyway. I just find it funny.

I’ve been neglecting this blog a bit lately. I’ve basically been busy as hell lately, and I suppose the blog has taken a back seat. So this post will be a rambling one bordering on stream of consciousness. So grab a cup of your favorite hot, cold or lukewarm beverage, get someone to rub your feet, and read on.

The fitness side of things has been going very well. It has been mostly bicycling (more on that soon!) but I have also been doing some calisthenics, push ups, basketball and pilates. However I guess I am drinking enough beer and soda to negate any exercise progress I am making. I am still holding steady at my (healthy) weight but I’ve still got that blasted belly fat. I think at some point I may abstain from alcohol for a month just for caloric reasons.

Now onto bicycling. I am surely becoming better at it. My legs are getting stronger and I am becoming more confident in riding. I let myself go faster down hills and don’t mind small bumps as much. I am actually surprised that I have not gotten a flat from some of the huge goddamn pot holes I have unintentionally gone over. I have also somehow managed to not pierce my tube on all the glass I have seen on the street. Also, yesterday I participated in my second Critical Mass. It is quite an empowering experience. After spending all month being a second-class citizen on the roads and being scared out of my wits several times by inattentive or malicious motorists, it is nice to have the bicyclists own the roads for a change. Yesterday I especially had fun stopping for a few seconds directly in front of some cars in a couple of intersections to let the mass go through. I did have to break off rather early, however, to meet some friends in the Sunset for dinner. On my way there I kept running into break-off massers. I am not sure what you call it, but I went through a group of bikers who were using an intersection as their own personal traffic circle, stopping traffic in all directions. Beautiful thing. After passing through that I had all four one-way lanes of Fell Street to myself. I love Critical Mass. I wish it were two times per month, every week, twice a week, every day. Maybe some day…

By the way, a quick “shout out” to my friend Peter’s excellent San Francisco bike blog.

School has been going well, although I probably need to start working harder at it. Last semester I worked too hard at school; I probably worked twice as hard as I needed to to actually get an ‘A’ and ended up with super duper A’s. Right now I am probably working hard enough for everything to be borderline A/B and I would really like to get straight A’s again. Unfortunately this semester there are no term papers like last semester where we get to pick our own topic. I really enjoyed writing my paper Anarchism in Spain during the Spanish Civil War last semester and I wish I had the opportunity to do something like that again. Unfortunately it is mostly book reviews, midterms, and one term paper on which our topic is rather narrow. School has been rather tiring, for sure. 11 out of my 12 weekly class hours are packed between Monday at 4pm and Wednesday at 10am. With bicycling to/from school most of the time I am pretty exhausted by the time I get out of work on Wednesday. But I keep on truckin’. I think I can wait until December and January for a decent vacation.

In December I will be going to Maryland for about a week. I’d like to be back in San Francisco for New Year’s Eve, and then I’ll be off to Hawaii to visit Kelly, Conor and Caleb. Hopefully Tim will be home by then. I’m very much looking forward to this vacation. But the real doozy will be next summer when I plan to go to Europe for a month, couch surfing as much as possible. I should probably get on getting that passport…

Talking about Couch Surfing, I have been hosting a LOT. The vast majority of the days I will have one or more (sometimes as many as four) couch surfers staying with me in my studio. I am taking a several day break from it right now but I really enjoy hosting people. I have met so many people and I’ve stopped counting how many I’ve hosted. Besides the obvious social benefits of it, I am looking at it from an anarchist perspective. It is essentially a gift economy; the apartment is theirs to stay in with no strings attached. They also get to avoid spending money at a hotel and I get the joy of knowing they kept money out of the hands of the big hotel owners. And to be selfish, I am racking up a huge list of people than can host me in the future!

To change gears here, work is also going well. We are trying to spin off a separate company. I won’t go into the details right now, but it’s involved setting aside a few weekend days to get some work done on our project that we are trying to launch. I don’t mind so much; the solitude while I work is nice and it is what I was looking for when I volunteered all of us to work on the weekends. The regular during-the-week stuff is going fine but I am looking forward to this new company getting launched and hopefully working in that line a lot more.

Now onto the “having fun” part of this post. As I posted before, I have recently launched a San Francisco drum and bass blog where I am keeping track of the different drum and bass events upcoming in the city, posting pictures and writing event reviews. I had a tremendous time last Sunday at Compression at The Cellar. I hope to go to more drum and bass events now that I am keeping track of all of them for the new blog.

A few fun things that are upcoming for me: Next weekend I am going to Monterrey for a night with a few friends for a birthday. I’ve been to Monterrey a few times but never spent the night. I think I won’t go to the aquarium again, even though it was great last time. I want to check out other parts of Monterrey, whatever they may be. The weekend after that I’ll be in LA visiting Alyssa. I haven’t been to LA for a while and I’m looking forward to it. I’m sure we’ll have a great time.

Now just some comments on our current political atmosphere. I become more and more turned off by mainstream politics every day. I am especially jaded by the Obama campaign. I can’t stand to see Obamamania going on here in San Francisco. If I had more time (how many times have I said this?) I’d challenge the Obamamania. I want to put up posters that say “Obama is a warmonger.” I want to make t-shirts to the same effect. I want to challenge the Obama street table volunteers to an impromptu debate.

What, you didn’t know that Obama was a warmonger? He has voted to fund the war in Iraq. The same war that has killed an estimated 1.2 million Iraqis, many more than you may know who have been killed directly by American soldiers. The same war that has made five million Iraqis flee their homes, internally and externally. Well, surely, you might think, Obama will change all of that when he takes office. Think again. He plans to keep thousands of troops in Iraq, including in the Green Zone, thus completely ignoring the will of the Iraqi people and destroying any hope of Iraqi sovereignty. Obama also seems to think the Iraqi people should be paying us money for our war that is essentially no more than mass murder. Should someone with this mentality be our president?

But it doesn’t stop with Iraq, of course. Obama’s effort to be “tough on terror” includes sending more troops to Afghanistan. Send them there for what? What are more troops going to do over there? It doesn’t take tens of thousands of troops to combat Al Qaeda, who are evidently holed up in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. I’ll tell you what more troops will accomplish however. They will, intentionally or not, murder more Afghan people, like the close to 100 that were killed a couple weeks ago by an American bomb. Is this who you want to be president?

This is the same man who thinks it is wise to leave “all options on the table” with regards to Iran. The same Iran that several years ago agreed to stop all nuclear activity if we would only promise to not attack them. We reprimanded the third party diplomat for delivering the message. Are we really going to consider bombing Iran, too? Or maybe we’ll just starve them out like Bill Clinton did to Iraq. 1 million dead Iraqis thank Clinton for that, and the rest of the Iraqis thank Clinton for making them more dependent on their dictator, making it extremely difficult to overthrow him. And this is who the San Francisco “liberals” are so excited about?

This is the same man that actually wants to increase the size of our military. Our military expenditures are already higher than the rest of the world combined. This is our idea of a presidential candidate that stands for peace, that wants to use diplomacy to settle our differences with the world? Diplomacy at the barrel of a gun, maybe. Change, my ass.

And just a bit on the economy here. I am actually kind of excited about the state of the economy. I think economic collapse would certainly be painful in many ways but it would also be a time of opportunity. An opportunity to make a change in our lives on an individual level and also an opportunity to replace what we have on a systemic level with something at least slightly better. We’ll see what happens, but my opinion is that the current bailout plan will make the decline of the American economy happen slowly rather than suddenly. Either way it’s going down the tubes.

Lastly, a quick comment on some stuff I am reading right now. I am reading Living My Life by Emma Goldman, an autobiography if the title didn’t give that away. An excellent book so far, talking about all of her travels, lectures, romance and more. I certainly like Emma Goldman much more than Lenin after reading his biography. Lenin was essentially a mass murdering elitist who did it all in the name of the working class. One thing I am getting out of all of this, however, is that I think I would admire someone much more for their actions rather than their words. Emma Goldman, until this point in the book at least (I think she’s about 30) has mostly done lecture tours. Anarchist lectures are generally meant to agitate the working class so they take action. Seems like a bit of a cop-out to me. But I still like Emma Goldman.

I also started reading a journal I subscribed to, Anarchist Studies. An article in the current issue discusses Leo Tolstoy’s Christian anarchism, which is something I had never heard of until now. There’s a lot about laws, slavery and non-violence in the article. I am skeptical of some of Tolstoy’s arguments, especially the one that declares that laws are slavery. I think the term slavery is cheapened when it is used so broadly like this. Having said this, I’d like to read some of Tolstoy’s books and articles that this journal article mentions.

Until next time, faithful readers…

I’ve launched a new blog, sfdrumandbass.com. From the first post:

This site has been born out of my frustration in finding a centralized place to locate information on drum and bass in San Francisco. I intend first and foremost to make this a place where you can find and answer to the question: Are there any dnb events in the city tonight/tomorrow/this weekend?

Also I intend to post reviews of shows and clubs that I go to. Stay tuned. The first event I will be going to is this Saturday 9/20 at Underground SF: Bassism

For the last Friday of every month: San Francisco Critical Mass
For the last Saturday of every month: Really Really Free Market

It can’t be true…I won’t believe it until I see it myself: MUNI finally enabled Translink?

I really goddamn hope it is true.

Every morning, or almost every morning, the streets by my apartment in the Tenderloin are cleaned. This is a good thing, but every morning it makes it look like it had rained the previous night.

So after almost three years of living in beautiful Russian Hill, what with its…hills, restaurants, views, architecture, staircases, bars, cable cars and even the world’s most famous crooked street, I am moving to the Tenderloin. Except for the facts that it, too, is very densely populated and is also downtown (whereas Russian Hill was at least “downtownish”), the Tenderloin is the polar opposite of Russian Hill. While Russian Hill is mostly filled with 20-30something yuppies and professionals (not to be confused with the Southern Californians in Cow Hollow and the Marina), the Tenderloin is filled with working class folks, minorities, and the homeless, not to mention a smattering of ne’er-do-wells.

Although I certainly appreciate how nice Russian Hill is, on a rare occasion it is too nice for its own good. For example, the upscale grocery store does not sell American cheese. I thoroughly enjoy the grocery store, but not selling American cheese just kind of screams of pretension. And I only know of one sandwich shop, some five blocks away. In fact, a middle eastern sandwich and salad shop has closed down a few blocks from me and replaced with – another – wine bar. A local antique store has been replaced with a lingerie store. However slowly it is changing, the neighborhood is certainly changing.

Contrast this with the new neighborhood. The downside is certainly that it is not nearly as nice as Russian Hill, not by a long shot. The Tenderloin is essentially the homeless capital of San Francisco, a city with arguably the worst homeless problem in the United States. However, the upside is that the neighborhood definitely feels more “real.” There are several sandwich shops and cheap restaurants in the area. I am sure you could find American cheese at any of the 5-10 corner stores in a two-block radius. Things like a community center and the YMCA are just a block away.

Other perks are that the new place is just a 5-minute walk from work compared to my current 35-minute walk. Not that I mind my walk now. It is actually very nice getting that exercise. I am sure I’ll find other ways to get that exercise. Getting home from school will now take 30-45 minutes compared with 45-75 minutes. That is a big plus. I am very close to a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station. Just a several-minute walk from the main library and City Hall. Actually, I think I will be using the City Hall steps to run up in the morning.

As for the apartment itself, the building is very nice. It is nicer than my current building and the building and the apartment certainly have more character. Higher ceilings, bay windows. I am now on the third floor with a view of the street. My current apartment is quiet whereas the new one is noisier, which I view as a good thing. I think it is good to always have some life and activity going on around me. And of course if I need to drown it all out I can just put on some headphones.

The most important reason on why I am moving is because I will be saving a few hundred dollars in rent. That will be nice. Without further ado, here are some pictures.

More on the weather. Depending on which site I went to, the high temperature today was somewhere between 64 and 101 degrees. What is wrong with the weather sites, by the way? I’d put the high temperature at about 90.

Anyway, I would have normally walked to class but I didn’t want to sweat up a storm on the 2.5 mile walk. Public transportation it is. I decided not to take the bus, figured it would be too hot. I got on BART instead. Boy was that a mistake. Evidently they don’t use A/C either.

In general the whole city of San Francisco isn’t prepared for the heat. If a place has A/C it doesn’t seem like it is prepared to handle these temperatures, as even the air conditioned places seemed about 5 degrees warmer than usual. At least in the areas where it gets hotter on average than San Francisco they are prepared for it!

Tomorrow is supposed to be cooler. I don’t mind the heat too much right now though. Like I said before, it is a nice change.

God damn I love this place.

I also love consumable containers. Ice cream cones. Bread bowls. What’s next, frozen beer beer mug?