Sunday, December 31, 2006

San Diego Automotive Museum

Located next to the Aerospace Museum in Balboa Park, this small museum is of minor interest to car aficionados: There are no significant cars in the collection. But there are some good British motorcycles. Of note are an Ariel Square Four, a Vincent Black Shadow, and 2 Broughs.


How a Radial Engine Works

The cutaway demonstrates how a 7 cylinder radial engine operates. The master connecting rod is in the top cylinder (no. 1 cylinder). The other rods are connected to it, and the counter weight balances the crankshaft. The firing sequence is 1,3,5,7 in the first revolution, and 2,4,6 in the second revolution. The odd number of cylinders gives an equal spacing of power pulses.

Thanks San Diego Aerospace Museum

San Diego Aerospace Museum

The picture shows the cockpit of a DC3.

The aeroplanes are displayed in chronological order in a donut shaped hall. That makes it easy to walk through without missing anything.
The hall is jam-packed with exhibits, so you can get very close and touch most of them.

Each period of aviation is well represented by aircraft that have not been over-restored.

My favourites were the Mark XVI Spitfire and the cut-away radial engine that shows how a radial works(video coming).

Saturday, December 30, 2006

San Diego Zoo Lives Up to Expectations*

We had the most fun in the childrens zoo because we could get close to some very cute and friendly amimals.

Most of the adults wheeled and waddled their way over to the large animal enclosures to compare girths with the rhinos, hippos and elephants.

*Avoid visiting the zoo on public holidays. It was very crowded! There were long lines to see the more popular animals. The footpaths were clogged with wheelchairs, strollers, electric riding carts, and families walking slowly 4 abreast.

Friday, December 29, 2006

San Diego Marriott Downtown

We flew into San Diego yesterday and we're staying at the Marriott in the Gaslight Quarter.

This Hotel is fabulous for the price! It was built in 1928 as a residential hotel. All the original architectural detail has been preserved. The ground floor was a bank and is now a spectacular lobby, bar and dining room. We're on the 10th floor(of 14) and we have an interesting view of the apartment building being constructed next door. I can look out the window into the control cab of the tower crane. I can see workers setting up cement forms, and I could shout out to them.

Our room is at the end of a long wide marble lined hallway. The room is larger than average and it must have once been part of a suite (our door doesn't have a mail slot like the other rooms).

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Key Chain

I've seen these being sold in bicycle stores, and I like the idea. So I used the extra links from my new chain and a 1" split key ring to make my own key 'chain' (Wash the links with dishwashing detergent to remove the oil).

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Dart Coat Hooks from SuckUK

Josh and Amy gave me these! What a thoughtful gift!

I think I'll screw them into the 4"x2" beam by the back door in a pattern as if I threw them there.

Seniora Fork Chair

Ignacio Ruiz Gutierrez H. is a 20 year old design student from Mexico.

More of his designs here.

Thanks Apartment Therapy

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Cars Dawydiak Video Project

I've taken Walter Daydiak's showroom video and edited it from over 8 minutes to just 2 minutes 15 seconds:

Categories:Movies Cars

Monday, December 25, 2006

WebCam View of San Francisco

This view of San Francisco in the fog is courtesy of Don Strickler and WebMarin. That's the Bank of America building sticking up out of the fog. To the left of that you can see the spire-like tip of the TransAmerica Pyramid.

Categories:San Francisco

Citroen 2CV Van

This 2CV was parked in our neighbourhood. It's rare to see the van version of this car in California.
The front bumper is much lower than on modern cars, so the bumper overriders are tall. This owner saw the opportunity, and dropped his old shoes over them.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Macy*s Union Square

We needed some things from Crate and Barrel today.

I took the streetcar to the Powell Street stop, and came out above ground outside the Apple Store. Everything looked normal. Stocton Street is always busy. The Apple store is always busy. I tried not to spend too much time at the apple store (I bought a 60GB iPod last week, and I'd like an iTrip FM transmitter for it).

Crate and Barrel was a busier than normal, but the customer service was excellent. I bought plates, flatware, placemats and glasses.
Before I left the store, I watched shoppers coming out of Macy's at the corner of Stocton and O'Farrell.

Categories:San Francisco

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Hansa Tap Shows You the Water Temperature

This Tap(faucet) illuminates the water in a colour according to the water temperature. Red is hot. Blue is cold. So you can tell what the water temperature is by looking at the water!

More beautiful taps at the Hansa website.

Thanks Gizmodo MocoLoco

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Our Open House

On Sunday we had a party in our new building. All six apartments were open and we were able to see how others had furnished their units. We've been living here for only a few months, but Mr and Mrs Martinez have lived here for 30 years, and their apartment is in original condition. The main difference between their apartment and ours is that the varnished wood in our hallway, dining room and windows was painted white during the renovation of the building.

I like this photo of Lani. She usually has a ready smile for the camera, but here I caught here unaware.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Cars Dawydiak Video Project

It has taken me many hours longer than I thought it would to edit the Dawydiak video. It's finished now, and I've given it to Walter Dawydiak for inclusion on his website.

Categories:Movies Cars

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Disc Hub

I keep one of these next to our DVD player. It's very handy. And now they're only $5 each.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Car Tyre Chair

The Lite House is a small electrical repair store on Geary Blvd between 7th and 8th Avenue. Walking by there today I noticed this steel frame chair in the window. The seating surface is made from two car tyre treads.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Good Affordable Dining Chairs

It was my job to find eight dining chairs to go with our new dining table. I couldn't find anything cool and affordable, so I took a chance and shopped at Target online. If it didn't work out I could return the chairs to any target store. But it did work out, and the chairs are great! And quite a bargain: $150 for two chairs, and $160 for two armchairs. I like them more than chairs I've seen costing twice as much. They're sturdy, comfortable and well made.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Dial Phones

Refurbished bakelite dial phones from the 50's often sell for over $200. So these new, old stock, British plastic phones from the 60's and 70's are a bargain at ~$100. And they'll work in any country.

This is the phone my family used:

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Rover Chair

The seat is taken from a Rover P6.

Categories:Furniture Cars

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Institute of Contemporary Art Boston

The ICA has a new home at Boston's Fan Pier in South Boston.

The main Galleries are located in the top cantilevered section of the building. More photos here.

Features of the building are explained in
"A lenticular glass wall facing the harbour is a special feature of the Long Gallery... Composed of microscopic vertical lenses, the glass permits vision out when viewed from a perpendicular direction but blocks vision when viewed from an angle."

And reviewed by The New York Times:
"... the architects have harnessed the harbor setting to induce a reflective mood."

I wonder why they don't call it Boston ICA? BICA!

Thanks Tropolism
Categories:Art Architecture

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Confirm Your Status has fun with San Francisco city maps, logos and signs.

Thanks Apartment Therapy SF

Monday, December 11, 2006

My Afternoon Drive to Work

In December I like to leave for work early on account of the extra holiday traffic and the rain.

But today:
1) I lost track of the time and left home later than usual.
2)To save time I skipped buying my usual cup of coffee.
3) I noticed I needed to buy petrol
4) Traffic was slow near SFO, and I was delayed near Oracle by an accident.
5) My Mini got a flat tyre...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Spirit Song Bench

Designed by Barbara and Robert Tiffany, there are two versions of this teak bench available. One is straight and the other is curved.
The sine wave base of the bench reminds me of the Panton Chair


The Magazine Design Tips For All of US

From The Magazine:

Design Tips for Maximizing a Small Space with Style
By Brian Ogan

The challenge of any small space is to make it functional without sacrificing great looks. I’ve designed several small loft spaces, from San Francisco to New York, and I’ve discovered that the following tips will help make even the smallest rooms feel big and stylish:

1. Choose gentle colors. Light colors are peaceful and make a small space seem larger. Painting the walls in a light color with the ceiling in a clean white finish makes a room feel airy and bright. Another trick is painting three of the walls using one color with the fourth in a muted or slightly darker shade of the same color.

2. Do not super-size your furniture. Overstuffed sofas and chairs crowd a small space. For a roomier and cleaner appearance, choose a few good pieces that are functional and attractive. Contemporary furniture, with its simple clean lines, minimizes the feel of a crowded room and can bring a sense of calm.

3. Eliminate Knick-Knacks. Although purging is difficult, be ruthless. A handful of small, colorful accessories and pictures will warm up a room without overwhelming it.

4. Create open space. If you can see far into a room, it seems bigger. Arrange furniture so it does not block views to windows and doors. Modern benches, stools, and ottomans are great because they do not obstruct views. If you get more ambitious, consider opening walls to visually connect adjoining rooms. Finish the cut openings with wood moldings to draw the eye through as if it were looking into a picture frame.

5. Add sparkle with mirrors. Reflective surfaces extend space and make a room feel more open. An oversized mirror on the floor leaning against a wall is oftentimes more effective than more traditional placements, such as over a mantle or sideboard. Consider placing interesting objects in front of the mirror to break things up, and use a mirror top to add shine to any table. A professional glass shop can make mirrors to fit most simple furniture shapes.

6. Pick unpatterned upholstery. Big and bold patterns on sofas and chairs are distracting and can take up valuable “visual space.” Instead, cover furniture with plain or textured upholstery to create a continuous flow. If you really love wild patterns, choose just one piece to have fun with (a zebra pattern on a single chair seat, for example).

7. Carpet creatively. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to area rugs. Contemporary carpets come in a variety of unusual shapes and geometric patterns, perfect for small spaces and odd-shaped corners. A striking carpet can also be the focal point of a room, attracting the eye and eliminating the need for extraneous accessorizing.

8. Simplify window treatments. Elaborate, poofy curtains block light and make a small room feel stuffy. Sheer fabrics are elegant and let the light shine through while adding softness and personality to most spaces. Usually, you cannot go wrong using colors for curtains and blinds that come close to wall colors.

9. Go see-through. Clear glass furniture allows light to pass through a room. Coffee tables and lamp tables with clear glass will give you extra surface space but won’t make a room look cluttered.

10. Let there be light. Dark rooms feel crowded, so make sure that natural light is not obstructed (a mirror can help reflect light from a nearby window). If the room does not get enough natural light, consider adding lighting that does not take up excess surface space. Track lighting, cove lights and bookshelf lights are just a few of the modern choices available.

11. Layer your bed linens. A large bed automatically fills up a room, even more so when it is covered with a bulky and solid color comforter. To make a small bedroom seem more spacious, choose bedspreads, shams, and throws that use a mixture of patterns and colors. A neutral bedspread can be turned down to expose blankets and sheets in slightly different colors and textures. Accent pillows in contrasting colors and bold, contemporary patterns add visual interest without taking up room.

12. Trim your headboard. To free up precious wall space in the bedroom, don’t anchor your bed with a huge or intricate headboard (or footboard, for that matter). Contemporary bed frames are a terrific choice, as many have sleek, small headboards that add style without taking up too much space.

13. Store with style. Storage options in a small space need not be unattractive. There are a variety of contemporary storage baskets, bins and folders that will help keep you organized with style. If all else fails, an interesting room divider will help hide any clutter.

14. Create an illusion. Give low ceilings an illusion of height by choosing furnishings that are low to the ground and by mounting artwork high on the wall. Painting ceilings in a clean white finish makes a room feel open.


Saturday, December 09, 2006


From Ars Technica:
"YouTube quietly added a new feature today to its popular user-generated video site today[sic] called Quick Capture, which allows users to record video directly to YouTube from webcams plugged into their computers. This new feature eliminates steps in the process of producing video content, making it easier than ever to publish videos to the web."

Thanks Gizmodo

Friday, December 08, 2006


YouTube gets the job done. It's so popular you can even use it as a search engine and get meaningful results.
Vidiac hasn't achieved that level of popularity. But I gave it a try and I like the results. They use the first frame of the video as the static image of the 'startup screen', so you have some control.
And for Windows machines they offer "Vidiac Live" which is streaming video for your webcam. I want it!

Here's the Vidiac version of the same short vid I posted on YouTube 11/20/06

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Dart Coat Hooks

From Suck UK come these coat hooks shaped to look like darts. The tip is actually a screw that secures to the wall, and the barrel/shaft/flights are steel.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Martini Matinee

The AMC Kabuki in Japantown was purchased earlier this year by Sundance Cinemas, an independent movie theater company. (The sale is part of an anti-trust agreement allowing the merger of AMC and Loews).

The Kabuki is open while the theatres are being remodeled for stadium seating. And now I hear the good news that the Kabuki Theatres will soon be serving alcohol (I'm not concerned about drunken yobbos ruining the movie experience, because the independent movies will attract the same mature audience as the Embarcadero Theatres).

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ford Escort Cosworth

I saw this European Ford Escort at Sears Point Raceway.

Cosworth has developed many Ford engines. Perhaps the most famous one is the DFV V8 that dominated Formula One racing for many years.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Asian Immigrant Women Advocates

Asian immigrants to the Bay Area are thought of as being well educated, middle-class and prosperous. But many immigrants are struggling working-class with limited english. And it's the women who have the hardest time settling in California because they must manage a home, children, work and school.

Asian Immigrant Women Advocates uses peer teachers to train low income women in computer skills, workplace literacy, immigrant rights, worker rights, health care access, and leadership development.

"AIWA programs include:

  1. Weekly workplace literacy classes in Oakland and San Jose taught using an innovative peer teaching model
  2. Leadership development training that move immigrant women into leadership roles within AIWA and the broader community
  3. Strategic justice campaigns which build power for immigrant women to win real changes at the workplace and in their communities."

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Saturday, December 02, 2006

My First Video Project

Every few weeks I go into Cars Dawydiak on Franklin and Bush to admire the cars they have for sale. On my last visit I took this short video of an Austin Mini. Walter Dawydiak saw it on YouTube. Liked it. And called me to chat about car videos: He kindly ignored my shaky, poorly exposed amateur handheld video, and instead enjoyed the music and rawness of the Mini movie. He thought the music created the right mood to watch the images. Thanks Walter.

So we talked, and decided I should make a short video tour of the showroom! If the results are good, the video will appear on the Cars Dawydiak website.

Thanks Walter, Jennifer, Ron

Friday, December 01, 2006

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

MacKay Meters

Until today I didn't know what the diagonal slot next to the coin slot on San Francisco parking meters was used for:
This slot is for prepaid Parking Meter Debit Cards. They come in $20 or $50 denominations, and they will be compatible with TransLink by 2010, making them good for travel on almost all Bay Area public transportation, including BART and MUNI.
The meter is powered by a battery the size of 3 'c' cells, and it lasts 1 to 2 years.

Go here for a list of Card resellers.

Thanks Mark Pritchard MeteroBlogging SF and DPT
Categories:San Francisco

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

2007 MINI Cooper

Today the MiniUSA website went live with the 2007 Mini.
Their website is weighed down with media features that slow page rendering to a crawl. Never-the-less I could see that the Mini has changed in almost every detail, while still maintaining the same styling design.
Though the "hard points" used in manufacturing and assembly probably haven't changed, the engine,body panels and interior are new.

Yet Another Timberland Sale: Dec 1-10

Shop online at Timberland and use promotional code FFDEC4 to save 40%.
Or print this coupon and save 40% in-store.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Bench by Greg Bergere

I like the look of this bench from GO Build Studio in San Francisco.

But having once sat carelessly on the end of a Nelson bench, I know how easily it might tip up.

The Wing bench seems to ask your guests to carefully consider how they seat themselves (for everyone else, there's home owners insurance).

Thanks Eric Larsson

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Carnage at Oulton Park 2002 GT Champianship Race in the Rain

From Autoblog comes this link to a professional video of the carnage at the 2002 British GT championship race at a very wet Oulton Park Circuit.
The first collision at Knickerbrook is between two Saleen S7R's. A Viper collects both cars and a race official. Then a TVR Tuscan R plows through the mess. No one was hurt.

Thanks alexbirtwisle
Categories:Movies Cars

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Newton's Cradle Lamp

"The familiar form simultaneously encourages and discourages interaction by presenting an unexpected juxtaposition between context and material."
Look. Don' t touch.
designed by David Curtis.

Thanks SuckUK

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Rad Kart

The owner of this short wheelbase shifter-kart told me this was a new spec kart design he wants to promote called "Rad". The selling point will be low cost. He said that the tyres are only $8 each (in motor racing, tyres are one of the major costs). The 110cc engine is a copy of a Honda engine and is made in China. Unusual for a kart, it is a self-starter (you can see the motorcycle battery below the steering wheel). There's a disc brake on the rear axle, and no front brakes.

Click on the images to enlarge.