Sunday, April 30, 2006

Cooper Bonnet Stripes

I've had this photo (Bruce McLaren-Monaco 1965) for years, but just recently noticed that the car is a Cooper.

My Mini has those same stripes on the bonnet. Now, whenever someone asks about the stripes, I can point to this.

More McLaren from January.


Saturday, April 29, 2006

Prodrive to Enter Formula 1

FIA announced yesterday that Prodrive will enter a 2 car team in 2008.

Prodrive has been around for over 20 years, but always behind the scenes, managing motorsports teams for manufactures like BMW, Ford, Aston Martin. They've had great success with Subaru in WRC.

The 2008 F1 regulations introduce some new rules that should make for easier passing:
The rear wing is split in two, and bodywork at the front of the car will change to make the cars behave better in traffic.

Surprisingly, F1 cars will go down in weight from 605kg to 550kg. One of the reasons given was the cost of buying and transporting high density ballast!

Photos from Prodrive website.
Categories:Cars Sports

Friday, April 28, 2006

We're Moving to a New Apartment

Lani has enough money for a substantial down-payment on an apartment, and we found the perfect place 2 blocks up and 2 blocks over from our current home. It's a 6 unit 1914 building with buckets of charm: The building has the original arts-and-crafts interior, with stained glass and a wide staircase with dark wood panels. Our unit is 1914 new, except for the remodeled bathroom, and the kitchen which has a new Bosch stove and dishwasher. There are large bay windows. Hardwood floors. Typical SF style double parlor: Dining room with built-in buffet, and living room (which can be configured as a second bedroom). The bedroom has a surprisingly large walk-in closet with a small window. There's a second closet in the hall. The backstairs lead down to the basement, where we have a 8' by 10' storage room. Lani has a garage adjacent to the building. There's plenty of room in the garage for a washer and dryer, my bicycle, and a work bench.

We have views! When there's no fog we'll be able to see the Pacific Ocean and the top of the Golden Gate Bridge. In the other direction we see Mt. Sutro and Golden Gate Heights.

This place is quite a find, and because Lani moved quickly, we had first choice on which apartment and garage we wanted. There are only 4 garages. I'm going to keep my current garage at 6th and Hugo because it's not far to walk.

We're 2 blocks from the Street-Car line, and one block from the 43,44,6,36 and 66 bus lines. Perfect.

Categories:San Francisco Architecture

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Purple and Pink

The problem started here on 6th Ave and Lincoln Way. It spread to 7th and Lincoln. Now it's starting to cover the corner of 6th and Irving...

Categories:Architecture San Francisco

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Long Term Plans for SF MUNI

London's Underground is all about tunneling. New York's Subway is all 'cut-and-cover'. Chicago is Elevated.

San Francisco's MUNI lightrail runs on the city streets, only going underground when necessary to cut through hills, and along Market Street where it was buried along with BART in the 1970's.

There are plans to expand the system: In 1999, the extension to the Caltrain terminal was completed, and now work is well underway on the Third Street lightrail line that will connect with the planned Central Subway. The Central Subway will extend the Third Street line north along Third Street, going underground near Bryant Street, crossing beneath Market Street and running under Stockton Street as far as Clay Street.

Long term plans include lightrail on Geary boulevard (not seen since the B-Geary in 1956). The Central Subway will connect to a future Geary Subway that will emerge on the west side of Cathedral Hill, where Geary Blvd. becomes Geary Expressway. If I lived in the Richmond District I'd be begging for this to happen. The 38-Geary Bus is a slow herky-jerky ride.

We're spoiled in the Inner Sunset by having the N-Judah streetcar. Lani says I only like it because I don't have to ride it every day during commute hours. True.

Thanks SFCityScape

Categories:San Francisco

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

What It's Like To Sing the Blues

Last week while I was working on the Wax Line I met Sandy(not here real name). She has poor boundaries, and opened up to me about here life:

When Sandy's daughter moved out, Sandy stopped receiving child support from her ex-husband. She owed more on her house than it was valued at, so she walked away from it and bought a mobile home. She enjoys living alone.

Now her daughter's 20, pregnant, and she and her boyfriend want to move in with Sandy. Sandy doesn't believe in abortion. She thinks they'll get tired of living with her, and find their own place.

No one should perpetuate this misery and sorrow. Abort the fetus.

Flash Mobster

Do you want to be part of a SF Flash Mob this weekend? With emphasis on 'flash'. Go here.
Even if it's a fake mob, it'll be real as the rumor spreads.

Categories:San Francisco

Monday, April 24, 2006

Apartment Therapy

AT has added a SF site! The timing coundn't be better for Lani and me as we look for furnishing solutions to our new apartment ( more about the new apartment later ). Apartment Therapy:New York is great, but we don't always have the same stores to shop at here in California.

AT:SF just started, and it's a pretty bare site right now. I'm looking forward to local tips and suggestions from the editors and readers.

Categories:Design Furniture San Francisco

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Used Cars in Japan

For over a year now we've been able to post pictures to craigslist. But it just occurred to me that looking at pictures on craigslist is a good way to see how people live in far off places. So I went to Beijing cl, Shanghai cl and Hong Kong cl to see what kind of cars they drive in China. No luck. Those sites are all in English and not used by the locals. But Tokyo cl had a link to this site.

Here are some of the cars I found interesting:

If you live in North America, and really must have one of these cars, try Japanoid


Saturday, April 22, 2006

Le Corbusier LC4

Back here I was threatening to buy an LC4.
Well, I did buy one, and I've had it now for a couple of months. It goes perfectly with a pint of Sierra Nevada Porter and a copy of MacWorld magazine.

I will replace the synthetic stuffing in the pillow with feathers when I find a source for down. Otherwise it's been the perfect relaxation machine!


Friday, April 21, 2006

2GB SD Card $61

Some of us are using our PDAs for video because the screen is much larger than the iPod. Plus our PDAs can play mp3 files, surf the web, stream audio, and send and recieve email.

At $61 ($50 after rebate) and free shipping, this 2GB Secure Digital card is just the ticket for our media storage.


Hey! Wait! I've Got a New Complaint...

(A Nirvana lyric that I've taken out of context)

I don't blame, I complain: Work has suddenly turned very bad for me. I didn't get the job I was testing for, and my 13 years seniority is no longer enough for me to hold 1st shift. In two weeks I'll be working second shift from 4:30pm until the wee hours of the morning. I'm depressed, so I've taken two weeks off work so I can calm down, adjust to the change, then return to work on the second shift.

The UAW seniority system is an important part of our contract, and I fully support it. Management in my area has treated me very well and even offered to move me to another group in QC where I might be able to hold days for a few more weeks. But eventually I would be 'bumped to nights'.

My best solution is to put in a transfer back to the assembly line in Passenger. Why Passenger and not Truck? When you work on the production line you're concerned about the various options each vehicle has. A truck might be 2WD, 4wd, automatic, 5-speed, 6-speed, locking diff, bench seat, bucket seat, 'B' cab, 'C' cab, 'D' cab, 4 cylinder, 6 cylinder....
The cars are almost all 4 cylinder/automatic. There's not much to read on the manifest, and therefore less chance of bolting on the wrong parts. And because the passenger production line moves faster than truck, you do fewer tasks on each vehicle. There's less to remember.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Citroen DS

Jon Thompson in Wellington, NZ sent me this picture of his DS. He didn't say, but I'm guessing it's a later model DS21: "I bought it for a song early last year and we both love it [especially me]...I wake up in the morning still and walk out and sigh with pleasure at the sight of it."

Instantly recognizable as French (the front of the DS always reminded me of a frog!). The DS replaced the Traction Avant that had been in production for decades. It is an engineering marvel and an automotive icon. Available as a 4-door, estate/wagon and very rare two door convertible.

Notice the headlight faring. Unfortunately this was removed from US versions of the car to meet federal regulations.

His car is in great original condition with beautiful rich paint. I love it as much as Este does!

Categories:Friends Cars

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Photos of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

I found two very good collections of photos at the Western Mining History website, and The Virtual Museum of the City of SF.

This photo shows a steel frame building that was under construction when the earthquake struck. I'm pretty sure that's the same building you can see at Kearny and Columbus in the photo I took in 2004.

Categories:San Francisco

Monday, April 17, 2006

Fabulous Dinner in Mill Valley

Lani, Wendy, Jim, Amy, Charles, Karen, Pauline, and Josh. Thanks everyone. We had a great time!

Categories:Friends Movies

Sunday, April 16, 2006

WebCam Woebegone

For about a week the webcam hijacked the CPU and sucked up over half of its processing power. Then the CPU became overwhelmed and the cam image became washed-out.

Finally, in EvoCam Preferences I ticked "Reduce processor usage" to set things straight. EvoCam use of the CPU is now down to 10%, and the image reloads cleanly.


Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Titus Racer-X

I borrowed a Racer-X from the Titus factory demo fleet and took it for a ride over to Fort Baker today. This bike has all the latest features available for mountain bikes: Disk brakes, full suspension, Fox fork.

1)The rear suspension: This uses the patented "Horst link" pioneered on Specialized bikes. It effectively works like the double-wishbone suspension on a car. There are other designs that look the same, but they don't have the correct geometry for bicycles.
On my test ride the rear suspension absorbed hits very well, but didn't move under peddling forces. It climbed as effortlessly as my Klein hard-tail, but with better grip.

2)Hydraulic Disk brakes: It was raining hard on my ride, and the front brake squealed until it dryed out from use. I only needed two fingers on the front brake and one for the back.

3)Sram shifters: The twisting action was not ergonomic for me, and required too much force.

Overall: A very comfortable ride. Good uphill, downhill, and cross-country. I want one with Shimano XT components.

(If you missed todays bike demo, go see Chris at Roaring Mouse Cycles. He keeps a Racer-X demo bike at his shop, and he'll let you borrow it for a day)


Friday, April 14, 2006

Making a Favicon

I wasn't going to bother with a favicon for the blog, but my friend Josh turned me on to this site that makes a favorite icon from any jpeg.

I then inserted html from here into my template to get the image in the address bar above.

(Works fine with Safari and Firefox. Doesn't work with Internet Explorer though.)


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Arts Round-Up

1) The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (across 3rd Street from SFMOMA) is having a sale of items from past exhibitions next weekend April 22nd & 23rd.

2) Randall emailed me about "The Instant Messaging Show" at Gallery 16. Not what you think it is: "Napkin drawings, post-it note messages, telephone book scribblings, postcard correspondences, lost and found signs, and much more."

3) Lani let me know about "Beyond Real" at SFMOMA that includes photographs by Man Ray


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Sea Otter Classic

The Sea Otter Classic is the season opening event for mountain bike racing. Rocky Arroyo was there, and sent me this great photo!

He said "This corner was a doooooozy...."

His new website is awesome! The thumbnail images grow to full size as you run the cursor over them.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Titus Demo Bikes at Roaring Mouse

My favorite bicycle shop will have Titus road and mountain bikes for sampling this Saturday. I want to compare my Klein Pulse (all Shimano XT) to the Racer-X full suspension cross country bike. It's a very expensive and light bike, and I've read a lot of good things about it in MBA.

Here's the email from Roaring Mouse:

Titus are bringing a 30' truck full of Titus road and mountain bikes to the store this Sat April 15th. Full dirt and road Demos will be available and Golden Gate park is very close by.
We'll be running 10am until 5pm. First come first served. Pass the word..
All are welcome. Team and non-team.

Chris Lane
Roaring Mouse Cycles
415 753 6272


Monday, April 10, 2006

Solution to Trig Question

A disk 12cm in diameter has a 5cm hole punched in the center.
What is the longest line you can draw on the disk?

In the heat of the trig test I drew a rough sketch to illustrate this problem, but the answer didn't jump out at me like it does now...

Categories:Science Work

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Cats and Dogs

Our son Che, who's 11 years old.

I love cats and dogs. Thousands of years of domestication has molded them into perfect little children who never grow up.

And I'm a fool for pet tricks. This cat will use your bathroom, and probably wants to drive your car.


Saturday, April 08, 2006

Trigonometry Test Results

I got the results back from my trigonometry test today. Of the 50 people who took the test, 10 of us passed, and have been asked to take the practical test next month. And then one of us will get the job...

The test was actually very hard. With time running out, I stumbled on this question:

A disk 12cm in diameter has a 5cm hole punched in the center.
What is the longest line you can draw on the disk?

Categories:Science Work

Friday, April 07, 2006

2007 MINI

(BMW uses capital letters to differentiate their car from the 'classic' Mini.)

There had been speculation that the next MINI would be all new. But recent photos show just a mild face-lift so that the car can pass new European pedestrian impact rules. The new interior will be an evolution of the current design, but the big changes are under the bonnet, where there will be a new 4 valve engine developed by BMW and Peugeot, and assembled in England with blocks made in France.

The engine in my 2004 Cooper S was designed by Chrysler and built in South America. It's saddled with a very heavy flywheel to make it feel more refined, and that makes the engine slow to gain revs. The acceleration is good, but the fuel economy could be better.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Miele of Toilets

If you have money left over after buying high end kitchen appliances, you might be a candidate for high end bathroom fixtures. The Toto Neorest could do for toilets what Miele did for vacuum cleaners:

"The Neorest comes with a wireless remote control and all toilet and Washlet functions can be handled via the remote: motorized seat (up, down, temperature), water temperature, Cyclone flush, massage, oscillate, and change wand position."

Thanks Apartment Therapy
Categories:Design Movies

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Do you wish you could trade that horrid DVD you got on your birthday for a DVD you really want? This company called Peerflix charges one dollar to facilitate the trade, and they'll credit you for any DVD that is lost, stolen or damaged.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Apartment Solutions

Lani And I are thinking of buying an apartment in our neighbourhood. I won't say much about the apartment because we don't want to encourage any competing bids...

One unusual feature about this place is that the toilet has its own little room next to the bathroom. That's nice when you have people staying because someone can be using the shower and you can still use the toilet. But where do you wash your hands?

I like this idea. It's a little basin that replaces the tank lid. $89 here.

Thanks Engadget


Monday, April 03, 2006

Timberland Sale

I love a sale. The chance to buy something nice for less. Click on the image for the link.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Laundrettes and Wet Weather

San Francisco has the most homeless people of any first world city I've been to. And when it rains the problem gets especially bad as the homeless look for somewhere warm and dry to use as a hangout. Their favourite places are laundrettes where they can sit and dry their cloths.

Jason DeFillippo of MetrobloggingSF has experienced the problem first hand:
"...dryers being used by armys of homeless people drying their filthy, greasy and stanky ass clothes without washing them first."

Having had to deal with the same problem before I moved to an apartment with a washer and dryer, I left Jason this advice:

"Jason, I had the same problem with homeless people in my local laundromat in wet weather. My solution was to take my wash to a laundry that was always staffed. Then sometimes I just had them wash, dry, and fold my cloths for me. It didn't cost too much, and they would neatly wrap my clean clothes in blue paper. Try the Hollywood Laundrette on Market Street next to the Orbit Room."

Categories:San Francisco

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Z-CoiL Shoe Store

These shoes look like an April fool's joke.

Z-Connection has been on Irving Street for two years and doesn't attract much attention or customers. It's a creepy little store, and I've been hoping it would fail. It's obviously a franchise using the corporate marketing model: There's a Video demonstration of their shoes playing in the window along side a display of the shoes. It has the look of a "Be your own boss. Earn big $$$ working just a few hours each day" scam. And the shoes they sell are just silly.

I searched the web hoping to find a resounding denoucement of Z-CoiL shoes, but only found one article from Good Housekeeping that was critical of the shoes. It seems to me that someone has made an effort to flood Google with positive testimonials. Consumers Reports had nothing, but the Sunset Beacon had this puff-piece.

Foot Note: 5/15/07
I have a coworker who started wearing these shoes. He said it helps his back pain (If he lost 100lbs it would help his back pain. He is severly over weight).
Last week he caught the heal of his z-coil shoe on a rubber mat, and he crashed backwards to the ground, breaking his hip. The Paramedics drove their ambulance right up to the assembly line to pick him up. It was quite a scene!

Don't waste your money on these shoes.
The people selling you these shoes are the same people who stole your lunch money at school.

Categories:Consumer San Francisco