Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Guerilla Advertising

Ikea's ad agency decorates a NY bus stop, and a Swedish train carriage.

More here and here.

Thanks Apartment Therapy

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day

I was on the Presidio Parade Ground and saw this Army truck that I couldn't identify. The driver said it was one of over 22,000 made for the military by industrial generator maker Stewart&Stevenson of Houston Texas.

The trucks use a 7.2l six-cylinder turbocharged Caterpillar diesel rated at 275 hp at 2400rpm and 817 lbft at 1600rpm. It has all wheel drive with a 30/70 torque split (50/50 off road), 7-speed gearbox, and ABS. A quick look under the truck revealed leaf springs at each corner.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Google Video

When I post video I want to be confident that the host server will always be there to preserve my work. I started out using Ourmedia.org: Uploads were slow, and they reject content they think is copyrighted. YouTube: Works well and it's become very popular. Now Google Video: I think that it's time to take a closer look at this service. Google should be a very safe place to save videos. They have vast amounts of server space. They even host full length movies! They have a profit model too. You pay 99c or more (much more) to watch some TV programmes. How soon before we'll be using GV instead of NetFlix?

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Plans for the Transbay Terminal

The Transbay Terminal was built at the same time as the Bay Bridge (1930's) to handle the Key System streetcars that ran to the East Bay on the lower deck of the bridge. In 1959 the tracks were removed from the bridge and the streetcars replaced with buses, and the Transbay Terminal became a bus terminal.

Now, with the Financial District expanding south across Market Street, and the residential high-rises built around Rincon Hill in the last decade, the terminal location is a very desirable property for redevelopment. One plan calls for very tall residential buildings on the site, with terminals for MUNI, Golden Gate, SamTrans, AC Transit, and Greyhound. And a platform for the underground extension of CalTrains from 3rd and King, that could also be used by a future high speed SF-LA train.

Categories:Architecture San Francisco

Friday, May 26, 2006


Rocky's been taking graduation photographs at SF State. Before starting work he took this experimental photo using available light and a short focal length lens:
"McKenna Theater at SFSU before a graduation ceremony. I've been shooting them all week for Brightroom. I took that one this afternoon."


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Today's Commute

Corvettes and Porsches are a common sight on Bay Area roads. They're high performance cars that can be driven every day. But it's rare to see a Lamborghini in rush hour traffic.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Time Lapse Movie of 601 King

I know this has been done before, but time lapse photography of a construction site is fun to me. When the activity is sped up, you get a better sense of what's going on.
(The smaller image at the bottom of the site is the one to watch unless you have a very fast connection)

Thanks Curbed SF
Categories:Movies Architecture

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Speared Tyre

To make space in the engine compartment for the supercharger, BMW relocated the battery to the floor of the boot, where the spare wheel would go. Then they shod the car with run-flat tyres. The tyres work as promised, but cost $265 each to replace, and don't have enough grip. So I switched to sticky Toyo tyres as used in SCCA spec Miata MX5 road racing. The grip is very good on a dry surface and the wear is acceptable for such soft rubber.

Because there's no spare wheel, I carry a can of tyre inflater. On the drive home from work I got a flat and used the can to inflate the tyre and seal the leak. It works! I drove the 45 miles home without losing anymore air.

Monday, May 22, 2006

MacBook at the Apple Store

I went to the Apple store yesterday ready to buy the Mac Book laptop in white for $1099. On paper it's a very desirable computer. In person, the design is lacking. The keyboard reminds me of a Casio adding machine. The case design has large radius corners which give it a bland jelly mold look. All very dated. To cap it off, the bottom of the Mac Book is too hot to put on your lap!

So I went over to look at the Intel iMac. The price is good, but the design isn't as cool as my aging iMac G4. Yet this might be the best computer for me.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Bay to Breakers

Every year the foot race from the Bay to the Pacific Ocean comes down JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park, just a 10 minute walk from our home.

Conditions today must be good for the runners: It rained earlier this morning, and it's cool. If the sun comes out it will be shining on their backs as they run westward.

Gilbert Okari just won the race in 34:20. Now I'm watching the costumed runners. First costumed runner was dressed as a blue/white Mini Cooper like my car. Some runners dress as spawning salmon and run the race against the flow. Others dress as centipedes or run naked!

Mayor Gavin Newson was "one happy mayor", finishing in 54 minutes. I noticed he was wearing a SF Apple Store T-shirt.

The last 'runners' will probably be the alcohol drinkers dresssed as Tiki huts.

Categories:Sports SanFrancisco

Saturday, May 20, 2006

My Dogs Are Barking

I spent today and yesterday driving Toyota Tacomas off the production line and over to the shipping area. Then walking back to do it again. I estimate I walked 15 miles each day.

I told a coworker "my dogs are barking", and they laughed at my choice of idiom.

One source says that the use of "dogs" for "feet" comes from "dog meat" which rhymes with "feet"(1913). Another source says "dogs" for "feet" is Jazz-Age slang(1920's). So the idiom is quite old.

Friday, May 19, 2006


This week Apple released the MacBook 'consumer' laptop, and I'm surprised at how good it is. It has the 1.8GHz Core Duo processor, WiFi, Bluetooth, and 60GB hard drive. All for $1100.

I'll probably buy it, and get an AirPort base station too because we'll need WiFi in our new apartment.

MacBook review


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Like A Rock

Underneath the pebbles is a Chevrolet Nova, built at the Toyota factory where I work.

When I moved to the Inner Sunset 11 years ago, the owner was just beginning to glue the pebbles around the windows. Now it's completed and I like the way it looks. He won't worry about door dings.

Categories:Cars Art

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

How to Perform a Handbrake Turn

Fifth Gear is my favourite car test programme. The presenters are talented yet modest drivers. The show isn't aired here, but you can download the last few seasons off BitTorrent.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Flip Books

Here's a low-tech way to share your very short videos: Movies on paper. Flipclip will turn your 30 second movie into a flipbook.

If our cats Che and Jawa cooperate, then Lani will have a flipbook of the boys to keep on her desk and show her coworkers.

Thanks Retro Thing
Categories:Art Movies

Monday, May 15, 2006

Exercise Machines

"Antal Lakner's Passive Working Devices series, a sarcastic view on how hi-tech machines have changed people's relationship with the environment and with their own bodies."

I think the artist is saying that there needs to be a revolution in the way we exercise and live.

Categories:Art Sports

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Valtellina Automobili

When I cycle through Sausalito I always go down Gate Five Road so I can slowly ride by Valtellina Automobili and gawk at the cars parked outside. The workshop is an art gallery to me. On exhibit today was this Lamborghini V12.


Saturday, May 13, 2006

Polytechnic High School

On Frederick, across from Kezar Stadium, there are two identical 1929 gymnasiums separated by a modern housing complex. A coworker of mine told me why they're there. He lived on 7th and Irving, and attended Poly High School which was originally on the site of the housing complex. He said one gym was for the boys, and one for the girls.

Now the gyms are used by a circus school, and an after school gymnastics program.

Categories:San Francisco

Friday, May 12, 2006


San Mateo based YouTube offered a new service this week. Users can now upload movies from their video-capable camera phones to the website. Then email your friends the link. Cool.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Inflammable Material

Stiff Little Fingers will be at Slim's Friday June 16th.

I still like SLF because of the social and political angst. And it's really good punk rock.

I wonder what this band meant to people in Belfast living with 'The Troubles' in the late 70's? Did you have to be Catholic to like SLF?

I was there in 1976. The British Army were on the streets, and the police carried military rifles. I'd get stopped and searched at least once a day by the army, and they weren't messing around. It was a very dangerous and exciting place for a teenager.

Monday, May 08, 2006

36" Unicycle

On the way back from Marin yesterday I spied this group of unicyclists on the Golden Gate bridge. They were traveling smoothly at 10 to 12 mph. At first I thought they were mountain unicycles because of the large knobby tyres. But the 36" wheels are far to big for steep trails.

These guys weren't interested in clown outfits or juggling. They just wanted to ride fast.


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Marin Headlands Nike Missile Site

I took the free tour of the missile site today, which included riding up out of the silo with the bomb (But they won't let you ride on the bomb!).

The guide explained that the missiles with the plain nose-cone carried conventional explosives, while the missiles with the black 'doodad' carried up to a 40 megaton nuclear bomb.

Both bombs would be launched to 120,000 ft then descend and explode in the vicinity of incoming aircraft. The guidance system uses a mechanical computer which can only handle one missile at a time. Once the first missile explodes they could launch the next one.

The guide told me that the facility on Mt. Sutro was a missile tracking station and not a launch site as I stated here.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Friday, May 05, 2006

Shopping Cart Chair

I admire the mind that can imagine new uses for common objects.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Presidio Housing Development

The Presidio covers a huge part of the city, and there are parts of the former army base you may not know about: Such as the former Public Health Service Hospital, which must easily be the most massive structure on the Presidio.

From the Presidio website:
"In the post-Gold Rush days of the mid-1800s, San Francisco was a booming city and port. In 1853, a Marine Hospital opened in the city to care at no charge for merchant seamen from all over the world. In 1875, a new Marine Hospital opened on the Presidio, with an expanded mission to serve immigrants, the U.S. Coast Guard, Native Americans, and patients with leprosy.

"In 1902, the Marine Hospital was renamed the Public Health and Marine Hospital Service, and its mission was again expanded to include public health efforts such as plague eradication campaigns. In 1931, the old hospital was demolished and replaced with a 480-bed hospital and support buildings, all designed in the Georgian Revival style. In 1952, two new wings were added to the front of the hospital."

SF architectural blog SF Curbed reveals that the Presidio Trust has plans to turn the hospital into condos.

The developer Forest City will have to be very creative to make a silk purse out of this sows ear. Ideally the 1950's wings would be demolished, but Forest City insists that the project is only economically feasible with a minimum of 230 units. Plans had been scaled back from 350 units because of objections from Outer Richmond neighbours concerned about the additional traffic. And though they've reduced the number of units, each unit will now be proportionally larger to use all the available space, and the larger units will sell for more. Existing hospital parking should be adequate.

More than 200 very cool photos of the hospital on Flickr.

Thanks Curbed SF

Categories:San Francisco Architecture

Update January 24th,2009:

Work is underway to convert the old Marine Hospital into apartments. The two modern additions have been demolished, and I can see that minimal damage was done to the original building when the additions were added in 1952.