Monday, April 30, 2007

Oakland Maze Fire

When you reach the Oakland side of the SF-Oakland Bay Bridge, there's a huge traffic interchange where I80, I580,and I880 meet. On Saturday a fuel truck caught fire and melted part of an overpass. Today we'll find out how badly this affects traffic.

Photos from AP

Sunday, April 29, 2007

New US Passport

The new US passport looks ok on the outside. But open it to any page and be visually assaulted by a garish drawing of some patriotic icon. It immediately made me think of The Cobert Report. It looks like it was designed by Disney.

From NYT:
“It is like being given a coloring book that your brother already colored in,” said Michael Bierut, of the design firm Pentagram in New York City. A passport, not unlike a scrapbook, gets its allure from gradually accruing exotic stamps, with the blank pages holding the promise of future adventure, he and other designers said. But they find that the new jumble of pictures detracts from that."

Comment from Gadling:
"Seriously - not only is it poorly designed and unattractive, but do we need such an overload of flashy Americana on a document that we might be taking into countries where we Americans are not... well, let's just say not necessarily so popular?"

Comments from The Consumerist:
"Basic propaganda. And, only in a country in which freedom is slipping away does the government need to declare so loudly that freedom is alive and well."

"You know, I have no problem with people and countries being patriotic but there's a line for that. This design crossed over over that line with a ramp and an 80 mph run."

"I got one of these recently. It looks like it belongs on the set of the Colbert Report. Everyone I've shown it too has agreed that it's excessively patriotic to the point of being annoying."

"I think the last thing an American traveling abroad wants is a custom agent seeing a passport decked out in "America is better that you" bullshit on every page..."

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Guerrilla Advertising

By advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi.

"Oversized boxes of Reynolds Wrap Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil were installed above roll-down gates in the NYC area to demonstrate the product's strength and toughness."

Thanks HowDesign

Friday, April 27, 2007

Best Cat Tree?

When we moved to our new apartment/condo, our children became indoor cats. In the past they were free-range, but they spent almost all of their time inside.

Since we moved, it's been my job to find them a cat-tree/platform to play/sleep on and watch the world outside from. I have to consider that Che can't comfortably jump higher than 18" at a time. And we want a platform that Che and Jawa can share.

The Lotus at $300 is not cheap, but it is the most suitable cat-tree I've found.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Lotus Elise at Bathurst

In the last third of the video the camera car is racing downhill through corners, making minced meat of the competition. Outstanding!

At my local race track, Sears Point Raceway, there's one long sweeping downhill corner. It's turn 6, also called the Carousal. My car has neutral handling. But point it downhill, and the weight transfers to the front wheels and the rear gets light causing the car to oversteer. To counter this problem, I enter turn 6 a bit slower than I need to, then accelerate hard and let the car drift all the way to the edge of the track before lining the car up for turn 7. This is not the quickest way around the Carousel, but it gives me more control of the car.

I'm impressed with the driving skill shown here in this long downhill section at Australia's famous Bathurst track.

Thanks Jalopnik

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

BAC Forum on Critical Mass

This Thursday evening, April 26th, the San Francisco Bicycle Advisory Committee(BAC) will host a community forum about Critical Mass. The meeting will start at 6:30 in room 408 at City Hall.

The events of last months SF Critical Mass ride were widely reported on TV and in the popular press, and there was much criticism of the cyclists involved. Now that tempers have cooled down, this forum can be the place for both sides to express their views on Critical Mass rides.

Ten years ago I rode in this event. Never again. It was anarchy! We rode through stop signs and stop lights at high speed. We behaved like arrogant spoiled brats. This does not help the cause of cyclists. Our cause is to gain space on the public streets, and respect from other road users.

The next CM ride is this Friday, starting from Market St. near the Ferry Building at 5:30pm.

[Personal note: I love cars and cycling. I've been a member of the SCCA for over 15 years. And I've cycled 25-50 miles each week for 15 years.]

Categories:San Francisco

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Wasted Time

"The Chrono-Shredder is a device that makes past time tangible... It has no on/off-button, thus it is unstoppable, just like time.

"This project invents a near-future scenario, in which people have embraced human hibernation as common practice and efficient method to delay their natural ageing."

Thanks notcot

Monday, April 23, 2007

Original Mid-Century Modern

Modern50 has some gorgeous original mid-century designed furniture, art, and tableware. It's all taken on a patina that confirms its worth.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Favourite Objects

This tea strainer (the same one we use) is one of Ingo Maurer's favourite everyday objects. He adapts it for use in the Mozzkito Lamp (1996) using a generic quartz bulb/reflector.

Thanks Metropolismag

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The idea is silly and fun. Go to the website; enter the serial number: read where the dollar bill has been.

This George Washington hasn't been very far: SF to Fremont and back. I'll spend it tomorrow and check back in a few weeks to see where it's ended up.

Friday, April 20, 2007

City Optix Sale at Chestnut Street Store

For one week, starting tomorrow, we can shop for frames at the annual City Optix sale, before the sale is advertised.

My insurance allows me to buy new lens every year, but new frames every two years. So I buy the frames myself, and have insurance pay for the lens.

The selection and quality are excellent.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sea Otter Classic 2007

Laguna Seca Raceway near Monterey is host to the season opening mountain bike race.
Rocky Arroyo was there, and sent me these photos:


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Hit Record

Hit Record is the personal website of Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
He's the little boy in the tv show "Third Rock from the Sun". More recently he played Brandon in the teenage detective movie "Brick". And I'm looking forward to seeing him in "The Lookout".

"So far, my life's work has been to be recorded, but not to hit record. With this site, I hope to change that."

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Don't Dig Into Dinner on a Plate on Your Knees

A counter folds up out of the coffee table to provide a civilised eating surface for two couch bound TV viewers. Completely unfold the coffee table and you have a dining table. Great for small apartments.


Friday, April 13, 2007

Triskaidekaphobia or Paraskevidekatriaphobia?

A morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th.

a) Triskaidekaphobia: From the Greek word treiskaideka, for thirteen. (1911)

b) Paraskevidekatriaphobia: A term coined by media personality and therapist Dr. Donald Dossey. He says that when you can pronounce the word you are cured.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut

His novels and short stories meant so much to so many people.

My favourite is "Breakfast of Champions":
There's no meaning to life, unless you create one for yourself.

Goodbye Kilgore Trout.

"I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center."

Photo from OSU

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wenger TSA Approved Penknife with Nail Trimmer

My Victorinox penknife was confiscated at SFO and might have ended up in the artwork of Michele Pred.

This Wenger penknife (now owned by Victorinox) uses a better spring design on the scissors and includes a nail clipper, along with the usual toothpick and tweezers.
The only place that sells it is Herrington. $30.

They claim that it's air-travel approved by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

For Sale. Buy Owner.

Just around the corner from where we live, this house and its' owner are for sale.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Minced Meat Font

Neat Minced Meat font by Robert Bolesta

Thanks DesignBoom

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Polaroid Image Transfer

Rocky used a Polaroid 360 camera to expose an image on Polaroid peel-apart film. He then peeled the negative from the print, and pressed it face down on white paper to create this image of a breakfast counter.

Click here to learn more about this technique.


Friday, April 06, 2007

Mercedes Sprinter

Most of us don't get excited by a delivery van (unless it's UPS with our new 46" LCD HD TV).
But I was excited when Dodge dumped their stodgy old B-vans and began selling a version of the Mercedes Sprinter van from Germany. They look trim, athletic, and efficient compared to GM and Ford vans. It's a pleasure to see them dotted around the city.

Photos from DHL and FedEx websites

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Torch Torch

The flashlight lighter turns out to be a torch torch.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Highlighter Lighter

They made it just so you could say "highlighter lighter". From the same people who brought you the Flashlight Lighter.


Monday, April 02, 2007

Ron DeVogel's FP Midget

This weekend was the first Regional of the 2007 race series of the SF Region of the SCCA. Conditions were good and the racing was superb.

The last race on Sunday was for ITS, ITA, ITB, ITC, FP, GP, and HP.
Ron DeVogel (a long time acquaintance of mine from the SF Autocenter in 1988) driving a 1275cc F-Production Midget was in second place behind an ITS RX7 on the first lap. The next lap was a full course yellow flag to remove a broken Fiat X1/9. On the next lap Ron was side by side with the Mazda going into turn 2. The Mazda came out ahead, but was then poorly positioned for turn 3. Ron overtook him in turn 3. On the next lap he lead by over 1 second. A few laps latter the gap widened to 3 seconds. And that's how it ended.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

1973 Lola with Cellophane Tyres

This is a 1973 Lola Formula Ford that competes in the Club Ford (CF) class.
In the US, FF cars use a spec slick tyre. In Europe it's a spec grooved tyre.

I thought the tyres might be wrapped in cellophane so they wouldn't pick up dirt in the paddock. But the driver told me that wrapping the tyres was an old go-carting trick to keep the "oils" from leaching out of the rubber.