{ metropolis devoured }
a tribute to my san francisco

3/4 oz scotch whiskey
3/4 oz local politics
1/4 oz public policy
1/4 oz disaster preparedness
1/2 oz alamo square

Shake over neighborhood dives & venues, strain into a chilled cocktail dress, garnish with a sprig of gov 2.0, and serve.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

It's on like Donkey Kong...

D espite my general leaning toward original content, I would be terribly remiss if I didn't make a remark on the same quote that every single San Francisco politico with internet access has shared, tweeted, blogged, or favorited in the course of the last twenty four hours:

"It's on like Donkey Kong." - Chris Daly

My first post in this blog, and the very reason for starting (and stalling) it, was made from Chris' campaign office in 2006, where I lost any appreciation for pizza that I may have previously had (though somehow not for cheap Chinese food from the questionable hole in the wall across from the campaign office on 16th Street.) Somehow my appetite for local politics remained - a surprise to me, too.

Since then, many things have changed, so it's comforting to know that I can always count on some to remain steady. Chris has always been, and will always be, the most passionate and human person in this grown up local political world, and he will always be the biggest show in town. Just see for yourself:


Tuesday, November 09, 2010


The space under my desk at City Hall is filled with all kinds of treasure: boxes upon boxes of old crap. While preparing for last month's statewide earthquake drill, I realized there's no room for me to actually get under the desk, so I cleaned it out. I found all sorts of stuff left over from other decades and residents: a personal vacuum cleaner, Christmas tinsel, cube accessories, pens (my most exciting find, by the way... don't get me started on the plight of public servants and their office supplies), and... this:

Naturally this immediately went up on Facebook. But wait! My friends are talented. So today I wake up to this:

I think #2 is absolutely the most appropriate banner for the Disaster Divas show (forthcoming).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A lot of things happen here...

My apartment building behind the tree, my Alma Mater lit up in the background.

A testament to the inherent creativity of nature and the cooperative environment of a branch: 3 different types of moss.

I recently got a Nikon D5000 DSLR so my recent creative efforts, however few, have been of the photographic nature. As usual, I'm hoping to have more time after the election to build on the basic common-sense skills that come out of the box. Check out what I've got so far at my flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eleventhletter.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Photo: what we have in common with sake...

click for full size

Window display of True Sake on Hayes street.


Photo: prime seating...

click for full size

Prime seating found outside of Master Automotive on 7th and Folsom.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Because we all love boobs...

This past weekend my partner in crime and I walked 40 miles in the Avon 2-Day Walk to raise money for the treatment and research of breast cancer. It was an amazing experience, and I want to wholeheartedly thank all of my generous donors who gave to such an important cause. I like to think that I am involved in the business of getting women elected to political office, so as far as I see it, the first objective is to shut down the disease most responsible for claiming the lives of women.

Check out my photos from the walk on Facebook.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

A rose by any other name...

So I'm guessing that by now y'all know that California is a state rich in political consultants who need to earn a dime just like you and me. Therefore, every election cycle we are bombarded by information (and dis-) about a billion state propositions, not to mention the local ones. Oh wait, is it the other way around... we like props, so consultants grow here like weeds? Well, either way. Propositions. We have many.

There will be some fun ones this year. Several heavy hitters address issues like medical marijuana, electoral redistricting and climate change. You'd think, who'd vote for pollution? These props are a done deal!

But in our odd, beautiful Californian reality, the meat of the props matters less than their packaging. Given how (relatively) few people do their research, and how many vote-by-slogan, attractive packaging can make all the difference.

Case in point, Prop 23 seeks to reverse AB32... with the clever - and seemingly unrelated to the environment it seeks to abandon - proposed title "The California Jobs Initiative".

The proposed title didn't work for Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown, who decided to instead go with the title "Suspends Air Pollution Control Laws Requiring Major Polluters to Report and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions That Cause Global Warming Until Unemployment Drops Below Specified Level for Full Year". Doesn't really roll off the tongue quite as well, but at least it tells you what kind of meat you're eating.


Sunday, July 04, 2010


A simple man chanced to encounter a god and asked, "What is a million years to you?" The god replied, "A second." The man then asked, "What is a million dollars to you?" The god replied, "A penny."

The man thought himself clever and asked, "Then, may I have a penny?" The god replied, "Sure. Just a second."

Monday, June 28, 2010

Earthquakes are not new to San Francisco.

Today's 3.3 magnitude earthquake in San Francisco generated a response on my Twitter feed that I was frankly quite surprised to read: What do you actually do in an earthquake? I'd expect this from the Canadians, whose 5.0 caught many by surprise last week, but my own home town in earthquake country? I'd be betraying my profession if I didn't address at least some of the questions that seem to have folks concerned. Please keep in mind that this advice is regional in nature, and not all earthquake-prone regions have the same hazards, such as tsunamis. The durability of your building will also depend on the building codes of your country, and I am speaking strictly from building codes and seismic safety standard enforced in the US. If you're reading this from elsewhere, google your country's seismic safety building codes and see if there is a provision for life safety.

What do the numbers mean?

An event usually produces several different magnitude results that get reported during different phases of the event. The first numbers reported are based on a small and easily accessible number of seismic devices and are meant to get a quick picture of the magnitude out to the public. Later the results are recalculated using a larger number of sensors and the magnitude is often downgraded. Earthquakes are measured using several different models. The local magnitude scale (better known as the Richter Scale) is widely used, but becomes less and less precise with larger magnitude earthquakes (6 and above). The USGS uses the moment magnitude scale, which is an extension of the local magnitude scale, to accurately represent the size of earthquakes. The equation that calculates magnitude using the moment magnitude scale contains constants that make the results consistent with magnitude values produced by earlier scales, including Richter.

What do I do during the earthquake?

It's the same thing you heard in elementary school: drop, cover, and hold on.

In the event of seismic activity, however minor, one should immediately become aware of their surroundings. Because the performance of your building will greatly depend on the type of building material and what it's standing on, take into consideration the type of structure you're in and what sort of topography it's built on.

The first thing you should do is locate a sturdy table and get under it. If your table is from Ikea, like mine, I'd highly recommend getting under the table AND grabbing a large pillow to protect your head and neck. Thanks to modern building codes, our buildings are built to a "life safety" standard, meaning they may not be operable after an event, but they are generally built to not crush inhabitants.

The "triangle of life" (which advocates laying down next to a large object) theory does not work. Here's a Red Cross paper explaining why: http://www2.bpaonline.org/Emergencyprep/arc-on-doug-copp.html. If you don't feel like reading the whole thing, here's the gist: the evidence for using the "triangle of life" theory is mostly anecdotal and relies on many false assumptions about earthquake mechanics and hazards. It also relies heavily on photographic evidence from events in places where building codes are nonexistent. We have building codes. Even historic buildings have mostly been retrofitted to modern seismic standards.

The majority of injuries sustained during an earthquake are from falling objects and debris. You aren't getting under a table because the table will protect you from your collapsing house because your house is built to NOT collapse (though structural damage and lean may occur). You're getting under the table to prevent the light fixture, which is heavier than you think, from falling on your head. Same with that plant in a terra cotta pot on top of your bookshelf.

In the absence of a table or other similar surface you can get under, go and stand next to an interior wall, away from windows, bookshelves, light fixtures, or other objects that have the potential to fall. Grab a pillow of one is available to protect your eyes, head and neck.

Be aware of aftershocks and remain in a safe place in the building until it's OK to move. Aftershocks may not happen immediately and may not be as strong, but can still shake objects loose and create falling debris. There's no way to determine when aftershocks will happen, so just use your common sense and don't run out of the building the moment the shaking stops.

And if you are experiencing a significant earthquake while located near the ocean or the bay, move to higher ground as soon as it's safe to do so.

Things NOT to do:

  • Do NOT run outside. Unless you want to get knocked on the head by falling debris.

  • Do NOT attempt to stand in a violent earthquake. It'll throw you down anyway, and might injure you. Get down on your own.

  • Do NOT stand in the doorway. The doorway is not a safe structure in modern buildings. You'll get knocked by falling debris.

  • Do NOT use the "triangle of life" technique.

Resources that will help you get prepared:
  • Many people didn't actually feel the quake this morning. Props to your building engineer. Some mistook it for a passing train. If you want to know for sure, register your cell phone with Alert SF and they will send you a notification. I found out about the quake when I got the text. The USGS has a notification service as well. I generally avoid redundancy, but in this case I think registering with multiple services is a good idea.

  • Take simple steps to make your house safer. Secure bookshelves to the wall, make sure your heavier frames are on hung on closed hooks, secure heavy objects like pots and vases with earthquake putty or museum clay, and take other steps suggested on the Earthquake Country website.

  • Have a kit. You maybe be without essential services for 72 hours, and you'll need to be able to rely on your own resources. Go to 72Hours.org to learn what to put in yours.

  • If you live close to the ocean or the bay, take a look at the Tsunami Inundation Map to learn if you're in a tsunami risk zone.

  • Keep tabs on the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management. DEM is always engaging in opportunities to get preparedness tips and other relevant information out to the public. The website also contains all the most recent plans, updates to the 72Hour website, and plans for future exercises.

Alrighty. Any questions? Please feel free to ask via comment.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Don't get caught in a bad hotel...

Go Pride at Work!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

In the age of the internet, no good deed goes unpunished...

4 years ago I was in a movie. I can't act, but I was in a movie. It pissed off a lot of people who were actual aspiring actresses that I was just some chick plucked out of a Buffalo Exchange on Haight Street (I apologize for nothing). But that was ok. My dear readers, I think y'all know by now that I am pretty used to inadvertently pissing people off. Maybe I should change the title of my blog to "Pissing People Off Without a Clue". But I digress.

So I was in this movie. It's a zero-budget piece of genius about a household of nubile co-eds and one thousand-year-old killer puppy. It's also why I can now safely say I should never run for office... especially in Germany, where it seems to have found a home in a totally obscure cult niche. However, I may be a celebrity there. Who knows? I am kind of reluctant to find out.

We did one screening party at the DNA lounge, promoted it for a short while, and then I promptly forgot about its existence until a friend from Chicago came to visit and a bottle of wine later the movie was in my DVD player. Like a fine wine, it may have gotten significantly better with age. The creator/writer/director of the film pointed out, "It certainly couldn't have gotten any worse."

My interest in Puppy revived, I googled it. Lo and behold... I found myself on IMDB! That's right, I have an IMDB. Something about that just isn't quite right, you know? Somewhere in the world a unicorn just chipped his horn.

I will leave you with this. Do yourself a favor and don't try to guess what I am laying in, or for that matter, next to.


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

More civic by the tweet...

Confession time: I get a little teary-eyed for civic engagement. Stop rolling your eyes. I know we've all heard that one before... after all, this is San Francisco, where volunteering is not just encouraged for college application purposes but is mandatory in most high schools. Still. Every once in a while when I need a big hug for the civic soul, when a middle school kid on a passing bus chucks a greasy McDonald's wrapper out the window and at my Ralph Lauren pumps, when I see another blighted corner, forgotten, with trash strewn among a tangle of rusty pipes and bearing an eerie glow slightly reminiscent of a superfun site in an 80's movie, when another doorway smells like a urinal... I check out Mr. Clean. Mr. Clean SF that is.

Mohammed is in the Department of Public Works leadership, and from his division's work on more efficient curb ramps to making public spaces truly available to the public, he helps this city be a little greener, a little more pleasant, a little more livable. And we can all use a little of that in our day.

Mr. Nuru, my apologies if this is super creepy of me.


Saturday, March 13, 2010


There is nothing better than where we are today.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Stigma of the "Girlfriend" Role

If you know me in real life, or you've read my blog once or twice, you've probably gathered that I am a typical self-styled progressive girls' girl. I would rather slit my liberal wrists than forsake a gal pal evening; if a lady friend calls me up for an event, I go, no questions asked. Having lost a few "former besties" to their relationships with their significant others, which I find to be an infuriating display of disloyalty, I like to say that I at least try my damned hardest to put my relationships with females - although, it would be more appropriate to say friends of any gender who I am not intimate with - first. I find nothing more easy to commit to.

This seems like a simple approach, doesn't it?

But as we all get older and take on grown-up responsibilities - such as taking part in professional organizations, pursuing our independent interests, or even making time to clean our apartments before they get so filthy we decline eating indoors or doing our laundry before we are forced to wear that ridiculous last-resort shirt that we keep meaning to put in the goodwill pile, but don't, because of exactly these situations, to work - our schedules become tightly packed, and we wish the day grew longer proportionately to the amount of tasks we try to cram into it. We run out of time, and we have to prioritize.

So, assuming that I don't have a fundraiser or a schmoozy happy hour to attend, do I spend my Friday night with my friends, or with my boyfriend? I got one of those a while ago, and January marked our first month of very unexpected cohabitation. What I can honestly say on that topic is that it hasn't been boring, but it has been a huge learning experience.

Despite the fact that I am a completely monogamous and committed woman, I often find it difficult to own up to my relationship status. All I have to say is "I have a boyfriend. We live together." It's pretty simple... but, there is always a but. I find myself avoiding the conversation about my personal life like the plague, going so far as changing the topic completely abruptly and very conspicuously once asked. (I should footnote that even in single times I don't experience the may-I-holler phenomenon, thus I am in no way pussyfooting around the relationship status topic with a potentially interested individual. Nope. Just regular ol' individuals.)

One might conjecture, am I ashamed of my boyfriend? Hell no, he's a total keeper! Not only is he a babe and a sweetheart, but just today he burst into the living room to inform me about the ironically similar-sounding names of the Shoah (pr. shō-ä), the Hebrew word meaning calamity but now commonly used for the Holocaust, and the Showa (pr. shō-(w)ä), a period of Japanese history under Emperor Shōwa which literally means "period of enlightened peace"! That's the kind of stuff I live for.

No. I am embarrassed for myself, because even though this falls into the completely irrational category, I have always equated a woman being in a relationship with a man as a show of weakness. (Incidentally, any other gender permutation in a relationship is A-OK, so this just further underlines that the problem is me, not you.)

Is it the time when I grew up? The 80's and 90's, when women were seriously making a break for it, and the way my best friend the television capitalized on the phenomenon got really stuck in my head?

Is it my upbringing by a single mother, my heartbreak when my first college best friend started to spend time exclusively with her boyfriend, the disappointment I've felt in subsequent close girlfriends who have ditched their lives, their dreams, their passions, their friends, when a new dude showed up on the scene?

Probably all. What I know is this: I am learning for the first time how to reconcile my own personal stigma of the "girlfriend" role with the fact that I am, in fact, a girlfriend. And I should probably be really explicit about this if I plan on remaining one, which all my natural instincts tell me to cease and desist immediately, but luckily my more important organs have decided to learn to ignore.

The cohabing is a new chapter in my life, and a new topic on my blog as well, since this is the first time I've talked about personal relationships here. I am going to do what I always advocate for others to do: I am going to own my actions and choices.

I am officially expanding my list of interests to: disasters, politics, women's issues, food, and my relationship. Stay tuned. I promise I am not going to write anything squishy-mushy, but I MAY post a video of myself dancing with an upside-down mushroom-stuffed chicken, if you're nice.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Wunicorn...

A Wunicorn is an unprotected wireless network so rare that you doubt it even exists, though you hear stories that long ago there were happy herds roaming the neighborhood, unabashed, unafraid. It shows up when you've moved into a new apartment and can't get an appointment for a cable installation for 7 days because of the holidays. It will show up in strange corners of the room, usually those blocked by boxes, and its presence will be so fleeting that if you don't immediately run over to it with an offering of a macbook, it will surely disappear. The Wunicorn loves to taunt. At times when you do manage to catch it, you've caught but a mirage, for as you whisper gently, "Take me to Gmail, creature," it won't respond to your pleas. But times like these, my friends, when I am riding upon the mythical Wunicorn, oh, they are so good. So good.