Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Reinforcements Have Arrived

So instead of renting an engine puller for $50 a day I've been looking around for a used one to do the job and then sell it for what I paid. This beauty showed up today on Craig's List and then in my garage tonight. It's a Summit 8 ton hoist. I could life both damn Mustangs with the thing. Then there's the 1250 lb. capacity engine stand where I'll be bolting up the small block to sort out the water pump, headers and detailing things. The whole mess cost me a couple of hours in the company truck (using their gas) and $125. Merry Christmas to me!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Happy Chanukah

Damn, I feel so ethnic. Jesse invited me over last Friday for a Chanukah dinner with his friends. Can't say that my diverse Sacramento upbringing prepared me in anyway for this so it was a real treat. Homemade Latkas and Jelly Filled donuts (I'm sure there must be a Hebrew name for donut). Jesse broke out his latest batch of "Chanukah Ale" and we had some kind of drinking game with Dradles. ...and then there was the 10 pounds of brisket. Nice going you guys. Keep it up.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

SOOO Much Gin

What could be better than drinking the night away at "the best new bar in America", Bourbon and Branch, located in my little hometown of San Francisco. I managed to find the place and get in, even though there is no sign out front and I forgot the Speakeasy style password for them to let me in. My good friend (he hates when I call him old) Ed Rose and I went to one of their Beverage Academy sessions tonight and it was really amazing. Tonights class was on Gin. I've really never been fond of the spirits but I tell you, I have a whole new appreciation. The class was help in the "secret library" room. Really done up well with a shinny tin ceiling, vintage books on rustic shelves with the whole place wrapped in red velvety walls and brick. Well done

We started the night with a little warm up drink, a Pimm's Cup. Never had one but really tasty with a little slice of English Cucumber. The dozen of us chatted a bit and got to know each other before our blind tasting of 3 Gins. I was amazed at the variation of the flavours (but again I really have no idea what I'm talking about). My notes read:

#1 lots of organics on the initial taste; juniper and citrus (can I use wine tasting terms here?), mellow, nice. My favorite. Turned out to be a local Gin made just near the ballpark here in town, Distillery 209.

#2 Kind of mild at first but with a hot finish. Mostly Juniper berry flavours. OK. Turns out to be Tanqueray 10.

#3 Rubbing alcohol? Did someone slip battery acid in my glass? Beefeater. You guys can keep this one over on your tiny little island. Yuck. This is the rot gut I'm used to drinking.

Next up was the mixing. We used the B and B recipes for our drinks and started with a classic Gin and Tonic while we heard about the history of the drink and Gin. Then to a 30s era Rolls Royce, Aviation and then samples of the house specialty, Afternoon Tea and Cucumber Gin (some recipes on their blog). In addition to the London Dry style Gins we tasted 2 other styles: Dutch / Genever and Plymouth. The Dutch style was unusual cause it was aged and had a much sweeter, flavorful taste if you can imagine that. The Plymouth Gin was supposed to be more sweet and fruity but I honestly couldn't tell. Plus by that time I was getting pretty loaded and had lost my finely honed tasting skills.

We ended the night with some perfectly acceptable Chinese food and a Bart ride home for me. Ah, life in the big city is grand.

Monday, November 26, 2007

How to Get Fired

How many times do you think of the perfect comeback line too late? For me, all the time but not this day. I was driving to work and some total jackhole was weaving in and out of rush hour traffic in a flatbed and caused one guy to go off on to the shoulder and another to slam on his brakes (not to mention cutting me off as well). So what do you do? Thinking fast, I pulled out my cell phone to take a photo of the ID number on the truck, you know one of those "how am I driving" things. I trailed him for a bit and he seemed to get REALLY annoyed. Then as I pulled along side him and took the photo, this was so perfect, he flipped me off! You should have seen his face as I waved my cell phone at him as he sped away.

So when I got to work, it was easy enough to look up the company that he was driving for and email the photo to their custom service department. Hopefully he's out of a job by now or at least not driving for hem anymore.

You mess with the bull, you get the horns baby

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Mustang Project: It's So On!

What was once a modern day phenomenon when it was first launched back in the 60s is now a rusty piece of garbage in my garage. Many of you know I love old junk and tend to stuff alot of it into my tiny-ish house. Well, as it turns out, I finally got sick of looking at all this crap and decided to do something about it. With some inspiration from a friend, I've dug into dismantling the old 1965 Mustang parts car that I picked up not long after moving into the Folsom Street Shagpad 5 years ago.

I've stripped off most of the useful ornamental pieces and am just about ready to do the heavy lifting. The next step is to get a engine hoist and pull the T5 manual transmission, 302 V8 (with Edelbrock 650cfm carb, mid rise intake, electronic fuel pump and deep sump Molino oil pan), disk brakes and suspension and 9" Ford rear end. PS - Check out the photo above and see my badass 1966 Fastback in the background that is soon to be the recipient of all this bolt in love.

As you can tell the rest of the car is a rusty mess. I was hoping to salvage something from it but honestly the more stuff I try to take off, the more the thing crumbles. I hope to sell off the husk to some poor shlub but we'll see. The rear window and quarter windows are still good along with most of the body above the rusting floor pan. What was the guy thinking when he was pouring money into the awesome drive train of this hopeless P.O.S.?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Porchlight Storytelling Night

How many of you listen to This American Life? Or watch it now as well I guess. Well in SF they run a similar thing. It’s a themed story telling night every month at the local hipster Jazz club. It’s called Porchlight. Check it out here. The idea is that each speaker gets to tell a 10 minute story following that night’s theme that is not memorized and they can’t use notes. They also pull a name out of a hat for volunteers from the audience to tell a 3 minute story. It ends up kind of like a cross between stand up comedy and a poetry jam. I was going to write a bit about the 7 different speakers but realized that they have a really good description on their website so that seemed kind of futile. The above photo was one I ripped off from Flickr. It's just as bad as one I would have taken with my fancy new phone so it seem like it's OK.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I Love My Dog

Went to the SPCA to pickup some cat traps to capture those feral kittens and bring them to the adoption center. That should keep me busy this weekend. Anybody want to lend a hand to do some cat herding? I couldn't help but go through and check out the available pups. Sigh, I'm lucky I didn't come home with a herd of dogs. So no cat photos today but here are a few of Mancha

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Roomba = Cat Terror

OK, another cat post. You've got to work with what you've got.

You ever hear of the Roomba? It's the robotic vacuum that looks like a really thick Frisbee. It wanders around your house, running into walls and vacuuming the place. It is supposed to be smart enough to map the place out and sense dirt and make sure the whole place gets all cleaned up. I've always been skeptical, shocking I know, but I've got to say it works really well. I keep my place really clean and thought I would let the monstrosity loose and see if it could find any dirt. Turns out there WAS tons of it and it got promptly sucked up. My Mom is out of town for a few weeks so she dropped it off on the way to the airport so I have more time to mess with. I'm debating buying a costume for it. Hell, it already freaks the cats out enough as it is but honestly that is part of the fun.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fixing the ol Gal

Looks like it is time to pull the front end apart on the old Suzuki. The fork seals are leaking so much that I can’t stand it anymore. Hopefully will have it back on the road this weekend.

Not sure how many of you know the story of this old bike. I bought it wrecked back in 1987 and slowly found the parts that I needed to get it back on the road. And by slowly I’m talking years. Not having much money but time to spare, I searched the junkyards and called the parts hotlines (no Internet back then kids). I put it together over the course of about 5 years and about the time I finished it I left to San Jose for college. In retrospect, not sure why I didn't bring it down there with me. How knows. I was riding at the time, my first bike, and worst bike, the notorious crap pile of a 1984 Suzuki GS550ES.

So I stored it at my Mom's house, didn’t drain the gas or oil and basically let it rot. Well college ended in 1992 and I left to South America for a couple years, then to work in Alaska and travel the world for a few more years. I finally settled in SF in 1997-ish and picked up the rotting hulk from Sacramento and put it in my apartment parking space.

Well another year or so later and I finally got inspired to do get it running again. What finally did it was that I went to the Guggenheim in Las Vegas to see the Art of the Motorcycle show and saw my bike, the rotting hulk, displayed as an exhibit in the museum. I waited so long that it was now an antique. So I tried to start it and it did run, like crap. Pouring black smoke out the back, no power… so I finally, finally realized I was never going to take the time or energy to sort it out. It only took me 15 years!

I made some calls and turns out a friend of a friend specializes in these bikes so I brought it to his shop and paid $1500 to have the cylinder head replaced and carbs rebuilt. $1500 to fix a bike that I had hauled around for 15 years. $1500 and I could have been riding it for over a decade. Morale of the story is don’t be cheap.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Welcome to My Life

Just thought people would want to know what I see every night before I go to bed and what I see every morning when I wake up. Two cats curled up on my feet or head or whatever. I've never had two cats that were so into each other as these two. They are always together playing or fighting or cleaning each other. I imagine that they are best friends and hang out all day playing cards and telling each other these wild stories while I'm gone at work. Getting into trouble with the neighbors and then scampering back home and rolling around on their backs laughing. I guess the truth is that when I leave to work they are sleeping on the deck and in the same spot when I come home 9 hours later. Could they really sleep that much?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Burning Man Wrap Up: Default Reality

I didn't expect to go through any adjustment returning to "default reality" as it's called on the Playa. But here it is. As I wander around San Francisco, even as strange as the City is, I find myself wondering where the art cars have gone or the men with push up bras and dresses. It is the energy that is missing as well. The open accepting attitude, easy approachability and playfulness. It's not that I miss it so much as that it just seems weird that it's gone. Hard to believe that I could become so acclimated so quickly.

First let me say that I brought my film camera not a digital and, yeah, I still have one and remembered how to use it. I just had all the film scanned and have uploaded some of the photos.

Some of the highlights of the trip.

Crude Awakenings: Check out this edited down version of "Crude Awakenings" fireworks, explosion and burn. It was amazing. The biggest explosion I've ever seen. The fireball was at least as big as a city block.

The Temple: An amazing Temple is constructed for participants to mourn loved ones or ask for forgiveness etc... and at the end of the week the Temple is burned and we let go of those feelings. The burn itself is a ritual that was the most serious thing I saw all week. Lots of moving moments and crying from everyone. Check out the other photos on the web gallery.

Homouroboros: This was amazing and I don't think I can explain it exactly so read and check out the video (which doesn't do the piece justice) Basically, it is a series of monkeys in sequential positions as if they are swinging from branch to branch. People must bike at stationary cycles around the piece and play drums in a certain rhythm and that will trigger it to spin and strobe lights to flash in time making it seem like the monkeys are swinging. It's amazing when it works, which is about every 5 minutes.

There were lots of other favorites besides my photos so do a quick search on Youtube for some videos or Flickr for some photos.

So will I go next year? Who knows. I'm not planning on it but I am really glad that I experienced it and encourage everyone to go at least once. I think that as this grows every year, we'll see how it influences mainstream society as well. It think this could really be culturally significant. We'll see.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Burning Man: Google Bikes

Burning Man

I felt bad writing the last entry cause by the time I had wrote it I had already begun to acclimate to part of what was going on here but felt like I needed to blog about my initial experiences. So there you go.

Day 2: I have to say two things directly shifted my cynicism on Friday. First, I was so beaten up by the non-stop blasting Techno parties till about 4 or 5 AM that I was destroyed from lack of sleep. I headed over to Center Camp to get some coffee, grabbed the daily rag, Pee Clear, and as it turns out last edition ever of it. So I plopped my tired ass down on one of the many couches and listened to some singer songwriter stuff and chilled.

Shortly afterwards Heather, a BM veteran - well are there any other types really. Sorry, sorry I’m getting negative again but let me diverge for a moment. I realized that that is how you know when something is “over”. When, and I’m not exaggerating here, SO many conversations are about how it used to be different, how commercial it is now “BUT WHEN I first started coming to the burn back in 1830 blah blah….”

So Heather was very nice and we chatted a bit about things. Having recently realized (not sure why it took this damn long) that I don’t like dealing with jam-packed crowds, I asked her for her advice about the more chill places to go and things to see. Got some great tips and had a nice conversation about the world and things.

First realization: I realized then that everyone here is nice and just so damn pleasant and helpful. In fact this affirmed something I’ve thought for some time, that this is inherently how people want to act. In San Francisco, I know I’ve had the urge driven out of me by the constant small time street swindlers and I imagine living has done that to most of the rest of us as well. So here people collectively decide to be nice. That is a good thing. A bit weird at first but very refreshing. In fact it makes it so much easier to strike up a conversation with someone, not worrying about ulterior motives. It goes across sex, race and age.

So I spent the rest of the day walking deep out into the Playa to visit the various art installations and just kind of poke around. That’s when I discovered the Google bikes. What I heard was one of the Google trillionares buys a pile of bikes for folks here to share. The deal is that you can’t modify them, lock them, hide them or sit on them naked.

Let me tell you about being naked here, I’m so sick of seeing man junk that I can barely drop trou to pee. I’ve seen more dick in these past few days than a Catholic Priest at the boys orphanage. The final straw was the nasty Santa naked from the waist down except for his ass-less red leather chaps. Check out shirtcocking on the interweb.

Anyway, I grabbed one of the bikes and blasted around the entire place! What was taking me literally hours to walk around in the blazing sun now was a few breezy minutes. I could see everything and barley notice the stifling heat. It was really great and the second thing that transformed the experience of being here.

That’s all for now. I’ll try to get some photos together cause it was at this point that I think I got to see, what for me, was Burning Man.

Burning Man First Day: Bobo Shanty Town

So I'm borrowing one of the editing stations from Current TV / TV Free Burning Man (as it's being branded here in Black Rock) so I'll make this quick-ish and unfortunately no photos yet.

Caught the red eye out of SF Wednesday night to Reno to catch up with the Current TV folks. They are letting me mooch off of them a bit and sleep in their RVs, use their showers and gave me a pass to the Burning Man commissary. Sounds like a great deal. Haven't had to do any work yet but we'll see by the time this is over what happens.

We all took the rented van from the Peppermill Hotel (where I mooched a room from Current TV - I just have to keep pointing that out I guess) in Reno out to Black Rock City. Middle of nowhere and I guess that's the point. Got caught up in the howling dust storms on the way in. Total white out. We eventually made our way to camp, right in the damn center of this whole thing. For those of you in the know, right on the Esplanade at 6:30. I tell you it was a bit weird and I hadn't thought of it at the time but I had just said goodbye to all these folks and here I am again. I just keep showing up.

So two things struck me right away. Oddly that I brought the perfect book with me. “Bobos in Paradise” and the how decadent it is here. The book perfectly captured what at first glance seems to be the crowd here. Bourgeois Bohemians, aka "bobos". The new wave of yuppies that have the resources to build an entire city for 45,000 people in one week (miles of RVs, trailers, tons of food, water, booze….) coupled with the Bohemian counter culture values. The book puts it rather snarky and I don't mean it that way exactly. I just think of the opportunity and resources that all these people must have to be able to do this. It is NOT cheap to come here. You are spending some considerable amount of time, money and personal energy to drag a city into the dry lake bed in the middle of Nevada. This doesn’t happen by accident. I keep thinking that this is a Bobo Shanty Town

All that said, it is an amazing place. Phenomenal and surreal.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Filler Post

OK guys, I'm working on the Burning Man post but thought this would keep you entertained for a bit. Nothing like a good old fashioned cat fight. Look at those tails go. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Burning Man Here I Come

Posting from my new fancy Blackberry. Sitting in the Peppermill parking lot. Waiting for the Current TV van to pick me up. Yikes, here it is. Here comes the burn baby!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Trouble is a Brewing

So another batch is in the fermenter. This one is supposed to be a White Belgian Ale but seems like it came out a little darker than I had planned. Maybe it's cause the bottle is so big that it looks dark. It's got a week or so in there then two or so weeks in individual bottles and it should be ready. That is about mid to late September, time for the San Francisco summer. I should have the movie screen up and running by that time in the backyard. Sounds like it's all coming together. The rig below is the new process. Got a big ass burner and propane to do it right.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Yuba 2007 Web Gallery

Here's new feature on my Mac that I'm trying out. Another easy and pretty way to publish photo albums. Make sure to check out the different types of views that are available from the buttons in the lower left corner. Let me know what you think:

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Yuba River 2007

I've been feeling more and more daring the last several months and took another chance this past weekend. I know this might seem silly but I am so pragmatic and it is hard for me to change when what I have been doing works. So this is the story. It is that time of year for me to venture out into "nature" and was planning my usual trip to the Yuba River for some R & R. As it turns out, I was chatting to an (ex) co-worker at the Current party and he grew up in Nevada City within walking distance of the Yuba River. He told me he was planning on going there the same weekend I was and would show me the spots only the locals know about (if I promised not to tell anyone). I tried to stitch a photo together (below) so you should get a good idea of where we spent most of our time. The rapid on the right had a granite shelf right under it which made it ideal for lounging.

So he was right. Robert and I ended up in driving right to a trailhead that was a nice flat walk to an amazing campsite. Even better was the swimming. Larger, more dramatic pools of water, deeper and SO many fish. It was so great. It just feels good to try new things have have them turn out so well. I think they call it positive reinforcement. I guess I still haven't gotten out of my old habits enough to actually buy a pack made this decade. I supposed I should at some point but my old external frame dinosaur keeps working so why fix it.

We did make one friend when we were up there. We called him Snakey (see below lower right) I usually bring my swimming goggles with as well so I get to see all of the snakes and fish swimming around on the bottom too.

Here's a typical shot of the river and our camp. It turned out to be exceptionally clear and warm over the weekend so we had quite a night of star gazing and lots of shooting stars. We might be headed up one more time this season so if you want to come with let me know.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Sweet Opera

So I'm up too late and surfing the net and I find a video of my favorite opera and favorite performance of it. Thought I would share. If the video doesn't work, use this link

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Farewell Current

We all have had those character building experiences. The ones that, after a few months or years have passed, we realize how much it changed us and we are better because of it. Well, I can't wait till I feel that way about my time at Current TV. Wait, wait... I'm trying to have a more positive attitude. OK, so what is my "take away" from working at Current:

1)I've basically gotten about 10 to 12 years of IT experience in 2.5 years.
2)I got to start a company from the ground up and touched every IT thing that they did up until I left. From which desktop mouse we should use to our WAN connections.
3)I traveled to LA, London and NY to setup the remote offices all on Current's dime.
4)I made a bunch of friends that I'm sure will be around for years to come.
5)I got to work in San Francisco and watch the Mission Bay neighborhood develop.

So Wednesday we had the big 2nd anniversary party at Current (and it was my last day). I had one last thing to do before I left, get my picture with Al. Yeah, it's silly but to put as much time as I did into that place I thought I had to have it. So the second photo is when I told Al I was leaving. He was acting all goofy and shocked. Yes it's true Al. I'm moving on. You'll be fine. Deep breaths

One of my favorite Al stories was when he asked me to look at his desktop computer cause he couldn't get an internet connection. I quickly noticed that the network cable was unplugged. I thought to myself of the irony of having to fix the computer for the man that (mistakenly quoted) "had invented the internet".

Onward and upward and about DAMN TIME!!!!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

SF Sips July Wine Tasting

This month it was my turn to host our monthly wine group, the SF Sips, and since I hosted, I also got to choose the featured wine. Well, I've been on the Rose bandwagon for some time now and this turned out to be a good excuse to have one of my favorites, the Laurent Perrier Cuvee Rose. So that made it a night for sparkling wine.

For those not in the know, the Sips are a small rag tag group of misfits who play by their owns rules. Those rules being; meet monthly, everyone brings one bottle of the themed wine, keep the group small, the host chooses the wine, provides some snacks and gets to invite a few friends. So I invited Jesse and Chris - see 40th BDay party for more Jesse photos. Some of the other Sips to show up were Cindy and Fred (seen below) who put up a valiant effort to stay awake even though they just got back from a few weeks in London.

Andy made the scene (check out those pants). Jesse turned all pink and stumbled home with his pal Chris. Phillipa and Mallika, sorry, I didn't get a good photo of you guys (or the wonderful spread of food I made). Joe and Michelle, we'll see you next time.

OK, one last thing, a short story about the Laurent Perrier champagne. I remember so distinctly the first time I tried it. Kris had a friend who was working there at the time and we got a free bottle to try (it usually sells for about $70). Kris poured me a glass and after I tasted it I instinctively blurted out, "That's what champagne tastes like!" All I could think was that it tasted so different from every other champagne I had ever had. Not close or a bit better but WOW better. The bubbles were so small and the taste was so clean, it was like drinking air. It was an eye opening moment for sure.

Monday, July 23, 2007

You know you are in San Francisco when...

the server tells you that your fork is biodegradable. Check it out

My friend Nzingha and I went to lunch over at the fabulous El Primo (take that Jesse) and split an enormous milanesa de pescado torta. And then for desert we headed over to the new local cafe / pie shop, Mission Pie. We shared a slice of the amazingly awesome Peach pie. I cracked up when we were told about the fork but I guess this is one of those so VERY green places. I am in SF so you would think I would get used to it. Anyway, excellent pies. Check it out.

or for more info about Mission Pie's philosophy, go to

But as for the fork, I plan to do a little testing of my own. Turns out I have a composter and I'll be putting the fork in it and digging it up ever few weeks to check it's progress. Check back here as we do a little validity testing. Will the excitement ever end!

PS, the fork was sitting on the counter waiting to go in the composter and Henderson came over to sniff it, and then start chewing on it. So maybe it would be easier to just grind them up and turn them into cat food? Is that green?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

I would guess that he’s about 6 foot tall, close to 200 pounds, cut arms, old school tats all over, wearing a magenta front zip mini skirt, black studded leather cod piece and thigh high white patent leather boots with 4 inch fuck me heels.

I’m trying to describe Hedwig from tonight’s show at the 12 Galaxies, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”. If you haven’t seen the show or movie it is the story of an East German man who wants to come to the US so badly that he marries a US military officer and gets a sex change operation. Well the operation goes poorly and all he’s left with is an “angry inch”. Yeah, I get guy sympathy pains just writing about it. We then follow Hedwig as he finds a place for himself in the US and falls in love with a young military brat that he mentors and transforms into a rock star, Tommy Gnosis. It is not a complicated story; a person desperately looking for his other half, to complete himself, and in the end realizes that he was whole all along.

I saw the movie some time ago and have been waiting to catch the theater version for some time. Well I got my chance as I saw an ad today in the local weekly that it was playing a couple blocks away from me, tonight.

As some of you know, I got freakishly addicted to the soundtrack. I listened to it at least a dozen times a day for about 3 to 4 months straight. I am not exaggerating here. Straight up. I was really being to wonder if there was something wrong with me.

Anyway, the show didn’t disappoint. It was more explicit than the movie version and had a nice raw edge and energy. Lots of gender confusing costumes and Rock and Roll. So a few vodka and grapefruit juices into it, I was singing along with all the other freaks and losers there.

A night enjoyed by all.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Stinson Beach 40th Birthday Bash

So the week of my 40th birthday came and went and I somehow survived. We rallied the troops for a week of amazing weather, lots of booze, great food, late night Poker, early morning Poker, surfing, kayaking, hiking, Smores, hot tubbing, motorcycling, tide pooling, lounging around and general tomfoolery (how's that word for you cupcake!).

Thank you to everyone who showed up and made it happen. It means so much to me in my twilight years to have my friends near by to keep me drunk and happy. But seriously, I deeply believe that the most important thing we have in life is each other and I loved every minute with you guys and couldn't gotten a better present.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Feeling a little melancholy about my 40th birthday coming up next week. It's not nearly as hard as turning 30 was but still it makes me wonder where all the time has gone and what I want to do with the time I have left. It seems to pass so quickly and that if I don't make a plan that next month, next year, I'll still be saying the same thing. Here is what I've got so far on my to do list (in no particular order):

see the
Northern Lights
watch the Space Shuttle launch
learn to Scuba dive

learn to fly plane

sail around SF Bay or to Mexico
go to the Isle of Man TT
learn to Moonwalk
build a sensory deprivation tank
camp on A
ngel Island
fly a kite with Grace and Amelia
learn to
play the harmonica
go to a
shooting range
help in a
cattle drive
learn how to make
one good meal / one good formal dance

that’s what I’ve got right now. There are all reasonable, attainable goals. Anyone want in on helping me with any of these?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Dolores Park Movie Night

Yo peeps, in my hood we have Thursday night movies in the park. Check it out. The weather has been so great in SF this summer (normally drizzling and cold) that there was a mob at the recent "Dial M for Murder" in 3D. B and I got some burritos and 40oz and kicked it.

Look for this setup to be in my backyard soon as I am ordering it to put on my back wall and have my own damn movie night!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

I'm famous and infamous

Nothing like getting blind drunk, barely being able to stumble home and then having someone blog about it

Thanks B

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Cat Toy

What a decadent life I live. I was brushing my teeth the other day, fighting off the cats that LOVE to drink out of the bathroom faucet and thought, "There has got to be a better way!" I Googled "cat + water bowl + automatic" and came up with this:

Yes, a cat water fountain. The Drinkwell Platinum specifically. The site says that cats would rather drink from running water and also not have their whiskers touch while drinking. Brave (dusty) Henderson checked it out to make sure it was safe but they took to it right away. Check it out at

Weekend Warriors

So what did I do this weekend? I was busy under Chris' Datsun (yes a diesel Datsun pickup) helping him pull out the transmission. I hadn't done this in a few years and it is still a royal pain but I love it. We were both varying shades of greasy black from our toes to head. After lots of cursing and head scratching the thing came apart and now the flywheel is off to the machine shop and next weekend we'll be throwing the whole mess back together.

After this project we'll be turning it into, of course, a bio-diesel truck. It is San Francisco after all. I was aching in places I that haven't ached in a LONG time. I was feeling the old man until the next day when Chris came limping into work looking just as bad as me. I've still got it.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Mat's FAQ Page about Mat

So as many of you have asked similar questions about what I do in my spare time, type of food I eat, brand of floor wax I use, etc... that I decided to start a short FAQ page to help answer questions in a more thorough and expedient way. Read on.

Questioning Admirer: You say that you love to take things apart to see how they work. What does that mean?

QA, I'm so glad that you asked that as I have a great example of what I mean queued up with photos! The rain has let up here in SF recently and I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and cut the over grown lawn. The problem is that my mower refused to start. Well, I've never worked on a mower before but I'm sure it must be simple. New plugs, gas and an air filter later with the same result. Slight backfire and random putting. A Google search points to 3 possible culprits: 1) fouled carb 2) bent key pin 3) stuck valves

OK, this is what I was talking about. Time to roll up my sleeves and see what I can break. Let's pull apart the engine, ye-haw!! Carb seemed OK. Nothing obviously gummed up. Put that back together. Took the pulley off the top and realized that option 2 had a real chance of getting ugly. Back up. Think about this for a second. Skip to option 3 as it has a lesser chance of destroying the mower and if I don't find anything, go back to 2. Pulled the head off and saw the large intake valve open, spin the engine and it doesn't close. That's it, stuck intake valve! Some taps with the persuader... I mean hammer, lots of WD40, scraping carbon off and spinning the engine. Button it all back up and things are peachy. Check out the photos of the operation below. Fascinating

So come to think of it, this answers two questions. The taking things apart question (see above) and what do I do in my spare time = not very much

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Tokyo Motorcycles

The other really cool type of motorcycle I wanted to check out while in Tokyo were the retro Japanese bikes. The retro scene has been huge in Japan, for almost 20 years now, so I guess that makes you re-think what they mean by retro. Generally it is a new Japanese bike that is modded to look like a 50s - 60s Brit bike. Sometimes it is designed that way from the factory but generally it's done aftermarket. Every once and awhile a factory retro bike makes it to the US to see if we care about the home market craze but we never do (see the Honda GB 500 and the Kawasaki W650). By far the most popular bike in Japan to be modded has been the Yamaha SR400. The SR is celebrating it's 30th birthday this year and basically is the same bike as was introduced back in 1978. It was brought into the US for a few years as the SR500. You can get whole tank and body work kits to give it the Norton or BSA look. Check it out

Nice ape-hangers and German helmet! I saw dozens of bikes like this.

British style high pipes, relocated rear turn signals and a custom seat.

Just for giggles!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Tokyo Scooters

So of course the whole time I'm in Japan I'm looking around to check out the different types of home market motorcycles and scooters they have that I’ve only ever seen in pictures. They have all kinds of crazy stuff (which I’ll write more about later) but what I didn't expect at all, that was all the rage there, are these tricked out scooters. And by scooters I don't mean little 150cc putt-putts. I’m talking about the new wave of big scooters that are just starting to make their way to the states. Big 400cc to 650cc “beasts” that's engines originated in sportbikes. They were typically running some type of almost open pipe with a big chrome and carbon fiber canister barely quieting the two cylinders screaming away. They have chrome pull back bars and mirrors and diamond plate floor boards instead of rubber mats. The guys riding them were these Yakuza types with their tight black suits, white shirts and big 80s Bon Jovi hair.

Check out this one above for example. He’s polished the wheels or maybe had custom ones made (not sure), monster rear tire, lowered it, custom wind screen and headlight covers, diamond plate floor boards, custom stereo with 8 speakers, LCD screen near the instruments (GPS or ?), chrome pull back handlebars, chrome mirrors, chrome lower fork tubes, dual exhaust, maybe a blower or turbo on the rear I couldn’t tell, chrome engine covers, another LCD panel doing something above the rear license plate, clear brake light lenses, big loud straight pipe and some flag hanging off the rear end. It also didn't seem to be using a kickstand (I think I see one in the photo on the left side tucked in) and was so low that it seemed to be resting on the ground so it must have some kind of air suspension. Sweet!

This other one below wasn’t as tricked out but it had an amazing tuck and roll, white patent leather seat, usual loud pipe and chrome bars and mirrors. So fashionistas, get ahead of the curve and get your scooter sorted out before the fad gets here. Personally I’d want like a hundred mirrors hanging off the front of mine and custom chrome body work.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Beware of Tokyo Maps

One of the frustrating things I found in Japan were their maps. Tokyo is a big, dense place so it is very hard to get around, even if you have an address and know where you are going. So what they are very good about are having lots of maps around that are very detailed. Nice works guys.

The downside is that unlike maps I'm used to (always having north at the top) the maps in Japan are oriented in the direction that you are facing. For example, if you are looking at a map that has been mounted facing south, then the orientation of the map will have the top of the map pointing south. Make sense? Check out the two photos below that I took at the Imperial Gardens about 20 yards away from each other. It might look as if I've rotated the photo since the "you are here" mark is so close in them both but that is not the case. Notice the direction North arrow. This messed with my head the whole time I was there.