Archives for the month of: September, 2010

Other sample prices:

  • Nectarines, 3 lbs for $1
  • Package of strawberries, $1.25
  • Bananas- basically free

At some point I will write a full ode to Casa G., with its $0.35 pastries, homemade tortillas, and butchery that tosses hunks of meat into produce bags. God knows how they keep prices so low in this Godforsaken Manhattan of the West, but I’m not going to be the one to ask questions.


Edit: Apparently this a regular thing at this bar, and they are still trapped in Geocities-era internet

Tonight I was walking home with a friend when we stumbled across these guys rehearsing in a repair shop half a block from our apartment.

They were great, and so was the lady salsaing (?) alone on the sidewalk. Pepe, who is into personal branding, also runs Pepe’s Auto Repair and, like Mike Jones, lists his phone number in all of his videos.  So go check out their website, if only for this picture:

Apparently they are preforming October 2nd at Cafe Cocomo at the corner of 19th and Indiana St.

Ever since the Great Yuppie Rush of ’99, finding an apartment in San Francisco has been a difficult proposition. Here are some tips that worked for me during my search:

  • Get really lucky
  • Immediately pay a landlord you met thirty minutes ago $2,000

If that doesn’t work, well, there’s always West Oakland,  famous as the filming location of Chapelle’s Mad Real World (not true).

So here I am a few weeks later, living in the Mission, San Francisco’s Latino quarter. There are also boatloads of East Coast hipster transplants. Luckily SF Republic is an accommodating place and accepts cut-off jorts in lieu of passport.

When you are in the dirt cheap apartment hunt in the city, you should check that wherever you plan on staying has a roof. In my price range–and I should add that I really won the housing lottery, and am paying $525/month–that is about all you can expect. Thankfully my apartment was also just repainted and re-carpeted, is two blocks from BART and only a few steps away from billions of taquerias, kooky Asian import stores, and all kinds of coffee houses and bars.

That said, there are a few things I recommend potential emigrants check before moving in:

  • Does your porch drip dog pee? – I have to thank my roommate for this one. I heard her scream from our back porch and rushed over to see what was going on. “I hope that is not what I think it is,” she said. It was. Urine was water-falling between the floorboards on the staircase. Apparently our upstairs neighbor’s dog has a favorite spot. Our porch
  • What is the significance of the two black baby shoes that appeared on the sidewalk in front of your apartment on Sunday morning? – I’m still not sure.

Even though I just made a meal using a microwave I found on said porch, sitting on the floor of the kitchen, using tortillas I heated from a bowl, I can safely say that all in all, it has been worth it. Come visit, and New Yorkers, don’t forget your jorts.

Here is a picture of a busy afternoon at the Charlottesville, Virginia airport:

There are five gates, three airlines, and one security line. The whole system is basically dummy proof. Maybe that explains the behavior of the people on the first leg of my trip to San Francisco.

First of all, we were in a jet. Seasoned CHO travelers are among a very small group of travelers who still know what it’s like to fly in a passenger propeller plane. First Target, then Five Guys, now jet travel…watch out, Roanoke!

That did not stop the woman sitting in the opposite row from crossing herself several times as we began to take off. Half way into the flight, the guy sitting next to me, who resembled a twelve year old, made his move.

“So,” he said right as I was about to put back in my earphone, “is Atlanta your final stop today?”

“What?” I said. Was it my final stop? Something was off about the guy. His smile was too broad. I got a whiff of serial killer with a hint of horror movie child star. “No.”

“Ahh.” He was still smiling. “So where are you headed, if you don’t mind my asking?”

“San Francisco.”

He was really grinning now. “Long flight!”


The conversation should have died a natural death every few seconds, but he kept resuscitating it, and before I knew it, I had told him why I was moving to San Francisco. Then I learned he had grown up in Belize, which reassured me a little bit, and then that he was a missionary, which explained the terrible conversational transitions but scared me again.  Finally, he asked if I had a purpose in life.

“A purpose?” I asked. I told him I wasn’t sure what he was talking about, but that I wanted to be happy.

He pondered this for a moment. “Would you like to hear my purpose?”

“To be honest,” I told him, finally smiling, “no.” Luckily he took it personally and didn’t say another word to me the rest of the flight.

If you think that the only point of this story is to ridicule some poor 22 year old missionary who was just looking for another friend for himself and for Jesus, well, you’re right. He was a sketchball and you should demand to switch seats if you are within two rows of him.

There are lots of places to go abroad. So why did I choose San Francisco?

You get one of two reactions when you tell people of my parent’s generation that you are moving to San Francisco. The first is hostility. “They hate Americans over there,” people tell me. “They hate our freedom.”

The other is wistfulness. “San Francisco,” they mutter, smiling and shaking their head, “San Francisco. I remember…” and their eyes lose focus for a minute. “No I don’t,” they say, and pat me on the shoulder.

For decades, the State Department discouraged all non-essential travel to the region. Tensions have thawed since the dismantling of Reagan’s blockade and the renaissance of the American ex-pat community in the Marina District, but many veterans of the Cultural Wars have not forgiven the Bay for bell-bottoms, gay marriage, and Tupac. Clinton’s 1996 Smoke Sesh Summit in the city’s Delores Park went a long way in relaxing longstanding anxieties.

Things are changing, and I want to be a part of it. This blog will most explore the cultural habits of our neighbor. Isolation does strange things to people. I’m happy that I’ve been given the chance to spend a year inside that smokey bubble.