Archives for the mission category

Tuesday March 8, 2005

Man on 15th

I recently started taking blurry photos.

When you show photo people a photo that is ‘defocused’ they will tell you, “please, blurry is so overdone.” and I have to agree, you can’t really make a photography career out of it. It’s not a style. However, I’m not trying to do that. I actually was seeing the world like this when I took these pictures and I honestly couldn’t see if they were focused or not so I just racked the focus back to macro distances on every shot. I also began to actually appreciate blurriness for its own sake and my photographic intent shifted away from narrative to the quality of the ‘bokeh’.


Tuesday August 12, 2003

So as I'm walking across Valencia here at 18th this morning at 1am, there's this white guy in a black hoodie perched on top of the garbage can. I guess waiting for the 26 -- like that's ever gonna come. That creeped me out but I didn't know how much it creeped me out till I saw this stroller abandoned next to the chain link fence of the used car lot. It was a cheapo but still, an abandoned stroller is weird. What user of a stroller abandons such a device. None I tell you. Creepy. So I keep walking it occurs to me that I was thinking those creepy thoughts and that I identified that particular sight as maybe being the first time I'd ever seen it and as I get to the corner of Lapidge and 18th I see another abandoned stroller by the garbage can on the corner by the Women's Building. Not next to the garbage can in a proximity garbage kind of way but right in the middle of the sidewalk. I looked back to make sure that I'd just seen an abandoned stroller 40 feet ago and to check and see if they were the same kind. Like maybe they were giving them away at the Women's Building - like if it was stroller night - like hat night or bat night at the Giants game and the fans decided that the souvenirs were low grade crap and ditched them on their way home. They were both cheap but I think they were different. As I unkeyed my gate I knew I would write this and I knew I could go in and get my digital camera and shoot it up nice for my blog and prove to people just how creepy it was but shit, I'm lazy.

Tuesday December 17, 2002

This bastard has been single-handedly fucking over the young, culturally underrepresented people of my neighborhood for years. Not to mention all the people with lots cats and places to rent and so on. He is a strident and thoroughly reviled example of a neighborhood pole scraper. An ex-Marine if I heard correctly. He lives on 19th Street at Lapidge. I've watched him with his carpet knife out there in the immediate area of my house tearing down anything affixed to a public structure. He slashes through band flyers with his knife and rips furiously at the packing tape with his gloved hand. He has scraped off more than a few (somewhat artfully applied, if I must say) Primco stickers.

See him now, standing proudly, defiantly even, in front of a clean telephone pole. But look closer and you can see thousands of rusted staples in that telephone pole: clear evidence of the cities long history of public flyering. He can do nothing to erase that tradition but he has made it futile to attempt to continue it within a couple blocks of his house. He is a menace to society. Do not tolerate the pole scraper. He cannot claim moral superiority.

He obviously has a vigilante complex, (and, no doubt, some deep feelings of pain and inadequacy) and thus has inflicted some sort of militarily-instilled sense of order and cleanliness on the area around Lapidge street. Those of us who would rely on haphazard postings of underground cultural happenings find our most important line of communication routinely hacked down by this scoundrel. These events, (of which there are several and for which many of us have decided to move to this area, and in which, many locate this neighborhood's greatest strength) and the minor urban blight that accompanies the flyering for these events have been deemed unjustifiable by this man. Who is he to unilaterally make this decision?

Now I must admit that I would appreciate an occasional, purely maintenance-oriented periodic cleaning of the poles to remove the detritus of underground advertising -- if only to make newer and more relevant postings easier to spot. But this man tenaciously destroys any new flyer immediately after it is taped or stapled up. Who benefits when this week's Alcoholocaust punk show goes by unnoticed by kids who instead end up spending the night sitting on the couch pulling mad bong rips and watching TV?

It's bullshit but I have no answer to this problem. How to stop him? Do we just wait for him to die? Believe me, I have numerous fantasies about how to return the destruction he wreaks on our neighborhood (what pain can be visited upon human flesh with a putty knife!) but I do not believe in returning violence with violence. I'm calling for anyone with a solution to help us in our struggle.

Sunday December 1, 2002

So much has been written about this piece...where to begin? It holds a place in all our hearts, I'm sure, and its warm, buttery glow stands as a beacon for so many weary late-night diners.

To put it plainly, it's a lovely rendering of a vertical broiler. In the style, I think, of De Chirico. Another critic has termed it " Braque-influenced, or perhaps of some Eastern European provenance"
The bold stainless steel facets of the base are clearly cubist, but, I think, only to the extent that it can more forcefully assert its greatness to the common man. The taqueria patron, if you will. The column of meat echoes that stalwart smokestack in "The Anguish of Departure" and as in so many of De Chirico's paintings, the directional sunlight, here a beam of blue energy, that seems to be coming from a hole in the fluorescent overhead, casts long shadows of despair over all who venture into this nether-region of the taqueria. I'm not joking around here. Because I think that this vertical broiler, as majestic as it is, cannot help but symbolize the same things that are evoked in "Melancholy and Mystery of a Street"

Merely scanning and color correcting it has caused me to stop for a moment this evening and think about the sadness and anger that lives just beneath the reach of my introspection. It is there but I have no access to it. So it remains aloof, like this vertical broiler. It was easily within my grasp near this time one week ago. I was so very angry and the associative properties of my brain had been richly re-wired by so little sleep and so much alcohol. I was ready to write my great rant. My bitch session for all of us. I wanted to write something for the pissed off everyone. I felt like I had a handle on it. If only for a little while I knew what I had to say. I know that a great MOAN is being emitted from our society right now. But it is the noise of a body not in the full sway of its emotion. It is a clouded heart.

I told Rose all about it, ate pancakes at that diner on Market where the freeway goes overhead, and bought a brand new skateboard at DLX. After that, it was gone. I came home and watched TV. That's right. It was squandered. Shopped away.

I'm protecting myself now so I don't know if my anger will be provoked any time soon. I have no choice but to protect myself even though it means this anger lives on somewhere in my hippocampus, beyond my conscious mind and its therapeutic attempts. The anger needs to come out and we all need to let it out. I am forgetting what we've all forgotten before.

Tuesday June 25, 2002

Steve Huegli just called me to let me know that things are happening with the sign we all know and love (and now miss). He has what he calls a "loose coalition" of concerned people who are working to get the sign back up. I was kind of hopeless until I talked to Steve tonight.

Here's a video story from KRON today about the sign.

You can see them tearing it down and the horrible new billboard that has been put up (against the law). The thing that is different about this situation (aside from it being the best goddamn sign I know of) is that we have leverage. A fellow named Steve Parr has the sign. He recovered it from the scrap yard. It's possible to get it put back up and fully restored (possibly lighted like it originally was).

Here's an initial website with a mailing list signup.

80 percent of us voted that no new billboards could be erected in the Mission and this is illegal. The owner did not have a permit to do this. There is something we can do. There's an article coming out in the Guardian and Steve called me today to encourage me to do more and to let me know what had happened.

Most people who know about the sign going down have told me "yeah, that sucks" but now I realize that these people might be able to do something if they have more information and opportunity. That's why I'm trying to spread some info. The guy that put the billboard up has invested about 20K in the sign so he's not going to be too happy to take it down. However, the proposition he is in violation of says that he can be charged 5 thousand dollars a day for every day the sign is up.

We might be able to get donations for its restoration and support from the city and others to classify the sign as historic or something (I know little about this, but there are architects involved) and this may, in some way, remunerate the guy who's trying to make money with the top of his building.

I'm putting my 17 Reasons stickers up all over the Mission and I'm gonna give some to Steve to hand out to people he's working with. Rose and I are gonna make t-shirts tonight. (If you look closely you can see my photo in the KRON video). Yay.

Sunday June 16, 2002

Here's the shit. It's worth the wait if you have to suck it through a phone line.

Flag Day 2002

:3 minutes
or download 16 megs

Saturday June 15, 2002

I'm looking for anybody who has some reasonable skills to join me for some fun on the table at Mission Playground (19th and Valencia) for ping pong. I am ready any time during open hours. It hurts me to see that really bitchin' expensive table go unused. They close at 10. There's also foosball. There are even lighted hoops with nets until 10. This is a standing invitation to anyone who reads this. Even if you're marginally interested, I think you'll find my love for the game infectious. me.

Friday June 14, 2002

I'm working on a larger one, but here's the first stuff from the Coachwhips show at 16th and Mission BART plaza. They're probably on stage right now at the Hemlock. I decided to stay home and work on videos.

Ratta Tat Tat

:5 seconds
or download 415 kb

Monday June 10, 2002

More hometown pride. It's the street. Lapidge. My farorite thing about this sign (and one you can't really make out in this photo) is that there's a sticker on it that says "You Must Worship Me". I'm gonna go put a sticker of this photo of the sign on the sign today.

Thursday April 25, 2002

The words of the beautiful Sam Ruff as he faced into the evil wind on 18th street:

Spring is sooohoho marginal.

Thursday March 28, 2002

They must've coated the building with some no-stick shit 'cause today the spray-paint is gone. Taking it off didn't even hurt the mural. Whew. I was thinking about organizing a mob to get those fuckers and publicly spank them in front of thousands of onlookers.

Wednesday March 27, 2002

Every goddamn day of the past 9 years I've walked out my front door and seen old Georgia O'Keefe. There's always a bunch of people standing on the corner straining to get the whole facade to fit in their 50mm lens. I'm proud and a bit weary of it at the same time.

Here's a view of the top, which I prefer to the "celebration-of-the-handicapped-minority-aids-activist-dykes-in-wheelchairs" thing going on next to Georgia, which is now spray-painted over.

This is truly the most beautifully painted building I've ever seen. I've been on Lapidge for every day of its life. I'm not sure what they can do to restore it. Keith Sklar's "Learning Wall" used to my favorite building painting before it got fucked up. I think I heard that he destroyed it himself because it had accumulated some graffiti. Hope the same thing doesn't (I know it won't) happen here.

Monday March 18, 2002

If you’ve ever walked down the street with me while I tried to convince you that it was ok to pop a top and have a little drinky-poo on the street, well, you coulda laughed and pointed at me as you drove by 19th and Mission today at about 5. I was standing there, with half a Newcastle Brown Ale splashed all over my Vans. It was poured out onto the sidewalk by one officer Baretto.

I was having a pretty good day. Got up early as the sun was making my apartment glow, and I had Swiffer’ed the whole place by ten, singin’ like I was Julie Andrews. By noon I had all the bottle caps and gum wrappers off the coffee table and was crankin drum ‘n’ bass. Maltz picked me and Marcie up and we went to Café Lola and saw Joanna and then we visited Rebecca in her big new warehouse down by the water. It was a beautiful day and it was all going swimmingly. Dave dropped me off at SF General for my appointment where I got various excess skin growths blasted with a liquid nitrogen torch. It started to get even better when I talked to Jason at Chalk as I sauntered home and he said things were moving forward with my little employment proposal and he’d be able to do something in a couple of weeks. Well, what else to do as I was about to cross South Van Ness but stop in and get something to drink? I was thirsty, the sun was setting in my eyes, I was on a walk across my beloved neighborhood. I settled on the most tastiest of beverages I could imagine. Newcastle Brown Ale. The liquor store clerk congratulated me on my selection and bagged it up in its own individual brown paper bag. I twisted and cranked that sucker down on my bottle and headed across Capp St.

The smell of roasting chickens pouring out of Pete’s BBQ was almost driving me crazy but I took a big pull off my beer, holding proudly aloft and rounded the corner onto Mission. I saw the old Mission Thrift sign and I hadn’t been in there in a while. I figured they’d let me bring a beverage in while shopped. I headed across the street.

Then I saw them. Big, thick cops. I palmed my beer in my opposite hand but I’m sure it did no good. They saw me crossing the street and just stopped and waited for me to get to the other side. The guy on the right held out his hand and said, “Hmm, whaddaya think, what got you caught? Which was easier for me to spot, you stashing your beer or you J-walking across the street?” He gave me the usual, “You’re pretty goddamn stupid. Just like everyfuckingbody else I have to deal with on this piece of shit street.” As he splashed my new Vans he said, “You know the main reason why they got us walkin’ up and down this street? The businesses pay us to keep people from drinking on the street. I could give you a ticket for J-walking and for public drinking and the J-walking one is a big one, but I’m only giving you the drinking ticket. You ever been arrested, Mr. Primmer?”

As I go through this story, the humiliation is starting to wear off. I think I have a Newcastle in my fridge. I’m starting to get my thirst back.

Friday December 28, 2001

The latest installment of the Aquarius Records new releases email just came out and it prompted me to look at the little film series being done on that wonderful little store. So far I think #6 and #8 are my favorites. #6 has John Dwyer and Shef, two local legends and buddies of mine and 8 has Windy being super cute and saying, "I am not a *fashion* *diva*. Neither of those words applies to me." Muahahahaha.

Anyhow, Aquarius has been single-handedly running my musical tastes for the last 5 years and I couldn't be in better hand. It's the best store I've ever been in.


Wednesday December 12, 2001

The funniest, most luvable gap-tooth crack whore.

I said, as I tossed my beer and soup on the counter, "Are you this evening's entertainment? Cause it looks like you firmly established in front of this counter here." Now, I have to say that there have been many uneventful evenings at this particular 2am liquor store. I mean, how many times do you wake up in the morning and remember the brushin you gave your teeth the night before? Not very much. So I shouldn't act as if it happens every time I go down there, but damn, if I haven't had some fine ghetto strolls and ghetto rolls down to my 2am liquor store.

I don't even remember what the fuck she said after that. After that there was always 5 people talking at once. And that's pretty bad 'cause there was only 3 of us there. Me. Her. And the liquor store dude. But this aint your regular me, and this aint no regular her, and this aint not regular liquor store man. This me was stoned off my fothermuckin ass, and this her looked like James Earl Jones's "Thusa Doom" from _Conan the Barbarian_. And this liquor store man smiles at you when you come into the store and beams out from behind the counter like the sun on a box of raisins.

I made that comment about the entertainment because I was wonderstruck that there could be a new act in town to entertain our liquor store guy. I once saw these two old men do 20 minutes in front of the counter -- using the bags of chips as props, pulling out old vaudeville gags, and generally just trying to out shout each other to the point of drowning out the talk radio shouting match blaring on in the background. I know those guys are old and they can't do 5 nights any more but where's the loyalty?

If anybody reading this, by the slim chance has lived around 18th and Valencia for the last 5 years or has shopped at Busy Bee Market near said intersection during the 90's, or maybe frequented the Douvre Club in its waning days, you might know who I'm talking about. He's an old wiry Indian guy who shakes your hand frequently and firmly (ex Indian military....mercenary, I hear) and smells strongly of aftershave. (If you engaged him in conversation, you will know how hard he is to say goodbye too.)

I might as well make him a cult hero of my life. That's exactly what he is. Always showing up at auspicious moments. Sort of like a character in one of those dumb books like "The Alchemist". He bows his head forward and his upper lip stretches tautly across his gums, teeth blaring and looking over his glasses he thrusts out a jagged, crooked finger, "IIIIIIIII could have told you. For I knew it was........onlyamatteroftime."

So this turned out to be a not so well narrated story of my super ghettoette liquor store. I didn't even say anything about the movies I didn't make of the "5.99 Out The Door" signs on the beer coolers. Or the fact that this woman was so perfect that she reminded me of Damon Wayans doing a TrannyCrackWhore version of this woman making fun of herself version of this woman. lips like I haven't seen pink since they came out with the 64-color box of crayons with the built-in sharpener. Well, missed all that.

Did get John espousing on Orange. Soon coming to a Quicktime enabled browser near you. I also saw where they spay painted on the sidewalk some shit about one of there friends who got killed on that corner and some kid was tagging a building as I walked by and that Thulsa Doom woman was "free and available" as her pimp told me. (He knows I'd never take her off his hands doesn't he? I mean, he does want her gone but he knows me, right? He's just saying that stuff to remind me that she's a whore and to be ignored.)


Saturday November 10, 2001

Just got back from my 2AM liquor store (which, I'm proud to say, has stopped hosting Sureno "terrorize the clientele" parties for the better part of a year) and there was a woman, approximately four foot eight inches tall, of the Latino persuasion tossing her 40 of Old English up on the counter and sayin, "Aw, c'mon, I love you man, AND I love your sign. That's hella tight." The sign, taped to his new countertop read "New company policy: NO CRACK CHANGE!!!"

Things is lookin' up.

Tuesday July 24, 2001

Oh, I forgot to mention that I did a skate video. Filmed it with my new camera and sliced and diced it with Premiere.

Night Skate

:33 seconds
or download 1.3 megs

It's on the videos page also.

Tuesday May 22, 2001

I was sitting on the corner of 18th and Valencia under the Cherin's Appliances sign waiting for my Ricas Pupusas and feeling like the chain-link fence that my back was leaning against might be a little to springy for good chain-link fence leaning when a guy on a skateboard comes whipping down the street and barely steers his board up the wheelchair ramp onto the sidewalk where I was sitting. He made the daring maneuver because he spotted me sitting on my skate and wanted to come and sit with me.

He had blue pants on that were cut off below the knee. He had blue Nike basketball shoes. He had a blue poly long-sleeved dress shirt that was really tight and unbuttoned at the cuffs. It was Gary. We've talked that sorta witty, seat-of-your-pants banter off and on at parties and bars for the last 7 or 8 years. That's about all we've done with each other. Well, bumbed cigs and drank too I suppose. We saw each other at Amnesia last Sunday and managed to break through the odd "I probably know you, or I think I did 3 years ago" thing and had a nice little chat and I realized that he's got a thing about him that I like. I can fairly say that he possesses a mind which is freely-associative and quick witted without the nagging dementia that can set in once you cruise past your 20's. Boys like him are becoming rarer these days.

So we looked at the various foxy hipster girls walking by and I explained what a pupusa was and he decided to eat some.

While we were in Ricas Pupusas Gary looked toward me in a sincere kind of way and said, "I think we should be friends." I was kind of shocked but pleasantly surprised. I liked his delivery. It occurred to me that I was interested in just that sort of thing. Already accepting the idea that we were gonna try to be friends, I said, "What do you wanna do?" And he said, "Well, it doesn't really matter, I just thought...." And I immediately reassured him that the answer to my question was not a condition upon which I was going to base my response. I indeed wanted to be friends with him. No male has asked me to be friends in years.

There was long grass coming out of the chain-link fence and tickling my back so when our pupusas were ready I suggested that we go to the other side of the street and eat them. Gary liked the pupusas. He likes kim chee and the cabbage stuff on top is kind of similar. The chain-link fence in front of the used car lot was much more supportive.

When we were done eating I brought up the subject of being friends again and we shook on it. I put his digits in my cell phone but we didn't make any plans. I'm sure he likes surprises as much as I do. He skated off up Valencia and I skated down 18th.

Monday May 21, 2001

I'm going to include photos. I just decided. Not like I have any big traditions to go back on. This is my first online writing in a year. Ok -- six months. I did do this a while ago. At the time I had a long way to go to getting further away.

I have the urge to put in all kinds of wack crap that will get my page listed in fucked up web searches. When someone searches on the Internet and then clicks on the results they get from google, the keywords they searched with end up in your website logs. It is one of my favorite pastimes to find the paths that people can dream up to get to my web. 99.999 percent of them would naturally have NO interest in my site.

I've had people directed to after searching for "bowling alleys for sale" on google and you don't wanna know what else. OK if you do, go to the Disturbing Search Requests weblog and see if the whackos have come up with anything new since "translucent hindu shepherd flyboy porn"

Here's my photo for the day. It's a picture of a diorama in Mission Dolores. I took it while the glass was reflecting the figures of some people looming over the little pastoral indian figures. It's a nice reminder of what used to be my neighborhood.