San Francisco Summer Notes

First off let me say that if you’ve recently discovered this blog, or had some reason to go back through my older entries (it starts back in 2004) during the past year and a half or so, I apologize for all the lost photos and truncated entries that were littering it. I had no idea! So having noticed recently that I had 1,100 broken links, probably over 1000 of them photos that were no longer showing up (due to moving the blog from one host to another a while back), I finally spent the requisite dozens of hours to fix it.

The blog is fixed! All the beautiful photos are back! All the writing is complete! Check it out! (If you’re especially fond of photo-rich entries, they really get going in 2006 and keep gaining ground from then.)

Second day of our first heat wave all summer. It says it’s 90 degrees out there! I went up to the top of Twin Peaks yesterday around 5 pm, first time in weeks that I could even see it for more than a half hour at midday. The fog has been relentless (on the bright side, it’s free air conditioning all summer!). Here’s a few shots, two from Twin Peaks, and one from the freeway as we returned from a trip to Kings Canyon a week ago, with the big fog hanging over the City.

The late afternoon light really makes San Bruno Mountain look great, and it was so clear that Montara Mountain behind it in the distance stood out too!

The fog has hung over us all summer! This view from east of the Bay Bridge, across the Port of Oakland towards SF.

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Everybody’s Work is Equally Important!

Haven’t had much time or mental focus for blogging lately. But sometimes things crop up that are just begging for a good rant. The current ad campaign by the multinational clothing corporation Levi’s is a case in point. The fact that Levi’s is originally a San Francisco company lends a certain extra twist to this saga. And that they could say “Everybody’s Work is Equally Important” at a time when so much work that is handsomely rewarded is not only NOT important, it is ruining the planet while it is destroying the humans doing it! It’s an astonishingly bizarre statement to make in a society that has grown ever more hierarchical and class-divided during the past few decades, in which people who ARE doing the important work, like childcare, hospice care, public school teaching, driving public transit, etc., are being demonized and attacked and in many cases, left at the bottom in terms of pay and social esteem.

“We Are All Workers” proclaim the ads in bus shelters, on billboards, and seemingly everywhere all of a sudden. “Everybody’s Work is Equally Important” says a neon sign in the window of their Valencia Street workshop (itself a wet dream: free screen-printing, photocopying and art resources for anyone to use). Back in Braddock, Pennsylvania, a quintessential Rust Bowl town abandoned in the early 1980s by the steel industry and verging on total collapse, Levi’s has ridden in as a white knight. After a big nonprofit pulled out, Levi’s agreed to put up $1 million to bolster the efforts of John Fetterman, the youthful and burly 6’8″ mayor to bring the city back from the brink of ghost town status, putting their money into a community center, the public library, and an urban farm! On Youtoob there are a dozen videos produced by Levi’s, from one-minute ads to five-minute mini-documentaries on Braddock, designed to evoke a series of complicated emotions and speak to needs and ideas that have been buried during the past twenty years of shrill neoliberal triumphalism.

Continue reading Everybody’s Work is Equally Important!

Cycling Utopia in Copenhagen

I’ve been heavily influenced by Copenhagen since my first (adult) visit in 1977. It took a while to realize that it probably set in motion most of my many years of cycle activism, which is importantly about much more than merely bicycling… watching this video strongly reminded me of how the texture of urban life gets SO much better when you have these kinds of conditions… Summertime in Denmark is pretty dang awesome too!