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Nowtopian

economy, 'technology', public space, San Francisco past and present, class, books

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Grounding by Rolling

Just can’t seem to get to blogging these days. But a few quick items to mention. Last Friday’s Critical Mass, falling after Thanksgiving weekend for a change, was a spirited good one, with a second consecutive month going down Lombard Street (!), a lot of high energy, and I was happy to be a part of it. Here’s a couple of shots of the ride after we had been all over downtown, Fisherman’s Wharf, North Beach, Russian Hill, both tunnels, and here we are buzzing through the xmas shoppers on Stockton Street.

Part of what made it such a gratifying ride was the reappearance of some cool xerocracy. I got flyered for three related activities: one to join in to the organizing for a direct action campaign against the war corresponding to the upcoming 5th anniversary in March (takedirectaction@riseup.net). Another to join a bicycle contingent to protest the xtian Right that is coming to SF again on Sat. Jan. 19 in their 4th annual “walk for life” wherein they bus in 10,000 fundies to taunt liberal San Francisco. More info here. And lastly there was an invite to a ride on Dec. 15 with artist Amber Hasselbring, who is trying to create a Mission Greenbelt, consisting of a continuous sidewalk garden from Dolores Park at 19th and Dolores to Franklin Square at 17th and Bryant. More info here.

Also, Mona Caron was in Sao Paolo, Brazil, for Critical Mass down there. Some lovely images of the ride and a small mural she painted during it are here. And the 17 km route through Sao Paolo is shown here.

My Thanksgiving was spent, as I have for the past 9 years, at Saratoga Springs with about 100 great friends. I’m not posting any of the dozens of photos that various friends took, nor did I make a video of semi-naked men dancing while doing dishes this year (you can still find that on Youtoob from last year though). But here’s a nice image of the box canyon in which all the fun happens, taken from the eastern ridge above the resort.

I am in the midst of an insanely busy period. Happily I’ll soon be finished with teaching at New College (especially since they bounced their last paycheck to me, and still owe me more than half of the measly $2400 I was supposed to be paid for this semester). Turns out that teaching takes a lot more time and thought than I really want to dedicate to that. I’m glad to have tried that experiment, but I don’t think I’ll be hurrying to get any further teaching gigs any time soon.

I’m aalllmooosst finished with Nowtopia. Hope to get that wrapped up and sent over to AK Press in a week or so. And I’m working on several overlapping aspects of Shaping San Francisco‘s big push into next year’s 10th anniversary–the wiki, the proposal to the future SF Museum, a fundraising campaign to finally get a small part-time paid staff in place to work on it (as well as maintaining the Talks, producing radio shows from them, giving bike tours), and…. there are TONS of items in the pipeline piled up over the past few years.


I woke up to a rainy day today and am having one of those monthly “blue mornings” that tend to correspond to low pressure systems, too much work to do, and the occasional collapse of inspiration. So I thought I’d write an entry in the blog to recapture some joie de vivre!… thanks for your tolerance…

Another overextension I’m having to back away from was last weekend’s brief participation in the Counter Narrative Society‘s art project called “Hunting the Now/Cazando el Momento”, which in turn was part of the Southern Exposure Gallery/Intersection for the Arts mini-festival called Grounded?… Mabel Negrete is the main creative force for the Counter Narrative Society and I contributed some historical items for the “treasure hunt” she and Fiona Glas made up. On Saturday we tabled at 14th and Valencia and handed out the guides to the hunt… here I sit with Mabel…

There were about a dozen different interventions going on at the same time on Saturday. Another one was on the roof of 716 Valencia where Kari Orvik was taking portraits of people against the backdrop of the Women’s Building where Rigoberta Menchu’s face will be obscured when a 5-story condo gets built on the corner of 18th and Valencia next door. Here’s a couple of shots I took on the roof…

In this second shot you can see the huge “middle finger” in the distance next to the Bay Bridge. The city, in spite of all claims of real estate crisis and financial collapse, is still building at a frenzied pace. Along Valencia, as Kari Orvik’s project emphasized, there are seven new luxury condominium projects in the pipeline, three of them on the 700 block alone. (You can contact the opposition at savevalencia@gmail.com.) The shape of the city, the people who live here, all are being rapidly shifted with remarkably little participation by the existing residents. Planners have ok’ed a half dozen monster towers on Rincon Hill, and the rush to push through luxury condos all over the Mission has apparently been driven by a community planning process that should soon get the endorsement of the Board of Supervisors, and will establish a moratorium on these neighborhood-busting developments.

It’s hard to keep track of all these things as you go about your everyday life in San Francisco. There’s remarkably little news provided in daily papers or tv or radio. There’s a bit in neighborhood monthly newspapers, but most people don’t follow these stories unless they live right next door. So the isolation and balkanization of San Franciscans continues to be a factor in the sale of the city to monied interests, both old and new.

Part of my personal regime here is to cycle across the city regularly. One of my typical rides takes me to the top of Twin Peaks, and lately it’s been shrouded in fog as often as not. So here’s a couple of shots to conclude today’s somber rant, both taken in the fog a couple of weeks ago…

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One Response to “Grounding by Rolling”

  1. 1
    RennyBA:

    Hi, I found your blog when going through my old emails (we had an exchange more than a ear ago).
    What a great post – I have family from Saratoga Springs you know and as a Norwegian, its grate to see that place again (was there four weeks ago).

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