Posts tagged san francisco
“ Part of the problem with the place is that there’s absolutely nothing in the culture that puts the brakes on people’s narcissism. It is, by its very nature, an infinitely gentle, endlessly indulgent place that encourages people to believe at every turn that they are exceptional human beings for having been enlightened enough to make their home in God’s perfect paradise at the dawning of the Age of the Technological Aquarius.”
While I agree with his assessment, I disagree that San Francisco’s over-tolerance is purely a bad thing. In fact, it’s almost certainly it’s best asset, as David Cole asserts, creating an environment where it’s okay to try new things and fail because the risks are so low. This leads to lots and lots of little annoyances while nurturing very few honest gems. I’ll gladly endure 100’s of gimmicky, also-ran start-ups in exchange for Twitter and Google (though I almost certainly could not endure Buzz’s own experience immersed in all those start-ups).
Blue Bottle Coffee represents both the gift and the curse of San Francisco’s lack of narcissistic brakes. Here’s a company driven by the belief that coffee isn’t good unless it’s perfect, a wholly impractical, elitist view that’s able to fly in San Francisco. Blue Bottle invested in prime real estate, flew in $20,000 mono-tasking coffee brewers, and charged upwards of of $4 a cup for straight drip. This is both ridiculous and wonderful.
But the same lack of brakes also enables their maddening refusal to serve me an ice coffee without milk or sell me a 1/4 lb of ground beans for my Melitta at work (where a grinder would probably not be a good idea). In the end, their narcism is an annoyance I’ll gladly support.
Tonight, I finished my foie gras, ran across the street to put my clothes in the drier at a laundromat with two alight cop cars outside, and made it back right before my duck came out of the kitchen.
A San Francisco victory celebration! Flipping Smart Cars and checking into riots! (Via Meagan French, via Beitiks)
Simon Christen lives in Oakland and has been pointing his camera across the bay at San Francisco for the past year, taking time-lapse photos of the city. “About halfway through the project, the fog became the main subject,” he writes in an e-mail, “and I tried to find locations to highlight it.”
I will be ordering prints if I can…
My five favorite fog spots:
- Mt. Davidson in the evening, when you can watch the fog come in from both the West and the East, surrounding the city
- Fish Ranch Road, in the Berkeley hills. If you’re lucky enough to get a low thick fog, you often can get above the cloud cover as you drive these switchback roads. The fog settles between the hills and is as flat as water. The hilltops look like atolls.
- West Oakland BART Station in the evening. This might be my favorite view in the East Bay, though not in a traditional sense. If you’re waiting to commute east from San Francisco, take the first train that comes (especially if it’s not yours.) Exit at West Oakland, immediately after you come out of the tunnel. The crisp air on the open concrete platform that reminds me of a ship’s deck is the most refreshing of the day. The fog seething through the Bridge (if there’s none already over the Bay) is a perfect coda.
- Driving to the airport, early in the morning, as you emerge from the Tunnel. I never make this drive anymore, but when I was commuting from my parent’s home in Walnut Creek I made this trek every month or so. There’s something about being up earlier than usual which makes you extra perceptive to the little things around you. The fog isn’t little, but the site of it receding as the sunrises is one of the reasons I occasionally miss living in the East Bay.
- Taking off from SFO, flying to a northern destination. Planes take off and land at SFO from the south, meaning north-going planes must switchback and buzz San Francisco after takeoff. I’ve only seen this once, but if you’re flying to Portland or Seattle when the fog is thick but low, San Francisco is transformed into an archipelago. The peaks are islands that the clouds buffet against like waves and Sutro Tower pokes through the fog like a buoy.
A team called ‘The Braves,’ whose cheer is the ‘Tomahawk Chop,’ cannot win on Columbus Day.