City Hall is blue tonight

City Hall was all lit up tonight for the Twitter holiday party. This building is a chameleon: orange for the Giants, red and green for Christmas, and rainbow for Pride Week. Also, it’s gorgeous inside!

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Interesting Graphs and Charts

10 Charts San Franciscans Should be Thankful For

1. San Francisco’s Economy is Doing Well. The last five years have been trying times for many American families. Though the 2008 financial crisis hit San Francisco hard as well, the city made a remarkable comeback. In recent months, unemployment in the city dropped below 6 percent, despite bouncing between 7 and 8 percent in the country as a whole. Read more…

 

photo courtesy of Mode Analytics

photo courtesy of Mode Analytics

 

Unique City Maps to Help Newbies Navigate the Culture

Lots of new people have moved to San Francisco in the last two years, with more headed our way. The Association of Bay Area Governments’ estimates that San Francisco’s population will soar from the current 812,000 to at least 964,000 by 2035. All these new people, many of them lured by the burgeoing tech industry here, are well equipped to use Google Maps, but what about maps that chart culture, weather, living expenses and neighborhood characteristics? Read more…

Fog Sightings:

photo courtesy of Movato

Parking Difficulty:

photo courtesy of Movato

Batkid saves SF. I love this city.

I am sure that you’ve already heard his story, but I want to tell you my version.

Miles Scott is a 5-year-old boy who defeated leukemia earlier this year. To celebrate his victory over cancer, the Make-A-Wish Foundation threw him the party of a lifetime. They staged a series of crimes and damsels in distress for him to rescue as Batkid. The mayor of San Francisco and the SFPD were involved and over 10,000 SF residents showed up to cheer him on.

from hollywoodreporter.com

from nydailynews.com

Several of my coworkers took half-day on Friday to go to Union Square and watch Batkid rescue a girl who was tied to the train tracks. I stayed at worked but followed the story on Twitter. After Union Square, he traveled in “The Batmobile” to AT&T Park and rescued Lou Seal from a villain. His last stop was a cheering crowd at City Hall where Mayor Ed Lee thanked Batkid and gave him a key to the city.

And, of course, #SFBatKid‘s day ended with a key to San Francisco and our hearts: pic.twitter.com/YcaFslJrAs #Nightline

— Nightline (@Nightline) November 16, 2013

from hollywoodreporter.com

My husband attended the ceremony at City Hall and he said that he was amazed by the crowd that showed up to support this kid. His exact quote was “giant mass of humanity”. My husband was moved by this little kid and his incredible story, and I know he wasn’t the only one. For one day, we as a city were united by this little boy and all rooting for him as one. I think that is the greatest thing that Batkid did… he saved SF for one day.

here i am, stressing about code reviews and deadlines, and here is this stream of BatKid pictures. silently weeping at my desk.

— Chad Etzel (@jazzychad) November 15, 2013

from hollywoodreporter.com

Hooray we’re #1!! …highest rent in U.S.

An article published in the SF Examiner on Nov 14, 2013, declared that San Francisco has the highest median rent in the United States. That means that we’ve passed New York. Whooo hoo! Yippee! We’re number 1!

The rental market in this city has been a hot topic for the last few months and this article will only serve to fuel the despair. With all the new units going up (remember my post about cranes?), the median unit price will only keep getting higher and higher.

New numbers show San Francisco has nation’s highest rents

San Francisco’s status as a pricey place to live has been confirmed, and then some. The City has the highest median rent among the nation’s largest cities, beating New York handily, according to data from 2010 to 2012 released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.The census information comes at a time of heightened concerns in San Francisco about home prices, rental prices and the overall cost of living in The City. A survey in late September showed that 50 percent of those polled cited the affordability of living in The City as their No. 1 concern, above such things as public transportation and crime…. read more

courtesy of The Castro Biscuit

Castro Rents Matching Citywide Real Estate Explosion

…The real estate market is experiencing one of the largest booms in the modern era and rents are climbing quicker than ever. If you’re lucky enough to have a rent controlled apartment, any unit built before 1979, you’re hanging on for dear life praying the building owner doesn’t sell it out from under you… read more

courtesy of SFist.com

Riding the bus to work (aka, a lesson in gratitude)

I am grateful that I’m not commuting 45 min /1 hr each way.
I am grateful that there is a bus line that goes directly from home to work and only takes 20 minutes.
I am grateful that I have strong healthy legs to walk to the bus stop and to stand while riding.

But above all, I am so thankful that the MUNI website has a “Contact Us” section so I can easily send them my suggestions. For example, I suggest that they add more buses to the 24 route between the hours of 7:00 to 9:00am. It would be awesome if there weren’t 200 people crammed on the bus, with some standing in the stairwell and others pressed against the window.

It would also be great if there was a “No Talking” rule, and a “If I Can Hear Your Music Thru Your Headphones, It’s To Loud” rule.

Yes, some days it’s annoying. And some days I’m late to work. But I try to remember that this is so much better than driving an hour each way in b-2-b traffic.

Please tell me your thoughts about riding the bus or share your best muni story!
I took this picture today:

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Here’s what people are saying on twitter:

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King of Falafel

First, I should tell you that I have a new job. I am no longer driving over the Bay Bridge everyday because I found an opportunity closer to home. Praise God!
I am now working at UCSF (univ calif san fran) and I’m enjoying it so much.

I’m enjoying my new job especially because of the lunch options nearby. Yesterday, I grabbed a bite from King of Falafel, a Mediterranean place with a notably friendly staff. I walked up to this big glass display case filed with chickpeas, eggplant, and phyllo dough. I ordered the lamb shawarma on lavash bread “with everything”. When I go to a new place, I always order my food as the chef recommends to get the best impression of his intentions. So if the chef at KOF says I should eat mine with tahini, hummus, dill yogurt, pickles, and veggies, then I have to assume that’s the best option.

My shawarma was very messy and delicious. The lamb was tender an flavorful, the hummus was homemade and spicy, and the dill yogurt added a creaminess that tied it all together. Plus it was only $7.40!

This place is open and airy and perfect for a quick bite. The line wasn’t too bad on a Wednesday at 12:30. But the great thing is the employees. The gal behind the counter recognized that I was a little outta my element, so she took the time and patiently explained each item in the display. It was very thoughtful.

King of Falafel
Divisadero and Bush
http://www.kingoffalafelsf.com

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New Korean Barbeque

I had the best Labor Day imaginable. My sweetheart and I went hiking at Muir Woods early in the day (which, for us is noon). Muir Woods is so great because it accommodates people of all fitness levels. There is a wooden boardwalk for strollers and wheelchairs, but there’s also dirt trails for the more adventurous. He and I chose the hillside trail that took us up into the redwood canopy with the view of the babbling brook below. It was so nice. Plus it wasn’t terribly crowded (not like I feared anyway). We spent money in the gift shop and then headed home over our beloved bridge.

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That evening, we ate dinner at a new restaurant in the Castro called K*Pop. It’s named after a popular style of Korean music, and all the food is, of course, Korean too. He and I chowed down on Bimbimbap and Bulgogi with lots of Kimchi and pickled vegetables on the side. Oh, and rice. The food is so excellent and I ate way too much of it. The sauce on the Bulgogi is sweet and spicy and compliments the bbq beef really well!

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The restaurant is very modern and clean with stainless steel tables and kitchen. But the one thing that stands out most at this place is the giant tv playing nonstop K*Pop music videos, complete with barely-dressed, barely-legal Korean girls. I live in America, so I’m not sure I can judge other countries’ music videos (we have Miley, afterall). I was just a little bit shocked that there was so much eye-candy during my dinner. And I was shocked that no one else seemed to notice.

My hubs and I finished out our day at our second home, the Castro Theater, with a screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. This movie has a special place in my heart because (a) it’s filmed in SF, and (b) I love Hitchcock! It was especially fun this time because there is a scene that was filmed at Muir Woods. James Stewart walks right past that giant cross section of a Redwood, and we were like “OMG we were just there!!”

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Muir Woods
1 Muir Woods Road
Mill Valley, CA 94941
http://www.nps.gov/muwo/index.htm

K*Pop
18th and Castro
http://www.kpopsf.com

Castro Theatre
Market and Castro
http://www.castrotheatre.com

 

Syriasly, you Saud to try this restaurant!

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Fattoush is my best friend’s favorite restaurant. She’s been talking about it for years, but I never had the chance to try it until I stumbled upon it last week. My friends and I had dinner plans that fell through, and I was so excited that we ended up at Fattoush instead. I can’t believe I delayed trying this restaurant!

My friends and I sat at a small mosaic-coated table and shared a bottle of wine that the owner recommended for us. We started our meal with pita bread and hummus appetizer and arabian egg rolls. Hummus is one of those dishes that just isn’t the same when it’s store-bought. Homemade hummus is where it’s at! It was so creamy and spicy!

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For dinner, our table was  covered with plates of lamb kebobs, olives, tabouli, lentils, and garbanzo beans. The kebobs looked fantastic with grilled vegetables! I ate a dish called Beriani. It was lamb, potatoes, yellow rice, raisins, and garbanzo beans all dredged in a cinnamon yogurt sauce. It was so. delicious. Possibly the greatest meal I’ve ever had!. The lamb was so tender… little bites of heaven. The yogurt sauce was rich and fattening, and the whole plate smelled like Christmas!

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The inside of this restaurant is warm and inviting with bench seats and lots of pillows. It’s very colorful and the stained glass makes it feel exotic. Most of all,  I appreciated that they didn’t add any kitchy snake charmers or other steotypes.  If the whole city was on fire, and I could only save one restaurant, I would save this one!

Fattoush
http://www.fattoush.com
26th and Church St.

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Holy Scrap!

I am a crafter. Whenever I hear about a new craft store I get all aflutter. I was with some friends last week and they mentioned this scrap yard slash craft store, and my heart skipped a beat!

Scrap is a donation-based warehouse for raw materials and scrap supplies. I visited this hidden gem today and I was mesmerized. It was like a gymnasium-sized yard sale!! There were aisles of fabrics, wood scraps, metal parts, art supplies, and thousands of other miscellaneous items! I just wandered around thinking about all the projects I could create. I saw a bin of buttons and thought about gluing them to a picture frame. And the shelf of cheap, broken tiles were begging to be made into a mosaic.

Scrap is not for the faint of heart. It’s dirty and smelly and crowded. If you are a paint-by-numbers, Michael’s-loving kind of crafter, you may be overwhelmed by the chaos. But if you’re the kind of artist who looks at garbage and sees a masterpiece then Scrap is definitely for you!

Scrap
http://www.scrap-sf.org
801 Toland St
It’s hidden in the industrial part of town so you have to ask Siri to help you get there.

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The new Bay Bridge is ugly

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They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Okay, that’s true. But I beheld the new Bay Bridge today and I wasn’t impressed.

The Bay Bridge is made up of two parts: The East and The West with Treasure Island in the middle. The Eastern Span was damaged during the 1989 earthquake and has been seismically unstable ever since. So a new bridge has been in the works for many years now. After much anticipation, the new part opened last night at 10:00pm. And you might think it’s pretty…

If you think safety is beautiful, then you might like this new span. “It is designed to withstand the strongest earthquake estimated by seismologists to occur over the last 1,500 years,” according to The Sacramento Bee. So yay for that!

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And maybe you think engineering is awesome (shout out to my ramblin wrecks). Then you’ll be excited to hear that the new bridge contains “approximately 200 million pounds of structural steel, 120 million pounds of reinforcing steel, 200,000 linear feet of piling and about 450,000 cubic yards of concrete” (from baybridgeinfo.org).
If you’re a big expenses kind of beholder, then I should tell you that this bridge cost $6.4 Billion.
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Maybe you like that it includes a bike/pedestrian path. That maybe gorgeous to you! I walked the 8-mile walkway today and I didn’t enjoy it. Too much wind. Too much walking. But you might…
And I feel it’s necessary to mention that it took over 11 years and hundreds of thousands of workers to complete this project. And that’s pretty awesome!
I took all of these details into account before writing this blog post. I think all this is great, and I’m excited that we’re all safer. But at the end of the day, I look at the hundreds of naked light poles, and the tall white tower with unequal spacing in the crossbeams, and really,  it’s still ugly.
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