Thoughts about San Francisco

Hey San Franciscans: Come Get Intimate
Just a thought from 15 August 2006 about , , , , .

heather gold showMy fellow San Franciscans, got plans Friday night? If not, come watch me get intimate with Heather Gold!

Inspired by Shabbat Salons, comedian Heather Gold brings the talk show format into the 21st century. Her live talk show mixes thinkers, entertainers, doers and the audience with humor, curiosity and yes, a little soul.

This Friday's show is all about "Intimacy" and features comedian and survivor's rights activist Betsy Salkind, author/spoken word artist Michelle Tea, and yours truly, talking up digital intimacy.

It all happens the JCCSF, 3200 California Street, from 8:00-9:30pm. Hope to see you there!

UPDATE: It went great! Heather posted a great wrap-up.

Hey programmers! Wanna work with me?
Just a thought from 26 June 2006 about , , , .

Two months ago I posted about phasing out my design clients and starting something new. Well, that something new now has a name and a website. World, meet 8020 Publishing.

I know there are programmers out there that might read this site once in a while. And if you have an informed opinion about why Ruby on Rails or PHP is better or worse for a large member-driven website, you might be one of them. And if you live in San Francisco and would like a fulltime gig working on an incredibly cool new thing, then please do email "jobs" at 8020 Publishing dot com.

We'll do lunch.

Chawazek 2006
Just a thought from 1 December 2005 about , , , .

our sanfrancisco 2006

Heather and I put 12 of our favorite photos of San Francisco together and made a 2006 calendar. Here's a fun game: See if you can guess which months are hers and which are mine. Get yours today!

See also: The Bug Calendar!

Muni, Red Zones, and Faith in Humanity
Just a thought from 7 November 2005 about , , .

Heather and I live in a small apartment building in a lovely little San Francisco neighborhood called Cole Valley. And right outside our front door is the convenient N-Judah Muni line. We can take it just about anywhere in the city at a moment's notice. That's the upside.

The downside is that we hear it. All the time. If we put the glasses too close together in the kitchen cabinet, they rattle with every approaching train. The trains come out of the Sunset Tunnel and turn down Carl Street with a metal on metal screeching like giant angry robots. But that's not the worst part.

Because of the turn in the tracks, Muni trains swing their butts out toward our building on every pass. And because of that, there's a big red zone smack dab in front of our home.

Continue reading “Muni, Red Zones, and Faith in Humanity” »

The Reality of My Surroundings 2
Just a thought from 16 October 2005 about , , .

I'm coming back home from walking the pups when I see them. A gaggle of drunk fifty-somethings, grey hair all around, whooping it up in the entryway outside building. As I approach, I see that they're passing around a pipe, the smell of cheap swag filling the breezeway.

"Uh oh," says Oldie One, "here comes the guy who lives here."

"We're busted," says Oldie Two.

When I'm just about to the door, I look down to see a pool of vomit at the feet of Oldie Three.

Continue reading “The Reality of My Surroundings 2” »

The Reality of My Surroundings
Just a thought from 9 October 2005 about , , .

Heather and I, we're creative types. And, like many creative types, we know what an immaculately designed, pristinely clean house would look like. We just can't can't seem to keep one. Our house cleaning happens in fits and starts, usually when someone's on their way over.

So, lately, I've tried to tidy up more. Just little things, like grabbing a bag of recycling and taking it down to the trash cans on my way out. Stuff like that.

Best laid plans.

Continue reading “The Reality of My Surroundings” »

My new book, same as the old book
Just a thought from 21 April 2005 about , , , , .

San Francisco Stories started out as a website, then became a book published by So New Media. It went out of print there a year ago. I finally got around to republishing it, thanks to the good folks at Lulu. I got my copy today and it looks great. Check it out!

Cross one thing off the Life List. Next?

I am a salty old man
Just a thought from 2 April 2005 about , , , , .

Heather and I are having much fun moblogging today. She has an excuse - she is participating in 24 in 48: A collection of 24 people posting photos for 48 hours for your enjoyment. Me? I just like to follow the cool kids.

Check our Flickr photostreams: his and hers.

SF Lit Event
Just a thought from 2 March 2005 about , , .

my caliPlease join yours truly and a handful of other contributors to My California tomorrow, Thursday, March 3, for an evening of California storytelling at the Mechanics' Institute in San Francisco. It's gonna be fun! Tell the folks at the door that you're an "author's guest" to get in free.

UPDATE: The event was a wonderful success! Here's a photo of me reading my story, courtesy of my beautiful and talented wife.

me reading

Continue reading “SF Lit Event” »

And I'll Call it ... San Francisco Stories
Just a thought from 27 February 2005 about , , .

The other night I took the dogs out for their midnight walk. As I was crossing the street, I couldn't help but notice the screaming coming from the park. It was Madison on a binge, having a shout-out with an extremely loud woman.

As I was crossing the street, another of the park denizens was exiting. He saw me and said, "Don't go in there, Derek." I nodded and continued walking the dogs up the street.

Welcome to my San Francisco, where even the homeless guys are looking out for you.

And I thought: Wouldn't it be great to have a site where I and others could post all their funny stories of San Francisco? And then I remembered I already did. I started it in '98.

So, for the first time in a year and a half, I posted a new story there. And it's not about crazy homeless fights in the park. It's about boobies.

Maybe personal sites are like fashion - they always come back around.

Party Friday Night!
Just a thought from 23 February 2005 about , , , , , .

big showMe and the lovely wife have some photos up in our neighborhood cafe and we're having a little wine and cheese opening. The event also doubles as a launch party for our new photo magazine, JPG. Please come celebrate with us!

When: This Friday, February 25, 6-8pm.
Where: Reverie Cafe: 848 Cole Street (near Carl).

Yes, there'll be copies of JPG Magazine avaliable. Also, cheese. And coffee. And wine and beer. And us.

Here's hoping you'll be there too!

UPDATE: It rocked! Thanks to all who attended.

Almost Meeting Gavin
Just a thought from 21 February 2005 about , .

Gavin Newsom, photo by Derek Powazek

I shared a lovely meal with some friends last week at a swanky new restaurant. Early in the meal, I overheard two waiters talking. Something about having to make room for the mayor. I thought they were joking.

Later, someone said, "Well there he is." And over my shoulder I saw that familiar gelled 'do. It was Mayor Gavin Newsom.

It's not the first time I've been near the man. I saw him onstage at the Autumn Moon Festival in Chinatown last year. Then again in October stumping for some D5 candidates. But this time was different.

Maybe it was the recent one year anniversary of the gay marriages he enabled. Maybe it was learning more about the man and his life-long passionate support of the less fortunate. Or maybe it was seeing the recent headlines about his divorce, about fellow democrats blaming him for their failures, and worse.

I don't know what it was, but this time, I wanted to reach out to him. To say thanks for being the one politician I can respect lately. Thanks for caring about San Francisco in such a deep and personal way.

I didn't. He was eating and I didn't want to interrupt. But if I had, this is what I would have said:

"Someday, sir, it will be my pleasure to vote for you for president."

Things I Saw at Wondercon
Just a thought from 21 February 2005 about , , .

Things I saw at Wondercon, a list in no particular order.

  • That Pepsi Girl.
  • Spider-man hanging out with a Stormtrooper.
  • That actor who played the froggy mutant in the X-Men movie.
  • That actor who beat up George Clooney in Ocean's 11.
  • That actor who got killed in some horror movie.
  • That actor who played Boomer on Battlestar Galactica. The old one where Boomer was a black guy, not the new one where Boomer is an asian girl (and a Cylon). I think more people would have lined up for the new Boomer.
  • Many comic book artists signing their comics.
  • A porn star signing photos of herself wearing no clothes. In the photo, I mean. She was clothed in person. Mostly.
  • A little girl who held hands with Darth Vader, but screamed when Spider-man came over to say hi. I guess she's afraid of spiders.

The Really Big Show
Just a thought from 31 January 2005 about , , , , .

big showFor weeks Heather and I have been running the photo printer constantly, buying up lengths of wire and strange plastic bits, and having conversations like, "does this dog go with this ripped graffiti?" and "I dunno, the broken taillight or the billowy cotton candy?" And after two late nights with tape and levels and other implements of destruction, we're finally done. Our first joint photo show is up.

It's called "Local Color" and it's 42 color photos and a bunch of Polaroids of the San Francisco we know and love. Except for that one that Heather shot in Mexico, but shhh, that's a secret.

If you're in San Francisco, do stop by Reverie Cafe at 848 Cole Street sometime between now and the Ides of March for a look. If not, well, here's a glimpse of the Wall o' Pets (my contribution, natch).

Just a thought from 9 December 2003 about .


Tomorrow I'll be evenhanded. Tonight I say: Fuck the polite denouement. Fuck the armchair quarterbacking. Fuck the this-is-actually-a-good-thing rationalizations.

This sucks. Matt Gonzalez captured the heart of the city, the heart of my people, dammit, MY heart. He was the candidate of the renters, the artists, the people who make San Francisco the place I want to live in. And he lost.

He didn't lose big. He lost by just five percent. But there is no "vice mayor" (no matter what Alioto wants to believe). And he lost to a greased up weasel with a mansion in the Marina who's claim to fame is two failed attempts to make the homeless go somewhere else.

And Hallinan losing, too? Damn. That's just cruel. That DA was the best thing to happen to this city. A fighter, unafraid to take on the police department and anyone else who broke the law.

Tomorrow I'll be positive. Tomorrow I'll try to find the silver lining.

Tonight, I'm just gonna be pissed.

Election Results
Just a thought from 9 December 2003 about .

Starting tonight at 8pm, SF Gate will be posting election results as they come in (see also). If you need some reassurance while you wait, try rereading this story in the SF Weekly: A Pair of Aces, where Mecklin argues that either candidate would make a great mayor. I'd be tempted to agree if Gavin didn't look like such a gawking jackass.

SF Election links
Just a thought from 8 December 2003 about .

Just a few pages to compulsively reload over the next day or two.

San Francisco Signage
Just a thought from 8 December 2003 about , .

With the big runoff election for mayor tomorrow, San Francisco has been turned into the Land of Signs. I've lived in San Francisco since 1995, and I've never seen so many signs, and so many personal statements.

Here at Carl and Cole, in the heart of Cole Valley, the signs are everywhere. Granted, this is District 5, so we're in Gonzalez country. He's been our supervisor for three years now, so you'd think that the neighborhood would be solidly yellow signs. But there's a pretty good showing of Newsom's blue and red, too.

My favorite so far is the flat above Crepes on Cole, where it seems like every housemate put up a sign. Above the row of Gonzalez signs sits one lonely Newsom sign. That's bravery.

There's also the collection of bikes at the top of Carl Street. They've been sitting there, chained to a street sign, dripping playa dust since Burning Man. Now they all hold Golzalez signs, laced through their spokes. I'm wondering what the message is: Broken bikes for Matt!

And they're not alone - cars, windows, even some random passers by, all are covered with signs. I quietly fear that the gaggle of patchouli-scented hippies on the corner with the Gonzalez signs in one hand and peace signs in the other may do more harm to the candidate than good.

One of the most striking sign stories is the local head shop, Distractions on Haight Street, which covered its facade with Newsom posters. Apparently they took so much heat for it, the owner put up a sign explaining their position.

In this city, where head shops are for Newsom and Burning Man bikes are for Gonzalez, a lot is uncertain. But we know a few things about our next mayor right now: He's not Willie Brown, he's got a wild ride ahead of him, and at least half of the city had the other guy's sign in their window.

Matt for Mayor
Just a thought from 13 November 2003 about .


Download the window sign (80k pdf).

(For any confused outta towners, I'm just poking a little fun at the Ken doll that'll likely be our next mayor. In case you couldn't tell, I prefer the other guy, in spite of the fact that he needs a haircut. Or maybe because of it. I dunno anymore.)

San Franschizo
Just a thought from 5 November 2003 about .

San Francisco is schizoid. In the runoff for mayor next month, we'll have Gavin Newsom, who's the closest thing we've got to a republican (and a living Ken doll), and Matt Gonzales, who's a Green and so left he wouldn't have any hope of a political career anywhere else in the country. We voted in Proposition M, which makes it illegal for Girl Scouts to sell cookies on street corners, let alone a bum ask you for change, but we also voted in Proposition L, which raised the minimum wage in the city to $8. 50 from the state's current minimum of $6.75, making us one of the handful of cities in the country to set its own minimum wage.

San Francisco: We like our politicians extreme, our wage slaves well-paid, and our homeless quiet.

SF Skyline from above
Just a thought from 25 October 2003 about , .

This is why I always ask for a window seat.

Continue reading “SF Skyline from above” »

This section is called Just a Thought. It's a blog where I post little pieces of what I'm thinking about at the moment. This page shows thoughts about San Francisco, including:

Hey San Franciscans: Come Get Intimate
15 August 2006

Hey programmers! Wanna work with me?
26 June 2006

Chawazek 2006
1 December 2005

Muni, Red Zones, and Faith in Humanity
7 November 2005

The Reality of My Surroundings 2
16 October 2005

The Reality of My Surroundings
9 October 2005

My new book, same as the old book
21 April 2005

I am a salty old man
2 April 2005

SF Lit Event
2 March 2005

And I'll Call it ... San Francisco Stories
27 February 2005

Party Friday Night!
23 February 2005

Almost Meeting Gavin
21 February 2005

Things I Saw at Wondercon
21 February 2005

The Really Big Show
31 January 2005

9 December 2003

Election Results
9 December 2003

SF Election links
8 December 2003

San Francisco Signage
8 December 2003

Matt for Mayor
13 November 2003

San Franschizo
5 November 2003

SF Skyline from above
25 October 2003

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The Fine Print

Working the web since 1995, Derek Powazek is the creator of many award-winning websites, a couple of which still exist. Derek is the cofounder of JPG Magazine and the CCO of 8020 Publishing. Derek lives in San Francisco with his wife, two nutty Chihuahuas, a grumpy cat, and a house full of plants named Fred. More »

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