Thursday, July 31, 2008


This was a note sent by a young friend recently about her neighborhood.

So, funny story having to do with where I live. I have told some of you about the "marina girl" reputation. (The Marina is the district of San Fran that I live in). My friends and I were out on Tuesday night in North Beach (only about a mile away from the Marina) for the North Beach Jazz Festival. We went to this bar called Mojito's (like the drink), kind of a dive bar, but has really great live music and great drinks. So, I'm standing at the bar ordering a drink, and these 2 guys sitting next to me ask my friends and I where we are visiting from. I said..."we live here, why would you assume that we are visiting?" He told me it was because we were really dressed up for a bar in North Beach. My friends and I always get dressed up (and you all know how I usually dress), I was really only wearing jeans and a tube top, but had on heels, whatever... we were all pretty much dressed the same. I told him, we like to get dressed up, b/c when you look good, you feel good, and why not. So then he asks, the dreaded question (for me). "where do you guys live?" and I always reply with the same answer...I always have to stall, but eventually say that "I live in the Marina, but don't judge me, I just moved here from Philly. So no, I'm not a marina girl, I'm a Philly girl, and my apartment is the first and only apartment that I looked at when I moved here, and had never been here before. " (which is true).

So we get to talking about how EVERYBODY that lives in the marina says that, because we are all embarrassed or ashamed for some reason to admit we live in the Marina. He told us that there is this article out there (written in like 1990) that talks about living in the Marina, and the reputation still holds true till this day. Anyway, my friends and I found this quite amusing and we had this guy email us the article. If your interested in reading, it is quite funny, and if you ever come to visit, you will definitely witness this first hand. You can usually spot marina girls walking into any bar/restaurant from a mile away....we just have good style :) (it is no longer the khaki look as the article states, but "trendy" shall we say).

On a side note, the Marina is the most beautiful part of the city to live in. I am 4 blocks away from the Bay and Golden Gate bridge, and it really is just absolutely amazing!


This is so interesting as I have such views about the City, notice I said, City, which the natives call it. I often call it Frisco, just for meanness. I actually had not heard that much about the Marina. What I think is so true of the City is that it really is like a bunch of little neighbourhoods stuck together. And, you can find mostly what you want in the neighbourhood you choose. What story I thought you were going to tell is the classic one about the Marina Safeway. I was telling a single guy the story not long ago and he said something like, "I don't believe it. I go into the Marina Safeway all the time and never see where there is any action." Maybe it is just a myth.

Of course, what I think is that you can find pretentiousness about anywhere anytime, even in Philly. My idea when we moved into the City was to live in several different neighbourhoods; we've tried two now. My wife's idea was somewhat different than mine, however. The first one in lower Pacific Heights, close to Laural village was way to white bread and yuppie for me. I love where we live now on Anza. A buddy and I had a run on the beach this week and then went for a Buffalo burger and he said, "This is the real world." And, I think so, on Anza which is right at USF (University of San Francisco)--within four or five blocks of where we live is every imaginable type of ethnic restaurant you could imagine. For instance, my favourite is Korean, quickly followed by Ethiopian. There are a dozen Korean and at least three or four Ethiopian.

But, then it is all what you like. We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful place. My usual line is that when the politics and zaniness of the City get overwhelming, I always think about the beauty. Amen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, May 25, 2008


EMAIL OF THE DAY. Oh, well, I suppose every year the Chronicle is compelled to publish photos of runners in the Bay to Breakers who insist on discarding their apparel and foisting their flabby asses on the public. Too bad, the Chronicle doesn't have more class. But, heck, what do you expect from a city that has the reputation San Francisco does of being the wackiest place on Earth! AJB


Monday, May 19, 2008

The Bay To Breakers

This is one weird tradition that takes place every year in May. I’ve run it for about six or seven years. And, always use it more or less as a day’s PT (physical training) with the crazies. And, every year something is a little different. Officially, I heard there were about 65,000, down from the first time I ran it when it was close to a 100,000. There’s all kinds: costumes of every sort, a kind of Halloween in May; Elvis impersonators by the dozens, some even running; nudes, various shades of dress and whatever we see in it, it is one giant 7.2 fun race/runjog/walk.

There are actually serious runners who make money; two groups, not exactly sure but called, elite, seeded runners. The Kenyans usually win.

This year I heard the aftermath was a little too much booze and revelry; the police and street department were griping big time about all the trash. For those like myself, it is lots of fun. What always fascinates me are the nudes. Most of them are fat old men who should be at home. But, I will have to say this: nobody pays them any attention.

And, then also there are those who kind of cheer the runners on; it is a giant moving funny costumed parade: centipedes, human trains, people running backwards, mothers pushing strollers. I even saw a woman running in a bride's dress and two were running in evening gowns.

I don’t think I’m going to do it anymore. Why? I don’t know, ADD (attention deficit disorder) but by next year who knows.

Every time I participaten, I am always amazed at the same thing: these fundamentalists folks with the very elaborate signs of Jesus Saves, Repent. I always wonder what their motive is and what they think they are accomplishing. They are brave, I'll have to say that; a mass of humanity surged toward them as the race begins and they stand literally in the center of the fray, standing their ground. I saw the same thing at the Gay Freedom Day Parade--the gays, for instance, appear to be more Christian than the Christians. Ain't life wonderful. God bless America.

Maybe they are from some sect that requires them to profess “the truth” in this manner, a kind of living Watchtower (Jehovah Witnesses). I simply don’t know. And, if one is a Christian, then who could object to what the signs say? Not I but simply the crazy venue where it is. What do they expect to achieve? I don't think they are going to get any converts in this crowd. Here they are at the Bay to Breakers, a gigantic expression of living art, with every profane reprobate, based on one’s view, that is known to mankind. The participants in the race are hedonistic, masochistic (who would torture themselves by running seven miles) in the best of circumstances?" So, do the fundamentalists think they can reach these people for the gospel. How misguided, without criticizing, is this sort of thinking.

The crowd merely tolerated. I venture to say that in our secular world, of which the Bay to Breakers, is a good example, they hurt the cause more than they help. They come across as judgemental, mental themselves, and the opposite end of kookier. So, there you have it.