Saturday, December 3, 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011

It's Time

This clip has had nearly 3 million views worldwide. Julian Shaw, the guy in the video, is not only cute, but an accomplished filmmaker.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

'Dark' Matter

My second interview with Thomas Jane!

(The first one never got published because I misplaced the cassette with my interview after a screening of Stander in 2009. D'oh! I found it later, but here's the new one).

Taking a break from his role as a male hustler on the HBO series Hung, Thomas Jane will be at the Castro Theatre this Friday for a rare screening of his 2009 directorial debut, Dark Country, a noir-horror 3D thriller in which he also stars.

Jane shared his lifelong appreciation of the noir and horror film genres in an interview with the Bay Area Reporter.

"As a first film, I wanted to explore some of the things that inspired me to get into movies in the first place," said Jane in a phone interview from Los Angeles. "I used to watch The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits on TV as a kid; Saturday matinee movies, EC comic books with the twist ending; they heavily influenced me as a young man. So I wanted to tackle something that would pay homage to that. Dark Country also merges horror with noir, another genre I love. As a teenager, my other friends were listening to Wham and Prince while I was reading Dashiel Hammett."

It was at that time that the young high school student and aspiring actor was swooped up from his Bethesda, Maryland upbringing by a roving Indian film crew. At 16, Jane starred as the non-Indian male romantic lead in the odd 1987 film Padamati Sandhya Ragam that is viewable on YouTube.

"I played myself at 16 and 40," said Jane. "They put a wig and mustache on me and I phonetically learned Telegu (yes, that's Jane speaking his own lines, although they're often dubbed)."

Living in India for half a year, Jane traveled around the United States with the film crew in vans and RVs on a guerrilla filmmaking trek. He recalls the difficulties, wonderful meals and camaraderie of the project, calling it "one of the most formative experiences of my career."


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Politics on Wheels

I was going to consider an essay about how pro-cycling (which means cyclists who obey laws and commute) is the new "kiss a baby" for local politicians. But most of them are sincere and not just posing for photos, although they do pose for photos!

The article linked below pretty much embodies the political + cycling aspect I've been focusing on since I started this blog in 2007.

For Modern David Darlington goes on bike commutes with cycle-pal politicians John Avalos and David Chiu (both running for mayor of SF).

Darlington explores the increasing political clout of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, compares street improvements over the past years, and frames it to show how interim-mayor Ed Lee's braggadocio about "getting it done" is really just leftovers from the Gavin Newsom administration.

Basically, Avalos and Chiu, along with Mirkarimi, are the most authentic cyclist-politicians of the lot for this week's elections. Avalos even has a cyclist contingent of supporters.

Along with gay and smart Bevan Dufty, who also supports a greener city, you can pretty much figure out who I'm endorsing this year. Dennis Herrera's nice, too, but it's odd with ranked choice, even more of a issue-specific popularity contest.

This is particularly notable:
"Chiu, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, is running for mayor. On a bike-advocacy platform. Fourteen years ago, this would have been unimaginable. In 1997, when mayor Willie Brown authorized the arrest of riders in Critical Mass—the infamous monthly bike mob that had been blocking intersections, tying up rush-hour traffic, enraging drivers, and creating a serious cultural flash point—supervisor Michael Yaki declared that “no proposal may be deemed too extreme in controlling bicycles in San Francisco.”

And Ed Lee is basically the puppet of that Mr. Brown. I have no idea what happened to Yaki, nor do I care. He had no idea then or now, how to handle cycling in Sf.

Fortunately, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition does, as noted in Darlington's article:

"The nation’s biggest metropolitan cycling lobby, 12,000 members strong, the coalition is one of the city’s most influential grassroots groups and its largest deliverer of programs on bike safety and parking, transit access, and road infrastructure. Since its beginning 40 years ago as a ragtag collection of bike nuts and green freaks, it has matured enough to enjoy a full-frontal embrace with city hall: Last month, 14 of the 16 major mayoral candidates submitted to its quiz on cycling issues, and the organization’s relentlessly upbeat executive director, Leah Shahum, has served on the board of the all-powerful Municipal Transportation Agency. Not coincidentally, the MTA now has a “holistic” division called Sustainable Streets, whose policy aim—according to the agency’s deputy director of transportation planning, Timothy Papandreou—is to make cars “residual.”

That'd be nice.

Vote green. Vote on wheels. Check out the SFBC's endorsements, and make your own decision(s), after watching this video:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Let the Sun Shine

Well, that didn't take long.

Oakland police did what they do best, becoming a violent thug brigade that teargassed peaceful protesters in a local version of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations and tent cities.

"Late last night, Oakland police, under orders from the city, began surrounding the Occupy Oakland encampment in preparation to oust the protesters from Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Approximately an hour ago, hundreds of Oakland police officers raided the camp. Dressed in riot gear, the police used rubber bullets, flash grenades, and gas canisters to forcibly evict and/or arrest the demonstrators who remained in the plaza."

Here are some eyewitness reports and videos.

And this is what happened a day later: twenty times as many people protesting the violent police actions. Photo by Brenda Norrell:

The whole world is watching.

Tonight, I saw a musical about "hippies" fighting war, racism, capitalism and teargas. Sound familiar, Oakland, San Francisco, the world?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Let's Be Frank

Franklin Edward "Frank" Kameny (May 21, 1925 – October 11, 2011) was "one of the most significant figures" in the American gay rights movement. In 1957, Kameny was dismissed from his position as an astronomer in the Army Map Service in Washington, D.C. because of his homosexuality, leading him to begin "a Herculean struggle with the American establishment" that would "spearhead a new period of militancy in the homosexual rights movement of the early 1960s".

Kameny protested his firing by the U.S. Civil Service Commission due to his homosexuality, and argued this case to the United States Supreme Court in 1961. Although the court denied his petition, it is notable as the first civil rights claim based on sexual orientation. He died of natural causes on October 11, 2011.

In August 1961, Kameny and Jack Nichols co-founded the Mattachine Society of Washington, an organization that pressed aggressively for gay and lesbian civil rights. In 1963 the group was the subject of Congressional hearings initiated by Congressman John Dowdy over its right to solicit funds.

Kameny is credited with bringing an aggressive new tone to the gay civil rights struggle. Kameny and the Mattachine Society of Washington pressed for fair and equal treatment of gay employees in the federal government by fighting security clearance denials, employment restrictions and dismissals, and working with other groups to press for equality for gay citizens. In 1968, Kameny, inspired by Stokely Carmichael's creation of the phrase "Black is Beautiful," created the slogan "Gay is Good" for the gay civil rights movement.

In 2007, the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History included Kameny's picket signs carried in front of the White House in 1965, in the Smithsonian exhibit "Treasures of American History." The Smithsonian now has 12 of the original picket signs carried by gay and lesbian Americans at this, the first ever White House demonstration. (source: Wikipedia)

I last met Frank Kameny in Los Angeles in 2000. Frank was seated outside a movie theatre, holding a small sign that read BOYCOTT COORS. From his little folding chair, he told me that the gay film festival OutFest was still taking money from the rightwing-owned beer corporation. While I wasn't actually "supporting" the festival, since I had comp tickets, I felt dirty through the entire screening (of a forgettable 'light comedy').

There he was, the grandfather of gay rights, still keeping the struggle going, in the face of an army of tanned, veneered "new gays," more concerned with their reel than what's real.

Well, they won't be remembered the way Frank is this week.

The Washington Blade:
“Because there was one Frank Kameny, trailblazing and honest enough to speak out 50 years ago, there are now millions of Americans, coming out, speaking out and fighting for their basic civil rights. His is a legacy of bravery and tremendous impact and will live on in the hearts and minds of every American who values equality and justice.” - Chad Griffin, board president for the American Federation for Equal Rights

ABC News:
"While so many have been impatient about the pace of progress, there was Frank, insisting we recognize that, in the last two years, he was regularly invited as a guest of honor by the very government that fired him simply for being gay," said a statement by Rea Carey, the executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Associated Press via Edge Media:
"Being gay has become infinitely better than it was," he said earlier this year when documents from his collection of gay rights history went on display for the first time at the Library of Congress. "The fundamental theme underneath all of that is simply equality."

"Nearly fifty years ago, the United States Government banned me from employment in public service because I am a homosexual. This archive is not simply my story; it also shows how gay and lesbian Americans have joined the American mainstream story of expanded civil liberties in the 20th century. Today, by accepting these papers, the nation preserves not only our history but marks how far gay and lesbian Americans have traveled on the road to civil equality." Frank Kameny

has more links and quotes.

CNN did an expansive feature on Kameny.

Frank's legacy may be overshadowed by the over-promoted and much less worthy.

To the overpaid executives at the allegedly pro-gay nonprofits? Be more like Frank and less like the equivocating suits you cowtow to.

To the large gay media that wouldn't dare put a senior on its cover, let alone an actual homosexual: be more like Frank.

To the deranged "street artists" who don't know the difference between vandalism and activism: Let's be frank. You're idiots.

To the narcissistic self-promoting gay celebutantes who can't post a single picture on Facebook that isn't of themselves, you're un-Frank, and an un-friend.

To the "gay" TV networks that vomit out a cascade of vicious stereotypical nobodies whose only achievement is arriving on camera where there's an open bar: Let's be frank. You're a bunch of douchebags.

None of us has done half as much as Frank did. But we can aspire to be like Frank.

Grapplers. Made from Good Stuff.

Harvard's wrestling team made a little show of support on National Coming Out Day by sporting various T-shirts and buttons with pro-gay phrases.

The Harvard Crimson reports:

Before their Tuesday afternoon practice, members of the Harvard varsity wrestling team posed for a picture on the steps in front of the Malkin Athletic Center. But instead of sporting their team uniforms in this photo, the athletes came in gay pride attire and rainbow pins that read “Proud Ally.”

In honor of National Coming Out Day, the men chose to wear the pins in solidarity with the BGLTQ community.

Harvard College Queer Students and Allies co-president Emma Q. Wang ’12 said that this year the student group wanted to emphasize the importance of coming out as an ally.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to be very vocal as an ally,” she said. “We want them to feel included because they play such an important role.”

According to wrestler David J. Lalo ’13, it was a non-resident tutor in Lowell House, Robert Joseph “R.J.” Jenkins, who inspired the team to participate in National Coming Out Day.

What a bunch of sweeties!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Walled Streets

It seems the near-media blackout over coverage of the Occupy Wall street protests has opened up to a diffuse grey. Two weeks after the protests over financial corruption began, corporate media entities have a taken an adequate, if not jaded, glance.

Yahoo News:

More than 1,000 people marched past City Hall and arrived at a plaza outside police headquarters in the late afternoon. Some held banners criticizing police, while others chanted: "We are the 99 percent" and "The banks got bailed out, we got sold out."

Workers from the financial district on their way home watched as the marchers passed, with some saying it was not obvious what outcome organizers of the Occupy Wall Street movement wanted.

Police observed the march and kept protesters on the sidewalk, but no clashes were reported. Police said no arrests were made before the protest dispersed peaceably by 8 p.m. after the march.

"No to the NYPD crackdown on Wall St. protesters," organizers had said on their website, promoting the march. Other online flyers for the march read: "No to Stop-and-Frisk in Black & Latino neighborhoods" and "No to Spying and Harassment of Muslim Communities."

The protest came less than a week after police arrested 80 people during a march to the bustling Union Square shopping district, the most arrests by New York police at a demonstration since hundreds were detained outside the Republican National Convention in 2004.

A police commander used pepper spray on four women at last weekend's march and a video of the incident went viral on the Internet, angering many protesters who vowed to continue their protests indefinitely.

Police have said pepper spray was a better alternative than night sticks to subdue those blocking traffic.

It was only after excessive force was used that the protests got any large-scale notice.

And while it's endearing to see all the funky homemade protest signs, since many of them are almost illegible, perhaps the most striking visual moment was when about 700 hundred Continental and United pilots, joined by additional pilots from other Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) carriers, demonstrated in front of Wall Street on September 27. The uniformity of signs, and, well, uniforms, really had an impact.

I mean, damn. Busby Berkley couldn't have done it better.

Other unions are joining in.
Here's a photo album.

UPDATE: 400 Arrested at Protests
Police reopened the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday evening after about 400 anti-Wall Street protesters were arrested for blocking traffic lanes and attempting an unauthorized march across the span.

The arrests took place when a large group of marchers, participating in a second week of protests by the Occupy Wall Street movement, broke off from others on the bridge's pedestrian walkway and headed across the Brooklyn-bound lanes.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bus Hit & Run

MUNI is known for its temperamental and irresponsible drivers. Here's another (SF Examiner):

A Muni bus operator rolled over the arm of a San Francisco bicyclist last week, only to then drive away without stopping.

Nob Hill resident Laila Brenner was cycling home from work on Sept. 14 when she changed lanes to avoid a double-parked car and subsequently tangled with a bus near the intersection of Columbus Avenue and Broadway in North Beach, all parties agree.

Brenner’s bike crashed to the ground, and the back right tire of the bus rolled over and crushed her arm, her attorney Doug Saeltzer said. While Brenner lay injured, the 8X-Bayshore Express then sped off.

Muni spokesman Paul Rose said his agency has reviewed the footage captured by cameras at the Roaring 20s club. He said it is unclear whether Brenner crashed due to the actions of the bus, or because of the illegally parked vehicle.

But Saeltzer quarreled with the agency’s findings, saying the bus was “way too close” to Brenner.

“We just can’t understand how an operator can literally run over somebody and not stop to check it out,” said Saeltzer, who is planning to file an injury claim with The City. “A professional driver should know if they hit someone.”

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner:

I've had (knock on wood) no dangerous interactions with MUNI buses, mostly because I give them a wide berth. Passing double-parked cars is the scariest thing. MUNI bus drivers foten tap their horns politely when approaching a cyclist. Sometimes, they don't. It's a daily risk urban cyclists face.

The photo is from a different bike vs. bus accident in SF.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Have a Pleasant & Safe journey

Pleasanton is making biking more...pleasant.

The Mercury News reports on a new high-tech method that makes intersections safer for cyclists.
Pleasanton is the only city in the nation using a new radar-type device to make street crossings safer for bikers. The city began testing the "Intersector" -- a microwave motion and presence sensor -- for that use in January 2010 at one of its 104 signaled intersections. The device monitors the intersection and can differentiate between vehicles and bicyclists crossing the road and either extends or triggers the light if a cyclist is detected.

"I would like to think we are bicycle-friendly," said Joshua Pack, Pleasanton's senior transportation engineer. "We are not actively yelling and screaming that we are doing it, but behind the scenes we are."

The results from the test run, at Foothill Road and Stoneridge Drive, went so well that the city installed the device at six other intersections and has plans to add four more.

Since it began using the Intersector, the city has received calls from at least 20 other jurisdictions, from some in the Bay Area to as far away as Memphis, Tenn., that want to know how the experiment is going.

"It's nice to feel acknowledged and recognized," said Jim Ott, a Pleasanton resident and cyclist. "Before (the light) didn't give as much time, so you had to cycle harder to make it. You also didn't want to get caught in the middle. And, if the light didn't trigger, you were a sitting duck for folks to bump into."


"Pleasanton is doing some great things," said Renee Rivera, executive director of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition. "It is getting more bike-friendly all the time."

How pleasant!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dare to Share

New York City has started a bike share program with 10,000 bicycles (source: New York Observer).

Sounds pretty neat, considering what a dangerous place it is to ride in.
It's not without its share of controversy and problems, though.

"The city has been in the thrall of a bicycle backlash for the past year, after the city’s Department of Transportation ran lanes through the East Village, Upper West Side and, most controversially, along Prospect Park West, which led to a lawsuit filed by neighbors living on the thoroughfare."

There's also a concern with an economic feasibility, despite several other cities having done well with such programs.

"Concerns have been swirling in the city about a bike share program, particularly after The Times published a story in June pointing out that Montreal’s Bixi system, in which Alta is a partner, had been losing money and had to be bailed out by the city for more than $100 million."

Well, take it from me, Montreal should never be used as an economic model. Outgames $5 million debt, anyone?

More on the bike share program at Huffington Post.

Funny; when I lived in New York, they already had a bike share program. It was called Theft.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Twin Tower Cameos from Dan Meth on Vimeo.

For the past three decades, nearly every time I flew on a plane, I pilfered an emergency flight brochure. It became a minor collection of souvenirs. I thought one day I'd use them in some sort of art project for my somewhat closeted hobby of making collages.

After 9/11, like many people, I got a sad haunted feeling every time I saw the World Trade Center in TV shows and films. I began copying these clips onto a VHS tape, then a DVD. I also downloaded the horrifically ironic scene in the film 'Godspell,' where a clown Jesus and pals sing, "Yes, It's All For the Best!" from the roof of one of the Twin Towers. That scene is missing from the montage above.

As some know, I used to live in Manhattan and Jersey City in the 1980s and '90s. My ex-sister-in-law's loft on Cedar Street is across the street from the WTC, and I worked and commuted there frequently.

I even got funding for, and created, wrote and composed a musical in 1998 set in the World Trade Center's PATH station, called Under the River. Both of my pre-9/11 New York novels, Monkey Suits and Cyclizen, include scenes near, and under, the towers.

Years before PINS took shape, I first wrote the first draft of Monkey Suits on a tiny Macintosh in the loft, before I even had a computer. My ex-sister-in-law's home, which I visited weeks afterward, was severely damaged, and that itself became a serious media topic for a long time.

(This is a photo I took from inside the Cedar Street building.)

So, I feel a connection in my own small way. A while back, I developed a proposal for a 9/11 art installation to be put up somewhere during September of this year. I submitted it to a few galleries (they succinctly rejected it) and it was accepted to be part of a local arts festival which I no longer care to mention by name. I dropped out for various very unpleasant reasons.

Then I noticed that the window installations at the Little Roxie had a few upcoming vacancies. They liked my pared down much smaller version of the concept. I began to collect the additional materials.

After a minor setback with installing it, last Saturday, I spent four hours putting it together while hearing the audio for the film Shut up, Little Man! playing from the nearby projection booth.

But then the electrical outlet malfunctioned. The management has been very nice in attempting to accommodate the problem, but it mostly won't be seen lit up at night, which completely defeats the purpose of the installation. The collected clips were converted into a looped DVD, which is supposed to glow upward to the string-fabricated "twin towers," which, below, are surrounded by "buildings" composed of most of those collected flight brochures.

It's kitschy, tiny, and only deals with a minor aspect of this entirely overwhelming event, one which has changed our lives, and destroyed so many others.

I still have yet to get a good photo of it at night, when the security gates aren't covering up the window.

Perhaps it's appropriate that I installed the work over Labor Day weekend, the same time when thousands flocked to Burning Man. Former club promoter Ggreg Taylor's famous phrase about Playa art projects sums it up succinctly: "Great ideas gone horribly wrong."

Stop by and check it out, through September. Or, like most of the deranged homeless people and partying drunks along that messy little block will probably do, ignore it completely.

Stunning Stunt Art

Danny Macaskill - Industrial Revolutions

Monday, September 5, 2011

Polo Play

Well, here's another item that warms the cog-gles of my heart. Bike polo? Yes, bike polo. I can't believe I didn't remember that this exists, since 1891, in fact.

Here's a photo of a cycle polo match at Eastleigh, 1938 (source: Guardian UK).

In addition to global competitions, the US version is going strong. San Francisco also has its own league.

According to SF Bike Polo, Hard court polo can be found Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at Jose Coronado Park (21st & Shotwell), 7pm-10pm, with grass games on Tuesday afternoons.

Among the renovations at Dolores Park in San Francisco, one of the tennis courts or areas near there is going to be converted to a bike polo court. For now, they use the tennis courts.

Mike Shriver (who took the two cool color photos, among many, many others) told me that three San Francisco teams are playing in the World Championship tournament this weekend in Seattle.

While it looks like a lot of fun, something about crashing into other players, or flipping over if a mallet got caught between the spokes, leaves me knowing I'll remain an observant fan, but not a participant.

If you're feeling daring, join the Facebook group to find out where to play.

Here's a video from 2007 of New yorkers getting into the game.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What a Rush

The New York Times reports on a novelist whose rollerblading messenger novel was developed for a screen adaptation, then the entire idea was ripped off, not unlike many an urban bicycle.

Everyone loves a good heist story, and that is what Mr. Quirk says he uncovered as he spent the last year figuring out how, in his view, the characters and plot of his “Ultimate Rush” came to be in Sony’s “Premium Rush.” He filed a lawsuit earlier this month — but had to talk to almost 50 lawyers before he could find one willing to take the case.

Even at time when the value of intellectual property is perhaps higher than ever, with local technology companies including Google and Apple spending billions of dollars on patents while the entertainment industry works frantically to stamp out piracy, it can be remarkably difficult for a lone creative professional like Mr. Quirk to protect his work.

Tell me about it! My sympathetic to Mr. Quirk. I definitely want to read his novel, I should have noticed it before writing Cyclizen.

UPDATE: Here's the trailer; over the top hyper-adventure but Mr. Gordon-Levitt stars, so I may break my integrity boycott and watch it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cyclophobia II

Trial ordered in hit-run rampage on S.F. cyclists

An Albany man accused of running down four bicyclists in the Mission District and Potrero Hill in a six-minute rampage last year must stand trial for attempted murder, a San Francisco judge said Tuesday.

The attorney for David Mark Clark, 40, said outside court that he will pursue an insanity defense.

Read more:

Gee; insanity. Ya think?

"Clark, a tennis instructor and self-styled master natural healer and crystal therapist..."

See? Tennis is a gateway drug.

Seriously; the reason many cyclists are slim isn't the exercise, but the high-calorie-burning stress of constantly avoiding potential vehicular manslaughter.

Previous coverage HERE.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Expensively Stupid

Bicycles get stolen pretty much every minute of every day. It's a given. Fortunately, I've had good luck in San Francisco (knock on wood), mostly because my bikes are old and beat up. Also, I never leave a bike parked in a dodgy area, or for a long period of time.

New York City was a different case. I visited an editor's office on Lower Broadway for half an hour. Despite his invitation to bring it inside, I didn't, and returned to see the skeletal frame of my bike still locked to a sign post. Both wheels and seat were stolen.

A common occurrence; but when a celebrity gets his bike stolen, suddenly, it's news! Top that with it being a $2300 bike owned by a TV news reporter, and have the theft caught on camera, and it's definitely "news."

I'm sorry, but anyone foolish enough to leave such an expensive bike outside doesn't get much sympathy from me.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Closing the Borders

Borders bookstores are closing nationwide. This is sad news, but it's also predictable.

From the Detroit Free Press:

"The Borders sales started Friday at its remaining 399 locations, which include 259 Borders superstores, 114 Borders Express and Waldenbooks, and 26 Borders airport stores.

Liquidators plan to clear out more than $700 million of inventory, including books, puzzles/games, activity sets, stationery, magazines, music and movie media, calendars, posters, store fixtures, furnishings and equipment.

"This marks the end of an era," Edwards said in a statement."

Along with placing the blame on, ebooks, and the economy, there's another angle, that Borders' business practices toward authors was less than friendly, and more geared to a cafe culture.

Author Larry Correia posts about his experiences with Borders, and several expansive comments add to it with informed perspectives from former employees, major authors and fans.

It's easy to blame corporations like But for me, it's about adapting to inevitabilities.

In the week since I published the Kindle versions of my three books, I sold more copies than I did at an average Borders store. Small, independently published just don't get shelved in chain stores very often. As a consumer, should one feel obligated to pay more at a brick and mortar store instead of paying less than a dolar online?

With independent bookstores, particularly local ones, shopping helps you, because you're keeping local businesses alive. But in times like these, a bargain is a bargain.

I've probably given away, donated or sold off more books than I now own. While I doubt I'll ever get so Zen that I only own 100 Things, the idea of getting rid of 100 things sounds great.

Among those things, for me, are a lot of old paper files, including my PR materials, which include a lot of print-outs of bookstores I sent promos to, or arranged reading events. In looking it over, I realized that the majority of these independently-owned bookstores have closed. Gone. The sentimental or archival value of this list may have value to someone else, but I have to face the fact that I can't be an archivist for an entire culture.

In another personal business aspect, I just got my annual invoice from my printer of PINS. They've been storing the files and negatives from the original print version. In converting the manuscript (I had to download a new version of Quark to extract the text into Word, then convert to HTML), I noticed some persistent typos that exist in the print version.

It's a bittersweet duty that I'll have in contacting the printer to let them know that the old-school files will no longer be needed. Frankly, I realize now that the fonts and layout are a bit antiquated. I'm happy to know that the Kindle version, and a new cleaned up manuscript, will be the legacy of that book into the 21st century.

So, basically, like a beloved rotary phone or Victrola, I'm throwing out the outdated versions of my work.

99 more things to go.

Friday, July 15, 2011


When I titled my third novel Cyclizen, I didn't exactly invent the term. But I like to think I popularized it. Obviously, my dream of making it a mass cult movement was an epic fail.

Anyway, riding home from work today, I pondered the term "cyclophobia" and was surprised to see that it's already a real word and apparently an actual phobia.

The definitions seem to focus on a root fear based on some childhood trauma. Some people are afraid to ride bicycles. If they have balance issues, or a traumatic past, that could be the reason. After my last serious accident, I refused to ride, then was afraid, then cautious, and now, I'm still cautious, but of other vehicles, not cycling itself.

But some other people, non-cyclists, don't fear cycling as much as cyclists themselves. Actually, to compare it homophobia, they don't fear bicycles as objects, or snap at them like pretty much every small dog I ride past. Instead, they hate cyclists like racists hate people of other races.

Yesterday, an elderly woman was struck and seriously injured by a cyclist in downtown San Francisco. This led to many online comments, including a few posts by Facebook friends, who made generalizations like "most cyclists are rude and arrogant." "Most cyclists have a smug sense of entitlement." "Cyclists should be forced to get insurance."

It went on. And on.

Yet, only the day before, a UCSF shuttle bus crashed into a truck carrying a trailer of cars at the infamous Most Dangerous Intersection, Octavia and Oak. One person was killed and four injured. Here's a previous article about the intersection.

This is also the same intersection where I photographed the handsome Patricio Hoter years ago for the cover of Cyclizen (the upper half is of an early 1990s New York ACT UP protest).

I didn't see any posts about how dangerous shuttle buses are. However, I can recall three times when a UCSF shuttle bus driver nearly killed me by swerving into the bike lane, and in one case, a driver was so enraged when I tried to escape his path that he deliberately drove at me to run me down. I only escaped by jumping onto a sidewalk and behind a garbage can.

It was a horrible incident, and my complaints to UCSF were, of course, ignored.
Do I now have a phobia of shuttle buses, or UCSF? No. Do I generalize now that "most" shuttle bus drivers, UCSF ones in particular, are lousy drivers who probably hate their jobs? Yes.

But despite the overwhelming factual data proving that the majority of traffic accidents involving cyclists are caused by cars and jaywalking pedestrians, the hatred and fear of cyclists continues. People who have one or more unpleasant interactions or near-accidents with cyclists foist their hatred and fear on all, or "most" cyclists.

The most ridiculous things I read were frequent resentful complaints about our "entitlement," as if we all think we're 'allowed to break traffic laws because we're cyclists.'

Yes, some do. Some cyclists are total jerks. But they're no doubt jerks off their bikes, too.

I hardly consider myself "entitled" when I have to daily avoid cars, trucks, cab doors, double-parked vans, deranged homeless people and drunks wandering in the street, not to mention nails, broken glass, sunken curb drains and sewer holes, and dangerous potholes in the street.

To top it off, a new study claims that cyclists are more prone to heart attacks than sedentary auto drivers.

But wait. The same British media publication debunks that. So yes! No! Whatever.

A higher chance of being killed, a probability of dying from bus fumes, a near certainty of eventual bike theft, and a large-scale vilification from non-cyclists.

If that's entitlement, you can have it.

UPDATE: July 20: Another serious accident, another online article and another venue for irate vindictive cyclophobes to foist their hatred against an accident victim who may be dead.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


My three novels, PINS, Monkey Suits and Cyclizen, are now available on Kindle. Monkey Suits has a slightly different cover.

I hope a lot of new fans have a Kindle, because ePub has given me a few snags so far.

Also, Cyclizen is now an ebook on

Monday, July 4, 2011

Firearmed is Forewarned

Happy birthday to the only country whose national anthem ends in a question mark.

You'll forgive me if I tend to remove myself far away from pyrotechnical displays this year.

I'd love to believe it's the land of the free. But it's more lately been the land of the "free to dodge bullets."

Yesterday, I'd been at this stop an hour before a shooting Saturday night left one man dead. Later, someone with a knife was shot by BART cops.

Last week, five people were shot on the Saturday of Pride weekend near Civic Center (at least the hot shirtless guy doesn't seem hurt. But seriously...).

With the memory of the Pink Saturday shootings two years ago, some were quick to associate it. The criminals were apprehended, and a video of the aftermath was aired.

SF Pride even got into the fray, threatening to sue the videographers for misrepresenting pride, as the shootings took place a few blocks away from Civic Center.

Again, I missed this shooting by a few minutes. That's happened several times in other places throughout the city.

But in addition to that, what's Pride doing, while in the middle of its own difficulties, diving into a video bitchfight? Here's the aftermath on Market Street, which focuses on a 75-year-old man bleeding. WARNING; graphic.

Read a critique of this censorship attempt, and see other videos HERE.
Happy 4th, freedom of speech and all that.

Oh, and congrats, New York.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


So, it's been raining all day, which, I should admit, I like.

Pride was spent less taking pictures and more enjoying the experience. But here are a few.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Nudes of the World

Darn; missed another World Naked Bike Ride. Actually, I really couldn't participate until I get a more comfy bike seat. The photo above is from Mexico. Portland's big ride HERE. Italy's Cyclo Nudista HERE. NSFW.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lowest Lane

From Raw Story and New York Magazine, Casey Niestat, a Manhattan cyclist, proves that a law requiring cyclists to only ride in the bike lane is ridiculous.

Here in San Francisco, it's also not easy; double-parked cars, merging lanes at large busy intersections, and other human, vehicle and construction sites make it sometimes impossible to stay in the bike lane. Fortunately, SFers are not (yet) required to ride only in bike lanes.

Sheesh. This is the grief cyclists get for nearly eliminating their carbon footprint; a kick in the face from the law.

Addendum: Oh, and now cops are (allegedly) ticketing NYC cyclists for wearing skirts!

Friday, May 13, 2011


This week's issue of the San Francisco Bay Guardian is bike-tastic. Several features include topics such as Kids on Bikes, bike parties that go beyond Critical Mass (and are less annoying to others), the rise of bike culture, minority cycling, fun, and a handy map for optimum SF cycling.

Thanks, Guardian!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mixed Up

Finally, after years of hemming and hawing, searching online, I finally found a cheap, functional, Mac-friendly cassette-to-CD converter (or mp3, the format to which I'm converting.). Thank you, Buy More.

It's my new passion! Hilarious and surprisingly tasteful mixes, the old-fashioned way. I'm looking forward to this, and already have five cassettes digitized.

I know; welcome to the 21st century, a little late.