Towse: views from the hill

August 2, 2008

Garbage (and recycling and more!) redux

Filed under: causes,environment — Tags: , — Towse @ 7:42 pm

The trash police: Gavin Newsom is proposing the nation’s first-ever mandatory recycling and composting law. Be prepared to pay hefty fines if you toss coffee grounds in with the newspapers.

Read the article.

Read the comments.

People can be such whiners. Gestapo! It’s so hard to recycle. &c. and so on.

Yes, proposing outrageous fines if people don’t sort their garbage (and maybe cutting off their garbage service … that’ll teach them!) is nonsense, but the City pays a fortune to truck garbage to the dump over by Altamont and with gas prices rising not only is the dump filling (and where will we put trash then?) but costs are rising too.

Our field trip to the dump — AKA “Norcal Waste System, Inc’s Solid Waste Transfer and Recycling Center” — last October was enlightening.

Read the trip report with piccies to see why getting people to separate out their recyclable stuff AND ESPECIALLY THEIR GREEN CYCLE is a must if we’re going to control the garbage stream (and the fuel costs and the personnel costs and …)

That said, my comment on the Chron article:

Dear Mayor Newsom.

Come visit. I’ll invite some neighbors over. We’ll explain how difficult it is to recycle at all when you live off the Filbert Steps.

(1) NorCal won’t pick up blue bins here. Paying extra isn’t even an option. We FINALLY got a locked bin — locked so tourists won’t throw trash in — that the immediate neighbors share up at Montgomery and Filbert, but neighbors who live at Filbert and Montgomery bitch and complain about us parking our recycling bin anywhere near their buildings. Add a green bin? As if.

(2) I have a dish on the counter for green-bin scraps. From there, the scraps go to a covered compostable-bag-lined re-purposed menudo pot over by the ‘frig. Every 4 days or so — MAX … any more than that and the bag will disintegrate and maggots and crud grow — we tie up the bag, put it in ANOTHER bag, walk it three-plus blocks to our car and DRIVE to drop it off in a large green bin we have access to.

We try, Mr. Mayor. ’tain’t easy. Make it easier for us.

His nibs said, why didn’t you write about people putting non-greencycle stuff in bins left out for pickup and the greencycle people refusing to pick up the bins? Why didn’t you write about neighbors getting upset about people picking through blue bins for cash-refund recyclables and the bratty neighbors kicking the full bin and contents down the stairs, spreading recyclables down the steps to the next landing? Why didn’t you write about …

I told him that the SFChron allows you 1000char for comments and I was down to my last ten or so. …

October 24, 2007

Garbage, waste, trash, oh my!

Filed under: causes,environment,photographs — Tags: , , — Towse @ 12:39 am

Posted by Picasa

This morning we spent two [stenchy] hours getting a tour of The Dump


I mean …

“Norcal Waste System, Inc’s Solid Waste Transfer and Recycling Center” at the border of San Francisco and Brisbane, San Francisco County and San Mateo County (which causes problems, you betcha)

with our buds from

I hadn’t been on an educational field trip to the dump since the younger younger one was in Tiger Cubs.

Twenty years later … Different dump. Still as fascinating. More, maybe.

Field trip report to follow.

Update: As promised, a field trip report about my morning at the dump. Caution: long.

October 19, 2007

Continent-size toxic stew of plastic trash fouling swath of Pacific Ocean

Filed under: culture,environment,news — Tags: , — Towse @ 9:24 pm

Continent-size toxic stew of plastic trash fouling swath of Pacific Ocean by Justin Berton, SFChronicle.


At the start of the Academy Award-winning movie “American Beauty,” a character videotapes a plastic grocery bag as it drifts into the air, an event he casts as a symbol of life’s unpredictable currents, and declares the romantic moment as a “most beautiful thing.”

To the eyes of an oceanographer, the image is pure catastrophe.

In reality, the rogue bag would float into a sewer, follow the storm drain to the ocean, then make its way to the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch – a heap of debris floating in the Pacific that’s twice the size of Texas, according to marine biologists.

The enormous stew of trash – which consists of 80 percent plastics and weighs some 3.5 million tons, say oceanographers – floats where few people ever travel, in a no-man’s land between San Francisco and Hawaii.


At the end of the article is a link to Save The Bay’s Bay Trash Hot Spots. Click on a hot spot and get the details of dumped trash between Hunter’s Point and Candlestick Point, Colma Creek’s trash, trash in Coyote Creek in the south bay and more.

3.5 million tons of plastics and other debris floating out in the ocean between us and Hawaii! Yikes.

Do what you can to help, or at least don’t make it worse. Minimize bag use and don’t let the ones you have get loose and wind up in the wild.

His nibs and I are signed up for a SPUR tour of Norcal’s transfer station out on Tunnel Ave next Tuesday AM. Should be interesting.

July 30, 2007

Creeping prosperity

Filed under: culture,photographs — Tags: , , , , — Towse @ 6:44 pm

Sectwanto’s HUGE tag on a brick building down by Potrero Point, was painted out last week. The brick building was originally tagged (according to this site) in 2005. Seemed a year or two earlier than that at least, but I have photos from July 2004 that show the brick building untagged. Memory’s a funny thing.

SECTWANTO always reminded me of RIGO’s TRUTH over by City Hall, “but different,” as they say.

Still, two years from tag date, SECTWANTO and the fribbly tagged crap beneath it were painted over.

Why now?

Well, perhaps because plans are afoot to revitalize Pier 70 and surrounds.

July 2, 2007

The chaotic traffic mess on Stockton

Filed under: life,public transit — Tags: , , — Towse @ 4:45 pm

Some times you just have to wonder.

I was at the Mayor’s confab on Saturday re Muni and other public transportation issues. The meeting was pure theatre. Some interesting points were made. Some points seem lost to the assembled. I was impressed with Nat Ford, new executive director of the Municipal Transportation Agency.

At one point in the meeting, Gavin asked the city staff present, “How many of you rode public transportation here.” A sizable number raised their hands. The follow up question, which wasn’t asked, is “How many of you didn’t ride public transportation here, and why not?”

As an example of parochialism and selective deafness, an inability to hear what people are saying (Why were so many people along the 9X and 30 routes thrilled to death with the thought of the Central Subway?) I note the following in The N-Judah Chronicles.

Greg writes, “There were many ironies surrounding this meeting – from the chaotic traffic mess on Stockton Street I ran into, trying to get back to Market St. to …”

I just had to comment (and I did but being as the comments over there are vetted before they’re posted, my oh-so-marvelous words seem to have been ash-canned, alas …):

I walked home (call it Union and Montgomery) from the meeting and had no problem with traffic or issues or problems.

Chaotic traffic messes on Stockton are the norm. Those issues were brought up at the meeting. Big surprise? Problems on the 30 and the 9X? Who knew?

Those in the nose know the Stockton issues and avoid Stockton or just deal with it.

Welcome to our world. Sorry the out of district folks had a problem.

The only transit line that I’ve ridden that can get almost as bad as the 30 Stockton going up Stockton is the 14 Mission going up Mission. I do realize that everyone has their pet peeves about public transit, but to say there was a chaotic traffic mess on Stockton after the meeting (like there isn’t a chaotic traffic mess on Stockton most any day most any time of the day?) just shows how deaf some people at that meeting were to attendee comments re the 30 Stockton, the 9X, the 45 and the 41.

Traffic from North Beach through Chinatown toward downtown and further is a mess, people. Add some more buses. Run shuttles through the Stockton corridor. Do something.

I’m just glad I can catch the buses at Washington Square Park because the folks who get on in Chinatown get squished in tighter than you’d think possible, with few straps or poles to hang onto. Not pretty.

May 2, 2007

Conspiracy theories ‘r’ us

Filed under: news,travel,woowoo — Tags: , , — Towse @ 10:01 pm

Read it and weep.


e.g. Did Arnold Know?

Here is a hypothetical timeline of events:

4:02 highway collapses
4:05 Governor receives phone call
4:20 Showered and dressed (assume 15 minutes and that he shaved in the car)
5:08 Arrive at site after 48 minute drive @ 100 mph
5:13 Press conference starts (assume 5 minutes to get it going)
5:33 Press conference ends and site tour begins (assume minimum 20 minute press conference. Note that Schwarzenegger, Newsom, and Dellums all talk and these are politicians talking.
5:48 Tour of site ends (assume 15 minutes).

Yet the photos clearly show it’s still pitch black during the entire press conference and site tour, i.e. much earlier than the hypothetical timeline above. How could Schwarzenegger have arrived at the site any earlier? The answer is that the he knew what was planned.

Except, of course, that Gavin’d been down in San Diego at the state Democratic gathering and had to handle things at that end, get a briefing, make statements, give a speech and then return home.

The photographs of the scene that included Gavin and Schwarzenegger were taken during the tour that took place the evening of 4/29.

Another favorite?

“G-A-Y” is spelled “429″ on a standard American telephone. The attacks occurred only 8.5 miles from the notorious Castro Street homosexual district. COINCIDENCE?

’nuff said. Has to be a spoof. Or some very dim bulbs.

April 28, 2007

‘copters circling

Filed under: culture,life — Tags: , — Towse @ 12:18 am

The last time I heard multiple ‘copters circling overhead was when morning broke on 27 February, the day a piece of Telegraph Hill slid down onto buildings on Broadway. All the news crews were out with first light to get pictures of the pile o’ rock.

… but what’s up this afternoon?

Checked Nada.

Checked which morphed into

Ah, yes. Silly, forgetful moi.

It’s the last Friday of the month.

Critical Mass starts at 6p.

The bicyclists are starting to gather at Justin Herman Plaza, just >>> over there.

Last month’s Critical Mass turned real ugly and most of blogville seemed to take sides in the aftermath.

Here’s hoping tonight’s peaceful and hoping his nibs remembered and will be home before the mass moves.

February 20, 2007

San Francisco Street Art / Graffiti

Filed under: art,photographs,video — Tags: , — Towse @ 9:59 pm

Ryan pulled together a very well-done video collage of photos he took of San Francisco Street Art / Graffiti while he was tooling around the City on his bicycle in 2006.

Some of my favorites are here: Mona Caron’s Duboce Bikeway Mural, f’rex (visible from the N-Judah).

Some of my favorites aren’t in the collection: the mural on the side of the building at the NW corner of Columbus and Broadway (thx to karbon69 for the click) and “One Tree” by RIGO [photo by kootenayvolcano]. There are others not included, including the murals on some buildings on Bay just up from Tower Records, but I can’t find pictures. Guess I’ll have to make some of my own.

[YouTube link from a link Ryan posted to SFist/labs/contribute last month]

[note: flickr has photo pool for San Francisco/murals. Check it out if this sort of thing interests you.]

February 6, 2007

More QM2

Filed under: life,ships — Tags: , — Towse @ 3:39 am

Oh, my. Was traffic snarled today.

We knew there’d be some problems. Yes, indeed. TPTB had set electronic signs on the Embarcadero days ahead of time warning that traffic would be a mess from Broadway to Bay.

Broadway to Bay?

Try all the way back to 280 to way past Bay … in both directions.

We swung by the Post Office to drop off a card (Happy bday, SP!) around noon. His nibs decided that traffic wouldn’t be that bad on the Embarcadero after he missed hanging a right on Filbert and a right on Kearny and heading out that way. He drove (with detours) down to the Embarcadero where we waited through four traffic signal changes to hang a right and get out of town.

… thirty minutes later we were across from the ball park and almost out of town.

The traffic was nuts. Too many people on the crosswalks so drivers couldn’t turn. An extra cruise ship berthed over at Pier 35, adding to the carnival atmosphere.

I predict Letters to the Editor in tomorrow’s Chronicle from the folks at 101 Lombard, who insist that any new anything on the Embarcadero should be squelched because of traffic concerns.

“See?!?!! See?!?!!” they’ll say.

Give it a rest, I say. Everyone else in the City tells the neighbors who complain about the traffic when the team’s playing at Candlestick that they should chill. It’s only ten days a year, we tell them. Live with it.

So we live with the cruise ship traffic jams, magnified today because there was not only a cruise ship BUT ALSO the QM2 AND all the people who came down to gawk at the QM2.

Taxis everywhere. Tour buses.

The F-line was running extra cars, which were jammed so they were running buses as well.

CurbedSF checks in and! includes a link to a YouTube video of the ship (“transoceanic liner”) coming in under the GGBridge yesterday.

We decided to return home (from a busy day of sorting stuff and victuals runs to Costco and Trader Joe’s) on a route that didn’t use the Embarcadero.

Good thing.

We double-parked at the top of the Steps and ran our purchases home at around 6P or so. His nibs took the MINI to its stall and said that while he was walking back up Union, he encountered a well-dressed woman of a certain age, talking to someone on her cell. “Didn’t I tell you several times NOT TO GO NEAR THE EMBARCADERO?”

Not a happy camper. Her ride had failed her. She was walking down Union to find a ride to wherever it was she needed to go.

I wonder how many passengers will be left behind because the bar pilot MUST leave with the changing tide some time around 8P. Passengers that are not back on board will need to catch up with the ship … somehow.

[8P] His nibs is checking with our telescope and can see the bar pilot up on the bridge. (Bar pilot’s in suit and tie.) The ship isn’t moving yet. Heck, the lines are still engaged, but at least there’s action up on the bridge.

How long can the ship wait and still make it out the Gate safely?

[His nibs is watching the action and adds that the airplane with the lighted signage is flying back and forth over the crowds watching the ship, running an ad for Big-O Tires. Someone in marketing is making their momma proud.)

January 6, 2007

[URL] Wooster Collective

Filed under: art,culture,URL — Tags: — Towse @ 2:28 am

The Wooster Collective is dedicated to showcasing and celebrating ephemeral art placed on streets in cities around the world.

You know: not just graffiti, street art, projected art, found art the world over.

Stuff like


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