Posts Tagged ‘families’

ASSIGNMENT DESK: Ask People Who Use the Golden Gate Park Panhandle Playground to See If It’s Really “Failing”

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

Per this bit on SocketSite, SFGov thinks it has 50 “failing” playgrounds. Does that means that all of them get an “F” grade, that they’re all basically worthless?

For instance, let’s take a look at the Panhandle Playground. It has 4.5 Yelp stars. Isn’t that a pretty high rating for a “failing” anything?

If you polled people who actually use the place, the grade you’d come up with is “A,” or possibly “A-,” something in that area.

I think what SFGov / RPD / all those people with clipboards from that big non-profit what’s run by the wealthy, white and wizened actually mean is that the Panhandle Playground isn’t brand-new. What they mean is that it hasn’t kept up with the latest trends in playgroundom the past decade or so due to the fact that it hasn’t been replaced the past decade.

In other words, what they’re saying is that the Panhandle Playground isn’t “world-class.”

Oh, what’s that, Parks Alliance, there were more than 2.5 pieces of litter per square meter or whatever on the day that you dropped by with your clipboards? OK, so don’t you mean that the RPD is failing then?

Oh, what’s that, Parks Alliance, you’re concerned about the health effects of “x.” You know, I don’t think you want to go there, Parks Alliance. Cause then you’d have to look at the other stuff RPD is doing lately, like, say, the Beach Chalet soccer fields. Now I’ll tell you, I’m 90%+ sure that all the things people are worried about with the new artificial turf aren’t going to turn out to be a problem, but that’s not an absolutely assurance. You could say the same for whatever it is that makes you say that four dozen playgrounds in SF are “failing.”

You know, I could take my clipboard and go up to somebody’s 2004 Honda Accord with low miles and I could say, “Oh, no sat nav – minus five points. And oh, dirty windshield – minus three points. And oh…” And then I could put the car on my list of “failing” commuter vehicles, even though the person who drives it every day M-F thinks it’s a great ride and even though it passes its smog test every year or two and even though it starts up every time without fail. Who, oh who will appoint me chairman of the “Failing Hondas Task Force?”

(Oh hey, you know what RPD is disappointed about? It’s bummed out that the Maude Flanderses and the Reverend Lovejoy’s Wifes of the 94117 haven’t formed something like the Friends of the Panhandle Playground to raise $800k or so to give to RPD, you know, the way things worked with Presidio Heights and Mountain Lake. Oh well. Sorry RPD.)

In any event, a big bag of money fell from the sky and SFGov is going to spend it the way it wants. IMO, SFGov spends too much time focusing on the aesthetic concerns of millionaires who appoint themselves to the boards of the non-profits they create.

IMO.

So, go for it, send a reporter over to the Panhandle to check things out, to see why SFGov wants to spend months and months tearing out a perfectly good playground, to see why SFGov wants to scrap a Honda Accord with low miles, and a dirty windshield…

Free Kool-Aid, after the jump, drink up, it’s free, well, not really, but you’re going to end up paying for it anyway, so might as well.

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The Time to Buy Tickets for San Francisco Ballet’s Family Performances of The Nutcracker is Now – Best for Ages 5-11

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Here are all the deets from our San Francisco Ballet about five special Family Performances of The Nutcracker

2013_nutcracker_family_03

Family Performance 2012 (© Carson Lancaster)

“For five performances only, the first 500 children (under the age of 12) to arrive receive a special gift and everyone enjoys complimentary beverages and treats at intermission. For 30 minutes only, starting one hour prior to curtain, Nutcracker characters are available for photos, so arrive early and bring your camera!*

Family Performance Dates

*Family Performances are popular! Lines for entrance to the Opera House and for photos form quickly, so arrive early. Children’s gifts are handed out at the doors on a first come/first served basis, starting one hour prior to curtain. So that our dancers aren’t late for the performance, photo lines must be stopped 30 minutes prior to curtain.”

See you there!

Our Long Parochial Nightmare is Over: The Vandalized Slides at Panhandle Playground 94117 have been Replaced by RPD

Monday, September 8th, 2014

Well the slides at the Panhandle Playground have been replaced after three months of absence.

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1. Perhaps the RPD spokesmodel meant that the entire slide complex was being repaired, as opposed to the $2000 plastic slide itself. I don’t think it would have made sense to repair the slide itself, due to liability issues for starters. This is a brand-new slide, one that’s similar enough to the original.

2. So some wealthy, non-profit people came by with clipboards to say that this particular playground currently earns a “D” grade? Well, OK fine, but if you talk to the people who actually use the place, they, more or less, give it an “A” grade, you know, except for the slide that wasn’t there all summer long. Mmmmm… What’s up with that?

3. Supervisor London Breed’s office was unresponsive to the email contact sent by a group of concerned parents, apparently. So she gets an “F,” or an Incomplete perhaps. (I’ve worked at two similar offices, with about ten or one hundred times as many constituents, and if the elected in charge found out about something like this then there’d be a 20-minute yell-fest and/or a passive aggressive note sent to a (lower-case “s”) supervisor to “fix this.”) So, obvs, a “communication issue” occurred, I just don’t know how common this is with her office.

4. RPD has a policy to not repair anything in a playground if it’s due to be revamped in the next two years? That’s my understanding. Does that mean that this playground won’t get revamped anytime soon? That’s my understanding. Why’s that? Read on, Gentle Reader.

5. What RPD really wants is area parents to get together to raise something on the order of [bites right pinkie finger] one million dollars, you know, the way they do things in rich areas of SF, like Sea Cliff (ala the new Mountain Lake) and Presidio Heights. Only then will RPD put your playground at the top of the fix-it list? OK fine. The funny thing is that most of the money that gets used to refurbish existing playgrounds is paid for by the non-rich, from some bond. But all this doesn’t matter for the playground at hand, because:

6. The slide vandalized in May 2014 has been replaced in September 2014 and the users are now satisfied. No $5,000,000 modernization from the RPD is needed, frankly. [Oh what’s that, RPD – this old-school playground costs you a lot of coin to maintain? Well, then why don’t you fix it up, RPD, you know, using the money we give you?]

And that’s the end of this story.

Remembering Mayor Gavin Newsom: “Please Stay in San Francisco and Don’t Move to Marin!

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

2007:

“Assessing the demographic in the room, the mayor then made a request of these parents who, while able to afford private school, are also potentially able to help support the city’s public schools: ‘Please stay in San Francisco and don’t move to Marin!‘”

2011:

Gavin, Jennifer Newsom moving from S.F. to Marin

Introducing the “Sunset Duck Tour” from Ride the Ducks San Francisco – What It’s Like to Ride an Amphibious Vehicle on the Bay

Monday, July 14th, 2014

IMO, writer Tony Hicks has got things spot-on right here in the San Jose Mercury News:

Taking the Kids: Quacking up and around the city by the bay

I just took the media cruise for the new-ish “Sunset Duck Tour” from Ride the Ducks San Francisco - it starts at 7:30 PM.

Here’s Captain John:

Quacking away with people in another duck boat while passing by:

So that’s how things start in Fisherman’s Wharf. Then you begin a circuitous trip to the launch ramps down south of AT&T Park. I’ve never been up so high in an open vehicle, so this was a new experience, kind of like what I imagine the “hop-on hop-off” city bus tours are like.

So off you go, past the working part of Fisherman’s Wharf…

…past the Gary Danko (perennial No. 1 in the Bay Area for “Food, Service and Popularity” per Zagat)…

…through North Beach and on to Chinatown, where you look down upon the #30 Stocktons as you pass them by…

…and then through the tunnel to Union Square and then through SoMA to the launch area.

I gotta say that that was the touristy part of the tour, so check out Beth Spotswood’s take on that in the Tourist Trapped Culture Blog of the San Francisco Chronicle’s SFGate.com if you want more on that.

So finally you get to launch – it looks like this:

And then you’re slowly cruising the bay, albeit near to shore for the most part.

This was the late-starting 7:30 PM sunset cruise so things were getting darker as we made our way past AT&T Park:

You might catch a little spray from the bay but most likely you won’t.

This riding-on-the-water part in a military-style vehicle with not all that much freeboard is an experience – I recommend it.

Then after puttering around on the water, you drive out of the water to take the Embarcadero back to the Wharf.

Looking back at the Bay Bridge through Doris and Don Fisher’s Cupid’s Span skate park / tourist hiking platform – plenty of oohs and ahs at this point here:

Interacting with happy passersby on the way home…

…while zipping past the historic F-Market streetcars:

These ducks look somewhat menacing at night, huh?

And there’s your trip:

So, you need to show up at least 15 minutes early to keep your reservation, I think.

And this tour can get quite cold and windy, needless to say.

If you want to see some more photos, there are some good ones on Yelp.

This was a great experience – I think it’d be good for tourists and locals alike.

 

“The San Francisco Dungeon” Opens – It’s the Newest and Spookiest Addition to Fisherman’s Wharf – What People Are Saying

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Here it is, the San Francisco Dungeon up at 145 Jefferson St. between Mason and Taylor in Fisherman’s Wharf – it’s the newest and spookiest addition to Fisherman’s Wharf. Check it out. It’s opening Thursday, June 26th, 2014.

And that makes it the ninth Merlin Entertainments Dungeon in the world. The roster:  Berlin DungeonHamburg DungeonAmsterdam Dungeon, the Blackpool Tower Dungeon, the Edinburgh Dungeon, the London Dungeon, the York DungeonWarwick Castle and now San Francisco.

Beth Spotswood of SFGate says she “screamed bloody murder.

And here’s Annie Sciacca’s take

And here’s San Francisco Bay Guardian skeptic / Harvard-boy David Kurlander’s bit. He dropped by last week and wrote a lot about the dungeon. He says, “…the Dungeon transcends a lot of the more toxic elements that drag down other Jeffersonian locales.” I guess that’s a compliment.

And here are the Yelp reviews.

I’m thinking that if you’re part of a fun group and you’re in the mood to have good time, then the SF Dungeon just might be for you.

Here are some scenes:

Colonel Jack Gamble welcomes victims (guests) to the San Francisco Dungeon in San Francisco, California

Nikko, of Shanghai Kelly’s Boat Ride, claims his victims (guests) in the San Francisco Dungeon in San Francisco, California

Underground boat ride? Mmmm… Maybe I’ll make it up there someday. (It seems a lot more appealing than any wax museum, just saying.)

All the deets, after the jump.

See you there!

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Vandalized Panhandle Playground Slide Crisis Enters Its Second Month – Won’t Somebody PLEASE Think of the Children?

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Amy Stephenson of Hoodline (fka uppercasing) has the deets on the The Case Of The Missing Panhandle Slides

Now here’s how the purple slides looked back in happier times, before The Attack of May 2014:

But then, sometime at the end of May, I’m guessing May 30th or May 31st, you know, the weekend, some vandal(s) (I’m guessing “young punks” or “hippies”) put a giant hole in the leftmost slide. Ouch!

So, first it was all like this…

…and then it was all like this – an even bigger hole:

But then on the following Monday (June 2nd), somebody from SFGov (DPW? RPD? SFPD?) came along and added some red DANGER tape:

And then soon after that, up went the plywood and then somebody came along and did a more permanent fix and so that’s how things look today, near the end of June.

Now I’m just assuming that the hole was the result of vandalism, but I don’t figure how else it could have happened.

(Can I blame SFGov for the hole? Nope. Not at all.)

(Can I find fault with how SFGov was/is handling the issue? Nope. Not at all.)

IMO, fixing these slides proper would be a big job, so simply getting another big old piece of plastic might be the best course of action. And that might take a while. I’m figuring a resolution by the end of July is reasonable – sorry kids.

In mitigation, the playground still has one working slide.

In the meantime, WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge: Penguins + Pajamas + Your Family = Fun at the Academy of Sciences Sleepover This Friday

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Word comes from Scholastic that it will bring a bunch of books to San Francisco to promote its Summer Reading Challenge at this Friday’s Penguins + Pajamas event:

“The California Academy of Sciences will be hosting an “Penguins + Pajamas” event (their wildly popular kid museum sleepover) in partnership with the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge on Friday June 13th at 6 p.m. CT.  

We plan on providing over 300 children’s books (The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System), Harry Potter and The Magic School Bus posters Captain Underpants trading cards, WordGirl stickers, Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge glow-in-the-dark bookmarks, EVEREADY flashlights and batteries (our sponsor this year), tote bags, reading certificates, summer reading book lists and more as kids learn about the night sky at one the nation’s most well-respected and popular scientific and cultural institutions.”

That was the wind-up, now here’s the pitch:

“On Friday, June 13, join us for a Brain Power Sleepover. Explore the museum at night while you have fun putting your brain power to work. Solve mind-boggling puzzles, marvel at the stars in a late night planetarium show, participate in the 2014 Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge and get a free book! Learn about everything from brains to biology with interactive programs, live demos, and hands-on activities.”

(And if you’re going to do this, you might as well get a Membership, just saying.)

Just think, this could be you:

See you there!

What It Looks Like When the California Academy of Sciences Has a Free Admission Day – A 500-Yard Line in the Rain

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

This is the tail of the snake on JFK Drive:

Click to expand

Or you can Plan a Visit sometime, your choice.

Oh No, Now Even Our San Francisco Zoo is Working Blue – “The Scoop on Poop” Opens January 25th 2014

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Taking a cue from our naughty, naughty PUC, your San Francisco Zoo has a new exhibition called The Scoop on Poop.

I’m appalled.

But your kids will love it.

And afterwards, check out the brand-new ELINOR FRIEND PLAYGROUND.

All right, see you there!

All the deets:

The Scoop on Poop! Opening Day

Special Members-Only Preview: January 25, 9:00 – 10:00 am
Open to Public: January 25, 10:00 am in the Pachyderm Building

Poop. Doo-doo. Dung. Number 2. No matter what you call it, you’ll be able to learn all about it at The Scoop on Poop, our latest special exhibition on view in the Pachyderm Building. Based on a popular children’s book by the same name by Dr. Wayne Lynch, The Scoop on Poop leads visitors on an investigation of what poop is and how animals and humans use it.

Animals use poop to build homes, hide from enemies, attract mates, send messages, and cool off – some even eat it! Veterinarians, farmers, naturalists, paleontologists, Maasai tribesmen, and power companies use it, too. Poop is a scientific puzzle, and with a little detective work, you can learn a lot about an animal by what it leaves behind.

Ever more deets, after the jump

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