Posts Tagged ‘january’

Finally! It’s March, So Now Francisco’s Plum Trees Actually Look Like Plum Trees, Instead of Cherry

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

See?

Click to expand

My campaign to get area residents to call plum trees “plum trees” is picking up steam. Now, remember back in aught-eight, when some people called mountain lions “cougars?” Good times,* right? Well, those days are history. And, similarly, tout le 415 will be calling cherry trees “cherry trees” by January 2014 at the latest.

You’ll see.

*”Cougar corners St. Mary’s Hoopster in Danville” – that kind of thing.

It’s Mid-Winter, So Our Flowering Plum Trees are Blooming – 2011′s Season is a Little Late, Actually

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

First started noticing these blooms a couple of days ago:

Click to expand

Some people think they are cherry blossoms. Check it:

Well it’s late January in San Francisco so it’s time for our sidewalk plum trees to begin blossoming. Yeah, they look a lot like cherry trees and that causes people around town to start talking about how global warming / climate change is making the cherry trees of April wake up three months early or something.

You can double-check with the Friends of the Urban Forest if you want, but I’ll tell you, those flashes of pink you see brightening up the otherwise-dreary Streets of San Francsico these days are early-rising Prunus blireiana, aka Flowering Plum trees, or something similar.

Be patient and you’ll be rewarded with real cherry trees in March – check out the sked at the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum in Golden Gate Park.

If this January blossom is cherry, I’ll eat my hat:

This will be the scene in the Financh in a couple of months – our wild parrots love all kinds of prunus blossoms of course.

Take heart, Spring is just around the corner…

Photos From the Annual “Walk for Life West Coast” 2011 and Counterprotest in San Francisco

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

Maybe someday the liars over at Walk For Life West Coast will explain how a march that was only two-thirds the length of last year’s (48 minutes (or so) long in 2010 and 31 minutes long in 2011*) could have 5000 more people.

It’s a miracle!?

It’s worth noting that nobody had a crowd estimate of less than 22K last year and nobody independent from the movement has a an estimate north of 20k this year. I put it at 16k and KGO 7 ABC TV is saying “about 20,000.” The organizers, under enormous pressure to claim ever growing attendance, claim 40,000+. Oh well.

Anyway, here are a few shots from this afternoon, starting with the counters.

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were on hand. I’d say 5000 souls saw this sister and a fellow sister today – they were the focus of the march, particularly on the right side of the river of people going by. Here’s your welcome to San Francisco:

The mise-en-scene:

Tax Church Property and INVESTMENTS! Sure, sounds good to me.

And here’s Frank Chu, in the middle, going on about the Galaxies, as per usual:

And here’s the main body, 16k or so marchers from all over California and beyond:

St. Patrick’s Teens, Sonora, in the hiz-ouse:

Some people from Fowler, CA? Sounds far away:

Yes We Can change:

Yeah BABIES:

“Flower” and “shears”:

A brace from Sacramento:

Save the human babies. Of course! Human babies, that changes everything!

And there you have it.

*We’re talking about at the start here, people. Ferry Plaza was a ghost town by 12:33 PM. If the same number of people showed up as last year, it would have taken until about 12:50 PM for everybody to get going. Obviously, the march will spread out over time and narrow due to the way the course is set up.

Peak Life? Today’s “Walk for Life West Coast” Anti-Abortion Parade Much Smaller Than Last Year’s – Less Than 20,000 Marchers

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

[UPDATE: Here are some photos. Oh, and Protest Shooter has some video showing way more than “maybe 100″ counter-protesters, which he undercounts for ideological reasons, and showing way less than “40,000″ marchers, which he undercounts for, wait for it, ideological reasons. The fact remains that it took last year’s crowd 48 minutes to clear out but this year’s only 31 minutes.]

Surprise! Today’s Walk for Life West Coast 2011 had a smaller turnout than the past couple years.

How about 16,000 for an estimate of those marching up Embarcadero from the Ferry Building / Justin Herman Plaza area? So, that would be less than half of the officially estimated and very optimistic 35,000 count from last year, or, comparing apples to apples, about two-thirds of last year’s attendance, which was in the 22k, 23k, 24k neighborhood.

Here’s my estimate from last year, complete with my criticism of a ridiculously low number (that some took seriously) from the San Francisco Chronicle. Seems odd that multiple independent sources came in at around the same low-to-middle 20,000s and the organizers were at a pie-in-the sky 35k. Last year’s crowd took 48 minutes to get going, but this year’s took just 31, so you do the math. (And in case there’s any doubt here, crowd counting-wise, like the suitor and his ring in Oh Brother Where Art Thou, I’m bona fide. I got there a couple minutes before noon and I was like Sherman, where are all the white people? How can the organizers claim to not be aware of the smaller crowd this year if it was so obvious to me from the get-go?)

Of course some are wed to the idea of constantly growing numbers:

American Missionary – Great weather in SF west coast walk for life. 40,000+ in attendance.”

Will organizers tell the truth and say that their numbers are down year-over-year or will they simply lie? [UPDATE – KGO 7 ABC TV is saying about 20,000 and as for what the organizers are saying, see below]

As it looked at the start at around 12:02 PM, Saturday, January 22nd, 2011 CE. The much smaller counterprotesting pro-choice march went up Herb Caen Way in parallel – they were gone in 160 seconds or so.

Please remember, WFLWC spinners:

Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness (Lie)

[UPDATE: That’s it, as of 2:31 PM, Saturday, January 22nd, in the Year of Our Lord 2011, they are going for the lie:

7th Annual Walk for Life
a record breaking success!

At least 40,000 stand up for Life!”

Now, how could it be that a march that took three-quarters of an hour (more or less) to pass by Embarcadero and Broadway in 2010 is smaller than today’s, one that took a half-hour (more or less) to pass by Embarcadero and Broadway?

Saying that there were about 40,000 people marching today isn’t spin, it’s a sin. Appears as if organizer Dolores Meehan is a big fat liar. She might not be aware of the actual numbers precisely, but she’s got to know that the size of the crowd is waaaaaay down this year. What would she say next year if the parade only takes 15 minutes to get out of Ferry Plaza? She’d say 45,000, natch.

I mean, is that cool? Exaggerate more and more each year until nobody believes you? Is that how you roll?

And others are doing their best to prove the Rule of Three:

@bayareacatholic Just heard – an estimated 45-50 thou walkers! #walkforlife

And here’s the official press release. Pure horseshit:

“Record-breaking Turnout for Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Tens of thousands of pro-life activists filled Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco’s downtown and then walked 2.5 miles along the waterfront in a record-breaking turnout for the 7th Annual Walk for Life West Coast.

“We are here to break the bondage of the culture of death,” Walk for Life co-chair Dolores Meehan told the crowd that stretched as far as the eye could see.

“If we care for the baby, we have to care for the mother and father,” said speaker Kathleen Eaton, who funded Birth Choice Clinics in Orange County after her own abortion.

The Walk was held on the 38th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

“Today on January 22nd,  I do not honor choice any more, I mourn choice,” said former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson, who walked away from her job at a Texas Planned Parenthood clinic on October 6, 2009, after assisting in an ultrasound-guided abortion of a 13-week-old fetus. “You are the new generation of the pro-life movement and I can tell you Planned Parenthood is shaking in their boots.”

“Nothing is too big for God to forgive,” said Mary Poirer, who told the story of her three abortions.

Rev. Brian Walker, who, with his wife Denise, chose to abort their child four months before their wedding, said he deserted his wife when she needed him. “Many years ago there was not a man in the house, there was a male in the house, but there was not a man in the house,” said Walker. “Everybody suffers in the wake of abortion.”

“We’ve lost close to 40 percent of our population to abortion,” said Rev. Denise Walker, founder of Everlasting Light Ministries, referring to the high rate of African American abortions. “We must end this slaughter.”

A densely packed crowd of least 40,000 walked 20 across in a line that stretched over a mile. The Walk route started at Justin Herman Plaza in downtown San Francisco and concluded at Marina Green in sight of Golden Gate Bridge.

Founded in 2005 by a group of San Francisco Bay Area residents, the Walk for Life West Coast’s mission is to change the perceptions of a society that thinks abortion is the answer.

www.walkforlifewc.com]

Flags are at Half-Staff in San Francisco These Days Due to the Tuscon Shootings of January 9th, 2011

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Details at The Bay Citizen: Local Ties to Tuscon Tragedy

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Brace Yourselves for Another Dine About Town: $17.95 Lunches & $34.95 Dinners From January 15-31, 2011

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Dine About Town is coming back for 2011 in January.

Participating joints are listed after the jump.

Check it out:


Presented by the San Francisco
Convention & Visitors Bureau
San Francisco Dine About Town returns this January! Try a restaurant you may have missed last time or return to your old favorite.
What: $17.95 Lunches & $34.95 Dinners
Who: 100+ Restaurants
When: January 15 – 31

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“Pierre the Penguin: A True Story” Launches at CalAcademy – The Best Book Reading Ever

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Wetsuits and and live animals – that’s what all book readings should have. And that’s the way it was this morning at our California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park when the new book Pierre the Penguin: A True Story made its debut.

And the reviews are in.

The bird himself, back when he needed a jacket:

After a thumbs up from the kids…

..it was time for a penguin feeding:

And there he is, famous Pierre, in the middle. His feathers growed back…

…so he no longer has a need for his wetsuit:

Here are the deets:

“When Pierre – an elderly penguin at the California Academy of Sciences – begins to go bald, the staff is worried. Without his feathers, Pierre is too cold to swim. He also looks different from the rest of the colony, so the other penguins begin to pick on him. Academy biologists try every treatment in the books to prompt new feather growth, but none of the traditional strategies work. Finally, aquatic biologist Pam Schaller has an idea: why not fit the shivering bird with a neoprene wetsuit to keep him warm? She designs a tiny wetsuit especially for Pierre, but will it work? Told in rhyme by noted I SPY author Jean Marzollo, and paired with gorgeous paintings from acclaimed wildlife artist Laura Regan, this inspirational true story comes to life.”

This tome will be on sale at the CalAcademy.

Your next chance to get in on the fun will be at one of the upcoming Penguins and Pajamas.

Penguins and Pajamas – Stay Overnight With Your Kid at the California Academy of Sciences!

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Oh it’s on! Grab a slot on one of these upcoming Friday nights, June 18, July 16, or August 13, 2010, and then head over to our fantastic California Academy of Sciences with your kid for an overnighter.

It’s a Night at the Museum, baby! Check it:

“Participants can take in the evening songs of the rainforest birds, sing “twinkle twinkle” to a sea star at the Discovery Tidepool, and watch the fish cruise under the moonlight in the Philippine Coral Reef tank. Then, guests can catch a special penguin talk, and become stargazing gurus during an after-hours planetarium show.

“Before bedtime, sleepover guests can grab a snack of cookies and milk and settle in for story time, featuring “Pierre the Penguin,” the true story of the Academy’s famous wetsuit-wearing penguin. When the lights go out, participants can unroll their sleeping bags in African Hall, next to the swaying kelp of the California Coast tank, or even at the Swamp window, face-to-face with Claude, the albino alligator. In the morning, it’s time to rise and shine, then head over to the Academy Café for breakfast before the sleepover event ends at 8:30 am.”

If you’re an Academy Member, then all this is just $99 per kid aged six and up.

Be sure to take along your pigiami del pinguino, you know, something like this:

via amanky

This is going to be mega. All the deets:

“PENGUINS AND PAJAMAS” SLEEPOVER PROGRAM AT THE CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES LAUNCHES IN JUNE

Tickets for new summer sleepover events go on sale at www.calacademy.org May 1st

SAN FRANCISCO (April 15, 2010) — Why count sheep when you could count geckos, butterflies, sharks, and penguins? Starting this summer, kids can camp out for a night at the California Academy of Sciences—and see the museum in a whole new light. The “Penguins and Pajamas” sleepover program, for children ages 6 and over and their adult chaperones, will launch with three summer events on Friday, June 18, July 16, and August 13. Tickets will be available at www.calacademy.org beginning on May 1.

Doors will open at 6:30 pm, when sleepover guests are invited to come in and explore the Academy after it’s closed to the public. Participants can take in the evening songs of the rainforest birds, sing “twinkle twinkle” to a sea star at the Discovery Tidepool, and watch the fish cruise under the moonlight in the Philippine Coral Reef tank. Then, guests can catch a special penguin talk, and become stargazing gurus during an after-hours planetarium show.

Before bedtime, sleepover guests can grab a snack of cookies and milk and settle in for story time, featuring “Pierre the Penguin,” the true story of the Academy’s famous wetsuit-wearing penguin. When the lights go out, participants can unroll their sleeping bags in African Hall, next to the swaying kelp of the California Coast tank, or even at the Swamp window, face-to-face with Claude, the albino alligator. In the morning, it’s time to rise and shine, then head over to the Academy Café for breakfast before the sleepover event ends at 8:30 am.

The “Penguins and Pajamas” Academy sleepover package includes overnight parking in the Music Concourse parking garage as well as next-day museum admission, breakfast, snacks, and a special commemorative gift. Dinner is available for purchase at the Academy Café or the Moss Room.

What: “Penguins and Pajamas” sleepover program

Who: Open to children ages 6 and over; an adult chaperone must accompany every group of up to five children.

Where: California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, 94118

When: 6:30pm – 8:30am on Friday, June 18, July 16, and August 13

Tickets: $119 ($99 for Academy members), tickets available starting May 1, 2010 at www.calacademy.org.

Extreme Mammals, a Major Exhibit, Opens April 3rd at the California Academy of Sciences

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

The Cal Academy, our California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, has a new exhibit opening Saturday, April 3 - it’s called Extreme Mammals: the Biggest, Smallest, and Most Amazing Mammals of All Time and it’ll run all the way through September 12, 2010.

Don Sanchez has all the deets – take the tour. See? There’s lots of stuff to look at.

And here’s a live one on display - this little treeshrew loves to screech and jump around, that’s all it did when I was there. Is it a dead ringer for Scrat from the Ice Age series? Through the glass with the tail on the right side:

A lot of the critters portrayed are no longer with us. Like this Ambulocetus, a sacrilegious, walking half-whale:

And of course, a huge diorama:

That’s the show, but I also got a chance to check out the climate-controlled catacombs of the Cal Academy today - here’s Research Associate Dr. Galen Rathbun showing off his collection of elephant shrews. He’ll soon be trekking to Africa for more research:

Your kids will love Extreme Mammals.

And for you non-kids out there aged 21 and up, I’ll remind you that popular NightLife picks up steam this month. They’re going to get extreme ‘n stuff, starting tonight. And don’t miss out on the real live cheetah they’ll have on Arpil 15. Check it: 

“NightLife gets “Extreme” during April (Ages 21+) Thursdays from 6:00 to 10:00 pm
In April, NightLife gets “extreme” in celebration of the opening of Extreme Mammals. Highlights include a Yuri’s Night party with extreme robots (4/8); a celebration of our extreme home, Earth – the only planet known to support life (Earth Day, 4/22); and tales about white sharks, of one of the ocean’s most extreme predators (4/29).  Every Thursday night, the Academy opens its doors from 6-10 pm for NightLife, a chance for adults ages 21+ to explore the museum in a whole new light, with DJs, bars, and provocative science programming.  A valid ID is required for entry.  Admission is $12 per person ($10 Academy members). California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park.  (415) 379-8000.
www.calacademy.org/nightlife.

4-1 – “Extremely Jurassic” with Paleontologist Scott Sampson and Miles the DJ
4-8 – “Extremely Cosmic” – Yuri’s Night, Extreme Robots, and the SpaceCowboys
4-15 – “Extremely Warm-Blooded” – All about mammals including a big cat show, with music by Aaron Pope
4-22 – “Extremely Green” – An Earth Day celebration with green games, interactive displays and DJ Michael Anthony

All the deets of the new mammals exhibit after the jump.

See you there!

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Our California Academy of Sciences Says Recession, What Recession

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Not literally or anything, but it appeared to be packed this past weekend. And I asked them, I says, “Is this a free day or something?” And they’re all like, no, it’s just a regular old three-day weekend, just business as usual.

Now, I’ve heard all the complaints. Let’s deal with them, below.

Become a member or get your tickets online ahead of time, and then you avoid this line around the building.

Click to expand.

“The CalAcademy is too small.”

All right, I’ll tell you I was never in there at the old building – I understand it had cool stuff that you miss. But some people, especially the NIMBY neighbors in the nearby Inner Sunset area, think the new building is too big, too popular. The Academy couldn’t continue with the old building due to earthquake concerns – what was considered a safe enough building before in the last century is no longer considered safe enough now. Sorry. (Damn you, San Andreas Fault, damn you.)

 “The CalAcademy is too crowded.”

So they must be doing something right, right? What you’re saying, in a way, is that the CalAcademy is too cheap.

 “The CalAcademy is too crowded with kids.”

Yep, especially when those school buses roll up. Oh well. The Academy has a mission of public education, does it not? That’s for the benefit of California’s kids. Does that directly benefit you today right now? Maybe not. Sorry.

 “The CalAcademy is too expensive.”

Well, this ties in with the first complaint. How can it too expensive if it’s packed all the time? You know how much the Monterey Bay Aquarium is these days? $30. If you live in San Francisco, you’re entitled to something like 20 days of free admission per year plus a free NightLife entry on your birfday (assuming the stars align and they’re having a NightLife around the time of your birthday.)

“Them free days, they’re even more crowded.”

Well, yeah. Get there early, why don’t you? (Or get there late in the day, when there’s less of a line (tho your chances of getting into the Planetarium and/or rainforest dome will be lower). The Bernard Osher Foundation Third Wednesday of the Month Free program is open to all, so of course it gets crowded those days. But the zip-code based free days are less crowded, so San Franciscans, including you born-and-raised-San Franciscans, you old goats, get six of those not-so-crowded days a year.

“The food’s too expensive.”

Check out the nearby Inner Sunset area for food if you want. It’s walkable. Get yourselves a perfectly cromulent  fat burrito at Gordo’s at 1239 9th Avenue near Lincoln. Get it to-go and have an outdoor picnic.

“The rainforest was closed when I was there.”

Yep, sometimes. Life’s like that. They don’t keep this kind of info a big secret, however.

“There’s no place to park.”

Maybe - that’s by design, in a way. Actually, you’re lucky to have that underground parking garage whether you use it or not, so count your blessings. Whatever you do, don’t drive into Golden Gate Park, big mistake on busier days. Think Fulton, think Lincoln, think about spending ten minutes walking through the park to get the CalAcademy. That’s not a bug, that’s a feature. And on Sundays, all parking is free in the surrounding Inner Sunset and Inner Richmond areas – it’s totally wide open. Might not be as easy to park as you’re used to, but you can deal. And there’s plenty of bike parking since they added in a bunch of new spaces.

Here’s the thing – you gotta work the system, baby. Plan ahead, try to figure out when the place has fewer patrons, check the schedule,  make a beeline to the Planetarium to get your free show passes as soon as you get in, monitor the rainforest line to see when it’s shorter.

So, if you’re unhappy customer, you gotta think:

1. Maybe your expectations were too high because you didn’t plan ahead (which isn’t the CalAcademy’s fault), or;

2. Maybe the CalAcademy isn’t for you (which isn’t the CalAcademy’s fault)

And all you NIMBY neighbors, please realize that the CalAcademy was here even before you.

Let’s thank Gaia we’re not saddled with some big hulking wreck that nobody wants to go to.

See you there!