Saturday, September 13, 2008

Urban Strip 4

Another piece in the series of sidewalk stencils that weave a story throughout the Mission - this one at the intersection of Guerrero and Cumberland:

She looks up at her landscape of concrete towers, shrouded in fog.

Go to next episode

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Lionhead rabbits

A few days ago, for reasons which would take too long to explain, I began drawing some lions. After some warming-up, I got relatively pleased with the head, but was forced to admit that I didn't quite know how the body of a lion worked, and therefore had some issues with that part of the project:

After some Googling, I found out that lions actually don't have such a great body. Representations of lions usually look muscular and flexible, but in reality, they lack the feline grace cats or panthers have.
Anyways, I think my interest in lions got into Google's limitless memory of facts about me, and collapsed with another topic I had some interest into (and won't explain either), rabbits. As a result, while checking my mail on Gmail, I was recommended to check out Buffalo Creek Farms and their lionhead rabbits. I quote:
Lionhead rabbits are the newest breed of bunnies out there, and it has been a long time since we have seen a new breed. Lionhead rabbits first appeared in Belgium in the 1990's. They were a mix of the Swiss Fox and Belgian Dwarf. The breeding created a genetic mutaion that is the mane gene.

Practically, this has to be the most improbable animal I have seen in a while, one of those mystical beasts like the griffon or unicorn, but looking like a clueless rabbit wearing a lion costume.

Labels: ,

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Man legs (two)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Where is the love?

In a city named after Saint Francis, patron of animals small and large, it was a bit odd to see this little dog waiting outside a pub on Valencia street.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Workaholics unite

As a recovering workaholic myself, when I saw this ad on the walls of the BART, my first reaction was to be slightly offended. So workaholics are not likeable?

The initial shock was followed by some confusion. Am I supposed to understand that, with the help of Claritin-D, anyone can start cleaning up windows like a maniac wearing a yellow construction worker hat? Is this why people really like workaholics - because they keep their office windows so clean? Very confusing.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Some more urban strip

On my way to the Cinco de Mayo party in Dolores Park, I had a good surprise; at the corner of 19th and Guerrero, I found another stencil on the sidewalk, which belongs to the series of small stories I had begun to follow. I had hit a dead-end and was stuck without indication as to where to look for, and was very glad to find this one out of sheer luck.
I could still not fully decipher it, any Champollion-esque expertise is appreciated!

An owl swoops by her,
a mouse clutched in its talons,
and flies towards Dolores park.
a. Compelled, she follows it.
b. Flustered, she continues on.
[Edited May 14th, with the help of the Resident Champollion, and Master of Words, Elif.]

b. leads to the illegible one, and then to this one.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Keep your distances

Technology tells me that what people like most about this blog are UFO Response Team cars. I wish I could specialize in this area, and become the official photographer of this outfit, but unfortunately, it has all the known characteristics of your standard-issue government agency, and information is hard to come by. On top of that, it's a competitive market, cornered by well-established UFO news agencies and blogs.
Of course, I'll keep hunting news about the alien plot to invade the US, and what the Government is doing about it. In the meanwhile, this reminded me of a picture I had taken a while back, and never published, so here it is. Yes I know, except for the fact that it displays a car in California (with a sticker), there is really little to no relationship with UFOs.


Friday, March 21, 2008

The End

This is the resolution of the unbearable suspense of the "urban strip" decorating the sidewalks of 18th street; this one is located at the intersection of 18th and Valencia, on the north - east corner.

He gets a delicious churro but it fails to fill his existential hollow.

Back to previous episode

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


On Howard street, close to 8th I believe, there is a building which catches my eyes every time. If Salvador Dali and M.C. Escher had a child who went into architecture and crack, this is probably what he would build. I didn't have enough time to check what the deal is; having a giant clocks or pieces of furniture crawling on the walls certainly does give lots of cachet to the place, but living with the windows permanently open to provide them with an escape route can't be that convenient to conduct business or live in...

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Urban strip

One thing I like about my neighborhood is that there are stencils everywhere; decorative or political, on the walls or the sidewalk. The one I like most is a series on 18th street. It is a series narrating a story with multiple choices; the ink has been fading away, which adds to the mystery.
The segment below is at 18th and Valencia, and is the penultimate of the plot. Unfortunately, when I followed the mouse down towards Dolores, I could not find any follow-up, but I saw a spot which looked like it had been whitewashed... I hope this isn't it...

A white mouse peeks its head out of the sewer grates and gives him an inquisitive glance. He swears the mouse winks before it scurries on 18th.
a. Intrigued, he follows the mouse.
b. Dismissive, he shrugs it off.

To be continued...
[Note: if you know of other stencils that are part of this series, please let me know!]

Labels: , , ,

Friday, January 18, 2008


Seen at Suriya, a Thai restaurant on Valencia Street, a mysterious assortment of animals; mysterious not that much for the animals themselves, but for the fact that they all proudly exhibit a strangely long, frog-like tongue.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

UFO Response Team

A few days back, bizzflip asked the following question:
What are you more likely to see in San Francisco, a UFO flying overhead or an available parking space near where you want to be?

As a proud inhabitant of SF, I'll tell you that I rated the difficulty of this question "easy"; but I now decided it was time to downgrade it to "trivial". Not only is a mysterious UFO Response Team fearlessly making sure the City remains a UFO-free environment, but they also began taking some of the few parking spots that were still available...

Mea Culpa, January 16th
Ooops coming too close to the Proton Packs laying in the trunk of that car must have interfered with my brainwaves; I should be downgraded, as the question went up from "easy" to "slightly tricky".

Labels: ,

Monday, January 14, 2008


Oxymoron seen on Irving Street, in the Sunset area.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, December 23, 2007

One hour, two bananas

A few days ago, leaving a building I used to work at, I checked the parking entrance booth, and was a bit surprised to see that a new face had replaced the usual attendant.
Happy Holidays, everybody!

Labels: ,

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Hands up

You have to give it to them, X-21, on Valencia, has a knack for eye-catching window-dressing. As I heard a passer-by say, "Wow! That's a lot of hands right there!" I found this sea of raised hands slightly uncomfortable to watch, though.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Oy to the world

The Mission is a politically assertive neighborhood, where opinions and messages pertaining to all sorts of important causes are ubiquitous; still, I was somewhat surprised to see from the corner of my eye a proud Israeli flag in the window display of a vintage-clothing shop (Retro Fit) on Valencia street today. Where I expected your standard "peace-and-love" T-shirt variety, its message turned out to be a kabbalistic "Oy to the world". The through Google research that followed yielded two conclusions:
1) the fuzziness around the definition of "Oy" (an interjection "used especially to express exasperation or dismay", dixit Webster) does not allow me to conclusively interpret the message "Oy to the world",
2) after visiting Oy Bay ("The Jewish Blog-by-the-Bay"), I realized my perception of Hanukkah as an old-fashioned, traditional celebration needed to be updated. ("Girdle your circumcised loins with sour cream or apple sauce, Heebs! Crazy latke-dreidle dancin’ comin’ atcha!" “Getting Krunk (Kosher Drunk) with Dan Wolf“). Happy Hanukkah!

Labels: ,

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The street economist

First, there was the economist; the species evolved into subspecies, branching into classical and neoclassical economists, Keynesian and neo-Keynesian economists, Marxists, and numerous other subgroups, the latest being the rogue economist.
Judging from the design of this hoodie seen last Friday at the mall, a new group is ready to hit the streets, quite literally:

I am seriously not sure what to make of that one. Did economics suddenly become so cool, that it is hip to show-off market creds' on the street? Or have neo-conservative think tanks been so successful in marketing their ideas, that the current generation of rebellious youth is ready to submit to the forces of the market, and make "Obey Supply and Demand" their anthem, after classics such as "Peace and love" or "No Future"?


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Free the pumpkins!

Two days ago, as I walked towards my place, I noticed the street was regularly lined up with pumpkins; a closer look revealed that all of them were tied to urban fixtures, as if to prevent their escape. Weird.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The right tool

A few weeks back, L and I went to a Korean restaurant on Geary boulevard. The waiting line was pretty long, and we had plenty of time until our names were up, so we went for a walk in the neighborhood, and ended up in a Korean grocery shop. The experience was like entering an alternate reality, with a bit of the childhood pleasure of searching through an attic full of strange objects. It has the familiar organization of a grocery store, and yet everything is off, from slightly odd products - we purchased a bag of pumpkin candies, which tasted like, well, pumpkin - to frankly unidentifiable ones, like this... tool? Device? Contraption? I still have absolutely no idea what it can be used for; your suggestions, explanations, or hypotheses, are welcome!


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bacchus - the energy drink!

The internet, source of all knowledge and reliable information, tells us that Bacchus was

The Roman god of wine and intoxication, equated with the Greek Dionysus. His festival was celebrated on March 16 and 17. The Bacchanalia, orgies in honor of Dionysus, were introduced in Rome around 200 BCE. These infamous celebrations, notorious for their sexual and criminal character, got so out of hand that they were forbidden by the Roman Senate in 186 BCE. Bacchus is also identified with the old-Italian god Liber.

It was only a matter of time until a brand name so powerful and full of promise would be tapped into for its marketing potential; and to inaugurate that promising line of products, what would be more fitting than an energy drink: