Growing by the Bay

Month: April 2008

Movies filmed in San Francisco

In the context of an article about filmmakers avoiding SF because of its expense, SFGate has put together a nice interactive map mashup showing the location of several movies filmed in San Francisco.

movies filmed in san francisco

The map can be dragged. The movies icons are coded by genre. Clicking on an icon brings up information about the movie, its SF locations, and even a link to the trailer.

invasion of the body snatchers, filmed in san francisco

The list of movies doesn’t seem very complete to me. One I can think of right away that’s missed is Eric von Stroheim’s Greed, which was at least partially shot in the city. The site lists only the following. What else is missing?

  • D.O.A.
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers
  • Dirty Harry
  • Vertigo
  • What’s Up Doc?
  • The Conversation
  • Pal Joey
  • Bullitt
  • Petulia
  • Dark Passage
  • Flower Drum Song
  • The Towering Inferno
  • Zodiac
  • Milk


Mural house poll

mural house in san francisco

I used to work at the foot of the Filbert Steps, at Filbert and Sansome. It’s not a an area that’s famous for controversy. Should we feed the parrots was the biggest issue I remember. But now, a little farther up the hill, the mural shown above apparently is ruffling some feathers.

At least, according to SF Curbed

What once was La Torre restaurant (on the Filbert Steps, at Montgomery) is soon to be a single-family home, whose mural-covered facade is the already the nabe’s Kvetch du Jour, according to a local’s report from the Curbed SF inbox. The nabes is divided, apparently, between those who find it pleasant, and those who believe that painting the outside of one’s house is akin to playing music too loudly, or cribbing the neighbor’s electricity in order to power your Christmas display— It’s just bad business.

SF Curbed is running a poll to see how its readers fall out on the issue. At this writing “Murals: should the nabes have a say? Hell, no! Private property is private property” is winning hands down.


Top 10 classic Frisco tunes

I’m excluding old music hall / movie songs like “Hello, Frisco” and “O Susanna” (I’m allowing old blues and country tunes though). I’m also excluding contemporary songs like all the hip hop and rap that have “Frisco” in the lyrics.

10. Bob Dylan, “Roving Gambler”

I gambled up in Washington, gambled over in Spain
I’m on my way to Frisco town
to knock down my last game

9. Merle Haggard, “Here in Frisco”

They say it’s raining in Chicago and it’s cold and clear in Denver
Been windy all night long here in Frisco
Trolley cars are clinging the big Bay Town’s swinging
And I’m still all alone here in Frisco

8. Frank Zappa, “Who Needs the Peace Corps?”

What’s there to live for?
Who needs the Peace Corps?
Think I’ll just drop out
I’ll go to Frisco

7. The Youngbloods, “Grizzly Bear”

I used to love to watch her dance that Grizzly Bear
I guess she’s gone to Frisco to dance it there

6. Cab Calloway, “Frisco Flo”

Frisco Flo was just as sharp as a tack;
Frisco Flo, for a fellow would give the shirt right off of her back.

5. Memphis Minne, “Frisco Town”

You can toot your whistle, you can ring your bell
But I know you been wanting it by the way you smell
I’m on my way to Frisco town

4. Jesse Fuller, “San Francisco Bay Blues”

I got the blues when my baby left me
down by the Frisco bay

3. Chuck Berry, “Sweet Little Sixteen”

They’re really rockin in Boston
In Pittsburgh, P. A.
Deep in the heart of Texas
And ’round the Frisco bay

2. Johnny Cash, “Give My Love to Rose”

He said they let me out of prison down in Frisco
For ten long years I’ve paid for what I’ve done
I was trying to get back to Louisiana
To see my Rose and get to know my son

and the top classic Frisco tune, yes, that old chestnut

1. Otis Redding, “Dock of the Bay”

I left my home in Georgia
and headed for the Frisco bay

So what songs am I forgetting?


Honorable mention: Waylon Jennings, “Frisco Depot” (Frisco’s a mile long away / You can afford to fly / But it might as well be the moon, / Lord, when you’re as broke as I); George Strait, “Give It Away” (Like that picture from our honeymoon, / That night in Frisco Bay: / She said: “Give it away.” / Well, I can’t give it away); Arthur “Big Boy” Cruddup, “Mean Ol’ Frisco” (Well, that mean old Frisco, and that low down Santa Fe / Well it carried my baby away, and it’s blown right back on me); Hoyt Axton, “I Aint Got a Worry” (Well I ain’t got a worry, you know I ain’t got a care. / ’m going back to Frisco, all my friends are there); Grateful Dead, “Casey Jones” (He turned to his fireman and this is what he said / “Boy, we’re going to reach Frisco, but we’ll all be dead”).


The toughest guys on the old SF waterfront, neither rubes nor tourists, called it Frisco, and no effete journalist would have tried to correct them. — Herb Caen


SFMOMA rooftop garden

sfmoma rooftop garden

Construction has begun on a new rooftop garden at SFMOMA. Making a virtue of the necessity of providing parking, the museum will install the garden atop the parking garage adjacent to their galleries.

I suspect the space will often be used for fundraising parties.

The image shows the glass walkway that will connect the garage garden with the museum. More images like this one at


NBA playoffs

The Warriors got bounced, despite winning more games than any modern team that failed to make the playoffs. It didn’t help that they lost every big game down the stretch.

Under my nom de forum of Ali Hoop, I am, however, doing a little better than the Dubs did. Midway through the first round I’m still within striking distance of the coveted Prix WarriorsWorld.Net for the most dead-on playoff predictions.

UPDATE, 5/04, beginning of second round. Moved up to the four spot.
UPDATE, 5/08, near midway of second round. Now in no. two spot.

wwnet 2008 playoff predictions

Make a reservation

Go ahead, make a reservation to eat out in Oakland. It’s probably a little safer today than it was yesterday.

Oakland has been shaken by a series of takeover-style restaurant robberies. Now a suspect has been arrested, and warrants issued for two more.

The arrested suspect is a 16-year-old boy from San Francisco, and one of the warrants is for a 15-year-old.

There. Now don’t you feel safer?


via A Better Oakland


Don’t call it San-Fran

I’m no Herb Caen, but it looks like my anti-San-Fran movement is picking up an adherent or two.

Then again, the authors are “SF-wannabes,” in the arrogant lingo of our provincial thought police.

frisco, not san fran

Is this the sound of San Francisco?

According to Global Deejays it is. Apparently the sound of San Francisco is sort of techno retro pop, while the visuals associated with the city show the influence of Playboy circa 1972.

“Raging Controversy” at the Goldman Awards

goldman awards

Yesterday I attended the Goldman Environmental Prize Awards, as I have done most years since sometime in the early 1990s. The event is held in the city’s beautiful War Memorial Opera House, with a reception afterward at City Hall. The award honors grassroots environmental activists from around the world with a cash prize of $150,000. According to Nancy Pelosi, the award is “on a par with the Nobel Peace Prize in terms of its recognition of courage and brilliance in protecting our environment.”

This year two of the winners were lawyer Pablo Fajardo Mendoza and community organizer Luis Yanza, both of Ecuador, who are suing Chevron to clean up oil contamination in the Amazon rain forest. This region is one of the world’s most contaminated sites, and residents report a large number of health problems and deaths that appear related to the contamination.

But the selection of the Ecuadorans for the prize has again highlighted the journalistic deficiencies of our local daily, whose declining circulation can be no surprise. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, in an article headlined (not very grammatically) “Controversy Mires Choice for Goldman Prize,” recognition of the Ecuardorans has created “a raging controversy.”

Which is the Chronicle‘s way of saying that Chevron held a press conference to express opposition to the activists who were suing the corporation. After all, according to Chevron general counsel Charles James, even if the environmental activists win in Ecuadoran courts “their ability to enforce this is going to be very limited.”

Well, sure it’s going to be limited. If Chevron was a country it would be much bigger and more powerful than Ecuador. So I guess the message is might makes right, no matter what the human and environmental consequences.

Is this really a “raging controversy”?


Pool garden after two weeks

pool garden at two weeks

Well, three weeks, but we were away on vacation for one. Recently we filled in our swimming pool, which has now become a garden. I had some plants in containers waiting to be transplanted, and I’ve planted a bunch of other stuff as seeds. The garden is still a little raw, but I’m reasonably happy with the progress so far.

The flowering plant at left is Matthiola incana (perennial stock); it’s fragrant and does well in our climate. You can also see an Iochroma coccinea and a Cussonia spicata, among other plants. You can also see the drip irrigation system I’m installing.


Morro Rock

Morro Rock in Morro Bay on the central California coast, viewed from the beach at Montana de Ora

A morro (a Spanish word for pebble) is a rocky outcrop rising from shallow waters — the Sugar Loaf in Rio is one famous example; Morro Rock in Morro Bay on the central California coast is another. The rock reaches an elevation of 576 feet (a little less than half the height of Sugar Loaf). It has been called “the Gibralter of the Pacific.”

Morro Rock is a plug, the hardened lava vent of an extinct volcanic peak. Several other volcanic peaks dot the central California coast between Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo; collectively they are known as the Nine Sisters. Besides Morro Rock these include Black Hill (665 ft), Cabrillo Peak (911 ft), Hollister Peak (1,404 ft), Cerro Romauldo (1,306 ft), Chumash Peak (1,257 ft), Bishop Peak (1,559 ft), Cerro San Luis (1,292 ft), and Islay Hill (775 ft).

The Chumash Indian tribe made their home in this area. Members of this tribe are the only people who can legally climb the rock (a dangerous activity because of loose boulders that often fall); the climbs are part of the Chumash solstice ceremony.

The rock was apparently first sighted by Europeans in 1542, by the explorer Juan Cabrillo.

Morro Rock viewed from the sand spit in Morro Bay


The Nine Sisters of San Luis Obispo County (Sierra Club San Luis Obispo)
More of my Morro Rock photos


Hearst Castle gardens

Hearst Castle offers five tours covering different parts of the buildings and grounds. One of these is the garden tour. The gardens are not spectacular, but they are decent examples of the mediterranean style.

At this time in spring, lantana is a prominent feature.

lantana at hearst castle

Sometimes the Lantana is pruned in a clumping pattern.
lantana at hearst castle

Azaleas are another flowering plant that is featured.
azaleas at san simeon

The estate has a lot of steps and terraces that are used to set off plantings.
san simeon terrace

Ceramic elements and columns are other architectural features.
san simeon column

And of course the staturary for which Mr. Hearst was so fond.
hearst castle statue

California poppy

hillside covered with california poppies

The California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), the state flower, blooms profusely along the northern California coast from about February through September. The most common variety is a bright orange color, reinforcing the sate’s nickname, the golden state (which also alludes to the mid-nineteenth-century gold rush). This poppy-colored hillside was photographed on the central California coast between Cambria and Cayucos.

Friday Roundup

Touring virtual NoCal

San Simeon outdoor pool

outdoor pool at hearst castle, san simeon, north of cambria

The outdoor pool at San Simeon epitomizes the site’s southern Spanish Renaissance and gothic style. Construction is primarily of poured concrete, embellished with European antiguities and facsimilies thereof. Despite going top-dollar all the way, the result verges on kitsch. Still, it must have been a kick spalshing around in this hilltop pool.

More photos to come . . .

Pacific coastline north of Cambria

North of Cambria is a stretch of coastline accessed by Moonstone Drive. The drive is dotted with motels. As along much of California’s coast, highway 1 is all too near. But the coast itself is scenic, and sea otters may be seen. At this time of year whales migrant along the coast here, and they are often spotted surfacing and spouting offshore.
moonstone beach, cambria, ca

Further north is San Simeon and the Hearst Castle. A pier built by William Randolf Hearts still stands here. It is said to offer good fishing for mackeral, perch, and smelt.

hearst pier, cambria, ca

A few miles further up the coast is the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse. Unfortunately, it is not accessible to the public. Its original Fresnel beacon lens was removed and replaced by a more functional but less delightful modern device; the original is now in downtown Cambria.

piedras blanca lighthouse

On the shore near the lighthouse elephant seals laze. They mate in March and pups are born in February; in 2007, 4000 pups were born in this rapidly growing colony. After mating the males head north to Alaska, while the rest of the herd follows in a month or two. By midsummer, however, they will be back at Piedras Blancas, only, as I understand, to travel north again before fall and return once more in November — their comings and goings are complicated and confusing. What are these big lugs thinking?

These creatures resemble giant belicose (but slothful) mamalian slugs, or manatees without the charm. Despite this lack of a cuddly Bambi factor, there is something exciting about encountering these enormous (the males was up to 5000 pounds) residents of the Pacific coast.

elephant seals near cambria, ca

Lampton Cliffs County Park, Cambria, central California coast

Just down the road from the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve in Cambria on the central California coast is a small country park called Lampton Cliffs.

lampton cliffs county park, cambria

The park features a wooden stairway providing convenient access to a sheltered, rocky inlet.

Stairs to Pacific shore at Lampton Cliffs County Park, Cambria

Near the park is an open area that is marked as an ecological study zone. This is fenced and closed to the public.

ecological study area at cambria on the central California coast

I don’t know what kind of ecological study the University of California is doing here, but the ecology of the nature reserve seems imperfectly balanced — there were at least a couple dozen deer lounging in the meadow.

deer, cambria, ca


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