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July 4th weekend, Dancing ’til Dawn, BBQs, Parades, more BBQs and Fireworks

My sister finally fulfilled her dream and dragged me out for a night on the town. We piled into two taxi cabs and raced through the streets of San Francisco to an non-descript warehouse where DJs held fourth and mixed sonic waves of sound effects to titilate the crowd into a frenzy. I had a really good time and managed, in the course of the evening, to work out a kink in my neck that had been bothering me for the past week.

On Sunday, I went over to visit a colleague’s loft in West Oakland for some scrumptous BBQ and, while waddling back to my car, spotted a rad-looking mod car. The photo sucks (I really miss my digital camera!) but if you look closely, you might see that the whole car is covered in bones and skulls which give it a nice Mad Max effect. I’d hate to see that thing bearing down on me in my rearview mirror.

On July 4th, I hung out with neighbors in Alameda. The entire Island was decked out in red, white, and blue bunting and many of the streets were blocked off for block parties. Thompson Avenue had it’s own casual gathering and our neighbor (who is an old school longboarder) had his extended family which are all skateboarders. Everyone from the four year old up to grand-dad himself spent the afternoon listening to surf music and shredding on the street in front of our house.

A parade through town provided a break from the action and the entire town came out to see some 200 different groups parade the 5 mile loop that weaved down Park Avenue, along Shoreline Drive, up Grand Avenue, down Central and then back up Webster Street. I think the parade organizers wanted to mix things up a bit with some of the placements and put the Disabled Veterans right in front of Mother’s for Peace and the gay group Out on the Island in front of a local church group which is known to be anti-gay. The parade also requires some groups to boil their message down to the bare minimum with the Falun Gong foks passing out flyers to parade viewers while saying "It’s good exercise."

While riding through town, I spotted a Zydeco band, a street beach volleyball tournament, and a frog jumping contest. I capped out the weekend with a view of the official (an unofficial) fireworks that were being launched all around us from when it got dark around 9:30 all the way to midnight.

Decadence

antrim27windwardaft.jpg

My high school roommate, Andy Hoffman, dropped me an email to ask if I wanted to join him and his skipper John as “rail meat” on his boat for an Friday evening sail to kick off the 4th of July weekend. His boat, Luna, is an Antrim 27, built for speed with high performance rigging, an open transom, and a superlight fiberglass & balsa hull. For a 27 foot, it’s got a surprisingly big cockpit and a 6′ keel fixed with a 1,000 lbs. bulb. She’s as close as you can get to a 27′ windsurfer.

She’s moored over in San Francisco near the Presidio and we set out in 20 – 25 knot winds out under the Golden Gate over to the Marin Headlands. On our way we spotted several pairs of porpoises and and dodged a few container ships on their way out towards Asia. The seas were choppy with five foot swells and shifty wind which I understand is normal for the Bay which is some of the trickiest waters to sail in North America. The boat handles well though and with Andy’s Lynard Skynard blaring, we even dipped the boom a few times as we raced back under the Gate to Sausalito.

We pulled up at a Tiburon sailor’s institution, Sam’s Anchor Cafe, for dinner and enjoyed the setting sun while watching the fog roll over the Sausalito hills like a gigantic, slow-motion tidal wave. Topped up with Bloody Marys and dinner, we set back home and turned on the navigation lights and planed our way back home.

It was really amazing to be out on the Bay on a beautiful Friday evening – the city was lit up all around us but we were all alone out on the Bay with only the searchlight and fog horns of Alcatraz to keep us company. It was like our own private playground. After tying up at 10 pm I was back home taking a warm shower by 10:45 and feeling deliciously relaxed and anticipate a deep slumber with the rocking motion of the waters lulling me to sleep.

Thanks Andy and John for a wonderful evening!

Peeling away the years

renewal.jpgOn Market Street in downtown San Francisco they’re pulling away the awful faux marble facade from a building and revealing the preserved brownstone that’s been hidden from view all these years. The style reminds me of the wonderful Mauresque arches on the Stanford campus so maybe this building comes from the same era. It’ll be fun to watch this project evolve and once it’s done, I’m sure it’ll will but the other buildings on Market to shame.

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Ian Turner Missing

Update: He’s been found! Safe and sound but missing a passport in Atlanta.

The blogosphere organizes itself to look for one of their missing. If anyone who attended the recent WebmasterWorld conference in New Orleans has seen him, please contact the New Orleans or Atlanta Police.

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