Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Roof: 101 Mo' / Lions in a truck

I had to drop a package on the 28th floor of 101 Montgomery this afternoon, the top floor of the building. Last time I was there I discovered a door that led to the emergency staircase to the roof. Today I felt the urge to go up again.

I clanged up three flights of metal stairs to get to this door:

Which let me out in this alcove surrounded by walls:

Which I shimmied under, out to the open roof:

Peering over the edge:

Hanging out over the edge:

Man, I love going to the top of buildings.

Later on, riding down Stockton I passed a truck transporting a team of lion dancers - 舞狮. It took me a second to figure out what it was at first.

The Chinese lunar new year is coming up, so for good luck purposes there's a lot of lion dancing going on around town and I guess dudes aren't about to walk.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Rain, all day

The rain today was relentless. There was maybe a 12 second break before noon. By all accounts it should have been misery, riding around, soaked through, cold. I had a good time though, in a masochistic way. It was too wet to take any pictures, except for this one at the office before heading out, because the yellow dishwashing gloves cracked me up:

I forget my co-worker's name, but he's been at Speedway for a month or two. He Winfred told me that after all the rain yesterday he went out and bought these. He later told me at the end of the day that they didn't really work out. (Edit 2/10: poor guy got hit by a car last Friday and ended up in SF General. I heard it's nothing too serious. Dude, get well soon. )

And a security guard took this picture for me at One Market:

Because it was the biggest roll of the year. That sucker weighed like thirty l-b's. Luckily I didn't have to take it very far.

Last month my friend Lydia took a few photos of me in my work clothes. This is basically how I'm dressed on a cold or rainy day:

1. Northface Jacket, mostly waterproof
2. Underneath that, long underwear and a t-shirt + sleeves*
3. In this photo, I'm wearing my trusty Ben Davis cutoffs with serious holes in the ass, but I've since upgraded to a pair of these, for which I paid dearly, even with a 20% discount.
4. Under the pants, a good pair of bike shorts. I always wear bike shorts.
5. Leggings, like sleeves, but for my legs.
6. In this photo, I'm wearing socks but that's the past. Lately I've been going sockless in the rain to avoid the wet-sock problem, and it works. Sniffing my shoes though is probably more of a health risk than huffing.
7. Trusty Chrome Bag that actually does a good job keeping out water. I bought it on craigslist for $80 in 2005. Last year a co-worker pointed out that it was a lefty version. I'd never noticed that my strap was different from every other bag in San Francisco. My (highly talented) friend Rob painted the fresh design on back. All that's visible here is the squirrel with the nut, standing over a longboard.

So that's how I roll in the pouring rain. If my goal were to stay completely airtight dry, I'd probably do something different, like wear pants, say. So I get a little wet, and I'm cold, but I don't feel weighed down or constricted, and that's what I like. On days like today, everything's just going get wet anyway.

*I'm going to write a whole post about sleeves soon, because I love those bitches so much and wear them everyday.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Court, a crash and finding drugs

This morning I picked up a court filing from a law firm out on 17th and Irving. Being on the longboard, legal filing isn't something I deal with much so I like it. I get paid for waiting, and filing papers in court usually involves some. It was also nice getting out of the cold and rain for awhile.

When I was locking up my bike, I noticed a huge ziploc bag of weed, like maybe half an ounce, lying in the gutter. Dude.

Before I got to court, I transfered it to my jacket pocket since my bag has to pass through an x-ray machine staffed by sheriffs. Actually they're sheriff's "cadets", and they all look high, but still. I ended up talking a lot to the clerk since there were a few problems with the filing. Everytime I leaned in to hear what she was saying through the hole in the glass, I got an overwhelming whiff of Mooters.

Jeremiah from First Legal/First Weasel/Barely Legal at court

Fastboots from Godspeed at court

On the way back out to 2880 Broadway for the third time today, I saw this:

I'm the worst kind of rubbernecker. I will shamelessly walk over to look at anything. One firefighter yelled at me when he saw me taking this so I headed out.

The victim was gone, but the firemen were still there on my way back. I apologized but the guy in the middle who gave me shit was totally cool about it, telling me he loved to look at pictures like that on flickr.

The bicyclist lost control going down Franklin and slammed into the back of this Lexus, leaving an impressive dent as his bike smashed through the back while he tumbled over the roof. He broke a few bones, including his shoulder but luckily he didn't [Christopher] Reeve out .

Adding insult to injury, (literally), the car has a fucking BOOT ON IT! What a double bummer for this Lexus owner.

derelict area

These are off Illinois St. around the 800 block. Whenever I ride by this scene I always think about a. living in those abandoned cranes, and b. what's the story with that huge cruise ship that's been docked there forever?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Some things I don't understand

I was riding down 16th st. last Friday and heard rain. A hose was suspended between two windows in this unfinished, empty building, pouring water down on the overhang below.

It filtered through, raining water all over the ground beneath it.

Nobody was around.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Some of the things I deliver, part II

Tile samples from Henry Adams street to BAR Architects on Howard.

In addition to tile, I've carried rug samples, entire rugs, faucets, light fixtures, light bulbs, leather swatches, huge keyrings full of paint sample cards, envelopes stuffed with fabric and more.

Most of the design and interior decoration firms are located around little Henry Adams street on the northern edge of the Potrero District, including stores that sell nothing but tassels.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Friday - Bernal Heights, Timbuk2, Bento

Delivered some fabric samples to Timbuk2. I think their bags suck, but when I rolled up to the building at 300-something Alabama there was a guy outside who offered to sign for the package and seemed pretty stoked to show me around. Here's the inside of the factory:

A bunch of Asian ladies were sewing away. The guy was really excited about it all and I let him show me around longer than was interesting in the hopes that I'd get a free bag or something that I could sell on craigslist, but that didn't happen.

Later that day I headed over to Wool St. in Bernal Heights. Nice view from way up there:

Then for lunch I headed to Nijiya market in Japan Town

and bought a bento box. I ate it all and was full for the next hour.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I love it

Damn, yesterday was a good day. Sometimes it can feel so good doing this job, riding around the city under the sun and the blue sky.

I came out of the 901 Market loading dock and saw this dog:

Having appeared out of nowhere, he was just lounging. Totally blase about having his picture taken. I tried to tell him about my blog, but he was all "I don't read blogs".

Saw this guy on the bus:

I caught it up Sacramento. Sometimes I'll cheat like that if a bus is right there and they let me on for free.

I snuck into the SF Museum of Modern Art when it got slow. It's really easy to do. I'm not sure how much they even care, because I keep doing it. The Olafur Eliasson exhibit is pretty cool. I saw it on Wednesday. Yesterday I checked out a collection of some guy's video work which wasn't really my bag.

Anyway, yesterday was one of the best days.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Tonight I worked on my bike. I try to degrease and lube the chain at least once a month. Because of the rain it was especially dirty. Tonight I also replaced the front and rear brake pads and the front barrel adjuster.

The barrel adjuster, adjusting barrel, whatever, broke in a minor fall during one of the rainy-ass days a few weeks ago. I was going about two miles an hour up the sidewalk on Sutter, eating a donut when my front wheel slipped on some metal inlaid in the sidewalk. The barrel adjuster is the round thing at the top of the above picture that lets you adjust brake tension on the fly.

I have a SRAM chain with a "powerlink" ("a tool-free master link for derailleur gear chains") which is the shit. The technology makes removing the chain and putting it back on easy. I ran out of good degreaser so tonight I used simple green, which works well enough. I poured it in a tupperware container, dropped in my chain, sealed it and shook it up.

This is what it looked like after the first round of shaking. I should have taken a before to show how filthy it was. All black. I repeated the rinse once more then cleaned it with my roommate's toothbrush. I'll let it dry overnight, then apply lube tomorrow morning before heading out.

I clean drive train nice.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Foggy day, twenty dollars

Today started off very foggy. I learned that 100% humidity doesn't actually mean rain, it means fog. Wisdom from dudes on the bike shuttle. I just tried to fact check that on wikipedia but the article on humidity was too technical and boring, so I'll just believe it means fog.

Riding down mission, this is what it looked like at noon. Cold and foggy.

I ended up taking three separate trips to the Outer Richmond from downtown. I must have done at least 50 miles on the loooongboard today.

When I was dropping off a package at the city attorney's office, City Hall room 214, a shifty old dude approached me at the door. "Want to earn a quick $20?" he asked. Assuming it wasn't for a handjob I said "sure".

He wanted me to "serve papers" down the hall at the Mayor's office, room 200. We walked in together up to one of the secretaries, (there are about six desks with people sitting in them in the antechamber, or whatever you call it), and he told me what to say while I handed over the papers.

After handing over the papers, he wrote down my address, had me sign something, give him a handjob, just kidding, then gave me twenty bucks and I was on my way.

After that I headed out to 3333 California then the 3500 block of Washington, 2100 block of Union and back downtown to end the day.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Some of the things I deliver, part 1

Many people ask me: "why are there still bike messengers?" A good question and I'll answer it some other time. Until then, I'll keep posting some of the more unusual things I've delivered.

Around the holidays I made a few wine deliveries. The above bottles were packed really well. Usually I'll get a wine delivery once or twice a month.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Feel like: Noah

I'm going to get wet today. I just opened the door to get the paper and it's raining ridiculously. Today may be miserable.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Cold, Wet and Miserable

It started raining around noon today. It was big enough news to make the office smalltalk circuit yesterday, overtaking the Christmas tiger mauling incident at the zoo. I visit a lot of offices, so I can't help but follow the circuit.

Anyway, the storm didn't live up to the hype, but it did rain and it was cold. I can't say I was miserable for more than five minutes the whole day though. I've been in worse. Tomorrow is supposed to nastier.

Here I am taking my shortcut (the overpass at 18th and Potrero) to 501 Connecticut this afternoon following a drop at SF General Hospital, which I incidentally think was Jim Henson's inspiration for the 1986 film, Labyrinth.

When it rains I throw my radio and cell phone in my pouch and pocket, respectively, leaving my holsters empty. No, I'm not winking. My eye is just burning from the acid rain. Isn't that fucked up?

On my lunch break I stopped by the Goodwill "As-Is" Store, basically a warehouse for the stuff that didn't make the cut for their regular stores, on 11th and Market.

Here is a box full of wet books. Hardcovers are $1.50, everything else is one buck.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Same Day, Different Shit

One of the things I like about this job getting to visit San Francisco's different neighborhoods over the course of a day. Riding from the Getty's house at the end of Broadway to 5 Dorman St. in the Bayview District is seriously like taking a trip.

I also like going places in the city I've never been before. I had to drop something off at 6 Montague Place at the end of the day. Montague Place? My dispatcher told me over the radio that it was off the 1200 block of Montgomery. The best way to get there from 60 Broadway, where I'd just dropped two fat manila envelopes from 701 Minnesota, is to climb up Telegraph hill to Montgomery by way of the Filbert Steps:

Sometimes I'll see the famous parrots flying around here.

Before today, I had never been to the intersection of Union and Montgomery. Riding up Union to Montague, I first saw just the heads of 555 Cal and the Transamerica Pyramid poking over the top of the hill. When I got to the top I was surprised to see this view:

Montague Pl. and Montgomery

Looking east from Union and Montgomery

Sometimes I forget how much cool shit there is in San Francisco. I'm lucky to live in the Bay Area.