Thursday, February 28, 2008



I was given a lunch break at around 2:00 today. I'd just cleaned up (dropped off my last package) at the Getty's, so I decided to cruise down Divisadero and look for something that struck my fancy.

First though I popped into Fresh Air Cycles to ask the mechanic's advice about a recent problem I'd been having with my bike. When I was talking to the guy, the shop dog walked over and started licking my leg.

I guess he liked the flavor - sort of a taste of the city. At first I was going to shoo him away, but you know what, it felt good, dude! I think I'm going to start dropping by regularly. It's a win/win for me and the dog. I mean, it was ridiculous. The dog would not stop licking. OCDog.

The mechanic confirmed that the reason my chain was slipping was due to my whole drive train being worn the fuck out, not any specific issue. Earlier at the statue I'd gotten a few arcane tips - "your chain is too long" and, the "pauls1 in your cassette are worn." But really it's just that I've put too many miles on these parts.

Then I went further down Divis and got a lamb shwarma that was too big and too expensive. After lunch I was bushed and went outside to look for a place to nap for a minute. Seeing no perfect spots, I walked around the corner and lay down on the sidewalk near a driveway. At one point I opened my eyes to see a homeless guy glance at me over his shoulder as he walked by with a look that seemed to say "what's this motherfucker doing in my territory - oh wait, he's not a bum" which led me to ponder my position in the world for a second.

Just as I was wishing I'd taken a picture of that dog licking my leg because, despite what you've just read, I thought it would make a good blog entry, I noticed that I'd somehow spilled some shwarma juice on my calf and hadn't noticed. What a shame, the dog would have loved that. Then I remembered I left my water bottle at the shop so after checking back in and getting a tag on Shrader, I headed back to the shop. But for whatever reason, the dog wasn't feeling my leg this time. I had to go anyway.


As the weather gets better, I find myself skitching more often. Skitching is when you grab onto a car (or other type of vehicle as you'll see below) and let it pull you along. I don't like the term either. It reminds me of this:

Remember when that game came out on the Genesis? I do. I was in Jr. High and rollerblading everyday.

Skitching can save time and energy. Yesterday I'd just dropped off another bag of cookies at the Magic Theatre in Fort Mason and was holding a Dede Wilsey (2500 block of Jackson). That means the most direct route would have me climbing some of the steepest hillage in the city. The easier way would be to double back to Van Ness and head up Pacific then cut over to Jackson at some point, but that would take time as it's out of the way. What I did was grab onto the door handle of a black Explorer and get pulled all the way from Filbert to the top of Fillmore. Somewhere around Green the driver saw me and gave the "thumbs up" which is about the best possible skitch scenario2.

Saving time, saving energy.

Today I skitched up Broadway from Battery on the back of this:

At the light, the driver gave me a "c'mon man, are you serious?" type of look, to which I responded with a "dude, please?" sort of look and he took off, grudgingly. And slowly. Those things don't go that fast. But you see, I didn't have to pedal up the hill, so who wins? Me.

This is from today:

So is this3:

This is also from today:

I don't think I've ever done this before, but I saw this wrapped in tinfoil lying on the ground at 1 EC when I was picking up a Getty tag. I mean, it was wrapped in tinfoil, right? I was hungry (before lunch). It was still warm. I thought, "maybe a tamale?". It ended up being just a bunch of flower tortillas, like at least 8 thick. But good ones!

1: I don't know either. Pauls? No idea.
2: Actually, later that day, I was skitching down the Embarcadero and at a red light the passenger offered me a hit off his joint!
3: Even dumber than skitching, is taking these pictures. It means I have no hands on my bike when I'm taking the snapshot, so if the light suddenly changed, I'd be retarded. So there will be no more pictures like this.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Today's Questions

How did this Korean penny end up on the floor of City Hall?

Am I supposed to eat the leaf on top of the "vietnamese ham sandwich" I bought at Saigon Sandwich?

This isn't a question, but check out Dede Wilsey's dogs:

Who left their snake skin shoes on the floor at the city courthouse?

Been doing much longboard stuff this week. Lots of riding. Tired.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Federal Building

Check it out, it's the Federal Building at night:

Some of the things I deliver, part III

I delivered $70 worth of cream puffs from this place:

to an office at Barclay's Global Investors

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Same sticker, Danielle Steel

Yesterday I delivered something from Tiffany's to Danielle Steel's house. She answered the door in a stained mumu, smoking a Virginia Slim. Just kidding. She wasn't wearing anything. Really though, I just gave the package to some guy sitting in what looked like a control room.

Later on that day I pulled up next to some dude on a bike who had the same sticker on about the same spot. You need to understand how random that is. I bought the sticker from a vending machine that was temporarily at Al's Comics on Octavia. The machine was installed by a local artist who filled it with his own stickers. Last time I was there, Al told me the guy moved to LA and took the machine with him.


The guy told me he bought it last time he was in San Francisco. Then he decided to move here. I ended up giving him directions to China town.

There's no way that sticker is on another bike in the universe, or any other dimension, even parallel. Running into my own doppleganger would be less surprising. Of course I'd much rather that happen though. Although I heard when you meet your doppleganger you both die, so never mind.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Today I was really out of it, riding around all sick.

Here's a partial recap of last week:

Climbing Market I was stopped by a pack of candy lips in the middle of the street:

Heading towards the Broadway tunnel I passed a group of Chinese guys playing some kind of ancient game:

I got many excellent skitches under the sun:

I went to the MOMA again and found a new exhibit. A video of Eastern-european club kids (?) dancing in front of a white background:

The best part was watching this guy's baby totally loving the videos:

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Still sick.

I'm still sick, but no longer on Death's door so I'll be going back to work tomorrow.

I had a lot of free time these past few days but was half delirious with fever through most of it. I did manage to do something I'd really been meaning to do though: clean my shoes. They'd gotten to the point where I had to take them off at the front door when I got home and leave them outside overnight. Their smell was unforgivable.

I soaked them in a bucket with water and bleach for a few hours then dried them in the oven. Now they smell pure again. It's back to socks for me. As much as I like going without, I simply can not handle that foul stench.

Mice hide when hawks are high;
Hawks shy from airplanes;
Planes dread the ack-ack-ack;
Each one fears somebody.
Only the heedless lions
Under the Booloo tree
Snooze in each other's arms
After their lunch of blood--
I call that living good!

-Saul Bellow

Monday, February 18, 2008

hella sick

Rode too hard, drank too hard, stayed up late too hard last week. Now I'm sick as a dog. I don't think I'm going to work on Tuesday.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


I raced in an alleycat yesterday put on by Rickshaw Bagworks:

Like most alleycat race days I woke up with an excellent hangover, having gone to bed at 3:00 the night before. I got up early to meet up with a guy interested in buying the RX-7. He showed up with his friend; they were both 16 and neither one knew how to drive let alone had a license. I asked if they brought the money ($1,800) and he said "yeah, but we spent four dollars on the way over". Somewhere around then I decided it might not be the best idea to sell it to these children. I told them to have their parents call me. We'll see what happens.

Anyway, it was a surreal morning. I made it just in time to start the race at the bow and arrow statue on the Embarcadero. There were about 80 people. I ended up placing 21st because I really fucked up the routing. The checkpoints were Union Square, 2600 Taylor, 1077 Kearny, 177 Valencia, the Cathedral on Gough and Geary, rose garden in GG Park, 9th and Judah, 400 block of Cortland and finising at Rickshaw on 900 22nd st.

Instead of knocking out the Kearny and Union Square after 2600 Taylor, I went straight to the cathedral then rose garden and 9th and Judah, which meant I had to double back when I should have gone straight from Judah to Valencia and onward. My plan was to follow someone fast and competent but after the first checkpoint where we had to make souvenir pennies in Fisherman's wharf, I got flustered and mashed out without thinking.

There's nothing worse than losers making excuses, but I did ride fucking fast so I know if I was in the right pack I would have done way better. Shit. Of course half of the race is supposed to be about routing.

At least 21st place got a prize:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

901 Market/Rocking out/Rock harder

My favorite building interior is that of 901 Market:

When you get out of the elevator on the second floor you're confronted with this weird water sculpture in the middle of a bright, checkered atrium. It's disconcerting. I loves it.

Right around the corner from Byer at 66 Potrero sits this huge chunk of rock. How did it manage to sneak by when people were building shit?

Rock, I salute you.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

What I ate last Friday

What I eat at work varies by the day. Sometimes it's pretty normal, healthy even - a sandwhich at noon, a banana sometime later, that kind of stuff. Sometimes it's less than healthy, like handfuls of candy from various buildings. More often4 than not it's like this:

10:31 - I'm riding up Columbus to the Getty Residence and I really have to pee. Away from downtown in a touristy area like Northbeach is bad for that. Grimy-ass restaurants that wouldn't look up if I ran in figured out a long time ago to put up "out of order" signs to keep out the vagrants. Nice restaurants are a coin toss - the fancier the place, the nicer and more interesting the bathroom, but the harder to get in. Anyway, I took a gamble with this place here:

Something about the scene at "Vietnam Restaurant" made me feel like a jerk if I didn't buy anything, so I ordered a Vietnamese Sandwich, a personal favorite. In the picture above, you can see the lady actually grilling my grilled pork after I ordered it. Wow. While I waited, I stretched. Then I threw the banh mi in my bag for later and was ghost.

10:59 - I've picked up the Getty and dropped the 3800 Washington. I'm starving so I break out the sandwich before checking in. I eat half, check in, and am told to call back in 10. Perfect. I eat the second half. The meat was good, but the bread wasn't all that. Saigon Sandwich is still my favorite. Sitting on some random steps way out in the Marina I see Christoph, a messenger from Western ride by. Unusual to see other messengers this far out. They're out here, working other company's longboards, but it's rare to run into one another, which made it weirder to see Fastboots at the end of the block ten seconds later.
11:41 - Perrier! After standing by in the Marina for 20 minutes holding one package, nothing comes up. My dispatcher tells me to move in and clean up. I drop off the Getty tag at Vallejo d Investments in 1 EC and being Getty-afflilated, I get laced up with fine French(?) water. I'm not really into it, actually. I prefer Evian in the bottle.

11:44 - Cookie! I hit up First Republic Bank, known (by me) for their free cookies. I've looked into it, and they actually make the cookies in the branch. I used to love these things, but now, much like candy, I've kind of od'd. But they will do in a pinch. Chocolate with pink m and m knockoffs. Kind of a borderline hifi combo. The one branch that doesn't make cookies in-house gets them delivered by our company daily from Tom's Cookies in Macy's. Love that bank.

13:32 - Yes, my clock is in military time. I am a nerd. After eating that last cookie, I'm given lunch. Not hungry of course. My dispatcher is nice enough to let me ride over to the DMV where I've been meaning to register this 1986 RX-7 I bought for $700 after seeing it on a flyer in Japantown during a lunchbreak last week. Hopefully I can flip it for around 2 g's. Surprisingly, the whole affair, riding there, waiting in the wrong, then right line, followed by more waiting and paperwork takes only 45 minutes. Hoping for a De Young tag since I'm right by it, but am told to head downtown to Tom's Cookies for a Fort Mason. About once every 1.5 months or so, I deliver a big bag of brownies to the Magic Theatre. Yeah, I don't know either.

Before heading down to the basement at Macy's in Union Square, I start chatting up the hot dog vendor1 parked in front. I used to work for the same company a few years back. The four of you who regularly read my blog might remember me mentioning that here. This is the owners website, I kid you not. A side venture for him, to be sure. I loved that job too. Anyway, she hooked up a free dog. After two summers of 2 - 5 hotdogs a day, I eventually settled on this condiment combo:

Semen mayonnaise and ketchup.

13:34 - Wow, I'm using the photo timestamp on my camera to get these, which means I ate this in two minutes while walking downstairs2 to pick up the Tom's. At Tom's, they ALWAYS take care of me. But the lady below is extra nice. It was my third day there that week so instead of the usual free cookie, she gave me four and a bottled water. I saved these for later, gave two to the girl at the hotdog stand on my way back3.

Notice the large, red bag. That was full of brownies. I told the girl at the Magic Theatre box office that I'd put her picture on my blog, so here it is, taken at

14:28 -

She said "thank you muchly" which was kind of cute, but also kind of theatery.

15:55 - I head back downtown and pick up three extra longboards. One from the YMCA at 653 Howard over to the YMCA on 1601 Lane in Hunters Point. Yes, that's hella far. It was the first beautiful blue day in a while, so it was a pleasure. I got a two great skitches on 3rd street. Glorious. Anyway, at the HP Y, they gave me this slice of Hawaiin pizza. To be fair, I saw the box and asked. I felt bad when as I was leaving, I overheard some poor employee excitedly breathlessly ask "where did he get that pizza?" It was good though.

16:08 - RMR Construction at 2424 Oakdale always has various treats. I've dogged candy in previous posts, but I still have love for NERDS.

I grabbed some peanuts too.

And some of this:

They also gave me some bandaids for the blisters on my heels from not wearing socks. The ladies at 220 Channel gave me some earlier, but they came off, as did the RMR ones not long after.

So there you have it. That's what I ate on Friday. It was a beautiful day. I rode all over the city on the longboard.

1: some random flickr photo of the cart in front of levi's across the park. only one I could find in a pinch. man, i'm really getting all david foster wallace on this entry.
2: two sets of escalators actually, to the macy's foodcourt in the basement
3: actually, there were two people working the stand, so they each got a cookie. two people means either stan (my old boss) was expecting a busy day, or one of them is a rookie getting trained.
4: but not that much more. i'd say 35% of my days will see such varied food intake. 38% are "normal". what does that leave, 27%? 20% are stranger and 7% are extra-ordinary, like free sherry from Campton Place hotel (the one with the couch in the elevator on Post, next to Farallon) although that used to be a regular stop (free sherry for guests after 3pm or so) and steak.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

View from ______ (3 of 100)

Four Embarcadero Center, 40th Floor

track bikes

Many bike messengers ride fixed-gear bikes. I know a lot of guys who do and have respect for most of them. It's hard work, especially with no brakes.

If you could pull off sick tricks on a skateboard - in high heels - you'd also get automatic respect from me.

It's not a perfect analogy, but that's what I don't get about messengers who choose to ride fixies in this city. It's so much more work just to ride at the same level as a bike with brakes and gears. I appreciate the simplicity of a track bike - no brakes, no shifters, cables, cassettes, derailers, etc. They cost less to maintain and they look cool.

I might even consider riding fixed if I stayed downtown all day. But fuck, I want to be able to fly down a hill without spinning out. I want to make sudden stops. I want to coast once in a while and climb retardedly steep things. And that's just not happening on a track bike in the city.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

case dismissed

Yesterday I went to court after work to challenge my ticket. I wasn't sure what I was going to say, since I did run the red light, but I was thinking something along the lines of how it wasn't "in the spirit of the law" and then yelling at the judge "you can't handle the truth!" I was also planning on saying "objection" and "leading" as much as possible.

But luckily my case was dismissed. I guess the motorcycle cop didn't want to show up to a 6:30 hearing.

Today I rode all the way up Market to 1801 Vicente via Portola. Then rode back the same way.

I ride up Portola a few times a month, but can't remember the last time I went down. I could see the ocean.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Walnut Creek / Cigarette Butts

I started off Friday with a rare out of town tag. The Tiffany's in San Francisco needed a box delivered from their Walnut Creek store and all of our drivers were busy. I'm not sure what was in the box, but if anybody's interested in Tiffany Hearts Double Hearts Pendants in 18k white gold, I've just listed 27 on eBay. Just kidding; too tacky to steal.

This is what Walnut Creek looks like from the window of a BART train:

Coming out here is a change of pace which is why I like it. Smooth, open roads with mellow traffic, new sights, anonymity.

Back in the city on my last drop that day I decided to stretch before heading in and noticed this ashtray:

It was full of at least a pack of the same smokes, Marlboro Lights, floating in their own tabacky juice.

I guess that's not that interesting, is it?