Back in the Day

How a Bicycle is Made (in 1945)

This video is kinda old and kinda long (and so fuckin' British), but if you have a little time to squander, this look into how Raleigh bikes were manufactured and designed in 1945 is pretty neat-o.  For example:

This lady can install a tire in under 50 seconds.

This is the giant Raleigh factory.

The meth lab in the back of the factory.

Duder apparently fills 1,000 hubs with ball bearings every goddamn day.

I’d like to know how you turn all these lines and circles on paper into a finished bicycle.” - An Actual British Person

Can We Stop Calling Cesar Chavez Street "Army" Already?

Bernalwood recently came across this ridiculously rad logo for the now-defunct South of Army Mission Merchants Association on an empty storefront on 30th and Mission.  Just look at the damn thing: mighty, classic drawings of some our favorite SF landmarks, bold typography, and that line He Knows You-You Know Him?  Gold.

But it also reminds me of something that's been bugging me for some time now: can we stop calling Cesar Chavez Street “Army” already?  I get that you've been living here Before the Boom, and that's nice and much respect for that, but this isn't exactly a town known for supporting militarism and other such macho bullshit.  And it's not like Cesar Chavez was a bad guy.

Can't we all just be, you know, happy we no longer have to salute the Army every time drive to BevMo?  I live in San Francisco and buy shit whiskey by the crate to forget about the woes of the greater world, not remember we're fighting four wars.

How'd Valencia and Market Look After the 1906 Quake?

Today is the 106th anniversary of the earthquake that put the badgering fear of god in every San Francisco transplant's parent's eyes and mouths.  And on this most holy of historic days, SFMTA's Photo Archives has once again released some new scans of old 1906 earthquake photos.

Take this scene at the intersection of Market and Valencia.  A chimney is all that stands in tact at the site of an old powerhouse, horses and grass and debris everywhere.  And the worst thing?  Martuni's is still not built yet.

I'm practicing my earthquake drills already.

Anyway, this year's dump isn't quite as extensive as last year's, so be sure to check out 2011's as well.

[Photo by SFMTA Photo Archives | via Haighteration]

In Other News, The Mission is Still Over

Oakland Local's Justin Gilmore is over the Mission and wants to tell you about it:

San Francisco is a place that offers at least a semblance of social life in the streets and has a mass-transit system that, being at least semi-functional, can get you home even after chasing large doses of MDMA with multiple Irish carbombs, resulting in an uncontrollable throwing up of copious amounts of last nights frozen pizza onto strangers who you had drunkenly mistook for childhood friends. Who doesn’t want to live in a place where you can simply exit your apartment, walk a few blocks, and end up at a bar filled to the brim with a battalion of apparently creative, interesting patrons? Or, at least, so went my daydreams.

As it stands, the reality is much different. Upon exiting BART and walking down the streets of the Mission, it becomes apparent that San Francisco has transformed in ways that I cannot appreciate. Newly Ipe-planked luxury condominiums with fancy, all glass, automatic underground garage doors, and heated post-industrial concrete polished floors, sit adjacent to coffee shops whose patrons sip on $6-7 dollar coffee while they guiltily donate some small, insignificant pittance towards “saving the third world” on their new high-end Mac gadgets.

In fact, it’s almost as though yuppies had gotten bored of the suburbs and decided to move to the city, only to bring with them the worst parts of the place that they now claim to loathe. Walking down almost any SF sidewalk, you can see what is in fact the real blight: the late-thirty-something upper-management Google/Wells Fargo employee who, armed with a six-plus digit salary and a lengthy history of family money, recently demolished some jenky apartment building in order to have it reconstructed as a suburban home disguised as an edgy urban loft. [Read on]

My daydreams also involve not having to ride BART after multiple Irish carbombs, so I totally get where this guy is coming from.  So, what are we going to do about the yuppies?

[Photo by ClockworkGrue | via MissionMission]

The State of the Tanning Undress

Readers of Uptown Almanac, distinguished guests, and fellow San Franciscans:

Today, I went to Dolores Park and welcomed the sight of hunky Jesuses. Together with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, they offered a  proud salute to the holiday under which more than a million of our fellow citizens observe - and several thousands instead celebrate in the park in blasphemous fashion.

At a time when too many sunbathers' pants legs stay rolled down and shirts scrunched up, Hunky Jesuses exceeded all expectations.

Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example. Think about the San Francisco within our reach: A city that leads the world in roasting sacred cows. A city that is truly free, and a city that once again sunbathes in Dolores Park with gusto and aplomb.

We can do this. I know we can, because we've done it before. At the end of World War II, when another generation of  hedonists returned home from combat, they achieved some of the best tans the world has ever known. My grandfather was named Mr. March at a time when male pinup calendars were sold in hushed tones and whispers. My grandmother, who worked indoors, was part of a workforce that later mastered some of the best sunbathing since ancient Egypt.

The two of them shared the optimism of a City that had triumphed over fog and clothing. They understood they were part of something larger; that they were contributing to a story of success that every San Franciscan had a chance to share - the basic San Francisco promise that if you disregarded hard work, you could still do well enough to get tan, rent a crumbling studio, write a blog, and put a little away for beer.

The defining issue of our time is how to keep that promise alive. No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important. We can either settle for a city where a shrinking number of people get very tan, while a growing number of San Franciscans barely disrobe in the sun. Or we can restore a PMA where everyone strips down, lies in the sun, and is evenly warmed by rays of vitamin D with nary a care in the world. What's at stake are not Hedonistic values or Traditional values, but San Francisco values. We have to reclaim them.

Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless San Francisco.

Even in the 1950s, Muni 'Sucked'

Ever wonder how Muni used to clean buses before they stopped giving a shit?  This right here is the 'Cyclone' Coach Cleaner, a 1958 bus/Burning Man Art Car that used to act as a giant vacuum:

This modified Motor Coach was used as an enormous vacuum cleaner to rid buses of litter left on board. Pulled along side another bus, the accordion-like seal was extended to the door and a powerful blast of air turned the bus interior into a literal cyclone of flying debris, saving hours of hand sweeping.

Uhhhhhh… rad.

[Photo and Quote via SFMTA Photo Archives]

8-Bit Mission

If you nerds haven't already heard, Google's big April Fool's joke was to make their maps all 8-bit NES like.  And they totally pranked me; I woke up this morning terrified I entered into some sort of Hot Tub Time Machine situation after attending a questionable hot tub party at Jello Biafra's condo.

Turns out everything is cool—good on you Google (and bad on you, Jello Biafra—everyone agreed the “you”-themed Jell-O shots were in bad taste!).  Even Google's directions still work:

So if you need me, my bros and I will be at my house trading Pogs.

Why I Ride

SF Lowrider documentary that you can watch on IMDB (don't ask me why they don't allow embedding so just click the image, it's only like 25 minutes long anyways nevermind found it on youtube). A bunch of footage from the 70's and 80's about what car culture in this city use to be like. Something this town has traded for bullshit like standing in lines for mediocre brunch and soggy cups of dirty water and liquor that taste like old trees. Car Culture in the bay is shitty in general, stuck hanging on the fringe. Do kids even get drivers licenses in this town before they are 30? Even if it's some dumb shit like wings on a front wheel drive, primered out everything, rattling plates, or even rainbow tint. It would be better than nothing. Whatever, it's not like I'm copping triple gold d's anytime soon either but I put in my time at lowrider shows. Yes I was in a lowrider bike club, spent years collecting issues of all kinds of mags, sported atzlan tshirts and all that. Even when I was driving around in a crx with a b18 I still had a soft spot in my heart for a dumped caprice with 4 15's in  the trunk.

Parts 2 & 3: