Point and Shoot in San Francisco

Whether you wanted it or not, here's the last of my vacation photos:

Animal-style In & Out Burger.  The tourist couple from Woodbridge, Virginia sitting at the next table over deemed Five Guys better.

Must. Own. Hello Kitty. Vespa.

The "Full House" house.  They lived in quite a ritzy neighborhood, yet they didn't seem particularly affluent on the show.  Maybe they were house-poor?  Or as my roommate said, perhaps that's why like 500 people lived in that house.

Guess what neighborhood this is?

Another hint.

I think I love this city.


Mission Dolores Park.

Treasure Island Music Festival 2009

Second year at the Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco. My friend Julie was nice enough to invite me again, and it was awesome, so laidback, cheerfully wacky and just plain fun. Super fun!

The weather was gorgeous the first day, the second day, it was chilly and windy. People in San Francisco seem to be immune to the cold - all around me girls were wearing sundresses, but I had on a sleeping bag-style parka, gloves and a scarf.  Nobody would've guessed I was from a place where it actually snows on occasion.

At least I was warm. Do you know the feeling you get when you pack exactly everything you need for a trip, like the perfect clothes for every meteorological situation? It's great. Usually never happens to me because I end up throwing things frantically in a suitcase the night before. Then on vacation, I realize everything I've forgotten. "Socks. Socks would've been good."

Anyway, here is the ferris wheel at the festival.

Julie said people in San Francisco love dressing up. True to form, here are some people wearing motorized cupcake costumes (maybe those are GoCars under there!).

"Why are you dressed as cupcakes?" Julie asked. "No reason," they said.

 At one booth, Saucony teamed up with The Universal Record Database - it's an organization devoted to setting mundane and pointless world records like "Most Metallica Songs Named in 30 Seconds" and "Fastest Time to Ball 10 Pairs of Socks." You could sign up to try to break a record and win international fame and fortune.

Sadly, this fellow did not beat the world record for most t-shirts put on in under a minute. A valiant effort, for sure! Note the yellow-jacketed referees with stop watches. So official.

Not keen on attempting to fit more than 27 sporks in your mouth in order to beat a world record? You could try your hand at some old-timey, handmade arcade games at the Traveling Midway of Curiosities and Delight.

This guy shoved a butter knife up his nose, pretty far up there in fact, with seemingly no ill effects. Why? You know, he never said why.

Music! Oh yeah, there was music there. Like Thao Nguyen.

I also saw: Dan Deacon, the Streets, Brazilian Girls, MSTRKRFT, Girl Talk, MGMT, Grizzly Bear, Beirut, the Walkmen, The Decemberists and The Flaming Lips.

My advice: Don't pay money to see MGMT! Yes, I know you love their songs and so do I, but they will play the four songs that everyone knows and then you are stuck with low energy, shoe-gaze stuff as the audience trickles towards the exits. Girl Talk on the other hand, was way fun but perhaps I am judging that almost entirely on the impressive firework display at the end of his set.

The city skyline is visible in this picture if you look closely.

Blurry sunset picture with palm tree

Speed Racer

Been meaning to write about this for awhile - two weekends ago, I flew to San Francisco to visit my friend Julie, go to the Treasure Island Music Festival and to take in the sights. What better way to do that, Julie suggested, than to rent a GoCar?

Apparently designed to kill tourists, GoCar is a small, yellow, three-wheeled moped-car hybrid topping out at 30 mph that you can take on actual roads in San Francisco with actual traffic. A talking GPS system tells you which turns to make along a prescribed route and provides informative narration about the city as you mosey along. Julie graciously volunteered to drive as I can barely drive a traditional, non-death trap car.

Here I am in the sporty GoCar wearing a helmet that will protect me from absolutely nothing if we end up running into an SUV - safety first!

Vroom vroom.

The Mercedes parked next to us was totally jealous of our ride.

This button was unnerving. I have to admit, I was curious to see what would happen, but ultimately decided against flipping the switch.

My job was to take pictures as we cruised along. Mainly I enjoyed photographing other people as they photographed us, or pointed and laughed at us. If you want attention, try driving a little postage stamp-size car that sounds like a lawnmower.

Of course, we decided to take the car out in rush hour traffic and I thought I might die at any moment. This is what we were up against.

Tourists in San Francisco love novelty vehicles.

Rush hour traffic wasn't the only worry. As it turns out, our GPS/navigation system was broken. The sound kept fading in and out, and you could barely understand what the voice was saying. Example, "When you reach the stop sign, turn (mumble mumble), then proceed (hiss crackle) and always, always make sure you (dead silence)."

Problematic. We ended up terribly lost and I was certain we would end up on a ramp towards the Golden Gate Bridge. Scary.

Another problem - the car can only go up hills that are on the route. But since we strayed off the map, we got to a giant San Francisco hill and the car gave up in defeat. I had to get out and push, no joke.

In case you can't tell, this was really fun and I highly recommend it. I survived, so you probably will too!

Here are some pictures I snapped along the way. It is impossible to take a bad picture of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Surfers, not seals...