WHY BAY AREA RULES:
I’m not going to number the reasons or ways that the Bay rules, it just does, and I’ll run down some of the things I can think of.
The people are rad. And they’re from everywhere and represent everything. I enjoy talking shit about people and there are few places in the world that provide better material for making fun. From the 60’s hippie-turned 70’s meth head-turned present day bums of SF to the extra FOBy folks of Oakland’s Chinatown we got everyone. I even enjoy the Marina District from time to time and if you think that is crazy you have not noticed the trend of every single chick rocking yoga gear all day over there. If there was one good thing that came from that Eat, Pray, Love movie it’s that all chicks who watched it want to do yoga, which means stretch pants. Diversity is awesome because anybody can find their niche.
The food is bangin. The East Bay runs the Taco Truck scene but La Mission has the best food from Central and South America that you can find in the States. In the last few weeks I’ve had Tibetan food, Ethiopian, surprisingly good vegan food (Millenium-$$$$$$ but good), BBQ, sustainable Sushi, New York style pizza, fresh oysters, Tapas, crazy fusions and I don’t need to start with the usual Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese or American foods. Seriously, if you want any type of food outside of monkey brains or cobra blood the Bay has it.
Urban and green belts. Downtown Frisco is as bustling as any world class business center. But the fact that within an hour of here lies the Marin Headlands, Muir Woods/Beach, Tilden park and within 3 hours you have Yosemite and Tahoe puts the Area’s accessible outlets of nature into a category that most major cities globally cannot rival. Our forefathers who designated all of the public park areas were genius, and many people don’t know that Golden Gate Park is bigger than NY’s Central Park and a little wilder. Although our public transportation cannot compete with New York or Paris it is pretty fucking good. Nobody really needs a car unless you live on the other side of the Caldecott (culture-stop) Tunnel and we’re not bragging about or even really repin that area. Skate or bike to BART, MUNI, AC Transit or whatever and your good.
Skateboarding. We never had good parks here when I was a kid and that’s one of the reasons I suck. Now however, we have tons of really good parks, a number of DIY spots popping up all over, killer infrastructure like drainage ditches, marble hubbas, universities, the flats (pridelands) of the East Bay and of course SF’s famous hills. The Bay has been a Mecca of skateboarding almost since skateboarding’s inception and will continue to be forever. I’m getting worse at skating by the day but have more and more fun as I learn of new spots or skate the same old hills. If I were a bum all I would need was a board to keep me positive because the Bay has free food and the weather is never freezing. Move here and skate/eat for free.
The free services. Free food, shelter, medical care, money, etc. The reason there are so many bums here is because they have it so much better here than anywhere else in America. People hear of the services and get over the lives they have in Bumfuck, Nowhere and decide to be bums in the Bay. A lot of fat, smiling bums live here. That’s not to say that there are not skinny mean-mugging bums because fuck those dudes and there are, but this is a bum haven and mean bums are attracted to the zone as well. Food Not Bombs has free lunch every day. When I worked in Berkeley on Telegraph Avenue (510 Skateboarding)I would join the line at People’s Park and eat there a number of times a week because it was much healthier than the food “The Ave” had to offer and it is free. The park also sports a free clothing box. Chilling on a sunny Berkeley afternoon in the park, drinking a tall can that you spare changed for and waiting for clothes and food to arrive is where it’s at-for bums.
Freedom. This might sound dumb coming from someone that has been arrested a number of times in The Bay but I’d probably be mega locked up if I lived anywhere but here. Cannabis cards, access to prescription and non-prescription drugs, look the other way rules for public drinking and smoking are a few of the luxuries we have here. This area is so full of activists who fight for human rights and freedom that we take it for granted. I personally get bummed on hippies who are all talk or are the children of rich folks and drive their VW’s and smoke weed all day and don’t know real life challenges or responsibilities. But the hippies who actually get shit done and make our lives easier should seriously be regarded as heroes or something. There are not many places that have the tenant’s rights that we do, the free services, the freedom of speech and demonstration. Look at the Bay-to Breakers or Love parade. That shit is like being in Europe for a day.
The people are smart. I know this might not matter to everyone but I appreciate living in one of the more educated parts of our country. In SF, we have one in seven residents taking classes at City College. That makes SF one of the most educated populations nationwide. With education comes innovation and that means we have far less bored mother fuckers than elsewhere. People are doing shit out here. World renowned universities translate to world renowned babes and skate spots-win/win. We’re in California. Arguably the best place to live in the world. A state that is bigger and has a GDP larger than most countries. We have the beaches of San Diego, the ski resorts in Tahoe, the turf’s of Oakland and LA, the gaming casinos, the agriculture (and weed), and the ability to be 100% self-sustainable, we don’t need shit and we know it. We got it all. WE OUT HERE.
A Day In Portland
After 4 relaxing, fun-filled days in Bend with my girl and her family I took the Central Oregon Breeze (a bus, not a hang glider or kite board) back to Portland (P-Town, Stump-Town, Bridge-Town, The Pee-Hole, PDX amongst other nicknames) and spent the day at Burnside and some bars with hometown hero Super Dave. Beer is fucking abundant in this city. 6-Pack of 16ers (Pabst) for $4.97-yesh bro. Showing up at Burnside with more than one beer is a good idea for a number of reasons. 1-the spot is choppy so having some liquid courage streaming through your veins will help you go higher. 2-who doesn’t love beer? Especially, when you’re tired and beat up from skating. There’s no better way to meet homies than to share a beer or two with ‘em. 3-when there is some gnar-sesh going on you won’t look like as much of a kook for not skating because you’re already fucked up.
Any-fucking-ways, I get to the park and I had never been there before. So I’m in the back of the park looking down at some fools flying around the zone like it’s nothing. Someone slams hard and I hear some drunk guy yell, “Aaaayyy Javi”. I realize the person who slammed is Javier Mendizibal from Spain and the drunk guy is Arto Saari and he’s walking around the park with a Corona and rocking his shoes like slippers. Funny stuff. Then some Australian kid starts back nose-blunting the top of the big wall. I shot a photo of that and smoked a spliff with the British and Finish dudes that were part of the tour that had stopped by the park; rad first time at Burnside.
I had to piss really bad from my beers and went to pee on a wall-some chick was right there and saw my dong unfortunately. I felt bad for her so I gave her my last beer. After handing out some zines and turning down some free tea Dave and I headed over the river and into town. First stop-Mary’s Club.
Mary’s Club kills all dive bars I have ever been in. T&A, cheap beers, gambling, it’s attached to a Mexican restaurant, across the Burnside Bridge from the skatepark and a dark, dreary atmosphere. We had a beer here but then our friend Aden didn’t have his ID so we got the boot.
After Mary’s we went to some bar called Someday Lounge where Aden had some art up. The place was good. Strong drinks and an “intimate” environment that has a really good list of performers who have played there recently. We finished our drinks outside on the sidewalk just in time to take photos with cops on horses. They kept saying, “please pet his neck and not his forehead”. I don’t listen to cops. Stopped by the Backspace to see progress on a new venue that will be opening sometime this fall and is planning on being the next new thing for Last Thursdays which is Portland’s art night and similar to Oakland’s First Fridays (Art Murmur).
Next stop was the Magic Garden or some shit in China Town. This place was almost equally as dope as Mary’s. Again we were almost kicked out because of Aden only this time it was for shaking a strippers leg-her thigh was all jiggling and shit. That fool is a beast.
All good things must come to an end and so was my Oregon trip. I get on the wrong train to the airport and end up at a bar outside of the city waiting for a cab. Expedited through security and get given a full row to myself on the plane. As I’m sitting down I hear my name being called by a friendly voice. What do you now” It’s my favorite bartender and friend Genea. Stoked cause she had been drinkin too. The flight flew by (pun intended) and get back to the Mission and get a burritron, another beer and some lotto tickets-ugh!