Two hours in Chutchui

Though I’ve been here on and off since 1991 I have never been to the actual Mission building in the Mission. I set out in the late afternoon to visit, feeling sad and solemn. I wanted to see the grave markers for Jocbocme and Poylemja aka Obulinda and Faustino. I hadn’t realized they are thin slabs of redwood and not gravestones from 200 years ago. The building, well, it was an old adobe church, I’ve seen a few and it was just like the rest of them. The big church, I couldn’t get into. There was a tiny kind of sad museum with minimal signage and a diorama uneasily juxtaposed with gilded religious things – in separate glass cabinets. The cemetery was a moody place with an untended air; the Ohlone tule house replica and “indian memorial” was full of water and trash inside. I read the gravestones, and a long list of all the people with grave markers there. Some were marked as killed by vigilantes. There were some french names, italian, lots of irish, many spanish including De Haro, José de Jesús Noé, the Bernal family, Captain Arguello. I was wondering if there would be a grave for Francisca, one of the first to die at the Mission (no.) Of course, the entire Dolores Park was a giant graveyard as well. I wandered around and thought of the unmarked graves of the thousands of Ohlone, Miwok, and other indigenous people who died at the Mission. The little statue of Kateri Tekakwitha, engraved “In Prayerful Memory of the Faithful Indians.” (WTF?!!??!!) Moss and grime on all the names in stone. As I went around the streets outside, I tried to see the landscape without rows of houses and pavement and see the landforms, creeks, arroyos, dunes, reed beds, and oaks that were there and the villages or camps of the Ramaytush people moving around the peninsula, including Chutchui. The banks of the creek were familiar to people, particular trees, good places to sit and look out from the hills, all familiar and homelike. As I went past the Maxfields cafe I was debating going in to write up some of my notes and also do some more work for the day. Ada and her friends were inside & ran out to fetch me! A nice surprise. They continued working on their D & D game prep while I got some work done. It was just nice to be around them. Waiting for the J, I was still looking around trying to see into the past several layers deep, my mood quite strange as well from having been reading the book “Ishi’s Brain” on top of the creepy Mission visit, when I realized the next train wasn’t going to come for 40 minutes (weird) so we trudged up to Castro to get the 24 home. The kids got on the back of the bus but the front was too crowded for me to get on. I tried to yell to them to just go without me but they hadn’t noticed so all was well – I would just get the next bus and use the interval to keep thinking my thoughts and take more notes. On the ride over the steep hills of Castro I was trying to re-think Chutchui into an alternate modern existence. The creeks open to the sky and rather than parks, camping sites as part of the infrastructure of the city, interspersed with buildings, the transport mostly underground, marshes and cultivated reedbeds and dunes still there, and people magically inoculated from disease, coexisting messily, much like now but with some different foci, different languages, power centered differently. As we turned onto 30th I got a phone alert on the Citizen app that a man had been stabbed in the back at the bus stop that I was about to get off at (30th and Mission) and traffic was stopped and would be rerouted. People were streaming live video of a woman in a red hat screaming at the police. Two men had run away from the scene, leaving in a white car. As my bus neared the scene we could all see that the block was swarming with cops. At least, I knew the kids were ok. It was their bus empty and parked a few blocks ahead at the corner of Mission and 30th. I got off the bus (explaining to the driver and the people at the front what was going on) and went home, skirting the cordoned off block and feeling so glad for my leather jacket covering the itchy places between my shoulderblades and more moodiness underneath as I thought of my girlfriend who was stabbed there in the 80s. Violence & ghosts are built into our landscapes as familiarly as anything else.

Dinner with friends

I had dinner with seelight and friends and her parents last night at her parents’ awesome condo overlooking the Bay. Delicious food! Whiskey soaked cake! (Make a gluten free cake mix, Bob’s Red Mill preferably, then make a syrup with a quarter cup of butter, a half cup of bourbon or whiskey, half cup of sugar. Take the cake out of the oven when it has about 5 minutes left to cook (it should still be soft in the middle), poke holes in it with a chopstick, pour the syrup on, put it back in to finish cooking. (I think. Or, just take it out and poke the holes and then let it stand after you pour in the syrup.) I’ll have to experiment with that.

At one point while we were discussing trees on the sidewalk which while they may be nice, may also not be nice, as they are cracking the foundations of the house and/or completely shadowing a building from any sunlight, seelight’s mom went, “Easy. Put a little poison every day, no one will know. Not all at once, just a little. Listen to your mother.” Very dryly. We kept doing callbacks to it in later conversation (applied to cars, people, etc) and every time it just got funnier.

Epic journey to the south

This morning I took the bus to BART, changed trains in Balboa Park (having a look around as I waited), onward to Millbrae, to Caltrain, then I had thought I was going to take light rail to the Mountainview office but the stop was eliminated in 2015 so I caught a small shuttle bus (happily, accessible.)

I took notes ecstatically on the weird concrete wall patterns (different in every station) and which ones were like deep canyons; the bronze statues in their narrative cement cocoons in Millbrae; which stations were above ground; and lots of notes today and last night about the Ramaytush and other Ohlone people of the areas I was traversing.

Interspersed with Ingress and Pokemon catching it made a pleasant ride. On Caltrain I was even able to work a little bit as it wasn’t crowded and just felt OK to do, while it would seem obnoxious to me on BART. So, in between all that I started the process of releasing Firefox 66 beta 10 and answering bugmail.

Happy hour with some nice people from the office on Castro street – then all the buses and trains in reverse order, this time whenever I wasn’t in tunnels, looking up the art and artists and architects of some of the stations.

Some random observations – the platform floor in Balboa Park is very smooth marble, pleasant to roll across. The Millbrae complex (largest intermodal station west of the Mississippi!) is beautiful if you take a step back from it and admire its soaring winglike structures of steel, glass, and fiberglass.

Also noted: There should be more high density housing on the Peninsula near the BART and Caltrain stations. Some high rise apartments will not ruin your lives, NIMBYs!!

Neighborhood mural goats

I just met my neighbors who have the goats and it was so nice to chat with them! It turns out they have goats because they’re firefighters and they don’t want their yard to be overgrown and be a fire hazard. Therefore, goat gardeners! I suggested a goat window in their fence so we can all admire the adorable beasts.

Another neighbor is giving me a ridiculously nice end table (I am going to offer to pay though) As I was passing by when he was putting stuff out on the sidewalk & I asked about the table (not yet out but looked like it was in line.)

Had a nice chat also with Matthew from Bernalese as i obtained the perfect glasses to put inside Danny’s silly fake antique globe thing in his office (Inherited with the office I believe — and the same kind that I had in the houseboat, inherited from the houseboat owner.) There are tall straight glasses and then a nice cocktail or wine glass with a stem called a Nick and Nora glass.

I went out looking for Bob who lives across from the Safeway on the street to give him a good World War II book I got out of the free bin at Dog Eared Books. He wasn’t there so I will just keep the book in my wheelchair undercarriage till i see him next.

Also!! I heard a rumor the fabulous artist Crayone is going to paint a mural in our neighborhood. omgggg!

Random encounters in the rain

Little bursts of heavy rain and the streets nearly deserted in the evening. Walking out of La Taqueria (the quality has sadly fallen off lately) we went by a couple of people huddled in a doorway, me hunkering down under 3 different scarves looking miserable. “Unnnnnnnnngh!!!!” said one of the huddled people, in a comradely way. “NNNNNNNGHHH!!” I answered, cringing back at them as we fought nature, red in tooth and claw or at least brutal in trickling wetness down the back of your neck.

A bit further on a guy came out of The Knockout just another spate of giant raindrops clattered down. “Nooooooo! Cold!” I shrieked. “Wet!!!!” “RIGHT!??????!!!!!!” said the guy, sharing the general outrage and dismay, a terrible sense of betrayal.

We ducked into the bar hoping it would pass. Emerging again 5 minutes later into slightly less of a downpour, we passed a girl in a woolly hat coming out of Pizza Hacker. She looked around as if she could not believe what was happening to her. So unfair!

How can our city do this to us!

I think it’s a thing now to play up our surprise as if we never fucking experienced rain before. It’s kind of cute.

NERT graduation and a couple of hours in dressing rooms

Got my certificate, hard hat, vest, gloves, and ID card signifying that I have gone through Neighborhood Emergency Response Team training. Tonight was fun – it was all exercises like doing a search & rescue and triage, setting off a fire extinguisher (in the street, on a gasoline fire in a big metal box) and rescuing a CPR doll trapped under a pile of debris by shoring up a plank and levering it off her.

I also did a bunch of stuff for Firefox 66 beta 8 and then went shopping with a friend in the late afternoon, had a blast taking her to my favorite mens consignment shop then to a thrift shop on Market where there was a VERY drunk blonde lady (size 4) trying on pants while my friend was trying on shirts in the dressing room next door and I was just chilling out on a bench. Blond lady would come out and strut around and shake her butt in my face “These pants are totallly sexy they’re a yes! don’t you think!” I would agree and she would go “HOTTTTTT” and I’d go “yes, totally HOTTTTTTTT with TTTTTTTTTT on it” And then alternately admire or mildly disparage the fit of the button down shirts on my friend. Then at one glorious point the drunk femmy lady came out in a punky jacket, rejected it, but intersected with my friend and was like NO… YOU need this… this would look GREAT on you. And it did! High fives all around. She kept coming out of her little cubbyhole only in underwear to see what my friend had on next.

Very entertaining! I was really feeling like a fabulous fairy godless-being and very knowledgeable about pocket squares and so on. Super reminded of this, the best thread: https://twitter.com/trans_tho/status/999924229624639488

Frivolous thrift store news

I had a long day and cannot Think any more and I am definitely getting a cold, but here is my daily report. Warning. It will be bullshit. I had a very pleasant afternoon working from Borderlands Bookstore Cafe and scooted myself home via Buffalo Exchange instead of trying to get on a rush hour bus.

My reversible velvet brocade black and purple paisley jacket is now joined by a vintage 80s Joan Walters reversible purple and purple paisley jacket, sort of …. sort of a sport coat/ fake silk windbreaker? — with pockets on both sides! It fit my criteria of being super extra. It’s a monstrosity of a garment. If only it had more magenta it would be 100% great instead of only 95% great.

In other frivolous “news” I have been kinda laughing all day at Azealia Banks insulting Grimes by texting her at 4am that she smells like a roll of nickels.

Best insult I have ever heard. I keep trying to analyze why it’s so good.

Also making my day amazing: There was a road crew re-doing the curb cut that I keep reporting at Lexington and 20th!!! Not sure why they are doing all 4 corners when only one had a missing curb cut. But, it’s fabulous. It’s been bugging me for years as I go up 20th and then realize that I have to either go out in the street or else go back to Mission (or Valencia) and go around.

Overheard while in the cafe: “Oh that smell? It’s someone cooking meth upstairs in the SRO and when that happens then they just dump industrial floor cleaner all over and don’t really wash it so we open all the windows and put on a fan.” I was vaguely impressed at someone knowledgeable enough to recognize what a meth lab smelled like so I took a deep experimental sniff and then really wished I hadn’t because I basically huffed the industrial floor cleaner so hard that my cold cleared up and a door to Hell itself opened up underneath my wheelchair. Pro tip don’t be too curious about the smell of meth labs and there is probably some deep wisdom here about Grimes as well which boils down to don’t text with Azealia Banks at 4am as she will kick you ALL the way downstairs.

Sustainable activism

My friend Zach was out today with a pretty cool setup. Just out on the local streetcorner with a giant homemade amp (made from parts from Noisebridge) and a record player, powered from his mobility scooter battery. The album is titled WE SHALL OVERCOME! Documentary of the March on Washington and has speeches and songs from the 1963 March for Jobs and Freedom. Anyway, he was playing MLK’s speech just hanging out there on the sidewalk at the bus stop. He had a photo of MLK in a frame with flowers around it. People were honking as they went by and stopping to listen and chat. It was really nice.

mlk-album

The thing is it is too hard for him to get to any of the actual events in town right now because of mobility, health & so on. I admire him making his own event at his own pace right on our block and what he could sustain doing, bringing all his skills in making electronics stuff, special power supplies and power converters, and scavenging, along with a super awesome sensibility that you can celebrate the life and ideas of Martin Luther King Jr. by making this beautiful bit of culture out on the sidewalk on an ordinary street corner. As a result anyone else who couldn’t get to a special thing downtown, or wherever, but had to go about their ordinary day, got this piece of community added to their day.

Considering elevators

Yesterday I worked on my game for a while and we went to a friend’s (fan)vid watching party. Along the way we came across Orquestra de Calle 24 and people dancing in the BART plaza, then the entire Women’s March once we popped out of the station at Powell. Thousands of people with signs, drums, & that spine-shivering thing where you hear a cheer begin way down at another end of the march and it travels up and passes you like a wave!

The party was in a gorgeous building, the Medico-Dental building, and I assumed it was someone’s friend’s office. It was a dentist’s office with a huge screen TV and interesting decor – not at all dentist-y feeling – Odd things like a table made of what might have been an aluminum alloy cast of a gnarled section of a giant tree – Rococco chairs and mirrors and silver trays but then also a raw unfinished wooden beam with orange paint “MEETING ROOM” under a CAUTION HARD HATS REQUIRED sign. As we were leaving I found out that it was booked using something called Peerspace. Huh!!

It was nice seeing everyone – the vids were amazing – And I had fun dressing up. I had some doctors appointments near there and went into the Sephora to look for a specific shampoo and lotion – having never been in one of those stores before. And I was like Oh holy fuck I don’t wear makeup, like, I own one lipstick and an eyeshadow, but, now I want some because it is all strangely alluring and pretty and looks like candy. That was a couple of months ago and since then we have all been putting on “cyberpunk makeup” and now I own 4 colors of metallic matte lipstick (Fenty has a nice pencil one, but I like the Anastasia liquid matte a lot better.) So I busted out that stuff yesterday and had fun with it. Lipstick seems to have advanced since I last really wore it in like, 1990. It stays on and is not bothersome. As long as I feel properly like it’s a fun game and I’m in drag, all is well. Not really into it otherwise. (It is GLAM BUTCH CYBORG makeup.)

liz in silver blue lipstick

And, today I figured out a way around a problem that has been bugging me. I had modeled an example elevator which went between two floors, based on the simplest example in the Inform7 recipe book. Couldn’t figure out how to fix the logic to make it go to three or more floors, and also, with that and the more complicated elevator example (a skyscraper in Dubai) and a third way I thought of, I would end up with the problem of having to write 100 uniquely named elevators, each with their own logic. That would be tedious and make the code unnecessarily bloated so I have gone another route.

Instead of having the elevator be a room, I made it a vehicle, and put any room where the elevator could possibly be, into a region called Liftlandia. If the player is in the Liftlandia region, then the elevator is in the location of the player. I had to start it in nowhere, and haven’t quite gotten it to appear on the first time the player enters a room in Liftlandia. But, it works. If you try go up or down in Liftlandia (because you see stairs) it doesn’t let you- you need to use the elevator. Once you’re in it, you can go up and down to the rooms in whichever direction it’s possible.

Now, I’d like a nicer way to have the player push a button to go to the desired floor. With my ‘magic vehicle’ solution, I can write in a P, C, and S button (for Platform, Concourse, Street) and they are pushable. I’m not quite sure how to have the buttons take you to the correct place but it should be possible.

Along the way I also had to abandon my desires to build a nice simulation of the real life map because it was a huge pain in the ass and I am aiming for a different level of abstraction. Not without a pang but already you see that I have to have at least 3-5 “rooms” for each of 52 stations (platform, concourse, street, and likely something extra like more outside locations, or secret rooms in the stations, or whatever.) Mapping each station expanded that to like, 20 or more locations per station.

I started adding some NPCs with simple behaviors and I may try next to add “scenes”. For example, I’d like musicians to wander by, or, for some kids to get on BART and set up to dance and pass a hat and for stuff like that to happen randomly. Some NPCs or scenes would happen in particular locations and others might wander.

For the actual game aside from my mechanical difficulties, there will be magic and time travel, I still want to simulate various mobilities and sightedness states, and I have a sort of poetic mood or atmosphere in mind which stretches back to a book I never really wrote called The Secret Life of Buildings but which I could describe as a holographic vision of things that will lead people to see the city around them differently, and love it more deeply. (And to look things up.) We will see. And, I’m still working on another game with Milo. I may start systematically pasting in, running, and modifying each example from the Inform7 recipe book, as it is very helpful way to learn to make complicated things happen in the game.

NERT Herding

Off soon to class #2 of NERT training. San Francisco has Neighborhood Emergency Response Teams, with free 6 week classes where you learn about disaster response & then graduate with, I don’t know, a certificate and a hard hat. Then first responders can call on local teams if they need backup in disaster situations. Though, I think the main idea is to encourage people to be more prepared for earthquakes, fires, whatever, I’m sure local crews are also useful in a pinch!

I appreciate the accessibility of the class locations!

The website has a bunch of the NERT class materials, including PDFs of the class handbook and a disaster preparedness checklist in English, Spanish, and Chinese. I’m thinking of printing some of those checklists, laminating them, and putting them up in my free bookshelf on the sidewalk.