San Franciscans, it means summer is getting close.
After the rainy, cool period we think of as winter, which generally
only runs from January through March or April, things get very pleasant
around here, and occasionally break out into just plain hot. Old
time locals hate it when that happens. In the last two years, there
have been several days that were hotter than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
That's hot enough to bake a pet, child or grandparent even without
the use of a vehicle.
Fortunately, when it gets that hot here, it eventually also heats
up in the Central Valley. And once the Sacramento area gets burning
hot, the rising hot air over there sucks Pacific Ocean winds
across the City toward the frying interior of the state, ensuring
that San Francisco chills down and fogs over. This is all much to
the delight of the elderly, who all moved here to get away from
heat of their childhood homelands.
This chilly fog season can only be called summer, as it starts up
in late June and runs through August. But it's only summer Australian-style,
as San Francisco's summer weather
is always colder than our spring or fall, and certainly colder than
any winter ever gets.
It seems obligatory to mention that Mark
Twain said the coldest winter he ever saw was the summer in
San Francisco. People who live here generally seem annoyed to hear
that. It's the first thing savvy tourists (if that's not an oxymoron)
learn from their guidebooks, and they spout it off regularly. Unsavvy
tourists (the dominant variety) just show up in shorts and sundresses
and end up freezing in the evening fog.
Of course in doing so, they confuse San Francisco with California,
which is something very different altogether. Maybe Northern California
should become its own state, clueing tourists to the difference
between the Disneyland, Hollywood and Beaches of La La Land and
the very different Fog, Victorians and Cable Cars of San Francisco.
Even the name Northern California has a certain caché absent
from, say, North
But I digress. Sometime very soon, the fog will burn off for good
and things will warm up for Indian Summer, the real San
Francisco Treat. The days get shorter, but at least the weather
stays pleasantly outdoorsy after the sun goes down. On the other
hand, the heat makes some of the elderly mad
enough to spit.
The last time I made any comment about the house, Tat and Nick and
I were wondering about Askia,
who moved in last month but never actually made an appearance. That
all changed last week. It turns out he has been without a vehicle.
While that potentially keeps children and pets safe, it also makes
getting off the island a bit more difficult.
Carless island residents have to time their departures around the
108, which runs about every 20 minutes. Unlike most Muni routes,
it generally runs on a real schedule, and keeps to it because it
can go fast on the freeway and gets to Transbay Terminal via private
ramps. Private right of way does great things for transit.
Still, there are occasional
hazards related to taking the bus. It only runs until just before
midnight (but as late as 12:30 AM on the weekends), so if you are
out late, you either have to beg a ride, sleep away from home or
pay $25 for a taxi ride. Also, there are a few wild kids in the
island's Job Corps that make the 15 minute trip seem like a terribly
long ordeal. Fights, drugs, yelling and pushing past other riders
in line are all regular complaints of island riders.
The Job Corps administrators promise to can any students
that residents identify as troublemakers, but few residents have
gone past complaining to actually finger the bad kids, so a breach
between residents and the entire Job Corps student population is
growing. At one point, I proposed hosting a Reverse Survivor contest,
where JC kids would get kicked off the island as evidence against
them mounted, but the whole idea seemed a little too over the top
to get the support needed to initiate it.
So anyway, Askia is still waiting to get his vehicle, and in the
mean time, he's doing his best to interrupt my already scattered
train of thought in an effort to tell the story of Bistar, a
genetically perfected supergirl created by the genius Genova to
be the perfect weapon. Apparently, Bistar runs away in her naive
youth, frustrating the plans of Genova, who only wishes to save
Sounds like a heavy influence from manga or anime,
I'm not sure which. I'm not real clear on the details of Japanimation,
but I do know that the big eyes scare
me and the screaming mouths are annoying. Plus, while their story
lines create an illusion of rich complexity, I find they are generally
just silly crap. For instance, Askia's Bistar is "untraceable, untrackable,
but not to the naked eye, only to smell and hearing and to video
cameras". What the heck? Askia, that's just ridiculous. He runs
off upstairs, but not before adding "I want executive producer".
I've been trying to tune out the Mysterious Flow as I write in the
kitchen, only to have Askia return and start up again. He says the
Mysterious Flow is really just a hot water heating system for the
house. I don't know what exactly the Mysterious Flow is, but it
isn't hot water heat. I reminded him that we have a forced air furnace,
as evidenced by our furnace
and vents throughout the house.
The Mysterious Flow, which has been running off and on since I moved
in over a year ago, is a cascade of bubbling water that trickles
like a happy fountain within the north wall of our house. It runs
too often and too long to be the discharge of the four toilets and
showers of our unit and our immediate neighbors. There is simply
too much water sound for it to be just a running, leaky toilet,
and anyone taking showers that long would have to be far
cleaner than anyone in our house or next door.
Askia next suggested that the Mysterious Flow is actually related
to water trucks he noticed earlier, as if there could be some connection
between tanker trucks and a bubbling kitchen wall. He then took
some wilder swats at aliens,
bubbling water from the ground and other desperate ideas that make
my frequently rambling thoughts look focused and coherent. After
I shot down a few more of his theories, he finally gave up with
"that's why you'll never be an espionage
person, Tony" and headed back upstairs.
While I've never brought it to the attention of the leasing agency,
it is possible the Mysterious Flow is just a broken pipe or something.
There isn't water leaking out onto the floor, but the island soil
is mostly sand, which sucks down water like an Suburban drinks fuel.
A couple times I've started watering the plants in the back and
about them, only to discover much, much later that gallons of water
can and do disappear into the ground with the fearsome and relentless
pace of a soccer mom in a minivan on the Bay Bridge.
We may never know what the Mysterious Flow is, but one thing is
certain: the fog is getting tiresome. Bring on Fall, I'm ready to
More on heat, weather, anime, films and espionage:
Weather of the San Francisco Bay Region
Anime: From Akira to Princess Mononoke
How to Draw Anime & Game Characters
Samurai from Outer Space: Understanding Anime
A Guide To Japanese Animation
Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics
Never Dies: Special Edition