Monday, May 31, 2010

Here Comes The Sun . . .

For the Memorial Day Holiday my friend Shamoli organized a picnic at Mission Dolores Park.

The park is situated on a hill that over looks the City.

The day started out foggy and cold but by noon was beautiful. It was the perfect weather for the first day of the Summer Season!

We enjoyed lots of food, companionship, the hookah and even joined another group for some hula hooping!

I surprised myself when I was able to keep the hula hoop up and going.

Thank you to my Mom who talked me through the recipe for Deviled Eggs the night before the picnic. I think they turned out fine.

The Song Of The Day - Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles (not available on iTunes)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Game . . .

Are you ready for some baseball?

One of my co-workers secured our corporate luxury suite for the Saturday evening Giants game against the Arizona Diamond Backs.

It was really nice to be on the suite level at AT&T park.

First, you have the option of sitting inside the suite on comfortable couches and chairs or outside on the standard stadium seats.

Second, the suite is right along the first base line. Great view!

Third, we were able to turn on the suites' flat screen TVs to the Lakers game. (This proved to be very confusing for me. Every time my suite mates would start cheering for the Lakers game, I thought I had missed an amazing play by the Giants on the field below.)

Fourth, the bathrooms on the suite level are pretty fantastic and there is no line!

It turned out to be a great game. The Giants won 12 to 1! And, it was give away "hat" night!

All that being said, what I really want to talk about is effective protesting.

When I arrived at the ballpark there was a substantial protest taking place. I started racking my brain trying to figure out what the protest might be about.

I came up with nothing.

As I got close enough to read the protest signs it was clear that they were protesting the State of Arizona's immigration laws. The Giants were playing the Arizona Diamond Backs after all.

So I started to reflect on whether this was an effective protest or not.

Yes, it definitely would get a lot of attention from the crowds of people trying to get into the stadium. But what about the people driving by in cars or passing on the Muni trains?

Those people would not be able to read the signs and would question just like I did, why are they protesting the Giants?

This reminded me of another protest several years ago.

I was working in Santa Barbara.

Over the years The Gap, Inc. was subject to several organized protests. Since the mall where I worked was private property, any protests of The Gap would have to take place on the public sidewalk. Essentially that meant that the protesters were not standing in front of the business that they were actually protesting against.

My favorite example of this ineffective protest was when the protesters stapled big blue Gap shopping bags to their yard sticks. Gap Inc. is the owner of Banana Republic which was on the main street and had public sidewalks in front of the store. The protesters positioned themselves in front of the Banana Republic.

Confusion ensued as the protesters hoisted their big blue anti Gap shopping bag signs while chanting "Si Se Puede" (Yes, It can be done) in front of the Banana Republic.

First, not every one is aware that The Gap owns Banana Republic. So holding up anti Gap signs in front of Banana Republic didn't make a whole lot of sense to the average shopper.

Second, chanting "Si Se Puede" in front of a store whose clientele for that market was upper middle class white women that don't speak Spanish, resulted in the protesters' message being lost.

Back to the Giants game.

One of the people who attended that game with me happened to be raised in Arizona. She said that the immigration law has had a negative impact on the Arizona economy because people are refusing to travel to the State of Arizona as a sign of protest.

So if Arizona's immigration law is negatively impacting an already depressed economy, would the protesters at this Giants game want to negatively impact revenues being generated in our City for something happening in another State?

I am not sure I have the answer for that, but it is definitely food for thought.

I think I will go grab a hot dog!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Just Wave Hello . . .

When President Obama was running for office in 2008 there was a web site that allowed you to upload your picture and turn it into a version of the Obama "Hope" campaign poster.

My Obamicon is shown above.

On Sunday Morning while I was getting dressed for Church there was the familiar thundering sound of a low flying helicopter. This is a sound that I had become familiar with as a child when police helicopters would circle above our house at night shining their search light into our back yard looking for "bad" guys. It's a very unsettling sound.

I peered out the window and watched as two low flying military helicopters circled the Bay. Usually, this is a sight reserved for the Fleet Week Air Show in October. I knew something must be going on when the two helicopters slowly descended onto the Marina Green for a landing.

Was Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in town? This seemed like a bit much just for her.

When I arrived at church I saw what has now become a familiar sight. Secret Service vehicles and men in blazers with ear pieces standing on the steps out front. Nancy was in town and I guess she would be joining me at mass.

This time Nancy didn't sit in the same pew as me so I didn't get to offer her the sign of peace. However, on numerous other occasions she has sat right next to me.

In my mind I was still connecting the helicopters to Nancy being in town.

On Tuesday after work I learned from a friend's facebook status update that President Obama had come to San Francisco to participate in a $17,600 a person fundraising dinner for Senator Barbara Boxer. (Yes, that says seventeen thousand six hundred dollars a person!) The event raised $1.7 million in one night!

As I watched the late evening news I learned that President Obama would be flying from San Francisco to Fremont on Wednesday morning to tour a solar energy firms plant that had received government stimulus money.

Now it all made sense. The helicopters from Sunday morning had been practicing their landing on the Marina Green where they would pick up the President for his flight to Fremont. Sure enough on Wednesday morning as I got ready for work the helicopters where back making their slow descent onto the large grassy field.

I left for work and was riding the bus toward the underground Muni station when suddenly traffic came to a stand still. After sitting on the bus for several minutes I realized that I was only two blocks from the Muni station and I could probably walk there faster than waiting for the traffic to clear.

As myself and several other people exited the bus and began walking down the street we were greeted by a police officer who told us we had to stay on the sidewalk because the President's motorcade was coming.

One woman tried to reason with the officer stating that she was late for work. The officer replied, "Mam, you have a great excuse today. How many people can say they were late for work because they were stopped by the President?"

He had a point.

I stood on the corner and pulled my camera out of my bag. I thought I would try and capture the moment on film.

So here is the thing that is typical Just Jon. As with other events, sometimes when trying to take a picture or film something, I am so busy futzing around with the camera that I actually miss the event.

It was starting to get exciting as police motorcycles with sirens blaring whizzed by.

"Here he comes!" shouted the officer in front of us.

Down the street I could see the Presidential limousine. There were two of them.

Still holding my camera up, I realized it was all happening too fast and I should just put the camera down.

Then, as I started to lower the camera the second limousine was passing in front of me.

Clear as day, was President Barack Obama looking right at the group of us standing on the corner. He was smiling and waving.

Less than two seconds later he was gone.

As quickly as it all began the street was opened back up and everyone was on their way.

So I am fully aware in the below video that I shot you can't see President Barack Obama. Please know that I tried to capture the moment for you Loyal Readers, and he really really was looking right at me. You will just have to take my word for it!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Oops (Oh My) . . .

My apologies to anyone who visited Just Jon over the past few days and had a hard time reading the postings because the background image and the font color were almost the same.

It would be easy for me to explain this problem by saying the "Blog was experiencing technical difficulties."

The truth is, "I" was my own technical difficulty.

Over the last few months several sites that I use in conjunction with Just Jon have been enhancing their format. Primarily You Tube.

The "Posting Area" on the template that I use for this blog no longer supported the size of the embedded video box from YouTube. I also started to notice that other features on the blog such as the Loyal Locations Live Traffic Feed did not appropriately fit in the side bar.

I toyed with the idea of revamping the blog once again by choosing a new template that would fit all the features I was trying to add. In the end I really liked the general look of Just Jon and only wanted a little more room in the "Posting Area" and "Side Bar."

This past week I started searching the Internet for information on how to update my template.

I came across several web sites that were very helpful.

On Saturday, after several hours of self education, trial, and error; I was re-writing the HTML code used to create blog templates.

By the afternoon I was so proud of the work I had done because I had accomplished everything I set out to do. The posting area now accommodated the YouTube embedded videos, my Side Bar was wider, and I had created a scrolling message box for Just Peer Wisdom.

I was a computer programmer!

Everything was great until I happened to check out Just Jon while on my lunch break at work.

Uh oh!

The background of the blog was the same color as the words!

This was not good.

Some of you may not have experienced this error.

I think that the changes I made worked if you are using Safari as your web browser. If you were using Internet Explorer to get to Just Jon, well you saw a big brown blob on the screen.

I believe I have now corrected all the issues.

Once again, sorry for the big brown screen that some of you were greeted with over the past few days!

The Song Of The Day - Oops (Oh My) by Tweet

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Walking On Sunshine . . .

Today was the 99th annual Bay To Breakers 12K run presented by ING.

In what can only be described as organized chaos; this yearly event is one part legitimate marathon, two parts Mardi Gras parade, and a dash of Halloween rolled into one.

The event, which is clothing optional and alcohol enhanced has come into scrutiny in recent years. Home owners along the course had petitioned to put an end to the "party" in 2008. But the rest of the public would have no such thing and the police and event organizers worked together to get a better handle on the public drunkenness.

This was my first year participating and it lived up to every thing I had heard.

Where other cities may not embrace the party; San Francisco seems to accept the fact that 60,000 people are going to crash the entrance of the race in full costume, with home made floats all while throwing tortillas into the air.

The official race I am sure was long over when my friend Shagun and I crossed under the starting gate at 8:30 in the morning.

I had left my apartment at 7:15am to head to the Financial District where the starting line was. I boarded a bus full of Marina girls and boys who were already intoxicated and dressed in full 80's neon. The party had clearly begun.

My plan was to ride the bus to the underground and then take the subway the rest of the way. When I reached the subway; I was informed that my normal Muni fast pass was not valid until 8am in order to allow official participants in the race expedited travel to the starting line.


I could pay them $10.00 and get on the train with the real racers...

With my $10.00 green sticker I was now on my way to the starting line.

The subway station at the race entrance was full of people dressed in full costume carrying blow up pools, water guns, and bags of tortillas!

A volunteer at the top of the escalator was yelling, "Last chance to register before starting the race!"


There didn't seem to be any need to register. No one asked to see my "number." I just walked through the gates to the starting line where I waited for Shagun to arrive.

The route worked its way from The Bay down Mission Street periodically twisting and turning through the city until eventually reaching the Great Highway at the Pacific Ocean.

Yes, there was the tortillas being tossed!

Yes, there was nudity!

Yes, there was public urination!

Yes, there was public intoxication!

Yet despite all that, the event seemed very peaceful!

My favorite costume was a group of people dressed as salmon who were "swimming" up stream by walking the race in the wrong direction!

I also got a kick out of the brilliant person who created a large cardboard cut out of the Tanner family from Full House and positioned it on the hill in front of the house featured in the opening credits of the show.

Shagun and I walked most of the race but then did start to jog for the last mile. It was a good thing that we did that. At 11:30am they closed the gates on the final part of the course just as we crossed through. I would have been really bummed if we had made it that far only to be denied access to the finish line.

After crossing the finish line we got our free water, free ice cream sandwich and began the long walk back to the buses.

My $10.00 ticket from earlier in the day allowed my access to the "express" bus back to the City. Unfortunately, I should have ridden the regular bus with Shagun because the "express" bus took me back to the starting line. This meant I had to walk several large blocks to catch a bus back to my neighborhood.

All in all a good day!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Come Join The Party . . .

May 10th marks the 2 year anniversary of Just Jon!

Cheers to a fantastic first two years!

(and yes Megan...another Madonna song!)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Have Some Fun . . .

Here is a little movie starring some familiar faces for you to enjoy this weekend!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I'll Take You To The Candy Shop . . .

The Cold Stone Creamery locations in San Francisco are offering a new treat.

Gourmet flavored fudge.

I tried the Cookies & Creme. It was too icky sweet for my taste but may be right up your alley so be sure to give it a try the next time you are near a San Francisco Cold Stone.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Traveling Down This Road . . .

Sky Fits Heaven

Sky fits heaven to fly it
That's what the prophet said to me
Child fits mother so hold your baby tight
That's what my future could see
Traveling down this road
Watching the signs as I go
I think I'll follow the sun
Isn't everyone just
Traveling down their own road
Watching the signs as they go
Fate fits karma so use it
That's what the wise man said to me
Love fits virtue so hold on to the light
That's what our future will be
Traveling down this road
Watching the signs as I go
I think I'll follow the sun
Isn't everyone just
Traveling down their own road
Watching the signs as they go
I think I'll follow my heart
It's a very good place to start
Traveling down my own road
Watching the signs as they go
Watching the signs as they go
Hand fits giving so do it
That's what the gospel said to me
Life fits living so let your judgements go
That's how our future should be

I left work and started to walk home.

A quarter of the way home I decided I no longer wanted to walk home and hopped on the first bus that pulled up.

I thought I knew where the bus was going.

The bus however turned the corner and went in the opposite direction.

In a deja vu moment I realized I had made this same mistake about three years ago.

I got off the bus and walked the rest of the way home.

My brain works in song lyrics. Memories are connected to whatever song was playing at the time of the event. So usually when I am thinking about something, it is coming to me in the form of a song. That is why each blog entry has a song link at that end.

So as I walked through the Broadway Tunnel my brain was singing ..."I'm traveling down this road watching the signs as I go I think I'll follow the sun..."

In this case, the sun was the yellow tiled tunnel with the light at the end.

The Song Of The Day - Sky Fits Heaven by Madonna

Sunday, May 2, 2010

You Can Run You Can Hide But You Can't Escape . . .

Saturday night was one of those rare evenings in San Francisco that it was warm enough to go to bed with the windows open. I fell asleep to the sounds of the buses and cars working their way up and down the city streets.

I was awakened at 8am Sunday morning by the blast of a horn from a boat on The Bay.

The horn blast was the signal for the start of the "Escape From Alcatraz" triathlon. I sat up in bed and looked out the window to watch the hundreds of athletes swim the 1.5 miles from Alcatraz to the shore in the frigid Bay water.

The athletes then began an 18 mile bike ride followed by an 8 mile run. While they were "Escaping from Alcatraz" my friends and I had already purchased tickets to go to the island and take the cell house tour.

I had been on the cell house tour about 19 years ago when I was still in high school. I remember it being very thrilling, so much so that I actually bought the cassette tape of the tour so that I could listen to it over and over again. (Showing my age; I don't even think a cassette tape is an option for a souvenir today.)

The tour has not changed at all in 19 years except for some minor updates to the audio track. I found it just as thrilling today as I did so many years back.

The above picture shows one of the fake heads and a hollowed out vent from the 1962 prison escape by Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin. Although their bodies were never found they are presumed to have drowned while trying to cross The Bay to San Francisco.

It was a beautiful day to take a ride out on the ferry and enjoy the sunshine, some history, and observe the ecological preserve that Alcatraz has become today.

The Song Of The Day - Escape by Enrique Iglesias