Help Support NIMBY!

Filed Under Fire Art, SF Bay Area | 2009-11-05, 14:26

NIMBY has been fighting a battle with the city of Oakland for quite some time now. It’s not an easy battle, and as you can guess it’s not a free one. While NIMBY makes some money via tenants paying rent, a large part of their fundraising comes from throwing events that the city is not currently allowing. In order to stay open and to continue to fight for the right to throw fundraisers, NIMBY needs your help.

Your support of NIMBY directly affects hundreds of us that use the space to build our art. On a personal level NIMBY is the home of Ardent Heavy Industries, aka Interpretive Arson. The existence of NIMBY means that our art has a place to live and grow! If you aren’t familiar with NIMBY (or even if you are), check out the video they put together too! Please help pledge whatever you can to keep things going!

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Journey to the End of the Night Halloween 2009

Filed Under Events, SF Bay Area, Video | 2009-11-03, 17:39

The Halloween edition of sf0’s “Journey to the End of the Night” had a massive turn out. Well over 600 people showed up to play. There isn’t a final count as we ran out of waivers and maps for everyone and only 600 of those were printed. But regardless of the limitations, the getting kicked out of venues, and other hiccups, everyone had a great time. And I have to point out the best description of the event (via ombwah): At one point whilst ombwah was pouncing on a fleeing rabbit. A police officer asked me.. ” whats this, a Jump into the street and Die game?

Rather than playing in this dangerous game of dodge traffic and chasers, I spent the evening being one of those chasers to dodge and helping out at Checkpoint 3 (yes the one where we got kicked out of the garage). What follows is my proof submitted to sf0 (photos are also up on flickr as usual):

My evening started late as I scrambled to turn a briefcase into a backpack using only climbing rope and a carabiner. Success finally and I jumped on my bike to race down to Justin Herman Plaza, where a small group of eager players was already forming 30 minutes prior to the actual meeting time. I rolled around the corner to meet up with my fellow chasers. We were briefed, tied on pink ribbons, made plans and then disappeared into the night to stake out good places to ambush players.

Dressed in my white slacks, white jacket, and baby blue t-shirt I looked like an old vice squad officer on vacation from Miami. The nondescript black briefcase that looked like it could be either holding drugs, large sums of money, or divorce papers was a nice addition. Inside the briefcase was 2kg of candy, a pink ribbon, and a video camera. The plan was to pop open the briefcase in front of players and watch them scatter. That was the plan at least.

I locked up my bike and started wandering the streets, briefcase in tow. The first few players I encountered didn’t quite get it. I popped the briefcase, asked if they wanted any candy, they said “no thanks” and just continued walking to Checkpoint 1. One player did go for the offer of candy. After asking about any illegal additives, he reached into the briefcase, brushing the pink ribbon aside, grabbed some candy, said “thanks” and continued on to Checkpoint 1. Absolute failure.

I gave up on the briefcase ploy, tied the ribbon around my arm and just started yelling at people. The bus stop on the corner of the block was packed with people, every single one of them keeping an eye on me once my identity was known. There were many looks of confusions, often followed by a quick sprint away from me from other players. It seems that many of them either weren’t listening when the game was explained or didn’t see my chaser ribbon as I stood in the middle of a crosswalk, players streaming by each side of me as I yelled “I could tag every single one of you right now”. Fortunately for them I didn’t have the heart to tag someone only a few blocks from the start of their journey.

After feeling like Moses in a crosswalk, I decided visibility was what I needed. That meant more ribbons that would make it obvious that I was a chaser. After a 15 minute hunt for my misplaced bike, I headed back to the plaza to grab a handful of chaser ribbons from Sam. I affixed them to every part of my body and headed back out into the night.

I spent some time biking north of Market, and west of Checkpoint 5, hoping I’d run into those players that thought they were being sneaky taking a long way around to different checkpoints. Nope, either I was too far ahead of the pack, or they were taking more direct routes. I headed over to Checkpoint 3 to give them a hand.

While dismounting from my bike in the safe zone of Checkpoint 3, I saw a player approaching. I feinted as if I were going to give chase and he scrambled. Carrying my bike, I half-chased him down the block. He screamed “I’m in a safe zone!” to which I yelled back “Then why are you running?!” Light bulb went off, he stopped and I directed him to Checkpoint 3.

Up on the roof of the parking garage I found two agents pulling players aside, whispering questions to them and then zip-tying bells to their ankles and shows. As I attempted to figure out what in the world was going on, the parking garage security guy came up and told us we couldn’t use the 9th floor of the parking garage. Long story made short, security kicked us out and we setup shop on the sidewalk in front of the entrance to the garage. They were cool with this. The one security guy even stood at the doors and helped direct confused players to the line we had going.

Boy was there a line. At on point there were so many players in like that we had to give up asking questions and just started zip-tying ankles, one after another. I have no idea what 30-40 of the players that came through Checkpoint 3 looked like, but I could probably identify them by their footwear. I spent the next couple of hours at Checkpoint 3, watching as friends, familiar faces, and complete strangers came to get their manifests “signed” with a zip tied bell or the occasional sparkly pipe cleaner.

Then it was off to Noisebridge for the after-party where some players had already arrived after traversing the entire course in about 2 hours.

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Film of San Francisco in 1958

Filed Under SF Bay Area, Video | 2009-10-23, 15:58

One of my favorite songs (“Alone in Kyoto” by Air) and my favorite city, San Francisco. How can you go wrong? The pairing of the music with the video gives me goosebumps.

Jeff Altman restores and posts old videos from his grandfather on Vimeo. He recently discovered that this one, labeled “Alameda 1958″, included some great shots of San Francisco at the time. Can’t wait to see more!

via Spots Unknown

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Sights and Sounds of the Blue Angels

Filed Under Photography, SF Bay Area | 2009-10-09, 13:01

Blue Angels and Sutro Tower

It’s Fleet Week again in San Francisco, and as usual the debate over whether the Blue Angels are awesome or that they just represent war rages on Twitter and elsewhere online. Everyone has their own opinion, but politics aside, I love the technical aspect of these incredibly powerful jets flying over our city with talented pilots. Having roof access I went up and snapped a few pics. Additionally I grabbed my audio recorder and was able to capture a fly-by. Wondering why people are complaining about the noise? Turn your speakers way up and check out this MP3 to find out.

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Supreme Master TV Billboard

Filed Under Scam, SF Bay Area | 2009-07-15, 13:48

Be Veg! Go Green! Save the Planet
Photo by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

Those readers that are recent visitors/residents of San Francisco may have noticed the above billboards popping up. They read “Be Veg! Go Green! Save the planet!” with a url beneath it. It’s not an uncommon sort of thing to hear these days, but the people behind this specific billboard are anything but common.

The person behind Supreme Master TV and the parent group of Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association is.. yes, you guessed it Supreme Master Ching Hai. According to Wikipedia, Supreme Master Ching Hai is “is the self titled founder and spiritual teacher of the Quan Yin Method.” In addition to founding and teaching this method to “sincere people longing to know the Truth”, Supreme Master Ching Hai stays busy by running Supreme Master TV, making art, designing high-end fashion, and running vegetarian restaurants. Many of her writings, art, clothes, and various items are sold for top dollar to her devotees. It’s easy to say, money is not an insignificant part of Supreme Master Ching Hai’s life. In fact she is so wealthy that she tried to build an artificial island off Florida before she was shut down for environmental concerns. I hope you see the irony in that.

My personal exposure to her organization was when I ate at Vegetarian House down in San Jose. Rather than rehash a description from memory, go read the Yelp reviews to get a feel for the place. The food and service were quite good as long as you ignored the shelves upon shelves of literature and the slightly creepy vibe.

Want some more interesting reading? Try out these articles:

* God Inc.: Inner peace isn’t the only thing Supreme Master Ching Hai is selling Bay Area disciples
* Sect Appeal
* Part Buddha, part Madonna, Supreme Master Ching Hai promises immediate enlightenment to San Jose’s Asian immigrants
* CultNews.com even has an archive for her
* There are accusations of marriage fraud to boot.

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Journey to the End of the Night

Filed Under Events, Personal, SF Bay Area | 2009-06-23, 10:00

Journey to the End of the Night is near and dear to me as it became one of the catalysts that convinced me to move to San Francisco when I played in the first game in 2006. I was living in Chicago at the time and realized that it was time for a change of scenery. I had always had this thought in my head that perhaps California was where I needed to be, and that San Francisco seemed like my kind of town. But I had never been to San Francisco, let alone California. So I booked a flight out to stay with a friend for a few days. Coincidentally the newly joined kind of weird but creative-inducing web game I had started playing (sf0.org) announced it would be holding a street game that weekend I was in town! The evening was an excellent introduction to San Francisco, and while I started off the day saying “I’m thinking about moving to San Francisco”, I found myself definitively saying “I’m moving to San Francisco” while sitting on the beach in the early hours of the morning.

This year Journey was held in Oakland, which I figured would be an interesting break from the now familiar city of San Francisco. I would be thrown into an environment I wasn’t familiar with and that would be exciting. The result of 6hours and 12+ miles walking? Tons of exercise, an exploration of new and different places, engaging conversations with friends, seeing old faces, and a new found appreciation for Oakland. While I failed to write up a full account from the first Journey, this time I documented in excess. GPS tracking (open in Google Earth), videos, and photos as well as the full text of our evening. You can check out my proof at sf0: Journey to the End of the Night: Oakland by Rabbit (and if you’re a player, toss me some votes!)

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Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus

Filed Under Funny, Movies and Music, SF Bay Area, Video | 2009-05-12, 16:42

Ever wondered what it would be like if a gigantic shark and a humongous octopus battled it out in the waters of the San Francisco Bay? Neither have I, but after seeing the trailer I couldn’t resist pre-ordering Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, the straight-to-DVD-movie with Debbie Gibson. It’s a flick from The Asylum, a company with a large amount of movies with strangely familiar titles.

Wondering how big “Mega” is? Here’s a still from the movie of Mega Shark attacking the Golden Gate Bridge.  Needless to say our favorite Bay Area shark is put to shame.
Mega Shark attacks the Golden Gate Bridge

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DDI at How To Destroy The Universe Part 6

Filed Under Events, Fire, Fire Art, News, SF Bay Area, Video | 2009-04-27, 17:25

Dance Dance Immolation - Inches from fire

On Saturday, we pulled Dance Dance Immolation out of storage for the first time in almost two years, dusted it off and got it running again. The event was “How To Destroy the Universe Part 6″, an industrial party held at the new NIMBY location in Oakland. We ran one of the longest and most problem-free runs in the history of DDI.   BoingBoingTV came and filmed and we had a chance to shoot the infamous sfslim with fire. We also got to shoot fire at several Noisebridge members, the newest blogger for Laughing Squid (Burstein), and a bunch of others.  Many photos and videos were taken. My photos can be found in this Flickr set and this album on Vimeo.

If you’ve never seen Dance Dance Immolation, here’s what it looks like in action:

One of my personal favorite photos of the night was captured by Audrey while I was practicing my Fire Art DJ skills:
Fire Art DJ
More photos and videos:
Audrey Penven
Neil Kandalgaonkar
Kristen Ankiewicz
Sandwich
Vanessa Naylon

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San Francisco Pillow Fight 2009 Photos

Filed Under Pranks, SF Bay Area | 2009-02-17, 02:21

Frank Chu passes inspection

I’ve finished going through the photos from the San Francisco Valentine’s Day Pillow Fight. There are some of the UNCCH before the pillow violence erupted as well as some photos deep within the carnage. The full set can be found on my Flickr.

UN Inspector is skeptical
Audrey in feathers

Previously posted: San Francisco Pillow Fight 2009 and the UN

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An Absinthe Education

Filed Under Education, SF Bay Area, Video | 2009-02-16, 04:12

St George Absinthe Verte, thanks Grey!

I’ve found myself drinking more and more absinthe over the past year or so. It’s a much more enjoyable drink than your typical beer or cocktail. We even had the pleasure of having the Absinthe Fairy Crusher visit the latest party at The Fishbowl.

However absinthe is a much misunderstood beverage. If you’re not familiar with absinthe, it’s production, and it’s effects, you might want to take a few minutes to sit and watch this great series of videos from Chow.com. Lance Winters from St. George Spirits, a local Alameda based distillery, talks about how to make absinthe, what to look for in a good absinthe, how he feels about absinthe, and his plans for future batches. Not only is it educational and entertaining, it’s also great cocktail party knowledge, especially if you’re planning on stopping by for our next gathering!

Absinthe Obsessives

You’re Not Hallucinating: Forget all the myths and rumors about the green fairy

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