Micro-Interview: Thanksgiving Day at the Good Life

A last-minute scramble for a pie tin (grasshopper pie… mmmmm!) occasioned a Thanksgiving Day visit to the Good Life Grocery. The perfect excuse for a micro-interview!

Bernalwood: Anything been flying off the shelves today?

Manager Frank: Turkeys! The owners picked up these organic Willie Birds from the farm themselves. Also, bread. Our deli staff is baking fresh bread on-site now.

Bernalwood: How crazy has it been today?

Manager Frank: Not too bad. Yesterday was waaaaay worse!

Happy Thanksgiving, Bernal Heights!


Then and Now: Mission at Virginia, c. 1925 vs. 2011

Mission at Virginia-circa 1920

I found this historical photo of Mission Street looking north from Virginia Street recently. The photo was unattributed and undated, but judging from the cars on the street, it looks as if it was taken sometime during the mid-1920s.

I particularly like this, because it illustrates two themes we’ve discussed recently on Bernalwood: To the left we see theĀ former Lyceum movie theater (which is now part of the Taoist Safeway parking lot), and the big brick building on the right is the former Market Street Railway Car House (which later became our bowling alley, and then today’s Big Lots).

And here’s how the same scene looks today:

Mission at Virginia-2011

PHOTO: 2011, by Telstar Logistics

The Right Stuff: Bernal Kids Test Frontiers of Outer Space

The Right Stuff

Last weekend, a few paternal units from the Bernal Dads Racing Team assembled at a secret local spaceport to do some amateur rocketry with the kids.

Overall the effort was a success. Many rockets were launched, and the kids demonstrated an exceptional talent for doing mission control-style countdowns (in unison).

“Ten… Nine… Eight… Seven… Six… Five… Four… Three… Two.. One.. LIFTOFF!”

BASA Rocketry

Great altitudes were achieved. The barriers of space were tested.

BASA Rocketry

But recovery of the rockets proved more challenging. Several of the Bernal spacecraft encountered significant arboreal interference shortly before touchdown:

Flight commanders wrote off the stricken craft as a loss.

But in the spirit of science and exploration, the days experiments were deemed a complete success. Gateways to the New Frontier were opened. “One small step for our children, one giant leap for Bernalkind,” and all that.

Indeed, with the space shuttle now in retirement and Uncle Sam’s space transportation strategy in disarray, it’s time for Bernal Heights to take matters into our own hands. We can do this. We have The Right Stuff. We need a new group to add to the roster of neighborhood civic organizations.

So, fellow citizens, please join me in welcoming the inauguration of the Bernalwood Aeronautics and Space Administration:


PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

The Secret Murals at 254 Precita

The duplex at 254 Precita Avenue is for sale. Here’s how the realtors describe it:

Two VACANT units and ready for new buyers to move in! Great North Slope Bernal location close to Precita Park, Mission District, and easy freeway access. Rental income or TIC potential. MAIN HOUSE is a charming two story 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath bungalow with many PERIOD DETAILS. Freshly painted and renovated with softwood floors and many upgrades. LEGAL APARTMENT is a one plus bedroom unit with separate entrance, many upgrades, high ceilings, freshly painted and VACANT! Fabulous South facing rear yard with patio and beautiful garden area.

One feature goes unmentioned in the official listing, however (though I know the realtor is actually quite excited about it, because he invited me over to take a look). Painted on the retaining wall for that fabulous yard/patio/garden area, there are two murals which are included as part of the sale.

Here’s the one on the right, with an Ansel Adams theme:

Secret Mural

The one on the left looks especially good from the kitchen windows of the lower unit:

Secret Mural

Apparently, the murals are included at no extra cost. Bonus! Purchase the property at 254 Precita for $849,000, and get two quirky murals ABSOLUTELY FREE!

PHOTOS: Top, MLS. Mural details, Telstar Logistics

Even When Invisible, Bernal Heights Reigns

Mr. Burrito Justice, the spiritual leader of the La Lengua separatists, posted this photo on his blog recently. It shows the summit of Bernal Hill emerging from a fog bank, as seen from the flatlands near St. Luke’s Hospital.

More importantly, the photo provides yet another reminder of how Bernal’s elevated supremacy so dominates the psyche of the poor La Lenguans, because even when our hill is shrouded in cloudy mist, the La Lenguans know — intuitively — that the hill is there, towering over them, awaiting an opportunity to reassert itself.

As Mr. Burrito Justice himself put it:

Out of a sunlit fog, Bernal emerges

… as it always has, and always will.

PHOTO: Burrito Justice

The Yin and Yang of Safeway After the Rains

Sutro Yin and Yang

Walking out of the Safeway on Sunday afternoon, I felt the sun on my face for the first time in days, and I noticed that our Safeway’s familiar yin-yang mosaic was interacting nicely with the wet pavement — and Sutro Tower beyond.

It was so Zen. And in that moment, I realized that the universe is truly composed of opposites, such that there can be no One without the Other. No Sun without Rain. No Good Life Grocery without a Safeway nearby. No Sutrito Tower without a Sutro to aspire to become. You get the idea. Ommmmmmmmmmm.

Then, upon my return home, I looked to the north, and found Rainbow Enlightenment:

Rainbow Enlightenment


My friend @lbm was taking at walk on Bernal Hill when the rainbow appeared. Check out this full-spectrum amazingness:

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics, @lbm