Bernalwood 2012: The Year in Superlatives


It’s late December, and 2012 is riding off into the sunset. Let’s use this time to review some of The Most Mostest Moments that happened in Bernal Heights this year.


Most Moving Appreciation For An Old Piece of Playground Equipment

Neighbor Orlando’s ode to the Precita Playground “Satellite Spinner” reveals a deep personal history behind this battered landmark, and his words always put a lump in my throat. (June)


Most Exciting Headline Written Without Having to Stage a Fake News Event to Make It Happen

Finally!! Bigfoot Sighting on Bernal Hill!! (July)


Most Poignant Reminder That Bernal Heights Is a Special Kind of Place

Neighbors gather for a memorial service to honor Steven, the much-loved homeless gentleman who lived in the western end of Precita Park. (January)


Star-Sighting that Did The Most to Boost Bernal’s Indie Street-Cred:

David Byrne strolls Cortland Avenue while in town for a series of shows. (October)


Most Boneheaded Way to Show Us That You Really Care:

Supervisor David Campos signals his deep concern for domestic violence by becoming one of only four Supervisors who voted to allow confessed domestic-abuser Ross Mirkarimi  to retain his job as Sheriff. (October)


Most Glamorous and Improbable Thing to Fly Over Bernal Heights

Space Shuttle Endeavour circles Bernal Hill during its farewell tour. (September)


Deepest Feeling of Loss About the Closure of a Local Business


Neighbor Karen decided to hang up her spurs at the Stray Bar on Cortland. (December)

Runner Up: Red Hill Books (only because it is morphing, if not quite closing)


Most Awesome Animated GIF Ever Created to Protect Bernal Heights from Weaponized Burritos

Hats off to Neighbor Joe, who created this elaborate visualization to demonstrate the Mark II “Eye of Sautrito” Defense System , which is designed to counter the threat of La Lengua’s Burrito Rail Gun. Notice also that it zaps the burrito weapon Every. Single. Time.


Biggest Mystery We Don’t Really Want to Solve

Who is the Bikini Jogger, and where will she turn up next?


Best Passive-Aggressive Parking Note Written By Someone Who Doesn’t Even Live Here

Stencils of Doom

An outraged young man from out of town was very upset because his car was towed when he tried using Bernal Heights as a long term parking lot. He then declared that the removal of his vehicle “forever marked San Franciscas as snobby, me-first people in the eyes of my thousands of blog and internet followers.” (February)


Most Zen-Like Artistic Moment in the Convoluted History of the Bernal Heights Library Mural

There was that brief period; the November interregnum between the old mural and the new, when there was no mural painted on the Bernal Heights Public Library. It was an ephemeral moment, but that may have made it the most dramatic creative statement we’ll ever get to see there.


Most Heroic Performance By a Clearly Outclassed Domestic Animal

Feline Defender

That would be my cat Smudge, who single-handedly repelled an entire family of invading raccoons, using only mean facial expressions and Jedi mind tricks. (July)


Neighbor We Saluted Most for Rocking the Hardest

Enough good things cannot be said to properly endorse Neighbor Clarissa’s winning submission to the Bernalwood Air Guitar Photo Content that we held back in July. We were also thrilled to discover that Neighbor Toki has a bright future as a rockstar ahead as well. Keep an eye on that young man.

Bernalwood’s Rainbow Situation Room Tracks Effects of Multiple Rainbow Strikes Across Bernal Heights


It was a very busy Saturday at the Bernalwood Rainbow Situation Control Facility.

As a series of intense storms brought rain to Bernal Heights, intermittent periods of sunshine generated primary and secondary rainbow aftershocks across our neighborhood. Using the latest high-tech monitoring tools, our Rainbow Situation Control Room tracked the effects as multiple rainbows touched down in and around Bernalwood.

I phoned in this photo taken from my back yard, looking toward downtown:


Neighbor Michael captured an impressive Dual-Halo Total Arc Perspective on the primary rainbow event from his perch in Precitaville:


Neighbor Anita recorded a confirmed Double Rainbow from her South Bernal observation post:

Double rainbow over Bernal

Neighbor Jessica got so swept up in the euphoria that she was inpired to make a nomenclature suggestion:

Molly was there as a team of scientists on Bernal Hill tested the physiological effects of a new Rainbow + Mimosa + Miniaturized Sutro Tower compound they developed. After mixing the ingredients, you won’t believe what happened next: Sudden levitation!rainbow.levitation

Neighbor Craig looked to the east just in time to see Larry’s Ellison’s glamorous America’s Cup facility take a direct blast of highly concentrated rainbow energy:

The rainbow ends somewhere near Islais Creek and team Oracle USA headquarters

It may just be a coincidence, but several hours later Wired reported that Larry Ellison was seen walking down a street in Dogpatch while wearing peach-colored robes and chanting:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare

Over in the La Lengua Autonomous Zone, rebel spokesblogger Burrito Justice was thinking about the potential economic impact of the sudden rainbow barrage:


Meanwhile, Neighbor Jean was watching Bernal Hill from a temporary perch in Noe Valley. She witnessed this stunning touchdown event as a double rainbow crashed right into Bernal Hill:


Meet the Puddle People at the Alemany Flea Market


Puddle People

Puddle People

Puddle People

Puddle People

Bernalwood is on record as being a fan of the photographs taken by Neighbor Jane, aka my.third.eye, because she so consistently captures unique perspectives on familiar sights around Bernal Heights. Now she’s done it again, with a brilliant series of seasonal portraits that show patrons at the Alemany Flea Market as seen in reflections from puddles on the ground:

At our local flea market last Sunday (held on a parking lot) I was standing beside this large puddle and began to notice this “other world” of passersby reflected in the water. I was mesmerized. So of course I turned on my camera and hoped I’d be able to capture some of the Twilight Zone’ish feeling of what I was seeing. I didn’t do any manipulations or photoshopping — not that I’m against that. I’m just sayin’.

PHOTOS: my.third.eye

Tonight! Special “Apocalypse Edition” Solstice Sword Dancing


It’s a new day, and the solstice, and — guess what! — the world has not come to an end. Yet.

To celebrate all that, the annual solstice Sword Dance will happen tonight at 9 pm, on the plaza at the Lundys/Esmerelda stairs. Bernalwood’s sources tell use the celebration will happen rain or shine, hell or high water, apocalypse or just another Friday.

PHOTO: Courtesy of @valjoy9

Open Studio This Weekend at Recycled Glassworks



As if Bernalwood’s Last Minute Locavore Christmas Gift Guide didn’t provide enough inspiration, Neighbor Lauren is having a last-last-minute open studio event at her Recycled Glassworks workshop on tony Bonview Street this weekend:

All my products are made in Bernal, typically from window glass reclaimed in SF and surroundings.

Apparently, the was quite a bit of house remodeling over the last year – that gave me plenty of materials to divert from their way to the landfill, to a beautiful reincarnation on someone’s dinner table.

Doors will be open from noon – 5pm at 238 Bonview St, just up the hill from Cortland, on Saturday and Sunday, December 22 and 23.

PHOTOS: Recycled Glassworks

Visualizing Bernal Heights After Lots and Lots of Sea-Level Rise



Burrito Justice, chief spokesblogger for the La Lengua separatists, recently joined forces with Brian Stokle to provide a detailed examination of what San Francisco would look like following significant sea-level rise caused by global climate change.

As you may recall, Burrito Justice took an initial pass at this project earlier this year, with a whimsical map that envisioned the “San Francisco Archipelago” following a colossal 200-foot sea-level rise. The new maps add a detailed street grid, as well as a visualization of what Our Faire City would look like following a somewhat less apocalypic (and somewhat more Sandy-like) 25-foot surge.

The resulting maps of the City are both hilarious and alarming. Yet because we are very vain here in Bernal Heights, let’s just focus on what they tell us about potential scenarios for the future of our own neighborhood.

Let’s start with the eminently possible 25-foot scenario:


As you can see, Bernal fares relatively well in this scenario, with fashionable views to the east overlooking Islais Bay. Bayshore Avenue simply becomes part of the bay, which means that Lowe’s, the Silver Crest Restaurant & Bar, and the (New) Old Clam House are lost to us.

Things look very different if the waters rise by 200 feet:


In this scenario, Bernal Heights is an island. The issue of La Lenguan sovereignty becomes moot, since all of La Lengua is underwater. My house on Precita is underwater too (but lives on via an eponymous marina). Happily, the Cortland retail strip survives, no doubt having morphed into a string of Nantucket-style boutiques selling nautical art, chocolate fudge, and nostalgia-themed t-shirts.

I’ve been giving some thought to how Bernal might adapt to the 200′ scenario, and I’ll have more to say — and show — about that in the new year.