All articles, tagged with “the outer colonies”

an ongoing correspondence

Dear San Francisco real estate agents, landlords, and other shuffling undead creatures of the night:

A 6x5’ entryway by the front door is not a living room.

A three-room apartment with a 6x5’ entryway by the front door is not a 2BR, cozy or otherwise.

Thank you for your prompt attention in this matter,


p.s. may satan’s thousand razor-tipped erections penetrate your bowels in hell. have a nice day.

my middle finger, your eye, forever

Dear San Francisco landlords, property managers, realtors & other assorted scum:

If you have advertised a weeken open house, and the property rents on Friday, the way to let people know that the unit is off the market is not, repeat not, “just don’t bother showing up.”

Fuck you very much,

—me, standing on Noe Street, wasting my goddamn time

p.s. When a property moves, update your fucking answering machine. It’s your job, assholes.

pop quiz

So I’ve been spending most of my free time recently engaging in a grand old San Francisco tradition: fruitless apartment-hunting. It’s been an educational experience if nothing else.

But tonight was…special.

On paper, it looked like an amazing deal. A full house, with 3 bedrooms, a back deck, run room and yard, a full dining room… for $1800 a month. It’s in “Mission Terrace”, which is a little far out in the sticks, but you can’t have everything, right?

I got to the place around 7:30. The neighborhood was unprepossessing but clean, quiet and sunny. The exterior of the house was in decent shape. It’s a standard SF-style 2-story house where the first floor is a basement/garage area and the living space is on the 2nd floor.

The owner showed up on time and led me around on the tour, talking nonstop. He’s lived in the neighborhood for 40 years, most of the other people there are family homeowners who’ve been there for 20-30 years, all the neighbors know each other… sounds great so far. The house is in very good shape internally, and it’s no-joke huge. The back yard could be in better shape, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a lawn mower and some mulch. Great, right?

Well, except… there’s a strange list of caveats and exceptions that the owner starts rattling off at me. Very, very strange. Let’s go down the list:

  • All utilities including water and trash are the tenant’s responsibility, and have to be in our name.

  • The lease doesn’t include use of the basement/garage, which he uses to store “his cars.”

  • There is no access to the basement level whatsoever: it’s locked and he keeps the keys.

  • The circuit breakers are in the basement. If we blow a circuit, we’re to page him to come over and flip it.

  • He doesn’t want to put the security deposit into an interest-bearing account, because he “doesn’t want the paperwork”

  • We’re welcome to use the driveway in front of the basement as a parking space.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I put to you a simple question:
What is this man doing in his basement?
One vote per person, no fair looking at other people’s answers first.

the mission position

There appears to be a mariachi band practicing outside my window.

I am charmed.

Edit: aha, they are in fact the Mariachi band of the bar across the street:


I remain charmed.

40 days and 40 nights

Oh, I get it. I moved to Seattle, and nobody told me.

on a lighter note

US Highway 101, which is the primary route from the city of San Francisco to the assorted industrial parks and exurbs of Silicon Valley, is technically named the Bayshore Freeway.

What it actually is, is the Highway of Diminishing Returns. Observe:

Leaving San Francisco (the corner of 4th & Mission) at 8:30, our hero curses his way through stop-and-go traffic all the way to Mountain View, and arrives at the GooglePlex at 10:00am on the dot.

On a later day, having slept through his alarm, our intrepid adventurer runs unshaved out of the house at 9:30am, and arrives in Mountain View at… 10:10am.

Draw your own snappy conclusions, I’m just happy that I’m now taking the shuttle and don’t have to worry about this any more.

darkness and distance

So, a month and change.

31 days, 3000 miles, from a Spanish-speaking neighborhood with a rapidly metastasizing hipster population in the north of Manhattan, to… a Spanish-speaking neighborhood with a rapidly metastasizing hipster population in the south of San Francisco. I’ve travelled so far, and moved so very little.

Snarking aside, the Mission is lovely, and probably the least dislocating place for an expatriate New Yorker to land: all-night bodegas, honking cars, produce stands and endless bric-a-brac stores. All the comforts of home (plus burritos). I think I might like to live here.

The blocks are longer here, and it’s oddly jarring. I keep walking and walking, and it’s still the same block. The intersections are lit, but darkness pools in the long stretches in-between. Just a matter of perspective, I guess. Everything is.

I miss Miranda. I thought when I first got here that I’d lost the trick of living alone: the huge, empty temporary apartment I was in seemed cavernous, even creepy. The knack for that came back quickly. What I actually am is out of practice in living with people other than her: I have a perfectly lovely temporary living situation, but sleeping on a futon in a room in someone else’s apartment is like going back in time to my immediate post-college years: entertaining and dismaying in equal measure. Seeing her in Philadelphia this last weekend was like having the nitrous regulator removed at the dentist: a sudden shock of remembering how to breathe again.

I miss Jocasta and Alithea. I miss my cats and my books. I miss my poker nights and the Piper’s Kilt. I miss the A train and the Brooklyn Bridge.

But driving up 101 from work tonight, I looked out the window and saw a thunderhead breaking against the mountains. This place is not without its own intrinsic rewards.

public service announcement

Do not, under any circumstances, allow yourself to be taken to see Ultraviolet. There is not enough beer in the world (and trust me, we tried) to make this a worthwhile undertaking.

Remember Aeon Flux? Right. Now remove all of the narrative cohesion that made it such a worthwhile cinematic experience. No, really.

I have just saved you all $10.75. You’re welcome.

on the threshold

Well then.

A new coast. A new chapter. A new job. Definitely time for a new blog heading, because…

A New Life
Awaits You In
The Outer Colonies

…in which a lifelong ostie attempts to make sense of Planet California.