Urban Adventures

April explores the city.

It’s the most wonderful time in the City. December 10, 2010

Filed under: Exploration — April @ 2:11 pm

Christmas in San Francisco can be described in one word: magical. With the exception of gently falling snowflakes, it has everything. Union Square has the tallest Christmas tree I’ve ever seen and an ice skating rink. Fisherman’s Wharf and the cable cars are decked out with festive garland and lights. Macy’s has a 6-ft wreath in every window a Christmas floor you could spend hours on (I did), and PUPPIES. That’s right, Macy’s has puppies and kittens in the windows. They’re for adoption and somehow I’ve been able to restrict myself from adopting all of them… we’ll see how long that lasts. Our house Christmas tree is so beautiful and topped with Dobby the House Elf. AND there is a new Dave Barnes Christmas video — check out the Christmas cheer!

Merry Christmas, friends.


Take your dad to the city day. November 21, 2010

Filed under: Exploration — April @ 4:36 pm

“Hi daughter; I’m in San Francisco!” my dad exclaimed over the phone on Friday. This weekend is the 9th Annual San Francisco Salsa Congress, and being the salsa lover that he is, my dad drove up to dance all weekend. He took Saturday off from workshops to hang out with me in my new city.
Before the adventures officially began, I insisted that we go back to his hotel in Oakland — not to dance, but to get him in some proper city-exploring clothes instead of the comfy sweats he had been wearing. This was my first time in Oakland, and boy am I glad that I don’t have to go there often. It gets a bad rap for being ghetto and dangerous, which I thought was maybe overplayed by San Francisco snobs, but even at 11 a.m. it seemed sketchy and rundown to me. I definitely won’t be walking around there alone if I can help it.
Once we drove back across the Bay Bridge into the city and found ridiculously overpriced parking, we argued about the pros and cons of Indian food for breakfast (I won) and walked to Union Square for a delicious late breakfast at Sears, which had such a classy feel and thankfully has no connection to the department store. We walked around for a bit, trying to think of what to do and almost rented a GPS-guided GoCar to drive around the city. We ended up taking a cable car to Pier 39 — so San Francisco. This was my first time there and I loved it! It’s fun being a tourist, and kind of funny to see what tourists flock to when they come here instead of the places where “locals” like me go. Pier 39 is great! I saw a sea lion, got some ice cream, and found a store that changed my life forever: Lefty’s, the store for left-handed people. Needless to say I was very excited and stocked up on left-handed items, including a notebook and pen. End the discrimination! Equality for lefties!
After we said our goodbyes and he went back across the bay, I enjoyed the biggest storm of the decade in the parlor. Lightning every few minutes, thunder clapping so loud that it shook the house, and a puddle outside so big that the car parked there was tire-deep in water. It was a good end to a good day.


The complete, unofficial review of Harry Potter 7, pt. 1. November 19, 2010

Filed under: Thoughts — April @ 4:36 pm

Last night I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt. 1 at the Metreon, where all 16 screens were sold out. We arrived right on time, four and a half hours early. Our last minute costumes? Muggles. Here are all of my unprofessional thoughts about the movie, starting with fan costumes and ending with the Elder Wand (**mild spoiler alert**).

Best fan costumes: Draco Malfoy and Severus Snape. They could have been stunt doubles from the movie. Even their facial features resembled the real actors, and Snape brooded around the lobby in his billowing black robes. Just perfect. Unfortunately, I do not have photos — Snape stormed away too quickly.

Runner-up: Dolores Umbridge, complete with tiny tea cup.

Worst fan costumes: Skanky Potter. This is not even from a modesty standpoint, but from an accuracy standpoint. I saw several girls in low cut, short-hemmed “Harry Potter” costumes. They didn’t look anything like anyone from any of the movies. Were they merely HP groupies?

Pre-movie trailers: Sucked, all of them. Trailers included Red Riding Hood (strongly reminiscent of Twilight), Cowboys vs. Aliens (evidence that Hollywood is running out of ideas — Monsters vs. Aliens, Aliens vs. Predators, etc.), and Green Lantern (I don’t think I like Ryan Reynolds as a superhero). The scary thought is that these trailers are targeted at the anticipated audience — who did they think would be there??

Audience: Surprisingly and thankfully tame. We cheered only at appropriate times, and I could actually hear the dialogue during the movie.

Actual movie: The best Harry Potter movie yet. A truly wonderful adaptation of the book. Dobby stole the show with his red shoes, chandelier-wrangling skills, and selfless endearing nature. Plus, how could you deny the cuteness of his over-sized blue eyes? I was so proud of him (as was the rest of the audience — we all cheered) when he exclaimed “Dobby has no master! Dobby is a free elf!” I am not ashamed to say that I teared up when he died.
The one scene that really could have been better was at the very end. Voldemort swoops over to Dumbledore’s grave, which is now on island (when did that happen?) and as he busts up the grave to retrieve the Elder Wand, the granite tumbles down in slow motion. The graphics looked like they were done poorly by a first-year film student. It was clearly done on a computer, when it could have easily been created in real life with real granite, or with better CGI. Dobby on the beach looked more natural than Voldemort’s grave robbery.
Ron bulked up, and I noticed. I thought the nude Harry/Hermione make-out scene was a bit much. I understand that it was the manifestation of Ron’s jealousy, but I didn’t like it. I wondered what happened to Narcissa Malfoy’s hair because I don’t remember it being partially dyed black. I kind of liked the animation of The Tale of the Three Brothers, but it seemed out of place. Voldemort looked like a snake as much as ever. I liked him better in the previous movies when he didn’t talk as much — I thought it was much more menacing. But props to Ralph Fiennes for officially being the creepiest, most malevolent, most nose-lacking movie character, ever.

Star Rating: 5/5.

Bed time: 3:45 a.m.


Sunshine season. November 14, 2010

Filed under: Thoughts — April @ 4:51 pm

As I sit on my fire escape that presently masquerades as a private balcony overlooking the panhandle of Golden Gate Park, a somewhat sad rendition of “Lean on Me” floats up to my room from amateur trumpets and trombones down below. The sun shines down on me as I munch on a bunch of juicy green grapes. The uncovered top decks of tour buses are packed as they roll by every 15 minutes and the city’s visitors hastily pull out their cameras to snap photos of my temporary mansion-home. This is fall in San Francisco? I don’t believe it. The only signs of autumn are the slowly changing leaves on the trees across the street. I was warned many times to ditch the tank tops and flip flops for sweaters and scarves when I moved here. Yet here I am, enjoying the late afternoon warmth of a lazy Sunday outside in a t-shirt.


“You’re a true marketer, Peterson.” November 9, 2010

Filed under: Internship — April @ 8:05 pm

My supervisor said this to me today after I exclaimed the joys of conducting surveys. Talk about affirmation! I’m seriously considering marketing as a career post-grad, so this was great encouragement. This came at the end of a very eventful day: the ambulance came to The Arc but most of the staff was not informed beforehand, thus generating great confusion; someone microwaved a fork, causing the kitchen to fill with smoke and the entire building to smell vaguely of popcorn and pizza simultaneously; and I learned that one of my co-workers does drag on weekends. Yesterday the COO sent out an urgent, high-priority email warning all staff to NOT eat the cake that a client was distributing at that moment because it had been in The Arc’s refrigerator for at least two weeks.

I love my internship. Only at The Arc…


Octopi die for love. November 7, 2010

Filed under: Exploration — April @ 10:19 pm

It is fatal for both male and female octopi to mate. This is why their lifespan is so short — only two years in the wild. I learned this today while watching a female giant Pacific octopus show off her suction cups at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. She was in her aquarium alone, and for good reason; if there was another female in there one would eat the other, and if there was a male in there, they BOTH could die by mating! This is one of the most convincing and frightening arguments I’ve heard for abstinence.


Dog blog. November 6, 2010

Filed under: Thoughts — April @ 2:00 pm

With five weeks left in the semester, I’ve just now had a startling revelation: I should have kept a DOG BLOG. People keep food blogs and movie blogs and fashion blogs. My blog would be infinitely more adorable if I had thought of documenting all the precious puppies in this city.

Puglets: Pug triplets. Found this trio of cuteness on Clement Street. Photo by friend Justine Wieland.