Author Archives: Mark Thomas
Author Archives: Mark Thomas
South Airport Boulevard may not be steeped in the same mythic sense of possibility as Sand Hill Road, but today dreams are being reborn at a liquidation auction at the Ramada Inn of South San Francisco, a purgatory where the spirits of dead dot-coms are relieved of their earthly belongings to better float into the entrepreneurial ionosphere.
Like everyone else here, I have come to bury dubious business models, not to praise them – and more importantly, get some computer equipment cheap.
The nearly 1,000 lots on sale this day are from a collection of failed Internet companies whose identities have already faded into the mists, replaced by the 26-page list of items on sale.
When I arrive at the Terrace Room, the bidding is already underway as the auctioneer warms up the crowd with the first hundred lots, mostly miscellaneous office furnishings, lava lamps, a few monitors and hard drives, and a cheap Stratocaster guitar. A friendly young woman sets me up with an auction guide and a bidding paddle (for a $300 credit card deposit) and I take one of the few empty seats.
Every Saturday, I’m in charge of checking out what food we need to buy. As I check the frig, I make a list of what we can get from the Berkeley Farmers’ Market. I really enjoy going there. We get to see our neighbors, and we know that the food is organic, fresh and local.
We buy organic food because my parents taught us that it’s more nutritious. They also knew that organic farming is really good for the environment, and it’s a great way to support our local farmers.
Organic farmers don’t use any synthetic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, irritation or biotechnology, so we’re taking in fewer toxins. It wasn’t until the 20th century that synthetic chemicals were introduced into our food. Yeah, it used to be that farming was always organic.
It’s funny how East and West Coast cities seem to change a little differently. John Smyre, a good friend of mine from New York, visited the City recently and I couldn’t meet with him unfortunately because of my work that took me to a London Arts Fair. He noticed some aspects that I wasn’t aware of so as I’m confronted with the San Francisco looks and habits on a daily basis. Here is what he wrote to me.
I was last in San Francisco in August 2004. At that time, as a New Yorker visiting the city by the Bay, I was struck by the inability to drive anywhere without being confronted by billboards trumpeting the virtues of countless dot-coms. No less striking was the start-up fever still gripping the city despite the spring market correction five months earlier. At that time, New York had already started its about-face, turning away from its passionate, albeit temporary, participation in the dot-com party and returning to its more cynical, skeptical roots.
Silicon Valley recently caught up. The “Drawing the Inner Terrain: Self-Taught Artists” exhibit at the Palo Alto Art Center was dedicated to Derrel DePasse, former president of Blauvelt Group of Palo Alto. She was a self-taught expert in outsider art who died unexpectedly last summer before the publication of her acclaimed new book, Traveling the Rainbow: The Life and Art of Joseph Yoakum (University Press of Mississippi).
Yoakum is known for his wild visionary landscapes. “We all assumed he’d made up these imaginary landscapes,” says John Ollman, a Philadelphia art dealer, “but she followed his roaming and found that he’d actually been to most of the places.
” That a tech executive transformed herself into an outsider art expert doesn’t surprise Signe Mayfield, curator of the Silicon Valley show. Like many, Mayfield sees a link between twin cultural explosions: technology and outsider art. “Art that has the human touch takes on greater significance when we’re so surrounded by sleek modernity and technology,” she says.
San Francisco is changing, and it is not weird or freaky as it once was. People in the artsy environment can feel this immediately, and rather than being able to just go out and be weird, today there’s more a sort of lamentation that fills the air in the City.
One of the obvious culprits is the phenomenon of money. There are quite a few individuals that are worth tens of millions of dollars who still think they are some sort of revolutionary or counter-cultural renegades, but they’re in too good standing.
Sure, we may bash the software generation as much as we want as they’re the cause of a lot of bad going on, but the fact of the matter is that internet nerds form a crucial element to the phenomenon of ‘weirdness.‘
The extreme differences in the level of education is another weird thing, from a super high number of people without any High School or GED diploma to the smartest people who attend the USF. I recently joined a workshop for volunteers who want to bridge this educational gap.
There are some pretty good GED Prep Online Resources, so we just need to reach out to as many people as possible.
Anyway, it seems that today, people that move to San Francisco aren’t coming here to find other queers or weirdos, they generally move this way to build up their careers and make money. Sure, there’s basically nothing wrong with doing that, but often these people aren’t participating in the city’s social life and won’t break out of their employment circles.
Living in The City means you always have the opportunity to experience something special, or go to some stimulating place….or just wander around and see where your legs are carrying you. This a city full of people who always try to get the best out of their situation and they seem to be enjoying themselves at doing that. But there’s always this strange tension between the city’s classes of residents, and this becomes more visible and apparent by the year.
On this year’s President’s Day, in many cities protests were held against the current U.S. president, Donald Trump. Also in San Francisco, many demonstrators defied the rain and had come to San Francisco’s Federal Building as they wanted to express their total discontent with the presidency of bullying and discriminating Donald Trump.
From his pick for his education secretary to his immigration policies, Donald Trump was and is under fire. This became very clear on the February 20 when many Bay area residents came to be heard in the heart of San Francisco, just like in dozens of American cities.
Many protesters chanted “Fight back, stand up, resist, and make clear that our country belongs to us, not to the president.” In San Francisco, just like and cities all across the country, this sort of protests could be heard just one month after Donald Trump took office in Washington, D.C. Also in San Jose, thousands of demonstrators were gathering on City Hall Plaza to make clear they opposed “Trump’s regressive agenda and policy,” and this extends far beyond just the president’s travel ban.
San Francisco is among the world’s favorite cities, so let’s see what tourists are saying about what the region calls The City.
San Francisco is truly referred to as ‘The Jewel Of Northern California’. This city will never stop.
San Francisco’s electrifying attractions, authentic food places, and stunning landscapes are the main reasons to back this majestic, but well-suited title. San Francisco belongs to the world’s best-visited destinations due to its world-famous attractions.
Let’s first take a look at some of the major attractions and activities that San Francisco is offering.
The Wave Organ literally turns waves into fine music. It was created by the San Francisco Exploratorium in the year 1986, and the organ is using series of pipes which are interacting with the ocean’s waves to produce the most beautiful melodies.
The Wave Organ’s concept was created and developed by Peter Richards and renown stone mason and sculptor George Gonzales helped to install the wonderful organ. The idea for the wave organ was inspired by a number of recordings of astonishing sounds emerging from vent pipes in a floating dock made out of concrete in Sydney, Australia.