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Archive for September, 2009

As promised, I did make it to the 45th Annual Big Book Sale at Fort Mason last weekend, and hobbled out of the pavilion with a dozen novels and a book about local architecture for only $15. But in addition to my reading material, I also bought 10 records for a buck each. Styx, the Police, New Orleans’ Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and Bonnie Raitt, to name a few. The catch? I don’t own a turntable. Oops! (No, I did not buy Styx for the large full color poster inside!)

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I’ve done a preliminary eBay search for a used one, but I’m not sold on anything just yet. The thing is, though, I’m kicking myself for not buying one at a garage sale I stumbled upon in the neighborhood last month. A record player has been on my wish list for sometime, but now with ten records looming in my apartment, the race is on. Until then, I guess the crowd at Encore Karaoke will have to suffer through me singing “Something to Talk About” to help fill the void. If anyone has any leads on an affordable record player in the ‘hood, let me know!

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vRemember the baseball bat robberies last Tuesday? Well, while the police did recover most of the items stolen, a brown leather Valentino messenger bag that belonged to one victim was not returned. It was likely dropped in the Marina or Russian Hill. He posted a lost and found ad on Craigslist looking for it, so let him know if you happen to come across one.

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booksI was browsing in the Russian Hill Bookstore this winter, and I turned to my friend and said idly, “You can never have too many books.” He mocked: “So says the girl with one stack of books.” A little taken back, I defended my singular tower of literature by insisting that I had more in storage. But later, after the staircase wit had settled in, I realized that a “Dude, it’s 2009, we all have Kindles,” might have been more successful.

Nevertheless, I still really do have one lonely stack of books in my apartment, and it’s about time I change that. This week kicked off the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library 45th Annual Big Book Sale at Fort Mason Center’s Festival Pavilion where over 300,000 books, DVDs, CDs, books-on-tape, and vinyl sell for $5 or less. All proceeds from the sale benefit library programs which promote literacy, and just to give you an idea, $265,000 was raised at the ’08 sale. (more…)

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phyllispigeonAs it turns out, I’m not the only one being wooed into the Polk Street La Boulange (2310 Polk St. at Green) by that scintillating curio of pastries. A pigeon named Phyllis made herself at home last week in the spacious loft-style windows above the bakery’s entry, and refused to be shooed. Phyllis became such a personality in the café that La Boulange introduced pigeon menu specials via its Twitter account. She was finally detained and released in Golden Gate Park. But, it wasn’t long before another warm-blooded winged vertebrate took up tenancy. Rumor has it his name is Bob Vance.

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Getting picked last for T-ball hits some harder than others. Around 10 p.m. last night, five men between the ages of 18 and 32 drove around the city on a robbery spree, assaulting five victims with baseball bats and a collapsible baton. Russian Hill was unlucky enough to be the scene of two of four of the robberies, at Polk St. and Union as well as Van Ness Ave. and Union, before the lowlifes were detained near Lombard St. and Fillmore around 2:30 a.m. All five men were charged with robbery, assault and receiving stolen property, and the victims’ things were returned to them.

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A spokesperson from the Little League organization declined to comment. Meanwhile, a representative from the NBTA (National Baton Twirling Association) was pleased to see batons gaining buzz in the media. She said CBS’s news story on the robbery initiated her first Google Alert result on the topic of batons since Tonya Harding’s 1994 attack on Nancy Kerrigan.

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“When you were a kid, going to the candy store was the highlight of your existence. Candy can take people away from the craziness of the world for a few minutes, and I think people are craving that right now.” — Diane Campbell, owner of the Candy Store (1507 Vallejo St. at Polk)candystorerussianhillAn article in the SF Chronicle suggests that despite a slumping economy, Americans’ appetite for candy is on the up and up. One example is Vallejo Street’s The Candy Store, a mod candy shop with sweets spanning generations aligned in minimalist glass jars. Campbell’s sales “have climbed about 10 percent each year,” the article points out, but mind you the shop also only opened three years ago. (more…)

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