March 24, 2003
Viva La France!

So, in these serious times of war, I thought I would share some of the reasons why I love the French. I love the French, really I do. For some reason, the French like me too. Here is my lists:

1. When I was a kid growing up in Huntington Beach, our neighbors down the street were French. They were really nice and always invited me over to their nieces birthday parties when she was here from Paris during the summer. Her name was Natalie and I've always wondered what happened to her?

2. The French family down the street also had their grandmother two doors down from my house and she would always give me cookies when I was walking home from school. She would always try to talk to me when I came over, but she didn't speak very good english and I didn't speak French (and still don't).

3. First girl in high school that I really had a crush on, (I mean had it really bad!) was this girl that was French. Well, her parents were French, and she went to France often, and spoke French fluently with her parents, and she sent me postcards from France when she would go... anyway, she was French! Well, things never progressed into anything but weve kept in touch over the years. Should give her a call and see what her and her parents are doing with all of this anti-France bashing thats going on.

4. Ivan! My Parisian Compadre! This guys nuts! Drinks like a fish, reads poetry like a soldier, and rocks out to Rock n' Roll. Loves women, like there is nothing else in this world, and is working to get his PHD next semester. "I love women Marc, I mean, Oh la la." Yeah, this guy is the funniest.

5. Crazed French guy at Starbucks! "Those fekking pigs, when this place goes up in flames, those fekking pigs are dead! You know what I'm saying!? Aha ha ha ha ha!" Architect, Sculpter, Aviator, you name it, this guy does it... and he's 70! "During World War II, the American's had an airstrip by my home, so my mom would lie out nude in the lawn as the planes did a triangulation to fly past. Pretty soon, they were all looking out the windows at my mom! Aha ha ha aha!"

Absolutely fekking nuts! Started telling me that he killed his first "Kraut" in WW II when he was 11 years old during the German occupation of France. Crazy, and such an affront to the "save face" Americanism that I see everyday. It was nice, funny as all hell, and reminded me why I like the French.

So in conclusion, you can have your "Freedom Fries," your "Freedom Toast," and you can have your "Only French that is in our mustard is the Name" French's Mustard, and shove them in a hole that will never run out of space: George W. Bush's head. There's plenty of room in there.

Posted by marc at 11:10 AM
March 17, 2003
Happy Saint Patricks Day!

Went down to the parade down Market Street yesterday! That was so great, never been to a St. Paddy's parade before. Went down with Megan, Tom and Brooke and just had a fantastic time. I took pictures and as soon as I get the negatives developed, I'll post them up here!

Posted by marc at 10:50 AM
March 11, 2003
Article #4: The Marina Green

Here's the fourth article that I've written. It's supposed to be a feature piece on something in our neighborhood, so I decided to do the Marina Green since it's a really popular place to go to for seeing really great views.

Please read it all the way through since this is just a rough draft. I don't necessarily like the last paragraphs, so I'm looking for some suggestions on what might be wrong with it.

Article #4: The Marina Green

It's just a plot of grass, six blocks long and one block wide.

And on any given day, this plot of grass becomes more than just sod. It becomes a bustling epicenter of activity on the northern end of the city.

With its panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island and Alcatraz, the Marina Green is a long grassy field along the northern shore of the peninsula that has become one of the major destinations for recreation and sightseeing in the city.

Working out with various body building equipment while waves of the bay crash against the sea wall, Dmitri and Eleana Sataev bring clients from their training club three times a day to the field. Even when the fog rolls in over the Presidio and Golden Gate Straits, the married couple trains clients in the park from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. because “there is always plenty of light.”

“Most of our clients like this place,” Dmitri said. “People love it rather than working-out inside. It’s the best possible view you could have: Golden Gate Bridge, all of the bay; its beautiful.”

Listening to the radio and testing out a colorful hula-hoop like fitness machine, Dmitri and Eleana have been bring their clients to the Marina Green for the past three years.

“We call it ‘our playground,’” Dmitri added. “It feels free here. We come down here three times a day. You can see everything.”

Originally a garden, converted to an airfield and then to a park, the area the Marina Green occupies now wasn’t always there. In fact, it originally was a part of the bay.

Marsh lands, sand dunes and a lagoon that intruded onto the land, the Marina district was created from the destruction of the 1906 Earthquake.

After the subsequent fire that destroyed two-thirds of the city, the marsh lands and sand hills of the northern stretch of the peninsula were filled with the remains of the old San Francisco.

After the foundations had been established with the ruins of the old city, the Marina Green was created as the Northern Gardens to commemorate the opening of the Panama Canal at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915.

With the end of the exposition, the area was then converted into an airfield used by the U.S. Postal Service. This airstrip is commemorated as the site of the first landing of the trans-continental air mail service on Sept. 8, 1920. It is also the site of the first successful helicopter flight in the Western United States by Stanley Hiller Jr. on Aug. 30, 1944.

Converted to public use after it was purchased by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, the former airfield has become a congregating spot for many of the cities outdoor enthusiasts, including kite flyers.

Performing with a kite along the promenade, dipping it in and out of the bay, Dave De Bella considers the Marina Green one of the best places in Northern California to fly a kite.

“It’s my kind of Taichi,” the 47-year-old enthusiast said. “I come out here to meditate. We’re lucky to have the bay and the walkway. I used to be addicted to drugs, now I’m addicted to kites.”

A resident of the Richmond district, De Bella considers the Westward wind that blows over from the Presidio and Golden Gate Straits to be perfect for flying kites, adding ”it’s a great thing for me to live near by.”

“It’s a little bit windy and cold for some, but it just so happens to be the best place (to fly a kite) on a field.”

To new kite fliers, like Jon Halbig and Rhonda Gallimore, the views of Russian Hill to the east and the bridge to the west are some of the reasons they’ve stopped spending their time at the movies and started spending their weekends outdoors.

“It may be just a plot of grass,” Halbig said, “but location, location, location. You can see everything from here. Especially with the great weather we’re having, it would have been blasphemous not to have come out here.”

Flying a kite that looks like a ladybug, Jon and Rhonda enjoy the helpful attitude between the kite fliers on the field.

“Everyone is out here helping each other out, there’s too much goodwill in this field.”

While the Marina Green is a popular place for kite flying,
others come here for the outdoor activities that include picnicking, volleyball and jogging. Some even find that it as spiritual and therapeutic.

Sitting with her two dogs, Bear and Sweetie, Pat Murphy eats a sandwich from the Tavern on the Green, a small octagon-shaped snack shop located adjacent to the harbor. A former resident of the Marina district, she says she returns frequently to the Marina Green because of its spiritual draw.

"You can see it from Pacific Heights," she said, "but from here, you can feel it. My karma is called to this area."

A transplant from St. Louis, the 62-year-old former teacher moved to the Marina district during the 60s. A few years ago, after being diagnosed with cancer, Murphy “left the hospital” and bypassed her home to go to the Marina Green “to feel alive.”

Now retired, cured of cancer and living in the Sunset district, she still makes her way to the field rain or shine.

“I just walk here now for myself and for my dogs. Even when it’s cold, I go for walks here.”

Dogs are a common site on the promenade and field. Susan Nowe, a resident of Sacramento, travels the 87 miles on weekends with her dog Xena, to soak her feet in the bay along the sea wall which runs parallel with the field.

“It’s almost like the Baltic Sea and being in a different world altogether,” she said. “When you want to go to a different place, it’s a great way to get away.”

Nowe, an English teacher who received her Masters in English Compositional Literature from CSU Sacramento, walks in the water by the field with a bottle of
Champaign. To her, the Marina Green is her “therapy.”

“Being by the sea is invigorating with wine,” she said. “It just heightens the moment.”

For Xena, Nowe’s black Labrador, the trips to the field are spent dog-paddling in the bay, returning back to the shore and shaking off the salt water on to Nowe.

“She’s a mess, “Nowe says of Xena, as the Labrador bounces in and out of the water. “The dog has anorexia. She swallows the salt water, and then she throws it up.”

Recently moving to an apartment near Marina and Laguna, Ryan Yuzon decided to move to the Marina district from downtown because it was closer to the water.

Playing guitar along the field, the 30-year-old says he comes down to the park usually to play in one of the many pick-up volleyball games that happen on the weekend.

“Usually when it’s warmer,” Yuzon said, “there’s up to eight games. If they banned volleyball down here, it would ruin my life.”

During the weekends, volleyball is one of the many activities that the locals participate in. Some enjoy jogging, couples enjoy lounging in the grass, and families gather to have a picnic.

When evening comes, the yachts return to the harbor near the field and crowds leave to go back to where they came. Fewer and fewer joggers can be seen pacing along the boulevard until the last of them have gone home.

As the sounds of the sea breaking along the sea wall and the smell of the misty salt air fade, the sun descends behind the Presidio, and the Marina Green rests for the night in preparation for the next day’s activities.

Posted by marc at 01:35 AM
March 06, 2003
Natural Selection? Bogus!

Irene told me a couple weeks ago that ears never stop growing. If this is true or not, it still scares the crap out of me. Anyone that knows me, knows (and hopefully adores) my really big ears. Over the years, they've been the object of torment. From kids flicking them in grade school, to co-workers flicking them at work: my ears have taken a lot of abuse by people that think it's a hoot to beat them to a bloody color.

And now to mention abuse, my ears aren't the only large body object that gets smacked around by bullies from childhood to maturity (if thats what you want to call it). My nose got a lot of attention too, for its grotesque size. Why? I don't know. I guess other people have obsessions with abusing large body parts of the dorks around them. (And yes, I am a dork. Not a computer geek, or a Star Trek geek. I'm one of those History dorks. I like talking about historical significance and other poop like that. No wonder people would beat the crap out of me growing up... but those are different stories. Horrible, sad stories.)

Anyway, Darwinism sucks if these things don't work out for my benefit. Do I have better hearing than most people? Of course not. Can I fly with these damn things? Don't bet on it. But can I attract a-holes within a 10 mile radius to come over and use their finger to flick them about as if they were marbles? Hell's yes!

Maybe that's the benefit: I can decipher who are my friends, and who are the people that I'm going to destroy when I get my revolution started.

P.S. - And by the way, if some government watchdog is look at this and is concerned about 'my revolution,' don't be alarmed. I only want to start one so I don't have to pay back my student financial aid. That's my only revolutionary aim, so don't put me down on some 'terrorist' list or something. Thank you.

Posted by marc at 01:01 AM