But Uncle Owen, I was going into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters!

22 12 2009

But Uncle Owen, I was going into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters 1

If they ever built any suburbs on Tatooine I’d imagine they would look a lot like this.

The Outer Sunset – Manifest Destiny

12 12 2009

I just finished reading Jason Aaron’s Wolverine – Manifest Destiny mini series as part of the X-Men – Manifest Destiny collection. The other stories were crap but the Jason Aaron story was a pretty fun ride. The X-Men have just relocated to San Francisco and Wolverine has violated a 50-year-old ban by entering Chinatown that results in an epic kung-fu beat-down, training, and then revenge/ redemption story.

I guess it’s obvious, if not somewhat safe, to put the story in Chinatown because even people not familiar with San Francisco can figure out what kind of neighborhood Chinatown is.

I still maintain that The Outer Sunset is a far more versatile neighborhood that you can tell several different kinds of stories in.

The Outer Sunset has loud Chinese and English advertising that makes a great background for any kind of kung-fu or Blade Runner type story.

The Outer Sunset is littered with these beautiful miniature castles, Hansel and Gretel type homes, and suburbs on acid that would make for great surreal or head-trip stories.

And then you have some straight up batshit crazy neighbors.

With locals that drive around in Burning Man art cars or demon busses.

The Outer Sunset is like living on the set of the weirdest movie David Lynch never got around to making.

I really love this house in The Outer Sunset.

The Outer Sunset - Manifest Destiny 1

It’s your classic San Francisco kung-fu house.

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I could brainstorm an entire X-Men mini-series just off of this house.

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Here’s my pitch –

The Outer Sunset - Manifest Destiny 7

This is Mr. Hung’s house.

1969 –

Back in the late 60’s Mr. Hung was this 20-year-old Jet Li looking kind of guy with this rad Jim Lee hair and bitching yakuza tattoos.

Mr. Hung is China’s #1 spy and the world’s #1 assassin. He’s the best there is at what he does.

Back before he was in The X-Men and was in Weapon X or Strikeforce X or whatever, Wolverine is loaned off to this ultimate black-opts project that no-one has words or even clearance levels for and finds himself working with Mr. Hung.

They don’t like each other.

They’re off with Nick Fury, the previous Dr. Strange, and Snake Eyes on a covert mission to seek and destroy a downed unidentified astral object.

2009 –

Mr. Hung is this Sammo Hung looking kind of guy who actually looks like he’s 40 years older.

40 very haggard years older.

He’s a few feet shorter, has almost no hair with a receding hairline, a potbelly, and is always wearing a goofy Hawaiian t-shirt. Now that the X-Men are in San Francisco, Logan always comes over to crash on Mr. Hung’s couch in The Outer Sunset whenever he needs to unwind and heal in private. They have a much better rapport these days. There’s a Jacuzzi and an endless supply of beer in the back yard with a bitching view of the sunset.

The Outer Sunset - Manifest Destiny 11

I love the backyard too.

The Outer Sunset - Manifest Destiny 3

This is actually from a completely different Outer Sunset house but I’m gonna take some artistic liberty and fuse the 2 of these images together for the sake of my pitch.

Mr. Hung’s tattoos are all fucked-up now. There are scars, bullet holes, stab wounds, claw marks, cigarette burns, electrical burns, farmer tans, and a potbelly. It’s a mess.

Logan’s giving him a hard time and is all

“Jesus Christ, Hung. Who does your touch-up work these days? GG Allin?”

And Mr. Hung is all,

“Tell me about it. kid. When I was young and stupid I used to be into tattoos, Now that I know better I’m into scars. Each one tells a different story about how it fucked-up my life”

Camera zooms into Mr. Hung’s right arm and this lengthwise burn in the form of an iron chain.

1969 –

Escape pod from Hell has just crash landed in Vietnam.

4 Ghost Riders hit the ground running at 100 miles per hour in opposite directions.

Wolverine + crew destroy them all in less than 3 issues but in the process they also massacre half of an early Private Frank Castle’s platoon in seconds.

Hearts, minds, blood, guts, and demon curses are splattered everywhere. It’s a bloodbath.

And that’s my pitch for the –

Punisher Ghost Rider Wolverine – Manifest Destiny mini series.

Sign Jason Aaron onboard and that’s just money in the bank.

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

11 12 2009

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

Aluminum can recycling is big business in The Outer Sunset and no one takes it as seriously as the old Chinese ladies. Other people hop in their cars and drive their cans to the Safeway parking lot on Noriega for cash. The old Chinese ladies load up their carts, sometimes up to three times their body mass, and then push it on up the road. Hardcore.

This lady doesn’t have it too bad. She’s headed westbound on Moraga so it’s relatively downhill on a quiet road and the few uphill parts aren’t that steep. I love her hat to. Old people have rad, practical fashion accessories.

What’s nuts are the people that live down by the beach and push their carts uphill on Ortega. That hill kicks my ass just riding my bike up it, I can only imagine if I was 30 years older and pushing a cart three times my size up that hill on a regular basis.

There’s this one couple that I’ve watched do that for years now. They have to be in their 60s or 70s, yet a few times each month I’ll see them trek up Ortega street and the funny thing is that the wife always kicks her husband’s ass. She’s easily a block ahead of him by the time they get into the final stretch. They both definitely define what it means to have a serious work ethic.

Longboarding in The Outer Sunset.

9 12 2009

Video courtesy of aaaknot30

I really dig these Outer Sunset skating videos and find myself watching the houses flying by as much as the skaters. If I was a real estate agent I think I would commission these guys to tape the neighborhood of any homes I wanted to sell. It’s an interesting way to showcase real estate, not just as still pictures of a house but also video of the neighborhood that the house lives in.

But this block on 21st Ave always struck me as being odd.

90% of the block is very much cookie-cutter homes. It’s pretty much the exact same house xeroxed off right next to each other with a few variations. The difference from any other American suburb being that Outer Sunset homes have colors that you’d expect to find in a bowl of Lucky Charms cereal. Looks like Poppa Smurf lives in this one.

Papa Smurf house of The Outer Sunset

But these two homes always struck me as being really odd.

Enigmas of The Outer Sunset

Out of nowhere, there are two completely different kinds of houses right next to each other.

The one of the left looks like something you would find in the Berkley Hills. That’s an intense driveway and a patio on the 1st floor, then another patio with the entrance to the house on the 2nd floor. It’s very different from any other house on the block. I imagine the person who lives here has cats, listens to NPR, and is a big fan of chai tea.

Then check out his neighbor. A boring 3 story house that I would expect to see in Baltimore or some place that gets a lot of snow in the winter. It’s also the only 3 story building on a block of houses that are all 2 story, so you know the people that live here are kind of cocky about having the tallest house on the block. I keep expecting to bump into Gavin Newsom coming out of this house.

I can only imagine why these homes were built this way. Maybe Henry Doelger was out that week and the crew was all “Fuck it. We’re tired of building the same house over and over again. Let’s do a Berkeley house over here and spin the wheel to see what to put next to it…uh, a boring 3 story East Coast house? Sure, why not. No one will notice.”


Lords of Sunset

The Outer Sunset Has Loud, Tacky Colors

The ALL IN ONE ONE IN ALL House in The Outer Sunset.

14 08 2009

All in One. One in All house in the Outer Sunset 2

All in One. One in All house in the Outer Sunset 11

All in One. One in All house in the Outer Sunset 7

More evidence that The Outer Sunset has got to be one of the weirdest suburbs in America.

You can throw down your freak flag right there on the front lawn, run it up the flagpole, and just let it fly.

The beaches of San Francisco gave birth to Burning Man and the quirky beach side suburbs of San Francisco have given birth to pockets of these Temporary Autonomous Zones that have since mutated into Permanent Autonomous Zones.

Must be something in the water …

Thank you to Sunset Style for the head’s up and Goggle Maps for the legwork



Crazy Guy’s House

The Friendship Bench House

Crazy Guy’s House on 420

23 04 2009

Crazy Guy's House on 420 1

Crazy Guy's House on 420 2

Crazy Guy's House on 420 3

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Crazy Guy's House on 420 7

Where the N Judah meets the Pacific Ocean.

20 02 2009


Normally it’s really foggy and overcast in The Sunset, especially by the beach. However, with the exception of the recent storms, the weather lately has been fucking amazing. Sunny, with mid-to-high 70s, and a light off shore breeze. It’s every Southern Californian fantasy of every Beach Boys song rolled into a single glorious afternoon. And this is our winter. Let’s hear it for global warming!

I just recently rediscovered the N Judah bus stop at Ocean Beach and fell in love with it. This has got to be my favorite bus stop in the city.

What a great day not to be chained down to a cubicle.





Love the thorny succulents with flowers. Nice touch.


I love succulents.

18 02 2009


These guys are my favorite plants. Succulents are survivors. They don’t bitch. They’re not high maintenance. You don’t even have to water then. You just stick succulents into the earth and not only do they grow, but they dominate. Sometimes over each other.


These plants are indigenous to The Outer Sunset. And in the spring they grow these enormous erections. They’re like the John Holmes of the plant kingdom. Large and in charge. What’s not to love?

erect succulent

Several years ago I was using what few days I had of my vacation time to find a new roommate and do some home improvement projects. Winnie and I saw a commercial for a Wednesday sale at Mervyns and decided on a spur of the moment to go buy some clothes. Other couples spend their vacations in Hawaii or Las Vegas. Winnie and I tool around the house and go party at Mervyns. We were being broke years before it was trendy…

Normally I can see my car from my living room, but it was a no parking day and I left the Saturn a block away. Winnie and I were walking down a street that we normally never would have, when we looked over and saw that one of our neighbors had his compost receptacle out and it was OVERFLOWING with these fresh cut succulents. It was amazing. We scrapped the Mervyns plan in a heartbeat. Instead, we grabbed as many succulents as we could carry and then trafficked the unwanted plants back to my place. And then went back for more. It took about 3 trips to get them all back. We planted what we could and then went to Home Depot to buy pots and soil for the rest.

Fast forward a few years later and Mervyns is now one of the more vicious casualties of this death spiral economy. Mervyns did not pay out unused vacation days to their laid off employees and even froze their 401K. Fucking scandalous. Mervyns is dead and gone but the succulents are still dominating their environment. I love these plants.


Crazy Guy’s House.

16 02 2009


There are 3 things that instantly come to mind whenever I think of the suburbs.

There’s The Wonder Years. This sick with nostalgia feeling of different, goofy, outdated, salad day moments in all these different suburbs and Navy housing units that I grew up in. And this isn’t a recent phenomenon. Generations of Americans have been raised in the suburbs since the post-WW2 boom and they each have their own goofy, outdated, corny memories of growing up in those housing units that are special to them.

There’s swimming pools & punk rock. There’s everything from the Bad Religion punk rock, Blink 182 suburban punk rock, and straight edge punk rock as a rebuttal to the conformity of the suburbs. During the droughts of the 1980’s Los Angeles homeowners would let their backyard pools run dry to conserve water and that in turn directly created the vertical skateboard movement. Last year, people were abandoning their homes because they couldn’t make their mortgage payments in such great number that there was an explosion of West Nile virus in southern California because nobody was maintaining all these polluted swimming pools. Punk rock & The Law of Unintended Consequences.

And then there’s The Home Owner’s Association, the mafia of the suburbs. Drunk on power and accountable to no one, they are The Law of the suburbs. Leave your Christmas lights or Halloween pumpkins out too late after the holidays and the first time you’ll get a warning, the 2nd time you’ll get a ticket. If you want to build a fence or make a landscaping change you need their blessings. If you want to paint your wall you have to get written permission from them beforehand. Even if it’s the same color. Revolutions have been fought over slighter grievances.

That’s why Crazy Guy’s House is so ironic.


At 90 some years, The Outer Sunset has got to be one of the oldest suburbs on the West Coast. Yet, there’s no Home Owner’s Association out here. Because there’s no way in Hell that this house would exist in any other suburb in California that had one. I’m part of the David Best fan club and I’m all for transforming trash into art…but sorry, sometimes trash put up on a pedestal is still just trash. Crazy Man’s House is a windmill of crap. On a windy day you can hear Crazy Man’s House from half a block away. If I lived near this guy it would drive me crazy over time, yet in the 14 years that I’ve lived out here not only has he not been forced to take his shit down, but dude has actually added to his collection.




That’s why life in The Outer Sunset is so surreal. Like a David Lynch movie. Or a bad youtube video. It’s own little piece of the Twilight Zone where the laws of physics, zoning violations, and common sense don’t always exist. It’s very weird.

Nice purple succulents though –

crazy guys house succulant

Little Boxes

7 02 2009



little boxes

I’m familiar with the repetition in The Outer Sunset. I’m a Navy Brat and a product of the suburbs. The suburbs were tattooed onto my personality’s basic operating system at an early age. Most of the people I knew and grew up with were from the suburbs. You can take one basic floor plan, tweak it a few different ways, and then zerox that off to build entire blocks. Entire neighborhoods. Entire zip codes. They’re building a new suburb near my parent’s house in San Diego that will be bigger than the city of San Francisco. The cycle of Life continues…

Henry Doelger is the Easy E of American Architecture. I really dig this guy. As a child, Henry Doelger supported his family by selling bathtub gin and homemade beer at his “hot dog stand” in Golden Gate Park during the early 1900’s. As an adult, Henry invested the profits from that endeavor to buy real estate and build homes in the sand dunes of The Outside Lands. People called him crazy, but the man built a big chunk of The Outer Sunset and became one of the godfathers of this art form that we now refer to as the suburbs.

The song “Little Boxes” was written about a piece Henry Doelger did in Daily City. What’s ironic is that song is now the theme show for Weeds, a show about drug dealers who rent homes under aliases and use them just to grow pot. These days pot growing houses, along with the sex slave prostitution human traffic racket are the dominating black market cash crops of The Outer Sunset.

What’s funny though is that The Outer Sunset really isn’t cookie cutter art.

It really isn’t.

There’s a lot of diversity and guts out here. It’s very unique like that.






And this is one of my all time favorite pieces. To me, it’s the architecture equivalent of a Frank Sinatra song. Good art never goes out of style.