California

popuphood in Oakland California.

For years Oakland California has been considered the arm pit of the San Francisco Bay area to spite the fact that it has a thriving  bar and restaurant scene, and affordable housing. To help combat this image, popuphood was launched in December of 2011 by Alfonso Dominquez and Sarah Filley. The objective was to help encourage urban renewal in Oakland by filling five previously vacant store fronts in Old Oakland with five new retail shops, including a jewellers and art gallery.

The project’s primary focus is to support the local Oakland community, providing them with a vibrant shopping area giving local artists, designers and retailers the opportunity to open their own store for six months, rent free. The hope is that by building cross sector partnerships with local and federal governments, the economic development council, and private businesses popuphood will help develop a dynamic and vibrant community.

The video below explains popuphood in more detail:

San Francisco Day Two

We should have planned more days in San Francisco before driving south along the PCH to Santa Barbara. Out of all the cities in America, this is my number one choice for places to live. Not the suburbs, but the city itself. It has all the dynamics of New York, yet it always feels so international compared to other US cities.

Today was spent knocking around North Beach, the Presidio, and Fillmore districts after waiting for more than an hour to eat at Dottie’s True Blue Cafe. Everywhere we went we were surrounded by culture, food, fashion, and design. All of which is juxtaposed with the homeless and transient society that also floods this city. Perhaps this dichotomy of cultural extremes is why I am drawn here. There is so much wealth, and culture, so much in the way of the arts and design communities, yet there is also a counter point to all of this.

For example, today we were looking at all the wonderfully designed kitchen wares at the Allesi store, while a homeless man used the doorway next door as a bathroom, completely oblivious to the people passing by. The pedestrians, like the man in the doorway desensitized to all of it.

No matter what, I still love this place.

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My New Car.

Since I am still waiting to see what is going to happen with my wrecked MINI, I thought I would spend some time this morning looking for new cars in case I have to buy one in the next month or so. While searching for possible cars this morning I came across this wonderful 1955 Ferrari Monza Spider. The same car that was driven by Fred Astair in the movie “On the Beach”. (It also starred Gregory Peck, and I have to admit the race scenes in it are pretty lame).

This car is the eighth of 35, 750 Monza spiders that were ever built, and this unique automobile, with serial number 0492M, is the car that was used in the movie mentioned above. The opening price is yet to be determined, and there is that whole thing about shifting with my left hand I’d have to get used to, but I think I’d look good driving this car.

This Ferrari Monza Spider has a 260 hp, 2,999 cc DOHC four-cylinder engine, with two Weber 58 mm DCOA/3 carburetors. It features dry sump lubrication, a five-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with unequal-length A-arms and coil springs, a de Dion rear axle with transverse leaf springs and trailing arms, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes ( yes it has drum brakes, it is a 1955 Ferrari). The wheelbase is 88.6 inches which means it is agile for my daily commutes to the office. (by the way, this car was advertised for $7000.00 in a 1957 issue of Road and Track magazine. It’s estimated to bring 1 million plus at auction)

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Additional features include…

– One of only 35 built, with a matching-numbers example
– Starring role in On the Beach, featuring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner
– Driven on screen by Fred Astaire in “On the Beach”
– Brussels Motor Show car winner, 1955
– Race-winning history, including John Von Neumann, Phil Hill, Harrison Evans
– Two-year documented restoration

In its professional racing career, 750 Monza s/n 0492M entered 22 West Coast races in an intense period in 1955-56, driven by famed Ferrari importer and racing driver John von Neumann, future Formula One World Champion Phil Hill, and Harrison Evans. In that time it won twice, scored seven 2nd place finishes, was 3rd twice and 4th four times.
For more info on the car, and the movie starring Fred Astaire, or if you want to out bid me, go here.

The Glass Pavilion, by Steve Hermann.

If I win the lottery in the next few days I’ll be moving to Montecito, California. Why? Because Architect Steve Hermann, designed and built this stunning glass pavilion, and it is up for immediate sale.

A minimalist concrete pavilion that combines with expansive glazing  that separates interior and exterior sections. The extensive use of floor to ceiling allows inhabitants to enjoy the beautiful views of the exterior lawns. This beautiful modern home seamlessly blends interior and exterior spaces to create a relaxing house in tune with its natural surroundings.

If you want to buy this home, before I win the lottery, you can get information about it here.

By the way notice the automobiles parked in the garage. They don’t come with the house, but I think they give us an estimate on where the price point might fall. And incase you can’t make out what they are in picture number 3, they are a classic 1950’s Gull Wing Mercedes, and 2 Ferraris. (if you are impatient just scroll to the last image for a better shot of them.)