jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
As of last Saturday, Emm and I have been living in San Francisco for ten whole years. That fact just occurred to me the other day as I was reading the local news on SFist.

Wow, ten years! We barely escaped winter storms before we left early on that Monday morning on December 12, one of our friends driving us to Newark Airport. Emm was busy with multiple work-related travel engagements, so it was basically on me to find us a decent starter apartment, which we eventually did a month previous. We'd done a major culling of our belongings before the movers came; I let our New Jersey friends dig through a goodly amount of my cds that I would not be taking with me (no worries, I'd already ripped them to my PC by that time). I'd sold my car to a local garage and we relied on carpooling until the transportation company came to take it for us.

In a way it was more of a tabula rasa for me than the move down to NJ was. I'd been a New Englander my entire life up to that point, so a move to the opposite coast, starting a new (and newly married) life, and even taking a new track on the Day Job front, was probably one of the bravest things I'd done to that point. I really had little to no idea what the future had in store for me. I mean, other than me continuing on my writing. And even that was in flux; I'd pretty much stuttered to a halt on all projects and had to start over from scratch. [Shades of ten years earlier, when I'd moved back home in '95 and had to relearn how to write. There's a good chance this was the same situation.]

How do I feel, now that I've been in this city for a decade? Well, have to say I still love it here. Never a dull moment. A few frustrating ones here and there, just like anywhere else, but for the most part I've come to see this city (and most of the Bay Area) as home turf now. I feel like a local now: I know my way around, I understand the moods and the movements, I have favorite corners of the city, and I have not gotten sick of driving around this area at all. I may not have close friends here, but I have a lot of acquaintances. We've become regulars at some of our local stops. And damn it all, it never stops being so picturesque! :p
jon_chaisson: (Athol sign)
The J & A Good Time Comedy Revue and Biscuit Brunch Tour '14 was a rousing success! Our weeklong vacation to various New England points of interest was chock full of daily meetups with friends and family, not to mention stopping by favorite haunts. The first half of the vacation was spent in the Boston area, where we stayed at a lovely B & B in Cambridge a short distance from both Porter and Davis Squares. Much driving and sightseeing, including a very enjoyable leisurely drive around Boston and neighboring towns on Sunday. We headed westward to central MA on Tuesday and spent the rest of the week with family and more friends. We even managed to drive through three different states on Thursday, when we drove up to Brattleboro VT, then over to Keene NH, then back to Athol for a brief break before heading down to West Springfield to see my good buddy Bruce, who I haven't seen in quite a few years. We finished off the week with a brunch with my parents before heading back to Boston. That night we met up with two more people in Chelsea, and finished off the night with soft serve on Revere Beach--something one just has to do at least once. We flew back on Saturday morning, where we somehow managed to remain awake. This had to be the busiest vacation I've ever had, but it was a blast, and I'm incredibly happy I was able to see so many people during it.

And as an aside: I was not able to work on writing revision on a daily basis...but I did manage to more than make up for it by working on three chapters during the six-hour flight back to San Francisco! :)

Whew! So that's our spring vacation out of the way. We don't have another major vacation until August when we head to London for WorldCon, which I am of course eagerly looking forward to. In the meantime, we do have a number of fun events scheduled, including a number of SF Symphony shows Shakespeare at the Kabuki, and more. It's been a hectic 2014 so far, but in a good way!
jon_chaisson: (Citgo Sign)
211-213 Beacon St Boston

It occurred to me earlier today that this month marks twenty years since I moved into my own shoebox apartment in the Back Bay neighborhood in Boston. I was well aware quite some months ago that it was my twentieth reunion year for college (which I did not attend, due to various mundane reasons), and I often thought of 1993 as a sort of a dark period for me so it's probably for the best that I didn't think about it for some time. Let's just say I had a lot of personal issues to work out.  Nonetheless, I think of this apartment as the first chapter in a hell of a long personal story about where I was then versus where I am now, both physically and mentally.

Off to the side there, that's 211-213 Beacon Street in Back Bay. In September of 1993 I moved in to the top rear apartment looking out over the alley way at 213 (the door on the right).  Mind you, that's a five-story brownstone that's been there for decades, has no elevator, and pretty high ceilings.  Shlepping up and down those stairs in the heat of summer and the freezing winter could kick your ass pretty quick if you weren't in shape.

I grabbed this apartment through my then friend Jon Alex, a guy I'd known since sophomore year in college when we lived across the hall from each other. I'd spent the summer at a four-bedroom apartment sublet on Symphony Drive with my senior year roommate Pete, but as he was heading elsewhere and I was staying in town, I had to find a new place right quick. JA suggested I rent out a place in his building and got me hooked up. The place was tiny--about 200 square feet with a hint of a kitchen, and a prefab loft built to be used as a crawlspace/sleeping area. It was a laughable $500 a month, but it was in one of the nicest neighborhoods in Boston and close to downtown. This picture isn't the apartment in question, but one two floors down, and it kinda gives you the idea of how much room I didn't have:

213 Beacon 3C Boston


That's about half the apartment.  Yeah, I learned to live Spartan pretty damn quick there. [JA on the other hand had a slightly larger apartment and, given his upbringing and his style, had it decked out with movie posters and other toys that he may or may not have been able to afford.] I also had to do some heavy-duty job searching around that time as well...I'd just gotten fired from my job at DeLuca's on Charles Street (for the record, I played hooky one day after not missing any days or being late--the manager was just a short-tempered jackass that fired workers at the drop of a hat), so I had to find another job right quick. I soon found one at the Longwood Ave branch of the Harvard Coop Bookstore, where I stayed for about six months. After a few dead end temp positions, I landed a pathetic but bill-paying job at Brigham's Ice Cream on Cambridge Street. Hey--it wasn't as if I was too lazy to look for jobs at least somewhat related to my degree...it was just that they weren't there. The 1993-1994 job outlook in the US was dead flat--I couldn't find jack shit. That's exactly why I took these jobs.

I got into a few relationships then as well. One brief one that I probably should have taken a hell of a lot more seriously, and one I probably shouldn't have had at all. And there was my friendship with JA that had its high points and its low points. It wasn't until a few years later that I made a lot of stupid decisions at the time, most likely out of desperation. Life goes on, though.

At the same time, I looked on the bright side. That's also about the time I started renting out all sorts of anime--not just for entertainment but because I was fascinated by the differences between American and Japanese storytelling. I also started going for a hell of a lot of walks. I'd have five bucks and a pack of cigarettes to my name until next paycheck, so I got a LOT of late night walking in. I'd mostly hang out on Boylston and Newbury Streets, maybe venture over to Kenmore or Harvard Square now and again, but for the most part I'd just walk. Walk walk walk. And think. I did a lot of thinking then. Figuring shit out in my head, getting over emotional crap I'd dealt with over the last few years...and plotting. I did a lot of story plotting then.

I knew then that I was a writer. A fucking shitty one at that point, but I was willing to learn. I had the Infamous War Book and its countless attempts at revision/rewrite. I had the makings of Two Thousand, an unfinished coming-of-age novel that probably hit too close to home at the time for me to be able to finish it. Plus the seeds of a budding SF universe had been sown and would MUCH later become my trilogy. I had a lot of other half-baked ideas, a bunch of poetry, my old typewriter (I was too broke for a $1000 PC at that point), my radio and my music collection. Twenty years ago, I was consistently broke, constantly frustrated, totally directionless. I was at the ground floor, but I was willing to forge ahead.

* * *

Twenty years later, and I'm currently sitting at my computer listening to KSCU online while I write this. I'm in a much better frame of mind. I'm happily married, and living in San Francisco within view of Golden Gate Bridge. I'm in Spare Oom, our back bedroom I've claimed as my office as well as our library, a room that's actually larger than that shoebox apartment I moved into twenty years ago.  And I still have my music.

I'd like to think I'm happy where I am now. There's still a lot of room for improvement on a personal level, but for the most part, I think I'm pretty damned lucky that it ended up this way.

And I still write.
jon_chaisson: (Default)
So today we'll be heading across town and checking out downtown (primarily the Ferry Building) and perhaps walking up towards our old neighborhood in North Beach. I haven't been in that neck of the woods in at least two and a half years, when we were moving out in October of 2009. I believe we went there one last time at one point, I've forgotten when, and ate at Tiernan's, our old haunt, and I remember feeling sad and somewhat depressed that one of our favorite places in the past had gone downhill. It was nice seeing the old neighborhood, but at the same time it felt like it always does when one returns to their old living space--interesting to see again, but at the same time kind of melancholy that things have changed since we've left, or that it doesn't hold the same excitement as it once did. I sometimes still feel the same way when heading back east to New England. Memories are funny that way.

On the other hand, I haven't set foot in the North Beach area in so long that I think it'll feel more like one of our weekend trips again. I never really had any reason to head back there, and the closest I've been to it is the writer's convention at the hotel on Nob Hill, or on one of our infrequent roadtrips to the East Bay where I've been getting off the Bay Bridge and cutting through downtown to get home.

It'll be interesting to see again. Living in the foggy and cool Outside Lands as we do, it'll be strange to be in a part of town at the same time of day where it's at least five to ten degrees warmer and nary a cloud or fog bank in the sky. [livejournal.com profile] emmalyon went over there with a friend the other weekend, and she reported that, at least up in the Washington Square Park area, things have changed around a bit but a lot of it's still the same. I don't have any requests for specific places to stop, though I wouldn't mind stopping at City Lights if we happen to be in the area.

I will, of course, be taking pictures, and will post them later.
jon_chaisson: (Emm and Jonc Pictures)
Today is the 75th Anniversary of the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge! These are a few pictures of the bridge I've taken myself...



This is the view out of Spare Oom! I like looking out my window and seeing one of our famous landmarks...that is, when it's not enshrouded by fog. :)


Taken from the top of Twin Peaks. That's the Marin Headlands across the bay (and the large mountain to the left is Mt. Tamalpais). The strip of houses between the two bits of green (the Presidio to the north, Golden Gate Park to to the south) is my neighborhood of the Richmond.


My favorite picture I've taken of the bridge so far. We crossed about half of it last year on a gorgeously clear but windy day.


My other favorite picture, this one taken from Battery Spencer, which is just above and to the west of the bridge.
jon_chaisson: (Emm and Jonc Pictures)
[livejournal.com profile] emmalyon and I took a walk in Golden Gate Park today, starting from the de Young Museum and making our way down to Spreckels Lake (roughly about 2.5 miles), and of course, we took our cameras with us.

I've already posted pictures taken at the Rose Garden over at my Tumblr site, but thought I'd add a few here as well. Enjoy!

Saturday in the Park, I think it was the 11th of June )

And one for good measure...

When we left the park near 36th Avenue, we jumped on the 5 Fulton back up to 6th Avenue (pretty much back to where we started!), then jumped on the 44 to go get something to eat on Clement. The bus dropped us off in front of Green Apple Books, which is always a dangerous thing for us, though we were good and avoided its temptations. However, we couldn't pass up taking a picture of this bit of silliness:




So, all told, with the walk in the park plus walking home from where we stopped for lunch (Pizza Orgasmica), we must have walked total at least three and a half miles today. No wonder we're both sleepy!
jon_chaisson: (Emm and Jonc Pictures)
So we took the 29 bus up to...



Golden Gate Bridge!

We didn't go all the way across...we only went about half the span, but we certainly took some nice pictures along the way...

Even more pictures of our local claim to fame behind the cut )

But that's not all...

Apparently the Deathly Hallows can be found on the GGB as well! :)


And if that wasn't enough, we decided to take the Coastal Trail from the Bridge down to Baker Beach (it states that it's just about a mile, but it seems longer). Many more interesting things along that route, including a handful of former artillery batteries along the coastline and some wonderful views of the Bridge.

even more bridge shots and trail pictures within )

And finally...


Two crows perched on top of the fence in front of Battery Chamberlin, the Marin Headlands in the background. Our neighborhood has an oddly large amount of crows, so I'm convinced they're haunting and taunting me at this point.


So now? I'm going to kick back and relax, because I am DEAD TIRED after all that!
jon_chaisson: (Default)
...but considering I live in said state, and more importantly in Sodom and Gomorrah San Francisco, where this is a scorchingly hot topic:

Prop 8 Deemed Unconstitutional!

AMEN, HELL YES, AND BOOYAH!

Prop 8 was one of the most vile and bigoted propositions I'd ever seen on a ballot in recent time, and I'm glad they called it unconstitutional.

NOM

Jul. 15th, 2010 07:22 pm
jon_chaisson: (Calvin burp)
I bought one of these the other day--a San Francisco institution--and I'm finally getting around to eating it now.

YUM.

:)


EDIT: Oh yes--if you the read about the history of these on the site, that amusement park they mention used to be about a mile or so from where I live now!
jon_chaisson: (cat battery level)
Today's original plan was to take the bus up to the Golden Gate Bridge and walk across it and back, but due to the usual fogginess (and the extreme breeziness) of the day, we decided on a nature walk through the Presidio instead. This is such a weird city for walking, we've both found out, because it's a living embodiment of the time-honored "uphill both ways" meme, or at least it seems that way.

So today we took the bus up to the Presidio Ave. Gate (up near the southeastern corner), and headed down the hill on the Lover's Lane path--interestingly named, considering its claim to fame was that it was actually part of the old path heading from the original Spanish Presidio fort down to Mission Dolores in, well, the Mission district. We took this over to the main Presidio parade grounds area, over to Pershing Square and across the street to the Visitor's Center/Officer's Club--which also happens to be the oldest building in the city, built in 1776. After a few side trips around the parade grounds, we took the Ecology Path back up to Arguello Gate, including climbing over a recently fallen tree!

Lastly, once back in civilization, we walked down Arguello to Clement Street, where we found some really tasty and filling lunch at Q once again (Emm got the pulled pork sammich and I got a heavenly-tasting grilled catfish sammich). Post-food we stopped for coffee across the street, and somehow made our way home.

We are now tired and are going to be sleeping soon. *YAWN* I will perhaps post some pix later on, when I feel less lazy. :)

Wobbly!

Jun. 28th, 2010 08:20 am
jon_chaisson: (Marc Anthony confused)
I suppose this is the city welcoming me back...!

Nothing major, just a few shakes, but I'm actually a bit surprised at where it is, considering we rarely get quakes centered out that way. O_O
jon_chaisson: (Emm and Jonc Pictures)
Yesterday Emm and I took the bus to 48th Avenue to Sutro Heights Park to take in the view. It looks out over Cliff House and Ocean Beach and was quite nice yesterday for picture taking...

Yet more reasons I love our neighborhood )
jon_chaisson: (Default)


Been awhile since I've done a picture post, so here's a small handful from my recent uploads...

Out and about in the neighborhood and beyond )

More pix soon!
jon_chaisson: (Charlie Brown confused)
Sometimes I miss the somewhat-predictability of New England weather.

This morning it was sheets of rain.

This afternoon it cleared up, sun was shining, and there was even a beautiful blue sky with just a few clouds.

Now, a few hours later (and just in time for me to head home, I should add), it's a DOWNPOUR with thunder and lightning and wind.

I almost guarantee that when I get home, it'll be sunny again. *headdesk*


EDIT @ 3:52pm PT: Aaaaaand the sun's out again. O_o;
jon_chaisson: (Emm and Jonc Pictures)


They really do have a great aquarium there.

Awesome planetarium, too! Great show there, very impressive (and astronomically correct!). Also? The rainforest was a lot of fun too, if quite humid...

jon_chaisson: (Marc Anthony confused)
Today at my workplace, it rained off and on, but never seemed to pour all that hard. In fact, the sun came out occasionally.

On the other side of town, apparently it rained so hard at one point that there are streetcorner floods galore from overfull drains, the Van Ness subway had a minor flood, there's a ginormous puddle in our garage, and North Beach smells like a swamp at the moment.

I'm not sure, but if anything, our new place probably just got a bit of rain and a LOT of fog.

This city has such weird weather. O_O

Sunday Too

Oct. 18th, 2009 03:40 pm
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Okay, so I wussed out and only did one trip to the new place today. Brought over the stuff we bought at Target/BB&B today, plus some kitchen stuff plus some of Emm's clothes. I dunno...I should have done another trip, but I'm just dead tired right now. I'm pretty sure it has to do with the fact that I kept waking up last night, every couple of hours or so, mostly due to the yahoos coming out of the bars. I think we ran the gamut last night--drunk frat boys, potential chick fight, bf/gf argument...I think the only thing we didn't have was someone hurling. Yes, that has happened outside our window. O_O

Stopped at Safeway to see if I needed to rent a carpet cleaner, but they suggested just coming in to rent one on the day needed. Hopefully there will be one available that day! And it has to be done on Saturday, as we're going to the Opera on Sunday. Yup, big weekend! :)

Anyhoo...going to spend the rest of the day packing some of my own stuff. I need to pack the stuff on the bookshelf and some of the stuff under the bed. Lord knows where I'll put it...but I'll figure it out. My bureau is now down to a week's worth of stuff to wear, my closet just has clothes for the two days I'll be in-office, everything else is in boxes. If time permits, I may bring some of it over there during the week.

Big move is Friday...we are SO looking forward to it, partly to get it over with, partly to enjoy the OMG ENORMOUS new place. :)

Sunday Sun

Oct. 18th, 2009 11:14 am
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Did a quick trip down to Target and Bed Bath & Beyond this morning to buy some more apartmenty stuff (as well as a side trip to B&N so Emm could by the new Pratchett book), had lunch and football (Vikings/Ravens) over at Tiernan's. Am not getting ready to move some more stuff to the new place. Will probably only make two trips today, but I'm thinking that taking some of the odd-sized boxes might be a good idea.

Also, Channel 92.3 is our latest favorite not-Live-105 station due to its habit of sounding like the Music Director pulling songs at random (new Pearl Jam followed by Love & Rockets' "So Alive" followed by Sneaker Pimps followed by Foo Fighters followed by U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday")...good stuff on this station!

Oh, and I currently LOVE this song they're playing:



(sorry, you can skip the first few seconds of TV Guide promo)

They've been playing this on that station a lot lately, while I've been moving stuff to the new place. The singer reminds me of Toni Halliday of Curve, the music reminds me of a bass-riff-centric melody I would have written for the Flying Bohemians, and, well, it's just a cool song. :)

Okay, enough dawdling...I got stuff to do!
jon_chaisson: (Default)
...I was two months in on my freshman year at Emerson. On the other side of the country, in the area where I live now, this happened.

Can't say I'm too tied in with the anniversary of that earthquake (and to be honest, in Boston it was kind of eclipsed by this guy a week later), but I have to say for good or ill, they've done a FANTASTIC job of fixing things up since then. True, there are still a huge handful of buildings and apartments that aren't yet retrofitted, and they're still working on redoing the Bay Bridge, but things like the demise of the butt-ugly Embarcadero Freeway, the rerouting of 880 (and the demise of the Cypress Viaduct, which from what I read was a sketchy road to begin with before the quake), and restructuring of houses in the Marina, show that this city has come a long way.
jon_chaisson: (Naruto shocked)
...when the top story on KRON4 is how much rain we've gotten in the past few hours! Yup, it's supposed to be a downpour today, and I'm pretty sure neither of us want to actually leave the apartment because of it... :p

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