Larry Hosken: New

I read the news of Senator Feinstein's passing this morning. Thus, when I set out on my morning walk, San Francisco business-as-usual pay-to-play politics was on my cynical mind. But then a line of dumptrucks on Stanyan stretching around the corner to Beulah Street cheered me up.

a line of dumptrucks on Stanyan Street and around the corner on Beulah waits to haul dirt dug up at Stanyan and Haight

These trucks were waiting to haul dirt away from the construction site at Haight and Stanyan. The plan is to build affordable housing on the site. Local Let's-Outlaw-the-Poors organizations like Concerned Citizens of the Haight and the Cole Valley Improvement Association fought the project. For a loooong time, that site was a fenced-off empty lot. I knew Mayor Breed listens to the local Let's-Outlaw-the-Poors organizations; I worried that she'd found a way to stall the housing project forever.

Some months back, work finally began at the site. And it continued. And this morning, they need a whole lot of trucks to carry off dirt that's been dug up. Sometimes, this city does actually accomplish things.



I'm not sure whether this thingy on a rooftop near 38th Ave & Irving is a cultural reference I'm ignorant of or some non-referential inflatable glow-in-the-dark party-lovin' ghost decoration one could buy at any Hallowe'en store, but it sure got my attention.

mysterious green Schmoo-shaped thing up on a Sunset district roof

[Updated to add] I'm informed that this is an inflatable decoration in the shape of the character Oogie Boogie from the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas. You can buy it in stores.



USA Chain Restaurants Word Ladder

I made another word ladder: USA Chain Restaurants.

puzzle with letters and blanks to fill in. Some knowledgable person saw QDOB_ and filled in an A to make Qdoba

This one was pretty tough for me, a San Franciscan who doesn't make it out to other parts of the country these days. I look at _A_BY'S and don't know what letters to put in the blanks. Apparently there's a chain called Zaxby's that covers a lot of the USA, but not San Francisco. I asked Google maps for the nearest Zaxby's and it told me to drive 750 miles to Utah. I won't cross the desert to Deseret for dessert. Anyhow, thank you and enjoy your word ladder.



After days of wildfire fallout, it's good to see the UCSF Smoke-Free Zone is back in effect.

photo of old sign that reads "Smoke-Free Zone / Please be courteous to our neighbors. Do not smoke or litter in our surrounding neighborhood. Per Campus Administrative Policy 550-10 UCSF University of California San Francisco"



I made some more word ladder memory drill web pages; and tweaked the computer program I use to make them to be not so San Francisco street-specific.

Several days ago, I made a San Francisco street names word ladder to help me recall names for Chris Arvin's Name SF Streets game. It helped me a lot; I went from scoring less than 50% to scoring over 60%.

So I made word ladders for other things I wished I could recall better. Now I've got

What list should I do next?



I continue to check my little dashboard of San Francisco COVID numbers each morning to figure out whether heading into a deli for an inessential sandwich is living the good life or a stupid risk. Today, I'm resuming going inside inessential places.

graph charting three numbers. The red line, new reported cases peaked a few weeks ago a little below the 'safe' line and has since eased further down. The purple test positivity % line has been above the 'safe' line for the past two months; it still is, albeit lower than its peak a month ago. The green COVID-in-wastewater line is pretty jagged but if you squint, it looks like it peaked a month ago and is now declining

It feels a little strange to post this "I'm resuming inessential activities" message as I see Mastodon toots go past saying "Overall USA COVID-in-wastewater levels are surging!" But it wouldn't be the first time San Francisco was out of step with the rest of the nation, COVID-wise or otherwise. I won't be shocked if San Francisco's COVID levels rise again soon as happy-go-lucky tourists from around the country come bearing gifts infections.

Note that my "safety" estimate is just: multiply together the three numbers I track and compare them to multiplying together three pretty-safe levels for those numbers. If you say "That doesn't sound very scientific," I agree with you. đŸ¤· Alas, I haven't heard of a super-scientific measure that applies since California stopped emergency-level testing requirements. Folks who only consider test positivity % don't want to head out for inessential sandwiches today. Folks who only consider COVID-in-wastewater levels, uhm, do the Hokey-Pokey from day to day as that noisy measure yo-yos up and down. When I eyeball the chart, I'm pretty sure that there was some kind of peak about a month ago and that things are better now; but are things good enough now? I guess so, but your guess may differ.



Updated Contact Info

I updated the Larry Hosken Contact Info page to reflect: The social network formerly known as t2 is now pebble. is me.



This news article's data visualization is like a series of tubes. (It also make some neat inferences about changing work patterns and why San Francisco's city budget has stupidly preventable annual crises.)

Graph showing fraction of San Francisco's toilet paper that went to SFO airport in two different years; the graph is presented as two toilet paper tubes



Like many San Franciscans I've recently struggled played with Chris Arvin's excellent Name SF Streets game. Crossword fiend that I am, I thought Remembering street names by looking at a map is hard; my brain's wired to fill in the blanks. So I made a word ladder puzzle from the names of a few hundred long San Francisco streets. If your brain's wired like mine is, maybe it will help your memory drills.

Tangentially related: while poking around in the original game's source code in search of its streets data, I learned that you can enter the shortcut 1ST TO 48TH to automagically get all the numbered streets.



Oh neat, the 9th & Irving Starbucks unionized.




1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023