Speaking of civilized, we recently visited Vancouver, British Columbia for a combo business/pleasure trip. We navigated the city for 5 full days mostly by foot, bicycle, and public transit (and the occasional taxi.) Compared to San Francisco, the weather sorta sucks (which says a lot if you know SF) but Vancouver makes San Francisco look ***archaic*** when it comes to transit. They really have it figured out.

I show up at about 1 minute 30 seconds into the piece...

The Island just posted my editorial about sports in Alameda:

Have you ever heard the expression “Alameda is a three-sport town”?

Which ones do they mean, anyway? The three big American pro sports (baseball, basketball, and football)? Or do they mean baseball, soccer, and badminton?

Got me. In our family, the first sports that come to mind are swimming and water polo. Our neighbors are into swimming, football, and soccer. On the other side, it’s basketball, basketball basketball. Which are the three?

Alameda seems to have a lot of good teams. The Encinal Jets made it to the final round in division football for the second year in a row. Alameda High has a competitive football team too. Is football one of the three?

Maybe water polo belongs in there. Alameda has five teams: Two at each high school and an upstart independent club that is competing around the region. The Gentlemen Hornets just won their division for the second year in a row. The co-ed club gets quite a big turnout, even on cold winter nights.

Speaking of champions, ACLC is reigning state champion in ultimate Frisbee. Nice job, but is it one of the three?

Maybe golf is in there. We have an Alameda High School student who just became California’s top girls golfer. Don’t forget cross-country and track. You can’t shake a stick without tripping a runner on this Island. Surely that’s a top three?

Seeing older folks out on bikes is one of my favorite things in this town. Where else in the country does that happen? Seems biking is pretty darned popular in Alameda.

Don’t even get me started on swimming. We have two age group teams, four high school teams, and three masters groups. We have swimmers who have participated in Olympic trials, gone on to full college scholarships, and youngsters who are dominating at the regional level. One of our girls was just named Most Outstanding Swimmer by Pacific Swimming.

And how many martial arts studios are there in the area? I imagine we could fill an auditorium if there was ever a casting call for a kids’ action film. I know of a Kuk Sool black belt who also – representing Alameda – is a state judo champion.

Volleyball is popular here too. I know this because it wreaks havoc on our parking scene at swim practice. But volleyball is surprisingly fun to watch. And I know there must be hundreds of Alamedans who play tennis. If we group the bouncing-ball sports into one (including the table tennis club), maybe that’s one of the three?

Look around the perimeter of Alameda and there are even more sports going on. We have thousands of sailboats, roughly 10 yacht clubs, and a world-class youth sailing program. The kite surfing scene out at Crown Beach is off the rails. Where else do you do that? And if I’m not mistaken, there are more than a few Alamedans who row with the Oakland Strokes in the estuary. All those water sports are fun to watch too.

So which are the the esteemed “three sports in Alameda” that deserve our respect and support? I guess it depends on who you talk to.

Something I made for an Alameda Unified Parcel Tax campaign (un-officially.)

Henry's Birthday Butterfly

Youtube Video: 

The BIRTHDAY BUTTER is an Alameda tradition. You have to swim through the gauntlet -- swimming butterfly -- while all of the other swimmers splash and rock you with waves from their kickboards.


An informal group of Alameda residents has put together a website that examines the SunCal ballot initiative and Alameda Point.

The purpose of the site is to help the public become better informed about both the SunCal ballot initiative and the issues related to the development of Alameda Point. We attempt to shine a light on the details not covered by SunCal’s campaign literature.
The site includes news stories, documents, frequently asked questions, a point-counterpoint section, project uncertainties, a SunCal problem map, and an image gallery.

The website will be a dynamic and regularly updated information source as the debate over the future of Alameda Point continues.

Alameda must have the highest density off-campus blogger-to-populace ratio in the American West.

Heated commentary and discussion used to be contained to a handful of hyper-local blogs and "media" sites, all competing for the dish, the scoop, the gotcha... the Crown Cleverest.

Hell, I used to have an Alameda blog. Years ago. But for me, writing a blog post is like pulling one of my own teeth out. I really just like to make websites.

I don't know how these bloggers do it. Especially Lauren Do. I disagree with almost everything she says, but gotta give her credit. She finds something Alameda-centric to rant about every single workday. It's truly amazing.

We've had some other beauties. Alameda Daily News hasn't changed it's style in decades (this website is so old it defies logic) but it maintains a strong presence. And there's the Alameda Daily Noose, the parody that is such a waste of comic talent because it can only be appreciated by Alameda bloggers. Come to think of it, what a growth model! And speaking of growth models, "Stop, Drop, and Roll" is worth a read and a chuckle... like having our very own Thomas Friedman.

Now... we have an independent journalism site "The Island" that is proving superior to our local newspapers as far as news gathering goes. And wow, does it gather a lot of news. 4 or 5 stories a day, roughly. Who knew Alameda had so much news?

I don't think we have so much news. We just have a lot of super-informed, opinionated people with time on their handhelds. But unfortunately, 90% of these opinionated Alamedans share the same opinions (especially in regards to David Howard.) And while they used to write comments and letters to the blogs and newspapers, now they've all started their own Alameda blogs.

These days, a typical Alameda blog post reads "so and so over at blah blah blog has a great write-up about..." dullsville! The problem is, there aren't enough fiery contrarian ranters left to go around. There's only one Kirwin, one AD, and thank heavens only one Jeffrey R. Thomason to shake up the status quo.

I think we are finally at the part of the zombie movie where everyone's brains have been eaten so the movie ends.

We just went for a little walk in Downtown Alameda and I wound up being interviewed by the Channel 2 News. Apparently I will DEFINITELY be on the 6:00 news tonight discussing the budget crush and getting IOU's instead of tax refund checks. I don't have a television so could somebody please watch it and let me know how I do? Better yet... capture and youtube it? And Happy New Year!

update: Hopefully I will show up on the site as a Tom Vacar segment but so far... no dice. Anyone out there catch it? Does anyone watch t.v. news anymore? I sure don't.