My recent “all quiet on the cyberfront” has been due to commitments to getting ready for a trip to San Francisco for a conference on flame retardants (more on that later). In the mean time, here is a quick summary of some of the highlights of my time in San Francisco, as experienced through a sensory overload and guided by my second cousin Mary, who is celebrating a birthday today, Happy Birthday Mary!
Spilled beer and fish at the Hyde Street Pier, the exotic smells of New May Wah Market, and the distinctive odor of The 38 Geary Bus, there is no shortage of interesting aromas in the City by the Bay.
The freshness of all the food really stands out, be it the backyard meyer lemons, the asparagus, caught that day sushi, Yuubi Japanese Restaurant, the amazing local beer Lagunitas Beer, and the wines of Sonoma valley, specifically the Jacuzzi Winery, with its knowledgeable and friendly staff.
It is always good advice to be careful about what you touch, but at the Musée Mécanique touching and playing with all the coin operated fortune telling booths, games, and photoscopes is encouraged and awesome. The California Academy of Sciences has a stricter touching policy, but is still very cool and definitely worth a visit, particularly for the planetarium.
The sounds of the city, like the roar from The Giants Game, are quiet once you enter Grace Cathedral, although it is difficult appreciate the quietness when all you can hear in your head is The Decemberists Grace Cathedral Hill.
Top 5 Movies/TV Shows Based in San Francisco
- Full House
- The Rock
- Rise of the Planet of the Apes
- Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco
- Star Trek (see next page for a nerdier breakdown of San Francisco in Star Trek)
Top 5 Appearances of San Francisco in Star Trek
There are few cities in the Star Trek Universe of more importance than San Francisco. Starfleet Headquarters was (or rather will be) located in San Francisco, and shares grounds with Starfleet Academy. Headquarters encompassed the territory on either side of the Golden Gate passage into San Francisco Bay, on a portion of Golden Gate National Recreation Area in Marin County. The headquarters eventually expanded into the Presidio, a former military post and current park on the southern side of the Golden Gate Bridge. The Academy training facility itself is located in Marin County across the Golden Gate Bridge just south of Sausalito. Wired has a great piece on Why Star Trek Made San Francisco the Center of Its Futuristic Utopia, noting that it was a Navy town, a site of technological innovation and a diverse, international city. The optimistic and progressive culture of San Francisco is reflected in the vision and philosophy of Star Trek, infinite diversity in infinite combinations, and it makes sense that it should be home to Starfleet Headquarters. Because of those “facts”, various episodes and movies managed to find there way back to San Francisco, and here are some of the top appearances of the City by the Bay.
- Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home : The Kirk era crew travel back in time to 1980’s San Francisco in a Klingon Bird of Prey to retrieve humpback whales to bring back to the future to communicate with an alien probe that is destroying Earth.
- TNG’s The First Duty and Voyager’s In the Flesh : The first episode introduces us to the wise old groundskeeper at the Academy, Boothby (played by Ray Walston), while the second episode gives more time to his character, despite being played by a replicant 8472.
- TNG’s Time’s Arrow Parts I and II, and DS9’s Past Tense Parts I and II : Both of these two parters travel back in time to a time when San Francisco was dealing with immense poverty and illness, with the former episodes having large supporting roles for San Francisco literary icons Samuel Clemens and Jack London.
- DS9’s Homefront and Paradise Lost : After an attack on Earth, Sisko and Odo head back to San Francisco and implement very strict security measures and martial law
- Star Trek Into Darkness : In theaters May 17th!!