Monday, April 25, 2011

The Wire on Google Street View

This weekend I was moonlighting at the VA. The charge nurse was from Philly. He was commenting about how dangerous Philly was and how much safer he felt around here, even in West Oakland and the Tenderloin. I politely informed him that Philly, even the sketchy parts around Temple, had nothing on Baltimore. I explained that Baltimore's contraction (population now around 700,000, population in the 1960s, around 1 million) left hundreds of boarded up rowhomes that have become shooting galleries, squatters dens, and rats nests.
I like to show people that within 1 block of Johns Hopkins Hospital, there are boarded up rowhomes. This is pretty easy to do on Google Street View.

Start on Monument and Broadway. The dome of Johns Hopkins Hospital is visible while looking southeast:

Walk a block north on Broadway to Broadway and Madison. Amdist the northward expansion of the Hopkins medical campus, our first strip of rowhomes has vacants. You'd think for property within one block of a major medical center, they'd be able to find a paying tenant:

Let's see what's going on one more block north, on Broadway and Miller. Looks like the po-pos are out on this fine day:

I wonder what's going on by that tree up there?

Looks like someone is having a bad day:

Ahh, Baltimore. You never fail to impress. I think this series of images was game, set, and match to the charge nurse's argument...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

YouTube -- the best thing ever invented?

I can't remember an invention with as near universal appeal as YouTube. Just about everyone can find something to adore about it.

Nobody goes around dissing youtube. None of the hipster-or-homeless crowd that populates vast swaths of this city. None of the right wing circus freak sideshow that's taken over our country again (this week). None of the granola patchouli stink hippies. Nobody.

Everyone loves it. Not One Nation Under God. Not One Nation under YouTube. One World Under YouTube.

I love it especially for music. It seems like every week there is something better. Middle school choirs singing Bjork? Check. Unholy covers? Check. DJs with too much time on their hands? Oh hell yeah. Indie superstars on kids shows? I think we can do that. Doc Watson playing a Chet Atkins tune on a Henderson guitar Check -- maybe my favorite video ever.

Today's time waster, in between writing 20 odd notes for 2 busy inpatient services (14 hr days on weekends aren't that fun, especially if you are doing the 14 hr days on weekdays too) is Boing Boing's feature Adventures in Music. This guestblogger, Stephen Worth, head of the ASIFA Animation Archive, has put up some truly incredible clips of old music on YouTube. I haven't watched all of it yet, but what I have watched is mind blowing. Mind blowing.

His "big finale" today was a big finale indeed. It's 10:51. Watch it all. You'll be a better person for it: Cab Calloway, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Lena Horne, and oh-my-word the Nicholas brothers. If you're not interested in being a better person, watch from about 5:30 in. You'll miss most of Bill Robinson and Lena Horne but you'll catch Cab skatting like nobody's business and nobody should miss the Nicholas brothers.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Travel day

Back to the grindstone tomorrow.

Airport screening was very concerned over my EKG calipers, which prompted a hand search of my bag. I had forgotten them in my work bag in the pen holder. They, apparently, are not a TSA forbidden item to I was allowed to keep them.

Other than that, despite it being the end of the Christmas weekend and in the era of idiot Nigerians burning their balls off with fireworks becoming an international incident requiring direct blame to the administration, I got through airport security in no time and am sitting at the gate. Cheers to Boingo and Google teaming up to give us free wifi for the holidays!

Hopefully the flight will be devoid of M-80s and Roman Candles both.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


They have told me to start posting again. It's been a month and a half. I got out of practice while on my busiest month, consults at the Big Hospital. And then I was an ICU fellow for the first time. That rotation, at the VA, wasn't so bad but it was 1.5 hr commute each way. So it wasn't like I was up to thinking about something witty. Now I'm on an easy-ish rotation with a shorter commute (although today I may have set a record for business -- 7 new consults and 2 outpatients!). So here's to hoping.

We are having a ton of fun here, doing little trips every weekend that I'm off. Point Bonita (windy, beautiful), Point Reyes (windy, beautiful), Mount Diablo (windy, beautiful). I didn't want to rub it in.

Anyway, to ease back into the swing of things, here's a little co-inky-dink for you. I take the shuttle from the General to the 16th Street BART station, at 16th and Mission. And I was listening to All Songs Considered on podcast. As I stepped out of the shuttle, this song came on. Valencia is a block west of Mission.

This version of the song is much worse than the album version, which is almost listenable. This version is not. And Devendra Banhart has never really floated my boat. There's about 5 other freak-folk people I prefer over him (Sufjan Stevens, Animal Collective, Iron & Wine, Panda Bear, Cocorosie just off the top of my head). But here's to him and Bob Boilen for messing with my mind.

And speaking of music videos that mess with my head, here's another one from the same All Songs Considered that is exactly my dream from last week.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

San Franciscans, a funny lot

I do like living here a lot. The main academic hospital in the city doesn't have air conditioning. People wear winter coats in July. And I know it comes as a shock, but people here have foibles.
- One day of rain is the end of the earth. A few hours of legitimately hard rain (2.76 inches of rain in a day, which actually was twice the usual rainfall for October) led to widespread civic dysfunction. It was all anybody could talk about. I'll give them that -- talking about fog vs no fog is the only outlet for the natural human tendency to talk about the weather. I guess cities deal with different things. It would have been the equivalent of 15 inches of rain in Houston, but Houston shuts down with 1/8" of ice or snow. And Baltimore, god love it, gets 10 inches of rain and snow and ice and can also deal with neither.
- Putting a barely noticeable S-curve in a bridge leads to 50% delay in traffic and frequent wrecks which can shut down the city for close to 6 hours.
- People are very, very proud of their commute, their dogs, and their marijuana smoking.
- The most aggressive people on the road are the pedestrians, followed by the bicyclists. A pedestrian will think nothing of standing in front of a MUNI light rail train and yell at the driver.
- Fire engine red hair, chunky glasses, a lip ring, and a low cut t-shirt to show off shoulder and back tattoos is appropriate work attire for health care professionals and exotic dancers alike, where it would be for neither anywhere else in the world.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ed 0, MUNI turnstile 1

fail. epic fail.