May 16, 2011

Recognizing San Francisco Day School

The San Francisco Day School has been an outstanding partner in the Panhandle Park volunteer effort this year. Saturday's program was the sixth consecutive work day in which families from the Day School took part, alongside other volunteers from the neighborhood. Now, as they're about to take their summer break, I want to take the opportunity to say thank you to everyone from SFDS. Your consistency, your enthusiasm, your hard work and your helpful spirits have made a big difference since you began in November 2010. Families have shown up when their specific grade is organized, and have also begun to come back as repeat volunteers.

Parent leader (and great park steward) Fif G. says that SFDS is ready to take a summer break, so SFDS families aren't participating in an organized manner this summer, though the monthly work days are continuing and everyone is welcome to come out and join volunteers from the community. SFDS plans to return to action in September 2011.

May 15, 2011

Be a star, on your bike

The Wiggle is name of the local bike route that leads cyclists between Mint Hill and the Panhandle. I'm helping spread the word about a special video shoot, happening one day only: next Sunday. Here's the details: 

The Wiggle PSA Video Shoot - Sunday May 22 @ 2pm

Join the party on Sunday May 22, 2:00pm at Duboce Park (corner of Duboce and Steiner) to film a video for THE WIGGLE! We’ll start by filming a group shot at Duboce Park, then we’ll turn to the streets to capture what it's like to ride The Wiggle with all of your closest friends.
What:  The Wiggle PSA video shootWhen:  Sunday, May 22nd @ 2pmWhere:  Meet at Duboce Park (corner of Duboce and Steiner)Who:  Any and all bicyclists! More Info: or RSVP to our Facebook event
We want all kinds of bikes to represent: cruisers, fixies, road bikes, party machines, double-deckers, triple-deckers, Trikeasauruses, pedicabs and whatever else you’ve got. Just ride on over, and bring as many friends as you can muster. Of course, this being a San Francisco bike party, if you want to dress in your bicycle best, we won’t stop you!
Do the Wiggle!

May 14, 2011

May work day wrap-up

Neighbors worked together with park staff in the Panhandle this morning. In the shade of a group of pittosporum near Oak and Clayton, we spread compost fines to enrich the soil and protect the roots. We also spread soil around two of the redwoods near Fell and Clayton, and in that area we tracked some bumble bees to a nearby hole in the ground. Bumble bees make their nests underground, and we wondered how many bees might be down there. Wikipedia says a mature nest might have 50 bumble bees. 

Meanwhile, Fif and Nancy got to work cutting back the sod encroaching on the cross-over path. By the end of the work, we were amazed at just how much path we had brought back. 

When we finished our work and walked back to the playground, we found a bunch of new plants in the ground. The Kevin Collins Children's Garden provided dozens of colorful, decorative plants to fill the new bed at the southeast corner of the playground.   
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What season is it, anyway?

Panhandle Bay to Breakers Survival Guide

The following information is from the smart folks at Dance Safe



  • A standard drink is defined as 12 oz. (341 ml) of beer, 5 oz (142 ml) of table wine, or 1.5 oz (85 ml) of liquor.
  • It is the amount of alcohol you drink, not the type of drink that affects you. It's always good to know the alcohol content of whatever you are drinking.
  • Alcohol affects some people more or less strongly than others, and can affect the same person differently at different times. This depends on body weight, metabolism, tolerance from prior use, food in the stomach, and other factors.
  • There really isn't a standard dose of alcohol. Know your own limits and pace yourself. A standard drink is metabolized out of your system in approximately 1.5 hours.


  • Low to moderate amounts can produce feelings of relaxation, lowered inhibitions, and increased sociability.
  • Larger amounts can cause dizziness, nausea, slurred speech, slower reflexes, sleepiness, bad judgment, dehydration and a hangover the next day.
  • Hangovers can consist of nausea, headache, dry mouth, body aches, and generally feeling "sick." They are partially due to dehydration and loss of electrolytes.
  • Overdoses can cause loss of motor control, black-outs, temporary coma (passing out), and in extreme cases, death.


  • Alcohol is highly addictive and tolerance develops quickly with severe withdrawal symptoms including nervousness, tremors, seizures and hallucinations.
  • Long term use can damage the liver, brain and other organs, and can result in severe mental and physical problems.
  • Consuming too much alcohol at once can cause death through acute alcohol toxicity. Drinking games are especially dangerous as they can easily lead to overdoses.
  • Alcohol impairs vision and motor coordination. Driving drunk is illegal and endangers yourself and others.
  • If a woman drinks too often during pregnancy, her baby can have fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).
  • In the United States, it is illegal to purchase alcohol if you are under 21 years of age.
  • Mixing alcohol with over-the-counter medications, prescription medications or illegal drugs can be dangerous and lead to medical emergencies.

  • What is Nitrous Oxide?

    • Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) is a gas that has been safely used as a mild anesthetic in combination with oxygen for over a century.
    • It is classified as a "dissociative anaesthetic."
    • Nitrous is legally available for over-the-counter sale, although in many states it is illegal to sell nitrous to a minor. Some states also have laws against inhaling nitrous for intoxication purposes.
    • Nitrous is most commonly sold in small canisters for use in making whipped cream ("whippits"), although it can also be purchased in large tanks.

    How is nitrous oxide used?

    • Nitrous is always inhaled.
    • Users either inhale the gas directly from a tank or else dispense it first into balloons.
    • Nitrous Oxide has been used recreationally since the late 1790s.

    What are the effects of nitrous oxide?

    • A lungful of nitrous oxide results in the temporary loss of motor control and a "dissociative" psychological effect, where sensations and perceptions become disconnected.
    • Users report a dreamy mental state, and may experience mild audio and visual hallucinations.
    • The effects come on immediately and usually last less than a minute. Repeated inhalations of nitrous can extend and intensify the experience.

    Be careful

    • Nitrous produces an immediate loss of motor control. Stay seated if you are going to inhale nitrous. There have been many injuries and a few deaths from people who have fallen down after inhaling nitrous.
    • Your brain needs oxygen! Brain damage and suffocation can result from inhaling pure nitrous for an extended period of time.
    • Nitrous can be extremely cold when it comes out of the tank. Cold gas can burn the skin as well as the lips and throat. Dispensing the gas into a balloon and allowing it to warm up before inhaling it can reduce this risk.
    • High pressure levels in the tank can shoot the gas out at a dangerously fast speed and damage the lungs. Again, it is safer to inhale from a balloon than from a tank.
    • Nitrous can be psychologically addictive. While rare, many people have become addicted to nitrous and other dissociatives.
    • The regular use of nitrous can cause long-lasting numbness in the extremities and other neurological problems.