Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

April 17, 2008


Craig's List scares me. Seriously. At first, I thought it was a cool idea to share stuff via a free classified website, but there have been a few news stories lately that have made me think twice about ever using Craig's List, either as a buyer or seller. And we do have a whole bunch of stuff to sell (all the crap we bought for the Neilton place which is still brand new and never been used), but I'm just gonna have to kick it old school and place an ad in the Little Nickle, or have a yard sale.

Sometime in late '06 or last year, a woman in Tacoma used Craig's List to get back at a relative with whom she'd had a falling out. The woman placed the ad, saying, "everything must go. all free. take what you want", but gave her relative's name & address. The home was literally stripped to the bare walls. Baseboards were even taken, as were the wood trim around windows & doors, but that didn't matter because the windows and doors were gone too. Everything. Every fucking thing was taken out of that home in a matter of hours.

Then last fall, there was another Craig's List problem with a guy in Port Angeles who used a phony business check to buy a diamond ring for $5,200.00. Luckily the victim was able to seek police intervention and a sting was set up. And just this week, a guy who was renting a room at a private home in Puyallup had a confrontation with police and blew the house up. Seriously. Blew it right the fuck up. The whole second story went flying all over the neighborhood and the rest of the house went up in flames. The renter had answered the couple's Craig's List ad for a room to rent. As it turns out, the criminal was a sex offender and was making vast quantities of explosives in the room he was renting. Now this couple has lost everything. Ultimately the responsibility lies on the purchaser/landlord, buyer beware and all, but man alive!

If these stories made it into our local news in a short period of time, then there have to be many, many other horror stories that aren't big enough to make it on the news. And if it's happening here, it has to be happening everywhere. Have any of you used Craig's List to buy or sell? What was your experience? What have you heard about it?

So last night, we were watching The Learning Channel and we saw an ad for yet another reality show. Is anyone else as sick of them as I am? Isn't their 15 minutes of fame up yet? I loathe them. I won't watch them. I don't care about American Midol. And now it seems like everyone has them. There's one about a couple raising 8 kids. Um.....not that big a deal people. My great-grandmother, an Italian immigrant, was a widow at age 37 and raising 8 kids, alone, in New York, in the 1920's. And who the hell are The Kadashians and why do they have a show?

The ad for the show on TLC was called something like "Date My House". The premise of the show is that the host helps the homeowner makeover their home to get ready to sell. Then potential buyers are allowed to sleep over, host a dinner party, etc. to see if the home is right for them. WTF???? I mean, these people are sleeping in the guy's bedroom!! Can you imagine what must be on that mattress? Spray some luminol on it, get a black light and watch the bedroom light up!! Ew. I know that hotel mattresses must be as bad, but I sure don't want strange people doing it in my bed, you know?

Well, I want in on these reality shows. I want people to compete for something for me. These are the names of the reality shows I plan on pitching to Hollywood:

"Clean My House"
"Mow My Lawn"
"Drive me to and from work"
"Cook My Dinner"

Well, you get the idea.

Tomorrow, April 18, will be the 102nd anniversary of the Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906. Modern science estimates that it was probably around a 7.8, and it shook The City for a damn long time. The San Andreas Fault ripped open for 296 miles. This is in the tiny town of Olema, near Pt. Reyes National Seashore, at the epicenter of the quake. Olema is about 20 miles west from where we lived in Fairfax. The San Andreas Fault shoots out of the land at Pt. Reyes, into the Pacific and runs along just outside the Golden Gate, and then rejoins the land again south of San Francisco. That would be the second red line from the left. There is an earthquake trail at Pt. Reyes National Seashore, in Marin, and you see the fences not lined up as the North American and Pacific plates slowly slide past each other. (all pictures are from the internet).

See how far apart they are?Val, I hope I'm not freaking you out..... It's just one of the realities you accept in order to live on the west coast, the most beautiful place on earth.

It wasn't so much the quake that destroyed 1/3 of The City, it was the 3 day fire that followed, from all the ruptured gas lines. A bit farther south, in San Jose, Sarah Winchester was shaken out of her bed in the magnificent mansion she was building, because the spirits told her to never stop building (work went on, 24/7 for 30 years). The chimney collapsed and walls knocked so askew that she couldn't get out of her room. She thought it was a sign from the spirits that they were displeased with the progress, so she increased the building tenfold. The Winchester Mystery House was the final result.

In the photo below, you can see a column in the island, on the left middle side. That's Lotta's Fountain on Market Street x 3rd. Every year after the quake, on 4/18 at 5:13 in the morning, survivors would gather to observe the moment. When we lived there, we watched the numbers of survivors dwindle substantially, till all that were left were people who were babies in 1906, and had no actual memory of it. I worked right across the street from Lotta's Fountain. It was donated by Lotta Crabtree in 1875, a local and much beloved burlesque/vaudeville entertainer, with a bawdy sense of humor and penchant for cigars. When I was there, the fountain was a pretty shabby brownstone, and the basins were always filled w/ trash. Fortunately, it got a make-over in 2003. The buildings behind the fountain are the Sheraton Palace Hotel on the left, and the Monadnock Building, which is where I worked from Sept. 1990 till we relocated our office to Berkeley in Feb. 1996. In fact, all the windows you see on the sixth floor were my office. (Annie, did you know that the alley between the Palace and Monadnock is called "Annie's Alley"?)
Enrico Caruso had given a concert the night before the quake and was staying in the Palace. The next morning, he was so frightened by the quake that all he could think to do was throw open his window and sing. He was found later on, wandering the streets with everyone else, trying to get on a ferry to Oakland to escape the conflagration. He never returned to San Francisco.

The way those houses lean crazily kind of creeps me out. It reminds me of those super weird early Disney cartoons where houses would be dancing from side to side; their windows were eyes and doors were mouths.

Finally, I'm still pretty goal-oriented, which was my new years thing. Am still working out a couple times a week. I've thoroughly cleaned a good portion of the house, and hope to get the kitchen completely done this weekend. I've also kept up with my craft projects and I feel like I've gotten more done on them in 3.5 months than I did in all of 2007. And 2 weeks from today, I'll be on the east coast.


  1. only hting i 've heard about craigs list is what's been in the news. have you thought about ebay?? i've never used it so i wouldn't know, just a thought.

    congrats on staying at your goals!!

  2. Kris - b/t eBay's and Paypal's share of each transaction, it wouldn't be worth it. We're just gonna have to either donate the stuff and take the tax write off or try to sell it "the old fashioned way".

  3. I almost sold a pair of tickets via Craig's List, but then Facebook Classified them instead so that only UofT students would have access to them.

    Hmmm... the only famous Kardashian I know of is Kim, the one that made that sex tape and it got leaked and stuff... Yeah, I only barely know the story. Really. But if it's like, her and her sisters, then that'd be why they "warrant" a show.

  4. Kathleen - clearly I'm out of the pop culture loop b/c I have never heard of Kim or a sex tape. I mean, who can keep track of the Hollywood sex tapes???

  5. My hubby has bought a bunch of stuff off of CL and has never had any problems. He's a pretty savy guy though.
    Did I hear east coast in 2 weeks? I'll be in VA May 8-11. My lil' sis is gettin' hitched.

  6. I use craigslist quite a bit to buy, sell and even have got guitar-playing buddies through the community section. Sometimes I read through the personals for giggles and gasps.

    Great SF history lesson. That's cool about you seeing the people at the column.

  7. I have seen that show (flipping through) with the eight kids!What bugs me is that they seem to be HER idea and he seems miserable!She even got a free tummy tuck because someone saw her on t.v.....all because her dumb ass felt the need to have a litter of kids!Total bullshit!

    As for that Kardashian as they say on the "Soup" all she is famous for is having a big ass and a sex tape.So,all you have to do to be famous now is be a major slut...real nice.

    We used CL to find our house and other thing (including nice free things) but I agree you have to be careful.

    I also would like a show called "Come Entertain Me" or "T.V. Boyfriend For a Week" Wifeswap but we trade up t.v. boyfriends for a week apiece.

  8. I know nothing of the Craig's List of which you speak and I am mighty glad!

    As for reality shows, never watch'em.

  9. No one can actually keep track of them, but since I'm the MTV Canada mascot (did you ever hear about all that?) I hear these things and it sort of sinks in gently.

  10. great pics and post. i have a bunch of old shots of the ruins too, but only put up one. several in my ancestry were in the great quake. and yes, i know of that alley. the fountain was virtually unrecognizable after the renovation. i wish a sizeable quake would send some of the population packing back to their respective states. just kidding, sort of!

    re: craig's list-the other day, some poor guy got his advertised car stolen by the 2 thieves that posed as buyers. eek! my daughter found her apt. in s.f. through c.l., though-and that worked out splendidly.

  11. There have been a few horror stories about Ebay in the UK press this week (at least in my paper). People buying or selling things in good faith, then finding they were being asked to send or had sent, money/goods to Nigeria for neither to be seen again. Best to remember the old adage 'Buyer Beware' I think. Sadly, not everyone on this planet is scrupulously honest!

    I remember seeing a fascinating docummtary on the 06 Quake. We've had a couple of little tremblers in the UK in recent years, which were worrying enough on their tiny scale. I can't imagine what it must have been like to feel the full force of Mother Nature. I seem to remember from my trip there, there's a church or something built on ball-bearings, so that when the next big one hits, it will 'roll' with the flow (?) Jojo will tell me if I dreamt that, but I 'm sure the tour guide said that. It's 28 years since I was in San Fran tho (there is no WAY I can be this OLD!)

  12. I've never heard of Craigs List,and I think I'm grateful.

    Reality shows tend to leave me wanting to throw things at the tv,so I avoid them,although I do have a weakness for property ones ::blush::

    Thank you for the history lesson too,always good to read when you do that,even if I can't think of anything to say afterwards

  13. Diane - No, you didn't dream it, many of the buildings in SF are built on some kind of floating base that will roll with the earth's motion. And it's a state law that all buildings must be bolted to the foundation.

  14. Thank you Jojo, at least I know I still have some of my marbles ;0)

  15. those are wickedly amazing, aren't they?