Saturday, September 11, 2010

San Francisco's Best Walking Tour

San Francisco is one of our favorite cities. There is so much to do in such a small area that it makes the place very vibrant and exciting. We have many favorite places in San Francisco (see bottom right corner of this blog) and recommend you give them a try if you visit.

But one thing that you REALLY should do is take a walking tour of the city. It only takes about 3 hours and you can see so much that it is well worth the time.

I discovered the best walking tour in San Francisco about 10 years ago and have walked it a few times. I have tried to look it up online again this year (to assist friends who are visiting SF) but could not find it, as mostly what you can find online now are pay walking tours offered by tour companies. For all you San Francisco tourists: don't pay these companies! It is as easy as can be to take the walking tour on your own. The neighborhoods are very safe day and night, and the route is not very complicated.

For your benefit, I will now outline the best walking tour in San Francisco - one that covers Union Square, the Shopping District, Chinatown, TransAmerica Building, St Peter and Paul Church, Coit Tower, Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, and the Cable Cars. All in 3 hours time!

So here goes. Start by planting yourself in the huge square-block large Union Square. Are you there? Okay, let's start walking!

1. EAST on GEARY. Shopping District

2. LEFT (north) on GRANT. Shopping District then Chinatown

3. RIGHT (east) on CLAY.

4. LEFT (north) on MONTGOMERY. TransAmerica Building

5. LEFT (west) on BROADWAY or JACKSON your choice. Broadway goes thru adult district, Jackson doesnt.

6. RIGHT (north) on COLUMBUS.

7. RIGHT (east) on FILBERT. St Paul & Peter Church

8a. At end of Filbert, take stairs up labeled "STAIRS TO COIT TOWER".

8b. Head uphill on TELEGRAPH HILL BLVD.

8c. Tour Coit Tower

8d. Take stairs down to TELGRAPH HILL BLVD.

8e. LEFT (west) on LOMBARD.

9a. RIGHT (north) on GRANT.

9b. LEFT (west) on FRANCISCO ST.

10a. RIGHT (north) on STOCKTON.

10b. RIGHT (east) on BEACH.

10c. Cross the street and visit Pier 39

11. WEST along EMBARCADERO visit shops and Fisherman's Wharf


12b. RIGHT (west) on JEFFERSON.

12c. Catch Cable Cars at corner of JEFFERSON and HYDE.

13. Cable Cars will take you right back to Union Square!

There you have it! You've seen many of the best parts of San Francisco in 3 hours, at your own pace!

You'll have to figure out how to get to Golden Gate Park and other don't-miss spots on your own!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Troy Walks!

Yessirree Bob, Troy started walking in early September. Here are a few videos taken of him a few days later at his grandparent's house, when he was 10 months and 1 week old:

And a video of the budding relationship between Troy and Marcy:

Statistics Lie

It has been a problem for centuries, but as I get older it becomes more and more apparent to me how often statistics are misinterpreted and used as the basis for invalid points.

Two cases in point, both coming out of Japan.

In conversations with me, smokers for years have claimed that smoking can't be that bad for you because Japan, well-known for it's heavy-smoking population, has one of the highest life expectancies in the world. In the last few months, it has come to light that the Japanese government does not track the date of death of it's residents too well, so their life expectancy stat is skewed by counting people who have long since past away as among the living. For example, this article discusses how there are 230,000 persons listed on their rolls as being over 100 years old who cannot be located. A few that they have tried to track down are long since dead. That'll skew the numbers!

A second example: people I talk with sometimes state that Toyotas are better made than other cars and point to their lower recall rate than other cars. For years, those in automotive circles have known this is because of "secret recalls", where cars are fixed when they are brought in for service without issuing a recall. This can be thought of as a good thing or bad thing: the problem does get fixed (good), but it gets fixed without the (more) unbiased viewpoint of a third party such as the government (bad). But my point is that it skews the recall numbers. Toyota recall numbers show up as artificially low. This of course has been rectified this year when Toyota finally figured out that car problems should be publicly awknowledged and fully discussed with the US Government. And the public is finally seeing what many of us knew for years: Toyotas are no better than other makes. But the public perception was skewed by misunderstood statistics.