Articles by jason

Sourdough Culture: San Francisco’s Famous Bread

When I was growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area I remember a story about how special and unique San Francisco sourdough bread was. The story – possibly an urban legend – describes how a company tried to recreate the famously tangy bread by moving a bakery, brick-by-brick, from San Francisco to a location somewhere in the U.S. Midwest. Once they got the bakery reassembled and functioning, the company was disappointed to discover that the taste was completely different, despite using the exact same ingredients and the exact same factory. There was something in the air that made San Francisco special, so the story went.

Fresh-baked Sourdough Bread (Credit)


February 7, 2011 8 comments

Is California Splitting Apart?

Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge (from Curreyuk; Flickr, Creative Commons)

The San Andreas Fault runs parallel to California’s Pacific coast for 810 miles, a seismic fault line that separates the Pacific and North American tectonic plates. The result is that San Francisco and Los Angeles are actually moving closer to one another at the rate of an inch and a half annually, getting ready for a head on collision in a mere 12 million years. Despite this convergence, the two cities and their respective halves of the state could not be farther apart culturally. 


December 17, 2010 4 comments

Buying a Car in California

The state of California leads the way for the rest of the United States when it comes to environmentalism and air quality. It has the toughest automotive emissions controls of all states and after the U.S. Government balked at signing the Kyoto Protocol, California enacted Assembly Bill 32 which mandated hefty reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Despite this, people have been slow to buy hybrid cars. As long as gas was relatively cheap, Californians could pay lip service to environment and still drive their gas guzzlers. Americans pay a third of what Europeans pay for gasoline, primarily because they don’t pay the “true cost” of gasoline. Americans go crazy when the price of gas gets above US$3.00 per gallon but even at that price it is not covering the cost of ensuring supply (Iraq War) or the full cost of cleaning up the environment.

2010 Toyota Prius
2010 Toyota Prius

November 24, 2010 8 comments

American Baseball: Why do they call it a World Series?

Brian Wilson by randychiu on Flickr

The U.S. baseball World Series has come to California. The San Francisco Giants are playing the Texas Rangers in the championship series of United States professional baseball. Normally I don’t follow baseball but my hometown Giants have captured the imagination of fans all over Northern California, and I have found myself caught up in the fever.


November 1, 2010 13 comments

Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall”: The New Yorker’s view of Los Angeles

While a student at university in the Los Angeles area I went to the theater to see the movie “Annie Hall” (1977 Academy Award for Best Picture). There is a scene where New Yorker Alvy Singer, played by the director Woody Allen, is being driven in a car through the Los Angeles suburb of Beverly Hills with Christmas music playing. Singer is in Los Angeles to convince title character Annie Hall to move back with him to New York City and they are driving by houses with Christmas decorations. Halfway through this transitional scene there is a shot of a front lawn with a full-size decorative Santa Claus on a sleigh pulled by reindeer. When I saw this the first time, the scene did not stand out in my mind.

Movie poster for Annie Hall

Movie poster for Annie Hall


October 18, 2010 5 comments