Thursday, June 27, 2013

Market Street Barbie

When I was little, I had Barbie dolls - lots of them. There were the standard Barbie dolls like Malibu Barbie, and then there were the ones my dad would get on his business travels like Indian Barbie and Chinese Barbie (who was then called the cringe-worthy “Oriental Barbie”). I loved dressing up my dolls, doing their hair, and inventing make-believe lives for them. While arguably not the best role model for little girls, Barbie had one clear benefit - she gave me the ability to exercise my imagination and creativity. Now as a 34 year old woman, the dolls (and my childhood) are both long gone. But somewhere up in Upper Market, the spirit of Barbie is still alive. Yes people, I have found Market Street Barbie. 

I run urban hiking tours with my company Urban Hiker SF. On my Urban Jungles (Castro/Upper Market/Twin Peaks) hiking route, I pass by the intersection of Market and Glendale Streets numerous times a week. It is here where I have found Market Street Barbie. Up on a balcony with a great view of downtown, she presides over the neighborhood. Her clothing is sometimes glamorous, sometimes lewd (think yellow bikini stuffed with a large special something from Good Vibrations), but always amusing.

Here are some photos I’ve collected over the months. I’d love to see more if anyone else has some. Check out the last photo in this set - Barbie’s wearing some special threads for Pride Week!

Market Street Barbie wearing what looks like an outfit I owned in the 80s.

Market Street Barbie dressed up for Christmas

Market Street Barbie wearing a bathing suit and hoping the summer will come...someday.

Market Street Barbie wearing the largest bra I’ve ever seen.

Market Street Barbie keepin’ cool in a sundress.

Market Street Barbie - Pride Edition! Happy Pride, all!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Got Glass?

I recently received an invite to the Google Glass Explorers program. What this means is that I am one of approximately 10,000 people who were chosen by Google to try out Glass and see what comes of it.

If you're not already familiar with Google Glass, the new wearable technology device helps you take photos, videos, and run Google searches all from voice commands. 

I got my Glass on June 5 and think it could have some fun applications for urban hiking. Many people don't know what I mean when I say that I run urban hiking tours, so I'll be able to show them what it's like to climb on a hiking trail to Twin Peaks (see below), walk through a eucalyptus forest in the city (video), or slide down the Seward Street Slides (video)!

 Weekend hikers heading up to Twin Peaks. Photo taken #throughglass.

If I had a constant Internet connection, which I could get from a wireless hotspot on my phone, I could share the photos and videos I take with my hikers - instantly. While I do go over a number of historical facts about the sites we see on tours, I could also look up additional information and photos to answer people's questions. 

If Glass one day has an app store like our smartphones do, I would love to create one that would be a self-guided video and audio guide for my tours. Hikers would receive directions from Glass on where to turn to get to the next stop, and once they were there, they would get all the historical information that I normally give to them.

We'll see where this goes, and in the meantime, comment to let me know if you have ideas on how I can make the most of my Google Glass!