Rent got you down? Tools and tricks to find an apartment in San Francisco.

When I moved into my apartment at 23rd and Alabama in the Mission district of San Francisco 2 years ago, we paid $2900 a month.

The current rent for that apartment has now skyrocketed to $4800, and people are willing to pay it. (I have since moved to Oakland!)

Finding an affordable place can be difficult, so here are some useful tools and tricks to find an apartment in San Francisco.

IFTTT

IFTTTIf This Then That is a useful tool that allows you to set up “recipes” based on multiple site interactions. It is powerful, but can take some time to learn.

Example:

New post shows up on Craigslist for 2 bedroom house in the mission under $3000 a month. Based on that search URL for Craigslist, IFTTT sends you a text message so you can be the first person to respond.

You can also have IFTTT automatically set up an email draft in Gmail with your canned “I would like to look at your place” email ready to go, with your attached prefilled rental application, and references. All you have to do now is add a bit about the place you are looking at and hit send!

(If you are ever looking for anything at all on Craigslist, IFTTT is your best friend!)

livelovely.com

lovely

Lovely slurps up craigslist data, but presents it in an organized fashion. It allows you to favorite places, keep notes, and will also notify you when things you are looking for show up. It also allows you to interact with some landlords who use the service.

Padmapper.com

padmapperSimilar to lovely, with some advanced search options and an older interface.

Dropbox

Tools and tricks to find an apartment in San Francisco.

Keep copies of your references, your credit report, and your pay-stubs on Dropbox so you can attach them from your phone or a friend’s computer if you are away from yours when you find out about a place. In this game, being slow means being homeless.

Remember, you need a check for the first and last month’s rent, and the security deposit, so keep those funds in your checking account.

I hope these tools and tricks to find an apartment in San Francisco were helpful – if you have any others, let me know!

Build your own King Size Bed Frame for less than $90

Looking to buy a king size bed frame? Ever consider building your own?

With just a circular saw and a drill, you can construct a sturdy, custom king size bed frame for your room. You can make it any height you want, and build in any head board design or foot board you like.

Some of the easiest to follow plans I have found are from woodgears.ca. You can download the plans, or an interactive sketch up model if you want to use that.

The materials are available from Home Depot for less than $90.

I have built a few of these for friends, and am pleased with how sturdy they are, and how quickly they come together. You can assemble the entire frame in an afternoon, and it is held together with dowels and glue. Screws attach side rails to the head and foot boards.

The bed frame disassembles to be a headboard, two side rails and the foot board, with a stack of slats. Not Ikea small, but you don’t want that particle board anyway.

I am looking to make another bed, and want to play with bolts instead of screws to hold the frame together for easier break down and set up. I also want to stain the frame.

If you are interested in a new bed (can be king, queen, or double) let me know. I can probably make you a wooden frame for less than you would buy one for.

In progress:
king size bed frame

Finished – Look at all that room underneath:
Bed(Photo thanks to Jim Stone!)



Bring Paper Back

What is the half-life of a tweet? Minutes? Hours? Days?

So many of you are creative people, passionate people, people with a voice — a voice that should last longer than a status update, a blog post, or a tweet.

Let’s bring Paper Back. — I will publish your work.

Is there something you have always wanted to say, but never have? A drawing you did that you are particularly proud of? A poem you wrote that needs to be read? A commentary on something you have observed? A photo you love?

I am trying a little social experiment in book publishing. If you submit your contribution I will publish it in book form, and mail a copy to everyone who contributed – free of charge.

http://www.benhanna.com/paper-back/

The Making of a Summer Camp

We have been hard at work creating the first session of Camp Grounded, the Summer Camp for Adults, and wanted to share a little of the process with you!

Checking out the Camp in our site visit:

Archery RangeTeamworkHollow Grove

Getting ready to mail out the Camp Packets

Color War teamsMailing to Cananda!

Setting up workshops villages, etc…

Village SignsScoutBooks

And we are not done yet! See you up at camp!

Tui

Tui

Tonight, my puppy did not pee on the floor at puppy class.

She can sit, lie down, stand, and sometimes, she will stay.

A week ago Mandy and I got a puppy. A 10 week old border collie something mix. We are not sure what else she is, but she is cute. She is also an unstoppable fountain of energy.

We thought we knew how much of a time commitment we were in for. We researched, we talked to friends, we spend a lot of time thinking about it. We had no idea how much of a time commitment we were in for. You just can’t know until you do it yourself.

Walking, playing, training, feeding, socializing, and puppy class. Reading about walking, playing, training, feeding, socializing, and puppy class. Worrying about if you are doing walking, playing, training, feeding, socializing, and puppy class correctly.

On our fourth night with the puppy, she was licking Mandy’s face, and nipped. We were at the ER getting stitches in Mandy’s lip until 2:30am. It is a mental and physical workout that tries patience and shows your mettle.

Today she is a 15 lb puppy that trips on her feet. In a year, she is going to be hurtling along trails, chasing bears, and starting campfires on demand.

You know what? I love it. It gets me out of my head, and gets me to focus on what is important. It also moves me towards a more active lifestyle.

Tonight, my puppy did not pee on the floor at puppy class. Victory.

Camp Grounded – Summer Camp for Adults

Let me introduce you to my latest project. I am working with The Digital Detox to bring you:

Camp Grounded

Where grown-ups go to unplug, getaway and be kids again. 200 lucky campers will take over this nostalgic 1970’s boy scouts camp to celebrate what it means to be alive.

Trade in your computer, cell phone, Instagrams, clocks, schedules and work-jargon for an off-the-grid weekend of pure unadulterated fun; yoga, hiking, archery, bonfires, marshmallows, capture the flag, creative workshops, stargazing, talent show and more.

Together we’ll create a community where money is worth little… and individuality, self expression, friendship, freedom and memories are valued most.

Tech Free

I left Couchsurfing to spend more time away from the computer. This camp helps others to do the same thing. The Friday and Monday that the campers take off from work is 3712 hours that people are collectively NOT using a computer. Much better to be learning new skills in the redwoods.

The rules

  • No phones
  • No work talk
  • No asking anyone their age
  • Use nicknames (Protects privacy)
  • Have fun
  • Connect with nature

Want to join us? Only a few tickets left.

Camp Grounded

AreoPress

I have long been a coffee aficionado. I abhor the weak cup of coffee that gets brewed in the office coffee pot. Like a chef trying to perfect a recipe, I researched what makes coffee taste the way it does, and how to replicate it.

I discovered that there are some insane people who who will spend thousands of dollars to make sure that their cup is perfect. I am not one of those people.

Enter the AreoPress. A $25 inverse french press that packs up for travel, makes an amazing cup every time, and is easy to use. It allows me to make small adjustments each time so that I can hone in on my favorite taste. There are annual AreoPress coffee competitions, and it has a dedicated following. Using a product that has a tribe behind it means that any question you have can be answered quickly, and by someone who is happy to help. There are few products out there like that – and when you find one that is useful, jump behind it!

Xshot Tripod iPhone case

The Xshot tripod mount iPhone case allows you to attach your iPhone to any tripod in portrait or landscape.

I use it for timelapse videos, self portrait shots, group shots (with me in them!) and more. I have dropped my phone many times, and it has always protected it. The company will even send you more adapter pieces so you can leave them on your tripods if you have more than two.

It comes with a mini tripod that can cling on to poles, rocks, and other surfaces with its bendy legs and rubber feet.

Arduino Pill Box

Jeff and I built an Arduino pill dispenser for Galia’s dog. It gives out a pill at 7am and 7pm every day, with a Pavlovian tone to train the dog. Check out the build timelapse below.

Leatherman Skeletool

This is a Leatherman that is worth carrying around. With pliers, a serrated knife, a bottle opener, and interchangeable screwdriver heads it is useful everyday. It is the lightest Leatherman, and I no longer notice it in my pocket. From opening boxes, to fixing everyday objects (loose knobs, leaky faucet, etc) I buy them in 3 packs so that when I misplace one, I never have to go without.

I also got the bit expansion pack which gave me many other screwdriver heads and an extension, but find that I never use it – the large and small phillips and flat head that come with it are great. Get it here.