Who Wants to Feel *Real* Old?, 25 November 2014!


Good Evening:

Male Voice: However, I must point out that women can behave silly, too.

1st Female Voice: Where’s your proof?! What’s your evidence?! Don’t make assertions if you can’t back them up!

2nd Female Voice: No, in his defense I have to say that I did lots of silly things when I was young.

1st Female Voice: That’s doesn’t count! You were young! I did silly things when I was young, too, so that doesn’t count!

Male Voice: You can’t just say that something doesn’t count. Where’s your proof?

1st Female Voice: I’m a woman, I can say whatever I want!

2nd Female Voice: Oh God, that’s just like so gender stereotype.

Male Voice: Can we agree that all young are silly?

2nd Female Voice: Oh God, yes.

1st Female Voice: I refuse to admit that I was ever young!

Don’t you wonder just how old these old people are? So did I, so while these three trailed behind me, I surreptitiously slipped my point-and-shoot out of my right front pants pocket, turned it on, and let it dangle down at the end of my arm. I call this the 30 Shot (and once again, must stress that I did not invent this technique): when you hold your small black compact camera about 30 inches above the ground, not only do you get some interesting angles, your subjects tend not to notice–very useful for street photography.

I pointed the camera behind myself, not even checking where I pointed the lens, and snapped nine pictures. Yes, I did not even look at where I aimed the camera, which explains why I discarded 7 of the 9 shots.

So, before I premiere my latest heavily edited blindly aimed photograph, you have one more chance to guess: how old were these old folks who mocked the young for being so silly?

Polk Street Near Market, San Francisco, CA, 25 November 2014

Polk Street Near Market, San Francisco, CA, 25 November 2014

I doubt that not one of them has reached even his/her 28th birthday.

Doesn’t that make you feel just so old?

Vonn Scott Bair

The Minimally Artistic Art of Instant Minimalist Art: Grey Series, 25 November 2014.


Good Evening:

Longtime readers know that I occasionally proselytize on behalf of grey, a sadly underrated and under-appreciated color. Perhaps one needs to live in a fog-bound location such as San Francisco to learn to like grey–oh, and I prefer the English spelling to the American “gray” because grey has always looked “greyer” to me.

Some recent minimalist-style picture.

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Vonn Scott Bair

Right Angles, Acute Angles, Rectangles, Triangles. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Angular)


Good Afternoon:

Definitely a good weekend for construction projects. Walked the 1.5 miles to the Civic Center Farmers Market today and passed some of the city’s newest condos and apartment buildings, seeing right angles, acute angles, rectangles and triangles galore. The first, at Dolores and Market, has not opened yet, which explains the barbed wire. Given the rents here, perhaps some of my fellow San Franciscans would consider the wire symbolic of the prohibitive cost of living here.

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8 Octavia.

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Market & Tenth Streets.


Not sure what will go up here at Polk & Hayes, and not sure how many construction cranes stand over San Francisco right, but one hundred would not surprise me, not surprise me at all.


Vonn Scott Bair

Pan-Seared and Roasted Brussel Sprouts in Nutmeg & Ginger.


Good Evening:

I, too, remember the dark days of Brussel Sprouts. They came frozen in 6 inch x 6 inch x 2 inch white-packaged bricks, boiling them to death was the only known cooking method, and frankly, they tasted faintly of urine. However, in the early 1980s, I worked at the restaurant that might have served as the starting point for their slooooooow comeback to respectability. The Commissary, part of a Philadelphia empire of restaurants owned by Steve Poses, would split them in two vertically, blanche them for 1 minute, immediately shock them in cold water to stop cooking, and then drain them thoroughly. When called for, the second cook would sauce them in butter, top with crumbled bacon and salt and pepper, then serve as a side dish.

The recent trend in Brussel Sprouts seems to consist of oven roasting them whole without blanching. It’s OK, but sometimes the stems are not quite done. This past weekend I had about 12 ounces of sprouts–largely because what the heck, why not?–and thought I night try something slightly different. I knew that freshly grated nutmeg is the secret ingredient to great creamed spinach (weird if you think about it, but it does work); I knew that many Chinese recipes include both cabbage and ginger. So let’s have fun.

Pan-Seared and Roasted Brussel Sprouts in Nutmeg & Ginger

  • 12 ounces Brussel Sprouts, washed, drained on paper towels, stem ends trimmed, split in half vertically.
  • 2 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 0.5 – 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (and it has to be freshly grated)
  • 0.5 – 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Put Brussel Sprout halves in a bowl.
  3. Toss with oil then with salt and pepper. I like to go light on the salt and heavy-ish on the pepper.
  4. Heat saute pan to medium-high. I used a 10-inch cast iron skillet.
  5. Working in batches, place Brussel Sprouts cut side down on the skillet.
  6. Leave untouched for 3 minutes. Check for a nice light to medium brown sear on the cut sides. If you have the sear, transfer cut side up to an ungreased baking sheet.
  7. If too light in color, let sear for 1-2 minutes only, then transfer to sheet.
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes in the oven. Ten minutes if you like crunchy, fifteen if you prefer a softer texture.
  9. Transfer to a heat-proof serving bowl.
  10. Sprinkle the nutmeg and ginger on the sprouts and stir gently until thoroughly coated with the spice blend. I like strong flavors and went with a teaspoon of each. You might want to start with a half teaspoon of nutmeg and ginger if you prefer mild spice flavors.

Serves four as a side dish.

Some notes: Leaves will fall off. That’s fine; you’ll have something to munch on as you work. More importantly, I cannot stress strongly enough the use of freshly grated nutmeg. The complexity of the aroma and flavors make a big difference.

Vonn Scott Bair



The “Escher Staircase,” 21 November 2014. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Angular)


Good Evening:

Methinks that with the burgeoning construction sites and thousands of oddball buildings in San Francisco, seems like a good weekend for architectural studies in response to this week’s Challenge. The wacky main staircase at PUC headquarters seems an obvious choice, but has been photographed so often from so many angles that finding a different one proved a challenge. But with the aid of a little cropping in iPhoto, I found this one today.

The "Escher Staircase" from the 4th Floor, 21 November 2014

The “Escher Staircase” from the 4th Floor, 21 November 2014

This weekend will be a lot of fun.

Vonn Scott Bair

Lovers in the Rain, 19 November 2014.


Good Evening:

A love so unquenchable that not even the second major storm of the season can dampen it.

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I had the wrong setting on my point-and-shoot, so the shot came out a little blurry. But since we all got wet anyway, why not turn the photo into a watercolor?

Vonn Scott Bair