Sunset from Turtle Hill, 20 April 2014 (Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top)

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Good Evening:

Wind rising, temperatures dropping–what are these folks doing on the top of Grand View Park, also known as Turtle Hill? (all pictures totally unedited)

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Oh, this must be why they assembled:

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Grand View/Turtle Hill became quite popular at sunset over the weekend. I came here after attending the Georgia O’Keeffe retrospective at the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. I didn’t know that much about her work, but the similarities between some of her paintings and some of my photographs astounded me–can I sue her for plagiarism 90 years before the fact?

Here are two shots of the same scene, the first using the Nikon Landscape Mode, the second using the Dusk/Dawn Mode.

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Finally, the reason we stayed and shivered:

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We applauded.

Vonn Scott Bair

The View from the Artist’s Garret (Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top)

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Good Evening:

From now until at least the end of September, you can count on Golden Gate Park hosting something, anything, many things on the weekends. Today is both Easter throughout the world and 420 Day in North America, so the park hosted a huge number of celebrations of both events, including everything from small family picnic gatherings to big concerts. Some folks managed to combine both.

At the end of the day, people had to walk home from Easter and/or our biggest cannabis holiday. That meant walking down Haight Street, which means walking past my home.

A genuine, honest-to-God Artist’s Garret on top of an Edwardian, on top of the street.

Bicyclist Heading Home, 20 April 2014

Bicyclist Heading Home, 20 April 2014

420 Celebrants Heading Home, 20 April 2014

420 Celebrants Heading Home, 20 April 2014

It does give one a new perspective.

One thing that does mildly irritate me about outsiders’ perceptions of San Francisco is the common mis-perception that we are all a bunch of wild-eyed church-burning atheists. To mis-quote the late great Herb Caen, fercrynoutloud. I mean, come on, folks, look at my city’s name. That’s Spanish for Saint Francis. Thanks to the large populations of people with Irish and/or Italian and/or Hispanic ancestry, San Francisco has a large Catholic population. Oddly, people don’t notice.

Microbrews and American Spirits, 20 April 2014

Microbrews and American Spirits, 20 April 2014

These two are Irish sisters who live in different apartments in my Edwardian (one moved to the US many years before the other). They made up the third (I think) group of partiers on our front steps today. Twas a grand day indeed of warm weather and clear skies, and I look forward to a fun time in my town this summer.

Vonn Scott Bair

Tree-Toppers (Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top)

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Good Evening:

Actually, I do not know the correct name for these machines, but I’ve seen them used by tree toppers so often for trimming trees that I have named after the people I’ve seen using them to get to the top of trees up to fifty feet tall. In addition to tree toppers, other utility workers use them to access overhead lines.

Howard Near 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 19 April 2014

Howard Near 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 19 April 2014

Vonn Scott Bair

The View from 525 Golden Gate (Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top)

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Good Morning:

Working at the San Francisco PUC headquarters at 525 Golden Gate Avenue, one can easily feel on top of things–literally. Here are some recent top-down shots, some coming from yesterday.

San Francisco City Hall During the Last Big Storm, 31 March 2014

San Francisco City Hall During the Last Big Storm, 31 March 2014

Lining Up for the Lana Del Rey Show at Bill Graham Civic Center, 18 April 2014

Lining Up for the Lana Del Rey Show at Bill Graham Civic Center, 18 April 2014

Dumpster in Redwood Alley, 31 March 2013

Dumpster in Redwood Alley, 31 March 2013

Civic Center Lunch Trucks (Bride & Groom in Crosswalk), 18 April 2014

Civic Center Lunch Trucks (Bride & Groom in Crosswalk), 18 April 2014

Federal Building Plaza During Lunch, 18 April 2014

Federal Building Plaza During Lunch, 18 April 2014

No Matter How High We Build, The Sky Remains on Top, 18 April 2014

No Matter How High We Build, The Sky Remains on Top, 18 April 2014

Vonn Scott Bair

Monuments of Golden Gate Park (Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument

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Good Evening:

Taste in monuments sure has changed over the course of a century. Golden Gate Park hosts a large variety, and most are fairly mundane statues honoring various types of artists:

Francis Scott Key

Francis Scott Key

Goethe & Schiller

Goethe & Schiller

Robert Burns

Robert Burns

…which makes me wonder why statues to artists are, um, well, not exactly artistic.

I prefer the simplicity of the modern style.

Entrance to AIDS Memorial Grove

Entrance to AIDS Memorial Grove

Simple, serious, solemn.

But one of the old-fashioned monuments does appeal to me, because the firm of Cebrian & Molera (Jo Mora, Sculptor) brought a little sense of humor to their 1916 effort.

Cervantes and His Two Greatest Fans

Cervantes and His Two Greatest Fans

Presenting the great Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, but not just the great Cervantes; Jo Mora also included Cervantes’ two greatest admirers, Don Quixote de la Mancha and his trusty squire Sancho Panza.

Have you ever read The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha? I have, and not as required reading for some class; I read the book just for the heck of it–and a heck of a good heck it was! Considered by some the first Western novel (great way to start an argument) or the first modern novel (yeah, I’m one of those annoying types who insist that The Tale of Gengi by Lady Murasaki was the first novel overall), DQ does deserve its reputation as one of the greatest books ever, and still reads very today. If you ever have nothing to do and a week to do it in, you would do worse than to read the first and third books which make up the canonical version.

Because that’s what Cervantes wrote. He didn’t write the second book. The second book, a.k.a. Part Two, was a spurious version written by someone using the pseudonym Avellaneda. That sort of plagiarism was winked at/ tolerated/ legal/ encouraged back then, and Cervantes had no recourse but to recruit his friends the good Don and Sancho to serve as um, well, uh–book critics, skewering the “second book” at every opportunity.

Literature used to be very strange.

Vonn Scott Bair

The Efficiency & Trust of the Saxophone, 13 April 2014

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Good Afternoon:

At first, it all seemed so very “meta:”

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Just a tip basket on the railing of a footbridge next to the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park (Georgia O’Keeffe fans, rejoice–the retrospective is excellent). No musician, no artist, no writer, no poet, no actor, no mime. Just the tip basket. Busking as conceptual art, I thought; ingenious!

Then the saxophone made itself heard.

I leaned over the railing and observed this gentleman:

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So he was collecting tips from two different locations, and trusting that no one would swipe his earnings from the bridge. Impressive faith in humanity! However, I observed that the tip basket had grown full, and remembering the Social Experiment in the Office (Part I here, and Part II there), I chose to serve my fellow artist by adding a dollar of my own and lowering the basket to him using the twine taped to the basket’s handle.

“Wait, wait! Don’t lower it yet!”

This came from a 20-ish young lady with dark brown hair. She fetched a dollar bill of her own from her purse, added it to the pot, and then gave me permission to lower the basket.

“Not yet!”

This came from another 20-ish young lady with dark brown hair. She fetched a dollar bill of her own from her purse, added it to the pot, and then gave me permission to lower the basket.

This time I did succeed in lowering the basket. The saxophonist expressed his thanks for our help and offered to play requests for his supporters.

I moved on, having chores to run, plays to write, scripts to mail, acting to practice, et cetera. Could not help but wonder, though: had I accidentally conducted my own accidental social experiment?

The unanswerable question: would the young ladies have contributed to the support of live music in San Francisco had I not made an effort to present the musician with all of the money that he earned?

Honestly, I have no idea.

Vonn Scott Bair

Riddle of the Day! 13 April 2014

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Good Evening:

Examine closely the objects in the picture below.

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From left-ish to right-ish, top-ish to bottom-ish, they include:

  1. Two (2) tote bags;
  2. A manila envelope containing 2013 receipts;
  3. My 2013 tax returns;
  4. A packet of computer screen wipes;
  5. One (1) box of vegan broth cubes;
  6. My cell phone, nattily attired in an official WordPress cell phone cover;
  7. A collection of recent photographs;
  8. My point-and-shoot camera;
  9. A grip so I can use my cell phone as a video camera;
  10. One (1) bag containing my electric shaver;
  11. One (1) package of gourmet organic chocolate;
  12. One (1) box of anti-gas pills;
  13. One (1) stapler;
  14. Two (2) pens;
  15. Actor’s makeup (foundation);
  16. Dental floss;
  17. A set of paper dominos;
  18. A backup flash drive for my DSLR camera;
  19. One (1) bag of cough drops;
  20. One (1) Mexican professional wrestling lucha libre mask;
  21. and Two (2) boxes of tea bags.

 

Now here is your riddle: what do they all have in common?

The answer: at approximately 1:30 p.m. yesterday afternoon, they all fit inside this:

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What’s in your bike messenger bag?

Vonn Scott Bair