Monthly Archives: July 2012

The View from the 8th Floor

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Good Evening:

Frankly, one can find little to praise in 1155 Market Street, the former home of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (this month, we moved into our new HQ at 525 Golden Gate Avenue). The building is too old and obsolete; it has bizarre floor plans with partitions that waste space; the physical plant and HVAC are inferior unless you like the air conditioning running at full blast during the winter; the building wasted energy everywhere, which is a bit of a problem when the tenant is a public utility; and the colors of the rugs, walls and signs scream Sixties Office Functional Dullsville. Yes, those colors.

Then again, there was the 8th Floor. Just the right height from ground level, some of the rooms (esp. Conference Room A/B) afforded great views of downtown San Francisco, and I spent quite a few breaks and lunches capturing the world with my Nikon CoolPix 4300, CoolPix S9100 and the iPhone 4. Here are a few, starting with City Hall, one of America’s most photogenic buildings.

Rain seemed to have a good effect–literally watercolors.

The Orpheum Theater, one of San Francisco’s great old theaters.

Two large buildings, one offices, one condominiums, arose on Mission Street south of 1155 Market during my time there, and the projects both provided some pictures worth taking.

Workers Awaiting the Next Segment of a Construction Crane to Arrive

“Scaffolding Problem During Construction.” Good news–they fixed it.

Roofer Between the Shadows, UN Plaza, San Francisco Civic Center, Market Street Between 7th & 8th

For many years, a seagull (possibly the same one; my supervisor couldn’t be sure) used the ledge outside her window as a nest to hatch and care for a clutch 3-4 eggs annually. The chert among the plants made for a perfect camouflage. When her chicks held still and ducked their heads they were almost invisible to human eyes.

And a few miscellaneous shots, starting with smoke from a fire north of us.

One morning after a particularly violent evening storm during the winter of 2010-11 (a rough one; my apartment building sustained serious damage), we came to work to discover that one of the windows in A/B had been cracked into thousands of pieces. Fortunately and amazingly, the pieces remained in place long enough for a crew of glaziers to safely remove them. It also made for a curious photograph.

“Chiaroscuro During the Storm.” I swear this is natural light, unedited, and that the scene looked exactly as you see it here.

I might revisit the collection at a later date to see if there exists anything else of interest. I hope you liked studying the pictures here.

Vonn Scott Bair

I Do Not Understand Reality, Special “Scent Elves” Edition, 26 July 2012

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Good Afternoon:

I have zero product loyalty to deodorants.

There. I said it. Do your worst, Mad Men of Madison Avenue; I don’t care what product I use to slime my armpits. I buy whatever I see on special on the shelf without any concern about the brand itself. However, I might have to change my mind and shun one company that shall remain unnamed because of what the label reads on back:

“CONTAINS: Odor-fighting ‘atomic robots’ that ‘shoot lasers’ at your ‘stench monsters’ and replaces them with fresh, clean, masculine ‘scent elves.'”

I am not making this up.

Vonn Scott Bair

PS–Has anyone spotted the grammatical error?

The Land of Hope & Dreams – A One-Act Play

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Good Morning:

And now for something completely different.

I’ve had a pretty good July in terms of creative projects: three acting jobs, one web series and two stage readings; plus The Land of Hope & Dreams, a 30-35 minute one-act play, was selected for a stage reading in October at the Playwrights Center of San Francisco. The play is a bit of a surprise. I wrote an early draft in 2006, but didn’t realize it wasn’t that bad and neglected it until a few months ago in favor of other work. As it happens, there is something to the play after all. The play is about an Irish immigrant in 1850 during the great Irish Diaspora and her first day in New York City. Even though the plot consists of her attempts to get her mother properly buried (she had died en route), the play becomes very funny in places, especially after she meets another immigrant, a Cockney English scavenger who is the only person who will help her.

I’ve attached Scene 1 (my first non-photo attachment!). Enjoy.

Vonn Scott Bair

LOHAD 2.8.1 Scene 1

White & Blue

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Good Afternoon:

During the latest of my never-ending and never-successful efforts to organize my iPhoto library, I discovered something about my hobby: yours truly really, really likes the color combination of white and blue. Somewhere between 600 and 700 of my pictures feature this combination dominating the scene. Much to my surprise, such a limitation has not proven much of a limitation.

None of these photographs have been edited; I’m one of those annoying photographers who strongly believe in “editing in camera,” as they say in the movies, and yet lacks the skills to do the editing in which he believes.

White, Black & Cyan

Mural on the Side of Cafe Du Soleil, Fillmore near Haight Street

San Francisco Unified School District, Financial Offices; photo taken from interior parking lot.

In fact, just for fun I’ll break my only-in-San Francisco rule and include a few other locations around the country.

Hot Spring, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Exterior Wall, Berkeley, California, near the Amtrak Railroad Tracks 2008

Idaho Falls, Idaho 2011

Blue Door; not sure where I took this picture.

Returning to San Francisco:

New Tower on 5th Street, Photographed from 5th & Mission

More Extreme Closeups of Murals

Buena Vista Park Waterfall

Blue Angels Performing During Fleet Week, 7 October 2007

Balcony of SF Symphony Hall Photographed from Underneath

Top of Symphony Hall Photographed from Hayes Street

Finally, an experiment utilizing the weaknesses (!) of the 5 megapixel camera in my iPhone 4. The combination of poor lighting and zoom in the camera produces blurry and pixelated effects at shows, and I sought to exploit this during the annual Christmas concert at the Fillmore Auditorium with headliners Ozomatli:

I have also discovered a lot of pictures with either a red or orange theme, but let’s save those for later. I hope you liked viewing these.

Vonn Scott Bair

The Giants Ballpark and the Architecture of Fun

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Good Morning:

It never fails to puzzle me; watching a baseball game on TV taking place in some other city and seeing vast swathes of empty seats in the stands, even in some of the best sections for watching the game, even in the ballparks of teams that are leading their division. This was the scene at the Giants Ballpark (the name of the stadium’s sponsor changes so often that people either don’t know or don’t care, and invent their own names) for an ordinary July 15 game hosting the Houston Astros:

Nikon Coolpix 9100, 180 Degree Panorama Mode

Not much in the way of vast swathes here.

You might think, “Well the Giants have been very successful in recent years, it was a weekend game, and it was Madison Bumgarner Bobblehead Day, so of course the turnout was huge.” Quite logical, but how does this explain the greater than 2.6 million fans who came to games during the G-Men’s 2008 season, their fourth consecutive losing year? It can’t be the ticket prices; some bleacher seats at the team’s website can cost almost $50.

People like to say “Meet me at Willie,” referring to the Willie Mays statue at the main entrance, but I prefer to meet people at “Juan Marichal,” the above sculpture, which is somewhat less crowded. The ballpark, among other things, is an instant historical landmark, with statues and plaques everywhere, plus a lot of exposed brick to create an instant “old-timey” atmosphere.

Which brings me to the title of this blogpost, which sounds like an architecture post-graduate student’s Ph. D. thesis title.

Almost anything that takes place in the ballpark draws a crowd. The San Francisco Giants Baseball Club owns the stadium outright, having used their own money to pay for everything, so they have considerable freedom as to what events they can host there. The San Francisco Opera experimented with live free simulcasts of their operas, using the giant screen behind center field. It’s not an experiment anymore; it’s a tradition. The next simulcast is set for September 15. The Giants make money on the concessions. I’m not an opera buff, myself, but darn, garlic fries and Shiner Bock or Anchor Porter (on tap, this might be America’s finest beer) make the experience quite enjoyable. Even the justly-legendary-for-all-the-wrong-reasons XFL enjoyed success here: the San Francisco Demons were the only popular team in the league.

The “Melk Maids” in the Bleachers: These are the female fans of Melky Cabrera, who did not play on the 15th. The “Melk Men” (you can guess how they dress) hang out in the field seats close to the left field foul line.

It has to be the ballpark. People seem to flock to events at the Giants Ballpark because the ballpark itself is worth the visit (come on, who watched any XFL games on TV?). The place seems to have been designed, from the initial blueprints to the ribbon-cutting ceremony, to match the quirky spirit of San Francisco itself. Consider for example the right field wall:

That’s not a wall. That’s a chainlink fence.

I think the Giants home is the only one of all the stadia, arenas and ballparks hosting one or more of the Big Four team sports (baseball, football, basketball, hockey) which was designed to allow fans to watch the games for free. These free SRO “seats” have become so popular that the police will ask the fans to leave every three innings to allow a new group of fans to watch the game. Hey, I’ve watched the games there. It’s a unique perspective; you are level with the players. At the time of its opening, no other MLB ballpark had the same online connectivity as the Giants home field. Of course, everyone has caught up since then, but even now, the most Instagram photos in baseball come from the stadium which happens to reside only a few blocks away from the company’s HQ.

Cotton Candy Vendor in the Bleachers at Giants Ballpark

I know one of the electricians who helped build the stadium (last time I saw, she had since gone to med school). The construction workers received a nice thank-you present from management one day: a meet-and-greet with slugger Barry Bonds, and the chance to be on the field as he took batting practice just for them. Even though suspicions about his steroid use had already begun to circulate, she still remembers the event as one of her favorite moments.

That must have something to do with the success of the ballpark; the club’s marketing and community relations divisions must do an excellent job. Even my dad, a Yankees and Mets fan, adopted the “Jints” as his #3 team after watching three innings of a game through the fence.

Giants Fans Start Young 2

I believe that the Giants’ home functions San Francisco’s biggest and most exclusive nightclub where paradoxically, anyone can get in. This place is an 81-game/year party. Of course, since this is San Francisco, some fans contribute a little something extra to that party atmosphere, as Texas sports reporter Newy Scruggs learned when he visited McCovey Cove shortly before Game 1 of the San Francisco-Texas 2010 World Series. That video was wildly popular amongst Giants fans until YouTube took it down. This is why I’ve never understood why pitcher Tim Lincecum apologized to the fans when he got busted for smoking pot. I mean, come on, dude; we’re San Franciscans; what do you think some of us are smoking when we watch you attack opposing hitters with that motion of yours? And he plays for a manager, Bruce Bochy, a mild-mannered beer drinker, but who looks and drawls like a retired Mendocino farmer (and by “Mendocino” you know exactly which crop I mean, wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more).

The Dodger Fan at San Francisco

The aforementioned Texas sports reporter did mention that Giants’ fans are some of the nicest people he’s ever met, but his standards might be a little low (we don’t spit on people, as do Yankees fans). I suppose he’s never been to a Giants-Dodgers game. Though much diluted from the New York-Brooklyn days and the Candlestick Park days, there’s still a little bad blood between the teams. However, we can tolerate each other. No one is bothering the Dodger fan above who is hoping to catch a home run ball hit over the right field wall (24′ high, Willie Mays’ number, another nice Giant touch). I also witnessed this event in 2010 and reported it to my friends:

World Peace Is (Kinda, Sorta) Possible! (September 15, 2010)

Good Evening:

There’s something about public transit in San Francisco…

Tonight I rode the J-Church streetcar to the Fringe Festival at the Exit Theater. However, other San Franciscans had other priorities, and many were going to the ballpark to see the Giants host the Dodgers. In my half of the car, six people wore Giants gear.

One person were a Dodgers cap and jersey. The gentleman sitting next to him wore a Giants cap and jersey.

Those of you with fond memories of Roseboro-Marichal will be disappointed. The two fans kept their noses in their reading and ignored each other. Except the Giants fan finally looked up from his magazine, looked at the book-reading Dodgers fan, and grimaced as if a posse of bad oysters for dinner had begun a counterattack in his digestive tract. He noticed me stifling a laugh, so I said, “This proves world peace is possible!”

The rest of the passengers laughed, but the Dodgers fan simply buried his face deeper into his book, while the Giants fan told me, “Yeah, well, I’m trying not to notice.”

I got off at Powell Street, and as I walked away, I looked back at the car. The Giants fan had taken my seat. I guess he couldn’t stand sitting next to the LA fan any longer.

Peaceful. Kinda, sorta, peaceful.

Vonn Scott Bair

PS–The Dodgers won the game, but the Giants won the World Series.

I did not see Matt Cain’s perfect game (June 13, 2012) the first in Giants’ history, in person or live on television, but Comcast SportsNet Bay Area has not missed too many chances to rebroadcast the game, and I saw one of these rebroadcasts partially to listen to the announcers (Duane Kuiper and I think Jon Miller). I was curious about when exactly did they start to realize that something special was happening on the field. It actually took them a while, but I can’t really blame them. Not when something like this is prowling above McCovey Cove.

Is the ballpark perfect? No. It does not appear that the club anticipated year after year of consecutive sellouts because there are far too many pedestrian chokepoints both in and outside the park. Also, don’t get a hot dog and regular fries; you will spend far too much money to hold two pockets of air. I recommend the food at Orlando Cepeda’s concession stand behind the bleachers.

The chicken bowl is $10, but it’s a big honking bowl of food with a lot of chicken.

There are more pictures to publish and more tales to tell, but I’ll save those for another time. I hope you all had a great weekend.

Vonn Scott Bair

The Wrong Remarks to the Wrong Woman at the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time

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Good Evening:

“…and then after I was done porkin’ ‘er, she tells me she’s married! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!”

Thus spoke the extremely drunk old-looking white guy with the smell and the scraggly beard in the back row of the extremely crowded 71-Limited during this evening’s commute. I write “old-looking” because alcoholism can severely age a person; he looked about 65 but could have been 20 years younger. No matter; the drunk with the smell and the scraggly beard had thoroughly convinced himself that a) he was the world’s greatest lover; b) he was the world’s greatest raconteur; and c) everyone on the bus wanted, deserved and needed to hear his stories of sexual triumph, shouted in a ragged and splintered timbre.

“Oh, man, I f—– so many women in my life an’ kissed thousan’s and thousan’s more! Hey you, cutie! Why’nt’cha gimme li’l kiss, huh? Huh? How ’bout you, hotpants? Gimme a kiss, hah! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Oh, wai’uh’minute, this my stop, man, yo, bus driver, wai’ fo’ me, man, gotta get off, whoa, hey, check out the chick on the sidewalk, driver, lemme off man, gotta say hello to her, mebbe she ain’a frigid b—- with a stick up her a–, comin’ through, comin’ through! Where’d she go? Where’d she go? There she is!”

He disembarked and caught up with the woman with his arms flung out wide. He stood between us and the woman, so we couldn’t see what happened, but he said, “Hey, gorgeous-” and then immediately flailed and spun and shook his head and screamed in a ragged and splintered timbre, and scratched at his own face, tripped over his feet and fell, rolling into the gutter. Screaming the whole time.

She had Mace.

Yes–very definitely the wrong woman.

Vonn Scott Bair

A Sad Day at the Civic Center Farmers Market, 18 July 2012

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Good Evening:

Cherry Season is over.

A moment of silence, please, in memory of two of the happiest months of a San Francisco locavore’s year. This year, it lasted from mid-May through Sunday, July 15. It wasn’t a great year for Rainier (or Flame) Cherries, but the classic black cherries were in good shape for most of the season (although 2010 remains my favorite). I am finishing off the last of the season’s bounty even as I write.

You will not be forgotten.

On the other hand, the Civic Center Farmers Market still has blueberries, and the melons (pardon me, I meant to write MELONS!!) have just begun to arrive. Peaches and nectarines have flooded the market. So I guess the next two months will also be two of the happiest months of a San Francisco locavore’s year. Actually, perhaps every month is one of the happiest months in a San Francisco locavore’s year. Here are more pictures I’ve taken of the produce at the farmers market over the years. I like to use them as desktop pictures on my computer.

Sweet, Yukon Gold, and Red Potatoes

White Onions

Chilis, Medium Hot

Chilis, Mind-Blowingly Hot

Shallots, Garlic and Potatoes

Tangerines

This next is a personal favorite of mine.

Strawberries

I don’t make a major political or philosophical issue over food in the sense that I don’t have one of those snob attitiudes that will make other people do anything except accept your views and adopt them as their own. It just sorta happened; since California is the home of a tremendous bounty and variety of produce (one day I simply must tell you about Blood Limes), it’s easy to walk across the street from work and load up on a rich assortment of goodies, no matter what season of the year, and at the same time spend a fraction of what you would pay at the supermarket for less fresh fruits and vegetables shipped long distances, or even imported. If there’s one thing I try to avoid at all times, it’s preaching to people. I’d much rather say, “Try this.”

I’m a locavore because I like to eat. A lot. I like to cook. A lot. It’s that simple.

Wishing You Good Eating Always, I Remain,

Yours Truly,

Vonn Scott Bair

The Self-Proclaimed Pickpocket on the 6-Parnassus

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Good Evening:

San Francisco public transit is experiencing another meltdown, possibly worse than the infamous “Muni Meltdown” of the mid-Nineties (seriously, if you look up “muni meltdown” on Wikipedia, you will find a reference to it). The result is that the evening commutes have been sufficiently packed lately to make tinned sardines revel in their elbow room (well, they would revel in their elbow room if they had elbows).

6-Parnassus, 7 May 2006, Mid-Afternoon. Nikon CoolPix 4300

So I was standing inside such a packed bus during another meltdown evening commute recently. In front of me sat a middle-aged African American woman. Next to her sat a possibly Filipino woman in her early thirties, I would guess. Behind me stood two African American men in their early twenties. Next to me stood a short boy, possibly Filipino, who struggled to reach the black loops for standees to hold onto for dear life. Oddly enough, the only person whose race matters in this story is yours truly the white boy.

One of the young men behind me wanted the whole bus to know that he was a tough guy, not to be messed with at all, and his partner was willing to play along in the play acting.

“So I’m gon’ f— his head up, gon’ f— his head up real good. He can’t do tha’, can’t do tha’ to me and not ge’ f—ed real good.”

“Hear dat.”

“Then I gon’ go to the cannabis club, score some bud, jus’ chill, y’know, cuz I’m gon’ wanna chill after I f— him up.”

“How you get a card, man? I ain’t got one.”

“Went to this doctor chick, tol’ her I had that Fiber Malaysia stuff you see on the tube.”

“That all it took? Man, can you hook me up with the lady doc?”

“No prob, man, jus’ tell ‘er you got that Fiber Malaysia. You gon’ share some o’ your bud, aintcha?”

“Yeah, we cool.”

Just then, the middle-aged woman got off the bus. I called out, “Who wants a seat?” The struggling short boy immediately pounced upon his opportunity. The Filipino woman said, “Thank you very much sir for letting my son sit next to me.”

“Aw man, you see dat? White man did a favor for a person of color! F—. Now I can’t pick his pocket. I was gon’ pick his pocket, but I can’t do that now. Jus’ ain’t right.”

He and his buddy laughed their heads off and disembarked. Just think about that. If it weren’t for me, you would never have learned that pernicious pickpockets proudly proclaim their perfidious planned pilferage to packed passengers on public prams.

Ah, poesy.

Vonn Scott Bair

PS–Nah, I also knew he wasn’t serious. Just trying to mess with everyone’s heads.

How to Wait for the Bus @ Haight & Fillmore, 3 March 2011

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Good Evening:

San Francisco is a national leader in the art/science/philosophy/economy of freecycling. Freecycling consists of placing decent-excellent quality goods in a place where they are most likely to be taken by people who need them. That’s how I have acquired two restaurant-quality sauce pans, a 10″ cast iron skillet and a microwave oven. But last Thursday night I saw an example of freecycling where the item was not just to be taken away, but also used in that specific location until taken.

Someone had deposited an overstuffed leather armchair at the Haight & Fillmore bus stop for the outbound 6, 71 and 71 Limited buses (outbound meaning west, away from downtown). The chair was a little worse for wear; the armrests had started to split open and you could see the stuffing. Nonetheless, it was still quite useable, at least as something to sit in whilst awaiting the bus.

So I watched just to see what would happen.

The first occupant was a young African-American male slouched deep into the chair with his right leg over the right arm and his left arm resting on the left, his head tilted back and to his right. He wore “gangsta” type clothes, which indicates nothing in that neighborhood; a lot of civilians dress that way in the same manner as many species of fly have markings imitating wasps or hornets.

After a few minutes, he jumped up–not to catch a bus, but to offer the chair to an elderly Caucasian woman who accepted gratefully, and sat down as she had no doubt been taught in dancing school lo these many decades ago; back straight, hands folded together in lap, knees and ankles touching. A few minutes later, their bus arrived.

I had to catch the next bus, so I strolled over to the stop. The chair had been taken over by a young woman with straight blond hair cut short on the sides, longer on the top, and parted on the side–you know, a man’s style haircut. Sitting on her lap was another young woman with much longer blond hair done in a long bob style recently popularized by Anne Hathaway. They were making plans in their Mittel Europa accents– each was introducing the other to her new boyfriend, and they were deciding how they would test and evaluate their new young men (not quite what you were expecting? Me, neither)

Today, the overstuffed leather armchair with slighly fraying arm rests is gone. I hope whoever has it is now putting it to as good use as the bus riders in the Lower Haight on Thursday night.

Vonn Scott Bair

(Originally emailed to friends on 5 March 2011)

The Instant Art of Instant Abstract Art, Part II 12 July 2012

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Good Evening:

The collection must include hundreds of these by now. Here are some recent shots.

Purple and Red, 30 June 2012

Purple, Grey & White, 30 June 2012

Orange, Brown and Beige, 24 June 2012

Tie-Dye 1, Reg & Green 1 July 2012

But it remains very difficult to compete with nature:

Haight Street Tree Bark 3, 1 July 2012

This is too easy to be true art; all I do is see.

Vonn Scott Bair

con(decon)struction: The Cranes of San Francisco

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Good Evening:

I have an ongoing collection of photographs collected in the category that I label “con(decon)struction” devoted to images of either construction sites and/or equipment on the one hand, or urban landscapes in decay on the other. For whatever reason, I have always liked construction cranes. This shot was an attempt to take advantage to take advantage of a weakness in the Nikon CoolPix 4300, in which buildings on the edge of a shot bend inward.

Construction Crane Near Market, Kearny and Geary

Any real economist might desire to run screaming from this post right about now, but is it not possible that one can measure the health of a city by the number of construction cranes drawing yellow, blue or white lines across the sky?

I’ve written before that if San Francisco is not change then San Francsico is not at all. The Cranes of San Francisco represent that change for me.

A jet trail intersecting the arm of a construction crane? You have to grab these when you can, even through the window of a light rail train. My personal favorite, however, is this one:

Construction Crane Across the Street from the Exit Theatre, Eddy Street, San Francisco

Vonn Scott Bair

Master & Acolyte on the 22-Fillmore

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Good Evening:

I was coming home from the Rainbow Grocery, my favorite radical left-wing cooperatively-owned vegetarian grocery store in San Francisco, and I couldn’t help but notice one guy sitting across the aisle. He was a big, burly guy, about 25 years old, heavy but strong looking, as if he might have played on the defensive line back in high school. But that’s not why I noticed him; I noticed him first because of his dark gray porkpie hat, at least 3 sizes too small.

And second, I noticed him because of his phone call. Naturally, I have no idea what the caller said to him. I give his half of the conversation to you without commentary, as best as I can remember.

“Hello, Master. Yes, Master. I know, Master. You are correct, Master. Yes, I know, Master. Yes, Master. Yes, Master. Yes, Master.

“Didn’t you get the email attachments I sent you?!

“Yes. Master.

“I’m sorry, Master. I’m sorry, Master. I’m sorry, Master. I’m sorry, Master. I’m sorry, Master. I’m sorry, Master. I’m sorry, Master. I’m sorry, Master. I’m sorry, Master. I’m sorry, Master.

“Yes, Master.

“I am perfect, Master. I am perfect, Master. I am perfect, Master. I am perfect, Master. I am perfect, Master. I am perfect, Master. I am perfect, Master. I am perfect, Master. I am perfect, Master. I am perfect, Master. I am perfect, Master.

“Thank you, Master.”

He ended the phone call, turned to the person sitting next to him and said, “I think that went really well.”

Vonn Scott Bair

 

The San Francisco Scene–Seen! 100th Post: Haighting the Weekend

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Good Afternoon:

I must begin with an apology to all of my neighbors and friends living in both the Upper and Lower Haight: I apologize for the bad pun in the title of this, my 100th post. We have all seen all of the bad puns and wordplay–how the Summer of Love was centered on a street pronounced “hate,” lame jokes and T-shirts like “I Haight San Francisco,” et cetera. We even have a deli called Love ‘n’ Haight (553 Haight, close to the legendary Toronado). But I captured almost all of these scenes whilst exploring my nabe on the weekends, so I hope you understand.

First, our weekends tend to begin with a great San Francisco Sunrise:

Sunrise, San Francisco, 27 December 2007. Nikon D40, Landscape Setting

Hold on there just one second. That is not a great San Francisco Sunrise.

Sunrise, 17 November 2007. Nikon D40, Landscape Setting

Now that is a great San Francisco Sunrise.

By far the most common forms of entertainment on Haight consist of music, eating and drinking. Music still dominates, decades after its heyday of the Jefferson Dead, Grateful Dead and others:

Guitar Player, Buena Vista

Busking at Haight & Clayton

Haight Street Blues Man

And where’s there music, there’s dancing:

Dancing at Golden Gate Park. Nikon Coolpix 4300, B&W Mode

Snippet #1:

Woman, age about thirty: “So there’s nose piercing on Monday, lip piercing on Tuesday, eyebrow piercing on Wednesday, bellybutton piercing on Thursday, and, and, and–what’s on Friday?”

Man, age about thirty: “Ear piercing?”

Woman: “What?!”

This dinosaur, a Haight Street icon, has changed a lot over the years:

Snippet #2:

Street person, male: “Can you do me a really, really huge favor?”

Street person, female: “Only if it gets me high.”

Other scenes from various Haight Street weekends:

Awaiting the Throw, Golden Gate Park

Mythic Pizza: Saturday Afternoon, Lower Haight.

“Did I Accidentally Press the Shutter?” Nikon Coolpix, B&W Setting

Legs.

And then you have these strange juxtapositions:

And some stuff is just plain weird; not necessarily good weird:

Haight & Masonic on a Foggy Afternoon

Snippet #3:

Woman, early 20’s, to another woman, early 20’s: “So I challenged him, like, ‘What do you know about kumquats?’ and he’s like, ‘What don’t I know about kumquats?'”

“We Messed With Texas” iPhone 4.

Yes, Haight Street knows how to celebrate a World Series victory.

The Magic Hour (photographer’s term for the 1-2 hours before the sun goes down) can bring out the beauty in the ordinary or even ugly:

Yellow, Pink, Brick Red.

Fire Hydrant, Haight nr. Buena Vista Park

Of course, some people have to work, whilst others have chores:

Laundry Day, Lower Haight.

Snippet #4:

A man on Haight near Masonic set up a few folding chairs and a miniature bar. He was selling cocktails from clear glass 2.5 gallon jugs late one afternoon. Judging from the calendar, this might have been an attempt to raise money for the next month’s rent. On the other hand, he might have been providing a valuable public service for the late afternoon Happy Hour crowd. A young lady stops in front of the bar.

“Is there tequila in that margarita?”

“Yes there is.”

“Tequila is such a happy liquor.”

Magnolia (named in honor of San Francisco former stripper and restaurateur Magnolia Thunderpussy, who used to own a place at the same location) is a very popular brewpub located at Haight & Masonic, especially on a late afternoon after you’ve spent the day taking pictures of the locale and locals.

Studying the Day’s Photography at Magnolia

And when the day is done, why not a burrito at The Little Chihuahua?

Rive Gauche. iPhone 4 at The Little Chihuahua

I have much more of the Haight to show you, but I shall conclude for now. When I started this blog, I wondered if a) would I be able to keep it going or would I lose interest quickly, and b) where on earth would I find enough material for stories?” Little did I know. Aside from sharing and providing art and writing for others, one of the best aspects of blogging (at least in the mind of this “veteran” blogger) is that the work/fun/fun work of maintaining a blog consists of I have opened my eyes, ears and mind to my world to a far great extent than ever before. I hadn’t even known how much I had not seen before.

Thanks to all of you who have visited, commented, and/or like my humble little online abode. It still stuns me when I receive likes from tomorrow, thanks to our ever-spinning world.

Thanks to all of you who have chosen to follow my blog. I will try my best to continue to do my best. Have a good Fourth of July.

Vonn Scott Bair

The Minimally Artistic Art of Instant Minimalist Art, 1 July 2012

Standard

Good Evening:

Guess what this is:

Give up? It’s a gas station located at the intersection of Oak & Divisidero in San Francisco. I encourage you not to believe me, but here it is at night:

During daylight hours, I had photographed a section of the overhang to the camera’s left of the Shell letters.

As with my instant abstract art, I do like to play with pictures that turn objects into abstractions, but this time using even fewer colors, sometimes no color at all, to create a photograph where the lighting and texture are paramount, a sort of instant minimalist art. It’s a simple matter of accidentally walking past a monochromatic scene when the sunlight hits it at the precisdely correct angle to make the scene temporarily interesting. Since that darn sun won’t hold still, most of the time I have surprisingly few seconds with which to work. Unfortunately, I’m not an expert on art, so my choice of the word “minimalist” might not be accurate; if in fact inaccurate, please accept my apologies. Some more examples (please note that none are black & white):

Of course, Nature can play the same game, too, and perhaps play it better:

Tidal Mud Flats at Chrissy Field, San Francisco

Wind-Swept Sand at Ocean Beach near Sunset, San Francisco, CA

One curious strength of instant minimalist art versus instant abstract art is that its comparative simplicity might prove suitable for desktop pictures. For example, you could use different colors to organize your icons:

That photo, incidentally, was taken inside a now-closed laundromat near Pierce & Haight. Our final photo for the evening is not minimalist in the sense that it portrays recognizable objects, but is minimalist in terms of the color palette:

White on White on White Study #9. Nikon D40, Closeup Setting

One little surprise is that if you look closely you will spot that this is not a black and white photograph. The point at which the two eggs touched did turn pink, and these colors are accurate. I consulted with some of my professional photographer friends who are always willing to help, and they informed me that this was a known phenomenon. Yours truly being the egg-headed air-head that he is, I’ve forgotten the reason. Sorry. I do apologize a lot in my posts, don’t I?

I hope you all had a good weekend, and I hope you all have a good week.

Vonn Scott Bair