Monthly Archives: January 2015

More Flavored Sidewalks!

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Good Evening:

Admit it–until you saw the phrase “more flavored sidewalks,” it never occurred to you that you never realized that you never thought you would ever see the phrase “more flavored sidewalks” until you saw the phrase “more flavored sidewalks.” But of course San Francisco has more flavored sidewalks! Last night I posted a photo of a sausage flavored sidewalk. But we have much more than just sausage:

Cheese.

Cheese.

…we have a vegetarian option, too.

Vonn Scott Bair

The Surreal Is That Which Lies At Your Feet, and More Spam Poetry! (Weekly Photo Challenge: Express Yourself)

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Good Evening:

Long-time followers know that I like to express myself with two recurring themes, poetry made from spam emails, and photographs of weird things at my feet. “The surreal is that which lies at your feet” is not my invention, I feel quite certain of that, but I still haven’t discovered who said it first.

So first the surreal–a sausage flavored sidewalk. No kidding.

Sausage.

Sausage.

And now the spam poetry (I found the original here):

He Reconnaissance (Which Was Not Much) Before the “Syndicate.”

We had an audience

With the commanding

Officer of the Pacific,

And procured a

Recommendation

To the Secretary of War

For an Exploration

Of the Colorado River.

 

This was subsequently accomplished

With beneficial results–

At least for information.

 

In San Francisco

It was decided

That I should proceed

To Washington,

For the purpose

Of solicitin

 

I’ll just stop here and pretend that I haven’t finished to poem. But at least I can brag about the abab rhyme scheme at the end of the first stanze. On that note, it has now come time to turn…

Left.

Left.

Vonn Scott Bair

The Incongruities & Little Pleasures of Market Street.

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Good Evening:

1. Sometimes, even something so commonplace as a butterfly can look different.

Such as the one fluttering about Market & 8th Streets after my Sunday trip to the Civic Center farmers market. I don’t think this was a lone Monarch butterfly that had gone waaaaay off-course on its northern migration; I suspect this was a butterfly that looks like Monarchs because supposedly the Monarch tastes too unappetizing to certain predators.

But for whatever reason, this particular butterfly chose to orbit my head like a drunken moon for a few seconds, then fluttered off to the strangest and possibly deadliest location for such a critter. The yellow dividing stripes in the middle of Market Street, where it could have gotten killed by a passing automobile even without getting struck. Fortunately, thanks to the arrangement of red lights on Market, the block was empty of cars. I walked into the middle of the street and chased the butterfly from its resting place. It orbited my head like a drunken moon for a few more seconds, then fluttered up into the sky toward the nearest tree.

The other San Franciscans looked at me as if I was nuts and I didn’t care.

2. The aria near noon.

I frequently walk to the City’s Department of Human Resources on business, which takes me along the block of Market Street between 10th and 11th streets. Last week, during one such trip near lunchtime, as I turned onto Market, I spotted a group of four people–all strangers to each other, each stood apart from the rest–with their jaws hanging down as they craned their neck to look upwards at a four story building that houses among other things a Single Room Occupancy (SRO) residential hotel.

I’m a sucker for this sort of thing, so I also looked up.

At which point, the singing began again. Opera. We could not see the woman, but anyone within a hundred yards could her practicing an aria, singing for maybe 15-20 seconds, pausing, singing the same passage again, then singing that passage and continuing with the rest of her song. My guess: a guest artist in town to perform with the SF Opera, but not a big star, so the Opera put her in a nearby residential hotel.

But she was really really good. I just have a feeling that for her next visit they will place her in more luxurious quarters. Which will be too bad for the strangers gathered on the sidewalk that morning to hear something as incongruous as beautiful singing on one of Market Street’s dingier blocks.

Vonn Scott Bair

Someone Notices the Contrast of White on White: Alcatraz. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Express Yourself)

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Good Evening:

Longtime readers of The San Francisco Scene–Seen! know that I love to express myself by studying monochromatic scenes, especially all-white scenes, to see how subtle differences caused by elements such as shadows can affect the appearance of the subject.

Frankly, almost all of my recent white-on-white pictures don’t quite work–too much color–but I rather favor this one, a scene I discovered during my recent visit to Alcatraz.

Alcatraz Island, January 2015.

Alcatraz Island, January 2015.

Vonn Scott Bair

Things on Walls: Alcatraz. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Express Yourself)

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Good Morning:

One means by which I have not expressed myself recently consists of the theme “Things on Walls.” Photographed a few examples on Alcatraz recently; here are the more interesting ones. All taken with my point-and-shoot, unedited except for straightening in a few cases.DSCN7078 DSCN7177 DSCN7168 DSCN7190 DSCN7162

 

Vonn Scott Bair

“Trying to Breathe:” The Free Muni Protest @ San Francisco City Hall, 20 January 2015.

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Good Evening:

The City & County of San Francisco currently enjoys one of its frequent booms, and the estimates that the next bust will hit at the end of 2015 have been revised to “sometime in the future,” so the city currently enjoys full coffers. The problem many other cities and states would like to have: what to do with all that dough?

These folks had an idea, and shared it on Tuesday.

Free Muni Protest, San Francisco, 20 January 2015.

Free Muni Protest, San Francisco, 20 January 2015.

San Francisco’s prosperity has come with a serious cost; namely the cost of living in “the city of $4 toast” has famously soared. I keep running into one online article after another directly or indirectly related to the theme of “San Francisco income inequality as proxy for America’s.” For the elderly and disabled, the city has become almost unlivable, and one possible part of the solution consists of free public transit (“Free Muni”).

Protest Organizer Speaking to the Media

Protest Organizers Speaking to the Media

Latecomers to the Protest

Latecomers to the Protest

I don’t know how this will end. I do know that a lot of poor people are getting desperate in this fabulously wealthy city. The next day, no trace of the protest remained, as if it never happened–except for this one graffito I spotted on a nearby trash bin.

Trying to Breathe Stop the Evictions

Trying to Breathe Stop the Evictions

Everything comes back to the evictions. Getting desperate in San Francisco, indeed.

Vonn Scott Bair

Fogset at Seal Rocks, San Francisco, California, 19 January 2015. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Serenity)

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Good Evening:

“It had the potential to be a beautiful sunset, but then the fog rolled in and ruined everything.” Back when I was a beginner San Franciscan, I said the same sort of thing, so I understand and won’t criticize. “Fogsets” (another word of my invention and once again, normal San Franciscans will look at you funny if you say it) require time and practice to learn how to appreciate them.

Seal Rocks at the time I arrived (all pictures taken with my new iPhone 6 Plus):

Seal Rocks, San Francisco, California, 19 January 2015, 4:49:53 p.m.

Seal Rocks, San Francisco, California, 18 January 2015, 4:49:53 p.m.

The iPhone’s camera works very well in these low light conditions. The only weakness I can discern at this time is a very slight blueish cast to the greys. Note how everything appears crystal clear up to about 200 years away and then suddenly you can’t see anything. This is typical of many San Francisco fogs, unlike ones I’ve seen in other parts of the world with a gradually diminishing visibility.

The next picture shows the influence of Japanese watercolor landscapes.

Lone Tree at Seal Rocks, 19 January 2015.

Lone Tree at Seal Rocks, 18 January 2015.

Some of the ruins.

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Two shots of visitors, both natives and tourists. People will come to watch any sunset (so to speak) at Seal Rocks, no matter what the weather or visibility. Especially in this conditions–despite the violence of the waves crashing upon the rocks, overall the scene feels so serene. I also wanted to capture a sense of the tininess of human beings within the context of nature.

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And this is how the rocks appeared when I departed at 5:12 p.m.

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Didn’t take long for everything to vanish, did it?

Vonn Scott Bair