Monthly Archives: November 2015

Closing and Opening in the Upper Haight, San Francisco. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Transition)

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Good Morning:

Legendary (at least, in San Francisco) newspaper columnist Herb Caen liked to lament about the constant changes in his adopted city and how much he missed the good old days. One valid point that he sometimes made (don’t know if he originated this or if he quoted someone else): you can’t have a real neighborhood if you don’t have a place to repair your shoes. He wrote metaphorically here; he actually meant that true neighborhoods needed small locally owned shops that tended to the mundane needs of life–the shoemaker, the hardware store, electronics repair, and the like.

Photographed this yesterday:

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Another San Francisco institution tending to the mundane needs of life closing down, this one after 95 years of business. Carlos posed for locals taking pictures of his shop with him standing in front (none of mine turned out well), then went back inside to return to work. He has earned a long and enjoyable retirement and I wish him well.

Down the street, a new business prepares for opening:

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VeganBurg replaces All You Knead, a locally-owned bakery/restaurant that existed for at least 30 years near the Ben & Jerry’s. You can tell from the logo this is a chain, and a quick search of Google confirms yes–it’s based in Singapore.

I’ve written it before: if San Francisco is not change, then San Francisco is not. Still…

You know you’ve gotten old when you start to feel like Herb Caen.

Vonn Scott Bair

8th & Harrison, San Francisco, CA. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Transition)

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Good Afternoon:

The old bus depot at 8th & Harrison in San Francisco as it appeared on 1 December 2012. An open space so vast that these pictures fail to capture the acreage of asphalt.

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8th & Harrison as it appeared yesterday, 27 November 2015.

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Quite a transition, isn’t it?

At least four apartment buildings or condos will rise on the old lot, but that might represent an undercount as the lot was surrounded by a chainlink fence with locks everywhere. If any major city in the United States is transitioning as fast as my home town, I would feel extremely surprised indeed.

Vonn Scott Bair

The Surreal Is That Which Lies At Your Feet, 27 November 2015.

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Good Evening:

Did not coin that phrase, but still cannot find the person who did.

Anyway, over the past few weeks someone has done a lot of this San Francisco.

Haight Street Between Masonic & Ashbury, 3:02 pm., 27 November 2015.

Haight Street Between Masonic & Ashbury, 3:02 pm., 27 November 2015.

No one knows who has done this or why. The presence of the spike through the bat technically makes this a prohibited lethal weapon. See http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Spiked-baseball-bats-left-around-SF-6661160.php for more details. So far, about 30 have been reported in various neighborhoods, so someone definitely wants to make some sort of statement. Possibly political, but until we receive some sort of communication…shrug.

Vonn Scott Bair

Construction Cranes on Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Trio)

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Good Afternoon:

Whilst awaiting the bird and other goodies.

Construction Cranes on Van Ness as Seen from SFPUC Headquarters, 25 November 2015.

Construction Cranes on Van Ness as Seen from SFPUC Headquarters, 25 November 2015.

These three cranes have graced the northern San Francisco skyline for several months, and just happened to arrange themselves in a reasonably aesthetic fashion on Wednesday afternoon. You can see the construction project of the nearest one (that grid of maroon). The current thinking in San Francisco has rejected the earlier belief that our next big bust in this big-boom-and-big bust-city would have begun by now. That clearly ain’t gonna happen, as one of the wildest booms in city history keeps on coming. Some of the recent startups that benefitted from ridiculous IPOs have struggled, which has people who lived here in 2000-2001 feeling a tad nervous (and I still have no idea how a certain famous Market Street denizen’s financial plan can work in the long run), but it appears that the wild ride will continue for another year or two. Of course, I’ve been wildly wrong before, and will probably be wildly wrong again. Frequently.

Vonn Scott Bair

Wordless Wednesday: San Francisco Moonlight, 24 November 2015.

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Good Evening:

Both taken with my iPhone 6 Plus. Rather surprised that they turned out decently.

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Vonn Scott Bair

Recent Shots of San Francisco City Hall. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Trio)

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Good Morning:

I believe that an unsurprisingly surprising/surprisingly unsurprising number of people have taken a photo of San Francisco’s City Hall at the same time of day every day for an entire year. Not yours truly, although it might sometimes seem that way. Presenting a trio of recent shots, all taken with my iPhone 6 Plus.

Edited in iPhoto, using the unfavorable light to experiment with a silhouette effect.

Edited in iPhoto, using the unfavorable light to experiment with a silhouette effect.

The folks at City Hall like to turn their property into a giant decoration. Never could find out what that gold and silver theme means.

The folks at City Hall like to turn their property into a giant decoration. Never could find out what that gold and silver theme means.

Memorial to Victims of the Paris Attacks.

Memorial to Victims of the Paris Attacks.

Vonn Scott Bair

I’m Rich! I’m Wealthy! I’m an American Playwright!

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Good Evening:

I received an email this weekend from the Helen-Jean Play Contest, to which I had submitted a one-act play:

Congratulations, your submission “The Land of Hope and Dreams”, has won first prize in our contest.  Your will receive a nominal check and a certificate in the mail shortly.

Yes! Not my first win in a competition by any means, but quite welcome all the same! Now the theater company involved will not actually produce LOHAD, as I call it, but they will send me $50.00. So I have fifty bucks!

Ah, not quite. The reading fee for this particular competition equalled five dollars. So I have forty-five bucks!

Ah, not quite. I promptly purchased $40.17 worth of underwear. So I now have $4.83!

Ah, not quite. At a theater event on Saturday night, I spend $3.00 dollars on a soda.

So I now have $1.83.

Which puts me approximately $1.83 ahead of 90% of every playwright in the United States of America for the year 2015.

But I still have $1.83. Not only that, I have a lot of clean new undies.

Perhaps that’s what really matters.

Vonn Scott Bair

Juxtaposition.

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Good Evening:

Took a late lunch today and enjoyed a splendid view of San Francisco’s Civic Center from the 12th Floor of the HQ of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Lunch: leftover homemade chicken with olives, fennel and orange slices over rice. Lunchtime music: Musique de Nuit by Ballake Sissoko (kora) and Vincent Segal (cello).

Having finished lunch I stood by the windows and watched the food trucks and their customers across the street from City Hall. One trio caught my eye, a newly-married couple and their wedding photographer. The woman, Asian-American wearing a classic white dress and veil, tripped over the hem but did not fall, and even from 12 stories up I could see them laughing, her most of all. The husband, Asian-American in a classic black tuxedo and tails, and the photographer, a Caucasian male in tuxedo shirt but no tie, copper silk vest and grey dress slacks, laughed together and followed behind as the new wife traipsed, yes, traipsed among the trees in the Civic Center. She pointed to a nearby lamppost, pulled up the hem of her dress, and ran to it with ease and grace. Her husband and their photographer looked at each other, laughed, and followed.

My cell phone vibrated, indicating that I received a message. I looked away and read an alert from the NY Times.

Shooting at restaurant, two bombs explode near stadium in Paris.

I returned to the window and watched the laughing newlyweds arrange themselves for a pose using the lamppost for a prop. The wedding photographer moved in a semicircle about them, trying to find the best light to take their picture, gesturing with his left hand for them to move just a tad to their left for the best light to capture the happy occasion, the first day of their bright and wonderful future.

Vonn Scott Bair

San Francisco City Hall in Gold & Silver, 12 November 2015. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Ornate)

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Good Evening:

Another November sunset, another post-5:00 crowd, photographing our ornate City Hall.

San Francisco City Hall in Gold & Silver, 12 November 2015.

San Francisco City Hall in Gold & Silver, 12 November 2015.

Photo taken with my iPhone 6 Plus.

Vonn Scott Bair

San Francisco City Hall @ Sunset, November 2015. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Ornate)

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Good Evening:

True, San Francisco City Hall has some very ornate decorations.

Sometimes, so does the sky behind it.

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During the five minutes spent taking that second picture, at least 50 people joined me in photographing the scene.

Vonn Scott Bair

Jocularity in the Portable Sanitation Industry on Haight Street, 7 November 2015.

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Good Evening:

Or in simple English–toilet humor.

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Of all the time you spotted a portable john, did the word “honey” leap to mind? Me, neither.

Vonn Scott Bair

Bell Peppers, 1 November 2015. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Ornate)

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Good Morning:

This must have taken a lot of work. A *lot.*

Bell Peppers, 1 November 2015.

Bell Peppers, 1 November 2015.

Vonn Scott Bair

Riddle of the Week! (Weekly Photo Challenge: Treat)

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Good Evening:

Riddle: In the pictures below, do the humans receive the treats, or do their benevolent canine overlords?

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Answer: Yes.

Welcome to Duboce Park, where the local businesses acknowledge the importance of dogs to the economy:

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This fellow in black has quite a sense of humor. His pet human with the pink hat has just used that blue thing to throw the ball (small white dot in the distance). The dog ignored the ball. And ignored it. And ignored it. Finally, the woman went to fetch it, at which point her benevolent canine overlord with the impish sense of human promptly sprinted to the ball and snatched it away, forcing her to chase him.

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A dog with a sense of humor. More anecdotal evidence that domestic canines have minds.

Did you know that dogs like apple cider?

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Neither did I.

We grumble and groan. They have fun. So who’s really the intelligent creature?

Vonn Scott Bair