Observing whatever tickles my fancy

Archive for May, 2013

My New Toy

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALate last year I had the urge to buy a ukulele.  I don’t know why, but I did.  As a frugal…okay….cheap person, I fought the urge until one day last month when I found a music store in a nearby town that actually sold ukuleles.  It was amazing! This place had 20-25 ukes hanging on the wall.  I held and strummed nearly every one of them.  This is the one that sang to me.

I am now an excellent player of “Drunken Sailor”.  Sure, it’s only two chords, but I can play it dammit, and that’s all that counts.  The song takes me back to a particular Thanksgiving weekend spent in Philadelphia with friends that involved a party on a Canadian battleship.  Details not to be shared. 😉

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Random photos – San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Sailing

Sailing

Calla Lilies - Botanical Gardens

Calla Lilies – Botanical Gardens

Beauty at the Japanese Tea Garden

Beauty at the Japanese Tea Garden

Steps Closed.  No Exit

Steps Closed. No Exit

Terracotta Warriors – Asian Art Museum -San Francisco

On my 2nd day in San Francisco I saw “China’s Terracotta Warriors” at the Asian Art Museum.  Awesome.  Of course it would have been way cool to be able to see ALL the terracotta warriors where they were found in China, but having the opportunity to see the handful that they brought over to the States to exhibit is pretty cool too.

The toughest part of seeing them was the crowds.  Taking photos in crowded, dark, exhibition halls is difficult. For a claustrophobe like myself, it was even more difficult.   I apologize if some of the shots are blurry.

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Coit Tower – San Francisco

The 2nd day in San Francisco was another art day. All the days were art related.  That’s why I went there.  Today’s schedule:  the Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill to see the WPA murals and the Asian Art Museum to see “China’s Terracotta Warriors” (the Terracotta Warriors will be a separate post).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs well as art, day two was a day of public transport.  Bus, Subway, Trolley, bus (and reverse)….sorry, I didn’t go on a cable car.  It was also a day of crowds:  many crowds…..on the subway, on the trolley, in the Coit Tower, and definitely at the Asian Art Museum.   At Pier 39 I waited for the bus that would take me up to the Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill.  It was a blessed crowd-free bus.

I arrived 45 minutes early for the City Guides Tour of the Coit Tower and wandered around the grounds, peered through the fog at what was a barely seeable Alcatraz.

The interior of the Coit Tower has frescoes painted by many artists during the Depression.  It was part of the WPA program that FDR cooked up to get the unemployed “employed”.   Here are some photos of the frescoes.  They are supposed to represent California in one way or another: farming, industry, etc.

If you want to see a larger scale photo, click on the image.

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The following frescoes are seen on the 2nd floor and in the stairwell.  Which you can only access with a City Guide.  This level seems to show the more posh side of California during the depression.

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Japanese Tea Garden – San Francisco

I love gardens….I love Japanese Tea Gardens….the one in San Francisco is wonderful.  (If you want a larger view click on the photo.)

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San Francisco – Day 1

I arrived in San Francisco late the previous day.  After getting settled in the penthouse room I wandered to the nearest subway station to load a 3-day Muni Pass on the Clipper Card that the folks I stayed with provided.  After that it was a quick dinner at a nearby restaurant and then crashing after the day of travel.

April 5th – the first day of wandering San Francisco.   I had three goals for the day.  The Japanese Tea Garden, the De Young Art Museum,  and the Cartoon Art Museum.

VeermeerThe goal was to see the Dutch paintings from the Mauritshuis (aka: The Hague).  The highlight of this show was Vermeer’s painting of the Girl with the Pearl Earring.  This painting was the reason I decided to take the trip to San Francisco. It is more beautiful than any photograph can show.  I nearly wept at the opportunity to be near it.

rembrandt2Etchings by Rembrandt and his contemporaries were also on exhibit.  Small etchings that I had to take my glasses off to see. Crowds gathered around the artwork.  People slipped in and out of tiny spaces making room for the newcomers.

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My first stop of the day was the Japanese Tea Garden where I took one of the City Guides Tours.  In the early 1900s a man named Mr. Hagiwara expanded and maintained a beautiful space until he and his family were sent to a detention camp during WWII.  A sad part of American History.  But the beauty he created remains.  It is a peaceful place even when filled with tourists.

The Japanese Tea Garden tour was early in the morning: 9 or 10 a.m.  My tickets for the De Young weren’t until 2:30 p.m.  Between the two I hopped on the #5 bus and went across town to the Cartoon Art Museum.  Luckily, at the bus stop, there was a man and woman (dressed in Giants garb as it was opening day at the ballpark) who took me under wing and guided me through the public transport system so I could get to the Cartoon Art Museum quickly. (The people of San Francisco are awesome.)

At the Cartoon Art Museum I saw artwork by Chuck Jones, the artist behind Wiley Coyote, the Road Runner, Bugs Bunny and the gang.  The museum is small but filled with cartoons.  Enough to thrill a big kid like me.

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