Archive for the ‘Random Art Bloggery’ Category

San Francisco, Part 4.

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

We’re going to delve into Muir Woods! But first, not Muir Woods.

I got my first coffee with a fancy pattern! And it was at a profoundly hipster coffee shop! I was delighted.

Continuing with the consumption theme I went out for dim sum in San Fran Chinatown. It was awesome. Look at this sampler platter.

I rotated the sampler so you could see the bunnies.

The plants in San Francisco are better. They have a far more temperate climate so they can have bougainvillea, and palm trees, and hibiscus. Their Roses of Sharon look more hibiscus-y than ours.

Okay, Muir Woods. I’ve spoken about it before (you have to scroll down quite a bit, it’s there) but I have new information this time. Let me share this new information with you.

I was in California during the horrible fires in Paradise. It was horrendous to see on the news and people in San Francisco who probably have friends and family in the affected area were distraught, justifiably. The air was filled with smoke. People were wearing bandannas and painter’s masks in an attempt to curb the smoke inhalation but none of them took the major gaps of either approach into their judgment. While a good thought they were useless. The reason I’m mentioning this is my pictures at Muir Woods are particularly beautiful due to the particulate in the air but it’s a bittersweet beauty because you know how much suffering is associated with it.

The trees be old.

I admired their aggressive will to survive. For example, this tree was struck by lightning or burned or something, it’s black and dead. Look in the middle, you can kind of see it. So it made children with its roots and sent them up all around it. I think it’s called a Family Tree.

I also was impressed by the trees that fell over with their roots out of the ground and were like, well, I’ll just grow vertical trees out of my horizontal branch. Send roots down through it. Problem solved.

Look at the size of these clovers! They match the trees in beefiness.

In case you don’t have a sense of the size of the trees, this hole at the bottom could accommodate four or five full-grown adults sitting. Big. Very big. And large. And also tall.

And now the beautiful / sad photos. No photoshop of any kind.

It was nice to see that Muir Woods has signs about conservation and the environment and when you get to their gift shop and cafe they actually walk the walk.

Next post: Art and the bestest thing that happened to me on this trip.

San Francisco, Part 3.

Tuesday, December 25th, 2018

Alcatraz! But first, other stuff.

On our first day in San Fran Ness-Ness took us to the Castro district for lunch. That is the historically gay neighborhood. I believe it’s referred to in the movie Milk (phenomenal movie, go see it). There were your standard gay area shops but there was also two naked guys wandering around. Older naked guys. Wandering around the streets being naked. To be honest they weren’t completely naked, they were wearing tiny sparkly cape over their parts. Not the eggs, only the stalk. And one guy’s cape was too short so his stalk was peekin’ from the bottom which somehow made it worse. Once the gentlemen had passed we went to a cafe for lunch. Please note the name. Keeping faithful to the area and its motif.

At first I was like those prices are kinda high and then they brought the food out and I was like never mind. The portions were big, the food was excellent, you should go there. The fruit crepe was dope as hell. A+ fruit crepe.

Another thing I saw whilst strolling the streets: a sign shop that does hand painting. Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about anything with calligraphy or hand-painted letters (big big fan). Imagine my delight at seeing this. So many styles! So crisp, so even! Strong, purposeful brush strokes! I swoon.

Now, Alcatraz. Crickets loooooooves behind-the-scenes tours. Loves ’em. I do too but he did all the booking so we saw all kinds of secret magical things. One of those things was a tour of Alcatraz conducted by a person (the basic tour has you carry around a little tape recorder that instructs you where to go). I am now awash in knowledge. Allow me to share it with you.

As I said before I only took three photos at Alcatraz because I was trying to live in the moment but I will rely on the gazillion other people that have been there to provide me with pictures. Okay, so Alcatraz was a tortoise-back-shaped island until around the mid-1800s when it was made into a military fort. I think it’s been part of the U.S. Government (as opposed to San Francisco property) since then. I know it’s now considered a national park so when we went on our tour a federal park person accompanied us. She pointed out that since we were on federal property, even though we were only a mile from San Francisco, no one could use marijuana or marijuana-based materials at any time. (I do not personally partake in the healing weed but that point of it being illegal intrigued me.) Now, one might think it’s only a mile to San Francisco, why didn’t any of those escapees make it, and it’s because of the temperature of the water – very cold – and the current. There is a race to swim to San Fran every year but it was pointed out that these people had trained and, more importantly, were wearing cold water wet suits which insulated them. One of the first things the soldiers did when they got to the island was hack a chunk of the side of the tortoise back so there was a sharp cliff. That way invaders didn’t have a way to get up to the fortress. They also grew agave plants all over the side of the cliff because you cannot navigate through them, they’ll slice you right up. Here’s an oldey-timey picture where you can see the man-made cliff.

When the fortress was done fortressing it was used for holding POWs and the prison was built right on top of it. So when you’re standing at the base of the main building you can see massive stone chunks which then turn into cement and that’s where the prison layers begin and even those are visibly different, from the POW prison to the criminal prison. There are several other buildings on the island because the guards and their families lived in the same place as the prisoners. The guards had nice apartments and there were twelve ferries every day back and forth from San Fran so the wives could go and pick up necessities and the families could go see a movie or whatever, but they lived right next to the cells. Imagine being a little kid and growing up like that. Anyway, because of the guards being residents there was a social house and a school house and a power station, etc. Alcatraz was only the prison we know it as from 1930-something to 1960-something, not that long.

If I had to sum up my experience at Alcatraz it would be astonishment at how similar it was to Shawshank Redemption. I’ve probably mentioned numerous times how that is my favorite movie but I figured it was hyped up to make it a more interesting story. I was wrong. Apparently the new inmates came off the ferry chained together at the feet, were hosed down and given anti-lice powder and then were walked to their cells naked while the more experienced prisoners yelled “New fish!” at them. The cells at Alcatraz look just like they do in Shawshank (except that the walls are painted pretty shades of salmon and mint, which is weird). They had The Hole which I got to visit. The showers were all open with rows of overhead pipes and sprinklers. They showed movies twice a month. Heck, even look at this picture of the yard. It’s got the layout and same stepped area that is in the first scene where Red takes bets on who will cry first. The similarities are nearly endless.

More on The Hole: It is solitary confinement in the dark. It’s supposed to really break you down. In Alcatraz it was originally a leftover portion of the fortress underground.

There was a toilet off to the side for the guard to use and let me tell you that was the scariest thing I saw on the whole tour. If anything is haunted there it’s that toilet. I don’t know how to describe it but it was run down and the smooth white seat was cracked down the middle and I think it didn’t help that it was on the edge of a looooooong corridor that was dark (remember, we’re in the fortress here so many creepy corridors to be had) so if you were sitting on this toilet (no stall, out in the open) on your left were prisoners trapped in darkness and on your right was a tunnel leading to who-knows-what. POW corpses probably. Nightmare fuel, I tell ya. Eventually they moved the solitary confinement upstairs where it was sound-proof and in complete darkness. Here’s an article about it. Don’t read it, maybe. Because once something is known, it cannot be unknown.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/11245414/My-19-days-in-solitary-confinement-on-Alcatraz.html

The SC cells looked like this:

I have to say the coolest part of the tour was showing how the cell doors opened and closed. I’ll try to explain it. At the end of the rows of cells is a large box. In that box is three levers. Over the all the cell doors in a massive bicycle chain with metal pins in it. The guard chooses to open cells 2, 5 and 13. The guard pulls the first lever to 3 (there’s a strip with numbers on the side of the lever so he knows where to line it up to). He pulls the second lever to drop the pin into the door of cell 3. He pulls the first lever to 5. Pulls second lever to drop pin in cell door 5. Pulls first lever to 13. Pulls second lever to drop pin in cell door 13. Finally, he pulls the massive third lever, those door with pins in them move with the bicycle chain and open. The rest of the doors don’t have dropped pins in them so they don’t open. I found a video showing you how it works. Start at 3:39.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbVMbdaz8ZI

The reason I know how all this works is because they have a section of the chain housing covered with plexiglass so you can see it in operation. It’s pretty awesome. There’s no electronics so it works in a blackout. Totally worth checking out.

Next entry: Muir Woods and other stuff.

Addendum: Cricket took a picture of the upsetting basement toilet. Horrifying. Enjoy.

San Francisco, Part 2.

Monday, December 17th, 2018

I don’t know if I mentioned it, but I was in San Francisco for a wedding. Cricket and I decided to stay in the Queen Anne Hotel. It is supposedly haunted. Here is the haunting information:

The Queen Anne Hotel is a hotel in San Francisco, on Sutter Street. The hotel is an historic 1890 Victorian mansion, in the namesake Queen Anne architectural style, and decorated in the painted lady style. It was originally a girl’s boarding school. It narrowly survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.The hotel is a popular site for ghost hunting. The headmistress of the former finishing school, Mary Lake, is said to haunt her former office in Room 410. The hotel’s paranormal history was explored in an episode of the television show Haunted Hotels.

We did not stay in room 410 so I didn’t experience the haunting. I have to recommend this hotel, the room was great, the bed was hella-comfortable, the breakfast had make-your-own waffles, there’s an enormous living room / salon with fireplaces and comfy chairs AND every morning if you sign up for it you can take a black car anywhere you want in the city for free. We didn’t go to the afternoon tea and sherry but I imagine that was lovely as well. I had a strong attraction to this piece of furniture.

And this heater.

And the floor inlay.

The only problem I had with the hotel was the decor. Victorian is a really tough design period, there’s a lot of clutter and bric-a-brac, it’s all dark wood, kind of ornate, it can go downhill real fast.

And in some places in this hotel it did. For example, why did you paint the lady’s heads in the dining room? Now I’m eating breakfast surrounded by dead eyes. It’s hard to eat your yogurt with that.

Nope, that’s a hard nope from me.

I don’t know what they were going for with the dead flowers. I’ll tell you what, it really complemented the dismembered lady heads everywhere.

Now, this is cool and then it is not. A bunch of stained glass windows survived the earthquake in 1906 and they are above your head as you climb the stairs. Lovely. However some jackass put fluorescent tube lights behind them so they have all the warmth and charm of a second-grade classroom. Why? Why do you do this to me? Anguish.

This isn’t really a complaint, more of a flumoxing really. This was our bathroom wall viewed from the toilet. What… what is going on here?

I understand some of the elements like the light switch and the plug things but the everything else, I have no idea what’s going on there. Many questions left unanswered.

We were right next to Japantown which consists of two very large buildings built in a Japanese-esque style and a tall tower.

We went early in the morning which I do not recommend because almost nothing in the two Japantown malls is open until around noon. It was a perfectly fine mall, lots of shops and food stalls. I have to admit I am jaded. There was a Japantown on the way to my previous office and therefore I was regularly exposed to a chunk of Japanese culture. I imagine this would blow someone’s mind if they were from a Japanese-starved area but I was okay with it, not mind blown. But I do recommend checking it out, there might be something there that isn’t in your area. Here’s a list of the stores.

http://sfjapantown.org/directory/

The one thing they had that gave me warm fuzzies was the beverage vending machine. I fell madly in love with the beverage vending machines in Japan so I got a little teary-eyed to see my old friend again.

That’s it for today. Next entry: Art and Alcatraz.

 

 

Aaaaaand we’re back. San Francisco, Part 1.

Thursday, December 13th, 2018

I had maybe all the work to do. I still have most of the work to do. But I feel like it’s time to start to start sharing my trip which was, what, like over a month ago? Yeah, I need to get on that. I didn’t take a lot of pictures because I was trying to live in the moment like the magazines say but luckily many other people took pictures so I will pull their photos from the internet.

The first thing I did when I landed was hook up with my friend Ness who moved out to San Francisco to become a police officer. She’s been a cop for several years now and I’m still salty about it. I will never be unsalty about her leaving me. (I know she went there to pursue a better life but being completely self-absorbed I still think she left me. Personally. Just me.) Ness took me and Cricket all around the town. She drove us through the Tenderloin (“That’s the corner where you buy heroin… and that’s the corner where you buy crack and weed…”) I was like, heyyyy, Police Officer Lady, shouldn’t you do something about that maybe? Ness said, “First of all I’m off the clock. Secondly the drug trade is so inherent in the city that arresting them would accomplish nothing.” And honestly the drug trade was not an issue for me. The homeless people freakin’ everywhere was very much an issue for me. Seriously, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Kowloon Walled City popped up in midtown. If you don’t know about the Kowloon Walled City, it is cool as hell. Here is a description:

https://www.businessinsider.com/kowloon-walled-city-photos-2015-2

So the homeless people have tents everywhere which doesn’t bother me too much. And many of them sadly have some kind of mental problem, which is unfortunate but doesn’t bother me too much. What DOES bother me too much, and I’m sorry to get all graphic here, is the human feces all over the sidewalk. You heard me. In New York where people are civilized the homeless either poop in a corner edge of a building or poop on a piece of cardboard and throw it away (I’ve seen them do this, it’s the neighborly thing to do). That way it’s not in the middle of the sidewalk. In San Fran I walked with my head down the whole time because if I stepped in some I planned to cut off my foot at the ankle and burn it in a trash can. I need my foots so I was determined to not let that happen. When I was being a tourist in Chinatown (San Francisco has the oldest and largest Chinatown in America but New York’s is the most densely populated) and I skidded on a shiny leaf my first reaction was “FECES!!!” That’s not a great way to go through life. The other thing about San Francisco that I did not care for was the imminent perpetual threat of theft. Ness says they’ve stopped arresting people for snatch-and-grabs or car break-ins. According to one news piece I watched there are 31,000 car break-ins A YEAR. That’s straight-up bananas.

Not everything in San Francisco is trash, please don’t get that impression. There were many things I really enjoyed. I loved the old houses. LOVED.

       

Another gorgeous structure; The Now Scientology Headquarters of SF, Formerly The Original TransAmerica Building.

Other things I loved about San Francisco: I had dim sum, it was magnificent; The California Academy of Science was the best natural history / aquarium / botanical garden combo pack in the world (more on that later); Muir Woods is breathtaking and glorious (more on that later as well), the weather is scrumptious… there’s a lot to love.

I think Ness should return to NY tho.

 

I have not died!

Saturday, November 24th, 2018

I simply went to a wedding in San Francisco. And took some photos. Not many photos. I tried to live in the moment. However, everyone of earth has taken photos of everything so I will peruse the internet and most likely find all the pictures I need. Hold on and I’ll start posting the magic. Hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving.

Artists that make me want to quit my job and make crafts all day.

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

Ugh. So much talent. I know I sound like a teenage girl but I can’t even. I got two artists today that are making me feel a large selection of feels.

Amok Island. He’s an artist who paints nature-based paintings using flat colors and geometric shapes, a lot of circles, and I can’t get enough of Amok’s work. It kind of reminds me of Charlie Harper’s work, the similarity being the plants and animals as primary subjects and the clean and minimal color plains, reducing the subject down to its simplest of forms. I am a sucker for thistles or thistle-like plants as well as color transitions like ombre so I am smitten and I want to see all the murals and buy all the prints.

I think it’s great that Amok painted the cross-section of the fish in this mural.

Here’s an article about him if you’d like more information.

https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2018/02/amok-island-murals/

 

LullabyForFox. THE RUSSIANS. It’s always the Russians, bringing their absurd crazy talent from their frosty land. LullabyForFox creates soft sculptures. She makes their bodies out of plush material and then makes the face, arms, legs, wings, etc. out of polymer clay. They are so charming and friendly and bright.

       

LullabyForFox is on Etsy and her work is extremely reasonable. I would snap up a handful of these masterpieces.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/LullabyForFox

It’s not all bad. Here is some internet to cheer you up.

Sunday, November 4th, 2018

1. At first I was like NOOOOOO and then I was like awwwwww.

http://tumblrsbest.com/post/178741208346/helthehatter-jessadamsdraws-hanitjemars

 

2. The moth meme, maybe the stupidest / fascinating meme of all time. If you’re not familiar with this I’ll take you through it. A man took a photo of a moth.

That’s it. A photo of a moth. The Internet for some reason I do not understand felt a strong kinship with this moth and decided to make, oh, a million or so memes about it. Some make sense, some don’t, some reference other memes, it’s a whole thing. Get ready.

      

Because rule 34 exists, there are sexy drawings of the moth.

And because people cannot be trusted to make their own decisions, someone got a tattoo.

3. Any time a neural network tries to come up with something it always the straight-up best, and these paint names are no exception.

4. This doesn’t have anything to do with anything, but I adore this picture. Not only is the frog the guardian of the sauce, but he also looks like vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup dripping down him. Everything about this picture is glorious.

5. This picture(s) of a lunar eclipse is awesome.

A collection of chartery.

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Character actors that I dig very, very hard.

Monday, October 8th, 2018

You know when you’re watching something and an actor shows up and you’re like “Heeeey! It’s that guy! Yeah!” Those are character / supporting actors and I have a few favorites. I occasionally will watch some supercrappy TV or movie simply because one of my favorites is in it. For example, The Leftovers on HBO. If you have depression avoid that show like the plague. My friend called it “grief porn” and it is a colossal bummer. BUT Ann Dowd is in it and therefore I watched one and a half seasons before I had to tap out. So let’s go through my list. I’m sure you have a list of your own. In no particular order:

1. Ann Dowd.

Since we mentioned her let’s start with her. God, I love her. The first time I really paid attention to her was in the first season of True Detective. She’s only in the last episode but whooo is she memorable. Then I started noticing her all over the place. Right now Ann Dowd is a major character on The Handmaid’s Tale and she is KILLING it on that show. Check out her IMDB and see some of her stuff, you won’t regret it.

2. Giancarlo Esposito 

One role. I’ve only seen him in one role. But it’s one of the best pieces of acting I’ve ever seen. Holy crap. Giancarlo’s performance on Breaking Bad was unreal. He plays Gus Fring and if you haven’t watched any of Breaking Bad find out when he starts onscreen and when he finishes and watch those episodes because it is worth it. I just looked at his IMDB page and I see he’s in two of the Maze Runner movies so I’ll now be watching the Maze Runner series of films. I must consume more Giancarlo.

3. Allison Janney

Allison was a slow, slow burn for me. I remember her from American Beauty and I thought she was great there even though she had maybe three lines. Then I saw her in Juno and I thought she was delightful there. Then I finally got around to seeing all of The West Wing and of course she was iconic there. Recently I saw I, Tonya and my goodness, her performance is so on point. It’s really easy for that specific character to become a total cartoon but Allison kept it vaguely grounded. Now I’m watching Mom which is a sitcom on CBS. I actively dislike comedies with laugh tracks (I can figure out where the funny is all by myself, thanks so much) but she’s on it, so I’m gritting my teeth and getting through it. The actor coming up next is also on the show so I’m holding on for that as well.

4. William Fichtner (pronounced Fikner, ignore the T)

Oh my God, I love him. I love him so much. I love how he moves his hands. I love his weird hatchet-esque profile. William has been in everything ever. I cannot remember the first place I saw him but he keeps popping up in TV, movies, apparently he does voiceover for video games, the man keeps busy. I was so psyched when I saw William in the opening of The Dark Knight. I am shocked – SHOCKED! – that the incredibly creepy look he gives when the bank is being brutally robbed is not a meme. It can be used for like eight or nine emotions. C’mon Internet, get it together.

5. The entire supporting cast of The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption is my #1 movie ever. I own it on DVD but if it;’s on TNT with commercials I still have to watch it. I know every line now. As you know if you’ve seen it it’s got a pretty big cast. So every time I see one of the side actors in a different show playing a different role I get very excited. Perfect example: There’s a character in Shawshank called Boggs. He is a rapey psychopath who speaks very quietly and makes your skin crawl. A stellar performance. Therefore imagine my delight when watching Turn: Washington’s Spies and there’s that guy playing a regular-degular guy. Hi actor Mark Rolston! I’m glad you’re not typecast as a gross manifestation of a prison nightmare!

6. The entire supporting cast of Orange is the New Black

I don’t feel like I have to explain this. The people on this show, my goodness. Hey, I watched several seasons of How To Get Away With Murder because Matt McCorry is on it. I HATE that show. It’s a soap opera that airs at night and it’s ridiculous. So many implausible murders and kidnapped babies! But Matt was in it so I watched it. If Crazy Eyes or Black Cindy or Chang are in a major motion picture you bet your sweet butt I would I would go to see it. The sheer talent on the show is immense.

 

The internet has released its bounty and we are grateful for it.

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

1. In Amsterdam they were putting in a new tunnel near or under the Amstel River so whatever the engineers pulled off the bottom of the river was organized and displayed. Some of the items are quite old. I would fly to Amsterdam to see this if I could.

 

2. I don’t like horses normally but I would learn to ride just so I could ride this horse. Holy crap, this horse is amazing. I HAVE ARRIVED AT THE SUPERMARKET ON MY MASSIVE PREHISTORIC STEED. FEAR ME AS I PICK UP SOME ESSENTIALS LIKE TOILET PAPER AND YOGURT.

 

3. There’s an aquarium in New Zealand where they have penguins. Some of the penguins are good. Some are bad. Here are the reports.

       

 

4. These are all excellent responses if you’re transgender and you get that ever-so-common question. I heartily approve of all of these.

 

5. This is the best description of a thing possibly ever. I would like to be described like this. #Lovely #Skulking #Riparian #Denizen

 

6. Also from Audubon, an article about coot feet. I’ve always wondered about them and now all has been revealed.

https://www.audubon.org/news/better-know-bird-american-coot-and-its-wonderfully-weird-feet

 

7. Final bird thing: I saw this and immediately began singing Taps. Go with God, Chandelier Dove.

Bonus: An oldie but a goodie – When Obvious Plant renamed paint colors.

http://obviousplant.com/post/121284665608/follow-obvious-plant-on-facebook