Thursday, February 21, 2019

More secrets and lies?

I have never been much interested in the ancestry craze that has taken hold these past few years. I know what I am: Whitey McWhiterson. I know from which part of the world my great-grandparents hailed & have always doubted that there would be some sort of genetic whammy in the mix. My hubby, on the other hand, was always keen to spit in a tube and send it off to some genetic testing company. He did it a few years ago and got me to do it as well. As I had predicted, there's no sort of 'big reveal' for either of us, genetics-wise. Although, I am, like, three percent Neanderthal and that was pretty trippy to find out. The hubs discovered some recent Eastern European ancestry that probably came about from someone having been unfaithful to someone else a couple of generations back. Still, it's not like he'd found out he was part Polynesian or African or something. 

I posted on here some months ago about the discovery of who my mother's bio dad was and how thrilled my mother was to find out specific information about the man. I, on the other hand, felt angry when reading about his life. 'Isn't he handsome?' 'I think you have his nose.' All I could muster up in response was, 'I guess so.' He'd literally lived almost the whole of the 20th century and had not been in contact, although he knew perfectly well where my mother was. I read from his obit, found online, that he was 'survived by a step-grandson'. Whatever. 

So, my mother's 3 bio-siblings were also raised in San Francisco. The two boys were kept by their mother and the two girls, my mother and her half-sister, were given up for adoption. My mother found out who her biological mother was when she was 16. She'd been a friend of the family who'd regularly come by for visits, ostensibly to get a gander at my mom while she was growing up. Finding out that the 'family friend' was actually the woman who gave my mom up didn't sit well. As a result, I never really had contact with my bio-grandma although she'd lived her whole life here in town. Some of my bio-cousins, interestingly, had even lived a few miles from my childhood home. My mother tells me that we all got together at least once way back when. I don't remember. One of those cousins now lives very near my mother out in the Central Valley. They have had the occasional lunch date and even chat on the phone. This cousin is very outgoing and very interested in her biological family. She and I email from time to time. She's very keen on finding out ancestry stuff & spends a lot of time on said sites. I received a mail from her this morning letting me know that she's found someone related to us, perhaps another half-cousin or second cousin, on the 23 & Me site. We three are all about the same percentage related to one another. As a user of the site, I am also able to see this mystery person. She and I are connected through the maternal line, sharing the same mitochondrial haplogroup. So, either my bio-grandma had given birth to a third girl and given her up for adoption or...I dunno, really. My sleuthing bio-cousin just sent this mystery relative a note. May she respond soon as my interest has been piqued!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Bruno Ganz ist verstorben.

The headline on Bruno Ganz's death in The Guardian today--

Bruno Ganz, actor who played Hitler in Downfall, dies aged 77

I read the above words and saw the accompanying photo and thought, Did some Millenial intern with only a very shallow understanding of who Ganz was write this drivel? I also wondered why the lack of love from The Graun. I mean it wasn't as if Ganz had actually been German. 

Anyway, here's what I would have written replete with preferred pic: 

Beloved Swiss actor, Bruno Ganz, perhaps best known for his portrayal of a conflicted angel in Wim Wender's Wings of Desire, has died.

Perhaps that's too many words for a headline, but, my God, the man was more than just a Hitler meme (Google it, btw). 

Bruno Ganz was a multi-talented, multilingual, Swiss acting legend. He hailed from Seebach, Zurich. I was told, probably erroneously, that he was still living in town when I lived there. I had a weekly, volunteer gig in Seebach, so I would keep my eye out when in the area hoping to catch sight of him. I'm not ga-ga for actors, honestly, but I really dig this man's work.  

I first saw Ganz in Wender's Wings of Desire back in the late 80s and was capitivated. His ability to convey great emotion through the most simple of facial expression was genius. Lovers of both film and 20th century history would do well to watch Wings of Desire. Spoiler alert: Lovers of Peter Falk's Columbo are covered as well. ;)

I then saw Ganz in an even earlier work from Wenders called The American Friend. It was based on the Ripley character from novelist Patricia Highsmith. It's a late 70s flick and shows Ganz as a reedy, young man in polyester slacks. He plays opposite Dennis Hopper. It's a trippy film and well-worth a gander. 

Ganz spoke Swiss German, Italian, Standard German and English. He performed beautifully in all of these languages. We were still abroad when a fairly decent Swiss/German film production of Heidi came out in 2015. Ganz plays the grandfather. I'd also recommend the romantic-comedy Bread and Tulips. It's an Italian film from 2000 wherein Ganz plays romantic lead.

Perhaps the Ganz film that packs the most punch is Downfall. Ganz portrays Hitler during his final hours in the bunker. It's an intense, claustrophobic-feeling film that, if it didn't, should have earned Ganz an award.  

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Green gold

Picture sent to me of second avo haul brought down by another round of storms. Apparently, another 8-10 avocados broke open upon impact with the ground. May this intact bundle come our way as well! 

In other news: A house we submitted an offer on and subsequently lost out on has completed the sales process. We looked up the transaction info. online and saw that the seller (who was also the listing agent) took an offer 50k less than ours. WTF? Our agent rang him and he said, in short, that the winning bid was a cash offer. Then he told our agent that he was 'in court' and that he needed to hang up the phone. Mmmmkay. 

February has proven a particularly dry month in terms of homes coming onto the market. We're slated to see two this weekend. One is out by Ocean Beach and one is along a train line. Both look lovely. Both will probably be out of reach, but one never really knows, I guess. 

Thursday, February 14, 2019

It's raining avos--

Storms dislodged heaps of not-yet-ripe avocados from a friend's tree. We were gifted about ten of them. I popped them all in a brown bag with an apple and they were ripe in about a week, or so. We made a huge batch of guacamole with about half of them. I have been eating the others, cut in half and with a spoon, for breakfast.

The Mexican avocado, as I was told these were, looks very different from the avos one mostly finds here in the supermarket. The usual type is dark-skinned and sort of knobby-looking, and, interestingly, has a slightly more robust flavor than the one below.

Mexican avocado

Chill space

Sleeting rain came through a small, permanently-open window up at the top of the wall in my 'chill space' and soaked the wooden, plant trolley. I wiped all the moisture away, then set about rearranging plants and furniture in effort to make sure that the rain, when it comes again, only hits plants. So far, so good.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Shower lights and cops

We viewed a property this past weekend just across the street from the high school my father attended back in the 50s. The school suffered coming into the 70s with race riots, budget cuts and such. By the 80s, it was considered an academically underachieving school. By the 90s, I think it was, it had become ringed with treacherously high fencing that made it impossible for one to come and go freely during school hours. Looking at it, I can't tell if the fence is meant to keep creepy people out, or keep pupils in. -probably both.

Fencing rolls open during morning and afternoon hours.

Back to the propery--it boasted a lovely, tiled bathroom from the 20s. Most of the room was still original and still in decent condition. The shower stall had this rather bright light in it that looked like it would have been more at home on a back deck, or something. I though it looked a bit funny, so I snapped a pic.

I was en route to the train after a lunch date with a pal when this scene unfolded just outside the station: two undercover cops were doing goodness-knows-what with this man. What's sort of amusing is that their plainclothes garb and backward caps resemble a uniform. They also look like they might have been going to a sporting event. Of course, the sidearm sort of gives them away. I have no idea what the dude did to deserve being cuffed. He was compliant, however, and all seemed fairly calm. I'm not sure why I was compelled to take a photo. Maybe it was the sight of the plainclothes dudes. One rarely sees them. Out of frame was a highway patrol officer just sort of hanging out by his car. -really don't know why he was there. I have noticed that for every incident involving a single civilian there are multiple cops on scene. It seems a bit overkill, no pun intended.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Clouds and Flames

We're in between rain storms at the moment. The clouds seem to be preparing for another major dump come the weekend. I love this sort of sky. (I don't really love pounding storms, however.)

Wow. So this happened--

A gas explosion damaging at least four buildings let loose today in the Richmond district. Fortunately, there were no injuries. The explosion didn't happen anywhere near my 'hood; I pulled the above image from the internet. Even though I'm not close by, I can sort of smell smoke in the air some five miles away. I feel for the folks who are without a way to heat their homes on this very chilly day. What also blows is that the gas line explosion was caused by a work crew's negligence. Well done, lads! 

Monday, February 4, 2019

Forking rainbow

It was dumping rain on Saturday when we went out to view houses. The icing on the cake was this slight double rainbow. 

The number of homes with unwarranted, inhumane-looking, in-law units tucked away in dank garages is unreal. I mean, I know the neighbors on either side of us are 3-generational families living in homes that, on the face of it, resemble ours. These homes are all traditional 2 bedrooms/1 bathroom. Three gens of folk from young to old wouldn't be living terribly comfortably in such a set-up. Given that I sometimes hear chatting coming from the other side of the wall when I'm in the garage, it makes me think that there's probably an in-law apartment with grandparents (and a barky dog) living in it. That and the fact there are at least four cars attached to that address. 

Almost as thrilling as the double rainbow was this massive fork left behind in the garage of a once-grand home from 1907. I did a few action poses for the camera. This pic was the least blurry.