Thursday, October 17, 2019

Street Photography, Oct. 17

Tiny heart tattoo

Rough sleepers in the Haight

Facing east at Ocean Beach

Rice pudding


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Brautigan with a twist

Halloween in the pool
There was a pumpkin patch of sorts at the outdoor pool in Brisbane this past weekend. I came in on Friday and was met with the above scene--PUMPKINS everywhere! This well-attended, annual event takes place literally in the pool. It's sounds to be sort of like bobbing for apples, but it's instead diving for pumpkins. I suppose most of these squash float, so diving may not be required. 

Hearing about the event from the pool staff reminded me of a poem by San Francisco* writer Richard Brautigan called Pumpkin Tide. Here it is--

I saw thousands of pumpkins last night
come floating in on the tide,
bumping up against the rocks and
rolling up on the beaches;
it must be Halloween in the sea.

In this case, it was to be Halloween in the pool. 

*Brautigan hailed from the Pacific Northwest, but lived and wrote in San Francisco in the 1960s and 1970s. 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

'Bris-bane', California, not 'Bris-bun', Australia

I cut another driver off en route to the outdoor pool in Brisbane the other week. My excuse: It was my first trip to this particular pool center, and I wasn't familiar with the local roads. I had lawfully yielded at the top of a hill before turning onto the street that dead-ended at the pool. Another motorist was jamming along the pool road in my direction and I hadn't quite seen her (I blame the curve in the road somewhat obscuring my view) before turning nearly right in front of her car. I realized that I was going to be on the hook when it dawned on me that we were both now on the road that terminated at the pool facility. The other motorist parked two slots down from me. She was getting out of her car as I was getting out of mine. I put on my game face and got of my car full of apologies. I had told the woman: I'm sorry I cut you off. This is my first time at the pool and I was unfamiliar with the road leading up here. She said something like: Well, I'm glad you apologized. We smiled at each other and that was it. Since that incident I drive a slightly different route that puts me on the road that has no yields and takes one straight through to the pool area. While on that road yesterday, a car coming up the hill didn't yield properly and cut me off. Her action forced me to stomp on my brakes as I had made that other driver do last week. And now the circle is complete. 

Funky driving aside, I really, really like this pool. It's located in an area that is sheltered from the fog and cooler temperatures by a small chain of hills. If it's warm and sunny anywhere, then it's going to be in Brisbane. When I go there, I just feel as if I'm on some sort of extended summertime vacation. 

Below is a picture of the pool from the beginning of the month. I think it's nearly 25C/77F out and around 4 o'clock in the afternoon. On warmer days this place packs out at the weekends. There are often children's birthday parties going on as well. It's just a really festive vibe. It doesn't hurt that a flock of bright green, wild parrots are seen often flying overhead squawking as the go. The pool center also boasts two, semi-feral tabbies. They usually hang about the pool taking absolutely no notice of the swimmers. I know this first-hand as I often call out to them from the pool. I say, 'Here puss-puss!' and make kissing noises with my mouth. The cats not only never look my way, but they also don't blink, their ears don't twitch and their tails remain motionless. Unless you are one of the lifeguards who feeds them, then you do not exist. Maybe on my next visit I should bring along a tin of tuna in order to try and make some new, furry friends. 

Holiday at home: Brisbane outdoor pool

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Displacing the past.

Long since demolished Pergolas on Geneva Ave. at the border between the Excelsior and Crocker-Amazon Districts.
I opened the door to a small, elderly, Italian-sounding woman standing on my porch asking me: 'Are you-a renting or are you-a selling?' 

I thought she was asking how much we'd charge in rent if we were landlords. Don't ask me why I thought this. Anyway, what she really meant was: Is the illegal unit that our landlord built in the back of the garage open for renting. How she knew about the illegal unit is beyond me. 

As it turns out, she's been living with her friend in the house two houses down from mine for the past few weeks. She was evicted from her last place because of a disagreement with her landlord (I don't think this is legal, btw). The woman said she's been living in San Francisco since the 1950s and that she'd arrived here from Sicily when she was just 17 years old. I think it's amazing how her accent is still wonderfully pronounced. Her friend with an even thicker accent, a woman from Northern Italy, came out briefly to ask if she were coming back soon. I made a joke about how it's a wonder they get along considering that they are from opposite ends of the country. She said: 'Oh, no. We have known each other fifty years. We never fight.' I told her it was good they had each other. She then told me that she liked me. I shook her hand before watching her make her way back up the block to her friend's place. Just before going inside she turned around and waved at me. I waved back. It felt as if I were in another San Francisco. A place that was of my grandparent's time. 

I may have mentioned in a previous post that this part of San Francisco, the Excelsior, was home to a large Italian immigrant group that held strong for much of the 20th century. My father's high school yearbook was positively filled with Italian surnames. The woman I chatted with and her friend, my neighbor, are remnants of that once robust community.

She (I neglected to ask her name) told me that after she'd lost her previous rental, she'd gone to stay with her brother in Pacifica, but that she didn't want to stay there because she 'don't like-a Pacifica'. I laughed and told her that I was from Pacifica. Her eyebrows raised and she pursed her lips. 

Our district supervisor, Ahsha Safai, has supposedly pledged to help her find accommodation. I've emailed his office a few times about various things, nothing as dire as needing immediate housing, and have never received a response. One would hope that her case would receive better attention and it sounds as if she's at least had some contact from the man, so fingers are crossed. 

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Balmy Saturday

A beach trip was in the cards today. The weather was perfect for it. -no clouds (although I do like a bit of white in the sky), no wind, and a warm 74F/23C.

Eric pitched the beach tent and we settled in to working on the NYT crossword puzzle from this past Tuesday. Feeling ambitious, we even brought the Wed. crossword as well. There were no large mammals to be seen dipping in and out of the water today. There were, however, a good few birds diving in head first for fish, so that was exciting to watch. 

We made fairly short work of the Tuesday crossword, but the Wednesday one was a toughie. I knew a few answers straightaway, but as soon as it began to feel like ages between figuring out a clue answer, I gave up and retreated to reading another section of the paper. The steady sounds of loud crashing waves in the background kept me company.

View from the pier.
The 'detectorist' and friend.

At one point a 'detectorist' ambled by. I could hear the sound of his machine as he waved it to and fro. A few feet from our tent he and his friend knelt down. The 'detectorist' took out his shovel and began to dig. He then brushed away a bit of sand from the spot in front of him. Nothing. The two men then moved on down past the blue tent you see in the background. I found it funny that this man was looking for goodies just along where beach-goers were sat. Using such a method, he may find some errant pocket change or a lost earring, but I can't imagine what else.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Street photography

I enjoy taking photos. I don't claim to be much good at it, but I do tend to snap a photo at least once a day of people, buildings, and landscapes. 

From what I understand, street photography is meant to call attention to the often overlooked instances around us in our daily life. While street photography should include people in frame, it seems that simply the mere suggestion of human activity would suffice. 

Here are a few shots I have taken over the past few months that I thought were decent enough to be thought of as street photography---

Coffee talk

Castro St. Station

La Mission
Are any of you also fans of street photography and do you indulge in shooting images as well? 

Street Photography, Oct. 17

Tiny heart tattoo Rough sleepers in the Haight Facing east at Ocean Beach Rice pudding Siesta Greens