Monday, January 20, 2020

German WE (weekend)

The German club meeting was packed out with people today. We had a record-breaking no. of 13 at the table once the late birds had all filtered in. There were some great conversations that took place and good humor all around. I very much enjoyed myself and I would hope that the others did as well. 

The mix of German speakers in the group today was a bit more varied than usual: 

two from India
four from Germany (one native dialect speaker who can speak the standard when pressed)
one from Italy
one from Ireland
one from Israel
one from Indonesia/Holland
three from California (one of whom had German-Jewish parents)

I like a group that includes new visitors as it's always interesting to learn why folk were keen on learning German to begin with. Alternatively, it's equally interesting to learn what drew Germans to California. Silicon Valley seems to be the reason for many, but one German, who is a German club regular, moved here for love.

Last night, I attended a Glühwein party put on by a friend of a friend. Glühwein, for those of you who do not know, is a hot, spiced wine consumed in German-speaking countries. 

Food grade lye makes a pretzel a pretzel!
I brought pretzels to the Glühwein fest.

I suppose not surprisingly, about half of the Glühwein party attendees were German. I spoke a bit with them auf Deutsch, but, mostly, we spoke in English about the cultural and linguistic differences found in German-speaking lands and sort of took the piss out of Swiss Germans (as you do when none are present). 

One of the men at the party turned out to be an old friend of a dear friend of mine. They, he and my friend, were both in bands that gigged together in the local music scene some thirty years ago. In fact, I had probably met this dude more than once back in the early 90s at various music shows. Darned if I have any memory of it now, however.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Pre-march pics--

Waiting at Civic Center to march.
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a group of super out gay men that has been around since I was a kid. They are divine.
The pink pussy hat returns, fourth year in a row!

Pile of NARAL org. pro-choice t-shirts for us to put on.

Former SF supervisor turned California state senator, Scott Wiener, set to march with our group.

So, I forgot to bring my folding chair to the Women's March. Ooopsie! I met the NARAL group at the appointed time and saw a few faces I recognized from the sign-making event. We all stood around chatting and waiting for the march to commence. I alternated between standing with the group and sitting on a nearby curb. After about 30 minutes, or so, of that routine we were finally slowly marching. The foot was already feeling a bit persnickety, but I stuck it out for another 15 minutes holding my sign up and chanting a few 'hey, hey, ho, ho' type rhymes as I went. Then, I ducked into to the next subway stop along Market St. and made my way home. 

Friday, January 17, 2020

Women's March prep., 2020.

I attended a sign-making event for the upcoming Women's March last night at the local offices of a group called Naral, a national organization dedicated to keeping abortion safe and legal in the USA. 

There were about ten to fifteen women and one man set about the floor with poster boards and markers trying to think up slogans to pen. Many of us turned to Google for help. I didn't, but after I tell you what I came up with, you might wonder why I hadn't. 

My slogan is: WOMEN ARE PEOPLE, TOO! 

I know that that sounds trite, but I feel like we aren't treated as if we are. Bodily autonomy is key. If control over our reproductive choices is wrested away, then that will not bode well. 

The 'bad-ass' placard above was written by a French woman here on holiday who is also attending the march.
'I'm with her' infinity

We sign-makers are slated to meet at a predetermined spot at the start of the march. I haven't actually successfully walked more than about ten blocks in one day (and not even in one fell swoop), since incurring a foot injury in autumn of 2018. Saturday's march will be a test to see how far I can go. I'm half-way considering schlepping a folding chair with me in case I need a self-imposed time-out! 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

I regret having never seen RUSH in concert.

One of the most brilliant drummers ever to have graced a stage, Neil Peart, has died. 

Two things people should know about Rush (if they don't already): The 'z' in the song title, YYZ, is spoken as 'zed' not 'zee'. And Neil's surname is pronounced like the word 'pear' with a 't' tacked onto the end. I think no one in American media knows this, and, therefore, I didn't know Peart was 'pear-t' until I watched an interview with Neil on Strombo's old TV program a few years ago. 

Unlike many other stoner bands, if you will, of the 70s and 80s, Rush put out complex, technically challenging music. I mean, we are not talking slip-into-the-couch-and-zone-out Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin type jams. Rush kept you alert (does NOT rhyme with Peart) and actively engaged.

Have you ever watched any footage of Peart playing? Ariel shots will show you a man surrounded by an array of drums and cymbals. I heard that Peart needed to be air-lifted in and out of his drum kit. It was 360 degrees of percussion, baby. 

I'm certain the three members of Rush have been given all the music awards Canada could bestow upon them and I'm fairly sure Rush, too, have been inducted into both the US and Canadian Rock-n-Roll Halls of Fame. 

If there had been an award created for smartest, most kind-seeming drummer who didn't appear to have lost his shit in the face of sex and drugs while out touring, then Peart surely would have won that, too. 

Friday, January 10, 2020

Rock trivia.

If you've not already clicked on the video, then I've a question for you:

Can you name the non-Scottish band who performed the only rock-n-roll (and I mean blazing guitars kinda rock) song that makes use of the bagpipe?  

When I was a kid, this as yet unnamed band's music was ubiquitous. They were in heavy rotation on the radio, they were being blasted out of the windows of muscle cars, they were occasionally being played at the roller rink. I don't think I knew back then that the whine of the bagpipe was what I was hearing. Maybe I thought it was a screeching organ, I don't remember. Anyway, the song still rocks--bagpipes and all. 

Friday, January 3, 2020

Entrée to the arboretum

For the first 60+ years of its existence, the Botanical Garden (we formerly referred to it simply as the 'arboretum') in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park was free to the public. That meant that any and all could enter the garden grounds and have a good wander around. That also meant that weekend picnics and ball games on the lawns were a common sight. 

Since instituting the fee-based entry system (I believe it was ten years ago), the garden sees little in the way of picnic-goers and any sports on the lawns are no longer permitted. Another difference is a complete upgrade of the toilet facilities on site as well as drastically improved signage and pathways leading one through the green space. In short, I like it. And I especially like that I, as an SF resident, do not have to pay an entry fee.

Depending upon age of the non-resident visitor and day of the week, the fee to enter the grounds varies--

Adults-Mon.-Fri.: $9
Adults-weekends: $12
Family: $19 
Seniors & teens: $6
Kids (5yrs-11yrs) $2
4yrs and under: gratis 

By 'family' it is meant that two adults and any kids under 17yrs all residing at the same address would constitute as such. I sort of don't know how parents/adults could prove that minors live at any given address, so I suppose the folk at the payment kiosk just take it on faith. 

Here are few snaps from my arboretum visit today---

I'm a sucker for the mirroring effect on water. I think that the taller trees in the bunch are a type of cypress

Endemic to New Zealand, the Nikau palm is a fantastic-looking specimen!
A hawk uncharacteristically perches at the edge of a lawn--numerous people around him--on the hunt for mice, I imagine.

Below shows a newer section of the gardens that, presumably, was able to be built with botanical garden-goer fees. Yes, those are my feet because I could not have been arsed to move them.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Saturday events and an edit re: CCR tune

Even though Eric's cough hasn't totally gone away and his training prep. for the Festive 500 was compromised by a two-week-long cold, he attempted the bike challenge today at the Polo Fields in Golden Gate Park. Eric hit the track around 4am in the hopes of barreling through--with food and pee breaks--until 8pm. He hit a wall around the nine hour mark and called it a day. He clocked in an admirable 250 km for his efforts. -still pretty festive, if you ask me. 

I attended a somewhat new-found family gathering today, so I wasn't able to pick Eric up after the time trial challenge in the park. He schlepped himself home, tired and sweaty, at about the time I was schmoozing at a lunch with relatives old and new out in a town called Lodi. I didn't take the Greyhound to Lodi as our man in the song did, but rather traveled by suburban rail & then got a Lyft to the restaurant. 

Here's CCR singing 'Lodi' for your listening pleasure (and the song I had meant to upload to this post originally). 

I'm in no shape for even a modest bike ride around the neighborhood never mind participating in the Festive 500, but I am getting back on my feet for little wanders around town. Yesterday, I visited the lovely Buena Vista Park, formerly known as Hill Park, in the Haight-Ashbury. The city views afforded from the upper slopes are lovely. 

-a peek of downtown and the East Bay hills way off in the distance. 

German WE (weekend)

The German club meeting was packed out with people today. We had a record-breaking no. of 13 at the table once the late birds had all filter...