Sunday, May 31, 2020

George Floyd Protest

Protests are being held in cities across the country this weekend in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of police. San Francisco, unlike neighboring San Jose and Oakland, held its protest this afternoon instead of last night. The rally began at noon in front of City Hall. I went down to check it out. The group assembled was mostly peaceful. The folk in charge of putting on the event invited various speakers to share words of inspiration...I think. A constant whirring of helicopter blades overhead cut out a majority of what could be heard even though a megaphone was used throughout. 

At one point I noticed an individual coming over to where some of us stood to the side of the steps (read: quasi stage) with a placard in his hand. He chucked it over the barrier while mumbling to himself. The sign read: White Silence = Violence. I thought his behavior odd as the placard's message was in line with why we were assembled. A white guy came out of the crowd to retrieve the tossed sign. As he passed the man who'd taken his sign, he yelled, 'Asshole!' and kept moving. Sign Stealer then puffed up his chest and asked if the other dude, who had left the scene by this time, wanted to fight. I believe he used the words: 'I will kick your ass, bitch!' It was at this point that I contemplated going home. A few minutes later, Sign Stealer was back in our corner of the crowd with yet another placard reading much the same as the first one. He began to crush the sign in his hands and was just about to toss it over the barricade when one of the organizers came over to ask him what his deal was. The guy hopped over the barrier to move away from her while saying that he had objected to the use of the word 'white' on both the placards. (And that's when I knew that this joker was either mentally ill or just looking to brawl or both.) The organizer said to him with raised voice and finger pointed at him: These people are allies. Stop taking their signs. His response was to chant: 'White Power! White Power!' in her face. A few of us backed away from him at that point. I lingered a bit to snap his photo (thankfully he didn't see me) and then I beat feet for home. 


Starting to assemble just after noon today at City Hall.
And about an hour later.


His second sign snatched and crumpled as the woman in the background is about to tell him off for his behavior.


Kook close-up. 




Monday, May 25, 2020

Beach finds/Strandfunde and Tow Truck Dudes

A bird's egg in a bird's nest!

A bunch of grapes made from the bulbous bits of kelp.

Coastal kids in the 70s remember what their parents used for ashtrays out in the backyard.


My car died the other day when I was downtown running an errand. I haven't had a modern (read: computerized)  car ever car crap out on me, so I was a bit confused as to what was going on. The dashboard flashed various warning messages like: OIL CHANGE IN 30 DAYS while I was trying to turn the engine over. The radio had also stopped working. The last car I owned for any length of time was a '66 VW Beetle. There was nothing on that dash other than a gas gauge, speedometer and odometer. Everything was pretty straightforward when the Beetle died. (And it did often.) 


I called VW to see if I could bring the car in. I then called a tow service. The pick-up for towing was set. I paid upfront. During my hour wait for the tow, I noticed that the engine was *almost* turning over. -an improvement from when I first attempted to start the car. So I figured I should ask the tow dude if he could provide a jump in the off-chance that the car would start. Also I wasn't going to be able to get the car down to VW before they closed for the day and did not want to pay to have my car parked at the tow yard over the long weekend. Anyway, the tow guys arrived and I asked for the jump. I got in the driver's seat and started the car. Nothing happened. Instead of trying again, the main dude working the jumper cables asked the secondary dude to get into the driver's seat. I really didn't want that because of fears around virus transmission, but I also didn't want to argue. As it turned out, the man who was now in my car did not know how to drive stick. I had to tell him what to do. It worked. The engine turned over. Then I had to tell him to, please, put the car in 'neutral' before getting out of the car. Based on his appearance, I would have guessed that he hails from a country where driving a manual transmission is still the norm. Maybe he didn't know the word 'neutral' in English? But he works in the towing industry? I dunno. 

Thrilled, I did a wee happy dance and thanked them both profusely. Then our main man asked me point blank for a tip. A tip? But I had already paid for the service? I was confused, but, honestly, had no cash on hand and told him so. I was about to say 'agent carries no money', but he wouldn't have gotten the joke. Anywho, so I guess my question is: Are we tipping tow guys now?

Friday, May 22, 2020

Beach finds/Strandfunde and crab rescue

Wee eruption on the back deck.


Flutterbys

Many of the crabs I see in the sand at my local beach are not intact and most certainly dead. The crab (dungeness) I saw yesterday just at the strand-line was solid-looking, had all of its legs and both claws, but sat completely motionless. Bending down to inspect, I could see one of its eyes moving & those whiskery bits at his mouth quivering. He was definitely alive. I wanted to put him back in the water, but wasn't sure how to go about it without being pinched. I happened to have my brother on the phone as I was inspecting the crab. My brother, an occasional crabber and devout fisherman, told me how best to pick up the crab without risking injury. Apparently, if one brings one's hand over the top of the shell and puts thumb and forefinger on either side of the shell--just where pointy bits jut out--, then the crab is less able to reach your fingers with its claws. I did just that and gave the crab a wee tug. He didn't easily budge as he was partially submerged in sand. I gave a stronger tug and up came his legs and body. Then I walked him into the water and chucked him out beyond the surf. So long, crab! 

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Beach finds/Strandfunde 2

Further beach trips have yielded further fun objects. (Wisdom teeth came from my head, however, not the beach.)


Tooth/Teeth

Snake-stick

Stone rabbit and snack

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Beach finds/Strandfunde

Whale (going after krill)

Bird of prey/raptor (I am getting a Sam Eagle from The Muppets vibe here.)


Tiny (winzig) unicorn horns



Friday, May 15, 2020

Grössen

Grössen


I am not very inspired to write about what's going on these days beyond saying there's been a small car accident and a cancer diagnosis of a family member to contend with. 

Instead, I'd like to share with you some German vocabulary. Without giving the translations of the words above, could you take a stab at what these might words mean? 

Hope you all are safe and well. x

Monday, May 4, 2020

Virtual German Meet-Up


A former member of my German Treff has set up a 'virtual German club meeting' that takes place on Sundays via Skype. There are about four to five participants who 'video in' each week. Generally, we catch up with each other on how our week has been and one of us each week is asked to put together a '20 Questions' quiz of sorts (it's really only ten questions) to be given to the other 'Skypers'. So far, it's been fun, if, however, fairly challenging. During the last Skype session the person whose turn it was to provide questions asked the group to name the German cities where two major rivers meet (we failed, readers, we failed) and then asked what two languages besides German and its variants are recognized as official languages in the region in which they are spoken in Germany. One of us guessed both languages & one of us guessed one. I'll leave it at that. The 'winner' of the question round is then tasked with posing questions to the group the following week. No one was 'winner' this past week (quelle surprise!), so I offered to put together a list of questions for next time. 

Here are a handful of sample questions for you to take a stab at, if you're so inclined:

1. Which actors and/or directors left Germany for Hollywood after the rise of the Third Reich?
a) Leni Riefenstahl
b) Marlene Dietrich
c) Peter Lorre
d) Edward G. Robinson
e) Billy Wilder

2. What is the variant of croissant found in German Switzerland called?
__________

3. Can you name one film in which the brilliant Bruno Ganz acted?
__________

4. Although Franz Kafka wrote his works in German, he did not hail from a German-speaking country. What country/region/area was Kafka from? 

5. In what country could one find 'Rösti' on the menu? 

In the immortal words of Porky Pig, 'Th-th-that's all folks!'

George Floyd Protest

Protests are being held in cities across the country this weekend in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of police.  San Fran...