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August 2006

30th August

The scene: Interior, bedroom. JB and e are lying down after a pleasant brunch at Dottie's. Like so (the brunch, not the lying):

e, lazily: lemme see what time our flight is tomorrow.
She reaches over to the nightstand to get the pack of printouts - their various and well-planned e-tickets. And casts her eye over the aerlingus one. The words aren't making any sense. Surely that couldn't say 30th August. No, no. Yes. But wait a minute. Isn't that, like.. today?
e: Johnny! Oh SHIT!

Muir Wood

A bus tour took us up to Muir Wood, across the Golden Gate Bridge, driven by a calm hispanic (?) Alexander. He presented the most pleasant ordered and logical vision of the world. It was restful. We had a hour's walk around the wood, and in that short time, felt the lovely clean calm presence of the redwoods. They have been known to live for 2000 years. What wonderful benign companions they are, living amongst us, to the slow beat of their own drum.

Alexander brought us to Sausalito and we had a (vg) beefburger and aubergine sangwich and a big icecream. And then the ferry home. We heard an English father tell his boy about Alcatraz, how some notorious criminal was imprisoned for life there. The bright kid said: Since he was born?
Well no.
And how it was the only prison where no one had ever escaped.
The boy: So do lots of prisoners normally escape from prisons then?
Well, no.

A good day. All the sweeter for being one of the last.

It's everyone's birthday

I have overheard at least 3 people saying it was their birthday since we got here. Today made 4 - a homeless person had a sign saying it was her birthday.

Tapioca drink and Canemaker

Caught the F-tram to North Point to go to Patagonia (again). This time for presents for G, e's nephew, and jacket for e's Ma. Walked back along Stockton and Grant to North Beach. Fantastically entertaining sights - all sorts of nail parlours and wooden fronted boutiques and no chains. Yes, un-chain yourself, I say.
UNchain your heart.
And so I went to a Chinese gelateria and (daringly) had a tapioca coconut drink. In the bottom of this magical drink some black gelatinous tapioca pearls floated that you could suck up through the specially thick straw.

It was verily a marvel.

We went to Osha for a Thai meal, for that is what they serve there. Now JB is watching the tellybox. Dances with Cameras I think.

Yesterday we went to Berkel-ley and saw John Canemaker's talk on his work. Pretty good. I liked especially The Moon and the Son, his film about his difficult relationship with his father. He mixed photos, video, rotoscope and animation. An individual artist's approach to filmmaking, not to be confused with studio animation. He explores the remit of animation, in that it is for metaphor, personal comment, emotion and serious content, over live-action.

I am a nelly sometimes. I must be a bit touchy/depressed, because I became demoralised by the impression that JB didn't like the show. It seemed for a minute that a lonely future stretched before me, alone in animation land.
This is clearly not so. He just isn't accustomed to looking at this kind of rough rendered animation.

Paffouey to self.

the Mission

JB went to Angel Island this morning. I had a chat with our landlord, also oddly enough, JB. (hmm, can this be a mere coincidence?) He is so entertaining. He puts this down to being Irish. Ah yes, the Irish twinkle in de eye! sure why not! I think he's nice though. He feels bad about the awful death the rats downstairs will suffer after the poisoning, for one thing. And he is holding the apartment upstairs until January for free for a woman who is recovering from a double mastectomy.
I said there was no need for Octavio to clean.
Oh, you're such a good housekeeper, you'll make a lovely wife!
I pointed out that I am already a lovely wife.

I went off on the BART to visit the Mission.

Which is considered the birthplace of SF, according to the hard sell guide on the door. He put me off. I had to bring out my Excuse:
I'm waiting for someone.
I should maybe make more effort in the Excuse department but Iamwaitingforsomeone is so spontaneous and honed by usage that I don't think a new one would take.
The Mission was lively and Latin. Colourful and cheap. No chains at all. Just tons of taquerias and shops selling gilt buddhas and such.

The women's building on 18th st.

I visited the library to see the flipbooks made by Margaret Tedesco about the earthquake of 1906. Nice idea. I like the idea of pieces you can play with.
Feet hurt by then so limped back. Saw a show in the Academy of Art gallery, with a Japanese artist. (still not sure of his/her gender. I presume it's a she). Nice illustrations, bold and broad of characters and pieces for children's books. Strong compositions.

Now waiting for a pesto pizza to be delivered into my waiting hands like a waiting midwife.

Golden Gate, Sausalito and Tiburon

We pedalled some hired bikes this morning as far as the Presidio and over the Golden Gate to Marin County, Sausalito and Tiburon. Cycling definitely has the buzz over walking. Walking makes your feet hurt. Cycling is exhilarating and just a bit dangerous.
And danger makes you feel alive, ya ha ha!

We went through the wetlands National Park Center which was full of edu-earnest displays, organic coffee and information on recycled materials. My kinda place. They had some beautiful iconic posters there which we hope to snag for our fantasy new house. I felt a bloom of happiness in the belly as we cycled along against the wind, thinking of our cosy house.

And then we were on the bridge, noisy and windy and a bit frightening in that animal - should we be suspended over water like this? - way. (Nero used to hate bridges. He'd put the brakes firmly on as soon as he saw one. He'd also only risk the front half of himself to the bamboo chaise longue because you could see under it. The front half would be stretched luxuriously along the top of the chaise (?) while the back paws firmly remained in contact with terracotta, as DelBoy used to call it. He could stay like that for hours.)
Exciting though! and the views were huge and blue. Sausalito was a little touristy but in a tasteful non-offensive way. Just the occasional glittery shop filled with gilt furniture and china statues. We cycled to Tiburon.

More adrenaline after the more wetlands (where we came across Running Camp, American Football camp and Soccer camp. Lotsa camping, tentless of course.) - the path abruptly petered out into a highway. We battled forth along the cyclepath, encouraged by signs that asked the drivers to "share the road" with us. At one point we nearly got swept onto Freeway 101. Luckily I was high on the coffee icecream Dr JB had prescribed to me in Sausalito so in my enhanced and excitable mental state could push on over the bridge along a narrow edge, to the cycle path again. We went along some very rich and fascinatingly varisome avenues, along the backs of houses built over the water on stilts. Beautiful profuse and exotic gardens. It was dream-like really, such a magical placing of wood and sea together on the edge. Reminded me of that scene in Spirited Away.
Tiburon was picture perfect. Wealthy! You could smell the money, as Ber would say. We saw commuters getting off the ferry from the city. We had a snack and waited for the next one to take us back to the Ferry Building.

Ate in Hunan restaurant. Eerie pink light and plentiful if oily food. Now about to collapse. (Food feels a bit too plentiful and oily in belly.)


Am in the dark interior of our rented-at-great-expense SoMa apartment. There's a flashing orange light outside illuminating the bedroom on and off. It sounds like someone is rolling huge barrells down the stairs and lifting them into the truck.
JB is reading FS Fitzgerald in the other room.

We went to the SF public library today. What a wonderful momument to social justice, to the ideal of universal access to education. I could spend hours in there, and we did, in fact. There was a calligraphy show upstairs, nice pieces, not sure if all professional,  but good in that way that leads you to complete them mentally. They inspire me, in that way, not like a Masterpiece might, but in a modest, glue and fingerprint way. They leave space for you. They invite you, it seems.

"Your work is to find your work, and then with all your heart, to give yourself to it." Buddha.

There were some books there, which I liked the most. I think because they make you want to turn the page and follow the story. They are incomplete, and require answers. I love the surprise discovery and satisfaction of a story but also the moment before, the curiosity. I think that's it. That thrilling teetering on the brink of the resolution.

The combination of painted text and image was stirring.

And a paper tree, which could be a story tree.

A beautiful idea.

I got the BART up there, just two stops. The ticket machine was quite a challenge - reduce by 5 cents? increase by $1? WTF?

A man in the library was taking notes with one hand as he picked out imaginary chords with the other. Another older man was ripping newspapers apart, but as if to a design.
There was a woman on the train with an ice-box which looked as if it could have an organ in it. Presumably not though. She looked ordinary enough as she talked discreetly into her mobile phone.

Tomorrow night we are going to a romantic musical. I insist on it, and JB will go along with this, out of the goodness of his heart.

It was a good day, where things open intriguingly up to show half-glimpses of unimagined things and places. I am teetering though on the edge of the crimson tide.

Getting better though, all the time.

view from Japantown to downtown

looking over the skirts of the hill to the tightly stacked pastel layers of houses to downtown and beyond, and on the other side to the Pacific. All those intricate layers of colours and textures! Like a beautiful working mechanism with fitting parts. If NYC is steel and concrete, SF is bleached wood and peeling paint.

conversation with a BT

Yes, A, it's great here. Dog playgrounds and everything. Last night on Dog Whisperer, the presenter who is this amazing Mexican guy, Cesar Millan was going around helping all the dogs who had got above themselves and were being aggressive with their owners. Basically he was teaching them he was top dog. V interesting! they really respond to him. He had these two vicious bulldogs going for walks with a spaniel and living happily with a cat, that they were trying to kill before. It was cool. then there was this prison programme where they were teaching the criminals to rehabilitate difficult dogs. Fantastic! The Mexican guy had them all walking on the lead together in half an hour, he is brill. There was one dog who wouldn't let them clip his nails (ehem!) and he even sorted that out.
Can you imagine that A?
Probably not eh.

I suppose that's good about Ber, right A? Maybe I'll be back to do my bit on it.. give big lick to Ros now, when she comes up. I hope her Dad is getting better.
love to all A.
talk soon. will keep watching Dog Whisperer and report back.

wow - maybe i should emigrate there. sounds like my kind of place. ah now i'm still top dog but i guess i've let her get away with things. the sunlounge is in a terrible state from the two of a bomb has hit it. puppyhood again. yes indeed maybe i'll have pups some day iv - treatment will be starting if this next "date" doesn't might bear that in mind in case you're thinking of a little i mean! CL's off to the terrier club of ireland ch. show tomorrow. don't know whether she's taking me or not. she says she might. she went out to dinner last night to t's place and left me at home with coady..fine by me. she says to tell you she picked up a disk full of new fonts from CP so you may want some to jazz up your computer. ros may come up as well on sunday evening and stay the night. don't think she's too keen on me but i think she's ok...sure i like everyone.
well lovely to hear from you. when are you getting back? oh CL says to tell you!!!...bern's been quite busy and was supposed to get back to her but no sign yet...think she's to get back to anne too but...who knows eh!
chew for now,
little ailsa (emphasis on little) xx

From: "ecogeeko" <>
Reply-To: <>
To: "a c" <>
Subject: Re: hi
Date: Thu, 17 Aug 2006 17:53:37 +0100

make it clear that Coady can be your fan and follower, in no 2 position!
and that's it. You are top dog.
Life seems interesting chez toi - all sorts going on. Lots of dogs here, and dog psychology programs on the telly box. One fellow was saying you reflect your owner's state of mind, isn't that interesting. Yes, Uncle JB is getting more like a dog every day. Definitely hairier.
The other day he walked all the way over the Golden Gate bridge with his trusty backpack and dog-eared SF guide. He was wagging his tail. But after he was very tired and fell asleep. SF is lovely and quite dog friendly especially in the gay parts. Actually Denver was even more so, every second shop was a dog related thing. Seems only right!
One day I'll have a dog too and hopefully you'll be friends. Can't wait.
Take care now ACC and be a good girl
Aunty eco

hi aunty,
thanks for the postcard - we got it this morning well at least I ran up and fetched it. so john has taken to dog chews like me. interesting! i hope san fran's good craic? what you up to there? i see anne sent you mail - lisa's very lazy you know.i've had a very exciting life since you left. i went to a cricket match with patrick a couple of weeks ago to carlow. he tied me to a leg of a chair while they were all playing. very exciting altogether until 5 dogs came up to annoy me - had to jump up on the chair to avoid confrontation. i got lots of attention and then CA and CL came to take me away down to wexford. spent a long time there trying to avoid xena although she was really ok after a while. i love it there. i can run around all day poking into hedges and following oscar. then came the turning point. went back to dublin and another dog arrived. i was well put out of joint. a little schnauzer pup coady. she took over everything, my bed, my toys, my friends. lisa took a real shine to her so i had to let her know i was boss. we've sorted it all out now though and she's great fun to be with. we spend hours and hours running around the garden tearing around the plants...they're getting very scant now though. i go home with lisa at night - coady used to come with me but not any more cos  CL has a huge allergy to her. what a pity. well i must go now and chase some more. we've dug up most of the right hand side of the plants so think we'll move on to the left hand side now...what fun...