"Somebody once said we never know what is enough until we know whats more than enough."
2013 has brought me some renewed interest in checking out places of historic interest around the Bay Area. I haven't been able to get out and about as much as I have wanted to the last couple weeks, but with the ant invasion fully solved, I now have some free time to put together at least a loose itinerary of places to visit. I enjoy old buildings and historic properties. I like imagining the ghosts that might still roam the grounds. Ghosts aren't always scary, sometimes they are quite charming and helpful. Sometimes they merely encourage one to venture out beyond one's own limits. That is a very good thing, when one is a shutterbug. When I hosted the Monday Photo Shoot, I always tried to encourage participants to go beyond the obvious. I tried to ask my friends to think of every possible angle and interpretation.
I did that to challenge my thinking as well, but I took almost a year off from regular photography and I find that now I need that extra bit of challenge that comes from giving myself structured assignments, rather than simply grabbing the camera, heading out, and hopefully finding something visually interesting. Not that there is anything wrong about that approach, in fact, sometimes when I assign a subject to myself, I find wonderful things along the way. I have to admit that the picture above was done last evening in one of those "on the fly" photo jaunts. The California Hotel always catches my eye when I past it, because of the song "Hotel California" by the Eagles. I love that song, and while this hotel isn't the real Hotel California, I always found the name somewhat amusing.
After doing a bit of research, however, I found out that the California Hotel actually has it's own unique musical past. At one time this was a hot spot for celebrities and Blues and Jazz enthusiasts. Built in the 1920's it was one of a few hotels in the Bay Area that allowed African Americans to stay, and featured many African American performers. Billie Holiday once sang in the lobby of the hotel, as well as headliners Fats Domino and in later decades, Ike and Tina Turner played there. I wish I had a better photo to show you, unfortunately I was losing the light fast, but no worries, I will be back soon. It is a grand place that has gone through many changes, especially in recent years. It went through major renovations in 2011, and was converted to lower income apartments. It lives on in the community that embraced it. I love the architecture, and I love the history. So, for now I show you a kind of sneak peek, but like I said, I will be back soon!
"The bridges that you cross before you come to them are over rivers that aren't there."
I don't give the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge the proper photographic attention it deserves. I want to fix that this year. It's a gorgeous bridge, day or night, and it connects the East Bay with San Rafael in Marin County. Marin County is breathtakingly beautiful and I don't visit up there nearly enough! The Richmond is not the longest of the Bay Area bridges, but it certainly provides a stunning view of Mount Tamalpias. Additionally, if you are making your way across it's span to visit a friend, or foe at San Quentin prison, why this is the bridge for you, as the prison sits just off the west side of the bridge. In fact, when heading back to the East Bay, you are reminded, more than once, that the San Quentin exit is the LAST MARIN COUNTY EXIT! LOL. I think, for some, it's the last exit period, but it's a lovely spot for a prison!
Of winter's lifeless world each tree
Now seems a perfect part;
Yet each one holds summer's secret
Deep down within it's heart.
~Charles G. Slater
The leaves continue to turn and fall. It's what happens in January. Still. Quiet. Dark. No fanfare. Just a necessary event to encourage an earthly renewal. It's a good thing, and I am already planning which roses will bring new life to the rose garden in 2013. Perhaps I will embrace the muted tones this year. Honey Dijon and Pumpkin Patch. Both unusual and lovely. We'll see. For now, I share the last of the roses of 2012.
"Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."
Okay, short post for tonight. Kachoooooooooo. KACHOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Yep. I have the flu. Or a common cold. Or a special cold. Don't know. But I don't feel good. But I am enjoying the hell out of the raging fever I have. It's pretty. So I will just ask one question of you, dear reader...
Will it be Chris Christie or Ryan Gosling in 2016?
"Trees are as close to immortality as the rest of us ever come."
~Karen Joy Fowler
Palm trees. I don't really like palm trees. They don't have seasons. You can't watch their leaves turn bright beautiful colors, then turn muted earth tones just before they go bare for the winter. You can't kick their fallen leaves around, because they don't have leaves, they have palm fronds... whatever that means. They come in different varieties, so that's probably a good thing... if you like palm trees. Palm trees don't have rings inside to tell their age by, but I am guessing that like some humans, all palm trees are about 39.
Some palm trees produce coconuts. Alan is allergic, and it has never been one of my favorite flavors, so while pleasant enough, I wouldn't miss it if I couldn't have coconut ever again. On the other hand, one of the best tasting salads ever has hearts of palm in it. So okay... that's a plus. Palm fronds are also used in basket making and in clothing. Palm trees have a strong religious significance as in the Palm Sunday. In Judaism, the palm represents peace and plenty.
Okay, so I have done my research, and palms absolutely have their place. They make the world a better place. But that being said, they still aren't my favorite tree. I just don't like them that much. But my goodness, when you see a palm tree or two, against a beautiful sunset, they sure display an amazing scene. Lovely. Calming. Safe. And most certainly needed!
"The cow is of the bovine ilk; one end is moo, the other milk."
~Ogden Nash, Free Wheeling
I spent a little time in Marin County late last week. I didn't get a chance to mosey on over to the shoreline or to the headlands, but I did see some lovely places in and around the town of Novato. Like the cows you see in the picture above. On the way home we were treated to an awesome sunset, which was a bit obscured by the hills, but there was enough to get a few really nice representations of the color. I must get back up to Marin soon, with any luck perhaps later this week. We'll see.
"We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I will be spending the rest of our lives."
It's official! The name of the upcoming Woody Allen movie, which was partially filmed in San Francisco, and I pretty much obsessed over late last summer, will be called...Blue Jasmine. The release date has yet to be announced, but I assume it will hit theaters sometime in late spring or summer. Personally, I am hoping for a date sometime around my birthday on June 29th! A couple years ago Alan took me to see "Midnight In Paris" on my birthday, and I loved that film! So sweet, and Paris was... as you might expect... breathtaking!
San Francisco and Manhattan will be the backdrops for the filmmaker's latest film, which couldn't make this fan happier! As much as I enjoy the European locations, it is going to be a thrill to see some familiar San Francisco neighborhoods, some of which I was in during the filming last summer, and also get to see the very best of Manhattan, the number one place on my Bucket List of must see places before I die. If you read my Ellipsis entries last summer, during his filming in the city, you know that Woody Allen had a place in my dream of New York.
When I got to stand on the corner 20th and Lexington, and on Ulloa and Claremont, in San Francisco, during three days of filming, an element of my dream came true. I had imagined seeing Woody, sitting across the room from me at the Carnegie Deli, eating a sandwich. That's it! My total perfect Manhattan day consisted of merely seeing my favorite filmmaker eating lunch! LOL. You see, if I were to try to say hello, it would come out a little more like... haaaallaaaalloooo. LOL. Completely incoherent and perhaps a bit... ummm... dare I say... stunningly embarrassing? Yep, that's the correct word... EMBARRASSING.
I kind of got that confirmed last summer, when upon arrival at the 20th and Lexington location, I experienced the oddest panic attack I have ever had. The minute I turned onto 20th, I suddenly became aware that I was mere steps away, from Woody Allen! He is a legend. He is the living embodiment of comedy! And why did I think that the outfit I was wearing was appropriate? Who, I ask you, who wears black pants with a grey top? What was I thinking? LOL. My mouth went completely dry, and I was wearing a wildly ridiculous outfit! NOW WHAT?
I can laugh now, but at the time, it was high drama!
It's a memory I wouldn't trade for anything. We live in a harsh world, and filmmakers like Woody Allen make things bearable by giving us a respite from the pain of being human, and for that I have thanked him, quietly to myself, about a million times since last summer. He gave me three days my cameras and I will never forget. And soon, he will give me one more memory when Alan and I go to our favorite theater to see Woody Allen's Summer Project for 2012 Blue Jasmine. It's a lovely title, and I can't wait to see how it fits the film, but that movie will always be simply... W.A.S.P. to me.