Saturday, January 17, 2015

Art About Town: Oakland, California... "Trumpet Flowers" By Karen Cusolito

"Trumpet Flowers"
By Karen Cusolito
Oakland, California 2013

"Great Things are done by a series of
small things brought together."

~Vincent Van Gogh

This is a photo from the archives, from May of 2013, but it wasn't part of the series of sculptures I included in the set I posted. I am not sure why I didn't include it, perhaps it was too dark, or I couldn't quite get an angle on it that was pleasing to me at the time, I am not sure, but when I found it yesterday it kind of made me happy inside, and reminded me that I need to go in search of some new public art placements. I love pieces like this one, it is made entirely of recycled steel. It's great when a piece of art not only inspires, but springs forth from something else once useful but is now discarded. It's like when the body dies, and the soul is finally free. 

"Put your ear down close to your soul, and listen hard."

~Anne Sexton
Mood: Happy

~Me :)
"Trumpet Flowers" 
By Karen Cusolito
Photographed 5/27/13
2:38 PM
Konica Minolta

Friday, January 16, 2015

Extremely Stupid And Incredibly Useless

"Technology offers us a unique opportunity, though rarely welcome, to practice patience."

~Allen Lokos
Patience: The Art Of Peaceful Living

Finally, in just about two weeks my contract with AT&T will finally be up and I can unload this piece of crap cell phone! Sigh. I hate to say that because while it might be the worst cell phone ever, for reasons I will get to, it is one of the best, if not the best point and shoot camera I have ever owned! In fact, long after I choose a new cell phone, I will still be charging this phone... urrr... camera to take along with me when I go on photo jaunts. It is excellent in low light conditions, it takes crisp macro shots, and even the action shots come out amazingly crisp and clear looking! The camera really is amazing in that it is only 8 megapixel. The pictures it takes are really quite lovely!

 Here are a couple examples...

The HTC Vivid is not the first phone by HTC that I have owned. My phone just prior to this one was the HTC Aria. That phone was great, in fact it never gave me a moment of trouble. I decided to upgrade to the Vivid because the Aria was quite small and I felt I needed one that fit a little better in my hands. Not that I have big hands or anything, I just felt a bigger phone would make some things easier. Anyway, I liked the company a lot, but I have been noticing that their products don't get the ratings they used to, so I will probably be going with a completely different manufacturer next time.

I have been shopping around and I think I have it narrowed down to the Samsung Galaxy S5 or the LG G3. We'll see. Sometimes I wish my cell phone wasn't necessary, but let's face it, the cell phone may have just been a fun gadget at one time, but in the world we live in, it's become many other things, such as a household tool, a safety device, a learning device, a media device, and a source of entertainment. I could live without a cell phone prior to 9/11 but now... not so much. I appreciate being able to communicate with Alan should the unthinkable occur again. I feel safer knowing that I can get an alert from local news and CNN, although sometimes I dread reading the news alerts I get. Like the day Robin Williams died. I heard the alert tone, looked at my phone, and then couldn't function for the next few hours. I couldn't even say the words that I saw on my phone, when Alan asked me what was wrong... I just handed to him.

Even now... looking at the words... it just seems so incredibly unreal. Alan and I were crossing the bridge into San Mateo, when I heard an alert on my phone. I didn't check it because we were having a deep conversation about our friend who had taken his own life a few months earlier. All night, the night before, I had been ruminating on suicide. Not mine, but just in general, and I didn't know why. So, as we drove along, I was asking Alan if he had noticed if some of our other friends seemed unusually preoccupied or seemed unusually depressed. To my relief he said no, our circle of friends were coming to terms with what had happened and would process verbally to him if needed. A few minutes later we stopped at a little bagel shop, Alan went in, and I stayed in the car, tired from lack of sleep. I decided to check the alert, and there it was! My heart... my heart began to pound out of my chest. I knew he lived just across the bay, and suddenly the world, especially the bay, seemed so damn dark. It's a feeling, I hope I never, ever experience again! It took me over a month to erase that alert off my phone. I didn't want to let go. But I did eventually. We have to... right?

So, like everything else that's ever been invented, the cell phone is a constant source of help and hurt. Of crisp, clear January days, and days spent in happy frolic to moments of fear and sorrow. The cell phone lets us keep in touch while on the go, and keeps us up to date on what we need to know right now. I get to play word games with friends, and capture sunsets with its camera. I can save a recipe and take the recipe shopping with me. Owing a cell phone is fun, much more fun than it is heartbreaking. We live in a world where we can face dangers we didn't 20 years ago, and we have had to adapt to new ways of living. I just wish our government wasn't tapping in! But, if they feel they need to know what recipe I am making for dinner, or that I don't let go of love easily well, that's fine. Who knows maybe I can make them feel less alone. If anyone is listening in. One can't worry about everything, right?

A cell phone, my cell phone in particular, might be extremely stupid and incredibly useless, but it is, however, the best necessary evil in my life. Hey, it's not all bad, at least it entertains as well as breaks my heart.

That's Life.

Mood: Happy

~Me :)

HTC Vivid
Photographed 1/15/15
11:00 PM
Nikon CoolPix S3500

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Berkeley On A January Day

"I will go to campus alone dressed in antique silk slips and beat-up cowboy boots and gypsy beads, and I will study poetry. I will sit on the edge of the fountain in the plaza and write."

Francesca Lia Block
Girl Goddess #9: Nine Stories

A couple years ago I posted a set of photos that highlighted what I love about Berkeley. It's been a while since I have posted anything new from around town, I am not sure why, I just seem to do most of my photos of Berkeley either within the acres of Tilden Park, or sunset photos from Grizzly Peak Boulevard. Both lovely mind you, but it's far from telling the whole story of Berkeley. So, above is a photo of a January day in 2005, which looks pretty much the same today, as it did back then, and below the collage from 2013 and a new one I put together today from archived photos. I need to get out and about with the camera soon, well, as soon as my Fibromyalgia gives me a break. Hopefully next week sometime. Until then, here is a look at one of the loveliest cities I know... Berkeley, Ca.

Set #1 From 2013
Set #2, From The Archives...
Free Speech
Sather Tower
Cool Mannequins
Gorgeous Trees In Autumn
Tilden Botanical Garden
Tilden Little Farm
The Berkeley Marina
Tilden Park Carousel
 Shattuck Avenue
And there's so much more, so stay tuned!
Mood: Happy

~Me :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Dear Woody...

"To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering one must not love. But then one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer; not to love is to suffer; to suffer is to suffer.
 To be happy is to love. To be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy.
 Therefore, to be happy one must love or love to suffer or suffer from too much happiness."

~Woody Allen

Dear Woody

In that you have just launched a brand new venture with Amazon Prime to write and produce a new TV series, and are currently in the development stage, may I respectfully request it be set in San Francisco? I know, I know, I tended to stalk... um... enthusiastically pursue your filming schedule while you were here in the Bay Area in 2012, but I promise, if I do come across you, I will immediately turn and walk the other way. I promise to never again wear black and gray together... what was I thinking that day? I promise to take lots, and lots, and photos, from a fair distance of course, and then promote, promote, promote your new creative project with great enthusiasm! And hey, one very important thing to consider, on a practical note, our brilliant governor, Jerry Brown, just signed a bill that TRIPLES California's tax credit for film and television! New York is lovely, and I would love to see it one day, but it's been done to access in films and on the small screen, but San Francisco... that's a city of true love and sourdough, and the true love of sourdough! You wrote it yourself, in Blue Jasmine, "If you can't fall in love in San Francisco, you can't fall in love anywhere!"


Carly from Berkeley
Tuesday, January 12th 2015
8:35 PM

Woody Allen
Photographed August 25th 2012
Ulloa and Claremont
San Francisco, California

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Life's Rewards

"The biggest reward of a lifetime is finishing day after day with a smile on your face."

~Eric Sennevoight
The World's Game

Aren't they the cutest little salt and pepper shakers ever? I got two sets of them last December, and a nice little movie ticket package, by chasing in my Stouffer's Dinner Club points. I love Stouffer's, and Stouffer's Lean Cuisine for my lunches. I don't mean to sound like a commercial, but they are really good meals, and the calories are just about right! So, most of the time, with the exception of the occasional I HAVE TO GRAB A GREASY BURGER rampage, that's what I do for lunch, so why not save the 20 points per box... right? In the time that the rewards program was in existence, Alan and I went to the movies for free 4 times, and I got two sets of these cute bird shakers! Yay me!

Lets see... each Stouffer's box was worth 20 points. It takes 2,000 points for each movie ticket package, and 350 points for each salt and pepper shaker set... that comes to...

 Movie Tickets = 300 Stouffer's Lunches
 Salt And Pepper Shakers = 52.5 Lunches

Yep. That's just about right.

But that's spread out over some 5 years or so. You know, because of the occasion burger rampage. Stouffer's recently discontinued their rewards program, so no more luxuries to save for from them. They are supposed to be lunching some new program "soon." I hope so, I like participating in this type of program and I will miss it. But in the meantime I also save points from Coke and Fresh Step cat litter. Not quite as glamorous as Stouffer's, but the box must be scooped, so a little reward of a new set of cat toys makes me incredibly happy! LOL. 

Mood: Happy

~Me :)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Advice For Your Monday...

"Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless,
 and add what is specifically your own."

~Bruce Lee

Ugg. I hated it when California made it illegal to hold a cell phone while driving. Mind you, I wasn't anti-safety and it wasn't because I am so busy and so popular that I must be available for phone calls, no, the reason was because the people I heard the most squawking from, within my circle of peeps, were the ones who had held out and refused to buy a cell phone! Now, okay, previously to the new law I had indeed held a cell phone and drove at the same time, but I have never texted anyone while driving, because I am all thumbs! I don't know how folks do it! How do people text so darn fast using all their fingers? Sheesh!

Anyway, when it comes to cell phone use, in day to day life I do more texting than I do talking. Because of the law? No, I have Bluetooth in my car, so if a call comes in I just say "Hello" and talk through my awesome radio, or hit the decline button, and happily continue on my way. But every single time I am out in the car, apparently law be damned, I still see folks talking away on their cell phones. I don't mind really, it's their possible ticket to enjoy, but I am curious about what can't wait until the get to where they are going? Does driving with a cell phone in your hand really make things more dangerous? Or could it be who you are talking to, and the content of the conversation that's the problem?

I have been considering this for years, but even after all this time, I am not sure how to feel. In the end, I have to obey the law, and try to not engage in any screaming matches while talking over my awesome car radio! So, I guess I will never really know unless one day, one of my friends, or my hubby, pisses me off but good while I am driving. That should do it! In the meantime I love the bumper sticker I spotted on this car the other day. Do you suppose they got the dent before, or after the NO HOLDING A CELL PHONE LAW TOOK AFFECT?

Mood: Curious

~Me :)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Guy Named Joe

"The only thing a cat worries about is what's happening right now.
 As we tell the kittens, you only wash one paw at a time."

~Lloyd Alexander
Time Cat

I love our little guy Joey. How anyone could have dumped this beautiful child on a bridge is beyond me. I am just thankful that he probably doesn't think much about that time, and those awful crows that were making a meal of him when Alan found him, I am just glad that the memory that seems to stick the closest to him, is the one of his great love of pizza, and Italian food in general. He is a beautiful child, and while he wasn't in the plans, we love him so deeply that I can't remember what it was like to not have him around. I didn't know I needed him, but fate did, and apparently fate kinda likes me!

 It's been a happy 13 months!

Mood: Happy

A Year Of Joe 
Created January 10th 2015