Jackie Link's Blog

- A blog for no good reason

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Two nice days

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Yesterday Annette picked me up, and then Judy, for a ride in Marin County. We went to Pt. Reyes Station, Inverness, the Cheese Factory and back to Woodacre. We bought sandwiches at the Cheese Factory and sat by this pond to eat.

Today, riding my old bike, I joined the SF Marathon runners at the bottom of my hill as they made their way back to the Ferry Building finish. I met Kaethe, who was waiting for her brother to finish (that's him in this photo); he's visiting from Denmark. He said running across the Golden Gate Bridge was beautiful. No fog.

I then rode all around the waterfront, had an In-N-Out burger in Fisherman's Wharf (can't resist them) dropped in on the No. Beach Jazz Festival and, thinking I'd hang out in a quiet park to listen to a favorite radio program on my MP3 player at 1:00, I went to Yerba Buena Center downtown, where a SF Mime Troupe show was scheduled at 2:00---so I could do both!

But, as usual, the Mime Troupe wasn't my cup o' tea, so I took a few photos and rode on home.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

A Year of Blogging

Curlew at Crissy Field

What started as a simple way to avoid housework has become a minor addiction. It seems harmless enough.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Packing Judy's Bike

Judy rode over this morning for the trial packing of her big bike into a little case---2 years ago she had to give up and put it into a cardboard bike box when we went to Portugal. Even the bike shop couldn't get it into the first case; this one is slightly bigger.

Once she got the pedals off and remembered which way to turn the S&S couplers it was pretty smooth sailing. She was done and ready for a ride in an hour.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Heat-addled brain

The fog is finally back, but it's still too hot everywhere away from the coast. Even here, even in the thick of the fog, it's not very cool. Yesterday Beverly and I went to the ocean and walked in the mist; we were still warm in our shirtsleeves.

Today I was at the Legion of Honor to see the Monet's with Jane and, again, we were still too warm. But, worse, I was dim-witted, had nothing to say, felt under a spell.

Every evening I sit in front of a fan, zoning out with another Netflix DVD. Don't ask what I've seen; it's all a blur.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Where's the Fog?

We're havin' a heat wave, a tropical (terrible) heat wave. . .

On the spur of the moment this morning I decided to take the ferry to Larkspur to meet Theresa for our bike ride (another free Spare the Air Day). We were meeting Len in Mill Valley for a quick visit and while there I wanted to see an exhibit of this photographer's work.

Everything went well, although Theresa's newly repaired bike had a pinch flat as we left the shop, delaying us a bit, but we were over the hill to Len's in plenty of time to look at a slideshow he'd made for the Audubon Society---very, very impressive work, much better than this disappointing professional's (which did not print well, everything was flat and boring, not at all like it appears on-line)---and then go for lunch at The Depot. It was great to see Len again.

(I'm sitting in the dark with my windows and door open, hoping to cool this place down enough to sleep, and the city is either exploding or they're having a huge fireworks display at the ballpark. I never know why they have them but they're not infrequent. I'm a few doors down the south slope of the hill and too lazy to walk up the block to check it out.)

We ran into road work on Paradise Drive on the Tiburon peninsula and had to turn back. I left Theresa to catch the ferry back to the city, but when I got there the free ride was "sold out." It was a long, hard slog back to my house---a 60+ mile day in 100+ degree heat. Reminded me of touring. One must stay flexible and good-humored about these things.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

On Time, & On Taking photos

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While I'm letting Sibyl play on her shelf (some people walk their dogs, I wait for a bird to finish playing) I've been looking at some of my old scanned slides, remembering the trip that changed my life.

In 1978, I sailed around the Galapagos Islands on a small boat with five others, a guide and two crew. By the time I'd spent three weeks I knew I'd never be able to return to a life of full-time work, I knew my time was more important than money---and I've never looked back.

And while there I was sickened by what a camera did to the experience of just being in the moment (and I doubt I'd ever again get down on the ground, as above). I do like having photos as markers of memories. In many cases they've even replaced the memory. But I don't think I'll ever again do more than take snapshots while I travel and, if I'm lucky, a few will have value. That's why, after all, there are postcards (though none in the Galapagos).

Monday, July 17, 2006


Today I finally took the time to figure out the mileages between destinations for our bicycle ride in France. I even made up a calendar of where we'll most likely be on any given date, though that can change quite a bit, ad lib. Mainly, I need to know that what we hope to see is feasible in the time we've alloted---and, as I thought, it definitely is.

The only big question is whether to take the train from Paris further than Chartres, the current plan; maybe we should go all the way to Angers and cut out two days on the road. On the other hand, taking our sweet time before we get to the big chateaux might not be a bad idea.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

It's Decided: No New Car

While out riding today I came to my senses about buying a new car. At my usual rate of fewer than 4k miles a year, my '94 Mazda will probably do just fine for a long time to come.

I still have some residual wishful thinking about taking a Big Road Trip across the states, something I'd hoped to do with the camper, but I'll get over it.

The photo is from a road trip I took to Taos. That's my first bike on back.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Conflict and Hypocrisy

Last night I watched "The Corporation" and thought I'd like to read the book, so today I looked for a used copy at my favorite thrift store (after having a taco at my favorite taqueria), but instead of it, I ran into Palast's "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy," which I bought. That ought to cheer me up even more.

I was riding my old bicycle with its sign on back: "Bicycling: a quiet statement Against Oil Wars," and wearing a T-shirt with the message "One Less Car." At the same time, here on my desk, I have a brochure for a car I'm interested in buying!

Between my classes, dozens of essays and books, and films like this, I'm definitely conflicted---but then, hypocrisy has too often been my middle name.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Whoa! flickr Rocks

I'm trying to figure out how to use flickr (I like its plain format better than Yahoo's) and it's given me an option to Blog This. I wonder where it will appear. . . .it found my blog and here it is. But, it still belongs to flickr; if you click it you will go to my photos there. "The plot thickens."

Who needs school when hours can be spent right here at home learning new things.

Photos were taken at our big get-together at Kaethe's last Saturday and after much champagne.

To Foil Sibyl

Sibyl has her own shelf to play on here by my computer. Because I couldn't stop her from chewing on them, I replaced my old wooden shelves with steel shelves from Ikea.

I put nice baskets on the other shelves to store my bike gear, and then I couldn't keep her from trying to chew up either the baskets or the electrical cords nearby.

Today I bought bigger pieces of acrylic to cover the openings and I think she's foiled, at last!

And then she found a way to get to those boxes. I moved things again and we'll see how it goes. . .

Sunday, July 09, 2006

World Cup Hoopla!

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I spent the day riding between World Cup venues, from North Beach to the Financial District and, finally, to Dolores Park, joining a huge crowd---at least 10,000---to watch the final minutes of overtime.

All day, based on what I could make out on the outdoor screens, I thought that the guys in white had red & green stripes on their jerseys---they looked Italian to me. I couldn't hear what anyone was saying. I was rooting for France. So at the end I was cheering the wrong side at the missed penalty kick. It wasn't until they were showing the celebration in Rome that I figured it out.

(I did think it odd that so many people had blue shirts with "Italia" written on them; I really thought the French team was in blue. It was all pretty confusing. Fun, but confusing.)

And, what was really great, this huge gathering happened because just last Monday one individual made it happen; he got the permits and he paid for it. They passed the hat to reimburse him. It felt so right.

(Additional pictures at My Yahoo Photos.)

Friday, July 07, 2006

Is that Fred?

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See that small turtle? It's maybe just another red-eared slider missing its coloring, but it sure looks like a western painted turtle named Fred. Fred had a long, complicated history in my life, and was released back into Stow Lake over ten years ago. I'll forward this photo to my herpetologist friend, Diego, and he'll probably shoot down my theory, but I'm glad of the reminder.

My good friend, Karen Turtle, died in Oaxaca in 1992, but is still very much with me. There's a long story from that time involving Fred and Karen, a story of losses and returns.

I'd released Fred into Stow Lake, not sure what year, but in the late 80s, after he'd drowned in my tank when his foot caught in the filter's intake siphon. After chest compressions, I'd actually resuscitated him by putting his head in my mouth and blowing (yeah, Yeck!). From then on he was sort of mean, attacking his tank mates, and so I reluctantly took him to live in the lake.

Karen had gone to live in Oaxaca and was expected to visit here, but at age 49 she died in her sleep of a stroke a few days before her flight. I went to Stow Lake on the day I would have taken Karen back to the airport and, unbelieveably, Fred appeared at my feet! I brought him home, treated him for pneumonia and a few years later returned him, a second time, to Stow Lake.

That's no ordinary turtle.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Getting ready

My new 2GB camera memory came today. It is noticeably faster, and it should hold enough for my trip in France if I'm judicious about what I save each day.

I took this with available indoor light.

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Opera in Dolores Park

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Today, I rode a short distance from home for Opera in Dolores Park. I got there too early so I ran some errands in the Mission and then went back.

I wanted to take "interesting" photos of "interesting" people, but it was much too civilized a crowd for that. I half-heartedly took pictures of the orchestra from a great distance using the maximum optical zoom on my new camera, not expecting much since I couldn't even make out individuals in the dark recesses of the stage.

But, much to my surprise, the detail is astonishing - I can almost make out the reflection in the violinist's sunglasses!

I did enjoy the day because Dolores Park is a perfect amphitheater and I could walk around, watch the people, move from hot sun to cool shade, eat an ice cream, and sit whenever and wherever I chose among 10,000 or so happy people.

The encore of a Puccini duet (ending as a trio with all three divas) from La Boheme not only brought goosebumps, but tears, it was that beautiful. And then they finished with the classic, rousing, "San Francisco." Really, you had to smile.