Jackie Link's Blog

- A blog for no good reason

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Phone Spam

What are the odds that your landline phone, your purse-bound cell phone and your computer-based Skype phone would all ring, one right after the other? I quickly hung up my landline to answer my cell—dig, dig, dig in my purse—and was just finishing that call from the kitchen when the distinctive Skype ring started in my office—search for headset, plug it in just in time for it to quit ringing. Out of the three, not one was personal. Spam via phones. Very bizarre.

I brought this turtle back from Oaxaca, not knowing then that it was meant for growing chia sprouts, but now I try to remember to plant it in the winter. I'm going to photograph the process each day, see what I get. I have to do it early in the morning before the light moves away from the one window I can use.

Yesterday's Bust

I had lots of plans for yesterday and all but one or two came up empty and weird, and they all involved going across the bridge to the east bay - now you see how that, right there, could get weird, right?

I needed to get Sibyl some fresh food in Lafayette; they were all out. I planned to spend a few hours in the Oakland Museum; it was closed. I had a few other errands to run before meeting Leah at the Paramount Theatre to hear Jared Diamond speak, but they'd only take a few minutes and now I had five (5!) hours to kill in a place where it is still true: there's no there there.

I hung out in a strip mall on Pleasant Valley Road after driving by the Grand Lake Theatre, hoping there'd be a movie I could go to (nope), testing low-end models of DSLR cameras, buying a Safeway sandwich to eat in the car, blah, blah, blah. It got dark and cold while I tried to read, waiting, waiting for time to pass. I'd already driven by the Paramount so I already knew it sat in an urban wasteland, nothing whatsoever nearby, not even a Starbuck's!!!! - only a sad Sears department store, where the clerks spent their time talking to each other, ignoring the one or two other people in the entire huge place.

Finally, the Paramount's doors opened and I went in - and what a spectacularly opulent Art Deco palace it is! I'm glad I stuck it out, it was worth every minute of my wait. Leah was already there so we visited until lecture-time.

Jared Diamond was Jared Diamond; he didn't say anything new or have anything too optimistic to add to the conversation about how the planet is in dire straits, etc., but it was interesting to see his comb-over in person. The audience was 99.9% white and mostly of a certain age. Weird.

So the day ended well, especially when I remembered to move my car across the street so I wouldn't get a ticket this street-cleaning morning.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Eggnant Sibyl

Oh, that little parrot of mine, Sibyl, has grown up and is acting out the Birds' half of the Birds & the Bees again. Since we're a flock of two she thinks I should be her mate. I discourage this, which means she has to be in another room for a while every day to get-over-it. In spite of not letting her have a nest she dropped an egg in her sleep-cage this morning. It broke, of course.

Monday, November 27, 2006

City at sunrise

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This photo was taken in 1994, probably the last time I was up and about before dawn, and I don't know where I was standing - do you? (12.15.06: Aha! It was from the bridge's east-side pedestrian walkway, just past the south, city-side entrance.) My scanner turned it bluer than the original print and I've been trying to change it, unsuccessfully so far. Can you make out the cars on your monitor? And which version do you like best: the one I posted yesterday? or this one? Leave a comment.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

...too early

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I woke up at 05:30, ready to ride and it's way too early to go out, also pretty darn cold out there. It's supposed to rain later this morning and I'm hoping we can ride the Tiburon loop before it hits. I'm taking my rain gear and going out anyway whether any other Velo Girls show up or not.

Besides, I made the pumpkin-pie custard and then I ate it all in two days. I'd best work it off before it settles in for good.

later. . .Nine of us braved the weather, and we did get some weather. Very wet, very cold. The only hard part was getting out of the hot shower afterwards. Good, fast ride.

Since I've been home I've reworked this old image by rescanning the 4x6 print into .tif format and working it to match the original colors as much as possible, without losing the oranges. One of these days I'll have to read the manual, see how it's really done.

Friday, November 24, 2006

On the radio

. . .listening to Robin Williams being interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air, laughing again at the story he tells about Jonathan Winters, who, when asked if he had anything to say for himself as he was brought down, naked, from the top of a tall mast on the schooner, Balcultha, said, “Never land alone.”

The sun is shining and I’m off to ride the city, see what I can see, then bring home eggs so I can make pumpkin-pie custard. (No crust; I’ve lost my 'muffin-top' midriff and want to keep it that way!)

Thursday, November 23, 2006


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There's probably an easier way to add a border around an image. I managed to work it out by resizing the canvas and adding 0.25" to each dimension, giving it the black border. Seems odd that this isn't a function of one or another of my software programs, but maybe I'm not looking for it in the right places.

There's nothing on televison, my Netflix DVDs don't interest me and I'm tired of reading. I went out every night last week and now I guess I'm suffering withdrawal, stay-at-home blues. Wish I had some pumpkin pie. . .

Holiday (no) Pumpkin Pie

It rained hard for a short while last night and the air is clear enough to see forever. I met a group of holiday orphans to ride to Tiburon this morning and was able to take another photo of the bridge shadow on the Headlands, this time without the fog. It was a very good ride, even if the high-test guys went on ahead and left us an all-girl group, but I’m used to that. We took my Velo Girls scenic route through Corte Madera, which was new to them.

Since I’ve been home I’ve been talking to family and friends – something about a holiday, we all check in with each other. I don’t like sitting around and focusing a whole day on food, but I do like, no, I love, pumpkin pie. I’ve been known to make one and then eat it all at once. Well, it’s too warm to bake and I don’t have any eggs, anyway.

It's interesting that the bridge shadow appears at such a different angle, depending on where you stand. In the one with the fog taken a month ago, I was closer to the North Tower. I like it best of the two. (Both taken on the fly with my small camera.)

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Rapidograph doodling

I tried rehabilitating an antique Rapidograph pen and couldn’t get it going, not surprising after sitting in a drawer for years. Next, I went on-line to see what was available, found a used 7-pen set, “in perfect condition,” for less than a new single pen would cost and thought, what the heck, if only 2 or 3 actually work, I’ll still be way ahead. And, as near as I can tell after filling a few with India ink, they’ll be fine. Of course, once I was working with them I also got my old pen going, but I can fill it with sepia ink for variety.

Now I’m doodling on everything: shopping lists, symphony programs—but, so far, not on good paper (been busy). This #3 (.80mm) point is ideal for cartooning. . .

But I procrastinate, it's time to put them to better use.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Sunday of riding

This morning I rode with the Velo Girls to Fairfax and back, and then made it to Golden Gate Park in time to watch our team compete in the Cyclocross race. Both were remarkable and wonderful.

This photo is of Yvonne - I have over a hundred more to process. So many marvels, so little time.

To view a slideshow of selected photos, click here.

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Saturday in the city

(Photos from Clarion Alley - click to enlarge - back arrow to return)
Most Saturdays I ride a bike around the waterfront to check out the sights, ending up in different places each week. Thinking it must be cold—it’s nearly December!—I wore padded wind tights and two layers on top. It was over 70, so I was quickly too warm, but didn’t mind since I could ride at my own pace and stay cool.

As I rode along the piers I saw a dredger pulling up black mud and stopped to watch for a while. A tourist from Australia wanted to know where to find bike shops and we chatted, but I only figured out a few Down Under words here and there.

Next I stopped at the Officers’ Club in the Presidio to see an exhibit before it closes, and was so glad I did: the cameraless photos of Robert Buelteman were so astonishing that I called friends to come see them before they’re gone.

By then I was hungry and headed for El Toro Taqueria on Valencia at 17th St. for my favorite Super Vegetarian Taco. It's always the same, it’s always different, depending on who builds it. Today’s was again super, if a bit heavy on the shredded lettuce.

And then, right across the street, I slowly made my way up Clarion Alley, photographing the murals and the people passing by. At a glance, I have about 60 images that I like—but what can I, what will I do with them all?

But the real topper was finding The New Yorker in my mailbox with its cover of the Republican elephant being pulled off a pedestal like Sadam in Baghdad, the White House in the background; it made me laugh out loud!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Working files

While bicycling the streets of Paris, a friend and I took many shots of this fountain in the place de la Concorde.

Every few days I look at one or two of the photos from that trip, in no particular order, and work them so they'll be usable here.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Friday, November 10, 2006

Worse than chocolate

Yesterday I bought a small box of Jelly Belly Sours on impulse. Big mistake. Unlike chocolate, which I can easily limit to one piece, these tiny sweet-sour jelly beans are intensely addictive - to the point where my tongue hurts from too much sugar. This is all that's left of the box; I'll finish them off any minute now.

France in a bag

Azay-le-Rideau, France

It took a long time to get all the way home from Paris and it will take even longer for the trip’s story to emerge, to sum up its parts. I have a small bag of marked-up maps and souvenir pamphlets from many Loire Valley chateaux and a few Paris museums. I have 532 images to edit, to weave into whatever it is that I will remember.

I’m waiting for the winter rains to sort through it all and decide what to say about the trip. I find it harder to write about good times—that vocabulary is so prone to "it was really, really beautiful" and “Wow!”

It's supposed to rain tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


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Here's another wild parrot photo to bring color back to the blog.

(How many birds can you count?)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Black & White

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Years ago I had a darkroom in my basement. Now, with a digital camera, there's no need for running water or nasty chemicals and I'm excited about photography again, with much to learn.

Before I quit printing, I went from using high-contrast, grainy Tri-X to working Ansel Adams' tedious zone system, of which this is an example. The photo of my daughter, Jill, as a witch on Halloween (see 10/31/06 below) is an example of the former.

And I'm not sure why I'm looking at these now, or why I'm putting them here, except I've begun working - struggling - with pencil and paper again, with black and white. It's much on my mind.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

More from Another Fine Day

Dianna (Happy Birthday)

Thistle, Chileno Valley

Bare trees, Tomales

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Another Fine Day

Dianna didn't have to pursuade me very hard to drive up to the Chileno Valley this morning, even though the fog was low and heavy and there were dark clouds moving in everywhere. Her jersey, at least, brightened my scenery.

We stopped at the bakery in Tomales, and then just turned around and - with a nice tail wind - rode back to the car.

We kept remarking how great a ride we were having - no traffic, nice pavement, my new shoes and new saddle position - and a good workout on the rolling hills.

We stopped in Petaluma for a Smoothie and sat in the afternoon sun (yes, it did appear).

Nice. Very nice.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006