Jackie Link's Blog

- A blog for no good reason

Sunday, November 25, 2007

on Cameras, a Ride & a Race

Yesterday, I got it in my head that I needed to replace the old Canon S300, the one I take on my club bicycle rides, with an on-sale 7 mp model. BIG disappointment. But I discovered that I can do a whole lot more with that old camera and it really can't be beat for sharp. Too bad it's only jpg and only 2 mp.

(Once, when I hit a deep pothole on my bike, it flew out of my Bento Box holder, the CF card flew out, the battery flew out and I thought it would be toast, but it still works great; the body is steel - very dented - not plastic like the newer models.)

I took the new camera back this morning, and because I didn't say there was actually anything wrong with it, I got charged a 15% restocking fee. Dang. Lesson learned.

While again using my old camera, I realized it can be manipulated just like a dSLR - I'd never bothered to work it before. This, of Sibyl, was taken at very close range - a few inches - using available light from an 18-watt new-fangled fluorescent bulb, and hand held at 1/15 sec. (Most of this series has motion, of course, because Sibyl wasn't holding still). Other than some cropping, nothing much else was done to it. I'm quite impressed with that now antique Canon's capabilities.

Of course I do have a gorgeous model, IMHO.

I went riding with Judy today and as we were passing by the same corner at 25th & Bryant
where I'd tested the new camera yesterday, I stopped and repeated the series. My old camera is so much sharper and has an all-around better capture.

But back to the ride: We went up Twin Peaks via the Mission and then Chenery/Bosworth/O'Shaughnessy - much more climbing than necessary - and back down on Clarendon to 7th Ave. Clarendon is one mighty long, steep down hill run. Wonderful! We stopped in GG Park at the Children's Playground to use the head, and then as we went toward the beach on MLK we started running into cyclists and way more cars parked than would be expected - and I remembered the cyclo-cross race was today.

We stopped to check it out and a bunch of old teammates hollered Hello, we chatted, but then left to have lunch. We got back in time for the last Cat B race. That's where I got such good pix last year, but, alas, my camera battery wasn't up to it (nor would I have gotten much of interest, anyway).

And now I can't find the old pix, just this one. I really do have to get cataloging software!

Friday, November 23, 2007

One tree, gone!

How very odd. As I was riding on the bridge this morning I was thinking about the one tree, trying to remember what kind it was - thinking, yes, it must be some sort of eucalyptus, planted, not native - when I looked up and saw that now, suddenly, there is NO TREE.

I was dismayed. The ridge looked so dull, so naked without it. I could see the tourists lined up, looking back down at me. I was on my way to Tiburon, but decided that on my way back I would climb up to the site and see if I could find out why it had been removed - though I knew, as a non-native, the powers that be would not want it there anymore.

And I was right about that. There was a sign stating August - October 2007. . ."Removal of selected non-native trees that compromise the health of habitat used by the federally endangered mission blue butterfly."

O.K. I can live with that.

Now, when I look up I will look for a butterfly. Who knows, some day I may see one.

But I will miss the one tree.



Tuesday, November 20, 2007


While I was out walking yesterday I came across these leaves. They look like leather.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A whole lot of fog

Not much sun, no rain, just cool, gloomy days. It's a good thing I like to push the pedals no matter the weather.

Yesterday there was sun on my east side of the city for a while, but today I don't think our low cloud bank moved away at all.

I rode with the Velo Girls on the Tiburon loop this morning and we had a good ride. As we passed through the Sausalito/Mill Valley marsh we came across people in hazmat suits looking for oil; later in the morning on our way back they were gone but I saw a pristine white Great Egret stalking its lunch. We missed the guy tap-dancing across the bridge on the pedestrian side. Darn!

(The photo is from a garden in Tokyo on another gloomy - but very hot & humid - day.)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

Riding the ridge

Persimmon leaves
I left the house early to ride to down the peninsula via Skyline and the Sawyer Camp trail, which is wonderful on a weekday when you have it almost to yourself. But the fog was very thick and wet for the first twenty miles, the sun only breaking through for a brief time. I stopped once for a snack, sitting in the sun next to San Andreas reservoir.

Buddha's hand (citron) at Kit's
I had lunch at Kit's, visited for a while, and then rode to Menlo Park to take a Caltrain back to the city.

I rode 45 miles at a steady pace.

It was still, or again foggy when I got home.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Workin' it

All I did today was work on left-over images from yesterday, write some, ride to Jackson Square to get my hair cut, and stop to take more pix along the way.

This is the view from just outside the USF library reading room, catching the edge of the waterfall sculpture and the rainbow, which you have to be in just the right place to see.
This arachnid took the place of the really ugly sculptures. I'm assuming it too is temporary.

As I was coming home along 3rd Street I chanced on this scene. I wish I'd been carrying a longer lens. The two guys on the very top sat down and were taking a break just after this was taken. They waved to me.

I cut across on Mission Creek along the houseboats. Everything is changing really fast now. Looking across the canal you see nothing but new housing - expensive condos and apartments.

Monday, November 12, 2007

End of term

Today was the last day of classes until January, and I'm sorry not to have that focus (or distraction), but as the winter begins and the weather makes it harder to run away on my bike as often, I will eventually buckle down to useful work. There's a comforting aspect to this cycle of seasons, albeit only our mild western seasons.

I never take courses that tax me very much (and at the Fromm, I don't think one ever actually gets "taxed"). I toy with the idea, from time to time, of doing something more difficult or ambitious.

Jane, Janet & Leah
It's been good to make new friends. For too many years all I knew were medical people and it got to the point where I couldn't talk except in fragments - like family members we read each other's minds, speaking in shorthand.

And I took my camera today because the light coming into the library reading room has been mesmerizing me for a long time.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

One sunny day

and the mood lightens - as do the tents.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


It's that in-between time: not quite winter yet, but dark outside. It's time to shift gears, to do in-house, useful things. I need a plan to get me past this fallow spell.

Instead, I vamp: I repeat my procrastinations over and over, while I wait for the main theme to begin or a new game to start.

I feel sad, more because I've been reading a lot of distressing, though wonderful, short stories than for any other reason I can think of.

I met Judy by the new ball park to go riding this morning and stopped on the way at the Cirque du Soleil tents to take photos; the light was terrible and a chain-link fence kept me from getting closer for a more interesting angle.

It started to rain lightly as we left the Presidio and so we cut our ride short.

Sibyl was annoying me but now she is back on her shelf, annoying her toys, instead. She just threw one down on the floor: she wants me to play fetch with her.

Tonight I need to get to the top of Nob Hill to hear Herbie Hancock. I wish I could ride a bike there, but besides being too sweaty after climbing the hill, it's not a good idea on a rainy night.

I'm not making any new plans quite yet. Sometimes it's good just to drift, see what emerges, see what it is I may have been gestating during my many hours on the road this past year.

Yeah, another year is coming to a close. The world is in ever worse shape, even if my life is good; that too is probably why I feel sad.

Friday, November 09, 2007



This morning, my Mac Mail displayed this background gobbledigook machine language, making my messages unreadable. (It's O.K. on the Web site, so this is personal, something that happened on my computer.)

My radio presets also got changed during the night. Yesterday they were: #1-KQED; #2-KCSM; #3- KALW- and suddenly, quite mysteriously, #3 is now KQED, too!

A gremlin? Or is sneaky Sibyl to blame?
* * *
Jill called today to tell me the toxic lizards have creeped her out, as I knew they would. We're afraid of what they might do to her dashboard.

She also informed me - and I do not remember doing this - that I actually sewed the first lizard into the top of the sleeping bag, just to be sure it wouldn't fall out and be lost when she opened it. She said it took a long time to figure it out, that it wasn't alive, that it was plastic. Evil mother.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Lizard quest

Many years ago Jill borrowed a sleeping bag to go camping in Pt. Reyes and I put a realistic plastic lizard inside it. (I wasn't there, but I've been told it had the desired effect. . Eeeeek!)

That lizard lived on the dashboard of her car for many years. I think maybe she talked to it from time to time, like we do when we're driving.
* * *
Not long ago, Jill bought a new car and she charged me with finding a new lizard for her dashboard. The old one had too many years in the hot sun and his foot came off.

Apparently, they no longer make perfect, realistic plastic lizards.

I've searched the Internet.
I've searched variety stores and nature stores, and I've even searched the toy bins in thrift stores.

I've contemplated finding a live lizard and waiting until it dies and then preserving it - yes, a mummy lizard.

(Once I had a herpetologist friend who took me on a collecting trip: he stunned and then caught the lizards by shooting a rubber band at them - like you did in school in the 4th grade - and it actually worked. The lizards were for an exhibit at the old Steinhart.)

Today I went to the California Academy of Sciences store, my last hope for finding a realistic lizard. These bright neon, gummy, and probably toxic made-in-China stretching lizards were all they had.

I'm sorry Jill, that's the best I can do.
Take your pick.
No, take them all.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Monday morning

The bird is eating and I'm sipping my coffee; the sun is shining and it is still warm here.

Saturday I did my usual ride, ramble really, around the waterfront, carrying the camera and Judy's long lens. Inside the ballpark parking lot Cirque d'Whatever was getting ready to raise their big top and some kind of other event was going on behind a fence; I could see skateboarders as they hit the top of their ramp.

I liked this swimmer coming out of the bay in Aquatic Park - but when he saw me pointing at him I felt intrusive so you won't see the rest of his strip action on this blog!

Yesterday I rode with a lot of Velo Girls and found a piece of paradise I didn't know existed - Strawberry Point. I knew there was another way to get to Tiburon, and even tried going that way once, but didn't know about going the long way around the point. Really was beautiful. I think I'll go back later this week and do it again.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Sticky floor

It must be time for a day spent sweeping and vacuuming and mopping because my shoes make that sticky noise as I walk through the kitchen. I really don't like housework. Or cooking. Sometimes I think, no, I know I do creative work just so I can avoid it. Or I run away on a bike.

Sibyl quit laying after just two eggs. She is still rather annoying, cackling and trying to stick her tail in my ear (in case you wondered what's so annoying about a hen in "heat"), but can be dissuaded. I take her to her cage and leave her there for awhile until she gets over it.

But I'm procrastinating.