Jackie Link's Blog

- A blog for no good reason

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pictures or words?

I don't have time to write much about all the good stuff that went on today. I have to either process images or process words, hardly time for both.

I shot many of a new mural on Caesar Chavez St., but I like this one the best. It has Cesar, Che and Emiliano Zapata side by side and is quite well done.

That's my Brompton. I took my car in to have the oil changed this morning. This bike pops in a car easily and is very handy for around town. While I waited for my car, I rode around the Mission and over to Noe Valley, where I had a taco and bought some bird food. It was sunny and warm and I loved being out again.

Later, I also took my car to be smog certified and because I'd been taking old magazines for his waiting room for years, the guy didn't charge me! I'm stunned.

I checked out Chicken John - he was running for mayor last fall, though this says supervisor. The mural/poster takes up one side of a house on Caesar Chavez St. and looks new.

Hercules, covered in dried mud, reappeared this afternoon. I saw mud in his little pond - not there this morning - stopped to look and could hear him rustling around in the plants. I picked him up and he immediately withdrew into his shell, where he remained, still wary after his long winter nap. I weighed and photographed him and then I put him back where I'd picked him up. He weighs the same as when he buried himself last fall. Whew!

Tomorrow I will go buy fresh blueberries for him.

I am so happy.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Today, another culinary event

I stopped at the Community Thrift Store on Valencia after school today to get Sibyl a new basket, and I ran into the very Corning Ware skillet/casserole I was looking to replace. (I have the lid and detachable handle from the one I got for a wedding present a long time ago, but which I ruined and threw out.) They quit making this cornflower version.

I was so excited. It was spotless, shiny-new looking.

Well. The lid is about 1/8" smaller than the pan and slips down into it unless it's balanced at a slight angle. (My lid does not look shiny-new.) I was so disappointed.

But I used it to cook chicken tonight and it was wonderful, even if the lid is a tad small. Weird that it would be just slightly different! That they would change the size like that.

My other fry pans are cast iron and could use a sandblasting and seasoning to start over; I ruined them, too. (One skillet is square and the Corning Ware lid fits it perfectly.) Odorless fumes from the non-stick coating put on most new cookware is deadly to birds if it overheats. Probably not too good for us, either. I never use it.

I wish I always remembered when I'm cooking, but, alas, I wander off and forget.

Twice as nice

Yesterday I took passport photos of Jill. I wonder if they'd accept this one?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Two new bowls

I just knew Soko Hardware on Post in Japantown would have the right, if not perfect, bowl for my morning cereal. I couldn't decide which one I liked best so I got them both. (Perfect would have a chrysanthemum in the center, like the one on my coffee mug.)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Wind & rain & working

I've been glued to my computer most of the week while the Amgen Tour of California has played itself out, especially the day they went from Seaside to San Luis Obispo - roads I know so well. It's been a tough race, with more hard weather than usual for these parts. Mostly, I just listen and only really watch near the end - which is always exciting to see the tactics play out. I'm learning.

But it's not been time wasted. I've been practicing difficult techniques with my mouse. This image was done with two negatives, which meant separating the details from the dark sky. My hand needs rehab after more than an hour of working it. Like anything, practice makes perfect and I have a long way to go. Here's the original image for comparison.

And this is why I love a digital darkroom - there's no way I could have pulled that off with an enlarger, dodging & burning to separate the Metro station from the sky. It really is a lot of fun (and work).

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tinkle music

The symphony last night was all Mozart (tinkle-tinkle-tinkle, as an old friend called it), the first interminable Divertimento nearly drove me mad (when will this ever end?), but then a piano concerto and final symphony redeemed the program.

Before it started I held up my p&s for pix and am quite pleased with its range.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Time Trials & turtle news

I spent part of today listening to the time trials in Solvang while cleaning the turtles' tank in the kitchen, and then when they got to the last riders I stood in front of this monitor where an Adobe Flash Player broadcast the Amgen ToC, LIVE!, and it was really exciting to see if Levi would hold onto his yellow jersey. And he smoked 'em.

You go, Levi!

Hercules, my box turtle, is still underground. That's either Fred-1 or Fred-2 in the photo above, taken with my new p&s camera, hand held at 1/13 sec., no flash. The Freds, western painted pond turtles, spend all their time under the warm basking light - or begging to be fed.


Suddenly, on some blocks here on Potrero Hill, they've moved all the ugly overhead lines underground - it's an incredible change. (My block didn't get included. I think property owners had to pay x-dollars for it.) I suppose I'll quit noticing it soon enough, but now, every time I drive those few changed blocks, my spirit soars. It's amazing.

Compare this view of the city skyline with the one in the header, which I took in the early 1970s from about the same place, but with a telephoto lens. Been a whole lot of new buildings built in the meantime, with even more on the way.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Yesterday I saw a young woman with hair dyed the same fluorescent purple as worn by this group of teens in the Pompidou Center in Paris. Is this the new in-color?

View from Pompidou Center, Paris
After watching the start of Stage 3 of the Amgen TOC, I got my Brompton out this morning to ride downtown to the warehouse sale at Wilkes Bashford. I easily found Dianna trying things on in her corner - it was quite the mob scene. I said hello, made plans to meet for a ride on Saturday, and then rode up Grant into the heart of Chinatown in search of the perfect cereal bowl. I saw a few possibles but won't decide until I've been back to the hardware store basement in Japantown.

I didn't take the big camera, thinking it would rain, and it was just as well. I'm thinking I need to take a break from it; I need some time to recharge, especially if this view on Grant Street was the best I could do with the new camera! I think I will not take a camera with me anywhere for awhile.

I stopped at Kash's new bike parking/bike commuters' store, Warm Planet Bicycles, at the CalTrain station, checked out the Tikits and decided until they make one ten pounds lighter, I'll just hang on to the Brompton. Maybe I'll even start using it more often; it's very easy to lock up for rides around town.

And then I watched the exciting finish of the race into San Jose, where Levi won the yellow jersey.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Bowls, Lycra, colorful buns

This morning while eating my oatmeal, Sibyl either tipped a bowl off the table, perched too close to the table's edge, or she pushed it off - either way, it was only a small disaster, breaking the bowl in big pieces and dumping her on the floor. Other than being stunned and having oatmeal in her feathers, she appears to have fared better than the bowl.

It made me a bit late leaving to meet Judy in the Marina for our ride over the bridge to watch the Stage 1 start of the Amgen Tour of California in Sausalito.

We got there in plenty of time, checked our bikes into the free valet parking, found what we hoped would be a good spot near the start - I stood on top of a picnic table - watched the pre-race interviews - and somehow, all those colorful guys on bikes managed to form a mass at the start without my realizing the top of a palm tree would be obstructing my view. Totally.

We moved around until we were in an unobstructed place as they made their circuit around town.

I don't think I'll try to watch another big race from the start. I don't ever have a clue to what is really going on, anyway.

But there sure were a lot of colorful buns around. And we had a great ride over the bridge and back. (It's supposed to rain all week, so I'm very glad we got out today.)

After getting back across the bridge, my legs tired from two days in a row of riding a bit more aggressively than is my wont, and having lunch on Clement St., I went looking for the same beautiful bowl. No luck. I next went to Japantown, but the hardware store with a basement full of bowls was closed for the holiday.

Tomorrow, I will continue my search for the perfect breakfast bowl. Rain or shine.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Hercules and more Delta

Train in the Sacramento River Delta
My hibernating box turtle, Hercules, didn't come stomping out to protest my messin' with his yard so I guess it's still too early (or he died underground). I'll wait a bit more before poking around for him. There isn't much fauna: one worm, one earwig, just a few baby snails, and he probably knows to wait for better pickin's.

I'll be sore tomorrow, weeding is not my favorite thing.

I feel bad about Locke. I always felt bad about Locke. It isn't like, say, Bodie, where the state made a point of preserving what was probably no better when it was new, but it seems like Locke has been left to die. Nothing was well-built to begin with, but one lit match and that place is gone. Maybe just a big wind and it's gone. Granted, it's still "off season," but as you can see (do enlarge the pix), it's in very bad shape. Way past fixer-upper. There's refuse and garbage everywhere, which I'm not showing. It's a mess.

Al the Wops was the only place open for business and a few workmen came for lunch.

Locke is not colorful. It's just sad.

The Delta

Yesterday I went up to the Sacramento River Delta where the Sandhill cranes spend the winter. It was a beautiful spring-like day and I took my time, stopping in the derelict turn of the century Chinatown village of Locke and having lunch in a small-town diner in Walnut Grove (amongst the walnut groves, of course). I brought all my cameras and a couple of borrowed longer lenses, hoping to capture a crane. Alas, unlike the Galapagos, where the waved albatross will perform its courtship dance nearly in your lap, the cranes remained elusively off in the distance, just visible through a spotting scope brought to the site by a Fish & Game docent (who was absolutely wonderful, even supplying homebaked cookies and drinks!).

Today I am going to tackle Hercules' yard and hope I don't find an empty shell. Later, I will process some more colorful photos from the delta.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Spring - could it be?

I guess not, but the trees are in bloom and it's mostly shirt-sleeve, bike-ridin' weather.

I ran errands by bike and rode up to USF for class, stopping along the way to take snapshots with my new p&s camera - and it is really point-&-hope-for-the-best. I miss the viewfinder already, but maybe I'll learn. (Or just get lucky more often.)

I was about a half-block away from these people. I don't like locking and leaving my bike constantly, so what I see from the saddle is all I get.

(I spent the last hour listening to a CD from a class lecture on Ethnic Conflict that I'd missed and to keep busy, mindlessly, I started fooling around with blog templates, etc., making things worse. But there it is.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Just hangin' out

I love that you can track a package on-line; I hate it when you know it's on the UPS truck for delivery, you have plans to go out with a friend for lunch and movie and if it doesn't come in time you have to decide to go or cancel, and you really, really want your package to come, but if history is any guide, it probably won't get to your door until dinnertime.

So. I'm hangin' out, doing my bookkeeping, paying bills, making eye-check and doctor-check appointments, playing with my parrot in between her naps and eating times, planning a road trip to the Delta to see the Sandhill cranes on Friday, listening to jazz on KCSM, making lists of things I need to do and will actually do if I have a list to remind me.

Back to hangin' out. . . .

Sibyl on my shoulder - new camera test outdoors
. . .and it (a replacement point-and-shoot camera) arrived at 1:30 - too late for my date. But now I can sit and read the manual about it's features, especially the wide-angle. It's very tiny, even for small hands, but weighs only 5 oz., versus my old one which is over a pound! This will be so great on bike rides when I don't want to carry the big camera. It doesn't have a view finder, and so I went outside to see if I could work it with only the big LCD - and it's just fine.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A ride & a chapel

Photo of me finishing Alpine by fellow team member Sandra Valle

There were 26 of us (half had already headed back down from the top of Alpine when this photo was taken) on the Velo Girls training ride this morning and it was a really beautiful day for quality time in the saddle. I loved being back on the Cannondale, riding with old and new friends.

February often tricks us into thinking it's spring with balmy shirt-sleeve weather, like yesterday and today, but I see by our midday shadows the sun is still pretty far south, even here in the bay area (and I thought it so strange in Paris, with their long shadows at noon!)

I watched "Pride & Prejudice" on t.v. this evening - such a waste of time. When it was done, I went back to Saint Chapelle and worked this image, mainly because after I left Paris, DB did a series and reminded me of them.

A week home

By the end of today I will have been home a full week - and it has been a full week, indeed. I have fresh food in the house, the laundry is done (four loads worth - now I know why I usually have a clean house before I leave on a trip!), I've been back to classes and seen old friends, been on my Saturday city ride, and after my Velo Girls ride today, life is back to my normal.

After a month of grey, dark skies and too much rain everywhere, what a treat to have this early spring-like weather. It was in the 70s yesterday and I was overdressed on the bike.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Foggy morning

The fog outside my window this morning reminded me of another foggy morning in Normandy, when we wandered back roads trying to drive along the Seine on our way back to Paris.

As it turned out, the many fog-shrouded dead end shots, taken through the car window, went on top of the lost Honfleur pix from the day before. Had I not taken them I would have been able to recover the "day that got away." Alas.

And here are the bright watering cans in Paris on the day I ran into the pedestrian, taken the very moment I was stepping in dog crap.

I haven't used my camera since getting back to town and I miss having new pixels to push around. Today I'm meeting Jane for a quick trip through "Marie Antoinette" at the Legion, lunch and a movie. Tonight is the team potluck and it will be good to see old friends.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Light & locks (& museums)

Cafe in Musee d'Orsay
This afternoon I went out on my bike to get a haircut, took my camera and never got it out because I didn't see anything I wanted to keep. It was surprisingly cold and the light wasn't good. Two mornings ago the air was bright and very clear, with early morning shadows defining a sparkling city, but I didn't take advantage of it because I had groceries on my mind. (And I don't have a lens to capture that scene, anyway.)

When I got back home my key stuck in the lock but I eventually wrangled it out. I got some powdered graphite to blow into the lock and then the next time I put the key in, it wouldn't go all the way. I worked and worked at it until I realized the tumblers had finally tumbled their last, the lock was broken. (It had been getting more and more difficult to pull a key back out for quite some time.)

And I was locked out.

Ed to the rescue! My owner in the front house got home a few minutes later, drilled out the lock to open the door, went to the hardware store for a new doorknob/lock, installed it and I was back in business within the hour.

2-sided painting at the Louvre

"Le Combat de David et Goliath"
Daniele Ricciarelli, ~1550

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Yesterday I bought so many groceries, it took three trips from the car to get them all in. . .and then I made a huge pot of beef and vegetable stew.

While that was cooking I tackled figuring out how to recover deleted files from CF cards, which was weird because I had to use two computers - one to Chat with Lexar support, the other to do the work (but only because Lexar wanted me to do it on the PC and I was already talking on the Mac). It worked easily, except I had to find a program on the PC that would find and open RAW files, which took me a lot longer than it should have.

The bad news: the one card with the day's shoot from Honfleur was the one card I kept reusing. It ended up with three different days overlapping, and only this one photo of the narrowest house I've ever seen was saved. (It was also the only house on the lane with a "garden.")

Monday, February 04, 2008

Home again, home again

. . . .and it's just 04:00. I went to bed yesterday a little after four and have slept nearly 12 hours. Other than being a bit stiff, I feel great.

I woke up from a dream - a nightmare, actually - in great realistic detail about a Velo Girls Northern Exposure ride. As usual, I was going to sweep, but didn't notice when everyone left so I was really trying hard to catch up. In Sausalito I had to go through a gate and while I was opening it my Cannondale was stolen. The dream went on and on and, really, I'm still battling the "loss" as I write this! I'm so upset.

But, all is well. All three bikes are locked to my work stand in front of my bedroom window, and the fourth, the Brompton, is folded up, well hidden. After a shower I'm going over to the 24-hour Safeway for groceries, and this afteroon I will attend a class up at USF. Not sure if I'll ride over or drive.

Uh oh, I don't have a new calendar yet (hint, hint, Jill). Where am I? What am I doing?

Now that I can really see the images I worked on and put on this blog, I see they're much darker than I thought. I'll have to rework most, which I expected. The 12" laptop I worked on in Paris made it hard to judge color and saturation.

Guess I've procrastinated long enough - time to get to work (but, gosh! it's only 04:20)

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Paris, au revoir

We packed DB's bike into my hard case for me to bring back to the states for him, and then took the Metro, not knowing where we were headed, decided on seeing the Cluny, got there and because the sun was finally out and it's a Saturday - Parisians and tourists, alike, were out - it was packed with people, and so we turned around and left.
We walked along the Seine, past Notre Dame and onto the right bank, bought some chocolate crepes, and ended the day at Place des Vosges, and then caught the Metro again at Bastille.  No interesting photos, in spite of gorgeous skies, but a nice walk in the sun.
Every place we walked the Parisians were crowding the streets, strolling and shopping, enjoying the first sunny weekend in forever.
I'll be at the airport, bright and early, home in San Francisco tomorrow - almost before I've left Paris if you go by clocks.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Another art day

It continued to rain today so I took myself and my umbrella on the Metro and headed for the Musee de l'Orangerie. It took a long time of standing out in the wind and rain for the line to get through security, but well worth it. I first went downstairs to see the collection before going into the oval rooms with Monet's Les Nympheas, the water lilies. As usual, I enjoyed the people as much as the art.

And then I trudged a long, long way through the entire Tuileries, past the Louvre, all the way to St. Chapelle and the Consiergerie. I held my umbrella over me by tucking it into my camera bag, which was swung across my chest to take pix in the rain.

St. Chapelle, even on a dark day, was stunning and I'm glad I went, but by this time I was a popsicle and, after warming up for a bit in the old prison (ha ha), the Consiergerie, I caught the Metro back.

Tomorrow we'll pack the Moulton, which I'm bringing to the states for DB, and the sun is supposed to shine, wouldn't you know! We could have gone out riding. . .well, maybe we can ride and then pack.