Jackie Link's Blog

- A blog for no good reason

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Every spring

Every year I go back to the Dutch windmill when the tulips are in bloom, hoping to take more or less this same shot, only better.

When I realized this morning that I was going to miss them if I didn't get over there, rain or shine, I got my act together and did make it, though not by bicycle. I took both cameras and was ready to lay on wet ground if need be.

The tulips were mostly red this year, along with the yellow poppies. But none near the paths - I don't know if they didn't come up, or if people had pulled them out - and so I couldn't get that angle.

And nothing I did today was worth keeping, though I do like this one of a man eating his lunch under an umbrella.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

More of that

Friday, while riding around town, I stopped for my usual El Toro Super Vegetarian Taco on Valencia and remembered I hadn't been into nearby Clarion Alley to check for new murals for a while. This one is not to my liking, but the girl sitting in the sun listening to her music was a nice touch.

Before that I'd trudged up Nob Hill to find the sculpture Hearts that are supposed to be in Huntington Park, but there were none. Perhaps when the newspaper article stated "will be on display" they meant eventually, like sometime between now and Labor Day, when they'll be auctioned off for charities. I took pictures of the trees in bloom, but didn't quite get anything worth working on (boring). A couple were planting Easter eggs in the trees and flowerbeds and said the kids were on their way, which seemed an odd time for it - I think Easter is over a week away.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Synaptic slippage

Today I took one of my Photoshop texts into the other room, sat down in my easy chair, opened it up and started to read about Layers.

Alpha channels: An alpha channel is effectively the same thing as a mask channel and if you choose Select - Save Selection, you can save any selection as a new alpha channel; these are stored by default in numerical sequence below the main color channels. Just like normal color channels, an alpha channel can contain up to 256 shades of gray in 8-bits per channel mode or up to 32,000 shades of gray in 16-bits per channel mode.

Most of it is worse than that, think IRS instructions. Horrors! Surely, this is easier done than said. I was seriously dizzy within about three pages of this. Vertigo. I had to stop and go do some retail therapy at Ross and Safeway. Bought new jeans and lots of comfort food.

And then I reworked this old image from a bike ride down the coast with Judy several years ago. I like this giant artichoke in Castroville, another example of a good pop culture sign.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tired feet

I made it to all seven museums today (listed yesterday). Six were within a block or two of each other, close by SFMOMA.

My favorite was the Cartoon Museum, though the Shanghai exhibit at the Asian was stunning and I'll go back to look at it more closely. I always worry about my bike around Civic Center - too many bums hanging out by the bike racks - and it was the first on my list so I didn't stay very long.

My feet and my eyes are very tired. And none of my pictures interest me at all. I'll look at them again another day. I think today was mostly about looking without seeing. There are some left-over ghosts, images to haunt and perhaps pull me back . . .

Friday, March 19, 2010

Museum dayze

On Wednesday I went to the San Jose Museum of Art with Kit and Beverly, and when I took pictures an officious young man told me no, not in the galleries. Two years ago when I was there with my big camera I took tons of pictures and no one said anything. I felt guilty, but I took this shot with my little camera anyway. The thing I really love about this museum is the way the floors melt into the walls and it all glows, even in low light.

Tomorrow, it is my plan to take advantage of a reciprocal 7-museum free-admission day with my SFMOMA card. I will start early and hit the Asian-Cartoon-Contemporary Jewish-African Diaspora-Crafts & Folk Art-SF Camerawork-Yerba Buena Center museums. I'll be riding my old town bike and it will be a blast, crowds and all.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Riding to Cuba (ha!)

Yesterday, Dianna and I rode from Woodacre through Samuel P. Taylor Park and over Platform Bridge Road and back. Once again, I thought I'd probably forgotten to beep my car locked after riding off, and worried a bit that her wallet might be gone when we got back, but all was as we left it - and my car was indeed unlocked.

Before Dianna moved to Vancouver we used to ride in West Marin. Afterward, on the way home, we'd stop at the San Rafael Goodwill and then eat lunch in the Cuban restaurant across the street; and that was our plan yesterday, too. We thought we'd miss the lunch crowd by the time we got back at 1:30. But, no, it was still very crowded.

A friendly young man took our order in line and we got our number and took a seat in front of this unexpected, live-feed video. We imagined we were looking at live shots from Havana, once we figured out that it wasn't being filmed where we were.

Our food arrived quickly and was as delicious as we'd remembered it. The crowd kept coming, lined up out to the street.

But after 2:00, the crowd finally thinned out. The friendly guy picked up our empty plates and we asked where the camera was in the live feed: it was from a nearby restaurant. He said something about the restaurant being filmed for some news show, but we didn't see that happen.

When I got home I looked up where we'd been, Sol Food, and it wasn't quite Cuba, it was actually Puerto Rico. Cuban Mambo's Cafe was next door. (Though a glance at reviews is confusing, maybe they're both PR, maybe M's is closed. But check out Sol Food's Web site; it's a hoot.)

Dianna scored two dresses and I got a book at Goodwill.

Our kind of ride.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Enough dogs, already

On Monday, Jane went with me to get turtle chow ingredients at the East Bay Vivarium in Berkeley, and on the way there we detoured over to Treasure Island where I'd learned, thanks to Jill's Facebook contributors, that three (3) Doggie Diner heads were being kept on a trailer. We went as far east as you can drive on the island: no heads. I was, however, determined to find them and kept systematically looking and was finally rewarded. Unfortunately, they're being kept next to a rather ugly building and at that time of day one head was in shadow.

A man told us that the heads were rented out for various events and parties.

If you're ever lucky enough to see them go by on the road they'll stop you in your tracks; they are awesome. I saw them pass by in Dogpatch a year or so ago.

Speaking of lost local cultural icons: I wish they had saved Mr. Peanut. He lit up Highway 101 on the way into the city, winking and raising his cane in salute. And the Hamm's Beer glass atop a building on 15th Street, filling and emptying, too. They don't make signs like they used to, that's for sure.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Riding to the dog

I met Judy this morning for a ride around the city, which is, I swear, 99.9% up hill.

We rode from civic center to the V.A. hospital near Land's End so she could show me the place she works these days (a terrible trailer), after which she took me on some back roads inside Ft. Miley to an old building once used to watch the bay entrance for incoming ships, and then on to the USS. San Francisco monument about the Battle of Guadalcanal. As we left the headlands, enjoying the swooping downhill run around the Cliff House, it was still overcast and gray, but when we turned east up Sloat the sun came back out---and it's a slight grade, up and up, until we were climbing through St. Francis Woods and over Twin Peaks. Yes, then there's another swooping downhill to the Mission, but I still swear, this route is 99.9% up hill. Takes forever.

Of course we stop every few miles for one thing or another, like me taking this picture of the "cultural icon," if not quite landmark, Doggie Diner dachschund. I'm so glad they restored and saved at least this one giant head and keep it on display, albeit way out in the Sunset.

The poppies are already blooming on Twin Peaks. Yes. Spring is nearly here.

Friday, March 05, 2010


Walking through the northwest corner of Golden Gate Park (near Stanyan) on Wednesday, I saw this white-bearded man with his shirt off drinking from a bagged bottle, sitting in the only spot of sun between rain showers; he's drying his clothes on the tree behind him.

Now I really need to hit the books and learn how to do the technical stuff better. I've spent the morning puttering around, not quite studying, but edging in that direction.

. . . after lunch I will start. Really.

The daffodils have crumpled but I used them for one last go at the small dogs. Now they're done for sure.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Daffodils & Small Dogs

I just added 8GB of memory to my Mac, which I bought from Small Dog in Vermont. They sent the two small dogs with it.

(Not sure why I decided to photograph blindingly bright, luminescent daffodils in front of my monitor. I have another shot, which, as I kept trying to get it right, has an image within an image within an image---like mirrors---but this is the sharpest of the small dogs on top of my monitor.)

My next to last class was today. The sun was shining, though cold enough to chill my face and make me wish I'd worn a mask riding my bike across town. I'll have about six weeks free to divide between sitting here to work on images and the usual spring cleaning. I already started weeding Hercules' yard and he hasn't made his post-hibernation appearance yet. I need to make fresh turtle chow, which means making a trip to the East Bay Vivarium for some of the ingredients (Purina Trout Chow). It takes two days to make.

And then there's the bike riding. I'm still going on the Velo Girls' Cinderella training rides, riding sweep. This year I'm determined to get more rides going with the Bike Friday club. I've been getting really lazy and slow just riding by myself.

Spring is just around the corner. What a mild winter we've had.