Monday, February 24, 2020

Yay Books! --- Day 8/320

Walk: Hood errands
Distance: 2 miles, small yoga

So on her last trip to the San Francisco Main Library Ciwt picked up a list of 100 Most-Loved Books from The Great American Read.  

Here's the top 10 with an * if Ciwt has read it.  The rest of the list can be found on where The Great American Read was a TV series in 2018.

1.   To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (* of course)
2.   The Outlander (Series) by Diana Gabaldon
3.   Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (*sort of; she started Book One)
4.   Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (*assigned in her all-girls boarding school)
5.   The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
6.   Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell*
7.   Charlotte's Web by E.B. White *💛
8.   Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (See CIWT Day 8/262)
9.   Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Looks like younger people are reading lots of books these days.   That couldn't make Ciwt happier!!

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Beep, Whistle, Squeak - or, Goodbye --- Days 8/318 and 319

Walk: 1. Pacific Heights Mansions Tour (x2)  2. Cinema Club (Saint Frances)
Distance: 1. 2.5 Cold, Windy Miles  2. 2 Miles

R2D2 at LucasFilm in San Francisco Presidio

Unfortunately Ciwt has found she can't keep coming back better than ever like our droid friend above.  After multiple freezing, windy City Guide tours, aching legs, a sinus infection and a cold, Ciwt has decided to stop the months long City Guides training and return to concentrating solely on her art business.  That's her area of expertise and experience, her tours are scheduled ahead, they are on a paid basis, she knows how many people will be at them and they are inside.  Then for fun - on good weather days and when she feels like it - she will be a SF City Guides Tour taker.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Non, Actually --- Days 8/314,315, 316, 317

Walks: 1. Pacific Heights Mansions Tour, SF Playhouse 2. Japanese Tea Garden Tour 3. Hood 4. de              Young Press Preview (Uncanny Valley, AI), Presidio Tour
Distances: 6 miles: 4 miles: 1 mile, small yoga; 4 miles, Yoga

So Ciwt made a mistake with this photo because it looks a bit mellow and soothing.  No!  Not in person.   This is Room 1 (Ciwt thinks) in the de Young's Artificial Intelligence (AI) show, Uncanny Valley, that will open tomorrow.  What you can't see here is the ultra blaring sounds that accompany these objects - all of which might look real but are artificial.  You also can't see the various tech stations where you can spend up to 1 hour somehow interacting with this room.  

Then in the next room is this (which moves around)
                                          and is somehow connected to the thing on the right.

It has its own ways for lengthy interacting and its own jarring, hysterically downbeat soundtrack.

There are 8 or so more rooms along these lines, all with seemingly ultra despairing points of view. And this is the de Young's latest show.  Ciwt is genuinely (not artificially) nonplussed.* (as well as pretty alienated).

*definition of nonplussed: (of a person) surprised and confused so much that they are unsure how to react.

Monday, February 17, 2020

People on Pedestals --- Day 8/313

Walk: SF Guides Tour: American History in Golden Gate Park
Distance: 2 miles, small yoga

President James Garfield with Columbia mourning at the base

So, ha ha ha, Ciwt.   After writing yesterday about the lack of esteemed people on statues in San Francisco's history, her very next tour was filled with such luminaries right here in Golden Gate Park.  

The first statue placed in the park was of President James Garfield, who was never in San Francisco, but was nevertheless mourned nationwide after being asassinated in 1881, shortly after Golden Gate Park was created. After Garfield came a host of estimable personages, most on pedestals: 
President Ulysses S. Grant  (too loved by pidgeons)
General 'Black Jack" Pershing ,

John McLaren without whom basically no Golden Gate ParkNo pedestal for him because he hated all statues in 'his' park as well as anything they stood on.  The sculptor had to hide McLaren's statue in his studio and wait until he died before it could be installed because McLaren never would have allowed it in his lifetime.

Then if Ciwt wants to go international with her personages in the park there are many illustrious choices: Beethoven, Verdi, Robert Burns, Goethe, Buddha, a universal Baseball Player and Winemaker.  The list is extensive and entirely male, most on pedestals.  

So cheer up, Ciwt.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Training Day One; Still Here --- Day 8/312

Walk: SF City Guides Training (at SF Main Library)
Distance: 5 Miles, small yoga

Charles Fracchia, grand old man of San Francisco History (and Founder of Rolling Stone Magazine), at signing for latest of his many books: When the Water Came Up to Montgomery Street: San Francisco During the Gold Rush

So here's an indication to herself that Ciwt has undertaken a challenge: She becomes desperate to move...Where?  Anywhere but where she is presently living.

Now she has started this new San Francisco Guides Training.  Perhaps the main and most obvious challenge it entails is public speaking.  You know, the #1 fear they say.  But then there are things like the unknown, being criticized, making a fool of herself, bad hair days.  These are pretty universal aversions from what she reads, and they have already begun in spade. 

But her secret - and maybe uniqueish - reason that drives her to almost call Bekins is, well, her snobbism.  There it is.  To explain (justify), Ciwt loved history when she was growing up; she majored in it in college.  She loved all the grand personages - from the Pharoahs on to the Founding Fathers and into the present.  She admired the erudition, vast intelligence, fineness, grandeur - just elevated superhumanness of these historical personages. She loved learning about them on their pedestals and getting as close as she could to their exalted coattails.  

San Francisco history is none of this really.  No exalted personages and grand, still quoted speeches.  No patient, clever, admirable multi-year diplomatic skills here.  In fact, until 1776 San Francisco was undiscovered except by the indiginous Ohlones and maybe 50 others, and largely overlooked as barren and useless with terrible weather even after it had been.  Then came 1848 and the Gold Rush!  In a matter of months, every (mostly man) who wanted the promises instant riches offered got on a ship, or horse, or ox cart or just his own two feet and got himself to San Francisco.  Between January 1848 and December 1849 the now City's population went from @500 to @25,000.

Those who came weren't your intellectuals, religious pilgrims, lawyers, doctors.  Or, if they were, they became gold panners, shop and brothel keepers, magistrates of opium dens and gambling houses, brawlers, murderers. No time to climb onto pedestals.  But somehow this assortment of 'non-Founding Fathers and Mothers' used whatever ingenuity they possessed to fashion an utterly unique, inclusive and beautiful city that drew and has kept (snobby) Ciwt all these years. 

But maybe Ciwt isn't alone in her 'snobbiness.' Maybe most people want their (fore) fathers and mothers to be patently admirable.  Maybe this; maybe that.  Ciwt keeps trying but can't quite close the door on this topic.  So, she'll continue on into the challenge.  No calling Bekins to the rescue today.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Movin and Shakin --- Days 8/309, 310, 311

Walks: City Guides Tours: 
Distances: 4-5 Chilly Miles each

First Glass Fronted Building Ever Built in the 1800's
Downtown SF

Map of the Many New Parklets and Public Open Spaces in Downtown SF

Salesforce Park, SOMA

(Forlorn) Harvey Milk Plaza, The Castro

Roof Garden, Fairmont Hotel, Nob Hill
So Ciwt has been on the move and shaking up her decades old San Francisco patterns in anticipation of her San Francisco City Guides Training which begins tomorrow.  A bit nervewracking; wish her luck - and stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Ahoy --- Day 8/308

Walk:  SPCA, Trader Joe's 
Distance: 3 Miles

Generations of Ships and Gulls at Fisherman's Wharf

Monday, February 10, 2020

Ciwt and Friend Stumblin Into Greatness --- Days 8/305.306, 307

Walks: 1. Open Houses 2. Chinatown Tongs & Thomas Reynolds Gallery  3. Day of  Oscar Recovery
Distance: 1.  2 Miles  2. 3. Miles  3. 0 & Yoga

Bong Joon Ho
So, faced with the prospect of going down to 14th street in rainy New York weather to see a gloomy play in (probably incomprehensible) Irish brogue, Ciwt and her friend scouted for an alternative for their last day in the Big Apple.  Looking at Rotten Tomatoes we saw that a movie which had just opened had a 99% rating and was very near our hotel.  Why not go?  Sure.  So off we went in New York showers to be among the first to see Parasite, whatever that was.

Approximately 3 hours later we stumbled out of the theater, stunned.  Absolutely stunned by the most original, unpredictable, staggeringly intelligent, dark movie either of us had ever encountered.  This was going to take a Lot of debriefing, so we took our chances on a restaurant right near the theater.  It turned out to be excellent and also to have a couple at the next table to ours in the exact same condition we were in.  They, too, had just staggered out of Parasite and sort of didn't know what had hit them.  So the four of us new friends spent the better part of our Italian meals discussing the South Korean one-of-a-kind, impossible to describe masterpiece we had happened into.

Maybe one of the best movies ever made; certainly one they will be teaching in Film Schools for years, but, for exactly those reasons, very unlikely to be an Oscar contender.  Maybe Best Foreign Film if it was even nominated at all.  But, in spite of its miniscule chances, Ciwt chose Parasite and Bong Joon Ho for Best Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture in her entry: Top Time  ---   Day 8/259.  She doesn't have a great record choosing Oscar winners, but she had so much respect for the man and his film that she went ahead anyway. 

Well, you know the rest of the story.  Last evening Parasite won 4 of the most important Oscar categories: Best International Feature Film, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and BEST PICTURE.  The usually parochial and pretty predictable Oscars went with Excellence even when it was an international movie by a South Korean director.  Ciwt's heartfelt (but seemingly unrealistic) selections were right on!  Decades of loyalty to that marathon, usually bloated, often disappointing ceremony paid off!  So, Yay!!  And here's a Slate write up that captures the feeling in the Oscars room.

Extra touch: Nearly everyone involved in Parasite flew over for the Oscars Ceremony.  And they all spoke so highly of what a delight Bong Soon Ho, who has quietly become one of the most imporrtant filmmakers in the world,  is to work with.