Saturday, October 31, 2020

Mean Time Please --- Day 9/198

 Walk: Presidio Pickleball          

Distance: 3.8 miles, 1 Hr. Pickleball, yoga/stretch

So, if you are like Ciwt and are challenged syncing your few home clocks and watches, imagine the pressure on this guy:

His name is Fjodor van den Broek, and he is the current horological conservator of 900 year old Windsor Castle.  In other words, he is the man who must make sure all 400 clocks on the Windsor estate are at the precise Greenwich Mean Time moment.  There are about 250 in the castle itself along with 7 tower clocks, and did Ciwt mention this is his first year on the job.  (Remember when you were beginning some of your jobs?  Tension and mistakes galore).

Sounds like Fjodor has factored that in because he has given himself 16 hours over the weekend  to complete his project.

Just getting from room to room will take quite a bit of that time.  And then there is the matter that all this must be done by hand and carefully coordinated with other movements in the clock.  For instance,
one of the clocks is an organ clock made in 1740 which plays melodies by Handel, four of which were composed just for the clock.  So this clock must be calibrated with the brass drum, pins of the organ and the bellows housed in the clock's base.

Organ Clock in the King's Drawing Room

And just to make things a bit trickier, the clocks in Windsor Castle's kitchen must be set five minutes ahead of the rest of the clocks so that the food will arrive in time for the royal family, official visits by heads of state from other countries, investitures, awards ceremonies and other royal functions.

After he has finished his first "Falling Back," Fjodor will resume spending  one full day a week winding up the mechanical clocks to keep their pendulums swinging.  And taking apart each clock for full service every 10 to 15 years.  As he explains "There will be a little wear that will need repairing, I'll then lubricate the mechanism and put the clock back together."  He also adds, "Most of the clocks are quite accurate but every now and then, for no reason, they will suddenly start losing or gaining time - something I've just started calling 'life.'  So I do have to keep a constant eye on them."

Friday, October 30, 2020

Halloween Awards Ceremony!!! --- Day 9/197

 Walk: Presidio Pickleball (yes)                       

Distance: 3.5 miles, small yoga, 90 minutes pickle

San Francisco kids are walking the sidewalks in costume which means it is time for Ciwt to present her awards for the best Halloween Decorations in her hood.  

In this complicated time, Ciwt has opted for simplicity. So, with no further ado, here are the decorations that communicated Halloween in the most elegant way.

Cutest Decoration that Charmed Ciwt:

Most Halloween Spirit from Workers Who Don't Even Live in the Hood:


Thank you for your participation.  Thanks to all Ciwt's neighbors for all their efforts to scare and entertain us this Halloween.  Have fun, take care, and remember it's never too early to start preparing for next year's contest.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Pointy --- Day 9/196

Walk: Hood                                                                                                                   

Distance: 2 miles


Tomorrow the CIWT Halloween Hood Decoration Award(s) will be announced!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Kiddie Swarm --- Day 9/195

Walk: Presidio                                                       

Distance: 3.5 miles, Housekeeping, small yoga

Ciwt hasn't walked during "after school" hours recently.  So she wasn't prepared for the Presidio playgrounds, paths, greens, and all the sidewalks near her home (and likely thoughout the city) to be filled to the brim with kids, 6 across. And teachers guiding them in various sports and nature lessons.  The City and the Parks have become schoolhouses, and that's great (but hopefully not all the time 😉).

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Entire Scene Entrants --- Day 9/194 (3)

 Walk and Distance: See Day 9/194

Sidewalk and Skeleton Entrants --- Day 9/194 (2)

 Walk and Distance: See Day 9/194 (2)

Wall Entrants --- Day 9/194

 Walk: Hood                                                                                                                                                   Distance: 5 miles, yoga

Definitely a banner year for Ciwt's Halloween Contest.  Every block, several entrants.  Mostly creativity starved adults Ciwt is guessing.  So many, she's going to have to publish several posts today to get them in before the 31st.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Play Time --- Days 192 and 193

Walk: 1. Presidio Pickleball (No, Not going again 😒 - really) 2. Monday play review and home stuff

Distance: 1. 2.3 miles, 1 hour pickle, small yoga  2. Short Pedal is all

So Ciwt's Zoom "play night" is here again.  (See Day 9/183 for last week's play).  Ciwt read The Time of Your Life a few days ago and scanned it again today as well as watching about half of the 1948 movie version with James Cagney.  So, she's prepared, but no matter how many times she encounters the play, in whatever form, she can't quite learn how to shake the down mood it engenders in her.  

William Saroyan wrote the play in 1939,  it was produced on Broadway shortly thereafter and went on to win the Drama Critics'Award and a Pulitzer Prize.  Not bad for a six-day writing stint!  In part of the prologue he says: 

So Saroyan's objective was kind, gentle, loving.  But the effect on Ciwt is decidedly sad as well as wonderment at the playwriting feat Saroyan accomplished.

After her first reading she sent this brief take to the East Coast friend she's on this 'Broadway' adventure with.

Well, I read it - but not all or even any of the stage directions.  

Didn’t care for it, but can understand why it won the prizes it did, particularly at the time it was written/produced.  Truly a brilliant capturing of the lives of those left out or just barely hanging into our economic system, the American infatuation with The Old West, violence, guns, rootless men, the second rate status of women who often are superior to the men, racism and more.   " No foundation "  as the Arab keeps saying.

Not uplifting, But...The characters aren’t defeated as they persistently (often drunkenly) angle for/cling to the financial windfall, all encompassing love, children, home, recognition in the arts, justice, etc that lie just ahead.

For me it wasn’t a word for word reading as much as an overall feeling for the whole of what Saroyan is saying. Sad, disturbing, made more so by how everything he writes about (unmasks) is totally with us today.


Saturday, October 24, 2020

No More Court Flower -- Day 9/191

Walk: Presidio Pickleball courts (yes)                                                                                                              Distance: 2 miles, 2 hours pickleball, Yoga

So, contrary to her swearing off pickleball yesterday, Ciwt got back on the pickleball horse today.

(She also cruised through google and found lots of comments the social (rejection) aspects of the sport). 

Friday, October 23, 2020

Court Flower --- Day 9/190

Walk: Friday Hood Errands (NOT pickleball)                                                                                              Distance: 5.3 miles, Yoga

Not Ciwt; Someone who went on to win a major tournament

So, maybe if she writes about it ....Here goes.

How Pickleball works, at least at the public courts Ciwt plays on, is you show up and, when a court becomes open, the next four people waiting go on and play doubles.  Then, if there is no one waiting, those four might stay on and play another game. Sounds simple, but wait.

The other day - the last time she played - Ciwt was playing with her foursome.  When her team won, the players decided to switch sides and play again.  So, Ciwt started walking over to the other side of the court.  When she got there, she found herself completely alone.  Abandoned.  One by one, as sides were being changed,  each of the other three players had gone off to play with other people leaving Ciwt, as she said, completely alone, just standing there.

It was not fun and it still bothers her.  What was it about?  Her personality? Age?  Not her game because she was at least as good as the other players.  A mystery, unsolved and still on Ciwt's mind.

So, this is the same problem that she experienced the first time she got involved with pickleball.  Not being abandoned but the discomfort and 'people games' people start playing because there are (way) more players than courts.  Some people start hogging the court and not getting off, others scowl at and criticize their partner if they can't play with the person they prefer; then there is the slamming the ball really hard at the opponent or running all over the court to hit every ball.  This is the first time Ciwt ever saw total abandonment and unfortunately it happened to her.  

Felt like 7th grade dancing school only, instead of being a Wall Flower, she was a Court Flower. 

In case you wonder why there might be no more CIWT pickleball entries.......

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Not Your Garage Band --- Day 9/189

Walk: Animal Connection donation                                                                                                              Distance: .5 mile, Yoga

Franz Peter Bundsen, (Germany), Kettle Drums, 1779

From the 17th to the 19th centuries one of the most sought after symbols of wealth and power were kettle drums.  Aristocrats and royalty competed for the finest and most impressive of these instruments which announced their arrivals, special events and even battles.

So you can be sure that when King George III wanted a new set of drums in the late 1700's his respresentatives scoured Europe for the greatest silversmith they could commission.  And they found him in the Hanoverian Franz Peter Bundsen, who not only fashioned the drums completely from a huge sheet of pure silver but hammered out an extraordinarily intricate royal shield in the center of each one.

The horses that carry the drums are also uniquely talented. Known as "Drum Horses" they are unlike any other breed in the world, combining the size and stature of the Shire and Clydesdale with the color and coat of the Gypsy Horse.  They are strong enough to carry the weight of two large solid silver drums, plus a fully outfitted rider (often in excess of 300 pounds).  This through large, noisy crowds.  The breed also willingly learns to be controlled entirely by reins attached to their rider's feet  and they can remain quiet and calm and present throughout ceremonial festivities.  Amazingly these large horses are also very rideable and driveable and can compete in many classes and disciplines. Understandably to this day the Calvary Drum Horse is one of the most popular and beloved members of The Queen's Band of Life Guards regiment.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Pumpkins? We Got Pumpkins --- Days 9/187 & 188

 Walk: 1. No  kinda bummed out from reading The Time of Your Life for Drama Class 2. G G Park       Distance: 1. 0, Yoga  2. 6 miles, Yoga

Monday, October 19, 2020

The Whole Truth --- Day 9/186

Walk: Presidio Pickleball Courts                                                                                                   Distance: 5 miles, 1 hr. pickleball

John Singer Sargent, Henry James, 1913, oil on canvas

Ever wonder what the novelist Henry James looked liked?

Well, here you have probably the most accurate existing likeness of him.  Photographs exist, but the exquisitely skilled John Singer Sargent was relentless in his honest depictions of his subjects capturing bags, scowls as well as exacting intelligence (if it existed in the sitter) and spirit where Sargent could sense it.  

As you can imagine, this high artistic integrity was not always well received by clients who had become used to the prevalent and effective method of lopping off 20 years or so from the face. But from nearly the beginning of his career as an artist, popular opinion was of no consequence to Sargent.  Social aristocrats applied in droves for Sargent's portraits, and he thought nothing of turning down those of this ilk who did not interest him.  Whether they were pleased with the results or not, they were known to pay the unheard of sum of $50,000 (there is at least one known $60,000 payment) for the honor.  That's about $1.5 million in today's dollars.  Today Sargent's reputation as a portrait genius still stands, and several of those portraits grace museum walls in the States and Abroad.

And, yes, Henry James, Sargent's equal in the meticulous and truthful portrayal of the upper classes, loved his portrait saying that it “made him into a figure of great dignity without making him look too old.”  (It was a 70th birthday portrait commissioned by many of James's friends who implored Sargent to paint it).

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Another Entrant in Halloween Contest --- Days 9/184 & 185

 Walk: 1. Presidio Pickleball and T. Joe's   2. No, Day of Rest                                                                     Distance: 1. 3.3 miles, 90 minutes pickleball  2. small yoga

Creepy entry way

Ghoul and skeleton tree across sidewalk from entry

Friday, October 16, 2020

The Importance of Heatwaves --- Day 9/183

 Walk: No, Inside avoiding heat                                                                                                                     Distance: 0, a little restorative yoga

So today Ciwt's cats hid under the bed or wherever they could find shade from our heatwave.  And Ciwt took the opportunity to pull down her shades and begin her homework on the Contemporary Drama course she and her friend on 'the other' coast will begin on Zoom in a few days.  

Assignment #1 was The Importance of Being Earnest by, of course, the one and only Oscar Wilde.  It was first premiered in London in 1895 and, in Ciwt's opinion, Wilde's brilliant, incisive, satirical wit is just as alive today as when he wrote the play.  With robust energy, flawlessly and hilariously, he takes down the social customs of Victorian society.

After reading the play, she continued to avoid the heat by watching one of Earnest's several movie versions.  It was filmed in 1986, starred Joan Plowright, was excellent and very slightly made up for having to miss her annual Broadway time with her friend.  BUT Ciwt feels The Importance of Being Earnest really  must be read as well as seen because Wilde's brilliance is non-stop and often spoken in King's English which can sometimes be hard for Americans to translate (😉).   

To tempt you back to your books, here are just a few Earnest quotes, many of which you will probably recognize.  

The truth is rarely pure and never simple

I am sick to death of cleverness. Everybody is clever nowadays

Thirty-five is a very attractive age. London society is full of women of the very highest birth who have, of their own free choice, remained thirty-five for years

To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness

But I don’t like German. It isn’t at all a becoming language. I know perfectly well that I look quite plain after my German lesson.

In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity is the vital thing.

If I am occasionally a little over-dressed, I make up for it by being always immensely over-educated.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Pretty Day for a Civic Vote --- Day 9/182

 Walk: City Hall                                                                                                                                             Distance: 5.4 miles, Yoga 

So, Ciwt is a total sucker for Civic Centers and their grand buildings like San Francisco's City Hall.          

And today felt like a good one for casting her ballot which California counts on the day of the election.  Instead of using a mailbox or waiting for her usual polling place on election day, she walked her completed ballot to her civic center where an extensive fresh air voting center has been established and manned.  After the volunteers ensured that her ballot was properly signed and dated, she slid it through the slot in the bright red box below:

Felt good and on her way back home she noticed for the first time that a statue of Abraham Lincoln sits in front of City Hall (watching voters).

Lincoln erected by public subscription, 1927

P.S.  - Today (the next one) I received this from Ballotrax:

This is a message from San Francisco Department of Elections. Your ballot for the 2020 General Election was received and will be counted. Thank you for voting!

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

United By Books --- Day 9/181

Walk: LP Nails, Presidio                                                                                                                                Distance: 4.3 miles, Yoga stretch

Oh dear, look at the signage.  It's in Japanese; Ciwt will never find a book here.  

But turn right and look again; English!  

And, wherever she looks there are wonderful books including best sellers and more esoteric subjects like   as well as watercolor books she can paint herself (if she could paint, that is), origami books with patterns she could fold herself (if she was a careful folder).  Gradually she feels her cramped covid19 mind enlarging, taking in the reality of another culture that, just like hers, values books.

This experience is what Books Kinokuniya brought to San Francisco's Japantown from Tokyo in 1947 in its first overseas expansion.  Some time after its founding in 1927, the largest bookstore chain in Japan, had made it a goal to cater to the interests of a wide, diverse clientele as well as its local Japanese clients. Since The Japan Center Books Kinokuniya has opened 13 more bookstores in the United States including New York City, Los Angeles, Austin, Seattle.*  It then ventured into the Asia-Pacific market (Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia and more) and launched its first outlet in Australia in 1996.

In all these places, perhaps and hopefully, Books Kinokuniya functions like it does for Ciwt every time she goes there - as an ambassadorship by books.  

PS - Plus they speak CAT 

*In the States you can find books Kinokuniya in Arlington Heights IL, New York City, Little Toyko Los Angeles, Japantown San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Monica, Seattle , Beaverton, Edgewater NJ, Portland OR and Carrollton, Plano, Katy and Austin Texas.


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Cross Fingers and Update --- Day 9/180

 Walk: Hood                                                                                                                                                       Distance: 2.5 miles, Pedal, Yoga

Ciwt is busy updating her private art tour website.   Just in case.....