Monday, February 24, 2014

walkabout day 38 -- and done

Home Again. Home Again. Where the allergies grow.

After another grueling 7 hours of driving I'm back in S.Fe. Arizona does go on much longer than absolutely necessary and it is always a relief to see those red mesa-cliffs at the AZ/NM border. Through judicious use of my accelerator pedal I got 22.3 mpg at 68 mph (at 'normal' ++75 speeds it would be less than 16 mpg so I'm quite proud of my achievement) all the way from Flagstaff to Santa Fe. The last little bit of I-25 was the only section where the other drivers seemed to take this as an affront.

And speaking of Flagstaff. I do not recommend the Hotel Monte Vista on a date-night. Revels from the three bars on the lower floors drifted up to my second story room until about 3AM when the police cruisers with their flashing lights finally cleared the streets. I think my corner was the only one in greater Flagstaff to require such attention as the distribution of excitement falls precipitously if one strolls a block in any direction.

Standby for image updates to the last weeks' posts as I now have a real keyboard and internet connection with which to play..... processing .... processing .... done.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

walkabout day almost over

Gdm tablet entry. On the plus side it's connected to something. Which is more than I can say for the hotel's !free wireless internet!

In Flag(half)staff's Monte Vista Hiptel. Sorta shabby-hip but with martinis and a full espresso bar. Thus Not to Shabby. Parking is an issue however. Almost home.........

Some snapshots from my Mojave-Flagstaff drive:

no potable water at the first I-40 rest-stop

apparently everyone felt like me at the second I-40 rest-stop

Friday, February 21, 2014

walkabout day 36

Made Mojave after gorgeous drive on hwy41 out of Yosemite.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

walkabout day 35

Just another day in national park paradise.

I took a tourist-tour of the Valley. Here's a few typical vistas...

(photos when the internet clears it's obstructions):
a more cuter photographer
and yet more photographers, re-entering my tour bus

me, older, there, waiting to re-enter my tour bus, in the distance
I should note that our tour guide was also, wait for it, a poet/artist/photographer, who mentioned his website at the beginning of our drive-about...

Then I had dinner at the Ahwahnee Hotel which "shines as Yosemite National Park's distinctive AAA® Four-Diamond hotel. Known for its magnificent façade, and architecture..." Which it in fact is/does, although the food and service is approximately pedestrian for it's stature the setting closes the negotiations on an up note.
(more photos when the internet clears whatever it is doing this time)
sunset at the Awahanee Hotel
Then "home" to my more pedestrian Yosemite Lodge, to sleep it off until I drive to Mojave tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

walkabout day 34

Yo! Semite!

Made it here before dark even though I took the non-optimal route. It turns out that route 132, after one exits the environs of greater Molesto, is just fine. It just takes a bit longer to wind through the winding foothills and then the ultra-winding hills until you get to the loopatious mountains of route 120 and the entry to the cliff-defying road to Yosemite's valley of lodging preserves.

I wound around until just before sunset on winding roads to the Lodge (NOT the Awanhee, the exclusively preferred spot of the upper classes where I will try to have dinner tomorrow, but the more expansively preferred spot of the screamingly middle class hallway children) and settled in with a photo:
not half-dome, but what the heck, from my terrace

(Still having issues with full access to SillyValley's idea of the internet, so I will try to back-post more photos in the near future.)

Anyway the forest around route 120's north access is devastated by last year's fire and almost entirely completely dead. I first thought it was extensive beetle damage but the trunks of the trees are burned so the fire must have spread through the understory, killed the trees, and then left them for next year's holocaust. Remind me to stay out of California this summer...

walkabout day 33

Winding downnnnnnnnnn.....

Walk in Jasper Ridge then Indian food with Brooke and Deanna. To Yosemite tomorrow -- actually today, because I forgot to report last night....

Brooke and Deanna, typical pose
Brooke and Natasha, ritual tick removal from cat
Disappointingly, I missed the more typical Natasha pose of screaming bloody murder over having to witness the ritual removal procedure. At sixteen she's not exactly Florence Nightingale material...

Monday, February 17, 2014

walkabout day 33

Another day another set of nearly useless gdm tablet interactions. Too hard to describe while using the gdm tablet keyboard simulator...

I did manage to visit PaulD at Stanford and RobB in Montara, so all is not yet lost. Yet.

Another in home meal with Brooke and daughter. Planned return through Yosemite starts Weds.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

walkabout day 32

Another 3g connectivity day, so I can't integrate like the Google kids. Which is kinda funny because I'm in Woodside, CA where the technology owners live. They probably have their own personal satellites though. So could not report more if there was such anyways. My first night of couch surfing has left me groggily berift of insight, so it's all for the best in the best of impossible worlds and Brooke and Natasha have just arrived to, I hope, supply my dinner!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

walkabout day 31

Can't say much because I'm stuck with the un-function of the gdm tablet. But I visited the Presidio and some of its art offerings, then hitailed to Woodside to recoup. No photos can be posted with this device (ed. somewhat later... I discovered that if I have the gdmtablet zoomed just right the label side-menu will appear and then, if my finger/pointer is of a certain small size, I can select the appropriate label option for posting. So it goes. Later.) That's about the shape of it....

Post trip update. Through the magic of returning to a real(ish) computer with a real(ish) keyboard which has the ability to upload images, here are some from the Presidio:

Mark DiSuervo at Crissy Field with added industrial steel work
Andy Goldsworthy , Tree Fall
And then one from Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve in the grand village of Woodside, CA:
down another rabbit hole

walkabout day 30

Another laid back day... I did a little Walker-Work. Then had an un-lunch with Jean and a pizza dinner with Ken, Brian, and Maggi. Then "home" to find that I had once again not pushed Save on my cell phone camera and thus have no dramatic image from Tilden Park of the fog rolling through the Golden Gate on its way to Alcatraz.

So it goes.

However... some days later I am, perhaps, able to add an image provisioned from Jean's FacePlant page, after her iPhone remembered to push Save:

Friday, February 14, 2014

walkabout day 29

Nearing the end of the Bay Area portion of the experience and not that much to report.

After three days of intensive penetration into San Francisco I pretty much took the day off. I had a coffee at Sweet Adelines, that doesn't even rate a whats-near-me cafe flag on the gdm tablet Mopes app -- which BTW I seem to have fixed by backing out to a version that looks suspiciously like the browser native with a completely different user interface. Then a paella dinner at Duende in downtown brOaklyn with Chris. In between there was a small amount of conceptualization for my little Walker's learning scheme.

Looking forward to much the same tomorrow.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

walkabout day 28

More Overloaded Media Overload Day

Back in San Fran, as they tell knowledgeable visitors never to call it, I hit the Exploratorium at its spiffy new Pier 15 digs with two other ex-Exes, one of whom is not so ex as to not still be working there even though he was fired a few weeks ago and was able to slip the other two of us ex-Exes in for free. Peter, the Not-Working Dos Equis was suitably jaded and Wayne the latter-day Equis his usual cynical self, so the net result was a dystopian tour of failures and slippages vis the tractionful triumphs of our hazily remembered past... In other words, things are pretty much the same. But somewhat more polished and dust free.

Indicatively, the word Science is no longer in the title. Now it is "A Community Museum Dedicated to Awareness". Kinda strange. Anyway there is some attempt to include Social Science in the mix and (my) entire Sound and Hearing section is pretty much missing in action. At least some of the Color and Light stuff made the transition to the new space in sorta-reduced capacity.

On the other hand two of the Artist In Residence 'zibbits  for which I provided technical assistance -- kinetic neon sculptures by Christian Schiess -- are still there, one is in much improved condition but the other is outwardly identical to the way I left it 35 years ago. I have no idea if the guts are the same though:
I designed this control panel and the electronics therein
Plus the Delayed Speech piece which I re-built after a few years of re-enforcing its headphone supports and splicing its tape loop with thousands of screaming children running hither and yon around me. Now in yet another incarnation:
Delayed Screech, c. 2014
And my large, cluttered, superfund cleanup site of an electronics shop has been reduced to a computer workstation and a single cabinet of miscellaneous parts that no one remembers how to use:
the machine shop has more tools now though
Then I went to Pier 24, a huge well installed photography gallery, by appt only, at, well, pier 24, right under the Bay Bridge. It's a stunning display of mostly contemporary photography that turns out to be mostly nothing like one would nominally believe photography to be. Images that look to be spontaneous but are painstakingly posed. Images that look to be --dramatic-- documentation that are pieced together frames from multiple locations around the world. Images that look to be photographs but are really shadow-grams. And even some --i.e., a lot of-- traditional, meaning alternative, process wet-salt-plate-print-obscura-god-camera-silver-paladium-knows-what work of interest.

A couple of blocks after stumbling into the fading evening light I found this stencil on the sidewalk, with the toes pointing towards the Oldenburg/van Bruggen Cupid's Span sculpture:

Then oysters and a martini at WaterBar on the Embarcadero and dinner with Jenny at Uzen on College. And "home" to make this full report.

All in all a day for introspection:

the gdm tablet thinks about taking a picture until I look to see if it has taken the gdm picture yet

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

walkabout day 27

Media Overload Day

I went to the (new) De Young Museum in GGPark. It looks like a terminator building looming over the band shell concourse:
Star Wart Walker invading GGP
But has a spectacular 360 view from the top:
out beyond the Golden Gate
Inside was one holdover from the David Hockney show that closed just before I arrived in town. A multi-channel video which slowly panned across an English landscape at slightly different speeds on each screen. Even if I didn't really like his painting this was mesmerizing:
Seven Yorkshire Landscape Videos, Hockney, 2011
And many many more things from many many more ages of mankind. Most interesting was the curatorial interweaving of old and new. For instance this early 20th century African "mask and costume" (c.f., the "mask" at the very top), which looked for all the world like New York Dancer IV from 1965, in amongst some more ancient things:

Also the work of what one might think of as minor painters who did stuff (almost just) as good as the big names in and around the first half of the 20th century. Unfortunately much of the contemporary section was cordoned off for installation of new shows, the most well publicized of which was Georgia O'Keefe -- coals to Newcastle in my case.

However they have a small outdoor sculpture garden with some big names, including Moore, Nevelson, Oldenburg, and my current tour theme James Turrell:

down the Turrell rabbit hole
Of course, this being the Avenues rather than the Streets it was fully overcast, or Marine Layered as they call it in Lost Angles, so the view from his installation was somewhat less inspiring than it may someday be in NE Arizona. But it is of interest in using LED illumination (a bit too dim to be inspiring) to augment the Sky portion of the Space in a study for last year's Guggenheim piece:
Skyspace, Turrell, 2005
I found that darned Art & Place book in the gift shop and verified that I had had my head installed in my nether-regions when thinking that the Getty also had a Turrell piece. It was Ruscha and I missed seeing it because I didn't know what to ask for at the time.

Afterwards I shuffled off to the Zuni Cafe for oysters, caesar salad, and gnocchi with Brian, Ken, and Erika. Once again through judicious selection of arrival time I managed to score the bow-window cafe seats and hog them for the duration of our grazing experience.

walkabout day 26

Another medialess day, even though I toured multiple sources of New Media activity.

It started with a visit to MichaelS(two) at his CCA job in the soon to be overrun BernalChinaHeightsBasinBaseball district. California College of the Arts, now minus the Crafts, looks to be a pretty good facility offering both Art and Design training to the next generation of advertising executives. I had a short back-n-forth with the furniture department and then bemoaned the lack of interest in the lathe and mill in the metal shop.

After lunch I moved on to an unintentionally self-guided tour of Noisebridge, somewhere on Mission between 17th and 18th -- the street numbers have a vague relationship to reality and there was no one there who seemed to be in-charge enough to offer a tour. And then a short 14 bus to TechShop on Howard which is a franchise maker operation with a cute girl running the laser cutter on their web page. Unfortunately my timing caught up with their every half-hour on the half-hour tour schedule and I missed the full sales pitch. But they are very well equipped for low volume construction in many disciplines, at a bit of a steep price.

And THEN a tour of the AutoDesk experimental fabrication facility next door to the new Exploratorium on the Embarcadero. What a place! It seems to exist to provide a test arena for their CAD/CAM/whatever software and "workflows", but they gobbled up Instructables a while ago and now present with some manner of MakerLife. And they have an Artist in Residence program!

After an SRO BART trip back to beautiful downtown foggy Berkeley I had a lovely dinner with Jean and Carla at Cheese Penis -- the front balcony room has been rebuilt to be even better than it was but we were seated just on the other side of nirvana so could only watch. And then an after dinner drink at César just to appease Jen.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

walkabout day 25

I spent the afternoon with Sudhu trying to make a motor work but was only partially successful in the speed control realm. We're trying to make a Baird Televisor which is a spinning disk that makes raster scan lines that are somehow synchronized to a electronic signal representing an image. For low resolution systems the signal is in the audio range, which is what first got Sudhu interested. The somehow synchronized bit is the currently bothersome thing with the motor and I think I will need to leave it until I have my own facilities in which to operate. Or find a commercial speed controller that knows such better that I.

Then I had dinner with Bruce and Teresa and a cup of tea in their new(ly) remodeled Oakland home.

Sorry. No new media were harmed in the making of this post.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

walkabout day 24

I spent the afternoon talking shop and (work)shops with MichaelS(two) and his SO Judy on Treasure Island. He has managed to reinvent himself as an itinerant technology professor and some-time kinetic artist. So such things are possible.

I really wanted to see the new Bay Bridge eastern span on my way to/from Treasure Island but it was so foggy and rainy that I only caught an occasional glimpse between white knuckled lane changes. It's all just the way I remember it.

Then I visited another of my long lost loves:
Orchard Supply Hardware -- one of three nut aisles
And as proof of concept I bought one package of each of the options that I continually complain about not being able to find, anywhere, in S.Fe:
#2-56 machine screws, with nuts, in three length selections
Then some more oysters at the Rude, a detour to Ken and Debbie's new house, and back "home" to hopefully sleep it all off.

Friday, February 7, 2014

walkabout day 23

The weather is not cooperating but everyone is thanking me for being the rainmaker.

Anyway. Yesterday I found the non-negotiable contents of someone's purse dumped onto the ground in front of the Black Repertory Theater. I collected the remains of what looked to have sentimental or use value. In amongst I found a name and phone number which I duly called. The erstwhile owner called back and today I traded the leftovers back to the her boyfriend in exchange for a story or two about how he was considering packing heat from here on in.

Makes me wonder about moving back to an urban environment. Especially since there is less space in which to pack heat, vis-a-vis my Santa Fe Acres.

Then after a bit of old N'Yawker reading and desultory work on programming projects, in which I seem to be losing interest, I had dinner with Chris, Johanna, and their friend Brian (different Brian, but they all know each other out here). My first official meal-like-meal not in a restaurant on this trip. Well worth it I must say.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

walkabout day 22

I found it on the Oakland Berkeley border at Stanford and ne-Grove:

the promised photo from yesterday, hot off the today press

I had coffee, drinks, and dinner with Jean and Carla. Then visited the Ace Monster Toys maker space in the nether-world of maybe Emeryville. They have a smallish space for what seems to be going on, the usual 3d printer, a decent looking Epson 2d printer, a woodshop with a CNC router, a small metal shop with a desktop CNC mill tucked into a corner, and a big laser cutter. Much more techie than the SudoRoom crowd, and probably less politically correct. But looks quite useful, especially as they hope to move into a larger warehouse.

walkabout day 21

Three weeks and counting.

Again, not much to report. I guess I'm settling down. Some work on misc art projects, including Mealy state machine code for Feeling Abandoned. I had to test it on the target Arduminio platform because the idiot Win7 box I brought along just refuses to execute the old-style gcc that I stupidly loaded up and never tested. There seems to be no reason for this -- other cygwin era text processing programs run fine. Just not the ones I need. When I need them. (Google Maps still crashes on the gdm-tablet when I rotate the screen. For instance.)

Reduced Functionality.

But I did manage to vet Sweet Adelines -- a local, local cafe/bakery -- and get a place in the checkout line at BerkBowl to purchase some nice (blue)cheese and (orgo)crackers for  mid-day snax. I took a cell phone photo to enliven this portion of the post but forgot to enable SAVE before exiting the camera app so y'all just have to wait on the image-update until tomorrow's redo.

And then. A daring venture on BART to darkest Oakland (and back, even) to visit the Sudo Room "maker" space, which is more of an "occupy" space with the de rigueur 3d printer. I attended (part of) their weekly administrative meeting before bailing to have (oysters and martinis) dinner with George at Luka's Lounge -- my my, Bwy&Gnd has change since I performed services there-abouts two decades ago. The Sudo folks look to be a swell buncha idealists and I would go back again, when/if I have the patience.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

walkabout day 20

I had lunch with Jenny, wandered around, and then more oysters for dinner at Cafe Rude. Not too much to report.

However Berkeley's 4th street has gone beyond what I remember:

not clear on the design influences or products offered

There was also a kinda standard scandi-designery chair (with footstool) for $8000 (rounding up with tax) in the window of one affordable-fine-living-for-the-home store. So I may not be moving back here in the >1yr burn-rate future. But Byron may still be an option...

walkabout day 19

Moes & Med

I made my way to two standard Berkeley destinations, Schmoes and the Cafe Mud. Bought a couple books, a macchiato and a croissant. Then went "home" to do my laundry.

On the way home I stopped in Whole Paycheck for a couple of orgo-supplies. While searching the pills and ointments aisle I heard a weep-weep sound and a voice saying "evacuate the building". The woman behind me said "oh damn it" and rummaged in her backpack and the sound stopped. For about thirty seconds. Then the voice started again, "Evacuate the Building"... So I said, "Do you have a CO alarm in your bag?" thinking I was making a joke. But in fact, she DID have a smoke alarm in her bag and that the batteries had died and she didn't know how to shut it off and was taking it somewhere or other as she pulled it out, while it screamed, "EVACUATE THE BUILDING!!!". I took it from her, fiddled around for a few seconds trying to get it open and finally managed to dislodge the batteries. Then I explained that I was a fire fighter and should know how to deal with such things. Rather then reporting me for harassment she he thanked me profusely.

It's almost like being here.

Afterwards I had dinner and a long ramble through an old project with Sudhu while admiring my handiwork in my old house. There are still drawers in the basement with my labels on them. My idea was to get the Exploratorium interested in the old project as an Artist in Residence thing, but upon perusing their AIR website we found that there is NO application process and that they will call us if they are interested...

So it goes.

Monday, February 3, 2014

walkabout day 18

Berkeley Bowl Produce Section

OMG -- look at those brussels sprouts!

And all the Berkeley People who refused to get out of the way for the photo. It was too busy to actually get through a checkout line to buy something, but maybe tomorrow...

I had dinner with Ken at Cafe Rude, after helping to retrieve Lost Cat Found posters, clearing North Berkeley of same. It's actually a good story with a happy, if still skittish, cat ending:

Followed by a beer with K, Brian, and (big) Conor in the cold cold outside Jupiter seating.

Yup, the weather changed 12 hours after I arrived and is now colder, well actually warmer but damper, than S.Fe. I just can't win on the weather I guess.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

walkabout day 17

I have arrived in the airbnb promised Oakland/Berkeley borderland. My room in a shared house is cozy and serviceable (once I installed the necessary extension cords), although there are no ice cubes in the fridge?!? Waiting for dinner with Brian and Maggi now.

From King City, I took one of my "shortcuts" through Santa Cruz to visit my old homesite. It has been remodeled:

Former site, Soquel Mobil Home Park's famous Space Two

However my very first volunteer fire department is still across the street, although I was not a volunteer at the time -- I did learn to imitate the call-to-arms siren for a music of the spheres class -- and it's not entirely apparent if it's still a volunteer operation -- no one was home when this photo occurred.

Soquel Fire Station

And. The old Grange Hall which was the location of one of my first off-campus performances, staring (oh my memory) Joe Hannan, Cynthia Haagens, Adella Basayne, Annuel Dowdell, and others who will doubtlessly be reading and pissed off, is still there and still in use as a theatrical venue:

I have to admit, it does look like a church...

Now that I'm settled I have time to peruse my email offerings:
To: <>
Date: 1 Feb 2014 10:28:43 -0600
Subject: Come fly with me

how do you do treasure?

My name is geraldo, im really hot russian girl
I very like the virtual hot meeting, if you are
realy interesting to love chat, meeting, or
change photos.
But I just at a loss for how to respond these days.