Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Monday, October 31, 2016

After The Rain, The Sun

These were taken in front of the Legion of Honor.

These were taken from the bureau.

Monday, October 17, 2016

October 2016

Yes, I've been AWOL but I'm back. Maybe it was a case of Election Seasonal Disorder. We'll start with a cheerful fire plug at Crissy Field.

This is Osha, a good Thai restaurant on Valencia St. with an interesting decor choice.


The Venus de Milo of Mission St. I find the steel arm socket oddly disturbing.

Fetish object on Mission St. I think the chain is both a fetish ajunct and an anti-theft device.

This is from a beautiful show by the Swedish artist Cecilia Edefalk that was recently at The Berkeley Art Museum (BAMPFA).

A family in Berkeley taken from a cafe in the Berkeley Art Museum.

A detail from a painting by Alexander Calder in the Berkeley Art Museum.

Once more, steamroller assisted printing.

Archeology on Ocean Beach.

Monday, August 29, 2016

iPhone Photography

Madame Le Chef and I finally joined the 21st Century and got iPhones. One advantage of having waited so long is that the phones have pretty good cameras. There's no optical zoom and the digital "zoom" is an abomination but otherwise it takes decent pictures and it's usually with you. Here's a selection of recent snaps.


Roosevelt tamales, sadly closed.

Grey day.

 Bridesmaids at the Legion of Honor.

Big duck in the suburbs.

Classic on Lundys.


Burning Man time.

Big insect.


Friday, July 29, 2016


Over the years I have posted lots of pictures of Ocean Beach on this blog. It's very picture-worthy and only a half hour car ride from the bureau. Sometimes, however, it's good to get a different vantage point on the mighty Pacific. A couple of weeks ago Madame Le Chef and I rented a cottage for two nights in the tiny town of Olema. We were celebrating our anniversary. The cottage was a short walk from the celebrated (but badly named) restaurant Sir and Star. We had an excellent dinner there and didn't have to drive afterwords. Our cottage had a very interesting statue just outside in case we needed help finding our way home.

Earlier that day we had driven out to Drake's Beach. As transported Easterners it still amazes us that you can get to beautiful, sparsely populated beaches just by driving 90 minutes or two hours out of San Francisco.

On the drive back to Olema we stopped to visit a very small cemetery situated on a low hill in the middle of a cow pasture. It contained the graves of sailors who manned a life saving station in the later decades of the 19th Century. The waters off Point Reyes were very dangerous and there were many shipwrecks. All the sailors were immigrants.

If you stepped carefully over the cow pies, the low hill also provided an excellent opportunity to get an other perspective on Drake's Bay.

The previous night we had come upon this shrine while taking a post dinner walk around the town of Point Reyes Station, which is several times the size of Olema (no great feat) and a couple of miles away. We enjoyed the merging of the nautical and the sacred.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Conflagration on Mission Street

In the later afternoon of June 18th we heard what sounded like the sirens of every fire engine in San Francisco heading for our neighborhood. We looked out over the Mission and saw nothing so we went to the end of our yard and looked back at our hill. There was an enormous plume of smoke in the sky. We could not see where it was coming from, because of the intervening hill, but it seemed to be coming from Mission St.

In the 19th Century, when Bernal Hill was a pasture, it was bounded by streams and marshes on all sides. In the 21st Century it's bounded by city thoroughfares and freeways on all sides. The thoroughfare to the west is Mission St. We soon learned from the internet that multiple building were burning. It took hours for the Fire Department to get the fire under control. Fifty Eight people were made homeless. The firemen used so much water that neighboring 29th Street was under a foot of it.

We learned about all this from the internet. It wasn't until two days later that we saw the destruction with our own eyes. The building in the center, Cole Hardware and the Mexican restaurant on the left, Plaza Azul, were completely destroyed.

The Mexican restaurant, El Paisa, on the left is repairable.

This building, which has a taqueria called El Gran Taco Loco and an ancient neighborhood bar called The 3300 Club on the ground floor and a SRO Hotel, called The Greywood, on the upper floors is also repairable but it will probably take a long time. In a dark irony, several of the residents were formerly homeless and now they are again.

The invaluable neighborhood blog, Bernalwood, has posted photos shot from a drone that give a much truer sense of the desolation than my eye level photos.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


According to the SF Chronicle the Gangway has been a nautical themed bar since 1910 and a gay bar since 1961 but now it's been sold and will become something else, which is how things go these days.

A nautical bar gives us an easy transition to the beach. Mme Le Chef and I went out to Ocean Beach this past Sunday and discovered something we had not known existed. Beach Soccer!

The sky was grey but it was not cold and the players seemed to be enjoying themselves.

It occurred to the bureau chief that if there can be Beach Soccer, there can be Beach Dogs.

Beach Erosion.

The Beach.

And Beach Kites.