The Writer's Life: Film & Book Reviews, Observations, and Stories
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de Young and Legion of Honor

We spent the day at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park and at the Legion of Honor a few miles distant near the ocean. If you’ve never been to the seventh floor of the de Young, you have to go. It’s like being on top of a duomo with a panoramic 360 degree view of the city. The African collection is fabulous and the food at the Legion of Honor ain’t bad.

(There are more images under San Francisco (2) if you’re interested.) [Is it grammatically correct to have a paragraph of one sentence in parens? Probably not, but who cares? It’s a blog!]

September 14, 2010   Comments Off on de Young and Legion of Honor

Mount Tam

View of Mount Tam from Ring Mountain Preserve in Tiburon. Looking in the opposite direction, you can see Belvedere and the Tiburon peninsula in the foreground with the bay and city behind them. I’d post a photo (laughing) but I’m sure you can easily imagine it.

September 13, 2010   Comments Off on Mount Tam

View from Hawk Hill

Ordinarily you can drive to the top of Hawk Hill on the Marin Headlands, but the road is being resurfaced, so we walked it instead. Nice view of the bridge and city. No hawks though.

September 12, 2010   Comments Off on View from Hawk Hill

Home of “California Cuisine”

To celebrate my birthday, my sister took us to the famous restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley last night. It was a warm evening and students were sitting on the grassy median on Shattuck Avenue, eating pizza. Upstairs, the host–a small, friendly man, originally from Cypress–greeted me, knew everything about our party and told me regretfully that the table my sister requested was required for a party of ten. I had a sherry at the bar and waited for the others to park and make their way to the restaurant. It’s a funky place, a bit overcrowded, with staff running every which way to serve guests. The wine list is superb (we had a pinot from the Willamette Valley and a strange white from Salento), which made my artisan cheeses, fig and prosciutto salad with crème fraîche, and sardines with sweet and sour onions spring to life. It was a totally unique dining experience.

A warning to visitors: Chez Panisse accepts reservations, but only a month in advance.

September 12, 2010   Comments Off on Home of “California Cuisine”

Planted Edsel at Flora Grubb

September 11, 2010   Comments Off on Planted Edsel at Flora Grubb

Hippie Values

The only place in the United States where the hippie experience had a lasting impact was San Francisco. Here it still permeates the cultural mores of the city, though this is a difficult thesis to prove. (Where is Gore Vidal when you need him?) What I mean is that hippie values—being true to oneself, not ripping people off (too much), avoiding freak outs, tolerating diversity, loving everyone—affect how people dress, speak, and treat one another in this city. Naturally, San Francisco is not the New Jerusalem, but it is a place where gays and lesbians feels safe, where street people are treated with respect, where Asians and Hispanics assimilate easily, where you have to go downtown to see women in makeup and heels, and where there is a bias in the political system toward progressive liberalism. It is what we, as hippies, wanted the United States to become, but, of course, that was never going to happen. In the end, everything we stood for was co-opted, died a quick death, and washed up on shore like a bloated sea lion. It is only in San Francisco that there is there still a semblance of what we once were. Unfortunately, it was the only fertile soil there was.

September 10, 2010   Comments Off on Hippie Values

282

The hawk’s whistled cry
Like the sharp inrush of breath
Just before dying
.

September 10, 2010   Comments Off on 282

View from Holly Park

Bernal Heights has two hills with parks on both of them, Bernal Heights Park and Holly Park. Both are dog walkers’ havens. This afternoon the fog began rolling in from the Bay. The sun was intense and the wind was cold. It seemed like an image of a city on another planet, which San Francisco is, in a way. I couldn’t resist taking a picture. Beautiful, isn’t it?

September 9, 2010   Comments Off on View from Holly Park

Mad To Live

February 20, 2010   Comments Off on Mad To Live

Lake Merced

Lake Merced, which has a circumference of about 4.5 miles, is popular for walking, running, biking, golfing, shooting skeet, and for sculling. Dozens of young crews were out this morning, warming up or running on the grass, chatting and laughing with one another, or practicing on the water. It was a cool day and the wind off the ocean made it even colder. Of course, this didn’t stop anyone, including us, from going through their Saturday routines.

February 20, 2010   Comments Off on Lake Merced