front gates

discussions w/ MomCat 2016/05/05

so many houses have front gates in San Francisco. they typically cover the entire front door area, so that one can’t even reach the front door without getting through the front gate. only a kitten or skinny squirrel could squeeze through!

i’m sure this started as a utilitarian safety feature (think a second front door). but now that they’re a ubiquitous feature, you can find so many different designs:

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they’re as much a part of San Francisco architecture as any other deco fixture or brightly colored stucco slab.

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she helped paint this :-)

discussions w/ MomCat, graffiti 2015/09/10

so recall my little cousin was here over the summer for an internship. she was working with community groups in Berkeley and Oakland. well, one activity they participated in was painting a mural in the Fruitvale District in Oakland.

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it was designed by a local artist, and community members came out to help put it up. then they had a block party to celebrate :-)

EB <3

graffiti 2015/08/11

one of my cousins was in the Bay Area this summer. she was here thanks to an internship that had her living in Berkeley and working in Oakland. of course i was excited to show her around! i took her to some of my favorite corners and eating holes. and because the community work she was doing was in Oakland, i did my best not to just swoop her over to the usual tourist traps in San Francisco. we spent most of our time together seeing/tasting/exploring Oakland and Berkeley in the East Bay. she even obliged my love for finding the freshest paint :-)

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(mural in Berkeley, corner store on University Ave)

ahh yes, some much needed East Bay love!

pink flamingos and blackeyed susans

discussions w/ MomCat, [human] behavior 2015/08/04

typical Baltimore summer? hot, humid, and hazy with a chance of thundershowers :-)

you can also find leafy green trees, overgrown gardens, cicadas humming, plastic pink flamingos, people cooling off whenever and where ever they can, DC politics, tall ships, shrimp-n-grits, lots of spice..

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and no matter how oppressive and sticky the air gets, there’s no fighting it. it’s best to just accept it for what it is and enjoy it while you have it <3

Eastern Shore

discussions w/ MomCat, [human] behavior 2015/07/30

when i talk about my hometown, those who know about the Baltimore/Washington metro area know that summers there are one long ‘hot, humid, and hazy with a chance of thundershowers.’ a few who have spent more than a day/week passing through also happen to know that it was a vast expanse of swamp before the European settlers came and built cities on it. so when we say hot and humid, we really mean hot and humid.

the Eastern Shore is all that hot, humid, sticky, with an extra large order of mosquitos, and then some. this is the piece of land on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay that is still mostly rural. there are a few quaint towns, some small farms, open expanses of forest and parkland, and a decidedly different set of politics.

it’s a beautiful place that i’ve experienced in small doses: i’ve been to Ocean City a few times, my mom used to take us camping on Assateague Island (the one with the wild horses!), and my father has recently found new love for kayaking along the Pocomoke River.

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so what’s the big deal with this river? as you can see, it’s a lovely way to spend a lazy afternoon outdoors. but also, this river is lined with Cypress trees, which are known for having leaves high in tannins, tannins that turn the water tea-brown and kill mosquito larvae :-)

it was a perfect kind of lazy summer day! thank you daddy <3

 

water, water

discussions w/ MomCat, [human] behavior 2015/07/28

i’m just back from a long week in Baltimore. this year i made sure my summer visit coincided with ArtScape, the largest free art festival in America and one of my favorite summer events (besides thunderstorms and sailing at night on the Chesapeake Bay).

just to clarify – this art festival is no joke. it attracts artists from all over the country and sees upwards of 350,000 people in attendance. this year George Clinton, Michael Franti, and Shorty Trombone were headliners. there were also Symphony performances, professional dance troupes, very well organized roller skating street performers, experiential installations, skilled artisans, jewelry makers, potters, silk screeners, painters, illustrators, gourmet food trucks, etc, etc, etc..! this is not some craft show, this is serious business. and it’s all free and open to the public :-)

by some unspoken law of the universe, the weekend that ArtScape falls on always happens to be the hottest weekend of the summer. it’s the one weekend when hundreds of thousands of people pour out into the center of Baltimore to party together. and each year, after barely surviving hours in the sweltering sun, 98F with 95% humidity, we all swear off ArtScape for good. then the following year we’re right back out there doing it again. but who can blame us? it’s a damn good time! as soon as the music strikes up in the nearest outdoor arena, the crush of people just starts swaying in rhythm together. everyone is out to have a good time.

this year the theme was water (the irony was not lost on me). there were elaborately decorated misting tents, water-like installations and sculptures strung up all over the place, boxes of water being sold, a giant hammerhead shark constructed from plastic water bottles, art cars decked out with sea creatures and other water-inspired paraphernalia… WATER! it was a bit strange for me to see water being sprayed into the air and streaming down into storm drains, but i was told they’d already had too much this year. so far this year it’s been raining so often, they have more water than they know what to do with.

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it was hot, humid and hazy, and we had some thunderstorms. but i got my culture fix. can’t wait to do it again next year :-)

and stuff

bean smoke!, [human] behavior 2015/07/09

we did more than just watch fireworks last weekend, we also drank lots of beer, made beer bread, and bbq’d stuff. this year we opted for a 5lb cut of sirloin from a butcher shop in the north bay (where cows are out standing in their fields – ha!). we smoked it for 5+ hours and not one neighbor was annoyed with our sidewalk setup. because we were out there for so long most happened by more than once, and they all cheerfully checked in on our progress :-)

the meat turned out beautifully! but since our party wandered off before it was ready to be served (*ahem* 5+ hours), a few of us were left with a large pile of leftovers.

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the morning after it was just as delicious. a little hair-of-the-dog for your July 4th recovery? ;-)