Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fresh Fish

This is not the California Academy of Science aquarium.

It's a fabulous fish store on Stockton Avenue in San Francisco's Chinatown.

You select what you want to buy and the staff expertly catch, kill and bag it for you. It's very impressive.

That's Bill outside on the left, in his new hat, wondering what's taking me so long.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Stopped at a light on the California Street Cable Car I noticed this rather psychedelic looking piece of San Francisco architecture. Or was it those heirloom mushrooms?

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Bill, aka, Uncle Lynx, has started to upload some of his houseboat pictures to his flickr site. More houseboats here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ocean Beach, SF

A September afternoon by the Pacific Ocean.

Thai Headdress

Theatrical headress for the magical deer in the Ramayana (Life of Rama) dance drama, approx. 1950-1960, Central Thailand. Papier-mâché, glass and mixed media. Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. You see why we recommend this exquisite collection.


Swaying (A bird returns to a bamboo forest)

Chao Shao-an (Chinese, 1905-1998), 2004. Ink and colour on paper. Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. "Like a strong wind, [here are] a few strokes that are free of dust and dirt."


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Best Birthday Ever

I woke up 54 years old to a hilarious birthday card drawn and painted by William Kimber depicting the two of us in high hippie drag for our own "September of Love".

The Saturday morning market at the Ferry Building was in full swing when we arrived to sample the delicious fresh peaches, plums and tomatoes being given away. This guy shared samples of his local plums. They were the best plums we've ever eaten.

It's no wonder California cooks felt compelled to create an indigenous cuisine using their own superb produce.

We made our way up to North Beach and Vesuvio Bar, where we joined the ghosts of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg in several rounds of drinks.

We rather wheeled into City Lights Books where Bill bought me Kerouac's "Scripture of the Golden Eternity": my next great read.

We plopped ourselves down at Panterei and the waitress brought us a plate of bruscetta. When she took the empty plate away she said, "I can tell you didn't like it".

Two plates of lasagna returned soul to body so we were in fine shape for our walk back to our hotel and the bliss of siesta.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


In the Ferry Building we bought ourselves artesinal cheese and bread and local pears for our evening snack. (They were all great!) I chatted with one of the locals about the "triple-cream" cheese he had just bought. He admitted that it might not make his life longer. I suggested it would certainly make his life richer.

He liked this, so I added that Julia Child had been horrified and appalled that any hint of concern for nutrition or health should make it's way into any discussion of cooking. He asked me if that was from her new "My Life in France". It was. Could I recommend it? "It's delicious, brimming over with life and the feeling and atmosphere of the food world of France." He said he would read it immediately, and now I wonder if he was flirting with me.

Recommended museums

It was hot, hot, hot yesterday as we made our way to the Asian Museum of Art at Civic Square. It is a superb collection as strong as the Met. in NY, or the Guimet or the Louvre in Paris

-- one gorgeous piece after another.

Then we went across town to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The highlight was a retrospective of 5 decades of Richard Avedon's portrait work. One photo, of some very collegiate-looking students, ready to put their lives on the line for non-violent racial action in 1960's Georgia, brought tears to my eyes. They looked so idealistic, brave and vulnerable.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Visited the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park yesterday. They had three gorgeous John Singer Sargents among their excellent American, African and South Pacific collections.

Then we walked the full length of the park (4 1/2 miles) through mature rolling woodland, to Ocean Beach and the Pacific. We stripped off our shoes and socks, rolled up our pantlegs and strode into the surf. Exhaustion and care were washed away. Bill took a picture of me with my arms thrown up into the air in glee. Then I realized I probably looked just like the guy in the erectile dysfunction ad, shouting, "I'm back!"

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bay Area Riviera

Despite the obvious differences, certain things about San Francisco keep reminding us of the French Riviera. On a day trip to Berkeley yesterday on the BART (Bay Area Regional Transport) we were struck by the horizon of low, parched hills, the cyprus & pine trees, the tiled rooftops, the flowering bushes along the train tracks and the dusty exposed passenger platforms under the harsh, intense light that Matisse loved so much about Nice.

Here's one of Bill's pictures taken while walking down the bayside of Telegraph Hill yesterday, the lush vegetation, the palm trees, the flowers everywhere, the wild parrots overhead, again reminded us of Nice, nestled up to it's hills. And they are both framed by the deep blue of the water and everywhere you go you meet the same relaxed, friendly, confident, Southern people.

Starbucks no 1

Our first morning in San Francisco, at our local Starbucks, we sat ourselves down beside a man who was talking to himself, non-stop, at an inside window. He became more distressed as he went along, but he was sympathising with himself too. He said to himself, "How would YOU like to have severe mental problems?" Then he started into a stream of foul language, pitched at exactly the same volume as Stevie Wonder singing "Golden Lady" over the Starbucks PA. Weird!

Then I saw him fixate on a well-dressed guy drinking coffee with his girlfriend at a table outside. Mr. Foul Language leaned forward, stretched out his neck and spat out the most unholy stream of bile and invective it has ever been our misfortune to hear -- certainly the worst we have heard before we had finished our morning coffee! It was harrowing to see Mr FL, fogging the glass, inches away from the back of the neck of this guy who was calmly looking out onto Grant Street, unaware.

Starbucks no 2

We were thrilled not to find him there this morning. Starbucks was playing Sgt. Pepper on the PA -- lucky staff! Midway between "Fixing a Hole" an elderly woman came in with a walker. She made a barking sound at the girls behind the counter & offered them fresh bananas so they would let her use the washroom. Later, on her way out she barked at the person going out ahead of her, who walked out anyway, oblivious. The door closed in front of her. She barked again and Mr. Foul Language, who had been there all the time, but out of sight leapt up to help her. Impressive!

But he was slower than Bill, who was already at the door. Mr. FL patted the woman on the back as she left and gave Bill a warm smile. Bill came back and sat down. He said, "Well, now I'm Number One in HIS book!"

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Mars Restaurant diety

Toronto. Why wait in line at Aunties and Uncles when you can sit right down at Mars Restaurant? OK, the food is better at A&U, but life's too short to wait in line. I had bacon and eggs and the Lynx had an omelet. When this person appeared at the cash I was eating bacon with my fingers so I didn't want to pull my camera out. Then she lingered, so I had to clean myself up quick and get to work.

Friday, September 11, 2009

blogTO used us

Uncle Lynx and I often post pictures to blogTO's Flickr stream. It's fun when one of our pictures gets used to illustrate one of their articles. Today they used a detail of one of mine. Last July they used one of his.
They call him Uncle Lynx, but his Christian name is Bill.
John's blogTO illustration
Uncle Lynx's blogTO illustration

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Food Building Sign

This sign is one of my strongest early memories of the Canadian National Exhibition from when I first set eyes on it as an impressionable 8 year old. It looked so modern! And I loved everything modern. And they still look modern.

Do you have early memories of the Food Building? When I was a kid it meant Tom Thumb miniature donuts cooked fresh by a machine. How exciting to see those donuts come off the miniature assembly line and into a paper bag for me to eat!

The Food Building meant getting free miniature Coke bottles and free food samples. I remember wolfing those food samples down with a volcano-shaped container of Coca Cola in The Loblaws Theatre, watching cooking demonstrations on the brightly lit stage, flirting with mild insulin shock. It was a lovely feeling! It wasn't the Ex if you didn't throw up at some point! Was that your Ex? :)

Now when I look at this lettering it reminds me of the paintings of Ed Ruscha. If you know his stuff, you'll know what I mean. Here's a good example.

Here's a link to Edward Ruscha's Catalogue Raisonné.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

CNE 2009

Uncle Lynx and I went to the Canadian National Exhibition last Sunday and I still felt a thrill as I walked through the Princess Gates and onto the exhibition ground. My parents took me there when I was a kid, every year for many years, so the connection is deep.
We wanted to experiment with Kinnearing: taking pictures without looking through the camera, just holding it and aiming it. We hoped this would make our photography less visible, and we've also found the framing is sometimes much better by chance than what we do by eye. These experiments have been made possible by our buying a digital camera. If the Kinneared picture doesn't turn out, we can delete it without paying for film.
Results were looking promising.

I love the CNE!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Skirt jumps species lines

Evolution of NYC fashion continues across species divide. How popular is that!

Friday, September 4, 2009


Just photoshopped this picture. A lovely memory from June. Bill picked this up at the Saturday farmer's market at St. Lawrence Mkt. The pie lady loves to see him coming.