Sunday, December 30, 2007

The cymbidium is back...

Our yellow cymbidium orchid is going into bloom once again, in time for the new year. This time it has ten flower spikes. Happy New Year, one and all!
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Sunday, December 23, 2007

New Aztec Calendar on Valencia Street

On a walk in the Mission I found that City College has neared completion of its new Mission Campus on Valencia Street near 22nd. The building features a huge, colorful Aztec calendar above the main entrance.
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Falletti's Rack

A great store got even better! Falletti Foods put a bright yellow bike rack in their outdoor parking area. I rode to the store this morning to get fixings for our holiday meals. When I came out a few of the neighborhood kids had parked their steeds next to mine.
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Sunday, December 02, 2007

I'm with Obama!

It's time to pick sides on this presidential campaign!

Barack Obama Logo

P.S. Oh yeah. It's about Iraq.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

No on H - We did it!!

The election results are old news but I'm still thrilled by the outcome of Prop H. It was a landslide No vote, and I think this showed for the first time that San Francisco voters have grown seriously unhappy with local congestion and are willing to take a stand against investing in car parking.

The results are still unofficial, due to the incredibly lame
election administrators, but here's the vote - as of:

RUN DATE:11/17/07 02:19 PM

Yes . . . . . 46,558 33.05%
No. . . . . . 94,316 66.95%

Change in NoPa

Change continues in the neighborhood. One thing that doesn't look so good is to see the state of this apartment dwelling on Fulton, where the tenants were recently evicted. A garage is being ripped into the building at the lower left - that's what the steel I-beams are for. Meanwhile, a change that seems more promising is the fix-up on Lyon, where twin houses are getting a simultaneous paint job.
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Fall bloom

The climbing nasturtium that we planted this spring finally bloomed a few weeks ago - and the flowers are already gone. That coincided with the bloom of the pink hollyhocks, which we found the same day as the climbing nasturtium in Sonoma at the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center. The hollyhocks are now 6 feet tall, and still blooming.
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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Happy trio

Our three pots of succulents have taken on an interesting aspect this summer. They are growing like crazy, but they're easy and fun to tend to.
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Vote No on H in San Francisco

Election time is coming around again. Here's a no-brainer: No on H. Even Mayor Newsom and the Chronicle agree. Too bad Donald Fisher took it upon himself to single-handedly re-write San Francisco planning laws.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Montreal in September

Last months trip to Montreal was neat. September is an awesome time to go - we had just the right amount of heat and only needed jackets on one night! Here are some shots.
Metal spiral staircases behind the houses...there are lots on the front, too.
LaChine Canal - this was the the way cargo moved up and down the St. Lawrence in the 20th century. Now a green space in the west side of Montreal. A converted foundry sports a vertical garden that wraps around the corner of the building.

Inside the Montreal BioSphere - what remains of the American Pavilion by Buckminster Fuller made for Expo 67. Updated information about this amazing creator can be found at this Artsy page.

The island which was built up for Expo 67 is now a wooded parkland popular with area cyclists. It is connected to the city by bridges and the subway.

After visiting the archeology museum and seeing the walls and foundations of buildings from the earliest years of French settlement, we went to the balcony on the top floor to get a view of the waterfront.

Bike racks at Mission Creek Park

Mission Creek Park is taking shape, and these new bike racks are installed on the sidewalk on Berry between 5th and 6th St.The racks are kind of interesting, with more design features than we are used to in San Francisco. I haven't tried one out yet.

Mission Creek Park North is designed by MFLA and features a promenade, basketball courts, boat launch, dog walk, marsh/creek restoration, and tennis courts. Mission Creek South is still home to a houseboat community and has grass and green space, a small amphitheater, and a pavilion for special events.

Check out the park with a walk around the loop - both sides of the creek between the 4th Street Bridge and 7th Street. You'll be rewarded with views of a waterway returning to life.

Trial By Jury is coming: Oct 26-27 and Nov 2-3

My next show with LGCSF is coming up soon. It is the "Autumnal Out-ing" and we will be performing a first act of solos, followed by Trial By Jury by Gilbert & Sullivan (think British Victorian comedy). Come see us! I play the foreman/bartender and have 2 short solos! Go to for tickets. There is a community box office that will sell tickets without any fees.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

the new lgcsf look

Originally uploaded by rashbre
We're thinking of Fifth Element type outfits for our next performance.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

pale yellow arrives

Our pale yellow dahlia is blooming. We've had this one for years, and this year we moved it to the back of the garden. It surprised us tonight, kind of like an old friend showing up. It usually blooms pretty late, and last year it came out in mid-September - so it's more than a month earlier than last year.

One of our new dahlias this year are these big orange and yellow beasts.
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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Rockets' red glare

Here are the first two blooms of a new dahlia - just beginning to open up this week.
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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Exploring Mayan ruins in Yucatan

I finished reading Incidents of Travel in Yucatan, Vol. 1 by John L. Stephens (1843). Reading this account of early exploration of Mayan ruins brought me back to my travels last summer to Tikal, a Mayan ruin located in the lowlands of Guatemala.

Here are two plates reproduced in the book, showing drawings done on the spot during the expedition by Mr. Catherwood. Catherwood drew artifacts that had survived about 1,000 years of being lost and abandoned to the jungle elements. Other drawings show the architecture of the Mayan pyramids and cities.
The Mayan ruins were a mystery in the 1840s, despite the development of large centers of population and culture in the Yucatan dating back hundreds of years. Here is a passage I enjoyed for its observations about culture, race, and the nature of discovery, in which the writer marvels at the discovery of a sizable ancient city which he called Kabah whose presence had previously never been documented:
"...I can do little more more than state the naked fact of their existence. The cloud which hangs over their history is much darker than that resting over the ruins of Uxmal. I can only say of them that they lie on the common lands of the village of Nohcacab. Perhaps they have been known to the Indians from time immemorial; but, as the padrecito told us, until the opening of the camino real to Bolonchen they were utterly unknown to the white inhabitants. This road passed through the ancient city, and discovered the great buildings, overgrown, and in some places towering above the tops of the trees. The discovery, however, created not the slightest sensation; the intelligence of it had never reached the capital; and though, ever since the discovery, the great edifices were visible to all who passed along the road, not a white man in the village had ever turned aside to look at them, except the padrecito, who, on the first day of our visit, rode in, but without dismounting, in order to make a report to us. The Indians say of them, as of all the other ruins, that they are the works of the antiguos; but the traditionary character of the city is that of a great place, superior to the other Xlap-pahk* scattered over the country, coequal and coexistent with Uxmal; and there is a tradition of a great paved way, made of pure white stone, called in the Maya language Sacbe, leading from Kabah to Uxmal, on which the lords of those places sent messengers to and fro, bearing letters written on the leaves and bark of trees."
*Xlap-pahk means paredes viejas or "old walls."

Using Google Earth, you can search for Uxmal or Kabah, Mexico, and easily find these sites. A number of photos of the ruins are embedded in Google Earth via Panoramio. (If you don't have Google Earth you can still see the Panoramio photos; click here for Uxmal ruins; Kabah ruins.)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Rollin' with the RWF bus

I paraded down Market Street in Sunday's SF Pride Parade with Rainbow World Fund. The RWF has a new bus - decked out in awesome colors - that will ferry humanitarian supplies to Mexico starting later this year. Here I am before the parade with Michael, Karen and Yew-Hoe.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Bandshell grand opening

We turned out this afternoon for the inauguration of the Panhandle Bandshell, and enjoyed some music, dancing, aerobatics, comedy, skits, and free food.
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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Pride Concert 2007: Here's Where I Stand

All are invited to join us next week for our annual Pride Concert. On the program: Lesbian's Potluck, Here's Where I Stand (from the movie Camp), Offbeat of Avenues (from the Manhattan Transfer), and For Now (from Avenue Q).

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Orange and red coming to the garden soon

Garden update: The overhaul is almost complete. Last week we planted a pair of wonderful red Kangaroo Paw plants that we found at the Armstrong Garden Center in Novato. The week before we found two vines at an amazing nursery in Sonoma County called the Western Hills Nursery. The first is a climbing hydrangea (seen next to the Kangaroo Paws):

We also found a climbing nasturtium at Western Hills. It'll be fun to watch this grow:

Meanwhile, the crimson nasturtium that we planted about 5 weeks ago are preparing to bloom - I counted over a dozen buds on just one of the two plants.

Also, a delphinium that we planted last year has grown a couple of great spikes. One of them is in full bloom now - it stands about 6 feet tall!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

LA Trip

On Tuesday, Michael and I began a two-day trip to Los Angeles. As the plane descended to LAX, I saw that the air pollution was thicker than I have ever seen yet. It wasn't bad on the ground, though, and we made our way to USC where we got to meet Dona Munker and hear her talk, "Imagining a Life" in Biography.

Next we took the 110 freeway past downtown, through some tunnels, and into Pasadena, to visit the Huntington in San Marino. It was a beautiful day to see the gardens. The drive to and from got Michael ready to repeat the trip on his own, the next day, for a research visit to the library at the Huntington.

Wednesday was a work for me at our LA office, but afterward Michael and I had a great dinner at Blue Velvet before catching our flight home.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

a downtown day

a downtown day
Originally uploaded by Darwin Bell.
April 1 must be wisteria season. You can catch some great wisteria blooms on Broderick and also on Waller St between Broderick and Divisadero. Here's a great Flickr shot caught from Yerba Buena, close to downtown.

Friday, March 16, 2007

teddy's bear's picnic

Special prize for anyone who can explain what this old tv show was AND the meaning(s) behind the old tune Teddy Bear's Picnic. I'm learning a special choral version of the song for an upcoming concert, and so I just downloaded this version of the song from the Itunes store, because it seemed the best version there...but I'm still confused by where this song came from!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007