False Friendship, Like Ivy, Decays And Ruins The Walls It Embraces

Sutro Bath Ruins, Marin Headlands Beyond
Sutro Bath Ruins, Marin Headlands Beyond

Sutro Baths Cove is a somewhat haunting place of well documented history on the far Western edge of San Francisco in an area called the Lands End, with wide ranging views across the entrance to the Bay to the Marin Headlands beyond, hillsides of cypresses and wildflowers, and of course, the Sutro Baths ruins themselves. In its heyday in the late 19th century, postcards of the Baths show a fascinating giant glass greenhouse and a series of pools decorated with oddities like stuffed apes and animals, a concert hall, and a museum of artifacts Adolph Sutro collected in his many travels. It struggled in the 20th century, and eventually burned to the ground in 1966, and the national parks conservancy chose to leave the ruins as a historical preservation. In 1936, a large freighter even ran aground right next to the cove.

It strikes me that San Francisco is interesting not in that it has a storied history–many cities do–but rather, that its history represents a well documented highly photographed and preserved picture of the US western land grab dating back to the 1849 gold rush that spurred it, a mere 72 years after the American Revolution, a drop in the water compared to other world civilizations dating back thousands of years.

We Build Too Many Walls And Not Enough Bridges

Sunrise On Big Red
Sunrise On Big Red

The Golden Gate Bridge is so iconic that pictures of it become almost cliche, like, perhaps the Grand Canyon or Eiffel tower or such. Like those other icons, being there is a far larger experience than any image could capture, including how vivid its color “International Orange” is up close and personal.

As part of the new fitness routine, I bike across the bridge every weekend, and I still marvel at what a feat of engineering it is, spinning across its western bike path and looking out beyond the great Pacific Ocean and on the east, sunrise on San Francisco, Alcatrez, and tiny triangles of sailboats who’ve made the early sojourn.

This pic is a stop at the Warming Hut beneath its base, prior to ascent and crossing. Another glorious day in San Francisco.

Is Your Desire Aroused to Compare Your Narrative to Someone Else. A Liger, Perhaps?

Muni Light Rail Platform, San Francisco, CA
Muni Light Rail Platform, San Francisco, CA

Oh, sure, there are curmudgeons out there who would complain that taking San Francisco’s transit system is almost as fast as walking, but they also likely whine about every little detail that doesn’t meet their fancy, in the manner of many city millenials.

I love our transit system, it’s colorful, interesting, I can get anywhere in this 7 square mile peninsula head with nominal walking if I want, and the people watching simply can’t be beat.

If you visit our fair city, come into SFO airport, take the BART into the heart of the downtown, take the light rail or buses to the Great Highway, Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, walk the diverse neighborhoods with layers on as the microclimates shift rapidly, and partake of world class food and culture.

There, feeling better?

A Great City Is Not To Be Confounded With A Populous One

I Live On First Street
I Live On First Street

I did the Friday night ramble out into my lovely city to take in the floating wisps of cloud cover and crisp, cool air that signify fall here in San Francisco. I picked up some new Teva sandals and finally threw away the beat to hell sandals I’d been wearing all through my Saba trip, and damn, they felt comfy.

I slung my little camera at my side like a tourist, snapping every few blocks, which prompted several tourists on the waterfront to ask me to take their picture. I always worry about that one time I’ll take the picture, and they’ll look at their little iPhones and wince and say “No, No, No,” indicating my picture quality was suspect, but what the hay, ya gotta be nice some of the time, build up karma capital.

Call Me Chaz. Don’t Call Me Late For A Blog Post.

ImageI’ve created a dilemma for myself that being a writer solves.  For the last 20 years of my work life, I’ve gone by Chuck, which is naturally self perpetuating since each successive job referral knows me by the name I used before. I’m perfectly fine with Chuck.  However, for the last 20 years, I’ve slowly migrated a bevy of new pals over to Chaz, which I also happen to use for my writer’s pseudonym…my pen name. For the sake of this writer’s blog, and to avoid confusion, blog readers, it’s Chaz. And Sin?  Well…that’s just a bitchin’ spin on my last name that makes me out to be far more devious than I actually am.

This is blog post 1, a few days after Thanksgiving, 2012.  I’m focusing on this blog as my sole communication while I go off the grid, rather than Facebook or other social media, due to anticipated narrow bandwidth issues where I’m going.

I drove to Sacramento yesterday to drop off my two 8 year old kitty siblings Snoopy and Lucy for a 4 month boarding excursion so I can selfishly pursue a writer’s sabbatical down in the ImageCaribbean. This week is dozens of errands at 100mph to get on the plane on Friday, which has involved frantic scrambling to get my loft in San Francisco rented out, figure out what I can ship down there or take with me, and a host of clearance and good standing letters about my well behaved self that ought to help my long term case with Dutch immigration officials. Saba, the tiny island I’m going to, is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

All of this travel planning craziness happened in a whirlwind as I was winding up my latest consulting contract. In the 1st week of Nov, I made my arrangements to stay on the island, in a little Dutch cottage perched high above the Caribbean. I finished up my contract on Nov 14, and I’m headed out this Friday, Dec 1.

Nothing about how this trip is unfolding reflects my style.  I’m usually a methodical OCD planner, but that’s not how this is happening, and I’m letting events unfold with faith that it’ll all work itself out.  So far, this is true.  Right now, REO Speedwagon is playing on my iPad in the background. “Time for Me to Fly”.   See what I mean?

Time to leave my l’il city loft for the tropics.  Next Stop:  Saba, Caribbean Netherlands – Dec 1