Saturday, January 8, 2011

Welcome Visitors to my Away-From Home and Happy birthday to Someone(s) Special

So many of you streaming through, thanks to that charming nod from Lisa. Some of you have even paused to comment -- thanks so much Tabitha. It's a bit odd to welcome you here, when my current, if virtual, "here" is not home. I'm blogging on the fly (if not quite "live" as I do at the Vancouver Opera). So you've come to visit me, and here I am visiting San Francisco -- the oddities of our social connections in the age of blogging, to extend Lisa's insightful essay on the topic.
Which preamble is, of course, to beg a bit of patience for words cobbled together in a hotel room as Pater shaves, knowing we'll be heading out for breakfast in minutes. Today we leave SF for Yountville, so we'll be packing up, then heading to the airport (on BART, wheeling our own small cases -- why I love to travel carry-on light) to pick up the rental car and figure out the map. While I still have much to say about SF, and will in a few future posts, I especially wanted to share some photos of the glorious art we've managed to view. Above, a section, then the whole, of a painting by James Rosenquist . . .

a painting-collage by Robert Rauschenberg . . .

Mark Rothko . . .
I so wish I'd captured a delicate print by Paul Klee with the marvellous title "Angel Brings what is Desired" . . .
I do have many more photographs of various paintings at the SFMOMA to help me remember what I saw. Exhibition catalogues are great, of course, but the cost and weight and shelf space becomes a bit prohibitive, and I find I often do well remembering if I make rudimentary notes in my little Moleskine notebook. I jot down a very superficial, basic description -- colour, size, main lines or shapes or figures, and then I note my own perceptions about the painting's surface as well as what it might have reminded me of, connections with other works I've seen, etc., Having a photo to look at for a better reminder is helpful, and so easily managed these digital days, if the gallery/museum allows it (and they often do, if flash-free). If I don't get a photograph, quite often an image can be Googled, especially if I've been careful to copy the title and/or provenance (as, for example, the Klee that I failed to photograph . . . )
Okay, so if you've persevered this long reading the new blogger Lisa's introduced you to, you'll imagine Pater waiting, shaved and ready for breakfast by the door. And you'll know that I can ramble . . . I'll hurry it up, shall I, and move to the streets of the Mission District, where I found paintings to rival the SFMOMA's contemporary art . . .
This one, for example, immediately made me think of the colours and even the geometrically graphic strength of the Rosenquist Pencils painting above
And moving to the opposite side of the colour wheel . . . and to a different mythology perhaps . . .

And would this be too obvious, too graphic, a segue to the shout-out I need to send back home? Happy Birthday to my Gorgeous, Sensitive, Strong, Clever, Daughter, Rhiannon! Although my kids are now in their 20s and 30s, I still feel displaced, guilty I guess, anxious even, when I'm not at home with them on their birthdays. Of course, they've moved past needing Mom to bake their favourite cakes and are quite happy to celebrate with their partners. And in Rhiannon's case, celebrating with her partner on her birthday is doubly the way to go because it's his birthday as well. (even more of a coincidence is that besides Rhiannon and her partner sharing a birthday, my oldest daughter and my son, our youngest, share the same birthday as well) So Happy Birthday to Brian, someone we're so happy to have in the family, and may you both have a splendid day together, relaxing with your new kitten.
Two final photos, of a powerful mural about Immigrant life in the U.S.
-- and then I'll offer a wealth of questions you could comment on:
How do you remember art you view when you're out and about?
Do you share a birthday with anyone close to you?
Do you make sure to be there for your kids' birthdays or are they generally on their own now that they're adults?
Do you, conversely, expect your parents to be there for your birthday or do you assume you're free to make your own celebration?
What colourful streets will you walk today? Or will you be nestled up with a book or something restful in your own home (as, I admit, a teeny little part of myself is wishing to do).
Thanks for visiting . . . do come back and see me when I'm actually at home!

Other People's Gardens . . .

I know you're all wanting to hear about yesterday's lunch with Lisa, and I'll tell you quickly that it was great fun, she's lovely and funny and warm and very gracious. More later on what and where, etc. . . but while you're waiting, could I show you a few photos taken on our wanderings in the Mission District in the forty-five minutes too early that we arrived for our meeting? (we would have been even earlier had we not mistakenly taken the BART to Oakland instead of in the right direction! Luckily, the massively industrial landscape clued us in quickly and we headed for the other side of the tracks for a returning train).
You probably wonder why I took photographs of random shrubs and trees in random gardens. At least, you'll wonder that if you don't come from a climate that discourages flowers and fruit from, oh, November 'til March. Factor in that Pater and I don't "do" winter sunshine vacations (altough that may be changing. . . we're beginning to see the charm of visiting this kind of flora and fauna in January). There are lemons on that tree, people (well, we're not positive, but some kind of globular, yellow fruit . . . lemon seemed the best guess, be careful about disillusioning us)!
And look at these grape vines flourishing -- I suppose we're likely to see much more of this as we head to the Napa Valley on sunday, but here they're so casual, so taken-for-granted . . . in January!
And I had to linger and take pictures of this stair-gateway simply because it's so pretty, the marriage of the dill-pickle green walls and the zinc-silver graceful metalwork.

The cinder-block fence might be pedestrian, but I love it with that green and blue -- and that marvellous cactus. My grandma used to keep a few cacti in pots, indoors in a sunny window, as a novelty, and that's about the limit of my experience with them as a horticultural possibility. We have weeks, days perhaps, that could supply their annual hydration needs. We don't "do"cactus. Know how to appreciate them, though. . . .
Next up, some street art to rival the SFMOMA collection . . . (and Lunch with Lisa, of course).
Today's our last full day in SF, though, and we'd better get out there. The plan is to hit the City Lights bookstore, the Contemporary Jewish Museum (at least to check out Liebeskind's architecture), a bit of Chinatown, a bit more than a bit of shopping. . . . what am I missing? oh yes, we have to stop in at the Ferry Building for the Saturday Farmer's Market. . . .
Is yours a busy Saturday as well? What are you up to?

2011 Jeep Compass

Jeep has unveiled the new and redesigned Compass for the 2011 model lineup. Available in three configurations: Compass, Latitude and Limited, the 2011 Jeep Compass lineup are available with front-wheel drive, the Freedom Drive I full-time active 4×4 system, and the Freedom Drive II Off-Road Package full-time active 4×4 system with low-range capability.
The 2011 Jeep Compass features a standard 2.0-liter World Engine for the Compass and Latitude models, which provides 158 horsepower (117 kW) and 141 lb.-ft. (191 N•m) of torque coupled with the continuously variable transmission (CVT2), and delivers unsurpassed 23 mpg in the city, and 29 mpg on the highway when mated to the five-speed manual transmission.
For the Limited version, the Compass comes standard with 2.4-liter World Engine produces 172-horsepower and 165 lb.-ft. of torque. This 2.4-liter World Engine, which is also available on all models, has dual Variable Valve Timing (VVT) on both intake and exhaust camshafts, which helps optimize the torque curve at all speeds and produces more power, better fuel economy and smoother, quieter operation than engines without dual VVT.
Jeep Compass also features a standard five-speed manual transaxle on the entry-level Compass and a CVT that is available on the Compass and standard on the Latitude and Limited models. The 2011 Jeep Compass also provides up to 2,000 lbs. of towing capacity.

Planned to arrive in Jeep showrooms in December 2010, the new 2011 Jeep Compass models is available in various exterior colors: Blackberry Pearl Coat, Bright Silver Metallic Clear Coat, Bright White Clear Coat, Brilliant Black Crystal Clear Coat, Deep Cherry Red Crystal Clear Coat, Deep Charcoal Gray (limited availability) and Mineral Gray Pearl Coat (late availability).

Onyx Concept BMW M3 E92

Onyx Concept has presented a new styling and performance package for the BMW M3 E92. This performance tuning also indirectly indicates that Onyx has turned their attention away from the SUV market to concentrate on the BMW E92/93 M3.
Onyx Concept offers the M3 E92 exterior package that consists of front and rear bumper, side skirts, front carbon fiber lip, rear carbon fiber diffuser, carbon fiber bonnet, carbon fiber boot lid, and carbon fiber roof tip spoiler.
For the interior, the M3 E92 is decorated with an onyx design buffalo hide leather package which can be chosen in numerous different color combination. And to compliment this, a 12pc carbon fiber paneling kit which has a range of colored carbon weaves from black to orange to blue is also fitted.

Besides the styling, the M3 E92 engine power has also been increased to a breathtaking 630HP from the standard 420HP.

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