Historical Saturday: Sunken Ships

Yep, it's true.  Parts of San Francisco really were built on top of rotten and decaying ships from the 1800's.  Check it out by clicking the video link below:


Historical Saturday: Mark Hopkins Mansion

One does not have to look far to see the grandeur, and sometimes outright vulgarity, of historical San Francisco.  There was money here in the 1800's, and those fortunate enough to have it did not mind showing it off in the homes they built.  Because of the earthquake and fire of 1906, many of these incredible structures only live today in the pictures of the past.

The Mark Hopkins mansion is one of these victims of the disaster.  Mark Hopkins, bookkeeper for the Central Pacific Railroad, began building a hilltop mansion for his wife, Mary, that was full of Gothic characteristics and ornamentation.  At the time, some criticized it as being too much, but others were impressed by its large scale and attention to detail.  Unfortunately, Mark Hopkins never lived to see the finished product.  He passed away in 1878 at the age of 65 just before the mansion was completed that same year.

Mary Hopkins lived in the expansive residence for only three years before she headed back East and married her Nob Hill mansion's interior decorator, Edward Searles, in 1887.  She was 67 and he was 47 at the time of their nuptials.  Upon her death four years later in 1891, Searles inherited around 60 million dollars and spent the rest of his life working on building projects in the East, including the Searles Castle in Windham, New Hampshire.  Immediately following his wife's death, Searles donated the Mark Hopkins Mansion to the San Francisco Art Association to be used as a school and museum. 

The Hopkins Mansion had a short life of only 28 years before the 1906 catastrophe.  It goes to show once again that there is nothing in this life that we have that can't be taken from us in a few minutes by a match or a natural disaster.

Even though the residence is gone, the name lives on.  It is now the site of that luxury hotel named the InterContinental Mark Hopkins which is home to the Top of the Mark rooftop lounge.

Enjoy the weekend!



Historical Saturday: S.F. Pacific Union Club

Photo:  Wikimedia Commons

This is an interesting morsel of history.  The S.F. Pacific Union Club was originally the private residence of James C. Flood.  He acquired the large sand hill of a lot in 1882 and had it leveled in order to build his Italianate brownstone.  It had 42 rooms and an army of servants including one person whose sole job was to polish the brass fence that surrounds this magnificent piece of architecture.  The fence is still there, but without the daily polishes it has lost its shiny appearance which has now aged to a fine patina. 

Because it was a brownstone mansion, and not the popular wooden Victorian design, it survived the 1906 earthquake and fire.  Well, I say it survived, but not without its war wounds.  In fact, the fire storm did sweep through the house, but the brownstone walls remained.

After the damage, the S.F. Pacific Union Club bought the mansion and commenced on some renovations and additions.

You can drive by or walk by the old mansion today, but don't expect to be invited in.  The club is a very exclusive gentlemen's club whose membership is limited to 750.  Only if a current member dies can a new one be added to the roles.  It is interesting to note that women are not formally excluded from the organization, there just have never been any female members.  Talk about your glass ceiling.



Researched from:
Historic Walks in San Francisco, by Rand Richards (Awesome book by the way).


Golden Gate Park, S.F.

For my birthday I was given a new camera, Micro Four Thirds.  I couldn't resist taking the camera out for a test run while strolling through Golden Gate Park.  Enjoy!

Golden Gate Park, S.F. 11.27.10 6

Golden Gate Park, S.F. 11.27.10 11

Golden Gate Park, S.F. 11.27.10 17

Golden Gate Park, S.F. 11.27.10 12



IMAG0227 Are you knitter?

Do you want to know a great place for knitting supplies in San Francisco?

Do you want to learn how to knit?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you need to hurry on over to ImagiKnit located in the Mission Dolores neighborhood.  I visited there today, and they have two large rooms with ceiling to floor shelves full of any type of yarn and color that your heart may desire.  To add to the charm, the staff is very friendly and helpful.  They also have classes that will teach you beginning techniques as well as more advanced skills like making a hat.

Go for a visit, and while you are in the neighborhood try the Samovar Tea Lounge across the street.  You won't be disappointed.  




Historical Saturday: Japantown & Fillmore

Japantown was a thriving community after the 1906 earthquake.  It took up 24-blocks and the population of Japanese and Japanese Americans numbered around 7,000.  The makeup of this neighborhood changed forever during World War I when President Roosevelt authorized the removal of Japanese Americans to internment camps.

I was aware of this dark, racist spot in American history, and I have read the stories of how it affected these families.  Imagine, working all your life to buy a house and build up a business, and then you get a notice that says you have to abandon it all and move your family into a row of fenced in barracks where the guards have guns pointed into the complex.  Land of the free?  Many of these people were born in America and may never have set foot in Japan and still America was so insecure that we took their rights away and put them into prison.  (Whoops, I meant to say internment camp.)

How this affected the families is something I have read before, but I guess I never really thought about how it changed communities and cities.  Japantown is a perfect example of this.  Within a few weeks, this area of town was vacant and a ghost town.  Businesses and houses were boarded up, and the streets were quiet.

What is unique about this area of town is that the emptiness actually gave room for another minority population in San Francisco to grow and thrive.  The African Americans were moving to the West Coast in droves because of the jobs in the shipyards and defense plants that were plentiful in the bay area during the war.  They moved into the vacant homes and businesses and started a thriving community along Fillmore that was eventually called "Harlem West."  They chose this area because many of the other neighborhoods did not welcome African Americans. 

During the 1950's, San Francisco, like many other cities, experienced the phenomenon called "white flight."  The white people were flocking to the suburbs and leaving the city and it's old structures behind.  Economic opportunities for African Americans started to dry up and this led to the decline of the Fillmore area.  Many of the houses were condemned and torn down.  "Whole city blocks of Victorians fell to the wreckers ball.  Black residents started calling the Fillmore the 'No More.'" (Historic Walks in San Francisco, by Rand Richards). 

Over time, new, modern structures went up, and the architecture is at times a nod to the Japantown and old Fillmore that once defined this small neighborhood.

Even the liberal West Coast is not immune to the racism and prejudice that have plagued the United States since its conception.

Researched from Historic Walks in San Francisco, by Rand Richards.   


I Spy Waldo!

Where's Waldo?
I took a holiday on Monday and decided to go to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (MOMA).  I could definitely do an entire post or two about that experience, but I will save the visit for a later time.  If you haven't been, I would encourage you to go.

While I was walking across the sky bridge on the 5th floor and heading to the rooftop sculpture garden, I looked out a wall of windows and found Waldo standing among the air conditioning units on the top of a nearby building.  It reminds me of that quote by Oscar Wilde, "It is an odd thing, but every one who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco."

San Francisco, I love your quirkiness.




Meeting Armistead Maupin

One of my heroes:  Armistead Maupin
Long, long ago when I was a college sophomore in the small town of Hays, Kansas, a friend of mine sent me the Tales of the City collection of books.  I was at first shocked by what I read, but that quickly turned to fascination as I worked my way through the books and learned about the quirky lives of the people who lived in Maupin's San Francisco.

When I came to this city a year and a half ago, I decided it was time to reread the series and relive the magic.  I was not disappointed.  In fact, I was thrilled all over again to observe the unveiling of Mrs. Madrigal's secrets,  the details of DeeDee Halycion's travels, and the joy and pain of Mary Ann's rocketing career.  Since I now live in this city, I can actually picture the places mentioned in the books.

After many years, Armistead Maupin has written yet another book about the lives of all of these characters as they work, live, love, and struggle through their now "golden age" in San Francisco.  It's called Mary Ann in Autumn, and I'm hooked and can't put the book down.

A couple of days ago I went to his book signing and had my picture taken with him.  I've been to many book signings in the past and heard several authors speak about their work; it's kind of a hobby for me.  But I sometimes find myself staring at the people in the audience with true hero worship in their eyes and wondering what it was about the author that stirred such strong emotion.  Needless to say, I think that Maupin's book signing helped me to understand.  I was the one in the audience with blatant hero worship written all over my face.  His books meant so much to the young, twenty-something me who felt trapped in Western Kansas.  Basically, he gave me hope that there was life out there for people who were a little different or even quirky.  When I went up to get my book signed, I had to fight back my tears a little bit.  I can honestly say that I have met one of my heroes in life. 

It has been said that Tales of the City is the West Coast's answer to New York's "Sex in the City."  It does have a way of bringing San Francisco into the lives and hearts of anyone who reads the series.




Historical Saturday: State Politics

California State Flag
 As most of you know, Jerry Brown beat Meg Whitman for the governor's seat last Tuesday.  Some of you may know that he served as governor from 1974-1982.  During his two terms in office, he was know as a very frugal and almost penny pinching politician.  Instead of moving into the newly built governor's mansion, he sold it saying that the upkeep was an expense he didn't expect the people of California to bear.  In addition, he didn't drive around in a chauffeured limousine, but instead drove himself in a regular sedan.  California had one of the highest budget surpluses during his tenure as governor.

What I find most interesting is that he followed in his father's footsteps by becoming a politician.  Jerry's father, "Pat" Brown," started his work career at the age of 12 when he sold Liberty Bonds on the street corners of San Francisco.  After high school, he paid his way through law school by working in his father's cigar shop.  Eventually he served two terms as governor from 1958 to 1966 when he lost the re-election to Ronald Reagan.  He married his wife Bernice (daughter of a San Francisco police captain) in 1930 and had four children that were all born in San Francisco.   

Say what you will about the Browns, but the fabric of this state is woven with some of the contributions from this political family.  Living in a city where everyone seems to be from somewhere else, it always amazes me to hear of people who were raised in the bay area or someone whose family has been here for generations.

Seeing the Brown family makes me wonder if we will ever see any of the Schwarzenegger kids in office someday.  Their mother, Maria Shriver, comes from the Kennedy clan, and their father has already shown his commitment to the state by serving seven years.  Unlike their father, the Scharzenneger kids could even aspire to the office of president because they are naturally born citizens.  I could be wrong of course, but it is something to watch for.  We are seeing more and more examples of how not just one, but several members of particular families are running for office.  Kennedy. Bush. Clinton. Brown.


Axis Cafe (Potero Hill & Dogpatch)

Axis Cafe is a hidden jewel located in the northern part of Potrero Hill and just a stones throw away from the Dogpatch area.  If you are seeking a bottomless Mimosa, a hearty brunch, or just a hip and trendy place to take your friends, Axis cafe will fit the bill.  Cozy up to the fireplace and enjoy the living room environment.  It also has an awesome outside seating area.  Enjoy!    


Reflections on San Francisco

Let's Go Giants, Let's Go!

There has been talk in the news these days about how the quirkiness of San Francisco is actually shocking those who are either watching the Giants in the World Series or visiting our city in order to attend the games.  Part of me finds this amusing, yet part of it disturbs me a little.  It is true that San Francisco is a very liberal environment where freedom of expression is pretty much viewed as a God given right.  It is also true that you may see things here that disturb you at times.  You may have to think.  Isn't it a good thing to get out of your comfort zone?  I have listed a few things you may find unsettling if you visit San Francisco:

1.  Homeless.  Yes, we do have a large number of homeless people.  It is part of the fabric of our city.    Many of them come from all over the United States because we have a milder climate and charitable people.  Some are down on their luck and can't find employment in this economy, some have mental of physical disabilities that prevent them from keeping a job or even working through the piles of government paperwork required before they can get assistance, and some are addicted to drugs and alcohol.  Also, some are on the streets because of issues that I haven't even listed here.  Please don't judge our homeless; you could be there too someday with just a couple of bad business decisions or hard luck.  The homeless people are San Franciscans.  They live here, they eat here, and when they buy stuff they are also paying taxes here.  Many of the homeless have become expert recyclers.  They collect bags and bags of plastic and then sale them to recyclers driving pickups who take the bags to the centers.  The San Franciscans who are homeless are definitely doing their part in saving the environment. 

2.  Marijuana.  You may see people smoking marijuana out in the open.  If you don't see it, you will probably smell it if you spend a few nights walking through the city.  The police will not do much about this, so don't expect it. I'm just making you aware that it is very possible you might see or smell this drug being used if you visit San Francisco.

3.  Costumes.  It is not uncommon to see people in costume no matter what time of year.  They might be heading to a party, or they may just want to have a personal dress up day just for themselves.  It may be shocking to see Darth Vader walk down the sidewalk or a vampire, but just ask yourself why does it matter to you?  Are they really doing any harm?

4.  Nudity.  Honestly,  I saw a lot more nudity when I lived in Portland than I have ever seen in San Francisco.  For the most part, you won't see naked people if you visit San Francisco.  These occurences are usually more limited to specific events like Folsom Street Fair, Gay Pride, or the Bay to Breakers race.

5.  Homosexuals.  Ok, yes, you will see a lot of gay people.  They may be holding hands, kissing, or sitting in a restaurant with their arms around each other.  This may shock you, but is it hurting anyone?  Whether you approve or not, this shouldn't affect your visit to the city.  Please don't glare or stare.  This is one of the few places in the United States where gay people can be themselves without worrying about being beat up, killed, having their house burned, or losing their job.  This may sound over dramatic, but if you read the newspapers all of these things are possible in other parts of the country.

6.  Drag Queens.  Some drag queens are transgendered and this is how they feel most comfortable presenting themselves to the world, and some do it for fun.  Some do it for charitable causes.  Whatever the reason, it can be a little shocking when you first come in contact with a cross-dresser, but please be respectful.  What does it prove to call someone names or glare?  Unless you like to chip away at other people's self-esteem, I think demeaning anyone is fruitless.  Keep in mind that most cross-dressing men are actually heterosexuals.  How many male bosses have you had or even friends that may be wearing panties under those masculine jeans?

7.  High Real Estate Prices.  I admit, these are truly scary.  OMG!  When going on a camp out instead of reading ghost stories to scare your friends, just bring a copy of the San Francisco real estate guide.  They will wake up in a cold sweat screaming at the top of their lungs.  We are one of the most expensive markets, just behind Manhattan, N.Y.  Why are prices so high?  Because people want to live here.  It is a beautiful place to live and a nice way of life.

8.  Public Peeing.  The other day at two different times I saw people peeing against a building.  Why does this seem to happen so much?  There are very few public restrooms in the city, and some restaurants don't have public bathrooms.  I'm still a little shocked when I see it, but I'm not going to judge them.  We could all be in that same position just because we drank that extra glass of tea at lunch.  As I said, there are very few public restrooms in this city.  

I'm not saying that it is always easy living or visiting here.  Parking is an Olympic event, cabs can be non-existent when you need them, wait time to get into a restaurant can be exhausting, and it may feel like there are people everywhere.  Sometimes this city can kick your butt and make you want to throw up your hands and run back to the Midwest with your tale between your leg.  It's true.  It happens.  But it is at this point that you go to a cool play or join a quirky new group.  You experience a great evening with friends eating a phenomenal meal at one of the incredible restaurants in town.  You walk on the beach or stroll through Golden Gate Park.  You take a hike to Twin Peaks and look over the city toward the bay and turn around and look over the city to the beach.  You just take a deep breath and count your blessings.

This is a great city, and there is no place quite like it in America.  It is a liberal city where people can be themselves and do what they want to do without apologies to society as a whole.  It is a place of fun, frolic, imagination, and knowledge.

It is ok to be a little shocked by us.  Sometimes I'm still a little shocked too.  But don't judge us harshly, instead just relax and enjoy this quirky little city that so many call home.





Historical Saturday: Donaldina Cameron (1869 - 1968)

Donaldina Cameron waged a crusade against slavery in San Francisco's Chinatown during a time when most were turning a blind eye to such tings.   She dedicated herself to this cause and worked for 40 as the director of the Presbyterian Mission house.  Most of the over 2,00 women and young girls that she saved were being held as prostitutes against their will in brothels throughout Chinatown.   

Often she would charge forth with "a couple of policemen armed with axes and sledgehammers and an interpreter to locations in Chinatown where she had been tipped that a girl was being held against her will.  Employing the element of surprise, the group would break down doors if necessary to claim a usually frightened young woman, who likely as not had been hastily hidden away in a closet or under floor boards by her master.  If the girl's keeper could not prove a filial relationship, the rescued girl would be taken back to the Mission's home at 920 Sacramento Street." -  Historic Walks in San Francisco

She was known as "Lo Mo or "The Mother."  She cared and reached out a helping hand when many others just turned a blind eye.

It is easy to focus on the movers and shakers in history that created big buildings or built up huge businesses, but it is important to also remember those who worked in the trenches to relieve human suffering.  Donaldina Cameron did not make a lot of money in her lifetime, and she doesn't have streets named after her, but her impact on San Francisco's past and present is immeasurable.  

It may be a little cheesy, but Donaldina Cameron reminded me of one of my favorite poem which I added below:

First they came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me,
and by that time there was no one
left to speak up for me.

- Martin Niemoller


Historical Saturday - The Ferry Building

San Francisco's Ferry Building

The Giralda Bell Tower - Seville, Spain

The Ferry Building, built in 1989, was designed by A. Page Brown, a young architect who was tragically thrown from a horse just a few weeks after being contracted to design the Ferry Building.  He soon passed away, but his vision of the Ferry Building lives on because most of the plans were complete before his youthful demise.  He was only 34.

A. Page Brown was a well traveled young man who designed the Ferry Building with classical features that mirror the roman aqueduct or the Corinthian columns.  His inspiration was the Giralda Bell Tower at a cathedral in Spain.   I have included pictures of both above.  Can you see the similarities?

Amazingly, even though the Fairy Building is built on "made land," it survived the 1906 earthquake and fire.  The main reason for it's miraculous escape from destruction was that the U.S. Navy and city fireboats maintained a spray of saltwater on the building which was pumped from the bay.  Well, there is another question of mine answered.  Is the bay saltwater or freshwater?  Now I know.  They did this so that people could escape the burning city by ferry, and rescue workers could also bring in supplies and coordinate relief efforts from the building.

Today it is a mixed use building with offices and retail space.  On Saturday mornings it is surrounded by a large farmer's market where you can get everything from fresh lavender to home grown beef.  It is a city landmark that can be seen from the Bay Bridge and Treasure Island.  As you stroll along Market Street, it looms ahead as a promise to the preservation of the past.  It is one of the things that says you are home.  You are in San Francisco.



Note:  Information for this post came form the book Historic Walks in San Francisco, by Rand    Richard.  It is a great read.


You Don't Say.....

  • Did you know that Meg Whitman has spent a total of $142 million of her own money on her campaign to become California's next governor and is still trailing behind Jerry Brown?  (SF Gate)  
  •  After 31 years, the annual San Francisco Erotic Ball was canceled due to low ticket sales. (SF Gate)
  •  The official Vatican newspaper has declared that Homer Simpson and his family are Catholic. (CNN)


Historical Saturdays: S.F. Cliff House History


The history of the Cliff House is both incredible and tragic. As I watch this video, I am reminded of what I heard a speaker say one time. He said, "There are no material things in your life that can't be taken from you in a matter of minutes by a match or a natural disaster." I think it puts everything into perspective.  

One thing I love about this video is the fashion of the time.  The Victorians sure knew how to cover everything up with layers and layers of fabric.

I hope you enjoy this post.  I think I will make Saturday's posts historical in nature, and particularly focused on San Francisco history.  




Smuggler's Cove

Three nights ago I visited a great little bar in the Hayes Valley Neighborhood called Smuggler's Cove; it looks and feels like a pirate ship inside.  We worked our way down the winding staircase to the basement where we felt like we were in the hull of a ship as we drank and socialized the night away with friends.  The drinks are "Traditional Drinks of the Caribbean Islands, classic libations of Prohibition era Havana, and exotic cocktails from legendary Tiki bars."  Be careful though, these drinks are strong.  I only had two drinks, but I was very glad that I lived around the corner and had walked to the bar.  The drinks are good, fruity, and strong.

If you find yourself in the Hayes Valley Neighborhood, this bar is worth looking up.  Take the address with you because you won't find it otherwise.  It is one of those places that if you didn't know it was there, you wouldn't notice it. 




S.F. Weekend Events

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

- The First Polk Street Blues Festival in San Francisco
   10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
   Polk District

- Comedy - Maz Jobrani,
   10:15 p.m.
   Cobbs Comedy Club
   915 Columbus Ave.
   $28.90 each

- 46th Annual Big Book Sale - Fort Mason
   10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
   Laguna St. and Marina Blvd.
   All books are $5.00 and under.  They are $1.00 on Sunday.
   Proceeds benefit the S.F. Public Library.

- Off the Grid, Street Cart Festival - Mission District
   11:00a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
   Corner of McCoppin and Valencia St.

- S.F. Cocktail Week Bar Crawl, Drinking w/Dominick (S.F. Legendary Bartender)
   Free Event.  You can join at any of the locations below:
   11:30 Buena Vista Cafe
   12:30 Walking Tour Begins
   12:45 Las Margaritas
   1:15 The Parlour
   1:45 Walk N. Beach and stop for historic facts about the Barbary Coast and S.F. drinking lore.
   2:15 Tony Niks
   2:45 Walk up Green Street towards Grant and hear stories.  Maybe get some pie at Golden Boy.
   3:00 Savoy Tivoli
   4:00 Romolo
   4:30 Maybe more bars and discuss the Chinatown watering holes.
   5:00 Comstock Saloon 15.  Discuss the history of the Comstock and the rest of the historic bars on

- Movie Night in the Park:  The Pursuit of Happiness
   7:00 p.m. in Duboce Park

- Film Night in Dolores Park:  The Big Lebowski  (Please no chairs)
   8:00 p.m.

- Killing my Lobster - Sketch Comedy Night
   10:00 p.m., Zeum

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

- Folsom Street Fair
   11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

- Polish Harvest Festival, Golden Gate Park
   11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
   S.F. County Fair Building (formerly Hall of Flowers).  Golden Gate Park at Lincoln Way and 9th Ave.

- 97.3's Alice Now and Zen Festival 2010 - Golden Gate Park
   12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
   Sharon Meadows, Golden Gate Park / John F. Kennedy Drive and Kezar Drive.

- Irish Music, Costumes, Singing, and Dancing w/Golden Gate Park Band
   1:00 p.m. - 3:00p.m.
   Spreckels Temple, Spreckles Temple of Music, S.F. Golden Gate Park


Exit Theatre and the Fringe Festival

Last night we went to the Exit Theatre and saw one of the plays in the Fringe Festival.  It was called "Eat Our Shorts," and it was a collection of plays that tell the story of what happens on a particular evening in different neighborhoods in San Francisco.  It was awesome.  The material was great, and the acting was even better.  I would definitely give this collection of performances a two thumbs up.

This is the first time that I have gone to the Fringe Festival, but I can assure you that I will be going to more than one play next year.  This year they staged 43 shows over 12 days.  From what I understand, these plays were created by local playwrites.

I can't wait for next year's festival to come around.  See you there?  


Cafe Le Vie on a Saturday Morning

It's a sleepy Saturday morning here in the new Atlantis.  The heavy fog of the night hits me in the face as I walk down the wet sidewalk.  The sun hasn't made an appearance yet, but I am ok with that.  It's a sleepy Saturday morning after all, and the sun doesn't need to come around just yet.

Normally, I love going to Panera Bread on Saturday mornings, but since I'm in a new neighborhood now, I forced myself this morning to check out something local and within walking distance.  What did I find?  Cafe LeVie in Hayes Valley.  It is a small, quaint coffee shop with a few tables inside, and a couple of tables outside.  Basically, it is your typical coffee shop, but I like it.  I like the rough hardwood floors, the garage door that can open up and bring the outside in, the art for sale on the walls, and the funky vibe that it gives off.  I'm picky about my coffee shops, and this one has barely passed the test so far.  The bagel was average, but the ice tea was good.

I am an introvert by nature, which means I get my energy from time alone.  Early Saturday mornings are my time.  I get up early and sneak out without waking anyone else up.  I then walk the streets in the early morning.  There are very few people up this early on Saturday, and a lot less vehicles on the road.  It is my time, and I enjoy it.  I walk to a nearby coffee shop, get my ice tea, and spend some time surfing the net and catching up on blogs and Facebook.  Sometimes, I start looking forward to this Saturday retreat time as early as Thursday.  When I go back home, I'm rested, rejuvenated, and ready to enjoy the day.


A Hint of Magic in the Air

I thought I might try to describe this enchanting, San Francisco night.  I'm sure I can't capture the true feel in the air, but I will try.

After a long day of work in the sweltering burbs, I took the subway back into the city.  As I started up the escalator, I was greeted with a cool air that was wet with fog. I saw that the dome of city hall was surrounded by fog, and there were wisps of it creeping across the sky.  While walking home in the midst of a herd of fellow San Franciscans, I felt the fog on my face, heard the roar of traffic, and in the distance I could distinguish multiple sirens.  I took a deep breath,  smiled, and realized I was home. 

Currently, I am at Panera Bread in Mission Bay listening to Billie Holiday as I sit at a window and watch the vehicle and pedestrian traffic go by in the dark night.  A Giant's game is being played nearby, so this area is especially busy. I see people everywhere doing so many things including riding their bikes while dodging the heavy traffic, walking their dogs, bringing home groceries in order to prepare a late dinner, waiting to catch a bus, raising their hand to hail a taxi, and running away from the game early so that they can get a head start home.  There is a couple on the corner under the street light.  They have just finished an embrace and kiss, and she is looking at him with adoring eyes as he holds her hand and waits for the light to turn.



Attention Travelers

As of Friday, August 13th, SFO offers free WiFi.  Whether you are traveling to this great city or just stopping by on a layover, now you can open your laptops at the airport and check your e-mail, check your Facebook, and even check this blog.




We are all Immigrants.

Recently I was gazing over at Angel Island as I crossed the Bay Bridge, and I realized that this is probably where my great great grandfather entered America back in the 1800's.  There is no record of his entry in Ellis Island, so he must have brought his family through the West Coast and the processing station at Angel Island.  However as I did a little research, I realized that Angel Island only started screening immigrants in 1910, and Ellis Island started doing that in 1892.  What happened before that time?  Did the ships just land on the shore and people went their own way?  No border control?  No medical tests?  Wow, how things have changed.  I have listed my thoughts below:

1.  We are all immigrants.  Unless you are Native American, we are all immigrants.  In fact, Native Americans immigrated here from other places as well.  So, why do we want to crack down on immigration so much?  Do we feel exempt because our ancestors came here earlier and we now have a feeling of entitlement?

2.  Official language.  If we want to have an official American language, shouldn't it be Choctaw, Cherokee, or Sioux?  Christopher Columbus did not discover America.  Instead he and his invading adventurers after him discovered a land full of people with their own traditions, their own society, and their own rules.  This was the beginning of a very bleak period in American history filled with the European invaders using lies, guns, alcohol, and anything else they had to take over this country and force the people to speak English.  English is not the native language of America.  It was not the language of the society the early explorers discovered.

3.  Economy.  If you study the economic history of the United States, you will see that our economy has always been fueled by immigration.  Most families come over here and end up doing any job they can find, even if they were considered educated people back in their homeland.  They work hard and raise the next generation to be more successful and get better jobs.  It continued from there through the generations.  It may seem harsh to say, but we need that first generation to build railroads, work in meat packing plants, construct buildings, and pick crops.  Their kids and their kid's kids will probably get better jobs, but we need that first generation.  Immigration does not take away from the United States economy, it adds to it.

4.  Christianity.  I'm just throwing this one in for the irony of it.  I love to see people who are supposedly so Christian spew hate and venom at immigrants from other countries.  Didn't they just go to church and hear about how we are supposed to help our fellow man and give to those less fortunate?  I also think it is funny how people who are racist can still think of themselves as true Christians.  Really?

5. Living Conditions.  If I lived in some of these other countries, I would definitely try to enter the country to help my family have a different life.  It was only the random act of birth that one person is born in Mexico and another born in America.  It was nothing that either person did.  Why not try to improve your lot in life.  Isn't that the American way?  I don't blame people for trying to get in here because I would do the same thing.

Viva Immigration!




That S.F. Feeling

What makes San Francisco such a great city?  I think it is the little things like the items I listed below:

  • Dance Your Cares Away.  I was driving by a construction site the other day, and the woman holding the "slow" sign was dancing.  This city worker was shaking her hips, waving her free hand and doing the Twist.  I went by the same intersection two hours later and she was still out there, holding her construction sign, and dancing her work hours away. 
  • Acceptance.  When I got to Panera today to get my weekly bagel fix, the guy ordering beside me was in semi-drag.  No one really cared, and in fact I saw the lady taking the order give coveting glances at his purse.  
  • Parades. There was a Mini-Cooper parade at 8:00 this morning.  Police blocked off intersections so that approximately 50 Mini-Coopers could glide through the streets in all their glory.  Every type of Cooper imaginable was represented.  
  • Friendly. A homeless person welcomed us to our new neighborhood.  
  • Surprises. While waiting on a bus, We met the "escape artist of Fisherman's Wharf" and his "wonder" dog. They were on their way to do a show.
  • Charitable. I saw a local restaurant park their vans and set up food lines for the homeless in the United Nations Plaza.
  • True Religious Freedom. On mornings when I take the BART, I walk by a group of people in front of city hall who are sitting on their mats and meditating. I think they are there because of the giant Buddha sculpture which is on display nearby.    
  • Mild Climate. While the rest of the country is suffering in extreme heat, our average high at the moment in San Francisco is around 64 degrees.
  • Helpful. The woman behind me on the escalator giggled and told me very politely that my tags on my shirts were showing.  Yes, San Franciscans do talk to strangers.
  • Diversity.  Everywhere I go in S.F. I see people from different cultures speaking different languages.  This is definitely one of the things that makes this place so great.
  • Celebrities. John Waters calls the Nob Hill neighborhood home.  He is a little odd, but that is why he fits in so well here.     

Gotta go.  It's time for me to experience more of this great city that I call home.



New Toll Charges lead to Greener Living.

Please follow the link below to read the article:


It speaks for itself, but I wanted to note a couple of things.  First of all, since the toll charges were increased, 6,199 fewer drivers cross the Bay Bridge everyday.  This means that the traffic on the Bay Bridge moves twice as fast as it did last year.  Since I travel the Bay Bridge almost every weekday to work, this is something that I have definitely noticed.

Another interesting point is that 1,500 additional people are riding the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) each day.   This means less pollution and a greener way of life.  This is a win/win situation.  The transportation department gets their money because of the increased tolls, but there are less people crowding the roadways and more people taking public transportation.

San Francisco's next fee hike may have a similar effect.  They are putting smart meters into Hayes Valley.  Basically, these meters judge how busy the street is and raise the fee or lowers it based on demand.  Also, they are attached to a phone application so people who are looking for a parking space can find one quicker.  There is some speculation that people may use public transportation or alternative forms of transportation that would be more environmentally friendly to get to their favorite restaurant in Hayes Valley.  Only time will tell.


A Room with a View



We moved the majority of our stuff into the new condo, and we are living here now. It is amazing how much more you can enjoy a city based on the location and the place you are living in. This place has a lot of amenities and a good location, but one of my favorite things is the view. We are on what they call the 10th floor, but it really is the 12th floor. The first floor is the "Street Level," and the second floor is the "Mezzanine."

At night, I like to look out at all the other high rise complexes and count the number of televisions that I see on. It is also nice watching the fog creep in at night and slowly dissipate during the day.

We love the place, and tonight we might even try out the fireplace for the first time.



California's Gubernatorial Race

I have to admit, I'm a little ashamed of this year's race for governor. Mainly, I am just shocked at how Meg Whitman is spending money on her campaign. According to today's San Francisco Chronicle, Meg Whitman has spent nearly $100 million of her own money to get elected to the highest seat in California. Keep in mind, this comes at a time when teachers and policemen are being laid off across the state. In fact, Oakland recently announced they were going to lay off 80 police officers.

Now I know that Meg, former CEO of E-bay, has more money than God (net worth exceeds $1 billion), but this flagrant display of wealth and excess seems almost sinful when our homeless shelters are working at capacity and soup kitchens are trying to keep up with the demand.

It doesn't matter if you are Republican or Democrat, I would hope that everyone could agree that Meg Whitman is going overboard on her campaign. It does not come as a surprise that people across the state are starting to call her Queen Meg and say she is buying her way into politics.


Earthquake/Fire, 1906

I've been reading about the San Francisco's earthquake and fire in 1906. The earthquake was about an 8.0 and it occurred at 5:12 a.m. on April 18th. The quake did an extreme amount of damage, but the fires that followed the quake are what devastated the city. These fires started for many reasons, but recently I was shocked to find out that the fire department and the homeowners were to blame for a great deal of the destruction.

With the fire chief having died in the quake, the "stand in" chief decided to use dynamite to make fire breaks throughout the city. This not only destroyed many buildings, but it also sparked many fires. Honestly, they did the best they could in that situation. I wonder if things would have been different if the fire chief had lived through the quake.

Another surprising thing is that the homeowners started fires in their own houses. Many of the residents of San Francisco did not have earthquake insurance, so word got around quickly that unless the structure is destroyed by fire, the insurance would not pay for the repairs. In order to get help for repairs, homeowners started their houses on fire which contributed to the inferno that destroyed San Francisco.

Could this happen today? Yes! I doubt that they will use dynamite again, but homeowners setting fire to their property is definitely a possibility. According to the California Earthquake Authority, only 12 percent of people in California have earthquake insurance. In San Francisco, a large majority (80 to 90 percent of the buildings) do not have earthquake insurance. Because of the expense of this type of insurance, most people instead pay for retrofits for their homes and pray the reinforcement will work. Just like in 1906, everyone has fire insurance, but few have earthquake insurance.

I think we are setting ourselves up for another fire storm when catastrophe strikes again in the San Francisco area. But, I can't really dwell on that. In fact, I tell myself that it won't happen while I am here. Is this delusional or just a way to cope with a possible threat that I have no control over? If it does happen, I am convinced that I will be the Molly Brown of San Francisco.


Working from Home

When I moved to the West Coast, I was immediately introduced to a delightful concept called "working from home." It is amazing how many people do this on a regular basis. Some people work from their house, while others go to coffee shops, libraries, the park, etc. More and more co-working spaces are sprouting up all over San Francisco as people want an office environment closer to home.

When I got my job (29 mile commute across the Bay Bridge to the East Bay), I negotiated with them the ability to work from home from time to time. Working from home has taught me the following things:

* More time. To drive to Contra Costa County and back takes a minimum of 2 hours a day and can take up to 3 hours depending on traffic. Yes, it is only 29 miles, but I have to cross the Bay Bridge and go through Caldecott Tunnel.

* Saves money. On top of gas (Toyota Tundra), I also have to pay $6 each day to get across the Bay Bridge and back into the city. I figure I save around $18 a day by working from home.

* Efficient. I get more work done when I work from home. Every day a portion of my day is spent socializing with volunteers and staff. This is actually part of my job. When I work from home, I can just focus on paperwork, stats, mailings, returning phone calls, etc.

* Relaxing. At the end of the day when I shut my laptop, I do not face a grueling commute home. It is a stress free day.

* Contact. I do stay in close contact with the office. They can call me, text me, e-mail me, etc. I have several different ways that they can get in touch with me in an emergency. Recently, I was working from home and they needed something done quickly. With the help of my trusty laptop, the phone, and a good Internet connection, I got the task done with time to spare. Who needs an office?

* Work Space. My favorite work spaces are coffee shops like Sugar Lump Coffee Lounge in Outer Mission or Jumpin Java in Castro. One space that I frequent a lot is Panera Bread in SOMA.

Working from home is a wonderful gift that employers can give to their employees. It doesn't have to be all the time, but it feels great to do it occasionally. I think it makes for a happier and more productive work force.

Now if you would excuse me, I have a report to work on that I will present at a meeting next week. Before I start, I should probably order another Panera Bread bagel and refill my tea.


S.F. Restaurant Tips

As part of my facelift for the blog, I have included a list of restaurant suggestions on the right sidebar. San Francisco has some of the most amazing restaurants. These are just a few of my favorites, and I will add to the list over time. No matter what kind of food you are looking for, you can find it in San Francisco. If you click on the name, it will take you to that restaurant's website. Listed below are a few tips that might help you have a more enjoyable experience eating out in San Francisco:

1. Make Reservations. Some places do not take reservations, and some only reserve a table an hour in advance. Do some research.

2. Expect to Wait. Without reservations, and sometimes with reservations, you can expect to wait for a table in San Francisco. I have waited a few times for over an hour for a table, but the average wait is about 20 - 40 minutes. If you are visiting, this may be a shock. If you live here, then you know this is just what happens. The food is worth the wait.

3. Quality vs. Quantity. Coming from the Midwest, I was both surprised and happy to find that the portion size on the West Coast is reasonable. For example, in the Midwest if you go out for breakfast many of the meals come with sides of hotcakes, biscuits and gravy, or fried potatoes. In S.F., your breakfast meal may come with a side of wheat toast, a cup or fruit, or a salad made up of many types of greens. The greens and fruit will be exceptional. When you leave a San Francisco restaurant you probably won't feel full to the gills, but you will feel satisfied.

4. Taste. It is all about the taste, presentation, and how the chef combined certain ingredients. Just a simple thing like hot chocolate can be so different depending on the restaurant's interpretation of it. It is amazing to see how the different chefs prepare calamari.

5. Price. Be prepared to spend a little more when eating out in San Francisco. Honestly, be prepared to spend a little more on everything in San Francisco. It is not an inexpensive town, but it is worth it. When going with a group of friends, the most common thing to do at the end of the meal is to split it evenly by everyone throwing in a credit or debit card.

6. Experience. Eating out in in this town is all about the total experience. If you do plan something for after supper, then make sure that it is scheduled for way after the meal so that you are not rushed. It is all about taking some relaxing time, catching up with friends, and eating some exquisite food.

7. Please Tip. As I mentioned above, San Francisco is an expensive town to visit and live in. All you have to do is visit realtor.com to prove this (and the market is currently down). Therefore, I ask that you remember this when tipping your waiter or waitress. Generally, a 10 to 20 percent tip is appropriate, but I would ask that you lean more toward the 20 percent.

Bon Appetit



Facelift to Come

Hello Everyone.

We are in the process of remodeling a condo that we just bought in San Francisco, and my posts will be sporadic until we move in. After that, I will give the blog a new facelift and start regularly blogging about the news, history, restaurants, and other things that are so amazing about San Francisco. Stay tuned.


New Ideas

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, but life has been fairly busy. I just got back from a Jamaican vacation, and we recently bought a condo in S.F. Nights and weekends are now spent frantically trying to fix the place up before we move in. That being said, I wanted to post today about ways that restaurants can improve the eating out experience. My ideas are listed below:

1. Have sinks, soap, hand towels, and lotion available when you first come in the front door. Seriously, how many people actually get seated and then leave the table to wash their hands before the meal? More expensive restaurants could have a person there to help you wash your hands and dry them on quality towels. If any of you know restaurant owners, tell them about this idea and see if it catches on.

2. Meditation rooms. Ok, this may be a bit of a stretch, but why not have a sound proof space set aside where an individual or a family could go and give thanks to their higher power for the food they are about to eat. It could also be just a space where someone goes to relax a moment and collect their thoughts before they go and have their meal. Just a place to kind of shake off the worries of the world outside and prepare yourself and your senses for the meal ahead.

3. Mints. Yes, I said mints. I think every restaurant should give their patrons a mint on the way out the door. I know I'm not the only one who has worried about their breath after eating a meal.

4. Raw Ingredients. Whenever possible, let the patrons taste the raw ingredient before the finished product. For example, we toured a winery in Oregon once that let us taste each grape before we tasted the wine from that type of grape. It was a great experience.

5. Select music that goes with the theme of the restaurant. I think it takes away from the experience if you go to a Mexican restaurant and have rock music or go to a Chinese restaurant and hear country music. Create a total ambiance around the meal.

6. Pay staff well. A well paid staff is a loyal staff, and that means that they will be there for many years and get to know the regular customers. Word will also get out about your restaurant paying a good wage, and you will not only get skilled people trying to work there, but some customers will go there just because they know everyone is treated fairly. This may not be possible in the smaller mom & pop operations where the profit is minimal, but it is definitely possible in some of the more upscale restaurants or chains. Don't pass this additional cost on to the customer. If possible, buy a less expensive house or car and treat your employees to a fair and decent wage.

7. Clean the bathrooms. I can't believe that I really have to say this. If your bathroom is dirty, it kind of throws some suspicion on to the kitchen area. Please, clean the bathrooms.

I will try to post more frequently and include pics of my Jamaican vacation.



San Francisco Restaurant Suggestions

Chez Maman (Potrero Hill).
  • This place is amazing. It is very small, but the atmosphere is warm and cozy with a view of the kitchen as the chef's create incredible dishes. It is an explosion of pleasure for your taste buds.
Universal Cafe (Outer Mission)
  • This is our Sunday morning haunt. Their menu changes every week, but the french toast is a taste of heaven. Each week they have a different way to prepare it. My favorite was when they took Texas toast, encrusted it with pumpkin, and put a dollop of whipped cream on top. The Sunday they used cherry compote is a close second.
Hard Knox Cafe (Dog Patch)
  • This is where you go for a bit of Southern soul food. They are famous for their fried chicken, but I think they have the best hamburgers in San Francisco. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
OSHA Thai Restaurant (2 locations - Valencia Street and Union Street)
  • The atmosphere is great, and the food is even better. When it comes to Thai food, this restaurant is unbeatable.
Limon Peruvian Cuisine (Valencia Street)
  • The eye for detail is definitely present in the preparation of the food, and in the presentation. Try the Peruvian Cola, it is like liquid Starburst candy.
Memphis Minnie's BBQ (Haight)
  • I can't say this is the best BBQ that I've ever had, but it is definitely the best I've had in San Francisco. Give it a try.
Absinthe (Hayes Valley)
  • The decor is great, the food is great, the location is great. They have a book, yes a book, of wine selections. If you opt for the cheese platter, you can mix and max several options to tailor it to something that will make your taste buds sing.
Bon Appetit!



Thoughts on Life, Slavery, and Death

I work in the East Bay and spend a lot of time commuting back and forth over the Bay Bridge. Sometimes, I turn off the radio and just spend the time letting my thoughts drift. Below I have listed a few thoughts that I had this week. They are ideas that I revisit from time to time.

1. This week I discovered that a couple that I knew from my past who had so many things against them made it and have a successful life together. They overcame poverty, teen pregnancy, lack of self-esteem, etc. to become educated and raise a family together. Good for them. :)

2. Are the U.S. citizens the new Masters? How many adults and little children are working in sweat shops for very little pay throughout the world so that we can buy clothes and other goods at cheap prices? We all know it is going on, but we don't do anything about it. Why do we continue to buy from countries that treat the workers so poorly? Is a cheap price for a shirt really more important to us than the health of the child laborer in another country? Many people will appease their consciences by saying that if we we didn't buy the goods, then those families in other countries would starve. News Flash: They are already starving. Don't you think that the plantation owners in the Old South also had certain unrealistic thoughts that appeased their consciences? Are we building the American way of life off the backs of slave labor in other countries?

3. If we truly believed in an afterlife, would we be so afraid to die? If someone believed there was a place without pain and agony and everyone was totally happy, why try so hard and take so many medications in order to hang on to this life?

4. Money allows a person to have more experiences in life, but in the end, it means nothing. It doesn't mean a person with money was a better person or had a better life. It means more options, but that really is about it. When you die, you literally leave everything behind. This includes the dirty dishes in the sink, the dirty laundry in the hamper, the food in the fridge, and all the money in the bank. A friend of mine this week said that she and her husband have decided that they want to live each year like it is their last. If they want to do something and can afford to do it, then they are not waiting. Not a bad way to live life.

Just some thoughts.

-- Mike


San Francisco Dreaming

S.F. Beach, Spring 2010
S.F. Beach

S.F. Noe Valley
Noe Valley (near Castro)

AT&T Park during a Giant's game
AT&T Park - Home of the Giants

SOMA (South of Market)

S.F. Noe Valley
Noe Valley (near Castro)

S.F. Beach, Spring 2010
S.F. Beach

S.F. Noe Valley
Noe Valley (near Castro)

S.F. spring, 2010
This is a reminder that Mother's Day is tomorrow, May 9th.


Earthquake Country

A friend of mine recently sent a link that shows historical footage of San Francisco in 1906 just days before the major earthquake and fire. It was taken from a streetcar as it moved down the tracks toward the Ferry Building. Unfortunately, about the only thing that survived in that video is the Ferry Building because the rest burned to the ground in just a couple of days. Check out the link at http://www.flixxy.com/san-francisco-1905-historical-footage.htm I would make the link a hot button, but I'm working off of a Mac now instead of a Dell, and I haven't totally figured out which keys do the cut and paste.

As I view this video and watch the men in suits and the women in Victorian attire, I wonder what they were thinking and planning. Some may have been wishing those precious, last days of normal away by thinking, "I can't wait until three days from now when I get to go to such and such a party or event." Maybe they were thinking about the home improvement project they were going to do at home or were in the midst of accomplishing. Maybe one or two of them had planned a trip out of town and would unknowingly escape the pending horror and devastation. They had no idea of knowing that in just a few days an earthquake and fire would totally change their lives and the face of the city forever.

I grew up in tornado country (Western Kansas), and lived 12 years in the heart of tornado alley (Tulsa, OK). Tornadoes are natural disasters that I understand, and I have a certain comfort level with the threat possibility. Earthquakes, on the other hand, make me a little uneasy. So far, I have lived in San Francisco for nine months, and I have not felt an earthquake. One thing I have noticed is the beautiful, mild weather. We don't freeze in San Francisco, so we never have ice or snow. What they consider hail here is really just a light form of sleet. Most of the time rain is just rain, and it is never really accompanied by thunder or lightening. Unlike my previous residence, Portland, the sun shines here almost all of the time, and this is even supposed to be an El Nino year. So, on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis, the possibility of property damage or injury from a natural disaster is very low here. This can definitely lead to denial and a certain comfort with the thought that earthquakes really won't affect my life. This feeling is bolstered by the fact that I work with several people who have lived in the bay area all of their lives, and they have yet to be drastically affected by an earthquake. But, when it does happen, and the predication is that the big one will come in the next 20 years, the results can be catastrophic. Granted, a much stronger building code may make all the difference when the next big one hits.

I have decided that I will be the "Unsinkable Molly Brown" of San Francisco when the next big earthquake occurs. This is what I tell all of my friends, so it must make it true. :) I have my emergency provisions together, and my camping tent and equipment is in one big bag and ready to grab in the case of an emergency. If my building collapses, I fully intend to be standing on top of it when the dust clears. Morbid, but these are the thoughts I have as I continue to transition from living in tornado alley to residing in the middle of earthquake country.




Yes, I have been sadly neglectful of my blog, but I am making a renewed commitment to post at least once a week about this magical city called San Francisco. Already, I have about 10 different postings of information and restaurant recommendations that I want to describe in detail.

I will begin by posting about Alcatraz. Honestly, I did not really want to go to Alcatraz. Touring an old prison, and a maximum security prison like Alcatraz, was not high on my list of things to do. I thought it would be highly depressing, but was I in for a surprise. Just a short ferry ride away from the Embarcadero, you will come to Alcatraz and see some of the most amazing views of the bay and the city. The wildlife is all around you there, and even the prison doesn't seem so horrible. The tour is all done by audio cassette, and do walk through the inmates courtyard and into the gardens. I know this sounds warped, but touring the old prison was enjoyable and relaxing. I definitely recommend that you tour the Alcatraz prison the next time you are in San Francisco. Check out the pictures below:

Alcatraz - Head Guard Mansion
This is what is left of the warden's mansion.

Alcatraz Employee Balcony 2
These were some of the residences for the guards and their family. The children of the guards actually grew up on Alcatraz and have their own story to tell about it.

Alcatraz Cell 2
The cells were a little depressing, but it was interesting to see some of the crafts, knitting, and painting projects that the inmates did to pass the time.

Alcatraz School House
This is the school that the children of the guards attended. How did that looked on a college application?


St. Patrick's Day Parade & Festival

If you find yourself around the San Francisco area this weekend, consider dropping in at the St. Patrick's Day Parade & Festival.

Put on your green and come pay tribute to a great country and a timeless legend. Erin Go Braugh!


Muir Woods and Stinson Beach

Just North of San Francisco lies one of the few old-growth red wood forests left on the planet. The giant redwoods and sycamores in Muir Woods are awe inspiring.

"The tallest coastal redwood at Muir Woods is about 258 feet, approximately the height of a six-foot person stacked head to toe 45 times. Further north, these trees can reach heights up to 379 feet, 74 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty. The average age of the coastal redwoods at Muir Woods is between 600 to 800 years, with the oldest being at least 1200 years old. This is still young for redwoods as they can live up to 2200 years."
- (http://www.nps.gov/muwo/index.htm)

After spending time wandering through the forest, my friends and I then took a drive along the coast to Stinson Beach. The pictures below are of the woods and the beach. Enjoy!

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Muir Woods, Feb. 2010 C

Muir Woods, Feb. 2010 H

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Muir Woods, Feb. 2010 A

Muir Woods, Feb. 2010 G

Muir Woods, Feb. 2010 B

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