Tuesday, October 23, 2012

San Francisco Day Four

Woke up and slightly rainy and cold this morning but the weather was amazing by the time I got to Alcatraz.  Plus no fog!
This is the view pulling up, the building in the foreground is the residences, the background on the top of the hill is the jail.  The whole thing was actually pretty small.
 Some amazing views of the city from the Island.  They said in the "award winning" audio tour that this was part of the punishment, was that every day you could look at what you can't have.  They said on New Years' Eve you could hear voices of people from across the water.
Btw, how is an audio tour "award winning".  Who is the selection committee?  Who were the losers?
 I didn't know this but in 1969 groups of Indians occupied Alcatraz. According to a 1868 treaty, all surplus land could be reclaimed and after Alcatraz closed in 1963 the government declared the land surplus in 1964.
 The inside of a cell.  All the items had to be kept in these positions.
 This is a cellblock, on the bottom right were the cells used as "the hole" where guards could put prisoners and shut off the lights.
 Prisoners could paint in their cells and in the foreground on the left, you can see crochet work.  One of the prisoners was taught to crochet by his grandmother and taught others.
 This office I thought was made up very well in the style of the era.
 This is at the cable car museum.  I had no idea but there are actual cables running the cars.  I don't know why I didn't know this.
The car grabs hold of the cable to move forward and lets go to stop, it doesn't have an engine of it's own.  Although I don't know how it can change speeds or brake on a hill, but I gather that's the gist of it.
 This is the oldest surviving cable car in the world from the 1800's. 
There was a lot of information in here on the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.  Btw, there was an earthquake here yesterday morning, 5.3, I felt nothing.
Anyway, the 1906 earthquake was a big deal, that and the subsequent fires destroyed a section of the city 6 times the area destroyed by the London fire in 1666, over 80% of the city.
The gift shop had a good looking book with eye witness accounts from the time called Three Fearful Days: San Francisco Memoirs of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire by Malcolm E. Baker.
 Here's a diagram of how the cable car works, click to enlarge.
 This was sad, robbers poisoned three dogs who worked or guarded the cable cars in 1891.
 This is underneath the sidewalk, the huge cogs turning.
 This is the Grace Cathedral which I saw in the dark when I went to see Wanda Sykes.  I came back but it wasn't open for visitors.
 There was a park across from the cathedral with this cool turtle statue.
I sat in the park and read my book while it started to rain and I hid under a tree with my book and was quite cozy, I loved it.  As it was raining, there were few people in the park, and I was only bothered once when a homeless guy shouted at me "If you look at my dick while I'm peeing I'm going to sue you", startling me and causing me to look up and see him peeing.  Lawsuit papers are in the mail I suppose.
I'm reading "The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" by Michael Chabon, an 800 page book that won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. I heard it has gay content and finally at 50%, over 400 pages, I finally got some.  It was a beautiful tale of two men watching a thunder storm and the electricity between them and in the sky leading to a first forbidden kiss.  Beautiful.
Reviews on Goodreads called it too gay, which pisses me off, and as soon as I finish it I plan to go back and write them scathing comments, but first I have to verify that it is, in fact, not "too gay".  Not so far, anyway.  This is what homophobia looks like in 2012.  I suppose it's better than what we've had in the past.
 Hills everywhere, hills in both directions.
The hotel has a regular menagerie going here, this is Leo the parrot.  He talks, today he said "hello" and yesterday he said two words together I forget. He'll also whistle like the sound a guy makes when a pretty lady walks by, which can get the man in the office with him into trouble.
 The daily shot of Pip.
I had a nap when I got back and then cold and rainy tonight.  Hopefully better weather tomorrow for SFMOMA.

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