Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Birthday Outing

Thanks to prompting by Conery, I took my birthday off.  You would think on my birthday that I would sleep in, but I got up with Conery because he was making breakfast.  YAY!  He bought some awesome croissants, which he filled with bacon, egg, and cheese.  Soooo groooood!

After taking Conery to the train station, I came home and read; after which I played a bit of the video game Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood.  Part of my reason for hanging around the apartment was to wait for a birthday gift from Conery to be delivered.  

I wanted the Sony Daily Edition eReader as it has all of the features that are important to me: eInk display (which means no glare), touch screen, wifi/3g (for downloading content and for using the limited browser to connect to Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc.  The FedEx guy showed up around 1pm.  I quickly unboxed the reader and charged it in my car on the way into San Francisco.  

I had a few things that I wanted to see/do while in the City.  First on the list was going to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.  Currently on exhibit, there is an installation which I read about a few years ago.  The gist of the exhibit is that when the artist, Song Dong, lost his father, his mother sank into a deep depression and became a hoarder.  She couldn't bear to waste anything by getting rid of things, and the emotional connection these things had to her life with her husband was too great to sever.  After trying to get his mother to organize and purge things, the artist decided to involve his mother in an art project.  This art therapy was pivotal to helping her come out of her depression.  Giving her things new life and a new purpose allowed her to part with all of the things which held her prisoner.  The two of them worked together to organize the things and plan the display.  Going through the process of setting up and breaking down the exhibit as it traveled from place to place gave the mother many other opportunities to connect with the stories and memories these physical object held without having the items overwhelming her living space and daily life.

The exhibit was overwhelming, as you might imagine.  It looked like the most organized yard sale ever.  Seeing all the things in one room was visually striking, but the other sense at play here was smell.  You forget when in a gallery setting that most of the objects on display were handled a lot by the artist; the objects sat in a house or studio where food was prepared and/or eaten.  So the place smelled like you walked into someone's house.  It definitely made me think about how the contents of my life would look displayed that way and what it would say about me.

After YBCA, I was in a shopping area where I decided to look for a cover for my eReader before heading to stop number two. The eReader did not come with one, and the Sony online store was out of the one I wanted.  I spent some time shopping and meandering around the SOMA area.  There is never a shortage of nutty things going on in the area around the Powell cable car turnaround.  I never found a case, but I did enjoy the people watching!

By this point, it was around 4pm.  I was planning to meet Conery outside The Chronicle building at 5.  I knew I didn't have enough time to do the second thing on my list and make it back to meet him.  He had some interest in going, so I did a little more sight seeing before meeting up with him.  

I met Conery outside The Chronicle, and we went to the Rayko Photo Center to see the current photo exhibit on display.  One of the featured photographers is Michelle Bates whose book I read a few years ago.

All of the photos in the exhibit were taken with primitive, lomography cameras like the Holga and Diana, which are less about image clarity and more about happy accidents and a low-fi look.  I use a reissue of the original Diana camera.  The exhibit was much bigger than I imagined.  There were several photos that were taken with lomo cameras with homemade lenses.  Those were my absolute favorites.  I think I have to resurrect an idea I pitched during Tinkering School where found object cameras are made with the lenses of discarded eye glasses.  The images taken with these homemade lenses had such an eerie, surreal quality that you knew that something special happened during the creation of the image...something that probably could not be replicated.  That element of chaos is what makes lomography art.

In addition to the photo exhibit, Rayko also contains a bit of photographic memorabilia...lots of old cameras (both still and video) as well as an old photo booth.  The visit would not have been complete without getting our own four frame souvenir, which I'll post once I scan it.

Conery made dinner reservations for us at a place called Radius whose gig is that all their food comes from vendors in a 100 mile radius. Waiting at our table, were two glasses of champagne.  Apparently, that move by the uber hostess made our neighbors speculate as to who we were to rate such special treatment.  As our neighbors were getting up to leave, the woman stopped and asked if we were famous or something.  I said, "yeah...famous for being born" or something obnoxious like that.  /laugher ensued

We started with a dozen Hog Island Oysters, which we have had at the Hog Island restaurant at the Ferry Building.  I had the trout and Conery had the pork.  Both dishes were wonderful.  Instead of having dessert, we opted to have their cheese tasting to finish out the meal...cuz I love cheese!!  Oh yeah, and their coffee was great.  There is a roaster just down the block from the restaurant whose coffee they use.

Roaming around San Francisco with a loose agenda was a brilliant way to spend my day; having a brilliant meal with my amazing husband was the perfect way to end it.

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