shannon_a: (Default)
The last weekend of June pretty much slipped by. I learned about Stewart Wieck's death on Friday evening. Though I only spent three or four hours writing and editing my memorial to him, it weighed on me much of the weekend.

And so the weekend slipped away.

This long Fourth of July weekend was much more active.



Saturday I went for a long hike in Briones Regional Park. HI, first-time Briones hiker. Hilly, uncovered, and hot. (I choose a day when it was only 85 degrees over the hills.) Still, it was nice to see. I was impressed by the size of the park. The view from 1500 feet, atop Briones Hill was awesome.



Sunday Kimberly and I went out to Golden Gate Park, mainly to see the Summer of Love exhibit at the deYoung. She has a membership this year, so we're determined to use it. The exhibit was mainly '60s hippy fashion and rock show posters from SF in 66-68. The clothing was the cooler of the two (thanks Project Runway). We enjoyed the exhibit, though the rock posters were getting old by the last room. But at least that final room had great music. Guthrie, the Doors, and others. Afterward we hung out in the Fern Grotto for a while and read, but it was too chilly to really hang out in the park for long. A notable change from 85 degrees two counties over the day before.

And there's now a deGas exhibit just starting at the Legion of Honor that we want to see.

Two culinary notes:

#1. We got sandwiches for lunch at the last Andronico's in the world. Safeway bought them all out last year, but for some ridiculous reason hasn't been allowed to change the name in San Francisco. Nonetheless, the store is mostly a Safeway now, including their sandwiches. Still OK, but not as good as Andronico's. I also got one of the world's last adult brownies, which lasted me three meals. And, I asked the check-out lady if I could use my Andronico's sandwich card, which had a free sandwich on it that I thought I'd never be able to claim. She said no, then took my card and gave me a free sandwich.

#2. On the way home, K. took us to dinner at the McDonald's in Berkeley. Unfortunately, it's often overrun by the homeless, which the staff do nothing about (and increasingly so in recent years). Today there was a particularly crazy guy who kept pacing around us, crawling around the floor, and playing the same 30-second clip from a movie or song on continuous loop. It didn't encourage either of us to return to that restaurant.



Monday I worked. But I spent the middle of the day in San Francisco at Blockstream.

I could totally deal with a one-day work week.



Tuesday was the last day of a holiday weekend. Even with the Monday gap. Nothing big was planned, but I made a quick walk from home to the Orinda BART station. Made it in under 3 hours, which was great.

And that was four days in three counties (Alameda, Contra-Costa, and San Francisco).
shannon_a: (Default)
The birthday festivities began yesterday. Well, not really. But, on my birthday's eve we have workers at the house all day. Plumbers spent about four hours taking out our old main stack from the second floor and installing a new one, then roofers spent another hour or so patching up the roof and rewaterproofing everything.

Seems to have all worked. (Fingers crossed.)

The big problem, as usual, was shoddy past work done on the house. At some point, running water got put in the house and for whatever reason both of the sewage pipes were put through the garage. Which is stupid, but this house is really tight on our lot, so it might have been required. And at some point plaster or stucco or something got mostly wrapped around the pipe in the garage that came down from the second floor. Which probably was not required and always looked ugly. So before the plumbers could take it out, they had to hammer the stony pipe covering away. It was a big pain, and shockingly looks much nicer now.

Still, total damage of something less than $2,000 to us, I think. We have the money, but it was intended to pay property tax in a few weeks. (We'll just have to sell a little stock, to pay various taxes, but I'd hoped to avoid that this year.)



Today was my birthday outing. I took the day off work, which I sometimes do for my birthday (particularly when it's weekend-adjacent).

K. and I were up bright and early and we went out to Cheese and Stuff to pick up sandwiches and chips and desert. We then long-hauled those out to the Palace of the Legion of Honor, out by Land's End in SF. It's always a long trip, since it's way in the back corner of SF.

It was raining the whole time, but the peristyle at the entryway has covered walkways to the sides. For some reason, every one enters the museum through the courtyard or the righthand walkway, avoiding the lefthand one like it's the plague. So, we were able to sit there, out of the rain, and eat our sandwiches.

Then it was into the Palace. We had almost 45 minutes before our viewing of the Monet exhibit, so we quickly walked around to our favorite exhibits: the Impressionist room, at the end of one of the arms of the museum and the Rodin sculptures in some of the center rooms. We also saw one of the visiting exhibits, a teeny room of art about letters, which K. and I both had a lot of fun with.

However, our purpose in going to the museum today was to see "Monet: The Early Years", and it was awesome. It contains about 40 paintings from 1858-1872, which means that we saw some of his pre-impressionist pieces (but most were trending toward impressionism). It was amazing to see him working in such a realistic style. But what I found particularly interesting was that by 1865 or so, he was varying between clearly realistic work and impressionistic work, apparently based on audience (and whether something was a "sketch" or finished piece).

The art was all beautiful. Some of it we'd seen before at the series of great impressionist exhibits that we got in several years ago. A lot more was new. We got to enjoy the Magpie again (and realized how faded K.'s print has gotten) and many more. The descriptions of the artwork were also written very well, with lots of discussions of Monet's technique and his character, all of which was intriguing.

I was thrilled to see another big (mostly) impressionist exhibit while we're still here in the Bay Area.

And now we have a year's membership to the Palace of the Legion of Honor and the deYoung, since the tickets for the Monet exhibit were almost the same price as a membership. I already know another exhibit we want to see, which is on the Summer of Love, showing up at the DeYoung in just a few weeks (and staying through the summer). The great thing about the membership is that we can go and have a day in the Park, and just stop by the museum to visit that, without feeling that we're "wasting our money" or something.



We headed home afterward. Hanging out in a cafe for a while, we worked on our current read-aloud book, Fool's Fate, and then were enticed to eat dinner there too. After we got home, K. played a two-player game with me (Saboteur: The Duel) in large part so I could review it, then we watched the first episode of Legion.

Reviews: Fool's Fate (excellent), PIQ Berkeley sandwiches (very good), Saboteur: The Duel (ok), and Legion ep 1 (very intriguing, but I feel like we just got to the premise.
shannon_a: (Default)
Kimberly & I went to the De Young museum on Saturday. It was to see an "Art Slam", which was a slideshow of various art works -- including one great piece that she'd done.

Unfortunately, the experience was somewhat subpar. Her slide was literally first, showing before they had the window screen all the way down and before most of the audience even realized that the presentation was starting. They showed it for all of 5-10 seconds. Worse, three of her friends who'd come to see it all missed it because they were running later.

Worser, there were some people right behind us in the auditorium who constantly cheered and gushed and talked about every slide in a way that made K. (and, really, everyone else) anxious. (They were De Restless.) We had to move and then we had to leave. Kimberly's friend Jay gave us a ride home.

On the bright side, we had a nice trip out to the De Young and we had an enjoyable and decadent lunch of Andronico's sandwiches and deserts in the De Young garden before the show. And Kimberly did have a piece of art ever-so-briefly showing at De Young! It was fun to see!



Got home a lot earlier than expected, so I spent the afternoon and evening writing and editing.

Then today I biked up to Temescal and wrote and edited more. By the by, that turned out to be at the limit of my endurance as I'm still sniffling a bit from my recent (light) cold. And speaking of cold, the park was. After two hours, I headed home. It was 2.30, and I was chilled, and I decided the park was only getting colder from there. Sadly, Winter has come.

And tonight I wrote and edited more.

Total damage was about 8,000 words over Saturday and Sunday: three more D&D Classics articles (2,500 words total) and my eighth new history for Designers & Dragons: The '00s (5,500 words).

Whew!
shannon_a: (Default)
Sunday is the twelfth anniversary for Kimberly & me. Since she's been doing well for a while and we've really been clicking lately, we decided to take the opportunity to have some extended anniversary fun this weekend.

Kimberly actually got things started on Friday by bringing home some surprisingly delicious deserts from Walgreens for dinner, but other than that it was our usual groceries and a cheap Friday dinner out.

But today we had plans for a nice lunch and a visit to the Oakland Museum. So, we BARTed down to 12th Street in Oakland and had lunch at Le Cheval. It was tasty VIetnamese food — shrimp rolls for an appetizer, then shrimp and mushrooms in a sizzling clay pot for our main meal. After that we walked over to the Oakland Museum, which is maybe a mile away or so. (I think in all today we walked about 4 miles, on one of the hotter days of the year so far.)

Our main goal at the museum was to see the 1968 exhibit. It was a very nicely done multimedia presentation on the era. There was a timeline for each month, then a lot of other media surrounding it, such as posters, newspapers clippings, and even a few video bits. I think Kimberly & I both fond the video montage of highlights from movies and TV shows of the era the most interesting. It included 2001The Monkees intro, a totally ridiculous Star Trek clip where the crew is meeting space hippies, and lots more.

[It was easy to find the Star Trek episode just now by searching for "Star Trek space hippies". As I'd guessed, it was a third season episode. It was called "The Way to Eden", and shame on the exhibit people, it actually ran in 1969 (though it was perhaps made in 1968).]

Overall, an interesting exhibit.

We also saw a few other things while there.

First up was a room of protest posters (which was overseen by a pretty overzealous guard who actively blocked the door to the room at points). We discovered that we found recent posters interesting (especially those purposefully done in old styles), but the vast number of posters done in the '60s seemed boring. A totally beautiful art nouveau style poster for critical mass was my favorite.

Next up, we went to a Daniel Clowes exhibit that we'd heard about months ago. I actually ready three of his works — Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron, Ice Haven, and Wilson — at the time. I found the first to be puerile absurdist crap, while the second two were very interesting indie pieces. Ice Haven was particularly nice for its very non-traditional narrative structure. It was basically laid out like a series of Sunday comic strips, with each page being not just a different point of view, but also drawn in a different style.

Sad to say, the exhibit was boring. Just final pages hanging on the walls. I saw lots of people actively reading these non-sequential bits of sequential storytelling, which led me to believe it was more interesting to people who didn't read comics.

(Note to self: read David BoringThe Death-RayGhost World too.)

While in the art area we skimmed through for things that interested us, as it'd been a while since either of us had been to the Oakland Museum (not since a trip with Kimberly's family, which was probably 1999 or 2000). We were both struck by a set of 15 or so cuckoo clocks on the wall, with sickles and hammers hanging from them. Kimberly just saw the sickles at first and thought it might be something about time & death. I pointed out the hammers and said I was pretty sure it was about communism.

So we went and read the name and description, and it was something like "The Inevitability" and it was indeed about communism. Which just about cracked me up, because this sculpture on how Communism was going to take over the whole world was completed in 1990. Which would be a year before the USSR fell.

It should have been closer to the comic display.  



We picked up some dim sum and some more sweets on the way home (brownie for me, apple fritter for K.). And since then it's been a low-key night.

Kimberly napped, I fixed a flat on my bike. First real flat I've picked up since I got my new super-puncture-resistant tires. It was a very small puncture with a very slow leak, which is good and bad. On the good side, I didn't get stranded in the middle of Oakland on Wednesday night (when I presumably picked up the flat), but on the bad side I had to disassemble the tire so that I could find the flat in a sink. (The leak was too slow too hear.) And me doing work on a bike usually involves blood and grease. It took me two tries to get it back together right, but I think all's well now.

Hopefully, as I'll be biking back to to the colo on Monday as I've been playing hard-drive shuffle with one of the Skotos machines.

Tomorrow: more anniversary, with further travelling.

Birth Day

Mar. 24th, 2012 11:15 pm
shannon_a: (Default)
I am old.

I shall give up comics and biking and gaming and learn to like beer, champagne, and football. And Masterpiece Theatre.

I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.


So today was the big four-oh. I don't usually do much for my birthday, but with today being such a notable event and it happening to fall on a Saturday, I decided to go out of my way to do something fun.

So Kimberly & I braved the rain and public transit to head out to the Exploratorium in San Francisco.

There actually wasn't a lot to be braved, as the rain was pretty light all day. The public transit did take some courage though, as hopping onto the 30 near Montgomery we found the most jammed bus I've ever been on. Wall to wall people and it just kept getting more and more crowded ... until we thankfully came to Chinatown a few blocks over and things cleared out. Whew.

I hadn't been to the Palace of Fine Arts or the Exploratium in a long, long time. I'm guessing 20+ years. I'd forgotten how absolutely gorgeous the Palace is. Beautiful architecture and beautiful landscaping alike. If it weren't raining throughout the day, I would definitely have liked to lounge around the park and read and just enjoy the world.


Anyway, into the Exploratorium it was, to get out of the rain. I put on new (dry) socks for the first time in the day.

We kind of wandered, looking at most exhibits, but not necessarily every one. We started out working through electricity and magnets, which was fun. There are a surprising number of exhibits that tell you to shock yourself with light charges. One of them was based entirely on static electricity and I as read how you should shock yourself for the third or so time, Kimberly said, "... if you're a masochist!"

Beyond that was a  giant moving pendulum like table [picture I took] which people use to make spiroograph-like drawings. We watched that for several  minutes as a dad made drawings with his kids. It was very cool to see them slowly develop.

(Lots of kids at the Exploratorium, of course, but almost all were really well behaved, and there were so many good parents there, really connecting and communicating with their kids.)

Biology was next, and we skimmed that because it wasn't interesting, then sound, which we skimmed because it's all booth based and people tend to sit around the booths and you can't look over their shoulders.

Downstairs, Kimberly left me as she was scienced out. (We were at least an hour into the trip by then.) So I went through optical illusions and vision and social stuff on my own. My other coolest exhibit (the first being that spiro-table) was back here.

It was really simple: two different people sat opposite each other, each with a tray of the same six simple colored geometric shapes. A screen blocked view between the two. One of the people laid out the shapes on his tray, then tried to describe to the other person what he'd done. At the end they compared. It was fascinating being able to watch omnisciently from the side to see exactly where communication went wrong. I think there's a game in there somewhere (though Space Alert already exists as a game that's almost entirely based around miscommunication).

From there I moved through lots more things involving shapes and I'm not quite sure what else. Clearly I was fading by this point. I eventually returned to Kimberly and we headed out, with a visit by the store on the way out. (Not to buy anything, but because many of the toys and stuff they sell there are as fascinating as exhibits. And I was shocked to see Forbidden Island there; good going to that publisher, getting their game into science museums.)

Before I leave behind the Exploratorium, I should note that I really appreciate the occasional touches of classic stuff in there like scary angels [picture I took], thanks I presume to the location at the Palace of Fine Arts. I think that'll be missed when they move to a new location.


Lots more of the course of the day, but nothing else as "big".

We walked about two miles east along the coast (nice despite the continuing rain), enjoying views of Alcatraz and Fort Mason along the way before coming to Ghiradelli Square. Here, Kimberly & I treated ourselves to some birthday chocolate. I got semi-sweet non-pareils, a Ghiradelli treat that I've never seen except in Ghiradelli stores (from them; I can also remember non-pareils at K-Mart or something). I probably hadn't had any in a couple of decades, but they were still great.

We bussed back to BART, then BARTed back to Ashby. On the way home from Ashby BART we stopped by Berkeley Bowl to pick up birthday cakes (because we needed more sweets, clearly) and something tasty for dinner.

I got a very tasty sandwich, which I ate while we watched The Dark Knight tonight.

And that was the birthday day.

Tired now, but looking forward to some reading.

shannon_a: (Default)
Kimberly and I went into The City today to see the Masters of Venice exhibit of art at the de Young Museum.

Sadly, it was a disappointment. I knew from the start that the Renaissance art style wasn't one that particularly interested me. What I didn't know was that the exhibit was going to be almost entirely dull portraits. There was painting after painting of men sitting there, looking bored. Some of them had black beards, some had white beards, some had dark brown beards, and some had gray beards. From what we could see, there were no red beards nor blue beards. One man had a tiny head, atop a corpulent body. There were some women, though in lesser numbers. They mostly looked angry. A couple looked stoned.

I didn't feel like the exhibit was particularly well put together either. There were numerous large prints pasted up on the walls, taking up space where you'd have expected to see art. Kimberly though there was more text than usual, which I'm not convinced of; what I did find that there was considerably more boring text which did nothing to illuminate the artwork and little to illuminate the society. 

I'm not sad I saw the exhibit, because that sort of thing is always somewhat enlightening. I just wish it'd been any good.

(Part of the problem, I see now, is how badly the de Young Museum misrepresents the exhibit on their page. Out of 12 pieces of art they preview there, 5 of them are non-portraits, 2 of the portraits were the rare more active ones, and the other 5 are all so cropped that you don't see the monotony of black backgrounds behind stiffly posed portraits that we saw in the first couple of halls of the exhibit, and scattered around afterward.)

We did see two other smaller exhibits while we were there.

One was one that Kimberly had wanted to see, which was photographs of creepy dolls and masks. I was pretty meh about it. Many of the photographs were indeed creepy (though artist Ralph Meatyard swore they weren't intended to be macabre), but I didn't find that they were that creative. It was more like, "Stand in front of a fence with this creepy mask on." (Unless he manufactured the masks himself; then there was indeed creativity in the process. I'm not convinced he did, however.) Kimberly and I did enjoy ourselves mocking the artwork, and I think she found it more interesting than I.

The other was one I wanted to see about mixed-medium small-edition sculptures put out by a workshop called Gemini G.E.L. starting in '69. Their first piece, a lithograph in molded plastic of a car was, I thought, breath-taking. Exactly the sort of pop art I was hoping to see. There were also a number of mixed medium faces by Roy Lichenstein, which were somewhat abstract and made of neat die cutting with various materials, that I though were very cool. And then there were some lead bas reliefs which I found less exciting because there was almost no contrast. But this exhibit was the highlight of the day for me (and fortunately the last thing we saw, after the disappointing "Masters of Venice").
 
The other highlight of the day was doubtless lunch in the Music Concourse between de Young and the Academy of Sciences, eating tasty Andronico's sandwiches (as there's an Andronico's still in business a few blocks from GG Park) and watching children constantly almost climb into a dry fountain that has, according to various sources, somewhere between 75 cents and five dollars in change within. Meanwhile, flocks of sea gulls watched us. Signs said not to feed the pigeons, but didn't mention the gulls at all. We opted not to feed them anyway.

And that was a day in San Francisco. Upon arriving home, we ate dinner and then were each so tired that we collapsed asleep for a few hours ...
shannon_a: (Default)
Yesterday, we had a pretty typical Appelcline Thanksgiving. We picked up food at Andronico's (turkey breast, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, green beans, various rolls) and then cooked them in the late afternoon. In the meantime we marathoned a TV show, in this case the first episodes of Friday Night Lights. (Though in our middle age, "marathon" means we watched a whole three episodes of it.) The food was good, though not as good as it has been, as Andronico's has been on a downward slope for years. Friday Night Lights proved interesting in its view of as strange and obsessive culture. Very nice characterization too.

There was also game playing, reading, and reading aloud. A kicked-back and relaxed day.


Today was our second annual Museum Day. We went out to the Palace of the Legion of Honor to see "Pissarro's People", an exhibit containing the art of impressionist Camille Pissarro.

I've grown increasingly fond of impressionists over our exhibits from the last year, but at the same time I was expecting this to be less impressive because of its focus on people. And, that was to some extent true. In particularly there was half-a-room dedicated to peoples in markets which all looked like chaotic mishmashes.

However, many of the Pissarro's were nice. I quite like many pictures he drew of his wife and children. Some were pencil drawings, some charcoal, and many were fully painted. A picture of one of his sons working in his studio was my favorite for the name, partially due to its composition, partially due to its uniqueness. There were also a number of great paintings of people working in gardens and fields, which showed off Pissarro's strengths as a landscape artist.

It was nice to get to see some more impressionism.

While at the Palace we also looked at a smaller exhibit showing artwork of San Francisco. This included paintings, drawings, and photographs. It had quite a number of attractive pieces, including some somewhat abstract pictures of the city, and some neat paintings and drawings taken of bridges in various forms of construction.

And then we looked at a small exhibit of illustrated books which was dull.

But overall, a successful day at the Palace of the Legion of Honor, and now we've got memberships again to see some stuff over the next year. There's something going on at the De Young that Kimberly wants to see, and we'll probably doing that over my Christmas break. (I love having bigger outings be when I have more time.)


We got off our bus back from the Palace near Union Square and saw police all over, as well as Occupy protestors (one of which had an Occupy Oakland poster, apparently because he took a wrong turn at Albuquerque). It was a mess, but we were able to push through crowds to make it down to BART and (eventually) home.

Tired, and I'm probably done gallivanting for the (long) weekend, though I'm still considering some board gaming at Endgame tomorrow.
shannon_a: (Default)
Our summer of museums continued today when Kimberly and I went out to the Palace of the Legion of Honor to see, "Impressionist Paris", the first of two shows they're doing to complement the two major impressionist shows being held at the De Young Museum.

This one offered a broader view of Paris and of the artistic side of it during the era of the impressionists. The exhibit was composed of ten rooms, each with its own theme. One covered magazine art of the time, another Paris in 1871 during the the of "The Commune", another the group portfolios that were published, etc.

Though not as viscerally exciting as "The Birth of Impressionism" show at the De Young, this one offered an intriguing overview of the era, really doing a lot to detail the times and where the artists were coming from. I've really enjoyed the increasing understanding I've gained of impressionism and the world that surrounded it in the late 1800s. Overall, the exhibit contained a lot of art that I'd generally classify as "interesting", but also a number of pieces that I loved.

First, I was surprised by a number of etchings and black-and-white drawings by impressionists, something I hadn't really seen before. It was quite interesting to see some of the impressionist techniques--most showing off water or steam, in the much shorter hand of black-and-white work.

Second, I loved a piece that showed a garden scene with some people lounging under a bright-red umbrella with green ferns behind them. It looked entirely and vibrantly realistic, but you saw a lot of the play of light and shadow that you see in impressionist work, with light shining through both the umbrella and the ferns and shadows playing across those ferns too. Totally gorgeous. It took me a while to come up with the name, but it's "Afternoon in the Cluny Garden Paris 1889" by Charles Curran. (The online pictures I've seen don't do the vibrancy of the original justice.)

Third, I really enjoyed a pointillist piece done by Georges Seurat showing the Eiffel Tower. I'd love to see more of his work.

Fourth, we saw four of Henri Riviere's 36 Views of the Eiffel Tower. Besides being amazing snapshots in time (they largely showed the Tower under construction), they also were pretty amazing blends of Japanese art of the period and impressionism. I hope we get to see more like that in the Palace's next pseudo-impressionist show, which is on Japanese art in the impressionist period. (Again, those photos I linked to just don't do justice to the originals which had much more color.)

Among other things we learned today: artists in pre-Impressionist Paris drew lots of dogs and artists in post-Impressionist Paris drew lots of cats. Who knew?



While at the museum, Kimberly and I both went to see some of our favorites in their permanent collection--and also were disappointed. Kimberly wanted to see some water lillies (which are out traveling) and some Rodin (which had apparently been on loan from Stanford when she saw it previously), while I wanted to see a Dali they used to have. Dunno where that went. In any case, we skimmed through some of the Palace's more modern art, including their impressionist room.

We also spent a while out in the grassy area out in front of the museum. We had lunch there, and then later sat a while before we went home. Each time we read a bit of our current Louise Erdrich book too, The Beet Queen.

A beautiful area with gorgeous views of the Golden Gate & bridge. Much enjoyment was had by all.

And now, we're both tired. Shock.
shannon_a: (Default)
So today is mine and Kimberly's 10th anniversary. As she says, getting married in 2000 means that we won't ever forget what anniversary it is.

We'd decided to spend the day together, so I took the time off work. Even better, we figured out something fun and memorable to do for the day. Parts of the Musee d'Orsay in Paris are being renovated, so they've told a lot of their paintings to hit the road. Thus we've got two shows occurring here in San Francisco, showing off stuff that you'd usually have to go to Paris to see. (Apparently, SF is the only city that they've sent both of the exhibitions to, so go us!)

A few months ago, we'd decided that this sounded cool all around and so Kimberly & I got SF museum memberships a while ago. Or tried to. Due to considerable problems with the museums actually processing memberships, we didn't get the memberships processed until a couple of weeks ago (and only after Kimberly called). But, that meant that we had brand-new membership cards to use today.



So, today we went over to the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park to see the first of the shows, "The Birth of Impressionism".

It was a very interesting array of paintings because it started out with some pre-impressionist works from the same period. They included a number of attractive paintings, mostly on mythic themes and it seemed like a pretty typical museum experience. And then you hit the impressionists, and the difference is like night and day. Suddenly there's color and light and shadow and other natural changes and the material goes from the mythic to the everyday. I've never before seen the impressionists in their own context, which really highlighted how stunning the work was.

The early impressionist art that we saw was generally quite nice. Monet was my favorite at this exhibit, possibly because we'd seen an amazing all-Money exhibit several years ago and I'd grown quite fond of his work then. The most amazing was a Monet piece called "The Magpie", which is a snow-covered scene. We've had a print of it sitting around the house forever (because we've never figured out a good wall for it). Though it's not hanging, we can still appreciate it. But seeing the original, which that print and so many others had been made from, an original that's something like 130 years old was just breathtaking.

I also saw a number of Renoirs that I liked. There was also an artist that I'd never heard of called Bazille, and he did a few that I really admired: a very casual picture of Renoir and a really neat picture of his studio, which showed many of the impressionists there and also many of his paintings. And why didn't I know him? He died in the Franco-Prussian War at the age of 29 after painting full-time for just six years. He could have been a Monet or a Van Gogh if he hadn't been killed in one of this world's too-too-common pointless wars.



We looked around the rest of the museum a bit. We'd actually been there two and a half years ago, if I recall right, on Mother's Day. There were nonetheless a few exhibitions that were new: one on dyed cloth and another on photographs. Neither of them particularly thrilled me. It also looked like they'd changed out a few things here and there. The impressionists were really the reason to go, though.

We headed back from Golden Gate Park pretty early, around 3 or so, as we were both tired out from walking around and fighting our way through crowds of old ladies who didn't look when they backed up (again and again).



This evening Kimberly and I headed out to a relatively new nice restaurant in Berkeley called Gather. It was very good. We had a vegan appetizer plate in which everything tasted excellent. Then Kimberly and I each ended up having pizzas for our main course. Mine was a vegan pizza that had all kinds of great veggies on it that I actually like and was happily cheese free.

A little on the pricey side, but not absurdly so, even when we splurged and each ended up with an extra meal's worth of food, at least.



A good day. A good anniverser-day.

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