Blog Archives - AM Musings
 
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The gift of a little pale blue box usually promises something special - especially if it comes from this store.  Before the iconic Apple Stores, there were the Tiffany Stores that also boasted an simple elegant facade.  Apple stores draw from a minimalist modern tradition and the Tiffany stores draw from the  art deco era.  Long a symbol of elegant living, it encourages the thought that Audrey Hepburn may be stepping out at any moment.

This locked entrance grille clearly shows that the store is closed and it is protecting valuable stuff. Tiffany's had a small branch store on Grant Avenue in San Francisco for many years before establishing a grander presence with a new granite clad building on Union Square.  Now there are Tiffany stores in many "high-end" shopping areas.  This one is in Carmel.  

 
Sunday Brunch at Outerlands Cafe - way out in the outer Sunset on Judah Street is a real treat.  There was already a crowd of people waiting for the 10:00 AM opening.  Luckily we made the first seating.  Individually dripped coffee seems to be popular in all the cafes these days and at Outlands, they individually drip a pot of coffee for you using the mid-century modern classic Chemex coffee carafe. 

I'm told there is a relationship between Tartine Bakery and Outerlands and it shows.  Their bread is great and they also sell it by the loaf while supplies last.
 
Alex loves macaroons and I thought of him when I bought these at Tartine Bakery.  These are small ones, so I thought it was one of the better choices there.
 
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Two Versions of the Oxo Dustpan and Brush
I went to buy another Oxo dustpan and brush like the one at the left that I admire.  At the store, I found they didn't have the same model, but offered another larger version by the same manufacturer.  Compare the two.

The design of the left one is complete and integrated in every sense.  Ostensibly the right one should be equally good as they are very similar -- but they are not. The right one seems to have suffered  from middle age spread, the bloated dustpan shares little relationship with its brush.  The handle seems disjointed.  Gone is the matching hole in the handle of the dustpan and the brush that clearly announces the joining of the two.  The white extension of the brush handle on the right is visually isolated from the black handle and raises the question of where the handle ends.  This design asks questions rather than answers them.

Interesting how two ostensibly similar objects can be so different.  
 
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The Hindu Diety Parvati 1050 -1100 Bihar India - Chlorite Stone about 48" high
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Detail showing Ganesha
OK, I passed my first Asian Art Museum docent training test.  When I opened the test, I looked at a 20 point question and said to myself -- oh oh not good.  The question related to Indian deities and the symbols associated with them.  I had only casually studied them.  

So I spent my lunch break going up to the gallery to study the next 70 pieces for the next test.  I was looking at this image of Parvati.  Parvati is the wife of Shiva and the mother of the god Ganesha.  Ganesha has an elephant head.  They told us to read the "didactics"  so I read it carefully.  It said there was a small  figure of Ganesha next to Parvati's right foot.  I took another look and there he was!

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a lion beneath Parvati
October 27, 2011:  Well I had to go and research the question about Parvati's animal mount.  It seems Parvati is associated with either a tiger or lion.  I took a close look at the sculpture again and voila - a lion seems to be beneath her!  Thanks for the question, Chris.

 
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Ferry Building Farmers Market Mosaic
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There are lots of things to like about the renovated Ferry Building.  This small decorative detail above is especially nice.  Timeless in appearance, it could be a detail from Roman times.

Before the San Francisco Bay Bridge was built in the 1930's, the Ferry Building at the end of Market Street was a bustling center of activity  for people coming into San Francisco by ferry.

After the bridge was built, the building slowly fell silent as people stopped taking Ferries.  The building was converted into office spaces and there was a mezzanine built above the ground floor.  The mezzanine was later removed to reveal the skylit space.  The interior and surrounding area is now a Farmers Market featuring local sustainable specialty produce.  Immediately embraced by local foodies, it is jammed on Saturdays when people flock there to shop.  

 
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la Bicyclette
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la Bicyclette Dining Room
la Bicyclette in Carmel is located on the corner of Dolores and 7th Street a block off the main street of Carmel. They noted for their wood ovens where they bake bread and pizza's. They also have a cool hand cranked charcuterie slicing machine that they just got from Italy. The butternut squash pizza with arugula and freshly sliced ham was terrific.

 
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Michael Ondaatje in Conversation with Michael Chabon
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Michael Ondaatje signing books
Michael Ondaatje is probably best known as the author of "The English Patient", a novel that was made into an Oscar winning best movie in 1996.  One of Chris'  favorite author's, I tagged along to hear him speak at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco.  It was interesting to hear about a writer's creative process compared to what I am familiar with as an architect.  Like many things worthwhile, it takes hours of hard work for a few moments of pleasure.

After the interview, a long line of admirers lined up to have Ondaatje autographed his latest book, "The Cat's Table".

 
There must be something deep in the human psyche that is programmed to respond to the sunset.  It's a dramatic transition from light to dark and the dissolution of our earthly surroundings.  Our attention is drawn to fading light and other places, a sense of time passing, --- a sense of longing.   Even the ugliness that may surround us is gone for a few hours to be refreshed in a new day, perhaps washed clean from the morning dew.
 
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Primitive Fire - Frank Brangwyn
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I was attracted to these 8 large murals in the Herbst Theater in San Francisco's Civic Center because of their warm vibrant colors.  This one is titled "Primitive Fire" by the artist, Frank Brangwyn.  When I was looking at the history of the building, I noticed construction started in 1930 and I thought it was strange because the murals didn't look as though they came from that time period.

I did a little research and discovered the paintings were actually painted at least 15 years earlier for display in the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco and later re-installed in the Herbst Theater.  If our're there for an event, be sure and take a look before leaving.