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Pele, Hawaiian Goddess of Fire

Yesterday I was sitting in the lobby of Publishers Group West in Berkeley and spotted a book, The Art of the Hula, by Alan Seiden (Island Heritage Publishers) on the table. It's full of wonderful south seas art, including this striking painting of Pele by Peter Hurd, fire in her eyes. It just about jumped off the page. Surfers are gonna love this book.

Cool Little Car: 2009 Nissan Cube

Spotted this at a Nissan dealership on Broadway in Oakland yesterday morning. It looks just right. This one was $16K. See recent article, "Hello Kitty, Your Car Is Waiting" in NY Times.

Garter Snake in Garden Pond

This little guy turned up in our garden pond today, floating on the salvinia. He was very relaxed, letting me get a foot away with the camera. According to Wikipedia, garter snakes are …" the single most widely distributed genus of reptile in North America." This looks a lot like the San Francisco garter snake, an endangered species.

Tiny Runner in Dipsea Race

The Dipsea race is the oldest cross-country race in America, 7.5 miles from Mill Valley, Calif. to Stinson Beach. It's a tough course, with 4000 feet of vertical up and down. It's also an age- handicapped race, with older (and very young) runners getting a head start. Here is the first starting group (2 days ago), of 70-year olds and one little girl. She just charmed everyone with her energy and joy, racing out in front of the others.

Quail in the Garden

On our half-acre plot of buildings and gardens, we're surrounded by quail, They live out in the brush and patrol our garden regularly for insects and seeds (Lesley puts out birdseed). Quail are in the Phasianidae family, which includes pheasants and chickens. They are ground birds, as opposed to say doves, which are more airborne. They operate in flocks, and always post a guard to warn of dangers (such as cats). Here's the guard dude on top of our scare-away-birds-from-garden plastic owl (so much for its efficacy!). I shot this out the door of our office yesterday.

Woodstock Revisited

Mick La Salle wrote a great article in the SF Chronicle last week about watching the Woodstock movie now, 40 years later. "The experience is surprising - a concert that today looks a lot sadder, a lot grungier, a lot weirder and infinitely less romantic than the cliche may have led us to believe.…Watch "Woodstock" and it becomes apparent that rock 'n' roll had already become a huge commercial enterprise, that some of the acts had become big and jaded and that the party had already been crashed by a lot of not-cool people, calling attention to themselves by dancing very slowly, with wildly flailing arm gestures."
I never bought into the Woodstock myth, I thought the movie had no magic. The Monterey Pop Festival was the Real Thing, and Woodstock was east coast promoters trying to capitalize on what was a joyous, unique, spontaneous, life-changing west coast event. Yeah, there was Jimi Hendrix, the Who, Janis (I always thought she was way overrated), but to me the sensation was Otis, Lord what a  beautiful m-a-n. Here's his opening that Saturday night (part 1 of 3), the 1st time mainstream American white kids ever saw him. BTW, Otis wrote "Respect," the second number on this clip.

Here is part 2 of Otis Live at Monterey: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBiUFhYMu2s
There are over 60 comments to La Salle's article, many of them pissed-off people, Mick treading on their nostalgic toes.

Rick Gordon Sings in Berkeley

Rick Gordon, our Macintosh maestro, and builder of all our books, is also a singer extraordinaire. Friday night he performed before a packed house at the Jazz School in Berkeley. Occasion was his father's 100th birthday, and it was called Song for My Father. A wonderful event, everyone in the audience was with Rick all the way.

They're Gonna Put Me in the Movies…

"…and all I have to do is act naturally."
Jason Sussberg and friends, as an exercise in shooting real film (as opposed to digital), made a 6-minute movie on me and Lesley and our home, and by golly, they got it right. Which hasn't always happened in my encounters with the media. They even got me skateboarding. Here it is: http://jasonsussberg.com/SHELTER.mov