Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A little bit of perspective, please!

Let 1 inch equal 1000 years. Some distances that result from this conversion are:

The Universe was formed 221 miles from where I stand (essentially, the driving distance between Los Altos and Truckee, California).

Two-thirds of the way from Truckee towards Los Altos, the Earth forms. (71 miles from Los Altos -- essentially, at Manteca.)

Traveling 13 miles closer to Los Altos (you're now in Tracy -- 58 miles away), life appears on Earth.

Life evolves, but it isn't until we're only about 3.5 miles from my home that the first dinosaurs appear. They stick around for about 2.5 miles, disappearing at about 1 mile from home. (The Petrified Forest in Arizona is at about the 3 mile mark.)

At about 200 feet from me, Homo Habilis (the first species in the Homo genus, and the first known use of tools) appears.

It takes awhile for Homo Sapiens (modern man) to appear -- finally arriving on the scene at about 17 feet from me. But it takes another 16 feet (that is, until they're about a foot from me) before they develop agriculture and depart from a strictly hunter-gatherer existence.

The first instances of writing (and thus the dawn of history) occur only 6 inches from me.

The pyramids in Egypt were built 4 1/2 inches from me.

Jesus at 2 inches.

Columbus discovers America -- at half-an-inch!

Declaration of Independence -- quarter-of-an-inch!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Laurie Wyman-Heron

I purchased some watercolors by Laurie Wyman-Heron from a local gallery (now defunct) just after I moved into my house in 2000. Here are a couple of them...

(Click on image to enlarge)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Stephen Namara

I've long been an admirer of Stephen's drawings and paintings. Finally took the plunge...

(26" x 31")

More information on Stephen here.

Peggy Huff

Peggy Huff is another artist whose work I first saw, and admired, at my brother's place. Finally got around to purchasing one of her pieces, "Ohtani Letters." (It's much more abstract than the piece my brother has.)

(It's fairly large, too. Framed: 36" x 30")

More on Peggy here.

Melissa Yarbrough

An artist whom I found via San Francisco's Open Studios, I've always enjoyed Melissa's work...

Here are a couple of smaller paintings (12" x 12")...

More on Melissa here.

Ken Cmiel

I knew Ken back when we were students at Berkeley (he and I both lived in the now infamous Barrington Hall). A helluva good guy, it shocked and saddened me to learn that he passed away in 2006 at the young age of 51.

Ken was a professor of history at the University of Iowa. After we graduated from Cal, our lives went in different directions and I eventually lost contact with him -- I last saw Ken in Chicago (where he was living with Anne and attending grad school) sometime around May/June of 1979 (when a friend of mine and I crashed at their place for a couple of nights while we were driving cross-country). I always thought of visiting again, but for whatever reason, never got around to it.

Too late now. Damn!

(More on Ken here.)

Donny Hahn

When I moved to my new digs in 2000, I immediately started looking for something to fill my blank walls. The first piece I picked up was at, of all places, the Los Altos Art and Wine festival. For whatever reason, I was really attracted to this painting by Donny Hahn. (I don't know...maybe because its colors reminded me of Maxfield Parrish.)

For more about Donny Hahn, visit Donny Hahn.

Phillip Dvorak

I've always been attracted to Phillip's work, which I first saw during 2000's Open Studios, and I've picked up a number of his drawings over the years. Here are a couple of them...

More of Phillip's work at -> Dvorak.

Tom Fowler

For years I'd admired two large pieces from Tom's "Backpacking with Ezra" series that my brother had purchased. Finally, I moved to new digs where I had some wall space for pictures. Here's one of Tom's pieces that I picked up from, of course, the "Backpacking with Ezra" series (it's large: 4' x 3')...

And here's a smaller painting (on the Chronicle) from Tom's "Coffee Cup" series...

In May, 2005, I was shocked to learn, via my brother (who was a friend of Tom's), that Tom had passed away suddenly. A genuinely nice guy, he was, in my opinion, another unnecessary victim of America's ridiculous health care system. More on Tom here -> Chonicle Obituary.

Mirang Wonne

I saw this painting in her studio and immediately fell in love with it. It's large! [4' x 5']

More at -> Mirang.


I love the sense of motion!

For other paintings, visit Veerakeat.

Larry Schwarm -- Prairie Fires

Larry Schwarm, a mid-western photographer, has done an amazing series of photographs based upon prairie fires. Here's one of my favorites...

You can find more information on his work at his website.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Olcese Family

(Click on picture to enlarge)

Margaret (Margherita) Olcese (née Camiccione in Borgonovo, Italy, 1840) , with her grandchildren. I believe this photo was taken either at Thanksgiving or Christmas in 1904, at the ranch in San Leandro, California.

My grandmother is the baby, Marguerite (Stoakes). Her siblings in this photo are Frank, Lester, Ethel, and Billy (Milton).

Margherita Camiccione came to California in either 1856 or 1857 (at the age of 17 or so). More information regarding Margaret Olcese (and her six sisters) can be found in the book, The Seven Sisters, by Mary Grace Paquette.

Kohler and Chase

Established in 1850 by Andrew Kohler. First music store in San Francisco. A bit of history here.

(The "Chase" of "Kohler and Chase" was Quincy A. Chase. Andrew Kohler was his uncle. Quincy (born 1830 in Freeport, Maine) joined him in 1853 after a 6 month journey around the horn.)

The earthquake of 18 April 1906. Kohler and Chase is on the left corner. Still standing, but not for long...

Kohler and Chase Piano building, burning, but I'm not sure from which street. (I'm not even sure if it's the same building.)

After the quake and fire!

The new building on O'Farrell, built after the quake:

Here's a shot of the O'Farrell entrance:

The same building, today. No, it's no longer in the family.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

To Hell with the diet. These look tasty!

Dare I admit that some of these look great? After all, who could resist...

The Bacon Cheese Pizza Burger

Giant burger between two large meat pizzas, eggs, bacon, colby and pepper jack cheese. Could life get any better than this?

Sure it could! Check this out:

Meat Cake

(Meatloaf with a mashed potato & ketchup "icing")

And this next one is, in my opinion, absolutely brilliant!

The Pizza Cone!

Where can I buy one?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

An Interesting Read -- God's Little Problem...

Click Here! (Found via Andrew Sullivan's blog: "The Daily Dish")

Highlight from the article...
The vast majority of Christians, guided by their priests and pastors, assume a loving God who intervenes regularly in human affairs. Christians pray to God to cure them from cancer or protect them from a plane crash. (Intermediaries are also useful: A soon-to-be closed Catholic school in Brooklyn is called Our Lady of Perpetual Help, presumably because She does provide perpetual help, but not in this case.) A politician and Baptist minister in Kentucky is promoting a law requiring the state’s office of homeland security to display a plaque that reads: “The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God.” Apparently God is not just a co-founder of the United States but also a federalist, honoring state boundaries in his on again, off again solicitude for the country.
However, the article points out, this assumption leads to the following conundrum...
Since believers give credit to God for answering their prayers when they are saved from catastrophe or illness, they have to explain why he answered their prayers and not those other people’s prayers, why he saved these children from a tsunami and not those other children. Any believer who today thanks God for making sure that his coronary bypass operation was successful has to explain why God allowed at least 37 peasants to be buried in a Guatemalan landslide on Sunday. Such an explanation requires either extraordinary narcissism on the believer’s part or positing capricious injustice on the part of God.

And this is why I've always been incredibly annoyed by those who've told me, "We were blessed..." (fill in the blank with whatever). Don't they realize what they're really saying?