Today my conference finally ended after a long week. I am amazed at how tired you can get just sitting in a conference room. Anyone else with me on that?
So after lunch today I took advantage of an open afternoon and hit a few of the museums around my hotel. This is important because I don’t like museums — well not normally anyway. Because usually I am with the wife and kids. And they view museums as fast food whereas I view a museum as a nice seven course dinner to be slowly consumed, absorbed and enjoyed. They are usually finished with an entire exhibit before I am done reading the first display. So when I am able to go to a museum alone, it is a special thing. I can take my time. I can read every single display card. I can absorb the atmosphere.
The first museum on my hit list was the Cartoon Art Museum. While I was expecting “cartoons”, a la Bugs Bunny, they mostly had comics. Errr, that would make it the COMIC Art Museum, genius! But, my seven bucks already spent, I meandered through the exhibits. To be fair, they did have some cels and animation from Disney, Hanna Barbara, Warner Brothers and others but there was only one animation exhibit. All in all, it was worthwhile of my coinage and my time.
Across the street and down a bit, the California Historical Society museum caught my eye. I walked in hesitant, but was more than willing to put down my three bucks for entry. More than that and I would have departed. It offered different glipses of my previous home, the Golden State. From it’s Gold Rush roots to the development of rail and highway transportation to the motion picture industry, there were many cool displays that covered the gamut of topics — all with the California thread woven into them.
My last museum target was the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. And guess who I saw out in front of the museum. You guessed it — Reggie. He came up and shook my hand like I was an old college buddy. I said “hi” and asked how he was doing for a Friday. That was about it and I headed in.
Luckily, my work has a membership and my ID badge gained my free access because there is no way on this earth I would have paid the $18 to gain entry. For starters, I am not a fan of modern art. I view art as someone doing something that I can’t do. That can be paint, draw, photograph, play an instrument, etc. It does NOT mean four pieces of packing tape splattered with colored laquer and hung on a wall. Sorry. And don’t try to pass me any of that crap that the artist “felt” his work and was exposing his soul in some sort of esoteric monologue to the 18th century. I don’t buy it. Face it — they pulled it out of their butt, framed it or arranged it, called it “modern art” and people go ga-ga over it. Give me Ansel Adams or Michelangelo any time.
So needless to say, the Modern Art Museum didn’t take me much time to go through, even though it was much bigger and had more displays. Speaking of which, I think I’ll put my “modern work of art” up some time soon. It will be titled, “Crap That Is In My Hotel Room”.
After my museum escapades, I received a call from an old friend who made his way down from Sacramento. Of course, we hit our old favorite In ‘N’ Out Burger and caught up with each other since we haven’t seen each other since May. It was nice to catch up and we walked around the Fisherman’s Wharf area gawking at all the craziness and wackiness that goes on down there. I am never disappointed when I go down there. Beggars now have signs soliciting “Give $1 for weed”. And there was more than one — seems it must be profitable. Streetshow Keith was there with his unique juggle flaming sticks comedy act. He cracked me up and was also talented at not burning himself. Further down was crazy spray paint guy painting psychodelic pictures of made up space scenery. And, of course, there was “Bush Man”. I warned my buddy about him. He is a homeless guy who takes these plant branches and conceals himself up crouching against a trash can. As an unsuspecting tourist passes by (not paying attention), he leaps out yelling and usually scares the crap out of them. Subsequently he then expects a tip or reward. That part I do not get and I am surprised he hasn’t gotten clobbered by a big biker guy or had a drink thrown at him from a lady. And “Trash Guy” was a varient of that. Some guy squeezed himself into one of the city garbage containers and would reach out and grab unsuspecting passers by. Again, so surprised that guy hasn’t been turned over like a frat house port-a-potty.
We also headed to Ghiradelli Square to get some famous chocolate. I skipped it because it wasn’t any cheaper at the factory store than what I could get back home and I was sure that it would melt or be damaged on the plane ride home. However, I did snap this lame, blurry cellphone picture to send to my wife.
On our way back to my hotel, we were driving up one of the many one way streets when we were stopped at a red light. Up ahead we could see the light cycle but no traffic moving. A car made a U-turn and another. Soon enough we were close enough to see bicycle after bicycle after bicycle. As we got closer, we noticed all the bikers had costumes on. It was a bike costume parade. And it went on and on and on and on. Once we realized we were trapped and could go nowhere, we sat back and enjoyed it pointing out all the funny and crazy costumes. There was the Tin Man, the old Evel Knevel, the wicked witch of the west, several tandem bikes, glow in the dark spiky helmet guy, a large unicycle and naked man to name a few. My buddy and I couldn’t figure out if naked man was really naked man or if he had a body suit on. Probably the former because, after all, this IS San Francisco. Either way —-eeewwwwww!!!!
Finally, after about 5-10 minutes of alternating funny and painful moments waiting and laughing, the last biker rolled by and traffic tried to resume to normal. A little while later we were within a stone’s throw of my hotel and I hopped out so he didn’t have to circumnavigate the crazy one way streets just to get me to the entrance.
The rest of the evening was quite mundane as I packed my stuff and prepared for my pre-dawn exit from the hotel and oh-dark-hundred tomorrow morning. Signing off and going to bed. So long Frisco.
…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net