Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yoga For Trees

Posted at my bus stop on Stanyan near Fulton in San Francisco. Details are here.

Monday, June 29, 2009


All images originate with Jak & Jil blog.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

San Francisco Pride

After the usual Sunday morning laundromat session I rode MUNI down to Market & Montgomery to catch the beginning of the 39th annual San Francisco Gay Pride Parade. But I was early. Everybody was still setting up, like the TV camera guys above.

People were marking out viewing spots, especially the elevated ones. Pride Weekend in San Francisco at the end of June is often cold and sunless, but today a perch with some shade over it was going to be especially desirable. I walked down Market toward the Embarcadero, looking for the parade's starting point.

Vendors hadn't yet unloaded much of their rainbow tat, though they seemed to share the general mood of genial anticipation. But I also noticed the diminutive bottle-and-can lady with her pole over her shoulder, digging through garbage cans and seemingly oblivious to the hubbub around her.

Beale Street had been chosen as the staging site, with floats and contingents backed up for many blocks, and still assembling.

Replica of Castro Theater marquee. San Francisco Supervisors Bevan Dufty, Fiona Ma and Sophie Maxwell hadn't arrived yet.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


"The phenakistoscope (also called phenakistiscope) was an early animation device, the predecessor of the zoetrope. It was invented in 1832 simultaneously by the Belgian Joseph Plateau and the Austrian Simon von Stampfer."

The beautiful blue and white example above is from the collection of the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris.

To find out how it actually worked I consulted bizarrelabs.com:

"It is basically a disc fixed at its center so that it can spin freely. Around the edges are regularly spaced slits, and in conjunction with each slit is an image drawn in sequential stages of movement. Like all of the circular animation devices that followed, the animation was drawn in a cycle of sequential movement; there was no beginning or end, but a continuous kinetic flow. The person using the device would hold it between them and a mirror, with the images facing the mirror. When the disc was spun, the images were viewed, reflected by the mirror, through the passing slits. The spaces between the slits let the eye and brain "soak in" the image so that persistence of vision could create the illusion of movement. And, because the slit was narrow, each individual image was seen only in one position and was not blurred."

Some of the other explanations I came across supplied "how-to-do-it" pictures, such as these:

And it was an encouraging surprise to discover that there are still individuals alive today who make phenakistoscopes for fun:

But most of the examples I found were vintage, preserved at universities or in museums:

Online samples are often animated to simulate the spinning of the disc, such as the Michael Jackson tribute phenakistoscope viewable here.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Online I ordered the LEVO BookHolder-Floor Stand Model, delivered in contiguous US (Chair not included). The UPS person delivered it in a heavy box this afternoon (heavy because the base is cast iron, for stability).

I put it together without too much trouble. And my hope for this gadget was that it would permit me to read full-size hardcover books on the exercise machine, a machine that in its contours was clearly engineered to prevent reading. (For the adventure of the arrival last September of the elliptical treadmill itself, see here.)

Ungainly as the combination looks, it seems to function.

The source of this satisfaction is BookMateStore.

In the evening I realized that what I still needed was a clip-on reading lamp -- an element I had forgotten when I first concocted this scheme. So I set out for Cliff's Hardware, where I found a small sturdy flexible-necked inexpensive black-and-chrome model. Then I also needed to get a power strip to accommodate the additional electric cord. Back at home I added the new pieces to my already-complicated contrivance, and then stood back, satisfied. For such a poorly planned project, it turned out incredibly well.