Wednesday, April 30, 2008

At the Park

It's hard spending money at a stadium that you know is affiliated with a rising monopoly quite bent on fucking your wallet every month. I'm with my professor David Silver on this one; we don't need corporate names on our stadiums. Isn't there something innately public-space about ballparks? Maybe; maybe not. I just wish a portion of my Giants purchases went towards my phone bill since a portion of my phone bill obviously went to the Giants. However, we did have fun.

I guess one little ad never hurt anyone, especially since once we are inside it will be baseball, beer, seeds, dip, and a probable hurricane of San Franciscan cheer. We enter and suddenly...

...Oh! whats this? Safeway, Budweiser, more AT&T, Levis, Playstation, Bank of America, Charles Schwab, Visa, Chevron, Emerald, Coca-Cola, CHW...Yahoo! America's favorite pass-time: Capitalism. What a sight though--the setting sun illuminating the flurry of billboards one last time as it retreats into the western horizon.

I can only imagine a Maverick-esc scene taking place in the steamboat below. I guess among this crowd gambling is considered a pretty honest living. Plus, from what I saw no one was thrown off the boat--a truthful sign.

The average baseball player salary is close around $3,000,000. The average cardiovascular surgeon makes around $500,000. The average conservationist earns about $55,000. Surgeons, when did baseball players start out-banking you (1987)? I'm thinking we could utilize more corporate branding in the open heart surgery business. And conservationists, there is definitely a market for the mass corporate "logo-lization" of trees. Imagine companies being able to reach their consumer base everywhere, even deep within old growth forests. Potentially, AT&T could have their logo branded on every tree in the world.

Sorry if this post was a bit negative...the Giants did lose on a balk.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Getting Home from the A's

Getting back to the University of San Francisco from an Oakland A's game is easy. Straight from the A's Stadium corridor, take Blue or Green BART (Daly City/Millbrae/San Francisco) to the City and catch MUNI once in SF. From BART to USF is easy. Just Get off at the Civic Center stop and walk to Mcallister to jump on the 5. The 5 will take you up to Fulton and Clayton...USF!
Get the full view.

Basically you go from McAfee Stadium...

Home of the Oakland Athletics, McAfee Coliseum has been a member of the Bay Area sports arena since 1966. When built, is was a $25.5 million dollar hole in the wall. Now, after 1996, $200 million dollars in renovations make the Coliseum a comfortable piece of Oakland's culture, quite literally. The 50,000 capacity space holds audiences for the Athletics as well as the NFL's Oakland Raiders.

To the McAfee BART corridor...

Walking down this corridor, after a big A's win, was a riot of excitement. Athletic fans roared and victory chants rattled the chain-link overhang. Athlough crowded, the corrider funnels people into BART cars suprisingly fast; we were out of the stands and in SF in 30 mins.

...and to the trains.

So clean you can eat off the seat-back in front of you. No, its actually dirty--but its a train, not a plate. People on the trains after the A's games always mingle. I've never seen so much interaction among the mass of strangers that ride public transportation daily.

Get off at the Civic Center and Head up to the UN Plaza...

Part of the Market Street Reconstruction Project, the UN Plaza was built in 1975; an underground BART intallation lent room above for the pedestrian mall. The UN Plaza is one of many land marks of San Francisco's Civic Center, an epicenter of cultural and governmental institutions. The Civic center also includes City Hall.

Go to the north side of City Hall to catch the MUNI 5 on Mcallister and Polk...

City Hall has been around since 1915. MUNI was started after the 1906 Earth Quake. The 5 runs from City Hall, all the way to Ocean Beach along Golden Gate Park.

Take the 5 all the way to Fulton and Clayton, to USF.

The University of San Francisco began educating hearts and minds to change the world in 1855.

A map of the way.
CommunityWalk Map - Getting Home from the A's

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Graffiti, City

On a walk back from paying the bills I took some shots of graffiti around the Mission District in San Francisco. Graffiti is the relative art of organic intellectuals. Or maybe its nothing.

"It is boundless freedom."
A Lady.
Trade Up.
Daff .
J. Griff...
Nevermind the plates. Mitso.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Place to Play

Students at USF may wonder, "Where am I going to play soccer, swim, and swing once I have graduated USF and can't afford Koret?" Just down Turk and right after Stanyon, lies Rossi Recreation Center, a park consisting of a small pool, a playground , and other sports arenas. Here, the swimming is cheap ($3.60 per swim for adults with Scrip Tickets) and the baseball field, basketball and tennis courts, and playground are free.

Scrip tickets mean you can swim 10 times for $36.00 rather than $40.00. Its not much off, but on the first-year-out budget any savings will help. Srip Tickets can be purchased at City Hall, room 140 or at McLaren Lodge on 501 Stanyon just at the east tip of Golden Gate park. The pool is open all week, so is everything else.

Two slides, what looks like a jungle gym from hell, a hammock, swings, a teter-toter, and much, much more make up the kid's paradise that is Rossi playground. There are two baseball/softball fields, two tennis courts, one basketball court, and a large open field to keep big kids occupied. There is also a pool hoop.

This place to play has a convenient inner-richmond location great for families, friends, and first-year-out college graduates. This place is also wheelchair accessible and has restrooms and parking.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

These Ain't No Frisbees

Chains, trees, and nets are everywhere. Beer seems to be in abundance. Flying through them all are little saucers searching out holes. Well, they aren't so much holes, as goals, and don't think these are frisbees--they are discs ready to golf.

Centered around Marx Meadow in Golden Gate Park, the 18-hole disc golf course starts near JFK and 27th Ave but ranges all over from 25th to 30th. Just over a year ago, the holes on the golf like course numbered only 12, but on March 31st, 2007 a world-class 18 hole course opened to the public. According to Q, a regular on the SF Disc Golf Club Forum, "It was extremely moving to see so many people out to enjoy the grand opening of this crazy little dream that took more than 10 years to make reality." Now, more than a year later the Sunday Weekly Tournament, which kicked off April 1st, 2007 is still in action and the tourny's Spring 2008 season just got started.

All are encouraged to come out and play on Sunday mornings between 8:30 and 10am in the disc golf weekly tournament, which includes prize money for the top placers. It takes two weeks to establish a handicap in the tourny, but the last season lasted 25 weeks so there is always time to get out there. Other ways to "get out there" include joining one of the work parties in which volunteers come out on Saturdays between 8am and 1pm during the months of February, April, June, August, October, and December to clear brush, install new features, and generally tidy up the course.

If getting down and dirty isn't your thing, the SF Disc Golf Club offers a yearly membership for $40 which includes club merchandise discounts and course karma guarantees. This membership helps maintain the current course and supports production on a second SF course.

The SFDGC began in 1997 as a not-for-profit and has the goal of building permanent disc golf courses around San Francisco. The SFDGC has 619 members who are ambassadors of this "environmentally and socially beneficial sport." Disc golf can be found across the West coast, from college campuses like Oregon State to DG meccas like De Laveaga in Santa Cruz, CA. So, if disc golf just doesn't seem like your thing, grab 10 beers and get out there anyways. Heres how you get there.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lucas' Secret Garden

The door is finally open to the Secret Garden.
For nine steady years, Jesuit Father Tom Lucas of the University of San Francisco has kept the Jesuit community garden green as green can be--at least for San Francisco.  Many students refer to it as the Secret Garden Lucas said, but its really just part of the Jesuit community.

The garden is composed of symmetry, olive and pare trees, open spaces, fountains, fish, compost heaps and the occasional raccoon and red-tailed hawk.  The Jesuit community uses this Californian/Mediterranean garden for recollection, relaxation, and good times in the sunshine. Although the garden has English and European stylings, an American Weber BBQ keeps the Jesuits satisfied; as does the view. 

Father Lucas said a gives you room to reflect and breath in a city.  A garden slows you down because you can't rush the plants--they grow when they grow.  However, Father Lucas added that is takes strategic and tactical planning on what stays and what goes for the future health of the garden.  "You have to take the time to enjoy it though." 

On Friday afternoons, Father Lucas spends quality time with the garden.  He waters the plants and prunes their foliage while pondering his own life and life in general.  Sometimes before-hand, he enjoys a cigar.  The garden he says, is a temporal art form and a dynamic process that he sees as one of the best things man has come up with.

His perspective in one that nature always wins out, but it is best when man and nature can find a balance.  After all he says, a garden was the place of original innocence, but also of the knowledge of good and evil.  We must all find a balance in life.

Monday, April 07, 2008

A Simple Cast and Reel

Just west of the Polo Fields, beyond the Police Horse Stables, lies one of Golden Gate Parks most endearing sites, the Angler's Lodge. Built in 1938 by way of the Work Project Administration (WPA), along with its famous row of three casting pools, Angler's Lodge is considered one of the best casting facilities in the world. Surrounded by trees to prevent the wind's interruption, this small fly fishing paradise (for Flickr) provides ample room for any cast you fancy--whether it be the roll or the tuck, but be warned, there are no fish here. On one occasion however, I did see a red-tailed hawk among other wildlife including a mallard duck with his bride.

The casting pools are open to the public and there is access to the lodge and its restrooms. Operating out the lodge is the private--however unexlusive--Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club (GGACC), which began in the summer of 1933 as a subsidiary of the San Francisco Fly Casting Club (SFFCC). Although the GGACC is quite old, the SFFCC was founded in 1894, making it the second oldest casting club in the States. Over the years the GGACC has played host to six national casting tournaments, included the first ever national tourny in 1939. Others were held in 1950, 1956, 1981, 1993, and 1998.

Don't let its old roots through you off; these days the GGACC is still considered one of the top casting clubs on Earth with members located all over the US and around the world. Five-hundred in all, the members of the GGACC welcome anyone interested in fishing or casting to join their ranks. Among current and past members include: Gene Burns and John Gardner, who introduced flourescents to fly bodies, Jim Green, who came up with graphite fly rods, and Phil Miravalle who, along side Jim Green, introduced monoflilament to fly casting. The GGACC has long been a standard in fly fishing and fly casting. Also, the Angler's Lodge has a library filled with information to get anyone started on fishing and the GGACC offers members expert training through seminars as well as tips for fishing vacations and equipment.

In a 1999 piece by Marianne Constantinou, the entire experience of Angler's Lodge is compared to "Zen" and is considered by some to be "a relief for your eyes and your spirit." Constantinou makes the point that Angler's Lodge has long been a part of San Francisco and Golden Gate Park culture; people who came 40 years ago continue to come with their families today. On my visit to the casting pools behind the lodge, I met a man who was teaching his son to roll cast, among other things.

The Angler's Lodge and the GGACC are tucked away amongst tall trees and thick shrubs, but its praise can be found all over the world, included in fishing great Thomas McGuane's The Longest Silence: A Life of Fishing. Over the course of time many things change--for the Angler's Lodge, an entire city grew around it. However, one thing might never change, the relaxation of a simple cast and reel.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

See It

Prayer-Book Cross is hidden from plain view, but amidst the trees above Angel Falls, its gray Celtic form can be made out through the green camouflage of overlapping branches.

Honoring the first sermon on the Pacific coast preached in English, a giant stone cross, dedicated as Prayer-Book Cross, stands 57 feet tall atop a hill in central Golden Gate Park. Although designed originally as a wooden cross, according to an 1894 New York Times article, in 1893 Bishop Nichols of the Episcopal Diocese of California received word that he was to “‘go ahead with the matter so near [his] heart and have it done to [his] entire satisfaction,’” thus allowing for a stone cross. Furthermore, donor George W. Childs would “‘cheerfully pay all expenses.’” , (Childs made his fortune in part by developing the Philadelphia Public Ledger into a supremely influential journal.)

In 1894 at the dedication of the cross, M.H. De Young introduced Nichols, representing Childs, who presented the religious marvel to W.W. Stow of the Park Commission and the State of California. Its placement in the park, 800 feet above sea level, made it visible to ocean-goers, citizens of San Francisco, and to travelers on the Golden Gate Bridge.
Sadly, Childs died on February 3, 1894 in Philadelphia. Known as a philanthropist and a man of great compassion, it is hard not to assume this quote—found on the site Best Inspiration—came from a different G.W. Childs:

“Do not keep the alabaster box of your friendship sealed up until your friends are dead. Fill their lives with sweetness. Speak approving, cheering words while their ears can hear them, and while their hearts can be thrilled and made happier. The kind of things you mean to say when they are gone, say before they go.”

Childs seemed to act out his words, having shared his gift to the Episcopal Church with the rest of the world. Today, although many people either don't know of Prayer-Book cross or have little knowledge of it, the cross is a park monument that is visited by many tourists and SF citizens in Golden Gate park each year. Located just above Crossover Drive on JFK, it lies in one of the most central spots in GG park--just east of Speedway Meadow, just west of Marx Meadow and the De Young Museum, and just north of Stow Lake. The cross represents at least a small portion of the past beliefs that helped shape San Francisco into the complex and ornately diverse city it is today, although one may not see it right away.

George Williams Childs (1829-1894)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Great Stone Cross

Prayer-Book Cross is at the top of Angel Falls in Golden Gate park, San Francisco.

"Its Huge!" said Dino Bischofberger, "I remember when I ran up there. It was like, 'where did this thing come from?' You know, it reminds me of that huge Brazilian Jesus Cross." Bischofberger is a recent graduate of the University of San Francisco School of Business.

Lucas Bischofberger, a sophmore at the University of San Francisco, said he thinks it is crazy he's never seen a cross of that size in the park. He thinks of the monument as more of art than a religious icon. "Absolutely I will go see it. It sounds ridiculous," said Bischofberger.

Liz Sylva, a resident of San Francisco, said that compared with the Saint Ignatius Church, located just beyond the east end of Golden Gate park, the Prayer-Book cross is less religous and more of a park monument, like the Japanese Tea Garden.

"I know where [Angel Falls] is, but aren't there just trees up there?" said Tony Acosta, another resident of San Francisco. "I guess I wouldn't make a point to check it out, but I guess I would if it was convenient."

An older view of Prayer-Book Cross.