My Goodness It’s May 28, 2023

I haven’t posted much this month, as is my usual after the busy April A to Z, but it’s not because I’ve sunk my teeth into anything new, just because I sank into the “I don’t have anything exciting to say,” mood. However, I do have something fun to talk about now so here goes.

May 20th was our 39th anniversary. I’ve written before about some of the anniversary adventures we’ve been on and we went on another one this year.

We have a really good friend who had timeshare points to use or lose so he gave them to us. We went to Las Vegas for a few days and it was so relaxing. We stayed in a place called Tahiti Village and it was just as if we had gone to a tropical island. My favorite part was sitting by the “river” reading. I finished that book in two days.

Here’s my hubby floating along. I did it too but I didn’t take my camera with me because I was afraid I’d drop it.

We did drive up and down the strip a few times and went to the Gold and Silver Pawn shop but we didn’t sink a fortune into the slot machines. In fact, we only gambled for an hour and a half. That’s pretty good I think for being in Las Vegas. We also didn’t go see any shows. We were trying not to spend a ton of money.

I did notice one thing as we were walking through the SF airport that would have fit perfectly into my A to Z light show from last month:

I’d have taken a longer video but we were on our way to get our bags and had a friend coming to pick us up from the airport. I did some research and it is called Spirogyrate, designed by Eric Staller and installed in 2014. There are 12, 66-1/4 inch circles that spin and light up. Per the website, “Staller’s artwork utilizes light, space and motion to delight and surprise the public. Spirogyrate is an immersive and interactive installation composed of graphic spiral patterns and light that change and respond to people’s movement through the space. The result is a whimsical environment to be enjoyed by travelers of all ages.” 

See, I’m always on the lookout for things to astound and amuse you with! It will probably be a while before I have anything else to say as we are back to the same old routine. Happy Sunday!

Linda’s words for yesterday’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday were sink/sank/sunk. I’m a day late but thought I’d play anyway.

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A to Z – 2023 – Reflection

Another A to Z successfully completed! My theme this year was the Illuminate SF project where I went to find the different light installations throughout San Francisco. Here are my posts in alpha order in case you missed any.

A is for Archipelago

B is for Bayview Rise

C is for Caruso’s Dream

D is for Day for Night

E is for Entwined

F is for Federal Building and the SkyGarden

G is for Grant Avenue where you can see the Lantern Stories

H is for Hope Will Never Be Silent

I is for Illuminating Facts and Finds

J is for John F. Kennedy Drive where you will find Psychedelic Photosynthesis

K is for Joseph Kosuth who designed WFT

L is for Love Over Rules

M is for Monarch

N is for Ivan Navarro who designed the Ladder (Sun or Moon)

O is for Olafur Eliasson’s Seeing Spheres

P is for Point Cloud

Q is for Quotes on Anima

R is for Reading the Language of the Birds

S is for Seeds

T is for Traxon Technologies who created the lighting sequence for Coding

U is for Untitled

V is for Valencia Street where you will find the Handsignals

W is for Wind Baffles

X is for the EXploratorium where you will see Buckyball

Y is for YUD

Z is for Zuckerberg San Francisco General where the Ethereal Bodies are

I think my personal favorites were the Entwined, Buckyball and Ethereal Bodies just because they have so many lights flashing. My least favorite were the Bayview Rise, Coding and SkyGarden. Kind of boring.

I did not visit as many new folks as I probably should have. I did go a few times to see what others were writing about but to be honest, some of them weren’t interesting to me or when I did stop by they were not really doing the challenge or were so many letters behind that I figured they had dropped out. Totally understandable as it is a commitment. I suppose I could have just said, “Hello from the A to Z,” but that seems kind of lame. I did respond to everyone who commented on my posts and I visited my regular sites. I also had trouble with folks who wrote very lengthy posts. I understand that you may have a lot to say on a particular subject but it is just too hard to read something several pages long. I tried to keep mine a reasonable length.

I think honestly this was one of the easiest challenges I’ve done. I had drafts of all my letters in the beginning of March and as I took the corresponding pictures I uploaded them right away. I did the writing at least the day before so that I only had to give a final check and then hit publish on the actual day. I will say that even though I had mapped out where I needed to go to see the lights, I should have been just a bit more careful in checking addresses and in actually reading the description of what was supposed to be in the installation as there are a few that I want to go back to, like the Language of the Birds to read what is on the ground around it and the Conservatory of Flowers to see more of the Psychedelic Photosynthesis show.

For sure I will be watching for the Illuminate SF Light Art Festival in November so I can see what new lights will be there. I’ll also make sure to post if I go back and revisit any of the ones I did this year.

Thanks to Arlee Bird, J. Lenni Dorner, John Holton, Zalka Csenge Virág, and Jayden R Vincente for their hard work to keep us all organized. I do have to say that I was not a fan of the graphics this year so I just didn’t use them. I think they were too hard to read, including the trophy for finishing. Thanks to everyone who stopped by my place. Appreciate it.

I think I have my theme for next year already. It’s one I have done previously so we’ll see if I can pull it off. For now, back to our regular programming – LOL.

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A to Z – 2023 – Z is for Zuckerberg SF General where the Ethereal Bodies are

I’m kind of grateful to Mark Zuckerberg for donating so much money to San Francisco General Hospital because I’ve been able to use it as the “Z” letter in two of my A to Z Challenges.

I first went to ZSFG to get pictures for my “A is for Archipelago” post so it is kind of fitting that I end there with the Ethereal Bodies. On the official Illuminate SF site the description is of something else, which is too bad.

In any case, when I went the first time it was a little too early to see either the Archipelago or the Ethereal Bodies in their full glory. This is what I saw on that visit. The lights were just starting to come on and even that was kind of neat. It looks like there is a fire in the bottom.

When I went back to get the night time views for Archipelago, I was so excited to see the changing colors in this sculpture. It was designed in 2015 by Cliff Garten who also designed the Monarch. The stainless steel rods “gather sunlight by day and interact prismatically with the LED lights by night which are activated by motion sensors.” Accordingly, the vision changes as you drive around the circular driveway. The tallest point is 21 feet, 8 inches high and it is 19 feet wide, 15 feet deep overall.

I pulled over and was able to get this video without leaving my car, just in case an emergency came through since it is right in front of the emergency room entrance. Fortunately it was a quiet night, at least while I was there. It might be kind of nice to have this light show to focus on if you are a patient in one of the rooms facing the courtyard.

Best Viewing: After dark in the driveway of Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital Emergency Room entrance, 1001 Potrero Avenue, San Francisco.

And with this we have come to the end of the A to Z Challenge for 2023! I hope that you have enjoyed my trek through San Francisco to find the unusual exhibits that make up Illuminate SF. You can bet that I will be on the lookout for the opening night in November this year to see what new installations they have. Maybe it will be enough for another A to Z! I will be doing my reflection post next week sharing more of my insights on this fun experience. See you then and thanks for coming along this year!

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A to Z – 2023 – Y is for YUD

“Y” is another one of those letters that can be tricky to find something to fill in the A to Z Challenge. You can bet I was excited that there was an installation in the Illuminate SF project called YUD.

Finding said YUD was a little more difficult. It was on the list with the “Love Over Rules” exhibit and we know what trouble I had finding that one! You would think that a 60-foot cube would be easy to spot but it is actually down a tiny street called Yerba Buena Lane. It is attached to the Contemporary Jewish Museum and you can visit it during business hours with a paid admission.

It was after hours when I went so I couldn’t get inside and there were some people walking around the plaza that I was unsure about (they were yelling at each other) so I didn’t really walk too far away from my husband and our car. Still, this is pretty impressive, don’t you think? There are 36 diamond-shaped windows around the cube and it was designed by Daniel Libeskind in 2008. Inside, the space can be used for parties or other events and there was a video project done in 2017 that you can read about here.

Best Viewing: After dark stand in the museum’s entrance plaza. The address is 736 Mission Street but it is actually on Yerba Buena Lane.

One more day in our A to Z! We will have a rare Sunday post to finish it off before May starts on Monday. See you tomorrow with what I consider the grand finale!

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A to Z – 2023 – X is for the EXploratorium where you will see Buckyball

I am glad that this installation is located outside of the EXploratorium since X is usually one of the hardest letters to find in the A to Z Challenge.

Buckyball is another one of Leo Villareal’s designs. You may remember him from the Point Cloud post. It was made part of the Illuminate SF project in 2012. The giant ball was inspired by the shape first explored by futurist and inventor, Buckminster Fuller. Hence the name “Buckyball.” There are 4,500 LED lights arranged in a series of pentagons and hexagons. I didn’t get a daytime photo but it was pretty impressive at night. You can see by the clock it was about 7:55 PM.

Located on the Embarcadero, it is easy to find and there was a space available for me to pull over and get this short video. You can hear the busy street sounds in the background. The light sequences are driven by chance and there are more than 16 million distinct colors that create random compositions.

I probably could have stayed a little longer but this was one of the first trips I took on my light finding expedition and I wanted to make sure I could get to every stop on my list.

Best Viewing: The Plaza at Pier 15 in front of the Exploratorium. On Thursday nights the Exploratorium opens from 6 to 10 PM for adults only. That might be a great date night!

We only have 2 more letters to go folks. I am both relieved and a little sad to be coming to the end of the alphabet. See you tomorrow with Y.

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A to Z – 2023 – W is for Wind Baffles

Designed by !melk in 2022, the Wind Baffles are lit from the outside and though made from steel, they look a lot like giant flowers. They are situated in a tiny park in the middle of the South of Market District. It was easy to spot these as I drove down the street.

Best Viewing: After dark along Mary Street between Natoma and Minna.

Really short post today. I was awakened at 3 AM by a call from the doctor that one of my MIL’s blood tests came back at a critical level and he wanted us to take her to the ER to get checked immediately. Three hours later a repeat blood test was in her usual range. Not sure we needed to wake up a 97-year-old and drag her to the hospital for something that was nothing. She is home and fine but I’m exhausted. See you tomorrow for X.

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A to Z – 2023 – V is for Valencia Street where you will find the Handsignals

It is fortunate for me that San Francisco has streets with names that start with “V” so I can use them in my A to Z Challenge!

As you can imagine almost every street corner in the city has traffic signals. If you are wondering whether to stop or go, these symbols are not going to help with that. Instead, the Handsignals represent the themes in the Mission District’s culture. I can identify the people, the knife and fork, the sun, the bike and the mustache down at the bottom. The third one looks like a mask and the fourth one looks like a bird. I’m not sure what those are supposed to represent. Designed by Matthew Passmore/MoreLab in 2014, the signpost marks the entrance to McCoppin Hub Plaza.

The plaza itself was closed when I went by but the signals blink on and off in an irregular pattern both day and night. On the other side, McCoppin is spelled out in black letters on a yellow background.

Unfortunately I couldn’t cut down the palm tree and there was no other vantage point available for me to get the whole thing. It also appears that the sun does not shine at the moment LOL.

Best Viewing: Stand on Valencia Street sidewalk to get a close up of the artwork. If you get there early enough, you can walk up the terraced steps of the multi-level McCoppin Hub Plaza to get a higher view of the neighborhood.

There are four more letters to go. I think the Illuminate SF installations I have for them are some of the best of the series so hang with me!

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A to Z – 2023 – U is for Untitled

I am really glad that they didn’t come up with a name for this installation in the Illuminate SF gallery otherwise I might have had a problem finding an exhibit for the letter “U.”

When I was driving my son to work in SF every day a couple years ago we drove up Van Ness Avenue and they were doing some major construction. This is part of what they were working on. It is called Untitled and it was designed by Jorge Pardo in 2022.

There are two sets of sculptures with 13 lighted spheres soaring as high as 21 feet at the highest point. They are located between Geary and O’Farrell Streets at the Muni stop. To me they look like giant lollipops.

Best Viewing: After dark on Van Ness Avenue between Geary and O’Farrell. The lights go on 20 minutes before sunset and go off 20 minutes before sunrise.

Sort of short today. See you tomorrow with “V.”

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A to Z – 2023 – T is for Traxon Technologies who created the lighting sequence for the Coding

I have been attempting to show some of the interesting light shows in the Illuminate SF project for my A to Z this year. There are some that are inside San Francisco International Airport but you have to be flying somewhere to get past security to see them. I miss the old days when you could just meet someone at their gate or even just wander through the airport to see the different art displays they have. Oh well.

One of the installations is very visible and it’s right around the corner from where I live so it was not too hard to get the shots I needed. This is called Coding and it was designed by Johanna Grawunder in 2019. During the day it looks like this. The yellow tags point to North, East, West and South. The square and rectangle windows apparently spell out San Francisco in Morse code.

At night it looks like this. The undercarriages of the elevator shafts change color ever so slightly. It takes 24 hours to change so I only have this example. You can see some subtle differences.

This is at the long term parking facility and it definitely wasn’t busy when I was there. We had to go through the gate so I could get close enough to take the pictures but we weren’t there long enough to get charged thank goodness.

Best Viewing – SFO Long-Term Parking Garage, anytime after dusk.

And that’s that. See you tomorrow!

Side note: I don’t know about others but this year I am getting a lot of spam comments. Fortunately they are being caught by my spam finder but it is frustrating to think that there’s a creep on the A to Z!

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A to Z – 2023 – S is for The Seed

Today is Saturday and for our last letter this week in the A to Z Challenge we have the letter “S.” Fortunately, Illuminate SF has The Seed that I can use.

I got a picture of The Seed in 2021 when I went through the Castro for that year’s A to Z but it was in the daytime. While that looks nice, it is a bit more interesting after dark.

The Seed was designed by Aphidoidea in 2017. It is a collection of six dandelions (only 3 were working when I was there) that are 13 feet tall. They are meant to represent the idea that a single wish blown away can inspire a movement.

I couldn’t do much about the guy sitting in front of the statue. It is true that this is one of the busiest intersections in the city. I was lucky to be able to pull into a gas station across the street.

If I had been paying better attention, right on the other corner from this installation is the Hope Will Never Be Silent saying. Instead, I parked and got these pictures/video and then went around the block and parked again. Typical tourist, no?

We finished another week! One more to go. I have a few coming up that are pretty interesting I think. Hope you are enjoying this trip through the streets of San Francisco. Have a great rest of your weekend.

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