Tag Archives: Phonepix

East Bay Mini Maker Faire

A week ago I spent Saturday at the East Bay Mini Maker Faire, a wonderful place for the gadget minded to hang out.  I had two reasons for being there.  The first was that my singing group, TOSCA, was performing on the main stage – in fact, they were the opening act, performing Ward Swingle’s Music History 101.  TOSCA is The Oakland Symphony Chorus A La Carte, and you can find more about them on the Oakland Symphony Chorus web page.  Page down to the bottom on the right side for contact information.

Here they are waiting to go on:

TOSCA waiting to perform

They sang valiantly, competing with 8-year-olds swinging hula hoops, and a swing-the-hammer-ring-the-bell arrangement in the next field that shot huge bursts of flame into the air at unpredictable times:

TOSCA on stage

Outdoor performances are always trying but they sang their best.

Mr. JazzBo

The jazz tune was great until the sound system died in the middle of it 🙁  The costumed young woman at the right was their “time machine,” who “moved” the performance from era to historical era.  I wasn’t singing because back in August I came down with walking pneumonia and I missed too many rehearsals to try to perform this complicated music.

After the performance I went off to my volunteer stint at the Oakland East Bay Symphony’s Instrument Petting Zoo, which was extremely popular.  I didn’t take many photos there – I was too busy cleaning the mouthpieces of the flute, the trumpet, and the trombone (and the conch shell), before the next person picked one up to try it!

I did like the little Zen fountain behind the booth:

Zen fountain

After my shift was over I wandered around, and could not resist a photo of the Intergalactic Imagination Transporter – that’s what it says on the door.

decorated car

This is my second Mini Maker Faire and they’re always fun.  If one happens near you, drop in on it, you never know what you’ll find.  I remember with pleasure the booth surrounded by 9 year old kids, each madly swinging a small bottle – they were making their own butter!  They were right across from the beekeeper’s booth, with its hive of live bees.  A lovely day.

Posted in Neighborhood, Personal Also tagged , |

The Shirt King of Oakland

Walking along Lakeshore Avenue the other day, I passed a dry cleaners’ window I hadn’t noticed before:

shop window

The actual sign said “George’s,” above the motto, but I couldn’t get it with my phone without stepping out into the street.

The window caught my eye because of the old laundry equipment.  You can’t see it from this angle, but the iron with its cover flipped back is full of charcoal briquettes (probably originally lumps of coal); that’s how you ironed laundry before electricity. A friend of mine once lived on a boat – when I visited them I saw her Coleman iron, a mid-20th century version of the coal-fired iron.  Hers was more modern looking than the ones on eBay but it still had its pressurized tank of white gas.

Next to the coal-fired iron is its predecessor, a flatiron – you had two of those, one to sit on the stove and heat up while you ironed with the other.  The wringer, of course, is obvious; and though it’s hard to see, there is a washboard tilted against the left side of the window. The blue thing that looks like a pistol is (I think) an old sewing machine.

Why am I so interested in old laundry equipment?  According to family legend, once upon a time my grandmother supported her five kids by taking in laundry and washing it “on the board.”  These were all tools she might have used.  Thank God I never had to do that!

Posted in Neighborhood, Photography Also tagged |

The Bridge in the Truck

One of the things I like about the Bay Area is its unpredictability.  You never quite know what you’ll run into.  Today we ran an errand in Emeryville and parked in the lot across from Home Depot.  I got out of the car and found myself staring straight at this, in the next parking space:

Bridge in truck

Yes, that is a model of a suspension bridge – looks like the Golden Gate bridge to me – made of barbed wire and scrap metal, sitting in the bed of someone’s pickup.

My first shot was a little off center, although it clearly does show the cross-braces on the suspension towers (which is why I think it’s the Golden Gate).  I backed off and took a better centered shot:

Bridge in truck

It’s a good thing I took those pictures right away, because when we got back to the car, the pickup had been replaced by a minivan with no interesting features at all.  I don’t know if the bridge belongs to an artist, or just a metalworker who likes bridges.  Given that we were less than a mile from The Crucible, I sort of suspect this may be connected with that institution.  Just maybe.  But – who knows?

Posted in Neighborhood Also tagged |

Weirdness in Napa

This is the first in a series of posts I plan on various photos I’ve taken with my smartphone.  The camera in the phone is trash, compared to my Canon T3i, but the T3i weighs about 7 pounds, including the 75-300mm lens, and sometimes I just don’t want to carry it around.

Last spring, I drove up to Napa to have lunch with an old friend, and we ended up in the Oxbow Public Market, over by the river.  This is quite a fascinating indoor market, and we had a lovely lunch at a Venezuelan restaurant (Pica Pica Arepa Kitchen).  But as we were wandering around, I saw probably the weirdest menu offering I’d ever seen, and I took a photo of it with my phone:

photo of menu on the wall

Both of these took my fancy and I had to have a picture.  But the World’s Most Expensive Ice Cream Sundae – can you imagine what a banana split would taste like with those three syrups??  I do like the option of having a cellist, though.  I’m pretty sure this was offered by Three Twins Ice Cream, which is a fairly odd name in itself.

I’m sorry to say we didn’t try any of their ice cream.  Well, I can’t afford the sundae, even if it does support a land trust, and my waistline definitely can’t afford the Twinasaurus.  We opted for chocolate in a nearby booth.  I believe they do offer some more normal ice cream treats.

Posted in Photography