Meddling with forces of nature: working in America

I am typing this with the old tingling feeling down my left arm. No, it’s not the tick-tock man in my chest, it’s nerve damage, although the ticker could be in better shape, too.
Damage from performing data entry hunched over a less than ergonomic keyboard-desk-chair combos, like well, so many of us “working wounded” today.

EEEEEEEEYYYAAAAAAAGH!!!

No, no, it’s true, well…. Truer, that it is better to work than not. I mean, the media’s not turning the spotlight on suicides/murder suicides/tent cities around the country, a word which certain politicians pronounce as though the letter ‘o’ was not part of it.
No, I’m happy to be working. It’s just that the nature of work in America sucks and blows at the same time, something Bart Simpson thought a physical impossibility.

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Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park: Part 2, The Potted Plant Gallery

I meant to post this sooner, but we got caught up in a rather heavy rain/hail/lightning/ mess, so I turned the computer off to be safe.

Previously, I posted Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park: Part 1, The Lowland Tropics.

Anyone who comes to San Francisco should try and find the time to visit the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. Opened to the public in 1879, it is the oldest building in the park. It houses around 1700 plant species. The orchid collection is said to be one of the best.

This time we’re going to visit the Potted Plants Gallery.

Hibiscus
Hibiscus

 

The Conservatory of Flowers is located at 100 John F. Kennedy Drive. It is accessible for motorized and non motorized wheelchairs. Strollers are not permitted inside, but there is a place to park them while you explore. As it is a greenhouse, it will be quite warm and humid inside. As it can be rather cold outside, be sure to wear removable layers. It is open Tuesday thru Sunday from 10am to 4:30pm. The cost is $7 for adults, $5 for ages 12-17, seniors 65 & over, and college students with school ID. $2 for children 5 – 11 and free for children 4 and under. Local residents receive a discount with proof of residency.

Note: On Sundays, John F. Kennedy Drive is closed to vehicular traffic. For those who don’t mind walking, you can just park on Martin Luther King Drive and walk to the Conservatory.

Amazingly, the Conservatory barely escaped disaster more than once. It had to have the dome restored after an 1883 boiler explosion and fire. It also managed to survive the 1906 Earthquake. In 1933 Structural instability caused the Park Commission to close it. The Great Depression meant a lack of funds preventing it from reopening until 1946.

The Potted Plants Gallery is home to hibiscus, cymbidium orchids, bromeliads, begonias, and much more. When I know the name of a plant, the pictures will be labeled. Not everything had a marker, so I was unsure of a few.  Should anyone know the name of any of these unnamed plants, feel free to comment.  I’ll update if necessary.

I hope you enjoyed some of these. I also hope they give you the urge to visit our fine city and see what it has to offer. I wasn’t born and raised here, however, I can understand the song “I Left My Heart In San Francisco”. 🙂


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“Harry Brown”: the Marines have a saying…

And that saying is “don’t *#@&* with an old man, he’ll just kill you”. Thankfully, “Harry Brown” is in fact not so formulaic as  most vigilante stories.

“Harry Brown” poster

Harry (Michael Caine) is willfully ignorant of the criminal happenings on the estate where he lives.

Hi beloved wife is wasting away in the hospital, he has precious few friends and knows little of the people who live in or around the estate. Ignorance is in fact bliss. Harry’s a decent man who’s seen and done awful things in his time in the Royal Marines.

These things, he locked in a vault long ago when he first met the love of his life, and will not speak of them.
That’s how it used to be for old soldiers. Do your duty, leave and make a life.

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“Lake Mungo”: wizardry from Oz

The outline of “Lake Mungo” is how an Australian family, its neighbors and acquaintances suffer through the sudden loss of a 16 year old daughter, the unraveling of secrets, and perceptions turned into enmity close to hatred.
The incident is a drowning.

Movie poster

What follows are detailed, keenly observed reactions of all who were touched by Alice Palmer’s (Talia Zucker) death.

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Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park: Part 1, The Lowland Tropics

On Sunday, Lastech and I went adventuring in the city. San Francisco has many beautiful places and sometimes we like to be tourists for a day.  We had never been to the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, so we decided it was time. Now we wonder what took us so long. The day was sunny and the visit was beautiful. I took so many pictures that they will come in installments.

Anyone who comes to San Francisco should try to find the time to visit the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. Opened to the public 1879, it is the oldest building in the park. It houses around 1700 plant species. The orchid collection is said to be one of the best.

Conservatory of Flowers
Conservatory of Flowers

The Conservatory of Flowers is located at 100 John F. Kennedy Drive. It is accessible for motorized and non motorized wheelchairs. Strollers are not permitted inside, but there is a place to park them while you explore. As it is a greenhouse, it will be quite warm and humid inside. As it can be rather cold outside, be sure to wear removable layers. It is open Tuesday thru Sunday from 10am to 4:30pm. The cost is $7 for adults, $5 for ages 12-17, seniors 65 & over, and college students with school ID. $2 for children 5 – 11 and free for children 4 and under. Local residents receive a discount with proof of residency.

Note: On Sundays, John F. Kennedy Drive is closed to vehicular traffic. For those who don’t mind walking, you can just park on Martin Luther King Drive and walk to the Conservatory.

As I noted earlier, the Conservatory of Flowers was opened to the public in 1879. The architecture is said to have been inspired by London’s Kew Gardens. It is of wood and glass construction. The original wood used in construction was coastal redwood.

Once at the Conservatory you enter via the vestibule to the 60 foot high pavilion. This part of the Conservatory houses the Lowland Tropics plants. These are plants that grow in the low-lying tropical forests found in Mexico, Brazil, and Indonesia at altitudes less than 3,000 feet.

This area houses plants such as coffee, bananas, cacao, cycads, and a 100 year old imperial philodendron.

I hope you enjoy the following pictures and with luck, they will inspire you to visit the Conservatory of Flowers one day.

 

Next time we’ll explore the Potted Plant Gallery.


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“Wasting away”: cute? Zombie? Comedy? Why, yes!

Cute couple, innit?

Wasting away” is also available under the alternate title “Aaah! Zombies!!” and takes a page from “return of the living dead”, scripted and directed by Dan O’Bannon whose prolific career includes collaboration with John Carpenter on “Dark Star”, Ronald Shusett on “Alien”, adapting and scripting “total recall” and another obscure little film titled “screamers” based on a Philip K. Dick story “second variety”. “Wasting away”, then, begins with a military transport dumping its load of chemical containers filled with failed research fluids, originally intended to create super-soldiers, but really turning them into raving zombies.

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Midnight Movie Madness: “the human centipede”

The human centipede – First sequence” – (92 minutes, Netherlands 2009, rated R)

Two girls from New York (Ashley C. Williams and Ashlynn Yennie) find themselves stranded in the German countryside after getting a flat tire. Seeking refuge from a leering local and the rain, they knock on Dr. Heiter’s (Dieter Laser) front door, asking to use his phone.

The human centipede movie poster

Unfortunately for them, Heiter, an expert on the surgical separation of Siamese twins and dedicated misanthrope (Heiter, get it?), has decided to “create” rather than “destroy”, and plans to stitch the girls and a Japanese man end to end, as it were, mouth to nether region (get it?) forming a continuous digestive system… A Siamese triplet.

You pretty much know what “the human centipede” is about going in, you’re just not sure how bad it’s going to be. You also know ten minutes in that whatever’s coming to the two girls, they deserve it: they would make Darwin spin in his grave. They are the first stereotypical characters of the movie, and pretty much scream from beginning to end.
The two cops who appear towards the end also are clear stereotypes, virtually identical in both look and clothing. The thing about stereotypes is that they can actually be funny, as in biting satires, but more often than not, they’re just lazy.

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Tito’s Guide to Cats: Drinking water

MeeMEE! I just learned something about my fellow kitties. We really know how to maximize physics when we drink water.

From the Washington Post

While a dog curls its tongue like a ladle to collect the water and then pull up what it can, a cat curves its tongue under and slightly back, leaving the top surface of the tip of the tongue to lightly touch the liquid. The cat then raises its tongue rapidly, creating an upward mini-stream of water. The cat snaps its mouth shut and the water is captured before the countervailing force of gravity pulls it down.
An average house cat, the team found, can make four of these mini-streams per second.

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