Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New blog: Content-o-rama

Update 9/26/09: The new blog turned out to be a bad idea. It was time-consuming to edit and post my articles, and it hardly seemed worth it, given that I wasn't particularly interested in them in the first place.

I think that working on one blog at a time is more than enough for me, and the blog I most want to focus on, by a huge margin, is my LOST blog.

So I'm putting all my new blogs into a state of limbo, not deleting them, at least not right now, but not working on them either. As for this blog, I think I'll keep it as a kind of virtual scrapbook, where I can occasionally post videos, pictures, and notes that will help me remember some of the things that I've done.

This is almost a private diary anyway. The only reason people ever come here is to download the picture of the beautiful green dress Keira Knightley wore in the movie Atonement.

Original post:

The other day, I was looking over my account at, and I realized they had deleted about 30 of my articles because the articles now fell below the new minimum-word-length requirement. I'm also starting to accumulate articles from Demand Studios that I've pulled from the site because of problems during the editing process. So I started a new blog as a kind of content graveyard where I can put all of those articles, and maybe give them a second shot at life -->

Much of the content I've written is liable to induce a zombie-like stupor in the unwary reader, but I think some of it may be useful to some people.

Picture is a screenshot from Night of the Living Dead, via Wikipedia.

My new blog can be found at

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Joan Baez at Stern Grove, July 12, 2009

Another beautiful day at Stern Grove.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Robert Flack at Stern Grove yesterday

Beautiful day, and I had a major nostalgia attack!

There's no video of yesterday's concert available, but here's Roberta Flack singing "Killing Me Softly With His Song" in a 1988 concert:

Editing to add -- now there is video!

Here's one shot from behind the trees:

Monday, June 15, 2009

Multiple online personalities

I'm continuing to consolidate more of my online writing under the name "Ms Terri" as part of an attempt to bring my multiple online personalities together in a big group hug (ha!):

Multiple personalities
do not always work and play well
with each other

(I love this photo, which I found on Flickr, by mnd.ctrl. Creative Commons license)

Botancal Gardens -- we won!

Got this email:

Dear Friends:

After a long and very lively conversation regarding fees for the San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park, we will be recommending that NO fee be charged for this special natural space. Instead, we will be instituting a "suggested fee" schedule and are looking to bring in a vendor to offer food and beverages.

We thank you for your input and look forward to working with you on our shared goal of keeping the Botanical Garden beautiful for present and future generations.

Thank you,

Jared Blumenfeld
General Manager
San Francisco Recreation and Park Department

Purple flowers in the late afternoon sun, beside the path around the Arboretum's big lawn, June 2008.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sunday in the park (and in the parking lot)

I'm getting lazy about taking pictures. I went to a couple of events yesterday and thought of taking my little camera with me, but then I thought that other people would be putting their photos on the web. It would be easier to just point to them, and the photos would probably be better than mine anyway.

Sure enough, someone took great pictures of the opening day of the Sunday morning Inner Sunset Farmer's Market in the 9th and Irving parking lot. The weather was beautiful and lots of people showed up. Most of the food was on the pricey end, but I bought a few items and also learned about things going on in the neighborhood. Very nice! I'll probably swing by there every week.

Then I went to the annual Israel in the Gardens event in Yerba Buena Park. The headliner act was Ivri Lider:

I had a falafel, which was okay, and some puff pastry things stuffed with spinach and potato, which I had never had before. They were incredibly good. I got a couple more, on the way out, to take home and had them for dinner.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Fee proposal for San Francisco Botancal Gardens (Arboretum) -- second public meeting

I went to the second meeting last night.

Someone videotaped the first ten minutes:

There are good photos and descriptions on the San Francisco Citizen blog.

I got there a few minutes late, and when I walked in, there was a lot of shouting going on. (This was at about the 1:00 minute point on the video above.) (Editing to add -- I found out later that what happened was that the TPTB originally tried to break the attendees up into smaller groups, in a "workshop" format. People who have been involved in SF politics for a while believe that "workshops" are a standard way for officials to give the appearance of allowing a public hearing without actually paying any attention to what the public has to say. Thus, the angry insistence on the attendees not being divided up.) Jim Lazarus, who is on the Parks Commission, took over as moderator, and did a great job of keeping the discussion on track.

But I don't think I came out of the meeting knowing much more than I did when I came in.

Botanical Gardens director Brent Dennis said that in a survey they did a couple of years ago, before the Academy of Sciences reopened (which presumably has increased the number of people visiting the Gardens), there were 400,000 visitors per year.

Half of those were San Francisco residents (a number that seems low to me).

If they implement the fee, then ticketing staff will cost about $148,000 per year (that also sounds low).

He said that would generate about $400,000 total, with $100,000 to $150,000 going to Park & Rec and the rest going to Arboretum improvements.

Several people asked what, exactly, the budget shortfall is for the Arboretum, and how much money would be needed to maintain the Gardens the way it is now. Those were key questions, IMO. Lazarus wasn't giving direct answers, and eventually he said that they couldn't answer those questions now, because it will depend on what the shortfall will be for parks budget overall, and what part of that budget will go to the Arboretum.

Apparently, it's not proportional. A decrease of X% for the parks overall wouldn't necessarily mean an X% decrease for the Arboretum. The Arboretum seems to have some sort of protected status, having far more gardeners for its size than other park sites, and being able to hold onto them longer.

This all seemed so vague. No one really knows how much money the Gardens needs to keep up the status quo for the long term or even for the short term -- the officials just say that what they have isn't enough. And there was still some mushing together, though less so than in the last meeting, of the ideas of maintaining the gardens as they are now versus building them into a world-class "museum."

It's not at all clear how much of the new funds would be going to one objective rather than the other, and I still think the timing of this raises questions. Are TPTB at the Gardens pointing to the budget crisis as a way not only to plug up any budgetary holes, but also as an opportunity to get extra funds to make some long-desired upgrades? (In a 2007 article, Director Dennis was quoted as saying that he wanted to give the Gardens "a higher profile.")

A woman from the public suggested having an open-air cafe inside the Gardens as a way of raising funds, which I thought was a great idea, and a quick vote by show of hands showed a lot of agreement. Someone else (Lazarus?) suggested having people (volunteers?) hand visitors maps as they walk in and ask them for voluntary payment -- but without having the gates, cashiers, ID cards, and mandatory fees. The vote on that was split.

Here's another three minutes of the meeting:

On June 18, there will be a public meeting of the Parks Commission at 4:00 on the 4th Floor of City Hall.

To get involved: