Friday, April 18, 2014

Three busy weekends

Just to give you a sense of how packed the weekends usually are, this is what I have been up to:

Two weekends ago I flew to San Francisco.  I nearly made it in time for an earlier connecting flight, but just ran up as the gate closed.  The next flight was oversold, but this time my actual flight was on time.  It was fairly tight, but I didn't have much luggage with me and make it to BART a bit earlier than expected.

This meant that I had close to two hours that I could spend at the Asian Art Museum (which I had skipped on my previous trip).  I decided to pass on the special exhibit (about yoga) and just really focus on the top two floors.  I had the most fun on the top floor with the Indian art and thought about the discrepancy between the sacred, erotic art and the problematic culture that pervades India today.  I also wondered if this visit would shake loose more thoughts and allow me to wrap up my play (obviously not that weekend).

After this, I took the BART to Berkeley and wandered through the UC Berkeley campus.  I'd been once before for a conference, though I honestly couldn't even tell you where I stayed.  I found out that the Alvin Ailey dance company was giving a performance, and while I was slightly tempted, dance recitals just are not my thing.  I continued on my way to the Berkeley Art Museum, only to find that the on-line information I had was woefully incomplete.  They really weren't open to just anyone after hours -- you needed a special ticket and they were sold out.  So I have now managed to miss out on the UCLA and UC Berkeley art museums.  (I'm sensing a trend here.)  I ate decent Indian food at a campus restaurant and continued wandering through Berkeley.  I decided to check into the hotel, and was severely disappointed.  It really was a run-down motel, and they didn't have internet in the lobby as promised (or I would have at least brought a tablet).  Feeling pretty disgusted, I continued wandering through Berkeley until dusk, then crashed.  (I did more than halfway wish that I had stayed in San Francisco as I might have been able to catch a showing of Churchill's Top Girls Friday evening, and Berkeley turned out to be a bit of a disappointment.)

Sat. was almost entirely taken up by Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia, which I will have to review on a different page.  Before this, I did manage to mail off a book to a friend and wandered by the farmer's market, though I wasn't that taken with it.  I saw that there was a flea market right across the street from Shotgun Players, and I explored that for a bit.  I picked up two cars for the kids (overpriced I found out later, but as a WASP I really hate haggling), which has set off a bit of an obsession for my son.  I got pizza at the lunch break from Berkeley Bowl, which was much better than I expected.  For dinner, I had a huge plate of Middle Eastern food at the convenience store next to Shotgun Players.  I kind of hustled back to the hotel, beating the Google estimated time by nearly 10 minutes.

Across the street

(Hot) Bikes at the Flea Market

Toy stall

Sun. was a lot of walking and taking transit.  I checked out early, then caught the BART into San Francisco.  I took the bus cross-town, though we were snarled up by a half marathon or something.  The ride seemed interminable, and was not helped by being forced to sit next to an old man smelling very strongly of pee, and then three very loud and obnoxious 20 year olds.  However, I finally made it to the Legion of Honor building, which houses European art work.  I definitely had not made it there, even on my first trip to San Francisco, when I had crisscrossed the city on foot.

I had slightly more luck taking the bus back to Haight-Ashbury.  Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera ready to capture this mother-daughter team with their parrots on the bus.  The girl's hair was blue, almost as blue as her parrot...  I had a light lunch with a former co-worker and we both told crazy stories about what was happening at our old place of work.  I had a bit more time to kill, so I went into Golden Gate Park to see the DeYoung Museum (the American art counterpart of the Legion of Honor).  My phone totally died, which was a shame.  I only needed another hour or so to get some great photos, since the weather was so great.  Now, I don't think I visited the DeYoung back in 1991, which was my first visit to S.F., but they have rebuilt it substantially, so it is hard to know for certain.  There were definitely some pieces I liked a lot.  In general, the collection spoke to me more than the art in the Legion of Honor.  Afterwards, I walked quickly through the park, caught the Muni, then the BART, then arrived at the airport and had roughly an hour to kill.  So all in all, a very packed day.

Last weekend was a bit different.  I agreed to take the kids to the movies and we saw Mr. Peabody & Sherman.  I actually did like it a fair bit, particularly this segment early on with John Lennon's "Beautiful Boy" playing in the background and Mr. Peabody thinking back over his custodianship of Sherman, earlier and earlier in time.  He has them both flying a kite with Ben Franklin, riding bicycles (and then flying) with the Wright Brothers, skating in the ice age with mastodons nearby, wading in the Nile (Moses is snatched out of the river as Peabody looks on -- another joke for the adults) and finally Mr. Peabody discovering Sherman abandoned in a box as an infant.  It's a bit more saccharine than the opening of Up, but has that same sort of feel.  It was surprisingly effective, and definitely aimed more at the adults than the children in the audience.

After that, we went to the library, then the mall, and we got lunch, shoes (two different stores), a haircut for my son, went to the toy store (for more Hot Wheels) and then the grocery store.  I was pretty wiped out and generally cranky by the end of that.

Sunday, I had to finish U.S. taxes, saw a concert (Shubert's Octet was the highlight), swung by the library, and then I think I still had to pick up something that was forgotten at the grocery store.  Still pretty intense, but a little easier to manage on my own.

And then this weekend we are driving down to Seattle, which is always an adventure.  I've tried to only plan two things per day (mostly the Children's Museum and the Miro exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum, plus the monorail) but I'm sure there will be some shopping involved.  To be honest, I didn't even realize I had Friday off, so we will go Friday and Sat.  Sun. will be reasonably low key, though I assume there will be some kind of Easter egg hunt, though my wife is in charge of that.  I'll try to relax a bit, though I will also try to get through the first pass of the Canadian taxes and then get at least a bit more written for this proposal I'm leading for work.  (I actually have to have it written up next week, since I fly to Baltimore and DC the following weekend!)  And that really doesn't leave any time in early May for packing up boxes for the move.

So not too much rest for the weary...

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