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Showing posts from 2012

2012 In Review & Film on Matt McGoff

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Year-end greetings to each and all. In 2012, life came on thick and fast. I couldn't live it and write about it at the same time.  On Christmas Day, I received notice of a new film about my art school roommate,  Matthew McGoff , who died in 2010. The film was created by my friend  John Thornton . Matthew lived an intense, messy and short life, much like the painter  Amadeo Modigliani .  The film is masterful, John's best work to date. Matthew would have loved it, and this is quite a distinction. Matt was a focused, driven man. Only 2% of life on earth met with his approval. Okay, back to the almost-present. We began at our house in San Francisco, doing the normal stuff. Max built this robot. He wanted it to follow him around the house, so he taped it to an electric car [bottom]. Max's school lunch, a Misa production. Max inside the Space Needle, Seattle, Washington Our big change this year was to try livi

White Cathedral

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The house we are renting in Carmel Valley is different from our house in San Francisco. It has high ceilings and lots of space.  The greater difference is the atmosphere here, warmer and greener. The house came with an automatic sprinkler system and a gardner. This is a good thing, since both Misa and I are lousy at taking care of plants. We have the "Black Thumb." There's a small park behind the house, where people run their dogs and throw frisbees. I'd forgotten that summer could be pleasant. In San Francisco, we ran the heat almost every day of the year, even in August. That may be hard to believe, but San Francisco has an unusual climate. Warm weather in the inland valley pulls cold fog across the city, so you only get a truly warm day a few times a year. It's like living with the thermostat stuck on 65° F. I'm sitting in the back yard, shaded by palm trees. The fresh grass cools my bare feet. We've been here one

Hello, San Diego

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We moved into a new home in San Diego in July. It's a big change. I did not expect to leave San Francisco or to live in San Diego. The first time I visited here, I did not like it. When I returned for a second visit, many years later, it was not my choice of destination. But the place charmed me, unexpectedly. It's hard to resist friendly people and warm weather. Later on, we decided to try living here. We live in Carmel Valley, which opens to the ocean at Torrey Pines beach and runs eastward. The land channels pleasant ocean breezes to our neighborhood.  Each day we work at settling in and exploring. All three of us ride bikes along a long, paved bike path through the valley.  So far life has been good here. The big decision still scares me a little. In my past experience, stepping forward, stepping outward has always led to good things, but not always directly. I'm reminded of an article in GQ magazine that explained this issue of w

Driving Through California

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We left San Francisco and drove south. I rarely left the city, so everything looked new to me. California is much more than cities and beaches. There are miles of these rolling, golden hills dotted by oak trees that look like broccoli.  We spent a warm night in Bakersfield, then drove on to the foot of Tejon Pass, between the  Tehachapi and San Emigdio Mountain ranges. These are desert mountains, and the desert terrified me for most of my life. I hated the lack of water, shade, people. It's called "desert" for a reason, after all; people are not well-suited to live here! Desert! Get out! But something about this mountain pass excites me, visually. The mountains look soft under their yellow grass, but they are extremely steep. I expect sharp, naked rock to break through at this altitude, but it doesn't. My knuckles were white on the wheel as we crawled over the giant anthills. I asked Misa to take photo after photo of the mount

Good-bye, San Francisco

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1986 I first saw San Francisco in 1986 . I was married and living in Dallas, Texas. My wife wanted to come see the city on a three-day weekend, and on the third day I decided to move there. We were walking on Ocean Beach, very close to the house I'd later live in. I said, "So how long do you think it will take, two years?" "No, John, at least five years." Exactly one year later, we rolled into town, on Columbus Day weekend. Monday night we slept in our first apartment, and enjoyed this view: 1987 For the next twenty-five years, San Francisco and I were thick, inseparable. Many months passed, without crossing a bridge out of this seven-mile square. 1988 The first apartment was across the street from Lincoln Park, where I painted many pictures. 1988 The second apartment was a few blocks further inland, and gave us views of the Golden Gate and downtown, as well as the stunning Holy Virgin Orthodox Cathedral. 1989 -