Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Theme Day: Reflections

Here we are at Lake Merritt again, this time looking north.  The Necklace of Lights can be seen in both the foreground and background.  The pointed-roofed building in the middle of the photo is the Tribune Tower, the former office of our local newspaper.  It was previously featured hereClick here to view thumbnails for all participants in this month's Theme Day.  I'm also linking this post to Weekend Reflections.  Have a great 4th of July weekend.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ABC Wednesday: X is for xylography and xanthous

Really?  The challenge of X sent me running to the dictionary.  I confess that I didn't know these words until I ran through the short X list.  But never let ignorance stop you from giving it the old college try.  Hence:
The xanthoutic light bathes the columns that mark the entrance to The Morcom Rose Garden.  The garden is tucked away in a quiet neighborhood off a busy street.  Many Oaklanders don't know it exists.

 The sign that marks its entrance is a simple example of xylography

This garden opened in 1932 and now features 6,000 plants throughout its eight acres.  It also includes terraces, a cascade fountain and a reflecting pool.  It is a popular venue for weddings.  With all the budget cuts, the city relies on the Friends of the garden to help maintain it.

How'd I do?  For more "X" photos from around the world, go to ABC Wednesday.  You'll find lots of entertaining takes on this week's letter.

Monday, June 28, 2010

the county fair

It has been more than 20 years since I have attended our county fair which takes place at the fairgrounds in Pleasanton.  The fair is the essence of egalitarianism.  Everyone is welcome, all submissions to the competitions are accepted and displayed, all ages are represented, and everyone is recognized.  I used to make fun of the humble sock monkey and now adore them.  To me they are the iconic representation of the long tradition of the county fair, which occurs in every county across the nation all summer long.  Regional differences occur from state to state, some featuring farm equipment and rodeos.   Below are a few photos of various aspects of the fair:  home crafts, animal husbandry, horse racing, cholesterol increasing fast food, and more.  What's the county fair like in your area?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sunday Bridge Series: Fruitvale Bridge

Work is being done on the Fruitvale Bridge which crosses the estuary to Alameda.  For some reason the road bed is up for an undetermined amount of time.  It's quite a sight.  For other bridges around the globe, visit «Louis'» bridge meme.  If you have a bridge photo of your own, come join us.

Friday, June 25, 2010

night lights

Thursday, June 24, 2010

sixties retro chic

This is a standard 1960s apartment building enhanced by a really good paint job.  Apartment buildings of this vintage are typically beige and brown and rundown.  This structure, on the other hand, is quite striking and shows pride of ownership.   BTW, this is across the street from this building.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

ABC Wednesday: W is for waterfront

I hope this shot represents some of the diversity of the waterfront.  Taken on a walk near Jack London Square, you can see the marina and the cranes of the Port.  Boating and commerce exemplify some of the variety of activities along the shoreline.  For more "W" photos from around the world, click on ABC Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

vertical littering

New black tanker cars are the perfect canvas for taggers.  These tracks can be seen from the Nimitz Freeway running from East Oakland to West Oakland.  Not the best introduction to our fair city.

Monday, June 21, 2010

late night snack

This is the 1/4 Lb. Giant Burger at High Street and MacArthur in the Laurel District.  The diamond at the far right should read "Shakes" but the light is burned out. 
 So is the huge neon sign that anchors the parking lot.  This local chain has at least four spots in Oakland that I'm aware of.  I previously posted the one on Telegraph Avenue in the Uptown area.  Interestingly, each spot has slightly different architecture and they are in varying states of repair.  But all shout "retro."  You expect waitresses on roller skates to come to your car to take orders.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sunday Bridge Series: Glen Echo Creek

As stated in an earlier post, Glen Echo Creek surfaces above ground several places on its way from the hills to the bay.  One of the longest stretches runs for several blocks just off of Piedmont Avenue, a busy shopping district.  The creek wends its way through a small park, behind houses and a senior citizen complex, and along public paths before it goes underground again.  Neighbors volunteer to maintain the creek bed and restore plants native to the riparian community.  The cyclone fence borders Monte Vista Avenue that bridges the creek.  The culvert that runs under the street seems to represent both tunnel and bridge at the same time.  For more bridge photos from around the world, visit «Louis La Vache's» Sunday Bridge meme.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Skywatch Friday: view from Joaquin Miller Park

The Oakland hills is home to several regional and city parks that preserve the natural woodlands of the area.  This 500 acre park is named for Joaquin Miller, a 19th century poet and adventurer, and some might say rascal and liar, whose work is no longer well known.  During the Great Depression the WPA helped build park trails, a beautiful water cascade, and an amphitheater where musicals are performed in the summer.  While walking some of the park yesterday I encountered runners, hearty bicyclists riding the steep hill trails, kids playing, Pacific Islanders performing a graceful hula dance for their family at an out of the way picnic area, and an aging hippie practicing the drums.  Typical Oakland.  This shot looks southwest across the bay with the coastal range in the distance.  Click here for more Skywatch photos from around the world.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sweet's Ballroom

Sweet's Ballroom is located on Broadway in the Uptown area.  As the lettering style indicates, it was built in the 1920s.  It hosted all the great Big Bands and singers of the 1930s and 40s, including Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey, Frank Sinatra, and Billie Holiday.  It was shuttered in 1980 but was eventually renovated and reopened in 1998.  It has an 8,000 square foot dance floor and is used for many dance and exercise events.  Thank goodness another historic venue was saved from the wrecking ball.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Rhea's Salon of Beauty

This sign has been advertising this beauty shop since the late 50s or early 60s.  While the shop is still in business, the sign no longer works.  It is found at the corner of Mandana and Lakeshore Avenue in the Lakeshore shopping district east of Lake Merritt.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Weekend Reflection: downtown Financial Center

This is another side of the downtown Financial Center with clouds reflected in its windows.  At 15 stories it was once the tallest building west of the Mississippi.  But not for long.   For more reflection photos, visit James' meme Weekend Reflections.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

sky lights

Walking the shoreline is always interesting.  I remembered to look up and this time paid attention to the container yard lights.  The design looks like something out of the Jetsons.  I think they look like hovering scouts from the Mother Ship. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

ABC Wednesday: U is for Uptown Oakland

Somewhere along the way when I wasn't looking, part of downtown Oakland became Uptown.  Don't ask me how.  Uptown represents a loosely defined area beginning about 17th Street and going to about West Grand and between Broadway and San Pablo Avenue.  For decades it's been a sketchy area and is now being transformed into a hip, boho community.  It is full of art galleries, restaurants and cafes, and new condos and apartment buildings.  It can still be sketchy late at night, but less so now.  This club is in the wonderful cobalt and silver deco building shown previously.  For more ABC Wednesday U photos, click here.

Monday, June 7, 2010

frutas frescas

These fruit carts can be found on every other street corner in the Fruitvale District, a primarily Latino community.  They sell baggies of fruit including mango, watermelon, pineapple and cantaloupe.  Add a squeeze of lime and a dash of chili or tabasco and you're good to go.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Weekend Reflection: Shoreline Park looking east

Today started out foggy and muggy.  By this afternoon all the fog and clouds finally disappeared.  A walk along the shoreline presented lovely views with downtown and the Oakland hills in the distance.  The air was calm and the quiet water reflected the pier.  It's starting to feel like summer might actually arrive.    For more reflections from around the globe, stroll over to James' meme Weekend Reflections.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

ABC Wednesday: T is for Transmission Service

This homemade service sign is located on Foothill Blvd. near Fairfax Avenue in East Oakland.   The guy who owns this shop has a sense of humor.  Does this qualify as folk art?  For more "T" photos, check ABC Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Gold Teeth Master

Spied on Broadway near 19th Street.  I thought the fad for gold teeth "grilles" had come and gone, but apparently not.  To be fair, their neon sign says "Jewelry--The Best Bling Shop."  For other amusing signs from around the world brought to you by the CDP community, click here.