Tuesday, November 30, 2010

East Bay Rats

Don't know what would possess a motorcycle club to call itself rats; but there you have it.  Their website doesn't clear up the genesis of the name but indicates they've been around since at least 1997.  Their manifesto says they are dedicated to "riding really (bleeping) fast, drinking beer, eating red meat, and doing extraordinarily stupid things when drunk."  Despite all that testosterone, sounds like they have a sense of humor about themselves.  Spotted on San Pablo Avenue at about 30th Street.

Monday, November 29, 2010

cabin in the woods

While following yesterday's "trail," I came upon this tiny house.  It can't be more than 10 feet wide and maybe 15 feet high.  it looks like it is single wall construction and probably has been here since 1905-1910.   More contemporary houses muscle up to each side of this house.  Oakland used to be a summer rural retreat for San Franciscans due to it's better weather and plentiful redwood and oak forests.  It doesn't take much imagination to believe that this little structure was a getaway cabin back at the turn of the previous century.  Nestled in a little valley, it would have faced the quiet waters of Glen Echo Creek.  Somehow it persisted even as the street changed.  Whoever lives here now values a simple life on a peaceful street, away from the urban roar.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

footbridge over the creek

I decided to take a small street off Broadway to see where it lead.  Much to my surprise it turned into several woodland blocks where Glen Echo Creek runs above ground.  The sun was setting and I was barely able to capture workmen repairing a foot bridge over the creek.  The houses along this street are a funny mix of 1970s apartment buildings, and brown shingles from the early 1900s,  I couldn't believe that this quiet, rural setting still exists in our urban landscape.  In Sonoma County, maybe.  But Uptown Oakland?  For more bridges, visit «Louis'» Sunday Bridges series.

Friday, November 26, 2010

hazy afternoon

Lake Merritt is actually a tidal basin and this afternoon was low tide.  It's the first time I've seen the mussel colonies that grow everywhere in the lake and essentially feed the sea gulls.  The birds were out in force, as were tons of people enjoying the mild afternoon.  I had a long conversation with a woman who shared a lot of information about bird behavior.  Uptown office buildings are reflected in the late afternoon sun.  For more reflections, visit Weekend Reflections.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

autumn leaves

We don't have anything close to the autumn display you see in the east; but we do have the occasional flashes of color that so please the eye.  This is another reason to visit Mt. View Cemetery.  Happy Thanksgiving all.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

ABC Wednesday: S is for Sequoyah Road

Sequoyah Road in the East Oakland hills straddles that line between urban and rural.  The road runs through unexpected housing tracts, a hundred year old country club, steep canyons and open creeks.  I was quite taken by this 20s-30s house that reflects the influences of Spanish and early mission architecture.  This style home is found throughout the Bay Area.  Isn't it charming?  I'll bet the inside has interesting tile work and wrought iron details.  For more "S" photos, visit ABC Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

early freeway mural

This mural was created in 1977 by a group of students from Laney Community College.  This makes it one of the earliest murals in Oakland.  It is on Claremont Avenue under the Highway 24 overpass.  It was restored in 2003.  A small little park is across the street.  Surprisingly, the neighborhood uses it despite the whooshing sound of traffic above your head, and who knows what chemicals in the air.  Somewhat ironic given the theme of the mural.

Monday, November 22, 2010

glow in the cemetery

The light was just right to make it look like the inside of this family crypt was aglow.  Hey, I just realized I could link this to Mellow Yellow Monday.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

deco detail

Stair banister in Oakland's art deco Paramount Theater.  All the original metal details in this restored theater are made of aluminum.  Submitted to Weekend Reflections and Black and White Weekend.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Skywatch Friday: roof tops

The City Hall cupola peeks out from behind a modern roof line a block away.  A half moon watches all.  As you can tell, we've continued to enjoy fine weather during the day.  But the temperature drops dramatically as the sun sets.  Rain is in the forecast for the weekend.  For more Skywatch Friday offerings, click here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

fresh flowers

Across from the BART station posted yesterday is Market Hall.  It contains several specialty shops including a pasta shop, butcher, bakery, greengrocer, fishmonger, wine shop, gelateria, and coffee shop.  This flower stand brings some color to the sidewalk and draws attention to the building.  Upstairs is a well known restaurant.  There's lots of action around here all day long.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

ABC Wednesday: R is for Rockridge

Rockridge is an upscale neighborhood in North Oakland.  The Rockridge BART (our metro) station is on College Avenue which runs all the way to the UC campus in Berkeley.  This line takes you directly to downtown San Francisco and the airport without having to change trains.  This station is in the thick of a residential neighborhood along with restaurants, coffee shops, and all kinds of retail shops.  For more "R" photos from around the world, visit ABC Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

take the green bus

Just a couple of months ago the free, green shuttle bus was introduced with no fanfare.  It runs from Jack London Square to Lake Merritt with hop on, hop off privileges.  But only Monday through Friday.  I've read this is a precursor to building a trolley that is intended to run the same route.  A trolley would be cool, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

stay off the tracks

Both passenger and freight trains run down the middle of 1st Street, at the bottom of Broadway, along side of Jack London Square.   Even though they are a common sight, this is the first time I've seen a warning on a locomotive.  Four other trains came by while I was down there, but this was the only one with a message.  This may be in response to several accidents and suicides on tracks around the bay this year.  It definitely made me want to take a step back.  This is my first time linking to Mellow Yellow Monday.  Don't know about mellow, but it definitely qualifies for yellow.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sunday Bridge Series: Oakland ferry

This is the dock for the ferry to San Francisco from Jack London Square.  The trip takes about 35 minutes and makes a quick stop in Alameda before it heads to the SF Ferry Building.  While wandering about I was happy to see a (foot) bridge for «Louis'» Sunday Bridges meme.  For views of bridges around the world, click here.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weekend Reflections: USS Potomac

The USS Potomac was Franklin Roosevelt's yacht during his presidency.  It is now berthed at Jack London Square.  In the late afternoon, the sunlight reflected off the water shimmers on its port side; and the water shimmers with the ship's reflection.  Cool, huh?  For more photos with reflections, check out James' meme Weekend Reflections.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Skywatch Friday: cranes at the shore

This photo was taken at Jack London Square.  I never tire of looking at these behemoth cranes.  So Star Wars.  You can see that the weather has turned warm again and it was positively balmy by the estuary.  Visit Skywatch Friday for more heavenly views.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

ABC Wednesday: Q is for quarry

This photo was taken from St. Mary's Cemetery whose border edges the cliffs above the former quarry.  The lake, fed by Glen Echo Creek, is surrounded on two sides by high cliffs and then by a shopping center parking lot on the other two sides.  It's a curious blend of nature and asphalt.  The quarry lake was posted earlier from a ground level view.  The lake (which I don't think has a name) is often a stopover for birds flying from Lake Merritt to who knows where.  Visit ABC Wednesday for more Q photos from around the world.

Monday, November 8, 2010

divine deco at the Paramount

Took a tour of the Paramount Theater on Saturday.   The facade mosaic was posted a few days ago.  The entire building is so deco-licious it is hard to believe.  Tours are the first and third Saturday of each month, last two hours, and cost only $5.  Such a deal.  The restoration is historically accurate down to the most minute detail.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

muffler art

Now that the election season is over, time for a little comic relief.  This is one of several figures in front of a local muffler shop at 65th St. and Shattuck Ave. in North Oakland near the Berkeley border.  I especially like the dog.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

ABC Wednesday: P is for Paramount Theater

The Paramount Theater, with this gigantic mosaic, is another Art Deco building restored and preserved in Uptown Oakland.  It is next door to the deco I. Magnin and a few blocks from the Fox Theater.  This movie theater was completed in 1931 and now is home to the East Bay Symphony; it is also hosts popular music acts, the annual Christmas presentation of the Nutcracker, and occasionally shows vintage movies.  The next one is From Here to Eternity.  For other "P" photos, visit the ever interesting ABC Wednesday.

Monday, November 1, 2010

día de los muertos

The Day of the Dead has a big presence in the Bay Area due to our large Latino population.  Oakland has an annual street festival in the Fruitvale District and a special show at the Oakland Museum where local artists are invited to build altars.  Associated with All Saints and All Souls Days, the Day of the Dead has it's roots deep in Aztec culture.  They believed that at this time of year the veil between this world and the next lifts and the spirits of the departed can once again visit the corporal world.  In Mexico families use November 1st and 2nd to clean and decorate the graves of their loved ones and bring favorite food and drink as ofrendas to the spirits.  They also make temporary altars to pray, remember, and honor the dead using photos, flowers, candles, and personal artifacts.  Perhaps you have a similar tradition where you live?

A few years ago I decided to participate in the spirit of this tradition and create my own altar.  Every year since it has become a little more elaborate.  It's not at all traditional looking but it is filled with symbols that mean something to me.  It is a very emotional process for me that usually involves a fair amount of tears.  Every year I plant the flowers I use, and every year so far they bloom again at this time.  Having no pictures yet of the public events around this day, I thought I'd share a little of mine.  It's not a great photo, but you get the idea.