What's New? 2005-11-01

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What's New? 2005-11-01

 Sunday 20 November 2005
  I recently got email from another parent announcing a performance of, wait, let me find it for you...
Hey friends and family: If you are anywhere near the tourist-trap area of San Francisco this Sunday, why not come and hear my dance band, Meshuggenismo!, play the Chanukah Festival at Pier 39. We're an Afro-Cuban salsa band that does klezmer standards. It's pretty unusual and a lot of fun... If you're arriving late, just follow your ears -- you can hear our horn section for blocks. There are a bunch of other acts on the bill too -- I especially recommend a comedy troupe called the MeshugaNutcracker, which comes on after us. See you there!

So, here we are, getting off the F line, the historic trolley cars which take us right from the Castro to Pier 39. This is the view of Pier 39 (at left) and the Dawn Princess (at right), from which Bubbie and Zade and Pamela just disembarked after their 10-day cruise to Mexico. (Things just worked out perfectly today.)

Pier 39 from the trolley stop

Here's the kids checking out the faux presents under the tree, with the tourist shops on the pier stretching out at left. We were only a few minutes early, and soon it was time for Meshuggenismo!

Pier 39 - Christmas tree

Here they are, with Ted at right. I recorded the concert and will try to make it available somehow. The music was great, the kids listened the whole way through. Lila was so tired from our busy morning that she almost fell asleep near the end of the concert.

Pier 39 -

Then it was time for MeshugaNutcracker, which the kids absolutely loved. Isaac asked whether we could go to the full performances next month. I'll have to see about the ticket availability.

Pier 39 -
 Saturday 19 November 2005
  It seems that Polly doll now has a bigger sister, both of which Lila proudly tends.

 Monday 14 November 2005
  Home life: Isaac and Lila working together on a gift drawing in the living room.

I like it so much when the coöperate; it's such an improvement when they measure success by how much one can irritate the other. Well, at least they take turns being vexatious :-)

 Sunday 13 November 2005
  The kids love bicycling. This is the second or third time we've headed into Golden Gate Park on a car-free Sunday. Here we are at the Conservatory of Flowers with Belle, Mir Mir, and their mother.

Spectacular autumn weather, organic dried fruit snacks, and good conversation. Ahhh.

 Tuesday 8 November 2005
  I picked up a Senseo (pod) coffee maker at the grand discount by submitting this photo of a use I can put my old drip coffee maker.

Senseo old carafe usage

I think using the carafe to hold my Treo and my BlueTooth headset didn't turn out too badly, especially given the ten seconds of prep and set-up I allocated to the task.

 Sunday 6 November 2005
  Happy 80th birthday, father-in-law-of-mine! Sister-in-law Mindy had a grand celebration for both sides - well, all four sides - of the family, and a small dinner celebration at a Jewish-style deli.

Happy 80th, Leonard

You look mahvelous in that motoring cap, Lenny. Told you I could find it.

 Saturday 5 November 2005
  At the recent Yerba Buena Family Fest we were told of free art classes at the newly-reopened de Young museum. Well, like all our other recent experiences with the de Young, this was a complete mess.

First, we got to the art class area, which is beautiful, and we played with the interactive kiosks. Unbelievable! A floor-to-ceiling glass plate with a fuzzy screen on which video is projected. Sound is targeted at the area where one would naturally stand in order to touch the screen. And a ceiling-mounted sensor tracks finger movement, so you don't actually have to touch the screen, but merely point as though you were.

And the content has been designed beautifully, so you can spin virtual objects around in a very natural manner. Impressive. Kudos to the hardware designers and content creators.

Even the bathrooms are thoughtfully implemented. Here's Isaac posing next to the kid-sized toilet. Really mindfully done.

Unfortunately, that's where our happiness ends.

First of all, "free after admission" is not free at all, and misleading. People going to a kids' event targeting low-income people ought not misrepresent their commitment to providing for kids. It's disgusting. There were lots of people showing up who couldn't afford the full-priced parent admission (or annual membership) who felt screwed. Good job, Mayor Gavin Newsom. If you knew what was going on under your umbrella, be very ashamed. If you didn't know, one of your staff needs to wield a clue-stick to participants.

Second, making a big deal about having classes at the de Young and then changing it to the Palace of the Legion of Honor isn't cool, especially as the aforementioned low-income people took the bus into the park, and are now told they need to schlep across town to the new location (which they now will miss) to enjoy the "free after admission" rather than the promised free event.

Twenty additional demerits for having the beautiful computer display at the de Young announcing kids' art classes here. Meh.

In the evening friends join us for burrito dinner at Tacqueria Pancho Villa; 16th at Valencia. Afterwards we enjoyed Indian ice creams around the corner at the Bombay Bazaar. But no stopping for a cultural moment. The three kids loved the belly dancing at Amira. It was early, the place was mostly empty, and the kids were entranced. What a great antidote to the de Young.

Especially delightful was the Moroccan coffee, a Turkish coffee with cinnamon instead of cardomom.

 Wednesday 2 November 2005
  Halloween is not over at our house; the pink vampire teeth threaten day and night. You've got to stay on your toes...

Lila's pink vampire teeth
 Tuesday 1 November 2005
  Isaac's school celebrates Sports Day at a near-by park. The students divide into six groups, and each group rotates between physical activities. Here's a panorama of the space. The grass is a bit wet today, but fine indeed.

Sports Day - the park

This doctored picture show Isaac and Lila running around the same cone (but not at the same time, or they would have "cracked coconuts"). The kids had such a fine time, both with the activities and with their friends. This was a good idea, and the good weather only helped.

Sports Day - Isaac & Lila run

Not all the activities are stereotypically Phys. Ed. Sure, there was the relay races, the egg-on-the-spoon race, the water balloon toss, and Lila's favorite: the donut grab. As you can see from the powdered sugar all over her face, this wasn't as easy as one might expect. The giggles, however, could be heard the length and breadth of the field

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