“Worlds of Decay, Renewal Merge Unexpectedly”: Elegy for a City, San Francisco

  • Like a lot of people, I have mixed feelings about a walk in the city these days. The Sunday before, my companion and I had walked the streets of Washington, D.C. and marveled at how clean they were. On returning back home, it was clear how much of San Francisco was a mess, particularly downtown with its crowds of lost souls roaming filthy streets. — from Carl Nolte’s column, Native Son, in the San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, 18 March 2018

Don’t ever try to walk (alone) from the Asian Art Museum to Powell. Don’t. Even if it’s broad daylight, you will be accosted by xxx panhandlers, and some will be quite aggressive. Just saying. That stretch of San Francisco feels like Detroit. Or like a Third World city. The decay is absolutely heartbreaking.

Self tried it once, last year. Every few steps, someone said something to her. Like running a gauntlet. Don’t reach for your wallet, don’t hesitate. Keep your earbuds in place. Keep walking.

If that’s what it’s like in the daytime, can you imagine what it’s like at night? Downtown San Francisco is not a woman-friendly city.

(And on the streets, there are Teslas. And Jaguars)

Stay tuned.

Poetry Friday: San Francisco Native Son, Tony Robles

From Fingerprints of a Hunger Strike, by Tony Robles (San Francisco: Ithuriel’s Spear, 2017):

An Excerpt from Proud

City of St. Francis
I’m proud
Of being
Loved by you

And don’t worry,
I don’t hold that
Eviction against you

But it did come
As a surprise,
All wrapped in a
Gauze colored envelope

Just the way
It goes, I guess

I’d lived there
45 years, grew up
There, Mom’s died
There, at home,
Where she belonged

I got 60 days
To vacate

I’m proud
Of being loved
By you

And Mr. Fare Inspector,
I don’t got no ill feeling
Towards you for looking me
Up and down as though I
Were defective while you
Scrawled my life story on
That ticket you wrote me,
Legible only to a doctor or

I’m proud
Of being
Loved by you


Tony Robles’s Love/Hate Book About San Francisco Is Beautiful and Tragic

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Edvard Munch: A Face in the Crowd

Last year, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art had an exhibit on Edvard Munch.

His portraits show faces erased of individual characteristics. THOSE PEOPLE ARE US.


Edvard Munch, The Dance of Life, 1925


Edvard Munch, Death Struggle, 1915


Edvard Munch, Night in Saint-Cloud, 1893

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Beloved: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 31 January 2018

Can you believe January 2018 is over? Self can’t.

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is BELOVED.

We’re asked to “share a photo of something that is dearly loved.”

Here are a couple:

Museums. Self loves museums. This one is a picture of the last museum she visited, in the University of Santo Tomas, the oldest university in Manila (founded 1611):


The Art and Natural History Museum, University of Santo Tomas

Another thing self loves is history. And the University of Santo Tomas having been founded in 1611, there’s a lot of history there. Here’s the Main Building:


Main Building, University of Santo Tomas

Last but not least, she loves her son. Here she is with him, in a picture taken about 10 years ago. He lives in southern California and last October married a wonderful girl, Jennie, who hails from New Mexico:


Andrew and Self at the Beach Chalet off the Great Highway, in San Francisco. The picture was taken approximately 10 years ago.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Must Start With R and Have At Least 6 Letters

RAISED by Wolves

Jim Goldberg photo essay on child runaways in Seattle, at San Francisco MOMA, 1995:



Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Three Takes on ASCEND, The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 13 December 2017


Detail of a Robert Longo Photo in the Brooklyn Museum of Art


Comic Book Art by San Francisco-Based Filipino American Collective: Don Ellis Aguillo, Rafael Salazar


Dearest Mum as a Young Woman, Early 1950s

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Looking Back: George Saunders

Self blogged this on 25 December 2013 (Christmas Day, self only just realized after writing the date). Title of post: 2013 Top Ten Books of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Saunders won this year’s Man Booker. He’s the Keynote Speaker at the next AWP, in Tampa, FL:

  • Tenth of December:  Stories, by George Saunders (Random House):  Ever read CivilWarLand in Bad Decline?  Self thought that book was a game-changer.  In one stroke, changed the landscape of the contemporary American short story, which until then had been Raymond Carver/Lydia Davis.  She will read anything by George Saunders.  Anything.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

GLOW: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 18 October 2017

In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.

— Aaron Rose, The Daily Post

Other WordPress Glows:


Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Main Library, a panel on OFW during the 4th annual Filipino-American International Book Fair, October 2017


Approaching San Francisco’s Bay Bridge, September 2017


MacBook Air, Palo Alto, CA, Summer 2017

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Quote of the Day: Richard Brautigan

Karma Repair Kit: Items 1 – 4

  1. Get enough food to eat, and eat it.
  2. Find a place to sleep where it is quiet, and sleep there.
  3. Reduce intellectual activity and emotional noise until you arrive at the silence of yourself.




Quote of the Day: San Francisco Chronicle, 17 August 2017

After the deadly white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend, people have taken to social media to identify or “dox” the participants in order to shame them. The criticism doesn’t just land at the feet of participants, but often extends to their employers, leading to lost jobs over the exposure. Some people see this practice as violating one’s freedom of speech. Yes, this country is based on freedom of speech, but not freedom of consequences. It’s not a slippery slope. People are marching to intimidate and oppress other Americans.

There’s a real difference between disagreeing over politics and hate speech. No one is obligated to walk on eggshells for those who call for oppression. If you’re concerned with privacy, don’t show up to a public protest spouting racism — and then be surprised if people want to identify you.

— Spencer Whitney, Assistant Editor, San Francisco Chronicle

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