Posts Tagged ‘ Running ’

Unsafe Safety Pin

Corridor Pin, Blue” is an enormous sculpture of a safety pin by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. There are several of these sculptures on display in America: one is in New Orleans; the artists’ proof is in Dallas; and the one I saw stands in the Barbro Osher Sculpture Garden at the de Young Museum in San Francisco‘s Golden Gate Park. The sculpture is 21 feet (6.4 meters) tall and it is made of stainless steel and painted aluminum. The pointy end of the pin looks sharp enough to poke out a dinosaur’s eye. Good thing there are no dinosaurs roaming around Golden Gate Park. Or are there? The Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton on display at the California Academy of Sciences next door wasn’t always a skeleton. Perhaps T-Rex had impaled himself on a safety pin sculpture and that’s why his skeleton is now on permanent display!

Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen were not only artistic collaborators but also husband and wife. They must have had so much fun deciding together what to make: “Let’s make a huge clothespin!”…”No, let’s make a big shuttlecock!”…”Why don’t we make a giant trowel today?”…”I feel the urge to make a flashlight for King Kong.”…”You know what the world needs? A massive pair of binoculars!” Their “Binoculars” sculpture anchors the Chiat/Day Building in Los Angeles designed by Canadian architect Frank Gehry. Coosje van Bruggen met Frank Gehry when they both served as adjudicators at Documenta, a contemporary art show in Kassel, Germany. Arne, my first friend in L.A., is from Kassel. In May, Arne gave me and Scott a grand tour of Kassel after we rendezvoused in Helsa. Yes, I share my name with a suburb of Kassel!

I took this photo of “Corridor Pin, Blue” last Sunday, just after a kind stranger had taken a group shot of me, Scott, Mama Chow, my Uncle Jeff, and my Auntie Lynne. We were in S.F. for a short but sweet family reunion: Jeff and Lynne live in Australia; Mama Chow lives in Canada; Scott now lives near Berkeley; and I live in L.A. Earlier that day, I had run 10 miles along the trails of Golden Gate Park while my family had wandered through the park’s Japanese Tea Garden and Conservatory of Flowers. It was a perfect day, really.

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Harry Perry

Earlier this summer, we trolled the Venice Beach Boardwalk looking for a famous busker named Harry Perry as our Canadian musician friends Jason and Kelly were keen to meet him.  Harry Perry’s electric guitar, in-line skates, and Sikh turban make him pretty easy to spot in a crowd.  He was performing near the north end of Ocean Front Walk when we found him.  We listened to Harry sing several trippy songs about science fiction and Jason, who’s a jazz guitarist, admired Harry’s chops.      

Last month, Scott and I re-traced our steps along the boardwalk with my cheeky Australian aunt and uncle.  They were hunting for tacky souvenirs so we wandered through head shops and T-shirt stalls searching for counter-culture artifacts that would scandalize their children.  Halfway up the promenade, we ran into Harry Perry.  He was in the middle of a song, so I took a photo of him as I waited for a chance to talk with him.  Once he finished his song, he posed for a couple of photos with his fans, sold some T-shirts and CDs, and offered positive affirmations to passersby.

We made eye contact so I asked him how his running was going; I had read that he runs 20 miles each day.  He told me that he had completed a marathon recently and is planning to do a couple more races this year.  He’s 59-years-old and he’s in incredible shape!

“Where the Sidewalk Ends”

Yesterday, I ran seven miles and renewed my love of running in the rain.  The temperature outside was 14 degrees Celsius (57 degrees Fahrenheit):  it was warm enough for me to run in shorts and a T-shirt; yet cool enough for me to feel refreshed as I motored along the pavement at turbo turtle speed.  The rain washed away the salt which otherwise streaks my face as I run.  I’m visiting Mama Chow this week and I am so happy to escape the oppressive heat of Los Angeles for the crisp weather of Vancouver.

I ran along No.3 Road in Richmond towards the Fraser River.  At the intersection of No. 3 and Steveston Highway, suburban sprawl suddenly gives way to farmland.  In the words of Shel Silverstein, I ran “Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow…  To the place where the sidewalk ends.”  No. 3 ends at Dyke Road, where a trail hugs the bank of the Fraser River.  The river was a grey satin ribbon, shiny yet subdued.  The water’s surface kept breaking like there was someone standing beneath me skipping stones.  I listened to the splashes and tried not to blink as I scanned the area.  I quickly realized that I was alone except for the large FISH that were leaping out of the water – to them, the river was a trampoline.  Because I was mid-run, I didn’t have my camera with me – the rain would have made picture-taking difficult anyway.  I watched the life aquatic until I started shivering.  And then I turned around to run towards a patch of blackberries I’d passed earlier.

DIGRESSION:  How would you determine the number of times these fish might jump in an hour?  Use the Poisson Distribution!

A mile from Mama Chow’s, there is a large house that is surrounded by overgrown blackberry bushes.  Cars were parked all over the lawn yesterday and the front sidewalk was slick with ripe and rotten berries that had fallen to the ground – such a waste.  I stood on the sidewalk and ate a bunch of blackberries off the bush.  Thorns dug into my elbows:  a small price to pay for easy foraging.  The berries were sweet; they gave me plenty of energy to finish my run.

UPDATE:  The Sockeye Salmon run in the Fraser River is newsworthy!  The next day, Mama Chow and I drove to the river to see the salmon run.  The river was choppy and the fish weren’t very active, but I managed to take a snapshot of one sockeye as it poked its head out of the water.

False Creek Reflections

I was waiting for my friend Kathryn to meet me in Yaletown for dinner at Provence during my first night in Vancouver when I took this photo of condo balconies as reflected in False Creek.  The cloudy day was fading fast without a sunset to light up the early night.  As The Weakerthans played in my head, I watched people kayaking through the creek, walking their dogs, and running along the water:  “Between the sunset and certified darkness / Dusk comes on and I follow the exhaust from memory up to the end / The civil twilight.”

Tulip, Stanford

I took this photo on May 4, 2009 during my friend Lisa’s visit to the Bay Area.  We walked around the grounds of Stanford Medical Center, taking photos of the flower beds while our husbands went for a beer at CoHo Tresidder.  We were amazed at how flowers in California are gargantuan compared to flowers back home in Canada.  We were really happy to discover that even though we haven’t lived in the same city since 2003, we continue to cultivate similar interests independently. 

I met Lisa while we were both training for our first half marathon.  We’ve run seven races together.  Through snow, rain, wind, and sun…  earning our reward of chili fries, Korean BBQ, Indian butter chicken, or pancakes…  lots of great talks over great meals.  I miss her.  It’s time to give her a call.

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