Ship(s) Ahoy…

Alarm, shower, IHOP… repeat.

I wonder what percentage of Americans join up for a minimum hitch? There is a massive amount of US military paraphernalia being worn around here. I realize it is a military festival but it sure seems like everyone put in some time at one point or another. If the military culture wasn’t so socially transforming I could almost believe that was a good thing.

I have to admit watching the show yesterday I really start to wonder if I could have flown one of those things. I’d rock the flight suit.

Well today is ships. I will hit the Ottawa first and move on down the line. I have an invitation to go back to Marina Green for Part Deux of the show but we’ll see.

Waiting in line. I got here right at nine and was 41st in line. Apparently the Ottawa is still asleep. The marshaling point is for the Ottawa and 2 coast guard cutters but I hope to skip the cutters. I can say at this point we have a nice nameplate on the stern of the ship; nice red and polished silver letters. Not set a jaunty angle though… I might write a letter to the DND about that. I definitely think a jaunty angle would add savoir faire.

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Turns out the Ottawa is touring but the USCG are the ones asleep. Still hoping I won’t have to do all 3 ships… Sigh.

But no… It’s the Coast Guard or nothing. The Bertholf was built in 2008. She mounts a 57mm balfors, one of the first in the US military. Each round is programable as to purpose and it fires 220 rounds a minute.

All the signs say no backpacks, no kids under 8 so of course there is a Toddler running laps around the 50 cal. and there is one who can’t negotiate the ladders leaving mom to try and carry him.

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Bertholf with bofors

Nestled beside the Bertholf is the USCG Alert which was built in 1967. It’s much smaller and is based out of Oregon. It patrols from Alaska to South America doing fisheries patrols, drug interdiction and search and rescue.

And now we are waiting again. I’m gonna guess that they really don’t want me on this ship.

Finally got to tour the Ottawa. Just the one deck and the bridge and she (the OD) was really shy about the weapons and defense systems. She (the ship) just got back from Hawaii, Pago Pago, Sydney and more.

In her regular state of readiness (as she is now) she has no Harpoon missiles, no helicopter, no chaff… Once again we have a half-assed military policy that spends money but just not enough to actually be effective.

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Check out those shoes!

I walked down to Pier 32 which contrary to sense is about 2 and a half miles from Pier 35. The Bonhomme Richard is a Wasp class assault carrier. Basically a Marine delivery vehicle. The line just to the dock is running about an hour, but at least it’s time to catch up a bit o bloggin’

The airshow is starting again. The L39s just flew past but the line is speeding up.

Well I have a bad burn on the back of my neck, small blister on my right foot and am pretty wiped from the sun but I think it was worth it. The ship was awesome from it’s drive-in well deck to the landing platforms. Zak would have been in heaven. There were landing craft, missile launchers, LAVs, Hueys, Cobras, Osprey, HumVees, grenade launchers and more. The Chinook pilots looked down their noses at the Osprey crews and the navy scoffed at their marine cargo… It was a military cliche paradise. Seriously though, it was a pretty marvelous look at military technology.

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I talked to a Cobra pilot. They have a range out in the desert and they go out to train. At over 600 rounds a minute they must blow through Canada’s military budget every time they go out. But talking to him you realize that effectively using the hardware is more complicated than you think.

I headed uphill and downtown to the SFMoMA and paid my $18. After a Matisse and 2 O’Keefe’s I collapsed and decided to rest. My plan is to rest, visit and maybe take the cable car down but I am sure not walking back. My old eyes are having trouble with the paintings too. Whine, whine, whine.

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Me and my sunburn… and Andrew Kudless’s P_Wall

Ok up and at it again. I really love Lichtenstein’s… there, I said it. There’s a lot of Modern art I can take or leave but he’s got it going on. There is also an industrial design featuring Dieter Rams. He did a lot of Braun’s design… pretty cool. There’s also some nice photography exhibits. They are pretty easy to peruse as a photograph either grabs me or not. If not, I walk on by… There’s also some nice architectural stuff which would make a nice photographs themselves.

There are about 4 times a day I wish I had a better camera but the weight and clumsiness are too much to make me leap to an SLR. As I said to Laura yesterday, it’s hard enough to watch without taking pictures and it’s worse taking pictures without watching. Something always suffers. My point and shoot keeps the photographic aspirations and pretentiousness to a minimum and the accessibility for ‘found’ photography at a maximum.

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Jackson Pollock…

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…Lichtenstein…

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…and a stunning Chuck Close called Agnes

Well it’s another line. This time for the cable car. Don’t know how long the wait will be this time, but it looks like 2 cars full. The end of the line is pretty cool: a simple turntable built into the sidewalk. I’m going to guess the actual ride is going to take a while during rush hour as the car that just left is only A block away after 5 minutes.

Well I bailed. Just not historic enough to warrant the wait. One Whopper to go and I can catch the F line a block east. That will get me closer to home anyway. And I’ll get a seat!

There’s a protest against ‘the man’ on Market Street… San Francisco style. Featuring at least 2 completely naked men. Apparently corporate greed and war-mongering are scared by the sight of a penis (2 actually)… I wouldn’t be surprised. Sorry, no pics as I’d already put away the camera… just use your imagination… they had really nice tans… and no tan lines…

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Okay so really burned the back of my neck. Stupid haircut anyway. A quick shower soothes the worst but tomorrow is going to be iffy in the sun. Not sure what my plan was anyway. I’m mulling over a beer … Just might head out and wait to see if Laura calls…

I pause now at Boudin’s Bar for a Blue Moon Belgian White with orange. Boudin is a large famous bakery. They have a 5 foot bread alligator in the show window and a bread conveyor like Hole’s hanging basket system to bring the baked goods to the retail area.

It’s supposed to have the best sourdough around… the pizza the other night was ok…

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Mmmm Bread Lobster! Down, down, down…

So just because I enjoyed the Belgian white, the tap ran dry. So beer number two is a bottle of the Anchor Steam ale I tried the other day. Drinking alone seems to come a lot easier these days.

Had a bit of a text back and forth with L. I noted that between talking (or at least typing) to imaginary audiences and the ability to check FB, Twitter etc., the loneliness factor is pretty cut back. It’s a really different world than the last time I travelled alone. I haven’t even turned my old friend the tv on.

The bartender (female) has, as far as I can tell, colourful hinges tattooed on the inside of her elbow joint. With her sleeves rolled up just right it’s a fascinating look. Flashes without being flashy.

Watching bartenders is a fascinating sport. Makes you want to ask all sorts of questions, which is probably the most unhelpful thing you could do. And yes, I did finally ask about the tattoo. I didn’t ask about their measuring technique. It would be really interesting to do a quality control assessment on the amount of liquor put in each drink because they are moving fast and furious and between spillage, under pouring and a lot of what appears to be over pouring, the numbers just couldn’t add up. It looks worse than Bruce in a berry picking farm… The volumes produced don’t match the volumes sold… Mmmmm, berries.

Wow, just reviewing this makes me look worse than diva on a red carpet…”Look at me!” Anyway it was mostly written in those moments when normally you have to be social and talk to the people you’re with. No people, more writing… Maybe I can sell that to the Writers Guild as a motto or something. “Want to be a writer? Just get rid of the people! (Except for your Mom… She’s the only one who’s gonna buy your books…so stay on her good side.)” well it works for me; now all I have to do is get some readers. Maybe my Google Analytics will have taken a massive jump while I was gone and hundreds of thousands of people suddenly thought to Google ‘Bruce’ and became instantly infantilized by the drivel, thereby addicting them to the sole source of stultifying mental anesthetic that will allow them to continue their crushed existences in a world devoid of thought, hope or meaning … or then again maybe not.

I also wonder how the editors among us can get through the typos, auto-correct errors, colloquialisms, misspellings and otherwise atrocious grammatical constructions. I mean just where is their limit? Did they even make it this far? Are they doomed to never know the inner workings of my cavernously twisted intellect? Now there’s a big “Hmmmmmmm” for ya.