Deathly Cool

27 November 2001

Well, you guys are just going to stop reading me, I'm sure, because I'm such a big fat liar. (I can hear you, Timprov: "You're not a big fat anything." Yeah, I know.) Yesterday we went to Stanford and showed Sarah where Mark works (both places).

Here's the view from Gates Computer Science Building.

And another view from Gates. This is the balcony where Mark can eat his lunch on his Stanford days, if he's so inclined. The red tile roofs are typical of Stanford.

Here's Sarah in the quad, with the Rodin sculptures of the Burghers of Calais. We ran into Mark's advisor as we were walking along. He said he almost didn't recognize me, because I looked so deathly cool in my shades.

Oh, excuse me. I always look deathly cool. Shades or no shades.

So then we drove up the Peninsula to SF-MoMA -- Sarah was interested in the Ansel Adams exhibit, and we were all willing to go and see that and the "post-Latin American" exhibit (which means post-colonial) and the Judith Rothschild exhibit and the organic/inorganic exhibit. (Which all appeared inorganic to me, but what do I know from organic/inorganic, I'm just the daughter of a chemist.)

The problem I kept having with the Ansel Adams exhibit is that there were some pictures that were beautiful pictures and some that were merely pictures of beautiful natural scenery. I hate to say, "Heck, I could do that!" as a disqualifier, because art is not defined as What M'ris Can't Do. But on the other hand, Adams doesn't get credit for Yellowstone. There were some pictures I thought he could have cropped two inches inwards or outwards and made no difference to how good a picture it was, and that bothered me. There were others that struck me as Just Right, though.

I'm not sure why I'm so much more critical of photography. I think it's because the angle, the framing, choosing the time and the lighting, is the art, whereas in painting it's part of the art. It seems -- and I await e-mail telling me how wrong I am -- that there are fewer elements to get wrong or right in a fairly traditional photo. I mean, when you're not messing with tinting or negatives/false colors or overexposure or things like that. It's pretty much all composition. I'm trying to think of a writing analogy, and I just don't seem to be able to make it work.

I also think you can spot the real art students by how they react to paintings. There are lots of people around there who dress like art students but seem more concerned with the image than with the images. In a way, it's not fair -- writers don't have whole train cars full of people reading the same book and reacting to it differently, so you can't watch us learning in contrast to each other. But, I'm told, life isn't fair, so deal with it. Some analogies don't work.

After we had looked at the other exhibits, we headed north to Sarah's hotel room and managed to make it north of Market without ever even getting on Market. Hooray for us! It did help that none of the appropriate streets were barricaded.

This is the western view from Sarah's hotel room, with large church and Mount Tam and the headlands in the background. Chinatown street below.

Middle view from Sarah's hotel room. Coit Tower and San Francisco housing.

Eastern view from Sarah's hotel room. The Bay, Oakland, and occasionally passing ferries. We got Sarah's stuff dumped off and then headed over to House of Nanking where, lo, many wonderful things appeared on our table. Potstickers and sesame chicken and stir-fried [green stuff] and ginger beef lettuce wraps and stuffed mini-portobellos. I couldn't eat a lot of any of them, but I ate a little of each and a little white rice. And then Mark and I said good-bye to Sarah and headed home in time to get some work done and watch the Simpsons and write e-mail and read.

Much to do here. Catching up on house stuff and writing. Running around doing various and sundry necessary external things. And resting up. I've felt like I was sent for and couldn't come in the evenings; I'd like to get caught up on sleep a little better.

Oh, one more thing: congratulations to some guy named Craig on his engagement to my friend Jen! (Craig is the privileged one here, and he'd better not forget it.)

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