Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pier 39 Sea Lions

When I was in elementary school, we took a field trip to the zoo. I remember telling the group I was excited to see the seals, as 8-year-old me imitated the delightful bark. Horrified, a chaperone glared at me and said in a biting tone:

"What would your mother say if she heard that?"
Confused, I thought it best to just wander to another group.

17 years of wandering later, I ended up at Pier 39, where San Francisco is wishing the native sea lions a happy 22nd anniversary.

Happy 22nd Anniversary Sea Lions

We're currently in the off-season, where only the sea lions who live here hang out on the docks. The rest of the docks are full at certain times of the year. I'm not sure why they take off, but my guess is they're the sea lion equivalent of traveling consultants.

There were plenty of people out taking pictures. But for every picture taken, there was a mini-dialog of what the sea lions would say if they were people:

  • "look at that one, he's all like bro, bro get out of my way"
  • "haha, this one's like bro, what bro? napping here, bro"
  • "oh my god! that sea lion goes better not ask me to move"
  • "check him out, he's like don't even try it"

Puzzled at this seemingly universal desire to personify sea lions, I wondered what their mothers would think as we headed back.

note a few more photos await on flickr

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Street Artists & Caricatures

Saturday evening seems to always be a booming time for Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. The tourists fill the sidewalks, stopping only for crosswalks and to group around entertainers. We blended right in with the tourists and spotted a caricature artist for $5 a face and went for it.

Try 1

Our first artist was a jokester for sure. An expert at small talk and one truly enjoyed the art of making the subjects of his artwork cringe with nervous laughs in discomfort. The topics of outsourcing, the US's viable industries for employment, and H1-B visas were all discussed. Naturally, computer jokes were also present.

So, if you went on a camping trip in the woods, do you think you'd take your laptop?

The final result? Yikes!

Artist 1

Try 2

Recognizing from the first portrait that taking the long way back home may be a good idea for our health, we stumbled upon another artist. His price was $7/face, 40% more.

This artist's talents were more focused on the canvas than smalltalk, and he knew it. Imitating a creator for some of the session, we were party to some Easter-eve comedy.

We'll just give him some weird, introverted skill like painting, that'll shut him up.

Although we weren't certain he wanted to be there after some comments.

This is cutting into my Miller Time

Amazed at how fast he finished, we commented on the speed as he handed us the finished artwork. His response?

Yah, about as fast as I could drink a quart of beer.

Artist 2

And so went the great 2012 $24 caricature experiment. A recurring thing? Perhaps.

Weird Fact If you've never gotten a caricature before (I hadn't), it's unbelievable how many people will stop to look at what's being done.