Many of you are not aware of today’s festival so I will share it with you. The night before May Day was the evening of a sacred festival often portrayed as coming from the old country which usually means the under civilized parts of eastern Europe long ago, but is usually to celebrate the darkness before the light of spring.
Walt Disney took it upon himself to create a bit of a spin by associating Walpurgisnacht [also known as Hexennacht] with halloween to create a night where Satan runs amok and parties with those above ground in his symphonic masterpiece Fantasia. Walt even put a soundtrack to this evening by using Night on Bald Mountain by Modest Moussorsky to help emotionally build upon the notion of how evil tonight is supposed to be. Walt is to Walpurgisnacht as Cecil B. DeMille is to the Old Testament. More people know the story of Moses as Cecil made it than who have read about it in the bible. Of course Walt had to end it with Ave Maria so keep from turning all the kids watching into evil incarnate, but I digress. Another fun fact was that Moussorsky wrote Night on Bald Mountain originally as a celebration of the Summer Solstice.
While I don’t have definitive proof I’m fairly certain Anton LaVey was influenced by the last segment of Fantasia and it’s imagery to claim today as the starting date for his Church of Satan in 1965. So maybe even old Anton was more influenced by Walt Disney than the true folk festival that tonight is where the locals would celebrate until sun up for the first day of May so they could work off their hangovers by participating in fertility rites that they probably had done the night before, where I doubt Satan was in attendance.
The festival was accompanied by night time bonfires. If you’d like to participate I suggest you light a few torches after dark [I personally recommend Home Depot’s] and look out into the night sky and realize that tomorrow is the awakening of spring and better days are ahead.
Or if you don’t you can watch Walt’s version below 🙂
I missed out on the Sutro Baths. A major fire in 1966 pretty much gutted the place and I was too young to have visited there let alone remember this place that through pictures was a glorious place to visit.
Opening in 1896, the Sutro Baths named after former Major Adolph Sutro who financed the build as well as the Cliff House next door created a natatorium similar to the old Roman baths, only well, bigger. We’re San Francisco and we have to one up everyone including the Holy Roman Empire. It was the largest indoor swimming pool establishment in the world at the time with one freshwater pool and six saltwater pools. You had hot pools, cool pools, tepid pools BIG pools and small pools, but it was more than just the water.
Sutro Baths was also home to the Musee Mechanique that I’ve written about before as well as a museum, concert hall that could hold up to 8000 people and an ice skating rink not to mention the obvious food vendors all around the place.
This was the type of place you would have expected to see young gentlemen in suits and hats with long mustaches and canes walking around with young ladies at their arms walking through the imported tropical palm trees gazing in amusement at the novelties that Adolph had brought back from his travels around the world. They even had their own Cliff House railroad to bring people from, “the city” to the outside lands more easily.
During high tide the pools would be refilled with roughly two million gallons of water within an hour and at low tide they would use a large centrifuge pump to do the same. It was like an 8th wonder of the world to many and it was know around the world. Sadly the operating costs got out of control and by the start of the 60’s only the skating rink remained.
[mappress mapid=”35″]Now it is a shell of what it used to be, but there is still some interesting things to find in that shell. The high tides bring up deep dwelling fish and invertebrates that get deposited in the remaining ponds. There is one specific area that you have to break the law by climbing a metal fence and walking down some rickety stairs to a small observation deck that was built on a rock that is home to thousands of sea anemones. There is a little bridge area that goes into a now sealed off cave where people where found dead inside with no apparent cause of death. In the pool on either side of the bridge at night you can see the phosphorescent flashlight fish as they are commonly know glowing in the pools. It has a very H.P. Lovecraft feel to it.
There is also the remains of the rock bridge that took you out to fisherman’s rock. It was destroyed because too many fisherman would be out there oblivious to the tides and get swept away. There is also Seal Rock which was famous for its seals and seal lions prior to their vacating for more upscale digs at Fisherman’s Wharf. It has been said that groups of Satanists and Black Magicians have even gathered in this place to hold rituals. Who knows? It would be fitting for this place.
Now if I only had the chance to go back in time to experience it in it’s heyday. Any Black Magicians out there want to lend me a hand?
In a lot of ways this year has been fun and not fun. While I haven’t been employed much and lost my last close relative this year, it’s also given me a sense of freedom. Our costs are down, we own our home and I’ve been able to share the things I like and dislike about San Francisco with all of you.
I’ll be continuing my work on the blog and finding new and inventive ways to make money in the coming year. I don’t expect to be the Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs of 2011, but I know it’s going to get better for me, you, all of us. I love all the comments I’ve been getting on Facebook from my friends who enjoy my writing. I just ask that maybe once in awhile, you post the comment here too [thanks Steve Lai and Mike Gunn who’ve taken that to heart!]
In the coming year you’ll see some changes such as the look and feel of the site will change a bit, I’ll get [hopefully] an Owle Bubo to better hold my iPhone camera for better pics and video and I’m hoping to get outside the Sunset District a little bit more. I want to bring more of the city to all of you and I like the feedback you’ve been giving me.
If you are a local business and would like to help me out by being a sponsor, contact me. You’ll get more than just what is seen under “Our Sponsors”. I’ll make you a professional banner ad for the sidebar free of charge, so if you’re interested, let’s talk.
Also keep in mind if you’re one of the smartphone types that I do have a mobile web app available if you just shoot a picture of the QR code [those funny pixels over to the right for those who don’t know about QR codes] with your phone you won’t have to type all those letters to get to the site and you can save it on your phone so that you can instantly access the latest news I have to offer.
Lastly, if you own a company that needs help with marketing, social networking, graphic design, website design or have some audio/video needs then contact me. My family would really like to see me have a job again.
What the hell did he just say? Wertsgeflauben. It’s a word I just made up and there’s a good reason for it. It’s a word you use when you want to tell people something that you don’t want them to understand. Weird things like this pop into my head at times, not like visions of Kathy Bates riding naked on a donkey singing Sondheim tunes [oh wait, where the hell did that come from?] While it sounds German, I’m sure it doesn’t mean anything in German. It’s just some stupid nonsensical word like “unbundled” which is what Apple is using instead of “discount”. I started my new job today with a tech company that writes apps for the iPhone. I figured I should probably get one so I started to look into it. I’m looking at the new iPhone 4 and running through choices and decide to select 16Gb black iPhone 4 [oooo all you mac groupies dontcha just wish you were hot like me!] I start through the process and it says $199 with a little 2 superscript next to it which I should have realized meant scroll to the bottom and read the fine print. Here’s the fine print:
Requires new two-year AT&T wireless service contract, sold separately to qualified customers; credit check required; must be 18 or older. Existing AT&T customers who want to upgrade from another phone or replace an iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS should check with AT&T or use www.apple.com/iphone/buy. For those who are not eligible for an early upgrade or who wish to buy iPhone as a gift, the prices are $499 (8GB), $599 (16GB), or $699 (32GB). In CA, MA, and RI, sales tax is collected on the unbundled price of iPhone. Service may not be available in all areas or at the signal strength, rates, speeds, or bandwidth as demonstrated. Wi-Fi Internet access required for some features; broadband recommended; fees may apply. Some applications, features, and services are not available in all areas. Visit www.wireless.att.com to check AT&T network coverage in your area. iPhone is configured to work only with wireless service provided by AT&T. Warranty information available at www.apple.com/legal/warranty/iphone. When available, transferring your mobile number to a different service provider will terminate your service with your existing provider; termination fees and other charges may apply. Some features may require added fees. Contact your service provider for more details. Use constitutes acceptance of Apple’s software license agreement and third-party terms located in the iPhone box. Unauthorized modification of your iPhone software violates the software license agreement. Inability to use an iPhone due to unauthorized modifications is not covered under your warranty.
OK, that shouldn’t have been a big deal because I noted that I was upgrading [after my two year contract ran out] so this shouldn’t matter. So this phony surcharge shouldn’t apply. When I put in my zip code they tell me that my tax is $56.12!!!! That works out to about 28% sales tax and I quickly clicked on the speak with a representative button and all that Coreen could tell me was that it was because it was “unbundled” and they had to charge the full price. She never told me what the full price was or how I could bundle it with something else so that I could pay only $17 [state tax] or $18 [San Francisco tax]. She just kept telling me that it was because of Uncle Sam that I had to pay that much. Which I suppose Uncle Sam is going senile and forgot that California sales tax is 8.5% and in SF it’s 9.5%. I finally told her thank you for being so unhelpful and closed the window and picked up the phone and called Apple. This time I got Ryan who sounded a bit more American than the person I had been typing with since his grammar was much better and he finally told me that “unbundled” meant “discount” after I told him that nowhere on the page does it say that $199 is the discounted price. This came after 5 minutes of him trying to get around me asking him what I could “bundle” it with to reduce the tax. I finally said, “Ah so you’re saying ‘unbundled’ when you really mean ‘discounted’. Ryan politely said yes, very softly because I think he realized what a scam it sounded like.
The worst part of all of this is that I’ve been an evangelist for the Apple line for over 20 years. I even gave Steve Jobs a selling point when I said in my previous blog From where I sit, “Apple Macintosh, it just works” long before they used it for their ads. I even said he could use it if he’d give me the choice of Apple products each year. He never returned my email by the way. I’ve gotten quite a few PC people to convert over to the Mac and they love it and they’ve thanked me for making their life easier.
So now let us all embrace the word that means nothing and everything, “Wertsgeflauben.” It will save you money and get you out of a bind. Didn’t get the work done that your boss asked you to? It was because of the wertsgeflauben. Can’t pay your bills? It’s because of the wertsgeflauben. What was that sound? The WERTSGEFLAUBEN! Geez, I think I’ll start writing Dr. Seuss style books now. I have created a monster.