Face — A Self Portrait


Self Reflection: Snapshot of an interactive Video Mosaic, MOPA, San Diego, 2016

That’s me standing in front of the Self Reflection video mosaic, one of the exhibits in the interactive digital gallery at the Museum of Photographic Art, San Diego (MOPA). My image is blended interactively onto a background mosaic of mug shots from the “7 Billion Others” project. The exhibit works like those concave silly mirrors in the Fun House; it’s irresistible.


Some of the “7 Billion Others”, (Detail from above photo), MOPA, 2016

Seven billion and counting; that’s how many humans are sharing the planet. The“7 Billion Others” project was photographer Yann Arthus-Bertran’s attempt to better understand the inhabitants of the planet, starting with the African country of Mali.

MOPA is in beautiful Balboa Park in the Casa de Balboa building, along with the Model Railroad Museum and the San Diego History Center. The current exhibit at MOPA is Trilogy: Black and White photographic prints by Mexican photographer Flor Garduño: Bestiaries, Fantastic Women and Silent Natures.

Enjoy yourself in the Interactive Digital Gallery, and then take a reflective tour of Ms. Garduño’s photographs—they are stunning, and beautifully mounted.

Here is a link to a short video of Self Reflection.

Cheers, Carto

Follow this link to read the many entries in WordPress Photo Challenge: Face.


Posted in Photography | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Earth — Oaks in the Watershed


Taking in the View of the Watershed, iPhone6, 2016

California oaks from a viewpoint overlooking the Peninsula Watershed off Interstate 280 in San Mateo County between Palo Alto and San Francisco.


California Oaks, Ralph H. Percival Viewpoint, Interstate 280, San Mateo, CA

Percival was a California Highway patrolman killed in the line of duty.


To see other views of Earth visit the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth

Posted in Other, Photography, Travel | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Admiration — Libraries and Antiquarians


Red Hoop and the Bing Wing of Green Library after a Spring Rain, Stanford, 2016

Admiration: I like a big sprawling library with open stacks, and Green Library is one of my favorites. Thousands and thousands of books on shelves to pull out and browse. There is a light on in the stacks; maybe someone is browsing.

Today I’m reading Anne Carson’s long poem/play red doc > . Reading this strangely titled book is like solving a hard puzzle. I bought it 2 or 3 years ago and am about half-way through.  Ms. Carson said in an interview that she worked 7 years, or so on this book. Perhaps, slow reader and slow writer make a good match.


Sweet Hall is visible from Red Hoop Fountain across Meyer Lawn (former site of Meyer Library)

Red Doc > is about Geryon, who is a red-winged monster. In his youth, Geryon herds magical musk-oxen on a Greek Island that is about to be attacked by that terrible despoiler Herakles. But, Geryon survives the attack and changes his name to G. He fast-forwards in time to the present, goes to war in the mid-east, falls in love with a man very like Herakles, and, ultimately,is heart-broken. Sadly, this poem appears headed towards a tragic ending. Maybe that is a reason for my slow progress in reading.

Rescuing a play from antiquity is a job for a McArthur genius or a mad-woman. Not many would labor so many years to create  a new poem from a fragment of a lost work by an obscure Greek named Stesichoros.

I admire persistence and genius and Anne Carson has both. I recommend her poems, and hope you read faster than I do.

Cheers, Carto

The theme is Admiration — check out this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.

Posted in Classics, Poetry, Translation | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Dinnertime — Lemon Tart at the Museum

Lemon Tart and a view, Lunch at the De Young Museum, SF, iPhone6 composite.

Lemon Tart and a view, Lunch at the De Young Museum, SF, iPhone6 composite.

Lunch is Lemon Tart with a coffee chaser. Across the Music Concourse, the California Academy’s roof garden is green and beautiful in the brilliant spring sun. I’m having a snack while I wait to visit the Oscar de la Renta Retrospective at the De Young, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

I can report that the show is beautifully staged, and even the guys (one in a 2016 Warriors basketball shirt) were having fun. It was a cell phone extravaganza because photos were allowed throughout the exhibition.

The show is a must see, if you are in San Francisco on or before May 30..

Cheers, Carto.

Here is a link to Dinnertime at WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge..

Posted in Photography, Travel | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Future — Our future is before us


Our future — Looking at San Francisco from Treasure Island in the Bay

Treasure Island Job Corps students ignore the Saturday rain and take selfies of San Francisco.

Today, I grabbed the camera and headed out to take some rainy day photos — the photo above was taken on Treasure Island.

April is poetry month.

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild-plum trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.
— There will come soft rains, Sara Teasdale (1920)

Sara Teasdale was an American lyric poet. She was born Sara Trevor Teasdale in St. Louis, Missouri, and used the name Sara Teasdale Filsinger after her marriage in 1914. Wikipedia

Cheers, Carto

Click the link to read other interpretations of the theme: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Future.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot — A Good Read

Public Art - Eagles in Flight, Palo Alto, CA

Public Art – Postal Service Eagles in Flight, Palo Alto, CA

WTF–the novel introduces the reader to SineCo,  an international digital search company that is planning to kidnap and hold for ransom all the data that you and I have given to social media, banks and governments. The massive SineCo computers are ready to go online and it seems that nothing can stop them. Only an obscure collaborative group of scientists who communicate on a blog called Dear Diary are opposed to SineCo. Doomsday is approaching, and world calamity is at hand.

As the novel opens, the protagonists are scattered about the world, deeply involved in their own problems and unaware of their role in David Shafer’s techno-thriller. But, soon they must come together to help Dear Diary block the SineCo’s nefarious scheme.

Lydia, a Persian American working for a NGO in Mandalay, Myanmar, inadvertently observed a sinister group of men in dark suits when she visited a remote upcountry village. Unfortunately for Linda, the Suits’ bodyguards spotted her, and Lydia’s life quickly turned sour— her driver disappeared, her visa expired without explanation, and back home in LA her father’s computer is hacked. Dad is arrested because child pornography was found (the police were anonymously tipped off). As Lydia gets ready to leave Myanmar, a mysterious email from Dear Diary popped up on her computer screen. It’s an offer of help getting her dad out of jail. Well, if it helps Dad, maybe I could…

Meanwhile, Leo is having a breakdown in Portland, Oregon. Leo is a slacker with a trust fund, and he is weighted down by the troubles of the world. He has just been fired from his job in a daycare center. Moreover, his sisters say he’s incompetent; they demand that he go into rehab, and may push to have him put away in an institution. Leo is a pot head and a global conspiracy nut — his current obsession is a world movement called Dear Diary.

In New York, Mark Devereaux is a down-at-the-heels self-help guru who is the inspirational sidekick of Jack Straw the billionaire owner of SineCo. Jack wants Mark to pitch a new data collection project where people sign-up to wear contact lenses that gather data on the their daily activity. The offer is lucrative and appeals to Marks’ desire to live the luxurious life. Mark is uncertain about joining Jack Straw, but maybe he will talk things over with Leo, who was once, a long time ago, his best friend.

The author of Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot is David Shafer, who lives in Portland and is a fan of all that makes Portland a great place. He was asked about his novel:

“A year ago, I would have resisted the notion that it was a techno-thriller,” Shafer says. “I always wanted it to be seen as a novel of ideas and characters. I’m not as snooty about that right now. The techno-thriller shape, the conspiracy story, brings in a lot of readers. The depressive white guy in Portland story, you can push some of that if you earn your readers’ attention. I’m perfectly comfortable in the techno-thriller as long as the reader finds more than that after the first few chapters.”
Portland Tribune, David Shafer Chuffed by Success, 2014.

This is a well-written book with characters that held my interest. It’s time to take a break from the non-stop political headlines, and escape into a good novel. Let me suggest David Shafer’s 2014 début — Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot (I’m referring to the novel, not the unrelated movie of the same name starring Tina Fey).

Cheers, Carto

P.S. If you want the real skinny about military slang, let me suggest: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: The Real Language of the Modern American Military (Paperback) By Alan Axelrod, which is sold by Kepler’s our local independent book store.

Posted in Fantasy/Adventure | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Wow — Spring Is Early This Year

Feel's like spring, Gamble Garden, Palo Alto

Feel’s like spring, Gamble Garden, Palo Alto

The iPhone camera was overwhelmed by this bed of tulips at Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden in Palo Alto.

Wow is the word of the day. A perfect day to get out of the library, explore the outdoors, read a poem in the park, take a few pictures — anything, but not indoors. Spring fever, I call it.

With me I’m taking Spring Issue 22 of the Two Lines Press Journal, World Writing in Translation. The issue just arrived by mail and I can’t wait to explore the contents.

Eduardo Chirinos is a peruano who teaches at the University of Montana in Missoula— the university campus lies at the foot of Mount Sentinal near the Bitterroot Valley, which recently has been ravaged by forest fires.

Chirinos writes about Autumn, the fire season in Montana:

1 Smoke clouds the September sky, turning
The moon red and blocking the view of the
Mountains. To console myself I think
About the start of autumn, the blazing red
In Titian’s late phase. The radio warns
Of the perils of exercise and venturing
Outside the house. I write about animals
To forget my body, to escape from myself.

2 The smoke blocks the view of the mountains.
Now I understand how much I needed them.
They manage to keep their green in September,
Their hushed and discreet presence. …
— Translated by G. J. Racz, Two Lines Press, 2015

Read more poetry. And take your camera along when you go for a walk.

Photos by Carto at Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden in Palo Alto, March, 2015. Click any image to start a slide show.

Word Of the Week (WOW) is a weekly meme created by Heena Rathore P. , it’s a fun way to improve one’s vocabulary by learning new words every week.



Posted in Poetry, Spanish, Translation | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments