Also I had gone to great pains to redesign an eye catching business card for Fan-Atic Press and have them delilvered to me before I left on the 15th of October. I wanted to have the 16th of October to just drive around San Fran and see the sights and get lots of photos. Also that was the day that I was to attend the party at Last Gasp Warehouse and get my badge for the show the next weekend.
Room With a View, of the airport.
I get some good sleep, since the bed is wonderful. Really makes a difference to old folks like me. I wake up at noon the next day and feak out. This was my one day to see San Francisco. I'm very comfortable, and could sleep all day....but my photo adventure calls to me, and I get up and out.
I see a sign Lumbard St. I remember that the Coit Tower is on that street along with that crazy downhill road that ever one takes photos of. I pull over and put in enough change for 1 hour. The max it will take. Then I see that I'm to climb hundreds of stairs to get to that tower. I'm at the base of the hill that is sits on. What the heck? I've got a bum toe, but this is for the sake of photography! People have climbed much higer for shots above the city or mountain range in worse conditions for a photo. Don't be a woose. Just do it! It doesn't even look that hard. So I start up the stairs with my large camera around my neck. (I was smart enough not to take my camcorder also.) I quickly realize that the steps are quite steep. I'm lucky that they are mostly in shade but the temperature was a nice 74 or something feels more like 84 when you are climbing stairs, are overweight, have a 10lb camera, and haven't done any exercise whatever for over a month due to a very sore toe. But the toe is still not upset over all this. I stop now and then to look around and see some fantastic views of the Bay Bridge and some sailboats. The stairs are going streight up and some lead off to small porches where people are living in apartments and houses with super awesome views of the bay. Not sure where they park as this is one step hill. Guess they walk down the steps to the level ground or up to some level ground I don't see yet.
I stop now and then to get photos of the bay and the houses around me. Sometimes I just pretent to stop and take photos so people can't tell I'm really stopping because I'm toally out of breath. My thighs are like jelly now. I'm starting to wonder why I'm doing this. Oh, yeah, for the photos. I have climbed so many stairs I can't begin to guess how many. I turn a curve and can see up about 5 more flights of stairs all at once. This lady in the red top, is near the top of that batch of stairs. I get a shot of her. I can't begin to show all the steps I'm to climb. I'm crazy, no doubt about it now. I finally, after many stops for air, see a landing, or level area above with no more stairs. I'm about 10 more steps from that area. A guy is coming down and must see how hard I'm working to get up these...he says, "You are only about 1/2 way now." I laugh and figure he is quite the jokester.....I get to the top of those last few steps and they just lead over to a house that looks like a yellow castle with a flag on top. Pretty fancy. But next to that are stairs leading up, up and up.
He wasn't joking.
I push ahead and just keep stopping more and more often. Not sure how, but I make it to the top! It has been 40 minutes. No way I'm going to make it back to my car before that hour on the meter is up.
So I make it to the top and see a concrete base with about 30 more steps. So I wonder around this circle at the top with a statue in the center of it. I get shots of other tourists looking at the view is very high up. And I'm catching my breath. My heart is starting to beat at least half as fast as it was. That's a good sign.
I go up the 30 steps and enter a very small, quicky mart, sort of, store. There was to be some murals and other things to see but all that seems to be ropped off. And you have to pay to take the elevator up to the top. No problem, I'm starting to really appreciate elevators. I pay my $6 for a ticket, and get 2 bottles of water. I'm more than a little dehydrated at this point. I can still almost focus my eyes and my thighs have turned from jelly to more of a strong rubber substance. I get in line with about 5 other folks and we hand over our ticket and get in this very small (heated?) elevator. This teenage kid is working the doors. He gets in and works the elevator. As we go up this lady in her mid 50's (About my age) says outloud, "Look theres a tip-box on the wall, can you imagine, paying a tip for someone to just work the elevator?" No one says a word. This is clearly something you keep in your head and don't release to the outside public. Especially with the person you are talking about working the very elevator that you are using. She doesn't seem to think that this guy is doing a "real" job. This tells everyone else in the elevator at least 2 things. One: This lady has never had to work a day in her life for the public or in any "job" that's not a "career". And Two: This lady says everything that pops into her head, right or wrong. Meaning she hasn't learned much in her 50+ years about social customs in public...etc.... The guy working the elevator, after a long pause....says,
"That's not for old ladies."
More silence. Then the same lady, still proving that she can't control that thin line between her brain and her mouth...., "Well, I'm not that old, I guess that was meant to hurt me." No more words are spoken. We get to what we think is the top, at long last, only to discover there are two more curving rows of stairs! Sheeesh. I make it up these and the last step is like an extra 4" of metal sticking up....just to test me, but I make it. The windows are sort of scratched and some have foggy areas. I somehow find some clear areas to shoot out of. Here are some of the shots I get at the top:
Once I think I've got as many shots as I can, I take the elevator back down.
Time for the decent. Going down all the stairs I thought would be a breeze. What I didn't figure on was the chance of falling to my death. One slip on the slightly wet stairs and I'd do a head first drop 30 feet before I'd even bounce down more stairs.....So I pretty much go down granny style. Screw the haters, and critics watching me, or jogging up or down like it was level. I held onto both rails and went down one step at a time.So be it. It only took me about 10 minutes to go down, but it was a harrowing 10 mintues. I kept pictureing me on the 6th page of the next days newspaper with a one-half inch column stating how some dumbass from KY, flew all the way to CA, to fall to his death for a handful of photos of the top of the city. Well, that didn't happen, I'm pretty sure. I got down to the bottom and found the car and didn't get a parking ticket. Life was still sort-of on my side! (The year before I'd gone up in the Space Needle in Seattle to later discover I'd gotten a parking ticket. Cost me $45.00 if I remember correctly.)
I drove around some more and decided to find my next destination. I'd plotted out how to find this Thai resturant that had Chicken Phai Thai......Hey, I deserved it!
I asked the lady at the resturant if I could use their restroom. It was in the back. I was sent through the kitchen and out a back alley to some restrooms in some hallway. Shared by other businesses I assume. Got this shot as I was going back to my table. Rushed it a bit so it's not totally in focus. Wasn't sure what they'd do if they noticed me taking the shot..The lady that was helping me was also eating and another older lady was with her. They asked me how I'd come to their resturant. Was I from the hotel accross the street? I said I'd looked them up on the internet, printed out the directions and found them. They were surprised at this. They thanked me for coming and said, "Tell all your friends to visit us."I saw a lady working on paying a parking meter outside my window. She was there for what seemed like 10 minutes. She came into the resturant and asked about the meter. She was told it only took quarters, and went back out to work with it some more.
I really enjoyed my meal, the small salad and about 5 glasses of water....and started my way back to my car. I saw a Japanese food store and went in. I wasn't able to read anything in the store except for this bottle of sweat. So I had to buy it and try it. I bought two bottles of regular water, two extremely good apples and the sweat . It was their version of Gateraid, and was pretty good, actually.
I got a few more shots around that area then headed on to my car. I got out my MapQuest maps and made my way to the Last Gasp Warehouse
UPDATE: I totally forgot that after I went to the Japanese Grocery that I rushed to The Cartoon Art Museum! It was closing soon so I had to rush. I got there 40 minutes before they closes so the girl gave me a big discount on the admission. It wasn't all that much anyway, like $6 I think for full price. I loved that place! (Christina Wald suggested it to me, thanks CW.) I saw some original Peanuts strips and so much more. I rushed into their store and bought a book with pencil art of Gene Colan. I'd tried to meet him twice at San Diego Comic Con but both times couldn't find his area in the Artists Alley. Great book. Here is a shot I took near The Cartoon Art Museum: They wouldn't let me take any photos in the museum, of course. Every time I go to San Francisco I'll be sure and go back and see it again.
Jump to Part II: http://slambangcomicsnews.blogspot.com/2009/11/last-gasp-comix-warehouse-or-part-ii-of.html
Last Gasp Warehouse and Party