@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz

Oct 12, 14 @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz

Believe it or not, after living in San Francisco for nearly 8 months (time flies!) I had still yet to visit Alcatraz. One of the top tourist destinations of the city, I figured I would wind up going with one of the many visitors we’ve had stay with us. No dice. So when a few weeks ago I saw a post about a new Ai Weiwei exhibit opening in the notorious prison, I knew my time had come.

For those who are unfamiliar, Ai Weiwei is a celebrated Chinese mixed-media artist whose work is deeply rooted in social, political and cultural issues. He’s been openly critical about the Chinese government’s stance on democracy and human rights which has led to him being harassed and imprisoned. He is not allowed to travel without official permission. He has become a symbol of sorts for the struggle of human rights in China.

Further motivation to go: I missed Ai Weiwei’s installation in Toronto at Nuit Blanche 2013, but perhaps a few of you saw ‘Forever Bicycles’? Incredible stuff.

The artist’s works and what they represent made this exhibit the kind of thing that even if I had been to Alcatraz, I’d go back again just to see this.

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Labor Day Weekend: Monterey Bay

Sep 15, 14 Labor Day Weekend: Monterey Bay

My husband Matt and I’s birthdays are two days apart, so we’ve got into the habit of exchanging gifts with each other on the same day. This year when it came time to exchange, Matt encouraged me to go first.

I opened up a bag full of colouring books geared towards adults (yay!) complete with a set of pencil crayons (colored pencils for my American readers). I actually talked about wanting this, because I find colouring is a great way to zone out and unwind from the pressures of the real life. He then handed me an envelope and said, “This is really your present.”

I peeled open the flap and inside was a one pager describing a weekend getaway in Monterey Bay complete with an in-suite couples massage. Awesome, right? I couldn’t help chuckling as I handed Matt his gift, an RCAF zip-up and an envelope containing the exact same thing except instead of a massage, I opted for a 1.5 hour flight with an instructor. Matt’s a huge aviation enthusiast and I’m a massage enthusiast, so it kind of makes sense where we deviated. Too funny.


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Biking from the City to Sausalito

Apr 14, 14 Biking from the City to Sausalito

The three superficial things which I would hate to live without are my laptop, smartphone and bike.

When the mover dropped off my big red bike in pieces, I struggled to put her back together. She survived the long journey, but has some battle scars on the seat, gear switch and fenders.  Thus she sat unused in storage for the first couple weeks of being here, while I continued to put the rest of my life together.

Her time came when my friend Katie invited me to bike to Sausalito this past Saturday – I simply couldn’t say no. Luckily, San Francisco is a bike friendly city despite the calve muscle killing hills, so finding a repair shop was easy. I didn’t have to wheel my chainless bike far to find a pro to get her up and running again. Market Street Cycles down the street from me had her road-ready within hours. A tune/set-up and a new bike chain cost me about $60.

Worth every penny.


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Disneyland: The Happiest Place on Earth!

Mar 07, 14 Disneyland: The Happiest Place on Earth!

Visiting California’s Disneyland was one of the things we decided to do very early in the planning stages of our trip. My road trip buddy Megan had never been to Disney and I first learned this minutes after meeting her 14 years ago. Let’s just say this was a long time coming. We picked up some epic shirts to wear from Hot Topic at the Las Vegas outlets we visited a couple days before, which from an economic standpoint was a wise thing to do (that is if like us you insist on wearing your excitement).

We checked in to our Anaheim hotel late (around 11pm) on Wednesday night after our swift visit to LA. This was the first time our $60 or less a night hotel room scared me. Maybe it was the reviews of surrounding hotels that I read that had my senses on high alert, or the fact that when I went to open the door to check-in I was directed to the somewhat sketchy night window, either way I didn’t sleep so well that night.

After slipping my credit card into a slot below bullet-proof glass to check-in, we hustled to our room with our valuables and dead bolted ourselves in.

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