Fiona Apple at The Warfield in San Francisco – September 11, 2012

Tonight, the 11th of September, Fiona Apple and her wonderfully talented band graced the stage of the Warfield (coincidently or deliberately, I am unsure) at 9.11pm to be exact.

The tiny framed songstress was greeted by applause and ecstatic screams from the faithful fans that had gathered to see their goddess (a testament one loyal fan shouted to her beloved Fiona).

Manically and beautifully Fiona sang from the depths of her body and soul, every muscle and tendon in her petite body on full-flex through her most powerful notes. The ghostly and passionately wonderful sounds her body creates through voice and her instrument, backed perfectly by her band.

Fiona’s on-stage presence breaking through to each person as her eyes, at first fixated directly in front and centre of her, later finding others in the crowd. Only having the words thank you, repeating them over and over again. Apologising for not having any other words, professing the need for ‘more’ words, Fiona was humbled by the crowds reaction throughout the night.

Each word she sang and each sound she made, sinking itself in and over and through my very being. Thank you Ms Fiona Apple.

P.S. Please visit Australia soon.

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How many people does it take to put a bike onto a bus-bike-rack in SF?

Answer: Three (or more correctly four).

Three people need to be foreigners. More specifically there needs to be one Australian, one German and one French person. There also needs to be one American bus driver to scream instructions at the foreigners.

San Francisco buses have bike racks available on most of their buses. These racks accommodate two bikes only, so if the bus you want to jump on with your bike already has a full rack you will have to wait for the next bus or cycle up that dreaded hill you want to bus over instead.

If there are no bikes in the rack you will need to unlatch the rack from the bus. There is a silver handle in the middle of the rack that you squeeze towards the upper part of the rack to disengage the locking mechanism. You lower the rack, place your bike on the rack and secure it by pull the metal pole (left side of rack if facing the front of the bus) up over the wheel as high as possible.

See information on the MUNI website for a photos, video and instructions.

After the Australian unlatches the rack, the German and the French ones load the bike.

Laughing and loading, multi-tasking.

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A day hike at Point Reyes National Seashore

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On Sunday, I ventured out of the city of San Francisco. Catching a bus and two trains to meet my friends in Berkeley, before driving an hour northwest to get to the Bear Valley Visitor Centre.

We planned to hike part of the Point Reyes National Seashore and did just that. We were sufficiently prepared for a six-hour hike with our hiking boots, water, food, sunscreen and cameras.

We hiked for just under six-hours and approximately 23km, which included a lunch break at one of the beaches along the route.

Along our hike, we saw slugs and tiny lizards, birds, seals and even a bobcat. (Though one member of our group is adamant it was a bobcat, the rest of us are still not 100% convinced that it was. Maybe it was just a large feral domestic cat.)

More information about Point Reyes National Seashore can be found here.

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Safety Warning:
If you are going to head out to do a day hike anywhere, including Point Reyes, please note the following:
Take sufficient food and water supplies.
Wear proper clothing and hiking shoes.
Plan appropriately, look at the national/state park websites, look at weather warnings, tide information etc.
Of important note at Point Reyes (and other ocean/cliff park areas): Check tide tables before walking on beaches. Rising water can trap you against a cliff with no possibility of escape.
The pounding surf and rip currents are treacherous, especially at McClures Beach, Kehoe Beach, and Point Reyes Beaches, North and South. Stay away from the water.

One of my hiking buddies mapped our hike here.

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Stairways of San Francisco

I love to walk, but I am not a fan of hills. I make the mistake time after time; of walking up them really quickly. This isn’t always the best idea.

As you may know, San Francisco is a relatively hilly place to visit. Though, some of these hills have had stairways built into them for convenience. As much as I don’t like hills, I actually love stairs.

San Francisco has some amazing stairways to visit. Climbing them is met with the satisfaction of reaching the top and usually with the added bonus of a different view of the many sides of this great city. Descending staircases can also lead to great sights.

There are many stairways worth mentioning, though I will stick to two in this blog.

The Moraga Tiled Stairway
Moraga and 16th

Located in Inner Sunset, these set of stairs are a beautiful mosaic-tiled stairway that ascends up towards Grand View Park.

Josh explains the beginnings of the stairs in more detail.

Or check out: http://www.tiledsteps.org

Mile Rock Stairway

Lands End

This stairway is a off the Lands End Trail and leads down to the Mile Rock Beach. From the beach you can see the Mile Rock Lighthouse. There is also a maze (labyrinth) down in this area of Mile Rock Beach as well.

http://www.sfgate.com/outdoors/article/Mile-Rock-Beach-at-Lands-End-3233707.php

Get your walking shoes, your camera and your friends and walk around this amazing city. Climb a staircase.

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Sunset over the Sunset.

Local San Franciscans will let you know that the Sunset is lying. You don’t usually see the sunset in Sunset, they say.

The sunset this twilight proved them wrong, even if it is the first I have had the pleasure to watch from my hill. Usually layers of fog block my view of the Pacific Ocean.

The following pictures were taking at the top of my wonderful hill which overlooks Sunset. After cycling up the hill home, I dropped my bike in the house and ran up the very top to capture the sunset.

If it is a clear afternoon/evening, you may want to spend some time at the top of Grand View Park or Golden Gate Heights Park enjoying the view.

7 percent of this blog post contained the word sunset.

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Golden Gate at sunset. Sailing on a clipper ship.

I had the most wonderful night with antipasto platters and wine while sailing on a clipper ship at sunset towards the Golden Gate Bridge. This was a wonderful present given to me by my new landlord/housemate.
The photos will tell a better story.

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Two Australians, two Germans and two Canadians walk into a bar…

Last night, I had the pleasure of hanging out with some amazing people at a jazz bar in the Mission, in San Francisco. No cover charge, cheap drinks and a live jazz band with the most amazing singer.

Laughter and much dancing ensued.

The bar is called Blondies Bar and No Grill.
http://www.yelp.com/biz/blondies-bar-and-no-grill-san-francisco

I will definitely be back there with my dancing shoes again.

One Australian, one German and one Canadian in this picture.

Thank you Annika B. Otto for this picture.

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My European exploits have not gone unnoticed

I am mentioned in this article as the tiny Australian woman.

http://www.twofeetthick.com/2012/07/rockin-in-the-old-world-12-pearl-jam-france-to-sweden/

Excerpt:
Inside, I was in roughly the same spot as the night before, perhaps more directly in front of Stone in the second “row,” a pair of Americans and the tiny Australian woman who’d bravely organized the ad-hoc Berlin 10C line-up directly in front of me. They’d slept out and were exhausted but determined to enjoy, I was feeling ok, but wary of the crowd which was pushy even during X (which again featured a duet on “Devil Doll” from Ed.)

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Heidelberg to Berlin to San Francisco

I headed by train from Munich to Heidelberg.
Only the previous day, I had been told that Germans are always on time and to be on time for my train otherwise they would leave without me. Alas, this was not the case for my journey.

The train out of Heidelberg was delayed, only to be cancelled later. Then, getting on a different train to get to another station to meet up with our original train, only to told that we would have to get another train to Stuttgart to meet our original scheduled train. Taking into note, that I don’t speak German and all the announcements on that train were only in German!

Finally at Stuttgart, late and definitely having missed my train onto to Heidelberg. Long story short, I made it to Heidelberg and got to hang out with some energetic little kids for a few days.

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Another set of trains to Berlin, where I stayed in an amazing airbnb place. I relaxed in Berlin for a couple of nights before making my way to San Francisco.

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After my 11 hour flight, sitting next to another SFSU student, but a California native resulting in being offered me a lift to my hostel. Win for me!

Fun times with my hostel room buddies, with some added stress thrown in from searching a a house.

Though, I have found a lovely house to live in now on top of a very steep hill. I have my new bike and I am settling in well. More SF news to come soon.

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Fog covering my view of the Pacific Ocean. This is the view from my street.

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My view from my street when there is no fog.

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Munich. I cannot call it München. The locals say I cannot pronounce it properly.

Sicily to Munich, sun to rain. Munich greeted me with overcrowded trams and drizzly rain. I felt at home, it felt like the Brisbane winter I had left 3 weeks prior, except it was Munich summer and it should have been sunny.

Day two the skies cleared and I hired a bicycle for the three remaining days that I had in Munich. This was the best thing I could have done. Riding around the back streets of Munich was so much fun and much more my style of travel.

I hung out in the Deutsches Museum for a long while. Which is filled with many wonderful things, aeronautics, chemistry, electricity, trains, robotics, tunneling, forensic science, physics, the list goes on. You need many many days to fully appreciate this museum.

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Ice cream to finish my final night in Munich. Tasty.

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