Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

Mickey Dumpster

12 Oct



My Aborted Vacation

11 Oct


It was the simplest solution to not traveling long distance. Point Reyes National Seashore next to Marin County offered hiking in nature’s landscapes and time to read and reflect. I booked four nights at HI-Point Reyes Hostel, an inexpensive accommodation featuring bunk bed dormitories and kitchen. Over the phone, the receptionist wrote down information for a credit card. Nearly set, I purchased enough groceries for the four days and packed my bags.

I traveled from San Francisco on a Golden Gate Transit bus connecting to a Marin Transit bus in San Rafael. One of my work mates had taken the same trip some years ago and really enjoyed it. Other people I know have visited the park and praise the wildness and remoteness of the setting. It is rich in flora and fauna and offers a number of ecological terrains. Outside of campsites, three very small towns, Olema, Point Reyes Station, and Inverness, offer accommodations, but I assumed that was outside of my budget. The hostel, set within a lush coastal scrub terrain, is very close the shore.

My final stop by bus was to disembark at the Bear Valley Visitor Center. A beautiful wooden structure features a spacious audience hall complete with educational displays. I smiled at the sight of a couple taking a photograph, the husband posing next to a life-size figure of an bull elephant seal, the look of the seal’s open mouth suggesting the two were old friends. The volunteer ranger was attentive and gracious to a first-timer at the seashore. With the help of a second ranger a walking route was drawn for me from a map. The distance between Bear Valley and the hostel was roughly seven miles.

I was loaded down with food, clothing, and books in a backpack and two bags. I must have been a silly sight, certainly not that of an experienced naturalist. I crossed along the Horse Trail and the Fire Lane Trail. The first was a constant zigzag ascent, the second a less angled descent. As I started away from the Visitor Center I passed a large field enclosed within barbed wire fencing. A black-tailed buck spotted me from the other side of the fence and approached quickly as if we had an arranged meeting. But he stopped short of nearing the fence and went on his way once sizing me up.

After a certain distance the walk was grueling, mainly because of the weight I was carrying. I paced grimly and slowly. Several times I had to unload and breathe for a moment. The weather was perfect, though, and the verdant landscape a delight to see. I especially enjoyed the descent from forest to scrub, recognizing the scrub instantly from the smells. There was the sight of many birds, several rabbits, and a lone banana slug. Various insects brushed my body the entire way.

By the time I approached the hostel my body was aching, my steps were unsure and uneven. I plopped my bags on the floor at the reception desk. A cheerful receptionist invited me in and began the quick interview. I had decided to use a second debit/credit card. There would be an automatic deposit in two days ensuring that I had the funds to pay for the accommodation. With the card in hand she attempted to transact payment for the four nights. I explained the funds yet to appear, but she said that payment was upfront. There was no choice: I had to turn back. It was late afternoon. It would soon be dark. But I thanked her and proceeded to walk back to Bear Valley. I would take the road which automobile drivers use to reach the hostel. Before I could leave the reception area a British traveler, having overheard the exchange, asked me if she could help out with any financial arrangement, perhaps one night’s payment, as she would be leaving in two days. I thanked her but said no. She then proposed that she drive me back to the Visitor Center.

Embarrassed, I told Continue reading

Let’s Catch Up!

13 Jun

Dear Reader,

If you have been a follower, I must apologize for my absence since last November.  There have been several projects in the works.  You will learn of two of these here, while a third I must remain quiet about as it is in the prototype stage.

First, I will be speaking at Treasure Island Museum on Saturday, June 23rd, beginning at 10:30 a.m.  This is one in a monthly series called Little Island, Big Ideas, and my third address at this venue.  This will take place in the lobby of Building One and is free of charge.  You can also enjoy TreasureFest (formerly Treasure Island Flea) following the lecture.  There is a low admission fee.  The flea market offers live music and food truck fare.  The topic is as follows:

Halliburton’s Final Dare: Sailing the Pacific to the GGIE

Of the many ways to travel to the Golden Gate International Exposition, crossing the Pacific Ocean in a Chinese junk could have been the most unusual.  Nothing seemed beyond adventurer and writer Richard Halliburton’s spirit of “impulse and spontaneity.”  He had already circumnavigated the globe in an open cockpit biplane and swum the length of the Panama Canal.  Now, having built the Sea Dragon in a Hong Kong at war with Japan, he and his companion Paul Mooney embarked, intending to arrive at Treasure Island with much fanfare – but never did. His ill-fated trip is seen within the context of the Pacific war and the Exposition’s theme of trans-Pacific unity, positioning Halliburton as a gay man who shaped his own unique trajectory.


Noel Sullivan Papers, BANC MSS C-B 801. The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Second, LaborFest‘s 25th annual month-of-July programming is soon upon us.  I will be leading a walking tour with fellow historian Gifford Hartman on Saturday, July 21st, at 10:00 a.m.  We meet at One Market Street.  The event is free.  Here is a description of the tour:

Tom Mooney and the Preparedness Day Bombing Walk

During this walking tour, we visit several sites, which were integral to the unfolding of events following a bomb explosion on Steuart Street at Market Street on July 22, 1916. With fervor building to engage the United States in the war in Europe, businessmen in San Francisco embraced the cause, while labor leaders and the left denounced it. With the bomb killing ten people and wounding forty, no clear culprit was identified. But, two figures from the left, labor organizers and anarchists Tom Mooney and Warren K. Billings, were framed for the murder of the victims and spent many years in prison before being released. On this tour, we learn not only about the war between business and labor and open and closed union shops, but also about the divisive issues of American aggression in the Pacific region and against Mexico, crusading and yellow journalism in the city of San Francisco, and the mood of the country regarding World War I. The tour lasts approximately two hours. David Duckworth is an art and cultural historian, having lectured widely, including at California Institute of Integral Studies, Free University, LaborFest, New York University, Popular Culture/American Culture Association, and Treasure Island Museum. Gifford Hartman is an adult educator, labor trainer, working class historian, and has been a rank-and-file militant in various industries (some organized by the SEIU and ILWU, and other non-union shops) and presently works in the unorganized precarious education sector.


To see the full calendar of events, visit:

And then serendipity arrived recently.  I have a group of drawings on view at Hayes Valley Art Works.  The group exhibition opened last Friday evening as a “pop up” event and will continue for two or so more weeks.  All but one of the drawings have appeared at this blog.  The garden site is at Octavia Boulevard between Oak and Lily Streets.  There is a large industrial cargo container that serves as the exhibition space.  Their hours are Friday through Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Monday, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  You can learn more about the garden at:

I hope to see you in the near future!


28 Nov




Thoughts and Prayers

14 Nov





The Rabbit

15 Oct


Putt-Putt Trump

8 Sep


Nothing like a little R&R after a day’s work.  So, I created a figure we could explore with putting iron and golf ball at our local bar.



Now the ball didn’t just disappear into a hole.  It appeared at the other end of a PVC pipe running through a business suit, if you were a good shot.