Signs & Scenes…2012

Well here it is, December 1. 2012, and another year has almost  come and gone. To wrap up 2012, I offer over seventy new photos from the year in Signs & Scenes Gallery 2012 

Thanks to the editing assistance of a few readers in putting it all together. I did add a few photos since our last review.


Reaction to my “Butts in Crack” photo (See What the…?) prompts me to release another picture demonstrating that a story in a photo all depends upon how you look at it and the context of the times.


  • A grocery store downspout
  • Much discussion at a recent City Council Meeting about water runoff and flooding
  • Someone with a misdirected sense of litter disposal

And Voila! I have a title for the photo…

"BURP!" © Frank Simpson

What the…?

It has been almost two years since I explored any part of the Lynch Creek Trail, west of McDowell. I quit mostly as I got tired of the graffiti, garbage, etc.  Monday morning I decided to venture down the trail as far as the Weir. Not much has changed except that there is not as much graffiti as before, although the gang graffiti has taken over in places.  I did note that the trail is getting narrower as the vegetation takes over. 

But the point of this post was a very unusual scene I encountered on the trail.  About 50 feet ahead of me, a man was on his knees with his back towards me. I stopped and waited to see what he was going to do. Eventually, he got up and rode away on his bicycle.

This is what he left on the trail, as documented by my pocket camera…

"Butts in Crack" © Frank Simpson

What the…?

Giving up smoking perhaps?

Well, upon closer examination, they turned out to be electronic cigarettes…  

"Modern Cigarette" © Frank Simpson

Perhaps a part of some group therapy exercise? An offering to the anti-smoking gods?


Shopping Cart Protest in Petaluma!

Given the unrest in various quarters of our society, both locally and nationally, it was no surprise that a group of shopping carts decided to occupy a local shopping center. They were objecting to the tracking devices, wheel locks, and other restrictions being placed on some of their fellow carts, thus inhibiting their unrestricted movement around and about town… 

CARTS HAVE RIGHTS! © Frank Simpson

The protest was also a warning to future carts at shopping centers under construction that it could happen to them also if they did not stand up for their rights to freedom of movement…

Carts on Strike! © Frank Simpson

What will happen next? I hear rumors that plastic bags are organizing! They are angry about proposals to ban them and to otherwise limit their freedoms. They are particularly upset over treatment such as this…

Shopping Bag Abuse! © Frank Simpson

Yes, indeed! Things are very interesting in Petaluma on this April 1, 2012.

Happy April Fool’s Day

Santa Rosa’s Bicycle Obelisk aka Cyclisk

We first noticed this structure a month ago while driving north on 101 through Santa Rosa. From that perspective we could not make out what it was precisely but it was certainly tall and looked as if it was composed of scrap metal. It caught our attention because the sun happened to be at an angle that made it glow. 

Finally, last Friday, we decided to take a closer look and located it on Santa Rosa Avenue near the new Nissan dealership.

There were no identifying signs or placards. 

We later learned, courtesy of Mr. Google, that the structure was part of the public arts program in Santa Rosa and that some of the funds came from the new Nissan dealership. Mr. Google also  provided links to sites that offer a fuller explanation of how it came to be.  There is also one news story from the Press Democrat about a protestor who got stuck while climbing it last November. (See related links below)

It is something to behold…

It is all of five stories tall and is composed of used bicycle parts welded to form an obelisk…or what in this case is called a Cyclisk. Parts from 340 bicycles and one tricycle make up the welded structure. 

Hmmm. I wonder…. If a bicycle store were to participate in the public arts program, would the structure be made with….Oh, never mind! 

Enjoy the photos…


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Press Democrat November 2011, Protester gets stuck climbing bicycle obelisk 

California Artists Build Obelisk Out of Bicycles  Mark D. Grieve and Ilana Spector

Artists Build Incredible Obelisk Out of Hundreds of Bicycles  Link:

Digital Books…the next generation reading format?

FIRSTIt was charcoal drawings on a cave wall (a precursor to modern graffiti)

NEXTIt was writing on scrolls

THEN CAMEThe Codex or, if you prefer, the bound book, magazine, or newspaper

TODAYWe move to digital text?

Delivering the “written word” digitally, as opposed to hard copy books, magazines, or newspapers is touted as the next generation in publication, replacing the codex (a.k.a. books & magazines) which has prevailed since the Middle Ages. There is considerable speculation that books and book stores may become obsolete. See The Bookstore’s Last Stand

By way of a brief history, the codex replaced the cumbersome scroll as a means of recording and publishing information.  It was considered a major advance as the pages were written on both sides and could hold twice as much information and text as the cumbersome scroll. It also allowed the reader quick access to any part of the publication by simply turning or marking a page. 

The codex or book, if you will, was the breakthrough technology of its day.

  • I suspect that the transition from the scroll to the codex may have presented some initial difficulties for scholars and monks.  Change is always a bit of a challenge regardless of the time or place!
  • YepTo reinforce the point, consider the situation portrayed in this Medieval Help Desk video when a monk sought technical advice on how to use the new book technology. 

Turning now to the 21st Century, it has now been a little over two weeks since I announced that we acquired an e-book reader in All A Twitter Over Our New Kindle

So how are we doing?

I was somewhat skeptical about the utility of the device; however, I must confess that while there have been some initial challenges in learning how to use it (climbing the learning curve, if you will), we enjoy it. I admit to having a certain amount of sympathy with the monk in the video learning to use the new book technology as we were similarly “challenged” for a few days by the Kindle. But we are well past all of that and are “experienced” users. 

On the positive side I can report that it is quite easy to read and operate. It is also quite convenient if one does not want to tote around one or more books on a trip.  As with most such devices, you can also subscribe to your favorite magazines and newspapers. Some local libraries are also making books available for e-reader users.

On the negative side, I find that the e-reader lacks the visual impact of a full page layout in a magazine or newspaper. In addition, the scanning and skipping around with your eyes, fingers, and thumbs while reading a “traditional” publication is a bit clunky. It is a bit of a regression, in a sense, to the limitations of the scroll when it comes to accessing specific pages or sections.  However, for straight ahead or linear reading without jumping around it is first rate. 

Speaking of reading, it is my turn on the Kindle. So I will bid adieu and take up a little light reading for the balance of the day…

NOTE: I somehow managed to put the Kindle down long enough to go outside and play with my camera toys. To view my latest attempts at photography, go to Photos from the street…