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good lord!

Another measure of the Bay Area becoming a major plutocracy is the showing this Thursday and Friday of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” (Savior of the World) at the Minnesoto Street Project in Dogpatch. Christie’s auction house must be betting that there are people around here willing to drop $100 million on a verified old master. This painting is only one of 15 that have been ascribed to daVinci. 11 am – 5 pm. Free

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heaven on earth

Is this the best non-Bay view in the Bay Area? Russian Ridge Preserve spans the southern coast along Skyline. 20 miles of buxom hills frame the Santa Clara Valley and the wide-screen Pacific horizon. A network of trails allows you to choose either short or long hikes. Be on guard for bikers and horses. No dogs, even leashed, allowed. Free parking.

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get lost

One of the advantages of living close to agriculture areas are the proliferation of commercial pumpkin patches for Halloween. They are all around the metropolitan periphery with temporary amusements like trains and pony rides. For my money nothing beats taking your grandkids to mazes. G&M Farms in Livermore has a 6-acre one. $8-$10. Out in Dixon there is not only a large maze($15) at Cool Patches but also hay rides($3) and hay castles($5).

Speaking of pumpkins no one has wilder designs for you to attempt creating than the Lady Geezer herself –Martha Stewart.

 

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the way we were

Before SOMA gets completely transmorgrified by glass towers join a quick, free walking tour this Saturday at 1pm at the oasis that is Old South Park, courtesy of SF City Guides. It was SF’s first planned community, built in the 1850’s for the new crop of plutocrats. You needed a key to get in. In 1897 it was opened to the public and went rapidly downhill in the late 20th century. The city provided the resident drug addicts with wood so they would not demolish the historic buildings for fuel. Now a hot property for tech companies, the park has been given a complete makeover including a wildly curvilinear play structure.

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master pieces

Nominated for the prize as the most esoteric museum in the Bay Area is the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies. Located on the 5th floor of the Martin Luther King Library at San Jose State, it’s the only one of its kind in the US and the largest collection outside Europe, displaying scores, manuscripts, artworks and period instruments such as harpsichords and pianofortes which qualified visitors are allowed to play. A professional pianist entertains every Wednesday from 1 to 3. The current exhibit contains documents related to the maestro’s deafness. Open Monday through Saturday. Free.

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dive right in

With the closing of Caffe Roma in North Beach the expected wailings grieving the loss of an authentic, eccentric SF are heard once more in the land. For solace you might want to find yourself a stool at Spec’s 12 Adler Museum Café, a dive bar that opened in 1968 and whose denizens still include artists, musicians and lifetime left wingers. It’s décor runs to Beatnik Hoarder with plenty of taxidermy. You’ll find it in an alley across the street from City Lights.

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swing shift

Don’t worry about being in shape for some of the town’s newest athletic activities. Miniature golf doesn’t require extensive advance workouts. Urban Putt at 22nd and South Van Ness in the Mission is an indoor course with beer, wine and spirits available as well as bar bites and a dinner menu. $12 “greens fee” but check availability as it is often closed for private events. Meanwhile out in the rapidly gentrifying Bay View the outdoors Putt Putt Art n’ Stuff is now open with locally themed obstacles. It appears to be free.

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night shots

These days anyone can take a decent photograph when the sun is out. When it isn’t, it’s an entirely different and very challenging matter. To master evening photos you’re invited to a class at Jack London Ranch in Glen Ellen on October 21 from 4:30 to 11. Tips on camera settings and equipment will allow you to capture glowing sunsets, possibly star fields (depending on cloudless skies) and light painting, a technique using hand held light sources to create dazzlingly poetic effects. $75 fee includes parking.

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sold!

Serious about downsizing? Not sure how much that sofa (that your children don’t want) of your late mother-in-law’s is worth? I suggest you get a free appraisal at Michaan’s in Alameda. They happen every Wednesday. Michaan’s is the largest full-service auction house on the coast and they’ll be happy to handle single items or your whole house, everything from art and furniture to jewelry. On the other hand if you’re upsizing, you’ll get a kick out of their auctions which happen 30 times a year. Or just stop by their Annex which offers 2,000 lots monthly.

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be mesmerizing

Contemplating retirement with a lurking sense of dread? You may want to consider attempting a whole new profession that does not require any degrees or licenses. One curious one that I’ve found is hypnotherapy which seems to work on some people  – at least those who are susceptible to suggestion. In the Bay Area hypnotherapists can charge rates around $125-$150 an hour. Hypnotherapy training programs seem to require just 40 or 50 hours. There are schools in Corte Madera, Palo Alto and San Francisco for starters. Sessions run about $250 each.

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