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We like to think of Peterman’s Eye as an old fashioned interactive community newspaper (if there is such a thing) focused on travel and curiosities. Talk with us about today’s post. Tell us about the places you’ve been. Or take a trip using J. Peterman’s exclusive travel services (coming soon). Read more...

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Our primary destination today is the new California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

The place is worth a visit for the Renzo Piano-designed building alone. A marvel of "green" architecture, it includes a "living roof" and insulation made from recycled blue jeans.

Inside, there are wonders ranging from a four-story recreation of a rain forest to a coral reef transplanted from the Philippines.

The whole thing is new enough that the novelty factor is still quite high, so visitors are advised to get there early and be patient. Or do like we did and be friends with somebody who happens to be a member.

We're in the middle of the West Coast version of Central Park, however, so there's no time for dawdling after the museum.

Curiosities abound, including the scene at Spreckels Lake. This is the gathering place for San Francisco's model yachtsmen, whose lightweight craft glide around the lake with radio-controlled precision. On a sunny day like today, it's a perfect place to rest a while and ponder the difference between "toy" and "hobby."

We've also been provided with a curious little audio tour that clues us into one of the stranger stories involving the park. Scattered around various corners are sections of Santa Maria de Ovila, an 11th-century Spanish monastery that William Randolph Hearst bought and had shipped to California in the 1930s.

Turns out there's not much you can do with an entire medieval monastery, so the pieces have been gathering moss here ever since. We discover some of the historic stones around Strybing Arboretum and find they make a fine platform to sit and ponder the idea of being wealthy enough to not only buy and transport such a building but then forget you have it.

If the mute stones could speak, what would they say?


J. Peterman


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Under Construction: Design Stuff & Member Commenting - Changes Soon.
32 Members’ Opinions
January 03, 2013 12:18 AM
Paolo 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 paolos said...

Domani e gia qui 
Tomorrow is already here. 

January 03, 2013 12:27 AM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 hazel leese said...

I have a lot to thank Randolph Hearst for, in particular, St Donat's Castle in Llantwit Major, South Wales, home of Atlantic College,UWC, where my beloved boy got an amazing start in adult life - and on a scholarship/sponsorship scheme, which cost us nothing. Thanks a million, that good man.

January 03, 2013 1:10 AM
4224 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 RoadYacht said...

If the stones could talk, Might they sound like stones? Would it have been their choice to just be there? Do they harbor a grudge? I can't imagine being so rich I could do what he did.

January 03, 2013 1:19 AM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 hazel leese said...

If you eat these mushrooms ..... you can hold a conversation with stones.
A rolling stone gathers no moss.
RY~ I expect stones to have a gravelly voice.

January 03, 2013 7:31 AM
Atticus_1 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Bert said...

I vote that we build that monastery.  There are enough unemployed/retired engineers to form the sample space for a pool of potential volunteers.  "Idle hands are the devil's workshop," so said my Irish grandmother. Good morning, RY, and good afternoon, Hazel!!!

January 03, 2013 9:00 AM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 hazel leese said...

"Living Roof" as mentioned up top, I have made. Wish I could send pics it was (IS) beautiful. Planted in shallow trays of gritty compost - low-growing succulents and Alpines. According to folk-lore, Sempervivum (House Leek) protects your home from lightening. Seemed to work!

January 03, 2013 9:59 AM
Img00274-20110613-1309 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-5 l marjorie said...

I think I saw something on tv the other day about those stones. I think they are trying to rebuild the monastary. Unless there is another bunch of stones that Hearst purchased, brought over, and forgot about.

January 03, 2013 10:03 AM
Img00274-20110613-1309 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-5 l marjorie said...

I was right! I don't remember what I was watching, something on 60 Miinutes?  Or PBS?  Anyway, the crux of the story was trying to figure out how folks built buildings with heavy stones before much machinery was available. Now, I guess, it's all about beer. That's ok!

January 03, 2013 10:17 AM
Stage_2 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 JALOPKIN said...

If you eat these Mushrooms you can carry on conversations with the stoned .......
This "Green" architecture was being practiced in Babylon many, many years ago ....... Where would one imagine that the Hanging Gardens came from ??? Contrary to what some Mental Giants think, the Hanging Gardens were NOT, to be found in a Mens' Locker Room ...
Solomon told us once,  " ... there is nothing new under the Sun ..." .......
 I MARJORIE:  and they STILL don't have it right .......  Read Kabbalah, and other Ancient Hebrew writings to get the Truth ... Most of which is eschewed by the majority of the Goyim, simply because it came from Jews ... (as did, by the way, The Christ ...) ...

January 03, 2013 10:39 AM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 hazel leese said...

Nice one, Ivan.
l marjorie~ many of the buildings and field walls instead of fences in Wales are built from local stone. The size of some of the stones, one can only look and wonder "How did they do that?"

January 03, 2013 11:14 AM
10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Mooseloop said...

Wiki may be an amateur's source, but has lots of info on just about everything....including the photos of the original. Yes, apparently they are trying to recast stones to match the ones they have, and the beer is helping pay for the project. How very American of them....moving an abbey to Calif., moving London Bridge, recreating Hogwarts.....what will our engineers think of next?!!

January 03, 2013 11:19 AM
10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Mooseloop said...

Personally, I'd pay to walk through Downton Abbey...

As I imagine tourists are doing now that the show is such a hit. Please don't tell any rich Americans to move it. I want to see it in all its 1,000 acre splendor when I go back to England. Someday.

January 03, 2013 11:40 AM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Peter Lake said...

I could spend days looking at ancient/old architectural artifacts from buildings that are no more. Those seni- intact friezes, columns, moldings, statuary, rain spouts, window frames........just anything that can hint at the craftmanship that was employed in building such grand structures.

I'll come home with whatever catches my eye and can be paid for on the spot while still allowing me to live indoors. I might or more likely not, have a particlar use in mind other than cleaning it up and findind a nice nook or cranny to keep it in.

I feel like I'm surrounded by stories. Some great. Many short tales of how they came to be. And how they came to be part of a bigger tale. Church relics are so often stand-alone beautiful. They do have a feel that someone's soull had guided their makers hand,

Now when it comes to old tiles....I'm like a one-eyed dog in a butcher shop.

They don't build them like they used to, and probably for a very good reason. But such grand structures should not be turned to sand....their timeless beaurty should be preserved in as much as possible. Even as tiny pzzle pieces that just make you wonder who, how, and why.

Well anyroads, peace out.............

January 03, 2013 12:13 PM
10041_445991248814972_692962064_n Com-100Com-300First-comHr-1 The Giraffe said...

Thank You Ivan - as always most informative.
Moose - I too would love to wander thru Highclere. 

January 03, 2013 12:49 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 hazel leese said...

Moose~ If you get to England soon, don't you dare visit without visiting me! We could hop on a ferry to the Isle of Wight and visit Osborne House (more like palace) - Queen Victoria's holiday place.

January 03, 2013 12:56 PM
Img00274-20110613-1309 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-5 l marjorie said...

PL, I'm with you on the old stuff.  It's both beautiful and fascinating.

January 03, 2013 1:04 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 hazel leese said...

Peter Lake~ I, too adore reclamation yards, junk shops & such - and tiles. The wonderful thing about ceramic is its immortality - once a bit of clay is fired to a high temperature it stays that way for ever.
There is more meat on the bone offered up top - the model sailing yachts and the toys/hobby debate ... anybody? I remember seeing these things on a pond in a London park, and radio controlled model aircraft, and amazing model railway layouts. Toys or hobby? Well, boys will be boys.

January 03, 2013 1:26 PM
4244 Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 ChefDeb said...

I am so nervous about getting out of my ice enclosed house and off to a doctors appointment that I can't focus on the topic from my own point of view, but you all seem to have made excellent posts today. And HAZEL I believe you are the first person I have ever heard be so warm about Mr. Hearst, in spite of his many contributions (in so many ways). It was(is) nice. Wish me luck.

January 03, 2013 1:41 PM
Me_and_dave 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Andy said...

Good luck Deb - always 

January 03, 2013 2:32 PM
Img00274-20110613-1309 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-5 l marjorie said...

CD--good luck to you both on traveling on ice and with the Dr. appt.  I too was struck by Hazel's comments about WRH.  One never hears anything nice about that man--just the scandal with Marion Davies, the whole yellow journalism thing, and of course, Rosebud.  It's always refreshing to hear something nice about someone.

January 03, 2013 2:34 PM
Img00274-20110613-1309 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-5 l marjorie said...

And on the toy vs hobby thing, I have about 100+ dolls in the house. Maybe 5 are from when I was a child, the rest were purchased by me after I turned 35.  There is a very thin line between toy and hobby.  Watching a bunch of adult women play dress up with their dolls is pretty funny.

January 03, 2013 2:56 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 hazel leese said...

ChefDeb~ Good luck! Be careful on the ice - hospital wards fill with fractured neck of femur patients in that sort of weather. You don't need that. Hope all is as well as it can be with you.

January 03, 2013 3:02 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 hazel leese said...

l marjorie~ And girls will be girls! Much to my mother's disappointment, I was not a girlie girl. My dollies were evicted from my doll's pram in favour of the cat and her kittens.

January 03, 2013 3:28 PM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Peter Lake said...

Good luck and best of health to you ChefDeb!

January 03, 2013 5:06 PM
1-dscn1106-4 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 PARK4 said...

IVAN!  I thought it was Al Gore who invented the Hanging Gardens?!.... <wink>

January 03, 2013 5:10 PM
1-dscn1106-4 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 PARK4 said...

PL: architecture is, to me, a kind of message from the collective minds that built it.  Not everyone can or wants to bother with interpreting it.  Clearly, you do, and you can.  Stories - yes! Surrounded by stories! I think that's just it - you need to listen to the stories - with your eyes.

January 03, 2013 7:22 PM
Me_and_dave 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Andy said...

Deb ~ how did it go?

January 03, 2013 10:34 PM
Stage_2 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 JALOPKIN said...

MISS P4:  Gore is a Big Enough Fraudulent Hypocrite to make that claim, and I am surprised he hasn't ... I am awed by all his "Green Restraint" crapola, when the Light bill for his House in Tennessee is over, $24,000 a month ....... He should be charged with Treason for selling his teensy little Cable Network to our sworn enemies ....... No wonder Tipper took up drinking .......

January 03, 2013 11:56 PM
Com-100First-com twocents said...

I think I would like to be part of Mr. Peterman's staff who get to enjoy these wonderful, educational "day trips."

January 04, 2013 12:00 AM
Com-100First-com twocents said...

chefDeb:  Good Luck with the Doc. appt.....Safe travel to and from.

January 04, 2013 12:18 AM
Com-100First-com twocents said...

Hazel: You always have interesting posts.....the one at 12:27 AM..Re:  Hearst:  a most positive comment. 
Again  your post at 9:00 AM ...Your own "living roof." Here in C'ville VA they have started a living roof on the roof of the City Hall.  It is visible from the adjacent parking garage.  It is very young and interesting to view 'its" stages. 

January 04, 2013 12:27 AM
Com-100First-com twocents said...

Ivan:  Al Gore leaves much to be desired....In agreement with your post (10:34).
Park4:  Love your post (5:10 PM).PeterLake: Your post at (11:40 AM)
Hazel:  From what you wrote at (12:40) to Moose.....Well, I think I shall visit in June.

Honor Roll

still thinking about today...

Yesterday's Discussion

For a taste of how ordinary folks lived in ancient Rome, head for the suburb of Ostia Antica.


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