5/29/08

Around where I work

This is a scale model of UCSF where I work.

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My office is in that building, and one of those windows on the first floor is mine.

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UCSF is a big research center for all things biomedical. As a pharmaceutical chemist by training, this is my world. I still find some odd humor in the signs and notices I walk by every day.

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I mean, you don't see this kind of stuff on the walls at Google or Ebay.

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The campus is so large, and my office so remote, it takes me seven minutes to reach my desk when I enter through the main entrance. And I walk fast. (Fortunately, I found a shortcut so I don't use the main entrance anymore.)

The university backs up to a hill covered with Eucalyptus and red valerian (Centranthus ruber), which has naturalized throughout the city.

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I have to get a new camera. There's dust in the lens and a lot of my pictures have dust spots in the middle of them now. Sigh.

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There's a piece of sculpture attached to a retaining wall at the bottom of the parking lot. It functions as a water flue fed by the stream that comes down off the hill.

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It took me a week to realize this was art.

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When the stream is really flowing, the sculpture basically becomes a water feature.

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I cross a bridge to reach my office, in a very old, dilapidated building the university wants to tear down soon.

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A nice patch of native Lupinus arboreus grows on the slope.

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I don't know my building's story, but there's an old chemistry lab inside.

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Some glassware got abandoned here--small beakers and a few nice chromatography chambers.

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The structure on the right is an antique fume hood.

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A fume hood has a fan in the ceiling that sucks up vapors--like the vent over your stove, but stronger and more contained--so the chemist does not breath in anything toxic or carcinogenic. Chemists work with many fine chemicals that are toxic or carcinogenic or both. And typically we have to work standing up because the doors on the storage cabinet under the hood prevent you from sitting down comfortably.

That's another reason why I like having a desk job right now.

Here we are in my office; that's my desk. I haven't cleaned up or decorated since I moved in. I'm not a big decorator at work. In fact, I like to keep my workspace spotless and devoid of personal effects.

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Usually the only personal thing I leave at work is a bottle of hand lotion. This stuff is my life. I have the driest hands. Gardening (without gloves) has only exacerbated my condition.

So I'm all about the frequent moisturizing.

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While I work in an old remote building, on clear days I have an ocean view! Not many people at UCSF can say that.

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I also have a view of Golden Gate Heights Park, which I'd never heard of until I started working here and staring at it every day. One day, I shall visit.

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Down in the parking lot, I've been following the progress of this weedy-looking Mimulus.

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The flowers resemble M. guttatus, but that plant typically grows in moist seeps, not cracks in asphalt parking lots. I'm not sure what species it is.

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By the way, lest you think that I took all these pictures today instead of working, I did not!

I've been taking pictures for several days now in order to put a good post together. It's going to be another huge post that noone's going to read, but I don't care.

There's a small stand of redwood trees and a little pocket park nearby.

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I walk through here every day to/from work, and sometimes again at lunchtime. UCSF is located between the Haight-Ashbury and the Inner Sunset districts. The Inner Sunset is closer so I walk around there for my lunchtime distraction.

Shall we?

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I like these pavers arrayed en masse like this.

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Do people grow Alyogyne huegelii where you are too?

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This is one of my favorite buildings in the neighborhood. I wonder what its story is...

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Guy and I ate at the other Cafe Gratitude. I liked it a lot, but it was too hippy-dippy for him. He's a vegetarian who doesn't like vegetables. Me, I eat anything.

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I used to eat at Arizmendi Bakery all the time when I was unemployed and volunteering every day at the Botanical Garden. I'm burnt out on their breakfast scones, but once in awhile I treat myself to a "Chocolate Thing" on my way to the office.

They're famous for tasty pizza--which I still eat quite often.

I have a friend who works there and she says people always mispronounce the name, "Azz-riz-mend-i". That made me laugh, so now I say Azzrizmendi too.

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Craigslist world headquarters.

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I worked the night shift as a veterinary technician here when I was a college drop-out in the early 1990s. Emergency work was thrilling. Sometimes it was overwhelming, but the job usually had a nice rhythm. One night here, after a particularly grueling all night shift, I hit my personal all-time emotional rock bottom. That's a story for another time.

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Major trees in the neighborhood are Ligustrum lucidum, Eriobotrya deflexa, and Metrosideros excelsus. These trees are common all over San Francisco, except downtown.

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I'd like to know what this tree is.

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The flowers are very fragrant.

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It seems oddly familiar.

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Here's another view of the Eucalyptus forest behind the university that I just showed you.

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And we're looping back. Back up on university hill, some of the north-facing views are spectacular. That's the DeYoung Museum tower rising out of Golden Gate Park, and three successive ridge-lines in the Marin headlands.

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Our visit to UCSF and San Francisco's Inner Sunset district concludes with the medical school's statue of Hippocrates,

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and this badly composed picture of a purple rhodie.

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13 comments:

gintoino said...

Who says no one reads your long posts? I really liked the tour to the campus and its surroundings.I have to tell you I liked the sculpture/water feature a lot. And no, I don't grow Alyogyne huegelii, but I think I saw it on sale the other day.

Christopher C. NC said...

Another fine tour of your big small city.

I would place your unknown yellow flowering tree in the Apocynaceae family as a starting point for ID. Does it have a milky sap?

lisa said...

Congrats on the job! (Pardon me if this is old news, my visits to the blogosphere are sparse of late.) That tree with the yellow flowers reminds me of a jasmine by the look of the leaves, buy I'm clueless as to what it could be. (Heh, obviously :) Funny they left behind the glassware in that old chem lab, you'd think they'd still use it somewhere. I went to a Notre Dame college party when I was in high school, and one guy was drinking beer from a beaker. Said he was "studying for a chemistry final"...yea, I wasn't impressed either.

chuck b. said...

Gintonio, thank you. I do like that sculpture/water feature too. It's very subtle.

Christopher, Apocynaceae--yes! I should have recognized that in an instant. Now, I'm thinking genus Alstonia...

Lisa, Thanks, and it's not very old news. I just mentioned it once briefly a couple weeks ago. Star jasmine is in the dogbane family as Christopher mentioned. Which is one reason why I should have at least recognized the family right away.

Frances, said...

Hi Chuck, happy b-day to your kitties, I want those ghost goblets, too. and your place of employment is great, an ocean view from your desk is worth it's weight..I love all the ups and downs as you go walking around your city, it is like walking along with you and you are giving a non stop serenade. and amen to hand lotion. I wear gloves, but wear them out at the middle finger tip in a day, so there is constant hand washing everytime I come back into the house, which is often, while gardening, which is very often. Welcome home.

John said...

I like that view of the DeYoung. It looks like the periscope of a submarine.

sandra said...

Hi Chuck,
I am an avid reader of your blog, definately #2 after Garden Rant. I love your rambles around parks and botanical gardens, your city and the surrounding countryside. I probably will never get to your area but it is wonderful to see it through your eyes. In the winter, it is great to see that plants are still doing their gorgeous performance when we across the northern border are enduring the deepfreeze and everything green and growing is in underground survival mode.
Keep on writing and photographing, please.

Brent said...

"...another huge post no one's going to read, but I don't care."

I'm reading with enjoyment while I avoid other things.

Heather's Garden said...

I made it all the way through too! My posts are always too long, but I figure if you like reading my blog, you'll enjoy reading more of it.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Yeah, I always read to the end. And the long posts feel like a fun indulgence, so keep it up!

I am surprised to see a rhodie on your blog, along with all of the other fun things I can't grow here. Is that an aberration, or do you see a lot of them and just don't show them?

Btw, interesting how the "flash chamber" looks an awful lot like the glassblock used for windows around here. I wonder if there was some kind of inspiration in the flash chamber for the guy who invented glass block? (And yes, I also wonder why I wonder these things!)

Phillip said...

I want to sign up for the Rosacea treatment experiment! LOL

I enjoyed the post too and it is fun seeing where bloggers work. Maybe we should all do this.

George said...

Your mystery tree is Hymenosporum flavum, sweet shrub or Australian frangipani.

chuck b. said...

George, that was an early hunch, but it looks so different than that plant ID'd elsewhere. Hmm.

Kim, rhodies really aren't all that common here although they do well and people grow them. Need too much water maybe.