The V-Dog Blog

If You Like To Write Articles For Yourself, Then Here Is How To Create Your Own Blog!

by on Mar.13, 2014, under Life

wafybYes, both ways of blogging can earn you money. Whether you want to create your own website or you want to write articles for people who own sites, you can still earn from them. But what will really earn you more is by creating your own! Other than working for other people, you can learn how to create your own blog then actually make your own blog, and then earn all for yourself! This is one thing that they don’t teach when you learn how to create your own blog. They always say that you can use this skill to work for other people or create your own. They also tell you that both will keep you earning but what they don’t tell you is creating your own blog site will earn you two to three times more than working for someone.

How so? There may be expenses in the beginning of creating your own blog like domain rent and many more but it is very positive that the earnings will be more than your expenses. In fact, every year you will only get to spend fifty dollars at most and your earnings can be fifty dollars at least per month.

Learn How To Make A Blog With The Help Of Internet

With the technologies that we have today and the ones that we will have in the future, it for sure is really easy to learn almost everything. If you want to learn how to make a blog, then just find the right kind of technology for you. Let us use for example the use of internet. There are so many uses for internet and most of the time it is used for connecting people that are separated by oceans and distance. Just like the social media sites nowadays, they connect people and let them communicate even though they are far from each other.

You can also use the internet to learn how to make a blog or maybe watch tutorials about it. There are many ways how you can use the internet and you can also use it to learn. When making a blog, you can get a lot of help from good resources. All the possible helps that you may need are in the internet and if you think self-study is not enough then you can search for forums that are made up of bloggers that help one another. Or, maybe you can look for courses online that will give you a step by step lesson.

Leave a Comment :, more...

Worried About Snoring?

by on Oct.19, 2013, under Life

wasSnoring is the raspy or pitiless sound that happens when your breathing is halfway hindered somehow while you are dozing. Now and again snoring may demonstrate a genuine health condition. Also, snoring could be a disturbance to your accomplice. The same amounts as 50% of mature people wheeze frequently. Snoring happens when wind currents past loose tissues in your throat, making the tissues vibrate as you inhale, which makes those disturbing sounds. Lifestyle changes, for example getting thinner, maintaining a strategic distance from liquor near the sleepy time or considering your side, can help quit snoring. Some examples are here.

There are a few components, which expedite snoring. To start with, the typical maturing process prompts the unwinding of the throat muscles, in this manner bringing about snoring. Anatomical irregularities the nose and throat, for example augmented tonsils or adenoids, nasal polyps, or veered off nasal septum reason exaggerated narrowing of the throat throughout rest and therefore expedite snoring. Anti snoring devices are seemingly the best of the best among available snoring treatments. Where different mechanisms will drive your jaw to stay in a forward position, this one is intended to keep your tongue advance, averting it from slipping by going into the back close of the throat. Anti snoring devices are the most effective for fighting snoring in light of the fact that it handles the exact excuse for why individuals snore regardless.

Snoreless Pillow: An Efficient Solution For Snoring

Practically every living soul snores once in a while, however if snoring happens every now and again, it can influence the amount and nature of your rest and that of your relatives and flat mates. Snoring can prompt poor rest and daytime weakness, fractiousness, and expanded health issues. In the event that your wheezing keeps your accomplice alert, it can additionally make major relationship issues. Appreciatively, resting in differentiating rooms is not the main solution for wheezing. There are numerous other adequate results accessible. Not all snoring is the same. Truth is told, every living soul wheezes for diverse explanations. When you get to the bottom of why you snore, then you can uncover the right answers for a quieter, deeper rest.

Extraordinarily composed pillows to assist with wheezing issues have been around for quite a while; however, the snoreless pillow is unquestionably the guide as far as both quality and viability. The Snoreless pillow is the best anti snoring pillow available that has truly accepted a purchaser recompense for being the planet’s most agreeable and viable against snoring pad. There are a totally colossal number of individuals that have utilized snoreless pillow for both snoring and rest apnea issues and the Large larger part of individuals have reported noteworthy upgrades/dispose of their wheezing or rest apnea issues and also charmingly astonished at exactly how much of a more rested rest they now get a charge out of. Anyway, reading a real Snoreless pillow review would help you in selecting an anti-snoring pillow for you.

Leave a Comment :, more...

The Freakiness Of Pet Shows

by on Aug.04, 2013, under Animals

hhpMany of us who live with a cat or dog have no doubt that ours is the smartest, most beautiful, or most talented cat or dog in the world. In fact, this belief is so common among pet owners that it has given rise to a massive show circuit where people compare their pets and compete for titles.

I have to confess I’ve never entered a cat or dog of my own in a show – not because my animal friends are anything less than perfect in my book, but because I’ve just never gone beyond my own book. I do remember, though, how I coveted a little plastic loving cup my big sister won with our dog Cookie at an amateur dog show when we were kids. It came with a beautiful blue ribbon and six cans of dog food.

Who goes in for shows with their pets and why? When I asked pet owners these questions, I was met with a tremendous variety of answers. For many people, dog and cat shows are social occasions. The show circuit is a network where animal owners make new friends and connect with old ones who share their passion for their pets. Some are drawn by the thrill of competition, the buzz of anticipation, the prospect of winning. For still others, there may be a business angle. Pets that win big – and their descendants – are highly prized among breeders and their customers.

The experiences of show animals vary, too. Some act as willing partners with their owners in the competition. They may get to spend more time with their owners than the typical stay-at-home pet and many soak up the attention like royalty. Some dogs, on the other hand, are managed by handlers other than their owners and may be more performer than companion.

Beyond debate is the fact that show business is booming. On any given weekend, you can find a dozen cat shows and more than a hundred dog shows in the United States. Most cat and dog shows are sponsored by local clubs affiliated with either the American Kennel Club or the Cat Fancier’s Assn. (See “How to Get in the Act” on page 149.) These two umbrella groups keep track of local competitions, standardize the judging of animals, and register the winners. They can also refer you to your nearest club and offer tips for beginners.

hhcJust what is required for an animal to compete varies among breeds, among clubs, and among categories within a single competition. Apart from the few amateur Frisbee-chasing contests I’ve come across, dogs must be registered purebreds to compete. That means both their parents must be registered purebreds. Many cat shows, on the other hand, have a “household pet” category where people can show off their mixed-breed or unregistered cats. Dogs are also more likely to undergo surgical alterations in order to compete. Tail docking and ear cropping have traditionally been required for such breeds as Dobermans and boxers. There are basically two kinds of competition for dogs: performance events and shows. Cats participate only in shows.

At performance events, registered pedigreed dogs show off how well they do the job for which they were bred. These may begin with basic obedience trials where a dog responds to simple commands. After these follow herding trials for collies, hunting trials for hounds, and earth dog tests for terriers that were bred to follow their prey through underground tunnels. Dogs are judged on their agility, persistence, and cleverness in addition to how well they respond to and perform their owners’ commands.

Performance events always leave me filled with awe for the talents of our canine companions. I’m partial to events that grow out of an activity that the dog and its human companion clearly play at for the fun of it. Some of these skills come from instincts so strong that dogs will act them out whether or not they are trained to compete. I’ve known border collies that tend to round up children when they don’t get enough exercise herding animals.

Shows are the more common dog competition and the only competition for cats. In these, animals are judged primarily on their appearance. Judges look for how closely they conform to the ideal standards for the breed. They evaluate each animal’s bone structure, profile, and overall appearance. Grooming and temperament are also factors in this type of competition.

Standards for judging cats and dogs have sparked controversial debates and a number of changes over the years. Critics complain that standards based on physical beauty may neglect the well-being of the animal and encourage bad breeding practices. Breeding for form can increase the risks of hereditary maladies that occur among certain breeds.

Officials argue that standards of health as well as beauty figure into the competition. For instance, judges pay attention to an animal’s gums – an indicator of nutrition, care, and general health. Temperament, a reflection of both breeding and handling, is also key to a show animal’s success. One bred strictly for looks may lack the temperament to show well.

It’s important to think of the whole animal, says Dr. Leslie Sinclair, of the Humane Society of the United States. Dogs and cats may spend a decade or more as a companion animal after their show days are past, so consider their well-being off the show circuit as well as on.

Whatever their accomplishments on the show circuit, our animal companions’ greatest gift to us is, in the end, the pleasure of their company. The people who enjoy their pets the most seem to be those for whom shows are simply one of many activities they share with their loyal friends. Our cats and dogs can keep first place in our hearts whether they win, lose, or draw in the ring.

Leave a Comment :, more...

Music Has Always Set A Scene For Me

by on Jul.30, 2013, under Music

mhasasMusic has filled my house – and my life – since I can remember. Although I consider myself primarily a visual person, I find I best measure and reexperience the rhythms and cadences of my life by the music I’ve heard, sung, and danced to. Like virtually all American children, I’m sure I was taught all the toddler standbys, such as “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “Three Blind Mice,” but the earliest song I can recall with any accuracy is “Goody, Goody” as vocalized by the jazz great Ella Fitzgerald. When asked what songs I preferred as a child, I can say with perfect certainty that, along with the Ella, I was weaned on Broadway show tunes. My father, an avid pianist, enjoyed an enormous repertory of songs from the 1930s and ’40s, which he played, and sang, at every opportunity on our family piano. When my sisters and I were little and we still lived on Long Island, New York, my parents treated us to an annual outing in New York City to see a new musical. We collected the long-playing records of our favorite shows and we learned their lyrics.

The year I turned II, we moved into Manhattan so my father could pursue a career in music. Soon he was playing jazz piano in local clubs, an occupation that consumed his nights for four years. For me, these were the years of learning the scores to movie musicals. Funny Face, Silk Stockings, High Society. I loved them all. Even now a bar or two will trigger an outpouring of memories – and lyrics.

Music caused us to move again, this time to Florence, Italy, where my father went to study orchestration, and where he began to compose. My sisters and I packed up our hula hoops, kneesocks, and LP’s of the Kingston Trio. The six years we remained abroad, including my college summers, introduced me to many types of music, but especially to Italian opera, which was an incredibly inexpensive form of entertainment. In the 1960s, as teenagers with little to spend, we, and our friends, could purchase passes for standing room in the peanut gallery at the opera for the equivalent of 80 cents (cheaper than the movies) and hope to scuttle down from our perch into whatever seats remained vacant at intermission. Afterward we would either share a pizza or go dancing in an open-air club on a broad tree-lined terrace overlooking the city. Sometimes we would sing, too, we sisters, in harmony with our dad, who taught us some arrangements of the songs he would be asked to play at parties at the American Consulate.

msFor many of us, music provides the Surroundsound for some of our most cherished memories. This seems especially to be so during adolescence, when we are maturing and developing our identities, and even more especially so when we begin to fall in (and out of!) love. The awakening of these deep and conflicting feelings seems to swell and ebb with whatever music happens to be popular at the time. I’m a Golden Oldies girl whose heart will always thrum to Elvis and the Beatles and all those songs immortalized on the soundtracks of American Graffiti and The Big Chill. My sons? Well, they’re marching to the beat of their own drummers!

Music can be an overt passion, but it can also have a more subtle and subliminal influence, as, say, for anyone who casually tunes in to the radio while commuting to or from work, or for those who shop to Muzak in the mall. Because music affects mood, it is a powerful stimulant in the movies and as a lead-in to many television shows. Soundtracks of movie scores sell well; some even introduce their audiences to fine examples of classical music; Amadeus, an obvious example, comes immediately to mind. Music is everywhere.

While traveling in Australia, author Bruce Chatwin discovered, to his amazement, that Aboriginal peoples could trace and map the territory they journeyed by musical intonations they memorized that paralleled the contours of the land. These intonations were expressed as “songlines” in his book of the same name, which proved sufficient to lead them back to places they might not have returned to in some time. I like to think of the pieces of music that I love as the songlines of my life. They return me to memory and guide me to places I still need to explore.

Leave a Comment :, more...

Getting A Little Rosy In Here

by on Jul.10, 2013, under Life

galrCommon sense prevents most gardeners from planting hybrid tea roses in large numbers on slopes, banks, and hillsides. For starters, how would one maneuver from bush to bush to pick off all those Japanese beetles? And where would anyone find enough time to prune each bush? Moreover, the cost (both environmental and financial) of chemicals often used to fight black spot and rust on masses of high-maintenance cultivars could well prove prohibitive.

Yet there is a way to use roses to create broad, romantic sweeps of color. Today’s so-called ground-cover roses attract few pests, need little or no pruning, and seldom suffer from black spot or other blights common to the genus Rosa. Produced by hybridizers determined to eliminate the need for chemical pesticides in the garden, ground-cover roses are characterized by low, spreading growth, extreme cold hardiness (USDA zones usually range from 3 or 4 to 9), and repeat (sometimes recurrent, even perpetual) bloom. More rightly, these easy-care beauties should be dubbed procumbent roses, notes English rosarian Peter Beales in his encyclopedic Classic Roses (Henry Holt; $55), now in its second edition. Unlike ivy, vinca, or other true ground covers that hug the earth with countless rootlets, ground-cover roses employ long, flowery canes to create the illusion of a blanket of blossoms.

To create drift without sacrificing tidiness, consider massing roses whose habit is more wide than tall. Choose a single hue or, to lighten the look, interplant with a white variant of the same species. For instance, two-foot-tall ‘Red Meidiland’, with single crimson blooms highlighted by white eyes, always draws admiring glances when paired with its cousin ‘White Meidiland’. Both roses spread to about five feet and bloom continuously from spring until frost.

In rock gardens, roses such as ‘The Fairy’, a repeat performer bearing miniature pink rosettes favored by craftspeople for dried-flower compositions, and ‘Modern Blush’, with pale-pink to ivory hybrid tea-like blooms, may be planted in groups of three; here, the roses’ short stature (about three feet) makes them happy companions for cheddar pinks (Dianthus gratianopolitanus), cranesbill (Geranium cultivars and hybrids), and lavender. Because pruning need be performed but once, in earliest spring, gardeners won’t have to worry about the too-frequent trampling of nearby perennials.

rcShade-tolerant ground-cover roses such as ‘Rosy Cushion’ and ‘Pearl Meidiland’ (whose soft-pink double blossoms age to an iridescent ivory) also serve handsomely as camouflage for manhole covers and other eyesores. Concrete and asphalt driveways, too, gain welcome softness when banked in low-maintenance roses, such as those in the Pavement series from Germany (“Pavement” came about as a mistranslation from the German for “Bedding”). These three-foot by three-foot Rugosa hybrids boast recurrent bloom, extreme hardiness (withstanding temperatures as low as -30 [degrees] F), and excellent disease resistance. Colors include crimson-purple (‘Rotes Meer’, with single blossoms) and salmon (‘Pink Pavement’, a semi-double). As with all the Rugosas, bushes bear colorful hips in autumn.

New cultivars worth investigating include those in the Flower Carpet series, dubbed “the environmental rose” by the plants’ German breeder, Werner Noack. Naturally resistant to mildew and black spot, these hardy roses (recommended for USDA Zones 4 through 10) require no spraying or dusting with chemicals. In American gardens, pink Flower Carpet (‘Noatraum’), introduced in 1995, has held its own against winters in Minnesota and Maine, where, without mercy, snowplows drop great white mountains on the small roses. Come October, though, these same hardy bushes are among the last plants in glorious flower. (White Flower Carpet, ‘Noaschnee’, was introduced in 1997, and a bicolored pink, called Appleblossom, is scheduled for release this spring.)

Consider the smaller heirloom shrub roses for an informal look where temperatures do not drop much below 10 [feet] F. “Scale is important,” notes rosarian G. Michael Shoup, proprietor of the Antique Rose Emporium, in Brenham, Tex., and coauthor, with Liz Druitt, of Landscaping with Antique Roses. “The hybrid musks will carry a line very well without becoming disorderly.” Created early in the 20th century by Joseph Pemberton, a retired English cleric, hybrid musks combine the virtues of Hybrid Multi-floras, Teas, Hybrid Teas, Chinas, and Hybrid PerpetuaIs. Clusters of musk-scented flowers bloom in spring and fall, and sporadically in summer. Mike Shoup adds that these rugged plants tolerate more shade than most varieties of roses and can suffice with four hours of direct sun daily. Best bets for hedging include the five- by six-foot ‘Ballerina’ (hardy in Zones 6-9), whose single pink blooms flaunt white interiors, and the five- by seven-foot ‘Belinda’, a hot-pink semidouble.

Ground-cover roses can’t eliminate weeds, as their name might mistakenly imply. Although they can do much to enrich the landscape while reducing maintenance, enough light filters through the roses’ long, arching canes to encourage chickweed, dandelions, and other gate-crashers. Gardeners who would rather stay off their knees know that mulch is the answer. A layer of homemade or nursery-bought compost applied in early spring and freshened throughout the growing season will do much to suppress weeds.

Although Hybrid Musks and Flower Carpet roses will tolerate light shade, most cultivars prefer a sunny site. When planting, allow for growth: Polyanthas like ‘The Fairy’ should be spaced two to three feet apart, while Hybrid Musks need more elbow room (six feet is recommended).

After Planting

* Roses – all of them – are thirsty plants. Bushes should never be allowed to dry out completely, especially during their first year.

* For best bloom, sprinkle a handful of store-bought organic rose food around the base of each bush in early spring and again in early summer (in the North) or early autumn (in the South).

* Develop your own organic fertilizer based on your soil’s specific requirements. Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and trace elements should all be part of the mix, in quantities dictated by soil pH. (For help in developing an organic rose-feeding program look for Maggie Oster’s The Rose Book at your local library.)

* To encourage new growth, low-growing bushes may be clipped back in early spring to within six inches of the crown; taller shrub roses benefit from shaping once a year and from the removal of dead canes.

Leave a Comment :, more...

Animal Camouflage – An Interesting Insight Into Animal Behavior

by on Jun.03, 2013, under Animals

acSay the word camouflage to a naturalist and she tends to think immediately of the chameleon, a small lizard that changes color to blend in with its surroundings. But the chameleon is far from alone in its ability to adapt by disguising itself in response to changes in its environment or to danger. A variety of mammals, birds, insects, spiders, and denizens of the deep have developed comparable traits.

Camouflage, however, is not the only trick Mother Nature has up her evolutionary sleeve. Deception is everywhere in the animal kingdom, adding magic, mystery, and depth to our experiences in nature. Understanding the defensive and offensive measures creatures employ gives us a deeper appreciation of the world around us.

To children, perhaps, all grasshoppers look more or less alike. In basic configuration, in fact, they are possessed of a certain bilateral symmetry, with two eyes, two large jumping legs, and so forth. But grasshoppers certainly are not all uniformly green, as I imagined when I was growing up in Missouri. Some grasshoppers are patterned to resemble so closely the sand they perch on that you can’t see them until they jump, startling you with their sudden motion.

Protective coloration in the form of camouflage is one of nature’s best tricks. The wings of some butterflies, like the curve-toothed geometer, appear to be leaves complete with central veins. This fine attribute allows them to blend into the foliage on a tree without a trace. When the goatweed butterfly folds its wings above its back, it, too, fades seamlessly into the leaf litter.

Another example of camouflage is the mottled coloration of many birds, like the bobwhite and the whippoorwill. If they hold perfectly still, they are difficult to detect. It’s the same with fawns. The broken light-and-dark patterns of their infant spots and stripes make them hard to locate. The fact that they bear no detectable scent at this age has probably saved the life of many a fawn, since predators pass them by without even suspecting their presence.

The silvery color of fish, which is created by the overlapping of scales, is thought to help these animals mimic the mercury-like nature of moving water, allowing them to visually “disappear” against the current.

And like the chameleon, a number of creatures are able to change their color to avoid detection, both as defensive and offensive tactics. Several species of tree frogs change in order to blend into their surroundings, saving their hides for another day. Slender ocean kelpfish change from brown to green to match the color of the seaweed on which they feed. Likewise, prey animals like snowshoe hares and ptarmigans avoid their enemies by altering color from warm-weather brown to winter white, a feat that allows them to blend into both summer and winter landscapes. And some flower spiders are actually able to change color according to the hue of the blossom they are hiding on – in most cases, their prey never sees them until it’s too late.

Nature’s Copycats

nccMimicry is also an important defense tool in nature. It’s not just color that makes for good camouflage – configuration plays a role, too. Walkingstick insects fool many predators since they look just like a glossy twig fallen from a tree – some are huge and brown, others are tiny and green, but all are jointed and very, very sticklike.

Viceroy butterflies, which so resemble vile-tasting monarchs that most birds avoid them, closely mimic their fellow insects’ fluttery flight pattern, too. Birds that might have made a meal of the viceroy look at its flight pattern and beautiful orange-and-black “stained-glass” wings and think “Monarch! Ptuie!”

Still other moths mimic wasps or bees and not only look like them but take on their characteristic motions as well. I once watched a bee moth feeding at a flower for fully five minutes before I realized what I was looking at! It was striped yellow and black just like a typical bee, and its wings were transparent, instead of sporting the usual mothlike covering of scales. Most interesting, however, was the fact that it had developed actions that just matched those of a large bumblebee as it hovered near the flower’s nectar. And bees, with their protective stingers, are far less likely to wind up as food for a hungry bird than a defenseless moth would.

It’s the same with ant-shaped insects. Most birds and other predators know that ants are protected by their ability to bite and to squirt acid at their attackers. If a creature such as a spider, mantis, grasshopper, or bug can pull off the masquerade, they are presumably safe. Not all use this as a defense tactic, though. The ant-mimic jumping spider mingles “harmlessly” with the ants it wishes to eat – right up until the moment it pounces.

Illusionary Tactics

Offensive tactics often come into play in the world of mimicry. The alligator snapping turtle has a wormlike tongue, which it uses to lure unsuspecting prey fish in search of a meal. The naive fish swim after the pink “worm” and find themselves the snapper’s dinner instead. Poisonous sea urchins may look like innocent plants to some – but woe to the fish that swims to one. Tentacles close in a deadly embrace.

Some tactics are quite obviously defensive. Puss moth caterpillars are equipped with a fearsome face on their tails, which works to scare off their enemies; they also have two long whiplike appendages they wave aggressively to further discourage would-be predators. Many adult moths, like the io and the polyphemus, have startlingly realistic eyespots on their wings that appear owl-like to hungry birds when they open their wings suddenly they create a kind of a visual boo! It’s an effective tactic; I’ve watched many a bird change its mind in a hurry when faced with an io’s dark, staring “eyes.” It’s a natural safeguard shared by a number of silk moths and other insects.

Many fish, like the brilliantly colored butterfly fish, also have eyelike markings on their tails – in this case, to direct predators to a less-vulnerable part of their anatomy. The butterfly fish also has a dark eye stripe that conceals its actual eyes. In this case it’s not so much a scare tactic as a defense mechanism, and one shared by many other creatures, including butterflies, which often have eyelike markings on their wings to direct attacks away from their vulnerable heads.

Another curious defense mechanism involves one species of skink. This insect-loving lizard protects itself by suddenly sticking out a very large, very blue tongue and hissing. The frilled-neck lizard, too, looks perfectly innocent as it goes about its business, apparently unprepared for attack. Threaten this creature, though, and it stands erect on hind legs and opens its wide, bright-colored “collar” in an impressive – and aggressive – display: “Don’t mess with me!” To complete its display, this Australian reptile waves its long, whiplike tail, hisses, and opens its wide, yellow-lined mouth. Quite often this instant transformation is enough to startle any predators and allow the lizard time to get away.

Similarly, ocean-dwelling puffer-fish manage to transform themselves from an apparently desirable meal to a complete impossibility by suddenly gulping in water when threatened and puffing themselves up into a bloated, spiny ball. With their spines fully extended, this saltwater fish becomes a difficult mouthful for many predators.

But even the family feline gets in on the act of deception – notice next time your cat is in a fight – or even a serious play session. It will fluff itself up to look as large and fearsome as possible, and even turn sideways to display as much bulk as it can. Like a pufferfish in action, Puss will appear daunting to its enemy, whether real or play. It is especially comical when the creature is as small and as seemingly helpless as a kitten – but here is nature’s own deceptiveness in action. And – it works!

Leave a Comment :, more...

Berkeley Is Just Beautiful

by on May.15, 2013, under Travel

sactSet among cypress and eucalyptus trees, a brown-shingled house sits on a hillside above the University of California campus in Berkeley. The 1910 house, my home late in the 1960s, is but one of 100 or so designed by the city’s most renowned architect, Bernard Maybeck (1862-1957). The hours and hours I spent here – gazing out to the Golden Gate through my wisteria-framed windows and savoring the early evening’s flood of amber light – supplied some of my happiest memories of my Berkeley days. Although the presence of Nobel Laureates like physicists Luis Alvarez and Emilio Segre and the wildly fanciful spirit that prevailed here during the decade’s waning years certainly deepened my love and respect for this university community, it was the rich architectural traditions and favorite neighborhood rambles that recently lured me back to live in the hilly university city on San Francisco Bay.

Not Hill

The particular knoll on which I lived acquired the nickname Nut Hill early in the century, most likely in honor of its artistic and lovably quirky inhabitants. The celebrated photographer Dorothea Lang figured among its residents, as did artist Worth Ryder, author George Stuart, and Bernard Maybeck himself, whose sensitivity to the aesthetics of wood made him a Berkeley folk hero of sorts. Writers Mark Twain and Jack London and dancer Isadora Duncan regularly visited.

Bernard Maybeck, along with Bay Area architects A. C. Schweinfurth and Ernest Coxhead, wholeheartedly embraced the Arts and Crafts Movement, which had a profound impact on Berkeley’s architectural heritage. Throughout the city, brown-shingled buildings and Craftsman-style bungalows embody the movement’s philosophy of sincerity in the use of materials, commitment to handicraft, and lack of ostentation.

One of the more eccentric houses on Nut Hill, the Beaux Arts-neoclassical Temple of the Wings was built in 1914 (and rebuilt in 1924 after a raging 1923 Berkeley Hills fire). The curved Corinthian colonnade and open-air stage provided a stunning setting for dance performances inspired by Isadora Duncan. Nearby, the Hume Castle – considered the crowning achievement of Nut Hill architecture – replicates a 13th-century French monastery complete with Romanesque- and Gothic-style elements.

Throughout Berkeley, myriad wooded stairway walks, many paved at the turn of the century, link the tiers of the hilly city and reveal neighborhoods striking in their architectural diversity. Walking tours take in communities where stately early-1870s Italianate homes and 1890s Queen Anne cottages stand alongside late-1890s Stick- and Eastlake-style dwellings and stuccoed 1930s Mediterranean-style villas.

A Favorite Itinerary

afiOne of my favorite walks takes in the roughly two-square-mile University of California campus. In 1897 John Galen Howard (1864-1931) won an international competition to develop a master architectural plan for the university grounds and buildings. Howard’s Beaux Arts-neoclassical white stone structures with Mediterranean-style terra-cotta-tiled roofs unify the wooded grounds. Sather Gate, an arched, Beaux Arts-style gateway with bas-relief sculptures, marks the campus’s original entrance. With the assistance of Berkeley architect Julia Morgan (1872-1957), a student of Bernard Maybeck and the first woman architecture graduate of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, in Paris, Howard also designed the university’s Hearst Greek Theater. Surrounded by a eucalyptus grove, the semicircular theater seats 8,500 spectators on tiered concrete benches set into the hillside. The ancient amphitheater at Epidaurus, Greece, served as inspiration for the Berkeley version.

Just a short walk from the campus stands the First Church of Christ, Scientist. Built in 1910, Bernard Maybeck’s ecclesiastical masterpiece blends four architectural traditions: The Gothic influence appears in the gilded panels of the interior’s four great trusses; Romanesque characteristics can be seen on sanctuary columns; elaborately painted interior paneled walls and columns reveal Byzantine accents; outdoors the portico roof and wooden trellises exhibit a Japanese sensibility.

The sprawling white Claremont Hotel, a short walk uphill from the church, rivals the campus campanile as the most prominent Berkeley landmark. Designed as a country getaway for San Franciscans eager to flee the fog, the 22-acre resort was completed just before the Panama Pacific Exposition of 1915.

Happy Returns

In reminiscing about the university community’s engaging political, intellectual, and cultural life of the 1930s, economist John Kenneth Galbraith wrote in his Economics, Peace, and Laughter (1971): “People came to Berkeley from all over the worm and, naturally enough, no one ever left…. In general, graduate students avoided taking their final degrees lest they be under temptation, however slight, to leave.” True then, true in my day. I left Berkeley with some reluctance in the 1980s. And now, more than a decade later – home again!

Leave a Comment :, more...