Like a Rock

Ok.  This is REALLY REALLY my last west-coast-related post.  I think. 

So, on our last day in San Fran, we decided to do the tourist-y thing and take the ABA-sponsored tour of Alcatraz (a) because it was free, and (b) because it saved me the trouble of heading over early to try and snag same-day tickets on my own.  B had already done the tour years ago, but he deemed my enthusiasm worthy of a repeat trip.  The best part is that they were celebrating the 75th anniversary of the prison so they had some of the guards (now in their 80s) and some of the children of the guards (who grew up on the island) there to speak to us about their experience "on the rock!"  Can you imagine growing up there???  Crazy, right?  "Hey Johnny, go long.  Oh wait, not that long!!!"  Splash!  And if the freezing cold water wouldn't startle them enough, being in such close proximity to the most hardened criminals in the country definitely would!  Seriously!

I loved every minute of it though.  The history is unbelievable, escape attempts and all!  Even better than that, though, was the sky-high creepy factor.  For some reason it felt like ghosts were going to pop out at every corner.  Perhaps I conjured that whole idea/fear in my head, but it sure made the experience a lot more interesting! 

And as I mentioned before, I have this really great setting on my camera which lets you color-block the photo as you take it.  Basically, you can choose the color you want to enhance my metering on it (or focusing on it) and then taking the photo.  Or you can even pre-select a color that you want the camera to recognize and it will convert the rest of the photo to black and white!  So much fun!  In this case, there was a lot of yellow from the flourescent lights and chipping exterior paint, which totally enhanced the creepy factor. 

Can you imagine spending all of your time locked in a cell with nothing to do but think?  On the tour (which is self-guided with headphones), it explained that certain prisoners would take up hobbies like singing or playing an instrument....others would knit.  It is a little hard to imagine these high-risk prisoners sitting around and chatting in a circle while they knit themselves sweaters......hm......but they did it!  It's like the Friday Night Knitting Club but with weapons!  My only question is, why were they allowed to have sharp objects to play with?  That must be why there were so many escape attempts. 

Overall it was an AWESOME little excursion though.  If you are ever out in the San Fran area, you should definitely check it out!  Bring a jacket though, it gets cold out there.....like 35-40 degrees cold.  EEEK!  I am wearing a winter jacket in this photo.....in August....in CALIFORNIA!  Crazy I tell ya!  (The jacket, by the way, was purchased the day before because I packed SUNDRESSES on this trip.  Way to look at the weather before you leave, Heather!  Nice work!)

Side note: The only down-side to the whole color recognition technology for the camera is that it also picks up on the yellow in your TEETH!  Yikes.  This photo isn't too bad, but that is because it was carefully chosen.  The rest of them look like we just ate a carton of Lemon Drops!!!

And I know what you are thinking, how did you NOT take a photo of yourself behind bars??  Well, we did, but it came out really weird with the yellow enhancement, so I wasn't sure that it would be a good one to share.  So....I'll just show B instead.  Haha..

Oh, and its also little weird that he is smiling.  Not the typical reaction when you get locked up, I'm sure.  But, I suppose its hard to role play when you have 500 people milling around you trying to take the same photo!  You know what I mean, right.  Those exaggerated sighs from the lady who left her patience back in her hotel room that morning.  Or the guy that is standing so close that he is virtually in your shot.  He is the reason that photoshop was invented.  Humpphh!!  Chillax dude, if you don't calm down, you will be taking a REAL mugshot soon!!!  

Oooh.  A few hours in the slammer and I'm feeling all tough!  Life on the rock is hard, man.  It takes its toll...... 

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