The Book Is Here!

  

The Book Is Here!

The wait is over for me, as well as for you, to be able to hold your own copy of 42 Encounters with Dog Lovers in your hands.  It was almost a year ago on September 4, 2017 when I started working on the book about Max, recording the first 42 days of our life with our new puppy.  Though we had four dogs before him, it was the first time I decided to learn what it takes to become our dog’s best friend.  To do that, I read many “how-to“ books, and I shared a lesson a day in my book.

There was an original set of photos leftover from my first book, 42 Encounters in San Francisco, that I’ve taken in many parts of the world over the past eleven years.  As I continued to photograph new, “better” images, they replaced other sometimes equally interesting encounters.

Forty-two days after I finished writing the book, the production process began.  The text had to be edited and shortened first by me, then by my daughter Tamar, followed by the professional editor, Amy Bauman.  The next step was to assemble the book, which was done by the talented graphic artist, Darren Young.  But there was still a question – which image should be on the cover?  Though the photos were about dog lovers and their dogs, our puppy Max was the real hero.  But which of his many images to choose?  There was also thequestion of where to print the book?  After getting the first run and receiving the first prints from one company, I went back to the printing company I used to print my first 42 Encounters in San Francisco book, and who did a great job – Moquin Press.  Meanwhile, as I immersed myself into the world of dogs and their owners, I decided to use my book as an opportunity to help owners become their dogs’ best friends. As a first step, I started a Facebook page, Max and Manny where every Monday I share a short description of my experience with Max and post his images.  After the first time I visited the Muttville Senior Dog Rescue (which I wrote about before), I decided to donate 10% from the book sales to various dog shelters.  I have no idea what is going to be the next development, but I intend to promote the book to 75.4 million millennials.  According to Marketing Daily, thirty-five percent of dogs are owned by Millennials.  I am sure that at least some of them want to have my book.  And since there are also 74.1 million Baby Boomers and some of them (like myself) also own a dog, who knows how many dog lovers will be able to buy the book and to contribute to dog shelters?  I am sure you are getting the picture.  To make a long story short, regardless which group you belong to, when you buy 42 Encounters with Dog Lovers, many dogs in dog shelters are going to benefit.  And as far as you are concerned, I guarantee you will love the book and hope you will buy many copies as presents to your friends and family, and share your reviews on Amazon.com.

P.S. In the first image you see is of Max and I receiving the first box with books, the other three are among forty-two in the book.  You can purchase the book at Encounterspublishing.com or  Amazon.com.

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It’s All In The Numbers

  

It’s All In The Numbers

On August 8th, 2018 my wife Elfa and I celebrated our 51st wedding anniversary.  During this long life journey together we had to overcome many challenges.  After two emigrations, growing a family and surviving and prospering in the volatile mortgage business as owners of Pacific Bay Financial for 33 years, there are many reasons we have to celebrate.  Was this luck or hard work?  Perhaps it was all of the above.  I was curious to find out what numbers have to do with that. I did some research online about a branch of knowledge that deals with the occult significance of numbers, called numerology.  I’ve heard that the Chinese consider number 8 a lucky number, but why?  Turns out that thepronunciation of “Ba” in Chinese, eight sounds similar to the word “Fa”, which means, “to make a fortune”.  Since in our life there are two eights – our anniversary falls on the 8th day of the 8thmonth, we have double fortune – our two amazing daughters.  And when we put those numbers together, we have the number 88.  The energy represented by numerology number 88, is foremost, an analytical approach to efficient business for accomplishing substantial goals.  And this year, we have the number 18 (8/8/2018).  The essence of the number 18 has to do with humanitarianism, independence and building something of lasting benefit.  In addition to this, in Judaism, according to the system of Gematria, which is the kabbalistic method of interpreting Hebrew scripture, the letters of number 18 add up to the word “Chai”, which means life and is considered a spiritual number.  When we add 8+8+1+8, we get 25, which in numerology represents relationships, personal freedom and companionship.  At the same time, by adding the whole year 8+8+2+0+1+8 we arrive at 27, which means that this person has the highest wisdom without having to search for love from others.

At this moment you might be feeling that you have had enough of this trivia.  Nevertheless, let’s put together what we have so far – Fortune, Analytical approach to effective business, Independence, and Building something of lasting benefit.  In addition, there is also Life, and a person with the highest wisdom.  I decided to look further.  The numerology explanation of number 51 (the number of years we have been married) is a number of family and also of both responsibility and expression of personal freedom, and is responsible for many pleasant and stimulating adventures, as you can see, it is getting more interesting.  By adding 5+1, we get 6.  The most important influence of the 6 is its loving and caring nature. According to Chinese interpretation, it is a lucky number, which means “flow”.

Well, I think you are getting the picture.  Of course all of those numbers can just be a coincidence, or maybe not.  Regardless of whether these numbers have any significance, the second part of a relationship has to be there – work.

It was Thomas Jefferson who said, “I am a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”

We decided to celebrate our anniversary, playing tourists in the best city in the world. We spent our time browsing shop windows and visiting photography galleries and then had lunch at Café de la Presse, which is across the street from the entrance into Chinatown, where we watched the constant flow of tourists. After a stroll, we had ice tea at a coffee shop in Union Square and ended the day with dinner at one of our favorite restaurants – Firefly. San Francisco has 2612 streets. When I added all the numbers – 2+6+1+2, I got 11.  According to Numerology, “The number 11 is a Master Number which means that it resonates at extremely high vibration. Master Number 11 is associated with spiritual illumination and our inner teacher.”

P.S. The number 42 in the title of my series “42 Encounters” books, originally came to me after reading “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams.  It has many meanings, which you can read about online.  The four images of people with their dogs that I encountered in Downtown San Francisco could be included in my new book “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers”, which is available on Encounterspublishing.com or Amazon.com

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What Is A Doodle?

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What Is A Doodle?

The proper question for my story should be not what, but who.  However when I googled “doodle”, what I found was that on August 2nd, “Mount Olympus was celebrated with a Google Doodle.”  Apparently, Google doodles all the time.  In addition, there is a website for setting appointments called Doodle. But there are also dogs who are also called doodles.  Our Labradoodle dog Max belongs to this mix between pure breed dogs.  In his case, it is the crossing between a Labrador Retriever and the standard Moyen or Miniature Poodle.  The term first appeared in 1955, but became popular in 1988, when the mix began to be used as an allergy friendly or hypoallergenic guide dog.  Since its start in Australia, the trend has spread all over the world.

You can see some of their images on netfind.com/search.  There are Goldendoodles, Bernedoodles, Sheepdoodles, Aussiedoodles, Schnoodles, Whoodles and many others.  In San Francisco, there is a way to see those wonderful dogs.  Once a month there is an SF Doodle meetup.  It was founded on May 12, 2015 by Janeen Anderson and three others. Four years later there are 605 members, some of whom gather at Crissy Field or other locations, where dogs can run without a leash and play with each other, and owners mingle and develop friendships.  After I met Janeen, she introduced me to Gideon Marks, who together with his two children started a website DogLog.com which helps to track our best friends’ activities.  I also learned about puppymama.com.  This site was started by Theresa Piasta.  Judging by the name, it is focusing on female dog owners.  There I found some very interesting stories, which inspired me to consider the title of one of my future “42 Encounters” books – “42 Encounters with Puppies’ Mamies” to be followed by “42 Encounters with Puppies’ Papies”.

I am amazed by how many wonderful and unexpected encounters I am discovering thanks to our four-legged friend Max.  Of course you will read about them and I also hope that you will join us on our Facebook page, Max & Manny,and share the good word with your friends.

P.S. Meanwhile enjoy these four images from the SF Doodle meetup.  I especially like the one where everyone focuses on Max.  And of course, plesase buy “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers” for yourself and your friends.  You can order it on encounterspublishing or amazon.com.  When you order 5, you will also get a surprise gift.  10% from the sale will go to your favorite dog shelter.

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How to Give a 2nd Chance

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How to Give a 2nd Chance

I received a call from my friend Iona, whom I was able to help with a reverse mortgage recently.  She knew that I had just finished working on my photo-story book about dogs, and thoughtfully invited me to check out Muttville, an organization whose motto is to give senior dogs a “2nd chance.  They are located at the corner of 16th Street and Alabama Street, next to the SPCA.

I’ve visited dog shelters before; one of them, the San Francisco SPCA, has an incredible facility.  But most of the dogs there are young, and more easily adoptable.  The dogs stay in small rooms and visitors can observe them through a glass door.  When I visited Muttville, I had no idea what to expect.  The building, which was used as a bank in the 1930’s, has many rooms with high ceilings. (The former vault is used for storage.)  Dogs are attended to by 16 staff members and about 300 volunteers, and wander freely through the room.  Throughout the space, there are dogs beds with blankets on the floor. Every week, they rescue about twenty-five new senior dogs, and about the same number are adopted by happy families. Most of them arrive here from other dog shelters from all over California.  Some are shipped here from Mexico, Taiwan and even Iran.  Sherri Franklin founded Muttville in 2007.  After volunteering in the SPCA for many years, she realized that senior dogs, those who are 7 years and older, were considered “unadoptable” and were routinely euthanized. She decided to save some by adopting them and kept the seniors in her home (now she still has ten in her charge). Her desire to save more dogs led her to start the organization, which over ten years, has saved over 5000 senior dogs.  In 2016, Sherri Franklin and Muttville were one of ten “CNN Hero of The Year Finalists”. The day before I visited Muttville, a friend (who is a senior) told me that he had adopted an older dog.  I inquired from which shelter and was not surprised that it was Muttville.  He also told me that his friend had adopted five dogs from Muttville, as well.

One of the programs offered at the shelter is matching human seniors with their four-legged senior companions without having to pay an adoption fee.  In the lower level of the building, there is a large room with comfortable chairs, where human seniors, who cannot have dogs where they live, come and spend time and play with the adorable, loving creatures.

All of the dogs go through a thorough examination by a vet and are prescribed any necessary medications and special diets to help expedite their recovery.

I love dogs, and many times I have been in the parks where different dogs congregate together and mix with people, but being at Muttville was an emotional experience for me and filled my eyes with tears.  I have no idea what caused this, but I decided to do what I can to help.  10% of the profits from the sale of my book “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers” will go to Muttville or any other dog loving organizations of the readerschoice.  Please help our beautiful senior dogs.  When you buy the book at encounterspublishing.com or amazon.com, I will make a contribution on your behalf to the dog charity of your choice.

P.S. I’ve chosen four images to show the dogs’ lives during my visit to the Muttville facility.  You can visit the facility on weekends.  It is located at 255 Alabama Street, in San Francisco.  On Saturday (tomorrow), August18th you will find me there with my books.  And if you are too busy, check them out online.  When I was leaving, Ms. Franklin gave me a package with the information about Muttville.  There was a note – “Without You there are no 2nd Chances”.

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“What in the F*** Are You Going to Do with That?”

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“WHAT in the F*** ARE YOU GOING to DO with THAT?”

We recently visited a very interesting exhibition at the Legion of Honor at the Fine Arts Museum called “Truth and Beauty.  The Pre-Raphaelites and the Old Masters”.  After we parked the car, I noticed a woman dressed in a 19thcentury dress.  As we walked toward the museum, I saw more and more people dressed up.  Before we entered the museum, a group of four young women were posing for each other and taking selfies with their mobile phones.  When I pulled out my photo-camera to join them, one of them said that she doesn’t want to be photographed, while another asked me what I am planning to do with her image.  And then she told me that before photographing her, I should ask for permission. I tried to tell her that as a “street photographer” I can photograph anyone.  To this she retorted that instead of arguing with me, I better get lost. In spite of being rude, she had a point. What right do I have to photograph others without their will and permission, and what am I going to do with thousands of images of these strangers on my computer?  For me, the answer could be relatively simple – to use them in my “Encounters” with the hope that you might be interested in seeing them. In addition, when I have enough good images to choose 42, I can create one of my next photo-books.  And besides, there were so many other dressed-up people inside the museum who did not mind to be photographed and even posed for me.

The exhibit was actually of the art of a group of talented young artists, who decided not to follow the prescribed tradition of time.  On the museum’s website I found that in 1848, seven young Englishmen formed an artistic alliance inspiring a rebellion against the contemporary Victorian art world.  They called themselves The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood – PRB.  The exhibit shows the juxtaposition of their remarkable work, mostly in bright highly saturated colors, with the works of the Italian, Dutch and German old masters, and shows how during the coming years their work evolved and was influenced by the Renaissance painters such as Botticelli, Raphael, Titian and Veronese, going back to works of Jan van Eyck (ca 1399-1441) .  If you are not familiar with those artistic works, it is another good reason to visit the museum.  The exhibit ends on September 30, 2018.  If you prefer modern art (in connection with traditional art) there is also exhibit of Julian Schnabel’s huge paintings and sculptures, which require a lot of imagination and perhaps reflection, especially after seeing the works of the “old artists”.

As far as I am concerned, I got my share of creative opportunities. I was inspired by the bright colors of the PRB’s and want to replicate that in my photography.  Before leaving the museum, among some of the dressed-up people, I met a group who responded by laughing at one of my jokes.  As a result, I have one more image with people laughing.  One of my future books is going to be “42 Encounters with Laughter.”  Be patient, it might take awhile to catch 42 laughing people.  Meanwhile, one of the life lessons (good for photographers as well) – do not be discouraged if you stumble at first in your journey – keep going.  After all, as the old adage goes, “He who laughs last, laughs longest”.

P.S. Seeing and photographing dressed-up people was a bonus. It turned out to be the “Victorian Visions 19thCentury Costume Day”.  As my wife said, “It was your lucky day”, as these three images can attest.  Meanwhile my photo-story book “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers” will be available next week. Hooray!  I just received the first box, and the rest will follow next week. Will keep you posted.

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Cheers,

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