Mountain View Festival, Lock Museum

On September 11, 2010, I had grand plans to do stuff in the city but Di Yin and I ended up being lazy and went to a local festival, the Mountain View Art & Wine Festival.

This wasn't a worse option than the events in the city, just a more convenient one. I've been to a similar Mountain View festival once before and was impressed by its size and quality. As before, the festival ran the whole length of Castro Street and had numerous stands selling all varieties of arts and crafts. Also, I guess the city uses the festival as an excuse to do gardening--Castro Street's median was packed with beautiful flowers.

There was a lot of good stuff at the festival. I found many booths with high quality photography, especially of nature and of San Francisco, and many booths with good quality glass stuff. I found a few particular booths I thought were remarkable:

  • mounted exotic butterflies. They were so vivid, I didn't believe they were real until I was told so. Naturally, they're expensive: a poster-size display costs over two thousand dollars.
  • bonsai. This booth made me sad in memory of the one I killed.
  • small bronze sculptures (of people in action) that tell stories, tales that are expanded by paragraph-long descriptions by the artist.
  • the fancy pasta I found before.
The festival had the usual festival food: kebabs, fried stuff, Chinese rice bowls, corn on the cob. Also, in addition to the usual wine and beer selection, a local brewery was pouring pints. I had a sausage from a local sausage purveyor. Though most things I've had from this specialty shop have been good, this one was overcooked.

We left without seeing the whole festival because it was sunny and hot and we were low on energy.

On the way out, we visited the small Lock Museum. We were given a tour by the proprietor. The guy likes his mechanical things, and his enthusiasm for the locks as well as old cash registers with neat mechanical construction and also old adding machines was evident and definitely made the museum more interesting than it would have been otherwise.

Of everything in the museum, I liked the look and size of the massive safes the most. With twelve-inch-thick steel, these safes were used mostly in banks and hotels. Some were on timers so they could be only opened with a key at the right time. Sometimes the inside door of the safe was decorated. (These were on safes that were always open during bank hours.)

The museum also has old combo locks, post office locks, and even ancient locks from other countries, plus old key-copying machines. Interestingly, the proprietor showed us a 1903 high security New York bank key, which looked remarkably similar to a modern car key. I guess security comes to banks first, then becomes cheaper and easier to manufacture and shows up in other places. Incidentally, in other car news, he showed us old car tire locks (from before the days of ignition locking).

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