: views from the Hill

Friday, May 30, 2008

TimesMachine - New York Times

TimesMachine - New York Times

TimesMachine can take you back to any issue from Volume 1, Number 1 of The New-York Daily Times, on September 18, 1851, through The New York Times of December 30, 1922. Choose a date in history and flip electronically through the pages, displayed with their original look and feel.

The Web is a wonder.

Update:Note: TimesMachine is available only to home delivery subscribers. Contact your library for complimentary access to the complete archive of The New York Times offered by ProQuest.

Dang. Sorry to get everyone's hopes (including mine) up.

Most public libraries in the United States offer access to ProQuest to registered library users (e.g. reference tools available at San Francisco Public) but not access to the PDFs. Drat. Dang.

Got creativity?

17 Obscure Creativity-Sparking Websites | LifeDev

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sailing, sailing, over the bounding main*

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Spotted last evening before sunset.

Note UCBerkeley campanille in the east bay hills behind Treasure Island at about 10 o'clock.

*Geoffrey Marks, 1880.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day weekend guests

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Picture taken last night of the cruiser tied up at Piers 15-17 over the weekend. When the Exploratorium takes over Piers 15-17 (Port Authority and City willing), the deal requires that the Exploratorium keep the piers maintained and clear for the occasional Navy ship to dock.

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The cruiser leaving this morning with the help of two tugs.

Thursday, May 22, 2008



Life, love, everything shoe.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Vinyl Gallery: Vintage classical album cover graphics - a set on Flickr

Vinyl Gallery: Vintage classical album cover graphics - a set on Flickr

[via Laughing Squid]


Got a phone call from this number on my handy this afternoon. I don't answer calls anyway especially ones that show up that don't have a name attached to them via my internal known-people phone directory.

Plus the # looked phunny. Look at all those zeroes, fps.

After checking to see whether the unknown someone left a message (Nope.), I ran the number through Google and came across this, specifically the entry filed by al at 5/19/2008 2:46:56 PM which reads

I am an employee of the lumber company that this number is registered to. We do not solicite anyone nor do we give out any information. We just found out today that our 800 number was spoofed by another company. We have contacted our phone company, our state attorney general, and the FTC about this matter. I am hoping we will be able to resolve this issue.

So, don't call the number to rant at someone. Seems it's probably not their fault.

(Or maybe Al is a plant from the spammer trying to get people to lay off. ... in any case. ...)

If you get a call from this number, no need to answer it. It's not Publishers' Clearinghouse telling you you've won a million big ones.

Ars Technica acquired by Condé Nast: the low-down

Ars Technica acquired by Condé Nast: the low-down

Oh. For. Pete's. Sake.

Ars Technica will now grow with the tools and resources of Condé Nast's WIRED Digital unit. WIRED Digital oversees the business operations of not only WIRED.com, but also Reddit, WebMonkey, HotWired, and other technology destinations. Ars Technica will remain an independent publication, with the same editorial leadership in place. I will remain the Editor-in-Chief, and Jon, Eric, and the rest of the editorial team is staying on board, too.

... and so forth. Don't worry, Community! We're not gonna change. Condé Nast is benevolent folk. Shhh. Shhh. Shhh. There there. It will work out. Just you see!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Some clicks from yesterday's Bay-To-Breakers -- the 97th running thereof

addendum added

We had an invite from long-time friends to watch Bay-To-Breakers at their place down on Fell, about 3.5 miles into the 7.46 mile Bay-To-Breakers "race."

I use the term "race" because BTB is a serious race and a silly race and a seven-mile stroll and a chance to have an excuse to start drinking at 7AM, if that's your poison.

We were told to arrive by 7:30A as the street closures start and it gets harder and harder to find parking. We got up a bit before 6A, showered, made coffee (me) and Nilgiri tea (him) and headed off. First stop Columbus and Union, outside Coit Liquors to catch the 45.

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Across the street the young woman in her floaty was having problems getting her new Crocs on and dialing a cell phone with shark fins on her hands. She finally took the fins off to dial the phone. She was still waiting for her ride when ours arrived. Off we go. (We kept an eye out for her but never did see her run/stroll by. TOO MANY PEOPLE!)

By 7:06A we were waiting on Market for the 5 Fulton, which would take us up to Fulton and Masonic. Three blocks down Masonic to Fell, hang a left right ... whatever and we'd arrive.

While we were waiting for the 5 Fulton, a crew of Vikings and their ship passed us heading east to the race start. Beer cups firmly in hand. 7:06AM.

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We arrived. Helped set up the brunch buffet. Waited for the first runners to appear.

Lineth Chepkurui, who won the female division, came through at 8:14. (Women runners were given a five minute lead at the race start.)

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At 8:17, John Korir blows through with Ridouane Harroufi on his heels. Korir and Harroufi caught up with Chepkurui on the Great Highway just before the end of the race.

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The serious (AKA "elite" runners) were followed by the not so serious.
Little BoPeep and her sheep came through at 8:34A.

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We had older runners.

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And younger.

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The Hooter next door (who was a big hit with people who wanted to have their picture taken with him):

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Four hours into the race, the Yellow Submarine with the Fab Four strolled by

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We had the kilted guy next door

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D, offering his homemade hummus and whole grain pita to participants.

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We had folks with beads

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And folks without

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Five hours after we'd seen them last, the Vikings were spotted again. Much the worse for wear after dragging their ship up Hayes hill.

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The gang had a great time and, time and stamina willing, I'll pull all the photos together in a gallery.

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Later ... we're off to the Ferry Building for a Commonwealth Club panel discussion on raw cheese. Tasting too!

Addendum: (originally written in the comments on View from the Hill commenter Don's blog)

Snapped a pic of a float I thought you'd like.

We watched from a perch off the panhandle, at about the halfway marker for the race.

The last runner/walkers came through about 1P with motorcycle cops flushing the rest of the crowds off the street. (A bit later than usual. The weather was fine and the crowds were huge.)

We swept the piles of litter out in the streets for the street sweepers that immediately followed the cops. We piled plastic bottles and beer cans and bottles on the sidewalk for the scavengers who took them away for their CRV value.

Lucky for the runners, the temps were considerably less than the 95dF they'd been just a couple days before. I can't imagine running up Hayes, pulling/pushing a float in that kind of weather.

A good time was had by all. I caught a bit more sun than I should've. Mellow crowd. There were a few people with gumby bodies, needing the support of three friends to stand upright. There were a few more people we had to shout at to stop them pissing against the house or the Alfas in the driveway. Even people acting like jerks.

Erica Jong doesn't much like Obama

Erica Jong: Electing Sweetie


You'd think that would make her electable. After all, she is not Bill. You'd think that would make her a better candidate. But shut my mouth, Americans don't vote pragmatically. They vote emotionally. And the devil you know is always inferior to the angel you don't know. Barack is currently that angel. How long he'll keep his wings is anyone's guess.

So here we go again. NARAL loves the new boy on the block -- even if HRC was there at its founding. So does John Edwards. And Ted Kennedy. The fact that Barack has little experience makes him the hot new ingénue, whereas Hillary is old like your mother.

The truth is we know about her -- and we know very little about Obama. That alone makes her detractors scream: Get Out! Off the stage with you! Give us that hot new boy! Give us that sepia Brad Pitt! Old women are so over!

First Ferraro, now Jong. The comments tail is whoo-boy interesting.

e.g. I have come to understand what "we don't know anything about him" really means. I believe this is another set of code words for "he is not one of us."

Anna Quindlen's Commencement Speech: Mount Holyoke College, 23 May 1999

Anna Quindlen's Commencement Speech: Mount Holyoke College, 23 May 1999


Most commencement speeches suggest you take up something or other: the challenge of the future, a vision of the twenty-first century. Instead I'd like you to give up. Give up the backpack. Give up the nonsensical and punishing quest for perfection that dogs too many of us through too much of our lives. It is a quest that causes us to doubt and denigrate ourselves, our true selves, our quirks and foibles and great leaps into the unknown, and that is bad enough.

But this is worse: that someday, sometime, you will be somewhere, maybe on a day like today--a berm overlooking a pond in Vermont, the lip of the Grand Canyon at sunset. Maybe something bad will have happened: you will have lost someone you loved, or failed at something you wanted to succeed at very much.

And sitting there, you will fall into the center of yourself. You will look for that core to sustain you. If you have been perfect all your life, and have managed to meet all the expectations of your family, your friends, your community, your society, chances are excellent that there will be a black hole where your core ought to be.

Don't take that chance. Begin to say no to the Greek chorus that thinks it knows the parameters of a happy life when all it knows is the homogenization of human experience. Listen to that small voice from inside you, that tells you to go another way. George Eliot wrote, "It is never too late to be what you might have been." It is never too early, either. And it will make all the difference in the world. Take it from someone who has left the backpack full of bricks far behind. Every day feels light as a feather.

Quindlen: Hillary, Think of Your Legacy

Quindlen: Hillary, Think of Your Legacy

Newsweek Magazine "The Last Word"
May 26, 2008 Issue


But policy is one thing and pandering is another, especially when your opponent has been sure-footed on the high road. When Senator Clinton started to style herself as a dab hand with guns in Pennsylvania and an enemy of the intellectual elites in Indiana, she began to validate the opinions of all those who believe the Clintons—no matter which—would do anything to win. Her candidacy has had special resonance for many women, no question, but that means she has special obligations, too. And one of those obligations is to see that the lesson learned is not that women running for office can be just as skeevy as their male counterparts.


(Anna Quindlen is a fellow dragon lady, thirty-five days older than I am.)

Comcast NNTP has been unavailable since yesterday AM

No Usenet access except through Googja. ... Hissing and fissing over at the Comcast boards.

Oh, what in the world to do with all my free time?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The World's Largest Lolcat, An Invisible Bike Mural | Laughing Squid

The World's Largest Lolcat, An Invisible Bike Mural | Laughing Squid

Yay! Us! Not only do we have the weirdness of Bay to Breakers today, but also we have the world's larges LOLCat Mural!

Update: Took like probably four seconds for the LOLcat mural to hit Guess Where SF and maybe a couple seconds after that for the location to be pinpointed by the gurus at GWSF.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Funeral music redux

I've always loved Jackson Browne's FOR A DANCER:

Into a dancer you have grown
From a seed somebody else has thrown
Go on ahead and throw some seeds of your own
And somewhere between the time you arrive
And the time you go
May lie a reason you were alive
But you'll never know

And for Skip I would've chosen Jackson Browne's A SONG FOR ADAM:

Though Adam was a friend of mine, I did not know him long
And when I stood myself beside him, I never though I was as strong
Still it seems he stopped his singing in the middle of his song
Well I'm not the one to say I know, but I'm hoping he was wrong

More Jackson Browne. Some Patsy Cline. Some Willie Nelson. Emmy Lou Harris. Sinatra. Ella. a bit of Jobim.

AGAINST THE WIND - Waylon & Johnny and Willie
LIFE'S RAILWAY TO HEAVEN - Patsy Cline or Johnny Cash
THIS OLD ROAD - Kristofferson

I don't know. So many. Warren Zevon. Keb Mo. Cisco Houston. Tony Bennett.

Am I gathering songs for a memorial service or songs to encapsulate my life?

I'll have to think on this. I'd count in Baez' AMAZING GRACE if I didn't have the memories already associated with it.

I'll have to think on this. Easier to choose the music than write the obit, eh?

Spit and polish for a Seattle icon | KOMO-TV - Seattle, Washington

Spit and polish for a Seattle icon | KOMO-TV - Seattle

First deep cleaning of the Space Needle since 1962 opening.


Acrophobia, me? Eeeks!

[via Laughing Squid]

Carnival of the Criminal Minds

Carnival of the Criminal Minds

A rotating editorship collecting the best of the best crime fiction blogging.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Louise Ure - Muderati - Funeral Music

Louise Ure has a good blog post over at Murderati, the typepad blog that rotates posts by murder writers through the week.

Her post this Tuesday was about funeral music -- specifically, your funeral music. What music would you choose to play at your funeral?

When my cousin died, the family and her friends gathered at Pfeiffer Beach down in Big Sur. The music that played while her dad waded out into the surf to sprinkle ashes was Joan Baez singing Amazing Grace, a capella.

When Elizabeth died, her granddaughter sang Bette Midler's Wind Beneath My Wings, a capella:

Did you ever know that you're my hero,
and everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
'cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

It might have appeared to go unnoticed,
but I've got it all here in my heart.
I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know it.
I would be nothing without you.

One of the songs Ure mentions is this one, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's medley of Somewhere Over the Rainbow and What a Wonderful World.

What is the music of your life, your soundtrack?

My answer later. We're off (on this friggin' hot afternoon -- up over 93dF upstairs) to the Waterfront Restaurant down by Pier 5 the Ferry Building for a Spanish wine tasting.


California Supreme Court overturns gay marriage ban

California Supreme Court overturns gay marriage ban

Yay! Hooray! Equality!

Now onward to November when the California Protection of Marriage Act (a constitutional amendment) will probably be on the ballot to read:

SECTION 2. Article I. Section 7.5 is added to the California Constitution. to read:
Sec. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.


Today's California Supreme Court decision [PDF]

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bits and bytes

It seems to have been all Twitter and no Blogger for far too long. (For the Twitter bits, look over to the right sidebar ...) A brief wrapup of my long weekend.

Saturday morning I walked down to John's Grill on Ellis for a lunch meeting of Mystery Writers of America/Northern California chapter. Along the way I came upon a crowd of "anonymous" with face masks and disguises, gathering near the Transamerica Pyramid for their May 10th swipe at the Scientology headquarters nearby. "Ask me why I'm wearing a mask." read one sign. Jason Beghe showed up on Saturday and mingled with the anonymous undisguised. What more harm could he fear? Search for /anonymous scientology/ for the scoop and the YouTube videos.

Guest for the MWA-NorCal lunch was agent Elise Proulx (Frederick Hill Bonnie Nadell Associates on Union Street in our fair and bucolic ville), who has just become a member of board of Litquake. She talked of this and that, but my notes are elsewhere. Most of what I remember was nothing ragingly new to anyone who read Miss Snark back in the day, or who has read her archives since, but a fair number of the unpublished in the audience obviously hadn't had that experience.

Proulx did say that she hates synopses as a matter of course. She'd rather get a three-para query letter with a overview para, a short synopsis para and a who-are-you-the-author para. If she likes that, she'll ask for a partial. If she likes the partial, she'll ask for a full. She'd rather be reading a partial or a full than a synopsis. Her percentages of how-many-queries become how-many-partials become how-many-fulls become clients weren't terribly encouraging.

Proulx also said that there's a site out there (you may know which one I mean -- she didn't remember the name of it) which sends out queries for writers. She says she gets these e-queries with her name there next to a cc: for a LARGE bunch of other agents in the A-F category. She deletes those queries; she considers them spam. Be forewarned.

Funny stories about queries? Proulx had them in spades. Gaffes? Those too. Note: Do not send a query to her headed Dear Ms Hillnadel. Yes, her e-addr is elise_hillnadell-at-sbcglobal.net, but that doesn't mean she's changed her last name.

A good time was had by all. My chicken caesar salad was excellent. My $3 worth of raffle tickets won me a book of my choice from those donated at the table on the east side of the room. I picked Louise Ure's latest, The Fault Tree. Had her sign it. Started it over the weekend. Intriguing sleuth. Interesting setup.

After the MWA-NorCal lunch, I walked down to the Embarcadero and met up with his nibs and moseyed over to the long line of people waiting to get into KFOG Kaboom! at Piers 30-32. Cost this year: $15 each plus service charges. The sound system was better than years past when things were free. There were more porta-potties. I assume that's what all the money goes for. Wish it were still free. Howsomever. ...

The gates opened early and we found a great spot right at the edge of Pier 30. Mellow people abounded. We ate roasted corn and Philly cheesesteak and crabcake and all sorts of the equivalent of stuff on a stick while listening to Matt Nathanson, Collective Soul and Los Lobos through the afternoon. As dusk drifted in, so did the fog. Trails and trickles, ohpleasedon'tgetanythicker fog. We watched the tugs pull FIVE BARGES FULL OF FIREWORKS into place. If you click on the Kaboom! link above, you'll see video of the fireworks. Unfortunately, a bit diluted by a bit of fog. Next year!

Sunday, we drove over to Aptos and had lunch with the older younger guy and his partner. After lunch we all piled into the Honda with 105K miles on it and drove to Santa Cruz with gifties for the matriarch in honor of Mother's Day. We drove the guys back to Aptos where I got my MD's present (a box of delish chocolates from Richard Donnelly Chocolates in Santa Cruz. Sweet!)

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From there we drove south to see what wildflowers were still left to see, to Carmel and east over the hills to King City where we checked into the Motel 6 (they'll keep the light on for you.) Big spenders: $46.03 including taxes and all =and= a senior discount.

We had dinner at Alexander's, which was suffering pains with new management. Staff all seemed new. No liquor license yet. Uproar. Not staffed up for all the folks showing up for Mother's Day dinner. Loads of patrons. Few staff. (We'd forgotten it was Mother's Day dinner time when we decided to head over there for dinner. ...) Was this the =first= day under new management? Might've been. It was =that= discombobulated. I won't list the woes, but that meal was in the Top Five Woeful Dinners we've had in the past thirty years. Here's hoping things shake out as they get settled in.

Next morning we had breakfast at V's Diner, the little diner next to the Motel 6, where you couldn't just ask for corned beef hash, you had to order breakfast, which meant two eggs anywayyouwantem, corned beef hash, hash browns or fruit, toast or muffin or pancakes. ... well, you get the idea. The corned beef hash was excellent. There was too much food to finish.

We checked out and headed off, first to Mission San Antonio de Padua, the very cool mission in the middle of Fort Hunter Liggett, on the old Hearst Ranch property that the Hearsts sold to the military in 1940. Mission San Antonio is the best mission I've ever visited. We first visited back in 1990 when the older younger guy was in fourth grade and studying California missions. The mission is still stuck out in the middle of nowhere because it's surrounded by Hunter Liggett, and so seems to be closest to what it might've been when his nibs' great-great-great whatever came up with the DeAnza expedition in 1776, tugging on his mom's skirt hem, asking, "Are we there yet?" Lovely spot.

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From the mission, we headed back to King City and then east to Bitterwater where we caught Airline Highway and wandered through places and off to the end of Willow Creek Road


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and back onto the highway and on to Paicines, up Panoche Road toward New Idria. We turned around before we reached the mines but gosh, it's lovely country out there.

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The last time we were here, we came a different route and earlier in the year.

This year we had to cut out earlier than we would've liked because we had to get to the outlet shops in Gilroy before they closed because I needed some new walking shoes. (My current pair are worn to the nub and the outlet shops are too far from home to justify a special trip, but if we happen to swing by on the way home from the far southlands ...)

Home again, home again and a lovely time we had. Next time we will head out earlier in the spring for our wildflower trek. Although there were still some blooming, the spectacular shows that look like someone spilt watercolor paints over the hillsides were weeks gone past. We hadn't had a spare duo of days to make the trip earlier this year, but what we found was beautiful too.

[BLOG] Get A Look At This!

Get A Look At This -- blog that posts curious stuff. Worth another RSS feed link

Friday, May 09, 2008

[ATTN: UV] Sidewalk art in the City by the Bay

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All but the last line true. Wait. Let me correct that. I have no idea what an Indian fighter or chemical test pilot are. I don't know what being spiritually aerodynamic is but it probably has something to do with the Church of well, you know. The last line is absolutely untrue. That I know.