: views from the Hill

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Between my prayer flags and Buddha's hand

Posted by Picasa

... things will be better in 2009.

Good thoughts and warm sqwishes for the New Year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Spinning, a blog.

The thing ^H^H^H One of the things I find fascinating about the Web is all the things I find fascinating and stash away in a links folder or delicious or a Web page or a post and then forget all about and never return to.

Too many fascinating things.

With delicious, though, if I click to save a link to a page I've found interesting and I've already saved a link to that page, delicious lets me know.

I came across Susan Marie Rose Maciog Gibb's blog from somewhere else earlier today and found the first post or two interesting enough that I clicked on her "about" page. I found her self-description and the items that were used to categorize her self and her life interesting. So I saved a link in delicious.

I then went back to the blog and read back a ways and said, that's interesting. I'll keep a link.

When I clicked to save a link in delicious, delicious told me I'd already saved a link: 05-Jun-2007.

I must've liked it then.

I've never been back since. (That I remember.)

How did I find it eighteen months ago?

Ah, the Web.

Monday, December 29, 2008

spool art by devorah sperber

spool art by devorah sperber



dm fail! on Twitter

dm fail! Messages from folks who accidentally post a tweet when they meant to DM.

e.g. Dude, you left your hemorrhoid cream and herpes medications over at my place again!

Real or faked? Does it matter?

Update:Twitter is tweaking their code so that people who are DMing can use either D or DM as the abbreviation for direct messaging.

No more dm fail. Alas.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

100 Cereal Box Covers - from the aeron.

100 Cereal Box Covers - from the aeron.

The Web is a wonder. Alan Valek has cobbled together photographs of cereal boxes to show the evolution of, f'rex, the Alpha-Bits cereal box.

His blog's pretty entertaining too.


Yes, there actually is a Web site called CUTE THINGS FALLING ASLEEP.

Found via CuteOverload.

Specifically ... this post.

And why was I over at CuteOverload? Well because Jessamyn was tweeting that her Mom had never seen CuteOverload, and I said outloud (in a two-person office) that not everyone's Mom has seen CuteOverload. And his nibs was all, "What's CuteOverload?" and things went from there to there to there.

So there.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A philosophy of life

Had a nice long, ranging chat with Hermon Baker when I stopped in at Yone Beads on Union on my way back from the library and further places afield. (Complete list of stops and purchases on the day after Christmas: Cost Plus: nothing. Even at 75% off there was nothing there I needed, but seems I needed a couple small, blank canvases and a sketchbook (all on sale -- total price <$10) at Artist & Craftsman Supply on Columbus.)

Baker and I talked about life and warm beds, the weather and the tiger sculpture that's allegedly over on the Greenwich Steps. I need to go over and see if I can find it. One of his earlier customers hadn't been able to. We wondered whether it had already been removed.

We talked about the year ending and his negative view of "top ten" lists for the year. Life is not a competition, he said. We shouldn't be ranking this or that as on or off the top ten list for the year. Winners or losers. Top ten or not. Don't.

I left the shop with two beautiful beads I will find some use for and something to think about.

The Richest Gift, a tale.

The Richest Gift - Travelers' Tales

Great tale. More great tales on the Travelers' Tales site.

[via a James O'Reilly tweet]

Coming Soon to the Tenderloin: Another Dirty, Poorly Lit Place For Books

Coming Soon to the Tenderloin: Another Dirty, Poorly Lit Place For Books [SFWeekly - The Snitch]

Oh. Now. How come I never knew this bookstore existed until this morning when I was wandering through old links, one of which told tales of this place?

Now it's gone (possibly to be phoenix'd ... some day ...).

The pics remind me of Woodruff & Thush, a used bookstore down by San Jose State, a used bookstore my older brother and I used to love. (And hate ... Case had a lovely rant about the time he found a great book at a terrific price and brought it to the cash register only to have Craig Thush tell him that he hadn't repriced the book in a very long time and he was repricing the book on the spot. Couldn't argue with Thush. ...)

I would've bought Woodruff & Thush out lock, stock & barrel when Craig Thush decided to retire in 2003 if I could've. I still have plenty of books I bought there in my impoverished young adulthood, including a Difco manual I got for cheaps when I was taking Microbiology 101.

Here's hoping McDonald's reopens and I get a crack at browsing the stacks some day soon.

Packing and The Mantra of Minimalism

Packing and The Mantra of Minimalism

An added bonus click for the PCV who wants to travel. Travel light, mi'jo. This woman shows you how. (Substitute manly things for the womanly things she has in her backpack and you're good to go.)

Underage Facebook party busted

Underage Facebook party busted

Remember what we say kids. Nothing is private on the internet. If you don’t want the cops to come to your house don’t post it on Facebook.

Parents, don't let your children grow up to do stupid things and crow about it on Facebook.

But, oldkins can be clueless too. The husband of a woman in Sheffield, UK, murdered her after she posted on her Facebook page that she was leaving him. The husband of another woman, this one from Croydon, near London, murdered her after she changed her Facebook status to "single" a couple days after the husband moved out. Stabbed to death.

Both women were, obviously, married to unstable, abusing men. Both were murdered after they unthinkingly used Facebook to tell the world they were (or soon would be) well-rid of their husbands. They must've already known what sort of creepoid jerks their husbands were and that they might react to the public exposure.

Watch what you post to Facebook, folks young and old. Word has a way of getting 'round.

Update: Keep your illegal/dumb stuff off YouTube too.

Raising a Gamer? Employers Turning Down World of Warcraft Players

Raising a Gamer? Employers Turning Down World of Warcraft Players

A word to the wise ... don't tell your employer or co-workers that you are a Tauren shaman known as GoldenRabbitsoul. Don't mention allakhazam.com. Pretend you spend your evenings knitting and your weekends hiking in local parks.

Take It Apart dot net

Take It Apart dot net: dissecting electronic gadgetry. Just for fun.

Disclaimers, of course.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Christmas wish for those who celebrate

"Next year all our troubles will be miles away. ..."

YouTube - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas -- Sinatra.

"Some day soon we all will be together, if the fates allow. ..."

RIP, Miss Eartha.

YouTube - Eartha Kitt - C'est Si Bon (Live Kaskad 1962)

RIP, Miss Eartha. You gave a ton of pleasure to a zillion folks. Here's hoping you wind up with the folks you would want to spend the rest of eternity with.

Bunny Suicide

OK. Granted. I have an odd family.

When Dad was still alive, our children's sigoths would sometimes freak at family gatherings because we'd be discussing "If you were a terrorist intent on making Americans feel shakier than shaky -- and killing some Americans as an added benefit -- what target would you attack?"

These discussions happened to have a concrete reason behind them because some of the family members were/are concerned with what terrorists might target.

Question: Would you target a monument like the Golden Gate Bridge, the Alamo, or Mount Rushmore or would you wreak terror by targeting small malls and roller skating rinks across America -- both of which are easier to target.

Is it more effective to clobber some national symbols or to make EVERYONE -- including Laverne's cousin in Tucson -- worried about whether it's safe to go out for dinner?

Well, we don't have those discussions anymore, for various reasons.

Instead today (AT OUR FAMILY CHRISTMAS), we talked about Bunny Suicide.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Our Christmas Eve tradition

Lionel Barrymore as Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol by Dickens

I've listened to this every Christmas Eve for probably the last forty or fifty years.

Tomorrow night, do thou likewise.

We'll be sitting around on the floor, listening too.

You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!

Has it been that long?

I have a framed John Byrne Cooke photograph of Mimi Fariña on the wall to the right of the front door. She's standing at the top of the hill, at Union and Montgomery, goofing off with Debbie Green. I like the picture because it shows the waterfront behind them as it was back when the picture was taken, in 1966, and because it shows Mimi Fariña full of life.

It took me years after I first stumbled on the image on the Web to decide that his price was worth it and to contact Cooke and arrange to swop him $$$ for a print.

I'm still glad I did.

Depending on my mood, the photograph makes me smile, or tear up.


The YouTube video is from 1975. Has it really been that long?

I guess it has.

yes I loved you dearly
and if you're offering me diamonds and rust
I've already paid

How I came to Believe in Santa

Motherhood is Not for Wimps -- How I came to Believe in Santa


Snitched. [via Janet Reid's blog]

Monday, December 22, 2008

Melissa Etheridge: The Choice Is Ours Now

Melissa Etheridge: The Choice Is Ours Now

Melissa Etheridge on the Rev. Rick Warren.


On the day of the conference I received a call from Pastor Rick, and before I could say anything, he told me what a fan he was. He had most of my albums from the very first one. What? This didn't sound like a gay hater, much less a preacher. He explained in very thoughtful words that as a Christian he believed in equal rights for everyone. He believed every loving relationship should have equal protection.


She tells everyone to chill.


Maybe if they get to know us, they wont fear us.

I know, call me a dreamer, but I feel a new era is upon us.

I will be attending the inauguration with my family, and with hope in my heart. I know we are headed in the direction of marriage equality and equal protection for all families.

Happy Holidays my friends and a Happy New Year to you.

Peace on earth, goodwill toward all men and women... and everyone in-between.

Warm Sticky Toffee Pudding - David Lebovitz

Warm Sticky Toffee Pudding - David Lebovitz

Sounds delightful. His nibs isn't a huge date fan, however.

David Lebovitz' site and blog are full of foodie gems. Worth perusing.

We were discussing mincemeat over at Debbie Ohi's facebook. I favor meat & suet homemade mincemeat with apples & brandy & sultanas, &c. Others tout a no-meat-only-fruit mincemeat. Lebovitz has a dandy meatless mincemeat.

Costco chicken from the roasting spit = redux

Used the breast meat I'd set aside on Friday night for dinner last night: THREE GINGER CHICKEN

Roux made w/ flour and 2T butter.

Add chicken broth (canned ... sorry for the purists who might blanche at the thought), madeira, cream. Use hand blender to get any lumps out of the sauce.

Add white meat sliced into finger sized pieces. Toss in ginger powder, chopped up candied ginger, minced fresh ginger. (I added a lot of each. I love ginger.)

Heat through and let sit while flavors mellow.

Serve hot with steamed rice and green beans, zapped in the microwave.

We still have three or so servings of chicken pot pie in the frig. Dinner tonight is either chicken pot pie with added mushrooms browned with garlic and butter (must use up mushrooms) or we'll save the pot pie for another day and laze around tonight with white wine, crackers and Boccalone coppa di testa.

Update: Dinner tonight was chicken pot pie.

Didn't feel terribly hungry after lunch: salmon over a [deconstructed] rock shrimp hash on a bed of pesto. Delish. Shared dessert was a poached pear with what appeared to be whipped cream. But it wasn't. The "cream" was bleu cheese whipped with cream into a light-ish froth. Sublime. Delish as well.

Tonight when the clock rolled round to 7:30/8:00 I still wasn't hungry. Didn't feel like adding mushrooms browned with garlic and butter to the pot pie. Still full from lunch. Luckily, his nibs was of a similar mind.

Light supper.

We'll figure out what to do with the mushrooms that need to be eaten. (Mushroom omelet for breakfast tomorrow?)

Tomorrow evening we're off to a short-notice spontaneous year-end HOLIDAYS! house-gathering/dinner with friends. Attendees include old friends from twenty-plus years back. Half of the host couple is a sib of the twenty-years-back friend and her family. Really nice that we wound up so close to them, geographically.

Gathering will include new friends and neighbors too. Children we haven't seen in years. Not children anymore.

Looking forward to it. Sweet. This is why we try not to overbook at the year-end holidays.

The days grow longer.

Thanks be.

Sunshiney day outside with rain expected off and on through the weekend. Clear skies now, though. Lunch at the Bankers' Club to enjoy the views.

First, though we need to walk down to North Beach Citizens and drop off three bags of warm clothes. I rummaged through our closet. How many warm pullovers and sweaters can you wear at one time? We have more than enough and it's been so chill recently.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Archbishop of Canterbury warns recession Britain must learn lessons from Nazi Germany - Telegraph

Archbishop of Canterbury warns recession Britain must learn lessons from Nazi Germany - Telegraph

I don't know this guy at all. I'm certainly not very Christian, if at all, and not Anglican, so his pronouncements are as important as ... nothing.

But man, I love that face, hair, beard, eyebrows.

Especially the eyebrows.

This man could be Gandalf in a different setting.

Costco chicken from the roasting spit

On Tuesday, when I was fasting and girding my loins for the prep mix I needed to drink, his nibs was at work. He stopped at Trader Joe's and Costco on the way home for milk, eggs, gas, things we'd run low on before we left town.

At Costco, he bought a rotisserie chicken -- $4.99 -- something we'd never bought before. He needed something for dinner because he knew I was fasting and wouldn't feel like cooking, and he didn't want anything complicated. Roast chicken sounded good to him (and smelled sinfully delicious to my poor fasting self when he arrived home with it). He said the rotisserie chicken shelves, usually filled with packaged roasted chicken, were bare and a line of people (young, old, moms with kids in tow, more) waited for the butchers to take the roasted chickens off their spits and packaged them up.

Tuesday night he had roast chicken for dinner. Wednesday night we both had roast chicken for dinner. Friday night I stripped meat off the chicken carcass and legs and made chicken pot pie for dinner, setting aside enough white breast meat for two sandwiches or another meal.

Friday, while the pot pie was baking, I broke the chicken carcass into pieces and put it and the wings and the leg bones whose meat I'd used in the pot pie into a pot. Added chopped fresh garlic, ground pepper, chopped carrots and chopped onions. Covered just barely with water and let it simmer. After dinner, I fetched out some of the bones and picked the meat off, then threw the bones back in and set the pot to simmer some more.

Let the pot cool overnight on the stove. Yesterday afternoon I picked the bones out of the cooled broth. All the meat had fallen off the bones and the broth had thickened due to the collagen in the bone-ish bits. I took the hand blender and swirled the broth and chicken and carrots and onions and garlic into a thick soup and put the soup back on the stove to heat up. Meanwhile, I minced up a few cloves of garlic and browned some button mushrooms in butter and half the garlic. Tossed them into the soup. I snapped some green beans and cooked them in butter and garlic for a bit and tossed them (still crisp) into the soup. Added some hot curry powder and some fresh tarragon I fetched from the deck while we were giving the architects the grand tour.

Had the soup for supper with dead easy garlic Parmesan bread:
Slice four pieces of sourdough bread.
Lightly butter one side of bread.
Finely mince two garlic cloves. Sprinkle minced garlic on bread slices.
Top with shredded Parmesan cheese.
Broil until cheese melts and turns golden brown.

What's left to eat from our $4.99 roasted chicken after one dinner (Tues), two dinners (Wedn), two potpie dinners (Fri), two soup dinners (Sat)?

What's left is enough breast meat for two sandwiches or two dinners and enough leftover chicken pot pie for three-four dinners.

Maybe those $4.99 roasted chickens from Costco are a better deal than I realized.

The King and Queen

Yesterday, while I was up in the kitchen picking bones out of a pot full of what would become chicken and vegetable soup for supper, his nibs was down in front picking up leaf debris. I could hear him talking with someone just below my window. I heard a hearty laugh. His nibs came up the stairs. The door opened. "Sal? Sal? We have visitors."

Coming in the door behind him were two people I'd never seen before. Introductions made. Hands shaken. The man laughed again, a warm, hearty laugh.

I always told the niblets that they should keep their room/house clean because you never know when the Queen might drop by for tea.

This was one of those times.

The man and woman were the architects who'd designed the building we live in. The man had lived in the two lower floors for several years after he finished the building and sold the upper three floors -- our place.

His nibs gave them the grand tour: the remodeled bathrooms, the solar setup on the deck, the new floors, and the cupboards in the paper-strewn office. We discussed the work that we'd been through to fix leaks caused by construction flaws and how we wouldn't know until a couple more heavy storms blew through whether all the leaks were fixed.

We told them how much we enjoyed what they'd designed and the way the windows were placed in such a way they seemed to frame the views. The windows. Thank you for the windows. And the glass doors. And the deck. And for picking this piece of dirt and building a place where his nibs can see boats from any level. We stood up on the deck and pointed out buildings that were being rehabbed and remodeled. The neighborhood hadn't been so upscale back twenty years ago when they built this place, they said.

"Did you know the hill became the Telegraph Hill Historic District (with all sorts of restrictions on what you could or could not do) the year after this place was finished? We always wondered if this place triggered the designation."

They said they had had no problems with buying the property and building the place. The other buildings on the path were rundown rental apartments for the most part. The neighbors were happy to see something being built on the lot.

Things had changed inside our place, they said, above and beyond the cupboards and bathrooms. The frosted glass doors to the kitchen had been added by the owner prior to the owner we bought the place from. The dining room walls, now plaster, had been redwood. (Question to ponder: Is the redwood still there beneath the plaster layer? Could we restore it?) [Update: We checked some books with pictures as the place existed in 1989, three years after it was finished, and the walls were plastered at that point. Perhaps they were misremembering?]

I was glad the place was pretty much clean, aside from debris and misarranged furniture due to tree decorating. Today we will finish the tree, lay down an afghan and a throw in lieu of a tree skirt, relocate the chairs to their holiday locations, and start cleaning/clearing/picking up for the family Christmas gathering. The older niblet and his husband show up Christmas Eve for our traditional dinner at House of Prime Rib on Van Ness. The remaining sibs and their offspring arrive late morning on Christmas for the opening of presents and consuming of brunch buffet.

Raining now. Perfect weather for staying inside and staging for Christmas.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

‘Bush Shoe’ Gives Firm a Footing in the Market [NYTimes.com]

'Bush Shoe' Gives Firm a Footing in the Market

Published: December 20, 2008

ISTANBUL — When a pair of black leather oxfords hurled at President Bush in Baghdad produced a gasp heard around the world, a Turkish cobbler had a different reaction: They were his shoes.

"We have been producing that specific style, which I personally designed, for 10 years, so I couldn’t have missed it, no way," said Ramazan Baydan, a shoemaker in Istanbul. "As a shoemaker, you understand."


... orders for Mr. Baydan’s shoes, formerly known as Ducati Model 271 and since renamed "The Bush Shoe," have poured in from around the world.

15K pairs for Iraq
95K pairs for Europe
18K pairs for USA

Five thousand posters advertising the shoes, on their way to the Middle East and Turkey, proclaim "Goodbye Bush, Welcome Democracy"” in Turkish, English and Arabic.


Ah. Capitalism at its finest.

Fireworks and explosions

Of the jobs I wish I'd had, fireworks designer/handler is up near the top of the list. Also near the top is implosion designer/handler.

Implosion designers don't just blow things up, they calculate things so precisely that the building/stadium/whatever blows up and falls in on itself without damaging nearby structures.

Beautiful example of a controlled implosion. RCA Stadium. Indianapolis, IN. This morning. Eight hundred holes drilled and kaboom! powder added and then at the specific moment ...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Clinton foundation donors

The Clinton Foundation has released its donor list on its Web site.

And /ahem/ the site seems overwhelmed by the interest. (I got a timeout each time I tried. Couldn't get through.)

NYTimes article to get you through the wait. And one from Huffington Post.

Acclaimed Colombian Institution Has 4,800 Books and 10 Legs

Acclaimed Colombian Institution Has 4,800 Books and 10 Legs [NYTimes article]

Great story of Alfa and Beto, the biblio burros, Luis Soriano, their keeper, and the mission they've devoted ten years' of weekends to.

Airbrushing History -- American Style and the Internet Archives (Thanks! Brewster Kahle!)

Airbrushing History -- American Style by Scott Althaus and Kalev Leetaru. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


Legacies are in the air as President Bush prepares to leave the White House. How future historians will judge the president remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: future historians won't have all the facts needed to make that judgment. One legacy at risk of being forgotten is the way the Bush White House has quietly deleted or modified key documents in the public record that are maintained under its direct control.

Remember the "Coalition of the Willing" that sided with the United States during the 2003 invasion of Iraq? If you search the White House web site today you'll find a press release dated March 27, 2003 listing 49 countries forming the coalition. A key piece of evidence in the historical record, but also a troubling one. It is an impostor.

And although there were only 45 coalition members on the eve of the Iraq invasion, later deletions and revisions to key documents make it seem that there were always 49.

The Bush White House seems to have systematically airbrushed parts of the official record regarding its own history. How extensively White House documents have been rewritten is anyone's guess, but in the case of the coalition list, the evidence is clear that extensive revision of the historical record has occurred.


I remember reading about this a few weeks ago (end of November) and I thought, hm. interesting, but, this isn't the first time this has happened.

There was a fairly well-documented instance back when Enron was crashing, where the bio for the Honorable Thomas E. White, Secretary of
the Army, was revised to elide a couple paragraphs about all the wonderful things he had done at Enron to "From 1990 to 2001, Mr. White was employed by Enron Corporation and held various senior executive positions."

Seems folks would learn that you can't change history in these days of archives without someone poking around and finding out, but ... no.

As always, these little glimmers of change are brought to you thanks to Brewster Kahle, whose Internet Archive not only stashes away the original of versions later changed, but also offers up such gems as

The Grateful Dead Live at Winterland 17 Jun 1975

Warren Zevon Live at The Main Point 20 Jun 1976

Betty Boop Betty Boop for President -- 1932

India Travel film, India (c1930)

San Francisco San Francisco (1939) from the Prelinger Archives

Peeve of the Day (AKA POTD)

(1) Folks, it is AGAINST THE LAW IN CALIFORNIA to talk on your hand-held (as opposed to hands-free) cell phone while you're driving. STOP IT!

We were headed over to Kaiser Hospital yesterday, trying to make a left turn off Union onto Gough. Light changed. Waited for person using crosswalk. After that person cleared our runway, we would've turned but a guy in large vehicle was heading straight through the intersection. SLOOOOWLY.

Turned out he was talking on his cell phone. Holding it with one hand as he drove SLOOOOWLY (did I mention SLOOOOWLY?) through the intersection. Woman in her Beemer behind him was catching up with him at a fast clip so when he had finally cleared the intersection, we didn't have any time to turn before she blew through.

So we waited some more.

Folks, as of midnight July 1, 2008, it is illegal in both Washington state and California to hold a cellphone to your ear while you drive.

Granted, just talking on your hands-free cellphone is also distracting and dangerous, but it is AGAINST THE LAW to hold your cellphone to your ear while driving (whether you're talking or just listening).

STOP IT. You either drive too fast, too maniacal, or too slow. You aren't paying attention to the other cars around you or the pedestrians or bicyclists.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Learned about Wordle via cygnoir. Played with it with my Delicious bookmarks as the resource.

Saved the Java applet results with CutePDF Writer, then pulled the PDF into Photoshop, messed with it and saved it as a .jpg.


So, a bit early, but heartfelt, nonetheless:

Every three years ...

Mostly I passed with flying colors, although they're checking on a couple things. Doc says, though, that from now on I should get checked every THREE years.

Oh, grand.

OEDILF - The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form

OEDILF - The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form

An aphorist states what is known
In a pithier, folksier tone.
He is given to joke
That the mightiest oak
From a balanoid object is grown.

(BAL-uh-noid) Acorn-shaped.

Sorts by topic, author, word, &c.

We are presently accepting submissions based ONLY on words beginning with Aa- through Dd- inclusive.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

RobertSabuda.com: Simple Pop-Ups You Can Make!

RobertSabuda.com: Simple Pop-Ups You Can Make!

You know who you are. Enjoy!

Colonoscopies Miss Many Cancers, Study Finds - NYTimes.com

Colonoscopies Miss Many Cancers, Study Finds - NYTimes.com

Did I really want to read this when I've just finished my evening prep for tomorrow's colonoscopy?

As his nibs reminded me, even if colonoscopies only catch 60-70% of cancers in the colon, that's better than nothing at all, or finding the cancer after it's already spread to the liver and beyond.

Kaiser's prep procedure is the one suggested in the article. Evening prep with half the strong laxative, and then morning prep (up at 5A! for laxatives! lucky me!) just a few hours before the procedure.

Twelve hours from now plus another hour or two in recovery and I'll be set for another five years. ... if all goes well. Proper preparation is key, they say, so off to bed and up early to down another liter of laxative.

Where's the Gap in Your Knowledge?

Sponsored by Oxford University Press' Very Short Introductions: Where's the Gap in Your Knowledge?

Quiz asks three questions in each of seven subject areas. You must answer at least two out of the three questions correctly or you have a gap in that area of knowledge.

My only gap was in Religion & Theology.

[via Sour Grapes' Google Reader]

Obama logo ideas that weren’t chosen | Logo Design Love

Obama logo ideas that weren't chosen | Logo Design Love

Interesting information and links re the design of the Obama '08 logo: how it was chosen, how it evolved.

Weird back-ness

So I'm back. We flew Air Tahiti Nui from Papeete to Los Angeles, leaving Tahiti at 10P Sunday and arriving LAX around 8:15A yesterday. Time difference only two hours, which is nice.

Checked in through immigration. Picked up our bag at the carousel and checked through Customs with our bag and carry-ons. Easy-peasy. Smoothy-oothy. Got to the Virgin America desk before 10A and saw that they had an SFO flight at 11A. Asked if they could shift us from our 2: something flight to the 11A: flight. The cheery staff said, sure, they'd put us on stand-by. Then they popped us to the top of the stand-by list because we'd joined their frequent flyer program before we flew out.

The flight was delayed because it was raining in San Francisco (which slows the landing pattern to about 1/2 of normal) and they weren't getting clearance to leave LAX until they had a chance to land at SFO. The plane carried a number of staff deadheading to SFO, but there was still room for us. Together. With a window seat for me.

I dozed off a bit because I hadn't slept well on the overnight flight from Tahiti and there was cloud cover and nothing to see. I woke up again and enjoyed the last half hour of the flight. Cloud cover had broken. I could see the beaches along Monterey Bay and the wooded hills climbing to the east. I took photos from the window of the sunshine on water,

Elkhorn Slough Posted by Picasa

San Francisco skylinePosted by Picasa

Beautiful day coming in. Even with the delays, we arrived at SFO two or three hours earlier than we would've.

Got home to a giant pile of mail inside the front door and a week-ago's Sunday paper lying outside. We can never quite figure how SFC figures out when your "away" start and stop dates start and stop. His nibs thought he'd stopped after Saturday morning's delivery, but no.

We puttered around. Cleared the stack of mail. Washed the laundry. Downloaded all the photos from the camera. Had ricotta-spinach ravioli tossed with butter, fresh garlic and Parmesan cheese for dinner. Tucked in.

His nibs was off to work relatively early today because it's been chill and road conditions are weird. He needed to get in to work for a meeting at a certain time and decided to take plenty of time.

We had hail downtown when we were coming in from the airport in the Super Shuttle yesterday afternoon. Snow down to 500-1000' this morning. Hwy 17 over from Santa Cruz has snow on it. Snow plows in Scotts Valley last night. Colder than we're used to.

... and I'm ... not allowed to eat. No solid food at all. No milk, if I want coffee. Only clear liquids, consistency of water. I don't think they mean tequila or vodka here. ... I guess I'll subsist on maté until tomorrow.

Tonight at seven I get to drink a liter of prep and tomorrow at five in the morning another liter, to clear out my innards because (yippee!) I check in for a colonoscopy at 9:30A tomorrow. His nibs needs to accompany me home and for the rest of the day I'm not allowed any sedatives or alcohol and I'm not allowed to operate a moving vehicle or heavy or dangerous machinery.

Maybe Thursday I'll really be "back" and we can get a Christmas tree and start freaking out that Christmas is JUST A WEEK AWAY!

Colonoscopy is no fun. I have to have one every five years, ever since my next older brother was diagnosed with colon cancer (which by then had spread to his liver) in 1998. So 1998. 2003. 2008. 2013. and so on ad infinitum or ad mors or whatever.

He died in June 2001 and I miss him. I see things I think he'd like, weird things [a glass block etched with a DNA pattern] [magnetic wall paint], interesting books, scientific paraphernalia.

The colonoscopy is just another reminder that he's not here. And why.

Quite the abrupt and bruising return from a short but warm and welcome vac, but there's only me to blame. I consciously scheduled the appointment for tomorrow, because they couldn't schedule it back when they'd intended because we had other things happening and I just want to get it over with as soon as I possibly can. Back yesterday. Today for fast and prep. Done tomorrow by noon. Just get the pall and the memories it dredges up over with and carry on.

Thursday. Thursday will be a much better day.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Back ...

Over 1500 photos later ...

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Back in a few

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Got this from a well-spoken^H^H^H^H well-written (and interesting!) blogger whereof whom I know.

[Read her. You'll be happy you did. ...]



For those all you-alls who need to get your butt in gear:

Holidailies participants solemnly vow to update their Web sites daily from Dec. 5 to Jan. 6.

I'll be away from the Web for part of that time, but I think this is a useful project, so I'm passing it on to you. ... you know who you are. ...

Beethoven's 5th Argument

Beethoven's 5th Argument

Sid Caesar. Nanette Fabray.

A Classic.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Venice under five feet of water as the city suffers its worst floods in 22 years

Venice under five feet of water as the city suffers its worst floods in 22 years

I love Venice. I could spend some serious time there. I think it's a magical place.

When we got back from our one and only trip there (followed by a walking holiday poking through Palladio sites in the Veneto), I had a dream ... a nightmare.

In the dream, we had bought a palazzo in Venice and moved lock, stock and books to take up permanent residence. Knowing the dangers of putting heavy loads of books on upper stories of aging homes, I'd set up all my book shelves on the ground floor of the palazzo.

All this is backstory.

The dream opens with me leaning against a railing, looking across the canal to the palazzo that we had just moved all our worldly goods (and books) into and were making our home.

As I leaned against the railing, the rain began to fall and before you could say, "George Washington" (this was a dream after all), the waters start to rise and rise fast. I realized the waters will rise enough that everything on our ground floor will be flooded ...


I don't have time to run down the paths to the nearest bridge and across the bridge and back down the paths to our palazzo and get the books shifted in time to save them.

... so, Freud. What is the deep meaning of this nightmare?

Monday, December 01, 2008

The Pownce Blog -- Goodbye Pownce, Hello Six Apart

The Pownce Blog -- Goodbye Pownce, Hello Six Apart

Pownce is closing down effective December 15th. They've added an export function so you can download all your messages. Leah Culver and Mike Malone are joining the engineering team at Six Apart, and bringing the Pownce technology along with them.

[via a tweet from Laughing Squid]