: views from the Hill

Friday, January 30, 2009

Airship Ventures above the waterfront

The new dirigible in town. Spotted above the Embarcadero this afternoon.

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Save The Words

Save The Words -- interesting words that have fallen by the wayside as new dictionaries are published.

Save The Words. Learn their definitions. Use them in memos or Scrabble.

Site says that lexicographers check for what "new" words are showing up in the language and will sometimes add a word back into the dictionaries that had previously been given a pink slip. e.g. wheatgrass

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Future of the Chron

At the beginning of the year we lost John Flinn, the Travel Editor, and Lynette Evans, the Home & Garden Editor.

Starting February 1, Home & Garden moves to Sunday from Wednesday and Saturday. Food (which was all of four pages yesterday) moves to Sunday, where it will share a section with Wine, which is moving from Friday to Sunday. Restaurant news and the Inside Scoop column will show up in the Datebook section on Thursdays.

Beginning Sunday, The Chronicle will offer its readers an enhanced newspaper that will better capture the essence of living in the Bay Area. Not only will readers notice a new look and new features in its daily sections, but there will also be new sections and features that will add to the value of the Sunday newspaper.

Complete announcement

What does my crystal ball have to say about these moves?

People who currently subscribe because they want the Wednesday Food Section AND the Friday Wine Section AND the Sunday paper will cut their subscription to Sunday-only or drop it altogether. Why bother when the food/wine/home stuff has all moved to Sunday and the current news is on the Web? We're reading stale news in the morning paper for the most part anyway. Sunday's a nice day to go out for a walk, pick up a paper from the newstand and walk back home for coffee and a read.

Circulation will fall. Subscriptions will fall. Ad revenue (based on circ stats) will fall as well.

By Christmas, the Chron will decide to exist as a Sunday-only print paper -- tabloid format -- with all other news content on the Web.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Internet-resources.com Estimated Net Worth $10,614.20 USD

Someone dropped me a line today, asking to buy internet-resources.com and its content for something more than $1K and less than $2K.

Coinkadinkly, just now on Facebook I found an ad telling me they could tell me what my blog or Website was worth. Well, why not?

Internet-resources.com Estimated Net Worth $10,614.20 USD

Woo hoo.

How WebValuer got its numbers is anyone's guess. SiteMeter puts my pageviews and visitors a stretch higher than WebValuer has them. There's no ad revenue, even though WV estimates $3.84 - 9.60.* No ads, so no ad revenue.

Domains linking (est) 13,685.


Entertaining for five minutes or so. I need to get back to the guy who was offering cash for the content. (Serious? A scam? A hoax? ... No, thanks.)

* His nibs said, "$3-$9/day? That could add up over the long run. ..."

Plinky | Your web enabler since 2009.

Plinky | Your web enabler since 2009.

I don't get it.

Here is a list of their prompts so far.

Good luck to them.

The times they are a-changing: Obama to sign Lily Ledbetter Act tomorrow

Equal Pay for Equal Work -- It's About Time! - Huffington Post article by Steve Hildebrand, Barack Obama's National Deputy Campaign Manager.

Both House and Sentate have passed the Lily Ledbetter Act. Obama plans to sign the act into law tomorrow. Ledbetter, who spoke at the Democrat Convention last year, is the poster child for Equal Pay for Equal Work.

Ledbetter worked for Goodyear Tire & Rubber for nineteen years but only found out a few months before she retired that she was being paid substantially less than men doing the same job. She sued and won her jury trial, but Goodyear appealed.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Goodyear, ruling that her suit had to have been brought within six months of the beginning of the discriminatory practice in order to be valid. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the appellate court verdict. The fact she hadn't known for years (and years and years) about the discriminatory pay scale had no bearing.

The bill states that the six-month window for filing suit for discriminatory pay restarts with each paycheck received while the pay discrimination is in place, as each paycheck is a new instance of pay discrimination.

Lily Ledbetter would have won her suit if this legislation had been in place at the time.

The Chron goes into more detail.

Project Homeless Connect

Good video on YouTube about Project Homeless Connect.

Homeless Connect Bar Camp. February 11, 2009. More info on Bay Area homeless stats and "Why a bar camp?"

Chocolate news :-(

But not a big surprise. And here's my big "I told you so."

In 2005 Hershey's bought Scharffen Berger chocolate in Berkeley and Joseph Schmidt chocolates here in the city. At the time it was all like "nothing's going to change." My reaction was, Hershey's? Who do you think you're kidding? We've heard it all before, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Now the news is that Hershey's is closing down both factories and will "consolidate production at other facilities." "The plant closures will affect a total of about 150 employees from both facilities."

Same chocolates, Hershey's claims. No change at all. Just no longer locally made. The quality will be maintained, they say. Heck they were already making most of the Scharffen Berger stuff in IL anyway. What's the diff?

Nice way to buy the competition and co-opt it, Hershey's.

Chocolate news to cry for.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Blagojevich -- just "an exploration of ideas and thoughts"

"You should be able to do that in a free country that guarantees the right of free speech especially when you're doing it in what you think is the sanctity of your home and you want to do it out of your home phone because you don't want any interconnection with the government lines so someone thinks you're talking politics on a government phone ..."


Rachel Maddow is that good. ...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Kung pao chicken

In honor of the day (Happy Year of the Earth Ox to you too!) I made kung pao chicken for dinner. Loads of cutting and chopping and mincing of garlic and fresh ginger and green onion and chicken.

The recipe -- one that I've used for years ... used so much in fact that the page has fallen out of the cookbook -- calls for 1tsp. chopped garlic. 1tsp. chopped ginger. Wha? Wimps. I threw in a certain amount that might've been five or ten times what they asked for.

Loads of measuring and stirring -- first for the goop the chicken sat in before cooking and then for the cooking sauce added after the chicken was cooked through. Measuring of peanuts. (Well, I didn't measure, really. I scooped up about twice what the recipe called for.) Counting of red hot dried peppers. Cook this. Set it aside. Then this. Add that. Add that back in. Stir until thickened.

Cooking of rice in rice cooker. Making of veggie to accompany -- in this case, a green salad with cherry tomatoes. Not very traditional but something his nibs likes. (He made it.)

Cut, chop, cook, stir.

Well worth the effort.

We'd seen a bottle of "kung pao sauce" at the grocery store over the weekend when we were getting a fresh bottle of hoisin sauce, having used up our bottle dregs when we were eating egg foo yung the other night. Bottled kung pao sauce? Why? And what's in it anyway?

Still, I'd already been thinking of kung pao chicken and we had peanuts on the shopping list because we were out and I couldn't make kung pao chicken without peanuts. Seeing the bottled stuff kinda shoved me over the edge.

Today seemed like an appropriate day.


New Giraffe Calf - a set on Flickr

New Giraffe Calf

Baby giraffe born at SFZoo this morning. Here are photos of its first day.

Window seat

We visited the open house at 1440 Kearny Street yesterday. Beautiful condo. *ONLY* $2.675 million. Nice chat with listing agent extraordinaire Louis Silcox, who lives near us and knows people we know.

Filbert, west of Telegraph Hill Blvd.

I see his name everywhere but we'd never met.

Views are toward downtown. No water views. No bridges. Still, the views are extraordinary.

Nice yard area with solid solid solid retaining walls.

Three levels. Three bedrooms. Private elevator so you don't have to slog your groceries up stairs. TWO CAR PARKING! (Worth an extra $200K right there. ...) Two fireplaces. Wonderful kitchen. Maple floors.

And loads of art and photos.

(Where is she going with this?)

One of the photo artworks was a large collage of images out plane windows with wing tips showing: clouds and sun and weather and blue. Each image had been shaped in an ovoid fashion and the images were piled 5 x 7 or so in a large frame.

Lovely. I would've taken it home in a flash.

(I can hear his nibs saying, "But where would you hang it, Sal?")

I [heart] views out airplane windows.

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Paul Bradshaw - How Do You 'Follow' 2,500 People on Twitter?

"Many Twitter users adopt a "quality not quantity" strategy by only following a certain number of Twitterers. But, by using certain tools and adopting a certain mindset, I think you can achieve both quality and quantity.

"Here's how I follow 2,500 people on Twitter:

"It's a stream, not a publication."


"The more people you follow (your Twitter "friends"), the more chance you have of stumbling across something interesting. The more diverse your Twitter friends are, the more likely you'll stumble across something useful from outside your immediate circles. For me, those are the most interesting Twitter experiences.

"So stop worrying about what you're missing. Focus on what you do see."


Paul Bradshaw - How Do You 'Follow' 2,500 People on Twitter?

[via a Poynter tweet]

Pandit or The Things You Learn Whilst Playing Scrabble

The things you learn whilst playing Scrabble.


pundit from (1672) "learned Hindu." Broader English usage first recorded 1816.

Thx, JMT!

Saturday, January 24, 2009


On this date in 1848, James W. Marshall -- constructing a mill on property belonging to Johann A. Sutter near Coloma, California -- discovered gold.

My, how things changed.

Some of his nibs forebears came out here to set up shop in San Francisco, selling picks and shovels and pans to folks heading up to the hills to search for gold. Made a pretty penny in the hardware business, they did.

They were johnny-come-lately, but their offspring married into a family whose forebears arrived in 1776.

Daily Dish's twitterfeed

I find Daily Dish interesting and all. Decided I'd follow Sullivan's tweets.

But after returning to my new DailyDish-enabled twitterstream, I realized Sullivan tweets for each and every post he makes on Daily Dish and was swamping all the other content I keep an eye on.

Fifteen seconds after adding a "follow," I removed it.

Perhaps some sort of protocol for apps like tweets? Don't post so much that the other folks you're sharing virtual space with are overwhelmed? Not too many, not too few, just right?

Or am I just a fud and a dud and not a with-it happenin' person?

Could be.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Don't let the door hit you on the way out! Buh buh bye, George!

You taught me the meaning of "preemptive strike."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Home again, home again, riggety jig.

Four crab boats had finished off-loading at the wharf and came out of the small harbor and split in different directions. These two were headed off thataway soon to be home again, home again.

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US Presidents - George Washington to Barack Obama

US Presidents - George Washington to Barack Obama

44 US Presidents from George Washington to Barack Obama morphed to the music Boléro by Ravel

Must admit that I don't really know what each and every president looked like.

James K Polk was a surprise. He had a sly grin look about him. Reminded me of Baryshnikov somehow. Also reminded me of the They Might Be Giants song.

James Monroe I couldn't've picked out of a crowd.

And then there were the "He's on the $xxx bill" presidents.

John Tyler. Had I ever seen a picture of him that wasn't in a heads-of-all-the-presidents poster?

Grover Cleveland looked like a well-fed beermeister.


gekko talked about the smiling/not-smiling aspect of the morph. I was more fascinated by the facial hair. Chester Arthur. Whoa.

[hattip to gekko, who posted this link on Usenet but I'm using a link to her blog instead of a link to that post.]

Monday, January 19, 2009

Fishermen's and Seamen's Chapel

The chapel is "a memorial to the fishermen and seamen who have braved cold waves, blinding fog and howling winds. It was built between 1978 and 1981 on the former site of an old Coast Guard building."

More here.

(Picture taken from Jefferson Street, between Jones and Taylor.)

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Unhappy neighbors

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Gold in them thar hills

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Maritime Museum rehab continues apace

Last week we walked by the Maritime Museum on our walkabout and commented that the rehab of the bleachers didn't seem to be moving very fast. They seemed pretty much intact except for a couple rows where the facing concrete pavers had been removed.


What a difference a week makes.
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Times change, thanks be.

On my way to looking for something else, I found the following ...

Authorities pulled the liquor license of the Black Cat (710 Montgomery -- the Bohemian Bar in Kerouac's On the Road) in 1949. Why? Because it attracted (nay, in truth catered to) gay men.

Sol Stoumen, the straight owner, took the case all the way to state Supreme Court, which ruled in 1951 that a business couldn't be shut down just because homosexuals gathered there.

But, backing up a bit, earlier the Superior Court and the Court of Appeals had sided against Stoumen. In fact Superior Court Judge Robert L. McWilliams wrote in his decision:

It would be a sorry commentary on the law as well as on the morals of the community to find that persons holding liquor licenses could permit their premises to be used month after month as meeting places for persons of known homosexual tendencies. ... An occasional fortuitous meeting of such persons at restaurants for the innocent purpose mentioned is one thing. But for a proprietor of a restaurant knowlingly to permit his premises to be regularly used "as a meeting place" by persons of the type mentioned with all of the potentialities for evil and immorality drawing out of such meetings is, in my opinion, conduct of an entirely different nature.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

150 Strange Buildings of the World - TutzTutz.com

150 Strange Buildings of the World - TutzTutz.com

Amusing. Appalling. Delightful.

[via a tweet from James O'Reilly]

What you can find on the Web. Knopfler. Clapton. EmmyLou.

I don't want to hear a love song. I got on this airplane just to fly.

Is there any wonder I love the Web? Muy muchas gracias, Tim Berners-Lee.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Malcolm Gladwell on spaghetti sauce | Video on TED.com

Malcolm Gladwell on spaghetti sauce

The videos at ted.com are pretty cool.

We saw Malcolm Gladwell (author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and -- most recently -- Outliers and also staff writer for The New Yorker) last night at the City Arts & Lectures series at Herbst Theatre ("in conversation" with Kevin Berger, Salon) with tickets my brother gave his nibs for Christmas.

What a funny, bright guy Gladwell is. Sharp. Verbal. Quick.

I really don't care if you think he dumbs down science or puts his own spin on things. I think he'd be a great guy to hang out with at a coffee shop and discuss the world and what he was working on.

I'll be looking for his writing in The New Yorker even more than I was before.

Bits from last night.

KB: You start Outliers talking about hockey players (and why successful professional hockey players are usually born in January, February, and March). Why?

MG: Well, because I'm Canadian.

Jeb Bush quote about the struggles he had to reach where he is today, which MG characterized as an "heroic struggle against advantage."

MG talked about the Beatles and how they became the best band evah. He mentioned that most people don't consider the fact that for years before they came to America and were discovered, they'd been the house band at a Hamburg strip club where they played eight hours a day for six days a week. Live. On stage. They were playing live (and getting better and better) for thousands of hours before they "made it."

"We have chosen to overlook the extraordinary discipline they devoted to their vocation."

We say, oh, they're talented. Or oh, they're lucky. They were neither. They played over a thousand live gigs before they "made it."

The talk was very interesting. Interesting enough that I'm Googling (Hi, Sergey! Hi, Larry!) as I speak. How many other videos are there out there of Gladwell doing his schtick.

He closed with a discussion of his mother, a brown Jamaican (as he called her), mixed race, and the advantages she had, and her parents, and her parents parents going back that made her what she is today.

His point is that just because you live here and are successful and don't worry where your next meal is coming from or where the fresh water is or the fuel you need to cook ... this all isn't due to the fact you worked so hard and sacrificed and were lucky but is more due to the fact that you were born into circumstances that put you where you are today.

Don't forget that.

Don't forget that those in less fortunate circumstances weren't born to your parents.

Or, as Phil Ochs would say

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

eightmaps -- oh, my Prop 8


A mashup of pro-Prop8 donations and Google maps.

Want to know if your neighbors donated to the Yes-On-Prop8 campaign? Here's your click.

(None of my neighbors donated according to this site, but then I live in a very not-Republican sector of town ...)

(Oh. Here's a student who donated $500 to the yes-on-8 campaign. Gosh. I wish I'd had that kind of money when I was a student.)

This day in history. January 14, 1954

Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio married at San Francisco's City Hall and returned to North Beach for wedding photographs on the steps of Sts. Peter & Paul Church.

They could not be married in the church because DiMaggio was considered still married by the Roman Catholic church, which did not recognize his civil divorce from his first wife.

The DiMaggio-Monroe marriage lasted nine months.

Today you can see a photo of DiMaggio and first wife Dorothy Arnold displayed inside the church, but there can be seen no hide nor hair, no mention of the civil divorce nor of Monroe.

RIP Patrick McGoohan

Patrick McGoohan March 19, 1928 – January 13, 2009

Peter Falk ... described McGoohan as "the most underrated, under-appreciated talent on the face of the globe. I have never played a scene with another actor who commanded my attention the way Pat did."

I grew up on Secret Agent. I moved on to The Prisoner. I enjoyed watching McGoohan in his handsome-boy secret agent younger days and his villainous older days.

Talented guy. I'm glad he got his accolades while he was around to hear them.

Monday, January 12, 2009

/ RECIPE / A different way with brussels sprouts - not Kosher

(1) Trim brussels sprouts' stem ends. Shake in water and shake water off. Toss into covered dish and microwave, just enough to cook, don't let them get soft and soggy. I usually cook for four minutes and then use a fork to pierce the sprouts to see how they're doing. Keep cooking until they're as done as you like them.

(2) While the brussels sprouts are cooking, take two or three strips of bacon. Cut them into small pieces. Toss them in a frying pan and cook until crisp. Take the bacon bits out of the pan and pour the bacon fat into the refrigerator dish you keep full of bacon fat down on the next to the bottom shelf in the 'frig.

You do have a bacon fat dish in your 'frig, right? How else do you cook your eggs in the morning, mon? How do you fry your leftover noodles? What do you add to the pan for some added flavor when you fry chicken? What do you use when you're making fried mush? SAVE YOUR BACON FAT.

(3) Throw a couple large spoonfuls of sour cream into the frying pan, which should still have teeny bits of bacon stuck to its bottom. Stir around until the sour cream warms up and thins and the bacon bits stuck on the bottom of the frying pan get mixed in.

(4) Add horseradish to taste -- make sure you can at least taste the horseradish in the sour cream sauce.

(5) Add the crispy bacon bits.

(6) Either toss the cooked brussels sprouts into the pan and stir until the sauce is evenly distributed

Or serve the brussels sprouts and add the horseradish-sourcream-bacon sauce on top or to the side.

Trust me.

/ BLOG / Bookride

Bookride, a blog from ANY AMOUNT OF BOOKS, 56 Charing Cross Road, London.

"a guide to the most wanted and collected books. There is some evaluation of why the book is wanted, what it is worth - with a range of selling prices, some trivia, apercus and bon mots, a few anecdotes, so called jokes and occasional rants."

Entertaining blog for book huggers.

Walkaround yesterday.

Started out just after 1P. Stomach still gurgling from too much fish & chips at the Duke the night before at the Mx meetup. And I'd ordered the small portion! Not used to fried fish no more. ...

We decided that on our way to chk out the rental (we're meeting the new tenant there today and didn't want to be surprised by some horrible something) we'd stop at an Open House I was curious about and then wander over to the rental and on to elsewhere.

We set out first to find the Tatiana statue that's been hidden off the Greenwich Steps. Not so "hidden" anymore. Someone's chalked TIGER --> arrows on the Steps to point out the side path where the statue's been placed. Walked back up the steps to verify the location of a GWSF photo. Walked over to Russian Hill and stopped at 1145 Vallejo.

1145 Vallejo
SFH. 3BR 2.5BA sep gdn apt. ("legal" the blurb sheet sez, but only because there's no stove -- only a microwave oven -- so it's considered a guest room with separate entrance, I think. Perhaps the "legal" means that the lower level re-do into guest quarters was done with permits.) Pkg. (Actually, once we saw it, we decided "Pkg" was "parking for two Minis" or "parking for a Mini and "that Smart car I plan to win at the Tel Hi North Beach Citizens raffle")

Only $1.495m (marked down on the blurb sheet from $1.625m).

Deals abound in San Francisco real estate! Nice wood floors. Maple on the staircase w/ a great banister. Oak on the floors. Gas stove. Yard. Spruced up and all. Quiet street. (Street stops at Jones, so there's not much through traffic.) No views. Only!! $1.495m. Kee-ripes. There must still be people these days with cash in their pockets or something. I would not want to be an appraiser in this market. Where are the comps? What is a place worth? (Whatever anyone is willing to pay.) How much should a bank lend?

From Vallejo we walked down to Polk and poked around in antique and cool-stuff shops, Walgreen's. Walked over to the rental to make sure everything was set for the meet with the new tenant today. We walked down Laguna to Fort Mason and stopped by Book Bay, the Friends of the Library Bookstore, to ... um ... browse

We browsed. I browsed through the ($0.50 or 3/$1) tables. His nibs browsed through the Californiana and elsewhere. I browsed elsewhere. We wound up with the following, which include a couple San Francisciana books:

Ruth Newhall San Francisco's Enchanted Palace 1967 HB $30 - his nibs was quite intrigued by this book about the Palace of Fine Arts. The book was dust-jacketed and wrapped in Bro-Dart cello and had ephemera tucked inside dealing with the initial setup and publicity for the Exploratorium. The ephemera really sealed the deal for his nibs, who is a huge Exploratorium fan. The splurge for the day.

Jerry Flamm Good Life in Hard Times: San Francisco's '20s and '30s $5 TPB
Patricia Highsmith Plotting & Writing Suspense Fiction HB $5
1930 Annualog (Sci Am Pub Co) HB $5
Lee G. Miller An Ernie Pyle Album: Indiana to Ie Shima 1st. HB $5

on the 3/$1 tables
Round Up: the stories of Ring W. Lardner (Scribner. c 1924, 26, 29) HB
Jacqueline Winspear Pardonable Lies HB 2005 1st
Lee Child Bad Luck and Trouble BookClub 2007
Joyce C Oates. Beasts Carroll &Graf "copyright TK" (TK???)
Angus McDonald The Five Foot Road: in search of Vanished China SC. 1st ed.
Dunning - Booked to Die PB
William Murray - Tip on a Dead Crab PB
Gallagher Gray - Death of a Dream Maker PB (GG pseud for Katy Munger)
Wm Faulkner - Six mystery stories: Knight's Gambit (who knew Faulkner wrote mystery short stories? I didn't.)

I had my Friends of the Library card, which gives me 10% off, plus my once-a-year coupon for 25% off, so my grand total was $35 or so after the discounts. Not bad for books enough to keep me entertained for quite a while and a couple of good San Francisciana books.

I'd remembered to bring not only the once-a-year coupon but also a cloth shoulder bag, so we piled most of the books in the bag (they didn't all fit), took the rest in a smaller paper bag, and lugged them up and over the hills home.

home-> Vallejo 0.9m
Vallejo -> rental 1.1m
rental -> Book Bay 0.7m
Book Bay -> home 2.0m

for walkaround total of 4.7m.

Today we'll do the walk to rental on a more direct route (1.8m) then to dinner at Isa (0.8m). (We haven't been in what seems like a long while and we'll be so much closer than we usually are!) And then home (2.4m).

5m total. How did that happen?

Down for everyone or just me?

Down for everyone or just me?

Enter a site. downforeveryoneorjustme.com checks to see if it thinks the site is up.

[via tweet from Jessamyn West]

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Today's pet peeve: Annoying bloggers.

I checked all my links on the internet-resources' WordStuff page yesterday, using the handy dandy Free Link Checker as a first pass and then following with a check of all the other links as a cleanup sweep.

One of the links the free link checker found was a definite 404. (Robin Queen's collection of linguistics links ... The page was 404 and after I found her UMich faculty Web site, seems her collection of links is no more, or not what I remembered.)

I went looking for the substitute link or another link just like it.

And found this.

ovablastic.blogspot.com has cut and pasted and reformatted my wordstuff links page onto its blog -- a blog, I might mentioned, that is surrounded by ad stuff.

No mention that the links and commentary aren't its.

No mention that link collection is mine as is the commentary.

No mention of my collection of links and how to get there.

Now ovablastic itself found that little nest of links through Stumbleupon, which does point people to my site.

Why did it cut and paste the HTML and pop it on its blog with no hattip or pointer to my site?

Because it's clueless and a thief. Yeah. That could be it.

n.b. for allz of you who may say, "But links are links and not copyrightable!" The collection of links with the associated commentary is copyrighted. 'tis just not worth it to go lay sue papers in ovablastic's mailbox. I'd rather mention here that someone with ads on its site stole my content and is a thief.

(Hi, ovablastic! Hope you Google your nym every once in a while! If you'd had an e-mail easily available on your blog, I would've dropped you a note. This is the next best bet.)

End Bush (Tuesday January 20, 2009. 9AM)

Event coming UP! all San Franciscans and those near enough to:

Inauguration Day 2009.

You could be at the Main Library at 100 Larkin Street in the Koret Auditorium watching the live telecast.


You could be at End Bush at Bush and Presidio (Tuesday January 20, 2009)

Meetup and STREET PARTY! at the corner of Bush and Presidio at the END BUSH sign.

end bush

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What some people do for fun

Tonight was a meet-up at a pub in the south bay for beer and dinner with friends from the old job. Well-attended. Chance to catch up and see what people are up to.

Here's what one of the old friends is doing for fun these days.

Tom King's solo run in a supercharged Acura NSX at 150 mph average speed in the 2008 Nevada Open Road Challenge:

Friday, January 09, 2009

Oooh. Shiny! SourceForge's Apophysis

40 Amazing 3D Fractals Using Apophysis

Apophysis is a free Windows program for designing and rendering fractal flames, available from SourceForge .

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Half a Million Nonprofits Could Lose Their Tax Exemptions

News from guidestar.org:

Half a Million Nonprofits Could Lose Their Tax Exemptions.

Having just FINALLY got final closure on a 501(c)3 after much to-ing and fro-ing with an endless loop of approvals from the Feds and the State and then years after I thought we'd had the final-final step complete, a notice that we were going to be dinged a penalty because we hadn't paid our corporate taxes, I know how nitpicky and all the paperwork for tax-exempt non-profits is.

("But the organization was shut down in 2006!")
("By golly, it was. Looks like we forgot to update the status in our database.")

I know how nitpicky and all the paperwork for tax-exempt non-profits is BUT this is important, folks.

If you volunteer with, work for, or give to a smaller nonprofit, make sure the organization's leadership knows about the 990-N. Encourage acquaintances associated with other small nonprofits to do the same. If they want more information, refer them to the IRS article.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


tiltshiftmaker.com - Transform your photos into tilt-shift miniatures

What are tilt-shift style photos?
Tilt-shift miniature style photos are pictures of real-life scenes that are manipulated to look like model photographs.

Now you can easily transform your existing digital camera photos into tilt-shift miniatures using tiltshiftmaker.com.

This is an interesting app.

But why would you want to do this?

Monday, January 05, 2009

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

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New Year's Day. The Gandhi statue at the Ferry Building.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Almost Twelfth Night

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We keep the tree up until at least Twelfth Night, mainly because I have a hard time giving it up after all the work to get it ready. ... but some time after Epiphany the tree =will= come down so I'm enjoying it while I can.

apart from the foghorns

Arleen said, apart from the foghorns ...

The fog blows in these days, if the fog blows in, and burns off again a few hours later. The fog billows in through the Golden Gate and hits Pier 39 or so and peels off north toward Vallejo. We live in the banana belt and get less fog than the northwestern quad of the city.

Some times when I'm sitting in my office, or snoozing in bed in the morning, or puzzling over a Sudoku in the morning paper at breakfast, I hear the foghorns at the bridge, and hear the tankers and container ships calling out through the fog, I'm here, I'm coming in, Get out of my way because I can't see you. Each ship has a different pitch. I'm here, says one. I'm here, says another. Coming through, says a third.

The ships' horns are low and mournful, like a train's whistle echoing up the canyon. I hear the fog horns, but when I look out I see only blue skies and sunshine on the Bay Bridge and folks playing soccer down at Pier 27. Blue skies, but still the ships call out.

I lean out over the railing and look north and see a thick bank of fog.

Given time ... if I can hear the ships calling, the fog will get heavy enough to curl around Pier 39 and head south toward us. The fog creeps in and spills past the piers and laps up on the bridge and reaches high enough and thick enough to cover us all in muffling grey cloudstuff. Time to curl up in a blanket with a good book.

Foghorns any day. Cozy. Snuggle. Warm. Peace.

Friday, January 02, 2009

New Year's Eve miscommunication

A delicious home-cooked dinner and music and wine (loads of wine) and champagne at friends' place up the hill on New Year's Eve.

We had an assignment: Bring one thing you would change in your life.

After dinner, we went one-by-one around the table to share our thing we would change and ... turns out the hostess (whose assignment it was) and most of the other guests were talking about the one thing they would change in their past.

I'd thought the assignment was what one thing would we change about our life as it currently exists. And, of course, the next question would be ... so, why aren't you changing it?

The question was interesting and all the more interesting because everyone seemed to have something in their life they'd like to change, from getting more education to having more children to taking or not taking a job to marrying their current husband forty years ago instead of eight.

But ... as his nibs pointed out ... if that one thing he would change in his life had changed, he'd never have met me and wouldn't be having NYE with friends at the top of Telegraph Hill.

I shared, instead of what I'd planned, a major regret I have that would've changed everything ... everything, if I'd made a different choice.

I had been accepted at UCDavis, which offered me a Regent's Scholarship if I accepted, but the scholarship didn't cover the entire cost of the university and room and board. I'd still have to come up with $200 which, in 1969, was more than just a few pretty pennies. My parents would not chip in the $200 I needed to make ends meet. They had other children also in college and if you took my $200 request and multiplied it by ... Well, you know.

The deadline for accepting the admission and committing to UCD came and I had to tell them no. I just didn't have the $200 and had no reason to believe that I would be able to gen up that kind of money over the summer.

Two weeks after the deadline came and went, I was chosen for a two-month summer internship at NASA-Ames working in the exo-biology division on the Mars Viking project. The internship came with an $800 stipend.

If I'd just toughed it out, accepted the scholarship, gone full-bore ahead, I would've gone to a different school, met different people, taken different jobs to earn the money I needed, and turned out a totally different person. Maybe I'd even have wound up doing what I'd dreamed of doing: plant genetics to develop new crops to feed a hungry world.

The kid in me still regrets that choice, but I wouldn't be here right now, if I hadn't made it.

Regrets, I've had a few. But then again, too few to mention.

On the other hand, what one thing would I change in my life?

More foghorns, fewer angry bitter people.
More naps and patches of sunshine, fewer to-do lists.
More books read, fewer guilt trips.
More cozy suppers -- homemade and otherwise, fewer must-dos, must-attends, musts.
More hugs, less stuff.
More living the moment, less self-induced pressure.
More quiet times, fewer doctor visits.
More times with old friends, less fussing.
More veggies, less butter.
More walking, less vegging.

"Be happy" ... just be happy. That's the thing I would change in my life.

What would you change in yours?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year's meme

Borrowed from cygnoir

post the first sentence for the first post of each month for 2008:

In 2008 may you have warm sunshine to bask in, blue skies overhead and a light heart.

Years and years and years ago, I read horse race results at the back of the sports section in the San Jose Mercury News.


Wednesday I knew where my set of keys to the loft was and his nibs' set as well.

Yay, me! I just caught up on eighty back posts at grapes 2.0, dating back to before we left for Jordan/Egypt in March.

The gang was over here tonight for dinner and a discussion of Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach.

The First Today Show: January 14, 1952 with Dave Garroway

The trash police: Gavin Newsom is proposing the nation's first-ever mandatory recycling and composting law.

I've been having a nice back and forth exchange with Luis Herrera, the guy in charge of the San Francisco Public Library, re the Library's dumb idea to put the new North Beach Library on top of the Triangle.

British Battles - analysing and documenting British Battles from the previous centuries

My enduring thanks this election cycle to Nate Silver.

Pownce is closing down effective December 15th.

ABC News: Obama Heads Home After Vacation in Hawaii

ABC News: Obama Heads Home After Vacation in Hawaii

While on the pre-inauguration trip he attended a private memorial service for Madelyn Payne Dunham — known to friends as "Toot" — and scattered her ashes into the sea.


known to friends as "Toot"???

Obama called her Toot but that was short for Tutu, Hawaiian for Grandma.

I doubt if friends knew Madelyn Payne Dunham as "Toot."

Slack reportage. *tsk*

Happy New 2009 Year to allz of ewe

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The folks where we live always look askance when his nibs wanders into their store near the end of the year looking for the next year's calendar for me.

I can't read 2/3ds of what's on the calendar, but I like it and I like flipping the one day to the next. So I don't get all the lucky Lotto numbers. So I don't get all the lucky fortunes. So I don't get all the holidays and blessings.

So what.

I like my calendar. So there.