It's Halloween...

planter pumpkin

and it's also the third anniversary of the day our mortgage closed. Kinda crazy to remember the day of something like that, but when it falls on a recognizable date like Halloween, you don't forget it.

We popped a bottle fo Veuve Clicquot to celebrate. And I'm working a great buzz!

As for the Jack O'Lantern, we were too late to get the big ones, so we got the acne-scarred runts.

What's growing in that planter? Purple lantana, a native Ceanothus ("Diamond Heights"), and a very young climbing hydrangea (hydrangea petiolaris).

UPDATE: They're starting to stream in.

trick or treat 3

This one really testifies to my complete inability to get the camera ready on time. Like they're going to wait for me. As if!

trick or treat 2

Awww!!! (We gave him two pieces!)

UPDATE: It's 7:25 p.m. and we're almost cleared out of 14 pounds of candy! And I thought we bought too much.

harry potter

Harry Potter!!! My night is complete!


I walked up to the Bernal Hill Soapbox Derby today, but didn't bring my camera.

Here's a slideshow on Flickr.
This larger-life-size reproduction of MouseTrap looks v. cool.

I was down at Hunters Point yesterday for Open Studios but didn't see it. Of course I didn't know about it until just now, so I wasn't looking for it either.

As for the rest of Open Studios, here are three of the artists I liked the best this year: Lynn Rubenzer, Alberto Ybarra, and Carol Aust.

Here's Ybarra:

Alberto Ybarra

and here's Aust.

Carol Aust
That's a book she painted in.

Rubenzer has a Flash-based site I couldn't copy pictures from, but you should definitely check her out w/ the link above.

Princess Plant

A lot of people come here after googling "Princess Plant" because of this post about my then-new Tibouchina urvilleana.

Update: She continues to do well in the shady spot where I planted her. I know they like full sun, but I don't have a lot of full sun in my backyard. She has bigger leaves than most other princesses; I imagine that's an artifact of growing in a shady spot.

Except for removing some crossed branches, I've done little pruning, but pruning is definitely in her future--especially when the sun moves back across the sky next spring and she can expect several hours of full sun every morning. She will have an open, airy canopy, not the dense, shrubby habit of other princesses. She's there to arch over the pond and stream (still in progress).

I planted her in a sawed-off oak wine barrel I bought at a local nursery. I tipped a nursery worker $30 to saw out the bottom too, for better drainage and future root growth. The barrel also serves as a structural element holding up half of a terrace that's retained by a rock wall along the rest of its perimeter.

Knowing she'd be in shade, I was reluctant to put her in the native, poorly-draining California clay soil. Most people, I believe, put their princesses in native soil, but I wanted to be more careful about drainage since she's growing in the shade. According to the wiki, princess plants come from Latin and South America.

I haven't noticed many butterflies flocking to her, but late summer and fall may not be the time for butterflies in San Francisco--I don't know. The blossoms have been large and abundant, but short-lived--usually just 2-3 days. Generally, 10 blossoms are open at any time, and she's still pretty small--no more than 3-4 feet in any dimension.

More news later. With pictures. Here's one.

"The tipping point between life and death"

For a personality in crisis, the accessibility of the Golden Gate Bridge can be the tipping point between life and death. "It's like leaving a row of bottles of poison in front of a baby," says Meyer of San Francisco Suicide Prevention. "And they're all pretty and have bows on them."

The majority of bridge suicides are preventable, she says, because so many are impulsive. Strangely, the greatest stumbling block in the building of a suicide barrier is the attitude of a population that prides itself on open-mindedness.

"I had someone come up to me as I was walking to some hearings and he said, 'They should put up a diving board so those people can jump off it.' I said, 'Now say to me, "They should put up a diving board so my son could jump off of it."'"

Here's the interesting part:
"In his original plans, chief engineer Joseph Strauss considered the bridge's potential as a suicide site and designed railings 5 1/2 feet high. On May 7, 1936, a year before the opening of the bridge, Strauss boasted to the San Francisco Call-Bulletin that the bridge was "practically suicide-proof."

"The guard rails," he was quoted as saying, "are five feet and six inches high and are so constructed that any persons on the pedestrian walk could not get a handhold to climb over them. The intricate telephone and patrol systems will operate so efficiently that anyone acting suspiciously would be immediately surrounded. Suicide from the bridge is neither possible nor probable."

By the time the bridge opened a year later, Strauss' promise had evaporated. It's unclear when the plans were modified, but at some point architect Irving Morrow, originally hired to design the entryways and bridge plazas, went to work on the guardrails. Morrow reduced them to 4 feet, and in doing so created a stage for decades of self-slaughter."
So, for San Francisco & Marin County audiences, the way to phrase the winning argument in favor of erecting suicide barriers on the bridge would be to say "we're restoring the bridge to its original plans."

I wonder what happened to those original plans...

UPDATE: Interesting account of plaigirism found in the GG Bridge series. Link.


The Nano Car


"To show that the nanocars actually roll around on their fullerene wheels, rather than slipping and sliding like a car on ice, the Rice team introduced the nanocars onto a flat gold surface. They found the nanocars were quite stable on the surface—remaining parked until the surface was heated above 170 °C—presumably because of strong adhesion between the fullerene wheels and the underlying gold.

Between 170 °C and 225 °C, the researchers observed that the nanocars moved around by translational motion and pivoting. The translational motion was always in a direction perpendicular to the nanocar’s axle, indicating that it moves by rolling rather than sliding."



"Megan Mullally's daytime syndicated talk-variety show has been sold in four top markets for a fall 2006 launch." Link.

I loved her album, especially the Brecht song.


"Printers have a special place in the history of liberty. It is very disturbing, therefore, to learn that documents printed on color printers from Xerox, HP and other manufacturers contain secret government codes identifying the time, date and serial number of the printer." Link.

The Home Depot drama comes to a head...

The B.A.R. runs down the Home Depot issue.

Okay, I'll give up an pretend like I give a flying fuck about Home Depot. Living on Bernal, I should be grateful the neighbors haven't torched my house since I don't have a Home Depot circle slash sign in my front window.

Random thoughts on the matter:

Home Depot is a terrible place to shop. All the big hardware stores are--Lowes, OSH, whatever. They all suck. Trying to get actual help in any of them is a joke. Or a nightmare. Or both. The workers hate you for interrupting their shelf-stocking duties with your dumb questions. There's nothing in it for them. I should please go fuck myself.

How sorry should I feel that people in the Bayview "desperately" need jobs? Does their joblessness have anything to do with them, I wonder? I guess I better not say so, or the neighbors will definitely torch the house. Whatever. I don't expect to see much shopping improvement in a Home Depot staffing with Bayviewers.

And is Home Depot really what they need anyway? What a depressing thought.

On the other hand, Bayshore Boulevard is a dump. Aside from Floorcraft Nursery and BevMo, it's a wasteland.

Why doesn't Cole Hardware grow some balls and open their own superstore? No vision thing?

And back to why I don't care....The traffic. Sorry, I don't envision a lot of people clogging Cortland Street to get to Home Depot. They'll take Alemany or Potrero. Ergo, not my problem.

In the final analysis, I will never use the Home Deopt on Bayshore.. When I need hardware, I go to Cole. I don't mind paying more because I know the shopping experience won't piss me off. And that's it.



“'I think the discovery of the ‘half-animal, half-plant’ microbe shows part of the process of single-cell marine microbes evolving into plants,' Prof. Isao Inoue, a member of the research team, said." Link.


"I meditate a lot, but I am constantly in pain."

Monday marks the anniversary of the tiger attack that nearly killed [Roy] Horn two years ago. It's also his 61st birthday.

Horn has made considerable progress. He can walk unaided for short distances. The grip of his right hand is noticeably firm.

Signs, however, remain of the attack.

A thin white scar cuts across the right side of his neck. His left side is partially paralyzed. His walk is still a slow shuffle.



The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity (excerpt):

One is tempted to believe that a stupid man will only do harm to himself but this is confusing stupidity with helplessness. On occasion one is tempted to associate oneself with a stupid individual in order to use him for one's own schemes. Such a manoeuvre cannot but have disastrous effects because a) it is based on a complete misunderstanding of the essential nature of stupidity and b) it gives the stupid person added scope for the exercise of his gifts. One may hope to outmanoeuvre the stupid and, up to a point, one may actually do so. But because of the erratic behaviour of the stupid, one cannot foresee all the stupid's actions and reactions and before long one will be pulverized by the unpredictable moves of the stupid partner.

This is clearly summarized in the Fourth Basic Law which states that:

Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.