"As I mentioned a while back, I'm in Mexico now with Michelle's family.

The views are nice.

And the house is absurdly opulent.

I do have one complaint, however.

Our bedroom decorations include the following... "
"Yahoo is moving toward people and community, while Google is focused on science and machines."


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to my random visitors.

I took these pictures on a walk Christmas Eve day at Allied Arts in Palo Alto.

allied arts

allied arts close up

And this one heading south on Hwy 280.
driving down 280


"One in 10 Europeans is allegedly conceived in an Ikea bed." Link. (See "No. 11")


"More than food-scroungers, though, [German] IKEA workers fear lazy parents. Around 150 three- to 10-year-olds are deposited daily at the Hamburg-Schnelsen store's play area -- a complimentary offer to allow mom and dad to wander in peace through the showrooms. But many people misuse the service as a free babysitting service." Link.
Fifteen months after Mount St. Helens reawakened, the volcano is continuing to release massive amounts of lava in an unusual geologic display that in some respects confounds scientists.

Roughly every three seconds, a large dump truck load's worth of lava — 10 cubic yards — oozes into the mountain's crater. And with the sticky molten rock comes a steady drumfire of small earthquakes.

The unremitting, monthslong pace is not common, said U.S. Geological Survey geologist Dave Sherrod. Experts say it is unclear what the activity signifies or how long it will continue.



The 25 Most Interesting Web Cams of 2005.



The best fonts of 2005. Link. (via Metafilter)


So he faked it.


I'm not surprised; the Koreans were reporting suspiciously fast progress.

Well, at least the USA isn't as far behind in stem cell research as it seemed.

The question now is, where exactly are we?


"Who wants to go get rum balls!

It's not really a question so much as a rallying cry."



"[H]ow to use Google's translation service to see sites that are forbidden by your company's firewall; ask Google to do an English-to-English translation." Link.

Top Ten Signs You're A Gay Cowboy


A Board of Supervisors committee approved legislation Monday that would give city officials wider powers to protect large trees in San Francisco, including those on private property.


After landmark status is granted for a tree, it could not be removed without a public hearing and approval from the Department of Public Works. Cutting down a landmark tree without permission could bring a fine as high as $1,000 and a requirement to pay for replacement of the tree.

But over in Oakland:

Take a stroll around the lake and you'll find red-tagged trees everywhere you look. Some of them are coming down because they are dead or dying; others are so old and heavy they've become a safety risk; still others have to go to make way for widened and improved paths and jogways. But others seem to have been condemned for entirely arbitrary reasons. And we're not mollified by the city's plan to plant more trees than it cuts down: We know the difference between a tree that's stood for sixty or more years and a sapling that will need to be held up by wooden poles for its first five years.


Currently, the biggest house on Santa Clara County's tax rolls is 19,951 square feet.

``When is it enough?'' said resident Robin Robison. ``We've seen it inch up: 20, 25, 30'' thousand square feet.

More generous than several affluent towns, Los Altos Hills allows people to develop 6,000 square feet for every flat acre of land. A 12,000-square-foot home could fit on two acres, 18,000 on three acres and so on. Woodside, Los Gatos and Palo Alto generally cap main residences at 6,000 square feet no matter how large the lot.



I went for a walk yesterday

Here are some random pictures from a rainy day in my neighborhood.


The Eugenia Steps.








When raccoons attack (the winter lettuce).

Oh, brother. The raccoon visited my roof deck last night.


Where there was once a thriving pot of winter lettuce there is now this:

lettuce upclose

Too funny.

raccoon chewed


What's for dinner.

Sunset Magazine, November 2005, page 100

This recipe in the November Sunset looks tasty. (I love Sunset.) It's a chorizo cornbread stuffing with butternut squash.

My honey's a vegetarian, so I'm substituting Boca vegetarian sausage for chorizo:

vegetarian sausage

Here's the cornbread, a-baking:


Here's the butternut squash (cooked in hot water w/ brown sugar):


Cilantro and sage:

cilantro, sage

And my favorite part--mushrooms, red bell pepper, onion, and fennel head cooked together with butter:

fennel, onion, pepper

And here is everything but the cornbread all mixed together:

everything but the cornbread

When the cornbread finished, I broke it in to cubes and dropped them into a mixture of vegetable broth and two beaten eggs. Then I combined everything and put it in the oven to bake.

after baking a little bit


"They've met the transvestites and transsexuals, sat with them on bright drapes and cushions, and heard about sex work. They've inspected the lifesaving beauty salon, where the transvestites get reminders about condoms while flowers are woven into their hair. Now they're on their way to call on female sex workers, who will greet them with heart-breaking personal stories and an ear-breaking drum troupe. But just for the moment they are stuck in traffic. So Bill and Melinda Gates are talking about their favorite subject: the world's biggest challenge and what can be done."

I already knew this.

Best strategies for finding a "good" parking spot:

The researchers considered three performance measures of what constitutes a "good" parking spot: the total walking distance between the space and the mall's front door (including distance walked to the door, back to the car after the shopping trip, and to return a shopping cart), driving time in search of a space, and the amount of time to reach the front door after entering the lot.

Their comparison showed that, in their model, the "park and walk" approach takes an average of 61 seconds, from entering the lot to reaching the mall entrance, whereas the "cycling" strategy requires an average of 71 seconds. The first approach usually involves more walking, but you tend to get to your shopping faster.

So, to save time at the mall, "park and walk" works best—most of the time.



San Francisco photo click-trance

Try lackadaisical. Lots of street shots and house parties.

Ditto Gwen Harlow.

the Christmas tree comes home

in the stand

starting material-2

lights and garland


Christmas cheer-2

finished product-1

finished product-3

I have a small appetite for Christmas tree ornaments, but this is just pathetic.


UPDATE: Commentor "Me" at NinaCamic wrote this:

my mother wrote an article for the washington post one year about how she loved christmas trees lit by candles

a german woman looked up my mom and told her that her tree was lit by candles

we drove pretty far on a cold night

the drapes were drawn because lighting your tree with candles must be a crime of some sort

kinda felt like we were part of the underground railroad or smuggling jews in poland during world war ii

the tree was more gentle than stunning

the candles sat on little candle holders

and dimly lit the tree

That bolded part reminded me about the time I visited a friend in Anchorage, AK for Christmas. We drove out of town in the middle of the night to get a Christmas tree, pulled off the road, sawed one down, hauled it back to the car, and got locked out by the puppies who, happy to see us, jumped up and down against the door and (presumably) inadvertantly locked us out.

We had to break a window to get back in the car. After driving home in the freezing December Alaska cold, we decorated the tree and Diana insisted we use candles. It was beautiful but really not something I'd do in my own home.


Hewlett and Packard's garage set for public opening.

The story begins like this: 1938, Hewlett and Packard, former Stanford University classmates, decided to start a company. The two-story shingle at 367 Addison Avenue had everything they needed: a bottom flat for Packard and his new bride Lucile, a shed in back for Hewlett and a garage they could convert to their workshop and laboratory.

While here, the company created the Model 200A audio oscillator, the company's first product line. An advertisement for the oscillator says to ``write Dept. A for complete information about this and other materials.'' Mancini wonders whether Dept. A was Packard's tiny apartment or Hewlett's 8-by-18 shed.

Hewlett and Packard's time at Addison Avenue was brief -- they outgrew the garage in 1940 after hiring two employees. But their stay was long enough to create, as the plaque outside reads, ``the birthplace of Silicon Valley.''


California has declared it a historic landmark (No. 976), and HP is now gunning for a federal designation.



I enjoy Sudoku.

An ancient Asian temple defaced with urban graffiti?

Hayes Green-3

An ancient wooden Asian temple?

Hayes Green-4

Exquisite craftsmanship!

Hayes Green-1

More public art.

Hayes Green-6

It was too dark and rainy to look around for artist information...Please post it in the comments if you know!

Watching Hitchcock

"One of the defining moments for Hitchcock supposedly was when he was five years old and his father wanted to teach him a lesson so he sent [young Hitchcock] with a note to the Chief of Police who was a friend of [Hitchcock's father]. The note said to put [young Hitchcock] in jail for five minutes. So there was this five-year-old child who was in jail for five minutes. Well, five minutes can be an awfully long time if you're terrified. And that fear of jail, and particularly police, haunted Hitchcock and haunts Hitchcock's films."--Peter Bogdanavich, speaking in Hitchcock's The Wrong Man DVD special features.

Burning Man sculpture comes to San Francisco Civic Center

Flock in Civic Center

Flock, by Michael Christian

In case you can't read that sign because my hands were cold and shaking when I took the picture:

Black Rock Arts Foundation in Partnership with Mayor Gavin Newsom’s office and the San Francisco Arts Commission is pleased to present Michael Christian’s Flock.

This sculpture is part of a series of works being brought to the City of San Francisco for temporary installation to help engender conversation, foster community involvement, and engage people with their public spaces.

For more information, visit www.blackrockarts.org




Not really art, but quite sculptural: pollarded trees just next to Flock.

Pollarded trees

December 1, 2005 was a rainy day in San Francisco.

The view from the bedroom:

the view east

The plants like the rain.

container garden

So do the succulents on the front porch.

front porch

I'm looking forward to the day the city undergrounds those cables.

across the street

More plants here.