"Coyotes, which weigh between 25 and 45 pounds, will prey on small animals, Fox said, but they usually avoid humans. There has only been one documented case of a coyote killing a human in history, she said, while family dogs kill an average of 20 people a year."



Memory of an earthquake.

"A dream might have taken root in San Francisco's Tenderloin on Saturday when city work crews and neighborhood volunteers planted 77 trees along some of the grittiest streets in the city."

Ah, the 'Loin...

I had a studio (with a Murphy Bed) in the Tenderloin at 415 Jones Street (#505) when I first moved to San Francisco in 1989. I was nineteen years old. My friend K helped me paint Van Gogh's Starry Night on ceiling and DeChirico's Melancholy and Mystery of a Street on the foyer wall. I lived next door to a hunky art student w/ bleach blond hair who who rode a BMW motorcycle and painted his whole apartment black.

I was there when the Loma Prieta Earthquake struck just after I poured myself a glass of milk to go with a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. It was the day before my birthday and also the day before my neurology mid-term. I never took that mid-term because the earthquake shut down school for a week. I sipped my milk as the building rocked, and thought to myself, "This is a bad one. Or maybe it's just this old building." After all, I was on the fifth floor. When the shaking stopped, I resumed reading about Lynn Margulis in a Smithsonian Magazine I picked up at the recycling center where I worked.

Then the power went out.

I couldn't very well study without power so I thought about going to a movie. (That tells you what kind of student I was!) The Castro Theater was showing Kubrick that night. I'd missed the 4 p.m. screening of 2001, but I could hustle to make it to the 7 p.m. screening of Dr. Strangelove, which I'd never seen. I invited my other neighbor, a tall, teutonic beauty named Diana to go with me. She informed me the Bay Bridge had fallen down, the city was on fire, looters were looting, etc., etc. "So, that's a no?"

My dad got me on the phone at 3 a.m., worried sick. He reminded me it wasn't the first quake that killed all those people in Mexico City, it was the aftershocks. The first one just loosened all the bricks. The aftershocks brought all the buildings down.

Thanks, Dad.


Gardening at night.

That's what I'm reduced to with it being dark at 5 p.m. when I get home from work. I could garden in the morning before I go to work, but then what would I have to look forward to all day?

Tonight's observations:

The star flower bulbs I planted a month ago have sprouted. I didn't expect to see that for several months.

starflower sprouting

The tiarella seems to be going dormant. I wonder how long tiarella lives... I want mine to spread and form a carpet.


The mimulus I planted in October looks better than it did when I bought it at the nursery. I expect a big show next spring.

mimulus in november

(Note to self: Re-stack that stone wall)

The Meyer lemons are finally ripening. It's been little green balls all year long. I see Lemon Drops dancing in my head.


almost there

My last garden post here.
I lived in the Mission for several years before I moved to Bernal Heights in 2003. Since then, I've rarely visited my old neighborhood. How nice the New York Times is keeping me up to date about the new restaurants.

This one sounds like fun to me:

Café Gratitude, 2400 Harrison Street at 20th, (415) 824-4652. Vegan dishes like I Am Worthy and I Am Wonderful may be cheap back-door tickets to knowing oneself, but some are top-notch examples of raw cuisine. Dinner for two with a large bottle of organic beer, $45.

The raw foods trend caught on big a few years ago, and then seemed to fizzle when its avatar local restaruants, Rawesome and Roxanne's Raw Foods, abruptly closed. Maybe that episode of Sex and the City did them in. I never had the chance to eat at Rawesome or Roxanne's. Now I have a second chance.

UPDATE: Looks like there might be two Cafés Gratitude. Hmmm... And a MetroBlogging commentor points out another place called Alive in a part of down I really never go to.


Work in progress...

deck view 1

That circle of rocks at 11 o'clock rings a manzanita (Howard McMinn). Moving clockwise, next to the birdbath, I planted two mimulus cream (sticky monkey flower) and some pink primrose.

That mulch will sit for the winter. I sowed grass and California poppy seeds. I'll landscape that area in the spring if I don't get around to it this winter. At 4 o'clock, the Princess Plant remains in shade, but she'll get lots of sun this spring.


Down at the bottom of the frame: sea pink (two of them), a climbing hydrangea, some dark-green waxy leaf shrub whose name I forgot and some pinkhead smartweed (which is Hawai'ian I believe & hopefully invasive). I planted several bulbs and some ground covers in the middle of the terrace too.

At 9 o'clock next to the pond, there are three grasses--Mexican feather grass, Deschampsia cespitosa (Northern Lights) and Libertia peregrinans (you can't see that one very well because it's dark, but it's next to the birdbath and it's starting to spread). Also a red flowering currant (ribes sanguineum glutinosum) and Zauschneria (epilobium). The bright green spreader growing over the rocks is a licorice that loves my yard. I have another one under the stairs and they're both spreading madly.

spreading licorice

I need to re-work some of the rock walls and hire an electrician to run an electrical line out into the yard so I can nix the extension cord that powers the pump in the pond. (Among many, many other things.)

I love the splatter on the flagstone from the birds using the birdbath!

Natives in this shot: manzanita, mimulus, one of the sea pinks, ribes, epilobium. I have more in another part of the yard.

I didn't plan to get hyped about native plants when I started landscaping my backyard. In fact, I resisted the idea at first because native plant enthusiasts tend to be so...dogmatic. Dogma turns me off like a light switch.

But the idea took root (heh, heh) and now when I see an exotic plant at the nursery, I think it looks wrong somehow.

I can't wait to see everything grow in.

Zauschneria on the left, Ribes on the right. Zaucsch will make white flowers, and Ribes red.

ribes and epilobium


Jared Sandberg wrote an excellent column in today's Wall Street Journal on the subject of indecision in the work place. Some excerpts:
For people who work for indecision-makers, even the most irresponsible snap judments would be better than no decision at all--what General Patton called the "ready-aim-aim-aim-aim syndrome."

Indecision, alongside other obstacles such as bureaucracy and blame deflection, are "driving employees absolutely crazy," says Jeffrey Saltzan, chief executive of Sirota [Survey Intelligence]. The trouble is, indecision often fails to get rectified because it's a lot harder to spot than bad decisions. "It's like proving a negative," says Mr. Saltzman.

Indecisive managers may not accomplish much. But on the long list of things they don't do is this: get fired. The not-so-little secret is that indecisions are often more frequently rewarded at the workplace than decisions, joining the litany of office-sanctioned bad behaviors that include toadyism, hissy-fits and frat-house machismo.
I thought about checking to see whether the article is available online, and decided not to.


"[Copernicus'] famous book De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres), in which he first proposed that the Earth revolves around the Sun, was published after his death. And astronomy was little more than a spare-time occupation for the clerical man whose name now stands as one of the most significant in the history of science." Link.

Polish archaeologists believe they've located Copernicus' remains.


Get a massage at the airport

Officials plan to nearly triple the amount of space allotted to spa facilities [at San Francisco Int'l Airport] in the coming year, putting the airport at the forefront of a national trend toward hosting services that appeal to domestic and international travelers weary with stress and fatigue.

Five years after the concept for a multisite spa at the airport first emerged, SFO is advertising a four-location lease involving 3,693 square feet of commercial space to prospective developers, according to airport property manager Sharon Perez. At least 50 companies have already expressed interest in the opportunity, which will require a $461,700 minimum initial investment.

“It’s a new trend coming up with the airports,” Perez said. “It’s really just geared for the passenger between his flights.”



Very sad.

The ghost city of Varosha. Look at those beautiful beaches!


Recent work on sleep.

"The implication of these findings is that the sleeping brain can either generate its own perceptions or it can think about them. It cannot do both at the same time. Dreaming is therefore as hallucinatory and thoughtless (or delusional) as so-called mental illness.

In the second study we tested this hypothesis. When psychotic schizophrenic patients were given the thematic apperception test (TAT), in which verbal descriptions of simple but ambiguous pictures are recorded and scored, when they were awake and asked to report their dreams, they had equally high scores on a bizarreness scale (designed to pick up cognitive discontinuity and incongruity) for both. [N]ormal control subjects have the same amount of dream bizarreness as the patients but are much less bizarre in their wake-state projective test responses.

These findings support the hypothesis that REM sleep is a physiological brain state that produces a distinctive and psychosis-like mental content, whereas during normal waking such properties are suppressed. Put another way: when awake, the brain is normally free of the formal aspects of dream activity. Conversely, normal dreaming is justifiably considered to be an entirely normal model of highly abnormal conditions of the human brain and mind. It is now clear that the kind of consciousness that a person experiences is a function of the state of the brain."
So maybe the brains of psychotic people are dreaming, and simply can't wake up.

I performed some minor edits on the quote above. You can see the original here, and check out the TOC for the whole sleep supplement here.

This interested me too: "Major disasters such as Three Mile Island, Exxon Valdez, Bhopal, and Challenger were all officially attributed to sleepiness-related impaired judgment in the workplace."