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He did it! 2002

I just got the email from Edmond - he's in Manning Park, British Columbia, Canada. He just walked there from Mexico.

Hooray for Edmond!

I've posted his log entries on his site.

I am so very proud of him. What a great adventure!

Posted on September 30, 2002 at 06:18 AM in the big room with the blue ceiling | Permalink | Comments (2)

Epic by my scale... 2002

I walked a lot today. A whole lot.

I started out on Lombard at Van Ness with the intention of walking over two hills to the bay, turning right, strolling down the Embarcadero and taking the bus home from the end of Market Street.

Things went according to plan at first. I went up over Russian Hill, walking down the straight stairs alongside that notoriously curvy block, stopping for a ginger beer and a cookie at a cafe in North Beach, then climbing up the hill admiring Coit Tower ahead and to the right of me.

At the Telegraph Hill crest of Lombard Street, I looked at a memorial to Marconi and gazed out at the beautiful views. I got a surprise, though, when I went to what I thought were stairs down towards the bay. Lombard doesn't go through. So I walked up along the curving road to the base of Coit Tower and found myself at an even better vista. I looked up at the tower and briefly considered climbing it but then thought "oh, probably better not; my knee has been a little sensitive lately and all those stairs could be bad." Then I turned down a little stairway leading, I thought just a bit of a way to another road.

In fact, they were very steep - though pretty - brick steps and it took longer than I thought to get down the one block distance to Montgomery Street. I walked a block down Montgomery and found myself at the top of the famous Filbert Steps. These are a mix of stone and wooden steps through an almost impossibly charming neighborhood completely inaccessible by car. It was delightful. I took my time going down and visited the wood paths known as Darrell and Napier Streets. Magical. Well, and exhausting to contemplate the lifestyle of the folks who live there. To think of carrying in the groceries, let alone a new piece of furniture is daunting to say the least.

When I emerged at the base of the steps, I was just two blocks from the bay, but on Filbert, not Lombard. I turned left on Sansome and noted as I passed the Greenwich Steps which merit exploration on a future walk (from the top down, I think). I reached Lombard, turned left and walked the two blocks to the base of the cliffside of Telegraph Hill. Now I could have just turned around and walked the three blocks to the bay to complete Lombard Street, but it occured to me that I wasn't awfully far from Cost Plus and I wanted to get a few small jars for giving gifts of the mustard I've been making at home lately. I went down a little street at the cliff end of Lombard called Winthrop, turned left on Chestnut, slipped through the C|Net parking lot and ended up on Kearny Street.

Now I couldn't quite remember where Cost Plus was exactly, so I went two blocks left on Francisco, then a block right (north) on Midway and came out on Bay just before Stockton. There were the Cost Plus banners four blocks ahead of me. I walked up there, did my shopping and came out the other side of the store on North Point Street. I followed a zigzagging path from there up Mason, along Beach, up Powell to the heart of Fisherman's Wharf. Again, I could have turned east and finished my walk, but somehow I wasn't ready.

Feeling bold and resistant to tourists, I walked west, browsed in the National Park Service store, and almost gave in to a guilty desire to visit the wax museum but was stopped by the $12.95 price tag and the unnaturally peachy-pink color of the Lady Di figure on display outside. (Someday I do want to find a companion eager to give in to the tacky for a few hours and we will visit not only the wax museum, but also Ripley's Believe It Or Not and that ride that recreates the 1906 earthquake. I'm sure I won't enjoy them as much as I enjoyed Madame Tussaud's in London, but curiousity preys upon me anyhow).

Once thwarted by sticker shock, I started walking back along the Embarcadero towards Market Street. It was at this point I began to feel a little wobbly in the legs. Not injury or pain, but definite fatigue. Still, I was bound and determined to reach my goals. I went down to Lombard, checked off that exceedingly dull last block, and continued along the Embarcadero until sighting the blessed vision of the Fog Street Diner. I sat (O, to sit is a fine thing!) at its rose quartz bar and consumed, slowly, a half of a Dungeness crab and an expertly made Sidecar. My sensibilities thus restored, I finished my journey to Market Street via the Embarcadero and Drumm Street and caught my bus home.

Streets completed today:
Lombard
Embarcadero
Powell
Drumm
and a number of small lanes & alleys

Posted on September 29, 2002 at 09:50 PM in San Francisco | Permalink | Comments (0)

Finishing Lombard 2002

After having a hard time getting to sleep last night because The Noisy House was doing its thing, I was sleeping very deep at 6am when the phone rang. I went through the usual anxiety as I staggered up to answer it, but it turned out to be a wrong number. An odd wrong number, unfortunately, because when I asked the caller what number he was trying to reach (trying to insure I would not be woken again in 5 minutes) and then had to ask "Well, does it begin [the beginning of my number]", he said "I don't know" or "I'm not sure" or something equally cryptic. It was a peculiar conversation and left me off balance. Then I remembered an acquaintance who's behavior has been odd lately and thought perhaps it was him and thus I was indeed likely to be disturbed again. I called the operator to see if I could find out where the call came from, but all he could do was suggest I try *69 to call the person back. Which I did. I then had another slightly less off balance conversation in which the laconically-voiced stranger proved to be a stranger after all. To my relief, I did not receive a revenge *69 call. Very strange and upsetting. I felt very alone and scared and ill at ease in this big city.

When I couldn't get to sleep, I read a more of Bill Bryson's A Walk In The Woods and soothed myself with troubles more uncomfortable than my own. This allowed me to return to a dream-pocked sleep where I mostly remained with minor surfacings until 11am or so. Now I'm feeling that vague-brained fog of oversleep and staring aimlessly at nothing.

To cure both my blurriness and my disconnection from the city I love, I am heading out for a big walk. Today I'll finish Lombard Street, walking from Van Ness over Russian Hill, down into North Beach and over Telegraph Hill (I already walked the western half with Chris a month or two ago).

It's odd when I'm in this mood; it's so very much harder than usual to get started, to get myself out the door and heading down new streets, but the benefit is enormous and frequently immediate. My attention goes out from myself into the world around me. My focus changes from the past and the future into the present, into reality not fears or regrets.

As C.S. Lewis put it, in the present moment alone are we offered freedom and actuality. I find, as I grow older, that Lewis's The Screwtape Letters proves more and more accurate about the way people really behave. I highly commend your attention to it. Don't think you have to be a Christian to enjoy it; I'm an atheist and it's one of my favorite books. It's also one of my favorite books on tape in the version read fiendishly well by John Cleese (now, apparently, tragically out of print. Look for it used; the box is quite distinctive having a negative image of Cleese on the cover rendered entirely in black and red. Your library probably also has a copy or can get you one).

Posted on September 29, 2002 at 12:32 PM in San Francisco | Permalink | Comments (2)

Upgrade 2002

My disability insurance company, Unum Provident, used to think I lived on Gross Street.

I corrected them. I said "It's not great, but it's not that bad."

Now they say I live on Groove Street.

I'll take this as a reflection of the ways in which my whole life keeps getting better.

Posted on September 28, 2002 at 05:01 PM in warnings & kvetches | Permalink | Comments (3)

Prodigal Child 2002

Happy birthday, dear Google
Happy birthday to you!

Posted on September 27, 2002 at 10:13 AM in The Web | Permalink | Comments (0)

Poetry Good. Og like poetry. 2002

Well, it's been a couple years and, bless him, Rob's Amazing Poem Generator is still available for our enjoyment.

Tonight's gem:

MetaGrrrl Radio > Last name is now A weblog or
at least I
spent 2 webloggers ? Blog noun
A Perfectly Reasonable Approach The political news has been very
depressed by humans.
Tonight I was
going to use a great quote.
I took a mercy that way.
September 20, 2002
Northbound Edmond getting close! To be
Loud . family on the Bone We are
fucking dairy products and photos of people to run your own
content management system .

Posted on September 26, 2002 at 06:55 PM in linky goodness | Permalink | Comments (0)

O sleep, why do I neglect you? 2002

I should have done as I told a friend I was going to do. I should have gone to bed early and gotten 9 hours of sleep. Instead I took a nice hot bath, read a magazine, did the dishes, wrote some email and then listened to a book on tape for a while.

I felt very relaxed, but my body is now informing me that that ain't the same as sleep. My mind is foggy, my head achy and my eyelids drooping. My job doesn't have a whole lot of mindless tasks - or at least I don't know enough yet for anything to be mindless. I guess it's a mercy that I'll be in an eagerly awaited training from 10-noon.

*yawn* *blink blink* *stare*

Posted on September 25, 2002 at 09:06 AM in mundania | Permalink | Comments (2)

Give Yourself Simple Pleasures 2002

[Here's an incomplete draft of a post found in January 2004 when I was working on getting all my content published in TypePad]

When you're feeling a bit low, sometimes you'll find yourself wandering about looking for something to lift your spirits.

choose something which will remind you of that lazy afternoon and refresh your senses every time you use it

memory and smell

Pacifica lemon grass soap

Zum Bar goat milk soaps, especially their Clove-Mint scent.

Burt's Bees bay rum exfoliating soap

Posted on September 21, 2002 at 06:54 PM in simplicity | Permalink | Comments (0)

Damned Computers 2002

I'm really getting ticked off. All I want to do is invite lots of people to Edmond's welcome home parties. This has enough challenges of its own because I need to figure out who should get invited and find email addresses for his friends.

Problem #1: Evite doesn't seem to work very well in IE for Mac on OS X. I spent 2 hours last night pounding on it, trying unsuccessfully to get it to allow me to use a different image on the invite than the default and semi-successfully to add multiple recipients. It was completely inconsistent in its behavior and I managed to lose all the addresses it had accepted so far. So I gave up on that.

Problem #2: Evite doesn't work any better on Edmond's PC.

Problem #3: Edmond's computer has suddenly decided it won't retrieve or send mail due to some nasty new error in something called pcproxy.exe. So I need to look at his address book on his computer and then type them in on my Mac. I don't want to try to fix it - it's probably just because Microsoft operating systems are fucking dairy products and it hasn't had an engineer fussing over it for five months. [Update: it will send, it just won't receive. Some improvement anyhow...I'll take it.]

Problem #4: My damned neighbors keep treating the street like their living room and they talk louder than the loud family on that old Saturday Night Live sketch (not to be confused with the band or the publically documented real live family whose last name happened to be Loud).

Problem #5: I'm cranky.

Addition:
Problem #6 [identified by Chris]: Evite is goat-flavored.

Posted on September 21, 2002 at 03:12 PM in warnings & kvetches | Permalink | Comments (3)

So, what action will you choose? 2002

The practice of violence, like all action, changes the world, but the most probable change is to a more violent world.
--Hannah Arendt

[another fine quote from Larry]

Posted on September 20, 2002 at 11:52 PM in quotes | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Tad Close To The Bone 2002

We might as well give up the fiction
That we can argue any view.
For what in me is pure Conviction
Is simply Prejudice in you.
--Phyllis McGinley

[YAQFUL, yet another quote from Uncle Larry]

Posted on September 20, 2002 at 11:48 PM in quotes | Permalink | Comments (0)

Not entirely true for me, but a great quote. 2002

I have had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it.
-- Groucho Marx

[thanks to Mum for that one]

Posted on September 20, 2002 at 11:12 PM in quotes | Permalink | Comments (0)

If you're not part of the solution... 2002

In high school, when I first heard of entropy, I was attracted to it immediately. They said that in nature all systems are breaking down, and I thought, What a wonderful thing; perhaps I can make some small contribution to this process, myself.
--George Carlin

[again from Uncle Larry, quote king]

Posted on September 20, 2002 at 10:53 PM in quotes | Permalink | Comments (0)

Huh? 2002

I don't grasp things this early in the day. I mean, I hear voices, all right, but I can't pick out the verbs.
--Jean Kerr

[thanks, Larry!]

Posted on September 20, 2002 at 10:51 PM in quotes | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Perfectly Reasonable Approach 2002

The Onion: Did you ever have any kind of formal acting training?

William Shatner: Not really. I just did it until everybody stopped objecting.

Posted on September 20, 2002 at 06:41 PM in quotes | Permalink | Comments (0)

Northbound 2002

Edmond's getting close! I just talked to him on the phone. He's in Snoqualamie and that means only two more resupply points left between him and the Canadian border.

Visit his site for more news about his return and the festivities to welcome him home.

Posted on September 16, 2002 at 06:11 PM in friends & family, the big room with the blue ceiling | Permalink | Comments (0)

Restored Joy 2002

It's been hard lately. The political news has been very depressing and I've heard enthusiastic calls for war from many quarters. True, I've heard calls for peace and calls for caution, but so much argument and hostility all around. ugh. Sometimes I get very depressed by humans.

Tonight I had a reminder of why we are pretty damn great little apes. We are the story-telling species. And o the stories we tell! Thank you, Derek and everyone, for another wonderful Fray Day!

Posted on September 15, 2002 at 02:34 AM in The Web | Permalink | Comments (2)

Image caching prohibited at the server level? 2002

A programmer friend just approached me with an odd problem which I couldn't explain. Basically what he's seeing is this:

On Server A, you can do a search and the results page will load and in the log you'll see the requests coming in from the client for the navigation image files. Then you can hit next to go to the next page of results and you won't see the image files re-requested since the browser already has them.

On Server B, when you search the behavior is the same until you hit next. Then the next page loads and requests all the navigation image files as though it was the first time it had ever heard of them. And if you hit next to see the 3rd page of results, again it will request all the navigation images.

He's seeing this in the same browser, so it appears to be an issue on the server not the client side.

Anyone got any idea what's going on?

One environmental note: Server A & B are, theoretically, running exactly the same proprietary web server which is integrated with the searching software.

Posted on September 13, 2002 at 11:03 AM in web design & documentation | Permalink | Comments (3)

Bravo. 2002

"Perhaps you should just go offline entirely, just shut it all down, go sit on the stoop or walk outside the office and stroll down to the park and sip a coffee or a fine scotch or perhaps imported laudanum, and remember."
- from Mark Morford's wonderful column for yesterday.

Really, it's not a bad idea in general.

###

Last night, coming home from a nice dinner in the south bay with friends, it was dark, I was right on time to return my car to the City CarShare lot, and I was remembering. I was remembering a sweet face and gentle words last weekend and an email this afternoon about stressful events. The lights were green and I kept going past the lot, past my neighborhood, north and then west, until I entered the darker woods in the city. I kept going through fog, down curvy roads, across damp grass, through the dark house, until he was in my arms and there were kisses and everything was instantly right with the world.

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may...

Heh, and lest the somber tone of the end of that poem alarm you, bear this one in mind:

Jenny kissed me when we met,
Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief! who love to get
Sweets into your list, put that in.
Say I'm weary, say I'm sad;
Say that health and wealth have miss'd me;
Say I'm growing old, but add-
Jenny kiss'd me.

Posted on September 12, 2002 at 06:00 PM in politics & philosophy | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hard Morning 2002

I wish that the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks was a weekend, that it wasn't a day in many ways just like that day last year. So many reminders to shake me up and yet, I, though emotionally very affected, was not personally touched by the tragedy except through some casual friends, except philosophically or politically.

Here I am at work again. Thinking about it all. Distracted by it all. Wanting to make those human connections. Caring more about my friends and family and about peace. Wondering if this stupid species will ever learn to stop hurting each other, hating each other.

Anil has been on my mind the last few days. He was who I spoke to the most that day, I think. We chatted on some instant messaging client, I in Silicon Valley, he in Manhattan. Since my PC gave up the ghost, since I changed jobs, I haven't been chatting online. It's a distraction I can ill afford in my challenging new job and a time-consuming habit I decided to drop. I would like to say hello to Anil though and let him know I am thinking of him, wishing him well, appreciating his clarity and humanity that shines in his writing.

This morning there was a woman playing the cello in the BART station. That is the music for today; not patriotic ballads, not the national anthem, just a low sad theme, wandering, wistful, humane.

Posted on September 11, 2002 at 08:45 AM in worry vs. clarity | Permalink | Comments (1)

Temporary Cat? 2002

I need a home for Oban, the little black cat, for approximately 2 and a half months. She is a housebroken, friendly 6 year old who does not like other animals. I am pretty sure I have a new home for her - the prospective cat owners still need to meet her - but they can't take her until they are in their new place in a couple months.

I would just take her myself but
-it's against my lease
-I'm allergic to the dear beast
-my apartment is only 300 square feet

If you are in the greater San Francisco area and would like to provide a foster home for a couple months for a nice little indoor-only cat, please email me at this domain.

Posted on September 10, 2002 at 12:58 PM in mundania | Permalink | Comments (1)

There is no one answer. 2002

Please take a moment to read Anil Dash's thoughts on the anniversary of the 9.11 tragedy and ways of reacting. He is thoughtful and articulate and worth your time.

Posted on September 9, 2002 at 12:14 PM in politics & philosophy | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Situation I Choose To Avoid 2002

"Having a baby is like suddenly getting the world's worst roommate, like having Janis Joplin with a bad hangover and PMS come to stay with you."
--Anne Lamott

[thanks again, Larry!]

Posted on September 8, 2002 at 12:25 PM in quotes | Permalink | Comments (4)

Mea culpa 2002

Yet another good quote from Uncle Larry's email signatures:

"There are only three types of drivers: the too fast, the timid, and oneself." --Virginia Graham

Posted on September 8, 2002 at 12:20 PM in quotes | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Name, Same Old Tune 2002

Oh, no; it's The return of voodoo economics.

Back in the Reagan era (yes, I am that old), I noted that trickle-down is just like any other filtration system: it's designed to keep the big chunks at the top.

[thanks for the link, Chris]

Posted on September 6, 2002 at 11:09 AM in politics & philosophy | Permalink | Comments (2)

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