Towse: views from the hill

June 30, 2004


Filed under: URL — Towse @ 2:26 am

Vischeck has an absolutely amazing tool!

I’ve griped at Web developers forever about designing for the colorblind amongst us. “Please no red lettering on a black background,” I’d say. “Ja, ja, ja. I know you think it’s pretty, but a good percent of your users won’t be able to see your text, let alone read it.” They’d act like I was demented.

According to, “About eight percent of Caucasian males, five percent of Asiatic males, and three percent of males of other races are affected by dyschromatopsia. Only about a half-percent of females of any given race are affected.” That’s a good number of users who are affected by Web designers that don’t (or won’t) understand the situation.

Vischeck’s Web tool takes a given URL and returns a page that shows how the page would appear to someone with one of the three major types of color blindness – perfect for showing why-should-I-care designers where their oh-so-flashy sites will stumble. Great!

The site also has examples of how the colorblind see various images differently from the non-colorblind. Other information too.

June 29, 2004

The Political Compass

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 11:22 pm

Pastorio posted a link to the Political Compass page & quiz in misc.writing earlier today.

I’d sworn off any more quizzes for the day, but couldn’t remember what results I had the last time I took this quiz a year or two or three ago and couldn’t find the results in my archives. … so … I took the quiz again.

I wound up in the same general area (Economic Left/Right: -3.50; Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.64) that I had before — almost smack dab ‘longside the Dalai Lama but with just a tad squeeze more Social Libertarian tilt.

Harwood said he’d changed his Republican party membership after decades. Made me stop and think, but I decided yesterday, after much havering, against joining that caravan when I realized that if I changed my registration, I wouldn’t be able to vote for Republican candidates in the primaries and offset the votes from the wingnuts kitty-corner on the grid.

Web quizzes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 3:57 pm

I’m entertained by Web quizzes and I’m drawn to them even though most are so amateur and ham-handed the results mean nothing at all.

The primary question is, “Who wrote the quiz?” ’tis one thing if you have someone who half knows what he’s doing, providing a shortened Myers-Briggs questionnaire. ’tis another thing altogether when you have a thirteen-year-old who’s cranking out ten quizzes a day with titles like


Are You Addicted to IM?

what football player are you

Which band are you?

Which “Pretear” character are you?

What kind of kiss are you?

If You Were A Barbie, Which Messed Up Version Would You Be?

which happy bunny are you?

OK. So I’m also a bit of a spelling and grammar snob. Go further into some Quizilla quizzes … e.g. (from “What Mythological Creature Are You (Many Results and Beautiful Pics)”)

Its the weekend now… What are you using your spare time for?

1) Drawing, Writing

2) Sitting in the Park

3) Church ^_^ and prayer.

4) Im evaluating employees for my boss.

5) Im in my room listening to my CDs

6) Coaching a group of little soccer players.

7) Im reading with intervals of tonail painting ^_^.

8) Playing with knives/ razorblades

9) Im trying to get what I want from those pathetic specimens I call parents.

10) Im torutring my younger siblings. Aww quit crying! I hate it when they cry within the first five minutes! It ruins the challenge.

11) Im…doing…something?

12) Im at the beach.

sigh …

Web quizzes are a bit like horoscopes, Lilian Jackson Brauns and soft-centered chocolates. Too many’ll make me feel sickish and even just a few leave me with a “Whyever did I spend time doing that?” feeling.

When I read someone’s blog and see an interesting “I taste like tea” quiz result, I more often than not wander over to see what the quiz is all about, but holey-moley, I can’t try every quiz I see. I could spend my entire online time tracking down and taking quizzes. Quizilla alone claims to have 500360 quizzes online.

June 28, 2004

Back from …

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 8:32 pm

camp with something like seven pages of “to do.”

Camp was its usual peaceful self.

Sunday night Rob Dunbar talked about global climate change and the research he’s doing in Antarctica. Interesting stuff. Made me think of PJ for some odd reason.

Robert Sapolsky, a funny guy, talked Thursday night, giving a brief overview of the research covered in his book Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers. Sapolsky posits that stress has an adverse affect on our health and that we have way too many “to do” lists.

Be that as it may, I have to-do lists. In fact, I’d written up my to-do lists for my near and far futures Thursday before I heard the talk and found out to-do lists may be hazardous to my health.

Tops on my many pages of “to do” are the August column and getting Dale ready for market.

What else exciting happened while I was gone? Not much. The latest escrow is proceeding apace, which means I should get back to my to-do lists and stop frittering away time on the ‘net.

June 18, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 1:56 am

Update available. If interested, check back at

June 16, 2004

Haiku for Scalzi

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 2:12 am

Scalzi’s giving away Gmail accounts to the four most amusing (his determination) haikus left on his comments thread between now and tomorrow (that’s Wednesday 16Jun2004) noon (that’s EDT).

The haiku must describe the poster’s “rapturous love of cheese.”

His example?

Mmmmm, Velveeta cheese

Saffron-colored block of goo

Microwave friendly!

Find the contest at Scalzi’s WHATEVER, more specifically

Haven’t been able to get to the site for the last hour or so. Maybe I shouldn’t’ve told two million lurkers about the opportunity, but I have my Gmail account already and even have some spares for family and friends, so here’s my haiku with no expectation of a Gmail account in return. (It’s not amusing and it doesn’t fully describe my “rapturous love of cheese” either.)

mid-summer evening

good friends. ripe brie. old vines zin.

crickets chirp. full moon

Which reminds me. It’s time for supper.

Concord Eye-Q 4060 4.0 Megapixel Digital Camera

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 12:34 am

The first ever pic from my first ever digital camera.


“Say, ‘Hello,’ Molson.”

“You wish, lady.”

$119.98 plus tax (free shipping) from Office Max. A $20 mail-in rebate covers the tax and more.

update:PhotoShop gives you …


June 15, 2004

[FOOD] Town Hall

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 8:02 pm

Town Hall

342 Howard Street (at Fremont — south of Market)

San Francisco, CA 94105


Lunch weekdays. Dinner nightly.

Make a reservation. Trust me on this. If all else fails, and you show up without a reservation, you may find a spot at the communal dining table out front, but don’t count on it.

We’d first snacked at Town Hall at the beginning of May, and really liked the noshes that Baseline fed us in the upstairs room. Afterwards, when we went downstairs and asked how long a wait for a table might be, we were told an hour to an hour and a half, so we walked over to One Market for dinner that night.

I’d always intended to go back, but between this and that and Aqua and Rubicon, we just hadn’t returned.

Last Friday, the older younger guy and his spouse were visiting and we walked down to Belden Place for dinner, knowing we’d find a place for four without a reservation. We did, at B44, a Catalan restaurant we’d been to before which has wonderful paellas.

The guys went home on Saturday, and we were at loose ends, deciding where to eat Saturday night. “Town Hall,” I suggested. His nibs called for a reservation around eight and we nabbed one for 10PM. The walk to and fro was forty minutes each way. We arrived at 10P and were seated immediately. The place was hopping and we felt kind of smug because people who’d shown up without reservations were being slightly bitchy to the room host after they were told how long a wait it would be for a table.

The meal was everything I’d hoped it would be. Service was smooth without being hovering. Water glasses filled. Wine poured.

Town Hall serves what they call “New American” cuisine. Think the old stand-bys cooked in a new way. The chefs (Mitchell and Steven Rosenthal) also run Postrio at 545 Post St, off Union Square.

His nibs chose the CL Pinot Noir from Sonoma for the meal. I started with tuna tartare and was served a healthy portion of delicious fresh fish with a spicy sauce to the side and a scattering of sprouts — spicy sprouts, radish maybe?

His nibs opted for the cornmeal crusted fried oysters served on a salad of baby spinach with a creamy Herbsaint bacon dressing. (Herbsaint is a New Orleans liqueur, an absinthe substitute, I’ve been told.) We swapped plates halfway through. Both dishes were remarkable.

I had a hard time deciding on a main dish (scallops, no … duck, no … ribeye, no…) and finally opted for scallops, served over jambalaya made with andouille sausage. The dish came with three large, tasty, broiled scallops. The jambalaya was rich, thick and loaded with spicy sausage. Because of the season, there was a healthy amount of fresh cracked crab meat scattered along the edges of the jambalaya. I took one scallop and a third of the jambalaya home for breakfast the next day.

His nibs chose the peanut and tasso crusted pork chop, which he found delicious. The chop came with a mashed veg, potato? something else? Whatever it was was very tasty and had been mashed, it seemed, with heavy whipping cream and butter. Delish. His nibs cleaned his plate. During the walk home and for the first half of Sunday, he kept wishing he’d taken just a little bit of his dish home as well.

The dishes are hearty, filling and rich. Be warned.

For dessert I chose a half chocolate-half butterscotch pot de creme with a buttercrunch layer. Delicious. Comfort food. His nibs, filled with pork chop, didn’t order any dessert so he could help me finish off mine. I couldn’t have finished it on my own.

Town Hall is a remodeled old warehouse building. Some of the walls are exposed brick and although the ceilings are high, the noise reverberates. If you have more than two people dining together, carrying on a conversation might be difficult. We had problems with just the two of us.

Staff dances in and out and between diners, delivering food and clearing tables. The logistics for delivering food and retrieving plates were not the easiest. I watched as waiters stepped nimbly around people standing in their way and was amazed that no one dropped a dish on someone.

The bill arrives inside an old book, like a bookmark. The table next to us got Plays of Near and Far by Lord Dunsany. We received our bill in The Culture of Courage by Frank Channing Haddock. Hm. I just checked. The complete title is The Culture of Courage — A Practical Companion Book for Unfoldment of Fearless Personality The delivery method was a clever touch that appealed to a book hugger like me. note: You have to give the book back.

Town Hall is on my “return when you’re feeling like New American comfort cuisine” list. Definitely a repeatable experience.

Me, and tens of thousands

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 7:23 pm

Dear S J Towse,

Will you join Laura, me and the entire Republican Party leadership as we gather on the evening of July 21st here in Washington, D.C., to celebrate my first term of office?

And while I am honored to be recognized, the truth is, much work remains to be done and none of what we have accomplished to date would have been possible without you.

Your steadfast support has made the Republican Party America’s majority party.


So all of us — Senate Majority Leader Frist, House Speaker Hastert, Vice President Cheney, Laura and I — owe you a deep debt of gratitude for your support.

And all of us want to recognize and honor the commitment and sacrifices you’ve made for our Party and our nation.


Let’s celebrate our Party’s leadership and our nation’s spirit and strength together.


George W. Bush

The enclosed letter from House Speaker Dennis Hastert goes on for four pages and invites me to dinner (or to just make a donation if I can’t make dinner so I can be listed as an Honorary Co-Chairman of the Dinner).

“Tickets to The President’s Dinner are $2,500 each, or you may purchase a table of ten for your friends and family for $25,000.”


I was honored.

If I contributed at least $150, I could get a “unique, limited edition, numbered, four-photograph series entitled ‘George W. Bush, The First Term.’” How could I pass up such an invite?

Then I found out they’d sent his nibs an invitation too. … and who knows who else.

Come to think of it, if I were going to spend $5,000 on a Republican Party fundraiser, I would’ve signed up for the local party recently and had my picture taken with our gov.

What a Christmas card photo that would’ve been.

Expensive chapter in family history

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 6:24 pm

From the Star-Ledger comes this tale of downsizing woe and, yet, his nibs wonders why I am so cautious about what does and doesn’t get thrown or given away during this lead up to the shift out of the south bay abode.

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