Towse: views from the hill

August 29, 2005

Authors on the Web on Recurring Characters

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 5:27 am

AuthorsOnTheWeb on Recurring Characters

[Apr 2001] Authors on the Web talks to six of today’s top serial novelists — Nevada Barr, Carolyn Hart, Robert B. Parker, Ridley Pearson, George Pelecanos and Ian Rankin.

Authors on the Web does ChickLit

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 5:23 am

Authors on the Web does Chick Lit.

[February 2004] has brought together 16 writers — Meg Cabot, Jennifer Coburn, Elizabeth Crane, Valerie Frankel, Wendy Holden, Donna Kauffman, Marian Keyes, Deanna Kizis, Harley Jane Kozak, Sherrie Krantz, Alisa Kwitney, Whitney Lyles, Carole Matthews, Sarah Salway, Gemma Townley and Jennifer Weiner — to discuss the essential elements of a Chick Lit novel, the impact these books can have on female readers, and the scenes or characters that they are especially proud to have written.

August 28, 2005

Who Named It?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 9:51 pm is a biographical dictionary of medical eponyms. It is our ambition to present a complete survey of all medical phenomena named for a person, with a biography of that person. Eventually, this will include more than 15.000 eponyms and more than 6.000 persons.

e.g. Want to know who the Kaposi was behind Kaposi’s sarcoma? has the great and gory details.

A productive Saturday, but not what we had planned

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 7:47 pm

Arrived at the old farm. Introduced ourselves to the real estate agent, who was patiently waiting for drop-ins. He hadn’t realized there’d be no furniture in the place — the last time he’d been there was back in May when it was furnished and staged. He had no place to sit, except on the built-in buffet space between the family room and the kitchen. His nibs chatted with him, explaining that all the furniture had been removed in July prior to the original COE date but that there’d be furniture arriving tomorrow (today, Sunday) with more to follow.

I swept the front paths and the back patio, even though Juan’s showing up Monday to do a proper blow. We were expecting visitors today, and the front paths couldn’t wait.

Chuck brought his old friends by to look over the place. “Not what you were expecting to do today, is it?” he asked. His old friends were the couple from up at the end of the street. “Diamond Jim” our tree guy calls him. I was glad I’d swept up before Diamond Jim arrived.

I headed off to Home Depot for a mop and a toilet brush, a toilet flapper, plants, &c. While I was gone, his nibs vacuumed and patched up the holes the stagers had left the first time they came through. Painted over the patches after they’d dried. Tried to fix the lock on the back house. Couldn’t. I’ll have to arrange for a locksmith and sit and wait next week some time.

$112.50 later, I arrived back. Handed off the toilet brush, toilet cleaner, toilet flapper to his nibs, who proceeded to clean four bathrooms and fix the flapper in the upstairs master bath while I potted and planted flowers and placed the pots.

The stagers showed up early with stuff. They didn’t want to interfere with the unplanned open house, but we said, “Come on in. You’ll just be more proof to visitors that the escrow fell through yesterday and the house is back on the market.” They promised to have the place ready for the Wednesday broker tour and commiserated over the failed escrow.

The real estate agent left. He’d had a so-so day. Four couples/family groups came by, maybe five. Plus Diamond Jim and his wife with Chuck.

Did I mention the real estate agent drove a shiny new BLACK HUMMER? No? I thought that was an interesting car of choice for an agent.

Turned out he’d graduated HS a year before I did and spent his earlier career as basketball coach at my alma mater, starting there four years after I’d graduated. He knew Diamond Jim’s wife because she used to be married to the basketball coach at St. Francis. We talked about my alma mater. He said, did you know Dick B? He was a senior when I was a freshman, I said. You wouldn’t’ve been there when Jim P was there. I was: he was a senior when I was a freshman too. He named about six or seven guys, all but one of whom I knew of.

Small world.

Six hours after we arrived, we left. Flowers by the front steps. Flowers out by the back patio. Flowers in the front. Clean. Spackled. Painted. Vacuumed. Staging in progress. The place is ready to shine. Again.

August 27, 2005

House for sale! House for sale!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 6:43 pm

Escrow on Dale died a slow death this week. Our Realtor guy called the other agent early in the week to remind him that for escrow to close on Friday, the $$$ had to be in escrow by Wednesday.

“Well, if the $$$ aren’t there, I guess you’ll just have to put the house back on the market,” the other agent said.


Wednesday came and went. Thursday our guy FAX’d us the paperwork to sign demanding performance of the contract. We returned the paperwork on Friday and signed some more paper telling the escrow folks it was time to close out the escrow. While his nibs was working, I finished clearing out the stuff I’d moved to Dale from the warehouse when we vacated it at the end of its lease, at the beginning of the month. I hadn’t =quite= finished sorting through all the boxes of clips and magazines and papers. Still had eight or nine to go. Oh, well. Pack them into the pickup and move them out.

Swept the floors. Deadheaded the agapanthus. Watered. The place is clean albeit bare. The yard lives.

Friday, the other agent wasn’t returning our agent’s calls.

The money never showed.



We at least got their deposit into our bank account back in July when we renegotiated the terms of sale. We’ll be using part of that stash to put the place back on the market, but we’d never intended to have the place up for sale in September.

The weather’s fine, though, and some people will be thinking about buying a new place in time to move in before the holidays, so maybe it will all work out.

We’ll be back at Dale today whipping things back into shape. Boy, am I glad I kept the yard alive.

Tomorrow the stagers return to refurnish the house. We’ve signed up the gardener guy to blow off the tree debris and water the yard once a week. I’ll water and check on the place at least once a week too.

Our guy has the house on broker tour this upcoming Wednesday and plans for open houses on the weekends.

In fact, one of his Realtor guy cohorts had nothing better to do today, so, even though there’s no notice in the paper, he’s putting a sign out on the highway and he’s going to have an open house this afternoon. We’ll be around working on the place, but our guy says, hey. No problem.

Our guy’s also going to bring by some good friends who have good friends who are moving back into the area so they can look at the house and see whether they think their friends might be interested. …

Our Realtor’s a great guy — thorough, honest, smart — and I think this past lousy escrow will have a silver lining in the end.

x’d fingers.

August 25, 2005 artPad

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 2:41 am

Self portrait.

Paint your own.

August 22, 2005

Is anyone there? Hello? Is anyone there?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 7:32 pm

I hate phones. Have I mentioned?

I much prefer F2F or e-mail. I get no joy from hearing someone’s voice. I don’t know what the problem is, perhaps that there’s this disconnect between the voice and the face. E-mail’s OK because I can save an e-mail and parse it before I answer. F2F is okay too because I can see the person I’m talking to.

In any hoo.

Today was my day to call people. Last week, my day was Monday as well. Might as well start the week off with a bang, eh?

Last week I was calling people to ask if they wanted their names in the directory I’m putting together as LAST NAME, First Name (Nickname) or LAST NAME, Nickname. Call after call after call to everyone for whom I was carrying a nickname who didn’t have an e-mail address or who hadn’t answered my e-mail asking which variant they preferred.

Today I’m calling to change my billing/notice address with a variety of entities that do not have an online way of changing my address: my 401K with Honeywell (for whom I never worked but who bought a business for which I worked many year ago now), my 401K account to which I should be transferring my Honeywell 401K, my BankOne accounts which are now my Chase accounts, my Macy’s account.

So, fine. Macy’s. I tried online and got a “cannot update your account. try again later.”

I called their accounts line and got an intelligent design voice asking me for my old ZIP and “is that right?” and my new ZIP and “is that right?” and my address and “is that right?” and no, it wasn’t. So we tried a couple times. Each time the street name was garbled. So we tried just the street name and the repeat back didn’t work. After three or so attempts and after much hoo-hah, I was transferred to someone who kept saying, “Is anyone there?” I answered. “Is anyone there?” I answered louder. “Is anyone there?” And even louder. He finally heard me and said, “Ma’am. I can barely hear you.” I said, “I’m almost shouting. If you can’t hear me, that’s a failure in your customer support line,” or in the trans-Pacific cable or the satellite link, I didn’t add.

“Is anyone there?” he asked.

So, I hung up.

If Macy’s doesn’t care enough about customer support to let me update my account online or to provide a phone line that their support staff can hear me on, it’s not really my problem.

I’m sure they’d like me to use my $2000 line of credit, which I haven’t used in a long while, but I’m disinclined at this point and who knows where they’d send the bill anyway.

… as though I’m ever very inclined to shop at a place whose tagline is “way to shop!”

“Way to shop” indeed. …

August 14, 2005

Pretty things: NYPL Digital Gallery

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 8:31 pm

Golden Gate SF

NYPL Digital Gallery provides access to over 337,000 images digitized from primary sources and printed rarities in the collections of The New York Public Library, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints and photographs, illustrated books, printed ephemera, and more.


Useful things: Free public records search

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 8:16 pm

Pretrieve is a search engine that is specifically geared towards finding public records relevant to a person, business, or address. Our search database knows about thousands of public records sources, and can match your search information to the relevant sources for you. And, even though we already cover a large number of public record sources, we are constantly expanding our coverage to offer even more search results.

As an added convenience, most of the search result links that we provide take you directly to the results page on the associated public record site. For example, clicking on a “Property Record” link usually takes you directly to the property record data, rather than simply taking you to the home page of the property record site. This means that, in most cases, you only have to type your search criteria once to view public records on multiple sites.

Pretty cool. Fairly effective. Public search of county records doesn’t cover all California counties. Other states are similarly hit or miss, and if your target has a common name and/or you aren’t quite sure where he or she might be, this tool will give you far more information than you’ll know what to do with.

August 7, 2005

Chocolate and Zucchini

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 9:14 pm

I just discovered that Chocolate and Zucchini made the Time Magazine list of 50 Coolest Websites 2005.

How cool is that? Congratulations, Clotilde!

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