Towse: views from the hill

September 26, 2005

You DON’T SUPPOSE that McAfee is purposefully trying to get people not to redeem their $20 rebate, do you?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 11:24 pm

13 August 2005

Dear Diary … Today, I re-upped my McAfee coverage by purchasing McAfee Internet Security 7.0 online. The deal came with a mail-in rebate for $20.

woo hoo.

“Please save this email as confirmation of your purchase.”

“How To Redeem Your Mail-in Rebate.”
Please follow the instructions in the Terms & Conditions to complete and submit your rebate form.

yad day yad day.

Rebate form says.

1) Print out this page.
2) Complete the form.
3) Enclose a copy of your receipt (proof of purchase) from with the purchase circled. Enclose proof of previous ownership of a retail stand alone version of …
4) Mail to …

Mailed and, being the conscientious person what I am, copied and filed.

05 September 2005

Dear Sal Towse Tracking number: nnnnnnnnn

Thank you for your rebate inquiry. We have received your submission, but we are currently unable to honor the rebate because the email confirmation for the MCAFEE INTERNET SECURITY SUITE V8 was not received. Please forward the email confirmation to the address below so that we may complete the processing of your rebate.


Being as I’m the sort who keeps e-mails from way back and forever, I JUST HAPPENED to have a copy of the email confirmation. How many of their customers would, eh?

The packet from August 13, 2005, was remailed along with a copy of the confirmation e-mail ALONG WITH A NOTE circled with an arrow pointing to the note from Rebate Special Services:

“Note that the rebate form asks for ‘a copy of your receipt’ NOT ‘the email confirmation.’

Other comments re their foot dragging are part of this go-round.

26 September 2005

Postcard received in the mail with yet another address to send stuff to (the third, if you’re keeping track) and the note

Dear Consumer
Thank you for participating in this promotion.
Unfortunately we could not honor your request due to the following reason(s):
$20 MISS v8 UPG Rebate – Missing Proof of Purchase (um. nope!); Missing Purchase Date (um. nope!); Missing receipt. (um. nope!); Missing Purchase location (your website. duh). Invalid Postmark Date. (um. nope! not when we started all this waltz).

Checked the site and I’m told, specifically, that the problem is that I didn’t submit proof of purchase. Really. … this is all too silly.

Yet another note sent on to the folks handling McAfee rebates saying, hey. I already sent all that stuff in. I can send it in again!

You DON’T SUPPOSE that McAfee is purposefully trying to get people not to redeem their $20 rebate, do you?

September 20, 2005

UK Landscape Stock Photo Library

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 5:26 pm

Commercial stock photo library.

Over 11K images. Quick search.

Beautiful, beautiful images.

Life in the balance

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 4:58 pm


The Bill Dan Rock Balancing Gallery.

Woophy and The Degree Confluence Project

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 12:33 am

Woophy – World of Photography. As of this moment, 2,053 registered users and 16,267 photographs. Woophy is fun and interesting. Zoom in. Find Brussels. Find Ruud van Ruitenbeek’s photo of Manneke Pis as Fireman. Click back and check out the other photographs van Ruitenbeek has uploaded to Woophy.

Woophy has no photos yet from Bhutan. Only one from Tibet.

The Woophy project reminds me, in a way, of The Degree Confluence Project.

Photographs. World maps. What’s not to like?

Woophy’s having a photography contest. Check it out.

September 19, 2005

[FOOD] Jaeger’s on Broadway

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 4:31 pm

300 Columbus Ave @ Broadway
SF 94133
Open 6 PM – 2 AM Daily

Went off to dinner last night with the last folks left from the “open.” They were game for almost anything in North Beach so we suggested Andrew Jaeger’s House of Seafood and Jazz located in the Condor Club, Carol Doda’s famoose setting.

Jaeger’s from New Orleans and had plans to open a satellite restaurant in San Francisco and get it settled before heading home. His heading home plans have been delayed.

We’d read about his restaurant in the Chron on the day Karin Slaughter was in town. We didn’t want to surprise her (or us) by taking her someplace we’d never been, so we hauled her off to Ristorante Cinque Terre, mentioned a while back, and had a nice, quiet dinner.

On our way back home from walking Karin to her digs at the Mark Hopkins, we stopped by to check out the menu at Jaeger’s. The jazz band was sitting by the window that opened near the posted menu. One of the musicians turned toward us. “Great food,” he said. “I’ve eaten here every night this week.”

“Well,” we answered. “We’ve already eaten, but we’ll give it a try some other night.”

Last night when we stopped in, the waitress, who was herself an evacuee from New Orleans and had only started work two days before, told us that there were troubles in the kitchen. Nothing grilled from the menu, nothing fried … no grilled Andouille sausage.

We shared a bottle of wine for the four of us. Our partners in dine shared a salad while I had some file gumbo and his nibs had turtle soup, with a small glass of sherry ‘longside to add to taste. He added all of it, of course.

For the main course, I opted for jambalaya, as did his nibs and the other guy. The other gal opted for Taste of New Orleans, which had a sampling of jambalaya, file gumbo, red beans and rice and fried catfish. She has a wheat allergy and after a taste of her cornmeal dusted catfish, wasn’t sure they weren’t mixing the cornmeal with wheat flour, so she gave us her bits of catfish.

Everything was great. Spicy with a nice zing. We’ll be going back again to explore the menu further, to try some grilled/fried items from the menu. The kitchen should be fully operational tonight, shouldn’t it?

September 17, 2005

[FOOD] Albona Ristorante Istriano

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 1:22 am

Yesterday, I wrote,

We’ve made arrangements for dinner at Albona Ristorante Istriano (545 Francisco St, SF.(415) 441-1040) where we’ll listen to Bruno Viscovi tell us how each dish is made and which ones he learned to cook at his grandmother’s knee. Pan-fried gnocchi. Braised rabbit. Roasted pork loin stuffed with sauerkraut, apples, prunes. Ymmm. Pine nut strudel. Luckily, we can walk down. Out-of-towners should grab a cable car (cross street is Mason) or a taxi. Parking is impossible. Well, not impossible, just unlikely.

We gave ourselves fifteen minutes to walk from Filbert and Montgomery (más o menos) to Mason and Francisco. We probably should’ve given ourselves a cushion. As it was, we left five minutes later than planned and boogey’d down the hill. (We boogey much faster than we did back when we first arrived here.)

Correction to my “parking is impossible” comment yesterday. Last night, we noticed a “valet parking” sign, so there’s hope for those with cars looking for a place to stash them.

Bruno wasn’t there. His nephew was (or a man who claimed to be his nephew). [cue spooky music ... Sal tends toward the "but is he =really= the nephew or is Bruno tied up in the wine cellar?" school of thought.]

“Nephew” was dashing and suave and charming. Quite a hit with the tables. He (the nephew) said he’d sent his uncle home because …

… because Bruno schmoozes too much and the house was full?

We like to see our local food places successful (so long’s we can still find a table). Albona was hopping last night. Multiple tables for four, a table for five, a table for six. Us’ns. Others. The place really isn’t that big and I was glad we’d opted for a reservation even though we’d thought, “Thursday? Surely there’ll be room for us.”

There wouldn’t’ve been time for Bruno to do his thing, the schmoozing, but I missed it. The nephew told us about the tomato soup: blanche the tomatoes, cook with the speck, take the speck out, add the Yukon gold potatoes. Whiz everything up so you wind up with a thick soup without the cream, just with potatoes with thickener. Sure, he had the same soup description down pat, but it wasn’t Bruno.

The food, though, was still what we remembered from our last visit.

His nibs had the chifelete, grandma’s pan-fried gnocchi with brown sirloin sauce. These gnocchi are puffy and light, not like any gnocchi I’ve ever had elsewhere.

I asked if they had fresh sardines and could I have the sardele in saor a la veneziana (fillets of fried sardines with glazed onions; marinated with red wine viengar, raisins, pine-nuts). Certainly, the nephew replied. I picked up the sardines this morning. You’re lucky. We had no sardines yesterday.

The sardines were cold, which was not what I expected, and were exceptionally yummy. Very.

For entrees, his nibs chose braseola de porco con capuzi garbi e prosuto (pork loin stuffed with prosciutto, sauerkeraut, apples and plums) well… prunes, actually. Very good.

I had the stinco de videl a la triestina (braised veal shank with Burgundy wine and rosemary glaze) with a soft polenta and sauce. Excellent. One thing I really like about Albona is they =always= put a plate and spoon at each place so you can share your food with the person you’re dining with instead of, as we usually do, scooping things up on forks and hoping the bits don’t fall on the tablecloth while you’re passing them back and forth.

Remember me mentioning how I couldn’t cut my pork chop at Frisson? Well, the folks at Albona gave me a serrated knife and I could cut my veal shank with my fork.


His nibs had a coffee-flavored cream zabaglione-type dessert with black cherries. Darn if I can remember what it was called (I’d scored a dinner menu but not a dessert menu). I had a glass of Donnafugata 2003 Ben Rye Sicilia Passito Di Pantelleria, a Sicilian dessert wine. Well, we shared the dessert and the wine.

Dinner was comfortable, yummy, quiet. Albona is definitely on our “go back again” list.

September 16, 2005

Out the window

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 1:22 am

The west-facing windows in the office look out over the fig tree out front, the walk below — if you’re standing right by the window — and bits of the buildings up hill.

Today the windows also look out on a flutter of goldfinches, poking around looking for goodies in the fig tree.

September 15, 2005

Breakfast, lunch and dinner on a typical Jueves

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 11:52 pm

Woke up at 6 or so to see the marine layer wasn’t as thick as it can be. Decided not to get up and walk around Telegraph Hill and back up the Filbert Steps because I didn’t get to bed until 2 a.m. Rolled over and went back to sleep.

The parrots squawking woke me up gradually as did the workers yakking at each other in the building up the hill and the smell of fresh paint from our downstairs neighbors’ project. Showered. Fixed my usual pot of espresso thinned with 1% milk and flavored with a dash of Torani caramel syrup. Read the Chron and worked the sudoku puzzle while I tried to decide between option A or option B for breakfast. A or B? A or B?

10 a.m. option B wins out. Toast the English muffin. Cook the bacon, saving the bacon fat for a morning when fried mush with butter and maple syrup is on the menu. (Bacon fat is just what fried mush needs. Much tastier than sunflower oil or canola, although, yes, less good for you.) Sliced a dry-farmed tomato from Dirty Girl Farm from the stash I picked up at the Ferry Building last Saturday.

Piled the muffin high with bits of bacon and sliced tomato. Sprinkled a dash of lavender sea salt and voilà! a tomato-bacon sandwich for breakfast with some leftover juicy tomato slices on the side. his nibs had fixed himself some huevos rancheros earlier, so I didn’t have to share.

Later, we walked down to the WaMu on Grant and deposited a check. Walked back up to the garage space and took out the car. Down to Trader Joe’s at Bay and Mason to stock up on supplies for the first of two open houses we’re having this weekend and next: some dark San Miguel, white wines and red, plus a pink (white zin) because Kitty will be coming by this Sunday. More whole grain English muffins for me. Cognac. Single malt scotch, “lite” sour cream, cottage cheese. The necessities of life.

Came back, re-parked the car, and toted all the swag up Union to Montgomery, down Montgomery to Filbert, down Filbert … well, you catch the drift.

After our stashes were stashed away, it was after 2 p.m. and surely time for lunch! Lunch was a reheated stuffed red pepper leftover from a recent dinner. Cut off the top of the peppers like you would the top of a jack-o-lantern, saving the top. Take out the innards and wash the peppers. Parboil the peppers to give them a headstart on cooking. Stuff them with a mixture of cooked (leftover) rice and cooked ground beef, chopped purple onion, diced fresh tomatoes, a bit of chopped fresh basil, oregano, mixed cracked pepper, salt, iirc. Put the tops back on. Prop the peppers in a glass dish. Top with tomato sauce and cover. Bake in a bain marie so the sauce won’t cook dry before the peppers are done.

Today we sliced the remaining pepper in half and reheated. Served with some more sliced dry-farmed tomatoes from Dirty Girl alongside.

I’m going to be crushed when my fresh tomato fix fades with the season.

We’ve made arrangements for dinner at Albona Ristorante Istriano (545 Francisco St, SF.(415) 441-1040) where we’ll listen to Bruno Viscovi tell us how each dish is made and which ones he learned to cook at his grandmother’s knee. Pan-fried gnocchi. Braised rabbit. Roasted pork loin stuffed with sauerkraut, apples, prunes. Ymmm. Pine nut strudel. Luckily, we can walk down. Out-of-towners should grab a cable car (cross street is Mason) or a taxi. Parking is impossible. Well, not impossible, just unlikely.

Put a [+] next to Albona Ristorante Istriano. Worth a visit. Or two! We’re going back, aren’t we?

SiteMeter. Foodie reviews in the paper. Foodie blogs. SFMOMA.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 6:28 am

I was checking my SiteMeter, because on not infrequent occasions I’m an ego surfer (who could guess that???) and wonder who the heck is coming here and why.

Today, well, someone came here with … a search for “manresa egg egullet.”

David’s egg is yummy, but … I strolled through the other hits (I was ten on the list, six if you don’t count the sub-domains of the prior hits.) and wondered whether I belonged with these folks whose true passion is digital pictures of their dinner plates and being on first name basis with the Davids and Lukes of the world.

Do I belong with them? I don’t … think so. I love a good restaurant, admire a creative food genius, enjoy watching a staff seamlessly working a room, but … I’m not Pim (whom I met at David’s at a dinner put on by Alder) and won’t ever be.

I haven’t been interested lately in writing up where we’ve been eating and how yummy it all is. Call it foodie-blog fatigue and apologies to those who came here looking for foodie porn. Maybe I should just list the week’s visits with + 0 – sorts of reviews with mini-reviews.

I was admittedly appalled to find out today that my cynical his nibs was absolutely right. Can you believe it? Local papers have foodie columns ostensibly written by foodie sorts who are actually ad types selling ad space to restaurants and using their columns as a “hey! I’ll mention you here if you’ll buy ad space.”

How crappy is that?

As a “there’re no free meals or ads in my blog” service to readers, I’ll tell you where we’ve been in the last week or two:

Ristorante Cinque Terre has an unfortunate location a half block off the Columbus Avenue tourist restaurant corridor. Cinque Terre has Italian food that will please the turistas (if they’ll only walk half a block up Vallejo from Columbus) and will please the locals. his nibs liked the Insalata Di Polipo-Octopus salad. Ymmm. I had the carpaccio because I happen to be the (sorry, vegan friends) raw beef sort of gal.

For the main squeeze, I had the Gnocchi Mare-”Potato and seafood dumplings with fresh clams, roma tomatoes, and fresh basil in a white wine sauce.” Tons of clams. Ymmy gnocchi. his nibs had Cannelloni All’Astice-”Homemade crepes stuffed with Maine lobster in a zucchini sun dried tomato saffron béchamel.”

The dinner we had was excellent enough that we brought an out-of-town visitor (one who doesn’t like “funny” food) back the next week. She cleaned her plate(s). Another good meal and a happy out-of-towner. Try it.

We also went to Capp’s Corner within the last week. his nibs was craving Leg of Lamb. I knew I’d be getting Osso Bucco with Polenta. Dinner is a deal and comes with bread and butter, a pot full of minestrone and a bowl of green salad. Filling. No room for dessert before we headed back home. (I took some back and had Osso Bucco with the vegetables I didn’t have room for for lunch later that week.)

Where else have we been? We headed over to Flytrap (606 Folsom St San Francisco, CA 94107 (415) 243-0580) for lunch before we walked on to SOMA to see Paul Sack’s photography show.

Flytrap has a history. I wanted to see what their sweetbreads were like. We shared an Oysters Rockefeller as an appetizer.

Ymmm for the oysters. Double ymmm for the sweetbreads.

Call those three pluses — places we might come back to.

Paul Sack’s show was … amazing. It’s over, so I won’t tease you too much about what you missed. Check out SFMOMA, though. I didn’t much care for most of the Richard Tuttle work, but I’d really enjoyed their René Magritte show a while back. Sorry we’d missed their Chagall show.

On the minus side we went back to Frisson, where we’d eaten on Easter Sunday and scored two chits for $$ off our next meal. Easter Sunday was immediately after Daniel Patterson had left the restaurant and they’d had an abbreviated menu and sparse clientele. What we had was certainly edible. We decided it was worth another visit — especially considering we had two $25 chits. After our return visit I say, Frisson? Don’t bother.

The food was hit or miss. I order what was billed as pork ribs. I got a pork chop (Not the same, eh? and I am not a fan of pork chops) that was thick and solid enough that the knife I had wouldn’t cut it. I had to ask our server for something serrated, but they didn’t have such a thing. He went back to the flatware layout and found a “newer” knife that was sharper than the one I had.

There are so many restaurants in San Francisco, some of them very excellent, some of them undiscovered. Why would I want to go back to Frisson?

Where else have we been recently? I can’t remember, but looking at the foodie-focused sites, … I’m not sure that I’m all =that= focused on food.

Maybe when I have less weighing on my mind … and life.

Until then maybe I’ll do the + 0 – rating.

Next week we’re due for a Penfolds dinner at French Laundry. Whether it will live up to expectations is the question. At any rate I’d like to see if the hype is deserved. We’ve booked the same hotel we stayed in when we had a big family hoo-hah for my parents’ 75th six years back. The hotel is within a block or two of the restaurant so we can stumble back after imbibing Penfolds.

Completely Done!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 2:36 am

Completely Done!

Received my paperwork from the Registrar today. Signed it. Filled in a couple bubbles. Initialed for the absentee ballot question and …

The paperwork is in the mail. My days as a declared Republican grow short.

Do I feel any different?

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