Towse: views from the hill

October 31, 2005

Tree ballet redux

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 9:41 pm

I heard the chainsaws this morning as I was downing my daily vitamins — with the passion fruit juice I found at the Marina Safeway the other day. (Ymm!) Chainsaws are not a common sound here in the wilds of Telegraph Hill, unlike they are in the wilds of the Santa Cruz Mountains around, say, Boulder Creek.

I sat out on our spiral fire escape and watched workers having at the trees that stand between us and Teatro Zinzanni, between us and Piers 27-29, between us and the Bay. Sad sight. I like the bit of green that blocks our view of the piers without interfering with our view of Treasure Island. I like watching the conures/parrots flock to these trees and squawk on and pet and kiss and mock on these trees. Noisy creatures — a squabble of parrots, we call them — but fun to watch.

Tree Ballet Redux, I thought. The original Tree Ballet happened just about this time last year.

Turned out, much to my surprise last year, there are no San Francisco ordinances governing trees on private property.

Turned out some of the neighbors were furious about the tree ballet last year that took down a tree that the parrots flock to. (n.b. not nest in, the parrots nest over in the Presidio)

Turned out some of the furious neighbors, and residents elsewhere who were furious with their neighbors for removing trees, were pushing for a city ordinance to cover trees on private property. Could the neighbor down the hill be working on the trees because the proposed new ordinance would curtail his/her right to take out the trees?

As I came back inside, I heard another set of chainsaws elsewhere on the hill. Something must be up.

I searched the Web.

Ah. … Tree preservation to be a decision made by voters
Daly’s controversial plan goes to June 2006 ballot
By Marisa Lagos, Staff Writer
Published: Tuesday, October 11, 2005 11:20 PM PDT

A controversial proposal that would require private property owners to ask The City permission before cutting down trees — even those out of the public eye — will be taken straight to the voters, Supervisor Chris Daly announced Tuesday.

A less sweeping plan by Supervisor Jake McGoldrick — which would allow The City to landmark certain trees — will be voted on by the Board of Supervisors next week. The ordinance was shelved Tuesday to allow the City Attorney time to change and clean up some of the legislation’s language.

Daly’s proposal would designate most large trees in The City as a “landmark” and require private property owners to apply for a permit before cutting them down. McGoldrick’s, by contrast, would require private property owners, city residents and city agencies to apply for landmark status for a tree and hold public hearings before it is granted. If passed, Daly’s proposal would immediately affect thousands of The City’s estimated 668,000 trees; McGoldrick’s would apply to an estimated 150-300 trees a year.


At the October 18th meeting, McGoldrick’s proposal was continued again to October 25th. At last Tuesday’s meeting, it was continued again until tomorrow.

Today, the trees just down the hill are coming down.

The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again.

Found your blog!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 7:52 pm

Old friends came over yesterday and we had a really nice time. After much discussion a couple few days beforehand as to which restaurants were within a reasonable walking distance and which were open for dinner on Sunday, his nibs made reservations for four at Iluna Basque [701 Union St., San Francisco, CA].

As we were walking down to North Beach for dinner, Carol said, “I have to admit that after John told me where we were going to dinner, I searched the Web for information about the restaurant.”

“Of course you did,” I said.

“Yes, and I discovered you have a blog!”

Funny world.

She’s not the first person to find my blog with a search for /”Iluna Basque restaurant” “san francisco”/.

More video stuff from Google Video

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 7:51 pm

More video stuff from Google video.

[another update from GoogleBlog, natch.]

October 30, 2005

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 10:06 pm

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.

Rainer Maria Rilke
Letters to a Young Poet

October 28, 2005

The Padre and Bloglines

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 10:33 pm

I use bloglines to aggregate/monitor the plethora of blogs I read.

Firefox provides a cute little icon down at the bottom corner of my Firefox window which sports a red polka dot whenever one of the blogs I track is updated. Means I don’t have to go clickety clickety through my list of blogs once a day or twice a week to find out who has and who hasn’t posted something new. (Hi, Zen!)

When the red polka dot pops up, I click on the icon and Firefox brings up a window displaying my bloglines feeds list, with the feeds that have new entries clearly marked and the entries themselves shown in preview format. Click on the name of the blog, if any of the entries look interesting, and pull up the blog itself. Easy peasy.

Every once in a bit a feed that bloglines tracks goes sneakers up and I don’t get notified of new posts on someone’s blog.

Happened last week with Asha at Language Barrier.

Happened this week with Father Luke.

I don’t know the feed’s busted until I realize I haven’t seen something new for a while from someone who usually posts fairly regularly. When that happens, I check their blog and find new posts that bloglines hasn’t noticed.

Dropped Asha a note. She said she’d check into it when she wasn’t connecting in from ‘net cafes in Mexico. After I dropped Padre a note, he sent me his new RSS feed details. I popped that info into bloglines and Bob’s your uncle.

bloglines claims Asha’s feed is up-to-date, but when you preview the feed, the latest post showing is dated July some time. I’ll wait patiently and click her blog link until she gets the feed cleared up.

Preetam Rai has a very lucid description of how Bloglines works and how to use it.

Mike Wallace interview

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 6:44 pm

Leah Garchik writes today in the San Francisco Chronicle about her lively phone interview with Mike Wallace.

“I talked with Mike Wallace, whose new memoir, Between You and Me, is about his career as a journalist, by phone on Wednesday. We didn’t forge a friendship.”

To say the least …

Red sky at morning, sailor take warning

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 4:40 pm



Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 4:04 pm

Scott at Slushpile interviews Chris Baty in the runup to November 1st and NaNoWriMo.

Mark Billingham on writing the next book

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 1:26 am

Check out Mark Billingham’s latest column for theBookseller.

(Funny guy with great stories to tell. Unfortunately, he’s giving up the column because of time constraints. He needs to write the next book.)

“It was a horrible revelation that this actually got harder with each successive book. I thought, certainly after I’d managed a couple, that it would be like shelling peas. I mean, James Patterson manages to start 10 to 11 books a year! Each time, it takes perhaps 100 pages before I remember that I can do it; before I feel as though I may actually manage to write another book.”

[from Sarah Weinman’s Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind]

Google Video brings you the Archive of American Television interviews

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 12:45 am

Google Video brings you the Archive of American Television interviews.

The archive contains over 450 interviews with the likes of Grant Tinker, Ted Turner, Norman Lear, Rita Moreno, Quincy Jones, Carl Reiner … The video interviews come in multiple parts. To easily find the first segment of five, pop in a name (Ricardo Montalban, for instance) and sort through the hits.

Maybe Google is still uploading videos: in some cases, I couldn’t find all segments in a series and the search results only show 501 hits, which means the number of interviews is probably more like 100-200 at this point, being as there’s a hit for each segment of an interview.

Barbara Eden seems charming. I hadn’t realized that she grew up in San Francisco.

[from GoogleBlog, natch.]

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