Towse: views from the hill

November 23, 2005

What is it about sunrises?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 4:00 pm

I woke up a bit before 6 a.m.. The day’s free. There was no reason to get out of bed for another two hours, if then. I padded downstairs two levels and found my camera, which I left on the dining table yesterday, and padded back upstairs. I pulled on black Levis and a warm shirt and opened the double doors to the deck. An hour or so later I had sixty or seventy photographs of the Bay as night becomes day, the sky to the east lightening before the rising sun turned everything brilliant reds and purples and golds.

Later, at my computer, I downloaded the camera, tossed about twenty photographs that were too blurred or too blah, keeping forty-five photographs of yet another sunrise, to add to my other collections of photographs of yet another sunrise.

What is it about sunrises?

What is it about that part of day when most of the world (obviously not all when you watch the traffic on the bridge, the ferries and working boats on the bay, and the airliners taking off for parts unknown) is still sleeping or, if awake, just barely so, reaching for that first cup of coffee.

The air is cool. The city pulses. Seagulls cry and circle overhead. The parrots are elsewhere, wherever it is they tuck in for the night. Slug-a-beds.

I watch and take photographs as the city awakes. Buses trundle up and down Battery and Sansome, dropping people off at work. The Embarcadero is busy with traffic and the trolleys but not as busy as it will be by eight.

Slowly, the tempo picks up. The traffic on the bridge thickens. A ship that had been anchored south of the bridge begins to move with a tugboat trailing behind, heading toward Oakland. Coming from Oakland and heading toward the Gate and open water is another ship. Freeing up a berth in Oakland for the ship that’s heading in?

A flock of birds heads north over the waters. Every few minutes a plane takes off from SFO, also heading north, heading somewhere. Where? I want to go there, wherever it is.

Where did I get my wanderlust?

A traffic helicopter flies overhead toward the Golden Gate Bridge. Then, a few minutes later, comes back again. Mission accomplished. Traffic report made.

I’m enamored of sunrises, of day beginnings, of the anything is possible, it’s a brand new day feeling that wells up as the predawn quiet gives way to the rising sun.

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November 22, 2005

Jane Austen and other famous authors violate what everyone learned in their English class

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 2:44 am

A site devoted to the singular “they”/”their”/”them”/”themselves.”

Jane Austen did it!

Cliché Finder

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 2:36 am

Cliché Finder

“Have you been searching for just the right cliché to use? Are you searching for a cliché using the word “cat” or “day” but haven’t been able to come up with one? Just enter any words in the form below, and this search engine will return any clichés which use that phrase…

Over 3,300 clichés indexed!

  • What exactly is a cliché? See my definition
  • Do you know of any clichés not listed here?
    Add some to the list!
  • Or, do you want to see some random clichés?
    See Ten Random Clichés!”

Here are Ten clichés, random chosen from our list of 2,000+ clichés…

there is a thin line between love and hate
the truth will out
Hungry like the wolf
throw light on
mad as a hatter
stewed to the gills
make ends meet
river of tears
you burn my shit
lions and tigers and bears, oh my

OK. Fine. I don’t know why I’d go off searching for clichés to use, but this is an entertaining (so call me easily amused) site.

[CONTEST NO-FEE] Toasted Cheese’s Dead of Winter writing contest

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 1:51 am

from Toasted Cheese’s Dead of Winter writing contest submission/rules

Dead of Winter is a fiction contest (any genre) for stories with supernatural elements or themes. Ideally, stories should be set in autumn or winter. The most original, most haunting stories will be chosen for publication.

Stories submitted to the 5th Annual Dead of Winter contest (December 2005) should follow the theme: “The souvenirs/trophies of a returned soldier.”*

The word limit is 3900 words.

Deadline for submission is December 21, 2005. E-mail entries to dow2005[at] Your subject line must read: “Dead of Winter Contest Entry.” Entries must adhere to Toasted Cheese’s regular fiction submission guidelines and to the chosen theme.


  • Your main character and/or narrator need not be the soldier him/herself.
  • The souvenirs do not necessarily need to be from war; they could be from a tour of duty, for example.
  • The “souvenirs” should be tangible items (ex: a wound would not be considered a souvenir but the shrapnel would).
  • Ideally we would like you to introduce the supernatural elements of your story via the souvenir(s). Be as creative as possible in using the theme—we love that!”

First, second and third prize entries will be published in Toasted Cheese, March 2006. Prizes: Amazon gift certs. 1st-$20, 2d-$15, 3rd-$10 (*Toasted Cheese reserves the right to not award second and third place if the quality of the entries does not meet the journal’s standards.)

[hattip to Debbie Ohi/inkygirl — my boss at the late, lamented]

November 20, 2005

Embarcadero Center lights redux

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 8:42 pm

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Another Embarcadero Center Holiday Lights click

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 5:01 am

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This click was made with “indoor party” mode which gives you a flash-flash-flaaaash sort of precursor to the actual photo.

No Photoshop-Picasa-other-massaging.

Works good with night shots of Embarcadero Center lights, eh?

Of course I feel like a dweeb when all the neighbors see me taking night-time pictures with flash-flash-flaaaash.

A little bit blurry, though. More work to be done!

November 19, 2005

Chestnuts roasting on the open fire …

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 4:02 am

Crappy photo. Picasa’d to make it look halfway reasonable.

When the camera is set for a night landscape, I really need a tripod and a remote trigger because even propping the camera on or against something doesn’t make it not jiggle when I take the picture, what with the slower shutter speed and all.

This shot was taken without “night landscape” and turned out less intense than it should have. Drat. So I cranked up the contrast and here we go.

Well, I have another month or so to get it right.

The Embarcadero Center turned on the holiday trim lights today. Did I mention?

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This morning’s sunrise. 6:42 a.m.

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November 18, 2005

He’s just not that into you. …

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 11:06 pm

Poor Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom. She’s been getting such flak lately for her New York state of mind, her questionable status as soon-to-be-ex-wife of Gav, her flight out to play hostess with the mostess when HRH and HH were in town.

Now this, and this, and even this. She must be sobbing in her hankie about it all.

"Is that a younger version of you?"

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 7:59 pm

Harry asked, “Is that a younger version of you?” (meaning that photo up there to the right) and I had to fess up that it was.

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I’m usually the person behind the camera, you see, and when someone actually does manage to click a photo of me, it’s seldom solo. So, I rummaged through my photo archives and found a more current photo and cropped it to preserve his nibs’ mysteriousness. My hair’s pulled back because the day was drizzly and windy. The picture was taken last June with the Eiffel Tower as background, although you can’t tell because le tour is to the left, behind his nibs, and it got cropped out as well.

Ta dah! Sal as she was in June. Some day I’ll get a current photo I like and replace the one I use up there. Until then, this one will have to do.

BART to Berkeley and what I found there

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 1:16 am

Hadn’t seen Don May in over a year. Our plans to meet up in January had a spanner thrown in them. Since then, our schedules didn’t connect. We asked him and Bill over here, but Don couldn’t make it just yet and couldn’t for at minimum a couple weeks or so, and then you get into the holidays …

So, today his nibs and I walked down to the Embarcadero Center BART station and hopped a train to the North Berkeley station, walked up to Don’s place and schmoozed for a long while before heading out to Café de la Paz on Shattuck for lunch.

Some more chat in the backyard after lunch. Attempts to take piccies of Calvin and Sonja. Laughter. Good times. BART back to San Francisco and a walk home.

Maybe a bit over an hour each way, including the walk to/fro the BART station.

Why don’t we do this more often?


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