Towse: views from the hill

January 18, 2006

And don’t forget the eraser!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 9:05 pm

Pencil Pages
The Pencil Place
Another The Pencil Place
Pencil Revolution
The Pencil Revolution flickr group
Timberlines blog – by Charles Berolzheimer (aka WoodChuck) “Musings from the Forest: Thoughts and discussion on the pencil industry, forest management, California Cedar Products Company and the artistic and written creativity enabled by the wood-cased pencil.”
Pencil World – by Charles Berolzheimer
The Pencil World Creativity Store at eBay.

pencil artists:
Dalton Ghetti
More Dalton Ghetti
More pencil artists

Trashy post

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 3:52 am

As promised, trashy pictures taken the other day as we were walking the streets of San Francisco.

Back when our Board of Supervisors was considering a proposal to charge $0.17/bag for plastic grocery bags distributed by the large grocery stores (we’re not talking the vegetable stands on Stockton St. here), I dropped an e-note to our esteemed Supervisor and President of the Board of Supervisors.

San Francisco is a-wash with plastic bags flying in the streets, the San Francisco Commission on the Environment and others said.

Something must be done, they said.

Oh, hogwash.

My note said that rather than charging $0.17/bag and whining that people were tossing plastic bags into the recycle when they were not supposed to, it would behoove San Francisco to put some mechanism in place to allow folks to recycle their plastics with the usual recycle pickups, a practice implemented years back in the bucolic ville nestled in the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains.

We do not want to pay $0.17/bag for plastic grocery bags. We don’t toss them on the street. We use our plastic grocery bags to line the kitchen trash bin. We use our plastic grocery bags to stash litter that we pick up and discard. We use our plastic grocery bags to dispose of kitty litter. Others use them to use to pick up doggy poop, as required by City ordinance. Plastic grocery bags are useful.

If you have bags you don’t want or need, they should be easily recycled.

Did I hear back from our esteemed Supervisor and President of the Board of Supervisors?


Is his nibs on our esteemed Supervisor’s e-mailing list even though he’s never sent him an e-mail? Yes.

Am I? No.

Well, nevermind. I’m used to being ignored and whining in vain.

But re plastic bags. What a crock.

The problem in the City is trash, paper trash, and litter. Telephone books left out in the rain. Restaurant take-out menus left on door knobs. Blats (yes, blats like the Examiner) left unwanted on residents’ doorsteps. Beer bottles, wine bottles, liquor bottles. Starbucks cups. Plastic spoons and ice cream cups. Straws.

The problem in the City is trash and litter, not plastic bags. Walking down the streets, it’s not plastic bags I see, it’s crap like this:

She’s whining about Christmas trees now? you say.

Well, yes. The rules are, take your tree out to the curb and we’ll pick it up and chip it for compost. Do Not Put Your Tree In A Plastic Bag. Oh, the number of trees we saw in plastic bags! Take All Glitter And Whatnot Off The Tree. Do Not Leave Flocked Trees Out For Recycle.

The tree I took a picture of still had the light strings on it. Yes, I know. Light strings are $1.99/ea and may not worth saving year-to-year, but trust me, chipped light strings do not good mulch make.

Strip the tree. Put the light strings in the garbage or give them to the Goodwill. Leave the tree at the curb. How hard is this?

The City has convinced the major supermarkets to voluntarily cut down on the number of plastic bags they distribute to customers in lieu of the $0.17/bag fee. As of last November, no more double bagging.

We’ll see how that works out. Will it cut down on the trash in the streets and pushed up into the corners of doorways by winds? I don’t think so. Plastic bags were never the problem.

San Francisco has to come up with some other way of cleaning up the streets. Perhaps the City could encourage residents to take the “one for the road” pledge.

A liar AND a thief?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 3:25 am

John Dolan thinks James Frey lifted some um. bits from Eddie Little’s Another Day in Paradise.

All Over Coffee and Paul Madonna

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 2:47 am

I am a huge fan of Paul Madonna‘s All Over Coffee.

January 17, 2006

[URL] Bancroft Library and the ’06 Earthquake

Filed under: URL — Towse @ 6:17 pm

Alls usns are gearing up for the 18th of April when San Francisco will celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire.

UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library has pulled together the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Digital Collection Website.

The project is a joint effort of the Bancroft Library, the California Historical Society, the California State Library, Stanford University, the Huntington Library, and the Society of California Pioneers.

The site includes pictures, text, links, references, and search capability. Check out the very cool 360deg panoramic collage view of the devastated city. Bancroft Library created the collage from eleven photographs taken from the roof of the Fairmont Hotel at the top of Nob Hill.

The site also has an interactive map. Click the piece of the City you’re interested in and the site serves up photos of the earthquake aftermath for that area.

January 16, 2006

One for the road … and for the City

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 7:37 pm

The city streets, sidewalks, parks and steps aren’t going to get any cleaner without some help.

Walk down the street, what do you see? A tossed away wrapper here, a discarded envelope there. Old telephone books tossed out and left in the rain. We won’t even mention the mattresses, fluorescent bulbs, broken tables, mannequins, and potted plants left out on the sidewalk with the hope that some scavenger or the DOT clean street folk will pick them up.

… and they do. …

Walking up the Steps to Montgomery yesterday, I noticed someone had used a big wad of newspaper to wipe mud/poop/crud off their shoes and then tossed the papers at the bottom of the concrete steps where the steps jog onto a wooden pathway.

What’s up with that?

At the top of the Steps people had dropped two takeaway coffee cups, a couple of wadded napkins, candy wrappers, some other paper, some plastic. Just dropped. Discarded. Left behind. What’s up with that?

We finished carrying our Trader Joe’s goodies in and his nibs was going back up the Steps to move the car back into the leased parking. I took a plastic grocery bag from the bundle we have in the kitchen, stuck my hand into the plastic bag the Chronicle always comes in, and followed him up the Steps, picking up the wad of newspaper, the coffee cups, the wadded napkins and what-all and stashing them in the grocery bag. I took the bag full of garbage back down the steps and tossed it in our garbage can.

I pick up litter because I figure if the litter is left, the next folk along will see the litter and think it’s okay to drop their garbage too. The piles will grow. Best to clear it up and keep the place from looking like a pig pen or a dung heap.

Would be best, of course, if the City placed more litter bins at spots like the top of the Steps where people tend to drop their stuff. But litter bin maintenance would probably be too hard to manage and people might use them for household garbage in lieu of paying our local garbage folk.

Or maybe having more litter bins wouldn’t be the answer anyway.

On our walkaround over to Fort Mason yesterday, we passed by the sitting steps outside the Maritime Museum. Folks had left bags, wrappers, food trash.

The seagulls were ecstatic. I was not. Look. The litter bin is right there, folks. Just pop that trash in the bin. How hard is that?

My “one for the road” pledge: I do solemnly pledge to refrain from littering, and, in addition, at least once a day, pick up at least one piece of litter.

If everyone would just refrain from littering themselves and daily pick up at least one piece of litter tossed by some bozo who won’t refrain from littering, the City would be a cleaner place.

Next up! Pics of representative bits of litter and trash seen during today’s five mile (RT) walk to Greenwich and Divisadero.

Beautiful day today. Time spent out and about.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 4:13 am

Everyone was up by 6 a.m. to take the youngest to Oakland Airport with plenty of time to spare to make it through check-in and security. Thrilled he was to be flying Jet Blue because it meant he could watch the football games in-flight.

After we dropped him off, we drove back to San Francisco, intending (as long as we had the car out of the leased parking space) to stop off at the Trader Joe’s near Fisherman’s Wharf to pick up milk and single malt and other supplies.

We got to the store around 8:30 a.m. to discover that the store didn’t open until 9 a.m. We had more than just a few minutes to wait, so we decided to drive down to the Marina and walk around and kill some time.

Today was beautiful, a perfect day, the sort of day you wish for tourists.

We walked along the edge of the Bay and over toward the yacht harbor, with me taking lots of pictures of boats and boats and crab traps and boats with the Palace of Fine Arts in the background and scullers and sea gulls, more boats and a guy rowing (not in a scull, in a rowboat!), and the GGB.

We spotted a huge boat anchored over by the Saint Francis and wandered over to check it out. The boat was the Sirenuse out of Kingstown. We continued walking past the Saint Francis YC, past the Golden Gate YC, where friends recently got married, and on to the Wave Organ, taking pictures of boats, the Wave Organ and Alcatraz.

We walked back, taking pictures along the way, and drove back to Trader Joe’s. After we’d finished shopping at Trader Joe’s and schlepped everything down from Montgomery, I was ready to take a couple pictures of the East Bay view and sit back and relax, read a bit or faff around on the ‘net … but his nibs was having none of it. The day was stunning, beautiful, so fine. His nibs wanted to be out and about.

We decided that the day’s destination would be to walk down the Steps to the Embarcadero, then around past Fisherman’s Wharf and over to Fort Mason and the Friends of the Library used bookstore, Book Bay, about two miles each way.

On the way, we stopped for lunch at Pompei’s Grotto, one of my favorite, relaxing places to eat at the Wharf. His nibs had fettucine with crab and I had a hot crab sandwich — open faced, tons of crab, delicious mornay sauce — and fries. We split a bottle of chardonnay.

I bought a big bag of used books at Book Bay which we, of course, then had to carry home. I carried it most of the way before handing it over to his nibs before we started up the Steps.


[WRITING] Holly Lisle – A Baker’s Dozen Antidotes to "Meh" Writing

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 3:51 am

Holly Lisle not only explains what she means by “meh” writing (not godawful, but not brilliant, just sort of … “meh”), she gives a baker’s dozen of antidotes.

from the site: Holly Lisle has a full article explaining each line item

Tambo has collected a series of painful editor confessions about “meh” writing. Anyone who is writing but not yet published needs to read these articles — they’re generally shocking to folks who haven’t crashed head-on into the hard realities of publishing yet.

However, when you’re finished getting good and depressed, here are thirteen antidotes I use to kill “meh” writing. These are techniques that keep my heart and soul in the books I’m writing. Maybe they can help you ward off the “mehs,” too.

  1. Say what you mean.
  2. Find your themes.
  3. Reclaim your wings.
  4. Live in your skin, not your head.
  5. Claim your unique voice.
  6. (Ethically) steal what you love.
  7. Immerse your work in conflict.
  8. Ask the right questions.
  9. Make your scenes count.
  10. Pace your scenes to keep your reader moving forward.
  11. Explore your life’s strangeness.
  12. Sharpen your talent.
  13. Embrace your fear. Don’t deny it.

Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m ninety-five?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 3:04 am

Wednesday at breakfast, his nibs was reading the San Francisco Chronicle. I was reading a magazine.

(Exciting life we live.)

“Kitty Carlisle Hart,” he said.

“Is she dead? She must’ve been ninety-seven or so,” I said, assuming he was reading from the obit page.

“Ninety-five,” he answered. “And she’s not dead. She’s playing the Plush Room.

I would’ve liked to have seen her, but her show ran only Wednesday through today, alas.

Steven Winn, the Chronicle Arts and Culture Critic, liked the show.

What an inspiration she is for living a kick-butt life.

“I do my work. I still practice every day, do scales for a half hour and accompany myself on the piano.”

[ref: the article his nibs was reading]

So this week, when Kitty Carlisle Hart toasts admirers with the classic Butler/Molinary song “Here’s to Life,” this remarkable woman will be speaking from the heart: “No complaints and no regrets/I still believe in chasing dreams and placing bets./But I have learned that all you give is all you get/So give it all you’ve got.”

January 14, 2006

[WRITING] Writer’s Digest

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 8:58 pm

Lee Goldberg slams Writer’s Digest for accepting advertising from POD publishers and vanity publishers and for sending out “special message” e-mails touting their “marketing partners.”

The comments thread includes input from a number of folks, including Miss Snark, JA Konrath, PJ Parrish, and Kristin Godsey, Editor, Writer’s Digest.

Interesting discussion, with wide-ranging points of view.

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