Towse: views from the hill

May 24, 2006

Ships and the bay redux

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 5:14 pm

Mark sez in the comments tail,

That same Bay Traffic Center you referenced has photos up of a ship colliding with one of the Bay Bridge’s towers, in the early seventies.

So accidents are hardly unheard of.

Schwarzennegger’s point when he vetoed the bill was that collisions were nothing to worry about because nothing had happened recently.

In fact, the fact that nothing had happened recently was more due to sheer luck than anything else. There’d been something like twenty “accidents” involving tankers carrying “stuff” in the ten years before Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill.

None of those accidents, though, had resulted in a smashup with a bridge or a spill into the bay. Schwarzenneger said the probability of anything bad happening was low. Proponents for SB1480 said ‘it only takes one.’

Spent far too long looking for pictures of ships hitting the Bay Bridge and couldn’t find any.

Did find this blog post and set of pictures of the Bay Bridge at the blog of a world-famous blogger and also found this excellent article in the Chron on the bar pilots written by Kenneth Howe.

I am in awe of the folks who maneuver the shipping traffic into and out of the bay.

May 22, 2006

Moody Monday theme: Foreign

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 9:14 pm

Moody Monday theme: Foreign

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Shot on the bridge of the Lyubov Orlova during trip to Antarctica earlier this year.

May 18, 2006

Tugs and why we need them

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 11:43 pm

We have a birds-eye view of the Bay ship traffic. We can see the Vessel Traffic Service building over on Yerba Buena Island, from which the Coast Guard tracks all ship traffic moving through the Bay, except for sailboats, motorboats, and fishing vessels. We watch tugs escorting some ships in. We watch ships that come in without tugs. Tankers carrying oil products require tug escort. Other tankers don’t.

Every once in a while, someone sends a bill in that would require tug escort on more types of ship cargo than are currently covered. Cargo not currently covered include the likes of “explosives, pesticides, acids, pressurized gas and other hazardous materials.”

Two years ago, State Sen. Byron Sher, D-San Jose, introduced SB 1480, which would have added to the list of cargos that required a tug escort. Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill in September 2004, stating,”Protecting public safety and the environment from a potential spill of hazardous materials is of paramount importance. California must do all it can to minimize the possibility of such a disaster. However, there are neither ship design issues nor a pattern of problems suggesting these vessels need tugboat escorts.”

… except, of course, for those troubling near misses that have been happening over the years.

The environmentalists and folks afraid of ship accidents want the tug escorts. The folks paying up to $8K per escort would rather not, if there’s no real risk.

While searching around for a link to information on the near disaster in March 1995, when the Mundogas Europe lost its steering control as it was coming through the Golden Gate, I found this article from the SF Weekly on the Web.

Well done, Ellen McGarrahan.

Those were the days …

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 10:17 pm

We went to the annual garden fest for Community Foundation Silicon Valley at Naren Gupta’s place in Woodside yesterday. The tchotchke for the event was a black 64MB USB flash memory stick with written on it.

I remember the day back in 1979 or so when we paid something like $1200 for a 5 MB external drive for our Apple computer.

Those were the days …

May 8, 2006

Surprise Visitor

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 8:26 pm

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They’d been dredging at Pier 27 for a week or two, night and day, weekends too. Scooping up crud and piling it on barges, which were then taken away to be dumped somewhere.

This morning we discovered why all the work and expense when we saw the Island Princess arrive. This is the first time we’ve seen a cruise ship berthed here. Pier 35 and Piers 30/32 were already booked.

According to the schedule, the Island Princess leaves today and the Dawn Princess arrives tomorrow to take her place at Pier 27.. Cruise ship activity is booming. Good news for the travel and tourist industries.

Tidal Bore last Saturday

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 8:17 pm

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The tidal bore on Saturday was a bit more dramatic than usual. Nothing compared to the Bay of Fundy or Reversing Falls, still the color difference where the incoming tide met the Bay was hard to miss.

May 6, 2006

Memes ‘r’ us, Take 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 11:27 pm

Borrowed from Ms Lippman

I am: the Walrus, boo boop dee do
I want: a lot of things in life, most of which are unnecessary, unreachable or just plain dumb.
I wish: I were in a better space right now.
I hate: hate and the way negative vibes make my soul feel icky.
I love: my adopted hometown and the motley group of people in it, except for her and him and that guy over there, leaning against the fence.
I miss: more than you’ll ever know.
I fear: making a mess of things.
I hear: bells from down at the Ferry Building — a fake campanile, but not so fake that it can’t be enjoyed.
I wonder: at people some times. Whatever was he thinking when he thought that would be a good idea? Why did that girl just toss her candy wrapper on the ground? Yo, who made you the Lord of All Things?
I regret: a lot of things, but I wouldn’t be where I am today if I’d spent my life any differently.
I am not: who some people think I am. What’s up with that?
I dance: alone, when there’s no one home. I should’ve been Juliet Prowse.
I sing: alone, when there’s no one home. I should’ve been Patsy Cline or Peggy Lee.
I cry: easily these days — at the drop of a hat. I’m hoping that will not last.
I am not always: as kind as I could be, as smart as I could be, as wise as I could be.
I make with my hands: pine needle baskets
I write: almost daily.
I confuse: idle Web surfing with research that might come in handy some day.
I need: space, quiet time, peace.
I should: get organized, finish the book, plant that half-flat of impatiens, stop thumping on myself for things that aren’t done.
I start: with hopes fresh, new blank notebooks. This time truly I will get all my to-do lists and other bits of information in one place. That lasts about half a week.
I finish: what I start. Mostly. If it’s important..
I tag: you.

Memes ‘r’ us. First up … the alphabet meme

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 10:21 pm

Stolen from Sarah Louise, who doesn’t know me from Jake.

Accent: None, and don’t tell me I talk like an American, please. I have that plain vanilla Northern California vibe except that I say “aunt” not “ant” and “stripe-ed” not “striped” “apricot” not “ape-ricot” but my way’s the right way so nyah.
Booze: Single malt scotch, sipping tequila, or Zin
Chore I Hate: Cat box, but “hate” is a little too over the top.
Dog or Cat: The cat belongs to the younger nib. When the younger nib will come and take her away and give her a good home is anyone’s guess. He’s been off at school for four years and plans to be three thousand miles away for at least another …
Essential Electronics: Computer. Refrigerator. Microwave. Music. … but “essential”? Nothing, really. I could live without the computer. Honest!
Favorite Perfume: Roger & Gallet or 4711 cologne. Favorite scent, which unfortunately I’ve never found in a perfume, is Daphne odora. Orange blossoms are nice too. Ginger blossoms.
Gold or Silver: Silver or white gold, usually
Hometown: Spent most of my growing up years in San Jose, CA, and vicinity.
Insomnia: Figured it out, thanks. No longer a problem.
Job Title: dilettante
Kids: grown
Living arrangements: Someone with heart problems or grossly out of shape wouldn’t be happy here.
Most admirable traits: Secrets are safe with me. Empathy. Simple, creative solutions. Resilient. Authentic.
Number of sexual partners: One at a time.
Overnight hospital stays: I don’t like them — not for me, not for someone I love.
Phobias: I don’t have phobias, but I fret more than I should over things I can’t change and things of no consequence.
Quote: “Just get it down on paper, and then we’ll see what to do about it.” — Maxwell Perkins
Religion: Nothing organized. Raised Methodist, but then I was raised Republican too and look where I am.
Siblings: Fourth of six. The three oldest died as adults: the oldest, a brother, by suicide at age 29, the next oldest, a sister, three years later when she was 29 and the car she was in was hit by a drunk driver, the third, a brother, from cancer twenty-three years later, when he was 50. I would be an entirely different person if any or all of those siblings were alive. My two younger siblings are a sister two years younger and a brother seven years younger.
Time I wake up: Depends in large part on when I went to bed the night before. I tend to rise early.
Unusual talent or skill: I can rattle off pi to twenty-two places. My oldest brother thought it was cute to drill that into me when I was eight years old. Prehensile toes. I make killer cream puffs and cheese danishes … from scratch.
Vegetable I love: parsnips with butter

Update:Another blog had this same meme but “V” was “Vegetable I hate:” to which I say, um, okra, maybe. I’ve had okra I liked, but seldom. I’m not a huge fennel (finocchio) fan either.

Worst habit: Falling into the rabbit hole called WWWeb in lieu of doing what I should be doing. I [heart] Tim Berners-Lee.
X-rays: Teeth, mostly, except for the couple times I had pneumonia.
Yummy foods I make: Oh. This is where I put the killer cream puffs and cheese danishes.
Zodiac sign: Leo Dragon.

Tagging … you.

A DIRTY JOB — for those what wonder

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 3:06 am

I read Christopher Moore’s latest (A DIRTY JOB) in between bouts of napping and simply curling up on the sofa while we were away last weekend visiting grandbabies and family, adjusting to my changed universe.

Moore’s latest made me sniffle when it whacked me sideways about losing someone you dearly love, made me laugh out loud with some of the antics, amused me no end with the San Francisco insider crap and nods.

“She laughed. She cried.”

I did.

Moore’s “author’s notes” are spot-on.

I love this book. It was just what I needed, what anyone needs who’s lost a loved one. If you don’t have your emotions that painfully close to the surface, you’ll enjoy the book for its humor and its sense of place, its soap-eating, bubble-blowing Hounds of Hell and its very young demi-protagonist.

I loved the book.

Buy the book.

Give the book to friends.

Moore’s books are always keepers.

This one too.

Thank you, Christopher Moore. A DIRTY JOB was precisely what I needed.

May 3, 2006

Drawbacks of the coastal Left Coast

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 6:14 am

No lilac hedges. No cold snaps. No cold. No real lilac bushes.

I stop by my mom’s and clip her a snip from the lilac bush I gave her an age ago. My mom loves lilacs, has forever, which is why I indulged her.

This year, perhaps because of the rain and weather, she has maybe twelve twigs on the shrub with flowers on ‘em.

I clip one and put it in a small vase and we leave it until the smell is all gone, then we snip another.

Twelve twigs with lilacs on ‘em.

The mother of the wonderful sprogs who lives where it winters in winter has a couple of lilacs against her back fence. We visited this past weekend to find the redbud blooming and everything else as well … including the lilac hedges along the highways and byways and in TMOTWS’s backyard.

TMOTWS has two wonderful lilac bushes growing up against her back fence. TMOTWS’s lilacs are huge and bushy and COVERED with blooms. The lilacs are lovely … all due to the frost and cold that TMOTWS has to live through each winter.

My mum would be so jealous of the lilacs in TMOTWS’s backyard. Do I dare tell her?

I don’t dare.

I think maybe I’ll just clip another twig of lilac when I visit tomorrow and show her pictures of the sprogs.

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