Towse: views from the hill

March 8, 2007


Filed under: life — Towse @ 10:28 pm

For those who know him who haven’t heard about his dire health situation, Carol has setup a LiveJournal site to keep people informed and to serve as a repository for notes from people who know him.

I’ve been reading every single email and blog comment to Bob, and he’s been surprised and touched that he is so well thought of.

Addendum:Here’s the post that explains what follows.


Filed under: life,misc,URL — Towse @ 5:56 pm

Read my VisualDNA Get your own VisualDNA™

[via Sour Grapes @ tumblr]

March 7, 2007

Free beer! and bushi-tei

Filed under: food,life,San Francisco — Towse @ 10:01 pm

Went to dinner last night at bushi-tei in Japantown. … for the third time.

Those who know us know that we seldom eat anywhere more than once, maybe twice. We must think bushi-tei is yummy. We do. It is. There are so many good restaurants in this town, that eating anywhere more than once or twice is absurd unless we think the restaurant is a keeper.

bushi-tei’s appetizer to die for is /Seared fresh foie gras, pumpkin pot de crème, pistachio, red onion marmalade/. The pumpkin pot de crème sounds like it would be weird with the seared foie gras (the foie is settled in the middle of the pot de crème), but the pairing is perfect. Delish. Mine!

His nibs had /Lobster and Crab, Chrysanthemum leaf, papaya, bacon, ginger cream, curry oil/. A salad of sorts only there’s very little greenery and LARGE CHUNKS OF LOBSTER! Tasty dressing. The bacon and papaya bits add intriguing shots of flavor. The salad is more crab and lobster than anything else. Tasty. We swopped our plates halfway through.

For the main course I had /Pan roasted Sonoma duck breast, spinach, mascarpone-mustard, dried chutney/, cooked medium rare. I figured if I had duck liver for the appetizer, it was only fair that I should carry on with the rest of the duck for the main course. The duck was cooked perfectly. The mascarpone-mustard was smooth and mellow and didn’t overwhelm the duck.

His nibs had /Pan seared Maine scallop, black rice tabbouleh, eye berry- cucumber yoghurt/. Delish as well. Have we ever had anything not delish here? No. For dessert his nibs had an apple dumpling served with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, a drizzle of caramel and a sprinkling of crushed pistachio. I had a glass of Ichinokura Himezen saké.

LaWand Mathern wrote a fine review of bushi-tei last August that I won’t even try to compete with except to say the food is great, the setting is calm and serene and the bathrooms! Well! We have friends with toilets that do everything but sponge the spilt wine off your shirt. These are those kinds of toilets.

But wait! you say. What about the free beer?

Well, Muni cooperated (don’t say it never does) and we walked down to Washington Square Park where we were whisked off on the 30Stockton which dropped us at Union Square just in time to catch 38LGeary and we found ourselves at Bushi-Tei a half-hour before our 7p reservation. (Early reservation because his nibs was due for a conference call concerning raises and staff bright and early this morning.)

The early start to dinner meant that we finished at an unheard of early hour and (backtracking on the 38 and the 30) found ourselves back in North Beach, getting off the 30 at Panta Rei some time around 8:15p. We were walking up Green from Columbus when his nibs decided that the night was still young and we should stop into Maggie McGarry’s for a pint of Anchor Steam before making that last push up the hill.

The barkeep said, “You here for the trivia?”
“No,” we answered. “Just stopping by on the way home from dinner.”

And yet … we were still there when the trivia contest (every Tuesday!) started ’round about 8:30p. The quizmaster gave us a pencil and an answer sheet booklet. The night was still young. Why not try our luck and our smarts — the luck being in the quizmaster asking a question we knew the answer to.

His nibs won a free pint at a drawing mid-session. The session went on for six rounds. We were totally skunked for the music round. We made unexpected points in the hip-hop ’round. We were lagging behind, but made it up in the last “last call for know-it-alls” round and wound up in third place out of maybe eight teams competing. We were clearly a couple decades older than the rest of the contestants. Yay, us!

One of the youngsters came over ostensibly to get another round of drinks but in actuality to ask his nibs if he could tell her who sang Leader of the Pack (one of the answers in the music round). She must’ve figured we were old enough to know, but we couldn’t help her. Did I mention total skunkage in the music round?

Our third place finish earned us chits for two more pints of beer.

Free Anchor Steam. Can’t get much better than that.

Before breakfast or even a cup of coffee: Updates to Internet Resources for Writers

Filed under: information,internet resources for writers,URL — Towse @ 6:36 pm

Checked and updated all links in the Business section of Internet Resources for Writers.

Before breakfast! Before coffee even!

The page includes over one hundred links classified in subsections:

  • Unsorted
  • Agents
  • Book Publishers
  • Copyright
  • E-Publishing
  • Legal, Contracts, & Taxes
  • Marketing, Sales, Promotion, & Publicity
  • Print-On-Demand Publishing
  • Self-publishing
  • Your Website

Replaced some broken links. Added a few. Commented out links to my articles on Web design and copyright that I wrote for Computer Bits, which is no more. I need to bring those articles onto either this site or some day, now that the Computer Bits online archives are no more.

March 6, 2007

[URL] Craigslist Curmudgeon is the Yahoo! Daily Wire site of the day.

Filed under: URL,webstuff,writing — Towse @ 6:43 am

The Curmudgeon cranks on about Craigslist ads that offer next to nothing (or worse!) as payment for wordsmithing.

Yahoo! sez: The Curmudgeon’s chief complaint: would-be content providers that offer wordsmiths no pay. More specific no-nos: ads offering piddling in-kind compensation, ads with dubious payment schemes, ads offering nothing but “exposure,” and ads offering no pay for ridiculous assignments.

And the ad-meisters fire back.

Entertaining all around.

[nod to Yahoo! picks]

March 5, 2007

TICs and Andy Sirkin, Attorney

Filed under: real estate,San Francisco,URL — Towse @ 12:21 am

I’m not a huge TIC fan. I can’t imagine ever buying a TIC unit. Sure, I know. TICs are usually a chunk of change cheaper than a similar condominium, but the legal squirreliness involved with TIC agreements and the funding behind them just shiver me timbers.

And yet. … There are those who buy TICs and there are those with questions about TICs who need the straight scoop about what they’re getting into.

Anyone with questions about TICs (apartment units sold to buyers who own the entire building as Tenants In Common) should not ask the agent who was showing two TICs that we went through today.

Potential buyers who didn’t even know the difference between a condominium and a TIC were peppering her with questions. That agent was glossing over the drawbacks of TICs, giving misleading information about the ease of converting to condominiums, and other forked-tongue exercises. She claimed that the City limited the number of TICs that could convert to condominiums each year because the City wanted to keep rental units available and not have the City fill up with condominiums.


Well. No, I can’t even say, “kinda.” There is no law against renting out a condominium. A TIC doesn’t have to be owner-occupied. Neither does a condominium. I don’t know where the agent was getting her information, but she was blowing smoke on this and on other TIC/condo conversion matters too.

The rules about TICs and TIC conversions go far beyond what the agent was telling the naifs who were taking her word as gospel. There’s a history behind the rules and regulations governing TICs and condo conversions in this fair ville and it’s nothing like the gloss-over she was giving her potential buyers.

Read up on the issues swirling around TICs and then if you have questions (and you should), head over to Andy Sirkin, Attorney‘s site. Sirkin is the guy who wrote the book (and the agreements) and is the go-to guy for TICs.

Don’t rely on the word-of-mouth not-legally-binding schmooze from a real estate agent trying to sell a TIC. Get your information straight from Sirkin, no frills, no trussssssssst me, no BS.

… and before you make an offer on that TIC you have an eye on, find yourself a real estate agent other than the one selling the property to represent you in the transaction. Both real estate agents are paid by the seller, but the one representing you will have more of your interests at heart than the one representing the seller.

March 4, 2007

Jayson Wechter’s Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt

Filed under: life,San Francisco — Towse @ 9:34 pm

Had fun last night at Jayson Wechter’s Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt.

(I’d won a pair of tickets from Thanks, Jon!)

We’d never played before and were in the Beginner category. Hundreds (and hundreds and hundreds!) of people showed up to pickup their clues before getting the rah-rah-rah and go-ahead from Jayson hisself ’round about 5p at which point we all ripped open our clues and hunkered down to plot a plan before taking off from Justin Herman Plaza. We had until 9p to solve the clues, write down the treasure answers and get back to the Plaza to turn in our scorecard.

Oh, those clues were tough, tough, tough, even for my comrade-in-arms, his nibs, who is a fifth generation San Franciscan.

As we hunkered down for our initial clue solving, a middle-aged man in suit and tie stopped beside us. “What is going on?” he asked.

“A treasure hunt,” we replied.


We thought we had it tough until we bumped into our DiMaggio Playground cohort, GregC, whose team was doing the challenging Master Hunt. Whoo boy. Those clues are far beyond my wee comprehension.

We didn’t get all the clues, didn’t find all the treasures, but we had fun and then headed home to roast lamb and parsnips with mashed potatoes and lamb drippings gravy.

Next year we’ll have a better idea of what’s in store, what makes sense to bring (brighter flashlights for one), and what can be left home. (I should’ve left my heavy HarleyD corduroy shirt home instead of carrying it along in my accoutrements bag — we were moving too fast to ever get cold — and it was just an added burden.)

Besides GregC, we bumped into a flock of wild RNs who used to work with his nibs at the startup in South City. I’m sure there were others in the crowd we would’ve known, but there were just sooooo many folks out hunting last night, not to mention the thousands who lined the streets of Chinatown for the New Year’s parade.

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