Towse: views from the hill

May 19, 2008

Some clicks from yesterday’s Bay-To-Breakers — the 97th running thereof

Filed under: life,photographs,San Francisco — Towse @ 10:30 pm

addendum added

We had an invite from long-time friends to watch Bay-To-Breakers at their place down on Fell, about 3.5 miles into the 7.46 mile Bay-To-Breakers “race.”

I use the term “race” because BTB is a serious race and a silly race and a seven-mile stroll and a chance to have an excuse to start drinking at 7AM, if that’s your poison.

We were told to arrive by 7:30A as the street closures start and it gets harder and harder to find parking. We got up a bit before 6A, showered, made coffee (me) and Nilgiri tea (him) and headed off. First stop Columbus and Union, outside Coit Liquors to catch the 45.


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Across the street the young woman in her floaty was having problems getting her new Crocs on and dialing a cell phone with shark fins on her hands. She finally took the fins off to dial the phone. She was still waiting for her ride when ours arrived. Off we go. (We kept an eye out for her but never did see her run/stroll by. TOO MANY PEOPLE!)

By 7:06A we were waiting on Market for the 5 Fulton, which would take us up to Fulton and Masonic. Three blocks down Masonic to Fell, hang a left right … whatever and we’d arrive.

While we were waiting for the 5 Fulton, a crew of Vikings and their ship passed us heading east to the race start. Beer cups firmly in hand. 7:06AM.


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We arrived. Helped set up the brunch buffet. Waited for the first runners to appear.

Lineth Chepkurui, who won the female division, came through at 8:14. (Women runners were given a five minute lead at the race start.)


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At 8:17, John Korir blows through with Ridouane Harroufi on his heels. Korir and Harroufi caught up with Chepkurui on the Great Highway just before the end of the race.


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The serious (AKA “elite” runners) were followed by the not so serious.
Little BoPeep and her sheep came through at 8:34A.


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We had older runners.


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And younger.


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The Hooter next door (who was a big hit with people who wanted to have their picture taken with him):


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Four hours into the race, the Yellow Submarine with the Fab Four strolled by


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We had the kilted guy next door


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D, offering his homemade hummus and whole grain pita to participants.


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We had folks with beads


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And folks without


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Five hours after we’d seen them last, the Vikings were spotted again. Much the worse for wear after dragging their ship up Hayes hill.


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The gang had a great time and, time and stamina willing, I’ll pull all the photos together in a gallery.


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Later … we’re off to the Ferry Building for a Commonwealth Club panel discussion on raw cheese. Tasting too!

Addendum: (originally written in the comments on View from the Hill commenter Don’s blog)

Snapped a pic of a float I thought you’d like.

We watched from a perch off the panhandle, at about the halfway marker for the race.

The last runner/walkers came through about 1P with motorcycle cops flushing the rest of the crowds off the street. (A bit later than usual. The weather was fine and the crowds were huge.)

We swept the piles of litter out in the streets for the street sweepers that immediately followed the cops. We piled plastic bottles and beer cans and bottles on the sidewalk for the scavengers who took them away for their CRV value.

Lucky for the runners, the temps were considerably less than the 95dF they’d been just a couple days before. I can’t imagine running up Hayes, pulling/pushing a float in that kind of weather.

A good time was had by all. I caught a bit more sun than I should’ve. Mellow crowd. There were a few people with gumby bodies, needing the support of three friends to stand upright. There were a few more people we had to shout at to stop them pissing against the house or the Alfas in the driveway. Even people acting like jerks.

Erica Jong doesn’t much like Obama

Filed under: politics — Towse @ 10:20 pm

Erica Jong: Electing Sweetie


You’d think that would make her electable. After all, she is not Bill. You’d think that would make her a better candidate. But shut my mouth, Americans don’t vote pragmatically. They vote emotionally. And the devil you know is always inferior to the angel you don’t know. Barack is currently that angel. How long he’ll keep his wings is anyone’s guess.

So here we go again. NARAL loves the new boy on the block — even if HRC was there at its founding. So does John Edwards. And Ted Kennedy. The fact that Barack has little experience makes him the hot new ingénue, whereas Hillary is old like your mother.

The truth is we know about her — and we know very little about Obama. That alone makes her detractors scream: Get Out! Off the stage with you! Give us that hot new boy! Give us that sepia Brad Pitt! Old women are so over!

First Ferraro, now Jong. The comments tail is whoo-boy interesting.

e.g. I have come to understand what “we don’t know anything about him” really means. I believe this is another set of code words for “he is not one of us.”

Anna Quindlen’s Commencement Speech: Mount Holyoke College, 23 May 1999

Filed under: life,writing — Towse @ 9:01 pm

Anna Quindlen’s Commencement Speech: Mount Holyoke College, 23 May 1999


Most commencement speeches suggest you take up something or other: the challenge of the future, a vision of the twenty-first century. Instead I’d like you to give up. Give up the backpack. Give up the nonsensical and punishing quest for perfection that dogs too many of us through too much of our lives. It is a quest that causes us to doubt and denigrate ourselves, our true selves, our quirks and foibles and great leaps into the unknown, and that is bad enough.

But this is worse: that someday, sometime, you will be somewhere, maybe on a day like today–a berm overlooking a pond in Vermont, the lip of the Grand Canyon at sunset. Maybe something bad will have happened: you will have lost someone you loved, or failed at something you wanted to succeed at very much.

And sitting there, you will fall into the center of yourself. You will look for that core to sustain you. If you have been perfect all your life, and have managed to meet all the expectations of your family, your friends, your community, your society, chances are excellent that there will be a black hole where your core ought to be.

Don’t take that chance. Begin to say no to the Greek chorus that thinks it knows the parameters of a happy life when all it knows is the homogenization of human experience. Listen to that small voice from inside you, that tells you to go another way. George Eliot wrote, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” It is never too early, either. And it will make all the difference in the world. Take it from someone who has left the backpack full of bricks far behind. Every day feels light as a feather.

Quindlen: Hillary, Think of Your Legacy

Filed under: politics — Towse @ 8:52 pm

Quindlen: Hillary, Think of Your Legacy

Newsweek Magazine “The Last Word”
May 26, 2008 Issue


But policy is one thing and pandering is another, especially when your opponent has been sure-footed on the high road. When Senator Clinton started to style herself as a dab hand with guns in Pennsylvania and an enemy of the intellectual elites in Indiana, she began to validate the opinions of all those who believe the Clintons—no matter which—would do anything to win. Her candidacy has had special resonance for many women, no question, but that means she has special obligations, too. And one of those obligations is to see that the lesson learned is not that women running for office can be just as skeevy as their male counterparts.


(Anna Quindlen is a fellow dragon lady, thirty-five days older than I am.)

Comcast NNTP has been unavailable since yesterday AM

Filed under: internet — Towse @ 3:29 pm

No Usenet access except through Googja. … Hissing and fissing over at the Comcast boards.

Oh, what in the world to do with all my free time?

The World’s Largest Lolcat, An Invisible Bike Mural | Laughing Squid

Filed under: art,San Francisco — Towse @ 6:23 am

The World’s Largest Lolcat, An Invisible Bike Mural | Laughing Squid

Yay! Us! Not only do we have the weirdness of Bay to Breakers today, but also we have the world’s larges LOLCat Mural!

Update: Took like probably four seconds for the LOLcat mural to hit Guess Where SF and maybe a couple seconds after that for the location to be pinpointed by the gurus at GWSF.

May 17, 2008

Funeral music redux

Filed under: life,music — Towse @ 2:16 am

I’ve always loved Jackson Browne’s FOR A DANCER:

Into a dancer you have grown
From a seed somebody else has thrown
Go on ahead and throw some seeds of your own
And somewhere between the time you arrive
And the time you go
May lie a reason you were alive
But you’ll never know

And for Skip I would’ve chosen Jackson Browne’s A SONG FOR ADAM:

Though Adam was a friend of mine, I did not know him long
And when I stood myself beside him, I never though I was as strong
Still it seems he stopped his singing in the middle of his song
Well I’m not the one to say I know, but I’m hoping he was wrong

More Jackson Browne. Some Patsy Cline. Some Willie Nelson. Emmy Lou Harris. Sinatra. Ella. a bit of Jobim.

AGAINST THE WIND – Waylon & Johnny and Willie
LIFE’S RAILWAY TO HEAVEN – Patsy Cline or Johnny Cash
THIS OLD ROAD – Kristofferson

I don’t know. So many. Warren Zevon. Keb Mo. Cisco Houston. Tony Bennett.

Am I gathering songs for a memorial service or songs to encapsulate my life?

I’ll have to think on this. I’d count in Baez’ AMAZING GRACE if I didn’t have the memories already associated with it.

I’ll have to think on this. Easier to choose the music than write the obit, eh?

May 16, 2008

Spit and polish for a Seattle icon | KOMO-TV – Seattle, Washington

Filed under: news,photographs — Towse @ 11:57 pm

Spit and polish for a Seattle icon | KOMO-TV – Seattle

First deep cleaning of the Space Needle since 1962 opening.


Acrophobia, me? Eeeks!

[via Laughing Squid]

Carnival of the Criminal Minds

Filed under: blog,books,mystery,writing — Towse @ 11:16 pm

Carnival of the Criminal Minds

A rotating editorship collecting the best of the best crime fiction blogging.

May 15, 2008

Louise Ure – Muderati – Funeral Music

Filed under: life,music,people,video — Towse @ 9:24 pm

Louise Ure has a good blog post over at Murderati, the typepad blog that rotates posts by murder writers through the week.

Her post this Tuesday was about funeral music — specifically, your funeral music. What music would you choose to play at your funeral?

When my cousin died, the family and her friends gathered at Pfeiffer Beach down in Big Sur. The music that played while her dad waded out into the surf to sprinkle ashes was Joan Baez singing Amazing Grace, a capella.

When Elizabeth died, her granddaughter sang Bette Midler’s Wind Beneath My Wings, a capella:

Did you ever know that you’re my hero,
and everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

It might have appeared to go unnoticed,
but I’ve got it all here in my heart.
I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know it.
I would be nothing without you.

One of the songs Ure mentions is this one, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s medley of Somewhere Over the Rainbow and What a Wonderful World.

What is the music of your life, your soundtrack?

My answer later. We’re off (on this friggin’ hot afternoon — up over 93dF upstairs) to the Waterfront Restaurant down by Pier 5 the Ferry Building for a Spanish wine tasting.


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