Towse: views from the hill

November 30, 2008

The miracles of modern science – notify a partner of possible STD via e-card

Filed under: app,health,technology — Towse @ 5:58 pm

* Choose one of six e-cards (Figure 1),
* Type in recipients’ e-mail addresses (up to six),
* Select an STD from a pull-down menu,
* Type in own e-mail address or send anonymously,
* Type in an optional personal message.

PLoS article on inSPOT: The First Online STD Partner Notification System Using Electronic Postcards

Ah, the wonders of the Web.

Pier 39. Decked out for Christmas.

Filed under: food,life,photographs,restaurants — Towse @ 1:56 am

This is last year’s pic but saw it today and it looks just the same.

Went for a walk down the steps this afternoon. Mailed some letters at the bottom of the hill, walked out Sansome to the Embarcadero, then walked along the edge of the water until we cut in toward Cost-Plus and B&N. We cut in a bit earlier than we really needed to because the crush of people was shredding my nerves.

Our destination had been Cost-Plus because they were having a wicked sale with 2 for 1 Christmas ornaments and deals on this and on that, but once inside I saw nothing I really needed. A few things I wanted but not enough to open the wallet.

We skipped B&N, which is next door to Cost-Plus and always the next stop, because I have a mile high stack of books to be read. We did stop at Trader Joe’s on the way home for milk and for crackers for the Boccalone coppa di testa we’ll be eating for dinner tomorrow.

Tonight will be chicken thighs with trumpet mushrooms, shallots, garlic, sour cream, marsala. Rice. Some vegetable.

Last night was dinner at Coi with friends. Absolutely delish. We plumped for the paired wines with the tasting menu. We wound up with that and with a couple extra glasses of wine thrown in as well as one of the dishes none of us had ordered when choosing “or” at one point. Delish, that.

The Coi staff is wonderful. Welcoming. Relaxed. Not as starchy as Gary Danko. Did I mention the food was delish?

Our reservation was for five folks at 6 p.m. They ushered us into a private room in back that I didn’t know existed. We had the room to ourselves. Four hours later we rolled back out onto Broadway, us to walk up Montgomery home, our three friends to head down the peninsula.

We went for a walk today because the weather sparkled and we needed to make a vague effort to work off some of the calories for last night.

(0.9mi over and the same back, according to 2 miles, if that.)

Did I mention we saw the Christmas tree at Pier 39?

November 29, 2008

Just hanging in the sun.

Filed under: life,photographs — Tags: , — Towse @ 12:49 am

Sun peeking out from behind the grey for a few minutes. (And the grey has since drifted back into place.)

Sitting in my chair, which faces the bay. Reading a library book. Back from a walk down to the Ferry Building for bread from Acme and coppa di testa from Boccalone. Down to the Ferry Building and back up the steps, all 223 of them, but who’s counting?

Concentrating on the words before me (Elizabeth Berg: The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted: And Other Small Acts of Liberation). In the background I can hear the parrots — not chattering, not arguing, not squawking, as they usually do. Susurration. Murmuration. Low. Affectionate.

I get up out of my seat to see what they’re up to.

Just hanging in the sun. [Click on the picture for a closeup look. They blend into the cypress in the smaller view.]


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November 28, 2008

Mumbai/Bombay – Twitter Search

Filed under: news,web2.0 — Towse @ 8:26 pm

Mumbai/Bombay – Twitter Search

… ongoing news and commentary on what’s happening in Mumbai/Bombay via tweets, some direct from India.

Also links to news articles and useful information and, as always with the Web, some wasted space and very stoopid people.

Worker dies at Long Island Wal-Mart after being trampled in Black Friday stampede

Filed under: life,news,shopshopshop — Towse @ 5:04 pm

Worker dies at Long Island Wal-Mart after being trampled in Black Friday stampede.

Is Black Friday worth it? Do you really need this stuff on sale? Are you really saving enough money to make all this worth it?

Maybe it’s just that I am not a fan of large pushy crowds, but I decided that getting up in time to stand in line at Cost-Plus to be one of the first hundred through the doors for a 7 a.m. opening, which would score me a free pretty little glass Christmas ornament and a chance for a huge prize, was just not worth dealing with people in mind of a Black Friday deal.

Some stores opened at 4 a.m. Macy’s opened at 5 a.m. Other stores had midnight madness sales. People left their family Thanksgiving dinners early to stand in line to score deals on stuff.

More shopping news:

Gabrielle Mitchell, 28, from Rockville Centre, was out at the stores in Hicksville at 3:45 a.m. waiting for them to open. Almost four hours later, she said she had spent more than $1,600.

But did she need the stuff she spent money on? Does it make her happy? Does it make her happy even through the paying of the bills?

For me it’s much nicer to stay home today and read the paper back and forth over breakfast with his nibs and let the glow of family Thanksgiving keep me warm on a grey day.

Dinner tonight with friends. Money will be spent not for durable goods but for transient pleasure.

And no one dies.

November 27, 2008

!Candied yams

Filed under: food,life — Towse @ 1:34 am

I volunteered to bring the yam-ish dish (among other things) to the family Thanksgiving tomorrow.

Not candied yams, which is what we had at Thanksgiving growing up.

This year I’m bringing sweet potato fries because I like them and hope others will too and, on request of the son-in-law, “those yams you made last year.”

Except. I can’t remember how I made the yams last year so in lieu, I did something entirely different. (Sorry, Bill!)

Cooked and peeled a certain number of sweet potatoes (0.49/lb in Chinatown). Mashed them with a chunk of butter, juice of one orange (10/$1 in Chinatown), shredded fresh ginger (0.79/lb in Chinatown), brown sugar.

Cooked and peeled a certain number of white yams (0.59/lb in Chinatown). Mashed them with a chunk of butter, maple syrup, a dollop of vanilla extract and ginger powder.

Took an old soup can out from the stash under the sink. Took the label off. Cut off the bottom to make a metal pipelike object. Washed thoroughly.

Put the can vertical in the casserole dish. Filled with mashed white yams. With can still in place, piled and patted all the mashed sweet potatoes to fill in the vacant spaces OUTSIDE the can. Used the metal bottom I’d recently cut off the can to press the white yams through the can as I removed it.

Sprinkled sliced almonds around the perimeter of the casserole dish, covering the mashed sweet potatoes.


Mañana I will bake the casserole until heated through and the almonds get all toasty.

Not the yams I made last year. Not the candied yams of my youth.

What shall I call this?


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November 26, 2008

12 Great Tales of De-Friending

Filed under: life,web2.0 — Tags: , — Towse @ 2:54 am

My peeps-who-tweet list grows and shrinks, depending on how full my twitterstream is.

Most people who are taken off the list are stored instead on MyDelicious with a /twitterfeed/ tag so that I can get to them and catch up on their tweets but not necessarily wade through five hundred tweets (total) every day. I mean, there was usually a reason they made my twitterfeed list in the first place.

Is it their fault they post in spurts and every four hours I can look forward to a series of nine tweets?

Well, yes it is their fault, which is why they’re now a MyDelicious twitterfeed link rather than on my “real” twitterfeed. (Note to whoever may be fussing about me moving you off my twitterfeed: Unless your initials are TO, the aforementioned burst-tweeter isn’t you.)

Facebook, though, seems more easily controlled. I can look at someone’s updates or not. The updates from X don’t overwhelm the updates from Y. I don’t think I’ve ever defriended anyone at LinkedIn either. I did completely bail out of Friendster soon after the friends of friends of friends began including people I wouldn’t want to have coffee with.

This article on de-friending brings up many issues but #6 (“De-friending can regress mature women into a high school gossip mob”) takes the cake.

Stephen King’s God trip | Salon Books

Filed under: books,writing — Towse @ 1:34 am

[you have an ad clickthrough before feeds you the content]

Stephen King’s God trip

On the 30th anniversary of “The Stand,” the novelist confesses what haunts him about religion and today’s politics.

By John Marks

Oct. 23, 2008 | In 1927, a little-known writer of horror stories named H.P. Lovecraft tried to put into words the secret of his diabolical craft. “The one test of the really weird is simply this,” Lovecraft wrote in the introduction to “Supernatural Horror in Literature,” “whether or not there be excited in the reader a profound sense of dread and of contact with unknown spheres and powers; a subtle attitude of awed listening, as if for the beating of black wings or the scratching of outside shapes or entities on the known universe’s utmost rim.”

That’s a mouthful, and yet I swear, two decades or so ago, I had the very experience that Lovecraft describes while on an overnight bus trip from Dallas to a Christian youth camp in northern Minnesota. Most of the other teen campers flirted or gossiped or joked around. Some endured the long hours by reading Scripture, and in their own way, may have been grappling with “the beating of black wings or the scratching of outside shapes and entities.” I was mesmerized by a less prescriptive but equally god-smitten work: Stephen King’s epic of apocalypse, “The Stand.”

This year, the novel “The Stand” turns 30, and far from fading into the dustbin of bygone bestsellers, King’s great tale of plague seems more prescient than ever.


November 25, 2008

Second Life affair ends in divorce –

Filed under: life,web2.0 — Towse @ 10:45 pm

Second Life affair ends in divorce –

Pollard and Taylor met in an internet chat room, got married in RL and in SL in 2005, and then …

[husband] Pollard admitted having an online relationship with a “girl in America” but denied wrongdoing. “We weren’t even having cyber sex or anything like that, we were just chatting and hanging out together,” he told the Western Morning News.

[wife] Taylor is now in a new relationship with a man she met in the online roleplaying game World of Warcraft.

Be careful out there, folks! The online world can splash over into this one with nary a warning.

[via HMB @ unlibrarian]

The Dunlap Question, redux

Filed under: life — Towse @ 6:15 am

The Dunlap Question

Someone asked elsewhere: What would you choose, Sal?

I’m still pondering.

Would I relive my life knowing what I know now and be constrained to live through =everything= knowing, for instance, about an upcoming miscarriage or divorce, the death of three siblings and my parents, all the crap and miseries? I couldn’t even spend more time with my sister or brothers or parents than I did because that would not be a life that was “just exactly as before.”

I’m not sure the happiness and satisfaction would offset the crap I’d have to live through again.

If I were oblivious, mind swept clear of understanding and memories, then maybe I would, but if I had to reprise my entire life with my memories intact and with foreknowledge of what unchangeable sadness was coming up next September. …

Probably not.

But … if … at the end of the reliving, I’d get more time, wouldn’t I? More time would be good.

Or would I be asked again when today rolls round again, would I be asked again at this instant, to make the choice again and choose whether to feed back into the infinite loop?

The question is a different one from whether I would change anything that had happened to me in the past. To that one I always say “no changes,” because all that came before — even the deaths and the sadnesses and the broken hearts and the wish-I-hadn’ts — led to where I am today and I’m pretty happy with today, thankyouverymuch.

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