Towse: views from the hill

April 28, 2010

Moon. Clouds. Scud.

Filed under: photographs — Tags: , , — Towse @ 12:25 pm

Lovely moon last night.

April 23, 2010

Views of the Hills

Filed under: photographs — Tags: , , — Towse @ 3:25 pm

California spring wildflowers

Taken 06 April 2010. Off Cholame Valley Rd, north of Hwys 41/46. San Luis Obispo County.

April 19, 2010

Night coming tenderly …

Filed under: photographs — Tags: , , , — Towse @ 11:19 pm

I always wonder why the GGB gets all the press and photos and postcards and what-not.

I think this view is the best.

[In honor of National Poetry Month, the title of this post a snippet from a Langston Hughes poem I love: Dream Variations]

April 15, 2010

Sun breaks through

Filed under: photographs — Tags: , , — Towse @ 10:44 pm

A little before 7A this morning.

April 13, 2010

It’s National Library Week, so let’s talk about libraries.

Filed under: libraries — Tags: , — Towse @ 5:47 pm

It’s National Library Week, so let’s talk about libraries, but first, let’s listen to Neil Gaiman talk about why he loves libraries. (He claims librarians have asked him not to describe himself as “a feral child raised by librarians.”)

Read Twelve Ways Libraries Are Good For The Country and Ten Reasons Why The Internet Is No Substitute For A Library.

Done? Good. I’ll continue with my library-centric post. …

I was talking last night with a good friend about my pet hobby horse: the location for the revamped North Beach Library — where it should (and shouldn’t) be.

She said, well, we don’t need to worry so much about the fact that the location being considered will only allow a 10-15% expansion of the collection forever and ever after because, really, with the way technology is evolving there shouldn’t be much need for expansion in the future. Libraries aren’t growing like they used to, she said, or words to that effect.

Au contraire, I said. Library visits and circulation stats are booming. People assume that cheap books from Amazon and access to the Web are decreasing library usage, but the exact opposite is true.

Here, take a look at the 2009 California state statistics [PDF file].

Circulation per capita at California public libraries has increased 5% over the past five years. The State mean circulation per capita is 5.78 items. San Francisco clocks in at 10.11.

Stats from the ALA for the nation as a whole show similar trends.

In Los Angeles, about 18 million people visited the city’s 72 libraries in the fiscal year ended in June 2008, up 12 percent from the previous year. Result: a 10 percent spike in checkouts, to a total of 17.2 million books, DVDs, CDs, and other material.
—Los Angeles Daily News

Art Brodsky wrote Our Public Library Lifeline Is Fraying. We’ll Be Sorry When it Snaps for Huffington Post a couple days ago. He talks about the challenges libraries are currently facing.

Support your local library and the library staff not just during National Library Week but 24/7/365. They’re hard working and working harder.

A final note — an excerpt from something Vartan Gregorian wrote in 1999 (complete text here) when he was President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York:

Public libraries in our midst are so much taken for granted that their significance as living institutions is in danger of becoming lost to us. Libraries contain the heritage of humanity, the record of its triumphs and failures and of its intellectual, scientific, and artistic achievements, and its collective memory. Libraries are not only repositories of past human endeavor, they provide tools for learning, understanding, and progress. They are a laboratory of human aspiration and a source of self-renewal, intellectual growth, and hope.

Update: Another why-I-love-libraries Neil Gaiman interview, given in his role as honorary chair of National Library Week.

April 12, 2010

Strangers on a Train – Highsmith/Hitchcock

Filed under: books,movies — Tags: — Towse @ 11:38 pm

Last month book club read THE TALENTED MISS HIGHSMITH by Joan Schenkar because we planned to read a (an?) Highsmith this month.

This month we read STRANGERS ON A TRAIN and tonight we discussed the book =and= watched the Hitchcock adaptation.

Farley Granger as Haines — a tennis star in the film, an architect in the book. Ruth Roman — his love interest (her family connections way different from the book). Robert Walker as Bruno (looking nothing like the Bruno I imagined). Leo G. Carroll (as Roman’s dad and looking very LGC-like). Kasey Rogers (credited as Laura Elliott — as Miriam, the soon-to-be-in-any-way-possible ex-wife). Patricia Hitchcock — as the younger sister of the love interest, a role that did not exist in the book.

Patricia Hitchcock was great. The story was way different from the book. We spent the evening doing a line by line (that didn’t happen! they were eating a hamburger! wait! what about the. …)

Chandler got screen credit but admitted that the final screenplay included almost none of what he wrote.

Highsmith was not happy with the film.

The book is cherce. The movie too. Watch/read both. Or either.

For those with gaydar going WHOOP!WHOOP!WHOOP! who were speculating about Farley Granger. … Read Wiki. You’re vindicated in a way. Granger was bisexual. He had affairs with Ava Gardner, Shelley Winters, & al. but his long-time love was Robert Calhoun.

Wikipedia entry for STRANGERS ON A TRAIN

April 8, 2010

California Spring Wildflowers

Filed under: photographs — Tags: , , — Towse @ 4:50 pm

Hwy 41 east of junction with Hwy 46

Still needing time away even after being away for so long. We drifted away for a few days to see if we could find any wildflowers this year. A few years back we saw spectacular multi-color drifts of flowers splashing down the hillsides, but the last few years we saw beautiful rolling hills, but not too many flowers. Too late, I think, or maybe not enough rain.

This year was a great year. We left earlier this week, got back yesterday. Our route was as follows …

Day One: From SF south on 101 to the 25 cutoff to Hollister. Through Hollister and Tres Pinos to Paicines, then down Panoche Rd to Panoche and beyond, on the way to New Idria. We turned back short of New Idria and backtracked to Panoche and a little bit more and took the turn onto Little Panoche Rd past Mercey Hot Springs and on to I5. We turned south on I5 and turned in for the day at a Motel 6 at I5 in Coalinga.

Day Two: Back on I5. Headed south toward Kettleman City. Took Hwy 41 west toward Cholame. Immediately past where Hwy 41 and Hwy 46 meet (the spot where James Dean had his fatal car crash) we took a right (north) on Cholame Valley Road and drove for about seven miles before turning back to the 41/46 intersection.

The best views of flowers for the entire trip were at the turnoff on 41 just above the grade down to the junction with 46 and along Cholame Valley Rd.

We turned right off Cholame Valley Road, onto 41/46, and almost immediately turned left (south) onto Davis Rd, heading toward Annette. We followed Davis Road to Annette and then turned down to where Annette Rd intersects with Bitterwater Road. At that intersection we discovered that the old store that we’d taken photos of last year had fallen to ruin.

Intersection of Bitterwater and Annette

Headed northwest on Bitterwater to 41/46, then southwest toward Shandon, peeling off onto 46 just before Shandon and continuing on through Paso Robles to 101.

101 N to San Miguel. Mission St. to N River Rd to Indian Valley Rd. Headed N on Indian Valley Rd until it deadended in Peach Tree Rd. Turned left (N). Peach Tree Rd turns into 25 and becomes Airline Hwy. Took a left (W) onto Lonoak Rd and headed into King City. Motel 6 on Broadway in King City.

Day Three: Final morning we headed out of King City, taking 101 north to Greenfield. Took Elm Street west until it became County Road G 16 and then met up with Arroyo Seco Rd. Took Arroyo Seco/G16 west until G16 became Carmel Valley Rd. Followed it up over the hills, through the Hastings Nature Reserve (UC) and on to Carmel Valley then on to Hwy 1 and Carmel.

Took Hwy 1 N through Monterey and Watsonville and Santa Cruz and further up the coast. Turned east on La Honda Road, through La Honda until we hit the Woodside city limits at which point we turned north on Skyline Blvd (Hwy 35) and drove to Hwy 92 and turned east. Took Hwy 35 off Hwy 92 right before Hwy 280 and followed it north until we came to the gates of the country club, headed east again and hooked up with Hwy 280 and trundled home.

I’ll edit this later showing where in the path various photos were taken, but until then, here’s a rough look (with imaginative names like IMG_3828.jpg) of the one hundred photos that most capture what was out in the hills this week.

Central California Hills and Wildflowers. April 2010

Took the Mini, of course.

Mini, taking a break whilst driver photographs roadside flowers

April 4, 2010

Shifting to WordPress

Filed under: SJTblog — Tags: — Towse @ 4:56 pm

So long, Blogger. It was a good run. …

Update: I’ve changed the homepage over at the old-old blog ( to point here. I’ve sucked up as much of the old content as I could from Blogger. The migration pretty much hosed my comments but they’re available back at and I disabled the auto-forward for anyone who wants to meander back there without being automagically whisked back over here.

After a moment, or maybe month, and a third doublecheck that I’ve got as much of the content as I ever will, I will delete the Blogger blog forever and ever after and carry on here.

For now, I’m learning new tricks and updating links in profiles and elsewhere that led to the old old blog and the old blog. I’ll need to rethink categories as my Blogger tags became WordPress categories and that was not my intention when I set them up.

I’ll be busy for a while.

April 3, 2010

A work in progress …

Filed under: damn,SJTblog — Tags: — Towse @ 9:19 pm

So, whilst trying to add Disqus comments (in lieu of Blogger comments which filled up with spam in no time at all), I discovered I had to move to a Blogger template to get the Disqus commenting enabled.

Fine. Whatever.

But now when things aren’t working / don’t look the way I’d hoped, I find I can’t reinstate my old home-brew template because Blogger thinks it’s busted.

April 2, 2010


Filed under: SJTblog — Tags: — Towse @ 6:51 am

Blogger comments have been up for eight hours or so … and already I have spammish content.


I’ve enabled comment moderation, which really doesn’t suit me, but I don’t like wading through the gunk and you, gentle readers, shouldn’t have to.

I’ll find some alternative, but for now, there will be a delay in comments until I’ve deleted the obviously-not-interested-in-sal’s-musings comments.

Tomorrow I’ll go through and delete those that are already in place.


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