Towse: views from the hill

July 18, 2009

Adiós, Cuauhtémoc

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 5:54 pm

 

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We heard the horn blast from our spots at the dining table where we were reading the Saturday paper. We heard another and then a third. What idiot was in the way and not moving?

We opened the doors facing the water and saw the Jeremiah O’Brien and the fireboats and sailboats and a scull and some kayaks. … And then we saw the big attraction (and where the horn blasts had originated). The tugs were helping maneuver the Cuauhtémoc out of her berth as she headed out for further adventures.

I dashed up the stairs with my camera and shot, oh, fifty or sixty shots of the sailing ship, the old WW2 ship, and the sailboats from the deck.

Note the lines of young sailors at the top of the sails. No automated sail setting on the Cuauhtémoc, just young sailors with no fear of heights, awaiting the Captain’s orders.

……………………………

The Bay is filled with boats of all sorts and sizes today from the Cuauhtémoc to the one-person kayaks. The fireboats are shooting their water cannon. The sun is shining and hark! there’s fog up there in the north toward Vallejo.

Lovely.

January 28, 2009

The times they are a-changing: Obama to sign Lily Ledbetter Act tomorrow

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 10:11 pm

Equal Pay for Equal Work — It's About Time! – Huffington Post article by Steve Hildebrand, Barack Obama’s National Deputy Campaign Manager.

Both House and Sentate have passed the Lily Ledbetter Act. Obama plans to sign the act into law tomorrow. Ledbetter, who spoke at the Democrat Convention last year, is the poster child for Equal Pay for Equal Work.

Ledbetter worked for Goodyear Tire & Rubber for nineteen years but only found out a few months before she retired that she was being paid substantially less than men doing the same job. She sued and won her jury trial, but Goodyear appealed.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Goodyear, ruling that her suit had to have been brought within six months of the beginning of the discriminatory practice in order to be valid. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the appellate court verdict. The fact she hadn’t known for years (and years and years) about the discriminatory pay scale had no bearing.

The bill states that the six-month window for filing suit for discriminatory pay restarts with each paycheck received while the pay discrimination is in place, as each paycheck is a new instance of pay discrimination.

Lily Ledbetter would have won her suit if this legislation had been in place at the time.

The Chron goes into more detail.

June 3, 2008

BONK and the bookers

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 5:42 am

The gang was over here tonight for dinner and a discussion of Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach.

Suffice to say, the comments around the table were less laudatory than the reviews we’d all read.

Dinner was a salad with a simple oil-balsamic dressing, Gorgonzola gnocchi (from Trader Joe’s) and sherry Parmesan shrimp (shrimp from Trader Joe’s). Dessert was chocolate macadamia nut brownies (macadamia nuts and chocolate chips from Trader Joe’s). Oh, did I mention the mixed salad greens were from Costco as was the brownie mix the brownies were based on? Wines from Trader Joe’s too. Sparkling cider from Costco. All well-fed thanks to Trader Joe’s and Costco.

Back to Bonk. The reviews are splendid. The actuality less so, in my opinion. Had we been set up by the wonderful reviews so any reality would be a let down? Maybe.

We discussed our favorite bits and our letdowns. Wisecrackery. Tedium. Wiseassery.

Mary Roach used to be a San Francisco gel, used to be a member of The Grotto, a writers’ collective that includes Po Bronson, ZZ Packer, Laura Fraser, others. Roach now lives across the Bay in Oakland and no longer is part of The Grotto.

The bookers are skipping July because too many of us will be out of town. August read is Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez. September (a week late because of Labor Day) will be PopCo by Scarlett Thomas. (The PCV in Ukraine told me to read Thomas’ The End of Mr. Y and I found it intriguing. He told me to read PopCo as well. Another booker had been told to read PopCo by someone who gave it rave reviews. PopCo it is.)

October will be Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin.

Spent most of today making the house presentable. Stacking my piles of stuff. Vacuuming. Cleaning. Sweeping. Rearranging. I’d figured out the menu over the weekend and made it simple enough that cooking wouldn’t be a stress.

Everything worked out just fine. I’m off the hook for hosting until later this year. (The nice thing about hosting, though, is you don’t have to find a way home after.)

The August location is over in the Mission. September is just up Montgomery, off Alta. October, November are up at the top of the hill.

March 2, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 2:57 am
 
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November 1, 2007

More cupcakes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 8:53 pm

Cupcake Bakeshop by Chockylit

July 22, 2007

C.E.O. Libraries Reveal Keys to Success – New York Times

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 6:38 am

By HARRIET RUBIN
Published: July 21, 2007

“Michael Moritz, the venture capitalist who built a personal $1.5 billion fortune discovering the likes of Google, YouTube, Yahoo and PayPal, and taking them public, may seem preternaturally in tune with new media. But it is the imprint of old media — books by the thousands sprawling through his Bay Area house — that occupies his mind.

“‘My wife calls me the Imelda Marcos of books,’ Mr. Moritz said in an interview. ‘As soon as a book enters our home it is guaranteed a permanent place in our lives. Because I have never been able to part with even one, they have gradually accumulated like sediment.’”

[...]

C.E.O. Libraries Reveal Keys to Success

[NYTimes login required]

January 6, 2007

The genius of Ray Harryhausen

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 1:19 am

from YouTube, a 4.5 min compilation of every Harryhausen critter and contraption, in chronological order.

[Caution: "soundtrack" of sorts. You'll probably want to lower your sound or turn it completely off.]

More Ray Harryhausen:

January 4, 2007

Cat herding. …

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 8:56 pm

I’d never seen this video before.

His nibs says, oh, that one. That was making the rounds a couple years back. Well, it’s news to me, and I like it.

Thanks, Halsted.

per her latest post (which I wholeheartedly agree with, which the younger younger guys can attest to, being crappy spellers in their youths) I had to check back to an earlier post to make sure I spelt her name right. Did. Phew.

January 1, 2007

Happy New 2007.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 10:22 am

More later.

For now, we’re home safely from a party in Palo Alto with friends of long standing.

We are really blessed with the friends we have. We’re pleased with life in general.

I’ve been a bit um. less than cheery for the season for a while now. (Duh.) So much so that I wondered whether a New Year’s spent elsewhere knocking back champagne with people who know me well enough that they might notice would be the way to go.

Turns out New Year’s with old friends is … good, real good, more than good, even if you don’t think you’re fit company for crowds.

Good to see old friends.

Happy New 2007. Próspero año y Felicidad.

I offered that to the gathered and someone said, “Prospero año? What does that mean?”

“I don’t know really. I may have learned my Spanish growing up in East San Jose, but that bit I learned from Jose Feliciano. It means, I think, a wish for you for a financially healthy — prosperous — new year.”

“Oh,” they said. “A healthy new year in all sorts of ways, then.”

Works for me.

A healthy New Year to you and yours.

More later.

December 30, 2006

Christmas memories lost and found

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 7:21 am

I love Laura Lippman‘s Memory Project, as I might’ve mentioned once or three (maybe four!) times before.

Her current memory burp has to do with her December holiday memories back when (she always deals first) and her questions: What’s the best gift you ever gave? What’s the best gift you ever got? And have you ever had to fake it?

I answered:

Over the years. So many presents. Given. Received.

The present I especially remember was … Manhattan Beach, CA. Christmas 1956. My dad was teaching at UCLA that year. We were living in a funky old house on the Strand, which (if my Web sleuthing is accurate) has been bulldozed for condos since the last time I swung by, maybe twenty-five years ago. Alas. Such a house. So many memories for such a short time.

We were only there for a school year. Come June 1957, my dad, with five children to provide for, left academia and signed on with Henry J. and Kaiser Aluminum. We relocated to Belem, Para, Brazil for the next two years or so, while Dad searched for bauxite, exploring the Amazon basin, whacking his machete through the jungles.

Christmas 1956. I was all of four years old and already not exactly your paint-your-fingernails sort of girl. Santa brought me a bright blue metal dump truck that really dumped. You could put four Campbell’s soup cans in the bed. And dump them out. And put them back in. And dump them out. I was in hog heaven.

Another memorable present was something my older brother gave me several years after we got back from Brazil. That Christmas, he took an old cruzeiro coin and polished it up then soldered a small brass safety pin on the back to make me a pin. I still have that pin in a place of honor in my jewelry box forty-some years later.

The best present I ever gave? I can’t remember, but this Christmas we had the serendipity to decide to give the older younger one a gift certificate to Borderlands, a terrific SFF/H store out on Valencia. I wanted to stick the gift certificate in a book and we found a signed copy of Pratchett’s first Johnny Maxwell book. I tucked the gift certificate into the book.

Turns out the older younger one had been searching for years for that title. He had the later Johnny Maxwells but wanted to start with #1 and hadn’t been able to find it. The fact that we’d found him a copy — signed — made his Christmas.

Thanks for the memories, Laura.

Answer yourselves here, folks: “What’s the best gift you ever gave? What’s the best gift you ever got? And have you ever had to fake it?”

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