Friday, December 22, 2006

Bah *$?!in' Humbug!

Well, my first mistake, I suppose, was going to Best Buy. (Well, first was probably waiting till the last minute, but I can blame my husband, the master procrastinator, for that.) Then I requested help from an employee.

Me: "Can you check to see if any other stores have it?"
Her: "Sure... Sunnyvale has one, but by the time you get there, they won't have it any more! *giggle*"
Me: "Can you check other states?"
Her: "Other states? You're going to another state?"
Me: "Yes, I'll be in St. Louis on Saturday."
Her: "St. Louis?...(looks at computer screen) We can check Nevada, Utah, Montana, Idaho..."
Me: "It's in Missouri. Can you check Missouri?"
Her: "Um, I'm not very good on my states."

I really hope this chick doesn't go to one of the high schools where I might end up sending my kid...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Shocking.

Most Americans have had premarital sex.

Even more shocking is the fact that someone from the Bush administration spoke conflicting statements!

This from today's article:

Wade Horn, assistant secretary for children and families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ... insisted there was no federal mission against premarital sex among adults.

"Absolutely not," Horn said. "The Bush administration does not believe the government should be regulating or stigmatizing the behavior of adults."

Then there's this, from a couple months ago:

"The message is 'It's better to wait until you're married to bear or father children,' " Horn said. "The only 100% effective way of getting there is abstinence."

The revised guidelines specify that states seeking grants are "to identify groups ... most likely to bear children out-of-wedlock, targeting adolescents and/or adults within the 12- through 29-year-old age range." Previous guidelines didn't mention targeting of an age group.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

GnR!!

That's right, I was at the Guns n Roses concert in Oakland last night! It was exactly what you would expect from a GnR concert: lots of fights in the crowd, the smell of marijuana thick in the air, and Axel appearing ready to pass out after most songs. There was also a lot of pyrotechnics and even columns of fire ("Yeah, yeah, cool! Heh heh!) that warmed the crowd. Not exactly a big crowd, but, hey. It has been, oh, 15 years since they came out with an album.

Lucky for us, they decided to focus on that new album after this concert date. But we got to rock out in a swanky box close to the stage, thanks to Regan's awesome job! So, no, I did not actually spend money to see Axel Rose and some other guys who kind of look like the original members of Guns n Roses.

Now, at the concert, I thought that the most amusing thing about the event was the fact that Axel needed teleprompters (FOUR of them) placed around the stage, just in case (including the "Hnh!" at the end of Welcome to the Jungle.)

But then, I read this.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It ain't the West Wing, but...

Is anyone but me still watching Studio 60? I wasn't really expecting it to turn into this romantic dramedy, but I kind of like it. Really, how could I not like anything with Matthew Perry and Josh Ly -- I mean, Bradley Whitford?

Also, does anyone find it confusing that Bradley Whitford's character's name on Studio 60 is Danny, and Timothy Busfield's characters name on the West Wing was Danny? At least they made things easy in one respect by naming Matthew Perry's character Matthew.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Barney's Holiday Extravaganza

As cute as Barney and Miss Beazley are, I'm astounded by this... use of taxpayer money.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Weather anomalies

It seems that every time I talk to someone who has visited Chicago, they report having experienced excellent weather -- no rain or lightning, no unbearable humidity. Coincidence? Or is Daley somehow controlling the weather now, too?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Has this man had a surgical chin dimple scoop?


Nathan thinks so. More importanly, he's a tool and his continued employment is an American tragedy....

The fact that Fox allows Joe Buck to do the World Series when Vin is sitting at home is not only a crime but a slap in the face to one of the finest broadcasters of all time, one who has dutifully witnessed some of the greatest moments in baseball.

Friday, December 01, 2006

John Cusack, aka milkshake mofo

Last night we watched The Ice Harvest, an odd, but watchable movie. It reminded me of the milkshake quote, excerpted from this blog, found searching google for the milkshake quote:

I think Chuck Klosterman, in his excellent book Sex, Drugs, And Coco Puffs, summed up Cusack's appeal best:

It appears that countless women born between the years of 1965 and 1978 are in love with John Cusack. I cannot fathom how he isn't the number-one box-office star in America, because every straight girl I know would sell her soul to share a milkshake with that motherfucker. For upwardly mobile women in their twenties and thirties, John Cusack is the neo-Elvis. But here's what none of these upwardly mobile women seem to realize: They don't love John Cusack. They love Lloyd Dobler.

Lloyd Dobler, of course, is the hero from the 80s flick Say Anything. A charming, lovable and sometimes goofy teenager, Dobler uttered one of my favorite movie quotes of all time, in a scene in which he tries to explain his future plans to his potential girlfriend's father:

I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

No sex for anyone

This is, um, interesting.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sunday, November 26, 2006

More corporations that want to hurt you

As this columnist says, this is a good time to think about how bad it really is to rack up credit card debt.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Priorities

This is the kind of anecdote that really brings home the disturbing nature of the consumer-focused American culture:

Charlo Sterio, a 58-year-old horse groomer from Miranda, about 55 miles south of Eureka, was first in line to wait for the doors to open at 5 a.m.

Having camped out in front of the store for 24 hours, Sterio passed up Thanksgiving dinner offers from friends in order to drive down in his RV and buy a $380 laptop, a $190 desktop computer, a TV/DVD combination unit and other gizmos at steep discounts.

"I'm pretty hungry," Sterio said as he was jostled in yet another line inside the store at the computer section. "I missed Thanksgiving dinner. I sacrificed that."

But Sterio had no regrets. "I can't be in two places at one time, and my first choice was coming to Best Buy to get the deals," he said.

Friday, November 24, 2006

"Black" Friday

Busy day, today! At one point there was cookie-baking, soup-cooking and candle-making going on simultaneously!

The only buying I did today was of lunch at Quiznos and some candle-making supplies at Michael's.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Turkey Day

I'm thankful that this baseball season eventually did end.

I'm thankful that OJ isn't going to get to be on TV again.

I'm thankful that I live in California and not here.

Mostly, I'm really thankful for my wonderful little boy, fabulous husband and cute doggie. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I hate Trader Joe's, too

So I went to Trader Joe's today to get this special pumpkin creme pie for tomorrow's Thanksgiving dinner with our neighbors. I was also shopping for the rest of our Thanksgiving stuff. Trader Joe's failed to provide fully HALF of all the stuff on my list. I don't understand why people shop there! You can't actually do your shopping there. They don't have pop. They don't have Cheerios. They have, like, two kinds of soup. Ugh. How do they stay in business?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

oops

Boy, sometimes it's hard to post every day! And yesterday, I could have ranted about this or pontificated about the Soriano deal.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I hate Dianne Feinstein

She embodies all that is wrong with San Francisco politicians. She believes the entire world revolves around San Francisco and the needs of the city trump everything else. Most San Franciscans believe this, but she has the power to impose this belief on the rest of us.

How dare a private business announce plans to leave the glorious city! How dare the cities that buy water from San Francisco ask that SF use those cities' own money to fix the broken water system! And how dare environmentalists even consider moving San Francisco's water (never mind the millions of little people who don't live in SF who use the water) so that a crime against the land of a national park be reversed!!!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Meteor shower bust

Arthur and I drove up to Skyline tonight to try to view the meteor shower. Some other folks who were up there claimed to see a couple shooting stars, but I guess I missed them. We all left after about an hour...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

This is pretty terrible

This is one misguided judge.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Horrors! I didn't post yesterday!

Luckily, this post, which links to one of the most disturbing things I've seen in the paper recently, makes up for it.

Monday, November 13, 2006

This is what's wrong with the world

A cyclist gets run over by a car, and then gets arrested. No charges for the incompetent driver, of course.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Andrew Hamm web memorial

Please check out this great website in tribute to our friend Andy.

Cool the Planet!

Cool the Planet: Tips #3 from Cool Families

The air is crisp and you've probably turned on your heater or furnace
by now. So here's the first Action of the month: Turn down your
thermostat by two degrees in winter. For each degree, you can cut your
energy bills up to 5 percent and keep 315 pounds of planet-heating
carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere in a year. Flex Your Power
recommends 68 degrees in winter, and 55 degrees at night and when
you're not home. Consider installing an inexpensive Energy Star
thermostat that you can program (set it to warm the house just before
you get out of bed!).

Second action of the month: Use less gasoline! This is probably one of
the biggest things we can all do to stop global warming. Here are a
few suggestions to get you started:
* Don't idle. Whether you're in the school's drop-off zone or on the
wrong side of road construction, turn off your engine and save gas and
money.
*Spend a few minutes talking with your family about how you can drive
less. Maybe you could set up a carpool for after-school activities.
Maybe you could walk to a nearby shopping center to run a few,
lightweight errands, or if you do drive, park in a central location
and walk to the shops within a quarter of a mile. Ride your bike with
your kids to do your errands or go to school.
*Consider if there's one day in your week or month when you can leave
the car in the driveway, choosing instead to bike to work, take the
bus to the movies, or stay at home relaxing. One less pound of carbon
dioxide is emitted for every mile you bike, walk or take public
transit instead of driving.

To learn more: Last month we talked about how much money and
electricity you can save by installing compact fluorescent bulbs. Old
thermostats and compact fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury.
Please dispose of them at free household hazardous waste days or the
San Carlos Recycling Center, 650-592-2411.

To do more: Consider supporting International Buy Nothing Day, held
the day after Thanksgiving. By staying home from crowded shopping
centers, you'll save gas, save money, and save on the gasoline used to
make products, package them and ship them. We'll give you some great
alternatives to shopping next month in the December issue of Cool the
Planet. In the meantime, check out these great resources on
simplifying the holidays http://www.newdream.org/holiday/simplify.pdf
and buying responsibly http://www.newdream.org/consumer/index.php.

Subscribe to the Cool Families bulletin for future tips and links at
this site: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Cool_Families_Bulletin/. If
you'd like to work with us to inspire positive action, join the group
here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CoolFamiliesRWC/.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Warming, schmarming

Great to see people are pointing to Chrichton's novel as a way to learn about global warming. As my hubby said, that's like reading "Disclosure" to learn about sexual harrassment. Yikes.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Farewell to Rummy

Here's a good one:

"We do know of certain knowledge that he [Osama Bin Laden] is either in Afghanistan, or in some other country, or dead."

Or, just stick with the old classic:

"Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know."

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The "Real OC"

I'm trying to decide if I can actually feel sorry for these parents or not. Yeah, the MTV presence is probably a distraction, but they're the ones who are letting their kids drink, go on shopping sprees and get plastic surgery.

"Anyone out of high school forced to watch more than an hour of “Laguna Beach” might possibly feel the urge to beat themselves about the head with a large stick."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Down with Pombo!

A lot of great stuff happened this Election Day, but this one may be the top.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Don't forget to vote!

...if you havne't already. (This isn't Chicago, after all...)

Monday, November 06, 2006

A's actually moving?!?!

OK, I know tomorrow is election day and all, but this is a really big deal! If it actually happens this time.

It would totally rule to have them so close!!!

(Btw, am I the only one who thinks it's incredibly freaking weird that the Chronicle is linking to Wikipedia???)

Prop. 87: YES (duh!)

If Exxon is opposed to it, you want it to happen.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Andy's obit from the Tracy Press

Andrew Hamm
June 7, 1960 — Oct. 30, 2006
Services will be Monday for former Tracy Press reporter Andrew Hamm, 46, who suddenly died Monday at his Tracy home.
A native of South New Jersey, Mr. Hamm had lived in Northern California for the last 26 years. A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, he served from 1978 to 1982 and was discharged as a corporal. Mr. Hamm covered city and police issues for the Press until about 1998, when he left for a position with the Tri-Valley Herald. He spent the last six years reporting for the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal.
Mr. Hamm loved sports, especially baseball, and he played on many recreation softball leagues as an adult. He was an avid fan of Bruce Springsteen. Mr. Hamm was a beloved brother and son and he will be missed by all who knew him.
He is survived by his mother, Jean Hamm; brothers, Douglas Bonnell, and his wife, Amanda, Glenn Hamm, and his wife, Annette, Frank Hamm, and his wife, Trish; sisters, Marianne Bonnell, Paula Hamm, Alice Baker, and her husband, Larry, Janet Brunetti, and her husband, Jon, Betty Carter, and her husband, Dale, Judy Barker, and her husband, Michael, Victoria Anderson, and her husband, Jim; former wives, Esther Gonzales and Zena Robbins; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, Frank Hamm.
Monday’s services will be from 2 to 4 p.m. at Hotchkiss Mortuary, 5 W. Highland Ave.

Published on Saturday Nov 04, 2006 in http://www.tracypress.com

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Andrew F. Hamm, 1960-2006


A good friend, good writer and good softball player.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Prop. 90: NO

It's almost election day. So it's time to talk about propositions. Let's start with 90. Proponents say this is supposed to limit eminent domain, which sounds like a great idea. Except it actually forces the government to pay people when they do something that damages their property values. (Does that mean Redwood City has to pay me because my street is unsafe and they refuse to do anything about it? Hmm, probably not.) This would basically decimate all publicly funded programs. So I don't know how this got on the ballot. Anyhow, it's bad.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Cheap Food Nation

"Throughout the European Union, laws have been passed to guarantee food safety and animal welfare, restrict the use of antibiotics among livestock, ban genetically engineered foods, encourage organic production, and begin the deindustrialization of agriculture. These laws do not mean a return to the 19th century. On the contrary, they encourage the wise, careful application of 21st-century technology, along with a sense of humility before nature."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

It's November

Regan says we're supposed to post every day.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Boy, are we lazy

So you really think you needed your car for that trip to the store today?
(ignore the first pic and scroll down for the really good ones)

Monday, October 30, 2006

suckPod

I hate my iPod. I believe I have posted about this before. I still hate it. Even more than when I first got it. Sheep that I am, it didn't occur to me to look at other MP3 players. Everyone's got an iPod; they must be great, right?

The click wheel is stupid. I always end up overshooting my goal when wheeling through menus. It's impossible to use it while driving, since you pretty much have to be looking at it to hit anything but "play" or "menu". And if I want to listen to the same album today that I was listening to yesterday, I have to go all the way through all the menus again and find the same playlist! Can the stupid little drive just remember what I was listening to when I hit pause? Noooo....

Those people won't stop until they make on that's microscopic. Maybe they should focus on making the normal-sized ones usable. I don't see why anyone needs one that's smaller than my Mini.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

St. Loser

Oh how I hate the Cardinals. If only I could have stayed in Europe for the entire month and ignored this pathetic mess completely.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The double-curse

We all know that the team with the most ex-Cubs almost always loses the World Series. But in this case, he was asking for it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Why Christians should care about global warming

"This concern for Creation Care as we call it, comes straight from God and the Holy Spirit who is regenerating people’s hearts to realize the imperative of the scriptures to care for God’s world in new ways. It comes from God Himself. ... The climate change crisis that we believe is occurring is not something we can wait ten years, five years, even a year, to address. Climate change is real and human induced. It calls for action soon. And we are saying action based upon a biblical view of the world as God’s world. And to deplete our resources, to harm our world by environmental degradation, is an offense against God. That’s what the Scriptures say. Therefore, if we are to be obedient to the Scriptures, there is no time to wait, no time to stall, no time to deliberate."

--Rev. Richard Cizik, Vice President for Governmental Affairs, National Association of Evangelicals

Find out where to see the movie.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Nice post by Nemesis today

Especially worthy of observation is the violent-rage-of-Clinton link.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sienna and the Tuscan countryside

We enjoyed our guided tour out to two old towns in Tuscany, and the
views of the country-side that we saw from the bus to and from our
destinations. The tour first took us to the town of Sienna, which is
one of the oldest towns in Tuscany, having been an ancient city
settled by the Etruscans, with stone buildings and walls before Rome
was more than a camp. Sienna is built on three hills, and has very
narrow streets running between old brick and stone buildings that are
4 and 5 stories tall, so the streets are in shade for most of the day.
They have an amazing Duomo (cathedral) with many elaborate stone
carvings on the floor, and the usual assortment of statues and
illuminated manuscripts, ornate gilded patterns on the ceiling, etc.

The central piazza of Sienna is very large, and shaped like a big
sea-shell. They have a horse race around the square every summer, in which the 17 different districts of the town each enter
one horse to compete. 40,000 people cram into the middle of the
square and the horses run around the outside. It sounds crazy, and
very hot. It is odd to think of living in a building that is 800
years old, or even 400 years old, like some of the people in Sienna
do.

Our tour then took us to San Gimignano, which is a very well preserved
medieval town. Partly it is so well preserved because it was
abandoned for hundreds of years after the black plague killed most of
the people in the town. It is famous for the tall towers that still
survive, packed in relatively densely.

While both towns were interesting, we felt rushed. I think this is the nature of any guided tour, but it seemed the best way to get out to Sienna. We wished we'd had more time there; as it was, we hardly had any time to explore in either of the towns. But it was certainly relaxing to spend a day not having to make any decisions about what to do and where to go, and talking to some people who were native English speakers for the first time in 10 days!

Back home

Our access to the Internet was pretty limited in Italy, but we're back in the states now, currently in St. Louis. We are heading back to San Fran tonight.

My in-laws asked -- and we keep asking each other -- what our favorite cities or sights were. I still have to say that maybe my favorite aspect of the whole trip was finally getting to use the German that I studied for so many years in high school and college -- but it also made me wish I knew more! In Prague most people we dealt with spoke English, but it was disconcerting going to Italy where even the hotel clerks didn't know much English. That was a challenge.

The main thing I didn't expect about some of the cities we went to was the amazing throngs of tourists and the accompanying trade of tourist crap. Florence in particular is overrun with guys who spread out a sheet on the ground and display knock-off handbags. They use the sheet as a bag to move to a new spot on a regular basis. There are also the stands selling t-shirts, hats, post cards and other junk (like cheap statues of the David and the ubiquitous boxer shorts with the corresponding parts of the David statue printed on them). At times it almost felt like we were in a Disneyland version of these cities instead of the real thing, since everything seemed geared toward tourists. After a couple days I was able to get used to it and notice but see past the crowds and appreciate the grandeur of the sights we were seeing. Still, our experience in Berlin was different. Though we did touristy things there, I also felt like we experienced some of what Berlin is like for Berliners; I don't think we got that in the other cities.

I'll post some more detailed summaries of what we did in Florence and Rome, drawing from Nathan's updates to our families from when we were there.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Florence

This morning we arrived in Florence around 9 a.m. We were on our train from Prague from abou 5 p.m. until almost midnight, when we switched in the Munich train station. That, so far, has been the most surreal of our experiences in Europe. On the train to Munich, I had been stretched out on some empty seats sleeping. Nathan woke me up when we pulled into Munich and we quickly gathered our things and detrained and learned out Florence train was on the other side of the station. As we quickly hauled our bags across the station, we were passed on all sides by streaming masses of young German Frauen und Herren in traditional German dress and lederhosen. Oktoberfest was supposed to have ended the day before; my theory is that the festival stays open an extra day for those who worked it, and the Bier drinking goes on ... I was half asleep through all this and kind of disoriented. I pulled out my little camera to try to capture at least one of these groups of crazy bier drinkers, but it was temporarily not working. So I'll never know if it was all just a dream...

From Munich we were in a car with a set of bunk beds, so we slept (surprisingly well) on our way to Florence. We took a cab from the train station to our hotel and were lucky to find our room ready, we checked in and showered and then set off to explore for the day. I was starving, and luckily we found a place that sold big, delicious slices of pizza for 2.50 Euros. In our wanderings we saw more African guys selling knock-off handbags and sunglasses than just about anything else. Well, except tourists, of course. My guidebook says Florence has about 320,000 residents and 9 million visitors per year. We passed over the 'gold bridge', which houses dozens of jewelry sellers. Shopping appears to be the favorite past time here. The tourist guide brochures even advertise guided, all-day shopping tours. I think maybe you can get some good deals here, if you're so inclined; designer jeans that would probably cost about $150 at Nordstrom are about 50 euros here.

On our way back to the hotel, Nathan commented that the city seemed dead outside of the tourist center. That was around 2 p.m. After resting at the hotel and venturing back out around6, we realized that we had been seeing the long lunch break; at 6 things were happening. So I guess the ideal schedule is : mornings at a musuem, than lunch, then a nap from 2-4, then shopping, then dinner!

Florence is very walkable, and our hotel is outside the city center, which I think is beneficial in that it shows us a more authentic Florence neighborhood as we walk back from meals, sightseeing and such. It is absolutely a lovely city.

Tonight we ate at a terrific restaurant that was recommended in the guidebook. I tried tripe, which is supposed to be a Florentine specialty. It was ok. I think Nathan's veal was better.

Tomorrow we hope to get up early and go to one of the famous museums before the que gets too long.

Prague

Sunday morning we left
our hotel in Berlin after eating a quick breakfast so we could get to the
Hauptbanhof (train station) for our 7:42 train. It arrived on time, of
course, and we took our seats and settled in for the four-and-a-half
hour trip. We napped some at the beginning, read our books, and looked
at the scenery. The part of Germany that we went through was quite
flat, and Berlin quickly gave way to farmland. No sprawl like in the
U.S. After the Czech Repub. border it started getting quite
mountainous. We even saw terrain that reminded us of Yosemite, as the
train tracks followed a river with sheer rock cliffs jutting up from
the banks.

Our train happened to arrived in the smaller of the Prague train
stations. We decided to take a cab to our hotel, since we didn't have
any idea how to do public transit here (we only took one cab in
Berlin, to the hotel this morning, because the buses weren't running
frequently enough that early on Sunday--only about $15 for the cab
ride). We were quickly spied by a cab driver who offered to take us to
our hotel for 500 Crowns -- about $30! I didn't realize the exchange
rate and that we should have bargained with the cabbie. Oh well. Now
we know.

Lunch was at a restaurant near our hotel. It was an Italian place, but
we had some Czech sausages in addition to our salads. The salads were
not quite like anything we knew -- I had tuna and Nathan had fried
calamari. His came in the shape of onion rings on a bed of cucumber,
super-thin-sliced onions, eggs, tomatoes, etc (mine was on the same
bed). It was good, but the beer and sausages were great.

After that we checked into our hotel room. Then we
took a bus down to the main part of the city and walked to the castle,
which is by far the most popular and most celebrated attraction in the
city. It's really a little city unto itself on a hill above Prague.
And it is filled with souvenir shops and restaurants just waiting to
ensnare tourists (most of whom speak English or German). Prague
reminds me of the Fisherman's Wharf area of San Francisco, with it's
throngs of tourists, souvenir shops and signs blaring -- mostly in
English -- things like "best ice cream in Prague" or "oldest pub in
Prague." In spite of all that, the castle is amazing. Construction
started in it in the 1300's. It took a couple centuries for it to be
mostly finished, I think. We visited St. Vitus (sp?) Cathedral within
the castle. It was crammed with people tilting their heads to take
pictures of the enormous stained glass windows, the towering ceiling
and the colorful light reflected through the glass onto the stone
walls. Nathan said it reminded him of Notre Dame, and I think I heard
someone else there saying the same thing. After that we wandered
through some of the rest of the castle and down through the gardens in
front. Then we walked down the main touristy drag and did a bit of
souvenir shopping. (Prague is known for its crystal and blown glass
items.)

Monday morning we had breakfast in our hotel -- included again, and
pretty similar to our breakfasts in Berlin, but we missed having
orange juice. After that we checked out of our hotel and took the bus
to the main part of Prague. It was a bit of an adventure. First we
couldn't get on the 133, the bus we took last night that took us right
where we wanted to be, because it was too full! So we waited a few
minutes and took the 207, which stopped a little short of where we
wanted to be, so we had to walk an extra half mile or so. The bus was a bit slow because of traffic jams -- a thing unknown in Berlin. The subway
and trams in Prague don't seem to cover a great area. The buses seem
to go just about everywhere, but I don't think we had a great transit
map. The streets are so windy in Prague that I had a very hard time
getting my bearings, and the language is so unfamiliar that it was
hard to remember the names of the streets we were on.

We spent the whole day wandering around the main part of Prague,
stopping here and there to sit and watch the people go by. Prague is
an amazing city, and a bit overwhelming. Walking the cobblestone
streets and alleys between the centuries-old buildings is a unique
experience. This is a day we won't forget; hopefully we'll be able to
come back here some day.

One last thought: Before we came to Prague, we heard lots of talk about how cheap
it is. From what we can tell, that's a bunch of hooey.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

German food

Germans make the worlds finest cars. They make the worlds most comfortable shoes. Where they do not excel is in the making of food.

Berliners should be on their knees thanking their Turkish neighbors every day for bringing them flavorful, scrumptious Doner and Kabap. In recent decades thousands of Turks have immigrated to Germany and many have settled in the bustling Kreuzberg neighborhood where we’re staying. You don’t have to walk more than a block from anywhere to find a stand or restaurant selling gyros and kababs. Some are better than others, of course, but they are all good.

I think Berliners must eat at the Turkish joints a lot, as well as at the many Italian places and other ethnic restaurants we saw. Because if they ate anything like the schnitzel I ate last night on a daily basis, we would see a lot more fat people in Berlin (we’ve hardly seen any) – or maybe just fewer people, because they’d all be dying of heart attacks. Schnitzel is breaded pork with cream sauce, and it often comes with French fries (which they call here by their French name, pommes frites). It is quite bland. And no one seems to be interested in serving fresh veggies or anything healthy with it.

That said, the Germans make wonderful breads and pastries. There are backeries on every block, selling rolls, loaves, danishes and big pretzels that are almost crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. There are soft, delicious rolls at our big breakfast every morning, and we can slather them with fruit compotes or make them into little sandwiches with deli turkey and swiss cheese slices.

We can sustain ourselves easily on the big breakfast buffet that’s included in the price of our room, the cheap, yummy and large Turkish gyros and the bakeries – including Dunkin Donuts.

Thoughts on German fashion

This city is mullet-crazy. We see mullets. Lots of mullets. Everywhere. On dudes, on chicks. The other morning we saw a small group of school kids on a field trip and at least two of them had mullets. And at least one of them was on a girl. Yikes!

I’ve noticed a lot of Pumas on German feet. Berliners also seem to like American baseball fashion: I’ve seen Yankees hats, a White Sox jacket and at the market in the Hermmanplatz across from our hotel, tie-dyed Dodgers tees for sale.

Women seem to like wacky boots; lots of embellishments, details, etc. Red boots over white pants seem trendy. I haven’t seen all that many folks wearing Birkenstocks. But, since I love Birkenstocks, I had to check out the Birkenstock store in the central district yesterday. They’re half as much here (since they’re made here!) as they are in the US. So I bought an awesome pair of purple thongs. Super-awesome.

The leggings rage seems to have caught on quick here. I’ve also seen miniskirts over cargo pants. Miniskirts just with regular stockings turn heads.

Another interesting thing I’ve noticed is brightly-colored shoes that match the top. Like bright pink or lime green. Very interesting.

Last day in Berlin

On our last day in Berlin we decided to take a trip outside the city to Potsdamm, where King Frederick the Great built his Schloss Sanssouci, or “palace without worries.” It’s about 40 minutes outside the city, but, as with the city itself, easily accessible via public transit. We spent a little more than two hours there and barely covered half the grounds. And we didn’t even go inside the castle, as this requires the purchase of an 8 Euro tour, which was sold out until three hours after we got there. So we walked around and explored the immense tiered gardens, strolled numerous hidden paths with wondrous statues of people and creatures and structures in the Rococo style -- even a huge obelisk. We toured the grounds of the Fierenkirche (Church of Peace) where King Frederick is buried. And we had a picnic lunch by a pond on a bench in the shade while we watched the tourists and day-trippers stroll by.

Yesterday afternoon we visited the Technikmuseum, a huge museum built on the grounds of an old train station. (As with many modern Berlin buildings, the architecture was impressive.) It houses boats, trains and planes of all eras. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of the exhibit information was translated into English.

Tomorrow morning we will check out of our hotel early and catch a 7:45 train to Prague. Aufwedersehen, Berlin!

Friday, September 29, 2006

More in Berlin

Here's Nathan's email to our family about our day.

Oh, and I'm happy to report that Dunkin Donuts in Berlin is as good as in Chicago!


This morning Kathy and I had another yummy breakfast at our hotel,
> then bought our U-bahn passes for the day. We were up early and the
> museums don't open until 10, so we took a walk and bought some cold
> remedy for Kathy at a drugstore and picked up some diet coke
> (Coca-Cola light here) and beer to drink later at a little grocery
> store. Then we dropped that stuff off at our hotel and took the U8
> line up to the Alexanderplatz U-bahnhof (subway station). We walked
> from there through the park that surrounds the Fernsehsturm, a very
> tall and bizarre-looking TV tower, and continued on to "museum
> island". We went to the Pergamon Museum, where they have giant
> reconstructions of a temple that was originally in the Greek city of
> Pergamon, and also of one of the outer gates of Babylon, the Ishtar
> gate, that was built during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II. We
> listened to the very informative audio tour in English, then wandered
> around to some other parts of the museum, including the wing holding
> Helenistic artifacts: statues, columns from temples, etc.
>
> We then walked back to the Alexanderplatz U-bahn station, stopping
> en-route long enough for Kathy to take some pictures of a giant
> fountain containing statuary of Neptune or Poseidon and assorted
> minions, and to get a drink and donut from Dunkin Donuts. Then we
> came back to the vicinity of our hotel, picked up a cheap lunch from a
> doner/pizza place across the street from our hotel (lots of yummy food
> for $4 euros!) and ate it and rested in the room a bit.
>

Thursday, September 28, 2006

In Berlin

We got to our hotel around noon yesterday. The window in our room overlooks a plaza that is surrounded by shops and some little take-out and fast-food restaurants. I was amazed
that there was a Dunkin Donuts down the block on the corner -- they
don't have any Dunkin Donuts in the Bay Area, but they do in Berlin. We still haven't tried it, so we'll see if it's as good as back in Chicago. We ate a quick lunch at a little doner stand (think Turkish gyros) down the street. It drizzled on and off all day.

After lunch yesterday we went to Checkpoint Charlie, which has an interesting
little history exhibit about the Wall, Cold War, etc, but is overrun
with people selling silly souvenirs and other touristy garbage. After
a short time there, Nathan got extremely tired, so we sat for a bit
and then took the U-Bahn (subway) back to our hotel. It's really easy
to take the U everywhere; we can see the station entrance from our
room and we've never had to wait more than 5 minutes for a train. And
it goes everywhere we've wanted to go so far, and probably everywhere
we'd want to go.

We got back to our hotel around 5 and immediately went to bed. We
slept almost 12 hours, and hung out in our hotel room until breakfast
time. Breakfast is included with the room and is a buffet, with eggs
one of three ways, lots of tasty bread, cheeses, lunch meats, fruits,
veggies, yogurt, and juice. There were also some...meat loafs? They
were these slices of something that reminded me of these soaps I've
bought called Primal Soaps. The slices are made of something clear
(fat?) and have bits of meat and maybe peppers and maybe olives
suspended in them. I tasted one. Very strange.

We were out of our hotel by 9 a.m. armed with a guidebook and our day
pass for the U-Bahn, purchased at the front desk. We got to the Mitte
(middle) section of Berlin, but only after being delayed by one stop
because of our car being crammed full of kids on some kind of field
trip; we couldn't get to the doors in time! But the next stop was
close enough to our destination, so we got off and walked a bit south
to Unter den Linden (Under the Linden Trees), a main promenade through
central Berlin. This took us to the Brandenburg Gate, which, if you
did a Google Images search, you would recognize from the fall of the
Wall, when the East Germans stood on top of the wall as it was coming
down in front of Brandenburg Gate. It's huge and has an amazing statue
on top.

Then we walked a little further to the Reichstag, which is more than
100 years old and is now one of the main parliament buildings. We took
an elevator to the top (after waiting "only" an hour) to view the city
from the glass cupola, which has at its center a structure that Nathan
thought looked like a device a villain in a Bond movie would use. I
thought it looked like a cousin of the Bean in Millenium Park. After
that we took a boat tour on the Spree River, which is the main river
running through the city. The tour covered the Reichstag, several
other government buildings, the spot where Berlin originated as a
fishing village in the 1300s, the Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral,
modeled after St. Peter's in Rome) and Museum Island. This includes
the major museums in Berlin, including the famous Pergamon, which we
plan to hit tomorrow. It's supposed to be amazing!

After the boat tour we walked around for a while looking for a lunch
place. We finally found an authentic-seeming German place where Nathan
ate Currywurst (a sausage with curry sauce on it, also commonly found
on the street for a Euro) and I had some goulash, which the waitress
warmed me was "really hot." I figured the German definition of "really
hot" was different than mine, and I was right. I enjoyed it. The restaurant had the
tables mashed together, so we sat by the open front window and some
businessmen on lunch sat next to us and offered to help us translate
the menu. Most people know English, it seems; we encountered another
friendly volunteer translator on the subway this morning.

It's about 4:30 p.m. and we're at our hotel relaxing for a bit. We
plan to go back out again in a bit and maybe check out Potsdammer
Platz, another big site in the main part of the city.

Here are a few pics!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Gross, yet cool


This is my upper right wisdom tooth, extracted today after it started to chip. Look at how the chipping has started to reveal the black decay of the cavity! Grody. Yet awesome.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Banned book week

Someone sent this to my mothers' club mailing list (um, "A Light in the Attic"?!? What is wrong with people...):

every year, the last week of september is the american library association's banned book week. 2006 marks the 25th anniversary of this event.

BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.

please consider reading a 'banned book' in the coming week (or anytime for that matter!) or read one with your child. at the very least, please just look at the list(s) of books that have been banned or challenged in some capacity. i think you will be suprised (judy blume books? where's waldo? to kill a mockingbird? where did i come from?)

i checked out the RWC public library site, and as far as i can tell, they're not doing anything to promote this.

if you''d like to read more, here are some helpful links:

ALA banned books main page
http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/bannedbooksweek/bannedbooksweek.htm

ALA explanation of banned/challeneged books
http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/bannedbooksweek/challengedbanned/challengedbanned.htm

ALA 100 most challenged books 1990-2000
http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=bbwlinks&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=85714

even more complete list of banned books on wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banned_books

some great quotes on censorship
http://quotes.forbiddenlibrary.com/

"We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people."
-- John F. Kennedy

"Books and ideas are the most effective weapons against intolerance and ignorance."
-- Lyndon Baines Johnson, February 11, 1964

"If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed."
-- Benjamin Franklin, 1730

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The real question is, what do they sound like?

My star's turned TURQUOISE!!!!

I just got this email from Ebay:

Congratulations! You've achieved a feedback rating of 100! With a Turquoise Star beside your user name, you are an active and well-established member of the eBay community.

We want to thank you for helping make eBay, The World's Online MarketplaceƂ™, a safe and vibrant place to trade. Your success is our success. We're cheering you on every day.

We hope you'll download your Turquoise Star Certificate and display it proudly. You've certainly earned it! (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you don't have it, get it here.)

Again, congratulations on your success, and keep shooting for the stars!


Meg Whitman
President and CEO, eBay Inc.

Um, are you KIDDING me?!? An achievement certificate?!?!?!? Since when did Ebay's marketing become the purview of second graders? What acolossall waste. What were they thinking?!?

Wait 'til Next Year

A documentary on the Cubs' futility premiers on my birthday.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Is it possible to forget?

If you were older than, say, 8 in Spt. 2001, I don't know how you can not have every image of that day burned onto your brain. I remember hundreds of little details, even from before I heard the news. The perfect blue of the sky as I rode my bike down Foothill Expressway. That second set of rings on my cell phone from my husband in our apartment in Menlo Park. Stopping after a light and taking the cell phone out of the little pouch on the back rack of my new Bianchi. Listening to the message and not believing. The sign-off of that message: "Be careful." Calling friends who had relatives in New York. Looking up at the plane-less sky.

I still feel a twinge of something -- dread? -- every time I see a jet high in the sky. I still have regular nightmares where I see a plane crash.

I know that sad, sick feeling I felt when my husband and I walked past Ground Zero during our trip last spring to see a game at Yankee Stadium. (Why do people pose for pictures in front of those fences?)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bob is the man.

Yet another of Kathy's blogs.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Screw it

I give up. I can't do it. Maybe Jason is right about the aspartame (sp?) being addictive...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Must...have...pop...

Yesterday was a rough day. I wonder if there's some substance in Diet Pepsi besides caffeine that makes me addicted to it?!? I really don't think it's the caffeine. No headaches yesterday, just a strong desire to drink Diet Pepsi!!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Another whole day!

Yes, I went another whole day without Diet Pepsi. I didn't have any caffeine of any kind, either! Just a couple diet root beers and some regular lite beers...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

It's rough without the DP

I've had some Diet Pepsi (or Diet Coke*) each day this week, but just with lunch. I haven't broken down and bought a 12-pack for the house. At some point this week I will pick a day and make that my dry day.**

*Diet Pepsi is always preferred, but Diet Coke will do in a pinch. If it's from a soda fountain (like today from Una Mas) Diet Coke is almost as good as Diet Pepsi.

**Dry is a bit of misnomer, since I drink more water (another reason to quit) when I'm not drinking pop, and I actually pee more, even though caffeine is supposed to be a diuretic.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Mmm, life-giving pop!

I went ahead and had another diet pop with lunch today. Not having it in the house really helps to reduce the dependency. Perhaps I will make it my goal to go completely without for another day -- tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A whole day!

Without Diet Pepsi!

Yes, I made it a whole day without a single sip of Diet Pepsi. Amazing. Today at lunch I had a big fountain drink of it to take the edge off the headache. Overall, I felt quite good today. Not sluggish, not headachy. Yay!

Monday, August 21, 2006

My head hurts.

It's been hurting since late this morning. I'm assuming it's the (lack of) caffeine. I picked up a bottle of something organic called "Honest Tea" at Whole Foods. It says it has half the caffeine of coffee, which isn't much. The taste isn't much, either. I like the Passion tea I got at Starbucks yesterday during my bike ride a lot better.

Anyone got a no/low-cal beverage with caffeine they love that ain't carbonated or coffee-flavored?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Pop

I'm seriously considering giving up Diet Pepsi. For those who know me relatively well, you know that this is a big deal. I am totally addicted to Diet Pepsi. Not necessarily the caffeine, though; I just really, really like it.

What spurred this?
1) We ran out today.
2) This crazy but brave chick inspired me a bit.
3) I was planning on doing so when we go to Europe next month (I figure it's not as ubiquitous there).

So I had two cans this morning before my bike ride, and that's it today. We shall see if I can get through tomorrow -- an entire day!!! -- without DP.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

How do you spell blog?

Apparently the word "blog" is not in the Blogger spell-checker's dictionary. (It wants you to replace it with "bloc".)

Neither is blogger.

More mommy stuff

I'm thinking about focusing this blog on mommy issues, or maybe starting a new blog for that purpose (because drastically changing this blog would disappoint so many of you readers).

Any thoughts on that? To start another thread about controversial mom stuff, I read this article in Child today. "How many kids should I have?" The basic gist of the article seems to be: two or three is ideal.

(Any RC moms still reading after my recent post about the club?)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Laird Hamilton

There is no reason for this guy to wear shirts. In fact, it should just flat out not be allowed.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

This is the place for crazy extremists to vent!

Someone in my mothers' club forwarded some wacko bs about the "homosexual agenda" to the club list. Someone else got irked and said, among other things, that GW Bush is an idiot. I think was speaking a little quickly there. I think what she meant to say was that he's the worst president in the history of the U.S.

Just to get things started.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Groovy blog by a groovy chick

Regan, Linda and I went shopping on Saturday. I think the equivalent in guy land is playing video games together :-)

Friday, August 04, 2006

My friend wrote a book!

Here she is with her boyfriend/co-author and the book.

We went to college together. She is living every English major's dream.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Our society is truly sick.

As if it weren't hard enough to be a mom, we get these outrageous, schizophrenic messages: If you don't or can't breastfeed, you're a bad mom, but if you're lucky enough to be able to nurse your child, it's gross and we don't want to see it.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

They named Dana after him, you know...

Last night I was watching the Dodger game (actually mostly listening to it so I could hear Vin Scully) and this thought occurred to me: "Oh my god. Someday, Vin Scully is going to pass away. Then what? What will life be like in a world without Vin Scully?" I think when that happens the Dodgers should just not be on TV anymore. Or they should, but there should be no commentary. Just silence. Or maybe just jazz music.

He's 78 years old, btw.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Why the White Sox win

I think it's the names. Tonight they have guys in the lineup named Pierzinski, Mackowiak and Podsednik. If the Cubs still had Grudzielanek, they'd be in this thing.

(Yes, I know I've misspelled most, if not all, of these names.)

Friday, June 30, 2006

Operation Rescue on Ann Coulter

"I just wish for a pastor to preach with the unabashed candor of Coulter. It is too bad that Coulter wears a dress, or I’d toss her name in the hat for the consideration of the Pastoral Search Committee."

Saturday, June 17, 2006

40,683

That's how many sun-dummed bums watched the team with the third worst record in majors, the team that has scored the least runs of any team in all of baseball lose in a game in the Chicago heat and humidity yesterday.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

One less car

Hey, don't forget about my other cool blog!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Movies and TV

Don't see Cars. It is a total waste of time.

Rescue Me is the best show on television. That's right. Sopranos, 24, Lost. Nope. Rescue Me.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

If Al Gore were president

Great video! If it weren't so amusing I'd be crying...

Monday, June 05, 2006

So I finally read The DaVinci Code

It was an enjoyable read. And interesting. I guess now I understand why all the Christians are so agitated about it. But maybe it's just because they're worried that it's true.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Um, the what?!?



That's right, the Los Altos Gay Pride Parade. I missed the parade itself, but there was some sort of little gathering afterwards that I saw toward the end of my bike ride.

I like the Queerios.

Also, I'm pretty sure Jesus hated tolerance.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Knife attack in Berlin

If this had happened in the US, the kid would have had a gun and killed lots and lots of people.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Toad has quite a point

An estimated 2 million babies die within their first 24 hours each year worldwide and the United States has the second worst newborn mortality rate in the developed world, according to a new report.

"American babies are three times more likely to die in their first month as children born in Japan, and newborn mortality is 2.5 times higher in the United States than in Finland, Iceland or Norway, Save the Children researchers found."

Japan offers free health care services for all pregnant women and babies while only the rich and insured get adequate health care in the United States.

This poses a paradox for conservative types who claim they are pro-life yet don't seem to care about life after it has been born...

Friday, May 19, 2006

True words from the NYT

"Lost" is the sudoku of network television, a brainteaser that puzzles but does not enlighten.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Just got back from Hellinois (to paraphrase Credence)


This photo is not an example of the extreme gentrification that has obfuscated much of what was once the north side of Chicago with Pottery Barns and Gymborees. It is, instead, one of the few things that is more-or-less the same as it was 10 years ago: my old apartment. Changed is the retail establishment on floor one: a nail salon (as opposed to a nail spa) instead of a plumbing fixture store. But the 100-year-old building still looks like it houses folks who don't work at fancy firms downtown or dot-coms in Bucktown. Back when I lived there it was $480 for a spacious, if a bit decrepit, two-bedroom. The condos going up around the corner start at $300k. Ah, real estate.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Biking Redwood City

Check out my new blog. Arthur and I are trying to leave the car in the garage for a whole month!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Weird-o letters to the editor

Check out the WalMart one. Even if you like WalMart, you have to admit that it's pretty weird that they were ringing up her purcahses while -- oh, it just has to be read to be believed.

(The high school parking one is weird, too)

*Nemesis hat-tip*

The least of all evils

Interesting Chron story on Toyota

A good point from Romenesko

Real journalism is difficult and bloggers want no part of it

Philadelphia Inquirer

Jonathan V. Last says bloggers are always saying how easy journalism is,
yet very few of them have ever really practiced it. "Real journalism --
the practice of adding to the store of public knowledge by reporting
news -- is a difficult, thankless, and often unpleasant task. Bloggers
want no part of it. Everyone wants E.J. Dionne's job; no one wants to be
Michael Dobbs. ...Taken as a whole, the Old Media performs an enormous and
valuable function that the New Media is neither able, nor inclined, to
emulate."

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Good news!

I'm looking forward to the $5 mark.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Bay Area journalism heads further down the toilet

The Bay Area newspaper landscape could undergo a seismic change if Denver's MediaNews Group purchases from Sacramento's McClatchy Co. the San Jose Mercury News, the Contra Costa Times and two other papers in a $1 billion deal that a published report said might happen this week.

MediaNews, the country's seventh-largest newspaper publisher, owns the Oakland Tribune, Marin Independent Journal and several other local papers. It would immediately become the biggest newspaper operation in the Bay Area if it were to acquire the Mercury News and Contra Costa Times.

...

A MediaNews purchase could face such obstacles as antitrust scrutiny, labor opposition and shareholder inquiries about whether McClatchy got the best price. But experts said a deal would probably overcome those hurdles.

...

Selling the papers to MediaNews would help McClatchy raise more than $2 billion from the sale of the 12 papers. And it would provide MediaNews and its CEO, William Dean Singleton, with a more powerful presence throughout the Bay Area.

Singleton has built a newspaper empire through a strategy of "clustering" -- owning groups of nearby newspapers that can share resources like printing presses and staff, and can offer a larger circulation reach for advertisers.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Cubs are screwed

I was actually starting to feel the tiniest bit optimistic in spite of myself. And now this. Serves me right.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

NYTimes: Billionaire sells Jackie Kennedy's apartment

The $32 mil place was too small, apparently.

I just stumbled on this story on the NYT web site. This quote left me dumbstruck:

Mr. Koch said that his wife is now expecting their third child in June, and Ms. Onassis' former apartment will be too small for their expanded family. "There's just no way we could fit another child in that apartment," he said.

The Fifth Avenue apartment has four bedrooms, two dressing rooms, a staff room, a library, living room, dining room, conservatory, two terraces, three fireplaces, five and a half bathrooms and a wine room, according to a floor plan provided by the broker who will be selling it, Leighton Candler, a senior vice president of the Corcoran Group.


The article doesn't say what the place's square footage is, but it's probably twice that of the biggest house owned by anyone who reads this...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sunday, April 09, 2006

We are screwed

Is anyone who isn't in the oil industry really still doubting global warming?

And, if the Dodger game I have tickets to gets rained out this Saturday, can I sue the Bush Administration?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Daylight Savings Time


This story is a little over the top, but has a point. I identify mainly with its discussion about rising with the sun. When my in-laws took us on a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon two years ago, we rose each day around 5:30 (just as the sky was lightening) and went to bed each night just after the sun went down. It felt so natural, just like it felt natural to walk around on the sandy banks of the Colorado River barefoot. I so wanted to cling to this natural wake-sleep schedule when we got home, but it was impossible. Oh well.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Shameless bating


This is mostly aimed at Nemesis, but others are more than welcome to comment as well.

Over the last year and a half, I have visited the Los Angeles area at least half a dozen times to visit my sister-in-law and her adorable (see pic) little girl (not to mention my best friend from high school). My expectations were not high, given the venomous hatred many of my fellow Bay Area residents harbor for our neighbors to the south. However, I have found the area to be just fine, with lots of culture to be had, in addition to the natural beauty and climate. On the downside, there certainly is a lot of traffic. But there is here, too. Down there, there are freeways that always have bad traffic, but we have places like that up here, too (880, anyone?).

So, L.A.-haters, what is it that makes SoCal so bad? Or is it just some bizarre NorCal inferiority complex?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

How to spot a baby conservative

Remember the whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints? Chances are he grew up to be a conservative.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Speaking of presidents...

and we're talking fictionally now, who would you vote for?

MacKenzie Allen
Jed Bartlet
Charles Logan
David Palmer

Others?

2008 is just around the corner...

I heard a bit on NPR the other day about Hillary as a presidential candidate. If you had asked me five years ago if I thought a woman would get ellected president in the next 20 years, I would have said "no." Maybe I'm not clued-in on this, or maybe things have changed. Anyway, it looks like this is now a strong possibility.

Thoughts? And who are the other viable candidates starting to emerge?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

At the movies...

Saw Brokeback Mountain today. It is not overrated.

By the way, if you are thinking about seeing "Memoiurs of a Geisha," please read the book first. There is no way the movie could be as good (though I haven't seen it). Same applies to "Girl With a Pearl Earring," from a couple years ago, and I have seen that one.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"Mind-boggling" Idol

Yes, it certainly does boggle the mind.

When I saw the title of the graphic "Who's Watching American Idol?", I was really hoping I would just see the word "morons" when I clicked the link.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

We are solar!


Last month we had solar panels installed on our roof. So far, the system has generated 1.21 gigawatts! Just kidding. It's 245 kilowatt hours(kWh). Put one way, that's enough electricity to power 10 100-watt lightbulbs for 245 hours. Put another, our house typically uses 900 kWh per month.

Of course, the system will generate much more electricity during the long, cloudless days of summer.

We got our system from REgrid Power, btw.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

My favorite show is ending...

But one of my old favorites is coming back!

It makes sense for the West Wing to bow out now. No one was really interested in seeing another president and his staff move in. To me, at least, the characters are the strongest aspect of the show.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Carpool lane (il)logic

A driver of a Prius, which gets about 50 mpg on the freeway, is allowed to drive in the carpool lane by him or herself. A driver of a regular car, which gets, say, 25 mpg, has to have at least one other person in the car besides the driver to get in the high-occupancy vehicle lane. So, wouldn't it stand to reason that a person driving a vehicle that gets, say, 13 mpg have to have at least four people total to drive in the HOV lane?

What a baby!

You'd think he'd have better things to do.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

More whining about the "liberal media"

I haven't heard the Righties make suggestions about what the news orgs do about the "bias." As far as I know, editors aren't asking would-be reporters where they stand on gays, guns and abortion; I'm sure we'd be hearing about lawsuits if they were. I have heard it suggested that most reporters are Dems because Repubs generally are interested in more lucrative fields. Perhaps Carlson and other complainers would favor a conscription program forcing Young Republicans to apply for jobs at their local papers that pay $25,000 a year.


Courtesy Romenesko:

Claim: Everyone in journalism is pro-choice, favors gay vows

Daily Nexus

Tucker Carlson and Eric Alterman at a UC-Santa Barbara debate:

CARLSON: "Everybody in journalism is pro-choice, pro-gun control and for
gay marriage. When you only have people [in the media] that all think the
same, you do not have good coverage. You can’t cover America until you
have a newsroom that looks like America … who thinks like America."

ALTERMAN: "If we had a liberal media, then 44 percent of Americans would
not have believed the Sept. 11 bombers were Iraqis. We get an extremely
biased version of the news."

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Isn't it ironic

The other day I saw a "W '04" sticker on a Prius.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Shocking!

Campaign volunteers get cushy city jobs? In Chicago? Noooo.....