vistas

We have a nice view from our house on the north side of San Bruno Mountain. Actually, ‘nice’ is relative. When I was living in Pacifica, one of my near-daily treasures was looking out over the Pacific Ocean, usually on my way home from work when I went over the hill from Daly City on Highway 1. I liked to call it ‘the mighty Pacific Ocean’. I did a calculation once about how much of the Pacific a person could see from the coast on a clear day. It seemed like a lot but it was only something like one tenth of one percent. It’s a big ocean!

The only water in our view now is a bit of the San Francisco Bay. The view we notice is dominated by the San Francisco skyline which in turn is dominated by the SalesForce tower. I have to say that as weird as that building seemed when it was going up – the best sobriquet I heard was ‘the butt plug’ – it catches the light at sunrise and sunset in interesting ways. I started leaving my camera out so that I could snap a picture now and again to document the variety.

I’m going to include a few here with the warning that they might not look like much; they’re better splashed across a big computer screen. Nevertheless, here they are:

Yes, this one is shaken. I’ve got a tripod now.

And here’s a reference photo in normal daylight:

the lean-to

The humble lean-to. In many ways it’s the backbone of our operation at Davies Hall. No one really knows who made the first one. The name is goofy but apt. A platform just narrow enough to fit through doorways has about a 5′ high leaning structure on one side made out of 1X3s.

I believe the lean-tos were originally made to hold folding tables which they do very well. A bit of rubber matting on the base of the platform stabilizes the edge of the table so it can lean against the slats without sliding anywhere. 5 tables can be stacked side by side and 2 or, in a pinch 3, more can go on top of them. The lean-to is about 6′ long so they can hold 8′ tables easily.

There are no handles so moving them is a matter of grabbing the end of the top-most slat and pushing or pulling it in the direction desired. It’s usually a two person move, but, depending on the load, a single person can move them safely.

Because they’re so versatile, they get used for all kinds of things: medium sized percussion instruments, microphone stands, pipe and drape hardware. Pretty much anything that is larger than a hand carry is plopped on a lean-to and rolled to wherever it has to go. Lately a couple have been co-opted by the audio and video people for cable storage. They can be rolled out to near the action so as to reduce the total number of steps required.

James Gleick again

I’ve been trying to read James Gleick’s latest book Time Travel: A History. I say trying because I’ve had great difficulty in recent months focusing on books. (I’ve had great difficulty focusing on almost everything since the lockdown, but that’s another story. Pandemic brain.)

I take a book from the library and then don’t read it. Sometimes I read a few pages and put it down and never come back to it. I’ve done better with Gleick for some reason but I still haven’t finished it and I am afraid the library is going to repossess it soon.

One problem is that Gleick, like Stephenson, is such a deep thinker that he requires good concentration to extract value from the book. with

Stephenson’s novels it’s a lot easier because there is a plot. Gleick is a science writer. One reason I liked his book Chaos so much was that it had a narrative. Time Travel, perhaps deliberately, does not.

Gleick shows that time is a concept that humans both understand and do not understand. Even the measurement of time, which we in Western civilization like to think is straightforward, is dependent on consciousness, which leads to memory, which for me today leads to Zach. Nowadays, I think of Zach as being in the past but his memory is with me in the present. In a way he is as alive in my memory as he ever was before when I was not in his presence.

The future we tend to take on faith. After Zach was killed I remember telling people in grief sessions that I had to rewrite my future without him. There was a hole where I had expected him to be. So the future we expect is not assured. This is hardly profound but Gleick presents it engagingly.

I haven’t finished the book yet but I think there is some humor in reviewing a book about time before finishing it. Gleick even comments on how books are time machines themselves in that the reader can go back and forth through the pages if s/he desires.

Of course, the memory of Zach is not the same as having Zach alive in our now world. I can experience Zach by reading his journals and getting wisdom from them, but experiencing his living presence would generate different wisdom. So, I am sad to not be able to experience Zach’s different wisdom in my now. I take comfort in doing my little part in transmitting his now static wisdom into the future.

site maintenance

I don’t know why I decided to do some site maintenance today but I did. I used to be into all the nuts and bolts of computers and operating systems. Now . . . not so much.

Worrying about updating my PHP version and making sure I had HTTPS enabled . .  feh!

I did it all but it was difficult. There is so much you can do but, honestly, the site does what I need. I ran a backup and a couple of other things but that’s about it. Thanks to all those who read these posts.

two months!

Holy maroly, it’s been almost two months since I posted here. Is anyone still checking on me here? If you have been, thank you. I’m going to try to briefly explain what has happened.

Sepi and I moved into our new home Sept 1. It was her home for many years but she has only lived in a small apartment in the house for around 9 years. The larger part of the house has been rented to a succession of tenants. Our first day was spent ripping out the old carpet and hauling new flooring up to the main living area. Two weeks later, I moved myself out of my apartment. The floor wasn’t done so everything was provisional.

I worked on the floor as I had time but I was quite busy with work so it went slowly. It wasn’t until the first weekend of October that we cracked Sepi’s stored furniture in the garage and brought it upstairs

(draft from November 2018. Now I can let two months go by without writing about it. I still feel bad, but I don’t write about it.)

gifts

We’ve gotten a lot of gifts for our wedding but today I want to talk about some gifts we gave to others. Specifically, a gift we gave to our officiant, Willie Brown.

Willie, of course, is the classic man who has everything. Sepi and I had coffee on Sunday with another politician who knows Willie. We asked what she thought. She was a stumped as we were. ‘A tie?’, was all she could come up with.

We went to Macys, then Nordstrom, looking for ties without success. Even the nicer ones were made in China and I wasn’t going to give Mayor Willie Brown a tie made overseas. Sepi texted back to her friend our dilemma and got back an address in the outer Sunset.

Well, it’s Sunday afternoon after 3 pm. Our meeting with Willie was the next day. We didn’t want to wait the gift until the day of the wedding; there would be too much else happening then. So, we headed out to the Sunset.

In the Sunset nowadays there are mini neighborhood centers all over. This was one of them. A block with a hip restaurant, a gift shop, a church, a yoga place, a surf shop . . . and another little shop with what appeared to be more gifts.

I still had ties on my mind so I was puzzled when I went in. I didn’t see any ties! Well, I was here, I might as well see what they had.

It wasn’t a gift shop, except in the very broad sense of the word. It was the shop of an artist couple: a painter and her print-maker husband. Their paintings and prints were all San Francisco themed. Sepi liked the one that was an image of a bear holding a map of California with the slogan ‘I Love California’.

(a draft from 4 days before the wedding. Amazing that I got even this much done. I was sure I had a photo of Willie and Sepi and the painting but I can’t find it.)

Christmas

I feel like I should recognize Christmas with a post. I don’t have much to say, though. I got out a couple of good posts last week about how I’ve been dealing with the season.

I did get it together to find gifts for

(a draft from December 2016. We’ll never know who the gifts were for! Could be a lesson there. BTW, this Permalink is titled ‘Christmas-2’ so there’s another post about Christmas somewhere.)

writing

So as soon as I put in the title of this post, I get what’s called a ‘permalink’ which seems to be the filename of the post in the mysterious mess which is this blog page(s). Today is ends in ‘writing-2’. Oh, have I used this title before? A quick search shows me that I have 15 instances of using the word ‘writing’ including once in a title.

Hmm. I was going to ruminate on writing in general, how a writer must write in a sort of vacuum for a long time before he or she gets any feedback as to the value of said writing. It shouldn’t be a surprise. Most public activities have thousands of hours of preparation before anything is seen by the public. Musicians, truck drivers, baseball players, secretaries

(draft from December 2016.)

‘I don’t know how you do it’

‘I don’t know how you do it.’

It’s a statement I’ve heard many times since returning to work after Zach’s death. I mention it now because of something Jeremy talked about in his post.

He talked about having to go to the scene of an accident where someone was killed and noticing the similarities to the scene of Zach’s, yet not giving in to grief because he had a job to do.

(a draft from September 2016. Jeremy was still working for the Atlanta Fire Department at this time.)