What's New? 2002-10

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What's New? 2002-10

 Thu 31 October 2002 - Halloween / All Hallow's Eve
  Happy Halloween from our family! This is what we looked like as we left our house for the kid's Halloween programs at the Upper Noe Rec Center in the morning and Collingwood in the afternoon. In-between we had lunch at Mifune, in Japantown. (I've uploaded this after spending a couple of great hours in the Halloween crowds in the Castro. There's no downtown events this year - I guess it never caught on - and so they're expecting over 300,000 attendees in our neighborhood. Right now, at 23:30, the sounds of helicopters has been going on for at least a half-hour.)

Our family

Since kilts have been on my mind of late, I thought I might share with you some Halloween greetings from yesteryear, each with a kilt or kilt-like bit of clothing in the picture. (I've written out the text from the postcards so that search engines might find them.)

We'll stir the apples round about,
And watch the one who gets them out.
The time goes past with many a shout
At Hallowe'en

Carry a Black cat in a Pumpkin Shell
And a White Owl on your Right Shoulder
Of the Witches and Goblins you break the Spell
And your Sweetheart's Love will not Moulder

 Wed 30 October 2002
  Took the whole family to the Ranger Half Dome (or halfdome as others have written it) - David Lathram - memorial beach burn this evening. It was at Ocean Beach, stairwell no. 28 (the southernmost access stair). One walks onto the beach and then turns yet a bit more south (left), around a small dune. Lila hasn't liked darkness these last two days, so she and Rose slept in the car while Isaac and I grabbed the wood we'd brought from home and headed onto the cool sands.

Ranger Half Dome

We were punctual, and got to witness the start of the bonfire by flame-thrower. Isaac loved it. It reminded him of the Decompression Party the weekend before last. Ranger Lefty was there, and Badger, and some of the communications people, and many of the Gigsville crowd. Twenty, twenty-five, or so.

It was a beautiful evening for a burn. The air was about 57° F (13° C), the breeze was gentle, and the sky was clear and starry. The fire took the chill from the air, and made it quite comfortable; easy to relax. We told tales, munched snacks, and shared libations. My favorite was scotch & playa dust.

Isaac loves fire. Every minute or two he was tossing small and large pieces of wood. He said he was a "Burning Man boy". Makes a father so proud :-) This afternoon he wanted to know why we'd be going to the beach. I told him it was to celebrate a friend, something like a birthday party except the guest of honor couldn't make it. He thought that was a fine idea.

Just after I've posted this I read a story about the California Coastal Records Project. So I head over there to grab an image to show the burn location (marked by the 'X'). Stair 28 is marked as well. You can see how close we were to the intersection of Lincoln Boulvard and the Great Highway.

burn location

Image, of course, used without permission.

 Tue 29 October 2002
  The change to Daylight Savings Time has just been brutal this year, for us. We have no troubles changing time zones when we travel, but this little switch has beaten us down. The kids - and therefore we - are up a bit after the sun is up, and they've been crashing early. It hasn't helped that Lila has a fever of 103.9° F (39.9° C) this evening; it's just been another wrench tossed into the cogs of the machine. Sigh.


iPod buddha I just love this image.

Purported to be one of a thousand custom-engraved Apple iPod MP3 players ordered by the Buddha Gates Monastary so their monks can download and listen to the sutras, it's been revealed as an April Fools joke.

I guess it takes time for the translation from the original Chinese to make it to English. It's almost November, for goodness sake!

Nonetheless, the image tickles me. I hope you like it too.

 Wed 23 October 2002
  You may already have seen Felicia's house in Alameda; she and Adam bought it this year (2002). Dad just sold his house in New Jersey and is coming out west. Dad spent last week here, looking for a place to rent; to see how the left coast is as a place to live. Rose and I found four apartments near our house; Dad visited one only a few dozen feet from our place - but he loved Alameda. Felicia showed him the beach :-) In a week of looking we found a good first choice and an adequate back-up. We faxed, they faxed, and Dad got his first choice.

Dziadziu renting in Alameda

Here's the first look at Dziadziu renting in Alameda property; we call it The Mansion.

 Tue 22 October 2002
  From Joseph Pred, Emergency Services Operations Chief, Black Rock City:
It is with great sadness for me to report that David Lathram, Medic 233, aka Ranger Half Dome, an ESDR RN and Ranger for many years passed away yesterday of unknown causes in his home. He was a great contributor to the Burning Man community and to Gigsville, his home away from home!

Please reflect for a moment his contributions, and know that we will have one of our own to honor in next years flag and plaque ceremony.

He will be missed!

It took me a few days to figure out who Half Dome actually was. In the blur of Burning Man sometimes I don't make the connection between their playa names and faces. Then it came to me. Half Dome and I chatted every year for a few minutes (at least). This year he asked permission to enter the burn perimeter at my station. We recognised each other, hugged, and as I led him to a good vantage point we had our annual chat, squatting in the dust, sharing a moment. He was so proud of the work he'd done helping build the Man; the mechanical failure of the Man's arm during the burn saddened him. As we ended our chat he handed me a cigarette lighter with the words "Half Dome - Gigsville" festooned on the side. I guess we won't be chatting next year. :-(

 Sun 20 October 2002
  Today I took the family to 19th & Tennessee for the Burning Man Decompression party. (It's actually named the Burning Man Flambé Lounge annual HEAT THE STREET FaIRE!) It's open from noon 'til midnight; all of us went in the afternoon and Isaac and I returned after dark.


During the day it was a bit too loud for the environment. And of course there's that mental disconnect of seeing theme camps and people all dressed up as they were on the playa in a city setting, complete with grass and trees. Of course one camp brought a crate of playa dust for liberal distribution.

At night it was really amazing. Many of the lighted denizens of the Floating World reappeared: the dragonflies and fish of the Lily Pond, the EL wire squid and jellyfish costumes, and Isaac's favorite, the Swimming Man Strobe Light display. (Isaac took a half-dozen turns powering the bicycle.) He also loved the art cars and the costumes, but perhaps best of all was the flaming lotus flower. Isaac must have hit the big red button and sent flaming propane into the sky ten times, perhaps fifteen times. As we were trying to leave he dragged me back to the lotus, for a few more blasts.

 Sat 19 October 2002
  After a breakfast in Alameda with Felicia and Adam and Ziggy, we drop Dad off at the airport. He'll be returning tbefore the end of the year. I'll probably go back east next week for a few days, to help dad pack. I'll take pictures.

Later in the day my latest eBay adventure comes to fruition: I acquire a World War One vintage sporran worn by a soldier of the Black Watch 73rd (Overseas) Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada), Canadian Expeditionary Force.

Even more interesting is the 'net search I did, and what I found out about its original owner.

 Fri 18 October 2002
  Our search is almost over. This week has been completely taken up with driving Dad all over the width and breadth of Alameda in search of a rental unit. He's sold his house in New Jersey and is coming out to live nearby the grandchildren. We're very, very excited. We'd found four apartments near our house but Felicia took him to the beaches of Alameda, and that did the trick.

We've come to like Alameda. Isaac adores the outdoor municipal pools, heated year-'round. Dad loves that it's flat. I like the food we've enjoyed.

 Mon 14 October 2002

Sure, now it says

Sorry, there is no Microsoft.com web page matching your request. It is possible you typed the address incorrectly, or that the page no longer exists. As an option, you may visit any of the pages below for information about Microsoft services and products.

but before it went into mists of history it had a glorious few hours as

Mac to PC: Mission Accomplished, Convert Thrilled Mac to PC: Mission Accomplished, Convert Thrilled
After eight years as a Macintosh owner, I switched to a PC with Windows XP and Office XP. Why? It's about more and better...

Sure, more and better fabrications by Microsoft. In the latest avalanche of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) from the Evil Empire up in Seattle, it turns out that the mysterious, anonymous person who claimed to have switched to Windows was in fact an employee at the public relations company hired by Microsoft.

Read all about this pathetic episode, the Microsoft Switcher.

When you do, keep in mind that the Associated Press "tracked Mallinson by examining personal data hidden within documents that Microsoft had published with its controversial ad." This isn't the first time that people have been surprised by the other information encoded within MS Office documents. It just gets better :-)

 Sun 13 October 2002
  Today Lila - fourteen months old exactly - exploded with new behaviors. Walking around the house unassisted, back and forth while carrying spoons, and a bunch of new vocalizations. She's extending her recent additions of lausbube behavior, laughing when she's doing something she knows she shouldn't, and signing (like the American Sign Language for 'more'). Incredible.
 Sat 12 October 2002
  After a morning of getting things ready for Dziadziu's (Polish: grandfather) impending visit - while Isaac and Lila are at the Randall Museum playground - Isaac and I head north to Crissy Field. We got there around 1430 - traffic was bad - so Isaac had some time to play in the sun-warmed lagoon. A fog bank parked a few hundred feet offshore. At left you can see the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge peeking through.

Crissy Field

In previous years I've seen the show right at the cross-over point, where Fillmore Street meets Marina Boulevard. That's where we took Isaac when he was ten months old; but that's too loud, even with earplugs. Crissy Field is along the approach, so it's much quieter. Isaac loved it. Here are five of the six angels in the foreground, a commercial jetliner far above.

Blue Angels in San Francisco
 Fri 11 October 2002
  Spent the week getting used to my Utilikilt, dealing with Lila's cough, and finances. Enjoyed a bit of the Blue Angels practicing above our fair city in advance of Fleet Week, starting tomorrow.


This morning Lila demonstrated her first obvious use of manipulation. I was asleep in the family bed. Lila signed to Rose that she wanted "mama's milk". When brought to the bed she shook away and jumped onto me. She just needed a ride to the bed :-)

 Sat 5 October 2002
  Indian Summer is upon us; the weather is absolutely gorgeous! And not many tourists in sight to enjoy it. Well, we certainly are having a good time. Wake up, Safeway for milk, drop perishibles at home, Fiddler's Green, stroll to Aquatic Park with Tobias, Delores Park, Tot Havdallah, Krispy Kreme, met BMW shop owner in the parking lot, Twin Peaks, sleeping.


 Fri 4 October 2002
  There's a study in the news, now concluding, about the funniest jokes. Here's my favorite:

Q: What's brown and sticky?
A: A stick.

 Tue 1 October 2002
  This evening, at the in-laws, I spent a bit of time applying stain remover to the carpet and blotting and dabbing.

Rose: After you put on the lipstick, what happened?
Isaac: Well, a piece fell onto the floor.
Rose: And then what?
Isaac: I smushed it and crushed it.
Rose: How?
Isaac: I smushed it with my hand and crushed it with my foot, and then the rug turned red.

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