What's New? 2002-11

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What's New? 2002-11

 Sat 30 November 2002 - Chanukah, day 2
  Her first sentence, said in conjunction with the ASL sign for "more":
Lila: Mama, more.


And from our boy:

Isaac: That boy was mean. His name must have been "mean".

Isaac: That [toy] car is as fast as fast can be!

I used a surgical glove to protect a recent cut on my finger. About the color, I heard: Isaac: That looks like the half-middle of an egg. [The egg white.]


Isaac asd I went to shul this evening to celebrate the second evening of Chanukah. As was done in the old Temple, explained Rabbi Shalom Ezran, the menorah was placed along the southern wall, and the candles were lit from east to west. I never knew.

 Fri 29 November 2002 - Chanukah
Happy Chanukah
30 November - 7 December 2002
25 Kislev - 2 Tevet 5763

Chanukah 2000 Tonight is the first night of Chanukah. We eschew the commercial aspects of Chanukah, and instead concentrate on small gifts, home-made and -cooked treats, and gatherings with family, friends, and community.

It's at times like this that I like to remember what I was thinking last year and the the year before that. I especially like this photograph of Isaac and Rose taken during Chanukah 2000.

 Thu 28 November 2002 - Thanksgiving Day
  I'm a lucky, lucky guy. My cup runneth over. There is just so much for which I give thanks today, it's embarassing. Most striking is how much of a family and support system is a stone's throw away from our tiny cottage: my wife, Rose; my two children, Isaac and Lila; my sister Felicia and her family; my in-laws; Dad, who just arrived. And we'll probably be visiting great-grandmother Omi Marga next month. Wow. Happy Thanksgiving Day.

Orson Welles, kilt wearer, in Trouble in the Glenn We're celebrating Thanksgiving Day at the in-laws. I volunteered to make a chestnut stuffing. And there's rumor that I'll be asked to carve the bird. Time to find instructions on the 'net....

It's official, I've just won an auction for my first traditional kilt! I've been a great fan of the utilitarian Utilikilt, but casual-wear can't fill all needs.

(The image is the late, great Orson Welles from the movie Trouble in the Glenn. More in the Kilt Hall of Fame.)

 Wed 27 November 2002
cross-country trip

Dad should arrive in Alameda, California, today. Did he? Check back tonight!

Yes, he did. He called in the morning, and made good time, arriving about 16:00. Via cell phone I directed him through the maze from the San Francisco Bay Bridge to the isle of Alameda, hav.ng driven by that unique pink gingerbread house several times. A half hour later I served a celebratory Turkish coffee. We unpacked his car and had dinner at Ole's.

Welcome back to California, Dad. It's been a few decades since you last lived here, but it's still a good place to be.

 Tue 26 November 2002
  Dad planned on making Reno, Nevada their penultimate stop. Did he make it? Check back tonight!

Yep, he did. I spoke to him in the morning, as they crossed the Nevada state line. At 22:00 Pacific Time Dad was telling me - in a very tired 10-hours-of-driving voice - that he was happily ensconsed in John Ascuaga's Nugget. I ran through his convenient food choices, neglected to suggest that he get a tropical drink while soaking in the waterfall-equipped swimming pool, and wished him a good night.

He'll need it. The moving company made a hash of things, breaking pretty much all of his antique furniture. More details will follow, but in summary I'd say that a bunch of orangutans armed with bubble-wrap would have done a more professional job. Sad. I suspect an insurance claim in Dad's future :-| Photos taken, to be but online in a less harried moment.

Oran Outang is Malay for wild man. Which leads me to something you might want to read Melincourt; or, Sir Oran Haut-ton (Chapman and Hall, London, 1856).

 Mon 25 November 2002
  At 09:30 Mountain Time I chat with Dad, who is staying just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. The roads have been treacherous, but plowed quickly. Dad's happy that he chose the Northern Route, in spite of the inclement weather.
 Sun 24 November 2002
  No contact with Dad, so I guess that not all of Hwy. 80 is wired for cellular telephones. Interesting. Later I find out that they weathered out some snow by staying in Laramie, Wyoming. It was 10° F (-12° C); Dad was very happy to hear that we've been suffering from a bone-chilling 69° F (20° C) today. Smile.
 Sat 23 November 2002
  At 09:47 Mountain Time Dad calls me. His message on the answering machine say that they're just west of Lincoln, Nebraska. Somewhere around the halfway point, he thinks; 1400 miles done. No news about weather or traffic adventures, so I check my favorite weather page, which says Sunday: Cloudy with a chance of light snow. Colder with highs near 30° F (-1° C). North winds 10 to 20 mph. Chance of snow 40 percent. Hmmmm.
 Fri 22 November 2002
  At 22:00 Central Time I call Dad just as he's trying to open the hotel room door in Daveport, Iowa. Another thousand miles driven, he said. Missed a snowstorm in Toledo, Ohio. Enjoyed bumper-to-bumper traffic around Chicago, Illinois.
 Thu 21 November 2002
  At 20:30 Eastern Time I called Dad this evening to find out his cross-country progress. Youngstown, Ohio. Dad didn't think they'd spend time checking out the Baseball Hall of Fame (the only thing I know of in that town).
 Wed 20 November 2002
  For the very last time I called Dad at the phone number that I've been using since he moved after the divorce in 1986. Weird. Tomorrow morning he starts driving westward on Hwy. 80. I thought the southern route might be a better choice on the cusp of winter, but Dad's feeling lucky. Bon voyage!


Isaac's been saying "that's not right", but we have no idea from where that came. Some British Thomas the Tank Engine video? He occasionally says "shan't"...

Lila says "eye-ghee" for Isaac, "mama" for Rose and me (just as Isaac did), and yesterday she started with "up" and "down". Wow.

 Tue 19 November 2002
  Seen on the Internet today: nothing screams poor workmanship more than wrinkles in the duct tape. Chuckle.


I've found that missing episode of Michael Palin's Around the World in 80 Days during a visit to USENET, and stumbled across his Hemingway Adventure, about which I know nothing. Downloading now. (I love listening to his travelogues when I'm far away from home. While packing Dad's stuff last week I travelled along with Mr. Palin from Pole to Pole.)

 Mon 18 November 2002
  As Lila was walking away, Isaac said "there goes a custard-filled diaper", which really tickled Rose.
 Sun 17 November 2002
  I just can't tell you how satisfying it is to be back on the west coast. The weather in San Francisco has been absolutely fabulous, mild and warm, in contrast to the wet, cold, and miserable weather back in New Jersey. I hope it holds out until Dad arrives.
 Fri 15 November 2002
  After a bit more last-minute packing of Dad's papers, books, clothes, and other exciting household items, I leave Newark Liberty International (a two-month-old name) for Phoenix's Sky Harbor, and from there back home. It's late at night, 2122, when I arrive, so I enjoy the almost-balmy breezes and take a taxi home.

Dad's NJ place
 Wed 13 November 2002
  After a breakfast of good Polish delicacies we meet with a moving company representative, an Israeli-Moroccan Jew. He walks around the house, taking note of all the details of the items to be moved. His quote is accepted, and we plan on meeting him on Friday morning to pay the 60 per cent deposit (with my credit card, so I get air miles). The truck will be here on Sunday, and they'll delay delivery for a week if it makes Dad's cross-country drive easier.

Dad's NJ place

We spend dinner with Louisa & Dick, long-time friends of the family. Their house is just as I remember it (from twenty years ago): incredibly well decorated, a friendly welcoming place. She's a great cook; we feast and run. Dad's tired. I'll have the pleasure to see them early next year; their daughter Felicia - recently pregnant - lives across the Bay, in Oakland!

 Tue 12 November 2002

It's hard being away from the kids while Lila has a cold and a cough. Isaac is having great behaviors, according to the late-night call I get from Rose.

Dad's NJ place

Dad's done a good job of deciding what books he wants to take.

Dad's NJ place
 Mon 11 November 2002
  Airborne again. The coast-to-coast red-eye from San Francisco (SFO) through Las Vegas (LAS) to Newark (EWR). An on-time departure. I'll be spending the next four days packing up my Dad's belongings, before moving him (and them) back to "Alameda".

Dad's NJ place
 Sun 10 November 2002
  advert Readers of these web pages know my fondness for the Utilikilt. Casual, comfortable, durable. What's not to like?

Well, those of us who are also Black Rock City Rangers at Burning Man would like to have a khaki Utilikilt Workman's for wear on the playa. The current offerings include a chocolate and caramel colors, both of which I own, but neither of which fits well with the Ranger (and playa) color of khaki.

Intolerable. And so I'm organizing a special edition group order. You may join in the fun, probably until the beginning of December or perhaps until the end of this year. Thereafter you may envy us our dust-colored heavy-duty bit of fashion.

 Wed 6 November 2002
  Had a wonderful dinner get-together with Ranger Lefty in the Castro tonight. It's the first time we've had a chance to chat since Burning Man 2002. We hoisted a few espressi and enjoyed the company and the fine, gentle weather.


The first rain since last May arrived after dinner. As I write, around midnight, the rain is plinking off the roof and windows. It's an interesting sound, having missed it for such a long time. Wow, now we've got lightening (but no thunder). The National Weather Service has issued a High Surf Advisory and a Coastal Flood watch for Northern California from Point Arena to Point Piedras Blancas. Swells as high as 22 feet are expected by Friday. Emergency officials warn that surfing, swimming, fishing, boating and observing large waves from rocks or coastal structures during high surf is extremely dangerous.

 Sun 3 November 2002
  Oy! The stuff that my Dad forwards to me:
Little Melissa comes home from first grade and tells her father that they learned about the history of Valentine's Day. "Since Valentine's Day is for a Christian saint and we're Jewish," she asks, "will God get mad at me For giving someone a valentine?"

Melissa's father thinks a bit, then says "No, I don't think God would get mad. To whom do you want to give a valentine?"

"Osama Bin Laden", she answers.

"Why Osama Bin Laden," her father asks in shock.

"Well," she says, "I thought that if a little American Jewish girl could have enough love to give Osama a valentine, he might start to think that maybe we're not all bad, and maybe start loving people a little bit. And if other kids saw what I did and sent valentines to Osama, he'd love everyone a lot. And then he'd start going all over the place to tell everyone how much he loved them and how he didn't hate anyone anymore." Her father's heart swells and he looks at his daughter with newfound pride.

"Melissa, that's the most wonderful thing I've ever heard."

"I know," Melissa says, "and once that gets him out in the open, the Marines could blow the shit out of him."

 Sat 2 November 2002
  NYRRC logo From The New York Times: In many respects, today's New York City Marathon is old hat. The distance is still 26 miles 385 yards. The start is still on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and the finish is still in Central Park. The course still goes through or at least touches the city's five boroughs and all kinds of neighborhoods: rich, poor and ethnic. There are still about 30,000 entries: 10,000 from the metropolitan area, 10,000 from the rest of the nation and 10,000 from 98 other nations.

I remember the four times I unofficially ran the marathon, and how much fun I had. A tip of the hat to the late, great, Transylvanian-born Fred Lebow (originally Fischel Lebowitz) of the NYRRC (who served as director of the NYC Marathon annually, since its inception in 1970 through 1993).

Fred Lebow, NYRRC
 Fri 1 November 2002
  Manhattan Wi-Fi According to the the Public Internet Project, my hometown of Manhattan has almost complete 802.11 coverage.

This is very, very cool. Besides resulting in a very nice map - I'm a map nerd - it's great to see such a successful deployment of a nifty technology.

I'm unsure how many of these Wi-Fi systems are open to the general public, but I've read that many corporations and individuals allow outsider access. Nice. I'll have to drag my Wi-Fi-enabled PowerBook the next time I'm east.

This is of course in part to the incredible popularity of the Apple Airport, which makes is trivially easy to set up a Wi-Fi system. The first plug-and-play Wi-Fi product, they're selling at commodity prices. The base station for $100, the cards for less (for a low-power unit, more for a really powerful one with an external antenna).

We, here on the west coast, have the SFWBB - San Francisco Wireless Broadband - group. Not the same coverage, yet, but an eager bunch of people throwing hardware in the highest points we can find :-)

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