What's New? 2002-12

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What's New? 2002-12

 Mon 30 December 2002
  We've been getting ready to finish up 2002 by packing for an upcoming trip (details to follow), providing web infrastructure for a [Macro error: There is no glossary entry named "Tim's Travels"] , and spending a bit of time with friends, having people for meals around the house, and being quiet and mindful (the opposite of the consumerist frenzy encouraged by the powers-that-be).

In short, we're being thankful.


Just as the year is coming to a close we get another greeting from my Uncle Daniel, in Goa, India.

Happy New Year's from Goa


Again, Darby Conley's strip, Get Fuzzy, says it well.

Get Fuzzy - New Year's
 Thu 26 December 2002
  Lila has been getting very chatty lately. Among her first phrases are "I don't know", "no, no, no", and "my goodness".

Her favorite nerve-wracking game is to jump with gusto on the bed to the rythm of Three Little Moneys (Jumping On The Bed). Rose is sure she's going to take a header into the mirror, but so far she's been lucky and careful enough. She's learning all sorts of things from Isaac, including how to bounce on the bed and dive into pillows.

 Wed 25 December 2002 - Christmas Day
  I love being a webmaster. I just received a reader update to a technical document I wrote before the world wide web broke upon our lives. Makes me happy to have been there before (and after). The document? Modifying the Kenwood TH-78a handheld transceiver, in case you cared.


White Christmas

From the AP wire: People juggle umbrellas while crossing the street at Times Square in New York during a windy snow storm that covered the tri-state area today. More than two feet of snow fell Wednesday in parts of upstate New York as a powerful Nor'easter moved up the Atlantic Coast, setting Christmas snowfall records, closing airports and bringing an unexpected holiday spectacle of lightning and thunder. (AP Photo/Larry Levine)

The weather is such a fleeting subject, but what with the combination of Christmas, my musings about New York yesterday, and a good picture...


Darby Conley's comic strip, Get Fuzzy, is one of my favorite daily stops on the web.

Get Fuzzy - Christmas

 Tue 24 December 2002 - Christmas Eve
  Today we went to Alameda to help Dad unpack from his move. Before that, though, we made our rounds, delivering Christmas gifts to a few of our friends.

One of the people to whom we delivered Christmas gifts is Andrea, a friend who was our "mommy's helper" several years ago. She's back in the Bay Area and we're happy to see her.

Another is Didi, who used to run a tourist-goods shop next to The Fiddler's Green, near Aquatic Park. Each time we'd have breakfast there Isaac would run into Didi's shop and play with the toy cars, refrigerator magnets, cable cars, etc. Didi was always wonderful with Isaac (and later Lila), and he's one of the very few people we trust to supervise Isaac without one of us being around.


Didi is going back to Indonesia on the 29th, to get married to a woman he's known for a long time. His mother-in-law-to-be [perhaps a record of hyphenated words on this site :-] doesn't want her daughter to leave, but Didi and his bride-to-be have been chatting about it. We hope they make it back. In addition to a traditional Indonesian wedding gift we also gave them some Ghiradelli chocolates and one in the series of Bay Area Backroads books. Good photographs of everything from Mt. Shasta in the north to Monterey and Big Sur in the south. Hurry back, Didi and Mrs. Didi!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night.


On our way around the city today we passed through the eucalyptus grove in the Park Presidio.

Isaac: There are a lot of trees here. 'cliptus and red-rooms.

Eucalyptus and redwoods! I almost laughed my way off the road!

Last week we were at Tobias' 4th birthday party, also in the Park Presidio. Isaac was looking up into the eucalyptus trees, saw the tree boughs high above, and explained

Isaac: ...those trees are called 'cliptus because they've got 'clipters up there...

 Mon 23 December 2002
  Rockefeller Christmas Tree 2002 I'm a New Yorker.

For me, a New York Jew, Christmas means strolling through Manhattan, gazing at the store windows with my parents. The white lights in the trees along city streets, the window decorations in stores tiny and huge, people wearing Santa hats, roasted peanuts and hot dogs fresh from the sidewalk vendors, and that crisp coldness in the air (with the ever-present promise (threat) of a snowfall. I have especially fond memories of FAO Schwartz and Macy's. I have a childhood memory of red velvet ropes used to guide the crowds past the seasonally decorated Macy's store windows in an orderly and civilized fashion.

At left you see this year's Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. You can see the ice skating rink, but not the seating area at the restaurant. I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to spend time in NYC this autumn; it's my favorite time of the year and my favorite place to spend it. Sigh.

KPIX Yule Log The Christmas season ought not pass without a quick view of the KPIX Yule Log and a link to my notes about this exceedingly strange yet satisfying phenomenon.

I'm glad I grabbed this animated loop from the web years ago; this year they've tried all sorts of different streaming video choices, none of which on other than the mainstream Windows box with the generic spyware installed. Enjoy this instead.

Smile. I can almost smell my ski socks drying across the heater as I watch the Yule Log on a black-and-white television in upstate New York. I love it :-)

 Sun 22 December 2002
  I don't have much to say except to apologize for not actually uploading these pages as I add to them. It's been a bit wierd here, and in my exhausted excitement of authoring I fell asleep before publishing. Sigh.
 Sat 21 December 2002
  Today is my thirty-ninth birthday, my fifth anniversary, and my maternal grandmother's half-birthday. She was born on the summer solstice, I've got the winter solstice.

My darling Rose made corn-meal muffins and loaf, sprinkled with currants, with a leaf-encircled German candle atop. What a tasty way to wake! Mmmmmm!

 Fri 20 December 2002
  My mother-in-law's birthday! Unfortunately, she's come down with quite a cold or flu. Bed-ridden, her birthday wasn't exactly as festive as I would have preferred. We'll celebrate when she's back on her feet. Get well soon, M.

 Thu 19 December 2002
  Isaac is four years old today!!! Yipee!!! We celebrated on his birth date in the Hebrew calender, on the third day of Chanukah, so we didn't make a big deal about it today. Still, I had a smile on my face all day.


Ranger Lefty takes me to meet some interesting people at Whole Earth Magazine, in San Raphael.

 Wed 18 December 2002
  Hail in San Francisco Wake. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Hail (shown on our rear steps). Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Wind. Wind. Wind. Trees down. Branches broken. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Cold winds: 47° F (8° C). Rain. Rain. Sleep.
 Tue 17 December 2002
  Taken from the cemetery advertisment from one of our local Japanese newspapers:
Traditional Japanese garden entrance, most humble tiniest burial ground for the Japanese Ancestors.

If you were there you will notice how one can be transferred to the past so easily.

Says it so well. All is impermanent; so easily we become the past tense.
 Sun 15 December 2002
furikake furikake furikake furikake furikake

This evening we had a soba dinner. Rose keeps a stock of different kinds of soba, the appropriate dipping sauce, and a variety of furikaki for sprinkling atop the soba. Here's my entire family eating cha soba; one of them is roally enjoying it!

Family soba dinner

furikake furikake furikake furikake furikake
 Sun 8 December 2002
  Went to Habitot, in Berkeley, to celebrate the first birthday of cousin Sigmund.


Twenty-two years ago former Beatle John Lennon was shot and killed outside the Dakota, his Manhattan residence.

Read the news ticker and my experience of that day; it's about halfway down on that page.


Derek Kirk of near-by Pacifica draws a most excellent comic strip entitled "Small Stories". It's worth hunting down.

Derek Kirk's Small Stories
 Sat 7 December 2002 - Chanukah, day 8

H A P P Y    4th     B I R T H D A Y    P A R T Y ,    I S A A C   ! ! !

Today was Isaac's birthday party. (Yes, his actual birthday in our Gregorian Calendar is 19 December. In the Hebrew lunar calendar it's on the third day of Chanukah. It's too hard to explain this to a four-year-old, so today is his virtual birthday for this year :-)

I have an hour of video, but no stills extracted (yet). I will.

Lila woke at 0530, and went back to sleep. Isaac woke at 0630, and we all give up trying to get a morning's sleep at 0700. Isaac (and Lila) were so revved up that it was a struggle to get him to sleep at 2150! I am sooooo tired, so that's all I'm going to say about today. I'll upload this entry and go to sleep. G'nite all.


In contrast to yesterday's fiasco with Airborne Express, the traditional Black Watch tartan kilt I'd ordered from Haggis County, Scotland, arrived today without a hitch. Yeah!


Miss World 2002, Turkey's Azra Akin

On the off-chance we forget the brou-haha surrounding the Miss World event this year, what with the comment that Mohammed would have possibly chosen a bride from the competitors, and the fleeing of the contest from Kenya to London (and the 250 deaths attributed to rioting in Kenka), I provide a couple of photos of the winner, Turkey's Azra Akin.

Miss World 2002, Turkey's Azra Akin
 Fri 6 December 2002 - Chanukah, day 7
  Spent the day shopping for Isaac's birthday party. Six-foot sub sandwich, fifteen brightly-colored latex balloons, party favors for the kids, beverages for children and adults, and more. Isaac was at Bubbie and Zadie's house, Lila was napping and hindering Rose :-)


orange camo Utilkilt orange camo Utilkilt Following up to an email from the Utilikilt ccmpany, I was tracking the progress of a package from Seattle, Washington.

It contained the one-of-a-kind hunter orange camouflage neo-traditional kilt. I want it for the party tomorrow. Each day it's getting closer, but today nothing at all.

I check the wbe site at 1700 and am very surprised to find out that they claim the package was delivered an hour ago.

package progress

Umm, I don't think so. I've had several bad experiences with Airborne Express (back when they were delivering "PowerBooks" from Apple in Cupertino), so I made sure that there was nothing at the front or side of the house, in the hedges, somewhere in the front yard, etc. No way was that packaged delivered as claimed.

I call the company, and after an interminible wait (our staff are busy with other customers; really, I wonder why!?!) and a somewhat incredulous staffer, they promise to "contact that station". Less than an hour later the package quietly appears. Placed securely against the front door? Tucked lovingly next to the ferns? No, the lying pinhead leaves it at the ajar gate, where any passer-by could pick it up. And he's got the temerity to tell his supervisors that he's gotten in touch with us to resolve the issue.

Never called. Just faked his delivery time for some bizarre reason. Never use Airborne Express, but if you have to, demand a signature upon delivery. That would have taken care of this problem.

 Thu 5 December 2002 - Chanukah, day 6
  Thomas the Tank Engine We spent the day in Sacramento, California; our state's capitol.

Why did we make the unusual trip out of the city? Well, because Rose had noticed that there was a life-size Thomas the Tank Engine which makes the rounds of several railroad enthusiasts clubs. Since Isaac just loves watching Thomas videos at the grandparents, and since we missed his last appearance in Mendicino, we had to make it to this one.

In a nutshell, it was an event only a very small child could love. It was an engine, pulling a regular train, with no characters roaming the aisles of the train. That's right, just a regular train. Sigh. At $14 per trip per person! Isaac was just at the sophistication level to be underwhelmed by the train trip. It was only that we got to take a special outdoor car (no windows) that got his interest up.

Thomas is pretty much the only brand theme that Isaac knows. We're not so happy with brands. Unlike many of our friends, Isaac doesn't know about any brands on television (except Teletubbies and Sesame Street), and has no idea about fast food, theme parks, etc. We don't have a TV at home, but he gets to watch at the grandparents as a special treat.

My favorite part of the videos are the narrators. The original series had the unique voice stylings of Ringo Starr. The modern series features the voice of George Carlin.

 Wed 4 December 2002 - Chanukah, day 5
  Under the weather. Not much to tell.
 Tue 3 December 2002 - Chanukah, day 4
  Under the weather. Not much to tell.
 Mon 2 December 2002 - Chanukah, day 3
  Under the weather. Not much to tell.


Just wanted to mention how much I enjoyed Walter M. Miller's book A Canticle for Leibowitz. It may not be 42, but "pound pastrami, can kraut, six bagels--bring home for Emma" is still inspiring.

 Sun 1 December 2002 - Chanukah, day 2
  Weather across the USA Schadenfreude? Dad? He's been living on the west coast since Thanksgiving and this is what he's been emailing:

(This is a message from Estelle. Like NY and NJ they also have a snow storm in Kentucky.) I am sitting on a balcony enjoying the 'rainy season' in California. Since I arrived, a day before Thanksgiving, hardly a cloud in the sky and about 70° F (21° C). I can deal with that.

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