What's New? 2004-01

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What's New? 2004-01

 Thursday 29 January 2004
  January 2004 draws to an end. Here is Isaac's first dental visit. He's playing with model teeth whilst his dental assistant is developing his X-rays. Great teeth, second set poised and ready to go, a good time was had by all, even though I think we got soaked on a $100-plus charge for a five-second application of flouide foam. At least that's what the dentist visiting the pre-school later that week said to us.

 Saturday 24 January 2004
  We manage to completely surprise Rose for her birthday. We have a get-together at Osteria, IMHO one of our city's best Italian restaurants. At left is Devin, with whom we explored Roma in 2000, and his friend. That's Pamela in the background, with Isaac, Lila, and Rose blowing out her candle. Isaac is wearing a hood because he was outside dancing in the cold.

 Friday 23 January 2004
  Sometimes it seems as though the world just comes together. Now if we could only start ticketing those MUNI busses; policy seems to mandate slowly cruising through an amber light...

 Tuesday 20 January 2004
  The pre-school takes a field trip to the aquarium at Pier 39. This picture shows our perfect moment of the afternoon: a SCUBA diver comes overhead just as the family reacts with delight. It's a small place, and expensive, and I can't help but suggest that folks drive to the Monterey Bay Aquarium if they want that sort of thing.

 Friday 16 January 2004
  My sister, Felicia, and her family have bought a 1960s VW Microbus, seen here as the backgroup to our celebratory dinner at some veggie place in Oakland. (Cuisine: brown rice a la dorm room.)

 Tuesday 13 January 2004
  Spalding Gray is missing.

The 62-year-old author and performer of witty, biting, and funny monologues, has been reported as missing by his wife after he missed an evening meeting with a friend on Saturday and failed to board a plane on Sunday.

Suffering from depression since a 2001 car crash in Ireland, he tried jumping from a bridge near his Long Island (NY) home in October 2002. He was twice hospitalized for depression after the crash. Last autumn he performed a monologue about the crash and its aftermath. The New York Times reported "Mr. Gray had left his wallet, driver's license, credit cards and some money in his apartment." That doesn't look good.

Spalding Gray is much beloved hereabouts. Just out of university, new to San Francisco, I stumbled across a film showing of Swimming to Cambodia. Captivated, I saw it several times and proceeded to read and watch his other works. His work is impressive for his honest and heartfelt autobiographical presentation.

I hope all is okay with Spalding Gray, or at least that that things are not as dire as might be inferred from his behavior. Spalding, if you need a place to crash for a while, let me know.

 Monday 12 January 2004
  Isaac wanted a haircut, so down to theCastro we go. He wanted a peach-fuzz buzz cut like his pre-school playmate Dominic sports, but we opted for a slightly "longer" crew cut. It's like having a baby Marine around the house :-)

 Sunday 11 January 2004
  I had a yuan for Chinese cooking (I certainly couldn't have a yen for it). Rose opts for the South Sea Seafood place on Irving Street. Chandeliers, good food, lots of teas, and tanks of seafood to entertain the kiddies.

 Saturday 10 January 2004
  Israeli folk dancing night, with an added attraction. One of the members has turned 80, and we've all turned out to celebrate.

 Friday 9 January 2004
  We're having a breakfast in Japantown, at May's Coffee Shop, when Lila decides that she wants to hang with that family over there. It went much better than I would have expected. She's a social little thing.

 Wednesday 7 January 2004
  MacWorld Expo San Francisco 2004: more of the same. Nothing exciting in Jobs' keynote address, and the show had that expensive, pedestrian feel to it. Very unimpressive, and smaller than last year. Color me underwhelmed. This is the Apple Computer area, with all of their products on display along the edges and a presentation area in the middle.

 Monday 5 January 2004
  Lila: (to Rose) I know your name! It's Rose The Mama Sattler!


I have been a space enthusiast since at least age eleven or so, when I watched the late Dr. Lloyd Motz (of Columbia University), the teacher of an extremely early-morning astronomy program, Sunrise Semester. I mention this to explain why I'm including the first looks at Mars from NASA's Spirit; Opportunity has not yet landed.

Image credit: NASA/JPL via Daniel Root

Daniel Root says "NASA JPL has released stereo views of the red planet- in B&W- from one (actually two) of the on-board cameras. I combined them in a quick animation that gives somewhat of a feel for the 3d effect. (Not my own idea, but I can't find the site where I first saw it...) It's the next best thing to standing on Mars and getting a headache!"

Image credit: NASA/JPL via Nick Crossland

Nick Crossland says "I've reprocessed NASA's recent release of a stitched panorama of the view on the surface, as seen by the navigation camera, as an immersive QTVR; you can look up, down, and around by dragging your mouse.

The image quality is rather poor (because it is based on re-processing an already computer processed image), the top of the image is missing (I assume the camera is held from above?) and the horizon appears distorted (presumably a wide angle lens)."


Lila and Isaac enjoying bike time at the pre-school. I think this is Lila's first success at pedaling a tricycle.

Isaac got some fun time decorating Christmas trees.

 Sunday 4 January 2004
  We've donated Isaac's long baby hair, which he had until he was four years old, to a pediatric cancer recovery wig-maker.

Isaac really wanted to bake gingerbread cookies after reading a story about a gingerbread boy. From scratch, even the forms cut by hand. Aunt Pamela)} helps.

A close-up of the results. They tasted really, really good, and they lasted a good long time in the cookie jar without going stale.

Lila and Aunt Pamela celebrate the baking with a parade around the kitchen.

 Saturday 3 January 2004
  It's breakfast sing-along time, evidently. The kids took turns leading singing their favorite songs.

Lila demonstrates singing and signing to the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" in Spanish.

 Friday 2 January 2004
  Isaac: Papa, my Amtrack is stuck in the tunnel! Come to my train table and see!

So I did. Isaac got all of his medieval townspeople to help out with his problem.

Today it was Lila at the helm of the overloaded kid shopping cart.

While I was making my first attempts at Indian food we took a short break at the Randall Museum to see Felicia's in-laws and cousin Ziggy. Here we're watching the staff fly & feed Betty the Harris Hawk. Yes, Isaac is still wearing that Krispy Kreme paper hat.

 Thursday 1 January 2004
  It's just past high noon at the Golden Gate Bridge. Being New Year's Day I must be here for the traditional walk across the bridge. The weather has been ghastly; driving rain and high winds since midnight. Forty minutes ago I wasn't sure I was going to leave the house. Surprisingly, there's no rain and less wind here.

I walk to the south side flagpole, next to the span, and I find Ed. Ed has coördinated the walk for the last ten years. A contra dancer and a friend of the outdoors, Ed is someone who makes events to which I'm thrilled to be invited. We pose for photos to document the moment.

We chat for a quarter-hour before realizing that everyone was scared away by the inclement weather. So we head off, chatting geek talk whilst walking on an almost-empty bridge. Few visitors and no visible security at all. A few nice comments on my Utilikilt.

At the vista point on the north side we sip two kinds of hot tea, enjoy the views of our fair city, and head back. Afterwards we continue the tradition, heading over to the Clement Restaurant, 621 Clement Street, for dim sum and more tea. It's a nice tradition, and I'm really happy to have made it.

In the evening the kids successfully negotiate a visit to Krispy Kreme; the lure of the doughnuts is great. It's been about two months since our last visit, and the myth makes the reward the greater. Isaac and Lila pose; it was the only quiet moment in the three-quarters of an hour we were there.

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