What's New? 2005-06-07

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What's New? 2005-06-07

 Tuesday 14 June 2005
  A day at the office, in Oakland. On the way back I left BART at the Powell Street station. Why? Well, to visit the Apple Store. My 800 MHz TiPB has an ailing fan, Rose and the kids want to use for more and more things each day, and it seems like a good time to buy a machine to hold me over until the first few revisions of Intel PowerBooks have been debugged. (This is the intersection of Powell at O'Farrell, one block north of the store, on my way to my favorite downtown café afterwards, to mull.)

Powell at O'Farrell

I currently have a 15-inch model; the 17-inch seemed like a nice tool for my ever-increasing writing load. I played with both models, being mindful of weight, size, and hand placement. After all, I spend a significant portion of each day working on it, both at the home office and at clients. (Here's the front of the Segafredo Café.)

Segafredo Café

At the bar, enjoying a caffè espresso machiatto caldo, I think on it. With an educational discount (I'm on the school board) the machine from Apple will be about $2300 before I upgrade the RAM. I would be doubling the machine speed (a requirement of mine for buying new hardware) but not getting much more. As a punchline of my mom's joke goes: "a million here, a million there, and soon you're talking about real money."

Segafredo Café

So the verdict is thus: no new PowerBook until some "magic money" arrives. There's been some interest in some older computers of mine; perhaps if I actually sell them I'll have enough for a new one without any income outlay. ¿Quien sabe?

A few days ago Lila chose Isobune as her place of graduation celebration. Isaac chose to visit Benihani; next door to Isobune. So it's back to Japantown for some Japanese-style Korean barbeque. Here's the family in the waiting / overflow area.


Soon we're seated at the teppanyaki table - teppan: "iron pan"; yaki: "grill" - looking at the menus. It's really extensive, with appetizing selections of vegetables, fish, fowl, and meat. We opt for one each kid-size shrimp and chicken, to be shared between them. Rose chooses the yakisoba (sautéed noodle with stuff) and I select the filet mignon.

Lila: Oh! This is really good cow. This live cow tastes even better than dead cow!


The staff are really great. Especially to the kids. Unsolicited one of them makes a set of chopsticks with the wrapper rolled as a fulcrum and rubber bands to provide grip and tension. The kids are thrilled.

chopsticks for kids

Here's the canonical teppanyaki chef picture: our plates already have the first course upon them and we're being treated to the floor show of cutting, flicking, tossing, and spicing by Miguel (who appreciates my Spanish more than my Japanese). The portions are much bigger than I recall them being, although it's about as costly. If they'd lower each item by five bucks we'd come here more than once every half-decade.


After dinner the kids want dessert; my Benihana "tempura bananna" with ice cream didn't satisfy. So we head across the bridge to the gelato place. (This is a strange panorama, but it's how things looked to me as I stood next to the kids' table.)

Japantown gelato

On the way out, in front of the Kinokuniya bookstore, Lila decides that the gelato would be even better on her face than in it. And so it goes...

gelato face
 Monday 13 June 2005
  Not much to share today. I was up all last night working with my client's London office, getting some documents ready for a new customer of theirs. Then I spent most of the day working with the Oakland staff on the same for another customer. Not even a lunch break, but I did manage to pull one of the nook windows off and start stripping both sides.


Not having sat in the juries on these three California criminal cases, I don't know enough to render a worthwhile opinion.

Michael Jackson Robert Blake O. J. Simpson

Guilty or innocent, one wonders whether there's an issue with the quality of police work and prosecution (well, in the case of O. J. we do know) or that it's simply impossible to convict a celebrity of any crime in this fine state. I mean, the Districts Attorney thought they had enough to sway a jury...

 Sunday 12 June 2005
  Our plans for today include polka dancing at The Tourist Club, set in the side of Mount Tamalpais, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

[Update: at day's end.] Well, what a difference between our plans and what actually happened. When Isaac awoke he was complaining of feeling even sicker, and his runny nose seemed worse. He didn't want to go anywhere so we puttered around the house, moving all the gardening debris to the sidewalk (for pickup tomorrow morning). In a fit of energy I started removing the paint from our nook windows (since once we removed the shoji Rose just noticed that it was the old paint that really held the windows shut, rather than the hardware). I'm taking most of the hundred years of paint off with a heat gun, and using a natural stripper for that last layer. Instead of freaking out that I can't get down to bare wood, and sanders just driving the paint into the grain, I'm going to experiment with trying a layer of marine polyurethane and see how that works. Otherwise I might try some antiquing with crackle-paint.

Mid-afternoon; phone rings. An invitation to the newly-redone Stern Grove. Isaac and Lila want to see the O'Chan clan. In the sun we play, all day.

Stern Grove

Above is the view from the hill towards the stage. Below is the view from the stage.

Stern Grove

Now it's late at night. The kids are asleep. I'm working on some unexpected tasks from my clients; the London office had some things they wanted me to pretty up. And so it goes.


Stumbled across this graphic at Fark. Thought it so perfect that it needed to be here.

 Saturday 11 June 2005
  What a busy day! It starts with an unsolicited wake-up by Lila, who at 0800 decides that if she's up then I'm up. Her choice for breakfast is May's Coffee Shop in Japantown, but Isaac (whose turn it is, after all) chooses The Fiddler's Green near Ghirardelli Square. On the way out the door we stop to enjoy the Birds of Paradise blooming in the front garden.

our garden's bird of paradise

It's another beautifully sunny day, and it's grand having a convertible.

in the car to The Fiddler's Green

The food is good, the coffee great, although it's a bit eerie being there in-between the breakfast and lunch rushes; too quiet for my tastes.

After stopping of at the Rainbow Market co-op for big cardboard boxes we continue with the gardening frenzy, pulling unwanted grasses from the back yard, crushing down the trimmings from our cherry-plum tree (which has fearsome prickers), and moving some nasturtiums over to the wall. As we're finishing up our across-the-street neighbor rips out a four-foot plant with huge yellow trumpet-like flowers. It's incredible; it catches the eye for hundreds of feet away. In the front yard we mount a valiant rescue effort; we dig a hole big enough for the roots, plant it, and run the sprinkler for 90 minutes. I can't believe that it won't drop all those huge flowers, but hopefully the plant can survive. There are several shotos near the base; perhaps they'll take over.

Isaac has been un-invited to a couple of birthday parties on account of his runny nose, so we take Cynthia's invitation and head over to the Beach Chalet for an afternoon of music for kids. Thankfully the sun is still out, or this area would be too cold for the children. (As it is, the wind is a bit off-putting.) Serafina, Lila, and Isaac do a lot of dancing. The barbeque set up for the event is pretty good; the grilled corn is a winner all around. Even Dziadziu chows down.

Beach Chalet kids concert

It's the second Saturday of the month: Israeli folk-dancing at the nearby church (chosen since the child-hostile hyper-expensive newly-built Jewish Community Center room was deemed horrible for dancing). We head on over, in time for the "beginning class" (still way too advanced for me). Rose is a bit used up, and the kids too frenetic from the other dancing, and so not much ethnic happens. I twirl and dip and spin the kids until I'm exhausted, and then we head out.

On the way back home we lose Dziadziu around Yum Yum Fish, which I mention. Bad idea. Lila demands that we eat there. Rose requires edamame and miso with extra tofu as starters, to which she agrees. But by the time we get back around the block and park it's closed. Dziadziu is there, though, and we head across the street to a more traditional sushiya for pretty good fare. Isaac, still very excited from the dancing and tired from two days of being up late, spills most of his miso on his pants (and continues eating without pause).

And only then are we able to get home, brush our teeth, read some books, and fall asleep on this first day of summer vacation.

 Friday 10 June 2005
  Today is the last day of school for both Lila and Isaac! They're excited; this is the first time we've experienced this. Isaac's teacher - the love of his life - Miss Or is retiring, his principal has jumped ship, and our governator has slashed budgets and caused a teacher mix-up across the district. We have no idea who will be teaching next year. (And naïve people everywhere seem genuinely surprized that the popular but unqualified multimillionaire Republican actor-turned-politiician would set on the budgets this way. What did they expect? So as ye reap so shall ye sow.)

Here's Isaac marching from the playground into his kindergarden classroom for the last time. He's had a great year, what with learning to write, and better yet, to read.

last day of school

At Lila's pre-school there's a photo of each child with their name; Lila is top left:

last day of school

Here's Lila running around the play room, the swing tied up out of the way.

last day of school

It's sing-along time, with everyone in celebratory sleep-wear. Lila found a spot right by her teacher, Rosa, whom she'll miss a great deal (I suspect).

last day of school

One of the coolest projects the kids have done is some sort of modern art with vegetables. Jojo's offering (next to top right) is entitled "dead underwater snail who does not like water." One can't get any better art gallery zen.

last day of school

Here's Lila at snack time. I think that's Rosa's daughter at left.

last day of school

Before getting back to playing a girl has to wash her hands...

last day of school

Today I also interview with a Japanese company that might be looking for a Macintosh-centric technical writer in the months to come. (Nothing comes of it.) Later, with Rose on the phone, the kids and I head into the garden. The back yard needs some serious attention. Not to mention the loads of cherry plums we harvest. I better read up on how to prune such a thing, and take it down by two-thirds (again) or I'll never get the majority of the fruit next year.

Lila's choice of dinner venue: Isobune, America's first sushi boat rentaurant. Dziadziu and Zofia come along with us. Tasty!

 Thursday 9 June 2005
  Lila: What's he doing in our way, busting our chops?


Dave Winer - the visionary and talented creator of Userland Frontier and Radio (the tools I've been using to generate this site since the mid-1990s) and of RSS - has always been, umm, troubled. Said today:

...Even though the vast majority of people have never heard of Steve or myself, we're more influential than John Lennon or Bob Dylan ever were...
Dave, it's really time to get some effective therapy. I said it over a decade ago, meant it in a nice way then, and nothing has changed. Please.


Okay, more plum tree action! Here's Lila and I atop the ladder, picking the cherry-plums from the branches which are hanging over our neighbors yard. It's dropping some fruit, which their dog has been eating.

Lila & Papa in plum tree

Here's Isaac showing off one of his pickings. They're oh, so tasty!

Isaac & Papa in plum tree

Dziadziu came over - exhausted as he was - to feast on the plums with the kids. As excited as we were, none of us could keep our eyes open for long.

Dziadziu & Lila & plums
 Wednesday 8 June 2005
  Out of the blue, so to speak, comes the rain. We've been having the most excellent springtime weather ever, but today it's a deluge. Here's an unmarked service truck pumping water out of a manhole while they're working. Does the glamor ever end?

it's raining

Lila: I'm ready to go plumming!

That's right, they're RIPE! This is our haul from picking cherry plums from our tree in the back yard. When we moved in it was almost dead. With a Japanese saw I hacked away the dead wood, leaving almost nothing. Now it's almost three stories high (in spite of the annual trimming I attempt), thick and leafy, and full of fruit.

first cherry-plum harvest

Isaac decided that it was time to write end-of-year thank-you cards to his teachers.

To Miss Morgan [the principal]
Thank you for keeping us safe on fire drills and earthquake drills.

thx ms morgan

To Miss Or [his adored teacher]
Thank-you for teaching the kids in Room 4 this year.

thx ms or

To Miss Or
Thank-you for tecahing us our letters and our numbers.

thx ms or

To Miss Shapiro
Thank-you for coming every wednesday and reading to us.

thx ms shapiro

To Mr Wong [the custodian] & Miss Lam [the lunchroom lady]
Thank-you for taking the kids extra [unknown].

thx mr wong
 Tuesday 7 June 2005
  Today was the graduation ceremony for the eldest class at Lila's preschool. It seems as though the ceremony was originally for just the families of that class, but early today Rose called to say that they needed help setting up and so everyone was invited / encouraged to come and help.

Here's my big girl manhandling a folding chair all the way from the big room to the graduation area, about 150 feet. It's really not easy for someone about three feet tall.

Lila helps with graduation

As Lila puts her chair down here come the boys, Isaac at right, with their chairs. I'm so proud of them for helping out more than most of the rubbernecking parents, who somehow found lots of excuses not to help.

kids help with graduation

The graduation is underway. Here are the kids being introduced, one by one, and sitting on the main stage. That's teacher Rima Soudah front and center. At far back left is Kirredad, then Rosa (twice), Margret (in brown), and Ted on the guitar.


Margret's class's performance was a series of acts in different languages. This is a Hebrew song-and-dance number.

Hebrew song & dance

This is the fish dance. Each child has taken on the aspects of one kind of fish, and as they dance and sing we're to guess what species they are.

fish dance

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