What's New? 2006-02-01

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What's New? 2006-02-01

 Tuesday 14 February 2006
  Today I heard of an eBay auction of a mother's remains, partitioned into a number of containers, to fulfill a promise that her ashes be spread far and wide.

On Fark.com "Baskaa" said:

Now you see, what I would have done is put the ashes in pepper grinders and distributed them to restaurants in LAX airport. What country wouldn't she visit from there?

Oh, priceless! I was almost owed a new keyboard for that comment...


From Asahi Shimbun comes a story of eight people swindled via the purchase of the "rare" one million dollar bill. They were allegedly shown a thousand of these bills, which were said to be for sale in Chengdu, China. They allegedly paid more than 150 million yen (US$1.27 million) over several years.

I say allegedly because I can't believe anyone can be that stupid, let alone eight stupid greedy people who somehow found each other. A few seconds on the 'net would have shown that the highest denomination was the $100,000 bill. These bright lights believed for a moment that this guy was carrying around ONE BILLION dollars? I'm not convinced this story is true.

It is, however, a good excuse to look at a pretty bill.

$100,000 bill - front

The $100,000 bill was used only in transactions between the Federal Reserve System and the Treasury Department. These were discontinued in 1934, when $100,000 was equivalent to about $1.5 million today.

$100,000 bill - back
 Thursday 16 February 2006
  Another day of double classes: we do the early class and then get a call from Dziadziu for dinner. If we eat near-by, and expeditiously, we have time to digest and return for the late class.

At the Lakeside Café, only a few minutes away, on the other side of West Portal, Lila discovers that she likes split pea soup (despite having pleaded the opposite to Rose last week).

split pea soup at Lakeside Cafe

Dziadziu realizes that my cell phone has a camera built-in, and so plays around with the display, and takes a photo.

me, at dinner

Interestingly, I'm famished. I had a rice + veggies lunch, and a salmon + mashed potatoes dinner, and it's early night and I've just chowed down on four slices of good bread with tuna fish, and I'm still hungry. I'm going to attack a bowl of sweet organic grapes Rose brought home. Thanks honey.

 Wednesday 15 February 2006
  demon in zazen It is those days of quiet, plodding progress that make for the least interesting blog entries, but so it goes. Today the arctic air completely wiped out the last vestiges of the false spring that we've been enjoying for the last ten days or so. No more cruising around with the top down; even shorts are pushing it without a fleece hat for balance. A day of work and invoices. Two class sessions: one by myself at 15:30, another (much harder one) with the kids at 18:30. Zzzzzz.
 Tuesday 14 February 2006
  Today, as I do on many Tuesdays, I head over to Isaac's school to spend the last quarter of the day plus after-school art class. Here's his class in the library, just before they all pick new books for the week.

Peabody library

The rules are clear: Isaac has to finish his homework before he's allowed to do a Hapkido class. He did, and we're heading on over. Here's a panorama of a class in action.

Hapkido USA dojang

Lila and "Mr. M" (Marco Magsaysay), the senior instructor, share a happy chat before she suits up.

Lila & 'Mr. M' (Marco Magsaysay)

This evening, as we all decompress, Lila decides that what she needs are tiger stripes across her face. After asking permission she does, in three colors.

Lila's tiger stripes

She shows me what a tiger does. The growl is terrifying.

Lila tiger growls
 Monday 13 February 2006
  I take Lila to Willa's playgroup at Ebenezer Lutheran; it's the last few months for her (as she's hitting the upper age limit and heading to kindergarten this autumn).

Lila @ Willa's playgroup

Isaac draws his school and proudly displays it.

Isaac's drawing
 Sunday 12 February 2006
  With Belle and Mir-Mir (and parents Diana and Ethan) we head out for a great walk along Fort Point beach. The snacks on the beach were grand, as was watching the water seeping through the beach walls, eroding them.

the kids at Ft. Point beach
 Saturday 11 February 2006
  We head back to Isaac's elementary school to continue our beautification efforts. In contrast to last Saturday, where it was crowded, today it's just three or four families.

Isaac got another chance to be a weapon of mass pigmentation:

Isaac paints @ Peabody Beautification #2

Principal Willem Vroegh strides about his domain, the master of all he surveys:

Willem Vroegh @ Peabody Beautification #2

Dave Freeman, master of power tools:

Dave Freeman @ Peabody Beautification #2

The kids start on painting the plywood sea creatures we've just cut:

Isaac & Lila with starfish @ Peabody Beautification #2

Even I got a chance to be a bit creative:

my painting @ Peabody Beautification #2

After another long day of helping us out with power tools, painting, cleaning, and tidying, the kids take a well-deserved play break. Lila got to roller-skate around the yard:

 @ Peabody Beautification #2

Isaac the goal-keeper.

Isaac's goal-keeping @ Peabody Beautification #2
 Friday 10 February 2006
  It's an incredibly balmy day here, unseasonably warm. We've been driving everywhere with the top down, and I'm afraid we're getting spoiled.

Here Lila poses with a flowering tree. I originally thought it was a sakura (Japanese cherry) but now I think it might be dogwood.

Lila with sakura
 Wednesday 8 February 2006
  Another beautiful day in San Francisco. I get to drive Isaac to school, then return home to pick up Lila and Rose and ferry them to a play-group. Why all the taxi service? Because Rose's 1995 BMW 318is has a starter that isn't starting so well.

No worries, though. The mechanic who takes care of Ranger Lefty and his truck is wrangling our ride too. She's back in it with plenty of time to spare to pick up Isaac from school for his art program. Lila and I head to the dojo for a class. (Long story, Isaac lost the privledge of attending today.)


As I sit in my home office, late at night, I realize that I've got a lot of sore muscles. Hapkido brings together the flowing circular movements of Aikido with the loud, punctuated kicks and punches of Taekwondo. Sedentery me, after many years without any serious exertion, is experiencing the reawakening of muscles used this week in kicking, punching, rolling, crunches, and the aerobic stress of a good workout. It feels great!

 Tuesday 7 February 2006
  Today was an interesting day. I headed over to Isaac's school for after-hours art class. While there Principal Vroegh mentioned an evening fundraiser at a mall restaurant. What? I guess I hadn't realized what Rose had scribbled on the calendar. Well, sure, we'll make it.

classroom panorama

That's after a stop at the dojo; a class just before the restaurant get-together. It's a good class, and we're all tired and ready for dinner by the time we roll out of our gi.

Dinner is nice, and we get to share a table with the Principal. Lots of past and present teachers appear, and lots of Isaac and Lila's peers. More fellow students and parents join us at our table. It's quite a feast. (Here's Principal Vroegh and Ms. Orr, Isaac's teacher of last year.)

Vroegh & Orr @ Chevy's

When we're done we turn the table over another school family and head out into the most pleasant evening. It's past dusk, but tepid. Anything more than a tank top would be inappropriate.

As I check out the time I realize that we could make it back to the dojo for another class, so I put it to the kids. I merely mention it and Lila almost drags me to the car. So we did a second class, got home, and were able to brush teeth before dropping off to bed.

 Monday 6 February 2006
  Having met Master Kang last week, we start classes. Lila is clearly the engine behind all this: she absolutely loves everything about the dojo. Whereas Isaac had some trepidation, and wanted out before getting on the mat (but after the lesson demanded we return), Lila is all over the place. That she comes up to the Sensei's knees is part of her charm.

Even Rose is on the mat, which is just great. Family time is precious, but family time plus getting into shape: priceless.

family's first Hakpido

Above you see our tired family after class along with Bubbie and Zadie, who came on over to see us in action.

 Sunday 5 February 2006
  A beautiful day, clear and warm. I dive right into spring cleaning, even before breakfast.

After lunch, Rose and the kids head over to the Children's Discovery Museum with Cynthia and Serafina (who then have a grand Mediterranean dinner at our house that evening).

 Saturday 4 February 2006
  Beautification Day at Isaac's elementary school. I make a video of it. Dig the music soundtrack? It's an homage to our new Dutch prinicipal.

Peabody Beautification Day

Peabody Beautification Day

Peabody Beautification Day
 Friday 3 February 2006
  Today seems to be the day of malformed sentences. A tiny window into what the kids hear:

Lila: Mama, you know in the old days, when they had to grain cheese?

Isaac: I got the scared out of my grits.

The kids love the South Sea Seafood Village, a Chinese restaurant on Irving Street. The staff have gotten used to their inquisitiveness, and here share the fetching of a long-neck clam from the holding tanks.

kids @ South Sea Seafood Village
 Thursday 2 February 2006
  There are a few skills I think every child should gain as part of growing up: Jino Kang, Sensei, Hapkido
how to graciously give and take, how to cook something, how to play any musical instrument, how to listen, how to travel as a participant rather than a tourist, and to experience some martial art.

Long-time readers know of my Aikido past.

Recomended by two families, Hapikido USA is similar to Aikido, near Rose's parents, and - best of all - something that Lila has been begging for since we visited the dojo several months ago.

So today Jino Kang Sensei met with the family, and gave us a half-hour try-out. All four of us. It was just great for me to get back on the mat, and even better to be there with Rose, Isaac, and Lila.

Oh, that reminds me: I have to run their wee gi through the wash.

 Wednesday 1 February 2006
  Welcome to February. I'm at home, working on running Beowulf cluster software under VMware under Red Hat Linux (for a client) and everytime I try to install the customized operating system into a virtual machine I get as far as auto-partitioning before it hangs. (I give up; tomorrow I'm installing right on the iron. Let's see if it's some bad ISOs or VMware goofing me up.)

It's a really rainy day in the Castro, making it easy for me to stay at home and work. I'm also enjoying my Senseo.

rainy day in the Castro

It's been a long week since we've seen Dziadziu. Busy, busy. This evening, after Free Day (the kids went to the Exploratorium) we all met at Pasquale's Pizza (Irving @ 8th). Watching the pizzas being made was such a winner; Isaac and Lila kept going back and chatting with the chefs. A win.

Llia & Dziadziu at Pasquale's Pizza

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