What's New? 2008-04-01

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What's New? 2008-04-01

 30 April 2008
  Here's Mike, president of the model railroad club, using a dremel on a particularily stubborn track switch. There are some parts of the layout that are just not easy to reach.

GGMRC: Mike Stokinger
 28 April 2008
  Here we are in Japantown, enjoying zaru soba at Mifune. It's one of the kids' favorites, requested every few days. Tonight was on Dziadziu.

soba at Mifune
 27 April 2008
  The kids begged for a breakfast at May's Coffee Shop in Japantown, and so we go. Unfortunately, they've just revamed the menu and gotten rid of the most delightful three-meat omelet (SPAM, Portugese sausage, and bacon) with fried rice, so we're all a bit bummed. The freshly-made chocolate Taiyaki (fish) are still awesome.

May's Coffee Shop

Damn! That's one satisfied face on a little girl. We're just finishing up at Trader Joe's supermarket. We actually bought very little, topping up the weekend supplieds, and found some just-emptied cardboard boxes, which we might use to store trains and track. They'll fit under the bed, right?

Trader Joe's supermarket

As the kids and I washed the car a passer-by noticed a small snake having trouble heading uphill on the sidewalk. After our wee photo session is done it went across the street into the flowered hillside. Those glacier glasses I'm wearing? They're perfect for Burning Man.

Mickey with snake
 26 April 2008
  It's Bug Day at the near-by Randall Museum. The parking lot, which you can see through the window, is packed with cars. Thank goodness we walked. Here Lila is doing a smell guessing game while the volunteer helps them make clothespin bugs.

Randall Museum Bug Day

It's a bit hard to see, but that's a huge silkworm Lisa is holding. It's almost the width of her palm. The volunteer behind her has a box 'o silkworms.

Randall Museum Bug Day

Downstairs there's a model train auction in progress. Club president Mike is in green, capo di tutti capi John in blue. I handled the accounting, and Isaac was the runner, bringing lots to Mike. I think it was the first time the kids had experienced an auction.

The kids, John, and I have post-auction lunch at Pancho Villa's Taqueria. Afterwards we hook up with Rose at the near-by playground, where the kids always find locals with which to play. Today's no exception. I think we spent two hours watching this pack use everything in the playground.

Mission playground
 25 April 2008
  At Hebrew school Lila made this beautiful shabbat (sabbath) candlestick holder. So we use it. So nice.
Lila's shabbat candlestick
 25 April 2008
  Dziadziu & Lila eat Pasquale's pizza (at home. Yep, Lila is wearing her brand-new Disney Princess red eyeglasses (complete with tiny hearts made of tinier rhinestones. She's so thrilled with them!

Dziadziu & Lila eat pizza
 24 April 2008
  One of the things that happens to a papa when a child is seriously into model trains is that you spend time doing things like replacing knuckle couplers. Last week I had no idea what a knuckle coupler was.
replacing knuckle couplers
 21 April 2008
  Isaac has been talking about trying Bubbie's violin. Instead Rose brought him to a near-by music store on Clement Street, around the corner from his school, and he got to try it out. Thanks, Rose, for taking the picture. Thanks, Isaac, for emailing it to me.

Isaac tries the violin

This evening I helped Isaac make a Bachmann E-Z track layout in the front room. Two switches, two locomotives, freight and passenger cars.

Bachmann E-Z track layout
 20 April 2008
  Orphan Andy's ceiling, as taken by one of the kids during a breakfast out.

Orphan Andy's ceiling

After visiting Zadie at the hospital across the street, here's cousin Jessica holding court at the Duboce Park playground.

cousin Jessica at the Duboce Park playground
 19 April 2008
  We start off the morning at the Golden Gate Model Railroad Club. Isaac's at the main panel holding a throttle.

GGMRC: Isaac with throttle

Here's Isaac's Southern Pacific Daylight running on the GGMRC layout. My iPhone can't freeze the action; I'll bring my Pentax Optio W20 soon.

GGMRC: Isaac's daylighter

Popping out of an access port comes Isaac's head, jarring my sense of scale. He's fixing someone's train. When there's a problem anywhere on the layout my boy can fly under the layout faster than others can call out "what's wrong". It's blowing the older members' minds.

GGMRC: Isaac fixes a train

Heading across the San Francisco Bay Bridge that evening we spot High Wind on Bridge warnings. It didn't seem particularly bad, but it was interesting...

high wind on San Francisco Bay Bridge

Here's a panorama of Ken & Tamara's pesach (Passover) scene. Lots of family, friends, and fun. It's such a joy spending time over there; our kids play with their kids, I get to cook with Tamara, and the conversations are wonderful.

Passover at Ken & Tamara's
 17 April 2008
  At the Randall Museum, just above our house, I'm taking the Zen & Sawdust woodworking class. Here's our teacher, Tim O'Mahoney, a local building contractor, sharing the finer points of using the jointer.

Tim O'Mahoney

The planer, used for making parallel two faces of a piece of wood. These are all vintage machines, big and heavy and powerful and fun to use.

a woodworking planer
 16 April 2008
  Back at the GGMRC, Isaac lords over the train yard, assembling his Amtrak passenger train. A few years ago, on our family trip to Colorado, we tried to use Amtrak as an alternative to air travel. The latter was priced out at $180 round-trip per-person; Amtrak was about ten times as much. You can guess which one we chose.

GGMRC: Isaac @ train yard

As we leave the Randall Museum for the evening, we see fireworks over Pac Bell Park; I guess the Giants must have won the game. The whole family, plus train friends, stood on the grounds marvelling at the long show.

Randall Museum: fireworks
 15 April 2008
  As I'm heading over to the Hapkido dojang I follow my general mass transit philosophy of jumping outbound on the first train in case the system crashes. Well, today, as I got to West Portal station the system got all backed up. Train after train piled in and stopped.

MUNI all bunched up at West Portal

After Hapkido I meet up with the rest of the family at near-by Bubbie & Zadie's house. Zadie's still in the hospital, but (from left) Mindy (middle sister), Lila, Isaac, and Rose (eldest sister) hang out and tidy things up for Bubbie, who hasn't been spending much time here lately.

Bubbie & Zadie's house

Yes, this is a meta-picture: I'm taking a photo of Rose taking a photo...

 14 April 2008
  Just as I'm getting comfortable in my recently repaired chair the phone rings. It's Isaac's teacher, asking whether I can chaperone Isaac's field trip to the San Francisco Symphony. Of course I can; what an honor to be with kids while they're learning. Here's a panorama of Isaac's class in their most excellent Terrace seats: that's Isaac and Eugenia right above the musician standing in the pit. They're leaning over the railing; Isaac is wearing orange.

Isaac's field trip to the San Francisco Symphony

Lila gives Brianna a piggy-back ride around the school-yard; her dad watches the goings-on.'

Lila & Brianna

While Zadie is on the mend from some recent health issues the kids (and Bubbie) join him at the California Pacific Medical Center. (The kids are transfixed by the hospital television.)

Lila & Isaac with Zadie & Bubbie at CPMC
 13 April 2008
  With the girls gone to Hebrew School Isaac and I start our day at Orphan Andy's with some awesome pancakes and omlette.

I & Papa @ Orphan Andy's

With a bit of boy time together, Isaac wishes for some MUNI riding. Here we approach Balboa Park station, where we watch lots of trains get dispatched down the various lines. Then we head home to pick up Lila.

Isaac on MUNI

My god-daughter Kaeli is giving an opera recital today at SODA. She's right in the middle of this picture (not that it really helps you much; sorry).

Kaeli's SODA chorus

Lila dines at the post-recital reception with Kaeli (left) and other god-daughter Natalie (right). The parents let the kids be to do their socializing; very important it is.

Kaeli, Lila, Natalie

Isaac and I walk home from SODA, down the hills with a beautiful views. We take a shortcut down Stanton St., where Isaac finds a great swing by the dog-walk.

Isaac on swing
 12 April 2008
  Today (and tonight) I'll be part of a contingent of Burning Man Black Rock Rangers asked to facilitate the Yuri's Night Bay Area celebration at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View. That's Ranger Crow (black hat), Ranger Tenderfoot (white hat), and Arlo (red shirt).

Yuri's Night is the celebration of Yuri Gragarin's first spaceflight around planet Earth.

Yuri's Night: Rangers

The Bay Area LEGO Users Group strutting their stuff.

Yuri's Night: Bay Area LEGO Users Group

On the tarmac some Burning Man groups have assembled their camp structures. In the far right is the main stage under a white shade structure.

Yuri's Night: tarmac

A silver-paint-clad performance artist hangs in a moving rig while musicians play Indonesian gamelan-like music is background.

Yuri's Night: Hanger A stage

In the VIP tent, one of my posts during the evening, I took this photo of the back of Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin's head (seated, in red shirt) and NASA Ames Research Center director Simon 'Pete' Worden (standing, wearing a Soviet general's uniform). I could have gotten a better picture, especially as they went right by me several times, but I didn't want to disturb them.

Yuri's Night: Buzz Aldrin with Simon 'Pete' Worden

Also inside the VIP tent were a grand selection of Gragarin memorabilia. Hero of the Soviet Union, he was.

Yuri's Night: Gragarin memorabilia

Another of the Burning Man art pieces is raised above the tarmac. It reminds us all of the aliens in the movie 'Mars Attacks'.

Yuri's Night: Mars Attacks

As the morning - and my fourteen-hour shift - draws to a close I take a self-portrait. It's 1am and I'm still in shirt sleeves, that's how hot this day and night have been.

Yuri's Night: self-portrait

Some fire art, reminiscent of the playa, graces the event.

Yuri's Night: fire art

Music and light art on the main stage. The crowds were well-behaved and partying right through the night.

Yuri's Night: main stage
 11 April 2008
  A few images of my home life: here's the two monitors on my (messy) desk. The image is of the commissary at Black Rock City.

my office monitors

Outside, our thermometer registers 25° F (-3° C), quite a change from

a hot day
 7 April 2008
 6 April 2008
 4 April 2008
  Lila and I are taking our Hapkido red-black belt test. Lila has some awesome stance, no?

Hapkido red-black belt test

Lila breaks the board, held by our instructor, Carlo Valero. Jason Nuygen and Marco Magsaysay are holding my board, due to be broken moments after Lila's strike.

Hapkido red-black belt test

Isaac joins me on the mat as we watch others display their techniques and forms. Things always go better with kids.

Hapkido red-black belt test

Jason Nuygen, in turn, signs the broken board. I guess we'll try to mount them somewhere, along with photos of the kicker.

Hapkido red-black belt test

Lila, Timmy, and Riley attack Carlo Valero, who prevails, but not after a long drawn-out battle with lots of screaming.

Hapkido red-black belt test

Downstairs, as we're heading out, the kids play with the cage. From left, Lila, Spenser, Timmy, Riley, and Isaac.

Hapkido: kids
 3 April 2008
  Isaac takes a photo of his latest catch from the local public library, The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip.

The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip
 2 April 2008
  The kids have been doing spring cleaning, bequeathing toys to their cousins, and in this case, to the toddler room at the near-by Randall Museum.

kids' toy

Isaac takes this automotive portrait from the back seat of Rose's car with an iPhone being recharged through that white cord.

iPhone power cord

Speaking of the Randall Museum, here's Chris teaching the woodworking safety orientation. I signed up for their Zen & Sawdust class, to get access to the wood shop for projects I'd like to do around the house.

Randall Museum: Chris teaches woodworking safety

Isaac checks out someone's selected route through the train layout. Something about switches and lights and whatnot. I don't get it (yet).

 1 April 2008
  Rose participates in the Thomas the Tank Engine recall. These are some of the items we're sending back.

Thomas the Tank Engine recall

We hit the public library at least a couple times each week. The kids borrow books, video DVDs, and audio CDs. Here's Isaac's latest acquision, Inside the Titanic; a favorite topic.

Inside the Titanic

I love Indian-Pakistani food. Here's a recipie for malai murgh, creamy roast chicken breasts. Let's see if I can find time to give it a go.

creamy roast chicken breasts

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