A Ceremony in Campbell, California

Campbell is down near San Jose. It has been raining.

Looks like I'm still stuck on apples. And they're mean little buggers:

Did you know that in France they compare apples with pears? That is, they think it's a bad idea to compare apples and pears in the same way we resist comparing apples and oranges. I don't know if anybody compares apples and bananas.

I wonder what they might be chanting.

And here's the context shot.

This is another in the continuing series of wee toaty explorers, a project to keep me busy while I'm on the road. A nice summary is here.

Too Much Information Tuesday

It seems like every time I go on a trip, I realize I need to clip my fingernails, but I never pack clippers. Do you know how many pairs of clippers I own now? Geez.

More About Agile

Here's a nice conversation that combines two of my favorite things: steampunk and agile development: a post at Chrononautic Log.

Learning Lessons Over and Over and...

Last Sunday, before I flew off to Vancouver, I took a bike ride up the big hill on the other side of 49. I went up North Bloomfield and down Wet Hill. North Bloomfield is a little steep, but the bit on Wet Hill is fairly flat and sloping downward. When I got to Cement Hill, I could have ridden back down to 49 and gone somewhere familiar, but I saw that there was another road available.

This is where I learned that a road being called Indian Flats is no guarantee that it will be flat. (Nor does it mean that you will see Prasad or Sandeep on it.)

It's a winding road that in this direction was mostly down, but fairly steep in places and when you've not ridden a road, you have no idea what's ahead. I'm certain that I wouldn't want to go in the other direction.

So that's how I came out at the Willo and took a picture of its neon glass, as Dixie pointed out and others of you hinted. In fact, here is the bear, too:

With the glass in context:

Vancouver Groupies

Remember this view from my window?

Well, this is what I came back to find this evening:

Since I got here, I've been surprised at how big Vancouver feels. It's not nearly so big as New York, but it feels more like New York than Baltimore or DC, both of which are closer in population. At any rate, I discovered there are some mountains around here. Can you see the snow-capped peaks here?

OK, so I walked across a big bridge and the mountains just jumped right out and scared me:

Golly, I hear I missed snow back at home. What a day.

A Wrapper in Vancouver

I think this guy is having a brain wave.

Oh, man, if only he knew what kind of art he could do with his skills. Wouldn't it be grand if he could do something on a grand scale? But what?

There's a giant maple leaf flag outside my hotel window. Wrapping buildings in stuff must be a Canadian thing.

Find the Sign

OK, here's a contest that Bowie Mike is not going to be able to win. :) Where in Nevada County can you find this neon cocktail in a tree?

What a beautiful weekend to have paused back at home. This afternoon I'm off to Vancouver.

The Fisher King of Seattle

A good fisherman sits on his box out by his fishing hole early in the morning. He has patience.

If he waits long enough he might get a bite.

I don't want to be one of those artists who explains everything, but that is supposed to be a grizzled moustache, brown with some gray mixed in.

This is another in the continuing series of wee toaty explorers, a project to keep me busy while I'm on the road. A nice summary is here. Usually, I figure they'll stick around for a little while and give more than one person a small smile before being carted off, but this fisherman found a new home almost immediately.


I'll be posting my Seattle wee toaty explorer sometime this weekend after I get a chance to pick the pictures. (I have to run off and do a story writing/story estimation workshop right now.) I had to take the time, though, to give you this picture.

I hadn't even gotten a block away before I turned around and saw my wee toaty explorer being snatched by this man. In this picture, he has the little guy in his hands and is giving him the look-see. A few seconds later, he will abscond with the explorer, putting him in his pocket and walking a jaunty walk. Fastest removal possible without actually interacting with me!

The Scoop

Bowie Mike seems to think I have an obsession with bathrooms, and he might be right. This is my favorite post involving "the facilities."

However, I have a bigger obsession with collecting dog curbing signs. I'm not really sure why, and I suspect that taking too much time to analyse it would in itself be a bad sign.

At any rate, here is how one park in Seattle depicts your doggy duty. Go to the trouble of drawing in the dog dirt, but don't give the human any hands!

Nice to Save Water and All But...

...do they have to refer to it as number one and number two?

The Public Comment Phase Begins Today

I'm proud to reveal the source of the lightning and thunder spewing from my midnight workshop. I have been asked by the totally fictitious Greater Nevada City Metropolitan Transport Service to provide a map for the little-known and probably physically impossible subway system known to locals affectionately as "The Shaft".

This map is being provided to the community for an open comment period so that errata, miscellaneous improvement, and wishful additions may be provided by the public in order to improve and sustain this valuable transportation service.


Several notes about this version:

  • North San Juan service exists simply so that I can get a grilled cheese sandwich at Toki's Fountain.
  • The Brunswick Basin stop (also known as Lake Olympia) is not (completely) to blame for the delay in opening the new Walgreens.
  • The popular and exciting commuter rail line from Auburn to Truckee that passes through Nevada Station has been accidentally left off the map. Please pretend it is there.
  • I really think there's a tech park somewhere off of Zion, isn't there? That should get a station.
  • This map is definitely not to scale.
As noted in the legend, this is revision 2010-01. Please feel free to provide comment in the section below. Posters might be available after the comment period closes and appropriate revisions have been incorporated.

Thank you for your attention. This project was inspired by the Speculative Subways at Transit Authority Figures.

Everybody Should Blog

I'm enjoying walking back through the archive of comic strips at Wondermark. It's so nice to find a long-running comic that I didn't know about. Plenty to entertain me.

I Can Smile at the Old Days

Still stuck in memory-land for some reason this week.

I can remember a time when every person I knew was attached to a seven digit (and, later, a ten digit) number. More important, I can remember knowing what that seven digit number was for all my friends and family, without help.

As it is now, I have no idea what my own mother's telephone number is. I can pull her area code out of my head, because I sort of remember where she lives, but I couldn't tell you any other part of her number. I just push a button that says "mom".

So you might think it's technology's fault. Since I never dial it (haven't dialed anything since the early eighties, I expect), why should I remember it?

My company has given me a personal ReadyTalk access number. ReadyTalk is a web conferencing software application. I have several meetings on it a week. When I ask someone to join me on ReadyTalk, I have to give them my number (I also then have a password for starting and stopping the call) so they can get on the conference.

I never remember this number, either. And it is seven digits long.

On the other hand, I can't make the chorus from Welcome to the Boomtown ("All that money makes such a succulent sound") leave me alone. Maybe that's what is taking up all my number memory locations.

I sure hope Dad never moves.

Pop Quiz!

OK, this song has been going around and around in my head for two weeks now. Then I saw this comic strip. And suddenly, a blog post was born.

I put the chorus for a popular '80s song through babelfish. From English to Chinese to English to Greek and finally back to English. This is the result:

Consequently I said that reception, reception in the city that is suddenly flourishing.
It selects the habit we in order to it receives abundantly four in order to it takes a walk.
Reception, reception in the city that is suddenly flourishing.
All these money make such juiciness sound.
Welcome in the city that is suddenly flourishing.

This was one of those one-hit-wonders and was a big song in my playlist. Can you guess the song?

Update: Well that was too easy. The answer is already in the comments. Here's another one:

Who from this makes the loving dream does make me which it did not agree?
Gesticulate peace, and the ocean of peace,
Seven each to search for something.

English to Chinese to English to Russian to English.

All Alone in the Moonlight

Jonathan Carroll has a short post about memory. He describes an old friend writing to him with a detailed anecdote about their shared past that he had completely forgotten. The story, however, reawakened the memory.

I had forgotten this completely and only after reading their description did I have one of those "Oh yeah, I remember that!" moments....There are so many things that happen to us along the way that we forgot. But someone often does remember them, as we remember things about others that they have forgotten. Isn't it strange that events in our lives-- OUR lives--belong to others now? Unless we see or talk to these people, we will lose these things forever.

When was the last time you had one of those a-ha! moments? I don't seem to have them so often, but I tend to lose contact with people fairly frequently (and I refuse to go back to that Facebook thing). I do, however, love to be reminded of the hazier events in my past. I especially like to be reminded that a part of me is living in someone else's brain.

Not too terribly long ago, I was at a family reunion "down the ocean" (as we say in Maryland) and my cousin was telling me a story about the time he was maddest at me while growing up. He went on to describe in great detail how I dumped his hermit crab out of its bucket and over the balcony railing. This had to have been more than 30 years ago, now, and he still vividly remembers the event.

For me, though, it did not bring an a-ha! moment. Even with his description, I did not remember this whatsoever. I didn't remember him even having a hermit crab (though we all went through them like candy, so I don't doubt it), and I didn't remember the bucket. I'm having trouble believing I was such a brat or that I'd be mean to a smaller creature, even if it was a crab. Again, I don't doubt him, but no bells rung for me at all.

And what a long time to hold a grudge, eh?

It is interesting that my cousin owns a piece of my past that I can no longer access.

Perhaps that's what this blog should be helping with. The problem with that is I never go back and re-read this thing. Maybe that will be my new mission. This thing is over five years old now. It's time to go back and review my life via the blog.

Pioneer Trail

It seems hard to believe that last weekend we were riding bikes along the Pioneer Trail. This morning, we walked through snow. This is a bit of the Pioneer Trail that cuts by the White Cloud camping area (closed for the winter), which is aptly named. The entire experience was spooky and quiet, except for the barking of a pack of dogs from down the valley (and the cars on 20, of course).

I loved it.

The Goliah, at Wadsworth, Big Bend of Truckee River (LOC)

Only 116 miles from home. I wonder if the train is going to the Burning Man Festival...