What’s New? 2003-12

    What’s New? 2003-12

    What’s New? 2003-12

    Wednesday 31 December 2003

    Good morning, from our house to yours. Here’s

    enjoying some Turkish coffee (or Arabic coffee, or Greek coffee, or Macedonian coffee, or Israeli coffee, or whatever you call it).

    I’m told that there’s a better way to transliterate the name of . You know, the guy who has been living in Charles de Gaulle airport since 1988. Thank you, dear reader.

    For the first time since he was born,

    is not sleeping under our roof tonight. He’s having a sleepover with Auntie .

    surely misses her big brother, giving us grief when we left him (shortly after we took this photo of them) and at home when we went to sleep.

    But before we left, Lila danced to the musical background to the home movies playing on the television.

    Tuesday 30 December 2003

    We visit the closing

    yet again, but unlike last night’s deserted campus today it’s a zoo.

    A new entrant to the computer user interface hall of shame, Symantec’s Norton Personal Firewall for .

    Not only can’t these trained professionals properly catch errors, they can’t even spell “unknown”. I’m so proud to be a programmer…

    From Uncle I get the annual greetings collage, a welcome email.

    I loved the time I spent with Daniel and family on

    back in 1995. I am so overdue for a visit.

    strolled around

    taking pictures with our . Not bad, eh?

    Speaking of the boy, here’s a recent chalkboard creation of his, including the signature.

    Monday 29 December 2003

    Sadly, our source for “World Famous 18 Swedish Pancakes served with Warm Maple Syrup and country fresh whipped Butter” and lingonberries,

    shut its doors today. The link goes to our report.

    Our holiday carpool of four people nets us a bunch of free parking at the Union Square parking garage, so we visit the Segafredo café

    mentioned) a few blocks away. The kids get the hot chocolates they wanted but couldn’t get at Sears. I went with my usual espresso machiatto caldo. One of the staffers, who remembers

    from his first visits here whilst a baby, now has a seven-month-old of her own. The manager, alas, has moved on.

    I like the juxtaposition of the the Christmas lights, wreath, toy display, and the palm tree. I love living in California 🙂

    It has been a long day. As we’re shopping at the Trader Joe’s

    decides to bed down for a nap. That’s a box of Jelly Bellys she’s found.

    decides he’d like to imitate his little sister.

    picked up a bottle of Thai peanut sauce for cooking, but why she’s dangling a bottle of lemon juice over Isaac is beyond me.

    I think we’ve finally restocked all the food we’ve lost in the recent blackout.

    In the evening we visited the . The present building is closing in two days, will be torn down, and a new “green” building will open in 2008-2009. (In the meantime some of the exhibits will move downtown, near the Moscone Center.)

    We’ll be there to welcome the downtown center and the new building, when it opens.

    Sunday 28 December 2003

    wakes at 0730, rolls over to me, and says “let’s go to Japantown for an omelette”. The girls are sleeping, so we leave to give them more time. Here’s my boy, in front of the koi pond; the waterfall has just started. Sam, the caretaker, and Bob, the janitor, have both been by. Isaac is wearing my

    sweatshirt; he’s cold in his sleep, having refused to take his jacket indoors. That’s Spam-bacon-Spam we’re enjoying at May’s Coffee Shop,

    food at its most accessible.

    In the early afternoon we have a brunch at

    and Sofia. I made an omelette with Ememntaler. She made pierogies with browned onions. Yum.

    With

    and

    sharing the keyboard, Bubbie belts out some tunes.

    Saturday 27 December 2003

    , Sofia, and our family heads up the hill to the Randall Museum to see a production of Gian Carlo Menotti’s operetta Amahl and the Night Visitors. (It’s one of the few things Dad and I sung together when I was a kid; he had both the score and records.) Here are Casper, Melchior, and Balthazar. Their servant sits at their feet. It was a fun production.

    Afterwards, both kids wanted to climb the trees outside. What big brother does little sister wants to do too.

    It’s dusk by the time we get back home.

    is very impressed by the Christmas lights hung at the Tropicana apartments by Jim Higgins, the manager. She asked that I take this picture.

    Friday 26 December 2003

    The kids enjoy the balloons left over from Isaac’s birthday party. We usually hand them out to the departing guests; we completely forgot to do it this time.

    We’ve been hanging photos of our family travels; frames to hold four photos are inexpensive at Ikea, so across the bay we go. Afterwards we have lunch at Spenger’s, an old-time seafood emporium which is the only place I can find a Hangtown Fry (a favorite of early settlers in ). Here’s

    playing with a handle on the faux nautical steering wheel table.

    That evening I make dinner for us all,

    and Sofia included.

    wanted to re-create the birthday candle excitement of days past with the key lime pie I’d bought for the evening, so we did. The pineapple was pretty amazing too.

    Late at night, far past the kids’ bedtime, Bubbie, Zadie, and

    arrive with gifts from Shirley and family. They kids are beside themselves with excitement. It takes a good long time to get them to sleep tonight.

    Thursday 25 December 2003

    Merry Christmas to you, as appropriate.

    Here we’re celebrating the seventh night of Chanukah. We’ve sung and dined, had our baths, and will be heading to bed shortly. Sleep well, all.

    Wednesday 24 December 2003

    It’s the sixth night of Chanukah, and we’re celebrating at

    parent’s house. (Ignore the wrong number of candles lit; trust me.) Here

    and Bubbie sing Oh, Chanukah!

    poses with Auntie .

    Several years ago we gave Pam this LED mogain david (Hebrew: Star of David); now Lila is enraptured by it.

    Tuesday 23 December 2003

    Happy fifth night of Chanukah! Today was a gentle day around . No pre-school due to winter break, until 5 January. It’s very nice. Now, if we could only get back to sleeping in; I don’t like 07:30.

    In an email from

    I get this great photo of cousin Ziggy. Excellent!

    Monday 22 December 2003

    This morning, as I’m cleaning all the ruined food from the refrigerator, the kids are playing with one of Isaac’s presents. Here you see them showing off their , of which they were very proud.

    Later in the day our architect, Jack Byars, came by with a roll of yellow tape to mark off the outlines of what we’re proposing to build. The city is very close to giving us approval. It’s been a long time in coming. (Here you see

    and

    helping with the stringing of the tape.

    was using the video camera.)

    And then it was time to celebrate the fourth night of Chanukah.

    From the San Francisco Chronicle:

    San Francisco enjoyed full power on Monday after a weekend blackout left one-third of the city without electricity at the height of the holiday shopping season… which at its peak Saturday left 120,000 Pacific Gas and Electric Co. customers in the dark as downtown bustled with holiday shoppers. Regulators are especially concerned that a fire at a single PG&E substation on Mission Street could spark so wide a blackout….

    The blackout reached North Beach, Chinatown, the Civic Center, the Castro, the Mission, downtown, the Sunset and Richmond districts and isolated pockets elsewhere. PG&E customers regained power over the next 30 hours, Moreno said. The last 200 customers were back on the grid shortly before midnight Sunday, he said.

    Hey, that’s us! Such an honor, being amongst the last to finally get power 🙂

    Just for the record, in case I care someday, today is the day that I switched from Userland

    to Userland Radio. (This works for me because I use it as a page-rendering engine, and don’t need all the crap that’s been tossed into Frontier in recent years. Lesser price tag too.)

    Sunday 21 December 2003 – My 40th birthday

    The electrical power came on at 2300 this evening, after about thirty hours. We in the

    seem to have been amongst the last to have it restored.

    During Isaac’s 5th birthday party someone asked us “what will you do this evening if the power stays out? Come on over to our house and watch some videos.” A nice invitation, but as our house is TV-free it was another relaxing evening of reading stories to the kids (albeit by candlelight). We did celebrate my 40th birthday at Todai sushi, where an ID gets you a free meal on your special day.

    Saturday 20 December 2003 – my mother-in-law’s birthday

    We started the weekend at the Josephine Randall Junior Museum, where we watched the rehearsal for next week’s production of Amahl and the Night Visitors. One of my favorites; we’ll be there.

    is on stage, playing with the daughter of one of the singers.

    With the rehearsal over, Quinn gets ready to feed and fly Betty the Harris Hawk. A great way to end our museum time.

    After sundown the power goes out. It flickers back on for a short time, but then dies again. No worries, our plans are to celebrate the beginning of the second night of Chanukah and then head over to our synagogue to celebrate with a feast of Sephardic cooking.

    At shul, after the most excellent meal, we head back upstairs to hear some live music played for us. Good tunes, but I would have preferred something more traditional for the environment. During

    we had live Turkish music, which was grand.

    And of course, Happy Birthday Mother-in-Law! Many happy returns of the day, Marion. Hugs.

    Friday 19 December 2003 – Chanukah 5764, Isaac’s 5th birthday

    Happy 5th Birthday, !

    My boy us awake early, and we let the girls club sleep while we enjoy breakfast at

    in Japantown. Here you see Isaac getting a celebratory chocolate lollypop while our three-meat omelet is being prepared in the background. May came by a little later; it’s always a joy to see her.

    We celebrated at Isaac’s pre-school, where tradition is to give out presents on ones birthday. We decided on those incredible plastic chopsticks for kids: ours have been eating all sorts of complicated foods since they were very young, a great esteem-builder since they’re much easier to use than forks or spoons.

    (I can’t believe Isaac is already 5 years old. Since he was born we’ve measured out our childraising goals by saying “for the first five years….” I guess it’s time to make the next five-year-plan.)

    Happy Chanukah 5764 to you all!

    It’s the beginning of the Festival of Lights.

    Spin a dreydel, eat latkes, enjoy.

    My favorite season is autumn. What with the beautiful changing colors of the leaves, the crisp chill in the air, a chance to wear wool, and the succession of holidays Halloween, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Isaac’s birthday, my birthday, my mother-in-law’s birthday, and our traditional walk across the

    at noon on New Year’s Day.

    Rummaging around my hard drive I uncovered an article about being a geek after the dot com crash for which I was interviewed by Katharine Mieszkowski of Salon.com from (March 2001). Typically for the news media, as I’ve found out in previous interviews, only a third of what I’m quoted as saying is actually correct. The other two-thirds is a complete fabrication. The article: “Even programmers get the blues”.

    Many years in the future, a bunch of scientists manage to contact God.

    “God,” they go on to say, “we no longer need you. Anything you can do, we can do. We know now how everything works.”

    “Is that so?” God responds. “Well, in that case, how about a contest? You create a man, and I’ll create a man and we’ll see which turns out better.”

    “Agreed,” the scientists repond.

    “But,” God continues, “you’ll have to do it like I did and create a man from the dirt.”

    “Not a problem,” the scientists chortle, knowing enough to be able to resequence basic elements into complex structures like DNA. So, in unison, the scientists get out their beakers, bend down, and scoop up some dirt.

    “Whoa, whoa, whoa,” God says. “You get your own dirt.”

    , as seen from Twin Peaks at dusk.

    Wednesday 17 December 2003

    With

    in town for a week we gather the family together for a celebratory birthday dinner.

    picked an old favorite of ours, Osteria Ristorante. There’s a lot of Italian food in this , but Osteria is the closest to the good food we’ve enjoyed on our

    visits.

    From left to right, you see , cousin Ziggy, my sister , Opa Emil, my mom , me (opening a pair of picture frames given to me by the kids), , Sofia, and .

    My creme caramel. The rousing “Happy Birthday” chorus with the kids was the highlight to a fun evening.

    It’s so nice having all the grandkids together, especially as they mug for the camera. I really love Ziggy’s tweed jacket.

    Sunday 14 December 2003

    On my wrist is the

    wristwatch. Reasonably indestructible, just what I need.

    Separated at Birth? Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn and Saddam Hussein…

    No disrespect to Mr. Solzhenitsyn, whose bookThe Gulag Archipelago: 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation absolutely captivated me when I read it in high school.

    Can you believe it? We’re at that pinnacle of suburbia, Chuck E. Cheese. We’re south of the

    near the airport, here to celebrate the fifth birthday of Catalina (Peanut). We met her whilst we were still at the hospital with our new-born son.

    Here’s the birthday girl surrounded by my offspring. They’re having a grand time in the crawling and climbing area of the restaurant. They were a bit scared by the guy in the mouse suit, but everything else was a big hit to the wee ones.

    There was a penguin driving his car down a desert road.

    It was a really hot day, and his car is really a really old convertible. Up ahead he saw a small town.

    All of a sudden, his hood burst open and oil shot into the air.

    He pulled it into the first mechanic he saw in the town and cleaned himself off. The mechanic told him it could be a little while, so he waddled across the street to the ice-cream stand.

    He got a dish of vanilla ice-cream, and since he had no arms, just flippers, he had to fling it towards his mouth. Well, after he finished his ice-cream, and was covered with vanilla ice-cream, he waddled across the street back to the mechanic.

    The mechanic was looking at the engine and said, “Well, it looks like you blew a seal.”

    The penguin says, “I did NOT! It’s just ice-cream!”

    Saturday 13 December 2003

    “Mother-in-law Asks: Using Eudora’s Address Book” is finally done. It’s not much, but I hope it’ll do the trick.

    Today was Tobias’ fifth birthday party. It was held at a public park in Daly City, somewhere behind the Todai sushi buffet (which we first experienced in ). Unlike last year’s party, the threatened rainfall stayed away. Here you see the four birthday children, from left: Rose, Aidan, Sara, Sara’s sibling, and Tobias.

    absolutely loved the jumper rented for them. She stayed in for at least three-quarters of an hour. Neither the reckless big kids nor the crying tiny ones bothered her.

    Kawika ‘Dave’ Alfiche, owner of the Kaleo Café, sent an email announcement of Hawai’ian music and food this evening, so we invited Tobias (and his parents, Roya and Cary) and

    and Sofia to enjoy it with us. Here we are feasting on kalua pig and chicken, lau lau, lomi salmon, rice, and macaroni salad. Ono ka mea ‘ai.

    Then it was time for Hebrew folk dancing. This is the last evening it’ll be held in the Presidio, behind the former Merchant Marine hospital. In February the newly-rebuilt Jewish Community Center will be open for us, and after a hiatus of a couple of years, we’ll be back.

    Friday 12 December 2003

    It’s come to my attention that others have wanted my latke recipe.

    Here it is, taken from the poster the staff asked me to make.

    For those of you who happen on this page via search engine, here it is textually:

    4 cups peeled, grated potatoes

    1 large onion, chopped

    1 1/2 teaspoons salt

    2 tablespoons flour

    2 eggs

    Wash, peel, and grate the potatoes. Squeeze out liquid. Combine with onion, salt, flour, and optionally some pepper and chives. Lightly beat the egg, and stir into the mixture.

    Heat the oil in a skillet, and spoon in tablespoons of the mixture to make medium-sized patties. Brown on one side, turn, and brown lightly on the other. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.

    Serve with applesauce or sour cream, or as

    suggests, with powdered sugar.

    Thursday 11 December 2003

    Lila: The motor [in that toy car] is a bit scary. That’s why I close it up, so it won’t be so scary.

    Today we were asked by the pre-school staff to cook latkes to celebrate Chanukah. Using an electric skillet isn’t exactly the same as a gas stove, but it worked out spectacularly well. They were very, very tasty. Here you see my almost-closing-time posse: these guys were eating faster than I could cook!

    was asking me to show you my greasy hands.

    It’s autumn in . One of the nice things about

    is that we are surrounded by greenery. Here you can see the brown and yellow leaves which blanket our front walk. The smell is a joy, and it’s an extra-special joy experiencing a bit of the seasons in the midst of the city.

    Wednesday 10 December 2003

    Well, it’s been a few days since I’ve updated the site. Damn, we’ve been sick as dogs! We’re finally on the trailing edge, hopefully dropping away from that unpleasantness. (I still have a cough, but infrequently.) For the last few days I’ve been playing catch-up with everything we were doing before Thanksgiving. Finally, we’re almost there.

    Rose’s cell phone is broken, as is my digital

    (broken battery door) and

    cameras. And that’s just the beginning of my entropy list. Anyone know an expert old-world wristwatch repair guy?

    Sunday 7 December 2003

    We’re at Price/Costco, shopping for my still-ill in-laws. Here’s

    wearing the balmoral we bought in Inverness. As I’m not a bit Scottish, my clan sign is that of the

    (Royal Highland Regiment), as I’ve adopted their universal tartan and have picked up some related vintage military items.

    Saturday 6 December 2003

    , who is perhaps the hardest hit by the flu, has pretty much recovered. He passionately asked to go to Mifune, in Japantown, to eat soba on a shinkansen (Japanese: bullet train) plate. So we go, with Dziadziu and Sofia. It’s a good meal, and their introduction to this style.

    Friday 5 December 2003

    It’s cousin Ziggy’s second birthday party! We’re at

    in Alameda, a short jaunt over the Bay Bridge. Here you see (from left) my sister , , and Fel’s friend Nicole.

    Here’s the money shot:

    with all three grandchildren: Ziggy (2),

    (2.25), and

    (5 at the end of this month).

    Thursday 4 December 2003

    decided to imitate Isaac’s games. Now she’s hiding in my shirt.

    is really good in the kitchen. He loves cooking as much as Lila loves helping him. Here they’ve baked a pumpkin mix into a muffin tin and a loaf. And it was really, really tasty.

    We have some birthday parties coming up, so we’ve gone shopping to CitiKids. Isaac and Lila run into the baby bouncers demo area, squeezing into models much too small for them. But it makes them happy, so what am I to say about that?

    Autumn in Nihonmachi (Japantown). Time for amaguchi (Japanese: roasted chestnuts), which both kids love to eat. A bit of everything.

    I’ve been working on copying our DVDs to the hard drive so that I can carry a bunch around for the kids to watch while we travel (or when we’re sick). During our last

    I dragged a dozen DVDs with us; they’re too fragile to do that again. “How to Rip a DVD” is the result of my deliberations. It’s what I need to remember when I calculate frame rates, etc.

    Wednesday 3 December 2003

    This is one of the good things about being sick: being pampered in bed. Isaac is enjoying the DVDs I rented this afternoon; Lilo & Stitch is playing. He’s got his yellow sippy cup nearby. He’ll be asleep soon.

    is having a zen moment with Bubbie’s visor. While sick she’s become one with her stroller, which we’ve left near the front door.

    Tuesday 2 December 2003

    We’re still sick. Every day it seems as though the fever has broken and things are on their way to mending, and a few hours later the fever and discomfort is back. Here’s another snack on the bed.

    Here’s another low-energy smile.

    is at one of his favorite places – Toys ‘R Us – with aisles of wheeled vehicles on which to ride.

    Monday 1 December 2003

    We’re the sickest we’ve been in a long, long time. The kids have never been sicker. They’re getting meds for discomfort, fever, decongestant, and occasionally a cough supressant. With a family bed the misery becomes a bit of shared fun. Here we’re all having a snack, playing with a newly-discovered treat: stickers. At right you can see two of my

    laptops: the black one is our mail server and Isaac’s DVD player, the silver one is my work machine.

    In the midst of all the discomfort, difficulty sleeping, and iffy moods

    can still find the time for a low-energy smile.

    Have you found errors nontrivial or marginal, factual, analytical and illogical, arithmetical, temporal, or even typographical? Please let me know; drop me . Thanks!

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