October 2006 Archives



I recently bought an almanac. I'm not sure why, except that I've always kind of vaguely known that buying almanacs was something you do when you grow plants. At the botanical garden where I worked long ago, there was always one hanging in the office on a peg, and it had pages for every week of the year with little notes that said things like, "Sow peas now." That sort of firm directive is very useful to a chronic ditherer like myself: I'm more likely to put it off too late while I try to figure out the ideal time for sowing. And it had lots of info on the phase of the moon and planets and all that.

So I bought an almanac, not really thinking about the fact that a) almanacs never have the right planting information for this climate, and b) all that information is free on the web these days anyhow. Needless to say, the almanac is, while almost completely useless as a source of useful information, nonetheless of great interest to me because it is clearly aiming itself at an audience of people who are both moderately obsessed with the moon and not on the internet.

I will leave it to you to figure out the demographic of moon-obsessed non-interneters (luddite werewolves?). Suffice it to say that I don't think I need to buy another almanac. I'm thinking of making my own perpetual calendar for the garden, anyway.

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Design Crunch


We're on our last week of the design portion of the San Francisco internship program. For five weeks we do an intensive design studio, then for six weeks we work at a firm while doing lectures at night.

Our project for design is an affordable housing project in the Tenderloin, and we could choose between family housing and senior housing, or a mix of the two. I chose senior housing. This week I am working on elevations, having just finished the floor plans for my residential levels (the lower level is commercial space). Wanna see?

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Peace and Harmonium


Noel bought a harmonium. That's a small pump-organ, powered by a pair of foot-pedals. This one was fairly cheap as it was non-functional. But with a few repairs to some straps last night, he got it to make sounds, and this morning we gave it a thorough cleaning, which turned out to be 99 percent of the problem. It's from the 1890's, and looks like it was last cleaned in the 1930's.

Noel and his harmonium

It's got a nice sound to it. Not the highest-end of harmonia, so the volume waxes and wanes as you pump, but it's a pleasant little house-organ. Especially now that it is fairly clean.

Or Maybe I'm in Poland


Some magazine articles I wrote years ago were translated and redistributed abroad. Given that the products they were about were obsolete more than five years ago, this has never been a major issue, but today I received a long letter with multiple quotes from what can only be a Polish translation of an article on network backup software. I speak no Polish at all, although some things are easy enough to understand. I don't even know if this person is angry or happy or just wanted to clarify something, or even tell me that new network backup software works better.

Apparently my writing career in Eastern Europe is still doing quite well, unattended.

I Guess I Don't Exist


Or else I am abroad. You'd think that they would just ask, when I finished, whether I was in the US, so they could make their database work. Then they'd have the right number.

There are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?



I tripped while hurrying through downtown San Francisco this morning, fell down, and landed on my right knee. That would be my bad knee.

For a while I just sort of rolled around on the sidewalk muttering obscenities. Then a Fedex guy helped me sit up and a moment later I was able to stand up, if not quite able to bend my knee. This was good because I was going to meet up with my class for a day-long walking tour. Oops. Maybe not so good.

I lasted until about 12:30, though. Three hours before the pain got to be so bad that I just had to go home and lie down. My knee looks terrible, but it appears to be merely bruised. I have huge ugly bruises on my palms. But I managed, somehow, to avoid sliding and scraping the heck out of myself, which is a step up from my usual falling behaviour.

Of course, this would have to happen in a week when I planned to finish making a foundation for the shed, and in which lots and lots of plants are arriving for fall planting. Fortunately, it's a lovely day, and we are well stocked in ibuprofen.

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