Friday, December 02, 2005

Disneyland - Day one

Today we flew from Oakland to Orange County to go to my company's 3-day Christmas Celebration. Staff and family got 3 days in the Paradise Pier Hotel, 3 Day passes to Disneyland, Disneyland California something and something else.

While I haven't been a fan of Disney for years (mega-global-entertainment-giants not being my milleiu) I was a little excited to see the original Disneyland. When I was little over 2 or 3 (I think) my parent's brought my brother and I here, and I only have disjointed memories of the trip. I remember driving a little car (and loving it). Being scared by a Yeti in a mountain, worried that It's a Small World dolls would come to life and get us. And being scared at the haunted Mansion, but facinated at the little lightbulbs that flickered like candles.

So now I'm here, first impressions? The park is smaller than I remember (not a suprise), but the matterhorn is pretty striking. Also the Yeti is still a little scary, and those little cars? They actually run on gas. It's odd how much exhaust gets funneled back up the line, but it's really stinky. It's also sponsored by Chevron. In fact most of the major rides are sponsored by some corporation. Kinda odd.

Monorails rule though.

Tonight? It will snow in the Magic Kingdom after the fireworks. Pictures soon.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Some Minor Updates

Moving day is coming up, as is the company Christmas party in LA, Kill-a-tree for christ day (getting a christmas tree), and Christmas. I've got so much to do and pack and freak out about that I feel strangely calm.

As of the 15th I'll be in the new house in Santa Rosa, along with a new email address and new phone number. If you need/want this new info leave me a comment and I'll get back to you through a more private channel.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


Well, it's almost official. I'm moving to Santa Rosa! I'm still working out the details with my company regarding where I'd work, and we need to put down the money for the deposit/first/last. But it looks like I'll get to wear a Goodman Ave hoodie with pride this Christmas.

Pictures can be found at Meredith's Flickr Page.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Laurel. Not unlike my favorite photo of Fargo (see Sept 2004 at the bottom)

More death in the streets.

More Dia De Los Muertos awesomness. This woman also made a beautiful poster for the 10th Anniversary of Critical Mass that is now hanging on my office door.


Mati and Laurel. Laurel's the fuzzy one.

Andy looking strangely menacing.

Dead-laurel. Note: that's make up, she's not really that skinny. Really.

Again, shot by me, lit by a photo journalist.

Dancers, courtesy of somebody's flash.

Us minus me.

This girl was up on stilts. The stilt-walkers were very cool.

Day of the Dead in the Mission

Day of the Dead

So, it's a week late, but what are you going to do.

Last week I drove from my office in Oakland over to Laurel's place to go march in the Day of the Dead procession with her and friends. Of course no one was leaving the apartment without the requisite decoration. Even I, your fearful scribe, partook of the facepaint and did my best to represent the face of death.

The procession was awesome. There were thousands of people walking down the streets. About 10-20% were dressed up in some way. Horns, drums and flutes played like a New Orleans Funereal march mixed up with NorCal drum circle. Sage smoke wafted over the crowds and people were lit by the flickering of candles.

After some detours and shortcuts which led us to a little party at a former art studio down a really cool alley, and some confused running around we ran into the head of the march where some Incan(?) dancers performed a insanely energetic tribal dance thing. The amount of flash photography was staggering, so much so that I stopped using my own flash and just relied on the professionals to light the scene for me.

Eventually we made our way over to Garfield park and Laurel and Andy laid there cards and candles at an altar (I had left my card to Michael back in there apartment). Then we wandered around looking for our fellow skeletons and headed for home, with a brief stop at McDonalds for some life afirming dead-cow.

I didn't wash my make-up until got home, which made from some awesome double-takes from the drivers around me.

The winter whirlwind

Wow, what a couple of weeks it's been. And that's nothing compared to what may be happening by the end of the year. For those who haven't heard, Meredith has found a great house in Santa Rosa on Goodman Ave (which is really where it's at, neighborhood-wise). But we don't know if we can get it, because I would need to change up my job situation and I just got down here. It's a great house, but it's also no bargin. So I may or may not be moving.

Then there's my company's christmas party. They are flying everyone (families, spouses, significant others and their families) to Disneyland for an action=packed weekend and a dinner for 80 at the rainforest cafe. It should be pretty awesome. I plan to spend the time trying to match up the fuzzy sepia-toned memories of my visit to Disneyland in 1978 or so with the modern one.

Then there's the business trip to Mammoth Lakes, by way of Reno. I'll be driving the trusty comfy Subaru over the sierras during winter-storm months. If you know me, you know I cannot wait! Of course it'll be my luck to have beautiful unseasonably warm weather for the whole trip. I love doing stuff like that, remind me to tell you of the time I drove 17.5 hours to Silver Springs, NV and back in the middle of the worst storm of the winter to deliver someone some clothes.

Not to mention the blur that will be Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and all that insanity.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


My current favorites:
DiggNation The latest episode actually made me snort soda through my nose at work. It's super-geeky and lightly obnoxious, but the bit about the sheepherder using wifi almost killed me.
Security Now
Sparkletack, which I haven't tried yet, but looks really interesting. It's history bits about San Francisco. I'll be listening to it during my commute in tomorrow.

Obligatory Car Shot #2 7:45 AM this morning

The view from my office window after a hot indian summer's day.

My new office, not quite setup.

Sweet Zombie Jesus

Here's yet another reason why the internet rules. Zombie Simulator

And now a series of links:

1 Bloglines is a great way to keep track of your favorite websites or blogs. I love it mainly because I surf across 4 different machines, and bloglines keeps me straight.
2. Best car geekery Blog I've read. I love this guy's writing. If you like old cars, or odd ball car/mechanical related stuff, read his blog. Also he has Heelers so you know he's all right.
3. Trane's blog while he's teaching in Japan. Funny, well written and beautifully photographed.
4. And even though Flash may be devil spawn this game is terribly addictive. Actually all their games are. Warning: may lead to lost productivity and a tendancy to mutter

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

New. Shiny. Green.

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.

Eep! Shiny!

I did it. I pulled the trigger and got a newish car. I can't wait to pick it up (which I will do tomorrow morning at 7:30). Oh to have climate control again, and a lack of deafening wind noise. I'll even have 5 whole gears to use. It'll be bliss.

Here's a picture.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

For Sale! Yes I have the bumper!

Tug & Barge for fixing the rail road bridge

My Cat, as promised.

The Steinhart in better days. Also, men should start wearing hats again.

The New De Young

I don't like the new De Young.

In fact I'm pretty upset about the whole business. All those great City Beautiful inspired public-palaces are gone. There is no more alligator pit in the Steinhart Aquarium. There is no fancy marble, or gilt paint on the iron work. It's all gone.

Beyond the loss of a historical resource, beyond the loss of craftmanship that cannot be regained, it is to me a loss of ideology.

Those museums were old school. Seriously old school. Science and the arts weren't interactive. They were lofty relics stored in dimly lit halls behind glass. Somber, imposing, inscrutable. That's what I loved about those places. I can't really get into the whole new-science, info-tainment, facts-delivered-by-handpuppet places that seem to have swept over the museum scene. I'm sure there are educators who'll tell me that this method is more effective in teaching facts to ADD addled children, but will it make them more curious about the world? I don't know. I don't think so.

As a kid those palaces instilled in me that science was important, that it was mysterious. Why else would there be such a big fancy building to house it all in? You had to meditate on what was in those dusty diaramas to make sense of it. And more often than not, you couldn't make sense of it. Not completely, because the whole story wasn't told. It wasn't holistic. A friend of mine once told me that good art leaves you with more questions than it answers, and I felt that way about those museums in Golden Gate Park. They gave you the briefest taste that the world was a very interesting place.

And if they ever do anything to the Exporitorium I'll bite somebody.

Edith Saved?

Plans were afoot to decommission and dismantle edith at the end of October. Those plans have been put on hold. Gary and I think, with a little application of money (>$200) and several weekends of light work we could stabilize her decline and keep her 'seaworthy' or at least river-worthy for months, if not years to come. We've currently decided that is the best course of action.

We'll see if we feel the same way during the depths of winter.

Soon to follow, more river barge pictures, taken this very morning. All I'll say is that I was on the water for work, and it was glorious.


All my little plans run amok in the streets, throwing stones and banging on newspaper machines.

Earlier I noted that I would be transfering to Oakland on November 1st, and moving to SF sometime around the new year. Well, not anymore folks. At least not this week.

Staffing at the Oakland office went through some unforseen hiccups and I volunteered to setup there for the short term until things settled down again. Of course the short term will probably take me until Nov 1st, then I'll be here officially.

As far as moving goes, I may need to put that off for a bit, as now that my commute has started I need a good reliable car soon. And that will soak up a lot of my 'moving' money. That said, my lovely truck and BMW are going up for sale at bargain prices for the discerning collector. Contact me if you are interested.

In addition to the location change I've been given some complex jobs with very short deadlines. So that's why I'm sitting in a sweltering office at 6:30 on thursday, when I should be having dinner with Meredith. Sigh. And I'll be here a while yet.

I'll spare you the promise to update my blog more often, but I won't spare you a picture of my cat looking cute.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Soul Sucker

The weather has cooled down, and I see kids trudging to school when I go to work in the mornings. Fall is nearly upon us (yay!) and I've rediscovered video games. This happens nearly every year. When back to school sales start, I suddenly get the urge to see what new and exciting games have come out. It must be a ingrained habit for procrastination from going to college. There's no better way to procrastinate than geeking out with a good game...unless it's cleaning house.

So earlier this week I bought World of Warcraft because I kept hearing such good things about it. I confess I was quite a D&D/Middle Earth geek as a kid, and I still secretly enjoy that whole genre of game. The great thing about WoW is that it's basically online-digital-real-time D&D. Sure there are differences, but it scratches that same mental/emotional itch. Now my days of working late hours and optimizing my network and file systems are past, it's all about running around in the forest and bashing creatures on the head.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Pretty Soup for Pretty Meredith. Also tasty.

Graffiti on Muni stop in the Mission

Ferns at new De Young

Japanese Tea Garden

Hotel Room

Hotel Hallway

Building in shadow

An alley of mirth

B is for fabric

Studio of Andrew ____, edit: Andrew Schoultz, thanks Meredith!


Pretty Meredith.

San Francisco Love Vacation

A couple of weeks ago, Meredith's ex-mother-in-law watched M's kids for the weekend so we could get out of town. We both needed a break from our routine, and a mini-vacation was the perfect thing. Since we didn't have much time and Meredith has just begun exploring San Francisco, we thought it would make lots of sense to get a hotel room in the city and wander around all weekend.

Photos first then details.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Birthday Addendum

It's looking like a lot of people will be busy on the 27th. So I'm thinking about switching to a daytime bbq/arbitrary gift day to the 28th (Sunday). RSVP me whether or not you can make it on Sunday. That is all.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

To Quote Ice Cube

Today was a good day.

It's funny, I stayed up far too late last night, there was another accident on the curve just above our house, and subsequently slept in 'til 10:30. Which meant I woke up with a blinding headache. I feared it was going to be another wasted Saturday, where I didn't get anything meaningful done, but also didn't do anything fun. As it happened I was wrong on both counts!

I got up and went to the Recyclery in San Rafael (well, first I got coffee..) and looked for parts for my folding bike. Didn't find much, but that's best because I don't have much money to spend at the moment. There are some really nice bikes down there right now for small people. I almost bought M another bike cause it was so rad, but she loves her bike and it would be presumptious of me to diffuse that love.

When I got home I spent a couple of hours working on my folder. Lemme back up a bit. Last night I spent almost all evening (after working 11 hours) fixing up my covy of bikes which have been neglected for too long. I had run into some problems with the folder that had vexed me all evening. Today I solved all those problems in no time at all! A little application of a torch and voila, it is done. Then I spruced up the paint some to stop the rust until I have a better sense of what it's aesthetic should be. After that I ate some lunch and took some aspirin (head still pounding), and started cleaning. Before I knew it, it's 9pm and my house is cleaner than it's been in...well since a girl lived here. Laurel's mom (my landlord) stopped by in the afternoon and we had a long pleasant talk about the house, my plans for moving (which she was very supportive about, something I was uneasy about bringing up), and life in general.

Also I found a good cheap source for some anime I've been wanting.

Also tomorrow is Sunday, which means Meredith-Day. Yay! I forsee a nice bike ride along the Sebastopol bike path, then lunch, then lounging around watching anime, maybe a nap and tea.

I hope you had as good of a day as me.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Don't trust me.

As of 8/26 I'll be 30. I'm having a rare celebration of my birthday that Saturday, come by the house, we'll bbq, drink beer, etc. Put it on your calendar. Presents are REALLY not neccesary as I'm trying to get rid of stuff (exceptions of course are the center-cockpit sloop from below, or anything from my amazon wish list) Just come by and eat food. It'll be good to see you.

Not so much news, as a formal announcement of rumor.

I'm moving. Starting Nov 1st I'll be working at our company's nacent east bay office in downtown Oakland. I hope to be living in SF by January 1st, but we'll see. I have a lot of sorting, tossing, selling of my crap to do first. Also, I'm thinning the vehicle herd. As I'll be commuting for the first 2 months (maybe longer) I need a reliable, confortable vehicle to get from Petaluma to Oakland in. I'd rather not go for a honda (theft problems), but I'm open to suggestion, btw thanks Laurel for the 2CV idea, but probably not so good on the freeway.

Friday, July 29, 2005

I want this boat. Unfortunately it's for sale, which means I actually might get it.

River Cat coming back. It's wake was really fun to ride in Edith.

The River Cat.

Torque is almost twisting this boat apart. That's a big propeller.

Work Barge. Nice Sky

Swamping out the photo bilge.

I've got lots of photos piling up that I've been meaning to post. I guess I'll post them by subject. First up: Petaluma River, and it's working boats.

Boats, ships, and the 1st world vs the third

So I'm listening to this book The Outlaw Sea, and while I cannot highly reccomend it, it enlightened me on a question I've been pondering for awhile: Where do all the old ships go? They used to go to places like Texas, Alabama, and Louisiana to get cut up. With rising wages, better jobs, and increased environmental regulation ship breaking has moved onto cheaper shores. First South Korea and Taiwan but now India, Pakistan, Bangladesh. The book talks about Alang, India. A village that fronts on the Arabian Sea that experiences extreme tides. At the highest of the high tides (every two weeks) they plow ships onto the sand at full power and wait for the waters to recede. Then they cut them up.

The images of this are stunning. Imagine miles of beach/mudflats with the world's ships lined up in various stages of dissection. It's beautiful if not for the horrendous pollution, danger, and death that this industry causes. There is little to no thought for worker safety or protecting the environment. Greenpeace has become very vocal about this and has begun patrolling, infiltrating and documenting the worst of it, but sadly I think this strikes at the wrong target.

The worker safety is something that should be addressed, but the pollution is more our fault then India's in my mind. There are laws on the books that mandate before selling for scrap that all the toxic materials are to be removed and disposed of properly. Of course this is almost never done and there's no enforcement. So the Indians are left to clean up, or not clean up the mess. With margins so thin on ship-breaking if they impose to many expensive regulations, practices the whole industry will simply move somewhere else, as it has twice before because there is no real global oversight.

I'm stumped on the right solution. Something that is less patronizing than greenpeace's approach, but something that does solve the problem and not merely let a bad situation continue because peoples live depend on it...

At any rate the photos are stunning. Do an image search on Alang.

Monday, July 18, 2005


I went camping this weekend up to Grover's Hot Springs in the eastern sierra. Man was it hot. Super hot. The drive both there and back was pretty gruelling, 105 degress, traffic and no A/C. Thanks to Andy and Laurel for letting me hitch a ride. I got to see a bunch of my friends and we mostly sat around and talked. Some played with Dan & Julies wonderful baby, who was probably the mellowest person there.

The best part, other than seeing my friends, was stacking rocks. I love stacking rocks. Laurel had a great idea that I won't post here, because she might actually do it and I don't want it getting poached.

But my idea was to write a grant to get big rock boxes installed in airports, kinda like sand boxes, but with river rocks. So you could pass the time waiting for your delayed flight by stacking rocks. Of course they'd probably have to be small so that no one got hurt lifting heavy rocks or having fingers and toes smashed but, even so, I discovered that stacking pebbles is also fun, if not quite as grandiose.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

What's that behind you? the A-Team!

'Thunder, thunder, thundercats, Ho! Thundercats are on the move, Thundercats are loose. Feel the magic, hear the roar, Thundercats are loose. Thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats! Thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats! Thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats! Thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats! Thundercats!

There's a voice that keeps on calling me. Down the road, that's where I'll always be. Every stop I make, I make a new friend. Can't stay for long, just turn around and I'm gone again. Maybe tomorrow, I'll want to settle down, Until tomorrow, I'll just keep moving on.

Ten years ago a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem and no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-team.'

All of a sudden after years of silence, A-team references are popping up like zombies. The above 3 paragraphs came from a random text generator I wanted to use for formating instead of the standard lorum ipsum stuff. Now I feel like I'm going to see Mr. T in the produce section....

Monday, July 11, 2005

It's like Tex-mex but with muppets

So fusion is all about taking complimentary flavors and smashing them together to get something great. That's almost what we have for the next great idea. I seem to remember this came to us during a very hot August while putting a roof on.

Title: D stands for Do the Right Thing
Plot: Have you seen Do the Right Thing? Have you seen Sesame Street? Ok you can see how the thing writes itself. It's just a matter of mapping the characters correctly.

Mookie: Big Bird
Buggin Out: Oscar
Radio Raheem: Snuffleupagus (sp?)
Sal: Hooper (yeah I know he's dead, what about what his name, one of the human guys..yeah him)
Da Mayor: the Count? I can't remember who we had cast for Da Mayor...Ben do you know?
Bedford-Stuvesant: Sesame Street
Racial Tension between black and white? Speciel tension between muppet and human....

Finer moments:
racial epithet scene based on physical difference between muppets and humans.
Watching Big Bird throw a garbage can through a window.
oo! oo! maybe we can do a little muppet show cross over and have the old balcony guys and the swedish chef as the old guys who sit on the corner all day.

If they made Herbie...

Some of my best ideas are collaborative, but the secret in getting the credit for collaborative ideas (DNA discovery?) is to be louder and more obnoxious than your partner. Ben Saari and I came up with two movie ideas while we were carpentering together, and we even had some ideas about casting. Let's take a look at what some fresh minds, unsullied by hollywood glitz or decent agents can create.

Title: A-Team 2000 (working title, may need to be updated...)
Plot: In this particular time-stream (Trek fans will know what I mean) the A-Team was a real unit, and now 20 years after they went into hiding, Hollywood digs them out and starts filming a movie 'based on the true story.' Except the meglomaniacal dictator (who hits women, and maybe has a bad scar on his cheek) that was overthrown by the A-Team is out for revenge, and sends his hapless goons (lots of black sweaters and vans) to kidnap them and bring them back to his caribbian fortress. His goons, being goons, kidnap the wrong A-Team, they kidnap the actors who were hired to play the A-Team! Which means the 'real' A-Team has to come out of retirement, storm the island and save the actors, with plenty of explosions, jeeps rolling over in mid air, choppers flying over palm trees. It's perfect. Maybe we can even get a couple of Cigarette boats in there for some Miami Vice flavor (can someone get in touch with Phillip Michael Thomas? It'd be a great cameo, and face it, he needs the work).

Actors playing themselves, as actors portraying the A-Team:
B.A. Barracas: Ving Rhaimes (oo! oo! we could remake the A-Team van into a Hummer!)
Face: George Clooney (too old? Ok, fine how about Christian Bale?)
Madman Murdock: Jim Carrey, come on, who else?

And of course, Mr. T, George Peppard and those other guys playing the 'real' ATeam....

Oh my god, it's brilliant!

First one, is my latest. I think it's great, but probably the trickiest to accomplish. Check it out: Cross breed an avacodo with peppers. The result will be a spicy avocado which I call "Lavacado" (remember, 42' Sloop, berth in SF). Not only is the name cool, but you won't need so many peppers when you make guacomole!

Lavacado folks, now go and spread the word.

Great ideas

Sometimes I think I'm in the wrong business, I mean, I'm a great idea man. Not so good with the details or the follow through, but for ideas? I'm good. I've been hoarding my best for a while, but I realize that I will probably never do much with any of them, so in the spirit of giving I will share and if anyone actually gets these things off the ground, give me a little credit and send me a postcard. If you make millions off of my idea, I'd like a 41' Center cockpit sloop and a live aboard berth near downtown SF. Thanks.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Wheee..summer time

A little reccomendation: Go find a copy of Tom Waits "Step Right Up." and find a fun car to drive (say, like a 2002) through west county at dusk. It does wonders to blow away the stress. Bonus points for sunroofs or convertables.

PS. Search and Destroy by Iggy and the Stooges is also acceptable.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Wow part deux: Wabi-sabi

Meredith's art is hanging in a show that openned last night: Wabi-Sabi at the O'hanlon Center in Mill Valley. This is her first exhibition of her new encaustic work. Go check it out!


This morning when I started up my mac, it took me to the apple home page, and lo and behold there was Shannon Ferguson's band Longwave being the featured iTunes Ad! Funny thing this life...

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


Ok I did it. I"ve been whinging on for months about wanting a new mac laptop, and yesterday I finally bought one. I haven't owned a fruit-box since the Macintosh Plus (and I was jealous of those who had the super-cool external 20 Mb hard drives, which were the size of phone books). Since then it's been a long string of windows and linux boxes, including my poor ailing HP laptop which took a beating and got me through college, but as it's now missing keys, overheating and the fan makes a terrible grinding/flapping noise which was really embarrassing in class. I've been following the press and the blogs about OS X, and it's latest incarnation Tiger, but every time I sat down to work on one I couldn't figure out the GUI, so I'd just admire from afar. But when it came down to spend some serious money on a new laptop I really wanted it to be a mac.

So how's 'The Switch?' my geekier friends may be asking..

I got to say, I like it. In fact I love it. It took a few hours to retrain my hands, but now that I've been running this thing since about noon yesterday almost nothing feels odd or out of place. It's certainly easier to pickup than windows > linux. The secret is in the built in mega-search tool Spotlight, and a little 3rd party app called Quicksilver. Quicksilver is simply the best thing to come along to laptop computing since wifi. The website doesn't do it justice. It's a search tool/launcher that learns how you use your machine. For example, I'm writing this blog, but say I want iTunes open, all i have to do is hit 4 keys and iTunes is open. No mouse hunting, or drilling down application menus. Just four keys. And it works with all the stuff on my machine. Apps, documents, commands, whatever. It's simply brilliant and I haven't even begun to use it's capabilities yet. It does more than I can even comprehend at the moment, but if you have a mac, get quicksilver right now. You'll be amazed.

So. I'll pause on the mac-fanatic tip for a moment and post some photos that have been piling up.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Paella. Super tasty.

Friday fun

Today was our company Open House party. We moved into a new place on 4/15 and finally got around to having a grand openning. And what an openning. We had Paella for 100 by Gerard the Paella Guy. Cheese from Cowgirl Creamery (I highly reccomend the Red Hawk on baguette with figs). I'm sooo stuffed, and because we didn't have enough people show up, I have tons of leftovers (hooray!).

And (here's the best part) I get all weekend off. I am a happy happy camper.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Hotel Edith

Last night I attempted to sleep aboard Edith. I've been meaning to do it for some time to test out the accomadations for camping, and just to sleep on 'my' boat. I have visions of gently being rocked to sleep by the waves and tides on the Petaluma River, and waking up at dawn to the honking of Canadian Geese. Thankfully most of that was true. It had been a hot hot day, and even in the cool of the night the boat remained pleasantly warm. I unpacked my sleeping bag, pad, pillow and laptop (gotta watch movies right?) and settled in. Occasionally one of the big push-tugs from Jerico would rumble past and provide a little additional wave action. I was fast asleep in minutes. But by 2:30 I was back home in my own bed. Dang.

The problem it turned out was two fold: I'm a softie and my boat is stinky.

I'm a softie: There's no padding on the'bunks' in Edith, and while I have a sleeping pad, I've gotten soft in the passing years and woke up stiff and sore at 2 am. Not enough hip padding and the bunks are lightly tilted the wrong way so your head is just lower then your feet. These problems are easily fixable, and I intend to give it another shot with addditional foam and maybe adding more weight to the bow (she's not on her water lines anyway since we removed the fuel tanks).

In answer to Laurel who raised a good question: if the bed is the wrong angle why not flip around? Because then my face will be up under the deck and if I sit up I'll smack my face into an oaken beam. And I like my pretty face. I suppose I could adapt and learn to scoot down before I bolt upright in bed, but I didn't want to take a chance last night.

Stinky Boat: Since we removed her fuel tanks we've resorted to a small 3 gallon tank on the bridge (in the cabin) and whenever we top off a little diesel or biodiesel gets spilled and then wiped up. We keep her closed up tight most of the time especially with the out of season rains we've had, and she hasn't been cleaned since River Cleanup Day. So her cabin was pretty fumy. I open the portlights and kept the door open for a while, but closed it when I was ready for bed and when I woke at 2 I was a little woozy. I can't be sure if this was because of the fumes or because of the 'gentle rocking' but I decided that I'd decamp for home until I've given her a thorough scrub and clean the detritus out of her. Again a solvable problem (maybe) and something that I'd like to attempt again soon.

Also it would probably be wise to attempt this on a non-work night. But the idea hit me last night and I wanted to sieze the opportunity.

Monday, June 27, 2005

I guess that's why it's called work.

Or: Looks like someone has a case of the Mondays.

Sadly my working life has begun to resemble Office Space in serious ways, except I can't tell which character I am. I think I'm either Mike Bolton or Samir. I spent almost this entire weekend working, but for that I blame my suprisingly robust sense of honor. I told them it would be done on time, and damn it, I'll do everything I can to make that so.

In other news I'm getting a promotion, so maybe it will be somewhat worth it, because frankly it is way to depressing to have grown up and become a guy who hates his job. It's too cliche.


Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Aaack! ok ok. I just got home from work, and in my mailbox was a package. Well, an envelope, but it was one of those biggies. I forget how exciting it is to recieve actual, physical, mail from people. In it was a zine about tea, and a lovely card, and another zine which is a reprint of Mother Earth from 1914 with an essay by Emma Goldman. My friend Jaime had promised to send me this zine some weeks ago at the Free Mind grand opening and I'd been anticipating it greatly.
See I love tea. I believe she has called me a tea freak, but I prefer to consider myself more of a jonny tea-seed, or teavangelist. There is nothing like a good cup of tea, and I'll be the first to admit I have a healthy dose of tea snobbery. I like my tea black, strong, and not at all flowery. People like herb teas, and other lesser greens and blacks, but for me nothing beats a good thick cup of Irish Breakfast, except for perhaps a particularly smokey Lapsang Souchong. And I like to think that I've inspired others to start drinking tea by my interest and endless nattering about how good it is.
So Jamie sent me this zine and I began reading it. It's good, clearly whoever put this together understands the tea thing. I wish I'd known about it before as I would've love to contributed to it, but alas. As I'm reading it I notice it's dedicated to Vadellia and Scottyj. Hm. I don't normally refer to myself as ScottyJ so I don't immediately put it together (note to those in the audience who are snickering at my slowheadedness: I didn't realize that Jamie helped put this zine out). Allow me the egocentric indulgence of quoting the dedication, as I don't think I've ever had something dedicated to me before:

"The love of tea, tobacco, the high seas and flowerfields. All one needs is a little bit of conviction, desire, passion and patience. This zine shares the magic of tea, dedicated to two of the biggest dreamers an sweetest tea drinkers I know, you've taught me so much. Thank you. "

Whoa, I think to myself. It's eerie how much this 'other' scottyj sounds like me...yes the penny still hasn't dropped. I keep reading and come to "Tea Freakdom Theory" which I will republish here:

"Now, this may not hold true for all tea freaks, as with most things truth is whatever your brain thinks is real, (((Actually the line is "whatever your brian thinks is real" which is a better line really))) I think this is a pretty good theory: People will not become obsessed with tea unless they are former coffee drinkers who have quit coffee (for whatever reason). let me tell you of my reasoning, through noticing patterns. Scottyj. When Scottyj and I meet he was always talking about & drinking tea (really I was puzzled and thought it was a bit over the top) tea was brought up in conversation, more than that average person might want to chat and drink and chat more about tea. I didn't really understand & I still might not fully cuz I never asked, but this is only an observation. So one day when we were hanging out I noticed a tatoo of COFFEE, yes a coffee cup on his forearm. (((Yup. I finally guessed it might be me))) I sound found out that he is an x-coffee lover turned true tea freak....I had no idea that two years and 1000+ soy lattes later I would know exactly what was going on. A deep understanding for the path that may lead some to tea freakdom, you either get it or you don't- Traits you'll find in coffee yearning tea obsessors: Always talking about tea. Excited about and know tea types. They feel really proud ordering tea at coffee shops. And again we talk more about tea than you might like. We ALWAYS REALLY want or at least THINK about COFFEE- it's true. And late at night you might find us on a solo mission at the nearby cafe 'sneaking' a latte or americano."

Now I love Jamie. But I actually have to disagree with her on the premise that tea-freakdom is merely covering for coffee-lust. I'll say this because I have gone back to the dark side. I drink coffee again, and lots of it, and can fairly assess both sides of the fence. I gave up coffee because i was suffering from some bad stomach problems that coffee was exasperating, but while that forced me into drinking tea more seriously than I would've, I found that I love tea more than I ever loved coffee. Sadly my freakdom is not a cover for a supressed desire, but the truly geeky embrace of tea on it's own merits. I drink coffee again because I can, but also because I've grown into a true tea snob. I'd rather drink coffee than a badly made cup of tea. And my tastes have become so rareified that it's nigh on impossible to find a good cup of tea. Laurel can make a good cup, Meredith can make a brilliant pot, but sadly that's about it. Everybody else, from friends and family to cafes, can't make a good cup of tea. Also, I can't make a good cup of tea at work, so I drink coffee. You need 3 things to make a good cup of tea: BOILING water, strong tea (Campbell's, Yorkshire Gold), and cold fresh milk. Without enought good tea, and BOILING water all you get is an insipid, watery, mess. It reminds me of Douglas Adams machine in HHG2TG that can make a drink that is almost, entirely, unlike tea. I feel that he was talking about American tea making skills here. I like milk in my tea, and while some may scoff, I think it's quite good. I urge you all out there to try a good cup of tea sometime, it's restorative effects are far greater than you might imagine. And to Jamie, thanks for sending me the zine, and dedicating it to me. I'm deeply honored, and pleased that my incessent babbling about tea managed to convert another formerly lost soul.
"What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea." -Syndey Smith

P-town, cars, fixing stuff.

Random posts today. I got my head off this weekend along with all the buckets of ancilliary components that surround it. I didn't see any obvious blowouts of the gasket or erosion of the head, so I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that it's just warped. I think my only other possibility is that it's cracked which would mean I need a new head. Money is tight so I'm going to be taking my time on this project because as I tore into everything I saw lots of little things that need replacing such as rubber bits, water pipes, gaskets...I'm constantly flopping back and forth between just keeping this car running, and 'doing it right.' Of course 'doing it right' is really a range of options, but whenever I fix something it is always an internal war between speed and quality. I'd love to have the time and resources to really go over every piece and clean, repaint, get new nuts/bolts/washers, but as I learned in boatschool I don't have the paitence. As much as I want everything perfect I want equally to get it running. So it falls somewhere in the middle.

I was thinking last night about my obsession for fixing things and I was trying to figure out where it came from. I think it comes from certain characters and more importantly certain worldviews I was exposed to as a child. Growing up in the 80's there was a surfet of post-apocalypse stories around, no doubt influenced by the state of the Cold War. So I grew up with a certain sense that civilization was going to end and I think that there were two stories that heavily influenced my sense of who I wanted to be: Road Warrior, and The Stand. In both those stories there were minor characters who knew how things worked. They could take the pieces of the lost civilization and make them work for new purposes. They 'hacked' the technology of the past. From rebuilding the 'last of the great v-8s' to knowing that a dirt bike is better post apocalyptic transport than a car. These seemed like awesome powers to me then. Like mechanistic shamans in a way. I wanted to be like that. Or like Han Solo. Bombing around the galaxy in a ship that looked like hell but actually turned out to be faster and more deadly then it had any right to be. That was way cooler than simply having a fast shiny, ship. Which I think is why sports cars (porsches, ferraris etc) hold no interest for me. But show me a sleeper 2002, or Volvo wagon and I get all giddy.

But beyond the fictional characters, I can look to my family for a lot of the influence as well. I come from a line of craftsman and tinkerers. My grandfather was the liason between the engineers and the shop floor for JPL during the 60s and 70s. One of my earliest memories of him was when we were at his house in Orange County and he had popped off to his workshop to make us a couple of toys. He welded up some wire into to geometric shapes: a sphere and a cube. I remember glancing into his workshop while he was making them and seeing really bright blue light and lots of sparks. It seemed like magic to me. My dad has always had a workbench and projects around the house, and he was self-taught. I loved working with him as a kid or watching him work. He's built cabinets, decks, beds and he's masterful with trim. And he's entirely self-taugh for his father was not a handyman. All of these influences have guided me, inspired me to learn as much as I can about how everything gets built, and therefore how it all works. I feel we have a responsiblity to know about the technologies we depend on. Which is why I've also started playing with computers. Up until a couple of years ago I enjoyed computers for games, and email. I was reasonably computer literate, but not in how they work or what you can get them to do. I've found myself, semi-conciously embarking on the same type of self-education I did with cars. I've got some old cheap computers and I take them apart, try and fix or improve them and note the results. This has led me to linux, and websites like, and I love reading what people are getting these machines to do. It's an exciting time to be alive.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Ahh friday

What a crappy week. I worked 30 hours in the first 48. And then the rest of it was rush rush rush. I'm so glad it's over. This weekend should be fun: tomorrow is a 2002 tech session here in p-town, with bbq so I'll be learning car stuff and eating meat. Two things I enjoy. Saturday night I'll probably start tearing into my car (actually I'll probably start tonight) to see how bad my headgasket problem is. Hopefully I'll have all the major stuff fixed by next month and it will be running super well. There's another 02 just up the street from my office that the guy might sell for super cheap. It's got some more mechanical issues (as in not currently running) but it's body is in much better shape than mine so if I can find a spot to park it over the summer I may try to swap out all the good working parts of my car into that one. We'll see. Sadly my car is riddled with rust that would cost thousands upon thousands to fix. So if you have a decent spot I can safely park a car for several months (i'll pay) let me know, preferably here in Sonoma Co.

Sunday should be a nice relaxing day with Meredith. Maybe a bike ride, maybe some work on her deck, maybe just lounging around eating popsicles and watching documentaries.

Monday night I'll be heading south to see Star Wars with my brother and cousin. I've not seen it yet, but I was sorely disapointed with the first 2. Maybe I've just grown out of Star Wars, maybe Lucas has outgrown his ability to tell a compelling story. Maybe it's hard to tell a compelling story when everyone knows how it ends.

In computer news I've got my various machines all running Ubuntu and now I need to figure out how to get them to consistantly speak to each other. I may do that after it gets dark.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


So I ate something that didn't agree with me and now I feel bad. Kinda dizzy. And my kitchen smell like cat ass.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Car Madness part deux.

Dang! I just got my car back from my new mechanic (Casey Motorsports) with the diagnosis I was fearing: Blown Headgasket, or cracked head/block. His estimate of $750-$1000 to fix it is way more than I can spend on this thing right now so it'll sit until I've got the time/$/parts to do it myself. I've never fixed a head gasket before so it'll be a good learning experience right?

He also noticed a ton of other little things that weren't right: Fuel injection system is missing parts, wrong coil, weird battery, etc...This is in addition to my already long to-do list:

# Strut Bearings*
# Trim (beltline, and rocker)*
# Dash

* Odometer/trip
* Fuel
* Clock speed

# Rattle (undercarriage)
# FI Tuneup
# Swap Taillight Lenses
# Install rear reflectors
# Petronix/Crane ignition*
# Bumper install
# Screw down grills*
# Heater valve
# Blower motor check
# Stereo clock fix
# Center console fix/cover

Sigh. Sometimes I wonder why I bother. Of course I could just dump this car and get another one. Maybe save up some money (ha!) and buy one in the $3-$5k range which would be less rusted. It pains me to spend so much time and money on a car that still looks likes shit at the end of the day. But then I'm also like the cat-lady at the pound. I hate to see a neat old car just wear out.

Of course the other part of me says: Sell all your vehicles and just ride your bike. That is also tempting.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


New favorite show: Firefly (too bad I've already burned through all the episodes...but the movie is coming out this fall!)

New favorite online article: It's the Monkeysphere stupid!

New favorite linux distro: Ubuntu

Useful tools:
Best to-do list setup ever (for me)
thumbdrive PIM software, good, but windows.

Car Madness

In addition to the computer work which has been taking my nights, I've gotten my BMW back on the road and that has led to a flurry of little fix-it jobs. The major one was fixing the brakes. The calipers were dodgy and the driver's side front was dragging to the point that it had warped the rotor and gouged it pretty well (also the resultant heat had cooked the grease in the wheel bearing). I had hoped to have all the pieces in place to get it fixed before the BayArea02 Swap & Show but alas, it didn't happen. I went down anyway (it was in Palo Alto) and saw lots of shiny cars, and met a few nice people.
The parts finally came, and since the beginning of the month I've:
-replaced the discs, calipers, wheel bearings in the front.
-reinstalled the stereo/speakers & Center console
-Installed oil-pressure/temp gauges
-Oil change
-Trunk seal
-Refurbished the tail-reflectors, lenses and replaced the seals
-Refurbished the gauges (fuel gauge still not working, must be sender), fixed the turn signal dash light.
-Installed a driver's seat from a E30 M3
-Tune the FI by ear to get it running better (my ex-mechanic tuned it, and in the process destroyed it's drivability, and made it run far too lean, thus hot). It still needs some tuning, but I will take it to a place here in Petaluma and see what they can do for it.

I want to get it into good running shape (reliable, fast, good mileage) for some driving events coming up: California Melee; the Alpine 500 (which I missed just barely this year. Damn!)

Also I just want to do some general road-trip fun (LA, sierras, etc..) as this is the year I will take my first ever paid vacation. Yay!

Dusty old blog...

I don't know if anyone is still looking at this with any avidity, but I apologize for the long delay between posts. I've been busy with other projects and had a cluster of hardware/computer difficulties. That being said, I hope to add some more stuff here on a fairly regular basis (isn't that the comment that always dooms a website?)

So to start off, or perhaps to catch up, here's what I've been working on in no particular order:
A pair of little, old panasonic laptops (CF-25, CF-M32 sub-note) that Gary gave me. One had a broken DOS installation, and the other had a buggy win98 installation. I wiped them both and then worked (and worked and worked) to get linux on them. The trick as it turns out, is that the little guy (CF-m32), which is about the size of a paperback book has no floppy/cdrom so trying to get data onto it once you've wiped the operating system is very hard. I ended up taking thing to pieces and pulling the hard drive. After patching the drive to my desktop system and getting a basic Debian installation running on it, I was able to update/install over the network.

The CF-25 is an armored laptop (drive over it with your car, drop it, clobber someone with it) and it's pretty pokey. But it has a swapable floppy and CD-ROM drive, but still it was a challenge, as you can't boot from the CD-rom and there's no USB. Also during the many attemps to install something happened with the MBR that made it...resistant to any further monkeying. I pulled the same trick: pull the drive mount it in my desktop, and wipe the sucker spotless, then reinstall. Now it runs debian as well, albeit too slowly to be of much use (except at the command line, which I'm still shakey with). The upside is that I've learned a tremendous amount about linux, command line work, hardware, and general geekiness.

During all of this, Meredith's laptop decided to die (power-in came off the motherboard) so I pulled the hard drive out of my laptop and plugged hers in. This gave her some functionality so she could continue to work. Then my desktop winxp installation got seriously corrupt and took the MBR with it as well, so I did a re-install, and went with Ubuntu (an extremely user-friendly linux distro) and I like it.

Last weekend Meredith got a new laptop (due to a financial angel who co-signed for her at compusa) and I got my case back. So now I'm back to my old laptop (which seems so dodgy and worn out compared to Merediths shiny new Toshiba), but I still pine for a 12" Mac. Maybe if I get a raise this month.....

Friday, May 13, 2005

Fargo's big day -from Laurel

fargos big day. one day fargothedog got up in the morning, shedded some on his bed and chewed on his itchy hips and then went for a walk with the big bald weird dogs who fed him. this was the usual morning routine but today the cute brown dog next door and her bald dogs came too. she peed alot and he liked to grin at her and sniff where she peed. then a time of sadness and despair came when they were both tied to a tree while the bald dogs ate good smelling food not far away. but fargo could see them and got some bites of toast and the brown dog amused him by scooting around on the sidewalk on her butt and then turning around and sniffing the sidewalk. she let him sniff the sidewalk, too. it smelled good like her butt. she was very whiny and barked at the baldogs while they were eating but fargo was a gooddog and just bugged his eyes out at them as far as he could to let them know that he could use a little more toast and that his butt itched.
then fargothedog got in the car and sat down on the floorboards and stared at the girl bald dog until they got to the headlands where the bald dogs did all kinds of boring things not involving sticks. but he got to sit in the sun and sniff deer poo and run around and chew on a kong that tasted like boxerdog spit. sometimes they'd throw a stick for him and he'd get very excited and focused. sometimes they yelled at him and made him worried and sad because he wanted to play but apparently they wanted him to lie on a bed that smelled like boxerdog. boring. stinky. boxerdog bed. sometimes he just doesn't understand bald dogs even though his butt goes bald sometimes with how hard he tries to understand. but it was a good time anyway, and he liked to poop in the grass and eat grass and try to get random strangers to play with him. then they went to the beach! just for a little while because it was getting cold, but WOW there were sticks everywhere and sand to run in and even a stinky wet old tennis ball that he could eat sand off of. his feet got a little wet, which he didnt like, and sometimes his ball went in the ocean, which he really didnt like, but then he learned that if he just ran back and forth and kept the water away from his toes sometimes the ball would come back and he could grab it. there was a strange tense moment when a big fuzzy dumb bad dog ran up and jumped on him and tried to bite him but then the bad bald dog with him jumped on the fuzzy bad dog and squashed him and yelled at him and fargo got to just lie there with his good bald dogs and smile and pant and feel smug. while they drove home he licked sand off his face which made him very thirsty and make strange faces. by the time they got home he was tired and a little stiff but this was a very big day because he got to go over to the brown dogs house and play with her toys and her while everyone went to dinner. the bad things were that they didnt bring him any meatloaf and there was a weird scary gray cat staring at him at the brown dogs house but the good thing was that everyone petted him and he got to chew on the brown dogs squeeky ball on the floor until there was a huge puddle of his drool that the brown dog licked up. he slept very well taht night. it was a big day. he even had stinky farts that night. a very good day indeed.

Thursday, May 05, 2005







Bathrooms at the Phoenix

Polar Bears

Bathrooms at the Phoenix

Bathrooms at the Phoenix

josh of the New Trust, formerly of Velveteen and the Conspiracy...