Thursday, March 30, 2006

Pile drivers are neat & LOUD

The pile drivers are in full swing after work, at the construction site a few blocks away from my building. A few days ago, only one was going, but now there are 2, pounding away at the pilings. The pounding makes the ground shake a little, even from a 1/2 block away, where I wait for my bus. (I wonder if these things register on some seismograph somewhere ...)

It makes listening to my iPod fairly difficult. But the noise is somewhat hypnotic. And I can't help but turn towards the site and watch. The rhythmic pounding is hard to resist.

One driver is faster than the other- sometimes they're in unison and the next moment, the pounding is off time and then they're back in unison again. Puffs of gray/black smoke hover over the drivers. The smell of burning fuel - like diesel or something - is strong when walking alongside the site.

I think the old timber pilings are still on-site, off to one side, while the new concrete ones are in neat piles in a couple of different places. I remember them pulling the old pilings out. It reminded me of carefully plucking hair, something that requires a gentle strength, just enough force to get the whole thing out in one piece without tearing it.

The photo - The construction site I walk by everyday, at 301 Mission. I wait for my bus near the big tree in the background.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

"It's all about the information!"

Sneakers. I love this film. It's funny, smart and scenic (I also have a thing for watching movies based in and around San Francisco, even if the story is just so-so. Remember Sweet November? It's a crazy premise but that movie inspired me to take up knitting and well, the City is cool in it). Anyway...

One of my favorite lines from Sneakers: "It's all about the information!"

Ben Kingsley's character Cosmo to Robert Redford's Marty:

"There's a war out there, old friend, a world war.
And it's not about who's got the most bullets.
It's about who controls the information:
...what we see and hear, how we work, what we think.
It's all about the information."

The current war may seem to be about who gets dibs and control over oil or about spreading the US 'brand' of democracy and defending freedom, depending on who you ask. But it's also about the manipulation of information, how it is gathered & manufactured, the use of mis-information and who controls it now and in the future. There's so much information out there and at the same time so much that's not made public - who or what are we supposed to believe?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Happy World Water Day!

Water, it's a good thing. Remember my post about the glass being more than half empty? We are SO lucky to have running water, hot & cold, pretty much whenever we need/want it.

For more info on World Water Day (who knew?!) follow this link. And happy World Water Day!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Survey markers

Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park. Elevation: 7214 feet above sea level. 2001.

Oahu, Hawaii. Elevation: Sea level. 2002. (brightened for readability)

Shelter Cove, California. Elevation: Sea level. 2004.

There's a construction site near work and the engineers were out, surveying and measuring. It made me think of these survey marker photos I have. Definitely better resolution with the top marker, easy to read it's a USGS marker. The glass ones are US Coast & Geodetic Markers. $250 fine for disturbing the Yosemite one, $250 fine or imprisonment for screwing around with the glass ones.

I tried to locate an online catalog for the thousands of markers out there and instead stumbled on this article about geocaching. I wouldn't want to get into that kind of thing, but rather just take more photos of the markers themselves and leave the trinkets and treasure for 'geocachers'. No need to get fancy with the GPS devices, I'll stick to finding them by chance, while on vacation.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Music I like in commercials

Band - Song - Company

Badly Drawn Boy - All Possibilities - Target

I put myself on his record label's email list a while back. Not sure why, since I can't just hop in a bus and take in a show in Manchester this weekend. But some interesting sounds are coming from other bands under the Twisted Nerve label that are worth a listen.

The Postal Service - Such Great Heights - Kaiser Permanente (amongst others)

I'm a new Death Cab for Cutie fan so I just had to eat up The Postal Service stuff too. Fun! Helps me pick up the pace when I walk from the bus terminal to my building in the morning.

Someone asked me a few weeks back what kind of music I like and I named these two bands as being in my most recent favorites. I don't listen to the radio much and am not sure if they get a lot of airplay but I can now refer them to some commercials on TV.

What I'm sick of ...

Oasis - All Around the World - AT&T/SBC

Puke - partly because it's just been played out way too much, throughout the Olympics and now as the AT&T brand is being hammered into everyone's heads. Which kinda helps me out with work - I'm tired of saying "formerly known as SBC" to make sure people don't hang up in my face thinking I'm soliciting new business from existing customers. Oasis = Oa-sucks as an old on-line buddy once called them. They were a big fave of mine when they started out but the brotherly hate between the Gallagher brothers was just too much for me and the music was no longer interesting. Kinda like Creed.

Sunday, March 5, 2006


I guess it was bad timing posting about chocolate this past week, seeing as it's one of those things Catholics tend to give up for Lent.

Hmm ...I did skip lunch on Friday and only had dinner as my main meal. I've skipped meals before, I think I can do it a couple of times a week during the next 30 some-odd days!

On second thought - Does giving up procrastinating count?!?

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Enjoying chocolate

The recipe: The Joy of Cooking's Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies. The chocolate: Guittard Semi-Sweet chocolate chips. I just made/baked 133 2" semi-sweet chocolate cookies for my mother-in-law's picnic on Saturday. I'm not a big chocolate fan, but I've been cultivating a taste for good chocolate, trying to get outside of my comfort zone. I aim for creamy or fruit desserts at the end of a meal and if chocolate is involved, I prefer milk or white (I know, technically not chocolate).

Guittard is yummy. If you ever get a chance to get their stuff, pretty tasty. About 6 years ago, my friend Mary gave us a 10 pound bar of the stuff. It was HUGE. She has a friend that works for them and it was hilarious trying to eat that 10 pound candy bar, let alone store it. It was a slab we chipped away at little by little. We never finished it, it was just way too much. I try to get their chips wherever I see them, but Eric always eats them before I have a chance to bake them into something. These chips we got at Safeway in Daly City. Albertson's (at least the one near home) doesn't carry them anymore. I buy white chocolate ones so I could make a cranberry/white chocolate chip ones for myself.

I tried Guittard's fancy nibs for homemade chocolate ice cream during summer and wow, nice flavor! Earthy, chocolatey, not sweet but not bitter. But it was a little on the gritty side. I thought I was doing something wrong when I was melting the chocolate but the grittiness is just there (last time we were at the Buckeye, their homemade chocolate ice cream was gritty too!!) probably because they don't want to overprocess the cocoa, is my guess.

On the high end, I really like: Pink Champagne Truffles from Charbonnel et Walker or Champagne truffles from Teuscher, Lavender Vanilla & Rose Caramel from Recchiuti (must try the Spring Jasmine next!).

On the more affordable end and always del-ish: See's Candies. I grew up on their Victoria Toffee, Scotch kisses, Summertime & California Crunch, things with nuts or soft fluffy caramel-y fillings. I'm a nuts & chews girl at heart and I really dig their Rum Nougat and Divinity. I also really like their Key Lime Truffle. They have so many yummy things to choose from, I know I haven't tried them all. As for Ghirardelli, I like their milk chocolate squares with the caramel filling.

Halloween or everyday convenience store chocolates? Mr. Goodbar, Snickers, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups or Toblerone are all yum (see, I like nuts!). I'm learning to like chocolate as a stand alone confection, no nuts or fillings involved, especially dark chocolate. It is like wine, so many different varieties and flavor pairings. I just have to try them all to figure out what I like.

Whoa, huge flash of lightning followed immediately by a long roll of thunder. I'm getting off the 'puter now!!