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Lavender in foreground is leaping for joy with the late rains.

Willie Brown in North Beach an hour ago

Walked into Café Roma at 6:45 this morning and Eyewitness News was interviewing Willie Brown about the California race for governor. He said that if Jerry Brown can engage Meg Whitman, he'll destroy her credibility, that Sarah Palin is coming to the valley and that all Republicans will pay homage and that it's a comic tragedy. Willie sparkles. He's a storyteller.
News video clip
At the same time Mexico is dominating South Africa in the World Cup on the large TV. Now it's 7:30 and the café is full, maybe 50 people, most cheering for Mexico. Still no score. I love North Beach and its European flavor.

Gopher-proof raised garden bed

2 rows of concrete blocks stacked on layer of ¼-inch mesh, filled with soil

Old skateboards at Trouble Coffee, San Francisco

These got soul!

Panorama of lagoon with Sony Cyber-shot

First pic using my new Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX7, shot an hour ago. I shoot a lot of panoramas, since I don't like wide angles of the landscape. My eyes sees the world in about the same proportion as a 50 mm lens (old-style lens measurement). I'll shoot a bunch of pictures, overlapping the edges, then stitch the shots together with Photomerge in Photoshop. A bunch of them are here and there on this blog.
I bought this little camera at B and H Photo in New York (world's most amazing photo store). For panoramas, you press the shutter button, then slowly rotate the camera, maybe 180°. I think it makes a movie, then stitches it together to make a still. It's supposed to work in very low light, and also shoots HD video. I'm just starting to explore it.

One last look at the Golden Gate Bridge

Tuesday I drove into San Francisco along the coast just after sunrise. I trurned right, right after the toll plaza and went along the ocean, then 25th Ave., then Geary out to Ocean Beach. My favorite route. Went to Trouble Coffee, had great latte and thin-sliced cinnamon toast, and had interesting discussion with the two 30-or-so -year-old guys working there about Bob Dylan and The Last Waltz. I was surprised that guys this genration knew Dylan's work so intricately.

3 more photos from the top of the Golden Gate

September 13, 2000

My trip to the top of the Golden Gate Bridge

Ten years ago, Lew's girlfriend Krystal asked if I wanted to go to the top of the Golden Gate Bridge. Did I! I had connections. First, I was born in San Francisco; second, my dad had walked out to the south tower on a wooden walkway above the net when the bridge was under construction in 1934. Krystal knew the bridge's resident architect, and she and Lew had been to the top already. In mid-September I got a call and took off to meet Krystal and Bob in the parking lot on the San Francisco side. We rode in a little electric vehicle out to the south tower, and inside ascended in a tiny elevator, three of us crammed in, to the bottom plate of the top horizontal strut of the tower. From there it was a metal ladder to the top and Bob let me go first. I pushed open the hatch, climbed out, and was stunned. I was 700 feet above my hometown, seeing it from the top of this beautiful structure built 65 years earlier. It was a warm night, and we hung around up there for about 45 minutes, until the sun went down. It was surprisingly comfortable, at that height. The only scary part was when I walked out on an open-mesh metal walkway and looked down through my feet at cars 300 feet below.
Every single time I go over the bridge, or see it from the city, I think of that night.
This was the very first time I used a digital camera.
The panorama/collage is actually a 360, with Marin on the left, SF on the right. (Panoramas are way easier to do now, 10 years later.)

On top of the Golden Gate Bridge

Photo by George Steinmetz, Cortis, for National Geographic
Looking down from the north tower of the Golden Gate Bridge. Lew spotted this on Bing,com. Made me think of the first time I ever used a digital camera, ten years ago (!), when I went up to the top of the south tower of the bridge, one of my greatest thrills ever.
Check out my writeup with photos here.

Talking on the ¼-acre homestead at the Maker Faire

Photo by Cornelia at Homegrown.org
I was sort of surprised to be invited to talk at the Maker Faire (in San Mateo, Calif, on May 23-24). It's mostly mechanical/digital inventions: robots (galore), high-tech gizmos, computer brilliance and wit. Amidst all this, Farm Aid had a flesh and blood, food and shelter corner of the fairgrounds, and it balanced out all the rest of the stuff.
It's a fascinating event, and crowded to the gills. Another coup for Tim O'Reilly and Make Magazine: O'Reilly really has his finger on today's digital pulse. There were a bunch of things there that were brilliant and amusing.
I gave a talk on "The ¼-acre Homestead," tracing my 40+ years of owner-homebuilding, small-scale farming, gardening, and related matters. The food/shelter angle; I've always tried to take care of this first, then to get along with making a living. A pretty good audience. People are (re-) interested in doing some of this stuff themselves. Can you figure out a way to have a roof overhead without borrowing from a bank or paying rent? I think you still can, and in cities as well as the country. I'm probably going to do a book along these lines, after we finish the book on tiny houses (for which I now have an overwhelming bunch of insanely great stuff).

The Willow Farm

"Here in Pescadero, an hour south of San Francisco, The Willow Farm is proud to offer a line of handcrafted architectural structures, furniture, and home accessories created from over 150 varieties of willow, poplar and alder. We search out and preserve exceptionally beautiful and rare varieties from around the world in our quest to bring you a continually evolving line of distinctive products."
Neil and Alix Curry