Friday, May 14, 2021

The Hollow Places: a very short review

A friend gave me T. Kingfisher's The Hollow Places.

Generally, the horror genre isn't my thing, but the book pulled me in quickly and kept me turning the pages.

Kingfisher is a pen name, obviously at least partly an homage to Stephen King, and Kingfisher's novel reminds me of a King work. I liked the quirkiness of the setting; I liked the fortitude of our two bumbling, stumbling main characters; I liked the roller-coaster pace of the book.

I breezed through the book in about 3 days, probably faster than it deserved, but it was right for me.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Up, up and away

The City of Oakland has accepted a proposal from Houston-based Hines Corporation to build a 622-foot-tall office building in Oakland: Mega office tower proposal in downtown Oakland hops ahead.

The tower, if built, would be 50% taller than any other office tower in Oakland, so this is a dramatic step for downtown Oakland real estate, and the Oakland planning commission seems to be bubbling over with enthusiasm:

“It is about time we had some truly tall buildings here,” Planning Commissioner Leopold Ray-Lynch said. “If we can get more of these, we can truly make Oakland a city that’s on the move, more than it is now.”

Hines, who are probably best known in these parts for the (somewhat controversial) million-square-foot Parcel F project in the city, certainly have the chops to pull this off.

But will they? It's not the first time that major Oakland real estate projects have been proposed, and many in the end were never completed or were completed after being reshaped in significant ways.

Yet Oakland has dramatically changed in the last five years. Perhaps now really is the time?

One thing that's not clear from the article is if this project would mean the shuttering of the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory's Oakland Scientific Facility, which currently occupies this site, I believe. The supercomputers won't care, of course, they can probably just be trucked to some new location.

The site is just across the street, cater-corner as they say, from my wife's office. I suppose if it happens, she'll have a front row seat to the project!

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Penny Lane 2007-2021

Our hearts are broken as we say goodbye to our family dog.

My granddaughter grew up with Penny. Or maybe it was Penny who grew up with Hannah. Or I guess we all grew up together.

She always thought she was a lap dog, though 80 pound Labrador Retrievers can take up the entire couch.

She was always up for a selfie.

Best. Dog. Ever.

I'm sure I'll have more to say about Penny later, when the hole in our lives isn't such a gaping wound as it is today.

So for now, let me share with you a poem, written by the lovely poet Tom Luce, titled Buy a Dog.

As is often the case with poetry, this poem isn't actually about a dog.

I had a dream, it was a good dream
you were there and so was I.
We were so happy
I did not want to open up my eyes,
and we were driving down a road;
it was a long one.
There were signs all over;
the signs said "welcome to your life".
I looked over and you were smiling.
You had a great big smile going.
You turned to me, you turned and you said:
"all your life, all your life, I got your back."

So if you want to try
we'll make it you and I
we'll never be alone
we'll buy a dog and bring him home
he'll jump up on the bed
we'll be the best of friends
I think that we should try
I picture you and I...

I had another dream
I know you think, "how convenient"
but I swear it's the truth:
we were there, yeah, I was me and you were you.
We had a good long life on this planet
when we died we went to heaven,
saw that god was really Elvis!
Anyway, our souls were in the right place,
our souls were in the right place..

So if you want to try
we'll make it you and I
we'll never be alone
we'll buy a dog and bring him home
he'll jump up on the bed
we'll be the best of friends
I think that we should try
I think that we should try

And we'll take him on walks with us everyday
(underneath the summer sun).
He can ride in the back of our car when we go away
with his head outside of the window frame
and his tongue out.

It's a miracle that we're even here and alive.
Let's buy a dog and bring him home.


Thursday, April 29, 2021

My second Pfizer shot is done!

That is all.

(Well, at least until I need a booster shot...)

Monday, April 26, 2021

Vaccine progress

California has administered 28.5 million vaccine doses; 57% of eligible Californians (those age 16 or older) have received at least one dose of vaccine.

Among all 50 states, California is now 50th (last place) in new cases per 100K population over the last 7 days.

It's hard to look at this data and not feel some hope that the two observations are causally related.

Fingers crossed that it's working.

Wow Dan Kaminski died

I never got to meet Dan Kaminski, but I loved reading his work. He was not only a brilliant engineer but also a great communicator.

What a shame. 42 is way too young.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

That which connects Alameda CA and Ann Arbor, MI

Lovely short article: You can take a magical tour of Alameda's fairy doors with this online map

The rise in fairy doors on Alameda began about seven years ago and is largely attributed to Fred Hogenboom and his granddaughter, Serena. The pair built about a dozen doors from scrap wood in Hogenboom's wood shop, then installed them on trees and telephone poles near Hogenboom's home on Oak Street. After that, “social media got a hold of it and from there it just blew up,” Hogenboom said, laughing.

...

Alameda is a whimsical little city, but it isn’t alone in its fascination with fairy doors. San Francisco has seen its own fairy door boom in recent years, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, has mysterious doors that have been around since 1993 (the doors even have their own Wikipedia page). There are notable fairy door communities everywhere from New York and Washington, D.C., to Kentucky and North Carolina.

It just so happens, I do in fact know some lovers of fairy doors, both in Alameda, and in Ann Arbor...