Business, Coastal Stuff, Oddyssea

Summer Art Stroll

07.31.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Summer Art Stroll
SOMA Summer Art Stroll - Downtown Half Moon Bay, August 5th, 2-5pm

This Sunday we’ve got a great event happening in downtown Half Moon Bay on Main Street. It’s the Summer Art Stroll sponsored by the South Main Street Artists (SOMA.)

The event is happening 2-5pm and is open to all. Come see some great art, enjoy some live music, and sample some delicious food as you amble down Main Street. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon!

Event logistics available here.

Coastal Stuff

Our Money Pit

07.26.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Our Money Pit

We really love everything about our house, except the plumbing. It’s a fiddly, complex system that has kept our very attentive plumber busy for the 8 years we’ve been here.

The complexity exists because when the home was built, the local water system was not accepting new connections and thus we are using a well. It’s a shallow well in the grand scheme of things and a low-flow well to boot. So, we have a pump at the bottom of the well that lifts water to the surface, slowly as the first bit of fiddly. That pump has a controller that is, shall we say, delicate and needs frequent recalibration.

Since the well is low-flow, it can’t sustain household requirements from its natural supply capability which leads to a 2,500 gallon water storage tank as an intermediary. If the well pump or controller goes awry, the storage tank drains and we use the water in the tank until there is no more. It takes about a day to refill the tank assuming I can get the source pump back in trim to do the job alone. Add plumber response time to that if I can’t.

The next bit of fiddly is the internal balanced flow pump which takes water from the storage tank and pressurizes it for use in our household. It also consists of a pump (submerged in the storage tank) and balky controller that requires frequent attention. Coupled with this is an ozone water purifier/filtration system which seems to be mostly reliable.

Then of course, we have all the “regular” plumbing of water heater, distribution pipes, valves, fixtures, toilets, etc. which pretty much function as you would expect. Which means that washers are being replaced in frequently used fixtures etc.

Now, Montara’s electrical supply is not what we would consider to be first-world quality. We have frequent brownout conditions and outright electrical outages as well. This situation only accelerates as the weather deteriorates. It’s bad enough when the weather is good. If the power is off, we have no water (see pumps above.) If the power is in brownout mode, the controllers for one or both pumps go pear-shaped. If a pump happens to be powered on and pumping during one of these conditions, then it has to be recalibrated at the well head.

Have I mentioned yet, that despite being a pretty handy guy, I hate plumbing!

This morning’s wonderful development is that while we have water – yay! – there is no hot water. Apparently the water heater is now going. I’ve known about a pinhole sized leak in the interior for about 3 months and decided to nurse it along until replacement was the only option. We may have reached that point today.

We love our home, really. But this plumbing stuff makes it feel like The Money Pit some days. If a person in the developing world happened to read this, I know, First World Problems. Now, back to your regularly scheduled program…

Business, Coastal Stuff, Oddyssea

Oddyssea’s Mysterious Visitor…

07.25.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Oddyssea’s Mysterious Visitor…

Read all about it…..

Zoltar, the mysterious visitor to Oddyssea Half Moon Bay earlier this week.


Thoughts on Aurora

07.24.12 | Permalink | 7 Comments
Example of celebrating violence, death photo of criminal John Dillinger

First and foremost, this is a tragedy for the victims, dead and surviving. I have heartfelt sympathy for them as they attempt to recover from this senseless act of violence. There are no words that can help.

This event, tragic as it is, is but one more a series of such events. And the history of them goes back much further than our limited attention spans seem to cover. There will be other such tragedies in the future too, without a doubt. The only questions are where, when, and how many are harmed.

Lots of folks seem to want to turn this into an argument about guns. Guns are tools, they can be used for good or evil like any tool. And in any case, the US Constitution is unambiguous about a citizen’s right to bear arms – thinking that gun regulation will change in any meaningful way is deluded. We live in a culture with guns. We will continue to live in a culture with guns. This is reality.

I’m beginning to believe that humans are simply wired to do this sort of thing. Bombs, guns, machetes, drugs, bioweapons, chemical weapons, etc. Our country in particular, seems to have a long heritage of violence. Hell, our country was established by taking land from natives at gunpoint and founded in armed-rebellion against colonial powers. This is reaching back over 300 years ago.

Think about some of the violence perpetrated against slaves and native peoples, biological warfare (smallpox) and forced work camps. Think about the punitive wars waged against those subset of peoples. Think about the US Civil War where the introduction of new war technologies (repeating rifles, rifled artillery, trains, ironclads, standardized bullets, Gatlin guns, etc.) resulted in unprecedented and horrific casualties on all sides. Think about the history of assassinations of public leaders (presidents, MLK, etc.) Think about the wild-west cowboy / gunslinger and armed duels for gentlemen to settle perceived slights. Think about the roaring ’20s with the gangsters and prohibition, Valentine’s Day massacre anyone? Think about the violence surrounding the labor movement where workers at factories and mines were virtually imprisoned and sometimes shot by the owners in collusion with the government. Think about armed suppression of free speech with incidents like the shootings at Kent State. The modern drug wars around modern prohibition.

This litany is not intended to depress, but rather to remind us all that as a culture, we have engaged in and celebrated violence since our inception. That we continue to have these sorts of incidents can’t be and shouldn’t be surprising. These are hollow words for the victims and their families, I get that. But as a society, we should handle these things as expected, periodic events. They will happen in the future and they will happen again and again.

We need to think about the news coverage of these things because it only serves to encourage future perpetrators that this is their ticket to fame (or infamy) it amounts to the same thing. I don’t have the answers, but I do think it’s time we change the dialogue on these events to reflect the reality of the society we have created and perpetuate. Handling these things as unexpected tragedies that play out with heroes and villains serve no interest in preventing future events. Adding more gun regulations will not stop the next event. Adding more security to movie theaters will not stop the next event.

Sadly, I don’t believe there is anything we can do to stop the next event. But we might be able to forestall a potential criminal by not celebrating their heinous act. That we could change and attempt to understand the effect. My condolences to the victims and their families once again.


All I Wanna Do…

07.23.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on All I Wanna Do…

One of the traditions that has developed over years of marriage to my spouse is that for my birthday (long past this year) we book a concert and have a big night out.

This year the concert was Sheryl Crow at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, California. It’s a great venue on the side of hill overlooking San Francisco Bay and Silicon Valley. The temperature is very comfortable, the acoustics are very good, and it seems intimate despite the size of the venue.

We got something of a late start and so missed the opening act, honeyhoney, but I think that’s OK. We payed our opening band dues in our youth. As one comic has in his act: have a rock-n-roll show for adults. Starts at 7, valet parking, nice food & drink, the main act comes on, does the classics, throws in a couple of the new songs, and boom you’re out and home by 10.

One of the disappointments was the draconian measures to prevent photos from being taken. I like to have those a visual reminders of the experience, but it wasn’t possible this time around. Despite that limitation, the show as a good one. Fast paced, high energy. Great performances all around from Sheryl and the band. One thing I didn’t know was how many instruments she plays in addition to vocals: electric & acoustic guitar, accordion, keyboard, and various percussion instruments.

Another interesting thing is that Sheryl is a tiny person – I don’t mean skinny per se, but rather just a small of stature human being. She has such a large persona that seeing her in person was a little jarring. She’s clearly a gifted performer and has grown since her early hits in the 1990’s.

The best moment for me was her doing a simple and heartfelt acoustic version of “Strong Enough” center stage without much window dressing. The crowd seemed to enjoy the Cars theme and “Soak Up the Sun.”

Mission was accomplished. I had some Fun!

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