Thursday, August 23, 2012

What I Did Last Sunday

A few weeks back I was introduced by a friend of mine (Genevieve Brennan) to a gorgeous camping spot in the Marin Headlands right across (right across) the Golden Gate Bridge: Kirby Cove.

En route to Kirby Cove
She organized and cooked up a outdoors dinner, on the beach, under redwoods and cypress trees, with raccoons. She served vegetable tarts, lentils, fresh grilled asparagus, some kind of quinoa deal. It was delicious and magical. Take a look at the spread:

Like out of a magazine, right?
You can read more about it from her post here.

Anyhow, on the way to the cove I came across an old abandoned battery, them forts they built to take pot shots at ships coming into the San Francisco bay. It's between Battery Spencer and Battery Kirby (nee Gravelly Beach Battery). Various links online say this was Battery Wagner, but I couldn't confirm that with the GGNRA/Marin Headlands maps, and it appears from one source that Battery Wagner is closer to Battery Wagner road deep in the Headlands (whoduh thunk?). At any rate, this cool old battery has been repurposed as an outdoor mural space by a bunch of graffiti artists.

View of Battery Wagner (?) from above.

This Guy Lives Behind My House

Technically, I think it's a gal. But whatever the case, this badass spider has found a prime piece of real estate right above the pit of decay that is my compost bin. Many flies frequent this eatery.

I think it's some kind of orb-weaver spider (Orbiculariae, baby!), but I'm not certain. If anyone knows for sure, please come and school me.

It's been out back for about a month now. I discovered it by walking into its huge web during the day. Ever since then I've been always careful to check things out when I'm out there, make sure the unthinkable doesn't happen: walking into its web and the sucker hitching a ride. A few weeks back that's exactly what happened. Mike G. was there. I walked outside at night and screamed. Mike thought there was a little girl in trouble out back. I'd walked right into the web (she rebuilds it periodically, always in a different spot) and my little-huge friend ended up crawling across my face. Luckily no one died. And we got the spider to safety, back up near its tattered web.

Oh my!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

If You Want To Know About The Future, Ask A Fifth Grader

Work, shop, research, play, talk, chat, watch. Yeah, those sounds like obvious/safe guesses of what the internet would be in ten years from the island of 1995, at least looking back from here. But do you even remember what the internet was like back then? Or rather, do you remember what society was like in regards to the internet in 1995? 56K Dial-Up anyone? IRC Chats? Bulletin Board Systems? Pictures took minutes to download. And videos? Forget it, just pixelated messes on a any consumer machine. Speaking of which: desktops. And AOL (oh jeez!). Oh, and the elite video gaming system, which was unveiled in November of 95 but didn't even go on sale until 96, was the Nintendo Ultra 64, which became the Nintendo 64. Anyhow, check out these fifth-graders in this time-capsule PSA from 1995 (recorded on VHS, I'm sure):

Perhaps 5th graders are in a perfect spot developmentally, still filled with imagination but with sophisticated analytical skills they can extrapolate future trends, and haven't yet been fenced in by hormones, high school, and social distractions, and still young enough they haven't become jaded by years of watching the Man crush hopes and dreams. Or maybe they got William Gibson to write their copy.

And cat food cupcakes? Are those for cats or for people? Oh right, it's 2012:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Monday, August 6, 2012

We Put A Car On Mars!

You know, it just catches my breath whenever I think about how we just LANDED A FRIKKIN CAR ON MARS!!! (Well, it's a car-sized rover.) Just look at the size of that thing:

Notice the full-sized grown ass dude/tte in the backgroud? That thing is huge!
It's feats like these that sustain my optimism for humanity's future (it's things like the mass pollution and denial of responsibility that's crushed the lives of people in Ecuador or Bhopal or you know the Holocaust and the Holodomor that sour that optimism. But, we've managed not to kill ourselves so far. Fingers crossed!) Still, come on, pretty effing cool! Here is a just a partial list of things they did to land that $2.5 billion roving precision science lab and state-of-the-art robot: launch it into space; develop heat-shield to enter Martian atmosphere; deploy parachute that can take 65K lbs of force to slow it down from 1000s of MPH to 200 MPH; use a ROCKET PACK to slow it down further; use a "sky-crane" to set it down on the ground; and because of time delay to Mars (14 minutes) all this had to be done automatically. It landed itself. Or rather they (all those systems) landed it on their own.

All this to answer some fundamental questions about our existence in the universe, namely one of the mission goals is to determine if life is or ever was present on Mars. I am of the camp that hopes they find life or its footprint. Kim Stanley Robinson is of the camp that hopes they don't (JK: just something he said in regards to his Mars trilogy at a reading one time).

Anywho, here's the trailer for the Movie that just happened on Mars: