The Heat Is On

The San Francisco Chronicle has a stunning photo montage on the front page of its Book Review section today for a review by Steve Heilig of the book The Weather Makes by Tim Flannery. You can see it here for now – but that will change in a few days. Hmm, here’s a link to the photo itself – maybe that will stay around?


Self-Watering House Plants

Well, maybe not exactly self-watering – but continuous watering where I only have to fill up the water maybe every couple of weeks or so. What am I talking about?

I happened to notice that the plants in our office (provided by and carefully nurtured by a professional “plant lady” who makes her living doing this) were all in “special” containers. Not only were they in special containers, but they looked wonderful all the time – no yellowing of leaves, etc. And we didn’t have to do anything to take care of them – she stopped by once a week or so and checked in with them, murmured special thoughts to them, wiped the dust off their leaves, and on they went with their lives.

Turns out these special planters she uses for our plants are some San Francisco Bay Area high technology – that ensure the plant is continuously being watered even when I’m traveling to Minneapolis or Atlanta or Shanghai and I forget about them for a week or two.

I had another plant on my desk – that was gradually falling apart because I’d be away and forgot about it and then I’m sure that I overwatered it when I came back. So, I decided I had to get one of those special planters. Long story short, the planters are made by Planter Technology in Hayward, CA which only “sells to the trade.”

But, you can order the Planter Technology planters online from their sister company Natural Spring.

If you have no knack for caring for houseplants – or a schedule that makes such caring difficult, you really need get one of these planters for your plants’ sake! Here’s a cool animation from the Planter Technology site that shows how they work to water automatically.


Old Shoes, Talking Shoes

My Sunday shoes are a pair of roughed up Birkenstock walking shoes, the kind they just don’t make anymore. I bought them maybe six or seven years ago at a Birkenstock store over in Oakland – and they tell me the style (sorta Timberland-ish) just didn’t take off and wasn’t continued.

Too bad, as they’re my favorite knock-around, go for a walk in the park kinda shoes. They were my primary shoes for a year or two and then got sidelined into being just the Sunday play pair when the Mephisto’s came along.

Walking around Sharon Park with Lily this morning, for some reason I started trying to think of all of the places these shoes have taken me. That’s the good thing about walking early on Sunday – the sheer randomness of my thinking! Actually, thinking makes it sound like work – the sheer randomness of my Sunday early morning thoughts!

But, back to the shoes, the extremes, I think, are Bergen and Sydney – with Mendocino, Carmel, and Woodstock thrown in for good measure. They’ve certainly seen lots of places and lots of faces. Now, if only these shoes could talk!


Your Best?

Welcome to 2006! A couple of weeks ago on a lazy Saturday afternoon I wrote a post about many things but basically about what’s your best?

I’m reminded of that theme again this morning reading Paul Graham’s essay on “Good and Bad Procrastination“.

His illumination of the difference between bad procrastination and that which is good is fascinating – setting aside (procrastinating on) less important work to pick up the load of more important work. That work that really matters.

He points us to Richard Hamming’s essay, shrinking it to its essence: “What’s the best thing you could be working on, and why aren’t you?”

I’m reminded of Paul Simon’s great line “the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time” — that, and, as Graham concludes, enjoying life has everything to do with “leaving the right things undone.”

Books Living

Lazy Afternoon

A grey, soggy Sunday afternoon just a week before Christmas. Our weather is now shifting aggressively into winter, as the rain cycle begins its annual turn once again. Blustery southerly winds accompany the sheets of water, forming curtains that almost shimmer out the front window. The high trees on the hill groan as they sway. Long, lingering dark nights, such brief daylight – yes, mid-December days in northern California.


Thanksgiving 2005


Best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Sunday Morning Coffee

What a delightful late November it’s been this week in the San Francisco Bay Area. Out walking the dog yesterday afternoon, warm and sunny – even though the sun was down low as it always is this time of year. Today dawns crisp and sunny. We’re so spoiled — and have so much to be thankful for!

Parade, the Sunday newspaper magazine supplement, has an article on podcasting (and blogging) in this morning’s edition. Talk about taking podcasting to mainstream America! Unfortunately, no link possible because Parade posts its articles online a week after the newspaper edition — a very weird policy IMHO for a publication like Parade. They say it’ll be posted here on November 28th.

French press. I recently got a small French press for making coffee — we are a mixed decaf/caf family and the regular pot gets devoted to decaf. During the week, I solve my problem by stopping by Peet’s on the way into the office. On weekends, a quick three scoops of Peet’s Ethopian Fancy into the French press, a bit of fresh boiling water, and 4 minutes later a delightful cup of great coffee in hand.

Was reminded this morning about Ole Eichorn‘s classic Tyranny of Email post from a couple of years ago. An oldie but goodie – another thing (and guy) to be thankful for!


Thoughts on a late October Sunday Evening

Some miscellaneous ramblings on a Sunday evening at the end of October…

Read Richard Clarke’s new book yesterday — and sold it used on in about 2 hours this afternoon! Really enjoyed reading the story — after hearing him on Terry Gross’ Fresh Air last week. Don’t want to spoil the story for you — the plot is great — but this is a first novel and Clarke’s use of dialogue could use some work.

Spent some time today with Flickr. I’d signed up early on but hadn’t uploaded any photos. Tried uploading some today — and almost immediately ran up against the 20 mb monthly limit for free Flickr accounts. When I think about Flickr, I’m reminded of what Phil Greenspun (and friends) did with But Flickr exploded in terms of community interest while just “perked” along. Why? Flickr’s ramp and “buzz” attracted Yahoo! — leading to its acquisition by Yahoo! earlier this year. Flickr became an almost perfect Web 2.0 “flip” example. Lots of food for thought here.

Unfortunately, I missed the Internet Identity Workshop last week. Was looking forward to it — but client work got in the way! One of my partners attended and she came away impressed with the Microsoft InfoCard strategy.

Daylight savings time fell back in the wee hours early this morning, and tonight feels much later than the clock says.

New header graphic posted from this morning’s walk around Sharon Park. Such a beautiful morning and the ducks were all lined up, waiting for the sun to get them moving I guess. Just felt like it was time to retire the Maui beach shot as fall starts getting serious around here.

Tomorrow’s Halloween. Put your mask on and have fun!


An Ordinary Instant, A New York Minute

An ordinary instant, a New York minute. It happens so quickly.

Read Joan Didion’s After Life in today’s New York Times Magazine. She loses her husband — author John Gregory Dunne — and shares the experience very personally with us with some amazing writing.


Twenty Years

John Flinn reminds us of Mark Twain:

“Twenty years from now,” Mark Twain once wrote, “you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”