Friday, February 27, 2009

This place is a pigsty...


Whenever I used to hear that phrase, I used to make some attempt at tidying up. However, in this case, this old stone structure is a pig sty, quite literally.

Although remembered as an author and adventurer Jack London was also a farmer. He took his time to learn how to farm properly. Some land that he started with had been overworked by previous tennants. London adopted a more scientific approach. Learning how to tend the soil, terracing the valley sides so water erosion didn't wash away nutrients, and how to feed soil.

One of his other triumphs was the hygene of his "Pig Palace". Local farmers lost their herds to disease, London's estate had a clean concrete sty which was easy to clean, and added the precaution of footbaths for all visitors. This is common practice now, but London was a pioneer.

There are 17 pens around the central feed store. The curcular design not only afforded protection from the weather, but also reduced labor needs, each pen being the same short walk from the feedstock.
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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Marin Civic Center

Who, living in America, has not heard of Frank Lloyd Wright? Remember the architect who brought us House At Fallingwater, I believe he also architected a building that was a mile high, though that was never built. So why do I mention FLW in this post? Simply because he was the architect behind the Marin Civic Center. The building featured here.

The Civic Center's main building houses courts, the library and the sheriffs department, even a jail. It is constructed between two hillocks, and a part of the building is subterranean. The building has a unique bold style, full of arches and circular motifs. The roof is ablaze with rounds. Inside the concourses are smoothed and rounded. It's a tribute to the late 60's, and rightfully respected.

Students of Science Fiction will probably be familiar with this building, but more because of another Marin County resident, George Lucas. Parts of his first Sci-Fi film, THX-1138, were filmed in this building; though we never saw the extensive parks and gardens which contain the main building, the auditorium, and the post office.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Back from my hol's

I just had a three day getaway in the wine country.

If I get chance I'll share my adventures, but for now I thought I'd let you see a picture from the beautiful scenic Marin County.

That's funny, Windows showed that picture rotated -90 deg by accident. I liked it that way, but here it's upright.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Stormy Weather

I Just found these photos on my hard drive. Taken in the fall of 2002. I remember that night, on the way home there was a fire engine half blocking the street and a tree down. These photos were the morning after.

This was a brand VW Jetta. That was the 2003 body shape, so it had to be a matter of weeks old.

This was a different tree around the corner. I guess a 35 year old neighbourhood should expect tree issues.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Which Way Up

So here is an interesting question. Which of these two looks better? Right way up, or upside down? For the last 18 years I've always shown this one upside down, giving a dramatic sky. Is that too gimicky? Who knows. Lets put it to the vote.

Update:- a quick Google Image search shows that this is one of the older images of the mill available on-line, the words Milns Seeds still appear on the sign. The old seed mill was converted in the early 90's to office space and a wine bar. At that time the sign was changed to read "Steam Mill". Apparently it is now the home of a radio station, and an art house cinema!

I feel like I need to blog!

Okay everyone (if indeed there is anyone), I've been busy doing things which are not really blogable. However I think I will just make a few notable mentions.

1) My eldest nephew now has is own e-mail address. Congrats to, well you know who you are. Seems like it's a modern right of passage, and when should it happen? It's the key to the door, start to having new pen pals and other wondrous stuff.

2) An on-line associate started blogging, but ran afoul of thoughtless comments early on, and they have quit blogging. I hope they start again, but nudge themselves into it differently. There are several reasons to blog, IMHO.

a) Keep friends "in the loop", like a family "new service".
b) To share your opinions - expect flamers and weirdos here if you go public.
c) To inform a community of ongoing events. Great for providing marketing on the cheap.
d) To boost your ego, whoring yourself out there so all can say "you are wonderful" or to know 10,000 people follow your blog.

For me this blog is reason a). It includes people who stray here after finding my comments on other blogs. I seem to only really visit blogs of friends or friends of friends.

I do have another blog of type c), and there is a community that follow it. I know to keep the two separate, as do friends in the crossover.

3) My parents are coming to visit. Anyone who is a parent, or a spouse, will know that visits from parents bring a multitude of things. Mostly they bring visitors, eager to share the latest news, and see first hand that you really are well.

The other things parental visits bring are the typical stresses of "Is the house tidy?", "Will they be judging me/my spouse/my kids?", "What can we feed them?", "This will throw our schedules out...".

I believe most of these stresses are paranoia, but all the sitcoms and soaps leave us to believe it as fact. It's not that sitcoms or soaps are convincing media, but they are "funny because they're true" type deals, so you know that the writers prevailing belief is that it's based on fact, which means at some level it's true.

Paranoid ramblings? Yup.

4) It's raining. Last week we were having brush fires down in Morgan Hill, a little rain like this can only add to the fire risk. A lot of rain will mean my parents will be here for real weather. Still, since it's been upper 60's for the last week, and the UK has just had "worst snows in 20 years" they should be glad of the change.

Enough prattling on for now.