Monday, June 25, 2012

Kill All the Leafblowers

All weekend.  Now again today.  Someone is using a gas-guzzling, polluting leaf blower.  It's breezy today, so using a leafblower is an exercise in futility.  And in the already dusty valley, leafblowers spew dust through any open window.  In Oakland, I could count the cars on 580, but there wasn't as much dust as is raised by 15 minutes with a leafblower.

And the noise.  The burbs are supposed to be quiet.  They aren't, and it's all because of those stupid leafblowers.  What's wrong with a rake, ferhevensake?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tears and Consternation

Well, J is retiring next month (July 27th!) and is wandering about the kitchen humming to himself.  And I have been thinking about nothing but the sorry state of my knees and moving back home.  I've already procured cell phones with the 510 area code.  And I'm thinking about the shopping I'll be able to do--Bryn Walker, Crate and Barrel outlet, a decent Cost Plus, and Berkeley Bowl.  Then, then, tears.  Crying, tearing my hair.  Berkeley Bowl's management broke the union there.  Last year.  I'm grudgingly willing to shop at stores that have never had a union (Nugget, for instance), but if you break your union, I don't shop there.  No negotiation.  No discussion.  I learned that lesson from my father.  He and I were heading into a restaurant parking lot, when he saw a picket line.  He turned the car around and left, saying, "Never cross a picket line.  Not even Teamsters."

And I don't even care that the workers decertified the union.  It's so easy for management to make life so miserable for employees that they'll vote against their own interests that I think that any decert election that isn't overwhelming (100-2) has probably involved management misbehavior.

But I was so looking forward to Berkeley Bowl.  You don't go there for the toilet paper.  That's 20% more than at Safeway.  You go for the produce.  And the meat.  And the fish.  And if you have the willpower of a gnat, the way I do, you stop at the deli counter and double your spending there.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Transit of Venus

Gee, the transit of Venus takes a long time.  And it's a small dot crossing the sun.  It would be hard to see with a pinhole viewer, so I'm watching the live feed from the Mt. Wilson Observatory.  

J took a bunch of pictures during the solar eclipse.  He also made a viewer for us.  We were able to see a small sun--a very small sun.  But the best pictures were of the shadows with crescent cut outs.  It wasn't as good as the annular eclipse in 1994, which was at mid-day.  The shadow cut outs were more distinct, as the sun was directly overhead.  And when the sky went twilight, it was eery.

To the left is a picture of leaf shadows on the outside wall of our house.  It was taken near the height of the eclipse, so the crescents are fairly large.  [We've just been reminded on NASA TV that the Transit hasn't happened since 1882, and won't happen again until 2117, which is why we we have to pay attention.  We're also learning about telescopes, history, and anything else they can think of to keep us from going off and playing Free Cell.]