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Trolley Modeling in N Scale

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Happy Birthday NASA! ~ Monday, October 01, 2018

60 years old today.

We made a cake!

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Scary Movie ~ Friday, September 28, 2018

Nate and I biked to the movie theater, got our snacks, and took our seats just in time... to see a giant BIOS startup screen, and then Windows loading. Spooky! After a couple of reboot cycles, trailers started rolling and everything was fine from there on out. I had no idea projectors were actually Windows PC's. We never have this kind of problem at the Niles Essenay Silent Film Museum!

Anyway, we saw The House with a Clock in its Walls. We are big fans of the book (and sequels) by John Bellairs. I felt like the movie was reasonably faithful to the book and overall, pretty entertaining.

If you see it, and are a fan of Edward Gorey, stay for the end credits to see some animation that seems to be making an homage to the illustrations he did for the book.

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Picturesque Post with Poppies ~ Thursday, September 27, 2018

Our state flower does quite well in patches of ground where nothing else seems to be able to grow.

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Battleship Potemkin ~ Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Last Thursday, Wini and I and my parents saw it at the Castro.

It's an intense movie, and more or less based on actual events. Here's a contemporary report from the San Francisco Call, via the very nice California Digital Newspaper Collection:

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San Carlos Car Show ~ Saturday, September 08, 2018

There is a vintage car show in San Carlos today. Here's a few vehicles that could fit in on an early twentieth-century trolley layout.

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Lupe the Mammoth ~ Friday, September 07, 2018

I took a scenic route to work. I expected I might see some wildlife on the way, but a Columbian Mammoth was a surprise!

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Big Project Ideas for Bay Area Transportation? Submit to the MTC by Sept 6th ~ Tuesday, September 04, 2018

This has been out since June, but I only just heard about it.

Got some crazy idea? Submit it here.

It has to cost at least $1,000,000,000.

Transbay Catapult, anyone?

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Lizard Season! ~ Sunday, September 02, 2018

They like the warm sun. This little guy is only about an inch and a half long!

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Blue-Tailed Skink ~ Sunday, August 26, 2018

There have been a lot of lizards out lately. Today, at Wunderlich Park, I saw this Western Skink. Their tails are blue when they are young, and then turn pink.

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Cineastic Electrical Box ~ Saturday, August 25, 2018

Cities around the Bay Area have been letting local artists decorate electrical utility boxes.

We found this one in Hayward (on "A" St, across from Lucky, close to BART).

(Click on the images for bigger versions).

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Back at Chabot ~

Today was Wini's last day working at the Chabot Space & Science Museum as a volunteer docent (Galaxy Explorer). It's a program for high school kids, and she's in college now (!). She'll still be participating in the museum's Astronomy Club, and helping out on the first Friday evening of each month, when the museum stays open late (and admission prices are reduced, too).

So Nate & I went to the museum today too, saw a planetarium show with a presentation by the Eastbay Astronomical Society, looked at Venus in a telescope and at the sun via a sunspot viewer, and built things at the Tinker Center, where you can glue stuff together out of old bits of electronics.

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Vintage 3D ~ Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Niles Silent Film Museum is holding their annual Broncho Billy Film Festival. Last night we saw films of early comic Max Linder (whom Charlie Chaplin called "the master"), and today we saw a show of early 3D films, in collaboration with 3D Space, a museum in Echo Park, Los Angeles.

There's lots more good movies coming up over the whole weekend, but we are going camping!

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Trolley and Monsters in Petaluma ~ Saturday, July 14, 2018

I've been keeping an eye on the Petaluma Trolley Project online (petalumatrolley.org) for a few years but have never managed to see their restored trolley. Yesterday we passed through town and it was out in the yard.

Some interesting creations were poking over the fence across the street, too. A passerby told me the creator takes them to Burning Man, and that some of them breathe fire.

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Apricots ~ Monday, July 02, 2018

I've been keeping an eye on in an abandoned orchard on my way to work (it's behind the Symantec building on Middlefield, somewhere around the border between Mountain View and Sunnyvale, which long ago was the home of Netscape). Back around March I thought maybe all the trees were dead but eventually they blossomed and grew leaves again. This morning I was curious if they had ever produced any fruit. It turns out that they are apricot trees, and I was almost too late--looks like they all just ripened and mostly fell onto the ground already, but recently enough that you can still find plenty of good ones.

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Catenary Support ~ Saturday, June 23, 2018

Seen at San Bruno.

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Happy Father's Day ~ Sunday, June 17, 2018

Wini has had 18 years to observe my quirks, and knew that the nicest thing she could get me was jam!

Nate drew me a card. He seems to like my jokes :)

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Rectangular Itinerary ~

It's summer vacation, and Nate spent last week going to a camp at the Hiller Aviation Musuem. They built model rockets, and on Friday they went to Alameda to launch them (model rocketry has become much more regulated then when I tried it as a kid, and I think Alameda may be the closest place where there is an organization officially licensed for launching). They also toured the USS Hornet.

The kids went by school bus. Parents who wanted to watch needed to provide their own transportation. Mine was a combination of bike, CalTrain, ferry, BART, AC Transit, and the Dumbarton Express bus.

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