AUTHOR: linda TITLE: New Blog! DATE: 8:36:00 PM ----- BODY:
Welcome to my new weblog. I decided to switch from Blogger to Typepad while attending the Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. Unfortunately, neither company can tell me how to migrate my content (143 posts!). Despite the claim that Blogger content can be imported to Typepad, there is no such function in Blogger. And I refuse to copy/paste 143 posts in a beautiful, sunny, Saturday afternoon.

So, if you want to see any of the old stuff, it's here.

Happy Blogging!

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Web two-dot oh DATE: 10:10:00 AM ----- BODY:

Brea from Cleveland-based, introduced herself to me on the pub crawl and wanted to know all about Web 2.0 lingo.

Alexander, a long-time GABA member, is the business developer for city of Berlin and had a booth at the expo.

Hamish who joined us on the pub crawl, was looking for interviews to podcast for his social media advocacy station in England.

Sheryl the marcom consultant was looking for a white wine to trade her beer for and told me about her upcoming 10-day Buddhist retreat.

Dahlia, a long-time colleague in the German-American business community, told funny stories about the way expo attendees would react to the invest in Berlin booth.

Summer is a recruiter I met at the Leverage Software party, and told me at the booth crawl that she met her husband at a 1999 dot-com party.

Tim, one of my first GABA team recruits, has "found the right place" split between Oracle and his start-up.
Colette, Internet/Web coordinator for California Nurses Association, was looking for relevant session content, and a good beer.

Marc from Rochester is on a 7-month Intel sabbatical, and lost his way on the pub crawl.
... And many other stories of the Web 2.0 conference this week, a mid-size industry affair that was light on session content but heavy on expo fun, and did prove this area is the Web 2.0 center it claims to be.

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Yoga in the park DATE: 8:53:00 PM ----- BODY:
Completely dispensing of our brightly-colored slippery plastic mats altogether, our group of three took to rooting our sit-bones into the damp grass (worms underfoot; Cypresses wild with a spring wind), cold feet facing one another, and at his cue, progressed at varied cadence from seated bend, flinging legs backward into Plow, pulling them forward crossed Indian-style through arms, then straight into Chaturanga, V-ed at the waist into Down-Dog, crossing them once again to send back through the arms, and straight into a seated bend.

Though giggling -- and toppling part-way though -- it felt good. Probably due to being outside in the fresh elements: wind blowing hard enough to knock you out of your Warrior One, sun so bring you have to squint into your Bridge, and the beauty of Strybing blowing about with brightness and life. And with others who have gathered here word-of-mouth, to this spot that's so close I can walk to it.

Yoga in the park has become one of my Saturday morning traditions -- usually occurring between an early-morning ride, and the over-easy eggs or stack of pancakes I save for lazy weekend breakfasts.

Aside from storing up on positive ions, I'm feeling good from practicing head-stand and learning a new Warrior One/Warrior Two/Warrior Three movement series. Plus I get to be around good people. Namaste!

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Conversation starter DATE: 7:21:00 AM ----- BODY:
Going on a thirty-plus minutes wait for an outbound N-Judah train, smashed up against exasperated office drones, in a sea of white iPod tails, and the arrival of a curious pack of girls all wearing the same pink-printed T-shirts, at one of the busiest Muni stations smack in the middle of commute-hour yesterday evening, a kind-faced woman surprised me with a question about how I like my book.

I'm already half-way through Nickel & Dimed since starting it a week ago, a refreshing change from the tedious serious of "should" reads before this (GTD; Rules for Renegades).

She looked not unlike Barbara Ehrenreich herself, asked me if I'd heard the author speak, and then said to me, "I hope there's more class action suits... well, at least they're still in court over Wal-Mart." Then her M-train arrived.

I've noticed a lot of eyes on the train scan the cover of my book with the same curiosity and concern about the working poor that's attracted me to keep turning these pages. Maybe they are, or have been, or know someone on welfare. I looked up her website and wikipedia page, and notice that since being publishing in 2001, she continues to tour the country to speak about economic inequality.

Is upper-class America listening?

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Olympic Torch Rally DATE: 7:32:00 AM ----- BODY:
I went to witness the lively mid-day scene on Wednesday-- thousands of protesters had gathered downtown along the planned SF route of the Olympic torch relay -- and to see my classmate Jill Mason, one of the 80 torchbearers, before discovering that a surprisingly effective security blanket had moved the route to Van Ness Ave in order to avoid the chaos of earlier European legs.

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: The Parrots of Telegraph Hill brighten my commute DATE: 8:56:00 PM ----- BODY:
I get to see the infamous Parrots of Telegraph Hill every day-- their cheerful chatter, curious consumption of cherry blossoms, and striking kelly-green coats, brighten my daily commute.

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: "Honey, WHO does your color??" DATE: 10:02:00 PM ----- BODY:
"Hi I'm your four o'clock."

He was mid-bite, jumping from a perch on the stair behind a mirrored panel at the back of the store.

"Oh! Hi, hi. So -- um. Hi, can you, uh. Read this to me..."

He pointed to the appointment book where my name was written in pencil, the sweeping block letters barely fit in the box. He smiled at me and giggled, unabashed, and swept his hand over the absurdity of the question. He was right to be a little confused: the "L" looked like a lazy "C."

I laughed and he took me over to the swivel chair in the back room, instructed me to go ahead and clear off a pile of stuff from the seat, and sat me down. I pulled off a baseball hat and tore out the ponytail band. He looked at me in the mirror and asked "Ok: What do we have here?" tugging on chunks of hair, and watching them humbly fall. Of course why would I do my hair that day if I was going to get it styled? I felt the teary urge to dump my entire hair history-- but refrained, rather saying, "I want to see what you're going to do..."

He didn't hear me, suddenly spitting a horrified, "Honey, WHO does your color??"

Uh, me. A blond bottle wash to be exact, and it was just for fun. Over five months ago. An excuse started to bubble up but before I could finish it he shushed me with a cheery fix it and before I knew it he was already puttering around with a bowl and mixer -- "This is an OPPORTUNITY!" he declared -- and oh yeah, not to tell them up front.

That was how Abel ("like Cain and Abel"), the sole stylist at the Pure Beauty Inner Sunset became my best friend for about 45 minutes on a sunny Sunday afternoon, while he worked magic with dye, shampoo, hairdryer, flat-iron, giggles and stories... about people who work with computers trying to press the delete key in real life, about General Funston of San Francisco who fought fire with dynamite, and do I have a social calendar because I need to let him do tresses, and about his City Hall wedding right before it was outlawed again, about his engineer brother-in-law "working for da OIL Man, but I still love him," and "ooo, I know THIS kind of hair! if you just talk near it... whoosh!" blowing his cheeks out and splaying his hands behind my head for effect.

We chuckled about 20-somethings, and recovering catholics, and how it's too windy to walk by Ocean Beach. Then just like that, I said goodbye to the barrel-chested, baby faced Central Valleyan, who'd just made my day.

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: "The city is quite a place..." DATE: 6:42:00 PM ----- BODY:

"The city is quite a place... Early Thursday, took the ferry to Sausilito, then walked to and across the Golden Gate Bridge, followed the Coastal trail to Sutro's bath, then along the beach into Golden Gate park where I found the DeYoung. After a brief visit I resumed the walkabout, down Haight all the way back to Union Sq, and crashed out, sunburnt but satisfied... I'll be back."

~ courtesy of a new friend, who sent the above with this photo titled "reeds" after returning home to Seattle

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Great Highway ride DATE: 12:10:00 PM ----- BODY:

... Early morning in the park when most weekenders are still waking up... long stretches of road... wind whistling on a down slope... wet pavement against an iron colored sky... sleepy sweatshirted dog walkers and packs of synthetic-wearing marathon runners... roar of breakers along rev of engines... brightly-colored condos with weather-worn front doors... the nod of a fellow cyclist passing on the other side of the street... a garage sale, a coffee house, bum with a backpack, soccer players arriving at a game... water bottle at a stop light... shifting, graveling, sailing... home.

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Springtime Pronoia celebration in Golden Gate Park DATE: 9:50:00 PM ----- BODY:

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Ides of March bikeride DATE: 2:38:00 PM ----- BODY:

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: The angels of Heyday throw "All the Saints" book release party DATE: 12:29:00 PM ----- BODY:

Last night, Heyday Books celebrated the launch of "All the Saints of the City of the Angels" by J. Michael Walker in San Francisco.

Walking along colorful Capp Street in the Mission District to get to the Community Music Center set the stage perfectly to check out this artist’s homage to everyday Angelenos, in a grand gold-covered storybook about how contemporary life intersects and reflects our mythological past.

After stirring speeches from the author, and Heyday Publisher Malcolm Margolin, Francisco Herrera inspired the crowd to dancing and singing, while party goers got the chance to pose as a saint against a beautiful "All the Saints" backdrop.

The Angels of Heyday deserve praise for their tireless work to showcase the soul of our community, and thus connect enthusiasts like me to the fabrics of our humanity.

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Second GABA "Women in Business" event a success DATE: 6:21:00 AM ----- BODY:

The second GABA Women in Business event, held at Mindjet on Wednesday March 12th, doubled in attendance from our launch event in the fall. Attracting attorneys and accountants, students and C-level professionals, entrepreneurs and intrepreneurs (corporate innovators), one guy (who was there to represent his German boss), and the attention of local tech entrepreneur network Women 2.0. The women came from Berkeley, Santa Clara, Sausalito and Los Angeles; from their families and home businesses, corporate desks and a German language newspaper. And they want to do it again.

Bettina Jetter, Mindjet Co-Founder, offered insight and an in-depth account of her experience as a female entrepreneur, in Germany and in the US. Others shared their stories, discussed career moves, the glass ceiling, and new jobs.

Bravo for another excellent execution!

Time to plan the next one, for summer.

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Moment of beauty DATE: 5:54:00 AM ----- BODY:

A moment of beauty in the chaos of commute; a single crumpled page falls from a man's book, marked "DOSTOEVSKY," between frowns, iPods and shopping bags in the stifling car.

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Virgin Velo DATE: 6:50:00 AM ----- BODY:

On a new years' resolution kind of whim, I decided to crack out my fancy Specialized Stumpjumper from its dark convalescence and join the Velo Girls™ (from a bumper sticker spotting) for a Sunday morning SF-to-Tiburon ride.

The morning couldn't be sunnier, I couldn't be more rested, fully geared and prepared with tires pumped, plenty of synthetic layers, shades, Camelback, and Shimanos.

A group of 20 smiling women dressed in pink and black and lime gathered in front of Presidio Sports Basement and then we were off: up to the toll plaza, across the Golden Gate, curving around to Sausalito, and onto the bike path that leads around the crescent of the bay toward Tiburon Marina.

I knew the route from training with SFRRC; but my current and casual weekly 12 miles running and 14 miles walking (not to mention an 18-month hiatus since my last ride), did not prepare me for four hours of sitting on that seat!

Soon, the crisp sunny morning turned all-too warm, the weight of the bike and my pack grew heavy, pedaling through pedestrians and cars misery, bending into the ferocious bay wind treachery, and resting at the Sam's ferry landing half way through our ride all-too tempting.

Nevertheless, I soldiered on to finish what I'd started (though not after talking my way out of a few extra miles on the return route). Hills or no, the pain continued. Finally back over the Golden Gate, crumpled into my car, knowing there's no where to go from here but up.

And vowing to come back and do it all again next month.

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Story of a synchronistic event, on my morning commute DATE: 9:50:00 PM ----- BODY:

I don't usually walk on the East side of Davis Street. So when I chose to take the Embarcadero instead of Montgomery stop 0n my way into work yesterday morning, and happened to walk on the East side of Davis Street instead of the West side by the sleeping bagged-bums lining the parking garage wall, AND happened to look left at the very moment of passing the overpass on the outside instead of the inside, I thusly noticed a block-letter statement chalked across the outside, causing surprise and delight with its simplicity and directness. A synchronistic event, worth noting.

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: GABA "ad" by the VP Marketing (me) DATE: 9:17:00 AM ----- BODY:

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Venture to Elkdom DATE: 10:11:00 PM ----- BODY:
Two co-workers talked me into discount drinks for happy hour at their local Elks Lodge, and soon I found myself entering the fraternity on Post street (that's also the Kensington Hotel) and touring the narrow staircases, arrested-development recreation rooms, and mediocre athletic facilities.

San Francisco Elks Lodge is #3 of almost three thousand lodges nationwide and the oldest continuously operating lodge, which explains the hotel business and the 1890's-era leather ceiling and dusty showcases. The pool room contains a row of high-backed shoeshine chairs and ancient pool cue cases. There were bleachers and a bar off the racquetball court, and from the roof we could see into the bleak black windows of the St .Francis Hotel, Harry Denton's Starlight Lounge bling, and up the steep incline of Mason Street.

Despite needing an update to the facilities, to the gender balance (open to women starting in 1995), and to the membership age (Heather claims the average age was brought down from 70 to 40), Elks is quaint, and welcoming.

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: My valentine DATE: 2:04:00 PM ----- BODY:
Gladiolas, in wedding colors:


-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Morning cup of joe DATE: 7:05:00 AM ----- BODY:

I set out to mail a Valentine's package to my sister yesterday morning from the Embarcadero post office, on my way to work on Battery Street. I had some time to kill since I stepped off the Muni amazingly on time (or, early) so I had time to debate about where I wanted to buy a cup of coffee. I walked by the Starbucks on California, the Tullys on Davis, the Braizz after Clay, there's another Starbucks on Battery, and a Peets up ahead on Embarcadero One... then I saw it, up ahead: Gambinos, a quaint green-white-red joint, no closer than right next door to my waiting point.

I ordered a large coffee from the smiling guy behind the counter, who asked if I wanted room for cream. Handing him two bucks, I asked if there was a place to wash my hands, "... muni, you know..." But with a quick glance around the narrow shop, I'd answered my own question.

"Technically, no. But, well. You can come back here real quick."

Perfect! I dropped a handful of change in the tip jar and scurried around the long row of deli cases while Mr. Register informed two perplexed sandwich-makers that "this nice young lady is going to come back here just to wash her hands real quick." I was there and back with a bunch of thank-yous before one of the Aprons replied, "that'll be twenty-seven dollars."

I laughed and said that I paid the guy up front, who agreed, and said they get a smile, *cheese* to which Register agreed: "and what a nice smile it is!"

On my way out, I assured them that this was my first time here, see, and, now I'll come back.

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: I *heart* my houseguest DATE: 7:45:00 PM ----- BODY:


-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Super Tuesday, at Saint Anne's of the Sunset DATE: 7:39:00 PM ----- BODY:

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: After 16 takes... popped my YouTube cherry DATE: 9:07:00 PM ----- BODY:

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Gamefood extravaganza DATE: 10:01:00 PM ----- BODY:

Chicken tacos

Potato skins

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Locked out DATE: 7:28:00 AM ----- BODY:

Relishing a rare opportunity to work from home for the afternoon, on a beautiful sunny winter day, I make my way to my flat in the Inner Sunset as usual, until, I was struck by the sudden sober notion that I may not have my house keys.

Frantically emptying my bag of all its contents, I don't see them. Wildly searching my memory of the last times I laid eyes on them, I search again -- cursing myself for needing to do so.

It can't be! -- but it is. Yes: I forgot my keys. Now, stranded on the sidewalk in front of my home, wistfully watching everyone else who has someplace to go, I wonder what to do next.

I can't believe that after all those times I'd been sure to pause on the way out the door in order to lay my hands on that key before exiting -- that precaution obviously slipped my mind today. Of all days.

Who would have thought that a tiny two-inch piece of metal could tip the scale of my entire day?

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Story of a yogic community of seekers, at Sports Basement DATE: 7:12:00 PM ----- BODY:

Yoga: no matter what the time, place or level, it's always a challenge and it's always a reminder that making time to tool the body means time to tool the mind as well.

Today it was a free beginner Vinyasa class at Potrero Hill Sports Basement, taught by beginner instructor Stacy of Work In Progress Fitness, where about 30 strangers gathered on a rainy Sunday afternoon, in all manner of story, to yoga together and warm the cold warehouse room.

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Macworld-ing it DATE: 7:17:00 AM ----- BODY:

Macworld, currently at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, is widly known as a consumer show.

This year boasts the most booths ever, at 450.

And the debut of Macbook Air to its very tech-savvy audience.

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: "The Lives of Others," is for you DATE: 10:52:00 AM ----- BODY:

An annual pilgrimage to the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival brought us to "The Lives of Others," winner of the 2007 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film and a curious mirror to real-life events for Ulrich Mühe, who received the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role.

Taking place in East Berlin in 1984 just before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the story reveals each character to not who they initially seem: a socialist playwright makes use of his contacts to write a controversial article in for the West, his girlfriend is coerced to play the other side, and highly-skilled Stasi Captain Gerd Wiesler is "human, after all."

This drama of gradual disillusionment, with its suspense of political power hitting the home and the stark reality of living in divided Germany at that time, is also unlike it appears. Among the dull colors, under the overcast sky, in the face of the shouts and threats, there's heart and passion and promise, and gratitude for his humanity, after all.

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Inner Sunset: Birth of a Neighborhood DATE: 6:42:00 PM ----- BODY:
I've lived in the Inner Sunset for six and a half years, and today I learned about the birth Of my neighborhood on a free SF City Guides walking tour beginning on the corner of Hugo, the charming neighborhood street named after Victor Hugo, on a sunny winter
morning in the shadow of the concrete mass of UCSF, with tour guide Lorri Ungaretti, who used to live on 7th Avenue but can't afford the housing and now lives on Polk. The one other tour attendee was a girl named Choi who lives on 20th Avenue.

The story begins in the 1860's, when the uninhabitable windswept dunes of the lands outside of the busy downtown, the developed Richmond District, near the swath of land to be Golden Gate Park, and unreachable by train like the the one leading to Sutro Heights, was officially incorporated into the City.

Houses that had only existed near the Stanyan train line and spotted between gunpowder factories and dairy ranches, began to pop up
along a stream train line that followed what's now Lincoln. The first map of the area shows an intricate grid of numbered avenues and
alphabet streets, which hadn't even begun to be developed at that time, and wasn't completed until the 50's -- due in a large part to
a local maverick developer named Henry Doelger who bought up Sutro's land and built & sold $5,000 single-family homes like Model
Fords (that now sell for $800,000) in the 30s and 40s.

From Hugo Street, up 7th, to Judah, and down Funston, she pointed out original buildings with their circa 1920's tell-tale beige brick facing on top of white siding and with false fronts, alongside rows of euro-styled "arts & crafts" homes of the 40s, and between all kinds of more recent miscellaneous designs. The only art deco building is Doelger's offices, still on Judah near 9th, used as office space though in sad disrepair.

Judah Street is named after "crazy" Theodore Judah, who inspired the Big Four to fund his crazy idea of a transcontinental railroad
and who built the first rail line from Sacramento to the lower Sierra so that miners could more quickly get their gold to the Capital for cash. St Anne's of the Sunset was the first (of now five) Catholic parishes in the Sunset, holding their first masses during the 1900's at the Parkview Hotel on 9th and Lincoln, where Canvas Cafe used to stand. Andronico's used to be a massive lot called the boneyard where old cable cars went to die, and there was a short-lived movie theater on 14th next to an early Safeway sometime around the 60's.

When our little tour got to 9th and Irving, I introduced Lorri to Jim Ng who was working the neighborhood beat, and we chatted pleasantly about how SF cops have moved from cars to walking and how it's too expensive for cops and firefighters to live in the neighborhoods they serve.

From this central intersection, Lorri described how this neighborhood is such because it's not trendy like Cow Hollow or Fillmore neighborhoods without chain stores, though Jamba and Starbucks were the first (Blockbuster flubbed on taking over the SE corner and the tiny, quiet Burger King eventually died). PJ's Oyster Bed used to be office space for the other Doelger brother, who died suddenly at the early age of 37. She ended the tour with the story of the Shamrock, began by a successful entrepreneur who offered free food with purchase of a beer to workers building for the Midwinter Fair of 1894 -- which left as legacy the Japanese Tea Garden, bandshell and park museum (later becoming the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum).

The Golden Gate Heights Stairway Tour is next, where I do my early-morning runs.

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Attention passengers: this train will stop..." DATE: 8:47:00 PM ----- BODY:
"Attention passengers: this train will stop at Cole & Hillway due to police activity at UCSF; shuttles will be provided."

The announcement sounded upon boarding at Embarcadero, around 5:45 pm last night. It repeated after every stop, and people tilted their heads quizzically to make out the intercom voice. The raspy voice of a woman seated behind me slowly and loudly repeated the news into a cell phone.

Once at Hillway, passengers disembarked en Mass into the night -- some seated on the steps of the complex across the street from UCSF, some standing bewildered facing the train cars, others urgently dealing with cell phones. It was a nice night for walking, so I decided to hoof the 14 blocks home and along the way, figure out what happened.

Pushing through pockets between dark coats and bags, and began a brisk pace down the block -- past a cigar up ahead, a man who muttered "nice shuttle" behind my right shoulder, and through silent zombie-like hoards traveling Westward down Irving Street.

There was life in a corner convenience store I'd never been in before on 4th, so I stopped in for a can of evaporated milk. The short pink-jacketed lady who sat next to me on the train, was there shopping for broccoli.

Further down Irving I caught, "...what happened to Muni?" and " hit really bad..." and "...Ninth and Irving..." And as I approached the main intersection, the street was silenced and cops stood gruffly with feet askew, facing out from between the corners on 8th Avenue, and I followed fellow voyeurs J-walking across the intersection at 9th, slowing down to hear any snatch of information about the N-Judah adventure.

Three N-Judah trains in a row were stopped along the curve of track heading West to South, and I changed direction from crossing Ninth to crossing Irving instead to spot the incident site along the inside of curve on the Jamba side, which looked like a CSI scene with light trained onto yellow markers spotted on the ground by a stationary train car, flashing police lights, a man clutching a Cal trans vest rushing onto the scene from an SUV.

Then I overheard a portly woman who was smoking in front of Mucky Duck report to a pedestrian that an N-Judah train struck a 90-year-old woman crossing the street who couldn't hear, and that the streets have been blocked since then. At the top of the block at Judah I saw a single car train marked "Special" delivering passengers, and chuckled at the whole thing.

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Top Three of 2007 DATE: 3:33:00 PM ----- BODY:

Durty Thirty Birthday

800 Feet to Mount Langley

Job at Mindjet

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: A Winter Solstice Wandering DATE: 12:31:00 PM ----- BODY:

Today is "winter solstice," the instant when the Sun's position in the sky is at its greatest
angular distance on the other side of the equatorial plane from the observer, meaning today's the shortest day and the longest night of the year (not to be confused with the darkest
day or night).

Of course, this is relative to us on the Northern Hemisphere. Those on the Southern Hemisphere are celebrating the long days and short nights of summertime now.

The seasonal significance of the Winter solstice varies to astronomically mark both the
beginning or middle of a hemisphere's Winter, and commonly a full 24-hour period though
Winter Solstice itself lasts only an instant. The word solstice derives from Latin sol (Sun) and sistere (stand still), Winter Solstice meaning Sun stand still in winter. Today it's about 53 degrees in San Francisco, and a faraway sun has broken through the dull morning cloudcast.

Worldwide, some of the greatest architectures were built so they aligned with the solstices
and equinoxes, and interpretation of these events have been celebrated for thousands of years
-- like the candles, evergreen, feasting and generosity of the Christmas season. Tradition has it that one stays up all night in order to be assured the sun does rise the next day. Like Groundhog Day.

My ancestors, the early Germans built a stone altar to Hertha, goddess of domesticity and the home, during winter solstice. With a fire of fir boughs stoked on the altar, Hertha was able to descend through the smoke and guide those who were wise in Saga lore to foretell the fortunes of those at the feast.

To me, this is always the kind of time that's busy and cold and emotionally complicated but full of simple wonders... I agree with Earl W. Count, in 4,000 Years of Christmas, who likens Christmas to the web in a loom, where the pattern changes as the mind changes: "at first, we are not sure that we discern the pattern, but at last we see that, unknown to the weavers themselves, something has taken shape before our eyes, and that they have made something very beautiful, something which compels our understanding."

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: It's beginning to feel a lot like... DATE: 8:51:00 AM ----- BODY:

In this busy, cold, emotionally complicated, and simply wonderful holiday time, I have begun to celebrate...

with (pictured) hanging ornaments on the lovely potted Rhapis excelsa palm, and uniquely-repurposing a few seasonal greeting cards.

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Turned away from the Olympic Club for wearing jeans (almost) DATE: 5:02:00 PM ----- BODY:

The afternoon was going as expected, having traveling via the F-Line to Powell
Street, and walking up toward Post and Mason to the Olympic Club for the SCU Fall
Alumni Luncheon, it was about 11:45 am approaching the ivy-ed brick of the oldest
athletic club in the US, past the "Members Only" plaque, to the glass doors and just
past a uniformed man speaking French at the gold podium by the door toward a
circular set of marble steps...

"Excuse me, ma'am -- "

"Oh, yes. I'm here for the Santa Clara Luncheon, and --"

"Yes. But I'm afraid there's strict dress code. No jeans."

"But..." I looked down at my legs to check that I did indeed have jeans on, and then up at him.

"But," I stammered. "I already paid for the luncheon... they didn't say on the invite... "

He blinked at me, and said again, "No jeans."

Did he know these were my new birthday Seven Jeans for Humanity?? I noticed an overweight guy in baggy khakis and a sweatshirt wandering around the mezzanine area. Surely me in my black blazer and vinyl boots looked more acceptable than that.

"Just a second ma'am." He picked up the phone and spoke into it in French.

A brunette woman entered from the doors behind me and asked for the Santa Clara Luncheon. Jerry the doorman instructed her politely to go to the elevators, take them to the second floor, and go left. From my leaning vantage point on the podium, I checked out her attire: black high-heeled boots, black Capri pants, gray sweater-vest, white blouse, trendy haircut.

Jerry cradled the phone. A few uncomfortable silent seconds went by. The phone rang, Jerry answered, said a few words, then hung up.

"She said, you can enter from Sutter Street. The parking garage. Just go around the block -- " He gestured out the door with a curve of his arm.

"Out the street? Around the block?" Was this just a ruse to get me out of here?

"Yes, ma'am."

With a sigh, I went out and down the steps, turning right, and up the street (a big hill), huffing it around to Sutter Street. Sure enough, there was the Pedestrian Entrance of the Olympic Club. Guys in jeans carrying sport bags waited for valet. More uniformed employees ushered me to the back elevator in hushed tones.

And like the clandestine lady I was, I entered the luncheon scene with barely a minute to spare.

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Yelp on! DATE: 9:41:00 AM ----- BODY:
After suffering a 30-minute line for the "Yelp Elite" which wrapped around Mission Street and nearly all the way around Yerba Buena Gardens, Yelp's 3rd annual holiday party was in fact pretty cool for a freebie, swaggie party... despite the watered-down open-bar Yelptinis, junior-high gymnasium-dance space, and wedding-reception hip hop and 80s dance beats.

The YBCA gallery was showing a Dalai Lama exhibition, sponsors like Nokia and North Beach Lobster and Zipcar and Firestone Brewing were in full form, and founder Jeremy Stoppelman announced Mayor Gavin Newsom's proclamation of December 5th as “Yelp Day” in San Francisco... but my favorite was the hip-hop dance troupe performance.

And, my friend Neil who's worked at Yelp for all three holiday parties, confirmed that the Yelpland holiday-hipster crowd has grown from 500 the first year, to 1,000 last year, to over 2,000 this year.

Yelp on!

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: The San Franciscans visit The Portlanders DATE: 11:02:00 PM ----- BODY:

San Franciscans visit Portlanders for the holiday weekend; strangers in a strange land... of too many ciggies, not enough veggies, the odd absence of sales tax, unusually friggin' coldly-cold, inquisitors masquerading as polite conversationalists, and Thanksgiving dinner on paper plates around the tellie-set.

Beset (blessed? cursed?) with whatever pre-conceived conceptions of SF, we were prodded,
observed, isolated, tested, and pursued... Received with genuine warmth, dutiful
hospitality, absurd disinterest, cheerful curiosity, thinly-disguised desire for
connection, fear, the joy of generations gathered together to experience one another,
and the good 'ol fashioned oral tradition of story-telling.

And thus shadows were cast as long as the sunny fall afternoon, and in the seasonal shades of a factory alive with the happy chugging of industry, and that of a dead and dilapidated building alongside the highway.

Some things never change!

Be it ever so humble, there IS no place like home.

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-------- AUTHOR: linda TITLE: A Tri-State Thanksgiving Trek DATE: 6:53:00 PM ----- BODY:

$300: Chevy Impala car rental

$260: 3-night stay at the Troutdale Holiday Inn Express

22: hours driving in holiday traffic

1,354: exits passed on highway 80, 505, 5 and 30

$200: filling up the tank five times

1,308: miles across three states of tree-carpeted foothills, abandoned industrial areas, and fast-food rest stops

$26: four Wendy's spicy chicken sandwich combo meals #6

Holding my 6-week old nephew for the first time: priceless.

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