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Walt Crawford

Walt Crawford

Mostly retired library person/researcher/writer/speaker. All original FF contributions CC0 (public domain).
Today's anecdata on Global Weirding (was "global warming"): mid-January, and much of California is under an extreme fire watch, given total lack of rain and (at least near here) possible temps in the 70s accompanied by fairly high winds. One thing you don't normally worry about in mid-January: firestorms.
[And yes, I do "believe" in climate change largely caused by human activity--that is, I accept the scientific consensus as fact, and am aware that the predicted climate change involves more extreme weather of all sorts, including this kind of situation. I scare-quote "believe" because I don't regard it as a matter of faith.] - Walt Crawford
Apparently *Southern* California has the biggest fire warnings thanks to likely Santa Ana winds & high temps. - Walt Crawford
Carefully-planned spam email (that Gmail didn't trap as spam) of the day: Email from a "local Printing company"--note the "local"--with its "New Year price" list. All prices are stated in British Pounds (£). And here I didn't even know California used Pounds as a local currency!
(also, paper weights stated in "gsm" units, also...innovative...for California.) - Walt Crawford
Another interesting Bing photo--aerial view of a cityscape, but not your typical cityscape. Beni Isguen, Ghardaia, Algeria. As usual, hotspots tell the story--if the third one doesn't freeze your browser. (I suppose I should use IE for these!)
Sometimes the variety of ways we wind up with movies in our Netflix queue yields interesting surprises (we watch one movie a week)--e.g., Safety Not Guaranteed, which we watched last night. It's good, and not at all what we expected.
To the two little old ladies who rang our doorbell at 9:45 this morning. 1. The protocol is that you ring the doorbell and step back a couple of paces--not crowd the door before I open it. 2. You'd do better to hide that Watchtower if you want the conversation to go on for more than two words. (Actually, I used four: "Not AT ALL interested.")
Another striking Bing photo of the day: Pool at sunrise in Coogee (outside Sydney)--a seaside "pool." (The third hotspot is interesting--an aerial view--but it froze my Firefox. Maybe you'll have better luck.)
Another example of why we're likely to be loyal to Netflix DVD/Blu-ray as long as it's available: Had next BD disc of Smallville Season 9 at top of queue; sent in previous disc. Got email saying "[name of movie in #2 slot] is on its way." Grumbled a bit; figured I'd just turn around the movie. And today get another email saying:
The disc wasn't available in your nearest shipping center, but we've found it in another shipping center, and it's on its way--enjoy the extra disc. - Walt Crawford
Purely anecdotal but consistent: Went to the local public library this morning, 15 minutes after it opened. Close to three-quarters of the (270+) parking spaces were already full. Ten minutes later, when ready to check out the three books I had, three of four self-check machines were in use, each by somebody checking out a small stack of books.
A damn shame the public library's just a place for homeless people and computer users these days, isn't it? (I will not comment on a library trustee/"humorous" columnist who continues to assert that adults don't really check out books anymore. There's actually a fifth self-check terminal in the kid's room. It was also in use.) - Walt Crawford
Speaking as an introvert who liked Quiet (but thought it overstated some cases), I should have figured that, along with pushback from extroverts, you'd get absurd stuff like this about introverts: "we’re great listeners. We give good advice. We’re reflective and observant. We offend few. We usually have fantastic writing skills, and possess a...
Sorry, FF won't let me add the close quote. Here's the source of this: - Walt Crawford
The idea that *most* introverts (the usual meaning of "usually," I think) have "fantastic writing skills" suggests less than fantastic thinking skills. Or a remarkably low bar for fantastic writing ksills. - Walt Crawford
[Context: For example, I certainly don't have fantastic writing skills; I'm a reasonably accomplished hack.] There are people in LSW/FF who I regard as having fairly fantastic writing skills, but I'm not naming names. Mostly women, if that matters. - Walt Crawford
A Consumerist post detailing how unhealthy some of the huge-portion chain sit-down restaurant meals can be is no surprise, but I call BS on one claim: the average meal was 1,495 calories, but if you add a "drink or dessert" it went to 2,000 calories.
I'm sure there are *some* drinks with 505 calories, but that's around 28oz. of dry wine, which is one hell of a big drink. (Or around 40 oz. of Anchor Steam...) I guess an 8oz. martini would do it. - Walt Crawford
Milkshake with whipped cream? - Betsy
A large McDonald's vanilla milkshake would just do it--but that's a large. (I should clarify "unhealthy": if you eat meals like that all the time. Well, the 3,312 average mg. of sodium is a bit high anyway. But 1,495 calories for dinner once a week isn't unhealthy unless your meals are all supersized.) - Walt Crawford
Always amusing when someone's true attitude shows through... In this case, lots of Objectors to Google and other tech companies having shuttle buses in SF (although, as my favorite columnist has noted, apparently nobody objected to the many Academy of Art shuttles). Even breaking windows in one bus and delaying them for half an hour. So...
Now Google's trying out a ferry to assist in getting SF-based workers to Mountain View. And one of those leading protests against the buses says that ferries aren't a very ecological way to move workers long distances either. Which boils down to: Google workers shouldn't live in SF. She won't say that, but that's what it boils down to. (Or they should all drive cars? Which would be ecologically superior?) - Walt Crawford
PS: As one who would occasionally curse the endless fleet of black luxe buses hauling Google folk around when they were in my way in Mountain View, I'd take those buses over 25-30 times as many cars any day. And sure did appreciate what Google did to maintain property values in Mountain View! - Walt Crawford
If you've found Cites & Insights worthwhile (now in 14th year/170th issue) I could use your help in guiding towards and assuring 15 and 200 respectively:
This column is, of course, anecdotal (not even anecdata), but I wonder whether he's alone: Jon Carroll, who had happily shifted to reading books on his Kindle some time ago, had the Kindle die on him...and after trying print books again, doesn't plan to replace it:...
In case the link's not there: - Walt Crawford
Another lesson in the mystery of supermarket pricing. Safeway's full price for Nature Valley bars (except the $protein$ ones) is $3.99, about 67 cents a bar. I won't pay that, ever: $3.00 ($0.50/bar) is my limit. So today's Club price was $2.49...but $1.49 if you got four boxes. Hmm. 24 cents a bar: not bad.
Except that, when we check out, it prints out a Nature Valley thank-you coupon for $2 off our next grocery visit. Which brings it down to $1 a box...16 cents a bar. Wonder how much money Safeway and General Mills clear out of $1/box? - Walt Crawford
[Best guess: Safeway gets a tiny little profit and General Mills takes a promotional loss.] - Walt Crawford
Doesn't look like this will show up on its own, and it's all I'm likely to say about the ALA-conduct situation, so:
In a discussion of NY Resolutions (which I don't do), I said something about "reading" fewer listicles, especially the one-item-per-page adstravaganzas. I should add to that: Trying to entirely avoid "reading" any listicle that includes animated GIFs. I may miss something Important or Meaningful by doing so, but I'm guessing not much.
What about Significant? Will you miss anything significant? (My father always said interesting, meaningful, and significant were the three words never to use in writing papers.) - laura x
Good point. I'm sure it's possible for Significant stuff to appear as a listicle with animated gifs or as one-item-per-page. Although it feels either oxymoronic or moronic. - Walt Crawford
Walt, you should get a Tumblr, such as is available! - Joe - Systems Analyst
Maybe a Tumblr would be more effective than Cites & Insights. But if that's true, I'll just give up... - Walt Crawford
I sometimes feel as though--especially for me--it's shouting into a foam-lined barrel in the middle of North Dakota, but:
I actually wasn't planning to do this until tomorrow (today being our 36th anniversary and all, not that we plan any huge celebration), but it's ready, so... the February 2014 C&I is available:
This wraps up what turned into a book-length series of citations and commentary related to ebooks. (At least 100K words, some of them mine...that's "book-length" by any measure I can think of.) - Walt Crawford
For the benefit of people (none of whom are in LSW FF, to be sure!) who find it difficult to discern ALA dues, I've posted the secret decoder ring guide to finding them:
Another random nonpost: We went to Costco yesterday. We're not members. Our cat needed an Rx (no membership required) which was $42 there and apparently $300-$400 elsewhere. After dealing with the parking and the people, my wife said "You couldn't pay me to shop at Costco." My response: "You could pay me, but it would cost a LOT." Shudder.
Supposedly it's not as bad on week days. - Katy S
We have not been to the newish fantabulous designer outlet mall at the edge of town since it opens. Given everything we've heard about it...well, it's hard to say what would cause us to ever go. Too many people with too many cars... - Walt Crawford
You chose the worst time to shop at a Costco! - Janet from FFHound!
I never have problems at Costco. Now Sam's is a different story - Elena from iPhone
The other time we were at Costco--when my brother, who *is* a member, was taking us there to possibly shop for a TV--was early on a Tuesday afternoon. It was just as bad, maybe a little worse. (Since Sam's is part of Wal-mart, the question wouldn't arise even if there was a Sam's around here: we don't deal with Wal-mart.) - Walt Crawford
good news for the cat, tho - Stephan!e•CogSc!L!brar!an
Looks like the 'a lot' tipping point is $258. - Micah from FFHound(roid)!
Micah, I think you're right--we *would* go to Costco again to save that much money. Except that we could apparently download & print a coupon that would get us the good price at Target, and we like Target just fine, and love the pharmacy. - Walt Crawford
(As for the cat...the pills are GINORMOUS, and my wife's going to check with the vet to see whether the dosage is too high and whether we can crush them, since otherwise the cat will never ever take them.) - Walt Crawford
Well there go, problem solved. But also, the internet was invented to shift coupon printing costs back onto the common man. - Micah from FFHound(roid)!
My wife's been checking weather forecasts every day to see whether she needs to put a tarp over our fledgling Meyer lemon tree--that is, whether it's likely to get to 32F or below. And we've been running 3-5 degrees lower than the predicted low. Last night, predicted low was 40F but she was suspicious. Rightly so: At 6:30, it was 31.5F.
With a nine-degree differential, the forecasts are essentially useless for this sort of thing. (I know: Bay Area problem, unlike the areas still trying to get back power. Your awful weather, at least in some areas, is apparently related to our persistent dry spell...) - Walt Crawford
It happened again today--but in reverse: The forecast was for a low of 36F, but as far as I can tell, the actual low was 45F. Now, about that [lack of even in the 10-day forecast] rain... - Walt Crawford
Probably the kernel of a post some day, but in today's "10 best of the year," the SFChronicle's main food critic accidentally (I think) nailed why I don't deal with most restaurant reviews. He dismissed new peninsula restaurants as rarely more than "good neighborhood places."
And I realized that what I'm almost always looking for in a restaurant--including if I'm at a conference or otherwise traveling, esp. without my wife, is a good neighborhood place. Not a foodie's haven, not a Guy Fieri-style diner or dive or greasy spoon, not a $220 tasting menu or molecular gastronomy place. - Walt Crawford
But the kind of place that serves good, honest food (frequently ethnic and prepared by chefs of that eth) in a setting that makes you want to come back frequently. (And typically not chain restaurants...) - Walt Crawford
So we watched The Hobbit (Part 1) last night. Or at least the first 2 hours and 10 minutes; we'll finish it tonight. Other than being almost entirely unable to understand anything Gollum says, my general reaction is...geez, overdoing it much? And this is the one that got fairly *good* reviews.
Woot! First Lulu sale in 20 days. Somebody bought a copy of Open Access and Libraries in ebook form, yielding revenue of...oh, wait...$0.00. The 20th copy.
I do wonder sometimes... I like AARP, but they just sent out email with Guy Fieri's New Year's Eve recipes, the first of which is "Nor Cal Cioppino." Per serving, this dish has 2,896 mg. sodium. Real healthful stuff, that.
because retired people can't occasionally eat for pleasure without being healthful? - Jenica
I dunno, something recommended by Guy Fieri might not necessarily be very pleasureable. - Victor Ganata
Victor would know better, but didn't they recently say that going low sodium isn't as important as we thought? - Spidra Webster
Yeah, but almost 3 grams of sodium for one serving of anything is a lot. Even though the study showed that the 2 gram/day limit may not be as important as we thought, it also showed that you will f- yourself up if you're eating more than 6 grams/day. - Victor Ganata
I wonder how much the avg American intake is? Given how salty our processed ingredients are, I imagine it's rather high. - Spidra Webster
Average is about 3.4 grams/day according to that NYT article. - Victor Ganata from iPhone
That's basically 3 grams *for one dish*--the side dishes would add another 1+ gram. For one meal. And no, I would *never* say retired folks shouldn't eat for pleasure without worrying about health at each and every meal. It just seemed a little excessive. (Which, I guess, is Guy Fieri, who I've mostly been spared.) - Walt Crawford
Also, I guess I'd expect a seafood stew to be on the healthier side, esp. since Cioppino is usually fairly light. I suspect the problem is the huge amount of tomato sauce and tomato paste--oh, and throwing in a couple of tablespoons of salt as well. - Walt Crawford
Also, Guy Fieri is the devil. - Meg VMeg
Today's paper tells me that Alameda County had more growth in population than any other California county. Not necessarily a good thing. Unfortunately, the worst city in my area is one of the leaders in growth: Dublin would probably pave over Mt. Diablo if it could.
Alameda's a big county (821 square miles), typical of California--it would take us an hour to drive to my sister's house in Berkeley, but we're both in Alameda County (as is Mary Carmen in Fremont, also a fair distance). - Walt Crawford
OK, another Bingphoto: The interior of Radio City Music Hall.
I just LOVE Wikipedia: Looking for a useful definition of "Magazine" (starting a new essay), and the final sentence is a wildly misleading statement about magazine closures...where going to the footnote shows, after one more link, that in the years cited, twice as many magazines *started* publication as *ceased* publication.
I added a comment, but I've given up on actually trying to "improve" Wikipedia articles--been there, done that, got slapped down repeatedly, life is too damn short. Oh good: Just went back and added the reference, as requested for talk pages--but it shows up as a goes-nowhere footnote. Reminded: Wikipedia is beyond improvement by aged mere mortals like me. - Walt Crawford
The process used to be better. It's a bummer. - Meg VMeg
True enough. I'm amused when I hear Wikipedians bemoan the declining number of people involved in editing/improving. Because most sane people will only put up with so much officious s**t before they give up, maybe? Because "verifiable in certain kinds of official print unless we think otherwise" is the Standard From Hell? I suppose it's remarkable that it's as good as it is. - Walt Crawford
Sorry for deleting an entry with some kind wishes attached, but realize my wife's a very private person. The wishes are appreciated.
Today at Bing: a haunting (and historic) winter landscape, River Avon
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