Day 72: Plum Day

Harvesting plums is a lot of work, so today we bought some children. The price was reasonable, and included a free dog. We made them work all day, and gave them nothing at all to eat. (Unless you count the french toast breakfast we cooked for the whole crew.) The first part of the day was spent harvesting plums. > Oh no, not the plum mines! Quiet you. Back to work. No, you can’t have a ladder. One of the crew nearly started a plum fight. Once they had collected enough, the harvest had to be hauled 18 miles from … Continue reading Day 72: Plum Day

Day 71: Grass Valley

About halfway between Sacramento and Reno, there’s a place called Grass Valley. When life’s too crazy, and you’re ready to be surrounded by mountains and trees and music and friendly dogs and good food, this is the place you’re looking for. Look out. The dogs are friendly, but they’re wet. I’m lucky to have family in Grass Valley, and today is my Aunt Betty Rae’s birthday party. They told us not to bring anything, and we’re ignoring them. There are just too many plums. My muse sends me to get 25 of them so she can make one of her … Continue reading Day 71: Grass Valley

Day 70: Inventors Everywhere

A lot of people have Secret Plans. Today I’m hanging out with a bunch of inventors who answer important questions like: What if brainwave measurement were part of live music performance? What if my t-shirt could help me avoid running into things? How can I make and ride a ridiculously tall bicycle? Can I trust strangers to cut my hair? First thing, though, I’m off to Peet’s to sit and get some of my own SP work done, and also watch the cute barista wrestle an unexpected number of balloons into submission. A morning show and free WiFi. This place … Continue reading Day 70: Inventors Everywhere

Day 69: The Ship’s Keeper

There are ships buried beneath downtown San Francisco. 58 days ago, I went in search of them. If you haven’t looked at the entry from that day, you should do so before reading further. Two days later, I got a phone call from a man named Leigh Newcomb. He heard that I had been snooping around for information about a buried ship called the Niantic. (Yikes, how much trouble am I in?) Leigh invited me to the maritime archive see the artifacts pulled from that ship’s wreck. Today is our meeting. I’m excited, but keeping my expectations at a calm … Continue reading Day 69: The Ship’s Keeper

Day 68: Ready the Cannon

Tomorrow I’ve got a meeting with a gentleman about a shipwreck. That’s going to be excellent. As I’m walking through the city today, I see something surprising. I’m up on a hill, but it’s clearly time to head toward the water. Today is the Tall Ship Parade. When I get to the water (having sprinted like a 12-year-old the whole way), there are people along the water’s edge for miles. The ships are beautiful, and sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge, right in front of us. It’s like a fireworks show. “Ooh look at that one!” “Wow, beautiful” …and then … Continue reading Day 68: Ready the Cannon

Day 66 and 67: Focus and the Predator

I’m spending a couple of days making some serious progress on Secret Plan 174 (the 100-year-old telescope), and also finishing the wiring diagrams for SP161. When you want to get some work done in the city, there are plenty of good places downtown. If you haven’t got time to walk, the Market Street Railway has a whole fleet of restored streetcars from various cities. As 10-minute commutes go, they’re pretty cool. One of my favorite desks is the window table on the third floor of the Virgin building. It’s usually not crowded, the staff is friendly, the grilled sandwiches are … Continue reading Day 66 and 67: Focus and the Predator

Day 65: Plums and a Guitar Pick

There’s a very old plum tree in our yard, which produces excellent and tasty golden plums. Last year, the tree produced so many plums that we made 80 jars of jam before we decided to stop. This year it looks like there are almost twice as many. That’s just trouble. Next weekend is Plum Day! We’re going to invite nieces and nephews over and out them to work. Today my muse and I are doing a private mini plum-day, just making a few jars from some plums which are ready. Picking the plums is easy. The tree throws them at … Continue reading Day 65: Plums and a Guitar Pick

Day 64: The Raven and the Shape of Luck

Note: The author would like to apologize in advance for any brain damage caused by this blog entry. Today’s filled with things I’m not at liberty to photograph or discuss. So… time to uncover another Secret Plan! That’s strange. None of the secret plans call for a giant raven, but he’s here anyway. Better find out what he wants. Secret Plan 162: A really big surprise for my muse Of course she has a boyfriend. Like most girls, she has a lot of them. This one’s a famous musician, and he’s coming to San Francisco on tour. (They haven’t actually … Continue reading Day 64: The Raven and the Shape of Luck

Day 63: Chautauqua and Motorcycles

If Dad’s in trouble, it’s a good bet that either Chuck or Russ is involved. Russ works with Mom and Dad, and he’s one of those scientists with contagious love and enthusiasm for his work. He studies and teaches a variety of different subjects, and his grin shows an understanding that they’re all connected. And if your truck breaks down in the middle of the desert, I hear he’s a wizard with baling wire and duct tape. In 2004 while on a research trip, Russ, Mom and Dad discovered a woolly mammoth skull buried in a cliff in Baja. It’s … Continue reading Day 63: Chautauqua and Motorcycles

Day 62: Zombie Phones and Baby Alligators

While my phone was busy finding the limits of the text messaging infrastructure, my muse’s phone has decided to turn any battery placed inside it into a lump of coal. Two so far this month. I want to stencil little battery icons on the side of it, like mini kill-trophies. She’s giving me that look. Side note #1: When her last phone died a few years ago, I took it apart, soldered in a bypass for the charging circuit, and kept it running for a full year. Yay zombie phone! The look She’s giving me now says “Oh no you’re … Continue reading Day 62: Zombie Phones and Baby Alligators