Day 91: Sun vs. Fog… Fight!


It’s so foggy this morning that it looks like the sun’s never going to cut through.

It’s foggy and lazy, and the cats are good with that.

During our Plum Day jam-making activity, a couple of the jars didn’t gel. This happens sometimes, for a few different reasons. It’s still sealed and safe, just sloshy.

Some of them can be repaired, by re-boiling and adding some sugar and pectin. It’s a good foggy-morning thing to do when you don’t feel like typing.

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A few of them gel afterward, but those that don’t will be fantastic on ice cream.

Holy cow, By the time I’m done, the sun has actually started to poke through. I’m meeting with some very smart friends at the Presidio today to talk about the rules of telekinetic basketball, mostly just for fun.

By the time we’re done, the sun is victorious.

Alcatraz and the Palace of Fine Arts, as seen from the entrance to the Presidio Golf Course.

There’s time to play at the golf course, but as the afternoon gets late, the fog starts winning the battle again. Half an hour later, people are reaching for their jackets.


Random assertion: Cats know where the sunbeams are going to be, and what they’re for.

Steganographic data: 1814/4.1

Published in: on August 18, 2008 at 8:19 am  Leave a Comment  
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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.

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One of the crew nearly started a plum fight.

Once they had collected enough, the harvest had to be hauled 18 miles from the yard to the kitchen, up a steep, winding, treacherous path. We lost a few of them here.

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Without any regard for safety, we handed them all knives and made them cut up all 50 million plums, to get them ready to go in the pot.


It’s endless toil, and no talking or laughing allowed at all.

The cat decided to hide amongst the groceries.

The kids all wanted to pour the boiling jam into the jars, so we didn’t let them.

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My muse made one of her plum tarts, but we didn’t guard it well enough. The little urchins overpowered her and got into it.

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We’ll do this again next week, though we may have to shop for some fresh kids. These ones are all tired now.

Random assertion: You can invite friends over to work all day, if you call it a party. This trick may not work the second time.

Steganographic data: 1838/2.1

Published in: on July 31, 2008 at 10:21 am  Comments (2)  
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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.


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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 you, ripe and ready for eating.

It takes about five plums to make a jar of jam. You cut them up, weigh them…


…add pectin, boil and stir, add sugar, boil and stir…

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…and then the boiling jam gets poured into jars, and there’s a lid-sealing-inversion process, and you’re done.

Here are the first six jars from this year’s batch! These will keep for years, unless they all get eaten, which is the plan. Everyone at Plum Day will take home some jam.


There are so many plums that we start to get creative. My muse makes a great tart, but this year she’s trying something new as well.

When Joshua’s mom visited from Singapore last year, she brought us some terrific star anise, along with a ton of other tasty spices. My muse is using the star anise to make some big jars of spiced plums. She’s got a secret recipe for everything.

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I think they’re beautiful, and they’re going to be ultra-tasty for sure.

After we’re done, my muse heads out to tea with Alyssa (who just moved back from Hawaii) and Manisha (who’s just moved to India) for some girl-time.

Random assertion: The world..

> Wait wait not so fast! What about the concert?

Oh right, Secret Plan 162.

It didn’t go at all as I expected. The robot might have worked, but as I was sitting there testing it, something came up just at that moment on the ticket site. Two seats, front row, and the price is good, but they’re waaaaaay over on the side. Still, not bad, so I got them.

At least it’s near the emergency exit.

But wait… what’s this? The Mountain Winery (if you haven’t seen a concert here, I’d recommend it) rebuilt their whole concert area just a week ago, and the seating plan has changed. …so it turns out those seat numbers are actually here, in the new layout:

Holy moley, she’s going to freak.

And the show is tonight.

So there we are. I didn’t even tell her about our seats until we sat in them.

She did get to meet him, and it turns out he’s a really nice guy. Heck, after meeting him in person, I can see why she likes him so much. Friendly and high class. And even I can tell he’s hot.

She also swiped his guitar pick, and got him to sign her tank top (watch those hands mister).

If he wants that guitar pick back, he’s going to have to come ask her for it.

Cleverness: 5%
Luck: 168,000%
…but I still get the credit and the thank-you kiss. That worked.

Secret Plan 162 is complete, and a success.

Random assertion: The world is physically shaped by the questions we ask. To test this, ask a lot of questions and see what happens.

Steganographic data: 1840/3.5

Published in: on July 23, 2008 at 10:57 am  Comments (3)  
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Day 24: Plums and Paradox

Today I spent some time with a photographer and philosopher named Gary.

We held detailed discussion of time and space and personality and causality and quantum mechanics and free will at Café Claude. This place is perfectly hidden, and has excellent food and live music. If you’re up to no good, it’s just what you’re looking for.

We talked more while walking through the city.

I’m strangely attracted to this sculpture.

It’s not clear whether the parking restrictions on this sign still apply.

At home afterward, some digging in the dirt gave me a chance to think about what Gary and I had discussed.

In a few weeks, “Plum Day” will be upon us. This plum tree is a lot older than I am.

The plums are golden and sweet, but they usually all ripen on the same day. We don’t get to decide when it happens, it just does.

Last year, the brunette and I made 80 pints of tasty jam from this tree.

For dinner we walk to Fattoush, super-friendly and very very tasty. The owner is great fun to talk to, and he has big plans.

Random assertion: A paradox isn’t some “impossible occurrence which will destroy the universe when it happens.” A paradox is an indication that you’ve got the wrong model for something entirely. For example, paradoxes “caused” by time travel are nothing to be afraid of; they’re a friendly hint that we’re wrong about the shape of time. Maybe time has no forward direction at all. Maybe we made that up.

Steganographic data: 1868/4.3

Published in: on June 10, 2008 at 8:54 am  Comments (1)  
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