Hire Me, Fire Me, Anything Helps!

Poor and out of work in Petaluma…

McDowell & Washington Square February 24, 2012     © Frank Simpson

What is increasingly visible on the streets of Petaluma is, of course, part of the larger “picture” of the economy in the United States.

The BBC World Service documentary, America’s Poor, …explores America’s underworld of poverty where people live in storm drains and tented camps and where children go hungry.” BBC World Service

Related Link: Photos…Homeless in Petaluma (Updated!)

Santa Rosa’s Bicycle Obelisk aka Cyclisk

We first noticed this structure a month ago while driving north on 101 through Santa Rosa. From that perspective we could not make out what it was precisely but it was certainly tall and looked as if it was composed of scrap metal. It caught our attention because the sun happened to be at an angle that made it glow. 

Finally, last Friday, we decided to take a closer look and located it on Santa Rosa Avenue near the new Nissan dealership.

There were no identifying signs or placards. 

We later learned, courtesy of Mr. Google, that the structure was part of the public arts program in Santa Rosa and that some of the funds came from the new Nissan dealership. Mr. Google also  provided links to sites that offer a fuller explanation of how it came to be.  There is also one news story from the Press Democrat about a protestor who got stuck while climbing it last November. (See related links below)

It is something to behold…

It is all of five stories tall and is composed of used bicycle parts welded to form an obelisk…or what in this case is called a Cyclisk. Parts from 340 bicycles and one tricycle make up the welded structure. 

Hmmm. I wonder…. If a bicycle store were to participate in the public arts program, would the structure be made with….Oh, never mind! 

Enjoy the photos…


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Press Democrat November 2011, Protester gets stuck climbing bicycle obelisk 

California Artists Build Obelisk Out of Bicycles  Mark D. Grieve and Ilana Spector

Artists Build Incredible Obelisk Out of Hundreds of Bicycles  Link: http://inhabitat.com/artists-build-incredible-obelisk-out-of-hundreds-of-bicycles/

How to Kill Your Dog…

I have often wondered about the common practice of carrying dogs in the back of pick-up trucks…insofar as the well-being of the dog is concerned.  Oh, but of course they are OK if they are leashed to the bed of the truck. Or so the story goes.

Not necessarily so. 

Consider this story from a contact in Alaska…

Spade, a Labrador Retriever. went everywhere with “F” in the back of his pick-up.  At first the dog was not restrained, but after Spade jumped out of the truck several times, including one time when the truck was moving, “F” decided to leash him from his collar to a part of the truck bed.  He went into town one day to run some errands, and on returning home [6 miles] out-of-town, to his horror he found Spade had jumped out somewhere along the route and hanged himself.  Poor Spade was dead.

 When he got his next dog, he always put the dog in a dog carrier which was securely lashed to the truck bed.

All of this brings us to this morning in a retail parking lot somewhere in Petaluma. A man leashed (as in cabled) his dog to the bed of his truck and went into the store.  Shortly thereafter, the dog leaped out of the truck bed and was jerked backwards by the cable. The dog somehow managed to avoid breaking its neck or strangling by eventually getting its footing…

We reported the situation to the store clerks who immediately went searching for the truck owner.


Digital Books…the next generation reading format?

FIRSTIt was charcoal drawings on a cave wall (a precursor to modern graffiti)

NEXTIt was writing on scrolls

THEN CAMEThe Codex or, if you prefer, the bound book, magazine, or newspaper

TODAYWe move to digital text?

Delivering the “written word” digitally, as opposed to hard copy books, magazines, or newspapers is touted as the next generation in publication, replacing the codex (a.k.a. books & magazines) which has prevailed since the Middle Ages. There is considerable speculation that books and book stores may become obsolete. See The Bookstore’s Last Stand

By way of a brief history, the codex replaced the cumbersome scroll as a means of recording and publishing information.  It was considered a major advance as the pages were written on both sides and could hold twice as much information and text as the cumbersome scroll. It also allowed the reader quick access to any part of the publication by simply turning or marking a page. 

The codex or book, if you will, was the breakthrough technology of its day.

  • I suspect that the transition from the scroll to the codex may have presented some initial difficulties for scholars and monks.  Change is always a bit of a challenge regardless of the time or place!
  • YepTo reinforce the point, consider the situation portrayed in this Medieval Help Desk video when a monk sought technical advice on how to use the new book technology. 

Turning now to the 21st Century, it has now been a little over two weeks since I announced that we acquired an e-book reader in All A Twitter Over Our New Kindle

So how are we doing?

I was somewhat skeptical about the utility of the device; however, I must confess that while there have been some initial challenges in learning how to use it (climbing the learning curve, if you will), we enjoy it. I admit to having a certain amount of sympathy with the monk in the video learning to use the new book technology as we were similarly “challenged” for a few days by the Kindle. But we are well past all of that and are “experienced” users. 

On the positive side I can report that it is quite easy to read and operate. It is also quite convenient if one does not want to tote around one or more books on a trip.  As with most such devices, you can also subscribe to your favorite magazines and newspapers. Some local libraries are also making books available for e-reader users.

On the negative side, I find that the e-reader lacks the visual impact of a full page layout in a magazine or newspaper. In addition, the scanning and skipping around with your eyes, fingers, and thumbs while reading a “traditional” publication is a bit clunky. It is a bit of a regression, in a sense, to the limitations of the scroll when it comes to accessing specific pages or sections.  However, for straight ahead or linear reading without jumping around it is first rate. 

Speaking of reading, it is my turn on the Kindle. So I will bid adieu and take up a little light reading for the balance of the day…

NOTE: I somehow managed to put the Kindle down long enough to go outside and play with my camera toys. To view my latest attempts at photography, go to Photos from the street…