Archive for February, 2012
Novella Carpenter and her friend Willow Rosenthal wrote The Essential Urban Farmer. This detailed how-to guide for individuals with or without farming experience looks destined to become a classic on the subject of urban farming.
At 592 pages, Carpenter joked that the book is so heavy you can use it as a doorstop if needed.
Rosenthal and Carpenter gave a one hour talk this evening, February 29, 2012, at The Women’s Building at 3543 18th Street, No. 8, San Francisco, California 94110 USA. I was familiar with most of what Rosenthal and Carpenter spoke about. Nonetheless, it was fantastic to see them speak and answer audience questions.
Willow Rosenthal founded City Slicker Farms in Oakland, California USA, near San Francisco.
Novella Carpenter began her part of the talk with her infant baby girl nursing from a sling around her shoulder. I had been planning to capture video of her remarks, but I decided that was inappropriate with her baby feeding. After several minutes of talking, she asked a friend to take care of her baby, as I suspect it was just too distracting trying to address a room full of people and feed her baby simultaneously. Carpenter joked that at The Women’s Building the women all sit around breast feeding babies all day.
By that point, I recognized the light was too dim and the conditions too contrasty for a video to be any good. Carpenter was standing in front of a brightly lit video screen, so her face was dark. I decided to skip the video, except for a short clip I shot from the doorway to the room, showing Carpenter, Rosenthal and the audience together, with Carpenter answering a question about bee keeping.
Rosenthal and Carpenter spent three years writing this book so they could each reduce the perpetual effort they were exerting answering the same questions from their fans. Presumably they now can respond to emails seeking urban farming how-to information by saying “read the manual.” It’s a neat trick they’ll make some money along the way. I very much admire that Willow Rosenthal and Novella Carpenter have created. Learning to become self sustaining is valuable, and I predict this book will do well commercially and will expand the networks of Carpenter and Rosenthal dramatically. The audience for this book strikes me as different from the audience for Carpenter’s first book, Farm City, which was her delightful and captivating story, not a how-to guide.
As far as I can tell, The Essential Urban Farmer is Rosenthal’s first published book.
The Essential Urban Farmer covers growing vegetables, fruit trees, rabbits, ducks, chickens and goats. It also covers bee keeping.
The guide has lists of vendors for supplies and information. It turns out there are sellers of bee keeping supplies right in San Francisco. I learned that San Francisco is a great place to keep bees because there are so many types of vegetation here, more so than on a farm in the country, where large expanses of single crops are more common. I learned that bees can and are willing to fly five miles each way to put in their days’ work.
They don’t call them ‘worker bees’ for nothing.
I would be exhausted if I had to walk five miles each way to work each day.
Something tells me bees work 365 days a year. Maybe that’s why colonies are collapsing. I sure would if I tried to work that much. I’m making a joke here, of course. Colony Collapse Disorder looks to be a dramatically serious problem.
I came away with an idea for my super green eco bus conversion project. Fruit trees can be trained to be mostly two dimensional. This is done so trees can hug the sides of houses and fences, to save space. But it means I might be able to grow a dwarf apple tree behind my sofa on my coach with the flat side of the tree parallel to the window over the sofa. It would be crazy to be able to reach overhead and pluck an organic apple while reading The Essential Urban Farmer parked by the waterfront and warmed or cooled by the solar panels on the roof.
I told Rosenthal and Carpenter the short version of my plans for my eco vehicle, and they thought it was cool or they were great actors. I first met Novella Carpenter when she spoke at The Commonwealth Club of California January 25, 2011. Carpenter remembered meeting me back then, which was flattering.
“This book is the REAL DEAL — Novella and Willow are REAL urban farmers. You can read about it all in Novella’s Farm City, her memoir of taking a rasty vacant lot in funky ghetto West Oakland, California, and turning into a real urban farm — with vegetables, chickens, killer eggs, rabbits, and even, eventually a pig. That book made me wonder if I could really do this kind of thing out in my sprawling backyard. Even though I dont know jack-diddly, really, about how to farm. And you know what — this new book really tells how to do it, from how to pick land (near water, for instance, at least near a hose…), get the right to use the land, and then how to get the soil ready, how to get the right seeds, right through how to kill simple farm animals for food every now and then. It’s fun to read even if you dont want to go the length, but it seems like I am going to be able to do everything I want to do in my backyard, using just this one total REAL DEAL ‘how to’ guide to it all. Wow!”
I took the photographs above at the book signing Rosenthal and Carpenter conducted after their remarks.
I shot these pictures with my Canon 5D Mark II camera set at ISO 5,000. The lighting conditions were poor, and I needed all the light sensitivity I could get. I am pleased with the quality of the images considering how dark it was in that hall. I uploaded the pictures at full resolution. Click on them to see them at their full 21 megapixel resolution.
I cancelled my home phone number a while back. It occurred to me that I am now slightly more difficult to call since my cell number is not in directory assistance like my old home phone number was.
The number is (415) 335-9116. Since this number makes my cell phone ring, please only call it when you think I will not be sleeping. Thanks.
It’s a great story.
Dan Rather in 1960 was working as the News Director at KHOU television, a station Rather says in the video below was at the time the fifth or sixth station in a three station [television] market in Houston, Texas.
When he saw in September 1961 reports of what appeared to be an extremely large hurricane heading towards the Gulf of Mexico, he convinced his skeptical Program Manager Cal Jones that he should go to Galveston, Texas to cover the pending disaster, named hurricane Carla. Although Rather was not a meteorologist, he predicted accurately that the hurricane, which reached a level 5, would hit Galveston. Rather argued that Galveston would be flooded and inaccessible once the hurricane hit, so he had to go there immediately. His boss reluctantly gave Rather and a television cameraman the permission to go there.
This was the first time that a hurricane had been covered live on television.
Rather was correct — the huge hurricane hit and no other television news crew was in Galveston. Rather’s live coverage, including live radar screen video with a clear plastic map of the Texas coastline on top of the radar screen, was so compelling that the National CBS News producers picked up the feed from KHOU TV. The National CBS signal was fed throughout the United States, putting Dan Rather on a big stage at the center of a big news story, as the hurricane was monstrous in size and sadly killed 43 people despite 500,000 people being evacuated.
When Rather returned to his little television news department where he was the only full time employee, the bosses at CBS News headquarters called and offered Rather a job in New York. Dan Rather accepted a job as a television news correspondent, and his path toward anchoring the CBS nightly news became more probable.
This story should provide insight for everyone with big aspirations in life.
For the most part, people make their own luck.
I think Dan Rather made his own luck in this case. He turned his personal interest in hurricanes into his big break. He recognized the advantage to being the only reporter at the scene of a very big story. He persuaded his skeptical boss at the time, who knew nothing about hurricanes, to send him into the danger zone. He performed well under pressure, and when approached by the bosses at CBS News headquarters, he apparently had the political skill to turn their interest into a job. Finally, he had the good sense to leave his job as News Director to become Correspondent, even though Correspondent was a huge reduction in title.
Sitting around waiting for your lucky break is unproductive.
Go make your own luck like Dan Rather did.
Although my success pales in comparison, I followed much the same formula when I turned getting fired from Cooley LLP into selling my response to that firing for an extremely low eight figures just six years later. I could have fallen into a depression and plodded through life upset that Cooley didn’t want my expertise despite the positive press coverage my work had been receiving. Instead, I worked hard to expand and perfect my expertise. I packaged up my expertise into an attractive package called a corporation, and sold it when a buyer was buying, despite that being uncool at the time. I did all this with determination and purpose, and predicted accurately that I would sell as soon as soon as it became practical. I became an angel investor and advisor to startups, while also starting a third company, which I continue to work on.
I am remaking myself in similar fashion right now after an even more debilitating setback than being fired, and I predict that I will show even more success this time around. Why? Because I am more confident, wise, connected and savvy than I was when I started my first company at age 23 and my second company at age 30.
I used to be so shy, a huge impediment to entrepreneurial success. Now I can strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere — even on the bus, at a club or in line at the bank. I sure wish I could have done this when I was 18, for my life would have been much better. But I am thankful that I can do it now. If you can’t do this now, make it your mission to figure it out as soon as possible, even if you have to hire a coach and practice at great pain to yourself. It’s simply not that hard once you practice a little bit and leave your fear at the door. I haven’t had one bad experience starting a conversation. There are few skills more important than being able to confidently approach and strike up an enjoyable conversation with anyone, no matter what you want to do in life.
[This post is special. I am transcribing a story my late grandmother Edith Lawall wrote starting on October 29, 1979. She submitted it to a writing contest organized by The Illinois Federation of Women’s Clubs. The organization presented my grandmother on May 9, 1980 with a Certificate of Award for winning Second Place for the Tenth District. Edith Lawall is the mother of my mother Martha Warnock. My grandfather was married to my grandfather Russell Lawall. Here is a PDF format file that contains a scan of the original typed story: Edith Lawall story about 1929 market crash]
‘TWASN’T ALL BAD
The manuscript enclosed is one I wrote in a week’s time, beginning October 29, 1989. (This is the same date the U.S. stock market collapsed 50 years earlier.) For several days prior to this anniversary we were repeatedly informed by the media about this approaching event, which ushered in the Great Depression of Thirties. A quick review of my life at that time indicated it was a particularly exciting time for me too, but in a different sort of way. In my family’s situation little money and no stocks were involved. Immediately I felt impelled to record my memorable recollections. I began the story that day. And so it was.
As it worked out there were two incentives for me to write on this subject: 1. I hoped it might add personal interst for any Mabie family posterity. 2. I wanted to have something to enter in the Annual Creative Writing Contest, sponsored in various categories by the 10th District of Federated Women’s Clubs of Illionois, and possibly, the State Federation Contest. It seemed that the “Crash” was a timely subject, due to tis Worldwide repercussions.
Since my recollections came very easily, I did enjoy writing it, and I suppose I’m the only “Leaf” left on the Mabie-Westcott Family Tree, who might even know about these particular family events.
This “‘Twasn’t All Bad” narritive is being sent to Robert and Martha Warnock in San Francisco, California; David and Willa Samors Lawall of Charlottesville, Virginia; and Gilbert and Sarah Nesbit Lawall in Amherst, Mass. and their families. We hope the grandchildren will read it too.
Edith Roe Mabie Lawall, January 29, 1980
Edith Mabie Lawall
‘TWASN’T ALL BAD
Today is October 29, 1979. Newspapers, television, and radio, have reminded us constantly that it is just fifty years since the Stock Market Crash. Pictures of wild crowds in the streets, and tales of the millions of paper assets which vanished, have been harrowing. Only those fifty-ish and upwards, can remember it, and the succeeding years that were affected by it. However, I am also reminded that it wasn’t all dismal, and I particularly recall one bright spot from this period, which I wish to sketch.
For the Mabie family, our personal Depression had already peaked, and begun to decline. Our scanty assets had never been invested in the Market. Instead, they had gone into higher education necessary for my sister, Helen, and myself, in tune with our desires to reach our musical aspirations. The minister father, Harry Mabie, and devoted wife, Esther, musically inclined themselves, cheerfully supplied the necessary funds, with the result, that by 1929, Helen and I had received Bachelor of Music Degrees, from the University of Cincinnati.
In September of 1929, father received a “call” to the pastorate of the East Baptist Church of Lebanon, Ohio, 25 miles by bus from Cincinnati. Coincidentally, Helen signed a contract to become Music Supervisor of the Bay Villiage Schools, (suburban Cleaveland) and I was made teacher of piano classes in our nearby Madisonville School.
I’ll never forget the thrill of packing the Chevy, full of overflow from our van, (including our pretty white cat); the lovely drive through lush Warren County; and getting settled in our new home. I had secured a suitable place to live in Cincinnati, in the home of one of our church members, near my school. I could go home to Lebanon for weekends and summer vacations. Helen had arrived in Bay Village in time to see many sad situations, following the Crash Day. Numbers of her school children had come from families that had been forced to give up their cherished Lake Shore homes, and seek cheaper living elsewhere. Farewells were hard!
In Lebanon, I was asked to take over the organist’s duties; teach in the Sunday School; and steer the young people’s Sunday Evening group.
An unexpected delight that both Helen and I could enjoy, was the golf course, nearby, where all the privileges were free to the local ministers and their families. A dear friend gave us some of his old clubs, balls were cheap, and we were most happy to get up at sunrise, hike to the Park, avail ourselves of the small mounds of dirt provided for “tees”, and do our practicing. Nearly always, we had the Park and the spacious golf course to ourselves and birds.
On a certain bright Monday morning in July, 1931, all of us rose early, for this was the day Father and Joe, (our adopted 12-year-old brother), were embarking on a combined business and fishing trip. The business entailed a church conference at Green Lake, Wisconsin, for father, with plenty of time on the side, to supervise Joe’s fishing in the Lake. They would camp out, as did many others, and cook their own meals. After an hour of frenzied thought and furious packing, they were off on the grand excursion.
A great calm descended on the household, but not for very long. Mother, Esther Westcott Mabie, was very much interested in family history, and had cherished records from many past generations. A Mr. Whitman, a (distant) Westcott was compiling a history, and he was very grateful for information which Esther had sent him. He wanted to host a reunion of all living Westcotts within reach, and had invited mother. He lived in Milford, N.Y. and had access to historic regions nearby. Mother planned to stay for at least a week, including visits with friends after the reunion. Her departure was scheduled for noon of the next day. There were still many things to be done.
Tuesday morning mother was out, doing errands, and Helen was busy in the kitchen, when the doorbell rang. I answered, and there stood a very personable young man, who introduced himself as Jesse Lyons, a Senior from Wooster College, and part of a “Peace Caravan” representing the American Friends Service Committee. He had gone to the office of our church, and asked where he might find the minister. He told the Secretary that he hoped to make arrangements, for himself and co-student, for a meeting where they could explain the mission of the Caravan. He was referred to our residence, and there he was. I invited him to come in, and explained that the minister was out of town for a week, but I was sure the arrangements could be made. Then he told me he was looking for a place for himself and his co-student Wendell, to stay for a few days. Without a moment’s hesitation, I said, “You can stay here”, and that was it.
Soon mother returned, and she was impressed with his serious interest in the cause of peace. She volunteered to arrange with a lady friend, to stay nights, as a chaperone during her absence. Jesse soon left to pick up his friend Wendell, and offered to help mother for errands, and to drive her to the bus station when needed. Meanwhile, Helen had come in, and she was happy to meet Jesse, and assumed the lunch preparations. And thus began a most delightful 8-day period for us all!
After seeing mother off, we soon worked out a cooperative routine. Naturally, Jesse and Wendell were eager to fall in with our early-rising golf routine, and we had enough clubs for all. Also, they indicated a desire to help with the housework. Jesse chose to do the vacuum cleaning and dusting. Wendell volunteered for dishwashing, in which he claimed exertise from camp experiences. Each would take care of his own washing, and either one would be available for driving to market, and odd jobs. Of course, Helen and I would be the cooks.
Plenty of time was found for long, deep discussions of philosophical problems. W did not ignore the Depression, but neither did we let it disturb us unduly. There were other subjects which we wanted to know about, for instance, how did they get started on this summer activity? We gathered that the Peace Caravan was instigated by the noted Quaker, Rufus Jones. it seemed to have some of the emotional and spiritual drive, that would in later years become the central motivating force of the Peace Corps of the John F. Kennedy era.
Both young men were keenly interested in their College Dramatic Department. A recent performance in which they had participated, was “Death Takes a Holiday”, a semi-serious play putting forth the possibility that there were always people who knew that their time had come, and were praying that it might be as soon as possible.
Another matter about which they were concerned, was their College Fraternity System. Both men belonged to Greek-letter Fraternities, but they were constantly running across fine students who had never been pledged. They felt something should be done about it. Jesse had finally persuaded his fraternity brothers to host a special monthly party for non-pledged people. The parties had been quite successful, and they hoped this would become a part of college activity programs.
One morning after our customary 2-hour period on the golf course, while we sipped cool lemonade, Jesse confided his future plans and problens. For some time he had been considering preparation as a missionary in the foreign field. However, with his uncertain home situation due to the frailty of his mother, he felt that he might set aside those plans, in favor of entering the ministry at home. He also expressed his firm belief in “Providential Guidance”, or “The Inner Light” as the Quakers expressed it. He said that he never made any of his talks, without a preliminary, prayerful meditation hour. Wendell had similar ideals, but apparently had not chosen a life work.
Another day, which turned out to be one of the warmest, around 100 degrees, we spent a part of our leisure time, getting ready for the evening appointment. Helen had been asked to furnish some music for a gathering at the local retirement home for “genteel” widows. She had a number of songs in mind, and seized the opportunity to try them out on us. It was lots of fun. Sometimes we all joined in, and Helen was never happier than when she could play the piano, and go from oone song to another, as fancy chose. Of course, some were appropriate, and some were not, and the decision for the evening finally boiled down to several which we all approved.
Upon our arrival at the lovely antique-filled old home, the hostess suggested that the men would be more comfortable on the front porch, sitting on the porch swing. Helen and I went in and greeted the ladies, who were just entering the parlor. All very pleasant, so far. Then there was the flurry of the arrival of the Cincinnati soloist, accompanied by two friends. They had to be introduced also, but we soon realized that the soloist knew many of the widows, as she had been there before, to sing. Helen ventured a mild remark about the heat wave we were having. The soloist spoke up, “Oh, was it hot today? I never notice the heat”. It was hard to think about what to say next, so we were very relieved when the hostess announced that the program was about to begin. She introduced the Cincinnati soloist, who went to the piano, sat down, and said, “I hope the piano keys are cleaner than they were the last time I was here.” But soon she started to play and sing, and I could see that she was a very gifted person, indeed. We all applauded enthusiastically. Then it was Helen’s turn. She sand “Du bist die Ruh” of Schubert, and the contemporary, “In the Time of Roses”. Then she smiled and announced that the last number would be, “The Big Brown Bear”, which she played and sang with great gusto. Everyone was carried away with the humor of the lyrics, and her original version of the accompaniment. The applause was almost equal to that of the professional. Then the boys were invited in, to tell about their “Caravan”. Jesse told them something of Rufus Jones, and his greatness as a speaker to the students, and the inspirations he, and many others had received. Cooling refreshments were served, we shook hands with everyone, and departed.
All too soon, the day of the “Caravan” departure arrived. One more early golf game, then breakfast and packing. We expressed our appreciation to them, as they did to us, and off they went!
When Helen and I returned to the kitchen, there were the breakfast dishes, neatly stacked in the sink, but no Wendell to wash them. We were both suffering an acute attack of Self-Pity. We sat down by the kitchen table, looked at each other, and burst into tears. Each of us had known that the let-down would have to come. We knew all along that the “Caravan” was like a ship that passed in the night, but oh, how much fun and inspiration we had enjoyed. Memories would last — well, probably longer than the Depression, and we were most thankful they were all happy memories.
Our return to normalcy was helped very much by two unexpected dinner invitations for the next two nights, from friends in our church. These were to honor former church members, visiting from New York. The next day, as Father, Mother and Joe returned from their vacations, we were ready to resume our regular routine also.
One good thing about writing a factual story about fifty years ago, is that it is possible to know, not just surmise, the sequel.
In June, 1933, when Helen came home for summer vacation, she was accompanied by a devoted girl friend, her brother Wilfred, and his best friend, Russell Lawall. Russell was about to be side-tracked for the rest of his life, by meeting me. Fortunately, he had a good job with the A.T.&T. Co for which he was well qualified by being a graduate of Earlham College, and holding a degree from Case Institute in Cleaveland. He was also a Birthright Quaker. The result of this and other visits, culminated in our lovely Quaker wedding in August. We immediately took up our residence in Detroit. Signs of business stagnation were evident everywhere. But we were very happy, and still are, forty-seven years later. I was often mindful of my good fortune in having learned about the Quaker’s tenets from our “Peace Caravan” students.
We had three children: Martha in July of 1934; David in August of 1935; and Gilbert in September of 1936. They were, and still are, a great joy to us. We moved in 1944 to Oberlin, Ohio and Russell commuted to work in Cleaveland. In 1957, he was transferred to Cincinnati, and it was while living there that I heard about Jesse Lyons again. I was waiting in a dentist’s office, and picked up a newspaper to read, and happened to see the church notices. One was headed, “New minister to be installed.” I soon saw that the new minister was Dr. Jesse Lyons, who would take his place the following Sunday, as one of the Staff Ministers at the Riverside Baptist Church in New York. Immediately, I knew there could be but one Jesse Lyons! And I was right!
Several years later, we were saddened to hear that a younger sister of my father, was dying of cancer in a New York hospital. It was sad to think of Janet, a gifted writer, alone in a big city in her last days, and I decided to write to Jesse and see if he could get someone to call on her. I also wrote about the death of my sister, Helen, of cancer in March of 1949. He responded with a beautiful letter, saying how well he remembered the week in Lebanon in 1931. He reported that he had delegated a staff member, a lady who was particularly good at cheering and counseling people, to carry out my request. Later she reported to him that she had found Janet weak, but still a most vibrant and interesting person, and they had talked together for an hour.
A half century later, how can we evaluated our present situation, so plagued with seemingly insoluable dilemmas in high places, as well as low? At least we can remember that God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform, in season and out of season, in bad times as well as good. We must have steadfast faith that a better world will eventually emerge!
Note — This is a factual story, written entirely from my own memory.
January 25, 1980
Edith Roe Mabie Lawall
[Note from Kevin Warnock, the author of this blog — My grandmother lived in the village of Wilmette, Illinois USA when she wrote this story, at 711 Greenleaf, a house I will always remember from my many happy visits there. My grandmother Edith passed away in 1989 and my grandfather Russell passed away in 1994. I inherited his cherished grandfather clock, which I proudly display in my dining room at my house in San Francisco, California.]
Golden Gate University hosted the Mock Trial finals at their campus at 536 Mission Street, San Francisco, California USA.
The screen shot above from the law school website shows the link, dated 2/24/2012. That blog post received perhaps the highest one day traffic of any post I have yet written. Thanks to everyone that had a look.
Thank you to Golden Gate University for the recognition. I am glad I stayed up until 3 am authoring that post.
Flipper, the legendary punk rock band, is playing at The New Parish in Oakland, California on March 2, 2012
Here’s the blurb about Flipper, provided by the band:
“Flipper is a punk band formed in San Francisco, California in 1979, continuing in often erratic fashion until the mid-1990s, then reuniting in 2005. The band influenced a number of grunge, punk rock and noise rock bands. Their slowed-down, bass-driven, and heavily distorted style of punk is also considered a key forerunner to sludge metal and bands such as The Melvins. The band regularly performed in the San Francisco area, attracting a following. Simultaneously, their uniquely slowed-down and raucous approach to punk managed to infuriate other members in local punk scene, especially with the burgeoning popularity of faster-paced hardcore punk. Mark Arm claims in the 2003 documentary American Hardcore that Flipper’s charm as a band lies in their ability to upset audiences, while attracting their undivided attention and curiosity at the same time. The band promoted themselves partly by spray painting “Flipper Rules” around San Francisco, as well as word-of-mouth.”
Generic Flipper, the debut album by Flipper, is one I have played hundreds of times.
Generic Flipper is part of what I would call a basic collection of hardcore punk rock recordings that any serious enthusiast must own. It’s in rare company with recordings such as Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables by Dead Kennedys, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols by Sex Pistols, Dance with Me by T.S.O.L. and The Clash by The Clash.
I am friends with Steve DePace, the drummer for Flipper, and he invited me to photograph the upcoming show with my Canon 5D Mark II, so visit this blog later for 21 megapixels shots from the show, which is open to fans of all ages. That means you can buy a ticket and go, which I strongly recommend that you do. See you there!
I have had a busy couple of evenings. Yesterday evening, February 22, 2012, I was at the Mentor Mixer for The Berkeley Startup Competition, which I have been involved with for years. The mixer was held at the offices of Morrison & Foerster at 425 Market Street in San Francisco, California USA. I am a mentor to one of the semi final teams this year, and I was at the mixer to meet my team for the first time.
On my way home on the Muni Metro, I had the good fortune to meet a very impressive young woman named Devon Ivie. She complimented me on my favorite red velvet jacket. We got to talking and it turns out we attended high school in San Francisco at the same place. It turns out she’s still in high school, though she graduates in May. Ivie told me about her involvement with San Francisco Mock Trial, which is an educational project where students pretend to be attorneys during a fake trial they conduct. She told me the public finals were to be held today, February 23, 2012, just steps from where we both boarded the subway train.
I did a Google search when I got home and found the Facebook page for the Mock Trial and asked a question there as to the exact room number where the event would be taking place at Golden Gate University, which teaches law among other subjects.
I received an answer so I decided to attend as a blogger, with the intention of covering the trial as a reporter of sorts.
I brought my Canon 5D Mark II camera with a 135mm telephoto lens, which I used to capture stills and video clips. Tonight after the trial concluded I selected the still photographs you see here. I uploaded to this blog the full resolution 21 megapixels shots and added captions, which took hours. Since it’s late, I don’t have the energy to write a proper article about the trial right now. But I wanted to get the pictures posted tonight so that both teams would be able to see them tomorrow, a Friday.
I don’t randomly attend events strangers on the train tell me about. I was compelled to attend this event because when I went to high school, the school I attended was named McAteer High School. McAteer was a deplorable educational institution that was so bad the city of San Francisco eventually shut it down. The campus reopened later as The School of the Arts, or SOTA. Devon Ivie is a student at SOTA. She was an attorney for the prosecution in a murder trial at the mock trial tonight. She was outstanding, as were her fellow attorneys.
Ivie told me SOTA was competing in the city wide Mock Trial finals against Lowell High School, which is generally considered to be the best public high school in San Francisco. I was and remain impressed.
I attended the Mock Trial because I wanted to see SOTA students in action, to witness first hand how a dreadful school can be turned around into a place from where winning teams regularly emerge.
I had a fantastic evening at Mock Trial tonight. I met a teacher from Lowell and spoke with him for 20 minutes about the state of the education system in the United States. I met two additional SOTA students, including one on the subway coming to the event.
I got to meet one of the coaches for the SOTA team and I got to say hello to my new friend Devon Ivie, shown here in the 4th picture from the top of this post.
Within the next few days I hope to be able to write a proper article about tonight. Please subscribe to my blog to keep up to date with this and other stories I write. I am on Facebook, so please friend me there. My status updates frequently provide quick summaries and links to my blog, so friending me is a quick way to stay abreast of my blog without needing to visit it directly.
I posted these pictures to an album on Facebook. If you know people in these pictures and are on Facebook, please visit my album and tag the people so I can update the captions on these pictures. Thanks!
[Note: These pictures were tagged on Facebook after I posted them there. The pictures are publicly viewable on Facebook, so I copied the names of the tagged individuals to the captions underneath these pictures today, February 25, 2012. If you are identified on this blog post and prefer to have your last name removed, send me a message and I will edit this post. This post is not meant to invade your privacy. I would be thrilled if it helps you get into college or get a great job.]
How to date a hippy chick is a funny blog post I discovered the other day when I was trying to figure out how I am going to get a group of people together to go on a road trip with me in my bus conversion.
I hope to travel around California for a month or longer this year, and I definitely do not want to go on the road alone. I did that when I drove my bus conversion to New York City, New York from San Francisco, California in 2002. My girlfriend at the time, Marisha Pecci, couldn’t go with me because she was working full time. Even though I had an Internet connection, via satellite, on my bus conversion, life on the road alone was lonely and boring.
I am 100% certain that I can find 2 or 3 people to go with me, provided I am open to traveling with people outside my normal circle of friends.
I am 100% open to broadening my circle of friends. I have made so many new friends simply by renting out my extra bedrooms in my four bedroom San Francisco house.
When I think about the kind of person that can just take off for a month and might want to live in a bus, my mind drifted over to Haight Street and its hippies.
The hippies I see lounging on Haight Street, which is walking distance from my house, appear to have time for such trips, and they are likely to think my bus conversion is the coolest thing they’ve ever seen with wheels.
There will be four bunk beds and the master bedroom with a full size bed for me, so technically I have room for six including myself if I can find a girlfriend in time. I’m not sure that six is the right number though, as the water supply will run out in mere days with that many people taking showers. But water may be found at every Flying J fuel station, for free, so I am not going to reduce the number if I identify five compatible souls.
It will be an adventure to remember.
The Green Tortoise adventure travel company I believe packs dozens of people on board their buses, and there are many more bunks on their vehicles. Having six people on a 40 foot bus would viewed as the height of luxury by Green Tortoise customers.
If you read Tyler O’Donnnell’s How to date a hippy chick post, you’ll see O’Donnell specifically requires that one own a bus! So I am already part way there should I decide to date a hippy chick. Yes, I probably come across as a serious business person on this blog, but I have more in common with hippies in general than you might guess. I used to be a punk rocker when I was younger, and that experience was formative.
O’Donnell first point from his presumably somewhat tongue-in-cheek blog post:
“Become an artist. No hippy chick is going to get with you if you are a “conformist” suit with a job that involves numbers. Hippies hate numbers! From what I can tell, hippy girls thrive on things that appear unique. I would recommend getting your brain into one or all of the following artistic mediums: drawing, painting, feces smearing, writing or photography.
Other things to keep in mind?
Educate yourself on festivals like burning man and make your own clothes. You might also want to consider gaging your ears. Numerous studies show fornication rates go up drastically after getting this upgrade. It is also a good idea to get tight jeans and then cut them off at the knees…. keep in mind that although you may feel ridiculous, it is imperative to hold yourself with an aura of prestige and superiority. Even if you really aren’t better than anyone else, you must deep down believe you are. This attitude will fuel long conversations with hippy girls about how ignorant everyone else is.”
I am a current fan of the tiny house movement, which I suspect lots of hippies identify with since a central course of action in the tiny house movement is to live in smaller homes to avoid the all consuming work needed to support life in a large McMansion style house.
In essence, I already live in a tiny house since I share my 2,000 square foot home with five other people. That’s just 333 square feet per person.
Life is good.
Zimman chaired the Document Automation Committee at Cooley, the entity to which I reported in my role as Computer Aided Lawyering Project Leader.
Jeff Zimman is currently the Chair of Posit Science, Inc., which produces software to help build and maintain cognitive function. Listeners to KQED public radio in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I live, are familiar with Posit Science because this software is always one of the gifts one may select if one becomes a financial sponsor of that radio station. I love KQED, by the way, and I listen to it almost every day. You may sponsor KQED online at this link.
Even though I have known Zimman for a majority of my professional life, I know little about him as a person. I know the basics – that he’s married to architect Ken Ruebush, the brother of my friend Susan Ruebush. I know Jeff Zimman used to be an investment banker at Lazard before co-founding Posit Science. I know Jeff Zimman used to be a newspaper reporter before he went to law school.
Thanks to Facebook, a currently well known social networking website based in Silicon Valley, I now know something new about Jeff Zimman.
Jeff Zimman’s grandfather Morris Zimman 103 years ago founded a treasure of a retail store named Zimman’s. This store is so lush, sumptuous and glorious that articles have been written about it. Gushing articles so colorful that they make one want to make a special trip to Zimman’s just wander the isles and touch the products.
What does Zimman’s sell? Here’s how their website explains it:
“Zimman’s offers one of the largest selections of decorative fabrics and passementerie, combined with a wonderful assortment of premium furnishings, exquisite accessories, lighting, rugs and custom products.
Located in Lynn, Massachusetts, Zimman’s is the country’s leading fine fabric, furniture, lighting and decorative accessories destination.”
Before today, I had never heard the word passementerie. This is what WikipediA has to say initially about passementerie:
“Passementerie or passementarie is the art of making elaborate trimmings or edgings (in French, passements) of applied braid, gold or silver cord, embroidery, colored silk, or beads for clothing or furnishings.
Styles of passementerie include the tassel, fringes (applied, as opposed to integral), ornamental cords, galloons, pompons, rosettes, and gimps as other forms. Tassels, pompons, and rosettes are point ornaments, and the others are linear ornaments.”
Zimman’s sells fabric.
Perhaps the nicest fabric I have ever seen — have a look at the photograph above.
The only store I can compare it to in the Bay Area is Britex Fabrics. But Britex is a premium priced emporium located in costly Union Square retail space. Prices at Britex are sky high such that it’s a turnoff to even browse.
Zimman’s by choice is located next to a 99-cent discount store, so their rent is affordable. The savings are passed on to customers, which results in Zimman’s being both affordable and magical at the same time.
It’s as if Neiman Marcus moved into a Costco and reused the same shelving to sells its luxury goods. Prices could drop dramatically if they didn’t have to support the exceptionally luxurious stores that they’re famous for.
Here’s what Michael Zimman, Jeff Zimman’s brother, has to say about the store he now rus:
“It’s an unlikely spot for this type of business to evolve,” agrees owner Michael Zimman, grandson of the store’s founder, Morris Zimman. “But it works for us. You need a lot of space, which we have, and we’ve been doing it for 103 years, so we’ve developed a broad reputation.”
“With arguably the largest selection of textiles on the East Coast, if not in the country, and a carefully curated array of furniture and decorative items, Zimman’s has become a destination business, surviving the changing landscape of retail by smart specialization and unbeatable prices.
Stepping into Zimman’s can be a daunting proposition. With about 40,000 square feet—nearly an acre—of shopping spread over three floors, some customers, especially those seeking textiles, may not know where to start. After all, Zimman’s has at least 25,000 bolts of fabric in house—but who’s counting? “It might be 50,000. It might be 100,000. We don’t stop to count,” Michael Zimman says. “But that’s part of what makes us unique. We’re for people who want to step back into the way things were and have an experience of shopping in an emporium, putting their hands on textiles and furniture… It’s a throwback, and people really love it.””
I do wonder after reading Coffey’s article if Jeff Zimman also spent a lot of time at Zimman’s while he was growing up, like his brother Michael did. Coffey writes:
“Zimman’s dedication to the old ways has deep roots; Michael learned the business at his grandfather Morris Zimman’s knee. Morris opened the store in 1909, and Michael says he cannot remember a time when he wasn’t involved in the business. In fact, if he wanted to see his father, who worked from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. six days a week, he had to go to the store. While in the second grade, Michael would take the bus from the family’s home in Marblehead to swim at the Boys’ Club on Lynn Commons. After swimming, Zimman would wend his way through back alleys and residential neighborhoods in the waning afternoon light to get to his father’s store for a ride home.”
It is highly unusual for a lawyer to found a company. Jeff Zimman is certainly an entrepreneur. Posit Science is not an easy kind of company to start. They raised tens of millions of dollars in venture capital. They have world renowned scientists like Michael M. Merzenich, PhD on the team (see Merzenich’s extensive WikiPediA entry here). What Jeff Zimman has accomplished makes my head spin compared to what I have done in the software field.
I suspect that it is extremely likely that Jeff Zimman was profoundly influenced by his grandfather Morris Zimman, the founder of Zimman’s. Watching his grandfather build and operate a successful business had to help inspire him to leave the relative tranquility of lawyering and banking to become a startup founder. I run into Zimman only about yearly, but I will ask him about this connection the next time I see him.
Finally, a fun fact near to my heart — Zimman’s used to advertise on the sides of city transit buses. There is an animated graphic that plays as soon as you arrive at the Zimman’s website that shows the bus ‘driving’ from right to left across the top of the website. I was able to capture the bus in a screen shot after a few tries with Snag It screen capture software. Here is the result. As my readers know, I am a huge fan of buses, and I own a bus even larger than the one below, although now it’s a motorhome.