MW Mobile Blog

For friends, family and the random search engine visitor. This blog started as an experiment in mobile blogging from my Palm TREO 600, 700, Prē, HTC Evo, Samsung 5, Pixel 3, Pixel 6 Pro. Now it serves as a simple repository of favorite activities. Expect bad golf, good fishing, great sailing, eating, drinking, adventure travel, occasional politics and anything else I find interesting along the way including, but not limited to, any of the labels listed here...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Chronicle article features Russian Hill

A 1982 view of Russian Hill & The Summit from Coit Tower. The year before I moved to EssEff
 Our local fishwrap is running a weekly feature on the "Hills of San Francisco" by architecture critic John King. The Summit building (prominently displayed as the background pic for this blog) is featured in the Wednesday May 29 article on Russian Hill. The article was behind a paywall, but the Chronicle has apparently relented and released it to run wild and free across the intertubes. Particularly interesting is the history of how this building and neighborhood set the pattern for neighborhood activism, height limitations, and using CEQA as a tool to block development.
Russian Hill's lofty role in height debate
Russian Hill pivotal in city's debate over building height

by John King
"...While Fontana Towers grabbed the headlines, several modern high-rises rose on Russian Hill itself. The most striking is the Summit at 999 Green from 1965, 32 stories developed by Joseph Eichler where the upper floors flare outward. Next door are four Willis Polk cottages from 1916, which are among the two dozen homes between Broadway, Jones, Vallejo and Taylor streets that survived the 1906 earthquake or were built shortly afterward...The block dominated by Eichler's Summit is now the Russian Hill-Vallejo Street Crest national historic district. At the very top, framing a park with a sloping lawn and aged trees behind a classical balustrade, two modest shingled buildings occupy sites cleared in the 1960s for towers that never got built. They were developed by longtime residents eager to preserve the ambiance. The hill's settled aura comes with a price."
"A brute of a building" - Herb Caen
More pics are featured in John King's summary blog post at the SF Gate free site:
"Russian Hill is the stuff of which San Francisco legends are made. Snug stairways lead to homes by Willis Polk and Julia Morgan. Hyde Street is a shady nook with cable cars rumbling by. Jack Kerouac lived with Neal and Carolyn Cassidy at 29 Russell Place in 1952, and Armistead Maupin reimagined Macondray Lane as the anything-goes Barbary Lane in 1976.

It’s also a terrain of modern slab towers, startling juxtapositions that are all the more startling when you consider that no big buildings have been added since the 1960s. Instead, residents of the hill fought hard to stop anything tall from being added to the landscape after the initial wave — an effort that helped fuel the citywide antipathy to towers in the 1970s and 1980s."
Herb Caen described The Summit as "a brute of building" in his iconic column. I guess one advantage of living in The Summit on Russian Hill, is that I don't have to look at it while enjoying my view.

SF Bay and Coit Tower from The Summit

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Bluegill Slayer Returns

The first walk down the dock in 2013 for the 91 year old chief bluegill slayer.

Trusty five-weight fiber glass fly rod in hand, the die is cast.

Survey the domain, left, right, then left again, hyper aware of the almost imperceptible bluegill sign.

Prep the cast, first right...

Then left...

The first fish of 2013 is in hand.

Later, the gas is lit, and dinner is fresh matzo ball soup and salad, sorry no pics of that.

And finally, for the first night at camp, the water level at the end of the dock. I couldn't find anything more than a one foot rule, so what do you think ? 14 inches ? maybe 15 ?

Day 1 - Papa and HDW spring trip report is in....

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Morpheus Transatlantic Passage
Reference Post and Index

It was an extraordinary journey and the kind of a once-in-a-lifetime experience I never really expected to check off my "bucket list". As I've said to many questioning the wisdom of participating in this passage, I would not have considered it except on this boat with this captain. There is just something about an insanely obsessive-compulsive paranoid boat captain who knows his boat better than he knows his wife that inspires confidence. To repeat my comments upon reaching the Azores:
"A journey of this nature requires a properly equipped and well maintained boat you can trust and a captain that knows its capabilities intimately and makes right decisions. With that you may not need good luck but you still need to avoid bad luck.   It also helps to have an internet guardian angel obsessing over waves, weather and wind conditions with continuous updates via sail mail. We are fortunate to have all of the above this passage."
Crossing the Pond - Just part of the Morpheus grand plan.
I wanted a complete journal of this passage so took way too many pictures and made an effort to post an entry on the blog every day - to the unending annoyance of my crew mates. Screw 'em. They'll be glad I did it. While I am still in the process of adding pics and vids to the blog, I'm pretty happy with this record as it is shaping up. It's still a Work In Progress that will continue to evolve, but the basic structure is complete. 

Screenshot from my HTC Evo at the midway point to the Azores on May 1st
This reference post will be updated with info and links about the voyage starting with this chronological index linking all journal entries for our transatlantic passage:

Posting Date Post Title
4/19/2013Preface: More Morpheus Meandering - Crossing the Pond
4/19/2013 SFO
4/20/2013 ORD
4/20/2013 Coming in to SXM
4/20/2013 Morpheus Transatlantic Crew Preps For Voyage
4/21/2013 Sunday in Sint Maarten - Tour Day
4/22/2013 Morpheus is back in the water, Jim is up the mast and bacon.
4/23/2013 We're still here
4/24/2013 Morpheus is under the bridge and on her way
4/25/2013 MW Ship's Log April 24 - Departure
4/26/2013 MW Ship's Log April 25 - Comfort Food
4/27/2013 MW Ships Log April 26 - Reavers in the Night
4/28/2013 Addendum to April 26 Ships Log - Regarding the Reavers reference
4/28/2013 Captain's Status Report - April 27 /28 - Trans Atlantic Update
4/28/2013 MW Ships Log April 27 - Atlantic Ocean - The "Perfect Bathtub"
4/28/2013 Captain's warning about pending fish story.
4/29/2013 MW Ship's Log April 28 - Of Fishing, Brats and Beer. But no beer.
4/29/2013 CORRECTION TO MW April 28 Ships Log Post
4/30/2013 MW Ship's Log April 29 - The Bird is the Word
5/01/2013 MW Ship's Log April 30 - Galileo! Galileo! We will not let you go!
5/02/2013 MW May 1 - Morpheus Mayday Midway Milestone
5/03/2013 MW Ship's Log May 2 - Much To Do About Nothing
5/04/2013 MW Ship's Log May 3 - Fifty Shades of Bacon
5/05/2013 MW Ship's Log May 4 - Questions... Questions...
5/06/2013 MW Ship's Log May 5 - Bob Swims For It
5/06/2013 Captain Jim's Note Regarding Intermittent SPOT Outages
5/06/2013 Captain Jim's report on severe shortage of virgins!!
5/06/2013 Captain Jim  Feels Lucky
5/07/2013 MW Ship's Log May 6 - Morpheus Works In Mysterious Ways.
5/08/2013 MW Ship's Log May 7 - You Don't Always Get What You Want.
5/08/2013 MW Ships Log May 8 - Land Ho!
5/09/2013 Landfall Horta, Azores - Report from Captain Jim
5/09/2013 MW Log May 9 - Horta and "Galileo Part Deux"
5/10/2013 MW Log May 10 - Morpheus in Horta - Porthole With a View.
5/11/2013 MW Log May 11 - Touring Faial Island with Serafim
5/15/2013 MW Log - May 12 & 13 - Happy Birthday Mrs. Branstad,
5/15/2013 MW Log May 14 - Whale Tails and Long Goodbyes
5/16/2013 Bob is back on board.
5/16/2013 MW Ship's Log May 15 - Saint Michael
5/17/2013 MW Ship's Log May 16 - Genius is as genius does
5/18/2013 MW Ship's Log May 17 - Catch a Wave
5/19/2013 MW Ship's Log May 18 - Home Stretch
5/20/2013 MW Ship's Log May 19, 20 - Running the Gauntlet
5/20/2013 MW Ship's Log May 20 - Done Deal
5/21/2013 CSI - Morpheus
5/21/2013 Cascais
5/22/2013 Lisbon
5/24/2013 Departures
5/25/2013 LIS - Lisbon Airport
5/25/2013 EWR - Newark Airport to SFO
5/26/2013 Reference Post and Index (This Post)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

EWR - Newark Airport to SFO

Halfway home. Sort of.

... and back in EssEff.

Sent from my Sprint HTC smartphone.

LIS - Lisbon Airport

Heading home.

Waiting for my flight in the TAP airport lounge, included with my meager United Mileage+ Gold status.

Sent from my Sprint HTC smartphone.

Friday, May 24, 2013


Sunrise Cascais
 The crew take separate paths as the journey comes to a close.

Jim and Deb work on some boat repairs while transitioning Morpheus back to their home away from home.  Which is actually their real home.

My last couple of days on Morpheus include relaxing, updating the blog, shopping and continuing to indulge in Caiscas cuisine.

We stumble on an eclectic little place with a rooftop lounge and decided it was my favorite find  in Cascais. The House of Wonders.

Art on display at House of Wonders

"I'll make a tapas plate for you."

Sunset from the rooftop of the House of Wonders
A great finish to an extraordinary adventure. It's an early start tomorrow - back to Lisbon and flying home.

Moonrise Cascais

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Exploring the sights on the streets of Lisbon
 Deb and Kim go horseback riding while Jim, Bob and I take the train into Lisbon for a day of touring.

 When two heads are not better than one. Or none.

We take a cab from the train station to the Castle at the top of the hill.   Rather than tour the castle, we start with refreshments at a little cafe just outside of the castle wall...

  ...and raise our glasses in solidarity with the oppressed worker repairing the cobbled street one brick at a time.

 Slowly. Carefully. Ever so slowly.

 Then spent the day exploring cafes, bars, and stores on the walk back down.

Perhaps the most interesting stop was at the Napoleao wine shop:

Where we sampled some ports and received a tutorial on port vintages and nomenclature. Then on to another sidewalk cafe. This one called Moma:

Where we enjoy more beer, wine, foie gras, wild boar pastry, caprese salad and fries. After meeting the girls at a downtown beer garden, we visit the Institute of Port, but not without a bit of navigation difficulties. Bob's guidebook and map could only get us to the neighborhood. After wandering in circles, we were about to give up when I accosted some locals on a street corner:

MW: "Pardon me. Do you speak English?"
Locals shake head:  "No. Very little." 
MW pressing on: "Do you know where the Institute of Port is located?"
Locals: Blank stare.
MW applying his intuitive linguistic skills: "Institut-OH Port-OH?"
Locals break into big smiles and point: "Two blocks. turn right."

That actually happened. We found it. True.

It was fun and interesting, but a bit stuffy for this crew. So off to find a suitable eatery.

Cocheira Alentejana fit the bill. Fine food. Good service. A great finish to a fine day in Lisbon.

We even managed to avoid missing the last train back to Cascais.