2013-05-31 - Old messages from my homepage can come here to be archived!


2013-05-31: Welcome back, Mike! You’ve been missed. -Gene

Sir! Thank you sir! So have you, Sir! – MD

2013-06-01: Hi Mike! I can’t believe I’m writing this, but I did miss you! ;~) Just yesterday I came across an important news story about the West Oakland Youth Center but didn’t have time to rewrite. As I was applying the dreaded ‘copy/paste’ into the entry as a placeholder I thought of you and missed how you’d charge in and save the day by rewriting the text. Glad you’re back from the East Coast. Who else would fix my quotation marks?? :~)

Aww, thanks JL! (May I call you “J”? … To paraphrase Roxanne Shanté, “tasteful, elegant, awesome and precious / others are fresh, but JL is da freshes’!”) Sure, some of what I do must seem laughably anal – but since I can’t really explain myself, I can only keep, er, pluggin’ away, and hope that in time people will understand. I wish there were an easy way to universally recognize copy/paste though – as you note, while it’s often needed to get articles going, I’d definitely prefer to respect it less than I would an Oakwiki editor’s own work … since rewriting is always a struggle regardless.

2013-06-01: So glad you’re back, Mike! so many things for you to fix :) -gk

That’s my muhfun GK … all biz, all the time! … I’ll do my best!

2013-03-03: Mike, I'd like to take you to task a little bit about Horace Carpentier. While it is true he seemed to be in to most things for himself...The residual effects ended up being good for the town, did it not? If not for HWC the railroad would have ended in San Francisco not Oakland (and I beliece Berkeley?). Not to mention how extremely farsighted he was. Starting with 480 acres of unimproved land and basically developing it in to a city with Adams and Moon. On a related note, I am looking for any information I can find on HWC, particularly pictures (of himself, house, etc).....Thanks Ralph...MGs4me

Hi Ralph – thanks for writing. Funny you should bring this up now; as someone who sometimes makes things hard on myself, I only just got around to reading Beth Bagwell’s book last night (everyone says one should begin there). She writes beautifully, and it was fun to see her note a few of the same tidbits I’d also found in primary sources while researching Oakland. Anyway, she summarizes HWC’s exploits quite cogently (and diplomatically!) on pp. 42-53 (1982 ed.) and I realized … wow, if anything, I went too easy on the guy! Most notably, Bagwell mentions Ellen Burrell (a source new to me), who confirmed some of my suspicions about Moon: he’s “mysterious” today because (she claims, and she knew him) he was honest – when he found out about the plot to steal the waterfront, he quietly bailed for Hawaii – just walked away from his Oakland land and never looked back. Well OK then.

But you are right, of course: the unintended consequences of HWC’s actions did work out favorably for Oakland, though it took decades before anyone could see how, much less be in a position to make that claim. I nevertheless felt obliged to stress his douchiness in the article, for several reasons. Probably the most important was as a testbed for oaklandwiki’s tone: would it become a dumping ground for random facts a la wikipedia, or would it/we try more to target today’s audience with shorter, more interpreted (at least for historical stuff), more relevant summaries? The jury’s still out on this, because it’s hella hard to do the latter – sooo much easier to blast in copypasta and keep going. I really didn’t want the salient fact of HWC’s sleaziness getting lost, though, because it sets a tone for all that followed; plus, the affable 20-somethings currently invading Oakland – being by and large well-meaning (but very busy) folks – deserve the straightest scoop possible. However, Portlandia was onto something in noting the hipster affinity for the 1890s: last night I heard someone whistling Bach’s Prelude in Em (!) outside my window, looked down and saw a green-haired Willy Wonka wannabe in 1890’s-mortician costume (top hat and tails) slouching by! What does this have to do with HWC? Well, show “these kids nowadays” his real photo (the only one I’ve ever seen, BTW; you know the one) and between the blue eyes and neckbeard, he seems to “fit right in” – more of a kindly uncle than a snake (albeit a smart one). The cartoon of Snidely Whiplash seemed, in a way, more truthful.

Now, re HWC info, to go deeper than the usual Google-able, endlessly repeated stuff, you might be better off on the East Coast: I’d check with Barnard and especially Columbia, where he gave his biggest endowments. I suspect they might even have his papers. I feel strongly that other photos must exist. If you make it out here soon, hit me up and I’ll buy you a beer! Always great to meet another history buff. Take care - M.

2013-02-03: Mike, your entry on … Carpentier is amazing! My favorite contributions of yours would … be … Potholes and Canada Geese. Will you consider … adding to your userspace a list of articles you've written or [substantially edited]? ~Vicky

Hi Vicky — wow, thanks for the feature! And yes, that HWC article is indeed extensive … however, it’s not the one I wrote! … my article … meant to … give the real (but still factual) Oaktown summary. What’s there now appears to be mostly copypasta and moreover, lacks the flava. … my “special interests” list above outlines a lot of my work … [as for editing philosophy] check the HWC article as I wrote it, vs. what’s there now …[for a more succinct summary] than I could give.

  1. I love following your edits. My suggestion was purely egotistical.
  2. [Re] your philosophy, I have created the Conflicting Oakland Wiki Philosophies page.
  3. … We will be at the Oakland History Room next Sunday with a beautifully-painted and unmistakeable sign!!! ~Vicky

Mike: I think your mapping idea is a really interesting idea, especially if we can see how this has evolved across time. I was interested in plotting where city budget is allocated across neighborhoods benefitting from services, as well, but apparently this data is not available geographically I guess I missed you at Sudoroom too, as I arrived late to the big table (?). -Diana.

Hi Diana – I first started forming … a list, then a table, but realized that [still] would require far too much reading to … grasp the sense. It needed to be more visual. I picture something like Google Earth’s historical imagery browser, scrubbing through a timeline, to show dynamically where Oakland’s elite were based historically. I think this would really explain/expose some things. But I'll need that data first! Please keep me posted on your findings.

Parkway image drama: OVER! I fixed it by enlarging my screen and grabbing the image using Grab (on Mac. A Windows equivalent would be the Snipping Tool. Don't know others.), then uploading as a JPG. What was the format of the image you were trying to display? I wonder if there's an issue on our platform with that? ~Vicky, your neighborhood "Recent Changes" troll

Hi Vicky — well, I am on a Mac, and my file was a plain ol’ JPG … the first sign of trouble was, the upload image dialog box showed no images uploaded when the page clearly had them. So I uploaded one … when it finished, it showed … nothing (as though I’d hit cancel)! I tried clearing cache; using a different browser; renaming the file … glad you fixed it, and I’ll never touch it again!!


2013-03-12: Mike - Re Richmond Blvd. freeway, I can't find any source that says it would be built or maintained by the feds or the state; what little I've seen (although I must admit I'd never heard of the freeway until an hour ago) implies it was designed as a local roadway.  Do you have a source for the line about the federal government being responsible for its maintenance? --  NAParish

Hi NAParish – unfortunately, as I came across that info while following a “rabbit trail” (i.e. working on something else), and with no luck re-finding it today, can only tell you what little I recall of the context: while researching Glen Echo Creek, I read that in the 1930s–40s, the city had had problems with child molestations and rapes in GEC’s still-exposed, secluded, kinda seedy areas (think between ~30th and today’s MacArthur). They wanted to underground the whole thing, but lacked the money. Running a highway over the problem area would make it part of a larger jurisdiction, eliminating the need for local funding. I recall that sneaky part most clearly. To answer your question, though, I may well have inadvertently supplied the wrong jurisdiction; between the timing (a little early for Ike-era federal hwy plans) and the fact that it would have connected to SR-13, it seems far more likely to have been State than Fed. In any case, my main takeaway had been that, in childishly hoping to pass its problem off to deeper pockets, Oakland narrowly avoided messing itself up big time.

2013-03-12: Hi Mike, I just wanted to drop by and say that I personally am putting my hat in the ring for more lovely, interpreted, fun, (if you'll allow me the indulgence) flava-ful entries. Please keep making them - there is no community norm in support of "just the facts" entries, and even if there were, we get the pleasure of getting to change it by making new entries, modifying others, adding to third ones, and on and on! I know that I'm guilty of "just the facts" entries, but that's because all I do is create stubs to clear my tabs (I have a tab problem). BUT I will endeavor to focus on keeping entries interesting, colloquial, and creative. We need to! -mk30

Hi mk30 – I see yer tab problem – and raise ya that I now use a browser that does not restore tabs! This isn’t by preference; all my other browsers take 10 minutes to open, trying to restore a handful of outdated windows each with 20-30 tabs! So when this sucker crashes (rarely, thankfully) I feel like someone shot me in the head – yet also strangely … liberated.

As for defending the flava: I’ve thought a lot about this issue, and it seems insurmountable that adding a personal touch, while well-meaning (and I agree, super rare and badly needed on a public wiki!) ends up being inconsiderate (!) to other editors by making it harder for them to blend in their own edits smoothly. At the same time, there are those for whom any perceived straying from “just the facts” immediately destroys one’s credibility; however I feel that often, the facts alone not only don’t tell the real story, they actually obfuscate it … so in its defense, “flava” ideally can provide a valuable method for cutting closer to that slippery, silvery, elusive school of minnows we call “the truth”.

Were there a way to track my historical oaklandwiki edits (paging Aaron Swartz … d’oh!!) the trend toward reduced flava would be readily apparent. Can you tell I’ve gotten discouraged lately? While I like the idea of sharing and collaborative inquiry, lately I perceive something like “a mad rush to extract all the info” which has overwhelmed me enough to make me back off (even though I promised Gene some new old stuff which is still in the pipeline).

I’m rambling now … in fine, thanks very much for your kind words and general encouragement; it goes a long way toward helping me maintain (what I can only hope is) proper perspective.

2013-03-12: Hey! Hello? Is this thing on?

Uh, sir, you have to let go of the button …

Oh, hey, hi Mike! Don't forget those Saint Mary's Cemetery investigations, too, all of which would make for good Oakland Wiki fodder. (Not to be confused with Fodderal. What did happen to Virginia P. Fodderal, anyway?) - Gene

My response to your flava touches upon the topic of a previous (or is it ongoing?!) edit scuffle. ;] ~eek 

2013-03-31: you going to the editathon today? i haven't decided, but you might be an incentive :) -gk

Ha! I might've said the very same thing! I feel super-behind on a bunch of stuff – for instance, am still collating my JJ Valentine clipping file – but might just blow off the established order and wander the OHR in search of fresh confusion. Your saying you might go further inclines me to going. So … no guarantees but … that’s where I’m at, at 9:40 AM.

i really want to go to BYOBW today, but it's such a commitment. also, hunky jesus. we might go take a "needs images" walk this morning, then assess the situation. if i go, it's baseball history time!

They do have a baadasssss patch. Ain’t nobody here can compete with that. I … I guess I’ll … just have to catch up with you … one of these days <snif> …

i want that patch so bad. but instead i'm on my way to the OHR with roommate in tow. better late than never...

2013-04-04: MIKE! Can I put pages here that I make that need your help? :) -gk

2013-04-06: Maybe just link ;^) but sure, I don’t see why not. I just wish I had an easy way to tell when my page has been updated – I don’t check it very often.

4/9/13 you have a new tag. -gk

Psst. Oh hey, I'm back! The conversation between you two is too sweet for me to not admit spying! :] :] ~eek

there's a spy among us. maybe we should start communicating by tin can. -gk

What the …? You mean others can see this somehow? … Damn you, Obama!