Category: "Personal"

Daring Kitten Rescue in Moss Beach

05/18/08 | by JAdP | Categories: Personal

When I arrived home this past Friday night, there was a fire truck in front of my house, and a group of folk in my back yard. A tabby kitten belonging to new neighbors had run up the cypress tree in our back yard. The general consensus was that she would come down when she was hungry, and an opened can of tuna was left as an inducement. :p

Several times throughout the night, I went out to check on the kitten, who was mewing quite piteously, between naps. I even tried to get her to chase a spot of light from a flashlight, to get her to lower branches. She watched it, but never budged. I heard others come into our yard during the night, trying to induce the kitten down. But she was unmoved.

I later learned that the owner had come by with an arborist who used my ladder to climb into the tree, which only served to drive the kitten higher.

On Saturday morning, the owners, Sunshine and Leor, convinced the firefighters to come back, this time with a 75-foot hook and ladder truck, and another truck. I think all the on-duty firefighters from the Point Montara Coastside Fire Protection District were there, as well as a bunch of neighbors.

Point Montara Coastside Fire Protection District
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Firefighters Discussing the Kitten Rescue Plan
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Neighbors Gather in Support
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Chip, whose backyard abuts ours, and who is also a firefighter, directed and photographed from on-high. &#59;)

Firefighting neighbor Chip directs from atop his shed
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The hook and ladder truck couldn't quite reach the tree from the street.

Hook and Ladder Falls Short of Tree from Street
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But the arborist, using a regular ladder from the fire company, managed to lure the kitten into his arms, and brought her down.

The saving ladder
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And all's well that ends well. :D

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04/25/07 | by JAdP | Categories: Personal

A friend from way-back in high school, and also an American of Italian heritage, whose mother and mine grew up on the same block, forwarded the following email to me. Some of this resonates, some doesn't.


"I am sure for most second generation Italian American children who grew up in the 40's and 50's there was a definite distinction between us and them. We were Italians, everybody else, the Irish, the Germans, the Poles, they were Americans.

"I was well into adulthood before I realized I was an American. I had been born American and lived here all my life, but Americans were people who ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on mushy white bread. I had no animosity towards them, it's just I thought ours was the better way with our bread man, egg man, vegetable man, the chicken man, to name a few of the peddlers who came to our neighborhoods. We knew them, they knew us.

"Americans went to the A&P. It amazed me that some friends and classmates on Thanksgiving and Christmas ate only turkey with stuffing, potatoes, and cranberry sauce. We had turkey, but after antipasto, soup, lasagna, meatballs and salad. In case someone came in who didn't like turkey, we also had a roast of beef. Soon after we were eating fruits, nuts, pastries and homemade cookies sprinkled with little colored things.

"This is where you learned to eat a seven course meal between noon and four PM, how to handle hot chestnuts, and put peaches in wine. Italians live a romance with food.

"Sunday s we would wake up to the smell of garlic and onions frying in olive oil. We always had macaroni and sauce. Sunday would not be Sunday without going to mass. Of course you couldn't eat before mass because you had to fast before receiving communion. We knew when we got home we'd find meatballs frying, and nothing tasted better than newly fried meatballs with crisp bread dipped into a pot of sauce.and some hot peppers on the side.

"Another difference between them and us was we had gardens. Not just with flowers, but tomatoes, peppers, basil, lettuce and "cucuzza".

"Everybody had a grapevine and fig tree. In the fall we drank homemade wine arguing over who made the best. Those gardens thrived because we had something our American friends didn't seem to have. We had Grandparents.

"It's not that they didn't have grandparents. It's just they didn't live in the same house or on the same street. We ate with our grandparents, and God forbid we didn't visit them 3 times a week I can still remember my grandfather telling us how he came to America when he was young, on the "boat".

"I'll never forget the holidays when the relatives would gather at my grandparent's house, the women in the kitchen, the men in the living room, the kids everywhere. I must have fifty cousins. My grandfather sat in the middle of it all drinking his wine he was so proud of his family and how well they had done.

"When my grandparents died, things began to change. Family gatherings were fewer and something seemed to be missing. Although we did get together usually at my mother's house, I always had the feeling grandma and grandpa were there.

"It's understandable things change. We all have families of our own and grandchildren of our own. Today we visit once in a while or meet at wakes or weddings. Other things have also changed. The old house my grandparents bought is now covered with aluminum siding. A green lawn covers the soil that grew the tomatoes.


"The holidays have changed. We still make family "rounds" but somehow things have become more formal. The great quantities of food we consumed, without any ill effects, is not good for us anymore Too much starch, too much cholesterol, too may calories in the pastries.

"The difference between "us" and "them" isn't so easily defined anymore, and I guess that's good. My grandparents were Italian-Italians, my parents were Italian-Americans. I'm an American and proud of it, just as my grandparents would want me to be. We are all Americans now...the Irish, Germans, Poles, all U.S. Citizens.

"But somehow I still feel a little bit Italian. Call it it roots...I'm not sure what it is. All I do know is that my children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, have been cheated out of a wonderful piece of our heritage.

-- From an email Forwarded On 2007 Apr 25, at 16:30

I never considered others American and Italians not. I never thought of anyone as an American, except, perhaps, some hypothetical WASP type depicted on TV. Going to a R.C. parochial school, I had never met any. &#59;) Poles, Germans, Spaniards, etc. were just that. The only problems were Irish, some were friends, some were enemies. One family in particular would have their youngest brother "call me out" in the school yard. Luckily it didn't prejudice me against the clan.

My parents shopped at A&P. Thanksgiving was Turkey, filling, cranberry sauce from a can [shudder], etc. My grandparents and parents jumped on convenience food. This did lead to some odd hybrids, like gnocchi made from instant mashed potatoes and ricotta. Very strange, really. Christmas Eve, Christmas and Easter were more Italian food holidays, with many courses spanning several hours. There were no peddlers coming to our neighborhood, and the old Italian neighborhoods of my grandparents' generation were mostly turning to other heritages and mixing, and my various family members were scattered around southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware - other than my father's youngest sister and her family who lived next door to us. I've discovered that the dish with lots of ricotta, few layers of pasta that I grew up with as lasagna is an American bastardization. Mom did make spaghetti and meatballs most weekends, though a roast chicken with potatoes and lima beans cooked in the roasting was more likely on Sunday. Dad always made one supper each week of a thin steak or liver, with sautéed onions and mushrooms, mashed potatoes and [canned] creamed corn. I still think of these four meals as comfort food [though I tend to use fresh fava beans and add fennel to that chicken dish, and my lasagna is not my parents']. :p

Actually it struck me as weird when I lived in areas near and around Boston, Chicago and Wilkes-Barre, to discover people who lived at most two blocks from where they grew up, had the same friends as adults that they had made in grade school, and had never lived any further away.

Sunday meant Mass less and less, and stopped altogether by my junior year at the Prep.

Holiday gatherings at both grandparents did gradually die down by the time I hit college. Too many grandkids begetting great-grandkids and doing their own thing with their new extended families or becoming insular with their nuclear families.

My grandfathers and father had gardens. Dad still does. When his father fed me peas right out of the pod still on the vine, out in the garden when I was about six... wow - I haven't eaten a pea any other way since; canned, frozen or still in the pod from a produce stand. The sugar just starts oxidizing as soon as you pluck that pod and by the time you get them to the kitchen, peas are bland starch balls. Forget about any further separation from the vine.

Grapevines yes, fig trees no. No mention of dandelion wine or home made red, which were favorites of Uncle Nanu. [Yes, really... a nickname though.]

My paternal grandparents house did get covered with aluminum siding, but that was well before Grandmom died at 96. BTW, that Grandmother ate peanut butter on toast or biscotti nearly every breakfast of her life, as do I - though I go with organic, unsalted, unsweetened, 100% valencia peanuts.

Actually, I'm much more into trying to rediscover my Italian heritage than my parents; or my grandparents, who wanted to "blend in". That's why I collect Italian cookbooks with regional stories and history, research old recipes, and reach out to bloggers like Gianugo Rabellino, who not only blogs about open source software, as do I, but about his Sunday cooking and the importance of food to his Genovese lifestyle.


Hail on the Coast

02/23/07 | by JAdP | Categories: Personal

We have hail. Yep, little hailstones bouncing off the deck. If we're having hail here, there might be sleet up on Skyline Drive [CA Rte. 35]. But you never know with our microclimates changing the weather every few miles. Woe the commute in the morning.


Yes I am a cheese steak

01/21/07 | by JAdP | Categories: Personal

Wow, pegged. I was born about 30 miles west of Philadelphia, raised in that area through high school, and went to college about 200 miles to the north.

What American accent do you have?

Your Result:



Your accent is as Philadelphian as a cheesesteak! If you're not from Philadelphia, then you're from someplace near there like south Jersey, Baltimore, or Wilmington. if you've ever journeyed to some far off place where people don't know that Philly has an accent, someone may have thought you talked a little weird even though they didn't have a clue what accent it was they heard.

The South


The Northeast


The Inland North


The Midland




North Central


The West


What American accent do you have?

Quiz Created on GoToQuiz


Sob Stories for Friday 20070105

01/06/07 | by JAdP | Categories: Personal

The head of one of the steel dowels that is grabbed by the cam in the twist-lock fastener system used by the bookboxes that I'm building into the stairwell railing system broke off when I was screwing it into the nylon insert. [If you read this blog, you know this project led to my downfall.] The bookbox company wanted me to send back the whole bookbox and wait for a replacement. So, I was out looking for a replacement dowel. I finally , at my fourth stop, found one that's the right length and thread, but the diameter of the cut in the dowel that fits into the slot of the cam was thicker than my original. I had discovered this after getting back home. So I went back to the OSH to get a cam. They're sold in little plastic bags, so you can't really see them. When I got this one home, I saw that while it had a larger slot than my original, it wasn't large enough. So, I went back to OSH. They were very unhelpful. Basically, the clerk who was "helping" me said "some guy" restocks the bins, and what they have is what they have. They weren't willing to contact the manufacturer to get the right cam. I had already found the manufacturers web site, but it was geared towards selling their stock and display system to retailers, without any information on individual items. Bad customer service, and really stupid that they sell a dowel without the matching cam-lock.

Then my Wells Fargo ATM ate my card. It completed the deposit, and then said remove card - but my card never appeared so that I could take it. I tried using a business card to see if it was just not clearing the edge of the slot, but couldn't feel it. It kept beeping "remove card" and I kept saying "show my frelling card and I'll remove it". Then it went to "Thank you" and then "Insert Card". I called WFB's 800 number, but all they could do was suggest that I go back to the branch when it's open, and see if they have my card. If not, I'll have to report it lost/stolen and WFB will send a replacement to me. They have no technician on-call to repair it, or retrieve my card, and they have no way to contact the branch manager so someone can at least deactivate that ATM. I wonder how many cards will stack up?

Update: My ATM card wasn't in the Wells-Fargo ATM. So much for their customer support's assurance that my card couldn't be removed from the machine by anyone else. There was no activity on our account other than what I or my partner had done, and now the card is canceled. All that's left is waiting to see if there is any other fallout from this.


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I'm Joseph A. di Paolantonio and this blog has two main foci: my interest in food, and my interest in the future. This provides a look into my personal life, and is separate from my consulting work…though there will be overlap. I am an independent researcher, working as a strategic consultant and I'm an executive with over 20 years of commercial experience with a technical interest in the intersection of Internet of Things, with advanced data management and analysis methods. I view data science as a team activity, and I feel that the IoT must be viewed as a system. I am leveraging my past activities to understand the adoption and impact of the IoT; first, as a system engineer in aerospace, where I developed Bayesian risk assessment methods for systems within the Space Transportation System (including the Space Shuttle), Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer, Gravity Probe B, and many more, and second, as a enterprise data warehousing, business intelligence and analytics professional. Between my aerospace and IT careers, I indulged my hobby of cooking by starting a food company, Montara Magic, centered around my chocolate sauces. My education combined chemistry, mathematics and philosophy. I performed research into molten salt fuel cells in graduate school, and in photovoltaic materials for a short time in industry. The lure of bringing the human race into space was strong, and when I was offered the chance to combine my chemistry and mathematics skills to develop new risk assessment and system engineering methods for space launch and propulsion systems – I couldn't resist. I perform independent research and strategic consulting to bring value from the Internet of Things, Sensor Analytics Ecosystems and data science teams.I am a caregiver, a lover of science fiction and speculative fantasy, and my passion to learn has led me to a pilot's license, an assistant instructor in SCUBA, nordic and alpine skiing, sea kayaking, and reading everything I can, in as many topics as I can.

View Joseph di Paolantonio's profile on LinkedIn

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