Antonia “Toñita” Garay
March 3, 1935 – August 28, 2006

Antonia Garay at 15 Years Old

Antonia Garay was born in 1935 in Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico. She died the afternoon of Monday, August 28th, after a year-long battle with cancer. She was 71. Antonia was a woman of strong character that raised two children on her own. She left Puerto Rico for New York in her teens and became a seamstress and hair stylist. In her twenties, she became an apartment manager in Manhattan, a line of work that she would continue to do for most of her life.

She moved back to Puerto Rico in her thirties and eventually migrated to California in her mid-forties with her two children, managing apartment buildings in Southern California. Most recently, in her semi-retirement, she was a part-time permanent make-up artist in a beauty salon in San Francisco’s Mission District. She was charismatic, fun-loving, and dignified. She was described as unforgettable by all that knew her and touched many lives.

Antonia leaves behind loving sons Nugget Gonzalez and Adolfo Lopez; her grandchildren Derbis, Omar, and Adolfo Lopez, Jr.; her brothers Luis Garay, Alberto Delgado, and Felix Delgado, and her beloved nieces and nephews. Antonia is pre-deceased by her mother Josefina Santiago and her brother Oscar Delgado, of Tampa, Florida.

Friends and family are welcome to attend the viewing from 2pm to 9pm, with rosary service at 7pm, to be held on Thursday, August 31st at Driscoll’s Valencia Street Serra Mortuary, 1465 Valencia Street (at 26th Street), San Francisco, California 94110.

Pluto's Revenge!?
I hope that Pluto is not too upset about its recent demotion. Via BoingBoing.
Adios Pluto

The International Astronomical Union voted a set of rules defining just what a planet is and what it isn’t earlier today. Many had thought that the definition of a planet would be expanded to include 3 new planets. However, in a surprising turn of events, the new definition of planet has demoted Pluto to “dwarf planet” status. Now the solar system has officially 8 planets, putting to rest controversy that has surrounded Pluto since its discovery in 1930.

An excerpt of the official definition of a planet, as decided by the IAU is as follows:

“a celestial body that is in orbit around the sun, has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a…nearly round shape, and has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit.”

Since Pluto has an orbit that overlaps that of Neptune, it is automatically disqualified since it has not “cleared the neighborhood around its orbit.” Wow, I never thought that the solar system would grow or shrink during my lifetime. I guess you’ll have to tell your kids, “when I was young there were actually 9 planets, but we ‘dwarfed’ one of them.”

E-40

According to this news story, in hip hop culture kids are getting out of moving cars to dance on or around them, even on the freeway, and then try to get back in their vehicles to try and regain control before it crashes into something or runs them over, sometimes very unsuccessfully.

This ghost riding craze appears to have taken off as a result of popular rapper E-40, who has a song called “Tell Me When to Go” where he repeatedly chants, “Go Stupid! Dumb!” and “Ghost ride the whip!” That’s exactly what the kids are doing. In fact, the song can be heard as background to many ghost riding videos found on the Internet. I guess that I am totally late to hear about this trend, since there were blog posts and news stories about this and the “hyphy” movement several months ago.

I am sorry but I was a teenager once and was never this dumb. Dancing on or around an out of control vehicle that weighs more than a ton is just plain stupid. Many would argue that this is just a form of natural selection. I predict that there are going to be a lot of wrecked cars (mostly belonging to mommy and daddy), broken bones, and deaths due this this craziness.

Looking at the Amazing Race 10 site I noticed that the teams for the next installment of the race are listed on the website and the premiere date has been scheduled for Sunday, September 17th. Taking a quick look at the teams it is clear that the team composition for this race is very different than in races past. Missing from the race are an evangelical Christian team, a gay team, and an old fart team. These team types, particularly the gay teams, have been a part of the race since inception and made famous by Team Guido in the first race.

The first cool team is The Muslims, two best friends that grew up in Cleveland, Ohio that surely hope to show the country that not all Muslims are fundamentalists. The required gay team has been replaced by a straight father that is racing with his estranged lesbian daughter, which I am dubbing Team Lez. The old farts have been replaced by a team that includes a triathlete with a prosthetic leg, The Triathletes.

It’s a really diverse group! Amazingly, there are also Asian Brothers from San Francisco and an Indian Couple from Florida in the race to go along with the first Muslim team. The show producers are certainly trying to diversify the race and remove some of the white and blond from races past, so that’s exciting. I mean the racers are still mostly white, but it is more diverse. As in every race, there are plenty of models and pageant winners, or eye candy, to go around. There are three all female teams that hope to vie for the “first all female team to win” title, one being the token African American team. I wish them luck. They’re going to need it, since female teams tend to go out early.

In any case, the film has been shot, the teams have been listed, the episodes are surely being edited right now, and the race will air in only four short weeks.

Tonight I went over to Yerba Buena Gardens as the sun was setting to take some twilight and night shots using HDR imaging. I took my trusty Canon G2, my crappy little tripod, set the auto exposure bracketing to ±2, and started shooting.

It was really cool to see the color of the sky change from blue to purple to gray as it got darker. The purple haze effect was due to light being bounced off the low cloud cover–very cool. I was surprised that through the magic of HDR I was able to capture the color of the sky correctly. Check out my Flickr HDR Photo Set to see more of these photos.

Free Google WiFi in San Francisco hasn’t happened yet, but apparently free Google WiFi in Mountain View, its hometown, may happen much much sooner. Google has spent a measly $1 million of its $10 billion stash on the project to give free WiFi at DSL speeds to the netizens of Mountain View. Let’s not all hold our breath for the San Francisco WiFi network, since it may never happen.

The word “planet” is going to be officially defined for the first time in 2,500 years. The new proposed definition will increase the number of planets by at least 3, to a total of 12. Or if defined loosely may add over 50 planets to our solar system. Well, the physical objects wouldn’t be added but their designation would. In any case, you’ll be able to tell your kids, “when I was young there were only 9 planets.”

The big story of this year’s PGA Championship is that Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will play head-to-head in a threesome that will also include Geoff Ogilvy. The three are the winners of the British Open, The Masters, and the U.S. Open respectively and historically the winners of the first three majors of the year start together at the PGA Championship. Whether they all finish together is another story. In any case, it should be fun to watch the top two players in the sport go head-to-head. Stay tuned.

Economists say that the drop in home sales in the second quarter is a normal response to rising interest rates and that home prices are still rising. Home prices inched up 3.4% in the Bay Area for single-family detached homes, and up 4% for condominiums in San Francisco. The median price for a condo in the San Francisco metro area was $647,200 for the period. I expect that prices will flatten and then maybe even drop 10% before this is all over, but overall we’re not worried.

Bruno Kirby

Bruno Kirby, famous for playing best friend characters to Robert DeNiro in The Godfather II and to Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally, died Monday in Los Angeles from complications related to leukemia. Most recently, Kirby appeared in the film Donnie Brasco and in episodes of the HBO series, “Entourage.”

He will be missed by many fans and colleagues that have admired his work for over 30 years. He was able to play the quintessential New Yorker and they loved him for it.

Along with his wife and father, Kirby is survived by his stepmother Roz Kirby, brother John Kirby and stepbrother Brad Sullivan.

LatinoReview.com has reviewed a leaked script for a film based on the game Hitman that would star Vin Diesel as Agent 47. The Hitman game series is one of my favorites, with its combination of stealth and just-blow-everyone-away missions. Surely, a film based on this game would definitely be worth watching. Stay tuned.

Neill Blomkamp will direct the Halo feature film which has been delayed for release until Summer 2008. Blomkamp is famous for the Citroen Transformer commercials. I’ve been a big fan of his since he did the Tetra Vaal spec corporate video when he was working for The Embassy Digital Effects Inc. If these two examples are any indication of his talent, he will do a fantastic job on the Halo film.

A Florida man recently paid a $1 parking ticket he received in 1946, 60 years after he got it! The man said that soon after he got the ticket, he bought a $1 money order to pay the fine but forgot to send it in to authorities. He found the money order while looking through some old collectibles recently and decided to send it in. The man was quoted as saying, “At my age, when I go out of here, I don’t want to owe anyone a dime.” Sweet.

By now you’ve heard of the foiled terrorist plot to board planes with liquid explosives at London Heathrow. Well, because the plot involved taking liquid explosives aboard planes in carry-ons, passengers at all U.S. and British airports are banned from taking any liquids onto planes. So, if liquids may be explosive, why are there pictures of TSA agents dumping liquids into trash cans in the middle of crowded security lines. One guy was even opening the containers and dumping them into a trash can, essentially mixing chemicals in the trash can itself. Genius. Funny, I don’t feel safer now that my Aquafina bottle is gone, just thirsty.

The National Park Service will be working with a prison company to fix the doors on Alcatraz so that all of the cells will close at once and make the loud slamming noise that gave prisons the nickname the “slammer” back in the day. We just went to Alcatraz, and it would have been cool to hear that while we were there. I guess we’ll have to go back to hear it.

I have returned from Fort Worth early due to my mom’s deteriorating health. I will be meeting with her physician to discuss alternative chemotherapy treatments later today. No fun.

According to a recent poll, half of Americans still believe that Iraq had WMDs.

After 27 years of being eligible and missing the cut, John Madden is finally being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Madden was so excited about finally making it into the Hall that he boarded a plane for the first time since 1979. I was surprised to find out that Madden grew up in Daly City and played junior college football at the College of San Mateo before transferring and playing college football and baseball at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California. Even though I am not a big football fan, I gotta give it up to Madden.

Here are gross photos of carpet caterpillar infestations on a Swedish website. I am certainly glad that we don’t have to worry about caterpillar larvae laying waste to the city of San Francisco. Via BoingBoing.

I am heading off to Fort Worth, Texas, for the ALPFA National Convention. Yes, you heard right, it is in Texas this year. A far cry from Miami Beach where it was held last year. It will certainly be hotter than Miami, mostly in temperature *not* excitement. I will be returning from the Lone Star State on Thursday, August 10th.

Barry Bonds’ 715th home run ball sold today for $220,100 on Ebay. The guy that caught the ball has famously said that he would use the proceeds of the sale as a down payment on a San Francisco home. Nice catch!

“First rule of Dog Club, don’t talk about Dog Club.”
— Luoping County Health Worker (i.e. Dog Clubber)

We’re not talking a country “club” here. In an effort to control a rabies outbreak, a province in China ordered all dogs except for military and police dogs to be slaughtered. A five-day massacre ensued in which dogs that were being walked were taken from their owners and beaten to death with clubs on the spot! In total, over 50,000 dogs were killed in this manner. Crazy! China is just not a good place to be a dog, since you are likely to be beaten and/or eaten, according to the article.

An announcement was made today that the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) will forgo the use of the convention center floor in Los Angeles next year. The show will likely move to a handful of headquarters hotels where companies can conduct business in suites rather than the large and loud exhibition areas on the showroom floor. Organizers believe that video games are such a part of mainstream culture that they sell themselves, making a larger E3 spectacle, with its multi-million dollar booths, unnecessary.

Mel Gibson was not only drunk as hell when he was arrested while driving recklessly late last week, apparently reports of him espousing anti-Semitic remarks during his arrest are true. Today, he issued an apology. During his arrest, Gibson was quoted as saying “Fucking Jews! The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” and then asking an officer, “Are you a Jew?” Needless to say, in a town that is run by Jews, he’s going suffer a major beatdown.

Taking public disdain for Hummers to new heights of depravity.

Castro wrote a letter saying that he’s sick, going into surgery, and that Raul, his brother, is officially in power. Of course, this prompted celebration all over Miami, including Calle Ocho. However, this is not the first time Castro has been sick. By many accounts, he has been “dying” for the last thirty years. Of course, this time it may actually happen and the world is watching. His death may open the door for multi-party democratic elections and an open economy on the island. The only way that the U.S. will lift the embargo is if Castro dies, and apparently the U.S. now has an incentive, cheap energy. Stay tuned.