Some of The Independent’s readers have shared with us how they’ve been coping since the shelter-in-place took effect. One reader offered a poem inspired by Edgar Allen Poe (below.) Another, Pierre Bierre of Pleasanton, has continued to develop a mathematical system.

“Every day since Feb. 3, I’ve been developing a software project that is my life’s work — something called dataflow geometry,” wrote Bierre. “It’s a novel system for math students who wish to learn advanced geometry using software computation and graphics.”

He went on to write, “Previously, this kind of problem-solving immersion required learning a programming language (Java). My teaching team and I taught it this way for two years at Dougherty Valley High School (sponsored in part by LLNL). Late last year, I started storyboarding how the same problems could be solved without Java programming — instead linking together ‘drag ’n click’ modules and creating modules within modules.”

Bierre provided examples of problems with details. To learn more about the system, visit


~ With apologies to Mr. Poe ~

(about a guy searching for good wine.) 

Once upon a weekend dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary

O’er many a cork and bottle that I’d strewn about the floor,

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,

As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my kitchen door.

“Must be UPS”, I muttered, “tapping at my kitchen door –

With wine I bought the week before.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in a bleak November,

Many wine-producing members sent their wares which I explored.

Vainly I had sought elation from each vintner’s fermentation –

Vintners from across the nation, all inviting me to pour

“Red or white, a great delight”, their ads insistently implore.

Only this, but nothing more.

Now my spirits grew much stronger, hesitating then no longer,

“Only just a second, driver, your forgiveness I implore.

But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,

And so faintly you were tapping, tapping at my kitchen door,

That I wasn’t sure I heard you.” – here I opened wide the door:

No UPS guy, that’s for sure.

Surprise, no cabernet awaited, no riesling to be rated

In my quest, as I have stated, every region to explore.

Instead, in walked a stately raven, proud he was, never craven.

“If you’re looking for a haven,” said I to this bird of yore,

“Then you must help me in my search -- sadly it’s become a chore.”

Bird then perched above my door.

Lo, this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,

By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.

“Tell me raven, in your flying, where are most wine lovers hying,

Where indeed can they be buying, buying wines that they adore?

Fumé blancs and chardonnays – varietals that tasters score?”

Quoth the raven… LIVERMORE.

This response, so unexpected, left me mightily affected,

‘Though just what bird meant by what he uttered, perched above my door,

Surely even you’re agreeing that no living human being

Ever yet was blest by seeing raven from that tale of yore

Speak as if in answer to the wine-search question that I bore.

What meant he, though, by ‘LIVERMORE’?

Behold, it’s coming back, hurrah, my memories of petite syrah.

This feathered thing with beak and claw, circling slowly vineyards o’er

Has really done me quite a favor, bringing back to mind the flavor --

Ummm, the memories I savor of those wines I liked to pour.

Retzlaff, Stony Ridge, Fenestra…ah, where said you there are more?

Spoke the raven, LIVERMORE.

Suddenly I’m quite euphoric ‘bout this Valley so historic,

Where legends of folkloric vintners circulate galore.

This raven, as he slowly flies and studies with his sharp old eyes

Which wineries doth he advise should form our viniculture core?

“Bird, where grow these fabled vines that patrons should adore?”

Again he uttered, LIVERMORE.

There lie wineries aplenty: Big White House, 3 Steves, and Wente.

I count nearly three times twenty, fragrant glasses all they pour.

These are vintages so rated that with Napa they’re equated

And wine lovers oft are sated by the quality they bore.

“Raven, thou hast helped me greatly, lifted from me this odd chore –

A toast, good bird, to LIVERMORE!”