Friday, June 29, 2007

Oh how I am fascinated by the Japanese aesthetic and their drive for convenience and novelty, even if these watermelons cost up to $200 American and that also means I come home from visits with things that I would never in a million years use here and might rage about when I blog about plastic ruining the environment (though, truth be told, those ingenious pieces of plastic waste were given to me with my to-go tea and I brought them home to reuse. Only slightly better, I know, but give a girl a bit of slack!)

As an aside to this, thank god that Oakland is finally banning plastic bags. We're on our way.

So apparently square watermelons are all the blogosphere rage right now, and people are marveling at how expensive they are. I'll tell you what though, that is probably the best damn watermelon you will ever have.

Best strawberries I ever had? Japanese. Best peaches? Japanese. And perfect-looking fruit they were too, like something out of a produce fantasy. True, they cost me an arm and leg, and they may have been sprayed with god knows what to prevent pests, genetically engineered to resemble unblemished plastic food, and pumped with flavorings, but damn!

I'm only slightly kidding about that. All of the eggs I've ever cooked in Japan seem to lack the unappetizing chalazae and I'm sure that's been genetically engineered. Japan's food is too perfect to be natural.

Anyway, fruit. Help me, I think I wanted this still life fruit holder when I first saw it:

And I think that means I am definitely part of the doucheoisie. Heavens. Though I'm more shocked I actually enjoyed reading Details last month.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Three words.

Russian. Fantastik. Cinema.

In August at the Pacific Film Archive theater in Berkeley, some of my favorite things in the world will collide. I can barely contain myself about Stalker and Solaris. I own Solaris on DVD, but I cannot wait to see it on the big screen.

Long ago, my sweetheart wrote a series of poetry after director Andrei Tarkovsky's Ivan's Childhood and Solaris; the latter series he called Tide and Mermera. I still think it is some of his most beautiful poetry. Spoken, it is like little pearls in your mouth.

Begin with a telescoping, a
house from memory.
Long drive through color.


Paper flickers.
A sound of leaves,
a bowl full of rain.
The pomegranates have no taste.
It was a house built from memory. A house full
of rain. His blue leather
glistens, drenched.


There were gaps in the text.
They kept their secrets.
As an ear and a dwarf, but
a hole in the arm, exposed.


Speaking of evocative writing, I am now fully engrossed in Massimo Carlotto's novel Death's Dark Abyss. I've been hooked on his work since devouring The Goodbye Kiss and all of its casual brutality and unapologetic injustice. Carlotto is Italian noir at its finest.

NP: Art Brut, 'Emily Kane'

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Monday, June 25, 2007

I know, but try to block out, that there are people out there who steal celebrity trash to try and make a buck. But I am more traumatized by the fact that there are people out there who actually buy said trash.

At least this auction has, at this writing, redeemed my faith in humanity with zero bids.

Yeah yeah, I know -- those of you who know me will be like, oh hell no saudade, what about your celebrity "trash" from various concerts?

Yes, 'tis true, I have many mementos from different shows I've attended, my personal favorite being the mask David J of Bauhaus tore off his face and threw into the audience during a particularly intense bassline in 'Telegram Sam' at San Francisco's Fillmore. Joy!

But, yes, anyway, three excuses for my behavior:

1) I don't pay for mere memorabilia.
2) Anything I keep is from a show I attended and is related to the performance, or is personal correspondence. No used water bottles, thanks.
3) Good lord, an empty dogfood can or a nasty hairpiece? Bitch, please.

NP: Final Fantasy, 'He Poos Clouds' from the album of the same name.

Thanks to a boot of an April Final Fantasy show posted over on B(oot)log, I wrote the name of this album down on a post-it and stuck it in my wallet for my next trip to the record shop. Totally forgot about it for nearly two months, and then today -- Eureka!

Owen Pallett is the man behind Final Fantasy. A composer, singer, and classically trained violinist and pianist, Owen creates many of his songs by multitracking various sounds he conjures from his instruments, much like Andrew Bird (who, for some reason, I've never really been able to get into, though I'm really enjoying FF).

For a really fun example of how this goes down, Mariah Carey style, check it:

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Friday, June 22, 2007

So really, has Heart ever done a bad song? I think I could have listened to them all night tonight at The Hut.

And I truly believe, with all my Heart, that Grant and Lucas should dress as Nancy and Ann Wilson, respectively, as often as is humanly possible. It has been blogged, and so it must be.

It is Pride weekend, after all.

This is not the alcohol talking.

But you would think so, now wouldn't you, barracuda?

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Heehee, listen up! The Vatican's office for "migrants and itinerant people" has put forth the Driver's Ten Commandments.

Yes! All my grumbling about those special places in hell for, well, virtually half of the driving populace, is finally getting some recognition. Benedict, you alright.

Actually, the "commandments" are quite nice, and I agree with most of them, but I still crack a smile every time I think about it. Mostly because of number 5, and because they recommend saying a prayer before you take off and the rosary whilst driving. But I suppose that last one couldn't hurt, especially around where I live, smack dab in the middle of the top three worst commutes in the Bay Area.

Speaking of driving, I am very stoked to find out that I will be in the hometown the weekend of "The Hottest Little Fair in California" and that I will quite possibly get to attend my first destruction derby and monster truck show.

All of my best memories of the fair in my hometown revolve around endless rides on the Gravitron, almost throwing up on the Tilt-A-Whirl in eighth grade whilst hanging out with high school boys (sigh), my preschool-aged sister rocking the Ferris Wheel when I was maybe 5 until I almost died from fright, and just barely losing out on taking home a Judas Priest mirror on the midway.

Still smarting about that last one (I am! Be worth a fortune now...)

But with all my corndogs eaten and condemned goldfish won and awkward junior high glances at high school boys, I never went to the car and truck events. Better suited appearance-wise to the goths, punks, mods, and stoners as a high school student, I didn't dare cross the threshold into the holiest of holy redneck territories. But no more. I am there this year!

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Monday, June 18, 2007

So, my awesome acupuncturist has been telling me I need to cut back on the dairy and up my fermented food intake (yay, more natto!). But the problem is, I love parmesan cheese! Especially cheese on anything with tomato sauce. Staples of my life.

Enter a recipe staple from my college days that is tomato goodness without the need for heaping handfuls of parm. So good I have to share. And oh my god, I am a not a vegan but I am a spicy vegan vegetable jambalaya culinary rockstar!

Check it, yo:

1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup white wine or rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
4 cloves of garlic, chopped

Mix these ingredients together. Be sure to dissolve the brown sugar. Set aside.

Cut into bite-size pieces:

1 large onion
1 head garlic
4 stalks celery
8 large mushrooms
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
2 Anaheim chili peppers
2 zucchini

Heat two tbsp olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, a couple good turns of the pepper mill and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, for three minutes. Add celery and stir for a couple more minutes. Add mushrooms, ditto. Add all peppers, stirring occasionally for 10 more minutes.

Add to pot, stirring after each addition:

2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground mustard seed
the liquid mixture from step one

Simmer for a couple of minutes. Then add:

1 28 ounce can of chopped tomatoes
1 package tempeh (yay fermented foods!) or tofu, cut into small cubes

Simmer for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more salt or honey to taste. Serve with steamed brown rice.

NP: The Make Up, 'Pow! to the People'

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Nice little article in the San Francisco Chronicle today on my honey's workplace, Diesel, a Bookstore.

While I would have liked a little more concrete discussion about why people should shop at local businesses (community character, supporting your local economy, ethical consumerism, and how all of that ultimately protects your interests, etc.), I am impressed that an independent, local shop is getting ink in one of the biggest newspapers in the country. And I suppose it is an article in the business section -- not so much a place to proselytize.

But I am happy at the very least that the guts of how a small business works is being conveyed to consumers. The real in and out, everyday workings of a small business is an important piece of the puzzle in educating consumers about the difference between a place like Diesel and a place like Borders or Barnes and Noble.

Now just get the piece out of the business section and into the parts of the paper people actually read!

For me, the importance of knowing how a small business must conduct itself is this: I still find it funny that it isn't common sense -- and that small businesses have to defend -- why they can't offer the same deep discounts as Amazon or why they don't have every fucking thing under the sun in stock. I am blown away by how annoyed customers get when something not in stock is offered as a special order, or in the case of a bookstore, questions are asked of the customer and something else is suggested. It's like for those folks, customer service only matters when they want to complain.

Amazing to me too is a debate that periodically rages in my hometown paper's Letters to the Editor as to why a local hardware store (that provides benefits and a living wage for knowledgable employees and doesn't have bulk-buying power) charges a dollar more than Lowes or Home Depot for the same piece of lumber or whatever. Duh. And oh so related, I am equally shocked at how often some consumers act like they are getting one over on the little guy by getting it cheaper or without waiting for a special order at the megachain -- like the local shop was trying to fuck the consumer over and "they showed them." Right.

Recently, my friend and super manga expert, Domi, who works at local comic purveyor Dr. Comics and Mr. Games related her funny big chain bookstore manga experience. Crouched down in the children's manga section, checking out the competition's wares, she found amongst the Doraemon and other such kiddie fare many sexually explicit yaoi and other adult manga. Shocked, she pulled them all out and took them to the counter. Thumbing through them to illustrate why they shouldn't be housed in the children's manga, she was told to put them back in the section because that is where "the manager told us to put them."

Hmmmm, okay. I think I'd rather pay that dollar more to a business where the employee is more likely given the freedom to think and use common sense, and therefore hopefully invest themselves in their employer, stock, and customers. Sheesh.

Alright, this is spiraling into a diatribe of black-hole ickiness. Let's lighten the mood, shall we?


I'm loving Sex in a Can. Only in Asia, baby. Or possibly a Tijuana pharmacy.

And in the era of the 3 ounce only rule and cavity searches, Violet Blue tells us how to safely fly with your sex toys.


Ever notice how much the new Blonde Redhead sounds like Lush? The hubby just put it on and I thought it was Miki and Co.

NP: Grinderman. Slow to pick this up because of all the hype, though I heart Nick Cave (I even heart his child molester moustache). I am not disappointed. Brilliant, as hyped. Definitely reminiscient of The Birthday Party, but less chaotic or bewildered in its longing and vitriol. There's an understanding there, finally. Still primal, yet seasoned. Superb.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Oh my.

I was kicking around the archives on bunny's blog yesterday and I found something so addictive that it has proceeded to suck my life away, but in the most pleasurable way.

I present to you, dear readers, Gorillaz Mah Jong.

CRACK. Don't say I didn't warn you.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A 50-ton bowhead whale killed by Alaskan whalers in May was found to have the remnants of a 19th century explosive harpoon lodged in its neck.

Calculating a whale's age can be difficult, and is usually gauged by amino acids in the eye lenses. It's rare to find one that has lived more than a century, but experts say the oldest were close to 200 years old.

Imagine a possible 200 years in the depths, sentinel to all of that which is still unknown to us -- amazing.

I am so enchanted by the sea and pre-mechanized mariner life, and as such I was fascinated and excited by the find. But I am also melancholy about the end for this whale.

I recognize that there are Inuit and other indigenous cultures who still follow the old ways, and honor whales like many Native Americans honored buffalo. And yeah, who am I to talk -- I still eat meat. But I am still thinking: with all we (even indigenous peoples) have to eat, how can we continue to kill creatures like this, and kill them so brutally -- these grand beings left over from a time before our time?

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Contrary to a previous post about fears that Google will soon be so pinpointy in the all-seeing arena that they will be able to report to local authorities whether or not your pores are dirty -- I see that they are instead putting their Eye of Sauron to good use.

Bravo, Goog! Humanitarian work is A-OK. But, like countless others...

...ironically, yes, and *ahem* with you as my current primary search engine, email client, and blog platform. But nonetheless!

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I highly recommend that you check out the official MySpace of one of my favorite bass players of all time, Joy Division and New Order bassist Peter Hook.

The late Ian Curtis seems to be the most cited reason people love Joy Division, but Peter Hook is mine. His basslines for Joy Divison are one of the two reasons I picked up the bass. But the thing I love most about Peter Hook is his honest and matter-of-fact take on his life, his work, and those surrounding him, as well as his willingness to share this with his fans. For this reason, I particularly recommend his blog.

I'm all about the no-bullshit, scrappy straight-shooters, and Hooky's blog is not only candid, but a completely disarming Mancunian stream of consciousness from a man who seems to be enjoying life to the fullest. He also seems to be doing something every damn minute of the day -- djing in Tokyo one day, Istanbul the next, then jetting off to record some commentary for a New Order DVD, then home to see his "girls," and then off to do some bits for a film on The Hacienda -- while still working on his own musical projects, like Freebass (with Andy Rourke -- yeah!).

I also recommend checking out the 2005 Bass Player magazine article and interview from the above photo too. Good stuff that showcases Hooky's down to earth personality and bass-playing style. It is nice to hear I'm not the only one who cannot sing and play at the same time!

Anyway, I'm hooked! (heehee, right?.........alright, nevermind, I'll get my hat)

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

My amazing friend Aaron, the man behind the previously blogged Tactical Ice Cream Unit, is exhibiting at Psychobotany in Los Angeles through June 17. In this project, Aaron and the Center for Tactical Magic explore the nature of consciousness and the consciousness of nature through interaction between the human mind and living plants.

While the theories of the effect of human communication on plants isn't new, I'm positive Aaron has something dazzling, engaging, and provocative up his sleeve, especially for the lecture! And while the implications for direction on this subject are multifaceted (environmental, military-political, social, etc.), for me the social aspect won out. I think it is extremely important to be reminded of just how effective our own energy can be on other living beings when thinking about cultivating and continuing contentment, health, and compassion. This is something I really wish to remember in my communications with, and my thoughts about, people around me.

From the Center for Tactical Magic website:

Within less than a day, the "negative" plant was already looking significantly wilted. By the end of the exhibition, it was nearly dead, and perished shortly thereafter. Few changes in overall growth were detected between the "control" and the "positive" plant. Both continue to live; however, only the "positive" plant has borne fruit.

Y'all know I am a huge proponent of one gaining strength and resilience from adversity. But in this type of experiment I can't help but think about continued, relentless human toxicity and how that intersects with compassion.

When your fear touches someone's pain it becomes pity; when your love touches someone's pain it becomes compassion -- Stephen Levine

Plants demonstrate quite well the effect of toxicity leveled at them, but they are only one-way, because they cannot talk back. How many of us know someone whose constant negativity and pain results in a vicious poison circle from which they cannot exit -- devastating not only those around them. but themselves? What to do with that kind of misery? It is a constant struggle when in this type of relationship with someone, to overcome impulses to "fix," maintain one's own sense of worth and happiness without getting angry at the person, and not enter that toxic arena. I'm frankly no good at this at all, and I know very often I've gone the easier route and just removed myself from the situation. Sometimes you have to.

Funny, this, because I've also been reading recently about mindfulness meditation which may help one shed negativity in interactions, maybe put some positive energy out there for grabs if it's wanted, and move toward becoming stronger and more resilient in the face of adversity. Hee, maybe you can mix the bootstraps with Buddhism.

I guess the ultimate result for me at least would be to stay connected but still move freely in and around in a neutral or positive manner, and then move out -- because a living thing must also have its own will and space to live and grow too. Easier said than done, huh? No wonder therapists and yogis can charge so much for their services!

Anyway, lately when I see Aaron I have been feeling a real sense of light and love coming from him, even more so than usual. Just being around him perks me up. There's definitely something to this.

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Saturday, June 02, 2007


Love it when scrappy headbutts and proceeds to smash some sod who gets onstage to try and beat his ass. Do I have to ask if that's true? I don't think so.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

Whoa, been over to Google Maps lately and checked out the new "Street View?" Holy smokes, I don't know whether to cry with joy or laugh in terror.

Street View allows you to navigate video stills of streets as if you were walking them (only major streets in cities in the SF Bay Area, and other major streets in a handful of American and Canadian cities, have been thus mapped as of this writing). You can also pan 360 degrees and zoom to the level that you can see the face of a person walking on the sidewalk.

The joy: so frikken cool, and I've already had a ball looking at my friends' neighborhoods and homes. I look forward to navigating cities I've never visited and might not ever, like Sao Paulo in Brazil or any number of places in Australia, and of course finally seeing what it looks like around where some of my online friends live.

But the joy is also the terror. People are already squawking about privacy issues and the ever-growing possibility of Google becoming the all-seeing big bad, in cahoots with evil corporations, evil governments, NAMBLA, all of the former, or [insert not-as-all-seeing, but with a compliant Goog, as-equally-big-bad average citizen nemesis here] to divide us from our hard-earned cash, put us in jail, take away our [speech, guns, porno, etc.], indoctrinate our children, or other equally wicked wickedness.

I know we've all watched and read enough sci-fi to be concerned about the implications of anything that may sow the seeds of dystopia, but is it really that much of a problem? In this increasingly web-based world, is Mr. Murdoch tracking your every word on MySpace and selling it to The Gap more or less sinister than your husband possibly seeing you kiss your lover goodbye in your driveway on Street View?

I guess the question is less that than this: in this increasingly web-based world, are we becoming too comfortable, and it is time to start reining in our personal presence on the web? Or should we just trust and realize that to live in a reasonable manner you'll never be off the grid entirely, so just roll with (or without) caution?