Sunday, August 31, 2008

OMG, Green Porno. No words. Go now!

Cheers to my sweetcakes for the link.

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mouth of the Architect at Thee Parkside, 8.29.2008

Keys and theremin and probably in need of lots of lemon tea today:

This guy was really nice:

The band on before them, Behold...the Arctopus, had something I had never seen before, a Warr Guitar -- which was pretty amazing to watch:

All in all, not a bad night for some post-metal loving. So yes, Chris, it was Ratatouille all over again. Cheers!

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

This new interview with Karl Lagerfeld in The Sunday Times is beyond fantastic. Even better than the interview from March that made me stop thinking of him as a mean old fop and begin respecting him as a person. He's genuine, and though he has the luxury to say exactly what he thinks, I still respect him quite a bit for his honest take on life.

The best part of this interview are the insights into what made Karl Lagerfeld what he is today. I'm torn on whether these tidbits are too good to be true, or if they're so perfectly, dysfunctionally fitting that they HAVE to be true.

(Surprise!) His mother:

His mother was free-spirited, stylish and harsh. Lagerfeld recalls he was not allowed to chatter on when talking to her and had to be quick, the reason why he now talks so fast. “ ‘You may be six years old, but I am not,’ she used to say.” She refused to let him wear glasses although he was short-sighted, saying: “Children with glasses are the ugliest thing in the world.” She also took little interest in his schooling, never attending a parent-teacher evening. Nor did she ever attend one of his fashion shows later in life, despite his success. “She said, ‘Well, I didn’t go to your father’s office either,’ ” he laughs.

On why he owns so many books:

He shrugs his shoulders, purses his lips, then tells a story from his childhood: when his uncle (“I adored him, he was the chicest man I ever knew”) took him for a walk, Lagerfeld failed to recognise the name of a minor German poet on a street sign.

“I was 10 and he slapped me in the face. I had never been slapped in the face by anybody. When we returned to the house, my uncle shouted at my mother, ‘Your son is as shallow and superficial as you!’ I will never forget that.”

And the best one:

“I buy my shoes a size too small,” he says. “I like the way it feels.”

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

After a year or more of brewing mugicha on my fire escape next to some sad terra-cotta pots that contained equal amounts of dried-up organic matter and cigarette butts, and after a rash of move-outs on my floor of my building, I decided it was safe for me to do some commandeering:

I know, it doesn't look like much, but I am banking on that basil and parsley to grow like the dickens. And I do have another pot waiting in the wings for some other delectable. Maybe arugula?

Oh, and speaking of urban gardening, I finally got an avocado off the tree in the backyard before that squirrel got to it. You know the one: lustrous coat, a look of contentment in his gleaming eyes, plump little body, and a big ol' fluffy tail (as compared to the squirrels that subsist on french fries in Mosswood Park: greasy, eyes full of mistrust and fear, emaciated, with tails like half-eaten corn cobs).

Anyway, although he can climb quite well, he always snags the low-hanging fruit and eats only the tops or just takes a few bites out of them to render them useless, and then leaves them in the picnic area to taunt me.

This is my coup!

Victory never (presumably) tasted so in need of a good week in a paper bag on my countertop.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Simple (and not so simple) pleasures...

Brunch at Horseshoe:

Buttermilk Pancakes with Pecan Butter

Eggs Florentine

Alien invasion at the Red Vic:

In 3-D!

Caramel pudding with sea salt (to die for), artisanal cheese plate, angel food cake and strawberries, and some outstanding cocktails at Flora:

And how can one forget seeing the pink Studebaker?

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

This was a pretty interesting read:

Stanford Biologist Sees Money in Preservation of the Environment

This is a new way of saving nature. Until now, the conservation movement has said people should care about nature for nature's sake - with charity as the driving economic force to preserve land. And that, [Stanford biologist Gretchen] Daily said, has failed. She sees a renaissance in the conservation movement hinging on investment.

[...]No one gets paid for water purification or climate stabilization or protecting biodiversity on a large scale. That's what Daily envisions.

She advocates at the state and even country government level, using software developed that can, for example, "estimate the worth of a forest full of pollinating insects vital to nearby crop production."

Where does it make sense to convert forests to agricultural production? Where should they be left alone?

Financially strapped countries could find the tool crucial, advocates say. A poor nation might be tempted to let a rich corporation develop land because it doesn't know the dollar value of the natural resources that will be destroyed.

"If you put yourself in the shoes of a poor government, it's hard to turn down the cash deal," said Mark Tercek, a former official at investment giant Goldman Sachs who recently left to head the Nature Conservancy. "It's hard to put a value on these services. That's what (Daily) is trying to map out."


"We're in the biggest mass extinction since the dinosaurs," [Daily] said in her Stanford office, which is covered with photos of her husband and two children. "People estimate we'll lose half of the Earth's life forms in our lifetime."

I don't know who "people" are, but that postulation is scary.

On a related note, this reminds me of the fundamental difference of policy that has guided two different nonprofits I've worked for, and how I believe it has been the key to their successes. Both social justice nonprofits, this difference stems from a crucial bit in their mission statements: investing in their grantees and clients, versus a "charity" approach, which I have seen firsthand foster community and allow dignity and personal power in one's life to drive lasting change.

Oh lord, help me remember this in my own life's little interactions!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

One of my favorite things to order at a Thai restaurant is Pumpkin Curry. Oh man, I can eat a whole bowl of that stuff by myself. But believe it or not, it can be almost impossible to find in Oakland, at least on menu. And my favorite anyway is at Bang San -- 12 miles and a bridge crossing, or a BART ride and walk through the most charming parts of the Tenderloin -- all the way over in San Francisco.

So on these carless, so broke-ass I can't even afford to BART into the City nights like this, I must take matters into my own hands.

Thai curries are so easy to make, and in addition to being tasty, they can also serve another purpose near and dear to my heart: cleaning out the refrigerator of those almost-dodgy veggies.

Thai Curry with Kabocha and Tofu

Kabocha is a Japanese pumpkin, and far superior to using Jack o' Lanterns. :)

1, 14 oz can light coconut milk
2 tbsp Thai red curry paste (I like Mae Ploy)
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock (broth can also be used)
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
8 oz extra firm tofu, drained and cut into cubes
1 large green bell pepper, cut into 2-inch strips
1 small kabocha squash, baked until soft and cut into rough 2-inch pieces
1 small can bamboo shoots, drained

Thai basil leaves
Cooked brown jasmine rice

Warm coconut milk in a 2 quart saucepan. Incorporate curry paste into the coconut milk. Add stock, fish sauce, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tofu and vegetables and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

Serve over cooked rice and garnish with Thai basil leaves (whole or chopped, as desired). Serves 4 generously.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Friday. Friends.

Balcony. Bruichladdich.

There are far worse things in life than to have your evening summed up like an ad in Gentleman's Quarterly; in fact, this evening was not only one of the best I've had in a while, but probably ranks in the upper echelons. Proper.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Something wonderful via Eric Baus:

The Conet Project

For more than 30 years the Shortwave radio spectrum has been used by the worlds intelligence agencies to transmit secret messages. These messages are transmitted by hundreds of Numbers Stations.

These stations use very rigid schedules, and transmit in many different languages, employing male and female voices repeating strings of numbers or phonetic letters day and night, all year round.

One might think that these espionage activities should have wound down considerably since the official end of the cold war, but nothing could be further from the truth. Numbers Stations (and by inference, spies) are as busy as ever, with many new and bizarre stations appearing since the fall of the Berlin wall.

[The Conet Project] contain 150 recordings spanning the last twenty years; taken from the private archives of dedicated shortwave radio listeners from around the world.

While I don't find these recordings to be quite my ideal soundscape (as Eric does), I do find myself completely mesmerized by the often eerie quality they possess. Highly addictive listening that is strangely beautiful.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Just so you don't have to embiggen if you don't want to, that poster lists, among others:

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss with T-Bone Burnett, Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Prince Billy, Iron & Wine, and (omg) GOGOL BORDELLO!

All for free. With BBQ and Pimm's Cup, standard. God bless Warren Hellman.

Excited excited excited.

But WTF -- MC Hammer?

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Monday, August 11, 2008

China Remembers Its Own Local Schindler, John Rabe.

I, too, became familiar with Rabe only after reading Iris Chang's book, The Rape of Nanking. That book was a hard read. How we as humans can inflict such suffering, and also continue to allow such atrocities to go on presently around the world, makes my stomach turn.

While I applaud honoring Rabe as someone who literally saved tens of thousands of people from certain excruciating suffering and death, I can't help but be perplexed by how he could do such good while being a proud and active member of the Nazi party -- which was at the very least silent consent to the similar Nazi policies that reaped much more prevalent horrors in Europe. How could he do such noble deeds to fight mass slaughter of one people by another, yet continue to participate in a party quite obviously on its way to doing something similarly reprehensible?

It's an interesting conundrum that is difficult to reconcile, and I suppose I should feel blessed that my biggest worry in life is to contemplate it.

While searching out a link for Chang's book in Wikipedia and clicking through the pages, I did come across something that made me think, "those were the days." How different would our world be if people who hate others for the color of their skin or for their religious preferences or other random BS had to experience the result of what they sow and do this?
I love the tamale lady. It's about time she got her due in the city rag!

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

I really can't stand the writing of the author of this article (so much so I'm not naming him for any further free publicity), but I do like the subject matter.

So, what are your greatest rock and roll myths? (And I just have to say, haha, Robert Plant, you card.)

I was quite surprised that the first one that popped into my mind -- the old school yarn of a Bowie/Jagger affair -- didn't make the cut. Glamorous myth, or glamorous truth?

But I must agree: that "half-eaten backstage deli tray by a moth-eaten couch under the green glow of fluorescent lights" is truly the sad, sad backstage reality that kills the glamorous rock and roll backstage fantasy.

Though, in my case, it was more like cheap alcoholic leftovers in a plastic bus tub -- filled now with more water than ice -- sitting by a moth-eaten couch in a room with one window, being scavenged by a local tambourine player/record store clerk and his coked-up friends. Leftovers that were also being offered to me by a roadie who may have been thinking of me as a sexytime prospect. Oy vey.

I'm still disappointed from that complete nosedive of my backstage fantasy!

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Wow, look what I found on my evening walk in a moving box surrounded by trash in the abandoned video store parking lot around the corner from my house.

Here's the unbelievable part: it not only works like a dream, but is a bass amp! I've been playing (I use that term loosely) my cheapie Fender Squire bass with the practice amp that came with it for the last two years. I won't even know what to do with half those knobs.

Made in the U S of A -- have an email with the serial number in to Peavey to find out when it was made.

I really, really love my neighborhood.

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

San Jose School of Library and Information Science has an sweet article about my honey-pie, Trevor Calvert, and his book, Rarer and More Wonderful, here.

Sexy author photo by moi. :*

BTW, if you still haven't picked up this little gem, you can do so at Scrambler Books.

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Friday, August 01, 2008

So, is this guy really homeless? Or just smart?

I've been intrigued by this little slice of urban living ever since I met a guy at Mama Buzz who was playing a beautiful Fender bass on the back patio on a battery-powered headphone amp. We got to talking and I came to find that even though he was fully employed and pulling in a good income, he preferred to live in his van, down by the river (for real!) And he was saving bank.

He showed me his set-up, and it was pretty nice -- though I'd have to reduce my closet by 90 percent and, as a woman, become a trained killer to live that way. Men have it so lucky! Anyway, the key, he said, was the van. White, with tinted windows, it also had a large cross hanging from the rearview and the name of an order of monks written on the side in plain script. Cops, he said, don't want to bother men of god.

I'd be a little worried about the repentants you might attract though. Especially down by the river.

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Phở at Anh Dao. Beautiful, isn't it? A little bowl of heaven.

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