Sunday, January 31, 2010

Winter Brewfest, Linden Street Brewery, Oakland, 1.30.2010

Shipping container turned giant kegerator:

Over 30 breweries, sunshine, bicycle valet, BBQ, and no fights! A beautiful day...

The beers I tried:

Lagunitas Gnarlywine, Black Diamond Dubbel with Cherries, Alaskan Smoked Porter, Moonlight Burnt Toast, Ale Industries Fuzzy Sno-Beck and Extra Pale, Iron Springs Fairfax Coffee Porter, 21st Amendment Monk's Blood, Linden Street Urban Peoples' Common Lager and Black Lager, Two Rivers Pomegranate Cider, Uncommon Brewers Bacon Brown and Rubidus Maple Red

Bacon Brown and Burnt Toast for the win!

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Just got a listen in to the new album by The Knife, Tomorrow, In a Year, which is the result of a commission by Denmark's Hotel Pro Forma theater group to write an electro-opera based on Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species.

The Knife created one of my best albums of 2006, so naturally I jumped at the chance to hear their newest effort. When I heard about the concept, I was completely fascinated and intrigued. And then I heard they were collaborating with Mount Sims. Slamdunk.

The execution is really tight, and the finished product feels definitely Knifey with its driving 80s electro beats, but with some very organic-sounding bits, a la Matmos. The operatic singing I can do without, but maybe it will grow on me.

Due out in digital form on February 2 and on double CD March 1, you can listen to the album in its entirety at the NPR site.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

What I was really hanging around for, I was trying to feel some kind of a good-by. I mean I've left schools and places I didn't even know I was leaving them. I hate that. I don't care if it's a sad good-by or a bad good-by, but when I leave a place I like to know I'm leaving it. If you don't, you feel even worse.

from The Catcher in the Rye


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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness...And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.

from "The Optimism of Uncertainty"

Rest in peace, good sir.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

A. A. Bondy at Cafe du Nord, 1.20.2010

While Bondy isn't much for stage presence -- his banter was limited (and though sincere, quite awkward) and he kept lowering the lights until the entire stage was black with a tinge of red -- it really didn't matter. His dreamlike, heartfelt lyrics, soulful delivery, and sweet melodies punctuated with big Neil Young-esque chords (on one of two Sunburst guitars) didn't need any additional accoutrement.

I'd been waiting for the show to buy his first album on vinyl, American Hearts, and my friend bought the second (When The Devil's Loose, which made my tops for 2009), and both Bondy and his merch/roadie/sound/lighting guy were just sweet as pie and pleased as punch, thanking us for supporting the show and the records. Good people.

What a lovely way to end a rainy San Francisco night where earlier we actually got into the Monk's Kettle right away, and tucked into creamy mac and cheese and Fuller's London Porter on nitro tap. Yum!

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I am filled with hope as I hear about the testimony from same-sex couples and arguments from those representing them during the current Proposition 8 proceedings before Federal District Court. How can anyone argue against love, justice, and equal treatment in favor of second-class citizenship?

Still on the fence? This might change some minds...

The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Just wanted to slip in a quick post about the bests of 2009. Quick, and short.

Overall, 2009 was meh. From what I am hearing from other folks, I'm not alone in this sentiment. Maybe that contributes to my reluctance to do a bests list this year, but you know me -- I can always find a little patch of goodness in the general ickiness.

My focus is usually music, and this year I have three albums that are tops. I'm sure I will be reminded of more, but it is true that every year my list gets smaller. I don't know if that means, a) I'm getting more discriminating, or b) I'm getting old.

I suppose it could also be, c) I'm having too much fun to sit in front of my record collection and computer and come up with a whole damn list. Yeah, let's go with that one! :)

I'm also going to let youtube do all the work. Ha, I'm not only old, but lazy! (I mean, um, discriminating and busy...)

1) Bat for Lashes: Two Suns

Her debut in 2006, Fur and Gold, is a gorgeous and more spare album; in Two Suns she broke out the dark disco, and it is equally terrific. Comparisons to Kate Bush are not wrong.


2) Neko Case: Middle Cyclone

One of the greatest voices of our generation.

'This Tornado Loves You'

3) A.A. Bondy: When the Devil's Loose

The latest 2009 purchase. Been listening to him nonstop. Seeing him live next week, and I am so excited!

'The Mightiest of Guns'

Best show was Echo and the Bunnymen, hands down. Live vicariously through me here.

And as I am on the eternal quest for less toxic things that I use everyday, I also want to give some love to two products I found this year that have changed my life, yo.

1) Griffin Remedy hair and body products, in San Francisco, CA

They really can't be beat. Local, with an ingredient list that is comparable in goodness to the natural bodycare veteran Aubrey Organics, but at a third of the price -- the bodycare clerk at Berkeley Bowl said they are the only other brand besides Aubrey that she recommends wholeheartedly. But Aubrey makes my hair slack and limp -- Griffin Remedy made my hair so shiny and healthy that the person who cuts my hair asked what I was using. They don't yet have their haircare line on their website, but if you call them you can order direct. *love*

2) Grateful Body moisturizer, in Berkeley, CA

Another local, all-natural standout. Oily-skinned ladies, holla -- the moisturizer for "oil-rich" skin does NOT make you feel like you need to wash your face, nor is it full of alcohol; in fact, this moisturizer will change the way your skin feels, and how you feel about your oily skin. It's pricey, so I use it very very sparingly, but even an itty bit makes your skin feel wow. One look at the ingredient list that reads like an herb and flower garden and you won't be able to say no to yourself.

Got some bests of your own? Blogged about them (or not)? I would love to hear about them (or be directed to them) in the comments.

Looking forward to the standout joys of 2010!

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Saturday, January 02, 2010

Still on a glorious 2 week vacation from work -- and for the first time with my man, who is enjoying the fruits of working for a high school and is also on vacay for two weeks -- so I think all I can muster, a day late, is...

Happy New Year!

I'm not one for resolutions, but I did join the gym, cut back on the Shermans, and start reading and eating in more, but all in the last couple of months before January 1st. I'm more of a work on yourself all year type of gal. But I can appreciate the clean slate feeling of the January 1st resolution. Anyone have any doozies?

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better [wo]man

~ Benjamin Franklin