Friday, April 29, 2005

Photo Friday: Fancy

The rotunda at City Hall in San Francisco + a feather boa = fancy.

The Big One-Seven-Five

Happy birthday, Adolph Sutro! Engineering mastermind, savvy businessman, once-Mayor of San Francisco, builder of the Cliff House and the Sutro Baths, and planter of the Sutro Forest on top of Mount Sutro. This is where the Sutro Tower was built in 1971-72 (named for the location, not the man) and where it still stands, stoically watching over me and protecting my puppies as they run and play in Duboce Park. I'm a big fan of the tower. I love living near enough to it so that I can see it everyday--but far enough away so that I can avoid all that electromagnetic radiation.

The Sutro Tower is 977 feet tall, and weighs about 3.7 million pounds. It stands in the exact center of San Francisco, and I think that the city's landscape is incomplete without it. So many photographers focus on the Golden Gate Bridge (love it), the skyline of the downtown financial district (love it), the Coit Tower (love it), the TransAmerican--or, "Pyramid"--Building (love it), even the Bay Bridge (love it, except when I'm stuck on it).

But I love how all of these glorious and beautiful landmarks are all crowded around the mouth of the bay and the Embarcadero and the Presidio, all packed into this relatively tiny space (not unlike the Victorians throughout the city), and the Sutro Tower stands proudly above them and west up Market Street, balancing out the conglomeration of concrete and steel beauties. The visual is astounding. And once the fog gets involved, it's all I can do not to cry.

Sometimes I never want to leave this city.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Great White North comes to Palo Alto

It's raining again, and the commute was hellish. But I had beautiful music to get me through it, so I don't feel the need to fill my blog with traffic and weather complaints. Consider yourselves lucky (she said to all 3 readers.).

If I were the kind of person who gave shout-outs, I would give one to I & J who have a special new friend in their lives. They are going to make terrific parents.

Later this afternoon, The Planning Shop is going to get a visit from one our favorite people: Wade Davies. Wade is the guy who prints our books. He doesn't print them personally, but he manages all the stuff between us sending him an electronic file and him sending us physical books. And he's plays hockey! And he's Canadian. One of the first interactions I ever had with Wade was back in 1999. It was the week before Thanksgiving, and a fax came in with a cartoon drawing a hitch-hiking turkey and an American flag. The caption read, "Don't let your turkey get away! Happy Thanksgiving!" it wasn't that it was specifically Canadian in origin, or even non-American, but something about it was so sincere and sweet. It was discovered years later that it had come from a book of fax templates specifically designed for Canadians to send to their American clients...I still have that fax.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Yet Another Paris Hilton Post

OK, so having TiVo means a couple of things:

1) I have never been happier in my entire life.

2) It might be a week or two after a show airs that I actually blog about it.

With point #2 in mind, last week's episode of The Simple Life was so enlightening! Paris and Nicole had an internship at this ultra-hip ad agency, and they were assigned to the new Burger King campaign for the Enormous breakfast sandwich. Hilarity ensued. A subplot of the episode involved the girls' host family--a mother and son team who act as care takers of 2 twin baby orangutans.


Watching Paris Hilton interact with baby orangutans was brilliant television. This girl had found her place. As soon as she saw them Paris squealed with delight and commenced with the cuddling. She laughed heartily when the organgutans pulled on her hair and clothes, and yanked her skirt up to reveal her turquoise undergarments (not the same way she laughs when she yanks up her own skirt in clubs and such--this time, it was endearing.). I think Paris should take her millions of dollars and invest in an orangutan habitat. And then film a reality show about it. I'd TiVo that.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Scarf #3

Things change. As far as I can tell, this is the only constant in life.

Maybe the San Francisco Giants and SBC Park have been hit pretty hard by the economy. Maybe they wanted to make a point about classism. For whatever reason, they are now insisting that you remove your own damn center from the ass gaskets. This applies to all restrooms in the stadium, including the Club Level. I did some heavy reconnaissance work to come to this conclusion. Beers were consumed. Bladders were emptied.

Despite the extra bathroom responsibility forced upon me, I had a terrific time at the game. The garlic fries were tasty. And during the 3rd, 4th, 7th, 8th and 9th innings, I managed to finish knitting scarf #3:

Scarf #3 modeled by yours truly:

It's a lot less chartreuse and more grass green than it looks. And it's the first of many skinny spring scarves to come, in a variety of spring-like colors. Pink. Turquoise. Melon. SPRING. Not winter. Spring.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Why yes, I am better than most people.

Tonight I'm going to the Giants game at SBC Park (read: going out for garlic fries) with my dad. SBC Park really is a beautiful stadium, very olde tyme and retro. It's also one of the few places that really makes you feel special if you're a premium ticket holder.

Most places charge you an extra 20 bucks per ticket for what amounts to nothing but a better, closer view of the team/band/show. You still have to wait in line, you still have to circle around on the endless parking search. When we saw Mates of State at Slim's, we bought premium tickets, which included dinner, only because those were the only tickets left. Slim's did a great job at making us feel, well, premium. Even our seats were elevated above all of the regular, common folk, the general admission ticket holders. Because we were better than, and our tickets proved it.

SBC Park shows its reverence for its premium ticket holders by providing some basic necessities, but with a little more oomph. The food in the Club Level, as it's called, is all around better (the garlic fires are available to all ticket holders, don't worry). You can actually find a salad there, which is a pleasant escape from the delicious but oh-so-greasy hot dogs found in the "regular" section of the park. There are 2 full bars--because I don't know about you, but by the bottom of the 5th inning, I could kill for a gin and tonic. Plus, the Club Level provides a glass window-enclosed viewing area for when the fog rolls in and the wind picks up and it gets really cold. (Anyone who's spent a summer evening in San Francisco knows what I'm talking about. For those of you who haven't experienced the anomaly of weather that is San Francisco, it's almost May and I'm knitting a scarf. For immediate usage.)

But here's the real kicker, that extra mile that the Giants go in order to make its premium ticket holders feel the love: the center portions of the toilet seat covers are pre-separated. That is to say, instead of punching out the center portion along the perforations, like you would in any other public restroom, simply pull up, then pull down, and place on toilet seat. SBC Park and your San Francisco Giants have done the rest. But only for our premium Club Level ticket holders. Everyone else has to remove the center of their own ass gaskets.

Unless you know how to sneak into the Club Level.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Two great tastes that taste great together

The following list is comprised of pairs of things that go together very well indeed. Why, you ask? Why not?

Magnum, P.I. and Tropicana pizza
(that's pizza with curry, bananas, ham, and mushrooms):
This combination is best experience when laying on a mattress on the floor of your--or a friend's--dorm room, watching re-runs of Magnum--with Swedish subtitles if at all possible--and sharing the above mentioned Swedish junk food delicacy. (I'm not kidding, There are dozens of weird Swedish pizza toppings and combinations, including, but not limited to, fried eggs and prawns. There's an interesting blog post about it here and here.)

Chocolate and Cheese:
Acceptable variations include:
1. Hostess cupcakes and EZ Cheese
2. Convenience store brownies and the spready cheese from Handi-Snacks cheese n' crackers
3. Ritz Bitz cheese sandwich crackers and chocolate frosting from a can

Knitting and Network Crime Dramas:
If you're not a knitter, you may substitute needle point, crosstitch, pant-leg-hemming, crocheting, or any other form of hand-help fiber arts. Recommended combinations:
1. Law & Order: Criminal Intent & a ribbed, grass green scarf
2. CSI Miami & and a turquoise remote control cozy
3. Las Vegas (well I think it's a crime drama) and a tangerine faux-letterman dog sweater

Marc Summers and Gary Sinise:
'Cause I said so.

Photo Friday: Soft

This little house lion may be just about the softest thing ever. Of course, referring to Miru as "little" is done only in comparison to a regular-sized lion. Ain't nothing little about him.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Baby Talk

One of my favorite people in the world is pregnant. In fact, she's very pregnant. Like, 4 days past her due date, camping outside the hospital and ready to pay someone to induce labor pregnant. Her husband is another one of my favorite people in the world. They are going to make the most kick-ass set of parents any little kid could hope for. Last September when they told me that they were pregnant (joyful squeal!) and moving to Minneapolis (depressed sob!), the baby was approximately the size of J.'s fist. Of her fist. The baby is now the size of some thing much larger than a fist, the size of something that makes the woman carrying it in her body determined to destroy all cameras in a 3 mile radius. Godspeed, little Baby Redman. Please hurry and relieve your mommy--I know she'd appreciate it.

So I've already got baby on the brain. One of the best bloggers around writes wonderful anecdotes about his kids (as a good daddy should). Another one of my favorite bloggers wrote about her very pregnant friend today. All of these baby-doin's a-transpirin' make me look around at my two 65 pound dogs and my two 14-pound cats and think, "Thank god they don't wear diapers."

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

This is the funniest thing I've ever seen in my life.

Ever. I swear.

I have been known, at times, to exaggerate. This is not one of those times.

Do I look like I'm kidding?

Tomorrow night I'm going to try my darndest to meet my friend S. at The Rite Spot to see The Frisky Frolics. If you like ukuleles, tin pan alley music, festive headwear, or any combination of the three, then you would also enjoy The Frisky Frolics. And seriously now, who doesn't enjoy a good ukulele-driven bar act?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Spring, she has sprung, yes?

If you had any doubt, here's proof that it is absolutely, totally Springtime:

It's not that Ozzy only rolls in the grass when it's Springtime, but the dreary Winter months don't compel him to roll with such voracity, with such gusto. Speaking of gusto...

If ever a dog had a sole purpose in life, Nanna was put on this earth to fetch tennis balls (and sticks, and anything else even remotely spherical or made of wood). Some of you gentle readers have even seen Nanna throw herself off of small cliffs in pursuit of limbs, logs and sticks in general. And Springtime, especially post-daylight savings Springtime, means longer hours and more sunlight in which to fetch.

The joyous arrival of Spring, and the fact that it doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, is not limited to parks and grass and dogs, oh no. The barren skeletons of the ivy that covers The Planning Shop's hallowed walls also revel in this glorious season.

I trust you'll believe me when I tell you that I am wearing all pink today.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Photo Friday: Rest

Yes, I know it's Monday. Thanks.

Max and the Oz were couch bound for the evening. This was in the old apartment, (dang, I miss that red wall) after a long day of driving around with the convertible top down. It's tough being a dog. It's even tougher being a 65 pound lap dog (tough on the lap, that is.).

Suggested caption: "Does my dog's butt look big in this picture?"

Friday, April 15, 2005

Play Ball?

Anyone who reads Rhonda's weekly column (I know you all read Rhonda's weekly column) knows that baseball season has begun. I am not a baseball fan. More than that, I am a hockey fan. I like my spectator sports violent, emotional, full of vendettas, extremely fast-paced, and preferably on ice. I love it when a game comes down to an incredible goalie, a huge defenseman, and couple of crazy-fast forwards with a 2-on-1. I love the home team broadcasters with mandatory Canadian accents. I love Dippin' Dots (it's the ice cream of the future--right now!), power plays, and sudden death over time.

But something strange happened today. Maybe it was the smell of fresh cut grass at the park across the street. Or the sunshine that felt so warm on my shoulders. Heck, maybe was watching that Yankees outfielder almost beat the crap out of the Boston fan on TV last night (yeah, it was probably that). But something made me say to myself, "Gee, I'd sure like to go to a ball game soon. I could really go for some garlic fries."

(Of course I realize that this wouldn't have happened if there had been a hockey game to watch at any point in the last year and a half, or if there were any hope of watching a hockey game in the next year and a half. Of course I realize that the void hockey has left in my life, my heart, and my TV viewing schedule cannot be filled by laundry, Hebrew lessons and heavy snacking alone. And no, of course baseball will never fill that void...but it wouldn't hurt to let it sublease the void for a bit.)

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Do you have a businesswoman's special?

I'm an important person. I'm a busy professional with an active social life and many obligations, philanthropic and otherwise. I hardly have time to get my powersuit pressed, let alone read a book. Thank goodness for Book-A-Minute! Why, just this morning I read Don Quixote:

Don Quixote: Chivalry demands I destroy that evil thing.

Sancho Panza: No, master. It is something ordinary and harmless.

Don Quixote: (falls down)


Ah, good times.

Of course, I'm also far too busy to fiddle with things like focus, aperture or light settings when taking photographs along Market Street. Thank heavens for the Holga AFX automatic everything camera!

I demand satisfaction!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Mmmmmm, art without trying.

Happy birthday, Thomas Jefferson! The big two-six-two. I was going to get you a birthday present, but I couldn't find any liberty or death.

If you want to see an amazing music video, check out Dealership's "All the Kids" video. Great song, great concept, great execution. For another taste of what these kids can do, listen to this melodic gem. Anyone in the San Francisco area who's interested in a little poppy goodness can see them next Tuesday at 12 Galaxies.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Squirrel, must get squirrel...

My dog talks in his sleep. This is nothing new. He has always barked and chased things in his sleep, the consequences of this action are two equally amusing results: the sleep-barking creates this wonderfully muffled "wurf" sound, almost exactly like the sound made by the cartoon dog in an old animated Amazing Stories episode (the episode was called "The Family Dog." At one point, the dog eats too much of the dish at which the family turned up its collective nose--"Tater puffs and cheese whip. Enjoy!"--and can barely move, let alone bark, at the burglars who break in while the family is out getting pizza. "Bur wur wurf!"). The sleep-chasing causes Ozzy's toes to move independently of one another, which is really quite a sight. It's as if he's running on his tippy toes.

Lately, there's a new aspect to Ozzy's sleepy time adventures: sleep-wagging. As he happily chases and barks through his doggie dreams, his tail thumps loudly against the carpet, but without its normal rhythmic quality. Just one or 2 thumps, then the precious "wurf"-ing, then another thump. It's all I can do not to bust out laughing.

I hope he caught whatever it was he was chasing.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Beep beep, yeah

I commute to work. And when I say commute, I mean that my iPod and I are really good friends. I mean that I can sometimes finish Steve Inskeep's sentences for him. I mean that I consider Dana Fields and Joe McConnell from metro traffic to be close, personal friends.

It's about 35 miles from my apartment in Duboce Triangle to The Planning Shop's headquarters in Palo Alto. Depending on traffic and time of day, it takes about 1 hour to go from point A to point B, and about 75 minutes for the return trip. I promise, I'm not complaining. I'm just stating physical facts about distance and time. I love my job, and I love my home. I'm not willing to sacrifice either in order to increase my free time, and I refuse to spend what little free time I have complaining about my lack of free time. Besides, I have a really nice car (save for its obvious flaw) which makes my commute comfortable and safe.

Carpooling is a smart move for many reasons, not the least of which is that we get to use the carpool lane. And what could be better than zipping past all those single riders stuck in gridlock? Good times.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Dusky Goodness

Avondschemering in Dutch.

Skymning in Swedish.

Crepuscolo in Italian.

Abenddämmerung in German.

Erev in Hebrew.

It's my favorite time of day, especially now that we've sprung forward and I can actually enjoy it.

This was the first time I had ever heard M. Ward. The song felt so much like dusk, just after the storm and before the next storm rolls in, perfectly twilight. Falling in love with music is such a hard thing to share, hard to properly explain.

New cameras! The medium format Holga and the less sophisticated Holga AFX, both birthday gifts from Max, just arrived. I can barely type, I'm shaking with excitement! I'm going to guess the learning curve will be, er, curvy, so it may take me a while to get some shots up here. But get them up here I will.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

This one's dedicated

Congratulations, Patty! I thank you, Cecil B. Da Couch thanks you, and the OCD-inspired order of my home thanks you. You should be receiving the first part of your prize, a small token of my appreciation, in approximately 4-6 weeks. For the second part of your prize, you requested the song "Mahna Mahna," dedicated to your friend and mine, Brian P. Luce (remember, the "L" is silent.). Because you did not specify which version of "Mahna Mahna" you want, I chose the version which I felt was most befitting Brian's personality.

Click here to enjoy your prize!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

If you're happy and you know it

This one goes out to M. who says:

"I like songs with stomping and clapping in them."

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Thirst for knowledge

For the past 2 months, I've been taking Hebrew lessons with my mom at the local JCC. Being in a classroom environment has reminded me that sometimes, I actually enjoy learning. My desire to learn is entirely equal my my lack of attention, hence my NPR-style skill set (I know how to do a little bit of a lot of things.). I can kind of play the accordion, I kind of know how to perform trampoline movements (stop laughing--it's not as easy as it sounds. There's a scientific method and physioligical know-how involved. I'm telling you, I took 2 quarters of trampoline in college. I said stop laughing.), I can knit, kind of...the list goes on.

But this time, I found the lessons that will keep my attention nice and focused: ventriloquism in a month! See, it's the combined promise of learning something in a month, and learning something that will so totally impress my friends at parties.

And if it doesn't impress them, I obviously need new friends.

Monday, April 04, 2005

I've got a flaming heart

Check me, like, totally out!

Things that are making me especially happy today:

1. mermaids (the mythical sea creatures, not the movie)
2. my new hair color
3. eggplant
4. anything grass green in color, especially when combined with anything turquoise or aqua
5. mail-order shopping
6. apple juice

Congratulations to Patty! The new sofa is named Cecil B. Da Couch. Patty's prize will be delivered via Luce (the "L" is silent) Delivery Corporation. You may submit your song request and dedication informaiton via the comment form, or via Luce (the "U" is silent, too) Delivery Corporation. Great job, Patty!

Friday, April 01, 2005

Photo Friday: Hot

Photo Friday's theme is "Hot."


Let me once again sing the praises of the new sofa. As the weekend draws ever nearer, I can almost feel the soft, supple chenille, and almost see my impending diet cola nestled in its smooth plastic cup holder... The Sofa needs a name. I don't normally name my furniture and household items--no, that's a total lie, as Stan the toaster oven and Peter Pot Belly the fireplace will be the first to tell you. Please enter your submissions via the comment form, and if your submission is chosen, you'll receive a small token of my affection. Plus, I'll post a song that you can dedicate to someone. It's a win-win situation.

Here now are photos of the sofa being born unto my living room.

Behold the sofatacity!

Gimme an M!

It's funny stuff, this Google April Fools' Day tradition. And it's healthy, if not imperative, to be able to laugh at yourself. Heck, I laugh at yourself all the time. Aaaaaaaaaaalllllllll the time.

Is it a testament to my love of marquis, or to M's position as the ultimate show date?

Is it a testement to my love of dingy little bodegas, or to M's position as the ultimate show date?

Hooray for M and her ability to open herself up to new music, like going to see M. Ward with me, and hopefully the Fiery Furnaces and Q and Not U. Hooray for M and her ability to force me to tone down my critical judgmentality and my general dislike of people in order to go see new music like Jolie Holland. We'll just not mention Coco Rosie or Antony and the Johnsons.

Indeed, hooray for M.