Monday, April 30, 2007

Random shit I wanted to post that has no feasible connection whatsoever to any definition of "rawness"

Well, it's been quite the, uh, "explosive" weekend for the Bay Area:

* You might've heard about the minor inferno that erupted circa 3 am just east of the Bay Bridge, a.k.a. Macarthur Maze, a.k.a. heart and soul of the morning commute into the City. Truck full of some 8000 gallons of gasoline hit a pillar and erupted in a fiery burst that effectively incinerated the truck, melted the highway itself and resulted in a nightmare of a traffic situation for the foreseeable future. Amazingly, the driver walked away with only second-degree burns. It's all anyone's talking about; commuters in the East Bay especially are pretty much f*cked for the next two months or so, easily. People are saying it'll be the worst commuting mess since the '89 Loma Prieta earthquake killed the bridge. Free rides on public transport and whatnot are supposed to ease the congestion, but all I can say is: thank god I live in the City. Here's the rundown and a few unbelievable pics of the crazy fireball, too.

* The only other thing people are talking about is the wild and crazy and completely outrageously wonderful roll the Warriors are on. Holy 8th-seed basketball team whipping the Mavericks 3-1 so far! No one can believe this shit. The genuine thrill is palpable and there's a general feeling of "holy shit, this is amazing!" pretty much wherever you go. We'll be watching excitedly Tuesday night to see if they can seal the deal. Gotta love the underdogs marching in and rolling over the big guys. They're so hot right now.

* In more personally *thrilling* news, guess who went for her first run in the 10 weeks since hurting her foot?!? Yup, I finally ventured out into the gorgeous 75 degree sunshine on Saturday and hit a reasonable version of my usual long run along the Embarcadero and back up Market Street. It was amazing. Pretty scary at first. But god, did it feel great to have the wind in my hair again and to chug along up the hill to the killer view at Larkin and Chestnut overlooking Alcatraz and the Golden Gate. I am most definitely feeling it in every muscle and ligament after not using them for so long, but the best news is the foot's holding up well and it looks like I'll soon be back to my usual balance of yoga and running. This ROCKS.

Finally, tomorrow is May Day. All May baskets can be brought to my door between normal business hours. Just FYI, I prefer chocolate to gummy/sour. Just in case you wanted to plan ahead, you know.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions

"Fear no more, says the heart, committing its burden
to some sea, which sighs collectively for all sorrows,
and renews, begins, collects, lets fall."

-- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"

(Ansel Adams, "Dogwood Blossoms," 1938. Yosemite National Park)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Raw, adjective: 4. painfully open, as a sore or wound

What a funny little world.

So I'm walking home yesterday afternoon after running some errands downtown. By now I'm an expert at weaving my way up Nob Hill on the flat blocks, cutting across here and there to avoid the 45-degree angles and finagle my way home. It's sunny, 4 o'clockish, and suddenly there on Post St. I'm hit with sidewalks bursting with people, security detail wherever you look, and mad police presence. Something's going down outside of the Westin St. Francis.

And then I notice it: maybe a quarter of the crowd is wearing the familiar burgundy robes of Buddhist monks and nuns. The red and the gold, the shaved heads, all of it. Turns out the Dalai Lama's in town, and he's arriving any minute to settle into his hotel for the night before leading a big workshop over the weekend. Sure enough, a few minutes later, the street clears, a motorcade rolls up, and the men in black hop out to guard this smiling radiant icon of an old man. And suddenly there's the Dalai Lama 20 feet across the street from me. He waves (at me individually, no doubt, right?!?), kisses a few babies, rests his hands on a few heads. All the while emanating this gorgeous childlike joy.

And then he goes inside, flanked by big men on every side, and the crowd disperses, and the moment's over, and it's just another busy street on another spring day in San Francisco. And I walk the rest of the way home feeling humbled and grounded and not quite so pensive as before.

(This never would've happened in Nebraska. Just sayin'.)

I'm glad for the random run-in today. This week has just felt, well, heavy, somehow. Sunday marks two years of my father being gone, and while the anniversary is thousands of times easier to bear this year than it was last, everything still feels a little noir, a little dense, a little dark. Easy to get caught up in that headiness and lose myself in it. So I'm glad for a little reminder of the Buddhist maxim to be in the moment - let it go - and let this, now, be enough. Dad was always great about that, and even though he was inspired less by Eastern philosophy and more by a kind of no-bullshit Lutheran farm boy's simple gratitude, I always feel his influence when I'm reminded of that.

Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Raw, adjective: 10. not diluted, as alcoholic spirits: raw whiskey

Ok, so first off, just for the record, in case you haven't been paying attention: the Giants no longer suck. In fact, they're kind of rocking. Hello, 7 (or is it 8?)-game winning streak! Bonds keeps whacking the homers. This is fab.

Also on an up note, forecast for the weekend is all sunshine and upper 70s. Sweet.

Now that that's out of the way - Art Deco. Have always been a big fan of the period in terms of design and feel, but the last few months especially, I just find myself swimming around in this Piscean blue-green color palette. Tamara De Lempicka was a Polish artist who painted both of these stunners, the first (Young Girl in Green) in 1927 and this one below, Self-Portrait, two years earlier. Other than pretty much just wanting to BE the chicks in these paintings, I love their hard edges, the sense of Soft Cubism you get from them, and the impression of wind and motion that somehow comes through. Everything of this Gatsby era - the t-strap shoes, the bobbed hair, the killer jazz, F. Scott Fitzgerald and his colleagues, the architecture, speakeasy culture, all of it - I just can't get enough of. And there's something very distinct about that pale green color that I pretty much just want to blanket myself in it all the time. There were definite shades of it in the Brice Marden exhibit at the MoMA, especially in his Nebraska and Muse pieces. You'll see a lot of Art Deco hints here and there in the architecture of the older neighborhoods around where I live, always hiding in an entryway or a gate or a trellis somewhere.

Anyway. Late to yoga. Bye.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated

It's evening and it's cool and I'm walking. On the phone and half-distracted and breathing in the tart air like a prisoner who's been locked up in a cell all day. And there's the rustic coffee shop on the corner, across the street from Starbucks, all wooden floors and wobbly tables and the too-heavy scent of cream in the air. A quiet haven, the kind of coffee shop where people actually work instead of chatter or prattle or ramble in your ears. Walking past, still talking; there in the window, a canvas bag, a little Henry David Thoreau - "In wildness is the preservation of the world" - and I am rushed back to magnolia afternoons and lying in the grass and Emerson and Walden and transcendentalist escape.

And the wildness thing comes back, hits me like a smack in the face when I'm not watching for it, reminds me of the lure of the wild and the untamed and the subversive and the defiant at a time when I am feeling too domesticated, unsettled, fenced in. And something about that word never ceases to make my heart flutter. WILD wild Wild wilderness wildness wild Wild WILD

wild horses couldn't take me away. laura ingalls wilder. lost in the wilderness. "the most alive is the wildest" - thoreau. wild strawberries. "sowing your wild oats." wild tuberoses climbing up a terrace. running wild. wild hair (note it's been especially wild lately, yes indeed, always a good barometer of my inner state). a wild pitch. careening wildly down the sidewalk. wild rice. "that's wild, man." bewildering. idylwild. oscar wilde. wild country. into the wild - krakauer. "wild thing/you make my heart sing/you make everything/groovy."

wild [wahyld] -er, -est, adverb, noun
1. living in a state of nature; not tamed or domesticated: a wild animal; wild geese.
2. growing or produced without cultivation or the care of humans, as plants, flowers, fruit, or honey: wild cherries.
3. uncultivated, uninhabited, or waste: wild country.
4. uncivilized or barbarous: wild tribes.
5. of unrestrained violence, fury, intensity, etc.; violent; furious: wild strife; wild storms.
6. characterized by or indicating violent feelings or excitement, as actions or a person's appearance: wild cries; a wild look.
7. frantic or distracted; crazy: to drive someone wild.
8. violently or uncontrollably affected: wild with rage; wild with pain.
9. undisciplined, unruly, or lawless: a gang of wild boys.
10. unrestrained, untrammeled, or unbridled: wild enthusiasm.
11. disregardful of moral restraints as to pleasurable indulgence: He repented his wild youth.
12. unrestrained by reason or prudence: wild schemes.
13. amazing or incredible: Isn't that wild about Bill getting booted out of the club?
14. disorderly or disheveled: wild hair.
15. wide of the mark: He scored on a wild throw.
16. Informal. intensely eager or enthusiastic: wild to get started; wild about the new styles.
17. Cards. (of a card) having its value decided by the wishes of the players.
18. Metallurgy. (of molten metal) generating large amounts of gas during cooling, so as to cause violent bubbling.
19. in a wild manner; wildly.
20. Often, wilds. an uncultivated, uninhabited, or desolate region or tract; waste; wilderness; desert: a cabin in the wild; a safari to the wilds of Africa.
21. blow wild, (of an oil or gas well) to spout in an uncontrolled way, as in a blowout. Compare blowout (def. 4).
22. run wild,
a. to grow unchecked: The rambler roses are running wild.
b. to show lack of restraint or control: Those children are allowed to run wild.

[Origin: bef. 900; ME, OE wilde; c. D, G wild, ON villr, Sw vild, Goth wiltheis]

Raw, adjective: 5. crude in quality or character; not tempered or refined by art or taste

Been a little under the weather the last few days, and so decided to undertake a minor anthropological study as part of my healing regimen. I like to call it "Baching It Up: Hippie Feminist Freak Takes On Scary Mainstream America." I also like to call it "a valid excuse to watch 4+ hours of shit TV." Let's just say it turned out to be an edifying attempt to further prove why TV Turnoff Week is an absolute, absolute necessity for the intellectual future of our youth.

Holy shit. Where do I even begin? So let's just establish that I've always had a fleetingly ironic interest in all things "Bachelor." Ten seasons on (most of which were spent either without a TV or not in the country), I haven't seen most of them, or their spin-offs involving Bachelorettes, but I'll grant a total willingness to read articles and devour media coverage on these hooligans. I am totally fascinated by this bizarro cultural phenomenon. Not only for its grotesque parody of what is supposedly the hetero love and marriage Cinderella myth, but also for the insanely parodic characters we see trotted out each season. It's like the stereotypical fairy tale narrative on steroids, with a lot of bad bleach-jobs, zero IQ, and really expensive dates in exotic locales.

But let's get back to this season. So the gimmick this year is that the dude (hot, naturally) comes from humble beginnings, made a doctor of himself via a career in the Navy, travelled the world doing charity work and winning Ironman triathlons, and now is looking for L-U-V in that most reliable of ways, the carefully orchestrated reality TV hook-up broadcast to millions. I've gotta say, this dude definitely seems like the real deal, in spite of his somewhat wooden personality. He's quite the looker and even throws off some natural charisma here and there. When I get turned off by his sloooowness and military-ness and patriotism I just remember that he was h.s. valedictorian and can run really well without a shirt while tending to small children in Laos, and the conservatism kind of fades into the background. He could be a tooth model, fer sure, if the Naval career doesn't pan out.

Anyway, so the dude seems a little more legit than in past seasons when they trotted out faux princes and slimy wannabe rockers and whatnot. But geez - these "ladies." And yes, I consciously say "ladies" because you will note that not once are any of these twenty-somethings with graduate degrees and professional jobs ever called anything but "girls" or "ladies." And these supposed high-achievers are OHMYGOD so stupid. If these bimbos can be attorneys and "organ donor coordinators" (yes, that's what one is), well then, oh dear, I am concerned. And this show, I've gotta say, is exactly why I still fall back on the "F" word ("feminist") in describing myself, in spite of personally tiring of a lot of the old school 1985 McKinnon/Dworkin overboard stuff re: patriarchy and heterosexual sex equalling rape and all that stuff. As much as I've moved more to the post-feminist side of things in the last five years especially (lipstick can be good! porn stars aren't necessarily exploited all the time! men rock!), boy, when I see these "ladies" on TV, does it reaffirm my certainty that there is a goddamn NEED for feminism because these chicas think that being a woman equals talking in fake high-pitched voices and constantly adjusting their dresses awkwardly and giggling like junior high girls who don't want to get their hair wet when they swim (yes, it happened; see Episode 2). And they are SOOO catty and insecure and disembodied: it makes me wanna cry to see how none of these young women look at all comfortable in their skins - they are so closed-up and frightened looking and nervous and insecure and awkward, it's unbelievable.

And of course there are the obvious factors, too, like how white the standard of beauty is (the only black woman was voted off on the first episode), how cookie-cutter Barbie they all dress and look, and how traditional the gender roles are in the whole thing (e.g. The Bach does all the acting and they are totally passive....waiting to be "chosen" agency whatsoever...because he's got it all). Those are so apparent they don't even need to be over-discussed. And don't even get me started on the sexual double-standard, either. And then there's poor little Bachelor Man just watching these girls go at it like predators in search of prey. Ay yi yi. Seriously Paleolithic gender roles at play here.

All I can say is, this show reminds me we need feminism not so much to knock Mr. Bach off his pedestal (because he does seem like kind of a cool and accomplished guy), but to teach these chicas that it's hotter to have an opinion, a personality, goals, and an individual sense of style than to be vapid, giggly, insecure and generic. Ladies! Be your own! Mr. Bach will find you so much more interesting if you're not afraid to get your hair wet. And even if he doesn't, maybe you'll hook up with the cameraman and have cool artistic babies. Or maybe you'll just run off into the sunset with one of the other spurned ladies. Whatevs. Just be interesting. Get some personalities. And lose the cattiness and insecurity.

I know it's a caricature and that's part of the whole point of the series, but geez...little girls (and boys, for that matter) watch this shit and think it's how real grown-up men and women behave. And oh GOD if that isn't tragic! (And PS - they're ALWAYS drinking - you'll note this. Of course the TV gets better when you've got the main players well-lubricated, but really, I cannot believe the alcohol and you'll notice that they always have a drink in their hands.)

I'll be watching with interest in the weeks to come. Kind of like rubbernecking as you drive by a crash on the interstate, but if nothing else, it's a great reminder to get out of the tanning beds and into the library. Or the climbing wall. Or SOMETHING that's real.

End of rant.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Raw, adjective: 2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture

It's Earth Day! Go Earth.

There's been a huge music and arts festival all weekend here in SF in honor of Earth Day - "Green Apple Arts & Music Festival" - and apparently it's got sister festivals in Chicago and NYC, too. Can't get much more sustainable than just sitting out in the sun and enjoying some tunes. This weekend pretty officially ushers in live music season in SF, which, well, rocks my world.

Been thinking a lot about cars lately; well, cars and transport and getting from here to there. There've been several killer auditions in the past few weeks, shows I've been drooling over and dreaming of doing for years now, and the unifying pain-in-the-ass factor has been the unsurmountable commute distance that keeps me from realistically being able to do them. An hour drive each way here, 45 minutes there, just far enough that a bus isn't realistic and the Tech Week commute would be disastrous. And I'm pretty much insanely frustrated by the fact that I could be doing these musicals if I just had a better means of getting there. As much as I lovelovelove my ability to amble around the City without a car, I'm feeling really stuck, and the itch to get back onstage just grows.

Enter CityCarShare, or Zipcar, or Flexcar. These car-sharing gigs are pretty sweet: pay a flat membership rate, have access to cars at many points around the City whenever you want to reserve one, and drop it off (gas and insurance included) when you're done. Brilliant. Sounds like this is finally hitting the States on the heels of consistent success in Europe, where of course people are much less tied to their cars as sources of masculine pride and/or excuses to sit on their asses. The Chron had an article on the whole growing industry a few months back, and it's worth a read.

I figure on Earth Day, what better than to look into ways to get rid of that gas guzzler and lighten up your tread on the planet a little, eh? And then be able to do that production of Beauty and the Beast over in Santa Rosa, while you're at it.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Raw, adjective: 2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture

Time for another subversive holiday brought to you by the badass folks over at Adbusters...

TV TURNOFF WEEK starts on Monday! So prime your power buttons and start filling up yer calendars, because this week is going to be so full of crazy fabulous get-dirty living that you won't know what to do with yourselves. The basics:

April 23rd-29th, turn it all off: TVs, laptops, iPods, PDAs, whatever. Unplug. Slow the constant whirr of brain-numbing corporate mental colonization and live in the real world for a week. (And let's be honest - you know you're gonna TiVo it all anyway, so what's the problem, really?)

Here's what Adbusters has to say about it:

"For most participants, the goal of TV Turnoff Week is simply to shake up routines and to get people questioning the massive role of TV and other entertainment technologies in their lives. In light of estimates that children in many developed nations average between 4 to 5 hours per day of screen-time, teachers and parents concerned about school performance and skyrocketing childhood obesity rates have proven to be some of the most enthusiastic supporters of the week-long challenge.

Other participants see the popularity of TV Turnoff Week as the tip of the iceburg in a growing media democracy movement. Adbusters has been instrumental in turning TV Turnoff Week into an international statement of resistance against media concentration and commercialization. Kalle Lasn, the editor-in-chief of Adbusters, argues that “just like our oceans and air, our shared mindscape is also littered with pollutants – manipulative ads, gratuitous violence, bogus eroticism, and distorted news. TV Turnoff Week is about cleaning up that mindscape.”

So make this your first mental clutter-free week. Even if it means just putting your iPod in a drawer for a few days and cutting down to 10 minutes a day online, if you can't seal the deal completely. Enjoy the silence. Get outside. Play an instrument. Unplug yourself.

Press Kit, downloads and more info here. Make sure you check out the brilliant "uncommercials" they've got, too.

Yours in not-watching,


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions

Oh boy.

So the theocratic minority is at it again, this time at the hands of the Supreme Court. We now have five justices to thank for upholding the completely not-ok ban on D&E (as in, "dilation and extraction," or, if you're a right-wing nutjob trying to force your socio-political and theocratic agenda, "partial-birth") abortions. See article here: "Court Backs Ban on Abortion Procedure"

You can have the abortion debate till the end of time, and I respect that, and I'll freely claim dear friends and family members on both sides of the issue, but really - what it comes down to here, at least in the case of the anti-choice Bush administration, is blatant hypocrisy. Note this ridiculous line from the AP story in this morning's Chron:

"Reacting to the ruling, Bush said that it affirms the progress his administration has made to defend the 'sanctity of life.'"

Are you kidding me?!? Bush & Co., grand terrorists and war criminals on an international scale, claiming themselves as defenders of the "sanctity of life?" This KILLS me. Bad pun intended. Clearly the point here is: we value privileged white Christian Western lives, which are apparently sacred (although not sacred enough to provide health insurance or good education for them once they're actually birthed), whereas non-white non-Christian non-affluent non-Western lives, well, simply don't matter, at the expense of a little retribution for Daddy's failure in Iraq a decade and a half ago. And don't even get me started on how the death penalty (widely overused in Texas especially) honors the "sanctity of life." WTF.

These right-wing neocons can preach at us all they want about defending the sanctity of life, but I'll turn an angry cheek until they start to correlate their Christofascist agenda with the lives they're destroying in other more vulnerable parts of the world.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated: raw data

Tuesday morning stream-of-consciousness edition:

* Sunny and gorgeous. Springtime in SF. Sorry, East Coasters. Read it and weep.

* Barry Zito finally won last night. In a big way: 8-0 shutout in Denver. Nice work, darling. We have tickets for Thursday's afternoon game against the Cardinals and I was bummed to see that after the delays in Pittsburgh, Zito won't be pitching. But what can you do? Nice to finally have some positive momentum going for the hometown boys after a good win last Friday (and two Bonds homers) and another last night.

* My college friend Aaron just moved to town over the weekend and it's been fab seeing the City again through new eyes, you know, appreciating the sushi and the sun and the trannies with fresh perspective. We found him a sweet loft right down by the ballpark and enjoyed a christening drink on the roof last night under the stars taking in the 360 degree sparkling lights of the City. Nice to have another representative from the college gang out here in Pacific Standard Time. Now maybe we'll get some more of you guys out here to visit more often...door's open, bitches.

* Discovered a sweet karaoke dive bar literally around the corner from my place last night and wailed along to a few Gershwin tunes, a couple of cliche duets and a little Edwin McCain. It helped that we were the only ones in the place. How could I have lived here almost four years and never known this fabulosity lurking surreptitiously around the corner? You know where to find me every night from now on.

* Getting a ton of writing done; went to a sweet seminar in Berkeley yesterday and sat in the sun and pretty much realized that's all I need: old-school sociology and a little spot of sun. And beer in the biergarten to follow.

* Given all that, of course, you can't ignore the looming melancholy of the post-shooting fallout. Stunned by the news yesterday; not quite sure I'm making sense of it yet. Feels so far away. I hate how they always bust out the token line, "He was a loner." Why does that make you prone to a psychotic episode? Why does that seem like a legitimate indicator that he'd do something like this? I know it's a mystery right now and everyone's just grappling to make sense of it all, but I hope the fallout is kind to South Koreans and doesn't result in the same kind of stereotypical over-reactions that previous incidents with Muslims and Arabs have wrought.

All for today. Keep breathing. Get some sun. Watch some baseball. Cheers.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions

So you've been trucking along all these days just thinking that Max Weber was a renowned German sociologist who wrote brilliant shit criticizing bureaucracy and rationalization and linking Protestantism to the emergence of capitalism in the West, haven't you? I see you all nodding, I know. It's an easy mistake to make.

But little did you suspect that there was another Max Weber, this one less interested in Calvinist ethics and more interested in Cubism and Picasso. Well, thank yer lucky stars, because:

This painting is one of the many in the current Picasso & American Art show at the SF MoMa right now. It appears early in the show as sort of a counterpart to the unfolding of Cubism in the first part of the 20th century. It's called "Chinese Restaurant," painted in 1915 by my man Weber, and it positively writhes with energy when you see it up close. Somehow the Cubism makes the buzz and urban energy of the setting just jump out of the painting - you feel at once the strange comfort and isolation of anonymity, the dirt and the grime of the city, and the warmth of stepping in off the street for dim-sum in a dimly-lit restaurant.

Go see it. And then read a little Protestant Ethic & the Spirit of Capitalism when you're done. What a great Max Weber-themed day that'll be. Whoo baby, yeah.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Raw, adjective: 9. disagreeably damp and chilly, as the weather or air

Well, then, now that we've finally resolved the Anna Nicole Smith baby-daddy drama, we can move on to our normal lives again.

Blustery and rainy and cool this morning, and I'm finishing up a little arts and crafts project for a friend (god, that sounds wanky; it's cute, I promise, not as pathetic as it sounds), which means that I've got about 10 minutes to kill while that rubber cement dries and I try to pick the superglue off my fingers.

We've got stargazer lilies opening up in the living room right now, and they smell divine. Been buying a ton of my newest favorite flower lately: hypericum. Pictured at left. Kind of a sleeper, slips in there like waxflower or another deep berry-red touch of color, and just brightens everything up in an earthy, warm kind of way. Pretty, isn't it?

So I have now officially hit both the A's and the Giants' stadiums; last night was a chilly game under the stars at McAfee, and holy shit: our team actually WON! Amazing how much more fun it is then. Great 9th inning come-from-behind victory. Our seats were right behind home plate and just four rows up, so as my friend Llama H said, it felt almost like Little League, being so close to the players. But I have to say: what's with the baseball player mullet phenomenon? Ugh, seriously! Cut yer hair, boys.

Stumbled across a review for the new Anne of Green Gables musical in the Times the other day, which I've been pretty embarrassingly excited about ever since. Bek and Mari, I know you get me on this, but jesu christe: there are few things I love as much as Anne of Green Gables. Hello, favorite childhood heroine; hello, badass PBS miniseries that we've watched together 16 times, at least; hello, Gilbert Blythe, my beloved and the only man I would rescind my no-marriage-til-everyone-can-marry pledge for. Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote this shit practically a century ago and I'll be damned if her feisty charming smarty-pants little redhead heroine still isn't a proto-feminist icon and just a cool chick. Doubt I'll see this particular version, as it seems pretty oriented toward the family set, but it made me smile nonetheless to know Anne Shirley's still out and about raising hell and reading books in dinghies on lakes playing the Lady of Shalot. Review's here. And while I remain doubtful that anyone can top the Gilbert Blythe of the miniseries we grew up with, I'd be willing to bet this one's worth a look, too.

Ok, I think the rubber cement's dried now. Sorry for the major dork edition today. Sheesh, flowers and kids' lit and art projects. Next time I'll write about bondage and radical Marxism and genocide in Sudan, you know, balance things out a little.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Raw, adjective: 1. uncooked, as articles of food: a raw carrot.

Had a killer dinner at one of my favorite area restaurants last night, and this morning's all afterglow. Figure it's worth a mention for anyone who's in the neighborhood or who might be visiting anytime soon. This is a prime example of the kind of little intangible reasons I love living in SF.

Cafe Gratitude is a relatively new-ish collection of raw vegan restaurants here in the City and spreading quickly throughout the area. The original (I think?) is down sort of Mission/Potrero area, but they've had a location in Berkeley for the last year or so that's been really convenient. It's a great space, all brick walls and high ceilings and communal tables (though it could use a little more fresh air - I need windows and sunlight, people!), and the most friendly (sometimes nauseatingly so), mellow, chilled-out staff you've ever seen. You definitely have to be in the right mood to hit up this place, you know, fly that hippie flag, as it's all "let it go" mantras and ruminations on abundance and whatnot. Just sayin' - there are definitely those more cynical moments when you walk out the door and just want to dive headfirst into a pool of Jack Daniels and waffles and artificial whipped topping to counter the shiny-happy-people energy oozing out of the place.

But, most days, it's generally a lovely place and well-intentioned, for sure, and if you're in the mood for lots of greens and unidentifiable nut meats and organic wines and cold-pressed coffees, well...there's nowhere better. And you feel so goddamned good afterwards, too, even after you're so full they have to roll you out. And they will, with a blissed-out mellow hippie-dippie smile.

So check it out when you're feeling all positive and Buddhist and open to abundance and shit. Link to the restaurant's website is above and here's a specific link to their creative, extensive, and just generally fabulous menu. You won't see this kind of raw brilliance many places outside of here.

Which is why so many people leave their hearts ... cue Tony Bennett ...

Monday, April 9, 2007

Raw, noun: 13. unrefined sugar, oil, etc.

Ugh, my head hurts. It's sunny and gorgeous out and all I want to do is curl up in a ball and sleep. Why, you say? The post-Easter sugar hangover.

Been super raw of late, really healthy, living on tons of greens and kale and dates and almonds and 24 oz of carrot juice each day. The difference it makes is remarkable. Feeling super clear and lucid, really energized, skin glowing, glad to get up in the morning. The carrot juice is a new thing as of the last two months or so - often recommended as a great rejuvenator because of so much Vitamin A and beta-carotene - and I can feel the difference it's making, for sure.

But then Saturday and Sunday hit and we sort of spiraled into chocolates and Peeps and Reese's and whatnot, and hey, it's Easter, it's just one, and then another, and suddenly my body's freaking out because it hasn't had sugar in a week and now BAM! stimulants, hello! And today I feel, well, like shit. Sluggish and brooding and achy and tired and unmotivated. And I have no doubt, no doubt, it's all about the high glycemic sugar content of so much candy and white bread from yesterday. Poison, dude.

Ugh. Can't believe we give kids this stuff. If it has such a poisonous effect on adults, then geez, what about a little tyke who weighs 40 pounds? I bet we could cut Ritalin prescriptions in half if we just stopped stuffing kids full of sugar and sweet sodas. That said, 146 Reasons Why Sugar is Ruining Your Health

It was a total wash for the Giants over the weekend, despite gorgeous weather and a packed stadium for the Dodgers series. Disappointing. And now they'll be on the road for a week, so tomorrow night I'll be hitting the A's stadium w/ the girls for the White Sox series instead. Looking forward to it.

Let's close it up with a little from my fave World's Healthiest Foods on Kicking the Sugar Habit.

Go Team Kale

Friday, April 6, 2007

Raw, noun: 13. unrefined sugar, oil, etc.

Happy Easter weekend! Eat a lot of Peeps, put on yer best bonnet, and make sure you set out your basket for the Easter Bunny. Or just sleep in and hit up your best local champagne brunch (after church, of course! says the PK).

Whatever you end up doing, you'll probably be having more fun than these guys.

Yikes. Happy Easter to that.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Raw, adjective: 2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture

The Sunday Chron Book Review featured a few titles that caught my eye - the first being Benjamin R. Barber's new book criticizing capitalism's creeping tendency to replace every ethic with the market mentality. Check it: "Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole"

Barber seems to suffer from the "wow-look-at-how-many-big-words-I-can-throw-into-one-sentence-to-sound-impressive" syndrome, but in spite of the windbaggy-ness I dig his polemical and passionate stance.

Turn the front page, however, and you find a little less-bombastic review down the lefthand side of the page. A book of short stories by a woman named Ahdaf Soueif called, very simply: "I Think of You." The stories themselves sound a little too middle-aged-woman-bitter to make me want to pick up the book, but that title's been resonating in my mind like the echoes of a gong in the days since. Don't you think those four little words, so simple and obvious and seemingly quaint, are just about the most romantic words a person could ever hear? I love their simplicity and genuine frankness, their lack of pretension and refusal of excess. Not too much, not gushy, not overwrought; just lovely in their own perfectly rounded solid little way.

Just a thought on this Wednesday morning. A burgeoning Giants fan's gotta think about something else after yesterday's ugly 7-0 loss to the Padres. Ouch! It can only get better from here.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Raw, adjective: 6. ignorant, inexperienced, or untrained: a raw recruit.


Some of you may be aware of my newest pet project, which is becoming #1 Giants Superfan in the course of this baseball season. Yes ma'am, I will freely admit that in spite of being a pretty badass little shortstop at the age of 10, and possessing a reliable ability to hit a whopper straight to left field every time I bat, I am otherwise quite useless in all things baseball. I can't tell you anything about teams, players, blah blah blah, other than that I seem to remember that the Cubs generally suck, Pete Rose did some time for gambling a few years back, and they used to make good grape gum called Big League something-or-other. So yeah - pretty much the last time I knew what was going on was in 2nd grade when Kirby Puckett was all the rage and the Twins were the hottest thing around the South Dakota elementary school block.

Point being, it's past time for me to get a clue. So my declared mission this year is, of course, to learn everything about the Giants (and the A's, by proxy). I'm armed with a few rabid fan-friends who've graciously taken me under their wings, and having hit Pac Bell (or SBC, or AT&T, depending on the day) Park several times over the past few years living here in SF, am already aware of what a frickin amazing stadium it is. At this point it's more about the sitting in the sun and admiring the view of the Bay Bridge, drinking a beer and watching for homers splashing in McCovey Cove, but I promise, by the end of the summer, I'll be rattling off statistics like nobody's business.

Tomorrow afternoon's Opening Day here, with Barry Zito making his big pitching debut, so we'll have action soon. I actually got my first dose at the Giants/A's exhibition game on Saturday, which featured stunningly beautiful weather and the worst sunburn I've had since my lifeguarding years. What can I say? It was fuckin bliss. So now that I've spent two days lathering on aloe, the lobster skin's turned a deep berry brown again and I'm ready to hit it up for more blistering action. My boy Matt at has got his finger on the pulse of the Phillies, and Mariah, I fully expect you to at least learn the names of the teams in Chicago, which means I have field reporters in at least a few big markets.

So here we go, kids. Glove's on. Bring it.