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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Katie Couric Better Watch Her Back

If these interviews with Sarah Palin keep getting aired, Katie better watch out for helicopters flying overhead...or she may end up like one of those wolves.

From you know where:

Katie Couric: You made a funny comment, you've said you have been listening to Joe Biden's speeches since you were in second grade.

Gov. Palin: It's been since like '72, yah.

Katie Couric: You have a 72-year-old running mate*, is that kind of a risky thing to say, insinuating that Joe Biden's been around awhile?

Gov. Palin: Oh no, it's nothing negative at all. He's got a lot of experience and just stating the fact there, that we've been hearing his speeches for all these years. So he's got a tremendous amount of experience and, you know, I'm the new energy, the new face, the new ideas and he's got the experience based on many many years in the Senate and voters are gonna have a choice there of what it is that they want in these next four years.

Yeah, right, Sarah. That's what you meant.

* Biden is 66 years old.


I'm sure you're like me and have worked with some poor soul (or two) who just got in over his/her head but wouldn't admit it even when it was painfully obvious. Here's an interesting perspective.

"Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments." The two Cornell psychologists began with the following assumptions:
  • Incompetent individuals tend to overestimate their own level of skill.
  • Incompetent individuals fail to recognize genuine skill in others.
  • Incompetent individuals fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy.
These points in particular really ring a bell. Sound like anyone you've been reading about lately? What are the chances that Palin makes it to November 4?

Hungry for Obama: Brinner for Barack

My friends Amber and Mike (along with their kittens, Henry and June) are hosting a fundraising "brinner" to help raise money for the Obama campaign on Sunday night. (I did not know what a brinner was either, but it's when you have breakfast for dinner.)


In case you missed this article on the AP a couple of weeks ago, which is where this no-brow product package image comes from:

"Activists at a conservative political forum snapped up boxes of waffle mix depicting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama as a racial stereotype on its front and wearing Arab-like headdress on its top flap.

While Obama Waffles takes aim at Obama's politics by poking fun at his public remarks and positions on issues, it also plays off the old image of the pancake-mix icon Aunt Jemima, which has been widely criticized as a demeaning stereotype. Obama is portrayed with popping eyes and big, thick lips as he stares at a plate of waffles and smiles broadly.

Placing Obama in Arab-like headdress recalls the false rumor that he is a follower of Islam, though he is actually a Christian.

On the back of the box, Obama is depicted in stereotypical Mexican dress, including a sombrero, above a recipe for "Open Border Fiesta Waffles" that says it can serve "4 or more illegal aliens." The recipe includes a tip: 'While waiting for these zesty treats to invade your home, why not learn a foreign language?' "


Actually, what makes me laugh is to imagine the doofuses who designed this waffle box, so confident in their humor and congratulating themselves on how incredibly snappy they are, having their gut-wrenching comedic sense so far ahead of the rest of us dummies.

But what's really ironic is that the McCain campaign just naturally (all organic, no artificial flavors added) provides its own fodder for the late-night talk shows, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, and more, just by being themselves. No one needs to make up anything about John or Sarah because they show their ineptness unaided.


Isn't it amazing that learning a foreign language (as excoriated on that sophomoric waffle box) is presented to be a fault of character by the far right? Funny thing, I always thought having an education was beneficial to individuals and the world at large, but what do I know? I'm one of those dipshits that speaks French.

But then Thomas Jefferson knew French, Spanish, Greek, Latin and Gaelic. And we all know what a crappy president he was: The Louisiana Purchase (the largest land acquisition in US history that did not require a war), founder of the Library of Congress, founder of the University of Virginia (go Lala!) and all that other stuff, like drafting the Declaration of Independence...yeah, we should just eat our waffles and go back to sleep.

In advising his future son-in-law, Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr. on his education, Thomas Jefferson wrote, "With respect to modern languages, French, as I have before observed, is indispensable. Next to this the Spanish is most important to an American. Our connection with Spain is already important and will become daily more so. Besides this the ancient part of American history is written chiefly in Spanish.

Yeah, those McCain waffle pushers really know what's best. Wake me up when he fixes the economy. And bring me a side of bacon.


UPDATE: Amber has kindly provided me with the Hungry for Obama link, in case you would like to host your own party, too. Hmmm, do we know any talented gourmet chefs in Milwaukee? I think we do!

Dawn of a New Day

Careful now.
We're dealing here with a myth.

This city is a point upon a map of fog;

Lemuria in a city unknown.

Like us,

It doesn't quite exist.

~ Ambrose Bierce


I love the fog.
I love to watch it float past my living room window, where I might sit in a chair and just see it thicken and grow until the view outside is completely obscured.

It's like the world is wrapping you lovingly with a soft, quiet gauze. Fog makes you look inside, too, because there's nothing to see outside.

I took this photo when I awoke, early in the morning, from my living room window. This time, the fog was disappearing to the glow of the rising sun. I thought it was such a soft and pretty sight, and that this music would suit it perfectly: Simone Dinnerstein playing the Aria from Bach's Goldberg Variations (to which I was introduced by a friend, thank you so very much).

I hope you like this. I think it is perfect fog watching music.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Child Inside

"The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been." ~ Madeleine L'Engle

"Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul." ~ Samuel Ullman


Sunday was a very long day. I took the train down, and my parents drove me to the rest home where my grandmother is. I tried to remember the nice things you told me from my last post, but it was difficult.

I think what scares me most about the idea of getting old is that I'll lose my mind someday. When we arrived, my grandma was in a panic that she had had a bad dream and someone had come into her room at night and stolen a shirt
from her closet, a sweatshirt with kittens on it. She was fairly beside herself and it was almost impossible to understand what she was saying. But my grandma kept going on and on about it, making herself so upset and putting herself on the brink of tears. I finally had to say to her, Grandma, you have lots of clothes at home. We can bring you another shirt. Please. Stop making yourself so upset about it. This isn't helping you at all.

And with that, she stopped entirely. Even the teary eyes dried. My mother opened her closet to see that actually a shirt was missing, and she spoke with the nurse to make sure that no one comes in to do the laundry, that my mother will take care of it instead.

The thing is, this is how my grandma's always been but now it seems so much harder to watch because she is so frail and sick. It takes a little nothing to upset her and she'll dwell on that thing forever. I felt terrible that we had all come to see her, with dim sum from the lunch we just had, and presents to share--and none of that made a difference at all.


Later, after she'd calmed down, she showed me that she's started writing down her life's story. My mother has been asking her to do this for years, and she's finally begun. On eight pages of yellow lined paper, her handwriting so shaky now compared to the perfect penmanship I remember from birthday cards not so long ago, I read the first two lines to myself. "Read it aloud," Grandma says. But I don't want to. It's sad enough already. I see Little Helen writing these words: "I was born in Brownsville, Brooklyn in June of 1918. My parents were so young and beautiful when they had me. I miss them terribly."

Right then it struck me so hard, that at 90 years old a person can still miss her parents as if she were a 6-year old orphan. What I think she misses most is the idea of them, because from what I know of her childhood, it was not a happy one in any way. But somewhere in her mind there is a happy and sunny idyll, where these beautiful parents still live, and wait for her.


Outside my grandma's door was another resident who was sitting quietly in her wheelchair, silently wrapping and unwrapping the stuffed animal she had on her lap in a little blanket. She looked in at us often, to see if we were looking at her with her toy. My mom said this lady is often asking passersby if anyone has seen her cat. Whatever kitty she is looking for is lost to time and place, but in her mind is still very much alive, and very much needing a home.


My mother asked me to come back to Grandma's house. To look at some of her things now, maybe take a few, just in case, preparing for that time in the future. I walked through her home, now so quiet, looking at her collectibles and saying, I don't know. I guess when the time comes, if I want something, I'll tell you. My mom kept saying sadly, Look at all of her little things.

My mother said it would make her happy if I found a few things to take with me, that I would like to have to remember Grandma by, even now before the end. I took some lovely hats, vintage hats
from the 40s, covered with tiny flowers made by an aunt who was a milliner. They fit me and I'll wear them. I took a pair of perfect white gloves, like the kind that ladies wore every day. And a couple of old slips and an old bottle of Estee Lauder's Youth Dew, because that is what I remember Grandma smelling like. I took some photos. And my mother gave me a beautiful ring, with a lovely diamond that was my Bubbie's, my grandma's mother--the beautiful mother from the yellow lined paper.

I wore the ring home on the train, watched the diamond sparkle in the last rays of the sun before it got dark outside and nothing could be seen of the world at all. I would have rather had my grandma be happy, just once, for me to see, than to have all of the diamonds in the world.


ps. I have had several imaginary grandmothers. My favorite one is Madeline L'Engle, which is also why I was so happy to find this quote to use for this post. I almost had an opportunity to meet Ms. L'Engle once, but poor health had caused her to cancel an event where she was to give a talk and sign books. I was to have her sign my first copy of A Wrinkle in Time, first read voraciously in the fifth grade and then regularly and often ever since, and which is probably the book I would take to a desert island with me if I could only have one. Sadly, I never got that book signed (the cover had fallen off years ago anyway), but I was so close.

From the book: "You're given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I'm with the Hounds

Two Irish pubs, two glasses of cider, same night.

First, at the Blackthorn Tavern to watch the presidential debate (more on that later) with my new blog friend Greg of the famous N-Judah Chronicles, accompanied by his brother and brain buddy "Mason Powell." (If you live in San Francisco, you'd already know why that is an awesome pseudonym.)

And then to The Plough and Stars to see Culann's Hounds play, known as San Francisco's "Hardrocking Acoustic Irish Band." And that they are.

My beautiful friend Red Shoes (also my sister in tango) has been friends with the members of the band for years and takes guitar lessons from Fiddler, aka Steve Gardner. I'm so glad she invited me to join her...I'm totally hooked and groupie-fied on each and every one of them now.

See, I even have my own t-shirt.


Here's some info about the band: The inspiration for the group’s name, Cuchullainn, or Culann, was an epic warrior in Irish legend. Steve, who plays fiddle, guitar, mandolin and also sings, explains: “We embody a certain brash, perhaps over enthusiastic quality that might be attributed to Cuchullainn." He says, “I like the connection because deep inside me, I still love the hero tales and the faerie stories. I believe they are hidden wellsprings of cultural wisdom. We try to reframe these ideas in ancient tribal urban folk rock.”


I was so stoked that Mike was cool with me taking pictures. I was nervous about it, one--because I still feel very shy about photographing people and two--because the lighting there wasn't ideal (well, it was ideal for a band playing, but not enough light for me). The pressure was on--I had to earn my t-shirt.

I think I did okay in some of these. What do you think?

I couldn't have had a better time. The band is energetic, sexy and uber-talented. Every song makes you want to jump up and dance, and the room quickly became a sauna from the heat generated.

The band played a waltz so Mike could get off stage and dance with lovely Red Shoes.

For the most part, and no small thanks to my new Lightroom software, I think some of these photos turned out pretty well, considering the lighting conditions I had to deal with. I like that these photos capture the magnetism and energy of the group.

But don't take it from me. Go to their website, get a CD, and if you're local, find the Hounds and see for yourself.


And if you don't think a girl playing the accordion is one of the sexiest things you've ever seen in your life, think again. Renee makes me want to take up lessons. Or just have a big ol' crush on her.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Princess Peach

For those of you who already know and love Ms. Wellspring, you need to go visit her blog right away and say hello to her beautiful little baby girl!

She's as soft and sweet as a real little peach, with the prettiest pink cheeks you've ever seen.

So Much for My Friday Night


And here I was all set to go to a debate-watching party after work, ready to skewer this guy with my elitist San Francisco wit and smartypants-ness and eat hot dogs with other like-minded souls who have not yet succumbed to the fantasy that this election is already over.

So, I ask you...in what space-time dimension am I living these days?

I thought the debate was tonight.

Apparently I missed it.

Did John McCain fix the economy and win the debate while I was sleeping? My god, he's fast! I'm sure I'll wake up tomorrow and we'll already be invading Iraq AND Russia under President Palin.


If the Federal Government had its shit together, they would just start spiking our water supply with lithium. It would just make things so much easier for all of us.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Makeup Artists Should Unite to Help John McCain Help Himself and the Economy

I really don't know how I missed this story, truly. I'm starting to feel like The Onion is somehow getting its joke news stories leaked to the AP and then they're getting printed as somewhat actual news.

According to an article in US Weekly (not a place where I usually look to for news of note, but it works while in the nail salon):

"The 72-year-old was recently made TV-ready by makeup artist Tifanie White who's worked on So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol.

McCain paid the 2002 beauty-school grad $5,583.43 for her services, according to the Federal Election Commission."


Okay, I'm a beauty school grad, too (really, I am not making this up), and I would not have charged him five grand for a makeover. Hell, he's not even a bride! Although I wonder why he did not hire someone from Stan Winston Studios because doing makeup on someone who is almost dead requires a completely different type of artistry than bridal makeup.

(Actually, I just decided that I would have charged him five thousand dollars plus!!!, and then would have donated the money to something useful, like this or this or this--look, Obama's doing it.)

On second thought, maybe this gal is an Obama supporter and she's giving McCain the shaft since he has 8 homes--you must watch this awesome video of his houses!--, 13 cars and can obviously afford a $5K makeover. She must be really talented because I'm sure she had to do some special effects makeup on this guy to wipe that frozen creepy grimace off his face.

Unretouched skin under bright lights is unappealing and cameras do distort the features and add weight (look at what happened to Nixon in his debate with Kennedy...oh wait! We're reliving that now! Maybe McCain hasn't found makeup that will stand up to the intense facial sweating he might undergo if he actually has to proceed in a debate with Obama and try to put two sentences together in a row that aren't vengeful or blameful or basically false). Or maybe it's because McCain has a habit of canceling debates, like he did in another election year?

John Edward's haircut is looking like quite a bargain now, isn't it? (Funny thing though. I guess assorted GOP operatives labeling Edwards the "Breck girl"; Ann Coulter calling him a "faggot"; and Rush Limbaugh asking whether Edwards might be our "first female President"--those comments only apply when the Republicans are talking about the Democrats! Oh, I get it. It's okay to get your makeup done if you're a War Hero.)

Because I know that the Republican candidate isn't too savvy with computers by his own admission (or the economy either, but I can't help him with that one), I invite John McCain's future makeup artists to read a post I wrote that is great for people looking for cosmetics but happen to be on a budget. (Or Cindy, maybe you can print this out for your husband so he can read it on the No Talk Express bus.)

Perhaps he can save that $5K and spend it on something more useful, like universal healthcare. We're socializing Wall Street, so why not get some yearly checkups thrown into the bargain?


The only miracle makeup artists cannot perform is painting a brain on Sarah Palin.

I am relishing this transcript of her interview with Katie Couric. I was on the debate team in 8th grade and even I could have done a better job as a 12-year-old in the interview (here I go again, being an elitist).

Let's face it: if you're going to make sh*t up and speak it as the truth in front of the whole world, you'd damn well better practice your story to perfection so you've got it down pat when someone calls you on it.

COURIC: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land-- boundary that we have with-- Canada. It-- it's funny that a comment like that was-- kind of made to-- cari-- I don't know, you know? Reporters--


PALIN: Yeah, mocked, I guess that's the word, yeah.

COURIC: Explain to me why that enhances your foreign policy credentials.

PALIN: Well, it certainly does because our-- our next door neighbors are foreign countries. They're in the state that I am the executive of. And there in Russia--

COURIC: Have you ever been involved with any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth. We-- we do-- it's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where-- where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is-- from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to-- to our state.

UPDATE: HOLY SH*T! Please tell me you watched the Palin interview. Here's the link again if you have not. I can't say too much more without my head exploding. Please watch this so I am not alone in my utter disbelief that this is not a SNL skit.

I hate it when this happens

They are making me work! Just look at this Emperor Tamarin until I get back.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Now Rest

There are twelve hours in the day, and above fifty in the night. ~ Marie de Rabutin-Chantal

Satie's music was the only music I could ever play on the piano without making a mistake. I didn't even need to think about it. My hands knew what to do.
There's something about his music that suits me.

I hope you can listen to this piece before you fall asleep, or perhaps before you start your busy day.


And a kiss.

Good night. Good morning.


I'm sorry I can't tell you where this lovely photo came from. I've had it on my computer for years. But it's Paris...you knew that.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

For My Mommy, and All the Other Angels that Walk Among Us

A little angel in North Beach

And for anyone else who is kind-hearted and a softie and a caretaker and loving and who needs to take care of themselves instead of everyone else for a change. You know who you are.

Because it's like The Boy says:

You can't make unhappy people happy. You can only make happy people happier.

Repeat that on the chalkboard of your heart.

You can't make unhappy people happy. You can only make happy people happier.

Truer words were never said.


For all of us who just need a little push in the right direction.

You can listen to this song and then maybe play it again and sing the words aloud.
(I sing it LOUD.)
To me, this song is a ray of sunshine, a kiss, a hug, a friendly reminder of what's what.

From one of my favorite films, Harold and Maude (you know I won't stop mentioning this until all of you have seen it):

Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
'Cause there's a million things to be
You know that there are

And if you want to live high, live high
And if you want to live low, live low
'Cause there's a million ways to go
You know that there are

You can do what you want
The opportunity's on
And if you find a new way
You can do it today
You can make it all true
And you can make it undo
you see ah ah ah
its easy ah ah ah
You only need to know

Well if you want to say yes, say yes
And if you want to say no, say no
'Cause there's a million ways to go
You know that there are

And if you want to be me, be me
And if you want to be you, be you
'Cause there's a million things to do
You know that there are


ps. Thank you to all of you who replied in the previous post. Some of you made me cry, but in a good way. And I'll write back later, promise. Hugs to all of you.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Things I Would Tell My Grandmother

Little Helen is not doing well. I think above all else, she suffers most from a wound to her invisible heart. And that casts such a shadow on all other things, as it has colored everything in her life from birth to this moment. Now that her time is coming to an end, it seems so very sad. My mother is her mother's bridge to the world, and she is struggling to make things right for a person who is fundamentally unhappy.

I wish it were different for both of them. Today, The Boy asked me, if I had a magic wand, what would be the one thing I would change or fix. If I could, I would travel back in time to Little Helen, and try to tell her things, or show her things, that would have caused her to lead a different life, so that when she leaves this one, it is colored with hope, and not despair.

Isn't that what we all want?

To leave our mark on this world and know that we had some tiny, positive effect?
What else can we take comfort in?


I took these photos over the weekend in the Mission. As I thought about images and words I would share with Little Helen, my grandmother, I realized how little it takes for me, as I get older, to find enjoyment. I was surprised to see that in myself. It might only take a book that gives me something new to think about, or a walk where I might catch a glimpse of just one beautiful thing, or a new friend to meet for lunch and share a conversation about what she's doing and what I'm doing. I actively try to find those things all the time. I don't always succeed. But I always try.


It's too late to go back, to turn back the clock for Little Helen.
I am sad for her lost moments, her lost years.

"Never forget that you are one of a kind. Never forget that if there weren't any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn't be here in the first place. And never forget, no matter how overwhelming life's challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person." ~ Buckminster Fuller

Stenciled art found on a sidewalk on Valencia Street. I love the windblown leaf that graces one of the Fridas. A flourish of nature. It is a tiny beautiful moment that will vanish with the next gust of wind. I might have been the only one to ever witness this fleeting adornment, the leaf. I am glad I was there to capture it.

When I see the face of this woman stenciled on the sidewalk, although I cannot help reflecting on her broken body, I think about how incredibly strong her spirit was.

"Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want." ~ Margaret Young

Doll parts and trinkets at a garage sale. My grandmother spent years collecting little things: dolls, plates, bric-a-brac. Now in her nursing home, her room is bare. There is no room for personal possessions. What were those little things trying to protect her from, give to her? To someone else they are just things to be passed on, sold or discarded. In the end, these things can't bring you joy, can they? Would you hold onto them above all else?

"I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy as long as I can paint." ~ Frida Kahlo

Mural on The Women's Building, Lapidge Street. To have something, a passion, a talent, an interest. Something entirely for yourself, that has nothing to do with children or husbands or friends. Something that gives you hope and purpose. Only you can find out what that thing is. You may have to try many different routes before you discover what it is that excites you, that makes you burn bright. But find that thing!

"What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." ~ Colette

Are you happy with where you are, who you are, what you've done so far? Yes, no, maybe so? If not, there's always room to fix it, move forward, move on, right? But you have to ask those questions first. Only you can make those changes for yourself. Only you.

"Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for." ~ Joseph Addison


I wish I had that magic wand. Somehow in writing this down, I almost feel that I do. Perhaps that magic wand is for me, to realize what I've just written here. I'll try to keep taking my own advice.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Girl with the Blue Hair

I am having way too much fun with this software.

This filter is called Direct Positive. I think I like having blue hair. It brings out my eyes.


This blue hair reminded me of an old wonderful book I have. It's the original version of The Adventures of Pinocchio, by Italian author Carlo Collodi. This is my book, published in 1927, and it has an entirely different story than the Disney version that most people would know.

Pinocchio goes through many grave and serious trials, aided by the Girl with the Blue Hair (in Italian she is the Fairy with Turquoise Hair), who would later be transmogrified into a minor character as Disney's Blue Fairy.

Like most fairy tales, the original story of Pinocchio has very deep allegorical meanings and symbolism that were completely denuded or removed entirely when given the "Disney" touch. I remember reading my book over and over again and being completely absorbed in Pinocchio's dangerous and fantastical world.

Here is a very good introduction to the original story, with an interesting interpretation of the Girl with Blue Hair. Next time you see a copy of the original story in the bookstore or library, give it a read and see what you think.

Isn't it funny how things just pop into your head from out of the past like that?

Okay, now I'm going to bed. Seriously. Nitey-nite.

This Is Not the Real Post, Either

I'm too tired. I've been walking for hours. And no one mistook me for Jean Seberg, either.

But I do like this new Lightroom software very much. This is a filter called Cold Tone. It's fun, huh? I also figured out what my best self-portraiture angle is. It's called In Over My Head.

I am seriously going to put my feet up and watch at least one movie. And eat some Cherry Garcia because we didn't get any ice cream today.

If someone would pleeeeease write me a doctor's note so I can stay home from work tomorrow, I will totally be your best friend. Pleeeeeease.

I'm Stalling

This is a stall post. A real post will follow soon.
(Tell me that you wake up at 2am with ideas of things to write too.)

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to physically connect my brain to my keyboard that late, so I had a glass of Ovaltine and finally finally watched Breathless.

I am officially in love with French New Wave.

Jean Seberg looked so incredible. It's really hard for me to concentrate on a movie sometimes if the actress's makeup is compelling. I end up studying the look and not paying attention to the story. I am dying to do her eyeliner, but I don't think I can pull it off unless I do lashes too.


See, I told you it was a stall post.

But I'll have more later, once I get past the eyeliner thing. I'm going out with a new blogging friend (!) to walk the Mission, take photos and eat ice cream so perhaps an adventure will develop soon.

Happy Sunday!


Image from stylehighclub.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Book Preorder Ends Tomorrow

I seem to be getting a little behind in things, so I have hired a lovely assistant (see her photo above) to help me with my book orders.

My lovely assistant wanted me to remind you that if you wanted to preorder a copy of my Chinatown book, you can do so until through the end of the day tomorrow, Saturday the 20th.


If you preorder, the book will be discounted at $36.95 and shipping will be $5.00 for US residents and $12.00 for international. (Of course, you can always order through blurb anytime you wish, where there is also a hardcover edition available. Boy, I loved saying that: "hardcover edition." tee hee.)

I would be happy to inscribe it for you (in fact, I'd be thrilled) and might even put a surprise print in there for you as well.

If you'd like to preorder, please send me an email with your full name, mailing address and quantity of books. I'll then send you an email via Paypal for the total amount. (It's quite a simple procedure.)

ps. If you've already indicated that you'd like a book, would you mind confirming again (via email), making sure I have all of the above information? My assistant would appreciate it ever so much! (Sometimes I get a little deranged and lose things.)

My email again is tangobaby2 at gmail.com

Thank you, Christina, for helping get the word out! I really really really appreciate it! xoxo
UPDATE pss: And Oh La La, merci millefois, Paris Parfait! xoxo
SUPER UPDATE pss: Lala, beautiful Lala in Granada! Gracias!

Wow, this is getting to be f-u-n!


psss: Lovely vintage images abound at Graphics Fairy! Woo hoo!

And Happy Friday! Happy Weekend! Do something FUN!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Drive By Dahlias

The Boy picked me up from work and we did a drive-by of the Conservatory of Flowers at Golden Gate Park, which is near our home. I caught the last of the sun on the most amazing dahlias I've ever seen...and must go back for more. These blooms are amazing!

In the Language of Flowers, dahlias represent Elegance and Dignity. I'd agree...wouldn't you?

Insert Your Own Title Here

This doesn't have anything to do with anything.

I like this photo that I took and I really love onion rings. (This was my lunch on Sunday. The hamburger was topped with bleu cheese, sauteed onions and mushrooms, fyi. Thank you, Burgermeister in Cole Valley!)

That's all.


Okay, Blogger is freaking out right now. It just ate my post (maybe it was the hamburger?). I know this post is very Seinfeldian (i.e., about nothing) but still, I want my nothing to be heard!


Okay, I think it's better now. Whew.

What I wanted to tell you, in a random way because this post has no theme, are the following:

Please see Christina's lovely photo here. I think it's one of her very best.

And then, please visit emma tree and read her magical story here. You will love it.

And then, I really wanted you to see Princess Sparkle Pony's Photo Blog, which is going to give me hours of laughs, thanks to my buddy Tara. I mean, with a name like Princess Sparkle Pony, what's not to love?

And then I wanted to share with you the object of my latest obession: baby pandas. I have never given much thought to baby pandas, until P at What Possessed Me posted this. And now I will never be the same. I keep coming back to look at this photo, like I need a hit of baby panda.

I dare you to look at this photo and not instantly succumb to the power of the baby panda.

And that, my friends, is that. I'm outta here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Resting on Laurels I Don't Have

An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied. ~Arnold Glasow


"So, why are you still working here?"

That is what one of my coworkers asked me today. She was very direct. She even had her hands on her hips, in an insistent stance. She meant the question in a nice way, though.

As much as I might complain and whine about my job sometimes, I do work with some very talented, bright and very funny, cool people (except for one, and that's all I'll say about that). For almost two years, I have played jokes on some, shared snarky emails and daydreams of where the nearest Sugar Daddy store is in town, and gone out for drinks, movies, lunches and dinners with even more. When I would walk in a little late in the morning, looking frowsy from a late night of tango dancing, some one would always ask with a smile, "Oh, tango again last night?" Or when I had my flamenco skirt and shoes in my bag and was on the way out the door, people would want to know, "How's that flamenco coming along?"

It's nice to be noticed.

Now, when they see me with my camera around my neck, maybe having just come in from lunch, they say, "Take any good pictures today?" And they mean it. I get little congregations at my desk to see one of my latest achievements. It's very sweet of them.

I've already sold seven books at work.

So someone who hadn't seen my book yet came over with a copy in her hand. Three of them had been pow-wowing at another's desk, and she had been flipping through it. She marched back to my desk and said, "So why exactly are you still working here? I can't believe you took these pictures! You should be in a gallery. You should be selling these books all over town!"

I babbled. "Wha..wah...wh--"

And another one piped up on the other side of my desk: "You need to get a grant. Seriously. Apply to the Getty Foundation and get out of here."

They already have all of these ideas. Go to this store. This museum. This hotel. Oh, the tourists here. And here. My head was spinning and my insides were saying, oh please, can't you do this part for me?

So now I have to give myself a little bit of a kick in the pants. I made my book, and I adore it. I figured out how to make prints I like and I can sell them, too. I show my book around and people love it. I have copies sitting on my desk (the stack is dwindling rapidly), all with the idea that I will take them into shops and hotels and show them and see if I can drum up some orders, and instead I've done nothing so far.

I'm resting on laurels I don't have. I need to cut this crap and get out there and show my stuff. But then I think about me trying to apply for a grant with the Getty Foundation and my mean little Dorothy Parker self just laughs (Just learned to use a camera at Easter, this year, for god's sake! Still uses the Auto function on her camera because she doesn't even know all of the settings yet. Who does she think she is, anyway?!).

This post is not a pity party for me and I know what I have to do. But I still want to have the world come to me, to be like Lana Turner at the soda fountain at Schwab's and get discovered and instantly become a star (even though that story isn't true, isn't it what we all want?). Isn't that what reality tv is all about? Someday I'll be discovered? That diamond in the rough, the one that only needs a little facet here and a little polish there and voila! Now I can show them all I'm not a total phony?

Wake up, tangobaby. You've got to hit the pavement and get to work.

Please help kick me in the pants. I need more feet.


Just so you know, up top are what the MOO cards look like, what I was telling you about here. They are insanely cute and I think all of you should get MOO cards. (See, I'm so good at promoting other people's stuff.)

On the other side, they say:

julie michelle

Okay, MOO cards. I know.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone

That's what The Boy keeps telling me, almost every day now, at least once a day.

He is going home on Saturday, to Western Pennsylvania (not to be confused with other parts of Pennsylvania-- he's very specific about that), to see family, to attend his oldest childhood friend's wedding reception, maybe to see the Hershey Car Show, amongst other things...and I am staying here.

Normally, I'm the one going off to places and having little adventures and he holds down the fort.

But this time, I'll be the one left behind...

And I ponder:

who will I make my famous scrambled eggs for, and who will praise me and say I am the Queen of Breakfasts;

who will do my laundry (nay, that same person who says you aren't allowed to touch the washer and dryer because you'll break them) and who will make my bed and put the freshly washed laundry at the foot of the bed;

who will read carefully chosen selections to me in the morning, laying in bed while I put on mascara and try to fix my hair and get ready for work, reading from a wide selection of authors that includes, but is not limited, to Tim Cahill, Garrison Keillor, John McPhee, Pauline Kael, Frank Rich, Howard Zinn, Mark Twain and Dave Barry;

who will entertain me with professorial-level dissertations on subjects including Stax Records, Roberto Clemente (his hero, and then there's the tangent on why I should learn to love baseball), EC Comics, the Beatles (and why he thinks Paul is the best Beatle and I have to disagree with him because I think George is); Le Mans auto racing, Joseph Duveen and Warren Buffett;

who will give me quick go-away-I'm-busy kisses, have-a-nice-day-at-work kisses, and tender, soft kisses that say I missed you so much today;

who never has a bad word to say about anyone and always gives people the benefit of the doubt (something I could improve on and learn from) and who always wakes up happy in the morning;

who can watch Harpo or Harold after a long, troublesome day and forget his worries;

who can sing like Elvis and tries to play the harmonica;

who will tell me that marauders silently and mysteriously break into our house in the middle of the night on a regular basis and eat our ice cream and that is why there's never any left for me;

who is like the personification of Calvin and Hobbes rolled into one person;

who will crank call me at work, favorite voices include a flaming gay man, Flip Wilson's Geraldine, or a Vietnamese person I cannot understand;

who does naughty things, and knows he's doing naughty things while he is doing them, and then immediately apologizes but in such a way that you have to laugh, and when all else fails flashes that big dimple in his right cheek;

who will alternately make me laugh so hard I either choke on my own saliva or bust into a coughing fit, or else make me so mad that I have to smack him in the arm, or both at the same time;

who will surprise me with special treats like these and these, or swing by after work and take me for a ride;

who I tuck in at night and kiss on the forehead because he always falls asleep before I do, and when I leave the room, calls out sleepily, no don't go, stay and cuddle with me;

who says to me tell me why you love me, tell me I'm the best. And I'm at a loss for words because I don't even know where to start.

Yes, buddy. I am gonna miss you when you're gone. I will miss you very, very much.

Vintage photo from old-picture.com

It's Not All Boring

Today one of my work-related tasks is to find a Bedazzler. You'd be surprised to know this, but here in San Francisco they are not as common as one might think.

Actually, the task is not officially work-related but it does involve a co-worker so at least I can say I've done something productive today.

Do any of you guys know how to use a Bedazzler? I got a D in sewing.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tell Me If This Makes Sense

In 1974, when I was eight years old, I watched a movie on television called The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. The movie, based on a novel of the same name, chronicled the life of a woman born into slavery, who battled segregation and racism and eventually became active in the Civil Rights movement.

I remember being so upset about what I saw in that movie, and my little girl image of our country and what was fair and how people should be treated was incredibly incensed. I asked my mother what I could do and she told me if I was that upset about it and wanted to do something, then I could write a letter to the President.

So I did. I poured my heart out to the President. In my mind, I really thought that he would read my letter and believed that he was all-powerful (like other mythological characters) and could fix the problems of racism and hatred. I did get a very nice letter back from President Ford (lol, some lackey in the Department of Little Kid's Letters to the President), who thanked me for writing and for expressing my concerns. (I have that letter in my scrapbook somewhere. I'll have to look for it.)

I remember reading that long-awaited reply and being disappointed and realizing that the President actually was not going to help me with issues I felt very strongly about. Does this sound familiar?


I mention this story because in reading recent posts and "news" items (I refuse to call it actual news until the journalists in this country grow a freaking pair--yes, I'm quoting Saturday Night Live--and do their jobs) and other bloggers' comments on the incredible drama and furor over lies and lipstick and sexism and racism and creationism and books and war and the economy, I think we are all letting this insanity turn us into those innocent eight-year olds who think that this time, this candidate, this party can fix things. Every four years we go through the same damn thing.

When the truth is, they can't. I don't think either party really knows how or even where to start. Let's face it. If your life has improved dramatically over the past eight years, then I wonder what income bracket you reside in because it's got to be helluva lot different than the one I'm in, and I'm going to guess that you're in the minority.

That being said, I think the Democrats totally wasted their mandate from the elections in 2006. They blew it completely. They didn't change or do a blessed thing in Washington for the past two years. They wussed out in every possible way.

This doesn't mean that we shouldn't vote. It means that voting is more important than ever. Not because we think that the next President of the United States can fix things for us, but so that that person who gets elected knows that ALL of us care. We care a very great deal. That once and for all, we might have the strength as constituents and citizens to hold them responsible and accountable. That we will not hear blame being passed around like dinner rolls at the table.


It would be very nice in our little communal escape from reality to think that a candidate really is just like me or you. Just like in the movies. Like Jimmy Stewart's character in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, he's just a small-town guy who wants to build a boy's camp and learns the hard truth about the corruption in Washington, and his heart is broken, even though he triumphs in the end. But the naivete of that character is the same as our own, and it is what all politicians play into (and I mean all): our little fantasy that they are one of us, that they care about us because they are us.

People, let's wake up. None of these politicians are us. Let's take of the rose-colored glasses already. None of them are us. But it doesn't mean they can't work for us. (Please understand, this doesn't mean I have an idea of exactly how we do that.) What I do know is that this country is full of good, hard-working people who are all tired of getting the fuzzy end of the stick.

And that brings me back to US. Not the US as in USA, but the us as in me and you. I don't care if you are a Democrat, Republican or the myriad of other parties in this country that don't have a voice, but listen up: When we allow them to divide and conquer through slander and name-calling and non-issues (I guess now I'm considered an elitist, by the way that half of the propaganda rolls right now), and then they can divert us from the issues that affect our futures, they weaken all of US, as in us, as in me and you. The Blame Game just cannot fly anymore. Wall Street is crumbling before our eyes today, as I write this post. Who's gonna bail out the fat cats? Us.

And that means the Blame Game cannot fly with us anymore. If we don't like the way things are, then WE have to become US and do something about it. But we need to educate ourselves about the issues, on what the facts are and not the hype they're handing out like milk and cookies after recess. This is not a reality tv show or a beauty contest or Platoon or another episode of the West Wing.


I'd like to think that the little 8-year olds in all of us can rise up together, and say ENOUGH. I'll meet you on the playground. Let's show these other kids we mean business.

Resources for smart kids like us:


And if any of you have resources to share, please let us all know. We are all in this together.