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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Just in Case You Needed a Little Sunshine Today

In case you've got a touch of SAD where you live, we've still got plenty of sunshine here in San Francisco (famous last words... now it will probably rain tomorrow since I said that).

Actually, this little "film" (for lack of a better word) is a test using still photography and video I took today in Golden Gate Park, with every transition and special effect I could throw in for practice. And still all under two minutes. But there are ducks, roller skaters, flowers, sunshine and music if that makes you feel better.

I'm curious, for those of you who have camcorders and video editing software, what you like and find easy to use. I don't have a camcorder (I used the video function on my camera) and then used iMovie to create my snippet. I have Final Cut Express and it just is way way over my head right now. Any advice is greatly appreciated (perhaps about the hardware/software and not so much about my directorial debut).

Hope you guys had a great weekend!

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Day After

Today is the traditional first day of my personal "I Hate Turkey" season. I should be wearing an outfit of baggy sweatpants where I've snipped the elastic in the waist, one of my seasonal post-Thanksgiving t-shirts ("JUST SAY NO TO CRACK [POTATOES]!", "FUTURE BREATHARIAN," or "MY BABY IS A FOOD BABY"), with a square of duct tape affixed firmly over my mouth.

But no, I am at work today (which the sad few of us here have deemed the practice to be a hybrid of unsupervised day care and being sent to after-school detention. We have also deemed our presence here at the office to be very un-American of our employers because we should be out supporting Black Friday and our crumbling economy).

Because I am here, I had to forego the modified sweatpants and baggy top in favor of regular clothes (found some that fit, perhaps there is a god) and brought the requisite turkey sandwich for lunch (which has been made more enticing by adding some thick slices of Delice de Bourgogne atop slices of rustic Italian bread, and topped with my homemade cranberry relish, which will be my fruit ration for the next week.). And true to my word, once I finish this post, then I will be off on a virtual spree of visiting you all in blogland for the next 6 hours or so.


I hope you all did have a lovely Thanksgiving, and that if you're reading this, you're idling in front of the computer in your jammies today. Even those of you who don't live in the US, I hope you're benefitting from some of that Thanksgiving spirit too, even if you're not feeling the fatness.

We had a very quiet and restful day, mostly. No computers, no phones. Days like this always involve extreme couch-potatoey-ness because our home is very well equipped for the sport of marathon movie watching. Although we've been TV-free for well over a decade (both as individuals and in our coupledom), that doesn't mean we suffer from a deficit of visual entertainment. We have a self-made home theatre, with projector, surround sound speakers and a pull down 10' movie screen that's mounted in the ceiling for hard-core movie watching. Those of you who attended the famous Movie Maven's Movie Marathon for America can attest to this.

The Boy selected The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance as our first film of the day. With extreme deference to John Ford, Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne, this is a boring classic film. The Boy fell asleep, which is added proof because he loves westerns and I don't. So while he snoozed, I swapped that movie for Little Big Man. The Boy's never seen this film (!) and I've seen it many, many times. There's something really fun when a friend watches a really great movie for the first time in your presence.

Even though you cannot watch this film with the idea that it's a documentary, there's enough truth in the relationship between the Native American and Caucasian cultures to provide some historical perspective and give some food for thought at Thanksgiving time. Our national myth of the first Thanksgiving, complete with the deliverance of the English settlers by the Indians with the bounty of this country's native foods adds a poignant sadness to the fact that the cultures of these noble natives were almost completely destroyed 150 years later. Not that I don't want to be thankful for the bountiful life that I have, because I am, but lately it just seems right to be even more focused on our nation's checkered past. Its perceived greatness and promise as well as its tragic cruelties. I still feel sensitized and overly aware of our American myth, as a result of this past election. Everything I read or see makes me view our current situation from the continuum of history that has gotten us to this day.

To me, the best scenes of this film are the ones that feature Chief Dan George. And of those scenes, this one is my favorite:


One aside (which has nothing to do with anything really) after watching Little Big Man again is that there was a certain type of actress in the 70s: Faye Dunaway, Julie Christie, Marisa Berenson, to name a few, that had this willowy, high-cheekboned and exotic beauty that is not seen on the screen anymore. Even overly made up, these women had a lanky grace that I identify as a symbol of 70s films.


The second viewing selection between feedings were two episodes of Earth: The Biography, made by the BBC in conjunction with the National Geographic Channel. Is it just me, or do the Brits just corner the market on amazing scientific programming? Plus, geologist Iain Stewart is a super hottie, if you like really smart guys who are crazy adventurous and have great accents (I do).

The first episode, "Volcanoes," is simply spectacular. Spectacularly exciting, wildy entertaining, and full of stuff you never knew about our planet and which also makes you very very glad to not be living near a volcano if you can help it. Although it doesn't make you real excited to be living on a moving tectonic plate, either. This episode really puts the concept of our planet and how it came to be formed, and how it continues to evolve, into fascinating perspective.

The second episode, "Atmosphere," was similarly educational, but as The Boy put it, "very intense." And "scary." The last part about greenhouse gasses and melting permafrost and methane was sobering, to say the least.

When faced with a bit of overwhelming reality, the best thing to do is take a break.

That means get some pumpkin pie (not homemade but certainly delicious), a cup of hot cocoa (I'm now a big fan of Mexican Chocolate Abuelita by Nestle ) and plug in some escapist adventure.

For me, that's Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity. You guys can keep your James Bond in all his incarnations.

Plus, you get a trip to Paris in this film.


So there you have it. Our little holiday of gluttony, sloth, historical perspective, adventure and general condition of the planet, all in one day. Maybe it is good to be back at work.

And with that, I am off to pay my visits to you!


Mushroom cloud/exploding stomach image from here.
The Day After reference definitely an homage to the Russian menace exploitation of the Reagan era.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

More Crack for Thanksgiving

As a preemptive Thanksgiving gift/post, in addition to offering you all my most appreciative thanks for hanging out with me in the blogosphere* and being such lovely people, I wanted to share one of my Thanksgiving treasures with you: my special recipe for Crack Potatoes. This is a key dish in order for you to make your Food Baby on Thanksgiving Day (in case you actually needed help with that).

The Boy named the recipe for me. These Crack Potatoes are the centerpiece of our holiday table instead of the turkey. (No, that is not a photo of them. That's a picture I got off of the Corbis stock photo website. Our potatoes never last long enough to have a picture taken of them.)


Okay, don't laugh but the reason this recipe doesn't have any measurements is because I dreamt it. Seriously. Why can't I have dreams about how to play the stock market or what the winning lottery numbers are?

No. Instead I dream about recipes for mashed potatoes.

So that is why I have to fudge the measurements because I wing it. Just realize that more butter and more cream are okay.

For me and The Boy (who named this recipe Crack Potatoes because we could NOT stop eating them and then he eats ALL of the leftovers in the middle of the night), I use approximately the following (obviously if there are more of you then you need more ingredients, but you knew that already):

2 big handfuls each of the baby Yukon gold creamer potatoes and the baby red creamer potatoes
1 large onion
At least a stick of butter
Whipping cream or half and half
The secret ingredient: 2-4 packets of Savory Choice liquid Turkey broth concentrate. It's like a little ketchup sized packet with a thick turkey bouillon in it.

Large frying pan or saucepan with lid
Microwaveable bowl
Potato masher
Slotted spoon
Saran wrap
An empty tummy or two/pants with an elastic waistband


1. Wash potatoes and remove little eyes, spots, etc. Put in microwave safe bowl with a tiny bit of water and cover with saran wrap.

2. Cook potatoes in microwave to steam them, until they are just soft enough to stab with a fork. Not too soft.

3. While potatoes are steaming, cut up onion and carmelize in a large frying pan in lots of butter.

4. When onions are golden and gooey, remove potatoes from bowl with a slotted spoon and add to pan. Turn heat down to low and cover.

5. What you want is for the potatoes to get nice and browned on all sides and get very, very soft, so leave the lid on and just turn when necessary. Add more butter if necessary for browning.

6. When the potatoes are very soft, use a potato masher to mash up the potatoes evenly.

7. Add packets of turkey flavoring and stir through.

8. Add lots of butter and stir through. Add enough cream to make it nice and mushy!

Serve with or without turkey. You can also just eat the potatoes out of the pan with a wooden spoon.

Enjoy!!! This is a Boy Tested and Boy Approved Recipe.


*I have to work on Friday which is incredibly silly and I intend to spend many hours emailing you all and catching up on your blogs. So that will be a holiday in itself. Happy Thanksgiving! xoxo

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Day of Reckoning Is Here

Rumor has it that The Boy finally has a plane ticket and will be home tomorrow! Of course, I'm sooooo glad to have my boy home in time for Thanksgiving and crazy make-up cuddling.

However, I have not used my two months of serious Bachelorette Time to enhance the appearance of our home. It's after 11pm and I'm still folding laundry. I am a messy person. I admit it.

The only way I'm going to make it in time is to listen to a good dose of Clean Your Room Music. I really think the 70s produced some of the best music to clean to (ie., music that will distract you enough so that you can muddle through what could be terribly depressing but needs to be done, with a smile).

In no particular order, here's a mini version of what's playing Chez Tangobaby:

Boston, "Peace of Mind"
Electric Light Orchestra, "Livin' Thing"
Earth, Wind and Fire, "That's the Way of the World"
Queen, "Bohemian Rhapsody"
Fleetwood Mac, "Go Your Own Way"
Elton John, "Tiny Dancer"
Jackson 5, "ABC"
Redbone, "Come and Get Your Love"
David Bowie, "Suffragette City"
Jean Knight, "Mr. Big Stuff"
Rose Royce, "Car Wash"
Sister Sledge, "We Are Family"
Labelle, "Lady Marmalade"
Blondie, "Dreaming"
Lynyrd Skynrd, "Sweet Home Alabama"
Rod Stewart, "Maggie May"
Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Looking Out My Back Door"
Blue Swede, "Hooked on a Feeling"
Paul Simon, "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard"

And now I've just realized that I'm totally NOT cleaning my room by making this list of music. So if you have any suggestions, drop 'em in the comment box. But you agree, the 70s (music-wise, at least) were something else? In a good way.

God it's late. I'm going to be in trouble.

Oh No! It's TODAY!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

la belle fille encore

Just too pretty to stop here.

la belle fille avec l'hirondelle

the beautiful girl with the swallows

she loves birds

pretty as a picture

Swallow, swallow, neighbor swallow,
Starting on your autumn flight,
Pause a moment at my window,
Twitter softly your good-night;
For the summer days are over,
All your duties are well done,
And the happy homes you builded
Have grown empty, one by one.
Swallow, swallow, neighbor swallow,
Are you ready for your flight?
Are all the feather cloaks completed?
Are the little caps all right?
Are the young wings strong and steady
For the journey through the sky?
Come again in early spring-time;
And till then, good-by, good-by!

~ Louisa May Alcott, What The Swallows Did

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friends and Lovers

"A startlingly white face retreating into the darkness of the garden. She poses for me as she leaves. I want to run out and kiss her fantastic beauty, kiss it and say, 'You carry away with you a reflection of me, a part of me. I dreamed you, I wished for your existence.'" ~ Anais Nin, Henry and June

Shakespeare's Garden.
Thank you.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Photo Interruptus

Um, hello. Did you guys see this:

Search millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive, stretching from the 1750s (Do they mean 1850s? Not a lot of cameras back in the mid-1700s, I think...) to today. Most were never published and are now available for the first time through the joint work of LIFE and Google.

This is a crazy cool work-avoidance endeavour. Check it out because I'm doing this instead of visiting your blogs and replying to your comments. I'm sorry. I should be visiting you right now.

Or working.

A Paean to Penicillin

I guess I could have also titled this post a "Canticle to Ciprofloxacin hydrochloride" since I'm actually allergic to penicillin but then you might not have known what I was talking about. (Although I know you are all very brilliant minds and you would have figured it out quickly.)

Last night I finally took myself over to Urgent Care to get a prescription for this stuff because after a week of "oh, I think it's going away..." I realized that I needed some real medicine. (No worries, I'm fine.) But anyway.

The thing I walked away most grateful for last night, besides the extremely nice people that helped me-- from the intake lady to the doctor to the pharmacist who let me sneak in and filled my prescription in like 30 seconds even though they were closed-- was how freaking lucky I am to have received a slim plastic bottle of pills that will make me feel all better by tomorrow or the next day. Even though I am going to take the entire week's dosage and I hope that you take ALL of your antibiotics like you are supposed to because it's very very very important and I'll get back to that later.

I can't help thinking about what it must have been like to live 100, 200 years ago with a minor illness, which although not life threatening is certainly life-annoying and can get much worse if left unchecked, without the benefit of something like penicillin. I've always loved to read the biographies of scientists who made major discoveries to the benefit of all mankind. Louis Pasteur, you are the man. Marie Curie, you're even more the man because no one wanted you to study science in the first place.

One of the books on my nightstand that I'm chipping away at before bedtime is about Joseph Priestly and Antoine Lavoisier, one a humble English minister type and the other a French nobleman who was eventually guillotined during the Terror, and their quest to discover oxygen. Subject might not sound like a blockbuster but in the history of important knowledge that's benefited humankind, it is. What strikes me about both these guys is that their lives were not easy, got totally messed up by religous zealotry (one in the strict sense, and one by the religion of political fervor) and how the human mind can be so single-mindedly brilliant when it wants to be.

The tiny list of scientific explorers I mention here helped to pave a way to an improved quality of life for all of us, and they did it without the benefit of government grants, readily available ingredients, laboratories or assistance, and sometimes working under life-threatening circumstances. That type of perseverance, to the understanding of our physical universe with the side effect of benefiting fellow humans and generations to come that could build on their discoveries, always fills me with pride and hope that we can do more and be more as a species, regardless of our gender, religion or nationality.

I am not going to talk about Sarah Palin and the fruit flies again. But to me, now, she is the ready poster girl for a subset of people who not only walk around clueless, but could possibly impede the future and direction of scientific inquiry. This is not a rant but if you want to read a well-reasoned and informed one, check out Andrew Sullivan. Now I'm not saying that all of us have to geek out on science like me. I used to hang out after school in junior high and help my biology teacher separate and count fruit flies, not for extra credit, but because I thought it was very cool to be a tiny part of a scientific process, even at the age of 12. So even back then, I knew that studying fruit flies wasn't just blowing smoke up someone's ass. (Certainly at age 12, a person can find lots of things to do after school besides observing Drosophila melanogaster.)

What I hope is that our country will turn back the clock on eight years of morality-induced prejudice leading to anti-scientific inquiry. I wrote a post recently about change and what we might be willing to do to help move our country forward, to the benefit of all Americans and the world. I'm thinking maybe one avenue for me might be to help support issues regarding the advancement of scientific research. Not just because of the Cipro. But because to me, Science can be a tool to advance Hope, and wasn't that also a theme of this election? Making life better for all of us in a measureable, meaningful way?

But first I must address why I woke up at 1:20am and found myself here in front of the computer. (Actually, I was thirsty. So I'll get my drink of water and catch you all later.)


ps.: For a hair-raising but very important read on why we all need to do our share to help prevent the development of super-resistant strains of bacteria, read Laurie Garrett's The Coming Plague. It's like reading The Andromeda Strain or The Stand and then coming to the uncomfortable realization that you're reading non-fiction. Want to believe in a real Armageddon? Good chance it could come from a microbe. And there's no mention of the Rapture, either.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Cupcake and a Very Happy Birthday to My Crush, Joe

"I was in the Oval Office the other day, and the President asked me what I would do about resignations. I said, 'Look, Mr. President, would I keep Rumsfeld? Absolutely not.' And I turned to Vice President Cheney, who was there, and I said, 'Mr. Vice President, I wouldn't keep you if it weren't constitutionally required.'

I turned back to the President and said, 'Mr. President, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld are bright guys, really patriotic, but they've been dead wrong on every major piece of advice they've given you. That's why I'd get rid of them, Mr. President---not just Abu Ghraib.' They said nothing. Just sat there like big old bullfrogs on a log and looked at me." ~ Joe Biden, Rolling Stone interview, June 2004


Fucking A. That's my Veep. And he's a Scorpio!

d i a n a m u s e, we should be celebrating together. Red Velvet cupcake, anyone? Happy Happy Birthday, Joe.

ps.: Cupcake photo swiped from that leftist liberal rag, the New York Times. Hey, at least they give you the recipe. Aw hell, I got the Biden photo there, too. I'm so transparent. (I read the International Herald Tribune sometimes too. But not The Economist. No one reads that except for Sarah Palin.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Take the Douchebag Tour of San Francisco

Oh thank goodness that Bill O'Reilly had the guts to expose the truth about San Francisco to the world. Here I thought that this city was chock full of culture, with a fascinating and diverse population, a unique and colorful history, and amazing architecture, parks and views. Not to mention great shopping, a veritable foodie heaven and the "little cable cars that travel halfway to the stars."

No no no. Watch this video and see how snookered I've been living here. Again, I'm so grateful that Bill and FOX had the courage to air this piece. Even though Bill apparently associated the famous neighborhood of North Beach (where Coit Tower, City Lights Books, a vibrant Italian community and where the Beat Generation made its home) in the Tenderloin, now I know I live in San Fran Freakazoid-Trannytown.

Tell me that people who watch this show are secretly snickering that this blowhard is still the host of "Inside Edition" who got an extremely lucky career break. Either that, or he's doing a great service to our fair city, keeping his mindless flock with their embroidered fanny packs out of our cool town.

(Just so you know, I promise this will be the first and last time this a-hole gets a nod on my blog.)

ps.: If you've never laughed your ass off at some mercilessly embarrassing tourist photos at Fanny Pack Antics, then you are really missing something quite special. White tennis shoe wearers UNITE!

UPDATE: In response to Tara's comment, I've added a link to a segment from the documentary Outfoxed. This portion with Douchbag O'Reilly verbally assaulting a guest is one of the most powerful of the film. If you haven't seen Outfoxed (I own a copy but there are clips available online), you should.

What About Change?

Don't you know
They're talkin' bout a revolution
It sounds like a whisper
Don't you know
They're talkin' about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper

While they're standing in the welfare lines
Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation
Wasting time in the unemployment lines
Sitting around waiting for a promotion

Poor people gonna rise up
And get their share
Poor people gonna rise up
And take what's theirs

Don't you know
You better run, run, run...
Oh I said you better Run, run, run...
Finally the tables are starting to turn
Talkin' bout a revolution


First, a tip of the hat to Johanna and A Cuban in London for providing the elements that made this idea for a post finally come together.

I remember years ago, my sister and I waiting for hours to see Tracy Chapman perform at the Shoreline Ampitheatre, sitting on the lawn on a warm summer night, our backs hurting from hours on the ground, trying to find a comfortable way to sit. Finally, when Tracy came out and sang, it was so worth it.

Looking back, what a thrill it was to see her perform and sing along with the crowd to songs that were very moving and beloved by all of us. But now this song seems like its time has finally come. Even this version of the song, sung years later (and how has her voice changed) only adds more power to the words.


In a way, the election seems like it was ages ago.

I just got an email from David Plouffe yesterday (you may have gotten one, too), about taking a survey about the campaign and offering ideas about the new presidency to come in a short time. I was glad to see his name in my inbox again. Seemed like old times. ;-)

It made me think, along with Johanna's post, about what we're prepared to do now that change could truly be coming to us. I know there's a lot of speculation about Obama's cabinet, and people are already griping about this historic presidency being Clinton's Third Term and the far right is already planning its attacks and the man hasn't even taken office yet.

Aside from those distractions (which I'm trying really hard to avoid because I feel like this election has taken an emotional toll on me--you might feel the same way--and it's almost like I'm recovering from an ailment that has alternately made me incredibly depressed and also crazily elated), I know that a shift has come over me. I can't not care anymore about the future of our political system and the impact it has on us and our children's futures. Holding my baby niece and watching Little Curly Girl play made me realize how much we owe our future citizens. This morning, the first news item on the radio I hear as I'm getting dressed for work is how the auto companies are asking Congress for money to avoid bankruptcy. I can't help thinking about those families, those children, the workers who will truly suffer.

I'm not sure exactly how it's going to all come together, but I know that somehow I'll be inspired to act and contribute, not just to do my best to support my new president, but to be more involved locally. Do you feel the same way? And if so, what thoughts do you have about how you'll do it?

I'm sure I'll have more thoughts on the matter later, but I'm wondering how this election has affected you to be more aware and involved for the future.

Monday, November 17, 2008

While in Babyville

We conducted our very important drawing today.

The drawing was supposed to happen last Friday, but when you're in Babyville, life happens at a different pace.

Luckily we had a crisp white chef's hat for the occasion.

And LCG chose very carefully that one special name out of the hat...

And the winner is...

Thank you for being part of our day!
It's time for grilled cheese and maybe a trip to the park before I have to go to the airport. So I'll catch up with you all later. But here's a little preview, and some songs and kisses.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm Off to Babyville

“Unfortunately, many people do not consider fun an important item on their daily agenda. For me, that was always high priority in whatever I was doing.” ~ Chuck Yeager


Just kidding. I'm not really flying on the X-1 tomorrow morning. That's just a fantasy remnant from watching and reading The Right Stuff often when I was a kid.

However, it would be super damn cool to go Mach 1 instead of flying coach. There just aren't enough lifetimes, are there?

So I'm off to Little Curly Girl Land and the Kingdom of Incredibly Cute Babydom where, apparently, LCG is going to teach me ballet. So you might not see or hear from me for a few days (except for the book drawing--I'll find a way), but that doesn't mean I don't love you.

Catch you on the other side of the sound barrier.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Just When You Thought the Best Tanning Beds Were in the Governor's Mansion in Alaska

They have tanning beds for babies in the nurseries, too! It's Baby Club Med.

I'm going to see LCG's new baby sister on Friday and kiss Her Royal Chubness because now she is home and ensconced in her Kingdom of Insanely Cute Babydom.
I was going to wait until Friday to bust out this photo, but I couldn't hold back.

Look at those cheeks! Oh la la.

Birthday Treats Being Logged and Recognized Appropriately

The enormity of birthday wishes, gifts, cake, voicemails, emails and such were overwhelmingly lovely and appreciated to the highest degree, and now I am appointing a transition team to help me handle the incredible amounts of love, well wishes and birthday memories.

Right now we are cataloguing and putting all of these lovely sentiments in their proper places for easy recall and enjoyment. It is a daunting task. But I will be back with you soon.


In the meantime, please bear with me while I get situated with being a year older but definitely more loved. I am going to share some virtual cake with you, sent from The Boy, who is braving the elements in Pittsburgh. (Yes, he is still not home yet! Yes, he has been such a good son and helping his parents, yadda yadda yadda. I don't know what to do at this point. I was thinking of hiring a band of gypsies or pirates to kidnap him and bring him back to San Francisco.)

He also sent me a photo of himself, being very strong and cute. He still does this to impress me (it works). Boys will be boys.

Does anyone know of a band of gypsies in the Pittsburgh area that I can hire to bring The Boy home? They have to be authentic gypsies with wagons and campfires. Or a circus train would work. He would be totally lured away by a circus train, especially if giraffes were involved.

ps.: Who's my film buff here? Who knows where that top photo came from besides me?

Monday, November 10, 2008

11/11: My Birthday, Your Gift

Well, tomorrow's the b-day.

This year's birthday seems so much about wanting to look forward, to look forward to. I can't help but be excited about what might happen in the coming year.

The day seems like a present waiting to have its bow untied.

I have decided to make a present. It's been fun giving stuff to you guys (Kath, you're next!).
So I think I'll give one of you a copy of my next photo book: The Mission, San Francisco Series, Vol. 2.

I'm almost done with the collection of photos, and if I know I have someone to send a book to then it will be more of an incentive to put the finishing touches on it and get it out the door to be printed.


I've been falling in love with the Mission. The colors, the life in the people, the unexpected surprises.
It's been hard to choose the photos for this book because there are so many that I love.

The one below in particular has a sweet story behind it. I was walking down Clarion Alley, which is filled with some of the most amazing murals in San Francisco. Taking photos left and right, I heard a giggle above me.

There was a young Hispanic boy, camera pointed at me, ready to take a picture of yet another picture taker wandering under his window. We laughed as we snapped photos of each other and gave each other a thumb's up at the end of our little impromptu session. Two photographers happy with their work.

This photo in particular felt like a gift to me when I took it, and even now as I remember the story of it. So it would be great to share even more of the story with you, so you can see what hours of walking and looking have come to lately.


So no special requirements. Just leave a comment if you'd like to be in the drawing and I'll pick a name. All of you guys, even my little lurkers. First time visitor or long-time buddy, wherever you live in the world. How about we have the drawing on Friday?

It will be nice to give you a present. You're always so encouraging and thoughtful! And so nice to have around.


For Gillian: At the National Gallery of Art

Hi Gillian. Yes, you were right.

From The Voyage of Life, by Thomas Cole.
This is The Voyage of Life Manhood, c. 1840.

I remember how gorgeous this series of paintings were. So large and vivid and dreamlike.

But this is the painting I went to see three times on three separate days of a very short Washington DC visit:

Woman Holding a Balance, by Johannes Vermeer
c. 1664

Seeing art like these paintings is an experience you never forget.


So, Gillian... Art before the crabcakes? Or eat first and get it out of the way?
Also, Legal Seafood has killer crab chowder. Yummm.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fleeting Enchantments

“I make my pictures for what Hollywood spends on lipstick” ~ Maya Deren


I love tiny discoveries. People or places or things that I've never heard of before that make me pause and find yet another way to see the world as a fascinating place (granted, lots of people have made these discoveries before me and I'm just coming around to it late in the game).

But they're my tiny discoveries. And like a trickle of water that gradually flows to a larger body of water, I'll be able to follow this rivulet to people or other things that will enhance my appreciation of what I've just found and make my personal world more interesting.


On Friday night, I stopped into Amoeba Records on the way home. I love to walk the length of Haight Street when I'm not too tired, from the Lower to the Upper Haight instead of taking the train. Two possible treats await me at the end of my walk: plantains and black beans (and maybe a glass of sangria) at Cha Cha Cha, and/or a video or two from Amoeba. For some reason I never buy any music there, probably because the place is so cavernous and overwhelming in its selections, but I seem to navigate my way around the DVD room quite well and always find something I want. Finding restraint at the cash register is harder.

What excites me tremendously is when I discover a fascinating person. Perhaps you've already heard of her, but I found a collection of short films by Maya Deren. I was so entranced by her work. I couldn't stop watching.

From the bio in the Harold Gottleib Archival Research Center at Boston University:

Maya Deren (1917-1961) has been called "the mother of the American underground cinema" and remains perhaps the most noted female experimental filmmaker in the United States from the 1940s until her untimely death in 1961. In addition, she was a noted theorist whose innovative writings are shamefully not as familiar as those of her male contemporaries.

Eleanora Derenkowsky was born on April 29, 1917 in Kiev, Ukraine, the only child of linguist Marie Derenkowsky and her psychologist husband Solomon. In 1922, the family fled the Soviet Union to escape from anti-Semitism, settling in New York City and shortening the family name to Deren... Deren often self-distributed her films, going so far as to screen them on her living room walls. If she managed to land a booking, she often accompanied the screenings with a lecture...She received the Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix Internationale, became the first filmmaker to receive a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, which allowed her to begin research on the Voudoun ritual in Haitian culture.


Maya died at age 44. It amazes me the body of work: art, thought-- that some people can create in a such a short life. My birthday is on Tuesday. Some days I really feel like the clock is ticking...

What people or places or things have you discovered that made a lasting impression on you? Anything you'd care to share? I'm in the mood for discovery. Now that this election is over, I feel like I can breathe again.

Here is Deren's film Meshes of the Afternoon (1943). I wonder what you think of it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Crush #2 (and Crush Update)

Now I'm starting to develop a girly crush on Obama's new Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. Is anyone else with me on that? I get the distinct impression that he gets sh*t done.

I picture him as a darker, meaner version of Jon Stewart (that's a good thing in my book): “Valentine’s Day is when Dick Cheney fantasizes about waterboarding.” Zing!

I have this fantasy that Mr. Emanuel is a cross between Benjamin Disraeli and the Sean Connery character in The Untouchables ("That's the Chicago way, and that's how you get Capone!")

If The Boy doesn't come home soon, I might have to live in Washington D.C. for a while. Besides being near my two crushes (the other being the new VP), I'll be able to have Chesapeake Bay crabcakes whenever I want and go to the National Gallery all the time. *sigh*

Anyone want to bunk with me?


UPDATE 5:09pm: OMG, I seriously love this man. Check out the little open love letter he wrote to The Shrub back in June!

Princesses Nubiennes

I'm still waking up in a good mood. My post-election high hasn't worn off yet! Amazing.

This is a song that will keep it going. Temperature Rising by Les Nubians. I will never be as cool or beautiful as these ladies, but boy I can sure appreciate them.


My musical educator in London, a cuban in london, has the most wonderful musical selections with great commentary. You should give him a visit.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

As if...

Life just couldn't get any sweeter right now.

Next Tuesday is my birthday. So as an early birthday present to me, this Tuesday I get a president that makes me feel like the world might not be going to hell in a handbasket and I'm thrilled in a way I've never been in my entire life, and then...

My sister goes and HAS A BABY today!

Little Curly Girl has a brand new sister who apparently has a flawless complexion and lots of dark curly hair... and I have someone new to play with.

My goodness, I think my head is going to fall off.


Nothing Like a Little Pollock

To help deal with insomnia. Is there some condition called Post-Election Sleep Disorder? There must be.

Don't ask why I am up at 2am reconfiguring my modem. The bright side of it is a) the modem works, and b) I just made my own Jackson Pollock.

You can make your own here. It does feel quite therapeutic to throw some virtual paint around the internet. You should try it.

I'm going back to sleep.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

8 p.m., Pacific Standard Time

Election Night.
At 8 p.m., the room exploded with joy.
Inside The Independent, Divisadero Street, San Francisco.


Like a lot of you, I'm really tired today. But it's a different kind of tired. I'm thrilled to be tired. I've destroyed my vocal cords from cheering (but my voice does sound damn sexy, kind of like Kathleen Turner in her prime) and the palms of my hands still hurt a little from clapping.
My eyes are puffy from crying.

But it's all good. I wouldn't want to be any other way today.


I think this is when I started to go a little nuts.

OHIO! And Florida! And Virginia!
I had it easy. I live in a slam-dunk state. But the people who got the word out, who stood in long lines, who live in parts of the country where making this leap of faith is a HUGE deal...

YOU are my heros. Truly. Thank you.


"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer." ~ President Elect Barack Obama

Once I got outside of The Independent, I saw this flyer just a block away while heading towards home.

I've always felt that I missed out in the great moments of history: the Women's Suffrage movement, the end of WWII, the Civil Rights Movement, the Kennedy Administration, the space race. Times that formed our nation's consciousness and helped make us a country that people looked up to.

I don't feel like that anymore.


The entire transcript of Obama's historic speech is here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

One More Election Result Tonight

I am very proud to announce the members of my Tangobaby Administration 2012. Never will a country be governed by so many talented and clever people who also appreciate beauty tips and shoes! I have excerpted their fantastic resumes here so you can see how incredibly perfect these people are. Their original applications are here and here.

Presented for your enjoyment and in completely random order:

Madame julochka, Secretary of State and Chief of Campaign Buttons and Ephemera. Ms. julochka speaks several very important (and not at all minor) languages, has extensive experience with duty frees the world over and knows where the best deals to be had on perfumes and mascara and MAC cosmetics are--thereby saving the taxpayers' money. She once tried, and utterly failed, to become Miss South Dakota, which is extremely important in its own right! We now know how important being a beauty contest almost-winner is in capturing a certain segment of the population. Madame julochka is also "willing to be an ambassador to somewhere fun, like South Africa. Or the Philippines." So we will make her do some extra credit since she's already volunteered. Madame julochka singlehandedly introduced the entire country of Denmark to the importance of celebrating Halloween and has even been seen wearing long purple eyelashes lately. I also know that she hangs out with sailors so her swearing is probably better than mine. That could come in quite handy, too.

Madame red shoes, Secretary of Cultural Awesomeness and Secretary of Impressive Theatrical Lighting. Ms. red shoes got an A- in high school civics class, likes to read books (i.e., "real ones made of paper") and while she spends lots of time in the outdoors, she have never killed an animal for fun. She uses multisyllabic words and has traveled to other countries and gotten pissed (her own words) with the natives, which "is probably a better way to understand their national character than listening to their governments." Ms. red shoes would fight for education--especially in the areas of literacy, history, and the arts--for artistic diversity and for intelligent creative expression, which is nothing like intelligent design at all. She also happens to be a fantastic tango dancer, a huge plus for any competent administration, and is extremely photogenic, if I do say so myself. Ms. red shoes is currently finishing her education to become a world-class theatrical lighting designer, which will prove to be very important in lighting me properly for televised appearances, and also for when Cirque de Soleil performs at the White House.

Madame Kath, Secretary for the Procurement and Enjoyment of Wine. Madame Kath, our neighbor in Canada, will fulfill an extremely important position attained by sheer nepotism (that is, "we have a pre-existing friendship which does not entail testifying against each other at hearings"). In her own words: "This posting will be important to you because at some point, as leader, you are going to need a drink and a very good drink at that. I shall ensure that you have such drink readily available. I will support the wine industry world-wide so that the international world will not think that you are an uppity American who simply sips California Wines. My campaign button for you will read, 'drink, baby, drink!' "

Madame namastenancy, Secretary of the Arts and Secretary of Social Conscience. Madame namastenancy, a working artist for most of her life, totally understands the struggles of the underdog. She has attended many schools, art focused and otherwise so she has personal experience of the classroom and teachers that can teach and teachers that...can't. According to nancy: "You can't beat age and experience on this. I've traveled a lot as a kid (Navy brat) and as an adult; I did the backpack, 3rd class routine before a lot of people ever heard of the words. Heck, I probably invented the concept (see reference to age, experience)." She has visited museums from Tokyo to Bombay and all parts in between so her artistic vision is vast. She has taught art on a tight budget so she won't waste taxpayer money but also "believes in the power of the arts to inspire, motivate and heal." Namastenancy brings her years of 60s-era wise woman wisdom to the Tangobaby Administration!

Madame christina, Secretary of Delicious Foods, Especially Cheese, and Secretary of Beautiful Urban Photography and Writing and Secretary of Voter Relations. I cannot paraphrase Christina's experience better than she does herself: "I think I should be your official, cheese-monger (dealer and trader in delicious commodity). My qualifications speak for themselves: 1. I am from Wisconsin, the dairy state! I come from a wholesome, mid-Western, background. 2. I have eaten from a wheel of parmesan in Italy. I know where the best cheese can be found (foreign affairs covered). 3. I have fried cheese in olive oil for breakfast. (not afraid to take risk for the little guy/girl). 4. You can love cheese or hate it, I won't make decisions for you on what you should eat (common sense). 5. As for a campaign button: 'Cheese is the real m.f maverick!' " Also, Madame christina has provided wonderful wisdom about voting issues this year from her home in Wisconsin, so I am putting her in charge of revamping the voter registration system so we don't have any more problems with people being able to vote. I know I've given her two extra posts in addition to the one she applied for, but I also know she'll excel in all of them. She's that good.

Mr. red shoes, Intern Extraordinare. Mister red shoes, delightful partner and husband of Ms. red shoes (Secretary of Cultural Awesomeness) is "ready and willing to take on the dirty work of this administration [as my invaluable intern]. I possess all the tools and skills required for the position. Regardless of how much needs to be done, you will find me tireless and capable." Trust me, he will be the best intern in our nation's history. And he's cute.

Madame Amanda, Secretary of What-the-Fuck? Such a creative comment must speak from the appointee's own heart: "You see, every campaign (and presidency for that matter) needs someone out there observing, and taking the pulse of both the campaign and the community at large. I have a very real propensity for saying "what the fuck" when needed. If, for instance you chose to represent the middle class of America, and then someone suggested that you go spend $150,000 on clothes, I would stand up and shout, "WHAT THE FUCK, TANGOBABY?" And, for instance if you came back from war and wanted to divorce your spouse because he/she had experienced a major trauma and didn't look the same, again, I would shout "WHAT THE FUCK, TANGOBABY?" I am looking forward to having Amanda spice things up with her outbursts, but hopefully we won't have too many issues she'll need to worry about.

Madame n a n c y, Secretary of Geriatric Affairs. According to her bio, she is younger than Cloris and older than Cher. Formerly known as TangoSlut to her friends, she also answers to MedicareSlut. She is multilingual and well-traveled: Buenos Aires annually, China, India, Europe, Central America, yadda. She has also volunteered to be an "Attack Bitch" so she will serve a dual appointment in this administration.

Madame Brenda, Secretary of Menopausal Affairs. Madame Brenda would make sure all menopausal women get their allotment of chocolate and drugs for hot flashes. In her words, a sort of "Medicare" system solely for the woman over 50. She would also work in a secondary capacity patrolling for evil individuals who are cruel to animals and mete out their punishment, so I'll be sending her for a visit to the Governor's Mansion in Alaska as one of her official duties so she can take away the wolf-hunting helicopters.

Madame TheElementary, Secretary for the Care of Beautiful Gardens and Plants. As her resume explains: "In all the Agatha Christie books I have read, the gardener is always the most invisible, overlooked and forgotten character: yet is often the crucial element in the plot precisely because of that inconspicuous role. As a discreet gardener-figure who listens and observes I would be able to acquire much information that could assist you as President. In my schooldays I was permanently known as 'The Quiet One' to the extent that I tricked an old-lady nun teacher into thinking she had lost my term paper when in fact I had not written it, and I subsequently got the highest possible grade without doing any work. Once, at school, I was hit in the back with a glass bottle by a fellow- accidentally, as it was intended for somebody else- and, due to his thinking I was harmless and inconsequential, he laughed and turned away, whereupon I proceeded to smack him in the face and make a teenage boy cry real tears in front of the entire class. I frequently talk to plants and shrubs and flowers, have a functioning knowledge of green things, and would build a solid friendship with any foliage I am entrusted with." Also Madame TheElementary is from Ireland, and I'm guessing she has the most adorable accent ever, so I would have appointed her solely from the sound of her voice, but I'm glad she has all of these other qualifications, too.

Madame robin-bird, Secretary of Political Psychiatry/Recovery and Secretary of Incredibly Beautiful Nature Photography. Madame robin bird is an expert in stress management and weight management, so I get first dibs but I will share her with all of you. She has also offered to assist in the hospitalization of personality disordered opponents, which could be legion. She is also an amazing photographer of all things green and beautiful so I have appointed her this extra post to beautify the nation through her use of photography and soothing images.

Madame dutchbaby, Secretary of Incredibly Beautiful Floral Arrangements. Madame dutchbaby promises that the White House will always be fragrant with beautiful fresh flowers. She promises to always buy fair trade flowers and last, but not least, promises to make sure that anyone who annoys me will be ... composted (her words). She will work closely with n a n c y and Brenda on the "composting" issue. What more could I ask for? I am also putting Madame dutchbaby down as the Undersecretary to Madame christina, Official White House Cheesemonger, because dutchbaby knows a lot about aged Gouda and she makes a killer baked brie. She also taught me how to make broiled figs stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in proscuitto, and just on the strength of that single recipe, she deserves a place of honor in my administration.

Honorary appointees:

Madame Paris Parfait, Ambassador to the UN and Secretary for the Aquisition of Delightful French Antiquities and Flea Market Finds. In her own words: "I still haven't found time to write up my CV to be UN ambassador. I will try to do that soon. (See that's one of the things about being a diplomat - you are endlessly busy, being diplomatic). And of course I have to break in my 1930s-look shoes, which were really for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, but it rained and I couldn't wear them then. So now I must wear them tomorrow when I'm using my diplomatic skills in introducing an American guest to a French hairdresser." I am appointing Tara because she is brilliant and kind and I'm dying to see her shoes. And she looks great in hats, which I think will be important to our standing in World Affairs and regaining the respect of other world leaders. And if you don't already know about Madame Paris Parfait's excellence in the area of flea marketing, then you must check out her blog immediately.

Madame Elizabeth, Secretary of Leisure/Lazy People. I am not sure what this post will require yet. ("I was going to try to join your ticket but I was/am too lazy. Unless you need lazy people, then count me in.") Who knows? Maybe we do?


And now the moment you've all been waiting for!
My Vice-Presidential Pick/Candidate /Winner/Beauty Basket Recipient IS...


(drum roll)


(trumpet fanfare)


(Please pardon the fuzzy cameraphone image.)

Hooray!!!! Hooray!!!!

We will have a CANADIAN Vice President!

I don't know about you, but I think that is terribly exciting! What a development in world affairs! We need some good Canadians around to knock some sense back into us! Plus, I am almost 100% positive that Kath can see Alaska from her house and I'll make Kath promise to ensure Palin stays in Alaska from now on.

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Thank you to all for encouraging and supporting my sanity and the democratic process. You are all winners to me.


ps.: Dear VP Kath, please be sure to email me your mailing address so that I can send you your Vice Presidential beauty basket. xoxo!