Monday, February 27, 2006


I have been sick since Thursday evening.
I have been in denial of this fact for approximately the same amount of time.
Only today, when I used half a box of tissues as arsenal against my sniffles, did I admit to myself that I am, in fact, a bit infirm. I feel fine, but sneezing seems to have become my primary form of communication. This state of affairs is not at all surprising, as many people I know have been sick lately. Plus, my workplace tends to be petri dish for festering germs. Once one of my co-workers comes down with something, we all eventually get it. I feel like I'm getting off a little easy this time, though; I can beat down a case of the sniffles. The copious amounts of zinc help.

Huh... now that I think about it, I kissed a friend of mine on Saturday night. It was a relatively innocent, friendly kiss, really, but I bet he won't feel so friendly toward me if he gets sick, too.

But speaking of work, something very exciting happened right at the end of work today. The power went off, and everything went dead. Everything. Usually when the power goes, a back up generator immediately takes over, but not this time. We had no phones, no computers, nothing. That would be bad enough in an office, but imagine, if you will, this happening to a media outlet. There is something a little thrilling about being rendered completely helpless, even if only for a short time, by a black out.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Music That's Making Me Happy Today, vol. 6

X at the Great American Music Hall

I may be only 36, but still I say you know you're old when...
1. You wear pearls to an X concert, and it doesn't occur to you that such an accessory might be out of place.
2. You and your friend lament the fact that you forgot your earplugs.
3. You are recoil in horror when people start to slam dance.
In my defense on that last one, is there anything more pathetic than a bunch of 45-year old men slam dancing? Survey says no. I know we were all at a punk rock show, but pull yourselves together, people. You're closer to AARP membership than you are to the halcyon days of your youth. Slam dancing maniacs aside, the show was fabulous. I got to sing along with "True Love, pt 1," "Johnny Hit and Run Pauline," "Los Angeles," "Devil Doll," "White Girl," "Hungry Wolf" and so many other greats. Unfortunately, they didn't play my absolute favorite X song, "The New World," but I suppose no concert is perfect. And they were tremendously fun to watch. Billy Zoom mugged for everyone's cell phone cameras and seemed to be channeling a less manic version of Jerry Lee Lewis. Exene was significantly less drunk/high/whatever than she was at the Knitters show last year. DJ Bonebrake looked happy as a clam behind his drum kit. And John Doe was... John Doe. Need I say more?

And finally, you really know you're getting old when you're happy that the band members are also so old that they finish the show before midnight, allowing you to get to bed at a halfway decent hour.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Here I am once again with two days off from work, and I feel like the world is my oyster. The sun is shining, and we in San Francisco seem to be coming out of the deep freeze temperatures that gripped our City by the Bay last week. Thank goodness. You might think I dislike my job, given how I revel in my weekends. Actually, I love my job, but they call it work for a reason. I just happen to love my weekend playtime more.

Right now I'm doing laundry. Glamorous, I know. And then I'm going to clean my bathroom and clear out all the toiletries I don't use. At this point I imagine you're wondering whether the show "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" knows about me. But I intend to load up my cd changer with Belle and Sebastian, Ben Lee, Nedelle and Thom, The Beautiful South and X while I clean, so I'm very much looking forward to it.

I also added "Ana Ng" by They Might Be Giants, "Take Me With U" by Prince and "Whole World Lost Its Head" by the Go-Go's to my iPod last night; so I can't wait to go running after my date with the bathroom.

Later this afternoon I'm going to meet my friend Daniel in Hayes Valley. Daniel is so much fun, and I don't see him nearly enough these days. He is decidedly snobby and judgmental. While those may seem like negative qualities, somehow, on Daniel they become incredibly charming. Then tonight I'm going to a film screening and a party. Yes, on a Wednesday.

Tomorrow I'll be interviewing a high school senior who has applied to Brown. I used to do these alumni interviews all the time when I lived in New England, but this is the first one I've done in San Francisco. I imagine the applicant will appear to me to be too young to even be considering college. Then I have plans to get together with Gina, another friend I don't see nearly enough anymore, for a cocktail. After that I might actually watch the Olympics. I haven't been paying much attention to the Winter Games this year, but last night I got sucked into the women's figure skating competition, and the conclusion is tomorrow.

The "Rich and Famous" couldn't possibly live better than this.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Music That's Making Me Happy Today, vol 5, Plus My Fours

"Somewhere Only We Know" by Keane
I have loved this song since the first time I heard it in 2004, but recently it made it onto my running soundtrack. Because it's only mid-tempo, I usually skip this track if it pops up on my iPod while I'm indulging in my daily endorphin rush. But for whatever reason, I decided to let it play one day last week, and now the mere wanting in Tom Chaplin's voice as he almost wails the lines "If you have a minute why don't we go... Talk about it somewhere only we know... This can't be the end of everything... So why don't we go..." keeps my adrenaline going strong. This morning I listened to it over and over again for almost my entire run.

The Boy With the Arab Strap by Belle and Sebastian
I must admit I'm late to the party where this band is concerned. I've heard their name bandied about for years, but only recently have I decided to check out the music. They have a brand new album out, but I decided to start earlier in their career with this collection from 1998. And I love it. I'll definitely be procuring more Belle and Sebastian recordings.

And now, lest Terry think I'm a spoil-sport who wouldn't play along, I present to you my tag-mandated list of fours:

Four Jobs I've Had: Music/video store clerk, Professor's summer research assistant, Live dj at some bar in Rhode Island and Actor.
Four Movies I Can Watch Repeatedly: That Thing You Do!, Love Actually, Meet Me in St. Louis and Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
Four Places I've Lived: Pasadena, CA, Providence, RI, Glasgow, Scotland, and San Francisco.
Four TV Shows I Love: Arrested Development, The Daily Show, Gilmore Girls and My So-Called Life.
Four Places I've Vacationed: London, North Carolina, New York and Las Vegas.
Four of My Favorite Dishes: Shaking Beef at the Slanted Door, Basil Tofu from the Chinese place near work, North Beach Pizza with ground beef and fresh tomato and the Rex Salad with chicken at the Rex.
Four Sites I Visit Daily: I'm not sure I visit four websites every day.... hmmm... my email provider, a media industry website, Queen of the Dorks and All Music (okay, I only visit that last one about once a week or so).
Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now: A warm beach, the spa, a great concert, visiting my mother in Hawaii.

So those are my fours. Now I must scoot. I'm going to see Jack's roommate perform at Blondie's and I'm tardy.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A Mind Is a Terrible Thing To Waste

Just ask Dan Quayle.

Anyway, if you don't mind me saying so... I fancy myself really good at math. I was a literature major in college and have always been drawn to the arts, but math was by far my favorite subject in high school. Followed in a close second by physics, believe it or not. But since I have not pursued a career in math, my current skills are pretty much limited to being able to calculate the tip at restaurants with just a quick glance at the bill (a skill which my friends love, by the way). Well, that plus all the general logic and reasoning math teaches us. But this morning as I was reading Prep...

... And I will interrupt my narrative here and say that I imagine it seems like I have been reading this book forever, given that I have mentioned it in three different posts now. It almost seems that way to me, too, but I promise I'm almost done....

... I was reading Prep, and the main character is now failing pre-calculus. In this part of the story, our heroine offers a simple pre-calculus problem which she can not solve. I now can't remember exactly what the equation was, but what I do remember is that I wouldn't know how to solve it either. Me, stymied by math? Granted, my own pre-calculus days are almost 20 years behind me, but still, I find the situation highly disturbing.

Also along the lines of my own stupidity, before work today I washed the new squishy bath towels I just bought. But I washed them with the rest of my laundry, which was consequently subject to major amounts of towel lint. Luckily I was mostly washing exercise clothes. The t-shirts made it out okay, but not so much for my exercise pants and shorts. One pair looks like it was attacked by a shedding polar bear being chased by a newly sheared sheep still trailing remnants of wool. I think I'll be giving that particular pair another wash.

But that's all behind me, and because I worked an earlier shift today, I'm off to meet Jack, Helen and Erin for a Sunday night cocktail. We probably won't land at Favorite Bar because Erin isn't a huge fan, but really, is there actually anywhere else worth patronizing?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Weekends Were Made For...

... getting things done! And for the record, they were not, contrary to popular belief, made for offensive American swill-beer that happened to have really good marketing in the late '70's.

I have had the most productive weekend ever (remember, my "weekend" happens mid-week). On Wednesday, I got up, went to the gym, had a doctor's appointment, went grocery shopping and did laundry all by 4 p.m. And I cooked myself dinner. That's right, cooked. It was a simple recipe, but in no way did it involve any frozen entrees or my microwave oven. After all that, I got my hair trimmed, did a little record shopping in the Haight, hit Macy's to get some new, deliciously soft towels and stopped at Victoria's Secret for lotion. Boy, I'm tired just typing all that. But I didn't stop there. I then met Jack and Helen at Favorite Bar for a glass of champagne before returning home to curl up with my book and get a good night's sleep.

How much would you pay for a weekend like that? But wait, don't answer because there's more! Yesterday morning, I got up and again headed straight for the gym where I topped off my workout with a relaxing spell in the steam room. And I've got to wonder who is in charge of the music at my gym. On one hand, they feature the same disco-mainstream pop combo you hear at all gyms. But I've also heard the dulcet tones of Marshall Crenshaw, Nick Lowe, Weezer and the Untouchables over the sound system. Who would have thought such music would be featured at a gym nestled in a fancy hotel? Anyway, after the gym, I scooted to lunch with an editor friend of mine, and then I met Terry for margaritas at the watering hole near work. Why, you ask, would I go to a place near work on my day off? Well, the margaritas are on special and the bartender is so charmingly moody, we've nicknamed him Crabby. That's worth hanging out near work on a day off.

To bring my weekend to its grande finale, my super-neato friend Carolyn and I went out to Walnut Creek to see Playhouse West's production of Oleanna. At this point I'll just come right out and admit... and this is utter blasphemy for anyone who is or has ever been part of a theatre community... that I'm not a huge David Mamet fan. There, I've said it, and I'm not taking it back. I only went for the opportunity to hang out with Carolyn and to support Playhouse West, which has a special place in my heart. But Oleanna was actually better than I thought it would be. While it is, in my opinion, flawed, it was enjoyable through the first half. The second half left a little to be desired, and as the story grew more ridiculous (that's not a criticism; it's supposed to be ridiculous), the flaws became more obvious. Not to mention, that in 2006, a play that eviscerates political correctness just seems a little bit quaint. Maybe it was terribly provocative and stunning 15 years ago, but now, not so much. To me, anyway. But the production was good, and the actors did a nice job. And at the end of the day, what more can you ask for?

After all that, I feel like I need a weekend from my weekend.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day!

It's the day of love, and I'm in a very good mood. First thing this morning I sent a little email blast of joy to everyone in my address book. So I'm a geek; it's fun to spread the love. Then we had all kinds of treats at work. Plus, per his annual tradition, one of my co-workers left all of us women See's candy in heart shaped boxes. Yummy and fun!

When I was in my twenties, I used to think that if I wasn't in a relationship with my dream man, I needed to dread Valentine's Day. But now I realize that attitude was thoroughly ridiculous. I have tons of love in my life, and I bet you do, too. Plus, on Valentine's Day we get to wear red, eat lots of chocolate and smile all day without having to explain ourselves. What's better than that? And for good measure, it's my lovely and talented friend Wendy's birthday! If all that doesn't convince you... remember that on the day after Valentine's Day, all the chocolates Walgreens has stocked up on since early January go on super-sale. Now, that's something to look forward to.

So tonight, my friend Michael is hosting a little "Love-In" at the Tonga Room. I'm going to swing by that, and then I'm going to the Lovemakers concert with Ann Marie and Elizabeth. If that doesn't sound like a night even Cupid would enjoy, I don't know what does.

Monday, February 13, 2006


This is me with my friend Gabriella at Cafe Royale in 2004. Gabree and I became friends as second graders in 1977 when we bonded over having the same Holly Hobby lunchbox. And she lives in San Francisco now, too.

As I briefly mentioned in an earlier post, I was in Gabree's neighborhood on Saturday evening, so I stopped by her apartment to say hello. What I discovered when I got there was that she had a belated birthday present for me... which was a little embarrassing for me since Gabree's birthday had been a few days earlier, and I had arrived empty-handed. Mine is in December. But the point is that my very generous friend had selected the perfect gift for me.

The thing is, I love cards. As in, greeting and note. I send about 100 Christmas cards every holiday season. Literally. And in recent years, I have become queen of the thank you card. I even sometimes will send my friends cute little cards just to tell them they're fabulous. Because in this age of quick email, IM's, text messages and voice mails on the run, who wouldn't want a goody hand delivered to them by a U-S government employee? We all like to get snail mail, so I like to spread the love that way. Well, the very sweet Gabree got me personalized note cards with my name and a sassy little pink shoe on them! It may not seem like much to you, but I can't wait to start writing stuff on them and sending them out.

And if that isn't enough, my former co-worker Liz has these two really cool part time jobs where she gets free books. That's right: free brand new books! And over the years I've known her, she has always set aside books for me that she thinks I'll like. She'll even order extra copies for me if she thinks I'll like a book she wants to keep. She does this for a lot of people, but I'm certainly glad I'm one of them. She just gave me this really cool looking novel set in 1940's Hollywood. I'm not done with Prep yet (which, by the way, is getting a little slow-- we get it, the main character feels out of place at her snotty prep school, resulting in teen angst; is she going to do anything interesting about it?), but once I'm finished, I'm going to tear into this one.

The point of this post is that my generous friends are very good to me. Maybe I should send Liz a thank note written on a personalized note card....

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Music That's Making Me Happy Today, vol 4

This afternoon I found myself humming a couple of songs that my "band" would have covered, had my rock star aspirations not given way years ago to other interests like broadcasting, writing and acting.

"All I Wanted" by In Tua Nua
Apparently this band out of Ireland was discovered by Bono in the mid-80's. Who knew? What I know is that this tune from their 1988 album The Long Acre features vocals wonderfully belted by singer Leslie Dowdall. Who wouldn't want to sing along?

"Understanding Jane" by Icicle Works
Most American new wave fans will know Icicle Works for their fabulous "Birds Fly (Whisper To A Scream)," but a few years later "Understanding Jane" was a hit in the U.K. and popped up on college and commercial alternative radio stations (what few of them there were then) on this side of the Atlantic. Catchy guitar pop like this wins my heart every time.

By the way, I live out those old rock star aspirations of mine for about 45 minutes or so everyday when I go running or hit the gym. Cardio goes by much faster when you imagine yourself performing all the songs on your iPod. And sometimes I think about reviving the muscle memory I taught my fingers in junior high and high school by taking up guitar again. But that said, I'm pretty much content to remain a music fan; my arts-infused media life treats me pretty well.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Theatre That Is Making Me Happy Today, vol 1

Nine Parts of Desire at Berkeley Rep

Admittedly, it feels decidedly wrong to say a play about the lives of Iraqi women is making me "happy." But seeing amazing theatre is a rush for me, and Nine Parts of Desire is the definition of amazing theatre.

Written by Heather Raffo, Desire is the product of interviews with Iraqi women whose stories are told in a 90-minute one-woman show. Raffo performed the show herself from its 2003 debut in Edinburgh to runs in London and New York. The Rep's production features Mozhan Marno, and while I can make no comparison to Raffo's performance, I can say Marno is phenomenal. She seamlessly transitions from character to unique character, all while maintaining a consistent connection with the audience. And she does this for 90 straight minutes. The stories are overwhelming enough, but as a former actor, myself, I couldn't help but get lost in the power of Marno's work. Her program bio says she holds a MFA from the Yale School of Drama, and I can attest that her degree is well earned. There are few things that affect me the way watching the work of a good actor does.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the show is pretty good. Thanks, Terry. Gotta love that girl's media passes. Desire runs through March 5, if you're interested, by the way.

And because good things all seem to happen at once, it just so happens that Fox also showed four new episodes of the fabulous, if ratings-challenged, Arrested Development last night. I taped them all and can't wait to watch. Huh... Nine Parts of Desire and Arrested Development; I guess I have varied tastes. I'm not sure when my Arrested mini-marathon will happen, though. I had to be at work before the crack of dawn this morning, and then, after running, I met Cheryl and Maya for snacks and tea. After that I caught up with my friend Gabriella for a little while. And I'm about to go out again to see a little live jazz.

I wonder when I'll sleep?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Music That's Making Me Happy Today, vol. 3

It's another gorgeous day here in San Francisco. After I do laundry and take my run, I'm going to meet Gretchen and see what kind of trouble we can stir up. We may grab lunch; we may shop; we may check out the patio at Zeitgeist. I also need to make a trip to Amoeba at some point to pick up Ben Lee and Belle and Sebastian cds. To that end... let's talk about music that has popped into my mind this morning.

"Can't Help Falling in Love," written by George Weiss, Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore
I almost got permanently sick of Elvis Presley's recording of this song ten years ago when I used to hear it almost daily because of work. But this morning I caught Andrea Bocelli performing it on the Today Show, and it was positively gorgeous. I'd say the Lick the Tins version from the film Some Kind of Wonderful is my favorite, though. Not necessarily a song I would listen to all the time, and there are a lot of recordings of it that truly stink... but schmaltzy romance does not get better than this.

"The Very Last Time" by the Maydays
I'm not 100% sure this San Francisco band still exists. Pat Johnson, who wrote the song and sings lead, plays in about 600 other bands, plus his solo work. And I imagine the other guys involved all have dance cards filled with other projects. But they did press a single, and Pat says he's re-recording the song with some other musicians. Propelled by a thoroughly contagious 60's pop hook, this song is basically two minutes and twenty-three seconds of joy. Experience it for yourself, courtesy of the Wally Sound website, by clicking here.

Twenty five years of U2
Between Coldplay, Green Day, the forced Kelly Clarkson-horrible Gwen Stefani record education afforded me by one of my part time jobs last year and U2, I knew much more of the music in last night's Grammy ceremony than I thought I would. And as I watched I found myself thinking that, by all rights, U2 should be nothing more these days than four washed up musicians reliving their former glory and practicing for their Behind the Music interviews over Guinness pints. But nothing could be further from the truth. This band continues to produce music that, in my opinion, continues to be top notch. Something to be truly thankful for.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Good Day Sunshine

I am in the middle of my work-weekend, and so far it's been pretty lovely and has featured more evidence of this charmed life I seem to lead.

To kick things off last night, I met my friends Elaine and Franny at my Favorite Bar. Over the past couple of years, I've become an official regular at Favorite Bar... a hip little place that, while sometimes too crowded on the weekend, is delightfully inviting during the week. I used to be uncomfortable with the idea of being a regular patron there. The allure of a Cheers-like life seemed lost on me, and I feared that "regular" status was probably a sign of alcoholism or some other ilk of anti-social behavior. Then I remembered that several years ago I became friends with the owner of Blondie's in the Mission because of my frequent patronage there. And in 2000, my friend Gry and I fell into a Wednesday evening happy hour habit at Casanova. We kept up that tradition for over a year and only stopped once Gry moved to New York. So I guess I should have no discomfort with my affection for Favorite Bar. And compared to others, I'm pretty much an amateur regular anyway, as I tend not to go there more than once a week or so.

Champagne at Favorite Bar is always fun, but things got really good today when my friend Denise and I decided to take advantage of the amazing sunshine kissing the Bay Area and hop a ferry to Tiburon. Once there, we slathered on sunscreen and set ourselves up on the waterfront deck of Sam's Cafe where we chatted up a storm over sandwiches and Sam's pink "lemonade." And to think so many others were stuck inside offices working today.

So here I am happy as a clam after having spent a fabulous day in the sun. Tonight, I will likely curl up on my couch and either read or perhaps watch the Grammy Awards so I can marvel at how many of the artists I don't know and how much of the music I've never heard.

Monday, February 06, 2006


I was feeling a little low this weekend.

Not so low that it interfered with my overall enthusiastic demeanor or ability to get things done (which is a good thing, since I work weekends), but I was feeling low nonetheless. And the ridiculous part is that my negativity was triggered by something that is, at the end of the day, so meaningless and inconsequential to my life that it doesn't even bear mentioning. In other words, I basically walked around in a low-grade funk over... for all intent and purposes... nothing.

But then I decided to stop endowing this meaningless nothing with so much power. I looked those insipid little insecurity and funk monsters right in the eyes and showed them what kind of kick-ass superhero I really am. And I stand triumphant; I have been declared champion! Even the French ice-skating judges have given me a perfect 10. And while the funk monsters may dare to rear their ugly heads again, they'll never forget who they're trying to mess with.

In other words: I'm feeling much better, thanks for asking. And in honor of my newly restored funk-free existence, I'm going to take a cue from Terry and post some things in life that make me happy. So in no particular order:

1. The endorphin rush running produces.
2. All the music I love and the excitement of discovering new favorite songs and bands.
3. Spending the day, or even just a few hours, at the spa.
4. Candy.
5. The first kiss with a boy I have nursed a crush on. Even if he later behaves like a jerk, nothing can erase the delight of that moment. Cue Jay and the Americans song here, please.
6. Champagne.
7. Being so involved in a book that I even look forward to spending time on MUNI because it will give me a chance to read.
8. When I used to act (and on the rare occasions I grace the stage now), the times when my connection with the other person in the scene would create a moment so truthful and unique, it could never be replicated... and it would feel like I was flying.
9. Watching other actors create amazing moments, be it on stage, film or tv.
10. Jimmy Fallon's character in the movie Fever Pitch. How could I not love him? He was cute-- hell, he looked like Jimmy Fallon-- he loved baseball, and he taught math. Math! If he'd played an instrument, too, I would have crawled into the movie and tried to steal him from Drew Barrymore's character.
11. My years at Brown.
12. Laughing and making people laugh.
13. Girly dresses that fit perfectly.
14. The time three and a half years ago when a friend of mine told me I light up a room when I walk into it. He and I actually aren't friends anymore (it happens), but I'll always remember him saying that.
15. All the people in my life who love me. When I take a moment to think about how many there are, I get a little overwhelmed by how lucky I am.

And, hey... speaking of people in my life, something potentially glorious is brewing in my friend Ann Marie's world right now. It's not my business to tell you, but Ann Marie is one fabulous chica, so I'm very excited for her.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Backfield in Motion

I'm not a football fan.

In the vast and varied sports promenade, my one suitor is now and always has been baseball. I'm a rather girly girl, but nonetheless, I know what a designated hitter is and which league uses that position. I can tell you all about the suicide squeeze, and I even know the infield fly rule. I went to spring training in Arizona three years ago, and I'm considering going again this year. My overall love for baseball is so strong that one day I may forgive the Giants for letting my baseball boyfriend J.T. Snow go play for the Red Sox. Not that the Red Sox are a bad team, objectively speaking. In fact, the eight and a half years I lived in New England cultivated enough Red Sox loyalty in my heart that I actually cried when they won the 2004 World Series. But my boyfriend J.T. now plays for a team three thousand miles away, and I'm not into long distance relationships. It's a good thing Mike Matheny is still a Giant...

At any rate, with the exception of an annual passing interest in the Rose Bowl because it is played in my hometown, football has never been my thing. It has always just seemed like a convenient way to distract sports fans until baseball season starts again. So it's just a tad ironic that football has taken even a slightly prominent role in my life this weekend.

Yesterday John Madden was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, so for work I got to spend a chunk of my day talking to Raiders fans at a Raiders-focused sports bar in San Leandro. As it was 12:30 in the afternoon, and the Raiders are done for the season, there were only about seven people in the place. But the guys I talked to were very nice, including the 80-year old man who rolled out his best flirting moves when he chatted with me. And talking to fans was definitely better than having to immerse myself in football history as it relates to John Madden's career.

Now yesterday alone would be enough football to tide me over months, but today I am going to my friend Anjolie's house for a Super Bowl party. Anjolie is awesome. She was a year behind me at Brown, but we didn't know each other then. We met at Blondie's in the Mission about seven years ago. The vague recognition from our college days had us eyeing each other, but the ice was only broken when Anjolie's then-boyfriend came on to me. What a peach, huh? Anyway, Anjolie merely sees the Super Bowl as an excuse to watch the commercials and have people over, and I support her perception. Besides, big things happen when I go to Anjolie's. The last time I went to her Super Bowl party, Janet Jackson exposed one of her breasts and as a consequence turned the FCC into modern-day Salem witch hunters. Coincidence? You be the judge.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Absolutely Fabulous!

And no, I'm not talking about the tv show.

Just a few minutes ago I was on the last leg of my run...
... And I'll pause here to tell you that by "last leg of my run" I mean the quarter to half mile at the end of my run where I walk. I could call it a cool down. And I could defend it by reminding you and myself that by that point in the route, I've already run about three to three and a half miles. But frankly, the last few blocks of my running route are uphill, and while I run up a steep hill at the beginning of the run, by the end I'm over it.... Anyway, I was on the last leg of my run this morning when I noticed a man standing in the middle of the sidewalk doing something very curious.

Frankly, it looked like he was lighting a crack pipe.

I asked myself who on earth would light a crack pipe in the middle of a relatively crowded sidewalk in a nice neighborhood at 9:15 in the morning? And then I remembered this is San Francisco; who knows what people will do or why they do it.

As I approached the man with my gaze unabashedly fixed on him... because who wouldn't want to watch someone light their crack pipe at 9:15 a.m.?... I realized he wasn't holding a crack pipe at all. It looked like he was trimming his nose hairs. In public! This was an even better train wreck to watch, so I kept staring. As I actually walked past him I realized that he was not, in fact, trimming his nosehairs. But he was doing some sort of grooming maintenance on his upper lip with nail clippers.

Still a little disgusting, but completely awesome nonetheless. I love living here... and I suspect it's going to be a very good Friday.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Music That's Making Me Happy Today, vol 2

Paula West live at the Plush Room.

Last night I went to the Plush Room with my friend Terry, who is on their media list. Terry is actually on a lot of media lists, and she very generously shares her wealth of free culture. She takes me not only to the Plush Room but to press night performances at Berkeley Rep and ACT. She takes our other friend Patti to Best of Broadway shows and Cirque du Soleil performances. Patti and I are going to be very disappointed when Terry gets married again, and our gravy train ends.

Anyway, the Plush Room is one of the coolest places in the City. It's in the York Hotel and hosts absolutely scrumptious cabaret shows. And my favorite performer there is Paula West; I think I've seen her six or seven times at this point. She's performing with the Eric Reed Trio this time around, and the show is a jazz and pop standards concoction featuring tunes by Oscar Hammerstein, Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter and Nina Simone. Plus, Paula threw in great arrangements of "'Hey Mr. Tambourine Man" by Bob Dylan and "Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash for good measure.

Drinking champagne while seeing Paula West perform a jazz arrangement of Johnny Cash at the Plush Room... Does life get any better than this?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

You Know You're Old When

This is a photo of me with my friends Tom and Eric at the Black and White Ball last June. Are we not cute? Tom was my date. I have no idea where Eric's date was at that moment; maybe she snapped the picture. Why I am writing about an event 7 months ago? Well, I didn't have this blog back then... so open your mind and pretend it's still 2005.

Anyway, the Black and White Ball is a bi-annual fundraiser for the San Francisco Symphony. The Symphony plays under the rotunda at City Hall, and there are lots of live bands. Well, the headliner at last year's ball was the Violent Femmes.

Yes, you read that correctly. The Violent Femmes at a Symphony fundraiser.

On one hand, it was really cool. On the other, seeing a band that was part of my formative years at such an event made me realize something: I have entered the demographic targeted by the organizers of these sorts of fundraisers. In other words, I'm officially old (and apparently am supposed to have money). As I was watching the influential Femmes perform while we audience members donned tuxedos and cocktail dresses, I realized we were just like the people who would go to Herman's Hermits reunion tours 20 years ago. Now, I go see bands from my youth all the time. The Go-Go's tour every year, and I'm always there. I've seen Dave Wakeling from the English Beat and General Public about 10 times in the last five years. And I'm going to see X later this month. But something about the Black and White Ball - Violent Femmes combination made me feel very middle aged, despite the fact that I'm only in my mid-30's.

I so was affected by this experience that when I got home from the Ball I turned on my computer to email my older brother Peter, a rock star who lives in Germany (literally... okay, the phrase rock star might be slightly overstating the point, but he is a musician). Peter introduced me to the Femmes in 1983 when he pointed my attention to the video for "Gone Daddy Gone," and in my opinion, he needed to know this band was now doing the symphony fundraiser circuit. So I composed a short note and hit send, feeling satisfied that I was spreading the evidence of our advanced age. He would be stunned, shocked and incensed.

Peter never responded. Maybe it was because he turned 40 last September and, even though still a rock star, already felt old enough. Or maybe he just didn't care.

Books That Are Making Me Happy Today, vol 1

I'm addicted to bookstores. I always say Borders and Cody's are like crack to me, and sometimes I have to force myself to stay away. Often I'll go in just to browse and come out with four books my bookshelves have no room for. Anyway, I noticed the book Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld in the bookstore last year, but I vowed to wait until it came out on paperback before I bought it. So I'm cheap; I still love to read.

I'm only on page 77, but so far I have not been disappointed. Okay, there have been a couple of things about the book that haven't thrilled me, but I have forgiven them. You see, I went to private school my whole life. And while my small high school was a day school in suburban Los Angeles, as opposed to a New England boarding school... several details in this narrative have taken me right back to those college preparatory days.

I'll let you know if it takes a turn for the worse, but so far, this novel is living up to its critical praise.

For the record, I was actually in a book club a few years ago. And we were ambitious: we read political non-fiction. But honestly, Heidi, Sheela, Maya, Cheryl and I spent more time talking about boys than we did discussing the books. Much more. But then we branched out a bit and threw a couple of very successful parties. Who says smart girls don't have fun?