Monday, May 25, 2009

Rock 'n' Roller Derby and Popfest

I have been remiss, gentle readers. Not only because it has been almost three weeks since I last updated this space, but because I have neglected to tell you about my night at the roller derby.

That's right, roller derby.

Did you have any idea that roller derby still existed? I know I didn't. So when Denise invited me to accompany her and Paul to such a derby a week ago, how could I say no? The idea of seeing a 1970's relic live in the 21st Century was too enticing to pass up.

Well, the idea was far better than the reality.

The best way to describe the San Francisco Bay Bombers roller derby match against... of who even remembers which team?... is as a car wreck you can't look away from. Between the obvious fake fighting and the actors, I mean players, hurling themselves over the sides of the rink to make the action seem more exciting, it was too much. I couldn't decide if I was amused or horrified, and Paul and Denise were merely bored. We left at halftime, or whatever they call the break halfway through the match.

In this case I'd say that what happened in the '70's would best have been left in the '70's.

This weekend saw perhaps the best music event in San Francisco all year: Popfest 2009. Popfest was four days of a couple dozen indie pop bands from all over the world playing, by and large, my favorite type of rock music. Mostly it was guitar pop, although a few synthesizers snuck in here and there. Apparently, Popfest has been around for years, but I came late to the party and just discovered it this year. Between the shows I attended at the Rickshaw Stop Thursday night and House of Shields Saturday afternoon, I saw four of the bands (I'd have seen eight bands, but for one reason or another, I had to leave both shows early). I admit, I liked the Thursday bands better, but it was all good. Next year, I'll have to go to all of the shows. Or at least more than two.

Other weekend activities included my return to Project One, a neato Mission art gallery with a bar and occasional DJ's and live music I'd been to a couple of months ago. Frances, Carla and I went on Saturday night, and it proved to be a very productive outing. Then yesterday was Tom, Chris and Nick's annual Memorial Day party. Which is always held the day before Memorial Day, by the way.

I had been invited to attend a co-workers wedding in Calistoga this weekend, but I didn't go. One of the many reasons I didn't make the trek north is that I hurt myself about a week ago. I pulled muscle jogging, and my left leg has been very angry at me since. How did I pull said muscle? All I can say is that I was jogging while old. So sad, especially since I love to jog and haven't been able to for more than a week (although I've been indulging in alternative exercises and working with my trainer at the gym). So I figured it was best not to be too far from home, should my leg act up.

Ah, the joys of approaching middle age. My mind may think I'm still 28, but my body certainly does not.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Had To Get Away...

It's true, I haven't updated this space for a little while, but that's because I was in Hawaii for ten days looking at sunsets like this one I managed to capture on film (on digital?) in Waikiki last Friday evening.

I go to Hawaii twice a year now, and even that's not often enough. I love the warmth, the sunshine, the beaches, the energy, everything. I returned home last night and basically spent all day today wishing I was still in Honolulu. Well, I'll indulge this wistfulness for a few days before I force myself to shake it off and once again embrace my real life here in the City by the Bay. Luckily, lots of fun things are on the horizon, like Teenage Kicks tomorrow night, the Smuin Ballet opening and Moore Brothers show on Friday and Gina's birthday party on Saturday. Then, in just four short months, I'll be back in Oahu once again.

I used Facebook and Twitter to share real-time tidbits throughout my sojourn, but I'll summarize the whole thing here by offering tips for how to have a really top drawer time while on a beach vacation.

1. Take a jog by the beach every morning. I recommend Ala Moana Beach Park. Since you'll be jogging in slightly humid 85 degree temperatures, as opposed to the 60 degree temperatures you're accustomed to, allow yourself to jog about half a mile and then walk three miles. No, it's not as good a workout as you get at home, but you're on vacation, right? (You'll pay for this when you resume your normal exercise habits, but you can worry about that later.)

2. Drink mimosas everyday in the late morning/early afternoon. Unless, of course, you feel like the chest cold you had the week before you left might be gearing up for a relapse. In that case, take a day or two off from drinking alcohol, and you'll be fine.

3. Take a few more twilight beach photos. They'll all turn out beautifully and might even look like an old fashioned postcard or something.

4. Go to the beach everyday. If you're worried that you might get bored just lying on a beach day in and day out, don't. You won't get bored.

5. Sing songs. You can find karaoke anywhere, including and especially Waikiki, and singing songs never gets old. Now, if you could just find a guitar player and a Hawaiian open mic...

6. If your mother happens to live in Honolulu, and you happen to stay with her, enjoy the fact that she's willing to cook for you, especially if you don't even cook for yourself at home. This is truly an added bonus.

Follow these easy steps, gentle readers, and you're sure to have a wonderful time.

Unfortunately, my vacation included some bad news, as well. Just over a week ago, I was told that a friend of mine from high school (and junior high and grammar school, for that matter) died last month in Berlin. Apparently, he died of liver failure. I'm not sure why this 39-year old man's liver failed, but it did. The good news, I suppose, is that I and many of our other classmates recently had reconnected with him via Facebook, and we'd had lots of little chats about music and our school days and whatnot. There were 73 kids in my high school graduating class, and as far as I am aware, he is the second person to die (the first died on September 11, 2001, in the World Trade Center). That's a loss you feel, even 21 years after graduation. Live each moment and each day, my friends. And if you can swing it, live at least a few of those days in Hawaii.