Archive for September 2008

O-matase itashimashite …

September 30, 2008

“I’m making you wait.” I’ve got about half a post on Japanese Buddhism done, but your enlightenment will have to wait a day or two … I need to get my lecture ready for Thursday. Don’t be surprised if two or three new history posts pop up over the weekend.

To make up for it, however, I give you kid blogging: I babysat the girls tonight. They were perfect. They were adorable. We played Brown Bear and watched Wonder Pets, had smoothies and yogurt for dinner, and cookies for dessert. We practiced wheel-barrows briefly, and read a couple of Fancy Nancy books before bedtime.

I told Noe the story of how “Loch Lomond” came to be their bedtime anthem (it was all my doing, as it turns out). Siobhan can’t get enough of that bead game (thank you Grandma!). No pictures, because I’m not Troy’s iPhone. But trust me, it was great fun.

p.s. “Kuroi” … Noe was quizzing me on colors in Japanese (her pronunciation is fantastic, btw … I wish I had the language learning abilities of kids) and I blanked on “black” … sigh. So, I just remembered. Let it be known …


Weekend report (08/09/28)

September 28, 2008

A quick round-up of this weekend’s activities:

Fri: We met at Peter’s place to watch presidential debate #1. We spent a few hours dissecting it –Peter’s full analysis is here.

Sat: We joined a local gym –Club One. It’s four blocks away and across the street from Yoshi’s, so we will be able to stop in for a Rusty Gate and sushi after our workouts. Dan took the train down to watch the San Jose Earthquakes and I had the place to myself for an evening of DVD watching. My movie viewing was at least partially influenced by a recent article in Slate about the movies people rent from Netflix, but just can’t bring themselves to watch –you know, the ones that just sit around the house for months. The top 2 were “Hotel Rwanda” and “Schindler’s List” –and I realized that there was a real risk that “A Mighty Heart” (the story of the awful Daniel Pearl kidnapping/execution in Pakistan in 2002) might likewise collect dust, because as good a movie as it is, like Slate’s top two, it was likely never going to be the movie I feel like seeing after a long day at work. So I watched it Saturday night.

Sun: Typical sleep in, coffee, New York Times. Then we went over to the nieces’ house to say good-bye to grandma and grandpa Stewart who return to Hawaii tomorrow after a 2 month stay on the mainland. We had fun playing a card game that revolved around having the right kind of animal card –”I have an octopus, who has a fish?” Cardmeister Dan was able to show off his shuffling skills–Noe and Siobhan competed to take turns having their ankles serve as a table for shuffling. Noe is becoming a pro at iPhone use. She has several favorite games –concentration, bubbles, Tetris– on my phone, and is able to make some great art (see below). I was tickled that she remembered using the Rotten Tomatoes app from the last visit and asked me to play “tomatoes” in addition to the real games. Playing “tomatoes” consists of Noe telling me what movie to type in (e.g. The Muppet Show or The Music Man), and then flipping thru the movie matches, looking at the art and seeing if the critics’ consensus was a “tomato” or a “squished tomato.” A better summary of the app can be found here.

The weekend drew to a close with dinner at neighborhood fave Nopa. They have a new cocktail, the Panhandle –basically a Manhattan with Nopa’s own house bitters … bitters that feature essence of lavender and eucalyptus (the tree found throughout the nearby Panhandle). Lovely. Bring on the work week!

Token political post

September 24, 2008

I’ve resisted posting anything about the presidential race on this blog, even though it’s topic #1 on my mind right now. (See Politicana if you want a politics blog). But this kinda cracked me up from Eater recently:

Que syrah, syrah

Que syrah, syrah

Third Street’s Yield Wine Bar has a cheap Chilean wine on its list that just happens to be named

Palin Syrah that all of a sudden just happens to be the weak link: “‘It was our best selling wine before (the V.P. announcement),’ said Chris Tavelli, owner of Yield Wine Bar, which has offered Palin Syrah, a certified organic wine from Chile, by the glass since July. But after Sen. John McCain tagged Sarah Palin as his running mate, sales of the wine with the conservative’s inverted name plummeted—not surprising in famously liberal San Francisco.”

I have no doubt that the Obama Merlot is faring equally poorly in Utah right now. :)

Now *that’s* sunlight in a jar!

September 22, 2008

Our friend Ed kind of took our breath away with this lovely gift. I’m sure it will be the first of many entries about SIAJ-inspired art. Ed made this himself– it’s a mason jar fixed up with a solar panel that charges during the day, and then the stored energy (solar) is used to power the little lightbulb inside. See? It’s sunlight in that jar. Really amazing stuff. As u can see, it also made for a nice centerpiece while Ed, David and us ate at Cortez last night. It was a nice addition to the evening, especially since none if us were blown away by the evening’s play, “Spring Awakening.”

Goodbye neighbors

September 21, 2008

The garage door has been repainted, the stairwell carpet steam-cleaned, and a moving van yesterday took off with the last of the furniture. Sadly, we have said goodbye to our downstairs neighbors and their pet (pictured below awaiting transport). Like our Turk St. relatives, they are moving on to a larger place for the growing family. Unit #2 will soon be on the market. We are a little nervous, because they’ve been a real pleasure to share the building with– and you never know who or what will follow. So if you know of any quiet, responsible folk (non-smokers would also be a plus) in search of a 2bed/2bath with a central location, send them our way for more details.

Tourist season round-up

September 20, 2008

With the summer tourist season winding down (even as the weather warms up), we thought we’d attempt to offer some perspectives on one of San Francisco’s most important industries.

DAN: I love living in a tourist destination. Or, to be more precise, I get a little thrill every time I see a bunch of Europeans wandering around, or a tour bus of Asians emptying out ––it makes me feel like the things I see and do every day have some impact on the lives of people in places I would like to visit–– perhaps it’s a spurious connection, but it’s a connection nonetheless.

TROY: You know, I noticed this summer that there seemed to be more foreign (and straight) tourists in the Castro– and they weren’t lost. They were there, apparently, on purpose. (But they were probably thinking “this is it?”).

DAN: I saw a visitor on the bus a few weeks ago, by himself, studying his guidebook, entitled “Californie.” He was leaving the Museum of the Legion of Honor (very French, itself ––I wonder what he thought of that) and he kept turning to the page labeled “Les Gays.” I suppose he was heading to the Castro, as many European tourists do (but Americans do not ––I wonder why).

TROY: It is funny how the Castro is a destination for foreign tourists, but not Americans. Anyway, soon after I noticed this phenomenon, it came out in the paper that foreign tour buses were making the Castro a stop on their city tours. Reaction in the neighborhood was mixed. From Curbed a few months ago:

Says one Castro resident (an attorney, obviously): “The tourists appear to have little regard for the neighborhood and its residents and view the stop as akin to visiting a zoo or other attraction where they are entertained by exhibits or animals … Many of them seem uncomfortable or shocked by their surroundings … You’ve got these throngs of people walking up and down Market and 18th, holding hands to make it clear that they are heterosexual”.

I don’t know. I think a lot of queens in the neighborhood *enjoy* being on display, to be totally honest. Though I do have to laugh at the straight men holding their girlfriends’ hands in a vice grip to make *sure* I won’t hit on them. Anyway, these tour buses?– the city has gone and taken care of it:

Simple solution: make parking illegal in the first place. Following last evening’s MTA meeting, the restricted zone that such buses tend to park in shall be marked as such with the same red curbs that strike fear into the hearts of desperate drivers city-wide. Brillz, if we do say— gay or straight, no local wants to waste their time with repressed out-of-towners looking to fulfill their latent desires at the San Francisco “freak show.” Tourists, you’ve been red-lined.

. Tour groups will find it harder to park and gawk in the Castro.

DAN: I wish we had more posts on our blog that used the word ‘brillz.’

TROY: Of course, in our neighborhood, the Western Addition, far from the Fisherman’s Wharf/Chinatown nexus of tourism, we don’t have to worry about being on display. We see a few tourists– rarely enough that it’s still fun to help them out when help is requested. Things may be picking up here as well though– I was stopped twice in one walk home from coffee the other day. First, I gave directions to Fulton St. (probably to Alamo Square) and then *immediately* afterward, I was stopped by a nice young couple asking me where they could find a “real” breakfast in the neighborhood. I might have directed them to Mojo (where I was returning from), but it has been sliding a bit lately– and this morning they had pissed me off by continually skipping *past* Stars tracks when they came up on their iPod rotation. So I suggested they catch a #5 bus to Velo Rouge Cafe instead. I hope they enjoyed some good omelets named after French bicyclists.

DAN: I think Eddie Merckx was Belgian. Oddly enough, I was asked the way to Fisherman’s Wharf this week, by a lady at the gas station. She admitted that she and her friends were kind of lost, so I suggested they try Green Chile Kitchen for lunch.

TROY: Tourists do the craziest things. The other night, waiting for my commute bus home from Vallejo, another nice young couple asked me where to catch the bus to BART. I suggested that they could also catch the ferry for a scenic and direct ride into SF, but they politely informed me that they had taken the ferry *to* Vallejo and really wanted to experience the train on the way back.

DAN: You should have suggested the Market Street Railway. It’s the largest rolling museum in the world!

TROY: We hope you had a lovely tourist season in San Francisco. Come see us again real soon.

Random stuff

September 16, 2008

– Dan is relieved to learn today that his beloved mixologist, Jackie Patterson, has landed a new gig a few weeks after leaving Orson. She’ll be at Zinnia when it opens in a month or two. Too bad it’s over on Nob Hill- we don’t get over there too much.

– Election anxiety is getting to me again, right on schedule. I am obsessing on the internet so much that I haven’t been able to crack any fiction in over a month now. Or maybe it’s “The Man Without Qualities”‘s fault.

– I’m still loving the phone. I do everything on it- including this post. Maybe that’s the real reason I’m not reading anymore.

– The world premiere of “Milk” is going to be at the Castro at the end of October. I got the invite in the mail yesterday, but was too slow on the draw. I called at lunch today for tickets, but they were all sold out (ack!). Guess I’ll have to see it in the theater without Sean Penn like the rest of you. :-) 

[Sept 17 Update:  They just called b/c they had released some more tix– so we are going afterall. ]


– Happy belated birthday #68, Dad! That’s also the year I was born, btw.

– Had a nice run after work. Sadly, by the time it was over and I was stretching and snapped this picture, the kitesurfers and their 20 ft. jumps had packed it in for the night.

a good ledge for stretching