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Cold 2004

The weather is cold here in San Francisco. I've been really enjoying cooking things in the oven. I'm thinking I might move my bed into the kitchen where it's cozier. Unfortunately, my bed seems to be larger than my kitchen.

Do you think that cold weather causes simple declarative sentences?

Posted on November 30, 2004 at 09:48 PM in mundania | Permalink | Comments (5)

A good update on the status of the Nader-iniated recount I mentioned not long ago:
New Hampshire Recount, Act One (in The Nation)

(thanks to Uncle Larry for the link)

Posted on November 26, 2004 at 08:24 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

"While [Bryce] Christensen [a Southern Utah University professor who writes frequently about family issues] doesn't oppose the campaign to enact state and federal bans on gay marriage, he worries it's distracting from immediate threats to marriage's place in society.
'If those initiatives are part of a broader effort to reaffirm lifetime fidelity in marriage, they're worthwhile,' he said. 'If they're isolated - if we don't address cohabitation and casual divorce and deliberate childlessness - then I think they're futile and will be brushed aside.'"
- Conservatives want scrutiny of marriage, San Francisco Examiner, Monday, November 22, 2004, page 10 (emphasis mine)

"So I'll swoop down south, scale bare walls into the homes of pro-lifers and, with a few precise strokes of my huge, rusted gynecological tools, I'll perform special surgery implanting dozens of fetuses into the bellies of pro-life men. Yeah."
- Maggie Estep's (rather silly but fun) spoken word piece fantasizing about being a powerful vampire, Ingeborg, Mistress of the Dark

Bryce, if you're so all-fired hot about people not being childless, carry 'em yourself. Women aren't brood mares, you troglodyte.

Posted on November 26, 2004 at 08:10 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

A fun night at the Odeon Bar 2004

I had a great Thanksgiving this year. A good visit with family, especially with my beloved Grandma Susie. Lots of good food, music, watching sci-fi with Uncle Larry, everyone singing along with Alice's Restaurant, my mum's homemade pumpkin pie, a perfect turkey from Aunt Lynn, and my dad's delicious stuffing.

When I got home and was checking email, I found to my surprise an announcement that the Mahatma's back in town and performing as Wink Pain in the Wink & Yoni show at the Odeon Bar starting ostensibly in 10 minutes. I still had the rental car, thought "what the hell", changed clothes and - since these things never start on time - arrived just in time for the opening band, Nice Pants.

I enjoyed Nice Pants very much even though it was their first gig. Just a violin & ukelele duo performing great 20's and 30's sounding tunes. Quite fun!

Then on came Wink Pain & Yoni Wannalea with their sunglasses, alarming hair, cheesy come-ons and Don Ho classics. Despite the fact that the entire room was stoned on L-Tryptophan (or, more scientifically accurately, blissful & lethargic after over-eating), they put on a good show and I expect it was only the post-feast-indolence which prevented the throwing of panties onto the stage.

And how was the Odeon Bar? Just fine. Crass and outrageous and unprententious and real. (And no porn on the t.v. this time, just a surreal film and something about how to cut the head off a live chicken. Just look at the band, your drink, and the smiling faces around you and you'll be fine.)

Posted on November 26, 2004 at 05:56 PM in San Francisco | Permalink | Comments (0)

From Need To Know*'s television programming commentary:
"despite the recollections of EMPIRE WARRIORS (9pm, Fri, BBC2), capitalism seems to kill far more people than terrorism is ever going to, implies ONE NIGHT IN BHOPAL (9pm, Wed, BBC1)..."

*one of the few subscriptions I haven't cancelled or let lapse

Posted on November 26, 2004 at 05:28 PM in quotes | Permalink | Comments (0)

Listen to this 2004

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of sitting in my friend Kevin's living room and listening to the exclusive preview salon of a show which will be opening in a few weeks called The Bright River.

I heard something I've never heard before: a flutist beatboxer.

Tim Barsky
is absofuckinglutely amazing. He is to musical skill what Cirque du Soleil is to physical skill.

Listen to this.

That's just him and a flute. Real time. There are no other musicians. No looping. No tricks other than his talent.

I might not have believed it if I hadn't watched him do it without a microphone right in front of me.


Plus he's a storyteller and ya know how I feel about stories.

I have a ticket to the preview. I'm betting I'll be posting again about how you must not miss this show and that I won't be the only place you'll hear that.

Posted on November 20, 2004 at 10:33 PM in music | Permalink | Comments (0)

A real weekend 2004

After conferences, Fray Day, and being sick, I am so happy to have a weekend with no obligations. Yes, a friend has a literary event at his house tonight. Yes, another friend is having a house-warming tomorrow. But I don't have to go. I can bow out if I really want to.

Now that I've
- stayed up as late as I felt like playing games (Kingdom of Loathing) and watching movies (two episodes of Upstairs, Downstairs)
- slept in as late as my body decided to let me
- worked on a home project bringing up my old stereos from the basement so that I can start weeding through old records and cassettes to do a bit more Discardia
- cooked a new recipe (Chopped Eggplant with Cocoa Nibs from Alice Medrich's Bitter Sweet cookbook (disappointing: mostly the right ingredients, but not put together the best way, and even the amount of oil & salt I cut from her recipe wouldn't save it)
- studied more math (part of my ongoing project to beef up my math and science knowledge)
- had a nice chat with my friend Corey
- played a bit more Kingdom of Loathing
and am about to take a nice shower, I'm more ready to consider going out and being social. I did say consider, mind.

Posted on November 20, 2004 at 06:32 PM in mundania | Permalink | Comments (0)

And I thought he was cool before... 2004

I was dazzled Saturday by the amazing performance of Kid Beyond (Andrew Chaikin) at Fray Day, so tonight - as I was adding the music from the other great Fray musical guest, Goh Nakamura, to my iTunes library - I went to his site to add myself to his mailing list.

On the about page of his personal site his says "At this point I'd like to give a shout-out to my fonts..."

Andrew, you are a big geek*.

And you blew us away Saturday night. Can't wait for the next show!

*in these here parts, that is, of course, a compliment


Just over an hour later I should note that I've been listening to Goh's album non-stop since then. I've delayed starting the big backup for my Powerbook (which took a 3' fall in my backpack inside its Zero Shock case and seems to be fine except for annoying cosmetic damage to the front trim). I had to listen to "Daylight Savings" five more times.

Posted on November 16, 2004 at 08:54 PM in linky goodness | Permalink | Comments (1)

More booths like this please. 2004

Yes, I went to a conference where they gave us a booth next to the food table. (Unfortunately, these are also the evil tradeshow stools that allowed my bag to fall to the ground with Moxie 1, my first Powerbook, inside. Thanks to my Zero Shock case, despite cosmetic damage she actually kept working fine until August or so when the sound began to crap out when you'd squeeze the case. Hence Moxie II. I'll be getting Moxie I serviced and then selling her).

So convenient!
Without changing position, John illustrates the excellent placement of the refreshments. (Alas, we didn't want to make a bad impression, so we actually did not get to graze from our booth.)

Posted on November 15, 2004 at 12:00 PM in warnings & kvetches, work | Permalink | Comments (0)

Now I understand why he stayed on the ballot 2004

Nader pays for ballot recount. If he does for hackable voting machines what he did for lemon cars, it will be a tremendous gift for democracy.

Posted on November 14, 2004 at 01:04 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2)

T4 2004

ingredients: fresh ground black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, tofu, tarragon, turnip, tomato, cucumber.

1. Hollow out the turnip

The turnip bowl is cute!

2. Peel the cucumber

3. Slice the cucumber

4. Chop the cucumber slices.

5. Get a big pitcher and put the cucumber in it

6. Chop up the tomato and add it

7. Crumble up the tofu and add it & 8. Put in some tarragon too.

9. Blend the ingredients into an even puree. I love my Braun MultiQuick.

10. Put the turnip on a plate

11. Pour in the puree

Cute little turnip full of cold soup/salad stuff

12. Serve the turnips with their little lids! T4 is delicious! (Or at least I think so, but then I made it up).

Posted on November 12, 2004 at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tell Your Stories 2004

Tell your story at Fray Day

Fray Day is yours.

Saturday, November 13, 7pm.

Posted on November 12, 2004 at 12:01 AM in creativity | Permalink | Comments (1)

Signs you aren't quite running at 100% yet 2004

Your musician friend from out of town is playing a show in San Francisco.

You have laundry to do so that you have clean sheets that haven't been used the week you've been sick.

You skip the show.

You do laundry.

After you get home and are about to make the bed, you realize something.

The show was at Brainwash.

Brainwash is a cafe and laundromat.


Sorry, Scott! I am lame.

Posted on November 9, 2004 at 10:34 PM in music | Permalink | Comments (1)

A good weekend ahead 2004

I'm feeling better finally. I was at about 50% all day at work (first day back since last Tuesday) but about 6pm really started to feel more normal. What a relief!

Of course the hard part, now that I feel better is to actually want to go to bed on time to get a full night's sleep. It's so exciting not to be exhausted!

Tomorrow night I must do laundry and then I'm sure the rest of the week will include various promotional & planning efforts to ensure an excellent Fray Day Saturday. Hope to see you there!

Fray Day 8

Posted on November 8, 2004 at 10:05 PM in creativity | Permalink | Comments (0)

After careful consideration... 2004

I know it's important to give things a chance. When trying something new, sometimes you really need to give it time to grow on you, to see if it's a good fit.

Well, I've given it 8 days. I think that's more than fair.

My conclusion?

I don't like influenza.

(I'm done. This can stop now. Thanks.)

Posted on November 6, 2004 at 09:34 PM in health | Permalink | Comments (0)

an apology to the world 2004

Sorry, everybody. We tried.

Posted on November 5, 2004 at 11:48 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

My Life Goes On 2004

From my reading chair in my main room I can see the park across the valley where people have brought their dogs out. The dogs are running, chasing each other, clearly having a great time.

The clouds are beautiful today.

I'm sad and sorry about the presidential election results and what it says about the United States. I fear many more will die as a result. The rich will continue to get richer, there will be more poor. Things will get worse before they get better. The silver lining is, I suppose, that Bush has to deal with some of the mess he's created. But it's sad to know that half the country sees the world in black & white, good guys & bad guys. Particularly sad that some of my dearest friends are seen as bad guys and are now to be legislatively told in many states that their love is not legitimate. Hatred for homosexuals and support of wars are the most shameful things about many so-called Christians in this country. I truly don't know how that hatred is reconciled with "Love thy neighbor" and "Thou shalt not kill".

But then what do I know about theology? I guess there's some clever trick to it.

Well, at least I live in the right city. A lot of good will be done here in the coming years. We can only hope it will teach some other communities ways to be more supportive of all citizens.

Posted on November 3, 2004 at 03:01 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (8)

Vote faster! 2004

Remember, if the voting method in use at your polling station doesn't dictate use of the equipment in the ballot booth (e.g. marking the ballot with a pen for optical scan), then you don't have to wait in line to use a booth.

At my garage polling station this morning people were filling in ballots on car trunks, recycling bins, a clothes dryer & the floor. Much speedier!

Also remember that in California you have the right to request a paper ballot if you do not wish to touch screen vote.

Posted on November 2, 2004 at 12:47 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Election Eve letter from our friend Michael 2004

You may not agree with everything he says or how he says it, but Michael Moore is an American voice worth listening to.

Posted on November 1, 2004 at 07:09 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Things you can do sick in bed the day before an election 2004

Review all the political information you've received in the mail and decide how you're going to vote.

Here's my take on things in the United States, California, San Francisco, District 8.

President: John Kerry
Why? Because I think he'll be a decent president. Also because Bush has got to go.

U.S. Senator: Barbara Boxer
Why? I think she's done good work.

U.S. Representative: Nancy Pelosi
Why? Great work; I really want to see her continue it.

State Senator: Carole Migden
Why? Good local politician. Democratic candidate.

Member, State Assembly: Mark Leno
Why? Good local politician. Supports basic human rights causes which are important to me.

Member, Community College Board (vote for up to four): Natalie Berg, Milton Marks III, Rodel E. Rodis
Why? I liked their statements & endorsements in the Voter Information Pamphlet

Member, Board of Education (vote for up to four): Jane Kim, Eric Mar, Mark Sanchez, Norman Yee
Why? Jane: Like her platform, liked her in person, friends working hard on her campaign. The others: I liked their statements & endorsements in the Voter Information Pamphlet

State Propositions:
1A - Protection of Local Government Revenue: Yes
Why? This was a tough one. I'm dubious about some of the supporters - Governer Schwarzenegger especially - and Carole Migden's opposing comments regarding the lack of fiscal accountability in the official voter information guide are worth noting. However, it is endorsed by both the California Democratic Party and the San Francisco Democratic Party. In the end, I'll have to hope that increased local involvement will coincide with this increased local control to provide the needed accountability.

59 - Public Records, Open Meetings: Yes
Why? As the opponents to this measure say "it's better than nothing". I believe a step in the right direction is better than no step. Backed by League of Women Voters of California with whom I have tended to agree in the past.

60 - Election Rights of Political Parties: Yes
Why? As its opponents say "it does no harm". Again, a step in the right direction and a good offset to Prop 62.

60A - Surplus Property: Yes
Why? Once again, a step in the right direction which its opponents admit does no harm.

61 - Children's Hospital Projects, Grant Program, Bond Act: No
Why? I know there are some parents who will be angry about this, but I believe in this case the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Basic health care and education need to be a higher priority; the budget is already strained. More debt ($1.5 billion) is not in the best interest of the children of California who already have plenty to pay off.

62 - Elections, Primaries: No
Why? Limiting the general election to the top two vote-getters from the primary is bad for democracy. Fewer choices aren't better, particularly when they're based on who was able to garner the most votes 8 months previously. Facts change and it's not flip-flopping to respond to current reality and choose the best candidate to deal with the current situation.

63 - Mental Health Services Expansion, Funding, Tax on Personal Incomes Above $1 Million: Yes
Why? Now this is how you fund good services. There is no justification other than greed for those earning more than a million dollars a year being allowed to hang on to that 1% of their excessive income which could be used to make a real difference in solving this major problem. I'd really like to find out if those people opposing this would be personally affected by that tax. And come on, think about it. If you can't live on a million plus dollars a year, there is something seriously wrong with you and it ain't mental illness. It's called being a selfish asshole. You can earn personally 57 times the Federal Poverty Line figure for a family of four before being affected by this tax. Let's say that again another way (and take into account that many folks feel that Federal Poverty Line figure is about half what it should be): one hundred and fourteen people could be sustained on your personal earnings before you are affected by this tax.

64 - Limits on Private Enforcement of Unfair Business Competition Laws: No
Why? Backed by the California Taxpayer Association (with whom I have disagreed many times over the last 25+ years), major contributors are companies like Bank of America and Microsoft, opposed by an impressive list of organizations from AARP to Sierra Club California.

65 - Local Government Funds, Revenues, State Mandates: No
Why? No supporting argument submitted, replaced by 1A.

66 - Limitations on the "Three Strikes" Law, Sex Crimes, Punishment: Yes
Why? Focuses our state investment in punishment (through expensive methods such as prisons) on those more deserving of such treatment. Given that I'm somewhat unconvinced of the efficacy of the prison system in reducing violent crime in society, I'm even less inclined for these costly measures to be used against petty offenders. Also, Arnie's against it and the ACLU's for it.

67 - Emergency Medical Services, Funding, Telephone Surcharge: Yes
Why? Emergency medical services need more funding, especially in times of far-from-universal health insurance, and this proposition seems to provide good oversight and intelligent limits. Funding it through minor increases in phone charges seems quite reasonable. Note also that this is opposed by the afore-mentioned California Taxpayers' Association and the top 5 contributors against it were SBC, Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T Wireless and Sprint, none of whom are particularly dear to my heart.

68 - Non-Tribal Commercial Gambling Expansion. Tribal Gaming Compact Amendments: No
Why? More and larger gambling facilities with less controls over their placement, fiscal handling and environmental & social impact are not good for the state. Yes, the Native American community deserves all sorts of compensation for the way their people were screwed over, but this is not the way to do it. Nor is it the way to help the state budget. I oppose both prop 68 and 70.

69 - DNA Samples, Collection, Database, Funding: No
Why? If you think its bad that your name can get on a no-fly list and you can't find out why or get it off, then think about government access to your genetic information. Innocent people's information would be mixed in a database with those actually found guilty of crimes. I'm firmly with the ACLU on this one; it is an attack on civil liberties and must be strongly opposed.

70 - Tribal Gaming Compacts, Exclusive Gaming Rights, Contribution to State: No
Why? As above, plus this one seems to have extremely poor oversight.

71 - Stem Cell Research, Funding, Bonds: No
Why? This was another tough one. I'm pro-choice, pro-scientific research, but I am not convinced that this proposition makes for good science. The arguments against in the official voter information guide raise very troubling questions. Is this a bid for state funding of an unproven approach over other research known to be productive? If so, who will benefit? Possibly some people who suffer from certain diseases, but most definitely certain corporations who will be conducting the research. I can't see putting the state another $3 billion into debt in a costly hunt for cures which has poor accountability. The direct health benefits of restoring $3 billion to preventative services would be much greater.

72 - Health Care Coverage Requirements: Yes
Why? This one pretty much boiled down to which team I want to side with. The proposition itself seems fine and it's supported by the California and San Francisco Democratic Parties and opposed by the governor.

Local Measures
A - Affordable Housing Bonds: Yes
Why? A good coalition of folks are supporting it and it includes consideration of environmental impact of projects. Plus it's opposed by the Republicans which means it's probably something good for anyone making less than $100,000 a year.

B - Historical Preservation Bonds: Yes
Why? Protects sites which are dear to me and which help define our fair city.

C - Health Service System: Yes
Why? Supported by the supervisors, opposed by the Chamber of Commerce. I know who I side with.

D - Changes to City Charter: Yes
Why? Matt Gonzalez's arguments in the Voter Information Pamphlet are very clear.

E - Police & Fire Survivor Benefits: Yes
Why? How can you argue against equitable compensation for the family of killed firefighters and police? They have some of the hardest jobs out there, not just because of the risk of injury and death. (And how can I take your opposing arguments really seriously when your name is "Starchild"? I'm sorry, but you sound like a My Pretty Pony.)

F - Non-citizen Voting in School Board Elections: Yes
Why? The arguments against are inaccurate, small-minded and zenophobic. (I can't say the Stonestown and Park Merced Residents Association is a particularly impressive ambassador for those neighborhoods.)

G - Health Plans for City Residents: Yes
Why? More health care at no extra cost except to the beneficiaries and their employers - yay!

H - Naming the Stadium at Candlestick Park: Yes
Why? I'd rather pay more taxes (even to support facilities for a sport I have no interest in) than see the pace of commercialization increase in San Francisco. (And can someone tell me what benefit the 49ers being located here brings to non-football fans?)

I - Economic Analysis of Legislation: No
Why? Because I trust Ammiano & Gonzalez more than Alioto-Pier & Ma.

J - Sales Tax Increase: Yes
Why? Because I think sales tax is a reasonable approach to address a shortfall. A quarter percent isn't going to make people drive out of county to shop - not with the current price of gas!

K - Business Tax: Yes
Why? This would be too much of a burden on small businesses who already pay a lot, but there is an ordinance before the board of supervisors to limit this to those businesses with gross receipts of $2 million or more.

L - Use of Hotel Tax to Preserve Movie Theaters: No
Why? This is a scam opposed by, as far as I can tell, the entire local film-loving community. Bottom-line: don't hand $8 million to an unproven, unsupervised team.

N - Withdrawing U.S. Military Personnel from Iraq: Yes
Why? This statement needs to be made. San Francisco stood up against Vietnam; it's time again.

O - Use of Sales Tax Funds: Yes
Why? Nice to have the funds collected through passage of Measure J above specially earmarked for good causes.

AA - BART Earthquake Safety Bond: Yes
Why? This is overdue. U.S. Geological Survey experts say there is a 62% chance of a 6.7 magnitude or greater quake hitting the Bay Area within the next 28 years. I want the BART system to help pull us through that the way it helped in 1989. Also, since I ride BART many times a week, I'd really like the Transbay Tube to be as safe as possible. This is a such a simple "ounce of prevention vs. a pound of cure" proposal. I really hope it passes this time.

Posted on November 1, 2004 at 12:04 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (6)

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