Monday, January 28, 2008

40 days, 40 nights

It's been what? A week or two of rain, and besides bringing out the fungi-like creatures in San Francisco, it's starting to depress the hell out of me. A long time ago, in a former life, I was used to this kind of weather, but California has done it to me: any week which doesn't include basking in the sun feels like an abnormality. Where is global warming when you need it?

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Literary readings

Thanks to my status of happy satellite of the D-list, new circles are revealed to me, and I am introduced to events the existence of which I did not even suspect before. My latest initiation was to the literary reading circuit. When L told me that we were going to a reading featuring Ann Gelder, I was not too sure what to expect. Not having much of a point of reference, I remembered a high-school lecture on "the battle of Hernani", and vaguely imagined authors reading their texts with revolutionary ardor, furiously arguing for the need to radically renew their art form.

Things did not quite turn out that way. The reading was hosted in the Bernal Yoga center; I owe to its policy of "no shoes inside" the knowledge that writers, like us mere humans, go to Mervyn's to renew their stockpile of socks. The Bernal Heights neighborhood provided an unexpectedly rich audio background to the reading - a Safeway cart shuffling in the adjacent street, and what sounded to the untrained ear like a duck being chased by a dog.
To be perfectly honest, it was not my first reading, and it confirmed something I did not expect initially: I do enjoy readings. I like to read in the privacy of my couch, following my own pace and going back to passages I enjoy, so I imagined initially that having to follow someone else's rhythm would be more of an imposition than anything. Quite to the contrary, it turns out that listening to someone else has a very soothing quality, and creates a state of mind which is very different from reading the text itself, simultaneously surrendering to it, and paying more attention to individual words so as no to lose the flow. The cushioned and peaceful atmosphere of the yoga center may have contributed to this, but it made me think that the pleasure I had as a kid when I was told stories must have been similar.

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Friday, January 18, 2008


Seen at Suriya, a Thai restaurant on Valencia Street, a mysterious assortment of animals; mysterious not that much for the animals themselves, but for the fact that they all proudly exhibit a strangely long, frog-like tongue.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

UFO Response Team

A few days back, bizzflip asked the following question:
What are you more likely to see in San Francisco, a UFO flying overhead or an available parking space near where you want to be?

As a proud inhabitant of SF, I'll tell you that I rated the difficulty of this question "easy"; but I now decided it was time to downgrade it to "trivial". Not only is a mysterious UFO Response Team fearlessly making sure the City remains a UFO-free environment, but they also began taking some of the few parking spots that were still available...

Mea Culpa, January 16th
Ooops coming too close to the Proton Packs laying in the trunk of that car must have interfered with my brainwaves; I should be downgraded, as the question went up from "easy" to "slightly tricky".

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Monday, January 14, 2008


Oxymoron seen on Irving Street, in the Sunset area.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008


Seen on 24th street, in the Mission.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Savages

Contrary to what you may think, "The Savages" is not a documentary about the Yanomamo, or some other tribal group living in a remote corner of the rain forest. "The Savages" is about Wendy, Jon and Lenny Savage, the daughter, son and father in the Savage family. It's also the best movie I have seen in a while.
You should really go and watch it. That being said, I also recommend giving careful thought to when, and with whom you will go. The movie revolves around the theme of the body, more specifically its decay, aging and death; and the treatment is quite direct, which makes for some uncomfortable moments. I would definitely not recommend it for a date. I would also advise not to go if what you need is some cheering up. There are some very funny moments, and the ending is happy, sort of, but it's definitely not a feel-good movie.
The story opens with Lenny Savage, the aging father, having a fit of dementia; he has to move out of his residence, and as a result, his two estranged children, Wendy and Jon, suddenly have to figure out what to do with him. The acting of the movie is absolutely flawless. I was especially touched by the relationship between the brother (Philip Seymour Hoffman, from "Capote") and sister (Laura Linney, from "The Squid and the Whale"); their struggle coping with this body irrupting in their life with a heavy luggage of anxiety, and their closeness, with a deep mutual understanding, and an ability to push each other's buttons, are perfect.
Unfortunately, "The Savages" has been released at about the same time as "Juno", which has taken the "darling indie movie of the moment" spotlight; hopefully, when the Juno craze fades out, its time to shine will come!


Sunday, January 6, 2008

Tempest in San Francisco

San Francisco has been hit since Friday by what has been poetically described in the blogosphere as "a big ass storm". Like a few others, L had no power at her place on Twin Peaks on Friday. Comparatively, I haven't seen too much damage in the Mission - just heavy gusts of wind and rain, and the tragic end of my tomato plant, which was broken off its pot. I had nurtured it with great care last year, and was rewarded for my efforts with one single and tiny, yet oh so beautiful tomato, which I remember happily sharing with L. Good bye, tomato plant! You were maybe not the most impressive out there, but you made me really proud, and it was a pleasure taking care of you.

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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Fortune cookies: a review

The New Year is not that new any more by now, but that won't prevent me to keep on the theme of good wishes; this time, with a showdown between Burmese and Chinese fortune cookies collected end 2007. Introducing first in the red corner, a Burmese restaurant from the Inner Richmond, which serves a killer tea leaves salad, and is a great fall-back plan if you are not in the mood for a one-hour wait at the nearby Burma Star, is Mandalay. In the blue corner, its opponent, located on the right side of the Balboa Theater, is a small (and pretty decent) Chinese restaurant the name of which escapes me at the moment.
From the bell, this match is not even a contest; it's a gross mismatch, and a total slaughter. The Chinese subtlety is no match for the straightforward, no-nonsense Burmese style. Seriously - "Your luck has been completely changed today"? I give that up any time of the day, even if the change is complete, for a guaranteed "comfortable old age". I'll give you that, "You should be able to make money and hold on to it" sounds a bit too uncertain for my taste; but then, what kind of advice or promise is "investigate new possibilities with friends"? Nah, I say, a definitive Burma 1 - China 0 on that one.


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Your weight in '08

In this period of new year's resolutions, the walls of San Francisco have some words of wisdom: remember that
The average U.S. woman is 5'4" and weighs 140 lbs, whereas the average U.S. model is 5'11" and weighs 117 lbs.

So have a happy new year, everybody, may 2008 be all you wish it to be - and... love your curves!