28 September 2005

Unexpected Surprise

For the last few Wednesdays, the San Francisco Jazz Festival has been putting on outdoor, lunch time concerts at the park near my work.

Today was the Baguette Quartet. They were so fun, and very . . . Parisien. It was a pleasant surprise on this lovely day.

Tonight, I am geared up to go to Teatro Zinzanni's hurricain relief event. Zydeco music during happy hour followed by their "Love, Chaos & Dinner" show. All the expenses from this evening (artist's pay, ticket sales, drink sales, wait staff salary, even the $10 service charges) are going to the relief fund. AMAZNING. I feel guilty (but just a little) that I only am paying $10 for this $150+ event.
One of my former SFCM colleagues is still in the show, too, so that will be fun!

Reasons I love this time of year in San Francisco:
Strictly Bluegrass Festival
San Francisco Flamenco Festival
Italian Heritage Parade
Fall Film Festivals
Oktoberfest by the Bay
SF Jazz Fest
Ferry Building Harvest Festival

(And that's just October!!!)

27 September 2005

Happy Brithday to ...

...random laundry!

Having actually missed the one year birthday of this blog, I am celebrating one year and 12 days! The extended birthday season...gotta love it. I actually cannot believe that I have been doing this for so long. I didn't think I had it in me!


I went to Cafe Lo Cubano today on accident. I took a new way home from work, and when I realized I couldn't make the left turn I wanted (what? no left in SF? shocker!), I ended up in a parking spot right outside.
I had been by this place with AZ before, but never inside.

I ventured in to get a coffee. A cafe con leche, to be precise. One of the best cups of coffee I've ever had in my life. SO good.

19 September 2005

Get your own stapler!

I am totally living in "Office Space".

Realizing that my stapler can do this as totally made my day.

I also think our FedEx guy is hot.

I am such a dork, I know.

18 September 2005

The Black Sheep?

You know how they say everyone has a "black sheep" in their family? Well, I wouldn't really say we have one of those, but we do have some characters, that's for sure.
My cousin, H, for example. He is brillant, no lie, and he tends to get himself into those types of situations reserved for ridiculously smart - yet stubborn - people. He is fearless, and lives life with gusto, and without reserve.
2005 has seen him in Eastern Europe (Romania and Poland) and Northern Africa. Just because he wanted to go. I have urged him - many in our family have - to write some sort of book, memoire, something about his adventures.
Here is an email he wrote, details from this last adventure, which I found so utterly amazing and amusing (and, it's all true), that I had to put it up. . .enjoy!
(NB: Keep in mind that H is not one to "blend in" to his surrounding - 6'4'', broad shoulders, and fire engine red hair...)
To: K
From: H
Subject: "War's Over: Wermer Dropped the Big One"

It always ends. And usually, it ain't pretty. Thus the Africa Expedition. I only made it as far as Morocco. After disembarking the boat at Tangier, I made my way to Essaouira on the Atlantic Coast, where I spent a few days windsurfing (and yes, I am one dead sexy bitch in a wetsuit), earning renown from the local surf bums as "Le Grand Chat" for my spry handling of the board. We stayed in a guest house overlooking the ocean and there was a girl who came everyday to cook dinner whose skills almost (note: almost) rivaled those of my mom, but I was impressed enough to ask her to marry me. She insisted I would have to give her family seven camels though. Alas, I am not a man of such means.
From the coast I proceeded to Marrakech, where I slept on a roof with a litter of kittens, put to sleep at night by the unremitting pipes of snake charmers and the beat of drums and awakened at 4:30 am by the chants of Muslim prayers. The markets of Marrakech are truly amazing, the sights and smells of piles of fruits, nuts, meats, spices and untold heaps of god knows what extending into an unsolvable maze of narrow alleyways. I am not much of a shopper though, but I did find some kids one day being hassled by a storekeep for kicking their soccer ball in front of the shops, and invariably into his piles of fruit and whatnot. So I assisted them in executing the water over the door trick, sending one to bait the enemy by grabbing a couple of oranges and attempting to juggle them while the other had positioned a bucket overhead. When the old man came running out, the string was pulled, and voila, douched! As we began to crack up though, his expression was decidedly not one of amusement. So he and his helper came chasing after us. We raced up an alley barely wider than my own wingspan, dodging scooters, donkeys, assorted stray animals and Muslims, but a couple of old geezers are no match for Le Grand Chat.
After leaving Marrakech I spent a couple of days crossing the High Atlas Mountains, camping in a river gorge one night, before heading for the desert. A day's drive brought me to the last town before the Sahara begins. I started off staying with some nomads about two hours camel ride into the desert. Forcibly risen at dawn by the sun, wind, and flies, we would get in a couple of ski runs down the dunes. They had skis and snowboards and we would hike up the dunes about 200 feet high and ski down. Then I had to go in to town to manage my fantasy baseball team, so Mubarek and I would cruise by the other tents to see if anyone wanted a ride to town, just like Johnny B at the bustop.
I hate commuting though, and while it might not be as miserable as 395 or 66, four hours a day getting your nuts crunched on a camel hump is somewhat less than comfortable. So I moved from the suburbs back into the city. Besides needing to oversee the team in the middle of the playoff hunt, I had heard rumors of camel races. Now wherever you are in the world, even in the last town before the desert, maybe especially in the last town before the desert, two things you will find anywhere are whores and gamblers. As someone who's skittish about touching the handrail in the metro, I'm not likely to seek out the former, but the latter, they always seem to find me. And sure enough I found myself on the windswept outskirts of town betting on slow ass camels.
The language barrier being even tougher out here, all negotiations (and everything in this country has to be haggled) for wagers, odds, and exchange rates had to be made by drawing figures in the sand with a stick. I weren't too good at picking the winners out though, and the losses were beginning to mount. One afternoon I had skipped one race and I was having a drink when I saw a camel jogging up who was moving faster even at a leisurely trot than any camel I had seen before. Armed with this inside info, when that camel appeared in a race shortly thereafter, I decided to take my shot at the title. I became the center of action for that race, I took every bet I could get my hands on, and ended up with every scrap of redeemable bank note I owned in the world pegged to this smelly hump of fur.
Of course, it turns out I only had half the inside info, because when the race started (the camels start from the down position) my camel didn't get up. He just sat there like he wanted to pick his nose with his hoof even as his jockey tried to yank him around. I started cussin him, cussin his momma, cussin his daddy, cussin his grandmamma and granddaddy, as were the others who had bet on him. So as we stood there, a dozen Arabs and a Redneck yelling our lungs out at this stupid camel, I was on the verge of either balling my eyes out or grabbing the nearest hard object I could find and whipping the snot out of the son of a bitch, when apparently one of my fellow punters managed to peg the fat fucker in the ass with a rock, which got him up and going. And whoosh, he was going, as far as camels going goes (we're not exactly talking Kentucky Derby here). He could hoof it about twice as fast as the other camels, and he was gaining fast. I started running alongside him, screaming, throwing my fists in the air, and he had almost caught up to the leader when I had The Vision.
My particular vision involved sitting at the Colonial Club in Mombasa this time tomorrow, served by an African man in a white linen suit, drinking gin rickeys on the shores of the cool blue waters of the Indian Ocean. But really The Vision is that image of ill-begotten luxury engineered by every gambler right before he finds himself in some distant desert outpost with the equivalent of about 75 cents in his pocket because his camel decides to turn off the track at the last second and just go galloping off into the desert. The inevitable additional insult was that while running my glasses pulled a slip and slide right off my face and under my shoe, and I returned to find the pieces buried in the sand.
And so there it ends: sitting at a café in the dusty streets of Merzouga, sand and sweat encrusted in every conceivable crevice, blind, broke, bewildered, beaten, shoveling out my last loose coins for a mint tea. Against all of which possibly I could have risen to fight again, but against the heat, against the mad, menacing sun, beating down on and baking me all day with no air conditioned refuge in which to repose and fan the bait and tackle, against that maddening fire I was a cowed, whimpering shell of a human. So I had to open up my bag to haggle for a ride to the next biggest town. The driver started at a pair of pants, two linen shirts, and a belt; I started with two pairs of dirty boxers. We settled on one shirt and a belt.
I got back to semi-civilization, got a bank wire, took a 12-hour bus ride packed with screaming Muslims and goats, and some more trains, boats, buses, and planes later made it back to the UK, where I could recuperate under the clouds and winds and drips of Scottish skies.
So I never actually ran any guns to freedom fighters. In fact, I never bought a gun, sold a gun, or even saw a gun. Nor did I import or export anything or become the internet porn tsar of Eastern Europe.
All I seemingly managed to do was get robbed by Hungarians, play cards with Cossacks, and dance the foxtrot in a Paris nightclub. But, you know, did the things in the days. I blew my wad and then some though, so I have to leave behind the world without calendars, without clocks, where morning actually did come twice a day or not at all. On this last pass through London, I've been hanging out with my cousin's friends who work in Parliament, eating at the staff cafeteria, drinking pints at the janitor's pub beneath the House of Commons. And soon enough that will be me again: a Citizen. Working for The Man.
Eating in the Dirksen cafeteria, knocking back cold guys at the Lounge, the struggle for Truth, Justice, and Freedom fading into anecdote. But somewere in the dim recesses of passing time an eye will remain open, a lighthouse scanning the dark waters for signs of hope, dreams of liberty. Because Freedom will live forever in the hearts and minds of The People, and should they ever need me, I reckon they'll know where to find me.
Liberté Toujours,

15 September 2005

ARRRGGGHH part deux

Thank you, God, for my ENT, Dr. Tipton. He is amazing! Love him.

AS it turns out, I am (apparently) allergic to SF. Who knew?
The doc poked and prodded my face and head, and even did a wicked-cool (albeit a little gross) sinus scope. hooray.

His diagnosis (for today): bad allergies combined with jet lag and slightly inflamed left ear (I'm having a hard time hearing out of it..).

BUT, as well, chronic tonsilitis. ugh. He says I should consider getting my tonsils removed. Elective surgery is fun, yes?

I don't know. What it boils down to is this:
-Every time I catch a bug or a sniffle or something, there is a 50% chance it will turn into bad tonsilitis (bad for singing)!
-My concerns: what does this surgery entail? What's the recovery like? How would it affect my singing and how soon after could I start singing without risk of injury??

Lots to think about. hmmmmm.


Of course I am getting sick right now.

Of course.

When I have nothing but a month chock full of auditions.


Please pray that I
1. Get in to see my doctor today or tomorrow.
2. Get adequate rest
3. Get better soon!!!!

13 September 2005

I found this on Cassi's site . . .

...and it's pretty funny! Cassi is located here.
Things to do when seeing Lord Of The Rings:

1. Stand up halfway through the movie and yell loudly, "Wait! Where is Harry Potter?"

2. Block the entrance to the theater while screaming, "YOU.....SHALL....NOT..... PASS!"

3. Ask everyone around you if they think Gandalf went to Hogwarts.

4. Finish off every one of Elrond's lines with "Mis..ter Ander-sonnn."

5. When Aragorn is crowned king, stand up and at the top of your lungs sing, "And I did it.... MY way!"

6. Talk like Gollum all through the movie. At the end, bite off someone's finger and fall down the stairs.

7. Dress up as old ladies and reenact "The Battle of Helms Deep," Monty Python style.

8. When Denethor lights the fire, shout "Barbecue!"

9. In TTT when the Ents decide to march to war, stand up and shout, "RUN FOREST, RUN!"

10. Every time someone kills an Orc, yell: "That's what I'm Tolkien about!"

11. During a wide shot of a battle, inquire, "Where's Waldo?"

12. Start an Orc sing-a-long.

13. Come to the premiere dressed as Frankenfurter and wander around looking terribly confused.

14. When they go in the paths of the dead, wait for a tense moment and shout, "I see dead people!"

15. Imitate what you think a conversation between Gollum, Dobby and Yoda would be like.

16. Release a jar of daddy-long-legs into the theater during the Shelob scene.

17. Wonder out loud if Aragorn is going to run for governor of California.

18. When Shelob comes on, exclaim, "Man! Charlotte's really let herself go!"

12 September 2005

Siblings in Europe, September 2005

I just returned from my 10-day vacation in London, France and Italy. Not nearly enough time to cover all that we did, but we managed, thanks to Easy Cruise.

Here are a few pictures:

1. Mediterranean Sea

2. Spices at market in Nice, France

3. Portofino, Italia

4. Easy Cruise One

I am working on getting all of my pictures online for viewing . . .