29 May 2009

8 days a week

Whew...8 days since a post.

Here are my excuses:
1. Didn't take a computer with me to Monterey last weekend. Heavenly!
2. Haven't been home much to use the laptop.
3. Laptop power supply on the fritz. Again.
4. It's been an intense week.

Here's a Friday Five of favorite things about my past week:

1. Bike riding in Monterey
2. Seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark on the big screen. (For free!)
3. Started planning my 30th birthday party for this summer
4. Super duper emails from P
5. Karaoke with the old crew!

21 May 2009

holiday weekend

I'm so glad it's a holiday weekend. I was really hoping to travel back to CO this weekend, but due to varying circumstances, I'm not able to now. It's frustrating, because I'm going to miss seeing friends from out-of-town (and, out-of-the-country, in one case). Alas.

SO. I'm planning a mini-escape down the peninsula for myself. R&R!

Star Wars vs. Star Trek

I'm a huge Star Wars fan, and have been for a loooong time.
As far as Star Trek goes, I'd seen the tv shows, but never any of the films until this recent one (which I've seen twice, btw...it's thoroughly enjoyable).

ANYWAY. This video cracked me up. Brilliant!

19 May 2009

R.I.P. Pancho Pescado

I came home from a lovely dinner chez AZ this evening...to find my little Betta fish, Pancho Pescado, floating in his bowl. Alas and alack, he seemed okay this morning. I guess my jaunt out of town this past weekend did him in.

He was a great pet these past three years, and shall be missed! Swim free, my friend!

15 May 2009

Friday Five - Friends

As Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote: "The way to have a friend is to be a friend."

So today let's write about the different kinds of friends we have, like childhood friends, lost friends, tennis friends, work friends, and the list goes on. List 5 different types of friends you have had in your life and what they were/are like.

1. The Best Friend: There are many variations of a "Best Friend" (childhood best friend, current best friend, lifelong best friend...etc.), but they usually share the following traits: can make you laugh just by saying one word which refers to some crazy incident of years past; cry with you at life's worst imaginable moments; sit with you in the emergency room in the middle of the night; straight-up tell you what you *need* to hear - even if it's not what you *want* to hear; they can read you like a book (and vice versa).

2. The Artsy Friend: I wade through many different social circles - the arts constituting one of the bigger ones - and a great portion of my friends fall in various places along the Artsy Friend spectrum. (And I fall into this category for some friends.) The Artsy Friend: is unique and has a treasure trove of experiences solely as a result of them being "in the arts"; provides reasons to go out and 'get cultured' for their other friends; generally marches to the beat of their own drummer; has a penchant for scarves, bangles and/or other excessive accessories - depending on their particular art.

3. The Travel Buddy: Some friends make better travel buddies than others, and often, one finds this out AFTER the trip is said and done. A true Travel Buddy compliments your own travel style, as conflicting travel styles lead to clashes, hurt feelings and possibly even severed friendships. Good Travel Buddy qualities: flexibility, humor, curiosity and the same tolerance for togetherness/independence as yourself. Extra bonus points if they can read a map and/or speak other languages.

4. The Family Friend: I have some wonderful family friends - people who have known me my entire life and are some of my biggest cheerleaders. They are, for all intents and purposes, part of my extended family, and are often called "Aunt," or "Surrogate Mother," "brotha from anotha motha" etc.

5. The Friend-of-a-Friend Friend: These are the folks you run into at mutual friends' birthday parties every year, the annual alumni wine tasting event, or other such similar social gatherings. And then it happnes: you end up connecting over something random ("OMG - you're taking Arabic, too?") or run into each other at a party sans mutual friend ("I'm so glad to see you - I don't know anyone else here!"), and you become *actual* friends all on your own. And when that happens, it can be a lovely thing.

14 May 2009

If this doesn't make you smile...

...then you are most likely dead inside and should retreat to a cave in the wilderness. Or something.

11 May 2009

And in other news . . .

I've spent the better part of the last couple of years reading up on OIF/OEF, but have to admit that I did read and pay more attention to Iraq over that time and am just now getting back up to speed on Afghanistan.

Anyone out there want to comment on General McKiernan being replaced today?

Is it solely because of the events over this last week? Or something more cumulative? I'm curious.


This is heart-wrenching.

Rest In Peace, Soldiers.

10 May 2009

I wish I could get my pet fish to do this...

From the lovely Sky Bag, her best friend's brother's dog (I believe):

08 May 2009

New site to check out

From the founder of Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America (Paul Rieckhoff), a new organization for friends/family of aforementioned veterans: Support Your Vet.

And if you're the type to (only) get your news from Colbert, check out Colbert's interview with Reickhoff here:

07 May 2009

Friday Five - A Bug's Life

1. Ladybugs or ladybirds? Pillbugs or roly-polys? Jesus bugs or water skeeters? Any other interesting regional or familial name variations? Ladybugs, roly-polys...don't know what a Jesus bug is.

2. Stomp on spiders, carry them outside, or peacefully co-exist?Freak out and get someone else to take care of them.

3. Favorite insect?I like the aforementioned ladybugs. Supposed to be lucky (if you're into that kind of thing)!

4. Least favorite?Pretty much everything else. The higher the leg count, the higher my freak-out quotient.

5. Got any good bug stories to share? In kindergarten, I found a black widow in our basement. I even knew what it was because we had just learned about them at school. So, my mom put it in a jar, and I took it on the bus (ON THE BUS!) with me to class the next day to show off to everyone.

Bonus question: share a poem, song, quotation, etc. about insects.
I got to play a dragonfly in the opera "L'enfant et les sortileges" by Ravel. It was fun, but I don't remember the words at the moment.

insomniacical musings

I'm having an 'off' week, sleep-wise (hence the late - or early? - blog post).

Tonight, it's due to the hot cocoa which seemed like such a good idea. At 8:30pm. *headsmack*

I'll reflect on other stuff, like my random audition last night.

About a month ago, I had applied to get an audition time for a particular opera company out here. I never heard anything, and figured they didn't want to hear me. Fast-forward to Monday, and I got an email reminder "of open auditions tomorrow, be early for your assigned slot."

Uh, what?

After much furious emailing of auditions coordinator, I find out I was at the top of the wait list (who knew?) and he would sneak me in since he accidentally emailed me. Long story ... long ... I had an audition.

I haven't had to do a "real" opera audition in quite a while - 2007 and 2008 have been mostly consumed with G&S operetta and musical theater. The last full-blown opera I was in was early 2007, but that was its own special creature (Onegin - in Russian).

The operetta/musical theater auditions used to freak me out (they don't any longer) because I always have to read sides in addition to singing and/or dancing. And, previous to 2006, I had never had to read any dialogue before. I mean, words without music underscoring them?? I trained as an opera singer. HA. But, as with most things, practice makes perfect one less susceptible to nerves.

Opera auditions are another creature altogether? You have 3-4 minutes. There are no sides to read, no dances in which to cushion your overall worth as a singing actor. Nope. The auditioners start assessing you the moment you step foot in the door, and you either get in there and sing the hell outta those few minutes . . . or you don't. No pressure.

I was mostly prepared for this audition. "Mostly" because I would have spent more time over the weekend practicing had I known about said audition, rather than the NO time I spent practicing over the weekend. Oh well.

As far as how it went? I have no idea - I don't have any clue what happened, which is par for the course for me. I remember enough to know that it wasn't a horrible audition (believe me, *those* are memorable); but I think it must be the adrenaline kicking in fast and furious for such a short amount of time; it zaps the brain.

We'll see what happens. I would (yet again) get to play another old, crotchety Italian woman if they decide to cast me. Bene!

06 May 2009

I don't want to judge...

but, is it just me, or does laying off 17% of Oakland's police officers sound like a bad idea to anyone else?

04 May 2009

A study in contrasts

The following describes the scene downtown near the Powell Street Cable Car turnaround (read: heavy pedestrian traffic) Saturday afternoon.

He: Jeans, dark jacket, tennis shoes.

Them: Neon yellow jackets and caps.

He: Silent.

Them: Megaphones.

He: Looked at with curiosity by passers-by, with a handful of people stopping every now and then. Or just ignored.

Them: Looked at with venom and animosity - yelled at, spat at, argued with, cussed out.

He: One man, one sign.

Them: Three people, many signs . . . and did I mention the megaphone?

He: Can usually be found on this spot all weekend - if not everyday.

Them: Newcomers, or perhaps a one-day-only type of thing.

He: On the sign, "JESUS LOVES YOU"

Them: On their signs and in their speech, "JESUS HATES YOU" and "YOU'RE GOING TO HELL" and "THE CITY IS GOING TO BURN BECAUSE OF FAGS LIKE YOU"

To him I said: "Thank you, brother, for speaking the truth faithfully. I appreciate you and you got it right, man. Jesus loves, not hates."

To them I said: Nothing. My anger was such that I couldn't even speak and was on the verge of tears. Who are these people to come into this city and fuel the flames of hate? Almost all of SF embraces the thought that "Christians" are hate-filled, judgmental, uncaring and stupid. WAY TO REINFORCE THAT STEREOTYPE, neon-yell0w-jacket-wearers-of-hate. The minority Christian community here spends a hell of a lot of time fighting this uphill battle - the battle of proving to the city that we do NOT practice hate, nor do we hate the city and the people in it. Au contraire - Jesus preached LOVE. LOVE thy neighbor as thyself. The greatest gift...to lay down one's life for one's friends. For God so LOVED the [entire] WORLD, that He gave His only begotten Son . . .
I have lived here for 8 years, and I cannot tell you what a difficult battle it is to fight against those stereotypes of what a Christian is. Many times colleagues and friends will say to me - with honest shock - "Wait...you're a Christian? But you're so cool - and you don't hate me!"

NO, I don't hate you. I love you. I even love the people I bitch about - the Code Pinkers and the protesters blocking traffic (yet again) and the Muni drivers who cut me off. But I have NO tolerance for and I was full ofpassionate dislike hatred for the people wearing the yellow jackets with "Jesus hates you" written all over them. But what I hate even more is the fact that I couldn't get it under control enough to confront them on Saturday with a cool head.

Hooah, SF style

When it's not raining here, I enjoy talking a walk over my lunch break. My office is situated such that there are several different directions I can go and be sure to encounter at least one of the following: no stoplights (hence, no getting run over by cars running red lights); big hills; good people watching; gorgeous vistas; good coffee; and even all of the above in a couple cases.

Usually once a week, my wanderings take me to a certain green space near the SF Armed Forces Recruitment Center. I went by there today, and had the opportunity to talk with one of the Soldiers who worked there. Our paths crossed as he was on his way back to work, and I stopped to ask what it was like to work in SF (restraining myself enough to not ask if he got hazardous duty pay for being here.)

He was very friendly and - once realizing that I was not a Code Pink-er disguised in a red jacket - was happy to talk about his job and what it was like to be here. Though I'm not shocked, I'm still upset and disgusted that his answer to my question was what I suspected it might be: that yes, he (and his colleagues) do get harassed by the locals here; that random people would come up and cuss them out; etc. *Sigh*... this is such a beautiful city full of beautiful people capable of beautiful and wonderful things...and yet, at times, said beauty is but a thin veneer on smoldering ugliness and hatred. It makes me sad.

Anyway. We chatted for 15 minutes or so, and - even though I didn't outright ask him - he talked a little about his previous deployments and what they were like and what future deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan would look like for current active duty Soldiers - and he reassured me that they would not be 'so bad as I might think they are.' I don't care if that was the recruiter part of him talking or not - it was nice to hear.

I thanked him for his time and made sure that he knew (and to tell the other folks in the office) that at least THIS San Franciscan had nothing but respect and gratitude for them.

02 May 2009

open letter to the family behind me at the movie theater today

Dear Family:

A family outing - three generations bonding on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Sounds idyllic. Grandma, Grandpa, Dad and two kids - lovely.

Except for the fact that your brought two kids, approximately aged 7 and 3 to see...wait for it...Wolverine.


Yes, I was annoyed when the boy "accidentally" kicked the back of my seat. Repeatedly. But after I turned around and nicely asked him to please stop kicking my seat, the look of shock on his face on being called out was priceless. And, with each subsequent kick, I did relish hearing you admonish him each time, Grandma. Thanks.

The seat-kicking, however, did not compare to your three-year-old girl asking "Wha happen? Wha happen? Wha happen?" every time something scary, violent or loud occurred on screen. In other words...constantly. (Did you *see* the previews for this movie?)

Sure, PG-13 means parental guidance suggested for kids under 13. You wanna talk semantics? Well, then I suggest you leave the under-double-digit crowd at home next time, or take them to an age-appropriate movie. Hell, I saw E.T. in the theaters when I was 3, and it scarred me for life. And it's not even scary.