Friday, February 19, 2010


you're doing it wrong.

i recommend you read through this list of commonly mispronounced words and phrases. i was completely shocked by a handful of these. how many of these do you regularly mispronounce? i counted about 17 that i mispronounce, and maybe 6-8 out of those 17 that i'm misspelling/misstating.

some of the words/phrases the article claims are incorrect:

- tenderhooks (it's tenterhooks)
- stomp (you stamp your feet)
- spitting image (it's 'spit and image')
- persnickety (it's pernickety)
- chomp at the bit (it's 'champ at the bit')
- card shark (it's cardsharp)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009



very neat food art.

that iz all.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


as long as i'm remembering how to blog,

i wish to use this forum to express my enthusiasm for the fact that GoogleReader FINALLY added like half a dozen new features that they should have had ages ago. i'll ignore the past and just be REALLY pleezed with the current iteration. functionality and efficiency just went way way way up, and community conversation is now possible. wOOt.

if you don't use gReader yet, i most earnestly encourage you to checkitout.


why Trader Joe's?

i've been meaning to blog this query for some time:

why is it that progressives in northern california love Trader Joe's? and, more to the point, why does no one seem to object to spending money at Trader Joe's as opposed to, say, Whole Foods?

from a freakonomics piece on TJ's...

Who owns Trader Joe’s? ... A huge German discount-grocery chain best known in the U.S. for no-glamor stores often located in marginal neighborhoods.

this company, according to a wall street journal piece (that i haven't read because it requires a subscription),

is so good at selling cheap goods that WalMart couldn’t compete with it in Germany.

i've been wondering for a couple years now why no one i know seems to have a problem with shopping at Trader Joe's. anger against and boycotts of Whole Foods have been prominent in my various communities for almost a decade now, but i've never heard *anything* regarding objections to Trader Joe's.

my inclination is to think that this is a fairly straightforward case of people not educating themselves, making assumptions, believing rhetoric, and/or willfully ignoring the corporate nature of a brand because they really like the brand.

but i'm also curious as to whether i'm missing something--are there reasons to support Trader Joe's over Whole Foods? do they have better practices in some categories? (my main complaint with TJ's, as a conscientious consumer, is their packaging--the quantity of plastic is obscene.)

note that for the moment i'm controlling this discussion for scale of business--i'm not interested in the debate about whether to shop at chain grocery stores or locally-owned/cooperative stores in this particular discussion. (i'm kind of assuming most people on my side of san francisco, when asked whether they'd rather support Rainbow Grocery, Whole Foods, or Trader Joes', would say they'd prefer to support Rainbow; what i'm interested in is which of the three stores they'd list second, and why.)

Friday, January 30, 2009


headache, at 10

i just spent an entire day trying to get rid of a headache. i've been awake for 12 hours now, and pretty much all 12 hours were spent attempting to alleviate or eradicate the symptoms of my headache.

i was supposed to wake up, go to the office, drive down to monterey to drop off documents at a couple libraries, have dinner down there with an old friend who i haven't seen in a long time, then drive back up to sF. but the priority for today was my evening plans--a tete-a-tete with a close friend i haven't seen in a while.

i woke up at 9am with pain in my brain-parts. a headache right when i wake up is actually fairly rare for me, and it's a bad sign--the headaches that i have when i wake up are usually the hardest to get rid of. they're not insurmountable, though; especially if i'm diligent. so! i opted for an extra-drugs-day. i took what i hoped would be enough meds to take the edge off the morning headache and get me to baseline conditions. i then ate a smattering of healthy organic food bits, swallowed an array of supplements, and went to the office.

i went into the office a little earlier than i would've if i hadn't had the headache, actually, because i was worried that if my pain didn't lessen i wouldn't be able to drive to monterey, and i wanted to make sure the documents would get delivered regardless. my (extremely awesome) boss said that we'd figure out another option if i couldn't drive, but in the meantime i should try to de-headache. yes yes yes--onnit! the earlier meds hadn't worked at all, and the pain had gotten worse due to my exposure to sunlight, so i gathered my options and tried: 1) protein; 2) water; 3) sugars; 4) meds; 5) kombucha; 6) lie down; 7); warm; 8) dark; 9) pressure point massage... an hour and a half later my head felt exactly the same. so i gave up on the plan to drive south, cancelled my dinner plans, and we found another person to do the delivery i was supposed to do.

at that point, since my boss and i just finished a major project and the thing i'd planned to do with my work day was no longer an option, i had almost nothing to do at the office. i futzed around for a bit, trying to be somewhat productive, but looking at the computer screen under the fluorescent lights was, as usual, making things worse. so at about 2pm i headed home, with the firm goal to sequester myself, apply all conceivable headache remedies, and salvage my evening plans.

it turns out that it's relatively unusual that i'll still have a headache at night if i've really tried during the day to get rid of it. there are a bunch of factors that affect my pain--diet, exercise, drugs, stretches, lighting, smells, temperature, anxiety level, eye strain, ad infinitum--and if i'm both diligent about monitoring the situation and willing to make a variety of sacrifices i can usually get myself to a headache-free state by about 6 or 7pm.

unfortunately, however, the Extreme Anti-Headache Regimen doesn't actually guarantee anything; and today--for no particular reason that i can discern--happened to be a day when my head just wouldn't be placated. i came home, ate good foods, hydrated, rinsed my sinuses, took more meds, blacked the windows, and climbed into bed to be warm. i wrapped a scarf around my head and lay there in the dark, buzzzzing from the meds, massaging pressure points as needed. after 2-3 hours, which is usually enough totally boring placid downtime to give my body rest or recuperation or achieve stasis or whatever, my head still felt the same. but lo, the twilight approacheth! when vampiric beings might brave the outer world without fear of total incapacitation! wOOt! soooo...

SWITCH! new (complementary) tactics: i got up, got bundled, and went out for some exercise. the thing is, with the exercise, you have to be careful--if you get too hot, or get too cold, or change altitude too fast, or exert yourself a little more than you should, the headache can get way worse; but if you go out walking at a moderate pace on a warm-ish day, being careful not to attempt too many hills, exercise can majorly alleviate head pain.

the weather being glorious, i was poised for success. i walked for a while, did a bunch of yogic stretching, did some dancing to loosen up my back and release extra tension from all the various crevices that might be contributing to the pain situation, and then walked some more. none of these activities seemed to be helping, but i kept going, since i wasn't interested in returning to the sitting-at-home-swaddled-in-darkness thing. my walk ended up taking me near the office of my chiropractor, which reminded me that sometimes adjustments help eradicate pain. so i went in, paid a bunch of monies, and the nice human cracked my spine a few times. body felt better; head did not. in a last-ditch effort, on my walk back home i bought a bunch of foodstuffs that have previously been known to be useful for helping with headaches, and ate some of each. arrived home, re-rinsed sinuses, re-swaddled in the darkness, and then...

nothing. i still have a headache. my plans for tonight, which were very important to me, have been canceled. i am sad, and i am angry.

in the course of this long and rather boring narrative, you'll purrhaps notice that not once did i mention anything about reading, writing, viewing, talking, or otherwise being productive. that situation of non-existence occurs because those activities were absent. while working toward a goal of a pain-free head, it is pretty much out of the question to spend time at a computer, or reading a book, or watching a screen. talking to other humans is even challenging. which is to say: not only was i in pain the whole time, but today was a total fucking fail in terms of productivity. 12 hours of nothing but headache management. at least i got some exercise--yeah, i'll give you that--but that's pretty much it.

the reason i'm writing this piece, as it turns out, is less about the headaches and more about the way i'm making decisions. i'm continuously facing dilemmas about prioritization.

recall that i experience a headache to some degree pretty much every day. (or did you not know that? yeah, that'd be the case. chronic daily headache. lookitup.)

if, on a given day, i choose to ignore the headache and maintain a normal lifestyle, i almost always end up doing shoddy work or being only semi-productive due to the pain, plus i end up nearly incapacitated and incapable of friendliness and/or funtimes by about 8pm. if, on the other hand, i choose to structure my day around avoiding headache triggers and minimizing chances of pain exacerbation, i end up getting almost nothing done because my options for productivity are so extremely limited...and i still often end up in some degree of pain. when there are particular constraints that i'm presented with, such as work deadlines and important events to attend, i try to make informed decisions about which parts of my life to sacrifice so that i can fulfill the necessary obligations to my work, my friends, or my self. it's extremely difficult to have to make some of these decisions.

a normal person presumably gets to have enough hours in a week that he or she can go to work every day, socialize a few nights a week, put in time on a hobby or project or two, and still have some downtime for solo relaxation. i, being a normal person in at least a couple respects, also strive for a work-play-hobby-relax balance. however: i have a headache, i would estimate, approximately 50-60% of my waking hours. (that's when i'm managing them, with a full array of meds.) this means that every day i need to think about what my priorities are for the next 24-72 hours, and then pick which parts of my life are going to be painful and which parts i'm going to try to have be pain-free.

keeping in mind that my methods for eliminating pain are erratic and subject to myriad uncontrollable factors.

and that the meds i use don't always work; work best if used infrequently; and have frustrating side effects, sometimes even including weird shadowy rebound headaches.

and that when i have a headache both my coworkers and my friends generally find me unpleasant to be around.

it's hard, when faced with these decisions, to make 'good' choices. if i prioritize work and and decide to take lots of meds on the weekdays, i can't take the meds on the weekends. if i prioritize my social life and try to schedule my headaches so that i have less pain when i'm with my friends, i end up having to fit in my work in all hodge-podge, whenever i can manage to put some time in. and neither of those scenarios necessarily leave me any time to myself when i'm not in pain.

this essay doesn't really have a conclusion...yet. i'm still going to doctors and trying new management techniques and thinking about new drugs. i've lived a variety of lifestyles over the past decade, and i continue to experiment with a variety of activities and environments to see if there's a set that better suits me. and i'm working on bolstering my mental health--which if it wasn't the root of the problem when this started is DEFINITELY a primary factor now, due to the neuroses one accumulates over 10 years of living with chronic pain...

but at the moment, since i've been dealing so much for the last year with all these huge sweeping goals and determined ambitions to improve my quality of life--a need for Change and Direction and Purpose and Momentum and blah blah blah-- i wanted to write for a minute about the frustration and anger i feel on a day-to-day basis just trying to get little tasks accomplished and take care of myself while holding down a job. it's fucking hard for me to balance all this bullshit, and even when i'm doing a relatively great job with the balancing, i'm only partially satisfied with the results. as i try to push myself to be the person i want to be, i'm continually stymied by the limitations of my own body. and they are fucking DUMB limitations-- they're arbitrary; they're invisible; and they're probably self-induced.

and yeah, they've been around for 10 years this february.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008



Although it was early in the evening, and it was a little unusual to see a guy walking down the street carrying a futon, followed by a Goth girl carrying a lamp and a blender, it was just unusual enough that people would have felt stupid if they asked what was going on and someone pointed out it was modern dance, or performance art, or people robbing an apartment. San Francisco is a city of sophisticates, and except for a homeless guy who remarked on the tackiness of Tommy's Pier 1 Imports decor, they had moved half of the furniture and clothing without comment.

~christopher moore, 'You Suck'

Monday, November 03, 2008


sidewalk art

looks like this dude has been around for a while, so maybe y'all have seen these; but just in case not--checkit.

super-neat trompe l'oeil perspective-bending sidwalk chalk creations.

Monday, October 06, 2008


likelihood that i'll ever write a full post about burning man: non-high

instead, i'll just repost a story about one of the best parts of the week, with the accompanying photo, which was taken by michael broxton.

friday evening on playa, a bunch of fP folks were chillin on top of the true prophet art car, strangelove, watching the sunset and trying having confusing lethargic half-conversations in a vague attempt to figure out if strangelove was actually going to de-dock and wander around. after many minutes of this, while the sky played a grand symphony of 360 degrees of technicolor, a true propheteer came up and told us that strangelove was indeed going to head out of camp, but that the primary passengers were going to be a group of officials from the u.s. bureau of land management. we were welcome to stay for the ride, IFF we promised to behave ourselves.

several humans, without further ado, scampered the hell off of the vehicle. the handful of us who remained looked at each other, mildly perplexed. authority figures! in direct proximity to us! and we might not all be, um, completely sober! but...sunset! and art car! and roaming the desert without having to deal with riding a bicycle through that #$%&@ sand! and then, gradually, we realized that ALL of those things, rather than just some of them, were in fact huge chunks of awesome.

so. a half-dozen or so BLM officials--plus, we later discovered, larry and marian--climbed onboard. several of them came up to join us on the top of the car. and we proceeded to give them what we hoped was the best tour of the playa they'll ever get :) we talked about as much cool shit as we could think of--all the parts of burning man art and culture that we're proud of or part of--burning man regionals and san francisco burner culture; yuri's night; false profit and false profit labs; the black rock arts foundation; the significance of the temple in general and basura sagrada in particular... and they talked to us about their histories with the event--two of them had been working in conjunction with bmorg for over twelve years.

we dropped them off at center camp a few hours later, after a long tour of art and a climactic show at the flaming lotus girls mutopia.

best night of the week.


new levels of fear; new thoughts on caution

on saturday, around 1pm on a gorgeous calm warm day in san francisco, a friend and i encountered the results of a three-car accident that completely blew my mind. the vehicles involved in the accident were placed roughly in the center of the intersection of 16th and folsom. top speeds in that intersection rarely exceed 40 mph, and even 35 mph is probably pretty rare. but somehow, these three cars were arranged such that one car was upside-down and partly on top of another car, with the trunk of the upside-down car resting on top of the hood of the right-side-up car. both of these cars' noses were pointing the same way, and they were both pointing straight down folsom streen in line with the lanes. the third car was positioned mostly perpendicular to the other cars, slighly askew, with the front right side smashed in where it seemed to have encountered one of the other two cars. sadly, and even more oddly, the upside-down car looked like it was full of camping gear or such, with gear packed onto a bike rack coming off the trunk.


a) if you are good at this sort of thing, and can try to explain to me how the upside-down car ended up in its position, let me know. i crave this knowledge with a serious thirst.

b) what steps do i personally need to do to make sure my car doesn't end up upside-down on a low-speed city street?? since i had previously considered the possibility of this sort of consequence to be roughly, oh, 0, i'm kind of wondering if i'm unaware of certain types of reckless driving that are practiced by a small percentage of our population, and that i may fall privy to on beautiful autumn days when i'm quietly setting off for a weekend's camping retreat.

c) i've been nervous to cross all streets, both in a vehicle and on foot, for the last three days. one of the images that is flashing before my eyes when i deal with such terrifying adventures is a slo-mo of a car falling roof first from the sky. i think it's coming off the top of a building. what, precisely, is the likelihood that i will get smashed by upside-down falling cars while crossing a street in san francisco? (pleeze give answers for scenarios both with and without godzilla-type monsters in the near vicinity. and remember, we have earthquakes AND multi-level parking garages!!)


untoppable song-writing (aka: a notable lack of progress in r&b classics for pre-teen slow dancing since 1994)

on saturday night, i rocked it old skool at a rollar rink in the sprawl of sacramento. i was mocked extensively by most of the several hundred middle schoolers at the rink, due in large part to the fact that my friend had insisted that we all wear outfits 'appropriate for, say, black rock rollar disco' to his birthday celebration, but also due in moderate part to the fact that i insisted on dancing on my skates any time the dj played top 40 hip hop (which is to say: pretty much the whole time). but i still had a rad time. excessively rad, really--rollar skating is fucking awesome.

all of this pales in interestingness, however, in comparison to the identity of the last song of the night--

the ONLY couples skate song that they played--

the song in the coveted sigh-it's-almost-time-for-mom-to-pick-me-up-and-omg-my-crush-is-right-there-i-totally-get-to-skate-with-him-holding-hands!!!! time slot--

i'll make love to you, by boyz ii men.

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