29 September 2009


This morning, I got an email from Mom, something with multiple 'FW: Fwd:'s in the subject line, about a song "written by a 13 years old boy". It had a couple of links, to a ".wmv" file and to a ".txt" file, both of which required downloading. Against my better judgement, and because I'm in a band with a 14 year old boy (and have been since he was 8), I downloaded and watched the ".wmv" file. It was a maudlin video of some British lad, Declan, presumably a creation of Pop Idol, or some such program, asking repeatedly, why certain bad stuff exists in the world.

I replied as follows...

28 September 2009

El Corte de Madera

I bought a new bike last week. My previous bike, I'd been nursing along since 1993, finally gave me sound enough reason to pull the plug: I cranked hard to avoid an oncoming bus, on my way across town for an appointment; I felt a jolt and heard the clank of metal on the street. I looped around, up a driveway, onto the sidewalk, and rode back to the source of the sound: a chunk of cog, with about 3 teeth in it, lay on the road! Strangely, this did not stop the bike from operating normally. I carried on, and rode all the way up to the top of Russian Hill, where I'd never actually been before, to meet my clients. Afterward, I saw this plaque about graves, for which the hill is named:"[T]he graves were removed or built over"... Or? Like... we just don't know? This reminds me of a film by one of Deb's friends, Trina Lopez, Second Final Rest, about the removal of all of San Francisco's cemeteries in the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake, raising questions about just how thorough said removal was. I haven't actually seen the movie yet, but it's playing this coming Wednesday, at the public library main branch. So, maybe I'll go.

Anyway, in the past, when stuff on my bike done broke, I'd just buy another part, or buy a cheap used bike with good parts, and swap stuff out. But missing teeth on the central cog? That's a lot of work, and this bike's put in a good tour of service. Scott told me I could afford a new bike, so I went for it. And this weekend, I put some knobbies on the wheels, and took it down to El Corte de Madera Open Space Preserve, where I used to run a couple loops with my old work friend, Gabe, some dozen years ago or so. I followed the same old path: Fir Trail, to Tafoni, to Resolution, and back up the El Corte de Madera Creek Trail. The video up top is of the last few tenths along Resolution Trail. Here are the sandstone formations in the park:

And here's a madrone tree I stared at for a while, at the vista point:

I've put the slicks back on, now, and I prob'ly won't bomb much single-track any more, it's true--but I like seeing the visual explanation, in that video up top, for why my hands get so numb after racing down a mile or so of that stuff. Also, it's really nice, after such a long time, to have gears and shifters that are indexed properly, and brakes that don't squeak because I put the shoes on crooked--in short, to have a new bike. It'll also be nice to take advantage of the 2 years included service that comes with it. Thanks, Sports Basement! I've already customized it, with my name, and assorted accessories ripped off my old bike, like seats, handlebars, and rack. More good rollin' times await.

19 September 2009

No reservations? Maybe some...

I was just biking around town this afternoon, and the memory came flashing into mind, of the time, a few months back, when we saw Anthony Bourdain at Bender's bar, around the corner. Much of the usual Thursday crowd were there for a Sunday afternoon, effecting a masculine contrapunto to the Guerrera-Malenfant baby shower. From our table in a back corner, we spotted Bourdain, at the bar, up by the door. I don't have any faith in my capacity to recognize faces, so I was struck first merely by having recognized his. Then, I was struck by how blue his hair is. They must work hard to keep all yellow wavelengths out of gray TV hair.

I went up and offered, on the table's behalf, to buy him a drink, in such a way that he didn't even need to respond in order to politely decline.

What I wish I'd said was something along the lines of...

12 September 2009

Sea Ranch

Check in later for an updated post, with actual Sea Ranch journal writing. Still editing. In the meantime, enjoy my psychedelic kelp videos.

Health care debate!

Moved, I guess, by how the lack of ideas being reported as coming from the conservative side of government, during the current attempt at health care overhaul, resembles the lack of conservative ideas reported way back in the financial bail out days, I got back on my high horse, and decided to prod Dad, again, with assorted liberal rhetoric on the topic, in lieu of any evident "debate". I sent him a link to a Krugman column, asserting that the "public option" was a necessary gambit for reducing costs, and a recent Matt Taibbi piece, from Rolling Stone, wherein he explains why the entire process has been completely bungled by corporate interests, and is doomed, as a result, not to save anyone any money.

Dad responded in kind, sending me a list of 14 conservative talking points, that I don't suppose he wrote himself, since they display a wit that's a bit snarkier than I'd characterize his as being; but he didn't say who wrote them. I imagine these are the points that are just hit on, repeatedly, on conservative talk radio--some of the points themselves are repeated--and, as a result, don't do much to explain anything, only to incite indignation in their target audience.

So I responded, perhaps a little too graciously, "This is the first time any republican thinker has managed to squeeze a cogent argument for some completely different idea to the way health care works in the entire rest of the developed world outside the U.S., into the San Franciscan airspace!", before getting down into the dirty work of actually trying to read the stuff, and then debunk all the poppycock therein. I don't think it's likely I got any sound counterpoints across, but at least I was able to highlight some paradoxes in the conservative grab-bag of horror stories. At the same time, I have to admit that, on both ends of the political spectrum, we share a lot of pessimism over what's likely to come out of the process.