Saturday, April 25, 2009

Look . . .

Have you ever heard the phrase "Everything I ever needed to learn in life, I learned in kindergarten"?

One of the first things children are taught as they begin to venture out in life is to "look both ways" before crossing the street.

Well apparently this lesson was lost on the citizens of San Francisco.

At several busy intersections throughout the City the above decal is inlaid into the pavement as a reminder of that lesson we learned so long ago.  This must be the City's attempt at remedial education of its citizens.

Thanks Gavin!

The Song Of The Day - Look Up by Stars

Friday, April 24, 2009

You Know The Night Time, Is The Right Time . . .

Loyal Readers, a few weeks ago I told you about the newly opened California Academy Of Sciences located in Golden Gate Park.  The Academy features a planetarium, rainforest, aquarium and much more. 

Recently The Academy also started a program called "Nightlife" from 6pm to 10pm on Thursdays.  

The Academy charges a small admission fee, and in addition to the normal exhibits, it offers music, cash bars and food.  The event is the current hot ticket in town and sells out each week. I kid you not when I say that the line to get in was down the block.  There were more people there for "Nightlife" than when I went on a Saturday a few weeks ago.

Unfortunately, I am beginning to think I will never make inside the actual planetarium show. This is because once again all the elusive passes had already been given out by the time my friends and I entered the building.

This did not stop us from enjoying a trip through the rainforest, a visit to the coral reef, an attempt to see the African penguins, and a viewing of the albino alligator.

That being said, all those things could not compare to what we saw next.  A very rare creature indeed. Spotted in its natural habitat was the "White Person."  Intoxicated by the consumption of alcohol, the "White Person" began to demonstrate it's rare mating dance to woo the female of the species.  Fortunately for you Loyal Readers, I was able to document this dance on film.

(I am not sure why the video uploaded on it's side, but you get the general idea of the amazing creature that is the "White Person.")

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pieces . . .

Last year I tried pottery painting for the first time.   I wasn't sure if I would like painting pottery because I was worried that my perfectionist tendencies would make the experience more stressful than enjoyable.

My friends and I found a pottery painting studio in Noe Valley called Terra Mia and off we went. 

We usually start the day happy and talkative.   Then by the end of the day we are so over it.

The first piece I did was a "sushi" platter.  I was inspired by a plate the studio had displayed on the wall.  It had small dots that spread out across the plate.  

I could replicate that.  And I figured "dots" wouldn't stress me out because you can't really mess them up.  

EIGHT! HOURS! later I had stiff neck and back and as I was putting the last dot on I smeared it!  I didn't let myself freak out.  I just tried to think of a way to mask the mistake.  Hence the "Sun Burst" in the center of the plate.

Here's the other thing about pottery painting; the color that you paint on the clay changes completely when the piece is fired in the kiln.  So you really have to think about what the end product is going to look like, not what it looks like right now.  Then depending how many layers of paint you put on; the color can change.  That means you have to keep track of where you have put multiple layers of paint to make sure the piece looks consistent after it is fired.

The second piece I did was inspired by a photograph I took of the Golden Gate Bridge.  After the eight hour "dot" experience I figured I might as well try and paint an actual image.  This time my friends and I completed our work in six hours!  

I really liked how this piece looked.   That is I really liked how it looked before it was fired up in the kiln.  It is still pretty cool, but not quite what I thought it was going to be.  

Our most recent trip to Terra Mia was last weekend.  With a birthday gift certificate courtesy of my friend Shamoli in hand, I was ready to get my paint on.  

This time I decided to branch out from the flat plates and try something a little more difficult.  I decided to do a vase.   

I am happy to report that I finally have a piece that I am really happy with!  It turned out exactly how I envisioned it!

The Song Of The Day - Pieces Of Me by Ashlee Simpson

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Day The Music Died . . .

Those of you who know me best know that I am some what obsessed with music.  

I could spend hours in a music store.  I love reading reviews of upcoming albums in Entertainment Weekly.  I love finding a new song that isn't big yet and telling others about it.  I love when I can say, "Oh I bought that CD last year, and it is just getting popular now."

In college I think the employee's at Tower Records Northridge, Woodland Hills, and Thousand Oaks new me by first name because I would go in every Tuesday to see what the new releases were.

iTunes and my iPod changed my life for the better.

I still mourn the day I got the email from Tower Records telling me they were closing their retail stores.

I accepted the fact that I would now have to shop at the Virgin Megastore.  I was never a huge fan of Virgin because I felt they were overpriced compared to Tower.

But now Virgin is going out of business too, and for a music lover this is very sad! 

That being said, I am very proud of myself, because even though the entire store is on clearance I have only allowed myself to buy one CD!   Trust me, for me, that is a minor miracle.

So to Tower, Virgin, Sam Goody, The Wherehouse, Licorice Pizza, I miss you all!

The Song Of The Day - American Pie by Madonna

To Die For . . .

OK Loyal Readers, I have often told people that my brain is full of a plethora of useless information. 

However, I think my knowledge of what desserts are offered at fast food and take out restaurants is pretty amazing.

When I lived in Southern California, my dessert knowledge was focused on fast food restaurants.  I could tell you what choice you should make at each establishment.  Keep in mind that every meal should have dessert attached to it in my opinion.

At Subway you should get the Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.  If they are out of the Oatmeal Raisin, then you should go for the Chocolate Cookie with White Chocolate Chips.  

The Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese frosting at Carls Jr. is far superior than the Double Fudge Cake at Jack In The Box.

The Choco Taco at Taco Bell is not worth it.

An Apple Turnover at Arby's beats the Apple Pie at McDonald's any day.  And while we are on the subject, I am not a fan of any dessert offered at McDonald's.

That being said, any of the "pie" offerings at Burger King are pretty good, just tragically small. The Hershey's Pie, The Cookie Dough Pie, The Dutch Apple Pie, all good.

Now for a lesson I learned the hard way, sometimes KFC offers a chocolate cake.  Since I needed to know how it compared to Carl's Jr, I tried to order it.  Unfortunately, every time I tried to order it they were sold out.  To me that meant this thing must be really good if it is sold out all the time. 

Then one time they said they had one!  I was so excited I could barely contain myself.  My excitement went to immediate embarrassment when my Chicken Twister sat on a tray with cake that could feed a family of six.  Yes, KFC desserts are meant for the whole family.  So if you are going to order a cake at KFC, don't plan on sitting in the restaurant and eating it there by yourself. 

When I moved to San Francisco my fast food dessert regimen suffered because my stand by fast food restaurants just don't exist in the city on every corner the way they were available in Southern California suburbia.

So over the last few years I have found some new favorites to add to my list of must haves.  

My number one choice for best dessert for $4.00 and under is the Salty Chocolate Caramel Tart available at The Plant Cafe Organic (formerly known as Lettus.)

The Salty Chocolate Caramel Tart is pure heaven.  The rich caramel is topped with a generous layer of chocolate and topped with sea salt.  The sea salt enhances the flavors and creates a heavenly experience for the taste buds.

If The Plant is out of the Salty Chocolate Caramel Tart, try the Chocolate Cupcake with Vanilla Frosting which is equally yummy in a totally different way.

And again, I am not sure why the Wii Fit made my Mii get fat.  

The Song Of The Day - Wings Of Desire by Strawpeople

Friday, April 3, 2009

Make Someone Happy . . .

This week I got an early birthday surprise when a package arrived at work from my mom.  

Now for those of you who are not aware, my mom has periodically sent me packages of cookies ever since I moved to San Francisco.  Every time I have received a package of cookies I always share them with my co-workers.  Since I don't receive packages that often, now whenever any one sees the delivery guy come to my desk my coworkers ask immediately, "Did your mom send cookies?"

Suffice it to say my mom is pretty popular with the 4th floor. 

So when the package arrived this week, I almost didn't open it at work.  I knew my birthday was in a few days and I just assumed it might be a present and not food.  Plus, it felt heavier than the typical cookie package.

But before I knew it a crowd had formed around my desk.  And I realized they weren't going away.  They wanted me to open the package.

To everyones delight it was a giant heart shaped cookie.  Also included was a knife, napkins, and candles.

So it was immediately decided that we would have an impromptu early birthday celebration!

I would like to thank my coworker, Reiko who used my camera for what I thought was going to be pictures for the blog but actually was the short video of the event.

There are a couple of background points to know about the video.  

  • There was debate as to whether or not the candles were trick candles.  So you hear Branden ask if "Carol is a trickster?"  I said, "She can be."  Because there have been trick candles on my cake in the past.
  • Some of you may remember the blog entry dedicated to my coworker, Jan.  In the clip Jan mentions how my mom loves her because she sent special cookies for her one time because she doesn't like chocolate.

Thank you mom for sending the giant cookie that we enjoyed at work for the next three days!

Thank you to my coworkers who sang for me, to earn their share of the cookie. 

On a side note, special thanks to my boss Elizabeth who made yummy cupcakes on Friday...which meant everyone had to sing for me again.  

This year was the birthday that just kept on giving!

Defying Gravity . . .

Last night I went and saw the musical Wicked.   It was fantastic.  The play puts a whole new spin on everything you thought you knew about the Wizard Of Oz.

The cast included Patty Duke and David Garrison.  Patty Duke needs no introduction and she was great.  

David Garrison is best known as "Steve Rhoades" from Married With Children.

Patty and David were the "big" name stars in the production, I however was more excited that the cast also included DeeDee Magno Hall who was on The New Mickey Mouse Club (pre-Britney, Justin, Christina.  Post Annette.)  

DeeDee later went on to perform in a pop group called "The Party."  I happen to have all four of The Party's CD's and DeeDee was my favorite member.  So I was very happy to get to see her sing live.

Big thanks to An who organized the outing several months ago!