Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Would you rather be a table or a chair?

How the hell did we ever live without the intertubes? I mean, seriously - someone has created a Swedish Furniture Name Generator, praise be.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Just like childhood, but with booze.

This weekend was an exercise in just screwing around, and it was excellent. On Friday we ordered pizza and watched a movie, which was a mainstay activity in the Brennan household when I was a Genevievette. If only we had thrown some Cherry Coke and a screeching fight with my brother into the mix, I would have thought I was 8 again.

Then, on Saturday, we went to a surprise party in the park. Leslie's roommates and friends got her to Speedway Meadow via a scavenger hunt, and there was cake and balloons and kickball. PLUS almost everyone there had ridden their bikes, and lots of friends stopped by, and people older than me had to remind me to put on sunblock. After a shower and a harrowing bout of hair-detangling (remember, remember how awful it was when your mom came at you with a comb?), we went to Meg and Ed's to play pretend with their friends. They hosted a murder mystery dinner, where you dress up like a character and the "attorney" reads the will and everyone tries to figure out who killed the millionaire. I was the dead guy's sister, and with each glass of wine I forgot more and more about who I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to know, until I pretty much was just Lucille Bluth (Halloween '07) again. Once we got past the initial awkwardness of having to be nasty to people we didn't really know, it was a wicked good time.

Here is me and my in-game baby daddy, being all rich and cool:Mike's cowboy getup was a product of necessity, as our friend Niklas was a last-minute addition to the party and did not have a character. Despite being deeply Swedish and wearing women's flared jeans, we managed to make him into long-lost Uncle Biff, who talked in a terrifying "Texas" accent and helped Mike's character navigate the subtleties of lying to me. It went very well.

On Sunday Niklas and I reclaimed his missing bag from Fly Bar (contents: his camera, wallet, toothbrush, and passport) and went to our new local farmer's market to get some tomatoes and pretty flowers of an indeterminate variety. After sending Niklas back to the deepest depths of the peninsula - lions and tigers and Los Gatos oh my - and despite the fog, we went for a bike ride to the beach with Dumbro, then ate free Indian food in the park. Dumbro came back to our house for a few hours to shoot the shit, and Mike and I wrapped up the weekend on the couch with some West Wing and Friday Night Lights. Seriously, what more could you ask for?

(Perhaps not ending a sentence with a preposition, but if that was your response, you should probably go have a glass of wine or a joint or something now.)

Non Ministrari sed Ministrare

Everyone likes to think that what they do all day makes a difference in people's lives. Teachers and doctors and the corner store guy who sells you a Vitamin Water when you are parched all know the positive effect they've had on you. Those of us who work on the intertubes, not so much.

Enter Alerts, which allow me to track how people are using - and then blogging or twittering about - the product for whose benefit I spend all day harassing publishers. (If you think that was some tortured writing, you should see the crappy blogs that talk smack on my baby.)

That's why I'm always so pleased to see examples of people using GBS for good. Today's example:
In case you can't read the full title, it says, "Bloodborne Body Odor and Halitosis: Uniting Sufferers and Experts."

Yes, my friends, I am a force for good in this world.

The future is now

My dad just got a cell phone. This is HIGHLY unanticipated - the man barely uses the regular-type phone.

Speaking of Pa Brennan, SF-ers, he'll be in town this weekend, so prepare for some serious beer drinking.


We just tested out cuil.com in a team meeting, and did a search for The Tipping Point that returned a seriously NSFW image. May the gods of search engines bestow some lady parts upon you, as well - ideally on a gigantic VC screen, with 20 people on the call.

It was an excellent way to put some spice into our morning.

Friday, July 25, 2008

GP, the way to be

For those who were concerned (all of you, I'm sure), Mike did NOT get arrested yesterday, which was nice. He did, however, watch his coworkers get arrested for blocking the entrance to a Kimberly Clark facility in LA.KC, in case you are not aware, is a company that engages in profligate assholery.

So check out Mike's article.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Why all the texi are yellow?

Wow, thank you Go Fug Yourself, for linking to this gem. I know nothing about Bai Ling, I feel like maybe I've seen her in a movie once, but I sure as hell am in love with her blog.

Sometimes I wish I could get into people's mind and sing them a lalaby........

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Welcome to my Wednesday night

I just:
  • drank several glasses of wine
  • made a vinaigrette and had it with some lovely butter lettuce
  • talked on the phone to my boyfriend, who is on a last-minute road trip that may or may not end with him getting arrested
  • made crepes
  • roasted two huge gorgeous Chioggia beets
  • washed a baking pan that had raccoon paw prints in it
I am about to:
  • go watch darts?

Yeah, I didn't write this.

But I signed off on it - well, all but the title. My 15 minutes, folks!

UPDATE: Jesus holy god, I should not have put out an Alert on that blog post - I am seeing my name alllllllll over the intertubes. No one has insulted me or my family yet, but I feel like that is probably coming.

Wait wait don't tell me!

Peter Sagal is speaking on campus today, on "The Book of Vice: Very Naughty Things (and How to Do Them)". YES!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Maps for your feet

GMaps just launched walking directions. There are some bugs, but it's still pretty neat!

If by "power" you mean "hard-drinking"

The former Attorney General of Texas (our friend Tiff's aunt) apparently referred to Mike and I as a power couple.Yup.


The Dark Knight is awesome, and Heath Ledger scared the shit out of me. You should go see it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Perfect Weekend

Friday morning, Mike and I woke up at the ass crack of dawn and drove up to Pomo Canyon on the Sonoma coast to snag some no-reservations campsites. We managed to get four beauties, set into a hillside redwood grove. We spent the rest of the day working from a coffee shop in Bodega Bay, where we took advantage of free wireless and tasty caffeinated beverages.

We rendezvoused back at the campground with Mike D and went for a walk up to the top of canyon. It was classic California - golden hills, fog out by the ocean, etc. Here is Mike G being a tiny speck in the vast expanse. We met up with Caitlin, Amy and Meesh back at the campsite to build ourselves a roaring fire and throw together ridiculous dinner that included caprese salad, guacamole, hummus (guess whose!), corn, and pesto pasta with veggies. Also in attendance were the essential ingredients of camping: beer and smores. We played "Will it Burn: Food Edition", and proposed a round of "Will it Burn: Human Edition" that no one was drunk enough to actually play. Caitlin sort of played Edward Winey Hands, Meesh thought she was a flame in a tree for a little while, G set a hobo (pie) on fire, and a park ranger came and yelled at us. It was everything a party round the fire should be.

Saturday morning the ladies left, and the Mikes and me (screw grammar, yay alliteration) went on a hike to the coast. Here they are scrambling up a Big Rock.It wasn't a super intense hike - maybe 10 miles or so - but it was a damn fine way to spend the day. By mid-afternoon most of the second wave had arrived, and we all played frisbee, croquet and Extreme Bocce, which involved throwing all the balls at once in a homicidal manner. Mike has perfect croquet form.Then we got drunk and loud and full of food. One thing you have to know about the 13 people that were on this trip: at least 75% (including me) have serious difficulty controlling the volume of their voices. We all dealt with this in different ways. Leslie kept yelling and then shushing herself ("Raccoons!!! shhhh, raccoons"), some people got really drunk and unconscious, and some people just did not give a shit. Aside from our neighbors hating us, though, it was a pretty fantastic evening. Once again we had a ridiculous family-dinner style spread, with two kinds of curry (!), grilled veggies, and lots and lots of meat (steak, sausage, kangaroo?).

Beer and whiskey were drunk, laps were sat on, marshmallows were flung, tents were stumbled into. And then, in the morning, we all got to wake up to this.Eh, eh? We had a long lazy breakfast, and hung out a bit as everyone packed up.Then G, Damian and I went on a great bike ride up and down the Sonoma coast. It was gorgeous, if an ass-kicker, and I feel a bit more ready for the Marin Century now. On the way home we stopped at Wildflour Bakery for their amazing bread, and then had some oysters and caught some tunes at Scrambly's restaurant.

In summary, this weekend was like a genetically modified baby: the repository of my hopes, the fruition of my dreams, the kicking and screaming essence of perfection.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Greenpeace 4 Life

From Project Hotseat's Flickr account, here's a photo of Mike from last week's Global Warming Story Tour kickoff. Adorable! And also, you know, tough and effective and stuff.And here's my other favorite, from a basketball tournament in North Carolina.There is a reason that Mike really loves his job.

You know how I feel about slides

If you live in the Bay Area and have not yet signed up for Weekend Sherpa, do so right now. This week's email is the best so far - a listing of swimming holes! Not only that, but information on one that has natural rock slides!My love for slides is pretty well known, at least by the many people I have dragged to the Secret Slides in the Castro, but this tops them all - waterslides carved by the elements. Next free weekend, I am THERE.

Sniff sniff

My parents' house is on the market! (I should point out that the list price is nowhere near what they paid for it 18 years ago, nor all that close to what they expect to get for it.) It looks pretty much nothing like the house I grew up in, but I'm proud of them for getting rid of the piles of junk and animal hair that were the primary residents of our home. There are so many freaking misspellings in the description (canel? lilly?), though, that I want to smack the realtor upside the head.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I really hate packaged hummus - it's always dry and tastes like the plastic tub it came in. Inspired by the huge can o'chickpeas I picked up at Costco, last night I decided to make my own hummus.

And so I did; 8 different kinds, in fact.I threw arugula into most for vitamins and some kick, and they all turned out delicious. From the back, going left to right by row:
  • Classic
  • Carrot-cilantro
  • Potato-basil
  • Jalapeno
  • Lentil
  • Cilantro
  • Chili pepper
  • Super garlic
If that does not sound good to you, I will breathe on you with my practically-psychotropic garlic breath until you hallucinate that you are pita bread.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pipeclean my heart

I am usually pretty behind on intertubes trends, so forgive me if you've already seen this.This is my pipecleaner boyfriend, and I make him dance here. I am willing to share, but only if you make his booty shake real good.

Purslane please

Yesterday I took a cooking class with one of the company chefs, a guy who runs the raw food veggie cafe that I always passed up in favor of the curry at the next cafe over. My bad. The main emphasis of the class was on IDing and prepping different types of produce, rather than working through specific recipes. Best tip of the day: at the farmer's market, head to the damaged goods bins - they have the fruit that was ripe enough to be bruised on the way to market that day.

He had quite a lot of produce that was grown on campus (lemon cucumbers!), and a whole lot of fantastic nectarines and figs from a nearby orchard. I was totally That Girl - the depth and breadth of my summer squash knowledge wowed everyone, I could tell.

Chef also brought out purslane, which I'd never had before. It looks like a weed, and has the slightly slimy texture of okra, but is seriously tasty.Because the on-campus gardens don't produce enough food to be used regularly by the cafes, Chef asked us to take as much as we liked home. My already-stuffed fridge is now the owner of even more fruits, vegetables, and herbs. And purslane, whatever category it falls into. Or maybe I shouldn't be trying to categorize it at all; maybe produce is a spectrum, and purslane is that girl in English class who says she's straight but keeps giving the BDOC the eye.

Wellesley/vegetable metaphor over.

Stuff I Ate for my birthday

I forgot to give a full Birthday Report! Last Thursday we Fly Bar'd it up - sake bombs, dirty martinis, and Carvel cake. Waitress Beth and I even did some dancing up by the pool table. There are no pictures, alas, because everyone is so used to me taking the photos that no one bothered to bring a camera. Or they don't like my face. In either case, this is why I need Caitlin - for documentation, and, you know, friendship. I was very happy to see everyone, though, and to get even more attention than I usually do. Score!

I finagled Mike into taking me to Millennium for Birthday #2 on Saturday. Millennium has haute vegan cusine, so we chowed down on a black bean torte (whole wheat tortilla, caramelized plantains, smoky black bean puree, pumpkin-habanero salsa verde, cashew sour cream, strawberry-jicama salsa) that I am going to attempt to recreate with lentils this week. I ordered the Mediterranean roulade for dinner, and Mike had the barbecued tempeh. We finished it off with tiramisu and a blueberry torte, then rolled ourselves through the Loin to home. I think a sign of a really fine dinner is if you are asleep by 10 p.m. after consuming it, so bravo to Millennium.

Marin Centuwhaaaaa

Per usual, I signed myself up for an athletic event with the idea that it would be a Motivator; per usual, I have completely failed to do any training. But what the hey, the Marin Century is in a week and a half, and it'll be just fine, so long as my father doesn't completely kick my ass. (He, for the record, has been training for months, being a hardcore ex-marathoner man.)

My nod to training: on Saturday, Leslie, Mike and I went for a 20 miler. Not too intense, but there were a couple long low hills that took the wind out of my sails (sails? maybe I should rig up some bike sails...) Sunday we were going to go for another ride, but we spent the afternoon at Zeitgeist instead. Three cheers for us, and for having a last-minute dinner party that turned out deeeeelicious. Penitent, we went for another ride last night, just to Ocean Beach and back.

But this is the point of being young, right? Being able to perform athletic feats without going into cardiac arrest? Here's hoping!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

People go to mountains

This article on mountaineering and its risks has some of the best comments that I've seen on an NYT piece. There are some treacly ones in there, but most are pretty good - the title of this post references #14. Anyone who's done any serious (or not so serious) hiking has taken some risks - but sometimes the risks ain't got nothing to do with it, as the article says.

Some of my stupidest moments:
  • wearing all cotton on a 3-day tramp through rain and a blizzard in New Zealand
  • lying and saying I was an experienced ocean kayaker so that I didn't have to hire a guide in Abel Tasman
  • free-climbing portions of Electric Peak in Yellowstone
  • cooking steak in the backcountry even after having a run-in with a huge bear
  • forgetting to put on sunscreen on the back of my neck pretty much all the time
Hypothermia, drowning, free falling 3000 feet, getting gobbled by a grizzly, melanoma: I live a live of risk and adventure.

Dream Kitchen

Barf, right? I really never thought I'd be fantasizing about kitchens, but at this point Mike and I are just desperate for a dishwasher that we are ready to just have Ezzie lick our plates clean and leave it at that. The last family dinner resulted in at least two hours of dishwashing (not to mention stove scrubbing, floor mopping, red-wine-stain oxycleaning...), and neither of us were happy campers. There's no room for a standing dishwasher, though, so we've tracked down this countertop model, which we are seriously thinking about buying. It's just the size for two people, though it'll still take up more counter space than we can spare...

Oh my god, that was incredibly boring, wasn't it? I'm so sorry. To distract you: arts and crafts slash kitchen design! I want a blue chalkboard wall, I think.

Possibly the weirdest ecard ever

From Tom and Betty.

Yay yay CSA!

Woohoo - there's a New York Times article on CSAs! Even though our veggielivery service (Planet Organics) isn't traditional Community Supported Agriculture, anything that gets fresh produce into people's hands is a great thing, and the CSA model in particular is brilliant.

Not only that, but Katie and Larry (see my farming post below) are planning to set up a CSA in the fall, since their market ends in October but they'll have produce through November. Mike is going to set up their website - if anyone else wants to help with that, feel free to let us know!

Embracing my inevitable decline

Happy birthday to me! God I love birthdays, and mine in particular, mostly because it means being in touch with so many people that I don't talk to enough. It also means that I get to go out to a fancy dinner - and the restaurant we chose, Millennium, is, coincidentally, today's subject for that daily eco-email I get.

There's something weird about being 25, though - it feels like the first important birthday since 21. And that one, of course, was superhappyfunday, whereas this one feels like the beginning of something big and strange. Adulthood?

Yeah right.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Git ready

I just ordered this cheapo croquet/bocce set, and I am ready for some serious games in the park. Prepare to be challenged! (In a non-physically- or mentally- manner).

Save the date!

Mike has a show next Wednesday the 16th at Thee Parkside, in Potrero Hill (not far from Bottom of the Hill). It benefits Greenpeace! Shocking, right?

Ho there

Mike's face is featured on the Greenpeace homepage today!

He also sent me this interesting article - Ecuador is taking steps to grant nature itself the right to exist, separate from being simply property.

"On July 7, 2008, the Ecuador Constitutional Assembly – composed of one hundred and thirty (130) delegates elected countrywide to rewrite the country’s Constitution – voted to approve articles for the new constitution recognizing rights for nature and ecosystems."

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My weekend: a story with pictures

Mike and I have been a-farming all weekend! Last Thursday we drove out east (just outside Yosemite) to visit Katie and Larry on their new farm in Sonora. New farm, but actually on Katie's parents property. That combined with the fact that K & L are planning on getting preggers soon, and the Johnsons think they have died and gone to heaven.But back to the point: we farmed. They are growing most of the same things they grew in Humboldt and Gila: kale, chard, beets, carrots, onions, garlic, eggplant, cabbage, lots of summer squash, and herbs. Well, that's what was up already - they also have berries, stone fruit, corn, peppers, melons, and more coming in later in the summer.Aside from luxuriating in the bounty, we also got to work the farmer's market, which is one of my favorite things to do. People ooh and ahh over the produce, you get to chit chat, and then - the best part! - you get to weigh their purchase & ring it up. Mike was the summer squash king; he arranged them in beautiful piles and explained what a Zephyr was ("a cross between a zucchini and a crookneck; it has the nuttiness of the crookneck but holds up great for grilling like a zucchini") to a couple dozen people.Not only that, but Katie & Larry have a new puppy! His name is Samson, and he is going to be a very large boy; for now, though, he has long legs and a reasonably wee body. He is the ultimate farm dog - he eats raw veggies and dead gophers, rolls around in the dirt, and is a sweetie pie to the max.Even Larry the workaholic took off some time to hang out with us - we wandered the property of the house they are renting, ate tons of garlic, went swimming in the river, and taught Katie to play beer pong, which was epic. Mostly, though, sat around catching up on stuff (like the fact that they are going to get preggers!) and drinking margaritas.On the way out, they heaped us down with bunches of veggies and a dozen eggs from their chickens!Last night I made a Red Russian kale and beet greens salad with zucchini, potatoes, beets, and a vinaigrette. Let the produce eating begin!Needless to say, we plan on going back soon.

Pie & elephant seals

That is how I spent my day off last Thursday. Hartz and I went adventuring down the (sometimes smoky) coast. We stuffed ourselves on artichokes, crab and ollalieberry pie at Duarte's in Pescadero - highly recommended - and then, elephant-seal like ourselves, went to check the pinnipeds. I will tell you what, those suckers are BIG. If you have seen "Tremors" (and you really, really should have), then you have a sense of what these seals looked like - like the underground monsters, but with big old noses in place of evil pincer mouths.

Neat things we learned from the handy Marine Docent: elephant seals lead solitary lives once they leave their mother; they swim thousands of miles, up to Alaska and down and out to Hawaii; their noses get bigger with age; they mate from December to March.

Things Hartz and I learned on our own: we need to come back in December to watch these things mate; we would like to spoon them but would be afraid of them rolling on top of us; elephant seals do not respond to dance-off requests; watching 2000 lbs of blubber slide down a sand dune is absolutely delightful.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

For all you bikers out there.

By which I mean, cyclists. In the beginning of August, Mike, my dad, Leslie and I are riding this guy - the Marin Century. If you think you'd be down, let me know!

Oh, Wellesley

I just got this email from the Center for Work & Service:

"We are writing to you, an alumnae working in the science industry, to assist us in marketing next years’ Wellesley Women in Science Job and Internship Fair to your company or organization...We really feel that our science students are among the best in the world and feel that this Wellesley Women in Science Job and Internship Fair has truly given them exposure and propelled their careers in the sciences. We thank you in advance for assisting us."

Science! Ha! Once I took Human Bio I was done with science, and never looked back. Now if they had asked me to come speak, I might have pretended to be a scientist for the day...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Last night we went to El Rio to see (hear?) our friends DJ, and I love love love the place. $1 PBRs on Mondays, free oysters on Fridays, an old lady schooling young punks in pool, and a big backyard with a lemon tree, complete with huge honking lemons.

BUT: the highlight was that Mike's friend Linda just recently obtained a potbellied piglet, and I am going to get to see it soon!

Not only that, but the pig is named Greta, and Greta is black with little white hooves. Greta is also teething, and so likes to gently gnaw on people. And finally, Linda has a dog as well, and the dog and the pig spoon.