Thursday, May 20, 2010


If you have not watched "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" since you were a kid, it is time to Netflix it. We had a viewing last night at the Greenpeace warehouse, and it was supremely enjoyable (the beer and the ice cream cake might have helped too). The only piece that I remembered was the scene where the lady truck driver's face gets all scary.
Horrifying. Scarred my childhood.

But it turns out the movie is all about Pee-wee's quest to find his stolen bike, which I had forgotten. And it starts out in San Francisco! And despite the fact that Pee-Wee's lipstick is unsettling (not quite subtle, but not drag queen obvious either), he's pretty charming. There is an upsetting scene in which a pet store catches fire, but Pee-wee saves all the animals, of course. It's really a funny movie! The catchphrases still ring true - I know you are, but what am I?

(Odd but sad coincidence: early this morning a Humane Society in Berkeley caught fire. Boo.)

(Odd but just odd coincidence #2: today's NYT has an article on the upcoming Pee-wee Broadway musical.)


My parents are visiting my brother in Australia. This is the photo they send.
Point of story: it's not my fault if I'm not normal.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Brew #3

Last night I brewed up my third batch of beer, an English Bitter. It's not a super assertive type of beer in any way, but it sure it tasty. Can't wait to see how it turns out!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Skillet bread

I think I chose this Quinoa Skillet Bread recipe mostly because I like the word "skillet". Skillet. It just sounds delicious. And this bread was! Instead of dry herbs I used fresh thyme, and it came out beautifully.
It's supposed to have a lot of textures going on, which threw me off at first - I put it back in the oven for a few minutes before I took a look at the comments on the recipe and saw that it was supposed to be custardy in places. So very different from normal cornbread, but very very good.

45 miles

I biked to work today! For the third year in a row.
And it was the best Bike to Work Day yet. Not too chilly, not too hot, some sun, some clouds, a reasonable headwind that didn't make it a chore.

And best of all, I felt speedy! I could have ridden even faster than I did, but I'm always afraid of winding up with a pack that I can't keep up with, losing them, and then losing the trail. As a result I did coast a bit, which is why it took about 3 hours to get to campus.

But I felt fantastic! Tightness in the shoulders by the last few miles, some numbness in the hands and feet (from the pressure on the handlebars and the pedals), but my legs were doing just fine. I felt like I could have ridden that distance all over again, though I definitely didn't want to.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Kayak disaster slash triumph

Oh my god you guys, I have had so many feelings lately. And they have mostly been feelings of frustration, directed at a kayak situation.

For Mike's birthday I bought him an inflatable kayak, which was a genius idea for a number of reasons.
  1. Mike loves being on the water.
  2. Inflatable kayaks are sturdy, lightweight, and fold up small enough for apartment dwellers.
  3. I found the exact one I wanted on Craigslist.
And so I did my research, then bought it. Used, off a dude who brought me to his sailboat to take a look at it. Not only did dude insist on me checking out the inside of his sailboat, but he tried to get me to walk into one of the bedrooms. He was a nice guy, but I am still amazed that I didn't wind up chopped into bitty pieces.

So I bought it. I laid out the money (which was still a decent amount, even though the thing was used) and got us a kayak. I feel pretty secure in saying it was the best present a girlfriend has ever gotten a boyfriend in the history of all time.

We took it out the first weekend we had it, for a paddle around Tomales Bay. Here it is getting blown up, which takes less than five minutes:
Once it's all inflated, it looks pretty much like any other tandem kayak.
It's about 15 feet long and 56 pounds (on the heavy side for inflatables), but it has room to hold gear so we can go kayak camping. It feels great in the water, and has the added bonus of keeping Mike so entertained that I can stop paddling and take pictures.
But tragedy struck! The second time we took it out (just a few minutes after buying lifevests), as we were carrying it down to the water, it busted a seam. Booooooo. I was humiliated, and furious at myself - I had gambled by buying from a person instead of a store, and I had lost. Big time. Who spends money on a used inflatable object? Who buys used things for birthday presents? Who trusts dudes with sailboats? Me, me, and me. Fail.

I took a few days to recover, then pulled myself together and called the guy I had bought it from. It took some back and forth and a busted kayak handoff, but the guy took it back to the store and got them to replace it fo free-zies. So Mike and I are now in possession of a completely brand new version of our kayak!

Pictures to come when we triumphantly set sail (paddle?) again!

I love Brewcraft

Below is an excerpt from the May newsletter. I should point out first that it is a miracle this goes out at all, since Griz is a technophobe. It's not very well formatted, but it gets the job done.

On to the entertainment:
In the spirit of summer, we are offering a 10 percent discount on any order over 50.00 during the month of May. Of course you need to mention the newsletter to get the discount. Also we are going to have a prize giveaway for the person who can guess the exact amount of Griz's weight. So come on in and put your guess in our jar. The prize is a free kegging system. We'll draw for the prize on Sat July 3rd.
I could win a kegging system for attempting to guess exactly how massive Griz really is. Holy crap I love this store.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Seven miles on Mt. Tam

This weekend we did a loop hike on Mt. Tam, and it was glorious. The first few miles wound along the west side of the mountain, overlooking the ocean. The Miwok Trail Run was on, which meant every few minutes we had to step aside for runners who were about halfway through a 100k run. Holy crap. I tried cheering them on, but it just wound up sounding sarcastic. "Way to go! Congratulations! Looking good!" No one looks good 30+ miles into a run.

(This is, incidentally, also a phenomenon that crops up when I want to cheer on cyclists. When I roll down my car window while driving up a hill to give encouragement to a cyclist who is straining and out of the saddle, any kind of hollering is not well received. It also embarrasses my boyfriend.)

Also, can we talk about how crazy it is to run 62 miles? Crazy. Very.

Because it's been such a wet spring, the hills were still green, and the grasses were high and moving in the wind. It was rad. See? That's Stinson Beach and Bolinas down there.
The trail eventually headed down into a wooded glen with a waterfall that I was unable to photograph properly (aren't waterfalls hard?). And we saw a banana slug! He was a big sucker. Here's me Vanna White-ing him.
We climbed out of the glen and over a ridgeline for a big ass view - the southern flank of Mt. Tam and the bridge and the city.
It made for a fantastic day. Can you see the city away in the distance? Probably not, but trust me - it's there.

And even better: my injured booty wasn't sore the next day, leading my physical therapist to estimate that I can start running again in a few weeks!

Ladies on bikes

The Bike NOPA blog has started a series on Women Who Bike. If you are a lady with a bicycle, check it out for inspiration.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Little master

My old boss David wrote a blog post (by which I mean he probably typed it on his electric typewriter and had someone else post it for him) about the importance of publishing and its enduring spirit.

I particularly like this bit:
If you pay attention, close attention, to every book you publish, and if you publish or reprint — as we do — close to sixty titles a year, it is all you can do to read the manuscripts that come in, oversee the design and production, and take an active part in the selling. So, for better or worse, this will always be a small company involving a few fanatics, selling to a relatively small lunatic fringe who still care about the niceties of a well-turned phrase, a neatly produced book, and an eclectic list. This is not exactly the recipe America prescribes for achieving commercial success.
My first instinct, as his former sales manager, is to point out to him that there are many parts of this process that he doesn't strictly need to participate in anymore - selling, for example. But he does participate, and he always will, and that is largely the beauty of his press. What other company has the president and founder out there making sales calls to small independent retailers?

It's really a lovely blog post.

Discounts for cyclists

Muni is now partnering with a different neighborhood each month to give discounts to cyclists. Hayes Valley is featured for May, and there are a range of shops, restaurants and bars knocking 10% off their prices if you show them your helmet or lock key. Suppenkuche even has a special cyclist gift! God I love Suppenkuche.

This is relevant largely because I happen to be biking to Hayes Valley tonight, and mayhaps I will scope out the discount at Flight 001, because it is a store that sells nothing but travel stuff, and since many travel items are organizationally oriented, it makes my heart happy. As do tropical adult beverages, which are the reason I'm going to Hayes Valley in the first place.

Jersey fever

It sounds like a disease contracted by living to close to Superfund sites and using too much hairspray, but the NYT claims that pop culture has Jersey fever. Gross. New Jersey is apparently worldly like New York, yet less elegant, or something. And this is supposed to be a good thing.
New Jerseyans are perceived as “unfiltered, out there, bigger-than-life personalities who are living on their own terms,” Mr. Klarman said. “Don’t we all want to be authentic in who we are and not live by the judgments of others?”
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that people who want to be on reality television have cultivated outsize personas that have nothing to do with authenticity. By which I mean, they're jerkoffs. And I'd prefer not to have my state viewed as being jerkoff-full, but I guess that ship sailed a very very (very) long time ago.


What the Fuck Should I Make for Dinner doesn't always have the tastiest suggestions, but I love it anyway.

Mud run

Of course this article on adventure races appeared on the day last week that my physical therapist told me I can't do the Central Coast Adventure Challenge. Boo, boo. Hartz and I were pumped to enter. There's another one in June, though, if anyone's interested!