Saturday, December 22, 2007

What is the color?

What is the color, when black is burned?

Anti Mass by Cornelia Parker

It's a line from Neil Young's "I am a child" and it's been haunting me for days. "I am a child" is clearly about his father, and then this line, dark and sad, is stuck in the middle.

What is the color when black is burned?
It speaks to me that when black is burned it's no longer a color, it's beyond that. It's a feeling, a trigger, something that is registered in the gut, not abstractly like color but somatically like pain.

When black is burned it's something that was there that is no longer. Whatever burned it, burned it away.
When Neil was young, his mom left his father- she packed their bags and took off with Neil. So what is the color of black when burned?

When black is burned it's not a color it is loss.

I remember my parents at this time of year. They died 5 years ago. They were always there, and now they are gone. That is the color when black is burned.

"I Am A Child"

I am a child, I'll last a while.
You can't conceive
of the pleasure in my smile.
You hold my hand,
rough up my hair,
It's lots of fun
to have you there.

God gave to you,
now, you give to me,
I'd like to know
what you learned.
The sky is blue
and so is the sea.
What is the color,
when black is burned?
What is the color?

You are a man, you understand.
You pick me up
and you lay me down again.
You make the rules,
you say what's fair,
It's lots of fun
to have you there.

God gave to you,
now, you give to me,
I'd like to know
what you learned.
The sky is blue
and so is the sea.
What is the color,
when black is burned?
What is the color?

I am a child, I'll last a while.
You can't conceive
of the pleasure in my smile.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Led Zeppelin Dreams

Yesterday Led Zeppelin performed in London. *sigh*

Saturday, December 8, 2007

See what happens?

Wow, a lot has happened since I started Googling my way down memory lane yesterday.
After ordering the Perfect Jewish Couple CD, I might be getting together with Shari the next time she's out here on biz. I hope to reconnect with Kelly too!
From the PJC website I found out that another friend from that time, Marc Chenault, passed away this year with cancer. How very, very sad. He was an amazing guy and a truly gifted musician.

So I started looking other random names: a lot of folks are still making great music, which is wonderful to find out. I typed in Paul B. and found out that he is a sought-after toy sculptor. Paul also did this 50 x 20 foot bas relief scupture at the entrance of Cincinnati's new ballpark. Congrats to Paul!

Wow! This is fun...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Birthday ponderings

So here I am, sitting and thinking, which are both unavoidable owing to the broken ankle and all.
It's my birthday. I'm 48, which comes a big surprise to me, since, for some weird reason, I had somehow convinced myself for the last year that I was turning 49, and only one year away from 50. When I went in for my ankle surgery, I saw on the admitting form that I was 48. Wow, I thought, how did I do that? I guess I was so concerned with being one year away from 50... well now it seems very cool that I am actually TWO years away! (heh heh) Oh-- it's just funny now!
I looked up birthdays for today... my birthday is the same as Peter Buck's! Nice... because I have a good and dear friend who also knows Peter. So now I'm going down memory lane, thinking about all my good and dear friends over the years and how I used to be a complete music junkie, local band supporter and sometimes band groupie.
First I thought of Tinsley Ellis, the mind blowing blues guitarist, and googled him to find he has a new album out... and yes I still say "album"...

I've known Tinsley since 1989 when I was "dating" his keyboard player. That "relationship" didn't last long, of course, but because of it Tinsley and I became a good friends. We don't stay in touch often these days, but he's a great guy and I'm proud to call him friend. I ordered the CD today and can't wait to hear it!

I started thinking about the Cincinnati music scene that I was a supporter of in the 80's. I say "supporter", because I was only in the background as I actually had a "real" job, but that meant that I could supply crucial fundage at times. Believe it or not, we had quite a progressive and creative little bubble in the midst of all that conservative Cincinnati bull shit. Maybe that made us closer... and very protective of one another. (The good citizens of that city are famous for, among other things, banning Robert Maplethorpe's photographs, banning Larry's Flint's Penthouse mag, burning a KKK cross in the center square of town and infamously brutalizing it's AfricanAmerican residents) The police would wait for our bar to close and then follow us home, stopping us at every intersection, trying to intimidate us punk-ass freaks I guess. In fact, repeated police harassment and beatings were a major reason why many of us fled to San Francisco and New York City in the last years of that decade.

But for a short while all us freaks banded together and built an amazing art/music scene around a couple of bars, The Metro being the center in Cincy, with the Jockey Club across the bridge in Kentucky. I was thrilled this morning to find Shari and Kelly's band Perfect Jewish Couple has recently released a remastered CD... If you go to their Myspace page, you can listen to some of their tracks... click here

I ordered it and can't wait to share it with my friends. What a blast from my new wave/alternative/punk roots! Of course the band RedMath was next on the list.

Long ago I lost my RedMath album during one of my many moves, but today I was able to find a used one on sale thru Ebay, so that's on the way too. No websites for RedMath, but it was a very influential band at the time. Three of the band members moved out here to SF, and we keep in touch. I don't know where the others are. Paul moved back to Dayton, Geno is owns a successful hair salon and still records music, Mike is a world renown tattoo artist (he did all of mine) and still makes art and music in his rare spare time. A LOT of 0ther folks from that Metro scene all moved here too- Kenny is a bike mechanic in Northern Ca., Nelson is here in SF, and every once in a while I run into someone who looks very familiar and we find out we were both back there at the Metro.
Another guy from our little Cincy scene , Ital Shur (Sleep Theater was his band at the time) moved to NYC, eventually wrote "Smooth", sent it to Santana and won a Grammy. I'm sure he wouldn't remember me at all, but it was very exciting to see him up on stage accepting that award!

Those were fun years I will never forget. But the future is now, and there is lot's to be done, so let's get hoppin'! Happy Birthdays to everyone! ;)

Things I learn while on crutches...

1. Cable sucks
2. Direct TV does not suck.
3. XM radio channel "Deep Tracks" is completely amazing!
4. Grocery stores are overwhelming and frightening places.
5. Museums have wheelchairs you can borrow.
6. IKEA has wheelchairs too!
7. Thank god for friends.
8. When you can't carry anything, you can't do much.
9. Kneepads are essential.
10. My boyfriend rocks!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Happy Un-Turkey Day

I just returned from a wonderful visit to my boyfriend's mother's home in the Central Coast area where we celebrated Thanksgiving. If your are thinking, "where's that?" then I'll tell you... it's the until-recently quiet agricultural area near Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles. Since the movie "Sideways" the place has become one of the major wine tasting destinations in California. It's funny, but the first time we went wine tasting down there, we kept saying "This place looks familiar" until we realized that we were going to the exact wineries that were in the movie. Remember the place where Paul Giamotti loses it and pours the spit bucket on his head? Been there! Oh yeah!
So being vegetarians, I'm always trying to come up with a great homey, umami-rich Thanksgiving dinner that omits turkey without missing it. This year our menu was:
Cannelloni filled with Dandelion Greens and Mushrooms
Potatoes Dauphinoise
Brussel Sprouts with Chestnuts and White Wine
Dressing with Chestnuts, Mushrooms and Cranberries
Port-Cranberry Relish
Louis-Roederer Brut Champagne
Whitehouse Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Ovene Puzzle Pinot Noir 2005

On Saturday our wine tasting took us to the Lompoc area. We visited Palmina, Fiddlhead, La Vie, Melville and Babcock. Terry will supply reviews in a bit, but suffice it to say, that in this primarily Pinot producing region, we found them to be overwhelmingly flabby and over-pressed.
Palmina produces many Italian varietals such as Barbera, Dolcetto and Sangiovese, which are less common grapes that I absolutely love trying. They have a white varietal, Arneis, which is crisp and creamy, and I decided I like it very much. The Undici Sangiovese was also a hit.
La Vie is a small winery started up by some young folks, very friendly and unassuming. Their wine were harsh and tart though. I thought the Pinot would have made a great Rose. They are very young, and have a lifetime ahead of them to grow as winemakers.
Fiddlehead was a welcome relief. The wines were well structured and full. They produce very nice Sauvignon Blancs. The Estate Pinot was also wonderful. The winemaker is a woman, and she's making a huge splash in a man's world. We left with a bottle of the 728 Pinot and one of the SB's.
Babcock is perhaps the biggest name in the area and sorry but their wines are blah.
Mellville was a nice surprise. One of the Pinots was pretty good and the Syrah was nice. But their winery was really beautiful, and we had a nice time there.

All in all, the Lompoc wineries were low-key, friendly and fun to visit. The wines were overall not impressive, and a bit of a disappointment. Especially for the price, which tended to be in the $30-$50 range.

I highly recommend the Cannelloni for any occasion, it's delicious! It came from the "The Vegetarian Table: France" cookbook. I guarantee you and your guests will love it! It's really fattening, so if that's a concern, you can replace the high fat ingredients with a low-fat version. I made it with Parmesan cheese instead of Gruyere. I have also made it with low-fat cottage cheese in place of the bechamel sauce. It was still deeeeelish!

11 TB butter
1 t salt
1/3 t ground pepper
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1 1/2 c minced green onions
1 lb fresh mushrooms, any kind, chopped
2 big bunches dandelion greens, chard, chicory or spinach, or a mix, chopped (2 cups)
1/4 c dried bread crumbs
1 c grated gruyere chese
16-24 cannelloni shells, fresh flat pasta, mannicotti shells or large shell pasta (depending on what you can find) cooked according to directions on package

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make a bechamel:
In a heavy bottomed saucepan,over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter. when it begins to foam remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the flour, 1 teaspoon salt, black pepper, cayenne paper. Return to medium heat and gradually whisk in milk. Reduce heat to low and stir until there are no lumps. Simmer,stirring occasionally, until the sauce becomes thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn. Remove from heat and drizzle the surface of the sauce with 1 tablespoon of milk to make a protective film. Set aside.

Make the filling:
In a skillet over medium heat, melt 5 tablespoons of butter. When it begins to foam, add the green onions and saute until translucent, 3 or 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute until the color changes slightly, 2-3- minutes. stir in the dandelion or other greens and cook until just limp. stir in remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup of the sauce and the brad crumbs to make a paste.

Grease a large baking dish with butter. Using a knife or spoon, fill each of the cannelloni shells with some of the filling. Arrange the filled shells in the prepared dish snugly. Reheat the sauce over medium-low heat briefly, whisking. Add 3/4 of the gruyere cheese, whisking until it melts. Do not overcook. Pour the sauce over the filled shells, blanketing the dish from edge to edge.
Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese.

Bake until slightly golden brown and the sauce is bubbly, 10-15 minutes.
Serve immediately. Yum!!!!


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Cleaning up our Green Waste- pass it on!

Original article in the Chronicle

Americans have a separation problem, and nobody knows that better than municipal composters.

When ordinary trash is thrown into green curbside collection carts, companies spend time and money to remove it and cart it to the landfill.

"I had the accounting department look at the average over the last nine months, and we pulled (from incoming green waste) 68 tons per month of contamination, primarily plastic," said Greg Pryor, general manager of Vacaville's Jepson Prairie Organics, which composts San Francisco's green waste.

Municipal green waste is the name given to plant material collected from yards, city parks and commercial landscaping. In a few cities, including Oakland and San Francisco, it includes food scraps from produce handlers and residential, restaurant and hotel kitchens. Composting green waste reduces the amount of garbage entering landfills and cycles nutrients back to gardens, parks and farms.

Compost can include animal manures, sawdust and sewage sludge, none of it likely trash-free. But municipal green waste is probably the trashiest material to enter the compost stream.

Balls, batteries, electrical wire, irrigation tubing, watering cans and garden tools find their way in; even a bicycle has been found with the green waste at Jepson Prairie. "It's broken, it's in my yard, must be yard waste," seems sometimes to be the attitude. Then there is the full lineup of plastic bags: grocery bags, trash bags, fertilizer bags and, coming full circle, compost bags.

What happens to all that stuff...

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Kids don't try this at home

On a beautiful sunny October Sunday, I met my friends at the annual Illegal Soapbox Derby races in Bernal Heights. It's a long standing San Francisco tradition, and one I have always wanted to attend. It was a great gathering of true San Franciscans, the kinky, quirky crowds that make our dear city so special. You can see the video here.

Paperboy brought his kite buggy, outfitted with a new braking mechanism, and he and other friends had many successful trips down the hill.

I, however unwisely, decided to take a spin. The trip down was thrilling! As I glanced the end of the course, I began to brake. Then to my horror, I saw that 2 motorcycles, used to tow folks back up the hill, were parked dead in the middle of the road! I quickly looked to the right and my brain said " I just have to drive up on the grassy area to stop. Then I made a mistake... as they say in the bicycle culture, "look where you want to go, not where you don't." I saw a wooden post in the way, and I panicked. I suppose my foot slid off the steering post and I lost control. I don't' really know. It all happened so fast. But the next thing I remember is that I was turned around 180 degrees, 2 guys were running towards me, yelling at each other that they should not have parked in the middle of the road, and I could not stand up. Someone towed me back up the hill, my friend took me home and another friend drove my car home for me. The next day I went to the doctor and sure enough, my ankle is broken. "You broke the wrong side of your ankle" he said. I guess these fractures have a high incidence of non-union, so on Wednesday I got a screw put in. Now it just hurts like hell and I'm off my foot for 6 weeks.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Month of Mornings

For the past month I have been working at a winery. It's a small operation, 2500- 3000 per year. And there's only the winegrower (one who grows his own grapes and makes the wine from them), the assistant winegrower and 3 field/cellar workers. I was very happy and proud to have been offered this job. The winegrower is among the best in the area and is highly respected.

In the mornings I would get up at 5:00 and get in my care at 5:30. Depending on traffic I would make it to the winery in an hour and 15 minutes to an hour and a half.

My morning duties were to do punch-downs and climb to the top of these 30 ft. tall tanks and do the pump-overs. Standing on a ladder on top of these tanks, watching the sunrise, this was my favorite part of the day.
Grapes fermenting in open bins, waiting to be punched down:

Looking down from up high on the ladder:

Looking into the tank while pumping over:

Dawn from the ladder:

In the mornings I was greeted by the owners 2 dogs, who I loved playing with:

After a couple of weeks of working hard to prove myself, The Mexican workers opened up to me and I spend the days getting back my Spanish. I was slow and clumsy, but they were patient and kind.

I enjoyed the daily challenges both to my physical strength and endurance, and to my communication skills.

But alas, as it is with anyone from musicians to mathematicians, those who can do something well, are not always the best teachers. And so it was here. Communication was horribly poor, and fear of incurred anger due to the inevitable misunderstandings kept the workers worried and nerve-wracked. As one man who suffered from headaches and heart palpitations said to me, "if you work here you will eventually become ill."

In the end, I couldn't hang with all the duress and abuse and lack of love generated by the owner. The Mexican guys are headed home soon for a well deserved rest while the Northern California rains begin and winery works grinds to a halt.

I will always remember these men and women and the back breaking work they do daily so that we can drink a bottle of wine with our fancy meals. Meanwhile, I doubt that they have ever even been given a bottle of the nectar that is the fruit of their labor.

Not all wineries are run like this. I know that some bring in catered meals every Friday nights for the workers, allow a beer or two after a hard day of slavery in the fields. Some wineries hold tastings and parties for their employees, English classes for those who speak Spanish and Spanish lessons for those who don't.

There is justice and fairness out there, but rest assured that wine making is back-breaking manual labor. Toss out those ideas of wine making being all about communing with nature and romancing the grape. That's a marketing ploy. Commercial wine making involves long days of picking with no breaks and no lunches, no rights for the workers, and no talking back or trying to stand up for yourself or your friends. But their looks of bottled-up anger and inexpressible resentment say everything and make me ashamed to be a part of the over-lording culture. Because even though I was working right there along side them, and incurred the exact same treatment, in the end I have other options. This was an self-chosen experience for me, and one that I could quit to return to higher paying and more appreciative employers. These are options they don't feel like they have and they will return to this area next year to continue the only work they know.

Looks beautiful doesn't it?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

DOTA Presents...

Our campmate, Carter Emmart, director of the Hayden Planetarium in NYC presented Uniview in our dome this year.
scaling the universe

This software is amazing. Carter "flies" around the earth, using a direct link with NASA satellites, and can fly down through the atmosphere to almost any place on earth. He has a way of demonstrating the majesty and tender fragility of our home planet. To go on a trip with Cater is to realize how small we truly are, and at the same time, how much damage we can truly inflict. His goal is to present this software to children all over the world, so they may see their own homes in relation to the whole of the Earth.

We constructed a screen which we installed inside the dome, and were able to project Carter's software nightly. The presentation, accompanied by Bach concerto's, soon became a favorite haven for the weary and curious who rested their heads on Cameron's giant stuffed vine and leaves. We also screened silent films, anime and visually stunning cinema such as Baraka and Koyaaniquatsi.

Unfortunately the winds and dust finally ripped our screen and clogged the DVD player, but the computer and projector survived splendidly and we hope to renew the projections next year. No where else on the playa could you find anything like this and it was with great pride that we brought Carter's gift to Black Rock City.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Dave's Dome

Our 30 foot dome was made in 2003 by our dear departed brother Dave Kennedy, one of the most amazing souls ever to grace this earth. Dave had the amazing ability to know what you need and have it in his hand before you even realized that you needed it. You could say, "Wow, my double helix 2.47 cm reverse slide ratchet bolt just busted" and you would turn around to cry and there would be Dave, holding it in his hand. "Hey. I made one yesterday, you know, just in case we needed it." No lie!
Well, I had the honor of adorning and decorating the dome this year, along with my boyfriend. We have never done this kind of fabric installation before, and believe me, it's harder than it looks. Never the less, we got it done and it doesn't look half bad. I hope you liked it Dave!!! xoxoxoo
Here's another lovely DOTA kite in the sky... with dust storm in the background of course!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Rainbow Day

Here's a fun short video by Joel of the dust storm coming in ...
windy kites
You can see how fast it happens. Our friend Tim's amazing cursor kite is not made for these kinds of heavy winds.
After the storm a double rainbow appeared. Terry and I climbed to the top of the scaffolding.
Our friend Fish is standing on his RV....

Taking photos of us....

While we are all trying to grab photos of this...

What great memories! ;-)

Friday, September 7, 2007

A Harsh Mistress

Burning Man 2007 was grueling, ecstatic, harsh, amazing, exhausting and rewarding. My fave moments were watching the eclipse then seeing the Man burn. I was so happy to see it happen finally. Finally someone got the balls to torch Disney Man and send the organizers a message of our discontent at the direction the festival is going in. I hope they dont' procecute. After all, isn't this kind of thing what Burning Man is supposed to be about???
Being able to be with my playa family is the best thing about spending a week in 110 degrees. I love all my campmates and being with them is an absolute gift .
The double rainbow after the 3rd day of white-out dust storms was a sweet and cherished reward.
And teaching rape/sexual assault awareness classes all over the city was both a personal accomplishment and a very emotional experience.
It was a wonderful amazing year and I can't wait until next year to do it all again!
Building camp:

Bicycle sculpture at Center Camp made of unclaimed lost bikes from years past.

Dancing at the opening ceremonies

Ember and Crimson Rose lighting the inaugural torch by using a mirror to focus the rays of the sun

Looking out of our dome towards the playa

Our camp

Looking through Virginia Linder's sculpture "Passages" to our tori gate and dome

Approaching dust storm

It's here! White-out conditions

Securing the camp during storms

A beautiful reward

Best friends

We were standing on top of this 100 foot tall "oil derrick"

The show before blowing the derrick up

There she blows!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Long Time No Blog

It's been insane since school ended... looking for a new job, getting read for Burning Man, interviewing hiring and training my replacement, and gearing up for my latest big trip. I flew to Portland, Oregon, drove 200 miles to Yamhill and Silverton to do 2 job interviews, flew to Reno and drove 100 miles to give testimony in Lovelock against the man who raped me in 2002, and then flew home. More than a bit stressful, exhausting and yet fully rewarding. Here's the photos:

Mt. Shasta from the plane: my BF the geologist was sadden by this picture. He says there used to be glaciers up there. I was very excited to see all these peaks from the air. We had driven by them in May.

Crater Lake

The Three Sisters

Mt. Batchelor

Mt Hood

The majestic Columbia River

A Bridge in Portland

The Saturday Market: I love this market and made a bee-line to it after our plane landed. Lots of amazing artists, craftspeople, food and local musicians. It's really the best!

Portland's Chinatown

The Crystal Ballroom: a very old ballroom/concert hall which featured everything from gypsy weddings, to the Motown masters, to the hippy bands of the 60's. It was saved from ruin by the McMinamen brothers and is now alive with music once again.

A winery I stopped at on the way to Yamhill.

All their wines are estate grown. they do Pinot, of course, and several of it's cousins: Pinto rigio, Pinot Gris, Gamay Noir. I ended up buying a bottle of the chocolaty Gamay Noir, grown on just 4 acres and hand picked. yum yum. Most Oregpn wineries are very small compared to California's vast vineyards, you have to drive up a curny road to reach them in the hills, because the fertile Willamette River valley is much too fertile to grown winegrapes. It's very sweet.
This is the block of Gamay Noir. I love being able to point to where the grapes I am drinking tonight came from.

Roses at the winery.

My interview at Bailey's Nursery.

Here is Bailey's Nursery in Yamhill where I had an interview. I would really like to work here. Not sure if I have the experience they need, but the men I met are super cool and laid back. My job would be to manage a crew of about 30 folks and go out to tend the container plants.

Bailey Nurseries is headquartered in the mid-west. Here on 800 acres, they grow hydrangeas, various soft woods, and roses to ship back east. they have recently opened up sales online which is changing the species under production. It's so HUGE!

They also do a LOT of barberries.

Next we pass through the very cute town of Carlton. I would love to live here.
I slept in McMinnville, a town with a very colorful history, including as a base for G-men trying to break the Japanese code in WWII and a UFO spotting.

Next was a drive down through Salem, and east to Silverton and The Oregon Garden. I really wanted this job as gardener, but after an very intense 1 1/2 hour grilling, I'm not so sure. The benefits suck, no paid holidays or sick time and only 1 week of vacation. Plus low pay. Plus they would make me cover the tattoo on my hand and take out my nose ring. The super-cool guys at Baileys didn't care about that.

Anyway, it's a truly gorgeous place to visit.

I toured around back up by Portland and got lost for the 3rd time. Uggg. I'm not that used to driving anymore. Anyway by shear luck I ended up at The Grand Lodge in Forest Grove. Another McMenamin brother's property, this one used to be a retirement home for Masons.

Heading to the airport now, another fab Portland bridge.

Taking off we can see Mt. St. Helens through the dusky skies.

Now it's the next day and I wake up in Reno and hit the road for the 2 hour drive to Lovelock. At least it's a stunning sunrise across the Nevada mountains.

Here's the Pershing County courthouse. It's round, which apparently is extremely rare.

Inside is the original linen ceiling, with fresh paint and a depiction of the Nevada State Seal behind the judges bench.

The jury sits in the middle.

The wood and every seat is original, biult in 1910, I think. Mark Twin designed the State Seal. And bleow here is a depiction of the signing of the constitution.

This is a place where justice was done. The guy was found guilty of 2 counts of sexual assault and will be in prison for the next 10 years.