Sunday, April 30, 2006

I'm a Pirate


Last weekend I was in Monterrey, CA attending a professional training. And the new photo is a resulting photo from the weekend.

To give context: I was the spokesperson/answerer in our jeopardy game and went a little nuts with my character. I was dressed as a pirate, so I answered EVERY question in a ridiculous pirate voice.

It was awesome.

And no one forgot my name for the weekend.

Erika: je suis jambon.

Auction! Dance Bust 1 & 2, Spices 3, and the Art of Being an Ostrich

Friday night I photographed an event for First Place Fund for Youth. It was awesome. I've never been to a live auction before, and seeing folks dressed in their finery to donate to an excellent cause was awesome. I got so juiced when the auctioneer, wonderfully dressed in his tux began rolling through his spiel and men and women calmly, slyly smiling as they raised their arms to bid on country homes in Napa and Tuscany. Philanthropy done with class. And it was held at the Berkely Club, a Julia Morgan Building that was just stunning.

At 9:30 I called Emma to see if she was ready for me to pick her up so we could go rekindle our dance tradition at El Rio. I picked her up, we drove into San Francisco, we arrived at El Rio....and the character of it's Friday nights had TOTALLY changed.

Gone was the multi-culti crowd, and the global dance grooves. Gone were the Indian crew throwing down some serious Bhangra at midnight. Gone were the Persian crew doing that oh-so-sexy shoulder shimmy. Gone were the Latin men sailing their partners across the floor to the latest salsa. Gone were the Brazilian women in heels doing a mind-blowing samba.

Gone. All gone.

Instead, we found a crowd there. They seemed to have spilled over from the Lower Haight. Nice enough. Acceptable amount of diversity, but definitely lacking sabor. The dj played something that was written on the board as "global funk".

Emma and I were not feeling said "funk". We moved to the back with the lemon trees and entrance to the dance floor...which was caged behind corrugated metal.

Our hearts sank. We were in denial.

Oh my God.

So I quickly offered The Cafe in the Castro. Fun, hetero-friendly joint. It cost $2 to get in. There was nothing to lose.

We drove, we found relatively decent parking. We got in, it wasn't too packed and the music was 80s.

It was fine.

Until the ads for drink specials chimed in every 15 minutes for Long Island Iced Teas or Kamakazi shots or whatever.

It messed up the dance groove.

12:30 am I suggested we move on to the next spot.

Little Baobob?

Senegalese goodness. Guaranteed packed with sweaty bodies grooving to Afro-pop. And she'd never been!

My goodness!

So we drive to the Mission, park, and stand in line. Little Baobob did not disappoint. It was packed. Reggae, afro-pop. We each had our dance partners. Myself? An older black gentleman dressed in white with a beautifully white beard and head of hair. Excellent, smooth dancer. Then there were the two stumbling Latin dudes who thought they were going to have a boricua sandwich and I squirmed away from them. I'm all for close on the dance floor, but when it starts feeling predatory, I have to go. At the bar, I ordered a water and noticed that I couldn't see Emma in the sea of 75 folks packed into a space about the size of my bedroom. I grooved by myself, catching some air and then an AWESOME song came on and Matthew, who is originally from South Africa and is interning in the South Bay, offered me his hand and we danced. Charming, nice guy. Yay.


Emma and I got caught into a conversation with Etienne at the end of the night. Etienne is from Senegal and works now at D & T downtown. He wants to improve his English and I want to remotely grasp French. He said he'd email me.

Which means no free French lessons for me, but that's fine. Emma's my French connection anyway.

Saturday I woke up at Emma's, brushed my teeth, washed my face and, went to my doctor's appointment and then debated going into the office or working at home. I arrived ON TIME and she wondered what was going on. I told her about smoochy boy on Monday, my work week, why I think I'll never see smoochy boy again, my standards, my family, and she's proud of me for opening myself to more "dating" like relationships with men. I told her I really don't have time for boys, since I am working on myself. Good session. We'll meet up again next week and back home I drove.

Time for a shower.

As I showered, the neighbor's kid is peeking in the bathroom window saying, "Hello!" and I call back "Hello" and am amused that a 9 year old is getting his ya-yas out trying to get a peek at a fairly flabby 33 year old. Mustafa! You so crazy!

Why not a little of both? I've destroyed my living room to sift through crap I need to sift through. I got a managable amount done and then off to editing video.

My eyes are bleary and I'm hungry!

Michelle called to see if I would make it out to Burt's engagement.

I love Burt, but I didn't feel like rocking out.

So I went to eat Puerto Rican food in Fruitvale instead. I was missing my mami.

I also passed by Deep Roots Urban Teahouse.

OH! Kwesi was having his film premier.

Score. I sat on my arse, took in his art and really resonated with his biographical pieces. They were beautiful.

I also found a flyer for world music dancing.

I called Emma and asked if she wanted to check it out.

10:30 I pick her up. We arrive at the Oasis at 11:15. We pay our 7 bucks.

And the place is empty.



Music sounded good, but you know? DJ Papi Chocolate needed to fill the place with a couple of planted dancers to give it ambiance for me.

I was hungry again and asked if she wanted to eat. We decided on late night Asian.

We circle about Chinatown and I get the lightbulb in my head for Spices 3! I missed the dinner Michelle, Burt, Chris, T, and Doug enjoyed, so I wanted to check it myself. She was game.


It does not disappoint. It gives a respectful nod to its sisters in the Richmond District of San Franisco. We shared Hot and Sour Soup, Scallion Pancake, Salt and Pepper Calamari, Vegetable Stir Fry and Rice. And Tea. I told her about the bucket-sized horoscope beverages, but we passed. Maybe next time when she comes back from her research in Northern California later in the month.

Food coma set in.

It was passed midnight. We abort the dancing mission. I drive her home, I return home.

I wake up bleary at 10 am this morning.

Damn, I was supposed to be at Fumi's to help her move. And my phone is crapped out.


I arrive at 11:30 or so, but not before discouraging a 19 year old from the Fillmore from thinking of me as a romantic option. I told him it wasn't appropriate for a 33 year old woman to date a 19 year old, even if he assured me he had no problem with it.

I love youth.

And 19 is the peak age for men.

However, I require a little bit more life experience than that.


More editing for Erika.

Add that to my resume.

Friday, April 28, 2006

a lovely day

this morning i woke on houman's floor. i was sleeping just below emma, who is in town for the weekend.

i missed out on luka's last night because i was just tired.

just plain tired.

we watched john stewart, caught up on our lovely trinity and went to sleep. almost spontaneously.

this morning at 5:30 i stirred from paranoia.

here i was on nob hill and i didn't want them to tow my vehicle. at 7 am, they cart vehicles away to make way for commuters.

at 6:30 i motivated to return home.

and emma and i made plans to go dancing at el rio tonight.

she introduced me to el rio and we always have adventures.

for this, i am excited.

a backyard of lemon trees, a densely packed dance floor of devotees of latin, arabic, african, and other musics. a global fest of all kinds of people who are there to move.

i returned home, considered napping for another 2 hours and woke when my friend sara called. i am working on a website for her and we talked politics and planning to reconvene for her website.

during our conversation i created my first breakfast. i panfried butterfish with an egg and purple lettuce for a makeshift scramble. it was tasty. butterfish is my basic ingredient for a coconut milk-mango stew that i want to create, but i can't find the recipe book that i originally found it. i mostly remember...i may try tomorrow.

breakfast was lovely. i also drank a glass of concord grape juice. and a glass of raw milk.


i would like to speak of the sweetness of this substance.

when my family lived in mechanicsberg, pa, we'd visit a dairy where we'd buy milk and ice cream. it was a trip for the whole family to drive along the winding roads into the country side.

and the milk was SO sweet.

this raw milk is the same. and it's whole. i didn't need to drink a whole glass.

it was lovely. so lovely that i made an impromptu chai on the stove with it. i added cinnamon sticks, cloves, white pepper corns, nutmeg, and honey. i couldn't find my saffron and i was too lazy to look for my fennel or anise.

i let that cool as i took my shower.

my chai was my reward for the morning.

after my shower, i returned a call to my father.

he left a message that he was driving from raleigh, nc to ny to visit my grandmother's gravesite.

my grandmother died in 1999. and he's been a dutiful son, visiting up to 4 times a year to tend to her grave and pay his respects. he is 1 of 10 siblings. 9 are living. my father was the second youngest. he's going to be 64 in june.

our conversation was brief, but when he mentioned my grandmother's grave, i was overcome with guilt.

traditional families find the time to convene in a group and make a cemetery visit happen.

since my grandmother's death, i have not visited her gravesite.

"say a prayer to her for me, pa."

i was not close to my grandmother. she was stoic. she had a hard life with my grandfather and raising 10 children while he was mostly not present.

my father told me he loved me.

and i told him i loved him.

we've been speaking more often and more affectionately since he saw tim burton's "reel big fish" recently.

i saw this movie twice and cried both times.

after he saw this movie, i've been feeling seen by my father. he sees his daughter. he loves his daughter.

gracias, papi.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

happy birthday, kimani! hello neighbor mitzi and eduardo! congrats on passing your orals, zeli!

last night was erika reliving 25 years of age in 5 hours. (about 5 years per hour. NOT bad.)

so last night after editing a piece for girlsource's annual fundraiser WAVE, i met mitzi and eduardo and zeli for dinner. fumi joined us later. food, music, and dancing sorority girls getting down to some ol' school rnb and soul.

i had an alcoholic beverage.

yes, note that. it doesn't happen often. i had a "besame mucho" at luka's which was a creamy concoction that was okay. i also munched on the prawn hush puppies and some wonderful soup thing.

we girls sang zhane songs and erykah badu and nu shooz "i can't wait", we did an amazing rendition of lisa stansfield's "been around the world."

it was cool.

next stop, san francisco and to be a part of the kimani taylor 33 hours of birthday madness (in honor of his dirty thirty-three). i joined the mini-crew at shine, entered hugging. met up with some of his crew that i know by face. twas good.

i purchased a Voss water. (because i like the glass bottle). i was INCENSED that i was served a 4-dollar bottle of plastic.


i'm trying to reduce my use of plastics since reading this confessions of an economic hit man book because the petro-chemical thing freaks me out. plastic use in the US is crazy. and i am trying to reduce my 4.5 planet footprint that i inflict on the world.

my issue.

i know.

anywho...we decided to caravan to impala in north beach about 1 am. of course we did.

i HATE parking in North Beach and i HATE dealing with the "scene", but I trust my boy Ki, so off we go.

And I find parking and I open my wallet...and damn...I left my tab open at Shine, which means I also left my darn card at Shine.

Back to Shine I drive, pay for my 4 dollar water and then it hits me...


I'm weaving a non-direct route back to north beach, via van ness and pass by the way too cool rouge and parked there on my way to the stockton tunnel is...the GIRLS GONE WILD tour bus.

jesus christ.

light, please turn.


left turn made.

my eyelids are beginning to droop past my cheeks at this point. i am purposely in the slow lane, because my reaction time is impaired from lack of sleep.

i find parking and call kimani to tell him i am parked and to call me when they get out, because i need to catch some z's in my car. the bbc is on and reporting about the Nepalese uprising, Darfur, and some Google/Yahoo stuff.

i fall asleep.

my phone rings. 2:08 am.

kimani is checking to see if i am okay.

yes, but i need to follow him home, because i am 75% asleep at this point and he reminds me of when i fell asleep on the san mateo bridge almost 3 years ago. i slammed against the median because i had fallen asleep on the incline. it put a major dent my my car's driver side door at the time. her name was yoni, because she was my sacred space.

i ramble.

the sun CAME OUT en force today. so though i was slow in waking this morning, i was greeted with a glorious day.

an absolutely glorious day.

and now it's quarter of 5 pm and we had a successful show of our wares for our fundraiser, so that makes me happy.

and tonight i'll continue the fiesta with Conscious Youth Media Crew and then continue Kimani's bday, at where?

Luka's! Carleton will be spinning and life will be good.

Someone order me some Belgian Fries so there hot and waiting for me when I arrive at the door!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


this morning i drove into the office listening to madonna's "gambluh" (pre-kabbalah, british accent) and started laughing my arse off.

this is a song that i wouldn't possess, save for my audio archivist friend o. friggin awesome.

this homework series began almost 6 years ago and as with many things, the frequency of this music exchange has waned, but it's pretty hilarious to remember when i was introduced to shakira, or was reintroduced to lemon jelly or "ya rayah".

my musical milestones.


Naked Man Walking in Oakland's Asia Town

So last night after kiteflying, E. and I were driving back through Oakland and what do we see by 7th and Harrison, but a butt-naked man, perhaps in his 40s just walking around the block in a confident stride. He was an Asian man.


What was THAT about?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Resisting Kissing

I have to say that every time I am entitled to a kiss I make a few observations.

The first is "where is my mind?"

In the moment if I can catalog what is happening, continue to plan for the next day, and remind myself that I need to get more fennel seeds, I am not engaged.

Like dancing, kissing should be an all-encompassing event.

No worrying, no freaking out in the moment.

Complete engagement. Complete abandon.

Forget about where my chapstick is.

Forget about the savory artichoke-leek tart I just finished.

Savor the Anchor Steam from my partner's lips.

Savor the hand caressing the back of my neck.

Savor the element of surprise.

Weren't we just talking about NYU? And mythology?

How did we become engaged in this moment?

When did I let go? When did amnesia set in?

And why was it a honking truck that disengaged the moment in the driveway?

Isn't that supposed to happen in high school?

I pulled back, covered my face with my hands, and nervously laughed at myself.

Perhaps I wasn't prudish enough.

You complimented me.

You kissed my hand. (You had me at kissing my hand.

The rest was all playing the game of courtship.)

Monday night.


Carribean music.

Que bien.

Monday, April 24, 2006

red neck woman

dude, i love this song. it just came on the air and made my productive scowl softly fade into a small smile.

thank you gretchen wilson for keepin' it country.

"I say 'Hey, y'all' and 'Yee haw!' "


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Confessions of a Dishwasher


dear mami,

i wanted to write to tell you how right you have been.

yesterday i woke up at my friend michelle's house, checked on her cats, and then stole away to my house to shower and change.

as soon as i walked into the door, i was drawn to the kitchen.

i noticed that i had been soaking a few dishes for the porqueria that was crusted to them. the strategic soaking seemed to have worked. and so i donned on my pink dishwasher gloves (the same pair i used to clean up after my poison oak attack), turned on the sink, and i took a scrubby sponge into my hand. i poured a teaspoon of dishwasher soap (mrs. meyer's geranium scented) into it, and as i made a circular motion to wipe away the porqueria i thought of you.

i stood at my sink, bathed in morning sunlight like a commercial. i hummed.

i actually did my dishes because i wanted to.

i know that you wouldn't believe me if i just called to tell you i wanted to do the dishes. creo que eso te dara un ataque de corazon, so i blogged it instead for all the world to be my witness.

then when i call you to tell you how right you have been all these years, you won't think i am lying.

as a confession, mami, i have enjoyed doing dishes in other people's houses for a long time. and i think when i visit i also lovingly do dishes.

y, por que?

because it gives me a sense of satisfaction and pride that i accomplish something practical. i help someone who has cooked for me and it's the least i can do. and i like watching soap suds.

so, mami, i confess to you. enfrente de todo el mundo del blogosfero y el internet: i love doing dishes.

and now i get to enjoy it in the privacy in my own home where there is no animal hair, other people's dishes, or other reasons to derail me from the pride in my work.

que rico, mami!

te quiero muchisimo. and thank you for being right.

siempre tu hija mayor,


Easter Food Orgy, Part Deux

When last we heard of Erika's ingestion habits, it was Saturday, April 15th. She had thoroughly enjoyed a warm Coconut Tofu soup in the company of friends.

The sky was a velvet deep blue and the moon was waning, yet 3/4 full reflecting over Lake Merrit.

Sunday morning she lazed in her bed, continued to situate her little pad.

Papi left a Happy Easter message.

She smiled gently at the listed number in the Missed Calls menu of the Nokia.

She gently pressed the keys and they responded to the firm touch of her fingerpads. The arrows scrolled through the menu list so she could easily return her father's call.

A brief phone called featured the excited, albeit somewhat muffled squeals of her mother and what sounded like a house filled with friends and surrogate family. Happiness washed over her lazy person bathing in sunlight in her bed.

1 pm.

There was an hour before Culture Clash's "Zorro in Hell" began at the Berkeley Rep theater. Should she try to catch a piece of the Chicano playwright's satire? Is this how one should celebrate the Risen Lord?


As soon as a shower was had.

Quickly she showered, and dressed in a pair of jeans topped with the red dress Michelle gave her. It is a cleavage enhancer and a lot of fun to wear.

The hair was not cooperating so the twists were divided and conquered into two twisted puffs on either side of her head.

Earrings, check.

Bracelet, check.

Thumbring, check.

On the marathon to Berkeley by 1:55 pm (to purchase her ticket), she conversed with Meryl. More laughter and discussion about systems of organization. She took mental note, and maneuvered an awesome parking spot 2 blocks away from the theater and away from the theater crowd parking drama.

The blue sky had filled its place with a drizzly, fat-dropped substitute.

A hasty purchase of the ticket and a quick shuffle down the street illustrated two things:

1) Her mobility and recovery from the shingles is nothing less than miraculous.

2) Theater people do not play with matinee curtain time.

She slid into the second row, stage right.

And for the next 2 hours she howled, chuckled, and noted down authors she had yet to encounter, the tschotcka/merchandising trade being alive, well and lucrative for Zorro, and felt the pull of being latina, understanding some of chicano politics, but not fully because her indigenous ancestors were not Azteca. They were basically wiped off the map. And their history didn't review the whole triangular trade including the slaves.

But the basic story is understood. The politics are understood.

She also thought what would it be like to have a smart comedy like this be penned by Puerto Rican authors and what that might mean to her.

She scribbled in her journal and as Zorro shook her hand at the end of the play for understanding the moyl/Passover joke she smiled and thought about her Easter dinner.

By this time she was lightheaded because the vitamins were no longer sustaining her.
Driving under the influence of hunger this advanced is dangerous.

Reflexes are slow.

She drove a 20 mile radius past Berkeley and back to Downtown Oakland while on the phone with Omer, Michelle, Michael Paul, and Meryl trying to carry on conversations and trying to find seafood to satisfy her fish craving.

Luka's filled the need, on a different level.

She went completely decadent with the following items:

  • Seafood platter
  • Beet/Asparagus Salad
  • Chocolate Fondant

The seafood platter arranged a lovely cross-section of crustaceans and bi-valves atop ice and seaweed. Red claws cradled raw oysters, steamed clams and mussels, and pointed to shrimp. Three dipping sauces were presented along with this platter of plenty: the traditional, yet very flavorful cocktail sauce, a shallot-infused vinegar, a better than mayo creamy item, and a cilantro cousin of this same better than mayo creamy item.

Somehow an order of their Belgian Fries made their way to her area of the bar. These, too, would have to be consumed. She divided her attentions between fruits of the sea, roots of the ground, and palate cleansing sips of brown rice tea.

After satisfying herself with baseball coverage on the bar monitors, taking in the buzz and stir of the people in the restaurant and taking in the sun that seemed to be returning in the early evening, she ordered her dessert and offered to share it with her neighbors. In return she sampled their malt. They connected on the development of Oakland and theories for how it will continue to develop.

To drink she opted for tea because she was driving and not tarrying too long in this spot. The next item of business after making friends with her barmates to discuss David Gilmour's concert at the Paramount that night (this is why the place was PACKED!), she had to pick up house keys for Michelle and then Michael Paul for the Transcendental Hayride show at CounterPulse in San Francisco.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

*COO!* Aicha by Khaled

This is one of the most incredible songs that ever existed. I was first introduced to it by my brother. He brought me an Africando CD (Baloba) for my birthday in 1999. It had a French and an English salsa version of Aicha.

Khaled was introduced to me later that year when Emma introduced me to world music night at El Rio off Mission and Cesar Chavez in San Francisco.

My love for this song was gelled.

Last year at Stern Grove Cheb Khaled crooned "Aicha" and that sentimental chill poured down my spine. A song I have loved for the better part of a decade resonated through me in the grove of euchalyptus trees, surrounded by 10,000 people, including 20+ of my friends.

Does it get any better than that?

Cuando Canto por Ozomatli

Dear whomever you might happen to be before I die:

Ozomatli's "Cuando Canto" is incredible and making the "Life Soundtrack List". Memorize it.

It's a beautiful song and would make for an excellent soundtrack to falling out exhausted after some serious cleaning of the attic and finding some awesome antique toys and playing with them for hours while the rain drummed on the roof...or finishing a FABULOUS fundraiser party in the house for some greenspace trust...or after a long bike ride in the autumn down a country road perhaps in Mendocino or in Upstate New York to check out the colors of the foliage.

Just a little FYI.


P.S. I'm digging Disturbed's track Mistress, too.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Food Orgy

In the last few days I have eaten like I have an income. It began on Friday night, and for the life of me I can't remember what I ate.

I've been in a whirlwind of fasting for Lent during Holy Week. Taking to eating only after dinner and getting high off the dropping blood sugar. I have to rework this fasting this since I am pre-diabetic (hypoglycemic). There's got to be a clause where I can be spiritual and yet not feel like my head is about to float away.

Friday night I did laundry across the street from the Parkway Theater and stopped by the boricua Sofrito on 35th and International for dinner. I was craving mami's arroz con gandules and while I was on the phone with O I coooed at the smells when I got to the counter. It was Friday and I was craving me some bacalao (codfish). Sorry, O, a girl's gotta eat. Catch ya later!

Lenten Friday, especially GOOD FRIDAY should have ensured bacalao.

Pero, NO!

There was bistec, carne de puerco, pollo guisado.

All verboten foods on Friday.

I asked to substitute the various land animals for a bacalaito, which is a codfish fritter. It's not the bacalao salad that I was digging on, but the fried goodness made me happy. Completing my plate was arroz blanco, habichuelas rosadas, and a nice organic green ensalada. Para tomar? Pues, una batida de mango.

Que rico.

I took my little cardboard box and drove to the laundromat with my Mrs. Meyers' Lavendar detergent. I loaded two loads and sat with my loaned copy of Confessions of a, Economic Hitman.

I was enthralled. The whirling clothing does in washers is beautiful.

Tumble, tumble, tumble.

Not to mention the mechanics of it all to know when to add water, detergent, and the appropriate water temperature, level and speed of agitation.

Miracles of modern science.

El sabado I was less fastful.

I was on my way to a mask making exercise with a Sister Circle I have been involved with for the last two years. We had a workshop in which we created these masks with each covered in strips of plaster of paris and having affirmations whispered to us as each strip was placed on our faces.

It was an intense birthing experience to emerge from behind this thin shell.

This second part was to decorate our masks.

I thought I might incorporate seed beads in mine, but in the end painted it in the colors of the earth, my ancestors, sky, and foliage. I added seeds, rice, tea, bits of fruit, and spices to decorate my eyes and face. A feather for a shamanistic aspect and on the inside added wishes and symbols of my personal strength. I'm very proud of my work. Not bad for 3 hours.

Then I met my friend Sara for dinner. She was in from Coloma and we went to B in downtown Oakland. I gorged myself with a concoction called a Sweet B or something. Soju, champage, sake, raspberry, and grapefruit juice. It was heavenly. Simultaneously I enjoyed a velvet tea and a San Pellegrino flat water. (I was sad that it's distributed by Nestle. Wah. Now it's off the list.)

For dinner we had a selection of small, yet satisfying dishes.

We began with the garlic green soup topped with handmade mini-potato chips. Accompanying this was a grilled feta with vegetables on toasted artisan bread. We followed this with a beet salad and a duck confit salad. The centerpiece of the meal was roasted vegetable plate shaped in a pyramid that featured a risotto cake, grilled mushrooms, asparagus, carrots, and other seasonal treats.

Sara and I took sensual forkfuls. In between blissful sighs we caught up on each others lives, I made flirtful comments about the waitstaff (they always seem to make one feel like a valued foodie, despite my being in a t-shirt). Our waiter was a quirky, cool white guy with wavy brown hair, a small earring, glasses, medium build and rather helpful with the wine list for Sara. She wasn't into him but I mentioned that he's the type of guy I'd like to just have a conversation with because I know there would be fabulous trivia to be exchanged between us. We'd end up one-upping each other with random factoids, filling in the gaps that we each would have in our knowledge base.

Michelle invited us to dessert at 10.

We arrived very happily at 10:30 and enjoyed the Zodiac Cafe. I had a warm coconut tofu soup and she had a coconut strawberry chilled soup. We also enjoyed some fabulous Taiwanese pop videos featuring an audience participation song that had everyone kissing at various intervals.

Dios mio...mas manana.

P.S. Thank you Mitzi for not embarassing me! WTH is up with my eyes in this shot? I feel like my iris is leaking or something! *giggle* But the twist is flying beautifully.

Paul Anka Smells Like Teen Spirit, no lie. He's singing Cobain and company's hit right now on and I am laughing and horrified at the same time. It's got a GROOVY SWING!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Erika's First Power Bill - EVER

Erika is a 33 year old woman living in Oakland.

She has recently comandeered her first studio apartment and, consequently, her first power bill in her name.

This is the way to build her credit rating and a slow start to owning her own home before she reaches "retirement" (a myth she thinks exists for those who save enough to support them after other organizations cease to find benefit in employing them).

She is excited.

The amount of her first bill for power usage is $26.96.

Her dates of usage are: 4/2 - 4/7, 2006.
Broken out, the bill covers the following:

Power Generation = $0.11
Transmission = $0.09
Distribution = $0.63
Public Purpose Programs = $0.02
Trust Transfer Amount = $0.01
DWR Bond Charge = $0.01
Ongoing CTC = $0.01
Energy Cost Recovery Amount = $0.01
Utility Users' Tax = $0.07


Deposit = $26.00

How sweet is that?

I was worried that PG&E might be the bankrupcy of me, but it seems that unplugging the passive stuff (things that don't need to be on all the time!) really does work and not spending a lot of time at the homestead also keeps power usage to a minimum.

I have my first step toward economic independence right here!


What are your first utility bill stories?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


I'm drawing up notes from last night's meeting and attending to a view admin details before returning home this evening and listening to lastfm's music under the category "violin".

And I hear the first few pluckings of guitar strings.

And I recognize it. I recognize Robert Plant's voice on "Stairway to Heaven."

My sophomore year in high school I was on a committee to plan a mass. I was at Trinity High School in Mechanicsburg, PA. Dzung Nugeyn was on the committee and a fabulous musician in one of the school rock bands.

We thought it would be beautiful to have Stairway as one of the musical pieces for our mass.

This motion was derailed by our religion teacher.

We planned in the chapel of the school - banners for the mass, readings, music.

And then her hulking body came in and told us the song was inappropriate for mass.

We weren't using the lyrics of the song. We thought the music was meditative, a state that mass would benefit from.

That was a moment indicating how adults can demoralize the enthusiasm of young people.

I wonder whatever became of Dzung? I wonder whatever became of that particular teacher?

A Break in the Wet Curtain

Almost 3 hours ago I witnessed something so joyful that I am numb with excitement.

The San Francisco Bay Area has been deluged with water for the past month. It has rained and rained and rained.

In light of the Passover holiday, I was expecting Noah to pull in to the Wharf and offer a discount on his cruise ship.

This idea dissipated this afternoon. I attended an interview of Judith Ford, a former Alameda County judge and early computer techie (her former colleague wrote a little program called Microsoft Word). I found her fascinating. An amazing woman who was on the forefront of a lot of tech changes and she's a Berkeley native who just drove through her barriers...sole African American woman in her field when she started at Livermore Labs in 1950-something. (Remember, she didn't have the right to vote yet.) But she was writing machine code! GO JUDITH!

Anyway, at the end of our young women's interview with her, the clouds broke and while we toured her home, I was drawn to the balcony and the light.

From the sheet of grey that covered the sky, streaks of light burned their way through. And then the wall of cloud became strokes of cirrus. The diffused light became brighter and gold began to fill the sky.

My God, I thought. There's the sun.

The gutters in the Oakland hills were filled with water, rushing at gravity's call downward. The waters tumbled, and the ground glistened. All smelled fresh and clean. And the glow from the sky found its way into my light-starved pores.

This evening's sunset was amazing. Absolutely breathtaking.

Pink and gold and just illuminating gorgeous shapes of clouds. Shapes of horses drawing Helios' (Apollo's) chariot across the sky, westward drew me into the world of mythology. Ancestors creating stories to understand the mystery of the world.

And so now the sun has set and I am left with the imprint of gold and pink in my mind, glistening streets, and I am satisfied that the convenant with All that creates the weather is not completely broken. That nature has mercy on those of us drowning in tears of spring showers. We have reprieve. We have been given the gift of sunshine.


Italian Elections and My Take on the World's Possibilities

Dude, apparently there is a limit to uploads.

Link to the podcast.

Photoshop Fun

Grant it, I don't often have the opportunity to do branding in a formal way for my organization, but I do enjoy when I am asked to step in and give us some graphic support.

I quickly came up with this for our website and the fundraiser we're having in a few weeks. We honor the women at the awards ceremony with Tiffany crystal bowls and I whipped up this graphic in about an hour and put it up on our website and blog.

It's not perfect by any means. Finding the images of these women is proving a major challenge, but nonetheless, for an hour, I think I did okay.

Tee hee.

Man...when is it going to stop raining?

Saturday, April 8, 2006

waxing poetic

tumble weeds
tumble bags
tumbling along the highway

mountains high
valleys low

precious water flows
from wells
from springs

aching bones
aching muscles

pushing back the bad virus
making it retreat

Thursday, April 6, 2006

she can walk!!!!!!!

today, after 3 weeks of hobbling, erika has taken her first steps as a 90% enabled biped.

her legs are almost operating with equal strength. she's using stairs without wincing at every stair incline. her gait almost is graceful and she can almost dance.


thanks for having dinner with me fumi.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

phone swim

(for the record, this picture is NOT of my phone. my phone's too old to have pictures. kinda like president george washington.)
here's an audio version of my complaint

dude, so my phone's been janky after taking a swim in the canal along my recently old street during final move out.

total bummer. i've had this ol' nokia since february of 03 after an 18 month telecom absence. it's blue, it glows. it's served a flashlight for me on rafting trips/camping.

she's not fancy. no flip-face. no color screen. i haven't downloaded a ringtone on her. she comes with, like, 3 games that have mildly entertained me. she's not successfully done the whole earpiece thing, either. hrm, she apparently has hurt some people, too.

she's a phone. and i also use the calendar and alarm feature for her, too.

sigh. so the next grown up thing i might get after all dust has settled includes a refurbished phone. anyone know of a green cell phone manufacturer?

yogi bhajan tea tag today

You are remembered for your goodness.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Holler Back, Girl

Hi, kids! So it's week whatever with shingles pain. I'm having my first sleepover with wifey and Houman in like, forever, and I had a fiasco sending out my contact information, so here's my brilliant mango lady contact card. I like it.

Shingles Pain Meter

Obviously I am not going to include my contact info, because that would be unwise. I'll let you google it for yourselves. =)

It's not raining right now. That's lovely.

It's Tuesday. The first Tuesday in April.


Yogi Bhajan Tea Tag Today:

Travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light.

It's more like a successory today. Eh, off for some Zachary's pizza.

Monday, April 3, 2006


footprint quiz
damali ayo
I am a longtime fan of Portland-based artist damali ayo. Her website rent a negro is wicked, hilarious, and just makes you go "d'oh!" to society's silent acceptance of certain inequities. the book is pretty interesting, too. (Although after the immigration marches last week...I would have to say we're not so silent! WOO HOO!)

Anywho...check out her video, she's panhandling for reparations for slavery and taking on Bill O'Reilly.

damali ayo, a real american hero!

oh man, and i figured out my damage to the planet today and i try to be green...time to see if ol' jane can run on ethanol...(heh, that begins with "eth" as in "ethos," cool. and i'll continue getting those hand-me-downs for clothing...

Sunday, April 2, 2006

my first podcast

so i am at bavc taking a podcasting class with chris willits. he's a good teacher, offering a lot of information about what sound IS and then applying these tools to it. we've used protools and itunes and cleaner today to record, mix, and encode our audio.

it's been cool to play around with sound like i play around with visuals in photoshop.

you can find my cat/clock montage on this link.

and you can find me reading my blog entry about the hundredths and thousandths piece link. here is my odeo thing
Subscribe to My Odeo Channel

My Odeo Channel

And now we can go to

tres cool.

of course this means i'll be playing around with recording my blog and adding needless
audio in the background because i fancy myself a very very very very very unseasoned ira glass, but i love how he tells and broadcasts stories with his this american life crew.

p.s. more useless audio