Wednesday, May 31, 2006

goodbye daniel, hello julia

I've met lots of people who will finish books and movies even
if they don't like them. I'm just the opposite. I try to give a
book 40 pages (where did that number come from?) and if
I'm not hooked by then, that's it. On to the next one. With
movies it's about 1/2 hour. So once again we see how
important "the hook" is.

I was bored with
Adverbs by Daniel Handler. Of course I'm
lucky that I don't pay for books ~ one of the reasons I work in
a bookstore is for the book loan program. Luckily I also
brought home the just published
The Whole World Over by
Julia Glass. I loved her
Three Junes (available in paper back)
and I'm quite sure this will hold my interest.
Powell's Books - The Whole World Over by Julia Glass

The first and second episodes of
Deadwood were so much
more than I expected and my swearing has increased seven
fold. I have never been a slouch in that department, of course.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

the first of five golden days

I'm taking some days off this week, after the holiday in retail.
This year I did give a lot of thought to the men and women in
our military who have given so much. Whatever I write sounds
trite, so I'll stop. Suffice it to say that this year it seemed like
there was more on TV and in newspapers than usual about
the reason for Memorial Day. But that could just be me.

Our weather is at its best. Clear and warm and brightly
perfect. I have a list of To Do's, but nothing too urgent and
my first priority is to catch up on my sleep, do some writing
and reading and watch
Deadwood. All 12 episodes of the
first season. Oh, and tonight
Rescue Me returns ~ more good
entertainment from the usually lackluster TV land.

Here is the link from yesterday, to make it easier for all:
Powell's Books - Adverbs: A Novel by Daniel Handler

Monday, May 29, 2006

the miracle is the adverbs

It's about love and it's not about the nouns. That's what it
says on the dust jacket of the new Daniel Handler book
Adverbs that I brought home today. It's getting a lot of
press and not just because he's local, not just because he's
Lemony Snicket ~ but because this novel is clever and
confusing, wonderful and upsetting ~ just like love.
Powell's Books - Adverbs: A Novel by Daniel Handler

Also, the Doctor loaned me the first season of
Deadwood
so I have some lazy days off coming up. Sunshine, too!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

no strings attached

Well, this was such an unusual play! Three puppets (maybe
3 feet long each) are the children in
The Long Christmas Ride
Home
by Paula Vogel (How I Learned to Drive) and they are
delightful and realistic. The puppetry is by Basil Twist (from
San Francisco originally) and he directed the play too.
Three actors maneuver these clever puppets and then "become
them" when they are adults.  The warring parents aren't
puppets, but (surprise) they have managed to create the
almost-perfect dysfunctional family. I would have shaved a
few minutes off toward the end, but I certainly recommend
this one act play to everyone.
Magic Theatre - San Francisco's
home for New Plays
  through June 11th.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

halloween in may

I've been thinking about that Halloween Hell piece that I
read the other night. Yes, I am tired of it, but since Loren
and Jane have both heard it multiple times in the past and
both still love the damn thing, it pleases me to read it for
them. But something else occurs to me. When I start
reading it (whether in practice or in front of people) I am
transported back into that time, that store, that misery.
I can see the $99 fog machine, I can hear the toys and
the "who can it be now?" moaning man hanging in the
window. I am all alone ringing the cash register that I
put together and I am yearning for October 31st with
a fierceness that I've seldom felt before or since.

So another benefit of writing ~ clear and total recall.

Friday, May 26, 2006

is this cheating?

I'm going to cut and paste a graph from my daily write
today. The prompt: WRITE ABOUT A STREET. This happened
on my way to work this morning and it made me smile.

My street is Powell Street in the heart of Union Square. In the morning when the dawn is breaking it's pretty quiet with only the occasional party goer or runner out in the world. I walk up from the BART station at Market to my store at Post and this morning there was a most unattractive tranny walking opposite me with his too short skirt and very male legs. His wig was disheveled and he gave me this shit eating grin that to me said, "you poor working woman, I have so much more fun than you'll ever know". And here I was feeling sorry for him/her, so it was a strange little fleeting big city moment.

I end the piece by mentioning the fact that I talk to tourists each
day at work. How they love our city, even the ones who live
in Paris, NYC, or London. They tell me how lucky I am to live
in San Francisco and I nod quietly and agree.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

skilling & lay

Guilty ~ good job, Jury.

Tonight is my writing group (Tiapos) and I'm sort of in
a non-writing mood currently. I've been writing a lot, so
I'm going to take a little break tonight. But never fear,
I have my red pen in my purse and I'll be critic, editor
and cheerleader. Plus I need to laugh out loud and I'm
heading to the main headquarters for that, thankfully.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

the writing community


the auction
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Here is Loren (right) helping to raise money for her Avon Breast Cancer Walk. Last night was special. Six writers reading their work to a crowd (!) of more than 30 people. One of the great benefits of taking classes at the Writing Salon is that we do join with other people who love books and words. I've yet to meet one who can say, "writing is easy for me", and even that helps. The mutual, yet isolated struggle to put something on paper. We raised more than $400 last night and I want to thank my friends who came out to support me/us. Quite a few of my fellow workers were there too and we all know it's not great fun to stay in your workplace when you've already put 8 difficult hours in. Thanks to everyone and congratulations to Loren. It really was a fabulous event!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

breakaleg.com

Tonight I'm reading a couple of pieces and that's a whole
different ball game than the writing of them. Neither is
easy, both fraught with terror. Thankfully, I was carefully
taught by Jane almost 5 years ago
Writing Salon Mistress Muses
to practice reading aloud beforehand. Some writers even
read into their answering machines, but I have Husbando
("slow down!") and a tape recorder that I'll use. And lots of
friends are showing up to support us which helps immensely.

I'm reading "The Chosen Baby" a very short essay about
being adopted back before open adoption became the
sensible solution. Thanks to K for finding the tattered
book on eBay for me for the show-and-tell part tonight.
Then the "Halloween" piece that I'm frankly sick to death
of, but Loren loves it and since this is a benefit to raise
money for her walk, how can I say no? Here is her blog
site and info on the event tonight:
Lenore's Diary

Thanks to Borders for providing the space and free coffee.

Monday, May 22, 2006

why I don't cook


why I don't cook
Originally uploaded by the omster.
After yesterday's post, it occurs to me that some of my readers might think that I go to restaurants for meals. No, I am blessed with a man who cooks. Here is an example. This was a lovely surprise awaiting me after a particularly nasty day at work. Husbando rocks.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

it's better in the morning

I wrote my daily piece before I went to work this morning
and I realize that I should try to do that every day. My
mind is mush (as is one of my nicknames) by the time I've
returned home from fighting the Retail Wars.  Today a
customer was curious about "some book about DaVinci".

So the prompt for today was THE LAST MEAL I COOKED.
I couldn't even remember when that was, but the writing
seemed to flow easier for me than it would have tonight.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

hooray for the actorz!

This afternoon we went back to our little theater on Sutter
Street to see
Roulette, an amusing and intriguing play
written by Paul Weitz who wrote and directed the movie
American Dreamz. There was just a tad too much frantic
activity for us, and it was quite loud in some places, but
well worth seeing, in my opinion. The six actors did a hell of
a job and we left with a question or two that we'll never
be able to answer. But that's sort of like real life, isn't it?
sfplayhouse.org

Friday, May 19, 2006

an excellent thursday


doctor j graduates!
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Here is the doctor getting his diploma. It was an impressive ceremony and I especially appreciated the main speaker,
a Professor Kennedy of Stanford, of all places. Then the drive to Pumpkinville was no problem and the beautiful RR was in fine form. We 3 adults talked of many things and sat in the rare Half Moon Bay sun, watching the girl child sprinkle the patient cats with her wattering can.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

pomp & circumstance

Today will be busy with the graduation over in Berkeley
and then a drive to Half Moon Bay (aka Pumpkinville)
because Michael has never met the most marvelous
RR child (almost 2 1/2) nor seen mama K for a long
time. We all know about the death of the Devil's Slide
area, and 92 is the only route and is not easy to drive
if 4 million other people are doing the same.

So I need to find 10 minutes to write. Here is today's
prompt:
THIS IS THE TASTE OF WHAT HAS BEEN LOST
and I don't have a clue and won't until I start
typing. It has a lot of potential though, doesn't it?

I am meeting Bossman at 8:30 at Sather Gate, so
I'd better get a move on this morning.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

revenge & retribution

Last night we watched Munich which is very painful as
you probably already know.  As a result I didn't sleep
very quietly, but I didn't expect to after all that blood
shed and emotion. At first I didn't recognize Daniel
Craig (whom I had seen in
Layer Cake, Copenhagen,
etc.) and It took awhile to really see Geoffrey Rush
in his role. Of course I recommend the movie, but try
to watch it at 8 am, not pm.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

pink clouds and 3 days off

The sun is already breaking through the marine layer this
morning and I'm content and at peace, planning my days
and answering emails. Husbando washed off the back deck,
table and chairs yesterday, and my newly planted marigolds
and little whites are still healthy and welcoming.

Thursday is the big graduation day at Berkeley and I will
be so proud to see Doctor J graduate. We have suffered
through a few very long and difficult tests and term papers
these past years, not to mention rearranging his schedule
about 6 times a day to accommodate those pesky classes.
Chock Full of Inner Demons

Michael is in town from Santa Barbara too, that means a
few delightful walks and talks. Today will be coffee at
Que Tal and he will help me understand wi fi in public.
I'll be taking msBook and I know he'll be tempted to do
a little desk top rearranging, but no dice.

I have a fine image from yesterday at work. Every Monday
we have seeing eye dog training and the labs and their
trainers work on our escalators. It is so unnatural for a
dog to get on these contraptions, so for some it is rough.
But they always get it. The customers are patient as
they stand and observe and wait their turn ~ we all take
a moment, I believe, to appreciate our lives and how
easy we have it compared to some people. I made eye
contact with a man from Britain who said, "this is so
great" and he goes home with an unusual and unexpected
Life in the USA travel memory.

Monday, May 15, 2006

i love my dictionary

Yes, it was even better than we expected. Do not miss
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee - Post Street Theatre

And again, only $40 for the Sunday night (7 pm) show,
any seat in the house. As we know, I'm not a big fan of
musicals (see snide comments about
The Sound of Mucous)
but this is fabulous and very funny.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

goodbye, hello

My friend and fellow-manager Jon resigned and left us for
a better job. I never quite get used to this, even though I've
been through a million "good-byes" over the years. We
are close at work because we struggle with the exact same
problems day after day after day. We cover our own and
each others' asses and present a united front, for the most
part. But it's rough when someone leaves, I'll feel like I'm
missing an arm for a month or two. Last year it was Jen,
this year Jon. Mood today = sad.

The "hello" is for Will who managed to get his blog going
again. This is very happy news, so enjoy his delightful
poetry. Such talent.
LargePantsatLarge

Saturday, May 13, 2006

full moon thoughts

...from Braided Creek by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser:

The moon put her hand
over my mouth and told me
to shut up and watch.

Friday, May 12, 2006

stats & cats & hotspots

I wish I'd find one password and stick to it, but I don't seem
to be able to. I usually use a cat's name, but since I've had
five of those, it does get confusing. And, yes, I do write
everything down, but not all in one place. I know, there are
serious problems in Africa, India and now poor Karl Rove is
about to be indicted. Tsk. Tsk. And here I worry about my
password and my blog hits.

Anyway, I'm trying to get into the Stat Counter to see how
many hits commano has had, but there are issues. Wrong
cat or something. Maybe ma
├▒ana.

Last night as we were breaking up our writing group, Chef P
was worrying about finding a Wi Fi spot for her computer
when she travels to Georgia today. I suggested that she
"Google Wi Fi" for the directory. Will then said, "imagine
15 years ago someone saying 'google wi fi' ~ we'd think
they were coo coo." Here it is, Sarah, in case you are
missing us, feeling homesick and reading this.
WiFi Hotspot Directory, Wireless Internet Access Locations,
WiFi Security, Equipment and News

Thursday, May 11, 2006

this is it!

Commano's first birthday. It's hard to believe. Thank you
Mistress Jane for gently pushing us here. And a million
little thanks to the readers and the ones who comment
on and off the blog. Thanks to Michael who does blog
maintenance and to the Google folks for providing this
free blogspot. I still as am enthusiastic about the blog as
I was a year ago, maybe more so.

I have that free hit counter, but not enough time to go and
check it right now to see how many folks have clicked on
my blog. Maybe tomorrow.

With a few exceptions I have tried to write SOMETHING
every day. That was my goal a year ago. I have learned
so much and I always think that is one of the reasons I'm
here, don't you?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

mister talese on mister bonds

My coworkers try to notify me when an author comes in
to sign books. Gay Talese (looking dapper, of course)
arrived last Sunday to sign his new
A Writer's Life. Of
course he was pleased that we had the book on the first
floor in the memoir section. It was an honor to meet him.
Powell's Books - A Writer's Life by Gay Talese

In yesterday's Chronicle, Leah Garchik wrote:
As a former sportswriter and fan, Talese seems intensely
interested in Barry Bonds, whom he describes as having
been "singled out for crucifixion because he's a superstar
...It's savagery, him being dragged from town to town to
be pilloried. It's like the stations of the cross...I think
journalism should be respectful, not character assassination."

I agree.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

cutting, pasting, sharing

I've spent most of the day either in the garden or buying
plants. When I obsessively checked my email the first time
I found this lovely one from my friend Mary who works up
at General Hospital. It's not exactly a posh work environment
as you might know.


m.a. -
I have gotten on friendly speaking terms with the middle aged
black woman who does the early morning maintenance in our  
hall. We are always the first ones here.
When I give her my morning greetings.  "Good morning.
And how are you today?'
She always answers, "I'm blessed! I am truly blessed! 
And how about you?  You blessed, too?"
She says this while she is emptying trash baskets into a big
rolling garbage bin, and she means it.
I hope you get a chance to go out and enjoy this beautiful weather.
mary
  

Monday, May 08, 2006

his sister calls him "Thing"

I have a new novel here and enjoyed the first chapter
immensely. I never did get hooked on
Cloud Atlas, even
though it was supposed to be one of the best books of
2004 (or was that 2003?). Anyway, David Mitchell's
new book
Black Swan Green takes place in 1982 in a
small town in England. The narrator is a 13 year old boy
and we know they are ALL subhuman, but this kid is so
funny and confused and likable that I was right there
with him from the very first word. Read a few better
reviews here:
Powell's Books - Black Swan Green: A Novel by David Mitchell

Sunday, May 07, 2006

why didn't I think of that?

The Salon Mistress starts our first few days of Round Robin
writing with us sending/receiving everyone's daily work.
It's a bit different writing to 25 people, I filter my thoughts
and become (for me) a little more gentle and generic.

One of my invisible online class mates wrote something that
I'll think about for a long time. Now I'll paraphrase:
"If you are always drawn to damaged, tortured people,
you might want to stop telling yourself that you came from
a happy childhood. That nothing much happened, etc......."

By the way, it's great to be writing everyday again. I am
so grateful that I discovered
The Writing Salon :: Welcome

Saturday, May 06, 2006

a difficult choice

Yesterday's writing prompt was "a difficult choice". I found
it extremely interesting that four people wrote about
either putting their dog down, leaving him/her with an ex or
giving the little darling up for adoption. How those wiggly
creatures worm their way into our hearts. Or maybe it's
because they are so dependent on us for their very life
and death and their pursuit of the yellow tennis ball.

I still think and dream about our Irish Setter. Sidney was
a Jewish Irish Setter and went from a long puppyhood into
senility without any quiet middle years whatsoever. His
presence remains in our home and I can still hear the
thump-thump of his tail on the wooden landing between
the stairs as he welcomes us home and begs for an ear
scratch. Brave Husbando took him to the vet for his
final shot and I deeply regret that I didn't go and stay
with him for his final moments. This is how we learn...

Friday, May 05, 2006

why I carry my camera


green hornet
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Now you need to look closely at this. Those are itty bitty pieces of red glass (I think) and it certainly does sparkle on one of our rare sunny days. I walked by this car on Precita Avenue one time when I did not have the camera ~ so I learned my lesson. Ginger from Kansas was with me the second time, and it was she who came up with The Green Hornet name. At that time I told her that I would post this when I had absolutely nothing else in the world to say. So now you know....

Thursday, May 04, 2006

out of the blue

A couple of days ago Husbando remembered this that his
father used to say:
"The recollection of quality remains long after the price
  is forgotten."
I'd like to report that he follows these pretty words, but
actually he can remember what we paid for almost every
item we've purchased in the past 30 years or so. But
now I have a quaint little quote to use when he says,
"yikes, that's too expensive!"

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

is that you dan rydell?

Last night was one of the best ACT plays of this season.
Only one hour, only two actors ~ but boy did it pack a
wallop!
A Number was written by Caryl Churchill and if
you were a fan of the TV series
Sports Night, you will
know Josh Charles who played Dan Rydell, and if you
are a woman, you probably had a crush on him. (Some
men did too, of course.) Anyway, last night he played
3 different cloned sons of actor Bill Smitrovich. The play
not only addresses the whole concept of cloning, but also
the idea that parents sometimes want to create perfect
children in their own image ~ without their irksome flaws.
Lots to think about here, go see this play.
American Conservatory Theater - ACT San Francisco

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

did you say a rooftop?

I love small, crowded "real" bookstores where women have
long hair past their prime and wear Birkenstocks and smile
easily. And the men too, so alive, despite their grey pony tails
and maybe the same jeans they wore to the peace marches in
the 70's. We went to such a place last night:
Bird & Beckett Books & Records
Our Will from writing group read some of his perfect poems.
One (
Happiness, I think) for his wife and the joy he finds
in the everyday moments of their life together. The Great
Plotnik played the piano and multitalented Will was on his
harmonica. Husbando and I had been on different wave
lengths (see how gently I say that?) before the reading,
but we silently forgave each other as the poet's words
reached into our cold, cold hearts. Healing, soothing.
Read our Great Plotnik for Will's cheesy shirt poem...
The Great Plotnik

Another poet (Jane Radcliffe) lived in Lima, Peru at one
time. Poor people rented space on various rooftops and she
lived that way and wrote about it. She was a teacher,
then a dancer and always a poet. So I learned something
new and that's always worthwhile.

Monday, May 01, 2006

un dia sin inmigrantes

Today at noon I walked along Market Street to show my
support for the Immigration Rights march. There were
thousands upon thousands of people and I stopped along
the way to smile and applaud. Check out the Chronicle
for the story and photos:
Thousands march in Bay Area for immigration rights

It was weird and eerie walking home from BART along
24th Street. All the pastry stores, small shops and
restaurants were closed and the usually bustling street
was deserted. I missed the noise, laughter and music,
not to mention the luscious food smells. I'd say this
special May day was a huge success...