Thursday, June 29, 2006

thank you, al

Isn't it amazing that An Inconvenient Truth is doing so
well as both a movie and a book? Not exactly a John
Grisham blockbuster, is it? And suddenly Al Gore is a
true hero, I even saw one of those big stamps on a
sidewalk in the Mission: WE LOVE AL GORE. We watched
Al tonight on Jon Stewart's Daily Show and he reminded
us that he's been working on environmental issues now
for 30 years.  It's all very scary stuff, but the good
news is that there is hope ~ if we take this all seriously
and start making some big changes soon. (Alas, our
President is too busy to watch this movie.)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

it's all so fleeting

I had a lovely post here (well, at least it was written), but
then when I went to search for a link, the multicolored
spinning beach ball appeared and I had to use the amazing
force quit command to get out of that. Of course that
means I lost that which I had written and now I've lost
interest too. Currently I have that little "why so glum
chum?" mood because the perfect weekend is over and
I could really use another day or two to get some reading
and writing done. Plus we've only watched 3 of the

, Season Two episodes and I need more/more.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

jolly june, enchanted april

Today our "baseball group" met at The Creamery down
in Palo Alto in the mall. We had 4,556 calories each
and talked about bustiers, pink horses, the Giants pitchers,
Russ Ortiz and the San Jose Giants. All very genteel,
unlike our daily emails. I had a fabulous time!

I booked on Lufthansa for my trip to Florence, Italy
next April. That makes all the difference between a
dream and a real vacation, doesn't it? Leaving April 6
and returning April 21. Quite exciting.

Monday, June 26, 2006

the hook need not be fancy

Today the rep from Harper Collins gave a nice presentation
and we received advanced reader's copies of lots of books.
One great perk of my job. This is the opening graph of
a memoir by Daniel Mendelsohn. It will be out in September:

Some time ago, when I was six of seven or eight years old,
it would occasionally happen that I'd walk into a room and
certain people would begin to cry. The rooms in which this
happened were located, more often than not, in Miami
Beach, Florida, and the people on whom I had this strange
effect were, like nearly everyone in Miami Beach in the
mid-nineteen-sixties, old. Like everyone else in Miami
Beach at that time (or so it seemed to me then), these
old people were Jews ~ Jews of the sort who were likely
to lapse, when sharing prized bits of gossip or coming to
the long-delayed endings of stories or to the punch lines
of jokes, into Yiddish; which of course had the effect of
rendering the climaxes, the points, of these stories and
jokes incomprehensible to those of us who were young.

Note how we are with the writer and want to know more,
more, more. Mendelsohn goes on a search for six relatives
who disappeared during the Holocaust ~ he traveled to a
dozen countries on six continents. J.M. Coetzee calls
this "a stirring detective work".

Sunday, June 25, 2006

rachel makes us proud!

Our beautiful and talented Tiapos writing group member
Rachel Rodrigues wrote this children's book and it is
featured in the book section of today's Chronny.
Click Here: Check out "An artist's life is no easy path"
My bookstore Mecca is Powell's in Portland and when
we vaca there in a couple of weeks our hotel will be
right around the corner. I will go in and wander all
around and wonder why I don't read more and probably
straighten some books and fill some displays.
And I'll look for Rachel's stunning book and face it
out so no one will miss it.
Powell's Books - Through Georgia's Eyes by Rachel Rodriguez

Saturday, June 24, 2006

disturbing (understatement)

We just finished watching Syriana and I'd like to say that
I understood it 100%, but I can't. However, it's riveting
from the very first moment until the dramatic ending two
hours later.  This oil business is messy beyond belief,
but we already knew that.

Friday, June 23, 2006

two dirty days

...with admirable results. I like to see so many more people
taking BART and of course I appreciate not paying. Husbando
(and a few others) has always advocated free public trans-
portation and his reasoning is that since there is never a charge
for the vertical (except maybe at the Empire State Building),
so the same should hold true for the horizontal. So let's
have a few more Spare the Air Days and get people hooked
on our not-great-but-better-than-some transportation system.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

busy weekend ends

Last night was a very nice and very large gathering (14
people) at Jane's. Round Robin #9 is over and I don't have
to do any more daily 10 minute writes until mid-July.
Logically, one would think that I'd do more blogging and
essays and the like, but long ago we established that
writing is not a logical nor predictable science. Last
night was fun, hearing people read their pieces and
putting names to faces.

Tonight we will have a small writing group, back at
Jane's. I hope she still has some food left over from
last night. Eric will be there, oh happy day! But Sarah,
Karen and Will are out of town.

The warm and clear and unbelievably beautiful
weather continues. Not our typical June...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

hot weather special!

Bossman sent me this one. I like having my commano blog so I
can let everyone play..
Click Here: Check out ""

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

all this for $6.09

lunch spot
Originally uploaded by the omster.
We went to Togo's for a large sandwich, packed our Cokes® and Trader Joe's potato chips and drove over to Mariposa Street for a picnic. Some day this will all be built up with condos and chi chi restaurants, but for now it's peaceful and a little raw. One of our favorite summer lunch places.

Monday, June 19, 2006

pre-theatre drama

Great consternation last night as I drove into Fort Mason to
park for the Magic Theatre. Now it is
paid parking ~ and like
all SF parking, NOT CHEAP. Friends, readers and enemies all
know that Husbando refuses to pay for parking and we have
many stories of me walking in very high heels from Union
Square to (say) North Beach with HIM saying, "it's not the
money, it's the principle" and me not speaking for the rest
of the ruined evening while I soak my feet and worry about
the walk back to the car. The other thing he says during the
long walk is, "It's not much further, another block or so".
Not true, never true.

So I backed up and out of the paid parking area in a most
clumsy fashion and thank goodness there were lots of spaces
outside and he treated me to a coffee and sugar cookie ($4)
to prove that it's not the money.

The play was fabulous. The Great Plotnik reviewed it far better
than I can because he is a professional and I am but a semipro.
It all takes place inside a ratty trailer and there are 5 great
actors and one constant TV. Funny stuff. I did laugh our loud
in several places, especially during the KFC drumstick scene.
Yes, I recommend this play ~ just don't pay for the outrageous
parking. It's the principle of the thing.
Click Here: Check out "KILLER JOE SF"

Click Here: Check out "KILLER JOE SF"

Sunday, June 18, 2006

it could have been an agonizing day

...but right before I left work Mr. Gardner came in to sign his
books. We had sold out and I had just put about 40 of them
on the floor yesterday and fleetingly wondered if he'd pop in
while he was in town. As you all know, this is about the best
part of my job ~ that and laughing with my coworkers.

Chris Gardner is everything you'd expect and great looking,
too. Very positive and upbeat and easy to talk to. I gave
him my card and invited him to do a book signing with us.
It's weird because I am ultra shy around celebrities (even
baseball players), but always comfortable with authors.
It must be the words, no?
Click Here: Check out "Powell's Books - The Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner"

Saturday, June 17, 2006

hidden talent emerges

Thanks to the Cupcake Sylvia for this astonishing web site.
Just click the mouse to start and to change color.
And here I didn't think I was artistic!
Click Here: Check out "Jackson Pollock by Miltos Manetas"

missing aimee

Sunday is usually my favorite day to work because the customers seem calmer and less demanding. Also I get to drive and park free on the street. But I see that Aimee Mann is going to open the Stern Grove Festival season tomorrow. "Magnolia" was/is so haunting ~ the movie and the music. I would LOVE to see her, sit in the sun and wave the pink section of the Chronicle. We spent many golden Sundays at Stern Grove, back before retail became my way of life. Her concert starts at 2pm, but go early, you lucky people, and enjoy the whole delightful experience. And, it's free.

Friday, June 16, 2006

highly technical information

The much heralded email feature of this blog isn't working and IT'S NOT ME. I checked in the help section and others were complaining. All I said last night (emailed twice) was that we now have Deadwood, Season Two and I'm going to be a person of few words for the next couple of days while I return to the hills of South Dakota. I loved watching the stage coach full of whores come down the road into town. New characters mean colorful new plots and intrigue...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

surabaya johnny

I usually get a mild goose bump or two when I hear the above
song written by Bertolt Brecht, music by Kurt Weill. I didn't
last night at ACT, but
Happy End is certainly well worth seeing,
with delightful costumes and a clever stage set. The problem
was, I just didn't get involved ~ no laughing out loud nor the
need to scramble for a Kleenex®. Let's say I couldn't relate
to the characters, but I did stay wide awake for the three (!)
acts and it did have a rip roaring happy ending, so I don't
want to be a harsh critic here. Charlotte Cohn (Hallelujah Lil)
has an outstanding voice. Perhaps the problem last night was
that Kurt Weill music (for me) belongs in a dark, smoky,
almost-dirty bar ~ not in a big theater.
Click Here: Check out "American Conservatory Theater - ACT San Francisco"

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

but where's the meaning?

The best radio is sometimes little stuff that I catch on my
drive to downtown for my 6am Saturday shift. Last week
someone was discussing work and how it is a relatively
new concept that one's job should be meaningful. I'm going
to include this in my Big Essay that I haven't been working
on, entitled "Welcome to Grown-up Land".

Anyway, the pundit reminded me that during the Great
Depression, anyone who had any job was grateful. Think of
the thousands who risk life and limb to cross our borders
to clean toilets here in America.

Compare them to the 19 year old a friend of mine hired to
climb the corporate ladder in her advertising department.
"I can't do paperwork and details", he whined after a week.
"I'm an artist". And he quit that job which had a fantastic future.

OK, I've been miserable in jobs, and I've quit. But these are
rough times and I can see us heading quickly into another
difficult era where corporate greed will rule. I'm glad to see
that the unions are starting to rethink their strategy, but in
the is hard. Nasty. Shitty, even. But it
pays the mortgage and, if you're lucky, provides less than
perfect health insurance.

Also, after owning our business, I changed. I see things
differently. I bitch and complain, but I work and try to
remember when we had to meet payroll, buy supplies, pay
the rent and taxes and still be "nice" to our employees.
Man, those were really rough times.

With age comes wisdom, or at least a different perspective.
(it's times like these when Husbando calls me the Andy
Rooney of Bernal Heights)

Monday, June 12, 2006

welcome back, garrison

Garrison Keillor rushed to defend Rep. Nancy Pelosi from attacks by gay-bashing Republicans last week, defending San Francisco, too. "The Bay Area is the cradle of the computer and software industry,'' he wrote in a essay, "which continues to create jobs for our children. The iPod was not developed by Baptists in Waco, Texas. There may be a reason for this. Creative people thrive in a climate of openness and tolerance. Authoritarianism is stifling. ... Creativity is a key to economic progress.''
(from today's column by Leah Garchik in the Chronny)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

a lavish lunch at Quiznos®

On Sundays the Doctor and I scramble for the one good
table and have the exact same sandwiches & chips every
single week: meat balls for him, turkey for me. I'm glad
he's switched to the sour cream potato chips.

Today we discussed our blogs and I told him (again) that
I like to email my post in because to me it feels like I'm
writing a friend. I don't do rewrites or fuss around with
the grammar too much. It's also easier when I'm traveling.
So here, dear Doctor, are the instructions. I copied and
pasted them from the Blogger Dashboard.

In exchange, I will accept Season Two of Deadwood with
sincere thanks.

How do I post via email?

The Mail-to-Blogger feature turns any email account into a blog-posting application. In
Settings | Email you can create a Mail-to-Blogger address which you will use to send posts via email to your blog:
To post to your blog via email, you need to configure your Mail-to-Blogger email address in Settings | Email:
The format of the email address is Note that this email address must be kept secret. Otherwise, anyone who gets it will be able to post as you.
Also be sure to specify whether or not you prefer your email posts to publish automatically. If this option is not checked, then your posts will be saved on your account but will not appear on your blog until you log in to and publish them yourself.
Once you have saved your Settings, you can send email to your blog. The subjects of your email letters will be the titles of your posts, and the body of the emails will be the posts themselves.
     •     Sometimes email programs append text to the bottom of each sent message; to make sure this cruft doesn't get posted to your blog, put

Saturday, June 10, 2006

reserving italy 2007

My tour guide Ginger (Santa Barbara) wrote me with the
dates for our 8 women trip next year. I'll be leaving on
April 6 and returning on the 21st. United and Lufthansa
both fly from SFO to FLR with some stops between here
and there. The price is about the same, so I'll ask a few
people for their opinions before I book. And good
news, Ginger might go to Pompeii with me ~ if not, I
don't mind going alone because I'll have mastered all
the nuances of the Italian language by then.

Friday, June 09, 2006

how low can they go?

There is an article in today's Chronny about the Bank of
India, oooops, I meant America. Of course they are out-
sourcing work to India, but what got my blood boiling is
the unbelievable policy that the poor employees who are
getting raped can't collect their severance packages until
they train their replacements. I mean how humiliating
and rotten can these bankers be? I betcha Mr. Gianinni
is spinning and cursing in his grave as I type. Sheeeeeesh.

the portabella report

I might have to host a Cupcake swim party and BBQ here
because those big door mushers couldn't hold a candle
to Sally's. But they weren't squishy, at least. It was a
quiet dinner, if you get my drift...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

it's all sally's fault

The best BBQ'd mushrooms (Portabella ~ meaning big door,
I believe) that I ever tasted were at the Cupcake swim party
in Pathetica (Pacifica) about 5 years ago. It was a woman
only event and Husbando made macaroni and cheese for me
to bring ~ but I gave him credit. We had lots of great food
and that's when I tasted Sally's portabellas. Tonight I
suggested that Husbando might want to marinade the big
guys for a little while before he cooks them, but he was
afraid they'd get squishy. So I told him that Sally drove her
mushers all the way from Santa Cruz in marinade and they
were fabulous. He got all huffy about Sally being such an
expert, but they are in their sauce as I type. We lead a
very exciting life and discuss only important things here.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

dinner with friends

Tonight we are going over to Twin Peaks for dinner with
N and F. We have been friends for more than 30 years.
We used to have elaborate dinner parties with exotic
dishes that took us hours to prepare. We would mix and
match wines with every course, get into screaming
arguments about politics and stay at the table until
sometimes 2 or 3 in the morning. Coffee and brandy
would leave us too exhausted to sleep and everything was
exciting and intense back then. The next morning one of
the women would call and we would relive the night
before. Those were the days, my friend...

Tonight N is bringing home a pizza from Costco and we
are taking a carton of coconut ice cream from Mitchell's.
No wine, no brandy and we'll be home by 8:30pm. Very
different, but I know there will be some hearty laughter
and that special feeling of being with long time friends
who have been with us through the good, the bad and
the in-between.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

tuesday morning ritual

Several years ago The Fly Lady came to sell her books
and my coworker Mr. Black filled me on this woman who
promotes ostrich (not oyster, as I once called them)
feather dusters and organized housekeeping. I made the
mistake of wearing purple that day ~ I deduced was the
color favored by the Fly Lady and her many fans who
arrived from the burbs around San Francisco.  These
"gals" were not our typical customers. It was a hugely
successful event, despite the fact that I didn't have a
clue about this housewifely person.

While we were setting up her books, the delightful Robb
asked me what was going on. "Well, they call her The
Fly Lady and that's about all I know", I responded.
"Does that mean she eats her own vomit?" Robb asked.
That reduced us to that kind of soul-cleansing totally
uncontrollable laughter that lasted the entire day.

But back to the title of this post. Now, thanks to Mr. Black
and The Fly Lady, I start every first morning of my weekend
off by scrubbing the kitchen sink. How stupid, but somehow,
how fulfilling. And I always think of that v. funny Sunday
and I smile.

Monday, June 05, 2006

congratulations to Loren!

...check out the thermometer here! Good job.
Now all you have to do is walk for a couple of days.
I can hardly wait to read all about that.
Avon Walk for Breast Cancer:

Sunday, June 04, 2006


The Great Plotnik points out that I neglected to name Pasta
Pomodoro as the restaurant for the
best French toast in
all of America. Strange, but true...

the saturday of my dreams

saturday brunch
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Of course I usually work on Saturday and it is pretty difficult because it is busy and stressful. So not only was yesterday relaxing, the weather could not have been better. This, then, is our reward for the 6 weeks of rain last April and May. We went to the Farmer's Market first to buy some over priced fruit and then just sat on a bench to watch the people and dogs. Also we had put lots of money in the meter and had to use that up. Then to 24th Street for the best French toast in America. Topped with mascapone (Italian spelling) and sliced bananas. Then home to read on the deck and watch some baseball. We finished #11 of the Deadwoods. Yes, Mr. Black, I so agree with your comments on the Shakespeare angle! Now, to get ready for WORK.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

magnificent san francisco

from treasure island
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Last night after too much fabulous food at Pazzia (337 Third Street at Folsom), The Great Plotnik and his Duck(nik) drove us over to Treasure Island. At first we thought that there was some craziness emerging, but instead, we found this and more. It was one of those clear-as-a-bell sunsets and the fog floated down over the East Bay Hills and in through and over the Golden Gate Bridge. There was a big group of little boy scouts in tiny round tents and I hope TGP posts his photo of them on his blog today. It was such a perfect dinner and drive, we are indeed thankful for such special friends. Husbando and I will treasure (get it?) this memory....

Friday, June 02, 2006

we love all bookstores

west portal books
Originally uploaded by the omster.
Especially a new one managed by our friend Jen. Be sure to drop by this delightful store across the theater on West Portal. Jen has done a fabulous job of selecting and displaying books ~ this photo is of the children's section and there's a soft bench and carpet for the little readers. I so enjoyed my visit to Books on West Portal today!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I need to get back to South Dakota

At the risk of sounding like RR (age 2.6), I fell in love with
Deadwood before the first episode when I locked eyes with
the big brown horse. He galloped back to camp where his big
front hooves stood in the mud, then he was reflected upside
down in the puddle in front of the Gem Saloon. Oh, such
photography ~ starkly beautiful.

So, yes Doctor J, I love the program. I'm completely hooked
after 4 episodes. It's everything you said it was and more.
Who would have guessed that those two women (Jane and
Mrs. New York) would become friends? That Al has a tender
side? That Wild Bill had a gambling problem? I'm watching the
hardware store being built and checking out the
web site where I see that Montana's wife and child will be
with us soon. I am immersed, irritable today that I didn't have
a chance to get my two per day episode fix. Maybe tonight.

Oh, and the little girl. Sweet but not too cutsie. Also the
good doctor, Sol the solo Jew (John Hawkes! Star of
Me and
You and Everyone We Knew
) and Trixie the hooker. It's
always about the people isn't it?

And I love that it's gritty and dirty and again you were right
when you said I'd get used to the swearing. Now I really
understand why you went to SD last summer vacation.
Thanks so much for the DVD loan and for pushing me to
watch it. We'll talk more on Sunday ~ my turn to buy lunch.