Thursday, August 30, 2007

Seattle or Bust!!

It's been over four years since I left my spiritual home, and now I'm going back--if only for the doughnuts.

Seriously, I'm flying out at (gasp!) 6 AM tomorrow and arriving at the heart-stopping hour of 8 AM. Normally, I'd be rolling out of bed at that time or washing the naughty bits during my regular morning ablutions. Instead, I'll be navigating my way through the lovely Sea-Tac airport and trying to find the car rental area. Then, and I'm not joking, it's straight to Top Pot. I'm having a Homer Simpson moment. Droooooool.

Anyway, Rand and I are going up to spend some time with my friend Shannon who still lives up there. I lured Shannon out to the Pacific Northwest years ago, only to abandon her in 2003. "¡Yo volveré!" I shouted. It's a belated return, I know. But, I've been a wanderer: SF to Hawai'i and back to SF. It's time I got back to the grey Seattle air.

Also, Bumbershoot is this weekend. Using my powerful publishing connections, I was able to score tickets. Yay! And the Shins are playing Saturday. I hope the VIP Passes I got will help me get in and see them. Fingers crossed.

After that, it's all orca riding, salmon shucking, totem climbing and Rainier gazing. Oh, and I want to see what has happened to all my favorite restaurants and gay hangouts. Manray used to serve the absolute best cosmo.

Wish me at least one clear day--or a few clear hours. I want Rand to see (and me too) the mountains. There's nothing like it.

Breaking News! Idaho's Presidential Primary Moved Up to Yesterday!

In a startlingly bold political move, state lawmakers in Idaho announced today that they will retroactively hold their state primaries as of yesterday. When asked why, party chairman, Len Woolsbury said, "We believe the people of the United States of America deserve to hear what the citizens of Boise think. We have mountains, we have lakes, we have cows, and by god, we have opinions!"

In other news, Wyoming officials announced that Yellowstone Park will no longer honor the 30 year agreement with Idaho that allows bartering for park entry. "We have enough bedazzled tobacco purses and hunting knife sheaths to last us until 2040. Thanks but no thanks."

Michigan moves up primary

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What Is Our Beauty Pageant Contestants Learning?

I feel a "little" sorry for Miss South Carolina. But just a little. I mean, don't they train for hours and hours for this stuff?

The Kama Sutra of Andy Warhol

This is genius. And probably not safe for work.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Grey vs. Gray

I know that the dictionary uses the spelling "gray" to describe the color and "grey" is generally a surname. But, I hate that. I hereby refuse. Non serviam!

Grey is classier. I like it better. Therefore, I will re-embrace creative spelling.

I am curious grey.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Haircut Jitters

Does anyone else have "Haircut anxiety"? I see people all the time with nice looking hair, and wonder, "Why can't my hair look like that?" I blame genetics. I blame the stylist. The humidity. The hair products. Damn you, American Crew!!!

But, let's be honest. Hair is pretty ridiculous. And I spend WAY too much time worrying about mine. And, as I wrote earlier, I've decided to let my hair go grey. The growing out process is not fun. So, I'm planning on telling Mr. Haircut Guy to cut it super-short tomorrow. I think it's time to be bold.

I've decided to be positive about it, though. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to end up looking like Anderson (minus the $500 haircut).

Wish me luck and send me a hat.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Finally! A good meal

I had a totally underwhelming dinner on Friday at the Mission Beach Cafe. Read the Yelp review. You'll understand. Here's an excerpt:

After about 30 minutes, we were seated. Having had plenty of time to look at the menus, we proceeded to look at them some more. We ordered the Flat Bread with prosciutto and goat cheese--the Flat Bread of the Day. When it arrived, I swear it had diced ham on it. Whatever it was, it was NOT prosciutto.

We also ordered our entrees: Rabbit Pot Pie with a side of potatoes for me, and the lamb burger for R with a side of the vegetable of the day.

First the burger: the waiter "warned" R that the burger would be full-flavored. Is this a good tactic? He ordered it medium-rare, and it came medium (which is what he wanted--thanks Yelpers for that tip!). And it was, indeed, full-flavored. R didn't love it; I thought it was okay, but would rather have a real burger. Lamb should come in chop form. His plate of asparagus looked appetizing enough, but I didn't try any for the following reason: TEMPERATURE

I don't know if they're trying to save energy or simply lack a thermometer, but all of my food was tepid--as were the vegetables. I'm a firm believer in hot food. And pot pies fall into that category. As do, I think, mashed potatoes. But these were far, oh so far, from hot.

I also believe that food sent back to the kitchen is tampered with, so I bit my tongue (at least IT was warm).


However, last night, R, Blake and I went to Zoya. It was my second time dining there, and once again it was delicious. Thank you, thank you, Zoya!

You've restored my faith in SF dining.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Review: Mission Beach Cafe

Ah, where to begin? I had walked by the Mission Beach Cafe several times, always thinking it looked nice with an interesting menu. And it's close to where I live. Why hadn't I eaten here yet?!

Cut to last night.

R and I made reservations at MBC through Open Table for 9:30pm. We arrived about 5 minutes early.

My first impression: wow, this place is busy. Several people at the "bar" and nearly all the tables full.

My second impression: where the hell do I check in for my reservation?

The layout is a bit odd with a counter for the selling of pies and other desserty items and a computer next to it where the waiters enter orders and/or arrange seating. Finally, we had to approach them, and found out that they were "a little backed up at the moment," but he would bring us a glass of wine.

Okay, fine. I personally understand the vagaries of seating people at a restaurant. It must be part art, part science, with a dollop of voodoo. The offer of a glass of wine seemed a reasonable panacea for my impatience.

Cut to 10 minutes later.

"Greeter"/Host happens by and asks if we would like to order a glass of wine while we wait. Um, didn't you offer us a glass for basically not honoring our reservation? Nevertheless, we ordered a couple glasses. I tried the Albarino (I can't type the N correctly with the little ~) and R ordered the RRR Pinot Noir. Wait, they might be out; he'll have to check. So, R said the other PN would be fine, too.

He brought us our wine. We still don't know which pinot R got. Both of our choices turned out to be pretty good, though.

After about 30 minutes, we were seated. Having had plenty of time to look at the menus, we proceeded to look at them some more. We ordered the Flat Bread with prosciutto and goat cheese--the Flat Bread of the Day. When it arrived, I swear it had diced ham on it. Whatever it was, it was NOT prosciutto.

We also ordered our entrees: Rabbit Pot Pie with a side of potatoes for me, and the lamb burger for R with a side of the vegetable of the day.

First the burger: the waiter "warned" R that the burger would be full-flavored. Is this a good tactic? He ordered it medium-rare, and it came medium (which is what he wanted--thanks Yelpers for that tip!). And it was, indeed, full-flavored. R didn't love it; I thought it was okay, but would rather have a real burger. Lamb should come in chop form. His plate of asparagus looked appetizing enough, but I didn't try any for the following reason: TEMPERATURE

I don't know if they're trying to save energy or simply lack a thermometer, but all of my food was tepid--as were the vegetables. I'm a firm believer in hot food. And pot pies fall into that category. As do, I think, mashed potatoes. But these were far, oh so far, from hot.

I also believe that food sent back to the kitchen is tampered with, so I bit my tongue (at least IT was warm).

It was a shame, too. The pot pie had a good taste. The rabbit was tender and the crust was good.

To top the meal off, we decided to try some pie. That seems to be their forte. We ordered the apple-cranberry--no ice cream because they were out, so we got whipped cream.

Would you believe the pie was lukewarm at best. So much for hot apple pie!

All in all, not a pleasant dining experience. I would neither recommend nor return, and I'm shocked by all the 4 and 5 star ratings.

[Edit]

Their side of the story:

"My name is Bill Clarke and I am the owner of Mission Beach along with my partner Alan Carter, the baker . I am sorry you had a disappointing experience at our restaurant. . . . In regard to the wait...we had four tables that had three hour dinners which threw off the whole evening. We would like to seat all reservations on time and would never purposely mislead a customer. After taking care of the customer I was working with I came over to you, told you about the wait and handed you a wine list so that you could order wine while you waited. I came back to take your order, checked wine storage to see if we were indeed out of the RRR pinot, poured your second choice(the Tolosa pinot), and was back with your wine within 5 - 10 minutes. I believe I seated you at 9:50. . . . .I wish you had sent back your lukewarm food to be reheated as well - it is such an easy correction. In regard to the ice cream..we ran out at 11:15 after a busier than usual "a la mode" evening which can happen at the end of busy nights. Also, we don't advertize "hot" apple pie. All our pies are served room temperature because heating further cooks the dough and fruit, but we are happy to serve it hot if a customer specifies. Again, I am sorry that your experience was less then enjoyable . I would like to offer you a 25% discount on dinner for two hoping that you will give us a chance to win back your patronage."

Thanks for the message, Bill. However, I just don't think I should have to send back food to the kitchen.

Friday, August 17, 2007

In his spare time. . .

Every so often, I find a video that's too cute not to share. This is one such video. And I love the fact that he made it all himself and did it without shame. It's fun, it's cute, it made me smile.

I give you Matthew and "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'":

As The World Turns: I'm so proud

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Message from Barbara Boxer

To my fellow Californians: I think this is very important. We simply cannot allow this administration's agenda to play out anymore. It's time to draw the line. --Todd

From Senator Barbara Boxer:

Just when you thought it was safe to start thinking about having a Democrat in the White House, along comes a cynical power grab by Republican operatives. And unfortunately, it's happening right here in my own state of California.

If you haven't heard already, Republican strategists recently announced plans to begin raising money for a dangerous initiative that would radically change the way California apportions our electoral votes in presidential elections. Rather than awarding all of California's electoral votes to the candidate that wins the popular vote -- the way it works in every single state except the small states of Maine and Nebraska -- their scheme would divvy up California's electoral votes based on the number of Congressional districts each candidate wins.

What does this mean? Well, if the last few elections are any guide, rather than the Democratic nominee winning all 55 of California's electoral votes in 2008, this new partisan scheme could hand 20 of California's electoral votes to the Republican candidate and only 35 to the Democrat.

Don't get me wrong: After the 2000 and 2004 election debacles, I'm a strong advocate for election reform. But it's absolutely wrong for California to go it alone. It's just patently unfair for a large "blue" state like California to change our system for awarding electoral votes while other large states which trend "red" like Texas and Florida don't change their system at the same time.

This isn't reform -- this is a partisan power grab by Republican operatives in the Karl Rove tradition.

The initiative's sponsors claim that their plan will make the presidential candidates spend more time campaigning in California. That's nonsense. Their scheme won't make candidates come to California during a general election any more than they do now -- which is rarely, and only to raise money.

Just look at the 2006 election. In 2006, only 2 of California's 53 Congressional districts were truly in play. In the remaining 51 districts, the margin of victory for the winning Republican or Democratic House candidate was always more than 6% -- and in most cases, the difference was 20 or 30 percentage points or more. The number of competitive districts in the 2008 election will not be much different than what we saw in 2006 -- so apportioning our electoral votes based on the winner of each Congressional district would clearly do nothing to bring the presidential candidates to California more often.

If America wants real election reform -- and I know I do -- we need to elect our President directly by the national popular vote, plain and simple. Then the candidate who receives the most votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia would be elected President. That's the fair thing to do.

If you're interested in joining the fight against this power grab by Republican operatives, I hope you'll check out www.FairElectionReform.com. You don't have to live in California to get involved, because by skewing the results of the 2008 presidential election, this initiative clearly will affect all Americans.

Please join me in fighting for real, fair election reform -- and rejecting this cynical partisan power grab.

Big Brother IS watching!

The Bush administration has approved a plan to expand domestic access to some of the most powerful tools of 21st-century spycraft, giving law enforcement officials and others the ability to view data obtained from satellite and aircraft sensors that can see through cloud cover and even penetrate buildings and underground bunkers.

A program approved by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security will allow broader domestic use of secret overhead imagery beginning as early as this fall, with the expectation that state and local law enforcement officials will eventually be able to tap into technology once largely restricted to foreign surveillance.

Administration officials say the program will give domestic security and emergency preparedness agencies new capabilities in dealing with a range of threats, from illegal immigration and terrorism to hurricanes and forest fires. But the program, described yesterday by the Wall Street Journal, quickly provoked opposition from civil liberties advocates, who said the government is crossing a well-established line against the use of military assets in domestic law enforcement.

The full story on the Washington Post:
Big Brother is Watching You

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Karl Rove is leaving the White House

Karl will be escorted ever so gently from the grounds of the White House by Sam and Frank.

It's been a wonderful 6 1/2 years, Karl. We'll miss you.

Loving, kissing. . .

XXX OOO

Monday, August 13, 2007

2 Nights and 2 Days in NYC

What happens when a west coast boy goes to the east coast? Well, when the trip is short, not a whole lot. When it's a business trip, even less. Ha ha.

Last Wednesday I flew out to New York with my friend and colleague Renee. We had some stuff to do at Spin magazine (since it's owned by the company we work for). Of course, the crappy thing about going there is that it takes all day to get there and all day to get back. And air travel is not what it was like back in the heyday of the Concord and cute stewardesses (yes, I said stewardess!).

We landed around 4:30pm or so (left SF at 8am). While waiting for a taxi, we ran into a colleague and shared a town car--it's a small world! We made it to our hotel in Murray Hill, checked in, and set out to relax. Actually, Renee went running on a treadmill, and I went out, got a Coke and a black & white cookie. It seemed fitting.

Later we went to dinner at a nearby Italian place. It was fine; nothing to write home about. The wine was nice, though. Then, in the interest of keeping the alcohol flowing, we asked our concierge about a place to have a drink outside. She recommended 230 5th Ave.

It was a nondescript building. We went inside and took the elevator to the top. After another flight of stairs, we found ourselves on the roof. It was a gorgeous night and the Empire State building and Chrysler building lit up the cityscape. Sure, the drinks were $13 each, but it was worth it.

Then, we met Tim. He's new to NY and originally from the Bay Area, so we bonded. We chatted, he told us he missed California, wasn't sure about I-Banking, and then offered us a bottle of Dom. Who says no to Dom?

Finally, we decided it was time to leave and got back to the hotel around 3am. Who are we? Rock stars?! Needless to say, we went into work a tad late. :)

The next two days were spent recovering and doing our jobs. Oh, and attending the Spin company picnic. Fun.

I only took a few pics. Enjoy!

Hotel view 3 Outside Spin's offices

In the hotel room
Just me in my hotel.

Self Pic with Threading
I'm melting in the rain. :(

Renee in the rain
Renee in NYC

Snacks?
SNACKS!!

Snack prices
PRICES!!??

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Going Gray


On my way to Beth's party
Originally uploaded by Todd X.
It's true. I've actually been going gray since my twenties, but I've been fighting it with the help of Dow Chemical Company.

Well, I'm going to see how far it's progressed. I'm letting it come out--for a while anyway. :)

In the meantime, I'll drink my pain away.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Saturday, August 4, 2007

3 Haiku à la Magnetic Poetry

I composed all these using Magnetic Poetry tiles. It's amazing what the limitations can produce.


My velvet flower
explored brilliant morning dreams:
the ghost of perfume.


Drinking in your brew,
organic and delicious:
this fresh juice is ripe.


Spread the moist cream thick--
essential sauce, melting, hot--
sweet liquid butter.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Aloha Fest in San Francisco this weekend!

You may not know this about me, but I used to live in Hawai'i. I lived in the tourist town (formerly sleepy fishing village) of Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawai'i--where King Kamehameha himself was born (that's why they call the whole state Hawai'i: it's named after the King's home island).

It may seem stupid to say, but Hawai'i is a paradise. I loved my time there. It was a little far away from everyone I knew, but that was good for a while. I worked in my bookstore, snorkeled, sat by the pool, watched the waves, saw dolphins and whales from my lana'i, visited the Place of Refuge, and paid homage to Pele on Kilauea. And, I got a great tan.

I also fell in love with the culture--the language and the music. And hula! I had no idea how beautiful it was. When I saw my first hula, I understood completely: it is the motion of the waves, the palms, the grasses.

This weekend in the Presidio, SF is hosting the Aloha Fest from 10-5pm Saturday and Sunday.

I encourage everyone to go, have some laulau, and hum along with the singers.

Aloha!

Oh, and could I hate Amber on Big Brother 8 any more?!

Yes. Yes I could.

Editorial Independence at WSJ: What? Me Worry?

BOSTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dow Jones & Co (DJ.N: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Thursday it did not know that one of the people named to protect its editorial independence after it becomes part of News Corp (NWSa.N: Quote, Profile, Research) runs a foundation that received a donation pledge of $2.5 million (1.2 million pounds) from News Corp.

Rupert Murdoch's global media conglomerate selected Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Nicholas Negroponte to be part of the five-member special committee that will oversee the editorial independence of Dow Jones's news operations including the Wall Street Journal.

Creation of the committee and agreement on who would be on it was part of News Corp's $5.6 billion deal to buy Dow Jones.

Asked if the donation compromised Negroponte's independence as a member of a group designed to safeguard Dow Jones' editorial integrity, Dow Jones spokeswoman Linda Dunbar said: "We are confident of the capability of the individuals to make independent decisions."

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Tea, Glorious Tea

I am, as you may have discerned, a fan of iced tea. This is also pretty evident at work. I used to get iced tea every morning for breakfast at Starbucks before going to work. Then, during the day, I would go to Peet's for more tea. It got noticed.

Now that we've moved our offices farther down into SOMA, there's nothing around. Starbucks is too far to be convenient. And no Peet's!!! People actually make Peet's runs now in their cars--those lucky few who have cars.

Well, I came to work a couple weeks ago to find the Bodum Iced Tea pitcher you see above. Dan, our Controller, bought it for me at Peet's (I had to figure this out; he didn't leave a note or anything.) Normally, Dan is crabby or tries to portray himself as such. But, now I know: he's a softy. And he understands the religion of Caffeine.

Praise be to Caffeine. Holy holy holy.

And, thanks, Dan. You're the best.

Rejected by Koh Samui & The Monkey



This is a tale of bad customer service.

I went to Koh Samui and the Monkey today, intending to get some Red Curry to go. The restaurant was about 1/2 full--it was about 2pm--and a few people were at the front desk. The first two women were placing what I took to be a large order for take-out, most likely for their office. The group of three women in front of me had reservations (for a 1/2 empty restaurant) and were seated.

I waited.

And waited.

No one approached me. No employee in the half-full (that's a more positive spin, right?) restaurant bothered to acknowledge me, try to seat me, or ask what the hell I was doing just standing there.

After five minutes, I left. This was my first visit to Koh Samui. I'm not sure I'll ever go back.