Thursday, September 30, 2004

The first debate between Bush and Kerry was tonight. It was better than I expected, Kerry presented himself well his answers where intelligent and Bush also presented his direction clearly. I believe the debates will help Kerry's campaign. But why did Kerry have to quote George Will??? He's constantly giving acknowledgement to the right it's just not necessary. Also his statement to "Hunt and Kill the Terrorist" I keep getting images of Abu Ghraib prison and lynch mobs killing anyone who isn't the right religion or color. I'm just uncomfortable with some of his rhetoric.

But right now I'm voting for him, action speaks louder than words and the actions of the Bush administration of attacking Iraq never seemed the logical choice when other options were available.


Sunday, September 26, 2004

Oh Boy,
I'm tired it's Sunday evening and I haven't been productive since dinner. Actually, working on the blog has been my most ambiguous endeavor. I spent the day at Coyote Point in San Mateo a bayside recreational area. Coyote Point contains a museum, marina, picnic area, and mini- beach we were at the beach enjoying Bay Area PaddleFest. The Paddle festival allowed want-a-be paddlers like me to try a variety of classes related to kayaking and even try out vendors' kayaks. I took four classes two got in me the water and two exhausted my shoulders practicing the correct paddle technique for Kayaking.

The Festival was my second introduction to kayaking; I find kayaks very elegant, they have a very natural feel something I've never experience in other boats. It's easy to imagine traveling in kayaks hundreds of years ago in the oceans in complete confidence. I was hooked after my first experience in Mendocino.

Afterward we were famish we headed to San Francisco and had early dinner at
Ton Kiang. It's a Dim Sum restaurant in the Richmond District it's a little pricey but the food is very good. There always a line Sunday morning but we were able to walk in and have a pleasant meal in the late afternoon.


Saturday, September 25, 2004

I'm one tired girlie girl, it's been a full day, started the morning bike riding in Berkeley at the Marina. Afterward, I ran to SBC Park to watch the San Francisco Giants versus the Los Angeles Dodgers. A good friend was able to get bleacher seats in left field, we were right behind Barry Bonds. The Bleachers are my favorite seats in the park. Folks as a general rule are more friendly and lively in the bleachers. I've noticed a little stuffy-ness in more expensive seats in the park. I doubt they're fans just status ticket owners. With rowdy Dodger fans and dancing Giant fans the bleachers are the happening spot.
Mr. Bonds in Left Field

They walked Barry 5 times during the game but the Giants won in the 8th inning with a grand slam. The homerun seemed to float by my eyes. It was a great game, hopefully the Giants will hang on and make the playoff this season.

SBC Stadium on a warm and beautiful day

After victory we walked over to the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero and grabbed some goodies, my favorite Porta Bella mushrooms. They have a farmer market, restaurants, and wine bar at the Ferry Building. I'm becoming a regular vistor of the farmer market at the Ferry Building. Finding fresh mushrooms can be challenging.

Visiting the city? walk the Embarcadero, it's flat, scenic with great views, public art, and attractions. It's one of my favorite strolls in the city, and is a wonderful starting point for visiting Downtown, North Beach Chinatown, Marina, and South of Market are all accessible on foot.

Enjoy folks


Monday, September 20, 2004

Monday, Monday.....today was a cool work day I hide, I worked, I produced.

Monday evening It was time for me to integrate an event, got to represent the Soul People so I headed to the Slavonic Cultural Center to see and especially hear the Boban Markovic Orkestar They are a Romani Brass band and these guys were cooking. Their music has so many influences Africa, Brazil, Arabic, Romani, Balkan where to start? I actually think they were playing a riff from Afrika Bambaataa Plant Rock. The Orkestar consisted of French Horns, Tuba, Trumpets, Base Drum, and Timbales. The percussions were absolutely incredible, they had just come from the Monterey Jazz Festival and I was lucky to see them.

I wasn't sure what to expect at the Slavonic Cultural Center, I was afraid that I would see a picture of my old boss who was financially well-off but not the kindest person on the block. To my relief I didn't see a statue honoring her or a mural proclaiming her generosity. What caused these neurotic thoughts, the pain of unjust persecution can run deep.

A course it was a lot of fun, program started with a marriage ceremony re-enactment, a lady spent the evening protecting the cake from all the dancing. It was a very very festive Monday night and without doubt the hippest place in SF.

What was also interesting about the evening was I representing but I wasn't integrating anything it was a mix of people. Romani, Slavic, Asian, Latins, punkers whoever having a great Monday night dancing to the music.

Now a course I'm interested in getting more exposure to Romani music and culture there always something new to learn.


Sunday, September 19, 2004

I peeked out the window this morning and it had obliviously rained last night the ground was still wet. But as I looked west toward Ocean Beach the clouds were breaking and I was betting on a cool but beautiful day. Sunday morning back on the bus to the Fringe, the Fringe Festival is at the Exit Theatre-plex in the Tenderloin. The Fringe festival is great, you have the opportunity to see a variety of artist for extremely reasonable prices, nothing over $8.00 dollars and all the money goes to the artists. This morning I saw Oui Be Negroes, an improvisation and sketch comedy troop. When I arrived at the Exit Theatre Champagne, orange juice, bagels and fruit were available for the audience pleasure. This a course put me in good mood. What really lifted by spirits was the program. I was cracking up, the show was really funny, I laughed and laughed. I didn't know how much of the show was improvisational
when I found out the majority I was really impressed with the art form.

The program was a lot of fun I bid bye to my theatre partners and headed over to the East Bay to bike ride in the Berkeley Marina. It was a pleasure ride and the company was pleasant.

I was a little tired after the ride but I took some time to photograph the Golden
Gate Bridge from my rooftop at twilight then used the watercolors filter on the photo.


Saturday, September 18, 2004

I'm enjoying this Saturday, the fog has lifted in the Richmond District, no drab weather obscuring the weekend vibe today. But while my emotions are high my body is feeling a little low. Friday after work I went to Rasselas in the Fillmore District with some friends, we listened to music, boozed and mined the happy hour food spread. The evening was fun but Saturday I woke up with a mild hangover. I'm a light drinker and even of couple of drinks can affect me.

I was able to get up, hop on my bike and make the matinee at the Balboa Theater, The Corporation and Control Room are showing. Both films are very good but I found Control Room documenting Al Jazeera, the Middle-Eastern satellite news network, during the American invasion of Iraq engaging.

It's easy to de-humanize people during these times of colonialism and war. The film gives a human face to the enigmatic organization of Al Jazeera. Control Room introduces us to these people and we get a sense of their perspectives and lives. The film shows Al Jazeera footage of the Iraqi invasion which isn't flattering to America's but these are images seen around the world whether America views them are not.

While watching the film, I couldn't help but think about what has happened in Iraq since major combat has supposely ended. To realize the analysis (or spin)of the America government was less accurate than the analysis of the Al Jazeera news staff is sad but not surprising.

The Iraqi government has banned Al Jazeera from reporting in the county, I would like to hear what Al Jazeera journalists think about the US occupation and the Iraqi transitional government.

The Corporation provides the history of corporations and the issues surrounding them. The film is well done but I am familiar with most of the issues presented in the film except how the 14 Amendment was used to give Corporation the status and protection of an individual. The Amendment purpose was to provide equal protection for black males but Corporations were the big winner.

Unfortunately, watching a double feature didn't cure my body feeling a little low. The Balboa refills for free your large popcorn bucket, after two big buckets of popcorn I wasn't feeling very good again. I needed a salad this time.

This evening I went to the Fringe Festival in San Francisco and saw Some Life performed and written by Mia Paschal. I don't know if the work is autobiographical her piece had a very personal feel, she is a gifted writer. Solo pieces are always such challenges I've always admired the actor who put themselves in this arena.


Friday, September 17, 2004

It's late Friday morning, should be in bed but I'm jamming to my new Donna Summer CD, The Journey The very Best of Donna Summer. I actually have some of her albums so I'm a fan from the Disco Days but I'm just starting to appreciate the strength and quality of her voice. She's has quite a range and power. Why it took so long for me to appreciate her voice? I can only guess, I was probably focusing on that disco beat, I am a beat freak.

Work was pleasant today, got a few IT things done and participated in the heart walk. A fund raiser for the American Heart Association we walked around Lake Merritt and we celebrated our endeavor with a lunch which included an unhealthy portion of junk food. What made the walk a real workout for me was I started following this older lady in her light blue sweat suit. Man she had a great pace, I had to focus to keep up with her. I was actually sweating after the walk nice workout.

After work I headed over to the Red Vic Movie House to see Godspell. I was humming "Day by Day" all day, I had to see the film. I really didn't remember the movie only the music. Godspell is really a film of its' time with it's hippie aesthetic which was very cool, at least my bias mind thought so. The print the red vic was showing was pretty funky. The film looked faded and scratchy, but the films' music, creativity and fun won out. This definitely isn't The Passion of the Christ.

They had this Christian rock band playing live sets between the showings at the theater. The band looked good and musicians sound pretty good but their song writing and lead singer were kind of weak. The first song they performed main refrain was "Happy Birds are Singing."

Oh well can't have everything all the time.


Saturday, September 11, 2004

September in Los Angeles, this month I always go to LA for my annual trek to Pomona for the Los Angeles County Fair. I flew in Thursday night, hoping to get my hair braided on Friday morning but no success. I'm sick of this perm, wish I could find a good beautician in the Bay Area but I'm looking in LA. I've been searching for 15 years. When I say good I mean someone who has pride of work and will make recommendations for my hair other than perm and cut off.

Anyway, I picked up my sister from work with my niece in tow and drove in LA traffic to the fair. We took a different route this year trying our best to avoid traffic and exit off Interstate 210 on Foothill Blvd. which is part of Historical Route 66. We missed our turn to the Fairplex and had a chance to explore parts of LA we've never seen before. Friday at the fair was opening day and dollar day it was crowded but bearable, the crowd was predominately Latino with a sprinkle of Soul folks and smaller sprinkles of everyone else. It was definitely a crowd of color.

My biggest disappointment was WAR's concert was sold out. The fair had changed their ticket policy for concerts. Previously the majority of seats were free and paid tickets where for VIP seating. Now the majority of tickets are sold with only a hand full of freebies. Another injustice against the frugals of the world.

The Midway at the LA County Fair

The LA Fair is really large and you can't hope to see the whole thing in one day. Friday we hung out on the Midway, my sister rode the roller coaster with my niece. She's three and rode the coaster like a pro. Afterward we went to the Garden exhibits, the outdoor portion the Enchanted Gardens was decorated with hanging lights and pinatas it was charming. Bands were everywhere my favorite was the Santana tribute Band Savor. We had a nice day/evening at the fair and since we barely made a dent in seeing the sites we planned to return on Saturday.


Wednesday, September 08, 2004

My current reading shows Ayn Rand "Atlas Shrugs" but what I've been reading Norman Kelley's

Head Negro In Charge Syndrome .

I happened upon this book at City Lights Bookstore in North Beach. It's one of the older bookstore in the City known for its' connection to the Beat Movement. I started reading Kelley's book and to my surprise and delight he was trashing everyone the Republicans, Democrats, the intelligentsia, who criticizes Bell Hooks, Cornell West and Skip Gates? His commentary is about the lack of effective policies, and ideas that affect poor/working class Blacks, from Black leadership since the Civil Rights movement. Black leaders have become an ineffective elite who participates primarily in symbolism. An example might be the fights over the removal of Confederate State Flags. While these flags should be removed, their removal doesn't economically affect African American lives or improve educational opportunities. These type of issues get a lot of press create much discussion but benefit Black America in a symbolic manner. Another issue emphasized in the book is the promotion of individuals like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton as pseudo leaders whom he describes as opportunistic individuals who are not accountable to the Black community. They aren't elected where is the mechanism for accountability?

When I saw Al Sharpton standing next to Kerry at the end Democratic Convention I had this strange feeling that this act was to please me. But I didn't vote for Sharpton or even know anyone who did. And except for his stands against New York Police violence I don't see him as a leader. Kelley states Sharpton role is to help bring Black votes the Democratic Party, a party that continually ignores African-American issues after the votes come in. The most disturbing part of his analysis is how these weaknesses have allowed the Right, intellectuals, Republicans politicians and political organizations to set the agenda for ideas and policies. I'm covering just a few issues in the book. Read Kelley's book and think about his points and recommendations, I wish there was more discussion about his book. Are black intellectuals only producing Afro-kitsch? Are Black political leaders out of touch with their constituency?
Is the left intellectually bankrupt? Is Ward Connelly more effective than Al Sharpton if so why??


Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Another hot one in San Francisco and I'm just loving it. I'm usually a jeans and tee-shirt girl but I'm wearing summer dresses, where're my hat I want to get Stepford down. Couldn't be a slacker the whole day, I have a Jazz History Class and our required reading is Blues People by Leroy Jones - Amira Baraka. I went to Green Apple Books being a supporter of Independent Books stores especially ones with a good used book selection. Green Apple does have a good selection and the music selection is located their annex. They had 4 copies of Blues People, good for me I bought the book and started to catch up with my assignment.

Afterward, hopped on the bus and headed down to the Ferry Building. One of the San Francisco's landmarks, the building has been revitalized with new yuppie gourmet shops and it's a bit trendy but I like it. I was looking for Fresh Porta Bella mushrooms and apparently others had taken the lead the mushroom guy was sold out. Well, why let a good view go to waste, I strolled the Embarcadero found a seat with a view of the Bay Bridge. I'm still amazed how much the Embarcadero has changed during my residency in San Francisco. It used to be such a dank place with the 480 Freeway blocking the Bay views. With the 1989 earthquake the freeway came down and now the area has SBC baseball park, luxury condos, shops, public art, and landscaping which let's you walk to the SBC Park, Pier 39 or Golden Gate Bridge with wonderful views of the Bay Bridge and the East Bay. Well I just chilled......reading, people watching and feeling the heat.

Some buddies called and they were on westside of the City at the Beach Chalet near Ocean Beach, and I was invited to meet them for drinks. Back on the bus I go and Ocean Beach here I come.

If you visit Ocean Beach on a normal day it's lightly occupied, cool and windy. Sunday was like Southern California the beach was jumping, people were starting bon fires; drummer were jamming it was a complete scene. I met my friends at the Beach Chalet it's a restaurant and brewery on the edge of Golden Gate Park near the beach with ocean views.

The Beach Chalet now have a back patio and that's where found my friends. The patio area accommodations are flexible there is formal dining, patio chairs and many people were sitting on blankets with children and pets in the grass. The at the Beach Chalet we slipped cool mojitos ate pizza and talked about music, politics and general madness.


Monday, September 06, 2004

San Francisco is gorgeous this weekend, we are having the best weather. NO fog in the Richmond District, I woke up looked out the window toward the Golden Gate Bridge and the scenery didn't show a hint of fog or haze. It was crisp, clear, and sunny. My girlfriend was coming down from Sacramento. When she arrived she came with her dog so I needed to find a location that is pooch friendly in the City. Crissy Field was a good choice since she hadn't seen the landscaping and changes since she relocated to Sacramento and dogs are allowed on leaches.

San Franciscans were taken advantages of the new beach front at Crissy Field - the beach was crowded with family and sunbathers. Dogs and children frolic in the water it was really quite and incredible site with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. A picture would be posted except a friend had my camera this weekend. Crissy Field is a great place to walk it's completely flat, children to seniors can enjoy the shoreline to the Golden Gate Bridge. My girlfriend's dog was a little hyper he wasn't used to the people or dogs and became over simulated. We gave him a good walk enjoyed the sunshine and beautiful views.

Afterward we went to the Richmond District and enjoyed dinner at Greco Romana. Greco Remana is a pleasant Greek and Italian neighborhood restaurant the menu is more Italian than Greek, we had pizza, salad and dolma for dinner. I tasted retsina for the first time, it's a Greek Wine with a woody favor, very interesting. An evening of good conversation, comfort food, warm weather and good friends I ain't complaining.


Sunday, September 05, 2004

Three day weekend, everyone seemed to have left work early except me. I was working in my cubicle stood up and the surrounding cubes were empty. Just me and my computers and I had another office I had to visit. It was 4:00 PM, I needed some gas in my motor.

I was planning to hangout after work at Fillmore Friday's, listen to music and nosh with friends. The Fillmore District was historically an African-American neighborhood during the 1940-1960, known for it's Jazz Clubs. The neighborhood had a negro removal program (Urban renewal) during the 1960's now it's gentrifying but still has some remnants of the old community. There is talk about creating a Jazz District in the Fillmore but at this point it's a long term redevelopment plan.

I meet my buddies, we socialized and listened to the music. The band and scene was pleasant, it wasn't very crowded but the event had a community vibe. What's nice about hanging out in Fillmore is the neighborhood draw soul folks from around the bay area. There's a good chance you'll see someone you know. After checking out the band we walked a few yards to Rasselas Jazz Club Rasselas is the best R & B dance club in San Francisco. The crowd is older, mixed but predominately African-American. Rasselas is an Ethiopian Restaurant and club so you can have dinner, happy hour on Friday includes free snacks and before the bands being you can enter without paying a cover.

Rasselas had two bands on Friday night both were good, they played a combination of blues, jazz and R&B Standards. Folks were friendly, the people were moving and groovin to the beat and generally having a good time.

Afterward we headed down Fillmore Street looking for another club, bar, or restaurant. Fillmore Street goes through transformations as you walk North through different San Francisco neighborhoods to the San Francisco Bay. It's a long walk and we didn't trek to the Marina District, so we ended up in an questionable Korean Bar in Japantown. The jukebox was good and they gave us plenty of peanuts to munch on. The drinks were sky high but we found a booth and talked the evening away.


Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Yawn is it Friday yet?


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