Saturday, June 30, 2007

True Colors Tour

Come to me, cover me, hold me
Together we'll break these chains of love

Last night, I went to the Greek Theater with my sister, her friend Jason, and Christopher to see the True Colors Tour to support the Human Rights Campaign.

Oh, what a night! What a great concert. What a fantastic venue to see a concert! I know I said that I enjoyed The Police concert a couple of weeks back, but frankly, this concert experience blew that one out of the water.

This concert was alive and full of heart. The performers that we saw were all amazing. The show started at 7:00, but we didn't get there until 8:30 - just in time to see Debbie Harry wrap up her last song. Luckily, we were in time to see Rosie O'Donnell take the stage. I admit it, I'm a huge Rosie fan. Have been for a long time. It was pretty cool to see her performing stand-up.

Next up was Erasure!! Oh, I love Erasure. I've been listening to them since the late 80s, and haven't stopped. The Innocents is still one of my top 10 favorite albums. I've always wanted to see them live in concert. They were fantastic. They sounded great (how can their lead singer still sound that good after all these years?), and they are such great performers. Brought back many a memory from my old gay-bar days in Ohio.

Margaret Cho was the host for the evening, and I know that we had missed one of her earlier sets, which is really too bad. We did see her do a skit though, and she was hysterical! Love her.

Last up was the woman who put this whole show together - Cyndi Lauper. Again, I've always enjoyed her, and appreciated her immense talent. But let me tell you, seeing her live is unbelievable. Girl can sing! She's got the chops. What a voice. And talk about heart. (and, she's hysterically funny.) Her love for what she was doing and for the community was just enormous. What an incredible performance.

I left the evening feeling "even more gay" - a sentiment that I heard several times from many people. Seriously, there's nothing like seeing a concert with Cyndi Lauper, Erasure, Margaret Cho and Rosie O'Donnell with a bunch of gays. I felt so very much in my element. Actually, between seeing this concert, and re-reading the last few books of the Tales of the City series, I kind of feel like a gay man trapped in the 80s. (But, what a fun place to be!)

Here's a review (and photos!) of the concert from sfgate.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tonight's Dinner: Brought to you by The Slanted Door

I had lunch today with Philip. We met up one of our usual places in Ferry Building: Out the Door - the take-out counter adjacent to The Slanted Door.

I love this place. It's delish. I'm a big fan of their spring rolls in peanut sauce. It makes for one heck of a tasty lunch treat.

A couple of weeks back, I thought I'd try something new for dinner. I noticed that Out the Door sold these cool little cooking kits - some of their most popular dishes available for you to cook at home. They measure out all the ingredients, and include step-by-step directions on how to cook.

One of our favorite dishes at The Slanted Door is their Shaking Beef. They sell for cooking kit for two for $19.50. Not exactly cheap, I know, but also not bad considering it's a meal for two. We pay more for delivery pizza (and when I say "pizza", what I really mean is "salad").

When I say that this kit contains all ingredients needed, I'm not kidding.

Here are the kit contents:

1. filet Mignon
2. oil
3. garlic
4. red and green onions
5. sauce
6. butter (one pad)
7. watercress
8. lime (whole)
9. salt and pepper

This meal is a real treat. I really love how easy it is to make, there are no preservatives, and I enjoy cooking it! Fast and easy!

I just found this recipe online. It claims to be by the chef-owner of The Slanted Door, Charles Phan.
I'll have to give this a try next time!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Happy Messenger

Ah. sometimes the world works in such nice ways...

I just got a call and email from Philip, my dear friend, fellow color guard geek, and Armistead Maupin admirer. Philip has a new semi-regular arts/culture writing gig with KQED Interactive. His next assignment is to write his review on Armistead Maupin's newest book, Michael Tolliver Lives. You may recall that Philip and I attended the book signing together two weeks ago.

Anyhow, Philip is busy doing research for his book review, and he found Armistead Maupin's blog. The fact that he's writing a blog is exciting enough news to both of us.

But, wait... there's' more!

As Philip was reading through the blog posts, he claims his jaw dropped when he read the following paragraph from this post:

Book tour has been offering shouts from the past. In SF I received a note (passed via his lovely daughter-in-law) from my junior high English/social studies teacher, Richard Craddock. Sent pics of himself, then and now. “Mr. Craddock” was a baby back then, but seemed like such an adult. Called me his claim to fame, the sweet man.

After Philip pulled his jaw up from off the floor, he managed to call me and send me an email with the link.

I can't tell you how happy this makes me. I was afraid that the letter might have been put off to the side, and forgotten amongst all the many book signings that Mr. Maupin had lined up for that day. I'm thrilled to know that he really did have a chance to read it, remembered his old teacher, and that he thought to mention it on his blog.

I'll be sure to pass this along to Dick's father - Richard Craddock, Sr.
Reading this will surely make him very happy.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Let's try this again...

I actually drove past the billboard just this afternoon! I got all excited with anticipation as I saw it in the distance, and started to approach it...

...then I remembered that I was driving Dick's car today.


I plan to drive back down to the South Bay this weekend to celebrate my Mom's birthday. I'll be sure to drive my MINI this time, and I'll have my key fob and camera ready!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Some old school Color Guard

I just rented and watched "Dreamgirls" last weekend. I actually really enjoyed it.

I never saw it live on stage, and I never even listened to the full soundtrack. But, I did know quite a lot of the songs. "How?" you ask?

Why, through my old days in color guard, of course!
(no surprise there)

The reason why I'm most familiar with the songs was by one color guard show way back in 1983. That's right: 1983 - 24 years ago. I was watching it, even then! Back then (from 1983-1985) WGI was broadcast on PBS stations. They had these horrible TV commentators. We taped them on VHS, and I watched those shows over, and over, and over again. I went to my first WGI in 1986 - it was the first time in 3 years that they didn't air it on PBS.

Bug, I digress....

In 1983, The State Street Review from Madison, WI did a show to parts of the soundtrack of Dreamgirls. I didn't know anything about the broadway show at the time. But, oh, did I love this color guard show! It's still one of my "old school" favorites.

State Street Review, 1983: Dreamgirls

In my mind, this show still holds up. Check out the rifle line. This was back when equipment work and precision went hand-and-hand. I secretly wanted to be in the short flag line - look how cute their uniforms were!

The State Street Review went on to win WGI for 5 consecutive years, from 1985-1989. They decided to "fold" (not have a guard) after that season.

That could be the end of my story, but lucky for me, it's not. In 1990, I moved to Dayton, OH to join another color guard, called the Miller's Blackhawks. The Blackhawks had always been a WGI favorite - usually ranking between 2nd and 5th or so, but never capturing the gold. 1990 was supposed to be that year. The staff hired on Sal Salas, who, with his wife LuAnn, was the director of State Street Review. Sal had quite the reputation, of course.

Lucky for us, Sal took an immediate liking to both me and my sister. It could have had something to do with the fact that we were both born in the city where he grew up: Stockton, CA. The 1990 season didn't end terribly successfully for the Blackhawks (a surprise 4th place at WGI) but on a personal level, I learned a great deal in life lessons, and life-time friendships.

Sal would become a mentor, and one of my closest friends - His Soul Sister that's what he calls me.

Sal talked me into moving down to Southern California to join another guard that he was designing for: The Anaheim Kingsmen. This was the year that Mykail and I first marched together (we had become friends, and competed against each other in Ohio in 1990.) We had a great season. It's too bad there aren't any videos on youtube from that show.

Trina & Mykail: Kingsmen, 1991
check out that BIG hair!

After we finished that season with The Kingsmen, Sal and LuAnn decided to bring back State Street Review. After a brief, and misguided stop in Boston, Mykail and I moved ourselves to Madison - for the first of our two years as members of The State Street Review. We were such enormous guard geeks back then, that this all seemed like a surreal dream!

Trina in the State Street Review, WGI 1993

Thank you for all of the memories, Sal & LuAnn. You changed my life, and helped make this guard geek's dreams come true.

Sal and Trina - at my wedding, 2005

Here's another one of my favorite vintage State Street Review shows. It's called The Four Seasons. When I watched this show, I dreamt of being in the sabre line in State Street (again with the cute uniforms!) - a goal I managed to achieve in 1992 (what?! no cute costumes for the sabre line?) Enjoy!

State Street Review, 1986 - The Seasons

Saturday, June 23, 2007

New art acquisition

I wish I could claim credit to this painting, but I can not.

As you may know, I often take a daily walk which always includes walking the parameter of Dolores Park. One of my favorite views of the city is from the top corner: it overlooks the entire park, Dolores Street (with its many palm trees), Mission Dolores, and (best of all) the entire Downtown San Francisco Skyline.

I've always wanted to paint a scene from that view of the park, but frankly, the thought of it always intimidated me.

Yesterday, as I was taking my walk along the park, I noticed a man painting in his van, parked on 20th Street. He had a few of his paintings leaning on the outside of the van. His paintings struck me in a way that few paintings do. He was painting with oil paints on the reverse side of an old window pane - something that I've always been meaning to try. In fact, I have a few great old windows in my basement, just waiting for me to be inspired with an idea. Anyhow, not only did I admire his technique and style, but I was also struck by his composition, use of color and, of course, the subject matter.

He was painting scenes from Dolores Park. I talked with him at length, and learned that he's originally from Kentucky, and drives around to different cities, painting landscapes of them. He came to Dolores Park about a week ago, and just fell in love with it. From what I could tell, he probably had a dozen or more paintings that he was in the process of working on while I was there. He said he's had great success in selling them everyday.

I told him that we San Franciscans are proud of our City, and its views, and that he picked the perfect location to paint from, of, and to sell from. He only had about 4 pieces finished and available for sale yesterday afternoon. I asked if he had any paintings depicting the view from the top corner, and he said he'd been working on some sketches, and would be painting them the next day. He invited me to come back tomorrow (which is now today) to see them.

I was so inspired and excited by his work. I came home with my head full of ideas of new techniques to try. This kind of inspiration doesn't happen to me often, so when it does, it's quite exciting!

I had dinner with my parents and my sister last night, and told them all about the gorgeous paintings I had just seen in the afternoon, and about my excitement of possibly buying one. Dick had been away on business for a few days, and returned home last night. I wanted to bring him to the park to show him the paintings before making that decision on my own.

After a series of crazy events this afternoon (which included driving through the Castro on Pride weekend), we made it over to the park. Duke (the name of the artist) was working on a medium-sized window (30" x 40"), which he showed me. It was exactly what I was looking for: it's a scene from the top corner, showing the park, the palm trees, and the distinct San Francisco Skyline in the back. Dick saw it, and liked it as well, so we put a deposit down, and told him we'd come back later in the day once he was finished painting it.

This painting makes me happy in so many ways. I love its composition, and its vibrant colors. I love that it's a cityscape, but slightly abstracted. I love that it's a view from one of my favorite places in the City. I love that it's painting on an old window frame. And I especially love that we were able to support a local and very talented artist.

I've never bought an original painting from another artist before. Obviously, I love a lot of art, but there are so few pieces that I've seen that I'd actually want to pay money for, and hang in my home. This may sound a bit absurd, considering that I've worked for many years at an art gallery. I think that may be part of it. Through the gallery, and through art school, I've been (happily) exposed to so many wonderful pieces of art. I think this has taught me to learn the distinction between art I like, art I'd like to own, art that personally inspires me, art I'd like to look at every day, and afford ability. (the last one is the one that usually stops me!)

Anyhow, Dick and I just took a jaunt back to the park to pick up our new painting. When I arrived, Duke was back in his van working on his newest piece. He said that the painting that I had put a deposit down on had already attracted a lot of attention. I'm so pleased with the final product, and am happy that I was able to watch him as he was painting it earlier in the day.

I'm really looking forward finding the right spot to hang our new piece of art.

Happy Pride!

It's no wonder why I love to read Tales of the City, I'm living in my very own version!

Happy Pride Weekend.
(a.k.a. one of 3 weekends when we don't move our cars)

I took a quick walk around the neighborhood this morning. I had to go to the bank, drop off a prescription, etc.,

This is Pride weekend, so Castro Street is pretty packed. I thought I'd extend my walk to see what's going on in the neighborhood. There's a lot of people, a lot of balloons, lots of music, et.,

But, here's the topper:

As I walked past our local pet store, I noticed something new. All week, they had a window display of little plush dogs wearing rainbow-colored angel wings. Today, there was disco music blaring out of the store, and the little dogs were replaced...wait for it...with topless men, in go-go shorts, wearing the same rainbow wings. Now, I wouldn't have thought anything of this if it were almost any other store, but, um..... It's the pet store!

I couldn't help myself. I had to take a picture :)

Only in San Francisco, and only in The Castro...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Geek Humor

Reeves just sent me a link to this site.

If you know HTML at all, you'll understand why it's so funny!

Apparently, a lot of people thought they were funny, too. They're sold out!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Oh, the irony

While my Mom and I were at a Bed Bath & Beyond yesterday, I showed her the Dyson and the Roomba. We noticed that the Roomba had a mail-in rebate form that would get you a free iRobot Dirt Dog Floor Sweeping Robot. The coupon in the store was only good if you bought the Roomba at BB&B.

Apparently, it got my mom thinking, and today she searched the web and found 2 rebates - one for the free Dirt Dog, and the other for a free replenishment kit. (Filter, brushes, etc.,)

They were both really great rebates, and I totally qualified!

I read each one to see what I needed to do:
-fill out the form
-send a copy of the dated receipt
-send the original proof of purchase/UPC number from the bottom of the box
-send this all within 30 days of purchase

Like I said, I totally qualify, but here's the kicker:

In an effort to streamline the organization/cleanliness of our home, I immediately recycled the boxes for both my Roomba, and my Dyson. This was less than one week ago!

Now in order to fully appreciate the irony of this situation, you should know that our basement is full of old electronic boxes. Dick and I used to both be in the habit of keeping electronic boxes, thinking you may need to return/use them someday. Well, that rarely happens, so I've recently decided that I don't need to keep boxes anymore, and that I should just recycle them immediately.

I hate it when I try to be organized, and it bites me in the ass.

Running my Roomba Ragged

GO, little robot, GO!

I mentioned in an earlier post that I got a new Dyson vacuum cleaner, and that I'm completely in love with it. I mentioned in that same post that I also got a Roomba, but at the time of that post, it was still charging, and I hadn't tried it out yet.

I've been looking at the Roomba for several years now, and just recently had a couple of friends who bought them, and raved about them. I noticed that was having a $50 off sale, so I bit the bullet, and ordered one.

1.5 weeks later, and after many uses already, I can safely say: I love my Roomba. It's fantastic. I've run the poor thing ragged already. Monday morning, I had it clean the upstairs of the house, and by the time it was finishing up the office, (the last room, and more than 2 hours after it started) it was out of juice, and simply couldn't sweep up one more particle of dust. I had to bring it back to it's home base to charge.

This is a fantastic little device: it's a robot that will vacuum your house!

In theory, you're supposed to be able to turn it on, leave it alone, and get on with your day. I have to admit that I often find myself oddly mystified by this robotic creature cleaning my house. I've found myself following it and watching it for several minutes at a time. I assume my fascination will wear off, and hopefully, I'll get back to having a life eventually.

Just like the Dyson, I'm simultaneously amazed and grossed-out whenever I finish using it, and empty its dust bin. I can't believe how much dust/dirt/cat hair/trina hair/etc., it's picking up.

I can't believe I'm so excited about my two new vacuuming devices.
I think I have a problem.

At least my house is clean.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


That's what I've decided to name my new Mac.



Monday, June 18, 2007

My new MacBook Pro: The most amazing plug-and-play experience EVER!

Greetings from my brand-spankin'-new MacBook Pro! (I'm having a hard time not calling it "PowerBook" still!)

I've been waiting since October for Apple to release their newest version. Last time I ordered a laptop, I bought it and a newer version was announced within the next 2 months or so. Lesson learned. Wasn't going to let that happen again!

Apple made the announcement about 2 weeks ago. I ordered it last week, and FedEx delivered my beautiful new baby this morning.

Can you believe it's been 4 years since I got my last laptop? I'd say that's pretty darn good in the ever-changing world of Technology-land. I had a 60GB drive, and have been down to my last GB or so for several months now. I haven't ripped any new CDs onto iTunes, and I don't have any photos on my computer. All in an effort to save precious disk space.

Okay, I have to rave about the new Apple Setup Assistant. It's new to me, at least. They didn't have this 4 years ago when I had to transfer all of my files/applications/preferences via ethernet or network.

I turned on my new shiny mac, and the first thing that popped up was the Setup Assistant.

I said, "Okay, I'll play along."

I figured it would ask for the norm: language, country, time-zone, registration, etc.,

The first thing it asked (after language and country) was if I had another Mac with FireWire.

"Um... Well, Yes! I do!"

Then it says it'll sync all my data from my old computer to my new computer.


I figured it would sync stuff that was Apple application or system things like security passwords, my iTunes library, Safari bookmarks, etc.,

I assumed I'd still have to transfer most of my files over, and reinstall most of my Applications.

I was SO wrong!

I clicked the button, and there it went - syncing all of my files, folders, applications, preferences, etc.,

We went out to dinner, and then to a bookstore, and came back about 2 hours later.

My entire computer had been synced!


I didn't have to do a thing!
It was completely plug-and-play!

Amazing! I'm still stunned!
The only thing I had to do was Authorize this computer for my iTunes songs that I've purchased from the iTunes store. That was it.

Everything else just....worked.

I'm still amazed. Those guys at Apple... Kudos to you!
This was definitely the least painful experience I've ever had to switching to a new computer.

Last time, I was switching from my OLD Powerbook Wallstreet Edition,which I had bought in 1999, (and was all SCSI) to a 2003 PowerBook G4 with USB. (I bought it right before USB2 came out). Because I had to make the switch from SCSI to USB, I had to buy all new peripherals (scanner, printer, keyboard, mouse, etc.,) I also made the switch from Mac OS 09 to OS X. A whole new operating system! It took several days (weeks?) to get everything straightened out.

This time: a whole new story. It took less than 2 hours, and I wasn't even home having to watch. I came back, and voila! everything was done.

Only this time, I'm running quadruple the amount of RAM (from 1GB to 4GB!) and have more than double the storage capacity (from 60GB to 160GB!).

The transition was so seamless that I barely notice that I'm using a different computer. (in a good way) I'm sure I'll notice it more once I use it for work tomorrow.

I LOVE my new Mac!!

Congratulations, Cheri!

My beautiful cousin, Cheri, has had quite the week.

She graduated yesterday, with a Master of Science with a major in Biological Sciences. (She graduated last year with a Bachelor of Arts and Science with majors in Biological Sciences and Psychology.)

As if that weren't enough, Cheri started her week in Minneapolis. She attended the Associated Professional Sleep Societies' annual meeting, where a paper that she submitted was selected as one of the conference's press releases.

Here is a link to the LA Times article about her research on the benefits of sleep for athletes.

Here's a small excerpt from the article.

Athletes understand how important training is, and nutrition, but there's a third component that makes a big difference in how they perform — sleep," says Cheri Mah, lead author of the study presented last week at the Associated Professional Sleep Societies' meeting in Minneapolis.

I'm unbelievably proud of Cheri. She has achieved so much already in her young life.

Did I mention that she's a gifted and talented dancer, too?

Brains, beauty, talent, and a great personality to boot.
The girl's got it all!!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Remembering two people who left their marks in San Francisco

This morning, I read about two recent deaths of former San Francisco residents on

I didn't know either of these people personally, but I'm aware of the legacies that they've both left in our City.

Trevor Hailey created the Cruisin' the Castro walking tour in the late 80s. By the time she retired, and handed the "Cruisin' the Castro" tours over to someone else in 2005, she had led an estimated 4,000 excursions through the heart of the city's gay community, interweaving history, anecdotes and personal reflections.

I went on the walking tour last year, which is now operated by the new owner, Kathy Amendola. I enjoyed the tour tremendously, and learned a lot about the history of our neighborhood.

I walked past the Bank of America on the corner of 18th and Castro (the heart of The Castro) earlier today, and saw that there were already several bouquets of flowers and cards left in honor of Trevor. I had heard so many wonderful things about this woman. I'm sorry I never had the opportunity to meet her.

Jack Mitchell also passed away this week. He and his brother were co-founders of San Francisco's Mitchell's Ice Cream, which has become a San Francisco institution. The original ice cream shop opened in 1953, and is still in it's original location. You can also find Mitchell's Ice Cream served in local restaurants and cafes throughout the city.

Even though I didn't know either of these people, I'm happy to know that they were here, and that they made a difference in our City in their own way.

Friday, June 15, 2007

"The Police" in concert, 2007

photo from:

I meant to write a post yesterday about the concert that I attended Wednesday night.

I went to see The Police in concert! Dick and I were able to get tickets through our friend, Jud (thanks, Jud!). sidenote: for you color guard geeks, Jud graduated from Indio High School! Unfortunately, Dick was under the weather all week, plus he had to go on a business trip early Thursday morning. He decided on Tuesday that it would probably be best for me to find someone else to take along to the concert.

This was really great news for my Mom! She was really wanted to go to this concert, but was unable to get tickets.

Our seats were really great. (thanks again, Jud!)They were 13 rows up from the field, right around first base. The picture above is not mine (I found it on the web, and it is from Wednesday night) but it's pretty accurate in showing our view of the stage.

I really enjoyed the concert. I've read a few reviews already that were not too favorable, and to be honest, that doesn't really surprise me. I mean, let's face it: these guys broke up more than 20 years ago. It's a great opportunity for them, but I wonder how much they're really enjoying the tour.

But that's not to say that it wasn't good. (for me at least) The music is classic, and I thought they sounded good. Actually, I thought the beginning was a little shaky, but that the concert got better and better with each song. By the time they reached Roxanne (last song in the set before the encores) I thought they were GREAT.

Plus, I've always wanted to see Sting in concert. The man has an amazing voice, and such charisma. He could sing the ABC song, and I'd still love him. Hearing the band play Roxanne, King of Pain, and Every Breath You Take was worth the price of admission alone.

In true Trina-fashion, I wasn't really into The Police in the 80s. I think I thought that they were grossly overplayed. I've realized that I've come to really love their music over the past 20 years, and I'm so happy that I was actually able to see them perform LIVE. :)

A few random notes from the concert:
  • The crowd seemed to be roughly my age or older

  • Most people around me wore earplugs

  • I knew there was at least one opening act, yet, my Mom and I still arrived on time. (6:30) The Police didn't actually start their set until 9:00. That was a lot of time to people watch, and eat expensive stadium food.

  • why do people feel the need to sing along with the music at the top of their lungs? The guy behind us was screaming the lyrics during every-single-song. It was quite distracting, as my ears couldn't adjust to actually hearing The Police.

  • The sound system was terrible for the opening acts. It was so loud (or I'm just getting really old) and I couldn't understand a thing their said or played.

  • The stadium was packed! (largest crowd I can remember seeing at any event)

  • Public transportation (BART and MUNI) ROCK when attending a big event like this.

  • I can't believe I saw The Police in concert!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

My afternoon with Evelyn


Ah. What a nice afternoon I just had with my niece, Evelyn.

She came over for a visit today. We sat around, ate grapes, took a fun Harry Potter Quiz, went out for gelato (she got four flavors!), did some window shopping in the neighborhood, stopped at the new chocolate store to buy some goodies to bring home to her family, then came back to the house and hung out some more.

Christopher dropped by, and we chatted some more, petted Marcel, and played with the Roomba.

It was a nice day.

Our new Toto Toilet

...and your little dog, too!

Our downstairs toilet has been dying a slow death of the past few months. We realized a couple of weeks ago that the time had come to put it out of its misery, and to buy a new toilet. (exciting stuff, isn't it?)

The prospect of buying a new toilet had us more excited than you would think (and more excited than anyone should really be about buying a toilet.).

When we were in Japan last year, we were in utter amazement of their toilet/toilet seats. You know the kind: they have seat warmers, and are a toilet and bidet in-one. (Is this bordering on T.M.I.?) Some models even have more crazy features!

Anyhow, we decided that if/when we ever needed a new toilet, we'd try to get one of these cool ones from Japan.

...and that's what we've done.

We found out that the same company that made the toilets that we saw in Japan (Toto), also had a US Brand. So we ordered a new toilet, which is nice and all, but you know, still a toilet.

We also ordered a washlette, which is really what it's all about.

We just had our plumber in to install our new toilet and washlette. I have to say: it's pretty cool, and it really does crack me up that we're so darn excited about a toilet.

I mean, at the end of the day, it's still a toilet.
But somehow, it may be able to help make your day just a little bit better. :)

I'm guessing that the people who read this blog post will either think that we're a little crazy, sharing too much info, or this may make you want to go out and buy one for yourself!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Homemade Won Ton Soup

Poor Dick has been down with a bit of a bug for the past few days.

On Sunday, I offered to make him some homemade won ton soup for dinner. One of my favorite childhood memories was when my Mom would make us won ton soup. It was always a big deal when she made it, because it was so delicious, and she would often make it for us when we were sick. Even now, when I'm sick, I usually try to order some won ton soup from our Chinese take-out place - it's good comfort food.

I went to our grocery store, and was pleased that our local neighborhood market had all of the ingredients that I needed. I came home, shelled the shrimp, soaked the Chinese mushrooms, and called my Mom one last time for the directions. Even though I've made this recipe with my Mom many times, this was my first time making it all by myself.

Dick offered to help fold the won ton, which was greatly appreciated, because it's quite time consuming. We made and folded enough won ton to feed at least 8 people, so I ended up freezing several batches to use later, and to give to my parents and my sister.

The soup turned out pretty well. It was a little too much shrimp, and not enough pepper, but not bad at all for my first attempt!

Southern Boy wrapping won ton.

Happy Michael Tolliver Day!

Mayor Gavin Newsom has declared today, "Michael Tolliver Day in San Francisco"!

Who is Michael Tolliver?

Michael Tolliver, the sweet-spirited Southerner in Armistead Maupin's classic "Tales of the City" series, is arguably one of the most widely loved characters in contemporary fiction.

The above is an excert from the book flap of today's newly released book, "Michael Tolliver Lives".

sfgate had this great article on the release of this book.

Today I went to Book Passages in the Ferry Building with my friend Philip to attend a book reading and signing by Mr. Maupin. It didn't disappoint. This store had hosted a book signing for ex-President Bill Clinton a couple of years ago. I remember reading an article in about how large the turnout was.

Well, it turns out that the turn out for Armistead Maupin was even larger than the crowd for Bill Clinton. That really goes to show just how beloved this local author is to many San Franciscans.

Mr. Maupin read the first chapter of his new book, which was everything I was hoping it would be (already!). Within the first chapter, Michael talks about the Cliff's Variety store on Castro Street, as well as our neighborhood Cala Grocery store. What I'm most excited about is that this will be the first book in the series when I'll have the opportunity to read it during the same time frame that it is written.

I first read Tales of the City when I moved to San Francisco in 1995. My new friend, Andrew, had given me a great older printing of the book, knowing that I would enjoy the stories. I was immediately hooked. The fictional San Francisco street in which some of the characters lived, Barbery Lane, was modeled off of Macandray Lane, which I passed by every day on my walk from my apartment in Nob Hill to my art school in Russian Hill. The stories (which were first written in the 70s) told of the local haunts and buildings that the characters would go to - many of them still existed when I lived there in the mid-90s. It was great fun to read these books, and to recognize the various locations that were mentioned.

"Michael Tolliver Lives" is written in present day, with the character aging nearly 20 years since the last installment of the "Tales of the City" series. He is meant to be an "every man's" character - one that I'm sure I would see or talk to in my neighborhood daily.

You may remember that I went to see another Armistead Maupin reading last August. I mentioned to him that my father-in-law taught him in Junior High School way back when, and that he is still a fan of his work.

I told Dick's father that this new book was coming out in early June, and we were hoping to plan a trip out to San Francisco for him to attend a reading event with me. Unfortunately, I didn't hear of any reading engagements until last week, and by that time, it was too late for us to plan a quick trip out for him. When I told him that I would be attending this reading, I suggested to Richard that he might write him a note that I could pass along to Mr. Maupin. He was delighted with the idea, and sent me a note over email for me to deliver.

When I had our books signed today, I re-told Mr. Maupin that my father-in-law was his English teaching in Junior High School. He asked me for his name, and again, seemed to remember (but you never know - the poor guy still had hundreds of books to sign today).

He seemed very pleased that I had a note from Richard. I hope he finds the time to read it soon. I think it would be nice connection to the past for both of them.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Smart Packaging

Don't you hate it when you buy something that comes in a big box that's full of styrofoam packaging? It's big, it's bulky, and you feel bad about the environment.

Don't you love it when you buy something that comes in a big box, and all of the packaging is completely recyclable?

Here's a big shout out to the Dyson company: not only for their smart products, but also for their smart packaging! (comprised entirely of cardboard)

I think I'm in love...

My new vacuum cleaner really sucks!

I've been wanting to buy a new vacuum cleaner for a while. Before we moved in together, Dick and I each owned a vacuum, so we've had two in the house for a while. When my grandparents moved to their new apartment, I gave them mine, since they needed a new one, and we clearly don't need two.

I don't vacuum very often. We have house cleaners who come every-other-week (I'm a very spoiled girl). But every once in a while it occurs to me that I should dust/clean in between times. The last few times I've pulled out Dick's old vacuum, I realized that I didn't like it very much. It didn't work very well on our soft-wood floors, and was a bit cumbersome.

So, I started to do some research. I know that Dysons have a really good reputation. So, I took The Oracle's advice, and ordered "The Ball".

My new Dyson was delivered yesterday. I'm very excited. We have soft-wood floors throughout the house, and one room with an area rug. I did a test, and vacuumed the area rug, the floors in one room, and the two little area rugs by the front doors.

The Dysons have a very cool clear bin where all the dust/hair/stuff goes. There are no bags. Anyhow, you can see just how much it sucked up, and let me tell you, there was SO much cat hair/dust/trina hair in the that bin from my 10 minutes of vacuuming! I couldn't decide whether I was grossed out, or really excited! AND the cleaners had just been here the day before!

The Dyson also has a very cool "telescope reach system" which allows you to easily reach high places, or clean stairs. I need to go around and vacuum the tops of all of my door and wall moldings.

Dick thinks my new vacuum infatuation is a little crazy.
He's probably right.

Did I mention that I also bought a Roomba? :)
(It's still charging, so I haven't had a chance to try it out yet. More on that later!)

Friday, June 08, 2007

Just Desserts

I just read this article on about my favorite local bakery chain.

Just Desserts was originally a San Francisco based bakery/chain which was started in 1974. 4 years ago they had filed for bankruptcy and were bought out by a group of investors. The article says that the company is doing very well again, under the new owners.

I'm really happy to hear this, because I've always been such a fan of their products. They make my absolutely favorite carrot cake (YUM!).

On a funny side note, our wedding cake was from Just Desserts! Again, I've always loved their cakes, but they also had a cake design that I had seen and I've always loved. (just look at their logo!)

When Dick asked me to marry him, the only thing I knew that I wanted for our wedding was a cake from Just Desserts. I think I even mentioned it to him that first weekend. The funny part of the story is that he didn't know Just Desserts made actual wedding cakes. He thought I wanted to just buy a bunch of regular round cakes. :) He still said, "Sure, Sweetie. Whatever you want!"

Some girls think about their wedding day well before they ever have a reason to start planning. They know what kind of dress they want, what kind of flowers, what kind of ring.... I'd never thought of any of these things. The only thing that I knew I wanted? The cake! :) (and it's so far from "traditional".)

...and that's the story of our wedding cake! (Which I'm still in love with!)

Mmmmm..... cake!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Something smells fishy....


When I opened by bathroom window this morning, I got a whiff of the breeze coming in from outside. It's the first time that I can remember smelling a fishy/garbage-like smell in the air. Seconds after I opened the window, I saw that the garbage man was just passing our house, so I figured it must've been the stinky garbage in the garbage truck that I was smelling.

A couple of hours later, I went outside to bring our trash cans to the backyard. That's when I noticed that the fishy smell was still lingering! Our neighborhood smells like fish! Hmmm....

I've never noticed this before, and I hope that it passes. It's a bit unpleasant.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Michael Tolliver Lives!

Philip's latest blog post reminded me that one of my favorite authors, Armistead Maupin, is releasing his newest novel next week.

The book is titled, "Michael Tolliver Lives". The title alone is enough to make me very happy and excited. Michael Tolliver was always my personal favorite in the series - enough so, that I even call "my Michael" by his nickname, Mouse.

The last time we heard from Michael Tolliver, and the rest of the Tales of the City gang was in 1989, and Michael was coping with his positive HIV status, which at the time, came with the assumption that he wouldn't have many more years to live. I'm thrilled to know that one of my favorite characters is alive and well, nearly 20 years later.

When I saw Armistead Maupin at a book signing a few months ago, he explained that part of his reasons for writing this book show how much the world of HIV has changed since 1989. Although there is still no cure, and sadly, people are still contracting the disease, he wanted to focus on the good news that there are new drugs/cocktails out there that are prolonging the lives of people living with HIV. People who were diagnosed with HIV a couple of decades ago, never thought they would still be living 20 years later. Maupin said that he has several friends who are (thankfully) living longer than they had ever expected, and he knew it was important to let his readers know that Michael Tolliver was one of them.

I have lost friends over the years to HIV/AIDS. I also have friends who have been living with the disease, successfully, for many years. This book - which I haven't even read yet - already touches me on a very personal level. I can't wait to see what Michael Tolliver has been up to all these years, and what kind of adventures he has had.

Here's a nice review that I just pulled from

Starred Review. Maupin denies that this is a seventh volume of his beloved Tales of the City, but—happily—that's exactly what it is, with style and invention galore. When we left the residents of 28 Barbary Lane, it was 1989, and Michael "Mouse" Tolliver was coping with the supposed death sentence of HIV. Now, improved drug cocktails have given him a new life, while regular shots of testosterone and doses of Viagra allow him a rich and inventive sex life with a new boyfriend, Ben, "twenty-one years younger than I am—an entire adult younger, if you must insist on looking at it that way." Number 28 Barbary Lane itself is no more, but its former tenants are doing well, for the most part, in diaspora. Michael's best friend, ladies' man Brian Hawkins, is back, and unprepared for his grown daughter, Shawna, a pansexual it-girl journalist à la Michelle Tea, to leave for a New York career. Mrs. Madrigal, the transsexual landlady, is still radiant and mysterious at age 85. Maupin introduces a dazzling variety of real-life reference points, but the story belongs to Mouse, whose chartings of the transgressive, multigendered sex trends of San Francisco are every bit as lovable as Mouse's original wet jockey shorts contest in the very first Tales, back in 1978. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

It was 40 years ago today...

well, yesterday, actually, but that's a technicality...

MSNBC had an article yesterday about June 1, 2007 being the 40th anniversary of the release of the Beatle's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album.

This album was, of course, slightly before my time. Add that to the fact that I usually pick up on good music a decade or so late, and well, you'll understand why I became such a fan about 30 years late.

I've had a few Beatles albums for several years now, with Sgt. Pepper's being one of my all-time favorite albums. It truly is a classic.

Ironically, I first discovered the Beatles music because, in 1978, at age eight, I saw the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Movie starring the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton. I seem to remember that I saw this movie several times, so I must have really liked it. As these were my my brain is a sponge for all things music years (see: School House Rock), I knew the songs well, and remembered all the lyrics. Sadly, though, I knew the movie version of the songs first. It wasn't until years later that I became hip to the original Beatles songs, which obviously, are SO MUCH BETTER than the movie versions. How sad is it that the first Beatles songs that I knew were sung by the likes of Steve Martin and George Burns?

Reading the article yesterday reminded me of this movie which I haven't seen in several decades. It made me wonder about it, and I admit, I added it to my Netflix queue based on curiosity alone. I don't have high expectations.

When we were in Vegas last week, we went to see the new Cirque du Soleil show, Love. I really liked the show a lot. I didn't LOVE it, but I think that's because I'm so terribly spoiled in the world of theater that I have extraordinarily high expectations. But I did like it a lot, and I'd recommend seeing it to anyone. I realized afterwards, though, that most of the reason why I liked it so much was simply because of the soundtrack. I mean, let's face it. It's the Beatles. You either love the music, or you don't, in which case, why would you see this show? Anyhow, the music was spectacular, and having a cirque show that was centered around all things Beatles was pretty cool.

Anyhow, Happy 40th Anniversary to Sgt. Pepper's. It's quite amazing how it's stood up to the test of time.

...and while we're talking about it, here's the Christmas Card I made in 2003. My cousins, who were in their early 20s at the time weren't familiar with the album art work at all, and hence, thought we were doing some kind of "Where's Waldo" take.

Where's Dick and Trina?

Friday, June 01, 2007

A really nice overview of The Castro

One of my clients (I update her previously designed site, and have made postcards for her), Cruisin' the Castro was recently featured during an episode of Channel 5's Eye on the Bay.

They sent her a link to the full segment, which I'll be linking to from her site.

I just watched the first third of it, and am very impressed with it so far. It gives a really nice overview and history of our wonderful neighborhood.

You can watch the video here.

Unfortunately, the sound quality is a little rough, but it's still worth a watch.


"Battlestar Galactica" will end its run next year after its fourth and final season.

Well, that's too bad. It's a really good show.

I suppose the silver lining here is that they'll have an actual ending that can be planned on, and (hopefully) written well. That's a lot better than letting it drag out, and no longer be a good show. (which seems to be happening a lot these days.)