Thursday, August 24, 2006

Keeping my youth

Another non-kid related post...

When I first moved to California, I really got into seeing live music again. For a while, I was going to 3-5 shows a week, probably. Well, after settling down and making Cobalt, that all came to a screeching halt. I didn't give it up for any other reasons except that I now had a family and enjoyed spending time with them, I am fucking tired at the end of the day and we are basically broke, or have very little expendible income these days.

So when I saw that Soul Asylum was playing again after Karl Mueller's death last year, I thought that this would be a good show to see. To top it off, Tommy Stinson (formerly of the Replacements and G'n'R) was playing bass on tour with them. How could I not go?

I won't say that I was disappointed. In fact, I thought they played quite well. Some of the new songs off their new album were good, and I thought one, in particular, sucked. They have more of a bluesy/bar-band feel and I'm not always into that stuff. They reached back a lot to Grave Dancers' Union, and played just the big two (cartoon and sometime...) from Hang Time, but nothing from ...and the horse... They were definitely into it, and after popping one of tommy's pills halfway through the show, Pirner was back to running around the stage like a maniac. Although the show seemed a bit short and I was kind of glad about it, I would have preferred a few more from the older library.

One funny thing was said by Dan Murphy that didn't quite make sense. I thought he said that back in the day, they used to play in gardens ant the this place was a dump. Don't know if I misheard him or if he was joking or if he was serious. Maybe it's just that there wasn't much of a fan-base there.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


I rented the Showtime series, Weeds, from netflix last week, as it popped up as a recommendation and I'd seen some online ads for it. We popped it in on Friday night after we were disappointed with The Fantastic Four. We were so into it, even without smoking pot, that we ended up watching all 6 of the episodes on the first disk of season 1.

Each episode starts off with Malvina Reynolds singing the song "Little Boxes" over a visual of a typical SoCal suburban neighborhood, complete with every house, car, pet and person looking exactly the same. This exemplifies one of the problems I have with America at the moment. (Apparently, for season 2, the producers are getting different artists to perform the song every week. Elvis Costello and Death Cab for Cutie are the first two listed.)

So the show uses the scheme of a widower in this typical american suburb selling weed as a way to maintain her "lifestyle". It's a pretty good premise for a show, and the story lines expand way beyond the main premise, which, however, is always around in the background somehow.

The stories are good, the acting is good. I can't wait to get the next 6 episodes for another marathon session. Almost as good as the real thing.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A kid was shot in our neighborhood the other day...

One of our young neighbors was shot and killed on Monday afternoon. He was 17 years old and about to start his senior year. Here's some links:, NOPNA blog.

It's sad for a number of reasons, and has gotten me to thinking a lot. Here are some of the lowlights of the situation:

  • It happened at or around the corner of Baker and Grove. This is about one block in each direction from our abode.
  • Pacific Primary is at that corner, and apparently, the shooting occurred right out in front. Something like 30 shots were fired, including some from his buddy running down the street towards the incident. Luckily, nobody else was hurt. This is where we are hoping to send Cobalt.
  • Aubrey lived in the neighborhood. I think it was just down the street on Grove accros from the fire station, but I'm not sure. I know that many times I've walked by and said hello to a group of young men hanging out in front. They always seemed polite.
  • As is the case with many crimes of this nature in this city, no witnesses are coming forward.
  • There are several pot clubs on or around divis, just a couple of blocks away. I don't think it's related in any way, but I do see young black men in fancy cars popping in to do some shopping, even though they sure don't look like they have a medical necessity for it.
  • There is also some kind of dealing that has gone on a few blocks down at central. I have not seen them there in the last couple of weeks, however. Again, not that there is anything wrong with it, but some of the traffic it brings is stereotypically comical.

I always feel safe in the neighborhood, even when walking late at night. I don't think that's gonna change any because of this, but I don't know if I can't help but be a little more wary about slow moving rides.

Monday, August 14, 2006

When did he become some cute?

The last couple of times at the playground, Cobalt has done some things, unprompted that he has never done before that just made my heart sink. I'm sure every parent has these moments, but they are just too cute to pass up writing about...

First, we always used to have to prompt him to climb the jungle gym and go down the slide. Now, the last couple of trips, he not only has gone willingly, but doesn't want to stop! He runs up the stairs as fast as he can, and decends the slide with a "weeee" every time. He also learned (but has since forgotten), that sand on a metal slide make it more slippery.

Second, we witnessed him playing catch with another kid yesterday. Kyle and I were sitting at the edge of the sand pit at the panhandle playground as we sat in wonderment at our son (the formerly non-inertactive playground kid) tossed a soccerball back and forth with another kid. We sat in total amazement and just put our arms around each other. We were like "is that our boy?"

And lastly, we've been trying to teach the boy to throw things in the trash. Every once in a while, while walking home from daycare, he decides he wants to pick something up that he finds on the sidewalk, e.g. bottlecap, cigarette butt, etc.) Last Friday, our friend Andrew graciously volunteered to take Cobalt off our hands so we could go see An Inconvenient Truth, a.k.a., the Al Gore movie (perhaps more on that later). Anyway, when we got home, Andrew told us a couple of things that happened at the playground. First, the kid was the last one standing (See first item above). Second he found a cigarette butt in the sand and Andrew told him to put it in the trash and he ran across the playground and stood on the fence to try to throw it in the trash bin. He missed, but wtf? He ran to throw out a butt? How cool is that?

And lastly...the other night we ran out of milk and I had to walk down to Ray's on Divis to get some. Mom was working around the house, so I decided to walk Cobalt with me, even though he was in his fleece sleeper. For the first time ever, he held my hand the whole way down. He never does that, and reluctantly holds my hand to cross the streets. The only time he paused was to say high to the folks at the dispensery. He must have caught the munchies after passing the pot club, because inside the store, he wanted some popcorn and it took him a while to decide which flavor to get.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bake me a cake as fast as you can

Kyle and J spent last Saturday baking and assembling (respectively) the cake you see above. It was a surprise for Dera-Jill's birthday. The cake is a white cake with almond paste. Daquois (meringue) was used to give it some crispy. Marzapan was used to make the shapes. Homeade Raspberry sauce and almond-butter-cream frosting was used as the glue.

Kyle wanted to make an abstract representation of their house...
I think she did a pretty good job. It was quite fun, actually. Because of the rare warm summer in SF (see half-naked man to the right), she had to put the cake in the freezer to help the butter cream firm up.

We brought the cake over when Zach took D-J out to dinner, with her family from MA.