Monday, December 24, 2007

If I were a vegetable...

this is what I'd be:



It's romanesco broccoli.
I vegetable I had never seen nor heard of before.

What fun! It's so cool looking I didn't want to eat it. Here's a close-up:


After a week of gazing at it in my refrigerator, I finally had the guts to cut it up and eat it.



It tastes like a cross between cauliflower and broccoli, with a nutty taste and a smooth texture.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Another new orchid!

Another orchid joined the family.



Gorgeous color, and lots of new blooms.

But the roots are just as cool:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

one potato, two potato

Oh how my potato plant has grown!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Lupicia Tea

I'm addicted to tea.

I like it iced. I like it hot.

I like it at least twice a day, preferably more.

I've been buying tea from Lupicia Tea. They have tons to choose from, either loose or in these cute little silky pyramid tea bags.


They make great gifts, but I usually keep them and drink them myself.

My favorite is genmaicha, which is green tea with roasted brown rice. I recently tried "azumino soba cha" at Lupicia--it's green tea with buckwheat.

Delicious.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Art Review: Chiho Aoshima

So I made it to the Takashi Murakami exhibit at the LA MOCA. It was one of the best art exhibits I've ever seen. I walked away feeling exuberantly happy and very pink.

Kaikai Kiki
is the name of Murakami's art production company in Japan. Chiho Aoshima is one of the artists featured there. Check out her work:






LOVE it!

Monday, December 10, 2007

dryer balls

I used to love the smell of dryer sheets when doing laundry.

Then I learned that dryer sheets are full of toxic crap.

So I threw out the dryer sheets and got dryer balls. These fun guys are non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and are reusable for 2 years.

Oh, and they fluff up my laundry good.


My dryer balls agreed to pose for a photo shoot:



Friday, December 7, 2007

Organic Mint



Mmmmmmm.

Bunches of mint have randomly started growing in my backyard.

And it's organic!

So much fun to pick it and put it in my iced tea. I feel like I'm living on a farm.

(I hope Billy, the neighbor's cat, didn't pee on it though. Is cat pee organic?)

And this reminds me, I really need to blog about iced tea.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

find the nest in the tree



This tree is in my backyard. Yesterday there was a lot of squawking, rustling and rummaging around going on in the branches.

A bird kept flying in and out with twigs.

So there must be a nest in there somewhere.

Do you see it?

Here?




Or in there?


I love the shenanigans that go on in my backyard...

Monday, December 3, 2007

Review: Dexter




My blog wouldn't be complete without a review of Showtime's Dexter.

It is quite simply the best show on TV right now.

Dexter works for the police department as a blood splatter specialist by day...and by night, he's a serial killer. And the twist is that he only kills the bad guys. So that makes him a good guy, right?

And that's the paradox with Dexter. He is at once likable, lovable, and funny. We're often in his head listening to his monotone and sarcastically witty comments. He knows he's a monster, but we also catch glimpses of his human side. Dexter is also smoking hot, and spends every episode in season 2 shirtless at some point. However, the killing he does is graphically violent and incredibly disturbing. As much as you like him, you're repulsed by him.

The writing is top notch, and the acting by Michael C. Hall as Dexter is flawless. I originally wasn't interested in this show based on the violence, but I was totally sucked in after watching the first episode.

Dexter is currently in season 2 and has been renewed for a 3rd season. The show is based on books by Jeff Lindsay. I read the first few books---they are good, but the show is actually better. Every episode has me on the edge of the couch laughing and/or screeching in fear. As much as I want Dexter to be all good, it's the dichotomy of good/evil that keeps me coming back for more.

Check it out!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My new orchid!




(cue angelic choir music here)

Oh joy!

A mysterious benefactor has gifted me with a brand new orchid...after I accidentally killed my old one.

I'm keeping the scissors far away from this one!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Review: Pom Poko (anime)

My cousin CK and her husband are big anime fans, and they recommended Pom Poko to me. So I had some friends over to watch it.

It starts out as a charmingly cute story about these raccoon-like animals that are wild animals by day. And when humans aren't around they talk and party and dance around. Very cute.

The movie also has a moral environmental theme. The humans are polluting the earth, and the animals are starting to suffer.

About halfway through the movie, things start to get really interesting. Turns out that these little stripey Disney animals have superpowers! Which they access by growing their testicles! To the size of a house!

The first time the testicle-growing happened definitely caught us off-guard. Jaws dropped. Popcorn fell to the floor. "Huh? Is that...? Nooooo....Yes!"

I recommend Pom Poko for the environmental lesson...and for a good laugh.

CK's husband, who is Japanese, told me that it is actually a common folk tale in Japan that these little fur balls have testicular superpowers.

I love Japan.

Monday, November 26, 2007

persimmons + pineapple guavas




I drove up to wine country last week with some friends, and we bought some persimmons and pineapple guavas. The trees were growing in someone's backyard, and they were selling them at a stand by the street.

I had never seen a pineapple guava before. It smells like bubble gum! I cut one open when it was soft, and ate it with a spoon. It tastes like bubble gum, too!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

sheep chair

This is SO disturbing!

sheep chair

I want one.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

sheep in SF



I was walking through the city and stumbled upon this in someone's front yard.

Ah, I guess this is the closest I'll get to seeing sheep in San Francisco.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Review: Inuyasha (anime)



I'm SO in love with this anime.

I stumbled upon it two weeks ago on the carton network, on [adult swim]. And whoa, [adult swim] is a whole blog post of it's own---there's some crazy stuff going on there.

Inuyasha is a dog demon, and Kagome is a modern day girl who falls through a well back into time to feudal Japan. Sparks fly! There are funky looking monsters, a blood-sucking flea-man, and a cute little fox demon. Not to mention lots of fighting and kidnappings...and of course, a blossoming love story between Kagome and Inuyasha. The characters are all cute and spunky with creative (and bizarre) powers. Yura of the Demon Hair is an adorable pixie girl who uses her hair to turn into a big hair beastie and capture people. Classic!

Lucky me, there's a new episode on every day. I'm getting seriously addicted.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Spiderman

I can't believe the holidays are rolling around again.

Last year for Christmas, I went on a road trip through Baja. Of the 2200 miles long drive, the highlight of this trip was seeing Spiderman in the back of a truck.



Yeah, Spidey!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

oil spill


So sad. I live close to Ocean Beach in San Francisco, and I went there for a walk today. It was one of those days where it was actually sunny and warm there. It should have been lovely.

I was surprised the beach was so deserted, then quickly realized it was because of the oil spill in the San Francisco bay last week. I had been avoiding reading the news on this because I couldn't bear to watch all the birds covered in oil.

But now I couldn't avoid the glistening gobs of gooey oil all over the sand.

So much for a stroll--I grabbed a shell and started scooping up lumps of oil. Another oil collector was kind enough to lend me a plastic bag.

My attempts felt so futile, but I kept thinking that every little bit of effort helps. Especially if we all pitched in. I plan on heading back to the beach this weekend to do what I can...hope to see you there.

Monday, November 12, 2007

funny signs

I was in England, Scotland, and Holland this summer, and saw some funny signs. They're not supposed to be funny. But they are to me.

This one reminded me of the great Edward Gorey. Here's Edward Gorey's art:


And here's the sign I saw:


This sign is overstating the obvious:


And this is just classic:


Friday, November 9, 2007

Music Review: Shotter's Nation by Babyshambles

I think my cousin CK would disown me if I didn't listen to and review Babyshambles' new CD Shotter's Nation. So I had to get to it, and and get to it fast.

Shotter's Nation doesn't disappoint. Lead singer Pete Doherty continues to crank out good lyrics and good music. Delivery and French Dog Blues are my faves, but I'm liking every song on this CD.

Wasn't he in rehab the whole time he was making this?

Speaking of which, we all need to send Petey good vibes. He's back in rehab.

Oh, and am I the only one who's bummed out he's not dating Kate Moss anymore?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Recipe: Pasta with alouette cheese

My mom loves to dip her crackers in alouette cheese. I have to admit, the garlic and herb cheese spread is quite addictive. There is a recipe on the box suggesting using the cheese with pasta. I jazzed it up a bit, added some more ingredients, and couldn't stop eating this! It's very simple:

I cut up 3 leeks, drizzled them with a lot of olive oil, and put in the oven at 350 degrees, until they started to brown and carmelize (about 25 minutes).

I cooked about 3/4th of a bag of pasta. The last 5 minutes of cooking, I threw in 2 cups of chopped broccoli, squash, and zucchini.

When the leeks were done, I mixed it with a full tub of alouette cheese, then added this to the pasta and veggies. I also chopped up some garden tomatoes and threw them into the mix. Delicious!

I wanted to do a before and after photo, but unfortunately all I have is an after photo:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

seckel pears




I got a bag full of organic seckel pears from Oregon in my latest delivery from Planet Organics. I had never eaten one before. They look like little baby pears. So cute! And delicious!

I just ate 4 of them, and I'm ready for 4 more.

If you don't believe me, check out this fascinating size chart:



Yum!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

potato plant



It happened to me. I'm sure it's happened to you. You leave a potato waiting to be cooked for too long, and it turns green and starts to sprout spuds on you.

So I stuck this sucker in some dirt, and he quickly sprouted some leaves. I want to transfer him to my backyard so he can grow me some more potatoes, but I'm worried that the gopher will eat them first.

For now, he looks good sunning himself on my windowsill.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Book Review: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

When I heard that Barbara Kingsolver had written a book on eating locally and organically, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. The Poisonwood Bible is one of my all-time favorite books, and I was interested to see how Kingsolver would go from writing a novel about missionaries in Africa to writing about her own life.

In Animal, Vegeble, Miracle the author and her family move to their farm in the Appalachians and vow to grow their own food for the next year, and only eat this and food grown locally. I have to admit, I have bucolic notions about living on a farm and living off the land, and this book makes it seem easier then I had ever imagined in my child-like fantasies. With each chapter, I felt more inspired to eat healthier, cook at home, and support local farms. Kingsolver raises a lot of thought-provoking questions about how far removed we are from the food we eat. I don't agree with her support of tobacco farms, but her section on turkey sex is hilarious and actually quite educational!

I do have a couple of bones to pick with this book (as my mother would say). If you are a vegetarian, you'll probably take issue with a lot of the arguments on why to eat meat. As I mentioned, Kingsolver's life seems a bit too fairytale perfect and saccharine sweet. I was starting to roll my eyes every time she mentioned how perfect her kids are. Her older daughter contributes to the book, but her contributions are redundant to what Kingsolver has already written, and sound a bit preachy. She does include lots of recipes which I'm looking forward to trying. I already baked the zucchini chocolate chip cookies---I couldn't resist. They were delicious, but packed with so much fat and sugar, I promised to never make them again. I thought it contradicted the healthy perspective of the book.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle lists a lot of helpful websites and info for further reading. I've already found a farmer's market close to my house that I didn't know of. I also checked out this website for eating local in the Bay Area: www.locavores.com. I'm looking into becoming a shareholder of a farm which will in turn give me fresh veggies and eggs every week. If anyone has done this and has suggestions, I'd love to hear from you. Stay tuned, and I'll keep you posted on my food adventures...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

earthquake!

yikes!

we had a 5.6er in the bay area last night.

this website is great: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/

seconds after i felt the earthquake, i logged onto this site, and it was already recorded. another minute or so later, and the magnitude was recorded. you can get lots more info about it with an interactive map, plus you can record if you felt it. they show you all the recorded results for your area. cool!

Giddyup Gopher


insert long sigh here

This mound of dirt is from a gopher.

It's one of many mounds of dirt in my backyard.

And front yard.

What is most disturbing about this mound is that the dirt is coming up through a very small crack in the concrete.

I fear that next the gophers are going to come right through my garage, into my house.

In other words, gophers are taking over my life.

At least they're cute. I have a thing for cute animals.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Review: Keetsa Mattress Store

My friend Kory recommended Keetsa Mattress Store to me, and I have to pass this information on. Keetsa uses materials that are recycled, recyclable, natural and sustainable, so I want to support them. All of their mattresses and pillows are infused with a yummy smelling extract from green tea that fights odor and bacteria. No chemicals! I wake up smelling like a fresh pot of sencha. Ever see that cheeseball commercial for the foam mattress where they bounce the wine glass on the mattress? Not only did I get a similar foam mattress, but the sales guy actually bounced (or tried to bounce) a glass on it. I'm still completely missing the point of it, too.

As for the mattress, it's like sleeping on a cloud. I admit, it took a couple of weeks to get used to---it feels really different from the standard spring mattress. Keetsa wants you to try it for at least 30 days, as they recognize most people are not used to their foam mattresses. I tried it, and sure enough I got used to it. I'm such a sucker for marketing.

And wait--it gets better. When you buy a mattress, they compress all the air, squish up the mattress and stick it in a box. So you can just throw it in your car, or if you live far, they ship for FREE (that's free, people!) to 48 states. When you get home, you take it out and get to watch it slowly puff up. Free entertainment!

And now for the best part. The box is so big, you can do all sorts of creative stuff with it. Me, I called up my friend to come over and play. We played Hide and Go Seek,


It's a Spaceship!, and Find a Penny in the Box. Good fun.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

big.banana.slug




Whoa.

I found this big guy while I was out hiking in Butano Park in Pescadero.

I have a story to tell. It's about me and a slug. I have to warn you, it does not have a happy ending. Don't judge me.

When I was in high school my hair was permed, teased, hairsprayed, and stood out so stiff that my bangs could have dammed up the Niagara Falls. One hot sticky summer night I was hanging out with a group of friends. I was dressed to impress in my skintight Jordache jean shorts, trying to woo the locals. The moon was full. The night was dark. The grass was wet from an evening thunderstorm.

I remember bending down to pull up my socks...and my hand touched something wet and slimy in the dark. I SCREAMED......eeeewww, it was slug! On my sock! I still shudder to think of what could have happened if it had slugged up on my leg...

I digress.

My piercing scream got everyone's attention. We got some light and huddled around the culprit, who was now lying on the grass after being flicked off my sock. Someone (Bobby? Mike? Mark?) suggested killing it by putting salt on it. I had never heard of such a thing...but before I knew it, the poor, innocent, sock-loving slug was writhing in salty pain.

I know. I'm an awful, horrible person. Last week I told you I killed my orchid, and now this. This happened over 20 years ago, and trust me, I still feel the guilt.

I don't know what else to say. If would be happy to spend the rest of my life worshiping the great slug goddess if one existed.

And I promise I will never eat escargot.

Now I'm going to go eat a banana.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I'm the cutest animal in the whole wide world.


Have you ever seen anything so scrumptiously adorable?

This is a tarsier. It can fit easily into the palm of your hand.

Tarsiers live in the Philippines, Borneo**, and Indonesia.

I want, like, 5 tarsiers to move in and live with me.

And then I want them to mate and reproduce, so my house will be filled with little furry baby tarsiers.

I want tarsiers in my kitchen. I want tarsiers in my bathtub. I want tarsiers hanging from the chandelier, and covering the floor like a rug.

And I want one special tarsier to sit on my shoulder. Like a parrot.

Except tarsiers are like a hundred times cuter than parrots.

(**Note to self: Book tickets to Malaysia. Bring large net.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Book Review: The Marriage of the Sun and Moon


We had some rain last week, so when I went out to weed my backyard yesterday, I found these three guys poking out. Mushrooms are slimy, creepy, weird and totally beautiful all at once. There's something magical about finding mushrooms when I'm out hiking, so it felt like an extra bonus to have some right in my backyard.

I'm a bit of a mycophile, but not nearly the mycophile that is Dr. Weil. Dr. Weil is the bushy-bearded alternative doctor who has written extensively on health and healing, vitamins and herbs.

And mushrooms.

In The Marriage of the Sun and Moon, the good doctor devotes not one, but three chapters to the fungus. I love that he's a Harvard-educated MD, and writes so matter-of-factly about foraging for mushrooms and then getting high as a kite off of them.

Dr. Weil offers an interesting and thought-provoking perspective on the reasons why and the ways in which humans attain altered states of consciousness. This book is a fascinating, and often hilarious, account of his own experiences of expanding his mind.

Monday, October 22, 2007

umbrella graveyard



We had some downpours last week, so it was time to dig out an umbrella. These are all the umbrellas in my house. They are all broken in one form or another, but I hang onto them, because I know if I buy a new one, it will break too. So when it's raining out, I look for the least broken umbrella.

Someone out there should make a really good umbrella, one that's guaranteed to last at least 10 years. Or at least through the rainy season.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

eatwild

After reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, I got more interested than ever about doing the local and organic thing. Michael Pollan writes extensively about supporting small local farms that are farming in a way that's good for the soil and good for the animals.

The website eatwild has even more info about factory farming vs. grass-fed animals. You can also search for a farm near you that raises grass-fed, hormone free animals. My friends and I just agreed to take a field trip to the nearest farm and get us some meat

Friday, October 19, 2007

Wicked cool art






When I was little, I loved Hello Kitty.

As an adult, I still love Hello Kitty. And anything quirky, kitschy and kooky Japanese.

So I immediately got hooked on Takashi Murakami's art. It's like Hello Kitty in the Twilight Zone.

I read this article in TIME magazine that he's doing an exhibit at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.

Time to to go LA.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dead orchid.


Ahem.

Many of you have been inquiring into exactly what happened to the orchid, so I feel obliged to post this.

Happy now?

The sad truth is that when the flowers started to die, I cut the plant back just a bit too much. For some reason, I was thinking the plant was like a bulb plant.

Very, very dumb.

I think it's time to go orchid shopping again...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Time to celebrate.



Today is my parent's anniversary. They've been married for 43 years.

43 years is a long time to be married.

To celebrate, they went out to dinner with friends and played cards. I thought that sounded fun. But the more I thought about it, I more I thought I should be the one out celebrating. If my parents hadn't met and got married, there would be no me.

So I hit the liquor cabinet, opened a bottle of wine, and proceeded to get very drunk.

Happy anniversary Mom and Dad!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Stag Plants

My house is filled with plants that I pretend are pets. These stag plants are by far the most unique and fun. I have two. Apparently they're pretty hard to find.



Stagasaurus1 has grown lots of stag leaves since I first got it, and doing much better than Stagasaurus2:



I heard that bananas were good for the soil, so I put a peel in Stagasaurus2, but it ended up attracting those bugs that roll up into little balls and look like armadillos. Great. Stags can get really big, so I'm hoping Stagasaurus2 will recover.

http://mgonline.com/stag.html has more photos and information on stag plants. Gotta love the "wild stags in Thailand". Sounds like a prehistoric beastie on the prowl...

Monday, October 15, 2007

The orchid bloomed!


Gorgeous, huh?

All the more so since this could be the last time it blooms.

I think I accidentally killed it.

Oops.

I'm feeling really guilty about this, so that's all I'm going to say.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

eggyolkchick



oh no.

i hardboiled some eggs for breakfast this morning, and one of the eggs cracked halfway through, and this is how the yolk came out. i was a vegetarian for about 10 years, and i still feel a bit guilty when eating meat, so this is NOT what i want to see when i'm indulging in my morning meal.

it is rather cute. i'm trying not to read too much into it.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Scottish Love Story

Ah, I wish I could take credit for finding this video on youtube, but that goes to my friend. I don't know how he stumbled upon this. Or why. Some things are better left unsaid.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

More sheep!

It's been a while since I posted about my muse, sheep. This website by George has some great information and some adorable sheep photos: http://www.sheep101.info/index.html

Here are some more sheep pix from my trip to Scotland.

Posing for the camera, profile:



Running down the hillside, a la Little House on the Prairie:



(OK, I have to admit, I was hiking and I think I scared the crap out of them. They are actually running away from me...)

And highland cows!



These dreadlocked cows are so cool! And a bit elusive. I was on a mission to see one, as they are native to Scotland. I had whizzed by one early on in my trip to the Scottish Highlands, but I only caught a glimpse, and had no photo evidence. So as my Highland trip was coming to an end, I was watching the clock tick-ticking. It wasn't until my last day, as I was heading back to the airport, that I passed this pasture full of 'em. I was one happy traveler!