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!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Blue + Yellow

Equals green! It used to be my favorite color, it still reminds me of Kermit, and it's more important than ever now in terms of our dear planet earth. I try to do my share of composting, recycling, and eating local and organic food. A couple of years ago I started researching all the crap that's put in cleaning products, cosmetics, and beauty care products. Sometimes all the info can feel overwhelming, and even contradicting. But I noticed that when I cleaned the house with a harsh cleanser, I would get a headache. And when I researched it, sure enough, all the harsh chemicals in most cleaning products and laundry detergents are not good for our bodies or the environment. About a year ago, I went through all the cabinets in my house and threw out a lot of toxic stuff. Now I try to clean with natural stuff, like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon. And when I buy products, I do the research and buy the least-harsh stuff. It's made a difference.

Here's a website that has a ton of information. I'm on their mailing list, and they send me weekly updates: http://thegreenguide.com/

For make-up, I swear by this book. I bought it out of desperation years ago when my skin was breaking out like crazy. The author looks at all the ingredients in cosmetics and talks about what it does to your skin, and what research has been done on it. She also addresses the often outrageous claims that cosmetic companies make.



And for household cleaning products, check this out:



Do you have any tips for being green? I'm always learning...

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Music Review: Bloc Party

Do you get addicted to music? You hear a song and it gets under your skin and into your body and gives you that nice buzzed feeling. And you just want to hear it again and again and again. And even though you're on public transportation with your earplugs in, surrounded by eccentrics, in your head you're a million worlds away. I'm notoriously known by my friends as the ruthless repeater. I'll keep playing a song until other people are so sick of it they start to go a little mad. I don't go mad. I get high off it it.

Bloc Party don't have just one song that gives me the fuzzies. I can play both of their CD's the whole way through and love every one of their songs. The band is from England, and they totally rock.

First came this:




And most recently this:

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Book Review: The Female Brain



I think every woman should read this book! The author is a neuropsychiatrist at UCSF, and presents a wealth of information of what's going on in a woman's brain, hormones and all. She starts by pointing out that most medical research is done with males, and therefore women are under-represented in research, and not much has been written about the female brain. And there's a lot to talk about--the author starts by discussing what's going on with a fetus developing in the womb, and tracks the brain through childhood, teenage years, adulthood, and menopause. She also compares the brains of men and women, which is fascinating. Apparently this book has caused a lot of controversy...all the more reason to read it and form your own opinion.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Music Review: Pete Doherty

My dear cousin CK is slightly obsessed with Pete Doherty, and finally convinced me to check out his music. Pete used to sing in The Libertines, and is currently in Babyshambles. And damn, he's good. He can sing, he can write, and there's something so sweetly boyishly charming about him, I'm hooked. This one's my favorite:



I guess I can't talk about dear Pete without mentioning that he has a penchant for supermodels, powdery stuff, and wooing his loved ones with dead animals. Regardless, I wish Pete the best in rehab.

For my cousin's birthday, I got her a book on Pete. It's written as a kid's book, and is quite clever and cute. I think she sleeps with it under her pillow, and reads it every night. She likes the simple things in life, and that's why I love her.