Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hey guys, I just got back from Japan!














I saw my family and friends, and met a bunch of new ones along the way (including my newlywed cousin's husband).

Sorry, no pics to share here of those things, yo.

But, it was beautiful, as per usual.



















Also, SURPRISE! I ate and drank many delicious things.



















It was a fun time, and a time to reflect.



















Until next year, Nihon.


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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Matmos, San Francisco Art Institute, 6.28.2014




















My hands clasped tightly, they did not disappoint. Difficult, orchestral, exhausting, inspiring.

Watch a bit here.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014









Hmmmmmmm...

America's Cult of Ignorance is No Match for Asia's Cult of Intelligence

I have a bit of a problem with John Traphagan's assessment here, or maybe his definition of intelligence, particularly around Japan (I can't really speak to other Asian countries with authority, only anecdotally).

As one who has traveled to Japan frequently over the last 20 years, has Japanese and expatriate family and friends from all walks of life, and is well-versed in Japan's education system from primary school through college, as well as one who has mentored and tutored young Asian female college exchange students, I find the regurgitation model of education -- a decidedly UNintelligent model -- is standard, and should not necessarily be used as a yardstick for intelligence.

Critical thinking and thinking outside the box is extremely undervalued in Japan, and unquestioning adherence to hierarchy and "authorities" -- teachers (who are often using textbooks that skew history and promote institutionalized racism), favored students (often class-based), and that old familiar specter, the guvmint -- is par for the course. I have found unequivocally that students I mentored from Japan and other Asian countries found it extremely difficult to both form their own opinions and demonstrate deeper understanding about politics or literature, even from a place of safety, namely one-on-one. I have met teachers in Japan who taught English language and could not understand nor communicate with me, because they were taught only sentence structure -- what you need to pass a written test -- not vocabulary or conversation. I have a family member who has an MA in Japanese Literature from a Princeton-level college in Japan, but who doesn't know much about authors outside of the established canon, even those authors who were extremely influential internationally but possibly seen as "deviant" by the government, such as Inagaki Taruho.

This is not to say that Japanese are unquestioning robots, or lack intellectualism; on the contrary, I find that many Japanese I encounter have a curiosity about the world, will engage with you about current events, have opinions that are diverse and informed, etc. But this is not a culture that encourages free thought and conversation, and often finds it at best vulgar (which amuses me to no end) and at worst an indication one is a radical danger to society. This is also apparent in my friends' lamentations regarding lack of freedom and fulfillment. A lifetime spent under this yoke when there are bills to pay and obligations to uphold and so. much. pressure. to conform does no one any favors when it comes to cultivating any true "Cult of Intelligence."

The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.

That said, I have no beef with the author's assessment of the US and our own dearth of critical thinking, but I do value our culture's encouragement of questioning what we're being fed. Obviously, math and some aspects of science may not apply here, but this is where I go back to the Traphagan's definition of intelligence. One cannot claim a "Cult of Intelligence" -- especially as juxtaposed with the US and our supposed "Cult of Ignorance" -- without vast demonstration, encouragement, and celebration of critical thinking.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass.




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Friday, May 23, 2014

Oregon. Pennsylvania.

We are a better people than what [anti-gay marriage] laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.

~ The Honorable John E. Jones, on his ruling to overturn Pennsyvlania's ban on gay marriage

"When did this all become obvious? When, one might ask instead, did it stop being impossibly hard?"

Getting to Fifty on Marriage Equality

Is Gay Marriage Unstoppable?

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Yeah Arkansas!

Arkansas issues same-sex marriage licenses

Also, I went to Northern Ireland in April.























And I fell madly, hopelessly, forever in love.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Monday, March 03, 2014

Old and new in beautiful Downtown Oakland.
 
 

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Friday, February 28, 2014

Rainy day treat at Ramen Shop.

Corsair Triple Smoked Malt Whiskey















This whiskey out of Kentucky had all the peaty goodness of a good Islay Scotch but a clean finish that paired well with Japanese flavors. I could drink this all the time. Nice pick by my wonderful and incredibly talented illustrator/bar manager friend extraordinaire, Chris Lane.

tsukemono and pork/squid fried rice
Best fried rice in the East Bay. And OMG, the tsukemono -- Ramen Shop has someone who only does pickles, and it shows. The black radish -- the small slices vegetal, the large ones spicy, taking advantage of natural radish variation -- was to die for. 

sesame-miso ramen w/ ground pork belly



















Broth so rich and thick, noodles with a firm chew, ground browned pork belly nuggets like little treasures to be dredged up from the bottom: a perfect bowl.

Go get some!


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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014















(images from the Vintage Valentine Museum -- yes, that's a thing!)

I really do pine for those handwritten, pre-phone/Facebook/texting days when something like this was a real treat to give to, and receive from, someone special.

(what I'm also saying is that I could definitely be wooed by a gentleman bearing one of these 19th century calling cards *swoon*)

So, accordingly, I've spent the last hour or so online, trying to track down this vintage 1926 German mechanical valentine that my sweetie was only able to give to me electronically, in the hopes of purchasing it to be my forever precious, but it's been all for naught.

So, irony intact, I will be parking this here, on my blog. Maybe I'll even get it tattooed on my person someday.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Friday, January 24, 2014

Trevor is at a conference in the Polar Vortex. My beloved California is gorgeous -- it was a comfortable 70 degrees today in the Town -- but suffering from a drought.

Yet, Mother Nature still wants us to know we live in a magical world.


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Thursday, January 16, 2014

YES.

Kit Kat Specialty Store Opening in Tokyo

All y'all know I'm not a big sweet eater, but I make room in my Japan bag every year for amazing Japanese Kit Kats.










I've only had green tea, sakura, hojicha, strawberry, blueberry cheesecake, and soy sauce flavors, so you can bet your sweet ass I'm making it over to Ikebukuro (also home to Namja Town and its Gyoza Stadium and Ice Cream City and lovely microbrews, oh yes) every time I visit Tokyo.

This is a big deal, people.

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Friday, January 10, 2014

I was clearly born to host a dinner party in the wrong era.

Liver Sausage Pineapple



























21 Truly Upsetting Vintage Recipes

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Tuesday, January 07, 2014

WUT.

















So deliciously 1970s, and a perfect intersection of my love of the innocent American glory days, 70s trash, and fashion. WANT. This may even usurp my other dream cars (seen here and here).

Base price for this sweet baby was $2500, not including "luxury trim package." Also:

The 1972 Hornet was promoted by AMC as "a Tough Little Car." American Motors promised to repair anything wrong with the car (except for the tires), owners were provided with a toll-free telephone number to the company and a free loaner car if a warranty repair took overnight.

God bless 'Murica.

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Saturday, January 04, 2014

from "Farmers Wary of GMO Crops," The Zimbabwean













I continue to be wary of the long-term health effects of some GMO crops, and the use of the poor, uneducated, and/or malnourished as guinea pigs plus the predatory practices of big BioAg doesn't put me any closer to being on the thumbs-up path; however, in the interest of education, this was a good read.

A Lonely Quest for Facts on Genetically Modified Crops

Of course, I am looking for answers myself, and thus really try to check my skepticism, but this did stand out to me:

...the risk of [GMO crops] could be reliably tested, and had so far proved safe. "With scientists, we never say anything is 100 percent certain one way or another," Dr. Suzuki said. "We weigh conclusions on accumulated knowledge or evidence..." 

Yes, absolutely. But, the big BUT:  Like organic and conventional dairy and vegetables being deemed equal in nutritional profiles just a few years ago, or the scientific claim that thalidomide wouldn't cross the placental barrier, accumulated scientific knowledge sometimes goes horribly wrong. GMO crops should not be rushed to market or be allowed to propagate and be sold while in litigation, and should also be subject to litigation should there be health problems clearly associated with them; they should also submit to continual testing and monitoring once they are in the market (for now), and the patent holders/users be okay with informing the public with labeling so people have a choice.

I'm not one for a nanny state, but this should be the standard when we screw with the basic building blocks of life, especially ones that have the potential to have profound effects on the population.

There are so many promising things in GMOs, so I really hope I'm wrong, but we have to slow. down.

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Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy New Year! All the best to you and yours in 2014.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

This is pretty dang wonderful.

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Holy everything that is holy.









Joseph Gordon-Levitt Producing 'The Sandman,' May Star and Direct

OMG.

I can totally get behind JGL starring, though both Trevor and I think my boyfriend would make an even more excellent Dream.

Now, how do we cast the rest of The Endless?

Tilda Swinton as Desire. TRUST.
Bearded Eric Northman as Destruction?
Carey Mulligan as Delirium?

??????????????

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

This is a VERY good, in-depth read:

Steve McQueen on 12 Years a Slave











I love Steve McQueen, and having seen all three of his major films, I think he is a gifted director. While IMO each of his films suffer from the exact same flaw -- always with the scene that hits you over the head with such force that you are pulled out of the film momentarily -- taken as a whole they are consistently crazy well-done.

[frequent McQueen collaborator Michael] Fassbender told me that McQueen “loves human beings,” even terrible ones. “The great thing about Steve, in terms of looking at characters and telling stories, is that he doesn’t judge any of it. It all is what it is. Through observation you try to gain some kind of understanding, as opposed to judgment.” He calls McQueen’s approach “almost journalistic.”

Fassbender famously portrayed Bobby Sands in McQueen's first major film, Hunger. I was talking with a couple of friends the other night about this film, and they were a bit condemning of it as a sympathetic portrayal of Sands, leading one toward a sympathetic portrayal of the IRA. What I tried to convey in that conversation Fassbender says so well. The aim of McQueen's depiction of not only Sands, but both Fassbender's tragic character in Shame and his monstrous Edwin Epps in 12 Years..., is observation -- terrible, magnified observation -- that we can hope leads to some kind of self-reflection about what lurks inside us, our multifaceted humanity.

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I die.



Fan-made and fantastic.

2:40 to around the three minute mark, I had goosebumps THE WHOLE TIME, and I don't even like Matt Smith's Doctor.

Moffat, make it so!

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Monday, December 09, 2013













1964 Jaguar E-Type Roadster

This is a great little story, and reminded me of my dad's stories of picking up a Mercedes wagon off the assembly line in Stuttgart in the early 60s, and one of the very first (bright red!) Toyota Sprinters off the assembly line in Japan in 1968.

While I appreciate this gorgeous Roadster, the Jaguar E-Type Coupe from the 60s is my personal dream car, ever since I saw one on the freeway in Oakland a couple of years ago. Oy vey, thems were the days for automobiles...

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Monday, December 02, 2013

Americans! Hope your long Thanksgiving weekend was awesome. Mine was filled with this.

















Church of Misery and Saviours at Thee Parkside and Oakland Metro

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hat tip to fenchurch for this, the truly Life-Changing Loaf of Bread:













Please note: while I am an enthusiastic cook, I (thoroughly and unequivocally) DESPISE baking for its precision. I (tend to, valiantly and sadly) AVOID modern wheat-based bread for its eczema blues. I was almost ready to chuck my toaster oven for lack of use.

But now, now -- I can't stop making this easy-peasy, delicious bread.

PS: I use flax meal to make it more bread-like and mix and bake in a pyrex loaf pan; as such, rather than unmolding halfway through I let it bake the whole while (about 40-45 minutes) and cool in-pan, and it's totally fine. Just be sure to let it sit for at least 4 hours before baking.

BREAD!

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Monday, November 18, 2013

I am truly fascinated by slash and shippers, but also how media with this kind of fan base (Supernatural and the Twilight franchise come immediately to mind) capitalize on this phenomenon, and the resulting weirdo impact on the real lives of people who play these characters.

So, yeah...

Why is the Chinese Internet Obsessed With Writing Gay Sherlock Fanfiction?

I know there is some hardcore, super cray going on out there as far as Sherlock slash shippers are concerned, but after reading this PG take, a better question is: what makes Asia, and Asian languages, so conducive to teh adorables?

The 37-year-old [Benedict] Cumberbatch, whom the Chinese call Curly Fu, "is the reason a new wave of Chinese viewers have turned to British television." (‘Curly' describes the star's hairstyle, while 'Fu' is a shortened Chinese transliteration of 'Holmes.')

CURLY. FU.

Also: no worries about the impending Chinese takeover of the United States; we will simply harness the power of gaijin catmen.

One journalist with the Beijing-based newspaper Jinghua Times surveying viewers of the 2013 blockbuster sci-fi movie Star Trek Into Darkness found that most had gone to see Curly Fu, a villain they declared "impossible to hate" because they had "never seen a bad guy so handsome before."

As not only a fan of the Batch but a lifelong Star Trek and Khan fan, this line of reasoning is really hard to disagree with. Oh handsome brutality!

Anyway *fans self* what was I saying? Oh yeah, full circle...

Some fans cataloguing [Cumberbatch's] good traits also listed his "cute wife" Watson, whom they call ‘Peanut,' because the Chinese phoneticization of Watson, huasheng, is a homonym for the legume.

Speechless.

promotional photo from the third series of Sherlock









Oh Curly Fu and Peanut, I wish you good luck.

(original article from Foreign Policy, here.)

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Friday, November 15, 2013

James Turrell: A Retrospective at the LACMA this last weekend was simply magnificent.

Afrum (White), 1966
















Turrell's ganzfelds

















At times both meditative and mind-blowing, this was well worth the $25 total cost of admission, museum admission included.

And what a museum it was! I never knew the LACMA had such a fantastic collection. I was shocked to see one of my favorite paintings, as well as so so much of my other preciouses: Bauhausian, abstract expressionism, and pop art.

I mean, I looked at this Paul Klee!

The Fruit, 1932













And this fantastic Christo!

Portrait of Ray, 1969
















Also of note: I'm not a fan of Picasso, but while they had many of his works sprinkled about the galleries, they also had a Picasso room.

Everything was so well-curated and flowed so well, and the vibe was super chill and encouraging of exploration. Love my deYoung, but damn, they certainly could learn a lot from the LACMA about how to make a museum more viewer-friendly all-around.

James Turrell: A Retrospective runs through April 6, 2014. Advance tickets are strongly recommended.

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Not a fan of the mannequin, but this '90s Gaultier and pearl and gold choker from Chanel's summer 2014 collection: dang!




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Thursday, November 07, 2013

I really do love everything about the BBC's Sherlock -- even its implausible British fight sequences -- but there is one itty bitty thing about it that helps it along a bit more than others.














*swoon*

(can't help it, I'm a red-blooded straight woman. sorry lads.)

(photo by Ian Derry for Entertainment Weekly)

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Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Remember remember the fifth of November...



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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween y'all!

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

A hand in your darkness, so you won't be afraid...



Postscript: Lou Reed


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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Secret Chiefs 3, blowing my mind all over my face at The Warfield, San Francisco, 10.20.2013













This was the first time I had the chance to see Secret Chiefs 3, and they were MAGNIFICENT. They were the opener for the also amazing Goblin (here for their first ever American tour) but I had bought the tickets mostly to see Secret Chiefs 3. As opening act, they only played for 30 minutes, but it was still the best show I have seen in a long time.

I am excited to say that after the show we talked with Trey Spruance, who was working his own merch table (respect) and he said they will embark on a West Coast tour in February! I am so there.

No video up of the Warfield show as of today, but here's a sample of the awesome from a few months ago:





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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Out on a walk today, and came upon this guy. 'tis the season!

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Yes!









Gays Wed in New Jersey

As couples across New Jersey began marrying on Monday after the stroke of midnight, Gov. Chris Christie abandoned his long fight against same-sex marriage, concluding that signals from the court and the march of history were against him. His decision not to appeal a judge’s ruling that allowed the weddings removed the last hurdle to legalized same-sex marriage in New Jersey, making it the 14th state, along with the District of Columbia, to allow gay couples to wed.

Ughs for Chris Christie, but at least he knows when to quit. You go, New Jersey!

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

I periodically need to watch this to maintain my mental health.



Bonus today: Jimmy Fallon fangirling Alan Rickman as he tells a story about his first movie role as Hans Gruber in that iconic American classic, Die Hard.

Alan Rickman Hurt His Knee in Die Hard, Discovers Punk in “CBGB”

Adorbs all around.

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Tuesday, October 08, 2013

And now for something completely different.

What We Eat Affects Everything

This is an excellent interview with Robynne Chutkan, MD, an integrative gastroenterologist, founder of the Digestive Center for Women, and the author of the new book with the really awful name, Gutbliss: A 10-Day Plan to Ban Bloat, Flush Toxins, and Dump Your Digestive Baggage.

Y'all know about my obsession with nutrition and wellness. This interview really explains the why around the increase in gluten-sensitivity, as well as explaining the fascinating differences between men and women's GI tracts. The interview is super informative, but it is fairly long. For those of you not down with the text heavy pages, a couple of highlights for me:

It's really about the 80 percent rule. Most of us are “toxing” 80 percent of the time and detoxing 20 percent of the time. And we should really think about flipping that—we should think about detoxing 80 percent of the time. And I’m not suggesting anything extreme. Today I did some work at home, I made a fruit and veggie smoothie for breakfast, went to spin class, I met some people for lunch, and I had a kale salad with roasted chicken and a big bottle of water. Nothing so profound, but all healthy stuff that made me feel good. And if you're doing that 80 percent of the time, you can tolerate that 20 percent of debauchery in whatever form that might be, whether you’re drinking a bit too much, or not exercising, eating the wrong food, having too much ice cream. And then we don’t have this need to constantly be detoxing and cleansing all the time.

Does your daily food intake look like this...












Or like this?











Oy vey, the band-aid of constant tox/detox/tox/detox. Ugh, just take care of your body most of the time! This is how I rationalize whiskey and the occasional Sherman (and cookie), and why I'm confident I'll look as good as Christy Turlington inside and out in my mid-40s (and hopefully 50s).

You mentioned going gluten-free, and I wanted to get your take on that. It seems like a lot of people going in that direction don’t have a diagnosis of celiac disease. What do you tell people who are interested in trying it? Is there evidence that people who tested negative for celiac disease still benefit?

First of all, I think it’s important to distinguish celiac disease from gluten sensitivity, because celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that is associated with a lot of other problematic things, like osteoporosis, iron deficiency anemia, arthritis, diabetes, even cancer. And if you have celiac disease, whether or not you have symptoms, it’s important to come as close as you can to 100 percent avoidance of gluten, because the ongoing exposure to gluten can damage the small intestine and lead to some of these other associated problems. So that’s the first thing I tell patients, is that we have to figure out what’s going on. And some patients say, Well, can’t I just empirically avoid gluten? And I tell them, no, because if you have celiac disease, you have to be 100 percent regardless of whether you have symptoms. If you have gluten sensitivity (but don't have celiac disease) and you want to eat an almond croissant, go for it. Part of the issue is that the wheat itself is not what it used to be. It’s been hybridized and had different things done to it to increase the crop yield and shorten how long it takes for the wheat to bear. One can make all sorts of scientific and unscientific arguments about what we’re meant to eat, but I don’t think we’re meant to eat animal crackers, for example. I think it's a stretch to call the refined, processed wheat products a food group, but I also don’t think everyone needs to empirically avoid them all the time.

Certainly if you’re having digestive problems, it’s worth trying. I usually tell people to do a six-week elimination trial; if you don’t notice a difference there’s no reason to avoid it. But my biggest caveat is to tell people there’s no point in doing this and then eating gluten-free bread, and gluten-free pancakes, and gluten-free cookies. It’s sort of like sugar-free. If you’re diabetic, I would say to you, you should think about having fruit for dessert. I would never recommend that someone have sugar-free ice cream or a sugar free drink, because that stuff’s worse than the sugar quite frankly. The same thing applies to gluten. If you think you’re gluten sensitive and you feel poorly when you eat gluten, you should avoid wheat. It just makes sense. If you’re lactose intolerant you should avoid dairy. This is your body giving you feedback saying no, I don’t like this thing. But if you decide once a month, I’m going to have a sandwich using regular bread and I may not feel so great, but I don’t have celiac disease, just a sensitivity, I think that’s okay and I think that is preferable to eating gluten-free garbage every day. Gluten-free processed products can be just as bad for you as the regular stuff that contains gluten. They’re not providing you any nutrients, they’re empty calories. So that’s a big challenge that I face with some of my patients. If you’re just gluten sensitive, have a pancake on the weekend if you really want it, but don’t eat gluten-free cookies every day of the week and think that somehow this is being healthy. Just like I would never eat low-fat or sugar free ice cream. If I’m going to have ice cream I’m going to have the real thing—I’m just not going to eat it every day.


Amen. I may not have mentioned before that I have been following a low-gluten diet for the past couple of years. This diet has accomplished something that an army of Western dermatologists, acupuncturists, and Chinese herbalists were unable to do: rid me of my eczema. I still eat the occasional wheat-crusted pizza and white flour tortillas and hand-pulled Chinese noodles and other deliciousness, but in both small quantities AND good quality.

It can be done, people.

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