Showing posts from July, 2009


... Most larger theaters employ a dramaturg , who is a sort of scholar-in-residence. This person typically writes articles for a play's program, which help the audiences better understand the society and times in which a play was written. The dramaturg brings context to viewers, helping them appreciate the interests and influences that inspired the playwright. We've been working really hard on American Idiot, the Green Day project, and I've been staying late, getting filthy and sweaty, blasting classic punk music ("classic punk" -- that phrase cracks me up) on an antiquated boombox , and then coming home and drinking beer in the shower. I like to think that I'm approaching my work with the spirit of dramaturgy . I'm immersing myself in the Punk Milieu . Sure sounds better than being a dirt-covered maniac with questionable taste in music, a broken stereo, and shampoo in her beer.

from blue to green

... I've been working on this huge American Idiot project , and one thing I've really enjoyed is spending some of my free time having a Green Day video-watching party . Robb and I agreed that it is a pity that there's not really a venue for music videos anymore. We pretty much only see music in the juniors' section in department stores or at H&M. It never occurs to me to go looking for them online. Too bad, really, because the short film format is pretty entertaining. (Stick with this one to the end.)

More Blue Blog Posts!

I'm just not sure how I feel about this picture. At first, I was excited to hear about this research which is investigating the use of a common food dye to minimize the long term effects of spinal cord injury. But then when I see a creature who has been deliberately paralyzed, I have second thoughts. The goal of these experiments is to come up with a treatment to combat the body's response to a spinal injury. For some reason, within minutes of injury, the body unleashes chemicals which prevents damaged nerve cells from ever healing. Nobody is quite sure why this happens. Apparently, though, if a particular blue food dye is administered, it prevents this response from occurring in mice. For this to work in the real world, with humans, the only problem of course is timing. I know exactly how I spent my first 15 minutes with a spinal cord injury; I was lying on the concrete floor I had just landed on while my coworkers raced around to call for help and then waited with me f

It's the little things

... I'm about to be completely drowned with work, and the house buying remains stalled. When I'm not coming home from work and immediately falling asleep on the couch, I'm trying to keep my eye on life's hidden pleasures. I'm trying not to get bogged down with all the things that aren't settled in my life. So, I'll enjoy the uncanny robin's egg blue color of this fuzzy bee. And the eyes of this Common Buckeye butterfly. I hope you like these, too. (If anyone can identify the bee, I would love to know what it is.)

Are We Home, Yet?

... People keep asking about the house situation, and we're no closer than we were however many weeks ago it was when the seller accepted our offer. We're getting a federally-backed mortgage, but that means there are all sorts of hurdles to be leaped over and flaming hoops to be jumped through. And strangely, we're not required to do most of the jumping. So we wait, and send the occasional email to our super fantastic awesome realtor, and our amazingly wonderful mortgage broker, to be sure that everyone still understands that we still hope to buy this little house. There was a big hullabaloo over the appraisal of the house, but that seems mostly settled, now. Basically, the Federal Housing Administration (who will be backing our loan) wants to be certain that the house is actually worth the selling price, so they send out an inspector to look things over, and to compare the home to similar homes that have sold recently in the same part of town. The person who did our a

Help us name our team!

Victory Bicycle Ride Originally uploaded by robot-heart Our fundraising team needs a better name! We want something that captures our spirit, and that makes people smile. Any suggestions?

Sweet Ride!

... Yesterday was the kick off party for BORP's annual fundraiser, the Revolution. It was a great day, and as usual, I totally suck at taking photographs of humans. Hopefully, blog readers will notice the content of these images, not the composition. In the photo above, you see just a few of the many disabled kids who are about to set out on a fun bike ride. Take a look at the variety of custom cycles! These are all available to anyone who stops by BORP's adaptive cycling center at the Aquatic Park in Berkeley. BORP maintains a lending library of over fifty different bikes , trikes and tandems, suitable for riders with disabilities. Another view of the group of (mostly) kids, who are about to head out for a ride on the San Francisco Bay Trail. You can see some parents and siblings, as well. This picture sums up a lot of what's so great about BORP. On the far left is Greg, who runs the adaptive cycling center. He's the mad scientist bike builder. On his right are

Let's Ride Bikes!

... Who wants to join us this Saturday? We'll be riding bikes and then cooking out, all in support of BORP and its great recreational programs for people with disabilities . Here's the scoop from BORP's website: The 2009 Revolution Kick-Off party will be held at our Adaptive Cycling Center ( 80 Bolivar Drive ) on July 18th. The day starts with your choice of two road rides , both of which start at 10 AM. There will be an easy no-drop ride (Redwood-Pinehurst) and a longer, faster route (the Bears Loop). At the completion of the rides, a party will be held, starting around 1 PM. The party will have a BBQ and drinks, a great raffle, and will also give you a chance to learn more about BORP and register for this year's Revolution Ride (September 26th). Don't miss a great day of fun!

so much warmth!

... Here's something to make everyone smile. (Click here! Click here! I'm not going to tell you what it is, because you need to experience the awesome-ness for yourselves.) I have to admit, I'm still in a muddle. I'm really, painfully embarrassed around my co-workers, and feeling all sorts of icky about delving into my feelings about my past. But I'm in awe of the kindness of blog-posters. Thank you.

Talk about "confronting the past"

... Yesterday, the Obama family toured the Cape Coast fortress in Ghana, from which countless Africans, were forcibly sent to the slave trade. I'm struck by the meaning of this visit, and how the ugly history of slavery is being faced, in an unflinching manner. Clearly, this part of the trip to Ghana was not a "fun" visit for the Obamas. I get so frustrated when I hear people refer to "Africa," as if it were one country. (Think of it, you've surely heard a list that goes something like, "France, Germany, Japan, Africa." This drives me nuts.) I'm hoping that this trip signals a new approach to relations between the United States and the countries of Africa. As a daughter of an immigrant, I'm still delighted by how Barack Obama is re-shaping the definition of "American." Is it totally shallow to admit how much I love the clothes of the Ghanaian people? I work with pattern as part of my job , and I adore these exuberant textil

What's wrong with you, anyway?

Lately, I've had more and more emotional outbursts, which I think they are like mini-tremors, leading up to the inevitable violent earthquake. Some seismologists think that these little shake-ups relieve pressure, others feel that it's just a matter of time before the whole place shakes itself to pieces. I think it's time to relieve the pressure valve, and see if it makes the situation better or not. At the very worst, I will have indulged in a fatal and humiliating case of Over-Sharing. Oh well. get ready for The Big One. * * * It would not be an exaggeration to say that my sister and I had a difficult childhood. Our parents settled on a custody arrangement when they divorced, wherein my sister and I were obliged to pack all our belongings and move between houses every single month. We never felt a sense of home or "belonging." We knew that as soon as we got comfortable, we'd have to start all over again. I don't think my our feelings were taken i

fabulousness, restored!

... Thanks, everyone, for your kind comments. I was in a really bad mood when I got home last night, and eventually settled on the idea that a night of movie-watching would do me a world of good. We have Netflix on demand, so I told Robb that what I wanted was nothing that could be described as "harrowing." I wanted comfort and sweetness, and prettiness. I told him I wanted a movie with frolicking otters and girls in Edwardian dresses. And Robb being Robb, delivered. Admittedly, he swapped out adorable baby lambs for the otters, but otherwise, I got exactly what I needed. We watched the 1993 film of The Secret Garden , which was lovely. And then we followed that up with The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert . I'm feeling much better, now. I don't know if you ever read The Secret Garden, but it was a real favorite of mine. In fact, its almost comical how well that book sums me up. You have loneliness, the healing power of tending an abandoned garden, t

Catastrophic Hair Loss?

... I don't know if there have been budget cuts in street sweeping, but I've been noticing a lot more discarded and run-over wigs in the road.

Did you know that dish soap can save lives?

... It's not hyperbole. Dawn dish soap has saved the lives of thousands of animals who were unlucky enough to get covered in oil. Its ability to break up oils is invaluable, when trying to remove toxic oily gunk from a terrified wild animal. ( Here's a fascinating article about how this humble dish washing detergent became the go-to product for cleaning oiled wildlife.) Right now, Dawn is partnering with the International Bird Rescue Research Center and the Marine Mammal Center . Here's how it works -- each time you buy a bottle of Dawn dish soap, 50 cents goes to the International Bird Rescue Research Center and 50 cents will go to the Marine Mammal Center. You'll need to register your purchase on their website, but they don't need much personal information. I can't tell you how much this commercial makes me smile. I know that it was filmed at IBRRC's center in Southern California, so that I know it was made with the animals' well-being as a prima

Pre-Purchase Panic

... I'm not very good at "hurry up and wait." My mind starts to race, and it doesn't always end up in the nicest places. Because I'm in an over-sharing mood, here are a few of the things that I've been fretting over. Robb and I, who have lived so frugally in order to afford this little house, will not be able to trim any more "extras" from our budget, go broke, and lose the house. (Big worry.) All the contractors we have met with will turn out to be incompetent at everything except taking our money. (I've been reading renovation blogs. People love to blog about What Went Wrong.) Our little house, after existing for so many years will fall to pieces under our watch. It will go the way of all the antiques that died once we to own them. Do I regret the beautiful silk parasol that got ripped in half in a tussle outside of Penn Station in NYC, or the mourning jewelry that broke in the bag on the way home from the antique fair, or all the vintage

Be Wise ...

... So far today I've slammed my finger in a drawer while retrieving a (finger-protecting) thimble, and accidentally tossed a dustpan out the window. Robb picked up a jar by its (ill-fitting) lid, and dumped raisins all over the kitchen. With a track-record like that, I think we'll resist the urge to express our patriot feelings by combining beer and explosives.

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

... I've been on vacation these past two weeks, and have spent a fair amount of that time meeting with contractors and pondering our preparedness for home-ownership. We had the official inspections. The inspectors have to disclose every single issue, and as you can imagine, an eighty-four year old house has quite a few issues. When all the flaws are written on one document, it's sobering. Today, Robb and I plan to tackle our garage. We've accumulated a huge mass of goodness-knows-what (crap) in the past six years, and today is the day of reckoning. Two nights ago, I "slept wrong" and since that time I've had a very unhappy left shoulder. I have limited range of motion, which is a bother. Here's the before-and-after image that Robb worked up in Photoshop. I think that this paint scheme gives the house so much more charm. I want to get started on all of this, before I get terribly busy again at work. Of course, we don't actually own this house, s


... Photo courtesy of Antique Home . I'm putting this question out to all of my painting friends. Do you think you can assign paint colors to this house? If you can find these color from the Benjamin Moore palette, all the better!

Kitchen Mysteries

... Does anyone know what the name or function of this structure might be? It's in the kitchen of the little house we're hoping to buy. Robb wonders if it might be an adaptation of the built-in ironing board cabinets that are present in many of these homes. I'm not so sure. It seems that the owner of this house used these little cubby-holes for storing bags of pasta and papers. We found some twenty-five-year-old kids' drawings in one of the shelves. Our friend Sarah suggested that these must have been built as shelves for Frisbees. What do you think?