Monday, September 05, 2011

Happy Birthday, Freddie

It's hard to believe he's been gone 20 years - or that today he would have been 65.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

OMG He's Funny

Minchin Tickets

Usually at these events, I take a picture of the artist/performer, but this was one of the rare occasions the venue made a point of saying "No Recording of Anything - NOTHING".

Tim Minchin is a wonderfully talented, intelligent, insightful and funny performer. His songs are funny, but they also make you think. I have previously shared the song "Prejudice" on this blog, and he performed this last night, along with many others that are loaded on You Tube. If you haven't seen him perform, take a few minutes and go enjoy. Please note, he is not a "G" rated artist, and one of his songs which is a commentary on the Catholic Church and pedophilia is not for the faint of heart or easily offended. In other words, if you're like me and have an issue with organized religion, he's the guy for you.

His final song of the night was the song "Hallelujah", which, as he noted, only is San Francisco can get a 1,000 atheists to sing a hymn. It was almost awe inspiring. 1,000 people in harmony, without any accompaniment singing the final stanza and ended as one. Beautiful. Two plus hours of laughing until you cry and smiling ear-to-ear enjoyment.

I hope he comes back to San Francisco again and again and again.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

End of an Era

(Photo from

I think I’m pretty lucky. Back in October 2002, Kevin and I were in Orlando for 10 days and Atlantis was due to launch during our time there. Not that many people have been able to experience this in person. It’s hard to explain. Just being at the Kennedy Space Center was a cool experience, but to see, hear and feel that shuttle take off was just something that took my breath away. It was a uniquely American experience, being there on the coast with gators taking a peek at us from the waters between us and the launch site. Just a bunch of strangers watching American ingenuity take flight.

This Friday is the last launch, and I’m feeling a little melancholy. I wish I could have seen another launch. Many of those amazing people who have worked on this program will be out of a job soon, and so much knowledge will be lost to us. I’ve heard it will be at least 5 years before we may see what the next generation of “space vehicles” may be. We’re also kind of leaving those on the International Space Station a bit out in the cold. If an emergency comes up, it isn’t as if the Russians can launch in a few days. Transporting food and supplies will be more difficult, as I understand it. I don’t know. It just seems wrong in a way.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Blue Frog Brewery, Fairfield

There is no point to taking all kinds of notes about brewery visits if I don't post them somewhere. Brewery reviews will now be added to the blog, starting with our visit to the Blue Frog Brewery in Fairfield, CA. Warning- we aren't "hop heads", aren't crazy about hoppy beers, and I won't go into much detail on them. If they have a strong citrus/grapefruit profile, I will blame Cascade hops and note it accordingly.


We tried a total of 6 samplers. They were presented on a wooden lily pad.

Hefeweizen - Kevin liked this one best. Light and refreshing. A fairly typical hefe.

Blonde Ale - hoppy

IPA - hoppy

Red Ale - kinda hoppy

Belgian White - bitter finish on a the palette. Overall ok.

Scotch Ale - Though I liked the hefe, I liked this ale better. Nice, complex flavor with a hint of scotch note on the palette.


As to food, we both had Fish & Chips. There was a bit of a twist with these entrees though - the fish is wood-smoked. I had the salmon and Kevin had the basa. Overall, a satisfactory nontraditional version of F&C, but in all honesty there wasn't much smoked flavor to the fish. The salmon held together well, was moist and the batter was crisp and not too oily. The basa, which I wouldn't have considered appropriate for F&C, was ok due to the smoking adding some flavor. The fries were excellent and the coleslaw was crisp with sufficient dressing to add flavor and not drown it. We would probably order the Salmon Fish & Chips again, but probably not the Basa.

The atmosphere is a little on the dark side. We were there for lunch around 12:30 on a Saturday. The place had about 20 patrons. The wait staff was efficient, friendly and attentive. Even for that time of day, the interior was dark, which made the menus a little hard to read. They're going for an English Pub feel, which is moderately successful. We sat in a booth and the benches and seat backs were comfortable, but I did feel that I was sitting a little low to the table. Kevin seemed to be sitting a little higher. The acoustics are kind of loud in the main dining room. For the amount of people, the sounds really bounced. I can imagine it's very noisy during peak hours and may hinder intimate conversations.

As to the beers, on our next visit, we will definitely enjoy a pint of the Hefe and the Scotch Ale. They were very drinkable and of good quality. There were several other items on the menu that looked very tempting and I can't wait to give them a try on our next visit.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I still miss her

Heidi at 15 - 2005
Originally uploaded by solslett.

Today it has been 5 years since my beloved Heidi passed away. It's hard to believe she was part of my life for 16 years. Sometimes, in the wee hours of the morning, I can hear her nails clicking on the hard wood floors.

I pulled a box out of the coat closet last week. A dust bunny came with it. Nothing but downy white fur.

I still miss you, Boo.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Meh - It was ok

First - let me say that after having seen this place boarded up and neglected for years, Oakland did a fine job resurrecting this old classic:

Joe Satriani - Fox Theater, Oakland, 1/13/2011
It is beautiful inside and out. For that alone, I am thankful I went out last night. Also, had awesome sushi at Ozumo in Oakland. Need to go back there again.

The reason we went to Oakland was to see him -
Joe Satriani - Fox Theater, Oakland, 1/13/2011
Joe Satriani. Rock Legend.

Joe Satriani - Fox Theater, Oakland, 1/13/2011
Sammy Hagar came out for a couple of songs. That was fun.

Joe Satriani - Fox Theater, Oakland, 1/13/2011

But Joe spent the most part of the evening taking us to, and leaving us in, the stratosphere. You need to come down, and not just at the end. For the love of God, can you stay away from the whammy bar for a minute or two? Does each song have to be an epic endeavor?

I love music. I love concerts. I wanted to leave after half an hour, because it all sounded like one note at the neck pickup. Only once did the acoustic come out and he played it for maybe two minutes. It was beautiful. Melodic and almost ethereal. Then back to the break-neck, bass battering clamor.

I'm an old school head banger. Metal has been a passion since I was 17. I couldn't take this. I've seen Judas, Maiden, AC/DC, and would gladly see them again. Satch is on my "don't repeat" list.

Two hours later it was over and I felt every minute of it. After two hours with Springsteen, I want two more. I'll play the music on the way home just to keep the experience going. I had hoped to hear "Down, Down, Down" or "Chords of My Life", even "Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing". If all I heard was "Always With me, Always With You", I would have walked away happy and content. All the songs seemed to be variations of "Satch Boogie".

Hence the title of the post. Meh. It was ok. Check another one off the bucket list.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Prejudice by Tim Minchin

Love this song and thought I should share it in case you haven't been exposed to Tim Minchin. He is brilliant! He was on Conan O'Brien this week, and they didn't think this song would appeal to a US audience as they may be somewhat unfamiliar with the term that is used. As I posted on TeamCoco, there was a bit of a brouhaha over an South Park episode a few years ago that launched a Facebook page about "kicking" this segment of the population.

Go find Tim Minchin's videos on youtube. We spent a good part of an evening streaming them to the TV. Good times!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

A Year In Reading 2010

I was surprised at the end of it that I managed to read 35 books this year. My crafts suffered for this, but that's for another post.

I also see that I spent most of my time in the land of unreality. Obviously an attempt to remove myself from my day to day hum-drums.

This is what I filled my brain with:

The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo, Stieg Larson
The Girl Who Played With Fire, Stieg Larson
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest, Stieg Larson

Knit Two, Kate Jacobs

Last Night on Twisted River, John Irving

Faceless Killers, Henning Mankell

Fool, Christopher Moore

The 8th Confession, James Patterson
7th Heaven, James Patterson
Lifeguard, James Patterson

Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously, Adrienne Martini

Harvest Hunting, Yasmine Galenorn

Night World No. 1, L. J. Smith
The Return: Nightfall, L. J. Smith
The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle. L. J. Smith
The Reunion: V. 3 & 4, L. J. Smith

The Fallen 1 & 2, Thomas E. Sniegoski

Wuthering Bites, Sarah Grey

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, Jane Austen & Ben H. Winters
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Seth Grahame-Smith

Dawn of the Dreadfuls: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Steve Hockensmith

Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter, A. E. Moorat

Down and Dirty Viking, Sandra Hill
Viking Heat, Sandra Hill

204 Rosewood Lane, Debbie Macomber

A Hunger Like No Other, Kresley Cole
Pleasure of the Dark Prince, Kresley Cole
Dark Desires After Dark, Kresley Cole
Kiss of a Demon King, Kresley Cole
Dark Needs at Night's Edge, Kresley Cole
Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night, Kresley Cole
No Rest for the Wicked, Kresley Cole

Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean, Justin Somper

I probably enjoyed Steig Larson's books the most this year. It's a pity he passed away shortly after submitting them to the publisher. Staying with Swedish authors, Henning Mankell was also a pleasant surprise and now I need to get more of the Kurt Wallander mysteries.

John Irving. Author of World According to Garp. One the most troublesome books I've read and it still haunts me much like Metamorphosis by Kafka. I had high hopes that after 20 years, with age and maturity giving me a different view of life, that Irving would be a much better experience this time. Nope. I trudged through this as I did with Garp and thought at the very least I could say I read it.

James Patterson is becoming the Stephen King/Danielle Steele of the mystery genre. Dude, seriously, how many books do you have to publish a year to consider yourself successful? Allow us some down time between publication dates to at least savor an inkling of anticipation.

This was the year of Zombies and Vampires. I fell into the trap, managed to steer clear of pablum such as Little Women and Werewolves or Little Vampire Women. (Close call) The most enjoyable one was Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. The movie rights have been secured, and that should be a fun romp. DH is reading it now, and he hardly ever picks up a hard back.

Kresley Cole and Yasemine Galenorn were most enjoyable. They have created worlds where Vampires, Werewolves, and the Fey walk amongst mortals. Junk food for the brain - and no calories! Kresley has a new book coming out next month and it's already on the Amazon Wish List! Yasemine's series is going to take a bit to acquire, but it will be worth in the end, I think.

I wanted to read more books in 2010 then I did in 2009, and I accomplished that goal by 4. We'll see what I can do in 2011.