Friday, December 31, 2010

"this is a war, not a garden party!"

YES. I finally found my favorite Boondocks comic of all time:


Friday, December 24, 2010

heading to Minnesota

I'm spending Christmas with my in-laws in Minnesota. It's supposed to get down to 2-4 degrees. Sigh.

Operation Windmill Member Sitting in the Snow

Key to success in packing for a Minnesota winter? Grab the warmest things you own, and add long underwear. Layer and repeat.

(phota via Smithsonian Flickr account)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

one can dream...

I don't know why I keep looking at pretty dresses when I really have no idea how to wear them. From Sunday Brunch Dress Shop:

  1. Kloset Nouveau
  2. Ucce Holmes dress
  3. Kloset Bees Knees

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

lunar eclipse in absentia

It would follow that one of the more amazing natural phenomena (a one-two punch of full lunar eclipse and winter solstice) would occur while it's completely overcast in Vegas but clear in San Francisco. I am waiting for my friends to report back. In the meantime, consoling myself with the NASA Flickr images of the event.

Total Lunar Eclipse (201012210003HQ)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

sequel will consist of waiting for the water to heat

Of course, Penny Arcade would be the one to encapsulate in only 3 frames all that I hate about Myst.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

imperial stout tasting, part II

Most of the gang was back on Friday for the sequel of last week's imperial stout tasting.

imperial stout tasting, 12.17.10

I missed a couple of tasters because I went to pick Whit up from work, but am actually glad I did: there's no way I would have made it to the Parabola if there had been an extra stout or two in the middle.

Only major disappointment was 2009 The Abyss, which had fallen prey to an infection that surged through the beer forums earlier this year. All it means is that the beer was unintentionally soured because of bacterial residue somewhere along the production process. Or, as Jason put it: "It's definitely got a horse-ass flavor to it." Oh well.

imperial stout tasting, 12.17.10

This week's menu (faves are starred):
imperial stout tasting, 12.17.10

Friday, December 17, 2010

The City Unfolded

The bus shelter poster project that First Exposures did with 826 Valencia is now in book form. From the synopsis:
During the spring of 2010, the students of First Exposures and 826 Valencia came together every Saturday to tell the real and imagined stories of San Francisco. The students formed 13 groups, and each group was asked to imaginatively interpret the City through words and photographs. Exploring both ideas and neighborhoods, visions began forming of how they saw both themselves living within the city, and the city itself. During the summer, the students reconvened to edit their final projects for presentation in the public domain of bus shelters throughout San Francisco. This book presents each of these projects and documentation of the process involved.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Westvleteren 8 tasting

Westvleteren 8 tasting

When Evan went to Belgium in 2008, he bought several bottles of the Westvleteren beer from the St. Sixtus' Abbey. The Westvleteren 12 was drunk last year, but he held on to a bottle of Westvleteren 8 to celebrate his dissertation defense, which happened November 19 (hooray, Evan!). So on Monday, the 8 was broken out for a taste.

Westvleteren 8 tasting

Evan was anxious about whether the beer would be skunked, but it tasted nice and malty. He also fretted about how it tasted different than it did at the abbey. Being that the beer made it from Belgium to Pennsylvania to California and stored for 2 years, I was impressed that it was still carbonated.

Westvleteren 8 tasting

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

SF Ballet, The Nutcracker

I used to take ballet and tap classes when I was five. I quit when I was six when my teacher moved to New York (I'm nothing if not loyal). It's probably for the best that I didn't stick with it, to avoid the inevitable showdown at 13 between me and my hips.

Since I lost interest in ballet so early in life, I had never had a chance to see a professional ballet company performance before. I rectified that with attendance at the San Francisco Ballet's presentation of The Nutcracker. The music, of course, is familiar; Whit characterized it as one of the only "toe-tapping" ballet orchestrations. I find myself concerned with how other ballet orchestrations are characterized.

The performance was fantastic: well thought-out set design; actual magic tricks in the first act (when Drosselmeyer is entertaining the children); lush music; and of course, the dancing.

Photo via SF Ballet, © Erik Tomasson

I think SF Ballet production is unique in that the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" pas de deux is performed not by the Sugar Plum Fairy, but by a grown-up Clara.

The Nutcracker is a huge project to organize; there are almost 170 roles to cast and rehearse, and practice began back in October. Here's the preview:

Monday, December 13, 2010

"this is not the most effiicient tool for the task"

I just don't understand sudoku. It's just doing something that computers have been able to do for years. I mean, I guess you could count from 1 to 100, but how is that fun?
-- my husband, the pragmatist

Saturday, December 11, 2010

imperial stout tasting, part I

The benefit of hanging around homebrewers and beer connoisseurs is that sometimes people want to pool together some of their "gets" in the company of others. This is how I wound up at an imperial stout tasting with a group that consisted of half my friends, and half some local homebrewers and beer judges.

imperial stout tasting, 12.10.10

We wound up tasting 16 beers total last night; however, it looks like there is going to be a Part II next week. Despite the alcohol content, no one got messed up (there was tons of food available to snack on). We also went at a pretty easy pace (the entire tasting took about 3 hours).

Here's what we tried; faves are starred, but almost everything was really tasty:
There was a bit of palate fatigue for everyone near the end. Next time, I'll make sure to have something a little more cleansing than water and taquitos.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

first mittens

Oh hey lookit, I knit some mittens.

first mittens
first mittens
I made up a pattern, because I don't know how to read real ones. I decided to do a buttonhole thumb that I picked up after the rest of the mitten was done because I don't know how to do an increasing thumb gusset. I also think I am just making up these phrases.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Amazon's gift suggestion body snark

So, Amazon. What are you trying to say about geeks and their upper-body aesthetics?

(click to embiggen)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Rachel and Jason

Rachel carving a pumpkin

Rachel and Jason

Rachel and Jason have a moment

Rachel and Jason are getting married in about 4 weeks, and he leaves for a job in Toyko about 3 weeks after that (Rachel is staying here in California). It wasn't quite clear to me just how hard this would be for them until this weekend. I'm trying to talk up all the great stuff about Japan. I doubt this is working.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Russian River bachelorette party

This is Rachel.
She makes awesome coffee, pours awesome beer, and bakes awesome French silk pies. She's also getting married next month, and we are celebrating with a bachelorette weekend in Russian River. The penis-shaped straws are not invited.

Friday, December 3, 2010

the 50mm/1.8 lens

I shoot on a Nikon D80 with a 50mm/1.8 prime lens. There are two reasons for this:
  1. I don't know how to use a flash, so I need a lens with a wide aperture in low light situations.
  2. I learned photography with a 50mm lens, and never learned how to use zoom lenses.
But apparently, now I can pretend that there are other, purposeful reasons for shooting with my current system.

DIY Photography: In Praise of the 50mm/1.8 lens (via CaliberSF Twitter).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Carolina Chocolate Drops, "Hit 'Em Up Style"

NPR Music just listed their 50 favorite albums of 2010, an I have been slowly exploring the samples for new types of music. This one by the Carolina Chocolate Drops (an old-time string band from North Carolina) has such great energy:

EDIT: I forgot to mention that this is a cover of Blu Cantrell's Hit 'Em Up Style" from 2001.