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I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but I've gone to a few ukulele gatherings ... and learned about many, many more in my area.
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Having a low-key weekend. I had planned more, but when things fell through I didn't fill in with Plan B's (though I did have them).

Went to the Berkeley Farmers' Market today. Spent time catching up with "The Cheese Man" aka the main Redwood Hill Farms guy. Also got sharp goat cheddar (my favorite over the years). Wandered and got stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, plums). Was surprised there were strawberries; not surprised this was the last of blueberries, or close. A vendor I hadn't seen before selling hard cider made from the Gravensteins from their farm.


The month-long visit by my sis made for a fun, busy May. This made June busy, too, and some stuff has been pushed beyond. Am still enjoying the ukulele, but I think I've already into guitarisms. Maybe I'll take workshops or classes.

In the recent past I've been to concerts (Matt Alber, "Bright Light Bright Light" aka Rod Thomas who also performed with "Slow Knights," the side project led by Derek Gruen aka Del Marquis of the Scissor Sisters) and am excited to see the Future Bible Heroes in a few days.
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We lived near the very first Nation's Giant Hamburgers back when it was a little shack. It's become a local chain, known as much for the burgers as for the pies. Dad loved custard (by itself, in pies, wherever), but in the last years of his life he wasn't supposed to have lots of sweets due to the diabetes. Still, it was an occasional treat.

While I don't think it was intentional, I've often lived near a Nation's. The condo building where I've lived over a decade has one across the street.

Today I went to the original, which has been remodeled several times since the "shack" days. I'm at the house, eating a slice of custard pie at the kitchen table, just like dad probably did. Miss you, Dad!


May. 9th, 2013 08:43 pm
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Got my signed copy of the Julia Ecklar HORSETAMER CD today!!!
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Today is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day?
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In preparation for a crown on a back molar, I had a temporary crown put in, but I've managed to have it fall off twice so far. I'm hoping it survives the weekend. Permanent crown next week.
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Recently got the iPhone 5. Am happy with it so far, though posting pics to LJ seems problematic - must be user error. I have stuck w/AT&T, mainly because of the "unlimited data" grandfathered in from the original iPhone plan. The overall response, whether Internetty or not, is significantly faster. The 4G/LTE feels like the future and is faster than some freebie wifi I use, like on the commuter bus.
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Met [livejournal.com profile] debmats in San Francisco's Mission District today, to brunch and catch up. We went to Bar Tartine for a lovely meal, then wandered over to Borderlands Books for the John Joseph Adams book event for The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination with special guest, Seanan McGuire. Although I'd previously heard her read her story, "Laughter at the Academy: A Study in the Development of Schizotypal Creative Genius Personality Disorder (SCGPD)," I hadn't seen her this year and hey, reading/signing!

Just before the start of the event as JJA and Seanan were setting up, I asked her about the stories in the anthology and ... she gave a quick review! Fun!

The reading went well (and Seanan even incorporated an annoying car alarm that happened to go off), and the Q&A afterward was interesting, going rather longer than typical.

The big bonus was seeing and meeting Mark Oshiro aka "Mark Does Stuff"
He's even cuter in person!

After getting stuff signed (thank you thank you thank you, Seanan!), Deb & I walked around some more. I was a bit disappointed she was not yet hungry enough for a meal (so no Mission Chinese or Nombe), but Mission Pie apparently worked fine. We each had a slice of Shaker Lemon Pie, and I took a whole pie home. Yum!

Nice time all around, though the bus Deb expected to take to get home from the BART station apparently didn't happen, so she had to wait for the next one.
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Fancy sakura mochi:


In early March I hope to get some of the less fancy (like my user pic) from Shuei-do in San Jose.
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I couldn't find a pic with dad wearing 49ers gear, so here's a pic of one of his 49ers caps and a custard pie. Happy 93rd and Go Niners!
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Still haven't gotten to see Les Miz or The Hobbit again. I finally got around to watching Contagion (w/Damon, Paltrow, etc.) on DVD rental having missed it in the theaters, and really enjoyed it. Also purchased Cabin in the Woods and the Avengers on DVD -- still really enjoy them.

Had fun last Saturday at Kathy Mar's Birthday Bash.
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As noted in the previous post, I intentionally avoided learning about the background of the Les Miserables musical-turned-movie. Some of it was unavoidable (Hugh Jackman! Russell Crowe! Anne Hathaway!). Now that I've seen it, I'm going to do a lot of web-surfing. But before I do ...

Based on what I saw:

Overall, I really liked it. I don't know enough about the period, but the look was fine for my needs. There were a few places where the camera movement or "movement" screamed, "This is for scope!" but mostly thumbs-up from me. The change made to start the show (one of the 25th Anniversary version's tweaks) definitely showed up in the movie in grand fashion.

I cried at various points, no surprise there.

The instrumental support on the songs was present and happily did not obscure the lyrics. I've seen the stage musical a bunch of times and realize it's not the same experience, but there were a couple of those where I thought super-titles (like in operas) would've been helpful.

My favorite moment was seeing Colm Wilkinson as The Bishop. I really liked the performances of many of the non-marquee performers. The one that immediately comes to mind is Samantha Barks, whom I remembered enjoying as Eponine in the 25th Anniversary Concert performance of Les Miz, the one that had the performance of four Jean Valjeans at the end. The guys playing Marius, Enjolras, and the other students -- I totally believed they were singing and could translate their vocal performances to the stage.

The kids who played Gavroche and Young Cosette worked for me.

Was moved by the complete performances by Wolverine and Ella, I mean Jackman and Hathaway. Crowe. Hmm. I found him to be kind of sexy, but Javert has killer songs and I don't think his acting made up for the vocals. Still, better than Pierce Brosnan in "Mamma Mia."

Helena Bonham Carter. My gosh, casting her as Madame Thenardier was a great fit, acting-wise. Maybe not a big stretch for her. Director Tom Hooper did well with her in "The King's Speech," too.

I did not find the new song, "Suddenly," to be particularly useful for exposition, and I don't think it was a showcase song for Jackman, unlike the irritating "Listen" written just for Beyonce Knowles for the movie version of "Dreamgirls."

That's it for now. There were other characters played by actors I thought I'd seen in concert/stage productions, so I'd better get to looking around the Internet That Knows All.
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I haven't paid lots of attention to the build-up to the "Les Miserables" musical movie, except that I listened to a trailer on my computer (sounded not too great) and then saw it in a theatre (sounded better, which surprised me, especially regarding one particular vocal).

Am going to see it for sure, but started looking at places to get the soundtrack. I knew there was at least one new song, "Suddenly," but I not seeing "Do You Hear The People Sing" or "A Little Fall of Rain." Odd. Or is there a story behind the omissions? Not finding either on downloads or CD purchase.
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Huh, I thought I successfully posted a few pics., etc., via mobile over the last couple of weeks. Wonder where they went ...
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I saw the movie, "Cloud Atlas," yesterday and liked it. It felt like a "big," ambitious movie.

Saw an online article that pointed me to this. While there are resonances that might make it seem like an ad/plug for the movie, I think was more a convergence of ideas and themes. Anyway, I thought this was amazingly articulate and heart-felt:

There were several parts I really enjoyed, one of which starts, ""I am completely horrified of the 'talk show' ..." Others were about the support of family. Overally, I probably liked this speech as much as another recent speech, the Neil Gaiman "Make Good Art."

In rewatching, another favorite part starts, "Having good parents is just like the lottery ..."
Yeah, I definitely feel I won that lottery, too.
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Yesterday, I worked a half-day and then flew down to San Diego. [livejournal.com profile] tennis_bear and his partner A had invited me to stay with them if I wanted to see the new musical, Allegiance, and so we planned. Sadly, A had work travel on short notice, so I won't get to know him better until next time.

I'll be seeing the actual show tonight, but last night there was a special event hosted by The Old Globe in conjunction with "Allegiance." The panel, consisting of moderator and local TV news person Marianne Kushi and members of the local community, Jeanne Kikuko Elyea, Michio Himaka, and Yukio Kawamoto, shared stories about the internment of Japanese and Japanese-Americans during World War II.

The details of internment camp situation and life afterward were interesting to me because this group of internees were in Poston, AZ. I'm more familiar with the stories from Tule Lake, Manzanar and Topaz. Jeanne, in particular, was feisty and funny, despite the serious subject matter.

Definitely looking forward to Allegiance tonight.

Go Giants!

Oct. 11th, 2012 02:15 pm
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San Francisco Giants, that is.

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Keeping in my we did nibble/eat throughout the three hour event, and even took in a 45 minute seminar -- approximate list & order of tastes:

Oban (Distillers Edition)
Laphroaig (Cask Strength)
Aberlour (A'bunadh)
Bruichladdich (Organic, 10 year old, PC7)
Four Roses Bourbon (Single Barrel)
Hakushu seminar (5 tastes: first three were 12 y/o of component whisky - one very, very smoky/peated - and then the Hakushu 12 y/o "final" and last, the Hakushu 18 y/o)
The Macallan (15 y/o Fine Oak)
Yamazaki (12 y/o, 18 y/o) & Hibiki (12 y/o)
The Glenrothes (1995, 1988 in honor of Ellen B.)
Cocktail made from Black Grouse, bergamot juice, etc.
Glen Grant (16 y/o)
Highland Park (12/15/18 -- in honor of [livejournal.com profile] museinred)
Ardbeg (Uigeadail - near the end)
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