Tuesday, July 31, 2007

It's Tourist Season in San Francisco!

Just yesterday on the Ferry sat next to a group of Married Cousins from Over There who were happily pawing through their bag of the day's acquisitions: Alcatraz Penitentiary Swim Team t-shirts for the whole extended family.

Meanwhile, I've discovered a treasure trove of photos over at the San Francisco Public Library's online archives. Here's another visitor to our fair City from back in 1919! (Tall guy in back, sorta looks like Alan Rickman. Not the statue.)

There's another great photo of the same guy out in front of a Grateful Dead concert at Winterland (still open back then) holding the requisite "I need a miracle" sign. The Library said he was on a business trip, talking with Silicon Valley venture capitalists for some funding for a start-up.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Strange Sounds from the MySpace Grounds

The new Dun Ringles CD has arrived! Only 100 copies of this exceptionally pure prog-rock sound from Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides will be made available for the general public.

I was out of my blogging habits when I first met the Dun Ringles (and their much more avante friends The Guireans), so I'll have to quickly summarize by quoting liberally from their MySpace Page:

Band Members - Jason; Lead Guitar, bass, drum progs, keyboards,mandolin, backing vocals Robin;Keyboards, mandolin, accordion, backing vocals Wattie; lead vocals, bass, backing vocals Jon;lead guitar,mandolin, fiddle, backing vocals

Influences - Peatstacks Tractors Salmon Poaching Jethro Tull Horslips Cardiacs Crowded House Jori and Innes Isles FM The Comhairle Queen Deep Purple Blackmores Night The Valtos Outdoor Centre The Castle Grounds

Keeping the flame of Avante Gaelic Obscurist Folk Rock alive in the Outer Hebrides. Two sets of brothers( jason and jon/robin and wattie) fused together by an irrate record company and not allowed out to play until they have played Madison Square Garden at least twice and sold more than 2 copies of Redun from Fonn. Writing idiosyncratic songs about life in the Western Isles is all they do, spending long hours in candle-lit garrets and sipping from bottles of Absinthe whilst wearing fingerless gloves and muttering to themselves like some old geezer from a Dickens novel. Written seven or eight albums worth of songs and amassed a small but fanatical fan base (which also has a branch on Norway!!!!!!!! thanks Irene) whislt trying to keep the wolf from the door. If you want to know about Peatman, the illusive Funky Peatstack, Hump-backed lobsters and many characters of a Stornowegian slant, then this is the band for you.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Unfortunate Cup of Tea

"She was a cattleman's daughter, but all the horse men knew her."

Lately, my husband has lured me into a weekend hobby that is giving the Internet a run for its money. A hobby so compelling that it has me looking at horses with a whole new level of respect.

What's involved here are six plots of land in our community garden: two are ours in perpetuity and then I'm exercising squatters' rights on the other four for the purpose of growing pumpkins. (Being a slightly later season crop, this was an ideal use for the plots left unclaimed after mid-April.) I have one main field of jacks and sugar-pies, complete with a fierce "Road Warrior" style scarecrow, a left-over prop from a college production of Macbeth, and a sign proclaiming it The Great Pumpkin Patch. Nasturtiums and purple bush bean plants here and there for the color (and as an open invitation to ever-helpful bees.)

Spilling over from this thriving metropolis of autumn delights is the run-down suburb of transplants and stragglers. Over to the right from that, a new community of sugar-pies planted too late for All Hallow's Eve but sufficient for turkey and football a month later.

But far in the back, in the field we used to dump our rocks and dead soil, is a solemn triad of hills, each only holding two plants a piece. These are the monster pumpkins. We've lost one of the six, and we'll be lucky to bring the five remaining plants -- each allowed only one fruit -- to harvest. These are the pumpkins that can weigh as much as 100 pounds a piece. These are the pumpkins who taught me that horses are a farmer's best friend.

A neighbor, looking at the seed packet as we planted, said "You'll want some manure tea for these."

And so it was that we were shown the large plastic bucket in her patch where she brewed her daily batch of mineral-rich water for plants with "tea-bags" courtesy of her horse in a West Marin stable.

Yesterday, she brought in a fresh round of 'leaves' and gave them to me. It was the coolest gift I'd had in a long time! (I'd made tentative arrangements with my hair-dresser, who also has a horse, to go out to the stable where she kept it and get myself started there. But this is even better: one horse, lovingly fed on the best.)

Today, we brought in our own pots and cozies (buckets from the paint store, the feedbag cut in two and bungee cords.) I divided up the goods and wetted them down. There was an immediate buzz in the vicinity as all the flies sensed the opening of a high-end four star restaurant in the neighborhood (organic too!) so we hustled on the feedbags and left our buckets to brew in the hot summer sun.

Now I can turn my attention to the gophers...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

"Someone told me long ago

There's a calm before the storm"

I know. It's been coming for some time.

See. This is why I go in the winter. No expectations: no disappointments!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

"English guys are not beyond two girls at a time."

One of my prized pieces of vintage trash is a little paperback entitled "Groupies and Other Girls: A Rolling Stone Special Report" from 1970.

Absolutely loaded with primary source interviews, including this little segment on international relations from "Sunshine":

English guys are not beyond two girls at a time. They're not beyond anything they might want to try. American guys are very conservative. An Englishman at 19 is as mature as an American at 26--or 27. I thinks [sic] that's because most Englishmen are broken in by older women. They don't fumble into it, they learn it right. They're gentle, never pushy. Englishmen, a lot of them are bisexual. They're not hung up. I know a lot of them who have slept with men to see what it was like. American men are constantly trying to prove their virility. They won't wear lace shirts or anything like that. They don't realize that there isn't a woman in the world who can't be had by a man who know he's a man. A woman is only as good as the man she's with.

Much more of the same and some names are named. (Rod Stewart! Who would have thought!?!) All of it edited [with the one free hand?] by the guy who wants to keep the Monkees out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Classy.

Now it is true, in '70, that the flavors of the rock 'n' roll lollipop were predominately American and English. Makes me wonder what sort of backstage compare/contrast reputation was earned in the hands of these ladies a mere decade later by Bono and the boys?