Log in

15 June 2008 @ 06:03 pm
Just wanted to gush a little bit about my fabulous trip down to San Francisco to visit my dear friends from Michigan days, Tricia and Renee.

Despite the usual evening fog and brisk wind, the days have been sunny and 70's. Definitely an improvement over Seattle's craptacular June weather.

Had a delicious lunch with my pals downtown at a street cafe. Hard to believe I broke down and ordered the meat loaf, but what the heart and stomach want...

Went with Renee to a member's only preview at SFMOMA afterwards for an exhibit of Frida Kahlo that opened this weekend. Absolutely amazing! Had the chills and goosebumps upon turning a corner and seeing "The Two Fridas" in the flesh. It was vaguley disturbing the amount of commericalization and commodification of Frida in the gift shop: t-shirts, notebooks, stationary, bags, posters, dolls, puzzles, etc. The only similar analogy I could think of was the amount of Che Guevara swag I saw down in Mexico a few years ago. Ironic what capitalism had done to these artists and revolutionaries who were fighting for the complete opposite of worshipping the almighty dollar. (end rant)

Met for very fancy (and very expensive) cocktails at a place called Bourbon and Branch, a literal speakeasy in the heart of the Tenderloin. You ring the doorbell, give the doorperson your previously emailed password and you are ushered in to a very dark, windowless bar. Very fancy Prohibition era decor though, once your eyes adjust to the gloom. The drink menus was a wonder to behold and a bit overwhelming. Being a lush of a particular stripe, I opted for a flight of bourbon: 3 one ounce samples of some VERY fine bourbons that I'd never heard of and have now forgotten. Topped that off with one of their specialty drinks called a Revolver. Bourbon (rye?), orange bitters and a little something else. Somehow the five of us escaped with a bar bill (just) under $200. Thank god one can rationalize such expenditures as part and parcel of vacation with dear friends.

Went around the corner to one of the numerous Indian restaurants in the neighborhood (Renee joking refers to her part of the Tenderloin as the Tandoori-loin.) Most of the Indian restaurants I've been too here tend to have the ambience of many of the tacquerias. Loud appropriately ethnic music, half hearted themed decor on the walls,  too bright light, lots of people (some of whom as equally tipsy as we were), but more than made up for by the sheer delicious and tasty platters of food brought quickly to our table and ravenously passed around and devoured. Indian is definitely made for 'family style': order 5 different entrees and sides, a huge plate of nan, and the explosion of curried goodness piled on a bed of rice, mish mashed together like some kind of crazed Asian thanksgiving feast. Damn, it's hard to believe I never ate Indian until I visited London in 1996. Then again, growing up in small town Michigan doesn't offer the most multicultural culinary options...

We finsihed off the night going up the street for "just one more" to a place called Whiskey Thieves. The sign hanging outside is a work of art: hammered tin with the design of two crossed six-shooters, emblazoned WHISKEY THIEVES in appropriate Deadwood wanted sign font. One would think the place would be something straight out of a Nick Cave song, but the bar itself was, well, a bar. Except for a HUGE selection of whiskeys and bourbons from around the world lining the stock shelves, it looked like your typical hipster dive bar in any large city. Oh, the other thing of note was that this was a SMOKING bar, a rarity indeed in the state of California (and Seattle, and New York, ...) The loophole in this law is that the ban was passed as an osha/worker protection need, so bars that want to allow smoking bascially make all the workers part owners of the establishment. Very clever, but smokers (and entrepeneurs) are sure to find a way. I'm not sure exactly how the employee ownership structure works, but the idea of worker owned cooperative bars really tickles the alcoholic anarchist in me! However, after years of visiting SF and the couple years of smoke-free Seattle, it is still a very odd, almost unnatural, experience to actually be allowed to smoke with a drink in hand INSIDE. No huddling under the awnings in the freezing cold outside here!

After that, we drunkenly stumbled to the BART station (god bless a mass transit system that actually works), came home to the Mission and promptly passed out. Easy to believe considering the inordinate amount of bourbon I had consumed in the course of the evening. I was feeling a bit distilled and fermented myself by morning...

Saturday shenanigans to come tomorrow (hopefully)
Current Location: San Francisco (duh)
Current Mood: contentcontent
27 March 2008 @ 01:15 pm
Since I haven't had time yet to write a wonderfully long-winded report about how awesome, fun and exhausting Norwescon was this year, I highly recommend that you read my friend Paul's blog reports from the con over at The Slog (ie, The Stranger's blog).

And yes, I was at the party with the alien blow-up sex toy...
Current Location: lunch
Current Mood: geekygeeky
20 February 2008 @ 12:43 pm
Yes, it has been a terribly long time since I posted last, but I thought I would let everyone know what panels I will be on at Norwescon this year! Feel free to mark your calendars, then come on down to heckle me (and Vlad too). But please be gentle--this is my first time as a panelist [gulp].

Contempo-Epic-Slipstream-Gothic: What Do Sub-genre Labels Mean?   Thursday  4:00 p.m.  Cascade 8

Ever wondered what "Slipstream" means? or what's "Urban Fantasy" or "Southern Gothic" and why? Discussion of the marketing and labeling of Fantasy as an aid to readers and writers.

Lisa Mantchev (M), Richelle Mead, Vladimir Verano, Steve Winter


From Page to Shelf   Friday  1:00p.m.  Cascade 9

Panel discussion of the publication process and timeline in major SF/F publishing.

John Picacio (M), Steve Winter, Ray Vucevich, Wolf Lahti, Dan Simmons


The Social Mirror--Social and Political Issues as Reflected in Modern Fantasy and Science Fiction   Friday  3:00 p.m.  Cascade 7

Serious discussion panel on present day issues as reflected in present day Fantasy Fiction and the historical why and how of SFF's role as "safe . From Ayn Rand to Animal Farm and Brave New World.

G. David Nordley (M), Brenda Cooper,  Steve Winter


Moving into Young Adult Fiction   Friday  5:00 p.m.  Cascade 4

With the success of Harry Potter, publishing has focused on young adult fiction. What writers and new fiction should we be looking at from this year?

Lisa Mantchev (M), Vladimir Verano, Steve Winter


Oww… That hurt   Saturday  1:00 p.m.  Evergreen 4

Books that made me think.

Steve Winter (M), Renee Stern, Brian Tillotson


Quelling Fantasy Fears   Sunday  10:00 a.m.  Cascade 5

In recent years teachers and librarians have faced increasing opposition, even outright hostility, from parents and other community members to the inclusion of books and stories with magical or fantasy themes, whether on library shelves or in classroom curriculum.  Please join us in sharing and discussing rational arguments and approaches to quell the sometimes irrationa concerns of these mostly well-meaning members of the community.

Eva-Lise Carlstrom (M), Mickey Phoenix, Steve Winter

Current Mood: energeticexcited, yet nervous
04 September 2007 @ 07:26 am
Last week, msandromeda gave me perhaps one of the best book gifts ever!

Cooking with Condensed Soups by Anne Marshall, Director Home Economics, Campbell Soup Company

(I would insert an image of the cover but I haven't found a good one yet)

This is the cookbook that was written just for me! It includes such delicious wonders as:

Master Meat Loaf
Especially Good Creamed Chicken
Festive Franks
and... Tomato-Cheese Macaroni!

Naturally every single one of the 114 recipes contain that all important ingredient of any 1960's dish: Campbells Condensed Soup!

I love it!! I knew there was a reason I have "cooking with cans" as one of my LJ interests.

Current Location: Ballard
Current Mood: hungryMmmm...soup
21 July 2007 @ 09:53 am
Extremely long and tireing day (and night, and early morning...) yesterday working at the bookstore-was there from 9:00 am to 1:45 am. There was a lot of fun too, but my highlight moment actually came on the ride home:

While stopped and waiting at the interminable light at Green Lake Way at about 2:15 am, I happened to look over at the car waiting in the lane next to me. Mom was in the driver's seat while two young girls were sitting in the front and rear passengers seats closest to me, heads down as if sleeping or in prayer. They happened to look up, caught my eye, whereupon they both lit up in big old smiles and proudly held up their copies of Harry Potter to the windows. Like the dork I am, I quickly reached in my bag and held up my copy too... also with a big old smile. :)

Hopefully pictures of me dressed as Fred/George Weasley to come...
Current Mood: drainedtired & sore
12 July 2007 @ 07:35 am
Yes, it has been a terribly long time since I've posted. Rather than play catch-up with my personal life, I thought I'd hit a couple bullet points on some recent "Happy to be in Ballard" moments:

Stayed home for 4th of July rather than trying to trek to a friend's place in West Seattle. Had a couple cold ones then rode my bike over to the St Alphonsus parking lot at 15th and 58th to watch the fireworks. OK view of Fourth of Jul-Ivars, but really great angle on the Gasworks show. Nice and mellow and only had to share the space with 4 other people. Take that Gasworks suckers!

Went to Hattie's Hat not once, but twice on Sunday! Had a delicious brunch of Hattie's Hash with friend/co-worker Andrea and her husband, Kevin. That night had a delicious late dinner of a Hat Burger (BACON!) with msandromeda That was especially nice since it had been quite a while since we've had dinner out together, especially at one of our favorites,  and it was a good time to talk. I joked afterwards that I earned quite a few punk rock Ballard points by eating at Hatties twice in one day with a bloody mary as bookends for the day! (Or maybe those are hardened artery AA points I earned...)

While wandering around the always lovely Ballard Sunday Market, we bumped into another co-worker and his friend busking on the street. If you like old timey bluegrass, you should definitely check them out as The Whiskyswillers. (In fact, they are playing this Friday at Jules Maes in Georgetown.) I also bumped into my former co-worker from Elliott Bay days, Irene.

Lastly, I was at the Trader Joe's in the U District walking through the parking garage when a car covered in very cool bumper stickers caught my eye--lots of cool goth and punk stickers and hey! a Ballard sticker. Since I was still a little sleepy headed, I wasn't very quick on the uptake and it took me several moments of admiration before I realized... "Hey! This is elenorerigby and jetboijettgrrl 's car! Yay!" So of course I hunted down Ellie in the store and socialized while shopping.

There's a quick snapshot of life in Ballard and beyond. I just love this neighborhood and I love my peeps here as well.
Current Location: duh
Current Mood: contentcontent
Current Music: Von Sudenfed - "Fledermaus Can't Get It"
17 May 2007 @ 07:45 am
Long time, no post, but I thought I would give a quick shout out to all my Scandinavian friends on Norwegian Constitution Day (I'm thinking of you specifically jetboijettgrrl) I'm Finnish-American, but any excuse to celebrate all things Scandahoovian is fine with me! Plus, floats in the shape of Viking longboats totally kick ass!

I'm heading to watch the parade on my bike right after work and will probably be standing around on the corner of 60th and 24th, hopefully meeting a bunch of my fellow Ballardian friends. Maybe see you there??

Of course, in true Ballard /and/ Scandinavian tradition, we will be going for drinks as soon as the parade is over...
Current Location: duh
Current Mood: bouncyA Viking We Shall Go!
07 April 2007 @ 09:20 am
I spent the day yesterday at the SeaTac Doubletree wandering around Norwescon, sometimes with mystrymonotreme while he wasn't on panels, and overall had a pretty good day. Here's a random list of the highlights (and a lowlight or two)...

*SeaTac at 11 am on Easter Friday was a parking nightmare. We circled and hovered for nearly an hour until I finally dropped off Vladimir at the hotel and he called me with alternate parking lots he had gotten from a concierge. Sheesh! Hopefully getting there a bit earlier will help, or we can just go straight to the Wally World (or whatever) parking lot instead of circling.

*After checking in, I managed to catch most of a Q&A session with Kim Stanley Robinson, this year's author guest of honor. He is one of my favorite authors and somehow have never attended a reading of his before. He was well spoken, intelligent and quite funny as well! Yay!

*Hung out with and/or said hello and chatted with some of the fellow SFF book pro's from the Seattle area. In no particular order: Duane from UBooks; Kat Richardson, author of "Greywalker"; Richelle Mead, author of "Succubus Blues" (and fellow Ann Arbor ex-pat); Leslie Howle, education director of the Science Fiction Museum; Gordon Van Gelder, publisher of The Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy (and the Publisher Guest of Honor); other local authors Greg Bear (and family), Kay Kenyon, David Herter, and Bruce Taylor; Scott, Lance Kind and Briget Coila, friends from our old Elliott Bay SF Bookclub. Also, had the bravery to introduce myself and chat with Kim Stanley Robinson himself!

*Checked out the dealer's room and looked at books--it's impossible to shop for hidden gems at the con because these dealers know what they have and you're not going to find any hidden treasures for a good price. But it's still nice to look (and buy) and chat with the fellow book pirates!

*Attended the Philip K Dick Award ceremony where SPIN CONTROL by Chris Moriarty was announced as the winner and CARNIVAL by Elizabeth Bear received the Special Citation (basically runner-up).

*Hung out, chatted with folks and people watched in the main hallway by the bar before finally leaving at 10 pm. It's very interesting and worth of its own post later about the change over from the day people to the night people at the con. Let's just say it gets quite a bit more goth and freak-ish. Quite the fun spectacle and sometimes distracting (in a good way!0

Well, off to bring msandromeda to work, pick up Vlad, and back to the con we go! Look for another update sometime tomorrow...
Tags: ,
Current Location: Scenic SeaTac bound
Current Mood: energeticGeek Overdrive
04 April 2007 @ 07:59 am
That would be the title of my latest blog entry over at the Fantastic Planet Books Blog--go check it out!

Another reason to check it out is that the wonderfully articulate and erudite msandromeda will soon be posting a couple of entries there as well. As many of you know from her more philosophical posts here on LJ, she is a great writer and always full of brilliant prose and intelligent observations.

So come visit the FPBlog! Iain Banks! Conan v Elric! And soon... Harlan Ellison and Richard Brautigan!!
Current Location: Ballard
Current Mood: accomplishedbloggy
02 March 2007 @ 07:37 am
Attention all readers of dark, intelligent, literary fantasy in general, and fans of China Mieville in particular! He is the author of Perdido Street Station, The Scar, Iron Council, et al. and he will be reading tonight from his new YA novel, Un Lun Dun, at University Bookstore at 7 pm. If you haven't seen him in person, he is incredibly articulate, wonderfully charming and a self-admitted geek. For those of you who have seen him before, you know what I'm talking about!

Hopefully mystrymonotreme and I will see you there!

(In case you can't tell, I /really/ like China Mieville. If I could be one author, it would be him...)
Current Location: New Crobuzon
Current Mood: energetictotally geeked!