Sunday, November 30, 2008

book Sunday reading

so few times lately i feel proud of myself
i do work every day
and i do what a 'regular' sort of responsible
citizen is expected to do
but since i don't exercise anymore,
those little feelings of accomplishments
and self-fulfillment that come with running an extra-block
or swimming an extra lap, haven't been around
i don't really go out of my way to do much these days

but today
but i was able to finish Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential
'right on time!'

as i posted before
i was being lazy even with books!
so i pushed a little and today
last day of November i was able to finish on time the book

it took some effort to concentrate to confess
and with this tendency i have to sabotage myself
i had to be extra careful, i left the house so i didn't have
many distractions, i buried myself in a Starbucks
and ordered a black coffee, sat & read & read & read

of course, i got distracted many many many times
by the colorful walls and the squarish semi-art

my mind tricked me into counting the birds on top of
this coffee drinker seated outside

later it made me focus on the lady-in-black
crossing the street

even the backs of chairs were
appealing... and every time, i'd be too distracted
i'd take a photo and go back to read... it worked!
lots of bad rushed photos, lots of pages read
a cheap way of entertaining yourself

and even thought, by the time i left Starbucks
i wasn't done with the book, i made a huge advance there

i came home, made an extra mug of cherry green tea
and devoured the Afterword
i have the 'updated edition'
so like in a trance, i read all the extra materials
'A Conversation with Anthony Bourdain',
an article by Bourdain on New York dinning recommendations
and others

i read the whole thing!!
and just to make sure, i wasn't being a flake, as i usually am
i read the colophon, the printing credits
the back cover and even the back of the book a couple of times

it was so cool update it at
from the currently-reading to read shelf...

ah!! nothing like the sense of accomplishment
after doing something just for the pleasure of doing it
and for yourself, no work to complete, no social engagement
just following your own rules
nice when it works!

now to keep in one-per- month book state
until i am back on good-reading-shape
and comes to me automatically, spontaneously
as it once did

even with the fun things in life
sometimes one has to shake laziness
and discipline yourself to have fun out there

yeah yeah yeah
read a little book you too, today
or listen to a whole album, start to finish
or a cool article...
ah anyway another week comes ahead...

movie Saturday night

Ken Cinema in Kensington - San Diego, California

the film indeed met its expectations
[an a little more!]
Fear(s) of the Dark / Peur(s) du noir
it was not only scary and interesting
but even a tad disturbing at times

Now-playing poster spot at 'the Ken'

a rather interesting black & white
animation on human primordial fears
i wouldn't recommend it for kids
or young teenagers, even though
the violence is not so graphic
(although it is some times)
the whole tone of the film
is dark not just on the supra-natural taste
of things, but dark when it comes to human nature

experimental, noir, and literally black & white
highly recommended if you want to be a little
horrified and don't mind being disturbed too

and yes! there are moments in the film
when you'll have too
fear(s) of the dark

it kept me awake
and was a good thing on a Saturday night
but then i came back home and slept fine

strange unremembered dreams
weren't the film to blame about
just this inconsistent feeling of
having dreamed a forgot on the waking times

another Sunday, warmer, drier
life, with its seconds and minutes
all together, passing by

we can close our eyes -but
we can't close our ears -and
we can't stop the time

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fear(s) of the Dark / Peur(s) du noir

perusing around the Ken cinema schedule
[Ken cinema is an originally kept movie theater from the mid 40's walking distance from my house, rather charming place]
discover they are showing today

Fear(s) of the Dark / Peur(s) du noir

so checked the trailer and website
& wow! a rather interesting animation film!
sounds perfect for an after rain chilly Saturday film
please check this link
with samples of the different artists who worked
on the animation on the film
all different styles, but all black & white
and all rather creepy!

here some stills from different artists styles
and their names, taken from images sections
of the official site

Charles Burns

Richard McGuire

Lorenzo Mattotti

Marie Caillou

Pierre Di Sciullo

Richard McGuire

can't wait to watch it!

the trailer

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving 2009

on a rainy with beautiful sunny patches day

we celebrated a lovely and delicious
Thanksgiving dinner this past Thursday
in San Diego

here some of the delights we shared
we had all the traditional trimmings too
mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans
sweet potatoes, my friend Jena
tried a recipe of sweet potatoes with apples
raisins and pecans, i really liked it!
the apples gave the sweet potatoes a milder
softer texture, great combo!

but surely the star of the night
was my friend perro's roasted cranberry sauce
an original twist on the traditional cranberry sauce
that is made just with sugar and cranberries
he added roasted cardamom pods, cinnamon,
and jalapeños, and not sure what else
but it was surprisingly good treat

also his Russian bread with caraway seeds
that we ate before dinner, with this delicious
fondue of Gruyère cheese and Brandy...
it was exquisite!
all this accompanied by a couple of glasses
of chardonnay and other blanc wines

my job was the same as the past couple of years
in charge of pumpkin pie

worth mentioning that our hosts, apart from trimming
and turkey, baked a delicious sweet potato pie
with pecans on top, home-made crust...

this American holiday has become not only sharing
this traditional menu with the goods of the Autumn,
but a warm celebration of thankfulness for the good things
we have in our life

as surely i am thankful, for those wonderful fluffy clouds on the skies
for the fortunate fragrances and tastes of not just the delicious meal above
but the meals i get every day, as i never go hungry or cold
and i am thankful to be able to see the smiles of friends
and families and too the ones online!
thankful for being happy of being alive

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the coming rain

& driving back home tonight
my eyes posed over layers of images
a steering wheel, my cold hands,
the dirty windshield, the dusty board
and then followed this spectacular
woolly blanket of clouds

... the imminent signs in the sky of
a promised-long-overdue rain

and later
this night

as i type,
a lone sound outside
[nearly foreign to me now]

is that one of she! wet!
typing too, with her clean clear big drops
she falls
on the ground
on the grass
on the floor & w/
her fresh crisp claims
launders it all
leaving traces of hope

after a little while,
like these words,
she will dry out,

Jhumpa Lahiri and

I found this little gadget on
where you can share your books' reviews
and your reading lists, recommendations, etc.
on your blog and
i recently started adding books & words there
a couple of days ago my friend Risa
wrote me a lovely e-mail saying that
after reading this review she decided
to read this book
so here, sharing
it is indeed a wonderful book!

Interpreter of Maladies Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
rating: 5 of 5 stars
My review:
This book is a collection of soulful short stories of Indian immigrants living in the US and I think some stories where in India too, I read this book maybe in 2006 or 2007 but every time I think of a book that really touched me emotionally I think of this book or Alice Munro's short stories. I came across Interpreter of Maladies by chance, it was left at the lunch table at my office where co-workers exchange used items. I picked up and didn't read it for a while... After reading the 1st short story, I was immediately excited about the jewel I've found for free. Every story is about love and relationships and quirkiness of the human soul. Every story, regardless of being about love between lovers, or an old-lady working alone in an abandon building, reveals some kind of magic. With few books I cry while I read, and this one, in such a humanitarian point of view, made me cry a couple of times. I am really surprised to see how young is the beautiful author, because her words sound like those of an old soul. A must read. You'll appreciate every turn of the each story.
View all my reviews.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Presidio park: haven of peace

tasted like copper this Sunday
at the Presidio Park

not radiant like Summer gold
not cold like Winter silver
but a warm orange
cooper Sunday

and i followed unexpected my own steps
3.12 pm (15.12 Uhr)
a sudden need for nature
the sight of a tree
a walk, i needed freedom!
and almost automatically drove
to these
prairies and trees
it was the mild orange of copper
today at the Presidio park
and i walked, and breathed
and caressed with my little camera
oh so many trees!

Autumn and blooming

cold and sunny Sunday in San Diego
but last week the late Summer was visiting still
sprouting, flowering

an wide orange smile

too early? or too late Spring?

blooming late November, still

this jar with sprouts of an old root of Peppermint

thursday bad, friday not

last Thursday was bad
migraine again
and no work

Friday, not so bad!
finished the 1st scarf of the Autumn
with left overs of yarn from last year
so it's a shorty one

and following a long-time ago advice
from my dear friend al
i now got a more colorful yarn
to make more psychedelic scarfs while snoozing out
behind the TV on the colder evenings this winter
and yes! we do have some cool nights in San Diego

also Friday got to wear my new walking-witch model

they are really comfortable!
and remind me of the shoes i wore
on the 70's when i was a girl
i haven't wear shoes with laces, except for tennis shoes
in a while, i thought these would be good for a change

and in the evening, i got my tea-advice
from my cup of Good Earth tea
a sweet and spicy blend

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

classy dessert rescues pesky Monday

last Monday, yesterday
had all the inevitable symptoms
of a blue Monday

cumulus of neurosis and apathy
climbing up & down my spine
traces and hope and lost alternated in me
and mood swings were frequents
and switched between minutes
and sometimes seconds, intervals
and no coffee amount was enough to bring to me
the urgently required spark

the smell of carpet glue lingering in the office
from last week's repairs
soporific loads of work
regrets of a not well-enjoyed weekend
having missed a party among friends
were bringing me down...
in 4 colloquial words:
i felt like shit!

but about 1/2 working day
after lunch and the Mondays staff meeting
my pinche best friend and boss
reminded me that he had brought to the office
some left overs from his party the day before of
"molten chocolate cake with vanilla creme freaiche, and raspberry coulis"

oh so all went so much better then!!!
and i truly appreciated
el perro's dedication to deliver the dish
so properly!
he carried each ingredient in separate containers
and instructed me to warm up for 7 seconds the molten cake
in the microwave at the lunch room in the office
once the cake was warm
he dropped carefully the creme freaiche on top
and told me to place the three coulis
i must confess all lasted little after served
barely enough for the shot,
promptly i devoured it all!

the cake was soft and moist and just warm in the inside
and the creme was still cold and the raspberries crispy
all served on an office paper plate
was great! top chef delivered at my desk

i am glad my friend is into cooking so professionally!
ah! i got many great meals already, ha! but not just that
i am also glad to hear every day more people get the importance of home-made cooking
the importance of food and the role of it in our lives
on how nutrition can alter one's body chemistry for better or
worse; it seems to me that, gladly, food is recovering a new importance
on people lives, all these chef TV programs, cooking contests, etc. seem to encourage this new age where we respect fresh and interestingly cooked food instead of industrialized pre-fabricated so-called food factories have been feeding us. I just find it beautiful, all this food & cooking renaissance!
and i guess...

i just love to see people playing with their food again!

Monday, November 17, 2008

on books

i must read more!
once i used to read more
when lucky,
a book per week
when OK,
two books a month
and of course there's always fluctuation
and variation, since each author
and each piece is different to read
but sadly
those avid-reading days are far gone!
i started slowing down
when enrolled the infamous
and no regrets there
'cause i learn a lot of German culture
auch einfach weil
Deutsch macht Spaß! ;)

then Summer
then heat
then Grand Canyon!!
(even less regrets!
i loved that trip)
and then just bare laziness lately
and some TV (yikes! hurts typing it)
all this been keeping me away from reading

and so on my lap
for soo many days i've been reading
these Anthony Bourdain's
Adventures on the Culinary Underbelly
Kitchen Confidential

and as much as i am loving
señor Bourdain's anecdotes in the kitchens
and his teachings in restaurant business
and rushed way of living... is not a book that should've
been taking me this long to get done with!
as much as i enjoy almost every page

i am disciplining myself
i will try to go back slowly
but sturdy into a book-per-month schedule
and in order to be able to start a new book in December
i must finish Kitchen Confidential in 13 days

two days ago i made this calculations
the total pages of the book is 312
i've read 178 already
which left me with 138 pages left to be read
divided among the amount of days left in November
15, then i must read 8.93 pages per day
i guess rounding, 9 pages per day

so far i am behind right now!!
instead of typing i should be reading...
procrastination?, ja!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

ein Seltsamer Samstag

gestern war
yesterday was
ayer fué un día extraño con tintes de tristeza

and some words took me by surprise
[surprised more like a little perplexed me above]

& it's too sunny too hot
too dry & too dry & too dry
again here in California
since Friday night
and i can feel my head, my soul
and my heart drying out to the compass of
lost, confused Summer days dancing
around our Autumn time bringing
Santa Ana winds and fires
up & down

and like this dry land
today my heart too
got another little crack

oh well! to comfort myself
the best way i know around
cooking myself some comfort

here a Summer-type of pasta
chunky but fresh-tasting tomato sauce

the ingredients
- 1 can of peeled diced tomatoes* (14.5 oz or 411 gr)
- olive oil
- fresh basil [i got mine from my little plant outside]
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 or a 1/3 of an onion
- fresh grounded black pepper
- sea salt
- oregano
- Parmesan cheese if Parmigiano Reggiano** better,
but any kind will do

the cooking
- heat the olive oil on a medium sauce pan
- add the fined chopped garlic and onion for 3 minutes to the hot oil
- add the diced tomatoes and the basil
- season to taste with the sea salt, fresh grounded black pepper, and oregano
- cook on medium heat covered for about 20 minutes
- toss with the fresh cooked & drained pasta of your choice

top the pasta with the sauce and serve topped w/ Parmesan cheese
i didn't have Parmesan but i had this delicious
Asiago BelGioioso, dry enough to be excellent on pasta
and it has a distinctive sweet and nutty flavor

so here my comforting dinner for
an uncomfortable day

the fresh pasta accompanied of some
whole wheat french bread with softened butter
not that i need more butter looking at the size of my hips
or that the butter needs to be softened in this heat

and sadly no wine no beer
it's so dry here! drinking alcohol just adds to the dehydration
so just more mineral sparkling water for me

let's see what Sunday has reserved for me
under it's Sundayish sunny reheating sleeve...

* please notice that i don't use tomato paste or puree for this sauce, you can replace the canned tomatoes for fresh roma tomatoes for an even fresher taste!

** i had NO idea that Parmigiano Reggiano Formaggio had a consortium, that's what i call being a BIG cheese

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ed Wood - a 'Pop' Thursday at the MOPA

last night i made it to my 1st
Pop Thursday at the MOPA

a good combo of film screening
fun activities, drinks, and all
while the photography exhibitions are still open

the film screened last night
was Tim Burton's biographic film on
cult horror films screenwriter, producer, director
and actor Ed Wood

and i was lucky enough to haven't seen this
Tim Burton / Johnny Depp's classic!
it was great to watch it in the big screen
and what a great cast!
Martin Landau and Bill Murray among many more
and well the twisted real story of one
Hollywood's weirdest characters

one of the activities prior to the screening
last night
was Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art Art School
live drawing with models, with an interesting twist...
Ed Wood was there himself!

and accompanied him, one of his lovers
Dolores Fuller

and people where making sketches of him
here a cute sketcher

the film was projected in 2 areas:
in the main lobby where you can watch it in sort of background
while hanging out with live DJ music and drinks

if you wanted a more common viewing experience
you could watch the film at the beautiful screening room

it was an interesting night overall
but i was specially glad to be able to watch a film
released in 1994 in the big screen
DVDs are convenient, cable-movies are cheap and easy
but nothing compares with the magic of being
inside a movie theater and submerge for a couple
of hours on other's peoples lives

and here a very interesting interview with Johnny Depp
over his characterization of controversial Ed Wood

and some scenes from an original Ed Wood films
Glen or Glenda? (1953)
you think surreal?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Adobe Creative Suite 3 (CS3) Seminar

a couple of weeks ago i went to an
Adobe Creative Suite 3 Seminar

i was able to learn a little of a lot little tricks for
Illustrator, Photoshop, Fireworks (and others)

above my materials and below one of the 8 pages
of my only-by-myself-legible notes

one of the little implements of Photoshop on CS3
is the Photomerge
tool that allows you to select different photos
and merge them into a panorama

and visual sample of this feature here below
i took these 3 photos of a man running, in a row
so the same guy with 3 different backgrounds
of the same street

the initial 3 photos

the right

the center

the left

& here all together now
the auto merge Photoshop did
[click on it for full-size effect and look
for the same runner in 3 different places]

this tool existed before but the results were never that great
and lots of additional adjustments had to be made

and of course the Adobe CS4 is out now
but i don't think my company or many other users
will upgrade to it, at least for a while...

anyway, the seminar
was a very good day for the nerd in me

and sure! it is good to learn all together now
about everything, drawings, photography,
computers, or submarines