August 5th, 2013


Catching up: Saturday

On Friday my youngest sister called (returning mine from Thursday) and we chatted about Stuff. She is a master gardener and a cat person, and I was telling her how badly matted Domino is, and how I need a way to safely sedate her so I can fix that. She suggested the dried leaves of a plant called nepeta, aka catmints.It has blue flowers.  It also makes a great decongestant tea for people, she said. So I looked it up, and it's catnip.One of about 400 varieties.

So Friday night I went in search, but did not find it. Saturday morning Home Despot claimed online to have it, and a large selection of other herb plants, so I went there first. They not only didn't have catmints, they didn't have any edible plants.

Next stop was not too far, I went there Friday night but they had already closed. Summer Winds. They have a big section of herbs, several different kinds of basil, parsley and such, but no catnip-like substances. So I asked. It's okay because it was a guy. He wasn't sure if they had any but he knew where it would be if they did. All the way on the other side of the nursery, a whole palette of 4" plants, just what I needed. So I picked out one with several flowering stalks, and went to the checkout. And got stuck behind people at both registers who had loaded up two or three flatbeds. The ones on the left were a very white couple celebrating their new house by planting every drought-resistant grass and flower they could find. Plus shovels, mulch, gloves and a garden hose. On the right was a Hispanic family who had two flatbeds of landscaping flowers and a flat of mulch. They should have been through in a few minutes, but everyone in the family had to pick up something on display near the register and decide if they wanted to buy it. Eight times.

Finally me and my one plant got through, and the nice lady at the register agreed that it makes good tea. Minty.

Home, planted it in the patio window box, watered everything and hydrated myself as well.

The tall stalks in the center are catmints. I forget what's on the left, except the label said it can handle full sun.

The rest of the day was marking time until the drive into San Francisco. A dear friend from Palo Alto's Jeckyl & Hyde (she played Hyde's girlfriend) was giving a concert to benefit the lymphoma society, and the hype was it was about the men in her life, and included several of them performing with her.

The Plan worked well - park at the 5th & Mission garage and take Muni to Van Ness and walk two blocks to the venue, which is an old piano store which sells old pianos and holds monthly concerts. I got there an hour early (did not realize how often Muni ran, how quickly it gets from the Mission to Van Ness) so I took Muni back downtown, found the food court at Westfield Mall, and bought what was labeled "spinach turnover" and looked like spanikopita. I ordered 2 because I love those things.

It took a while for them to get to my order (two people ahead of me) and heat it up, and put it on two plates and hand me two sets of silverware. I handed them back one set, put both on one plate and handed them back the other. Sat down surrounded by eye candy, and dug in. It was not filo dough. It was some kind of substance one step removed from l=flour and water paste, out of which all the taste had been sucked out. The spinach was finely chopped, along with a minuscule amount of feta, and microwaved to death. I somehow forced myself to eat most of one, left the other.

Back to th concert, now only half an hour early. They managed to start 20 minutes late, and people kept arriving all night. It was a highly entertaining evening, Two of my theater buddies were there, one from J&H and the other  knew Melissa from other shows.

Melissa is a very attractive redhead, and since J&H she has lost about 25 lbs, run at least one marathon, and has launched a modeling career. She came out in a backless green sequined dress and looked amazing. The show was billed as a tour through the men she has known, but she didn't provide much monologue to tie the tunes together. It was an eclectic program, she sang about half the tunes, the men all had solos and duets with each other, and three of them sang a verse each from "W.O.M.A.N." which they nailed and it was hilarious.

One of the funniest bits was her and one guy, both very experienced over-actors, belting out The Song That Goes Like This from Spamalot. She dragged out her Jr. high musicals heart throb to sing For Good from Wicked. It was very touching. He is extremely handsome (think Superman, the Musical) and he can really sing. After that soft number he did a very forgettable song which showed off his impressive pipes.

Another highlight for me was when she dragged her dad on stage. I'm guessing he's about 70, looks every inch the retired attorney that he is, and while he didn't bowl us over with super-human vocal skills, he did hold his own in a duet with his daughter which included some harmony from each of them.

Significantly absent was the guy who played opposite her in J&H. They were an item for a couple of years, and were working on a musical together, written by one of the men who performed at this event. And there were no songs from J&H, though two of them would have fit the theme.

It took some time for the non-theater peeps in the audience to get a clue and join the standing ovation, but after the encore there was a good 5 minutes of applause.

It was clear that she was going to get mobbed after the show, so I made a hasty retreat, caught the muni downtown and ransomed my car for a mere $11 and drove home. And had dinner. Sausage & peas.

Catching Up: Sunday

Another trip to the City, this time on Caltrain and muni to the building just past the Ferry Building. Got there after 3 for a party which was slated to run from 2 till 9. Only a few people were there. I hadn't eaten yet, and I was thinking of going next door to grab a bite when the photog who had invited me showed up with one of his models. The place started filling up slowly. This party was to mark the release of a swimsuit magazine, and part of the plan was to meet the models who posed for the mag, and another part was a bikini modeling competition at 5 pm.

There was a DJ - actually a series of DJs - playing Latin beats, loud but bearable. It was out on the patio behind a Brazilian restaurant, on the water, so there was some sun, some open shade and some dark. I got some pretty good candid portraits with my new 55-300mm VR Nikon lens. At about 5 when nothing was happening and it was very crowded, I went next door to Starbucks and had a mocha and a chocolate croissant, which made up for my by then low Hgl.

Back to the party by way of walking completely around the dock, which could have been more scenic if the fog had not touched everything.

It was seriously crowded, and people were getting a bit buzzed (2 no-host bars were well stocked) and I missed a ton of good shots when people cut in front of me, or decided to Be Cool and raise their hands in the air while dancing (poorly). I posted on FB a few of the ones which look good as is, but tonight I'll photoshop the rest and upload them to Flickr.

Here are a couple I like:
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That last one really needs some shadow reduction to show off her eyes.

The bikini contest never really happened. They called all the contestants to the DJ stand, but only six answered the call, and only one was in a bikini. It was getting cold and windy, and while there were heaters out there, only the ones on the other side of the patio (near the doors) were on.

It was getting cold and dark and way crowded, and th photographers had gone into full Rude Paparazzi mode, so I bailed. It was still daylight, so I did what I thought about Saturday, and took the N train out to Ocean Beach and back.

Caught the 9:15 back south, and was home before 11.


I was up and out the door at 8:30, which is when I realized I had forgotten to pack my lunchbox. Snack box, really. So I went back and did that, and still got to work before 9.

Boss is out this week, Boss' Boss ran out weekly team meeting, combining it with the SI team, which does a lot of what we do, but more in response to customer issues. Their boss was out too.

I thought we had talked everything to death by the time our hour was done and BB had another meeting to attend, but by noon he scheduled another hour at 2. He had some good info which made it look like we ought to have jobs well into 2015. I doubt it, but hope he's right.

Since we had to rush, Automation Guy and I went to Carl's Jr down the block for lunch.

We got a new build, which gave me some work to do.

After work I had some surgical strike shopping to do at Costco. Now that I'm mainlining Ibuprofen, unwrapping the individual little foil tabs was getting old. Costco has their generic brand in bulk. Ditto Claritin. And I also picked up an almost 2-year supply of 1kmg Vitamin C.Also on the list were limes (I hate buying them there, because I can't use all 6 lbs before half of them go bad, but they are good sized and less than I would pay for 2  lbs at Safeway). I suppose I can bring half of them to work. And bananas. Not on the official list, but I bought it anyway was a 2-lb pack of pre-cooked bacon. I do this because I like bacon but hate to cook it, and in honor of the song which made Barenaked Ladies famous. Not the song, really, but the dialogue during the vamp between verses.

Home, put stuff away, got the laptop out and have been on the patio with the cats (and without at times) banging out my weekend updates.

Next up - put away the laptop, make dinner, fire up the big PC and photoshop and post the rest of yesterday's photos.

Plans for tomorrow: