You, downtown Oakland, are no Wall Street

When I think of Wall Street, I don’t think of downtown Oakland. Maybe healthcare organizations, or Clorox, or insurance, but not Wall Street. But now downtown Oakland is full of riot police, tear gas, and the drone of helicopters.  Whee!  Just what this city, which is already saddled with urban blight, violence, etc., needs.

Occupy Oakland protesters want to take back their rat-infested, graffiti covered, garbage strewn encampment.  And none of this will accomplish anything but making time on TV.

Please understand, I believe there is an inequality as far as rich vs. poor.  But most people want to be rich–or at least have enough money to live comfortably.  It’s often why people make risky investments.  Or, more often, why people go into debt buying homes, cars, and other items to make them appear wealthy.  Sure, the bailout of Wall Street is a hard thing to justify, but what about all the people who were so greedy that they put themselves in a position where they could be taken care of by unscrupulous bankers, traders, etc.?


A bushel and a peck

What do you do when your thoughtful roommate brings you two boxes full of organic carrots, cucumbers, apples, beets, red onions, potatoes, plums and chard that are about to go bad?

You dig into your brain’s bag of recipes, of which many seem to be Eastern European in this case, and make: pan roasted brown sugar carrots; roasted beets; beet, apple, and chevre salad; borscht; dill and vinegar cucumbers; mashed potatoes; boiled potatoes; and apple crisp:

What’s next??? Crispy red onion rings?  Plum preserves?

What’s in a name? 

Less than a month before I finally go through my batizado for Capoeira.  One of the things I look forward to the most is finding out what my “apelido” or nickname will be.  Any guesses?

By the way, for those of you who have never been to a batizado and want to check it out, the event happens November 6 from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at ABADA-Capoeira San Francisco in the Mission.  For more details on the event, go here.

“He likes to butt things…with his head.”

There are a few movies I can watch over and over again because they take my mind off the world around me and make me happy for at least as long as the movie lasts. Because of the repeated viewings, I can recite random lines from movies such as “The Blues Brothers,” “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” and also the film from which I pulled the above quote, “Parenthood,” which I found myself watching yet again this past weekend.

The ensemble cast, made up of actors like Steve Martin, Dianne Weist and Jason Robards, create characters that feel like real people, even if they are caricatures, such as the wayward youngest sibling, the frazzled mom of three, and the wise but dotty old grandma. Take a look and I bet you can see a bit of these personalities in the family that surrounds you.

The characters are not faced with extraordinary circumstances, like rare childhood diseases, but mundane events that happen in everyone’s lives: birthday parties, family dinners, school plays, etc. To borrow a word from Mary Steenburgen’s character in the movie, what makes it interesting to watch is how each character tackles the “messy” situations that arise, be it literal, like puke, or figurative, such as teen pregnancy.

Next time “Parenthood” pops up on TBS or another movie channel, watch it and don’t be surprised if you find yourself trying to hide from your companion on the couch that you are tearing up just a bit.


The other city by the Bay

Though it’s only five miles away at its shortest distance, Oakland seems like a world away for me.  After 10 years in San Francisco, I’ve made the move. I’m still sorting out all the little particulars of life, such as where to get my dry cleaning done, but I’m starting to settle in.

As the red-headed stepchild of Bay Area cities, I know of its reputation, but I’m curious to see what small treasures I can find. Wish me luck.