Wednesday, July 29, 2009

favorite things of summer

1. Twitter.

2. Menchie's at Dixie Canyon and Ventura. I walk, so it cancels out the calories.

3. Summer reading lists.

4. Inappropriately short shorts, like the ones I'm wearing right now.

5. Discovering my neighbor's hideously awesome Chevy Vega.

6. Musicals--both the one I'm producing and Spamalot at the Ahmanson.

7. Visiting Lucy in San Francisco.

8. ABC Family's 10 Things About You and Ethan Peck.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Why is ABC Family Channel's 10 Things I Hate About You so good and well-written and The Ugly Truth, written by the same people (or 2/3 the same people) so, um, much, much less good and clever? Maybe it's not just the writers' fault. Something for critics to think about. Producers and studios wield a lot of power, and sometimes they wield it like a toddler with a gun.

Friday, July 24, 2009

SF Last Day

Gingerbread pancake at Zazie. Delicieux.

House near Zazie, possibly on Cole, that I thought was pretty.

Conservatory of Flowers.


View from the de Young.

De Young art.

San Fran Day 3

So after two days of not taking the cable car, I took the cable car to the edge of the Haight and then took a bus down Haight Street. I went to Booksmith and then to Zazie, this adorable little restaurant on Cole Street named after one of my most favorite recent reads. I ate a single gingerbread pancake with lemon curd on it that I scraped off, then I walked over to Golden Gate Park. I was going to stop myself from starving by eating chicken McNuggets at the McDonald's that kind of ruins the Haight vibe, but approximately 1,000 teens got in my way. I walked through the park to the Conservatory of Flowers, which is gorgeous, though kind of small on the inside. After that, I went to the de Young art museum, which I really enjoyed, except that everyone was there for the Tut exhibit. So I skirted them and looked at the creepy Mayan and African pieces and the view from the tower. By then I'd walked a lot and my feet, already in a crappy mood, decided that the Exploratorium just across the way was too expensive, and I was too tired to deal.
So then I took the long way through the lawn bowling part of the park back to McDonald's, ate, and grabbed another bus.
On the way back I stopped at Miette in the Hayes Valley for some macarons. Swung by Great Books Symposium, which isn't necessary if you're not taking a class there. Back in the Financial District, I bought a magazine, postcards and the most amazing chocolate ever (Michel Cluizel's champignons) at Fog City News. Then I had supper at the Millennium Tower (killer burger, sexy bartender, great friend to hang with) and then flew back to LA.

San Francisco rocks, but it turns out all that heat and exercise and long hair gave me a neck fungus, so...

No, seriously, it was awesome. You should go.

Monday, July 20, 2009

San Fran Day 2 Photos

Sorry this is so belated! I've been mad hatter busy doing freelance work, messing around with a Web site for my upcoming musical project, and trying not to die in this oppressive Valley heat.
Here you go!

The Marina.

One of several photos of the Palace of Fine Arts. I don't want to spoil it for those of you who go yourselves.

Curvaceous, but not quite booty-licious Lombard.

City Lights, the side view. Also now my cell phone wallpaper.

Cafe Kati!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

San Francisco Day 2

SF Day 2 hurt. I burned my forehead and nose off.

I got up and went with my hostess to her law firm in one of the Embarcadero buildings. She has a wicked view of the Bay. Then I grabbed a chocolate-chip scone from Boudin and walked the entire length of the Embarcadero from the Ferry Building to Pier 39, where I bought a painted dish you can put your spatula or spoon on while you're cooking at Chocolate Heaven, and then on to Fishermen's Wharf. I finally found a Walgreen's where they were selling Muni passes and bought one. Then I walked to Ghirardelli Square and had a s'more cupcake from Kara's. Honestly, I'd eat a tire if it had the word s'more in front of it, but this had a surprising toasted marshmallow top, which was nice and unusual.

Then I took the bus to Chestnut Street on Cow Hollow, where I stopped off and got lunch at Grove Cafe. They put tiny pickles in my grilled cheese, which was weird, but I loved the atmosphere. Then I walked over to the Palace of Fine Arts grounds, which are surprising and lovely, and walked around.

The Marina neighborhood is incredible and tres chic. I walked to the water so I could see the bridge in the distance and took a LONG walk to try to find the Wave Organ, which is practically hidden at the end of a small spit. It wasn't working, but the view was lovely.

Then I walked a long, long way back to try to find a bus up Fillmore, where I grabbed a red velvet at That Takes the Cake because it was too hot to eat anything richer and a small ice cream at the original Swensen's, which had nowhere to sit and only took cash. Their Web site is more appetizing. Then I walked it all off by climbing down steep, curvy, famous Lombard Street and heading through Chinatown to City Lights. I bought Netherland, though it wasn't the cover I wanted, and Duras' The Lover. Then I skipped through Chinatown to catch a bus back to Japantown. There I hiked up steep Washington Street to see the Spreckel Mansion, which looks like a museum hidden behind a hedge, and is where Danielle Steel presently lives. There are mansions next to it that look puny. Then I walked around Lafayette Park and down into Japantown, past a restaurant called Cafe Kati!, and to the Sundance Kabuki, where I saw Away We Go. I could barely walk at this point.

After the movie, which was okay, I took ANOTHER bus back to the Embarcadero, where Lucy and I ate at the packed Town Hall after a long wait. The chicken and halibut were delicious, but it was some slow service. And then I crashed, half-dead with sun sickness.

San Francisco photos day 1

These are taken from my cell phone camera. Bear with.

My mom thought the koi looked like a dragon.

This is the Women's Center. I tried to get a picture of the whole thing. Didn't quite work.

This is a wigwam in the cemetery at the Mission Dolores, which, if I'm not mistaken, is very odd.

This is the window of a record shop called Grooves on Market. Verb or plural noun? I'm guessing the latter, but it would be cool if it were the former.


Friday, July 10, 2009

San Francisco part 1

I think I'll break up my three-day whirlwind in 24-hour hunks (that sounds like a company that could be very lucrative).

Monday, I took freaky Virgin America to SFO, and then I took BART with total ease to Embarcadero. My friend lives at the Millennium Tower, which is nicer than most hotels I've been to--except her apartment has a very distinct Ikea-ness to it.

Tuesday I got a taste of Bay fog. Dressed in a long-sleeved shirt, I strolled over to the Ferry Building and grabbed an Acme Bread company croissant (unremarkable) for breakfast then headed out. Then I walked to SF Moma because it was the first Tuesday of the month, hence free art appreciation. There was a big Ansel Adams/Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit going on, which I promptly decided was not worth my time, and instead admired the rest of the exhibits, especially Robert Frank's photos, particularly the The Americans collection.

Is it just me or does every art museum have a Calder mobile or sculpture? I want one.

Then I walked around the Yerba Buena gardens and the underwhelming Metreon. Then on to Union Square. On the way I ducked into the Palace Hotel, which is where I would like to have a party some time. It's absolutely darling. I got in the wrong part of Union Square and left in a hurry. It seemed far nicer later in the week when I passed it in the cable car.

Then I took the Bart from Union Square to the 24th Street station and went to Mission Pie, but didn't get anything, because I am very pie-picky. And then I walked QUITE a long way through the Mission to St. Francis Fountain where I was served a nice chocolate shake and terrible cornbread that had forgotten to advertise itself as having peppers in it. Gah!

The great thing about the Mission and much of San Francisco is the murals and beautifully painted Victorian houses. I'll post pictures later.

I then stopped at Dog Eared Books, a fantastic if mildly creepy used books seller, and bought a birthday gift for my friend.

Starved, I went to Delfina Pizzeria, by far the best pizza I've had on this coast, but I was unable to finish my margherita. Tartine was right next door, and I couldn't just leave it untouched, so I bought a brownie-to-go (I didn't finish it for several days, but it was altogether too rich for my blood) and a nice little rocher with cacao nibs that was light enough to eat on the spot. Around the corner I stopped at Bell Jar and got my friend a freakish Judy Garland paper doll for her 25th birthday.

Then I dragged my exhausted bones to the Mission Dolores, which is worth the price of admission if only to sit in the honey-lit basilica where it is still and womb=like. Highly rec'd.

Then I walked up to Market and headed back to the Civic Center. On the way I stopped at Get Lost Books and picked up Sara Wheeler's Travels in a Thin Country and bought my mother's birthday gift at FLAX, a super-cool art shop.

Not yet done, I went to Citizen Cake in the Hayes Valley and bought a s'mores brownie and little chocolate cookie and creme sandwich, both of which I ate much later. The latter was just sugar, but the brownie was fantastic.

Then I walked through Civic Center, taking a stroll through the truly breathtaking San Francisco City Hall, which by that hour was empty. Under the rotunda, I looked up for the birds I could hear chirping, then realized there was a San Francisco city sounds recording playing. I walked through the other side past the library and museums and all the way to the nearest Bart, which I took back to Lucy's.

I wanted to pass out, but we went to the strangest place for dinner instead. Eddie Rickenbacker's, a bistro decked out in bikes, had a truly fantastic burger. I couldn't eat the whole thing and ended up having the other half the next night, which was almost as good nuked. It's a strange set-up, but totally worth it if you're in the Embarcadero/SOMA area and don't want to spend a million bucks or dress to the nines.

Which I never do.

So that was day one.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


It's a lovely hot morning here in the eastern San Fernando Valley. The sun is up, the birds are chirping (loudly, constantly), and I am huddled up inside my messy bedroom waiting till it's time for me to go to work for a few hours. I made some chocolate yogurt cakes from David Lebovitz's The Sweet Life in Paris for a little potluck.

I've been reading Christopher Potter's You Are Here, which is something of a refresher course but also provides a beautiful and clear explanation of the theory of "relativity," or invariance, as Einstein would have liked it called. I recommend the book for that sake alone.

The more I read of science now the more I realize how poor, antiquated, and deceptive pre-collegiate science curricula are. In any event...

My friend is considering going to Argentina next month, and if all goes well, I may go for a week as well. Cross your fingers.
In summing up, I wish I had some kind of affirmative message to leave you with. I don't. Would you take two negative messages?
-- Woody Allen