Archive for November, 2010

Nov 04 2010


Published by under San Francisco,Special Occasions

Crowds on Market Street. AP photo

The sun shone down on the Giants’ victory parade yesterday, as it wended its way past the iconic Transamerica Pyramid in the Financial District to City Hall, where baseball great (and native San Franciscan) Joe DiMaggio married Marilyn Monroe 56 years ago. The parade route was the same one the Giants took when they were welcomed to their new home in 1958.

Hall of Famers and former Giants players Willie Mays and Willie McCovey rode in classic convertibles at the head of the parade, symbolizing the team’s storied past. Mr. Mays, who is considered my many to be the best all-around baseball player ever, had also been in that same welcoming parade back in 1958, so I imagine his was a particular joy.

Following these legends were the current team, a scrappy assortment of misfits who somehow managed to pull off a feat that had eluded this town for more than half a century. The crowd exploded as they caught sight of playoffs heroes like 25 year old Tim Lincecum, nicknamed “The Freak” for his flowing locks and unusual pitching style, and rookies Buster Posey (23) and Madison Bumgarner (who turned 21 in August and said that he was so calm during the World Series because of pitching for the high school championships in his hometown of Hickory, NC*). Edgar Renteria, who was teetering on the brink of retirement at the ripe old age of 36, drove in a three run home run in the final, winning game and was greeted accordingly. Brian Wilson, whose infamous playoff facial hair and stellar performance as a closer led to the slogan “Fear the Beard”, jumped off his motorized cable car to get closer to the crowd, which roared its approval.

Estimates placed the crowd along the mile and a half parade route at a million, and the crowd in Civic Center Plaza at hundreds of thousands, truly remarkable in a city whose entire population is around 800,000. But that’s the spirit of San Francisco, one of the most beautiful places in the world, and truly one of the most special. To know it is to love it. And to be embraced by it, as the Giants were yesterday, is something you’ll never, ever forget.

*Fellow players have told the press that Madison asked them to stop playing hip hop in the locker room and play some country music instead. He found the language upsetting.

2 responses so far

Nov 03 2010


Published by under Bullshit

As you know, I generally avoid the political and serious on this blog, but I’m so horrified by yesterday’s election that I have to make an exception.

Maybe it’s because I’ve lived most of my adult life in California. Maybe it’s because I had what I now realize were astoundingly liberal parents, who managed to give us all open minds while making sure we behaved and made our beds. But I find myself completely unable to understand what my fellow Americans were mostly thinking when they voted yesterday.

Our President inherited a huge mess, which had taken many years to create. The country was filled with optimism. When he couldn’t fix all the problems within six months, public opinion turned on him faster than I’ve ever seen it turn on any President. It was completely irrational, but apparently people accustomed to high speed internet and smart phones don’t have the dial up, land line patience it takes to work through problems and get them solved.

Don’t even get me started on the repulsiveness of the Tea Party taking their name from a watershed moment in American history and tarnishing it forever with their arrant ignorance and bigotry.

But what I really, really do not understand is Democrats voting Republican in this election. That’s like me saying “This bottle of wine is disappointing. I think I’ll drink milk instead. Even though I hate milk.” Can anyone explain this phenomenon to me?

The Proposition to legalize (or at least decriminalize) marijuana failed, as did one to charge a meager $18 a vehicle per year when visiting state parks. California has some of the most beautiful parks in the world, and Californians apparently don’t care enough to spend less than they do at Starbucks on any given month to preserve them. No, they’d rather fill state prisons with minor pot offenders and spend millions to build more prisons to hold more prisoners*. Nice going, Golden State.

On the bright side, David Eyster won as our county’s DA, ousting the despicable incumbent who got Aaron Vargas his unjust sentence. And Megabucks Whitman didn’t manage to buy the governorship of California, despite spending $140 million of her own money. Why wasn’t there a Proposition to limit the amount of personal money a candidate can spend on a campaign? I guess it’s not surprising that a country where only millionaires can attain elected office is so conservative and has so many tax breaks for the wealthy and superrich.

Not even the Giants parade this morning can cheer me up. My only hope is that the same idiots who voted the Republicans in this time will get as disenchanted with them as fast as they did the Democrats, and vote the other way in the next election. Stranger things have happened.

*The US has less than 5% of the world’s population, but nearly 25% of its prisoners.As of 2008, there were 751 people in jail or prison for each 100,000. 21% of these prisoners are drug offenders.

5 responses so far

Nov 02 2010


Before we get back to our regularly scheduled post, I just have to say (well, shout):


Yes, for the first time in 56 years, the San Francisco Giants are World Series Champions!

I still can’t quite believe it. Wow.

I followed the game’s finale with the final two episodes of this season’s “Mad Men”, and without giving away the plot, I’ll just say that I found the ending unconvincing and weird. Also that it was the bleakest season yet. Can’t wait for next season, though. Same goes for the Giants.

And now back to Halloween…

Roscoe gets in the Halloween spirit

On Halloween morning, I introduced Jessica and the kittens to “The Munsters”. Jessica was immediately captivated, especially by Lily*, seeing through the make-up and finding her beautiful. She also liked Lily’s signature bat necklace, saying “And it’s bling, which we love.”

Megan came by to pick us up, and we started our grand Halloween tour in town, where there was a party at a pet food emporium. We met up with Lu and Harlow:


You can see that Harlow is much bigger than last year.

In addition to bobbing for hot dogs for the dogs, gift bags for all, raffles, and games, there was face painting. Jessica got in the Halloween spirit with a spider:


Then we stopped in at the Town Hall to see the Day of the Dead exhibits. It was so wonderful that it deserves its own post.

Finally, we all repaired to Lu’s house so Jessica could get ready. I was charged with putting make-up on around the spider. The white make-up supposedly glowed in the dark, but it didn’t seem to when the time came. It was kind of a challenge blending the white with the green and the spider. Also, Jessica’s skin is so fair it’s almost translucent, and utterly smooth and flawless.

She wouldn’t let me give her witchy eyebrows, so I just darkened hers:


It’s hard to tell from the picture, but there are glow sticks around her wrist and ankle. Needless to say, her mother made the dress:


I have to admit I was a little surprised that Jessica didn’t want to be something more unusual. But she looked adorable.

In the village, Dr. Karen’s office was open and decorated to the nines (or thirteens). She was dressed as a mad scientist and dispensed treats for dogs, cats, and kids as well as grown-ups, in the form of free wine. We went on to the street fair, where the Flynn Creek Circus performed:


You can see that the weather had finally cleared up after trick or treating us with ten inches of early rain. As the evening went on, the stars were out in full force, as if they had missed us.

Despite the starlight, trick or treating in the dark was tricky for Self, though Megan and Jessica had no problem bouncing along the village streets. I lagged behind, convinced that I’d trip over something or fall into a hole, but I managed to survive this particular Halloween unscathed, unlike last year.

We ended up at the historic Crown Hall, where there was a costume judging contest for the kids. I can’t begin to describe the racket in that place. Not for the first time, I marveled at parents and their patience, and wondered how my own put up with so many kids and so many Halloweens, so long ago.

*Played by the lovely Yvonne De Carlo. She was the secret Canadian in the show. You’ll find one in every TV show. You’ll see.

5 responses so far

Nov 01 2010

The Eve of All Hallows Eve

Published by under Family,Jessica,Special Occasions


I know it’s not very Halloween-y, but my new purple honeysuckle just started blooming on Saturday!

In a more Halloween spirit, Megan and I spent the weekend with none other than Miss Jessica. We picked her up in Navarro, so Erica wouldn’t have to drive all the way to Hooterville and back, something she already does five times a week, every week. The life of a single mother is always intense.

Megan and I arrived first, so we had plenty of time to play “There’s your boyfriend” in the general store’s parking lot. I’d say approximately 90% of the 69 people who populate Navarro could easily have been extras in “Deliverance”. Before we could decide between the toothless guy and the one with the ZZ Top beard, Erica and Jessica arrived, injecting a much-needed note of loveliness to the proceedings.

Jessica hopped into Megan’s car without a backward glance. Unlike many kids her age, she’s perfectly comfortable staying overnight with us, which is nice.

Jessica came equipped with a bag large enough for a visiting Anna Wintour, along with a pumpkin and a book of designs. Needless to say, she had her heart set on the most difficult design of all. Megan and I cleaned out the guck and grossness while Jessica supervised. Once again I wonder how Dad put up with it when we were kids. Though maybe scientists aren’t all that easily grossed out.

Megan set aside some seeds for Jessica to grow next year, and roasted the remainder. We ate the roasted ones while watching “The Witches”, based on Roald Dahl’s novel and starring a wonderfully wicked Queen Witch, Anjelica Huston.

Rob came home and carved the pumpkin in true Rob style. I think he enjoyed it:


After dinner, I read “The Princess and the Goblin” aloud. I remember reading it when I was little. Though I was a little surprised that Jessica knew what “inundation” meant. I probably shouldn’t have been.

4 responses so far

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