Friday, September 28, 2012

Ham, poetry, flowing beards

I struggle to title these things, titling not being my strongest suit, and I realized that this particular title makes it sound like I'm going to write about the Mission district. Ha! Fooled you. I'm going to write about amusing pirate-based literature, but I'm going to try very hard to do it while not employing any of the usual pirate-speak. We'll see how that goes.

When I was little, I had a book that if you read it one direction, was Peter Pan, and if you flipped it over and read it the other direction, was Alice in Wonderland. I loved that. Two books! Upside down! Forwards and backwards! It was pretty cool. So, several years ago in NY, when I encountered a book that was, in one direction, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists and, in the other direction, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Ahab, I was pretty excited. And that was before I even knew how funny it was. It's always hard to quantify "amount of funniness" so let's just say, very, very funny. The only drawback I could identify was that I did not actually know the author, Gideon Defoe, because I was pretty sure we would get along famously (though, clearly only one of us was a celebrity of any sort).

Years went by during which Gideon Defoe wrote several other amusing pirate books and, unsurprisingly, continued to be entirely unaware of my existence/our potentially fantastic relationship. And then, last winter, I saw a preview for a pirate movie. This pirate movie. I recognized the source material straight away. I was sufficiently excited by this development in the career of my imaginary friend that I went to his website and sent him a star-struck, laudatory email. And you know what? He wrote back. And that, dear readers, is how my imaginary friend, Gideon Defoe, author of very droll pirate-based fiction, became my slightly less imaginary friend.

Now, movies are all very well, but the books are closer to my heart. They have footnote humor. Movies do that poorly. Fortunately, he continues to write and to footnote very liberally indeed. His most recent book, The Pirates! In an Adventure with the Romantics may well be my favorite. Have you secretly yearned to read a book in which jokes are made about the boringness of Switzerland? And Byron and the Pirate Captain compare the magnificence of their hair? And Mary Shelley secretly finds poems kind of tiresome? Of course you have. Now is your big chance.

You may remember that I recently (and rather ineptly) joined Twitter. In my second tweet of all time (I am now up to 29, I believe. Amazing.) I tried to be flattering and helpful. I did it wrong.

To be fair, I did not know I was solely responsible for the US marketing. Now that I have been informed of this awesome responsibility, I am shilling the book here, where I believe I have, like, twenty readers, rather than retweeting to my now eleven Twitter followers, one of whom wrote the book in question. I will take it as given that all of you are going to buy this book immediately. When you do, I urge you to read the Table of Contents and the List of Illustrations. You'll be glad you did.

In fact, for your benefit, allow me to quote, entirely illegally, my favorite illustration title:
Eliza burst into tears. The world's largest parsnip--and it was ruined!
Go buy the book. Unless you are my closest friend, in which case, you'll probably be getting it for Christmas.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I happened to have a paper napkin

I just returned from a three-hour movie. Arguably the most diverting, and certainly the most surprising, thing to happen in that time was that I got a nosebleed during the last ten minutes.

Bollywood, you have disappointed me.

Let's take a minute to remember the good old days before Cocktail came and ruined everything.
You know how many choreographed numbers on top of trains there are in Cocktail? None. That's how many.

That is also the number of long dance numbers featuring people inexplicably standing-fully clothed under showers, provocatively running their fingers through their own wet hair. I mean, I ask you. What good is Cocktail?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Is there something before 101?

Somewhat reluctantly, I am taking a class called Social Media 101. It is basically a "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" move on my part. I guess that's kind of a goofy remark for someone with a blog, but it's pretty clear that technology is not my strong suit. I have many other charming qualities; I promise. [Note: If you are a potential employer, I am a highly competent professional, well versed in a variety of timely social media platforms.] There. I wouldn't want to shoot myself in the foot or anything.

I'll tell you what. If you have been opting out of each bright new thing, it's a little overwhelming to learn about everything all at once. Fortunately, a career counselor insisted that I join Facebook a year ago, so I think I've got next week's homework under control already, but Twitter has been a bit of a rocky start.

For my very first tweet, I linked to this article and wrote "Etiquette ninjas? That settles it. I'm moving to London."

And I got a reply! Yay. Only it turned out to be from some company (presumably in London) that said, "Great to hear you're moving to London! Why not follow us for some regular inspiration on things to do when you get here?"

Another day, I replied to a tweet by my friend Evany and, in closing (as much as anything that short justifies that phrase), I said, "Also, I'm on Twitter. Sign of the End Times?" This was instantly retweeted by this person? organization? whose Twitter bio reads:
Whatever it is your thinking realise this one thing. [sic] The heavens declare His glory, it would go well with you to take the time to look up. Peace be with you.

Twitter, I sometimes say things that aren't strictly true. It's called "joking." I'm sorry for any confusion this my cause. On the other hand, I also apologize if I have inadvertently brought on the Apocalypse by joining Twitter.

So, basically, I'm taking the internet by storm. Savvy as can be. If you would like to know when I say things as briefly as possible, I'm @Kari_SF. Currently, I have just ten (highly distinguished) followers, so, even if you have a bulky jacket or something, there's still plenty of room for you.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A San Francisco sum

Racing out of the school after a late meeting
Finding a parking place immediately, just a block away
Seeing The Crème Brûlée Cart open
Ordering the one with cranberry champagne sauce and pecans
Making it to the Castro Theatre just in time
Discovering, when my eyes adjust to the dark, my favorite row empty
+ Moonrise Kingdom

Monday, September 17, 2012

And then...

You may recall that I went out to the distant land of Berkeley and told a story onstage. I am very sorry that you cannot see my shoes in this video because they very nearly hobbled me for life and I only wore them for vanity's sake.

The mysterious Evan Karp--poster of previous videos of me onstage--was on the program too. It was nice to actually meet him. He's swell. And handsome, not that you care about that sort of thing. We're all very high brow in the literary circle, don't you know. Evan curates a reading series called Quiet Lightening that sometimes takes place in the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers, which is a very exciting place to be sneakily involved with non plant-related artistic endeavors. Next time, you should go.

This rather profile-y video was taken by a friend of Evan's. Thank you, friend of Evan's.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


What, this?
Oh, this is just a little something I whipped up last night. From scratch. On a Tuesday.

Granted, there was some confusion about the parchment paper, but there was no swearing that I remember. That's unusual for any significant culinary undertaking. I think I'm making progress.

I read this post on Oh Happy Day and I wanted to give it a try. Sadly, she's moved on to a second tutorial that seems far more complex (plus I can't be baking a cake every day. After all, I live alone and I'm gym-challenged), but, for now, I'm quite pleased with myself.

Tonight the blog bully's coming over to celebrate a recent victory over The Man (his, not mine. I don't spend much time fighting The Man, but the blog bully is all about fighting the power), so we can find out how it tastes. Fingers crossed.


It was good.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Reduce, reusue, and...

I should start an additional blog just to track the many esoteric things my neighbor mistakenly believes to be recyclable. It would be a sort of photo montage of things I remove from the communal bin: some towels, a large wooden box, a couple of free weights....

Today's contestants, aside from the perpetual plastic wrap and piles of compostable miscellany (pizza boxes, used paper towels, milk cartons, etc.), were what appeared to be some unused diapers, a (mostly) empty toothpaste tube and--my newly elected all-time favorite--a deflated rubber cow of significant size.

Oh, neighbor, what a beautiful dream.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


I find I have, at best, a tenuous grasp on the rudiments of being a grown-up. I would like to tell you that the apartment is spic and span, that vegetables are consumed as part of a balanced meal every evening, and that I am constantly deeply engrossed in literature. This is not the case. Indeed, the apartment looks as though it may be occupied by three or four phantom college students who can't be bothered to hang up their clothes. And last night I had Shredded Wheat for dinner. What's worse, perhaps, is that I was rather proud of myself for (finally) having gone to the grocery store. The night before, I would not have been able to have Shredded Wheat because there was simply no Shredded Wheat to be had. In the midst of the indifferent housekeeping and questionable nutrition, I watch a great deal of television.

This morning, I had vowed to go to the gym for the first time since (ahem) March. I tried to pave the way for success. I packed all the necessary items and put them near the bed last night. All that would be required of me would be to get up, put on quasi clothing, and leave the house. The rest would be dealt with post-swim. It turns out that the "get up" part is a significant obstacle. Or rather, that it is still a significant obstacle, as it has been since I was about 10 years old. Tomorrow, I will try again. Please stop laughing. I will so try.

To make up for all my shortcomings, though, today I did something almost mind-bogglingly adult. I took a deep breath and agreed to have the oral surgery my dentist has been talking about for the last five years. Not only will this involve having something that is referred to on the invoice as "Bio-material: human dermal product" sewn into my mouth, it will also cost several thousand dollars. Truly, I have never spent this much money on anything in my life with the exception of my car. When I think of the trips to Italy I could take with that money, or the fetching dresses I could purchase by the armful --really, the list of delightful things available to me that would not involve human dermal product or bleeding gums is almost endless--it makes me a little tearful. To be clear, I don't actually have these thousands of dollars, they will be squeezed from me slowly and painfully over the course of a year. Woo hoo.

But you know who makes an investment in gum health today to avoid false teeth tomorrow? A grown-up, that's who. Now I'm going to have some chocolate and maybe start watching "Breaking Bad" again from the beginning. Shut up. You're not the boss of me.