Archive for February, 2003

February 28, 2003

Commence Winding of Down Time 4… 3… 2… 1…

Melissa met me at Buen Dia and from there we had a cathartic-screamin’-to-Weezer ride to Whole Foods in Pacific Heights. My name is Jonaaaaaaaaas! Bought one of the fantastic pizza crusts that their brilliant bakery produces among other essentials (chocolate Silk soy milkage).

Mellow acoustic groove of Ben Harper drifting into the kitchen from the speakers in my bedroom. Some awesome drum goin’ on. Currently chomping on a margherita pizza–laden with whole mozzarella, slices of fresh tomato and fragrant basil. Piping hot goodness from the oven at 850 30th Avenue. Kudos to Master Cutter Melissa, the best pizza cutter west of 14th Avenue. That girl has this down to a science.

Waiting in the wings: a Gene Kelly flick, Brigadoon. Compliments of my mother. Thanks, Mom.

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February 28, 2003

It’s Friday already?!

A single, solitary ray of sunlight makes its way through my bedroom and creeps onto the Oriental rug in the hallway. Yes, it would be morning! Friday morning, that is. Thankful for the end of the week. It’s come so quickly. A week full of decisions and tasks to accomplish and God has brought me through it all. I realize that, I’m a task-oriented kind of person. One wonders what the opposite of this would be? Anywho, just glad for Friday. Sleep! Just one little lecture in the morning and a few hours at work and then you’re mine.

February 27, 2003

C.S. Lewis did not speak out of our postmodern era, but he knew it was coming and scholars unquestionably agree his mind was ahead of its time. In an essay called “Modern Man and His Categories of Thought,” Lewis ruminates, “Man is becoming as narrowly ‘practical’ as the irrational animals. In lecturing to popular audiences I have repeatedly found it almost impossible to make them understand that I recommend Christianity because I think its affirmations to be objectively true. They are simply not interested in the question of truth or falsehood. They only want to know if it will be comforting, or inspiring, or socially useful.” (Footnote 1: Present Concerns: Essays by C.S. Lewis, “Modern Man and His Categories of Thought” (1946) pp. 65.

February 27, 2003

*Sigh* Seemingly not enough hours in the day.

February 26, 2003

Can I just say that my car has been pooped on by birds in the last four consecutive days? What is up?! When it rains, it pours, eh? I guess everything has its season.

Hey, does anyone have a negative scanner or know anyone who does?

February 25, 2003

All Quiet on the Western Front

Huh, isn’t that strange. Things are relatively under control. Decent and tranquil Monday night I’m having. My head isn’t spinning on its axis. Things are good. Thank you, God. Not to say that I’m not thankful for chaos. Thanks God, for times of craziness–times when I can sense Your presence and solace the most.

Anyone been to Houston’s in Pasadena? Houston’s, where meat is king and steak is a rare art form (literally). So, this place is great enough as it is, with its plethora of cuts of steak seasoned and grilled to your exacting specifications. How could they improve on perfection, you ask? Visit the Houston’s on Arroyo & East Del Mar in Pasadena and you’ll find out. The perfect place to have dinner with good friends or that special someone you’d like to get to know a little better. The restaurant is done up in Pasadena’s Craftsman tradition, with simple but solid stone lanterns and a trickling koi pond to meet you as you stroll in. Inside the lights emanate a warm amber incandescence against the dark wood surfaces of the ceiling and the ambience exudes vibes of repose and good times. And the bathrooms … immaculate enough for your grandmother! And worthy for the likes of Carey Lin, for that matter. (I hear ya on the bathroom thing, woman.) So, go and enjoy the experience that is Houston’s in Pasadena.

February 23, 2003

Had the good fortune of getting my car washed at a school in the Richmond late this morning. Fun to watch kid interactions. One boy throws a wet sponge at a girl and a chase ensues. I hate you Henry! she yells to the back of his head. I hate yoouuu! is Henry’s clever retort.

Forwent a hike in Marin to help a friend move from his warehouse space in Oakland to an apartment in the city this afternoon. This is the second time he’s moved in five months. Before I left, I begged him not to move again. He just has so much stuff! Moving, the act of transferring your life from one space to another–that’s on my top ten list things of things I loathe–with oral presentations and trips to the dentist topping the list. Vying for number one, actually.

Chewing on caramels during a Saturday night movie: High Fidelity. Two words for you. John Cusack. There’s a quality that I like about him that I can’t put my finger on. What is it? Gotta admit his hair is kinda funky during most of the movie. Fun dialogue …and I hint at a deep sea of melancholy just below the surface … Love the variations of blue and green on his apartment walls. And dude, Jack Black is SO funny! Great film all around.

Hmm, top five list of John Cusack films?

February 22, 2003

Completely wiped out, I barely kept my eyes open driving across town from California College of Arts and Crafts in Potrero Hill where Buen Dia had its art show tonight. Resounding success, let’s say. Good time had by all, and the kids had a blast running around in CCAC’s great space–basically a spiffed up old warehouse. This place is beyond words. Incredible design, white and industrial, light-infused studios. A-mazing. But even more amazing was the selection of cheese at the recpetion tonight. I had enough cheese to last me a month, literally. Of note was this funky cheese that literally had wasabi infused into its creamy molecules. Wasabi + cheese = wasabi cheese. Not green, but yellow. Or, maybe the cheese was rancid and I didn’t know it … in which case, yikes.

This guy is good. Humorous in a down-to-earth way, humble and just a plain ol’ good writer. Mark Salzman is editing his manuscript for his new book True Notebooks: A Year at Juvenile Hall.  This is the true story of Salzman’s experience teaching writing to kids awaiting trial for murder and other violent crimes.  The fortunate few who have been able to read it have called it powerful, compelling, and, since Salzman is writing it, even funny in places.  The book will be out in the fall, but will be available for at one of the best independent bookstores in SoCal, Vroman’s, in late August.

Bleary-eyed and barely coherent now. Am going to hit the hay for about 12 hours. ‘Nighty-night. Bona nit. Bon soir. Buenas noches. See ya in the morning.

February 21, 2003

Do you ever jump into bed and just smell your covers? Ahhh, smells like it’s time for bed!!

February 20, 2003

Providentially, I did not get eaten up by any of my preschoolers today. God let me live another day. Heh heh Today was a good day. Literally did not have to use my AK.

This morning, paid a visit to the newest addition to my caseload … Lighthouse Charter School. The school is housed in an old NEWBERRY store (remember these??) among other stripped storefronts in downtown Oakland, nearby the historic Fox theatre. The door swung closed behind me and I felt like I was in a dream. A good one. The staff and directors were super-friendly and welcoming. Parents were hanging out in the hallway, seeing their kids off on a camping trip! Evidence of rich, well-rounded educational experience hung on the wall: photos from a visit to a photography studio alongside bottles from a science project at Lake Merritt detailing how to detect toxins in the water. The white glow of Apple computers in every corner. (Woo hoo)

I dropped by the kindergarten class to meet one of my future charges. So shy but so cute. His teacher suggests that he give me a tour of the school! So here I am, walking around with a kindergartner as my tour guide. Unreal. He’s showing me the bathrooms, the big kids’ room (ie. 6th grade class) … Love it! I think I’m going to like it here. Not that I don’t like my other school, but Webster stands in stark contrast with Lighthouse. Night and day. On Tuesday, there was a near-child abduction (thank God she escaped) and for the past few months, we’ve had break-ins just about every other week. On one of these unfortunate occasions, the Teacher’s Lounge was broken into and the copiers that printed broad black stripes on everything were rendered useless once and for all — their LCD screens were smashed to smithereens. And the list goes on … last week the toilet paper supply dwindled to nothing. However, today we had toilet paper and paper towels! Thank God.

The teachers at Webster are def. fighters, teaching kids who come from a real culture of poverty to respect themselves and others. I wonder about the environment that some of these kids live in … I can’t tell you how many parents I’ve heard cursing out their kids in the school office. A lot of the kids lack any sort of sound role model and aren’t motivated to do well. They lack the pre-academic skills coming into school, also. It’s a tough job, but I’m glad that there are those who are up for the task. I’ll say it once, twice and thrice … teaching is a noble profession.

Playing as I drove out of Webster’s parking lot this afternoon: Bebel Gilberto’s ethereal version of August Day Song