Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Phoenix show review

I've posted a review of the Phoenix show by "The Swell Season" over on my Last.fm journal.

Check it out!

Monday, April 28, 2008

I Want to Ride My Bicycle

I Want to Ride My Bicycle
Originally uploaded by oybay

Yesterday, I decided I needed a new bike. Mainly because I've left my current bike outside too long and the metal parts are rusty and the rubber parts are disintegrating.

Mike's Bikes was having their annual sale. I was only back in town for the last day of the sale, so I had to do all my research and shopping in one day only. This caused me some stress until I remembered that all bikes are exactly alike. What this really means is, it doesn't matter what I get because I'll get used to whatever it is after a while. No matter how light or high-performing the bike is, the limiting factor in my ability to get up the hill is still my own fat out-of-shapeness.

I did a little research online, and asked ANT for some tips. I decided that the 2007 CannondaleAdventure 800 shown on Mike's website was pretty interesting, mainly because of the SRAM Dual Drive. I'm still a little unclear on how that works, but basically it means I can have my 24 speeds and yet not have a front dérailleur. One less dérailleur means one less chance to get derailed! That also means I should be able to shift even while stopped at a stop sign, which is apparently something that one is supposed to do at stop signs.

I went down to Mike's Bikes, where a guy named Mike reluctantly agreed to help me out. He tried to pass me off on some other clerk who would have none of it. I'm a terrible shopper, and I guess it shows!

At a bike store I always feel just as bad as most people do at a car dealership. I just know I'm gonna get ripped off because I don't know a wheel from a tire from a tube. But I tested four bikes. I liked the last one best, probably because it is the most similar to the one I already have and am used to. It turned out to also be a Cannondale Adventure, but a different model. The one shown on their website was the only Adventure 800 they had in stock, at a different store. Luckily it was my size.

Though I hate to make snap decisions, I went ahead and decided to go with it sight-unseen, just based on having tested the other Adventure.

Today, I got a call from the store. It turns out that they goofed and had already sold that bike to someone else. But they are going to order one for me and give it to me at the same price. I'm not clear on whether that will be the same 2007 model or the 2008 model (which is now called the Adventure 2). I think he told me on the phone, but I immediately forgot.

Now it will take a few weeks for the order to come in. So I'll have to keep using my old bike 'till then.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Well, it looks like I'm heading to Phoenix next week.

It's just one of those spur-of-the-moment decisions. A few weeks ago I was looking around to find out when Calexico might be doing another concert near me. Sadly, they don't have anything planned. But their website did say that two of the band members would be performing along with Glen Hansard in Phoenix.

I had wanted to see Glen Hansard in Oakland, but couldn't get a ticket. So I said, hey, why the hell not go see him in Phoenix. I've long wanted to see Phoenix, and I need a vacation.

It wouldn't really be fair to say I'm going there for a concert. I just needed to go somewhere, and I couldn't decide where. It takes a little random something like that to make me make up my mind.

So I'll be spending a few days in Sedona and a three nights in Phoenix. I've seen the Grand Canyon already, so I won't go up there. Maybe I'll drive down to Nogales for the heck of it. Hard to say.

Though it is only April, it will probably be unbearably hot in Phoenix, in which case I'll spend all my time indoors or in a pool, which is perfectly ok. Sedona should be comfortable, at least.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I almost saw Obama

After hiking on Sunday afternoon, we were driving down Divisadero from the Marina. We randomly decided to drive by the house with the robot, because I'd never seen it.

There were lots of reporters hanging around nearby. There is even one in this photo. We didn't know why. Now we know.

Mr. Obama was going to a party down the street at the Getty's house. It was a secret visit to SF.

All the details, and lots of pictures, over at zombietime.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


Still searching for the perfect macaroon. Since my walnut macaroons were such a horrid, but delicious, failure, I decided to increase the difficulty level.

Can you guess the secret ingredient in these egg whites? Hint: It is pink and it tastes vile! No, it isn't pepto bismol. (That tastes good.) It's Campari. I evaporated off the alcohol first.

I don't like Campari much, but tomorrow I'm visiting some friends who do. They should be impressed.

They won't have the slightest idea how much harder it is to make a macaroon with a liquid ingredient. In fact, I think it is impossible to make a proper one with liquid in it. But I won't let a little thing like that stop me.

I used one more egg white than last time. (So that is 3 if you're counting, along with 1 cup each almond flour and confectioner's sugar. And the zest of one mandarin, to make the Campari taste better.)

The batter had almost the right feel to it, and I managed to get some nice roundish drops. I let them dry for about an hour, hoping to get the shiny top. No luck. I'm sure it is because of the liquid ingredient.

Anyway, they cooked-up pretty good. The didn't spread-out like those horrible walnut monstrosities (that tasted real good). Still, they aren't too bad.

For the filling, I made a simple buttercream with more Campari. Grapefruit would have worked well as a filling flavor, but I didn't have any around. Here they are all ready to go. I have no idea how I'm going to transport them. They are somewhat fragile.

And the taste? Well, these aren't likely to become a big seller at Laudrée any time soon. But they aren't bad. And the texture is actually very, very close to correct.

After going to all this work, I understand why these things cost 2 euros each in a cheap neighborhood patisserie. Let's see, 16 filled macaroons comes out to 32 euros, or about $50. Somebody better appreciate this!