Towse: views from the hill

October 19, 2012

In which I go to a concert at the Bill Graham Memorial Civic Auditorium

Filed under: life,music,San Francisco — Towse @ 4:02 pm

I missed a special event down the peninsula that my pal Karin was involved with last night because we were at the Bill Graham Memorial Civic Auditorium for a joint (heh heh. The SMOKE in the building!) concert with Mark Knopfler (who was excellent) and Bob Dylan (who was sounding very much like Dr. John).

Back during the first Live Aid (1985), our daughter Anne came in from watching part of the concert and said, “But who was the funny-looking guy who can’t sing?” We were able to guess correctly without much trying.

Dylan’s voice is raspier. His range is abbreviated. He’s changed his music to reflect those factors. I could, every once in a while, recognize a lyric and realize he was, f’rex, singing “Highway 61″ or “Like A Rolling Stone.” But when you’re straining to hear lyrics and it takes you a good twenty seconds to recognize he’s singing “Blowin’ In The Wind” =despite= the fact you’re hanging around at the back of the venue for the predictable encore and you are willing to lay bets that the predictable encore will be “Blowin’ In The Wind” being as it’s an election year … well, that says something.

He sounded so much like Dr. John it’s as though he’s been taking pointers. But he’s in fine shape. Looked good. Was obviously having a good time. Fine fettle. Good musicians backing him.

And there’s nothing wrong with sounding like Dr. John.

But I’d seen Dr. John at The Independent a few days after my birthday in August and hadn’t been expecting him or a Dylan who sounded like him last night.

We bumped into the illustrious William T. Quick et compagnon whilst waiting for Muni to deliver us home. They, too, had been at the concert albeit in upper crust seats rather than standing with the plebes on the general admission floor. Animated dissection of the concert followed and continued on Muni for two stops, where we disembarked and caught a surface-street bus to the bottom of the hill.

Up the hill and down again and home, with memories.

January 26, 2011

Sometimes you wake up.

Filed under: life — Towse @ 12:30 am

For those of you who weren’t paying attention when I linked to Gaiman’s blogpost earlier today on Facebook. [What? You’re not a Facebook friend?] .. here’s the nut. Here’s what someone tattooed on her shoulder:

Sometimes you wake up.
Sometimes the fall kills you.
And sometimes, when you fall, you fly…

No reference, but if it had been there, it would have read: Neil Gaiman, SANDMAN. “Fear of Falling”

Have you ever dreamed of falling? And falling? And falling? and you wake up with a heart-stopping shake?

I used to. Still do sometimes.

When I was at university and dated a guy whose mom is a wonderful gal and a FB friend (Hi! Susie!), he and his family invited me to IBM night at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

Despite my fears of falling and my dreams, I rode the Giant Dipper because Bill was a roller coaster freak and wanted to. We rode to the top of the tippiest top and headed down and … that first time, it was =just= like my dreams of falling, but I couldn’t wake up, couldn’t fly. … couldn’t die. I honestly thought I would die. If I could’ve climbed out of the car, I would’ve. But I couldn’t.

I rode the Dipper multiple times that night and even though that night is decades ago, it taught me that the fall didn’t need to kill me, it was just the downslope on a roller coaster and, if I hung in there, I could eventually come to a calm stop.

Here’s Gaiman’s blogpost.

October 25, 2010

And the Giants win. On to the World Series.

Filed under: life,sports — Tags: , , , — Towse @ 5:17 pm

Saturday night we were at the annual fundraiser for the Salesian Boys and Girls Club, which is on Filbert, next to Saints Peter and Paul. The fundraiser is actually in the basement of Saints Peter and Paul.

Deal is, you buy a raffle ticket for a chunk of change when you get the party invite in the mail. On the evening of, the raffle ticket gets two of you into the fundraiser where you have congenial companions, open bar before dinner and throughout, buffet dinner (with shrimp, raw oysters, multiple salads, pastas, the whole works, including guys carving roast beef). Followed by the need-not-be-present-to-win raffle and then live music. All for a good cause — making sure the Club has enough funds to serve all the kids who attend, who pay a membership fee of only $10/year.

Saturday night was rainy. The Giants were in the playoffs. The turnout for all that was robust. Must’ve been the Disco theme!

We were there, of course, primarily because the guy who runs the Club is married to someone I know from grade school days. We were seated at the Scoma table w/ Ms Scoma and another person we’d met at previous SBGC fundraisers, others. Then we were moved over to the Gumina table, where my grade school friend held sway. Then we moved back to the Scoma table because the Gumina table was overbooked and two more people showed up, wanting to sit there. Two of the Copp godchildren, with their spouses, showed up late and joined us at the Scoma table. Finding parking had been a problem. It’s all family and friends, interesting people, and we land wherever we land.

The raffle was over (twenty prizes, ranging from tickets for Beach Blanket Babylon and dinner beforehand to an all-expenses-paid African safari or $15K cash).

We didn’t win. :-(

Live music. Disco theme, did I mention? The attention of the crowd, though, was on the ballpark, over the hill and down the Embarcadero. The score, which had been 2-0 Phillies earlier in the evening, was now tied at 2-2. Sure there were dancers on the floor, but there was a growing crowd clustered around the TV that someone had found and set up at the back of the hall.

Eighth inning. Cheers erupted as Juan Uribe hit a home run, putting the Giants ahead 3-2.

The band tried to lure back their crowd by playing a song that Tony Bennett sings on occasion. Didn’t work. Ninth inning. Giants don’t score. Bottom of the ninth. Brian Wilson pitching. One out. Two. The dance floor was practically empty as the inning progressed. The band finally just stopped playing. They’d lost their audience with the score 3-2, bottom of the ninth, two outs, two Phillies on base. Could the Giants’ Wilson make that third out and clinch the game?

He could!

And the crowd cheered. And the band began playing again as their audience drifted back to the dance floor.

October 19, 2010

Bouchercon SF 2010

Filed under: life,writing — Tags: , — Towse @ 3:59 pm

Here’s where I’ve been.

September 22, 2010

Dan Savage to gay kids: ‘It gets better’

Filed under: causes,life,video — Towse @ 6:08 pm

A new project on YouTube. Dan Savage and his husband, Terry Miller, post the kickoff video.
Dan Savage to gay kids: ‘It gets better’

Billy Lucas, 15 and different in Greensburg, Indiana, killed himself this month after other kids taunted him for seeming gay.

This is not a new kind of story, but it’s getting a new kind of response. Sex columnist Dan Savage says what everyone who grew up different, in whatever way, knows is true: Life gets better. Savage and his husband tell their story in the video above. They invite other gay couples to record theirs and send them in for the new It Gets Better project.

[via the Rachel Maddow Show]

August 25, 2010

Bye bye, Firefox. Hello, Chrome.

Filed under: app,internet,life — Towse @ 5:19 pm

Running on Chrome until further notice.

The erratic, unpredictable, unreliable, inconsistent, irregular, changeable, intermittent, uneven, fitful, variable* whims (not to mention the crashes and hiccups and slowdowns and what-nots) of Firefox finally drove me away.

(* Thank you to MSN Encarta online for the synonyms. …)

May 15, 2010

Breakfast of Champions

Filed under: life,photographs — Tags: — Towse @ 12:53 pm

Leftovers for breakfast.

This is what we served for dessert when we had company over for dinner Monday. Fixings for this one grabbed from the refrigerator this morning and put together for breakfast. This is the last until I make more. …

Homemade cream puff, filled with homemade vanilla pudding, topped w/ a sauce made by nuking chocolate chips and a bit of butter. (The dessert Monday was a bit less slapped together.)

Cream puff filled w/ vanilla pudding and drizzled w/ chocolate

Breakfast of Champions

May 11, 2010

Tuesday in San Francisco.

Filed under: life,restaurants — Tags: — Towse @ 11:07 pm

Went to the rosé tasting at Butterfly (P33) . Very crowded. Young hip crowd. Deejay. They didn’t ask for the ID they’d told me I had to bring. :-(

Too crowded for my sensibilities. (I was tempted to ask Rob Lam if I could hide out in his kitchen and have his nibs ferry me tastes of rosé.)

Tasty, but. …

We split early and went down to …P5 for a no-reservation dinner at Lafitte, which opened in April.

They sat us at the counter where we could watch the action in the kitchen. Fun.

We shared an appetizer charcroute plate. (Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. Try it if Russell has it on his menu again.)

His nibs had roasted lamb sirloin (medium rare) because the house had sold out of scallops. I had seared Iberico pork belly and sweetbreads. (Tasty!)

For dessert, we shared an English pea panna cotta (amazing!).

We walked back home and up 223 (who’s counting) steps and then down the path to home sweet home.

Tuesday in San Francisco. …

March 31, 2010

A little bit about chicken … and rice noodles … and chicken noodle soup – Vietnamese and Cambodia-style

Filed under: life,recipes — Towse @ 5:28 am

I came home from my time away with yearnings for rice noodle soup from the hotel breakfast buffets — broth-based rice noodle soup with mixed veggies and lime and sriracha. *sigh*

This week I substituted canned broth for “real” broth and that was okay for a while but today I took the chicken carcass from the roast chicken we had for supper a couple nights ago, tossed in chicken wings, onion, garlic, chicken bones from the nights in between, and ginger and concocted a tasty chicken broth.

Tonight for dinner, we had the chunky bits from the broth mixed with sriracha sauce and lime juice. (I’d bagged up the broth in 2C ZipLoc bags — 2 quarts worth — and put in our teeny freezer.) Tossed in chopped onion, cilantro, and shredded cheese. Folded into hot corn tortillas with chopped lettuce and … chicken tacos!


Tomorrow’s supper will be roast chicken sprinkled with spices and herbs, with smushed up roasted garlic slathered between the meat and the skin …

The leftovers will be yet another chicken carcass for the next time I want to make a batch of chicken broth.

And so it goes. …

Update: The roasted garlic chicken tonight was FABOO. *sigh*

February 18, 2010

Delicious winemaker dinner at Acquerello Restaurant

Filed under: life,photographs,restaurants,travel — Tags: , — Towse @ 4:19 am

Delicious winemaker dinner at Acquerello Restaurant last night. The winemaker brought wines that the chef wanted to pair with her food. It was all =really= delish.

Before we went, his nibs said, Piemonte wines. I think we’ve been to the village this wine is supposed to come from. He named it. I checked. I rummaged through old digital photos we’d taken on a trip in September 2002. And, yes, we had indeed walked through the village of Serralunga d’Alba.

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We’d poked through the square and climbed up into the castle that dominates the surrounds.

We’d walked through Gaja vineyards in the morning and watched them harvesting, before we walked up to the village

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but I’m pretty sure we hadn’t walked through Ettore Germano, which is a ways from the village and on the other side of the village from Gaja.

Tasty wines last night. He had a sparkling to start and a gem of an un-oaked Chardonnay before he dove into Barolos and such.

Plus Sergio Germano was a very charming man with loads to talk about truffles and wine and winemaking. Entertaining evening all around. We need to visit Acquerello more often than we do. Suzette Gresham-Tognetti makes such amazing food.

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