Monday, June 23, 2008

cody's is officially done for

Have you read the news about Cody's Books? They're all gone now, a rep quoted as saying, "No one reads anymore." Youch, so much for my line of work.

We'd seen it coming. It was obvious from the moment the store was sold, really. The shop had been something off a mess since Pat Cody sold it off a few years back when we all stood as if at a eulogy and the Telegraph store, the only full local bookstore where I was able to find any literary journal I wanted, closed first. Then San Francisco.

Somehow, even as I watched inventory dwindle down to the remaindered, the blockbuster, and the preposterous ones that somehow made it through, I had confidence that the Fourth Street shop would survive; it's such a spendy little strip, fine foot traffic. But rent on spendy little strips where the likes of Z Gallerie and Restoration Hardware move in apparently gets prohibitive. And when that spot's rent tripled on Fourth Street, that branch closed too. I worked right there and went to Cody's nearly every day and it was like watching an elderly relative fade and go pale.

But then came Shattuck. They moved, and so did I. My offices were right around the corner from the new branch. I can't even say how long they were there. It's one of the things I've always liked about local bookshops: time evaporates in them in the very best of ways. But this one, it seems, evaporated before it had even really opened.

Oy. I'm going back to bed with a book, one I bought from Cody's.

Friday, June 20, 2008

summer read bulletin

On days when it is so ungodly hot (did the register really read 34°C today or was I having a nightmare?), all one can reasonably be expected to do is fall on the floor. But while you're at rest there, hovering below the radiant heat, might as well read.

Well lucky for you, I have just the book. If you want something fun, a book that doesn't really ask a lot, pick up Missy by Chris Hannan. You can read my review first, if ya like.

But hey, once you get up off the ground, don't forget to tell me if you liked Missy. Personally I think she's a hell of a gal.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

good day for dogs

Did you ever wonder what happened to all the dogs rescued from the Michael Vick compound? Here's a look at the difference a few die-hard advocates made in the life of one lucky—and ridiculously cute—dog named Uba.

Monday, June 16, 2008

the visitor

So not that I have anything against Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, Indiana Jones, or Kung Fu Pandas (CS, when are we going to see that?), but I am telling you to skip all those summer action flicks and go see The Visitor.

The movie takes on the subject of undocumented immigrants and the ways their situations changed after September 11th. It's gut-wrenching and well paced, sensitive and serious. I think it's from the same fellow who directed The Station Agent, a sweet but more vanilla movie. So I suppose this represents a maturation.

I was really moved by it. Lovely performances all around and a good deal of restraint in rendering the ways Middle Eastern folks are taken from their families in the United States and lost in an anonymous international shuffle of deportation. Particularly effective is a tragic scene when the protagonist Walter takes his anger out on an agent working the desk at the detention center. It's hard to tell who—Walter or the agent—appears more powerless in the machine.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

doggone drive-in

Note to dog folks: we were lucky enough to get in on a flash-mob drive-in movie on Treasure Island this weekend and discovered that the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man scene in Ghostbusters is so riveting to the canine set that they won't even take off their 3-D glasses long enough to pose with us for paparazzi. Who knew?

Monday, June 09, 2008

gelato monsterrrrr

It may be too hot for cookies, but that means it's time for gelato. Nocciola and tiramisu please.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

on legs and wings

So I get lots of texts every day. Too many texts, many of them in the middle of meetings when I have the phone on vibrate on a hard conference table-type surface. And when it vibrates, it is as if I have never even heard the sound of my phone in my life—the racket makes me jump from my skin like a cat that's been sneak-attacked by its own kitten. Yipes!

Well that happened today. It was notification that E. and A. and the other insane 2,498 riders participating in this year's multimillion-dollar fundraising AIDS Lifecycle had ridden 185 miles so far. Uhm, that's ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY-FIVE MILES, people. And it was just day three of seven. They're not through yet.

So let's return with photos from Sunday when Emmingway and I cheered them into Santa Cruz from their South San Francisco departure point.

Emming with E.

They ride 100+ miles every day and then haul their stuff from the trucks and set up their tents. Every night. See me here? I'm overwhelmed just bearing witness to their stamina.

(Incidentally, just before we came down to cheer them on—while they were out on their bikes, we were in Berkeley deep-frying hush puppies and taste-testing chicken wings. So many ways to spend a Sunday, some healthier than others.)

With a belly full of chicken wings, I'm proud of them. We're ALL proud of them. I mean, who is NOT proud of them? Aren't you proud of them? Your mission: go tell a changemaker you're proud of her today!

If you're disinclined, how about some perspective. While you sat around tonight and watched the strange cement boy episode of Gray's Anatomy again and ate too many tortilla chips with that dodgy salsa because you were too cheap to order a pizza and too lazy to make that one garlic pasta dish you know how to make (okay that was me—whatever!), they were out on their bikes for hundreds of miles in the relentless California sun after raising, all by their sweet selves, thousands of dollars to try to bring an end to AIDS.

Makes you want to update the to-do list, doesn't it? Well no time like the present, my friends. No time will ever be like the present.Here, for the girls, I leave you with my very best imitation of a QVC model showing off party fixins on the sidelines of the race.


Monday, June 02, 2008

q & a

Q: Don't you think you are biting off more than you can chew?
A: No, that's why I keep my teeth and tongue so sharp.