What was good about that special French-press moment

I just had that special French press moment. I was greedy. I’d enjoyed my morning coffee—lovingly prepared by the lovely V—so much, I just had to take that last sip, the one full of grounds and sludge. 

But there was something good in the moment: I was reading this column by the Bay Area’s own Jon Carroll, the best part of San Francisco’s otherwise disappointing newspaper scene. Once again, Jon says what needs to be said much better than just about everyone else who’s been trying lately, this time on the subject of gay and lesbian adoptions and the bigots who apparently think bigger orphanages would be a good thing. 

Reading law at the courthouse

I spent the day at the courthouse reading the Nolo Press book on neighbor law today. Why? 

The lot next to my house has “red-tagged” seven trees, meaning the owners have applied for a permit to remove them, most likely because they mean to build a house there. Naturally my neighbors and I have opinions about both intentions, and now we have to step through the city’s hoops to express our views on same. 

I was at the courthouse because I had been summoned for jury duty. I was supposed to call in last night after 5pm, a fact which I remembered at 9:35am today; had I done so, I would have known I was supposed to report to the courthouse at 8:30am. I then attempted to call the jury room, shower, and dress all at once, eventually succeeding at the tasks sequentially in the above order. When I reached the a live human at the jury room and explained that I’d overslept, she chuckled in a way that suggested sympathy and explained that I would need to call back after 11am to see if I was needed in the afternoon, and if not I’d be excused. Let’s hear it for kind jury-room staff. 

I called back at 11am and was indeed told to report by 1pm. I did so and waited around through various announcements issued in triplicate, a boring orientation video apparently intended to relieve a virulent strain of jury anxiety of which I was previously unaware, and hours of people’s cell phones disturbing the public peace. Eventually at 3:35pm we were all dismissed. The court clerk who dismissed us told us to go buy lottery tickets, because this was our lucky day: our case had just been settled; had it not, the trial was expected to last six to eight weeks or more. 

I asked her, “Was it expected to be an interesting six to eight weeks, at least?”

She look surprised by my question, then grinned and said, “Oh, yeah! It would have been interesting, all right!”

Anyone know which case was in the Hayward (California) Hall of Justice, Dept 519, on the afternoon of 20 March 2006? 

Because somebody actually asked!

Because somebody (specifically my blog mom, Kimberly) actually asked, here are pictures of my cats. As if I need to be asked to show pictures of my cats! In order of seniority, Norton the anthology of cats, Gjetost (aka Cheese Kitty), and Candy.

You might be wondering if a labrador retriever qualifies as a cat. I say yes, because we keep telling Norton and Gjetost that Candy is just a really large black cat so that they’ll welcome her, and they seem to be accepting the concept. If she’s good enough for them, she ought to be good enough for the rest of you.

Do we train dogs, or do they train us?

When we adopted my parents’ eight-year-old black lab, Candy, Mom and Dad said that she slept on her dog bed. Turns out she prefers the couch, though, to which Mom suggested the trick was to place stacks of books and magazines on the couch. This worked for a few days, but then it led to more dog-earing (if you will) of our reading materials than dog-proofing of our sitting materials. 

We gave up and started covering the couch with her car blanket. She mostly sleeps on the couch. 

We occasionally find her hanging out on her dog bed, though, and it usually turns out that she’s there when the car blanket has fallen off the couch. If we fix the blanket, she immediately moves back to the couch. 

I’m pleased that she respects the blanket rule, but I have to wonder: who has trained whom?

Why they call us music "geeks"

Something music geeks are known to do a lot is sing obscure songs with words changed slightly to suit the occasion. Music geeks who went to a church school are even worse–we do the same with obscure hymns. 

Just now our dog Candy tried to get me to make her dinner, even though Victoria had just fed her. Naturally, I had to sing, “I know that my retriever eateth.” 

Candy and Victoria were not amused. 

Dogging is better than jogging


  • when it’s cold out, the plastic NYTimes bag of warm poop in your pocket makes a fabulous hand-warmer
  • you meet the neighbors who have completely ignored you all those years you went jogging past
  • you get to stop to offer treats and not have to admit to yourself that you’re so out of breath you’re wheezing
  • if you talk to yourself, people think you’re sweet and doting instead of nuts
  • neighbor kids are interested in your dog instead of worried that you’re one of those strangers with candy they’ve heard about
  • in normal life you can deal with those awkward periodic silences by reaching into a pocket, any pocket, and offering dog biscuits to your friends

This I know is true

A bit of wisdom from one of my favorite blogs, “The Comics Curmudgeon”:

…here’s a lesson for you childless types that I learned the hard way yesterday: if someone tells you an adorable anecdote about their toddler, and you counter with a very similar anecdote about your pet, the parent will not be pleased. Take my word for it.

Another truth: having a dashboard widget for making quick blog posts means I actually post. Today at least.

Emperor Norton Cosmopolitans

I accidentally developed a recipe for grey Cosmopolitans, which I’ve named in honor of my grey cat, Norton, and San Francisco (home of the original Cosmopolitan cocktail)’s folk hero (see more on him here): 

Shake over ice:

  • One part fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • Four parts tangerine-zest-infused vodka (make this yourself by dumping a bunch of tangerine zest in a bottle of vodka and letting it rest for a few weeks)
  • Half a part unsweetened cranberry juice concentrate
  • One part blue curacao (instead of the traditional triple sec)

Strain into martini glass. Sugared rim optional. Why gild the lily?

Note for geeks: this is a test post from the Google Blogger dashboard widget.