Monday, December 31, 2007

Fighting a Different Kind of Terrorism

"More people have died as a consequence of hunger in the past 5 years than have been killed in all the wars, revolutions and murders in the past 150 years." - Bread For The World

Wow. That is just unreal, but apparently 16 million people die every year from hunger / malnutrition. I sit here, eating my apple, speaking of the virtues of eating locally (and organically), and others are simply without food.

I have come to realize that it doesn't have everything to do with us just having "enough" to give those in "need". There are systems, mechanisms, politics that would keep us from "alleviating poverty"...something that, at least in some ways, is a realistically possible idea.

I have never quite known what to do about this, what my part in the grand scheme of things ought to be, whether I should pray or give money or petition congress or support NGOs or what. I have tried all of those as well as relational redistribution, neighborliness. As a family (and now household), we continue to try to check out of the Industrial Food Machine which has left so many exploited and hungry. We have attempted to utilize the Fair Trade (or something like it) certification when we can. And I know this isn't perfect...sometimes these are merely new mechanisms that have their own hang-ups and downfalls.

I have tried living off less...but sometimes that can be hard to get behind philosophically. Still, I just ordered 3 cases of wine for the new year. What hypocrisy! or at least complexity. We use our LESS WITH MORE and EATING IN SEASON cookbooks that the Mennonites put together (and that friends gifted us). But it doesn't seem like enough.

But for most of us, we feel like we ought to do something, right? I would hope that some of us could put the same energy into helping our fellow man who is starving that we have perhaps misdirected at the generic word "terrorism". And I wonder if these two issues (poverty and terrorism) are not more closely related that we realize. We live in a world where 80% of the world's resources are consumed by 20% of the population...and I think we can all guess where that 20% is. Perhaps we could commit to a month at a time of a dietary shift...only local produce, no more shopping at Whole Foods (the Organic Industrial Food Face), only locally butchered meats from grassfed cows, grow your own herbs or veggies. In most instances this will cost more. Much more sometimes. Cheap food is an illusion. Someone pays for everything. I dunno, that's at least what will be on our radar if you stop in for a meal sometime.

What will you do in this new year?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

I Heart Movies

We have Netflix again. It's been lovely. Been able to rent films like ARMY OF DARKNESS and NACHO LIBRE and most recently HELVETICA.

The last title we just finished today during Pax's afternoon nap. It was a wonderful film about the subtle shifts in typology that informed (and were informed by) culture, both modern and post-modern (and other).

It reminded me of college, when I was really into David Carson. (One of Holly's first gifts to me was THE END OF PRINT. Brilliant book.) I worked closely with a friend to take the oh-so-traditional newspaper over and make it more like a RayGun magazine. I'd use fonts to cut up fonts, negative space next to a heap of improperly-kerned type. The grunge fonts then came along...and everything went to shit after Coke used the broken typewriter font in an ad. Then David Carson designed a Nike piece and we all knew the time was coming for this to end.

This was all before I even knew what the term "postmodern" would mean...or meant. Surely others were using the word, but I was in my own bubble. But I was still informed by those who used the language...I just didn't know that typology would correlate that closely to cultural and social shifts.

Now I know more.

You should definitely see this film. Rent it today.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Vacation Plans

Like I said previously, I booked our flight, rental car, and hotel for a trip to Kauai in May. Just me and the misses. Being that we'll be away from Pax for 4 nights / 5 days, we thought it'd be good to have some shorter trips away from him between now and then...especially seeing as how he's never been away from us except for a day.

So, in January we're taking a 1 night / 2 day trip up to Mendocino thanks to our housemates who got us a B&B gift certificate for Christmas. Mmm.

Then in February, we're planning a 2 night / 3 day trip out to the sierras for wine-tasting, property-scouting, and general relaxation.

All of these trips will be sans Pax. I love that kid...and I already kinda miss him as I type that he won't be with us on those trips. But still, I need my space. So does he.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

$15 iTunes GiftCard

I just bought the new Patti Griffin and 5 songs of the previous William Fitzsimmons record. Beautiful. And it's raining outside. And our projects are nearing completion. And we bought some nice wine. And the kid is asleep. And everything seems just fine.

Tragedy & Relief

First, tragedy. Did you hear about the tiger who got out of his cage at the San Francisco Zoo on Christmas Day? Killed 1 guy and badly wounded 2 others. Oh, it makes me sick to my stomach, being that we go there about once a month with Pax. I am still a bit in shock, honestly.

Second, relief. We just booked a flight, hotel, and rental car for Kauai in May. We have wanted to get back there ever since we went for our honeymoon. We'll be there 5 days / 4 nights...and I can hardly wait. This vacation is long overdue.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Just got my free coffee at Peet's.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Three Babies in Three Days

Wow. Three friends/family members have brought a child a day into this world. It all started 3 days ago when I got the email from Glenn announcing the birth of his and Shatrine's first child, Audrey. Beautiful. Glenn and Shatrine have been great friends through the years, Glenn being one of the best business partners ever.

Yesterday I got a text from our former drummer, Stephen Caproni. His wife Teresa just gave birth to their first...a little boy named Tristan. Again, beautiful.

And then last night, Holly's mom called with news about her sister...Jess gave birth to her second boy...Joey. More here soon, I'm sure. Again, beautiful. Soon we'll be meeting him. He apparently doesn't look a thing like Sammy.

Wow. Wow. Wow.

Three cheers to the advent season! A light breaking through the darkness. Clarity and grounding for the lost, confused, and tired. This is Kingdom Come.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Where I've Been Lately

This has been a busy season for us...really, a busy year or so. Our lives stay at some pace of busy generally, but these last several months have been sped up considerably. I am amazed that I still have no gray hairs. The gods favor me I guess...or wait, perhaps they don't favor me and it's that I have no wisdom...anyway.

These last several months have had us very involved with a book project that some friends are writing. It's a provocative socio-political book dealing with the subversiveness of what it might mean to follow Jesus. The book is entitled JESUS FOR PRESIDENT: Politics for Ordinary Radicals. Chris and Shane work hard, distilling eons of rich Christian wisdom and tradition to help us find our way today.

The gist? Perhaps you cannot be a "good patriot" and a "good Christian". Perhaps the call of Christ is to somehow transcend (while even inhabiting more deeply?) the culture you are a part of. Leaving behind old definitions of family and tribe for newer, more expansive Kingdom language where we are all family and of one tribe.

The book is about ideals, ideologies, parties, nation-states, religions, etc.

Anyway, that's what the book is about. Our involvement was primarily translative and interpretive...and perhaps secondarily slightly editorial. We gave visual enhancement or richness. Color from black and white characters on a page. I'll eventually throw some of the designed pages up here, but I think it too soon for that.

It's been an amazing project to work on, albeit incredibly consuming. But all-consuming meaningful work has its own rewards.

And as it would turn out, Barnes & Noble are going to feature the book on a cardboard standalone thingie. Cool.

It's been amazing to work with friends as contributors...we ended up with a moving art piece of 368 pages. Wow. I cannot believe we pulled that off.

The book will be out in Spring '08 if I have my calculations correct. You can pre-order it on Amazon here.

The next several days will be full of edits, technicalities, and other such tasks. But as of January 4th, it's off to the printers...woo-hoo!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

SoCha Revisited

Last night was wonderful. Played 5 new songs and some standards as well. Good turnout, warm environment, and nice Zinfandel. Mmm.

Thanks to our housemate, Dan, for the pics.

If you missed this show, check us out here again in January (11th @ 8pm). Ciao.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Checking In

A few things...going to the Embarcadero Theatre tonight to see Sigur Ros' new film. It's one of (I believe) 6 screenings throughout the US...for one night only. Pretty exciting.

Playing a show at SoCha tomorrow night...8pm. If you're around, come should be fun...and we'll be playing some new songs.

We're just slammed with work, but the end of the year should have us in a much better place. Holding our breath until about the first week of January.

I feel like there was something else to mention, but I can't remember.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Holly Dun Kut It

The day after...

...and I'm still okay with it. Honestly, I was just done with the knots. You should have seen the knot-dred in the back of my head. Geez. It was keeping me up at night...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sabbath from Imagination

Today as I was trying to rest at least for part of the day, I found myself reaching for a book and having to swat one hand with the other and then grab the remote.

You see, I need a sabbath from imagination from time to time. A sabbath from creating, interacting with, and consuming ideas. A day of leisure.

So many of us live in a world where we are constantly productive. And a day free of production (like me typing these words in order to communicate) seems a waste to a great many of us.

Yet I have a creeping suspicion that we're in need of just that kind of sabbath. Hmm.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Help Me Out Here

Shae from the ReFINERY just posted (what I think is) a pretty fantastic live copy of Help Me Out Here. Click here...or go to his blog entry. Spread the love around.

Dean's Beans

One of the best things about living with another couple/family/person is sharing in their investigatory resources. For example, Dan has turned the household onto Dean's Beans and I'm grateful for it. Their Ring of Fire Blend is mas yummy.

I do still love me some yummy Café Mam and all the other brands we've tried at our co-op. But I do love me some Dean's Beans. I think I'll brew some now and try to wake up.

And who knew? This guy Dean wrote a book that sounds pretty cool.

Might make a great gift for a FAIR TRADE COFFEE enthusiast. (That is not a hint for me, by the way.)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Goin' to the Country

After grabbing some veggies and fruits for the week at the Alemany Farmer's Market (a weekly ritual), we'll head south to Santa Cruz for the weekend.

We're taking a retreat as a community down at the Dixon cabin in the mountains. It will be nice to get to catch up with everyone and dream.

Shabat Shalom.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Date Night

After a somewhat difficult couple weeks, we're gonna head out and catch a flick. Planning on seeing THE GOLDEN COMPASS.

Today I finished a large portion of large project that has been on my plate for a long time. Holly is still in the thick of book cover designs. Basically, we'll both be hitting it hard up until Christmas Eve...and then hoping that a good deal of January will be chill.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Swamped these days.

Daley posted some great pics from his trip here. Lisa also recollects the Christmas Tree Trip here.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I Cannot Stand It

Listening to Bush or Edwards makes me sick. The others, too. Politicians dodging questions just frustrates the hell out of me. Honestly, how journalists and reporters can put up with it, I hardly understand.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Quite a Review

In Search of a Unified Theory just got reviewed at It was a wonderful review...I'll just post it here.

By Derek Blackmon

The Cobalt Season’s In Search of a Unified Theory hits the indie-folk full on with soft delicate instrumentation that is as lush as a corn-fed farm girl.

Opener “Begin Again” is quite simply one of the tastiest tracks of the year. “Help Me Out of Here” and “Family Tree” prove that if this talent is short-lived it is certainly not limited to one moment of splendor. Comparisons to Iron & Wine are warranted, but lyrically fewer people are killed than on the average Sam Beam single.

The overall beauty of the album is how each song seemingly floats into one another, blending as though each couldn’t exist without the other. An ecstasy-laced compilation, In Search of ... is the Golden Child the industry needs to promote in a Goliath-dominated world. Whether The Cobalt Season are willing to carry the slingshot matters little to those who prefer exposing their friends to the latest find.

Politically and socially, the lyrics toe the line of being preachy, making the obvious statements about the world around us vis-à-vis Dave Matthews, Coldplay et al. Where The Cobalt Season ultimately flaws is in their selfish desire to limit the album to only 12 tracks. Of course I’m willing to accept that I might be a glutton for expecting this CD to continue forever, however this review isn’t about my faults. And if it were, I could make a strong argument supporting my inability to make mistakes.

Buy it. If you don’t like it, have your hearing checked.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Home Made

Making my own homemade eggnog right now...with bourbon and rum and raw eggs (and sugar). Gonna let it ferment at room temp until Christmas...then try to enjoy in moderation with some extra ingredients.

Also working on making some hard cider for January and February. Bought the Apple Juice at the Farmer's Mkt today. In fact, we had a trunk full of juice, apples, and other sorted fruits and veggies. It's nice to live in a big house with lots of people around. Expensive sometimes, but a joy to shop for!