How to make good use of your new camera

Obviously I have this camera sitting around, waiting to be used. It’s hot on the weekends and I’m tired and ugh, so I haven’t had a chance to do a lot with it. UNTIL TONIGHT.

Yep. I used the camera to take pictures of..my television. IT WAS FUN OK? Here’s another one.

I’m so looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow. This was an awful week. A coworker is out on medical leave, which is fine, but it seems like everyone decided that since she was gone, we needed WAY MORE WORK. So I was up to my eyeballs in it from 9am Monday until about 4pm today (Friday). I woke up with a migraine on Wednesday and didn’t really get a chance to rest it off, so I’ve just felt a little off the past few days. And today was particularly rough.

HOWEVER. The day ended half an hour early, the Giants won, and IT’S THE WEEKEND! What are your plans for this weekend, Internet? Fun with the family? Chilling at home? Be safe and have fun, no matter what you do!

My year with the San Francisco Giants

So. I’ve officially been a fan of baseball for a year, and I feel like it’s time to sit down and talk about this glorious sport and how many gray hairs I have sprouted because of it.

First of all, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I’m a Giants fan. I mean, really? Did you read ANY of my other posts? Jeremy Affeldt’s blog is on my blogroll, for Isis’s sake. Last year, one of our brilliant commentators coined our season as torture (something I take offense to because seriously, AT&T Park is not Gitmo, but I digress) and that statement was accurate. Torture came back this season, even though we really didn’t want it to, but now it seems like such an insufficient (AND COMPLETELY INAPPROPRIATE, YOU GUYS) word. There HAS to be something more accurate to describe this turbulent season, which has resulted in 18 of the 25 men on our roster winding up on the DL at least. Two of them happened today, along with four other injuries that happened LAST NIGHT. And while we’re talking about last night, Brian Wilson. Oh, Willie. You have no idea how much I wish I could sit you down and have a very, very long talk with you about a number of things (I might ask if I can touch the hawk because it’s just so pretty) that might help shore up the walls of your fury.

And just so we’re clear, anyone who comes here to rabble about how we need to bench him or trade him can just sit down.

It was bad enough when Buster was injured. It happened a few days before we got cable, so we didn’t get to see the game, but the day after, when I heard the news and later when I saw the video, my stomach turned. Surely this was enough of a sacrifice for winning the Series last year, right?

Wrong.

The baseball gods have taken Freddy Sanchez for the season, too. Intermittantly, from the beginning of the season, they saw fit to take Brian Wilson, Santiago Casilla, Jonathan Sanchez, Barry Zito (twice), Brandon Belt, Mark DeRosa (twice), Mike Fontenot, Jeff Keppinger (injured, not on DL), Pablo Sandoval (DL & injured now but not on the DL), Carlos Beltran, Cody Ross, Aaron Rowand (injured, not on DL), Nate Schierholtz (injured for the second time in a week, not on DL), Sergio Romo, Miguel Tejada, Pat Burrell (might be facing career-ending surgery), Darren Ford, Andres Torres (twice), and Bill Hall.

Oh, and while I was typing this, Jonathan Sanchez got injured in the 3rd inning.

So I stopped writing for awhile and now we’re in the top of the 11th. I just posted this on Twitter and I’ll repeat it here: no matter how this game ends, I could not be prouder of this team.

And this is why I love this team. This is why I have come to love baseball so much in a year. I didn’t grow up in a household that watched baseball. I think I’ve mentioned that before. I grew up on a steady diet of basketball and football (college variety) with a very, very, VERY small chunk of college baseball thrown in for good measure. I mean, we have to pull for our boys and girls in all sports, right? Right.

As I’ve grown into this sport, I’ve discovered people like me, people who love to be a part of something bigger than themselves, people who obsess and discuss and are fervent in their love of the game, of the players. I’m not familiar with other clubs, so I can’t speak to their fanbase, but in San Francisco, you are swept into a giant family that bleeds orange and black. We live by our team and die by our team. We stay until the last out. We rise to our feet when Vogelsong, Cain, Bumgarner, Lincecum, Sanchez, or our relievers come out after a well-pitched game. We jump around for the Beard. We flail our arms toward the Cove, urging the ball to find a resting place in the water. We sing songs between innings.

We love this team. We love them when they win. We love them when we lose. Of course we get frustrated. Of course we lose our tempers. But most of us stand strong and stay Giant. In my first year of being a baseball fan, I’ve screamed and yelled and shed a few tears and met some really incredible people. I’ve been inspired – who hasn’t heard Vogelsong’s story and felt a swell of “anything’s possible if you keep the faith” in their chest? I’ve been changed. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. I finally understand what all the fuss is about.

Thank you for the amazing year, Giants. I look forward to decades more.

I didn’t make any of these gifs!

On second thought

I’m kind of glad I wasn’t home to watch the game today. OUCH, boys. Ouch. But it’s all good because August thumped us good last year and I love the Giants no matter what.

So while I lived in North Carolina, I missed California immensely. I missed the delta breeze, I missed the eucalyptus trees, I missed the smell of the ocean (doesn’t smell the same on the east coast). I missed San Francisco and the fog and the deceptive weather and the marine layer and the Financial District and the bridges, even though I have to white-knuckle it when I drive over them. I missed the palm trees and the rainy Novembers and I even missed Sacramento. Mostly I missed San Francisco. I spent hours on Google Earth, street viewing my favorite neighborhoods, looking at pictures and remembering things: sleeping in Washington Square Park, hiking up to Coit Tower with Meredith because we were stupid and AWESOME, standing under the Kerouac Alley sign outside City Lights, Matt Nathanson at the Swedish American, Matt Nathanson in Berkeley, Howie Day at the Fillmore, Dave Matthews Band at the Polo Field and the horrible Muni ride back to our BART station. I looked up real estate listings and apartment listings and daydreamed. Daydreamed of so many things. Wrote so many stories.

I had, for all intents and purposes, left my heart in San Francisco.

Now I’m back in California, settled in Sacramento, and I have not spent enough time in San Francisco. I haven’t spent ANY time in San Francisco except for the Giants game last month, and we didn’t even have time to do anything else. That’s why I took so many pictures of the Bay Bridge, of the ships moving through the bay, of the sun painting the water and the sky at dusk, of the skyline through the mesh behind me. I am in love with this city. I am this city. This city is me. I miss it even now, feel the ache in my bones like I did when I was 3,000 miles away. If I could grind myself down into sidewalks, become a fleck of fool’s gold, I would.

In September, we’re heading into SF for the Dodgers series and I am already torn. There are so many things I want to do and see in addition to the games. I want to spend an afternoon reacquainting myself with North Beach, browsing the poetry room in City Lights, and sitting in the park. I want to spend some time in Berkeley because it’s been too long. We won’t be able to do all of those things, and that’s okay. But every time I leave this city, I leave another piece of myself behind. Someday I’ll have the time to pick up all of those pieces and sort them back into place. Maybe in a new order. Maybe create something new and precious. Maybe I’ll have help (those eyes I’ve dreamed of so many years).

Someday I’ll be whole again.

Holy Monday from hell

Today was just…phenomenally awful. I mean, it wasn’t as terrible as some days have been recently but there were some situations at work, which I can’t discuss here, that were jaw-dropping. I have never encountered so much vile behavior from an ADULT has I did today at work. It was completely unnecessary. The good news is that my boss bought us lunch to thank us for working hard while she was out of the office. I got my BOMB buffalo blue cheese salad from Pronto and I died a thousand times because that salad is LIFE-CHANGING.

I ATE THE WHOLE THING

Tonight during our AMAZING loss to the Pirates, I decided to make a cake because I REALLY wanted one, so as soon as I’m done typing this, I’m going to go frost it. Because I love cake.

Can you tell I don’t have anything to say? Again? As usual.

My very grown up weekend

Before I tell you all about my exciting weekend, I have to say something VERY IMPORTANT:

The above is true if Stephen = me and this = Electric Girl. Because she was all “Chase Utley plays second, right?” and I was like “Idek I only know that he’s pretty” and she’s like “if I’m right, you have to make a post about how I’m awesome”. SO THERE YOU GO, INTERNET.

And here’s a short story about Chase Utley:

Once upon a time, the Phillies came to San Francisco to play the Giants in a four-game series and in the second game, there was a bench clearing non-brawl and then in the fourth game, Chase Utley was up to bat and accidentally threw his bat and it hit Tim Lincecum in the knee and he ran out to check on Tim, which was sweet, but then he got a base hit and I stopped feeling very generous toward him because HE HIT TIM LINCECUM WITH HIS BAT and did you notice how Tim did not immediately turn around and impale Chase with said bat? And then we won the game and I don’t like the Phillies still but Chase Utley is a babe, so I will give him a free pass. Fin

SO ANYWAY. This weekend we were supposed to pick up a set of mattresses from a coworker but it didn’t work out, so we have to do it this week. I went to the thrift store Saturday morning to buy a glass bowl (so I can make cheese dip, in case you’re wondering) and I ended up finding an entire SET of glass bowls (like, EIGHT BOWLS) AND a black spoon rest for the stove AND a set of three little glass dishes that match some of our glasses almost perfectly. (And I also found a GORGEOUS black purse that is slouchy and studded in all the right places and I cannot wait to use it omg.) Then I went to Ross and bought a shower curtain covered in butterflies for $6. SIX DOLLARS! It’s PERFECT. Now I want an over-the-toilet thing because I only have one towel rack and not much storage space, so that is the solution to my problem.

Basically I had a very grown up weekend punctuated by lots of baseball, a nap, and popcorn. JEALOUS?

1985

It’s hard to find articles about the drought in the Horn of Africa in major U.S. publications. It just is. I have trouble finding them in the ‘World’ section of the email alerts I get from various papers. Today I was surprised to see it featured front and center in my New York Times email. The article is pretty thorough and points out a lot of the political and logistical nightmares that exist. It paints a very grim picture: a country held hostage by a group that overpowers the majority (that is, number) with force during a widespread drought. Aid can’t move in because either this group will skim off the top or take it outright, or to do so – send and provide relief – would break a number of laws.

I’m a child of the ’80s and much of my initial exposure to Africa involved emaciated kids my age who looked like aged infants and jagged cracks of earth that looked familiar – we experienced a drought of our own – and there was, of course, Live Aid. It was an event not without its trouble, which is another post for another day (how best to help when we cannot help at all, which sounds like a post for THIS post but it’s not), but when I think of the ’80s and how I first began to learn about the continent, I think of Live Aid.

We’re kind of in that situation again, but with more roadblocks and red tape holding us back. We don’t want a repeat of what happened in the early ’90s (Black Hawk Down), and we don’t want to stand idly by while an entire country falls to famine. People want answers and they want solutions, things they can do now to help. People want to know why we’re always looked to first in situations like this (hello, super power anyone?), and people want to know why Somalia’s neighbors aren’t helping more. In the comment section of that NYT piece, there are a lot of gross exaggerations and broad statements concerning the nature and behavior of Somalis, and a few calls for the involvement of the African Union. I had to take a step back when I read those comments because a) not every Somali child we managed to “help” in the early ’90s is a terrorist pirate with a gun, and b) not every Somali citizen we “helped” in the early ’90s turned a gun on us. Got it?

As far as the African Union is concerned, people need to stop thinking of it like the United Nations. They might strive to be like the UN, and I think that’s a noble ambition – the UN, though far from perfect, does the right thing from time to time, and they are an unbelievable resource for information – but right now, they don’t have the numbers. They don’t have the resources. They don’t have much of anything, and are you all aware that there’s STILL genocide going on in Sudan? How about DRC? The invisible children in Uganda? Hutu rebels attacking people in multiple countries? The already strapped AU cannot handle this situation on their own. Somalia’s new slip-shod government, if one could even call it that, struggles to govern. What the NYT article does say is that Somalia is more unreachable than Afghanistan.

More unreachable than Afghanistan.

I know Americans understand references to Afghanistan. Does that help put things into perspective for you?

Yes, the country is full of corruption, greed, and violence, but the perpetrators of violence aren’t the ones who suffer. If you know of an aid organization you trust, please give to them. They will find a way to siphon the aid into the country. The relief agencies and NGOs in the surrounding countries will need help. Give to them. Because as the Somali people find ways out of the country, they will overwhelm already crowded camps. Educate yourselves. Remember that this famine is a culmination of many things: drought, lack of access to food, corruption, politics, and greed.

For more information, visit Al Jazeera’s spotlight on the drought, the International Rescue Committee, and this blog post about food access.

For future reference

In the hopes that I will make an actual post about it this week, I’m dropping a quick post in to remind myself…then I can’t just let it slip, can I?

So in a part of the world beset by war, a non-existent government, and poverty, there’s also a drought. I grew up in the ’80s, when there were droughts everywhere, particularly in Africa. I’ve come to associate droughts with that continent, however unfairly, since there are lush, thick forests there but the picture painted for us in the ’80s was just abject poverty, misery, and suffering beyond belief.  (The trouble with the media’s portrayal of Africa is another post all together because colonialist mindset much?)

This week, I hope to gather some information to share with you on the drought and the region, along with some resources on where to donate, what you can do, etc.