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Sunday, November 30, 2003

A candidate marches on his stomach: Saturday S. and I participated in local 'merchant walks' with mayoral candidate Matt Gonzalez, walking through the neighborhood as Matt thanked local merchants who were displaying his signs in West Portal (where we frequently eat) and here in the Ingleside (where we live and eat). During the Ingleside walk with our favorite potential mayor, the parade started to turn back before reaching a business with TWO Matt for Mayor signs up: Ocean Taqueria.

S. pointed out that Matt was just doors away from the Taqueria, which he said were "big supporters," and on top of that had great food. Gonzalez then noted that he couldn't think of when he last ate, and so led the parade to the storefront and went in. The two guys behind the counter had no idea who he was at first introduction, until the group with signs tipped them off. And so the candidate ordered, and S. ordered us lunch, and the crowd outside milled about patiently while cheering on supporters honking in their cars. Ultimately, Gonzalez had to be rushed off to his next event, and so had to thank the crowd quickly before taking his lunch into a waiting car.

I teased S. that he sort of deprived the event of a more politically staged ending. But a candidate does have to eat. He'd might as well eat well. Or as well as he can while being rushed from one appearance to another.

We hope our favorite taqueria provided him with a tasty energy source for his next dozen appearances.
Matt Gonzalez for Mayor

posted by Arlene (Beth)2:49 PM

Here's an interesting perspective: Jodi Mardesich's journal on trying to convert to a raw foodist's diet at a retreat in Puerto Rico. (Slate) While she finds the diet great for 'detoxing' from the poisons of conventional additives and recreational drugs, she's also always hungry.

Being hungry is no fun.

I think eating raw foods can cleanse out your system, sort of the way some people swear by 'juice fasts.' But if you're hungry all the time, honestly hungry and not just suffering from dehydration or habitual cravings, you're probably not eating enough. Time to eat MORE raw foods! Or supplement the diet with some other healthy cooked foods. (Cheating by going out for vile processed fast food probably isn't the best alternative...)
posted by Arlene (Beth)2:40 PM

Friday, November 28, 2003

Happy Thanksgiving!

[Jokes about moist breasts omitted for your enjoyment.]

I have just returned from a visit to my folks in the Central Valley for the Thanksgiving holiday. The Central Valley of California is always a cultural odyssey for me, partly because the region is very different from the City, and because my parents live a conventional sub-suburban existence.

My parents live in an area not served by public transit, in look-alike houses that were part of new developments, in neighborhoods far from any services. The air often smells like fresh cow manure because of a local livestock operation. The air is hot in summer, often over 110 degrees Fahrenheit; it is cold in winter, with frequent frosts.

They eat fast food regularly. My mother even went on a “diet” promoted by a national sandwich chain, requiring that she eat lunch there daily. (No, really.) They have been known to buy frozen fried foods from a truck that rolls through their neighborhood, such as deep fried, breaded, cheese-filled jalapeno “poppers” (perhaps so named because your heart pops if you eat enough of them) and gallon-sized tubs of ice cream. They do not associate these things with the high cholesterol problems they have. They do not associate the fatty, processed foods they eat with the weight challenges they sometimes complain of, and then go on fad diets to repair.

A large, projection screen television is invariably on at my father’s home, day and evening. This provides a frightening cultural window of what wealthy media tycoons think are the most glorious aspects of American culture. Before the Thanksgiving feast: a show about how wannabe professional cheerleaders are humiliated in a bizarre ritual that mocks a standard beauty pageant, where losers are forced to hear of their loss in a very public way and tearful winners pose for cheesy swimsuit calendars. Then came two football games, packed with grandiose graphics and ceremonies invoking militarism, interrupted by short greetings from troops overseas, and punctuated with ads for macho trucks, beer, and fast food. A girl-child in the audience wore heavy makeup and a skimpy child-sized cheerleader outfit. Every personal foul imaginable was called. An obese man in a pilgrim costume with a cell phone kept attracting the attention of the camera operators. Nearly everyone shown was white, except for football players, one commentator per game, and a few fans who are African Americans.

Yes, I know, I should be thrilled to see Caucasian Americans coming together to passively support a bloated, multimillion dollar franchise as they sit in their seats, drinking overpriced diluted beer, eating fried food, leering at both the pep squad and 10 year olds in sexually suggestive outfits as they clog their arteries. But… But…

To escape the game, I picked up a popular magazine sort of relating to technology, and paged through it’s top 100 tech breakthrough selections. I came in with the wrong mindset, of course: I had been reading about poor farmers in the highlands of Mexico, and thinking of all the things they could use to improve their desperate lives. This magazine was not the right place to think about practical needs of the majority of the world’s people. It was a veritable catalog of relatively useless things for the wealthiest 5% or so. Cars, cars, cars, personal electronics, cars, a few very expensive medical products intended for the homes of those who can afford them, rather than for hospitals. Fluff. Not BAD fluff, mind you. But with most of the world’s people unable to access fresh water or get access to basic medicines that can save their kids’ lives, I can’t see any of them being thrilled by the latest PDA/music player/car entertainment system.

Americans could feed the world, cure common diseases, improve the lives of billions of people, lead by example to spread justice and fairness to the world… And instead we sit at home eating crap while megacorporations do what they want around the world, often through force, alienating people who might like us if they ever met us.

It’s a bummer.

On the bright side, the lasagna my mom made for me was great, and my butternut squash pie turned out pretty well. We got to take a pleasant hike at a local park along the lovely Stanislaus River. My family is great. But the world, and my fellow citizens, could be much, much, much better.

posted by Arlene (Beth)6:17 PM

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

So last night, while volunteering at the San Francisco Bicycle Coaltion, I helped pick up our lovely group dinner from Tu Lan.

Tu Lan is a wonderful Vietnamese restaurant which happens to be in a little dive-y storefront on one of the least pleasant streets in San Francisco. Near the corner of 6th and Market, it still holds some claim to fame for a long-past visit from Julia Child, perhaps when it was less, well, grungy ( While the space is lacking in that certain something, it is the food that is absolutely great: stir fried veggies in tasty gravies; yummy noodles fried with hot and tender veggies; and delicious raw rolls of tofu, veggies, and mint wrapped in rice noodle wrappers. Yum yum yum yum yum. I had seconds. I sort of even had thirds, with the support of other SFBC volunteers who insisted that a heavier tummy would force me to get more exercise biking home. (Convenient twist, don't you think>)

The vegans in the crowd were thrilled with the cheeselessness of the veggie offerings. There is apparently a huge overlap between we herbivores and we cycle fiends. At one point during a vegan-led discussion to explore this idea, our newsletter party subgroup was asked for a show of hands as to the number of vegetarians in the group. I think 8 of 10 raised hands. It makes sense that people traveling under their own power are a bit more aware of where that power comes from, but it's still damned impressive.

Bike people are GREAT!


(Of COURSE the Bike Coalition endorses Matt Gonzalez for Mayor. Didn't I say that bike people are great?)
posted by Arlene (Beth)5:37 PM

Here's an unusual endorsement, sort of, for 'turkey in a bottle':
Mary Turner, a radio DJ in Lansing, Mich., who is auctioning off a bottle for charity, has sampled the drink and warns that it's not for the faint of stomach: "If you roasted a turkey and mashed potatoes, put it in a blender, left it out for three days and then poured it into a Jones bottle, you'd know exactly what this drink tastes like!"
(from She is describing Jones' turkey and gravy soda, of course.

No, I wouldn't try it either.
posted by Arlene (Beth)5:26 PM

Monday, November 24, 2003

I wonder if it's permissable to stay home from work on the basis of possessing too strong of a 'garlic aura.'

Last night we went to Geneva Pizza for dinner (on Geneva, vaguely east of Mission Street) and ordered a spinach, artichoke, and garlic pizza.

Oh, it is SO GOOD. I just had the last 2.5 pieces for breakfast, and I can tell that vampires miles away are already cringing in horror. It was probably unwise to eat such a big breakfast (it's difficult to bike on a full stomach), or such a garlicky one (even though my office door closes, I do have to meet people during the day), but it was irresistable.

So spinach/artichokes/garlic is now on my list of favorite pizza topping combos, along with black olive/artichoke/garlic, mushroom/black olive, and spinach/mushroom. And Geneva Pizza is on the short list of places I'll order pizza from.

posted by Arlene (Beth)7:13 AM

Sunday, November 23, 2003

I had a pleasant dinner last night at Bombay Curry House, a very narrow restaurant on Chesnut Street near Fillmore in the Marina. We were celebrating our friend and hostess' 60th birthday, and had a selection of mild dishes, toned down to suit one fo the guests (originally from Switzerland). Our birthday girl postponed the meal for nearly two hours in hopes of receiving one stray guest who was expected, before the proprietess suggested we go forward. The food was tasty, but I had a hard time not giggling every time the sensitive guest observed that something was very 'spicy,' since that means 'hot' to me, and none of the dishes were.

(Gingerbread is spicy, but no one really SAYS that, because that's no longer its conventional meaning.)

I shocked the Swiss guest by turning down a plate of steamed duck on the basis of vegetarianism, because she was convinced it was impossible to live on a vegetarian diet. (This raised many questions in my mind: she's lived here 30 years, and this was a new idea? She's never heard of Buddhists or non-warrior caste Hindus or 7th Day Aventists or Rastafarians?) After I insisted that it was, and outlined how I will benefit by dramatically lowering my risk of heart disease (American omnivores have a 50% heart disease rate, ovo-lacto vegetarians have a rate around or under 12%, and vegans have one from 3-6%, depending on which studies by American universities you rely on), she told a good joke:
If you go to Japan, you'll notice that people are drinking sake and eating fried tempura, but their heart disease rate is lower than Americans'. If you go to France, you'll see locals cooking with butter and eating rich cheeses, yet their heart disease rate is lower. Italy? All that olive oil and cheese. Germans eat all those sausages. Only England has similarly high rates of heart disease as those of the Americans. So, she points out, the logical conclusion is that SPEAKING ENGLISH causes heart disease, and that if Americans learn and speak another language, they'll be much healthier!!
I thought that was pretty funny.
posted by Arlene (Beth)1:02 PM

Thursday, November 20, 2003

It has been a pleasant evening after a long day. I rushed around all day trying to please everyone, nourished by a large and wholesome lunch from Los Socios. Then I stayed late to try to clear enough space in my office to move. That took a long time. (I have a floor!) But I finally stepped out for dinner and got some cool fresh air on my short walk to Ristorante Gondola, a little Italian restaurant at 15 Columbus, near Montgomery and the Transamerica Pyramid.

The red walls, little white lights, candles on the tables, and sound of cheesy Italian pop was just the right setting to enjoy a delicious, tender Melanzane Parmesano (eggplant parmesan), very tender and very plentiful. (I was bummed that I had no room to enjoy an affogato, a dessert of gelato and espresso -- a sort of espresso float.) I washed it down with a tasty glass of sangiovese, and then walked up the hill to the wonderful and historic City Lights Bookstore to hear Mayoral Candidate Matt Gonzalez speak.

Gonzalez is a good speaker and a very amiable fellow. One of the event organizers tried to get us to practice cheering before he arrived, but it seemed out of tune with how down-to-earth Gonzalez is in person. He DID get a big, sincere, unpracticed cheer when he arrived, and he gave a good speech after being introduced by the likeable and furry Supervisor Peskin. He pointed out his rival's confusion over whether or not to support Gonzalez' increased minimum wage ordinance, taking a 'follow the polls' approach which avoids the burdens of actual leadership. He pointed out the pattern of cash influence and related corruption that has plagued City Hall for many years, a system his rival is already indebted to. And he spoke very simply of the shared values we have to ensure that San Francisco remains a haven for domestic cultural refugees from the rest of our nation, and the sort of place that nurtures those of us who already call it home.

I don't think people realize how Greens are extremely practical people, working toward practical solutions and trying to avoid the influence peddling and favor-dealing that has bogged down the rest of our nation's failing two-party system. But Greens ARE practical. And I don't just say that as a registered Green - I think I use it to explain WHY I'm a Green.

During the happy melee that followed, I fled to the political section of the bookstore, in the quiet and unusually underpopulated downstairs, where I found a copy of a great book that I'm now deeply engrossed in: We Are Everywhere: the irresistible rise of global anticapitalism, edited by Notes from Nowhere. It's one of those collaborative projects that has a passionate and talented editorial team which speaks persuasively of the "international insurrection of hope" against exploitation, a movement that has inspired countless people to protest the institutions which are clearly not serving them. I was getting all worked up on the streetcar home while reading it, thrilled at the passion in the writing.

And now I'm home, still full of eggplant parmesan, sangiovese, and good feeling that comes from supporting a candidate for mayor who is really worthy of the office. And for whom I'm going to volunteer, overtime assignments be damned.
posted by Arlene (Beth)11:22 PM

Matt Gonzalez for Mayor

posted by Arlene (Beth)11:01 PM

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

I don't know why I never reference my favorite local weekly, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, as a source of food news. Because it is a good one. Last week's issue reviewed a veggie restaurant I like (New Ganges), discussed food porn (which drives me wild, but not in a good way), and had a review of Urban Forage (a raw food place). There's even a review for a fast food restaurant with great commentary like this:
But, I submit, the toasty bread and authentically anatomic meats are merely the smiling façade that disguises a soulless agent of pandering and flattery, next to which the transparent Fordism of a Subway or a Blimpie is at least more honest, if not more enjoyable.
You can't get that kind of attitude just anywhere!

Also, the Guardian is running Matt Gonzalez, the candidate I very very very very much want to be San Francisco's next Mayor, as its coverboy this week, with great articles inside about his prospects. So I love them doubly this week.
posted by Arlene (Beth)11:26 PM

I'm still not sure how a pesto, potato, and garlic pizza can be so satisfying. But it is.
posted by Arlene (Beth)11:19 PM

Saturday, November 15, 2003

After another long, difficult work week, I got out of bed this weekend morning, showered, got dressed, and... cleaned the kitchen. Did four loads of laundry. Made a pot of soup and a delicata squash pie (delicious, vegan, from

Work really DOES scramble my brain. There are lots of things I would have preferred to do. And yet...


I don't know about you, but when I first watched The Matrix's scenes about people being bred, grown in rows, living penned in a small container and being fed the ground up remains of other people, I thought of... the meat industry. The whole thing seemed to have been inspired by what goes on in factory farms.

I'm apparently not the only one who saw this. Enter The Meatrix. ( This one isn't as great as Cows with Guns (, because it's more about buying responsibly farmed meat rather than the superior choice of not eating meat at all. But it's still entertaining.


Would you believe there's a Matrix comic book story about food?. Of course there is. (The link a PDF on the site where you can buy Matrix-themed comics, but get there through


Random animation that I also like: the end of the world. Profane, very silly, with the wrong flag for China, and an extra Alaska/Hawaii.


Random food related article of the day: Terrorism is a Triple Meat Pizza from Mark Morford (SF Gate). He brings up something that disturbed me earlier in the week from one of his articles when discussing why people have a hard time staying healthy as junk foods are thrown constantly into their paths:
What are you up against? Plenty. Poisonous crap like this breaded, deep fried, chemically treated disgusting french-fry thing, injected with "a beef-and-cheese compound" that is designed to taste like a cheeseburger and packs 4-6 grams of fat into each fry and is aimed straight at your child, via toxic school lunches, courtesy of the largely contemptible National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
Can you say 'Euwwwwww' boys and girls? All of Morford's columns are fun (and often profane and enthusiastically sex-positive), but this one touches on a topic dear to my heart.
posted by Arlene (Beth)3:40 PM

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Two Vegan Lasagna Variations

Lasagna is a great dish to serve at large gatherings, and a relatively easy dish to make. This just looks like it has a lot of steps. If you don’t want it to be vegan, add 8 to 16 ounces of skim milk mozzarella to the filling layers and top. I'm providing two variations: one is a spinach and mushroom lasagna, the other a squash and celery filled version.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • enough lasagna noodles to make three noodle layers in your pan, prepared per package instructions (usually boiled for about 10-12 minutes in a very large pot of water with a dash of olive oil in it, stirred often enough to keep the noodles from becoming one, rock-hard noodle brick)
  • about 28 ounces of a mild tomato sauce
  • tofu ricotta, well mixed:
    • 12 – 16 ounces of mashed soft tofu
    • 1/4 cup of olive oil
    • 3 crushed cloves of garlic
    • a teaspoon or more each of basil and oregano
    • 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red peppers

  • one of my two favorite veggie sauté’s:
    • veggie sautee #1
      • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
      • a medium onion, diced
      • a pound (or 3-4 cups) of mushrooms, sliced
      • a bunch of spinach, washed thoroughly and chopped.
      • Sauté the onions and mushrooms until the mushrooms are very tender and have given off much liquid. Add the spinach and mix under low heat, until the spinach is wilted and a much deeper green. Remove from heat.

    • veggie sautee #2
      • a medium onion, diced
      • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
      • 2 cups of yellow summer squash (zucchini, patty pan, crookneck), sliced or diced
      • 2 ribs of celery, diced
      • Sauté all the veggies until tender.

Mix the veggie sautee with the tofu ricotta.

Assemble the lasagna, from bottom to top unless you’re working in a zero-gravity environment: ½ or less of the sauce, overlapping noodle layer (1/3 of the noodles), half veggie/tofu mixture, another noodle layer, the remainder of the veggie tofu, the remaining noodles, the remaining sauce. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. You’ll know when it’s ready: your kitchen will smell WONDERFUL.

Note: Vegetarian Times Cooks Mediterranean has a milder, oilier version of tofu ricotta which you might like to try if mine sounds overwhelming. Theirs is made with powdered onions & garlic, and doesn’t involve chili peppers at all. As if that’s any fun.

Serve this with a green salad in a vinegar-based dressing and garlic bread (a loaf of bread sliced, drizzled between slices with olive oil/garlic/salt/oregano mixed together, and baked for the last 20 minutes or so of the lasanga's baking time).

posted by Arlene (Beth)9:22 AM

Perhaps I should provide the recipes for last night’s enchiladas, to show the variations to the basic recipes I use? Sure I should.

Multi-squash enchiladas
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

-the veggie filling:
  • one large onion, minced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2 cups of diced zucchini
  • a handful of hot chili peppers, including Thai Dragon, Jalapeno, and Hungarian Wax, deseeded and diced
  • 1 cup of baked, peeled, diced delicata squash
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • a teaspoon or more of basil, and oregano
Giving the onions and garlic a head start, sautee all of these items in a bit of canola oil together until they’re tender. The delicata should already be tender, and will probably try to stick to the pan.

-the cheese: 12 ounces of casero (a salty, bland, white queso blanco (Mexican white cheese) that tastes nice in spicy dishes, but doesn’t actually like to melt), grated

-the tortillas: 8 flour tortillas, about 8” size

-the enchilada sauce:
  • 3 cups of tomatoes (I used a mix of roma, yellow pear, zebra, and various other cherry tomatoes I grew)
  • half an onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • poblano, Hungarian wax, and a big green chili whose name I’ve forgotten, deseeded and diced
  • half a teaspoon of cumin
  • a dash of salt.
Puree all of the sauce ingredients in the blender until smooth. Don’t breathe too closely: the chili & onion aerosol hurts.

Assembly: pour some sauce into a deep lasagna pan, so the enchiladas can boil happily without making a mess of the oven. Divide the veggie fillings in the pan into quarters, so it’s easy to figure out what an 8th is. Fill each tortilla with an 8th of the veggies, and 8th of the cheese, and roll ‘em up, putting the ‘seam’ on the bottom, in the sauce in your pan. Squeeze all 8 filled tortillas in the pan, cover with the remaining sauce and any remaining cheese, and cover with tin foil. Bake in your 400 degree oven for 40 minutes or so.

posted by Arlene (Beth)9:03 AM

Saturday, November 08, 2003

The sound of the rain is soothing. Especially when you’re listening from inside a cozy house, and there are enchiladas in the oven.

MMMM. Enchiladas.

I realize that I’ve been remiss in posting the fresh enchilada sauce recipes that lived on my web pages back when they were called the “Teahouse for the Contemplation of Enchiladas.” So I’ll remedy that right now:

posted by Arlene (Beth)4:14 PM

Fresh Red Enchilada Sauce
This sauce was inspired by one of Mollie Katzen’s recipes in one of her early cookbooks. But she didn’t use enough garlic. And she measured things a bit too precisely. So here’s my version.

  • 6 or 7 large, fresh, organic tomatoes (they test best)
  • 1 green bell pepper (red also works)
  • 1 huge onion, or a couple smaller ones
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cumin
  • a dash each of salt, pepper, oregano, and cayenne pepper.

Chop these things up so they fit into the blender. Blend until smooth. Poor under and over the enchiladas before baking. (Pour some into the pan before you put the enchiladas in, so they can absorb sauce on all sides.) Ta da! That's it!

posted by Arlene (Beth)4:14 PM

Smooth Red Enchilada Sauce
This is an easy one to make all year, because it uses dried chilies, which are always available (if you've chosen your hometown wisely). This is a variation of a recipe found in Hot, Spicy & Meatless by the folks at Chile Pepper magazine, which has many yummy recipes. (Though many are strangely fatty, or full of more eggs and cheese than I can eat, which is why I don’t reference that cookbook more often.)

  • 14-16 small, dried chilies ("New Mexican red" with a few cayennes thrown in for fun), toasted in the oven until they're easy to crumble. (The original recipe said 12, but I always round up to about 16; I also mix varieties, depending on how smoky I want the sauce to taste...)
  • one very large onion
  • half a dozen cloves of garlic (I can't resist)
  • 3-4 cups of water.

Saute the onions and garlic just a bit before adding the water and bringing it to a boil. Crumble in the chilies, and simmer until you can't wait any longer, or until it appears thick(er). Puree in a blender. Ta da!

Dried peppers come in all sorts of colors and flavors. Some are sweet, some are smoky. I like to add a smoky chile or two, but not so many that my sauce smells more like smoke than anything else...

posted by Arlene (Beth)4:13 PM

Guacamole: It's Not Just For Breakfast Anymore
Avocados are a the closest thing I've seen to proof that there is a supernatural being, and that she loves us. They are excellent in all kinds of salads (except maybe pasta salads), make an excellent and delicious garnish, improve almost every omelette, and even make an... interesting ice cream. Their most sacred use in my personal world religion is their role as the main ingredient in that heavenly food known as strong>guacamole.

Anyone can make guacamole. Well, anyone with a clue, the proper ingredients, and my recipe.


  • 2 ripe avocados (I often like Haas avocados. A ripe avocado is soft to the touch, yielding a fingerprint to firm finger pressure.)
  • a small, fresh tomato
  • a few cloves of garlic (3 if you love garlic; less if you want to speak to people you haven't shared this dish with)
  • a lime, a few tablespoons of lime juice or a few tablespoons of vinegar, to keep the guacamole from turning funny colors in the few seconds of its brief but significant existence.

Slice the avocados in half, remove the pit, and spoon the lovely, pale green insides into a bowl. Mash with a fork.
Dice the tomato, and add to the mashed avocado.
Crush the garlic and mince, or put through a press and add to the bowl.
Juice the lime and add a few tablespoons of juice to the mixture.
Mix well. Ta da! If the avocado is pleasantly ripe, you'll have a nice flavor. If they aren't fully ripe, you can still enjoy the garlic, and the satisfying creaminess of the mixture.

There are other, optional ingredients of course. These include:

  • minced raw onion (about half of a small onion);
  • minced fresh chilies (I recommend cayenne or serrano);
  • cilantro;
  • pine nuts (I've personally never been that bored, but I've seen it done); and
  • minced pimento pepper.

posted by Arlene (Beth)4:10 PM

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Never underestimate the power of a sandwich and a bottle of rum to pacify an armed intruder into slumber for a quick arrest. (
posted by Arlene (Beth)10:05 PM

Saturday, November 01, 2003

The first food holidays of fall are here, with the warm sunshine/icy shade weather that clues us in to the change of the seasons.

Halloween, in its grown-up glory here in San Francisco, has just ended, and people all over the City are recovering at home. It was a long day for me: I had a multi-hour negotiation meeting that pushed my lunch back nearly 3 hours; my firm's IT department took pity upon me and plied me with spinach and mushroom pizza, a salad of mixed greens/yellow peppers/cranberry raisins, a soft drink, and sweets, bundling them up so I could take them to my desk; I visited a Halloween celebration that involved angel food cupcakes frosted with a thick buttercream frosting and candy corn, which was so sweet I was nearly ill about a half hour after eating it; I had a cookie here and there during the wonderful Halloween Critical Mass ride; and finally, I consumed heaping trays of sushi with my pals from our favorite No Name Sushi restaurant. (We love it so much, that pal L has transcribed the menu so we don't have to send huge digital image files to each other when we're coordinating our orders.)


Halloween Critical Mass was so beautiful. There's nothing like the sight of little blinky lights filling the wide City streets as far as the eye can see.

The the air was cold, but the light rain kept S and I cool as we participated in this monthly ‘organized coincidence’ of thousands of riders creating a bicycle parade to reclaim the streets, which snakes through the City without authorization from anyone. CM, full of people dressed as JIF jars, cows, Carrie, Tigger, monsters and fairies was at least 6 or 7 blocks long, full of cheer and music, thanks to a cyclist towing a flatbed trailer full of speakers providing disco accompaniment.

Small children waved to us along the route as moms eagerly said things like, “Look! It’s Tigger! Wave to Tigger!” As their small children stood, waving and mesmerized by block after block of grown ups in silly costumes, some handing out candy. [S was the abominable snow bunny (in a gray fur suit with monster hands and bunny ears), to the amusement of many passersby. I was wrapped in cream feather boas, inspiring a child to chant “Happy Halloween chickens!! Go chickens! Go chickens! Go chickens!” by a young boy. Though S had the best conversation with a child who was very impressed that he was such a large rabbit.]


If only more people participated in CM, they could realize that our City could be even better. Every night could be like CM, with people chatting, complimenting each other, and sharing food instead of racing through the streets, locked tightly into metal boxes, being unfriendly and menacing those who dare travel under their own power. It's a wonderful experience!! A better world really is possible! And we had it last night.


I stayed up too late, so I'm off to 'rest' a bit more.

posted by Arlene (Beth)12:50 PM

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