Our Rental Resume

We made a huge mistake when we picked our most recent roommate. Huge. I honestly can’t understand where we went wrong, but we picked someone who is so completely non-suited to living with us that it’s almost hilarious. Apparently the expectation that one would do their dishes in a timely manner / pitch in with the housework / not leave rotting food everywhere is a little too much for some people.

He claims he’s moving on, but we don’t really believe it. Our landlord forces us to put our roommates on the lease, so we’re pretty much powerless to force him to leave. Unless I pull out all the bitch in me, which I’m really, really trying to avoid doing. But it is so hard. Last week he left a bowl of rotting rice on the counter for SEVEN DAYS. Will had to ask him to deal with it before it was gone. By the end, it was literally coated in black mold. I almost took a photo to prove it to you guys but that’s just gross.

In the end, this might be a good thing. This foray into terrible-roommate-land has left Will and I wanting our own place. And now we are on the hunt.

With everyone else. We love living in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland, but there’s not a lot available and a great many people are looking. After our first open house, I knew we needed to do something to make ourselves stand out. I’d heard of the concept of a “Rental Resume” where you summarize why the property owner should choose you. Continue Reading

Lost Girl

I really should know better but I lost my chance to ask out this girl I met at a Jonathan Richman show.

She’s got cute glasses and wears hats.

Her name’s Maya.

Hopefully by some miracle she’ll see this.

I was too tongue-tied to say anything intelligent at the time, so I’d like to try again. My name’s Noah.  [email protected]

#SWOON Continue Reading

I love German Typography

We’ve been back from our Europe 2011 adventure for a month today. I’ll save my rant about the passage of time for another day.

I loved many things about Germany, but their typography stuck out for me. Here in Oakland, CA, the best thing about our street signs is that there’s an oak tree on them. The funniest thing about that is that oak trees are actually fairly hard to find around here… but that’s neither here nor there.

The typography is nice, clean and elegant on this Oakland street sign.  I love the ‘g’ and the spacing is nice…

…but somehow this German street sign has more even more elegance and nuance.  Perhaps it’s the perfect spacing between the letters or just the addition of the ß that adds that extra oomph I like so much. Continue Reading

Silly Zoo Thoughts

It is a rare moment when my main man the Guster isn’t close to mind.  He was close to mind yesterday as we wandered throughout the Oakland Zoo.  I was entranced.  Apparently–and I blame my parents– I had never been to a zoo.  Perhaps my memory fails, but I embraced the zoo with a child-like glee.  Maybe it was actually taking a full day off of work.

I thought I would have been saddened to see these animals in captivity, but instead they struck me as having a pretty good life.  I understand they’re not as active as they would be in the wild, but they’re safe and many appeared to be having a really great time.  Especially those Squirrel Monkeys.  I’d really love to be a Squirrel Monkey.

I also pondered what animals my animals, the Guster and our roommate Shawn, would want to be if they were another animal.

Guster likes to lay around and wishes he could eat all day.

Continue Reading

Tina Tamale – a woman after my own heart

I love (loooove) parties, and once in awhile I meet a party that makes me envious. I met one last November and another one this past Saturday.

Tina Tamale throws herself a big ass birthday party every year. Now, if that wasn’t enough to make us automatically bff (Jenfest anyone?), the name Tina Tamale is actually her alter ego/brand.  I’ve always wanted an alter ego, but never had the inspiration to enact one.  (Though perhaps my nom de plume Susiejster worked for awhile…)

This year, Tina’s birthday party was held at the gorgeous Disco Volante, and–the part that makes me the most envious–the party was planned by someone who wasn’t her! She just said, I want to dress up and dance to good music. Continue Reading

No Me Gusta McDonalds

I spotted this billboard for McD’s breakfast deal. Just $2.99!! But what is it?

It looks to me like it’s a big pile of mush. If I liked McDonalds food, I might have been interested in it. As it is, I can hardly tell the sausage (is that even sausage?) from the hashbrowns from the biscuits from the eggs.

I don't think it's my mediocre photo that makes this look like a heap of mush instead of an appetizing breakfast.

My great friend Molly taught me a lot about food in college. A rule of thumb, she says, is that you have a balanced meal when you have a colorful plate. Look for all the colors of the rainbow; find red in kidney beans, beets or red chard, green in, well, greens, throw in some orange carrots or squash…it makes me hungry just thinking about it! Continue Reading

ONE Festival

Last Monday I checked out some friends of mine who were playing at the Oakland New & Experimental Festival.

Now, I’m a big fan of the local college radio station, Kalx, which has a weekly “Noise Hour,” devoted to experimental music. When that comes on, I always change the channel.

For whatever reason I thought that the New and Experimental in the festival title referred to the fact that it was an experimental and new event for the group that was putting it on.

I found myself submerged in experimental music–a fate I would not have chosen, but one I was truly intrigued by.

The event was hosted by Studio 1510, a cool warehouse space in West Oakland; one that further incited my passion to one day have a warehouse space. This one was particularly awesome; there was a hole in a wall for selling beverages staffed by friends of the residents.  I have a hunch they were operating out of a closet.

I caught the end of a very interesting performance by Kristin Miltner and Karen Stackpole. Their music incorporated “lush, huge dynamics ranging from chiming, piercing, scraping metallic rings to the rumbling deep bass of gongs and toms.”  Though I only caught the end, I was instantly transfixed and taken away.  These strange melodies really caught you–and your emotions–and would not let you go.

I was able to make my way into the room where the performances were taking place for the next act.  One of the fellows who lived there had created these beautiful wooden sound boards to ease the neighbors’ experience; they were truly an art piece in themselves. The room sat about twenty-five comfortably, though the forty or so people crammed into the room were not complaining.

James Fei and Tim Perkis (pictured to the left) seemed an unlikely pair.  Their one song spanned around fifteen minutes, and though I cannot say it was my cup of tea, their electronic musical stylings certainly got me thinking about how our culture defines music and how it’s changing with the constant advent of new technology, and experimental artists pushing the envelope.  I smiled to think of them practicing for long hours at a time; one with a laptop and some strange looking piano-like thing, and one with a piece of equipment that resembles the once ubiquitous telephone switchboard.

The last act I saw was a group formed and directed by my friend, Elizabeth Orr, and featuring another friend, Joey Petropoulos.  They had constructed this hauntingly beautiful set, and told me that they had lugged the dozens of phone books needed to polish the effect on their bicycles.  Each singer seemed to prefer to be absolutely anonymous; this was music that revolved around the message, not the messenger. Their frank, political lyrics seamlessly delivered coupled with electronic back beats charmed the crowd and demanded audience participation.

One of the things that is so rewarding about living in Oakland is being surrounded by so many artists challenging our notions of what traditional art and music is, and collaborating with and inspiring others. I know that I won’t be so quick to change the channel next time I stumble on Kalx’s noise hour.

The Mog Car

I’m in the habit of noticing what’s happening at the car wash down the street.  I walk past it at least a few times each week and once in awhile a car will catch my eye.  It’s a popular self car wash; I’ve seen the local Organic Falafel Truck there (though unfortunately not open for business), taco trucks, old cars, major beaters, limos…

Today’s Mog Car really took the cake.  People were crossing the street to talk to the two car washers.  You couldn’t walk by and not talk to them.  I asked them what it was made of; I could not believe that they were washing a carpeted car at the car wash, and, indeed, it is made of a carpet-like substance.  The fellow I spoke to didn’t remember what the material was called.  He suggested that I might want to touch it, but I have spent enough time touching wet carpet as a Super Sponge Saleswoman to want to volunteer my fingers for such a task.

One thing was clear: people were noticing the mog.com vehicle. Despite the fact that the car didn’t seem to resemble any actual thing, or have a domain name that means much to the American psyche.  But we’re used to being inundated with random letters strung together to represent internet concepts, so I shouldn’t be surprised.  It turns out it’s a subscription music app.  Any fans out there leave a comment and maybe someday I’ll give it a try.  But only if they support Android phones. If nothing else, mog.com gets a gold star for a great marketing ploy.