Things I Learned About Getting Robbed

Since last Friday, I have been dealing with the aftermath of a massive burglary of my home, and my primary feeling, besides anger and sadness, has been impotence. So, to combat this sense of helplessness, I’m releasing this public service announcement in hopes of somehow helping prevent this awful experience, dear readers, from happening to you. Or helping you deal, if it does.

It is a pretty sickening feeling to learn that your home has been violated by strangers. I was out of state for a wedding when I got a phone call that my darling, precious storybook apartment in San Francisco had been breached, and my flat screen TV had been stolen. I quickly thought to myself, “Damn, that sucks. I wonder what else was lying around?” and racked my brain. Fortunately, during a feverish bout of spring cleaning, I had recently put all my electronics into a decorative box on my bookshelf, rather than displaying them around my room in plain view. I was sure my ancient 2004 laptop, hard drives, etc., were safe in their hiding spots. I had also stashed my most sentimental and valuable jewelry on a shelf in my closet, rather than leaving it out on my dresser as I had done for years. I would have to accept that the TV and iPad on my dining table were gone, but that wasn’t the end of the world.

Sadly, I was wrong.

Smashing the phone into my ear, I paced around my friends’ place in Chicago with my heart pounding as my roommate walked me through our apartment at the other end of the line. Room by room, the clock ticking toward 1am for me, she listed off the things that had been stolen from us. What about this? I asked. Gone, she replied. And this? Yeah, gone. Our apartment was completely cleaned out. On a Friday afternoon. In broad daylight. My Chicago friends poured me a large glass of whiskey as I absorbed this news.

Apparently, a team of guys (I have to assume the gender here, based on the giant gloved handprints left in the dust on our furniture and the diameter of the disgusting black wristwatch that was left behind in my closet) strode into our apartment, took their sweet time figuring out where to find all the best stuff, and casually walked out with nearly $20k worth of loot.

Somehow, inexplicably, none of our neighbors noticed unfamiliar men going up and down our outside staircase, burdened with 2 bicycles, 2 large TVs, 2 DVD players, 3 laptops, an iPad, 2 iPods, Bose speakers, 3 cameras, 2 hard drives, a guitar, nearly $3000 worth of jewelry between LJ and me, and dozens of other small electronic items, including all my flash drives and my MiCoach running training system (did they actually think they could find buyers for these items?!). With these things, they also took every last shred of security and safety I had felt living in our cozy little spot nestled between Twin Peaks and the Castro.

How could no one notice? How did they get in?! There was no evidence of breaking and entering. Did they have a key? Do we know them?! Was it the movers we hired a year ago, or the CSA veggie box delivery guy?! Was it a neighbor? How long were they spying on us to see when we’d be gone, and how long did they wait for our downstairs neighbor to leave the house as she only does once a week on Fridays?!

Nagging, terrifying questions aside, I know stuff is just stuff and life goes on. But some of that stuff was important to me, and I’m actually getting madder, instead of more chill about it. I went to put on a necklace to match my outfit this morning and nearly punched a hole in my door when I remembered I didn’t have it anymore. LJ and I have been on the phone constantly with the police and Project SAFE to figure out what happened, whether we can catch the guys who did it, how we can prevent this from happening again, and how we can cope with the PTSD that’s causing us to jump every time someone slams a car door on our street.

Here’s what I wish I had done differently, prior to the break-in:

1) I wish I had stored my most special jewelry—gifts from graduation and 1960s bracelets from my mom’s high school days and special necklaces from weddings and birthdays and a sapphire ring given to me by my parents months before my dad died. I wish I had squirreled them away in nondescript boxes not in my closet but deep inside other boxes filled with crap no one would ever dream of stealing, like my microeconomics notes from grad school.

2) I wish I had kept my two hard drives–which were intended to be backups of one another, as well as backups of my computers from all time–stored in completely separate locations. Maybe even a master hard drive in a safe deposit box. Because, with all three of those items gone, I no longer have:

  • All my emails, music compositions, and papers from college, grad school, and in between
  • All my photos since 2003
  • All my mp3s (dating from the glory days of Napster; i.e., MANY)
  • Peace of mind (all my tax documents and credit reports since 2004 were saved on these non-protected devices), which brings me to:

3) I wish I had password protected all my stuff, and registered all my Mac products with iCloud, so I could remotely lock and/or wipe my iBook and iPad in case of theft. Stupid. Stupid.

4) I wish I had installed a curtain over our glass front door, which let in a lot of beautiful light, but most surely enticed our little friends because of the big shiny 37″ inch screen gleaming in the front room. Our place was definitely scoped out in advance, and I wish I had never given them anything to get excited about.

5) I wish I had kept my bike locked inside my apartment when I went out of town.

Some other things I learned through this process:

1) It is a good idea to change your passwords immediately after a theft. Who knows what sites you might have open on your computer? Change your email and bank passwords, and put out a credit fraud notice on your accounts. That way, if anything weird happens, you can call up and report it with no questions asked.

2) You will almost surely find your stuff on Craigslist, as soon as a couple hours after the incident. I didn’t think to look until Monday, when I found my laptop, TV, a Tiffany bracelet, and a hard drive, all posted within an hour of one another with the same all lower-caps, non-punctuated, detail-free descriptions. I’m sure my awesome road bike had been posted immediately for a really low price and sold already. To retrieve my other items, I set up fake email accounts and tried to set up a sting with a plainclothes officer, but I couldn’t be 100% sure these things were mine from the photos. I wish I had marked my items with distinguishable features (like, put a sticker on my laptop, or etched my initials in the front of the iPad). The police will only go out if you are sure, without a doubt, that the items belong to you, but then they WILL go out, which is pretty awesome.

2) There is a service called Project SAFE that exists to provide free-of-charge security consultations to renters and homeowners in San Francisco. Other cities probably have similar nonprofits. Security Specialist Rob, as he is called, is coming to our house next week to go over lighting, locks, access, storage, windows, etc., to make sure LJ and I feel safe enough to continue living in our place. I’m very excited about our date with Security Specialist Rob. I thought I felt secure after returning home last Sunday night, but the waking-up-every-hour thing, and dreams filled with knives and strangers and obsessive triple-checking of locks make me realize my subconscious knows better.

3) If I had watched more Law & Order and CSI episodes (like, even one), I would probably have known instinctively not to touch the wristwatch I found in my closet. Instead, I picked it up, showed my roommate and threw it on the coffee table in disgust. When I told the investigator about it, he got very excited, thinking it could have prints. I’m taking it down to the station today (sounds badass, no?), and we’ll see if I ruined the only piece of evidence that might have helped us catch these rat bastards. I hope not. Don’t touch anything when you discover a burglary.

4) Security cameras are worth it. Sounds like overkill, but do YOU want to lose everything you own that’s valuable with no possible recourse to find the perps? I have learned that I do not. My neighbor recommended these two cameras and DVR.

5) Breathe. It’s just stuff, and no one got hurt. Meditate, call your friends, set up a Dropbox where people can repopulate your photo collection for you (I will be sending out the link to mine shortly). Buy a new TV immediately so you don’t have to stew all week about missing an episode of Mad Men.

6) Renters Insurance!!! It’s like $15/month.

Good luck out there.

The Kuriositat Sports Biopic Triptych, Part One: George Best

My undying love for sports began when I was a little girl, watching my older brothers play baseball and soccer and cheering my sister at her softball games. As a family, we gathered around the television from October to June to watch ice hockey, which is not, uh, particularly typical for a family in Southern California, but it made a lasting impression on me. Today, I will watch nearly any sport on TV, including nine-ball (does that count?) and curling. I love them all.

I guess there are hundreds of psychological reasons we watch sports: simple love of the game, escape from reality, clung-to childhood dreams of heroism, salacious voyeurism (hellooo, U.S. Men’s Swimming Team and Women’s Beach Volleyball!). Sports also play a big role in our communities, economies, and politics, some to a surprising degree.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve expanded my sports watching beyond competitions to include some really outstanding sports documentaries, and three stand out to me as original and moving tributes that you must see.

Each of these three films focuses on an individual athlete, but if you watch them chronologically, you follow the filmmakers’ trajectory from the micro to the meso to the meta. The first film follows an individual man, one single, spectacular athlete. The second film telescopes out a bit to include not only the main competitor, but also his opponents, their interactions, and the internal politics within their sport. The third zooms out even further, to show how deeply a sporting event can be intertwined with major social and political issues, from drug wars and gambling to prison and even murder.

Man, men, world. Here we go.

GEORGE BEST IN FOOTBALL LIKE NEVER BEFORE

Let’s begin with “Fuβball wie noch nie” (which translates pretty awkwardly into English, no?). This extraordinary film is a documentary, or really a portrait, of British footballer George Best, directed by German filmmaker Helmuth Costard. Best was a wing with Manchester United in the 1960s-70s, and was well-known off the field as a womanizer, alcoholic, and lovable miscreant. On the field, he was a superstar. Somehow, despite his questionable after-work behavior, his soccer game was at the top.

In March 2010, I saw this with friends at The Nightingale, a tiny unofficial garage movie theater in Chicago. We sat rapt at the front of the room in a row of stained and comfortable Goodwill armchairs, and our hosts at White Light Cinema passed around homemade chocolate chip cookies and beers. A lovely and intimate way to watch a lovely and intimate film.

Football Like Never Before is a work of art filmed entirely during a soccer game between Man Utd and somebody else. There is no dialogue. There is no plot. There is only George Best, running, standing around (quite a lot actually), laughing, throwing his hands up, hydrating, spitting, shouting at the referee, etc. All at extremely close range.

Now, I like art films very much and I love soccer, but I was ever so slightly skeptical at very first. How could I enjoy watching a game without really knowing what was happening elsewhere on the field? Would I get bored? Would my non-soccer-loving friends hate this movie?

These fears were assuaged approximately 30 seconds in, as I leaned back comfortably in my seat and allowed Best’s giant onscreen face, feet, and jersey to envelop me like a warm blanket. I had nothing to worry about or pay attention to as a moviegoer, no drama or background or personal story to follow; my only duty was to watch Best play. That freedom made me feel happy and calm. I looked at my friends and they were all grinning contentedly, too.

A soccer match is a splendid 90 minutes, for all you out there who may not know that because perhaps you are too busy watching NASCAR and MMA to enjoy the World’s Most Beautiful Game (who are you, by the way?). I try to watch soccer as often as possible or at least have it on in the background while I do something else, and I may or may not have spaced on 2-3 weeks of work last year to watch the World Cup. But I have never, ever watched a full 90 minutes with so much dedication. I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen.

For the first 35’ or so, the only sounds are the ones on the field and in the stands. Cheers, grunts, sighs, heavy breathing, that satisfying crack of boot on ball. At an unexpected point (spoiler alert!), these sounds are sneakily supplemented by music. At first, I thought the crowd was just clapping in an incredibly precise rhythm and that their hooligan cheers had simply gotten louder. I realized soon enough, though, that there was a masterful musical soundtrack intermittently worming its way in, and I practically squealed with glee.

My understanding from the movie is that Manchester United won 2-0. These results are corroborated in various reviews of this excellent movie. Georgie scored one goal and assisted on another (I think?). The results don’t matter whatsoever. This movie is about movement, and about seeing something familiar and commonplace with a new set of eyeballs.

There isn’t much more to say besides I hope you get to see this someday. Apparently it is very difficult to come by, so I thank the good souls who curated it for us that night in Chicago. The wonder of this film is its simplicity. A man, his struggles, triumphs, and boredoms on a grass field, and nothing else to consider.

Beautiful.

Viva la musica en vivo!

My sincerest apologies for the 6-month delay since my last post, especially to those of you who have been affected by this most intensely (Mom). Some things have been going on. I’ll maybe get around to writing about them someday.

Today, I write with happy news in the music world, which is a small but far-reaching win for artists and restaurants in SF. Did you know that, prior to yesterday, it cost little restaurants and cafes up to $2,000 per year to have live music?

We’re not talking about Yoshi’s and Bimbo’s, people. Those places are there to give the people what they want when they want (and they want it all the time). They can pay for live music permits because music is what draws the folks.

Nope, we’re talking about little bars, cafes, and coffee shops, that often can’t afford to provide you with those magical musical moments during brunch, tea time, and early dinner, because it’s too expensive for them. This is $ad.

Think about the last time you went out for a bite and were unexpectedly rewarded with free live music right next to you. Recent favorites of mine include the awesome classical Spanish guitarist at Stable Cafe and the completely bad-ass brass quintet composed of 50-somethings at Atlas Cafe, not to mention my friend the DJ at Homestead, who does soul on Monday evenings (I forget his name, but he’s bomb). Can you imagine life in this City–or any city, for that matter–without those moments?

Thanks to some rockin’ advocacy efforts by Jocelyn Kane, Exec. Director of the SF Entertainment Commission, and the support of City Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, SF supervisors yesterday passed a bill drastically reducing the cost for small businesses to hire musicians. The terms are limited to small, non-nightlife venues: music has to stop at 10pm, performance space can’t exceed 200 sq. ft., and noise control rules are in effect. BUT the permits will only cost $385 and an estimated 700 cafes will benefit from the new law.

All this means more gigs for artists, more clients for businesses, and more tax revenues for the city. Everyone wins! Check out this footage of yesterday’s rally, which was attended by yours truly. I’m the one getting totally freaky styley toward the end there. I just wish you could hear more of the beats being dropped by freestyle rapper Dublin in the background. Maybe you’ll see him performing at Philz someday soon!

Emails to my Doppelgänger

I live in San Francisco now! It only took me 4+ years from the day I vowed I’d return someday, and here I am. Ta-DA! As you can imagine, I’ve been on the move a lot lately and haven’t had much opportunity to explore the world outside. So, I’ve turned inward for cultural inspiration…specifically, to the wondrous world that is my email inbox.

No matter how unique you think you are, how diverse your interests might be, or how carefully you hone your image, chances are there are identical copies of you — Doppelgängers — elsewhere on earth. This concept can be quite terrifying. Remember this? Scariest thing EVER:

I haven’t actually seen my Doppelgänger, but I know there are a bunch out there, because I get 2-3 emails per week that are clearly intended for another me. Or at least to another person with the same name as me. Perhaps if my name were Nintendo Apfelstrudel or something, this wouldn’t happen. But then I couldn’t have compiled a special folder of curious emails to share with you today. Please enjoy these real excerpts from emails I have received:

“what are you doing for dad’s birthday? also, i just had the awful thought that maybe i missed it.  it’s september 27th, right?” AWKWARD. On several levels.

This one came from a casting company. It’s not spam — apparently another me has auditioned for roles such as these before:

“VH1 in association with XXX Casting and XXX Productions is now casting the hottest, most bodacious, voluptuous single women who are in LOS ANGELES only, at least 21 years old and appear younger than 35 to represent the BBW’s in a brand new docu-series that will show a long-awaited glimpse into the ultra-fab world of big girls! If you have your cake and eat it too, we want to hear your story…

…Step aside skinny bitches, the spotlight isn’t big enough for the both us.

Big girls don’t cry… they freakin’ party!”

From a retirement community in Riverview, Florida: “Hello XXX, We are really excited that you have chosen to make XXXX Club at XXXX Park your home.” Awesome, thanks, so glad to finally be here.

“Hi XXX, I am finally looking at the papers.  I do not know whom to call for the pet identification tag – to change from Phoenix to me.  Also, do I have to mail in the Continental Kennel Club form?  I never had to do any of this. Progress.  Alexa is not following me all the time.  Yesterday, she went through the pet door and sat outside in the sun.  I think she really feels at home now. Have a great day. Rosemarie.” I am not sure who the humans are in this one.

“Dear XXX, Happy New Year!  XXXX of LifeShare Of The Carolinas gave me your e-mail address and said you are interested in volunteering as part of our DMV Ambassador Program…As you may have heard from XXXX, we are hopeful that through this project, we can raise donation rates across the state.” I don’t know why I signed up for this, but I’m pretty sure I’m not interested in volunteering for the DMV. Do they need ambassadors…or donations?!

“Good Evening Parents, Your child is in my class for unit 2 in math… I expect every child to have his/her addition facts memorized 0-9. I noticed today that most students in this math group count fingers or count “in the air” to do simple addition facts.  PLEASE WORK WITH YOUR CHILD TO MEMORIZE ADDITION FACTS 0-9.  One thing that will hold your child back from doing more challenging work in math successfully is not memorizing addition facts.” I think it’s pretty clear I’m the only parent who received this email. I appreciate the teacher’s attempt to soften the blow by BCCing all recipients, but I guess I’ll have to just accept that my idiot child is going nowhere in life because of those damn addition facts 0-9.

From the same teacher as the one above, different email: “These are the spelling words that will be tested tomorrow: sack, pocket, job, dust, rib, desk, chop, rock, drum, list, mess lettuce, sad, engine, tag.” I am not sure what mess lettuce is but it sounds disgusting.

“you should wear this http://www.etsy.com/listing/58409127/sale-bird-on-tree-branch-dichroic-fused. me likey.” Hmm, okay. Are you buying it for me, or am I supposed to get it for myself because you likey?

I received a meeting invitation from a man in Nashville that I don’t know. I looked at it carefully, then realized it was a lawyer meeting in the middle of the work week between spouses. Uh-oh. I declined the meeting, and about a week later got a second request for a meeting. I declined again, but still didn’t correct the guy, assuming he’d figure out he’d written his wife’s email incorrectly when he asked her about it at home that night. But no. The next week, I received a message about scheduling a work dinner party, and the couple clearly hadn’t communicated at all in the interim: “We need to attend–client development.  are you ok?” Yikes. Least fun love triangle I’ve ever been in.

“I remembered to bring the cake picture today, so I’ll send it home with [her].  Just let me know if you can do it for that Friday (Sept 17th).  Please don’t feel pressured to do it.  We can always wait for my real birthday in October, if we need to.  I just wanted to share it with my family that weekend that everyone is going to be here, but it’s not a big deal.” Who doesn’t love a passive-aggressive birthday cake commission?

“XXX, Per regulation, I am required to send prospectuses for the Fund Solution mutual funds we are proposing.  Let me know if you have questions.” I ignored the legal notice on the bottom of this one, which required me to let the sender know I was not the intended recipient. I went on to make millions of dollars.

And finally, my personal favorite: unsolicited advice from a stranger…

“The more you nag, the less likely i am to call.  you should know this by now.”

Ain’t that the truth. I welcome your mistaken identity stories below.

Update: Drama at the Violet Hour

When I left Chicago a little over a month ago, I thought that my experience with the Violet Hour murals was tied up nicely with a bow. But it turns out there is more to the story, and I thank DMS for alerting me to it.

The Chicago Reader published a short article this week by Deanna Isaacs about the giant purple-hued mural that Slang Jones painted this past fall, which I admired and wrote about here. Here is a photo of the finished product, which I personally neglected to document due to the piece’s short lifespan (as well as my own inability to carpe diem):

Remarkable, no?

Turns out I wasn’t the only one who noticed how quickly it went up and down — Jones himself thought the mural would be up for three months, not three weeks, and he poured 36 hours and his own money into creating the piece, for which VH contributed $350.

As far as the mural’s content goes, I was surprised to learn that I was actually on the right track about Slang’s intentions:

Jones’s mural, he says, was “a take on the service industry.” The waiters were “minstrel characters” and “chameleons,” and the theme was “how anyone of the working class has to serve the ruling class in America, the glamorous people who are comfortable. One of the owners told me that he wanted something controversial, but maybe, when they really looked at it, it was like I was knocking their business.”

And I was even more surprised to learn that the Reader had found my blog and used my words to add fuel to the fire:

That implication wasn’t lost on the anonymous proprietor of a personal blog called Kuriosität, whose November 29 post noted the mural’s disappearance. She recalled watching it go up, writing, “I tried to make sense of it all. Was this Slang’s commentary on the pseudo-elite clientele and admittedly high prices of the vittles at the Violet Hour?”

Whoa. You can read the whole article here.

I don’t actually believe that the VH caused “one of the biggest heartbreakers” of Slang’s career on purpose, or that they took it down because they thought his message was going to harm their business. I just think someone messed up the VH’s mural schedule and double-booked the coveted winter months’ spot. That the new muralist happens to work at Big Star across the street (which is owned by the same folks as the VH) is a coincidence. Right? These things happen.

But in any case, this story highlights something key about the difference between street art that exists for fun, and street art that is a means toward other ends, i.e., cash. As the daughter of an artist, I learned early on about how unpleasant the art world can be, and I know this to be true: If you have expectations about timing, pay, or anything else, get it in writing, or — this is fact — YOU WILL GET SCREWED.

It wasn’t arrogant or wrong for Slang to hope that painting for the Violet Hour would give him some publicity. Hopefully, this unfortunate situation actually will continue to do so, just not in the way he expected. I mean, isn’t controversy more important for celebrity than anything else these days?

If you’re interested in following this saga, you can read more about it from the artists who were scheduled to replace Slang’s work (you know, the duo who created my beloved bird-in-flight mural). Emily Woodworth and Nick Goettling are keeping readers posted on the unfolding drama on Nick’s blog, and soon will be adding their own less-than-subtle commentary on the situation to the mural:

Thoughts?

PCP is Good for Kids

Sorry about the delay, folks. You know, holidays, whatnot.

Last month, the MAPs and I decided to try something new, something way outside our comfort zone, something that, like it or not, more and more people in the northwest are starting to get into: PCP.

But don’t worry, Mom, we haven’t been hitting the horse tranquilizers like this guy. We’re talking about the Portland Cello Project here.

The three of us sat excitedly at the sold-out Crystal Ballroom, waiting for the classical-rock-funk-pop cover band /slash/ cello symphony to take the stage. The suspended ballroom floor bounced happily up and down as people found their way to seats. The crowd was diverse and fun to watch, from serious art-heads wearing titanium Finnish glasses to older crunchy backpacker types to hot chicks to skinny hipsters. There was a 14-year old couple making eyes at each other a few rows in front of me and one of them had allowed their kid sister to tag along, which I thought was sweet.

The crowd grew quiet as the main event took the stage: 8 classically trained cellists, widely ranging in age and hair-do, accompanied by a silly emcee who kind of resembled Zack Galifniaakkaganakaaigus, only nerdier and kinder.

I had read a little about the show in advance, and knew that 4 other groups would be performing alongside the PCP over the course of the night. The line-up included the Corin Tucker Band (Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney fame[!]), Typhoon, the Golden Bears, and the chorus from the PHAME Academy. Outside Corin Tucker, none of those names meant anything to me, but I was excited to hear something new. And see all those cellos!!

Sadly, I didn’t really get that into it.

I LOVED the idea of an 8-person cello ensemble, and I loved the idea of kitschy cover songs, ranging from Kraftwerk to Kanye (you know, that flashLIGHT, strobeLIGHT, streetLIGHT song that for some reason everyone adores so much). I was also quite excited about being exposed to new music from Portland. The ensemble played with one band at a time, performing cello-only interludes in between. It was a good set-up, and certainly a unique experience, but the mix, the tone, the song choices, and the overall precision I was expecting just didn’t knock my socks off.

I admire the PCP’s tenacity and ambition — their website says that they never perform the same show twice. (Having seen a couple of my favorite bands perform more than once, only to realize they do the same schtick every dang time, I actually quite appreciated this commitment to creating a unique experience). But as a former orchestra member, I gotta say — there is some merit in playing stuff a bunch of times before performing it in front of 500 people. I’m sure PCP gets together and reads through the music and maybe does a couple rehearsals with their collaborators, but with the exception of a few contemporary classical pieces written for cello that they seem to have practiced a lot, it just wasn’t polished enough. And it went on for three hours.

There were some awesome things about the concert, though:

1) Typhoon was great! They had like 20 people on stage alongside the cellists, all very old-timey and reggae and fun. And they were just listed on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s “Best of 2010” list. Check them out here. I also really dug the Golden Bears, a very cute couple who know how to write songs and also know how to rock.

2) Of all the contemporary classical stuff, I most enjoyed the Bachianas Brasilieras (Intro from Number 1) for 8 cellos, by Heitor Villa Lobos. Here’s a video of some other gigantic cell0 group performing it.

3) The PHAME Academy is a really special place where adults with developmental disabilities can learn how to draw, sculpt, dance, and sing. Their 40-member chorus performed ‘Stand By Me’ and a handful of holiday songs, and it was incredibly moving. To learn more about this awesome school, go here.

4) Finally, I didn’t see this film, called Denmark, until after the show, but Portland Cello Project did the soundtrack, and performed it as their final encore. This short little film might be up for an Oscar! It is magnificent. Watch it now:


To end on a positive note, I do appreciate what PCP is up to, and for those who consider cello to be boring and only associated with dead white guys, a show like this could be a gateway to a lifetime appreciation of the instrument. The cello can whine, it can wail, it can make you cry, and it can make you shake your booty —  and if you want, it can do all those things in one night! I am also really glad that the 14-year old couple seemed to be totally into it.

I look forward to seeing PCP again someday, and just hope they tighten things up in the meantime.

Knit-bombs!

A few months ago, my dear friend Miss B wrote on her excellent blog about this movement out of British Columbia called knit-bombing, where secret clans of knitters hit the streets under cover of dark (or not) and just go to town on whatever with their needles and yarn. The photos she posted are quite amazing (go look at them), and for months I have really, really longed to see this for myself.

Fortunately for me, it looks like the movement (also called yarn-bombing or knit graffiti) has found its way south. I’ve been in Portland just 3 days, and have left the apartment approximately 3 times, and I have already spotted this phenomenon TWICE within 0.25 miles of home. Given the incredible, unexpected joy this brought me, I think it would be pretty fantastic to take a knit-bomb tour around the whole PNW. Maybe I can get the National Science Foundation to sponsor a project on it…?

Here’s a nighttime knit-bomb on Mississippi Ave…

And what’s this spot of green up ahead on the right??

Why, it’s a knit-bomb! Wahoo!

It seems fitting in this part of the country — where MAP and I ate “hippie burritos” for dinner last night, everyone says hi when you pass by even if you are walking a dog that is growling at them, and bank tellers are wearing hand-me-down holiday sweaters instead of suits — that the street art comes in the form of comfy, fuzzy handmade cozies to keep the trees and lampposts warm.

You should totally come visit.