Friday, October 12, 2012

in which we are severely outnumbered

Last year, our friends Amanda and Chris invited us to go to a benefit concert with them at the Oracle Arena. (The benefit was for Family Bridges, a program in Oakland's Chinatown that provides bilingual health and social services to low-income seniors and immigrants. One of the singers lived in Oakland for a long time.) They had gotten the tickets through Chris' job, and we thought it sounded fun, especially because we don't get to see Amanda and Chris very often. The tickets said the concert would be given by George Lam and Hacken Lee, whose names we didn't recognize, so we just dressed nice and showed up.

The four of us may have been the only people in the whole arena who didn't speak Cantonese. It was hardcore. We had a great time, especially once the guys (who are, I think, giant Cantopop stars in Hong Kong) started singing American songs from the 90's, only in Cantonese. It was the most amazing kind of concert. I don't have any pictures of us with Amanda and Chris from that night, so you will have to be content with videos from the concert. They're balm to all but the most hardened souls. I encourage you to go with the full-screen version.

First, "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" (Starship-turned-Cantopop). Wikipedia calls the English lyrics "banal yet effective." This version, my non-Chinese-speaking friends, is neither. (The rest of you can make your own judgments.)

Next up, a little Madonna! This rendition of "Material Girl" features some truly stunning dancers. I also love that George Lam just wore a T-shirt and jeans. (Hacken Lee was a little flashier.)

And what concert would be complete without Gloria Estefan? (I make a cameo in this one.)

Last, they did do a song or two in English. Luckily for me, one of them was this childhood favorite, Linda Ronstadt's "Devoted to You."

*Allow me a moment to reminisce: One night during a family reunion at the beach, we were in a drugstore in town. While waiting for the adults to make their purchases, I perused the dirt-cheap-book bin. In the course of my digging, I read the back of the book "Jaws" (a movie which I had not seen and a story with which I was unfamiliar). For the rest of the night, the shark attack story grew in my mind until I was almost afraid to sleep in my beach-house bed, even though logically I knew that a shark would be hard-pressed to chew me up while I was behind locked doors, hundreds of yards from the water. Over the course of that evening, I listened to Linda Ronstadt's "Dedicated to the One I Love" lullaby album to distract myself. As a result, today I associate every song from that album with shark attacks. I hope this video is now extra enjoyable to you.

Thanks, Amanda and Chris!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

this is why I moved to California

OK, among other reasons - but when people used to ask me why I was moving to California (when I moved here, I didn't have a CA job or school or anything, so I needed a good for-all-seasons answer), I always said "beaches, yo." (and palm trees.) My Bay Area friends all warned me that the beaches here were cold, but whatev. I could handle cold water. I had been to the beach in South Carolina a million times, and sometimes there are days there where things are a little chilly.

Heh. Yeah, totally didn't realize that we were using different definitions of "cold." As a result, I haven't really spent a ton of time at the beach here (I prefer water that doesn't make you sting, ache, and then go numb), but recently we had a special run of days that were hot enough inland that it was in the 80's at the beach and downtown SF! (Summer in the Bay is September/October, and downtown SF/the beaches are usually 55-65 all year round except for those weeks.) Jon surprised me by taking off work for one of those days and we went to Baker Beach in SF. It was pretty quiet, people-wise, and the water temperature was actually doable.

 Jon and I (who are both very white and ALSO very attractive) took turns walking down the beach to explore the rock cliffs you can see in the pictures. There are cool stairways down from a lot of the houses up there. The other person babysat our cooler and stuff, and read books and exfoliated with sand. (OK, those last couple were just me.)

 I am still terrible at formatting the pictures on Blogger, FYI.

Photographic evidence that I got in the SF water.
This attack wave ended that time in the water.

Palm trees! Random text in random places!