playing catch up

Well this week has been pretty exciting in that I finished the first pad of
paper for pens, (40 pages well spent) and upgraded to a bigger size for
more drawings per drawing. I also got three more shows lined up since
I took down the show at Blue Jay on Tuesday. So pencil it in:

Luv-a-Java for the month of June (26 x Dolores)
SoCha for the month of August (Mission x Valencia)
Revolution Cafe for the month of September (22 x Bartlett)

Also in the week's news, Jesse and I gave my bike a total makeover, with
new brake levers and brake cables, new brown handlebar tape, a shiny
new longer seat post, and a rack and panniers for this weekend's camping
trip! We'll be riding up north in a modest 7-person pack. The route will
look something like this:

The only bummer is I went and got myself sick! I'm hoping that chugging
tea and orange juice will do the trick, and I'll be riding good as new
tomorrow morning. So here's hoping, and here's some drawings:


buzz buzz buzz

Coffee has gotten the better of me. Who'da thunk?

More draw'ns from these wired eyes:

Just some doodles from park after the Carrot Mob mobbed the Duboce Park Cafe.
The Carrot Mob brings a bunch of people to businesses in return for the business
using part of their profits to green their operation. Cool stuff.

Anyway. I am not getting evicted, so that's good, and I can take my time thinking
about moving out, which I've been thinking about (although thinking about
walking everything downstairs is enough to keep me here for a while longer.).

Today was day 3 in the cafe. It's wearing on me; I had 4 drunk customers before 9.


for your thirst

fail-proof sangria.


wine (cheap)
fruit (any)

chop fruit, add wine, sugar and cinnamon to taste. it'll take a decent amount
of sugar depending on what fruit and wine you use, add sugar until it's just
under-sweetened, the fruit should do the rest. let it sit overnight in the
refrigerator. serve with ice, maybe mint.

a friend of mine adds lavender to her sangria. it's pretty great.


What a cool thing.


money better spent than paying rent

I'm relaxing in my room to the sweet sounds of the jackhammers down the
street, tempered with some songs from Joanna Newsom's new album, which
I recommend.

I spent the day at the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. It was a little
steep getting in, but worth it. The show up right now is a 3 day special where
florists were invited to make living interpretations of a piece of art in the
collection. Some of them were to die for, all of them smelled great, and there
was a fun hat contest running all day, so the crowd was as entertaining as any.

I didn't draw too much at the museum, as I was overwhelmed with visual input,
which felt great. But aside from feeling great, I have a storm cloud of possible
eviction hovering just ahead, which feels horrible! Hoping that sorts itself out,
if not, expect some blogging down-time as I pack up and go...somewhere.


more and more!

Finished the watercoloring:

Started the day off with a quick coffee-and-bus-stop sketch:

With these two guys opportunely riding across from me on the J train:

Since I hadn't biked to work this morning, I needed to jet, so I timed myself
riding out to Ocean Beach. Unfortunately, I rode way too hard and ended up
with the same time. I went to Java Beach to rest up, hydrate, get rid of my jelly
legs, and draw my favorite drawing of today:

Productivity feels SO damn good. Also, all of these drawings from the last few
posts have been drawn with the SAME PEN! I feel like I just tripped over the
Holy Grail.


I went to a meeting tonight at which we discussed what to do with a 15,000 sq.
ft. warehouse, with residential and commercial zoning, with a 20-year lease and
a whole bunch of artist-nerds. Needless to say, the words "awesome," "crazy"
and "spaceship" got totally abused, and it was all hilarious. Also exciting.

Here's Geoff starting off the meeting:

and an innocent MUNI victim on the way home (I took today off from biking
in order to get some public transit drawings in. This is the only drawing worth
mentioning, and I don't know if it was worth giving up the ride for, but at least
it's something). Apologies for the lack of focus.


a quick note for micron pen users

this "paper for pens" is the only paper i've ever used that has had virtually
no effect on the tip of a micron. hoorah for not killing pens at the end of
every drawing, I highly recommend it!

and then some

I ran into my friend Najeeb, who I met when I interviewed to work at Pixar
(when I still lived in Cambridge), at the coffee shop tonight. I had gone to
draw, he had gone to draw, so we joined forces against our mutual drawing
-stage-fright and I knocked these out. It was relaxing compared to my
previous cafe experience of the day, which involved calling an ambulance
to stick some fluid in the drunk man who had been sleeping at one of our
tables for several hours, and who had on his person two empty pints of vodka
and a hospital wristband.



while the batteries charge...

got a crop of new drawings, on new paper, bought for the zoo drawing day.
I'm psyched about the paper; it's called "paper for pens" and it's an
"ultrasmooth" bleedproof vellum. Totally lovely to draw on.

Batteries are charging for my camera, but in the meantime, please enjoy this
smoothie recipe:

1 banana
1 orange (i used half for the fruit and half for the juice)
small handful of mint leaves
1 pitted date
seltzer or water

the mint really makes it.

Also, I just cleared off my table for the first time since getting it, so I'm
hoping for a the productivity chart to get a little more vertical. Also I beat
my fastest time to the beach and back this evening, 41 minute roundtrip.
New tire on the front wheel, so no more pinch flats (phew!) and I got my
pedal fixed so it doesn't klu-clunk every go-around.

So all's well over here.



I got to the Oakland Colosseum station, 4 miles west of the Oakland Zoo,
two sketch pads on my back and coffee getting to work in my brain, when
my front brake cable snapped!

After a cursory side-of-the-road fix-up, all signs (and a call from Jesse)
said riding was a terrible idea: I didn't know the area, whether it would
be uphill or down (it was bound to be one), where I'd get stranded...

So no zoo for me. I swapped out the cable no problem when I got home
using a cable I happened to find on the street a while back. All excitement
aside, I was a little worried about getting so much sun, and I have the
equivalent of growing pains in my right arm running up through my neck,
so drawing would have been a feat, bike ride or not.

Next time I guess.


My first forays in Russian Hill. Someone pointed out that it was funny I was drawing
these houses, while the view of Alcatraz was just behind me. I liked that.

Other news! My show at Blue Jay Cafe has been extended a few weeks, if any of
you haven't gotten around to seeing it yet, and this Saturday I got the day off
work at the cafe to audition as an artist-in-residence at the Oakland Zoo, getting
paid to draw animals and people!



Well I alleviated the monotony of filing my taxes by eating a bowl of coconut
milk ice cream topped with spiced candied kumquats. Let me tell you, it made
the job easier (albeit a little sticky).

Spiced Candied Kumquats:

handfull of kumquats, quartered
fresh ginger slices
maple syrup/agave/sugar/honey

put all in a pot and bring to a boil, let it simmer for a little bit, take it off the
heat. it tasted better the next day.

Of course I also took a break between filing federal and state taxes to do some
drawing. My feet took me to Velo Rouge Cafe, even though I was set on going
to the Mission, but it worked out, and I ended up meeting someone who has a
show up at Mojo Bike Cafe of really well-done bike-themed watercolors. He
showed me his sketchbook, which reminded me a lot of my old books (but was
better), and it was a really great little reality check. I think I've been much too
introverted in terms of inspiration, and have forgotten to be looking at other
people's work. Phew!

It's gonna get some watercolor, stay tuned.


a note on finding importance

I'm sitting in my overstuffed chair with two drenched bike rides' worth of clothing
drying on my heater, downing my second cafe americano and putting off filing my
taxes, so of course it's time for a dubiously useful blog post. Here goes.

With the buzz of waking up too early quenched by too much coffee, my head has
been finnagling its way into vaguely philosophical territory. All I've been doing
lately is cooking, biking, drawing, and working in a coffee shop. Of those four, I've
been drawing the least, even while that is the only one that leaves a product (apart
from dirty dishes and bigger quads). Cooking feels great, fulfilling even. But when
I think about it, hours of cooking and shopping and planning and cleaning go into
each day of food-prep, for a tasty few bites and maybe a photograph, and I somehow
find it important. It doesn't really make sense, unless I think about it from the
mindset of it's-important-to-stay-alive or it's-important-to-be-happy-at-this-
particular-moment. But in terms of propelling myself forward, one recipe at a
time isn't getting me anywhere but broker.

All this, and I'm simultaneously planning my next batch of tamales for some night
this week. Really Sadie. At least I can blame not-drawing on the rain, and can justify
the ingredient-buying with the cafe shifts.

Maybe someday my goals will be a little less immediate.

Meanwhile in the real world, my show is coming down today or tomorrow, I sold
two drawings (!) and I've got some bike stuff for sale at the Revolution Cafe on 22nd
and Bartlett. Since 2 unpaid jobs didn't seem to take up enough of my time, I got a
third, working as a shadow-person with ShadowLight Productions, a shadow puppet
troupe, for a show at the end of May. More news to come, I'm pretty excited about
this one.

And some drawings:


Well I rode my first crummy bike in this city, and let me tell you it was awful!
Good thing the weather was so damn nice, and the bike ride turned quickly
into a beach stroll. Here's the lovely Lucy Mendel modeling her new bike jersey
before the ride to the ocean, with my new floor pump (finally!).

Of course the hearty dinner from the night before helped us make it up the
hills (we swapped bikes a few times). Plantains with chili and cinnamon,
Julia Child's potato leek soup (there was a whole chapter on it, so I had to
try), coconut sticky rice with fresh mango, sesame and sunflower seed mochi
(from a package!), Chinese eggplant with stringbeans, and a whole lotta
margaritas with cayenne salt, courtesy of Jesse.

Julia Child soup:

4 c peeled diced potatoes
3 c finely chopped leeks
2 Q water
3 T butter or coconut oil
salt to taste, maybe a tablespoon

Boil the potatoes and leeks with salt for about 40 or 50 minutes, until the
potatoes are really soft. Mash with a potato masher, fork, or whatever other
implement you have at hand. Stir in butter or coconut oil, salt and pepper to
taste. It was a hit, thanks Julia.

I-don't-know-who, a.k.a. Jimmy requested some workspace photos, and I am
sorry to say that the above photo of food-on-trunk is my dining room table,
and this is my kitchen workspace after a trip to the grocery store.


a request

Well I got a request from I-don't-know-who, to try out making a pasty,
which is a Cornish food, like an empanada crossed with a pie. It can be
sweet or savory, and the filling is traditionally not cooked prior to being
put in the dough.

So I thought I'd give it a shot, and seeing as my farmer's market now sells
delicious fuji apples for a dollar a pound, the obvious choice was a sweet
apple pasty (I think I am going to call it a patsy, that sounds more appealing).

Dough (it made enough dough for 2 of these)

white flour (1 1/4 c)
salt (1/2 t?)
butter (1 stick)
ice water (less than 1/4 cup)

mix flour and salt, squash in the butter with a fork, and slowly add ice
water until the dough just sticks together. I have to say, this is my first
time using both butter and white flour in as long as I can remember, and
it's a piece of cake compared to gluten free-baking, to the point of being
boring. The dough was stretchy, cooperative, easy to roll (even though
I rolled it out with a pint glass), and cooked perfectly.

Anyway, once your dough is mixed enough to form a cohesive ball, wrap
it in something and put it in the fridge or freezer till it's colder. It's
important to keep the butter cold. When it's chilled, roll it out to about
1/8" thickness, fill it, and seal it up. I brushed the top with some of the
sugary liquid left from the apples, but you can also brush it with egg yolk
mixed with water (or nothing). Also poke airholes.

Apple filling:

thinly slice apples
2T flour
1/4c sugar
lemon juice

I baked this at 350 for about an hour.
The result? Damn tasty. Except, it tasted almost too close to something
store bought, which has a weird way of not exciting me.

But I couldn't stop here, so I decided to make an orange-lemon curd to go
with it, and since I had leftover egg whites, had to whip up some macaroons.
So here are some more recipes:

Orange Lemon Curd:

coconut oil or butter
egg yolks
citrus juice

Proportions here will contribute to making the curd more mousse-like or
more gelatin-like. (more oil or butter will be more gelatin-like). Melt the
oil/butter. Whisk together yolks, juice, zest and sugar, and add it to the oil
over a low flame. Continue to stir or whisk until the mix thickens. This
means the egg yolks are cooked. If you mind raw egg, wait until this happens
to taste your mix and make any adjustments. Chill overnight, or as long as
you can before serving.

Carob Coconut Macaroons

shredded coconut
egg whites
carob powder (optional of course)

Mix together, taste, adjust, form into balls or whatever shape you'd like,
and bake at 325 for a little under 20 minutes. The egg will hold them
together, and more egg will make them gooier. Mine were pretty dry, but
hold up beautifully.


Happy Tuesday

One from last week at the library. People who are staring into the soul of
a computer monitor never notice you drawing them.


I think I'd like to get back into baking. Because I still lack the patience to even
read a recipe, let alone follow one, this will have to manifest itself in lots of
trial-and-error bowls of goo, and some eating of raw eggs. All good things.
This morning I had apple ginger muffins with my lovely friend Helen.

The key to improvisational baking is knowing what batter should taste like
(since I was once young (and maybe you were too) I have a fond and rather
good memory of that). Also, have a slight clue (but not more than that) of what
your ingredients will be doing as they warm up to your 350+ degrees in the

So for muffins, you'll want to throw together some combination of:

baking powder
egg (or more baking powder, or tofu, or banana)
oil (or butter)

That's it! Take the skeleton of a muffin (the substance, the stuff that holds it
together, the stuff that sweetens it, and the stuff that makes it rise) and go
crazy! These muffins had apple slices and finely chopped ginger, with a bit of
cinnamon, vanilla extract, and cacao nibs, and the tail end of my yogurt for a
little moisture. I baked them at 400 until they puffed up and didn't collapse
back in when I poked them, somewhere between 8 and 20 minutes.


instant gratification

my pantry and fridge are both looking a little scattered at the moment,
and coming up with food from thin air was not as easy as it usually is. so
this evening when all i wanted was ice cream, i was at a bit of a loss. but
then i remembered the 1/4 avocado leftover from curry lunch and the
can of coconut milk waiting to be opened, and voila! chocolate pudding.

Chocolate Pudding:

(you'll want a blender)

1/4 avocado
1/4 can coconut milk
1 T cocoa powder
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 t agave nectar or other sweetener
small handful of cashews

put everything in a blender and blend!
adjust cocoa/sugar content to taste
try adding cinnamon, and the tiniest touch of salt.

while instant is good, this pudding is infinitely tastier after chilling, so pace yourself.