More Restraint 
Friday, August 4, 2006, 10:41 PM - Art

I had to sneak in to half an hour of the SFMOMA (only US appearance) of the current MB show. I would have rather seen it at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa...which is REALLY an art space designed to "encourage a nonlinear experience." (probably I just want to go back to that restaurant where Leslie and I had the best dinner of our whole Japan trip...) I liked the unobtrusive traces of the site-specific work he created in SF. I understood a little more of why I like his work (aside from the pure visuals of it), it was hard not to be hit over the head with how he plays with constraint and creativity. You can follow along at home with the cell phone audio tour at 408.794.2844 - enter any number 20-29 then # to get some banal/ entertaining/ enlightening snippets. The giant shrimpy ambergris manifestation was better in real life...

spreadsheets are so sexy 
Thursday, August 3, 2006, 03:00 PM - Sex
When the editor of "Horny? Los Angeles: A Sexy, Steamy, Downright Sleazy Handbook to the City" says:

PS: The fact you work for MoveOn, so freaking hot....

I suppose he should know what he's talking about, right? Should I be leveraging my incredibly geeky (though admittedly fairly amazing) job to pick up chicks? If I play my cards right, will I end up with spreadsheet groupies? More importantly, can I take the fact that everyone wants to talk endlessly about my job as a sign that we'll win in November?

I hate clauses. 
Wednesday, August 2, 2006, 02:31 PM - Sex
Perhaps it's karmic punishment for my tendency towards overly florid sentence structure; my relationships come with too many clauses. I'm really tired of having the conversation that goes "you are the most amazingly fabulous creature ever!!!" followed by a tragic conjunction. Yesterday it was me who added "but it doesn't really matter how fabulous I am if you're not sure how separated you want to be from your wife." With the Republican it was him: "but you don't fit some abstract idea of what my partner is supposed to be like (oh, and did I mention I just don't think you're that hot?)." There have been some hysterical ones: "But you're just not geeky enough. Could you dress up in a Battlestar Galactica outfit?" and my new favorite "but you live in Chicago, why even bother?" I think I'm capable of being part of a relationship that can be contained in simple sentence structure. I hope I'm getting closer to figuring out what to do to make that happen. I definitely have to start being as picky about whether people are really available/ feasible as I am about how smart they are and how much I like them.

Monday, July 31, 2006, 07:31 PM
Rickey Williams - a wonderful man who I got to know when he joined the advisory board for my UCSF research initiative - killed himself last week in SF. Sort of a shock, since Rickey had amazing energy and a profoundly kind way about him - one of those people who improved anything in which he participated. Huge loss for Stop AIDS and for the field of HIV prevention - he was the kind of young person of color we need to change the trajectory of the disease - and another example of how even the leaders in a community aren't immune from its most pernicious undertows. (On a side note, it seems a little bit creepy that there's a site that seems to be basically a commercial group after-death blog/ memorial. Social networking for the dearly departed? - but it's where you can see pictures and testimonials about Rickey.) I didn't know him particularly well, and unfortunately got too used to losing colleagues and clients when I worked in HIV services, but I'm very sad he's not with us any more...

Minimum Wage 
Sunday, July 30, 2006, 08:33 PM - Politics
Here's the kind of non-selfindulgent post I write for sneaky of those damned Republicans to tie minimum wage increase to the estate tax repeal - they've been salivating to get that passed since '94, I'd imagine, and I'm hoping that they realize that this fall is their LAST CHANCE to get it though - their majority status is definitely not assured for the next Congress. Did I mention you should be making some phone calls??? MR post:

Just before leaving for their summer recess, the House passed a bill that would raise the federal hourly minimum wage from $5.25 to $7.25 over three years - but the other provisions in the bill make it very unlikely that it will pass the Senate. House Republicans were leery that Democrats would make the languishing minimum wage (untouched since 1997) a campaign issue this fall; they scrambled and passed the bill after 1AM Saturday morning. It couples the minimum wage increase with a cut in the estate tax, a tactic that might doom the bill in the Senate - it's estimated that the estate tax cut would leave a $258 billion hole in the federal budget, with wealthy families keeping most of that money. 34 Democrats joined the Republican House majority to pass the bill.

Now isn't that better than some long ramble about who reads my blog? At least you learned something from this post...

Sunday, July 30, 2006, 07:54 PM
It is a reflection of my hectic work and my slightly perturbed emotional state that I've neglected my funny online project this week. I've been busy getting ready for our fall program launch tomorrow and shoving my foolish heart back into its icy cage the last couple of days. (Aside: do I control the weather? the heat wave has dissipated on about the same schedule.) Since Thursday I've been tossing around a post on audience in my head, with no time to concretize it. My lack of volubility can't be completely independent of the fact that I went back to therapy on Tuesday (hope to go for the next month or so until the election stuff gets completely all-consuming). I decided I should take the smartass advice I gave to the Republican myself - to get a better handle on recent behavior so that the same situation doesn't happen again. The new therapist is also the newest (potential) blog reader - really it seemed like it would speed up the whole process to have him read this random chronicle. Both boss and therapist now know about/ can read this; makes for a strange set of audience expectations (another example of the unsettling fact that most of my imagined audience/ comments are from men). And it's even weirder to think that people I'm NOT currently communicating with might drop by (most prominently my favorite minefield who's on indefinite (likely permanent) hiatus (see heart/cage above). The women I'm friends with seem to read this in a very functional way - catching up with current adventures given our overscheduled lives and dispersion across multiple time zones, and they hardly ever comment. I wonder if the blog isn't counterproductive to maintaining some relationships - why call me if you can keep tabs on me here? Plus a huge component of this whole project (as well as the therapy) is to manifest and play around with some of the relationship issues that have been percolating (and flirt with boys, did I mention that part? I started the whole thing because I'm horribly competitive/ realized what an interesting way it was to display/ reflect a version of oneself - first entries were only a few days before that silly lawgeek infatuation bit the dust, when I was as crushed out on his blog as I was on him). Slightly less frivolously, I have been hoping to solidify my personal political platform and write about the transition from public health to politics. These goals have all been marginally fulfilled (and readership is nice but not necessary - I'm primarily talking to myself, yes?). The other places I blog (MomsRising, NetSquared once in a while) are much more purposeful and straightforward. I don't think this process has moved me that much closer to being the next great lefty essayist, but it's been nice to get positive feedback on my writing. It does still seem be going like gangbusters as a means to flirt - but degenerating into shallow diary format is not my intent- 'look at all the cool things I did at camp!' doesn't seem worth the time, no matter how many cute boys it reels in. I know my life is more interesting than most, but it's not THAT fascinating. I guess we'll see how motivated I am to maintain this little folly when things get insane this fall...and how much I can fulfill these multiple purposes / whether it matters to me who reads while they happen...

Nazi SEAL 
Thursday, July 27, 2006, 06:05 PM - Politics
Last summer I worked on a campaign to prevent military recruiters from gaining access to high school students' personal information without their consent - prompted in part by the excessive tactics of recruiters desperate to fill quotas (hot babes in Humvees on campus, etc.). Today Color of Change (black online activist group founded by Van Jones and some ex-MoveOn people) sent out a terrifying update on how military recruiters are relaxing standards and letting in more white supremacists. From a Southern Poverty Law Center report on neonazis in the U.S. military:

"The best way to reduce the number of extremists in the armed forces is to prevent them from entering the military in the first place. "But now we're lowering our recruiting standards. We're accepting lesser quality soldiers," Barfield said. In a move to boost enlistment, the military is allowing more and more recruits with criminal records to sign up. A recent Chicago Sun-Times article revealed the percentage of recruits granted "moral waivers" for past misdemeanors had more than doubled since 2001. The military also revised its rules on inductee tattoos earlier this year to allow all tattoos except those on the front of the face. Both changes in the rules made it easier for extremists to join. And while military regulations prohibit all gang-related or white supremacist tattoos, many recruiters are ignoring such tattoos, or even literally covering them up. "I had one case where a recruiter and his wife took a guy to their house and covered up his tattoos with make-up so he could pass his [physical examination]," Barfield said."

It makes me feel much better to know the war in Iraq is a source of weapons and tactical training for our homegrown terrorists, not just for the other side. Send a letter demanding action on this issue through Color of Change here.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006, 12:44 PM - Dancing

LA is proving to be a treacherous place for an impulsive music person like me. When I was in a moderately cranky mood on Monday, I realized that I could wander over to the Avalon and snag a ticket to Gnarls Barkley. Sunday night they dressed up in their MD/St. Elsewhere best, but Monday it was pompadour-laden, poodle-skirted rock gear (note the shirtsleeve cigarette at the far right of the photo). Probably my only chance to watch Cee-Lo lovingly comb through a wig, and well worth the price of admission for a few completely transcendent songs. (Can you believe there was a concurrent J5 show Monday night? Good thing I had seen them recently, or I would have had a terrible time deciding. I like Los Angeles.) This weekend is shaping up to be fabulous for dancing - friday night El Circo party (with the raver dad crew from SF in town) and then Saturday night Nortec Collective downtown for free...

SF Healthcare Ordinance 
Monday, July 24, 2006, 06:22 PM - Politics
Last week San Francisco passed an ordinance that is a bold step towards providing health care for all city residents. The plan is innovative, since it's not technically insurance - people covered through the plan must receive care in San Francisco through the city's system of public and community clinics and hospitals. It pulls together federal, state, and local funds, along with a mandatory contribution from employers who don't cover their employees and means-tested copayments from participants to provide basic medical care for all residents. By working with the existing system and emphasizing preventive care, it's hoped that costs can be contained and the current wasteful emergency-room centered medicine for uninsured patients can be restructured. Having seen the inefficiencies of the SF healthcare system from the inside at SF general and while doing health planning work, anything that will push things towards integration and coordination will be a positive step. Anything that takes a creative approach to the siloed funding of public services and genuinely blends funding streams is a step towards creating seamless services for people who need them- but I shudder to think about how the creaky and archaic health information systems in SF will adapt to this new world (Maybe it's a whole new landscape of streamlined efficiency since I left? Somehow I doubt it.) While the plan faced some opposition from the local business community (I got an earful from Annie, co-owner of Delfina when I was up there a week ago about it) and many of the specifics are still being worked out, it's an exciting local solution to one of our most pressing national problems...and if it means that Delfina decamps to Los Angeles, I can't say that I'd be upset about that unintended consequence. (stolen from my own shorter post on the subject at

Lebanon Relief 
Monday, July 24, 2006, 11:35 AM - Politics
It's pretty disturbing how little what's happening in Lebanon came up in conversations over the weekend...the potential for regional escalation is terrifying, and let's just say I don't have a lot of faith in Condi's ability to stop that from happening. (It's also a reminder that changing the balance of power in the House will not solve all our problems, by a long shot - the house vote for a measure supporting Israel was almost unanimous.) Hasn't anyone learned anything about the futility and risk of attacking a non-state actor in the region with conventional military forces? I don't think Israel will repeat its Lebanese occupation nightmare and invade, but the ease with which this could turn into a multi-country free-for-all is sobering. Without strong pressure for a ceasefire the temptation for Israel to take out Tehran's nuclear program must be growing almost irresistable - why not bomb Damascus while they're at it? ((Are we ready for gas to be $10/ gallon?)) Our hawky neocon faction must be drooling at the thought that Syria might be next on the list. (And yes, there should have been stronger pressure for Hezbollah to disarm, particularly after the international attention that followed Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon post-Cedar Revolution- another opportunity to more fully move a military actor into the political sphere missed.)
Donate to Lebanon relief operations here.

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