Local Food

There's something affirming and warm about going to local farmer's markets to purchase produce straight from people who grew it for cheaper than you can find in the supermarket. With all the markets all over the bay area (there are two per week in San Mateo alone) it makes for some great shopping and exploration.

The photo here is from the smaller one on Wednesdays. Even browsing an hour before closing sends you on a produce expedition. Start with staples, explore some outliers, and end up finding the weird and the beautiful.

Getting produce from farmer's markets has both cut costs and increased tastiness. You can make some really great pasta salad for no more than a couple bucks a pound.

A Celebration of All the Wrong Things

Erin and I went to see Mamma Mia this afternoon and I was hoping to enjoy it since musicals can be pretty fun -- song, dance, and escapism. Unfortunately the only escapism I experienced today was the urge from the very beginning of the movie to get the hell out of the theater.

From the first cracked-out ABBA number to the credits there was one overarching theme to the movie that pissed me off: Women are always fabulous and men exist only to be fools who fawn over them. The maddening part is that not a single one of the characters in this film were worth fawning over.

Every single woman portrayed was a cracked-out, batshit-crazy princess complex waiting to break out in to tears or song. Whichever happened really depends on whether they were either (a) reminiscing about their fabulous youth or (b) mourning how difficult and emotional their life has been. And then they hope for a rich, perfect man to solve their problems. Lady, a rich man won't solve your problem. You are your problem. AND SHUT UP WITH THE ABBA SONGS OH GOD.

The three potential fathers are all nothing more than stereotypes of the Ideal Middle-Aged Man. One was a rich banker, the other a suave architect, and the third an adventurous travel writer. The message this movie sends to women is that they should expect nothing less. The message it sends to men is that we should be nothing less. As a man from reality I was insulted, and afraid for the husbands of all the women in the theater.

This was a terrible movie. Those who liked it (far too many in my theatre) need to take a look around them and understand that just like men, women are not the stronger sex. Delusions of grandeur never suited anybody, especially women looking for someone else to solve their problems. Women looking for someone of my gender to fit their dreams least of all.

The one moment of sanity came surprisingly from the twenty-something husband-to-be. His fiance did something batshit crazy and didn't tell him about it. When he found out she somehow concluded that his frustration meant he didn't love her. He turned around and said "I do love you! I just wish you told me!". I don't know what his character was doing in the film.

I can only hope that this was somehow a subtle satire of the chick-flick, "aren't women fabulous? Why don't men get it?" genre. That would be far too kind to the creators of this film. They are ABBA fans, after all -- is nuance really their thing?

Whatever you do, do not see this movie. Let it burn a slow death.

Disclaimer: I do not hate women. I love women. I just can't stand the hyperbolic versions portrayed in this film

Back in the US

The Ben is back
Originally uploaded by ehurson
Walking around the SF Bay Area and calling it home feels pretty good. After moving and traveling for so long there aren't many places in the world whose little touches and subconscious mutterings convince me that they're home. Northern California, however, cheated and started whispering to me when I was very young.

For the first five, impressionable years I called a place north of here home. Part of me never stopped. It's akin to seeing someone on the street that you thought you recognized. It's vaguely like deja-vu. I love it here.

Gone Camping

Me on Moses Rock Ridge
Originally uploaded by inqurious
Erin and I popped out to take in some local scenery and topology by camping and hiking at Mt. Diablo State Park. We were dissapointed to find that there were no devils on the mountain, just some nice views of the surrounding area.

I operate in an area much better if I have something of a three-dimensional map in my head detailing where I am. Scaling a mountain that's around 2000' higher than anything within a hundred miles or so really helps with that. The views are pretty good, too.

I've uploaded a bunch of photos here.

Getting There

I'm confused...
Originally uploaded by ehurson
Hello, whirlwind. The frequency of activity is still what it was on the trip, but now there's a lot of heavy lifting, too! In the past 4 days Erin and I have:
  • signed a lease
  • rented a uhaul
  • drove to a storage facility and moved our stuff in to our uhaul
  • bought 10 pieces of necessary furniture from Ikea
  • unloaded all of our stuff (old and new) in to our new apartment.
  • constructed 10 pieces of furniture
  • re-bought all the non-essentials we gave away in Cambridge
  • unpacked an apartment
  • took the train in to SF
  • went to a july 4th party
  • spent the night in SF with Hilary
  • walked around 6 miles in SF wandering and book shopping
  • had an internet connection set up.

We live in a very serene spot that makes me feel happy. But god damn am I exhausted. We're up on the fourth floor with a balcony looking in to a lovely grove. My arms are still pretty sore from carrying all of our moving boxes across said grove.

Maybe I need to take a day off and go sit by one of the two pools in our complex or read in the park next door. Oh wait, Kurt's throwing a party in downtown SF tonight.

Back on the whirlwind. One of these days I'll be able to sit down and digest what happened in this first week.