Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Paul & Andrea at Grgich Hills Winery, Rutherford, CA

Sun, Soccer, Wine

Paul came out to SF this past weekend for the long weekend...of course, as always, the time went too quickly! Lucky for me the start of the work-week brought rain, not the bitter cold of MN and ND...

We had a great Valentine dinner at one of my favorite SF restaurants, Herbivore. We walked around so I could show Paul what I had learned about my somewhat-new neighborhood...Dolores Park, Tartine, Delfina, Bi-right, Mission Dolores. Yes, I am still renting out my tour-guide services...

Friday, while I was working, Paul explored and walked around Fisherman's Wharf, the Financial District, Chinatown, and North Beach...needless to say, as he and our friend Jen put it, "his dogs were barking" at the end of the day.

Saturday morning, we went to the Ferry Building Farmer's Market. Everytime I go, I wish I was going back to my apartment soon afterward, so I could buy everything! It just has a great atmosphere too! The produce is so amazing; there was music, potted herbs, dried fruits, nuts, breakfast stands. Paul and I spent the rest of Saturday walking around the Embarcadero and Union Square. Saturday night, I had gotten tickets to a soccer documentary, Zidane. This film followed French soccer star, Zidane during a 2005 match. Literally, followed him the entire film. There were something like 17 cameras capturing his every move. I know Paul especially enjoyed the film, which I am very glad. I, on the other had, would have been better suited to see Zidane in a matinee...I fell asleep...

Sunday, Paul and I rented a car and drove northward to Napa. We enjoyed a tasting at Sautri Winery, which was a little too busy and crowded for our liking. We especially enjoyed Grgich Hills Winery, a smaller winery, whose wine was organically and biodynamically produced. In addition, we stopped at the Franciscan Winery, which had a more modern and intimate tasting room. We ate at a wonderful place Paul had found called Ubuntu, a hip, vegetarian, yoga restaurant.

The long weekend was refreshing and the weather was amazing!! We had an awesome time!

A Californian?

Yes, that is right, I have decided to take a job with Greenpeace and stay out in San Francisco...

My internship went really well; the staff here at GP is great. It is a very friendly and supportive atmosphere, and I feel like I really fit in. I got involved with the organization at a good time and there are more entry-level jobs now than at most other times. I am very fortunate! So, I do have mixed feelings about taking the job...I keep telling myself this is all a part of the adventure and nothing has to be permanent...I can pack up and leave tomorrow, if I choose, or I can stay for years. This is the sort of work I want to do...so what better organization to do it with/for.

There are 2 campaigns that are run out of the SF Greenpeace office--global warming and forest campaigns. My new job would be Campaigns Assistant, so I will be assisting everyone on both campaigns. I have been learning a lot and trying to quickly become acquainted with the organization and all of the processes/procedures.

I moved to a new apartment the beginning of February. I have one roommate now--instead of 6--her name is Jene and she designs jewelry. She is really great and makes me laugh! She has a great sense of style, is really outgoing, and a little (ok, very) dramatic! I think it is so funny, I called a cab to move! I only have 2 large bags worth of 'stuff,' so moving was easy! It is actually a very freeing feeling to not be bogged down with stuff. I have realized I do not need as much. Before I speak too quickly, though, I must admit, I have acquired a few more things...though, if I stop now, I may still fit into a cab the next time I move!

I have taken a part time job--mostly weekends--at a local sporting goods store. I work in the running shoe and triathlon departments. I think it will be a great way to meet more people and hopefully get together with a training group(s) for upcoming tri or running races.

So, my adventures may decrease or at least the sight-seeing part. But I will keep this posted as to my doings and such. I still have a lot of exploring to do...

Friday, February 8, 2008

Taxi to the Dark Side

Last night, I went to watch the film Taxi to the Dark Side, a documentary about the US abuse of detainees at war prison camps in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Cuba. It contained absolutely horrific footage--inhuman, sickening! At first, I did not think I would be able to sit through it. I have such mixed feelings about the film. So, the supposed "reason" for the inhuman abuse is to obtain information about terrorists and US-security threats. When really, only about 1% of the people ever held in the camps are dangerous. The techniques used in the camps are not considered war crimes or abuse or murder (in some cases) because the detainees are "terrorists" and "war-criminals" and therefore not covered under the Geneva Convention (according to GB's definition). Bush, by the way, pardoned himself and other senior government officials and military officers from ever being held responsible or tried for war-crimes. Convenient.

And if they were not "terrorists" before they entered the camps, when the detainees are let out, do you suppose they have a good view of Americans? I would be very surprised if many did not join a militant group to get revenge when/if they are let out.

I was absolutely dumbfounded...How can these soldiers treat these people like this? They are people...with families, with so little possessions and money. They live in a war zone in shacks and some spend their days picking rocks to build fences. They have nothing or very little, in our sense, but this is their life, all they know.

But I think, what would I do if I were a soldier, told by my superiors to "get the information" with a little wink and nod and "permission" to do whatever it takes to get that information? Would I be able to stand up to them--in a foreign country, surrounded by other soldiers doing those same crimes, with the US "security" on the line, and say "no?" It is easy to think I know what I would do, sitting here at my computer--safe and warm and not in a war-zone.

I am not trying to bash the government (But I do put the blame on them 100%!). Or bring about a bad light to a great day (it is going to be 60 degrees here today!). Or turn the upbeat nature of this blog into an argumentative- government-hating debate.

I am thankful I am an American and the freedoms I have--I choose to come to SF, so I did and I can...I have that right. However, it is so upsetting to me sometimes as one of the most advanced, most technical, wealthy nations in the world, we are not setting a good example. The US could be so much more...sometimes it is so embarrassing and maddening!

My soapbox (for today): Please vote. Please make informed decisions about who you elect to run our government...or don't vote at all. And in which case, you have no reason to complain.

And recycle too.