Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rachel Getting Married

On Saturday, Travis (one of my dearest friends) and I decided to catch up over Mexican food and watch Rachel Getting Married.

Great movie, if you haven't seen it. Anne Hathaway does a knock-out job of playing a complicated, slightly unloveable recovering addict. The movie, as a whole, does a really great job of capturing the complexity and tension that riddles so many family gatherings.

The previews were also amazing. I am a dork, I hate missing previews, but, seriously, every preview in this movie was for a film I now really want to see.

In particular, Arnuad Desplechin's A Christmas Tale.

And the incredibly visually stunning Waltz with Bashir.

**Also, Gavin Newsom (current SF mayor, perhaps future CA governor) was in line with us to buy movie tickets. My giddy celebrity spot for the weekend.

***Sorry I have seriously fallen behind on blogging. When your life gets super busy (and thus bloggable) you never have time to blog! I am leaving out a lot of fun stuff, but lets just start over from here on out.

Dial House

Well, just as I have found a new amazing mentor to sink my teeth into (Cameron Maddux, Director of Account Planning at the Academy), he has found greener pastures at an amazing creative think-tank called Dial House in the SOMA of SF. A kind of rock-n-roll, buck-the-system consortium of deep thinkers that work on figuring out ways to define, strategize, communicate, and otherwise better existing brands, it is a great fit for Cameron. Sigh.

So being the awesome educator that he is, Cameron hosted a little after-hours soiree last Friday night at Dial House to kind of talk to Academy of Art planning people about where we can go from here and just to kind of say, "I am still here for you guys." Like I said, great educator; total sweetheart.

It was at Dial House that I met the much buzzed about Charlie Kouns (former Director of Planning at the Academy (AAU)). I was delighted to find Charlie to be a warm, imaginative Southerner with a love of stories and young people. I am looking forward to get to know him better.

In fact, Charlie and I got to talking about this project he is working on called Imagine Learning, designed to make education relevant to kids and what they need in today's world. I am so excited about it. This will be where my volunteer efforts will now be directed (ha! You didn't think I forgot about my vow of reformation, did you?). For those of you who don't know I have a pretty extensive background in child psych. and education.

I was also pleased to meet other young planners at Dial House. The conversations were interesting and humorous, and it was obvious that most of the people there had a good breadth of experiences and thinking. I may have found home. Hurray!

Hendrick's Party

In a city that's known for its Financial District, what do the people of San Francisco do when the economy takes a nose dive? Well, some of them seek escape in the roaring 20's at the Hendrick's Gin Party at The Ambassador.

Walking in was like entering another universe. Up-beat, swinging band music filled the air. Men in top hats and vests chatted in circles while beautiful women in corsets and feather-festooned headdresses laughed gaily at their sides. My friend, Mike, and I were immediately greeted by two . . . little people in full costume sitting on the bar. Burlesque dancers worked the crowd, contortionists worked the stage, and as we approached the bar (open bar, I might add) we passed by one of the entertainers that evening: a mustached transvestite monkey-man.

It was quite the extravaganza. Mingling with all these people, in this amazing roaring 20's setting while our own economy is going to crapper . . . it seemed so ironic. It also made me muse if this is perhaps what it was really like in the salons of 20's--laughter, gaiety, a certain degree of closeted hedonism, a noir sexiness. It was certainly a transportive experience.

Being a Hendrick's party, of course a first-rate drink menu was de rigueur. Hendrick's did not disappoint. If their objective was to recruit loyal followers, consider me their latest devotee. My favorite drinks of the evening were the White Cargo Punch (so creamy, nutmegy, and festive) and the Carte Blanche (nice and smooth and incredibly refreshing). However, in the future, I think I will be very happy with just a Hendrick's gin and tonic.

All-in-all, I had a wonderful time, and was most definitely charmed by my little foray into the 1920's.

*You can also look up the party at, an on-line mag that also hosted the party.

Return to the Thumpa-Thumpa

Friday night was a busy night! I made a triumphant return to the dance clubs of San Francisco. It had been too long. My recent trip to Santa Cruz ended up being a dancing disappointment, so after our fun at the Hendrick's party, Mike and I headed over to Cafe (a dance club in the Castro).

It felt so good to dance again!! And unlike some people, I much prefer the Cafe to Badlands. Badlands is just overcrowded, over-touristy, and over-creepy (I do NOT appreciate getting felt up while I try to dance). Plus the music at Badlands runs way to heavy in the Kylie Minogue/Cher/Madonna/house music set. Who can dance to that? If you can manage to dance whilst being pressed against your rude neighbors in congested sea of sweaty, sardines.

Cafe, while it may leave something to be desired in the crowd, has much more space and music that is much more pop-relevant, with a nice dose of hip-hop.

I also had a first at Cafe on Friday--at the behest of Mike, I asked for the number of this guy I started dancing with on the floor. He was pretty cute, and, well, Mike can be pushy/persuasive. I regret that decision to this day. Turns out cute boy is a 19-year old foreign exchange student from Italy!

He is nice and intelligent, but I have no desire to rob any cradles.

Nonetheless, I am glad to have made a re-entry into the SF club scene. Now I really have to make it back to Booty SF . . . .

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Orangina is . . . "Effervescent"????

I promise I will never produce ads like this:

*caution it involves French animals being sexy

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Power of YouTube

You like me! You really like me!

Ha ha ha. JK.

But I am seriously amazed at the power of YouTube. I posted a video of me giving myself a haircut at like 4am this morning. 16 hours later, it has been over 200 hundred times, been commented on once, gotten a 5 star rating (why I can't imagine), and had one person subscribe to my channel! Wow. In less then 24 hours, I have reached over 200 people. That is amazing. I now <3 YouTube.

Of course, now that I have a subscriber, the pressure is on to post more things of interest. I was hoping to just videocast in the future when I was too lazy to type long life updates . . . .

AAAA Future of Planning 2007

A New John is Shorn

When I first started this blog, my hair was as you see it in the upper right hand corner. I chopped it off shortly thereafter and have been growing it out since. And now . . .

. . . I may never go back.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Redemption through Volunteerism

Some of you may have thought I had forgotten about my personal vow to volunteer, but I have not.

I just got back from my training meeting for No on Prop 8 campaigning on Election Day.

I just wanted to write down my feelings while they're still fresh.

I just . . . . Honestly, I started welling up with tears seeing all of the wonderful people there who were joined together in a good cause, people of conviction and dedication who want good things. I wish you guys could have been there and seen these people, because, you know what? They look very unremarkable. They look like my science teacher, or my grocery bagger, or my friend's dad, or my old boss.

It felt so wonderful to be part of something greater than myself again.

I also had some sadness in my heart to know that people that I care about are out there actively trying to oppose these efforts.

Our desires are so simple: for family. It made me sad to think that people I love stand against that.

I put up the headline I did because my family is worth me making a few small sacrifices. I wish I had more time and resources to give to my own future family, but school obligations keep me very busy. In some ways, though, that seems like such a flimsy excuse. I have worked all of my life to try and be a good husband and father, and I do feel some shame that I have not spent more time working to ensure that I can have that.

I could have eschewed some of the dates I went on in favor of campaigning earlier.

I can only hope that the combination of our small contributions, and my own prayers (and the prayers others) will be enough. I will fast tomorrow, and pray, and do what I can.

The feeling in that room, though . . . it was good. I hope to be involved in more good causes to come in my life.

For all of you--I and hope you are approaching your voting decisions in a spirit of love, humility, and prayer and that you are seriously investigating the candidates you choose and make choices that stand for truth, justice, wisdom, and an investment in our future.