Friday, August 12, 2011

Did you miss me? I sure missed YOU!

If you’ve missed me in the past few months, it’s probably because you haven’t had a chance to read my other blog (I should say OUR other blog), Ed and Camelia’s Wedding Blog. Like one of my co-workers says: Try it. You’ll like it! especially the posts detailing the days in Mexico before the wedding :-), from Saturday, when we landed, through the bachelorette party, on Thursday.

Now that rings were exchanged, photos tastefully airbrushed and we’ve settled back into our daily routine, I’m finding that I’ve been missing my little blog and, with renewed resolve, I’m ready to share more about my recent Caliornia-rific experiences.

Stay tuned for a bunch of upcoming Xenofornia posts on food, wine and SF goings-on.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Wonderful Earworm

Sometimes, in certain places, under certain circumstances, magic can still take place, even in this profoundly pragmatic world we’re living in. Such was the case last night. Between exactly 8:00 and 9:25 PM in Oakland, California, USA, an undeniable bit of musical magic happened on the stage of Yoshi’s (accomplished sushi restaurant and excellent jazz venue): Charlie Hunter’s 11th annual holiday show, with the unexpected addition of tap dancing prodigy Tamango Vancayseele.

I say magic happened and I’m sticking to it. Charlie Hunter is one of the most gifted guitarist of our times and him alone, with his custom-made eight-string guitar would have made for a great show. But the vibrant performance of his tap-dancing friend onstage, combined with an unexpectedly pleasant elderflower-and-sake liqueur to top a belly-full of delicious sushi, all in the company of good people simply pushed the experience to new heights.

Lessons learned from this random encounter with the miraculous:
  1. Never again underestimate the power of live music!
  2. Elderflower makes damn good liqueur…
  3. Sashimi is just fish.
Thankfully, someone already posted one of Charlie's recent performances with Tamango on YouTube, so here it is, although a recording doesn't really do it justice.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Il Corpo Delle Donne - Women's Bodies

Ever since my summer in Berlin four years ago, I've been a loyal reader of Der Spiegel, which I mainly read online thanks to their news alerts which remind me to return ever again to this great publication. By the way, the controversial Julian Assange agrees with me on this one, as he picked Der Spiegel (along with the New York Times, another one of my must-reads) to be one of only 5 publications that he leaked the diplomatic cables to.

A couple of weeks ago, an article on the Spiegel web site caught my eye: Neither Saints Nor Whores: Italian Women Battle for Middle Ground. The title is self-explanatory, but the gist of the articles is that Italian women, caught in between the machismo of the Italian culture and the iron fist of the Catholic Church, have been quietly fighting for the right to be what they really are: complex creatures in all shades and colors that cannot be easily pinned down as either saints or prostitutes.

The statistics are rather shocking: 

DER SPIEGEL:  In the [World Economic Forum's] 2010 Global Gender Gap Report, Italy ranks 74th among 134 countries, below Colombia and Venezuela. In no other European country do so few women work outside the home (only 44 percent), and those that do earn half as much as their male counterparts. They spend 21 hours a week doing domestic chores, longer than any other European woman. Only five percent of Italian men have ever operated a washing machine. Young female academics, not seeing a future for themselves in Italy, are abandoning the country and embarking on careers in the United States or trying to undo their country's reputation as part of Berlin's growing Italian Diaspora.

"Only five percent of Italian men have EVER operated a washing machine!!!" That statistic alone needs no further commentary...

But the most interesting part of the article comes here:

DER SPIEGEL: After living in Munich and Paris, Lorella Zanardo returned to Italy and was shocked when she saw the roles being played by women in public: women in clothing ads for Benetton almost pornographically sticking cucumbers into their mouths, or on television, where they are velinas, giggling hostesses or letterines, that is, girls who carry letters, lottery tickets or football results through the studio.

Zanardo quickly learned that even turning off the TV didn't do any good. So, for three months, she recorded everything that Canale 5, Rete 4 and the state-owned RAI channels had to offer in terms of entertainment programming. She edited the material together to make a documentary film with a spirited narration. Three million Italians have already seen the film, "Il Corpo delle donne" ("Women's Bodies"), which is now available online in several languages. It is practically a horror film, an attack on the Berlusconi system using his own weapons: images. Foreigners who have seen the film, Zanardo says, always ask the same question: "Why do you put up with this. Why don't you fight back?"

Il Corpo Delle Donne is in Italian, but the images need no translation, especially the grotesque end scenes in the butcher shop-like set. The documentary now has its own Facebook page and has been viewed across the world. Most of the comments on the YouTube channel (again, in Italian) come from Italian women who are realizing how the glut of objectifying images on mass media is molding the perception of women by Italian men from an early age.

And now, the coup de grace of my post: A long time ago, at one of my cousins' wedding in Romania, I had an interesting conversation with an elderly Italian man who patiently explained to me the value-add of marrying Romanian women: they're great cooks, they do housework, they are beautiful, and above all, if they want out of Romania, they have no choice! 

And so, it is with sadness in my heart that I end today's post with two conclusions: 

1. Even in the "industrialized" world, there are still pockets where to be born a woman is to be born with a handicap.

2. Lack of economic opportunity can push smart, educated and ambitious women to circumstances where they become indentured in return for, literally, a few household appliances. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

"Why so local, son?"

After a two-month hiatus, mostly due to my limited ability to concentrate on things other than healing and working, I’m finally back. Well, actually, in all honesty, I’ve been back for a little while, but most of my blogging energy went into a different direction: The Wedding Blog.

But, in the spirit of constructive criticism, my first “back from the dead” post will be about my frustration with the uber-localization of Google, but really, of everything.

Take Google search: If you run a search for “beer” on Google from your computer while logged into your Google account, thanks to the search titan’s latest localization efforts and the launch of Google Places, your search results will first list nearby pubs and restaurants and possibly liquor stores, along with a small Google map full of red dots, to help you find your way to the closest place where you can quench your thirst. Not much about, say, the history of beer. The experts agree that Google is going local and so is the world. 

(Yelp is also falling in the same localization rabbit hole: every time I search for Bob Hope Airport, I get San Francisco-based entries like Bob’s Donut and Pastry Shop or Bob’s Steak and Chop House. Granted, Yelp has made a name for itself as a web site where people review businesses in their towns, sometimes revising reviews after subsequent visits, so it’s clearly all based on proximity, I probably shouldn’t complain about it.)
Some people salute the new utilitarian location approach as adding true and immediate value to web search. 
I, ever the idealist, shudder at the thought that I’m becoming, yet again, a target for advertisers. But online-only retailers have much to fear, too, as local search simply pushes them out of the picture. 

Should I feel better because the local advertisers are more likely to be mom-and-pop stores than big-box retailers or Newcastle Brown Ale? Maybe, but I don’t. I still feel like my eyeballs are being commoditized without my consent. Why should Google and all the others assume that I’m primarily interested in Buying Stuff Now and Ideally Without Moving My Buns Too Far?

Whatever happened to the sense of adventure that web search used to provide in the olden days? You know, when you typed “Library” and spent the next hour reading about the Library of Alexandria? … I never thought I would come to say this, but: I think I miss AltaVista. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Foot Chronicles

I’m still new at this whole business of breaking bones, so you can’t really blame me for not having done it thoroughly: bone chips were sent flying off in all directions, and a couple of fractures, but no clear-cut break that could have been fixed with plates or screws. My bad. All I can do now is sit and wait, and sit some more, and cross the days on the calendar until my next doctor’s appointment, hoping that I’ll leave his office in a walking boot on October 5th. If those bone chips don’t migrate back into the mother bone, though, I’m stuck in the damn cast until the beginning of November.

Bottom line: with a little luck, I should be able to walk again by Christmas. And what better present, right?

I’m two weeks into it, and already I’m feeling the toll of my new, tripodal locomotion model: my back is sore all the time, and so are my hands; I’ve temporarily lost feeling in my pinky and ring finger on the left side, I have bruises under my arms where the crutches are resting and both my knees are starting to sound somewhat creaky: one from too much action, the other from too little.

I’ve learned from a veteran of ankle injuries (you know who you are) to expect a host of indignities normally associated with the inability to do anything with your hands other than support yourself: the dropping of objects, the extreme slowness with which you do simple things, the shower tricks, the extreme exhaustion at the end of the day, etc. Add to that the fact that it all happened two weeks before we were supposed to go on vacation to Hawai’i – the first time for me- and had to cancel last moment, swallowing up the bitter fees and fines that come, apparently, as punishment for the audacity of breaking your limb unscheduled.

But I’m also learning that good things can come out of this miserable situation. I’ve always been very impatient, and this experience is really forcing me to grow that muscle of patience in neglect all these years. I’m also catching up on things I’ve been meaning to do that take time I’m rarely able to commit: reading books more than a page at a time, watching full-length movies (!), and writing.

I’m slowly realizing how certain daily habits of mine are toxic: checking Facebook and email compulsively, texting people instead of talking to them… and I’m contemplating taking steps to remedy that.

Then, at the end of this misadventure, I will have truly developed an appreciation of the little things I took for granted before: walking, sleeping on my belly, being able to carry a glass of water from one room to the next, and, yes, walking, walking, walking. I plan to do a lot of that once I get the doctor’s clearance.

Also, as you can probably tell, having a cast is having a vehicle for my friends’ artistic/satiric impulses. Draw away, I tell them, and at the very least make me smile when I look at the damn thing first thing in the morning…

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A trip to the Golden Mountain

Anyone can testify: I’m addicted to my creature comforts. And yet, camping this weekend with my significant other and friends on California’s central coast was truly enjoyable, in spite of the fact that we forgot to bring: sleeping bags, flashlights, thermos, and water. I guess that’s the upside of civilization for air-heads like us – you can head out for 48 hours of off-the grid nature bliss and still pick up everything you forgot on your way there.

For those who’ve never been camping in California, here’s my recommendation: do it fast, before they pour cement all over and build exorbitant condos for stock market speculators who like a view on weekends. So maybe I’m exaggerating, but it feels like there are very few pristine places left throughout this country, and even though California has more than its fair share of it, the green zones are shrinking. Our 5-hour drive from San Francisco to the Montana de Oro State Park near St. Luis Obispo reinforced this impression with hundreds upon hundreds of miles of nondescript highways punctuated with identical-looking rest-stops and shopping malls. It is a hot, sad world of dust, discounted shopping and air conditioning. In brief, we’re paying for our oversized ice lattes with acres of trees.

But at the end of this sad ride along the temples of consumerism, lay one of the most spectacular views I’ve seen in this state: Spooner’s Cove in Montana de Oro (the Golden Mountain) in San Luis Obispo county. Our camp site was a half mile away from the beach, and was already heavily populated with campers of all ages and races, boasting all sorts of equipment, from the humble generic trailer to the Star Trek-looking shiny bullets of newer generations.

Courtesy of: Colin Chu

We had it all there: the hills surrounded the camping site, the beach was within walking distance, and biking/walking/horse riding trails galore. Thankfully, what we forgot in necessities we had more than made up for in luxuries: an inflatable mattress that filled the bottom third of our tent to cozy perfection, more food that we could even dream to eat, and plenty of folding chairs. The inflatable mattress proved to be a source of comfort as well as entertainment.  Our neighbors gleefully announced us in the morning that it had sounded like we were “molesting a balloon” at night.
We hiked through these splendid hills
And took in these unusual sights. My theory:
that tree is the center of the universe

I’ll end with just a few more words about the coast at Spooner’s Cove and surroundings:  a Portuguese explorer named Morro Bay’s landmark cliff “El Morro”and to this day there is some confusion whether he did it because that’s Spanish for crown-shaped hill or because it reminded him of the turban-clad head of a Moor. 

The Morro Rock is the last of the 'Nine Sisters', volcanic plugs that include nine peaks ranging from San Luis Obispo to Morro Bay. One of the more popular theories about their formation is that they erupted along old fault lines, leading to a hot spot deep within the earth, and they may have formed south of the region with their remnants moving along the San Andreas fault to their current positions.

Crawling up the coast along the San Andreas fault and folding on themselves would explain why parts of this spectacular, rocky beach look like the many upturned steps to a gigantic creamy temple sunk deep into the ground.

The steps were everywhere, ready for goats like us to climb them.
And sometimes they were covered in algae,
looking a little like giant mineral tigers.

Last, but not least: I have to give credit where credit is due and thank Janlee for feeding us elaborate, delicious feast-like meals worthy of royal banquets (carnitas, home-made granola, steaks with quinoa and mushrooms), Bob for being himself and lighting our fire, selecting incredible  folding furniture and keeping things together (two thumbs up to you, too, Bob), and to Colin for being the wonderful travel companion that he is, for taking a camera when nobody else did, for using it to take ah-mazing photos and promptly sharing them, and of course, to Ed, for being mine.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Return to Tradition - Room for Debate -

A Return to Tradition - Room for Debate -

This is another reason why I really truly love the New York Times. Although their exceptionalism is sad per se and we could all use more publications that are as accessible and savvy, I do love the fact that, like none other, the Times is able to take the time and invest the resources to inspect a dusty corner of academia like philosophy and offer a platform for debate for some of the top-line thinkers who inhabit that narrow space.

I call it a "dusty corner" not as an insult, but as an observation of the fact that in the Western world, and in the US more than anywhere else, reflection and scolasticism for the sake of theoretical knowledge itself are shunned in favor of practicality and a hands-on problem-solving approach, which, while extremely productive, creates generations of people who are unable and unwilling to "sit and think."

Looks like traditional approaches to the discipline of philosophy (purely theoretical) will soon be entirely discarded in favor of a more pragmatic approach. In the end the empirical will prevail. Which, I guess, is better than discarding the whole discipline altogether.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Don’t call me “Consumer”

I have a confession to make: I HATE brands. There, I said it.

For someone who works in public relations, this may sound disingenuous, but hear me out. First, a little background: I started off as a public affairs practitioner in Washington D.C., so my work was really very far away from any brand names. I worked for trade and industry associations, embassies and foreign education institutions and I really enjoyed it. Then, I moved to San Francisco and, drum roll, the brands came tumbling my way. This is a long-winded way of saying, I didn’t really sign up for it from the very beginning, it sort of happened along the way.

Of course, all brands are not equal. Some, I have very warm feelings for, either because they remind me of happy, carefree times (Nutella, mmm…) or because I use them every day and they have demonstrated value (Zara, Puma, Trader Joe’s, etc). They also happen to be brands that advertise little, if at all. 
Courtesy of
Most brands I’m indifferent to, as long as they leave me alone and don’t badger me with advertising. The list here is so long, I won’t even attempt to commit it to the pixels. And then there are the brands that I deeply, passionately despise. The brands that assault me with their annoying and mostly uninspired commercials and promotions at every turn, analog or digital. The great mass of unwashed brands that forced me to pull the plug on cable television, just so I could avoid exposing my few remaining brain cells to their incessant attacks.

Forced to watch my favorite shows online with a day of delay (first YouTube and now Hulu), I took comfort in the lack of commercials. That was in the beginning. Now, for every quarter of The Daily Show, I am forced to watch the same (THE SAME!) idiotic commercial, sometimes twice in a row.
Courtesy of:
 I also take issue with being called “a consumer.” Being the kind of person who removes visible tags from sweaters, I get very uncomfortable when I know that certain brands define me not by my social attributes (yuppie, San Franciscan, immigrant), or even my animal attributes (bipedal, mammalian) – which I’d be fine with – honest! – but by my ability to purchase their merchandise. This “c” word that I hear so often in brainstorms at work is really hitting a nerve, possibly because I feel that too many salespeople, brands and marketers are trying to part me from my hard-earned money, in return for stuff that I will only use once, if ever, derive no satisfaction from, and then pay more money to organize it, store it or get rid of it.

Like on a psychotherapists’ couch, we’re slowly peeling the onion of my frustrations here.  Last layer: the thing I treasure most these days is not, as I may have led you to think, my money or my self-esteem, but, really, my time. I can deal with the guilt of an unnecessary purchase. I cannot deal with the guilt of spending hours shopping instead of Skype-ing with my mother. I can deal with a cramped closet. I can’t deal with not having enough vacation to fly back home. The little free time I have is mostly spent with loved ones or in the pursuit of self-betterment. So I don’t appreciate it when marketers call me, email me or barrage me with ads. Especially if they’re peddling a product I don’t care about. Hear me, Newcastle Brown Ale

Monday, August 2, 2010

We humans can mind-meld too - life - 26 July 2010 - New Scientist

Three cheers to scientific research backing the concept that humans can actually communicate without language or, rather beyond language. I've experienced this many times with the people that are closest to me, like my mother. I'm looking forward to when they prove beyond doubt that thoughts can "modify" matter.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ideals Vs. Ambitions = A Lose-Lose Situation

Two nights ago I attended a Kiva social event at the SF Hub, and rubbed shoulders with socially enlightened San Franciscans and beyond, which brought my own conflicted feelings about ideals vs. ambitions into the limelight. Generally, I try to avoid that, as it tends to make me consume industrial amounts of sugar in an an attempt to turn inner conflict into inner confit

A small business owner in Huancanayo, Peru.
Kiva helped her get money to expand her store.
For those who are not familiar with Kiva (or the internets), they are a non-profit that enables micro-loans from socially concerned individuals in developed countries to entrepreneurs and small business owners throughout the world. The loans can be as small as $25 and Kiva is currently the “hottest” nonprofit out there. You don’t have to take my word for it – check out their press clips.

This is the concept behind "The Hub."
The venue – the Hub – is also an interesting beast. Housed in the SF Chronicle building, it is a self-proclaimed “nexus point of entrepreneurship, funding, and mission.” While I’m still hazy on what exactly that means, it seems that by day the Hub is a workspace of sorts that aims to replace “the sterile office, the noisy cafes” where people usually do business, and by night it’s a hot venue for non-traditional events like The Unreasonable West Coast Pitch Fest, where people pitch ventures like Who Gives a Crap a non-profit toilet paper supporting water sanitation projects in the developing world,  and Sexy Salad Wednesdays, a mixer that involves salad ingredients and sexy brains. Enough said.

The Kiva social was eye-opening. I only wish I was wearing shades. Among the people I met there: former Kiva fellows who quit their cushy, well-paying finance jobs to volunteer in muddy boots in mosquito-ridden countries of the world on their own dime, folks who created non-profits to support sustainable and green fashion, and, thanks to my friend Michelle, Premal Shah, Kiva President.

But rather than continue to praise these amazing people and their lofty goals, let me tell you about my own inner gridlock. I really, truly admire the idealists who have the strength to follow their dreams at the expense of their career. I also really, truly admire the professionals who can dedicate themselves fully and unquestioningly to their career paths. My impasse stems from the fact that I am trapped between my ideals and my ambitions. While the former threaten to flatten my peace of mind under the footprint of unrealized potential and nagging doubt, the latter are basically etched in my personality by the chisel of parental aspirations.

I’m not sure if this is directly related to the fact that I’m a first generation immigrant and I carry in my luggage duty, guilt and ambition neatly folded, with a flavor of the hinterlands, or if it’s a wider characteristic of my generation. At any rate, I have to admit, living in San Francisco has made me exponentially more aware of this gray space I inhabit on the edges of emotional and professional fulfillment.

That said, the hors d'oeuvres were fantastic. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Slate review of two books that explain why Americans love yoga

Two new books explain why Americans love yoga. - By Claire Dederer - Slate Magazine:

It wasn't the book reviews that caught my eye, but rather this innocuous phrase, an explanation for why Americans are so enthralled by Yoga: "Maybe it's because yoga offers a cure for American body-hating Puritanism."

I never gave it much thought until now. American women at the gym, running, climbing, contorting, complaining to trainers that other trainers don't make them "sweat enough" - I always took it for granted. If you want to look good, you have to work hard for it, right? But now I take a step back and think of my own girlfriends, who would rather lounge by the pool, play tennis, smoke or go for walks rather than work out any of their slim body parts. And they look good too, in different ways.

Is this really the case? Are Americans body-hating Puritans? But what of all the body-worship then? All the plastic surgery, the real housewifes of..., Nip/Tuck, Dr. 90210, etc.? Could it be that that's just the other side of the same coin?

Bodies are vessels for the spirit. If the vessels are flawed, so what? That shouldn't impede the spirit's ability to enjoy life and make the best of it.

But if the body is the end in itself, then, the spirit must take a secondary position and abide by the vagaries of the flesh, which brings about self-hate or Narcissism (a la American Psycho), addictive behaviors and other pests.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ethnic Dance Festival recap

It’s one of the many benefits of living in San Francisco that you get regaled with events like the Ethnic Dance Festival, four weeks of choreographic candy, with tens of troupes and individual artists performing at the Palace of Fine Arts. The palace itself is an architectural jewel, but more about that in another post, dedicated exclusively to urban planning. (I’m learning the subtle art of the teaser…)

Last Saturday night we watched the last performance of the season, with a lineup that started off with a Christian ceremony grafted on pagan roots from Nayarit, Mexico, and ending with Las Bomberas de la Bahia, a Puerto Rican group of women-only performers that sang and danced to the rhythm of drums made out of rum barrels (barilles the bomba).

As it usually happens, some of the performances spoke more to me than others and I’m sure my own cultural background filtered everything to match my own paradigm, which is a pretentious way of saying – I liked some dances better than others, but that’s not a judgment on their intrinsic value. That said, three performances really stood out for me: an ensemble from Zimbabwe, a Bolivian troupe and an Oakland-based hip-hop group.

In hindsight, it shouldn’t have surprised me that such very different performances would move me so deeply. I could even break them down according to Freud’s Id, Ego, Superego. The Zimbabwean dance carried with it a wildness and a purity of spirit that only cultures very close to the land still posses nowadays. From the toils of agricultural work as only means of subsistence to the abandon of celebration, the Zimbabwean dance reminded me of things our polished surroundings, sterile meeting rooms and buttoned-up social reunions have long ceased to offer: a genuine connection to one’s surroundings, expressed through movement. I’ll let you guess with which facet of my personality this performance resonated.

Bolivia Corazon de America was a feast for the eyes that catered to my inner child. Their dance, Magical Encounters in the Altiplano, told the story of a indiecita (indigenous woman) who runs into a gathering of surreal, humanized birds called suri. She’s fascinated by them – the dancers have huge feather headdresses that spin like ethereal flowers. Eventually, after hanging out with the birds for a while, she becomes a bird in her own right: a Cinderella story for the avian kingdom and a visual delight that transported me back to my days in junior high when I skipped school to read Quetzalcoatl in bed with a thermometer in my mouth, faking the flu.
Here you can see one of the enormous Bolivian headdresses 

 Last, but by no means least, A Rose that Grows from the Concrete. Where to begin? I’ll take it chronologically. First, about thirty or so kids of all sizes and ages burst onto the scene, dressed in shades of gray, black and red. I stared in disbelief at this motley assortment of inner-city kids, none of which looked like professional dancers or even particularly graceful. And then they started dancing! I was quickly ashamed of my intital judgmental reaction: these kids not only could dance, they could rock out to the tune of a poem recited by a rather unpoetic voice, combined with Motown and hip-hop tunes that created a dissonant effect. I can think of no better incarnation of the Rose from the Concrete metaphor. The effect was one of heart-breaking realism, the kind of art that holds a mirror in the face of life and thrives from its imperfections. And as it turns out, the lyrics were written by Tupac Shakur, himself an icon of the pitfalls of urban coexistence.

I’ll leave you with his hopeful, sad and incredibly urgent-feeling lyrics:

“Did you hear about the rose that grew
From a crack in the concrete?
Provin’ nature’s laws wrong it
Learned how to walk without having feet
Funny it seems, but keeping its dreams
It learned how to breathe FRESH air
Long live the rose that grew from the concrete
When no one else even cared…”

Monday, June 28, 2010

On B(r)e(a)st Behavior

In a city like SF, where you can always count on the fog and never on the sun, on the rare occasions when the weather warms up for real, women and their faithful companions (…) sometimes are caught unprepared.

The below is my humble attempt at offering SF ladies some guidelines on how to react to such unusual circumstances. Disclaimer: the b(r)e(a)st practices were gleaned from observing actual San Franciscans in their own habitat, Discovery Channel-style.

So here’s what some owners might like to do with them on a warm weekend: 

The San Francisco War Memorial Opera
  1.  Squeeze them into tight, deep-cut dresses and take them out to watch Faust on Friday night at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera. If they get bored, use your binoculars to find other cousins of theirs exposed to high culture in the rows below. Unless, of course, you’re in box seats, in which case you’ve paid so much money, you’d rather faint than admit you’re bored. Suck it up.
  2.  Let them aerate in flimsy dresses, taking advantage of an extremely warm Saturday afternoon. Maybe take them to grab a bite at Elite CafĂ© and then walk down Fillmore Street, spying on the state of other globular objects.
  3.  If it’s too warm (I know, fat chance) cool them off with a wine spritzer in the shade of the Kabuki Cinema. While you’re there,  take them to see SATC II, where they can gawk, together with you, at the girls’ outrageous and impossible ensembles, like high-heels in the middle of the desert, and shoulder pads adorned with life-sized poleaxes and other medieval weapons.
The Kabuki Sundance Cinema on Fillmore

  1.  In the evening, fit them into a strappy top and try to keep them in it, as bartenders at Asia SF will diligently attempt to apply non-fat whipped cream in their general area. An impressive array of bras in all colors, shapes and sizes hangs above the Asia SF downstairs bar, reminding all visitors that this is a place of liberte, egalite, fraternite and, occasionally, toplessness-ite. Alternately, if owners are brides to be and engaged in bachelorette party activities (of which there were at least five on Saturday night two weeks ago), said items could end up spending a significant amount of quality time with rear ends of tranny divas, as part of obligatory pre-nup lap-dance rituals. Onstage.
  2. If the warm weather persists (as a result of some cataclysmic climate changing-event), you have two options: go flower power or hop on yer bike. For the former, all you need is, yes, no bra and a tie-dye top that will accommodate fluid movement as you shake to the beats of the drum circle in Golden Gate Park. For the later, "support and cover" are the operative words -  if not for yourself, at least for the sake of drivers coming from the opposite direction. You don’t want to have them on your conscience
SF Drum Circle on a colder day 

Et voila! SF ladies - am I missing anything?