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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Photo essay: Yellowstone in August








































Wednesday, November 14, 2007

more ways to help with the oil spill

From Baykeeper:

One Week After
the Oil Spill

oily beach

A week has passed since the devastating container ship crash that dumped 58,000 gallons of toxic bunker fuel into our beloved Bay. Thousands of us have banded together to push the cleanup agencies to let us help strip gunk from our shorelines, hold the polluters responsible, and make sure that something like this never happens again. San Francisco Baykeeper has been leading the way by patrolling our waters and coastlines, watchdogging the agencies, mobilizing volunteers, organizing safety trainings, and testifying in front of our elected officials. Your outpouring of community support and concern has been vital to our efforts. Thank you very much!

Volunteer Trainings and Shoreline Cleanups
Thanks to the pressure we've been putting on the cleanup agencies, and to the grassroots cleanups of Kill the Spill, we've finally got a few more training opportunities for you. Participating in these trainings is the only way to legally help out with beach cleanups. Please attend! No pre-registration is required, but show up early because space is limited.

San Francisco
Disaster Service Worker Volunteer Certification
Saturday, November 17
County Fair Building
9th Ave. & Lincoln Ave. in Golden Gate Park
One training at 8am - 12pm
O
ne training at 1pm - 5pm

The City of San Francisco will be leading daily cleanups for trained workers. Call 311 to find out where to go or visit http://www.sfgov.org/site/sf311_index.asp?id=70813.

Berkeley
Disaster Service Worker Volunteer Certification
Saturday, November 17
Berkeley Senior Center at 1900 Sixth St.
8am - 12pm

For cleanup schedules, visit www.cityofberkeley.info

Half Moon Bay
Disaster Service Worker Volunteer Certification
Thursday, November 15
IDES Hall, Main Street
5pm - 9pm


For more info, visit smcalert.info

Many unofficial cleanups, which are not endorsed by Baykeeper, are being organized here http://sfoilspill.blogspot.com/ and here http://www.obviously.com/tech_tips/oil_spill_volunteer_instructions.html.

Hearing on the Oil Spill
Thursday, November 15
10 am – 10 pm
Emeryville City Council Chambers, 2nd Floor
1333 Park Avenue
Emeryville, CA

Baykeeper will testify in front of Assemblywoman Loni Hancock and Members of the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources.

Oil Spill Response Fundraisers
Doc's Clock
Proceeds from select beer sales and donations accepted.
Friday, November 16
6 pm - 2 am
2575 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

Email us at volunteer@baykeeper.org if you want to sponsor a fundraiser!

Please continue to contact friends to sign up for volunteer alerts or to make a donation to support San Francisco Baykeeper’s efforts out on the water to respond to this crisis.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Photo essay: Newly discovered mushroom species






Amanita droopicus











Amanita softboiledeggii















Trompetus zigconia (Gomphus floccosus)




















Aliensis occhii











Boletus dildonius

















Asbigas mybootis (Amanita lanei)











Portraitova oneeyedbignosedwomanpicassolia











Umbrella fringeonica













Marvinda martian










Agaricus perspiremuchisimas










Oil spill volunteer update

This from Baykeeper:

Baykeeper Supporters
To the Rescue!


Thank you for your support in response to Wednesday's oil spill. We appreciate the outpouring of offers to help and we'll keep you updated on opportunities as they arise. It'll take all of us working together to clean up our precious Bay after this oil spill's destructive wake.

While we are heartened by the overwhelming interest in getting involved in a clean up, a word of caution: chemicals in oil can impair breathing and may lead to long-term health affects. If you are not properly trained in oil spill clean up and rescue, please stay away from polluted beaches and stay out of the water to keep yourself and your families safe.

As of Friday evening, the first opportunity to volunteer is for those interested in attending a public workshop. The Department of Fish and Game’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response is holding the following informational wildlife care trainings.

November 10, 9:30 - 11:30 PM
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
99 Grove Street, San Francisco
(415) 974-4060

November 10, 1:30 - 3:30 PM
Harbor Master Richmond Marina
1340 Marina Way South, Richmond
(510) 236-1013

November 10, 5-7 PM
Headlands Institute
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Building 1033, Sausalito
(415) 332-5771


Additional volunteer opportunities will likely emerge in the upcoming days and weeks. We will let you know as soon as we have further information from our partners including the Oiled Wildlife Care Network. Consider forwarding this message to your friends and ask them to sign up on our website to show their support. You can also help out by making a donation to sustain Baykeeper's work to hold the responsible parties accountable in cleaning up this spill. Your contributions will help us respond to this crisis.

Friday, November 9, 2007

San Francisco Bay oil spill--how to help


I wept when I read the news about the fuel spill, 58,000 gallons into San Francisco Bay, which has threatened hundreds of thousands of birds, closed our beaches and reached the Farallon Islands and the Sonoma County line.

I wanted to know if there was any way to volunteer or donate to help in the clean-up. Here's what I've found so far:

--Baykeeper
I sent these guys $100, far more than fiscal responsibility dictates in my case. But they do great work and will be on this case for years.
http://www.baykeeper.org/
http://www.baykeeper.org/donate/index.html

--Coastal Commission (http://www.coastal.ca.gov/oilspill/ospndx.html)

--San Francisco Oiled Wildlife Care & Education Center (http://www.ibrrc.org/contact.html)

The volunteer numbers for these groups are consistently busy, but keep trying...

--Let your elected officials know you're pissed.

This accident was preventable, and, as the Chronicle reports, the response was inexcusably slow.

Democrat Boxer, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said in a statement that she was "very troubled by the Coast Guard's delay in delivering accurate information to the public and the city of San Francisco. ... Many questions remain as to why it took an entire day to determine the gravity of this spill."

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom promised that the city would take legal action against whoever is responsible for the spill and expressed irritation that his office, like many, learned the true scope of the spill after 9 p.m.

...

State Pilot Commission records show that Capt. John Cota, who was in charge of navigating the Cosco Busan when it hit the bridge, has been involved in a number of ship-handling incidents and was reprimanded last year for errors in judgment when he ran a ship aground near Antioch.

Cota, 59, is a master mariner, and veteran of 26 years as a ship pilot. He was involved in four "incidents" over the past 14 years and on several other occasions was "counseled" for perceived mistakes in ship handling.

The Chronicle broke out a separate story on this guy's spotty record.

Contact California's US senators and Gov. Schwarzenegger and tell them we need tighter restrictions on fuel vessels, the companies running them and the people operating them, that come in and out of San Francisco Bay.

Contact Mayor Newsom and let him know you support his efforts to bring the perpetrators of this tragedy to justice and to do whatever is in his power to prevent this from happening again.


Majority in US support civil unions


I stumbled on this new Washington Post/ABC News poll while researching a question for the novel. The poll has a lot of interesting results in addition to the record number of Americans supporting civil unions (55 percent), for instance that men and women support legal abortion in equal numbers.

Odd that this poll didn't get any media--I can't even find it on washingtonpost.com.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

SAD reading list


Whenever I remove myself from human society in order to get some serious writing done, I expect my mood to nosedive. In this instance, shut in a small cabin with the dog and the novel and a woodstove, I have not helped myself with my choice of reading material--Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and, read by the author on CD, Beloved. This is my first exposure to Foer, and while, 230 pages into the book, Oskar Schell is irresistible, Foer's stylistic and typographical experiments are not (he might find this funny--my copy from the San Francisco Public Library has a handwritten note indicating that there is "writing on pp. 208-216"). Toni Morrison's mostly whispered performance of Beloved is devastating when it isn't totally inaudible. Toni, speak up! Don't you know everyone's listening to this in the car?

Between American slavery, 9/11 and the firebombing of Dresden, who needs Seasonal Affective Disorder? I am counterbalancing all of the above with five-hour pool-playing sessions with Pierrot across the valley, every other night, and, on alternate nights, practicing the Tchaikovsky violin concerto, whose first movement is the happiest music written after the death of Schubert. Ludicrous piling on of intense, throbbing, cherry-popping, Ecstasy-fueled happiness! If Tchaikovsky were alive today he'd be writing music for circuit parties.

Which is such a good segue to the other thing I read today--Steve Martin's personal essay in the New Yorker about his first regular comedy gig, at Knott's Berry Farm in the 60s. It includes this vignette:
Working on a college project about Charles Ives, (college roommate) Phil (Carey) landed an interview with Aaron Copland...Three days after we left Los Angeles, Phil and I arrived at Copland's house, a low-slung A-frame with floor-to-ceiling windows, in a dappled forest by the road. We knocked on the door, Copland answered, and over his shoulder we saw a group of men sitting in the living room wearing what looked like skimpy black thongs. He escorted us back to a flagstone patio, where I had the demanding job of turning the tape recorder on and off while Phil asked questions about Copland's creative process. We emerged a half hour later with the coveted interview and got in the car, never mentioning the men in skimpy black thongs, because, like trigonometry, we couldn't quite comprehend it.
I know next to nothing about Copland's life, but in my imagination he was the nerdy bookish side-kick to Lenny's high-living, dry-fucking, student-molesting sot. It really warmed my heart to learn that Copland was getting his share of scandal and thong.

The other lovely thing from the Martin essay:
Through the years, I have learned that there is no harm in charging oneself up with delusions between moments of valid inspiration.
I will take comfort in this while both are in short supply.

About Me

My photo

Paul Festa’s first film, Apparition of the Eternal Church (2006, 51 min), captures the responses of 31 artists to the apocalyptic music of Olivier Messiaen (with Justin Bond, John Cameron Mitchell, Harold Bloom; screenings: Grace Cathedral, Barbican Centre, Library of Congress; “Remarkable”The New Yorker; “Stunning”Chicago Sun-Times; “Sublime”Globe & Mail; numerous awards). Festa performs the Tchaikovsky violin concerto, opposite members of the San Francisco Ballet and The Cockettes, in his award-winning second film, The Glitter Emergency (2010, 20 min), a silent-film drag ballet comedy (“Enormous visual and musical inventiveness…full of pleasure and joy...Festa gives a bravura performance."—Film Threat). He produced, wrote and edited, with director Austin Forbord, and was chief archivist, for the Emmy-nominated documentary Stage Left: A Story of Theater in San Francisco (2010, 80 min: with Robin Williams, Bill Irwin, Peter Coyote; screenings: Geary Theater, KQED; “Intriguing...entertaining...a valuable record”—Variety). Performances as violinist and actor: ODC Theater, Center for Performance Research, Kunst-Stoff, TheatreFIRST, North Bay Shakespeare, Albert Fuller's Helicon Ensemble (Merkin Hall, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall). US, Boston, NYC, SF, LA and DC (Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress on the “Betts” Stradivarius) premieres of Messiaen’s Fantaisie for violin and piano. He is the author of OH MY GOD: Messiaen in the Ear of the Unbeliever, based on Apparition of the Eternal Church, and several anthologized essays, and has written for The Daily Beast, Salon, Nerve, and The New York Times Book Review. Current projects include a novel and Tie It Into My Hand (2014, ca. 80 min), a documentary feature that has screened as a work in progress at the Cannes film market and at ODC Theater in San Francisco (with Alan Cumming, Gary Graffman, Peter Coyote, Mink Stole, Robert Pinsky; "A fascinating exploration of the artistic life, as rollickingly entertaining as it is insightful and stirring."San Francisco Bay Guardian). Education: Yale (B.A.; prizes, honors, distinction), Juilliard (Cert., Adv. Cert., scholarships). Residencies: Yaddo, MacDowell, ODC Theater, Centre des R├ęcollets.

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