Dental Hero

My dentist, Dr. Rolf, is a most amazing man. He spends three months out of his yearly practice travelling to war-torn countries, on his own dime, helping under-privileged people get free dental care. The rest of the time, he gives local Santa Barbarans the best dental care in town. And his office is awesome. The waiting room is filled with all kinds of musical instruments from around the world: Indian drums, African tablas, acoustic guitars, ukuleles, lutes, mandolins, and more:

And he offers herbal tea and green tea in the waiting room also. In the waiting room which is filled with green plants and vines draping everywhere.

And here is one of the signs he uses when he goes on his international campaigns, resting in the waiting room in between trips:

And his exam rooms have rounded ceilings like caves, and there are TVs mounted in the ceilings that play Cirque du Soleil. And he makes his own dental crowns himself, in-house. And he is the most awesome dentist i’ve ever met. If you need dental work, check him out!!! He is rad.

Butterfly Beach Art Installations and other Joys

Stumbled upon the greatest art installation ever today… on Butterfly Beach:


You can’t see it, but there are ropes of seaweed coming out of each hole in the domes and connecting to the hole in the next dome. Brilliant.

This was the best one:

They made an ice-plant rainbow!

But it was way up on the beach, out of view from the other pieces. So i deemed myself the unofficial art gallery manager, and tried to steer people to it:

“Don’t miss the brick!!”

“Brick — This Exit!”

And i had a minor trauma over the weekend; my front-tooth crown fell out while eating a particularly crusty-breaded sandwich:

I love my dentist’s waiting room:

He fixed me up good:

And i’d like to live here, please:

SBMA Nights at the Art Museum

Better late than never — Bessie Kunath made me her plus-one for this month’s SBMA Nights event. Thanks Bess!!!

Her friend Patrick’s performance piece was great — guests were ushered into a room filled with eight “tellers”, people sitting at office desks, dressed in office garb, at manual typewriters. They asked each guest a series of survey questions (such as, “Describe a recent mystery” and “Demonstrate your whistle” and “Any new superpowers this year?”) and they typed out your answers. Then we guests took our completed surveys around the corner, and deposited them into the mail-slot on an office door. A minute later, a tube shot out of the office which contained our fortune. It was such fun!

I wish this didn’t turn out blurry, cos Bessie looked so cute!!!

And there was a piece where people posed for a face photograph which was instantly printed out and stuck to the wall. Then the subjects all wrote their “biggest regret” on a card and put it in an envelope for the gods to sort out (mine was “Not having sex with Cynthia”). Then sexxy girls smeared wallpaper paste over the photos and wrote slogans on them.

By the time it was over, we were STARVING. So we went to Arigato but the wait was 20 minutes so we had sushi at East, next to the Granada, which was actually really good.

Thanks Bessie!!!

Hike and Hollywood

TJ’s haul with hand-made bag courtesy of Sarah’s dad:

Winner winner:

Romero Canyon hike:

On to Hollywood:

The National Lost Mitten Registry 2011 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,900 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Berlin Wall

Crazy that in Germany, in 1961, they built a CEMENT WALL dividing the city of Berlin, dividing it to keep East Berlinners from leaving the city. Even more crazy, the wall existed until late 1989, which is in most of our lifetimes. Imagine… a WALL keeping people penned inside an area, keeping them from leaving their own city, and preventing them from even communicating with anyone outside of it. A country imprisoning their own people. Even into the late 1980s. That’s like 2 years before Clinton was elected. Can we imagine such inhumanity? Incredible that this was allowed to happen in our lifetime. Learn more about the wall, via Wikipedia HERE.

I was in Europe when the Berlin Wall fell, living in England with my friend Rusty. One of my biggest regrets is not taking a train over to East Germany while the wall was falling. The BIGGEST party in Europe since the end of World War II, and possibly EVER, was taking place just East of us. People dancing on the wall, breaking it down with sledge hammers, popping champagne, and hugging their family & friends who they hadn’t been allowed to even communicate with in 28 years… I was 577 miles away. Shorter than the distance from Santa Barbara to Portland, Oregon. Damn. Why didn’t i go? I missed the biggest party of the century. Well, we were having fun in England, so it’s ok. But still… damn.

I did get to see what was left of the Wall when i visited Berlin in 1992. Germany was unified but parts of the wall still stood as a testament to the unjust past:

Excellent short doc on the Wall here:

Footage of the fall of the Wall here:

Sometimes history happens right before our eyes.

On Nudity (and boobs).

It has never ceased to mystify me that we as human beings regard nudity, and the mere sight of a certain few body parts among the many many different body parts, as being “dirty” and unacceptable for viewing. Why on earth is it acceptable to show our elbows in public, yet to show buttocks leads to shame and outrage? What magic taboo do buttocks possess? Or why is a female nipple forbidden, while a male nipple is accepted, even commonplace, in everyday life and in all public circles? When you get right down to it, and really think about this in a base-frame of thinking, there’s no accounting for it. It’s just a form of social engineering that has been accepted for so long that no one really questions it, or even thinks about it. Real, subjective analysis on the matter never seems to happen. Breasts and behinds and genitals are accepted as “dirty” because, well, they always have been.

Take breasts, for instance. They’re just breasts. What if, physiologically, we had instead evolved to feed our young through the glands in our underarm pits? Would armpits then be considered immoral and be covered up? Let us begin to see how arbitrary our sense of morals is.

Consider this question: If an alien being landed on our planet, in a quest to learn about humankind and to take this knowledge back to their home planet, and they quizzically asked about our belief that female breasts (as an example) are forbidden and dirty and wrong, how would we explain it to them? The conversation might go like this:

Alien: “You consider the breast a horrible thing that must be kept from the eyes of your other human beings. Why is this?”

Human: “Because they are morally wrong, and awful to view in public, and terrible. Our fellow humans must never view them.”

Alien: “Well what is their purpose?”

Human: “To give life and nourishment and sustenance and comfort to baby humans.”

Alien: “So in what way is the breast a bad thing?”

Human: “Well, because other non-baby humans also enjoy seeing them.”

Alien: “Why do non-baby humans also enjoy seeing them?”

Human: “I don’t know. Maybe because somewhere in the deep reaches of the past, we decided they were forbidden to be seen, which made other humans interested in seeing them.”

Alien: “I’m not sure I understand.”

Human: “Me neither. But that’s the way it is.”

The conversation would continue; the Human explaining why the penis, designed to deliver life-creating liquid (as well as make pee-pee) and the vagina (designed to accept life-creating liquid and also make pee-pee), are also considered shockingly disgusting. It would end in a resolute determination that if a body part produces life, and also joy, it must be exterminated from the landscape of public view and discourse. At which point the alien throws up his skinny alien-like hands and takes the next flying saucer back to his more enlightened planet.