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Severe Bass » Lifestyle

A not atypical weekend
August 4th, 2013

Harking back to the old days of blogging, I decided to keep track of all the cool stuff I did this weekend!

There is an intentional double negative in the title. This weekend contained 3 types of activities: things I do regularly, things I do every once in a while, and things I do semi-regularly but with certain specific details.

So, speaking of #3, Friday started out with (almost) free tickets to see Bobcat Goldthwait do standup. I have never seen Bobcat in person before, but I have gone to see comedy at this club (Cobb’s) a few times since I’ve lived here. Then we said hi and got this picture that I look awkward in:


Note: I am a really big fan of Bobcat, and his set was a lot of fun. Apparently the early show before us featured a less enthusiastic crowd, but he seemed to think we were cool and told a lot of stories (in addition to his rehearsed standup).

The next day, J left to go to a bachelorette party for the night, leaving me to get into trouble. I chose to go shopping, make food, and watch movies.

Before I left to shop, I started some No-Knead Bread in the Dutch Oven, the first thing we’ve made in the D.O. You just mix the flour/yeast/salt/water and let sit for 12-24 hours for the “slow-rise”.


The first thing I set to work on when I got back was some potato-leek-cauliflower soup in the slow cooker. I found it here, who found it here:


Its just potatos, cauliflower, leeks, onion, carrot, broth, and some rosemary & s/p. Chop it up, stick it in the slow-cooker for 6 hours on low. Then blend as much as you like for consistency, and you have 6 quarts of soup!


(You will notice a quarter glass of beer next to it, that’s home-brew styled after the “Cooper’s Sparkling” australian brew).


Behind my slow-cooker is the beer tree I bought J, which can both sanitize (using an attachment) and dry beer bottles.

Next to it is fruit for kombucha! I’ve made kombucha a few times now and am trying to get more comfortable with the process. It’s supposed to be good for you, but I just like how it tastes and makes me feel. This kombucha has been brewing 3 weeks:


Most other people’s kombucha is a little darker than this, but this is SF so the weather isn’t too warm and I don’t get great airflow in my kitchen, so this is probably less fermented than other 3-week kombuchas.

I mostly follow this recipe to brew, using jasmine or oolong tea, and let sit on top of my fridge. Then I do a secondary fermentation in beer bottles, adding either ginger + lemon or juice + chia seeds. This time the ginger I got was kind of dry, so I did less ginger lemon than usual, and used fresh raspberries that I blended in my food processor.


My current kombucha bottling process is still a little annoying, but I’m getting faster at it (it’s all about planning!) I’m sure with some better bottles and brewing vessel I could make it go faster. This one involves funnels and saran wrap.


Now it was about time to go back to the bread I put together last night, but first I was a good boyfriend and swept the living room for the people who were going to crash here tonight:


(I also got our music room, afterwards I was temporarily distracted by my fretless bass, despite the air mattress)


Ok, enough bragging about our awesome apartment.

Next I had to roll the sticky gunky bread dough together into a ball, even though it had yet to really take on any sort of shape. So this really meant covering it in flour, which kept it from spilling out everywhere, giving it a sense of form.


Then I stuck it in the dutch oven I’d been pre-heating in the stove (although not for long enough), and let it do its thing. 45 mins later it was finished and lookin pretty good!


In retrospect, I should have let it rise for a little after “forming” it, and let the dutch oven cook up a bit. I also realized that my dutch oven is giant for such a small loaf of bread. But, it was easy and tasted good! Sweet.

During this I watched movies that I haven’t been able to motivate myself to watch. This included Gang Tapes (which was interesting if not a little draining), then The Girl Next Door (a disturbing yet incredibly well-made account of real-life torture – why do I do this to myself?), and then cleansed my palate with 48 Hours (ridiculous, but fun and easy).

It wasn’t over though, even when I ate the soup! The next day I went to a free concert at Stern Grove (a beautiful donated park in SF) featuring The Relatives and Shuggie Otis, which was awesome. I also got there right on time for the music and scored the best seats I’ve had at the venue:


(I snapped this picture during intermission, so no one is there, but the Relatives were amazing and Shuggie Otis is a funk-legend (who played bass on one of my favorite Frank Zappa tunes!)

Life coming full-circle. Then I came home and watched Herzog’s Grizzly Man, which brought back found memories of Alaska (oh yeah, I went to Alaska courtesy of my family and it was so wonderfully humbling – I will throw something together for that).

Now it’s Monday and life is back to normal as seems to happen on such Monday’s. Reality is full of deadlines and root canals (I wish I was lying about the root canals)….

A Post of Some Substance!
January 17th, 2013

I’m pretty sure that just about no one reads my blog anymore (and few did), so it’s really a way for me to keep track of certain things (which I guess it always has been). It’s funny, since I moved from blogspot to a real WordPress blog, my posts have gradually become less and less (partially b/c my options for posting have become so varied). I still think there’s value to keeping track of things, and this is certainly a time of much transition and excitement, so here are some of the substantive changes that have occurred in my life since we re-elected President Obama: (I have been involved in union negotiations for most of last year, and have been bargaining since September with a lawyer, and there are terms such as “substantive changes” that have been finding their way into my everyday life since)

1. I got a promotion! I’d rather not reveal my specific organization, but I have been working as a Program Assistant in an environmental non-profit since March of 2008. Over the years, I think I’ve gotten pretty damn good at my job, which involves explaining technology to people with various backgrounds. My particular organization has been in a lot of transition the last year and a half, and I’ve found myself taking on more responsibilities and working independently. Luckily, my new structure has given me a way to voice my concerns and frustrations, and also respects the work I do, so in mid-November I was given an in-line promotion to the position of Systems Analyst. This strikes me as somewhat amusing, since it is a pretty fancy/tech-sounding position for someone with a Bachelor’s in Music, but it’s not that far off from what I do. I mostly got this title b/c none of us could think of anything else (and am technically now part of the IT department), and I’m not complaining, just find it amusing. The promotion also came with a 10% raise, which is more than the 5% minimum our contract demands, so I’m pretty happy all around.

2. I am moving! Over three years ago, I went on an internet date (via OK Cupid). This is not that interesting on its own as I estimate I’ve been on over 2 dozen internet (first) dates, and several subsequent ones. What is interesting is I am still dating this girl and she is great, and she likes me back (Of those three things, I only hit two out of three before, and those all ended within a couple weeks or a couple months). Co-habitation has never been anything I’ve sought strictly b/c it’s what people do, but after a year or two I started to think that maybe this might work out with this particular individual. Sometime in April or May, we decided to start looking together, so we looked. And looked. And looked. Sometimes we even applied for the place, but we wouldn’t get it, so we would keep looking. In 7 months I figure we saw 30 places and probably applied for a third of them (For the record, our price range was under 2000 p/m for a one bedroom, but we were hoping to spend more like 1600, which is below market in SF, but the places do exist). It was not until 12/12/12 (which was exactly three years after our first date), that we finally got the news we’d been accepted for a place we applied for! So we’ve been moving in the last couple weeks and I can’t wait. Our new place is actually a 2 Bedroom, and we are turning the 2nd bedroom into a music room since it does not share walls with any of the neighbors. Maybe you’ll get pictures. So this is great news b/c a)I found someone awesome to live with, b)I found someplace awesome to live, and c)We don’t have to keep looking for a place! Win-win-win. Except for….

3. I am going to really miss my house and neighborhood. It’s true. I love my set up for so many reasons. First of all, it is cheap (if you want to know how cheap, my current GIANT 4-bedroom is going for a small fraction more than the new place I’m moving into, so my rent will basically double). Second off, I probably have the best backyard in San Francisco. I’ll be the first to admit that I really only took advantage of that for a single summer, but still, my backyard is awesome, and there are a bunch of things I’ve planted back there I will be leaving behind (like wormwood, aloe, oregano, and some flowers I don’t remember the name of). Third off, I live in this really cool neighborhood just barely on the outskirts of the Mission, just on the bottom of Bernal Hill (which apparently used to be a really bad neighborhood but is now upper-middle class lesbians and their children/dogs) with tons of shops, restaurants, bars, and people watching. I’m a relatively nostalgic guy, and the last couple weeks I’ve been noticing how much I’m going to miss all the little idiosyncracies of my current neighborhood. Also, we are moving two blocks down from where my girlfriend lives, which is good and bad. It’s good because I already know the new hood, but it’s bad b/c She Won and I like winning. But I’m dealing with it cuz the new place (and my girlfriend) rock. To be fair, I do like the new hood too, but I’m giving up a lot of awesome fun dive bars, a wonderful intersection of several different bus/subway lines, and the best damn mexican food in SF. The trade-off will be an Irish Bakery, lots of Asian stores/restaurants, and some really funky russian delis. So it’ll be good. But I will miss the hell out of my burrito choices. There is also no backyard, so I’m trading the best backyard in SF for an alleyway that I can keep my bike in if I want.

4. I am playing a lot of music and doing it on my terms! The last part about it being on my own terms is good and bad. It’s good cuz the music I’m making is all something I am really invested in. The two groups taking up my time are my own project, Severe Bass and the Bad Decisions, and an improv-based drum/bass/etc group called The Impassable Chasm (with the drummer of Wee the Band, which is definitely, definitely, no more). This is bad, because it means if I want gigs or practices or progress, it’s my responsibility to make it happen. Luckily, this hasn’t been TOO much work, and is usually a lot of fun. Despite having 3 gigs cancelled since November (The Bad Decisions canceled two because of conflicts and a venue canceled on the Bad Decisions b/c they’d rather have a lame DJ on a Sunday night), it looks like I have a Bad Decisions gig on 1/18 in San Jose, and a The Impassable Chasm gig on 1/30 in Oakland. So that’s fun and exciting.

So there’s a bunch of stuff changing for me. I’m hoping when the dust clears, life will be awesome and I’ll be able to re-focus some of my time and energy on new projects, or getting better at current ones. Frankly, having a girlfriend on the other side of the city does not always lead to productivity (and I tend to want to mellow more when I am home and on my own that way). So prospects seems good, despite leaving awesome mexican food, not having a backyard, and working a lot harder at the day job. That being said, I did put together a little slideshow of my time on Mission St, which is not as comprehensive as I would have liked it to be (and mostly focuses on the backyard), but I’m pretty sure it’s at least in chronological order. So I’ll leave you with that.

Holy shit it’s 2013!

Waking Up Again!
September 28th, 2011

It’s funny that I am writing a post now about “Waking Up”, when what I really should be doing is trying to go to sleep. I’ve been having a difficult time lately, but that’s not what this is about.

I’ve been waking something else up these last few weeks during my yoga training. The 8 limbs of Ashtanga are ringing true to my ear. They are thoughts I’ve already had in slightly different words or phrasings. We are all just another physical manifestation of the same energy. You don’t need the yoga, but it makes it easier to still the mind chatter (plus it’s fun!).

I say again because I’ve done this in other lives, and even other times in this one. But this one is clear because it is the horizon, the first glimmer of light coming through half-open eyes, but not the full awakeness that comes with looking around. All is coming, so long as I keep with my practice.

3 Years!
June 18th, 2011

Wow, has it really been 3 years in San Francisco?

I guess it has, considering how much has changed…

Some highlights of the last 3 years:

  • I’m no longer paying overpriced rent to a MIA “master tenant”
  • I have learned exactly HOW AWESOME my location is – I’m next to a Farmer’s Market, two grocery stores, plenty of great bars, tons of excellent restaurants, and am just a 4 mile (flat) bike ride to my workplace
  • I managed to do some pretty serious gardening last summer
  • I am now 30 freakin years old


To explain further, I did not just go about being a jerk to a group of well-meaning Christians. I moved in here 3 years ago – 7 years after the church had been here – fully aware of (and even somewhat amused by) their presence. They were a minor inconvenience who had a keyboard or acoustic guitar service a couple times a week, and sometimes a full band played on Friday/Saturday/Sunday. They never woke me up, they never played past 9 pm, and they never bothered us (unless someone wanted to take a nap at 7 pm on one of the few nights they were playing).

However, about a year ago, they put in a new speaker system which would put any night club to shame. They started playing almost every night – at least 5 nights a week if not more. The full band became an integral part of the service, and the house started shaking regularly. Sometimes they would play drums as early as 6:30 am, just to practice! They would play and I’d wait for them to stop around 9…then 10….sometimes playing until 12 or 1 in the morning! One night they not only played until 1 am, they also started things up again at 7 am (I believe it was a Sunday), and didn’t turn anything down until one of my roommates went down and would not leave until they lowered the volume. She was really nice about it too!

Even though I knew this, I still thought they might be reasonable people, so last December I left them a note asking them to please keep the volume down and not play too late, which they ignored. A few days later I went down to ask them to turn down the music, as our entire house was shaking (and church wasn’t even in session at this point). Then I got introduced to the Pastor, a jerk-off named Santos, who first acted like he had never seen me before (even though I’d been living upstairs for 2.5 years), and then insisted he had every right to do whatever the hell he wanted downstairs because he paid rent.

After a month of painful co-existence (in which I called the cops several times, on advice of the sf tenants union, as well as the local police), we had a meeting w. a permits officer, our property manager, and the jerk-off-known-as-a-pastor. The “mutual” understanding was that they were not to amplify music before 9 am or after 9 pm, that they would remove the top speakers (which were literally inches from our floor and 3 of our bedrooms), and that they would install sound proofing. My property manager also told us and the officer that he would look into helping the church relocate to a more suitable location as well.

For months, there was no change. In mid-March I was told the church was going to leave by April 1st. Then April 1st it became April 15th. In this time, I had found it necessary to make a nuisance of myself, insisting that I and my roommates deserved the right to “Quiet Enjoyment“, and that the “church” was willfully taking that away from us.

A real Christian might have shown some compassion and willingness to work with us – I was more than willing to let them continue their services (even though they consisted of screaming, shouting, horrible repetitive music, and an obvious misinterpretation of the concept of Christianity), provided they could at least take some consideration with how loud they were.

“How bad could it be? It’s a church?” you might ask? When I can’t watch a movie in my room after work, even with headphones on, because there is a full scale band (drums, bass, keyboards, vocals) with more amps then my punk/metal band, I consider it pretty bad. Especially when you factor in that my house is over 100 years old and certainly not equipped to take a live band )

What kind of noise are we talking about? Let me show you what happened one night with a guest speaker….

Download a link if you are curious

Granted it was only that bad every once in a while, but I think this lets you know I was not dealing w. sane respectful Christians…

It’s not like I didn’t try to reason with them – on numerous occasions I asked them to turn things down, or even off (when after 9 as per our agreement), and got nothing more then a dismissive “We’re stopping” (which was usually a blantant lie).

Eventually everyone had enough and the property manager and landlord began to evict them. 5 months after telling us they would, the the-asshole-known-as-santos and crew finally removed the top speakers, altho not before they signed an agreement with me giving me full rights to cut their power if they refused to turn the music off or down. I spoke w. someone on their behalf who promised they wouldn’t play the electric bass or the drums anymore (which they subsequently did, and I asked them to stop, meeting resistance).

They finally pushed me so far that I pulled the electricity on them a couple weeks later, but not before warning them twice, after 9 pm, that they needed to stop. After I did this, they hung out in the dark, screaming their heads off.

They didn’t think it was so bad to live above, and they got kicked out. A lot of people people told me to leave. I didn’t leave. I stood my ground b/c I knew I was right and they were wrong.

So here it is, three years later, and we’ve won. We took back our house.

Three years later in San Francisco and I’m fronting my own band, rocking lots of yoga, riding my bike everywhere, and living in the best room in the house.

The only bad news to the 3 year update is that I’m not playing in Wee the Band anymore as of this Monday. It’s a sad feeling, as I really loved making musick with those people, but the momentum has been lost and I need to throw in the towel for at least a few months. We’ll see if things turn around, but for now, I’m going to be focusing more on Severe Bass & the Bad Decisions, yoga, and this website thing. Cuz it’s time.

So here’s to the future of Severe in San Francisco, a city that has embraced me pretty well, and I love it back. Even though the weather gets on my nerves sometimes (I’m sorry, I like heat and sunshine, and it’s never more then 65 degrees here. But I can deal.)

Bike to Work Day 2011!
May 10th, 2011

HEY EVERYONE! Thursday, May 12th is Bike to Work Day!

I actually get really excited about Bike to Work Day. I don’t know why – I bike to work EVERY day (well, almost every day). My first year in the area I lived in El Cerrito and commuted to San Francisco, so I couldn’t fully participate (moved in 3 weeks later), which meant 2009 was my first (and so far only) time. And it was surprisingly awesome! People really get pumped up about riding their bike to work, and apparently a lot of folks get inspired to ditch their car, or skip public transport, or whatever and just join the mob mentality for a day. I’m not sure why these folks don’t always bike to work, but the point is that they got really excited and that was infectious.

So by May of 2010 I had been getting gradually more and more excited about Bike to Work Day. I was set to volunteer afterwards outside of Rainbow Grocery. And then I got sick. Horribly sick. I did not bike to work last year on Bike to Work Day. I didn’t bike anywhere. I took Muni to the doctor, and it sucked. So 2009 is my only year so far!

Despite how much it sounds like I might be jinxing myself here, this will not happen again. Yours truly will be biking to work on May 12, and I’ll even be participating in the Bike to Work Day Challenge – that is, to dress up on your ride and throughout the day. I decided to do this since a)I bike to work everyday and b)my job is SO casual that this will actually stand out! (I usually wear a t-shirt and a second-hand pair of pants, usually with some bike grease on them)

This is what I'm wearing, and will try to look less awkward then

I’ll also be volunteering after work at the Bike to Work Day party, relishing in the excitement (and hopefully recruiting a new member or too). I am totally pumped for Bike to Work Day 2011, and want to spread the enthusiasm. Biking to Work is awesome! The only thing more awesome then Biking To Work, is Biking To Something Cooler Then Work!

Labor Day Bike Ride!
September 14th, 2010

This Labor Day my friend Josh suggested we take a bike ride to Sausalito, which struck me as a great idea. I’m at least partially responsible for Josh’s interest in biking – I “conned” him into volunteering with me at the Tour de Fat last year, and then again at Winterfest, where he ended up buying a new bike at the auction, so it was cool for him to come up with the idea. I met him at Polkers (on Polk St of course) and we took off. All in all the trip was about 28 miles (17 miles from Polkers to Tiburon, with 5 miles to Polkers and 6 home from the Ferry, but I’m getting ahead of myself).

The route to Tiburon from the restaurant Polkers: about 17 miles

The ride was pretty easy for the most part, although it took me a little to get used to the constant cycling (I’m used to stoplights and the like). Honestly, the biggest incline we took was getting to Golden Gate Bridge (aside from an unnecessary detour – fuck that road sign that veered us off the main road in the North Bay!). Riding over the Golden Gate Bridge was most enjoyable, and packed full of people (many of them tourists who obviously rented their bikes, but whatever).

I don't think you can take a bad picture of this bridge

The above picture was actually taken on the boat ride home a few hours later, but you get the point.

Once over the bridge, we pulled over for a quick beer in Sausalito, and then casually rode through the rest of the town. I especially enjoyed the houseboats – although I don’t think I’d want to live on one. This part of the ride was especially scenic.

I like the four layers in this picture

And we found a public stretch of “beach” that was just too cool not to take a group picture at!

This would be a much cooler picture if it wasn't taken from a rock

After realizing the North Bay was actually pretty nice, we settled in for some real riding. After passing through Sausalito and the outskirts of Marin City (at some point stopping to get some free tea from the Sausalito Art Fair), it was pretty much straight riding until the end. It was nice, but somewhat empty or industrialized, at least until we got around the bend before Tiburon:

Good reference point, that Sutre Tower

By this point, we were thirsty and starving, so after meeting up in Tiburon we grabbed some food and some weak Tanqueray and Tonics from Sam’s Anchor Cafe (we ended up getting an extra shot apiece). Unsatisfied, then we grabbed chips and more beer from another place in the Ferry mall (where I saw plenty of those rented bikes NOT locked up at all…tourists), and hopped on the Ferry back. The ride was $10, which was a little steep, but the ride was gorgeous and they served beer, so I guess I can’t complain. I snapped the above photo of the Golden Gate bridge, and a few others. Josh grabbed this one of me:

Lovely day for a boat trip, eh?

After that, it was just a quick ride home on familiar territory through the embarcadero.

By the end of the trip, spirits were high!

Josh and I lost each other at the end, but in both cases I think our heads hurt more then our legs the morning after….

The End.

Last stop on the turning 30 train….
March 14th, 2010

Yes, March 13th marks another year gone by for yours truly here. In case you weren’t aware, I was born on a Friday the 13th, at 13:13 Military Time. 13 was my father’s lucky number, so he was ecstatic. I have to say I really appreciate having such a close connection to such an excellent number. It also helped seal the deal when I going think13 back in December of 2007, just a month after moving out here.

But today is not about 13 (exactly), today is about 29! The last stop before the big three – oh, I am looking forward to rocking this year hard. With the (eventuall) launch of this website, and the SEVERE BASS band being on the verge of being formed, this is promising to be quite the important year for “taking that next step”.

I sort of thought that 2009 was going to be the year myself and all my friends took over the world – I’m pretty sure that 2009 was just some bullshit we all needed to get through to actualize our dreams. And what better time then?

How ya doing 29? I think we’re ready to party now.

  • Tha OBAR!

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