Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Most Charming Cat in the City

Shalimar the CatHere's our star pet. Shalimar is probably the happiest cat in Glen Park. And it shows, especially when you see him waiting by the sliding door in the morning with his head moving up and down with his silent meows. He was named after our favorite Indian-Pakistani restaurant on Polk St.

He goes to bed at night downstairs, he's the king of the garden during the day and then he takes his power nap upstairs inside the house in the afternoon. When we work from home, he lounges on our laps all day long.

His paw prints are all over the house, the garage and the backyard. My favorite leather chair is dotted with his artsy scratchings. He hangs out with five other cat friends in the neighborhood.

Shalimar is a creature of habit. He likes his water bowl at a certain water level, otherwise, he'll spill some of it. He expects us to unlock his cat door and let him out of the garage by 7am. He also knows that it is time for dinner by 7pm. He is like a puppy because he follows us around. He is a very sociable cat! He especially loves it when we have a barbeque at the house because he says hi to all our friends and gets their attention in return.

Here's more about him. Enjoy!

Where do you live: Glen Park neighborhood of San Francisco
How old are you: 2 years old
Favorite spot in the city: our backyard garden
Necessary extravange: My comfy cat beds with a catnip pocket underneath each one
Favorite dish: Purina Friskies, both dry and canned cat food
Favorite treats: Whiskas Temptations

What is your treasured possession: Petmate Le Bistrot Automatic Pet feeder
What is your idea of perfect happiness: playtime, naptime and eating time, and belly rub time
Favorite home away from home: Mission: Cats in the Mission District.

Favorite home clinic: Seven Hills Veterinary Hospital in Diamond Heights.
What is your shampoo: Mango tango shampoo
What do you dislike about your appearance: my nose is too hairy and wide
When and where were you happiest: At home, on the leather couch.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Extras in the City - Contagion

Extras in the City
Is there hair and make up for extras? I thought to myself while smirking.
When I got to the Bill Graham Auditorium, I checked in with a film crew who in turn crossed my name off his list. I was number 123. I was ushered in to fall in line. There were two lines. One for union members and one for people like me who are non members. We were supposed to fill out the form they gave us for employment purposes.
Since the call requires us to wear a winter outfit, I came in my full cold weather regalia complete with a scarf, gloves and a beanie. I could say almost everyone there was good looking. Some may even be bordering on stunning! You can tell by the way they carry themselves and the way their skin glows that they're totally ready for the camera. Speaking of being ready, those who have been cast in a movie before also brought extra clothes that they haul around with them in a suit case. This is in case they'll be asked to play a different background role. On the otherhand, I was far from ready. I didn't even bring a lip balm so I won't look chapped. I've never felt so insecure with my looks until today.

Jude Law is supposed to be on the scene or scenes. We were also warned that taking pictures on the set is not allowed. It is grounds for getting kicked out of the set. There were a lot commotion inside - hair and makeup, film crew carrying radios, costume folks, soldiers, policemen, medical people, people with masks on, the caterers, construction workers, and the crew in charge of paper work. There was a long downtime until a crew started telling us what the scene is all about. Apparently, we are only needed for two scenes. A few moments later, we were asked to leave the waiting area one by one.

Outside, there were a lot of activities, a lot of moving here and there. Some of the the film crew were busy laying out the rails where the entire camera crew sits and would move up and down. Others were busy directing us, the extras. For someone who is coming from a data processing background, the dynamics involved in making a movie was very foreign to me. It takes a lot of work just to capture a scene.

I ended up being paired with an Asian woman and we were supposed to be a couple. We were picked as a small group of walkers so we got separated from the rest of the extras. Our acting task was to walk while Jude Law does his thing. He looked like playing a character that is sort of a reporter. We rehearsed for quite a bit and then we did the scene over and over again. There were times the director would yell
cut before I could even make it into the camera's view.

I was excited the first time I saw Jude Law. I guess everyone was excited too. At one point, he was only a few yards away from me while he was snacking on nuts and water. This was the highlight of the day for me. I said Hey Jude! He said How are ya? He seems like a nice guy. He's very handsome and very nice to look at. I can't help but notice his receding hairline and after a while his eyes started looking disproportionately big for his face. Maybe because he's a bit too skinny?

The second scene was not as exciting as the first because I was one of the people trying to get a vaccine and worse, I was far away from the camera. It took five hours to prepare and shoot our two scenes!

I was told the check will be in the mail.

Is there hair and make up for the extras? You betcha! Would I do this again if I get a call from them? You betcha!


(The photo above is a picture of a scene inside the hair and make up for the extras while filming Contagion in San Francisco, Ca)

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Mild weather in the City

Kyoto Style Iced Coffee
Wouldn't it be nice if the weather is like this all year round? While more than half of the country is snowed in, it is mild, around 70F in San Francisco. Wow!

The photo above is a picture of Kyoto-style and New Orleans-style iced coffee and was taken at the Blue Bottle Coffee around the Mint Plaza in San Francisco, Ca.


Saturday, February 05, 2011

Ballet in the City - Giselle

SF Symphony
I left work early on Wednesday so I have time to go home, change, meet a friend for a quick dinner before the ballet. Mijo had phoned me earlier to remind me I have to leave the office early. Mijo, Alma and I planned to meet up at the Arlequin Cafe on Hayes St. at 6 p.m. We went to this same restaurant when we saw San Francisco Ballet's Romeo and Juliet a year ago. When we got there, Alma already got us a table at 6:05 pm and she already ordered a Margherita pizza to share and a cup of what looked like a chai latte with lots of milk froth. When I saw that I thought that was an interesting combination. We hugged each other and then I fell in line to order.
My order was what I consider a designer macaroni and cheese because it is mac & cheese with a twist - gruyere and reggiano cheeses are added on top of the usual white cheddar cheese. Mijo's order was the classic caesar salad. We also ordered two glasses of cabernet sauvignon from the cafe's wine bar next door. We were number 16 so we had to wait for our order.

I think Alma read my mind when I looked at her latte because she started telling us what happened at work that day. To make the story short, she hadn't had anything heavy the whole day that's why she didn't want to drink any alcohol. The pizza, mac & cheese and salad was good. This was probably the most satisfying meal I had before a ballet. The past two or three ballets that we saw, we were running late so the dinners were all eat-and-run. The wine was so-so considering the price per glass we paid for it. It was too late when I realized that the cafe has a more reasonably priced wine-by-the-glass. I made a mental note of this for the next time we go to this place.

We got to the War Memorial Opera House half an hour before the curtain call. There was no tall person in front of me at the balcony so I was ecstatic. There was a certain excitement I could feel inside the opera house. The performance is Giselle, after all.

During the first act, I thought the music was just okay but then who am I to critique a classical music, right? All I know is that I was kindof dosing off, it felt like watching a mime. Though, I felt sorry for Giselle because Loy, who is really Count Albrecht disguised as a poor peasant, is just deceiving her. Such a tragedy that Giselle died of a broken heart at the end of Act 1.

The second act was more entertaining and particularly delightful to watch because the Wilis, the spirits who must dance forever, performed in synch. At the first light of dawn, the spirits disappeared and so did Giselle. I just was not sure if she is to return again? Albrecht was weeping on her grave when the second and final act ended. Did he die too?

I asked Mijo and Alma if they liked the performance. They both said they did.

As always, I enjoyed another great San Francisco Ballet production and I was glad I was able to finally see the ultimate classical romance Giselle. Giselle is Program 1 of the 2011 season of the San Francisco Ballet and runs through February 13.


(The photo above is a view from the entrance of the Davies Symphony Hall, the home of the San Francisco Symphony .)