Wednesday, November 17, 2010

signs: Imperial Barber Shop

Imperial Barber Shop

I'm not likely to make a habit of posting painted signs (though there are some great ones about, like the MJB Coffee sign in Old Oakland that was posted on Oakland Daily Photo and Fritinancy), but this one caught my eye because of the "unnecessary" quotation marks.

There's a whole blog devoted to abuse of quotation marks, fittingly called The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks. They produced a book to which I contributed a photo (taken across Lakeshore Ave. not far from this one, oddly enough.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

food: Amba


Tucked away in a small store front on Mountain Blvd. in Montclair is Amba. If you're looking for fancy food in a location oozing with ambiance, this is not the place. But if you're looking for good vegetarian and/or kosher food, check out Amba.

There are all the traditional items like falafel, pita, hummus, etc. But they also have interesting pita sandwiches, a daily "pitza", and an array of yummy salads. If there are two or more of you, try the Mezze Platter, which gives you a sample of most everything and was more than enough food for K and I.

Amba also does catering, and a lot of their business is take-out (we've had take-out from there more than we've eaten in). The restaurant itself is nothing fancy, but clean and nicely decorated, with photos from the Middle East adorning the walls. And if you're looking for a spot to watch sports, they even have a 50" TV. Sadly, the beer selection is currently only Corona (gah!), but hopefully they'll improve on that.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

what a long, strange two weeks it's been...

First, thank you to Oakland Magazine for featuring Our Oakland in the Oakland Online piece in the latest edition! Welcome to any new readers (whether you found the blog through that or not :-) As the title suggests, this post is somewhat long and strange compared with what I usually post here: no signs, no restaurant reviews, no cool maps.

Now, on to an explanation of the paucity of posts of late. It started two weeks ago with a short trip through the stairs of our carport. No broken bones, but plenty of aches and bruises and a renewed appreciation of the power of gravity.

not Oakland

I recovered enough from that in time for a trip for work to near Fellows, CA. Outside of Bakersfield is the town of Taft. Outside of Taft is Fellows. Outside of Fellows are a bunch of oil fields and several power plants. It's a strange-looking bit of California, so it was appropriate I was there over Halloween. Doubly spooky since the entry on Wikipedia says Fellows is where the film version of Shirley Jackon's always creepy short story The Lottery was shot.

Had I been 30 minutes or so to the west, I could have been in the beautiful Carrizo Plain National Monument. Instead, I was inside most of the time working on software at one of the power plants, working long hours to launch a new version of the software.

The long hours lead to a nasty cold, but we got the new version launched, and made it home in time to vote on Tuesday. The results from across the nation were somewhat depressing, but many of the California and local contests have had good results: we don't have Meg Whitman as our governor, nor Carly Fiorina as our senator, and Prop 23 didn't pass. (And even more locally, I'm happy that Libby Schaaf will be our new council member for district 4.) Tammerlin Drummond of the Tribune asks the question I ask almost every election: isn't there a better way for rich candidates to spend their money? The flood of negative ads didn't persuade me to vote for anyone; rather it confirmed my votes against those sending it out.

We didn't know who the next mayor of Oakland would be, though -- due in part to ballots like mine. I requested a mail-in ballot in case I wasn't able to get back in time on Tuesday. Unfortunately, it didn't arrive before I left, so I had to cast a provisional ballot upon my return. The changing results as the IRV ballots are tabulated has been interesting, and it's clear why Don Perata was against IRV since he's gone from 1st to 2nd in the process (and speaking of spending lots of money...) For what it's worth, although I think Don Perata is "ethics challenged", he was my second choice after Rebecca Kaplan. Jean Quan's responsibility for Measure Y, et al, was enough to convince me she's probably not the right person to lead Oakland out of its budget problems.

By Friday, I was mostly over my cold, but we still didn't know who the next mayor would be, but Oakland was now focused on the impending sentencing of Johannes Mehserle for his killing of Oscar Grant. Like many, I was disappointed with the involuntary manslaughter verdict, but was hoping for for a reasonable sentence because of the gun-enhancement charge the jury included. Instead, the judge inexplicably gave a minimum sentence and credit for time served. Not surprisingly, this made many people unhappy. A peaceful rally lead to a march towards Fruitvale BART, which lead to some vandalism, and ended with 152 arrests. Reports differ widely about the nature of the march, but at least the understaffed OPD was better prepared. My question for those involved in the vandalism: if you feel like you have to trash something to make your point, why not go trash the BART offices instead of the property of innocent Oaklanders?

Sunday morning I woke up barely able to swallow and my tongue looking absolutely disgusting. After I nearly passed out, K called the advice nurse at Kaiser. A trip to the doctor and pharmacist later, I had diagnosis of strep throat and a prescription for penicillin.


Since then, the kitties and I have been doing a lot of this. To be fair, that's what they do a lot of even when I'm feeling well, but they enjoyed the company and were probably wondering why I don't join them every day.

So there you have it: the long, strange post of why I haven't updated the blog recently. I'm off to rest a while, and will hopefully be back to normal posting soon.