It’s getting colder in California, I think. The short break ‘tween the Christmas and New Year holidays is like sweet stasis from the madness of public relations and retail envelopment, friends and family gathering around and making up grandiose excuses to shovel great masses of food, then do not pass Go, beeline for the easy chair, feet up and eyes at half-mast. The winter coat, as some call it, furls tighter around the midsection as bundles of clothing trump and mask the girth. Textures of scarves and jackets, woolen, knit, and, if one is lucky enough, cashmere. Winter is a decadent time, with fireplaces, wine, and lots of plans for the newly arrived year.

SF Fog

The first day of the year was blue above and white below. A jaunt across the Golden Gate was special, with a dreamlike layer of thick fog hovering just under the level of the roadway. Looked like one could swan-dive over the rail and into marshmallow delight. Sunshine reflected off the billows made the entire city sparkle from across the Bay, a cloud castle of magnificent stature floating above the never. It’s difficult to drive and rubberneck at the same time, and I do wish our local government would see fit to construct turnouts here and again on our more scenic roadways. Stopping to marvel would have only slowed me down from the treat that lay ahead of me, however.

One of my employees has a New Year’s family tradition of getting what seems like the entire town of Fairfax together at their house for a massive party. This year was our first invite – the entire staff of the store – and hopefully not our last. It was started hours early with a huge sushi-making session, much of which was eaten before the festivities began. I learned some optimistic Japanese and Hawaiian culinary customs and got schooled in making fish and rice with grace and delicacy. I’m not much of a cooker, but I’m hungry to learn and I can definitely get into the spirit of the kitchen when given the opportunity. We rolled and sprinkled for two hours, tasting and testing along the way until there were more rolls than could fit in the kitchen, and perhaps more in our bellies. Burdock and carrot for grounding in the coming year, whole lobster and shrimp, countless pastries and chocolate, and hand-wrapped fried won tons. We tossed around the soccer ball for a wee while to make room before dinner and then made a mockery of daily caloric intake. The rest of the night was spent around the fire pit on the patio: a quaint, cobbled deck under a copse of bay and oak trees and adjacent to a soft creek. The mosses and molds on the logs we burned had a sweet, pungent smell. Even with knees nearly afire, none of us had any desire to leave the warmth on a clear, starry night. Ever-full Shiraz. College stories.

I’ve been revisiting my love for the bitter irony and diffident self-deprecation of defunct Brit-pop masters Mansun. While insanely evocative of my U.K. experiences, I first discovered them many years ago right here in California, and I’ve been addicted ever since. As with Morrissey, Bowie, Marilyn Manson, and Black Box Recorder, Mansun’s Paul Draper masks his satire with infectious anthems that are simply a release for his own insecurities and are a commentary on the ultimate futility of our existence in society. It’s astonishingly honest and comforting stuff, and when I die, I’d feel fulfilled to be listening to the strains of the fabulous Legacy, which always puts things into perspective for me and makes me sing aloud. There’s understanding there, somehow.

I’ve been drained, emotion is a bitter fate
Won’t be here so I don’t care
I concede relationships have left me weak
Won’t be here so I don’t care
Look for something worthy to replace my guilt
Won’t be here so I don’t care
Prove my worth to people who I called my friends
Won’t be here so I don’t care

Nobody cares when you’re gone

Mansun Band

Hoping my friends in Edinburgh are staying safe from the falling masonry that the New Year’s storms have recently incited. I heard about a couple of close calls involving dear friends in one week alone, and given that this kind of thing happens fairly frequently in the auld city throughout the year, high winds seem to be now taking the place apart. ‘Gardy-Loo!’, never mind, mates. It’s ‘Mind yer heid!


Happy New Year to you and yours. Good stuff ahead?

7 Responses to “Holidaze.”

  1. niddrie_edge Says:
    January 7th, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    I lost my Hibernian hat in some pub or other.
    Had the ancient harp emblem an' all.
    Time for new winter hat.
    Never mind I still have my cashmere scarf.

  2. FunkyPlaid Says:
    January 12th, 2007 at 12:48 am

    You gots to have a hat 'round those parts, dear Raymond. Then again, depends which side of the city you've left it…

  3. hermiston Says:
    January 7th, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    Food, soccer[?] Mansun. Sounds delightful…
    But weren't you supposed to be our first foot?

  4. FunkyPlaid Says:
    January 12th, 2007 at 12:50 am

    It wasn't like we were actually playing. It was more like…dribbling. I'm saving up all my scraped shins for you and your mates.

  5. avalokita Says:
    January 8th, 2007 at 5:46 am

    I miss winter. We're having a year without one.

  6. angledge Says:
    January 8th, 2007 at 7:35 am

    Crazy, isn't it?

  7. FunkyPlaid Says:
    January 12th, 2007 at 12:51 am

    Heard it was supposed to snow here today. But instead: clear, blue skies all the way. Frigid as heck, but no flakes.

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