April Reviews

Standard

Books-

Non-fiction-

The Unhealthy Truth
Robyn O’Brien
4 stars
I was skeptical at finding out that the author was a mother with no background in nutrition or medicine or anything of the kind. However, within the first chapter, it seems that she actually more than made up for her lack of credentials with passion and a mind-boggling wealth of research. In fact, I believe she did a better job of researching and explaining every aspect in detail, along with citing each study and how it was done, than most of the books I’ve read written by doctors- probably because she wasn’t one and therefore had to be extra-careful about backing up her thesis. And what a terrifying thesis it was, quickly sending me into a spiritual crisis trying to process the overwhelming proof she was presenting in those pages. Along the lines of a modern day, non-fiction version of “The Jungle”, read this book when you are ready to seriously change your health and activism habits.

Skinny Bitch
Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin
3 stars
I still disagree with the message of veganism touted in this book, we are omnivores and need a well-rounded diet, however, if you want to get serious about being conscious of what you want to put in your body, this is the bootcamp of diet books.

The Nice Girl Syndrome
Beverly Engel
3 stars
For every woman who feels overwhelmed by life and especially human interaction, this can be a huge help. From levels of giving in so many times your mind goes blank when someone asks your opinion, to trying to stand up to someone treating you badly and ending up leaving the conversation by apologizing to THEM for you being so “emotional” or “crazy”, this book is a good first step in the right direction. She breaks everything down, gives encouragement, and plenty of actually achievable exercises for starting to break out of old habits. My only issue with the book is lack of information about studies and references, though she speaks with authority of a doctorate’s and experience behind her words.

Good Calories, Bad Calories
Gary Taubes
4 stars
All the questions you’ve ever had about the contradictory diet advice to be found all over the bookstore shelves explained and challenged. Ideal book for those with a major academic interest in nutrition and health, and goes into serious scientific explanation of how the body’s metabolism works. Brilliantly reference with studies and doctor’s notes dating back hundreds of years and from around the world. Will challenge everything you every considered about how food works in the body, though it’s basically a textbook so be ready to spend some time on it.

Fiction-

The Night Circus
Erin Morgenstern
4 stars
I downloaded the ebook with some trideptation, so many of the novels I’ve gotten in ebook form have been disappointing, but within the first page I was intrigued, but it still had such a gothic flavor I was a little afraid it would be juvenile or insipid, and as I kept reading I was thrilled to find it was complex, unique, beautiful and artfully written. Definitely worth the read if you are at all into fantasy, romance, or alternative cultures.

And more Game of Thrones(books 3 &4)
I can’t help it, I’m addicted. And frankly, the most enjoyable part about studying to be a writer is that I have the perfect excuse to read stuff like this, I swear it’s work 😀

Restaurants-

San Francisco –

The Citrus Club
A small Thai restaurant tucked in among the glittering displays of Haight st, this place is perfect for a group gathering. Their bowls of soup are easily big enough to serve three, maybe four people and range from $8-11. Oh, and they are addictive with their creamy spicy broth, giant chunks of vegetables, and melty rice noodles.

Chile Pie Kitchenette
Brand new authentic New Mexican food(Zoe and Aaron were fiending for homey spicy food) in the Castro district. Their green chili stew is delicious for you, dangerous for your wallet. Spectacular desserts will have you in a blissful sugar coma as you drain your life savings.

Cole Valley Cafe’
Cute, laid back local place, with all necessary amenities though they do have a thing against decaf coffee.

Cole St Cafe’
Literally a nook in the wall, this hobbit sized place has big people sized flavorful chai tea. The strangest thing is that there is wifi, but no place to plug in a cord. Very hipster chic.

Sacred Grounds
Stylish and quirky, decent food for moderate prices, but they were stingy with the honey- what if I don’t want to put brown sugar on my oatmeal? Great place for a simple drink though, and I approve of the use of loose- leaf for their teas.

The People’s Cafe’
Very simple decor, not much ambiance. They have a strange blend of high and low quality food. Some of the stuff is very good and fair priced, some is low quality for a high price. By this I mean, I don’t like being charged $8 for a sandwich with wonderbread. The vegetarian options seem to be the best value, but still I doubt I’d eat here again.

Ukiah & Garberville-
We weren’t in Ukiah long enough to really try anything, but there were quite a few unique places that specialized in raw, vegan and vegetarian options, and just walking by them on the way to, sadly due to need for wifi, Peet’s we were sorely tempted by the mouth-watering smells drifting out. Definitely a place I want to return too, lots of cute places to explore. And we spent twenty minutes in Garberville before heading to the woods, but fyi, Treats is the only place in town with wifi and coffee.

Arcata-
We hunted, and hunted, and searched and threw up our hands and asked locals all to no avail. After visiting at least a dozen cafe’ we gave up trying to find anyplace that had everything we needed- bathroom, wifi, outlets- just didn’t exist. However- Cafe Mokka is the perfect hipster cafe open until midnight some nights and hosts local shows(no wifi); Brio is perfect if you want gourmet cafe’ dining(no outlets); Luke’s Joint is laid back with epic bathrooms and decent food(no wifi and Zoe says they are stingy with cheese on the “goat cheese salad”); Los Bagels makes cheap, delicious pastries and is open the latest(no outlets); Jitterbean has wonderful coffee and simple breakfast fare(no bathroom- frankly that’s an insult in my opinion).

Ashland-
Mix Sweet Shop is wonderful! Delicious food, desserts, all kinds of coffee and tea (the hibiscus ginger is one of the most reviving blends I’ve ever had), outlets, clean bathrooms, laid back staff, and two stories of hipster mellow. Also right downtown, with all-day parking in the city park area right around the corner. I love this place!

Camping-

Surprisingly, there has been a lot of available parking in San Francisco. We parked on side streets off Judah, and ran into some trouble but not what you’d expect. There was a ticket, that we contested, saying that we were beyond the 7 ft hight, 22ft long limits of our vehicle, which we measured to be sure we fit within, so that got dropped. The other thing to be aware of is the street cleaning- they are sticklers about it, so be sure you know what day and hour the street cleaning is on the block you are parked. Other than that, you can get away with being parked and camped for weeks as long as you are unobtrusive. Ukiah and Garberville have been super laid back about camping anywhere, only had one cop interaction the whole time. Arcata was strange: two nights camped a few blocks from downtown (they have a ridiculous amount of parking) with no issue, but when we drove out of town to this lovely place off the highway by the river, a cop showed up at two in the morning threatening to cite us and trying to make us drive an hour away to the nearest RV camp. We told her we were “resting”- which is legal for up to six hours- and went back to bed. No citation that night, but we did move to another spot, ending up staying there for over a week before anyone even noticed. The Trinity National Forest turned out to have some very suspicious and insistent rangers, but we just drove a little ways into the Kalamath National Forest and nothing more came of it. Ashland was surprisingly mellow about camping. We have been parked on the side of the road for a week without any issues. One cop showed up to ask if we had seen a lost teen girl they were looking for and didn’t even comment about us being parked.

Vending-

Hippie Hill, and Golden Gate park in general, is great for blanket street vending. Cops and Park Rangers haven’t even stopped to bat an eye at three of us set up, a city this size has bigger fish to fry, esp if, as per usual, you aren’t causing any trouble. I even saw a cop do a double take when Aaron was carrying a bottle of soda that looked like beer, then shrug and keep going since we were not obviously intoxicated. You’ll mostly get approached for drug trade, I have actually been shocked at how de facto it seems to be, but money is available if you have something interesting. But in general, everything in San Fran is so expensive it’s not really worth it if that’s all you’ve got to go on. Didn’t do any vending in Ukiah or Garberville, though saw people out on the street in both places without any problems. Arcata was a great trading environment, though they have a strict no sitting on the sidewalk or smoking laws, and they will ticket you. We got away with it by sitting in the plaza and on stoops just off the sidewalk. We stayed over a week, and enjoyed the community center pool, hot tub, sauna and showers (totally worth it, and free entry for an hour on sundays) before heading to the national forest for a few nights. Ashland has been a great stop so far, lots of trade, some commissions for Aaron and plenty of work available in general that we have been offered. People have just been super friendly and understanding. We’ve also been invited to a couple house parties and had a great time.

Music List-

Tom Waits
Modest Mouse
Devil Makes Three
System of a Down
Marilyn Manson
The Beatles(always)
Marvin Gaye
Janis Joplin
Memphis Minni

 

 

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