Posts Tagged 'oil'

The Death Of A Wizard

Sword and the RoseThe first thing I saw this morning when I got up was sad news. Not the best way to get up, but sometimes it has to happen. Randy Sapp, the owner of the Sword & the Rose occult shop in Cole Valley died on Christmas Evening.

Randy and his shop were know around the world. It was a tiny place that if more than five people were inside it would feel crowded, but it was the magical feeling of this place that made it special as well as adding to San Francisco a little bit of weirdness. Randy was a master of incense and oils starting as an apprentice at the old Mystic Eye occult shop on Broadway where he spent ten years just sitting in the back focused on making incense. Randy looked a bit like a dark version of David Bowie

Randy’s incense was not the hippy, heavy floral stuff that you’d find on Haight street to cover up the smell of pot [well that’s why they burned it according to my Mother.] Randy’s incense would actually transform you by its smell. Depending on which one you burned it would fill the room with the elegance of a cathedral, but it would also reach inside you and change you. His blends had names such as Anubis, Xepera, Horus, Isis, Holy Grail, Shekinah. He would make the incense when he felt like it. That’s the kind of guy he was. I guess you have to be in a certain state of mind when creating an incense to invoke Anubis.

His shop was just like a movie set when you’d walk inside. There were curtains hanging everywhere. It was dark with an old pot bellied stove to warm the small shop which you could never see from the street. You would have to walk through an alcove and to the back through a very ornate garden to the small ivy covered door. San Francisco has had many occult shops over the years, but that name just doesn’t seem to fit for the Sword and the Rose. This was not a buy my magical trinkets kind of place, but a place where people who seriously needed something different would come. Sure, he’d welcome the curious who might spend a few dollars or just want to talk, but he supplied people from around the world with his incense many of whom would make a special trip to his store when they were in San Francisco on vacation.

His partner of 29 years, Patrick managed to survive and will continue on with the Sword and the Rose once he recovers. Randy will be sadly missed. Was like the David Bowie or the magic world. Not the David Copperfield.

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Friday Shark Attack…

Well, I thought yesterday’s article would smooth things over a bit by posting a rational, not overly emotional piece aimed at the politics in San Francisco and to help Senator Leland Yee understand that his campaign people are ruining his shot by playing the race card for him as well as not understanding what misusing social media can do for you. I don’t know if my point hit home, but I did notice I received a lot of followers yesterday and one troll.

Apparently a twitter account using the name @alumcalbearsedu started to go on the warpath with myself and anyone else locally he/she/it could find that spoke out against shark finning as a racist. A few of the people being attacked surmised that this troll was a sock puppet of Leland Yee. If he indeed is I feel sorry for Mr. Yee. While this person is obviously a Leland Yee supporter, he has a chip on his shoulder that he is being attacked for being a Chinese minority. I looked up the ethnicity of San Francisco and the Bay Area and Asians came in as the second largest race [the green dots represent Chinese, not Asians in this link]. If you look at the previous link you’ll see that in the Sunset and Richmond districts, Chinese are the predominant race. Chinatown oddly enough shows more red [Caucasian] than green [Chinese]. Of the 189 and under group Asians actually make up the majority of population in the Bay Area. OK his point is shot down.

He then goes on to ask why is shark meat ok, but not the fins. It’s an attack on Chinese culture. Let’s drop that into google and see what comes up. Here are some shark meat suppliers. Not one is in the U.S. and they typically are providing dried shark meat, not something I’ve ever heard of American’s preparing. This got me interested in how shark meat is prepared because I have read it is high in uric acid and smells like ammonia. There’s an Icelandic dish of pressed dried shark meat that even made the host of Bizarre Foods, Andrew Zimmern gag. Here is a suggestion as to how to prepare shark meat. Not very appetizing or sanitary in my opinion. Point two, shot down.

Then @alumcalbearsedu came back with, @baghdadbythebay Also check out eBay “shark skin” and “shark oil”. Tell me why they are not also being considered for banning? This one was easy. Shark skin isn’t made from shark. It’s a type of cloth or there is cow hide that is patterned with a shark skin look. Shark oil on the other hand has come under fire recently and is being placed in the ground rhino horn and tiger penis category as a mythological cure for everything. Strike three…you’re OUT!

Perhaps one of @alumcalbearsedu most telling comments was, @baghdadbythebay Ban the entire shark. Don’t single out the fins and make Chinese the escape goats to solving shark problem. Now the worst thing about this is that we have a person who claims to be an alumni of University of California, Berkeley that can’t put a simple sentence together. He has noted that only Chinese are affected by this and as stated yesterday 85% have decided to stop eating or diminish their consumption of shark fin soup in China which he hasn’t acknowledged. What we have here is a someone who is bullying people on Twitter who is doing so because he claims @baghdadbythebay Yes I am emotional about this. Chinese always gets bullied. Rush limbagh and Alexandra wallace… Ching chong chinks. So I guess he believes it’s ok to bully others if you feel you’ve been bullied. Why doesn’t he go after Rush Limbagh [sic] or Alexandra wallace [sic]?

This has lead me to create a PDF file for some grass roots politicking in San Francisco. I’ve never been one to do this, but it appears that Leland Yee’s campaign front is releasing trolls without doing anything to stop them. If you download this file, print it out and cut it into quarters and distribute it to any business that displays a Leland Yee for Mayor sign. It’s time we send him a message that he can’t straddle the fence on a topic that the majority of people are in favor of, included those of Chinese Ancestry…the passing of AB376 which would ban the sale of shark fins in California. This is an animal rights issue, not a race issue. Download PDF File.

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Andronico’s: The Foodie’s Grocery Store

I’ve always said that some day I want to have a job where I can make enough money that I could shop only at Andronico’s. That doesn’t mean I would only shop there, but this is the store that has the biggest selection of foods that you won’t find at your local Safeway or Lucky’s and to top it off the quality of their foods are much higher than at regular chain grocers.

The outside is fairly plain and unassuming, but when you walk in from the street you get this kind of heaven’s opening, angel’s singing kind of feeling and you’re just looking at the produce, but the way it looks even a die hard carnivore would want to dive into it.

Make a right turn and you get to see their serve it yourself take out area where they have the usually comfort foods of fried chicken and mashed potatoes mixed in with ribs, thai curries, indian curries, soup and more. Whoever planned this layout deserves a medal because the smell of food that surrounds you just makes you salivate and want to eat.

They have a special cheese section across from the wonderful deli where a cheese specialist can match you up with the right cheese for any occasion. The deli is no slouch either. They’ve to top shelf deli meats, handmade sandwiches on ciabatta rolls and caviar out on display. Yep, this will cost you. Not in a Whole Foods kind of way, but it’s still a couple of bucks more than the major chains.

I have to say though that it’s worth it. I’ve been to Molly Stone’s and Whole Foods and while they’re nice, they’re small and usually crowded with hipsters. Andronico’s is big so they get to carry a lot of stuff and when you’re walking around the aisles it’s kind of like a treasure hunt to see what new you’ll find there. They have what seems like hundreds of different types of olive oil as well as other oils I never knew existed [cold pressed organic avocado oil anyone?] Expect to see labels with words like organic, artisinal, free range all over the place.

The spices and sauces aisles are mind boggling. I didn’t know there were that many different types of salt. I knew about french grey salt, hawaiian salt, but I stopped counting after finding salts from over 15 different countries. If you like hot sauces you’ve got a huge selection with Ass in Space being an interesting name for a hot sauce.

So what do you get for this higher price? Space. No one’s pushing you around or the people at my local store who I want to scream WALK DON’T BLOCK at who need ten minutes to decide which can of condensed milk they want to buy. You get top quality meats and produce [which the produce lately at the major chains has been severely lacking.] You get clerks and checkers that remember you and that English is a first language. Every time I go in there Bobby in the meat department still remembers me when I had hair down to my waist and he always asks how Becca is doing. The people are friendly who work there without the smugness that they work in a gourmet food center like two other places I’ve mentioned.

Andronico’s is one of the few markets where I can casually walk around at ease without feeling like I’m in a Soviet era store where people are fighting over the food. Check them out please and be sure to tell them I sent you.

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