Friday, April 30, 2010
This song was prominently featured in an episode of RuPaul's Drag Race which I watched last weekend. Actually, it was a marathon of episodes. I had no idea until last weekend how funny RuPaul is! I just always thought he was famous for being very pretty, but he is seriously funny too. His show shamelessly steals elements from both America's Next Top Model and Project Runway. RuPaul is like Tyra's nicer, prettier sister. He uses some great catchphrases too like "Now it's time to lip-synch...for your LIFE!" and "Don't fuck it up!"
A couple of the queens lipsynched for their lives to this song...but I can't remember who won and who was breathlessly told to "Sashay...away!"
Fried Bittersweet Chocolate Bread
Buttery and crunchy, with a rich, oozy center, these little sandwiches (a cross between panini and chocolate croissants) provide a sweet ending that can be prepared in just minutes.
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
16 (1/2-inch-thick) baguette slices, cut on a long diagonal
1 (3- to 4-oz) fine-quality bittersweet chocolate bar (no more than 70% cacao if marked), broken into 1/2-inch pieces
Generously butter 1 side of each baguette slice. Place 8 slices, buttered sides down, on a work surface and cover each slice with chocolate, leaving a 1/4-inch border around edge. Top with remaining 8 slices, buttered sides up, to make 8 sandwiches.
Heat a dry 12-inch heavy skillet (not nonstick) over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then fry 4 sandwiches, turning over once, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes total. Transfer sandwiches to a plate and wipe skillet clean. Fry remaining sandwiches in same manner. Serve warm.
Cooks’ note: Sandwiches can be assembled 2 hours ahead and kept, covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature. Fry just before serving.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Heartsick? An Estonian Pharmacy May Have A Cure
"The only regret I have is that I had to spend all my time in meetings, instead of enjoying Tallinn once again," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, referring to Estonia's small capital on the Baltic Sea.
I escaped the meetings long enough to look around — and I'm happy the foreign ministers didn't.
Surely, they would have stopped at a major attraction in the town's cobblestone square — the Raeapteek, or Town Hall Pharmacy.
The Town Hall Pharmacy in Estonia's capital may be Europe's oldest continuously operating pharmacy.
My guide, local historian Juri Kuuskemaa, told me the place opened in 1422 and may well be Europe's longest continuously operating pharmacy. Legend has it that in the 18th century, a former owner, Dr. Johann Burchart V, nearly saved a Russian czar.
"When Peter the Great, Russian emperor, was dying and nobody could help him, he called Johann V," Kuuskemaa said.
But things didn't work out. The czar died before Burchart arrived.
The pharmacy is also legendary for its herbs, wine and medicines — and its love drugs.
"You can go to pharmacy and buy special materials, so-called aphrodisiacom, and when you give to her or her, it is fate. Both could do nothing against it. And lady would love you to the end of their lives," Kuuskemaa explained.
But that's not all. "When you have two or three wives, for example, and you see one is happy but two are unhappy, you can buy here special materials to give to these two unhappies and they forget you, and they could find happiness with another man, not with you," Kuuskemaa said. "So it stops the love. It is an anti-aphrodisiacom, yeah. So love could be regulated with drugs."
On display inside, readily available, was the pharmacy's famous anti-aphrodisiac. Each individually wrapped piece of candy is packed with the secret ingredient: almond powder. People struck by love use it to cure themselves.
"How long we have sold it? ... I think 500 years," said pharmacist Ulle Noodapera.
But Noodapera said visitors will also just come in and taste it — despite the risk. That's why I was worried about the foreign ministers dropping by.
Noodapera says she didn't see any of the world leaders partake of the anti-love confection.
Which is a good thing. The last place you'd want to kill the love is at a meeting of the NATO military alliance. Kuuskemaa agreed.
"Love has more power as rockets in the world and it is the main power of the world and for humanity, and this power really can protect us," he says. "Love. Not rockets."
This is not my photo, but my spider is about this size.
Now I have the song Private Dancer stuck in my head...except in my version, it's Tiny Spider.
Monday, April 26, 2010
"A sign for ghosts outside Niedzica Castle, Poland... The ghost, known as the "White Lady", is the ghost of Umina, from the Inca's royal family, married to Sebastian Brezevichy, one of the previous owners of the castle. Umina was murdered in front of the castle from a treasure hunter who wanted to find the Inca's treasure that, according to the tradition, brought with her from South America. Her father hid the treasure and made a cryptic document which, till now, nobody can interpret it."
Late Poland president's twin runs to replace him
MONIKA SCISLOWSKA, Associated Press Writer Monika Scislowska
WARSAW, Poland – Polish opposition party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski said Monday he will run in summer elections to replace his twin brother, the incumbent president who was killed in a plane crash.
Law and Justice party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, 60, said he will run to continue the mission of his brother and others killed in the crash.
"The good of Poland is a common duty that requires an ability to overcome personal suffering, to undertake the task despite a personal tragedy," Kaczynski said in a written statement.
"This is why I have taken the decision to run for the president of Poland. I have the family's support in this decision," said Kaczynski, who served as prime minister in 2006-2007.
The elections were moved up to June 20 after President Lech Kaczynski, his wife Maria and 94 others - including top civilian and military leaders - were killed April 10 in Smolensk, Russia, en route to World War II observances. They were to pay respect to some 22,000 Polish officers killed in 1940 by the Soviet secret security in the Katyn forest and in other places.
The president's term was to expire in December and elections had been planned in the fall.
The incumbent had been expected to seek a second five-year term.
The brothers were in the past both members of anti-communist opposition and served as advisers to the Solidarity freedom movement in the 1980s.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski is not married. His closest family are his mother, Jadwiga, 83, and niece Marta, 30, the daughter of the late president.
Another candidate, Parliamentary Speaker Bronislaw Komorowski, is now acting president after automatically taking over the duties following the incumbent's death. He is with the governing Civic Platform party and is currently the front-runner in the polls.
The third major figure in the race is Grzegorz Napieralski of the Democratic Left Alliance, who is running in the stead of Jerzy Szmajdzinski, who was killed in the same plane crash as Kaczynski.
If no candidate musters more then 50 percent of vote, a runoff will be held July 4.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
I also love the fact that she has a pink car, a huge Barbie doll collection, and that she wears SIZE ELEVEN SHOES.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
I love all the Pixar movies--the only one I didn't see is Cars, because I hate cars and I couldn't get into the concept. As a fan of rats, Paris, and food, I loved Ratatouille. And I like water and ocean life so Finding Nemo was great too. Toy Story and Toy Story 2, both adorable. That one about the robots was good, although I sort of instantly forgot about it afterwards...I can't even remember the title right now. But the ecological message was cool, and the way that it used almost absolutely no dialogue at all was very interesting and clever. Up was also clever, and heartwarming, and imaginative, although I felt that the 3-D element was unnecessary.
But of all of them, Monsters, Inc. might be my favorite. How can you really top monsters? They are so cool. Plus, Billy Crystal was born to play the role of Mike.
Speaking of Pixar, that actor from Cheers, John Whats-his-face, has gotten a role in every single Pixar movie every made. That lucky guy. Such easy, lucrative work. Cameron Diaz really lucked out too with that Shrek franchise, she must be loaded just from those movies alone.
Nice work if you can get it!
Friday, April 23, 2010
Elijah Wood, the actor most known for his role as Frodo in Lord of the Rings arrived in Chile on Tuesday by invitation of Jorge Yarur, the founder of the Yarur Bascuñán Foundation; an organisation that supports abandoned pets.
Wood and Yarur began their tour this morning on Canal 13’s show Viva la Mañana. The actor confessed that, “I am interested in Jorge’s organization. I’m interested in getting involved, because I love animals. I have three dogs, and grew up with dogs and cats.”
Today he will travel to Curepto in the VI Region with the First Lady, Cecilia Morel, to view the damage from the earthquake. Curepto was one of the harder hit areas and many people and animals there are still suffering from the affects of the earthquake.
When asked what drew him to the Yarur Bascuñán Foundation Wood replied; “It’s just a humanitarian act. I like the initiative. As a human being I am interested in the welfare of animals and people. There are many dogs in the streets that are without protection. This is the first foundation I have participated in.”
Wood is in Chile until tomorrow.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Anyway. This was the beginning and end of my entire lifelong observation of this holiday. And I'm still not sure how it is meant to be celebrated. If I cared more, I'd find out.
But Earth Day is a useful excuse to make my blog green and post a recipe that I like. It's a Rachael Ray recipe that I've made a bunch of times. It always turns out tasty (albeit simple and plain) and it's very easy to make. Her recipes often don't work out well...but this one does.
Rach calls it "Leek-y Chicken." Leeks are a fun and interesting vegetable. They look like giant scallions (sort of like how brussel sprouts look like tiny cabbages). They are easy to cook; the only hard part is making sure you rinse all the dirt off beforehand. I like their texture...when you bite into cooked leeks, they are firm yet pliable, almost slippery.
The chicken broth, raisins, and parsley aren't even truly necessary in this recipe, but they are nice additions if you happen to have them on hand or feel like making the extra effort:
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup golden raisins (a couple of handfuls), chopped
1-1/2 cups plain couscous
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), 2 turns of the pan
1-1/2 pounds chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 medium leeks or 1 large leek
1 cup dry white wine (eyeball it—about a third of a bottle)
Flat-leaf parsley, chopped (about a handful)
Heat the chicken broth and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium saucepan. (Use a pan with a tight-fitting lid.) When the broth boils, add the raisins and the couscous. Take the saucepan off the heat. Stir the couscous and place the lid on the pan. Let stand.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan. Add the chicken in a single layer, season with salt and pepper, and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, 3 to 4 minutes.
While the chicken cooks, trim the tough tops and root ends from the leeks. Cut the remaining white and tender green parts in half lengthwise, then cut the leeks into 1-inch half-moons. Place the leeks in a colander and run cold water over them. Separate the layers to release the dirt and grit. Rinse the leeks well, then drain.
Stir the leeks into the chicken and wilt for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine and let it cook down by half, 3 to 4 minutes. The leeks should be tender, with some bright green color, and the chicken should be cooked through. Turn off the heat and stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter.
Fluff the couscous with a fork and stir in the parsley. Spoon a bed of couscous onto dinner plates and top with the chicken and leeks.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I also love it when celebrities marry repeatedly and excessively. Mariah doesn't disappoint in that respect either, since (according to this article), she plans to "marry" her husband Nick Cannon every year. It's their "thing." I love that! Some of us like to celebrate our wedding anniversaries with a nice dinner out, or maybe a weekend getaway. Not Mariah--she celebrates her anniversary with another wedding. It's so literal, yet at the same time, so inventive. This is a girl who really knows how to live:
Mariah Downsizes Diva Requests, Refines Tastes
Mariah Carey is downsizing her backstage demands for her 2010 tour, but she's come up with a new set of unusual requests to supersede the old ones...
One of the singer's latest stipulations is that she not be bombarded with any "busy patterns" in her backstage living room. Floral prints, plaids, and stripes are out, but she can deal with "dark pink" furniture. Additional requests for her main space include two vases of white roses and "eight tall, leafy plants" to give her room that eco-chic ambience.
The updated list of demands recently released by TheSmokingGun.com also reveals that Carey's taste in adult drinks has matured with time-at least if we compare it to the list they ran a few years ago. The R&B vocal athlete no longer demands a "box of bendy straws" for her chilled bottle of Cristal, and she's not replacing them with curly ones, either. These days Carey requires a $200 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon to fuel those saucy "Mimi moments." Maybe she changed her ways after attributing a rambling acceptance speech at a Palm Springs gala to "splashes of champagne."
Her water consumption has also become more sophisticated since we last saw her tour rider: Instead of Poland Spring bottled water, Carey now prefers the H2O of Fiji. San Pellegrino--not just plain seltzer water-is now her bubbly drink of choice.
Concert venues aren't the only ones trying to impress Mimi, though. Hubby Nick Cannon plans on buying her yet another ring in honor of their third marriage on April 30. This time they're re-retying the knot to celebrate their two-year anniversary.
"We get married every year! That's our thing," the 29-year-old singer/actor/comedian told UsMagazine. Even though this is the third ring he's bought for the woman who will "always be [his] baby," Cannon promises, "It'll be something different. Something good."
Considering Carey's engagement ring reportedly cost the former Nickelodeon star $2.5 million, it's hard to imagine how Cannon is going to top that.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I honestly didn't think any weather could ever out-cool the thundersnow that we experienced a few winters ago in Seattle. That's right: thundersnow. That's got to be the coolest weather ever, right?
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Every now and then, it's palate cleansing to watch a really, really bad movie. It's easy to forget (until a movie like this reminds you) just how bad acting, writing, and directing can be. Watching Troll 2 is a magical cinematic experience, what with the completely non-spooky ghost of "Grandpa Seth," the wooden line readings, the community theater quality costumes, and the plot and character motivations that make absolutely no logical sense. Also great: the fact that there is not a single troll in this movie--it's all about goblins. I haven't seen the documentary about it yet, but now I really want to. Here's more from Wikipedia:
Troll 2 is a 1990 horror film, directed by Claudio Fragasso, under the pseudonym Drake Floyd. During production, the film was known as Goblin, and some foreign releases of the movie were labeled as such, but upon release in the United States, the title was changed to Troll 2 in an attempt to help sell the film by connecting it to an established horror movie, the 1986 Empire Pictures film Troll. The two films, however, have no connection apart from the title. In fact, despite the title, no actual trolls appear in Troll 2.
The plot concerns an American family, the Waits family, who are taking a trip to the country to visit a small town called "Nilbog" (goblin spelled backwards), but are plunged into a nightmare as they are relentlessly pursued by vegetarian goblins, who turn people into plants before they eat them.
Troll 2 is widely considered to be of poor quality. In fact, for a time the film was rated as the worst film of all time by IMDB.com. The goblins' costumes, designed by cult erotic actress Laura Gemser, consist of burlap clothes stuffed with foam rubber, and latex masks, only one of which featured a movable mouth; the musical score consists of only a few synthesized themes repeated numerous times. In addition, the acting and dialogue have become notorious for their camp value. The scene where Darren Ewing's character states that he will be eaten next has become an internet meme, often appearing in videos alongside the "Garbage Day" meme from Silent Night, Deadly Night 2.
The movie was filmed in Morgan, Utah and Porterville, Utah, in the summer of 1989. In 2007, A major Troll 2 event took place in Morgan called Nilbog Invasion. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema's Rolling Roadshow turned Morgan into "Nilbog" again for a weekend, and screened the film for an audience of fans from around the world. Much of the cast attended and appeared in a panel discussion, as well as the writers and director of the film. Director Claudio Fragasso was presented with the key to the city by the Mayor of Morgan.
At the event, Fragasso and writer Rossella Drudi announced plans for a sequel to Troll II, and the audience was polled for their opinion on what the film should be called. The winning title was Troll II: Part II.
In December 2009, late-night host Conan O'Brien recommended Troll II to his list of DVDs and books in his "New Oprah" segment.
The child star of Troll 2, Michael Stephenson, directed a feature-length documentary about Troll 2 titled Best Worst Movie. The film debuted March 14, 2009, at the Alamo Lamar Draft house in Austin, Texas, as part of the Spotlight Features for the SXSW Film Festival. Several cast members from Troll 2 attended the premiere. The screening was followed by a showing of Troll 2. The documentary is currently screening at major film festivals across the world, the most recent being the American Film Institute Festival. The film has also screened at SxSW, HotDocs and Sheffield Doc/Fest.
The film won Best Feature Documentary (as voted by the official jury), as well as the Audience Choice for Best Documentary Feature at the 11th Annual Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival in September 2009. It will release in spring 2010 and is distributed by Area 23 A. It is set for an limited theatrical release begins on 23 April in Alamo Drafthouse and ends on 23 July 2010 in the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I ride the bus to work every morning with two pals who work for the same big university that I do. We always meet at the back of the bus so that we can sit in an L-shape and have a reasonably normal conversation (where one person isn't having to turn around constantly or crane her neck).
Yesterday morning, three high school girls boarded the bus, swinging their backpacks insouciantly, and made a beeline to the back, near us. One of them swung her backpack down on the seat behind me so that it semi-slammed into me. I said, "Ouch." But for the most part, I assumed they were just being oblivious and self-involved, the way teenagers tend to be.
As the bus ride continued, I noticed that they were pitching their voices very loud, almost like they were trying to drown out our conversation just to annoy us. The girl to my left shoved her backpack aggressively into me again. But I still couldn't quite believe it. They can't be doing this on purpose, thought I.
But they were! When their stop arrived, they flounced off, and one of them sarcastically called back to us, "Bye, ladies!"
Apparently, there is no age at which you can be absolutely safe from the jeers and taunts of bitchy teenage girls.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
The boy, Artyom Savelyev, was put on a plane by his adopted grandmother, Nancy Hansen of Shelbyville.
"He drew a picture of our house burning down and he'll tell anybody that he's going to burn our house down with us in it," she told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "It got to be where you feared for your safety. It was terrible."
AP – Mon Apr 12, 7:10 pm ET
AP NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The state Supreme Court on Monday rejected Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel's bid for a new trial in the 1975 killing of his 15-year-old neighbor, ruling that a claim implicating two other men, including a large black man, was not credible.
By DENISE LAVOIE, AP Legal Affairs Writer
QUINCY, Mass. – One of the first officers on the scene after Amy Bishop fatally shot her teenage brother in 1986 still believes "in my own heart" that it was an accident, he said Tuesday, even knowing now that the woman is charged with killing three colleagues at an Alabama university.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Mike Kepka / The Chronicle
To say that landlord James P. Quinn is unapologetic about conditions in his Tenderloin apartments is an understatement.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera has filed suit against him, and the San Francisco building and health departments have filed more than a dozen notices of violation and orders of abatement. Tenants have had issues of their own - cockroach and bedbug infestations - and have filed a civil lawsuit, claiming that some residents with medical problems have been trapped in their apartments for more than a month because the elevator doesn't work. But Quinn insists he's the victim.
"There is nothing wrong with this building," sputtered Quinn. "This is a game being played by the tenants. They are just deadbeats who are getting evicted. I don't know what you are getting so excited about."
What about the city attorney and the Building Inspection and Public Health departments?
"Don't believe what you get from those people," Quinn said. "This is just a phony, make-work thing. They're all afraid of losing their jobs. It's a regular WPA over there."
I'd defy anyone to pay a visit to 850 Geary and say there's nothing wrong. Karen Lynch, who is in a wheelchair, has a broken toilet that is flushed by pulling a string. If it catches, the toilet overflows. Her floor is warped, and she says her oven is full of cockroaches. (The city attorney's suit lists "a severe cockroach problem" in the building.) Her monthly rent is $1,203.
Her neighbors, Renee and John Valentine, say they have such a severe bedbug problem that they've sealed off their 8-year-old daughter's room in hopes of containing them. They've had it even tougher since John underwent two separate hip surgeries, one in January and one in March.
The day after his January surgery he came back to find that the elevator was broken - again. He had to scoot up five flights of stairs on his backside.
"It took about 45 minutes, maybe an hour," John said. "And I still had my sutures in my side."
The Valentines' rent is $1,193 a month.
The complaints bounce off Quinn. Court records show he's been named in dozens of lawsuits going back to 1996. Those who have dealt with him say he generally represents himself, and his defense is almost always the same - it is the tenants' fault, the claims are bogus or city agencies are making it all up. He says city officials were prowling the halls, asking if anyone had complaints, to drum up business.
"That's ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous," said attorney Scott Weaver, who is representing 11 tenants in a civil suit against Quinn. "I've interacted with the building department a fair amount, and they don't need to look for work. They're plenty busy."
The deeper you dig into the situation at the five-story, 24-unit building, the worse it sounds. The building maintenance manager, Steve Knittle, is a registered sex offender who is listed on the California Department of Justice's Megan's Law Web site. His offenses the Web site lists are rape and oral copulation with a person under 14. The San Francisco Police Department said Knittle is not violating the terms of his probation. But because Lynch, Valentine and tenant David Perdue all have young daughters, they are concerned about having Knittle in the building.
Quinn says the Department of Justice's information is incorrect.
"That was a mistake that was made 20 years ago that never got straightened out," he explains.
As for Lynch's complaint that she's been trapped in her apartment for more than a month because she's in a wheelchair and the elevator is broken, Quinn says she has only herself to blame.
"She weighs over 200 pounds," he said. "With that wheelchair, she's overloading it."
Quinn says Lynch is just a "troublemaking tenant." Clearly, this is not going to be settled with a chat over coffee. At this point, the city is making Quinn a focus of attention. Quinn obviously doesn't understand that these violations are his violations to correct.
"We are holding these owners accountable every step of the way until all the problems are solved," Herrera said.
That will almost certainly mean a brass-knuckles court case. As one attorney said, "trials happen when one side has unrealistic expectations." That sounds like Quinn.
"This better not be in the paper," he told me as we concluded our interview. "I'll sue."
Monday, April 5, 2010
"A 43-stone man found guilty of scamming restaurants out of food has escaped a jail term - because he is too fat.
"Morbidly obese George Jolicur ordered huge meals and ate most of them before complaining about the products and sending them back. He would then refuse to pay.
"In one episode he scammed five free milkshakes from a restaurant after consuming an entire drink before complaining that the milk was off.
"Jolicur, 38, was finally caught after eating almost £30 worth of jerky in a restaurant before returning the last few pieces, claiming they were mouldy. The shop owner went to police.
"When officers went to his home to arrest him, they described hearing 'what sounded like a male trying to cover his voice as a female.'
"The person told police Jolicur was not there - but policeman Jeff Sabounji then heard a woman inside the house saying: 'George, just turn yourself in.'
"On the way to prison, Jolicur, of Sandford, Florida, turned to Sabounji and said: 'The beef jerky got me.'
"He avoided jail because he is so fat the medical costs of imprisoning him would be too great. He is now bedridden, breaths with the aid of a respirator, and could not even attend court to be sentenced. Prosecutors said it would cost thousands in medical fees just to bring him before a judge.
"They offered his lawyers a plea deal that in return for avoiding prison he would plead guilty to five charges. Lawyers for Jolicur accepted thedeal and he was fined £800. Prosecutor Kyan Ware said: 'He's got his prison cell. He's not getting out of that bed.'"
Art credit: 'Jerky George Jolicoeur' by Lauri Apple [food art]
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Saw Hot Tub Time Machine yesterday and it was great! I highly recommend it. Good times! It was a "high-quality stupid movie" along the same lines as The Hangover and Role Models and I Love You, Man. I really like this new trend. It had a very similar plot structure to all those other movies, especially The Hangover--four male friends are on a road trip, and one of them drives the narrative by being unstable and displaying extremely poor judgment. In Hot Tub Time Machine, that guy is played by Rob Corddry, whose portrayal of a huge asshole is so incredibly funny. I used to love him on The Daily Show. I forgot how funny he is.
Anyway, the movie prominently featured this song by the Black Eyed Peas. I really like Fergie. I like the fact that she used to be a meth addict but then she managed to pull herself together, and I like how she's not really the prettiest girl but makes up for it with personality and sex appeal and charisma. Let's get it started in here!
Friday, April 2, 2010
Here's what I don't get, though...How did they know the whale was named Larry??:
When Southern California surfer Jodie Nelson set out Sunday to standup-paddle nearly 40 miles from Santa Catalina Island to Dana Point, she hoped it'd inspire her best friend, who has been involved in a long and exhausting struggle with breast cancer, to keep fighting.
Nelson, 34, whose mother and aunt are cancer survivors, also hoped her nine-hour test of endurance would raise money for two cancer charities and heighten awareness about a plight affecting millions of women.What Nelson could not have known was that a 30-foot minke whale would swim alongside her 14-foot board and accompany the surfer as she stood and paddled for two of those nine hours, thus joining the cause.
"It was a day that all of us involved will never forget," Nelson said, in reference to Angela Robinson, her best friend, and the rest of a crew aboard an escort boat. Minke whales are not commonly seen off Southern California, and those spotted by boaters are often elusive. So when a mammal Nelson named Larry joined her endeavor to become the first woman to make this long paddle, she took it as a sign.
"To me it was a total God thing," the San Clemente resident said. "We prayed at 4 that morning that God would reveal his beauty and creation and nature, and allow me to endure this long trek, so for me it's not such a huge surprise that this happened." Larry did not merely swim close to Nelson. He rolled around repeatedly alongside her and blew bubbles beneath her board. A film crew was on the escort boat and CNN, Fox News and ABC are just some of the networks she says are interested in the story and footage.
Alisa Schulman-Janiger, an American Cetacean Society whale researcher, said minke whales can be friendly but added: "This type of quality encounter is highly unusual." Nelson raised only about $6,000 in advance of the paddle, disappoingtingly short of her target of $100,000 for the Keep a Breast Foundation and Boarding for Breast Cancer. A few of her celebrity friends let her down, she said, but when this story reaches a national audience she expects the pool to grow considerably.
"I thought, 'I don't need so-and-so,' " she said of a particular celebrity, whom she declined to name. "Because I honestly feel like Larry is going to help us reach the $100,000 mark with our fundraising effort."
Larry or no Larry, completing a standup paddle over 39.8 miles of ocean and sharks speaks volumes about Nelson's strength, stamina and determination. Larry took her mind off the task for two magical hours, but her mind never strayed from the cause. "I can't even begin to compare what I did to what cancer patients are going through," she said. "But I wanted to put myself out there in a dangerous and scary, overwhelming situation; something that was big and just to show people that you can win that battle with that big, scary thing called cancer. "I wanted to draw some kind of parallel and just encourage people to keep fighting."
Those wanting to help Jodie with her mission can do so via her page on the Keep a Breast Foundation website.