Thailand Trip

I have now been to two foreign countries, Mexico and Thailand. Very far from the suburbs.

Thailand was amazing. I loved how gracious the people were. There was a slightly more intense pace in Bangkok as opposed to Ko Phi Phi Island (Krabi) but the constant was grace. They never want to lose their cool or worse yet, cause someone else to “lose face”. Homeless encampments do not seem to exist there. But can really see the income disparity in Bangkok, with plenty of luxury outposts alongside tin sided shanties along the Chao Praya River.

I stayed right along the river at the Mandarin Oriental, which was amazing. I want to go back there one day again soon.  Phi Phi Island Village was simply beautiful, with warm days and nights (but not too bad while I was there. I got lucky). Spent a day in Tonsai Bay too. Fun place to shop, eat and pick up other stuff. (Yes, I found cannabis near a taxi stand and well, it was cheap and good enough for me.)

Here are just a few photos. It was always a little foggy as they were coming out of the rainy season at that time (November) and not the best camera on my phone, but you get the idea!

Have you been to Asia or Southeast Asia? What sort of things did you procure? Bring back? Leave behind? Tell me your story please in the comments below.


Chap book release party Feb. 10 7pm Liminal Spaces Oakland CA

Renowned writer Ginger Murray has been selected as a featured reader at the Digging for Pony Chap Book Release Party at LIMINAL, a community writing space for women (3037 38th Ave, Oakland, CA 94619) on Friday, February 10, 2017 from 7 to 10pm. (18 and over. Donation optional).

Murray, also of Oakland, CA is the editor-in-chief of Whore! Magazine. She is also a “performance storyteller” and writer. She has appeared just about everywhere and done seemingly everything. An “avid lover of bad girls, radical idiots, and thinkers”. She “delights in wild expressions, stories, and the adventures of sublime chaos”.

Justine tenZeldam, blogger and consultant, has released her first book of poetry, prose and photographs. Digging for Pony is now on sale on with a 25% off discount code of X6XUPBW9 available for pre-orders by attendees now. The author will be personally signing copies at the event.

Self-published, Digging For Pony covers a period in the writer’s life when she was breaking loose from old ideas, patterns and from a long career in advertising sales. tenZeldam also has a background in publishing and events promotion and non-profit development.

Most of the writing in Digging for Pony is adult oriented, with the disclaimer of NSFW applicable. tenZeldam’s nickname is “Badd Gramma” after all. (She is a grandmother, actually, and a good one according to said children.)

In addition to tenZeldam, Cheral Stewart of Oakland, CA will be reading erotica from her upcoming novel, with entertainment by Nikki Borodi and partner providing some ambient Acrolele entertainment.

Also a featured reader that night, Gina Goldblatt, Founder and Creative Director of LIMINAL, will be serving tasty beverages to support the community programs they offer. There will also be a raffle, and donations of prizes are currently being sought.

For more information see the Facebook event page at

You may also contact Justine via email at

Or visit her BLOG


Oakland Pride 2016

This is a day when Oakland shines, and shine it did for 2016. Here are a couple of fun photos. I had my face painted by the uber-talented Nikki Borodi outside our newest “Gay Bar” The Port. The young man with the wings was a stand-out but I did not get his name. We’ll just call him the super cute rainbow-winged man. It’s a great time to be alternative in Oakland.

PS Here’s another incarnation of Nikki. What a talented singer, songwriter, dancer, producer. Sexy. And it’s funny to boot!!

Parov Stelar at The Fox Oakland

Finally made it to a show at the Fox and what a blast. Literally. If you have a “floor” ticket, you’ll be right up front where the AC blows up from the floor. Wear a skirt and you can dance for hours.

The atmosphere of the restored theater is amazing. The people who work there are cool too. Friendly and welcoming. They have a smoking area, but honestly, by the end of the night the theater was so full of marijuana smoke you didn’t need to go outside or light up.

I couldn’t quite figure out where/why all the European hipsters came from. Stelar is from Austria, but that seemed like a stretch. Then, it was revealed … they were on their way to Coachella. cleaopanther

But, the Fox was their first West Coast performance ever. Quite an honor for Oakland and those who love electro swing, rock and just plain good dance music.

Not just your average DJ, Stelar is a skilled producer and brought together an amazing team of musicians and a lead singer that was positively entrancing. And that voice! Her name is Cleo Panther (and she was as lovely as we imagine Cleopatra to have been). And, such energy!

After the concert, I hopped on the 40 bus and went home by myself. Perhaps next time they come to the US they will have a night off and we can have an after party at my place. Hey – a grrl can dream, right?!


Morning existentialism anyone?

Last night I dreamed an old housemate of mine had returned. Everything was arranged in such a lovely way, but underneath it all was filth*. Not exactly like this photo, but I’ve had a few like that, too.

Isn’t that so often how we find ourselves living? Displaying shiny, happy, false fronts. Covering up our guilt and shame. Especially when we’re young. filthy kitchen

Like most of growing up in the 1970’s, I had a Mother and a Father in the home. Even though they didn’t do a great job at protecting me from certain aspects of the “real world” they did give me lots of real-world skills for getting by in life. They taught me what’s important to keep clean, and how.

Several of my young housemates/boarders have been “latch-key” kids and it shows. It can be sad, but with the right individual, it can be inspiring too. Watching someone come into their own, without the benefit of a “proper upbringing” is pretty amazing.It takes a lot of perseverance and a willingness to fuck up.

My parents were smart, funny and beautiful. They were also well educated, well read and well mannered. They took great pride in that, I think. Maybe too much, but that’s the American way – compare your selves to others. The “best” one wins, in the form of money and prestige, right?

I always wanted to please those in authority, so it could be tough to admit mistakes. But, it got easier. Becoming a Mother does that. You’re so afraid you’ll make mistakes, you’re looking for ways you might have screwed things up! You ask for help. You seek advice. And, all of that and who surrounds you forms who you are are.

I like to attempt to quantify things. Even people, feelings, etc. So, I’m starting to wonder if the ratio of nature to nurture is not 50/50 and it’s more like 60/40 or 90/10. After all, I feel like the same person as a 51 year old grandmother, as I did at age 14 when my parents “wanted to put me in a cage” (their refrain for decades afterward).

What percentage of your upbringing do you think formed who you are? Do you value family tradition or individualism? And, do you think any of it really matters (i.e. where do you believe you are going after death?).

Just a few questions for my readers on a Wednesday morning.Thanks for diving in.


* (Note: I am not speaking of a lovely young woman with the initials BK).

Bootstrap it! Or, “The Ranch – New drivel from Netflix”

Recently read an interview of Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson on their new show The Ranch.

I gotta ask why. And, why now?! Why do we need another show about hyper-masculine, bearded men that panders to that very demographic of dinosaurs? One that encourages us to grab a beer or whisky (mentioned twice for future product placement pitches no doubt) and to unbuckle the belts on our big fat American bellies?

Their struggle? How to get their act together in a world that makes it difficult for so many. I also take exception to this idea, generally perpetuated by white men, that people can “get back on their feet” without help. In what world is that NOT the gold standard? Being able to “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps”?! That’s all one ever hears in this demographic!

So guys, I’ve got news from you. For those who were born barefoot, or have had the straps on their boots torn off, it’s not possible without help. And, very few of us have that Sam Elliot type of Daddy Protector these two characters have. Just ask any Mama.