Thursday, March 31, 2005

the world will never be nearly as funny... Posted by Hello

mitch in heaven?

Don't believe the hype. Mitch is immortal...

Apparently, I need to explain. Big Chris is confused. Mitch Hedberg is pretty much my favorite comedian. He's a genius, a god, a gifted soul who, if you've been reading my blog Cullen, I've written about a lot. Apparently, he died yestersday. I ripped this article off from the Minneapolis Star Tribune...

St. Paul-born comedian Mitch Hedberg, a cult favorite on college campuses, died Wednesday in Livingston, N.J., while traveling between shows.
Pending the medical examiner's report, the cause of death appears to be heart failure, his mother, Mary Hedberg, said Thursday.
She said Hedberg was born with a heart defect and spent much of the first year of his life receiving treatment at the University of Minnesota. He frequently felt anxious about his condition and reported heart palpitations, she said, but "it was determined to be something that would be fine as long as he stayed within the reaches of normalcy."
She characterized speculation that his death was drug-related as "gossiping. We don't know that for a fact," but added: "It's not a secret Mitch used drugs. Whether that played a role in his death or not, we don't know."
Jokes about Hedberg's drug use were a staple of his act and he took a several-month hiatus from performing after a May 2003 arrest in Austin, Texas, for felony possession of heroin.
His busy touring schedule had become erratic. In mid-March, his performance at the University of Maryland was described in the school newspaper as "unprepared and rushed," with Hedberg reading his act from notes onstage. A week later he failed to appear for a five-day engagement at Richmond, Va.'s Funny Bones comedy club, calling night after night to cancel each performance, according to the club's spokesperson, Jessi Plucknett***
Mary Hedberg, who spoke with her son on Saturday, said "he was struggling" but appeared to be "OK."
A hit on Letterman
A hit on "The Late Show With David Letterman," on which he appeared 10 times, and "The Howard Stern Show," Hedberg once was dubbed "the next Seinfeld" by Time magazine. But TV-series fame eluded him because his unique style of mumbled one-liners didn't lend itself to the sitcom format. His rambling, mumbling non-sequitur style often drew comparisons to Steven Wright, but Hedberg disagreed.
"If I made potato chips and put them in a can, people would say I was ripping off Pringles," he said. "But what if I put them in a bag?"
Hedberg had two popular comedy CDs, "Strategic Grill Locations" and "Mitch All Together," acted in Cameron Crowe's movie "Almost Famous" -- smoking fake pot with Peter Frampton -- and appeared on Fox's hit series "That '70s Show."
Drawing on kitchen jobs that he held before becoming a performer, he wrote, directed, produced and acted in the slacker comedy "Los Enchiladas," filmed at St. Paul's Boca Chica restaurant and the Maplewood Mall. The film was featured at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival.
He was held in high regard among his peers. "He was the greatest comedian ever," said his close friend, Doug Stanhope of cable TV's "The Man Show," who recently opened for Hedberg.
Heroin in the green room
Hedberg's act often alluded to drinking and drug use.
"I used to do drugs. I still do drugs. But I used to, too," he often said, adding, "Alcoholism is the only disease you can get yelled at for having."
Comedian Scott Hansen, a former club owner who gave Hedberg his first booking at the St. Paul Comedy Gallery, said he caught Hedberg shooting heroin in the green room at his club in 1994.
Louis Lee, owner of Minneapolis's Acme Comedy Co. said he had seen deterioration in Hedberg's work in recent years. At the 2004 Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, "he just destroyed the audience at the 8 p.m. show," Lee said. "Then at the midnight show, he had completely lost his timing. A genius like him can destroy himself so easily."
Painfully shy onstage, Hedberg hid behind a curtain of long hair. He wore dark glasses and kept his eyes closed while performing.
Dave Mordal of Elk River, a finalist on the broadcast-TV reality show "Last Comic Standing," said that Hedberg appeared to be struggling with "his own special brand of demons" on the occasions they worked together.
"He had these horrible demons that were eating at him. He wouldn't communicate," Mordal said. "He pulled into himself, and the more successful he became, the more he pulled in."
His mother said, "Mitch had a high anxiety level." Before going onstage, "he would worry. He worried about the fact that he wasn't 100 percent normal."
Increasing stress
Minneapolis music manager Steph Elmer, who performed in "Los Enchiladas" and remained in contact with Hedberg over the years, said that after his career began to accelerate, his shyness increased.
"I don't think he expected the overwhelming stress of touring, and the expectation for a comedian to always be funny," Elmer said.
She recalled his warm greeting for members of the film's crew at a performance several years after the shoot. He walked through the auditorium afterward, remembering faces and giving everyone a hug and thanks for coming.
"Everybody loved him," she said.
Hedberg, 37, attended St. Paul's Johnson High School and graduated from Harding High School -- "the Loser School," he called it, according to Hansen, "but he would always go back there and they would point to him as someone who came out of there and really did something with his life."
Discussing his heroin arrest in an October interview with Las Vegas Weekly, Hedberg said, "As far as what I've learned, I guess it's to stay as far under the radar as possible. I mean, I've definitely learned over the years that you can't do copious amounts of drugs and stay alive. That's not going to happen."
He is survived by his wife, comedian Lynn Shawcroft., his father and mother, Arne and Mary Hedberg of St. Paul, and sisters Wendy Brown of Woodbury and Angie Anderson of South St. Paul.
Visitation will be 4 to 8 p.m. Monday and 10 to 11 a.m. Tuesday at Wulff Woodlane Mortuary, 2195 Woodlane Dr., Woodbury, with a service at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Ambrose Catholic Church, 4125 Woodbury Drive, Woodbury.

***Apparently not. The year is now 2006 and Jessi's taken the time to e-mail me and correct me on that one. I don't know why she told that to some reporter in Minneapolis and then writes me a year later to ammend it, but I don't really care either way. So he didn't call night after night. Okay? Whatever. He's still dead and I'm still sad about it. But I gotta say, I love how seriously people take this blog thing.
Rock on, Jessi! Keep reading!

holy shit...

Well, apparently yesterday’s run in with my potential ex-husband prepped me for today’s run in with the fucking hot Sausalito PD. Today, I’m even more dressed to the nines because I’m Zoe’s date to a private shindig at Tosca hosted by the Mayor’s Office. Gavin will be in attendance, so I have to look stunning. After schmozzing with Gavster, Zoe’s dragging me to meet some internet billionaire she wants to fix me up with, so I’m killing two birds with this outfit.
When I walk Emma, I never pick up her poo. I know it’s rude to leave it lying around, but there are just some things I won’t do. I’ve been dog-sitting Emma for years and years and not once have I pooper scooped. Not once. So here we are, Emma and I, strolling along in kitten heels and my ever present shades and who should pull up but a police cruiser. Inside are 2 stunning coppers, their tan muscles bulging through their little shirts. They slowed down as they neared us and rolled down the windows.
All I could think to myself was, “Use normal voice, use normal voice, use normal voice…” But I didn’t have to worry.
The hottest cop spoke. “Hey. Good morning.”
“Hi!” I enthusiastically responded in my natural voice.
Then, as if I was in an episode of Punked or similar, he smiled and said, “I have to tell you, you look beautiful.”
Holy shit. This is fabulous. In a rare moment of wit, I replied wryly, “You talking’ to me or the dog?”
The cops laughed, and the hottest one reached out to pet Emma. With that, my beloved canine companion decides to take a highly illegal shit in the middle of the road.
The tides suddenly turn. The other cop pipes up, “You gotta doggie bag for that?”
“Um, no. I don’t.”
Hot cop is now slightly irked. “You know, you’re supposed to clean up after your dog. Someone’s going to step in that.”
“Yeah. I know. I feel terrible. I’m entirely unprepared.”
“Well, next time, bring a doggie bag.” And with that, off the cruise, rolling their eyes at the well accessorized woman who lets her dog shit all over town. You know, next time, I’m going to walk Emma dressed like ass, covered in doggie bags and men’s clothing. God damn it, a girl just can’t catch a break…

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

turns out, i'm not so cute...

I’m currently house-sitting at Judy’s stunning Sausalito estate, spending time with my favorite dog Emma. This morning, I got dressed for work, grabbed the leash, and took Emma out for our morning stroll. I’m pretty dressed up for work today, and if I may say so, am looking quite fabulous.
As Emma and I walked past mansions and luxury vehicles, overlooking the sparkling Bay below us, I caught a glimpse of us in the window of a Cayenne. With my huge Euro sunglasses and pure bred dog, I could have walked right out of a magazine. I was really getting a kick out of myself, strutting through Sausalito imagining my own personal soundtrack and breaking into the supermodel runway walk.
Occasionally, a fellow dog walker or jogger would pass, and I’d do the obligatory nod and good morning, fully aware that they were thinking to themselves, “Damn, this girl is fabulous at 8am. How on earth does she do it?”
Normally, I walk Emma in sweats and windbreakers, make up-less and hideous. That’s when I’ll inevitably run into cute boys I know or old friends of my parents, shocked at how ugly I’ve become. On mornings like this, I knew I was destined to walk Emma alone, my gorgeousness continually missed by the millions I was so desperate to see me. Or was I?
Suddenly, from around the corner, jogs the hottest guy I have ever seen in my life. I mean, seriously. This guy was a god, clad in designer running duds with a flawless tan. He looks up at me, catches a glimpse of my obvious marvelousness, slows down, smiles and says hello.
I smile and say, “Good Morning.” But for whatever reason, I didn’t use my normal voice. So caught up in the moment, I created a voice which can only be described as a cross between a phone sex worker and Kathleen Turner, with a hint of British accent and impending orgasm. It sounded ridiculous, like a dog sitter who thought she was far more fabulous than she actually was. Stunning man immediately laughed- out loud and at me- and then ran on, without asking for my number, without inviting me to dinner at Poggio, without mentioning how fucking incredible I looked.
Even Emma was embarrassed for me, humiliated by our encounter with what could have been my future husband. We walked on in silence, the imaginary soundtrack gone, my walk a little more humble. It seems that no matter how great I think I look, how charming I happen to find myself, I will always, always, always fuck it up by opening my mouth…

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

this is the business we've chosen...

Zoe made a lovely dinner for us last night and afterwards, we baked cookies and watched the Growing Up Gotti marathon on A&E. In case you’re unfamiliar, Growing Up Gotti is a reality show about Victoria Gotti, daughter of mobster John Gotti, and her 3 teenage sons, Carmine, John, and Frankie. Victoria, in addition to living off the family racketeering fortune, is a gossip columnist for some supermarket tabloid and an F-list celebrity. They live in a grotesque, Greco Roman mansion somewhere on Long Island and surround themselves with a collection of hangers-on and mafia posers.
This is quite possibly the most guido family to exist. With an entourage including Luigi the Italian handyman and “Quack Quack” the chaperone, the Gotti family (the boys are from Victoria’s failed marriage to the currently incarcerated Carmine Agnello Sr.) throw parties, date broads, and steal each other’s hair gel. It’s fabulous and after every episode, I end up talking like Victoria, screaming at my imaginary dago sons and trying to make pasta sauce.
I’m a big fan of organized crime and I’ve always maintained I’d be a fantastic mafia wife, popping out male heirs and strutting around The Ravenite Social Club in full length furs and ridiculous diamonds. I really could tolerate the mistresses, the jailhouse visits, and the houseful of made men playing poker and eating cannoli. I firmly believe that the mafia isn’t all that bad, not fucking with you until you fuck with them. Terrified of sleeping with the fishes? Don’t piss off the don. It’s not that complicated. And really, without la cosa nostra, we’d have no Frank Sinatra, no JFK and no Vegas.
My favorite part of Growing Up Gotti is the way they all speak to each other, in barely unintelligible grunting or hysterical wide-eyed screaming. Last night, the 17 year old middle brother, John, hollered over a monstrous floral arrangement at Luigi’s lady friend, “The sausage ain’t fa Luigi, doll. It’s fa you.”
I must admit, Carmine is my favorite Gotti Hottie (That’s actually what they call themselves. really because I like perfecting my Long Island accent, yelling “Carmine, if I told ya once, I told ya a thousand times. Ya can’t wear a white tie wit a black shirt.”
I imagine Carmine and I living next door to his mother with our 3 sons, Carmine Jr, Angelo, and Sal climbing amongst the ostentatious naked statues at the front of our estate, a sparkling diamond in each toddler’s ear. I’d have a huge closet of colorful clothing and a jewelry box full of gaudy baubles, repentance gifts for each time I catch Carmine cheating with the big-haired waitress at Guido’s House of Oregano. I’ll volunteer my time at charitable Italian American organizations and dutifully attend mass, dragging my cocky, ill-behaved boys with me.
So my husband has a brood of illegitimate children and Amy Fisher-esque girlfriends showing up periodically. So my nights will be spent bailing uncles and cousins out of jail, hocking my best fur so Uncle Ray-Ray doesn’t have to spend the night in the slammer.
It's worth it. I mean, my god, these people are fabulous. Do yaself a fava. Watch it.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

reggie vs. kenny...

After my father’s birthday dinner in Sausalito, I headed back into the city to meet Jason for drinks. We decided upon The Liberties on Guerrero because it wasn’t nearly as crowded as The Lone Palm. Or at least that’s what Jason claimed. I think he merely sensed action at the Liberties. I arrived to find him seated at a table, my red wine already waiting for me. As I sat down, he leaned in and said, “I think there was almost a fight.”
“No shit? Between who?”
Jason explained that when he arrived and ordered our drinks, a gentleman at the bar began chatting Jason up and introduced himself as “Reggie.” Apparently, Reggie had just exchanged less than kind words with a white-trash looking fellow wearing a construction company t-shirt and basketball shorts. White trash was accompanied by another hooligan and 2 scantily clad young ladies who fashion themselves the poor man’s Paris and Nicky Hilton. In Reggie’s corner was his brother, a flawlessly dressed fellow who bore a striking resemblance to Mos Def, right down to the pashmina, hat and designer trench coat.
Jason and I got to talking about bar fights, Jason’s biggest brawl being when he pulled an drunk Asian lady off his friend. The whole time we’re talking, Jason keeps looking at white trash, going “I know that guy. I swear I know that guy.”
Finally, it hits him. “It’s Kenny! It’s Kenny. I know him. I hired him for a kitchen remodel! Oh my god, I totally know him. That’s Kenny. He‘s a complete asshole.”
It is literally exactly at this point that Reggie and Kenny dive at each other, the melee working itself to the back of the bar and behind some wall. A crowd forms as Jason and I crane our necks to catch every inch of this fabulous fracas. Suddenly, Reggie, as if on a Slip N’ Slide, flies spread eagle on his belly from behind the wall until he lands under the bar. Mos Def enthusiastically joins the rumble as Kenny’s dates remain blissfully oblivious at the other end of the room, deep in a conversation about flavored lip gloss or Lindsey Lohan’s bangs.
It was a decent fight, involving lots of screaming Irish woman, people running back and forth through the bar and grunted unintelligible expletives. In all honesty, bar fights make me nervous. I’m convinced that someone will suddenly break a barstool over my head or find a way to drag me into the action I want nothing to do with. But Kenny and his crew where kicked out, the bar erupting into thunderous applause as they left. I went to get more drinks as Jason got the scoop from a gal named Sarah who seemed to know the gory details of the dispute. Reggie, as I soon found out, takes it upon himself to say hello to anyone who approaches the bar, and Kenny, actively maintaining the white trash stereotype, somehow took this to be a homosexual come-on.
Cue fisticuffs...

Friday, March 25, 2005

happy birthday, daddy...

My father is the most devoted father ever to exist. He calls me daily, he showers me with praise and presents, he relishes my successes and bails me out when I inevitably fuck up. So today, on his 58th birthday, I will tell you my favorite story about my dad.
When I turned 10, I had 13 of my best girlfriends over for a slumber party. After burgers and cake, talent contests and make-overs, we pulled out our sleeping bags and set up 14 little beds in the living room. By 2am, we were still up, giggling and telling ghost stories by the huge crackling fireplace.
It is at this time that my father decides to come downstairs to get something from the kitchen, dressed in nothing but a t-shirt and tighty whities. The kitchen can be accessed without going through the living room, so I guess his plan was to sneak in and sneak out, grabbing some water, some cookies, or some brandy, depending on his mood.
Having no idea my father was in the kitchen, we snuggled around the living room, regaling each other with the most disgusting and gory tales our pre-teen adolescent minds could muster. My parent’s house is pretty scary anyway, an old wooden beast perched on top of a mountain, surrounded by swaying redwoods and emitting mysterious creaks and moans at random. But, when you’re ten, surrounded by every girl you know, in a creepy old house in the middle of the night, we’d really worked ourselves into a nervous giggling frenzy.
Meanwhile, in the kitchen, my father has decided to silently attempt to clean, 409-ing the counters and putting bills away at my mother’s desk. He opens the top desk drawer and to his apparent dismay, finds a mouse.
Back in the living room, in the midst decapitation and slasher stories, 14 girls suddenly hear hysterical screams coming from the kitchen. Hoots and hollers, cookbooks flying, pots and pans smashing to the floor, expletives and loud grunting all suddenly erupt from within the kitchen. All of us immediately begin screaming at the top of our lungs and collectively yet hesitantly run into the kitchen, terrified and convinced we were being attacked by satanic serial killers.
There we find my father- in his underwear- attempting to beat a mouse to death with the serrated side of a Saran Wrap box.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

i'd rather be in modesto...

Zoe and I went to Ikea last weekend to select furnishings for her new room, a pre-designed princess palace of pink and black. In a stroke of genius, we decide to hit Ikea on a Saturday at noon, perhaps because the East Bay isn’t appalling enough. After spending hours driving amongst thousands of late model minivans in the parking lot, we enter the massive structure into what can only be described as an airplane hangar filled with poorly dressed children and negligent parents.
As mom and dad haggled over crappily made Swedish coffee tables, doomed to fall to pieces the second one throws the requisite art book upon it, their numerous spawn ran wild, knocking over CD towers and ripping apart paper lanterns. I believe I saw one little creature pick his nose and delicately place a booger upon a bright yellow futon, silently congratulating himself on camouflaging his sin. It was as if people thought of Ikea as some sort of gratis day care for parents who are desperate to ignore their dreadful children without getting arrested. As I rolled my eyes at an entire family of 6 using one of the staged living rooms as a personal relaxation space, I noticed a handicapped man had been rolled to a corner and fallen asleep. Why not simply crawl into one of the beds if you’re so tired? At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised to see gang members having sex in one of the kitchen units, surrounded by a captive audience of fascinated children, their parents off selecting framed photos of Gerber daisies and highly recognizable international icons.
I found myself reverting to childlike behavior as well, whining to Zoe. “When can we go?” “I hate these people!” “Everything is so tacky!”
Suddenly, I discovered why kids acted this way. Zoe opens her Coach bag, hands me a 20 dollar bill and says, “Go get us cinnamon buns.”
I grab the 20 and run off to the “cafĂ©”, pushing snot-filled offspring out of my path as I forced my way down the line of thousands, all desperate for a Swedish delicacy such as meatballs, hot dogs, or the highly coveted cinnamon bun.
Finally, out of retail hell and into Rhonda the Honda, we sped off into the Emeryville ghetto. Lost amidst abandoned buildings and desolate train tracks, Zoe finally pipes up and suddenly, as if it’s some original thought she just had, says, “God, the East Bay fucking sucks.”
What? You can’t be serious. What makes you say that? Oh and by the way, I think you just drove over a hobo…

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

if i had a hammer...

I hate my handyman. I hate him, I hate him, I hate him. He begins our tumultuous relationship by calling me at 7:03am and acting as if that were a perfectly reasonable time to call. He then blows me off for weeks, which is fine by me. The longer I can keep him out of my house, the better. I am NOT down with strangers digging through my room, especially when I’m not there, and then reporting back to my father on their findings, even if it IS just regarding tiling and flooring and painting.
Today, the bumbling handyman finally gets around to calling me and claims to be coming by my house in “an hour or so.” Uh, I’m at work, rocket scientist. And I need 24 hours to emotionally and aesthetically prepare myself and my home. My room is a mess of bras and fashion magazines, my sheets a crumpled pile of the clothes I debated wearing this morning and then thought better of. I do not simply open my doors at a moment’s notice on the whims of the suburban yokle who’s never heard of advance scheduling. He is being respectful of neither my time nor my space.
We are now at war.
I assure you, Round 3 is going to a whole different ballgame. Bring it on, Johnny Toolbelt...

Monday, March 21, 2005

hmmmm. whatever...

I have parties all the time, convincing myself that my shindigs are the most fabulous and entertaining events in all of San Francisco. I drag random friends from various circles, forcing them to attend what I’m convinced will be the best soiree of all time. I so adore being a hostess that I rarely get to experience the other side and actually attend someone else’s party as a guest. That changed on Friday.
Darren is one of my favorite people alive, a rare combo of amazingly cool and straight. He is one of my closest friends who listens to my boy troubles, lets me pick out his clothes, and dutifully attends each and every party I throw. Darren’s become quite the party host himself and tends to throw his massive get-togethers whenever I happen to be away. Finally, this past Friday, Darren had a party and I was hell bent on making it. I dragged Andy and Amanda with me, picked up a case of beer, and headed over there.
Darren is a high school math teacher and lives in the Sunset, in a massive one bedroom apartment he let me decorate. We arrived to find it packed with strangers, who when introduced to us, all stopped what they were doing, looked up at us disappointedly, and then quickly looked away. Hmmmm. Whatever.
We followed Darren into the kitchen where he had a huge bar set up, complete with laminated menu of specialty cocktails. As I sipped my divine cosmopolitan, the doorbell rang. This time, when Darren introduced the new guests to the group, they were greeted with hoots and hollers, high fives and ass-slaps. Hmmmm. Whatever.
Andy, Amanda and I set up shop in the corner and proceeded to be ignored by everyone, which we found hilarious. Our exclusion was compounded by the fact that on the huge flatscreen, Darren had set up a PowerPoint slideshow of past party pics, in which we were noticeably absent. Clearly, Darren had a consistent group of hardcore yet slightly uptight party pals and with each party photo, we’d politely listen to story after drunken party story. I began to wonder to myself, is this what it’s like at my parties? Hmmmm. Whatever.
At this point, after making many attempts to interact with the other guests, Andy, Amanda and I gave up, claimed the couch, and proceed to make fun of everyone. Before you begin to judge our immediate need to mock, keep in mind that I literally walked up to 4 (four!) groups of gals in an attempt to blend and was systematically snubbed by each and every one. Amanda and I decided it was because we were so cute.
On the couch, with drinks in hand and pizza being passed, we snidely pointed out the albino with the harelip and rolled our eyes at the drunken skank who kept knocking over the Easter candy display (don’t ask.) I’m sure that simulatiously, every other group was snickering about us; the anti-social overdressed fag hags and requisite queen downing vodka and appearing superior. Or maybe they’re far less insecure and were merely having a good time in spite of us. Hmmmm. Whatever.
It is at this point that the spitting image of actor Jeremy Piven comes over and attempts to speak to all of us as a means of zeroing in on Amanda. His name is Aaron and he works at the high school with Darren. Aaron was drunk, Aaron was obnoxious and Aaron had no idea he’s walked into a threesome desperate for some action. Thus, Aaron became our sudden means of entertainment.
We convinced him that Amanda had just been cast in a TV sitcom pilot, a 6 episode run for Paramount that may or may not get picked up. With such illustrious guest stars as Jon Lovitz (cast as the wacky professor), Amanda was sure to be a huge star, what with her immense talent as both an actress and tap dancer. Amanda played it off beautifully, flanked on either side by Andy and myself constantly throwing in tidbits about agents and West Hollywood apartment hunting. Aaron, so convinced that Amanda was primed for immediate stardom invited her to his open mike night, and she promised to exchange e-mail addresses with him before we departed. Fabulous!
Andy was now delighted with the party, squealing to himself, “Oh, let’s do it again. I want to be a cop this time!” It is at this point that we noticed a new guest. Clad in a sports jersey of some sort, he was engrossed in conversation with the hare-lipped albino and as he chatted, he rested his shoeless foot atop a kitchen chair and put his elbow on his knee, kinda like an old cowboy.
Andy leaned over, “Check out Captain Morgan over there.”
Captain Morgan was wearing grey socks and across the foot was knitted a pair of red chilies and the words “Hot Chilies!” The “Hot Chilies!” was made exceptionally noticeable by the propped up foot he insisted on displaying Captain Morgan style. Our focus then became the constant monitoring of the ups and downs of this guy’s chili clad foot upon the chair, each movement sending us into fits of hysteria.
Darren came over to rescue us and we filled him in on both Captain Morgan’s chili feet and our fabulous lie to Jeremy Piven. Darren, god bless him, charmingly laughed at us, refilled our drinks, and sent over his little British marine biologist girlfriend to keep us behaved. Sophie and Darren have been dating for a month, so after telling her all the wonderful things about Darren we could think of, we asked her all about herself. Considering our mood, this was probably a mistake as she began to speak at length on the less than fascinating subject of captive versus wild dolphins. Hmmmmm. Whatever.
Finally, having stayed well past our limit, we excused ourselves and departed. I don’t think anyone even noticed, save Jeremy Piven who grabbed Amanda and inquired as to her e-mail. “Oh, I’m just going to have a cigarette…” she lied as we ran down the stairs and into the rain.
As we drove home, I thought of my past parties and played the odds that many of them may very well have sucked. I cringed at the thought of my beloved friends driving home just as I now was, relieved that they could finally leave. I promised myself that every party from henceforth would be the most extraordinary, all-inclusive marvelous event any of my guests had ever attended. But again. Play the odds.
Either way you cut it, I was glad that I finally made it to one of Darren’s parties. Although, I think it’s safe to say, I won’t be a featured star on the next PowerPoint party slideshow. Hmmmmm. Whatever.

Friday, March 18, 2005


Ah, St. Patrick’s Day. It would be wrong, being an entire 25% Irish, to not go out. Last night, after yet another forced death march on the elliptical trainer, I threw on some green (well, army green and jade earrings) and headed down to Doc’s.
You never know what’s going to happen at Doc’s Clock, although the result is always unexpected. During my stay, I experienced the following:

1. Joe’s insistence on having a screaming match with the bartendress.

2. Bonnie’s insistence on running around and adding drops of green food coloring to everyone’s drinks. Thank God I didn’t order Cabernet.

3. John’s insistence of photographing Bonnie and my boobs, with the reassuring promise of “Don’t worry. They’re not face shots.”

I was a little frightened that John would post said pictures of his blog, so I sent him an e-mail expressing this fear and a desire for a percentage of any money my boobs make him. I received the following e-mail in response:

dear beth,
On the status of your aforementioned pictures, I regret to inform you that
your request has been denied on both accounts. Your pictures will be
posted on the internet, and you will not be paid royalties.

Suck it.

--ragingkegger photo team.

doc's clock on st. patrick's day... Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 17, 2005

let's get physical...

My new roommate, Ms. Zoe, has instituted a non-optional food consumption and workout routine which I am obediently following. I shouldn’t complain as we both woke up this morning noticeably thinner.
Zoe’s making me go to new parts of the gym; sections I’ve been afraid of before, sections where men in big leather belts grunt when they lift things. It’s like working out in a prison yard.
Normally, I do my cardio and then hit the girly pink and purple leg and arm machines, near the water fountain and away from the intimidating muscley people. But Zoe has no fear, sauntering past body builders and ex-cons bench pressing small cars. Last night, she plants me in front of the mirror and has me do overhead arm curls with two 10lb. weights. As I scream and bitch in agony, a huge gentleman come over, with guns the size of my thighs, motions to the 55lb. weights and politely says, “Are you using these?”
Look at me, pal. What the fuck do you think…

irate citizens...

My brother is currently the sports writer for his college paper, so I now read the online version of The Echo Times. I’ll patiently and dutifully plod through Alex’s sporting news, but my real pleasure comes from the campus security log. Here are my recent favorites:

12/06/04 Irate Citizen - A subject came to the college police office and was extremely irate at the officers. The subject accused officers of towing her vehicle away for no reason. College police calmed the subject down and explained they had not towed any vehicles. The subject thought for a moment and then remembered that she had moved her car to another parking lot earlier in the day.

I can tell that the log-writer took pleasure in writing that. I bet it’s on the security office bulletin board. Also, I like the title.

12/17/04 Arrest - College police responded to the Harlan Center on a report of a suspicious subject loitering in the area. The subject was contacted and found to be in possession of scissors with "Faculty Workroom" written on them. He was arrested for suspicion of theft of the scissors. A thorough search incident to the arrest revealed the subject also had a crack pipe, a replica handgun, and several keys with a business name on them. The subject was booked into the Marin County Jail for several charges. Police need to locate the owner of the scissors, or the charges may be dropped. Please contact the college police if you have any information about the scissors.

I like how they’re most worried about returning the scissors to the rightful owner. The crack pipe, the handgun, the stolen keys…afterthoughts. But someone somewhere (probably in the “Faculty Workroom”) is missing a pair of scissors and the College of Marin Security Force is on the case.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

i should've sang rock the boat...

Tammy and crowd were hosting a Tsunami Benefit at Martuni’s last night, so Amanda, Zoe and I headed down and joined the fun. We arrived to find Andy standing outside, chain-smoking with his date, Tom. “Hey girls. There are the ugliest drag queens I’ve ever seen in my life up in there. It’s horrifying.”
More motivated than ever, we entered the bar and made our way back to the cabaret room. Packed with an array of old work friends and tourists in puffy painted sweatshirts, 2 hideous she-he’s played electric guitars and vomited music. It was appalling. Finally finished, Tammy grabbed the mike from “it” and pitched her raffle ticket sales. God bless her, Tammy had arranged for a bunch of local companies to donate booze-related items, displayed all over the piano, and raffled them off, the proceeds going to Unicef’s Tsunami Relief. As neither Itty, Zo nor I have any money, we maintained we were there to add esthetic integrity to the event. In reality, I just wanted to hear my friends sing.
We partook of the free punch and appetizers while patiently waiting for the Ben Vereen look-alike to end his set of shitty French love songs.
Martuni’s is a funky little martini bar with a low lit piano room in the back. Most nights, a piano player tickles the ivories for anyone willing to step up to the mike. This is a big hang out for the Beach Blanket crowd, and a spot where Tammy and I spent many a late night surrounded by classically trained gay crooners and nervous talentless theater nerds.
Kathleen and Phillip made the rounds, rolling their eyes at the talent while sipping cosmos. Each time they sashayed by our table, I screamed, “Go sing a goddamn song, for crying out loud!”
I mean, I didn’t want Amanda’s introduction to all of our fabulous show biz pals to be a middle aged tax man in a bad wig and cheap lipstick singing “Material Girl.”
I needn’t have worried. Kathleen, then Phillip, and then the magnificent Tammy took over and rescued the evening. We only stayed for a couple of hours, delighted that we spent not a dime. Amanda got another “San Francisco experience”, Zoe debuted as my new roomie, and I spent yet another night in the company of trannies. I’m nothing if not consistent…

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

welcome home... Posted by Hello

informational update...

916A has a new resident...Ms. Zoe Stagg, welcome to the party.

While I'm devestated to bid farewell to dear Bonita, who is moving back to the LBC, I'm thrilled and delighted that my dear friend has moved into the pink palace. Bring on the themed parties, trashy magazine subscriptions, and influx of girly toiletries...

Saturday, March 12, 2005

help me...

A week ago, my grandmother went into the hospital complaining of extreme pain and various kidnapping attempts. She went nuts, basically, and got incredibly paranoid, convinced that people were trying to throw her in the looney bin, poison her food, and overmedicate her. For whatever reason, be it some kind of infection or medication mix up, she lost all grips on reality. And she’s spent the past week coming back to earth, as it were. She’s stopped calling 911 in the middle of the night, acknowledging to my mother that perhaps, abusing the police isn’t the best way to seek help. She speaks openly about “…when I lost my marbles last week…” and seems just as perplexed by this as the rest of us. With each day, she gets more and more rational, and everyone’s starting to relax and realize that this bout with insanity was apparently temporary.
Mom and I had a dinner date with our friend Judy last night, and mom suggested I stop by and visit my grandmother on my way over to the restaurant in Ross. “Is she going to go nuts on me?”
“Oh no.” answered my mother, with all confidence. “She’s hell bent on proving to everyone how sane she is. She will be on her best behavior.”
Thus after stalling at work for an hour and venting to Darren and Amanda on my cell as I drove over, I made it to her retirement home, The Tamalpais. Delighted to find my mother’s little beat up old convertible in front, I bid Amanda farewell and headed to the “Heath Center”, where my grandmother is being kept until she’s ready to go back to her perfectly appointed apartment. The Health Center is filled with people rolling aimlessly around in dilapidated wheelchairs and geriatrics positioned in front of public programming- a far cry from the fancy pants, social whirlwind that makes up life in the regular part of the building. As I was walking in, past the couples dressed for dinner and piano player in the lobby, I felt bad that Grandma was trapped upstairs with the crazies and infirmed. Normally, she’d be swathed in pearls, mingling between the tables in the dining room and ordering around the staff in hair nets.
I arrived at her room to find my grandmother and my mom chatting away. “Oh Hello Dear!” my grandmother screamed as I walked in. “We were just talking about you. Isn’t this marvelous!”
I had to admit, she had it together. Her hair was done and she was dressed, sitting up and dutifully writing thank you notes to all of her “ladies.” My mother had placed beautifully framed family photos and some of grandmother’s artwork around the room to help her stay oriented and feel safe. Grandma seemed to be back to normal, pointing out instantly that I looked horribly sick, although “just darling.“ There were hints of the past week, with her forgetting the occasional fact or asking 3 times what restaurant we were meeting Judy at, but for the most part, she seemed back to her old self.
We chatted about a bar I was supposed to go to after dinner, a place called CAMA, in which there were beds all over the place instead of chairs. My grandmother, shocked at the thought, asked, “Is it, you know... bisexual?”
My mother howled and finally said, “Do you mean co-ed?”
“Yes, yes,” she answered, “boys and girls?”
“Of course, Grandma. Otherwise, what's the point?”
She chucked. “Well, do they wear clothes or nightgowns?”
“We wear clothes, Grandma. You don’t get under the covers.”
“Oh, that sounds marvelous. Just marvelous.” She was going on and on, having a perfectly rational conversation with my mother and I. That’s when I noticed it.
I casually glanced down to her slippers, faux leather, off-white monstrosities covering each 91 year old foot. On the top of each shoe, scrawled in pen, was written “HELP ME.” The P’s were backwards, and she had written upside down so that her secret plea was readable to those facing her. It was bizarre to see her sitting there, chatting away, surrounded by photos and flowers, perfectly pleasant and charming but with “HELP ME” crudely written on each foot. I wanted to pull out my camera and take a picture, but thought better of it. Really, however, and in all seriousness, this is one of the most bizarre things I have ever seen in my life.
We finished our visit and headed off to dinner. “Uh mom." I said, across the table as we sipped our wine, "Her shoes?”
“Oh, we noticed that days ago. She thought no one was coming for her so she wrote “HELP ME” on her slippers. She’s perfectly over it now.”
Okay, then. I only have one more question. How long are we planning on letting her walk around with “HELP ME” scrawled on each shoe? Jesus Christ….

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

death becomes her...

I know you all think you’re sick right now. Trust me, I’m sicker than you. I’m up in the middle of the night, hurts to breathe, wearing sweatpants sick. And I never wear sweatpants. The worst thing about being so sick is that I look so horrible. I haven’t bathed, I’ve got my hair in pigtails with my bangs pulled back by a series of unruly bobby pins, I’m wearing an old hooded sweatshirt, the dreaded sweatpants, and men’s flip flops. No make-up. No jewelry. No Beth.
This isn’t the end of the world. I mean, I’m not so shallow as to think that the way I look when I’m sick really matters to anyone. I’m too ill to even care right now. My problem, however, is that when I’m horribly sick and unattractive, I happen to run into a myriad of people, all of whom are the LAST people on earth I want to see me this way.
When I’m gorgeous and fabulous, with bouncing hair, perfect shoes and a charming disposition, I’ll eye the crowd in the hopes of spotting an ex-boyfriend or the girl who made my life hell in high school. But of course, they’re never there.
You know when they are there? On days like today, when I’ve forgotten my sunglasses and must squint into the sun, brushing bobby pins out of my hair and boogers out of my nose as I wait in line for antibiotics. That’s when I hear it.
“Beth? Oh my god! Beth, is that you?” (immense, uncontrollable laughter)
Yes. Yes it is me. Are you happy? Does this give you some sense of accomplishment, seeing me at my absolute worst? Do you feel somehow better than me, standing there in designer jeans and a mask of judgment? Had you known all along that I’d wind up looking like a homeless lesbian, infirm and in line at the free clinic?
You leave me no other choice. I must retaliate with the only weapon I have. Germs.
“I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.” Cough, cough, cough…

Monday, March 07, 2005

shut up! shut up! shut up!

Because I don’t have enough to stress about right now, what with my grandmother teetering on the edge of sanity, my living situation in exciting but dramatic change, and my job completely taking over my life, the City of Mill Valley has decided to rip up the entire road in front of my office. I’m now working in a state of constant jack-hammer noise, off-set by construction workers screaming profanities and eyeing me every time I go to the copy place. We scream into the phones and crank up the KFOG but still can’t hear a thing. I now have a pounding headache, a tractor at my front door, and a permanent view of construction worker crack.

and i thought she was nuts before...

My parents, who god bless them, work very hard and deserve to do whatever they want, have taken to flying off to random locations to attend bizarre events, see certain buildings or stay at some hotel they read about. Thus, when they’re gone, I tend to show up at my folk’s house, eat their food, drink their booze, hang out with my brother, and order movies on cable. As neither Alex nor I had plans on Friday night, I headed over after work and opened a bottle of wine. Alex made a huge dinner and we sat around the TV room watching the Usual Suspects and debating the plot. I fell asleep in my parent’s huge bed and planned to tan myself on their deck the next day.
At 7:30am, the phone starts ringing. By 8:30, Alex’s cell begins to go off, shouting its annoying ring-tone over the valleys of Marin until he had no choice but to get up and answer it. From my parent’s room, I hear the following one-sided conversation:
“When did the ambulance take her?”
“No, they’re at Spring Training in Tucson.”
“Oh, uh. Okay. Well, Beth is here now, so we can go over to the hospital this morning. No, no, no, it’s no problem. Don’t worry about it. We’ll handle it.”
Alex walks into my parent’s room. “So, Grandma’s in the hospital, screaming about some kind of pain. They don’t really know what’s wrong with her, if anything. We have to go to the Emergency Room and visit her, so she knows she isn’t entirely forgotten about.”
We put on a pot of coffee, down some scones, and head out the door.
“15 minutes, Beth.” says Alex, as we walk into Marin General Emergency Room. “In and out.”
Of course, when we arrive, they’ve taken her off to get a CT scan, and she’ll be gone for half an hour. We get comfortable in her room and begin to play with the various emergency room accessories now at our disposal. Alex immediately steals some rubber gloves and begins to make strange objects d’arte with them. I peruse the heath care propaganda strewn about and discover how to work the x-ray viewing lights on the wall. Alex, needing to pee, heads to the toilet across the hall. Upon his return, he looks at me and says, “That toilet is so high off the ground, I felt like a lifeguard.”
Finally Grandma gets wheeled back in, just as we delight in the foam hand sanitizer and its fabulous scent. She’s screaming in pain, heard all the way down the halls, and is at first virtually oblivious to our presence. In between screaming at orderlies and ripping out her IV, she becomes aware of us and calms down. Sort of.
My grandmother and I have had a tumultuous relationship, sharing a love of art, booze, and the Ritz, while holding on to a constant need to judge one another. My grandmother has famously moved hors d’oeuvres away from me when she’s felt I’ve gotten too fat, or ripped up unflattering pictures of me in the middle of cocktail parties. She once insisted I change clothes before heading to dinner, only to be punished later when she introduced me to her fancy pants friends, whereupon I loudly apologized for my hideous appearance. Yvonne and I have struggled to come to an understanding and while she often drives me nuts, my grandmother is a character. And there’s nothing I like more than a character.
It took forever to get the test results, and forever to find the damn doctor. This 15 minute visit was dragging on into hour 2, and I fucking hate hospitals. The benefit to being in the emergency room, however, is that there’s no shortage of action. I saw a man vomit repeatedly in the middle of the hallway, a drunken vagrant stumble in sporting handcuffs and a collection of various maladies ranging from sprained ankles to hallucinations.
During this time, I also came to love my baby brother even more. As I am adept at grabbing doctors and relaying information to my uncle or my mother, sitting at Spring Training with an ear pressed to her cell, Alex has a talent for dealing with the horrible crap I simply can’t handle. From my grandmother announcing that she had to “wee wee” to her attempting to remove her gown, Alex dealt with it all. I would be freaking out at the dreadfulness of the situation and Alex simply took charge, reaffixing her oxygen tubes and re-explaining to her, over and over, just where she was and just what was happening.
At one point, feeling like she wanted to scream expletives in response to the pain but simply unable to bring herself to say anything other than “OUCH!” repeatedly, my grandmother instructed us to swear. We happily obliged, although when I yelled “Cunt!” down the hallway, I got the distinct impression it was time to stop.
Grandma's morphine was kicking in and she really was starting to lose it, so we said our goodbye’s, checked in with the staff, pre-apologized for any inappropriate behavior on her part, and got the fuck out of there.
The long and short of it is that no one really knows what’s physically wrong with her. Her meds could be off, she could be “mentally declining”, or she could be suffering from 91 years of gin consumption. We have no idea. She’s still in Marin General, attended to by a patient staff and my vigilant mother who called me at work this morning to vent.
“Oh, good Lord. She’s stolen a knife from her breakfast tray and is threatening the staff. Every time someone gets close, she waves it at them. She is convinced her food is poisoned and is making me test it. She thinks she’s been in here for weeks and is trying to call 911. Her greatest complaint is that her room is smaller than Martha’s cell.”
As a family, I find we rely a great deal on gallows humor. I can’t remember a funeral or deathbed or horrible tragedy where we haven’t found something to laugh at. It is quite simply the only way we know how to survive this crap. I’d do anything for my family and they’d do anything for me. That being said, when I’m 91, waving around butter knives and calling the cops for no reason, just put me in a caftan and drug me up. I think we’d all be a lot happier that way…

Friday, March 04, 2005

hey mister, can you spare 5400 dimes...

The main reason I should never even look in a store, in a window, at a catalog or even at an advertisment is that I will inevitably find something I “need.” This happened last Sunday with the Neiman Marcus insert in the Chronicle’s PaperCity. I’m sure you all saw the stunning and amazing printed silk Daslu dress in the contemporary sportswear section and were just as smitten as me. You probably even said to yourself, “Damn. You know who’d look fierce in that dress? Spots, that’s who.”
So why am I not clad in Brazilian designer silk at this very moment? Because I don’t have a spare $540 (plus tax) knocking around in last year’s handbag.
Thus, Amanda, Zoe, Big Chris and I have concocted the following options to raise the much needed funds:

1. Throw a fabulous “Buy Beth a dress” party and charge for entry, which is definitely possible and would be tremendously fun. But do the math. Why pay $20 bucks when you’ve partied with us gratis for years. This would have to be one killer party with all kinds of strangers and donated food and booze. Although, that is what I do for a living now, so I could make it happen. It’s a possibility. Moving on…

2. As Amanda is one-quarter Indonesian, we’ll dunk her in some water, throw some seaweed and live fish in her hair, take her door to door and claim she’s a Tsunami orphan. That’d rake in the cash but probably has some karmic repercussions I’d hate to deal with. At least I have a willing Indonesian…

3. Beg Big Chris for money, as he’s always blowing it on illiterate strippers and Popeye’s Chicken. Although, Chris owns white pleather couches. Purchasing a quality, well-designed piece of fabulous might his head explode.

4. I do have this degree in fashion design I’m not using. I could attempt to make the dress myself. Chris reminded me of the episode of The Cosby Show, in which Denise tries to make Theo a designer shirt for a fraction of the price. I believe it had 3 sleeves and a pant leg. I’m not the most talented seamstress, and might wind up with a really time-consuming dashiki.

5. Finally, I could just save up the cash and buy the damn thing. I mean, I’m so obsessed with it, I have it taped to my computer just so I can constantly envision myself swathed in silk and slingbacks, sipping mojitos at a Garden Party. But I’m so poor, any cash I come upon must go directly to the necessities; food, shelter, cable, etc.

Alas, the dress will never be mine. It will live an unrealized existence in my imagination, where I’m more fabulous, more fierce, and more flush than reality will ever allow…

Thursday, March 03, 2005


Kevin Smith is co-hosting the Alice Radio Morning Show this week and Zoe and I are on a mission to find him and buy him a drink. This would seem a relatively simple task but he seems to be hiding from us and I can hardly blame him. Perhaps someone tipped him off that we were on the case or perhaps his multi-talented brain subconsciously sensed an impending attack from 2 twenty-something celebrity whores with an abundance of Claire’s accessories and scented body spray. Either way you cut it, we’ve got a day left and have made little progress.
As we’ve got little time to put forth the immense effort necessary to find this reclusive genius, what with Zoe working 2 jobs and getting her Masters Degree and me toiling away at cocktail parties in the suburbs and negotiating a major residential move, we’re asking for leads. Should you be able to covertly alert us to Mr. Smith’s whereabouts, we’ll reward you with, well…an abundance of Claire’s accessories and scented body spray.
Thanks in advance…

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

down a notch...

Last weekend, I went to a lovely dinner party at Katherine and Shawn’s new and huge apartment to celebrate Shawn’s 33rd birthday. There were seven of us, and I’d certainly met Katherine’s friends before, all of whom are perfectly lovely people. As we were sitting around the living room, drinking Claret and dining on sushi, Shawn’s friend Ken mentioned that he loved Napoleon Dynamite, which is obviously one of my favorite movies ever. As Katherine and Shawn dissed the masterpiece, to my delight, Ken began to do dead-on impressions of Napoleon.
“Oh my god, Ken.” I screamed. “You just went up a notch!”
He looked at me like I was nuts. We proceeded to chat on, and after a few minutes, Ken dove back into the Napoleon quotes. He was tremendously good at it, capturing the subtle nuances that make the character so genius. “Fabulous.” I yell. “Another notch.”
Suddenly and with hate in his eyes, he looks up at me. “I don’t care about you’re stupid notches. You know what, Beth? Down a notch!”
Uh, oh no. Notch analogy misconstrued.
The thing is, my saying that one has gone up a notch is a huge compliment, a way of expressing that somehow, I feel suddenly closer to this person. I had no idea Ken was funny before this evening. Him going up a notch was awesome. At least, to me it was. Not so much to Ken.
We dined on fabulous food, and after dinner Katherine decided we’d all play Celebrity Password, a game I excel at beyond words. Kat presented me with a hat full of names and instructed me to pick my partner. Just guess who I pick.
Oh god. “Um, Ken. Looks like we’re partners.”
To which Ken immediately hollers, “Beth wants to change teams!”
We play Celebrity Password and we lose, primarily because Ken can’t bring himself to answer John Cleese. “Oh no Beth. Down another notch.” Ken sneers, rolling his eyes.
Alright, now you’re just being snippy.
Once again misunderstood, I zip my lip and shut the fuck up. Sometimes, I’m simply too obnoxious for my own good. Normally, in situations like this, I’ll blabber on, words falling from my mouth in an uncontrollable need to somehow verbally resolve the situation. With each word, I become further and further entrenched in my own bratty stupidity, knowing full well that I’m sounding more and more like the asshole I’m desperately trying not to be, but unable to do anything to end the misery of everyone involved. I like to think that I’ve learned from this, and thus, concentrated with all my might on not speaking. A grateful room silently thanked me.
I left, off to go meet Big Chris for drinks. I regaled him with the notch story and needless to say for the rest of the weekend, through Joe’s Birthday extravaganza and the Oscars, at every opportunity and every possible chance, one of my friends would find a way to say it. “You know what, Beth. Down a notch.”