Saturday, September 30, 2006

oh, and I almost forgot...

Better late than never, right? Last weekend was obviously Folsom Street Fair and for the first time in 2 years, I didn't go due to extreme illness. However, instead of tending to their dear sister/lifelong friend/treasured roommate, Alex, Ben and Mikey attended. When I asked for a full report, Alex showed me this picture and Mikey, eyes wide open, responded, "Blow jobs. On street corners. Everywhere."
The photo, I've decided, is entitled, "Alex, I hate you."
We're going to have a problem if my living companion starts bringing this sexy back...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

the light at the middle of the tunnel...

A while ago, I went on a hardcore hike with my boss and her niece. Up and over mountains we trekked, hiking straight up into the air and down again. As we finally made it down Everest, I exhaled, resting in the knowledge that we were done.
“Halfway!” My tri-athelete employer enthusiastically announced.
Her niece and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes.
“Come on, guys! Halfway! This rocks!”
“Wait.” Her niece protested. “We each have to touch the lamppost.”
“It doesn’t count if we don’t touch the lamppost. It’s like we were never here.”
Three hands reached out, touched the lamppost and headed back up the hill.
Ever since, when I feel like my ass has grown another foot and I need a dramatic physical shock, I hit this hike again. And I always touch the lamppost. Through the whole first half of the hike, I tell myself over and over, “Just hit the lamppost. Once you make it to the lamppost, you’re done. Because you have no choice. You have to turn around. Just touch that goddamn, stupid, hideous lamppost.”
Today, I took myself on that goddamn, stupid, hideous hike. And not planning on having the time, I hadn’t packed my good shoes. Having over an hour to kill before picking Zoe up for dinner, I just grabbed the too-small Adidas shell tops I keep in my trunk and tossed off my heels, sans socks. In denim and cashmere, I forced myself up that hill. Somewhere near that lamppost, my feet became a sea of blisters, screaming in agony.
“This was a stupid idea.” I said aloud, barely able to breathe. “I’m almost at the lamppost, though. I have to hike all the way back anyway. And it doesn’t count if I don’t touch that goddamn, stupid, hideous lamppost.”
I plugged on, down the final halfway-point hill towards that dreaded beacon of light. And to my horror, I found a mass of Tour de France cyclists crowding it, their spandex glistening in the sun, their hairless man-legs flexing in self-satisfaction, their entire group blocking MY lamppost. Um, how do I get around this one?
I HAVE to touch the lamppost. My feet will never be the same again, and there’s no way this shit isn’t counting. Seriously. I have no choice. I MUST make contact with that lamppost. I mean, if I don’t, I might as well have sat at a bar this whole time.
Team Live Strong showed no signs of moving.
And I was approaching, sweating through my make-up and pearl earrings, looking like a housewife on a crazy rampage.
I marched closer. Still, not the slightest movement away from my lamppost. Don’t they know? Don’t these idiots KNOW it doesn’t count. Shouldn’t they be cheering me on like some lesser episode of Oprah’s bootcamp? Isn’t there some kind of athletic solidarity clause? Move, bikeshorts! This HAS to count!
Screw it.
“Excuse me.” I huffed and puffed. “I have to touch this.”
One of them moved over. “What?”
“It doesn’t count if I don’t touch it.”
I reached forward, touched that goddamn, stupid, hideous lamppost and turned around, heading back up the mountain. As I hiked in the opposite direction, I heard one cyclist ask the other, “What was that all about?”
“The lamppost. It’s like her benchmark. She’s got to touch it or it doesn’t count.”
See? Athletic solidarity. I told you…

guess who's back...

No one ever tells you that sometimes, having a soul mate doesn’t mean some guy with a suit and a tie and a house and a white picket fence and a den with shag carpeting. No one ever tells you that sometimes, your soul mate can be a woman with a boyfriend and an apartment in another neighborhood and better clothes with better handbags than you will ever have. No one ever tells you that sometimes, nothing can fix everything like your friend moving back to town and listening to your problems and splitting a bottle of Chardonnay and understanding every single stupid word that escapes your mouth. And no one ever tells you that any day of the week, no matter who you are or what you look like or who you’re in a relationship with, the only thing that will ever matter is real, true, unconditional, family love, like the love I get from my wonderful, beautiful, forever friend…

the march of the penguins...

I was trapped home yesterday, relegated to the couch watching Law and Order and shoving Kleenex up my nose. I’ve been cursed with a dread illness given to me some idiot who decided to attend a conference while highly contagious, and I found myself seated next to her and her germs, not only becoming infected with her bacteria but having to answer her stupid questions and pretend to be interested in her stupid job. The whole time, I was thinking, “This nutjob better not get me sick.”
Lo and behold, in the middle of Dale’s fabulous 80’s party, death felt imminent. Suddenly, the three greatest elements of a party (costumes, food and booze) were no longer fun to me. If you ever find me not wanting to dress like a freak, not wanting to shove food in my face and not wanting to pound booze like it’s my last day on earth, call 911. Something is horribly wrong.
So I finally gave in and called my boss. “I’m sick. I’m dying. Send flowers.”
Thus, once again, I refamilliarized myself with daytime television. As I worked on my will while watching the Lifetime Afternoon Movie, the doorbell rang. In men’s sweatpants and one of my brother’s high school football shirts (I believe the back of the shirt proclaimed something along the lines of, “100% Marin Catholic Pride”), I blew my nose and opened the door.
As if in a movie, there stood two miniscule nuns in full 1960’s habits. I'm 5'11" in bare feet and if you stacked one on top of the other, they'd reach my elbow.
They stared at me, deadpan, waiting for a response.
“Um, hola.”
“You speak English?”
“Yes. I speak English.”
This was of immense disappointment.
“You no speak Spanish?”
“No. I mean, I took French in high school and…”
“We look for Spanish speaking families.”
“Sorry. I don’t speak Spanish.”
They then pointed to the flat upstairs. “They speak Spanish?”
This seemed to piss the nuns off. Apparently, they’re opposed to the gentrification of the Mission and expected to find their target demographic on my ghetto block. Good luck with that. I live in the whitest building this side of Sheboygen.
The “chatty” one shoved some pamphlets at me and spun around on her heels, the littler one following behind her, both of them muttering and no doubt, placing curses on me and my spawn.
I retuned to the couch and looked at their pamphlets. There before me was Jesus glowing up on his cross surrounded by the Star of David and lots of literature in Spanish which I can only assume proclaims the glory of Jews for Jesus.
This is an organization I’ve never really understood in the first place. Although, maybe because that’s because I'm a suburban shiksa and the only thing I can say in another language is "take out your homework" in Francais…

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

the few, the proud, the scentsitive...

In case anyone was wondering, in the United States Marines Christmas Catalog (which I found in the building’s bathroom), in the scented candle section, the "God Bless America" candle is “Mulled Cider.” As opposed to the “Ooh-Rah” candle, which is “Warm Vanilla.”
I love a Marine. I truly, truly love a Marine. Ever since one carried my bags for me in an airport and called me “ma’am”, I’ve been a sucker for the military. And I have the utmost respect for people willing to die for the myriad of freedoms and oil I take for granted. But I don’t see how the United States Armed Forces can be so goddamn homophobic yet manage to endorse an entire line of Marine Corps Scented Candles…

also, a nickel gets you like, 12 hours at the parking meter...

Why do people pride themselves on small town sensibilities? When I think small town, I think of people talking too long, walking too slow and taking far too much time to parallel park. Sure there’s probably less crime and more deputies asleep on park benches, less litter and more pure bred dogs, less naked prostitutes in the streets and more people standing around drinking lattes and wearing North Face. But the crime, garbage and whore-factor is a small price to pay for glorious efficiency.
I happen to work in the charming town I grew up in, but I have the sage wisdom to move to the urban ghetto and commute like all the regular people. And while I truly and profoundly love my hometown, at times I find its Podunk-ness too much to handle. I just ran down to the local market, a small but well stocked building filled with gourmet marmalade and $8 boxes of cereal, to grab lunch. I parked my car in one of the million available parking spaces and ran inside, grabbing a curry wrap and bottled water, which took 10 seconds.
Then I got in line.
Ahead of me was apparently the best friend of the middle-aged grocery checker, the two of them apparently scheduling this time to reconnect after their last chat. The checker had stopped working entirely to gesticulate with her hands and describe (I swear to God) the way her mother used to do her hair as a child. On and on, she went, looking at the rest of us in line, not like we were growing impatient or bored, but because she felt it impolite not to include us in her tales of post-War coiffure. Mrs. Too Much Time on Her Hands in front of me had the audacity to ask questions, prompting an unnecessary side-story somehow involving a bag of cherries and a red Schwinn bicycle.
Hours later, the story ended and Middle-Aged Checker hadn’t bagged a single item or even told Too Much Time how much her half-a-basket full of products would cost. She did have time, however, to note the huge line she’d created with her bike trip down memory lane, and go on the PA system to request someone open another register. This did me no good, of course, as I was next in line.
Finally, Too Much Time went back to her tomato garden or quilting bee or appointment to watch paint dry and Garrison Keillor finally started swiping my shit. Stoic and pissed off, I stared her down with a twenty dollar bill in my hand, desperate to rip my bag from her hands and bolt out of the door, barrelling through the 4H card-table display taking up the sidewalk and into the pristine and empty parking lot.
But Checker couldn’t let me go so easy. By this time, she knew we were at war and she was in it to win it.
“Oh, a curry wrap! Look at that!”
“Have you ever had one of these before?” She asked, holding it in her warm, doughy hand and smiling.
“Are they good?”
“But it just looks like turkey and lettuce in a yellow tortilla.”
“There’s cranberry sauce, too.”
This was too much for her. “WHAT?!?!?! Amazing! What’ll they think of next!?!?!?!”
If you ask me, she was driving me nuts on purpose, almost taunting me to shout back “How about silent robot grocery checkers?”
But before I could muster a single response, someone behind me audibly uttered, “Jesus Christ.”
The checker looked up and behind me, pursed her lips, handed me by bag and my change and shut up. As I swung through the doors a free woman, I snuck a peek at my soldier in solidarity. To my immense surprise and joy, it was an appallingly hot paramedic buying two bottles of Chianti and some high-end chocolate.
Um, you know all that shit I was saying about small towns? Nevermind...

Monday, September 25, 2006

this is why feathers belong in pillows...

Taking after my mother, I am not an animal person. I don’t believe in the bizarre practice of offering them the equal love and affection I shower on humans. In fact, I pretty much only like animals when they do the odd wacky trick or taste good. So when a stupid bird found itself trapped in the dining room last night, the only reason I attempted to save it was because I was afraid it would poo somewhere.
My folks are sitting on some cruise ship right now, and I took the opportunity to go scavenge in their house and tan on their deck. Kelsey joined me for dinner and we spent yesterday evening sitting in the kitchen, sipping wine. I’d left the back door open, as we’d fired up the grill and waited for Alex to arrive home and cook for us. All of a sudden, Kelsey gasped.
“Beth! There’s a hummingbird in the dining room!”
“Oh my god, where?”
Lo and behold, a frantic wild animal was ramming itself against the windows, completely freaking out and attempting to push its way past glass with its incredibly sharp and pointy beak.
“Okay, okay. We can handle this. What should we do?”
Quick thinking Kelsey racked her brain. “We need a big bowl and a magazine, and then we can cover it with the bowl, slide the magazine on top of it and let it free outside.”
“Genius!” I exclaimed, grabbing a huge, metal mixing bowl and the latest issue of Saveur. Gingerly, I tiptoed towards the panicked creature, attempting to get close enough to cover it with the bowl. Kelsey hovered behind me, leaning over my shoulder and expressing concern that I not break its wings or hurt its feelings or something.
All of a sudden, before the bowl could close on top of it, that stupid hummingbird make a 180 and came straight towards me, it’s wings sounding like a chainsaw and it’s beak poised for my eye socket.
I’m amazed no one called the cops, but apparently, my parent’s heartless neighbors have no problem ignoring blood-curdling screams coming from the house. Kelsey and I lost it, running through the dining room, through the kitchen and into the downstairs bathroom, hollering the whole way there. Gasping, we huddled together and tried to figure out what to do, the sound of the bird throwing itself against the window still audible from three rooms away.
“Oh my god, it tried to kill us.”
“What do we do?”
“I don’t know. Pray for it to die?”
With that, the front door swung open. “Hey ladies,” My brother smiled. “What’s wrong?”
“Oh nothing. There’s just a wild animal trapped in the house that tried to kill us.” I answered, pouring Kelsey more wine and rolling my eyes.
“What? Where?”
“There!” Kelsey screamed, pointing to the blurry, loud bird flipping out in the dining room.
We filled Alex in on our plan, who promptly grabbed the bowl and magazine, approached the bird, gently covered it, slid the magazine over the top and calmly walked out on the deck. In a split second, he cracked open the lid of the bowl and the hummingbird shot out over the valley like a bullet.
Alex looked back at us, holding our wine glasses in the dining room and exhaling in relief. “Ladies, ladies. Relax. Problem solved. What’s for dinner?”
Oh, I don't know. How about nothing with wings…

Saturday, September 23, 2006

bay area reject transit...

We spent today in Berkeley.
Berkeley? You're saying. But doesn't Spots hate driving to the East Bay?
Yes. She does. Which is why we took...
I've only been on Bart once before, but before you brand me a snob, which I'm proud to say that I am, remember that Bart only goes to the East or South Bay. I'm from the North Bay and I've moved to the Mission. Why the hell would I want to slum it even more.
Looking for vintage shops in anticipation of Dale's 80's party tonight, Mikey and I walked down to Mission and 24th. As the escalator lowered us into hell, I grabbed Mikey's arm.
"I'm scared."
"I'll protect you."
"You will?"
"Of course. Well, until we get to Oakland."
Bart was filled with an array of freaks and Cal fans.
Oh wait. Same thing.
Apparently, we'd timed our journey with some kind of sporting event and thus, suffered through "Go Bears!" every 30 seconds the entire way there.
We arrived in Berkeley virtually unharmed and proceeded to walk a mile in the wrong direction. Finally, I stopped and asked a fanny packed group of people born in the 40's where Telagraph Avenue was.
"You're going the wrong direction! You're a mile away! Did you take Bart? Are you on foot?"
Are we on foot? Nice.
Another mile later, we followed the scent of body odor, found Telegraph Avenue and proceeded to walk further and further away from the vintage shops in search of decent food. Apparently in Berkeley, finding a restaurant where you don't stand in line to order is near impossible. While my quesadilla sucked, The Drunken Boat was a welcome reprieve and Laura and her vehicle eventaully showed up to rescue us.
After a successful 80's shopping binge (you should see me right now, with my side ponytail, 200 bangles and layers of lace slips), we hung at Laura's watching Oprah reruns and sipping refreshing iced lattes.
Mikey used my lap as his personal ottoman and relaxed, safe in the knowledge that Lo would drive us home and join us at Dale's shindig.
Bay Area Rapid Transit is funny for 15 minutes. After that, it's just sad.
After an hour or so, Lo spoke up.
"You guys. I love you. But I'm so tired and I feel sick and I don't think I want to go."
"Oh no! Really? You should come! Dale has the BEST parties. Seriously. It's a homo-fest."
"No, I'd love to. But I need to lay low. I'll drive you to Bart, tho."
Oh. Okay. Bart. Great...

Friday, September 22, 2006

porn probably kills mice...

I never realized SuburbaGas sold porn until this morning. There I stood, thinking I looked like Jackie O. in Capri circa 1970 in my yoga pants, sunglasses and head scarf, mixing my Splenda into my crappy coffee when in walked a gorgeous, age appropriate, ringless physician in Dr. Doug Ross-esque scrubs.
Ding Dong.
I stood up straight and made room for him near the wooden swizzle sticks. He reached for an empty cup and smiled. “Good morning.”
“Good morning!” I screamed back, far too enthusiastically.
I needed to speak again, to somehow make up for my stupid yelling. “So, you’re a doctor. Is Splenda really going to kill me?”
He laughed. “Probably not. But Sweet N’ Low is really bad.”
“I know. It causes cancer in mice. It says so right on the packet.”
“I think you’ll be fine with your Splenda.” He cooed, as he dumped a cup of half and half into his flavored coffee. Hmmm. Not so cool, but the scrubs make up for it. Suddenly, he spoke again.
“I really want a doughnut, too.”
“I really want like, eight doughnuts.” I responded. “It’s not like THEY kill mice.”
“No, but they kill humans.”
I sighed. “This is why I hate going to the doctor.”
He laughed again. Hazaa! I mentally picked out my wedding China.
“Have a good morning.” He smiled. “Enjoy that Spleda.”
And with that, he walked up to the counter to pay. I eyed him subtly, finishing my coffee blending and getting in line nearby. That’s when I saw him pause, turn to the magazine rack and start flipping through the magazines.
Not People, not Esquire, not even Maxim.
Doctor Doughnut went straight for the porn. He pulled out a pre-wrapped “Hot Leggs” or similar, depicting what appeared to be a woman completely bent over on the cover, and threw it on the counter.
He then paid, had the balls to look over at me and smile again, and left.
Folks, I understand that people buy porn. Humans spend more on porn than on any other form of entertainment combined. But my doctor? Buying shitty, low end, tucker porn?
I mentally returned my wedding China to its shelf at Gumps and dejected, felt a lot less like Jackie O. in Capri circa 1970 and a lot more like Jackie Kennedy eyeballing Marilyn Monroe in 1962…

Thursday, September 21, 2006

muy fantastico...

The bathroom at my office contains a myriad of oddly named (read: cheap) products available for use and today, I picked my favorite. It’s was a tough toss up, as the “Discreet Seat” paper toilet seat barrier is pretty fabulous. I get the “Seat” part, but why is it “Discreet.” Odd, but wonderful.
However, when push comes to shove, my affections lie with the pink jar of discount drug store, anti-bacterial hand-soap, containing a beautiful illustrated rose on the diagonal and the highly enthusiastic name, “Tres Elegante!”
Needless to say, that’s the perfect way to describe exactly how I feel about myself après washing le mains. This bottle is basically the hand soap equivalent of those pink bags you get in Chinatown, with the rose and cursive “Thank You,” but my version smells way better and fights bacteria, as opposed to breeds it…

life lesson number 563...

If I have learned one lesson in life, it’s to always befriend the bartender. Mikey picked me up after work last night and we headed to North Beach. I wanted to swing by the new Joe DiMaggio’s Italian Chophouse, as the Chronicle had surprisingly positive things to say about this new joint. I showed Mike the website.
“It looks like a chain.”
“I don’t think it is. But who cares? Look at the leather banquettes!”
“It’s like Disneyworld does baseball.”
None the less, we wandered in and sat at the bar, finding our bartender, Victoria, attentive and hilarious. We ordered my standard white wine by the glass and Mikey’s standard Kettle One up with two olives and looked around. The boy was right, it was pretty touristy. Had they not covered the walls in really obvious Marilyn and Joe black and whites, it’d look like an upscale, Midwestern, Republican, oil tycoon hangout.
In the ladies, I met a woman from Colorado.
“I love your pants.” I lied, eyeing her red satin tuxedo trousers, pulled all the way up to her fake boobs. “Are you having a good evening?”
“Yes! Isn’t this place wonderful? I’ve been obsessed with Joe since I was a little girl and insisted my husband take me here.”
And elderly woman emerged from a stall and proceeded to brush her teeth at the sink. Through a mouthful of toothpaste, she gurgled, “I love your pants, too. Where y’all from?”
Ah, I see.
I returned to the bar to find Victoria refilling our drinks. “You guys want to try my new drink?”
“I just invented this new drink. Hold on, I’ll make it for you.”
A minute later, gorgeous martini glasses filled with a marvelous red concoction appeared before us. Victoria’s Ruby Red Tuesday was marvelous, the out of town businessman next to me declaring it “the perfect chick drink.”
“Why is that?” I asked.
“Because you give this to a chick and all the work is done.”
“By all the work, do you mean like, talking to her and listening to her opinions?”
“Pretty much.”
That was either my cue to throw down or politely move on, so we said our farewells to the fabulous Victoria and decided to pull a Van Nostrand. (For those who don’t have the pleasure of partying with Berkeleyist, the Van Nostrand is the concerted effort to hit fancy bars and cheap eateries, swinging by taco window before gracing the pristine couches of the Four Seasons.)
We grabbed sandwiches at Mario’s and headed to the WashBaG. Sipping our drinks, we spotted a guy at the end of the bar who we both instantly decided was a complete shithead. He kept asking the bartendress lots of stupid questions, complaining about the lack of his bullshit, obscure booze ordered for the sole purpose of impressing his hideous date.
“God, I hate that guy.”
“Me too. I think the bartender hates him too.”
“How do you know?” I asked.
“I can just tell. Let’s ask her.” Mikey leaned over the bar. “Excuse me. Do you hate that guy at the end of the bar as much as we do?”
She laughed, rolling her eyes. “So, do you guys want to do shots?”

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

yes, luther fascinates me. what?

I have never pretended to be anything other than a complete freak show. Along those lines, I’d like to share with you my Top 5 Strange Topics of Immense Interest and put to rest once and for all, why I dominate Pub Quiz’s Serial Killer Round:

Spots’ Top 5 Odd Interests:

5. Prison Pen Pals
4. Luther Vandross
3. Feral Children
2. Royal Inbreeding
1. Historical Serial Killers

And don’t act like these links don’t rock. You’ll be surfing for hours…

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

more like club dumbo...

San Francisco Jury Duty is like the quarantine wing of Ellis Island, circa 1904, only smellier and with more immigrants. I arrived yesterday morning at 9am, only to wait in line to have my bag searched along with the criminals and hobos, many of whom seemed delighted to stand for hours and discuss the news of the day. Apparently, there was an early morning “security breach” in the stairwell of the Hall of Justice and everyone was forced to use the elevators. Consequently, after standing in line to be physically and emotionally violated by the fuzz, one then had to stand in line to get shoved in an elevator like cattle, rubbing up against people sweating in nervous anticipation of their court date.
I checked into the Jury Room, and claimed a seat in between an elderly Asian woman in an unending quest to clear her throat and a middle aged gay gentleman sporting an unfortunate toupee. I scrunched down and opened my book, pretending to read while surveying the freak show before me.
The number of grown men proudly donning Mickey Mouse apparel is appalling. I literally saw four or five guys parading around in a sartorial allegiance to a has-been cartoon character, one of whom must have spent a fortune on his leather “Club Mickey” jacket.
The Jury Room, the famous 307, is completely decked out in patriotic paper products, leftovers from the 4th of July bargain bin at Wallgreens ands clearly intended to instill some kind of sudden enthusiasm for the democratic process. It didn’t work. Nor did the instructional video, proclaiming California the greatest state in the union and filling us in on how justice works, entertain a single soul. I was most likely the only one paying attention, and that was solely for mocking purposes. Finally, “Bentos” starts reading names alphabetically from a list and as he made it to “T”, I thought I was off the hook.
No such luck.
He returned with a new list, one I was now on, and instructed us to the 2nd floor. Oh and by the way, you’ve all got to use the elevator because there’s been a security breach and the stairway is vulnerable to terrorists or something.
Yeah, Bentos. We know.
We piled in the courtroom, strangers next to strangers, eyes meeting eyes and rolling in unison as we took some oath. I paid no attention to the oath. I merely said “I do” and prayed for dismissal.
Turns out, I’ve been called for an 8 week criminal trial. Now, under normal circumstances, I’m in, as I regard something like this as the real life equivalent to staying home all day and watching Law and Order. However, I’ve got this job I want to keep and fresh air I’d like to breathe and an aversion towards the hundred or so people surrounding me. I wanted out. And I wanted out fast. Screw the judicial process. There’s crappy coffee and no place to check my e-mail. I’m out of here.
There’s an old saying that juries are made up exclusively of stupid people because they’re a collection of idiots who were too dumb to get out of jury duty. I’m delighted to report that not only do I own nary a Disney themed piece of apparel, nor does anyone I know, but I am officially not one of those idiots…

i love a man in uniform...

You may have been wondering where my platonic burrito buddy is. The answer? The Police Academy. Nope, I’m not kidding. In a few short months, my beloved Big C will be a San Francisco Sheriff, which basically means that he’ll handle jail prisoners and be a bailiff, a la Roz from Night Court. Having quit his snazzy office job, where if you’ll recall, he was responsible for announcing the arrival of the Roach Coach on the PA system, he’s already been given a uniform and a gun.
In addition, he has no access to e-mail. Chris doesn’t own a computer as “the internet is for pedophiles and geeks.” So, we’ve been out of touch and I’d been meaning to call him and catch up all last week.
As I drove home Friday night, guess who called?
“Chris! Oh my god, I miss you so much. How are you?”
“Jesus Christ. Relax, woman.”
“Sorry. What’s up?”
“I haven’t talked to you in two weeks. Wanna go get dinner?”
I almost crashed the car.
“Christopher Michael, that is the cutest thing I have ever heard in my life.”
“I’m going to hang up now.”
“No, no, no, no. I’m sorry. I’ll pretend not to be incredibly touched.”
“Good. I’ll be over in an hour.”
I made a big dinner for the boys, Alex, Mikey and I enthralled by stories of Sheriff boot camp and glock distribution. It began to sink in. He’s really doing this. I suspected he was serious when I got a letter from the Sheriff’s Office in the mail, alerting me that I’d been designated a “friend or acquaintance” and requesting that I write a letter of recommendation, speaking to Chris’ reliability and overall character. And he’d come over every Sunday afternoon with a case of beer, taking over the couch and filling us in on his psychiatric tests, personality interviews and lie detector testing.
But finally seeing him sitting at the dinner table, giving us the scoop of cadets vomiting along the training course and getting angry that I wouldn’t let him bring his gun over, I finally realized.
I’m fucking golden. I can like, kill people and run red lights and litter. Pull me over? I don’t think so. Do you know who my burrito buddy is? Yeah, that’s what I thought…

Monday, September 18, 2006

get it while you can...

You never know how much you'll miss someone until you realize that they died 37 years ago. Our friends Tom and his gorgeous wife Yoshiko took dad and me to Love, Janis, a musical about the life of Janis Joplin at the Marines Memorial Theater. I've always loved Janis, picking up her Greatest Hits CD in college and belting "Piece of My Heart" in my car driving back and forth to Jesse's house. So I was delighted to accept Tom’s offer of a Sunday matinee and we settled into our fabulous seats directly behind an old, hippie couple on ecstasy. Literally. They had to be on something, because I’m pretty sure they were having a Woodstock LSD flashback, weaving their arms and fingers in the air and screaming at “Janis” like she’s come back to life just for them, and not only that, she’s remember them from that time in 1968 when they did smack in an filthy San Francisco alley together.
It was an interesting contrast watching the two hippies that time forgot sitting/dancing directly in front of my father, who was, in turn, sitting completely still in his Facionable and reminiscing about the time he was in charge of the Democratic Headquarters at the corner of Haight and Ashbury and some “radicals” tried to give them some trouble. At intermission, when dad told me this story, I found it remarkable that he’d been at the center of the hippie hangout in the middle of the hippie heyday and stood around in khakis working for the betterment of mass transit and calling people “radicals.”
Somewhere in that second act, I fell in love with Janis. And sometime during “Little Girl Blue”, I lost it and couldn’t stop crying. I was terrified someone would notice the stiff in the headscarf in the fourth row sobbing in reaction to four decade old news, but when the lights went up and the curtain closed, dear old pa and his khaki pants were the only ones not wiping their eyes.
If you go, and you should, you HAVE to see Mary Bridget Davies, who played the “singing Janis” at yesterday’s show. Janis is played by several women who share the two roles, one who sings and the other who talks. And this chick is incredible. Flawless. Ridiculously talented. I couldn’t figure out what she was doing in the Marines Memorial Theater working some Sunday matinee within spitting distance of boring, old me.
I was a complete emotional wreck after the show, devastated that Janis died alone in a hotel room when she was a year younger than I am right now. Sometimes the most incredible, amazing, one in a million people are the most self destructive. It’s almost overwhelming. Janis just breaks my heart wide open. But I guess that’s the point…

*Don't worry. I'll be back with something less schmaltzy later, as I'm on my way to Jury Duty, and you know that place is a freak show...

Friday, September 15, 2006

runway spoiler, kind of...

What the hell is this? Apparently, the Runway finalists presented their shows at Fashion Week in New York today. However, the Runway producers had all 4 remaining contestants present, so as not to give away the final three, which we won't find out until Wednesday. That means one of the designers presenting a collection was well aware they weren't even a finalist, leaving pundits to try and guess who that is based on a lackluster presentation.
These bitches better not ruin this for me. I don't care how embarassingly lame I am. Runway is my life...

PS. I'll call the winner right now. It's got to be Michael "Snaggletooth" Knight...

literally, in the dog house...

The world is full of injustice. And I tolerate it on a daily basis because I'm too lazy, self involved and stupid to do anything about it. But that stops today.
My hero and yours, Duane "Dog" Chapman has been arrested and thrown in jail by the US Marshals.
Wait a second, you're saying. Dog keeps the world safe.
Yes, he does. Like when he went to Mexico and with his son Leland and his blood brother Tim to catch a convicted millionaire rapist who'd skipped out on his bail. Apparently, the boys of Da Kine Bail Bonds, in their successful attempts to aprehend this douchebag, didn't go about it "legally" and Mexico is pissed.
Uh, since when do we care what Mexico thinks? Like suddenly, Mexico follows the letter of the law. Aren't people being raped, drugged, murdered and smuggled in Mexico every hot second of every smelly day? But all of a sudden, Dog catches a rapist and gets charged with "deprivation of freedom."
This is Mexico, folks. Mexico.
So, in response to this great travesty of justice, I'm going on the lam. I'm busting into the US Marshal Detention Center in Honolulu, which is where Dog sits this very minute preaching peace, love and pidgin to an array of ice heads and idiot guards, and busting Dog out.
Who's with me...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

my inner eye has shitty taste...

Yoga makes me do crazy things. For example, I went to yoga class with my mother and Judy last night and ended up with purple hair. Hold on. Let me back up.
I swung by SuburbaGym, walking upstairs to find my mother jogging away on a treadmill and listening to the That Thing You Do Soundtrack.
“Hi honey! Do you want to come to yoga! It’s in a half and hour and I’ll pay!”
I guess I was going to yoga.
My mom’s yoga class is pretty chill, led by Stephanie who tells us how much she loves us and how cheese makes her drunk. She lights incense and plays Tibetan music, having us warm our eyeballs with our energy and contort our bodies so we cleanse our organs of toxins and bad karma. Judy’s been joining mom lately and the three of us set up mats at one end of the room, warmly greeted by Stephanie who is wildly excited at the concept of a mother/daughter yoga combo.
Towards the end of the hour and 15 minute class, we lie on our backs and relax, harnessing our chi and focusing on our breathing. So relaxed, now with clean organs and karma, I gazed into my inner eye and felt I needed to be more fashion forward. I’ve been playing it too safe. I needed a change and a big one. Suddenly, I saw a fabulous vision of myself.
As a redhead. Or rather, as a young Patricia Field.
Cheese may make Stephanie drunk, but yoga must make me high because after class, I marched myself over to RiteAid and bought the brightest red hair dye I could find. I presented this concept to Mikey as we watched Runway last night and he seemed highly enthusiastic, for not other reason, I suspect, then needing some new form of entertainment.
“Seriously. If I shouldn’t do it, tell me now.”
“Go for it!”
Thus, this morning, I awoke at 6 am and mixed my chemicals, piling my damp, scarlet colored locks on top of my head and waiting. The box said to wait 20 minutes, or for more dramatic color, 40 minutes. Never on for subtlety, I waited an hour.
I got in the shower and proceeded to wash it out. The tub and curtains looked like the shower scene from Psycho, red dye covered everything around me and as sopping wet hair dangled right in front of my face, I started to realize what I had done.
This is starting to look really purple.
My eyes drenched in dye, I emerged from the shower sniffling and rubbing my eyes, ruining a white towel as I desperately dried my coif and waiting for the results. Unbeknownst to me, my beloved roommate thought said sniffling was a crying girl in his bathroom and split.
It’s nice to know that Mikey’s there for me when I’m having an aesthetic panic attack.
This also meant that he wasn’t there when I looked in the mirror and burst into laughter.
“Michael. Get in here. Oh my god, you have to see this.”
No answer.
I called his cell.
“Did you leave?”
“Are you okay?”
“Yes. I look like Barney and I’m afraid to go to work. But you HAVE to see this.”
“I thought you were crying. So I left.”
“I was not! I have to go. My hair is half dry and I have to finish styling. Don’t worry. But it’s really, uh, purple.”
As I finished blow-drying and flipping my ends, it wasn’t half bad. “It’s like Cabernet.” I said aloud. “How appropriate.”
Even as I look at it now, it’s like a really dark magenta. Certainly not like Patricia Fields and due to fade a bit with washing and headscarves, but not half-hideous. Okay, maybe half-hideous. But just half. It’s one hell of a statement. I’ve decided I like it. In fact, as I texted Michael later that morning, it’s the hottest hair color ever.
That being said, I don’t care what happens to my chakras, keep me away from that yoga class…

now HER, i'm okay with...

Props to Dancing Queen for the glorious photo. Although, it makes me feel really old. Is that Frank Chiu on the sax? And why are all these bitches stealing my boyfriend...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

something feels funny...

SuburbaGym is filled with a combination of trophy wives and half dead elderly, especially in the middle of the day. I skipped out from the office and hit the gym, hoping to sneak in some quick cardio during lunch. I know. I know. Unheard of.
Anyway, I was shocked to find this rarely packed gym full of people, with two categories of people dominating the demographics. First, we have the pregnant and gorgeous wives with nothing to do all day but get more gorgeous and more pregnant. The one I was chatting with while she walked around the locker room stark raving naked was obviously a Russian mail order bride, and kudos to whomever selected HER out of a catalog, because she’s adorable and really coming along with her English.
The other large grouping at SuburbaGym was super old dudes in khaki pants and flesh toned, Velcro shoes. Using any type of weight machine after them meant having to switch the resistance from like, 4 lbs. to 100. I almost wanted to ask what the point was, taking up all this room in MY SubrubaGym when they could just do curls with a paperback. I was afraid some of them would drop dead right there on the leg press. I’m convinced at least one of them fell asleep on the ab-roller.
Because I was going back to work, I had to shower. In public. They might as well have a huge window on the wall and bleacher seats on the other side, we’re so forced to promenade around like prostitutes in the windows of Amsterdam’s red light district. Obviously, I picked the nook that seemed the most empty, emerging from the shower with my towel wrapped around me like a straight jacked, trying not to look at both the perfect female specimens on either side of me, but also the geriatric bags of wrinkles in front of me. I’ll never be one, and I’m doomed to become the other. They should put a therapists’ office at the gym it so promotes self-doubt and panic attacks.
So there I am, in my little, hidden corner of the locker room, convinced I’ve found the once space where I can adjust my underwire in private and as soon as I drop my towel, the littlest, Lilliputian lady in a do-rag and her birthday suit marches right over.
“Hi there! Who’d have thought in this big, empty locker room, we pick lockers right next to each other! It’s meant to be!”
With that, she proceeds to dry every, hidden inch of her thousand year old body, proudly stretching all the way down to her feet and scrubbing that towel in between her dinosaur toes. I can only imagine the look on my face, as I hid my eyes and rapidly dressed, not noticing until I was back at work and at my desk that in my judgmental haste, I put my bra on inside out…

Monday, September 11, 2006

r.o.c.k. in the u.s.a...

Maybe you’ve noticed. Today is September 11th. It seems kind of inappropriate to talk about the stupid nonsense I usually spend all my time writing about, I’ll do the same thing everyone else is doing today and tell you where I was on September 11th, 2001.
I was working as the costume mistress at Beach Blanket, slaving away backstage at every show and having the inconvenient Monday and Tuesday as my weekend. I’d seen the upcoming work calendar and noticed that on Tuesday, September 11th, we were doing travel show at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium for the Iron Workers of America Convention, or similar. This kind of gig is pretty normal, and while one gets paid a chunk of overtime for travel shows, wasn’t something I was normally into. However, at this particular convention, we were opening for the one and only Huey Lewis and the News. I HAD to work this travel show and spent the summer begging my boss, aptly nick-named Bosco, to assign me costumes for this coveted gig.
“Um, Bosco. Huey Lewis is like, my favorite. Of all time. Since I was 5. He’s from Marin. You have to let me go. Please. Seriously, I’ll owe you forever.”
The week before the event, I saw my name on the callboard as “Costumes: B.Spotswood, who will owe me forever.”
Yes! Thank you, Bosco.
I dragged myself out of bed at 6am, threw on some sweats, packed my dancing clothes in my bag and headed over to City Hall. As I walked into the auditorium, I found myself the only woman surrounded by 50 union workers and 4 or 5 of my cohorts from the Blanket. Doug, a huge, tattooed stagehand and good friend, who, as a child, had a poodle named Beaujolais, came running up to me.
“Hey girl, did you hear?”
“Did I hear what?”
“We’re under attack!”
“What are you talking about?”
Panicked, Doug explained the events as they’d unfolded so far. Our proximity to City Hall meant that they were considering evacuating us, and we nervously waited for word as to whether or not the show would go on. Misinformation flew through that auditorium like lightning, at one point we’d heard that then Mayor Willie Brown was personally on his way over to get us out of there. I sat huddled on some folding chairs with Bosco, as a lighting rigger named “Peanut” futzed with the knife on his belt, planning his escape into the woods.
“We’re at war, people!” Peanut announced. “And I’m heading for the hills.”
He came over to me. “I’m gonna take you with me. We can survive off the meat I kill and plants and shit until this business blows over.”
Bosco put a protective arm around me. “Peanut, you are full of shit, man. And people, we all need to relax. Let’s get to work. If we’re cancelled, we’re cancelled. If we’re not, we need to be ready. Cool?”
Oh, Bosco. Such a good boss.
I snuck back to the greenroom and grabbed my cell phone, called Alex asleep in his dorm at the University of Montana.
“Why the fuck are you waking me up?”
I instructed him to turn on the television, and we spent a few, freaked out minutes letting it all sink in. Really, at this point though, all of the horrible things that were going to happen had already happened, as it was 7:30 or 8 in the morning in San Francisco, making it just about 11am in New York. Bosco appeared in the doorway.
“Let’s get the fuck out of here, Bethina. Can you take Doug home?”
Doug, having worked himself into a frenzy at this point, started grabbing my bags for me, pushing me out the door and into the auditorium. “Come on girl, they might attack the west coast. Let’s split, honey.”
At a slight jog, we booked it through the auditorium to the underground parking lot in the middle of the City Hall plaza, Doug holding my hand and trying to avoid the air attack he was sure was about to hit. As he flung the doors open, I heard Peanut screaming at us in the background.
“Ain’t you coming to the mountains with me?”
No, Peanut. I am not going to the mountains with you. I’m going home to obsess over the news, call my family and curse the terrorists for fucking with my great country and keeping me from my one and only chance of kicking it backstage with my idol, Mr. Huey Lewis…

Saturday, September 09, 2006

it's like they're cufflinks...

Maybe he paniced. "Oh my god, I took a 12 year old to the Symphony Gala. Shit, I need to find someone fast. Anyone."
But twice in one week is getting blatantly mean. And this, THIS is insane. Who's next? Tara Reid? Lyndie England? The lady that put a finger in her chili?
Now, like any good American, I hate the Opera just like everyone else. But I would have gladly ditched the Velvet Cantina and Hotel Biron last night to attend this shit, and uh, I would've dressed appropriately.

Because the Chronicel's caption on this is glorious. "Mayor Gavin Newsom arrives with one-time reality show star Erin Brodie. Brodie, who works for a software company, flew in from New York. She is wearing a Marchesa dress and was among the few women who wore knee-length dresses to the traditionally white tie event."
Wouldn't it have been fabulous if some old, uptight socialite stopped them at the front door, handed her a matronly, floor length, purple Bill Blass and sneered, "Perhaps you'd be more comfortable in this."
Seriously, before you do anything else with your day, READ THIS. It's a day in the life with Erin 2 years ago, and it honestly makes me want to grab a shotgun and start picking people off from the top of Coit Tower. She was on a reality show called "For Love or Money." I pretty much watch any crap on television, and I've barely heard of this disgrace. Oh, and when Erin was given the option of winning the guy she'd be competing for or a million dollars, just guess which option the bitch chose.
Okay, folks. No one loves Gavin like I do. But seriously. What the fuck?

Friday, September 08, 2006

i am woman, hear me roar...

It’s September 8th. Which means we’re all about to get bombarded with September 11th tributes and memorials for the next week. My brother decided to kick start this gruesome extravaganza by calling me last night and leaving the following, highly agitated message, which I just played for my entire office:
“Hey, sis. Okay, so I’m watching the Flight 93 movie on A&E right now. Not the movie version, but the A&E version. Beth, we need to come up with a fucking plan. The women in this movie are a bunch of whiny wimps. I can’t have you doing this. If we get hijacked, I need you on the ball. I don’t want any crying ‘I love you’s, let’s look out the window and pray’ shit. I want you stabbing these bastards with pens and shivs. If you’re on the ground, I want you giving me real fucking information. I need you to fucking keep your shit together. Because I’m fucking fighting to the death. They are stupid. We are smart. They’re ready to die. I want to fucking live. We have the upper hand and there is no way you can be some wimpy chick crying and giving up. Alright. Call me back.”
Ladies and gentleman, my brother.
Needless to say, I called his paranoid ass right back, assuring him that under pressure, I am a goddamn stoic problem solver. When shit truly hits the fan, I rock. And if you’re being hijacked by terrorists, you want me on that plane.
This might seem a morbid conversation five years after the fact, but keep in mind my brother is the one that as a child, would carry an “Air Disasters” book with him when traveling, the very hardcover which featured a photo of a 747 half submerged in Kowloon Bay. Why, you’re asking yourself, would a 10 year old child not only be in possession of such a book, but openly and proudly carry it aboard airplanes?
Alex’s answer? “What are the odds of our crashing WHILE I’m reading this book?”
The kid had a point.
My parents share a similar half joking/half preparatory attitude towards air travel, particularly in a post 9/11 world. When flying to New Orleans immediately after September 11th, they were upgraded to first class, most likely because no one else was flying anywhere. They found themselves in the first row of the cabin, and my mother chose to lean over to my terrified father and whisper, “You know what I just realized? We’re the last line of defense before they get to the cockpit.”
Ladies and gentlemen, my folks.
So I spent the better part of last night on the phone with both my livid, suddenly feminist brother and my blasé mother, pointing out that if terrorists plan to strike America again, they’ll probably find a different MO. I also reminded my brother that again, I am awesome in emergencies. I don’t know when he lost such faith in my abilities to save the day, but I refuse to be lumped in with a bunch of heavy-handed basic cable actresses who can’t make a weapon out of a plastic fork…

Thursday, September 07, 2006

nice hair. what'd that take? like 4 minutes?....

Just to torture myself, I flipped through SFgate's photos of last night's snoozer Symphony Gala. While I was slumming it on my futon, watching Project Runway and eating pre-packaged salad and CrystalLite, people who think they're way cooler than me froze their skinny asses off and pretended to care about dead music for the sole purpose of making me feel left out.
No big deal.
I didn't want to go anyway.
But then, I saw this.

Um, oh my fucking god. That bastard is cheating on me. With some bitch that is wearing the fabulous shoes I'm sporting right this very minute. And I'm tanner. And smarter. With, like, things to say. Quelle horreur.
Because I've perfected the art of stalking, I googled this pointy faced freak, and to add insult to injury, she was a member of the 2005 Sonoma State Women's Lacrosse Team.
What's that make her? 12? And butch? And sweaty?
First of all, Sonoma State?
Second of all, she spells her name Brittanie. So, you know, nuff said.
Finally, I know what Jason is thinking right this very minute and I'm thinking it too. We happen to know a Sonoma State Lacrosse playing party machine. Don't worry. I just got off the phone with him. He claims to be calling me back with any and all info he can gather, as he "thinks" he "might know her." Stay tuned.
Seriously. What's my boyfriend thinking. This is just rude.
I give it 3 days and an uncomfortable voicemail before shellac comes running back to me...

glorious breaking news...

Oh happy day! Paris "I Serve No Purpose" Hilton was pulled over for drunk driving this morning. Glory be! Hazaa! Praise Allah! This is the best news I've heard since Vincent got booted off Runway. Stay tuned for mugshots. I hope they're teary and hideous. Who am I kidding? That bitch sees a camera and automatically turns sideways and pouts...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

safety requires avoiding unnecessary conversation...

I guess I didn’t get the memo that cab and bus drivers abide by different laws than the rest of us. Pardon me for being so provincial. My problem with Muni busses, other than their existence, is that since they could easily run over Rhonda the Honda without even noticing, they don’t really bother to like, keep an eye out for other cars or pedestrians or hobos in wheelchairs. It’s all OUR problem to get out of THEIR way because apparently, Muni drivers seem to think this is the Jetsons and we’re all flying around in space.
But worse than the brown and orange army of inconsideration is the collection of cab drivers who maneuver these streets with the cocky, lawless aggression of Gestapo underlings, blind with self-appointed power.
Um, we are automotive equals, Badge 56294, and I’m willing to bet I’ve been here a lot longer than you.
So last night, exhausted from a long day, SuburbaGym and covered in battle-wounds from the dinnertime rush at the Potrero/Calcutta Safeway, I found a fabulous parking space on the busy corner of 21st and Harrison.
No one wanted to get out of my car and into my front door faster than yours truly. The last thing I felt like doing was dilly dallying over my bags in the heart of the ghetto. So I flung open my door, and as fast as humanly possibly, grabbed my handbag, my gym bag and 5 (yes, five) plastic Safeway bags, attempting to lift them all simultaneously from the passenger seat through the driver’s side.
But my lightning-esque speed wasn’t enough for the douchebag taxi driver speeding around the corner and dramatically screeching to a halt at my slightly ajar door. He then laid on the horn as if in the throws of an emergency situation, alerting everyone within a 10 block radius that some idiot woman was causing him immense inconvenience.
I jumped at the sound, it caught me so off guard and swung around to see where the fire was.
First of all, call me crazy, gentlemen, but when you see a woman laden with 7 bags, trying desperately to get home (after forging her way through the trenches of late-20’s career pressure, not to mention exercise guilt and ghetto supermarkets), you cut her some fucking slack. Second of all, I just spent an evening upping my treadmill incline and throwing elbows to get the last of the discounted Lean Cuisine. The last thing I needed was some cabbie in a bead seat making me feel stupid. And his window was open.
“You are an asshole!” I screamed, surprising even myself.
“No! You asshole!”
And then, I lost it. “I am NOT asshole. I’m taking two seconds to get my shit out of my car and go home. You will not disrespect me, you fucking piece of shit.”
“No! You piece of shit, stupid bitch!”
Oh my god. People were peeking from behind curtains, we were screaming so loud. He sped off, leaving me in a wake of his dust and Drakkar Noir as I fumed over my groceries.
I stumbled home, dropping microwave popcorn and green onions along the way, pathetically collapsing at my front door in a state of physical and emotional exhaustion.
Christ, I thought to myself. I bet this shit never happens on Muni…

don't be so gullible, mcfly...

Did you see the video of the dad at his son’s football game, kicking the shit out of some 13 year old player who took a cheap shot at his kid? Because it’s awesome. I don’t know football from fencing, but apparently, the bully from the opposing team tackled the poor little (most likely abused and never good enough) son of big, mean, never went to college dad, who then lost it. Sears-siding went running onto the field, ignoring his son sprawled out in agony and going straight for the pre-pubescent bully, drop kicking him a la Bobby Boucher.
First of all, this happened in Stockton, so I don’t get why everyone’s so shocked. Doesn’t this happen in Stockton all the time? Isn’t this standard Stockton protocol for any minor offense, like cutting in line at Fresh Choice? Second of all, the dad’s name is Cory. Whose dad is named Cory? This is the kind of guy that shoved his classmates in lockers for having a backpack in a “queer” color and date-raped Freshman girls who were “asking for it” by wearing short skirts and giggling. Cory is basically Biff from Back to the Future.
Finally, um, where’s the wife? Oh wait. I know. She’s cowering on her floral couch in a shorts set, desperately scrubbing the kitchen that’s never quite clean enough and wringing her hands, pretending to read a Redbook until Cory comes home and finds something else unacceptable, punching in another wall or cracking open another six pack of shit beer and demanding she re-shine his trophies from 1983…

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

what reeks? oh yeah...

Labor Weekend is over and you know what that means. All those goddamn hippies are making their way back from Burning Man in primer colored hatchbacks with sparkplugs and carob chips falling out of them. I don’t understand how 40,000 people who don’t use deodorant can be so self-righteous. If I wasn’t so- oh, what’s the phrase I’m looking for?- First World, I’d have driven my gas guzzler over there, covered myself in Banana Republic, pulled out a Frappuchino and blasted N’Sync from my mass-globalized iPod, drowning out the sitars and belly chains and evoking a riot of malodorous unemployed baristas. Then I’d toss plastic bottles and Styrofoam containers all over the place and defiantly not bury my poo.
Deal with that, beatnik.
Apparently, you’re not allowed to buy anything with money because currency, like, makes the world work and allows us all to live privileged lives of leisure, so you have to cheerily trade mix tapes for lentils or something. Whatever.
Fine, I will barter my 57 issues of In Touch Magazine for a Lady Bic. Oh wait. That’s impossible.
But Spots, you’re saying. Burning Man isn’t all hippies.
No, it’s not.
It’s also people like Obnoxious Mark, the yuppie poser I know who thinks he’s doing the world a favor by riding a Vespa, spending $42 on organic camembert at Urban Harvest and listening to lots of Beth Orton. All he does is drop how often he hangs out in Berkeley, goes to galleries his friends own and befriends hobos. Like that makes up for his being a complete closet-materialist, humorless shithead.
HE goes to Burning Man. And probably hates every second of it. But it’s all worth it when he can bore some normal person at snoozer cocktail party with his escapades of setting things on fire and communing with poor people.
Big deal.
I once set my stove on fire and told a boxcar willie that my car wasn’t his personal boudoir. No one’s patting me on the back.
I will go to Burning Man when they’ve got a Starbuck’s kiosk, a Gap Outlet and an energy-sucking indoor spa with well-showered, non-dreadlocked staff who don’t posses a horrible disdain for my refusal to sleep in a room that opens and closes by zipper…

making your way in the world today...

If anyone’s looking for the new Cheers, I think I just found it. There’s this shithole on the corner of 16th and Bryant, right across the street from GhettoGym called The Double Play. It looks like the kind of place that’s got an old timer passed out on the bar at 10am and needless to say, I’ve never darkened it’s doorway.
I actually received a phone call from my dad once, altering me that he was in my neighborhood.
“What are you doing in my neighborhood in the middle of the day?”
“I’m having lunch at 16th and Bryant.”
“A client wanted to meet there.”
“The Double Play.”
Oh my god.
Turns out, GhettoGym used to be Seals Stadium and the Double Play was the ball crowd watering hole. My father referred to it as a “San Francisco old timer’s place.” So, with nothing to do but watch the Giants game with Mikey and Alex, I announced we were hitting the Double Play.
“Are you shitting me?” asked Mikey. “I’m scared.”
Hey, if my dad can handle this place, we’re fine. He headed over there and the boys hid behind me as I pushed open the creaky, red door. Once our eyes adjusted, we found a scene none of us expected.
The walls are covered in Seals Stadium crap, from ticket stubs to newspaper cut outs to photos of ballplayers who probably had the career trajectory of Moonlight Graham. At the counter sat 7 or 8 middle-aged men, some clean cut in khakis drinking whiskey, others tattooed in Barry Bonds jerseys sipping (I swear to God) Rosé. In the back, we spied an unlit, apparently closed Italian restaurant which looked the like the kind of place mobsters hang out and “do business” while eating plates of spaghetti and drinking red wine out of little glass cups. There’s probably a body in the meat locker, just for effect.
But the best part of the Double Play isn’t the memorabilia on the walls, scary guys with Midwestern wine or even the Ravenite Social Club vibe in the back. It’s Jimmy.
“So, I take it I’m going up to the bar and getting out drinks?” I asked the boys, sitting nervously in the booth and trying to eye the game on tiny televisions up in the corner.
“Yes, please.”
I squeezes between two guys drowning their sorrows in 3pm Scotch as an elderly bartender approached.
“What are ya looking for, sweetheart?”
“Um, I need some drinks.”
Every head at that bar swerved to look at me.
“That a girl. I’m Jimmy. What’ll ya have?”
“2 Bloody Marys and a Guiness.”
“Bloody Mary, huh? You want that spicy.”
“Hell yes.”
“I could tell. You look like a spicy girl.”
Jimmy then pulled a carton of tomato juice from 1953 out from under the bar and proceeded to blend all of the condiments readily available into our drinks. There may have been French’s mustard in it, I’m not quite sure.
I returned to the booth with 3 huge, cheap beverages. “You guys. The bartender is totally Coach.”
I now have a new Peach Pit, where with a small investment in time and spare change, everybody is about a week or two away from knowing my name and being always glad I came…