Friday, November 30, 2007

spit mark THIS, crazy...

I had a dream. A dream that one day, I'd be able to gossip about fabulous, homosexual, basic cable, reality television on a really big website.
Well today, that dream has come true.
I've missed the first two episode of Project Runway, so my brilliant and hilarious friend SFist Rita filled in. And many of you will wish she'd stuck around, because now it's my turn.
That's right.
Starting this week, I'm recapping ProRun on the Gate!
Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles. I can die happy...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

are you rob thomas...

After a fabulous Welcome Back to America dinner at Rose Pistola, Mikey and I headed over to Amante for a drink.
"Is that Stephen Jenkins?"
Mikey looked up. "Maybe!"
Yeah. That's Stephen Jenkins. I hate that guy.
"Oh my god, weird. Go say something."
"I can't. I talked shit about him on SFGate."
He was having red wine and a burrito, while talking on his cell phone and staring at us. Amante was dead and I think Jenkins really wanted us to fawn over him.
Um, Stephen Jenkins sucks. How's it gonna be when no one gives a shit?
Sitting there making fun of Third Eye Blind, this guy walks past me.
Kate and Jeff just happened to stroll in.
"We were just talking about you!"
"We were just talking about YOU!"
I love being home. My first time out of the house and I run into a has-been celebrity and my "sister." Not only that, I talked Exec. Chef Jeff into cooking at my house. And needless to say, Stephen Jenkins is not invited...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

sweet home alabama...

A 6 hour flight from Singapore to Tokyo.
A 4 hour layover in Tokyo.
An 8 hour flight from Tokyo to San Francisco.
It would have been horrible, had I not been met with a "Welcome to San Francisco" sign from Gavin.
After a solid 5 hour nap, where I dreamed of Geishas, I'm now wired. Nothing makes you miss your city like leaving it for 2 weeks in a third world country. I have to tell you, we flew in from the north, gliding over the coast until suddenly, there, as if in a high-budget movie, was the Golden Gate Bridge and the city and Alcatraz and shit, if I didn't see a cable car covered in Rice-A-Roni ads. It was amazing and prompted my mother to exclaim, "The pilot's just showing off, now!"
I failed to mention earlier that in Penang, every dining establishment is "Restoran."
"Vietnamese Restoran." "Indian Restoran." "Ng's Restoran."
So I'm opening a Southeast Asian joint in San Francisco. I'm calling it "Restoran" and it'll be the hottest ticket in town.
Anyway, I'm back. It's fucking cold here, but I am so glad to be back on my home turf.
As is protocol, the first thing I did upon touch down was text the BFF.
"I just landed!"
And reason number 6,739 that I love Zoe? She texted back. "Yay! And an hour early!"
Who knows that?
Oh, just my best friend.
Well, her rewards will be great. And have just been smuggled in from Asia...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

prepare yourselves...

I'm coming home!
Today was a fun, solo day in Singapore, the town that litter forgot.
Note to Gavin: nary a hobo here. FYI.
After my mani/pedi with Susan/Josephine, I enjoyed the urban mall that is Singapore before meeting the family for high tea. I've spent the past eternity penning Wednesday's Culture Blog, so check in with SFGate around noon, if you're so inclined. I'll be landing right about then!
Anyway, dinner with the folks and Al tonight and then we leave the hotel at 5am.
Our Spotswood Family Thanksgiving Southeast Asian Tour is officially over.
Anyway, you rock for reading. I'll see you back in hobo town.
Love, Spots...

PS: I take it back. I'm not done. We've just had the most fabulous family last night in Asia together, drooling over the food at (if you're ever in the neighborhood) Cilantro and marveling at our adventures. Alex and I chose to end our evening with a few sibling drinks at the bar.
Alex was, like many of you have been, subjected to my "Let's meet a stranger!"
Which is why we now love Johnas.
One of the things I love about travel is that when you strike up a bar conversation with the guy next to you, he's not in town from Lodi, unloading some low-end fake Sears siding onto a middle man. He's a Swede living in Hong Kong who, after spending two drinks with us, remarked, "Ah, I love San Francisco. I was there in '95 when I was in university. We went to a place called...I think it was...Centerfolds."
Oh my god, Johnas, aside from the dip, I adore you...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

drug trafficking is punishable by death...

That's what it says every time you fill out one of those customs forms. I asked our favorite Penang cab driver, Suliman (Stanley Tucci) how people are executed.
They hang 'em.
Last night, as predicted, was a heated debate on the roles of women in various cultures and the difference between respecting cultural tradition and opposing inherent wrong. I am now known as Beth "No one would ever choose to wear a burqa" Spotswood and I stand by my new nickname.
This morning we awoke and were met by Suliman's friend. I guess Suliman's car broke down so he arranged for a suitable replacement, going so far as to calling said friend when we were en route to the airport and asking to speak with my father. We love Suliman and I'm pretty sure he doesn't make his wife wear a burqa.
Actually, when we were chatting with him about the tsunami and earthquakes in general yesterday, he mentioned that his apartment at the top of his huge, sad looking building swayed back and forth during the most recent quake. Some residents hysterically ran downstairs and others stayed up top.
"I stay up top." Suliman said matter of factly. "If the building collapses, you die whether you are at the top or the bottom. I look at my children and say 'If Allah wills it.'"
And then, perhaps for our benefit. "You know? It's up to God."
Our flight to Singapore was uneventful, save that I was convinced, via SFMike's last comment, that we'd be hijacked and taken to the Philippines. I saw a shady looking guy at our gate, his only suspicious-looking carry-on a cardboard box apparently containing a DVD player. Alex caught be looking.
"Jesus Christ, you are so paranoid. This flight is an hour and 1 minute. Relax."
"What's the flight number? You can always tell by the flight number."
This has always been my theory. How does your flight number sound with, "Terror in the Sky: The Story of Flight ____"?
We were flight 191. It kinda worked.
Then Alex goes, "That'd be a great movie tag line. 'I was expecting a quiet 61 minute flight to Singapore and it turned out to be the worst 4 days of my life.'"
I laughed as I imagined Alex being forced to tackle DVD box guy, a good 4 times smaller. My 6'5" brother said he wouldn't need to fight with plastic butter knives. He'd just walk up and say, "Um, can you hand that over now?" and then flex.
61 uneventful minutes later, we were in Singapore, which for those that are idiots (me), is a tiny section on the end of Malaysia that's it own country.
Kind of like the Vatican. Or Florida.
Singapore, indepent since practically last week (1965), is clearly a very wealthy country and it's obvious by the towering skyscrapers, immaculate city and gorgeous businessmen in the lobby that this place is an international player.
As opposed to, oh...Penang.
Our hotel, Raffles, is much like E&O in Penang and turns out, both were founded by the Sarkies Brothers. Right now, everything is decked out in classy non-demoniational holiday decor, which I regard as very Home Alone-esque. It's all very tropically colonial again, with the pith helmets and knee socks. As we walked in greeted by bellmen dressed as Maharajas, I remarked, "God, these places are all so Rudyard Kipling."
"He stayed at both!" My father delighted in telling us.
In fact the bar here is called Writer's Bar and was home to Kimpling, Somerset Maugham, Noel Coward and other high maintenance queens.
So I fit right in.
It's pouring rain, with thunder and lightning and Maharajan bellmen following you around with umbrellas. I'm off to wander, but not before leaving you with the quote of the trip thus far.

Alex, observing the jungles and wildlife from the top of Penang Hill yesterday:
"The life of the monkey is the life for me."

And now, an optional slide show:

officially the most international experience of my life...

I don't even know where to begin, I'm so wound up.
But let me just begin by saying that while I tiptoe around foreign countries, fully aware of and agreeing with our current global image, that in no way means I am not proud of my navy blue passport. I'm a Northern California liberal violently opposed to our current administration. However, when some foreigner shits on America, I go ballistic into one of those "If it wasn't for us, you frogs'd be speaking German!" tirades.
I know, I know.
It only furthers our belt buckly, cowboy hat, gun in the waistband image. Heck, folks. I'm proud to be 'Merican.
Moving on, this morning we hired a taxi to take us to the Penang Hill tram, where we'd ride some shitty little train to the top of a mountain, look around and come back again. We also planned to visit the 'snake temple' and upon the advice of our driver, hit the temple first.
It was actually great, Alex befriending a monkey on a chain named Jackie and me getting my photo taken with an iguana on my shoulder.
The phrase, "Sir! Sir, I'm done! You can take your iguana!" was heard through the valleys of Penang, apparently.
We then hopped in our cab and had a lovely drive over to the base of Penang Hill, and en route our awesome driver told us all about himself, what his life's like and what happened during the tsunami. Turns out, he's a Muslim who's grandfather came over from India. Both he and his folks were born in Penang. He's married with kids and lives in a huge, decrepit looking, anonymous apartment building which he actually pointed out to us.
Having spent this trip wondering who lives in these unkept, stone towers, I know knew.
It's our driver. And he looks like a well-dressed, Muslim Indian Stanley Tucci.
So he drops us off and we buy our tickets for the tram, waiting in a smelly holding cell before being ushered onto some steps where we were to board, once the goddamn tram arrived. At this point, I'm hot. I simply cannot stand humidity and it's main effect on me is that I find everything on earth annoying.
All of a sudden, as we're waiting on these steps, my mother turns to me with humorless eyes.
Um, okay drama queen.
I'm amazed I didn't audibly gasp.
Because there, standing beside a cute enough, 20-something, regular looking guy... was a woman in a full length, pitch black burqa. The first thing I saw was her huge eyes staring right at me, the ONLY part of her not covered.
Just standing there, standing out, probably hot as hell in a full length black burqa. Keep in mind, there were tons of Muslim women around in headscarves of varying modesty.
But a burqa. Black as night. A slit of eyes darting around. And me in an H&M top that was suddenly seeming highly slutty.
My first thought was I can't believe I'm in a place where someone's wearing a burqa. My second thought was that I wanted to kick her companion's ass and beat him with a copy of A Thousand Splendid Suns. And I am embarrassed to tell you, because it makes me feel like shitty American who needs to read a newspaper and gain some religious perspective, my third thought was that I was scared.
We were all shaken, although Dad and Alex got over it much faster than my mom and me. For the most part, the Spotswood women were pissed. Suddenly, the companion and his fanny pack tapped Dad on the shoulder.
"Excuse me, sir."
I death grip my father and pull him out of the way, as they passed. But it caught me off gueard, him calling my father "Sir." He was holding burqa's hand and guided her to a seat, probably so she wouldn't faint from the heat.
I really cannot impress upon you enough how fucking overwhelmed with emotion I was, for a million different reasons. And it was all compounded by the fact that this burqa, this symbol of something that to me, personifies the oppression of women, was the darkest black you can imagine. It made her eyes practically glow.
Not that I even dared to look when I wasn't positive they weren't looking at me. It's probably not a good idea for an ankle-exposed American to stare at some chick in a burqa.
I wondered, since he seemed about my age, if she was 14 or similar.
Their conversation appeared casual, and it looked like from beneath her layers, she was speaking. They actually held hands, which based upon my film and fiction knowledge is allowed, just unexpected, at least to yokle me.
Honestly, their interactions seemed normal couple-y stuff. I'd love for some relatively hot guy to take me on a tropical vacation and tenderly hold my hand and politely find me seats. Only, I'd appreciate it if we both got to wear fanny packs and sandals and sunglasses and vote.
Eventually, I got over it and reminded myself that the whole point of travel is not just to learn about other cultures, but to be faced with them. None the less, burqa was obviously discussed for the rest of the afternoon.
Then we headed down the "hill."
The trams were three times as crowded now, packed with headscarves and babies and body odor "masked" by cologne. The two men shoved up against to me played Muslim chants on a little radio as we slowly descended Penang Hill.
Which is when I got claustrophobic.
I'm talking flop sweat, shaking uncontrollably, can't breathe, pre-vomit tingle...the whole 9 yards. It was horrible and the juxtaposition of my praying aloud "Dear God in heaven, get me out of here" next to a Muslim chanting along to his radio was lost on me. It seemed like forever just to get to the bottom of this goddamn mountain and I was so overwhelmed with panic, I couldn't even appreciate the baby monkeys dad was pointing out.
As soon as that goddamn tram inched to a halt, I busted out of there and collapsed on a bench in the courtyard.
"I need 5 minutes." I heaved to Alex. "That thing freaked me out."
"Me too." He shrugged, and walked off to tell Ma and Pa to leave me alone.
5 minutes of fresh air brought me almost back to normal and I found mom waiting for the boys to take pictures as she sat on the side of a planter.
"I got SO claustrophobic."
"Oh god, I don't blame you. And that's never happened to you before. Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I feel fine now. How weird."
We chatted away and moved on the hot subject of burqa again as dad and Alex approached. All of us were still marveling that we'd seen such an amazing, unexpected woman as dad tried to convince us he saw someone in a burqa at Rite Aid in Mill Valley.
"Dad, you're losing it." I said.
Just as it happened.
One of the million red and yellow Penang taxis pulled up in front of us, letting someone out and taking on a new fare. Which is when I noticed it.
And this time, I audibly gasped.
On the driver's side window was a bumper sticker.
"Osama Bin Laden."
I. Shit. You. Not.

Part of what's so interesting about today's experience is that for the most part on this trip, we're staying at fancy hotels, doing touristy things, sitting by the pool and mingling with other tourists over cocktails at the bar. We haven't exactly been staying with a Malaysian family, picking rice in the fields and attending cultural lectures on Malay history.
So suddenly, to be reminded of where you are and who you are by something with which most of us have such little experience... well shit. It kicks you in the stomach.
I'm trying to come up with some kind of Doogie Howser-esque way of wrapping this up, revealing a universal truth and life lesson in 2 sentences. But few of us are as talented as the writers of that brilliant and never to be forgotten show. So basically, I'll just say it's my last day in Penang and I saw a woman in a burqa ride a tram up a mountain and a taxi with an Osama Bin Laden bumper sticker proudly displayed.
Holy (literally) shit...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

now throw your hands up in the sky...

Yesterday afternoon was spent on a beach across the island (Penang is an island, apparently) at the sister hotel of the E&O. There were lots of para-sailers and jet skis and scantily clad Europeans. I would not regard this as my ideal oceanfront scene, but it was nice to wade in the warm Indian Ocean and drink screwdrivers out the outdoor bar.
Also, there was a big Malaysian wedding going on right along the beach that had the feel of a high class, Asian quinceniera and all the tables were named after WWII planes, including the Enola Gay.
Our dinner was advertised as an "international buffet" with free and flowing wine and beer. The booze was indeed never-ending and the buffet was incredibly odd. Up front was a wonderful woman sizzling up satay and seafood and little pancake things with curry sauce. But further into the buffet we got more "Western." Lots of places advertise Western food, I guess for the weary traveller that can't go one more day without a club sandwich. But this buffet had things like jello molds and the dreaded "Chicken a la King" which looked EXACTLY like congealed chicken pudding with a floater of grease. There was "Buttered Vegetables" which was basically carrots and cauliflower in a watery cream sauce and cole slaw that could kill a small child.
I stuck to the Asian food and did fine, downing it all with a none too shabby Chardonnay. We actually had a great time and left to wander the Night Market, which consisted of hundreds of packed stalls along the highly trafficked road.
Folks, we're talking high-end knock-offs. Again tho, the North Fake may be exclusive to mainland China and Alex and I are pretty bummed not to be bringing loads home. I did however procure a ton of great looking Coach and some Prada, as well as cuff links for the boys and some high-end neckwear for my classier, suited fellas. I'm tempted to go back tonight but I can't imagine the folks would hear of it, as it's a bit of a trek.
There were a couple of items Grey Cloud would either love or hate and in the frenzy of last night, I didn't want to cart back a bunch of shit that would get me an eyeroll and an earful of disdain. On second thought tho, even the snobbiest of label whores would get a kick out of the vast array of both brilliant real-looking and appallingly faux accessories.
The cuff links I got were these really cute Paul Smith ones, which look exactly like his signature pastel links. But right by those, there'd be these ghastly "Armani" and "Gucci" links which basically just had the labels stickered to some metal. Do people actually wear these to work? Some of the Coach was just as bad, the signature "C" made into a "G" for those that wished to combine the classic look of Coach with the prestige of Gucci.
I wondered to myself what kind of woman would be caught dead with this crap as 3 completely covered Muslim women pushed past me, all carrying the shitty Coach patchwork bags.
Perhaps the most excited part of yesterday was our cab right back to the hotel from the Night Market. Wisely, I called shotgun. I mean, I was LADEN with illegal goods and needed the space. Plus, I like to listen to my iPod and stare at the scenery. The folks and Alex squeezed in the back and we were off, down the windy, pitchblack yet packed roads for the half hour ride back to the Colonial part of town.
Immediately, I noticed our driver's inability to sit still. He was scratching his head, playing with the gearshift, slapping his knee, doing something at least once every 15 seconds. A few little yelps and screams were dispersed throughout his movements. I slowly turned to catch the eye of my mother who lacks any ability to contain herself and immediately started laughing. Alex and Dad seemed oblivious, as usual. This continued the entire 30 minute drive to the hotel and I found myself alternately terrified and amused while I politely pretended not to notice. As we finally made it to the E&O and exited the death cab, Dad announced, "Well, that was interesting."
"Yeah. " Alex chimed in. "That guy was coked out of his mind."
Now I say, and the folks agree, he had some form of Tourette's or similar. Although I'm not that familiar with blow, so what the hell do I know. Alex and I crashed and awoke this morning to another breakfast of dim sum and cheese and crackers along the ocean. The folks, God bless them, are at Mass and upon their pious return, we're going to hire a car to take us to some tram up a mountain that is probably not government regulated, followed by a visit to the snake temple, where one can have their photo taken holding a venomous snake for a mere 30 cents.
I'm wearing my WashBaG t-shirt just in case.
Last night our very lovely and attentive waiter insisted upon getting us completely trashed, enough so that we started getting friendly with him and chatting him up. Which is how we got a little global perspective while on the north side of the island of Penang, in the country of Malaysia in the middle of Southeast Asia.
"I go to America 3 years ago." He offered.
Much excitedment from the Spotswoods; Isn't that great! America, you say? Well, lucky you! Where'd you go?
"Oh yes. I study semi-conductors for three week in San Jose..."

Friday, November 23, 2007

line dancing in penang...

I'm actually really liking Penang, if for no other reason than it's so dramatically different from anything I've ever seen. It's a huge city but hardly modern, with tons of abandoned buildings, some of which only have one wall still standing. It's kinda sad and beautiful at the same time. It's also really diverse, considering. Malaysia is mostly Muslim, but there's tons of Indians and Chinese as well, and needless to say, we stand out.
Except at our hotel, where everyone is Western (lots of British and Australians) and the doormen wear khaki shorts, knee socks and pith helmets.
Last night, Ma and Pa and I headed out to an Indian place called Kashmir which appeared to be both closed and celebrating a child's birthday. Indian food is a standard here, and gloriously offered on pretty much every menu from room service to street carts. Kashmir, it turns out was open, and I can honestly say that the handful of other diners and I enjoyed one of the best Indian meals on earth. The garlic na'an alone...heaven.
After dinner, we wandered through the little, narrow, sidewalk-less streets of Penang, stumbling on what appeared to be a huge Buddhist Temple and essentially was, as well as being the headquarters of a really specific clan.
Briefly, a long time ago Chinese immigrants to Penang, and elsewhere I imagine, founded little neighborhood groups where they'd worship and help each other out and solve neighborhood disputes.
It's like an Asian Lion's Club.
Anyway, this very friendly if pushy barefooted guy encourages us to come in and look around, reminding us to take off our shoes before entering but otherwise, being really welcoming and enthusiastic. The next day, he informed us, would be the birthday party of the Queen of the Sea, the namesake of their clan. He assured us that this was a really big deal and we just HAD to come back the next day and "bling yoah camela!"
After dragging ourselves away from Barefoot, we headed over to this night market packed with all kinds of street-food I'm too chicken to eat and little shops full of crap. The food vendors were all interesting and funny, although seriously, there is no FDA here. Cooks use their bare hands on everything and it just seems like stall after stall of diarreah waiting to happen.
After a drink in the hotel bar, where the band sang "Desperado", I fell fast asleep and had a vivid dream about Big Chris leaving me with a brilliant idea. The main beer here (other than the oddly beloved Carlsberg) is Tiger Beer. Tiger..Chris...wait a second. I have to get Big Chris a Tiger Beer t-shirt! Why? He looks just like Tiger Woods.
I awoke this morning to a bizzarely international breakfast with the folks overlooking the Indian Ocean. At the bar the previous night, we'd agreed to go back to the Chinese Clan house, now referred to as "the Chinese place" and check out this birthday party.
"I'm in." My mother offered. "But I don't get why they have line dancing."
I slowly put down my drink. "Line dancing? What are you talking about?"
"Yeah, that guy said there's be line dancing and to bring our cameras."
"Mom. He said LION dancing."
I guess there was a little language ballier.
After breakfast, we walked past the Chinese place, but it looked kind of dead, save for three huge, colorfully decorated logs on fire out in front, covered in incense. We decided to head over to the Penang Museum and come back later, hoping for more action.
The Museum was great and really interesting, but mother-fucking hot. We are in the tropics, apparently not far from the equator, and I am over this heat. Halfway through the museum, I was on a mission to get water. I felt gross, I had dim sum and brie for breakfast and I was having visions of myself fainting by the traditional costume display.
Finally having secured myself the biggest bottle of water in all of Malaysia, we went back to the Chinese place. Lo and behold, there was Barefoot. As well as about 100 other people, a quarter of whom were obviously tourists. Our hosts could not have been more welcoming and I can't get over it. I'm Catholic and if some strange, oblivious foreigner shows up in the middle of Easter Mass, they'd better hang in the back and stand when we stand. But here, golly, they kept dragging us closer and closer, patting us on the back, so proud of their fabulous birthday party for the Queen of the Sea. The lions indeed were dancing, accompanied by little kids with cymbals and monstrous drums.
Inside the temple, all kinds of food was laid out as offerings, from cooked rice bowls to weird fruit to pink frosted cakes to hundreds of bags of rice and peanuts to Heineken with bows on it. Row after row of beer cans were placed delicately around the various shrines, all with a bow attached to the pull tab and everything kind of hazy through a never-ending smoke of incense.
In the courtyard, a man prepared a huge, propane wok full of noodles, which were free to everyone. As much as I liked these people, our chef was barefoot and touching everything with his hands. I know I'm being paranoid and very un-Bourdain like, but some of you may remember when I got food poisoning in Beijing 3 years ago. Other than losing 12 lbs. in a week, I don't really want to relive that experience.
The folks went back to our hotel to find Alex, who arrived this morning after 24 solo hours in Bangkok. He had a marvelous time, and I went through his digital camera making sure their were no dirty shots of 11 year old Thai boys.
While mom and dad checked in with the prodigal son, I wandered down the main street to the Muslim market where all kinds of stalls sell crappy t-shirts and lots of fabric. Batik is the big tourist trap here, as if pewter for some reason, and I was tempted to buy Zoe some funky sarong. But if I know my BFF, she's much rather some fake Tiffany and Co. than a poolside cover-up that will run in the wash.
We've just had lunch by the pool and are headed out tonight to E&O's sister hotel, somewhere up the beach. Across the street is the big Night Market, where I've been assured I'll find cheap jewelry and knock-offs. Sadly, Alex reports that the knock-offs in Bangkok sucked, and as he's been trained by his big sister, I trust he knows what he's talking about. If I can't find it tonight, darlings, you North Fakers aren't getting shit. The only other country left on our itinerary in Singapore and maybe you've heard, those guys don't fuck around. As much as I love a $7 North Face jacket, caning somehow doesn't seem worth it.
Across the impossible to cross street is a pedestrian road filled with Penang's hottest nightlife. Passing through last night, the place looked dead. There were some Asian rockers belting out that 4 Non-Blondes song from a million years ago, but the 20 people in the bar seemed more interested at staring at their coasters than rocking out to the hits of 1993. One of the bars is actually called Beach Blanket Babylon. Even in Penang, that place haunts me. Anyway, I might head over there tonight with Alex, but truth be told, I'd rather take a late night stroll down the alley known in shadier circles as Love Lane...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

chef didier, you crazy...

Dear god, where on earth am I?
After seemingly months of travel the folks and I are in Penang, Malaysia.
Yeah, I'd never really heard of it either.
First of all, Singapore Airlines lives up to the rep and even in coach, I chugged vodka tonics whilst watching A Mighty Heart and dining on balsamic chicken. We arrived the hotel at cocktail hour last night, and were met with...cocktails.
Alex is in Bankgok (safe and beyond happy) and meeting us tomorrow, so for two nights, I have my own hotel room, which is bigger than my flat in San Francisco.
By a lot.
The bathroom alone is the size of my huge and coveted kitchen and my veranda looks over the Indian ocean, with palm trees and humid breezes and the whole shebang.
I'm pretending I'm Queen Latifah in Last Holiday.
The folks and I met for dinner in the gorgeous restaurant, 1885 (the year our hotel was founded) where we had a Thanksgiving dinner of seared ahi, scallop ceviche, lamb duos and crepes Suzette, actually on fire.
Upon my stumbling return to my gorgeous room, I found my key "didn't work."
So I nervously found, wait for it ... my butler, Ben.
Yeah. I have a butler named Ben. He knocks at my massive door just to see if everything is "satisfactory." I actually made him join me on the veranda and offered him a drink.
Anyway, Ben walked me to my room, assuring me he'd fix whatever was wrong with my lock.
Which was nothing. I was a drunk idiot.
Anyway, en route, with me all dolled up, Ben says, "You so pletty. Whey youl husbun?"
"Oh, golly. I don't have a husband?"
"Why no? How old you?"
"I'm almost 30."
Ben registered a look of shock and horror .
"Oh, I think you velly nice. You fine husbun."
Thanks, Ben. I'll sleep soundly thanks to your concerned reassurance.
I guess in Malaysia, if you're not married by the time you're 20, you're either got a major screw loose or you're missing a limb.
My door opened by Ben, I went to my veranda for a cigarette and a nightcap and quite frankly, none of you can blame me.
This morning I awoke to a wonderful, Frasier-based episode of Cheers and mangoes left at my door.
Oh, Ben. Are you hitting on me?
I spent the last hour organizing the gifts I've already bought.
Zoe gets ostentatios knock-off bags purchased at Hong Kong's Temple Street Night Market. Mikey gets dozens of foreign t-shirts, covered in trendy images and slogans. Sara, Kate and KG get funky and cheap jewelry, sure to break on the 2nd wearing. And Andy gets drug paraphenallia.
But what, oh what to get my Brian?
Today I'm spending at the pool with my book, waiting for Alex to arrive tomorrow morning before we hit the real knock-off market. I'm talking quality North Fake, people. Get excited.
It was extraordinary to spend Thanksgiving here, and prior to meeting the folks for the daily pre-dinner drink, I sat on my little veranda and had "a moment."
It is rare that I will actually take some Oprah time and appreciate where I am and what I'm doing. But in my own magnificent room, overlooking an ocean I'd never seen before, deciding not to worry about the million things at home, I was incredibly grateful for this situation.
I'm wrote in my little journal, "I am very blessed, I have a magnificent family and I love my friends. ~ Thanksgiving, 2007. Penang."
Well, shit. That's goddamn fabulous...

PS. Rita Hao (you know, SFist Rita) is graciously filling in for me, but upon my return, I'll be recapping Project Runway for SFGate! Up on Thursdays and thank you Eve..

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

ah, technology...

Man alive, these took forever to load.
Last night, the four of us went on this fabulous Champagne cruise the hotel hosted. We had no idea what to expect but it turned out to be fucking fabulous. They gave us little bottles of Moet and macadamia nuts and threw us on this candlelit ferry for an hour cruise along the harbor.
It was very champagne wishes and caviar dreams.
Then some man came around and gave us hot mulled wine!
That was followed by a huge, beyond fabulous Indian dinner, where they put a slice of lemon in my Gibson.
I've been taking lots of artsy pictures of the markets, which fascinate me. It seems profoundly unsanitary to chop up a cow on a sidewalk with a cigarette hanging out of one's mouth, but lo and behold, there they are, not giving a shit that I'm snapping pictures and batting flies off organ meats. The fish, which I do not eat, are gorgeous and exotic looking and when they cut the huge ones open, there's all kinds of weird looking tubes and bubbles I've never seen before.
Tomorrow, the folks and I are off to Penang and the baby boy is headed to Bangkok for a traditional Colonial hoilday.
Happy Thanksgiving, Americans!

PS: The Culture Blog should be up like normal Wednesday, noon PST. You'll probably be able to find it HERE...

you've got to admit there's a certain romance to movies...

I've just come from the Bar at the Peninsula (at 3:30 in the afternoon) where the men next to me were discussing the lack of passion in Hollywood and on the other side, two suited Brits ordered a bottle of Dom. I fucking love it here.
I spent today wandering around Hong Kong Island with my dad and brother, discovering bizarre meat markets where they put 200 dead mice, or what I believe to be mice, in cages in some attempt to get us hungry. Jesus Christ. Who eats mice?
We also ran into people from Mill Valley at a street fair, which kind of freaked me out. If you can't be anonymous in an alley in Hong Kong, something's wrong with the world.
I left the boys to shop, finding a fabulous hot pink dress on sale at Marks and Spencer. Upon returning to the hotel room, having taken the Star Ferry alone and pretending I was in a movie, I modeled my new purchase for my brother.
"That's a cool dress. Was it expensive?"
"Not at all. It cost $500."
In Hong Kong, we spend "dollars."
But this $500 dress cost $60 US. The conversion is 1 to 8, so I've come up with a system so I can do the math quickly.
$100 HK = $12 US.
It's harder than it sounds. At least for me.
Tonight's some champagne cruise (not Dom, I assure you) put on by our hotel, and then Indian food across the harbor. I'm hoping to stay awake long enough so Alex and I can enjoy a nightcap on the rooftop bar, home to hookers and hobnobbers and hopefully, us.
Oh god, someone just came into the business center and asked for "a Western restaurant in the building."
I am highly conscious of representing my homeland with liberal grace and international awareness, and wish my countrymen would do the fucking same. You're in China, asshole. Live a little and have an goddamn eggroll...

Monday, November 19, 2007

12c i think i love you...

Alex and I left at the break of dawn Sunday morning, discovering upon arrival at the airport that for some reason, we needed to provide a credit card to ensure out travel to LA and then Hong Kong.
"Do you have the credit card used to book these tickets?"
"Where is it?"
"Probably at a hotel in Vietnam, right now."
I nervously explained that the folks had been travelling for weeks already, and us "kids" were flying out to meet them. After waking my mother up and providing the 3 digit security code to "Cheryl", we were handed our tickets. As we jetted away, Alex turned back to Cheryl. "But we're upgraded right?"
Ah yes, priorities.
The flight to LA was uneventful, save for it arriving late. Our flight to Hong Kong left at 12:10. At 11:50, we were still on the tarmac, waiting to dock at our goddamn gate. Alex and I must have looked like terrorists, swearing and freaking out and pushing babies out of our way as we RAN through LAX, only to discover that our connecting flight had been pushed back anyway.
We found a bar and had Bloody Marys.
Finally boarded, I made last minute texts to friends and my boss, including my mother assuring her that we were indeed physically on a plane bound for Hong Kong, we'd be an hour late and we were being handed menus.
As the flight attendant passed us champagne, she checked us off her list.
"Mr. and Mrs. Spotswood?"
"Oh god, no!" I screamed. "We're bother and sister."
Now, I don't really give a shit if some flight attendant thinks a guy and gal who are basically the same age and have the same last name are married. I do give a shit about the gorgeous, mysterious,technology laden guy in 12c, right across the aisle from us. Clearly on business, he was wearing fabulous jeans and designer black separates, with a very cool laptop and a half-finished copy of the Life of Pi. I whispered over to Alex, "That guy next to you is cute."
"Really?" My brother asked. "I heard him talk. He might be British."
Cue the next 15 hours of me stalking 12c from 10 feet away.
We shared 14 moments of extended eye contact and a brief yet meaningful smile over his shithead seatmate who refused to lower his shade, but that's the extent of my love connection with 12c.
For now.
I mean, we ARE in the same city. How big can Hong Kong be?
Finally landed and through customs, we were accosted at the airport by illegal taxi drivers who physically solicit you by blocking your path and drowning you in cheap cologne. Alex wisely noted that our hotel had a kiosk at the airport and inquired as to how we got the hell out of there.
"Sir, may I show you?"
This poor guy walked us all over the place, handing us our hotel business card in Chinese for the driver and instructing us to take only RED cabs. This proved very easy, as it turns out red cabs mean you're staying in the city limit ts. Blue and Green ones mean you're headed for the 'burbs.
Exhaling in the cab, Alex looked over at me. "This might sound racist, but I thought they were painted red know, luck."
We walked into our hotel to an orchestra playing from the balcony and 473 bellmen fawning over our bags. It took seconds to check in and the concierge swung us by our folks room to say hello.
My father had even purchased a bottle of Grey Goose for the occasion.
Awe. Some.
After a drink and a quick chat, we headed out for a late dinner. It was 10pm at this point and we were exhausted yet starving. Sitting down to dinner and drinks, my folks start in on their stories. They've been traveling in Southeast Asia for over 2 weeks and had a ton they couldn't wait to tell us. Like how my father was solicited on two separate occasions by prostitutes. The latter solicitation was so horrifying, Alex and I stopped him halfway through his story. Needless to say, even in fancy hotels, massages in Bangkok are massages in Bangkok.
Alex and I crashed at about midnight, having been up for 27 hours. I can't sleep on planes, but if I did, I'd like to think I'd sleep like 12c, silent and perfect with his little eye-mask and iPod.
Okay, okay. Enough.
We both were wide awake by 5am this morning and watched the Simpsons until breakfast was served at 7, enjoying a buffet of traditional American specialties, dim sum and salumi on brioche. Curious, yet fabulous.
Full from our bizarre meal, Alex and I decided to go for a walk, spending about 2 hours roaming Hong Kong, ending up in disgusting yet fascinating fish and meat markets, parks filled with oldies doing tai chi and 13 7/11's.
7/11 is to Hong Kong as Starbucks is to San Francisco.
It's amazing.
It's also amazing to see these insane apartment buildings that look like they're going to fall over from the combination of filth, hanging laundry and neon signs. The signs jut out over the street, crashing into each other somewhere in the middle. We also saw tons of children on their way to school in perfect little uniforms and neckties. We're now back at the hotel, my only plans being to meet my mother for high tea and then hit the Temple Street Night Market before our ferry ride to dinner.
That's all I have to report. We're safe and sound, having been here for 12 hours. The weather's gorgeous, everyone looks the same, yadda, yadda, yadda.
Am I missing any scandals?
xxoo, Spots...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

omg, it's been so long...

Gorgeous people,
Golly, I've been swamped working for my real job. You know, the one at which Carole Migden likes to hassle me. Anyway, it all comes magically together tonight at our Gala. I love a huge, tedious project that ends in alcohol.
And then tomorrow morning at the blessed break of dawn, I leave for...Hong Kong!
Alex and I are meeting the folks for a traditional Thanksgiving in Penang. Actually, the folks and I will be in Penang for Thanksgiving. Alex is meeting up with some friends in Bangkok. And by friends, I mean a 12 year old Thai boy and a sex change. And then the four of us will round out our trip in Singapore, where I plan to spit on the sidewalk and scrawl "Gavin + Beth = Love" on bathroom walls. Please. Like they'll cane me. I'm an American in a foreign country. I'm the world's princess.
Anyway, it's time for another Spotswood Family Adventure, so you can look forward to blogs about tiny Asians, knock off handbags, hooking up with hotel staff and my parents driving me nuts. I expect all juicy gossip to be forwarded immediately. We're staying at classy ass places so I am fully confident I'll be spending an hour each day in the "business center" communicating with you fine people. And I'll still be doing my Culture Blogs, of course.
Should you find emergency cause to contact me other than "the internet", consult the BFF. She knows how to find me in the depths of third world countries.
Finally, have a lovely Thanksgiving, Americans. Gorge on some stuffing for me (and lots of Pinot) and I encourage you to introduce my pre-dinner tradition to your families, making them go around the table and saying what they're thankful for.
I'll start.
I'm thankful I don't have to fly coach.
I hope I don't die. Wish me luck tonight. I'll miss you like you can't believe.
And with that, Spots has once again left the country...

*PS: Thanks Big Chris for showing up this morning, helping me pack and bringing me a NEW BAG! Which, incidentally in 4 years of incredibly close friendship, is the first thing this bitch has ever given me. Good luck getting Chris to buy you a taco. But a fabulous accessory? He actually delivered it in person...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

i'll have the filet minyoracle...

WashBaG bartender: You need another?
Beth: I'm good.
Bartender: That's what it says on the men's room wall.
Mikey: (hysterics.)

I can report that everyone who works for Oracle was at Joe DiMaggio's Italian Chophouse last night. I'm also embarrassed to report that so was I. We enjoyed a sub-par meal (tho the charcuterie was pretty great) as we marveled that the joint was packed with about 90% men and about 60% douchebags.
So, you know, nice work Oracle.
Conveniently, dinner was over just in time for...Runway!
Tim's back, bitches. And gayer than ever.
I just can't get over Chris March, the gay in the leopard. When he was the "wig master" at my former job, I was the "costume mistress."
So I pretty much spent the entire episode curled up in the fetal position going, "Oh my god, Chris!" I was so caught up in this that I didn't really pay attention to much else. You'll have to wait until I re-watch for my judgemental commentary on everyone else.
I'll just say, I'm so glad it's back. Dear god in heaven, I am so glad it's back...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

how are we not supposed to read into this...

"I don't see how my staying would have changed things," Newsom said. "I was gone all of two days, and it turned out to be one of the worst weekends of my life."

I'm sorry. WHAT? A weekend in Hawaii with Swiss Miss...was one of the worst weekends of Gavin's life?
Color me surprised.
First of all, I can't believe he let just a juicy tidbit slip! Is that the hangover talking?
Second of all, if you want to have a fabulous, saucy, inappropriate time in Hawaii, Swiss Miss is not your gal. I won't go into too much detail, but before his untimely death, I drunkenly convinced Don Ho that I was a divorcee from Duluth...

rise and shine...

I'm up EARLY...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

YOU'RE shocked? don't even get me started...

Don't complain to me, Peskin!
As I've stated before, I don't really give a shit about the horrible, sad, tragic oil spill. It's just not my thing. I find other things tragic, like white shoes after labor day and poorly dressed children and, oh...i don't know...SHAM relationships that only serve to break the moral backbone of this city.
Gavin zipped off to Hawaii this weekend.
I'm guessing not alone.
Um, Aaron? Gavin's not going to cancel non-refundable upgrades just because an egret got a little dirty. However, I think you're missing the point.
Hawaii is one of those tacky, obvious, closer-than-Europe places where people who watch too much Gilmore Girls insist upon getting engaged, preferably under a waterfall or at...I don't know if I can type this...sunset.
I don't think blogger has those little IM emoticons or whatever, but I'd stick the barfing one here.
Anyway, shove it up your Speedo, Peskin. I'm the one that should be shocked. And worried. And horrified.
Oil spill, my ass. THIS is serious...

*PS! Tune in tomorrow (or today, because I'm writing this at 8:52pm, at home alone on my ghetto computer, as opposed to you people who are probably at Spruce and won't read this till Wednesday) for my thoughts on Supevisorial assassination. There'll even be a little teaser in the REAL paper. So drop a quarter and support my ass.

Also, tune in for Runway. We'll be discussing...

hey. i recycle. back off...

This is a horrible thing to say, but I'm over this goddamn oil spill.
I get it. Dead birds. Late crab season. Sad hippies.
But I get the sinking (ha!) sensation that we're going to be hearing about this stupid ship well into '08 and frankly, I'm already sick of it leading every single local media outlet.
Hello? Did we not receive rumored word that Gavin was going to propose immediately after the election? Where's the coverage on that? Is Project Runway not premiering tomorrow night on the greatest TV channel ever? Is this not newsworthy? And aren't we still at war? I can never be sure these days.
So, just to recap: thanks for cleaning this shit up. Keep up the good work. I'm sorry some jackass crashed a boat. Let's be glad the bridge didn't collapse (again). And I'm sad for the poor animals and windsurfers affected by this "tragedy." But what's done is done and I'm ready for some new scandals...

Monday, November 12, 2007

you are cordially invited...

I'm going to crop Richard, Ryan and Lauren out of this picture and use it as Brian and my engagement photo. I think Brian looks appropriately frightened by my alcoholic family and I look appropriately bitchy for having to spend the rest of my sexless life with a gay...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

updated top 5...

I've decided that I have a responsibility, as one of the few people alive able to do it, to make a top five list of the hottest serial killers of all time. You're welcome:

5. William Henry Theodore Durrant
4. I didn't think BTK was that bad, quite frankly.
3. Call me crazy, but I get the impression that Jack was cute.
2. Hotter in real life than the movie, Perry Smith.
1. I've never been a fan of Ted Bundy. I'm unimpressed, to tell you the truth. I know he's regarded as all foxy and whatnot, but I disagree. And Richard Ramierez is a nerd, folks. Really, when push comes to shove, the hottest serial killer is a fictional one. I've thought about this long and hard, almost feeling guilty that my Number One never actually killed anyone. But I think my rep speaks for itself. So you're just going to have to trust me. I know what I'm talking about.

Norman Bates...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

just tell me where to sign...

I remember once in high school, my mother had picked me up at the bus stop and as we were driving home, she insisted on stopping at the General Store.
Yep, Mill Valley actually has a general store.
Looking like absolute shit, I prayed we wouldn't run into a soul, much less anyone I actually knew.
Lo and behold, guess who was there looking cool and wonderful as usual.
Oh, just Rory, the guy I pretended I never had a crush on.
It's always when you look like absolute shit that you run into the Rory's of the world.
This morning, having cleaned my flat and emptied my fridge of it's moldy contents, I headed out to Ghetto Safeway.
Ladies, you know that bra you have that's your total emergency bra? The one with only the right side still in possession of an underwire? The one that's faded and old and should have been thrown away when Willie Brown was still Mayor?
Yeah, I was wearing that under my oldest college sweats. I don't think I'd even brushed my teeth.
I know, I know. Sexy.
At least I had the presence of mind to slap on some lip gloss from the depths of my handbag as I left Zoe a message detailing just how hideous I was (am) and how I was certain I was that I'd run into Gavin Newsom or George Clooney or god forbid, Rory by the freezer aisle.
Having finally parked, I hid my head down and attempted to avoid those dreadful people that try and make you sign petitions always loitering by the front doors of grocery stores.
I mean, my God, who even makes eye contact with these hippies?
And then, I realized. That hippie? With the clipboard and pen? Shoving it in the faces of poor, happless Saturday morning shoppers?
Yeah, it was Paul...

Friday, November 09, 2007

gavin's is drinking...

Last night, Brian D. dragged me to some SFYD thing at a bar where people stood around discussing things I refused to muster the energy to comprehend. So I dragged Brian across the street to Martuni's where some of the SFYD's joined us, including Brian L. who much to my disappointment, refused to sing.
You know who did sing? Paul Hogarth.
Turns out, Paul sings. Fabulously! I was so caught off guard, I almost spilled my Gibson.
Political people always have weird hobbies. Like Paul with the cabaret. Or my dad with his model trains. I wonder what Carole's is? I bet it's taxidermy!
The Brian's and I eventually left and got kicked out of Little Star before heading home.
I would like to suggest to the SFYD that they have Paul sing the national anthem or something to kick off every event. I think that would really take things up a notch...

poor beth...

And I don't mean me.
You know the real loser in this 'Dog the Bounty Hunter is a racist' scandal?
Beth Chapman.
I can just see her going ballistic, screaming "Dwayne, what the hell were you thinking!?!?!" as Dog sheepishly re-affixes his armbands.
Over cocktails the other evening, KG pointed out that Dog's tirade basically predicted exactly what has happened, which we find highly enjoyable...

Oh, and entirely off topic, I love that it's Holiday Starbucks time. I want my home to be Holiday Starbucks through March...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

dear followers...

The SF Weekly Blog has a list of the Top 10 San Francisco cults. And #1 on the list?
Gavin worship!
Even better, they link to me!
So I figure this makes me the Jim Jones of Gavin worshippers and I couldn't feel more powerful. You must all sell your homes, move into our compound in Pacific Heights and give the Church (me) all of your money, which I will spend on attending high class soirees in an attempt to get us closer to Gavin. I will return from said soirees to the compound to give my 5 hour sermons on the glory of GCN.
All Church members must remain celibate, except for me, obviously. I'm allowed to sleep with any well-dressed male with helmet hair. We'll have a communal garden and craft projects and everyone will get assigned special chores, like making sure we never run out of fois gras and raising and lowering our Church flag, made exclusively of blue neckties.
We'll celebrate Christmas on October 10th and for Halloween, we all dress up as a different Gavin ho. Oh, and I get my own Lincoln Towncar and Ragone gets to be my driver.
Every morning, I'll rise and scream out the window, "Bjorn! Bring the car around!"
I will spend mornings at Starbucks recruiting new members and researching third world destinations where I might decide to move us if things get too hot in Pac Heights...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

yellow tie...

Mad props to Eve and her genius editing on THIS ONE. Also mad props to Eve for "guessing right on her first try."

grabbed? jeez...

Not surprisingly, the mayor didn't mention that affair Tuesday. In his victory speech, though, he grabbed Siebel's hand and thanked her for "sticking by me in this very challenging year."
-The Chronicle

Um, this is the beginning of the end. MY end. He gives his victory speech with his dad on one side and Swiss Miss on the other? Yeah. They're getting hitched.
And then unhitched.
But I predict she pops out a horribly named child first.
Oh god. I'll feel guilty about that one for an hour...

Tune in at noon to hear how the Mayor stood me up. And nope, I'm not talking about last night. I ditched Gavin and his "girlfriend" and wandered around my neighborhood with Big Chris who, although it's not publishable, said the funniest thing I've heard in my... well, all week at least.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

perfect in every way...

Thanks to reader Tony for this GENIUS tattoo suggestion for the BFF and me. I would say keep 'em coming, but you can't do any better than this...

i wonder what the dollar was for...

I'm saving last night's adventure with Eve for tomorrow's Culture Blog, but I had a whole separate adventure just trying to get home. Maybe it's because she's shiny and perhaps, the same color as a bright new crack pipe, but hobos love Rhonda the Honda. They're drawn to her in complex and frightening ways.
And anyone that lives in my hood knows that HoboVillage SF in preceding up to and directly under the freeway on South Van Ness. There are three stoplights (Market, Mission, under freeway) where one is forced to stop and either do the straight, stare-ahead as if some legless person and their sign are invisible. Or my choice, since I'm so pious, the sheepish, concerned smile and negative headshake.
Obviously, I'm going straight to heaven.
I guess last night, my refusal to ignore my fellow man backfired. Some guy, hopped up on something that actually made him HOP through the streets comes up to Rhonda and starts tapping on my window.
"Gimme a dollar?"
Sheepish, concerned smile and negative headshake.
Immediately, hopper starts banging on my windshield, trying to pry up my windshield wipers. Oddly, this doesn't really concern me because Rhonda's windshield wipers suck and I need new ones anyway. And clearly, I was more concerned with my own health and safety than Rhonda's shitty accessories.
In some instinctive, protective gesture, I released the brake and moved into the crosswalk a few feet forward, causing hopper to jump back.
"She's trying to kill me!"
Of course, it's late on a Monday night and there's like, two cars in the vicinity. So I used every ounce of potential superhero power I might have and willed the light green, speeding off into the relative safety of the Mission.
I think this is what Gavin means when he talks about "aggressive panhandling..."

Monday, November 05, 2007

exciting updates for your Monday...

1. "This" is my new favorite website.
2. Zoe and I are getting both new/updated tattoos AND we're getting secret BFF tattoos. I'm so into researching what they would be, I'm too excited to maintain the "secret" part of the deal.
3. Speaking of excited, exactly 2 weeks from today, I'll be in my favroite city in the world!
4. No official Andy update yet, but golly, you guys sent some really sweet and concerned e-mails. What class acts you are. I'll keep you posted!
5. Should I be concerned that I'm supposed to vote in someone's ghetto-ass basement?
6. Where, dear God in Heaven, is Gavin's election night party? And I'm not talking about the shitty one for volunteers and nobodies. I'm talking about the one where Gavin openly drinks...

my other friend phillip...

I spent most of yesterday afternoon drinking Sangria and watching TrueLife over at Zoe's, until I got a text from Andy alerting me that he was in the hospital.
Hospital!?!?! Oh my god.
He wanted me to bust him out and/or bring him 7up. So I raced out of Zoe's, across the street to Wallgreens and across town to Kaiser, where a lovely security guard walked me all the way to Andy's door.
And there he lay, all groggy with gowns and tubes and pee receptacles. Oh Andy!
Turns out, our boy has some kind of funky stomach virus and is not in danger of immediate death. On the upside, he's incredibly thin and thinks he looks really hot.
Visiting hours ended at 8, so I settled in, reading to him from the National Enquirer I'd purchased along with every 7up in Wallgreens.
This being Kaiser, Andy is of course sharing a room. Earlier, it had apparently been Mr. Huang with a dramatically bloody nose and a nurse that told him he might be a diabetic. But he'd been discharged and an elderly Russian man had immediately moved into Mr. Huang's bed. His family was visiting him and Andy and I would occasionally pause in our reading of "David Copperfield's Sex Attack" to eavesdrop on them.
Then we heard it.
A bark.
Andy started laughing, leaned forward and whispered, "Did those bitches bring a fucking dog into my hospital room?"
Indeed they had. Which we confirmed when I began giving Andy the Enquirer's TV quiz. All of a sudden, from behind the thin hospital curtain, "Are you talking about The Bold and the Beautiful?"
Andy and I looked at each other. "Um, we're taking the Enquirer TV quiz."
A middle-aged woman with a gold handbag emerged from behind the curtain, holding a tiny pug puppy in her arms.
"Bold is MY show!"
Of course it is. We were forced to pet "Borris" before she finally went back to HER side of the curtain. Andy had to pee and there was no way in hell I was going to watch him relieve himself in a goddamn jar, so I went into the hallway.
Where I found a completely naked old man with a cast up to his knee.
"I'm Phillip!"
Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. What the fuck is going on?
"Hi Phillip."
A nurse came walking up with a hospital gown, which she casually threw over his shoulders. "Phillip, are you wandering around again?"
"I'm Phillip!"
The nurse, who turned out to be Leanne and eventually our favorite, looked over at me and mouthed, "Sorry."
Andy'd finished peeing at this point and I sat back in my chair, throwing my feet up on his bed. "Dude, guess what I saw in the hallway."
"The guy with the cast?"
Ah, Andy. We watched Pirates of the Caribbean after Bold Beautiful Borris and company departed, listening to it via a remote/speaker combination attached to Andy's bed. Finally, Andy couldn't take it anymore.
"I need a fucking cigarette."
He was serious. So serious, he disconnected his IV, threw on jeans and a sweatshirt, kept in a plastic bag across the room.
"Andy, you can't go outside."
"Fuck I can't. People sit in wheelchairs and oxygen tanks out there, smoking like chimneys."
He had a point.
So just before visiting hours ended, Andy and I tiptoed down the hallway, past the nurse's station and outside, careful to hide the IV thing still attached to the top of his hand under his sweatshirt.
"Jesus Christ, we're going to get arrested."
"For a cigarette? I doubt it." Andy said. Then he looked at my handbag. "But you might get in trouble for stealing all of those purple latex gloves."

Get well soon, girl...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

i love a good mystery...

One of my favorite childhood memories is watching Mystery on rainy nights with my dad in "the TV room", my father smoking his pipe and me wishing I were British. The only cartoon I ever liked was Scooby Doo. My back-up career is Detective.
I'm so into this shit, I'm pretty sure I know the identity of Jack the Ripper.
So you can imagine my delight as I groggily rolled out of bed this morning (Thank you, Brian D. for a lovely Saturday evening, by the way) and found THIS!
I have no idea who this Kevin at the Chronicle is, but I am in love with this article, which is basically about a mysterious plane crash that happened 50 years ago THIS Thursday. I cannot express to you the joy I found sipping my coffee and reading about this fascinating, San Francisco-based tale.
Think about it. A super glam 1950's luxury plane with a BAR in the middle "disappeared" leaving behind 72 pieces of debris and 19 bodies, one of whom was a stewardess still strapped to her seat.
In a life vest.
Hmmm. This would be a hot topic for rainy, smokey nights in the TV room.
My initial question is this: The plane left SFO for Hawaii at 11:51am. According to the watches of the 19 bodies, the plane crashed at 5:25pm, I'm guessing PST.
JUST, according to Kevin, as the passengers were about to be served a 7 course meal. This would imply that hours were left on this, again, super glam flight.
Why's it take so long to fly to Hawaii? According to Orbitz and personal experience, it's 5 hours from SFO to basically anywhere cool, including Honolulu.
Why were they in the air for so long? They weren't even close when they crashed, not that anyone has ever found the wreckage. Did it take dramatically longer to fly somewhere in 1957 than it does now?
Anyway, I'm all over this. Everyone should read this magnificent article and then meet me somewhere so we can smoke pipes and drink Sherry and solve this shit...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

make it work...

Mikey and I went to sushi with the Brians last night, and needless to say, today I can do nothing but sit on the couch at watch Bravo.
Which means ProRun previews.
I haven't told you ProRunners, but I know a contestant.
You might remember that I went to fashion college with ProRun 1 Winner, Jay. Yeah, I had like one class with him and he was way too cool to talk to any of us. He was Big Gay on Campus.
But this season, I know Chris!
I mean KNOW him. I worked with him for over a year at the place I'm not allowed to talk about. Zoe knows him. Andy knows him. We KNOW him.
So, I'm just getting you prepped. November 14th. It's so on...

Friday, November 02, 2007

wanted: middle aged black man with sass...

I come from a family of worriers.
My great grandmother, called ‘Downstairs Nonie’ because she lived downstairs from regular Nonie, would freak out on trains when she thought too many people were moving around the cars. She was convinced something was up and no one was telling her.
My grandfather, the late, great Bob Spotswood would cross the Golden Gate Bridge and worry aloud, “Where are all these people going to park?”
And my baby brother used to nervously knock at my bedroom door at 3am, pajama clad and whispering, “Bethy, I’m worrying.”
But my father and I have got it the worst. We’ve actually bonded over this obvious mental illness, sharing the same exact knot in the stomach, the same exact pre-dawn fret, the same exact 4am Brandy while distracting oneself with a book. While we worry over different things, (Dad: illness, Beth: serial killers), the sensation is genetic.
So of course, this morning at 2am, I shot out of bed;
Convinced I’m probably dying, feeling bad I haven’t called Andy back, concerned over the sun porch lightbulb outage, livid I can’t find my favorite shoes, regretful of drunken horrors, wondering what the hell to wear to Kevin Nealon, amazed my cell bill is so high, fretting over tomorrow’s big meeting, unsure as to where I parked my car, feeling guilty for blowing off the gym, terrified I’ll die cold and alone…you get the idea.
I eventually rolled out of bed (unable to even read my book I was in such distress) and I convinced myself that the tiniest bit of TV might help.
I searched my TiVo and found “The Office.”
Oh my god, I went to bed before The Office, which is on at 9. I am lame.
So at 2:30 in the morning, I watched tonight’s episode.
I’ll be honest. I’ve tried drugs. I’ve tried booze.
But it turns out, you know what makes me forget my troubles?
Oh, just a little show called The Office.
Before I knew it, I was laughing hysterically, swooning over Jim, desperate to join The Finer Things Club.
I actually said aloud, “Thank you, Office. Thank you.”
I shall now return to bed, falling asleep with a little smile on my face. My worries pushed to the back of my brain, saved for another night. All because of a little thing called American prime time programming.
Thank you, Office. Thank you...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

free scott? more like stupid scott...

Scott "Prince of Modesto" Peterson is bummed. Not because he's on death row. Nope, Scott just can't cash in on Laci's life insurance.
Apparently, Laci had a $250,000 policy and Scott maintains because his case is under appeal, he should have access to his blood money.
I couldn't agree more. I'm sure the San Quentin gift shop is overflowing with hot retail that poor Scott's been eyeing for 2 years, just waiting for that damn insurance check to show up.
The white teddy bear holding the plastic rose? The glossy Jesus clock on a slice of tree stump?
Hello? The holidays are upon us!
Once again, free Scott. Or at least send him some spare change...