Saturday, January 31, 2009


Sorry I've been such a blogger slacker this week. Bear with me, but first check out the glorious Melissa who write me a Birthaversary Post. As my brother calls her, referring to a former friend of mine, Mel is the "upgrade of the century." Love it, love her...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

happy birthday alan alda...

You can read today's Culture Blog HERE, but more important to me is a post Zoe wrote HERE.
Ugh, I cry so easily at my advanced age...

larkspur, we have a problem...

Twenty three years ago TODAY, I was sitting in my 3rd Grade class at St. Patrick's in Larkspur, no doubt having jazzed my plaid uniform up with some kind of forbidden flair in glorious celebration of turning 8. My mother, having learned her lesson from the horrible 1st grade tragedy when she made organic apple cupcakes from some sort of Silver Palate or New York Times food section recipe much to the horror of thirty 6 year olds, had arranged for the highly regarded Safeway cupcakes to be passed out after recess.
Birthdays in grammar school are a really big deal and I always felt pity for the poor souls born in the summer, unable to reap the glorious attention of a fall, winter or spring birthday. Better, I didn't have to share my birthday with anyone else in my goddamn class, except for some douchebag in 8th Grade who didn't know who the hell any of us were anyway. As far as I was concerned, the world stopped on January 28th in celebration of me and even an unrelated phone call to my parents the days prior and following seemed blatantly rude. I was amazed people went to work and banks were open.
After recess, where I'd reassured my peers that indeed we'd be having the socially acceptable and profoundly disgusting Safeway monstrosities, we all marched back to class as I emotionally prepared myself to be celebrated for 6-8 minutes.
Suddenly, the PA system came on.
"Oh, Ms. O'Rourke." I thought to myself. "A school-wide announcement? You're too much. And yet, just right."
Straightening my jumper and crossing my ankles in my most ladylike fashion, I tried to hide my grin, confident that Nicole, my rival for dominant female leadership and bearer of tomorrow's birthday attention would not receive anything as fabulous as an announcement over the PA system. Nicole was one of those girls who applied wrinkle cream when she was 7 and dressed exclusively from the racks of Brass Plum. She would have trumped me completely had she not lived in Novato, which as I often reminder her, is where people go to die.
Ms. O'Rourke finally spoke.
"Hello, this is your principal. I have some horrible news."
Her words didn't even register.
"The Challenger space shuttle, which we've all been studying has just exploded. Everyone on board has gone to heaven. This is a horrible tragedy."
Um, what's this got to do with my birthday?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

that t-shirt looks sane to me...

I'm hardly a music buff and am generally about 20 years behind everyone else in terms of what I think is fabulous. Christ, last summer was all about "Man in the Mirror" for me and Mel. But on occasion, I get hot on something random, like my current loves of Sam Sparro and Ladyhawke. I listen to this shit all day and much like I do while watching television, wikipedia whatever might cross my mind.
So I wikipedia'd Ladyhawke and was amazed and delighted to discover she has Asperger Syndrome.
Asperger. Asperger. Where'd I hear that lately? Oh yeah. Eve.
Eve and I went to dinner last week at Bar Bambino, apparently for the sole purpose of getting involved in a very long conversation with a middle-aged douchebag who'd had 8 too many beers.
You know how gay people always think everyone is secretly gay and I've now decided that everyone is a drunk? (Oh yeah, I'm always deciding y'all are closet boozehounds or coming to work stoned now that I'm on my sober high horse.) Well Ms. Eve diagnoses anyone and everyone as having Asberger Syndrome.
Drop a name around Eve and she'll bust out, "Seriously, I think he has Asperger's. I'm not kidding."
So I looked it up. Eve might be right. In the blogging world, we hang out with a lot of people who exhibit the following:
Unlike those with autism, people with AS are not usually withdrawn around others; they approach others, even if awkwardly, for example by engaging in a one-sided, long-winded speech about a favorite topic while misunderstanding or not recognizing the listener's feelings or reactions, such as need for privacy or haste to leave.
Oh my God. This is me. This is definitely me. You don't even have to bring up serial killers. I'll just walk up to anyone and delve into my fascination with Albert Fish.
Worse, I will never be nearly as cool as Ladyhawke. So get off this loser site and go check that nutjob out...

the old bag...

It's incredibly rare for there to be a retail store with which I'm unfamiliar. It's pretty much like seeing a unicorn.
But there's a mystery store lurking in Westfield and last night, Zoe and I finally breached it's gates.
I'd actually been 2 steps inside of Ruehl with Melissa, who instantly demanded that we leave. The place is dark and smells like musky men. Okay, I know what you're thinking. I like both dark places and musky men. Who doesn't? Even Zoe remarked, "Oh! It smells like cute boys in here!"
But divided into lots of little dark rooms with hidden passageways and no one working there, Ruehl is kinda scary and intimidating even to seasoned shoppers such as ourselves. A cross between Abercombie & Fitch and the Skull & Bones Society clubhouse, this retail space is heavy on the ripped denim and low v-neck if you can find it, only 3 or 4 of each are thrown amidst the velvet couches and mahogany racks.
I wouldn't even venture for another spin around the store, too afraid that Whitney or Brianna might take one look at my Gap khakis and level me with her overly made-up eyes, except that...
The bags, people. The bags.
I'd been looking for a bag like this for ages! 2 birthdays ago, Zoe had prepped the guy I was sick of dating into exactly the bag I wanted, and finally, we agreed that I couldn't accept a fancy handbag that again, was fucking fabulous when I wasn't that wild about the gift giver. I broke up with him before he could buy the bag and have regretted it ever since.
Not the guy. The bag.
Zoe reminded me of this last night as I twirled in the mirror, imagining how said bag would go with various outfits.
"Yeah." I rolled my eyes. "And look how that karma worked out. He's probably married and throwing his wife designer treasures left and right and I'm buying myself headbands at J. Crew with you."
"He was too pushy when we played Scattegories." Zoe offered. "And he gave you the creeps."
"SO!?!? Look at these bags! My god, the bags!"
I was ready to sleep with Dennis Rader last night if it meant getting that bag. And that's a really bad sign. I've waited this long, I might as well wait a little longer. After all, that bag might go on sale, I can buy it for myself and I won't have to become a dead whore in a dupster for an accessory.
The worst part is I'll have to tiptoe into Ruehl again and find some way of justifying my old, poor existence to an Associates Degree in Uggs while dumping a Mason jar of change on the counter...

You can read Zoe's version of last night's events HERE.

Monday, January 26, 2009

i think i'm kind of sassy today. sorry...

Tar Baby and I decided to see a movie Friday night and noticed an old Humphrey Bogart movie was playing at the Castro. My cab driver seemed particularly excited about our choice in films.
"God, I love that shit."
"Yeah, me too." I offered, slightly scared. Meanwhile, Tara kept texting me.

"I'm here."
"Should I get tickets?"
"In line."
"You close?"
Jesus Christ, lady! I'm in a cab! But once we pulled up to the theater, I understood her urgency. The place was mobbed, and not mobbed in a good way with drag queens and saucy gays. Oh no. Friday night, the Castro was mobbed with middle-aged women in Eileen Fisher and men trying to wear a fedora that hasn't seen the light of day since The Steinberg's Al Capone-themed Spaghetti Feed.
"What the hell is going on?" I screamed at Tara, trying her best to breathe amidst the crowd, her handbag caught on some 50 year-old's wallet chain.
"It's Noir City, a noir film festival and tonight's the opening. At least that's what I've overheard."
We made our way inside, forced to sit in the balcony which would be fun save for the fact our knees were pushed up to our chins trying not to step on the mix of Dooney & Burke and hemp totebags piled on the floor.
And of course (OF COURSE) we were surrounded by "buffs" who felt the need to gasp through their applause at the odd yet appreciated montage of dead movie stars which preceded the film. I utilized my standard passive-aggressive way of shutting up the talkers seated directly behind us with my patented face-turn wherein they just see my profile which silently asks, "Are you talking to me? You must be ... because I can hear you."
The movie was great! Even surrounded by people who take adult education classes so they can talk about it at progressive cocktail parties, we enjoyed Deadline, USA. I really wish people still talked like they did in 1952.
"That's the press, baby! The press!"
"How're you feeling?" "Amorous."
"I don't like him. I'll think of a reason later."
As the credits rolled, Tara and I squeezed ourselves out and grabbed some nicotine-filled air on the sidewalk. Instantly, some guy who saw Swingers too many times says a great big "Hello!" to Tara and it's clear she knows him, but doesn't remember his name. Thus, I stood there like a doofus because she couldn't introduce me. Quickly, Tar Baby excused herself and finally explained where she knew him from, name still unknown.
"Wait, wait, wait." I stopped her on the sidewalk. "You mean that's the No-Hand-Washer?"
Yeah, this guy doesn't wash his hands after he uses the restroom. That's his most memorable characteristic and one that's stuck with me for months, ever since Tara told be about this fella she knew who silently refused to lather-up post pee.
Since she's met him, Tara's been relaying this story to a few folks and on occasion, tells it to a certain type of single guy "who totally agrees with me but I can tell he's making a brand new mental note that, uh, he should wash his goddamn hands after he pees."
Oh dear.
I'm pretty sure Humphrey stopped at the sink on his way back to the bar. And as for me, well, I no longer shake hands with single 30-somethings who seem to return from the latrine fast faster than one might expect. Or hope...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

wilson's at it again...

Once again, Bill Wilson gets to go where I can't. I guess Quantas held a press conference at SFO and GCN made an appearance. I'd really like to fly somewhere with him, preferably on the Jetty or Google jet, but worse comes to worse, you know I'd snuggle up to Le Mayor in coach. I'd mile high my boy in a heartbeat. Yep, I do that move too. "Oh, heh heh. Yeah, I'm totally listening while I sexilly touch my hair. Let me just arch my back a little and ... awww yeah. You want this so bad."
And for my next trick, I'll bring Steve Irwin back from the dead!"
Oh Sweet Baby Jesus, Yes! The only downside of this awesome seat is that the peons in coach can't see you glancing at your flatscreen over your champagne when they walk by on their way to the horrors of steerage. I'd be standing at the door of the airplane looking at boarding passes and saying, "Oh, 74D? It's way back there. But first, check out where I'll be why you have to pee for 14 hours."
I love this man, I really truly do. But I'm guessing he'd be pressed to find Australia on a map. It's okay. That's part of his sexy, undergrad charm.
You want to know what's awesome? Right here, pal. Right here.
I understand. You found paradise in America. You had a good trade, made a good living, the police protected you and there were courts of law and you didn't need a friend like me. But, now you come to me and you say "Don Corleone, give me justice." But you don't ask with respect. You don't offer friendship. You don't even think to call me Godfather. Instead, you come into my home on the day my daughter's to be married and you ask me to do murder for money.
Gavin re-enacting United 93.
"Here! Take her!"
What, too soon? I already bought my ticket to hell a long time ago. Relax...

thoughts please...

I've had this argument many times. Can men and women be platonic friends?
As I had dinner with Becky last night, I got a text from Big Chris.
"What's up?" which is Big Chris for "Wanna hang?"
I ended up meeting him at Cha Cha Cha and as I entered, he looked at me and asked, "Did you have a meeting? Or perhaps, (he smirked) a date?"
"No douchebag." I relayed where I was as Chris pretended to watch the television behind the bar. I began to explain that Becky had just broken up with some guy and said guy still wanted to be friends.
"Impossible." Chris stated, refusing to divert his eyes from the screen. "Men and women cannot be friends."
I stated the obvious. "Well, we're friends."
"Yeah, but I've seen your boobs. And you're not a girl."
I eventually left him at Beauty Bar flirting with the bartendress who, quite frankly and rightfully so, was maintaining a professional distance from Big Chris. Buy her all the shots you want, pal. It ain't gonna happen. And as I drove home, I thought about what he said. My old friend Darren once claimed that men and women could be friends if neither found the other attractive. But then Darren went and got married and that's the last I saw of him. Hastings is one of my closest compadres although he saw me suffering in sweatpants through rehab, thus making us more like family than friends. And the most consistent relationship I've ever had in my life is with a womanizing, straight doofus named Big Chris.
So I disagree with my friend. Although, I've got to admit that Chris is the guy that once said over casual drinks at Dirty Thieves, "Do you want to have sex tonight?"
"What? No! Chris, that would ruin everything."
"I know. I'm perfectly fine with having sex tonight and never talking to you again."
Well, I'm not. I'd much rather Chris go home with a bartendress and still come over to watch Rambo 4 with me...

PS: THIS post by Leslie is right up my alley. Check it out.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

at the grocery store. typical...

Today's Culture Blog IS UP!
Sorry for the delay.

And a quick follow-up story...
We weren't really able to get any food at the event. The lines were too long and when the crowds finally died down, the food was of course, gone. Had we been drinking, Mel and I'd have decided an epic dinner at Epic was in order and dropped another $400 on being obnoxious in a fancy restaurant. Oh, how I miss those days. Anyway, around 10, I hugged Melissa goodbye and on my way home, swung by my ghetto-ass grocery store to pick up ingredients for my new favorite snack, cucumber sandwiches.
I was still all dressed up and feeling quite fetching, wandering the produce section still wobbling around in heels. A totally aesthetically appropriate guy walked right up to me and made conversation. He wasn't creepy or weird, he wasn't particularly douchey. He was actually quite cool, considering I was holding a giant cucumber.
And as I sensed he was about to ask for some type of contact information, I busted out with the following lecture:
"I'm actually not allowed to date for a year. I know, I know, it sounds weird. I mean, who knows if I'll even follow this rule, but I'm in recovery. I...I just got out of rehab and it's called the 13th step. Have you seen 28 Days? We're not supposed to date until we get our shit together and look at me rambling. My shit is obviously not together. Oh God. I'm so sorry. This is ridiculous."
This is pretty close to verbatim, as if I was performing a monologue from an 80's sitcom. And the truth is, few actually adhere to the 13th step. I certainly have no plans to. I just can't shut the hell up and am so profoundly concerned that one day, I will have to tell some man I once went to rehab, it tends to be the first thing I blurt out.
The poor guy just stared at me, smiled and said, "Okay. Well, you look great. Congratulations. Take care."
And all I could do was stand there looking terrified while the man that was probably meant to be my first husband walked over to the booze aisle and tried to forget about the crazy lady in produce...

solid. solid as...

I'm cranking out the Culture Blog as fast as I can, but in the meantime, I have to share with you a song Mel and I heard at Inauguration West last night. And while Ronnie Lott didn't ask me to dance, Melissa did so it all worked out...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

yo yo ma in 2016...

Is it just me or does everyone want to have sex with Barack Obama right now?
I headed into Marin early and watched the inauguation with a bunch of rich yuppies who went balistic every time our President talked about poor people. I wasn't expecting the pakced house at the gratris CSPAN viewing at the 142 Throckmorton Theatre, run by the super cool Lucy Mercer. Her gorgeous theater will filled with those who feel the need to sport athletic performance apparel to drink a latte and nod "Hmmmmm" each time the man made a point. I stood crowded in the back with a gentleman I know from a childhood attending the local church and kept getting bumped by some short chick.
A now, a word to short Americans. It sucks being a tall person, much less 5'10" when you're in sixth grade. You people verbally complain when my 6'5" brother sits in front of you in movie theaters and have some how arranged the 'regular' length demin at the Gap too short for me. We talls always get shoved to the back in group photos and it's apparently our job to help you freaks get your baggage from the overhead bins. One of the few perks of our height in getting to see shit over your little, tiny heads so don't go bumping me like the wall on my other side will somehow give way allowing both of us some kind of comfort in standing in this sardine can. I got here first, short stack. Back off.
Okay, I've spoken my peace. I only wish I could've done it in Aretha's hat, which incidentally, sent that theater of pure bred dog owners into one of those "Oh, those black ladies and their hats" applause...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

aw, you up and looked at my possibilities book......

Mel and The Brians departed for the city after lunch as sadly, whale watching was sold out. I grabbed a diet Coke and a cookie and retreated to my lovely little hotel room, which I still have for one more night. 
When throwing clothes in an overnight bag for my weekend getaway, obviously I threw in a dress. Nothing fancy, but I'd bought a print jersey dress ages ago at a Banana Republic outlet, it folds neatly into the size of a foot and you never know, right? Anyway, the dress hung in my closet, begging me to find a bold excuse to see how it fit after 2 months of cutting the empty calories of booze. 
I crawled in my cozy bed and eyed that dress as I pained my toes and watched Kiss the Girls. Somehow I noted that at 8pm tonight, one of my favorite (and now, circumstantially appropriate) movies was on ... Last Holiday!
Last Holiday, for those of you idiots that don't love yourself enough to see this movie, involves Queen Latifah finding out she has 3 weeks to live so she hops a plane to blow her life savings at a fancy hotel in the Czech Republic where LL Cool J comes to declare his undying love. 
Hmmmm. Last Holiday, huh? Well, I could either stay in and watch Last Holiday ... or I could LIVE LAST HOLIDAY!!!!
I hopped in the shower, hopped in that dress and am now having the charcuterie plate at the mahogany bar of the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay. 
What's up?
There is no LL Cool J. 
There are lots of suburban couples, businessmen in wedding rings and Desperate Housewives in too much White Diamonds ordering cosmos like it's 1999. But no LL. 
None the less, this is one of those times I'd like anyone who's done me wrong to walk in here on some tour for losers who want to see how rockstars live so me and my dress can jump on the bar and give them all the finger. 
But it never happens that way, does it. We never get to run into that bitch or ex or asshole from high school who always made us feel like shit at the very moment when our fabulous situation would make them wallow in regret for all of eternity. Nope, we run into those douchebags when we're in sitting in sweats with the chicken pox eating a bucket of KFC in our car. 
Alas, I now sit alone chatting with Luis the bartender who's serving me Coke in a wine glass. But you never know. LL Cool J could walk in any second...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

this bay is half full (oh, that was bad...)

I was determined my big idea to get away this weekend wouldn't be like the rest of my big ideas and stay a goddamn idea. So even after Tar Baby cancelled and Big Chris refused to drive me to Reno, I hopped on the internet. 
My mother convinced me that if I called fancy hotels at the last minute or merely showed up, I'd get some magical deal costing me mere pennies. Try as I might, The Ritz at Half Moon Bay was having none of it. Finally, I phoned up the Half Moon Bay Inn and after making friends with Jamie at the front desk, I got a room till Monday for, well, not mere pennies but pretty goddamn cheap. 
A little nervous to wander off for a weekend by myself, I hopped in Rhonda the Honda, swinging by a convenience store for caffeine/nicotine. Lo and behold, the had Fresca. Fresca! I love Fresca. Back in the car, "Freedom 90" came on the radio. 
"This is a good sign" I said aloud, wondering if tomorrow I might muster the courage to go whale watching by myself. Cruising down the coast, Devine called. 
When I explained that Mel couldn't join me because she had to be back by Sunday night, he lamented that he would've driven down tomorrow, gone whale watching with us and taken Mel home. 
Shit. But maybe they'd come down for the day. He planned to call the crew. 
None the less, I was off. "If you guys want to come down, cool. No big deal. I'm a liver of life! I'm going with the flow!" I checked into my lovely hotel room, plopped my laptown down on the big fluffy comforter facing a flat screen and noticed that construction was loudly under way downstairs. 
Hmmm, maybe this explained my cheap room. 
But I'm not here to watch Braveheart in a hotel room, scented-candle cute as it might be. Pleased I thought to bring my canvas tote bag, I grabbed a $2.50 deli sandwich and an Honest Tea and headed to the beach, where it costs $7 to park. I parked myself in what I deemed to be a relatively isolated spot. Today's gorgeous so the beach was pretty full but I managed to find a clear spot past a bluff with a tent on it. I sat with my iPod and book, built a sand shrine (it can't be called a castle, I'm afraid) and sat on the beach for a good two hours. It occurred to me that collecting seagull feathers is a lot like collecting toe nails. When you think about it, it's pretty fucking gross. 
That aside, I have to admit, I was pretty goddamned pleased. A year ago, I would not have wandered off for a weekend in Half Moon Bay by myself, and certainly not without the promise of holing myself up in a hotel room with a case of Skyy and some HBO. I watched the surfers and joggers and kites and thought, "Not bad, Spotswood."
Meanwhile, back in civilization, plans were afoot. 
My phone buzzed and Devine's smiling face flashed on the screen. 
"Alert the media!" He screamed. "We're picking Melissa up in an hour and coming down!"
"Oh my God! Awesome!"
"I know. We're so spontaneous! We can only stay for one night and we're bringing the pugs. See you around 4." Click. 
See? Being a liver of life is sure working out. A German family was playing catch over my head, indicating my time at the beach had come to an end. I made sure my decolletage got some kind of sun and headed back to the car. "Okay, Spotswood, what next?"
I agree this referring to myself both in the third person and by my last name while talking to myself is embarrassingly lame. It's also the truth. I'm in a hotel in Half Moon Bay right now, asshole. Where are you?
You know what I wanted to do? I wanted to see what it'd be like to sit at a bar alone. 
This is frowned upon, I would imagine, by most if not all of my rehab counselors and peers, but I did it anyway. I had a Shirley Temple and a Diet Coke (not at the same time, although that could be my new thing) at a "saloon" across the street from what was now "our" hotel. 
It was no big deal and I'm glad I did it. Now I know I can. At least in the daytime and at a bar I don't really like with shitty service. 
I made it back to the hotel, my sobriety enthusiastically intact and mere seconds later, I heard my best friend screaming down the hallway. Seriously, this is how she announces herself, by screaming, "Bethy?!?!" through the hallways of the Half Moon Bay Inn. 
We wandered the 3 blocks of downtown Half Moon Bay with the Brians whose precious pugs remained in their room. Passing store of store of Red Hat Society merchandise and gift soaps, we finally stumbled upon my new favorite place on Earth: Half to Have It!
I think I may have come here with KG years ago, but I'd obviously forgotten the glory of Half to Have It. It's basically the storage unit Clarice Starling breaks into in Silence of the Lambs, only everything's for sale!
I bought a leopard print fez, a Chinese headdress and matching embroidered pillows for Mel and me which read, "Go Away."
Melissa considered a vintage old lady dressing gown and we plan to return tomorrow so she can sleep on it (heh). This store is marvelous and wonderful, with old random family photos and a beautiful and frightening bejeweled head for $500. 
My grand total was $44 and it was well worth it. Wandering on as the last shops closed, we spotted a sign for a lost pigeon named Fuji and bought cheese and bread. The Brian's have a "sitting room" in their suite and brought "Bethpagne" which is apple cider served in champagne flutes. We sat a spell and now are getting ready for dinner at the Miramar Beach Restaurant. I can only hope this Miramar is as awesome as Top Gun but it probably is. You know why? Because they have "Live Jazz Meets Rock By The Sea" from 6-10pm. 
So, just to recap, I've been here for 6 hours and I'm already having an awesome time. I'm totally remembering my spirit...

Friday, January 16, 2009

what happened to their luggage...

Like the rest of you, I'm all over this airplane landing in the Hudson. I'm loving the dramatic tales of escape from the survivors (aka: everyone) and my absolute favorite is the guy who yelled, "Women and children first!"
Nice work, Jesus.
As a woman, thanks. As a sister and daughter, fuck that shit. If I were on that plane, and don't think I haven't imagined that over and over with glee, I'd shove my brother and father out that emergency exit before some whiny kid or slow-ass old.
I was reminded of my family boarding our flight from Dublin to London last week, where after it was casually announced that passengers with small children could board first, the crowd just started moving for the plane. Not to be outdone, we are Americans after all, my family followed suit. This was British Midland Airways and those fuckers assign the same seat to like, 34 people. Of course, the whole cluster fuck of a line comes to a halt and 150 of us just stood there as an old man with two girls (10 years old if they were a day) starts yelling at my mom and me.
"They're still boarding children!"
He repeated this 4 or 5 times and here's why I love my mom, who raised me with appallingly strict adherence to manners. She just stared right past him, shifting her carry on and rolling her eyes. I was shocked and thrilled. The woman refused to budge, following the general rule of travel: every man for himself.
We finally started to move forward and once out of earshot of the yeller with the tweens, mom and I started making fun of him. We decided our main problem was his passive aggressive way of saying he wanted to cut in line because he had "children." Please. When I was that age, I was responsible for my own luggage, carry on, passport and finances. "Mom, you should totally go up to him and say, 'You're probably still mad about what happened a few minutes ago, but we really feel you went about it in the wrong way. Had you asked directly and politely, we would have let you through.'"
But we didn't. We just pushed our way past anyone blocking us from sitting as soon as humanely possible. This is how people travel now. Screw that women and children nonsense. If you can't move fast enough to board when they call your group or hustle as the plane fills with water, tough.
I don't know about you peg leg, but I can run...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

i'm looking to run into "characters"...

I tried to schedule a meeting on Monday and my boss looked at me like I'm retarded.
"I don't know about you, but I'm not working on a holiday."
Oh yeah!
Which is why I've decided to get the hell out of town this weekend. And I believe I've roped Tar Baby into going with me. Thus far, our options are $30 nicotine-fragranced room in a Reno Casino, stained-bedspread beachside motel in Half Moon Bay or some type of organic food exploration project in the central valley. My hope is to mingle with locals, buy some type of hanging plant or hideous jewelry, make a new friend and eat something you can only get wherever the hell we go.
That's pretty much it.
I should come up with some kind of budget, but since all I've gotten back from Tara is an "I'm in!" e-mail, I will wait to consult with her.
Also, in my research I've discovered THIS PLACE which is where I now plan to have all of my forbidden rendezvous...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

who you callin' weird...

Today's Culture Blog is up!
I got sassed by Peskin and fell into further adoration of Farrah.
PS: This slideshow frightened even Melissa...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

what's in the box...

I really hope my brother knocks someone up because my father needs grandchildren. Dad, who in his office is a foul-mouthed, merciless hard-ass tossing copies of Foreign Policy Magazine on the ground in disgust, has never lost his bizarre child-like qualities. He loves to snuggle, he plays with toy trains, he's still promoting his invented game "Squashy Nose"... the man is odd.
For Christmas this year, as my family huddled around a morning fire in the middle of Nowhere, Ireland, my mother slipped a tin Irish whistle into my father's stocking hanging from the mantle. Days later, as my father enjoyed his daily nap time, the rest of us read in the living room. From the bedroom upstairs, we heard a faint "Toot, toot. Toooooot, toot!"
We all looked at each other.
"What the hell is that?"
"It's your father." My mother responded without looking up from her book. "He's practicing his Irish whistle."
Last night, my folks had my brother and I over for dinner. Afterwards, my Alex and I dug through one of those Christmas tower of treats some court reporter or private investigator had sent as a gift and headed upstairs with chocolate covered nuts and spreadable cheese. As Alex monitored his laundry, we crawled into our respective seats in the TV room and watched Se7en.
My father remained in the kitchen doing the dishes and my mother retreated to her computer to practice her French.
I've taken to keeping the internet at the ready as I watch television, able to instantly look up any querry that crosses my mind. My brother's been mocking me about this new habit for awhile, until of course we were watching E.T. on New Year's Day.
"I wonder what the oldest brother is doing? I mean, Henry Thomas and Drew Barrymore are still acting, but what happened to 'Michael'?"
Good question, Alex. One second while I look this up and... he's a mailman in Phoenix.
My brother is now on board with the instant look-up and was filling us in with the myriad of interesting facts about the timeless Se7en.
As we watched, we once again heard a "Toot, toot!" slowly waft up the stairs from the kitchen.
I looked over at Alex as he rolled his eyes and looked at me.
"Ted gave me a replica Titanic whistle for Christmas."
Yeah. That sounds about right...

Monday, January 12, 2009

my ringtone is womanizer...

As someone notoriously behind the times, I realize getting a Blackberry is no big deal to you Jetsons, but I bought my first one on Saturday and I couldn't be more amazed by this awesome technology. The full alphabet is available on this thing, with all of my e-mail accounts showing up like text messages and a camera with a God!
But there's a downside to my new device. Usually, the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning is the joy I take in running to my laptop and checking my e-mail. It's not like the in boxes are all that interesting, mostly filled with penis enlargement ads and those bitches at Oxfam asking for more money. But you never know. There could always be that rogue surprise, anonymous blog comment or missive from a lost long love, dramatically detailing the ways in which no other woman can ever compare.
Okay, I'm still waiting on that last one, but my point is, my little handheld's got all that shit and I don't have to move from the fabric softened coziness of my Ikea sheet set. My wide-eyed, childlike enthusiasm of every morning being Christmas morning is over because the second some douche call me a bitch on the internet is the second I get to read about it.
I guess growing up ain't all it's cracked up to be...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

i brought the comb...

Mel and I hadn't really had a chance to catch up since I've been back from vacation, although you can read my myriad of thoughts on our attending "Roasted Supe" in next Wednesday's Culture Blog. Here's a sneak-peek: Aaron Peskin is a shithead. 
Anyway, the Missus and I agreed to go to Burnell's going away party at Otis. Burnell is a charming genius who works for Clemens and is moving to D.C. in the hopes of changing the world. I used to think Otis was this marvelous and mysterious bastion of cool I'd never be able to breach. Ha! Trends are fickle friends and no one goes to Otis anymore. You can tell because I can walk right in. It's almost sad how quickly the 'cool new place' becomes the hangout of pleat front khaki types who read a blurb in Hemispheres
Mel and I sat ourselves easily at the bar and ordered a round of Shirley Temples. In a dramatic gesture of solidarity, Mel has given up the sauce so I "never have to be sober alone." The bartender looked at us like were nuts and Clemens smirked supportively, but trust me, Shirley Temples are the new martinis. It's certainly better than a boring old Diet Coke or Pellegrino, and somehow, ordering a drink with more than one ingredient makes me feel like I'm having a cocktail. A child's cocktail, but a cocktail none the less. 
Thanks to SFist, we knew that the Castro was showing Stand By Me at 9:45. Politely, we hugged Burnell goodbye and good luck and snuck out of Otis. I thought I was dressed very fashion forward in my pink silk kimono from Anthropologie and matching silk slippers, but wandering anywhere with Melissa is like walking the sidewalks with Giselle in her underwear. After the 8th hobo remarked how "fine" her "ass" is and two men gave us their cab, I felt like Rosie O'Donnell right after she got that really butch, lesbian-identified haircut. Dinner at the Four Seasons made up for my sadness at not being hot enough to be invited into some stinkers cardboard box and as we dined, Mel and I noticed that our bottle of Pellegrino was being dramatically chilled in a champagne cooler behind my seat, our glasses refilled with such a grandiose flair, we could have been having Opus One. 
I have to admit, I feel bad not ordering alcohol at fancy restaurants. Our tabs are dramatically less expensive and while we've decided to take our extra money and become patrons of the arts (Goonies and Adventures in Babysitting will be at the Castro on Feb. 6th!), pairing my Kobe with bubbly water isn't exactly going pay our server's cable bill. My dining companion found my concern absolutely ridiculous. And she's certainly right, but I can't help it. I still so identify with being a raging boozehound that I'm a little lost without a martini glass and a hangover. I'm convinced everyone must be thinking "Why isn't that woman drinking?" when I should be pleased they're not thinking "Why is that woman reenacting Sister Act?"
After dinner, we headed over to the Castro and settled into a packed house for Stand By Me. The movie was part of something called Midnite for Maniacs, where you can see 3 movies for $10. Our only interest was in Stand By Me but of course, we were seated in the midst of people who treat film viewing as a sporting event, screaming out comments and questions to both the evening's host and the actual film. I hate these people with a passion I can hardly articulate. I went on a date with one of them once, the kind of guy that yells out a "jokey" comment at the pre-movie crap on the screen in an attempt to entertain the entire theater only to be met with annoyed and embarrassed glances. These are the same people that boo, hiss, applaud and Irish-whisper unnecessary questions and facts during a movie.
"What's that guy's name?"
"Sutherland, I believe."
"Yes! What's his first name?"
"He starred in Flatliners. His father is an actor of note."
"His first name is on the tip of my pierced tongue."
"He has such quiet depth."
"How frustrating. What is his name?"
KIEFER, motherfuckers! Kiefer! My God. Shut up. I'm trying to watch a goddamn movie over here. 
We capped off our night with a cab ride from El Weirdo leather bomber jacket man, yet another of Mel's admirers. After eavesropping on our post-film conversation, he dove in. 
"People were talking in the cinema?"
Douche! Already one sentence out of the gate and douche. He then goes on to tell us all about Airport security and Dick Cheney. It's January 11th. I regard anyone who still needs to moan and groan over the Bush Administration as dated and pathetic. The election is over! Making fun of Sarah Palin is over! The war? Yeah, we got it. Bad idea. You are no longer a topical and informed liberal. You're now one of those people still whining about Watergate. As far as I'm concerned, you're a 21st century colonist shaking your fist at that asshole across the Atlantic, King George III. 
Anyway, Bomber Jacket went on to tell us how the Sept. 11th terrorists didn't use box cutters and then he didn't understand a joke Mel cracked and  hemade kinda a big deal about it. 
"Perhaps you're smarter than I, but methinks I did not understand your point."
Give it a rest, pal. 
I headed home around midnight, finally crawling into my own bed safe in the knowledge that my best friend and I were all caught up and while I will never be nearly as foxy as her, at least I'm not the blight on society that talks during the movie and is still kvetching about Karl Rove... 

and yeah, i'm watching boyz in the hood...

I know I bitch about the Mission, but my neighborhood offers opportunities you'd never find in the Marina. For example, my sweet roommate just went down to the coffee shop and got our morning fix of caffeine, returning and announcing, "Beth, you won't believe what I found outside!"
"A crackpipe?"
"No, that'd be normal." He responded. "Check this out."
Ladies and gentlemen, behold the glory of my sunny, ghetto, blood and hot sauce covered sidewalk:
It lights up!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

the real housewives of san francisco...

I've been off of my socialite stalking lately but folks, I'm back on board. Every big city needs a group of dolled up freaks who think they're fabulous and San Francisco's got a ton. The ones that actually ARE fabulous are few and far between, however and deserve some props for owning their shit. I've met several bolded names in the past year and the douchey-ho factor is a high one indeed. My god, the people I've had to give a 'what for' at Le Club alone!
As far as I'm concerned, the fabulous Catherine "C-Big" Bigelow should just have her own TV show so she can keep us all in the loop of who's date-raping who.
Anyway, my most favorite party hopper of late is real estate mogul Joel Goodrich. Seriously, just admire the glory that is Joel.
I've only met him twice, once with my beloved Barbara and Richard who are actually friends with this magical who's who of unicorns and once at a Nob Hill Gazette soiree where he did that thing that said to me, "Oh, hi! I have no idea who you are but isn't everything marvelous!?!?"
Yes, Joel! Yes it is!
Joel makes entrances! Joel barely buttons his tops! Joel probably calls them tops! That, folks, is how you keep the old school, society page dream alive. I'm sick of this loud overcoat atop denim with kitten heels bullshit. Throw on a fur and wash your hair in Evian, goddamnit.
So in honor of Joel, whom seriously, I want to get my nails done with, here's my list of Favorite San Francisco Socialites who you should pay attention to, if only because they care enough to own it:
Shannon Bavaro: Shannon wore a fabulous backless gold dress to fucking cocktails at Le Club when I showed up in Old Navy. I just want to applaud everytime I see her.
Tatiana Sorokko: Because she walks down the street like THIS.
Sonya Somethingcomplicated: She's dating Willie, totally uses the phrase I coined about her and she makes me miss the Cold War.
Joy Bianchi: I tired to leave the geriatrics out but I love this nut. I saw her driving down Lombard in a Mercedes from the beginning of time and I almost crashed into her just so I could tell Brock.
And Joel. Duh...

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

waiter, there's a boxcutter in my soup...

Just in time for lunch, today's Culture Blog...

You should also read THIS fabulous post by SFist Richard. Well done, SFist!

i don't need to show you no stinking passport...

With an hour left of our flight, my family of four converged in my parents' aisle with Alex and I shimmying in and annoying the rude gay sitting in the next row. According to my mother, we needed to agree on our "story."
Apparently upon his return to United States soil, my Uncle Bill was asked if he spent any time on a farm and/or had any contact with cows. Nervously and wisely, my uncle lied and said no.
It's important to understand traveling with my father as he's probably the most experienced traveler I've ever met and still, the man freaks out at every single travel checkpoint, each time his shaking hand passes over his passport. We can't figure out what he's hiding, what his real name is or what crimes his secret bastard children have committed. Any pause in the system and he gets a look of terror on his face, as if he's about to be caught and taken away forever.
No matter how many times we tell my dad to relax, that it's no big deal to smuggle parmesan back from Florence or handbags from Shanghai, he freaks out and refuses to go in the same Customs line with us. I'm serious. Dad takes one look at my North Fake stash and says, "See ya." Every time.
As a teenager, I'd take to pretending to be our family's illegal maid, Charo. "Deek, how come you no tell de man my namg? Why you always lie Deek? Is no nice." My mother eggs me on and my father threatens to disinherit me, but still, my dad has way too much reverence for international law. And my dad is adamant we not lie to the United States Customs Department.
The rest of us disagree.
Which is why we needed to work on our story.
"You guys!" My father hissed in the darkened airplane cabin. "What about that man that lied coming back from his honeymoon and brought SARS to ... basically, the planet?"
"We already got sick!" The three of us argued. "We'll be quarantined for no reason!" "It was just three or four cows and they seemed fine to me."
My mother looked at my father. "Dick, we're not going to get the planet sick because we spent a week in rural Ireland."
"I don't want to be Patient Zero." Alex offered.
And in a voice only a Spotswood could muster, I announced, "Screw 'em. If I'm going down, I'm taking everyone with me."
12 pairs of eyeballs nervously stared in our direction as my brother raced across the plane back to his seat, shaking his head in disgust.
I really need to work on my volume.
"Alright, alright. That was admittedly inappropriate." I whispered. "But we're still lying to Customs, right?"

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

sunday, bloody sunday...

I'm back! Gloriously back! And after 20 hours of travel, I can report that there is some tacky-ass Euro luggage making the rounds in baggage claims of the world. I'm not exactly wandering through Heathrow with my Louis Vuitton steamer trunk, but come on. You're 56 years old, Svetlana. Give it up.
Our last night in Dublin, Greg drove Alex, Lisa, Cathal and I out to Bono's house, or rather, his gate which was admittedly magnificent. I felt like an asshole asking to see it, expecially when I realized it was such a trek to his estate. But once we got there, the group agreed the trip was totally worth the 14 seconds spent admiring Bono's guilded exterior. What great taste that little humanitarian has!

We were really hoping to see him sitting there with Nelson Mandela and some AIDS babies, inviting us in for tea and crumpets but alas, t'was not to be.
Greg dropped us back at the hotel where we got ready for our last night in Ireland, dinner at the very lovely Roly's. And lo, hours and hours of incredibly boring travel and a viewing of Ghost Town later, here I am, back at work and realizing I've used more than my share of vacation days for the next 43 years...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

you know what'd be great right now...

Last night we met up with the Lads for drinks and dinner at an Indian Restaurant where we shared a dessert called Tarta Fantastica, which incidentally is what I plan to name my adopted Asian daughter. The boys came back to the hotel to hang before heading out to the clubs sans me. I used my illness, my addictions and my old age as excuses, but really, I'd rather get dental work than go to a Euro club whilst sober. 
I changed into my jammies and watched Dean Man Walking which, much to my IMMENSE delight, was just starting. I've noticed several things about television here. 1) They have no problem with blackface. Alex disagrees with me, missing it everytime someone in blackface comes on the screen. But trust me. I've seen it like, seven times. And 2) commercial breaks are few and far between, but they take forever. It's a good 15 minutes. So in the midst of Dead Man Walking, I got, as Cathal would say, a bit peckish. 
Our hotel being basically a really big house, Alex and my room is the Harry Potter quarters under the stairs on the way to the kitchen. And upon check-in, my pal Cormick made it clear we should feel free to use the kitchen. At the time, I thought, "What the hell for? Like we're going to have a dinner party?" But now, during Dead Man Walking, with 15 minutes to scavenge for a snack? Well, shit. 
Still, Cormick wasn't manning the desk, it being midnight and I was in my pjs and pigtails. I wandered up the 4 steps to the lobby and poked my head around the dining room and parlor. Not a soul! And that guy that's normally at the front desk late night was no where to be found. 
A peek in the kitchen couldn't hurt, I figured, imagining a little toast and jam or maybe a biscuit. 
The door was open and the kitchen was pitch black, save for the little light above the stove so I marched right in like I owned the place. Which is where I found the front desk guy. 
On the ground. Kneeling on a towel. Bowing repeatedly. Toward what I assume to be Mecca. 
Preserving the reverence of the moment, I screamed, "Oh my God! I'm so sorry! Pardon me! Oh. Oh God."
This dude didn't twitch a muscle, praying as if no one had ever entered the kitchen which obviously, no one ever should have. I rushed the 5 inches back to my room and closed the door. 
A few minutes later, the phone rang. 
"Yes, hello. This is the front desk."
"You just came into the kitchen. Do you need anything?"
I froze. What the hell was I supposed to say? Um, I wanted to steal food from you like some 18th century street person in a Broadway musical. 
All I could up with was, "I'm so sorry. I was looking for my brother."
Why he would be in the kitchen when he obviously left with his friends an hour ago was beyond both of us, but Mecca let it go at that and I found a box of tic tacs...

Thursday, January 01, 2009

sheep number 73,952...

It's 4am and I can't sleep. This is nothing new at home much less in a foreign country, so I have no real need to be alarmed as my flu seems to have flown on by. Hopefully, however, my glowing laptop and loud typing will wake my brother from his loud, open-mouthed breathing as his last words to me before falling into a peaceful slumber were to tell me I was talking too much during "City Slickers 2, The Legend of Curly's Gold."
This is coming from a 25 year old man wearing a "I'm Better in Person"* t-shirt while eating a kebab in his twin bed and giggling at THE SEQUEL to City Slickers. 
I'm sick of this twin bed bullshit. I'm not suggesting that my sibling and I share some magnificent king size, round, vibrating bed. I'm just saying, we're half a step away from themed bunk beds. Ask anyone I've ever slept with (hey, easy) and they'll tell you I tend to charmingly move around. These little coffin-sized cushions make me feel like I'm balancing on a backless couch. Plus, what if I meet some Mick and wish to add the Emerald Isle to the notches on my bedpost? "Oh, uh, I'm the one by the window."
I don't know if drunk Beth ever did that on vacation much less sober Beth, so I guess I shouldn't worry. You know what I am worried about? The packet of "Conditioning Shampoo" I just used on my hair. I've left my hair products and my hair brush with my parents, arriving tomorrow from Ahakista. But the mane could not be ignored a moment longer. It's "washed" and wrapped in a towel now and I bet you a million dollars that tomorrow morning I will wake up one of those white people with mildly patronizing dreadlocks. Then I'll pass Rastafarians on the Dublin streets who'll look at me with disdain and contempt, knowing full well that I spent the night with wet hair on a twin bed in a hotel room with my little brother. 
Anyway, I managed to find stores open today, so Cormick can suck it. Hello? I'm me. Of course I found open stores. I spent a good hour in Zara before running to Starbucks and finding mon frere back at the room. We napped and snacked before getting picked up by Greg and his two friends. I'm sure they told me their names and occupations but frankly, there's only so many times you can ask an English-speaking person to repeat themselves before you have to pretend to understand what the hell they're saying. 
We then met up with Cathal, who giggles through every line in every movie regardless of context and went to see "Yes Man."
The Lads call movies "fill-ums" and they see "fill-ums" at the "cinema." Uh, so cute. 
I'll leave you that bit of charm as I'm going try and force myself to sleep (because that always works so well.) I am also listening to my new song on repeat and will try to dive into slumber imagining my very own music video involving me, fabulous ball gowns and some male member of European royalty...

*Admittedly, one of the Lads made Alex that t-shirt. And the effort and presentation was adorable.

god's way of keeping me sober...

Happy New Year!
2009 better rock because, I think it's safe to say 2008 sucked ass for me. Although, my better half and I agree that we did meet this year, thus making all of the crappy shit barely worth it. But I'm hoping to only do that whole rehab thing once, so cheers to onward and upward!
In a predictable twist, God maintained his or her 2008 consistency by giving me the flu during the last 36 hours of '08. In fact, all four Spotswoods have spent the past 2 days running from bed to bathroom. Ma and Pa are still in the Irish countryside and Bill's flown back home to Savannah, but Alex and I are in Dublin and spent all day yesterday sipping tea in our respective twin beds. My brother, of course, was able to rally and go out last night, sleeping at Cathal's where he remains. I, on the other hand, rang in 2009 in my jammies, enjoying a celebratory shot of "Actifed" while watching "Meet the Fockers." 
I haven't been this sick since I almost died in China and went down a dress size, so fingers crossed. I woke up this morning feeling slightly better, reminded of all the action I'm missing due to excited text messages from various and sundry. Baring in mind I left both my spectacles and my hairbrush with my folks, I'm somewhat relieved I won't be able to see what I look like when I finally emerge after nearly 2 days of quarantine. 
Screw it. 2008 got the last laugh but that bitch's time is now over! I am now going to fancy breakfast in the dining room with my book about a serial killer and then I am going shopping, assuming stores are open today. Oh God, if stores aren't open today, I might not be able to take it. Seriously, if I can't buy myself a present before lunch I'm going to jump in the Liffey... 

Okay, now God's driving me to drink. I've just come from breakfast and a chat with Cormick. Cormick checked us in the other afternoon and as I sat at the front desk, confirming the obvious, that this should all be charged to any credit card but mine, Cormick mentioned that he spent a year in Boston. 
"You look exactly like this girl I knew there."
"I wanted to kill her."
Seriously. On and on he went about how much he despised my apparent doppelganger. Alex and Bill found this hilarious, but I was a little afraid Cormick would want to kill me. He reassured me that I was probably a "lovely person" and I shouldn't worry too much that some bitch is running around the North East with my face. 
"Don't worry. We'll get to know you. That's what it's like around here."
I like huge, anonymous hotels for obvious, pampering reasons. You don't have to deal with some dude named Cormick telling you about a Boston skank he used to know that's the "spittin image" of a face you're stuck with. But I'm on the Spotswood dole and thus, charming big city Bed and Breakfast it is. 
Back to the present, Cormick just greeted me at breakfast. 
"My God, you do look like her."
"She looks good! She's just..."
"Oh, she looks good? Well, nevermind then." 
I've been sick in bed for 2 days. You could tell me I looked like a slightly hotter Aileen Wournos and I'd be thrilled at this point. Cormick sat me at a table, brought me some coffee and toast and asked my plans. 
"I'm going shopping! I've got to buy myself something today or I will die."
"Oh dear. Well, you can go look at shops. The shops that will be open tomorrow."
"You're kidding."
"I'm afraid not, Elizabeth."
Cormick seemed slightly delighted by my predicament. Apparently, I'm being held responsible for the bitch from Boston. 
I have no idea what the hell I'm going to do now. I don't have a rope with which to hang myself. Maybe if I drink this entire bottle of Actifed, I'll get good and tight. Either way, it won't be pretty. 2009, you held so much promise. My God, now you can't even provide a few quality hours in a European H&M. 

Oh, AND my Culture Blog is up...