Thursday, April 30, 2009

believe it or not, i'm falling down stairs...

My dear friend KG is often the wind beneath my wings and I love her very much, ever since having practically lived in her house throughout high school. Her father died very unexpectedly on Sunday and tonight, as I drove home from the rosary service, an old song came on the radio that we used to listen to, driving around San Francisco for hours because we had nothing to do. 
I was reminded of a story about KG I hadn't yet told you people and perhaps now is the time, so as to distract my beloved friend from this rough, rough time. 
One summer, I came back from college and KG and I went shopping at Westfield Shopping Center, back when it was just the Nordstrom downtown. We'd grabbed lunch downstairs in the food court and went to the escalators to shop upstairs. Looking up ahead, an elderly woman suddenly fell on the escalator, her head heading down and her feet pointing up. She fell in a way that left her stuck where she was as the stairs moved underneath her. Quick thinking women we were, KG pointed to a little glass box on the side of the escalator, which I lifted, pushing the red "STOP" button underneath. 
The escalator stopped, the woman managed to right herself and we were heros, right?
As KG and I waited for congratulatory high fives and the Oprah show to come calling a security guard raced over. We remained at the bottom of the escalator and the woman WHOSE LIFE WE SAVED had made it to the top. 
"What you do?" He screamed at us. 
Here it comes, the medals, the commendations, the key to the city. 
"We pushed the stop button." I proudly replied. 
"Why you do that?" He was angry and accusatory and quite frankly, a little proud of himself. 
"That woman fell!" KG responded. 
And then began an Abbot and Costello-esque series of questioning wherein it became perfectly clear Colombo thought we'd pushed the Stop button for kicks, causing Miss Daisy to fall. This continued on and on, this guy unable to understand and/or accept that we'd saved the day. With each question, we grew angrier and he grew more convinced he's captured America's Most Wanted. We finally pushed our way to the top of the escalator where the old lady stood, still rattled from her fall and being comforted by onlookers. The whole event had drawn a crowd, some of whom began coming to our defense. 
Still, the mall cop remained unconvinced. He wouldn't let us go and at this point, we didn't want to anyway. If this guy wanted a fight, he was going to get it. 
Finally the old lady got her bearings enough to address us. "My angels! My wonderful angels!"
Our gloating eyes turned to the security guard, our brows raised in victory. The old woman clung to our arms, repeating, "Thank you! My angels!"
Begrudgingly, we were allowed to leave, summer ended and we went back to our respective colleges, KG's in Orange County and mine in Philadelphia. 
Then one day, I got a call from a woman who took forever to explain why she was calling. On and on she went about some law firm when finally, I realize what she was trying to tell me. 
"Am I being sued?"
I then had to explain all over again this ridiculous incident in a goddamn mall where the quick-thinking actions of two relatively upstanding citizens averted public tragedy. 
"But the file here says 2 young women caused Mrs. SomethingRussian to fall."
"I assure you, we saved her life. Or her hair."
"But the file..."
Again, in slow motion, I recapped the event. 
"So she'd already fallen?"
"And you stopped the escalator so she could recover herself?"
"Well, (she paused as the pieces began to fit together) You're heros!"
A day late and a dollar short lady. Where's our key to the city...

ah yes, the silent delivery of the dregs. of course...

Every Wednesday the cool kids let me join them for drinks at a dive bar for what Brock describes as, “a place to relax, where people come for the breezy atmosphere to listen to you, me, and Eve say wildly clever bon mots.”
Last night, Eve and I arrived and were shocked to find people sitting as what is universally regarded as OUR table. Thus, we were forced to sit along side them, purloining chairs from across the bar and waiting for these strangers to leave. Finally, they got up, left several empty glasses and an empty pack of cigarettes and split.
Instantly, our whole group moved over, into the comfortable corner we’ve come to adopt as our own. No sooner had we scooched but a server brought over a basket full of glorious, greasy French fries.
“Who ordered the fries?” We asked each other, an order for the table not uncommon and thus, instantly ignored. Everyone dove in as Katie quietly cautioned, “You guys, those are not our fries.”
It was then decided that due to the small size and greasy nature of the fries, they were the dregs. “Yeah, that’s it. They’re the dregs." Matty Matt claimed. "They’re cleaning out the fryer. These fries are free.”
That, it would seem, is enough for us to accept without question food miraculously appearing before us. But I grew hesitant. “Brock, did you order these?”
He shook his head no, but winked.
“Brock, I cannot enjoy these fries if I’m terrified they’re not ours.”
Another wink, a head tilt. Okay, sassy gay got the fries.
I waited until my friends’ hands had left the basket and grabbed a few. Just as I shoved a fry into my mouth, the three people previously occupying our table returned.
Our eyes widened in shame.
“Hey!” One of them announced. “You stole our table!”
Oh God, Oh God.
“And our fries!”
I was the one closest and clearly, it was my job to speak and represent our rudeness. But I couldn’t. My mouth was full of stolen food.
We tried to give them money and to the horrified looks of my friends, I offered them the table back. But I was politely refused. Brock must have leaned over at some point and explained us somehow because soon I felt a tap on my shoulder.
“You write for the Chronicle?”
“Oh, uh. Err, well, kinda. I write a blog for SFGate.”
I was then presented with the inevitable litany of all that is wrong with the Hearst Corporation and those it employs. “You’re a reporter…”
“I’m not a reporter.”
“What do you think of so and so’s biased coverage of…”
Nothing. I think absolutely nothing. I tried to send them over to Eve, former Chronicle mucky muck but she was wisely and purposefully refusing to make eye contact. Finally, after reiterating that we all write online, the Chronicle hater said, “Have you ever read Mission Mission? I like that.”
Yes! Indeed we have! Might I direct you to Allan who IS Mission Mission. He’s the one eating your fries…

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

i am not paul avery *UPDATED*...

I got an email from Eve this morning, including some mention of a noon press conference on Zodiac. To know me is to know that I’m fascinated by all serial killers, but Zodiac holds a special place in my sick, cold heart because it’s local, it’s unsolved and my beloved grandfather was once partners in the SFPD with the guy Mark Ruffalo played in the movie. That is basically all I need to be obsessed with Zodiac for the rest of my days.
Anyway, I kind of blew off Eve’s mention of this press conference because it didn’t make much sense and was happening in the middle of the day. I have a job-job. I can’t run off for a couple of hours because someone’s talking about a 40 year old killing spree on a sidewalk. It’s not in my contract.
Then ZoĆ« sent me a message, something about Zodiac happening on the sidewalk in front of her office at the Chronicle. That’s another thing I love about Zodiac. He wrote letters to the Chronicle. You guys? I write a blog for the Chronicle’s website. OMG!
Finally, I received a panicked missive from Brock. “Are you following this Zodiac thing?!?!?!?!”
So I hopped on over to SFist and read all about it.

Basically, a woman named Deborah Perez and her attorney, Kevin McLean claim Deb’s dad, Guy Ward Hendrickson is Zodiac. Apparently, Guy took Little Debbie along on his killing spree and let her stamp the taunting letters to the press and authorities. He confessed on his deathbed and appears NOWHERE in the movie, Zodiac, which is awesome and you should see.
Please check out SFist’s comments section for various opinions on the legitimacy of these claims. They’re all aces.

*UPDATE: Kevin McLean was disbarred by the Supreme Court. You guys can thank Jim Herd at SF Citizen for sending me that snippet. Disbarred, folks. But let's come back to that.*

I’ve always agreed with Robert Graysmith (Jake in Zodiac) in believing that Arthur Leigh Allen was Zodiac. Click HERE to find out why. And I have it on good authority that Kevin McLean is nuts. Anyone who holds a press conference on a murder in front of the place where said murderer taunted the press is a little too Geraldo for me. Why hold back? They should've held the press conference at Washington and Cherry.
And uh, where’s the evidence? Hey, guess what? My dad’s Jack the Ripper! Jimmy Hoffa’s buried under my cousin’s garden shed! And Helen Keller could totally see and hear. She was faking. Now, I can’t prove any of this information and really, nothing on Earth would lead anyone to believe any of this is true. But I have a kooky lawyer and I’m on a sidewalk, so you know, I might be on to something.
Not only is this woman claiming to have some repressed memory of her father being one of the 20th century's most prolific serial killers, but she saw the whole thing and apparently hired central casting's most obvious "Sleazy Lawyer" type to represent her.

The "I'll Flip You" legal team has done further research on Mr. McLean's credentials. Check this shit out! According to my analysts, "The court concluded that Mr. McLean 'is not entitled to be recommended to the public as a person worthy of trust, and accordingly not entitled to continue to practice law.'" Awesome. They found this amazingly legal looking document (pdf) charging Kev with 10 counts of professional misconduct, including multiple acts of moral turpitude!
According to SFGate, McLean is referred to as one of Perez's attorneys. "One of her attorneys, San Francisco lawyer Kevin McLean - a former associate of the flamboyant Belli - laid a hand on her arm and jumped in to say he is convinced the Zodiac mystery is now over." Um, my legal team (don't you just love them?) says if he's calling himself a lawyer, that act alone is illegal. A disbarred attorney can't refer to himself as someone's attorney. He's also giving us gems like this: "Melvin Belli is reaching from the grave to solve this crime."
Not to belabor the point, but McLean had Perez checked out for craziness. Who'd he hire to confirm she's playing with a full deck of cards? Dr. Jack Singer who's motto is "Have couch, will travel." McLean musta been swayed to hire Dr. Jack by his "GUARANTEE that you will get an amazing return on your investment and he will deliver exactly what you desired." These people are shadier than...something that provides a great deal of shade.

In brief, I think this whole thing is a bunch of baloney.
Anyway, I know I'm not alone here. My strange soulmates agree...

"She knew he was killing people, but she lived in Santa Ana" ~ Brian Devine's favorite line from the press conference...

27th floor: lingerie, household items and gift-wrapping...

Prepare to be angry with me. I shared an elevator with Gavin and, can read all about it HERE...

Monday, April 27, 2009

an interesting use of time...

My father, brother, Melissa and I attended David Sedaris’ reading in Berkeley last night and needless to say, I was in pure, solid gold heaven the entire time. If anyone had ever told me that you could get up and read your funny stories to people for a living, my life would have been a lot less confusing.
We all drove over together with my father telling us of his recent trip to New York City where he attempted to visit Bernie Madoff.
“Wait, what do you mean you went to see Bernie?”
“I went to the jail where they’ve locked him up.” He said this matter of factly, as if he’d visited the Statue of Liberty or Empire State Building. Claiming to be a member of the press, which I can attest does indeed occasionally work, my father approached the front desk of, again, the JAIL and requested an audience with Bernie Madoff. He was told by the “incredibly nice and patient” guards that Bernie would have had to specifically request my father’s visit, putting him down on a list.
Mildly disappointed, my father decided instead to go to the adjoining gift shop.
Melissa was confused. “They had a store at the jail?”
My father lives life by the code of a high school honors-level government class. If anything is technically open to the public, required by law to be available to a tax-payer or some random part of a municipality, he will partake out of mere curiosity and entitlement.
“Sure they had a gift shop. San Francisco has one too.”
“They do?”
Slightly exasperated, he responded, “Yes, of course they do. It was a terrific giftshop. And you know what they had?”
“They had these wonderful embroidered pillows of each of the five Burroughs! God, they were incredible. I mean, they pillows were $150 bucks but boy, oh boy those were terrific pillows.”
“I still can’t get over the fact that you decided to try and visit Bernie Madoff.”
“I had an hour to kill before meeting Mom for lunch.”
Oh. Of course. Well, we’re driving past San Quentin right now so what’s say we pull this baby over and see if Richard Ramirez is up for company…

Saturday, April 25, 2009

but where was lenny briscoe...

Alrighty, you can check out my highly intense video report from SFIFF's Opening Night RIGHT HERE
Yeah, that's Benjamin Bratt and's called chemistry folks...

there goes maude...

Brian and I were driving to the CDP in Sacramento when my phone started to blow up. Oh my God, has someone died?!?!?
I'm a little overwhelmed at strangers sending me condolences. After all, I've never met Bea Arthur, never seen her in a play, only loved her from afar since I was 5'9" in 5th Grade. But I hold Bea very close to my heart because I've always so identified with her, particularly as Maude and Dorothy. Her being tall and bitchy and funny reminded me that I was pretty good at all of those things too. My favorite moments of Dorothy's are always when she gets to shine, where we finally get a chance to see that the witty, interesting woman can be the beautiful woman. It sounds weird, but I'm a little proud that I've received so many emails and bizarre condolences today. I had a Shirley Temple with Mike Farrah at the hotel bar today and even he was like, "By the way, I'm so sorry about Bea Arthur." 
So I'm still sticking with my previous self-description, dead or alive. I'm honored to be the 31-year old equivalent of Dorothy from the Golden Girls. May I be so lucky as to live to 86, marry Leslie Nielsen on a TV show and one day have a moment like this:

What a tragic event to happen on Al Pacino's birthday...

Friday, April 24, 2009

me and my number one gay...

Whenever I hatch a plan, scheme or caper, I wonder which one of my posse will be in. Melissa's up for anything but her dancecard is packed. Also, she's on the fasttrack to fame so much to my horror, she's easing up on anything controversial which might one day bite her in the ass. Zoe's a vegan and insists upon exercising all the time. Next! Hastings not only studies the law, he follows it. He'll be worried about his permanent record until he's 90. Eve would be in, but she's not really one for undercover work because it occasionally includes biting ones tongue. Brock's too much like me in that he's thrilled, excited and motivated about something for 15 seconds. Also, he's always babysitting. KG's house is all the way across town and my brother's car smells.
Thus, there is only one person in San Francisco who is qualified to be my accomplice.
He has absolutely no shame, he thinks anything I pull out of my ass is genius, he's his own boss and most importantly, he's adorable.
That's right. Brian Devine.
We're heading on a little road trip tomorrow, to join the nerds up in Sacramento for some type of political convention regular people don't care about. This year, I will actually be sitting by the pool all day. Last year, I was too drunk to swim. Or so I've been told. Anyway, Brian's got to vote for hobos or potholes by 2pm and then we've got all afternoon to cause some trouble.
And you know, Gavin'll be there...

Speaking of which, check out today's See Spot Write in the SF Appeal where we take a sneak peek at Gavin's condo, selling for a measly 3 million...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

elaine, what are YOU doing here...

I asked Brian Devine tonight if he had a living will. All Brian knows is that he doesn't want to be buried or cremated. He would like his body placed in the wood to be eaten by animals.
Not me. I want to be cremated. And this is my living will.
Keep me alive. I don't care what some God-complex doctor tells you. I'll snap out of it.
I recently watched an episode of House in which Mos Def plays a patient in a bicycle accident who appears brain dead and doctors want to unplug him. But he's not brain dead. He could hear everything. And eventually, they fixed him and it was all because of rat pee. Anyone with plug-pulling power over me needs to watch this House and realize that I CAN HEAR YOU!
So mortgage the house, lobby congress and hook me up to a feeding tube. I don't care what it takes. I want to live at any and all cost.
Even though the doctors will tell you I'm brain dead and show you Terry Schaivo-esque x-rays of my empty cranium, don't listen. Trust me. I'm in there. Which is why my inner circle will need to stay by my bedside night and day talking to me and stimulating my brainwaves. Brian's already called Wednesdays. I would like to be visited by a stream of frenemies as Brian, Melissa and Zoe stroke my hands.
"Go ahead. She can hear you." They'll say. "How sweet of you to come. And what flowers! Beth just loves hydrangeas." As as my frenemies leave to knowing looks from the inner circle, Brian will lean forward and whisper in my ear, "Can you believe that bitch showed her face in here?"
"Really!" Melissa will shake her head. "The gall."
Zoe would stand to adjust the curtain in my private room, an addition from Restoration Hardware. "She talked about you like you were dead. Idiot."
I'd hardly stir, but inside I'd be fuming. I liked hydrangeas in like, 1999. Please.
Hastings can come on Mondays to read aloud and Eve can post snarky updates from my private hospice room. Brock will bring me trashy woman-drama DVD's and watch them with me, dabbing my tearless eyes at tearful moments. My mother and father will be fixtures at fabulous fundraising events for my care, giving moving speeches on how my right eyelid twitched last month. My brother will keep an air mattress nearby for the occasional sleepover and irreverently try and rouse me by holding a martini beneath my nose.
And then one day, for no reason in particular, perhaps just because I felt I wasn't getting enough attention, I'd flutter my eyes open, turn my head, look up at Brian and say, "My God, you're grey!"
He'd look at me in awe. "Did you just say something, Beth?"
"Goddamnit, you queen. Get me out of this shitty gown and into a caftan for crying out loud."
He'd run the halls screaming for everyone to come quick and I'd be an international star, like a slutty Susan Boyle. Cue credits!
So, just to recap, don't pull the plug. No matter what they say, no matter how dreadful the prognosis, I don't care if an axe is halfway through my head. Find a heartbeat and hook my ass up...

(Is this over yet? I hope not. Nominate me! I could die.)

oh wednesday, you and your links...

Check out today's SF Appeal column. Brevity is the order of the day. Not Earth.
Also, check back for today's Culture Blog. Hmmm, I wonder what it'll be about...

Monday, April 20, 2009

i'm getting my phd in creepy...

I was always incredibly bored in school and I attributed my boredom to my genius. I'm discovering that may have not been the case. I think maybe I was bored because I was lazy.
Don't get me wrong. I'm still lazy. I just wish I could go back to school because it's full of people who love to provide answers to questions, the very questions I'm dying to know the answers to now.
But I can't afford to get my Masters in something ridiculous just because I suddenly got curious. Which is why I spend an appalling amount of time putting my brain eggs in the Wikipedia basket.
I find myself jotting down thoughts to research when I get home. Like Niagara Falls. Someone was just talking about Niagara Falls. And while I was pretending to listen to what they were saying, I was really wondering why people no longer threw themselves off Niagara Falls in barrels.
Now I know.
I watched Munich again. I'm embarrassed to admit, I don't really get Israel. Palestine? Israel? Modern State? I made the mistake of asking my father. Actually, I didn't ask. I announced, "I don't get Israel" on the way back from Easter Mass.
"What do you mean you don't 'get' Israel?"
"I mean, the country. What's the story?"
"Jeez. Relax. I'm going to wikipedia it."
"That's absolutely unacceptable. You are an educated person, Beth."
"I guess I zoned out that day. I bet a lot of people don't get it. They're just afraid to ask so they spend the rest of their lives being stupid. I finally ask and I'm the idiot. I think you look a lot more stupid pretending you know the answer than admitting you don't. You know what happens to those people. They die in preventable tragedy."
"You can't go to wikipedia."
"Why not?"
"You need to read a 500 page book on it." I don't know about my father's logic on that one. Apparently, you can't intelligently understand a subject in less than 500 pages.
"500 pages? Forget it. I just want the jist."
"The jist? You want the jist of Israel?"
Guess what I found on Wikipedia? The jist of Israel.
I realize that Wikipedia is certainly error-packed, but I know a thing or two abut us internet people. We take shit really seriously and anonymously from our mother's basement PCs. It is, after all, the internet. Recently, I looked up Anita Bryant, who's wikipdia biography read "Anita Jane Bryant (born March 25, 1940, in Barnsdall, Oklahoma) is an American singer and a cunt."
Now, even though that last part is very, very true, someone's already swooped in and edited the sass right out of that biography. There's a nerd for every subject out there, folks. A whole bunch of nerds. And for my needs, wikipedia works. It's certainly a lot cheaper than wondering if I can pull an Elle Woods and go to grad school at Harvard. Something tells me "I don't get Israel" wouldn't fly over there.
So long those lines and because I have faith in nerds, here's what I've recently been checking out on Wikipedia, my own personal learning annex:
Did you know Rufus Wainwright was raped when he was 14? Me neither.
A friend of mine is a volunteer bringing food to invalids, one of whom is a compulsive hoarder and requests only one food item: Cheez-Its. While you're checking out hoarders, enjoy the Collyer Brothers!
Pick a day, any day. How about today? Forget the weed stuff. That's old news. And we all already knew it's Hitler's birthday, right? But I had no idea today is the second anniversary of the Johnson Space Center Shooting. Now, you could just read all about his tragic event, or you could click forward on the word suicide. And then there goes your day. You've got self-immolation, seppuku and of course, the list of famous suicides.
I've also ben craving Macadamia nuts. They kill dogs, by the way.
Ain't it fun to learn?
So the lesson for today is that wikipedia is way better than wandering around for the rest of your life not really sure of the difference between VJ Day and VE Day. Duh. I can't believe I never knew that yet always wondered. Problem solved...

see spot shop...

Today's SF Appeal column is up! I hope he likes it...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"i like a man that can work vis-a-vis his hands..."

My folks are once again setting up camp in Greenwich Village for the Spring. I think that after 35 years of modifying her career to accommodate everyone else, my mother's finally cashing in her Trump card and enjoying a renaissance. Sadly, this means my brother and I will inherit a handful of nickels, but you should see my mom skipping around New York. It completes her.
Thus, I get to camp out at the compound, my childhood home nestled on a mountain with a stocked fridge, a sunny veranda and premium cable, not to mention some seriously amazing WiFi. Melissa and Tara trekked over from the city and last night, we enjoyed a well planned slumber party. I made THIS and THIS, which we placed on trays and brought up to the TV Room.
For those that are new to I'll Flip You, the TV Room in an uninsulated, kinda janky, very popular room at the highest point of this big treehouse, home to the big television, every Gourmet Magazine from 1986 and the most massive denim couch on earth. It's where my father goes to smoke his pipe with a cocktail and PBS on rainy nights. And it's where Tara plunked down 3 dinner plates, dolling out macaroni and cheese as she kneeled on the floor.
And, in stereotypical 30-something fashion, in sweat pants and food stains, the three of us watched the Lifetime Movie Network until 2am. We began with an unexpected discovery which we've been talking about since it ended 16 hours ago, Wife, Mother, Murderer: The Marie Hilley Story. You can watch the entire thing RIGHT HERE.
Please. Do yourself the favor. Watch it. Especially if you're gay.
In Wife, Mother, Murderer: The Marie Hilley Story, Judith light plays Marie who kills her first husband in Anniston, Alabama for $30,000 in life insurance, then tries to kill her daughter by feeding her arsenic paste. Or, if you're Tara, you'd say, "She's trying to kill her daughter vis-a-vis arsenic paste!" Tara says vis-a-vis a lot, and it cracks me up every time. The cops catch on to Marie and her plans for low-end insurance schemes so she fakes her own kidnapping, including randsom notes and shady hotel rooms, and flees to Florida.
There, she falls in love with this big schlub, or as Mel called him, a "mook" who she ropes into marrying her and taking her to New Hampshire, all over a very uncomfortable first date. Once in New Hampshire, after re-decorating everything in "peach", she tries to get a job that doesn't really work out, fakes a weight gain and illness and goes to Dallas by herself, even though this pathetic mook of a husband is desperate to tag along. She convinces him not to come along and she's off alone. Soon, someone sends word back to New Hampshire that Marie is dead. But who should fly in to explain everything to the mook? Why, it's her identical twin sister she forgot to mention! (At this point, we began to applaud.)
The twin sister seduces the mook in a foul toe-sucking scene (Oh, Lifetime, you're too much) and basically takes off where her sister left off. But one of those bitches from the job that didn't work out is onto Marie's schemes. Bitch calls the cops, cops arrest Marie, Marie goes to jail.
Do the credits roll?
Lord, no. On a 3-day furlow with the mook, who now knows there was no identical twin and doesn't particularly seem to care because he's busy buying biscuits and gravy, Marie escapes from their shitty hotel room, lives for three days in the woods and finally crawls to the crappy sceen door of her estranged mother where she dramatically dies.
But wait!
The mook, as we learn in the epilogue, stays on at the crappy hotel from the furlow, becomes a caretaker and dies 2 years later in a "bizarre robbery/murder."
Oh, and this is a true story.
Again, you can watch it all HERE.
I have never laughed so hard in my life, curled up in the TV Room and howling at Melissa's need to call jail "the pokey" and Tara, who as most horrified that, "She's wearing a burgundy top and what is that? Pink pants!"
We stayed up to watch Amber Frey: Witness for the Prosecution and finally, Top Gun.
We spent the morning with magazines and coffee on the deck, discussing that asshole in Austria who raped his daughter in the basemesnt for 20 years. We eventually made our way to a sunny brunch in Sausalito, meeting up with Matthew and regaling him with Wife, Mother, Murderer: The Marie Hilley Story.
As I drove back up to the house, vis-a-vis the back roads, I realized that I am finally and truly sober and old. My closest girlfriends and I have somehow managed to go from causing scenes over our 13th martini at Le Club to gufawing at Lifetime in my parents' house.
Yet somehow, I'm shocked to report...this is more fun.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

wherever there's trouble, we're there on the double...

I've been neglecting Pirates '09 in favor of following the shocking and tragic murder of 8 year old Sandra Cantu in Tracy, CA, which for those of you out of state, is about an hour away from San Francisco and kind of a dump.
Adorable, little Sandra went over to play at her friend's home on March 27th and never came home. She was found over a week later in a suitcase in some pond. The mother of the "friend," 28 year old Melissa Huckaby, has been charged with Sandra's rape and murder.
Twists and turns include Melissa's claiming her suitcase went missing the day before Sandra was found, the fact that Melissa is a Sunday School teacher and her grandfather is pastor of their church, Sandra was killed in the church, Melissa swallowed exacto knives in an attempt at suicide and that Sandra was horrifically raped with an instrument. Apparently, this little girl was dead before she was even reported missing.
Okay, okay. Now that we know the details, let's take a deep breath and examine some shit.
Interpol should bring their biggest cases to my day job office because the four of us are confident we can solve every mystery in the news. We should be an hour-long Sunday night television drama, a la Murder She Wrote. And here's what we think about Sandra Cantu:
Were a man charged with this crime, we'd all shrug and be glad another asshole pedophile is off the streets? But a woman? A mother? With a bad perm and banana clips? We're shocked. The circumstances are unthinkable. What on earth would possess a 28 year old mother to kill AND RAPE her child's playdate? An early theory from our sweet bookkeeper suggested Melissa accidentally ran over Sandra with her car, freaked out and ditched the body. Something along those lines, you know? Maybe she lost her temper and smacked her a little too hard. Maybe Melissa didn't pay attention to kids were playing in the pool? Maybe this was all a tragic accident, horribly hidden by stupid people who panicked?
Possible and makes sense...except for that whole rape with an instrument thing.
Thus, my boss has a pretty solid theory. Melissa's covering for someone. Perhaps she's covering for her father or Pastor Gramps? Perhaps some shitty, trucker hat boyfriend? Perhaps we're naive to think a fellow sister is so sick as to commit such a crime.
Ugh, men. Can't live with 'em. Can accuse 'em of murder.
My co-workers have now crowded around my desk, shouting out theories. John thinks it may have been a 2 person job, with Melissa and some accomplice engaging in some twisted child porn fest that got out of control. Amanda doesn't jive with the thought of the Pastor of anything being involved. The church aspect is just a little too suspicious for her.
What about you guys? Are women capable of shit like this? YES. So what happened? Why would Melissa Huckaby all of a sudden, out of the blue just decide to rape and murder an 8 year old girl?
Because she's nuts? Well, yeah...
*Also, now that I'm thinking of it, this is HUGE news, right? Why isn't THIS? On Tuesday, a 17 year old babysitting his nephews calls 911 saying 2 intruders are inside the home. When the cops show up, the babies are asleep, the sitter is missing. Oh, but his blood-covered cell phone is lying in the backyard. The story is burried. What the fuck? And where the hell is Luis Antonio Ortiz...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

lord heard my prayers...

So much to read today!
The Culture Blog is up. Don't worry. It ain't about teabagging. It's my pious trip to the DMV...

see spot offend...

I had no idea I was this inappropriate, but enjoy my thoughts on teabagging at the SF Appeal!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

i don't even care what happened to the h or k...

If you thought the whole going to rehab thing was rock bottom, you'd be wrong. My rock bottom is my love of Zac Efron. 
When I was 10, I began what can best be described as a mental illness focused entirely on New Kids on the Block. In 7th grade, I "sprained" my ankle, found some old crutches in a closet and went to school in my uniform, one shoe and my injured appendage covered in a NKOTB bedroom slipper in the shape of a puffy, neon high-top. I cried when Donnie got arrested for setting that hotel on fire. And I kept two diaries: 1 about my regular life and 1 as my life relates to NKOTB with the plan of showing the latter to Joe McIntyre on our wedding night/my 18th birthday. 
Anyway, I've always kept a little flame burning for the teen heartthrob. As I get dramatically older and older, it's becoming more and more creepy. But as my beloved Brock and I sipped milkshakes in my parents' TV room at 3am and watched Hairspray, we both sheepishly agreed. 
Zac Efron has a quality. 
I'm not proud of this. I've kept my slight, casual, passing curiosity about this 21 year old in the closet, only confessing to Brock as we clasped hands and giggled as only 30 year olds can do. 
Watch Hairspray and you'll agree. He's fuckin' precious. Even my mother, who was forced to view the movie on an airplane, leaned across the aisle and announced, "That Zac Efron is just wonderful! Is he related to Nora Ephron?"
I have to come out of my pedophile closet however, if for no other reason than to explain why you might see me in a baseball hat and sunglasses, sneaking into 17 Again, shushing 12 year old girls in the theater and sighing, "adorable..." every few minutes. 
I know Brock's in...

Monday, April 13, 2009

"relax beth, she has dial-up for chrissakes..."

Much like TV shows, or as my brother and elderly Hispanic women call them, "my stories," I can only follow so many current events sagas at one time. Which is why I know nothing of these pirates. On and on, our Easter dinner went with 11 people engrossed in a heated discussion on the pirates. The only problem was, there were 12 at the table and I'm not used to being quiet.
Cousin "Sheila," a borderline elderly woman, sat across from me. She's not 'old lady' old, but she's no longer middle-aged, caught in time between relative youth and being helped to the bathroom. I would point out to you that Sheila's never been married but I would be livid if someone ever used that to describe me, so I'm refusing to even mention it. Shelia sported a gold 49ers medallion and sat with her arms folded for 4 hours, quite fine with having no idea who Bernie Madoff is. She did, however, have many an opinion about the pirates. She knew more than any of us about this maritime saga and delighted in sharing her expertise. Finally, Sheila directed her attention to me.
"So, what's this about you writing for the Chronicle?"
Normally, these old types respond to my "Actually, I write for their website." with a polite yet disappointed, "Oh. How interesting."
Not Sheila.
"The website?!?!?" Her eyes rolled from one side of her face dramatically to the other. "I'm too busy for computers. I don't have time for that!"
My family tried to gently explain that, you know, the internet isn't just a fad, most people are aware of it, etc. Sheila wasn't hearing it, her schedule far more packed than the rest of us to unplug her phone, plug in her computer and traipse through the superhighway.
I know I shouldn't care, but it was driving me nuts that I couldn't crack Cousin Sheila. And thus far, the only thing she seemed to want to talk about is the only thing I've been neglecting; the goddamn pirates.
"You know this Captain is quite a hero." She went on, trying to explain to me about some yachtsman I still, as I type this, am totally oblivious to. Her voice dropped to a whisper. "He's almost as heroic as Sully."
Sheila's eyes looked to the skies in reverence as she delicately twirled her gilded 49ers necklace.
It's an Easter miracle.
"Ooooh Sheila! Guess who recited me poetry at a cocktail party..."

Saturday, April 11, 2009

an integrity oriented lifestyle...

I think I've forgotten to tell you guys this, or maybe I've been sworn to secrecy. I can't remember. Anyway, the Brians have a stalker! Like a legit, temporary restraining order ("TRO"), sends them flowers stalker. This has actually been going on for years and they regale their guests with the tale at dinner parties. I'm over at their gorgeous home all the time, so I'm gloriously privy to the details of the saga. But tonight at dinner, we realized TarBaby and Big Chris had no idea what I was talking about when the pugs would bark at the windows and I'd respond, "The stalker must be here."
"You have a stalker?!?"
The Brians played it down a bit, but not me. My friends have a real live stalker. This is something I'd put on t-shirts if I could. I love the story of the stalker and egged them on to tell it. It was agreed that Devine would give the timeline and Leubitz would read the last letter they received. Basically, a woman stalking their neighbor found the Brians a more attractive target. She's written letters, dropped off gifts and worn their wet dog towel as a turban. 
Brian performed his dramatic reading of an actual letter from the stalker. Does it make sense? No. Is it incredible? Yes. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

you can reach me on my domestic mobile...

I haven’t seen my Brian in weeks and weeks, so last night, we grabbed dinner at Basil Thai and my suspicions were confirmed. My husband is married to someone else. Brian and I enjoyed a lovely meal and headed down the block to catch the end of the San Francisco Young Democrats meeting held in the back of Julie’s Supper Club. Just to give you an idea of what we’re dealing with at the SFYD, the meeting is timed to end just as the karaoke starts. Standing at the back of the meeting, Brian and I mocked the proceedings which, I shouldn’t need to tell you, are taken very seriously. Don’t even TRY to vote on the hotly contested Sergeant at Arms race and Party Planning Committee if you’re not eligible. Just because you went to the Christmas Party doesn’t make you eligible if you were too drunk to sign in. So don’t even try and vote. Seriously. You’ll be sent away. And even if you weren’t drunk at the Christmas Party but perhaps, in rehab in St. Helena, you’re just as NOT ALLOWED TO VOTE as the drunks.
You should have seen these eligible folks and their messenger bags lined up to cast their stapled Kinko’s copied ballots and as we giggled at democracy in progress, I realized that were this the San Francisco Serial Killers Consortium, I’d be throwing elbows to make sure my very serious and important opinions were known. Brian and I sat at the bar and watched Chinese soap operas with the bartender until the meeting ended.
Some gentleman running for California Young Democrats Parliamentarian had one of his minions passing out business cards. Emblazoned with the American flag, the card provided his name, his job title and his “U.S. Mobile contact number.” No international contact was offered, but Brian and I decided it was probably the same number with a “++011” in front of it. We wondered if he had international business cards with the appropriate satellite phone coordinates and instead of the American flag, the card held the image of the United Nations building with its flags of the world.
Once the ballots were counted, the karaoke began. It was clearly open to the public but the packed house of 20 people was mostly made up of SFYD folks who seemed too young to be in a bar. The karaoke host reminded me of the high school counselor from Freaks and Geeks, with his receding hair flowing down his back and atop his filthy t-shirt proclaiming the neon, “Support Single Mothers” over a silhouette of a stripper.
He kicked things off with “Life in a Northern Town” by the Dream Academy. Seriously. I’m not making this up. My husband’s husband got up and rapped, “Ice, Ice Baby!” working the length of the bar with great enthusiasm. This rap was no joke. When he got to the “Word to your mother” part, he shouted, “Word to Joanne Spotswood!”
The crowd dwindled as Brian and I watched the frightening man at the end of the bar engrossed in the karaoke song book. His arms covered in tattoos, this man was clearly alone and loving how his evening had turned out. I guess Julie’s karaoke night relies heavily on SFYD’s participation. Without last night’s election, there would have been 3 people rocking to karaoke, including mom jeans who sang “Lightning Crashes” by Live. Perhaps I was alone in my discomfort when she whispered into the microphone, “Her placenta falls to the floor.” No one else reacted.
Scary man seemed to have suddenly found the perfect song, chuckling with glee as he gazed at the song book. We were dying to know what he’d selected as clearly, it was going to be a doozy. Turns out, he tried to wow us with a Pearl Jam medley which is and has been for years, my official cue to leave. But not, of course, until after Supervisorial District 6 candidate Paul “Pop Rocks” Hogarth sang “The Rainbow Connection.” I mean, really. I’ve always got time to stick around for that…

*Oh you and your opinions. Nominate wonderful San Francisco treasures like ME for Best of the Bay here. Please. Okay, thanks...

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

how about a subscription to the chron...

I might have a one track mind, but at least it's on the right track. Check today's Culture Blog...

step one, we could have lots of fun...

I got an email today from a Flipper (yeah, I’m still using Flipper) requesting an update on me not drinking. I think the fact that I still call it “me not drinking” as opposed to, you know, my sobriety or my alcoholism shows that perhaps, I’m still not fully comfortable basking in the glow of public personal prohibition. I am apparently, however, comfortable with alliteration.
I’m supposed to be living an honest life and I opened this can of worms, so in that spirit, an update you shall get. Big Chris never fails to miss an opportunity to ask when I plan on making amends. I remember years ago, a good friend got out of rehab. I could not WAIT until he called me up to beg for my forgiveness. When finally, I couldn’t take it anymore, I called him.
“Shouldn’t you be making amends to me?”
“Yeah, I don’t do amends.”
At the time, I thought his response was complete bullshit and felt jipped. I now understand his stance. Instead of awkward lattes with people I don’t want to be friends with anymore anyway, I choose to reward those that stuck around with undying loyalty and friendship. So since I have no dicey stories of me calling up half of San Francisco and making amends, I’ll tell you about thanking the person who asked me to get help.
An immensely private person, I won’t reveal his name or anything about him, other than to tell you that one day in October, he took me to breakfast and slid a list of treatment facilities across the formica at me.
I would now ask that you take a moment and imagine what that might be like.
I think it’s fair to say it was horrible for both of us. Revealing the full story in rehab, I heard over and over what a wonderful friend Caption Intervention is and boy, oh boy, aren’t I lucky to have a pal like that.
As clarity crept in, I realized just how right they were. I could’ve blown him off, never spoken to him again, screamed and yelled. He must have been incredibly nervous and profoundly worried to risk my wrath. And perhaps because I’m older and wiser, perhaps because I’m sober and smarter or perhaps because I spent 28 days surrounded by embroidered slogans like “Attitude of Gratitude” framed on the walls, it became very important for me to thank him.
We met in a bar, appropriately enough, and I filled him in on how I was plugging along sans the sauce. I told him about how I’m not wild about 12 Step meetings and how I now keep a mental list of people who aren’t cool with “me not drinking.” (Oh yes.) I hoped that maybe these revelations about how legitimately better, healthier, more enjoyable and much more livable my saved life is might save me the horror of having to actually thank someone to whom I owe far more than a Diet Coke.
But I finally mustered the courage and in an uncharacteristic loss for words, said thank you. I told him that he was right, that I needed help and that I am beyond glad I got it. “And, so, anyway…you know…again…thank you.”
The moment was appropriately awkward, but perhaps for me, just as important as Step 8 is for others. I’m not making a list of people I have harmed and making amends. I’ve made a list of people who have helped and making them watch me squirm.
I hope this gets me off the drunk update hook for awhile, Flippers. Unless of course you want to know about that mental list. Like this one bitch…

Monday, April 06, 2009

i feel like andy rooney...

I'm really not in a cranky mood, I swear. I'm actually kinda perky these days. Blame it on the WE channel for follwing Monster with Aileen Wuornos: Life and Death of a Serial Killer. Anyway, I usually make a note of a daily single thing "people" do that drives me nuts. But today, there were just too many to narrow down. Hour after hour, I'd pause and look at a stranger thinking, "My God, you annoy me." I don't think this because I want anything horrible to happen to them or because I truly believe they're bad people. I simply can't help it. Constantly I catch myself watching some engenue in a movie and wondering how nothing seems to tick her off. What an attractive trait that must be to others, I consider. I wonder how she does it?
I'll tell ya how. She's ACTING!
Anyway, here are the Top 5 Things that Really Chap My Hide, as of today:
5: I did see that episode of The Office, yes. No, I don't watch Lost? Either way, I prefer not to hear an entire script performed by a fan. I'm all for quoting cheeseball lines provided both the quoter and the listener are on board. But there is no way I will be convinced of the brilliance of last night's Family Guy by a live-action re-enactment. I know it sounds funny to you, because you saw it. You loved it! To me, it doesn't really make sense and I'm forced to politely listen, counting the seconds until the painful performance ends.
4: On frequent occasion, a few of my neighbors seem to find it perfectly acceptable to stop their primer Pintos in the middle of the block and hold a conversation with a pedestrian. The fact that cars on either side would like to pass some time in the near future is blissfully ignored. Because I fear for my life, I resist the urge to honk or scream. But seriously, what could be so important to halt traffic yet not so important to pull over? This kind of shit should require a permit. Oh wait. It does.
3: When we were younger, anyone who'd hold eye contact for more than a second was accused of having a "staring problem." Little did I know this condition continues into adulthood. I've taken to staring back, locking eyes and firmly asking, "What?" Bitchy? Perhaps. Effective? Oh, those weirdos will never stare again.
2: Just because you say "Excuse me" doesn't make your burp, fart, spit spray, etc socially acceptable. That's like prefacing something cruel with, "No offense." Oh, none taken! Excuse you? I'd be glad to! Someone burped in front of me today and all I could think was, "I coulda held that in." We do not live in one of those cultures where it's a "compliment to the chef" to belch. And I never believed that international law anyway.
1: And finally, you know who I really can't stand? Drivers who cannot get on with their lives after pulling to the side of the road to let a firetruck pass. The sirens have faded away into the distance, no emergency vehicles are anywhere near, the fire is probably out by now. But John Q. Citizen is going 5 miles per hour, hugging the curb just in case.
Okay, that's off my chest. I feel better. And tomorrow is a new day...

then why is gavin ALWAYS at starbucks...

I'm not abandoning you, I swear. But here's today's See Spot Write in the SFAppeal. Please enjoy my thoughts on Gavin's wedding registry, including his 2 (two) $1K coffee makers.

"But it also makes you know, it's not toally ridiculous. I mean, I know what you're thinking. It's actually a great deal. You should come over and try it. Trust me, you'll never go to Peet's again."

Saturday, April 04, 2009

the things i will do for free ice milk on a stick...

Church was never optional in my family. Every Sunday, even if we were on vacation much to my horror, included Mass. If it works for you, awesome. Alas, organized religion is not for me. Mass had several pluses, however. Mainly the other children dragged to church, primarily the hot ones of the opposite sex. There weren’t a ton of fellas my age at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, but the moment I hit my true stride of pubescent awkwardness, some parent got the bright idea to start a teen youth group. One Sunday, some poor girl was forced up to the pulpit after communion, which is generally when announcements are made, like who’s in charge of next week’s donuts. Forcing her best smile, she asked everyone to stand. Then she asked everyone under 13 to sit down.
My brother collapsed with relief.
She asked everyone over 18 to sit.
Delighted at my predicament, my folks sat down.That left me, this kid Connor and about 4 other horrified teens standing amidst the parishioners.
“Those of you still standing are invited to join the new youth group.”
As we left, my mother marched me over to some sign-up sheet and that was that. Driving home, Mom turned around from the passenger seat.
“Wasn’t that a clever way of getting teens to join the youth group?”
Public humiliation? Yeah, I’m sure Jesus would’ve totally approved.
Well this Thursday, the very same thing happened again.
Melissa attended LSF’s class of 2008, which stands for Leadership San Francisco and is basically a 10-month community service program for future community leaders. Through LSF, Mel became friends with Cyn, Comcast and Vansmack and thus, they are now good friends of mine. Every year, LSF has a fundraiser at the Golden Gate Disposal Company called Dinner at the Dumps.
Thursday was my second year as Melissa’s date to Dinner at the Dumps and I had a lovely time munching on pasta with Cyn and sending Vansmack to get me more Diet Coke. Other than my friend Big Chris, Vansmack is probably the most inappropriate person I’ve ever met in my life and for that, I love him dearly. I would give you examples of his humor, but they’re too inappropriate. He’s that bad.
Anyway, as we ate gigantic slabs of beef and munched on ice cream cones, someone walked on stage and to the podium to make announcements. I didn’t really start paying attention until she asked the current LSF class to stand.
Oh God. Here we go. This isn’t really the kind of event you bring a plus one to. Most spouses and significant others are spared Dinner at the Dumps. But I have no life. My sugar mama buys my tickets and I get to goof around with Vansmack. What can I say? I like going to random political and business functions.
Anyway, the current class was standing and I just knew what would come from the loudspeakers next.
“Will all alumni please stand?”
I actually considered standing. I didn’t have the balls to look, but I was pretty sure I was one of a handful still sitting. And as the lovely woman at the podium pointed out that anyone still sitting should apply for LSF, Vansmack started chanting.
He was almost screaming it, our entire standing table in hysterics as I cowered under my dinner napkin.
“Everyone stare at Beth! Everyone stare at Beth!”
He must have screamed “Everyone stare at Beth” twenty times. And all I could do was thank God my brother didn’t think of this tactic lo those years ago at church youth group…

Thursday, April 02, 2009

who's his old media intern...

You're so new media. You are reading a blog, after all.
Which obviously means you have nothing to do. Thus, do I have an opportunity for you!
According to his Facebook persona, Gavin is hiring a "new media intern." The job is unpaid, you don't have to live in San Francisco although it would be "great" and you could email me all day with updates and tidbits which I would of course, post online as is the whole point of new media anyway. You can send your credentials to tyedinsky(at)
Good luck and let us know how it turns out...

see spot write...

I have a new column! I have to admit, I really like calling it a column. Now I need some sort of constant bow-tie-esque accessory and I'll be an official columnist. Anyway, Eve "Big Break" Batey thinks this is a terrific idea so if you hate it, blame her. If you love it, you should blame her too.