Saturday, May 30, 2009

etymology of origin...

My brother, his girlfriend and John came over to my folks' house for dinner on Thursday night. The four of us barbecued and watched the Scripps National Spelling Bee, as prompted to by an early text from Big Chris.
"Oh, oh you guys!" I gasped. "The Spelling Bee is on!"
Much to my delight, all four of us became immediately engrossed in the entire thing, kept entertained by occasional texts from Chris who watching the Bee at his Grandpa's house. Like everyone else, I contracted Bee fever after watching the documentary, Spellbound which follows several teenagers as they train and compete in the National Spelling Bee, in those days broadcast on ESPN. I guess the movie kicked the Bee up a notch, as this year, it was on ABC and hosted by Tom Bergeron, ruiner of America's Funniest Home Videos. The families of the finalists were allowed on stage, which is also new and we got little "up close and personal" glimpses of the spellers in pre-taped snippets. It was totally the Brain Olympics and I'm amazed my mother never forced me into this.
All of spellers are sponsored by a local paper, and I have no idea which papers around here sponsor spellers, but they need to start. I love, love, love the Spelling Bee and it's now my new greatest regret. I should've won that thing.
Many of the finalists were first generation Americans, prompting the following texts from Big Chris:
"If they really want to challenge these spellers, they should have to spell each others' last names" and the appalling and brilliant, "Didn't I see all these kids dancing at the end of Slumdog Millionaire?"
It was clear that the organizers had attempted to bring a lighthearted tone to the proceedings, as every time a word was asked to be used in a sentence, the sentence would be a little tongue in cheek.
Oh, Scripts. You're too much.
But after having to essentially devoted their lives to the bee, the contestants weren't kidding around. Big on personality, except for the Asian kid who was, to say the least, over it, a few kids completely lost it when they misspelled a word. Like a huge gay kid with a moustache: total water works, head in his hands, sobbing. Emilie announced, "The hairy one's crying!" and my phone vibrated with another Chris text, "I wish I could grow that."
After the Bee, Alex showed us his favorite clip of Bees past. Always one for "great moments in sports," my brother could not have greater respect for this amazing kid:
I, on the other hand, feel for this courageous speller. Because we all know what it's like to try and "bee" funny...

Congratulations to all of the spellers!

let me tell you a'something about my family...

Let me just preface this post by saying that I find the mafia fascinating, wonderful and an important historical slice of American capitalism. I am all for the media glorifying organized crime as it related t0 Italian Americans in the 20th century. I don't want to sleep with the fishes, folks. I'd be a fantastic mafia wife. And I don't know nothin' about nothin'.
That being said, let's please discuss the totally fabulous mafia connection found in The Real Housewives of New Jersey.
(If you're not watching this show, stop reading now, go grab a Wall Street Journal, you fuckin' bookworm and go fuck yourself.)
Okay, now that they're gone, you know Caroline? Sisters Caroline and Dina are married to brothers Albert and Tommy Manzo and they all own The Brownstone, New Jersey's premiere wedding destination. It is important to note that Caroline and Al have three kids, including a very hot son on his way to law school named Albie and we love him. Oh, how we love Albie.
Turns out, Grandpa Manzo, whose nickname, I shit you not, was Tiny, was found "naked, bound in plastic, and stuffed in the trunk of a Lincoln Continental with four slugs in his chest. It has been reported that Tiny was whacked after he was caught skimming the take from an illegal casino owned by the Gambino crime family in Staten Island."
Caroline told some blog called the Beast, “In August of 1984 my husband and his family were victims of a horrific crime [Tiny’s murder]. To this day, 26 years later, the family does not know the whys or the hows of that event…the real crime here is the assumptions that are made against this family.”
You would think this would be the most interesting thing about Albert "Tiny" Manzo, what with the wacking and the Lincoln Continental. Nope. The most interesting thing about Albert "Tiny" Manzo is that he ran for Mayor of Patterson, New Jersey in the 70's on a platform advocating public hangings.
And lost!
You'd think all of Patterson, New Jersey circa 1974 would think public hangings were a terrific idea. I'm shocked Tiny didn't win in a landslide...a landslide of dirt from a shady construction site that just happened to bury alive some no-good, fanook babbos and buttons.
Alright, alright, Caroline. I believe and adore you and your family, nor do I particularly want to fuck with any of you, except maybe Albie. So I'm totally on board that Tiny was the victim of a tragic, unsolved crime. Nor do I believe all of the crappy reviews of the Brownstone. The place looks like a real classy joint. I think it's a nice touch that the website links to other local and recommended businesses one might want to hire when holding an event at The Brownstone. Like John Agnello Photography.
Agnello, Agnello...where do I know that name from?
Oh yeah...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

happy birthday hastings...

I’m like Tevye with tradition. Everyone gets a blog on their birthday. Today, my friends, is Hastings. It’s hard to find the words to tell you the myriad of reasons I love Hastings, mainly because they’re so goddamn personal. Although that’s never stopped me before. Here goes:
Hastings recently joined Brock and me at Spruce for our “salon des bon mots” and as Brock and I drove home, he asked me about Hastings. I told Brock that 7 months ago, as the wheels were being put in motion for me to go to rehab, it was an ordeal to put one foot in front of the other. I won’t dive into just how bad it got (here) but it was some rough shit. So horrified at my life, I’d taken to hanging out in my office, until like, midnight. In the midst of this, concerned that something was obviously very wrong with me, Hastings declared he was coming by with a bottle of wine.
As we were hanging out at 10 o’clock at night, drinking this red wine out of paper cups, I revealed that I had something to tell him.
But then I hemmed. I hawed. It was impossible for me to find the words. He’s always looked at me with such blind admiration. Now he was about to know just what a hugely fucked up person I really am. The thought terrified me.
“Ugh, I don’t know how to say this.” I began to cry.
He was very reassuring as I sat still, unable to speak for 10 minutes.
Finally, he said, “Beth, whatever it is, it can’t be that bad.”
And then, in all seriousness and earnestness, in the sweetest possible way, he asked, “Are you a lesbian?”
Tears streaming down my face, mascara covering my cheeks, I looked at him like he was nuts. And then I started laughing. I couldn’t breath, I was laughing so hard.
“No, I am not a lesbian!” I finally managed. “But I am an alcoholic.”
“And I need to go to rehab.”
“Oh my God. Okay. Um, oh God.” He stammered. “Why were you scared to tell me?”
I took a sip of my wine and answered, “Well, you’ve always looked up at me with this wide-eyed admiration and I just didn’t want you to know that…”
But Hastings had gotten off his chair, onto the floor, sat cross-legged with his elbows on his knees and his face in his hands.
And he looked up at me with wide-eyed admiration.
Brock grabbed my arm. He had tears in his eyes. “My God, Beth.”
“I know. He’s the best.”
Brock clutched his heart and whispered. “I love him. Oh, how I adore him!”
I grabbed my phone, texting Hastings that Brock was smitten.
“No, no, no!” Brock grabbed the Blackberry. “He’s going to think I want to fuck him!”
Relax, Brock. He already thinks I’m a lesbian…

Happy Birthday Hastings!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

mystery solved...

When I was in college, my mother gave me a book called "A Couple of Friends: the Remarkable Friendship between Straight Women and Gay Men."
Years later, I'm actually friends with the guy on the cover.
All my life, I've found a kinship with wonderful men, men who shot me the same mischeivious look the first day of drama club. Stick me in a bar, a hotel, an airplane or addiction treatment facility and I will find a fast friend in a gay man. One of the greatest gifts the good Lord has given me is this instant understanding and connection with homosexual men.
And tonight, I had dinner with my friend Ron. My parents will tell you Ron is really their friend, their fabulous find of gregarious laughter and warm charm wrapped up in a Hermes bow tie. But Ron and I have a special connection and when he sends me an out-of-the-blue email asking me to dinner...well, I pulled out the new dress.
"I haven't seen you in ages!" He screamed as I arrived. "Let me order you a martini!"
Ron and I obviously had a lot to talk about.
2 hours later, we emerged from the restaurant, hugging and laughing with plans to meet up at his new place in Palm Springs, a weekend retreat with something called a "dining pavillion." I thought about Ron the whole glowing drive home from dinner, wondering how someone supposed to be my folks' friend ended up becoming such a dear confidante of mine. And the truth, I suppose, is because when I confess that while everything is marvelous and life is grand, I feel the occasional twinge of guilt and worry for not having provided my family with the big weddings and bouncing babies their friends seem so busy with, Ron reached out his hand and grabbed mine.
"My dear, I know just what you mean."
He does, of course. Ron gets what it's like to be a little bit different, gets how it feels to peak late and gets why something called a "dining pavillion" is so much more fabulous than "the room where we eat." We can spot each other you know, the dining pavillion people. We can find each other in the darkest corners of the Earth. We can even find each other as children.
I vividly remember my first gay friend, a 11 year old two years behind me in grammar school whose parents were professional cabaret singers. We never really spoke, what with him being in 6th Grade and me being in 8th. But everyone, including this kid, knew he was gay. One day before some special Christmas Mass, there was a knock at the 8th grade door. It was the gay kid from 6th Grade.
He popped his perfectly coiffed blonde head in the classroom and asked, "May I please see Beth Spotswood?"
Confused and concerned a 6th Grader thought he was cool enough to talk to me, I walked to the door.
"Hi Beth." He looked up at me. "I understand you know how to tie a tie."
As we stood in the hallway, my hands perfecting the Windsor knot, he said, "I like you."
My dear, I know just what you mean...

but ms. bianchi, armani don't make a brown tuxahdo...

The latest video is up! I have to admit, Beth H. and I are really having fun doing these. The hardest part is convincing people we're not assholes, or if we are, we won't be assholes to them. Everyone cautiously askes, "What is this for exactly?" and I have to reassure them and then explain was SF Appeal is, because we're still inching our way toward "icon." Anyway, I'd love to know what you think. And yeah, yeah. I'll be killing the comedy routine in the future. I want to slap me too. We've got a YBCA event coming up, but please let us know if the Beth's should be covering exciting happenings around town. I'm loving that mic so much, you might see us interviewing people as they walk into fancy restaurants. "So, celebrating anything special?"

Please for to enjoy!

i shoulda worn my wacky glasses...

Get that clickin' finger ready (ewww), it's link time.
My obsession with Willie's World continues on the SF Appeal.
And please tune in later today for another video. This shindig, we have a gay old time at the Opera!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

and of course, those poor kids...

I have something horrible to tell you. I know I've put you through a lot and you've been great. You really have. I should've told you sooner. But recent events are forcing me to tell you now.
Ugh, this is so hard.
I am obsessed with Jon & Kate Plus 8.
There. I said it. The weight of the world is off my shoulders.
I've been watching since Season 1, somehow oddly sucked into the lives of Jon and Kate, their twins Maddy and Cara and their sextuplets, Joel, Collin, Aaden, Hannah, Leah and...oh shit. What's the last one? Alexis! (Sorry Alexis. You're probably used to being forgotten.)
The show's been boring for ages. Kate is the pushy mom in capri pants who's obsessed with cleaning and screaming at her husband, the passive Jon, who does a decent job of moping around wishing he hadn't gotten married at 22. A year or so ago, I started digging a little deeper. Times were tough in my life and well, I was watching a lot of Jon & Kate Plus 8. I certainly don't do this now, but there was a time, a time before the Jon & Kate tabloid magazine covers and sex scandals, when I would sit at home with a bottle of vodka, a plastic pitcher of Crystal Lite and scream obscenities at Kate while googling her and joining Facebook groups called "I Strongly Dislike Kate Gossellin."
"This is a fucked up fuckin' birthday party!" I'd slur at the screen.
"Jon, you goddamn pussy! Perk up!"
And of course, "I think one of them kids is retarded!"
I'm not proud of this time in my life. I'm just saying, I know Jon & Kate Plus 8.
Hating Kate isn't that hard. There are whole websites devoted to what a horrible person she is. She'd just get worse season after season, her obnoxious accent getting stronger, her nagging louder. I nearly threw the television out of the window during the episode she asked one of the cameramen to install her window treatments. I believe that was a special "behind the scenes of Jon & Kate Plus 8." I wouldn't be surprised if I taped it. Again, I was in a bad way.
I was never that into the kids. They were cute and all. But I'm not a big kid person anyway. At parties, when people bring their kids like we'd all appreciate having patronizing conversations about giraffes instead of talking to each other, I purposefully avoid the family-types. But I'm a good, old fashioned American voyeur. I like seeing the inside of other people's houses and I stare when people have relationship fights in restaurants. I watched Jon get more and more disgruntled with his life, hiding at the gym with his hot trainer and complaining about his mysterious job we're never really told about. Kate on the other hand proudly and loudly loved her growing celebrity, if you consider someone with a "mom show" on The Learning Channel a celebrity, but check her out when the show started HERE.
I know. We hate her.
Anyway, I eventually stopped watching Jon & Kate Plus 8. I dumped the vodka down the drain, finished off that Crystal Lite, got my shit together and found better crappy television to watch. Jon & Kate were like a threesome I endured as I hit rock bottom. I finally willed myself to turn off TLC and their carny show of freaks.
Suddenly everyone's talking about Jon & Kate and the fuckin' 8 like you've all been watching for years! Where were you when they went to the goddamn pumpkin patch? Where were you when Kate patronized the sorry ass zookeeper? Where?!?!
Anyway, now that Jon may or may not have screwed around with some 23 year old who has a (how shall I put this) weird relationship with her brother and Kate may or may not be fucking her bodyguard, everyone cares. Even better, Jon's gone all arms crossed, pouty, "I'm movin' to the attic!" and Kate's gone all tragic, martyr, "I'm disappointed in his behavior!"
Jon hates being on a TV show.
Kate loves being on a TV show.
They both won't shut up about it. On TV.
So last night, like it's the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, me and a billion other losers all tuned in for the Season 5 Premier. Not finale. Premier. That's right. Adultery or not, they're still doing the show. Only this time instead of constant scented-candle check-in with Jon & Kate on the loveseat, they're doing separate check-in on the now half-empty loveseat.
And not a scented candle in sight.
Kate's on the loveseat, talking about how she had to assemble thirty gift bags alone. Jon's on the loveseat, talking about how this is "our business" and he never signed up for this.
The man had a hair transplant on television. You know, FYI.
Anyway, at the end of the show, some gifted producer apparently manages to get Jon and Kate back on the loveseat together. Jon's not wearing his hilarious "No Worry Beef Curry" t-shirt. Kate's hair screams its desperate cry for help. And off screen, a brave soul asks, "So...what's next for you two?"
Cue awkward silence, shifty glances, stifled tears.
They don't know, they love their kids, they're on different pages, they fucking hate each other, Jon sleeps with a knife under his pillow, etc. But somehow, someway, Jon & Kate Plus 8 has a whole season planned for us.
Back to you and me... So, they're getting a divorce, right? Their minds are made up. This shit is over, friends. And now I've got to watch it. I've got no choice. I'm sucked back in and it's even better the sober time around.
Please watch. We will discuss...

Monday, May 25, 2009

guerilla gourmet...

As Brock and I enjoyed our "weekly" salon des bon mots at Spruce, he remarked, "I can't believe no one's racing over here to join us. If we were at Zeitgeist, we'd be inundated."
"I know." My eyes rolled. "It's like they'd rather use a port-o-potty in front of everyone. I'm so uncomfortable there."
Brock agreed. "Seriously. I'm not into the taco out of a Toyota."
He'd made an excellent point. The newest trend in my neighborhood is fashion forward street food. The tamale lady is one thing, with her cooler dragged along the sidewalk from sunrise (where she parks at GhettoGas) to the wee hours into local bars, where I once drunkenly partook of her wares. But now, folks, people who probably loathe our snobby salon des bon mots by the way, line up for the creme brulee cart and a gentleman at a BART station with an "amuse bouche" trolley.
I think this is fantastic, I really do. And God bless anyone who can pay their bills by doing what they love. I'm not wild about a guy with a Radio Flyer and a blow torch making my dairy-based treats, but to each his own. I just think it's interesting that people are standing in line to get a Umbrian charcuterie plate from someone wearing two different shoes.
This could be my risidual guilt for driving to the honkey part of town, sitting on a fabulous dead cow, ordering $5 water and declaring the crystal votive holders "charmingly rustic" instead of soaking in the sustainable, local, small buisness taco out of a Toyota. I feel a little shame in my inability to get excited about a hippie with a hibachi.
But we can still be friends, right? I won't make you sample the most divine duck liver mousse in a licensed and up-to-code fancy restaurant if you don't make me try the vegan meatloaf or Chilean civiche from the back of someone bicycle...*This photo I'm stealing from the very awesome 40 Going On 28, who's almost sold me. Almost.*

Saturday, May 23, 2009

shit or get off the pot...

I'm not saying I agree with the guy in the following news story. I'm just sayin' I understand:

"Chen Fuchao, a man heavily in debt, had been contemplating suicide on a bridge in southern China for hours when a passer-by came up, shook his hand — and pushed him off the ledge.
Chen fell 26 feet (8 meters) onto a partially inflated emergency air cushion laid out by authorities and survived, suffering spine and elbow injuries, the official Xinhua News Agency said Saturday.
The passer-by, 66-year-old Lai Jiansheng, had been fed up with what he called Chen's "selfish activity," Xinhua said. Traffic around the Haizhu bridge in the city of Guangzhou had been backed up for five hours and police had cordoned off the area...Photos in the Beijing Morning Post showed Lai, shoeless and in a T-shirt, saluting after Chen fell."

I figure if you're really ticked about some drama queen threatening to jump for 5 hours, holding up traffic and making everyone late, and then decide to march up there yourself and push him, the only appropriate grande finale is a topless salute...

Friday, May 22, 2009

parks and rec...

I crashed at my folks' last night, basking in the fact that they're in New York but seem to have left me presents as some kind of payment for getting the paper and watering the plants.
Brie, Diet Coke and crumpets ordered from the internet?
Oh yes, this is for me.
My childhood home is just up the hill from my office, meaning I crash here often, but everytime I'm back in this joint, I notice another clue of my father's absolute love of living in a small town. It's too goddamn cute not to talk about.
My dad grew up in the Marina District of San Francisco long before it became the gigantic Pottery Barn/Peet's/Matrix it is now. His house was on Francisco Street, the same house his grandparents bought brand new, the same living room his father proposed to his mother in, the same steps down which my great-grandfather, a city sanitation worker, tossed an intruder he found hiding under his bed in the middle of the night (awesome.)
I guess back then, in the 50's and 60's, the Marina was a lot more like a small town than a douchey pitstop in between the frat house and a conviction for date rape. My dad knew everyone in the neighborhood, including some creepy dude known as the "Popcorn Man." I've never really gotten the full story on the Popcorn Man but dad and his friends maintain, "No, no, Bethy! He wasn't creepy. He was great! He built this cart and he sold..."
"Yeah, popcorn. I got it. Sounds fishy."
My dad's dad was a cop which meant he rode Muni for free. I guess if shit went down on the bus, my grandfather had to leap into action. Thus cops got gratis Muni rides all over town. My grandfather would step onto the bus, flash his badge and the driver would nod him on. Then my little dad would follow him onto the bus, flash his toy badge and maintaining his same, stoic stare, the driver would nod him on.
This is the kind of stuff my dad loves about small towns. And since I can't really see some jaded muni driver doing something so sweet in between running over pedestrians and taking up two lanes on traffic, it makes sense my folks decided to move to Mill Valley after they got married.
My dad's a joiner. If you have a club, organization or enameled lapel pin one can only get by volunteering somewhere, my dad wants to talk to you, get involved and eventually work his way up the ranks of your Grand Poobah Society to co-chair the "Beautify Main Street" Project of 2010.
This small town life he's carved out for himself really worked out. He even got to be Mayor of the small town for awhile. And trust me, you have never seen a man happier than my dad riding in the 1988 Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade with a hand-drawn, scented-marker "Mayor Dick Spotswood" sign hanging from the side of his friend's borrowed convertible. Why Gavin never gets this excited, I'll never understand. My dad drives around town pointing out patches of street."That used to be a pothole!"
This morning, as I sipped purloined coffee from a Mill Valley Community Center mug, enjoyed a crumpet and watched the West Wing, I noticed a printed performance program on the kitchen counter. I'd heard my dad mention the event, but never really paid attention. Reading the program, I finally got what he was so thrilled about. My dad was the Master of Ceremonies at the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District Non-Marching Band 51st Annual Spring Concert.
I smiled at the program as his headshot smiled back at me. "Oh Dad." I thought."You're such a weirdo."
And then I remembered what I'd agreed to do this weekend.
Should you be attending the 2009 Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade, swing by the after-parade festival at the Mill Valley Community Center where I'll be selling Marin Brew Co. beer out of a tent to benefit my day job.
Hey, my dad's out of town. Someone's got to represent...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

mayhem, huh...

Brock and I share a special and unique bond. We have the same birthday, we both can spend hours and hours in pure heaven at the bar of Spruce, we both love a good "My dad ate my eyeballs" story...
Get a load of this!!!
"A Bakersfield man with a history of drug abuse remained jailed Monday after allegedly biting out one of his 4-year-old son's eyes and mutilating the other. Angel Vidal Mendoza, 34, has been charged with mayhem, torture, child cruelty and inflicting an injury to a child in the alleged attack on his son, Angelo Mendoza Jr. Bakersfield police said in a search warrant that the child told investigators "my daddy ate my eyes" and that Mendoza appeared to be under the influence of PCP following the April 28 incident. After two neighbors found the injured child in the apartment he shared with his father, witnesses told authorities that a man in a wheelchair who turned out to be Mendoza was in the backyard of a nearby vacant home hacking his own legs with an ax..."
I actually applauded Brock from afar, his finding this article online and immediately forwarding it to all three of my email accounts such a marvelous display of friendship. First of all, people still do PCP? Second of all, this is tragic, horrible, sad, etc., but getting charged with mayhem is kinda awesome. Finally, and normally I would let this speak for itself, but you've got to give the guy props for getting himself in a wheelchair before beginning to hack off his legs with an ax...

i got your picture right here...

Check out today's See Spot Write, where we chat with the "Where's Gavin" folks. Also, Tim the Trainer's graphic masterpiece is not to be missed...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

this is my eharmony ad...

I spend a large part of every day conversing in one way or another with Brian Devine. I've often said that "Brian thinks I shit sunshine!" meaning that in his eyes, I can do no wrong. It's one of the reasons that I love him and gives new meaning to the story I'm about to tell you. Please begin to brace yourselves. 
Last night, I was enjoying a fun phone conversation with Brian when, I wish I could recall how the subject came up, we started talking about poo. When I said it, I didn't think it was that big of a deal. 
"Poo, huh? Do I have a poo story for you."
Brian was so enamored with my poo story, he made me tell it at tonight's dinner party, entertainment for a horrified audience. And he's appalled this story hasn't appeared on the blog. 
Again, brace yourselves. Here we go:
When I was thirteen, I attended a 2 week sleep-away camp called CYO Camp Armstrong. I went with my friend Lauren, but we were immediately separated and put in different cabins. I recall Lauren writing a letter home detailing this injustice. As has been a theme in my life, I was not immediately accepted by the fellow campers. Towering above them and bringing along my own New Kids on the Block arsenal of interior decoration, the girls sharing my cabin did not think I shat sunshine. And one of them only had one leg! You'd think, were there an odd man odd, it'd be the chick who removed her prosthetic and hopped to her bunk. 
Nope. It was me. 
Anyway, one day we had to go on a nature hike, a hike in which campers were staggered 5-10 minutes apart so that we could focus on the gorgeous woods and our heart's desires for 30 minutes. About 20 kids were sent on this march through the mountains and I was probably the 5th kid to start on the walk. 
As it began, some camper 5 minutes in front of me and another 5 minutes behind, it wasn't that bad. But soon I realized that I really, truly had to poo. I'm not a big fan of scatological humor here, so bear with me. It apparently happens to the best of us.
The further into the forest I ventured, the greater my need became. I began to panic, nerves hardly helping the situation and as my need grew greater, I began to cry. The path was narrow due mainly to the fact that we were walking on the side of the mountain. I could reach out my hand and touch the mountain's wall on my left and to my right, the mountain went straight down. I couldn't very well dart behind a bush. It was like I stood on the ledge of a building. 
15 minutes into this hike, it was clear we were dealing with a serious emergency. I was in physical pain, I was crying ... the toilet paper issue was the least of my worries. In my 13 year old mind, I had to shit. There were simply no other options. 
So I did. Right there smack dab in the middle of this very narrow path on the side of a mountain. I can remember everything about this vividly because my only thought at the time was overwhelming relief. I was overcome with euphoria. As far as I was concerned, my problem was solved. I seriously cannot begin to express to you the physical exhale I experienced. I may have grabbed a handful of leaves to use as toilet paper, that detail still seems minor and irrelevant. I walked on down the path fully content, leaving behind me an ungodly barricade of feces. 
It took about 3 minutes for me to hear the first screams. And another 3 seconds for me to realize I'd actually taken a shit in the middle of everyone's trail. Horror crept in as I made my way to the clearing where our post-hike picnic was getting underway. 4 campers casually sunned themselves, unaware of what their cabin-mates were being subjected to back on the hike. The rest finally did arrive, in one big group, obviously waiting by the shit barricade to gasp and marvel that a mountain lion or bear that had dramatically pooed all over the mountain.
I didn't have the wherewithal to say, "Yeah! I saw that shit too!" or "What are you guys talking about!?!" I just stood there looking terrified in between the "Wait, what did you see?" people and the "Are you fucking kidding me?!?!" people. 
No one accused me outright. But it became clear that I was somehow connected with the shit. At best, I saw nothing wrong or mentionable about a barricade of shit in the middle of our hike, which in and of itself is questionable. The fact that I may have actually created said barricade was definitely floating around CYO Camp Armstrong. 
And I had a week of camp left. 
It occurs to me as I type this that my story will in no way benefit my social and/or romantic life. I'm only telling it to you because Brian was horrified I was keeping this from you. I still don't even see what the big deal is. 
At least I have both my legs...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

my courageous struggle...

6 months ago today I had my last drink. And by drink, I mean 25 Gibsons and a case of wine. If I hold out 6 more months, I get a different colored "I used to be a junkie" keychain, so why fall off the wagon now? Since I'm always complaining to my friends about how much IT FUCKING SUCKS not be able to drink, I thought that in honor of my 6 goddamn months of Shirley Temples, I'd tell you the best thing about being in recovery.
The no hangovers are nice, sure. And I look so much healthier, when I see before pictures of myself, I actually look like a before picture. I've got way more money to blow at Target and for the most part, friends, acquaintances and strangers are insanely kind and wonderful to me.
That shit's great and all. But it's not the best part of being in recovery.
The best part of being in recovery is that "being in recovery" is the best excuse for anything ever.
Lame house party and it would be rude to leave early? "I'm a little freaked out by that open bottle of wine."
Boss asks you to work late. "I've really got to get to my meeting. You know, meeting."
Family driving you nuts on vacation? "I just need some time alone to work on my recovery."
Oh, of course! Take our credit card! Leave whenever you want! Can we have cake and presents delivered to you somewhere?!?! My GOD, you're so courageous! So brave! Such an heroic example!
Seriously, the best perk of what is admittedly a horribly, painful, shitty struggle is that other than drink, I can basically do whatever I want and everyone pats me on the back for being such a trooper. The slightest hesitation to anything on my part and people clutch their pearls and gasp, "Of course! Whatever you feel comfortable with! Don't pressure her! She's in recovery!"
Other than love and support, I suspect my friends and family react this way because they feel a twinge of guilt ordering wine in front of me. Good! They should! Diet Coke pairs beautifully with NOTHING! And often times, I do need to be treated with kid gloves and little encouaging pats on the head because staying on the wagon is some rough shit.
But truth be told, the biggest perk I'm loving from this whole recovery thing is basking in the round of applause I get everytime I don't wake up in a dupster...

*Thank You Brittney!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

hi. i'm in delaware...

I'm having a tough time believing this Delaware Department of Transportation memo is real, but who knows. My whole office is chuckling over it, insisting, "Come on, Beth. It's Delaware." Here are some hot tips from (allegedly) the State of Delaware on how to avoid "Workplace Faux Pas" or basically, Shit You Shouldn't Say:
• I don’t consider you gay.
This is insensitive.
• Never call a coworker a “fag” or “homo.”
This is derogatory, rude, and totally
• Should we order fried chicken or watermelon for you?
This is stereotyping and shows ignorance.
• You must be the new IT person.
All Asians are not IT professionals.
• Never refer to a co-worker as a “retard.”
This is an insult to people with mental disabilities.
• Can you help me out with my landscaping?
Why would you assume that all Hispanics/Latinos are landscaping experts?
• Wow, you are from India! My neighbor Ashok Shah is from India; do you know him?
Think for a minute … do you know every American - or everyone who lives in Dover or Wilmington?
And not to be all racist and shit:
• I don’t trust white people; they are all racists.
This is stereotyping and totally insensitive. Get to know the person or discuss why the actions may have offended you. Don’t generalize.

Maybe San Francisco is so PC, this stuff seems ridiculous but in the Mid-Atlantic states, people are pulling Michael Scott's left and right. Or maybe this is bullshit. Either way, I've got to hand it to the clip-art designer. It's like a goddamn Benetton ad! Thanks, Delaware!

needless to say, i'm in...

I'm always looking for blog fodder to keep you people entertained.
"Oh shit, we just a flat tire!" Blog fodder.
"Mel was in a bar fight." Blog fodder.
"My cousin was murdered." Blog fodder.
And often, when people don't want to attend some potentially horrible event or activity alone, they drag me along under the guise that I might get some fodder from the experience. Like my friend Maria, who sent me this:
"Do not say no without hearing me out. My friend and I are going to try the pole dancing class at the S Factor on Filbert. You are going to come with us. It is supposed to be unbelievably fun. My friend is taller than you and older so no excuses. It will be fabulous fodder for your blog too!"
I like how this friend is taller and older than even me, the tallest and oldest person to burden the planet. First of all, if this friend is taller than me, this friend is officially a freak. My brother and I both maintain that one more inch onto our 5'11" and 6'5" frames respectively and we've far exceeded the regular people charts and moved into medically unique. Second of all, I'm 31. While not wild about my rapidly advancing age, I can still, you know, tie my shoes and work a portable phone.
As for this pole dancing thing, I'm wisely hesitant. No one wants to see me pole dance, not even a bunch of giggling 30-something's who high-fived during Sex and the City. Other than my having enough body issues to fill an Oprah audience, I assure you I will awkwardly and begrudgingly stand next to the pole, holding onto it like a microphone so I can make jokes at everyone's expense, including my own. There will be no dancing, so twirling, no stilettos and certainly no seduction. I don't drink anymore, Maria. I'm way less fun at this kind of shit. And even if I was drunk, I'd just sprain an ankle...and not necessarily my ankle.
Didn't they do this on the Real Housewives of Atlanta? And wasn't it awkward? That being said, if you've had experiences with this class or something like it, let us know. Hell, if you know a salty old stripper with some good pole tips, let us know...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

all of the goddamn above UPDATED...

What's wrong with this picture? Is it:
A: I appear to be dressed like I'm reporting from Afghanistan?
B: My self-imposed slouch is in full effect because even sitting down, I hate being tall? Or is it
C: "Spots" on a dog, "Wood" on a tree. It's a compound word, folks.
Do people always screw up your totally uncomplicated name? And if so, does it drive you nuts? Because I'm kinda used to it.
My father on the other hand..."SPOTwood? Jesus Christ!"
Anyway, I wrote 10 minutes of thoughts on 2 seconds of fame for the SF Appeal...

moments before the KPIX crash...

I felt we needed a break from the Gavin obsession. Don't worry. The flame is still a'burnin'. But here's this week's Gavin-free Culture Blog.

i'm here to make your life easy and uninformed...

Special election? What election? Why is it special? And why should we care?
Beats me.
For some bizarre reason, every single one of my goddamn friends knows everything there is to possibly know about politics and seems to prefer discussing this in their free time. It's fucking ridiculous. If you're anything like me, you basically just ask you dad, your barber or your corner whore who to vote for, so let's cut out the middle man. Here's the I'll Flip You Legal Team's recommendations on the Special Election:
Vote NO on everything.
Viva democracy!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

anyone up for a hike...

I'm making the mistake (or the genius choice, depending on how you look at it) to read a book about the Trailside Killer while housesitting in a big spooky house in the middle of his killing grounds. It is both awesome and terrifying.
First of all, the book I'm reading is by Robert Graysmith, so as far as I'm concerned, Jake Gyllenhaal wrote these words I'm devouring. Second of all, you KNOW I love a true crime I can find a connection to. Most of these murders took place in Mill Valley or on the Mountain. You know, the Mountain I grew up on? Murder in my hometown, my mom worked with one of the victims, my day job is mentioned repeatedly, the killer's on death row with Scott Peterson ... I'm in heaven! Why haven't I read this earlier?
But as I dogsit for one of my bosses, lounging in this gorgeous home with sweeping views of the mountain and thus, the book jacket of this thriller before me, my heaven lasts until sunset. Then the creaks and the cracks of three floors of old, wooden house begin their symphony.
The mountain looms like a shadow in the distance, leaves rustle the curtains, I methodically turn every light in the house on.
Do I put the book down? No.
I simply text Hastings, who kept asking until 1am, "Can you still hear the creaks and the cracks?"
I've cut and pasted my 1:15am response for you:
"Yes I can still hear them! I just woke up (from a dream about my book, naturally) and it's like a stab factory upstairs. Psychos emerging from closet hiding spaces, killers finding the knife drawer in the kitchen, a ladder placed against an open window. YES. I CAN STILL HEAR THE NOISES."
I did an entire search of the house last night, poking my arms in every single closet, locking every window, convinced some vagrant with mother issues and sex addiction was going to stab me to death in a woman-hating frenzy before defiling my remains is a sea of DNA.
At one point, I paused on the stairs. What the hell is the plan if I reach into a closet and hit someone?
The plan is to scream, folks.
What is it about books, much more so than movies or TV, that gets into your subconscious? God, when I was reading ALIVE, I was dreaming skull bowls non-stop. Anyway, once I finish the Trailside Killer, I'm moving on the the Zebra Murders. Then, I'm open to suggestions. I'm also open to not giving any more clues about where the hell I'll be tossing and turning tonight, my book in one hand and 911 on speed dial in the other...

somewhere, vazquez is chuckling...

Are you guys going to be around a television today at 5 or 6 PST? Because if so, you can watch me talk about beauty queens and blogger queens on KPIX Channel 5! If it’s any indication of the interview, the news van crashed into my car parked out front.
Yeah, folks. Sugarman rolled the KPIX news van into Rhonda the Honda. This shit follows me, people. I can’t make this stuff up.

A link to follow...

Monday, May 11, 2009

see spot closed...

Alright kittens, it's my final SFIFF video! This time, we covered the Closing Night party. I have to say, Beth H., the videographer is just plain awesome. I generally feel like a big goober walking around asking people the same question over and over and she edits brilliantly and SIGNIFICANTLY. In the picture below, I realize I look like Governor Patterson, but you can see SF Appeal contest winners Kim and April in the background, two fabulous ladies who are supporting the Appeal and hated the movie. We love them...
Watch the final edit RIGHT HERE...

Friday, May 08, 2009

the freaks of facebook...

There needs to be an Emily Post of Facebook. Every once in awhile, I’ll get a Facebook friend request with nary a note attached, just a demand for anonymous friendship from a perfect stranger.
“You’ve received a friend request from some random dude.”
That’s it. Nothing more. No smile. No wave. No “Hi Beth.”
And more often than not, this rather rude friend request comes from some progressive recycler who shares the same 33 “friends in common” as the rude requester before them. Oh, we’re both friends with Ross Mirkarimi? Yep, that’s gonna be a rude requester. You just want to send me mass missives about vegan barbeques and artsy naked ladies dancing for charity, don’t you?
I friend request all kinds of people on Facebook. And I always include a little note. Even if I’m friend requesting the “I *heart* Abe Lincoln Fan Club” I’ll throw in a little, “Slavery Sucks! I’d love to be your Facebook friend!”
I’ve taken to passive-aggressively accepting their friend request and then sending a message. “Hi new Facebook Friend! Please forgive my asking, but do I know you?”
Sometimes they write back something unintelligible, but most of the time they just make the person who says, “Hi Beth.” look like Charmer O’Manners.
Ironic that the hippies, those who once I google, I find nothing but internet comments complaining about what a shitty job the showerers are doing of running things, can’t muster a little social grace.
So here’s a little tip from me to you. Wanna be friends on Facebook? It’s easy! Click friend request. Click Add Note. Say Hi. Click Send...

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

eh, kinda...

My Uncle Ted (or if you're using his mid-life crisis name, Theo) and Aunt No attended, for reasons beyond me, a comedy show in Salt Lake City, Utah. According to Ted, one of the lesser opening acts called him out, claiming my uncle looks like Dennis Rader, the serial killer known as BTK.
I should be so lucky.
Ted seemed slightly concerned about this, sending me a cryptic email asking if I thought he resembled any serial killers. At first concerned this was his way of trying to begin to confess to crimes I can only imagine, Ted finally revealed the comedian's suggestion.
Ted? BTK? Really?
I leave it up to you people:

Ted interestingly has had experience with serial killers, surviving a few run-ins with Leonard Lake in the 1970's. And in my opinion, Leonard Lake is significantly dicier than BTK, who's pretty goddamn psycho. So, seriously, let us know. You think Ted could pass for BTK? Because if so, I'm sure someone somewhere at the Lifetime Channel is in pre-casting...

think of the fun we'll have...

You too can mooch at fancy parties!
Enter HERE to win 2 free passes to SFIFF's Closing Night movie and party. I believe free food and booze is involved. Most excitingly, I'll interview the winner on camera for SF Appeal and VidSF, so you know, this is the biggest little break in the world. Or perhaps, your chance to kill me in front of 500 people.
Either way, you should enter!

what a cool job for all you struggling art students...

The wonderful and brilliant Eve knows me all too well. She's discovered a municipal website in which unidentified dead bodies are sketched and described in the hopes of pinning a name on those found dead in doorways or, gasp, floating underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, like this woman. (Her toes were painted by the way.)
Incredibly sad, yes. But also incredibly interesting. And if some sketch of me was floating (ugh) around the internet, the government casually asking anyone bored enough to stumble upon it for a hot tip, I'd want someone like me to take a morbid interest. Anyway, go HERE and then click on each sketch for details on the dead, which incidentally is the name of my new band...

2:1 this guy's on eHarmony...

I'm very grateful to have a job right now and love the weirdos I work with like family, but often I wish I was a woman of liesure so I could attend court cases like this one, which started yesterday and detail Todd's landlord being a little uptight:
"The unsanitary conditions also led to tenant Todd McCullough getting his feet amputated after gout in his leg became infected and he developed gangrene, according to court filings... There were feces smeared on the walls, floor, doors, counters, mattress, sofa and throughout the bathroom, according to the clean-up company. A neighbor saw feces smeared about and what appeared to be plastic bags, glass jars and a trash can all filled with urine."
Todd isn't wild about getting up to hit the head, it would appear so his landlord is suing him. Obviously, I'm going to need to see whatever court documents are public on this case. Perhaps, the I'll Flip You legal team would like to offer their expertise or get me some kind of video testimony. Because, really Todd. I mean, really...

Monday, May 04, 2009

free lighter with purchase of a car wash...

So, you know SuburbaGas? For those of you who are new, SuburbaGas is my petrol palace, a classy Mill Valley diversion from GhettoGas, the janky joint in my hood. Anyway, I often stop at SuburbaGas on my way to my job in the burbs. I do not, however, gamble.
I guess that's why I didn't win $75 million.
I've been reading all kinds of internet commentary about how it's absolutely ridiculous that someone in Mill Valley is $75 million richer, as apparently, that's chump change 'round Marin. I can appreciate all of the jokes from the masses except that they don't really make sense in this context. Allow me to count both ways:
1. As a regular at the gas station which sold the winning ticket, and by regular, I mean that Mohammed gives me highly personal advice, I can tell you that rich people certainly don't hang out there, shoving elbows for the dregs of the Hazelnut flavored "coffee." And...
2. Rich people don't buy lottery tickets.
Whomever is the lucky winner needs that shit just as much as you and me. It's not like some CEO stopped by on their way to the airport, nearly missing their flight to Gstaad so they could play MEGA Millions."Oh, hang on one sec, kitten. I need to pick up today's ticket, a pack of Kools and a Mountain Dew."
Knowing that SuburbaGas is selling winners, I suddenly feel inclined to hang out there more. I still can't see myself ponying up a buck and playing. I can see myself kissing the ass of someone in the mood to blow $75 million. And if I won? Oh, if I won...
1. I would take my 30 closest friends on a month-long cruise. Obviously I consider Ryan Gossling one of my 30 closest friends.
2. I would get a car that didn't have manual windows and locks. Everytime I'm in a mid-range car from like, 1996, I just ooohhhh and aaaahhhhh.
3. I would donate the maximum to Gavin's campaign, not because I believe deeply in issues or anything. I just want him to have to verbally thank me. I would also get a really expensive haircut.
But I don't have $75 million. I never bought a lottery ticket and I can barely afford the gas. I will however, get you people something exclusive from Mohammed because while I might be poor and unwilling to invest in his lottery tickets, I think I might be the only customer to choke down SuburbaGas' Hazelnut Coffee...

(Ah ha! I'm right-ish! The winner(s) work for the Sherrif's Dept. Well, hell. They deserve it!)

what the hell is dialoging...

The video-reporting continues. I'm still finding my "voice" so bear with me on this stuff. This one feels more newsy and less snarky. I think I'll bring the snarky back. What do you think? You don't want me reporting news anyway. I'll just get it wrong...

incidentally, MY brother is a horrible driver...

Does anyone else have a case of the Mondays? Well, if you didn't before, me asking kicked it right into gear. Sorry. Here, I'll make it up to you. Once again, I fall a little further in love with Da Mayor for Da SFAppeal...

Friday, May 01, 2009

the cookies were a hit...

I've just come from KG's dad's funeral and wake, which for the most part, was incredibly sad. However, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that it was also incredibly interesting. KG's dad was a Marine, serving in Vietnam and earning two Purple Hearts and a Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry in Bronze. While I've known KG and thus, her family for nearly 20 years, her father didn't often bring up his service and the story as to how he was, as described in letters from the Marine Corps to his family, valliant and brave. It turns out, KG's dad held off the enemy with a rocket launcher and two machine guns while 22 injured members of his unit were pulled to safety. He was shot three times in Vietnam, taking two bullets amidst the madness of this rescue, which incidentally took place when he was 21 years old.
Needless to say, the Marines take this stuff very, very seriously and that history, with the pomp and circumstance it brings, was on display at today's funeral. I found the whole thing very moving.
Say what you want about wars and why we fight them, it's impossible not to hold those that serve in the military in extraordinarily high regard. KG's dad was laid to rest with Marines standing outside the church firing guns into the air, his casket guarded by full dress uniform soldiers who occasionally and on cue, saluted him. Very formally, they folded the American flag draping the casket, presented it to KG's mom and saluted her.
It. Was. say the least.
More so, one pew of the church was filled with men wearing shiny purple jackets, all veterans who themselves had earned purple hearts in various wars. They too saluted the casket as it exited the church, followed by KG and her family who, I can only imagine, must have been somehow consoled with overwhelming pride.
KG spoke beautifully of her father, detailing his service and essentially, his parenting. While this death has certainly hit the family as a huge shock, KG pulled it together and quite frankly, blew me away. She ended by inviting everyone back to the house for a celebration of her father's life. I was told to bring cookies.
The house was packed and eventually, me and my Diet Coke stood by the front door chatting with fellow KG friends, N and S. My demeanor at times like this, whether appropriate or not, has always been to perform an early-90's stand-up routine. I wish I could shut myself up, but the one thing I bring to the table is an ability to make KG laugh.
And cookies.
Anyway, we were standing by the front door when this massive man in a cowboy hat, bandanna and the requisite boots makes his way to the door to leave.
"Wasn't this beautiful, honey?!?" He said as he grabbed me and planted a kiss on the entirety of my face. With that, he walked out the door and outta my life.
"Who was that?"
"Beats me, but dibs."
No sooner had he left than a confused looking middle aged woman walked in from the rain. We looked at her. She looked at us. And then, gazing up at me, declared the apparent entry codewords, "I know John."
"Uh, okay. Well, come on in!"
She pushed past us and muttered, "You gave me a weird look."
And before I could help myself, I responded, "I was born this way."
She spun around. "No you weren't!"
Oh dear.
Finally, KG's sweet cousin came over who's young and irreverent and gorgeous. "What's up,ladies?" She asked, taking a sip of her Corona.
"A man pretty much made out with me and I got in a fight with the redhead over there."
Unfazed by the fight, she asked, "Which man?"
"The one in the cowboy hat?"
"Which cowboy hat?"
"The black one." I responded, noting that indeed, there was more than one cowboy in attendance.
"Oh, Dan! He's awesome. He opened my beer with his pocket knife."
Like I said, dibs.
Anyway, while today's events were all based upon very sad circumstances and rough times for my dear friend, I have to admit the whole thing was pretty interesting. From the 21 gun salute to the fight with some broad later referred to as "The Pirate" I'm exhausted. And I am also, if possible, even more proud and honored to be friends with KG and her incredible family. They're funny, they're warm and they make one hell of a deviled egg...