Monday, August 31, 2009

betty draper's got nothing on yvonne peterson...

My grandmother always had these incredible stories that no one believed but me. There was always a hint of racism, touches of elitism. Needless to say, I found her tales wildly fascinating. Tonight I shall share with you my three favorites, most likely prompting my mother and uncles to dispute everything. But these are the stories as I remember them, told to me by my grandmother, who had a tendency to sprinkle fairy dust.
1. The time she talked to Jesus.
When my grandmother was giving birth to her eldest, my mother Joanne, it was apparently a very difficult birth. To hear my grandmother tell it, blood was splattering the walls, everyone thought she was going to die, taking last nights as she flowed in and out of consciousness. My grandmother, in the midst of all of this, actually saw a tunnel of light. And so, ever the good Catholic, began to walk towards heaven. Suddenly, she heard a voice.
"It's not your time, Yvonne."
She stopped in the tunnel, turned around and was sucked back into the delivery room.
"Wait, wait, wait!" I stopped her. "Who was the voice?"
"I believe it to be the voice of Jesus Christ, dear."
I knew better than to ask what I was thinking. Jesus spoke English? Doubtful.
2. The attempted murder at the Christening.
My grandparents were upper middle class Republicans in Burlingame. So they did upper middle class Republicans in Burlingame kinds of things. There were lots of dinner parties, ornate broaches and lamps made out of fancy candlesticks. I think people's printed couches matched their printed wallpaper. Anyway, needless to say, these people are the kind of people who never revealed any personal struggles, bottling it up until it exploded dramatically. Sometime in the early 60's, my grandparents went to the party following a baptism. Everyone was standing around the living room and dining room having a "simply lovely time" as the mother of the baby, secretly suffering from post-partum depression, snuck upstairs with a kitchen knife and started stabbing the baby in it's crib.
My grandfather backed up at least part of this story to my mother, revealing that the child actually survived. He worried that when the kid grew up, his folks would have "a hell of time explaining those scars."
3. The retarded kid down the block.
If you're picturing the Draper residence on Mad Med, I think you're pretty close. Perhaps my mother's childhood home, which is always referred to by it's address much like a trendy restaurant, wasn't as large, but I've driven by it. This is the vibe. (Oh! I google mapped it!) Apparently, and this must have been after my mom and uncles left, a family with a "retarded" child moved in somewhere nearby. No one had any big problem with the "retarded" child but the new family regarded themselves as rather prominent. They had several other perfectly normal children and couldn't handle their own version of Rosemary Kennedy. So, according to my grandmother, one day they "just left the door open."
I had to hear this story more than once to finally ask, "What does that mean? I don't get it."
As delicately and vaguely as she could, my grandmother implied that the door was left open so the "retarded" child could leave, wandering into oblivion, never to be reported missing. The whole neighborhood knew about it, by the way.
My mother, the family member least likely to buy any of this and the least likely to be in my grandmother's presence during these tales, refuses to believe a word. My uncles, however, seem more inclined to the possibility at least some of this shit actually went down. They certainly believe that my grandmother gleefully spun me these yarns.
Because my uncles (Bill and Ted) have weird neighborhood stories of their own.
Bonus: The lady that watered the stream.
My mother's childhood home had a big backyard and I guess, down towards the back ran a stream, dividing their property from the home behind them. The people that lived in said home were a married couple who fought horribly. They'd have these huge, crazy arguments and when they did, my mother would run upstairs and cover her ears, feeling that none of this was any of her business. Her two younger brothers, Bill and Ted, instead got as close to the stream and the neighbors house as they could...to listen.
"She was nuts!" Bill would announce. "Insane! Seriously, I'm not kidding. She used to water the stream."
Bill then described often finding this woman, unhappy with her marriage and life and gorgeous home standing at the stream with a hose. She was literally watering the stream and staring off into the distance. I prefer to picture her with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth, rollers in her hair and some type of inappropriate negligee...

the only reason to go, really...

Please forgive my lack of posting. I've been on People of Wal-Mart all day...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

cougar droppings UPDATED...

I guess I've got to throw some meat to the animals.
I'm really hoping the Cougar Convention coverage will converge in one magnificent day where I'll hook you up with a VidSF/SF Appeal video of the event, as well as parlay this into a Culture Blog on SFGate. There was simply SO MUCH fodder at the CougarCon, I'd hate to blow my wad, as it were, all in one place. So fingers crossed we can put this together by Wednesday.
In the meantime, I can report the following:
1. I had a stalker who then turned on me. I wouldn't dance with him, claiming I was "working." He returned with a friend for Beth H. to dance with. The friend actually had braces, he was so young. So we tried another excuse.
"We can't leave our equipment. Sorry."
They returned with a third friend to hold the camera equipment. When we declined to dance yet again, "Scott" got pissed. His suit eventually became his necktie worn over a t-shirt and every time I'd film an interview, he'd yell shit in the background or whisper shitty things in my ear during the actual interview. For example, as I was grilling young guy #427, Scott comes by, bends his mouth too close to my ear and says, "How many times I gotta fuckin' ask you to fuckin' dance with me till you stop being a little bitch?" 2. I have never been propositioned by so many men within a 3 hour period in my life. Some were charming and funny, some were horrible and scary, some were downright rude and pushy.
3. Even the charming and funny ones were...how shall I put this? Intense. Every 10-15 minutes, another one would approach with a pick-up line aimed at one of us. It became angry, desperate, exhausting.
4. At 1am, we retired to the Trader Vic's bar in the hopes that the "Big Kids Room" might provide a break. There, Melissa was accosted by "Gregory" who said he was an anthropologist working for the betterment of "brown people."
5. I had hoped that somehow, a wildly irreverent, gorgeous and successful gentlemen just there to mock the proceedings much like myself would somehow find me in the fracas and we'd go back to my hotel room to make fun of everyone and watch The Cosby Show, which is my new euphemism for "doing it." Alas, I practically needed security to get me out of there, Beth H. repeatedly saying, "Lock your door. Seriously. Use the chain. I'm not kidding..."

never again...

What are those? Hoochie pants? Are you wearing hoochie pants? Oh man! Someone's in hoochie pants!
-Tim the Trainer.

In related news, the Gap is having a sale on athletic apparel...

Friday, August 28, 2009

rawr....

I am both appalled and delighted to report that I am blogging today from Dinah's Garden Hotel and Trader Vic's in Palo Alto, where I have booked myself a room tonight. 
Why?
It's the National Cougar Convention and it's being held here. 
I know what you're thinking. Obviously, I'm not a cougar. I am however, covering the weird and stupid beat for various websites, so here I am!
Thus far, I've checked in, gotten a manicure and watched "Locked Up Abroad" on the National Geographic Channel while eating beef jerky. I think I shall head down to the pool and observe and early arrivals stalking their prey in their Slimsuits. Since my friends were all too chicken (or too busy with real, actual social lives), I have to get dinner by myself at Trader Vic's. I will be dolled up and walking into this restaurant requesting a table for one in the middle of a Cougar Convention. 
Which is weird, since I already thought I hit my rock bottom. 
Obviously, there is much more to come. 
Wish me luck...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

SOUTH lake tahoe? typical...

I was going to write a post today about how much I hate the words to "Don't Worry Be Happy" but then THIS happened.
Lemme break it down for you because I was easily confused.
  • An 11 year old girl named Jaycee was kidnapped in South Lake Tahoe in 1991.
  • Yesterday, she rolled into a police station in Concord and announced she was alive.
  • Registered sex offender Phil Garrido (who's also being investigated for elder abuse) and his wife have been charged with a litany of crimes, including all the bad, pedophile ones.
  • Phil has a crazy, weird blog.
  • Jaycee remembers everything and is in good health.

Okay, here we go.

  • What the hell took Jaycee so long?
  • Was, as Brock suggested, she used as "bait" to kidnap other children?
  • Her stepfather "saw" her get kidnapped in 1991. Needless to say, mother and stepfather are no longer together, but that in and of itself strikes me as fishy.
  • What is UP with Mrs. Garrido? Not like some loner kidnapping and molesting children is acceptable, but a married couple in cahoots? He must have beat her.
  • And most importantly, was this case anything like the most interesting long term kidnapping of all time?

We shall continue to discuss as more details are revealed, but let's begin...

all of my texts are sent from red lights...

The first thing I do every morning is read my email on my Blackberry. If there's nothing good, it's hard to actually get myself out of bed. Today, my favorite (and only) internet pen-pal, Dallas sent me this, and I was laughing so hard, I was officially awake.
I wish I could give the writer credit, so if any of you know, hook it up in the comments.

Random Thoughts From People Our Age
1. I wish Google Maps had an “Avoid Ghetto” routing option.
2. More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can’t wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that’s not only better, but also more directly involves me.
3. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong.
4. I don’t understand the purpose of the line, “I don’t need to drink to have fun.” Great, no one does. But why start a fire with flint and sticks when they’ve invented the lighter?
5. Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you’re going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to be going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the direction from which you came, you have to first do something like check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you’re crazy by randomly switching directions on the sidewalk.
6. That’s enough, Nickelback.
7. I totally take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was younger.
8. Is it just me, or are 80% of the people in the “people you may know” feature on Facebook people that I do know, but I deliberately choose not to be friends with?
9. Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn’t work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all know how to fix the problem? There was no internet or message boards or FAQ’s. We just figured it out. Today’s kids are soft.
10. There is a great need for sarcasm font.
11. Sometimes, I’ll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the f was going on when I first saw it.
12. I think everyone has a movie that they love so much, it actually becomes stressful to watch it with other people. I’ll end up wasting 90 minutes shiftily glancing around to confirm that everyone’s laughing at the right parts, then making sure I laugh just a little bit harder (and a millisecond earlier) to prove that I’m still the only one who really, really gets it.
13. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
14. I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.
15. I think part of a best friend’s job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.
16. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I’m trying to finish a text.
17. A recent study has shown that playing beer pong contributes to the spread of mono and the flu. Yeah, if you suck at it.
18. Was learning cursive really necessary?
19. Lol has gone from meaning, “laugh out loud” to “I have nothing else to say”.
20. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.
21. Answering the same letter three times or more in a row on a Scantron test is absolutely petrifying.
22. My brother’s Municipal League baseball team is named the Stepdads. Seeing as none of the guys on the team are actual stepdads, I inquired about the name. He explained, “Cuz we beat you, and you hate us.” Classy, bro.
23. Whenever someone says “I’m not book smart, but I’m street smart”, all I hear is “I’m not real smart, but I’m imaginary smart”.
24. How many times is it appropriate to say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear what they said?
25. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent a dick from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!
26. Every time I have to spell a word over the phone using ‘as in’ examples, I will undoubtedly draw a blank and sound like a complete idiot. Today I had to spell my boss’s last name to an attorney and said “Yes that’s G as in…(10 second lapse)..ummm…Goonies”
27. What would happen if I hired two private investigators to follow each other?
28. While driving yesterday I saw a banana peel in the road and instinctively swerved to avoid it…thanks Mario Kart.
29. MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
30. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
31. I find it hard to believe there are actually people who get in the shower first and THEN turn on the water.
32. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.
33. I would like to officially coin the phrase ‘catching the swine flu’ to be used as a way to make fun of a friend for hooking up with an overweight woman. Example: “Dave caught the swine flu last night.”
34. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t at least kind of tired.
35. Bad decisions make good stories
36. Whenever I’m Facebook stalking someone and I find out that their profile is public I feel like a kid on Christmas morning who just got the Red Ryder BB gun that I always wanted. 546 pictures? Don’t mind if I do!
37. Is it just me or do high school girls get sluttier & sluttier every year?
38. If Carmen San Diego and Waldo ever got together, their offspring would probably just be completely invisible.
39. Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I’m from, this shouldn’t be a problem….
40. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you’ve made up your mind that you just aren’t doing anything productive for the rest of the day.
41. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don’t want to have to restart my collection.
42. There’s no worse feeling than that millisecond you’re sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.
43. I’m always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.
44. “Do not machine wash or tumble dry” means I will never wash this ever.
45. I hate being the one with the remote in a room full of people watching TV. There’s so much pressure. ‘I love this show, but will they judge me if I keep it on? I bet everyone is wishing we weren’t watching this. It’s only a matter of time before they all get up and leave the room. Will we still be friends after this?’
46. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Dammit!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What’d you do after I didn’t answer? Drop the phone and run away?
47. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.
48. When I meet a new girl, I’m terrified of mentioning something she hasn’t already told me but that I have learned from some light internet stalking.
49. I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it’s on shuffle, then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.
50. Why is a school zone 20 mph? That seems like the optimal cruising speed for pedophiles…
51. As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.
52. Sometimes I’ll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
53. It should probably be called Unplanned Parenthood.
54. I keep some people’s phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
55. Even if I knew your social security number, I wouldn’t know what to do with it.
56. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, hitting the G-spot, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I’d bet my ass everyone can find and push the Snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time every time…
57. My 4-year old son asked me in the car the other day “Dad what would happen if you ran over a ninja?” How the hell do I respond to that?
58. It really pisses me off when I want to read a story on CNN.com and the link takes me to a video instead of text.
59.I wonder if cops ever get pissed off at the fact that everyone they drive behind obeys the speed limit.
60. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.
61. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lites than Kay.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

timber...

2 and a half down. 2 and a half to go. It's Wednesday, which means 1 of several things. The only one I care about right now is that today's Culture Blog is up. It's all about tween angst and a flashback to 1989...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

you will not believe this...

I have inherited many things from my wonderful father, one of them being my proclivity to enter drawings. I will gladly fill out any form and drop it in a box. I've never really won anything, other than a canvas totebag full of pantyhose from the Nordstrom Corte Madera Hosiery Department in 1992. 
Until today. 
While wandering around the Pride Parade Festivities in City Hall Plaza, my friend and official lesbian, Eileen and I passed booth after booth, amassing free chapstick and highlighters as we went. We also entered every contest, including a drawing for an Olivia cruise. 
Olivia, if you're not aware, is "the definitive leader in lesbian travel."
I received an email from the fine ladies of Olivia today. 
I won. 
Hand to God, this is no joke. I won an Olivia cruise for two to Alaska
The cruise leaves from Vancouver, is 7 nights and departs September 20th. The cruise features celebrity guest, Betty DeGeneres, mother of TV's Ellen and includes everything but drinks, spa treatments and our port fees. We are in the shittiest room on the cruise ship, so you know this shit is for real. 
Needless to say, I'm taking Melissa...

Monday, August 24, 2009

beth + kenny + 2008 = probably a really good time...

Four people forwarded me the SFGate article on "chronic inebriants."
Four.
I've noticed in the past 9 months (new AA keychain. yay!) that on occasion, I'm the resident drunk expert. Got a question about a cocktail? Got a friend who likes the sauce? Got an opinion about an article? Apparently, I'm your drunk expert.
I think it's my penance for discussing my courageous struggle on the internet and truth be told, I'm perfectly fine with it. It's just a lot of responsibility. I mean, what the hell do I know?
Apparently, the City and County of San Francisco has been paying up to $150,000 annually for each chronic drunk. Not necessarily homeless, these folks spend all day every day getting wasted and needing various and sundry city programs to get them to tomorrow.
I guess the question the article raises is, really? $150,000 per deadbeat?
As a former and hopefully not future deadbeat, and since I feel slightly obligated to give you occasional sober updates, here are my thoughts:
1. If there's one thing they shove down your throat in rehab, other than STOP, is that addiction is a medical problem. Many a "group" was spent on this topic, half of us justifying our substance abuse by defining it as a medical problem, the other half wallowing in self-loathing and blaming their lack of self-control. According to either "Counselor Pat" or "Counselor Jim", 1 in 6 or 1 in 10 people have the addiction gene. And if you have it, you're pretty much screwed. I'm still torn on this. I certainly have guilt about becoming an alcoholic. I'm also amazed at how some people, most people, can have 2 glasses of wine and be done. I cannot. Even thinking about it now seems ridiculous. And in using alcohol to get myself through some rather trying times, I found I simply could not stop. Drinking was no longer optional. There was one guy in my group, which sadly was called the Blue Group, who was convinced this was all his fault and spent 28 days trying to convince the rest of us it was all our fault too. He didn't leave his bedroom for 2 years and his family had their intervention via phone from his living room, 10 feet away. Sounds pretty goddamn medical to me.
2. I had advantages most people don't have. Not everyone, and certainly few people passed out in your doorway, have parents able to support them emotionally and financially. I believe my parents actually got frequent flier miles for the funding of my residential treatment. They also held my hand and sat through family training classes and live 30 minutes away in a house that now possesses an unending supply of Diet Coke and fancy cheese. I have friends who will show up in the middle of the night to sleep over and friends with a Devine guestroom available to me whenever I need the safety of their home and their cable and their pugs. I have a job with a boss who is incredibly supportive and encouraging not to mention reassuring about the security of my paycheck and my health insurance. I have friends who loved me enough and liked me enough to see how much trouble I was in and ask me to get help.
I'm willing to bet that "Kenny" doesn't have access to this. Or if he ever did, he drank those opportunities a long time ago. It's all very Lifetime Afternoon Movie.
Anyway, this municipal issue hits a little close to home for me. The drunks are my people. That dude in the doorway is my peer. The biggest lesson I've learned, continue to learn and obviously have a lot left to learn is humility. You spend your Thanksgiving in rehab on a hallway payphone with your brother while squeezing cranberry sauce out of a packet and choreographing a dance routine with a 55 year old crack addict/prostitute whose grandkids won't speak to her. That experience has given me a new perspective on Kenny and his ilk, who, whether due to genetics or character flaws, are my ilk as well.
So what are we supposed to do with Kenny? Beats me. What the hell do I look like? Paul Hogarth? But isn't this just one more person stuck in the system, booze or not? I don't think his beer habit should make him any less of our problem.
There's my opinion which is worth exactly what you paid for it, which is less than you're paying for Kenny.
And also, one last time, 9 months motherfuckers!!! Le Club Shirley Temples on me...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

i don't see what's so wrong with letting them eat cake...

I spent most of this weekend obsessed with Anne Boleyn and Marie Antoinette, up at 4am doing ridiculous research for my own personal purposes. I started with Anne Boleyn but then got fascinated by the public beheading aspect and added Marie Anotinette to my docket. 
I got started on Anne Boleyn by watching Steel Magnolias. (I cannot believe I found the clip!) I was struck by an immediate need to know if Anne really did have six fingers on one hand. 
Sadly, she did not. But don't image-google it
Both Anne and Marie had to have massive and humiliating public executions where the last thing they saw was a bunch of people gawking at them. I'm not saying I'd ever want my head chopped off, but I certainly wouldn't want to be paraded around while it was happening. 
The five-fingered Anne Boleyn got to make a little speech before her death, of which there are several versions. The most widely-regarded version was apparently written down months after her death. While I realize there were no electric recording devices available in 1536, you'd think someone could take quill to paper within the hour. It was the former Queen, after all. 
The last thing Marie Antoinette said was an apology to her executioner for stepping on his foot. 
What I found most interesting in my psychotic and unhealthy early-morning research is that both Anne Boleyn and Marie Antoinette were charged with incest. I kind of startled, sitting up in my bed with my laptop perched on a pillow before me. 
"Incest?" I said it out loud, as if Melissa or Brock would pop out of my closet and say, "Oh really?!?! Let's chat about it!"
I find this fascinating. Obviously. I mean, isn't it?!?! 250 years apart, both of these women were condemned to death for various acts against their country, their accusers adding an incest charge for dramatic, asshole flair. What bold, intense history! What a raw deal! What a strange planet this is, spinning around while shit like this goes on and on for thousands of years. It's almost beautiful, when you think about it. And it makes their deaths seem a little bit less horrific, their beheadings propelling these women into well-dressed, opinionated, misunderstood, complicated, legendary history. All I can think about is huge, corseted gowns pushing themselves through miles of manicured gardens as a metaphor for history and the passage of time and...Oh wait. I'm thinking of Orlando.
Anyway, I've always like Anne Boleyn. I remember touching the stone walls at the Tower of London and wondering if Anne had touched the same walls. I kind of dragged my 12 year old hand along them, as if I was being dragged to my death in 1536. Although I doubt Anne was killed anywhere near the giftshop. 
But really, truth be told, this is just a long way of rudely asking if anyone wants to take me on THIS...

does the massage come before or after the hamburger...

I can't explain why I love the television show "To Catch A Predator" so much. It's not like I find child molesters hilarious or anything. But TCAP (To Catch A Predator) has these bizarre moments where I can't help but shoot the side-eyes. 
I think my favorite part of every episode is when host Chris Hansen emerges from behind the hastily staged Cost Plus rice-paper screen or batik curtain hanging in a doorway and says to the predator, "Why don't you have a seat?"
He then gloriously and dramatically examines the gifts the predator has purchased to present to his internet teen friend. "What's this you have here? Flowers, chocolates, nice....what's in the bag?"
"A hamburger." The predator nervously answers. 
"Oh! A hamburger. You thought you'd bring dinner?"
"She say she like hamburger."
Chris could not be more smug. "I see. Anything else in the bag?"
"I bring Pepsi."
"Ahhh, a Pepsi. So flowers, chocolates, a hamburger and a Pepsi. Wow. Got anything in your car?"
"Um, what you mean?"
"Did you buy anything and leave it in your car?"
As Chris Hansen reveals in a voiceover when the predator is eating driveway, "In the car, Florida State agents found condoms and massage lotion." 
Everytime he says something like "massage lotion" I become 11 years old and get the a case of the smirks. I don't know what's funnier: Chris Hansen saying "massage lotion" like it's a bloody knife or the fact that some 43 year old shithead thinks his 13 year old internet girlfriend is going to want a sensual massage a la Waiting to Exhale...

Friday, August 21, 2009

oda mae brown and me...

Thank God it's fucking Friday, right?
Please, oh please read all about my night with a kooky clairvoyant RIGHT HERE on the San Francisco Appeal's See Spot Write.
And, if wondering what to do this weekend or would simply like a sneak peak behind the bar of Le Club, check out VidSF's Weekend What's Up.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

isn't culture bus an oxymoron...

Today's Culture Bus Blog is UP! I hope you enjoy it...

going postal on the wrong side of the counter...

My father is the greatest father in the world. Much like his father before him, he's a letter writer and a traveller. And everywhere my father travels, he's got to buy a postcard and mail it to me. He could find himself in Modesto and the man will still send me a postcard. He calls them Dad-O-Grams. I get Dad-O-Grams once a week. Which is how I ended up spending 45 minutes screaming at the post office(s) this morning.
I'd received one of those peach-colored post office notes in my mailbox. Apparently, a sender in Oregon had failed to put enough postage on a letter and I needed to appear at the post office with my identification and 20 cents. How long could this possibly take, I wondered, and headed over to the Bryant Street Post Office Annex on my way to work, as directed by my peach-colored note.
Postal employees seem to have all the time in the world. Picking up a letter, you say? Well they'll need to place their pen on their desk, push their chair back, slowly stand up, take your little peach-colored note, turn around, walk to the back, chat with some colleagues, check for any updates on the bulletin board, casually graze through some bundles of mail...why hustle? We've got all day!
"You owe us money." The charmer behind the counter informed me, without looking up. "You've got to go across the street."
So I walked down the block and across the street into the regular post office.
"You owe us money." I was informed.
"Yes. I know. 20 cents." I held 2 dimes in my hand.
He placed his pen on the desk, pushed his chair back, slowly stood up, turned around, looked in a bucket of mail behind him, wandered to a closet in the back, looked through some mail in there and then disappeared for 10 minutes.
Time ticked away and I got further and further away from making it to work on time. I placed my gigantic bag on the counter and loudly sighed, as if that would suddenly prompt everyone to leap into action. Finally, "Pompey" returned.
I am not making up that his name is Pompey, by they way. His nametag proudly proclaimed "Pompey" and he wrote it down on my peach-colored note.
"We don't have it." Pompey informed me. "They never brought it over here. You need to go across the street. Tell them Pompey couldn't find it."
"I've just come from there."
"I know." Pompey couldn't have cared less. "You've got to go back."
Obviously, the second I appeared across the street, I'd be told I needed to pay this goddamn 20 cents to Pompey. Monetary exchanges did not happen in the Annex. "Well, can I just give you this money?"
"You want to buy stamps?"
No, I don't want to buy stamps. I want to get on with my life.
Pompey and I finally figured out that if I bought 20 cents worth of stamps, I could bring my stamps to the Annex and get this mysterious piece of mail which according to him, was still over there.
I bought the stamps and headed back across the street.
"They said you have it." I announced.
"I don't have it!" The woman managed to look up from her desk this time, finding my tone accusatory.
I explained that her pal Pompey said my letter was still over here and produced the peach-colored note with his version of the events.
"What about the money?!?!?!"
I slammed down two 10-cent stamps.
"Well now I have to go look for it."
You're goddamn right you have to go look for it. Jesus Christ, am I the only one here to grasp the concept of the Unites States Postal Service? A beautiful woman in a suit stood at the counter next to me.
"My God!" I said. "I'm about to go postal!"
"This place is ridiculous." We commiserated for another 15 minutes. "What's she doing back there? Seriously! This is all over 20 cents!"
Pompey's colleague finally returned. "Did you receive a wooden postcard?"
"Excuse me?"
"DID YOU RECEIVE A WOODEN POSTCARD?"
"NO I DID NOT RECEIVE A WOODEN POSTCARD."
I was given a long song and dance about the postal worker who tried to deliver the wooden postcard and his work schedule which conflicted with my work schedule.
"Can I just leave you these stamps and when you find the wooden postcard..."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah." She said. "We'll mail it to you."
"Thanks a million!!!" I screamed and stormed out.
Racing to work, I wondered who the hell would send me a wooden postcard from Oregon. And then I remembered my parents' recent sojourn to a National Park in Oregon with a charming hotel they deemed historical. I raised my fist as I drove across the Golden Gate Bridge and exclaimed, "Damn you, Dad-O-Gram!"
That being said, wooden postcard? Neat!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

into africa...

I had a very late meeting in Marin tonight, so late I decided to crash at my folks house instead of heading back to the city. Rolling in at 10 o'clock, I found my father sitting by the fireplace enjoying an aperitif and smoking a pipe like he's about to introduce an episode of Poirot.
"Really, Dad? You really do this?"
"What?!?!" He lit his pipe with matches from a restaurant that's been closed for a decade.
My mother emerged from her bath in a robe and sat across from me upstairs in the TV Room.
"What are we watching?" she asked.
I had decided upon Out of Africa.
"Karen has just returned from Denmark." I caught my mother up. "She left Africa because her shitty husband gave her syphilis. Apparently, she could only recover in Denmark which is no longer home to her."
My entire childhood, my mother's held this torch for Robert Redford I never understood. On and on she'd go about Robert Redford and his incredible jawline. When I finally saw Out of Africa, I got her point, what with his divine natural highlights and wardrobe made entirely of Banana Republic's original concept.
Now, of course, I can't stop watching Out of Africa. Not so much for Robert Redford and those divine natural highlights. But for the clothes. And the music. And Meryl Streep who keeps getting punched in the face by life and still manages to tie her kenete cloth just so.
Mom and I like Meryl as "Karen from Denmark (which is no longer home to her)" mainly because she gets out and works her coffee bean farm along with what my mother has deemed, "her slaves." She also doesn't take a lot of shit from men and has a very "them's the breaks" attitude about everything.
"Oh, my husband gave me syphilis.
Oh, my coffee bean farm burned to the ground.
Oh, my seriously hot but unwilling to commit boyfriend died in a tragic plane crash.
Well, I guess I'll just dust myself off and create a protected reserve for this tribe I just happen to have adopted before heading back to that shithole, Denmark to write a best-selling novel about the whole thing under a male pseudonym. "
Mom and I noticed several things in our shared viewing of Out of Africa. The first is that Robert Redford's character, "Denys" is always peeling fruit. Constantly. In nearly every scene, he's got an orange or a pear or some weird African delicacy which he's slowly and sexily peeling, yet never eating. Every 10 minutes, my mother would scream out, "Look! Look! He's doing it again!"
The second thing we noticed is that it's both reassuring and upsetting to know that hot American guys in Kenya circa 1913 didn't like to be tied down by labeling relationships.
At one point, Karen's getting pretty fed up with Denys just coming and going whenever the hell he feels like it. To which Denys points out that some chick wants to join him on another one of his sexy safaris. Karen, who's ex-husband cheated on her to the tune of syphilis, tells him to forget it and Denys goes, "You have no idea the impact those words have on me."
Karen then tells him to get the hell out as my mother leans back into her chair and says matter of factly, "Well, I have to say I agree with Meryl Streep."
Finally, and I'll say his till the day I die, I love how people just dramatically show up in movies. Denys doesn't call or write ahead to say when he'll pop back into town. No, that would be boring and unoriginal. Instead, weeks go by with Denys in Somalia or Uganda until one day, Karen's walking back from the coffee bean fields to hear music coming from her veranda. And there, with his divine natural highlights and confidence and record player is Denys. He's landed the plane he learned how to fly "yesterday" on her lawn. He then hands her aviation goggles and flies her over the sweeping plains and beaches of Africa as thousands of gazelles leap across untouched wilderness.
That, gentlemen, is how one just shows up. Until, of course, one crashes his plane and dies just before he's going to show up, reconcile and finally commit to sticking around for awhile. My mother and I watched in stoic and respectful silence as Karen eulogized Denys at "their" spot on the hill. Which is exactly the moment my father decided to extinguish his pipe and wander upstairs.
"What are you guys watching."
"Nothing! Shut up! Robert Redford just died!"
So engrossed inside this cinematic moment, estrogen errupting from our extended hands imploring him not to take another loud step, our extreme response prompted my poor father to finally ask, "In real life?"

*In an exciting twist, today (the 18th) is Robert Redford's birthday. Equally importantly, it is also Brett's. Happy Birthday, Dallas! You're my favorite eyepatch-wearing, wheelchair-bound, much older than me, queeny-Asian pen pal...

i just want to be iona from pretty in pink...

90% of life is showing up. At least it is according to Woody Allen. 
I'd also like to think a lot of that is just asking for what you want. For example, I wanted a fabulous photo shoot in Chinatown. As an internet nerd, I spend a great deal of time just clicking through from link to link, a virtual Magellan discovering treasures along the super-highway. 
I'd spotted Tangobaby ages ago, but for some reason, only just discovered her latest project.
I Live Here: SF is a collection of photos of San Franciscans accompanied by essays they've written about being San Franciscans. When I found this gorgeous site and a little note on the side basically saying, "If you want to do this, email me," I gasped a little. 
Oh. I want to do this. 
I sat on my bed with my laptop in front of me and I hemmed. I hawed. I can't ask for this. It felt rude and self-indulgent. But then I remembered that I am occasionally rude and frequently self indulgent and figured, "Fuck it." 
Julie emailed me right back. A week later, she was in my dining room sticking fake eyelashes on my eyelids, pushing into Chinatown doorways and telling me where to look. 
Yes, homosexuals. It's as fun as it sounds. 
Julie loves subjects! All subjects! You don't need to be a fellow blogger or internet devotee, either. All you need is to live within the city and county of San Francisco and show up. 
And now, please enjoy:
And my whole photoshoot, which Julie, I adore...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

actually, i still have my grandfather's armoire...

I've complained that my life is a lot less dramatic without alcohol. "Who wants drama?" you're probably thinking to yourself. 
Right here. I love the stuff. 
Thank God I have my number one rehab gay, Ansel to keep me entertained with activities I'd never think of, much less follow through on. 
Thursday night, Ansel and I are going to a psychic. 
Well, actually she's not a psychic. She's one of those people that communicates with your dead relatives. Her name is Lisa Williams (Messages from Beyond) and we're going all the way to Santa Rosa to hear, "I'm seeing a woman with brown hair. I'm seeing the letter M."
Her website has lots of pictures with Lisa and her dogs, so, you know...
Lisa has instructed us to think of which dead person we want to hear from and try cosmically communicating with them in the days leading up to Thursday. We're also supposed to bring an item they owned, if possible. 
Ansel is very excited about this, convinced we need to arrive early so we can be on an aisle. You see, the fortune we're spending on Ms. Williams doesn't guarantee she'll spend any time on us. I don't really know how she selects which members of the audience will receive a message from the beyond, but if the Montel Williams Show (no relation) is any indication, the medium selects completely random people, preferably those already shaking and crying. 
My number one rehab gay has reason to be excited. He wants to contact his mother. So obviously, he can take the aisle seat. 
If you check out "I Live Here: SF" tomorrow, blogger Tangobaby's photo and essay profiles of San Franiscans, you can read all about the man I wish to hear from. 
A close second, however, in case he's reading blogs up in heaven, is JFK Jr...
*The alternate title for this post was "Molly, you in danger, girl..."

Friday, August 14, 2009

plugs...

Wondering what to do this weekend? Check out the Weekend What's Up brought to you by VidSF, the Appeal and yours truly. And if you're wondering what to do tonight, head over to the Elbo Room where I'll be one of the judges at the Literary Death Match. I understand it to be quite hot in there, so dress accordingly...

i thought better of the marmalade...

Tonight, Brock and I attended a lovely dinner party hosted by Leslie, author of the hilarious blog, Squid Pro Quo. I was honored to be invited because quite frankly, Leslie and I don't know each other that well. I felt whatever gift I arrived with had to make a good impression, representative of what might be in store if I were ever to be invited back. 
No trait is more lauded than that of a good guest. 
But obviously, most people bring wine to dinner parties. And it seems kind of ridiculous for me to walk in the door with a bottle of Pinot when we all know I can't touch the stuff. Brock agreed that we'd have to come up with something alcohol free, but clever and well thought-out. 
"Wine's a bad idea anyway." Brock assured me. "It might not pair with her menu."
I recalled the "Dear Babe" column on the SF Appeal dealing with this very conundrum, the sober party guest not knowing what to bring. But in our rush, I didn't take the time to look up Babe's advice. 
A parking place in front of Bi-Rite market provided an opportunity to stop, so Brock guarded the passenger seat while I popped out. I grabbed a bouquet of organic peonies and walked through the front door, finding a line of at least 20 people who travel with their own canvas tote bags. Those in front and behind me in line had baskets filled with wonderful, glorious, expensive food. "What great lives they must lead." I thought to myself. "They're all going to go home and watch Nova."
The woman directly in front of me was admiring a huge wall of jam. "Don't you just love old-fashioned jam?" She sighed. 
I don't know what kind of new fangled jam this broad was stuck with, but admittedly, the Bi-Rite jam looked pretty good. "Who doesn't love jam?" I asked. 
Which is when I decided jam would be a really cool hostess gift. Who, I ask you, doesn't love jam? If someone showed up at your house with a jar of classy jam, you'd be thrilled, right?
I grabbed the jam.
As the line inched forward, we neared the baked goods. Jam lover in front of me started chatting about the cookies and cakes as I looked at my watch. But then I noticed the coffee cake. I was reminded of very fancy restaurants that provide you with a breakfast pastry for the next day's breakfast. It's always struck me as such a good move. "Thank you so much for coming to dinner. Here's your breakfast by the way. Enjoy the awesomeness."
I grabbed the coffee cake. 
Leslie, ever the gracious hostess, immediately threw the flowers in a vase and cracked open the jam. And I hoped in my heart of hearts she wasn't silently thinking to herself, "It wouda killed you to bring a bottle of wine?"
Technically, yes. It might have.
Plus, it's kinda fun to arrive at a stranger's house to find piles of flawlessly prepared food and lovely party guests and present them with a condiment...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

ya seen one painting, ya seen 'em all...

Normally, I let my number one ho fight her own battles, but I feel some sort of responsibility since it was my stupid question in the first place. This morning, Melissa's column in the Examiner included an explanation (to me!) on the Arts Commission resignations. (and with that, 97% of you click onto bigger and better posts.) 
In it, she wrote, "I always figured that the Arts Commission was a bunch of bored, well-heeled women sporting bouffant hair and fabulous jewelry ... In fact, the commission is made up of 15 members appointed by the mayor. Eleven of those seats have to be practicing artists, including architects, writers, dancers and musicians."
Hmmm. Who knew!
Excitingly, my friend CBig at 7x7 wrote an awesome piece today presenting the issue from the side of the newly-resigned commissioners, including Jeannene Przyblyski who's hubby is Eric Jaye, the dude who just stormed out of Gavin's campaign. 
Apparently, "Przyblyski was also bothered by the Examiner’s presumed portrayal as to the make-up of Arts Commission members... 'The idea that this commission is comprised of 'matrons,' wives and party-people is offensive. The very idea that this all boils down to ‘matronage’ rather than serious, civic patronage is both sexist and hurtful.'
I could be biased on this one, but someone needs to stare at a Degas for a second and calm herself. 
Didn't Melissa basically say, "You'd think the commission is made up of a bunch of rich dilettantes with attitude problems but actually it's made up of a bunch of working artists." And didn't Jeannene just say, "Stop staying we're a bunch of rich dilettantes, you sexist reporter! We're working artists!"
Just checking. 
I'm going to gaze at public art now. And by gaze at public art, I mean watch me some Real Housewives of Atlanta...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

donkey punch...

I left before this shit went down, but today's Culture Blog is all about San Francisco Young Democrats Ball in Blue. I give these nerds a hard time, but it was actually very fun, balloon animals aside...
*photo credit: some dude's Facebook.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

i'm putting my money on alien attack...

Disaster in imminent. 
Earthquake, terrorist attack, assassination...something's about to happen in seconds. 
Why?
Because CNN.com is tempting fate with the HEADLINE, "Peanut-free night lets allergic kids enjoy game."
El Presidente of Costa Rica has swine flu, they pulled 2 bodies out of the Hudson, a 9 year old was raped, "scores" died in a Taiwanese storm and a woman threw a cup at the Mona Lisa. 
But the most important thing CNN needs us to know is that it's gets-picked-last night at the ballpark. 
As far as I'm concerned, this is the biggest jinx in the world. Aren't we at war? Isn't everyone getting fired? Shouldn't CNN send someone to like, North Korea and tell us what's up? No, no, no. Because Kyle who's allergic to peanuts has some shit to say. 
I'm all for these poor, sad handicapped people who'll die if they're in the same room as a nut getting to enjoy a normally nut-packed American pastime. What do I care! Let 'em go to the circus next!
I'm merely suggesting that perhaps by choosing "Peanut-free night lets allergic kids enjoy game" as tonight's HEADLINE, CNN is begging the universe to put a dramatic, tragic end to the official definition of slow news day...

bring on the fart jokes...

I've never done this before but my head almost exploded with the possibilities. Wanna have a "caption this" contest? This Bill Wilson original is too good to keep to myself!This is why God invented the comments section. Have at it...

Monday, August 10, 2009

the griffwood radio hour...

In case you missed it, you can listen to the Missus and me on the radio!!!

LISTEN HERE.

We begin about 3 songs and 1 poem into the recording (scooch the thing forward half an inch) and the interview is about an hour long.
Thanks to The League of Pissed Off Voters for having us on, especially our hosts Jeremy and Andy. And of course, Pirate Cat Radio rules it's in wonderfully funky, 3-songs-and-a-poem kind of way. I have to say, it was really fun being on the radio, or what I used to call "a dying medium."
No one called in, sadly but someone emailed a question asking if we considered ourselves progessive or moderate, which is basically like asking, "How freakishly liberal of a liberal are you?"
God Bless San Francisco...

where's the santa hat...

I fear I may have roped my dear Brock into my Manson obsession. Last night, he sent me a divine glamour shot of killer Susan Atkins. The photo, clearly taken post-incarceration is quite something. I responded to Brock,
"How interesting!
1. Why does she get Glamour shots? She stabbed a pregnant woman to death.
2. Why select the hand pose? The hair? The gaze? Each so specific, so fantasy-driven.
3. Who was this shot for? Certainly not the press, although to dare but to dream. A lover? A pen pal lover? Fascinating!!!!!"
Brock's enthusiastic response?
"Isn't it the greatest shot, ever?
1. I think in prison you get to have these kinds of shots done, like during the holidays and stuff.
2. TOTALLY. It might be LSD flashbacks, the fantasy-driven part.
3. Her husband, maybe? God? She was really into both of them.
Also, Leslie Van Houten is GORGEOUS. Even today. She was the Linda Evangelista of the group."
I think it's fantastic that Brock's decided prisoners get to take glamour shots "during the holidays." Anyway, I think this can wrap up my 40th Anniversary re-hashing of the Manson Family. We're be back in 10 years, unless of course Squeaky gets me first...

Saturday, August 08, 2009

it's not like i used the urinal...

Everyone pees, right? 
I've gone to great lengths to hide the fact that occasionally, like once a year, I use the bathroom. And I finally come to terms with the fact that it is quite literally nature calling. Nothing to be ashamed of, peeing. 
Melissa, Tara and I have been invited to a fancy pants dinner party at Mr. S' wine country home. Obviously, this calls for us to make a whole weekend of it and I'm writing this to you from the Hilton in Napa. Anyway, this morning the three of us headed up to Sonoma for shopping on the Square and a very leisurely lunch at The Girl and The Fig
I had enjoyed coffee and cigarettes for breakfast, so by the time we made it to Sonoma, I was looking forward to a pit stop. The Girl and The Fig was packed, and rightly so. Everything was very grilled peaches and proscuitto on french bread outdoor lady lunch. Which meant the line for the ladies room went around the bar. Five of us blocked food service and stuffed exists as we waited for the one women's toilet. 
The men's, needless to say, was vacant. 
Aside from the fact that I really fucking had to pee, I felt very much in the way. The women both in front and behind me in line didn't seem particularly bothered, but then again, they were tourists. You can always spot a wine country tourist by their wine country apparel: Hawaiian shirts covered in illustrated wine labels, capri pants embroidered with dangling grape bunches, one woman wore a monstrous silver necklace that looked like she has 20 pounds of sterling cabernet grapes and leaves hanging from her neck. 
She, after all, is in the California Wine Country. I personally walk around New York City in a foam Statue of Liberty crown. 
Anyway, I found all five of us standing in line for this one tiny ladies room ridiculous, especially since the mahogany men's room was perfectly empty. 
"Is it totally ridiculous to use the men's room?" I asked aloud. The woman first in line looked me up and down and in a tone, replied, "Go ahead. (pause.) It's not my thing."
"Well, it's definitely my thing!" I said, pushing past. "I just love using men's rooms!"
What does that mean, "It's not my thing"? Like there's two kinds of women in this world; the ones who politely wait their turn and the ones who get off on peeing in the men's room. 
I was outta there before Miss Thing made it into her precious ladies room. 
"How was it?" A woman further back in line asked. 
"Perfectly acceptable!" I proudly announcing. 
"Well, we have a man here waiting."
I passed said, smiling elderly man on my way back to my girls. 
"I'm so sorry, sir." I screamed in full earshot of the disapproving group. "Going to the men's room is just my thing!"
Clearly I'd found a kindred pee spirit. The old dude winked at me...

Friday, August 07, 2009

i'm the 'and more!'...

It’s Friday night!
Which means you’re all asking yourself one question: What’s on the radio?!?!?
Well, if you tune in to Pirate Cat Radio tonight from 6(ish)-7, you can hear me and Mel join the cats from the League of Pissed of Voters. I’m sure you’re well aware “The League” has a 2-hour Friday night radio show. Well, tonight’s the night as I’ll spew nonsense for the better part of the first hour. Or I’ll get stage fright and make Melissa do all the talking. Either way, it’s radio free America straight from my hood and I practiced in the car.
You can listen online or apparently, in person as there’s also the Pirate Cat CafĂ©. And please feel free to call in and ask inappropriate questions: 415-341-1199
So cancel your reservations and gather ‘round the radio.

6-7pm tonight.
87.9FM
Pirate Cat Radio
The League of Pissed of Voters Radio Show with Mel and me.

And while we're plugging things, I'll be one of the judges at the upcoming Literary Death Match, Friday, August 14th at the Elbow Room. Apparently, the needed "a lady." Check out their advertisement:
This month, LDM invites five Bay Area independent bookstores to send their favorite writers to battle it out for the crown. Listen to readers Jade Brooks (City Lights), Alvin Orloff (Dog Eared Books), Derek Powazek (The Booksmith), Paul Neilan (Green Apple Books) perform before judges like two-time LDM champion Andrew Lam, Borderland Books’ Intangibles expert Scott Sigler, and more!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

someone saw city slickers...

2 days in a row? What's the occasion?!?!
Squeaky's getting out of jail in today's See Spot Write on the SF Appeal...

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

today's culture blog and see spot write: UPDATED...

I go vegan in today's Culture Blog.
AND, because I know you obsessed sickos need your Newsom crack, here's today's See Spot Write on the SF Appeal. Seriously, you guys. He's a regular person. Let it go...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

cancer better be cured...

I have a day job, where I actually work in between blogging and stalking you on Facebook. And our suburban offices are located in an old community building. Picture, if you will, a Lions Club Hall with municipal restroom, a shared kitchen, our little non-profit offices and a big, old-timey hall where Boy Scouts have awards ceremonies and criminals attend traffic school. Often times we'll arrive at work to find charities selling Christmas wreaths from our front door or 10,000 cases of Thin Mints. And while it's a drain on my intolerant disposition, I've become used to the elderly tribal dancers who arrive at 4pm every other Thursday.
Last week, I arrived at my building early and unlocking the front door at 8am, headed straight to our offices on the right. I didn't even look down the hallway into the dark auditorium. It was early, I was groggy.
Deciding to clean up before a meeting, I grabbed my overflowing garbage can, headed back out to the hallway and flicked on the auditorium lights. Before me were 40 filled sleeping bags, their contents shifting away from the sudden aurora borealis I'd created.
Oh shit!
I quickly flicked the lights back off and retreated to my office, my can still overflowing. Later in the morning, when one of our overnight guests came by to inquire about any WiFi in the building, I learned that the 40 sleeping bags were filled with college students bicycling across America to raise money for cancer research. Having come from Baltimore, they planned to spend the day resting (in my building) before making one final push across the Golden Gate Bridge to their finish line.
Many spent the day never moving from their sleeping bag and I could hardly blame them. Some headed to downtown Mill Valley to check their email and others sat on the front steps in front of my desk's window to call home and have incredibly personal conversations. A trip to the ladies room revealed that laundry was being done in our sink and a collection of bike shorts and sports bras were hung up to dry along the stall walls.
I am an uptight, conservative old lady who blow dries her hair and enjoys a certain thread count. But these crunchy kids were biking 4,000 miles to cure cancer and had every excuse in the world for turning our entire building into a marinating cloud of body odor. I smiled and waved when they passed, wishing them well and looking forward to their departure.
By the time my meeting ended and my boss had run off to a lunch date, I was looking forward to the fancy Andronico's sandwich I had chilling in the refrigerator. So I marched myself to that communal kitchen and opened the door.
"Oh, oh God. Wait one second." A woman's voice cautioned. But it was too late. There she stood at the kitchen sink, au natural. She was either washing some clothes or washing herself IN THE KITCHEN and she was naked as a newborn. Not even a sock graced her 22 year old body and I found the whole thing appalling.
"OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!" I screamed, slamming the door.
I heard her laugh from within the kitchen. Because standing around a public building scrubbing your parts in someone's office kitchen is fucking hilarious.
I know, I know. I surprised myself with how grossed out I was, really because the bathroom is one thing...but the kitchen? It reminded me of the time I hung out with some friends of friends while they surfed and they just pulled off wetsuits to reveal naked bodies. Everyone just stood around having naked conversations and casually picking up a towel when they felt like it, spending far more time bending over looking for lip balm than covering themselves. All the while, I just sat there in the sand, staring at the ocean and wanting to kill myself.
The human body is a really beautiful thing, I'm sure you've heard. But when it's standing in your workplace kitchen, using a dish towel as a loofah and clearly, no razor, it's fucking bracing...

Monday, August 03, 2009

sleep tight!

I've never spent a great deal of time analyzing why I'm so fascinated with all that is creepy. Although I think the SF Weekly's Benjamin Wachs hit the nail on the head when he told me my obsession with serial killers stems from my trying to control fear with knowledge. 
Or something like that. 
Anyway, I know exactly when it started, this need to explore and catalog the macabre. In 8th Grade, we were assigned to report on a famous Californian and a girl in my class named Jennifer presented Charles Manson. 
Jennifer, who due to a speech problem pronounced her own name "Jennifuh", was obviously not the sharpest knife (heh) in the drawer as Charles Manson wasn't from California. But she had left her extensive research, a lone copy of "Helter Skelter" lying around and I spent the next month sitting against the wall of the playground reading it again and again. As with any non-fiction book, I spend an inordinate amount of time gazing at the included photos. I vividly remember the shots of the crime scenes in which the sprawled dead bodies of the victims had been whited out. I'd force myself to look at each photo, memorizing not just the blinding white arms and legs and torso and head shapes, but the lamp in the background or spots of blood on a pillow. 
It was horrible and yet, I could not put that book down. 
The Tate Murders happened around 12:30am, so needless to say, I couldn't get to sleep until well after that. And once summer came, I'd stare at the calendar dreading the approaching August. Because obviously, August is when people in wooden houses on top of hills get murdered by crazy hippies. 
And I lived in a wooden house on the top of a hill. 
I would sit up in the TV Room long after my parents and brother had gone to bed and watch our VHS copy of Home Alone. I'd start at 11 and around 3 I'd finally fall asleep. That's at least 2 viewings of Home Alone nightly. I can't begin to describe to you the sheer terror I experienced night after night, convinced I'd be stabbed to death at any moment. I wondered when, you know? How old would I be? Would I die a virgin? Would I feel anything after the first stab? Who would find us? How many people would attend my memorial service? 
The whole thing was exhausting. 
But I survived that first August. And I survived a chance viewing of a Manson interview which I stumbled upon while Home Alone. This, I'd decided, was yet another sign of my impending bloody death. Into high school, my Tate-LaBianca obsession continued and after one anxious morning staring out the window just thinking about it, I marched into the school library and started looking for a copy of Helter Skelter. 
It was then I discovered true crime books. I must have blown off that entire week, spending trenchcoat-mafia-esque hours in the library learning all about Richard Speck and John List. Particularly interested in British murders, finding them somehow classier and perhaps more terrifying, I dove into the gory details of Jack the Ripper and the West Family, worming my way around the world dismemberment by dismemberment. 
I guess Benjamin is right. Knowing every single detail of every single horrific crime somehow makes me less terrified at the sound of a twig cracking outside the TV Room window. And now, why, I can recite Albert Fish's letters and can sing the last song Aileen Wuornos heard before she was put to death. 
But Manson...I'll always be the most afraid of Charles Manson and the Tate-LaBianca murders of early-August, 1969. 
Which brings me to my spooky, creepy, long-winded point. 
This weekend is the 40th Anniversary of the Manson Family Murders. And a knot is already forming in my stomach. While I'll be spending the weekend up in wine country with the Missus, I can promise you she'll be kept awake until the wee hours listening to gory detail after gory detail. 
Unless, of course, there's a VCR in our hotel room. In which case, we'll be watching Home Alone...

*For my friends in the creepy community, Los Angeles Magazine did a FABULOUS feature on the 40th Anniversary which you should read and then call me to chat about. This is like one of those fantastic Esquire articles my brother re-reads on airplanes. It'll take you ages, but my God, is it a page-turner...

Saturday, August 01, 2009

someone's a graphic designer...

Tara and I decided to go on a date last night, agreeing to see Funny People at the Kabuki and then enjoy a late dinner across the street at Dosa on Fillmore
Not terribly complex plans, right?
After the movie, which was 2 and a half hours by the way, we strolled over to Dosa, where a  sign on the door instructed us to touch the handle, then let go. 
"Um, I'm confused by the fact that a door has instructions, much less the instructions themselves."
"Touch it!"
The door slowly swung open and the admittedly stunning and hip space was packed. "Jesus, have you been here before?"
"No, have you?"
"No. Well, I've been to the one on Valencia, back when it was small and filled with people Gavin Newsom hasn't slept with."
That's the best way to describe the crowd last night at Dosa on Fillmore, by the way. Gavin has definitely biblically known 3 or 4 of those bitches and their neck veins and statement accessories. Told it'd be a 40 minute wait, we agreed to use their ladies room and split. We had to push our way past the overflowing bar to the bathroom, and as we entered the tiny space, a woman was delicately washing her hands. Tara and I waited for a free stall as the hand washer pushed the hand dryer button. 
I thought the world was ending. It sounded like a jet was taking off. No joke. We were both thrown against the wall. 
The hand dryer pretended to be unfazed by the tornado she'd created and she didn't have to pretend long. Another Gavin-type squeezed her way in the bathroom and (OMG!) they knew each other. 
When I see a friend unexpectedly in public, I'm just as guilty as these two. I simply reserve the right to judge when other people gasp and hug and emphasize the "are" in the "How are you?"
Tara and I eventually made it into stalls. 
"Beth!"
"What?"
"This is really weird!"
The door, the hand dryer, the crowd...I think we just thought we'd have some curry across the street from the movie theater and suddenly, we were thrust into a wacky episode of Sex and the City. 
We liked the vibe of Dosa, for sure. We just needed some Manolos and Melissa to really get into it. Tara and I decided instead to brave the front door upon exit and head up the block to SPQR. We were seated immediately and ordered a bunch of small plates, including this amazing corn fritter thing covered in honey. If I may throw you a hot tip, SPQR is one of those joints that's good for a date and good for taking your folks. It's right up my mother's alley. 
Anyway, Tara and I dove into our food and our conversation. Jobs and friends and men later, we were winding down when Tara looked across me and whispered, "You listening to this?"
A woman at the table next to us was sending back her wine because she apparently didn't mean to order it. She'd already had 5 drinks elsewhere, you see, and there must be some kind of horrible, angry confusion because she did not want this wine and she did not want to pay for it."
Her date was in the men's room, and according to Tara, he was most certainly throwing up all over the place. 
Drunk lady was really laying into the server, a perfectly lovely supermodel who brought me a fancy Diet Coke made out of green tea, and constantly calling someone over to discuss the non-issue of the wine. This is a small restaurant and while we're nosey people to begin with, it was impossible for us not to hear every word. 
"This is all so odd!"
We paid our bill and walked back to our cars. It was nearly midnight by the time I got home, chuckling to myself and texting Tara about touching and then letting go. I parked a block away from my flat and making my way down my block, spotted the following 3 doors down: