Wednesday, December 30, 2009

i'm responsible for half of those cigarette butts...

Mayor Gavin Newsom posted a new video and no, he does not mention me.
I watched the whole thing just to make sure.
But the good news is, I managed to make it through all 13 minutes. Why? Well, I'm not going to lie. I pretended like we were on a date having a really one sided conversation the entire time.
Once again TAKING MY ADVICE, the Mayor comes to us from his office desk, surrounded by framed photos. And, much to my delight, has unbuttoned his collar and rolled his sleeves.
I know that the second Gavin landed in the lower 48, he announced that he's sick of being charming. Or something like that. Basically, Gavin doesn't want it to be all about personality anymore, which I take as a personal diss, but whatever. Don't give me those bedroom eyes if you don't want me to swoon, Newsom. I know how this shit works.
Anyway, he's still doing what he's officially called a "weekly" video and I couldn't be more pleased. Kidding aside, this is a good thing, right? Sure it's basically a commercial for how much everything rocks, but everyone knows the most important part of any relationship is communication.
So this video...not half bad. It's amazing what I will find interesting when desperately listening for my name. But since you probably care in different ways than I do, here are what I deem to be the highlights:
1: "Gum is Public Enemy #1." I swear to God, he says that. If for no other reason, you should watch to hear Gavin Newsom bitchslap gum.
2. He looks fucking fabulous. I'm sorry, but the man looks terrific. He's got some color, he looks healthy. He's like a really good looking Jesus, he's glowing that much. Maybe he's getting laid a lot. I wonder by whom.
3. The photos in the frames behind him appear to be professional moments, not personal ones.
4. "Don't fret about our solar efforts." Oh, okay. Good. That's a load off.
5. I like his watch but I am OVER that wood paneling.
6. He goes on and on about New Years Eve and how we need to use common sense "drinkin'...alcoholic beverages." Also, "unloading your weapon is the dumbest thing you can do." Word.
7. The second best part (after the gum) is where the Mayor gets all excited that way less people were murdered this year since like, the beginning of time. Then, as a means of explaining that the number of deaths doesn't necessarily relate to the amount of crime, he starts talking about people he's seen (personally, in the hospital) who've suffered 5 bullet wounds and survived compared with someone who's taken one hit "in the leg" and then gotten a blood clot and died. Hearing him detail these wounds is just weird. In general. Coming out of his mouth. On our date.
So this week, I actually recommend you watch Gavin Newson's YouTube "it's not about personality" 13 minute and 35 second personal update.
I'm going to start rating them, and much like a teacher trying to encourage the kid who's obviously trying, Gavin gets a B+!
You can see the whole video HERE. It starts off with the Mayor "joking" that not very many people are watching. Do the guy a favor.

OMFGWTF...

I am embarrassed to tell you this, but I have a yahoo email account. I know, I know. It's like we've travelled back in time. Anyway, Yahoo posts all kinds of random news stories and odds are, some of this bullshit is going to be of serious interest to me.
Today I learned that some dude in Kansas named Sully is getting his self-titled vanity plate taken away because starting in about 30 hours, people in Kansas need to have different license plates from one another.
I know, right? They probably all have Yahoo accounts too.
Anyway, now that Kansas has joined us on the common sense bandwagon, they've posted a list of the 10 most popular (and thus given out like it's no big deal) vanity plates in Kansas.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Sunflower State:

HUSKERS, 53 people have this license plate
JAYHAWK, 43
GITRDUN, 38
CHIEFS, 37
2FAST4U, 36
SPOILED, 35
SOONERS, 34
BLESSED, 34
MYTOY, 33
REDNECK, 32

In the interest of full disclosure, my maternal Grandpa was born in Kansas and I come from a family of vanity plates. That being said, none of them rival "GITRDUN" or "BLESSED," much less the belligerent "REDNECK."
Imagine the moment they each figured out 'redneck' had seven letters and, wait for it...license plates get seven letters. Hell, Earl. call up the DMV and git 'er done.
Kudos to Kansas for figuring out that most of these people are criminals to begin with and thus, should all have different plates. According to the rules, whomever has enjoyed REDNECK the longest gets to keep it...

i know. it's not even christmas anymore...

The Supervisor's Holiday Bake-Off Story got bumped because Gavin Newsom needed to declare his undying lust for me on YouTube. So here it is, a little after the fact, your Wednesday Culture Blog...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

amateur night 2010...

Jesus Christ, what are you doing for New Year's Eve?
Brock and I are making a list of things we want. So far, we've got:
1. Dressing Up.
2. Me not feeling like an easily annoyed loser for being sober.
3. Fancy food and cloth napkins.
4. Non-awkward midnight make-out moment.
I feel like every New Year's Eve, I wait until the last minute like some magical and perfect offer from George Clooney will appear, inviting to fly me and all of my friends to his fabulous party in the Hollywood Hills where George and I will light the world on fire with our chemistry/I will find someone to talk to who knew Sharon Tate.
Why is that so hard?
As for my constant companions, some are blatantly ignoring my inquiries as to what we're doing while others speak of vague parties we may or may not feel like going to. The part of me that is my mother, the part that requires a printed itinerary and guest list, is going nuts. The part of me that hates pushing my way through scantily clad hos to get an eyeroll when I order a Shirley Temple is giving up.
What are you folks doing? And if it involves any or all of the above, can you please add me to the list...

Monday, December 28, 2009

sometimes, you have to earn these things...

I drove back to San Francisco yesterday sad to leave the cozy comfort of my parents' home in Mill Valley. But at least, I figured, my place in the Mission will be a little less ghetto with this fabulous new flat screen from Santa!
Finding a Christmas parking miracle in front of my home, I unloaded my Christmas loot and 3 days worth of dress up clothes and promptly unplugged the old television. I cut open the box containing my new TV and got to work. My brother assured me the whole thing would take 5 minutes, so I glanced at the instructions, got the jist and started screwing things together.
A flat screen on a stand has 3 pieces: the stand, the monitor and the thing that holds them together. From henceforth, the thing that holds the monitor to the stand will be known as The Thing. Anyway, I screwed The Thing to the monitor first. I quickly discovered I should've screwed The Thing to the stand first.
No problem, I figured. Oh me and my excitement. I've just got to unscrew these 4 little screws and start over.
Screw number 1 connecting the monitor to The Thing came out. So did screw number 2. Screw number 3 took a little while, but eventually, out it popped. But that screw number 4 was taking forever. It just twirled and twirled.
Maybe it's gravity, I thought. I tilted the monitor back and unscrewed from underneath it. I tapped it, I jiggled it. I screwed the screw back in and then started unscrewing again. The minutes turned into an hour. The flat screen was at times balanced on my feet, in the hopes that the screw would finally twirl out and fall on my face. I tried tweezers, tape, swearing.
Still, it just twirled and twirled, never to fully release from it's plastic prison.
I'd spent hour on one screw. The screw didn't even do that much, functionality speaking. It was one measly quarter of the screws needed to hold the monitor onto The Thing. The real issue was screwing The Thing to the stand, something I couldn't do until I got this goddamn screw out.
My blood boiled. My heart thumped. I took frustrated, deep, angry breaths. It was ridiculous and horrific. All I wanted was this beautiful new television to work. It was supposed to be so easy. But I had skimmed the instructions. And now I was stuck.
As I do in any crisis, I called Melissa. I don't remember the voicemail I left her, but apparently it was quite something. Minutes later, she called me back and for reasons I found unnecessary, she made me explain exactly what had happened with this screw. On and on I went about The Thing and the stand and my skimming of the instructions. I finally took photos of the whole scene, including close-ups of the stuck screw and emailed them to her.
She emailed back, "Dale and I will be over in 20 minutes."
Oh dear.
During this time, my very sweet roommate John had emerged, observed the issue, tried to help and kinda shrugged his shoulders, agreeing that I'd done everything conceivable to unscrew The Thing from the monitor.
By the time Melissa got there, she marched through the front door, pushed John out of the way, threw a Nob Hill Gazette at me and said, "Distract yourself."
She and Dale were on the living room floor and they'd brought their own tools. It was all very dramatic.
"We have a plan A, plan B and plan C!" Dale beamed.
2 hours later, the three of us looked at each other. "I think I should just take it in to Best Buy."
"But I hate admitting defeat!" said Melissa.
"I know. But this is ridiculous."
Dale suggested I go to an old, dusty hardware store. He trusted an overall clad old-timer more than a Best Buy polo shirt. And I could see his point. But I don't know of any hardware stores
and it's Sunday evening and... "No, you guys." I said. "I'll just take it to Best Buy. There's one a few blocks away."
I was sad, defeated, so frustrated I could barely stand it.
In unison, Mel and Dale said, "We're coming with you."
"No, no, no. You don't have to do that." I lied. But my God, how I wanted them to come with me. Carrying a television alone into a Best Buy 2 days after Christmas struck me as the most depressing thing that could ever happen to anyone.
So Dale pulled around his car, loaded in the TV, Melissa and I piled in and 5 minutes later, the three of us were walking into the Best Buy on Harrison. I watched Dale and Melissa hold my giant television demanding to know where the repair area was and almost cried. There are limits to friendship, things even your family won't do. Carrying this flat screen all over the Mission district on the Sunday after Christmas sucked and I may be in best-friendship with the only broad who will do it.
We waited in line at the Geek Squad desk, Dale standing there
holding this flat screen and Melissa pointing out which shoppers might be pedophiles. Watching the Best Buy polo shirts take their sweet ass time had me rethinking my decision to forgo the old-timey hardware store.
These people don't care about us, I thought. They'll charge me $100 and give me a lecture on how I screwed in a screw wrong and ruined a brand new television. Dale leaned in and over the top of the television, he whispered, "This is like the DMV!"
Eventually, someone offered to take the television to the desk while we waited.
"Okay, when we get to the front, who's going to talk?" I was nervous, actually afraid of what was going to happen It had been too many hours, this was too big a favor, I love my television watching way too much.
"Well Beth." Dale said. "I will try humor and charm. And when that doesn't work, we're going to use your boobs."
And with that, it was our turn. I think we all spoke at once. I don't really remember. It was all a blur. Day was turning to night outside, I was surrounded by hundreds of people buying video games and the 2 lawyers who had brought me to Best Buy were being very animated in their explanation of the screw and The Thing and the television.
One member of the Geek Squad picked up the television, another grabbed a screw driver.
"Like we never tried that." Melissa rolled her eyes.
One member of the Geek Squad jiggled The Thing, another unscrewed the screw.
"Oh my God."
"Holy shit."
"They did it."
We were beside ourselves with our love for Edward of the Geek Squad who acted like this was no big deal. I asked Edward to marry me, and unsurprisingly, he declined. Dale asked to sing his praises to the manager.
"I am the manager." Edward deadpanned.
"Of course you are." We gushed. "As you should be."
As we got in the car, the flat screen now firmly attached t the stand via The Thing screwed in correctly, Dale announced, "I am comfortable enough in my masculinity to say that I am in love with Edward."
Not to be outdone, Melissa and Dale brought that flat screen back to my house and set the whole thing up. The cable, the DVD player, the distribution of wires and cords. It's all immaculate, functional, even the remote.
"What time did you start this, Beth."
"I left my folks' at noon, so 12:45, I guess."
"Awesome. Guess what time it is?"
It was 5:45.
It took 5 full hours to install a 3 piece television and plug it in. 5 hours, 2 lawyers, 100 stifled tears, 3 emailed photos and 1 trip to Best Buy all because I got the "jist" of the instructions instead of, well, reading them.
But we did it.
My best friend Melissa Griffin saved my life(style.)
I finally settled in to watch my first show alone, after Mel and Dale had left and my roommate went out to afford me the privacy of de-virginizing my new TV. I took a moment to fully relax, let go of my frustration and appreciate how great my new TV makes my living room look.
Then I turned it on.
And the first channel I turned to was just announcing what was on next. As if a sign from heaven, one more gift from God, a huge reward for the hell in getting this television to work, THIS WAS ON...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

and just like that, it's over...

I have some holiday yarns to spin, but first I'm going to lounge before my new television that Santa brought me and his elf spent HOURS installing.
So, let's gossip. How was your Christmas?

Friday, December 25, 2009

all of these people have homes, goddamnit...

When you're a kid, Christmas is clearly for kids. Everything seems designed to keep us entertained, adored and happy. When you're an adult, Christmas is clearly for your parents.
My 26 year old brother Alex and I have yet to show any interest in adding to our family, so my folks are stuck with just us, regardless of their obvious desire to play with babies.
We spent Christmas Eve at the home of our "cousins," The Rykens. The Rykens are our closest family friends and thus, it's easier to explain our relationship as one of blood than of friendship. At this point, it's non-optional. Anyway, they had about 20 people over last night and I found myself standing by the ham with Emily's new fiance, Ben. Ben looks like Miles from Murphy Brown and politely asked me what I did for a living.
And thinking to myself, "Ugh, here we go making boring conversation at a cocktail party" I, in turn, asked Ben what he does.
Ben is a doctor at Stanford and reattaches limbs. Hands, fingers, feet...anything that's gets chopped off your body, Ben can put it back on. Needless to say, the second Ben explained to me what "plastic reconstructive surgery" meant, I was like, "Oh. Okay, this is going to be a long conversation because I can already think of 73 questions and I'm getting really excited."
10 minutes later, Arthur walked by. I grabbed him. "Arthur, meet Ben."
Arthur politely said hello.
"Ben reconnects people's hands when they get chopped off."
Without missing a beat, Arther announces, "Say no more. I'm in. I have officially joined this conversation."
New fiance Ben, God bless him, could not have been a better sport and clearly knew his audience. He had fantastic stories, gory tails of table saws and why you should never stick your arm out of a moving car.
Upon leaving, I hopped into the car with my family to head to Mass and said, "The next time you're at a party with Emily's fiance, ask him what he does."
In the hopes of getting Alex and me to actually enjoy Mass on Christmas Eve, my parents had decided we'd go to 10pm Mass at St. Agnes in the Haight. Everyone is welcome at St. Agnes, and it was pointed out repeatedly to us that gay people and homeless people were encouraged. I thought that was the case in every church, but Anges also had other selling points, like a trumpet section of the band.
Just between you and me, I actually like going to church on Christmas Eve. It reminds me of when I was little and there's something about the pomp and circumstance that's very comforting.
I roll with a lot of progressive types who're convinced every priest is a raging pedophile who rips money from the hands of the poor. Standing in that gorgeous church on Christmas Eve, arms entwined and singing with my family, swathed in incense and trumpets and listening to a story about a kid with AIDS in Africa, I felt bad for the rap the clergy is getting. Even in asking for money, the little envelope reassured us none of the money would be used towards the cost of a sex abuse case. It actually used those words: sex abuse.
Jesus.
Far more disappointingly, where were the homos and hobos I'd been promised? Sure there were a couple of gay couples here and there. But I was expecting drag queens and Liberace, maybe one of the readings by Bruce Vilanch. And everyone I saw in that church certainly "had means." There were no shopping carts and fingerless gloves. The whole place was packed (actually, half full) with your typical liberal Catholic: educated, artsy and guilty. And highly disappointing.
As the above description dictated, we drove back to my parents house in Mill Valley listening to a This American Life CD.
Oh, which reminds me: If the gentleman in the black Audi on Masonic last night is reading this, Merry Christmas!
I was shoved in the back of my father's car at a red light and this man pulled up next to us. I looked over and he looked over. And we both smiled and waved. It was a little Christmas moment.
I didn't even mention this Christmas moment to my fellow passengers and my mother would've killed pedestrians to follow him, chased that Audi down and invited him to join us at Mass. "And here, you sit next to Beth. You know, Beth is very funny and a recovering alcoholic. She also cooks a lovely roast chicken. Tell him, Beth. Tell him about your blog!"
Back at the house, once again all under the same roof, Alex and I wrapped presents in the TV room and watched The Shawshank Redemption while my father made us hot chocolate and biscotti. It was adorable and as I crawled into bed wearing my Santa pajamas, I decided to insure a good night's sleep with a little shot of NyQuil. I drifted off as cozy and content as I've ever been.
The next thing I knew, I heard screaming and banging and rattling. When I finally got my bearings, I realized my family'd been waiting for ages. I was out, dead to the world. And by 10am, they'd finally come to the bedroom door and starting to slam their fists on it, screaming at me to the get the hell up.
Santa had arrived, and much ado was made about the chimney, the clue of the half-eaten cookie, the cleaned out fireplace. The four of us sat around sipping coffee and delighting at our gifts. Alex and I got "City of Mill Valley" red backpacks filled with emergency supplies! My father was beside himself at receiving exactly what he'd requested from Santa: a Dirigible ride.
We have now been instructed we can do whatever we want until 5pm, when we're due back at the Ryken's for Christmas Dinner. Tonight's dinner involves and eclectic and rather worrisome cast of characters. I'll be bringing my video camera as my mother is predicting a fight.
After breakfast, I headed upstairs with as much coffee as I could carry and crawled into the pull-out couch to watch A Christmas Story. And even at 26, my little brother was so exhausted from his presents and stuffed from our feast, he silently crawled up beside me and fell asleep.
Kinda like a dog.
My mother is downstairs making tonight's dessert and laughing hysterically at her viewing of Big and my father is quite literally, playing with his toys. So clearly, at least in my childhood home, Christmas is still for kids. Even kids who are 26 and 31. Christ, even for kids who are 64...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

san francisco views (on sully, hairplugs and alcoholism...)

I'm embedding this mainly to make it easy for my folks to watch. They're very enthusiastic about these things but unable to figure out how to watch live internet webisodes. This was me filling in for Brock on today's SFViews, a full 22 minutes of conversation with one of my dearest friends, Eve Batey!
So Dick and Joanne, enjoy it...

the red flower behind me...

Um, I'm starting to worry that this is the video of a crazy person. None the less, I've posted it on SFGate. Because before I am anything, I am weird.
Here is today's Culture Blog, a video response to Gavin Newsom's public declaration of lust...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

you can just go ahead and put that anywhere...

I really abandoned you today. My apologies. I had to take my father Christmas shopping, wherein I assist him in selecting gifts for my mother and he stands around "ladies" stores looking terrified. We watched a gentleman break a glass he was admiring in a very fancy store and instantly, the glass breaker announces, "Well, I guess I have to buy this."
My father and I pretended to admire some cashmere socks while eavesdropping. A very calm and kind saleswoman approached the glass breaker and politely said, "Oh, did we lose one?"
Now, you or I would probably explode with, "I am such an idiot! I could not be more sorry! Of course I will pay for this!" in the hopes that the saleswoman would say, "Don't worry about it. It happens to the best of us."
And I got the feeling that's where today's retail associate was going with the glass breaker. But he was too busy convincing himself he was about to be sued and thus, turned into one of those.
The glass breaker suggested that the glass was already cracked. He pointed out the glass' lack of stability. The glass breaker managed to somehow suggest the glass was begging to be broken, purposefully placed in a manner in which one would have no choice but to send it crashing to the ground, as he did.
My father does not handle these situations well. I once dropped an alarm clock in Longs and in all seriousness, my father goes, "See ya" and RUNS away from me. My need to lean into the broken glass discussion sent Pa into a panic and we had to leave before how I saw how it all panned out. But here's hoping that saleswoman made him pay for that shit.
In other news, I'm delighted to be Eve's guest on SF Views tomorrow from 4-4:30. You can watch on the SFAppeal or VidSF or SFist or any website with SF in it, ideally sprucesf.com.
I kid... unless of course Spruce would like to sponsor the show, in which case, let's talk about it over your lovely housemade pate.
We'll be discussing the year in revue, so log on and talk it up in the chat room. You can also let us know what you'd like to hear Eve and me bitch about right HERE.
I hope the three of you who remain in town will watch!

Monday, December 21, 2009

sue sylvester's in the triple digits...

I'm running all over town today trying to come up with some kind of video response for the Mayor. It's our cute, romantic way of communicating. Don't you just hate us? It occurred to me last night, after Melissa and I filmed countless Flip Video hours of ghetto ass footage, Beth Hondl is a fucking genius! So I have mere moments to grab Hondl and get her to help before she flies to the Midwest first thing tomorrow.
Anyway, please enjoy today's See Spot Slut It Up on the SF Appeal...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

MY HEAD JUST EXPLODED...


I am shaking and hysterical and my neighbors just called the cops, I'm screaming bloody murder...

*Hours later, now that I've calmed down, I realize that my brother is right. The only thing to do is film a video response. Melissa and I will begin filming tonight at Yancy's, if anyone's interested in giving the Mayor a shout out. And does he sound mad at me? Am I being paranoid? My mother said she suddenly likes him way more now. So there's that...

Friday, December 18, 2009

the biggest little video in the world...

I think today's The Beths video truly lives up to our tagline, "We go out so you don't have to." I really hope you enjoy our coverage of the Reno Santa Crawl! You can watch it (and read all about what you DIDN'T see) on the SF Appeal RIGHT HERE.PS: Dear Office du Tourisme et des Congrès de Paris, Our passports are currently valid and we're ready to go at a moments notice. So please consider The Beths Do Reno as our opening act for The Beths Do Paris Fashion Week or The Beths Do Lounging Around the Ritz. Love, Beth et Beth!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

and the jay-z song was on...

It's easy to love the gossip and society columns if you just write your own and include all of your friends in it. Which is what I did for last night Appeal Party! Please for to enjoy...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

and a snookie link, just because...

Today's Culture Blog is up with some constructive criticism for the Mayor regarding his on camera persona. Enjoy it!

does this have fish in it...

This afternoon at 1pm, please say a little prayer for me. I'll be one of the judges at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Holiday Back Off (to quote Michael K, that's a typo but I'm leaving it.)
Anyway, I'm slightly concerned/excited that this gourmet event will be much like my high school's cultural dinner in which all of the political correct student organizations make us eat their grandma's food from the old country so we can celebrate our diversity.
This is the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, after all. These are the folks who offer their official thoughts on foreign policy so the planet's got it straight that San Francisco isn't down with war/homophobia/racism/killing of innocents/etc.
I have a feeling some of these folks will try to reiterate their loving, open-minded political beliefs in their baked goods and as much as I want Patches the Wino to get that condo, I don't need to taste the edible interpretation.That being said, I know some of these folks take the Bake Off incredibly seriously.
Melissa was a previous judge of this popular event and said it was fabulous! Since she'll be joining me today, we've agreed not to eat a thing all day until we get there.
I hope coffee and gum don't count, because I can't really complete a sentence until a solid pot of Peet's is coursing through my system.
I can't believe they've asked me to do this, and am most excited about getting to snoop around City Hall while getting a free pass to eat baked goods.
In other news, the SF Appeal Holiday Party is tonight. You're all invited, there's free beer and Katie is DJing! If you're worried about attending for the reasons articulated here, I can tell you that hanging out with the blogging types for the first time is much like I imagine walking into your first Star Trek Convention. You can't believe you're doing something so internationally regarded as lame and worry that none of the Klingons will talk to you. But then someone compliments you on the accuracy of your Ensign's uniform and suddenly, you're appearing on SF Views and bitching about mean commenters.
You all should come!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

walking in a winter whatthef***...

I actually love the snow. I really do. But that was one hell of a blizzard The Beths survivied. Our first Reno video is up, brilliantly shot and edited by my travelling companion, Beth Hondl.

And please stay tuned for Part Two, when it got Christmasy Crazy during the Santa Crawl.
Man, I really did have one hell of a weekend...

Monday, December 14, 2009

i can no longer say the only thing i've ever won is a lesbian cruise...

It takes me about 5 minutes to get comfortable on stage. I know this because I've been on stage a solid 10 times in my life. And that's counting eulogies.
So when the Literary Death Match folks asked me to read a 5 minute holiday story at the Elbo Room, I got nervous. None the less, I agreed. "It won't be a competition." They promised me. "Just storytelling."
Good. I don't handle private rejection well. I can only imagine the cataclysmic sequence of events a public rejection might trigger.
I'll be honest. I have a repertoire of stories. There's a collection of humiliating experiences I've gotten really good at telling. To sit at a dinner party with me and Melissa will inevitably lead to Mel screaming, "Oh, tell 'em the one about the worst date you ever went on!"
To which I gladly gauge the interest of the crowd, get up from the table, find the best vantage point at which to stand and begin.
Anyway, when I tried to think of a holiday story, I settled early on the time I knocked the Christmas tree over in 5th Grade. I've written versions of it before and told it a million times. It was safe, the Christmas tree story and I was relatively sure that if I talked my mom into driving to the Elbo Room, she'd laugh really, really loud.
But then, a week before the event, I got an email from the Literary Death Match folks saying, "Um, actually, it is a competition. Hope that's cool."
Yeah. Sure. That's terrific. Suddenly, my little Christmas Tree Story had to be representative of my talents against the immense talents of others. And Chicken John was one of the judges! So I forwarded it via Facebook to one of my fellow 5th Grade classmates who gave me some notes before we IMed while looking over the appalling wedding photos of our 5th Grade nemesis.
Nemesis had the lingerie shot. No joke.
I practiced the Christmas Tree Story for my boss and her daughter on Friday morning and then went to work, resigning myself to the fact that in a few hours, highly literary hipsters were going to be throwing copies of their failed 'zines at me while I told a self-involved parochial school story.
The next thing I knew, I couldn't get a cab and I couldn't find parking and it was pouring rain and the Death Match was starting in 10 minutes and I texted Brian, "I AM FREAKING OUT."
Generally, I handle pressure well. But I was very, very nervous to tell a story to strangers. I finally arrived and was handed a program. Not only was I up against a very talented woman who edits an entire column on funny women, but we were in the second round. So I'd have to sit around, like a death row inmate watching others be led to the death chamber before me.
Obviously, I'd have rather just gotten the whole thing over with.
I said hello to my wonderful friends, including the socially awkward Big Chris who'd arrived because "this is one of those supportive things I'm supposed to be doing, right?" My parents stood in the Elbo Room sipping their drinks and saying, "This is so exciting!" to the Brains and Melissa. Tim the Trainer came over to chatted with my folks and upon taking his leave, my dad goes, "He's terrific!" Then my dad looks at me and says, "Okay, Bethy. Good luck!"
Dad!
He froze, panicked. "Wait, wait. Bad luck. Not good luck. God luck is bad luck. Break a leg. Oh God, break a leg." He looked down into his beer and went to find my mother.
I headed to the Green Room and waited. And waited. And waited.
Honestly, I should've just gone to a movie and come back. The whole thing seemed to take forever. And finally, one of our hostesses came up and said, "You know there's an intermission."
Jesus Christ! The wait to get this over with was agonizing. And, I have no problem reminding you, I cannot drink. Would a martini have taken the edge off? Dear God, yes. Did 12 Diet Cokes make matters worse? It's quite possible.
When intermission was over and I eventually stumbled onstage, I found myself up against Elissa Bassist, a very adorable, tiny, gorgeous woman in a retro ensemble that made me feel like I'd just emerged from the Amazon with a drumstick hanging out of my mouth. And our hosts, very sweet and encouraging women, seemed to go on and on with the various procedural details of the rules.
We got it. Honestly. I no longer care that Melissa and my mother both insist I go last. I don't even care what I'm doing anymore. Let's please move on so I no longer have to stand next to this lovely woman. I look like the poster of The Blind Side.
There was a coin toss and I lost. I had to go first.
Good. Fine with me. Let's end this shit.
I pulled my story from my pocket, leaned into the microphone and said, "Hi."
No one said "Hi" back.
With trembling hands, I started to read. I could feel Melissa and my mother staring at me with grins plastered on their faces more than I could feel anything else. That is, until a man started laughing. Really laughing. I heard him get the giggles and then heard lots of laughing. And suddenly, I was telling that story the way I've always told that story. Only my hands were still shaking.
I don't think anyone noticed.
Thanks to Evan from the Examiner, you can see me tell my story HERE. The fact that I'm sharing this with you even though I'm captured from an angle that makes me look like Precious, is evidence that, yeah. I admit it. I'm proud of this.
Elissa was up next with a very clever fictional holiday letter from her mother. And this is where the longest 2 hours of my life got even longer. After the judges provided us with their very generous thoughts and I had ultimately won my round, I had to go up against Round 1 winner, Derek Powazek in the "Finals." Derek is an incredibly nice guy. He was gave me a "courage hug" in the green room and we were both pleased to be up there together, getting this thing over with.
We had to play some version of Madlibs, each of us providing various words that were laboriously filled in by our hosts. I'm sure some of you that were in the audience have some thoughts on this time-consuming task.
When asked for an example of one-syllable onomatopoeia, I had no idea what they were talking about. I knew onomatopoeia was some kind variable in defining a word, but I had no idea what variable that might be. I froze and reminded myself, "Just ask. I bet lots of people don't know!"
That didn't seem to be the case.
Derek whispered, "A word that's spelled as it sounds."
Okay. So no silent p's?
I said, "Cat."
Listen, I had to say something fast. We were in hour 23 of this thing and I didn't want to request a formal explanation of something I should've been learning instead of knocking over Christmas trees.
Onomatopoeia is a word that sounds like it's spelled, sure. And example would've been helpful, Derek. Like Sizzle. Or Tick. Eventually, after someone yelled out something about the intro to Batman, I came up with "Pow."
Derek and I were then asked to sing our own Madlibs version of Jingle Bells before the audience was asked to vote for a winner by applause.
And, well, golly, gee...I FUCKING WON THAT SHIT.
As I left and headed to dinner with my thrilled parents, Big Chris stopped me. "That's two hours of my life I will never get back."
True. And a lot of emotional turmoil for 5 minutes at a dive bar microphone.
Still wearing my tinsel crown, I excitedly texted my friends and updated Twitter to discover a West Wing quote about onomatopoeia posted by the Mysterious Generic.
News travels fast.
You know, if humiliation and embarrassment didn't follow me wherever I go, I'd never have any good stories to tell. And I really, truly love telling stories.
POW!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

all i could think of was a palindrome...

Immediately following the Literary Death Match, I flew to Reno and back to cover the Santa Crawl. I will tell you about both as soon as physically possible.
Highlights included:
1. When asked before a crowded audience for provide a one-syllable onomatopoeia, I had to ask what exactly that meant. When the very talented and non-judgmental Derek told me to provide, "A word that's spelled like it's sounded," I grabbed the microphone and said, "Cat." One hundred people audibly cringed, except for my mother who didn't get it either.
2. You have never seen two women angrier than The Beths at the Reno International Airport this morning at 7am trying to get a Quiznos breakfast sandwich. It took 42 minutes. I timed it. There were tears.
3. In the inevitable moments when you find me wildly annoying and obnoxious, rest easy in the knowledge that last night, under the RENO arch, as I stood before a blinding light attached to a camera and tried to report in the snow surrounded by 4,000 people, some shitheads in the crowd started to throw snowballs at us. Then, they began to throw beer bottles. And in all of my anger and fear, I thought, "This sounds about right."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

a christmas miracle...

~For Ansel~
Tonight's episode of The Office reminded me of a happy rehab memory.
I know. Weird, right? None the less, here we go:
By the beginning of December 2008, I was halfway done with my 28 days. I'd found my posse, I'd established my turf and after a particularly rough Morning Peer Meeting, people knew not to fuck with me. Things were going well.
One evening, one of the counselors called me over to a huge pile of cardboard boxes.
"Hey Beth S. These are the Christmas decorations. Do you want to be in charge of decorating the Lounge?"
Fuck yeah I do.
Much to my surprise, the entire populous of rehab wasn't as thrilled with this opportunity as I. But 5 or 6 of us got permission to borrow the front desk's boom box, listen to music and decorate the shit out of the Serenity Lounge from 9-11pm. My number one rehab gay, Ansel and I were the obvious creative directors of the project. And surrounded by our assistants, we opened those boxes.
We discovered what appeared to be plastic parts of several different Christmas trees. They were different color greens, some faded, some with last year's tinsel still desperately clinging to the branches. Kevin, new to the unit and a stoic Iraq war veteran, was assigned the task of building the tree from existing parts. The ornaments were the standard shiny balls and the lights, both colored and white, were unsurprisingly tangled to hell. Bizarre holiday flare was included as well. They had wreaths and snowmen and tons of extra lights.
Ansel and I laid everything out. And then we got to work. The folks that were into it were really into it, Ansel and myself included. A couple of recovering drunks and junkies just sat and watched, but I didn't care. I was just thrilled to finally be doing something that was very...me. (Bossily decorating a Serenity Lounge in rehab with a gay drug addict is very, very me.)
Needless to say, by the time 11pm rolled around, that place looked like a holiday-themed European discotheque. At least as much as the lounge could. I mean, we only had so much to work with. But even so, I could sense that this was the first time the provided decorations had been utilized to their full potential. If I say so myself, it was goddamn beautiful.
The hospital and rehab staff were floored. And I'll admit, I was a little offended the higher ups were so shocked. I mean, they went on and on; about how they decided to trust that we could handle the project, that the lounge looked so fabulous, that this was the best rehab decorating that had ever happened in all of rehab history. "It came up in the hospital-wide staff meeting!"
Ansel and I were like, "Thanks, I guess."
It was a tree and lights. Based on their reactions, you'd have thought Stanlee Gatti and Simon Doonan had swept in and tricked that place out.
Actually, that's what I liked about rehab. Low expectations.
Anyway, decorating that lounge was the first time I saw light at the end of the tunnel. It was the first time in what had been a horrible, painful, exhaustive process that I got a little confidence back and remembered that, Oh yeah. I'm a fucking loudmouth fag hag.
I lost her for awhile there. I guess Jesus brought her back...

week end what's up, weekend what's up...

I think the Weekend What's Up theme song should be to the tune of "Where's Your Head At (Where's Your Head At)" but alas, not yet.
None the less, it's up! And I kinda talk shit about someone. OMG.
I've been filming the WEWU at the PariSoma offices lately. (We need a bar sponsor.) But here's your chance to lounge around in the tea-kettle packed environment in which we shoot these 2 minute masterpieces. The SF Appeal Holiday Party is next Wednesday from 7-10 in PariSoma, home of VidSF. If you come, please be sure to ask Kieran the Producer about "Sports Lounge." Kieran and Ray were telling me about their sports show in high school, "Sports Lounge." I don't know why, I'm fascinated by the weird shit kids do. Kieran and Ray had a sporty talk show they produced, filmed and starred in. I can't stop singing the theme song I wrote for Sports Lounge. I just keep picturing the opening graphic of a football zooming towards the camera and then, in scoreboard font, "SPORTS LOUNGE!"

oh, and the font color is red. big whoop...

When I was a teenager, sometimes the only way my mother and I were able to be in the same room together was to move the furniture around and redecorate. My father would come home and silently freak out. "He hates change" my mother would explain.
Well, I hope you don't feel the same way. I changed the colors and banner of my personal blog, which you've probably noticed unless you're blind and you have one of those computers that reads aloud.
Here's a brief explanation of the change, lest someone care:
1. Had I known when I picked the title of this blog, "I'll Flip You, Flip You For Real" that it would come to represent me for years, I would've chosen more carefully. It's a line from the Usual Suspects, and I've had to explin that to people for 5 years. So I went with my name because...
2. While I love my day job and my boss and my coworker, one day I dream of writing these little observations and experiences for, like, money. So this is my uber-sophisticated way of branding myself. It's just my name but at least Vanity Fair knows who to contact should they come to their senses.
3. The photo in my banner was taken and designed by my new friend, Julie Michelle of ilivehere:sf. Julie also contributes to Caliber and her own blog, Tangobaby. You should read her. And you should be a part of ilivehere:sf. I stumbled upon it, nervously and awkwardly sent an email and not only got some cool pictures taken of me, but got to know this fabulous and generous woman.
So there you go. My apologies to the late Fenster and Thomas J. Grasso for getting rid of them. They were stealing my thunder.
Speaking of which, I'm reading a story at tomorrow's Literary Death Match Holiday Party. It's free and at the Elbo Room in my hood. Beth H. and I are flying to Reno the next day IN A BLIZZARD to cover the Santa Crawl and go skiing with drunk Santas, so please come say goodbye before I no doubt die in a fiery, mountain-top accident. Should I survive the initial impact, I have no problem eating the bodies of the dead. None.
And now, back to our regular programming...

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

ye old hat shoppe, et al...

It's been awhile since The Beths have brought your our own personal brand of video entertainment. Well, wait no further! We spent this past Saturday at the Dickens Fair. You can see the whole 3 and a half minutes HERE...

god's work...

I met someone this weekend, a progressive, hippie, Matt Gonzalez-type who loathes Gavin Newsom with the passion of a thousand armies. And they said to me, "I think he's the devil, but you make him slightly more human to me."
My God, my life finally has meaning. I wish the Mayor took a moment to appreciate my outreach on his behalf. It celebration of this glorious revelation, as I didin't realize I was helping the compost set find a little compassion for He Who Actually Styles His Hair, I present to you this holiday masterpiece, courtesy of your friend and mine, Bill Wilson.
Please enjoy the shit out of this:

Monday, December 07, 2009

tim mcgraw? oh yeah. tim mcgraw...

After an bizarre day at work and with the interior of my home covered in painter's tarps (tarps? Do we call them tarps?), I decided to take myself to see The Blind Side. Or as Brock calls it, the black Hope Floats. In this (very feel good, based on a true story) film, a wealthy white family led by a no nonsense Sandra Bullock takes in a homeless black kid. Needless to say, thanks in large part to Sandra's plain-spoken, designer-clad compassion, said black kid ends up in the NFL.
I spent most of the movie wishing I was more like Sandra Bullock, puttin' my hands on my hips and sayin', "Well, you'll live with me. It's settled then."
Of course, on my drive home, with tears still streaming down my face, I passed a homeless gentleman. As I stopped at a red light, he said, "Merry Christmas."
I am not married to Tim McGraw who owns 85 Taco Bells, as Sandra was in The Blind Side. But I have a cute little flat with extra sheets and towels. I have every condiment under the sun and two bathrooms. I've even got a washer and a dryer. Was this man some sign from God that I'm supposed to invite Merry Christmas Homeless Guy into my dented Honda and take him home, to feed him and let him sleep on my couch? How does one know when to extend the dramatic hand of charity?
Needless to say, Mr. Bojangles is not helping himself to my stash of frozen mango chunks right now. I responded to Merry Christmas Homeless Guy with the awkward and unexpected, "Season's Greetings!"
I have no idea where that even came from.
I'm feeling slightly guilty that as I type this, even though half of my home is currently a construction zone, I've got Santa jammies and Maurice to look forward to. Not to mention those frozen mango chunks. What if I (or YOU for that matter) could dramatically change someone's life by taking that risk and opening that dented Honda door?
And sure, I'd always secretly expect Merry Christmas Homeless Guy to become a lovable 49er who learns football plays via analogies about how much he loves me (yeah, they go there). But I'd never actually say it. And that folks, is how you get movies made about you...

Sunday, December 06, 2009

it DOES have the 8th largest circulation in the world...

I have never been one for horoscopes. In fact, when Zoe and I lived together, I'd charge her money every time she'd roll her eyes and go, "Typical. Scorpios."
Melissa, my fellow Aquarian, is exactly the same way and as we stood around the 500 Club, she grabbed my arm. "Our horoscopes say that someone's going to say something mean to us tonight but we're just supposed to let it go."
How, I ask you, is this helpful? In retrospect, no one said anything particularly mean to us all night. They could have been saying mean things about us, but if that was the case, we were none the wiser. THANK GOD. I don't need to hear that shit. I'm hard enough on myself.
This was like the time a friend's roommate claimed to "have the gift." And as we waltzed out the door to kick off our evening, he came running after us. "Wait! Wait!"
We stopped dead in our tracks.
"You guys." He was out of breath. "Something's going to happen...on stairs."
"What?"
"Be careful on stairs for like (gasp, pant) the next 24 hours."
You should have seen us walking down the front steps to the sidewalk. It must have taken 20 minutes, step by step. We brought flashlights, held hands, the whole nine years.
I was much the same way walking into that party with Melissa. I was frozen, convinced the Heathers were going to march up to us and tear our accessories to shreds. Much the way I smile at suspicious passengers on airplanes in the hopes of wooing them into friendship, I was grinning at every person I saw. "Hi, I love your coat. And you, what a terrific dress."
They kept it to themselves, but they thought I was nuts.
Information from the stars is not helpful to me. In fact, it has the opposite effect. I'll end up dramatically overcompensating just because Mistress Esmarelda from the Weekly World News suggests I shouldn't make any big decisions on the 7th.
With a hot tip like that, I might as well not leave the house. Or should I? Oh GOD...

on the upside, my cabbie hit on me...

Sometimes, most of the time in fact, it's pretty easy for me to sip my Shirley Temple and have a great time. Sometimes, last night in fact, it was nearly impossible for me to stand in the middle of a packed house party surrounded by dozens of opened bottles of Grey Goose and not go completely insane.
I sipped my Diet Coke with trembling hands and felt the jitters move from my feet up my body, until it seemed like my brain was going to crawl out of my head and scream at the hundred or so people packed in that flat, "GODDAMNIT, I WANT TO MOTHERFUCKING DRINK."
It wasn't so much as I wanted to drink. I was starting to need to drink. There's a big difference, and that difference is having control over the situation. At one point, someone tried to hand me a shot of vodka. Melissa and Tara leapt in front of me, as if trying to take a bullet, screaming, "Nooooooo!"
I left. I went home at sat on my bed in my makeup and pink dress and sparkly earrings and watched Zodiac. I felt left out and angry and lonely.
So I guess for each of the 9 times I cheerily clink my Perrier and beam, "I'm doing awesome, thanks!" there's 1 time I have to will myself not to cry/drink/scream. This isn't always as easy as it seems. Unless it seems really hard, in which case, yes. Yes it is.
Okay. I'm done venting. I'm off to another two holiday parties! Wish me some motherfucking, goddamn luck...

Friday, December 04, 2009

worse than hair plugs. it's spots plugs...

When I started writing this blog 5 years ago, I had no idea of the nerdy twists and turns my online life would enjoy. I'm so glad you've come with me, friends. And as your reward for sticking around, you'll get to see me fall on my face at one (or all) of the following events:
1. The current Weekend What's Up in on the internet and on KOFY. So far, only one person from high school suddenly wants to reconnect on Facebook after seeing me in local television. But I'll keep at it.
2. The Beths will be filming at the Dickens Fair this weekend. The jokes write themselves.
3. Being a judge is one thing. Being judged is entirely another. I'll be competing in the San Francisco Holiday Literary Death Match on Friday, December 11th at the Elbo Room. Apparently, Chicken John is a judge! My mother will be attending. You should join her.
4. And finally, I am going to Reno. Why? Because The Beths are covering the Santa Crawl, in which drunken Santas bar hop in Reno, Nevada under the guise of charity. I believe I've also agreed to ski. On camera. Dressed an Santa. They're flying us there and we each get our own hotel room and everything. You can read all about it HERE.
Also, I need a date to my office party this weekend. Seriously...

i love alex, but this makes me wish i had a sister...

News recap for the out-of-towners: Adorable family driving home from the airport after a Thanksgiving trip to Hawaii is killed by a 19 year old running a red light. 2 days later, this winner and his current lucky lady break into the dead family's home and steal everything.
Look at this guy. Am I wrong in thinking I could totally kick his ass. I'm harder than this motherfucker. By a lot.
Also, nice curtains.
Anyway, he claims he didn't know the family had JUST tragically died. Kenny from Can't Hardly Wait over here just got a hot tip that a house would be empty and primed for his mad burglary skillz.
But God bless the Chronicle's Henry K. Lee for getting the quote of the century from Shithead's ex-girlfriend's sister. Again, this quote is from the sister of the ex-girlfriend of the gentleman in the upper left.
"...he treated her sister, she said, 'like shit, straight up. Our family is mad because, hello? She just had twins and he leaves with this broad.'"
Sister of wronged baby mama, I love you. I would like to hang out all day with you in a mall hair salon and get the 411 on your inner circle. Also, this vernacular sounds perfectly professional and appropriate to me after spending 2 hours last night watching "Jersey Shore." (Vinnie got pink eye.)
It's hard not to want to drive to Sonoma and beat the Red Bull outta this guy, but I feel a little bit better knowing that should he ever walk the streets again, he'll have to contend with the sister of his ex, who YOU KNOW will be all up in his shit until the day he dies...
*Also, your Weekend What's Up is, well, UP...

Thursday, December 03, 2009

i take bribes...

Can you even read this? If not, it's a flier for the Board of Supervisors Holiday Bake Off and I'm one of the judges. I guess Frank Chu passed and North Beach Millie had plans. Needless to say, What. To. Wear? I started to get excited when Melissa called me this morning and casually mentioned, "Oh, those fliers up in City Hall are so cute!"
Fliers? What fliers? OMG, they have fliers?
Needless to say, one thought keeps dominating my day. Has Gavin seen this? Will Gavin be attending the Bake Off? Will he enter some non-denominational treat? Because let me tell you one thing right now. That man could slice off a log of Safeway Select cookie dough onto a used piece of aluminium foil and I'd present him with a James Beard Award.
Obviously, I'll be blogging the shit out of this event so stay tuned...

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

who says gavin's not making appearances...

Note middle pink triangle's body language. Um, step away, Sheila.
I called dibs using that trick years ago.
Also, guy on the left has somewhere to be. After spending all of that time awkwardly working the t-shirt over his dress shirt, wiggling the sleeves into their correct position and adjusting his collar, he doesn't have time for Miss Thang to get denied.
Thumbs down.

Up top.
For as long as I'd admired the man, Gavin is a big fan of the white man's overbite.

"Um, excuse me Omar. If I could just....ugh."

Is that a goddamn mousepad? That's a fucking mousepad. How do you ask Gavin Newsom if you can please get a picture with him holding a mousepad? Actually, scratch that. Obviously it's very easy to get a photo with the Mayor holding a FOAM mousepad. The lady on the left is clearly disapproving with her facial WTF.

This is my friend Tom! Go Tom! I wonder if they're talking about me? "That broad is nuts, right?"

Try and stay mad at the guy. Just try. See if it sticks. Because at one point, somewhere long down the road, something like this is going to happen and you're going to be like,
"Damnit! He's sucked me back in!"

Who is the Rhodes Scholar that was in charge of the nametags? Honestly. You know Foster and Matt were like, "Really? So, we should just use this Sharpee and...oh. Okay."

This is my Christmas card.

Once again Supervisor David Campos smiles for the camera, somehow implying he's this 'Aww shucks' in person. He's not. You'd think you were meeting Rupert Murdock, trying to introduce yourself to this guy. It's called eye contact, Campos. Not that I'm holding a grudge.
(Gavin knows what I'm talkin' about.)
Am I alone here? Art Agnos...is kinda hot. What? WHAT? He IS.
Many thanks to the magnificent Bill Wilson for posting his masterpieces on the internet where anyone can find them...

what is that? tuna?

The language of film-going is universal in Today's Culture Blog!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

i always get lost in there anyway...

I will never be allowed in the Four Seasons San Francisco again thanks to today's See Spot Write...

the home turf was usually antioch...

I'm a big fan of local television, mainly because it's so easy to get on it. Recently, I was remembering an '80's Bay Area Saturday morning show on KRON called "Home Turf." Home Turf was gritty and urban as evidenced by it's opening credits which employed a friendly graffiti font and involved lots of hip hop music and skateboarding. Sitting in my suburban enclave and watching Dominique diPrima interview breakdancers, my dream was to one day be as cool as those who appeared on Home Turf.
Peter Hartlaub wrote a fabulous piece about Home Turf two years ago, and I delighted in finding our shared love of this morning show in my Google search, even though the YouTube links no longer work (a crime!) Word UP, P-Hart.
So last night, as I hiked the mountains of Potrero Hill with Tim the Trainer and discussed local programming, I casually asked, "Do you remember that old show, Home Turf."
Without missing a beat, Tim said, "I was on Home Turf. Twice."
Tim spent his youth (or at least, I imagine that Time spent his youth) breakdancing his way around San Francisco in an adidas track suit, gold chains and a bucket hat. One of my favorite voices that he does (I require wacky characters to actually exercise) is 80's Sugar Hill Gang rap guy, who makes up various "Shuffles" while I do sit ups. So Tim being a 12 year old guest star on Home Turf makes sense.
It is also fucking hilarious.
"You were what?"
"Dude, I was totally on Home Turf."
"Why?"
"In one episode I was rapping and in one episode I was breakdancing."
Turns out, Tim went to a recording studio in some shithole in the Sunset and recorded a rap about staying off drugs. He then had to go breakdance in front of the Palace of Fine Arts to no music. "They added the music in later."
I actually stopped on a sidewalk in Portero Hill, bracing myself against a stop sign because I was laughing so hard. Tim was perplexed. "What?"
"Well, I just find is fabulous that I bring up some random local TV show from 20 years ago called Home Fucking Turf and you're like, 'Oh yeah. I was on it.'"
And Tim spins around, flashes a gang sign and goes, "Twice."