Friday, April 29, 2011

i don't feel so good...

TGIF! Amirite? Ugh.
Today brings you another episode of Necessary Conversation. The name is this episode is "Pretty Offensive" so I hope you enjoy it and are appropriately offended. Also, be sure to be our fan on Facebook, as we'll be announcing the date and location of begging you to be in our LIVE STUDIO AUDIENCE. And it'll include free booze.
With that said, here's Episode 29...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

this one's for the children...

Alas, there will be no SFGate Culture Blogs from me this week because OCCASIONALLY I TAKE A WEEK OFF. JESUS. Also, the time that I could've written my posts was spent instead reading the comments to last week's Tea Party post. 400! I've never made 400 comments in my life, much less received them in writing. So big thanks to the Tea Partiers who hate my guts for crashing their little soiree.
A few things:
1. Do you watch Parks & Recreation? I fucking love it. You know what else I fucking love? TomHaverfoods.
2. New Kid on the Block Donnie Wahlberg saw a tweet from a fan about her kidneys, or lack there of, and managed to find this chick a new kidney. I wish I could report NKOTB were involved in black market organ trading but I guess they did this all over Twitter, which is actually how major surgery is performed now. Brock and I had quite a fun time working NKOTB songs into this story, like how Donnie has the Right Stuff, we hope she Hangs Tough and naturally, Please Don't Go Girl. (Kudos to Zoe Stagg on her, "New Kidney on the Block.")
3. Did you know Zoe Stagg lives in Italy now? She does. Do you know who wants to go to Italy now? Right here. According to my father, who's like Gordon Gecco with flight deals, I can get to Italy on United for $1226. Then he sent me a link to villa rentals, because that is the fantasy world in which my father lives. Big Chris seems to think he's coming to Italy with me. "What do I have to do? Nothing! I'm going." So...this is a project I'm working on. How often to you get the opportunity to visit your beloved friend and her US Army Radio Show stationed in Tuscany? Advice and money are both welcome.
4. Speaking of trips, Saturday night my girlfriends came over to my folks' house and had dinner with my dad. My mom is still in New York, so we decided to kick it with RDS and listen to his thoughts on the world. As a result of my father's total story-telling pandering to Melissa and Tara, including a long, involved tale about meeting Jimmy Hoffa Jr. at a SAG party, Melissa is now hell bent on taking Necessary Conversation to the Iowa Caucuses. Tara's suggestion involves renting an RV and driving out there. If I don't die arguing with Big Chris to and fro the old country, I will certainly kill one of my goddamn best friends trying to drive an RV to Iowa. That being said, I'm pretty sure 'Necessary Conversation interviews Michelle Bachman' would be gripping journalism. Also, it's a great opportunity for me to re-enact scenes from Field of Dreams. "No one's called me Moonlight Grahm in fifty years!"
5. Finally, all those kids on the Face Book are losing their shit over this. And this. Have you tried to do it yet? It's surprisingly hard (that's what she said)...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

three-legged race? mud wrestling?

I used to have grown-up dinner parties all the time. But then the whole cooking and entertaining part got in the way of my wine-drinking part, and I cut out the middle man for a while. But I'm back! And had some friends over last night, including my friend Max, or as he's now known, The Serious Chef (TM.)
Max was adamant that he wanted to cook, which was fine with me. As Melissa proclaimed, there is nothing hotter than a straight man cooking. Except when that man and his short fuse decide to cook two kinds of risotto in a crowded kitchen. At one point, I looked over and Max was using all four burners, feverishly working them like Beetohoven at a piano.
In one pan, he was frying sage leaves.
Melissa and Alice were rapt, but in his way. "You guys need to move. Seriously. Bethy, do you have a bigger ladle? Alice, take the tails off these shrimp."
Alice couldn't take the tails off the shrimp because she was too busy being dumbfounded by how to remove the sage leaves from their stems. I could not take the tails off the shrimp because...gross. And Brock was too busy making his gourgeres.
Normally, I'm the one freaking out in the kitchen. But since I had The Serious Chef demanding a finer mince in his shallots, it was much easier to relax. Wisely, my friend Alex merely planned ahead and, in another demonstration of the culinary skills of straight men, brought this lovely frozen fruit dish he made ahead, popped in the freezer and was done with it.
I think the grown-up dinner party was a hit. And we came up with a "great" idea. Most of the folks who came over last night are nerdily active members of the San Francisco Young Democrats. We decided that they should have some co-event with the San Francisco Young Republicans, and Melissa and I added the caveat that Necessary Conversation should get to MC. Ideas for this co-event include softball, karaoke or my suggestion, a dance off!
The consensus on the softball game, by the way, was that it wouldn't work because 1) "Five people would come to that." -Brock and 2) the Democrats would let everyone who wanted to play be on their team while the Republicans would bring in ringers.
Who cares! What better way to bridge partisan gaps than with America's favorite pastime?
Alternately, everyone could just come over to my house and watch Max have a coronary over my diminutive ladles.
I look forward to your suggestions in the comments...

Friday, April 22, 2011

necessary conversation: nic cage needs to relax...

Today's Necessary Conversation is up! Please enjoy it with our compliments, have a great Easter and don't forget where you live:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

turns out, there is no app for that...

Hurrah! I was on the local news tonight. It's pretty exciting, perhaps only for me. But every day, I sit in the newsroom and secretly hope, maybe a reporter will ask me to be in a story today? I'll do anything! Costumes? Weird food? Embarrassing stunts? I'd be delighted!
Today, my friend and co-worker Joe called me at my desk. "Hey, you wanna be on TV? I need to know like, right now. Can you meet me out front?"
I practically jumped out the window.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

san francisco has seceded from the union, apparently...

Friday afternoon, I headed down to the Embarcadero and crashed a Tea Party Rally. There I found history deniers, a friendly country singer and Tony Hall. I did not, however, find tea.
It's up now, over at SFGate...

Monday, April 18, 2011

there's no business...

Over lunch a few weeks ago, one of my co-workers pointed out I wasn't taking advantage of any of the perks of working at a TV station. Perks!?!? There are perks, you say?
As a result of this eye-opening meal, last weekend I found myself in the VIP audience of Late Night with David Letterman.
I was visiting my folks in New York, picked the show I could attend and invited the fabulous Brittney Gilbert to join us. We had no idea who the guests were when we got in line, we were simply thrilled to be there.
Although my parents, as they mentioned repeatedly, had been in the Letterman audience before. This was old news to them. They don't need TV station perks. WHATEVER.
Before we got anywhere near our seats in the legendary Ed Sullivan Theater, however, we were subject to repeated reminders to laugh. A very pretty CBS Page stood on a chair and performed a charmingly long camp counselor-esque routine in which is was made clear to use that we laugh or we suck. Personally. As people.
Fine with me! I can laugh! I will be in the same room as David Letterman. I'll bark like a dog if someone asks me to.
VIP people sit in the balcony, which wasn't nearly as exciting to me as sitting down on the main level, but apparently we were all supposed to be in awe of our unobstructed view of Dave. Which I WAS.
At this point, we watched an instructional video hosted by Alec Baldwin who again, told us to laugh BUT NEVER WHOOP. Apparently, whooping is frowned upon.
Lo and behold, the very host of the instructional video was that night's guest.
You heard me.
Alec Baldwin was the guest.

I'm laughing! I'm laughing and clapping at the same time! As instructed! I am just so happy to be here with Alec Baldwin and David Letterman and Paul! There's Paul! Holy shit, it's all so...historically comedically important to me.
I wasn't even bothered by the kid sitting in front of Brittney who was blatantly taking photos even though it could not have been more against the rules. If we were breaking rules, I wanted to hang out in Dave's office and throw pencils at the ceiling.
So at this point, the warm-up comedian and band playing 90's songs and Paul all kind of blend together because I'm just so goddamned in awe of being AT LETTERMAN.
Then Dave comes out. And I lost my shit.
He spoke really briefly, and kind of talked to one person on the main floor, creating an inside joke he tossed out during the show (much to my concern for those of you at home, who will never know about the pre-show moment we shared with THE Dave Letterman.)
But I couldn't even see through my cheeks which were squished up past my eyes because I was smiling so hard. So the show starts and it's all just like it looks on TV only way smaller.
Oddly, I found the commercial breaks the most interesting part of the whole experience. Because I could see the writers, off to the side, scribbling down jokes and notes on little pads of paper and then nervously handing them to Dave and the Executive Producer.
And...and that's just amazing to me. I wanted to be down there scribbling jokes so badly. I had like, 9 jokes in my head.
I stared down onto that stage and looked at those folks writing jokes and... BIG SIGH.
But then (a rather subdued) Alec Baldwin came out. And basically we laughed and clapped at everything anyone said. And my mother, my jaded "I've practically guest-hosted this is so no big deal to me" mother, responds so well to instruction that she danced and clapped along to musical guest, rapper Wiz Khalifa.
I looked over at the woman who wouldn't let me listen to Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch and marveled at her kind of bopping around to Wiz Khalifa performing a song from his album, "Rolling Papers."
"I don't care about Alec Baldwin." whispered my father. "I'm here for Wiz Khalifa."
"Oh really?" I whispered back. "Is this your favorite Wiz song?"
"No. I prefer his older stuff."
And with that it was all over. My big exciting trip to Late Night with David Letterman had ended and I was forced to leave the building.
In closing, the theater wasn't that cold, Dave was very quick in hilariously responding to things, Paul was VERY funny and I really want to move to New York, write jokes and nervously hand them to famous people...

that hippo looks like (s)he's having a great time...

Today on Tourist Trapped, Michael Procopio and I visit the San Francisco Zoo. We found it depressing. As I am already learning from the comments section, people fucking love the zoo to death. So please go read my "poor-excuse-for-an-editorial" right now over at SFGate...

Friday, April 15, 2011

necessary conversation: wondercon...

That's right folks. Necessary Conversation went to WonderCon. (For the moms out there, WonderCon is a comic book/science fiction convention that takes place annually at the Moscone Center. It's fucking huge. An even bigger one happens in San Diego every year, called ComiCon. And I want to go to that one too.) Anyway, this special episode features interviews with stars of the Amazing Race, the Dukes of Hazard, Seinfeld, mom's basements and webcam sex shows. We had a great time. I hope you do too.



May the force be with you...

PS: We'll be posting full interviews that we've had to cut for time, not just from this episode, but from others, LIKE US ON FACEBOOK and bask in the glory of a 12 minute interview with Gavin Newsom or just as gripping, the whole Klingon interview. Note my reaction to the scent of his...costume. Anyway, please like me. I have all kinds of esteem issues...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

i am available to anyone who needs a flygirl...

Today's Culture Blog explores the possibilities of a Mayoral Candidate Talent Show. Get your giant hook ready! It's all up now, over at SFGate...

the killing is killing it...

AMC is currently beating Bravo as the greatest television station ever (although I don't have OWN and am pretty sure if I had the Oprah Winfrey Network, I would never leave my house except when The Color Purple was on. So everyday, from 6-9pm.)
Last night I watched the re-broadcast of the 2-hour premiere of The Killing.
WHO IS WATCHING THIS AND DO YOU WANT TO HANG OUT AND TALK ABOUT IT?
They roped me in with the insanely fucked up commercials, aired during the timeless American Movie Class "Speed" which was on before The Killing. Basically, it's this girl running through the woods screaming for help while the beam of a flashlight chases her. And it takes place in dreary Seattle, which is wonderfully creepy. My only issues are:
1. A tomboy, unemotional, strong and silent, red-headed lady cop? Come on.
2. It's her last day on the job? It's always their last day on the job. See Se7en.
That's it. The rest of it is amazing, especially "Scully's" hilarious partner and the dead girl's parents, one of whom is Michelle "It makes you look like a schmuck" Forbes. In my very nerdy character actors doing a creepy murder TV show world, The Killing is pretty exciting.
As we all prefer, you can even watch online...

Monday, April 11, 2011

shirley temples are probably served by shirley temple...

My wonderful friend Dan, upon hearing that I was coming to New York, made reservations all over town, then picked the best place we could get into and took me, his girlfriend and their wonderful friend Brooke to dinner... at Eleven Madison Park.
This PDF is a sample menu. Please note the columns.
Basically, you pick one ingredient from each horizontal column, and then tell them if you don't like any foods, prefer a certain preparation and have any special requests. For example, Dan asked about the foie gras.
"It's presented as a terrine, Dan." Said Kevin, our server/best friend. "It's served cold with a pineapple chutney."
"You don't have a pan-fried hot version, I take it?" Asked Dan.
"I'm sorry." Replied Kevin. "Tonight's preparations are cold."
Brooke piped up. "So much for being able to do anything."
She was teasing, of course. It was all so over the top. But Kevin ran off, and Brooke put her head in her hands.
"You and Kevin are in a fight!" I whispered.
Minutes later, Kevin returned. "Dan, we'd be delighted to do a seared preparation for you."
Oh man.
As we sat down to our 10pm reservation, Dan "explored" the wine list and ordered something that I'm sure was very fancy. When presented with a wine glass, I apologetically smiled at Kevin and said, "I'm not drinking."
"In that case, Beth." Kevin said, "May I have the bartender pair each of your courses with an appropriate non-alcoholic cocktail?"
"Seriously?" I asked.
"Seriously." Kevin said.
Our food was amazing, we laughed so much we may have offended other tables and the service was literally the best formal service I have ever experienced. After dessert, Kevin brought over little stone blocks with candies and cookies. In front of each of us, he placed a lovely brandy glass. Coming over to Dan, Kevin said, "Dan, this is a 1992 brandy from the (insert something French and complicated.) It's a perfect finish to your meal, and I'll pour each of you a glass. I leave the bottle here, with our compliments. Please stay as long as you wish."
It was 1am.
Then Kevin came over to me. "Beth, this is a sparkling apple cider from the Loire Valley. It's an (insert something complicated about apples) and a perfect finish to your meal. I'll pour you a glass and I leave the bottle here with our compliments.
All four of us looked at Kevin. And then each other.
"Well, that's..."
"Pretty fucking classy."
"I'm like, touched."
"I am emotional about your cider."
I have been to lots of places that make me feel perfectly comfortable about not ordering booze. In this day and age, good bars are pretty cool about those of us on the wagon. And some bars, even fancy ones, still give me a look of disdain and say something like, "Well, we have cranberry juice."
But I mentioned casually and once at the beginning of our three-hour meal at Eleven Madison Park that I would not be drinking. And 10 minutes later, the bartender came over, introduced himself, talked about my order and thoughtfully paired my entire experience with non-alcoholic adult beverages.
There was no, "Can I get you another Diet Coke." Oh no. Kevin and the other 647 people serving us filed away each of our requests and made sure every single second of our experience was silently considered.
I got drunk on class.
So thank you Dan, Kevin, Eleven Madison Park and New York, for showing me how it's done...

Friday, April 08, 2011

we'll feel bad when he really dies. we swear...

On today's Necessary Conversation, we re-name some San Francisco neighborhoods, wonder which guys Gavin likes to call late at night and preemptively mourn Charlie Sheen. Again.



And also my boos, I am off to the Big Apple this afternoon. Killing the soul of my father, who lives by the United Airlines Frequent Flier Program, I am flying Virgin America because I am the most susceptible person to branding in the world. Also, WiFi! Anyway, here come the celebrity sightings...

Thursday, April 07, 2011

burning questions about the long island serial killer...

As I leave for New York tomorrow (concrete jungle where dreams are made, etc.), I’m reminded that I need to bone up on the highly active Long Island Serial Killer.
First of all, this is really tragic, sad and horrible and I hope they catch the guy.
Okay, let’s examine the evidence:
  • 8 women have gone missing. 7 bodies have been found. 4 have been identified.
  • The first woman went missing in May. The first bodies were found in December. 3 more were found last week.
  • Most of the women were working girls meeting clients on Craigslist.
  • The bodies have all been found in the same remote area of dumpy-looking “beaches” on Long Island.
And then there’s this, which is from the HuffPo:

Gilbert, 24, was last seen in Oak Beach on May 1, 2010, after apparently meeting a client she had booked through Craigslist. The bodies of the four other women, who worked as Craigslist escorts and were in their 20s, were found along the same highway by police searching for Gilbert.
The latest discovery was about a mile east of where the other four were found. The four dead women's remains were strewn about 500 yards apart.
Gilbert had arranged to meet a client in Oak Beach. A resident of the gated seaside enclave has told authorities a woman believed to be Gilbert came to his door around 4:45 a.m. May 1, pleading for help.
The man said that when he tried to call police, the woman fled.
A few moments later, an unidentified man in a sport utility vehicle drove past the house and said he was looking for the woman, but then took off. Neither the woman nor the man was seen by the neighbor again.
The client Gilbert had arranged to meet was investigated but is not believed to be a suspect in her disappearance.

Whoa. There are clues here! She went missing AFTER leaving her client. She ran when the neighbor tried to call the cops. The killer drove past the same house in the wee hours and ASKED about the woman. And the cops don’t think it was the Craigslist client.
My first question is, why not? If all of these women were using Craigslist to meet clients, isn’t that a pretty big factor that connects the crimes? I mean, that’s pretty amazing that the killer manages to pick up Craigslist prostitutes after their last appointment.
Why would Gilbert run when the neighbor tried to call the cops? Although I don’t imagine the neighbor was all, “Come in and sit down, hysterical woman at my door at 4:45am. Can I get you some herbal tea?”
Maybe the neighbor locked her out while calling the cops, or was taking too long. These aren't the things the neighbor's going to admit once she turned up dead. "Oh, she just ran away when I tried to help her." Yeah right. What if she banged on your door at 5am? What would you do?
If it were me, I like to think I would have lept into action and been like, “DESCRIPTION! QUICK!”
Why would the killer drive around pre-dawn asking, “Have you seen a hysterical woman? Yeah? She went that way? Thanks.”
It seems like the neighbor is either a self-involved idiot who was like, “Not my problem” or suspect.
I just did all of this while eating my salad (Mandarin chicken from Piperade-to-Go: 5 stars) so I will need to discuss this with my top crime analyst and report back later with a profile. I look forward to any more information and your detailed thoughts in the comments…

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

move your bloomin' arse...

Today's Culture Blog is up, in which KG and I have a very Darren from Bewitched moment at a high school musical. Read all about my hot Friday night watching My Fair Lady at alma mater, up now on SFGate...

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

apparently we have the same colorist...

And also, just so you can drink it in, here's me and Smith Jerrod from Sex and the City at a political shindig that I wrote about right here. Why does he look like a disappointed deer in headlights? Beats me. Why am I posing a proud employee in a Hertz Rent-A-Car ad? Again, I couldn't tell you. I just freaked out when the photographer came over and was all, "Hands on hips!" Ugh...


Photo from Drew Altizer's heavenly website. As if that wasn't clear.

it's not like i'm going to molest your child...

As Brock and I sat overlooking the Pacific having a lovely dinner, I felt it come on.
Fucking sniffles.
Convinced I'd recently survived the worst cold in medically recorded history, I found it hard to believe I could get sick again. This must be allergies, I thought. Here I am on bluffs, suddenly old. I must be developing adulthood maladies. So after a miserable Monday at work, sneezing all over my co-workers, I headed to Safeway for Claritin-D. This is what everyone said I should buy, and before I even handed over cash, I texted Brock a picture of the product just to make sure I was getting the right medicine.
"Yes. That's definitely it."
Buying Claritin-D is a complicated process because one can make meth out of allergy medicine. Thus, you've got to show ID and have your sniffles monitored by the government.
$20 later, I sat in my car and popped a Claitin. 15 minutes later, nothing. 30 minutes later, nothing. Claritin is bullshit. Either that, or I don't have adulthood allergies but Phase 2 of the 2011 Cold that Almost Killed Me.
I dug some old Halls Drops out of a carry-on bag and cut my losses. This morning, I decided to swing by Walgreens on my way to work. I could not subject those around me to sneezing, sniffles and mouth-breathing two days in a row. I decided to get Sudafed this time, recommended by my co-worker Jen and yet another pill for which one needs to federally register.
To buy Claratin-D, Sudafed, etc, you need to pull a little card from the shelf and bring it to the pharmacist. You can't just touch a box of the stuff, like it's any old cold medicine. Oh no. You've got to bring a picture of it to a professional and state your case.
So I grabbed a Sudafed card and brought it to the Pharmacy counter. A young woman asked if she could help me.
"I thought I had allergies." I explained. "I bought Claritin-D yesterday but it's done nothing. Nothing! So now I think I should try Sudafed."
She looked at me, sniffling and sneezing in her window. "This sounds like a cold to me. But Claritin and Sudafed have the same stuff in them. If Claritin doesn't work, neither will this."
"Okay." I said, taking a deep, impatient breath. "Well can you recommend something that will help me."
This is a first world country. I am at a Walgreens in one of the world's most celebrated metropolises. I have both cash and credit. My sniffles should be fixed in a matter of seconds. But the pharmacy staff was giving me the whole, "Sorry, there's nothing we can do for you. You might want to crawl under a shrub and quietly die."
"I am not allowed to recommend anything." She said. "The pharmacist has to do any recommending."
She yelled towards the back, "Luke! Help!"
Luke the Pharmacist is around my age and was wearing a BluTooth in his ear. So right there, I lost all hope. Luke agreed that Claritin and Sudafed were both bullshit medicines and verbally tossed his hands in the air, offering the reassuring, "I don't know."
"I'll just buy the Sudafed." I said.
"We only have Wal-Phed." She replied.
"Fine. I will buy the Wal-Phed." It was only $5.99 anyway.
The young woman asked for my ID and said, "I don't know if they'll let me sell it to you since you bought Claritin yesterday."
"Really?" I asked. "It's not like I'm going to make meth."
This was apparently akin to announcing at airport security, "It's not like I'm going to hijack the plane."
All of Walgreens fell silent, Luke came over to the window and both of them stared at me, smugly sporting burgundy scrubs as if they'd be performing surgery at any moment.
"No one is accusing you of making meth." Luke said, feigning calm.
"The government requires us to enter your information." Said the young woman, obviously preparing her statement to the Swat Team because by this point, she'd probably pushed the secret "meth mention" button under the counter.
I decided silence was my best option, and after staring at me for awhile, the young woman went back to entering my drivers license. Lo and behold, The Man had no problem with my purchase of both Claritin-D and Wal-Phed within a 24-hour period. I signed the little computer screen agreeing not to make meth, paid my $5.99 and got the hell out of there.
Now I'm waiting for this Phucking Wal-phed to kick in, and my purse is a virtual meth lab.
So, you know, party at my house...

Monday, April 04, 2011

tourist trapped: hooters...

Today on SFGate's Tourist Trapped, I head to Hooters to meet stars of TV's "The Amazing Race." That's right. I went to Hooters. The boob restaurant. Eat it up, over at SFGate...

Friday, April 01, 2011

it's our 25th anniversary. awwww...

Episode 25v2 from Necessary Conversation on Vimeo.

And then also, because you've earned it and I really like you, our entire, uncut (yeah) Holiday interview with Frank Chu. Our editor, who could not give less of a shit about San Francisco politics, labeled this 'David Ch(i)u Interview'. And I refuse to change it. Happy Anniversary NCers!

David Chu Interview from Necessary Conversation on Vimeo.