Thursday, July 26, 2012

channel one is the cockpit, channel thirteen is hawaiian melodies...

I had to pull out my passport to book a trip this fall, and I got all excited. I started planning my in-flight playlist months in advance. It reminded me of long flights when I was a kid and I would listen to the United Airlines pop "radio" station (Channel 9), which would play the same 12 songs over and over.

Some of my favorite songs are these random United Airlines selections, when United planes still had red, orange, and blue stripes. Red, Orange, and Blue United was my heyday. Every time I hear these songs, I can remember the specific flight I was on. So here are my Top 5 songs from United Pop Radio, Audio Channel 9:

"Heart and Soul" by T'Pau
"Just Another Day" by Jon Secada
"Return of the Mack" by Mark Morrison
"Hands to Heaven" by Breathe
"Pleasure Principal" by Janet Jackson

Runner up:
"Back for Good" by Take That

It now occurs to me that some of these could be British Airways "radio" songs, but based on my father's loyalty to United's Frequent Flier Program, I assume they're affiliated. Thus, still counts.

I'm sure there's some marketing team behind each channel's selections, but I like to imagine there's one guy who tries to think of the best songs to play for people stuck on an airplane in the days before TVs on the backs of seats, or Discmans...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

senor chicken...

The Brians took me to dinner at Mr. Pollo. OH MY GOD, do you know about Mr. Pollo? For $20 and cramped quarters, we got 4 amazing courses of delicious, gourmet, beautifully presented Colombian-inspired food in a tiny spot at 24th and Mission.

The chef, Manny, apparently buys and prepares everything himself. And there was one, hardworking and charming server. The soundtrack was almost exclusively 90's hip hop, and the whole space is smaller than our kitchen. Anyway, don't tell anyone I told you because the impression I got from the Brians is that the cool kids want to keep this for themselves, but it's been written about a lot.

Mr. Pollo is not for everyone, as the whole seating/timing process is weird. I don't know that I'd recommend Mr. and Mrs. Spotswood swing by for dinner. Mr. Pollo's staff tries to seat all 15 seats at the same time. The Brians and I tried our luck at 8pm, and were told to expect a phone call in 15 minutes. Lo and behold, they called exactly 14 minutes later, we arrived back to an empty restaurant, and 12 other people waiting to be seated. Every so often, folks would pop in, see they were in the middle of a dinner service and leave, I assume to come back later.

The process might seem a little intimidating, just because it's so non-traditional, but the chef and server were SO sweet and warm, that you should just pop in and ask what the deal is. They're cool about it, and cool in a way that doesn'y make you feel uncool.
Which is what cool really is anyway...

the dmv is not a hidden treasure...

I really need to suck it up and do way more cheezeball Tourist Trapped activities, but I have exhausted my friends. "Do anyone want to go on a Duck Tour?" was met with a resounding, "Fuck no."
Anyway, this week's Tourist Trapped stumbles upon hidden treasures in Fort Mason while en route to the Renegade Craft Fair. Check it out on SFGate RIGHT HERE.

I spent 3 and a half hours at the DMV yesterday because someone stole the tags of my license plate. Brock took the photos and complaints I was boredly (?) texting him and turned it into a post on SFist. I was most impressed with the fact that a photo slideshow of my morning at the DMV was up on someone else's website before I even got my number (B018). I ended up sitting in the DMV reading comments about what a self-promoting dumbass I am. Which did, admittedly, pass the time.

Sally, Joey and I are taking a deepwater aerobics class. I have discovered that I love cardio when it is 1) underwater, 2) includes 15 elderly women, and 3) keeps me laughing for 50 straight minutes. At one point in our most recent class, I looked next to me to find Sally with a flotation device around her waist, two floating dumbells in her hands, and her legs in a cycling motion underwater to the rhythm of "(She's A) Maniac" coming from a boom box. I was laughing so hard, I almost needed to be rescued...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

let's talk about fred willard...

Comic genius and all around American treasure Fred Willard was arrested last night for a lewd act in an adult theater. This raises (heh) a question:

Why do people still go to adult theaters? Porn arrives on one's computer whether they want it or not. It was pointed out to me that Fred is an older gentleman and maybe not that internet savvy, but I imagine that since THE VCR, one doesn't need to put on clothes, get in the car, drive to an adult theater, park, pay, go inside, and risk arrest to enjoy some porn. They can't be showing anything one can't get elsewhere. Also, if he can manage a Twitter account, he can find porn on the internet.

Do you think that maybe there's a certain thrill to doing THIS in public? Do you think Fred is hiding out in his house, freaking out and trying to do damage control? Or does this just make him more awesome? I mean, he's a 72-year old comedy genius masterbating in an adult theater.

I am a huge Fred Willard fan. I saw him at Celebrity Autobiography at Cobb's during SketchFest, reading from Star Jones' 'You Have To Stand For Something Or You'll Fall For Anything.' And then, this:

My favorite line from that movie is Fred's "And to think in some countries, they eat these dogs!"


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

a video wherein i yell at paying customers...

Oh la la! Society photographer Drew Altizer asked me to host a video covering a fancy chef-food-sustainable-organic-etc. party at the Ferry Building on Saturday. Along with a photographer named Ivan, we made THIS VIDEO which you should watch.
The guy pictured on the right was the nicest interview ever, because he let me do 6 takes of the same question. Watch awkwardness ensue...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"i love wet hot american summer because it is one of the few movies with a character named beth..." (silence.)

I'll tell you all about this tomorrow. But this is my proof that I did this tonight. That's Michael Ian Black, folks. MIB. As someone that loves Wet Hot American Summer, I'm pretty excited. And as a big sister, I would like to high-five my brother. Also, I said only dumb things and nothing cool. Of fucking COURSE...

Monday, July 16, 2012

don't lose faith in marin...

When I was in 8th Grade at St. Patrick's Grammar School in Larkspur, California, there was boy in 6th Grade whose parents owned a cabaret club/high-end orange juice restaurant. I realize this makes all of your Marin stereotypes clang with enthusiasm, but that's they way it was.
Anyway, he was in his 6th Grade class of 25 kids and I was in my 8th Grade of 25 kids, but we knew OF each other. The weird kids always know OF each other.
One day there was a knock at the 8th Grade classroom door. It was during the holidays, or graduation. It was a day when regular school wasn't in session, there was a rare casual vibe at St. Pat's.
This particular 6th Grader was at our door, and he said to Miss Diaz, "I'm looking for Beth Spotswood. I understand she knows how to tie a necktie."
Miss Diaz (that's a whole other story) politely looked up and said, "Beth. This young man needs your help."
We must have all been on our way to a special mass or concert. And this kid had arrived at school with an untied necktie. I knew how to tie a tie, and this news had clearly gotten around. Anyway, I walked into the hallway, we stood against the concrete walls, I asked about his parents' cabaret shows, and I tied his tie.
I remember when I was knotting that Windsor, he said, "I like you."
And I said right back, "I like you too."
Because how could you not like that kid.
Lo these years later, this is that kid:

it must be the medication...

First of all, today's Tourist Trapped goes to Les Miserables and realizes it's basically a big Occupy protest. But in a good way! That's up now on SFGate. READ IT.

Unrelated, I was riding the bus this morning with Blair, my neighbor and bus buddy, and we were talking about how all prescription medicines ALWAYS warn of both diareah and suicidal thoughts. Blair has decided this is because "everyone" has diareah and suicidal thoughts at one point or another. So when pharmecutical companies are testing out medications on people, they ask them all the standard questions. And odds-wise, someone's always going to have diareah and/or suicidal thoughts. (Perhaps they're related.)

Blair was sitting there on the bus doing this dramatic impression of a test subject answering their side-effects questionaire. "I have diareah! I have suicidal thoughts! It MUST be the medication!"

Someone in a financial district office is telling their coworkers about the conversation they overheard on the 12 this morning. "I've got to find out what medication she was on."

In other news, I am super proud of my family for doing the AIDS Walk together yesterday. I will not reveal WHO CHEATED and skipped out early. But we raised money for AIDS stuff, and I have two blisters which is HORRIFIC. Below is our AIDS Walk Team: Emilie, Alex, mom, me, dad, Jean, and Sally.

And last night, I went to the CUESA party at the Ferry Building because I am doing wacky videos for society photographer, Drew Altizer. I have no idea how this video will turn out. Basically I met this guy Ivan outside, and we just kinda walked around and chatted with people. But Tighe made this sign, and as soon as he put it down, someone said, "Starring WHO?"
Yay! I'll post the video when it's up.

Finally, if you haven't already, there's still time to get your tickets to Michael Ian Black and Meghan McCain's event tomorrow night at the Castro Theater. I'm giving the VIP Party toast! And I get to introduce the event, I think. Mainly, I get to hang out with Michael Ian Black, and so can you. Tomorrow night.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

we stil need a name...

Eve and I spent another Saturday shooting the shit. Today's three topics: Ed Lee's anger, Gavin Newsom's guns, and Daniel Tosh's rape joke.
Video streaming by Ustream Also, if you haven't already bought tickets, I am the MC of this event. Michael Ian Black!

I have to both toast, and then introduce Michael Ian Black. And Meghan McCain, who is probably also as great. Anyway, I'm FUCKING EXCITED. What a weird life, right? Please come...

Friday, July 13, 2012

walking, then talking...

A few business-keeping notes:

1. This Sunday is AIDS Walk San Francisco. I am walking with Sally and my family, and am kinda excited to roam around Golden Gate Park for a wonderful cause with my folks. So, if you can afford to donate IN THIS ECONOMY, please support us HERE. Or walk with us!

2. Next Tuesday, I get to Emcee this amazing Commonwealth Club event at The Castro Theater. All I'm supposed to do is get up on stage and say, "Use this hashtag!" and "The moderator is very accomplished!" and "Cell phones off, assholes!" BUT, the guests are Meghan McCain and (dramatic pause) Michael Ian Black. I am doing this event to meet Michael Ian Black. That's pretty much it. The only reason I get to do this is that the woman who runs InForum is insanely nice and was like, "If you want to do an intro, you totally can." You can buy tickets here, and they're only $15. Please come and laugh at my 5 minutes on stage so Michael Ian Black thinks I'm funny and wants to be friends with me. And then we'll hang out every time he's in San Francisco, and maybe co-host "I Love The 40's" on VHI. 

3. I am going to do funny videos for Drew Altizer, society photographer! They'll be up on SF Wire, and I'll let you know when they're up. This weekend, I'm going to some chef event and I'm supposed to ask them funny questions. So far, I've got, "If someone has no shirt, and no shoes, will they get service?" I am open to WAY better ideas. 

4. Am I alone in being OBSESSED with the whole Sandusky thing? 

5. I just got this comment on Wednesday's Culture Blog about 'Target Vincent Price':

"As Vincent Price's actual tall daughter, I can tell you that a) he would have LOVED this blog b) had you run into him in Target, your encounter would have been remarkably similar to this one c) despite the fact that both my dad and I love(d) being tall, we were/are incorrigible slumpers (the telltale sign of a tall person's ambivalence about their height) d) if I learned one thing from my wonderful dad it is that, when we really take time to listen and to see another human being, it is the greatest gift we can give to them and to ourselves.
Thank you for a wonderful blog!"


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

also, i already ordered those shoes...

On today's Culture Blog, I recount a SUPER INTENSE conversation I had with a 6'7" elderly man in Target on Monday night. You can find literally everything at Target, including humanity.
Up now, on SFGate...

Sunday, July 08, 2012

my last meal of friends...

After years and years of claiming we'd have this soiree, last night was the "Last Supper" party. While I am opposed to the death penalty, I find true crime fascinating. And I've always been interested in the tradition of a "last meal" for the condemned. So after much research and fanfare, 40 or so folks came over to Brittney and my place last night to dine exclusively on the most common foods requested in last meals.

In addition to other themed items, like a Dept. of Corrections jumpsuit hanging from the front door, or last words printed on flashcards placed around the party, the best contribution was Eve's amazing signage she made for each food item. I can't imagine how much time it took her to put this together, but her work was thoughtful, fascinating, and the hit of the party. Each menu item, like John Wayne Gacy's original recipe KFC request, was paired with a sign that included his mugshot, criminal history, complete final meal request, and last words.

Guests spent ages chopping on fried okra while hunched over the dining room table reading Eve's signs.

And that fried okra was actually fried in our kitchen. Sally brought over a deep frier and will heretofore be known as the most beautiful last meal chef of all time.

Also, San Franciscans treat junk food like a tourist attraction. There was a whole part of the party where folks just took photos of the food. When people started microwaving McDonald's cheeseburgers at 1am, I was like, "Shit, there go our forbidden leftovers."

Everyone came with some amazing contribution, like Catherine B. who compiled an entire prison-themed playlist and brought a bottle of Jim Beam. While I'm worrisomely into this macabre stuff, I assumed my friends would half-ass it, and be like, "Weird party, but whatever. Fried chicken and beer!"

Nope. They all like, did work at home.

I over photograph everything, but if you want to see even more dumb photos, you can do so here

I will not besmirch our friends' good names by revealing anything too drunken, but to give an indication: our creepy neighbor who at one point demanded a beer through the fence last night, stood on his garden shed roof early this morning as I was cleaning up the backyard. He indicated he wanted all of our empties. It took me about 45 minutes, but I bagged up all of the recycling and met him on the curb.
Our neighbor looks at it all and says, "Hahahaha. A lot!"

The party was meant to be a fun house party, which is was (holla). The theme, which everyone there embraced, was actually an amazing conversation starter.

I have always been torn on the death penalty. There were folks over last night who were both for and against it. The last meal aspect of condemning a convicted criminal to death is weird to me, and thus interesting. It's almost apologetic. "Here, person wer're about to kill. What's your favorite food?" The whole thing is bizarre, right?

If you're interested in 'last meal' history and info, here are some links that I've spent time...exploring:

Arizona last meals and last words
The highly detailed State of Texas Death Row webpage
Dead Man Eating, a website chronicling last meals
2 minute documentary on an actual Death Row Chef
More video on the aforementioned Chef

Anyway, there was lots of discussion last night of, "What would be your last meal?"

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

the nautical equivalent of a unicorn...

Nine years ago today, my parents had a very big (for us, at least) party at their house. Alex and I were each allowed to invite a few friends, and my brother announced he'd be bringing, among others, this kid named Chris.
"We should put him at your table." Alex said. "You're going to love this kid."
I had spent months working on MY table, hand-selecting the perfect mix of guests so that we'd have the best group for the after-dinner trivia contest. There was no way some friend of my little brother's was going to get himself into MY table.
Alex was so persistent that we compromised, and Chris was seated one table over, directly behind me. There is a photo of the whole party, all of us sitting at six huge tables on the deck. And in that photo, in the middle of 60 people, Chris and I have turned our chairs around and are engrossed in conversation.
Today is the day that I met Chris, or as he's known here, Grey Cloud. That was nine years ago.
Eight years ago, I would've paid you money to Jeff Galooley him.
Seven years ago, I ignored his name when it came up in conversation.
Two years ago, he took me on the best platonic date of my life.
I started writing this blog to make him jealous, and now it's my JOB. Every once in awhile, I think of that night, how I met Chris, how my brother introduced us and then spent a year letting me cry on his shoulder. I think of how 95% of my time with Chris was a disaster, but that 5% was EASILY some of the greatest nights I've ever had.
I texted him yesterday to remind him of this occasion.
Grey Cloud texted back, "Wow. What a wild ride. Some serious highs and lows."
I find his response infuriating.

But after everything, in retrospect, I am so, so glad that nine years ago today, I turned my chair around...

Monday, July 02, 2012

tourist trapped heads to an indian casino...

Have you ever wondered what it's like to take the shuttle from 16th and Mission to an Indian Casino? Me too! I spent this Saturday at River Rock Casino with me new friends. Our adventure is up now, over at SFGate...

Sunday, July 01, 2012

the top five list...

Since I work with a hilarious and interesting group of folks, I've taken to asking them a 'question of the day'. The QOTD has quite popularly moved onto my Facebook page, and I usually ask it most work days. It's all shit like, "If you could only have one fruit?" or "Which is the best episode of Seinfeld?" People even submit questions they want me to ask. I am very proud of my little, nerdy, friend-game. 

Anyway, one of my QOTDs was which dead person would be in your Top 5? What's weird is that many respondents didn't know that 'Top 5' means the top 5 people you want to have sex with, even if you're attached. Answers were odd, and obviously off because respondents just selected whatever dead person they wished was still alive. Did no one watch Friends?

I was reminded I needed to update my Top 5. Please give tell me yours. Here are mine (for 2012 only):

Jason Sudeikis
Ty Burrell
Bendedict Cumberbatch
Ryan Gossling (What am I, dead?)
Louis C.K.

keep it real, etc...