Tuesday, December 30, 2008

a party... im just not sure which one

i was under the impression that i would have to let people know i couldn't make it to their new year's eve parties this year to attend someone else's, but i didn't expect there to be so many.

at this point, im really not opposed to partaking in an evening spent on the couch and relaxing, but i think that would mean i attended new year's eve party #4... and im not ready to make that kind of confession.

Party Type 1: Oh, This Is Nice
You usually end up at this party after Tanya can't come into town after all and cancels or you were just too darn busy to make good plans, real plans, ahead of time. So you put on a sweater you got for Christmas or the cocktail dress you bought for Debbie's engagement party that you never wore again, and drag some poor unwitting sap of a friend to the party where you don't really know anyone. It's super awkward at first and you just stand by the cheese and crackers, nodding your head to the music, furtively gulping room-temperature chardonnay and furiously wishing for midnight. That way you can hug and kiss the host—she's Tom's friend from work—on the cheek and be on your merry way. What you forget, of course, is that everyone at this party is awkward, and everyone is furtively gulping booze so round about 11:15 er'body's crunk and having deep, sloshy meaningful conversations with each other and your friend is making out with some dude in the hallway and it's sort of the best-slash-worst party you've ever been to. See, the key is to not expect much from New Year's eve. Then it has potential to be great fun. Until you wake up the next morning and you vaguely remember telling that cute guy with the glasses about the time you peed your pants on the R train and you might have cried at one point and oh god you can never, ever see any of those people ever again.

Party Type 2: There's a Place Just a Few Blocks Up
Another product of poor planning. You've cobbled together a group of friends, some are visiting from out of town!, and you're psyched and ready to go except no one made dinner reservations and oh fuck aren't you supposed to like pay a hundred bucks to get inside a bar and stay there all night or something? No worries. There's this Italian place on 7th that's always empty and maybe that bar we went to that time won't be so full. What you end up doing is eating a hasty, bad, too-expensive meal then trudging from bar to bar to bar because everything is too crowded. You're blessed with one friend who keeps complaining that you guys are walking too fast and her shoes are killing her and another who is suspiciously shitfaced. (The culprit is later revealed to be a well-hidden flask). Then everyone gets mad and starts snapping at each other and someone finally yells "I just want to be somewhere, anywhere inside, at midnight. Not wandering around on the street." So you go to the worst, first bar you can find and have a couple beers and hug meekly at twelve then drink some more, and then the secret ninja drunk is trying to coax a stranger at the bar to do untoward things so it's time to take them home and who's going where and let's split cabs maybe? No? OK, fine. Good night. Let's actually make a plan next year, and ugh. You hate New Year's. It's never what you want it to be.

Party Type 3: At the Clurrrrrb
You paid $150 for an unlimited fount (if you can ever actually get to the bar) of watered-down well vodka and sodas! There are swirling lights and meaty guys with shimmer-shirts fist pumping and yelling "you my boy!" or "Ima wreck you, son!" and zomg, Kim Kardashian or someone is hosting! These are the worst kind of New Year's Eve parties, in my opinion, because you're trapped in a terrible place with terrible people but you spent all this money and what else would you be doing anyway? (see above) The celebrity-hosted ones (though they may be in short supply this year) are the worst because they're getting paid a ton to be there and act like they're having fun, while you are paying a ton to be there and act like you're having fun. Will you be enjoying New Year's Eve this year at Marquee in New York City? The celebrity emcee is none other than Dancing With the Stars runner-up and Wedding in Las Vegas megastar Mario Lopez. Your straight boyfriend will just love that, won't he. Disco dancin' while some half-a-celebrity Carebear stares his dimples at all the ladays. Enjoy it.

Party Type 4: Oh, We Went to Bed at 11
This is mostly your parents. Or it was mostly your parents and, shriek!, now it's you. You are tired and who wants to spend the money anyway. You put the bottle of champagne that someone brought over for a party months ago into the freezer and sit on the couch watching Father of the Bride: Part II, flicking back occasionally to the Dick Clark/Ryan Seacrest annual Times Square is a Miserable Shithole Rockin' Eve and vow to stay up and watch the ball drop and call your friends (or kids) who are out enjoying themselves. Maybe you're with one other person, I dunno. What ends up happening is that you fall asleep on the couch, snore through midnight, wake up with a start at 1:15, turn off the TV (which is now showing a M*A*S*H rerun), and shuffle off to bed. The next day you'll spend some time cleaning the broken champagne bottle glass out of the freezer then walking around the corner to get a bagel. It'll be like the opening in Shaun of the Dead when he doesn't realize everyone else is zombies. An empty, slightly destroyed cityscape and just you alone, strolling along. Because you didn't go out last night. And you're not sure if you're sad about it.

Party Type 5: Auld Lang Syne
And then sometimes it just works out. Your house party is awesome and everyone comes and has a great time. Or it was just the perfect bar. Or the couch was just fine and you (and, if you're lucky, someone special) curled up and enjoyed being home. And then at midnight everyone around you felt very close by, and those who couldn't make it felt very far away, and you smiled and hugged and maybe sang and just gushed about how wonderful New Year's is, really how wonderful. When else throughout the year, throughout life, do we ever all gather to celebrate the passing of time, rather than mourn it? It's a good, ancient thing. And something we should do more often.

Or maybe you're just drunk and it's just another nice night. And that's enough to be happy for.

ill let you know what winds up happening as i still have no idea.

love and loyalty

Saturday, December 27, 2008

a couple of favorites

2008 had a lot of memorable internet videos, but these were truly tops.

enjoy

bill at his best



frozen grand central



shoes.



my favorite music video of 2008 - bjork's wanderlust. make your way to the ending, it's pretty spectacular



my favorite sorority pledge ever



the sorority pledge would have had a better answer than this



ode to joy



hehe.. cops.



scarlet makes a music video... i won't ruin it



granny and her purse



and tommy and his religion

Friday, December 26, 2008

a hero passes away

i've loved harold pinter's work for many years and have incorporated his themes and elements of suspense in my daily thought process.

"what would pinter say?," was often a question of mine... particularly during one his performances

he passed away at 78 after battling cancer for many years.

and, in his honor, a rehearsal of one of his skits:



love and loyalty

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

a fay mckay classic

the recording that i loved hearing on the radio every year:




and the lady herself getting another round in:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

a few extra blankets

it feels like it's 5 degrees outside. i kid you not.

Friday, December 19, 2008

a completion

ladies and gentleman... the first semester is complete.

let the relaxation and preparation for next semester begin.

unfortunately, i left my camera's usb chord in california. once i go back to san francisco, prepare for a lot of photos which i can use to illustrate how much fun i will have had with my beloved friends and family.

love and loyalty

...and relaxation

...and my aunt's cookies

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

a point to consider

Penguins caught stealing eggs from straight couples in an attempt to become fathers have been given their own to look after following protests.

Zoo keepers moved the male birds away from the rest of the penguins to avoid problems as hatching season approaches.

But angry visitors to Polar Land in China complained it was not fair for the males to stop becoming surrogate fathers.

Following the protests, zookeepers gave the pair two eggs laid by an inexperienced first-time mother.

"They've turned out to be the best parents in the whole zoo," on zoo keeper said.

"We will try to arrange for them to become real parents themselves with artificial insemination."

Despite being gay, it is understood the three-year-old male birds are still driven by an urge to be fathers.

-December 16 Yahoo News



on a completely unrelated note - i'm back in new jersey!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

a thank you note

When I first arrived at SFO, I was homeless, friendless and an emotional wreck. I had just relocated 3000 miles to the west coast; leaving behind a life I had been working on for 23 years to embark on a graduate program and continue my personal and professional growth.

I adjusted rather quickly:
-"Everything closes at two?!"
-Get a bike...and a bike lock
-Protest often. I couldn't tell you how many times I've marched down Market Street
-Adapt to the MUNI system, meaning know not to count on it
-Valencia has the best vegetarian/clothing/bars
-Lesbians throw good parties
-Bring layers. Every street has its own climate.
-Ignore being the central focus of the Conservative's problem with Liberal America
-It's good to have friends who work at: the Exploratorium, a bakery, Badlands, MOMA, etc.
-Always sit in the back of a party bus
-Wear as little as possible to Lovefest/Folsom/Delores Park/etc.
-I recognize that Guerrero elbows at my house, so I don't walk in circles anymore
-"Single Item Tax!?"
-The Independent has great music
-Never give your money to a "homeless" teenager with a cell phone and keys to a Lexus at Haight/Ashbury
-Every new hill you successfully run up is a personal victory and gets you one step (literally) closer to running a marathon. Also, don't run by the piers... too many tourists
-For the best view, make your way up to Twin Peaks with good friends and beer
-Visit the MOMA, De Young, Jewish Museum and Academy of Science as frequently as possible
-Bumping into the homeless gives them the right to demand justice while grinding their multicolored teeth
-Street Fairs often have really good Lemonade... just make sure it isn't urine.
-It's best not to try to label someone as a man or woman...you'll probably be wrong anyway
-etc.etc.etc.

All of this stimulation from relocating to a new environment would've been really complicated if it weren't for all of you who have welcomed me into your lives. I really am thankful to have met each and every one of you.

Before I moved, I kept thinking about what my new friends' names would be and how we would meet. I gotta tell ya, there have been some pretty good initial encounters. I think my favorite would have to be when I swallowed the worst shot ever at the Orbit Room, complained that it tasted like shoes and charmed the phone number out of Jonny Gemini. I feel very fortunate to have met so many eclectic individuals. It means a lot to me.

It's a little strange, finally getting used to my life here and then going back home for a month, but rest assured I will be back and ready for more fun,life and adventure. Who knows, maybe even a job. I'm thinking about it.

To all of you who have made my San Francisco life possible, THANK YOU and have a wonderful holiday and New Year.

Note: Including you in this note means that I won't be sending you a Christmas Card. I'd have to collect way too many addresses. Consider this a two-for-one deal.

With Love and Loyalty,



Michael

Thursday, December 11, 2008

a trip

if i felt inclined to walk to my parents' house in new jersey, i would have to take 936 different directions via google maps to get there. it would take me approximately 40 days and 13 hours to accomplish this journey.

i am thankful for mass transit.

im not entirely sure what state these streets are, but im sure i'd be pretty excited to walk down immigrant trail road.

286. Slight left at Immigant Trail Rd
1.5 mi
287. Slight left at 8560 N Rd
19.5 mi
288. Slight right at Locomotive Rd
282 ft
289. Continue on 8560 N Rd
7.9 mi
290. Continue on Old Railroad Grade Rd
6.0 mi
291. Turn left at Salt Wells Rd
197 ft
292. Turn right to stay on Salt Wells Rd

procrastination at its finest

Monday, December 8, 2008

a week

ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. ill be home in a week. yesssss


in the meantime, ill be : freaking out over a paper i cant seem to finish, preparing for a presentation i was supposed to give last week and watching this over and over again

Saturday, December 6, 2008

a tear

it's snowing back home

a moron

this has nothing to do with anything about my trip across the country or my experience as a grad student, but it makes me feel like less of an idiot. enjoy

Thursday, December 4, 2008

a few observations

clementines are called "cuties" here.

ex. "she had two cuties before class." i just assumed she had an eventful afternoon.

"dude" and elongating words are preferred as opposed to silence during a conversation.

ex. "so ,dude, i don't even like, knooooooooooooow what the plan is."

2.00 for adding cheese onto a sandwich. plus a san francisco health tax. my 7.50 sandwich became 10.60.

sitting in a park at dusk means that you want to purchase drugs.

ex. i sat in a park at dusk and two men offered me some mushroomy-nugget-mara-something products and a third man just shouted profanities and stumbled away.

leaving the city for a month breaks your new friends' hearts because it feels like an eternity, but going home for a month feels like not enough time to see everyone.

ex. well, just keep tuning in... i'll be able to elaborate once i hop on the plane

love and loyalty

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

a good idea

im not going to say who wrote this until the end, because the author's name comes with baggage. i did happen to really appreciate this piece:

"I drive an American car. It's a Chrysler. That's not an endorsement. It's more like a cry for pity. And now for a decades-old story, retold ad infinitum by tens of millions of Americans, a third of whom have had to desert their country to simply find a damn way to get to work in something that won't break down:

My Chrysler is four years old. I bought it because of its smooth and comfortable ride. Daimler-Benz owned the company then and had the good grace to place the Chrysler chassis on a Mercedes axle and, man, was that a sweet ride!

When it would start.

More than a dozen times in these years, the car has simply died. Batteries have been replaced, but that wasn't the problem. My dad drives the same model. His car has died many times, too. Just won't start, for no reason at all.

A few weeks ago, I took my Chrysler in to the Chrysler dealer here in northern Michigan -- and the latest fixes cost me $1,400. The next day, the vehicle wouldn't start. When I got it going, the brake warning light came on. And on and on.

You might assume from this that I couldn't give a rat's ass about these miserably inept crapmobile makers down the road in Detroit city. But I do care. I care about the millions whose lives and livelihoods depend on these car companies. I care about the security and defense of this country because the world is running out of oil -- and when it runs out, the calamity and collapse that will take place will make the current recession/depression look like a Tommy Tune musical.

And I care about what happens with the Big 3 because they are more responsible than almost anyone for the destruction of our fragile atmosphere and the daily melting of our polar ice caps.

Congress must save the industrial infrastructure that these companies control and the jobs they create. And it must save the world from the internal combustion engine. This great, vast manufacturing network can redeem itself by building mass transit and electric/hybrid cars, and the kind of transportation we need for the 21st century.

And Congress must do all this by NOT giving GM, Ford and Chrysler the $34 billion they are asking for in "loans" (a few days ago they only wanted $25 billion; that's how stupid they are -- they don't even know how much they really need to make this month's payroll. If you or I tried to get a loan from the bank this way, not only would we be thrown out on our ear, the bank would place us on some sort of credit rating blacklist).

Two weeks ago, the CEOs of the Big 3 were tarred and feathered before a Congressional committee who sneered at them in a way far different than when the heads of the financial industry showed up two months earlier. At that time, the politicians tripped over each other in their swoon for Wall Street and its Ponzi schemers who had concocted Byzantine ways to bet other people's money on unregulated credit default swaps, known in the common vernacular as unicorns and fairies.

But the Detroit boys were from the Midwest, the Rust (yuk!) Belt, where they made real things that consumers needed and could touch and buy, and that continually recycled money into the economy (shocking!), produced unions that created the middle class, and fixed my teeth for free when I was ten.

For all of that, the auto heads had to sit there in November and be ridiculed about how they traveled to D.C. Yes, they flew on their corporate jets, just like the bankers and Wall Street thieves did in October. But, hey, THAT was OK! They're the Masters of the Universe! Nothing but the best chariots for Big Finance as they set about to loot our nation's treasury.

Of course, the auto magnates used be the Masters who ruled the world. They were the pulsating hub that all other industries -- steel, oil, cement contractors -- served. Fifty-five years ago, the president of GM sat on that same Capitol Hill and bluntly told Congress, what's good for General Motors is good for the country. Because, you see, in their minds, GM WAS the country.

What a long, sad fall from grace we witnessed on November 19th when the three blind mice had their knuckles slapped and then were sent back home to write an essay called, "Why You Should Give Me Billions of Dollars of Free Cash." They were also asked if they would work for a dollar a year. Take that! What a big, brave Congress they are! Requesting indentured servitude from (still) three of the most powerful men in the world. This from a spineless body that won't dare stand up to a disgraced president nor turn down a single funding request for a war that neither they nor the American public support. Amazing.

Let me just state the obvious: Every single dollar Congress gives these three companies will be flushed right down the toilet. There is nothing the management teams of the Big 3 are going to do to convince people to go out during a recession and buy their big, gas-guzzling, inferior products. Just forget it. And, as sure as I am that the Ford family-owned Detroit Lions are not going to the Super Bowl -- ever -- I can guarantee you, after they burn through this $34 billion, they'll be back for another $34 billion next summer.

So what to do? Members of Congress, here's what I propose:

1. Transporting Americans is and should be one of the most important functions our government must address. And because we are facing a massive economic, energy and environmental crisis, the new president and Congress must do what Franklin Roosevelt did when he was faced with a crisis (and ordered the auto industry to stop building cars and instead build tanks and planes): The Big 3 are, from this point forward, to build only cars that are not primarily dependent on oil and, more importantly to build trains, buses, subways and light rail (a corresponding public works project across the country will build the rail lines and tracks). This will not only save jobs, but create millions of new ones.

2. You could buy ALL the common shares of stock in General Motors for less than $3 billion. Why should we give GM $18 billion or $25 billion or anything? Take the money and buy the company! (You're going to demand collateral anyway if you give them the "loan," and because we know they will default on that loan, you're going to own the company in the end as it is. So why wait? Just buy them out now.)

3. None of us want government officials running a car company, but there are some very smart transportation geniuses who could be hired to do this. We need a Marshall Plan to switch us off oil-dependent vehicles and get us into the 21st century.

This proposal is not radical or rocket science. It just takes one of the smartest people ever to run for the presidency to pull it off. What I'm proposing has worked before. The national rail system was in shambles in the '70s. The government took it over. A decade later it was turning a profit, so the government returned it to private/public hands, and got a couple billion dollars put back in the treasury.

This proposal will save our industrial infrastructure -- and millions of jobs. More importantly, it will create millions more. It literally could pull us out of this recession.

In contrast, yesterday General Motors presented its restructuring proposal to Congress. They promised, if Congress gave them $18 billion now, they would, in turn, eliminate around 20,000 jobs. You read that right. We give them billions so they can throw more Americans out of work. That's been their Big Idea for the last 30 years -- layoff thousands in order to protect profits. But no one ever stopped to ask this question: If you throw everyone out of work, who's going to have the money to go out and buy a car?

These idiots don't deserve a dime. Fire all of them, and take over the industry for the good of the workers, the country and the planet.

What's good for General Motors IS good for the country. Once the country is calling the shots."

-michael moore!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

a reporter doing his job

this situation reminds me to keep a guard up in the future with our president-elect.



for someone who personally has a problem with the majority of journalists these days, it's good to see a journalist doing his job. however, it's nerve-wrecking when someone i elected plays politico-man before he's even elected.

i've been craving an answer to that question, myself. fingers crossed.

Monday, December 1, 2008

a film



i just came from "milk" at the castro theater. i was watching a biopic about a man who rallied the citizens of the castro together on castro street in castro theater. i saw the streetcar that rolls by my house everyday. i saw my street corner circa 1978. it wasn't like watching that tedious film "garden state" in my friends dorm room, no no, i felt like i was almost a part of it. i guess you can say i am. i'm the continuation of a struggle that has yet to be settled. harvey milk contributed to successfully overturn prop 6, and now we're facing yet another battle for civil rights. it appears that it is time now more than ever for people to follow in his footsteps. sure, i've protested down market street and up to city hall and through the castro more times than i can remember. .. seriously i cant seem to remember. let's just say, "a lot," for the time being. that it isn't enough. this is a city that people pay attention to. in a state that sets the trend for the rest of the country.

it's time to move forward. it's also time for bed. tomorrow, i will keep his determination in mind as i barrel through this seemingly endless amount of homework and stress.

a whole lot of deadlines

it's suddenly monday... and december. that was fast.

on thursday, i wound up feeding a lot of people. most of them looked like they hadn't had a good meal in a while, so it was kind of gratifying.






after i left, my housemate took me to a whole new world: the land of thirty-something friendships. they sounded like i do with my friends, only they drank wine that didn't cost three dollars and were occasionally interrupted by babies. their babies. they have babies. i must have stared at them like they were foreign pets or something. this group has been friends for a while, so it was good to see that they were all able to come together with seriously delicious vegetables and maintain witty banter while holding infants. it was lovely.

and then on friday i saw M83 at the fillmore. i've gotta tell you, i basically listen to this project the most. it's pure magic. it was a religious experience for someone who doesn't really follow a religion. have a listen to some of my favorite pieces:







don't you feel like you're at the point in every 80s romantic dramedy where the protagonist finally embraces their conquest and everything is sunshowers and fireworks and trampolines?! maybe it's just me.

after a weekend of exploration and relaxation, i have come to the realization that i go back to the east in exactly two weeks for a month-long visit.

before the flight, i have to finish one major paper, one lesson plan and give a presentation. at the same time, i want to be able to say "see you soon" to all of the friendships i have made here. i want to come back and have that same bond i've been able to develop with my new friendships.

i should probably stop typing on this and make my way over to a cafe and work on one of those assignments...

love and loyalty

Thursday, November 27, 2008

a day of actual "giving"

today i will be volunteering at tenderloin tessie's. here's a brief description of their work:

"For over 30 years, Tenderloin Tessie Holiday Dinners, an all-volunteer organization, has fed the community of San Francisco on Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

We work hard to prepare a hot dinner in a welcoming environment. We serve the elderly, disabled, low income, homeless families with children and those that do not have a family or a place to go.

Our dinners average a thousand people each holiday and take place at the First Unitarian Church at the corner of Franklin and Geary Streets. Everyone is welcome!"

they let me come even though they've had enough volunteers a month ago. apparently i left a heartfelt voicemail and i pulled on the administrative assistant's heartstrings. hehe mission accomplished.

time for tea and tofurkey and tea. here's another opportunity to listen to the greatest anti-war song that my family listened to on our way to our grandmother's house each year.





love and loyalty

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

a craigslist posting

this is my last attempt to find a place to volunteer for thursday:

"I moved to San Francisco in August and this will be my first Thanksgiving without a family to visit. Therefore, I'd like to volunteer for any organization that needs a helping hand on Thursday.

If there are any soup kitchens, shelters, etc. that need someone, I am more than happy to assist.

I'm a normal, 23 year old grad student so I'm not really going to be a difficult co-worker.

Thanks for reading and hopefully I will be in contact with you shortly."

i seriously hope this works

love and loyalty

Monday, November 24, 2008

a week of brain exercises

you have to forgive me this week, my brain has been stretched and pulled in a few different directions.

perhaps some details would assist...

the final paper for my intro to graduate studies class was due and so my head was glued to the articles and final paper, fact checking and synthesizing.

i needed to relieve my brain with some alternative treatments.

first up was a visit to the exploratorium, where a friend let me in for free (it helps to know videographers)

it's all about playing with the senses and discovering how insanely complex an organism really is.




as you can see, the place is huge. exhibits were everywhere, so my brain was pretty exhausted by the end.







kids! spinning panels! adventure!



ok this is the tactile dome. you voluntarily walk into a room that has zero light and have to climb through a twisting maze by feeling your way around. it was the most confusing twenty minutes i've had in a long time.



this is my tornado. i made it. i am god-like.



ok so let's play with perception! this is marilyn monroe. isn't she pretty? great. let's come back to this one.




this was where you can change colors and play with pigmentation. i was there for a good twenty minutes. do YOU know how to make mustard yellow?



that teacup wasn't actually there. i was really confused at first by this exhibit until i turned the corner and i was exposed to how the lighting made it appear that there was a solid substance in front of me. i put my finger inside to show you all how you too would've been tricked. it looked freaky so i took a picture.



this exhibit followed my eyes throughout different images and told me that im mostly interested in looking at blue colored things and am quick to respond to busy pictures. i probably didn't need an exhibit to tell me that, but it looked weird so i took a picture.



this chicken embryo is three days old. we weren't sure what was done with the embryos after the exhibit, because they were all...you know... alive and junk. the videographer told me they are exposed of. eek.



pretty painting, yes? well once again, you've been lied to. it's actually bacteria in it's purest forms. still pretty.



haha and this was actually albert einstein. gross. made-ya look.

then i went to class and was face to face with joe tuman. i've followed his tv appearances and books for a while now so i basically turned into a little fan-boy. embarrassing.

once class had ended, i wound up exploring a flower shop/ illegal aquarium. the bed giver selected a fish to add to her growing family and the videographer and i perused the many fish obviously captured from the wild and sold for hundreds of dollars. i swear, there were fish worth more than i could ever amount to. in all honesty, who would actually pay six hundred dollars for an angry fish that attacks you whenever you walk by?








this fish. this monster fish that gets super pink and volatile the closer you get to it

i felt like i needed to get back in touch with the planet, so i bought a loaf of bread, brought some wine and the economist to delores park on thursday to catch up on the auto industry. maybe it's better that i stay in my little grad school cloud for a while... or move to brazil. it'd also be a good idea to get involved in advertising, seeing as how the industry had an 11% increase in productivity this quarter. here's my problem with that.... i can't stand advertising. i got pissed off the other day after making my first visit to the stonestown mall and finding an advertisement inside my table at the food court. i was just trying to eat my vegetable panini. i didn't need to see soda advertisements under my sandwich. i wouldn't mind a little regulation from the government on the amount of advertisements we're all exposed to.... right.

music! on friday, i saw one of my favorite musicians from my generation, Pablo Díaz-Reixa aka El Guincho. i've played his albums for a long time and suddenly i found his album in an american store and touring the country. pure joy. i was dancing like an absolute madman. i couldn't find anyone who knew or cared to see him, so i ventured on my own which gave me full opportunity to dance as if i was listening to him in my bedroom, which is exactly what i did. then a friend of mine who went in by chance saw me. whoops. i regret nothing.







his music is already over a year old, and i guess since it's only now available to the american public, he has to play his old jams. what was fun for his fans that have known him for a while was the amount of growth you can already see in his work as he had reformatted all of his songs. it was absolute perfection. i was so happy.

here is his first rendition of one of my favorite songs. enjoy!



saturday was when my head basically exploded. i went to the sf moma with robert to view derek jarmon's "caravaggio"



"Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was an Italian baroque artist known as much for his glowing realistic paintings as his rebellious and dangerous ways. This film is a fictionalized exploration of the Caravaggio legend, which centers around drunkenness, prostitutes, painting and a love triangle with Lena (Tilda Swinton) and Ranuccio (Sean Bean)."

i was silent for a while afterward. his work has a serious effect on me. i need more.

at dinnertime, my friend came over and showed me and a few other guests how long it takes to prepare scallops. the answer: a long time. he made us all amazing dinners, and we then took our full bellies to a night out in celebration of my roommate's birthday. that's right, i had a dinner party with friends and then brought back some other friends for an all night party that didn't stop until six in the morning, when my brain officially quit on me.

i slept and cleaned all day sunday. totally worth it. what a week.

love and loyalty

Thursday, November 20, 2008

a WHOA WAIT A MINUTE moment



and let's not forget this lovely gem:



1. i don't smoke marijuana.
2. i have lived in the heart of the city for three months and i have not once been force fed pot by these so-called "aggressive" homeless people.
3. a large majority of the people i have met here don't smoke pot and those that do are more active in their than a lot of the angst-ridden people i have met back east.
4. i don't give hookers business. we voted against proposition k as a city, by the way.
5. i have never seen a hypodermic needle while walking around.
6. the parks are beautiful in san francisco and are regulated by police at night. i have never been nervous about walking in a park at night. it's really quite pretty. as is the rest of the city. it is by far one of the cleanest cities i have come across in this country. in comparison to new york, this place is pretty damn spotless.
7. fisherman's wharf is one of the safest and cleanest places for tourists and the city's citizens, so i don't know where that idea came from.
8. i see that guy in the pink bandanna and sunglasses at my grocery store all the time and he may dress differently but he is quite friendly. he dances a lot down the isles. he doesn't really hurt anyone. the majority of the eccentrics in this city wouldn't harm a fly because this city is tolerant to those who think outside of the box. they aren't harming anyone because there is a feeling of unity here. try and find a neighborhood in new york city where people are as open to help out tourists or welcome newcomers.
9. the police have more important things to worry about then a bunch of harmless kids smoking pot or a family enjoying some wine and beer at a picnic in the park. it creates a welcoming environment where people don't live in fear.
10. i haven't heard anyone want to secede from the union. that's retarded. shut up, bill.

Monday, November 17, 2008

a moment of weakness

it's been over three months since i've been in san francisco and just as long without seeing my family. i'm currently looking at some old photos and i'm getting pretty nostalgic/emotional. this is the longest that i have been without seeing my family/friends/...everybody.

last night i stood at the highest point in san francisco, twin peaks, after a night of driving around in a "party bus" with my wonderful new friends.



you see that wide, well lit street? that's market. i live on it.

regardless of my incredible location, wide array of fantastic new friendships and ample time to forward my education, i still miss everyone back home.

just wait until you all come here to visit. i cant wait to show you what this city has to offer.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

a brief note

i walked some friends visiting the city to a streetcar stop so they could ride a trolly home. out of nowhere, i spot another crowd of protesters marching down market street. instead of saying goodbye to them and walking home, i waved farewell and joined the march. san francisco.

love and loyalty

a little literature for your consideration

from the new york times:

Mormons Tipped Scale in Ban on Gay Marriage

By JESSE McKINLEY and KIRK JOHNSON
Published: November 14, 2008

SACRAMENTO — Less than two weeks before Election Day, the chief strategist behind a ballot measure outlawing same-sex marriage in California called an emergency meeting here.

“We’re going to lose this campaign if we don’t get more money,” the strategist, Frank Schubert, recalled telling leaders of Protect Marriage, the main group behind the ban.

The campaign issued an urgent appeal, and in a matter of days, it raised more than $5 million, including a $1 million donation from Alan C. Ashton, the grandson of a former president of the Mormon Church. The money allowed the drive to intensify a sharp-elbowed advertising campaign, and support for the measure was catapulted ahead; it ultimately won with 52 percent of the vote.

As proponents of same-sex marriage across the country planned protests on Saturday against the ban, interviews with the main forces behind the ballot measure showed how close its backers believe it came to defeat — and the extraordinary role Mormons played in helping to pass it with money, institutional support and dedicated volunteers.

“We’ve spoken out on other issues, we’ve spoken out on abortion, we’ve spoken out on those other kinds of things,” said Michael R. Otterson, the managing director of public affairs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as the Mormons are formally called, in Salt Lake City. “But we don’t get involved to the degree we did on this.”

The California measure, Proposition 8, was to many Mormons a kind of firewall to be held at all costs.

“California is a huge state, often seen as a bellwether — this was seen as a very, very important test,” Mr. Otterson said.

First approached by the Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco a few weeks after the California Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in May, the Mormons were the last major religious group to join the campaign, and the final spice in an unusual stew that included Catholics, evangelical Christians, conservative black and Latino pastors, and myriad smaller ethnic groups with strong religious ties.

Shortly after receiving the invitation from the San Francisco Archdiocese, the Mormon leadership in Salt Lake City issued a four-paragraph decree to be read to congregations, saying “the formation of families is central to the Creator’s plan,” and urging members to become involved with the cause.

“And they sure did,” Mr. Schubert said.

Jeff Flint, another strategist with Protect Marriage, estimated that Mormons made up 80 percent to 90 percent of the early volunteers who walked door-to-door in election precincts.

The canvass work could be exacting and highly detailed. Many Mormon wards in California, not unlike Roman Catholic parishes, were assigned two ZIP codes to cover. Volunteers in one ward, according to training documents written by a Protect Marriage volunteer, obtained by people opposed to Proposition 8 and shown to The New York Times, had tasks ranging from “walkers,” assigned to knock on doors; to “sellers,” who would work with undecided voters later on; and to “closers,” who would get people to the polls on Election Day.

Suggested talking points were equally precise. If initial contact indicated a prospective voter believed God created marriage, the church volunteers were instructed to emphasize that Proposition 8 would restore the definition of marriage God intended.

But if a voter indicated human beings created marriage, Script B would roll instead, emphasizing that Proposition 8 was about marriage, not about attacking gay people, and about restoring into law an earlier ban struck down by the State Supreme Court in May.

“It is not our goal in this campaign to attack the homosexual lifestyle or to convince gays and lesbians that their behavior is wrong — the less we refer to homosexuality, the better,” one of the ward training documents said. “We are pro-marriage, not anti-gay.”

Leaders were also acutely conscious of not crossing the line from being a church-based volunteer effort to an actual political organization.

“No work will take place at the church, including no meeting there to hand out precinct walking assignments so as to not even give the appearance of politicking at the church,” one of the documents said.

By mid-October, most independent polls showed support for the proposition was growing, but it was still trailing. Opponents had brought on new media consultants in the face of the slipping poll numbers, but they were still effectively raising money, including $3.9 million at a star-studded fund-raiser held at the Beverly Hills home of Ron Burkle, the supermarket billionaire and longtime Democratic fund-raiser.

It was then that Mr. Schubert called his meeting in Sacramento. “I said, ‘As good as our stuff is, it can’t withstand that kind of funding,’ ” he recalled.

The response was a desperate e-mail message sent to 92,000 people who had registered at the group’s Web site declaring a “code blue” — an urgent plea for money to save traditional marriage from “cardiac arrest.” Mr. Schubert also sent an e-mail message to the three top religious members of his executive committee, representing Catholics, evangelicals and Mormons.

“I ask for your prayers that this e-mail will open the hearts and minds of the faithful to make a further sacrifice of their funds at this urgent moment so that God’s precious gift of marriage is preserved,” he wrote.

On Oct. 28, Mr. Ashton, the grandson of the former Mormon president David O. McKay, donated $1 million. Mr. Ashton, who made his fortune as co-founder of the WordPerfect Corporation, said he was following his personal beliefs and the direction of the church.

“I think it was just our realizing that we heard a number of stories about members of the church who had worked long hours and lobbied long and hard,” he said in a telephone interview from Orem, Utah.

In the end, Protect Marriage estimates, as much as half of the nearly $40 million raised on behalf of the measure was contributed by Mormons.

Even with the Mormons’ contributions and the strong support of other religious groups, Proposition 8 strategists said they had taken pains to distance themselves from what Mr. Flint called “more extreme elements” opposed to rights for gay men and lesbians.

To that end, the group that put the issue on the ballot rebuffed efforts by some groups to include a ban on domestic partnership rights, which are granted in California. Mr. Schubert cautioned his side not to stage protests and risk alienating voters when same-sex marriages began being performed in June.

“We could not have this as a battle between people of faith and the gays,” Mr. Schubert said. “That was a losing formula.”

But the “Yes” side also initially faced apathy from middle-of-the-road California voters who were largely unconcerned about same-sex marriage. The overall sense of the voters in the beginning of the campaign, Mr. Schubert said, was “Who cares? I’m not gay.”

To counter that, advertisements for the “Yes” campaign also used hypothetical consequences of same-sex marriage, painting the specter of churches’ losing tax exempt status or people “sued for personal beliefs” or objections to same-sex marriage, claims that were made with little explanation.

Another of the advertisements used video of an elementary school field trip to a teacher’s same-sex wedding in San Francisco to reinforce the idea that same-sex marriage would be taught to young children.

“We bet the campaign on education,” Mr. Schubert said.

The “Yes” campaign was denounced by opponents as dishonest and divisive, but the passage of Proposition 8 has led to second-guessing about the “No” campaign, too, as well as talk about a possible ballot measure to repeal the ban. Several legal challenges have been filed, and the question of the legality of the same-sex marriages performed from June to Election Day could also be settled in court.

For his part, Mr. Schubert said he is neither anti-gay — his sister is a lesbian — nor happy that some same-sex couples’ marriages are now in question. But, he said, he has no regrets about his campaign.

“They had a lot going for them,” Mr. Schubert said of his opponents. “And they couldn’t get it done.”

Mr. Otterson said it was too early to tell what the long-term implications might be for the church, but in any case, he added, none of that factored into the decision by church leaders to order a march into battle. “They felt there was only one way we could stand on such a fundamental moral issue, and they took that stand,” he said. “It was a matter of standing up for what the church believes is right.”

That said, the extent of the protests has taken many Mormons by surprise. On Friday, the church’s leadership took the unusual step of issuing a statement calling for “respect” and “civility” in the aftermath of the vote.

“Attacks on churches and intimidation of people of faith have no place in civil discourse over controversial issues,” the statement said. “People of faith have a democratic right to express their views in the public square without fear of reprisal.”

Mr. Ashton described the protests by same-sex marriage advocates as off-putting. “I think that shows colors,” Mr. Ashton said. “By their fruit, ye shall know them.”

love and loyalty

a piece of history

here's what i just witnessed.

i heard some cheering from outside my apartment and figured the historic national rally i just witnessed had moved to market street. i was right.

once again, the citizens of san francisco have shut down the main street of the city, angry over the loss of their rights and demotion to second class citizens.

out of nowhere, the march had ended and a group of protesters blocked the exit from the freeway. one by one, police had arrested the protesters. we had stopped traffic last week and had little police interruption. however, because our numbers were not strong at this particular moment, the leaders of the group were hauled into police vans.

i was told that if i didn't leave, i would also face police intervention aka shoved into a van. i didn't want to get arrested in running shorts, so i decided to go back to my apartment across the road.

what i love about san francisco is how unpredictable life can be here. such a small city somehow offers an endless amount of neighborhoods, museums, restaurants, culture... hell even weather. either side of the peninsula is at least a ten degree difference all the time.

right now there are helicopters flying overhead and cheers in the background. im currently watching television (crazy, right?) to see which news channels have covered the national rally for gay rights-

one network. one.

no, it wasn't fox news.

cnn headline news gave a report that showed one location of the eighty cities that hosted a rally. unfortunately, the report was under a minute long and was followed by a report of mormon churches blaming gay radical activists for receiving packages of mysterious white powder. seriously, where is the coverage? where is the recognition? why isn't the media paying more attention? how is it possible to ignore a historic, national rally on almost all major news networks?

here's my thing: if you want to be an activist: peaceful protests are what is needed. coming to a consensus between two disagreeing parties is necessary and any attack on either side isn't beneficial to anyone.

it's time for tea. i can't look at this television any longer.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

a little random

i need a haircut.

connecticut just legalized gay marriage.

i was up until four in the morning finishing a paper. i owe it all to instant coffee.

when our cats fight the neighbor cats, i root for the home team from my window. we always win.

i want more coffee.

this weekend we are getting up to 80 degrees.

i'm going to join up to 40 other people on a party bus that is taking us around to san francisco's best nightlife with some friends. i'm not quite sure what to expect yet.

i found a new cafe to study in. less crazies. more pretentious san franciscans.

i have listened to alice's restaurant everyday this month.

classtime.

love and loyalty

Monday, November 10, 2008

a united protest

i was pretty sure that things were going to start moving forward. i was under the impression that we could all be treated as equals. im not trying to say that i was turning into some sort of spirited summer camp counselor or anything, but i was starting to feel like democracy was going to work for the better.

florida bans same sex marriage
arizona bans same sex marriage
arkansas bancs same sex couples from adopting children

and california, a trend-setter state, banned gay marriage with 52% of the vote.

on friday, san francisco citizens, civil rights activists and families of all kinds shut down the biggest street in the downtown area and marched in protest.






once we made it to delores park, myself and others stopped traffic some more by launching a sit in. it felt good.








im not even a particular viewer of his commentary, but have a look



our protest along with others throughout the state made all of the national news media (fox news was brief). now, on saturday, is the big one.

Below is a list of the cities that will be participating in this national protest. it's the biggest. it's the loudest. it's history in the making.



PROP 8 PROTEST - NOVEMBER 15th 10:30am PST / 1:30pm EST FIND YOUR LOCATION BELOW!


Alabama - Birmingham | Mobile | Dothan
Alaska - Sullivan Arena | Fairbanks City Hall
Arizona - Phoenix
Arkansas - Little Rock
California - San Diego | Los Angeles | Bakersfield | Sacramento | San Francisco | San Jose | Moreno Valley
Colorado - Denver
Connecticut - Hartford
Delaware - Dover
Washington D.C.
Florida - Jacksonville | Miami | Orlando
Georgia - Atlanta
Hawaii - Honolulu
Idaho - Boise
Illinois - Chicago
Indiana - Indianapolis
Iowa - Des Moines | Iowa City
Kansas - Kansas City | Wichita
Kentucky - Louisville | Lexington
Louisiana - New Orleans
Maine - Portland
Maryland - Baltimore
Massachusetts - Boston | Northampton
Michigan - Detroit
Minnesota - Minneapolis/St. Paul
Mississippi - Jackson
Missouri - Kansas City | St. Louis
Montana - Billings | Missoula
Nebraska - Omaha
Nevada - Las Vegas | Reno
New Hampshire - Manchester
New Jersey - Newark
New Mexico - Albuquerque
New York - Syracuse | Albany | New York City
North Carolina - Charlotte | Raleigh
North Dakota - Grand Forks
Ohio - Cleveland | Columbus | Cincinnati
Oklahoma - Oklahoma City
Oregon - Eugene | Portland
Pennsylvania - Philadelphia | Pittsburgh
Rhode Island - Providence
South Carolina - Charleston
South Dakota - Sioux Falls | Rapid City
Tennessee - Memphis | Nashville
Texas - Houston | Austin | Dallas
Utah - Salt Lake City
Vermont - Montpelier | Burlington
Virginia - Richmond
Washington - Spokane | Seattle
West Virginia - Charleston
Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Wyoming - Cody | Laramie

to all of my new jersey readers, city hall in newark is 920 Broad Street and is the place to go if you would like to take part in this historic protest against discrimination.

to all of my new york city readers, 260 Broadway between Chambers and Warren

to all of my san francisco readers, i will see you at city hall.

it would mean a lot to me and millions more.



love and loyalty

Friday, November 7, 2008

a way to consciously understand how "bittersweet" feels

i witnessed history, celebrated on the streets with hundreds of supporters, but had to learn that discrimination is still ripe and fruitful.

upon learning of obama's victory, i left for market street and awoke my family back east. people at every street corner were banging pots and pans, dancing, hanging up signs on their balconies, hugging and crying.






when i made it to castro street, people were congratulating one another and drinking in the street. the police then fenced off both ends of the popular street and the people came pouring in. i stood in line at a bodega for a cheap bottle of wine when the television announced obama's speech was about to begin. i left the line because it was too long, too loud and i was desperate to hear obama's speech. i walked over to a small crowd of eight or nine people to discover a girl on a mailbox with a stereo on her lap. there, amongst a crowd of people reveling in victory, i heard barack obama's acceptance speech.



afterwards, the stage was set up, the djs fixed their equipment, and the celebration began. people were dancing, drinking and waving their flags and signs in victory





i met up with my friends and took the party to a nightclub where i drank obama pops and danced to american themed music until i made it home later that morning.



when i woke up the next morning, i couldn't help but post my frustrations on yes on 8's victory.

"Don't be bitter. The people have spoken. In case you didn't know we live in a democracy. That means majority rules. Marriage was NEVER intended to be between two people of the same sex...cuz, well... it doesn't make sense. It is unnatural. Make up your own type of union between same sex partners, just don't try to twist the institution of marriage to try and add a sense of normalcy to your unnatural lifestyle... Another thing, you think divorce harms children more than gays flaunting their lifestyle in public and raising children? Give me a break, you sick and twisted freak! A child whose parents are divorcing is going to have a tuff time making sense of the situation. A child attempting to understand which one of their parents are their mommy and daddy when both of them are men is hopelessly insane. Talk about emotional baggage. Use some common sense here you fool. It amazes me how people on your side of the argument try and twist the beliefs of your average American and attempt to make them look like the pervert that you are. While homosexuality is a lifestyle that should not be persecuted, it should not be promoted or legitimized in anyway. Gays should not be allowed to marry or raise children, period. The people have spoken so get over it!!!"

- an anonymous response to my shared protest on banning same-sex marriage and adoption

the mood has been pretty much the same throughout san francisco. one woman two nights ago noticed i was looking sad and asked me what was wrong.

"i feel like a second class citizen, a percentage of the American population just got a punch in the stomach reminding them that we've got a long way before we have equal rights."

her response was priceless:

"REALLY? don't you think you're taking this too far? i mean, there's always canada."

today i'll be marching from the civic center to delores park in protest of the recent support of proposition 8. los angeles' protest entailed arrests and altercations. hopefully, my temper will relax today and i wont do anything irrational. although judging by the recent discrimination and bigotry, irrationality is the new tolerance.

i'll keep you updated, or call you if i need someone to post bail.

love and loyalty - and equality

Monday, November 3, 2008

a weekend in the city

i highly recommend a halloween in san francisco. it's a very different experience from the new york city, 6th avenue parade. it's a little less tourism and a lot more creative costuming. i was pleasantly surprised by a lot of the costumes i encountered at my friends' house party. i saw a couple of broke investment bankers, a suri cruise, a flock of escaped boy scouts from their evil scoutmaster and some very naughty flight attendants. the costume show-off came to a climax once lucas and i walked into the joint.





there's nothing like a dead nazi and a "real american" walking down the street carrying a flag with "drill baby drill" and "im a real american" written on it. there were some pictures taken by some onlookers. i was quite pleased. i'd like to thank san francisco for not burning me at the cross for being politically adorable and not getting all pissed off. many thanks.



the real highlight (or lowlight, depending on how you look at it) was when jonny and jimmy brought me to the lookout to see how halloween lovers truly partied. i was surrounded by the most impressive costumes ive seen in years. my moment of glory came when i was not only stopped by a few sarah palins, but when barack obama himself came to honor me with a photograph. i was too shy and nervous so i bowed in his presence... the nazi, however, didn't seem to mind.





unfortunately, a man in bridal wear offered me some "homegrown" entertainment from a crack pipe so i fell out of the halloween spirit and went home.

on saturday, lucas and i woke up to discover that the raining season had officially begun, summer had ended and we had successfully avoided any hangovers. with last evening still on our brains, we walked to the castro to develop lucas' disposable camera. while walking down the street, we found ourselves walking into paparazzi and video cameras without warning. thoroughly freaked out, lucas pointed out the one and only mayor of san francisco, gavin newsom, campaigning for no on prop 8. what a guy.

after we dropped off the photos for development, we started to make our way for some necessary brunching. the casual walk came to a climax when i curiously glanced into a wine shop, and who was at the register finishing a transaction? mr. gavin newsom. it gets better. he turned, looked at me and smiled. get a look at this powerful figure and understand why i was weak in the knees for a bit.



so much power. one day, michael. one day.

disregard his wife. i think that's what the majority of san francisco likes to do when thinking about gavin newsom. what a political heartthrob.

after an intense brunch session, lucas again started singing songs from his beloved disney films. i had had enough. below, i offer you the documentary i used in my freshman year undergraduate presentation on the disney corporation as a major media influence in our country:











ever since i looked into the disney corporation and its potential effects it had on my youth, i've been able to justify a lot of concerns i've had about raising children under the mouse ears. don't get me wrong, i was raised with the films myself and i was just as excited as any other kid to see goofy in person at disneyworld back in the second grade. however, i didn't really fit into their ideal male image as a youth and didn't see it in my future, so i had always longed for the more emotionally developed, sincere male figure. i was detached, confused and later frustrated as more and more films came out with the same messages. perhaps that is why i never played by their rules with their products and created my own little play world. there was one character that i first read about in a book my parents gave me by tim burton that later turned into "the nightmare before christmas." disney finally did something right. jack skellington was their anti-hero, offering a different kind of male protagonist. he was the one character i was drawn to. of course, it wasn't their character in the first place. it makes a lot of sense now.

i'd be more than happy to talk it out with anybody interested.

i had officially ruined lucas' childhood and sent him on his way when out of the blue, an old friend from my freshman year at montclair let me know that she was visiting san francisco. i put on my finest pair of suspenders and showed her a good night.



somehow i managed to wake up with enough time to go back to the san francisco academy of sciences for another round of:

swampland,



penguin habitat,





aquariums,

















indoor living rain forest,















planetarium and tourists with melissa, the bed giver.



today, i went to city hall to vote early so i can focus on volunteering for no on 8 tomorrow.




i wasn't the only one thinking about getting it done a little early. i had to wait two and half hours. on the plus side, it was a great walking tour of city hall.



if you know me, you know how i voted on two major issues, but just because i am so proud of those particular votes, i offer them to the internet for the world to see.







as a californian, i also voted on around 30 other issues, but these two were pretty exciting.

tomorrow, ill be on castro street to watch as california counts the results for prop 8. it should be pretty exciting. as always, ill be sure to document it.

ill keep you all posted!

by the way... for all of you keeping track - ill be back in new jersey from december 15 through january 14. better start making your reservations now, dear east coast friends.

love and loyalty

vote tomorrow!