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.


bill at his best

frozen grand central


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

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,


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