Entries from San Francisco

Honest Stuff I Make Up · · San Francisco

Because None of This Is My Fault

A lifetime of excuses. 

I blame the guy at the gas station and the sophmore in the dorm. Then the Mormons. After that I blame my grandmother and the phonics box-set. The Mountain Bell activity book didn't help either. Nor did the chocolate cake and bare feet on the elephant slide in Pioneer Park. Sand and blood everywhere. I don't know whose fault the crayon incident was. The thing at naptime though I blame on irrigation day and the neighbor who always mowed his lawn without a shirt on. I'm still unclear about my brothers and me in nothing but underwear up in the fig tree and later eating pork chops in front of the television and wondering why we were so itchy. Now tell me: Whose fault was that? Please don't let me forget to include Ben Gazzara, shag carpet tiles, bunk beds and a genuine simulated wood-grain cabinet. Guilty, guilty, guilty. Not long after that, I blame my nine-year-old stepsister and her ulcer and their combined obsession with Patty Hearst.

Consider, if you will, Abraham Lincoln and the theory of elasticity.

I do, of course, blame the dog that bit me and hold personally responsible the sheriff of Tombstone and Radio Shack nine-volt-batteries. The first one is free, but they know you'll be back. Of course you will because the 99-in-1 kit is in on it too. I blame model helicopters, flammable glue and roadside firecracker stands. I blame girls with Now-and-Later candy bars and abandoned lots and Hustler magazine. Paul Barresi. The cheap pendants from the mall had nothing to do with it, but Karla and Chad and the Western Auto cassette recorder they saw before I did at the swap meet? Definitely. As did the back room at Spencer Gifts.

I blame Reddington Pass, Madera and Sabino Canyons, Boy Scout camp, "bug juice", the M-80 (along with whoever lit it) and the asshole Park Ranger. After that, it's the Space Shuttle on the back of a TWA jet on a runway in Utah that is most responsible. Then I blame Timex-Sinclair, Tandy, and the DEC-10. But not Commodore. I'd like to say I blame punch cards, but I was out that day. Probably home feverish and reading Penthouse Forum. The one thing unrelated to the other.

While I'd like to present evidence against the drama club, the gymnastics team, and my art professor, it would all be hearsay because I was never around long enough. Instead, allow me to present my case against the yearbook staff and Advanced Darkroom Technique — it's a solid one.

The jury is still out on the latch-hook rug kit, but Kraftwerk and Soft Cell all but confessed, as did the German exchange student and the bottle of Lubriderm. After that, I'd like to meet in the judge's chambers with fisticuffs and room service ramekins, pig poppers (something I'd never even heard of yet) tanning butter and a loaded handgun.

When that's done, I'll blame a man on a train, the doctor he shared an apartment with and the merchant marine who often stopped by. I'll call him Pepe. Yes, Pepe. Anyhow, the couple's cat died that week, so it was probably very sick and therefore I'll assume too weak to be anything but uninvolved. However, I am afraid the Mazda Z car and the Polaroid camera in the glove compartment will have to be impounded. Indefinitely. I also blame Carlos Fuentes and public transportation, both of which were in cahoots with the Diego Rivera mural at the time, along with an entire poker hand of twenty-five cent playing-card themed coffee cups. Oh, it's true.

Then, as much as I know you don't like to think about it, but someone is going to have to reckon with the many pots of potato lentil soup.

Eventually, I'll also get around to blaming: the government, Netscape, Apple, the Jesuits, Carmen Maura and Ricardo Cucamonga. But not for a while yet.

Honest Stuff I Make Up · · San Francisco

In Which I Win Joe Millionaire

I apologize if it's embarrassing to be sitting here with me as I make loud, wet sucking noises with this straw and tear desperately at the thin sheet of plastic protecting the frosty contents of my Lollicup. I also know I must look like some orally-fixated six-foot-three Disney racoon who has just discovered salmon-flavored bubble tea. Gosh darnit, however, this is my first time and I'll have you know those li'l tapioca pearls are playing powerball in my mouth and damned if they are not just as flavorful as I am not proud.

All the more reason perhaps I am not ashamed to tell you that today is all about mercifully unequal parts foot cream and Krispy Kreme. It's true. Try it and you too can feel better from the bottom to the top.

Then again, today is also about tactfully outpacing the little old lady at the branch library in our undeclared, albeit blatant, race to the only restroom. She doesn't stand a chance.

Is it any wonder then that I should feel like a winner? No. I feel like a winner because I am a winner—and would be one even if she hadn't stopped at the water fountain.

Later though, the cosmos seem to shift and I do wonder what role karma—which I don't believe in—plays in my life when a gassy Korean woman sits next to me on the bus.

But not for long though because soon I'm thinking about how when Joe Millionaire picks me on his show, it would be easy to say something like I was happy just to be selected to be on the show in the first place and how it was nice getting a new pendant each week and how I'm still friends with some of the other girls, which I am not. And who knew I would even make it to the final two? Certainly not me! Why, I've never won anything in my life...and so on.

That would all be so silly though because I never lose anything and I always win everything, and as you and the rest of the world know from watching me each week, I understood the man and his show more than anyone. You know?

Some people thought of Evan and said: What a big dummy. Early on I decided that sort of attitude was a luxury I couldn't afford. Do you want to know what that's like? Well, it's like when Evan and I would go on a one-on-one date and I'd listen patiently to him while he talked and ate food off both our plates. Sometimes, I'd try to read his mind and for some reason it suddenly dawned on me that it was really all like when a new shopping center opens and they set up a money booth and use a fan to blow air and cash all around inside and you have to grab as much as you can. When I think about my special moments with Evan and all the thoughts that must have been in his head at those moments, I think Evan is just like one of those big plexiglass shopping center wind tunnels. Except without the cash.

Anyhow, now that it's all behind me and on days such as today when my friends are saying, "You keep spending so much time at that library people gonna think you homeless." I just think about how home is where the heart is and I tell them, "You know where to find me."

Recipes · · San Francisco

Leche para Nescafe

Pour a pint or more of milk into a saucepan and heat over low flame, stirring constantly until steaming hot. Remove from stove and empty into two mugs. Stir a heaping teaspoon of your favorite instant coffee into each. Add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg or chocolate to taste. Serves three.

Honest Stuff I Make Up · · San Francisco

Bachelorette Spoiler

Trista is going to pick the dolphin. According to a NY Daily News' gossip column, when the show's star, Trista Rehn, was recently stopped by police for speeding in Los Angeles, sitting next to her was none other than the as-of-yet unnamed dolphin she was kissing on the January 22 episode of the show.

Notes · · San Francisco

Now Five Years Later On-Or-Time After Time

It's raining again. After I arrived in San Francicso, it rained for like forty days before I was here for even four weeks. I want to say it doesn't get me down, but it does.

Yesterday was sunny though and I went for a long run in Golden Gate Park with a thumpalicious soudtrack of Eurodance versions of Eighties music—thank you, Devio. I was lost for about half of the jog and that's a beautiful thing since running in circles as I was, I ended up seeing more of the park in thirty minutes than I did in the thirteen years I lived here before.

Of course, it's always a joy revisiting the rose garden, the soccer field, the Green Tea Garden, Stow Lake, and of course, the Queen Wilhelmina Hose Garden out by the windmills. Who knew oversexed men like windmills so much?

I finished up at Ocean Beach. It was magic. Imagine my silhouette against the horizon with my arms raised triumphantly to the sky. It was sort of like that. Sort of like being a cancer survivor in a made-for-TV movie. But without the cancer or washed up celebrities.

Well, that's only part true. When the endorphins kicked in I did imagine a scenario involving Don Alonso Quixote and Sancho Panza. You see they have retired to a tiny village in the hills outside of Fresno that nobody knows about. It's a shame, really, that the locale is so obscure because it just so happens there is more Brutalist architecture per acre there than anywhere else on the planet. It's true! One afternoon, Lindsay Wagner and Erik Estrada are skydiving. A freak wind carries them off course and they land in the village. Eventually, they make their way to the travel agency Alonso and Sancho are operating from one of the shop fronts on the mezzanine level of the Tiny Village stock exchange. Lindsay and Erik are desperate to buy tickets back to their intended target of Burbank where they are to be the judges on a new reality game show teaming college wrestlers and cheerleading squads with couples experiencing fertility difficulties. Sadly, Quixote and Panza don't actually do any travel planning from the agency. They are strangers to this modern age and have bought blenders instead of computers. They make the actors protein shakes and send them on their way.

A long run on a sunny day is like MDMA no one can take away.

Honest Stuff I Make Up · · San Francisco

Dimwit Dimly Lit

I dreamt an episode of Friends. Sadly, my favorite Friend, Phoebe, isn't in it as the storyline follows my least favorite Friend, Chandler, and the shenanigans that result when he is made floor emergency leader at his office. Basically, he discovers he's able to set the circuit box to shut off power to his floor for thirty minute increments while he takes naps. Soon, all hell is breaking loose when Chandler comes back from one pasta lunch after another, pushes the button, and dozes off with a stupid grin on his face. Meanwhile his disoriented co-workers try to find him so he can distribute the emergency flashlights, but he's conked out. It's a hoot, really. Upon waking, I regret that the dream episode doesn't also include two of the other Friends—specifically Joey and his clone—stuck in an elevator because then it would most certainly be a sex dream too. Oh well. When I recount the dream to the person I wake up with, he says Ross is his least favorite friend: "I hate Ross like you hate Chandler." He also says my dream sounds more like an episode of Seinfeld. Then we lay in bed watching television and listening to the rain until the I Love Lucy "Mink Coat of Confusion and Anniversary Subterfuge" episode ends and we look at the time and feel like lazy dogs who need to be fed.

Tip of the hat to Jeff. Read his Friends episode.

Honest Stuff I Make Up · · San Francisco

Christmas with ABBA in The Castro

It is Christmas eve. I am in San Francisco, in the Castro, ordering a burrito (or “wrap” as they are now called) at one of the six million restaurants there. I order and they say it will be about five minutes. So I go outside and sit under a tree and look around at the other 599,999,999 restaurants and smoothie shops and I feel sad, thinking how magical the Castro was when I first visited San Francisco and thinking that now it’s like some huge food court at any suburban shopping mall. Where is all the activism? Where are the carefree drag queens with glittery cheeks and powdered mustaches running around dressed as nuns? Where is all the bad disco music? Indeed, where are the bottomless chaps!? All that remains of the old Castro, it seems at the moment, is the alcoholism and Walgreens. And even the Walgreens, drunk on its success, is reinventing itself. I start feeling bad about everything bad in the world. I feel so cynical. I start to doubt everything and for several minutes I even debate whether a burrito is going to satisfy *my* hunger. Yeah right! On my walkman I hear Desmond Tutu urging forgiveness. Can I find it in my heart to do that? It seems so hopeless I begin to weep. Boo hoo! I don’t want to go on feeling sorry for myself though, so I go inside and get a napkin, wipe my eyes and blow my nose and ask for my burrito. The employees look around for it and tell me that since I wasn’t there when it was ready they have donated it to the AIDS Foundation. They say they’ll make another. So I stand around waiting and ABBA walks in the door. Of course, everyone in the shop is going ga ga. However, there are only a few people in the shop, so the gaganess doesn’t ever reach a screeching level. Thank goodness. The boy behind the counter, when he stops laughing and turning to his co-workers and saying, “Ha, ha, ha! It’s Benny and Angetha and Bjorn and Anni-Frid, well, ha, ha, ha! It’s ABBA.” When he stops laughing and talking to his coworkers, he asks what the musical group has been up to. The bearded one answers in a Swedish accent that they’re working on some stuff that he thinks everyone is going to like very, very much. Agnetha turns to him and smiles and is about to say something when Patsy, the tall blonde lush from Absolutely Fabulous, walks in and snips, “Oh gawd, honestly, everywhere you go it’s more goddamned ABBA.” Benny laughs. Patsy laughs and she and Agnetha take each other’s hands and kiss the air next to each other’s cheeks and mutter things to each other but I can’t hear any of it. The boy at the counter asks if I’d like chips and salsa and I say yes and take my bag. ABBA is leaving too. Outside, the police, wearing sequined lavender uniforms with ridiculously large and shiny badges, have closed off the street to traffic. There’s a huge crowd gathered around a helicopter in front of the Castro theater. ABBA, all of a sudden wearing Ray-ban aviator style sunglasses, makes it’s way through the crowd and boards the helicopter. The two ABBA women start throwing condoms, bubble packets of lube, and colorful flyers to the cheering crowd. Benny on a megaphone is shouting, “Veee luv ju Zan Franzisco. Happee Holeedayz Zan Franzisco!” Come to zee Bjorn Again at zee Pleasuredome dis Zundee!” I look over toward the theater and Patsy is in the box office wearing a BASS name tag and processing charge cards. In the intersection at Market and Castro, a chorus of children with Rudolph noses and antlers is singing Chiquitita as the helicopter begins its ascent. The crowd below is smiling and waving and screaming back:

Happy Holidays!
Happy Holidays!

Notes · · San Francisco

The Lion Pub

Polo and Benson & Hedges. What is the sound of one collar popping?