Thursday, November 30, 2006

One Tree Hill of Dookie

It is probably not fair to snarkily critique a WB show geared toward preteens and it is also probably embarrassing to admit that I even had the channel turned to such a show. However, the other choices included: Some stupid and very aggressive game show led by Captain Kirk, a reality show about fat people, and Jericho which requires that you have been watching it since the season premiere, which I have not. So, while playing Solitaire on the computer, I did have One Tree Hill on in the background. And actually, I faced the same conundrum last week and had it on then too, so I kind of knew what was going on, not like you would need too much background to understand it. Suffice it to say it’s a show about chiseled high school basketball players and their pretty cheerleader girlfriends, all of whom speak and act as though they are thirty-five years old.

Well, apparently, the star player, a black haired hunk we’ll call Tyler (or Ty or Ty-Bo), owes money to some older bad guys who want it back. They have ordered him to throw a bunch of basketball games so that they can make the money through betting on the other team. How there would be a gigantic amount of cash running on a high school basketball team is not explained. These are bad guys. They can pull strings.

Well, Ty threw one of the games and now the team is about to play their last championship game. You can imagine how much is riding on this for every single player of the Benneton Buckaroos. Not to mention the coach, some vaguely recognizable old actor, who is about to retire. If his boys don’t win, he will go into retirement amid a black cloud of shame and failure which will surely lead to alcoholism, male prostitution, and cat abuse.

Ty has a best friend on the team, a thirty five year old blond fox we’ll call Cal (or Cal Bo or Coco). Coco knows about the bad men, and when Ty confesses that he plans to throw the final game, Coco flexes his jaw with emotion and tells Ty that he is going to have to fight him on the court because, gosh-damnit, he is not going to let everyone down like that!

The plot is further complicated by Ty’s wife (???) the sixteen-year-old cheerleader named Taylor who is pregnant with Ty’s baby. During the big game, the other cheerleaders find her on the floor of the girl’s bathroom, having mysterious cramps. No one seems shocked that she’s knocked up; they all rush her to the emergency room and fight with the nurse, telling her that she’s a bitch because she’s too ugly to have ever been a cheerleader. Back at our town, the game has started (meanwhile, nobody notices that all the cheerleaders are missing). It doesn’t matter anyway. There are no less than one hundred-thousand people packed into the high school gym—all fans of the Benneton Buckaroos.

I’m too tired now to go into all of it. Synopsis: they win the big game in the last millisecond (shock!) because Ty finds out he’s having a boy and his young wife innocuously says, It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, but I hope our baby boy doesn’t think you’re a loser. So, for the second half of the game, Ty plays his heart out and throws the ball to Coco who makes the three pointer. After the game, Coco finally realizes that he’s in love with this other blond cheerleader (they all look identical except they have slightly different hairdos) named Piper and they kiss with confetti falling on them and literally millions of fans cheering and swarming the gym floor around them.

Cut to: Ty and Taylor walking out of the gymnasium, arm in arm, happy and in love and ready to start their new life when suddenly, some bad guy swerves into them with his car, crashing into Taylor and knocking her unconscious. Then Coco comes running out, sees what has happened and has a heart attack. For real. I may have missed the episode where he has a heart arrhythmia or a hole in is heart, or a baby baboon transplanted heart, because otherwise, I haven’t heard of many teen athletes who have heart attacks out of nowhere. Maybe on the next show, we’ll learn that he’s secretly been snorting crank.

In and of itself, there’s nothing wrong with the show. The writing sucks, the plots are the worst kind of teen soap opera crap, and the characters are as interesting as hand puppets. But you have to expect that from the WB (another show I hate is The Gilmore Girls. I hate how the writing is supposedly quirky and funny, but sound smarmy, smug, and irritating).

The two things that make this particular show utterly despicable are the following:

1. In one scene, the ugly teenage announcer says something like, “We’d like to thank our sponsors, Chilis!” And the other ugly teenage girl sings, “I want my baby back, baby back, baby back ribs. Chilis!” Now, a less cynical person might read into this a more symbolic meaning—maybe something to do with the girl whose with child—maybe it’s a way of explaining her own fears and need to have her childhood back while at the same time fearing she may be losing her fetus (“I want my baby back”). Or, you could see it for what it was; the most disgusting example of product placement ever.

2. The entire show is really an MTV video for a different type of product—the fake-Indie bands whose soundtracks attempt to infuse the show with emotion. Every scene had some type of slo-mo-awful-pop-emo soundtrack either humming underneath it or played at full volume as the characters do things in slow motion like sink the final basket to win the game or kiss each other chastely with hands on face, or spit off a balcony. As the credits roll, a voice-over says, Tonight’s music was brought to you by The Afghan HeadWigs, the Black Eyed Susan’s, and Li’l Sad Man. CDs available in stores now.

But you should tune in next week.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Our Houses, Ourselves

We spent the holiday sanding the living and dining room floor. And when I say "we" i really mean "Shawn." I helped move the furniture and pounded the nails into the wood to avoid sparking a fire with the sander, and I helped sweep and sanded for about 15 minutes, but the rest of the time, I sat outside smoking cigarettes and solving Suduko puzzles until it was time to help him move something else. It's back breaking work, especially when you do the edging because you have to crouch over the whole time. Shawn did very well. He wore a mask and kept pretending he was an astronaut by breathing heavily through it (or he might have been pretending to be Darth Vader, I'm not sure).

Above is the living room before--not our decor, but the decor of the previous tenants.
Below are the floors, half not sanded, and half sanded but with no polyurethane

And here is our beautiful new room!

And here I am, not working.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Eat Your Turkey and Shut Up

We are not going to any family outings this week or weekend in celebration of the pilgrims eating a meal with the Indians after invading their continent closely followed by the subsequent slaughter of thousands of Native Americans. Instead, we are at Rocket Cat right now--Shawn using my laptop to research how to repair squeaky floors and I using the coffee shop computer and procrastinating any fiction writing. Tonight, we have reservations for a prix fixe (sp?) dinner at Astro Plane. You get appetizers, entrees, dessert, and coffee for a mere $36 each. Then tomorrow, we will venture to Home Depot to rent a sander and scary the living BeJesus out of the cats by shaving off part of our hardwood floors. I have this great hardcover home book that tells you how to do almost anything to your house short of building your own out of Lincoln Logs. I "oh" and "ah" over the projects, but can never imagine actually hot-gluing embroidered daisies to a handmade shower curtain, no matter how cute the result. Most of the projects are like how to paint a room, how to build a desk, how to put in track lighting, but the chapter called "soft decorating" explains how to make your own sheets, a hanging shoe caddy, pillowcases, a down comforter, seat cushions, tablecloths, etc. But why would you spend ten hours and a good amount of money to measure, cut out, and sew a shoe caddy when you can go to Target and buy one in less than 30 minutes? I suppose it's the satisfaction of DIY, but I am often too impatient for that.

Jess and Scott came in last night and we went to eat at Pura Vida, a byob in Northern Liberties where I had maybe the best penne pasta with shrimp in my life. We talked and talked and talked and drank wine and Jess gave us a yummy smelling candle for a housewarming gift and two pretty decorative pieces from New Hampshire, a belated b-day present. We must go visit them in Pittsburgh soon. It's only a four hour drive; just a little more than driving to State College. We can compare houses and I'm sure we will be jealous.

Okay, have a good Thanksgiving. Right now, I am thankful to be able to sit here with a warm cup of coffee in the company of fellow coffee drinkers with Shawn a few feet away.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I Am a Widowed Bride

Shawn has been gone to Syracuse for work since Tuesday and I remember now what it's like to be single. The up side--I get the whole bed. The down side--no Shawn and no one to play with Ernesto and so he walks on my head and chirps in my ear when he wants me to wake up at 8 a.m. Today, he stepped on my face. It worked; I got out of bed. I'm teaching Ernesto to fetch using this little rubbery mouse we bought in CA. I've been reading this book about how baby animals learn, and the author talks about how, with the right reward system and reinforcement, animals can obey commands. She also writes about how animals learn by watching other animals perform tricks. I know this must be partially true because Henri knows how to sit for a treat and it only took me about three times to get Ernesto to do the same. So, Henri was watching me throw this mouse back and forth and watching Ernesto showered with praise when he returned with the mouse, but then I tried to get Henri to go after it and he was frightened by the mouse and ran away. Not a shock.

Had this story accepted in a journal some time early in the year but I forgot who took it... I would periodically conduct Internet searches to see if it was published online and never found it until today, when I got an email from Passages North. Oh, yeah. That's the one. Some day, I hope someone will pay me for this stuff. It's extremely gratifying to have a story published, but what's the end goal? No one is going to just discover me because I've appeared in Permafrost or whatever. I don't think editors do Web searches specifically for my name just to see what the hell I've been up to. So, must figure out how to send out a short story collection. I have sent it to a couple of contests and was a finalist for one, but that's so competive and you have to pay for them to read it. How do you get a collection published? Please send literary agents my way.

The barrista at Rocket Cat is being very nice to me today. I am suspicious.

Did a little writing yesterday here at RC and then last night for like an hour---got about 2,700 words on another Evie piece called "Evie's Neurosis Explained." I don't now know what to do with it and was thinking today that I should write a story about an adjunct teacher at a small college who ends up having an affair with one of her twenty-one year old undergrad students. It wouldn't be tawdry; it would be sad. Like, I picture a scene where she finds herself at a frat party, standing in line for keg beer with a plastic cup clutched in her hand and surrounded by drunken young girls in tank tops and guys in baseball hats saying, Dude! I'd love to call it "Student Body" but I believe that title is taken by a dumb movie, most likely starring Tara Reid's breasts. My problem is that I'm too frenetic. I start a story and then the next time I sit down to write, I begin a different one and so on and so on and so on.

(A guy just walked in wearing paint splattered jeans with a pencil tucked behind his ear. He is an artist. Another girl in here has really horrible dyed green hair. How about instead of fiction writing, I just continue to catalog the various hipsters who walk in such as this super tall thin guy in a puffy jacket covered in black and white cartoons and fur hood? I suspect he is an artist as well).

Okay, I just spent the last half hour adding some of my older stories to "Amazing Adventures..." Doing this has provided an excellent way to procrastinate any actual ficiton writing. Okay, here's the deal. I either have to write for 45 minutes or until I have 2,000 words and then I have to do about 500 words later on today. DEAL OR NO DEAL?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Saturday Report from the Rocket Cat

Not as many hipsters in here today as there usually are. The fashion item for today is men in black knit caps. I spy four of them right now (there are only about a dozen people present). Also a couple of ironically ugly sweaters (I'm hoping they're ironic). My least favorite barrista is here. She never, ever, never smiles, wears a blank, expressionless face, moves with absolutely no sense of urgency so that you wait for a minimum of ten minutes to get a cup of coffee even when there's just one person ahead of you, and uses the least amount of words possible to complete the transaction no matter how nice you are to her:


B: Yes?
Customer: Could I please have a cup of coffee for her?
B: $1.25.

I'm sure if she could manage it, she would just stand looking at you until you pointed at what you wanted, thus requiring no real interaction at all.

Here's another exchange Liz and I once witnessed with her.

(Confused man standing at counter).

B: Yes?
Man: much are your muffins?
B: (looking at the sign where the prices are posted and pointing to illustrate the man's utter stupidity): $1.75.
Man: Okay...
B: So?
Man: How about...I'll have a bagel.
B: (wordlessly gives him his bagel): $1.85.
Man: (pays her. Looking at the change): Oh, could I get change for $1?
B: We don't give change here.
Man: I just really need to make a phone call.
B: There's this thing? I don't know if you've ever heard of it. It's called a bank.
Man: Oh...
B (turning to me): Yes?

Now, I understand that it must be irritating to have indecisive customers, and to wait on people in general sucks, but she could at least refrain from being a dick. I'm actually nervous about asking for a refill because all I have is a $20 bill and I'm scared she'll say, Don't you have anything smaller, for the love of God??!

I'm going to try to get some writing done today, but it is difficult because I can get on-line here and that makes me want to procrastinate, you know, to spend three hours downloading custom content for Sims even though I seldom play it anymore. I may have mentioned that Shawn created a household of three cats--Ernesto, Henri, and Gretel. It makes me sad to play that house because then I miss Gretel.

I am signing up for an advanced fiction course in the spring semester. I hope this commitment will force me to write something decent. Three of the five stories I wrote in the other workshops at Temple all got accepted for publication, and so I just need to put in the time in (this is the secret to writing that we learned in grad school: "Ass in chair"). I would also love it if someone approached me to publish a collection of short stories, but that just doesn't happen. You have to send your manuscript out and though I have done that three or four times, it's always been to contests which are very competitive.

Am reading Augusten Burroughs' latest book, and he has this great chapter about how writing saved his life. He wrote Sellevision in one week because he spent hours and hours writing it. I know that when I start something, it starts to fill my thoughts (a much more satisfying feeling that thinking obsessively about my job or the lives of my Sims). My favorite thing is when I am not writing at the moment but something occurs to me for the story and I absolutely have to run back to the page to get it down.

Another book I recently finished is Random Family. It's a nonfiction book about kids growing up in the Bronx and it will break your heart. You only have to walk around my neighborhood to see that Fishtown has similar problems. Leaving my house today, I encountered a woman (though she looked about fifteen) and her little girl (who looked about eight). She was wheeling a huge cart filled with laundry; about four full duffel bags and the little girl was trying to lug a heavy bottle of detergent. I offered to carry the detergent to the laundromat and on that short walk, I learned that she had four kids, three by one dad, and one by the other dad, that she just recently started working again, that she was trying to save up enough money to buy a car, and that the second dad was a deadbeat, and that she's been dating the father of the first kid for nine months and he is the one currently left alone at home watching the other 3 kids. The laundromat was small, dirty, and stuffed with people.

Nute was back the other day continuing to hack away at his house by knocking down walls, tearing off wallpaper, and basically gutting the place. He told us how we had missed some serious drama while we were away on vacation.

Apparently, two teenage girls knocked on Haley's mom's door. They were sent to collect money owed to their mother by Haley's mom. The two women used to be friends, but had a falling out. H.M. stood on the front step, yelling, Get away from here! Your mother is a f-ing slut! Youse are all outsiders here! One of the girls said, Uh, we live two blocks away. HM's said, Outsiders! Tell your slut of a mother to come here herself if she wants the money. A little while later, a man (the friend's husband or boyfriend showed up to get the money). HM let him in and a few minutes later, he and HM's boyfriend came flying through the front door, punching each other and rolling on the ground. HM boyfriend was shouting, You're worse than a (derogatory term for an African-American)! You like a dirty Iraqi terrorist! Nute went over to break it up and the guy left, only to show up a few hours later, staggering drunk, to retrieve his truck, at which point, HM called the cops and told them that he was harassing him. The man was arrested for public drunkenness. HM: 1 point. The Outsiders: 0.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Andrew Firestone still has not contacted me

And I thought we had a connection! I was sure he was going to give me a rose!

Here's the extent of our conversation: I was on the floor petting his dog before I knew whose dog it was. The dog was really sweet and just laying there like a fallen deer. Andrew said, Yeah, be careful, he's a real killer. I said, Yeah, he's super aggressive. Then Andrew said something about the tile, how it wouldn't stay up without him or something. That's it. That is my entire brush with faux fame except for later when I asked him what the dog's name is and another time when I mentioned that my notes on the different wines were unintelligible. He said, Well, that's good. That means you're having fun. And yet somehow, it just felt right...It just felt like we shared something meaningful, you know? Luckily, I was au natural--no make-up, ill fitting shirt, baggy jeans, wild hair, and pit stains. I was my real self, the self I never want to be in front of anyone remotely attractive (except for Shawn--he's used to it). But what about my inner beauty, Andrew? Well, that's pretty rough as well, most of the time.

I've tried watching The Bachelor Rome but I just don't like the guy. He's all haircut. Andrew was at least funny, even if they did make him say the same stupid things each week. On the very first episode: "This is the hardest decision I've had to make yet." Next show, "No, wait. This is the hardest decision I have ever made." Following week: "I cannot believe how very hard this decision is to make." I think they just start mixing up the same words. "Believe how hard this making of the decision is for me." And there is no Jen on this show like in III. We all liked Jen. We rooted for her. The last three girls were: a religious virgin, a crazy bride who already has her wedding dress, and a blond girl with the personality of a Pez dispenser. I think he nixed the crazy one.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Where, where, where do I start?

I cannot possibly recount everything we did in California since we went to about 5 kajillion places. Highlights, only in the order upon which I remember them:

1. Aquarium in Monterey. We saw lots of otters frolicking and playing with balls and penguins standing in the faux sun with their beaks in the air. I touched a bat ray and wasn't stung. The most beautiful exhibit had to be the jelly fish--even though they gross me out a little because they are so alien looking. Do they have eyes? Brains?

2. Sea lions. Shawn kept calling them fat Henri's. In fact, any animal we saw that was even slightly fat, he compared to a Henri.

3. Trying on clothes at Buffalo Exchange in the Haight district. I know that is totally lame to go a Buffalo Exchange when they have them here, but I am in love with thrift store bargains, as you know.

4. Seeing the big fat round moon through the telescope in San Fran.

5. HDTV (sorry--shallow again, but we got to watch several episodes of the new Laguna Beach and another show called True Life where the kids had gay parents and this other one featured three horrific brides).

6. Riding the trolley cars, taking bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge and stopping to see how effective it would be to commit suicide by jumping, taking the ferry--all the modes of public transportation.

7. The Elephant Pharmacy in Berkeley where you can rent movies and buy slightly overpriced good-for-you organic items.

8. The Wacky store in L.A., ditto Dave Eggers pirate story in the Mission, ditto the World Emporium thing somewhere else (Shawn would remember where. He almost bought wind chimes and outdoor lights and a dining room table. I almost bought chocolates with kitty cat heads engraved on them. Go figure).

9. Dinner with Chris and Liz and Chris' brother Steve and Shawn in L.A. Best food I had on the entire trip. I also sort of enjoyed going to the bar afterwards--same place where a scene in Swingers was filmed (see #1 under "didn't like" for why I wasn't having the most fun ever and enjoying the aging lounge singers).

10. Having a glass of very cheap and slightly bad wine with Zena at 4 p.m. outside of the same cafe in L.A. where some famous authors used to go to write at the litter round tables. We were approached by a swaying guy in his late 50's who wanted to talk to us. Zena told him we were having a very important conversation. I said, Yes, we're both pregnant and trying to decide what to do about it. He continued standing there. I said, On top of which, we're alchoholics and drug addicts. He said, Huh. Who are the fathers? I said, We have no idea. Could be any number of people, really. He then advised us to think long and hard before we had the children. Finally, he left.

11. Our lovely, lovely shower in L.A. that had two showerheads--one that sprayed above your head and one that sprayed at waist height. The room also came equipped with a gorgeous basket of lotion, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, a sewing kit, Q-tips, and a shower cap.

12. Meeting the real live true bachelor from Season 3 and our favorite, Andrew Firestone at his family's Firestone Vineyard where we went for wine tasting. I didn't want to go (had no idea it who was associated with it), but Shawn insisted and we walked in and I noticed this really cute, familiar looking guy and then the woman pouring the wine told us who he was. I immediately became self-conscious and tried to hide it by refusing to look in his direction, as though he would interpret this as not being star struck even as Shawn was obviously trying to take the Bachelor's photo with me on the side. We met Andrew's lovely dog, Tucker and I looked like a goofball b/c I kept talking about and petting the dog and insisting I wanted to get my picture taken with Tucker because I had earlier been positively reinforced by the Bachelor who spoke to me when I was first petting the dog. Just afterwards, we went to the smaller winery next door (b/c it was a package deal) and met this absolutely adorable woman who was pouring the wine and she turned out to be his girlfriend.

13. This would go under the bad category if it didn't have a better outcome. I lost my cell phone on the beach at one of the places and the next morning, Shawn said we should go back and at least look for it. I was like, No way we're going to find it on the flipping beach. We went anyway and he dialed the phone. A guy sitting on the peer about ten feet away from him answered. He'd found the phone earlier and picked it up--even tried to call some of the numbers to see if he could figure out the owner. Shawn gave him $3.

14. People watching and making snide remarks about everyone in the room to make ourselves feel better for not being more famous or beautiful in L.A.

15. The Japanese restaurant we ate in on the last night in CA. Shawn begged me not to order chicken for the 100th. Instead, I got cow tongue. They brought it out along with a little mini fire thing and you cooked it yourself to your liking.

16. The Musee Mecanique where we put quarters into slot machines and saw old mechanical toys and machines and we also went into a photo booth and did that thing where you take four pics in a row and I liked every single one of them.

17. Even though it's touristy, I liked the Hearst Castle. All I kept thinking though was wow, this would make an awesome Sim house!

18. The boardwalk in LA with all the crazy people and performers and the veggie burger we ate there.

19. Driving up the winding streets of Beverly Hills and speculating who lived behind the many iron gates. At first, we were going to do a mini tour recommended by Lonely Planet, but then we realized they had stuff like, A House Where Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson Used to Live In. I was hoping we'd see Jennifer Aniston jogging or Angelina Jolie doing yoga and blood sacrifices on her front lawn, but no such luck. We did see Slash, the guitarist from Guns & Roses standing on the street for a photo shoot, but that's about it for the celebrity sightings.

20. The Lonely Planet California guidebook which we followed like it was the Bible and it only ever once led us astray (see #5 under "didn't like").

21. The monarch butterflies Zena took me to see--she explained that they only rest on three continents in the world at certain times of the year and so we were lucky to see them.

22. The apt. in San Francisco with its claw-footed tub even though I could never have such a tub because I know I would fall every time I stepped out of it since the sides are really high and you have to practically straddle them to get out.

23. Shawn teaching me how to play Suduko. It's very absorbing.

24. The hippie coffee shop where they say hippie things to you on the way out. The woman said to me, You are courageous. I was very proud of myself for being so brave.

Didn't like:

1. Tripping over my inappropriate uncomfortable sandals on the way the the restaurant in LA. and falling on the street so that I now have two skinned knees--the last time I had skinned knees was in seventh grade. I look like I had a roller skating accident. I was so so so embarrassed b/c I did that in front of Chris' cool brother and looked like an idiot.

2. Shawn having a cold the entire time and having to hock up snot every ten-fifteen seconds.
3. Feeling in LA like everybody sizes everybody else up with narrowed eyes to see if they are recognizable stars, agents, writers, producers, millionaires, or duds.

4. The aggressiveness of the homeless people. That sounds so horrible. It is horrible and bourgeois but particularly in San Francisco and Berkeley, there were tons of homeless men. At one point, a homeless guy jumped out at me from behind a tree, crying, Boo! I screamed and said, Please don't ever do that again. He apologized. Did he think we would then give him money?

5. Walking at nearly a ninety degree angle from the ground up the hills in San Fran.

6. Our hotel in Cambria (?) that was more like a hostel because there weren't bathrooms in any of them except for the luxury suite. We decided to take that one (for $119). Absolutely the only reason it was a suite was because of the bathroom--everything else was crap.

7. The floor in Santa Cruz. Ditto the crack addict who showed up the next morning wanting a haircut. Ditto letting a pet rat crawl on me--that was an ick later because at the time, I was trying to act all cool like a rat on my neck was normal. Later, I had to go into the bathroom b/c I was having PTSD.

8. The chattiness of some of the people in CA. That's when I realized that I am truly an East Coaster now, because I don't like trying to make small talk with strangers. The kid at the coffee shop would not stop making inane comments for the forty-two seconds I was in there. I learned that he was from New Jersey, that he thought it was a beautiful day, that the oranges for the juice were the freshest ever, that I could have soy milk if I wanted, that he would pour the coffee out and give me another flavor if I didn't like the hazelnut, and that he hoped I'd have a great day. I was almost nostalgic for the bitch who works at Rocket Cat.

9. Being delayed in the Ohio airport for four and a half hours on the way home. Same with the three hour time difference which caused serious jet lag on the way out there and on the way back.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Santa Cruz= Sea Lions, Monarch butterflies, and Surfers

Now we're in Santa Cruz--staying at Zena's friend's house with their two cats and rat named Sparky (?). One cat is a fat gray animal with one blind eye and the other cat is MIA--she's a Henri type cat--very shy and easily upset. Zeus, the gray cat, is a love. I suggested they buy an eye patch for him. My suggestion was not received with much enthusiasm. Zena and I spent most of the afternoon driving down a highway with the ocean and cliffs on one side. I told Zena that I was glad she was at the wheel. She asked me why and I explained that I would surely veer off a cliff if I were in charge. We stopped at a Mexican restaurant where we had good tacos. Okay, now we're leaving for dinner...Tomorrow, Monterey.

I don't care about the view

What is wrong with me? I like a nice view--I prefer a nice sweeping, star-studded sky with a full moon to, let's say, looking out the window to see a dumpster and a brick wall. At the same time, I am not like Shawn who will climb a hill to see the view of the seven sisters Victorian houses in San Fran or who took 503 pics of the skyline from various angles. I do like a view if it includes animals. We went to the waterfront the other day and stood watching the fat blobby mermaid sea lions bark at each other and bask in the sun on floating rafts near the dock. I could've watched them for a long time. Yesterday, we rented bikes and rode them up the hill to the Golden Gate bridge and then rode all the way across it. That was beautiful and amazing. I wondered before we got on the bridge if you could really kill yourself by jumping in b/c it didn't look all that high, but once we were on top of it, Shawn said, See what I mean? And yes, you look down and the water is a far, far away pane of dark swirling glass. We rode down to Sausilito and then took the ferry back, passing alongside Alcatraz. I stared at it thinking, Wow, I can't believe Al Capone was kept here...Later, I realized that he never was. Where did I get that idea? Another bike ride to drop the bikes off and then we took a bus trip to the Mission to see Dave Eggers pirate store/writing workshop for kids place at 826 Valencia. The only part of San Fran we didn't see was the Castro, though we did spot a couple of well-dressed queens.

Okay, must go. We're driving to Santa Cruz today with Zena and then onward to LA on Friday. I may not get to write again and I miss it.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Like, How Do you Feel about California So Far?

i've not been writing about this vacation at all--we've only been here one night and one day, but I still feel bad about not recording something--not writing down the flight here, the flight where I sat for 5 hours next to a very large woman. The seats are small as it is, but even worse when you're crunched next to Large Marge. Shawn said he felt like he had arms like a brontosaurus, you could only make small arm movements. We made it. Zena picked us up at the airport and then we drove into Berkeley--love that city--lots of hippies, lots of green. Zena showed us the campus and we took an elevator in Barrowes ? Stepped into the elevator with an older man who was seriously irritated by the fact that we pushed the fourth floor button instead of seven. As we exited the elevator, I waved my hands in the air, "omigod, I have so much research to do!" The professor didn't notice.

Zena lives in an awesome apartment with hard wood floors and bulit in cabinets. We had wine at Zena's and a shot of tequilla (I had whiskey) and then we went to get coffee and then after walking through campus, we stopped at Free Speech and saw a huge squirrel eating a banana. We went to a bar and had a beer and went to look for CDs at Amoeba and then went to Jupiter to eat pizza. Zena was almost picked up by an older man named Paul. He took her email. Back to Zena's and watched Fargo--one of my favorite movies and fell asleep on the fold out sofa and slept well.

Shawn woke up early and took a walk while Zena and I drank coffee. Had breakfast at this cute coffee shop and then Shawn and I took a trolley down to the waterfront (someone on the trolley sang "Rice a Roni" which was embarrassing. At the waterfront, we went to the Musea Mechinque where we put quarters into slots to watch antique mechanical carnival machines. My fortune from the grandma fortune teller machine told me I shouldn't travel too much. I won a contest in a firefighter machine and then we took our pictures in one of those booths. Next, my favorite part of the day--the sea lions. Oh, have you ever seen sea lions up close? They are cute and fat and clumsy and loud. They loll on these floating plank boards, drying in the sun and barking into the sky--fighting each other and scratching themselves with their fins.

We're leaving soon, so I'll try to write more later.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

How did the party go?

Well, about ten people showed up, maybe 15? Not many. No one wants to come to Fishtown because it's hard to get cabs from our neighborhood and also because Haley lives across the street (my mom e-mailed me today to tell me not to be too specific in my blogs b/c Haley's mom or someone else might read my journal and tell on me. This is why I never write about work or about anything too too personal. Now I am being a defiant daughter). After I saw Padhraig in the coffee shop, we drove to pick up Liz and Luke at the bus station while Shawn went across state lines to buy beer and wine and alcohol to make punch. Then we went shopping for food and for costume ideas and then back to my fav place in the entire world, Circle Thrift. I was making fun of Padhraig b/c when he was claiming he could go as a French aristocrat and lo and behold, he did it. He found a white George Washington wig, a ruffled shirt, a tie, and leather leggings. If we had prizes, he would've won. I'll get Shawn to send pics from the party. I wore a blue sequined dress and devil ears and a tail. Get it? I would've been cute except for at the last second, I added all of this Halloween make-up--white powder and black around my eyes and blood. Who knows why. Shawn shaved off his beard and became unrecognizable to everyone. He went as a half-dressed, one armed Ken doll. More later, with photos.