Friday, December 21, 2007

Deck the balls

It's over! Finally! The holiday party season is kaput. I didn't think I'd make it all the way, but I did. Last night was the last one: The Tricycle Records Holiday Bash at the Rickshaw. About 99 percent of the attendees wore all black. Plus they all had black hair and drank black beer (Guinness), and the name of one of the bands was even The Blacks! Crazy.

But not as crazy as the Odopod Holiday Party. We're talking Stallion Massage Zone crazy! Here's a pic of me (Santa) and Stallion righter after we discussed Swedish vs. Shiatsu. Can't remember which won out.

The whole idea was that Stallion's Massage Zone would be so terrifying (you had to take off ALL your clothes for him to perform his "magic") that no one would dare take part. Even with the striking leather vest and the new age background music, some people still were brave -- or drunk -- enough to give it a try. Here's Yuri, who I believe was more drunk than brave.

Go back a couple more days and you've got the Hut Holiday party, which featured a serious heavy metal cover band playing. How serious? They kept yelling, "If the management will let us play more, we will!" The management, naturally, ran and hid, so they couldn't be asked if it was okay. I tried to get into the spirit of the night, right down to the old-school Pats hat Tim gave me.

And then there was the Rickshaw's official holiday dance party w/ me and Alan DJing the French pop (well, Alan DJed a lot of things, only some of which were French pop) and the Devil-ettes dancing around. I don't have any photos because I was, um, busy. You know, working and stuff. And then at the end of the night I got that crazy propostion. Crazy! As soon as I heard it, I thought, "I love this town!"

Here's a holiday Grumpy Guy for you. See you in the new year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Happy Hollandaise

So we had our Rickshaw Holiday party last week. It was your typical office party. We all stood around the water cooler, which had been dosed with acid, hoping that our regional manager would take a few sips, while the lousy portable CD player spat out "Do They Know It's Christmas" over and over. Eventually, Hugo threw up in the trash can, and Sally went home with the date rapist from accounting.

No, wait, that must've been a bad dream. We actually all got driven around town in Rickshaw pedi-cabs!

You can't see it, but we're tossing donuts while cruising Market Street here.

And then we went sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge. Magnolia tried to kill a seal with a whiskey bottle top, but luckily he outsmarted her.

Because no Rickshaw holiday party is complete without a few bruises, we headed off to Golden Gate Park for some archery. Now, you may be thinking, "How can you get bruises from shooting an arrow at a target?" Well, let's just say it's possible for those amongst us who are double jointed. Or something.

And then, as the sun was going down, we landed at Tommy's Mexican Joint, or whatever it's called, for more booze and vittles. Here Brett is rocking the shocker.

I'm not exactly sure how, but we all made it home alive. Cam and I sat in his living room for an hour before I could even find my way to my car. This year's party will be hard to top, for sure. Christopher may have to hire hot air balloons next year.

Friday, December 7, 2007

This nogtini's for you

The holiday party season continues! On Wednesday night I went with Paul to the Yelp bash at Yerba Buena. Since Paul's girlfriend was performing as part of a hula hoop troupe, I was able to avoid the enormously long line by grabbing their boombox and slipping in with them. Smooth, I know. I didn't even have to wear fuzzy boots or glitter (not that there's anything wrong with those).

Those ladies sure could do some amazing things with a hula hoop. That said, the other troupe of furry booted girls with raver balls looked like a Hollywood ad rep's version of Burners.

Anyhoo, inside there was top shelf booze and little nibbles of food from cool restaurants and a hip-hop dance troupe that did a lot of grinding to songs about pussy. And, um, an exhibit that had something to do with the Dalai Lama. Ah, San Francisco, city of dichotomies.

It's funny how sometimes I just can't get into the spirit of things. The DJ was playing decent Top 40 hits, the nogtinis were burning a hole in my throat, the cupcakes were meshing well with the meatballs, but I just couldn’t get THERE. Wed 2.0 is a good thing, and it was nice to catch a little taste of that over-the-top Internet energy. But something was missing.

Then he arrived.

He must've been a VP in Sales or maybe Head of Online Gaming Opportunities (is there such a job?), but he was obviously part of the company. Otherwise, why would you kill the dance floor by letting a guy play the guitar riffs to Nirvana, Black Sabbath, and Sade tunes over a DJ's beats? Or have him sing Journey choruses without even a smidge of irony? Unless it was performance art. Whatever it was, it made the night. Pushed it over into the realm of the sublimely idiotic. Genius.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Women and children first

Back in another lifetime, on another Internet site, we used to write Weekend Roundups every Monday. In honor of those more innocent times, here's my wrap up, a bit late and extended.

Friday: Had a boring date that I was 45 minutes late to. Stupid highway traffic -- can someone please explain how traffic jams work? You're on the bridge moving 5 MPH and then for no reason you're doing 40. Someone could get a Nobel Prize for figuring this out.

The bad date wasn't the woman's fault. Well, a little bit. She asked two questions in two hours, and even then she didn't seem too interested in the answers. Maybe she was hungover from the Van Halen concert the night before.

Anyway, then I went to see Continental's last show. There was free post-wedding beer and strange projections and lots of French air-conditioning. Oh yeah, and cool instrumental rock. RIP, Continental! I will still make sweet love to you.

Next, Paul, Brent, Marlo and I checked out the big disco party at Mezzanine. It was crazy packed, with maybe 72% of the people in costume -- either silly disco outfits or authentic outfits that were kind of silly. (It was a thin line, and I don't mean the kind you need a spoon for.) Escort -- an 18-person live disco band that I saw in Brooklyn this summer and is fronted by Ryan's sisters's boyfriend, a nerdy guy named Eugene -- was pretty dang awesome, even if the sound truly sucks there. But Paul and I agreed that disco doesn't really excite us, although I make an exception for Loose Joints' "Is It All Over My Face?"

Saturday! I started it off by getting a finger in the eye, which is still red and bloody looking, while playing basketball. Then I helped Cam and Kristin move into my old place, across from Karen and Thaddeus. Elka yelled at me a little, so it was just like old times. Ha ha. Oh, and it was really nice to see Ozzie again. What a great dog she is.

After dinner with Jake and Caroline at Bombay, I went to the NaNoWriMo Thank God It's Over Party. I had a way better time than Laura, who wrote about it on her blog, which you should read. Of course, it helped that I didn't get hit on by Bill, the scary septegenarian who got his head caught in a box at the party a couple years back. And I got several compliments on my two excerpts -- one about the difference between making out at 15 and 40, and the other inspired by the true story of a guy who mugged a family but only got wine and hugs.

When that shindig had cooled down, Chris and I headed off to Casa Lohnes for game night. I wish I had pics of Pants Off Guitar Hero, but you'll just have to imagine Tim and Matt rocking out with their boxers out. We also played Thumper, which I hadn't done since college. Naturally, the game devolved into crotch thrusting and boob clutching. Hilarious!

Let's see. Sunday, I saw Lust, Caution with Laura. That movie is probably 20-30 minutes too long, but it's still way better than critics have been saying. It helps to have a super hot girl trying to seduce Tony Leung, but also there's plenty of intrigue and tragic blah blah. I mean, you thought you lost your virginity under trying circumstances. Youch.

Then, last night Cam took me up to Petaluma for a brewery party (can't say which one, due to ABC nosiness). We rode a bus with 30 very excited, very poor 25-year-olds. Free booze! Free wieners! Free cheesecake! Free beer-infused chocolate mousse! Yes, add those things all together, and you get a bleery bus ride home. Half the kids were vomitatious, one girl made the kind of overture that must be super-embarrassing today, and then there was the guy from the Zeitgeist who yelled "I hate you all! Stay away from my bar!" at the end of the trip. Mmm, beer.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Whatever it is, I'm against it

Last week, I went home for Thanksgiving for the first time in nearly 20 years. It was pretty sweet: I got to rake some leaves one day and shovel snow the next. I so love that first snow. Or the second one. Or any that happen when you're driving at night. To this day, it still reminds me of the POV of the Milennium Falcon.

For the actual T-day, I was at my dad's, where my stepmom Ellen made chicken, turkey, Cornish game hens, and lamb (although, sadly, not together, as they'd never heard of neither a Turkducken or a Turhenenamb). We worked off the meat bonanza by playing a little two-on-two basketball in the driveway, where I was vanquished for the first time by my 25-year-old brother Joel. (And he took me inside over and over. How embarrassing! I am already plotting strategy -- and getting them a new ball -- for Christmas.) Here's Joel with his wonderful Brazilian wife, Raquel (which is pronounced "Hackel" with a hard, gritty H), who showed that she could give as well as take the fouls of 13-year-old Micky.

Almost 6-year-old Yi Rong continues to be the cutest kid ever. Micky has become obsessed with quoting the Marx Brothers, and she's followed suit, saying out of the blue, "You gotta da fish?" (It's from Animal Crackers, as is today's title. See it immediately, if you haven't already.) I may have to adopt me one of these suckers myself.

One thing I noticed, once again, upon coming back was that they have way better insulation on the East Coast. This morning I laid in bed, wondering which window I'd left open, only to realize that it was just the naturally porous walls letting the cold air in. I guess I wasn't the only one that forgot about the changing weather though. Check out this sweater that Ellen left outside to dry:

I went to see Dan in Real Life while I was there. I was disappointed to find out that there was nothing in the film about my real life. No lesbian moms asking me if I'd vomited because she'd heard me "hurrying to the bathroom" one night (I'd told her about discovering the wonders of Kombucha after blowing chunks in the woods a couple years back). No friends that pour salad dressing on their already greasy pepperoni-beneath-the-cheese pizza. No sheer amazement at the fact that my mother got wireless DSL in her home. And no "No Loitering" signs in graveyards.

The only bad thing about the trip was seeing my parents get that little bit older. My mom had a hip replacement this year and she had to stop three times on the walk to downtown. And my dad, for the first time ever, is showing a desire to slow down and work less, which isn't a bad thing but it is pretty bizarre. He moves more tenderly, he forgets more (the running joke is he keeps renting movies he's already seen), and he sits on the couch a lot more. It's a slippery slope from here, but at least they're both happy now. Got to enjoy them while we can.

Or maybe it's just the air is too clean there. For the life of me, I kept forgetting tons of stuff, like what other movies beside Unbearable Lightness of Being and Blue that Juliette Binoche had been in (dad didn't recognize her), or what the name of Half Nelson was (dad likes teacher movies), or what Latin genre is the next big DJ thing (electro-cumbia, according to some). Well, at least I still have my hair.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Love, Forty

Some random thoughts:

The only thing worse than a clown with a puppet is a clown using a puppet to perform magic.

Rollerderby is really fun to watch, even if there aren't enough Mexican cowboys in the audience. (They were all going next door to see the live cumbia or something.) The program for the match I went to featured an ad for a dentist with a picture of one of the girl's disgustingly mangled teeth and gums. They aren't fooling around out there. Also not fooling around: The tiki bar we went to, where they served drinks in small, medium, and larges -- and the medium was as big as my head. San Jose is a trip, man.

Also, the only thing worse than being a regular smoker? A coal miner. I saw one of their lungs, and it was the size of a grapefruit and the color of a goth girl's leather skirt. Nasty.

If you want a sweet French farce with a funny premise -- self-absorbed guy makes a bet that he can produce one single pal -- you should rent My Best Friend. Who knew Daniel Auteil would turn into such a comedian in his later years?

And, criminy, have you seen Lars and the Real Girl yet? It's so good! I really didn't expect a film about a guy who sends away for a life-like blow-up doll to be so affecting, but it was. I want Ryan Gosling to get an Oscar, just to hear him thank his co-star. Also, has Patricia Clarkson ever been in a bad movie? Or been bad in a movie?

So, my novel this year -- year 8 out of 9, save for the New Zealand year -- is about a grumpy guy who moves back to rural Vermont after his mom dies, giving up his career as a chef to sit around and mope, occasionally giving tennis lessons and digging graves. He hasn't dated anyone in three years because he's too something (see today's comic), and then he meets two women. One is a crunchy hippie lady who just started giving Eye Gazing seminars, and the other is a stuntwoman who's visiting the town with a movie crew. Will he overcome his own issues? If so, which will he pick? And will she then pick him? Did anyone see Manny Ramirez picking his nose during the World Series?

Friday, November 2, 2007


I worked at the Rickshaw for Halloween. Megan had the great idea of a unified costume front with superhero capes for all the staff, with shirts that had our abbreviated names on the front (OGM, CW2, CX, etc). I was the only one that got a shirt decal-ed, which meant that people all night were asking me who I was.

If I had tried to explain that I was Ruxx pretending to be the Great American Hero, it would've been super-confusing (ha ha). So I just said Superdan, which sounded rather lame.

Here's Magnolia as the Dancefloor Avenger.

Christopher was imitating this nutty Cadillac margarita guy from Bhangra.

Bobby was sporting mesh and Corry had, well, let's just say one girl asked if she could stare at her cleavage for a while.

Christina looks adorable in any hair color.

Waldo is either a lighthouse or a disco ball.

Here's Elijah, out in Parnassus Heights, getting his inner tiger out.

And here's the return of Grumpy Guy...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fevered pitch

Hot damn, they did it again. The Red Sox. It was actually kind of anti-climactic, just like in 2004 when they swept the Cardinals. The American League is so much better, it seems.

It also seems that I care way too much about the Red Sox. So much that it's kind of embarrassing. Just what is it about baseball that I find so fascinating? I mean, no other sport -- no other baseball team, even -- gets me this obsessed. After they beat Cleveland, I even went back and watched Fever Pitch again, just to relive 2004. It's a pretty bad movie unless you're a Sox fan and you recognize how insane the region is about the Sox.

At one point, a character says, "They'll break your heart," and everyone nods sagely, because it used to be true. So why love something that keeps kicking you in the teeth?

I started seriously following the Sox when I was eight years old. My folks had split up, I didn't have a lot of friends my own age, and my dad was living at the commune, so I wonder if I didn't get obsessed with baseball to take my mind off everything. It was something I could count on. Or rather, something I could count on failing me, but not leaving me. They were there next game, next week, next season, even if they always broke your heart. But I wonder if that construct -- the expectation of failure, no matter how hard you want something, no matter how hard you root for something -- imprinted a certain negative view of relationships upon me.

Or it could've just been the relationships around me.

Anyway, no matter. The Sox get me all teary eyed, I swear. Watching the video of the Game 4 celebration, I got choked up hearing ancient Christian dude Mike Timlin tell other ancient Christian knuckleballer dude Tim Wakefield that he loved him. How can you not love a team with an outfielder (Manny) who once slipped into the scoreboard in the Green Monster to use the bathroom -- in the middle of an inning! Or a closer who, when the team clinches the pennant, does a bizarre Riverdance while wearing a Bud Light case box on his head. Or a bullpen that startsd a bizarre ritual that looks and sounds like a water bottle drum circle. Or has two -- two! -- cancer survivors, a Navajo descendent who can beat out a grounder to second, an outfielder named Coco Crisp, the aforementioned knuckleballer, and a general manager who once snuck out of the park wearing a gorilla suit (Wendy says he was a jerk in high school, but my softball pal Gabe says his brother was very nice).

And how can you not love a team with adorably hot reporters like Amalie Benjamin? Christ, she's got her own fanclub already.

She looks a little like Joanna, I guess. I asked my hometown friends Gene and Chris if everyone there has a crush on her (Chris used to have crushes on all the Weather Channel girls), and Gene said, "Yes, but she's made cuter because of her sports knowledge." Like a guy who can appreciate Jane Austen, I suppose. Or notices when it's time to clean the bathroom.

Anyway, now I need to find something else to occupy myself. I guess it's good NaNoWriMo starts in two days.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Preposterous Tunes

In the run up to the KALX fundrazor (yes, they spell it that way on purpose) and in celebration of the station's 45th anniversary, DJs are focusing on music from a different decade each week. Last Monday, Fresh Pink asked me to sub her show so she and the Fuzzz could get out of town, and I could get my '80s jones on. It was one of the most fun shows I'd done in ages, and I didn't even get to play half the stuff I wanted to. I guess I can play some of the rest on October 29, when Fresh and I will be doing our fundrazor show together (save your money for our show, hint hint). Oh yeah, and next Monday, October 22 from 3 to 5:30 p.m., we'll be sharing the '90s, which prolly means I'll be rocking the indie and she'll be dropping mad science on ya. For reals. Um, here's what I played on Monday (you may notice a few current things, which were supposed to take care of official station business):

My Bloody Valentine, Drive It All Over Me, Thorn
Chin Chin, Stop Your Cryin', 53rd & 3rd presents AGARR Retro
The Wake, On Our Honeymoon, Harmony
Plasticines, Zazie Fait de la Bicyclette, LP1
The Raincoats, No One's Little Girl, Moving
Manatella, Brandy, Fashionable Neighborhood
Emma Pollock, Adrenaline, Watch The Fireworks,
Throwing Muses, Green, S/T,
Three O'Clock, I Go Wild, Baroque Hoedown,
Primal Scream, Gentle Tuesday, Children of Nuggets Vol. 4,
Jesus and Mary Chain, Cut Dead, Psychocandy,
Shocking Pinks, This Aching Deal, S/T,
Doublehappys, The Others Way, Nerves,
Delta 5, Mind Your Own Business, Rough Trade: Post Punk Vol. 1,
Sexual Harassment, If I Gave You a Party, Anti-NY,
Jens Lekman, Kanske Ar Jag Kar i Dig, Night Falls Over Kortedala,
Jazz Butcher, Partytime, In Bath of Bacon,
Breathe Owl Breathe, Marshland, Climb In
Pylon, Crazy, Hits,
Young Marble Giants, Final Day, Colossal Youth & Collected Works
Rosehips, Room in Your Heart, S/T,
I, Ludicrous, Prepostrous Tales, Rough Trade Shops: Indiepop 1,
Shop Assistants, All Day Long, S/T
Les Calamites, The Kids Are All Right, S/T
The Black Lips, Veni Vidi Vici, Good Bad Not Evil
Replacements, Take Me Down to the Hospital, Hootenanny
X, True Love, More Fun in the New World
Violent Femmes, Ugly, S/T
Great Plains, Letter to a Fanzine, Naked at the Buy, Sell & Trade
Young Fresh Fellows, When the Girls Get Here, The Men Who Loved Music
The Mixers, Love Hurts, Whaam! Bam! Thank You Dan,
Primitives, Really Stupid, CD86
Fire Engines, Meat Whiplash, Hungry Beat
Embarrassment, Wellsville, Heyday 1979-83
The Chesterfields, Completely & Utterly, S/T
The Speedies, You Need Pop, Speedy Delivery
Brilliant Corners, Oh, BBC Sessions
Georgie James, Need Your Needs, Places
dBs, Black and White, Stands for Decibels,
Feelies, It's Only Life, Only Life

And yeah, that is a picture of me in 1982. Wow.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Spice wreck

Saw the Darjeeling Limited with a bunch of high college kids last night. How was it, you ask? Better than The Life Aquatic, for sure. Worse than all his other films.

It certainly started out good and quirky, and it looked frigging beautiful. India tourism council should be paying him because even the squalid tenements looked gorgeous. And the actors were all great, even if they didn't have a lot to work with. (A scene with Owen Wilson revealing his brutalized face was particularly poignant, considering his recent suicide attempt.)

But there were tons of problems. While Wes Anderson had sort of gotten over his daddy issues, his characters were still running after a missing mom figure. And, as Chris pointed out, the Wilson character was pretty similar to the one in Bottle Rocket.

But the main problem was that the characters are flat and unknowable. I didn't care about them because I didn't know them. I got that they were as damaged as the kids in the Royal Tannenbaums, but I never knew why. A flashback didn't add anything, and neither did the short prequel available for free on iTunes (although it did allow you to see Nathalie Portman naked, if bruised.) And like the Life Aquatic, Darjeeling leaked energy as much as an old balloon, dragging at the end.

It almost felt like it was made to sell a 2-DVD set full of extras that will supply the answers to the blank stares and stunted monologues.

In other words, I like his earlier films better.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

king dork

Last night, I was coming home from bowling with Cameron and Kristin (Presidio Bowl has those bizarre Bud Lite bottles shaped like bowling pins), and got off BART right behind Dr. Frank. And man was he speeding along.

I knew he'd just taken part in Porchlight's Litquake show at the Du Nerd, and I've had this secret fantasy that he might help me with my YA novel if I ever finish editing it. So when we got to a light, I said, "Hey, you're Dr. Frank." It seemed better than saying, "Hey, you're Frank Portman" for some reason.

And instead of running away in fear, he said, "Why yes I am." So we talked about how his agent had talked him into writing King Dork and how he was late finishing his second book, and how he thought the Litquake crowd was tough and NPR-ish, but they laughed, even though he had never had a job before and the topic was "crap jobs." I said I knew Joe Sixpack, who I know he used to know but I have no idea if he still does. And then he turned in at his house and I continued on home, dreaming of a Dr. Frank quote on the back of my novel.

Oh yeah, this song came on the Internet jukebox at Presidio Bowl and I liked it, even though I had a sneaking feeling it was a Jack Johnson song. Sure, enough it was. Jeez, what's next, Dave Matthews? Ben Harper?

No, I swear this will never happen.

Friday, October 5, 2007

chemistry lesson

It's all about the Red Sox this time of year. And Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (today with Johnny Cougar and Neko Case!). And Tease-o-rama. And the end of softball season. Jeez, it's busy times.

I'm bummed I can't see the Go-Go's tonight, even if I could only remember three of their hits last night. (In my defense, no one else could remember more. You try, I dare you.)

Here's a question for you. Why did it take so long for someone to come up with "I just don't feel any chemistry between us" as an excuse for not dating any longer? I mean, it's like squeezable ketchup bottles -- people needed it, so why didn't they think of it earlier?

I have now been the recipient and the offerer of this phrase, and I have to say it's brilliant. Way better than "It's not you; it's me" or "I'm moving to Alaska." Suddenly, everyone is absolved -- it's not anyone's fault, it's just a matter of the cosmos and its wacky ways. You're not to blame. It's a lack of spark. No matter that the other person probably felt more spark than you did. Too bad! It's not my fault.

I think what the person's actually saying is "I prefer guys with 401k-s" or "You have stubby fingers" or "Pottery doesn't turn me on." Or worse. But now no one has to be honest. Or at least not brutally so.


Friday, September 28, 2007

good reads, ringing ears

Wendy just turned me on to, which is half book review site and half social network. Actually, I don't know if people are really contacting strangers with lines like, "Wow, I find Virginia Woolf highly overrated as well! Let's hook up!" but I hope they are.

It's kind of fun to see what your friends thought of the books you've read and vice versa, and it gives yet another opportunity for the opinionated to spout off online. (See Yelp, listservs, and, um, blogs.) I imagine that, like most of these things, it'll seem really entertaining for a couple weeks and then I'll forget about it.

I wish someone would make a site like this for movies. I'd been on that for hours.

Last night, I went with Ruxz to see the Finnish band Circle at the Bottom of the Hill, which I hadn't been to in at least six months. Still the same, only older, like everything. But wow, that was quite a lot of rock. Assembled Head In Sunburst Sound were heavy, brother, and Triclops!, well, they're fronted by John Fleshies, so you know they're going to be fun. He jumped into the audience right away, with a mic chord so long that he could wiggle on his back (while still singing) all the way into the club's kitchen. Ruxz called them "rock" but I thought up "sprock" for "speed rock" (instead of speed metal), but Zac suggest it could mean "spazz rock," which probably fit better. (Yes, it was a 347 Divis reunion. Colonize them, I dare ya.)

But Circle, well, they were hilarious and heavy. The main guy is a huge bear of a bassist, who he gets this seriously frightening look on his face when he sings, scarier than any metal poseur. The other singer looks like a skinny leather daddy, with studded leather belts and a ridiculous penchant for running in place or giving fist salutes, when not engaging the bassist in wrestling matches. (He got lifted upside down in the middle of a song.) The shredding guitarist looks exactly like Beck, and the drummer, who I swear also plays w/ Aavikko, was a skinny, non-expressive robot with a silly Lone Ranger mask on. This picture doesn't do them -- or the music, which was an unholy mix of prog, metal, jazz, and um a capella folkiness -- justice.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Glow

I don't usually believe in auras and all that crap. But back in college, my film class watched this experimental movie that featured a woman before and after she was pregnant, and the difference was striking. She positively glowed when she was "with child." The word "radiant" doesn't begin to describe how frigging beautiful she looked. Talk about your MILFs.

Anyhoo, last Saturday Wendy and Matt got married, and it happened again. Wendy was emitting some kind of moon beams and sun showers and other weird astrological stuff. I've never seen her happier -- for a while I thought someone had slipped ecstasy into the Racer 5. They were both super happy, the kind of happy that you're not supposed to feel on your wedding day because you're stressed or little things go wrong or your second uncle-once-removed gives a questionable toast which includes references to his toejam. But they were super relaxed and glowy, and it was great to see. So, congrats, guys. I'm just sorry I don't have any photos.

Last week I met a headhunter at the bar. And she described her job as great because she was making people happy with new jobs. I had to point out that she was making other people -- their former employers -- less happy.

And then I got headhunted, probably for the first and last time, at the wedding. By my ex! You don't have that happen every day. But, for some reason, the idea of the two of us working together in a tiny office seems like maybe a bad idea. I'm just saying…

In other news, the coffee experiment has taken a turn for the worse. A couple weeks back, I said, "Screw the ulcer; I want some caffeine!" So I started drinking coffee on a regular basis, with the hope that the Kambucha would keep my stomach lining from dissolving. It was a hell of a ride. Coffee is the best work mood-enhancer since Bobby went "rolling" on New Year's Eve.

But then I started getting the headaches and the sore throats -- every day at around 6 or 7 p.m. And last night, after having coffee during the day and two cups of Chai at Naan 'N Curry on Haight, I started having intense stomach pains (and it wasn't from watching the Silver Apples guy twiddle his knobs). Eventually, they went away, but I was worried that there'd be a repeat of the Summer Camping Vomit Out a Lung Incident. So, I guess it's back to being sleepy and grumpy at work.

Hey, something else: Am I the only person in the world who didn't like Drop City? I'm reading I Am Charlotte Simmons, the newish Tom Wolfe book about a naïve mountain girl trying to navigate frat boys and lacrosse players at an elite college, and I think as satires go, it's way better than T.C. Boyle's book. But apparently I am the only one. I feel Boyle has a real distaste for his characters and that he savages them accordingly, but everyone else I've talked to thinks he likes them. Charlotte Simmons isn't the best book ever, but at least I feel sympathy towards some of the dunderheads within. Thoughts?

Friday, September 14, 2007

You've got cranky pants

You know what's a really bad movie? You've Got Mail. I know you're thinking, "My god, of course it is!" But I didn't know just how bad it was until this week.

Netfluxxx has this new deal in which you can watch certain movies for free, right there on your pooter. They offer lots of cool documentaries and a bunch of rom-coms that most people have seen already, except me. I'm trying to write a R-C, so I figured I should check out some of the "classics." Also, when I was in New York, I went to the desert place, Café Lalo, where the main characters meet -- they have 28 different kinds of cheesecake. How did I not know about this place?

Oh yeah, back to the film. Let me count the ways that this movie stinks.

First, there's the super-annoying AOL tie-in right there in the title. And you've got to listen to that nails-on-chalkboard dial-up log-on buzzing sound over and over throughout, and listen to them wax rhapsodic about it. Then there's Meg Ryan, who by this point in her career is one walking caricature of her rom-com self, with more (facial) tics than a retriever in the deep woods. And Tom Hanks is at his least likeable -- I mean, are you really supposed to root for her to fall for a guy whose big bookstore chain ran her tiny shop out of business after 47 years? Oh, he brings her flowers and allowed her the time to write a crappy children's novel. Wow, what a turn around. And another thing: Both Tom and Meg find true love by kinda cheating on their spouses. Okay, so emailing isn't cheating, but it sure ain't being too honest. And the film tries to make their transgressions not a big deal by having the least animositied break-up ever between Meg and the always-awful Greg Kinnear (will someone please put this guy out of my misery?). "Hey, I'm not in love with you either! Ha ha, man, that's a relief." If only real life were like that. One more thing: what other movie can you say wastes the talents of Dave Chappelle, Steve Zahn, AND Parker Posey? That's a lot of wasting. Bleh.

Friday, September 7, 2007


Another thing I really liked about New York was the huge amount of rep and indie theaters they had. At the IFC theater, they were hosting a Mumblecore festival. Mumblecore is the new spate of lo-fi, 20- or 30-something slacker films in which young folks act confused about relationships, jobs, bands, and the future. Andrew Bujalski is kind of the king right now, after the success of Mutual Appreciation, in which Justin Rice (from the band Bishop Allen) struggles with his ennui and his attraction to his friend's girlfriend. (Most of the movies play better than the description of their plots.)

Other examples of Mumblecore include The Puffy Chair (a great melding of the break-up and the road movie genres), Dance Party USA, and Kissing on the Mouth (by Joe Swanberg, who seems dead set on bringing naturalistic sex to the mainstream, in film and on his TV series Young American Bodies). The fest was showing all of these films, plus two new ones: Quiet City and Swanberg's Hannah Takes the Stairs.

The thing about these films is that they're not for everyone. They're probably not for a lot of people. But they're definitely for me. They're full of real, awkward moments -- some comic, some just awful -- and real people who fuck up or don't know what they're doing. Lots of parties and flirtations that go horribly wrong. Or quietly wrong. Or quietly right. They're kind like an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm written by Richard Linklater and directed by John Cassavettes.

But some people would find them insufferable -- slow and meandering, plotless and unlikable. So when I was going to go to Hannah Takes the Stairs, I dissuaded Victoria and Alida from going with me. Which is kind of too bad, since I really loved the film, but at the same time I might not have loved it as much if I was worried that they weren't loving it. It's hard being neurotic.

Well, if Hannah comes to town, you should think about seeing it. It's funny, adorable, sad, and confounding, kind of like a puppy that barks the meaning of life.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

the old philly

I hadn't been to New York for seven years, since Russ, Vanessa, and I went to CMJ in 2000. A very different New York. Back then, Guiliani was on the ropes, there were a couple tall buildings still standing, and homeless crack addicts ruled the parks. Now, not so much.

But is it still a great place to visit? Hell yes! I stayed at the tip top of Manhattan with Alida, and we went out every night. First stop: Other Music, of course, where I bought a ridiculous amount of obscure CDs, from the likes of French 70s folkie Emmanuelle Parrenin, country-soul rebel Jim Ford, NYC proto-punks the Speedies, a French pop comp, and this weirdo percusso-Krautrock outfit Niagara. Good stuff!

We went to a ton of cool bars and restaurants, like Momofuku (tiny noodle place), 205 (the place Jefrodisiac said is for hipsters w/ beards who like disco), TK (super-tiny French place with copies of Les Rocktibles magazine in the micro-mini bathroom), and Motor City (biker hipster bar w/ great jukebox). Ryan took me to a fantastic recycle-friendly Cuban place in Brooklyn, as well as a fun bar crawling with Buppies talking about strip club etiquette and cackling into cell phones. We did not go to Coyote Ugly, but I did pass by it.

I was on the guest list for Von Iva and the Blacks at Piano's, a club in the LES (ugh) that I'd forgotten I'd been to seven years ago (saw Mirah and Calvin Johnson for free). Not so into the new, guitar-less Von Iva but Jillian did dance around and show us her pits.

Drinks are super expensive in NYC, or rather high end liquor is pricey. $12 for a shot of Patron! Damn. But the subway is cheap, even if it means you occasionally get chased by chubby cops (my weekly pass hadn't worked so I did what everyone else does and slipped thru the gate). Maybe you're wondering what the latest fashions are in NYC? Well, women seemed to be going braless a lot more. And those damn-ugly rubber Crock shoes are everywhere, and not just on the kids who don't know any better. Short hair seems to be back for the guys, but beards and 'staches are still around. Frankly, I felt like the hipsters in SF were more interesting looking, but maybe I didn't go to the right places. Hell, I hear Philly is the new Brooklyn, so maybe everyone's rocking it there. Oh yeah, all the ladies were sporting fancy rubber booties. This woman's are blurry because she was running in a dog park, possibly being chased by a crackhead but probably not (that's so 1989).

Rolf and Michelle came down from Providence and we hooked up with Victoria to go to Coney Island. You might recall how I lost my wallet on the Cyclone rollercoaster back in 1998, the night after Ryan had hers stolen at that go go club. Well, this time I was prepared, and shook my head sadly at the guy who wasn't, as he worked his way back through the line to ask about his wallet, muttering, "Worst day ever." If you look closely you can see Rolf in this pic.

We didn't play Freak the Geek or whatever it is (kids shoot paintballs at a guy in a mask, shield, and jockstrap, while a guy with a thick accent mutters "Shoot 'im in da pickle, he likes dat" into a microphone. We did smack the punching bag and arm wrestle the statue, but they were both "broken" so we couldn't tell if we were wimps or pimps.

I think the Ferris Wheel is much scarier than the Cyclone, as the cars swing, making you think you're going to slide right off the rails. Here's Victoria grimacing as we almost go over.

After, we partied at PS1, a high school renovated into a museum, where Ryan's sister's boyfriend's 15-person disco band was playing an outside show. Here's a pretty amazingly synced video they did using Muppets footage.

Anyhoo, I wish I'd taken photos, because we sat on these hammocks and watched the parade of Eurotrash and Brooklyn/Queens hipsters for hours. It was like Burning Man, without all the nudity and hippies and fratboys. Then we went to a beach bar and drank with fratboys. Here's Ryan, looking very mod.

I went to a ton of museums too. Saw some cool dinosaurs, like the precursor to the armadillo, and a really effect film shot in 1969 or so, which featured the pictures and names of every US soldier who died in one week in Vietnam. Made me think someone should do that for Iraq.

I spent the last couple days at Christian's place in the LES, where he had cockroaches the size of a VW bus. And they were living in the fridge. That was rather surprising. The last day, I hung out in Washington Square Park for hours, watching the freshman NYU students scurry around. I can't imagine going to NYC as an 18-year-old; I would've been too freaked. But NYC is a cleaner, safer place now -- hell, I only had five guys ask if I wanted to buy "smoke."

Anybody know anyone who would want to house swap next spring?