Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Learn something new

Lest you think I'm just lazing around watching television (which I am totally not. At all. Though can I just quickly recount an exchange that might be from a television show that I am totally not watching?)
Couple tromps through the English countryside. The wife is considerably behind the husband.
Him: Amazing, isn't it? Just spending time in all this.
Her: Coulda just went to the coffee shop in the village.
Him: Yeah, but it's not the same as being out here.
Her: No. It's warmer. And they had cake.
The fact that I am fully identify with the last line of that dialogue is quite possibly why I'm single. Oh, the passion for hiking that runs rampant like a dengue fever through this town.

Right. What was I saying? Oh. Things I learned this weekend.

1. When you go for a tour of Hangar One, you're actually going for a tour of St. George Spirits. This surprised me. As it happens, St. George doesn't limit themselves to vodka. They get up to all sorts. There's a very delicious framboise in the mix, for instance. The absinthe is entirely disgusting, but that is not St. George's fault. All absinthe is entirely disgusting. If you disagree with that assertion, it's possible that it's the best absinthe in the world. You'll have to try it for yourself. As a special bonus, almost everything in the distillery looks like it would be equally, if not more, at home in Willy Wonka's factory. It was all very jolly. An employee became instantly smitten with my (not single) companion when she wrinkled her nose in an adorable manner while drinking gin she did not enjoy. I conclude that my "Wow. I really hate absinthe" face is less fetching, as no one fell over himself trying to get my number. This seems unjust, but there it is.

2. Right on the main drag of Alameda, there is an indoor mini-golf course that is excessively charming. All the holes are handmade local landmarks including such things as the Fruitvale Taco Truck, which I've never seen in its actual taco-producing size, but enjoyed hitting a golf ball through. Because of the limited space, many of the holes involve precipitous slopes. I thought I might end up with a par 82 on the Coit Tower hole, but I finally made it up Telegraph Hill on the sixth attempt. Of course, my favorite was Lombard Street, which has just been dying to be incorporated into a mini-golf course all its life. It was good times.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


I just happened upon a listing for a class called "Yoga-slackers" and I got excited thinking that it was a yoga class designed for people who have no actual enthusiasm about yoga, which is exactly the kind of class I need. Sadly, it turns out to be a thing that combines yoga and slackline. I don't even know what that is. Is it that thing you cling to and kind of fly over a forest or river or something? Or is it the circus skill that is similar, but possibly more difficult, than tightrope?

I clicked the "more info" button and now understand even less.
By bringing balance onto a piece of webbing, slackline yoga develops focus, dynamic stillness, power, breath, core integration, flexibility, and confidence to create a suspended and elevated vinyasa. This introductory workshop gives students the tools they need to develop a slackline practice that includes four basic modalities: kneeling, standing, sitting, and arm balancing.
Are you kidding? Since when is exercise so complicated as to be incomprehensible? Also why are things pretending to be for slackers when they are secretly for some kind of bionic super-people who are bringing an extreme sports mentality I remember the giddy days of the mid-nineties when I still thought spinning meant turning around and around in a circle with your arms outstretched. I could not imagine why there needed to be classes for that.

Meanwhile, Facebook is plastering my wall with ads for the Land of Nod. Marketers of the world, hear me now: I have no children.

I mean, god. Everyone's always all "Buy tiny chairs!" "Develop your modalities on a piece of mesh!" It's like nobody even GETS me! Just leave me alone. I'm going to my room to listen to The Cure.
[storms off. slams door.]

Monday, July 29, 2013

Credit where credit's not due

On Friday, the oft mentioned and happily anticipated flamingo dress arrived in the mail and...didn't fit. It should have fit. It should have rendered me kind of fantastic in a chic, long-legged sort of way, but it would appear that I've been making too many white-flour-based dining decisions and it rendered me more potato-on-stilts-esque. Sigh.

Instead, I put on an old red dress that still more or less fits me, along with the grown-up shoes I bought specifically to take to NY because I have anxiety about looking like someone's country cousin when I'm Manhattan. Then, despite having taken them all the way there in my wee suitcase, I never wore them. I had forgotten that just going to NY doesn't mean I can suddenly walk in heels. I had big plans to wear them to my hotel's trendy speakeasy, assuming I could manage to walk down two hallways and into an elevator without hobbling myself for life, but my hotel's trendy speakeasy proved to only be open Wednesday-Saturday and I was there Monday and Tuesday--nights, apparently, when only uncool people stay in hotels. I hope my shoes enjoyed the trip though. I held them up to the hotel window so they could at least see the view.

Anyway. At home I have a car, so my red dress and new shoes and I went out. We looked pretty good--particularly when standing still--the walking down the street part was still a little painful and teetery. Sadly, even with a car, there is still going to be a walking down the street part, especially when you're trying to go to two events, but park just once. By remarkable serendipity, the dueling events were just four blocks apart (that is, there were two simultaneous events that I wanted to attend; the events themselves did not feature any dueling). I went to Porchlight, which was great, and then I went to the second half of a friend's show--the half that featured burlesque.

Before the evening was through, I saw six women remove all but very tiny bits of their clothing. An unexpected entertainment proved to be watching the members of the large band, mostly men, none of whom had seen the acts before, try to decide where to look. The stage was a bit crowded and the newly revealed flesh was in some cases very proximate indeed.

Having seen Gypsy more than once, I know you gotta have a gimmick, but I find my own taste runs to the old fashioned, glamorous pin-up girl style, more than to the "edgy." This would surprise exactly no one. But really, I don't need you to be nearly naked and lying on broken glass. I also don't need you to sing a song. Or paint yourself like a skeleton. I really, really don't need you to paint yourself like a skeleton. "Taking it all off" should stop way before one reaches bone. For me, the sexiest women were the first, in a floor-length gown, and the last, in a 1940's style fitted suit. Were there elbow length gloves, you ask? Why, yes. Of course there were.

After the show, I walked up to the stage to congratulate my friend who had orchestrated the whole evening. Then, as I headed toward the exit, a man stepped away from his group of friends and stopped me. "I really enjoyed your act," he said. "It was great." I thought he was kidding. I thought maybe it was his idea of a good post-burlesque-show pick-up line. I said, "You mean the one where I walked from over there to over here? I thought it went pretty well." We had a bit more confusing back and forth. He reiterated how much he had enjoyed the performance; I thanked him and left. Only when I reached the door, did I realize that he had been sincere albeit rather unobservant. The only woman in the show for whom I possibly could have been mistaken was the last one and then only because we are both white women with dark hair and bangs. Mind you, we do not otherwise resemble each other at all. And having seen very nearly all of her, I feel I can say so with certainty. Still. I'll take it. From potato on stilts to hot stripper all in one evening.

Bangs. Huh. I always thought it was so much more complicated than that.

As a little postscript, I was driving home when I passed one of the performers making her way on foot through the creepy dark with a huge suitcase. I pulled over, told her I'd just been at her show, and asked if I could drive her somewhere. She gratefully accepted a ride to BART, stashing her suitcase in the trunk. When we arrived and wrestled it out, it was heavier than I'd expected (her costumes were nothing if not um...small). "Twenty-five pounds of broken glass," she said.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I say it's my birthday

Well, that's not strictly true, but "I say yesterday was my birthday" lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. It's true, though. I wore purple tights. I saw "The Way, Way Back" and indulged my now sixteen-year crush on Sam Rockwell. My parents came with me I think mostly because I invited them, though it's possible they also have crushes on Sam Rockwell. They probably do now, anyway. It's a pretty great movie.

Later, I got to have fancy pizza (mine had squash blossoms) in the company of friends I've known for about 25 years. (Sheesh) There was a water view and an extravagant sunset. By special request, the manager changed the music from the all-reggae station and I am now indebted to him. (Have we discussed how much I hate reggae? It makes me feel like punching strangers. Maybe you have to be stoned to enjoy it?)

And...there was bocce ball!

(Are you secretly in love with me? Well, just in case, if you're trying to win me over, invite me to play bocce ball.) I won. They assure me it was a legit victory, not a birthday chivalry victory. Then we went on an ankle-breaking (wrong shoes) but spectacular walk along the Sausalito waterfront when--birthday miracle--the view of San Francisco was not obscured by fog, nor was a damp, frigid wind blowing up my skirt. Sure, there was a rat that kind of reared out of a trash can as we passed and incited a modicum of terror, but we weren't bitten and, consequently, we don't have rabies now. And isn't that the best gift of all?

I feel lucky.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Flamingos, among other things

I had this big plan that I was going to write a nice long post last night and have only to click "publish" today and: voilà! But, instead, I ate my weight in goulash, fell asleep trying to read a book, woke groggy and confused at 10pm, then watched some old British police-ish drama which became infuriating when the smart psychologist protagonist said, "I know you're a murderer and I'm going to tell everyone" to a guy when they were alone in a forest. Then, duh, he tried to kill her. I mean. Tssss. (I don't know how to spell that, but imagine it being a sound of derisive disbelief because that's just what it is.)

As you can see, I'm very busy.

I am both excited and dismayed that there is goulash available on my street. A friend said she was entirely unsurprised there was a new goulash restaurant in my neighborhood, so I clarified, "it's not like 'Hi. I'm a hipster and I like goulash.' It's like 'Hi. I'm Hungarian.'" I think this is an important distinction. Whatever its provenance, it is not costly and it is delicious. I think I may have gained ten pounds in about thirty minutes, however. In further good/bad news, it happens to be next door to the crème brulée shop. I don't think you need me to draw you a picture. But if you do, it will be a round one.

I have my eye on a highly impractical silk dress that may be too short to sit in, but is also very loose and perhaps ideal for goulash-eating (while standing up, obviously). Did I mention that it is festooned with flamingos? It totally is. I suspect it may be a dress for a slightly different woman who I am only in my imagination, but since she's more fun than I am, maybe I'll see if I can dress for the role.

I know I have medical bills and car registration to pay. Don't be a killjoy. It's almost my birthday. Flamingos for everyone, say I.

Tonight I'm going to a party on a streetcar. The F Line is part of our regular ol' public transportation, but it is exponentially more charming. Who doesn't want to toodle along the waterfront in a vintage streetcar? Probably someone, but that person would never be my friend. Generally the F is too full of tourists to even try to get on it, but tonight, that won't be the case. Tonight it will be all jazz trio, passed hors d'oeuvres, and no stops along the way.

I suspect that tonight might be the first time in my life I regret not being on instagram. You'll just have to use your imagination. But not right now. Right now you could just go here. (A photo I tried and failed to upload like a grown-up. It claims to be part of creative commons, but it is either just kidding, or I'm missing a step. Probably the latter.)

Oh, F Line. I have quite a crush on you.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Oh dear. It's been almost a month. Mi dispiace. The blog bully has had to send a stern email in which he says, "I know you have content." So true! I did a great many things and then I came home and did nothing, followed by more somethings and yet how would you know? You wouldn't. I will try to get back in the saddle (in the most metaphorical way possible. Please do not try to make me get on a horse. I will cry.) but today I am sort of trying to sneak up on myself with this little thing so as not to become overwhelmed by a whole month's worth of unremarked-upon activity.

This morning, as I waited at a red light, I saw a nanny cross the street with her infant charge strapped, forward-facing, to her chest. Presumably, this orientation was so that he might be able to do a little sightseeing on his way to the park. How doubly unfortunate, therefore, that his hat was pulled down over the bridge of his nose, effectively blindfolding him like a wee hostage. It is quite poignant to imagine having a stripey hat pulled over your eyes and lacking not only the power of speech, but also the requisite limb control to rectify the situation. Just as I began to think I may need to leap from the car to save the day, I saw that the lady crossing the street the other direction had stopped the nanny. As she spoke, she raised her hand to just below her eyes like a misplaced salute and I knew she had things under control.

Don't worry, baby. We, your fellow citizens, have got your back.