20 May 2009

pros and cons


+ Strong sense of accomplishment when looking at table covered in bowls full of food I made with love
+ Frigging delicious
+ Will have leftovers for a week
+ Made boyfriend happy


- Heart attack
- Broken bank
- had to wait for vegans in the frozen fake meat isle talking about how "life's not short man, people say life's short- it's not short, it's just fast, man. It's like I'm okay with life being fast, as long as it's long, you know?" to get out of my way so I could reach the tofu steak
- will have to try again and again to improve each element of the meal, thus increasing the risk of heart attack in not just myself, but my boyfriend, roommate, neighbors, and family

I have to give a shout out to the biscuits. My mom gave me biscuit mix from South Carolina as a birthday present, and I swear on my life I've never tasted a better baked good. Ever. And I've had a lot of delicious baked goods. So, Gullah Gourmet, here's to you and the best biscuits I've ever tasted. I'm looking forward to trying the cornbread, artichoke dip, corn chowder, potato soup, and... pretty much everything else that doesn't require meat and seafood to make sense. mmmMMM!

You go, gullah.

18 May 2009

NOT Kosher

You may have already known this, but Woody Allen is Pissed. The mega hip clothing line American Apparel used his image in an advertising campaign without his consent.

I have only a few things to say about this, and I'll try keep it brief:

1) whhhhyyyy would you use Woody Allen in an ad campaign that's notoriously hyper-sexualized? I know many a dude that looks forward to seeing those ads on the back of The Onion, or whatever magazine-- it doesn't even matter what's in the magazine, it could be a booklet on how and why you should dismember children and bathe in their blood. The sexy American Apparel ads make all other content secondary. I haven't seen AA's ad with Woody Allen, but I hope it looks like the above, and that every dude that picks up a magazine in hopes of collecting more girl in leotard whack off material opens up the back page, pants on ankles, and vomits all over himself at the sight of Woody Allen in Hasidic Jew garb.

2) It's been speculated that perhaps this was a move on the part of American Apparel to gain publicity without paying for an enormous ad campaign. In the past they've managed to do this by exploiting underage girls for their advertisements. This brings me back full circle to the idea of replacing a mostly naked young lady with Woody Allen. I'm sorry, but when it comes to mostly naked underage chicks, there is simply no substitute. How does the image of Woody Allen dressed as an Hasidic Jew convince anyone to buy American crafted leotards and sparkly onesies? If I were going to buy a onesie, Woody Allen would have to be one of the last people on my mind.

Anyway, I suppose American Apparel has generated some publicity for itself with this whole thing. I don't know how much ad campaigns generally cost, but a settlement for $5 million plus whatever initial investment in the billboards seems a bit high for the resulting attention, which bottom line is neither good nor bad. It's mostly just really boring.

So, in sum:

1) Woody Allen is not a sexy young lady
2) Hasidic Jews don't wear rainbow sparkly onesies (I don't think. I need a fact checker...)
3) Lawsuits about use of an image without consent are generally uninteresting. Naked chicks draw more interest, always.

Which all really boils down to a simple moral: Stick to what you know. Unless it's teflon, in which case, you're SOL, pal.

12 May 2009

An Ill-fated Love Affair

One of my favorite college classes was called “The Power of the Book,” which was based on books as tools of change, be it for good or for evil. Now that I think about it, my final paper fervently argued that books are dangerous and wicked tools, which is funny considering I was (and still am) working at a publishing company that focuses almost entirely on the self-help genera. But I digress…

What ended up interesting me the most was the physicality of the book, and how it’s evolved over so many centuries from weird plaques of wood, to clay, to papyrus scrolls, you know what I’m talking about- that whole crazy thing. Then, along came the Kindle. It must have been sometime in the fall of 07 that I first heard about it, because I remember briefly discussing it in that class. I remember thinking it was hilarious the way Mr. Amazon, whose name escapes me, explained that the name Kindle was supposed to be evocative of sitting by a fireplace and reading a good book. Now, with your Kindle, you can curl up next to a burning pile of your old books and read!

There are many things that I think about Amazon as a company. I won’t say them here because I don’t want to be blacklisted some day. But I will say this: to me, the Kindle has always been abomination. There is nothing I like more about books than the way they feel. Since before I could really comprehend writing I have been picking out books and buying them for no other reason than their size, smell, and look. I like a book that has a lot of pages that you can flip through at any pace. I like to hold a book in both hands and curl it like I’m a little kid making a piece of paper into a telescope to play pirates. I kill books. I mark pages, bend spines, and dog-ear.

So, for a birthday gift last night I received the Kindle 2. I wasn’t immediately disgusted by it because it has a leather case that makes it look like a journal, but inside is that weird iPod knock-off looking extra large calculator. It reminds me of one of those giant remote controls you can buy at drug stores. When I hold it, I find myself wanting to like it. I want to enjoy it as a piece of technology. It has potential, being a wireless device that can download almost any content anywhere. But I just don’t think it’s going to work out between us. The technology has too far to go, and I feel like books are being done a disservice on yet another level by this device. It could easily be so much better of a gadget if someone else got in on it.

As a book, the Kindle fails; it has no likable presence in my hands, other than that of an over sized cell phone. As a piece of technology, it still fails. Even if I weren’t opposed to the Kindle on principle, I would still not like the Kindle 2. I want it to be a touch screen. I want it to be in color. I want the cover art. I want it to be sleeker. I want the keyboard to be better. I want all of it to be better.

Because it was a gift, I’m going to try to appreciate this thing. I’m going to read a book on it, and I’m going to travel with it. But I’m not going to make any guarantees. So far, I have two things to say to Amazon about their Kindle:

1) If you’re going to destroy books, please, at least try to do a good job of it.
2) Meanwhile, consider making Kindles out of materials that won’t create toxic fumes if one happens to catch fire.

11 May 2009

On Berlin and Qualudes

May 12th marks the anniversary of my birth. I’m basically twenty-four. I basically almost have wrinkles on my forehead and around my eyes, am pretty much settled into a job that pays me enough to survive, and occasionally think about making babies. Okay, maybe a little more than occasionally. Nothing like constantly, but perhaps with an unreasonable amount of frequency. Gross.

I’m sure I’m having a lot of the same thoughts as the rest of us who are gradually approaching the quarter century mark, namely: What the eff?

Twenty-four is such an odd place to be. There are not a lot of things to look forward to past 21, but 22 is still early twenties, and 23 is a prime number. Many of my friends are turning 25 this year, which is not only a quarter of a century old, but they are now also eligible to rent a car in all fifty states, so they’re stoked. But twenty-four… That means ten years ago I was 14. I guess in that context it sounds pretty cool, but let’s not forget that that also means ten years from now I’ll be 34. Which, all things considered is better than the alternative.

So, the ups:

I did celebrate my exodus from the womb on Saturday night by karaoke-ing my throat out. My wonderful sister joined me in a duet of “Dick in a Box,” Casey, Nelson and I did “With Arms Wide Open” by Creed, and Rob and Alisa changed a few lives for the better with their artistic interpretation of “Holy Diver.”

Other karaoke favorites include, but are not limited to:

- Take my Breath Away by Berlin
- Kiss by Prince (always a challenge, and always worth it)
- Gangster’s Paradise by Coolio
- I Want it That Way by The Backstreet Boys

The downs:

I was born too late in the history of the world to indulge in Qualudes. That really puts a harsh on my mellow, man.

I’m going to go take a nap. Old people do that.

08 May 2009

The econmonic downturn, and other things that are starting to suck...

Just as I pressed tab to begin entering text into this field, I realized that what I am about to write isn't totally related to the shit economy, but it does involve job loss and pay cuts, so it's in the same vein.

After two years of, I don’t want to use the word gainful, but employment no less, the Orinda Theater has turned it’s back on me and thus ended my 7 year love affair with old movie houses.

It began in 2002, when I applied for work at the Park Theater in Lafayette. With only one screen, and a collection of the goofiest staff I had ever met, a high school student really couldn’t have found a better place to work. I met some very dear friends at the Park Theater. I got my first real kiss in the projection booth. I got high in the back parking lot more times than I will ever remember. I don’t want this to sound too cheesy, but that theater housed my coming of age.

In 2005, Renaissance Rialto sold the Park, forcing all of the employees out of work, and the theater into a state of total disrepair. I’ve heard that the current owner hopes to let the place rot until it’s so much of an eyesore that Lafayette’s historical society is willing to let it go. It’s been almost 5 years since then. The phrase “LOVE LAFAYETTE” is on the marquee, and as time passes, letters slowly disappear, fallen from the marquee and forgotten about, or stolen by the high school students who also pried open the back door and threw a party in the theater’s shell. I hate to think about the piles of vomit and splooge that are encrusted on the carpeting and seats, though I do offer those kids props for not burning the place down.

Not long after the Park’s closing, I heard that the general manager from the Park had moved to the Orinda, another of Allen Michaan’s theaters. By 2007 I was again working for Renaissance Rialto, and again surrounded by a staff peopled of total weirdoes. And it was good.

But it was not to last. This past Monday the employees were informed that the Theater was “most likely” changing ownership. Just yesterday I learned that Renaissance Rialto had finally bailed, and the folks who own the Rheem Theater taken over. We’re all out of a job, again.

I’m sure if we wanted to, most of us could apply at the Orinda again. I’ve heard that because they’re not pro- union they new management will be picketed tonight, while opening up Star Trek. I’ve also heard from others who have already applied that the managers like my boyfriend Nelson, will be asked to accept a fifty cent decrease in pay, and also to assume the responsibility of projection. That’s twice the work, and fifty cents closer to minimum wage. No deal.

I don’t know what the folks who worked there are planning to do. I don’t know what Nelson’s going to do. I’m fortunate that my work there was not my primary source of income, but I was in the vast minority. I can only hope that things with the rest of the world out side of old movie houses start looking up so that the friends I’ve made these past nine years aren’t totally screwed.

02 May 2009

My bout with Swine Flu

A few days ago I started throwing up at 3 am on a Saturday night. For some, this would not be so unusual. For me, it was quite a surprise.

I had spent the evening with Nelson. We got dinner and saw a play at the Berkeley Rep. Afterwards, we went home and I watched some Golden Girls in loving memory of my girl Bea, while Nelson packed up his apartment in preparation for moving the next day. I fell asleep early. Feeling fine- good even.

I woke with a start at 3 AM, hyper salivating, and certain that I was about 30 seconds away from barfing everywhere.

Dilemma: My boyfriend’s bathroom. The place was FILTHY. In fact, filthy doesn’t even begin to describe it. Let’s just leave it at this: a toilet is a place that you generally don’t want to put your face unless it’s an emergency. This toilet is not somewhere you’d want to put your butt, even if it were between that and dropping trow in front of every attractive and successful person you know and having humiliating massive diarrhea in front of all of them, while having it simulcast in Time Square.

Solution: Towels. Fortunately, I had previously made it very clear to Nelson that my feelings towards his bathroom involved considerably foul language. And, him being of sound mind at 3 am immediately came up with a solution when I woke him and told him I was about to hurl. The poor sweet boy fetched me a towel, lay it down for me to barf on and left the room.

The barfing continued for several hours, and I destroyed many many many towels by the time I was done. Stomach acid tastes like poison, I now know. I also know that sometimes, your body doesn’t even want water in it.

Around noon the next day, I was reminded that the bed was being moved and that I would just have to find another place to vomit. I was given one last barf, and then gently transported to my dad’s couch, where blankets and a TV awaited me.

Sadly, I lacked the strength and determination to turn on the television for most of the day, and instead watched the squirrels playing on the trees outside through the window between my naps.

Nelson came over later to check on me, and figured out the TV but fearing contamination, he decided he had better leave the house quickly. And so once again, I was left alone and feverish in an empty house, only this time instead of watching squirrels frolicking, I was watching the news.

And what do you think I saw? Shit like this, every god damn 20 minutes.

I don’t have swine flu. Never did. But fuck you news! Fuck you for not ever saying what the symptoms of Swine flu really are, and for making a big deal out of something that’s really not all that different from the regular flu. People die of the flu all the time. Why is it suddenly unusual and news worthy?

The moral of the story is this: When you get sick, sleep as much as you can. Eat nothing but a few saltines, seven up, and maybe some sorbet if you’re feeling frisky. Do pretty much whatever you feel up to. But do NOT watch the news. Never watch the news.