March 31, 2008

A visit with Antonio

My dear friend Tony is staying with me right now. I've written about him both when he was moving away and after visiting him in L.A.

Our visits are always few and far between, but when they happen they are wonderful. Last night we had a lovely, leisurely dinner at Fresca with his friends Andrea and Cindy who were also in town for a brief stay. We had drinks at Hotel Kabuki, and then we got a private karaoke room at Do Re Mi in Japantown. (Later I found out that Andrea said I seemed very sweet and polite and reserved upon meeting me, but that I had a rock star in me that became apparent when there was a microphone in my hand. This pleases me immensely.)

Tony was absolutely giddy with happiness last night, and kept saying to Cindy, Andrea, and I: "Three of my favorite people all in one of my favorite cities at once! This is unbelievable!" I was thrilled to see him so happy because he's had such a difficult last few months.

Anyway, he is staying at my house the next couple of nights, and I am camping out on the Aerobed in the living room. I love having him here despite the fact that I barely sleep when he is.

Tonight we made a quick trip to the grocery store, and he veered off down the aisle of paper products while asking, "Can you guess what I'm looking for?"

Puzzled, I said, "No. What?"

"Butt wipes," he answered (referring to the little disposable cloth wipes).

"Oh, I have those," I assured him.

"Sweet," he said, "I chafed today! Chafed!"

He needed to do some laundry tonight, and asked me if I had a t-shirt he could borrow to sleep in since his others were in the laundry. I said, "Sure," and rummaged around in my drawer and came up with a strange little beige t-shirt with rhinestones on it that I bought on a whim. I presented it to him in all seriousness, and he said, "Not going to happen." So I went to my closet and got a simple black v-neck t-shirt off a hanger and gave it to him, expecting him to express relief.

"Are you kidding me?" he cried. "Don't you have any boy shirts?"

"Why would I have boy shirts?" I asked.

"Because girls love boy shirts!"

I demanded, "What's wrong with this shirt? It's a black t-shirt!"

"It's a blouse," he groaned, "a lady shirt."

But he took it and went to take a shower. When he emerged from the bathroom wearing it he said, "Look what you've done to me."

I giggled and assured him, "Honey, it's fine. It just looks like you're getting ready for a night out in the Castro." He hated this.

March 29, 2008

Another reason I'm probably going to hell

I feel really guilty snickering about this, but I'm going to share it anyway. And just to be clear--I'm only snickering about the second half of this story.

A friend of my mom's passed away recently--one of her friends that she saw regularly at the American Legion. She's been very sad about it, as she considered him a good friend. He was also only 50 and had two children.

At any rate, apparantly today is a very nice day in my hometown. Such a nice day, in fact, that she and her ex-boyfriend Junior drove to the cemetery with some Budweisers. They drank one over his grave, and then they poured an entire beer over his grave. She said, "We just wanted him to know we were thinking of him."

I said, "So you poured one out for your homey?"

She said, "Huh?"

March 28, 2008


(You can decide which is which.)

My lovely friend recounted to me her annoyance with her husband last night, and her description was too funny not to share. (I hope she doesn't mind anonymously sharing her marital strife!)

She described how he came home from work in a bad mood because he only had a few minutes before the game he wanted to watch started. She said:

"...[H]e wears the same shirt, underwear, etc. and sits in the same place on the couch and eats the SAME crackers, can we say OCD, any who, I got tired of folding laundry and me and [my daughter] came out and sat on the love seat, we didn't bother him at all. Well because we came out there and messed up his mojo, apparently he wasn't able to telepathically communicate to the team in Arizona the plays he wanted them to execute and of course they lost. He was bitching about it and I finally said, "You know what go fuck yourself and go to bed."

Interestingly, this is probably exactly what I would have said.

On another note...

It is really a shock to the system when someone that you thought you knew pretty well tells you he can't imagine you for any more than casual sex. Ouch. Fucking ouch. It's especially jolting when this secret of someone else's is one of your greatest interpersonal fears:

Good enough to fuck

And you know what? I can't figure out if it's better or worse that I never even slept with this person and he said that.

Regardless, I reiterate: OUCH. My heart has been kicked around like a soccer ball in the past few months.

A dream of being embarrassed.

I dreamed that my mom was visiting, and we were walking along the marina here in San Francisco. For whatever reason, she was walking very, very slowly--just shuffling along a couple inches at a time--and eating celery. We were getting nowhere fast, and I was irritated and bored out of my skull.

I was walking behind her and trying to call a friend on my cell phone that I hadn't talked to in ages just to kill time. As my friend's voicemail came on, my exasperation with my mother's slowness got the best of me, and I said peevishly to her, "You walk like old people fuck. Get that celery out of your mouth."

Without thinking, I hung up the cell phone and then realized in horror that I'd just left this as my friend's voicemail message. I tried frantically to call back and apologize to her voicemail in a second message, but I couldn't get through.


I know I wasn't your first choice

March 27, 2008

This destroys me.



[Dusts off hands]

Eh. The whole boyfriend thing is really fucking overrated anyway.

March 26, 2008

Vivid dreams

The past couple of nights I've had the most intense dreams, and I wish I'd jotted yesterday's down before their clarity began to fade. I want to recall the smells and colors and sounds exactly, but I'm losing them.

I've been dreaming a great deal about various past, present, and future important relationships in my life.

One dream involved someone I love from my past. He was giving me a ride because I had been walking in the rain for miles. I gratefully climbed in the backseat and chattered away about what I had been up to. Eventually I worked my way up to what I really wanted to say, which was, "I see you all the time out getting ice cream and it's so cute I want to throw up. I notice that you're wearing your hair differently--I liked it better before. And when on earth did you start wearing camouflage pants?" In my head I scolded myself: he was doing me a favor and these things weren't important anymore anyway, so why couldn't I stop saying them?

Another dream involved someone I love from my present. I told him, "I guess I was wrong. I thought we knew each other better than that, and I thought you knew I didn't work that way. It seems I am mistaken."

Yet another dream involved a family member I love dearly, and I know he really misses me. In that dream I told him, "I'm probably never coming back."

March 25, 2008

Penny and Fun With Food Coloring

(Two completely unrelated subjects, incidentally.)

I don’t wear a lot of make-up or spend a lot of money on clothes, but one thing I DO do is get my eyebrows waxed. I always thought it seemed silly and pointless—that is, I thought this until I saw how lovely my eyebrows could look when cleaned up and shaped a bit. They’re not horrid in their natural state: I don’t have a unibrow and they’re not too caterpillar-like. But they look so much better when I get them waxed.

Penny has been doing my eyebrows for a couple of years now. She is a little Vietnamese lady at a small salon near my house, and she cracks me up. She always yells at me because, instead of getting them done every four weeks like I’m supposed to, I often end up waiting six weeks.

This time I had gone a full eight weeks and I knew she would let me have it. She did.

I stopped at the salon today on my way home from work, and as soon as I walked in she took one look at me and said scoldingly, “Oh, my God. I know why you here.” As she escorted me back to the waxing room, a large African American man with a lot of bling was getting a manicure, and he said, “Hey, Penny! You’re looking beautiful today!” She never even glanced at him and snapped, “You be quiet or I get my stick!”

As I lay down in the reclining chair, she shook her head and said of my eyebrows, “Is like garden!” I apologized profusely, saying, “I’m sorry, Penny! I’ve been busy and I haven’t had time to come in.”

She asked, “How long you not come back?”

Sheepishly I answered, “Eight weeks.”

Penny stirred her wax and said, “I make nice. Take long time.”

After she ripped the first piece of wax off and I yelped in startled pain, she said unsympathetically, “Maybe next time you not wait so long. Not hurt so much.”

“Okay, okay!” I cried as she applied the next smear of hot wax. She insisted on showing me the cloth strips onto which my ripped out eyebrow hairs now clung. Frowning, Penny said, “Is like bush.”

Speaking of which, for the first time ever Penny tried to talk me into coming in for a bikini wax in the near future. I’m not too keen on waxing anywhere near the hoo-hoo, and told Penny I was afraid it would hurt too much. She nodded and said, “Depend. You want all off, hurt very, very much. Just little off, hurt much.” I told her I would think about it.

Our waxing session ended the way it usually does, with Penny admiring her work on my formerly scandalous eyebrows and me promising to come back in four weeks while giving her an excellent tip.

* * * * *

In other news, I got a bottle of red food coloring and have been having a great time with it.

Some people like to make marshmallow Peep dioramas. I lean more toward installation art. I had lots of leftover Peeps from the book club meeting held at my house Friday night, so I took them and created something I like to call “Peep Genocide” in my bathroom sink:

Peep Geocide 006

Peep Geocide 002

Peep Geocide 003

Peep Geocide 004

Peep Geocide 007

(As always, you can click on the pictures to go to my Flickr account and enlarge them.)

I realize it looks a little disturbing, what with the decapitated Peeps and all. My hands look like I recently murdered someone, and my bathroom sink may never be the same again.

Then I made beef stew with bright red dumplings:

Beef stew with red dumplings 001

Beef stew with red dumplings 003

Despite its strange appearance, it was quite tasty.

March 22, 2008

The dirtiest post...

I think that any good story begins with...

1) "When I left Cinnamon for the last time..."


2) "So...did he go down on you?"

Man...we didn't even get to "Fat-Bottomed Girls"...

She looks like the real thing
She tastes like the real thing
My fake plastic love.
But I can't help the feeling
I could blow through the ceiling
If I just turn and run.
And it wears me out, it wears me out.
It wears me out, it wears me out.

And if I could be who you wanted
If I could be who you wanted...

March 21, 2008

A great day

On Wednesday, my Uncle Joe came to visit. He was only here for a brief time, but we had a great day. Joe is a photographer, and he owns D-Max Photography in my hometown. We went all over San Francisco taking pictures. He's posted a couple he took on his blog, and promises more in the days to come.

I don't need much of an excuse to take pictures, but it was fun to have someone who loves to do it even more than I do and who doesn't roll his eyes every time I get my camera out.

I love having people come to visit--it so rarely happens!--especially when they're so much fun. I promise a story or two about Joe in the near future. For now I am going to bed and will leave you with a picture he took at Baker Beach.

We lucked onto a guy who was hopping around all over the rocks in his jeans with no shirt on. From a distance Joe took a few shots of him hopping around with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. The guy disappeared behind the rocks for awhile, and we didn't think he was coming back out. Joe said, "Man, I wish I could get that guy to pose naked, but I don't want to be the one to ask him to take his clothes off." (He was concerned, you see, because we were at the notoriously gay and nude section of the beach.) I offered to ask the guy for him; he certainly seemed like he would agree from what I could tell.

Eventually he climbed back up on top of the rocks, and Joe motioned for him to take his pants off. He laughed and made a big show of stripping. This was the end result:

Taken by Joe McNemar of D-Max Photography

(Sadly, I couldn't make it any bigger without cutting out part of the picture, but you should be able to click on the photo and be taken to my Flickr account to see the bigger version. Be sure to click on "All Sizes" above the photo and select "large" to see the, um, details.)

We were fairly impressed!

March 19, 2008

Funny conversation #3

S: "I'm a prude."

A: "Oh, my God. No you're not."

S: "Yes I am! I'm totally a prude."

A: "You're not the raunchiest motherfucker I know, but you're no prude."

S: "That sounds like it should be a Prince song: 'The Raunchiest Motherfucker You Know.'"

March 18, 2008

Hell's bells...they're finding me already.

Today began the onslaught of San Francisco State University students tracking me down to ask about my course that starts in June. I don't know why I should be surprised--my past experience has shown that it's never too early and they consider no request too great.

They ask things like, "Professor Ashcraft, I'm sure you're very busy, by do you have the syllabus ready yet?" (No.); "How much reading is there going to be?" (A lot.); and--my favorite--"Can we work out something where I have a reduced work-load/attendance expectation in the course because I'm taking 1700 other class and working 40 jobs and training to climb Mt. Everest simultaneously and will just be way too busy to do everything..." (No.)


I love when unexpected things happen. And I love when they're freakin' awesome! I wish I were at liberty to say more.

March 15, 2008

Funny conversation #2

S: [menacing look]

A: "Are you threatening me?"

S: "Are you Cornholio by any chance?"

March 14, 2008

"I hope you blink before I do."

A fight.

The scene I watched unfold on the bus this morning has stayed with me all day.

Scott and I were on the bus going to get brunch, and a fight broke out between several Latino teenage boys in the back of the bus. We weren't far away from them but we didn't see how it started because we were talking.

All of a sudden they all sprung into action and one boy in particular was screaming, "You fucked up, nigga!" repeatedly. One boy was shoved down into a seat and several others were all-out wailing on him. He had his arms up to protect his head and face as they punched and kicked him over and over. One jumped up on top of the seats and was stomping down on him as hard as he could.

The other passengers fled--some jumped off the bus, most ran up toward the front. I knew that I should probably move because there was no telling what one of them would pull out, but I stood transfixed. I was so startled by the fury and hate in these boys.

The bus driver never did anything. Eventually the boy being ganged up on got away and jumped off the bus. He took off running only to emerge next to the bus again a few blocks down the road. All the passengers groaned. The boys in the back screamed and spat at him until the next stop. Then they jumped off the bus and chased him awhile before getting back on.

They were jubilant. They grabbed their dicks and recounted their versions of the fight to each other. They shouted at teenagers on other buses we passed, "We fucked him up!" They imitated the various punches and kicks that had taken place while periodically spitting on the floor.

I learned later that it had been a fight between the Bloods and the Crips. It seemed strange to be in the presence of members of these gangs I've been hearing about for years.

Maybe it sounds really boring and psychology-y, but I kept wondering, "What made them this way? Had they been loved and cared for? Did someone comfort them when they were little and hurt themselves? Had they themselves been treated they way they were treating the boy they were beating on? What would it take to change them? Was it already too late?"

A memory.

I told this story a couple of days ago, and the memory of it was so vivid to me while I was telling it that I can't stop re-living it. I thought I'd document it here.

In the late winter/early spring of 1994, I was a junior in high school. I had recently turned 17 and was living with my father and preparing to take the standardized tests that would get me into college. I can remember it so well--Beck's "Loser" was everywhere on the radio and MTV and Nirvana's In Utero had recently come out. (I so often use music as benchmarks for when various things in my life were happening.)

That year, my high school basketball team had made it to the state championship, and hundreds of people from Bridgeport were making the two-hour drive down to Charleston to watch the game. I was riding with D. J. and his sister Lea Ann--both of whom were in the band with me--and their mother, Barbara. Before leaving the house that morning, I had cut up a bunch of vegetables as a snack to share: carrots, celery, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes.

They came to pick me up and we got on the road, heading south on I-79. It was a cold and frosty morning. There was no snow, but all the puddles and small streams were frozen. We chattered in the car and listened to the radio. Lea Ann and I sat in the back, and I remember looking ahead as we saw cars crossing the upcoming bridge start to fish-tail. Barbara said something along the lines of, "The bridge must be really slippery," and gently tapped the break to slow us down.

We thought we were okay, but once we got onto the bridge the rear end of our car started to swerve and slide. The guard-rail on the side of the bridge wasn't very tall, and we were heading sideways toward it. The outer edge of the bridge was on my side of the car. I can still remember seeing it come closer and closer, and I remember wondering if there was land or water below. We thought we were going over.

It really did seem to happen in slow motion.

Lea Ann and I fell together in the center of the back seat and clung to each other in terror. My face was buried in Lea Ann's hair. I can still remember the taste of it in my mouth. She whimpered, "Amie..." in my ear.

The car slammed off the guard-rail, and then shot back across the road, through the median, and into the oncoming traffic on the other side. We slammed into the guard-rail on the other side of the interstate and eventually came to rest in the center median.

Lea Ann and I let go of one another looked around in confusion. I remember thinking, "Thank God we didn't go over," followed by, "There's cucumbers everywhere..." The cucumbers I'd sliced were stuck all over the windows, seats, and ceiling of the car.

We slowly climbed out of the car, blinking, trying to process what had happened, and asking each other, "Are you alright? Are you hurt?"

"I am drowning
There is no sign of land
You are coming down with me
Hand in unlovable hand..."

March 11, 2008

A little squirt

Today as the 38 Geary bus was stopped for what seemed like forever on some corner in the 'Loin (Leavenworth? Larkin?) I gazed out the window. There was a large tattooed man hosing off the sidewalk in front of an apartment building. I was absently gazing at the dirt that the stream of water washed from the sidewalk when he squirted it directly at the bus window in front of my face. I laughed and he grinned.

Playful people make me happy.

"Twin high-maintenance machines..."

Some odds and ends:

I have got to stop staying up all night. Fortunately, the insomnia's died down a bit recently, so most of my nights of going to bed at 5 or 6am of late have been because I was sitting up talking to my twin high-maintenance machine. This was not the case last night, but the end result is the same.

Today I got a birth announcement from my friend Alexis and her partner Ilsa. On March 1st, they had the most adorable baby boy, Theo, and they are thrilled.


I can't wait to talk to Alexis and see Theo in person, but I feel strange. I always feel odd when my friends become parents. I'm not sure I can completely explain why. I just find it so bizarre to witness such a change in someone's life. Knowing them pre-parent and then post-parent.

Less than a year ago, Alexis and I traveled to Poland together. We took ridiculous pictures of each other (a lot more of which got posted of her than of me, 'cause I'm sneaky like that).


Loopy with fatigue

Can't wake up

And now she's someone's momma!

I don't know exactly where I'm going with this.

[and now for a complete non sequitur...]

Tonight when I was doing laundry I accidentally stepped on a slug en route from my apartment to the garage. I felt horrible. I stood and apologized to it for a full five minutes, feeling helpless that there was nothing I could do undo the harm my stupid feet had caused.

Most days I wish I were thicker-skinned.

March 9, 2008

"I could make you rue the day, but I could never make you stay."

She slept fitfully. She knew she needed to stop sleeping with the computer next to her, because it was so frequently incorporated into her dreams—dreams that were hard to separate from reality. Did I really email Beth and tell her what time I’d meet her, or did I just dream it? Occasionally she would realize she had missed paying a bill online because she dreamed she had done so and had thus put it completely out of her mind.

Just before waking, she had a vivid dream. In the dream her writing block was ending, and she was eagerly going to her online journal to flush out all sorts of ideas that were spinning through her brain. She felt creative and eager and itching to get the words out. Realizing just how long it had been since her last entry, she scrolled through the words she’d typed on the last several. One of them stopped her cold.

In one entry, she’d spilled out her most cherished, private thought in three little words. Right there for everyone to see. Worst of all: right there for the person who needed to see it least to see.

Oh, Jesus fuck! She panicked. How could I have forgotten I wrote this? It’s been here so long! God knows who all has read it… It was her custom to use all of her powers to encrypt such emotion. How had she allowed such an oversight to occur in the form of blatant, undisguised words?

Urgently she tried to delete them on the off chance that some of the damage could be undone. But suddenly her fingers felt heavy and clumsy and stuck to the keyboard. She couldn’t make them work right, couldn’t punch the right buttons to make the words that gave everything away disappear.

With a start she woke up. She lay for a moment letting the fog clear from her sleep-laden brain and reminded herself over and over that it was just a dream. She hadn’t given anything away. No one had seen those words. Her thoughts were still her own. She treaded unsteadily to the front door to step out and have a look at the world—at this late hour everyone else was well into their day.

Stepping down onto the cold concrete with bare feet, she tried to suppress her feelings of guilt for staying in bed so long. I was up late! And already in a sleep deficit! She considered the things she might try to get done today that might assuage the guilt. Otherwise she was feeling pretty good; maybe being somewhat productive would help harness that feeling and make it stay a little longer.

Turning her head to look down the path, she noted that the mail had been delivered. And then she saw it. Knowing what it was immediately, she jumped slightly. Her breath caught, and her pulse quickened. She didn’t know whether to run toward it or away from it. Maybe I should wait until tonight, she thought, or at least just a couple of hours. Instead she let out a deep sigh and, resigned, began to walk toward it.

But in my heart I blame it on me.

Plaque--aligning quietly

March 6, 2008

Funny conversation

A: "That's the wackest shit I ever heard."

S: "'The wackest shit' you ever heard? Who are you at the moment, Bel, Biv, or Devoe?"

A: "Devoe, of course."

S: "Of course. I should have recognized by your vocal patterns and inflection."

March 5, 2008

Bits of news

My lameness at reporting events on myself is overwhelming. I do, however, have a couple bits of interesting news to share.

First, my friends Dave and Lynn made the NY Times.

Lynn and Dave

Adventure in Tikiland

The both say they were misquoted, but their alleged words were so brilliant that I would totally claim them. I am also envious because this is much, much more interesting than my piddly SF Chronicle appearance.

Second, perhaps it's a good thing Nannette and I got out of Punta Cana without getting sick, as a flight from Punta Cana had to make an emergency landing because of ill passengers.

punta cana flight

What I presume were gastrointestinal symptoms would be horrible on a plane. I'm thinking they had too much "sangria especial." That stuff was lethal.

For now I'm off to see Stephen Malkmus.