Tuesday, February 28, 2006

To Dust You Shall Return

so it's practically march and i'm wondering where the hell my 2006 has gone and is going. i've made good on a few of my resolutions to travel more, as evidenced by the SF getaway, but this year has been largely lackluster. i don't know what i expected, but it's been disappointing. March is basically a bullshit month where nothing significant happens (at least for me). all it's good for is housing the "first day of spring" on march 20, but spring weather doesn't really surface until mid-april. i do have my first annual review at work, however, in a few weeks so that could be interesting. "beware the ides of march," i think to myself. perhaps that's a popular time for assasinations.

i was thinking that the best way to dull march down even more for me was to go at completely sober. it might be time for a little cleanse to coincide with Lent. i must confess that i feel a bit guilty for not fasting on yom kippur with my jewish brethren for the past few years, so i figure the best way to atone for my religious missteps is to give up alcohol during the 40 loooong days of Lent.

after all, judaism and catholicism are practically the same religion if you take all the messiah stuff out of the equation. we both know guilt and guilt trips, courtesy of our overbearing mothers. there's also the boisterous family gatherings where food is often the focal point. plus, we both know what it's like to be persecuted by christians.

my catholic girlfriends are giving up meat for Lent, so i -- never one to be outdone -- will give up alcohol and all other consciousness-altering substances (except for coffee). i mean, why the hell not? life is good lately, so i have no reason to drink, except that i'm bored, which might mean more reason to drink.

but really, it might be nice to teetotal for a bit. after several years of indulgence, extended sobriety will feel like a brand new drug. it's only 40 days. and if i hate it, i can slip in a shot of vodka on st. patrick's day. and if i love the masochism, i can try fasting on yom kippur this year -- or at least not smoking crack on that day.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

SF Getaway

i spent a delightful presidents' day weekend with some good friends in my favorite city by the bay. in short, it was pretty rad and the post-vacay euphoria still hasn't evaporated entirely. i hope to hang onto it until my next trip up there, tentatively scheduled for june. here are some visual souvenirs of my journey -- with some photos being from my last last SF trip, which i took in october 2005 (don't know why i never posted those shots before), so it's a mix of people and events, but it's all san francisco splendor to me.


share-bear: Sharon and I disliked each other the first time we met (about 8 years ago) when we worked together in college. thankfully, we got over ourselves rather quickly and allowed the true love discovery to take place. we've been ridiculously close ever since, separated only by the 400 miles between SF and LA. i'm hoping she'll move back down to LA eventually (or do a better job of convincing me to move up).


i hagged the guy on the left: (from my october trip) Greg, left, pictured with his boyfriend Glen and me. in my fag-hagging heyday, Greg was my gay boyfriend. not to be confused with my actual boyfriend at that time, who was also gay. but that's a story for another time. Greg and Glen kindly met me for brunch one morning.


we ate here: the wonderful Chloe's Cafe in Noe Valley.


more food: for me, one of the most exciting things about visiting SF is the overeating. i generally try a new place or two when dining with my local peeps, but also make it a point to visit some of my old eats as well. Sanraku in downtown SF pretty much has the best sushi on Earth.


gay bay: i'm not so much a fag hag anymore -- i retired several years ago when i realized that straight people are cool, too -- but i still love my homos and any display of homo solidarity, of which SF has much.


divination: the Celtic Cross tarot spread i made for Beanie. luckily for her, the future was bright and the time was right. and yes, i would tell her if it had been bad news.


siamese triplets: this journey saw me traveling with my main bitches Raidis and Ann, whom i've known since junior high school. these are the ladies i have my weekly 'sex and the city' dinners with, where nothing between us goes undiscussed. so beware, if you are/have been/or will be one of our men.


tat for tat: part of this most recent pilgrimage involved getting the ladies their long-desired tattoos. Raidis got a cherub on her ankle and Ann got a flower near her tailbone at the world famous Sacred Rose Tattoo Parlor. i got... nothing. maybe one day, but for now the only ink i can commit to is in my pen.


House of Nanking: where we ate chinese food.


cool storefront: with the city reflected in the background.


note the red eyes: this was from my october trip, which occurred dangerously close to Halloween -- hence, the red eyes on Dan, who dressed up as a devilish priest for a costume party i met him at. Dan was my roommate the last six months i lived in SF. not only was he fairly clean to live with and always interesting to talk to, he was a fantastic chef who brought home leftovers from his restaurant. i must have been the only poor kid on my block eating duck for dinner (or breakfast, as the case often was).


mispucha: that's the hebrew word for “family.”


speaking of family: i need to shout out to my homeboy NegEx whose wife just gave birth to their first child, a healthy baby boy named Judah. Neggy (aka Jeremy) is a great writer, a longtime SF resident, and he gave me my first job out of college. and i'm sure he'll now be an awesome dad. congratos, germ! don't fuck this up.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

VD

valentine's day sucks, man. it's so commercial and contrived, full of fakery that never seems to extend to all the other days of the year. and those little, heart-shaped candies are nauseating and taste like sugary wax. flowers die and chocolates make you fat. pink is the ugliest color. it's the worst day of the year.

at least those were my sentiments when i wrote the following piece two years ago. i was enrolled in a column writing class, which i re-imagined as a seminar for writing personal essays since, you know, that's what i do here. (it's always been all about the blog.) but at that time, it was also all about wretched heartache. i had split from my boyfriend of four years rather unexpectedly, just weeks before the dreaded VD.

that produced much ado, most of which is housed in the archives: internet dating, harems, run-ins with the ex, graduation followed by poverty and eventual employment, and now a new boyfriend i'm really digging. the best of times, the worst of times. here is a sampling from the worst:

Broken Hearts Club

Valentine’s Day. I find myself suddenly single again after four years off the market. It doesn’t bother me much that I’m alone on Valentine’s Day, but it seems to bother other people, who insist I join them for the evening. I tell them I’m too busy unpacking boxes, having just moved into a new place following the sudden split, but Zahra is damn persistent.

“Girl, I got us on the list for the Match.com party in Hollywood,” she says in her Jamaican accent.
“Ah, the coveted Los Angeles list,” I remark.
“Yeah, as in we don’t have to pay $25 at the door.”

It’s Saturday. I’ve been single exactly three weeks, and she’s insisting I dive headfirst into what’s sure to be the largest and saddest meat marketing event of the year.
“Match.com, that online dating service, is throwing a party in Hollywood on Valentine’s Day? It’ll be full of losers—”
“— And us,” she quips.

So we go. It’s my first foray into L.A.’s treacherous bar scene as a solo artist, and I commemorate the event by wearing high heels, a dangerously low-cut top and a push-up bra that thrusts those puppies right below my chin. I feel like a clown, but Zahra says I look good, so it’s OK.

We enter the place, and as expected, find a sausage party in full swing. Sadness Central, we have arrived. Men idly stand around surveying the room while groups of girls huddle together, whispering and pointing.

I suddenly flash back to a junior high-school dance and look down at my feet, just as I did then, but that’s where the similarities end. Today, my feet are covered in sequined high heels, and I’m far less shy, less na├»ve, less optimistic than before, yet just as uncomfortable as ever.

I begin to survey the scene as well and am stunned by the sea of losers L.A. has to offer me on this lovesick night. On display are ugly guys in suits and red ties, awkward men with no fashion sense or sense of self, and the occasional decent guy who seems to disappear into the crowd as quickly as he appeared, making me wonder if he were just a mirage.

The room stinks to high hell of desperation and disappointment — a veritable lonely hearts club, of which I am now, too, a member. And I wonder if they can smell it on me as well, if I wear my sorrow like a cheap perfume that permeates the room, repelling people and making their noses wrinkle up in disgust.

Meanwhile, Zahra is getting all kinds of attention from all sorts of strangers, some of them decent. Zahra, Miss Jamaica 2001, contender for the Miss Universe crown, sporting her taut pageant body and flawless pageant face, while I stand unnoticed, Miss Siberia 1979, Soviet export unextraordinnaire, wrapped in heartache and baby fat. Note to self: Never go to a singles mixer with a former beauty queen again!

And I begin to wonder why the hell I came, why I wore this top, as goons stare at my chest, why I don’t leave right now.

I know why. It’s for that small hope buried deep within me that I’d catch the eye of a handsome stranger — hopefully one who looked like him — who would offer up a shy smile, a flash of desire registering on his face to make me feel wanted again, make me feel like a woman again after he made me feel so unwanted with his cheating. That’s all I’d need to go home satisfied.

But it won’t happen, not tonight anyway.

“I’m out of here,” I say to Zahra, who grabs my arm when I try to walk away, her eyes imploring me to save her from the goons currently asking her to dinner.
“Let’s at least go to another bar,” I offer.

So we go, and there we stay finishing off our evening and several glasses of wine while exploring the farthest reaches of girl talk before we call it a night and get into our respective cars.

As I rev up the engine for my short drive home, I feel the ghost of Valentines’ past grip me, and I flash to that first Valentine’s Day he and I spent together, just weeks after we met, sitting in my bedroom in San Francisco, eating $5 burritos from the joint down the street, giggling without shame as we fumbled over each other and our new love.

And then the following year, after he moved me into his life and home in Los Angeles, when I came from work to find a surprise candlelight dinner awaiting me. I never knew he could cook, but there on the table were two plates of lemon chicken with new potatoes and the most delicious baby carrots. The trick, he said, was adding a handful of sugar while they boiled. They were so sweet.

And I begin to wonder what he’s up to tonight, whether he has already found someone to pass the time with. Would it be wrong of me to call? Could he be with her, whom he ruined us for, though he says she was nothing? Better she were something, so I could be discarded for something more meaningful than one night with a total stranger. I probably shouldn’t care but I don’t know how to stop.

I think all this and my heart gets heavy again, as it does every time I arrive home and step into my empty apartment.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Sorta Happenings

not all that much to put up here. not all that much going on lately. just putzing around with my usual stockpile of stimuli: the job, the pad, the dog, the Mo, the friends. no notable headlines with any.

in general, my january was a wash and i figured that my 2006 would officially begin in february. now two weeks in, my 2006 will likely begin in march. hell, i'll just wait until i get my tax return before officially kicking off my new year. i'm not sure what i intended to have accomplished by this point, but i'm sure i haven't done it.

the mundanity of work seems to have taken over and i now find myself busy during the workday, and again during the weeknight when i do my freelance editing. strangely, this hasn't improved my financial situation, which is all out of sorts. can't get on top of my bills, and can barely pull myself out of bed in the mornings. yep, feels like a typical february -- with the jolliness of the holiday season finally worn off, leaving a lackluster year ahead and a huge credit card bill borne of too many gift purchases.

best news is that the jasmine bush outside my front door has started to bloom, providing a pleasant little day-brightener. sad news of the week is that my boyfriend Mo is out of town until the weekend, brightside being that i can visit my other boyfriend Gym. other idle time has been spent watching the first season of "Sex and the City," which just sucks when compared with all the seasons that followed it. (the girls look so middle class!)

otherwise, my social calendar has been a bit slim. i'm still partaking in my weekly dinner with girlfriends Ann and Raidis (our own little "Sex and the City"); i also attended a polite dinner party hosted by Juan and Wendy. no shows lately, though the sight of juice terrorizing my neighbor's cat repeatedly has assumed a theatrical quality. i just can't seem to keep those lovebirds apart. i'm thinking of microwaving some popcorn and just sitting on my porch, breathing the jasmine air and watching them do their flirtatious tango. interspecies animal love is divine, and in lieu of other attractions, it will have to do.

(yeah, i know this entry sucks.)