Archive for August, 2010

Comfort Movies

August 25, 2010

I’m not sure if I believe in comfort food. There is food that makes me nostalgic, or makes me feel young again, but it never truly comforts me.

I do believe in comfort movies. The movies that you play almost automatically when you’re really, truly sick as a dog; or when you just can’t face the world; or when a miscommunication over the apartment that you had a 6PM appointment to sign a lease on leaves you feeling a bit lost and untethered and lease-less.

My first comfort movie was Romancing the Stone. I could watch that one over and over. In fact I did, until the tape plain wore out. Luckily, subsequent roommates have since replaced it, knowing and marveling at the odd peace I discover watching Kathleen Turner slide hysterically down a muddy bank in Colombia.

Comfort movies are not static. While I still appreciate the jungles and crocodiles (“Look at those snappers, Ralph!”) of my youth, I moved on after a few years. To Tremors. Big gawdam monsters. Underground. I don’t even understand that one. But it always worked.

There’s nothing logical about comfort movies. They don’t necessarily remind you of your youth. They don’t necessarily make you laugh, though they may have once. They aren’t necessarily smart, stupid, well-made, cheery, gloomy, bizarre, or employing the most beautiful cast. They simply are.

I moved through Aladdin, Hudson Hawk, Speed, Serial Mom, Roman Holiday, and Secretary before discovering my current comfort movie. I have finally found Serenity.

Now this one kinda makes sense. I’m a Joss Whedon fan from way back (and come to think of it, he’s always been extravagantly comforting; we use to have Buffy & Phish Food parties, back when she was still gaga over Angel on the WB), and the idea of an outer space western is just so right, it can’t help but make you feel happy. And of course the writing is superior, the plot inventive, the characters supremely awesome… but all that don’t matter none.

It just is. Like Tremors, it is the right movie for the right time, and it will not be denied. Tomorrow it may be supplanted by Dumb and Dumberererer part 13, but today it is. Today, when I’ve cut my roots to the past and feel like I’m spinning off into the void, when ‘home’ is but a distant idea, when nothing but my trusty pickup Tach feels certain anymore, I’m reminded that they can’t take the sky from me.

Yes, I’m a nerd. A cozy, comforted nerd.

In a state of terror and excitement

August 23, 2010

Oh my gosh. I clicked send. I have officially tendered my official notice to my landlord. And tomorrow, I officially sign a lease on a new San Francisco apartment.

I’m happy. Really. Okay, no I’m not. But I will be tomorrow, I swear! Once I sign the lease and make that jump, I’ll be just flipping over the moon. But right now? Right now all I can do is second guess myself.

What if I regret giving up my great roommate and his two sweet kitties? What if Boonie hates it? What if I never can scrub that stain out of the tub? What if the hot water always gives up, the washer burns out, and the thermostat is stuck on broiling? What if the PERFECT apartment is just sitting out there, ready to go on the market the second after I sign my lease?

It’s that last one that gives me heart palpitations. I am just positive that the grass is greener, you know, tomorrow. This apartment is good, maybe even great, but it’s not perfect. What it is, is available. I’ll be able to sign a lease more than 30 days before I have to be out of my current apartment. That’s… safe. Comforting.

Except it’s not. Not comforting at all. I’ve never been the type to go for safe. I actually can’t go to casinos anymore, because I love to gamble so g.d. much. I’m all about tossing it up in the wind and hoping it comes down in the way god intended. And you know what? That’s served me pretty well. I’ve wandered along all right with that philosophy. Sure, I can’t go to Vegas without losing every penny in my pocket, but that’s almost a given anyway.

It’s not just me in this equation, though. There’s two other roommates to consider. Two roommates who maybe aren’t as hopelessly devoted to gambling as I am. It’s time to look at that logically, and factor them in. Signing a lease tomorrow will produce the following results:

1 sad, deserted roommate
1 happy, excited roommate
1 happy but wistfully unsure and woefully uncertain roommate

Not signing a lease produces the following results:

1 sad, uncertain roommate
1 happy roommate with a growing knot of unease and mistrust
1 wistfully unsure and woefully uncertain roommate (happiness level unclear)

It’s pretty clear I’m making the right choice. Right?

In the Tourist Capital of the West

August 9, 2010

My last post was a happy list, made to remind me of good things. Yes, I posted the things that bug me as well, but each one of those bugging things was canceled out by a happy thing. It worked. That day. Today I’m back to being annoyed.

I’m pretty sure it’s me, at this point. Even though every peeve seems completely justified, the entire world cannot be that stupid. While a particular voice might make me want to claw my ears off, I’m sure that it’s the personal connotations, and not the actual pitch and timbre.

Oooohhhh, but it feels so reasonable. I do believe I am completely justified in my hatred of tourist bikers in SF. I happen to work within the 1/4 mile where the beautifully wide, clearly marked bike path that runs past Crissy Field along Marina simply ends, leaving no clear way to get to the wide, clearly marked bike paths heading up the big hill in Fort Mason towards the tourist mecca of Fisherman’s Wharf.

What does that translate to in Annoyance Points? It leads to masses of (yes, masses; sometimes the bikes are in tour groups of 20-30) confused bikers going the wrong way down the middle of one-way interior roads; stopping and/or circling confusedly in the middle of the road, blocking entry to the parking lot; riding straight into the road willy-nilly; running red stoplights; and/or taking up the entirety of the sidewalk and forcing innocent pedestrians into the iceplant.

I do feel sorry for them. In their defense, there is no clear path or good choice at that point. That doesn’t make it any less annoying or dangerous. SF Bike Coalition, can you do something about this? Pretty please? Now that SF has the the okay to add a beautiful, luxurious amount of new bike lanes, can you talk them into fixing this teeny-tiny strip of insanity? Don’t let these out-of-towners spoil the name of polite SF bikers everywhere.

Seriously, no sarcasm there. Despite a few high-profile insane light-runners out there, I’ve found the bulk of SF bikers are safe, polite, and reasonable. I could be prejudiced, tho, since I’m one of them.

In List-ville

August 8, 2010

Things I heartily approve of
Back roads and blue highways
Unofficial ‘off-leash’ dog beaches
People respectful of strangers
Outsider art found in odd roadside nooks
Free wilderness campsites
Defying limitations others set on you
Broccoli. It’s just tasty, and pretty. Even the word is pretty.
Old, re-purposed industrial buildings
Getting lost

Things I heartily disapprove of
Interstate freeways
Excessive heat, dry or otherwise
Fenced in, small, urban ‘Dog Runs’
Pedestrians, bikers, or drivers that don’t respect the rules of the road
Generic ‘artistic’ types who don’t actually create anything
Flat, open, paved campgrounds
Listening to what your body’s telling you
Quinoa. The name makes it sound like it should be much tastier than it is.
Brand new Warehouse Lofts
Taking the same path, day after day

Slightly more decided, though more scattered as well

August 4, 2010

‘Kay, day 2 of Acupuncture. Much better. Not only was the actual experience better (perhaps because I switched from Chinese to Japanese acupuncture? or I’m just more used to it?), but my back felt soooo much better afterwords. I’m slipping back into slightly painful now, nearly 8 hours later, but for most of the day, I felt golden. And it still just feels stronger.

I will say a quick Huzzah for the Prop 8 overturning, and for that one lucky couple who managed to get their paperwork through before the stay was issued. I’ll say no more on the subject, since everyone else is saying it, and mostly saying it better than I could. Or at least more frequently.

Boonie lost three teeth yesterday. Not really lost; the vet had to take them out. I knew her breath had been getting worse, but I thought we’d scheduled the cleaning in time. Sigh. At this rate, she’ll be a toothless brat gumming the neighborhood kids within the next couple years.

I need a vacation. Truly, desperately. During last weeks slightly painful massage (acupuncture today confirmed; I do have visible bruises on my back) I kept trying to find a happy place. It was a windy, coastal road, heading north towards Alaska. In fact, that vision makes me smile right now, just thinking of it.

Have you noticed that I’m kinda scattered today? Nothing has cohesion right now. I just can’t pull anything together. My mind keeps zipping around from one place to the next. This is going to be a short paragraph, because I forgot what I was going to say just now, thinking about how soon I can clock out and go home to take a bath.

Bless you.

Whoops, that was a real life interjection. Yet somehow it fits. Real life keeps interjecting into everything. There’s a sunny mustard yellow wall next to me as I type this, and I’m having problems looking away. My eyes keep leaving the computer screen to stare unfocused at the wall.

Is this the acupuncture talking, or am I just tired and goofy? It was hours ago, so it seems odd that it would still be affecting me this way, but I’m definitely loopier than usual. It certainly seems like a good day to take off early. Or at least a good day to avoid blogging. Perhaps I should hold off on clicking that “publish” button…

In awkward places

August 1, 2010

This weekend was a consciously active one for me, in the interest of being social, and artistic, and doing fun stuff. Last night I went to WAM’s I<3SF Visual Treasure Hunt after-party. I had tried to round up a few people, but no one could make it, and I was kinda excited about being forced to go out and mingle with fellow-photographers and browse the photo selection.

This was a first time event for WAM, and it seemed a wee bit under-attended. Next year this will easily rock, but this year the room was sparse, especially early in the night. Really sparse. That, plus loud music, and the fact that I seemed to be the only person there who knew not a single other guest, made for a slightly awkward situation. Every person I did find the guts to chat with was quite friendly and welcoming, but it was still pretty challenging for a socially-inept writer like me.

The 10 finalists were on display – two of my photos were included! Yes, there were only about 10 or 15 photographers, but still. I’m proud. This one was my favorite:

On the last day of the Hunt, I took a run to St. Peter and Paul Cathedral, to try to catch a photo of an Indulgence (based on the lesser-used definition of the word). That one didn’t turn out so fabulous, but on the way out, just as 5:00 Mass was letting out, I ran into this.

Washington Square Park was full of beautiful young people, making the most of the sun. One couple was making a little bit too much of it. Mam’selle was grinding on M’sieur pretty darn well; I think his pants were still buttoned, but I couldn’t swear to it. And a shocked and horrified elderly Italian man, on his way home from church, was strenuously trying to convince them that this was, in fact, a Bad Idea. They were unconvinced.

Anyway, after I viewed the other photos that made the finals, and watched the slideshow, and sipped a ginger ale and whiskey in the corner for a while (I knew I shouldn’t have made that Tom Waits joke while I was planning my evening), I decided to take a break from the slight awkwardness. I wandered down to Beale Street for some karaoke, only to find that the bar has moved thanks to the Transbay Terminal demolition. Wandered on, enjoyed the night in the city. Took a few photos, wandered down a pier to chat with the night fishermen (channeling the awesome Kirk of Monkeyface News).

I returned, just in time for the awards. I timed it perfectly, and managed to insinuate myself into a friendly group of Burners who knew nothing about the photography contest and just happened to be on the right listserve. And then hey, I won! Second place! Out of 10 or 15, but whatever, I won! And I got a little SF <3’s You trophy!

That’s my beating heart, there. I tried kissing it, too, but that didn’t work out so well:

The kiss kept turning into a nibble.

Now, I’m on my way to SF again for a post-apocalyptic book club. My first meeting. Hell yeah. Actually, first I’m on my way to the laundromat. Maybe I should chat up someone there, just to keep this social mood alive.

Also, on an unrelated note, unless you have a table worth thousands of dollars, coasters are pretty darn useless, yet somehow the gift industry has convinced us they are completely necessary. I smell a conspiracy.