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1. It was so busy right before Thanksgiving, such a blur of customers... At one point, [livejournal.com profile] dairryiere and I were discussing something at the cheese sink and someone walked by who gave us the shy nod of punk acknowledgement. We returned it and went back to our discussion. About five minutes later Dairryiere was all, "Hey, that was Aaron (Cometbus)!" I said, "Oh shit, you're right!" We've both known him for years and didn't know he was in town. We were just too dazed from customer service for the information to go to the thinking parts of our brains in time to actually say hello properly.

If you're reading this Aaron, sorry for the brush-off.

2. Martin from Giant Robot liked the Lance Memorial zine.

3. My drinking tolerance is very low these days. I guess I haven't been drinking enough. Cheese broker-paid drinks and a little dinner last night at Thirsty Bear = tipsy Gordon.

4. Number of suggestive "Wookey Hole" references made at the cheese broker holiday party: 6.

5. Picture of my Wookey Hole:
Untitled 69

6. I am so excited about some of the cheese coming in on Tuesday that I'm a little giddy. Let's hope it shows this time.

7. "The Devil Knows Your Dead" is a grim movie.

8. Looking forward to The Shondes on Tuesday at Annie's Social Club. Who's with me?

9. Also looking forward to fun holiday parties, out-of town guests, and the return of displaced Bay Areans

10. Also looking forward to February vacation plans. Yurts!
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[livejournal.com profile] freakstorm with her processed American cheese food sculpture

oh, there are a couple more )

My weekend

Oct. 23rd, 2005 05:25 pm
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I made my birthday stretch this year. I just got back to SF before my actual birthday so I had my party last night instead of on the actual day. All week long people were wishing me happy birthday. Some even accused me of being a Scorpio. Luckily I don’t care about such things.

I actually went to [livejournal.com profile] gwenzilla’s West Bay Chad b-day party on Friday night at Zeitgeist. I drank much more than intended because I didn’t know anyone but Gwen at first. I don’t wanna speak for G, but I was reveling in my oldness and crankiness in the face of so much youth. I was questioned by a new acquaintance rather graphically about my Queer Open Mic button and its relation to my sexuality.

Which is kinda funny because when I was driving up to Portland a couple of weeks ago I was wearing it, as per usual, next to my "Cheese Pride" button. I stopped by to visit a certain cheesemaker who happens to be a known dairy fairy. He said, "Oh I love your Cheese Pride buttons" then leaned in to read the other one. He paused a second, then said, "So are you going to Portland for the Gay/Lesbian Film Festival?"

Last night at my Birthday/Welcome [livejournal.com profile] dairryiere party (thanks again [livejournal.com profile] anarqueso!) our lovely Skinny Sublettor tried to have a horror movie fest in his room but it didn’t really take. It was a smallish party, but very fun especially when Skinny Sublettor started DJing. I haven’t seen so many people dance to "Me So Horny" in…. well, forever. Skinny, being a little younger than most of us there, didn’t realize that putting on JJ Fad would be greeted so enthusiastically by people who knew all the words. That’s not retro for us, that’s nostalgia.

A highlight, which I will post pictures of soon, was when [livejournal.com profile] freakstorm presented me with a 2.5 lb. block of processed American cheese food. Now, unfortunately, often people give me Cheeze Wiz as a gag gift. Freakstorm however, then carved it into a sculpture of a busty woman and some other party guests gave her eyes and nipples out of pins. Her head fell off in the fridge overnight, but I repaired her with some toothpicks. Hopefully we will use her as a display at the cheese counter.

I hope Miserable New Wave Girl* is happy with her new name. She came still partly dressed fancy from a costume party and toting champagne. When I introduced her to people and told them we went to high school together and got back in touch, many exclaimed, "Oh, you’re the miserable new wave girl!". Sorry, MNWG.

The only downside came when some friend of a co-worker who evidently got loaded at The Roller Derby match in Oakland threw up all over the couch and probably herself. Dude, we’re not 16 anymore. Suggestions for getting the vomit smell out of fabric that can’t be thrown in a washer?**

Our part winded down at about 2:30 but our neighbors’ party was still going strong. Skinny Sublettor decided to go over and bum cigarettes. The houses have entrances on different streets so their back porch is right under the windows of our bathroom and middle rooms. Their horrible party conversations have haunted us for years and we can hear every word said back there. When he arrived he yelled up to us, ‘Hi Gordon!" "Hi Dairryiere!" We waved from our windows. We couldn’t help listening, we almost put our boots back on to come to a rescue when we heard Skinny ask, in response to a het dude bragging about some sex act, "Oh, did you purchase that?"

Another guy was sarcastically saying he wanted to go to a "Cuddle Party".*** Skinny put down his beer and said, "Do you want a hug?" while embracing him. There was no mooing. There was some uncomfortable silence, but it passed.

Sincere thanks to everyone who came and everyone who wished me a happy birthday.**** It was a wonderful party and a great week.

*You may remember her from such posts as "High school reunion" and "High school reunion part two"
**Vinegar, soap, water, and sunlight has taken care of most of the problem.
***Again with the cuddle parties?
****Except, of course, for the puker.
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Wow. What a great day I had on Sunday. Brunch at [livejournal.com profile] ilipodscrill and [livejournal.com profile] telebraker6’s house, Beer Bust at The Eagle, and seeing bands at the Clarion Alley Fair. It was a perfect day of drinking and hanging out.

There are simply too many LJers to namecheck everyone at the Guerilla Femme Bar [livejournal.com profile] final_girl organized but I arrived in good style with Illipod and [livejournal.com profile] amarama. You know what I love about The Eagle, besides, of course, the rowdy urinal line? What other gay, male leather bar plays "What we all want" by Gang of Four. That’s right. Not "I love a man in uniform" or even anything off of "Entertainment" but a song of the obscure, under-rated "Solid Gold" album. Forgive this moment of music geekery but I’ve never heard anything off that album at any bar anywhere.

As [livejournal.com profile] claudimp put it, probably with better phrasing than I can remember this morning, usually gay bar music inspires less positive thoughts. "Sometimes you have to wonder whether a life of deviant sexuality is worth having to listen to bad disco music every week."

And while I met a bunch of people there, I should note that I finally met [livejournal.com profile] rivetpepsquad who lives in my town and has been on my friends list since 1/9/03 (I checked). [livejournal.com profile] jwz is the only local Ljer on my list longer who I’ve never met. Heya Jess! Sorry about that unintentionally innuendo-laden thing I said about you not coming to my birthday party

I walked over to the Clarion Alley Street Fair with [livejournal.com profile] fightingwords, [livejournal.com profile] _astrozombie_ and a friend of theirs. Sorry about losing you guys so fast, but I was drawn to Veronica Lipgloss and the Evil Eyes who were playing near the Valencia St. side of the block. That band just gets better and better. It was so crowded that people couldn’t get through unless they danced through the "pit".

Clarion Alley, right next to Community Thrift, is a community mural project where many different artists murals over the years, They’re on people’s garages, houses, stores, whatever. The alley is alley-sized, not a euphemism. It gets extremely crowded when hundreds of people are crammed in for a fair and with very few lights by the time the night hits. Everyone brings their own beer in bags and travels the length of a single block. Fire juggling, electronica, breakin’*, DJs, punk rock…a lot of stuff in one small space. I ran into an old acquaintance when she left the porto-toilet (this seems to happen to me a lot these days. See my Folsom St. entry) and she was all, "Come see my band, we’re playing in five minutes!" Well, ok. Latina/o punk en espanol. I love SF street fairs.

While hanging out with my buddy Dianarama though, we did notice something odd. Trying to work our way through the crowd to the liquor store, indecisive indie rockers blocked our way. "Have you noticed how skinny all the young punks are?" she asked.

"Yes," I replied. Without saying another word to each other we linked an arm and pushed through creating a path while saying "Excuse me" sarcastically. White belts and backpacks went flying out of the way. They were no match for late 30s, 200+ lb, medium-old school punks! Don’t get between us and the liquor store!

*I’m old. Is it still called that?
**Hey [livejournal.com profile] wookiepocket!
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Hey moms, does everyone try to get you to name your kid after them?

One of my co-workers is 8 months pregnant. Because I offered to let her throw her baby shower at my apartment, I’ve gotten to watch my other co-workers "jokingly" suggest names based on their own. I put "jokingly" in quotes because it’s hard to tell how serious they are. I know, for example, Kelly is dead serious with her "Kelly is a great name for a boy or a girl" line. I’m pretty sure Marvin was serious with his suggestion of Marva despite the fact that both Marvin and Preggers agreed that "Marva" sounds like the girl who hangs out in the stairs in the projects, smells of pee, and beats up the younger kids. Steve was probably less serious with "Stevia"* I was, for the record, kidding with "Gordita" though I have been referring to her future daughter that way for the last few months.

And what is up with those baby shower games? The cutting a piece of string game, where everyone tries to guess how big the pregnant stomach is, makes sense, albeit in an odd way. And I get the putting the potato between the knees and dropping it into a jar game. Why not humiliate the non-pregnant guests? It serves to amuse the pregnant one. The "How well do you know Preggers?" game was fun. Mostly because it included questions like a multiple choice "Who is Preggers’ least favorite co-worker?" With a gift certificate to Good Vibes on the line for the most correct answers there was visible tension in the room.

But I didn’t get the scooping up cotton balls while blindfolded. Also, it took hours to clean that crap out of the rug. There was some game involving toilet paper and mustard that we thankfully didn’t get to.

My favorite game went on throughout the evening. Everyone got name tags of different things about pregnancy and a couple of clothespins. If you referred to people by their real names someone could take a clothespin off you. There was a prize for the person with the most clothespins at the end.

I was Post Partum. I had a hard time with the motivation. Was I the mother or the baby? Either way, I got off easy. The first two people who were there as partners of co-workers and knew hardly anyone got Hemorrhoids and Discharge** respectively. I couldn’t stop laughing when a certain co-worker*** got Flatulence and refused to wear the name tag. And while most of the names won’t stick, don’t be surprised if you hear "Ice Chips" being paged over the PA at my workplace.

As far as baby names go, Preggers has decided on Jordan. This, like her real first and last name, begins with "J". Yes, Jordan. Pronounced just like Gordon but with a "J". Combine this with the fact that I hosted the shower and, as Preggers so delicately put it, "If that baby comes out light-skinned, a lot of people are gonna be asking you questions."

*That’s a natural foods joke.
**I kept saying "Hear Nothing! See nothing! Say Nothing!" but you have to be a certain age of punk to know why that’s funny.
***The one with the most seniority in the store. Ha ha ha.
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I was in a quandary about yesterday. I was invited to two events I would normally love to attend but didn’t know if I wanted to go to either. Yesterday was the one year anniversary of Rachael’s death* and I felt the need to leave my options open for depression if I needed to.

Further complicating things was that one event was a baby shower for two co-workers which meant that [livejournal.com profile] anarqueso was having problems finding a sub so she could go to the other event, [livejournal.com profile] plee’s (who should write more often, by the way) Birthday Party of Pies. Since Queso knew Plee first, I’d promised to work for her if no one else could.

I expected the one year anniversary to be emotionally meaningful but I realized late this week that it wasn’t going to be. Sure, I would think about Rachael. I would call our mutual friend and my partner in mourning. I would re-read some of her letters. But I’ve felt sad all year and I didn’t feel like staying home al day inviting more sadness in. I don’t feel like I’ve been lacking in remembrance.

Then my Husband co-worker told me they were playing a house party in Santa Cruz and there was space in the van. Plus they were playing with [livejournal.com profile] icki’s band Short Eyes. Plus [livejournal.com profile] reddawn just moved to Santa Cruz and needed a break from the Stepford Hippies. Fuck this grief, I said, I’m gonna go have fun.

After Queso’s shift ended, I got in the Husband van with a MPW tote** filled with ice, beer, and iced tea and we headed the hour and a half to the show. I tried to get everyone in the mood for Santa Cruz by pulling out my old California accent and saying, "Sweeeeeeeeeeet" a lot but no one noticed.

It was a typical house show in a lot of ways. No one from the house was there when we showed up but The Husbands began loading in anyway. The mics didn’t really work, especially after Icki started banging it around while singing. There was confusion. The bands played short sets in case the cops were gonna come.

But it was just what I needed, the reason I got into punk in the first place. An event. A happening. A friendly community beyond the mean exteriors. Too many people crammed into loud, sweaty, beer-filled rooms. Anger and noise and musical release of emotions.

And of course, Peeps. Any good punk show gives you a physical reminder that you were there: Bruises, new haircuts or piercings, grafittied clothes, hangovers, lost voices, etc. While I didn’t get to see the Suit of Peeps Armor that his girlfriend*** made for him for the tour, Peeps were flung with abandon as Icki charged the crowd in a room where no one could move. He fell. Other people fell. He fell a lot more times, and all the while Peeps filled the air. Soon the Peeps were ground into the carpet by boots and backs. My physical reminder? A pair of Peep encrusted boots that I’ve been trying to clean for the last hour.

It would be a cheap thematic link to say this show was somehow connected to Rachael, the girl who I first went to punk shows with back in the early ‘80s. I wasn’t actively mourning as I drank beer, moved awkwardly to the music and tried to avoid being hit by stale marshmallow "food".

But a day later, I can appreciate that she was there for some of the first times I realized that I needed loud, obnoxious music and parties on the verge of veering out of control as staples of my life. It’s one of the reasons she’ll always have a place in my heart.

*no more linking of this. You can find it in the memory section if you want.
**true story but kinda a natural foods worker in-joke. I didn’t have a cooler so I used the heavy plastic boxes that come with the pallets of groceries we get from our biggest distributor. It worked great! Mountain People’s Warehouse (MPW) is known as UNFI elsewhere, fyi.
***oooooh, [livejournal.com profile] slanderous may hate me for this one.

Hello 2004

Jan. 1st, 2004 11:10 am
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I assume other people have noted the similarities between Halloween and New Year’s Eve. People dress up and desperately look for the right party or place to be. There’s social anxiety that comes with every sip of booze. "Am I having enough fun?" "Could I be having more somewhere else?"

I went out this year on New Year’s Eve for the first time in at least 12 years. I actually felt fairly immune to the social pressures since it was such a novelty. See, my parents go hunting every New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Day is a bonus hunting day since it’s a holiday so my Dad’s hunting buddies deign to allow women up to the clubhouse during that 48 hour period only. I don’t actually know if that’s still true, but it was rigorously enforced when I actually did hunt for the last time, during the ‘70s.

So I usually house sit with my lover or a small group of friends, getting away from the city craziness. Sometimes I tried to plan with my old friends but none of them live in the area anymore and I never ended up making it out of the house anyway. This year I decided to be a little more adventurous.

After a pleasant musical interlude at Adobe Books, who’s owner is one of the few people I see regularly who knows my parents, [livejournal.com profile] jactitation and I wandered the streets, sat in Dolores Park and made it to our downscale local bar right before midnight. I felt like a 19 year old when I realized I’d never been at a bar at Midnight on New Year’s before. It looked like the Fourth of July since everyone was wearing American Flag top hats (sale at the party store?) and setting off fireworks just outside the door.

There were the old sailors who’d been coming to the bar forever and probably spent most of the New Year’s Eves of their lives there. There was the group I decided had to be the owner and his friends because I’d never seen them in there before and they seemed too comfortable to be strangers. There were the drunks who kept trying to fool people by Yelling out "10 … 9 … 8 …" every few minutes and then laughing.

Then there was the other similarity to Halloween. It’s a night when the bonds of compulsory heterosexuality are loosened. Just like dressing in drag is "ok" on Halloween, it seems like the mandatory midnight kissing is something looked forward to all year by some folks. One woman seated next to Jacco and me was there with her boyfriend but seriously making out with her girlfriends under the pretext of New Year’s tradition. "C’mon, give me a real one," she’d say. Under the cover of custom and alcohol excess, a lot of people were getting their first, or yearly, homo kisses.

The task of being awake for the New Year and being drunk completed, Jacco and I left our unfinished Anchor Steams on the table and headed the three blocks for home to watch the last Sopranos episode on our rented DVD. It started to rain so I had to put my "Happy New Year" tiara on over my 49ers wool hat.
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I need more sleep and I need more time. Annoying family obligations, working more hours than usual, nursing injuries that I’ve obtained from working too hard, holiday things that I actually want to do: it’s hard to get through the holidays healthy and sane.

Believe me, I know it’s a cliché to write these things. But I do sometimes wonder what it would be like to work one of those jobs where you get time off at this time of year rather than work twice as hard. I’ve worked some form of retail every year since I was 17 and for some reason this year is getting to me. At least I don’t work in a mall and have to hear Christmas songs all day. My picture would be in the papers if I still had to survive that every year.

I did have a wonderful time on Thursday night though at our Winter Worker party. Instead of just a show of co-workers bands, our party committee moved it away from the leather bar and rented a space where we could have kids too. A lot more people came and we invited all the other co-ops and a few nice customers and vendors too. By 11 everyone was dancing and we’d filled the place up. It was advertised as "dress to impress" so there was a nice mix of suits, rented tuxes, Goth runway fashions, punk formal, and a smattering of fetish wear. If we can only ditch the crappy co-worker bands altogether next year it’d be perfect.

The best act (whose punny name escapes me at the moment) was a drag king act, lip-synching and dancing to ‘60s soul. The two Black performers had purple ruffled tuxes and afros wigs bigger than their shoulders, the white member went for the "Jazzy white guy" look with a less ornate suit, beret, and twirled mustache. The audience rushed the stage at the hot sex lust that their songs provoked. I love my co-workers.

Unfortunately my memory of the event is not good since I ended up chugging a lot of drinks. You couldn’t bring drinks from the live music room into the kids/karaoke/formal photo room, or vice versa, so before I realized I could just hide a drink in both places, I kept hurriedly finishing them in order to mingle. Receiving cheese in the walk in was no fun the next morning at 7:30. I apologize if you shopped there on Friday and felt like people weren’t very friendly. Most of us were hung over.

Well, except for the co-worker who came in while I was baling cardboard at about 1 PM. Singing, soaking wet from the pouring rain, and staggering a little, she announced, "I just got up. I think I’m still drunk!"
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After work on Saturday I went to the Marina for a party. That might not sound weird to those of you not in San Francisco, but I haven’t been to the Marina at night since I suddenly needed to find a motel room once about 8 years ago. The best way to describe the Marina on a Saturday night is to picture wandering through frat row at a university with a large "Greek" system. There were a lot of loud, beefy guys "dude"-ing each other and a fair amount of women with clickety-clackety heels fake screaming then breaking into laughter.

Why was I there? Well, [livejournal.com profile] slipkid* was having a party. Plus I’ve been trying to make a point of leaving the neighborhood more often. I even went to the Beast** the night before for brisket, latkes and mixed performances of student theater. Anyways, as soon as [livejournal.com profile] jactitation and I got off the bus, it was clear that we had gone to the heart of enemy territory. The 22 dropped us off next to that Getty kid’s café and across the street from the mayor-elect’s wine shop. We turned the corner and there was a "Newsom for Mayor" sign the size of my living room on the first house we passed.

Stay clam. Don’t call attention to myself. Don’t make eye contact, it may provoke a hostile reaction.

Thankfully, Slip Kid lives a block from the 22. When I arrived at the party I was glad I had taken the time to change out of my stinky cheese clothes. I had a flashback of being underage, hanging out with the Ithaca punks and sneaking into frat parties to drink free beer. Since this usually ended up in being thrown out or giving one of the townies an excuse to get into a fight with a college kid, I felt my paranoia continue to rise, especially when I couldn’t find Slip Kid.

Luckily, we ran into [livejournal.com profile] decadentscholar and [livejournal.com profile] socialretard and tensions lowered. They were the only other Central/Eastside-looking folks in this land of Dockers and moussed Gavin haircuts. Finding friends let the social anxiety tension in my head start to ebb and soon after that, Slip Kid made an appearance. Slip Kid is an incredibly sweet and friendly person in real life, by the way. After the initial culture shock, most of his friends turned out to be also. Plus he’d gone to the expense of hiring a bartender and the free booze, known generically as "martinis", was flowing.

Still, it was a strange feeling. If I looked one direction from the back porch, it looked just like the Mission. Victorian buildings subdivided into apartments. Clothes lines. Cheap, industrial paint from the landlord supply stores. The other direction however was motels, condos and Mel’s Diner. It was like I was on vacation in a city where I didn’t know anyone and got a room for a night on the Miracle Mile. Familiar, but not home.

We hung out with DS and SR for most of the evening, eating chicken skewers and drinking. I did unexpectedly get my ass slapped with a baguette by the best dressed woman there, but she was doing that to everyone. She did say to me, "I bet you like that." To which I responded, "You don’t know the half of it," but she was already moving on to the next ass.

But it was time to go back outside and brave the street partiers. As we waited for the 22, a crappy, dented Toyota pulled up in the bus stop blasting that "Holleration/Hateration in this Dancerie" song which is now still rattling around in my otherwise empty head 36 hours later. The 22 goes very fast through the rich hilly neighborhoods at that time of night, and it was just Jacco, Me and some guy who had just gotten off his restaurant job and was sneaking a beer out of a paper bag for most of the trip. Does any city other than SF send its public transit up such crazy hills?

*Whoops. For those of you who read this right away, it's [livejournal.com profile] slipkid not [livejournal.com profile] slip_kid.
**Beast is East Bay translated back from the Pig Latin.


Dec. 1st, 2003 01:04 pm
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Saturday After work I went to the Lusty Lady benefit party South of Market with a friend and co-worker, Hot Historian. Of course, she had the time to go home, change, and look good while I came straight from the cheese mines and was stained and stinky. Oh well. The main part of the party was just like any small club show with people standing around watching bands, though the bands were probably wearing less clothing than usual.

I should have realized something was up when we had to finish our drinks before going into the next room but we were too busy discussing where the kids area and the karaoke machine should be during our worker party which, coincidentally, we’re having in the same space. We were wandering around planning and suddenly all these women wearing lingerie were being extra nice to us. Hot Historian was talking to one of them who turned out to be a scantily-clad friend from school when I realized we had stumbled into the lap dance area. Uh clueless? Yah.

HH* eventually got a lap dance from another dancer and came back hot, bothered and unable to form complete sentences. After watching a couple of rounds of lube wrestling, everyone got kicked out of the area because the "Fire Marshall" declared it too full. I decided to go home, satisfied that I’d done my duty supporting another cooperative. My only regret was that I missed The Space Whores because I didn’t want to lose our front row wrestling seats, on nice comfy couches.

*Um, for any co-workers reading this, it is not our co-worker who’s initials are actually HH, though he is somewhat of a historian. Otherwise, he’s about the polar opposite of the person I’m talking about.
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Saturday, September 20, Approx. 11 PM.
I’m in the bathroom at my apartment while our party starts to rage outside the door. The DJ is puking violently into the toilet while I rub her head. I hate being touched while I puke, but it seems to calm her a little. She keeps apologizing. I tell her to shut up. It’s not like I haven’t thrown up in front of many friends and acquaintances. I get sick rather easily, actually.

People are starting to line up outside. They bang the door sporadically. It’s the drawback of having a party in an apartment with only one bathroom.

DJ Pukey cleans herself up a little and we head to my room where I call her a cab. Since she was only about halfway through her first beer of the evening, we conclude that it must be food poisoning. I slide my Bulgarian Feta garbage can over between her legs while we wait for the unlucky cab driver. I give her extra money so she can give a really good tip if she vomits in the cab on the way home.

Wednesday, September 24, 5 AM
I wake up with a stomach ache. Though I can easily get sick, I rarely get stomach aches. At first I think that a large cat is lying on my stomach then I remember we don’t have any pets.

I go down the hall to make so peppermint tea because you can learn some useful things from hippies. Unfortunately, I don’t make it that far. I make it to the very same bathroom and throw up with every ounce of strength in my body. Sparing you many details, this continues until 1 AM, Thursday.

Thursday, September 25, 4 AM
I take my first sip of water since Tuesday night without immediately hurrying to the bathroom to get rid of it. Later this day I take a shower and have to go back to sleep from the exertion.

Saturday, September 27, 11 AM
I eat my first real food since Tuesday night. I venture out of the house a little later.

Quick facts:

- I haven’t been this sick since I had salmonella in 1990
- I watched more TV than I’ve seen in years. Daytime TV probably prevented my recovery because it encourages my depression. Especially that Xantrex 3 commercial for some strange reason. I renewed my hate for "Matlock" and my lack of interest in Judge Hackett.
- I haven’t read anyone’s LJs, not even the ones by my closest real life friends.
- At a certain point, firm stool can seem like god’s greatest gift.
- It hasn't been a great month health-wise.
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I got to the party and saw a couple of friends sitting on the wooden, Victorian, second floor stairs. They weren’t even smoking but they were sitting outside, that’s what a nice San Francisco night it was. It was early and I hadn’t seen them for awhile so I sat with them and opened my paper-bagged beer.

The door to the party apartment was propped open slightly and I could hear music playing. It was something incredibly familiar that I hadn’t heard in years but obviously had listened to a lot. It was faint. I couldn’t quite make it out. But I knew the melody. I managed to small talk but my brain was trying to connect the dots and figure out what the hell it was. I knew it well but couldn’t remember if I loved it or hated it so I didn’t ask my friends if they knew it. I didn’t want to commit.

Guests started arriving and they looked slightly off: polka dots, mullets, smeared and bright cheekbone make up. Oh shit, I forgot this was an ‘80s party. My stair-sitting friends weren’t dressed up either, a reason besides the weather to be sitting outside. Context is everything though, as soon as I realized the theme of the party, the name of the song I was hearing came to me in a flash. "Go Nowhere" by Reagan Youth.* At least the DJ was celebrating the best of the ‘80s.

I hate theme parties. Themes and costumes just distract from people, which is the real point of parties. If you need your inhibitions lowered, just drink some more. If you need a costume to start a conversation, practice talking in front of a mirror. But don’t expect me to look like an idiot to balance your poor social skills. Especially to honor a decade that was so horrible to live through the first time.

But really I don’t believe those things. I’m just too lazy to ever dress up. That’s the sad truth.

The word about the party theme obviously hadn’t spread too far anyway. Maybe a third of the people were actually dressed decade-appropriately. This actually made it more fun though because some of the guests could have gone either way. Is retro your lifestyle choice or your dress for the evening?

A few hours into the party I watched as three twenty-somethings arrived together. They had much of the ‘80s attire down pat: off-centered belts, yep. Big jagged stripes? You bet. Shirt strap over one shoulder? Uh huh. But they looked upset. Something was wrong. The woman in front surveyed the kitchen full of drunk older party-goers,** their get-ups starting to droop from dance sweat and the crowded conditions.

She turned to one of her friends, just loud enough for me to hear her as I waited for the bathroom, "Look at all these 30 year olds trying to look hip and electroclash. Gross." They took another look around and headed back towards the front door.

*A song which starts with the enormously subtle New York accented Q & A: "Where you going tonight boy?"
"I’m not going fucking nowhere." Ah, the ‘80s.

** You could tell the people who really lived through the ‘80s because when DJ Dianarama played Nina Hagen, instead of some Flock of Seagulls bullshit, they were the ones filling the dance floor.
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Thanks to all who helped my celebrate my birthday!

It started on a down note. At 10 AM yesterday they started showing the house I live in to brokers. The asking price? $1.2 million. "Great place to move in!" (And kick out the tenants). I didn’t think it would piss me off as much as it did but I really wanted to start hitting the fucks double parked in their SUVs waiting for the showing to start. The showing only went for an hour and a half so I made sure to be back at that time exactly. I walked up to the realtor grabbed a flyer and asked, "What time is it?"

"11:30," she replied, smiley and hopeful.

"So I guess you’re done then."

"Oh, you live here?"

Good thing I did, because overdressed brokers were still parking in the middle of the street trying to get a glimpse of our home. I was standing there and made sure she had to tell them they couldn’t go in.

Then I had to go to a meeting at work where co-workers gave me a mini chocolate cake with a candle. Awwww. I managed to avoid some needy regulars standing by the cheese counter. Not on my b-day!

My ex took me to the Liberty Café, a neighborhoody American food meets California cuisine place that I had never been too. What keeps the Liberty from being too precious or snotty is that it’s tiny so they worked out a deal with the neighborhood/dyke bar next door. If you have to wait you go there and they call and tell you when your table’s ready. That bar is one of my favorites in the city. Maybe when I’m evicted I’ll get to live closer to it.

The meal was great. I’ll spare my more sensitive readers the details, but it involved pigs.

I was actually feeling sick* and exhausted more or less all day so I was a little worried that I had told my friends to meet me at a bar last night. But it worked out. As soon as I started drinking I felt better. Loyal readers will scoff when I write that I had my party at Lucky 13, but it was a Tuesday night and L13 is the emptiest bar around when the bridge and tunnel crowd isn’t there. When I got there I was surrounded by the remnants of my teen punk scene. As I shoved dollar bills into the jukebox, I realized that I’ll be the last one left. One was only in town from Alaska, another is working in a photo lab and planing to leave the area,. The other two, a married couple (with kids 12** and 14!) are moving to Eastern Pennsylvania in a couple of months.

The rest of the night was the usual birthday drinking and schmoozing. I got wonderful presents including a leather bear vest (Which I need to exchange because unfortunately was just a little too small. I think it should just barely cover my nipples), a 49ers cook book from the early ‘70s ("Steve Spurrier Lasagna, directions: heat one pack frozen Stouffer’s lasagna") and a "Lower Haight, 94117" shirt.

I stumbled home around 1am because I have to work this morning. Thanks again to my wonderful friends for making a great birthday possible after such a shitty start.


*Last year I was very sick on the day of my party. After every swig of beer, I had a coughing fit. I ended up lying on my bed with a bunch of queers and fags watching "Miss Hawaiian Tropic 1983" which one of them found for me at a thrift store. "I thought you’d like this. You’re. . . you know. . . Heterosexual." Oh, the hair was truly amazing.

**I heard about her birth on the middle of Market St. near Valencia during a Gulf War protest.
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I helped put on a "(Pay) Off the Pigs!" party last night as a benefit for a co-worker. She had an interaction with the law recently that ended with her being shipped to Southern California on a 10 year old arrest warrant that she didn’t know about. That was, to put it in an uncharacteristically subtle way, from a very different time in her life. In the meantime she’s changed some of her troubled ways, had two kids, and is one of the most solid people at my workplace.

But that didn’t matter to the courts who have released her but put her on probation until she pays thousands of dollars in fines and penalties. My friend Bruce (see this entry ) was the main organizer, but I stood at the door all night collecting donations and selling raffle tickets. We had many wonderful prizes, including gift certificates, haircuts, knitted goods and the ability to give a public spanking to a particularly obnoxious co-worker. I brought lots of fancy-ass cheese I got from a trade show for free. Another co-worker sold shots of home made absinthe. Another wandered the party offering kisses or spankings for a dollar. Her ex-girlfriend lurked nearby snapping Polaroids to sell for the benefit blackmail fund.

One of the things that I love about my workplace is the way that people come together to help each other out when they need it. Bikes get stolen, people get ill and can’t work, unexpected situations threaten to change someone’s life and most co-workers will pitch in some money to help. We rarely raise all the money needed, but it shows that we care and that they aren’t alone. Since we’re a coop the fact that people believe in mutual aid is hardly surprising. But when I saw people (and I was collecting the $) who I know aren’t friends of a person giving money to help, it’s still touching.

And the party was a party too. It was one of the really hot SF nights that only happen twice a year or so, so "It’s Getting Hot in Herre" was played more than once. As was the unofficial party theme song "Pork and Beef" by The Coup ("If you got beef with the c-o-p s / throw a molotov at the p-i-g s / cuz they be harassing you and me / you gotta understand that we’re still not free") Then the MRR and Scam Punks showed up incredibly drunk, still in their costumes hours after the punk anti-war parade they held in the Mission. I’m talking loud-obnoxious-falling-down drunk. . . hanging-all-over-each-other-making-out-then-suddenly-fighting drunk . . . it’s-3-am-so-let’s-go-steal-some-beer drunk.

They’re so cute.

To me what makes a great party is an elusive balance of the inability of any one group to dominate it. "(Pay) Off the Pigs" had punks and hip hoppers , queers and straights, Giants fans, A’s Fans and sports haters, grocery workers and others.

All in all, a wonderful San Francisco evening. Imagine if it we had warm nights more often. . .
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We had a successful party last night. Feelings on a Grid played and the cops didn’t come. Lots of people came and nobody was puking or looking for things to steal or overly aggro.

Unfortunately, right next to our apartment is a Russian Orthodox semi-cu lt.* Being culturally insensitive, we didn’t realize that it was Greek Easter so while Feelings on a Grid was playing they called asking if we could turn off the drums. Uh, no. I would have felt bad if we hadn’t warned/invited them (and all the neighbo rs) about our party earlier in the week. We reached a compromise by assuring them that we would be silent for 15 minutes at midnight when they did their Easter procession through their backyard.

A neighbor in the eight-apartment building next to us als o called and complained. That apartment is full of students who always have parties and keep us up with bad music and inane party conversation, their back porches being about 10 feet from our bedroom windows. Do they ever turn down the music when we ask? No. Do they ever warn us about parties even though we’ve asked repeatedly? No. "The band will be done at midnight, " we told ‘em. "If it’s not I’m calling the cops!" was the reply. My housemate hung up on him.

Feelings played an amazing set. Peo p le were a little afraid to dance, the basement ceiling being only about 6’2" with lots of low-hanging beams and water pipes, but everyone loved the Grid guys.** They even dedicated their version of Hazel O’Connor’s "Big Brother" (from the movie "Breaki ng Glass") to me. The boys also loved the buttons that I had made for them (by the talented and wonderful Taryn Hipp), moving me up in the rankings of biggest fans (sorry M, I think I’m #2 now).

One weird moment occurred when one co-worker of mine sta rt ed heckling them by yelling what I thought was "Nornal sex!" over and over. I was like, what’s with this guy? Is he feeling insecure because he’s watching a queer boy band? Feeling oppressed by songs overtly about sexuality in general? A closet homopho be e mpowering himself? No, he was yelling "Normal sucks!" in response to something the band was saying about the normal state of the country even while the US is at war. Whew.

I really do love having big parties. Somewhere on every party invite, we m ention that "Parties are an important part of the community fabric" and I really do believe that. There’s an element to socializing, beyond the flirting, chatting and social awkwardness, which can break down barriers and make neighbors greet each ot her o n the street. Just like the creation of counter institutions (like say, Epicenter Zone) has social and political effects that are hard to quantify, meeting people in relaxed social settings is a step in the process of creating an atmosphere where co mmunity self-determination can seem realistic. As a wise man named Jonathan Richman once said, "We need more parties in the USA."***

The strangest thing I found during clean up was a to-do list written on the back of a receipt from the Laney College Book store. It reads:
-Make own Book of Shadows
-Go to store on Fillmore on Bus 22
-Go to barnes n Nobles for feathered pen. [sic]


*In the ‘70s they were thrown out of the Russian Orthodox church for not following church decrees and being led by a "he retica l" leader/personality. In recent years they’ve been trying to re-mainstream themselves and be allowed back in after years of defiance, purges, and non-traditional teachings. They used to have a gallery on the first floor, open to the public, fill ed with huge, gory Christ images called "The Not of this World Living Room". Someone stole the sign and they stopped giving unscheduled tours.

**Except, of course, the neighbors.

*** Jonathan continues, "Some people are staying home / and not having fu n / a c old, cold era has begun, has begun. / Now things were bad before / there was lots of loneliness / but in 1965 things were not like this."



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