Saturday, December 30, 2006

Spending Time With Hollywood

I love movies, but I am extremely lazy about seeing them in the theatre. In fact, I am also extremely lazy about renting movies. I focus so much of my entertainment time on live theatre, live music and the few television shows I never miss, that movies end up drawing the short straw. So generally, I don't see a movie until it comes on cable. And I'm fine with that.

However, in the last week, I have seen not one, but two new films... in the theatre, no less. That never happens.

Last Sunday afternoon I went to see The Pursuit of Happyness. It was good, although not nearly as good as I thought it would be. The fact that I actually paid theatre prices to see this film is significant because throughout the years I have been very resistant to Will Smith. I think that's mostly because he started as a rap star, and I hate rap. Also, he tends to make mainstream, big budget action movies that don't interest me in the least. But I have to admit, he is a very charming movie star. And while not a great actor, he doesn't humiliate himself, either. I think the best part of The Pursuit of Happyness, though, is that it was filmed here in San Francisco. They actually shot one scene a couple of blocks from my apartment, and it was fun to see my little running route on the big screen. I will say, however, that I take umbrage with the fact that the little kid in the movie is sad in the scene they shot on my street. I think only scenes of joy should be filmed in my neighborhood.

Then last night, Jenny, Fabulous Patti and I saw Dreamgirls. I seriously cannot tell you the last time I was in a movie theatre on a Friday night. I actually ran into someone I know, and he told me I couldn't tell anyone he was there. I guess Dreamgirls isn't a manly enough film for him. Anyway, I was excited to see Dreamgirls because I remember when the musical came out 25 years ago, and I always wanted to see it but never did. Much like The Pursuit of Happyness, Dreamgirls is good but not outstanding. Although much of the singing is pretty fantastic. And it will probably win or at least be nominated for a bunch of Academy Awards because it's that kind of movie. My curiosity about the Supremes has been piqued, however. I always knew there was acrimony in that group, but after seeing this fictional story based on them... now I really want to know what went on there.

The timing was a little perfect for me to see Dreamgirls because on Thursday night I had rehearsal with the fake band, and it did not exactly go as planned. I ended up having a lengthy.. discussion, let's say... with the other members over some song choices. For crying out loud, we're a fake band doing this just for fun. It's not like we have to make "hard choices" because we're we're trying to make it big.

In the end, I got them (well, most of them) to listen to me and even agree with my point of view. And one of the guys told me he admires how I stood up for myself. The fake band really is a good time, but it's certainly not worth the headache of fighting over stuff. I blame all my friends and family members who are musicians for not warning me what a pain in the ass being in a band, even a fake one, can be.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing In a Place Like This?

For me today that place was work. On my day off.

For reasons of illness and vacations, I was needed at work on what should have been the first day of my "weekend." Actually, I didn't mind at all. I got to do my absolute favorite part of my job, and I could use the extra cash. I'm salaried at work, but I make more money for certain tasks, and I was called in to perform one of the more lucrative tasks today. Given my spending this month, I very much welcomed the opportunity to pull in a few more bucks. It will make the heart attack that is my December credit card bill a little less painful when it arrives next week.

And I managed to go running, do laundry and give myself a face mask before joining my employer this afternoon. So it was kind of like a weekend day for me.

You may have heard that Christmas is now over. That always makes me a little sad. I hope you had a cool Yule. Even though I worked through most of the holiday, I did manage to have a delicious Christmas dinner with Jack and Fabulous Patti. And that was in addition to having dinner at work. Combine two dinners with all the other eating and drinking I've been doing this season, and I think I got about seven extra pounds for Christmas this year.

The good thing about virtually missing a holiday, though, is you get to have another one. At least I do. Tomorrow I'm going to visit my aunt, uncle, grandmother and various cousins for Christmas, 2006, Part Two. I can't wait to see my little cousin Anna. Whenever she and I get together, we play and color and do all the fun things that boring grown-ups forget to do. Besides, Santa accidentally dropped off a gift for her at my house, so I must deliver it.

After Christmas, the Sequel, comes New Year's Eve this weekend. New Year's Eve is always both amateur night and a let down, but I think I have a good plan to welcome 2007. I'm going to take Jack and his brother Jason to my friend Beth's party in Berkeley. Beth is a super talented writer and spoken-word artist, and she is married to a musician. The event is billed as a "party/talent show," so I think Jack, Jason and I are in for a treat. And we'll be inside Beth and Eli's home and away from all the drunk idiots in the bars and out on the streets.

And finally... It's official, the fake band is playing another gig with Wonderbread 5 in February. January and February are the most depressing months of the year for me, so I'm happy to have a project to focus on. We'll have fake band rehearsals throughout the next eight weeks, and I'm going to resume my singing lessons from Best Friend (a.k.a. Stephanie). I took a few before our Ashkenaz show, but I need more help. Best Friend has been teaching singing for years and has an amazing voice, herself, so I know I'm in good hands.

If you haven't yet, you might want to try to see us perform. Any day now we could realize that we're not a real band.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

I Believe in Santa

This is the best night of the year because it's the night Santa delivers love to all the good boys and girls everywhere! The Santa I believe in also generously gives love to bad boys and girls, too. Well, most of them... he might skip murderers and people like that. I also have a feeling George W. Bush gets coal in his Christmas stocking, but really that's between him and Santa.

As for me, I am spending this Christmas Eve at work. Yes, you read that correctly. Now, understand that I'm not complaining. I have a job I enjoy and that many people would envy. Plus, I signed on for holidays and weekends when I chose to work in a 24-hour business. But still. Given a choice, I'd much rather be in Los Altos with my grandmother, aunt, uncle and little cousin Anna. Or at the dinner party to which Jack invited me tonight. Or down in L.A. where Diva Mommy is visiting my brother Mike, sister-in-law Maki and the fabulous Mikey Jet. If I were there, I also would be able to see my oldest sister Kathy and her kids, as well as my oldest brother Tom.

Well, heck, as long as I'm imagining places I'd rather be, I'd really rather Diva Mommy had stayed in Hawaii for the holiday, and we'd all gone to visit her there. Maybe some year. But for now, I sit with a job to do on Christmas Eve. Just like Santa.

And for all you cynics who would suggest that Santa isn't real, I have but one thing to say. Perhaps... and I stress the word perhaps... there is no rotund gentleman donning a red suit and circling the globe in a sleigh pulled by overworked reindeer right now, but look around tonight and tomorrow at all the love and happiness that has been building for the last month. Look at the smiles on people's faces and the light in their eyes. In fact, look all year at the love that surrounds us all, if and when we choose to see it. Look at all of that and then try to tell me there is no such thing as Santa Claus.

I didn't think you could.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Recipe For Success

Now that I am of an advanced age, I can draw upon my wisdom and experience to offer you sage advice on how to have a birthday that is truly top drawer. So, in no particular order:

1. Spend three hours at the spa. There is no better birthday present.
2. Drink champagne at Favorite Bar with your 91-year old grandmother who's in town from Rochester, New York.
3. Continue drinking champagne until you close down Favorite Bar and end up a little sick at home at about 3 a.m. (okay, maybe that's not such good advice).
4. At the end of the night have rambling, alcohol-infused conversations with several soccer-playing Favorite Bar regulars whom you don't usually hang out with.
5. Get your birthday cake from Stella Pastry. The only drawback is that it will be such a hit, you won't have any left over. And that's a true shame.
6. Enlist Kirk to DJ your party and give him an extensive playlist, thus ensuring you'll celebrate your 37th to the sounds of a bunch of your favorite songs. After all, no birthday is complete without The Jam's "Beat Surrender" and The English Beat's "Best Friend." Proclaiming that you want to marry Kirk every time he plays a song that makes you particularly happy might be going overboard, but he would probably appreciate it and find it a little funny, at least.
7. Order so much food that the next day you find yourself taking a huge meat and cheese tray and about 500 rolls from Palermo Deli to work for the Secret Santa potluck even though you have the day off. But keep the fruit and veggie tray for your own snacking goodness.
8. Make sure it rains cats and dogs, even though it was sunny the day before and the day after your birthday. Then decide that, like weddings, rain on your birthday must be good luck.
9. Feel the love of your friends and family, who braved said rain to celebrate with you. Without them, you'd be nothing but an old lady staring at an ever-increasing number of birthday candles.
10. Hit the gym the next day and top off your work-out with a spell in the steam room to metabolize and sweat out the alcohol.

And finally... promise yourself that you will be more mature next year and refrain from ringing in three-eight by drinking your weight in Perrier Jouet. You're likely to forget that one, but eventually it will sink in. Maybe by 47.

Tonight, instead of joining Helen, Erin and Andrew for dinner in Japantown, I'm going to order pizza, write thank you notes and go to bed at 9:00. I may have the partying prowess of a 25-year old, but I definitely have the hangover resilience of a 37-year old.

p.s. I'd post photos from the epic event, but once again Blogger doesn't want you to see them. So you'll have to use your imagination.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Birthday To Me

I am officially old. 37.

Many people, mostly my co-workers, have spent the last few weeks assuring me that 37 is not old. However, I have mentally been stuck at 25 for the last 12 years, so it's a little disconcerting to realize that I am, in fact, much older than that.

Well, advanced age be damned, I always treat myself well on my birthday. This year's giving from me to me began yesterday with a very fancy "Like Water For Chocolate" pedicure, complete with cocoa milk, cocoa mouse cream and an exfoliating chocolate scrub. Yummy. And my toes look really cute.

Later today I'm going to the spa to luxuriate poolside and indulge in a cranberry-pomegranate body buff. And then tonight about 40 of my closest friends and family will join me for a party at Favorite Bar.

Plus, a special shout-out of love goes to Diva Mommy, who went through labor on what must have been a deathly cold Wisconsin night to give birth to me at 3:43 a.m. on December 21, 1969. Talk about dedication.

Can you tell my birthday is my favorite day of the year?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Fake Band That Wouldn't Die

Want know how to make your office holiday party more fun? Three months prior, form a fake band with some of your co-workers, learn some songs, and then accept an invitation to play said party. Even if many of the guests are more interested in the buffet line than what you're doing onstage, it will still be a blast.

Especially if the party is at Bimbo's 365 Club.

By all rights, my fake band had no business being on that stage, but hey, it wasn't our idea. Last night, history was made once again, when Fake Band opened up for Wonderbread 5 at our company Christmas party. And the guys in Wonderbread 5 (all real musicians who have been selling out shows for years with their creative cover-band antics) were super nice to us and very supportive. They even invited us onstage to sing with them during their set and treated us like we actually have talent or something. That's some seriously generous Christmas spirit. This photo of us was taken backstage right after we played our set. Look at how happy we are; we're like kids running amok in a candy store.

Running amok is right. For something that started as a lark, our little fake band may be on the verge of getting out of control. For now it's still fun, though, so we're going with it. There's talk of us playing with Wonderbread 5 again in February, which would be scary because we would be in front of a real audience... not just our friends and co-workers.

I'll let you know if that happens. I'm still a little insecure about my singing, so I think I need to get over that if we're going to keep performing. Insecurity has no business invading the life of a pretend rock star. There are also still some ego issues in the band, but hopefully they won't overwhelm the fun and ruin everything.

Today Bimbo's, tomorrow... washed-up fake musicians thinking about a reunion tour.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Santa Sleuthing

I think I know who my Secret Santa at work is.

I'm actually a little embarrassed because I gushed about my holiday cocktail present to this person before processing the fact that he or she might be my secret benefactor. Well, if I'm right, at least my Secret Santa knows I was impressed with the first gift.

Whether I accurately have identified my personal Claus or not, I have received another excellent goodie. You see, my Secret Santa seems to know me pretty well. Not only did Santa know how much I would enjoy a fresh cocktail for the Christmas season, but he or she also is aware that I appreciate the occasional trashy magazine. A girl can't live on Vanity Fair and Entertainment Weekly alone, so I devoured the Star (that's right) left for me last night. Santa also left chocolates for me to munch on once I digested the ridiculous Hollywood gossip Star had to offer.

All in all, I'd say that was a pretty fun gift. Thanks, Santa!

This weekend I dove into my Christmas cards, and I am happy to report that I am about 2/3 done! I have written just over 50, and I probably have 25 to 30 more to go. I'm sending slightly fewer this year in part because I've truly fallen out of touch with some people, and in part because I've waited so long that I just don't have time to send as many as I usually do. What can I say; I'm usually much more on the ball with this project.

Tomorrow I brave the line at the post office for stamps. I imagine I have no hope of getting holiday stamps at this point unless I want the super religious ones or the Kwanzaa stamps. I'm thinking not so much on either count, so I'll probably see if the post office has any super hero stamps left (I got some of those in late October, and they're really fun). Otherwise it's plain old American flags on all my Christmas cards.

Believe it or not, my life has not been all about Christmas this weekend. On Friday night I met Tom, Ann Marie, Paul and Elizabeth at the Fillmore for the DeVotchka show. I've written about the brilliance that is DeVotchka on this space before, but I have to admit I was a little disappointed on Friday. My disappointment is due to no fault of the band; it's just that I'd gotten used to seeing them in venues much smaller than the Fillmore. The larger stage seemed to swallow them whole, and they added some weird dancers to the show who did nothing for me. I must admit, I never thought I'd come to think of the Fillmore as too large, but small clubs are just so much better.

And finally, I must thank Terry for admitting her "dirty old woman" tendencies by writing today on her blog about a flirtatious young grocery clerk she knows. Apparently she flirts back with him even though he's only in college. I bring this up because these days I find myself attracted to a 23-year old lad. Now, luckily for me, said boy (and I mean boy) is not available, which is a good thing because every time I think about how young he is I get a little grossed out. I mean, he was in grammar school when I graduated from college. Can you say ick??!!! He is awfully cute, though. Hee, hee....

It looks like I'm a dirty old woman, too.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Rock and Roll Christmas Spirit

While the holiday season is still flying by way too fast for my taste, at least I'm starting to get into the spirit a little. I had the greatest day at work today, and it started with a visit from my Secret Santa. Last night I donned my own Santa cap and went shopping for the co-worker whose name I drew. After stealthily depositing a gift for that person this morning, I saw a goody in my own mail box.

Do you know what it was? Cash!!! $7 to be precise.

That's right, just like our grandmothers used to send us for Christmas when we were, like, 8 years old. But this cash came with instructions. I was informed that it was to be used to purchase myself a holiday cocktail to get my festive mood on. Secret Santa went on to explain that the magic to make a freshly poured cocktail appear in my mailbox at work has yet to be invented because the cocktail would spill. Plus, it is, of course, against the rules.

I have the best Secret Santa ever.

After that, I joined half of my fake bandmates to record a holiday greeting for work. We do that every year. Not the fake band, necessarily, because we have only existed for a few months. But we employees do record holiday greetings every year. Yes, we're geeks, but we know that already. Anyway, my fake band played and sang a version of "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" with specifically tailored lyrics written by Doug. In general, I hate that sadistic little song, but Doug's lyrics were very cute. And besides, any day that I get to sing at work is a good day.

Also, my fake band is going to play at our company Christmas party next week. How fun is that?!? It's extra fun because the party will be at Bimbo's. Who thought I'd ever sing on that stage? Certainly not me. There is a little drama in the fake band because one of the members has developed a seriously over-inflated ego. Or he's always had one and is just now letting us see it. Anyway, it's annoying everyone. Well, maybe it's just annoying me. It's not worth being annoyed, though, so I'm just going to try to look at his attitude as great fodder for our Behind the Music episode.

At this point I bet you're wondering if I actually did any work while at work today. Well, in fact, I did. First I had to go look at a really icky car accident in the Mission. Luckily for me all the injured people had been taken away before I got there. Without them, it was actually kind of cool. A mini-van had flipped over and landed in a heap of twisted metal on top of two parked cars.

Okay, it probably wasn't too cool for the people who got hurt in the crash. Nor was it cool for the owners of the innocent parked cars. I'd say they probably had a pretty bad day.

Later, I went to Berkeley to meet a realtor who is posting video tours of the homes she's selling on YouTube. She was nice, plus her workplace is right above a bakery, so I got to pick up snacks for my drive back to the City. Yes, these are the kinds of things I do for work.

Unfortunately, despite my heightened spirit, I still have yet to start my Christmas cards. This is bad. My friends really aren't going to get holiday greetings from me until February.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Speeding Through December

As I've mentioned before on this space, in my opinion, this really is the most the wonderful time of the year. But somehow... I feel like I'm missing it this year.

How can this be happening?

My apartment is decked out in true Christmas glory. I've been singing along with all the finest holiday music. And most importantly, I'm making plans to celebrate my Favorite Day of the Year: my birthday (that's December 21st, in case you were wondering). But somehow I'm not feeling the spirit or the love.

I'm crabby about some things at work, and that doesn't help. It's not important what those things are, and I refuse to give them power by writing about them. I really like my job, too, making these irritations even more frustrating.

But what concerns me most is that it's already mid-December!!! My favorite time of year is passing me by, and I'm not even reveling in it. I'm also terribly behind on my Christmas cards. As in, I haven't even started writing them yet. At this rate, 100 of my closest friends will receive holiday greetings from me in mid-February.

I have to pull myself together. That's all there is to it.

Well, at least we're doing Secret Santa at work, and I'm very excited about that. Last year I was Angela's Secret Santa, and I had the best time getting presents for her. I got her some baby stuff (she was pregnant at the time); I made her a CD featuring holiday songs and excellent local music; and for the final gift, I got her some of those cool latte bowls from Anthropologie. Gee, I hope I pick Angela's name again. She's super fun to shop for.

Okay, my Christmas spirit is starting to pick up a tiny bit. Let's just hope it's in full swing by the 25th...

Friday, December 08, 2006

All We Are Saying...

.... is that Mark David Chapman sucks. Seriously. That dude will not have a good time in the afterlife. I'm just saying.

Admittedly, my favorite Beatle is Paul McCartney, but I can't help but wonder how much future creative genius was lost on this day 26 years ago. And every 8th of December I get a tiny bit sad, but I appreciate all that we got to enjoy.

All because of some freakshow loser who was looking for attention. I hope he never, ever gets out of prison. In my opinion, anyone who murders and stifles music deserves no mercy. There. I've said it, and I'm not taking it back. Perhaps that's not as zen and forgiving as John would have been, but whatever.

Okay, bitterness over. Perhaps I should take a lesson and give peace a chance. To quote Paul, himself: "And if I say, I really loved you and was glad you came along..." Continue to rest in peace, John. Thanks for making so many people so incredibly happy.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Tis the Season: Music That's Making Me Happy Today, vol 26

So apparently there are games in the blogosphere that involve "tagging" other bloggers so they are obligated to write about certain things. Generally, I ignore these silly exercises, but today Terry had one on her blog that is a reindeer game I'll happily play. Because it's about music and Christmas! Tagged bloggers are supposed to list their five favorite Christmas songs, but I can't limit myself to that few. So if you would, please indulge my slightly lengthy list of favorite holiday melodies.

1. Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home). David Letterman calls this the greatest rock and roll Christmas song ever written, and I have to agree. I'll take the original Darlene Love recording or U2's 1987 version; both make me happy. What a shame Phil Spector is now crazy and on trial for murder.

2. You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch. If you aren't affected by Dr. Seuss's How The Grinch Stole Christmas, then clearly your heart is three sizes too small. And hearing Tony the Tiger croon this song throughout the cartoon special makes my heart about ten sizes bigger.

3. Do You Hear What I Hear. The Bing Crosby version, thank you very much. You may think it's cheesy, but I call this Rat Pack-era Holiday Goodness. Besides, we sang it in my high school chorus, giving it a soft spot in my heart.

4. Christmas Wrapping. Is it wrong that I get a little choked up when the heroine of this song hooks up with the guy she's "been chasing all year" on Christmas Eve? It's enough to remind you just how good 80's new wave really is. Rest in peace, Patty Donahue.

5. Do They Know It's Christmas. As far as I know, there is never snow in Africa at Christmas time... a holiday season the majority of Ethiopians don't even celebrate. However, I give Bob Geldof and Midge Ure credit not only for raising money to help fight starvation there, but for actually writing a decent song to do so. Very much unlike the insufferable "We Are the World."

6. Sleigh Ride. Another one from my high school chorus days. It's a super fun carolling song, and I have learned over the years that people are very impressed when you know all the words.

7. Happy Xmas, War Is Over. All I have to say is: thank you, John and Yoko.

8. Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth. Bing makes another appearance on this list, and this time he's paired with David Bowie. I had no interest in "Little Drummer Boy" until I heard this version.

9. 2000 Miles. Another one that has been known to choke me up a little bit. What is it with 80's bands and their holiday songs?

10. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. Only as sung by Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis. The version people sing now has lyrics that are just slightly different from the original, but to me, the alteration is completely egregious. The modern lyrics wouldn't even make Margaret O'Brien mist up, let alone cry.

11. Christmas Time Is Here. Talk about choked up. Don't even tell me you don't want to cry when Linus talks about the true meaning of Christmas. With Vince Guaraldi in the background, there's not a dry eye across the country when Charlie Brown's annual television special airs.

I'll probably think of about ten other songs I love as soon as I publish this post. For example, at this moment I am loving "O Holy Night" because of a scene they just did featuring New Orleans musicians on Studio 60. Yes, the scene made me cry. It's true, I'm a complete sap and proud of it.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Cocktails and Cookies

Have you ever eaten so much you just wanted to die to escape the pain?

Well, that was me on Friday night. I went to a holiday cocktail and cookie party featuring both yummy drinks and treats. Jim and Molly hosted the affair in their very grown up apartment, and all the guests brought homemade cookies to share! Okay, everybody brought homemade cookies except me. Unless you consider that bakery on Stockton and Vallejo to be my home. No, I didn't think so.

Anyway, there were so many good cookies, as well as savory snacks, that I couldn't help but overindulge. In every way. After mixing myself a sour apple martini (one of the more festive cocktails, if you ask me), I dove into the hors d'oeuvres. Only after I was sufficiently sated on chicken skewers, crudites and meatballs did I take the plunge and start on the cookies. There was no coming back after that. Don't worry, I talked to people, too. I hadn't seen Denise and Paul, my connection to the party, since the big fake band performance, so it was good to catch up with them, as well as many of their friends I have met only once or twice before. It was also nice to see Jim and Molly, who are a total power couple. Molly runs marathons, Jim does Iron Man competitions, and Jim's iPod provided a fantastic soundtrack for the evening.

You know it's a good night when you have all the sour apple martinis you can drink and all the cookies you can eat while "Not Too Soon" by the Throwing Muses and "I Confess" by the English Beat tumble from the sound system.

We all got to take cookies home, too. I happily filled my bag with goodies, but in an effort to stop the madness, I took my cookies to work yesterday to make sure someone who wasn't me ate them all. I must add that Paul told me his chocolate chip cookies were the best he'd ever made, and while I can't say I'd ever eaten his chocolate chip cookies before, these were pretty darn good. Nestle would be very proud.

After a night like that, one would think I would have eaten nothing but carrot sticks and rice cakes yesterday, but not so much. After work I met Jack at a Vietnamese restaurant in the Mission called Sunflower. We had fresh spring rolls, shaken beef and garlic vegetables, and the portions were far from small. Yummy. Afterward we met Emily and her boyfriend at the 500 Club. Wendy and Camilla were supposed to join us, but they didn't make it. However, on the way there, we ran into my friends Patrick and Mary, who were, coincidentally, headed for the very same bar. So we chatted with them and Kevin and Judy over drinks while the melodious tones of the Clash, the Go-Go's, the Beach Boys, Iggy Pop, Smokey Robinson, the Beatles, the Replacements and X filled the room.

I programmed the jukebox, in case you hadn't guessed.

After a weekend like this, I really do need to eat nothing but carrot sticks and rice cakes, but that probably won't happen. I swear, if I didn't exercise so much, I would probably weigh 400 pounds. It's a good thing I'm so addicted to endorphins.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Theatre That's Making Me Happy Today, vol 11

All Wear Bowlers at Berkeley Rep

If you think you don't like Vaudeville-style comedy, I suggest that you are wrong. And All Wear Bowlers will prove that. Geoff Sobelle and Trey Lyford have created an absolutely genius piece. Yes, the play has its share of typical pratfalls and spit takes, but it also features some brilliant comedic moments brought to life with impressively precise timing. It's a laugh-so-much-your-sides-will-ache experience that even Felix the Cat would enjoy.

The show does drag a little bit during the second half, but given that it's only 75 minutes long, I think that can be forgiven. Word to the wise: you may not want to sit in the front row for this one. That's all I'll say about that, but don't say you weren't warned.

See All Wear Bowlers and then deal with your desire to rent about 1000 silent films and spend all your days watching them. It's well worth it.

In other news, it was Emily's birthday last night, and a bunch of us gathered to celebrate the occasion. We went to a place called John Collins, which, judging by how crowded it was, must be one of the new hip places. See what happens when I just frequent the same four bars over and over again: I have no idea where all the cool kids are going.

In general, I'm okay with that, but I digress.

Anyway, Emily was a little over-served on her birthday, but she was as charming as always. At one point, I broke away from the group and made some new friends. I was hot and needed to sit down, and a lovely couple named Seth and Margaret shared their couch space with me. They were super nice. Later in the evening Seth donned his wingman hat and brought his single friend, Terrence, over to talk to several of us women. Terrence was cute, but as Margaret had warned me beforehand, he had a little bad breath problem. He also didn't seem to have much personality, but he didn't even know us, so that may be an unfair judgment.

Get the guy a little Scope, and he may turn out to be a serious catch.

So that's all from me at the moment. I've got to take my Sassy little behind to work now.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bring On the Diamonds and Tin

San Francisco and I are celebrating our anniversary! We've been together for ten years and are still going strong.

On November 30, 1996, my sister Fabulous Patti and I drove up to the City after spending Thanksgiving with Diva Mommy in Pasadena, and my new life began. I had been living in New England since graduating from Brown in 1992, and, by and large, I hated it there. Fabulous Patti, who had graduated from Berkeley in 1981 and lived in the East Bay for several years before heading to medical school and then to get a masters in public health, had moved back to the Bay Area that July and offered to let me live with her in the City rent-free while I got settled.

How cool is that??!!!

Actually it's even cooler than you think because Fabulous Patti ended up letting me live with her without paying a dime of rent for a year and a half. That's one super sibling.

Anyway, I remember how much promise the City by the Bay held for me. Even though I had only visited three times before, and the first two times had been before I was seven years old, I knew I would fit right in. I would have a tremendous career married to a delicately Bohemian lifestyle. I would meet the man of my dreams. I would be an active member of the West Coast intelligentsia.

Well, the man of my dreams hasn't exactly materialized, even though I have dated some characters. Most of the dreams my paramours have ended up in have seemed more like nightmares, but for the most part, the gentlemen have been lovely fellows. Sort of, anyway.

I'm not really the Bohemian type either. I had seen Rent on Broadway about five months before I moved here, and I was on a struggling artist kick. I did spend several years as an actor, though, and did a lot of crappy plays in small theatre spaces in the Tenderloin, North Beach and the Mission. That kind of counts as Bohemian, right? And now I'm in my fake band, and it really doesn't get much more struggling than us.

My career, however, has gone swimmingly. If I were a more aggressive person I probably could have taken it to even greater heights by now, but in a lot of ways, my work life has surpassed all my expectations. Even when I was unemployed in 2004, I did some cool things, like work in the District Attorney's Office. Not bad, considering I'm not a lawyer. I actually began working for my current bosses a mere two weeks after my arrival, but at that time I held a different position than I do now. I subsequently worked for four other employers and had that little unemployment thing before coming back to the people who first welcomed me professionally. I guess things really do come full circle.

But probably the best part of my life in San Francisco has been the friends I've made. Yes, the live music is great, the theatre is awesome and the bars and restaurants have amazing treats to offer, but I have met some tremendous people. I even met some of them on the first full day I lived here, and we are still friends.

Now, no relationship is perfect, and San Francisco and I have had some rocky times. I've been robbed several times, and some creepy guy with a decidedly menacing attitude followed me through Golden Gate Park one afternoon in 1999. Plus, the cost of living here can occasionally cause tension. But we've been good at working through our problems.

Overall, I really don't think it gets much better than this (well, maybe if I lived in Hawaii, but that's another story). No offense, New England, but after ten years, I can definitively say that San Francisco kicks your ass. Okay, I've been saying that since my first week here, but now I have a decade of evidence to back me up.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Finger Food, Jazz-Soaked Good Time

With the long holiday weekend rolling toward its end, Ann Marie and I decided to hit the town last night. After all, what else would two sassy, single girls do on a Saturday night? Okay, technically we're only talking one single girl, but Ann Marie's boyfriend is out of town, so she was an honorary single girl for the evening.

We began our good time by indulging in East African cuisine at Massawa on Haight Street. Once we had eaten our weight in sambusas, beef, chick peas, mushrooms and injera, we pulled ourselves away from the restaurant and headed to Favorite Bar 2 to digest over a cocktail. Since Favorite Bar 2 is primarily a live music spot, a really good jazz band was playing. Unfortunately, they were a little loud, so after a couple of songs Ann Marie and I beat it out of there.

Call us old, but sometimes we like to to able to hear ourselves think.

Not quite ready to call it a night, however, we swung by the original Favorite Bar to giggle over one more drink. After I cleverly (okay, meanly) observed that some Neanderthal-type guy was chewing his gum like a moron, we dissolved into junior high school hysterics.

Sometimes immaturity is so very satisfying.

And I do believe that guy was oblivious to what I had said about him. At least I hope so. If not, he certainly has permission to say any mean thing he would like about decidedly not-perfect me. What's good for the goose, after all. Apparently we were not the only ones enjoying a night out, though, because Favorite Bar soon became far too crowded for our taste, and we left. No wonder I prefer going out during the week.

Tonight after work I intend to clean my apartment and bust out the holiday decorations. I'm also going to start on the Sassy holiday card list. Every year I send out about 100 or so bits of happiness via the U.S. postal service. It's a habit that has gotten me scolded by one friend for wasting paper and called obnoxious by San Francisco's District Attorney in 2004 when she learned that I had written and mailed all 100 holiday cards by December 5th that year.

That's right. I am that big a geek.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Turkey Day Post Mortem

I hope you had an excellent Thanksgiving and that your tryptophan hangover isn't too bad this morning. I had a wonderful day, myself. Here are some highlights:

Playing games and coloring with my 9-year old cousin (well, technically my first cousin, once removed), Anna. We also watched Aladdin, which is one of my very favorite Disney features. That Anna is one fabulous hostess. We're going to have to figure out a time for her to visit me in the City; we'd take San Francisco by storm.

Playing Go-Go's songs on Anna's guitar. I'd tell you the crowd demanded Go-Go's selections, but honestly, "Our Lips Are Sealed" and "We Got the Beat" are the only songs I remember how to play. Especially since "We Got the Beat" is basically one chord. Don, who is related to me in some way (he's my uncle David's cousin... you figure out what that makes him to me), started a tip jar for me, and I earned three whole dollars! Check me out, being a professional musician.

Eating and drinking until I was practically sick with happy satiety. All the turkey, stuffing, green beans and sweet potatoes I could eat, plus all the Moet and Chandon champagne I could drink. Can you say yummy?!

Seeing all my relatives. Being part of my family, they are, of course, crazy. But only in the best possible way. My Uncle Tom's wife, also known as my aunt, Heather had some pretty bad news, but she maintained a great attitude. And things like that just make you more fully appreciate the good things you have.

This has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, really, but another highlight was that my fake band was on television last night. I intentionally didn't tell anyone for fear that I would be horrified by the tv piece, but I taped it, and it was actually pretty funny. The best part was the two shots of Emily, Carolyn, Paul, Denise and Gina acting like enthusiastic fans. My friends are awesome.

All in all, I'd call the day a smashing success. Even Jack and his brother had fun. Any year you'd like to join the Crazy Sassy Thanksgiving Celebration, just let me know. All are always welcome. But now Thanksgiving is over. Boo. However, that means the fun now kicks into overdrive. I don't know about you, but to me... it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Yippee!!!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Over the River and Through the Woods... Plus, Music That's Making Me Happy Today, vol 25

I certainly have some music to be thankful for today, as Mr. Gowdy burned his vinyl copy of the Bangles self-titled EP onto cd for me this week. I always say the Bangles are one of my favorite bands, but truthfully, I don't like any of their hit records. Well, actually, I do like their cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "Hazy Shade of Winter," and that was a hit in 1987. I also suppose "Manic Monday" is tolerable, but I would never choose to listen to that song. "Walk Like an Egyptian" is an absolute embarrassment, though, and you don't want to get me started on the hell that is that "Eternal Flame" song.

However, I am crazy for the Bangles early tunes. Their major label debut album, All Over the Place, is 60's-flavored pop music genius. It features the singles "Hero Takes a Fall" and "Going Down to Liverpool," as well as a host of excellent album tracks like "Live," "More Than Meets the Eye," "Tell Me" and my personal favorite, "James."

And then, there is the 5 song EP released on Faulty Products/I.R.S. Records in 1982 when Annette Zilinskas was still the band's bass player.

I have loved this record for 24 years, and it's a shame that more people aren't familiar with it. But sadly, it's no longer commercially available, so I am beyond happy that I now own a copy. (I used to have it on cassette, but I have no idea what happened to that tape). I have been listening to this cd over and over again since getting my hot little hands on it yesterday afternoon. My favorite songs are "The Real World" and "I'm In Line," but all five tracks are gems. If you like the Bangles at all, you should find a way to give this record a listen and hear what the group sounded like before fame and high falutin' record producers got hold of them.

By the way, the Bangles released an album in 2003, and that one was pretty good, too. But it doesn't hold a candle to the Faulty Products 5-song collection. Whatever my feelings on their hit singles, the Bangles remain one of my favorite bands.

Music is not the only thing I have to be thankful for today, but I am on a Bangle-induced high right now. However, I love Thanksgiving for a bunch of reasons. First of all, it's a holiday organized around eating! That's my kind of day. Also, it's the "official" beginning of the holiday season. And, call me cheesy, but I actually do take a minute every Thanksgiving to reflect on all the good things in my life.

And every year I come to the same conclusion: I am a really lucky person.

To celebrate love, happiness and charmed lives, I am going over the river and through the woods... also known as down the Peninsula... to my Aunt Mary and Uncle David's place for a Sassy family Thanksgiving. Fabulous Patti will be there, of course, along with various other uncles and cousins. Even my friend Jack and his brother will be joining us. These are sassy good times, my friends.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Who Says They Don't Like Mondays?

This has been the greatest day ever. It has featured out of control egos, secret meetings and a serious temper tantrum. I'm not going to go into detail, but I assure you I am not making any of this up. And I'm not even talking about the cancellation of the O.J. interview and book or Kramer's racist rant. Those were just icing on the cake.

It's a glorious day when real life not only imitates but outdoes soap operas.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Music That's Making Me Happy Today, vol 24

"The English Beat" at Mezzanine

I put "The English Beat" in quotation marks because the band is now just lead singer Dave Wakeling with some session musicians. But this is still some of my all-time favorite music, regardless who is playing drums, bass or keyboard.

Okay, I do miss Ranking Roger, but sometimes in life we have to do without.

I've seen Dave Wakeling about seven times over the last five years, and at this point, I think he's given up the idea of writing any new songs. Or if he has written new material, he doesn't bother to play it. The set consists of English Beat gems, including deep-cut album tracks, and three or four General Public songs. Most of the songs are from the Beat's first album, but this time around Dave and the boys also played "Ackee 1-2-3," which I loved! "All Out To Get You," "Jeanette" and "Sugar and Stress" would have been nice, too, but maybe those numbers will pop up in the next show.

Experience has taught me that the best place to be during a Dave Wakeling show is right at the very front. In part that's because the last two times I saw him, he was performing at the very tiny Red Devil Lounge. It was sadistically crowded both times, making the front the only place to get any air. Additionally, there is always a group of forty-year old former frat boys who think they can still dance like it's 1981, and they decide to slam. You can only avoid that in the very front or further in the back.

So I opt for the front where I can dance and sing with abandon and pretend Dave and the boys are playing the songs just for me. And that's where I took in the tunes on Thursday night, alongside Fabulous Patti and Carla, my English Beat friend. Even though Carla and I work in same industry, we didn't know each other until we met and bonded at a Dave show last year. We reconnected at this performance.

Mezzanine is larger and much nicer than the Red Devil Lounge, and as a consequence was not as crowded, but it still got pretty hot during the show. I must have been rather sweaty because late in the evening, the bass player, in a completely unsolicited gesture, offered me a towel. So either he thought I was a mess, or he was hitting on me. Since he made an effort to shake my hand and call me sweetheart at the end, I think he may have been hitting on me. Too bad for him I have no interest in being a groupie.

Especially since I am now a rock star in my own right.

That's right, I'm still basking in the glory of my fake band's performance on Tuesday night. Be warned, whether I can really sing or not, I may milk this for months to come. Not to mention that the fake band may play again. One night at Ashkenaz, and six rock stars (in our own minds) have been born....

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Thank you, Berkeley!

Once upon a time... let's call it late July.... a sassy-haired girl went to the East Coast on holiday to visit friends and pay homage to her beloved alma mater (see link on the left). One day, while jogging along Jamaica Pond in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, and listening to Matthew Sweet and Susannah Hoffs' version of "Different Drum" on her iPod, the girl realized something. That pop ditty written by Michael Nesmith and originally made famous in 1967 by Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Poneys would be an excellent karaoke song. While hardly singer, our sassy heroine has been known to hold her own behind a karaoke microphone, and she imagined herself belting out that number in front of friends and admirers.

Little did the girl know, her imagination would turn to reality... only better. Just a few weeks after her return home, a couple of her co-workers invited her to join a band they were putting together for a work project. She immediately accepted, and the band began rehearsing a playlist that included "Different Drum," Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down," the Pretenders' "Back on the Chain Gang," Wilson Pickett's "Midnight Hour," Green Day's "When I Come Around" and an original tune written by the instigator of the project. They were working with an enthusiastic, young music coach, and their goal was a live performance in Berkeley on Tuesday, November 14th....

It was epic. A night to remember.

In a blaze of glory last night, my fake band showed the crowd that we were likely both the poorest excuses for musicians and the greatest rock and roll hams ever to take the stage at Ashkenaz. At risk of sounding arrogant, I will say that our performance was probably the best of all the bands on the bill, but that's because we know we're not very good... So we just acted like the rock stars that deep down we know we are. We also packed the house with a ton of our friends and co-workers, making for a very friendly room.

I sang off-key at times, but I also hit some really solid, pitch-perfect notes, too. My friend Katie pointed out that my sassy rocker chick moves were slightly reminiscent of Belinda Carlisle, so I guess all those years of watching Go-Go's videos and the 10+ times I've seen them in concert have been good for something. Besides, even after 30 years of performing, Belinda can't sing either, and that has never stopped her.

I now officially want to be a rock star.

Don't worry, neither I nor any of my fellow fake band members will be quitting our day jobs, but this has been more fun than anything I've done in a long time. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself now that we don't have rehearsal every week, and I won't be spending time doing vocal exercises that barely seemed to help.

I highly recommend the fake band experience to anyone and everyone. Since Blogger is once again not allowing me to post pictures, you can find a photo gallery of our performance here.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Music That's Making Me Happy Today, vol. 23

The Beautiful South at the Fillmore

Never has there been more apt a post title on this space. I was in a positively terrible mood on Friday night. Call it hormones because nothing significantly bad happened to me, but I fell into such a downward spiral that I was literally in tears by 9 p.m. when I met Ann Marie at her apartment. I would have stayed home and wallowed, but I'd waited for more than six years for the Beautiful South to come back to San Francisco, and there was no way I was going to miss them.

Now, to Ann Marie's credit, her wit, charm and all around fabulousness began the process of pulling me out of my funk. She had me laughing within 20 seconds of seeing her. I don't mean to brag, but my friends are the most wonderful people in the world.

The Beautiful South then took Ann Marie's lead and handily finished the job. Just as it happened six years ago, we met once again under the chandeliers of the Fillmore, and they serenaded me from misery into bliss. In the 17 years they've been together, the Beautiful South have produced about 600 albums, seven of which I own. But I am really most familiar with the their first three records, so I figured I'd be a little lost in the midst of their prodigious repertoire.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Perhaps most of their fans are more familiar with their earlier tunes, because they played virtually all of my favorite songs. From the dry sarcasm of "Song For Whoever" to the irreverence of "A Little Time" to the dark humor of "Woman in the Wall," there was plenty to sing along with. Vocalist Paul Heaton chatted with the audience, consulted a notebook on a music stand for help with the lyrics and danced with a cheerful abandon that made me yearn just a bit for the Housemartins. (I never got a chance to see them live.) Also, because San Francisco is the world's tiniest town, Ann Marie and I ran into my friends Tracy and John. Tracy is seven months pregnant, but that didn't keep her away from the show. Talk about a rock star.

All in all, it was a fantastic evening, and when they played "You Keep It All In," I felt like I was in heaven. Thank you, Beautiful South, your music really does make me happy.

By and large, my good mood has stayed intact... well, sort of, anyway. But I'm happy today, and I figure some lyrics from the Beautiful South ditty "Don't Marry Her" to be a little bit appropriate: And the Sunday sun shines down on San Francisco Bay....

P.S. A complete and total aside, do you know what's really, really fun? Scarfing down hot pizza slices with Helen at Favorite Bar at 11:30 on a Saturday night with no regard for the amateur weekend mating crowd who are looking each other up and down all around you. Giggling to the 4th grade humor of the phrase "the itchy eye" with Liz and Doug after the pizza is gone is a pretty good time, too.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Most Beautiful Girls and A Most Disturbing Dream

My friend Stephanie is a charter member and the president of the Most Beautiful Girls in the World Club. The club's rich and storied history began back in the day when it was formed by Stephanie and a friend of hers. The other founder relinquished her membership when she and Stephanie drifted apart, but I'd like to believe she is heading up a satellite chapter somewhere.

Well, yesterday Stephanie invited me to join.

Forget the Junior League, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Guardsmen or the Hair Club for Men, this is a truly top drawer organization. Where else can members showcase their poise, talent, brilliance and beauty inside and out? Not to mention driving boys crazy. Needless, to say, I graciously accepted the invitation.

Personally, I believe I will make a very good member.

I began this post with that egotistical bit of whimsy so I could ease you in before I unleashed the tale of my rather disturbing dream. A co-worker of mine recently wrote on her blog about how well she analyzes dreams, but I don't think I'll be asking her to interpret this one. Last night, or rather early this morning, I dreamt about... wait for it.... incontinence! More specifically, I had an incontinent housemate who seemed oblivious to his condition. Plus, the incontinence was contagious. Thankfully, I managed to skirt the ailment, but only barely. And all this played out with the English Beat's Special Beat Service album serving as the soundtrack. I'd like to believe the Beat became part of my hallucination because I'm going to see Dave Wakeling next week and not because their music subconsciously reminds me of bodily functions.

Ick, all the way around.

At least I have all day to shake the dream off, and then tonight Ann Marie and I are going to see the Beautiful South at the Fillmore. I have only seen them twice and the last time was over six years ago. So yippee!!!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Six Days and Counting

Yes, Virgina, my fake band really is going to perform. In less than a week we will take the stage for our debut (and likely final) concert. At this point, I have let go of any notion that I will sing really well. My plan is just to stay on key to the best of my ability and project a ton of rock star attitude. I did spend almost ten years as an actor, so I am confident that I can act like a singer. And I certainly can act like a rock star; I do that in my imagination all the time.

I have invited a ton of my friends to come see us, but I left any real musicians I know off the guest list. That would be just a little too embarrassing. Regardless of who is there, I do believe this will be a night to remember. We have been having such a good time in rehearsals that the show should be a blast. Plus, the other guy who sings not only has a great voice but is a total ham, which should make for fabulous entertainment. So I believe everyone will have fun, even if we suck. Especially if we suck, probably.

However, to have any hope of singing on key, I have to commit myself to practice, which is what will consume my free time over the next few days. This is a lot off effort for six short songs, only two of which feature me on lead vocals. It's a good thing it is so much fun.

To change gears just a bit... You may have heard there was a little election last night. Well, in case you missed it, here is my review.
The House of Representatives: We knew this was coming, but ha, ha, ha, ha!
The Senate, too!: Ha, ha, ha, ha!
Former California Congressman Richard Pombo: HA, HA, HA, HA!!!!
The Defeat of California State Proposition 85: Thank F-ing GOD.
Arnie is Re-elected Governor of California: It's shameful for yet a second time, but Phil Angelides ran an anemic campaign.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Cute Dresses and Overused Lines

I have a problem.

Apparently I have lost my ability to stay within my budget. When I mentioned in my last post that I spent way too much money on that Betsy Johnson dress I bought on Thursday, I wasn't kidding. We're talking more money than I have ever spent on a dress in my life. So I promised myself that I would buy no more new clothing (except maybe a coat, as I am on the hunt for one) until the beginning of the year. I also have to forgo a spa treatment this month. While it will be a challenge, I think I'll be able to stay away from the spa until December, but apparently I have no will power when it comes to cute dresses.

I was on my way to Walgreens today, armed with an ever-so-glamorous shopping list of shampoo, hair gel, toilet paper and cleaning supplies, when a dress in the window at Belle Cose on Polk Street called my name. In fact, I'd say it shouted, cried and begged for me. Within ten minutes, purchase made. And here's the rub: since I just spent so much money on the Betsy Johnson dress, I figured the $140 price tag of the Belle Cose number to be a bargain. What kind of weird, skewed perspective have I adopted? Well, whatever my perspective, this little purchase has left me with ten dollars in my checking account until pay day. That's right. No need to worry, as I do have a savings account I can dip into, but still.

I am out of control.

Okay, perhaps I am being a little dramatic here. I am actually financially very healthy. I pay my credit card bill in full every month and carry no other debt. I have a 401K and an IRA. And I stash a decent portion of my monthly income in the aforementioned savings account. I often end up spending that stash when I overspend, but at least it earns a higher interest rate while it's there.

So I guess I am living within my means, but still. Exactly how much money do I think I have? Yes, I make enough to live comfortably in San Francisco, and I am fully aware that not everyone can say that. But those coffers are going to run dry one day if I don't pull myself together. And since men who grossly prioritize making a lot of money tend to turn me off, I shouldn't count on marrying rich.

Therefore, I probably need to watch it.

Well, at least I'll look really cute, even if I have to eat Top Ramen six nights a week because I'm spending all my money on clothes. I'm going to wear my new dress to work tomorrow.

Also today, my friend Helen broke up with the guy she has been dating for the last couple of months. I mean no disrespect to either one of them, but I have to laugh just a little because she used the "I just don't want to be in a relationship right now" line on him. Is it just me, or have you both heard and said that several times? I know the answer is yes, and that the line has been a load of crap every time. I think I've said it twice, and both times I sincerely believed I was telling the truth, even though I knew in my heart of hearts that I wasn't really interested in the fellows I was cutting loose. And both times I soon realized I had been kidding myself; it was about the guys, not me wanting to be alone.

I think I've heard it twice, as well. The first time was way back in 1993, and the guy who fed it to me met a woman through a newspaper personal ad (keep in mind, this was before the days of mainstream online dating) within a week and was married to her within nine months. That sounds like a guy who doesn't want to be in a relationship, doesn't it? I was devastated at the time, but I was only 23. Plus, with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, I can say that the dude was kind of a loser, and today I am very, very glad he dumped me. The second time was in 2000, and I actually think that guy was telling me the truth. He continued to date casually off and on, but every woman he dated heard the same line. And it was almost five full years before he ended up in another serious relationship.

So I guess it isn't always just a line. But it's still pretty funny and probably should be exorcised from our dating patter.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

They Run and Hide Their Heads

Today it rained significantly for the first time this season.

I have to admit, through the spring, summer and early fall, I tend to forget that it rains here. I grow so accustomed to the cool, but DRY weather, that the notion of rain-soaked jogs and umbrella-crowded sidewalks completely leaves my consciousness. Well, I was reminded today. The rain was pretty light, but it was somewhat consistent throughout the day.

It hardly seems fair, since it rained well into May this year. In the ten years (!) I've lived in San Francisco, I've observed an average rainy season that lasts from November until about late February. Apparently the true average San Francisco rainy season is longer than that, but my experience has shown me otherwise. As a consequence, if it rains into May, like it did this year, the next rainy season shouldn't start, in my opinion, until late January. Seems reasonable to me.

Rain or no rain, I was out and about today, and I got the cutest dress from Betsey Johnson. It cost far more than I should be spending, and I think I'm probably too old for Betsey Johnson clothing, but I don't care. It's so cute. I'll have to wear it to every fancy function I attend from now until next October to make it worth the expenditure, but that's okay. You should just expect to see it a lot if you actually know me.

After shopping and a run through the off-and-on sprinkles, we had band rehearsal. Here is what I learned tonight: I can't really sing. I can fake it okay, but as for any true vocal talent... Well, if you're planning to come see us, don't hold your expectations too high. Some of the other band members aren't necessarily the best musicians either, making for quite the cacophony in our set. Our teacher Chris tells me we're above average for his students, but part of me thinks he's just being nice.

That, or a lot of people he teaches are really, really bad.

Well, for our upcoming big concert, I'll just have to wear my new fancy dress and count on my acting and performing abilities to outweigh whatever vocal skills I do or don't have. That's my plan, and I'm sticking with it.

P.S. If you got the musical reference in the title of this post you now possess much of my respect.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween At A Bar?

I am fully aware that in urban areas trick or treating often happens in business districts. Fair enough; big cities can be scary, and taking the little ones to businesses for candy is probably safer.

But would you take your kids to a bar for trick or treats?

Well, apparently a lot of parents would because I met Fabulous Patti at Favorite Bar tonight (no, we didn't wear costumes), and more than a few families stopped by for Halloween treats. The owner of Favorite Bar was even prepared with a big cauldron filled with candy. I was sitting right near the candy cauldron, so I got to help dole out the treats to the costumed tots. They were so cute. Little kids in costume are the very best part of Halloween.

But I'm still not going to get over the fact that the kids were coming into a bar for candy.

As the night wore on, the parade of trick or treaters trailed off, and the costumed, drunk adults began to pour in. The drunk adults were very boring, but Favorite Bar is always a good time. And now that Halloween is over, we are officially entering my favorite time of year. Between Thanksgiving, my birthday and Christmas, I think I am consistently happiest between November 1st and January 1st.

In theory, tonight is the beginning of my work weekend, but as it turns out, I'm going to be working tomorrow. It's not so bad; I get to do my favorite part of my job, and besides, I need the overtime. Between Hawaii, surgery, spa treatments, shopping and cocktailing, I have spent quite a lot of money this summer and fall. The more work for me, the better.

One random tidbit: Gidget was on Turner Movie Classics last night. Is it wrong that I totally love that movie? It always makes me wish that I had taken up surfing. Too bad I can barely swim.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Musical Schizophrenia

My last couple of days haven't been as musically schizophrenic as I had assumed, considering the music in question is all rock and roll. But I have immersed myself in some different varieties of rock that I wouldn't have expected to experience in such close proximity.

Our story begins with band practice on Thursday night. Oh, yes, my musical outfit's performance date is fast approaching, so the push is on for us to get good. Or at least not to stink completely. What I have learned over the last five weeks is that the more I drink, the better we sound. So I definitely would recommend that course of action to anyone planning to come see us on the 14th. Rehearsal was really fun, though, and I'm actually going to miss badly playing a bunch of songs I mostly don't like with my middle-aged co-workers. We're doing this little project through an organization that is basically a rock and roll fantasy camp. If you harbor even the tiniest rock star aspirations, you should check it out; the experience is a total hoot.

My musical soundtrack continued yesterday with Adam Pascal from the original Broadway cast of Rent. He's promoting his new music, so first he swung by my place of employment to say hello. Since Adam was kind enough to visit us, I went after work to see him perform at the Post Street Theatre. He sang a combination of his own stuff and some unique arrangements of Broadway music. Yes, it was a rock show, but honestly, just hearing his voice made everything sound like a showtune to me.

After that, I let out my inner hipster and headed from the Post Street Theatre straight to Bottom of the Hill where I met Tom for a show featuring Oranger, Engine 88, Carlos, Overwhelming Colorfast and the John Doe Band. I arrived in time see Carlos' last three songs, but Tom missed them completely. Engine 88 was next, followed by the John Doe Band. It was midnight by the time John was done, so Tom and I took off right after his set. I must be getting old because the idea of staying any later didn't even occur... let alone appeal... to me.

Tonight I'm going to some wine bar in Cow Hollow to see my friend Gabriella before she leaves town. I've known Gabree since the second grade, and on Tuesday she's moving back to L.A., where we grew up. It's unfortunate because even though I don't see her all that often, it is very comforting to have old friends nearby. What's even more unfortunate is the reason for Gabree's move: her mother is ill. So please put lots of happy thoughts into the universe for Mommy Gabree, if you wouldn't mind.

I can only imagine what kind of music will be playing at the wine bar tonight. Probably a lot of mainstream pop junk to round out the melodious flavor of my weekend.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Theatre That's Making Me Happy Today, vol. 10

Passing Strange at Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Oh. My. God. This is sooooo my new favorite play. Reminiscent of Rent (to me, anyway) this new musical created by singer/songwriter Stew is making its world premiere at Berkeley Rep before heading to New York. And boy, aren't we lucky! Meager words do not do this show justice, so I'm not even going to try to offer any kind of concise synopsis or specific critique. Other than to say that this show is flat out fantastic. And I mean fantastic.

Stew narrates this concoction of gospel, rock and roll, blues, punk (!), perfect vintage costumes, tremendous singing and acting, great lighting design and an excellent send up of European art-house cinema... All of which is punctuated with humor and some delicate poignancy. I loved it, loved it, loved it!! And I just read in the program that it was developed with help from the Jonathan Larson Foundation, among other funding, so perhaps those echoes of Rent that I sensed are not too far off.

Do yourself a huge favor and see this show. I mean it.

Plus, a very Sassy honorable mention must go to ensemble cast member Chad Goodridge (who is, unfortunately, not pictured in the photo above). Not only is he incredibly talented, but oh, my word, is he hot. I seem to say that about boys all the time on this space, but when it comes to this gentleman, all I can say is: goodness gracious.

I want to marry him.

I actually was invited to the uber-fancy cast party after the opening night performance, but I couldn't go because my ride back to the City was tired and needed to get home. Remind me of this story the next time you find me congratulating myself for being so clever as not to take on the hassle of owning a car in this town. So sadly, Chad missed out on the opportunity to meet me.

Ah, what are you gonna do? I believe dear Chad lives in New York, anyway; so I guess I may have to marry someone else.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Oh, By the Way...

The quote of the day from yesterday: "Oooh, she's a one-legged ho."

That utterance of brilliance came courtesy of the lovely and talented Angela, and it left Dory, Patti and me in stitches. It may sound like she was being mean and perhaps politically incorrect, but really all our wise sage Angela was doing was uttering the truth. I can't believe I forgot to include it in the missive I wrote last night; something that frank and funny deserves to be shared.

I Could Be Happy: Music That's Making Me Happy Today, vol. 22

Do you have any idea how cool my friend/co-worker/live music buddy Tom is? Today... okay, technically yesterday since it is early Wednesday morning... he brought me a copy of the Altered Images' record 1981: Happy Birthday. I have been looking for a copy of the song "Happy Birthday" by Altered Images for months, and now I have it! Thanks, Tom. This record has put me in a good mood, which is quite a feat since I have been crabby all day.

Why crabby, you may ask. Honestly, I can offer you no good reason for my foul mood. I had to revise my little column, which was annoying, and I've had a couple of strange dreams lately, but other than that, no real reason. Isn't it wonderful to have the luxury to be crabby for no reason because you have no real problems? Survey says: yes.

So my "band" (I still can't take that term seriously when describing us) was in the newspaper today (again: technically Tuesday). That had nothing to do with me. A couple of my fellow "musicians" are rather Important People, or at least more important than me, so we got a little press. That should make for a bigger audience for our exercise in humiliation, also known as our performance, next month. Oh, yes, we're talking good times, kids.

And that's me for now. It's officially my weekend, so I think I'm going to cuddle up in my couch and watch Paper Moon yet again before going to bed. Since seeing it for the first time last month, Paper Moon has become my "new" favorite movie, and I've now watched it about 600 times. I even read Tatum O'Neal's autobiography last week. Word to the wise: don't abuse or mistreat her because she will call you out on it in print. She definitely deserved that Academy Award, though.

Later tonight I'm going to Berkeley Rep with Terry and Fabulous Patti. Then Thursday I have band practice, and on Friday I have an evening of musical schizophrenia planned. First, it's Adam Pascal of Rent fame right after work, and then I'm meeting Tom at Bottom of the Hill for John Doe and Oranger. I won't know which way is up after all that.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Fancy Gym

When I joined my gym three years ago, I would tell all my friends with great enthusiasm: "This place is great; it's a gym that thinks it's a spa!" I was so inspired by the luxury that I went to the gym five days a week for the first year of my membership. Well, I now have grown to take my Fancy Gym for granted, and I have to admit that these days I only go twice a week (I run outside every other day).

But tonight I was reminded why I named it the"Fancy Gym" in the first place.

To celebrate an expansion two years in the making, the Fancy Gym hosted an open house of their new facilities, complete with all the Mumm Napa sparkling wine we could drink and all the delicious snacks we could eat. New yoga and pilates studios were introduced, as well as additional locker rooms and cardio equipment and a boxing studio. The Fancy Gym actually has a partner spa, and free mini spa treatments were also part of the evening. Needless to say, I indulged in a 15-minute massage. Yummy.

A gym that gives you bubbly and a massage. That's my kind of place.

In news related to exercise, or at least my exercise soundtrack, my iPod broke this week. It decided it didn't want to play any song I had downloaded from iTunes. I had no idea iPods came with editorial music selection, so I headed for the Apple store. This is the second time in 15 months I have had to exchange malfunctioning hardware. My iPod was still under warranty, but still. Shouldn't a fancy mp3 player last longer than a few months, even if I use it every day?

We also had band practice tonight. We were a little off, and some of the chords were awfully sour, but the really good news is that we dropped the song that I hate the most. Everyone say YAY!!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Theatre That Makes Everyone Happy

Have you heard about Theatre Bay Area's Free Night of Theatre? No? Well, it's exactly what the name suggests: a night of free theatre! Actually, it's more than one night, and over 70 Bay Area theatres donated tickets that T.B.A. then gave away. Theatres that include The Magic, Berkeley Rep, TheatreWorks, American Conservatory Theatre and a whole host of small companies. All you had to do to get the free tickets was go to the TIX Booth in Union Square or log onto the Theatre Bay Area website. The latter proved to be a bit of a challenge, as the site was overrun with traffic when the tickets went on "sale."

The whole point is to encourage people who wouldn't normally go to the theatre to give it a try for free. And frankly, I think that's pretty neat.

I thought I had been shut out of the Free Night of Theatre because I got caught in the website congestion and wasn't able to submit my online order form. But then I got tickets for Travesties at the American Conservatory Theatre, and Fabulous Patti and I went last night. We had great seats, too. I had assumed A.C.T. would have just donated empties from the last two rows of the balcony, but there we were in the front of the orchestra.

Unfortunately, I didn't like the play very much. The acting was really good, and I liked the staging, but the script didn't do much for me. Yes, it's Tom Stoppard, and we're all supposed to love him because he's a genius, but I found the play to be overly wordy and too self-consciously clever. Oooh, neato, James Joyce, Valdimir Lenin and Tristan Tzara meet during the first World War and debate art and politics. A good idea, but no. But let me repeat, the production is really good and features a fabulously played scene between two of the female characters. Besides, it was free! So no complaints here.

A night of free theatre under my belt, I'm off work today and have tons to do. I have to go to the gym, run errands, work on my column, practice my singing and then meet Denise and Paul at the Roxie tonight for the Pixies movie. Then tomorrow it starts all over again with more exercise, a tour of my gym's fancy expansion and band rehearsal.

And on Friday, back to work. That moment will come all too soon....

Monday, October 16, 2006

Reminiscent of My Youth

When I was young and sprightly, my weekends looked like this: I would get pretty and meet my party partners for late nights of 20-something style revelry. These evenings always ended with a 2 a.m. scramble for a cab home. The competition was fierce, as all the other closing time merrymakers were also looking for paid rides to their beds. Well, this weekend I got a reminder of my halcyon days of cab scrambling, even though my bedtime is now several hours earlier.

Cold or no cold, I did go to Sterling's birthday party on Saturday night. That was probably a bad idea because I find myself home sick from work today, but I'm really glad I went. For one thing, it was terrific to see Sterling, especially on her birthday. But her party was also a benefit for the youth poetry organization Youth Speaks, and some of the young poets performed. They were absolutely amazing, and I mean amazing. Energized by the fun of Sterling's soiree, I decided pay Favorite Bar a visit, where I caught up with Helen, Bob, Sebastian and FB's proprietor. That's right, the owner of Favorite Bar knows me. I also consider the owner of Blondie's a friend; should I be concerned about that? Well, anyway, by 11:45 I'd had enough fun and figured I would go home while it was still a relatively decent hour. Apparently I was not the only one with that idea. Swarms of cab seekers were crowding the streets, and it took me 45 minutes to get myself a taxi. Since when is 11:45 the time everyone decides to go home?

It was 2:30 on a Sunday morning in 1997 all over again. Odd. Did we all get old at the same pace and now will be elbowing each other out of the way before midnight to catch our transportation home? I guess so.

In other news... You may have heard that there was a pretty sizeable earthquake in Hawaii yesterday morning. Well, you'll be relieved to know that Diva Mommy is just fine, although she was not happy about the major power outage that followed the quake. But otherwise, her Honolulu home is still very much paradise, and I'm still going back to visit her again in March. We'll see if I come back after my next Hawaiian sojourn.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Theatre That's Making Me Happy Today, vol 9

Far Away at the Exit Theatre

Admittedly, I'm probably a little biased about this show because my friend Valerie is in it. Valerie is one of several incredibly committed actors I know. For the decade we've been friends, she has never lost focus on her work. She occasionally has had to take other kinds of jobs to support her artistic ambitions but has consistently worked as an actor as long as I've known her.

Pretty impressive, huh?

Well, Valerie is currently featured in Just Theater's production of Far and Away. A short play of just about 45 minutes, the Caryl Churchill piece is another very clever indictment of war. All the actors were solid, especially a 7th grade girl who is probably one of the best child actors I have seen in a long time. Good stuff all the way around.

And yesterday's opening night performance had extra value for me because I got to see not only Valerie, but also her really fun boyfriend, Kevin, and our friend Chris... none of whom I spend nearly enough time with. After the show, a bunch of us went around the corner to Original Joe's, a restaurant one of the other actors in the show described as "tremendously well executed mediocrity," where Valerie brokered us use of their fancy-pants back room because our group was so large. Who knew Valerie was such a high roller?

Sadly, I couldn't stay out too late because I had to be at work at 6:00 this morning. But I'm home now and gearing up for a nap before taking a short run and then heading to Sterling's birthday party tonight in North Beach. Actually, I might skip the party because I may be getting a cold (that's Sassy Speak for "I am getting a cold but am in denial about it"), but I definitely won't skip the nap.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sexy Tambourine

That was the review one of my "band"mates gave my percussive styling tonight. I'm not sure how I made the tambourine sexy when my focus was on the rhythm of the song, but I guess some things just come naturally. Or something like that.

The good news is that tonight's rehearsal was not nearly as horrifying as last week. I still think we kind of suck, especially me, but had we been performing tonight, I wouldn't have died from embarrassment. That's always a good sign. I did let some of my fellow rock 'n' rollers know that I hate several of the songs we're performing. Okay, I told them I hate one of the songs; I figure it's better to ease them in. They were really surprised. To that I ask: how could anyone not hate that song? Let alone the two others I hate.

It's hard being an artist.

Sadly for me, what's even harder than being an artist is going back to work after four glorious days off. That's the challenge I face tomorrow. I have a feeling it's going to be a very long Friday.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Tiny Step Into My Past Life

I believe I have I mentioned several times on this space that I used to be an actor. For many years, I did all kinds of plays... some good, some really bad... that were performed in little black box spaces in Providence, San Francisco and Berkeley. Well, I revisited that life a bit last night by participating in a developmental reading of Foreign Women by Allston James. There were no rehearsals, and the other actors and I read from scripts, but acting skills were still necessary.

That's how I was reminded of just how very, very rusty my set of said skills are.

But it was pretty fun, nonetheless, and it was just the right amount of participation in the theatre world for me right now. We read the play, and then there was a discussion with the playwright and the audience afterward. The whole point of these kinds of developmental readings is to give the playwright feedback and a chance to hear his or her words out loud. Then, presumably, changes and re-writes will be made. On top of the fun, I got paid a whopping $25 for my time, meaning that, rusty or not, I am still a professional actor. On some level, anyway. Oh, and one of the other actors recognized me from my current job, which was strange but very flattering, especially since she was so complimentary. And I should not fail to mention that the male actor involved in this reading was super hot. I think he was all of 22, but even 22-year olds can be hot, I suppose.

Prior to the reading, I went over to Gretchen and Paul's place to meet baby Isaac. He mostly slept during my visit, but I won't take that personally. We all took a walk over to Tower Records for some discounted cd's, and I got discs by The Shins, Persephone's Bee's and the Two Gallants. Not that I am happy Tower is going out of business. Long before I'd ever heard of Amoeba, Rasputin, Tom's Tracks or In Your Ear, the California-based Tower Records chain was one of the cool music stores (Moby Disc and Canterbury Records in Pasadena were the others). In fact, when I was in high school, my family had a little Christmas tradition involving Tower Records. We'd go to my oldest sister Kathy's place in West Hollywood to visit with her and her kids on Christmas afternoon, and before we went back to Pasadena that night, we'd pay a visit to the open-on-holidays Tower on Sunset where everyone got to pick out a cd... well actually, still a vinyl album back then... as the final gift from Santa. My mother acted as Santa's conduit on that one. Keep in mind, I'm talking about a family full of musicians and music fans, so albums made for great final Santa presents.

But however sad I am that Tower has been driven to liquidation by the changes in retail music purchasing, I still enjoy a bargain. So I'm okay with relieving them of their discounted stock.

That's all from Sassyland for now. I'm going to meet Carolyn and Denise for dinner later, and perhaps we'll be able to catch up with Sheela at Amnesia afterward. I hope the city is ready for our girl-power assault. Oh, one more thing. Why did none of you tell me that Paper Moon would make me cry in the end? You really should warn a girl about that kind of thing.

Monday, October 09, 2006

My New Favorite Television Channel...

.... is Turner Classic Movies. I understand that it's not actually a new television channel. It's not even new to me, but I just recently started watching TCM with any kind of regularity. It all started one Saturday night a few weeks ago when I was killing time before whatever social engagement I had planned for the evening. I flipped through my 6,000 cable channels and landed on Peter Bogdonavich's Paper Moon, which, believe it or not, I had never seen. It took me all of about two minutes to get sucked into the 1973 classic, and I actually regretted having to leave the film to go out.

The channel showing Paper Moon that night was Turner Classic Movies.

Since that fateful Saturday, I have tuned in TCM for A Night to Remember (the good movie about the Titanic), as well as bits and pieces of many of my favorite old movies, like Meet Me in St. Louis. And earlier today, I taped Paper Moon in its entirety and am watching it right now. I am not a huge Ted Turner fan, but this movie channel might be the best thing he's done in his career.

Of course, the last thing I need in my life is more television. I don't even regularly watch very many programs because I often am not home, especially during television's prime time. Add to that the fact that, as I have mentioned before, I am lazy about seeing movies in the theatre. So I generally have to tape what programs I do watch (these days that would be Gilmore Girls, My Name Is Earl, Studio 60 and the occasional episode of ER) along with movies from HBO or Starz, and then I have to play catch up. As a consequence, I often find myself with several backlogged hours of television to watch. Luckily, Comedy Central runs episodes of my other favorite program, The Daily Show, several times a day, so I don't tape that one. But the addition of Turner Movie Classics to my television roster may render me constantly behind in my viewing.

I'd be a much better couch potato if I weren't so social.

I taped Paper Moon earlier because I treated myself to the spa today. It was, of course, lovely as always. My skin is so soft after my Thai coconut massage wrap that I promise you wish you were here to feel it. The spa came after I had a great conversation with my friend Schleevin. I haven't actually talked to him since I was in New York in July, so we had to catch up on all the Very Important aspects of our lives. It's always wonderful to connect with him. Oh, my goodness, have I mentioned that my friend Anne is getting married?! She is a sweetheart and soooo deserves a fabulous guy who loves her. Her lucky fiance drew the long straw, and they are on the road to matrimony. Yay!

Anyway, I'm taking a couple of days off work this week, which not only enabled my spa visit today, but also will allow me to do what I choose tomorrow. Then my regular Wednesday and Thursday "weekend" kicks in. I like my job, but nonetheless, there's nothing better than four days off in a row.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


My friend and co-worker, Ted, was in a cycling accident this morning. He's fine but nonetheless took a trip to the hospital just to make sure everything was okay. And then, completely in keeping with his personality, he came straight to work. As relieved as we all are that he's okay, that's still pretty scary. Pedestrians in this town, of which I am one, also face some dangerous conditions walking the streets. That I know from experience. But Ted's ordeal has given me a sense of perspective and reminded me of something important: live every day and enjoy it.

I had a conversation that turned into a debate with another friend of mine over cocktails at Casanova on Tuesday night. She believes that San Francisco's liberal reputation is a facade, and that underneath said facade, the city and its residents are actually conservative and very wealthy. She absolutely is entitled to her opinion, but I couldn't disagree more (and for the record, this woman lives a rather priviledged life, herself). I fully acknowledge that the cost of living in our lovely City by the Bay is outrageous, and that plenty of wealthy, materialistic and conservative people live here. Hell, while hardly rich, I currently make very decent money. But that's far from the whole story. My ten years as a San Francisco resident have shown me that liberal ideals, values and actions are alive, well and espoused by people of many different income levels in these 7 by 7 square miles of land.

I have been thinking about that debate for several days now, and Ted's experience today has further inspired me to appreciate fully all the good things my life and my home have to offer. Yesterday I stumbled onto the blog of a friend of yet another friend of mine and for various reasons offered him a list of my favorite things to be found in and around San Francisco. I now share that list with you:

1. Lots of theatre, from Best of Broadway shows to A.C.T. to Berkeley Rep across the Bay to small productions in black box spaces.
2. Local musicians and live music shows at 12 Galaxies, the Make Out Room, Cafe du Nord and Bimbo's.
3. The free jukebox at Casanova.
4. North Beach on a weekday afternoon.
5. The Golden Gate Bridge.
6. Favorite Bar 1, Favorite Bar 2 and drinking at Zeitgeist on a sunny day.
7. The Embarcadero. It's a great place to run, even when it's crowded with tourists.
8. The gorgeous spa three blocks from my apartment.
9. Good hiking, pretty beaches and wine country just to the north.
10. Fabulous shopping for music and vintage clothes in the Haight.
11. Events presented by the Commonwealth Club and City Arts and Lectures.

There are many more things about San Francisco to love, but that's what I have so far. Live every day, kids, and focus on what's good in your world.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Theatre That's Making Me Happy Today, vol 8

Mother Courage at Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Theatre is timeless, and that is certainly the case with Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage. Written in 1939, the anti-war piece is just as relevant in today's political climate as it was in the first half of the 20th Century. As is often the case when I see a Brecht play, I chose to give in to the convoluted storyline and just let the entirety of the production wash over me. I got the point: war hurts everyone; it is part of an endless cycle; and even those who profit during wartime are destined to lose in the end.

The production values are stellar, though, and the acting superb. And because it's Brecht, there is, of course, music. My favorite cast member is Katie Huard, who portrays Mother Courage's mute daughter Kattrin with an affecting wide-eye innocence. But everyone is amazing, especially Ivonne Coll, who plays Mother Courage herself. There are also a couple of hot fellows in this show, which is always a bonus in my book.

In other entertainment, I currently am watching Walk The Line, which I never saw in the theatre and taped off cable last weekend. I'm really enjoying it, but I have just one question: exactly why does Joaquin Phoenix have an acting career? Forgive me if you like him, but... No, you know what? I'm not going to apologize. All Joaquin Phoenix does in this movie is imitate Johnny Cash, as opposed to actually acting, and his imitation isn't even that good. There, I've said it, and I'm not taking it back.

Okay, I must scoot. We have "band" rehearsal tonight, and I need to practice beforehand, lest I sing totally off-key and embarrass myself.

Monday, October 02, 2006

A Year's Salary

Remember that little surgery I had in August? You know, that teeny, tiny outpatient procedure about which I was so cavalier that I forgot to tell people about it until it was happening?

Well, I just saw the price tag: $35,216.98. And that's not including the anesthesiologist's fee of $1,710. I knew surgery would be costly, but this is positively shocking.

I have insurance, so there's no need to worry. I do have to foot some of the bill, but while I may prefer to spend my money on spa treatments, pedicures, live music, books and cocktails, my share of the expenditure amounts to a rather miniscule percentage which I can afford.

Nonetheless. $35,216.98?

That's more money than many, many people make in a year. In fact, it's more money than I made in 2004, 1999, 1998, 1997 and all four years I lived and worked on the East Coast. Granted, I was working part time for several of the aforementioned years, but still. This was not some sort of life-saving procedure, either. Honestly, I could have opted not to have it. Perhaps the fact that I ended up spending a night in the hospital inflated the cost, but frankly, that was the recovery nurse's idea. It had nothing to do with me or my insurance company. And speaking of that, I bet the AFTRA Health Fund is really pleased with me and my surgery-having ways right about now.

Now I fully understand what people are talking about when they lament the astronomical cost of health care in this country.

Despite the surgical sticker shock, life and fabulous socializing go on. I met The Other Tom at Favorite Bar 2 on Saturday night where we indulged in a couple of their signature drinks. We then took off for the Orbit Room to meet Irina, Vanessa and Roland. Have you ever been to the Orbit Room? You could simply order a normal drink there, or, depending on who is behind the bar, you could find yourself sipping a delightful concoction featuring nectarine chunks, whole raspberries, muddled strawberries, cucumber slices, ginger, and cardamom. The drinks there are like salad in a glass. Well, salad in a glass with vodka. You just have to trust Alberta or Ron to create something wonderful for you without asking questions.

In keeping with the theme of my weekend, I managed to stay out much later than is my norm on Saturday night, and I didn't get as much sleep on Sunday as I had anticipated. Then I was called into work a couple of hours early this morning after working until 1 a.m. last night. So tonight I am extremely tired and ready for my pajamas. But life is good. I'm good about remembering that, in general, but with all the wretched things going on in the world right now (who goes into a grammar school and shoots innocent little children execution-style?), I am even more aware that I am one lucky girl.

The sassy life is a good life.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Closing Time Comes Quickly at the Hemlock Tavern

That's certainly what Carolyn and I learned last night. We had gone to the Hemlock Tavern with Carolyn's fiance, Dima, and my live music buddy, Tom, to see Tippy Canoe and the Paddlemen. I have extolled the virtues of Tippy and her Paddlemen on this space before, but I can't say enough good things. They are absolutely my new favorite local band, and you should do yourself a favor and see them as soon as possible. Tippy's music is proof that combining pop hooks with country elements and adding a ukulele yields excellent results.

Tippy was second on the bill, and the whole show started about an hour late. So Dima actually didn't see any of it, as he was tired after a long work week and went home at about 10:30. Tom saw the first band, The Jolenes, but had to leave to pick up his girlfriend from work before Tippy's set was done. Carolyn and I went the distance, though. We bought CD's from Tippy after her performance (only $5, kids) and had a drink with her, as well. Carolyn and I had no interest in the headliner, however, so we settled into seats at the window and engaged in our brand of droll and compelling conversation over Newcastle and Stella.

Before we knew it, we heard these startling words: "Last call!"

A glance at my cell phone confirmed that it had, in fact, become 1:30 in the morning. Don't ask me how, given I have long passed the closing time partier stage of my social life. So we scooted out to the growing taxi queue on Polk Street and headed to our respective homes. And I just accepted that I wouldn't be getting much sleep. I could have captured a few more winks this morning, but because I am a certifiable freakshow, I had to get up early and go running before heading into work. At least I'm a social freakshow with a well conditioned cardiovascular system.

Tonight I should rest, but instead I'm going to meet The Other Tom for a night out. Emily, Fabulous Patti and her gentleman friend, Tim, all may catch up with us. I think I'm going to suggest Favorite Bar 2.

Tomorrow I sleep.