Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Baseball, Beer and Impulse Shopping

So the Giants lost today. Are you shocked? However, the baseball game was really fun. Paul, Denise and I were settled into our seats by 1 p.m. (a special thanks to Sheela for the tickets), and it was all good times from there. I have been steadfast in my resolve to only drink two days a week, but I might cheat a little this week because I have a lot of social activities to attend. Regardless of whether I cheat or not, I decided to have a beer or two at the ball game this afternoon.

Or three. Anchor Steam, Heineken and Blue Moon. Yummy.

I may have mentioned before that the thing about drinking less is that your tolerance drops significantly. At least mine has. So after three beers today, I was... let's call it very happy. Once the game was done, we stopped in Borders, where I bought two paperbacks (including the novel pictured above) and some Jelly Bellies for me and Paul. Books are a very good thing, so that's all well and fine.

But then I wandered into Betsy Johnson.

Luckily I got out with only a pair of shoes, but they are shoes I don't need and can't exactly afford. Well, I can afford them, but I was doing a very good job of keeping to my self-imposed budget until today. Ah, well. They are cute and very comfortable, so I know I'll wear them. See what happens when I drink during the day?

My impulse shopping done, I'm now in my pajamas and am in for the night. I was going to see John Doe at 12 Galaxies tonight, but Tom needed to flake, and I predict I'll be asleep by about 9 p.m. So John will just have to make do without us this time. I think he'll survive.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Size of A Cow

Officially, that's the title of a most excellent song by the Wonder Stuff (if you don't know it, get yourself to a record store or iTunes immediately). Unofficially, it is an apt description of me tonight.

Gourmet Group met this evening at The Slanted Door for dinner, and boy did we make the most of this gathering. Imperial rolls, spring rolls, shaking beef, lemongrass tofu, claypot chicken.... those are just some of the dishes we ordered. Frankly, I'm surprised there is any food left in the restaurant. I'll be digesting this dinner for the next three months, and alas, I don't think there's enough exercise in the world to work off all the calories I ate tonight. But let me tell you, it was sooooo worth it.


Tomorrow, providing I'm not still too full to move, I'm going to a Giants game with Denise and Paul. Then Tom and I might see John Doe at 12 Galaxies tomorrow night. On Thursday, I'll be catching up with Bridget and Shannon for happy hour, and on Friday, Terry, Sheela, Ben and I are planning to pay Club Deluxe a visit. All of that will to wait, however, until I feel like I can button my pants again...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Simple Pleasures

Want to have a really top notch afternoon? Well, here's what you do.

First, on the weekday of your choice, take the day off work. Then order up a juicy slice of sunshine. At about noon take a run through all that sunshine; just make sure you successfully dodge all the tourists swarming in Fisherman's Wharf. Then at about 2:30 meet Tom, Valerie and Valerie's friends Peter and Mark at Zeitgeist. Once properly settled on the beer patio, enjoy Chimay and delightful conversation while much of the rest of the world remains stuck in office cubicles. Topics that can be discussed: how Valerie knew the leader of your current band more than a decade ago when he was sporting a different first name; your upcoming 4th of July plans; why the "new" movie Hairspray is destined to suck because the original was brilliant; which bars in the City are open at 6 a.m. and who frequents them at that hour; why the other people in the beer garden aren't at work either.

I did this on Friday, and it was an excellent time. Gotta love the power of a random day off. Thank goodness (and my employer) for comp days.

You can, if you choose, continue your life of leisure in the evening by going out with another friend. This time, give Tosca and Specs a try. After a couple of afternoon Chimays, however, I'd recommend sticking with sparkling water for the night. That's what I did, anyway, and I imagine it made for a much more pleasant morning after....

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Love Is All You Need

Happy birthday, Summer of Love. You're 40 this year. You're a little more grey but also a little wiser and a little more settled. You've learned a lot of lessons and are ready to impart your wisdom to a new generation of eager youth.

In theory, anyway.

Given that I wasn't born until late 1969 (and for the record, even that makes me feel old), I obviously missed the Summer of Love and have never attended any sort of Human Be-In. However, I hope that in the terrorism-filled, cynical, ever-growing death toll in Iraq, cyber-connected world of today, we can remember some of the more well-intentioned ideals inspired by the music and philosophies of a peace-loving counter culture four decades ago. For my part, I think I am going to celebrate the anniversary tonight, during the summer solstice. Favorite Bar is having a Summer of Love party, and I think Sheela and I are going to go.

All you need is love, my babies.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Confessions of a Former Partier

On Saturday night I did the unthinkable: I went to a fun bachelorette party.

The last bachelorette party I attended was in 2004, and with all due respect to the bride-to-be at the center of that affair, it was an annoying, embarrassing mess. I recall stopping by one of my favorite bars that night and apologizing to the bartender for being part of the obnoxious gaggle of girls who had invaded the place. Yuck.

So I wasn't expecting much on Saturday evening. However, thanks, I believe, to the charm and verve of Mindi, the bride-to-be in question this time around, I had a lovely time. The evening started with snacks at Picaro. Well, it started for me with snacks at Picaro. The other women began the party while I was still at work with a visit to a "rustic spa" in the Mission. I've never been there, myself, but their descriptions of the place afterward were hysterical. After filling up on tapas, we went to Casanova, one of my usual Mission haunts.

There was no reason to be embarrassed this time. For one thing, Mindi was not wearing a veil (thank goodness), and there was a decided minimum of screeching from the rest of us. We were just like any other group out on a Saturday night. Well, except that we were, in my opinion, significantly more saucy. My friend Wendy caught up with the party at about 10:30, even though she doesn't know Mindi. But Mindi made her feel very welcome.

Here's the sad part, however. At about 11:15, after a total of perhaps two cocktails, I was ready to go home. I say "perhaps two cocktails" because I had one glass of sangria at Picaro and then ordered two cocktails at Casanova. But I finished neither of my two Casanova drinks. In fact, I probably only drank a quarter of my second one. I wasn't drunk; I wasn't sick; I was just done. I was supposed to hit my friends Bridget and Shannon's party that night as well, but that was not meant to be.

I'd blame my lack of stamina on the fact that I work weekends, but that would just be a feeble excuse. For my first four years in San Francisco I worked at 10 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, but that did not stop me from going out and staying out until the wee hours of the morning on weekends. These days, I'm just old and must confess that I like going to bed at a reasonable hour so I can get up and go running before work. Even on the weekend.

How did this happen? I don't have kids. I don't live in the suburbs. I rarely have to be at work before 11 a.m. any day. So what's up with all this wanting to go home early? I truly think it's just that I'm old. What a sad realization for a former party girl.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Taste of The Ocean State

With all due respect to any present or former New Englanders who may be reading, I must admit there are scant few things I miss about my years living in Rhode Island. Of course I miss Brown. If I could live my life as a perpetual undergraduate, believe me, I would. That, however, is another story. I also miss my friends who still live there: Josh, Sarah, Dolby and Pea, as well as Ted in Boston and Wendell in Portland, Maine.

That's pretty much it. My amazing college experience aside, the years I lived in New England were not my best, and I never fully meshed with East Coast culture. I'm much happier here on the Left Coast, thank you very much, and I rarely crave anything from New England.

Except, that is, for Del's Frozen Lemonade.

Produced in Cranston, I believe Del's is only sold in Rhode Island. However, every June, a Cranston native now living in the Bay Area pulls out his Del's cart and sells the soft frozen goodness at San Francisco's annual North Beach Festival. This afternoon, I took advantage of my break at work to walk up Grant Avenue and procure frozen lemonade for myself, Joe and Tihanna. And boy, was it delicious. The North Beach Festival may be famous for other reasons, but for me, the biggest draw is the frozen lemonade.


After work tonight, I'm going to... wait for it... a bachelorette party. I actually loathe bachelorette parties, but I do very much like Mindi, the bride to be in this instance. So I'm willing to participate in this antiquated, embarrassing and ridiculous ritual to celebrate her. I'm also supposed to go to a party at Bridget and Shannon's, but we'll see if I make it. I'm a little older and now somewhat less able to cram too much fun into one evening.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Sassy Jetsetter

I write to you this afternoon from sunny Southern California, after traveling 341 miles to see Jersey Boys. Now, you may wonder why I don't just see Jersey Boys in San Francisco, since it seems the show will be running at the Curran Theatre until all us mere mortals die. After the apocalypse, expect the cockroaches and the San Francisco production of Jersey Boys to take over the newly vacated planet Earth.

Well, not only is it just far more saucy to jet down to L.A. to see a musical, but I actually had tickets to see Jersey Boys in San Francisco last winter. My sister Fabulous Patti and I were going to go on December 19th. Until, that is, Fake Band was invited to play our company Christmas party... on December 19th (relive that story here). So I sold my theatre tickets; Fabulous Patti and my friend Jack came to the company Christmas party to see me sing; and the rest, as they say, is history. As is my participation in Fake Band, but that's another story. Anyway, Fabulous Patti and I got a little lazy about rescheduling the Boys, and the next thing we knew, she landed a job in Los Angeles. At that time, we thought the San Francisco production of Jersey Boys might close eventually, so we bought tickets for the L.A. show.

And that brings us to the present. Earlier this afternoon I caught a mid-air taxi cab more commonly known as Southwest Airlines, and now here I am in the City of Angels for one day. My first stop was the Los Feliz Pinkberry on Vermont Avenue. Yummy. And in a little while I'm going to meet Fabulous Patti for dinner and the show.

Tomorrow it's back home to the Bay. It's lovely to live like a jetsetter every once in a while.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

I Don't Mean To Brag, But....

... Once again, I can call myself a professional, paid actor.

As mentioned previously on this space, I did a little film project last month for some Academy of Art student directors. Well, yesterday I received my compensation: $150. No, it's not much, but given how many non-paid actors walk among us, I consider 150 bucks to be pretty good.

Don't worry, I won't quit my day job. It's just nice to be paid for the occasional acting work I do. No matter how small the amount, I always appreciate a financial acknowledgement that acting is, in fact, work. Too many actors work for free because directors take advantage of their hunger for opportunity.

In other creative news from the land of Sassy, I have been very tenacious in practicing my Daydrinker songs over the last few days. I have the first two down, but the third one Higgins taught me on Tuesday has proven a little tougher. To that end, I have been practicing my part for at least a few minutes everyday. And practice I will continue; this band has one committed back-up singer, let me tell you.

Finally, I leave you tonight with perhaps a less than positive anecdote. When I first moved to San Francisco, the one thing I hated about the City was the rampant neighborhood snobbery and superficial judgement. A lot of people I met were creative, Mission-types (whether they actually lived in the Mission or not), and I heard incessant disparaging of the Marina and Pacific Heights. More accurately, I heard incessant disparaging of the people who populate those neighborhoods. And there was much yuppie-bashing, even though most of my friends were, by all accounts, yuppies, themselves. Maybe some (and only some) of them worked in the non-profit sector or bounced from temp job to temp job to support their acting habit, but whatever his or her profession, a young, urban professional from a privileged background is still a yuppie. I was stunned. Here were adults behaving in a clique-ish manner more appropriate to junior high school. Whereas my attitude has always been that there are both jerks and nice people in every group... or neighborhood.

Well, after ten years, it appears that I have adopted at least a similarly judgmental attitude.

On Thursday night I went to a bar South of Market with Sheela and Biraj, and the experience was flat out depressing. Everyone in the place seemed like a vacuous yuppie with nothing more to offer than a passion for making and spending money. They all even looked the same, despite differing heights, weights and ethnicities. And honestly, they all looked like they'd call the Marina or Pacific Heights home. There was not one person in that bar I wanted to be around, let alone talk to. Now, I wasn't there to meet anyone; I was there to hang out with Sheela and Biraj, but still. Just being surrounded by those people was too much.

Given that I talked to all of maybe three members of the yuppie crowd, I know I am being very superficial. And I imagine the same type of judgment befalls me when I stroll into any one of the Mission bars I frequent wearing Ann Taylor sundresses, Franco Sarto boots and sometimes pearls. I generally leave the pearls at home when I go to the Mission, but not always. I'm hardly rich, but I do make a decent living and enjoy some luxuries. However, I know I'm a creative, intelligent, interesting woman who detests gross materialism (relatively speaking, that is; I'd say most of us who live in the United States, including me, indulge in some type of gross materialism). Not everyone who sees me perched on a bar stool in Casanova or The Make Out Room likely looking like I don't fit in knows that, however.

So you'd think I'd know not to judge a book by it's cover and be a little more open-minded when surrounded by alleged uber-yuppies. Well, apparently not. And frankly, I'm okay with that...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Recognizing That Life Is Good

Yesterday was as a close to a perfect day as I believe I can expect in my world right now.

Well, I ate way too much, but that's why the day was close to perfect, as opposed to simply perfect.

It all began with a visit to the spa. After an hour of cardio in the spa gym followed by a delicious steam, I took a dip in the pool and hot tub, then lounged poolside. That's actually where the overeating began. I ordered lunch, which I often do at the spa. However, instead of choosing my usual smoothie and salad, I selected a cheeseburger and fries. I didn't eat everything because the portions were huge, but still. Perhaps I should continue eating light while visiting the spa. I'm just saying. My belly full (very full), I then indulged in an 80-minute facial, along with an eyebrow wax.

Now, I would consider any day that includes a spa sojourn to be a good day, but yesterday just kept getting better. I later met Higgins to sing with him and learn more Daydrinker songs. And guess what? I had considered my rehearsals with Higgins to be auditions, of sorts, but he says I am a member of the band. Consider me an official Daydrinker! And Higgins is a real musician with tons of experience. So there's nothing fake about this band.

I've always, and I mean always, wanted to be in a band. So I'm going to make sure I practice a ton and keep up my voice lessons, lest I let the boys in Daydrinker down.

After band practice (did I mention that, apparently, I'm in the band?), Higgins, Jayn and I met my friend Emily at Kezar in Cole Valley for drinks. Emily and I have been trying to get together for weeks, and it was very nice to see her. Over lots of wine, the four of us discussed all things pop culture, as well as other important topics. Emily and I then parted ways with Jayn and Higgins and indulged in Thai food on Haight Street (thus continuing the overeating). It was quite yummy.

All of that and I got home at a reasonable hour. The next time I'm feeling glum, I'll have to remember this day and remind myself how good my life really is.

Monday, June 04, 2007


I was in the worst mood when I got up this morning, and even my daily run didn't help. It was shaping up to be a plain old surly day, but as the hours went by, my disposition improved. You see, my co-worker and live music show buddy, Tom, has returned from six weeks in England!

Now, I actually saw Tom at work yesterday and welcomed him home then, but he also made today better. Perhaps it's because he's so easy to work with. Perhaps it's because we're going to resume our live music schedule and see Pat Johnson and Penelope Houston at the Make Out Room on Wednesday.

Or most likely, it's because he brought a whole bunch of Cadbury chocolate back from England and shared it with all of us at work. Eat 325 pieces of fine chocolate over 8 hours, and your mood will improve, too.

By the end of the day, I was very happy.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

What's New, Pussycat?

It's possible I might be a horrible person.

That said, I want to state for the record that I had the best of intentions. You see, this is not my cat... despite the fact that she (or he; I didn't actually check) is pictured here lounging on my couch and below sitting on my floor. I was minding my own business this morning when I went downstairs to the laundry room to see if our building washing machine was free. On my way there, I happened upon a defenseless little kitty sitting on the stairs in the hallway.

I thought it a bit odd that a cat was hanging out on the stairs by herself (I'm just going with my assumption that this cat is female), but I believed she must belong to someone in one of the three apartments on the basement floor. However, no doors were open, and it certainly would be irresponsible for someone to let their cat roam the hallway. I noticed my new feline friend had an ID tag with a telephone number. The number began with area code 916, but I figured it to be a cell phone number and decided to call whichever neighbor of mine owned this cell phone and inform them their cat was in the hallway.

I instructed Miss Kitty to stay on the stairs while I fetched my own cell phone. She did, and when I returned we dialed her owner. No answer. Well, no human answer, but the mechanical device that took my phone message was clearly an answering machine, as opposed to cell phone voice mail. So I had probably called a landline in Sacramento. This gave me pause, but then I decided that maybe the cat's owner has parents who live in Sacramento or something.

So I spent the next ten or fifteen minutes looking for whomever in the building had misplaced their cat. Occupants of two of the three basement floor apartments emerged from their dwellings, but they denied knowledge of this cat. One guy said he believed he'd seen the cat in the building before, but he thought the owners had moved away six months ago. He didn't seem overly concerned about that fact; prompting me to handily judge him as cruel and unfeeling for this poor little kitty's welfare. After wandering all four floors of my building and consulting many a neighbor (several of whom I'd never seen before), I gave up my hallway foot search. Keep in mind, I was doing this in my pajamas.

I didn't want to leave her alone because people in my building are notorious for leaving street doors open, but I did have a life to lead. So I took Miss Kitty into my apartment where she would be safe while I got on with my day. If I didn't hear back from her Sacramento owners, I'd just call back in a couple of hours. As much as I love cats, I have nothing in my apartment that would pass for cat food or a litter box, but still, I figured she'd be okay for a little while. And she was.

I tried to give her water and a little milk, but she showed no interest in either. She did explore a bit and was very affectionate. It wasn't long before her penchant for scratching her back triggered a concern in me about fleas, however, so I had to forbid her from playing on my couch or my bed. After about two hours, she started to seem a little anxious, making me think she was hungry or, worse, needed the kitty loo. If you've ever lived with a cat, you know the horror that is cat urine and understand that I needed to prevent any deposit of it in my apartment. I tried the number on her tag again. Still no answer.

My upstairs neighbor, whom I met for the first time today, had offered to take over cat sitting duties when she got back from the gym, and she said she would only be gone for a couple of hours. It had been more than two hours at this point, so I decided to take Miss Kitty into the hall with me while I retrieved my laundry, should she have a bladder accident. Then I would change into my running clothes, leave Miss Kitty with my upstairs neighbor and go on my daily jog. I had to leave Miss Kitty in the hallway because you go outside to get to the laundry room, and when I came back with my clothes five minutes later... She was gone.

That's right. I misplaced the wayward cat.

Again I found myself scouring the halls in my building, but I could not find her. I can only hope her owner collected her from the hall while I was in the laundry room. At least I'm sticking with that belief. For the record, the people who live at that Sacramento number I dialed have yet to return my call. Apparently, they're really concerned.

Would a better person have left the cat to possibly saturate their apartment with kitty waste? Maybe. Or maybe I could have gone out and gotten a litter box, or at minimum some cat food, to make Miss Kitty more comfortable while she lived with me. I did neither. It's probably the lack of food that caused her to ditch me once my back was turned. Well, I hope she's okay.

On a side note, I had a little conversation with my upstairs neighbor about noise in our building. We all have hardwood floors, and she was concerned I could hear her walking around over my head. I told her I haven't heard anything, really. In the five years I have lived in my building, I have heard voices, music or other noise emanating from various apartments while I'm in the hallway, but the units are very well insulated. I never hear what my neighbors are doing inside their apartments while I'm inside mine. My upstairs neighbor agreed, for the most part, but she told me she hears me singing.

I've often wondered if people can hear me practice my vocal styling, especially when I do exercises. Well, now I know the answer to that question is yes. Singing is one thing, though. While my upstairs neighbor may grow bored with my singing exercises and repeated renditions of whatever song I happen to be working on any given week, I'm far more concerned with what else she may be able to hear. My voice probably carries a little better when I sing, but still, I'll have to keep this in mind.

Especially the next time I have... um... company.