Thursday, November 18, 2004


The lovely girl this is written for died on Wednesday. The events that led up to her death are detailed in her friend Andrew's livejournal posts. I didn't know her. I knew a bit about her, had noticed her profile on, connected to me through my good friends Pete and Duncan. I didn't know her, but I know the effect she had on these two guys. Two of the most amazing people I know. And I can gather from this that she must have been pretty damned amazing herself.

What I can see of her is that she was a beautifully curvy woman who was proud of the way she looked, despite what society would have her think. I could certainly stand to take a page out of her book. She was an artist and a burlesque dancer who seemed to see past a lot of the bullshit out there. I wish I knew enough about her to really do her justice, but this is all I have to offer.

To her friends and family, my condolences.

Monday, November 15, 2004

yosemite falls

There is far too much going through my head right now. A mixture of recent memories, secrets I keep and the attempt at some sort of foresight for a friend.

Jen and I drove up to Yosemite on Saturday morning in a rental car. Economy. We were fairly entertained for the length of the trip, which included listening to Mariachi bands and singing showtunes. This is not usual behavior, but we were a bit delirious from lack of sleep, while excited about the wedding we were heading to. We got lost on a random mountain road, an unpaved road, thanks to Yahoo Maps. Jen managed to get us back to civilization and a liquor store for better directions. Our trip was lengthened slightly by the bizarre directions we originally had, but we still made it to our room at Yosemite Lodge in plenty of time to get ready. Danny and Andreas were happy to see us, as well. Danny hadn't been able to get into the room, as it had been put in Jen's name. We settled into our room and had a brief rest, since we had a bit of time to get ready before we actually needed to be at the chapel.

Preparing for formal gatherings turns me into a girl more than anything else. But it also makes me wish I weren't one at all. I feel the need to wear idiotic things like bustiers and false eyelashes, but I know I'll change into something more comfortable and take off the lashes before I down my first drink. It is the struggle between looking good but being uncomfortable and not looking quite as good but being much happier. I was in everyone's way as I got ready for the wedding and it took me much too long to do my makeup. Dan had to hustle, since he was in the wedding and needed to be at the chapel for pictures beforehand. Andreas helped him with his cufflinks, I helped him with some coverup for the pictures. Jen smoked cigarettes and chatted with Andreas while she wasn't saying yay or nay to my various indecisions over my outfit (while secretly rolling her eyes).

Jen, Andreas and I arrived at the chapel around 145pm. The wedding was scheduled for 2pm. We saw the boys out front with the photographer and, shortly after, found out that the wedding wasn't actually until 230pm. I won't go into the details, but the wedding didn't really start until around 3pm. The three of us sat in our pew with an old man we did not know and distracted ourselves as much as we could. Which became slightly easier for me when I realized there was actually a decent looking fella sitting just in front of us. Andreas had a lot of questions about the way we Americans do things when it comes to weddings and I got to hear about the differences in Germany. But really, thin wooden planks are not comfortable and I was starting to worry that the ceremony would take forever and I'd have to shoot myself.

Luckily, neither of those things happened. The ceremony was about medium length. Sarah looked gorgeous and couldn't stop smiling, much accentuated by her dimples. Matt looked just as excited and even adoringly at her. The wedding party was huge and seemed neverending, with 4 or 5 pairs of flowergirls and ringbearers. There were only three bridesmaids (including the maid/matron of honor), but there were several best men. And they were ALL considered best men, since Matt couldn't decide between them. Which was actually rather sweet.

The ceremony ended, it was time for a cigarette or five, we filtered out of the tiny chapel slowly into the cold air. Everyone was taking pictures and we sat on a stone bench in front of the chapel, looking up at the rise of rockface behind it. Eventually everyone filtered off to their various rooms to get ready for the reception. The reception is a hazy mess for me. I remember the beginning, the food, chatting with Andreas, but then it's all "Dan, this is my wine (raising the glass in my right hand) and this is my champagne (raising the glass in my left)!" I think I was double fist drinking the whole night. There are random bits of memory in there. My conversation with Brian about becoming a dad. Meeting Matt's mom and gushing to her about him with Jen and Margaret (then all of us realizing how stupid we sounded and laughing about it later). Andreas bringing a cart with wheels to me at one point, outside, so I could put down my drinks and have a cigarette. Harassing Matt's cousin to request a song for Margaret. Making the request myself and Margaret's excited reaction. Then the after party in our room and wanting desperately to sleep. Margaret and Paul leaving in the middle of the night and only getting a quarter of the way to their cabin before they realized they had to turn back because it was just too damn cold. It was a good night. And a horribly sick next morning for all.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

First They Came for the Jews

(A moment of seriousness here. I just found one of my favorite Shoah poems and wanted to keep it somewhere to reference, but also to share it with anyone who comes upon this site.)

First They Came for the Jews
First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

Pastor Martin Niemöller

Monday, November 08, 2004

mom says alcohol makes family time better

For me, it was a family weekend.

My brother and his wife (Jason and April) came up from Monterey, where they are studying Arabic in the Army. I drove to my mom's house in Vallejo on Friday night (Vallejo sucks and we all know it) for dinner. My mom kept insisting that she wanted to make some fancy Spanish food-stuffs (which, by the way, didn't happen all weekend). But right before she finally started cooking dinner, two of my stepdad's friends came by (my stepfather neglected to mention he had invited them to check out the newly renovated house). At this point, we (the kids) decided to go out to dinner by ourselves because we were starving and it was obvious dinner wasn't going to happen. We went to Black Angus (crap steakhouse) and had a loverly time, involving large quantities of fruity beverages and red meat (my brother was the designated driver of the three of us...and he had seafood, damned healthy bastard).

On Saturday, Jason, April, my mom and my stepdad all came over to my apartment in Oakland. They came bearing the gifts of dirty curtains, a miscellaneous pot and two very ugly throw pillows that I had already told my mother (on numerous occasions) that I hated. After much grumbling from my stepdad and watching my brother devour many a Halloween leftover (all chocolate), we (the women) decided to get Chinese Concord (sucks almost as much as Vallejo, but it's on the way to the theater my stepdad insisted on). Mandarin fried chicken...mmmmmm. Who knew Park N Shop could contain so many good restaurants (The Meditteranean and Las Montanas are both very good, as well).

We went to a theater in Martinez (somewhere between Vallejo and Concord in both suckiness and distance) to see Alfie. Don't laugh. I wanted to see The Incredibles, so did my brother. Alas, in order to hang out with one's snarky stepdad (whom I have taken to calling "Pappy" just to irritate him), one sometimes has to "suck it up." Alfie was okay, but I think I'd prefer the Michael Caine version. Jude Law made me feel somewhat sorry for him and that just made me resent myself as a woman. However, the theater in Martinez was almost empty and there was about four feet of space for legroom in every aisle of seats. I think I fell in love. My new sister and I had our feet up on the seats because we're disrespectful brats and spent the twenty minutes before the film hanging out with my mom and making fun of the men (who had wandered off to lord knows where). We finished the evening in Vallejo, drinking lemon drops and watching Elizabeth. My sister-in-law hadn't seen it yet...and was unfortunate enough to watch it with my mom (who was a History major in college), my brother (who reads too much) and me (who had just finished reading Edward Rutherford's London. We're fairly well-behaved as long as you don't ask us questions about the real history or try to discuss it...I think she enjoyed just the same, however.

Sunday was my rest and relaxation day. I watched The Reckoning, Unconditional Love (it hurt me) and Bridget Jones' Diary. At some point I believe I bathed...went to the store for gas for my car...probably ate something...then visited my friend Duncan and watched an Aimee Mann Live video while drinking cheap beer.

All in all, a very nice weekend.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

click on me!

If you weren't intelligent enough to click on the title that says "click on me," you can try this one instead:

the state of apathy

Let me just start by saying...if you don't get out and vote today, I will have to take it upon myself to come to your house and beat the living crap out of you. And considering that the only people who read this blog are friends and family, you should all know that I mean it.

PS I love you, fuckers.

In other news:

Last week I went to Ben & Nick's on College to have a few beers (okay, ciders) with Pete and his Blogger Posse. I have decided that Pete really needs a posse, by the way, because I feel there's a fair chance it will boost his self-esteem. Of course, he still needs a pimp and I'm not up for the job...perhaps one of his posse can take that on?

It was a very nice evening with the boys and I drank too much, as usual. Aside from meeting The Great Stuart on the street, while staring at the lunar eclipse, and being told repeatedly "You can change the world" (Revaz and Pete were there, but they weren't paying attention like I was and he didn't want to marry them), it was a great change of pace for me. To be able to talk about the political realm with people and actually have them respond, my lord, this is what I had been waiting for! Many of the people I know, especially people I work with, are politically apathetic. In fact, if it weren't for friends like Pete, Revaz and Sean, I don't know that I'd be politically aware at all anymore. Being around them made me realize how much was going on that I did not know about and how much I did not want that to continue.

When I lived with my dad and my brother (in high school) we used to argue politics over dinner every single night. My dad was fond of playing Devil's Advocate and pushing us to really understand how to build a strong defense. When I was not completely sure of something, he would tear it apart, even though he knew he was completely wrong. At this point in my life, I miss those nights of falafel, chinese food and enraged political debate. It makes me sad that a lot of my friends have no interest in politics, to the point of not wanting to hear anything new a lot of the time. If it is too sad, too infuriating, too horrible, they don't want to know. I can understand not wanting to get stressed out, but the extent of that ignorance is dangerous.

So this is a bit of a thank-you to the people I met at Ben & Nick's that night. To Revaz for coming with me. To Pete for inviting me. And to all the rest for being so great, so fun and so aware. I loved being around a bunch of guys who really know their stuff and aren't afraid to state their opinions. I was also grateful to not even once be made to feel like an idiot for what I did not know.

I look forward to the next round.

If anyone wants to check these crazy guys out, here are their blogs:

Monday, November 01, 2004

learning curve

These are the things I have learned from watching the people I love:
To stand up for myself.
To speak my truth.
To not say that I know something unless I have done the research to prove it.
To be able to admit it when I am wrong.
To not be afraid to be myself.
To talk about the things I feel and the problems I have, so that I can figure things out.

These are the things that the people I love have actually told me:
Don't stand up for yourself if it means losing your job.
Don't speak your truth if it's going to offend someone.
You will always be just a child, so no matter how much research you do and no matter how well you know your subject, you will still always be wrong.
Love means never having to admit you're wrong.
You should not be afraid to be yourself as long as that version of your self is publicly acceptable, which it isn't, so you should try to change.
You talk too much, too fast and you are too emotional/sensitive.

I believe that if you truly love someone, you love them for everything that they are. Every flaw, every failure.
You will not tell them to keep their mouth shut because what they have to say might embarass you, make you feel uncomfortable.
You will listen to them when they talk passionately about something, even if you don't entirely understand it, even if you have heard it before.
You will value their opinion, even if it is the exact opposite of yours, and you will not condescend to them because you are older, think you are smarter, think you are more experienced, etc. You cannot know the things another person has experienced, no matter how much they have told you, no matter how long you have known them.

If you constantly tell someone that you do not have time to listen, they will eventually stop telling you anything at all.

If I am constantly told that I am doing everything wrong, how can I be proud of myself? How can I have any confidence in what I do or the things I say? If my family looks at me like I am the black sheep and nothing will change that opinion, why on earth should I bother to change?