The Effect of Living Bass-ackwards
Okay, I should be working, but I just went to the most awesome little boutique and picked up a pair of 1921 jeans (from Soho boutique, Portland, Oregon, yo!) and now I just want to stare at my behind, cuz it looks so good.
In other news, I just had 2 friends and my parents in town for almost a week. My head is exploding from the auditory overload, because every one of us is a Loud Talker. Also, just having that many people to please (+ boyfriend) is a real test of my moxie, due to my OCD and my martyr complex. I am so exhausted!
This is probably my most boring post ever, but enjoy the photo of some "scary" decor. After hitting a couple swanky bars on Friday night, we met up with some friends for... get ready for it... Underground Pirate-Themed Glow-in-the-Dark Mini-Golf. The place was stupendously lame, but the people who showed up dressed like pirates definitely made it worth the 8 bones.
The State of Things Today
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, July 16, 2007 9:17 AM
Subject: framed nagel
hi, is this still available?
----- Original Message ----
Sent: Monday, July 16, 2007 7:44:56 PM
Subject: Re: framed nagel
Yes it is, if you would like more details you can call me. Thank you and have a great day.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, July 16, 2007 5:07 PM
Subject: Re: framed nagel
if it's in good condition, and you'll take $40 for it, i'd like to pick it up on thursday.
----- Original Message ----
Sent: Monday, July 16, 2007 7:44:56 PM
Subject: Re: framed nagel
It's in great condition, and I'll take no less then $45. If still interested thursday is fine.
Thank you, Robin
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 5:23 PM
Subject: Re: framed nagel
My boyfriend - who I live with - says he'll leave me if I pay more than $30 for the Nagel. I would normally ignore a comment like that, but it's his house, too. Please let me know if you can't sell it and would be willing to part with it for, say, $35.
----- Original Message ----
To: alisa sloan
Sent: Monday, July 16, 2007 10:55:57 AM
Subject: Re: framed nagel
I'm sorry, I was talking to my husband and says the price is firm at $50.
It Has Been a While
Home Again, Naturally
(These are some girls working in a sari store who were shy about having their photo taken.)
Just as I arrived, I left India under cover of darkness. Our flight left at 2:15 a.m. Friday morning...so we had to stay up - sober - all of Thursday night. (We left the hotel around 11 p.m. and had a lovely outside barbecue first, though. some of the most delicious grilled meat ever + a bunch of weird indian appetizers that were, honestly, pretty grody.)
And then it was 2.5 hours in the airport (where like 20 different people look at your paperwork - none of them inspiring any sort of confidence or giving any indication that they know what they're doing, and some of them just 10 feet from the last guy who checked your paperwork).
Oh, and once we got to Frankfurt, it was another hour in the airport (we ate pretzels and stared at all the weirdo Germans - they are such a strange people). And once on the plane, we then spent an hour on the runway waiting for extra passengers and for them to FIX A FUEL LEAK ON THE LEFT WING. It was nutty. Nothing like hearing bad news from someone with a thick German accent. That does not inspire confidence…I kept waiting for him to ask us to deplane and wait in a nice, hot shower...
Anyhoo, it feels fabulous to be home. To sleep in my own bed. To cuddle with my fat pug. To eat oatmeal for breakfast and make dinner with J. I am a happy girl. It was worth going just to appreciate what I have at home!
Last Night in India!
but first: I am getting ready to sell my house in Phoenix and have been looking at the Portland MLS online. I really like the this house...but WTF is that little black monkey thing on the bottom right? And what if it’s not really in the house? Like, the realtor took the picture and it was just a normal kitchen, but when they developed the photo, THAT’S WHEN THE IMAGE OF THE MONKEY GIRL APPEARED.
There’s a voodoo curse on the house now. Anyone who lives there will have to do one of those ceremonies where you walk around with burning sticks to cleanse the place...it’s Portland after all. Not a lot of places to go for hoodoo child corpse spell reversals, but lots of random hippies in linen tunics and birkenstocks to summon the Goddess and burn some incense for ya.
Btw: went shopping AGAIN today! Bought a beautiful leather briefcase for J - the softest leather you can imagine - for $35. Bought a patchwork wall-hanging made from old saris, a small rosewood Ganesh figurine for my brother, two beautiful silk table runners for Mom, and three more wall hangings that look more like they're from Polynesia than India. If I never come back here, it won't matter. I've bought enough for about 15 separate visits.
Anyhoo, we just got back from dinner at a place that serves food from Karola – a province of India. It’s basically a mix of Indian and Thai. Soooooooo good. We had some red-hot spicy fish that's going to keep me up all night, coconut rice, spinach pakoras. MAN. And the white folks at the table next to us spent about 5 minutes each wiping off the banana leaves they use to line the plates. I suppose if we're going to get the poopies, at least that meal was worth it. Though it would suck to have the shits on a 22-hour plane ride. Farg.
Oh, and it will be so nice to not be stared at once I get home. I am a major target here for beggars, and for people in cars/on the street to stare at. They don't have the same politeness parameters we have in the States - they can't - too many people, too close together. You know how you might see your friend driving down the street and you honk and pull up and wave and they still won't look over? That doesn't happen here. You pull up at the "signal" and there are at least 75 people within 15 feet of you. They're on motorcycles right at your elbows, in open cabs, and everyone is looking at everyone else. You can't avoid it. It's something to do while they wait for the 10,000 vehicles on the other side of the street to cross over. Just amazing.
And it's an understatement to say there aren't a lot of white women here. I may as well be hot pink and glowing - I stand out that much. If it was any other city where I got so many stares I'd be like "I am damn hot!" Sigh.
And best news yet: WE LEAVE TOMORROW NIGHT! I am trying not to piss myself. Last night I only slept like 3 hours b/c I was so excited. Tonight I’m hoping to crash out, but it’s 9 p.m. and so far, so awake.
And one more btw: I’ve been watching the one station that shows american tv...been watching the first season of the OC. It used to be so much better! And last night, I watched as much as I could stomach of Indian Idol. That is some cracked out television, right there.
The Countdown Continues
I'm leaving here at 2:15 a.m. (yes, AM) Friday morning India time...and will arrive in Oregon at 11:40 a.m. Friday morning. Two 11-hour flights, plus a layover in Frankfurt...ugh!
Today I went with Vrinda to Commercial Street - blocks and blocks and blocks of shops. I LOVED IT. We had such a good time shopping and she is insanely effective when it comes to bargaining. She told me not to speak - then she would sit down with store owners and demand everything at half price! I could have spent at least 500 rupees more than I did if she wasn't there...but even so, everything I bought today cost about $65 U.S. Demented, but what a way to shop!
Then we had tea and milk at the old French Embassy. It's completely falling apart, the walls are crumbling, tropical plants are growing in the cracks, but tons of locals (and local French people) hang out there to drink coffee and smoke outside...Vrinda saw not one, but two of her best friends there - one was there for a human-rights get-together. Vrinda was there for coffee and completely nonplussed by the gathering. She was like, "oh, human rights, whatever. let's have a smoke." Hilarious.
Now it's like 6:30 p.m. here...I just finished editing next week's Portland Picks, and my brain is fried. I am exhausted!!! Only one more night (after tonight)! I can't wait to get home. J says that Pork Chop seems fine, but somewhat disoriented...a little lost without me. I think they both miss me very much.
But overall, this trip has been fabulous - lucky for me we've done more sightseeing and hanging out than working - shhh! - but it will be a relief to get home. I thought I was relaxed here but I found that I can't read any of the books I brought...i can't concentrate on the words. I think I will immediately fall into a deep slumber when I finally get to my own house...ahhh...
I Miss My Dog - 3 Days Til HOME
This is a dreamy hotel outside of Bangalore where the Maharajahs used to stay for State visits. We popped in to pee. Were the bathrooms in the lobby worthy of a Maharajah? Eh...not so much.
I kind of forgot to blog this weekend because we did so much, um, DRINKING. We went to this amazing hotel (The Taj West-End...if you ever come to Bangalore, stay there!) It looked like a fairytale palace and the grounds looked like Kauai. It was one of those places where you can't really do it justice with words. Anyhoo, they had a 3-hour champagne brunch for under $30 American that we fully took advantage of.
That girl C i'm traveling with invited a friend of hers she met when she lived in B-lore last year, and he brought his parents. He is something of a jet-setter (grew up in Bombay, lives half the year in Blore & half in Chicago) and comports himself like a spoiled army brat. I was so annoyed by his talk of "clubbing" and whatnot that it took me about 5 glasses of champagne to even look his direction.
And his dad! Oy vey! A highly enjoyable man but also somewhat pompous. His was more low-key, though. He kept "sweet-talking" the wait staff to get them to bring us more drinks and stuff that wasn't on the menu (though there was a massive buffet inside, I don't remember him getting up more than once). It was slightly uncomfortable for all of us to watch him treat the waitstaff like that, but maybe it's okay here??? I don't know...
Anyhoo, the one good thing about these people is that they kept our glasses full! We were drinking champagne with fresh watermelon juice (my idea - delish) and we left so full, and so sloshed...and I felt it all night, and all day today. We went to the office and then to this hilarious steakhouse where the waiters wore plaid shirts and holsters (but still smelled of BO - yay, India). We ordered hamburgers (not a lot of places to eat steak in this country) and they were served with maraschino cherries on top, stabbed on toothpicks. Loved it! Then it was back to the office.
Oh, and our stuff from Chikpet (the wholesale district) was delivered today...I have no idea how I'm going to get it all home. I should have shipped it all but it would be 150 bucks and take FORTY DAYS. ...couldn't do it.
So...tomorrow it's another day in the office. We're doing a "team outing" - taking our India team to lunch. Chinese food - a place called "Mainland China" that's supposed to be actual authentic Hong Kong-style Chinese...because they do "Indian-style" Chinese here, and it's downright freaky.
ALL WE'VE DONE HERE IS EAT AND DRINK. Mostly eat. It is the first trip I've ever taken where I've gained weight. I feel about 10 pounds fatter than I did the day I left.
Mike and Mike
This is the most beautiful restaurant I've ever seen - it's truly fabulous at night. We had the expensive Vietnamese dinner here, and then yesterday went back with a group of people to have many glasses of tropical sangria at its beautiful outdoor bar.
Then we went shopping – in the shiznit – a neighborhood where Europeans do not go - the wholesale district - with a local girl we know from the office and her husband. We left the hotel at noon and got back at 7:45...and as we left, there was this one street we drove down right after it got dark, which our driver called "the most dangerous street in bangalore." Nice.
Mike and Mike:
At breakfast, two of my teammates were approached by two dorks from another big global company. It was their first day in India, and since they had a month ahead of them and only knew each other, C invited them along for drinks with us (at that beautiful place). One of them (Soccer Mike) was quite funny. Liked cheesy movies, Family Guy, and said things like "That fuckin guy" in a great New Yawk accent. We all liked him right away. The other one (Annoying Mike), was a moron. He is the kind of person that would make Mother Teresa want to kick his ass. He talks just to hear his own voice...says nothing you want to listen to...interrupts and distracts you while you're having enjoyable conversations with other people...
1. At the bar, AM had like 5 drinks, and told the bartenders to make his Long Island "smooth." Like he insisted on it, and then when he got the drink, Sent it Back! He was like "that's not good enough." UM. Then the bartender brought what was most likely the Same Fuckin Drink, and annoying mike was like "oh yeah, oh yeah."
2. AM went over and told some Indian man at the bar not to smoke, because he was allergic. I immediately lit up when he got back to the table.
3. We fought over who had to be in the car with annoying mike. Tim lost and did 2 shots before getting in the car. When it was my turn to ride with AM, I made him sit up front, and after asking our driver about 50 retarded questions (why don't they have lanes here?, etc.) our driver finally started TURNING UP THE RADIO every time AM starting talking.
4. Each time we went into a store, AM had to be served first. And he bought something everywhere. When, at our last stop, he ordered a custom silk shirt, we all decided to smother him with pillows when we got back to the hotel.
5. I had to tell AM, while walking down a supercrowded street, "DON'T TELL PEOPLE YOU'RE FROM THE UNITED STATES." Not only did he go, "Why?" but he goes, "I'm going to tell people I'm from Dubai." ...um...
6. Soccer Mike at one point said of Annoying Mike, "I'm going to stab him in the heart."
Oh, and Soccer Mike seemed like a normal guy, but apparently has a wife and didn't tell any of us, until later, when he went out with Tim and these other guys and Tim was so grossed out by his EPIC raunchy talk that he actually left and went back to his room.
...and my favorite Annoying Mike moment: He didn’t know where Oregon was. He said, "I just never thought about it." He didn’t even know that it was on the west coast. We said it was b/t California and Washington, and he goes, "Oh, like Washington State?"
The Most Fucked Up Place in the Universe
Because what I saw today was so soul-crushing, so messed up, I had to post this photo of a soda they sell here called "Thums Up." It makes me happy.
First of all, last night we had pricey Vietnamese food in the most lush restaurant I’ve ever seen. It was open-air, the ceilings were dark-wood and basically just giant canopies…there were fish ponds…and it was surrounded by gardens of tropical plants. We sat on hot pink silk cushions, there were candles on all the tables…it was like one of those resorts in Bali that you see in Travel & Leisure and wonder, “Who do I have to sell my soul to in order to go there?” Apparently, you sell it to the company I work for.
Keep that in mind as you read the following account of what I saw this morning:
We went to Mysore Temple, about 2.5 hours outside of Bangalore. When we left the city, our driver took his hat off (they all wear hats and uniforms here – it’s genius b/c you never have to ask, “Do you work here?” Haw haw.) Anyhoo, I was advised to sit in the back, because I’d draw less attention…
The Mysore road is almost completely repaved – very wide – they knocked down the front walls of many buildings to expand it, so there are all these places with exposed brick jutting out. But the scenery is amazing – an endless stretch of banana- and palm-tree jungle, little lakes and rivers, and then thousands of sad shacks by the side of the road - some of them houses, some of them "stores" - almost all of them rickety and covered in neon orange ads for the same 4 companies. They seriously painted entire hovels with giant advertisements! Oh, and every once in a while there are enormous, marble-covered homes (marble on the outside walls) with turrets and Arabic writing...and women in burkas hanging out on balconies
Oh, and there are very few females in that part of the country, compared to men. It was spooky how many men noticed us – Cecilia was in the front seat – and they were all very open about staring into the car at us - super disconcerting.
So on the way to the temple we drive up this super-windy mountain road and Cecilia says, "Be prepared. Children are going to come up to you and beg for money, people will try to sell you things, and people with no limbs come up and beg from you, too." Um, okay...so we're getting closer to the temple, up and up, and finally around this corner there's a huge parking area that's just total chaos. Cars trying to back up, people milling about. And if there's one thing that defines "chaos," it's Indian chaos. This culture can be completely genteel or else super crazypants. Mysore was crazypants.
I remember looking out the window and thinking "This is a bad idea," and not wanting to get out of the car, but the driver opened my door and then there I was. Almost immediately these three men came at me with garlands of flowers and a little statue and pressed them into my hands, meanwhile I kept saying "no, no, no," as instructed, but they were right at my elbow and totally in my face. I pushed past them and headed up the hill to find Cecilia, but then I caught a glimpse of the crowd up ahead.
There were people with leprosy, or missing limbs, and the super spooky ones had dirty cloth covering their faces- but the tipping point was when this man scurried toward me - he ambulated on all fours - but, like, upside-down, like his arms and legs went all the wrong angles and he moved like a spider.
All my White Girl sensibilities were completely overturned, and I felt sick and on the verge of panic. I told Cecilia, "I can't do this," and headed back to the car, still with people literally tugging at my shirt as I tried to walk past them.
I figure it will take me about 10 years to really process what I saw, but for now, I'm going to have a beer from the minibar and watch Hollywood Squares on Indian tv. I’m sure some of you will think I’m completely callous for reacting that scene the way I did, but I’ve been so open to things since I’ve been here – I even walked barefoot through an entire temple – but today was just too much. I think just about anyone – maybe not my dad – would feel squeamish, unsafe and upset, as well. It was incredibly intense.
Day 4 - Out and About!
So this is the ENORMOUS Hare Krishna temple we visited this morning. We had to take our shoes off and walk barefoot through the whole thing - through long breezeways, up many many stairs covered with jute rugs, and into little rooms where monks were praying, and then into a huge hall with amazing gold work on the walls and huge paintings of krishna on the ceilings.
A small, bearded man with a big smile noticed me in front of one of the "spectacles" where the monks were chanting in front of three separate altars with bejeweled statues of Krishna, Krishna and his mother, and another Krishna, and they laid coconuts and flowers in front of them...anyhoo, so this little smiling man looked me in the eye and started chanting Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna...the whole bit...and then he walked off. I saw him later as we were leaving and he asked where I was from, and he said there's some Hare Krishna shrine I have to visit...it was surreal.
We were blessed by monks and stood with many hundreds of Indians as they said prayers and swung incense and doused us all with rosewater…then the three of us were shuttled off down a separate hallway where awaiting monks hit us up for money to feed children. Apparently they feed 300,000 children here every day b/c the government doesn’t, so we ponied up $10 each to sponsor one child…then they shuttled everyone through the gift shop! For 100 rupees (like 2 bucks) I got a clock with baby Krishna on it.
We dropped by the hotel again - to wash our feet and give our driver a chance to have lunch - and then we went to TGI Fridays!!!! I don't even go in the States, so this was a trip.
fyi: Indian ketchup, though Heinz, is completely gross. It's sugar-sweet. And it was so fuckin awesome to be served by an Indian man, with an Indian accent, wearing FLAIR. I so wanted to get a video of him saying "I'm not comfortable talking about my flair," but I didn't have the heart to ask...
Day Two from India
Picture: Bangalore school buses
I am so tired that I can’t see. It’s 10:44 at night in Pland and 12:15 in the afternoon here. My right eye keeps trying to slam shut – apparently my body is attempting to sleep, piece by piece.
And sooo...since I’m not ready to work I’ll desribe my day yesterday...since the people I’m traveling with (girl: C, guy: T) and I were all loopy from jet lag we left the office early. We have a driver who takes us anywhere we want to go, so we went to a Western-style mall with a Lush and loaded up on half-price products, then ventured into some Indian knick-knack store with the most hilarious bronze statues of women taking their shirts off and people kissing, right next to fake flowers and the ugliest/tackiest collection of handbags and watches I’ve ever seen. OMG and then we happened upon a British-style pub...it was this big wooden door, hidden at the back of the mall...we didn’t even know what the hell it was, but being brave adventurers, we were like "let’s go in" and it was a super-plush bar with cricket games on big screens and a big model sailboat behind the bar, waiters in tuxedos…we were DYING. Completely random!!! So we had black russians – drinks with no ice – can’t take chances on Montezuma’s Revenge.
Then it was off to a food store for bottled water...and it was just like Mexico. Totally filthy and random. We bought 3 tiny bottles of Indian port, made in Goa (all of them FOUL) and some sodas and bottled water. There is a brand of super-sweet cola here called "Thums Up." The name alone made me incredibly happy. Thums Up. "Thums" – not "Thumbs" – oh, it’s genius.
Anyway what’s hilarious is that there are 7 million people here and other than when they’re driving, they are NOT in a hurry. The grocery checker was very slow, and the bagger was like UNDER WATER. We were all amazed that he was able to move as slowly as he did. He seriously defied the laws of physics.
And since the girl I’m traveling with spent 6 months living here, we went through her old neighborhood – where the "yuppies" live – but it’s India so it’s a MESS! The streets are filthy and full of people and you see big showrooms with expensive leather sofas next to shacks with roll-up corrugated metal doors that sell cigarettes and soft drinks and kitchen utensils. We got out – finally – my first time really "on" the street – and went to a little store that sells bindis, and then it was back to the hotel.
We were on a mission to stay awake til 8:30 p.m. so we could sleep through the night...and they have free happy hour at the hotel from 6-8, so we popped in there...had two drinks, then we went back to my room and sampled all the (grody)ports and ordered room service. We finally broke up around 10:30. I slept until 6 a.m., did Pilates, THEN went to the gym, and then ate another enormous breakfast.
They have a huge free buffet at the hotel with American, Asian and Indian breakfasts. We are all gorging ourselves – every morning I am eating pomegranate seeds, papaya, fried eggs, hash browns, plus these little Indian buckwheat pancakes with a potato stew on top, another cake (kind of like a thin crumpet) with chutney on top, and little dumplings that are soaked in milk and sugar. DUDE.
And the hotel gym is hilarious, too, b/c there’s nice equipment and marble floors, but the walls are crumbling. Apparently everything in this city is under construction. Someone was telling us that a guy she knows was thinking of how to make money off exporting all the Rubble! Haw haw!!! There are piles of rubble literally everywhere – rocks and bits of concrete and dirt where sidewalks should be, out in front of homes and buildings...
Oh, and back to the random factor – you’ll be driving down some decrepit twisty street and all of a sudden there’s a Pizza Hut. I am always thinking, "How on the FACE OF THE EARTH did they find this corner of the world and decide to put a Pizza Hut on it???"
One more tidbit: they don’t like Pakistanis here, but they LOVE Punjabi "rap." It’s basically a rap bassline (untz, untz, untz) and maybe a guy saying "yo, yo" or "dance, dance" and then the traditional shrill-voiced singer doing the "ayeeee-eeee-vidi vidi vidiiiiiiiiiii" thing in Hindi or whatever. Totally NUTS. And the videos are even better – they have hip hop choreography, but everyone is a little off-cue, and they’re wearing either traditional Indian clothes or else hilarious takeoffs on Western wear – t-shirts that say "Jeans" or have random numbers on them, bleached jeans, aviator sunglasses and George Michael-like facial hair. And all the women in them are beautiful (and chunky – yay!) and all the men have bad hair that looks like a thick wig, or else they have the Backstreet Boys Gel Attack going on.
Now the complainy part: It's hot here, and it so sucks to be on the indian clock! I'm used to spending my day sending a trillion emails, but nobody is emailing me because everyone I know is asleep. It’s 1 a.m. at home, and I just got back from lunch! We took an auto rickshaw – a 3-wheel open cab – and I tried to video it but my camera wasn’t cooperating. I am going to get some video of the traffic, though. It's pretty mind-blowing.
What else? The jet lag is pretty cruel. I have to write things down because I can't remember them 10 seconds after I look at them.
Day One...Greetings from The Garden City
Above: Bangalore's International Airport...you should see what goes on INSIDE.
So...Bangalore...it's beautiful, oddly decadent in a Jungle Book way, and completely chaotic and smelly. There are signs that say "Obey Traffic Laws" but apparently there are no traffic laws - cars just pile up behind each other and fill in empty spaces and honk. Incessant honking.
The flights sucked - 20 hours on two planes is no way to travel. I knew I was in hell when I had to view a Hillary Duff movie over Greenland. But I had some legroom on that flight thank god, b/c there was none from Frankfurt to Bangalore, and before I boarded I met some really weird musician dude from Portland who kept popping over and chatting during the flight, so that was semi-interesting. He was on his way to Nice to - get this - open for Hall and Oates. Um, yeah. I kept thinking of this record store in Portland that has old H&O vinyl...we love to pop in there and mock their pink pants and man-makeup on their (not so) ambiguously gay album covers.
Anyhoo, so the Frankfurt airport was completely weird, too. I was like "are we in east berlin?" because everyone was really quiet and gave us dirty sideways glances. We had a beer in this strange airport bar with a bad vibe and decided to not blend in. Lots of Russians in the airport, too, and for some reason German denim is all from the Gotti Collection - never seen so much bleaching or sequins in my life. Oh, and the German flight attendants on Lufthansa are so mechanical and EFFICIENT. They move through the cabin so quickly and in tandem. The only time I saw them smile was when they wheeled the duty-free carts through...all these boxes of cigarettes with huge labels that say SMOKING KILLS and SMOKERS DIE YOUNG and they're suddenly smiling and making eye contact. Good stuff. Oh, and they whisper on the intercom, and it's incredibly disturbing to hear German come through a loudspeaker like that. I'm just saying.
What else? I'm so tired I can barely see...or think. Anyway, yes, this is a beautiful city - there are old palaces stuck in between falling-down 20-story apartments and big, shiny IBM and HP buildings. the trees are huge and canopy over the roads, and it's all so lush, but also kinda broke-down. Everything is crumbling, even the new stuff seems to be worn. Plus it's filthy - and people are barefoot in the street. Ack! OH, and it smells exactly like you imagine it would - a mix of porta-potty, burned hair, exhaust, bad cologne, BO and Indian food.
Oh, and when we got into the Bangalore airport they make all the drivers wait outside, so when you step out of customs you are greeted by a SEA of Indian men, all jammed behind barricades, holding up signs for passengers. I wish I had video of it...
Anyhoo, right now i'm going to sneak off with a girl from the office to have a smoke on the balcony behind the building. It overlooks some really slummy apartment buildings and of course, there's the constant honking from the street. How does anyone get any work done?
The Puppy and the Chop: A Day at the Beach
Originally uploaded by Alisa RBS.
I'm allowing the Puppy to remain incognito after all these months of posting about our antics together. The poor boy deserves that much. But here's the Softer Side of said pupster, walking Chopslice (as he was recently dubbed by a clever, clever friend of the Pup's) along the Oregon coast. This was one of the most beautiful and simple days of my life. A scenic drive with the perfect soundtrack, a good breakfast, an incredibly quiet and soul-satisfying hour on the beach. I think this particular morning touched us all - S was there, too - and we all took a moment to appreciate each other and just how far we had come. I FUCKING LOVE YOU GUYS. I feel a Dionne Warwick moment coming on...and that's never a good thing. OY.
My Favorite Girls
Originally uploaded by Alisa RBS.
Why, it's me and S, of course! Thank you, mamasita tres bonita for helping make all of this possible. This isn't our best photo by a longshot but it conveys our sweaty hopefulness quite nicely, donchoo think???
Looks Like I Made It!
Originally uploaded by Alisa RBS.
Ah, to be young and foolish. Here's me in the dining room of the 75-year-old house in the boonies the Puppy found. Well, not "actual" boonies, but Beaverton, which is the boonies when you consider how long I've been pining for a good sidewalk and cityscape outside my bedroom window. Soon, though, soon enough...
Anyhoo, I'm absolutely adoring it here. Very happy so far and the city/scenery/people are wonderful. No cute guys, though. And I am getting a bit concerned. My friend Just Joe suggested that they're found in pockets in certain neighborhoods. Pockets of hotness. Hot pockets. I like it.
I'm also working from home for at least the next month, so I expect lots more blogging and many more trips into the city to find said hot pockets and rope me up a man! Yeehaw! Oh, and I did the world's best thing on Friday night: we went to a bar that sells tickets to concerts at the adjacent Crystal Ballroom. Here was my order: "Two Pabst, two tickets to Built to Spill and one to Spoon, please." Someone put a fork in me, because it doesn't get any better than that. My GAWD I love this town.
This is what my living room used to look like. Now, all is chaos. Ah, I love moving! And I have something new for my List of Things That Horrify Me (which already includes clowns, monkeys and glass elevators): HOLDING A YARD SALE.
I don't have time to get into it now, as I have to cleanse and then get on a Party Bus for my friend's birthday - it has booze, flat-screen tvs and 8,000 WATTS OF SOUND SOUND SOUND - but to summarize my Yard Sale today: FREAKSHOW. A human circus of the bizarre. A creepy melange of weirdos.
One woman, while contemplating a $10 chest, said she needed to "go home and pray on it." I was like, "It's 10 bucks. Jesus says it's okay." She didn't come back.
(Okay, I didn't really say that but how kick-ass would it be if I did?)
Another couple had a FIGHT in my driveway over yet another $10 item. She was like "Give me my money, Bob, I want it." And Bob was like "I won't give you the money because you have four just like that at home."
Ah, good times, good times.
Thursday: drive from LA to Santa Barbara to spend the night
Friday: drive up the coast to Big Sur, Monterey, Carmel and into (just outside of) San Francisco to spend the night
Saturday: wake up at the crack of ass, and drive up the 5 to beautiful cloudy Portland. We're going out with the Puppy and his motley crew of new friends Saturday night
Sunday: (hopefully) meet up with S's friend A who lives in P-land; possibly see And You Shall Know Us By the Trail of Dead Sunday night
Monday: laze about! maybe get some coffee; hoof it all around downtown Portland; maybe hit a dive bar at night
Tuesday: get S on a plane back to Burbank
Wednesday: check my work e-mail - consider working - then decide to fuck it and go back downtown for more investigating! START MY NEW LIFE.
for now...start to pack, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait...and as for tonight, finish watching "Roller Derby" with Linda Blair, drink another glass of wine, go to bed early. I went to my spin class last night, then the EH called and we met at Dick's for dinner and an ice-cold Stella. Then I figured "what the hell" and invited him back and we spent a couple of hours doing the nasty! Yeah! And it was EXCELLENT. Not at all like last time when I freaked out. This time it was just perfect. I miss nookie. And it's difficult to be around the EH now b/c the bad things are filed away and it's only the good stuff that comes to mind. Ah, life. It can be such a fucking bitch. :)
Yeah, It's Like That
It's on! I am going to consult for my current employer through June 23 - which means more money, actually, and I don't have to be tied to my desk. Everything is in place - even the sketchy movers - and all I have to do now is pack for two weeks and then drive like the fucking wind.
Stuck in the Middle with Me
San Francisco Highlights:
1. The Hemlock bar. Lots of pseudo punk rock boys, great music, and lots of boys giving me the eye. Looking and smiling and flirting from across the bar. It made me feel like a natural woman. According to Liz, however, none of the SF boys come up and talk to you or buy you drinks. They just give you goofy smiles. And not a single drink was bought for me except by a married guy from South Africa. But it was appreciated.
2. Liz's friend's band - Red Planet. They were truly great in a Superdrag way. Totally going to buy their album! YAY.
3. Walking through the Presidio, along the bay, lightly buffeted by a sea wind, on a wide, sandy path to Golden Gate bridge on a Sunday morning. I hope that all of those people walking beside us took some time to thank God for allowing them to experience a setting so beautiful.
4. Watching a few minutes of St. Elmo's Fire with someone who appreciates its hideousness. Tuning in just in time to hear Demi Moore call Judd Nelson from the hotel room with the Arabs, uttering these "coked-up" words: "I don't know much Arabic, but I think I heard the words for 'gang bang.'"
5. Being in the city. Fabulous, fabulous. Too bad it's so expensive and crowded. And that I left my heart in the Pacific Northwest, because this is one spaztacularly great place to live.
6. Hanging out in North Beach drinking iced cappucino at a sidewalk table.
7. Taking advantage of Liz's largesse. It was a weird weekend to visit what with my impending life-changing move and Liz's recent busy schedule, but she tolerated my request to "walk all day" on Saturday, which we did - for 6 straight hours - and introduced me to her friends, who were all terrific.
1. Surly waiters.
2. Mediocre, overpriced food - except for a righteous turkey burger and fries worth giving up your skinny jeans for at Frankie's Bohemian Cafe.
3. Not a lot of cute boys. Seriously - shocking! Lots of short, hairy boys, though.
4. Seeing a really, really bad band in a bar that smelled like dog vomit (Edinborough Castle or something. I think the dog-vomit smell was actually caused by gallons and gallons of vinegar that have been spilled over the years and has worked its stinky way into the wood floors. Anyhoo, the band...um... The lead singer appropriated a sloppy, slightly scary Tom Waits thing and sang - I shite you not - a chorus comprised of these words: "You get on top and you kill it." Over and over again. You get on top and you kill it. You get on top and you kill it. No fucking clue what he could possibly be talking about. A spider under the sofa? An embarassingly conspicuous zit? An ex-girlfriend? Eek.
5. What I am doing now, which is waiting for a ghetto ride (Supershuttle) to catch a plane. I have to practice my patience. And be as Zen as possible. Only an hour and 10 minutes to go! Maybe I'll get something to eat at the airport. Why is time moving so slowly? I should appreciate the chance to be alone and decompress, but all I keep thinking is what a moron I am for booking an 8:30 flight because there is so much I need/want to do at home. Plus I just want to be at home! Sigh. I miss my dog.
I can't wait to be off the plane, home to shower and tucked into bed with a book.
btw: Bimbelina, if you are reading this, this is all I have to say: Okfuckinglafuckinghofuckingma. I am looking forward to you visiting me in Portland! Soooou-eeeeee!
If I Looked the Way I Feel...
Then I would look like this. Completely wacked out.
Today I am going to pitch consulting to my current employer. I've worked out a 3-month plan and am going to tell them "I am considering moving to Portland." That way if they say no then I can come back from San Francisco on Monday and give them my two weeks. OH MY GAWD.
So yeah, a weekend in SF with boy-crazy L. I am psyched. We're seeing the Lucksmiths on Saturday and I asked only for a long, long day of walking tomorrow. Who knows what else we'll do, I'm down as long as it's free!
Spent $20 last night on a bad martini and a bland caesar salad at some new jazz club. A huge waste of money, but it was nice to see M and A for (what might be) the last time before I go. Beeyatches! They should have sprung for my grub! Ha.
I have to pack up my crap in the next two weeks and figure out what I can shove into my little car while still leaving room for me, S and The Chop. I have to get moving insurance. I have to get a map of California! All these things to do and so little time.
So I had a couple days of huge freekout about the move - as in "what the hell am I doing" and "the moving company is going to rip me off." But I have to believe that they want to move my stuff, not hold it hostage, and remember that people move every day, for much less positive reasons.
When I get to Portland I am going to get in touch with the editor of www.portlandpicks.com, who is expecting my call. At the very least I can freelance for her and meet some new people/explore the city. I'm also hoping to get involved in the WriteAround Group (http://www.writearound.org/response/index.htm) and do some volunteer work. As my friend JB said, "It's not like you're going up there to do crack." Oh, but what if I was! Whitney and Bobby make crack look so glam. And Lindsay Lohan seems to be doing her share of cocaine...maybe drugs ARE the answer. Maybe I'm missing out.
But, as Elton John sings, "then again, no."