Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Mama, I Smoked the Color TV

A post by Joe today reminded me of a situation I think about fairly often, considering it occurred a good 15 years ago.

Picture it... Isla Vista, circa 1992:

A group of four or five collegiate gay boys are walking one evening toward the main drag of a university neighborhood that's often incorrectly referred to as "the most densely populated square mile west of The Mississippi". On the way, they pass a group of four or five African American University Women walking in the opposite direction.

AA Woman #1 (soon after her group passes the gay boys): Mmmmmmm, any of y'all wanna have jungle fever with us?

Gay Boy (possibly someone writing this blog): Sorry, you're the wrong sex.

AA Woman #2 (heard as they recede into the distance): Oooooooh! You hear what he said?! He said, "You the wronnnnng sex."

AA Woman #1: Say what?! Oooh, you gay, boy?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Remind Me: Why Are These 15 Pounds So Stubborn?

Ok, some have their "This-Is-Not-A-Cat-Blog" Blogs.
Others have their "This-Is-Not-A-Baby-Blog" Blogs.

This is my "This-Is-Not-A-Food-Blog" Blog.

This is not a food blog.

But this is a yummy Apple Upside-Down Cake. Just because it was Monday night.

Did I need any another reason?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Pools of sorrow waves of joy are drifting thorough my open mind

I couldn't help feeling that Across the Universe was slightly sentimental. However, I'm clearly in love with Jim Sturgess, who could send me all his lovin' any day -- or, just as satisfyingly, merely sing songs of Platonic devotion into my ear. Seriously, the music (especially Sturgess's warm, young, slightly raspy voice) and some of the imagery brought tears to my eyes. To the left is an audio-only YouTube clip.

... nothing's gonna change my world...

[PS: Portland photos may take longer than expected... software & hardware downloading problems. Drat. Oh well...]

Saturday, October 20, 2007

On the Road... (Almost)

Saturday, 6:42am: Hitting the road soon for Portland (aka Stumptown) with Huntington. Totally looking forward to this getaway... armed with a new digital camera and an array of restaurant recommendations gleaned from the likes of Chowhound.

I've wanted to check out Portland for at least ten years, and I used to have serious thoughts of moving up there (even sight unseen).

Better late then never.

We're swinging through Eureka and redwood country on the way back, which should also be great, since I've never been further north than Healdsburg.

Back toward the end of next week.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

De Tuin der Lusten

I seriously think I would like to use this as the main splash image for this blog. I think it's a sublime piece of advertising art, and reminds me in some vague way of Hieronymus Bosch. I love it.

Profound thanks to Junk Thief for discovering this somewhere in the Mission District of San Francisco.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Getting in the Swing, You've Come to Look for Keeng

I have to say, I think I'm missing part of the gay gene (in addition, of course, to other essential building blocks of life).

This is not news. I have always felt like more than a weirdo.

After recently reading Joe's and M00nchild's recent rapturous Odes to The Dance, I can still say..... "Yawn." (Don't get me wrong, both pieces of writing were great, evocative, and touching.)

I'll just say I've had several joyful moments swaying on a dancefloor. Particularly memorable were a couple of college treks to Santa Monica Boulevard; during that era we rechristened a tune from Erasure's ABBAesque EP into "Spray All Your Cum On Me" (yes, yes... juvenile college gay boys). Any dance-oriented fun was always more in the context of barhopping rather than the dance "scene" itself.

But the whole nightlong Sufi-esque, transcendental experience that people talk about? The Gay Man's Communion with The Universe and Celebration of Difference? Well, it's just not part of my experience. It leaves me feeling like M00nchild's straight, normative therapist with teenaged children. I'm decidedly no disco savant.

As Liev Schreiber's character describes in The Daytrippers, "A pointer who can't point....", I ask you: What are we to make of a gay man who doesn't dance?

Gana Más Puntos Para Volar Gratis

I guess it's kind of cute (or pathetic) that Iberia (that's "ee-bay-rree-yuh") is still sending me periodic emails, even though I haven't been a customer for more than four years.

Someone I read regularly is gearing up for a trip to la Ciutat Comtal, and I'm envious.

But hey! So what! I'm going to.... Stumptown! (pero no vamos a volar)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Carina Chocano and Her Bad Self

One example of why I love the Los Angeles Times's film critic (and thus never needed to mourn Manohla Dargis's defection to the NYT so much):

Whatever semblance of restraint Kapur showed in the first movie is flung over an Irish bluff here after Elizabeth slowly evolves into some kind of 16th-century Michael Corleone. The transformation occurs soon after she reluctantly orders her cousin Mary's execution on Walsingham's insistence, and gives way to some of the silliest, soapiest bombast to hit the screen since "The Phantom of the Opera."

"Elizabeth: The Golden Age" gives new meaning to "costume drama" in that it is a drama primarily about costumes. But the drama is about as subtle as a sledgehammer to the temple.

Kapur is so invested in transforming his heroine into a comic book heroine that he reduces her antagonists to caricatures. Mary Tudor is a hysterical, dim-witted turkey; Mary Stuart a twitchy snake; Philip a sweaty creep; his emissaries and soldiers talk like they're trying not to flunk 7th-grade Spanish. Raleigh, meanwhile, is presented as a Byronic love guru, spouting homilies ("Why be afraid of tomorrow when today is all we have?") at every opportunity. Not a moment is left un-underscored by a soaring chorale, not a kiss is left un-backgrounded by a smoldering fire, not a pose left unstruck aboard a flaming vessel in the heat of battle.
Hmm. Cate probably rocks, as always, but I'm not exactly chomping at the bit anymore to see this bombastic silliness. I will see it of course. The sets and costumes and action are still probably phenomenal.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Why did "Ցեղասպանության" get the works? That's everybody's business (but the Turks')

Turkey reacted angrily Thursday to a U.S. congressional committee's vote to condemn the mass killings of Armenians in Turkey in World War I as an act of genocide, calling the decision "unacceptable." (International Herald Tribune)

My reaction to the vote?: "It's about fucking time. Can we get on with things now?"

Of course, one could argue that passing a purely "symbolic" Congressional resolution hardly seems worth the fact that it might create a gigantic diplomatic and strategic crisis. On the other hand, how could such a "symbolic" historical footnote create such a gigantic diplomatic crisis?!

In my experience with Turks as colleagues, acquaintances, and clients, I've found that they are among the most chauvinistic, patriotic, defensive, stubborn, and aggressive people on the planet. A Turkish former employee of mine is also one of the sweetest and happiest people I have ever known. They're human. But they also have major "national identity" issues (not unlike many Americans, one might say... but without the "superpower" mantle that backs it up). You might also say that they have a kind of "inferiority complex" that causes them to act out with major overcompensation.

A Turkish (half ethnic Russian) physician whom I once briefly dated summarized the dilemma of the Turkish collective psychology as a series of questions:
- Are we modern or are we traditional?
- Are we European or are we Asian?
- Are we Muslim or are we Secular?

Of course, the answer to both halves of all these questions is "yes", and it's true for so many cultures and societies that are sort of on the "periphery" (to use a sort of defunct term from ancient social anthropology). However, for Turks, it seems as if there's a whole lot more at stake and riding on the answers to these questions. They're reviled by Europeans in uncountable ways, yet courted by the West as an ally and trading partner. Not for nothing did Atatürk go to great lengths to try to drag his country kicking and screaming into the 20th century -- sometimes employing tactics that seem harsh and "colonialist" in hindsight (and which still create conflict between Turks more than eighty years later).

Despite all this, it's hard to understand why calling out an honest-to-goodness Genocide (the "ցեղասպանության" referred to in the title of the post) that occurred more than ninety years ago can still get people marching on the US Embassy in Ankara today.

I agree with those who essentially say: "Let the Turks have their tantrum over this (as they did with the French a few years ago) to get it out of their system, and then hopefully we can move on."

If the Afrikaaners could get over it and work through the grief dredged up by South Africa's post-independence Truth & Reconciliation Commission, Türkiye should be able to deal with this.

Here's something from the self-help bookshelf for you to chew on, Turkey: Just because you've "done bad things" doesn't make you a "bad country." We'll love and accept you anyway. I can guarantee it.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Can you help it if plain love now seems less interesting?

The Shins
Santa Barbara Bowl; October 6, 2007
(yes, it's blurry)

Wine was drunk.
Songs were sung along to.
A good time was had by all.
(All = me, W., her husband, D., and ~3000 others)

I gave up "pop" bands awhile ago, for the most part, but this has been the year of The Shins, and it's been fun.

Girl Sailor

The gutter may profess its love,
Then follow it with hesitation,
But there are just so many of
You out there for rent

A stronger girl would shake this off in flight,
And never give it more than a frowning hour,
But you have let your heart decide,
Loss has conquered you,

You've won one too many fights,
Wearing many hats every time,
But you wont win here tonight,

You've made it through the direst of straits alright,
Can you help it if plain love now seems less interesting?
You haven't changed an ounce in my eyes,
And I cannot lecture you...

Have You Left No Sense of Decency?

It's nice to see that if "the State Law" weren't enough, some people are at least appealing to unhygienic slobs' senses of decency when it comes to handwashing.

And not just any decency but Common Decency!

This sign sounds like it might have been written by me, except it's more polite than I would be.

Do you people out there realize how many men leave restrooms without washing their hands? Ick.

And all of you out there pump the paper towel, wash your hands, leave the water running, grab the towel, dry, then use the paper towel to turn off the grody faucet and open the door to leave the bathroom, right? Yes, yes, I know it wastes at least 28.6 extra cubic feet of water doing it that way, but it's the only proper way, isn't it?

Streetwise, Avenue Foolish

It's Monday morning, I'm already a bit bored, and Huntington's recent idea seemed kind of fun, so, here you go...

Pilgrim Avenue: <1973 (may have been others prior, but if so, I don't remember)
Western Avenue: 1973-1975
Tyler Street: 1975-1979
Chestnut Avenue: 1979
Main Street: 1979
Ollie Burke Road: 1979-1988
Pilgrim Avenue: 1988-1991
Abrego Road: 1991-1992
El Colegio Road: 1992-1994
Camino Pescadero: 1993 (summer)
Segovia Road: 1994 (summer)
University Avenue: 1994-1995
West Valerio Street: 1995
Chapala Street: 1995-2004
Loma Street: 2004-2005
Grand Avenue: 2005-

Friday, October 05, 2007