ibd header photograph by James Reffell, June 2000

Tuesday, October 31, 2000
In quick succession on the way home tonight:

A doughy-looking man in a blue baseball cap and dung colored puffy down jacket screamed "Fucking Dickheads!" at the top of his lungs after being told his MUNI transfer had expired.

A dark, curly-haired youth dropped his pink trash bag in front of the Civic Center BART's up escalator and, anxiously examining the surface of the steps, asked passing commuters if they had seen a needle. (He may have been the same boy I encountered over a year ago at the corner of Mission and 8th, watching at a red light as he nodded off in mid-step, nearly falling into the street, or he may just have resembled that boy, who told me that he was sorry about nodding off; he'd just been given a new prescription. In retrospect, of course, I wonder whether the new prescription was actually heroin...)

One of our local homeless personalities - Deb? - was being shepherded off somewhere in her wheelchair. I was glad when it was raining yesterday that she still has the umbrella I gave her last week, although I'd forgotten that it is in need of a repair.

Another beaten up gentlemen rolling his own cigarette while kneeling across a good portion of the eighth street sidewalk.

And a pair of Asian children on a metal scooter, the older one apparently trying to convince the younger to cross eighth street without a crosswalk or traffic light. Rush hour traffic was bumper to bumper, all the way to the exit onto the highway at Harrison, two blocks south of my house).

In case it wasn't clear, my neighborhood is very strange....
10/31/2000 05:26:34 PM

Forget about the Middle East for a moment. Shouldn't we be concerned about Genocide in Sudan? (link from james, who has been reading rebeccablood, I think)
10/31/2000 01:33:05 PM

Monday, October 30, 2000

Three things from this weekend:

First of all, we did go to Gaskells on Saturday. I wore a new black taffeta dress with starred tulle over it to represent Night. (I'll probably keep the skirt, but remake the bodice from scratch in a less harsh color: it has some fitting problems, and frankly the puffy sleeves are a little overwhelming on me. I'd like the revised costume to look good by itself AND be flattering onme!) I'll get around to putting some pictures up regardless - those will include pics of James in his '40s suit with horns, and Ilen and Craig (who looked just brilliant, as you'll see).

As for the Ball itself - I enjoyed people and costume watching and the two hour class the afternoon of the ball helped some with the dances. As for the dancing itself, waltzing (or polka-ing) in a crowd of 400 people going full speed counter clockwise around a ballroom may be period, but feels a little like playing hopscotch in the middle of the Springfield interchange. I enjoyed dancing "Strip the Willow" - a figure dance I've done in Scottish country dancing - more than the specifically Victorian dances. This may change as James and I are more adept.

In other news, James and I stepped into a Day of the Dead exhibition at the somArts Cultural Center yesterday and were transfixed for about an hour. Artists had composed a series of installations and sculpture reflecting on the death of San Francisco as a haven for artists and organizations supporting the arts, as well as mourning their dead family members and friends. Many of the pieces were interactive, and artist's use of Day of the Dead iconography was intense and startling.

I haven't been strongly moved by an art exhibition in a long time, and left the space reflecting both on people who are gone who are important to me and on San Francisco's capitalist demise. If you have any interest, the exhibition is open until November 2, although somArts is only open from 10 am to 5 pm, with a closing reception on November second between 7 and 10 pm.

The thing that is so distressing about the economics of this city is that even paying the (rather cheap) rent I pay, I'm part of a wave of people displacing earlier San Franciscans. As a nonprofit employee I'm not wealthy; even my dot.com friends who ARE well-paid are people who have respect for San Francisco's history and culture. We chose San Francisco because of its multicultural population, its artistic bent, its history of activism and its tolerance. Nevertheless, we are part of changes that I think are hurting the city.

I haven't worked out how to resolve these problems - and I'm not sure there is a resolution I can live with. I could discard all my aspirations to pay off debt and be solvent and become a tenants rights activist. The idea, however, seems unworkable and rather preposterous: I've never been a radical politically, and I can't imagine that trhe city's problems can't be fixed within the system.
10/30/2000 09:30:23 AM

Thursday, October 26, 2000

For the first time, EVER, I just received SPAM for a company selling drugs to fix "erectile disfunction."

On June 15, 2000, Nitroxal with Bioperine became available for the first time from Bio-Med Tecnologies. Nitroxal has been specifically formulated to restore and maintain healthy erectile function using the same biochemical pathway as Viagra.

If you suffer any degree of erectile dysfunction, you are not alone.

It's all very ernest, of course....but they seem to have missed that i'm a girl.
10/26/2000 02:51:11 PM

Bert is Evil

(forwarded by Kangal to Psychoburbia...many apologies if the world has already seen it)
10/26/2000 09:32:25 AM

According to this week's feature, my friend Colin has lost the battle with The Beige People. Don't let it happen to you, too.
10/26/2000 09:23:20 AM

I've finished the Victorian dress enough to wear it Saturday, which means that it is time to work on the costume OVER the costume. I started that last night, but had to quit because I was mangling it, as well as managing to snip my fingers instead of fabric. I'm frustrated. I feel the dark too long in the mornings when I get up, and it's started to rain.

(James' grandmother came through her surgery, although her appendix ruptured before they could operate. It's been a scary couple of days for her family, but I think it my be alright, now. I still haven't managed to raise my grandmother on the phone. I suspect strongly that she doesn't have her hearing aid in, and isn't hearing the phone ring.)
10/26/2000 09:02:56 AM

Wednesday, October 25, 2000

This is my current favorite piece of silliness from the web-based remains of the vax bulletin board I frequented in college.
10/25/2000 03:50:49 PM

Monday, October 23, 2000

In other news, James' grandmother was scheduled to have her appendix removed today. We have our fingers crossed, and are hoping it went well. No news is probably good news on that front.

My own grandmother's birthday was today (I think it was her 85th, although I may be wrong about the count.) I meant to call her today, but will call tomorrow morning instead.
10/23/2000 10:38:28 PM

So I spent the weekend (including some of Friday, which I took off because nikki was in town, preparing to embark on a trip to Australia) working on the Victorian dress I'm finishing for a ball I'm still not sure I am going to this weekend. (Having trouble sorting out that sentence? Me, too.)

Actually, I'm a little afraid of going to Gaskell's; I have great trepidation about learning four varieties of dances in two hours, then being thrown to the wolves (yes, I know I should be less self-conscious, but I won't be allowed to dance with James all night...and I can't imagine being "too fatigued" to dance all night -- although with the corset the dress requires, maybe that'll be true [ don't fret, it isn't THAT tight]).

I've enjoyed working on the dress tremendously (iLen, my costuming partner in crime, and I were talking about that via email earlier today), and if I don't need the dress this weekend, I will eventually. Plus, this project makes me feel more ambitious about a number of other things I've been meaning to do.

I've still got a fair amount of trim to apply to the bodice; when it is done, I'll post pictures. I may also post pics of the costumes I scored at the San Francisco Opera Costume sale on Saturday morning.
10/23/2000 10:06:34 PM

Thursday, October 19, 2000

I can hear the wails of Xena fans, now.
10/19/2000 11:54:06 AM

Tuesday, October 17, 2000

After weeks of exploring, Belle has finally discovered the perfect chair:

10/17/2000 08:49:03 PM

The Bay Guardian writes this week on being a corporate heroin addict:

"The dot-com culture lends itself to heroin addiction. Heroin is a mind-numbing loner drug. Working on repetitive tasks in a cubicle in front of a computer is perfect for that. If anything, heroin makes day-to-day computer tasks much easier: time flies by, and you can get absorbed in what you're doing."

"I have a friend who has Kozmo.com deliver dope."

[. . . I was happy enough with the movies and ice cream.]
10/17/2000 04:29:38 PM

Sometimes I just love the town I spent my high school years in:

Two rainbow flags flying over Northern Virginia's largest pumpkin patch have sparked an outcry from pro-family activists who are boycotting the Centreville farm, saying it promotes homosexuality in a place popular with young children

"It's not like we teach sex education out here," Richard said. "This is a pumpkin patch. This is not a place where prejudice and bigoted actions take place. All families are welcome here."

But this month, the company has received dozens of phone calls and a half-dozen unsigned e-mails from former patrons denouncing the flags and vowing to take their business elsewhere.

10/17/2000 11:10:06 AM

A Jewish American student recounts being stuck in the West Bank just as the bombing began.
10/17/2000 09:36:46 AM

Are you a victim of the media's perceptions about the (theoretically) dishonest Al Gore? [Link shamelessly stolen from rebeccablood.net]
10/17/2000 09:03:02 AM

Monday, October 16, 2000

Oh, and I've received 7 calls from the aforementioned persistant (dare I say obsessed?) old man today. One of them was outright abusive.
10/16/2000 03:14:32 PM

I was at the library this weekend (looking for costuming books; failed, and after checking local stores, ordered a likely book from Amazon instead), and saw a sign that said that someone has been defacing books on homosexuality in the library.

I was disturbed. Insert the rant you can all imagine me making about defacing ANY BOOK here. And then the one about homophbia.

Several organizations housed in my building are holding a pro-Israel rally on the Embarcadero today (as I write, actually). I genuinely like my colleagues here, and appreciate their passion about Israel, but I'm very ambivalent about this. The Israeli government has justified violent retaliation because it fears for Jewish lives, yet only 7 Jewish Israelis have been killed. 94 Arabs havebeen killed. If Israel is such a victim, how is it that all those Arabs are dead?

Don't mistake me: I don't think the Palestinians are passive, innocent victims, and I don't know what I'd prefer the Israeli government to do. I just don't understand the math.

Going on about this will get me nowhere, of course. It's gotten nobody anywhere for thousands of years.
10/16/2000 12:27:14 PM

Thursday, October 12, 2000

So I'm taking this time out of petting my cat, to point out that events in the Middle East are not really improving morale at my job. . .every hour or so someone at work sends around another horrific letter or news report from Israel, or "talking points" about what we are supposed to say if the subject comes up with donors, etc. I've decided in advance to say nothing, thank you.

In addition, I've become a victim of the calling campaign of one man determined to force my bosses to get him into a Jewish assisted living situation. The senior home in question has turned down his application because he doesn't have enough money, but IS being cared for in another home. They are saving financial aid for Jewish seniors who are not being cared for at all. I took 5 calls from this man between 8:30 and 9:45 this morning. He does not want to understand that he is being told no, and it is increasingly difficult to continue to be nice to him. The reason I'm fielding these calls is because my bosses have ALREADY spoken to him about it.

To conclude, this week has become unsatisfactory. I'd like it to wind up now.
10/12/2000 06:41:22 PM

Tuesday, October 10, 2000

Apparently (as reported by the London Times), the Vatican has forgiven Oscar Wilde.

How NICE of them.
10/10/2000 08:26:03 PM

Alas! I just spent half and hour typing file labels into Word, then clicked the wrong button mindlessly and LOST THEM ALL. Blah.
10/10/2000 04:25:08 PM

Friday, October 06, 2000

Is it illegal to steal pics from David Bowie's journal? This is outrageously heavily made-up, but nice, from the set of Ben Stiller's Zoolander (unmade up, Mr. Bowie is looking a little grizzled lately, but ya know, he IS over 50):

So someone can zap me if this is illegal.
10/6/2000 05:25:45 PM

After my requisite 90 minutes twitching about Dick Cheney (blah), went out dancing last night to whiskey-sour-flavored 80s music at the Cat Club.

Heard "O, L'Amour" and ABC's "How to be a Millionaire" - the first of which reminded me vividly of watching a gay friend of mine dancing ardently to it during (then rum-and-clove-cigarette-tinged) daknites in college. The second transported me to 1987 or so, riding as a passenger around Crofton, Maryland with my newly licensed friend Kim, listening to a very bad copy of that record in a persnickity tape player.

I still trade email occasionally with Waverly, the gay man in question. I've completely lost Kim. If she's gotten married and changed her name or something I'll never find her. Which is probably fine - we were unhappy adolescents together, and grew very far apart between 18 and 24. Still, it's strange who you think will last forever when you are a teen, and who is around 15 years later.
10/6/2000 10:56:40 AM

Thursday, October 05, 2000

So I spent about 20 minutes trying to find something other than black or gray to wear today. And failed. *grin* Most of you probably won't be surprised to hear that.

Endured half an hour of crying today from Belle before we gave in and fed her. We are trying to train Her Kittyness into waiting until 7 am to have to eat, because we figure it is only a matter of time before she starts scratching the door at 5 am asking for food.

One of my cubicle neighbors (the singing one) is having some kind of anxiety attack and is slamming boxes and cubicles and talking audibly to herself about how much she hates this job and how terrible everything is. (I'm restraining myself from asking her to quit, then.) We got new cubicles last week and she is the sole person in the department who hasn't managed to unpack. She claims that she can't unpack because she has more stuff and more work than everyone else.

I'm seriously short on sympathy, as I've been listening to her slam things and complain for two years. For a reality check, this person is well over 40. I'm going to be 30 this year. I can't grasp how this kind of behavior is tolerated in an office setting.

Evidently I find it easier to deal with people smoking crack on my doorstep than dealing with her.
10/5/2000 09:24:24 AM

Wednesday, October 04, 2000

My favorite part of last night's debate (and one of the reasons I'll be voting Gore):
GORE: In this particular situation, no. Bear in mind that we have a lot of sanctions in force against Serbia right now. And the people of Serbia know that they can escape all those sanctions if this guy is turned out of power.

Now, I understand what the governor has said about asking the Russians to be involved. And under some circumstances, that might be a good idea. But being as they have not yet been willing to recognize Kostunica as the lawful winner of the election, I'm not sure that it's right for us to invite the president of Russia to mediate this dispute there, because we might not like the result that comes out of that.

They currently favor going forward with a runoff election. I think that's the wrong thing. I think the governor's instinct is not necessarily bad, because we have worked with the Russians in a constructive way, in Kosovo, for example, to end the conflict there. But I think we need to be very careful in the present situation before we invite the Russians to play the lead role in mediating.

BUSH: Well, obviously we wouldn't use the Russians if they didn't agree with our answer, Mr. Vice President.

GORE: Well, they don't.

10/4/2000 12:07:56 PM

I came home from work yesterday to find a man smoking crack on my doorstep. I wouldn't have even known that was what he was doing, except that as I was closing the door to the locked gate on my way up to the flat, he said, "Sorry to be doing this on your doorstep, ma'am."

I looked back at him and registered that he was a tallish, really thin black man with bloodshot eyes wearing a puffy coat and holding a long glass vial, open.

I don't know what I should have said; it was certainly too late to chase him off the doorstep, and I don't want to make an enemy of someone who might be in the neighborhood a lot. After a pause, I just looked back at him and said, "I wish you wouldn't do that on my doorstep; it would be different it you were just sitting here." I went inside. James went back down to make sure he was gone about 20 minutes later.

It was this morning before it occurred to me that he might have been doing something other than crack. My knowledge of drup paraphenalia is pretty weak, but I think it must have been.
10/4/2000 07:57:03 AM

Tuesday, October 03, 2000

So I've had a stomach ache now since yesterday morning. I think it relates to what must have been about 3/4 a pound of brie I ate at two different occasions this weekend. (Moderation? Me? Only if it is tedious.)


If anyone has suggestions about what - other than Tums - ought to sort my stomach out, please let me know!
10/3/2000 01:24:08 PM

Monday, October 02, 2000

I was thinking this evening (left to myself I think a lot. competely aimlessly, mostly) about having seen fruit loops crushed in beautiful starburst patterns on the sidewalk on my way to floor barre on Saturday morning. I actually stopped mid-sidewalk and stared at them for a minute. (Then I remembered that I didn't want to be late to class.) If it had been raining, the dye from the fruit loops would have rinsed all over the sidewalk, which would be much better than the dirty gray color the sidewalk usually is. I almost wish the rainy season would start, because after a couple of days of rain, everything south of Civic Center feels a lot cleaner.

Don't worry, I haven't changed fundamentally. I'll still actually complain when it starts raining.
10/2/2000 10:22:15 PM

Oh joy. Apparently it's Fleet Week again.

Anyone care to be buzzed constantly by really loud airplane noises at work? It's really charming to be on the phone with a donor and have the entire building shake....
10/2/2000 10:30:53 AM

So this weekend James' dad was in town. We spend all of Friday afternoon walking through Golden Gate Park, and along the coast from Ocean Beach to Lands End. I finally got to see the bison James was always insisting were in the park.

Saturday we saw a free production of Henry IV, part one in the park. It dragged in places, and some of the younger actors seemed to feel that displaying emotion was mostly about shouting, but it was still enjoyable to sit out on a blanket and eat brie and grapes and listen to Shakespeare.

Then, Sunday, we went to Ilen and Craig's house to celebrate Fiona's 2nd birthday. She's the only child I've ever seen who had to be convinced to open presents!

Anyhow, the weekend was very full, and I'm tired. :)
10/2/2000 09:52:42 AM

I've been reading someone else's journal this morning - someone who USED to live in San Francisco, and has moved to DC. A friend of hers - on the basis of the archives of her online journal - said that she seemed happier in San Francisco because she smiled more often for the webcam there. She disagrees.

It reminds me of a friend from DC who visited me here and told me that I seemed unhappy. I guess - to the outer eye - I might seem less happy. I don't dress up much anymore. I don 't bother with contact lenses, and I don't bother with eccentric clothes unless I want to. My hair isn't trimmed up in a manicured bob. I'm not thinking that it needs to be cut. In fact, I'm growing it back out. I need new foundation and eyeliner because mine has gone stale with disuse. I don't club 3 nights a week. I don't have the outgoing character of Eva on 2.5 vodka tonics and an empty stomach. I don't usually feel the need to make jokes at other's expense, or make flashy conversation.

All this makes me much less interesting (if I was ever interesting) at a night club.

On the other hand, even if I'm not content with my working life, my personal life is actually happy. I can sometimes choose to read rather than going out because I don't have to distract myself from the emptiness of everything. I'm not on a quest to prove to myself that everyone loves me, and I don't have to dazzle the masses. I'm actually dating a man who loves me, and whom I love. This is a nice, and still unexpected change.

Overall, I'd count that as happier. Of course, the friend in question has only rarely seen me cold sober, so maybe it is hard to tell.
10/2/2000 08:52:27 AM


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