« April 2004 | Main | June 2004 »

May 29, 2004


last night saw the microphones, to tell you the truth it was sorta disappointing. the music when recorded sounds so good, but to see phil the singer without a band turned out to be boring. all in all it was a good night though, racing down out of the hills up here towards the mission, howling and singing songs and blowing stoplights and drinking sparks at high speeds always rules. afterwords did some hanging out on rooftops and whiskey drinking till the sun near came up.
so i didn't go to the mountain goats 2 nights ago, but i did see cat power 3 nights ago. it was definitely the best time i've ever seen her play, she had her hair out of her face and jumped around and really seemed to enjoy performing, which was in sharp contrast to the last time i saw her play, when she hid behind a speaker and talked about ghosts bothering her in the changing room. rumor had it that she was on medication, but i hope it was just that she realized she wasn't crazy after all.
one thing that made the show really memorable and nce was that i ran into shannen there. it was weird, i kinda had a hunch she would be there, and sure enough, while waiting outside i caught sight if her and 2 of her friends. at first things felt awkward and weird to be in the same place, but i found her alone outside and we talked for a good 20 minutes. i was relieved and really happy that we were able to talk and catch up. it seems like both of us are very happy in our lives right now, which is really good. she says she rides her bike all the time and is thinking of moving to seattle. we even hung out and watched the show together, which got poignant at bits but overall it was good for me.
tonight aaron, megan darby and i go to see yo la tengo, which i'm very excited about. aaron and i both have today and tomorrow off so we were talking about going to the ocean for a cold ass swim or maybe out to this crazy landfill near oakland. it's sunny and beautiful here today and though i hardly slept, i can't wait to go ride my bike.
oh one weird story i didn't relate, was that i was down on market street a few days ago watching the guys play chess, and this homeless 65 year old black man pulled out a pocketknife and chased some much younger guy down the street, screaming crazy shit the whole way. i think it was over some perceived slight about something the black guy was trying to sell, a chess board or something, but everyone watched them run off, then sorta shook their heads and went back to the pieces. good old weird old downtown.
i think i've been thinking about chess too much though, i find my brain playing moves by itself, kind of like when i used to play too much tetris and there would always be a tetris game going on in a corner of my mind.
guess i forgot to post it buy my phone number here is 1 415 933 8417 if anyone doesn't have it. i'm hardly here, but it's ok to leave messages.

Posted by bendan at 09:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 25, 2004

my life rules

first, a photo of aaron and i, partaking in one of our favorite past times.
turns out i didn't make it to the show last night, instead i hung out at the house and then went with buskirk to the oakland airport to pick up kristy his girlfriend. we hung out in the airport wheeling around in wheelchairs, then drove home. only the second time i've left the city since i got here, i go back to reno in 11 days, it's gonna be fun i hope.
today i told the lady who i'd been working with that i didn't want to work with her anymore, which is a good thing. i thought her topic was sort of interesting, but she had a very different style in terms of working, and i am glad i realized that we would not have worked well on a long term project.
the good news that came shortly after i left her house is that my new friend blaine has secured me work interpreting for the lawfirm she works for. i will be interpreting during informal interviews, the first beginning next wednesday morning at 9:30 am. this is very exciting for me, one cause the money will be good, but more importantly because i'll get to use my college degree and help out the latino community. i feel like i've given a lot of lip service to this end, and now i'll get to back it up.
so i never commented on how fun the mirah show was that we all went to in oakland last week. i got a really good feeling from the city of oakland, it reminded me of jawbreaker songs when we were walking down the street to the show, and then drinking in an alley behind the show before mirah went on. i really was happy that we got to see her play a full set this time, it was in a rad warehouse that was full of punk kids and indy kids and weirdos, she played some different songs from the last time we saw her and we got to clap and sing along to "the garden." fucking amazing.
so tomorrow we go to see cat power, then a show a night till sunday.
so megan has a livejournal, and i was making fun of her about it the other day, when she asked me why this nerdpage is any different. she says i gave her some bullshit answer, but as i recall my response was insightful, not obtuse, spot on, and made her cringe like my words were a hearty bitch slap to her face.
i've been talking to my roommate colin a lot, he is a programmer who also works at a fabric store. an expert tailor, colin is the roommate who i make the most puns with at the dinner table. as an aside i must say i feel lucky to live at this house, it would be so boring to live with just a few other people who didn't cook and eat together. so anyways, colin observed our evening activities tonight, namely cutting out stencils to paint on the sidewalk, and directed me to this website, the stencil archive. someone takes the time to photograph and list all the stencil work they see here in the streets of s.f., even cataloguing by streets or different neighborhoods. i'll be sure to link to our art when it gets noticed.
alright, out to the night streets.

Posted by bendan at 11:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 21, 2004

5 shows in a week?

so things are going well over here in s.f. when i first arrived i didn't know many folks, so i had tons of free time. now i'm starting to meet people, finding myself with more things to do. lately i've been riding my bike around a lot, put the step in pedals on it, which makes it even more fun to ride but also more sketchy. been playing a lot of chess both with my roommate brian and with the homeless guys who always have boards set up down on market street. one of my bosses at work always wants to talk about chess, so when i get off i've been heading over to market and getting slaughtered by these guys who don't seem to do much but hang out at the boards and win 1 dollar bets with guys like me. i had a short moment of triumph when i beat this one guy, then i remembered that he'd spotted me a castle before we even started, plus the fact that he was obviously cracked out judging by his blood shot eyes and how he was talking in all sorts of weird high voices reminded me that i have a lot to learn. all he said when i won was "whoops."
been hanging out with aaron more, his girlfriend kristy is out of town for a week and we've been kicking it more. poor bastard had a bike accident today, his crank snapped and he crashed into a garbage can and a lightpole. he's ok, but no riding till next monday.
last night we went over to megan's new house. she has cool roommates who all seemed new to the city as well, we sat around their kitchen and talked till about one oclock in the morning. i've been giving megan too much shit latey, teasing her about all the hipster boys that are wooing her, maybe i'm just jealous she found somewhere to live so fast. aaron and i weren't sure if she would select one of these lucky gents or stick with the long distance relationship with her ultimate fighting champion boyfriend back in ohio. i told her she should fully disclose to these new hipster boys, who drive weird tiny cars, the chosen sport of her exboyfriend, so if he comes out to reclaim her they aren't surprised if he body slams them with ease.
speaking of tough mofo's, been climbing with dave irwin a few times. next to this guy named beaux in reno dave is the toughest dude i've ever met. he calls himself a sissy when he can't climb something, but usually he can climb it all.
so next week gonna see some guy named sandman who's on the crimethinc label on monday, then cat power on wednesday, the mountain goats on thursday, the microphones on friday, and yo la tengo on saturday. i'll be spending a bunch of money on show tickets but it's totally worth it, that's part of why i moved out here, to see bands play.
life is good.

Posted by bendan at 05:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 16, 2004

good comic books and another mirah show

so the mirah show last week was totally rad, she played with 3 other singer songwriters at a gay bar in the mission called the eagle. i took a break from my sobriety binge to drink some sparks with aaron and all the rest of us who went to the show, including james from matt's old work, james kicks ass and is down with good writers as well.
so the bar wasn't so packed at first, then it filled up, and we drank whiskey and huddled around outside fireplaces for warmth. at bars here i find i've been having good conversations, that night a lot about writing and girls and writing about girls.
then mirah came on, the way the show was set up was each artist played a few songs then switched off, no long sets, i really liked it cause you could pay full attention to the short set then have a break, instead of 40 minute long sets during which, no matter how much you like the artist, sometimes you want them to cut it off. mirah played mostly new songs but she played there's apples in the trees from advisory committee, the song i wanted to hear really bad, and even some from her first record. the other artists were good as well, plus the bartenders didn't mess around while pouring whiskey into glasses, so it was a wobbly ride home when the show finally ended. megan totally geeked out and got up onstage and took photos with mirah, i talked to her just a second and asked if she remembered the show in vegas when i first saw her, she said she did and i told her it was a really good show. ok i guess i did geek out a little, but not nearly as bad as megan.
so the best part is she's playing again this coming friday in oakland, again i'd love it if some reno folks came up to see the show, you can crash for sure at this house.
anyways, borrowed this comic book called clumsy by jeffrey brown. it's about this long distance relationship he had with his exgirlfriend, it was extremely personal to read and it struck me how much emotion he conveyed through his not crude but maybe rough style of drawing. you should check out samples of it on his website, and also listen to this interview with him on this american life (the interview is about 50 minutes into the show).

Posted by bendan at 08:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 13, 2004

so many shows, so little time

so i got off work yesterday, rode my track bike all the way up mccallister no problem, but arrived at amoeba on haight too late to see the first song played by camper van beethovan, all her favorite fruit. indeed, that's my favorite song by them, and i was surprised they played it first, i thought they would have played it last. i listened to the rest of their set, but it was a bummer, i listened to that song constantly when i was in mexico and central america, it would have been exellent to see it live. oh well.
things go well here, settling into my house, finally unpacking my clothes. been riding my bike constantly, it's daunting to take it down the steep hills, but it climbs like a dream, and on the flat it's so fast. gotta get some tape and cover up the bianchi decals though before someone trys to nab it. not that i'll leave it outside at night or anything.
so cat power will be playing here the 26th and 27th, any reno folks who want to come should do so, and crash with me and aaron.
last night finally caught up with brian, who was my roommate the first semester in spain, and who i hadn't seen in 3 years. he's doing well, goes mountain biking a lot and has a job doing digital mapping. we went and got rad indian food then played some darts in a bar in the inner sunset neighborhood. he said if i got my mnt bike up here he'd take me riding in marin, gotta sweet talk someone into driving it up though, as well as my desktop, which now that i have a room i would love to have up here. it would be a good trade, drive it up and i'll be your tourguide in the city for a few days. and i'm getting to know streets, so i wouldn't even get us lost very much.

Posted by bendan at 10:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 11, 2004

mirah and track bikes

so mirah is playing here the 13, that's thursday, her new record is totally rad and i wish reno people would come down and see the show.
got my trackbike today, gonna go ride it to the climbing gym, life is so good on days off.

Posted by bendan at 06:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 09, 2004

a home at last

so officially tonight i am not a guest anymore but an official housemate at 2059 Fulton, S.F. CA 94117. apparently the house meeting went well they all voted me in. i will be paying a ridiculously small amount of money for rent, power gas and electricity, plus all staple foods and 16 vegetarian dinners a month. in return i will cook 2 dinners for the 8 other roommates, help aaron with the bread run on thursday morning, and continue in my role as assistant procurer of lowcost foodstuffs.
i'm really excited. after a month of looking on craigslist and calling people, trying to find an open room, i can finally settle and relax. i made a list when i first got here, of how my ideal living situation would be, and this house fits every item except for location. riding back up here from my day's activities, i found that the 20 minute uphill ride from matt's house afforded me time to think and burn some calories, and i was not unhappy a bit to not be living in the mission. also, the morning downhill tear-ass bikeride to work and downtown is so exhilarating, i wouldn't trade it for an easy flatland commute.
so last night we saw 3 weird ass bands, nigel peppercock, bloodhag, and extreme elvis. nigel peppercock sounded familiar, and i realized why when i saw the lead singer. turns out when i toured with vae victis from reno, back about 6 years ago or so, they played a bunch of shows with nigel peppercock and this other band from belgium, unhinged. nigel peppercock was pretty much the same, the guitarists and bass player had balloones pinned to their bodies, the keyboard player had a weird paper mache apple over his torso, and the singer was as drunk and coked out as the last time i saw hiim.
bloodhag was who i really went to see. they played short death metal songs about their favorite science fiction authors. before each song they talked a little about why they liked that particular author, then commenced beating on their instruments and shrieking and growling. i'd seen them before in reno, and they were as good as ever, though the san francisco show crowds continued to disappoint both me and whatever band plays to them. we're making stickers about this phenomenon, i'll post them when they're printed.
the last band was extreme elvis, which consisted of a pretty talented band playing elvis tunes while an obese naked elvis impersonator badgered and insulted the crowd, while running through them and rubbing his sweaty gross body on everyone. after bloodhag i was a little let down, we watched about half the show then decided to go get burritos.
so today woke up, went to punkrockbreakfast, then aaron, matt and i headed down to the deserted docks. after going through 3 holes in 3 fences, we arrived at this abandoned building they really like. there was talk of building it into an alternate living situation, personally i doubted it's security. after that we climbed up on a giant abandonded barge tethered to the dock, and committed some balloon launcher mayhem directed towards a huge cruiseship that got the coast guard called on us. quickly we jumped off and escaped on our bicycles, laughing all the way. another sunday afternoon in s.f.
from their i headed out to the airport, where i got to hang out with my father for an hour as he and jane waited for the final leg of the flight home from a 3 week trip in china. dad had many exciting stories about his trip, made me jealous to be seeing new places. not that jealous though, things here are really great i must say.
i sat around the airport for an hour, then megan's flight arrived. though i had some doubts, she's moved out here as well. i helped her get her luggage back to the city, then we went and ate pupusas, my favorite el salvadorean dish. i took a rest at mat's whle she went to look at a room in the lower haight, then i rode back up here, to get the good news that i'm a roommate.
tomorrow the bike store's closed but tuesday i'm gonna go pick up my new bike. seems like it will be money well spent, though i'm assured some crashes as i learn to ride a fixed gear.
all in all, a great weekend. i feel really up now, summer is shaping up to be really fun. i start work on tuesday with this lady reviewing and translating her footage from cuba, if more video jobs like that turn up i may be able to quit the restaurant, which is the only thorn in my otherwise happy and well fed sides.

anyways, feel free to write me or mail me cool stuff.

dan gingold
2059 Fulton
san francisco, ca 94117

Posted by bendan at 10:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 08, 2004

friends from reno, come to visit

so i just got done putting up drywall in matt's warehouse, station 40. it's so amazing to see 24 kids drilling, sawing, cutting, and nailing this converted post office into a living situation and community space. we all wrote messages on the studs before nailing up the drywall, words to the future.
so things have been going well, they're having a house meeting tomorrow to see if they'll accept me at the purple house where i've been staying. i'd get aaron's room, he'd move into kristy his girlfriend's room, and everyone's rent would be reduced. i think it's pretty probable they'll accept me, i've been a real good guest, not making messes or anything, and i've even cooked a few meals. plus my presence in the house, along with aaron and kristy, has helped provide a wealth of extra free food for everyone, and we all know how appreciated free food is. so cross your fingers for me about tomorrow. the rent would be cheap as hell, tons of food, and good people to live with and talk to.
i won't be at the meeting, i'll be meeting megan from ohio at the airport. she went home, and as promised is moving out here for good. she arrives around 4:40ish, i'm gonna help her lug her suitcase back out to the house. i might even get to meet my folks as they return from china, we'll see if the times coincide. i'm stoked to hear stories of their trip.
so last night daveo and rachel slackdog drove up from reno to see this band called pretty girls make graves. they were the first renoites i've seen since moving here. on the way to the show i thought a lot about what i've done since moving here, it's been an excellent first month all around. there have been times when i've been down, but those seem to be happening less and less, for which i'm thankful. mostly i love that every day has adventure to it. at work today i decided that the only thing i'm not happy about here, provided i get housing, is my work situation. but more about that later.
so i got off early to meet daveo and rachel. the first band i watched by myself, called seachange from somewhere north of london. i liked them live a lot, but got a cd and wasn't that impressed. oh well, supported their tour at least.
so i'm waiting outside, and here come my reno friends. it made me really happy to see them, they had had a hell of a drive getting here. apparently highway 80 was closed, so they did some crazy dirt road driving out by stampede reservoir to get into truckee and bypass the highway closure. i hadn't heard the fires had started so early this year, that sucks.
so we walked over to where their car was parked, and ran into jz gerze (sp?) and kara, an old school reno girl i didn't know was living here. that's the 3rd time i've ran into renoites up here, probably not the last.
the show was good, but better for me was talking to dave and slack. i worked on dave a bit to move up here, he seemed half interested. that would be rad, i totally want a posse for this summer and beyond. slack's still having trouble with her roommates, a perennial problem, but other then that they seemed to be doing very well. cept that daveo broke up with his girlfriend, but even that didn't phase him much.
we hung out till after the show was over, then they took off. riding home on my bike through the cold air, i loved that my return home wasn't 4 hours but instead 20 minutes. i felt bad that i did a little badmouthing of reno, that city is in my bones no matter what i do, but the truth is i'm not looking forward at all to my return visit in june. think i'll stay one night only, see some friends, watch my stepsister graduate, and get the hell out of there. that's still a month off though, so no sense thinking about it now.
so i had an interview with this lady who's doing a documentary, and we're gonna meet on tuesday, see if we work well together. if so, i might cut my waitering schedule back to make room for transcribing and translating her footage about chinese cubans that she took in cuba. it's an interesting project, could lead to better things.
so another good thing is that i haven't drank anything in about 6 days or so, it feels really good. before i came here i was on a super binge, and a few nights here i found myself staying out late, but now i've reined that in, focusing on doing more physical and community stuff. think i'm gonna even buy a new bike, a crazy fixed gear one, i think the money's worth it if i consider how it will make me enjoy riding bikes even more. it's a good life.

Posted by bendan at 09:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 06, 2004

a month anniversary

so today is the one month anniversary of me moving to s.f. it's been a good month, done a lot of getting on with my life. i feel like i'm a lot happier, though not happy all the time, but no one is i guess.
so the first book i read when i moved here was called my life in heavy metal, by steve almond. i'd read some of his stories on nerve.com, and decided to get the book from the library after i read half the first story in a bookstore. i can't say that all the stories are fantastic, maybe 2 were let downs, but the vast majority and 2 in particular were so amazing i must have read them 3 times each. he has a way of putting into words the emotions i've been feeling but can't begin to describe. i'm gonna go see him talk on the 20th at some bookstore here about his new book, it's reading writers like him that get me inspired to write, i would so love to take the class he teaches about creative writing, but that's on the east coast and at some fancy university.
ok, off to ride to work, then climbing tonight. i haven't been drinking for a few days, if i was i'd have a beer tonight on the roof. maybe next week.

Posted by bendan at 09:59 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 05, 2004

climbing at castle rock and other joys

though i didn't sleep very soundly last night, i awoke before 8, to read in bed until aaron and matt were ready to head out. the night before matt and i had done some late evening recon, coming up empty handed. luckily, we had full bellies from an excellent meal we all cooked up, homemade pasta sauce in the putanesca style over wheat pasta and a babaganoush dish that i feel i can improve upon.
aaron headed out a few minutes before matt and I, and having barely wiped the sleep from my eyes i pointed my front tire down fulton. aaron and the fellow residents of the purple house live far up a hill from downtown, and although the ride up can be long and feel even longer at times, the ride down makes it worth it. we bomb down the past the first three blocks, usually getting halted at masonic. after that it's about 7 blocks to divisadero, where we cut right in front of the oncoming traffic and cruise up to golden gate.
golden gate is the real jewel of the ride. waiting halfway down the first block for the light below to turn green, you can imagine how the steepness of the hill will be translated by your bike into a quickening and hell bent motion. since the lights are all timed, you can pedal with the momentum and fly over the flattened cross streets to accelerate even more on the next slope. we cruised this all the way near to market, which we crossed, and headed over to the 6th street cafe.
aaron and matt have ritualized their mornings at this cafe, recently opened and unfortunately likely doomed to close before too long. chock full of progressive literature and magazines, my 2 friends found that they loved the atmosphere of indigent people yelling at each other in front of and through the front door, all accompanied by hardcore music in the background. plus the 3 dollar veggie sandwiches are a treat, i get mine on dark rye that makes me think of my jewish heritage for some reason.
after winning one then losing 2 poorly played games of chess to matt, aaron never showing up because he got a tag to go deliver packages at the beginning his shift, i rode back up the same hill i flew down, the 12 minutes down turning into 20 or so up. i threw my bike in the bike garage, loaded my backpack, and soon my new friend mike from the climbing gym pulled up outside.
i met mike in the boulder section of the gym, both of us working on similiar problems and quickly realizing that we are equally new to this city. mike's from texas by way of southern cal, where he did his training as a nurse. he does the traveling nurse thing, and deems in a good racket for now. mike has taken the step i never have and dedicated himself to the sport of climbing, traveling around the country and indeed the world to visit famous spots. he's heading to spain after the summer to climb some famous spanish crags, i already recommended he visit san sebastian in the north.
we drove out towards santa cruz with a terrible climbing map, planning on climbing at some boulders known as the castle rock area. though we had no trouble finding the entrance to the state park that these boulders are situated in, we were unable to decypher the mediocre trail map and ended up walking a few miles of the trails before some fellow climbers showed us that we'd missed what we were looking for, that it was less then a quarter mile from where we parked the truck. this is not the first time i've been lost wandering around looking for a boulder, and i'm sure it won't be the last.
the rocks are all sandstone here, and said to be similiar to fontainbleu in france, a world renown climbing destination. we started out on some easy V0's and V1's, then moved on to the harder stuff. i should mention that mike climbs up to 5.13, so he is quite a bit stronger then i am. my best moment of the day was finally, after too many attempts, pulling a semi sketchy heelhook and finishing out a pretty V4 problem, my first V4 sent outside. i managed to burn up a lot of my energy and finger pads in doing so, but i was still pleased with myself.
there were some other guys out there working on harder stuff, and it made me want to get back out there soon, even though the mosquitoes ate me alive and i'm scratching bites as we speak. just getting out of the city and into nature after nearly 4 weeks of being here felt really rejunivating, i need more of that.
we rolled back into the city, managing to catch a bit of rush hour traffic, which firmly reminded me how little i miss having a car. mike dropped me off with plans to hit the gym later this week, and hopefully some more outdoor trips in the future.
i bounded up the steps to find colin whipping up an excellent curry dinner, the highlight of which may have been his mandarin orange and toasted walnut salad, which all of us agreed may possibly have been the best salad we've ever wolfed down like hungry animals. i relaxed a bit after that and finished up a reread of in search of captain zero, which did little to calm my travel hungry nature. depending on my financial situation, i may decide to not work until october but perhaps only unitl august, and quit my job so that i have time to drive across the whole country with friends and take part in the protest against the republican national convention, as i've mentioned earlier. i've never driven across the entire nation, and have nearly as much aspirations to do so as i do an urge to ride the whole damn thing on my bike. we'll see which happens first.
speaking of bikes, i decided i didn't like that bike i rode to the top of an oh so steep hill to look at, but the trip was made totally worthwhile because i got to visit the vegan ice cream store. so damn good, now i just need someone to ride up there with me to get sundae's. any takers?
ok, off to sleep, tomorrow return to the land of the working. i wish all my days were days off.

Posted by bendan at 12:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 03, 2004

finally some days off

i have today and tomorrow off, before i worked 11 days with only one day off in the middel somewhere, kinda sucked. it's good though, good weather, gonna go ride around now, then go to supercheap yoga classes, then go look at a bike to maybe buy.
been pretty busy, saw the broken social scene last thursday with aaron and matt, they were good though i wished i'd heard some of their stuff beforehand. they had at one point 8 people on stage at once, in truth it sounded excellent but a lot of people for the sound it produced.
went to a party full of super hip hipsters on saturday with my friend james from socal, i felt very underdressed but didn't care, the music was hipster retro 80's in a good way mixed in with the faint of course, plus tons of greasy haired guys with supergross low rise jeans that showed their pubes. james left and i ran into dirt from reno, who i knew was up here but hadn't seen, there's nothing as small as the world.
still haven't found a place to live, might get to move in to the house i'm crashing at, it would be ideal in all ways except how far it is from downtown, but the uphill bike ride home is making my legs strong as hell.
still hunting around for better jobs, gonna make another push at that today.
watched cool movies at the climbing gym last night about first ascents in greenland, got me itchy to be camping. steve heads off to AK soon, part of me wishes we were going, but i'm happy here, and getting more comfortable. anyways, life is good, time to get outside.

Posted by bendan at 12:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack