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June 30, 2004

picking blackberries for pie

so last sunday, i awoke sorta late, since i'd been out the evening before with megan, james, and some of his friends, drinking forties and going to parties. don't know if i've mentioned before, but drinking forties is pretty much universal here in sf, people don't go to the corner store to buy a 6 pack, they get a couple of 40 oz bottles of malt liquor. when i first arrived aaron clued me into this, and to the fact that each different corner store will have a different 40 with an "out the door" sticker, meaning it's $2.30. someone said this sticker meant it wasn't being taxed, but that doesn't sound right. i'll have to check.
so anyways, aaron, kristy and i eat a little breakfast, hop on our bikes, and head down to the pride street festival. there was tons of techno music, men in leather chaps, women holding hands, it was a very san francisco event. i remember speaking to my friend blaine afterwords about how that kind of atmosphere must be to a gay person used to living in some backassward place like iowa or nevada. it must be really nice for them, and i felt glad that america has a city like this.
we hung out there for a short while, listened to some female rapper sing a few very explicit lesbian rap songs, then headed to the bay area rapid transit (bart) station. kristy paid and aaron and i snuck through and soon we were on a subway train heading towards the east bay. we transferred north in oakland, and before long we had reached albany.
the reason we had come to albany was to see the albany landfill. what had used to be a dumping ground for leftover parts from freeway construction, the albany landfill had been inhabited by 40 to 50 homeless squatters several years back. they built shacks to live in, and made a lot of really cool art, mostly out of old junk that was lying around.
of course the city eventually came to kick them out, but you can still go out to see the art and the housing structures.
as we walked down a lesser used path towards the main part of the landfill, we realized that all the bushes around us were blackberry bushes. after 20 minutes of non-stop stuffing our faces on the amazing handstaining sweetness, we decided to check out the main part of the place, scrounge up some plastic bottles, and come back to gather enough blackberries to make pie.
we checked it all out, and then returned to the bushes. all the best blackberries literally fell off of the limbs they were growing from, but the branches nearest to the trail were picked clean of the plump, sweet berries. we had to climb up the hillside into the sharp and clinging thorns, but it was worth it to get the best specimens for our pie.
after our bottles were full, we went riding through albany to this bar called the aaron and kristy had been to called the hotsy totsy. as we rode we looked in other bars, and miracle of miracles every bar in that town was my favorite kind of bar, the venerable old man's bar. this is defined as dark inside, a bunch of men 20 years older then me sitting on barstools and drinking, cheap strong drinks, cheap pool, free shuffleboard, and a good jukebox with oldies and country music. the Hotsy Totsy was a worthy challenge to the Gateway Lounge in Reno and Grandma's up in the outer sunset neighborhood of SF. we got a few pitchers and then regaled kristy with tales of our foolhardy yet noteworthy adventures in alaska. talking about it made me wonder how steve's doing, haven't heard much from him at all, the little bastard. i kicked ass at shuffleboard, then we realized how late it was and headed out the door.
we hopped bart back to the city, and rode our bikes up the hill to our purple house. colin had just finished making dinner, and we gorged outselves silly. some friends were over and we all sat in my room, listening to funny songs and hanging out. aaron called up his mom and got her pie recipe, and soon we were rolling out a crust. hours later, after a bike mission to trader joes, we sat around falling asleep to the empire strikes back and eating blackberry pie with glasses of soymilk. a memorable day indeed.
yesterday i worked on a translation then began sanding the rust off my new bike frame. it's gonna be rad when i'm done. then kristy cooked an excellent dinner and megan brought her mom over, and we all sat at the table in the living room eating and drinking wine and joking around. it felt very good, like a cooperative living situation should. colin got tipsy on wine and james came over, then we helped clean up and james, aaron, kristy and i went outside with waterballoons and launched them in various directions till past midnight. another good day.
tomorrow is rebeka's last night in sf, so we're all going out to this restaurant called emmie's, it's a spaghetti restaurant that serves homemade pasta and (get this) 40 oz beers. hooray! hope i can eat the pasta. then we're going to finally ee the michael moore film.
got someone to cover my shift so looks like i'm gonna try and find a ride to reno this coming weekend. i wanna hang out with my mom and ride bikes with my dad and try and spend time with a ton of folks, including drew if he's in town, shannen, daveo, rachel, owen if he's in town, john springer, ect. it feels nice that i have many new friends in this city, but a whole other city of people who know me as well. it's alright. i especially need to get a prescription for glasses and it costs about half in reno what it does here, so i'm gonna do that as well.
ok this is long enough.

Posted by bendan at 12:18 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 27, 2004

rappers and other things

so the rapper dmx seems like he's following in the footsteps of my favorite rapper, the ol' dirty bastard. apparently, dmx was caught impersonating an fbi agent and trying to steal cars out of the long term parking at an airport. pretty smart for a guy worth millions. good old crack cocaine.
still, dmx has a long way to go to rival the awe and splendor of the ol dirty bastard. here's a short history of ol dirty's public life and criminal misfortunes. here's a quote:

"He'd fathered at least thirteen children, and his wife, Icelene Jones, claimed he hadn't paid any support in over a year. During a following Grammy Awards show, ODB rushed onstage during Shawn Colvin 's acceptance speech and began discussing his recent purchase of some expensive clothes and, tangentially, his loss to Puff Daddy in the same ceremony. He then announced a new name, Big Baby Jesus, but was never able to give a coherent explanation for the switch."

as i said before, good old crack cocaine.

so this last friday i was finally able to attend one of the vaunted SF critical mass bike rides. we all met at market and embarcadero, and commenced riding at 6:15 or so. it wasn't my first time riding with critical mass, back in reno we'd had rides a few years back, culminating in one ride in which more then 200 people came along (naturally, this large number of people doing something relating to activism was spurred by the offer of free beer). the SF ride was deemed small, though there were at least 250 people. we rode straight up market street, blocking traffic and not stopping at any stoplights. now i've had discussions with folks, including my parents, as to the effectiveness of this method of promoting bicycle awareness. my father, after having been caught in a car and made to wait years back, felt that it annoyed drivers more then making them sympathetic to bicycles. in some ways i see his point, but at the same time it felt very good to be able to ride down the street not frantically scanning to make sure i don't get run over by yet another mercedes suv driven by some asshole on a cellphone. we also stopped and talked to people on the streets and in cars about why we were riding, about how we want drivers to not ignore and try to kill us, and how riding a bicycle is a statement against oil wars.

so i can't seem to get the lewd and goofy songs of the band the moldy peaches out of my head. i've tried everything.

i added some more links down below of friends with nerdy webpages like this one.
think i might be back in reno to visit before too long, i'm in need of some mountain biking and to visit some folks.

Posted by bendan at 10:20 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 21, 2004

new bike project among other things

so shannen was in town last week. we had a very good time, saw the charles bukowski film, saw this other film the corporation, ate cambodian food, rode bikes a lot, listened to the postal service, went down to the ocean, dranks sparks, ect. it was very nice to see her, it's really good to be friends again.
we had a party at my house on friday night, very good times, i drank a wide variety of alcoholic drinks and ate tons of guacamole, then shannen and i had a walk around the usf campus before passing out to the sound of my friends and roommates dancing away 2 rooms away. here are megan's photos, shannen might post some to her site as well.
i cut back my shifts at chevys to just friday and saturday evenings. i'm hoping there will be increasing work during the week for interpreting and translating. today i proofread an info pamphlet detailing and the mental health and various AA type centers and programs available in s.f. it feels cool to use my spanish for these types of projects, instead of just swearing back at the cooks in the kitchen. it's very different vocab as well.
gonna hang out with my friend christina cervantes tomorrow, she's old school reno, now living in hawaii but thinking of relocating to the bay area. i love seeiung someone absent from my life for 4 years, and all it takes is a big hug and some catching up and it picks back up where it left off. her boyfriend is cool as well, i hope they relocate here before i move away so we can all hang out.
last night went to an excellent vegan potluck, this guy even made german chocolate cake vegan, it was ridiculously good. aaron even licked the plate clean.
that's all for now, busy week ahead of me, we're gonna do punk rock breakfast at our house, i might go see this band with the rad name of hella, and just today i went and dropped 100 dollars on a JP Morgan bike frame. it has nothing to do with the corporation jp morgan, it's just a rad steel frame that was made in the east bay, and will work very well for me to build up into a fixed gear, and later to convert into a touring bike. drew inspired me to want to build up a fixie, it's the traditional way to go, and the frame i found is rad. last week i had some inspiring talks about touring, it may come on the agenda before too long.
ok, that's all for now.

Posted by bendan at 07:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 14, 2004

a quick catchup

so been neglecting my site, as you can imagine cause i've been busy. in the week or so since i've been back i've been doing more work as in interpreter and translator, got to do some documents, it brought me all the way back to my university translating class, wish i had my good dictionaries with me but my friend blaine pointed me towards the yahoo bilingual online dictionary. used in concert with wordreference.com and my favorite old paperback dictionary from spain, i can get by.
haven't been working as much at the restaurant, which i kinda prefer. i was thinking today about how when i'm there, people always comment that i never get excited and always portray the same mood, that of serene calm. compare that with how i am outside of work, i.e. very excited about most things i'm doing and prone to high fiving every new person i meet, and you get the idea how little interest i have in that job. still, i'm scared to quit it, cause i need tdo be saving money towards the eventual inevitable travels that come.
lets see, so what did i do last week? on friday night i went to a debut party for this magazine that's just starting. it's called swindle, and it's being put out by shepard fairey, the guy behind all the andre the giant stuff. the party wasn't that great to be honest, but matt and i kept it real by drinking king cobra 40's in the alley next to the venue, which was located on seedy and wonderful 6th street. we witnessed a homeless guy practicing the venerable "walk and pee off to one side" trick, which reminded me of aaron buskirk at burningman for some reason. insdie the art was ok but all the people were too attractive and snooty looking, so matt, adrianne and i took turns walking out and smuggling 40's of the cobra back in. the evening ended with my passing out in adrianne's roomate's empty bed, and matt being overtaken by illness early the next morn. poor bastard.
so yeah, getting to the next morning, the real meat of this entry. i woke up, at some tortillas with hot sauce as adrianne played bands i'd never heard of, then i rode home. i love waking up in the mission, i must say. i got home, and colin my roommate was raring to leave, to go to the world naked bike ride. there were about 40 of us and i couldn't stop laughing the whole time as we rode from the embarcadero all the way up to golden gate park. i ran into megan and her roommate sam along he way, and she snapped this photo. i could say more about the event but really it was just silly fun, the view of everyone's naked butts again the urban architecture of downtown i thought pretty inspiring and thought provoking, but then i remembered, it's sf where i live, people are totally used to this shit.

ok, last thing i'll post is that my brother steve has finally revived his site. he's up in alaska, expect some good drinking and camping stories from him.
also, my friend kari in hawaii has a site now, expect good bike riding and beautiful weather stories from her.

Posted by bendan at 11:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 08, 2004

back in the city

so went to reno, it was good to see my family and hang out with my stepsister at her graduation. my stepgrandfather joe is so funny, he makes the best faces when he's bemused and when he and his wife my step grandma bicker it's more sweet then sour. at the graduation they had a speaker who rattled off every trite cliche graduation inspirational speech comment, in a long terrible row. i turned to joe and asked what he thought of the speech, he just pointed his thumb down and frowned. it was rad.
i was also able to spend a little time with daveo and visit john and kelli springer, who were celebrating their anniversary and allowed me to help in the celebration by pouring me a shot of whiskey. daveo and i decided that the newest reno sport is in-city hitchhiking. after we ran blocks to meet shannen at the alibi bar for some drinks, we hitched to our next location with some mexican guy. the next day i got a ride from near virginia lake back to the katherinehouse with some old long haired guy who's car only went into first gear. he played the cello and worked at a convenience store, and riding in his car made me think of that film jesus' son. so all in all, drew was totally right about reno being more fun when you don't live there.
i want to say i was bummed not to get to hang out with other folks, especifically my friend rachel, but i'll be back in early july hopefully to help drew paint the katherinehouse and to visit for longer, so i'll see her and the others i missed this last time.

so being back here is good of course. i've been interpreting more which is totally rewarding and excellent, even when the asylum official instantly dislikes the client, such as what happened today. then i get to try and keep up with her and him shooting back and forth questions and answers, while she wears the "i don't believe you" face and he continues to respond vaguely to very precise questions, meanwhile the lawyer and i both know it's going real bad but the case never had any chance to begin with, so it's mostly going through the motions but it sucks when you know things are going so poorly. still though, it's such a better job then waiting tables i can't believe it, i'm tempted to drop waitering but i'd need another source of income besides interpreting if i was to continue saving money and buying plane tickets and such.

heading up to portland the 25th through the 28th, gotta just bite the bullet and buy the ticket, the restaurant won't like that i keep taking time off but i'm more and more over that job each time i work, the breaking point is coming soon for me to cut my waiter's apron strings. of course i've been saying that for a month and a half.

so an exciting thing that happened yesterday was all the protests against the biotech conference. i was busy during the middle of the day, but managed to meet up at 5 for the reclaim the streets party. there were a few hundred of us, and we headed off marching and singing and dancing down market street around 6 pm. before it even started we knew it would be short lived, there was a veritable army of cops on all sides, looking menacing and small-dicked with their cop glasses, riot helmets and batons. they eventually corralled us into a standstill at 5th and market, and began citing everyone still in the middle of the street. these photos illustrate the moment quite well. I'd never been to a reclaim the streets party before, it was really amazing to see folks dancing and happy and alive in the middle of the city in a big group, the sound system blasting the classic by NWA, "fuck the police," cars honking horns in support. gave me some hope.

allright, gonna go to the library before i go to work, then after work it's off to the climbing gym.

Posted by bendan at 04:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 02, 2004

it's a good life

that's what aaron and i tell ourselves all the time these days. the city has been really good lately. here's why:
so today i went and worked as an interpreter down at the asylum petition office in one of the court buildings. my friend blaine set me up with the job, and i was a little nervous going in. i was interpreting between a peruvian man seeking asylum here and the asylum officer. i won't go into details obviously, but his reasons for the petition were based on a fear of being pulled into the growing conflict with the marxist guerilla group el sendero luminoso (the shining path) if he gets deported back. the interview went for more than an hour, and it felt so amazing to be there using what i learned in university and through all my travels to help somebody out. it struck me that it was the second time my studies have earned me money, the first being when i wrote that article for the reno weekly about immigrants and i had to translate all the interviews. both times i was also helping out the latino community, which felt rad. when the session ended the guy totally thanked me, i felt kinda humbled and almost wanted to thank him back, then i rode off to my restaurant job with the biggest dumb grin i've had in a while.
after work i went and played chess on market street. i played really well, so well that my opponent, an old asian guy, totally finked out and went into a bullshit holding pattern of checking me from the same 2 squares so that i couldn't beat him. i told him it was crap and he launched into some lame explanation of how it was a stalemate, so i told him he played like a coward and that i considered myself the winner. it was annoying to have my victory dampened by his lack of guts, but it was rad that i was as good as someone who hangs out and pretty much plays chess all day long.
let's see what else...might start doing some documentary stuff, we have various topics in mind, and owen is down in l.a. trying to get some backing or help or whatever. owen fucking rules and mailed me some tapes for a reel i'm putting together to try and get editing jobs, plus he included in the packagean mp3 player and pretty much all the guns and roses cds, so i've been listening to use your illusion 1 and 2 pretty much solid, and though many of my housemates aren't amused, darby and i did some rocking out. darby's been have a recent memory lane tour of all the rad music from high school, she went out and bought a cypress hill record and dr dre's the chronic the other day, i have to admit that stuff sounded good.
another cool thing was that my old buddy brad and his girlfriend danielle were in town yesterday to see the shins show, i didn't go the the show but they crashed at my house afterwards and we drank some brass monkey on the back porch and had a good chat. my housemates have no problem with someone crashing here, so if any other reno folks wanted to cruise out to catch a show or whatever, it would be fine i'm sure.
tonight gonna catch dinner with brad and danielle, and then i'm still trying to decide what cool thing to take advantage of. there are 2 films i want to see, plus the guy from found magazine is talking at the bookstore where i saw steve almond. my friend megan is totally into finding notes and loveletters and weird stuff like that on the street, she even has some of them posted on her website, which is kinda voyeurish i think, but also real interesting.
i'm feeling kinda excited that i'll be visiting reno this coming weekend, i was dreading it at first but now i think it will be good fun. everyone always says reno's way better when you don't live there. i believe it.
one last thing, so much to write about today, but expect to see photos of me from the world naked bike ride. hell yeah.

Posted by bendan at 04:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack