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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 June 30, 2004 12:18 AM

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shit, looks like we might both be in town at the same time. i'm heading out sunday at 14:30.

Posted by: andrew at July 2, 2004 11:25 PM

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