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July 23, 2004

fog and parks

the fog has been really good lately. earlier this week i rode down to ocean beach with megan and james because mikey from station 40 was having a bonfire for his birthday. the bonfire was fun, and sitting on the beach near the water i could close my eyes and breath in real deep, and i felt in the taste and smell of the air all of the other beaches i've sat on at night, but especially san sebastian in spain. i felt like my senses had transported me back somewhere, but then i opened my eyes and i was here again, in sf, and erich and matt started drumming. after it was time to ride home i pedaled into the park, and the fog blew over and around us, lit by street lights as it rifled through the trees, faster then any clouds. james and i began again with the bicycle ballet once we'd crested the hill and everything else was mostly coasting, i executed a perfect superman, then almost crashed coming out of it.
yesterday i didn't work, instead going to dolores park with nausque (sp?), amelia and garrett. we were going only to read, nausque having broken his collar bone on the same evening of the bonfire, when drunken one handed bike riding and a errant pothole conspired against him. but there was a guy with mountain boards, which are large wheeled offroad skateboards that turn like snowboards. he let us try them, and before long i was zooming down the hills and trying to jump. it felt new to me in the way snowboarding did when i first took it up, and when i reached the bottom of the hill i picked up the board and ran back up, already ready for another run.
there was a young boy with big eyes who looked amazed by what we were doing, so i told him he should come stand on the board and go down a hill with me. his parents did not look thrilled over this development, especially his father, who looked concerned and french. we resized a helmet for him, and before taking off i asked him "ca va?" which is how's it going/you ok? in french, and he nodded his head vigorously and i tilted my weight, and we smoothly rolled down the hill. then he ran off to soccer practice and i tried doing 180's, but the board was too heavy.

Posted by bendan at 11:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 19, 2004

modest mouse and my overful life

so aaron, matt, kristy and i worked as ushers at the modest mouse show, which meant we got in for free. it was at the warfield, which is owned by clear channel, which is a horrible media and advertising conglomeration that i hate a lot. my job was seating people in the balcony. i worked with a 15 year old girl from here who goes to tons of shows as an usher, it was very strange to talk to someone of that age. she was very insecure as i'm sure i was at that age, and i ended up asking her a lot of questions to see what her responses would be, questions about bands but also about if she likes being 15, what she looks forward to in her life, ect. her answers were kinda vague and she said "like" an inordinate amount, but it was a neat experience to chat with her.
the first band sucked, but the second band, the walkmen, were totally good, i'm not sure who to compare them to, aaron said the singer sounded like the guy from the strokes, but the music wasn't like the strokes at all. they had good rockout parts i guess, and the singer sounded british even though they're from the east coast. i ran into anna from reno, which was a strange coincidence, we had a quick chat. i guess i feel kinda proud when i run into someone from my old hometown and get to tell them i'm living here. i also met 2 kids in their early 20's from reno, they were so excited for the show and fumed about how the kids here don't dance. i agreed, and helped them sneak onto the floor seating so they could shake it.
modest mouse came on, and we got cut from working. they gave us drink tokens, then we tried to figure out where to watch the show from. the warfield is my least favorite venue in this city, the floor is always way packed and watching a band from a balcony seat feels too old for me. but we tried to get down to the floor, and they had ushers all over the place keeping people out of walking lanes, it felt so shitty that we went back up to the balcony.
i watched the majority of the show from up there, and had some observations. the first thing i told aaron was that since modest mouse got on mtv and the radio, that the band, and specifically the singer isaac brock, just seemed like they were going through the motions, not like they used to when they were smaller. i compared this show, my 8th time seeing this band so i'm officially a geek, to when i first saw them, now 6 years ago. back then the shows in chico and portland were amazing, and the band really put it out there. at that first show, there were only 3 of them onstage, and isaac brock was drunk as hell and speaking in tongues, and when he sang he opened his eyes as wide as he could and looked completely possessed. the crowd was dancing and seething as a good crowd will, and it may have been my favorite show ever.
at this show they didn't have the energy, and the fucking sf crowd, full of young kids who only wanted to hear the radio songs, they didn't move at all, just stood around with mouths open as the band trotted out the radio songs and some old ones that didn't sound the same. it was a bummer to tell you the truth. kristy said the sound just like the records. i remembered back to when greenday "sold out" as many called it, when they got on a major label and ended up on the radio and mtv. i guess modest mouse never made any pretensions about not wanting to get rich off their music, and part of me says good for them cause they are talented musicians, but i hate that fame has sapped what i used to love about them, or at least in my opinion it has. i won't pay to see them again, and probably wouldn't usher a show for free either.

when i first moved here i didn't know so many people, and i had lots of free time. now i've been here 3 and half months and i feel like i've reached a saturation point of things to do, to where i have to choose between 2 or even 3 cool events taking place on the same night. today i awoke, went to punk rock breakfast, which we're holding at my house next week, then went to a meeting about organizing a san francisco cluster of people who will be at the republican national convention at the end of august. the room was full of dedicated activists, and hearing them speak inspired me to think that maybe there is a change that bush won't make it back into office. i'd been feeling really pessimistic before, but now i have a glimmer of hope in my heart. i'm gonna hook up with a group of about 15 people to protest with when i'm there, so that we can all watch and take care of each other when the police begin to riot, which they undoubtedly will. i expect i'll get arrested down there, even though i don't want to and will try to avoid it.
i left the meeting with my friend aaron marit, who lives at station 40 with matt and a bunch of other young people. marit as they call him is heading out tuesday to travel the states for a few months with just his backpack, hitching and riding trains. part of me is jealous, thinking i should be doing the same. i'm sure i will cull down my needs to a single backpack soon enough, for now i'm very happy in this city.
matt was at station 40, and he and i had a long bike ride up to the outer sunset neighborhood, to attend the stern grove festival. my roommate simon is interning for it, and he'd said that the bands for today, from senegal, were excellent. we rode out there against the wind and watching the fog roll above us, and met up with aaron and kristy. the grove is a basin of sorts, we sat on halfway down from the rim, listening to the music and watching all the other people in the trees. it's a really cool spot, we plan to go back there sometime at night when it's empty. the band we heard was ok, i'm not really into afropop at all, but it sounded cool vibrating off of all the trees. there were tons of yuppies dancing like acid burnouts, which maybe they were.
the show ended and we rode out the ocean, then back along the beach to golden gate park. usually when i go to the ocean it's sunny, but today it was foggy, and the light filtering in through the fog had an amazing aura, very diffused and soft like a bright pillow. we stopped on the way home and i bought 11 pounds of carrots for $3.50 at this russian owned farmers market, literally the cheapest produce in the world. we rode back to our house and i juiced the carrots, then left to go watch a film near megan's house.
the film was outfoxed, and it was distributed by moveon.org. it detailed how much the "fair and balanced" monicker fox news has labeled itself with is a pile of horseshit, by highlighting how the "news" station tows the party line of the bush administration to the letter. it's owned by rupert murdock, a shriveled evil old fucker, and it was so gross to think that a huge percentage of americans get their news from fox news every day. it made me want to puke watching all the footage they'd compiled, and everyone in the room alternated between guffawing and gasping at the temerity of those conservative assholes. i hope america can figure out to see through all these lies, we can't be this stupid.
the film ended and i rode over to the mission, for the vegan potluck. as it was last month, the food was amazing, and i met some new people in between stuffing myself way too full. they were gonna start with charades so i hit the rode, riding with megan back to the lower haight. megan is thriving here as well, i'm excited to attend a party at her house next weekend.
i stopped by fuzzy dave's to hang out with him and tamara, a rad person he met while in israel the second time. i played the readyville mp3's for them, i'm really into this band, and it's cool i just found out about them cause i'm gonna go see them play tomorrow night at someone's house. ahh, house shows, how i have missed thee.
i had planned to meet up with aaron buskirk and kristy after they got done watching spiderman II, but tamara volunteered to do some acupuncture on my knees, which have been hurting a little from riding the fixed gear down hills. she stuck a bunch of needles into my knee and dave's too, it was unnerving to feel her push the needle into my muscle tissue and have the entire muscle twitch and spasm. she then turned the lights and i fell asleep right away. i awoke as she pulled the last needle out, to find that my knees were sore as hell. she said it was lactic acid and that i should drink some water. i'm at home now and i've been drinking a bunch, but it nearly ruined me having to ride back up here. i'm gonna catch a shower and let the hot water fun on my knees for a while.
so as you can see, my life is pretty full now. this week i have that show tomorrow, then drinking dollar drinks at the el rio bar with james, then tuesday night there's a bonfire, wednesday i interpret, thursday i'm climbing with fuzzy dave, friday is megan's party, saturday night we prep food, and sunday tons of people are showing up for punk rock breakfast. it's a good life these days.
we're having a party at my house the 31st, friends are invited to attend, this includes out of towners, there's plenty of places to crash. i think daveo and billy are coming up from reno, gonna try and convince daveo to move on up here, it's so much fun.

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July 18, 2004

later today i'll write thoughts about success for one of my favorite bands, but for now, links!

first i'll post links, then on to modest mouse. megan showed me this one, it's called rock, paper, saddam. while it's funny to read in the same vein as get your war on, funnier still is watching megan drunk on sparks acting it out.
i heard this band on a tape my friend ted had of his brother's radio show somewhere. they're called readyville, it reminds me of uncle tupelo, less country but just as honest. what's rad about the site is that you can download songs off of it.
fourth photo down here is me wearing a nice wig at the birthday potluck for kristy. after that are photos of my friends and housemates drunk and crossdressing as usual.

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July 14, 2004

another entry about sf

so i haven't been doing anything particularly outstanding lately, there's been a big convention in town so i've been working at the restaurant a lot. james and i were talking about those sudden urges we get to quit our respective jobs, and how you have to suppress them until they pass. uggh.
been playing a bit of chess at www.redhotpawn.com, a correspondence chess site my roommate brian showed me. i have games going on with about 4 people right now, i check it a few times a day. if anyone wants to challenge me my login is bendan. my boss at work keeps harping on me to dedicate myself, study books and go to chess club, but i've never been that into it. it's mostly just something i get into while traveling, so living here and having a city that has a culture of it is kinda cool. i play a few times a week down on market street, as i've mentioned before. i usually stop by there to watch for a few minutes if i don't have time to play, it's such an amazing game, so many infinite possibilities for outcomes and moves. i always said chess and pool are my favorite not sports games, because they are pure skill and mind, and having no element of luck involved. the chess tables are also good because you can sit there and watch the downtown life stroll by, the bike messengers and businessmen and homeless kids and crackheads and the chess sharks. honestly that might be a big part of why i've been playing. i sometimes think i'd like to spend half a day down there, talking and maybe interviewing people, but then i think i won't, that i need movement when i'm down there too much.
a few days ago kristy, darby kristy's friend mark from out of town and i drove down to half moon bay. the beauty of the coast is amazing , the cliffs and rolling hills and the fog speeding over all of it, with radiohead on the stereo. darby is thinking of buying a car, and before i recoiled at the idea, given how much of a hassle driving and parking is in the city, but it's times like that when we're 30 minutes away sitting on a beautiful beach, that i can appreciate the freedom a car would provide, and hope darby does buy one so she can drive me out of the city. hehe.
so been corresponding with dave g down in sunnyvale, trading pomes back and forth for editing. his pomes are much more polished then mine, so i feel like i can't offer as much helpful critique, while his criticisms are full of insight. it's been enjoyable, makes me want to write more.
dave came up for a party we had last week, brought along his lovely wife anna. they crashed in my room and i slept in my sleeping bag, we ended up having a party that night, sort of spur of the moment for kristy's birthday, unfortunately i had to work early the next morning, so i crashed (ahem, passed) out early so i could get up. we have another party planned for the 30th, everyone in our house is into having people over, i want to get in at least 2 in august before aaron and kristy leave.
i'm not sure when i'm gonna leave. sometimes i get this flight urge to get away from all this concrete and head out traveling with my backpack, but then i think about the base i'm building, and i know it would be wise and fun to put more time into living here. our house is in flux, we just had maya move out the beginning of this month, aaron and kristy are leaving end of august, and now maybe brian may be moving over the east bay. sorta puts stress on everyone having to find new people, but it's fun also, realizing how we came together and what's been built in living communally. i feel like going back to just living with roommates would be a let down after this.
dave g sent me some blues, i'm listening to howling wolf right now. blues is so much better then jazz, it has so much more soul it isn't even funny. i'm gonna go hang out with fuzzydave now, he has a lady friend in town, some woman who's originally from eastern europe. they met while in israel, he seems kinda excited about it. good for him.

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July 08, 2004

back home from reno

It was good to go back to reno for a few days. i got to hang out with both sides of my family, shannen a bunch, daveo, owen, andrew a little, rachel, and some other friends along the way. in true reno style, we had one very good night of drinking at the alibi bar. i did some mountain biking, plus a lot of riding around the streets of reno. It feels like reno is really trying to branch out, for instance the tour de nez, the local bike race, has been expanded to 2 full days, including blocking off large portions of downtown. They have the kayak course on the river, and a lot of artists and musicians doing stuff in july. Still, it feels very small there to me, and visiting made me happy to be living here in SF.
I slept one evening in the old katherinehouse, which drew and family are remodeling to sell. It made me a little nostalgic for the good times I lived there, I must admit.

So Ive been reading tons of these open letters to people or entities who are unlikely to respond. my favorites include these letters to the makers of glaceau water, the guy who scored only 12 "fast money" points on family feud in the mid-seventies, and to the customers of my tattoo shop. this stuff is very funny, check it out.

so now i'm back to my life here, working this weekend but also we're having a potluck dinner for kristy, my roommate, on saturday night. should be fun. plus we're looking for a new roommate since maya is moving out. so lots going on.

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