Saturday, April 28, 2007

all is full of love

Friday was one of those days that reminds me that I simply love being alive, and I love being alive in San Francisco. To start off, no one could ask for more beautiful late spring weather. When I got off the muni downtown SF yesterday, I walked from Market Street to Chantal's office on Sansome and Broadway, through Jackson Square and always staying on the sunny side of the street. Unfortunately, I had to work, so I spent quite a few hours inside an office, but then between the gig with Chantal and my new gig at KPIX, I had about 30 minutes to enjoy the late afternoon sun and breeze. I walked down to the Embarcadero and walked to the end of a pier, where when I looked in one direction, I saw the City skyline, and in another direction the Bay and ferries going by, and finally behind me was the span of the Bay Bridge. The late afternoon sun shining made me more and more in love with this City. And I never want to break up again! I promise I will never leave you!

So my shift at KPIX luckily was a short one, and I got out at 8 pm. The weather was still balmy (thanks to global weirding), and I met Sultan at Tosca where we had a beer and chatted with a nice young man named John from Fresno about such things as Laughing Squid, Burning Man, Nirvana (the band, not the state of being) and how much we love San Francisco. After Tosca, Sultan and I toured all the restaurants on Columbus and Green and Grant streets, searching for the perfect spot to have dinner on this beautiful late spring evening. We finally landed on Cafe Divine at the corner of Grant and Union. We took an outdoor table, so we could watch passersby. Sultan reminded me that Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio took their wedding photos on the stairs of the Church of St. Peter and Paul. And we were happy to have Washington Square laid out like a red carpet before us.

Julie and Young joined us towards the end of dinner, and we ordered another bottle of their $14 house wine. Bad idea, since Julie sips, Young doesn't drink, and Sultan wasn't interested in drinking anymore. Guess who finished off the majority of the second bottle by herself? Yes, Little Miss "Drink Life to the Lees." While I was guzzling away the light merlot, I got a phone call from my friend Danielle, who was at the Coachella Music Festival at the time. Instead of hearing her voice on the other end of the line, I heard Bjork belting out her divine hymn All is Full of Love. I listened in on the concert for 25 minutes. The connection wasn't the greatest, but hearing Bjork's voice on the other end of the line was a little piece of heaven for me.

Walking back through vibrant North Beach later that night, somehow I very easily convinced the tired Julie and Young to take a quick peek at the Wurlitzer jukebox at Tosca, which they had never seen. Tosca's jukebox is one of those San Francisco gems, with real vinyl, handwritten song selections, Maria Callas being one of them. We filed into the bar's busy crowd. At the jukebox was a man in a pinstriped suit with a little red handkerchief peeping out of the breastpocket, just waiting for us to arrive. He and his friends instantly offered us a round of drinks, and we accepted. I had a pinot noir (you see where this night was headed) and Julie and Young ordered ice waters. I found out that the man in the suit was named Dominic, an Italian from none other than the Bronx. We swing danced to Louis Prima and Frank Sinatra. He dipped me right into some guy's fist and I felt like I would have a black eye the next morning.

When Dominic told me he was in SF on business, I asked him what business he was involved in, and he answered, "Do I really have to answer that question?" Fair enough. Maybe I really didn't want to know.

Young noticed that the guy she was talking to, whose name apparently was Lo, was wearing a wedding band. She asked him where his wife was. He answered, "I'm not married. I just wear this ring. It was my grandmother's." Classic. Lo kept referring to us as the "three beauts."

Young was surrounded by three burly looking men, and I had to take a pic with my camera phone. Dominic interrupted me saying, "Hey Ansel, come dance with me!"

I noticed that Julie was looking tired and was almost done with what Dominic had pegged her Icelandic ice water. She told me she was ready to go. I told Dominic we were not going to have another round of drinks with him because we were heading home. He offered us his driver, who promptly entered wearing leather gloves. Before long, we were whisked away in a black Lincoln Town Car with tinted windows and black leather interior.

On the way home, I asked Johnny (or Gianni?), our driver from Sicily, if he came to SF for work or for love. He said he came for work, and added that he was a career bachelor and enjoys a single life. I asked him if he'd ever been in love. He retorted, "I fall in love with women every single day." That's a lot of love! I also asked him if being a chauffeur was his business. "No," he replied. "I only do this for my special clients." All of a sudden, his leather gloves took on new meaning.

Needless to say, I slept in all of my clothes and couldn't even manage to pull out the hideaway bed that night. The next morning, Young and I walked from Noe Valley to Cafe du Soleil for breakfast. We sat next to former Supervisor Matt Gonzalez, who was reading a book about Dada. After breakfast, I met Michael at Molotov to talk about my film, give him some cd's and catch up. I had a Virgin Mary, still detoxing.

The weather was so beautiful, gorgeous sunny day, that I needed to get out of the bar and outdoors. I met Young on Hippie Hill in the Park and we walked all the way to Ocean Beach. We cruised through the Arboretum and found many little romantic spots were we imagined we could have our future wedding or even just make out with a cute boy. Sigh! We watched the mallard ducks swim around the ponds and it was just one of those days that makes me love my City.

We met up with Sultan at the beach, and he gave Young and me a lift back to Noe Valley. I logged onto the Coachella website and watched Arcade Fire perform their set. It was only slightly almost like being there. I of course couldn't contain myself and was throwing my arms in the air and yelling when they played my favorite songs, especially Antichrist Television Blues.

The next morning, I met Jessica at Cafe du Soleil (no celebrity sightings unfortunately), and we took the new T line out to Hunter's Point and the Spring Open Studios at the Naval Shipyards. In all my years in SF, I've never been to Hunter's Point, and I wanted to see if it really is as dangerous as people make it out to be. So Jess and I got off the train and walked from Third Street to the Shipyards, past all the projects. All of a sudden, two motorcycle cops pulled over next to us and informed us that we were walking through a very dangerous neighborhood and we should at the very least walk on the other side of the road. The rest of our walk was uneventful. I thought the neighborhood could be quite charming, if a couple cafes or shops opened up there. It would be a nice little corner with an impeccable view of downtown.

The Open Studios were fun and we met some great artists. My favorite was the guy who painted these birds that looked like creepy carnival freaks. I'm still not wealthy enough to buy art, but one day...

After an hour and 45 minutes on the muni, I finally got to my car and went to Jayson's birthday BBQ, where the big news was that Jon has some exciting new developments in his life, and he's leaving us to go live in LA with his girlfriend. We popped open a bottle of Piper Hiedsieck and celebrated change.

And that, my dear and few readers, is the very long account of my very lovely weekend.

Friday, April 27, 2007

i'm a winner!

I just got a call from Trader Joe's in Fisherman's Wharf. The young man on the other end of the line informed me that I am this week's bring your own bag winner of $25 of free groceries! It pays to bring your own!

You also may know that I won tickets on KCRW to see the Teddybears at Popscene a few weeks ago. That was way cool. Men with big teddy bear heads playing the guitar. Awesome.

I just entered to win tickets to next year's Coachella Music Festival. Sniff! There's always next year.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

faith and chance

I just finished watching Children of Men, a truly unbelievable story and film about love, life, trust, faith, hope... even against all odds and in the darkest hour. I really do not want to say any more about the film. Just that you should see it, if you haven't yet. And I mean NOW. It reminds me a little of City of Lost Children, a little of Blade Runner. So if those films strike a chord with you, so will Children of Men. Suffice it to say Clive Owen and Michael Caine are great, and Clare-Hope Ashitey as Kee is phenomenal. We sometimes forget that life is really so precious.

If you really want to read a review of this film, read it here.

go Kucinich! impeach Cheney!

Please call/email your representative and tell him/her to co-sponsor Rep.
Kucinich's H. Res 333, Articles of Impeachment against VP Cheney.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

allez Sego!

Desirs d'Avenir.

In the words of mon ami Anthony from Paris, "That guy Sarkozy is a f***ing George Bush!"

Monday, April 23, 2007

broken dreams/new aspirations

I sold my Coachella 3-day pass finally. The monkey is officially off my back. I had to take a cut, but at least I learned a lesson. I will no longer impulsively buy things for immediate gratification. I need to ask myself before a purchase, "How will this enrich my life?" The bottom line is that if I am serious about the things I want in my 5-year plan, which is due to expire next year, then I need to stop acting the way I used to (impulsive behavior) and start actually making the concrete plans a reality. If I want the house, I need to save for the house. If I want the husband, I need to save for the husband. If I want the baby, I need to save for the baby. And finally, if I want the business, I need to save for the business. I need to make all of these things priorities and short-term goals that I'm actively and presently working towards, rather than categorizing them as long-term things that will happen in my future. The only way to make these things that I want materialize in my life is by living them now.

And not necessarily by going to see my favorite bands in the Palm Desert.

It's funny how 5 years creeps up on you so quickly.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

et alors?

My friend Chantal is from France and she is voting today in Round One of the French presidential elections. She and I had a good laugh yesterday looking through the brochures of all the candidates (there are about 10) ranging from the extreme right (Jean-Marie Le Pen of the National Front) to the ultra left, a candidate whose name I don't even remember whose brochure was basically a black and white photocopy (maybe the party of the clochards?) We had a good laugh because clearly the right wing candidates, the capitalist lovers of a free market economy, had beautifully designed marketing packages, with tasteful and impressive photographs and graphics, while the socialists' packages came off as something from the 1960's with black and white photographs and a overwhelming use of the color red (with the exception, bien sur, of the Green Party candidate). We had laid out all the candidates in a row from extreme right to extreme left, to survey her choices, when Chantal got a phone call from a friend of hers in Paris, urging her not to vote for the Socialist Party candidate Segolene Royal, but for the Centrist candidate Francois Bayrou, whose politics could be likened to those of the Clintons. Apparently, and not surprisingly with the way the politics of this world seem to be heading, Nicolas Sarkozy, the Guiliani-esque conservative candidate is ahead in the polls and expected to come in first in Round One, with Royal predicted to come in second. It seems to me that the French are more supportive of candidates with passion, right or wrong, than candidates who reach across the aisle.

We also discussed the issue of infidelity, which seems to be a huge political deal breaker in our country. Apparently Segolene Royal has two children with her publicist/lover. Sarkozy's wife has been galavanting around New York during his campaign with her lover, only to come back to Sarko at a very staged rendez-vous at a high-profile Parisian restaurant. He took her back with open arms, apologizing for not spending enough time with her during his campaign. So what about Bayrou? Chantal and I laughed when we saw the picture on his brochure, a pleasant close-up with his hands clasped to one side of his face, his wedding ring prominently glistening in the light. Obviously not an unintentional placement.

Chantal stood in the queue this morning at 8 am, when the polls at the French Consulate opened, to cast her ballot. And tomorrow we shall see how the French people decide.

Friday, April 20, 2007

my god, what have i done?

I just bought a 3-day pass to the Coachella Music Festival in the Palm Desert. I actually can't afford it, but the lineup is so incredible. I'm going to give myself one more day to think about it before I immediately turn around and resell it. The ticket feels so good in my hands...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I haven't had time to write all week, been working on some stuff for Chantal, and obsessively writing my short story, and continuing to send out resumes since I haven't worked since December.

So forgive me if I ramble about certain things today that are seemingly non-sequiturs.

On Sunday afternoon, still high from meeting the former PREZ, Lilia, Julie and I had brunch in Noe Valley and talked about boys. That's what girls do. We all know this fact. There was even a popular TV show about 30-something women who all got together once a week to talk about boys. Anyway, no conclusions were reached. I think we just need to talk about it all in order to help make a bridge from one encounter with a boy to the next. I don't know why women can't get together and talk about sports, like guys do.

After brunch, I was having an Amoeba fix, since I've been overdosing lately on Arcade Fire's Neon Bible, and since I really like the album, I don't want it to wear out on me too soon. I had read an article about Feist's new album in the New Yorker, so I went in search of that, but Amoeba didn't have it in stock yet, so I bought her previous one. It's kind of folky, kind of poppy, but I have to say, that woman is a great songwriter. The more I listen to the songs, the more they resonate with me. And her sultry voice is growing on me.

After Amoeba, Julie had to take off to get ready for her date with the Brazilian. So Sultan, Lilia and I ended up at some strange cafe talking about spirituality and faith. Since I was raised Catholic, I can kind of see both sides of the coin. I can understand why someone would want or need to have faith in a god. And then as a fallen angel, I can also see the side that says that god doesn't exist, we're here and then we're gone. Discussions about faith can be very tricky, especially in urban hipster circles in SF, because the majority of folks I know are types that go to yoga instead of Mass on Sunday. Or Burning Man is like their Christmas and Easter. It's like we can't have traditional religion so we adopt these new age spiritualities that are just as organized and have their own doctrines. I've been thinking a lot about Sartre these days (because of my short story), and his point is that most people adopt some kind of belief or value system so they don't have to accept the freedom they really have to make their own choices. It's something like that. I'll have to re-read Sartre again to really understand what the heck he's talking about.

Julie went on her date, and when she came back to the apartment, she had a big grin on her face and just said to me, "WOW." I guess it went well.

Finally, my short story. I have been drafting a short story. I haven't written one in years. I felt very inspired about a week ago with some ideas and visions and it just flowed out of me in about 8 hours. I've been putting the finishing touches on it the past few days. I really want it to be good and I want people to enjoy it, and I don't want it to be trite. So I'm taking the time to make it good. Just read a GREAT short story today in the New Yorker called "Something Like Happy." Now if I can make my story as good as that one, that would make me something like happy. Or even happier.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

totally mental

in the presence of greatness

Last night I met former president Bill Clinton at the inaugural event of the Millennium Network, a new branch of the Clinton Foundation geared towards mobilizing leaders under the age of 40. He is incredibly inspirational. I am in awe of the power that he emanates. And rightly so. His organization has done so much for saving the lives of people stricken with HIV/AIDS in Africa, notably making the prescription medications for treatment available at significantly lower costs to the African people. I felt honored to be in the same room with someone who can move mountains like Clinton can. When he entered the room, his power and energy were so present that I was shaking! I was inspired and invigorated by his speech, to start doing the right thing and be part of the solution and use my energy in positive ways. I was so wired when I finally got home that I could hardly sleep. I'm still on a high.

And I know that I've mentioned this before, but if you still have not read the New Yorker article about Bill Clinton and the work he's doing with his foundation, read it now.

Friday, April 13, 2007

this song has been haunting me all week

My Body is a Cage from Arcade Fire's new album Neon Bible:

My body is a cage
That keeps me from dancing with the one I love
But my mind holds the key

My body is a cage
That keeps me from dancing with the one I love
But my mind holds the key

I’m standing on the stage
Of fear and self-doubt
It’s a hollow play
But they’ll clap anyway

My body is a cage
That keeps me from dancing with the one I love
But my mind holds the key

Standing next to me
My mind holds the key

I’m living in an age
That calls darkness light
Though my language is dead
Still the shapes fill my head

I’m living in an age
Who’s name I don’t know
Though the fear keeps me moving
Still my heart beats so slow

My body is a cage
That keeps me from dancing with the one I love
Though my mind holds the key

Standing next to me
My mind holds the key
My body is a...

My body is a cage
We take what were given
Just because you’ve forgotten
Doesn’t mean you're forgiven

I’m living in an age
That screams my name at night
But when I get to the doorway
There’s no one in sight

I’m living in an age
They laugh and I’m dancin'
With the one I love
But my mind holds the key

Standing next to me
My mind holds the key

Set my spirit free
Set my spirit free
Set my body free
Set my body free

Set my spirit free
Set my body free

i miss him

I miss Alexei. I miss holding his hand. I miss playing with the ringlets in his hair, and watching them spring back into place when I release them. I miss it when he has bed-head. I miss it when he kisses me not just once but a hundred times. I miss it when he grabs my butt whenever we walk up a staircase. I miss that he brings me a demitasse of espresso in bed every morning. I miss how proud he is of his library, which consists of about a dozen books, if that. I miss when he tries to recite The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe. I miss the way he pulls his shirt halfway up his chest when it gets hot. I miss playing 20 questions with him. I miss having cervezitas with him on the Malecon at sunset. I miss spooning. I miss that he loves the way my armpit smells. I miss that he doesn't snore. I miss taking a siesta with him in the afternoon. I miss reaching across the bed and grabbing him in the morning. I miss his awkwardness when he leads me on the dance floor. I miss the way he watches me when I dance for him. I miss the way we catch each other's eye when we're at a party but across the room from each other, reminding each other that we are still together. I miss his pleasant smile when he looks at me adoringly. I miss his missing tooth I can see only when he laughs (the tooth he lost when he drank so much rum that he couldn't walk straight and fell onto a curb, woke up later missing a tooth). I miss his taste in music. I miss it when he says, "Wow!" every time he sees me naked. I miss it when he looks so satiated when he sits down for a meal. I miss when he calls me mi amor, which is often. I miss the way he stops when he sees a stray cat in the street and scratches behind its ear. I miss it when he does the same with stray dogs. I miss cooking with him. I miss hanging our laundry out to dry in the sun on his patio. I miss watching him lift weights in his makeshift gym on the patio. I miss the biceps he's forming. I miss his two tattoos. I miss his slender waist and little bottom. I miss it when he's so tired he falls asleep on my shoulder. I miss hearing him tell me he loves me. I miss his touches. I miss kissing him. I miss holding him.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

forgotten love

Boris Vian. I read two of his books when I lived in France. L'Ecume des Jours and L'Automne a Pekin. I just found this article in a back issue of the New Yorker, and was surprised that I had forgotten about him for so long.

I was reminded of the blind guy in an overcoat who used to stand on the steps of the Eglise St. Louis outside of my apartment in Grenoble and sing Le Deserteur every night during all the antiwar demonstrations in 1991.

Ah la nostalgie!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

j'ai deux amours

Here's one of them:

squeak/no squeak

I got a new pair of shoes a few weeks ago. I love them. They are Naots from Israel. Did I say I love them? But when I walked, one of them used to squeak. Only one. It was highly annoying. Now all of a sudden, it doesn't squeak. I love them even more now. And there was much rejoicing.


Last night I had dinner with the crew that my mom went to Ireland with a couple years ago. I should have gone on the trip with her, had I known I was going to get fired a week later. Instead I up and went to see Alexei, so I didn't get to meet her travel buddies until last night. Some of them I already knew. They are old friends and might I add quite an eclectic bunch of intellectuals--artists, lawyers, doctors, etc. One aspect struck me as very progressive. There were the McCarthys, friends from way back, who have divorced and either re-married or re-partnered. Clem married Tara, who coincidentally was my dad's secretary at Hal Riney. Lynn lives in sin with David, an Irish doctor and quite the character. Then there was my aunt Sheila, my "godmutha," from Long Island. There was another couple, Barbara and Tucker, who made us laugh by sharing with us that growing up he was the brunt of all the name game jokes. I had a great time, laughing and enjoying dinner with them, the only person from my generation at the table. I realized that they are all kooks, and eventually in 20 years, my friends from my generation will all be sitting around a table, with our respective husbands or second husbands or life partners or whatever, our own scandals, life and experience equalizing our differences, being as kooky as we are now, just a little more gray and a few more wrinkles.

So a few weeks ago, I wrote a letter of support for my friend Sultan, who was applying for permanent residence as an alien of exceptional ability. Unfortunately, he was not approved, so he followed up by letting me know that possibly in a few months time he would be showing up at my doorstep on one knee with a large sum of money and a diamond ring. Maybe not so coincidentally, Sultan joined me at Mass with my family and brunch for Easter. My family has been talking about him ever since. I informed him last night that he has basically ruined it for me because he's not my boyfriend, but I think my family wishes he was. He responded by saying something like, "You never know. If I don't become your business partner, I might just be meeting you at the altar." So this was the second proposal from Sultan. But who's counting?

So finally, my business. Lately, I'm leaning toward Rue des Genies (Street of Genius) as my business name. This morning I woke up thinking something with Reveries in the title as well. I'm still partial to the former. Any comments?

Monday, April 09, 2007

neutral space

My family origins are Swiss and so it would seem logical that the notion of neutral space would appeal to me. So Panama would serve as a neutral space for me and Alexei should his visa be approved. I imagine that we could have a lot of fun there together before he comes here or we go somewhere else when we would have to get settled and start dealing with all the serious stuff! When it comes down to it, I am visiting him in my country's enemy nation, and if it were possible for him to come here, he would be visiting me in his country's enemy nation. So I can only imagine a time when we were somewhere in the middle, where the government really wouldn't care at all which country we were from! I can only imagine a time when we could galavant around the rain forests and take long walks along empty beaches, simply experience a romantic and worry free time together, just experience life and each other before we would have to file paperwork with the INS and plan weddings and I could use my bank card and so on and so forth. We deserve a neutral space!

In fact everyone does. I had brunch with my friend Lynn this weekend. She has been living for the past 6 months or so with her boyfriend in a rented apartment, even though he had a place and she had a place that they could have moved into. However, they wanted to move into a neutral space--a place that was neither his nor hers, but THEIRS--the first time they lived together. I think it's a great idea because then she wouldn't feel like he was changing her space or identity by moving into her space with his stuff, or that she was changing his space or identity by moving into his space with her stuff. This way, they are able to experience a brand new space together.

I think when I have my house with my significant other, I will create a space within the household that is a neutral space, like a chill out room. It will be a place that is yin-yang balanced, where people go to be themselves and settle down, to find peace and clarity in the midst of all the madness life brings.

Monday, April 02, 2007


The Supreme Court rebuked the Bush administration Monday for its inaction on global warming in a decision that could lead to more fuel-efficient cars as early as next year.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

inhumane treatment of life

A friend just sent this video about the massacre of dolphins in Japan to me. She said it was disturbing, and I thought, "Just how disturbing could it be?" It is very disturbing and upsetting. But I don't regret watching it. Better to be in the know of severely inhumane treatment of life than turning a blind eye. I signed the petition. And you should too.