June 2007

Monthly Archive

The first job I ever had was washing dishes at the local pizza place, something I landed after

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stopping by several times a week and pestering the lanky, awkward looking manager. Through highschool I worked a couple days a week, weekends and after school, and eventually started working on the floor and finally as a prep cook. It was a small place with a limited menu but a considerably loyal following. We didn’t do delivery service when I first started

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working there. You could say that’s because it was too small but really it was because a good portion of the neighborhood is made up of projects and when you deliver in San Francisco you’re not legally allowed to discriminate about where you’ll go. However, loopholes are everywhere and it was found that limited deliveries for big orders could be done without offending the law. Flyers were made and distributed to businesses in the immediate area. Once in a while I ended up having to ride with the lanky, awkward manager in the company pick-up to deliver the goods. I always insisted that I got to bring tapes along and smoke out the window so even tho it was a chore that prolonged my shifts (because I couldn’t chop onions in the truck) I was happy enough doing it.

Kozmo.com

We made a stop once at a new office building on the outskirts of the neighborhood where the Hill and the Mission converged in a collection of warehouses and the skeletons of what would become loft developments. An abandoned brewery (Hamms, I wanna say, but Schlitz might be right) had recently been purchased and converted and in the belly lay the most fashionable lobby I’d ever seen. Designer chairs and exotic plants, track lighting and neo-industrial touches. I have no idea what this company did but it was due to the internet. This was early on when AOL was just eclipsing Prodigy and funny little businesses had just begun to crop up here and there. Wired was just a small office on 2nd Street and Multimedia Gulch still caught most of the buzz. It didn’t really make sense to me at the time, that an office would have a lobby more appropriate for a Hollywood hotel, but then suddenly what didn’t make sense became what it was all about. Kozmo? Are you serious? Yes, they were, and they opened up shop on this coast as well. Little drop boxes appeared in coffee shops all around town. I landed a mediocre position at another brilliant outpost of consumerism in the South of Market and listened to the

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staff talk excitedly about the latest launches. I stood in absolute awe once on Townsend watching a huge crane slowly lower cars through the roof of a five or six story warehouse. That company, if I remember correctly, amassed a fleet of PT Cruisers to make deliveries in. No passengers, just courier service. Of course reality came back from vacation and they laid off all the writers, half the production staff and finally me. I’d built the office (Ikea furniture, natch) up from the pre-live days to the peak, then broke it all down again after the company went through a merger. Kozmo ate shit, the PT Cruisers disappeared and while no one got the big slap in the face they deserved you could tell the pot was at least simmering down. But, like old scars, the lofts remain and the neighborhoods have undergone changes that can never be restored. San Francisco came out of it a richer and whiter town then ever before, as though the whole dot.com bubble was a civic debutante’s ball. A popular theme in sci/fi and fantasy is the fabric of reality– you stretch it too thin and things from the other side break through. The fabric in SF was always closer

to cheese-cloth than wool, it didn’t take much for the moths to shred it entirely. Whenever I go to see my parents I walk down 14th an cut behind Best Buy. For months there was a warehouse behind Rainbow being worked on which I stopped paying attention to until, one evening headed home, I noticed that there were two spotlights out on the corner announcing the grand opening of whatever chic restaurant had been installed. I always walk home down Division and this atrocity was not enough to tempt my investigation.

Wag Hotel

I was wrong, it’s not a restaurant. The next time I went to my parents I noticed that a very small, one car drive-up built into the building. There was a security guard. There were two people checking into the hotel, a one-story former warehouse hotel. For real. I thought it was odd and I didn’t understand why it was called the Wag Hotel until I continued on past the huge display windows occupying the rest of the building. It’s the Wag Hotel gift shop. There’s huge pictures of dogs and cats sitting on chairs and surfing or whatever. There’s expensive imported food. There’s expensive toys. There’s expensive dishes. There was a cute girl closing up the register with a dumb, dyed punk-rock haircut but I couldn’t be bothered to focus. So next time you leave town you can leave your animal companion in style. Three different rates based on size give a small private room, two daily meals, classical music and playgroup time. There’s also suites for a little more room or for two animals, luxury suites which come with furniture, paintings and plasma screen TVs and, of course, the Cattery where felines lounge in condos watching the aquarium all day. There’s also daily services for locals like bringing your dog to go swimming or get walked and premium services for guests like, eh, massages… Go-go-economy!

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In the spirit of honoring commitments, however sketchily that responsbility gets here discharged, here’s a couple of, to my sensibility, cool items:

These Luthiers. By the

1970s, guitar manufacturing got standardized around the Gibson and Fender models everyone recognizes now. In the ’60s, there’s lots of kool experimental shit. These folks I’ve linked to do neat things with Teisco Del Rays, and lots of other weird guitars from that era (plus they make up names like “jizz-caster” for their weird put-togethers). If you didn’t know Ibanez ever made an actually cool guitar, and that surprises you, this is really a good site to peruse. Bear up, Bison!

Here’s a favorite snuff film of mine (jfk!). I think this is the Dick Cavett Show, from ’70s sometihng–they had such a thing! Woody Allen interviews Billy Graham. It’s really something, even if you’re sincere and not an ironist about things like that.

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Walking down the stone steps running alongside the house from the garage to the lower lawn I find a atripla interaction with cialis deer has wandered into the trees just beyond the backyard. It seems unconcerned at being surrounded by houses, distant cars, hammering and voices; not wanting to push my luck or disturb the animal I carefully continue down navigating the dried fallen leaves as best I can. It doesn’t take long for my clumsiness to announce my presence but still the deer doesn’t care– just looks up at me and evaluates the threat level as laughable. Fine by me, I just didn’t wanna disturb your grazing. I watch from the patio as the deer shuffles through the trees and shrubs, slowly following the gentle grade behind more houses and out of sight. The next time I’m coming down the stairs, this time carrying a box of laundry, I scare the holy bejeezus out of a garter snake by almost stepping on it.

Olympian

Olympia’s a strange place to me– I love it but I’ll never understand how it can exist. Half college town, half Pacific Northwest industry town, indie-rock capital of the world, Washington State capital. Small town with a cosmopolitan heart? The farmer’s market has better facilities than any around San Francisco, complete with a stage and aging jazz quartet, but they still mostly sell apples. A ten minute stroll from Aaron’s house through a mix of winding suburban streets and dusty country lanes will lead you to a bakery (The San Francisco Street Bakery) that sells tofu spreads and imported cheeses. After you’ve clogged some arteries gorging on potato skins, burgers and grease at the Rib-Eye Diner you can walk down to one of the other few 24 hour places in town, Desire Video where they sell the usual sex videos and toys. You know, next to the RV lot and across the street from the Co-Op. There’s an annual downtown art-walk, there’s performance spaces, there’s a hip record store and when do you take viagra an female cialis attached vintage clothing shop, there’s punk-houses and basement recording studios. There’s also the port where military vehicles and personnel embark on the journey to Iraq, the towering steel loading cranes standing in stark contrast to the evergreen Douglas Fir trees and the waters of Puget Sound. Walking down 4th you’ll pass representatives of middle-America standing in front of their bars, a little more round than they should be, a little more loud and a little less aware of how to dress; then you’ll pass anemic looking indie-rockers with their tight jeans

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and cute cotton dresses, dyed hair and dazed faces. There’s a breakfast/brunch cafe that’s closed on Sundays, Japanese and Thai and Vietnamese restaurants, used bookstores and fabric stores where you can take knitting classes. Yoga. Also a lot of empty lots, old abandoned warehouses and drunk transients asking for change. The abortion clinic welcomes a once a week protest that’s so routine now you can, the clinic has begun raising money by having donors sponsor the pro-lifers who wave pictures of fetuses at people. Strange, but again I do love it. It’s relaxing and comforting, removed from the hustle and viagra generico online bustle but with everything you could ever expect or hope for in a city to some degree. Less then forty-five thousand residents and I can still be a non-driving, vegetarian, meandering quasi art-fag pseudo-liberal just like here in SF, except that I would never be able to score a job. Most of the work in Olympia is government office work– there’s a new monolithic structure dedicated entirely to processing child-support checks for the state. This is not something I could sneak into. There’s little shops here and there but retail has never been something I excel at, really. It’s not a very rich town, all in all, and work is hard to come by. Maybe that’s why Olympia hasn’t become bloated with graduates from The Evergreen State College. Four years of la-la land earns them a design it as you go degree in light and sound or basket weaving but once you’re done there’s no where to put these valuable life-skills to work, not around here. All around Olympia change is coming– malls sprawling along the border with Lacey and subdivisions crawling through Tumwater. A housing boom is employing construction workers but with every wall erected a little bit of what the place was dies. Having listened to my parents talk about the areas around Sacramento changing from the open fields and orchards of their childhood Cialis women to the suburban blight it is today I guess I know how it’ll turn out in the end. Can’t wait to visit one day and see the new Walmart. Kinda doubt there’ll be any deer milling about the parking lot, tho. Fuck, change is now. After we’d driven down to Portland and checked into our hotel Aaron got a phone call from his landlady. He occupies the sealed off downstairs of a house and while we were waking up around eight in the morning her half was being robbed. They got in by using a spare key hidden in a deck chair– they’d been casing the place which may explain why his iPod and her satellite radio player were stolen from their cars a couple weeks prior. The next morning Beth got a text message– they came back and stole her car in the middle of the night.

Construction in Portland

Portland is a proper city with tall buildings and five hundred thousand more residents. Change has already come to what the only person we spoke to on the street called, “Little San Francisco”. Every block of downtown is undergoing extreme renovation and half the streets have been dug up. You can get vegan doughnuts twenty-four hours a day now but it looks like soon you’ll have to work a little harder and a little more frequently in order to be able to afford to live there. Ten years ago I was first in town fresh off a train from the midwest. The neighborhood surrounding both the Amtrack and Greyhound stations was a collection of old warehouses, empty streets, crumbling sidewalks, drunks, junkies and pushers. If I hadn’t been stricken with a terrible headache I might have enjoyed wandering around a great deal more– we

found a quiet little deli run by an older Asian woman where you could get a sandwich on one of three breads and it came with a small bag of potato chips, a place where the guys working at the whatever factory down the street would eat everyday. Now they’ve called this the Pearl District and it’s unrecognizable. Design Within Reach. Imported furniture. Expensive fusion restaurants. People wearing Gucci. Paninis. A park with a fountain and kids playing. Every warehouse has been converted or bulldozed to be replaced. Nothing in

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SF compares– you’d have to take the Marina and shove it into SOMA as best as you could. This time around I was feeling sick and, killing time waiting on a plane, was wandering through here baking as the temperature chased 90. Where can I sit for a couple of hours and read for the price of a cup of coffee? I asked a woman smoking in front of her job which sells expensive woolen car seats where to go. She had me leave the neighborhood and cross the freeway: not because she was a lesbian or because I looked too scummy for the district but because she understood. Kinda. I ended up at a place that was Starbucks without the franchise. Oh well, what’re you gonna do? It’s Portland. Audrey Knows.

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