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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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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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In Serbia a lot of people hate me because they want to westernise, not understanding that the western world is bipolar, with very good things and very bad things. Since they don’t have experience of the west, they even believe that western shit is pie.–Emir Kusturica

Despite my predilection for hiding in my room events overran me recently, out into the Richmond and in front of what used to be the jock-lite Last Day Saloon and has now become the yuppie-lite Rockit Room. True there was a birthday to celebrate and true two people had invited me but I was a little shocked at how readily I had consented to being taken away from my room. Maybe the mood was just there, perhaps the moon was in a special phase– I dunno. It may have been because two Serbian/Rom style bands were playing. Years ago I dwelled in a dank little hovel called Leather Tongue which was so similar to the dank little hovels I hid away in on purpose

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that I kept going. It didn’t pay well and it didn’t help any minor mental issues I might have had but it did introduce me to plenty of movies I would never have chosen to hunt down and rent on my own. After renting it out to hip Mission scum a thousand times I checked out “Black Cat White Cat” by Emir Kusturica which drilled into my mind and deposited some of the most flamboyant images ever captured on film as well as some of the most scintillating music ever, er, captured on film. If Fellini had been into carnies more than circus freaks and was thrilled by saturated colors (and been Serbian) it would have been his movie. I travelled back in time a couple of years and caught his earlier festival success, “Underground“. Last year at a different job I was hawking shit on eBay when I pulled the soundtrack to “Underground” from a bin of CDs. My hands were shaking and I played it on the office stereo. Then I played it again and again until I was quite certain that everyone was going to kill me so I had my boss price it out. Not in the store’s computer– Argentinian release so it’s $1.99… Awesome! To this day I think this is the only CD that I have danced to with another person. Waiting for my ride to The Rockit Room I played a couple choice cuts and bobbed around while finishing my roommate’s beer. The first band of the evening took their identity-crisis cues from Hector Babenco’s depression-era drama “Ironweed“, glorifying the hobo/drifter lifestyle by not bathing and playing guitar, a washboard and a bass made from a washtub, broom handle and a single tightly wound length of twine. The kids, friends of the birthday girl, ate this up and had skipped their showers special for the event. I tried not to be bothered by this and watched them play but wondering what to expect from the next two groups in the bill.

Brass Menazeri

Zoyres was a quartet: full kit, tuba, clarinet/sax and trombone. Fascinating shit, ultimately danceable and exactly what I was hoping for. It’s weird how the tuba took over where the bass would be and the trombone player kicked ass playing with a brash style reminiscent (tho probably because I can only name two others: my dad and Labamba from the Conan O’Brien show) of Don Drummond. The Brass Menazeri was even more bombastic with nine members, three tuba type instruments, accordian, clarinet, saxaphones and trumpets along with two drummers (a hand bass and a couple rack snares) and vocals. Both are local and I would recommend you check out either if your local is the Bay Area. So the evening went quite well even tho the drinks were horribly over-priced, most of the attendees living as caricatures running around like sugar-addled, snot-nosed brats and my getting home past my bedtime. I should just stop here… But it makes you think, don’t it? So far as I could tell everyone in these bands were American born and bred but both bands played distinctly Eastern European (with some Klezmer mixed in) gypsy music with no obvious Americanization taking place. It’s as authentic as The Dropkick Murphys but somehow entirely less offensive. Hell, the opening band, The Inkwell Rhythm Makers, co-opted not only their music but their dress and shtick from impression of a time long gone. Does America, appropriate outside culture so readily and so completely that there’s no bothering with integrating it with our own? Or do we just not really have any cultural identity not relating to commerce so we borrow heavily from places that have more than a couple centuries under their belts? Ysabella Dolfin wrote in her blog:

Watching local access Asian TV In Japanese. A cooking show. I have no idea what any of the ingredients are… but I recognize ground beef and some type of musrhoom. I am getting the feeling they are cooking “American” food. But they are serving it over rice with sliced fresh spinach. The theme song is some kind of Japanese rap music.

Japanese Ad

Now that’s a proper culutral mish-mash– anything the Japanese have done since 1945 has basically been one form of cocktail or another. Pop music, art, fashion, day to day living, advertising, food… it seems that every aspect of Japan has been touched by America and has incorporated, in the most fucked up way possible, the source material by taking what they think they understand and dumping tradition on top. Hell, the Japanese advertising industry has essentially become the hallmark of the Japanese approach to international relations. Why are we so fascinating to them? Cowboys? The independence of owning your own car? Where the hell is our culture out in the world that’s not a McDonald’s? PS- my efforts to make these pictures integrate into this post have failed but I’m sick of the second one disappearing so I’m gonne give up. Deal with it.

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Thirty years of working just to put food on the plate. Once you went to Paris but the place wasn’t that great.

Before the European adventure became a right of passage for recent college graduates visiting Paris seemed to be strictly a behavior of the ultra-rich, idealistic artistes and Joe-Schmo working-man after securing a good percentage on a mortgage and a decade straight of enduring helpful suggestions from the wife about how to blaze through the meager savings desperately accrued through hard labor and drinking the cheaper beer. Most never made it across the Atlantic and it’s a wonder that Hawaii hasn’t become the island version of Las Vegas. (more…)

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cummerbund

If there’s one thing our readers come to Hesitating for, it’s our razor sharp insight into global events and global fashion. Here’s Hesitating’s vision of 2007, or as we like to call it, DoubleBond (Casino Royale anyone?):

Keith on Iraq:

Ideally, we’d see a large, temporary troop surge all over Iraq, and a change in strategy to rebuilding infrastructure without the inflated bidding wars. I’m not sure of the pitfalls in giving local workers the money to rebuild their own cities, but this seems like a good idea. If the US military can change their position there from a dubious security force to providers of necessities, then this could ease diplomacy and provide a foundation for a complete withdrawal. What will actually happen? More foot dragging, a half-hearted and ineffectual troop surge without a significant shift in strategy, a precipitous withdrawal, or a strange cocktail of all three. There is no such thing as a good idea about Iraq, so let me have it for this one.

Keith on Somalia:

I only became aware of the continent of Africa a few days ago, but it would be disingenuous of me to refrain from commenting on something I know nothing about since this is, in fact, a blog. 2007 could be a turn around year for Somalia. The past week has seen a push of Ethiopian forces into Mogadishu, overthrowing a nascent Islamic force there. Ethiopia claims that this force posed a regional threat, but from what I can tell it had barely even taken control of Mogadishu before the surge. The US seems to be behind the curtain, supporting Ethiopia to crush an Islamic uprising. Meanwhile floods are killing and starving people in the rural parts of the country. A former veterinarian turned transitional Prime Minister, Ali Mohammed Gedi, has demanded that the locals turn in their guns. The methods by which power was taken were shady – and bloody, but it seems like there’s a shred of hope for the first time in years.

Mark on fashion:

2007 will see the rise and fall of the cummerbund. An immediate surge in sales of the antiquated waist-wear will follow 2007’s release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix which will feature them on such actors as Gary Oldman, Allan Rickman, Ralph Feinnes, and newcomer, playing yet another incarnation of Professor Dumbledor following Michael Gambon’s death in early february 2007, John Goodman. The trend will be incorporated into cummerbunds for day, night, work, and golf. Sadly, by November 2007, cummerbunds will again loose their practicality and the headline in Elle will be: ‘Come-On’erbunds: Why Catch Crumbs This Winter When You Could Catch the Whole Loaf! Aprons will be offered as an alternative. They still hide the bottom of the tummy as it is allowed to sag over one’s pants, but with the added bonus of pockets.

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Then is pockets, pockets, pockets till 2008.

Happy New Year everybody!

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