Thursday, May 25, 2006

Awkward Social Buzzkillz

My life has been full of man missed signals. Last week, a guy chatted me up about sucky San Francisco landlords and good Italian leather shoes. I was so enamoured by his Crest-Whitestrips smile and charisma, I failed to catch on that he was sort of gay. Well, all gay, actually.

My big clue? He dropped the "P" bomb: Partner. Or the extra nail in the coffin: Life Partner.

More recently, at my Birthday Bash, Suzanne and I sat next to a more attractive version of an Eddie Vedder lookalike. Seriously, flannel and all. We all had a very animated Seattle Conversation. Good times, good times. Until I notice a very angry woman coming closer. And closer, until she takes the barstool sandwiched between us. She's not so into the Seattle Conversation, and lets Suzanne and I know by dividing us with her back to us. He got in what sounded like some kind of "trouble."

My streak of niave assumption started a couple of months ago while listening to Tim Easton in concert. He opened up for Lucinda Williams at the Luther Vandross Amphetheatre in Santa Rosa. Girls just sort of assume that rockstars are perpetually single. Some girl in the audience yelled, asking if he was single. He skirted the issue in a skillful PR way until he later redeemed himself by singing a song and dedicated it to a girl. It was sweet, sort of sad, and well, not an anonymous song for Old Yeller in the audience.

While hanging out backstage, I met Tim's girlfriend, who was a doll. We drank Absolut Mandarin and Tonics and talked about traveling and art. The sound guy for Lucinda and Neil Young was telling interesting stories about "the ranch." I was glad to see Lucinda and Doug (Pettibone) again, but I remember being especially self-conscious to give him a ride in my "truck." I had rented a car and Enterprise hooked me up with an enormous, gigantric Ford F-250. Since I grew up on a farm and all, I thought I could roll with it. My ego was a little daintier.

Maybe having a dedicated song is one of those things every girl wants and doesn't know she wants until she sees someone else get it. (Like Cabbage Patch Kids in 1984?) This Time Last Year (see post) National Bestselling Author played the guitar and sang to me when I was pretending not to be sick, for what that's worth. But my first song, "inspired" by yours truly, debuted at Hotel Utah by Paris King and his Band. I didn't know what to expect, Paris having never been a love interest, but I was completely thrilled. It was upbeat and happy, without any tones of regret. My heart skipped a half beat of happiness, making all of the social buzzkills of the past week bearable.

***By the way, Tim is playing tonight at Cafe du Nord, $10 at the door, part of a several-city tour. Rock on, Tim!***

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Party is Monday, May 22

Forgot to mention in the last post, Jaynel's Legends Birthday Bash is
Monday, May 22 starts around 8pm - band goes on a little later, they're still ironing out the details.

See you there!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Jaynel's Legends Birthday Bash @ Hotel Utah!

WWOD? What Would Oprah Do? It's a question I ask myself when I'm especially introspective.
If it was Oprah's birthday, she'd throw a party- a big party, sparing no expense. So what the hell. Only the highest-class diviest bar for my friends!

So if you're reading this, aren't psycho, an obsessed ex, and live in the greater Bay Area, consider yourself invited to one of the hottest parties of the year, a soiree I'm callling "Jaynel's Legends Birthday Bash." Paris King's band is going to rock the house, you might remember them from my "Vertigo" reveal art party last June, when the cops enjoyed the music so much they joined the party. (It's all in how you interpret the report.)

So just TIVO Oprah's dealio. This is the real thing. And since I'm headed to Iowa City for the creative writing gig, if you're inclined to read a little ditty, or share a favorite San Francisco memory up onstage with friends, then bring it. This is a party we're gonna custom design ourselves.
Details are still getting worked out, but here's the basics:

Hotel Utah
a Creative Celebration featuring Paris King and his Band
500 4th St. /Cross is Bryant
San Francisco, CA
starts at 9ish
$5 at the door

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Everything's A Dollar: The Legend of 99cent Gas Prices

I'm thinking differently these days. Like a guy with a car he really cares about. I don't think I've ever owned a car that I love before and I've become protective. This car is beautiful. I'm thinking about stuff like premium gas and Armour-All.

My first car was the hand-me-down family car, a 1973 maroon Monte Carlo, and it was old even then. But I prefer to use the term "classic." The guys in high school loved this car. They wanted to jack it up and trick it out. But when you're sixteen and trying to grow out a bad perm, the last thing you want is to become the school's Classic Car Collector.

My next car was a white Ford Escort with red interior. It was cute, and took something like eight dollars to fill the tank. My sister also had a white Ford Escort with red interior. Our cars were exactly a year apart, just like us. It was like unwrapping a Christmas gift two seconds after Remi did, and realizing we both got pajamas! We were like twins.

Remi and I were discussing gas prices and we were talking like a couple of old ladies. "Do you remember when gas down by Grandpa's house was 99 cents a gallon?" I said. "Well it was 97 cents a gallon when I was a senior. I'd use my lunch money. I can't imagine what kids today are doing." she said.

And there it was. The phrase: Kids today.

"We are the kids today!" I protested. She laughed. And laughed.

I couldn't get her laughter out of my head. It haunted me. Could 31 really be the next phase? I started getting paranoid. As I drove around in my convertible, contemplating how good life is- scholarships around every corner, a new book nearly completed, a new tour deal in the works- I stopped to fill up. I left the pump in my car and let it go- 20,25,30,35,40 dollars...ridiculous. Across the pump, a sixteen year old guy was carefully watching the numbers. He was filling up his Monte Carlo, maroon like my old one, and from the early eighties. He concentrated on the dollars climbing up at lightening speed. His friends laughed at him. "Shut up!" he yelled at them.

His pump hit $5.11. "Damn!" he put the pump back, clutching a five dollar bill. His friends, squirelly and loud, screamed with laughter. He walked toward the little man in the box who sold cigarettes. I wondered how he hadn't paid yet. "Hey," I yelled. "You dropped a quarter."

"Nah, ain't mine, but thanks" he said.

"Take it. Must be yours because it was by your car," I insisted.

It clicked for him and I handed him the quarter. "Hey, thanks," he said, smiling. "That things is a gas-hog."

"I know, I used to have one. Older than yours."

"Older than that?! For real?!"

"Yeah," I said, feeling a little nostaglic. "It was a classic."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Iowa Summer Writing Program

New word on the street.

My summer adventures begin in Iowa City at the famed University of Iowa's Summer Writing Program, where I'm dedicating the entire month of June to creative fiction. And some memoir writing, which these days, thanks to author James Frey, has become creative fiction. A UI Creative Writing MFA student traveling on fellowship to Cuba is subletting her "writer's attic" apartment to me, complete...with...washer and dryer! For transportation, I'll probably be cruising in the convertible -I completely mean for that to sound as cheesy as it does- but there's a possibility I'll just bike around Iowa City. I have no idea what that looks like, but it sounds romantic as hell. I'm already jealous for my life next month.

I wasn't expecting to go to Iowa City, but a pricetag of scholarship doesn't hurt. Iowa City isn't the sort of boyfriend you turn down to the prom. You lose the weight, you make the dress from hand me down rayon if you have to, or pick a daisy from the neighbor's flowerbed, but you get your ass there and you shake it with the best of them. And that's exactly what I intend to do.

Did I mention the apartment has a washer and dryer?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Birthday Convertible!

I'm not one of those people who says, "Don't make a fuss over my birthday" or "PLEASE, no gifts!" You'll never hear me say, "Oh, my birthday was last week, but it's no big deal..." Maybe it's because my birthday falls during springtime and reminds me of fresh-mowed lawns and the end of school, that I believe, second to the Fourth of July, my birthday merits at least three weeks of celebration.

To get a jumpstart, I'm celebrating my 32nd birthday nearly a month early. I just bought a new (to me) convertible. I'm so proud of myself for navigating the frightening waters of dealerships and all things mechanical. In case you ever need help buying a car, I actually consider myself an expert on the research end: Kelley Blue Book, Carfax, Autotrader, CraigsList and even ebay motors. (Yes, they really do sell everything.)

It took weeks, but hen I saw my car, like an adoptive parent, I just knew she was mine. Even though the premium sound, six CD changer was a plus, I really only need one CD to start. I think the Beastie Boys know how to throw a good initiation if anyone can.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

My Urban Tribe and Missed Connection

I ruined my month-long run with Veganism this weekend. I had a cheeseburger. I drank alcohol. I had a glass of milk. (In a White Russian-two birds with one stone!) But as they say, it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye. Or in my case, feel like my hands are going numb. Time to jump back on the wheatcrack.

Thursday night didn't turn out to be open mic night at Dalva afterall (sorry for the false advertising). After some friends and I went to Dalva, we were hanging out at Kilowatt, and later, at Mecca. I ran into this really great guy I unsuccessfully did the fadeout with a few months back. More proof that game always comes around to bite you just when you aren't paying attention, thinking you'll pass go and collect two hundred bucks. It was good to see him and he invited me to his party the next night at Medjool. I found myself saying that I'd try to make it. Knowing full well that Fridays are my treatment days. And Friday nights I can't really go out.

Without disclosing all of the details and reindeer games of the weekend, the highlights were: drinking girl drinks with Suzanne at Mecca, laughing about the dot com-ing of age with Jim at Kilowatt, and tipping the bartender at Dalva with other people's money- a very clever technique I've developed. Another highlight was catching up with Kevin after his comedy show (and hearing the joke about me and my fear of the Incredible Hulk). From Swig-a Marina bar in the heart of the Tenderloin-we watched what I can only describe as Homeless American Idol perform in Union Square. We closed down the tourist spot Lefty O'Doul's and found ourselves singing (well, at least humming with no shame) to Queensryte as tourists from Midwestern states rocked out. Awesome.

One of the friends I was hanging out with this weekend sent me an email pointing out that I was someone's Missed Connection on Craigslist...This random admiration was like getting a unexpected valentine in the mail. It said:

blonde girl reading out loud at the Kilowatt - m4w - 29(mission district)
"You were there early in the evening, sitting up by the dartboards, reading something out loud for your friends. And you were very beautiful."

I was reading a magazine submission about Gen X. I was facing a May 1 deadline, and punched it out after about an hour. Deadlines create the best work sometimes.

Sunday, after sleeping in, a friend and I went out to the beach. It was totally stressful. Kids. Screaming. Everyone staking out their piece of land, iPods on full blast in their ears drowning out any serenity of the ocean. It was like wearing a bathing suit at rock concert. So we jetted and drove around. Ah, nothing like a little artificial A/C, new car smell and a bottlenecked scenic route to put one in nature.

Best of all, I later found the car I hope to buy. It's perfect! I don't want to jinx it, so I'll just wait until the paperwork goes through to make the big announcement.