Monday, February 28, 2011

Having a Gay Old Time in the Castro

San Francisco has some of the most vibrant neighborhoods in the world, one of which is most definitely its famous gay 'hood, the CASTRO!  Yesterday (nursing a bit of a hangover from a wild karaoke party the night before), I went to pick up my little boo, Freeman, and we headed out to lunch in the most colorful neighborhood in the city.

rainbow flags on every light post

And I really did have the most handsome little lunch date:

always a hit with the gays

Walking around the Castro, one is likely to stumble upon men walking tiny dogs in sweaters, shirtless bears in the windows of bars, and a plethora of sex toys in shop windows (yesterday even I came across something I didn't know existed . . . and that's sayin' a lot).  I'm always amused by the hilarious store names in the Castro:

on the left, my personal fave: Does Your Mother Know
and on the right, Hand Job Nails & Spa

A few months ago, I was driving home from babysitting Freeman, and was at a stop sign at 18th and Castro, when a totally naked man crossed the street (along with several other pedestrians who were clothed).  Now, this would not be weird at all had it been the Folsom St. Fair or Gay Pride weekend . . . but it was an average Wednesday evening around 8:30 pm.  

I love this city.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tell me about your music!

So I just read my friend Jessie's post (if you don't follow her blog, you should--we've become good friends & I can't wait to meet her in June!) in which she gives us a taste of her iTunes.

Remember that facebook survey that went around for a while with prompts, and you were supposed to answer with random songs from iTunes shuffle?  That was the only facebook survey I enjoyed.  Cause I love hearing all about what people are listening to!

It's very rare to find someone who listens to one genre of music.  Most of us are more dynamic than that, and therefore have fascinating iTunes libraries!

Here are my first 25 songs from iTunes shuffle:

Case of You--k.d. lang
Shaky Town--Jackson Browne
Carefree--The Perishers
The Great Escape--Patrick Watson (swoon-worthy song, btw)
Miss Independent--Kelly Clarkson
The Moon is a Magnet--Jon Foreman
Gone Till November--Wyclef Jean
Doesn't Mean Anything--Alicia Keys
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot--She & Him
A Matter of Minutes--Shawn Colvin (remember that song?)
Just a Memory--Notorious B.I.G. feat. The Clipse
Miss Misery--Elliott Smith
Best for Last--Adele
Nos Da Cariad--David Gray
For What It's Worth--Buffalo Springfield (the anti-war song?)
Goodnight L.A.--Counting Crows
Southern Man--Neil Young
Swallowed in the Sea--Coldplay (without a doubt my favorite Coldplay song)
Black Poppies--CocoRosie
As Long as You Follow--Fleetwood Mac
Building a Mystery--Sarah Maclachlan (I ran into her in a shoe store once)
In This Temple, As in the Hearts of Man for Whom He Saved the Earth--Sufjan Stevens
The Pretender--Jackson Browne
Heard it in a Love Song--Marshall Tucker Band


Thursday, February 24, 2011

When Your To Do List Makes You Want to Hibernate

Ever have that feeling?  After an incredibly restful (& fun!) weekend with my friend Elena, it was back to the grind this week.  My To Do list looks like this:

[ ] finish grading (all the student work from the past 6 weeks that I've ignored)
[ ] send out deficiency notices
[ ] finish planning the quarter's classes for San Quentin
[ ] write feedback on poems from this week's San Quentin class
[ ] call about dental insurance
[ ] email my doctor about my f'ed up back
[ ] finish writing & editing the narrative for Voice of Witness (a 10 hour project, minimum)
[ ] take bags upon bags of clothes I don't wear to the Goodwill
[ ] get oil changed since it was due about 3 months ago
[ ] call the parents of several students
[ ] pay multiple parking tickets (including the $360 bus zone violation)
[ ] write poem for next Cobras meeting
[ ] clean & organize my office
[ ] . . .  not to mention my house
[ ] mail several letters & packages
[ ] finish reading Snooki's book

As you might guess, there is only one thing on that list that interests me.  But given that I'm babysitting tonight (after I leave school) and quarter grades are due tomorrow at 3 pm, looks like I better get crackin.  So I'm off to attend to this:

while listening to this:

Hope your day is less work-heavy!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Me Facing Life

Would you believe that it was only in 2005 that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled out the death penalty for juveniles?  Until then, kids could be sentenced to death for crimes they committed.

However, no such law has been established when it comes to life sentences.  There are thousands of kids in the U.S. who have been given the infamous LWOP sentence: life without parole.  Kids as young as 14 have been sentenced to prison until their natural deaths, without any chance for parole.

This evening, I went to the San Francisco Main Public Library to see a screening of a new documentary called Me Facing Life: Cyntoia's Story.


It was an incredibly compelling account of Cyntoia Brown, a Tennessee girl who, frankly, was never dealt a fair hand.  Her mother gave birth to her at age 16, and confesses that she drank heavily every day while she was pregnant.  After Cyntoia was born, her mother began using crack cocaine and prostituting, resulting in danger & instability for Cyntoia.  According to psychologists, ages 0-3 are crucial when it comes to forming attachment, trust, decision-making, etc.  

Cyntoia was eventually adopted by a friend of the family, but was sexually abused, repeatedly, starting at age 7.  It comes as no surprise that by her early teens, she was doing drugs and hanging out with the wrong crowd.

One night, having escaped her violent pimp, Cyntoia walked to a local gas station, where she was picked up by a 43 year old man looking for sex.  He took her back to his place and showed her several of his guns, and after he grabbed her forcefully, she shot and killed him.

Cyntoia, at the hearing to determine whether she would be tried as an adult

In the end, she was tried in adult court, found guilty, and sentenced to life in prison.  Producer/Director Daniel Birman explores issues of biology, abuse, and social factors as they pertain to crime and sentencing.  

I urge you to watch the trailer here, and try to catch the documentary when it airs on PBS!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Valentine's Sleepover in Pictures

Our 6th Annual All Girls Valentine's Sleepover could not have been more fun (okay it could have, but only if my far away peeps could have attended, and/or if Tim Riggins had been our personal exotic dancer).  There were 14 or 15 of us total (some on the early side, some on the late), and we did not disappoint in terms of girliness; we talked about boys, friendship, bras, and birth control.  Ha!

Anna, Myisha, and me drinking Valentinis and eating cupcakes

fake flower says wassup to real flower.  holla!

in my right hand: The Slammer wine
in my left hand: Poet's Row wine
pretty much sums up my life

triptych with Diana :)

at my house, everyone is offered a snuggie
Ellie and Anna were my only takers

Erica, on the left, is my next door neighbor
Yael, on the right, is the life of the party

And did I mention we had gift bags with red eye masks (thanks Faiza!), candy heart bracelets, heart notepads, and love lotto tickets??  I already can't wait till next year!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday I'm in Love!

1. This Saturday is my 6th Annual All Girls Valentine's Sleepover!
I am so excited, and I'm telling you, my apartment's gonna look like a Cupid explosion!  I've been gathering banners, flags, napkins, plates, cupcakes, red candy dishes, heart placemats, etc.  It's pretty much gonna be amazing.  Especially since Amy got me some Spanish conversation hearts for the party. ;)  Pics to follow!

2. My friend Elena is arriving from San Diego today!  
I'm going to pick her up after school.  Can't wait!  We went to grad school together for a year, and then she moved back down to San Diego, so we only get to see each other once or twice a year.  Yay for visits from far-away friends!  We're gonna have dinner & drinks in my hood in Oakland tonight--keepin' it low-key so we can gear up for tomorrow's shenanigans.  

3. Homeroom
What's better than a school-themed mac & cheese restaurant?  Well . . . not a whole lot.  There's a new spot (just opened) in north Oakland called Homeroom (um, how cute is that?) that specializes in all kinds of mac & cheese.  Do yourself a favor and check out the menu here.  I'll expect you all to book plane tickets to the bay shortly thereafter. ;)

You know what I'm not in love with?  This d-bag who kicked Jacee out of his group on Wednesday night.  WTF, yo.  Go back to your karaoke bar, cause there's no room for @$$holes on Idol!

Who are your faves?  At this point, I think the 15 year old Lauren with the wavy blonde hair is pretty top-notch.  That girl has a powerhouse voice!  I also love the Seth Rogan lookalike who rocked the upright bass last night.  Whoa!  And homeboy can scat.

Happy Friday! xo

Thursday, February 17, 2011


As a writer, I have a serious problem with plagiarism.  I mean, if we're gonna have a prison system in this country, we might as well throw plagiarists in there with the drug dealers and thieves.  Perhaps my deep hatred for plagiarism is rooted in guilt; you see, when I served as Editor of the Tulane Review, I published a plagiarized poem.  Of course I had no idea that the "poet," whose name by the way is emblazoned in my head, had plagiarized her lines right out of a well-known short story that had been published in the New Yorker.  Suffice to say that when I was alerted to this situation, I furiously tried to hunt down the "author" of this poem and give her a piece of my mind.  But she dodged me well.  

Universe, I am so sorry for this wretched error!  I still carry guilt from it!

Which brings me to pop music plagiarists.  I'll start with the most minor offender (albeit still annoying):

Miss Jordin Sparks

Her song:  Battlefield
Lyrics in question:  "Why does love always feel like a battlefield/ a battlefield/ a battlefield?

Original song:  Pat Benatar--Love is a Battlefield
Lyrics in question:  "Love is a battlefield . . ."

I mean seriously, girlie, that metaphor HAS BEEN DONE BEFORE!  And not only has it been done before, but in one of the standard 80's hymns.  Why on earth did you rip it off???


Baby Bash feat. E-40

His song:  Go Girl
Lyrics in question:  "California face with a down south rump"

Original Song:  Sir Mix-A-Lot--I Like Big Butts
Lyrics in question:  "LA face with a Oakland booty"

Baby Bash, you may be kinda cute, but this is clearly a rip off.  Sure, you're broadening the scope a little (California/south vs. LA/the bay), but nonetheless, you're a copycat!  Well, I mean, your songwriters are copycats.


And the worst of all . . . although it pains me to say it, cause I love me some Brit Brit . . .

Miss Britney Spears

Her song:  Hold it Against Me
Lyrics in question:  "If I said I want your body now/ would you hold it against me?"

Original song:  Bellamy Brothers--If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body
Lyrics in question:  "If I said you had a beautiful body/ would you hold it against me?"

Sorry Marianne, I know she's your girl, but damn!  That is one unoriginal pun.  I just don't understand why singers (and/or their songwriters?) think it's okay to straight up steal someone else's lyrics without so much as a nod to the original song.  All it does is remind me of the grave error I committed when I published that godforsaken poem eight years ago.  Geez.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My little valentine

Jude Freitag puts all other men in my life to shame.  He beams at me, snuggles with me, and gives me lots of hugs.  He's my sweetest little valentine every day of the year!  Don't those dark brown eyes bear straight into your heart?

p.s. His older brother, Milo, who proudly gave me a Dora the Explorer valentine card, isn't so bad himself.

p.p.s. And a big thank you to their parents for sharing them with me!

Monday, February 14, 2011


Today I am sporting my red Miu Miu slingbacks*:

and this little headband in my hair:

toting these for my lil' monster-students:

and with copies of this poem to share with them:

First Poem for You**
            Kim Addonizio

I like to touch your tattoos in complete
darkness, where I can't see them.  I'm sure of
where they are, know by heart the neat
lines of lightning pulsing just above
your nipple, can find, as if by instinct, the blue
swirls of water on your shoulder where a serpent
twists, facing a dragon.  When I pull you
to me, taking you until we're spent
and quiet on the sheets, I love to kiss
the pictures in your skin.  They'll last until
you're seared to ashes; whatever persists
or turns to pain between us, they will still
be there.  Such permanence is terrifying.
So I touch them in the dark; but touch them, trying.


Seriously: what's not to love about Valentine's Day?  However, my Valentine's Day promises to be quite untraditional, as instead of savoring a romantic dinner tonight, I will be teaching love poems at San Quentin State Prison.  What a hilarious place to spend the day of love!  It will certainly remind me that there are far worse positions to be in than dateless. ;)

What are y'all up to today??

*Let it be known that I will not be wearing said Miu Miu slingbacks to the prison tonight.
**Did you notice it's a perfect Shakespearean sonnet?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Introducing Mr. Rowan Skye Yalin!

As many of you know, my dear friend Heather (whose blog, A Measure Of . . . , many of you read) had her baby a couple weeks ago!  It's such a trip to take a lil' journey down memory lane and remember all the wild (and maybe a little reckless) times Heather and I had in grad school.  We tore up the streets of San Francisco, that's for sure!  She was one of my first friends in the MFA program (we met in 2004), and we've been peas in a pod ever since.

I finally have permission to share baby's deets with you, so here goes!

Mr. Rowan Skye Yalin was born on January 27th at 3:17 am.  8 lbs 12 oz, 21 inches--big baby!  Though you wouldn't know it cause he looks so cute and teeny now!  Here are some pics from my visit today:

Serkan, Heather, and baby Rowan

papa & son
(and my favorite picture of the baby)

with Auntie Claire :)

I gotta brag on my friends for a moment.  Heather looks amazing.  Almost like she did before she got pregnant (what???).  And Serkan is the sweetest guy around--he's adorable, kind, totally devoted, and incredibly charming.  What lucky people to have found each other.

I came over with champagne & designer duds:

cause I believe in babies with style.  And drinking. ;)

Congrats, Yalins!  He's mighty cute.

And now I'm off to my friend Truong's art opening at a gallery in Oakland.  Goodness, I have talented friends.  Happy weekend!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday I'm in Love!

It's Friday, and I'm exhausted.  But I'm wearily in love with these things:

1. All the Valentine's love  that's been pouring in my mailbox!  If you're struggling with making your own Valentines, check out Micaela's gorgeous, hand-crafted cards.  Hers put mine to shame!  And check out this loot--Faiza sent decorations for my all-girls V-Day sleepover, and my friend Linda sent hilarious chocolate.  So excited:

this is just the beginning!

2.  This blog's  layout and design.  I love it!  I came across it through Carrie's white denim in winter challenge, and I immediately emailed the sweet blogger, Kai, to ask who did her design.  Now, to spend $60 on a new blog layout or not to?  Isn't her blog perfect looking?  I'm smitten.

3. These Jeffreys:

Normally I like super-feminine shoes, but something about these clunky, modern platforms has me all atwitter.  

Hope everyone's having a delightful Friday!  It sure is easier to get through the day knowing there is a weekend ahead of you.  Unfortunately, I will be hunkered down all weekend staring at my computer screen since I have an upcoming deadline for the Voice of Witness project I'm working on (transcribing the interviews I've done and turning them into first person narratives).  I love the project so dearly, and I'm so fortunate to be a part of it . . . but man, is it time-consuming!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

It's the end of an era.

Something devastating happened last night.

The series finale of Friday Night Lights aired.  And I had to say goodbye to Tim Riggins.

I've been known to have some serious tv crushes in my life.  I used to get alarmingly jealous when Pacey would kiss Joey on Dawson's Creek.  And of course there was Ben Covington, and the universal ladykiller Jordan Catalano (whom Marianne posted about yesterday).

But none of these compare to Tim Riggins.  I'm not kidding when I say that I'd jump at the chance to marry Taylor Kitsch, having never met him, based solely on his portrayal of Tim Riggins.  Wouldn't think twice.

My best friend and I have a longstanding crush on the poet Li-Young Lee, and years ago we'd play a game called YGTSWLYL.  It stood for "You Get to Sleep with Li-Young Lee . . .," and the idea was that we'd try to come up with the most horrifying "if" to see if the other would agree to it.

Exempli gratia:

You get to sleep with Li-Young Lee, but you have to fly a confederate flag from your front porch for the next 5 years

You get to sleep with Li-Young Lee, but you also have to sleep with Rush Limbaugh

You get to sleep with Li-Young Lee, but you have to move to rural Kansas

You get the idea.

Suffice to say that the answer to any YGTSWTimRiggins propositions would be yes, yes, yes!

It is with love, lust, and a heavy heart that I bid adieu to the finest creature that ever graced the television screen.  Your character may be gone, but he will never be forgotten.

I honestly love you

So who's your biggest tv crush?  Have you ever had it this bad?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Should a chiropractor make you cry?

Today I had my first visit with a chiropractor.  It was long overdue, given my serious (and age-old) struggles in this arena:

The chiropractor thinks that all my problems began when my mama had a C-section (um, not that she had a choice).  She says I was pulled from her belly by my head and neck, which caused vertebral misalignment, which is now the root of my dreadful back pain.  Etc, etc.  In any case, a (slightly) alleviated L5/sacrum intersection was not the only thing I noticed while driving home from her office . . .

I was kind of an emotional basket case!  I got teary-eyed on the drive home, and then wandered around my house thinking about sad songs & failed relationships.  WTF kind of "alignment" did she perform???  Because I was afraid to exercise after my first chiro visit, I instead focused my energies on not breaking into The Box.

There it sits, atop one of the 5 bookshelves in my living room (one just holds movies and magazines.  but the rest are overflowing with books.  I have a problem).  It looks harmless--just a black box--but little does the unknowing visitor know, it contains masses of old love letters that, at a mere glance, can send me into the pitiful throes of nostalgia & longing (and sobbing).

Fortunately, I was successful.  I limited my time listening to my "lovesick volume 5" playlist, only had 2 glasses of wine, and managed to avoid The Box.  But what on earth is going on with me?  Here's hoping that I snap out of it ASAP.

Do any of you have to endure these super-emotional days?  I mean seriously y'all--I got a sweet email from a co-worker and started crying.  This is not very productive . . .

Monday, February 7, 2011

A bag full of treasures (for you!)

Micaela is one of my favorite people and she is having a giveaway of her favorite things!

Isn't that a sweet idea?  And let me tell you--it's not one to be missed.  A serious Monday pick-me-up (God knows I could use one).  Wanna know what she's offering?

 All of those lovely things (UO blank polaroid, rose magnet, bow earrings, Falsies mascara, Milano cookies, collectable coffee mug, mixed tape of Micaela's favorite songs, and The Time Traveler's Wife)

tucked into this adorable tote:

Go enter to win here, and add her sweet little giveaway button to your blog for an extra chance!

But before you do that, tell me this:  If you had a giveaway of your favorite things, what would it include?  I think mine would consist of:

*a 1/2 pound of Blue Bottle coffee
*a Pilot pen
*OPI for Sephora Only Gold for Me topcoat nail polish
*some big, dangly earrings
*a book of poems (maybe Li-Young Lee's The City in Which I Love You)

Tell me about yours!

p.s.--I just discovered another lovely giveaway at Blue Eyed Freckle!  Enter here to win these beauties:

She's always got tons of adorable crafts, tutorials, etc. on her blog, so hurry on over!