Thursday, May 29, 2008

home is where you feed your cat

last night began relatively normal, it was yet another oyster tuesday in an endless string of evenings that I spend surrounded by raw fish and yuppies who are across the dining room writing real-time complaints about me on yelp from their iphones. I ended up sitting down at the sushi bar and having dinner for the last half hour of my shift because we had only three customers in the building and I chewed my soba noodles lackadaisically, envisioning a smattering of tumbleweeds rolling across the floor. when I got back to the treehouse at 11 sharp, rob was moving his belongings from the front room to the vacant one upstairs that val abandoned for warmer pastures in the south, and derek was executing his surly drunk bit with particular gusto. I fed rufus, clumsily spilling half of the remaining contents of the bag onto the floor and he barreled into the room from where he'd been lounging upon hearing the familiar clinking of kibble in his dish. he went straight for the pile of food directly adjacent to begin winnowing away at the overpour and I scratched him behind the ears. "good boy. good kitty."

an hour or so later of wasting time on instant messenger, I grabbed my reserve bottle of cook's from the fridge and started walking to lindsay's. maren was over and we left together after tucking her in, under the guise of "going to sparky's" for cheeseburgers when both of us knew full well we weren't going to make it past safeway's booze aisle. we acquired two more bottles of champagne (upgraded this time to korbel, the champagne of champagnes) and ran into this hipster bird whose name escaped me but I remembered her handle on myspace. (sick sad world.) "bipp" invited us to a house party on divisadero and haight street and we obliged to tag along, and as we exited the supermarket both watched as 9 people piled into her camry and we yelled, "it's cool, we'll walk!".

it was still warm out and the clouds were hovering motionless and eerie in a slate colored sky, illuminated by a perfect halloween moon. maren and I clutched our bottles for dear life and I lamented to myself of the memories I had for every corner of the cutty streets in lower haight. being followed home from by a crackhead from the transfer on duboce, kicking a mailbox so hard that I nearly snapped my leg off the day after jorge died, fillmore, daily brunch gossip with linds and maren at katz, walking up steiner in my red coat, hand in hand with jon. my nostalgia-o-meter's needle was twitching and straining so far past ten that I half expected it to start spinning. san francisco is the simple answer to the home conundrum I've struggled with for years.

suddenly, I lost interest in the house party. at said house party, I would not be able to talk loudly about penis, drug use, social networking sites, scabies, psychotic families, or the fact that I once held a candlelight vigil in my room at a shrine of pictures I printed out when aaliyah's plane crashed. at least not without a bottle of whiskey, and now it was after three am and tragically past corner store operation hours. maren and I needed to find a grassy knoll and just have a girls night. we found one that suited our bubbly whimsy and proceed to go hog wild with slumber party talk, and it felt like we'd snuck out and might get grounded for life if we were caught. but, fuck it, we were rebels, we were invincible, this was our city! I felt 16 and undeafeatable. a cop car rolled by going excruciatingly slowly and I panicked, just the way I used to in high school. I knew full well that I'd be the only one of my friends who wouldn't be able to run and thus be hog tied, thrown in the clink, and then tortured in an interrogation room while corpulent law enforcement officers shoved bamboo chutes up my nailbeds to get me to crack and tell them what other plaza rats had been smoking marijuana in the rose garden on the night of the 22nd. fortunately, the cop kept driving, despite the fact that we were clearly hobo-ing it up in the park with two open containers in the middle of the night.

at four am we started the trek to orphan andy's 24 hour diner, sufficiently buzzed and hollering as we danced down the sidewalk, no doubt much to the castro's sleepy houses' chagrin. when we arrived, maren serendipitously ran into the guy he has a crush on, who happened to be at the diner with another young man. at first glance, I thought that his distress was due to the fact that the young man was out with another, and maren hastily excused himself after ordering his cheeseburger and I watched him disappear into the darkness through the thick paned windows. I wasn't entirely sure he would return, but I was salivating over my impending beef and cheese and carb bonanza, and would have been happy with all outcomes that included me stuffing my face.

20 minutes later, and still before the food arrived, maren materialized in a puff of rainbow glitter and sat himself down in the booth again as if he'd never left. I realized from his flushed cheeks and dewy forehead that he'd just run at least a mile roundtrip to go home and change his shoes. the first pair were perfectly fine, but he found it desperately important to switch up the footwear, as if his potential paramour would have noticed such a thing as perfectly fine black boots in the first place. apparently, the shoes worked, because maren abandoned me again to confer with crush-boy out front and they proceeded to make out against a lamp post for another 15 minutes, both of them having left me next to the table that sat the weakest link that crush-boy been planning to take home before hurricane maren blew into town. needless to say, I felt a small kinship with this young gay dude with questionably waxed eyebrows, as we were obviously the bridesmaids, and never the brides. I shot him a sympathetic look as my cheesesteak was set down in front of me and I picked it up and moved over to his booth. "mind if I join you?" I asked, and he shook his head no. I stuck my hand in a pile of curly fries as I shook my head and sighed, "foiled again, my friend. foiled again."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

listen to me, I know what I'm talking about

the treehouse sits quietly today, stoic and drafty, a glorious fishbowl fortress who belongs to us as much as we belong to her. there are changes abound within the walls and I'm trying to hold on for dear life while still remembering to scoop the shitbox and empty the dishwasher. val is moving out in four days and we've yet to find a replacement, but I'm characteristically much more concerned with things of lesser consequence. (amy winemouse??) I suppose I just trust the universe to provide us with the perfect craigslister of our dreams, one who is neither seen nor heard, nor smelt. I've got half a mind to turn the extra room into a cat gymnasium for rufus and officially assume the position of lady of the house, but it's always nice to know that you can borrow a tampon from someone in a moment of desperation. (rob never has them anymore. fucking menopause.)

back in the glory days, I was the governess of a home nicknamed the crunk station, and although I can't remember the precise moment that its moniker was chosen, it certainly had more of a ring to it than Filthy Hipster Flop House. the crunk station was perpetually abuzz with chaos, hormones, destruction, booze and a general maintained and fully expected madness. we had a higher turnover rate than a mcdonalds in hunters point, but only one of the sixteen people I lived with during my two year stint there left on bad terms, and one could only expect as such from from germany's answer to a young courtney love. leaving the crunk station was a landmark moment, and an emotional landmine at that. my last moments there were spent sitting with lindsay on the living room floor in a viking hat, sweaty, exhausted and stressed about my immediate impending homelessness. linds had been helping me clean out the entire apartment so I would be able to get my deposit back, which was no small task considering that it was filled to the brim with five years worth of abandoned crap the others had left. we were surrounded by giant black glad bags, all bloated and ominously final, like a gathering of obese grim reapers, and she warbled, "this is all we have! ALL WE HAVE IS SHIT!" before bursting into hysterical tears. luckily, with the closing of the crunk station's door, the shotwell mansion's opened, after a mere two months of surfing couches with true cowabunga passion. (two words for that era: GOD AWFUL.)

anyway, now I'm lost, I don't recall what my point was. it's likely that what I was getting at is that the treehouse is my home, for better and for worse because I love it, and the inhabitants are some of the best people I know. it's far from crunk, but as much as I am loathe to remember... sometimes change is good.

and now... a crunk montage!

this is a note left on the keyboard of the atrocious german's laptop.

this was us in happier times, beer soaked times.

this is a whole 'nother blog entry.

zoe's chin balls

jorge in my room, after getting caught in the rain (nice crazy eye, right?)

steen in the crunk living room, first 3P party

glam party flier!

bay to breakers '06

lindsay on the last crunk day, in the last crunk moments

Sunday, May 18, 2008

don't look back

I'm in sonoma for the first time in 6 months, and it's proving to be vaguely familiar, but far from comfortable. the ruggeri compound has shifted and evolved in my absence into an alien configuration, and the home conundrum that all young people are forced to ponder is insistently presented at every turn. the linden street house has been emptied and sits unoccupied on the driveway, wooden shingles warping from the elements' unforgiving wear, and the once impeccably manicured rose bushes lining the perimeter are unfurling into wild, thorny shrubbery. the bunny cages near the chicken pen have sat empty for longer than two decades, but my grandfather still has a flock of 8 hens who keep the need to buy commercial eggs at bay. there's a stool next to the propane tank that has grown a layer of rust so thick that it's hardly recognizable as anything other than scrap metal, whose purpose was to provide an inconspicuous and shady spot for my grandpa to sit while he was shooting the pigeons that would try and pilfer the feed he set out for his roost. the vineyard acreage adjacent, once lush and picturesque is now empty, the weeds creeping in from the field and spreading like moss over the rocky rubble. my grandpa apparently rides his tractor in circles over the graveyard of vines with regularity, and it shows, the terrain rough from being masticated by steel teeth. my room at the main house has been turned into storage for crazy nene, the only remaining signs that I'd ever inhabited those four walls being a nail polish spill stain on the hardwood floor and a forgotten marilyn monroe light switch plate.
visiting renee was more intense than usual, but I couldn't tell if it was because she was on too many meds or off of the ones that keep her in some semblance of working condition. she is wearing sunflower pajamas at four pm, and hasn't been out of the house in weeks except to take the possibly inbred and invariably developmentally stunted black lab to do her business. she pulls me to the closet gleefully and slings a fur coat around my shoulders, and I feel them hunch underneath the surprising weight.
"it's seal skin! you can have it when I die,"she says, "you're the only person who would appreciate it."
"thanks ne."
"your welcome." and with that, she whisks the seal from my back and is on the move again, this time to the back bedroom, where she makes a theatric production of banishing the dog and locking her out in the hallway. she looks at me for recognition and appreciation and I nod enthusiastically. my years of hatred for that dog haven't gone unnoticed.
renee pats a spot next to her on her bed/army cot and motions for me to sit down, and as soon as I do she begins yelling in a sing-song arpeggio,
"I want to suck your NAZI COCK, BERSERKER!"
"so you've been watching a little clerks, I take it?"
"I want to suck your NAZI CUNT, BERSERKERRRR!"
"errr," I hesistated, "I don't think those are the right words... I'm pretty sure actually that it was "would you like some making fu--"
"oh, who cares. its clerks! I'll make my own words!"
I avert my eyes to the gallery of family photos on the wall haphazardly hung with scotch tape, and then she asks me if I wanted to try one of her pills. I shrug and silently decide it couldn't hurt, and watch her meticulously survey the veritable full pharmacy of little orange bottles that sit lined up on the shelf like toy soldiers. her finger stops on a bottle in the middle with the label peeled off.
"oohhh." she coos, snatching the cap off, "these ones are hot tuna good." she hands me a round white tablet that looks like a horse tranquilizer. I turn it over in my hands a few times.
"what is it?" I ask.
"oh, I don't know, it'll make you sleep like a baby, though. it's like an ambi-trazo-butri-nesta-done, or something."
"jackie gave 'em to me. she feeds them to her dog."
"what?!" my eyes widen.
"yeah, I know." she chuckles, throwing her hands up, "I keep telling her it's no wonder he lays there playing dead like a zombie all the time!"
"jesus christ."
"SUUUPERSTAR!" sings renee, and she hands me an empty listerine pocket strip container that is labeled in fine point sharpie, NOVEMBER PURSE.
"what's this for?"
"they make perfect pill holders." she watches as I effortlessly slip my canine tranq inside and snap the lid shut.
"you're right."

recently, someone in the family had the bright idea of introducing renee to to internet, perhaps to help her keep busy in her bat cave of a bedroom. she divulges to me that she has discovered myspace, and has been avidly stalking my cousin's pages but couldn't click into mine due to the fact that it was private. she wants to know what I'm hiding. I tell her nothing. she asks if she can add me as a friend and I immediately say no, no way. she insists that there's nothing that I could do to offend or surprise her, to which I roll my eyes.

"I do bad things, too, you know." she glowers at me.
"sure," I reply, "the key to getting away with them is not getting caught."

Saturday, May 17, 2008


it's four AM and the streets are still a ruckus and my head is a little on the messy side, but still more level than it has been in a while. I celebrated the beginning of my 23rd trip around the sun yesterday night, and the champagne and good company felt like jumper cables set to re-instill depleted faith in humanity. (and as I type this, I am purposefully and staunchly refusing to pay attention to the bum fight that is occurring underneath my window. "you stole my CRACK!" is not exactly piquant to my birthday revelation.)

walking perhaps one of the more shameful walks of such that I've entertained, my mind was awash with cheerful meanderings. yes, twenty three, you sly minx, you didn't come quite soon enough but oh-- you're here! and oh, how I'm world weary but hopeful, how I am ready and free, how I've learned to forgive some trespasses and forget the rest. twenty three, you haven't forsaken me! I walked down haight street at 8:30 in the morning in 4 inch high tramp shoes, a gold lame dress and my hair sticking 7 ways from sunday, grinning like a five dollar hooker who just got a grand for a happy ending. but, oh, how I was happily audacious. upon my return to the treehouse, I found the grandpas in the kitchen discussing software bugs while sipping on dragonfruit vitamin water, val asleep with the door open (again) in her underpants with all of her limbs sticking out from under her bedspread, and jon sitting up in his bed looking five years aged and undeniably worse for the wear.  he told me he hadn't slept in three days. I haven't slept at home in three days. he sighed in a markedly sad, exhausted exasperation and said that there wasn't much left to say that wouldn't be redundant. this is perhaps the most perceptive and logical realization we've agreed on thus far... but I still want for us to fight fair.

oh, twenty three, to be on the other side looking back and realizing that sometimes, the grass is brown on both sides and one must simply grab a backhoe and start landscaping. oh, twenty three, you surely are my 6 foot sunflower that I'll dazzle the county fair with. oh, twenty three, I slumbered on air mattress with a good looking musician, and I certainly couldn't have done it without you. and my laptop came in the mail, today. we've got 363 days left, just you and I, we'll show everyone just what we're made of...

piss, vinegar, molecules.

"what you lookin' at, round-eye?"

don't you wish yo manager was a freak like mine?

I call this one, "cheesus christ"
all you need is bottle service.

this is rob's best Not Having Fun At Your Stupid Party Face
lemur lindsay
hot. hungover. happy. baby's first macbook photo.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

carnivores vs. weenies

allow me to get this off of my ample chesticles:

I hate vegans. they're pretentious assholes who inconsiderately accost the world with their putrid tofurky farts and righteous attitudes, and almost all of them have extremely bad tattoos. take for instance, last night, when hipster jesus came into the restaurant with his girlfriend lisa loeb-ette. they sat down and pondered the menu, and the young man stroked his biblical beard several times while pushing up his sleeves with the other hand to expose (albeit not shockingly) his terrible, ironic tattoos. they both were rather difficult with their orders, and I watched from afar as julia went through the slim options we have for non-meat, non-dairy folks and thought to myself what an unfulfilling culinary life they must lead. I wanted to pull up a chair and charitably explain the pragmatism behind accepting the fact that sometimes the only thing that will make one feel better will be deep fried mozzarella sticks with a side of dead baby cow in piccata sauce. going into a restaurant and asking for vegan food is like strolling into a whorehouse and asking where they hide the nuns. do us all a favor, tighten the straps on your birkenstocks and start the long and lonely walk to rainbow grocery where you may attain some ripe brussel sprouts and flax seed oil. I've never met a vegan I didn't want to punch in the genitals.

whew. feel better now.

my birthday is in EIGHT DAYS, and I'm finally getting a computer. I'm so excited. there are so many writing projects I've had on hold...

things are looking up.

Friday, May 2, 2008

can you hear me now?

yesterday was actually mostly pretty lovely. a sunny spring day off from sushi slinging has been rare, and I was struck by the inspiration to hoof it all the way down to the ferry building, even despite having recently developed something I could only really accurately describe as carpal toe syndrome. once there I strolled down the pier and sat on the edge of a dock that I had to hop a fence to access, and I pulled out my moleskin to get some strife purged from my brain by way of some nimble fingers. I quickly discovered that I was without a pen. my next choice was to chainsmoke like a troubled eurotrash teen, but I had forgotten my lighter, too. my ill equipped fate aside, I was still enjoying the briny breeze and the me-time. later ended up at vesuvio in north beach later where I located a ballpoint, wrote for an hour or so and then started the trek home.
after bingo night at the knockout with zoe and her foreign neighbor friends, I returned home rather buzzed and missing jon something awful. I sent some test-the-waters texts and was informed that he'd just left the treehouse. immediately my brain was set ablaze with ridiculous scenarios of where he might be, perhaps in a hot tub at the hyatt with a bevy of hustler honeys who were stroking his tawny red hair and feeding him decadent blintzes and pink champagne through a curly straw. or, even worse, simply with that wretched ex-girlfriend of his. the higher likelihood is that he was with his work buddies having a pint two blocks away, but once I get started with paranoid delusions, it's difficult to stop.
needless to say, within minutes I was sobbing hysterically, face buried in a mountain of orange pillows that were soaking up the salt water and misery. (I knew I shouldn't have skipped therapy this week.) this went on for a little while when suddenly, I could have SWORN I'd heard my father's voice, albeit very faintly, from somewhere in my room. I sat up, looked around wildly and wondered if I had finally lost my damn mind. but then, clear as day, I heard him again saying, "christina? christina poo?"
I always hated it when he called me that.
I dug around in my purse for my cell phone, and saw that he was and had been on the line for two and a half minutes. horrified, I ended the call and dropped the cell back on the bed. I stared at it like it was a shrunken head. the phone had been closed! I couldn't have even pushed a button to make a call in the first place, and he's certainly not on my recent log, it just so happened that my phone became possessed and called the last person I would ever call in a moment of distress.
"fuck." I said. rufus meowed inquisitively. "shit, shit, shit."
I could only imagine having to explain to the other roommates why the cops had shown up looking for a big blonde in some sort of extremely dire trouble. I flipped open my newly cabalistic phone and called my dad back.
"hey, dad." I murmured, snorgling.
"christina? daughter? what the hell--"
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, everything is fine."
"well I just picked up the phone, I mean, it's unlike you to call me in the first place, but it's the middle of the night and--"
"I know, I'm sorry, my phone..." I struggled for an explanation, "it's possessed. or something, I'm not sure, it just sort of called you by itself, I wasn't even touching it."
he absorbed this for a second, and said rather incredulously, "what's going on? it sounds like you're being mugged in the tenderloin. do you have a gun to your head? if you do, cough twice!"
"no, no. no! I'm just having a hard time."
"ah. yeah, the vampire?" this was a reference to my father having told me that most, if not all redheads were blood sucking occult worshippers.
"yes, the vampire."
"well, break ups are difficult, you know."
I sniffed in affirmation.
he continued, "it took me five some-eyed years to get over your mother."
"eight." I corrected him. "and you don't really seem over it."
"you may be right."
"I usually am." I replied, finally calming down a bit.
"... daughter?"
"maybe we should take this as a sign," he said, "that you should talk to your dear old dad more often."
"how about you call me this week, just to talk."
"ha. what, you didn't enjoy me calling just to cry?"
"are you okay?"
"yeah, I'm going to bed. sorry, again."
and with that, the second conversation I've had with him all year ended. now, this is a man who I hear from on the odd holiday through an awkward voicemail that sounds more like a telemarketing ploy rather than a paternal outreach. it's really just bizarre, I have no idea how in the hell my phone did that. is it a sign? is it merely a sign that it's time to perform an exorcism on my gadgetry?
I don't know. but I'd better be careful, pay the bill and try not to piss it off in the meantime.