December 30th, 2002


Self-indulgence run amuck

I read a lot of magazines and newspapers this time of year because they are full of lists. Maybe it’s the short attention span thing, but I love ‘em. Top tens, bottom tens, memorable moments, people who died: even hack journalists can write end of year columns worth reading, if just to refresh the reader’s hate.

And now that I have an LJ, I feel the need to join the club. In fact I think all my "friends" should. Here are some important happenings from my life last year. I apologize to my loyal readers for mentioning some events that I already posted about. Links are provided for the newcomers.

Bad Things:

Worst Pain From April to October I was either taking pain killers or suffering because of my teeth. There was much needle-sticking, drilling, removing, falling out, and ill-fitting before it was done. I even devoted a whole week of my LJ to dental stories but they are also interspersed throughout the year. Guilt, pain, worry, frustration, doubt, and hate were some of the many emotions I experienced over these seven months. And think about having a job that involves tasting food as a basic function when you’re having a hate/love relationship with your own mouth.

It also really cut into my drinking time as I’ve decided that I’m too old to mix pain killers and alcohol. . . much.

Biggest Reason That I Occasionally Wish I was Apolitical Zionist threats at home and at work. It’s still too close to write about actually. All I can say is that being publicly named as being anti-Israel brings out the nutcases. Prepare for being called a Nazi, a barrage of big media bad press, and the feeling that you, literally, need to watch your back.

People Who I Never Met But I’ll Miss Anyway Goodbye June Jordan*. So long Joey and Dee Dee. Farewell Joe Strummer.

I wrote about June Jordan here. My Joe Strummer writing is just back a few days and not much about him anyways.

Worst Thing that Happened to a Very Close Friend Getting queer-bashed outside a Drag King event. The bashers were caught and a trial is coming but this shit takes a toll on even the strongest people. And my friend is one of the strongest people I know.

2002 re-cap continued

Best Things Having to do with Cheese (or Work):

New Favorite Cheeses I know some of you read my journal just for the cheese stories. This is just for you. I had too many favorites to name just one so I picked categories. These cheeses are my new favorites, not necessarily cheese new to the world.

Soft ripened: Andante Minuet. Costing just a little less than a down payment on a San Francisco apartment building, this cheese is made from 90% goat milk and 10% crème fraiche. You get the goat tanginess and the cow richness. Made by one of the nicest and humblest cheese makers around too. She even delivers them herself every other Saturday. And when this article appeared in the Sunday paper, all of a sudden almost every female Asian customer we have wanted to try her cheese.

Semi soft: La Serena. It’s an Iberian Peninsula-style cheese from Spain. This part of Spain and the connecting part of Portugal are unique in the world for the way their cheese can taste rich and sour at the same time. Made from raw sheep milk it’s also nutty and a little pungent. Cold, it’s semi-soft,. At room temp it oozes out of the rind. It’s also made from a traditional non-animal rennet that uses thistles not the lining of a mammal’s stomach.

Aged: Italian Piave. But you have to get the wheels aged over nine months or it’s just an ordinary cheese. Sharp, salty and sweet like caramel, I just hack at it with a knife and eat the little bits like candy. Not as sweet as a 2+ year aged Dutch gouda, but with the sharpness and nuttiness of a Parmigiano Reggiano.

Worst Advice From a Supposed Expert One cheese distributor sent out a letter to its customers suggesting how to deal with the new USDA organic standards. One of the gems contained within for maintaining the integrity of organic cheese was "clean cutting boards between organic and commercial cheeses". Uh, we clean our boards between every cheese. Could you please send me a list of your retailers who don’t?

Best Place to See My Co-Workers Tattoos The annual Western Worker-Cooperative Conference. Sure, it’s serious business and all, lots of workshops and networking and all that. But it’s been held at a hippie resort with clothing optional hot springs for the last eight years so one sees more of one’s co-workers than can be expected outside of a sexual harassment lawsuit (or one of Anarqueso’s parties). East coast conference = college campus. West coast conference = rustic cabins in a national Park with natural hot tubs. I’m so happy I grew up in California.

"How do you like my fucking feelings?" -- 2002 continued

Best Things Entertainment-Wise:

Best Movie No One Saw "Martin" (scroll down a little). I saw it at the Jewish Film Festival and it’s not quite feature length so that kind of event might be your best bet. Incredibly smart film looking at the way official memories of The Holocaust are bureaucratized and museumified. Here’s what I wrote about it on 8/5/02:

" 'Martin' was the best movie I’ve seen in awhile. An Israeli goes to Dachau and meets Martin, a camp survivor who lives in the town of Dachau and visits the camp everyday talking to visitors. He’s not an official guide and he accepts money from visitors in exchange for his stories which differ from the official versions. Can he be trusted? Are his memories real, imagined, or created? Why does the film maker want to make him a hero then tear him down when he appears imperfect and human? Who is served by Holocaust tourism bureaucracy? How do versions of history become accepted? Why do people visit concentration camps and what do they expect to see/how do they expect to feel? Self-examined, smart and challenging. If you get a chance, see this movie."

Best Old Movie I Saw for the First Time "Sweet Smell of Success". The phrase "I wouldn’t want to take a bite out of you. You’re a cookie full of arsenic" has been in my head all year because of this noir classic. Witty dialogue, great acting, capitalism-makes-us-do-horrible-things plot. What more can you ask for?

Best Political Punk Song "Soon the Rest Will Fall" by The Quails. The Quails played the huge downtown squat show that marked the end of the dot com plague* so it’s only appropriate that they wrote the SF post-dot com anthem.

Summing up the last few years: "I walked out in this city / the fairest of fairy lands, / when I saw a cab of newly entitled / waving leases and money in their hands. / So I asked them who’s in charge / of this false economy, / but I could not here the answer / before they ran right over me.",
The Quails then go into a chorus that sounds better than it reads: "You’re no longer the main attraction. / Your work really didn’t matter at all. / And when people take action / soon the rest will fall." Incredibly satisfying.

*Hundreds of people showed up to this event. It made a lot of us realize that we’d kind of been hiding out, waiting to be evicted while watching friend after friend leave the city. I ran into people I hadn’t seen for years and it was like, "Wow. You’re still here too? I guess we survived."

Best Annoying Ever-present Radio Hit "Hot in Herre" by Nelly. If I have to explain it, there’s just no point. A wonderful earworm* follow up to "The Thong Song" by Sisqo.

*"Earworm is what the Germans call one of those songs you can’t get out of your head and that you find yourself singing along to despite yourself. It, like the term "partner look" is in English.

Best Big Concert X I don’t now if it reflects badly on me or the music scene that the best show I saw all year was an over-the-hill punk band. It’s probably me. The only weird thing that I didn’t mention in my journal at the time was the way Exene changed some of the lyrics. In "Nausea", "I say oh Christ, oh Jesus Christ, my head’s gonna crack like a bank" became "I say oh no, oh no, oh no, my head’s gonna crack like a bank." and in "Devil Doll", "This is no God damn country / to wander alone" became "This is no kind of country / to wander alone". Exene hasn’t found Jesus has she?

Still, they were faster, have better songs, and were more energetic than any band I’ve seen in awhile. Of course, if I’d been in town when Mission of Burma played, this might be a different story.

Band of the Year Feelings on a Grid. I know you don’t believe me, you have not seen the Grid. And you’re too late now because they broke up. But when these boys were having a good night they were one of my favorite bands ever. Both in my basement and at a queer punk fest in LA, their electronic, political, artsy punk commanded dancing, amused the alienated, and attracted followers. "I’m on a date with my feelings" indeed.

and now the sappy part . . . 2002 -- the end

Good Things:

Best Day September 29. I know I’ve linked this entry before. What can I say? I got to spend all day with my lovely housemates and most of my favorite co-workers. I got drunk in the middle of the day. I was surrounded by partying people in fetish gear all day who loved me because I was giving out free shit.

And I had all the sausages I could eat. For free. Whoo-hoo!

Best Purchase A cheese acquaintance sold me her 22 year old BMW named Griselda right around the first of the year. It has a broken odometer, a severe electrical short and is deceptively big, but I loved driving it around. It makes me realize what a Californian I am at heart, because it totally lifted me out of my winter depression. Without it, I would have missed a lot more work due to taking two busses to the dentist, so it probably paid for itself by that alone. It’s dying now, my mechanic told me to pull the plug, but it’s been my favorite car ever (except for maybe that 1976 Buick LeSabre). I’ll miss it.

Best Thing that Didn’t Happen Eviction. Not only didn’t we end up getting evicted (hooray for slumlords, boo for speculators!) but our collective house is jam packed with good housemates for the first time in awhile. 2001 was filled with much tension and annoyance but the addition of L and M have made me wanna live here for a long time.

Best Thing I Will be Mocked for Writing Live Journal. Seriously. It had been my goal to write regularly for the last couple of years but for some reason this format actually works for me. It’s partially knowing people will read what I write (and comment). It’s partially that it’s good for keeping in touch with real life friends. It’s also that I like immediate feedback and am inspired by some other people’s writings in LJ land. As long as I stick to the rule of avoiding internet drama, it’ll continue to be a good thing. So thanks to all you LiveJournalists.