Shannon’s Super Sexy Blog. Music. Travel. Randomness. And a Lot of Wine.

Archive for May, 2004

Ode to Ocean Beach

Monday, May 31st, 2004

On one of the big travel message boards, one of the ones where people are allowed to be hostile to their fellow humans, a poster reprimanded someone for hating Venice. “Asshole,” she said (in so many words), “why don’t you just go back to San Diego, or wherever it is you are from.” Implying that San Diego is all white bread suburb action. Like not as cool as wherever she was from.

Well, I may be twisting words ever so slightly so, but the jist of it is there. And my message to Travel Board Homegirl is, clearly you have not seen the best of San Diego.

San Diego is a BORDER TOWN. Even better, it is a border town where cool people from other cities choose to move to. Like me! I’m not holding back.

I lived in Italy in 2001, and came home for the holidays. I met with my bosses on New Years Day, 2002, in Sonoma. I wanted to come back, they wanted me back. “I won’t go back to San Francisco” I said. “OK,” said Head Honcho. “Where do you want to go?” He said. I thought for a minute. “I want to go to San Diego,” I said. But really, I meant Ocean Beach.

The reason I even thought of this place is that my brother has lived here for a long time. I would come and visit and drink Vodka Collinses and smoke Camels and eat fish tacos and feel totally at home. But San Diego, and Ocean Beach are different. Ocean Beach is the best part of San Diego, and possibly the best part of California. It is glorious here. It has an edge – like Budapest has an edge, or New Orleans has an edge. Ocean Beach is a state of mind that is totally beyond anyone not mentally prepared for it.

My move here has been ultra-successful. I love Ocean Beach. I love the beach culture, the weirdo in the dollar shop screaming “Linda Blair! Exorcist! Whore, whore!” I love the smell of warm fog. I even love the taste of cheap Zinfandel, when it involves Shuffleboard at Tiny’s Pub. I love that I live a block from the ocean, that there are meth-heads around, that downtown San Diego is directly East from me. I love the Ocean Beach post office, where the vibe is so laid back that someone actually got reprimanded for being an asshole-waiting-in-line. The postmaster lady said, “I’m sorry sir, but that kind of behavior is not allowed in Ocean Beach.”

What does this have to do with Border Town? you ask. Absolutely bleeping nothing. But today I sat on a rock at Sunset Cliffs, a half block from my house, drinking white wine and looking at the sea. There was a Mexican family hanging out next to me, eating some tasty grub like boiled shrimps in the shell, carnitas and salsa, and drinking Bud Light. They were having their Memorial Day picnic like all good Americans, and because of the proximity I kept looking over at them. I was reading my Saveur magazine and also, staring at these girls pounding food.

Finally, one of the Mexican women walks towards me, I think she is walking somewhere else, but soon her shadow is over me. I look up. She smiles, with a gold tooth glowing in her mouth. “Would you like a soda?” She asks, holding out a 7-up. I’ve been here two years, almost to the day, and I love it more with each passing second.

The Best in Italian Television

Sunday, May 30th, 2004

In Italy, there is a show on late at night called Super Sexy Blob. Or at least there was – I’m not sure if it is on anymore. It is a crazy show with these quick images flashed on screen – girls in a hot tub, Monster Trucks crushing things, Strongman contests, more girls, more boobs, Motocross races… stuff that would appeal to a 17 year old guy with a very limited attention span. I loved it.

Friday night, random thought #157 – Super Sexy Blob, Super Sexy BLOG!!! Doy, what took me so long to figure that one out? I immediately went home and emailed Pauline to make sure she was cool with the new title. Queen Pauline was cool with it.

So here we go… more random flashes of weirdness. Here’s hoping it’ll be as entertaining as Super Sexy Blob.

No Wonder We’re All Screwed Up

Friday, May 28th, 2004

Tonight, in a rare moment away from the computer, I flipped through the free San Diego rag, the San Diego Reader. What I saw there shocked and horrified me.

Aren’t these free papers suppose to be all left-wing and PC and shit? At least that was the way they were, back in the day when I use to read them (San Francisco, circa 1991.) Of course I remember the large number of personal ads that I suppose paid for said papers. But… with the advent of internet dating, I guess the free liberal papers have had to look for their income elsewhere.

Times, they are a changin’. Used to be that with a paid personal ad in one of these papers, the possibility of getting laid from placing a simple ad calmed people down and they were able to realize that no one is really getting laid, not really. Now, everything has moved past getting laid into some crazy no-mans land of depression and other disturbing afflictions (besides not-getting-laid), which of course keeps one from getting laid, even though that person probably would not have gotten laid anyway.

I fear I am not making sense, but the number of horrific messages flying off the page into my sensitive brain are befuddling me. The messages are as such (and off just a scant few of the pages of the free paper:)

Unable to ENJOY the things you use to do? Sad? Depressed? Is Lack of Sleep Making it Hard for you to Face the Day? Angry & Irritable? Is Your Mind Like A Storm? (Kind of liked that one…) Shift Work, Sleep Disorder? Tired of Being Criticized for Smoking? Lack of Concentration? Bi Polar? Drinking? Smoking? Hepatitis? Bad Knees? Bad Hips?

This totally frightening part of the paper moves on into ads that offer “Mexico’s Premier Plastic Surgeon” and “Get Ready for Summer – Start your Plastic Surgery Now.” Complete with some nice Before and After Pictures.

Oh, my. It would be nice if we could just go back to those days where it was just “am I getting laid, am I the one everyone wants to lay, or do I have no chance, ever, of getting laid. ” Now, our worlds are controlled by sinister forces – people who want you to think it doesn’t all come down to that.

Hairy Backs and the Chicks that Dig Them

Wednesday, May 26th, 2004

Last night I watched a film called “Modern Romance” starring Albert Brooks. Well, I was watching, eating, and reading all at the same time. The movie was kind of lame so it didn’t really grab me as total immersion material, only as background noise/glimpse into early 80’s drug use material (ludes! Who does those anymore?)

Anyhow this movie is from 1981 and also stars Kathryn Harrold who is looks like a fish and is really skinny. Bruno Kirby is in it too and wears a black leather vest and is really skinny. All the skinny people in this film are just skinny, not enhanced skinny like they are in the movies these days.

Which gets me to the real point (finally.) There is a scene early on where Albert and Kathryn are in bed that grabbed my attention for like, two minutes. This is because, Albert Brooks has a hairy back. I have new appreciation of Albert Brooks all of a sudden. I never really thought of him as, well, hot. Maybe he was considered hot in 1981? I kind of doubt it.

The thing is, I really LIKE hairy backs. I remember the first time I saw a hairy back and that was on Robin Williams in “Moscow on the Hudson.” I’ll never forget that scene where he was in the bathtub with his girlfriend and all that hair. I was fascinated, revolted, and turned-on at the same time. I was pretty young then, and Robin Williams is almost too hairy. Now, I just think back hair is very nice and I am not ever revolted by it.

So all morning I have been trying to think of anyone on the big screen that has back hair. I can’t think of anybody! Is back hair uncool? Are guys plucking or waxing their back hair? Or are hairy guys just keeping their shirts on? I never typed “back hair removal” into a search engine before today.

Help me, people. Please tell me George Clooney has back hair and I just never noticed it before. (Yeah, right.) Maybe Michael Palin? He seems like someone who would have back hair and not shave it. Hmmm. Maybe I saw his back on one of those travel shows he did and it’s just now coming back to me. Must see if they have those shows at the library.

Oh, how I wish we weren’t such a weird country where men really do love fake breasts (they do in San Diego at least) and where men don’t like hair on their backs. Or maybe I am just trippin’ and have just not noticed any hairy backs since 1984. But this is doubtful.

The Happiest Place on Earth

Sunday, May 23rd, 2004

I read somewhere once that every person stops their emotional development at a certain stage of their childhood and they remain emotionally at that age for their entire lives.

I’m fairly sure this is true of most people and I am totally sure that it is true of me. I just can’t figure out if my emotional development stopped at age eight, or age thirteen.

It doesn’t really matter, I am pretty much a child. As long as I can feed myself and protect myself from a storm, I guess that it is OK to be an eight year old in a thirty-nine year old body.

I went to Disneyland yesterday. The land where people like me (emotionally retarded freaks?) feel happy and at peace with the world.

I love Disneyland. It is beyond all reason. I always loved Disneyland as a kid, and when I grew up and they added Downtown Disney with all it’s bars and restaurants and a cocktail was only a Monorail Ride away, I loved Disneyland even more. When I am at Disneyland, the eight year old and the thirteen year old inside of me get to rage in the open air.

“I’m going to ride the Matterhorn THREE TIMES” I scream to no one in particular. When, the first time, the ride breaks down right when I am about to board, I get a look on my face like I am going to kill someone. “Does this happen often?” I ask the dirndle skirted kicker offer. “All the time,” she says, smiling torturously. Bleeping eighteen year old – who does she think she is?

It all works out in the end though and I ride all the rides and run around and eat pretzels, pizza and fudge. There are fireworks and swing bands and emotionally retarded people everywhere.

I get to be a brat at Disneyland, too. After dodging one too many SUV sized strollers, I get a bit pissy and the thirteen year old comes out. At closing time, heading for Downtown Disney, a crazed woman comes toward me at a high speed with a giant stroller with a seven year old and a four year old in it. (I am estimating the ages, but you get the idea.) “JESUS!!!” I say. “WATCH IT!!!” I am doing this purely to screw with her – it is midnight and she is pushing 200 pounds of stroller and children. “YOU WATCH IT!!!” She screams back, totally stressed and aggravated. Hee hee.

What is up with all the strollers, anyway? No wonder kids are so fat – they get pushed around in the comfort zone until they are nine. I am serious. I thought strollers were for babies, or at least no-one older than three.

But me being me, I wish I could get pushed around in a stroller. And since I am only eight, perhaps I will get my wish someday.

Why I Love the Internet

Friday, May 21st, 2004

My morning ritual these days is, get up, go out for a walk, come home, make coffee, and listen to the new Wilco album, streamed over the internet. Then I go to work. And since I work at home, I can stream Wilco all day if I want to.

I love Wilco. I love them because they are always changing, and I think that is what music is all about. There is nothing worse than the same band churning out the same stuff. Music is suppose to be about the creation of something new.

I also love Wilco, because they have been streaming their new album, A Ghost is Born, two months before it is released in the stores. This is a band, a very popular band that sells out shows from coast to coast, giving their music away. It just slays me.

On a Wilco message board, I read a review of a show Wilco just did, and Jeff Tweedy (the frontman, Mr. Wilco) asked the crowd how many had heard the new album. Everyone went ballistic. Everyone had heard it. Everyone knew that all the new songs were going to be fantastic live.

Wilco’s last album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, was also streamed on the internet, because their record label at the time hated the record and when Wilco would not change it, the record company dropped them. YHF is Wilco’s masterpiece, to me anyway. I could listen to it daily. It went on to be an indy hit and made it onto most top ten lists. It is an exceptional album, the kind of album that everytime you listen to it you hear something new.

A Ghost is Born is totally different than all Wilco has done before. It’s full of scratchy guitar and the Beatles and lyrics like

Saxophones started blowing me down
I was buried in sound

Buried in sound, indeed. Thank you, Wilco, for making my mornings a better place.

The Importance of Keeping a Journal Part 2

Thursday, May 20th, 2004

So, I just finished writing my Spain trip journal. This brought up emotions that I have not felt since I left Spain a month ago.

Love, and travel, are the same. Love and travel. When you lose a lover, you feel like you are missing a foot or something. (At least I do. I mean, when I am the one who is left. When I am the the one that splits, I feel like I have an extra foot.) It’s the same with travel. When it is over you limp around for awhile with drool coming out of your mouth. But even worse than that is the day or two leading up to the leaving part.

I experienced the last two days in Barcelona all over again when I wrote my trip journal. That awful feeling of seperation. The heavy sighs, the glasses of wine sucked down even faster than normal. The placing of skull in hand with elbow resting on counter. Gawd, that’s an awful feeling. And now I am looking back to a month ago, after these four plus weeks have sort of healed me of the whole seperation thing. All those memories dredged up. It’s hard, for me, not having money to be a vagabond traveling person. I have visions of winning the lottery, but I am not lucky that way.

Market smells and colors swirl in my brain. The aroma of garlic fried in butter haunts me. I long for rain, because rain filled many of my Spanish moments. I wrote here once that one must keep a journal, but now the journal tortures me.

I live for the longing, I always have.

Bookexpo, Blues and Bratwurst

Wednesday, May 19th, 2004

We are speeding through May and will soon be hitting June like a hammer on an egg. What is happening to time? It seems to me, that time is accelerating. I am in sales, and that means “fourth quarter sales.” Before we know it, fourth quarter will be here, October sky and thoughts of Christmas sales.

But for now, I have June. And Bookexpo.

Bookexpo is the big book trade show in the U.S. I love it. Books are announced and rights are bought and sold. All the big publishers have parties. For many years I have gone as an employee – this year I go as an author. How cool is that? I can totally relate with a nodding and shaking head when the other authors talk about how hard it is to make money in the publishing world.

Bookexpo was always held in Chicago until a few years ago, but in recent years it has been in New York and Los Angeles. I love Chicago, and it is the best city for Bookexpo. Mostly because of the food. This year Bookexpo is back in Chicago, so I’ll get to eat Greek in Greek Town and German at Bergoff’s. These are rituals for me when I visit Chicago. I’ve been to trendy places like Blackbird, and I’d choose Moussaka at the Greek Isles over any trendy place, any day.

I discovered Chicago because of my job. The first time I visited Chicago, it was for a wine tasting and I worked there with my boss. We ate bratwurst at Berghoff’s and hung out at blues clubs. Somehow I always made it to work the next day. I’ve been back many times and it always seems to involve bratwurst and blues. Chicago has it going on. I’ve been to enough Bookexpos in Chicago now, that the city will always smell like new books mixed with mustard. It is a delightful smell. This year Bill Clinton will be at Bookexpo, and we will all pray for a future. Bill Clinton, Bratwurst, Blues and Books. What more could you ask for?

The Good Times are Killing Me

Monday, May 17th, 2004

Ah, Phoenix. It’s kind of crazy that so many have migrated there. A strip-mall wasteland. A river runs through it, or at least some canals do. I saw one. It had water in it. But how? And there are something like 100,000 homes suppose to be built in the next ten to twenty years in that humongous sweltering valley.

Someday there will be houses from Scottsdale to Santa Monica, all in the low $200,000’s. Oops. Excuse me. In Scottsdale and Santa Monica, the houses will remain a bit higher. Let’s say, from Buckeye to Banning. Those will be the affordable homes.

This is already happening. Is California (or, the extension of California, Arizona) that big of a draw that people are willing to live in the pit of hell to own a home?

It’s all very confusing to me. But let’s move on to another topic.

I was having some dinner at some relatives of one of my relatives house on Friday night. We all helped ourselves to some chicken, fried potatoes, and corn on the cob, and then I sat, as instructed, “where ever you want to sit.” Which was in the living room on the L-shaped couch. There was a show on the TV and Dick Van Dyck was a private eye with a bizarre white hair-do. (Was that a WIG?)

Anyway, I was eating my dinner and one of the relatives of my relative was sitting next to me. I took a bite of corn. It was soggy and disappointing as I am a corn connoisseur and very hard to please in this respect.

My seat mate looked up at me, holding his corn. “I grew this corn, in the backyard.”

“Really?” I asked. I was genuinely interested and even forgot that the corn was soggy for a second.

“No,” he said. “I was just razzing you.” (Or something like that.) “Oh.” I said. Some minutes of silence ensued.

“Actually, this corn is from Colorado.” This came after I had completely forgotten about the corn-in-the-yard comment, and was busy watching Dick Van Dyck SING in that weird wig on that private-eye TV show. Was that a hit show at some point? I am so out-of-touch.

“From Colorado? Really?” I said. “I would have thought it came from Iowa.” What the hell was I talking about? More silence. The Colorado Corn was proving to be Curiously Crappy.

“Actually,” he said after a bit more time, or another Dick song, or what seemed like an eternity at any rate, “the best corn comes from Minnesota. The corn in Iowa is mostly grown for feed.”

“Wow.” I said. Though at the time this seemed a most lonely and bizarre conversation, chances are good that I will remember the details for the rest of my life. Therefore, I will be able to hold my own when the corn topic might arise in one of these Western States. For this I am eternally grateful.

The Wedding Planner?

Thursday, May 13th, 2004

I have to go to a wedding this weekend. I hate weddings. Well, I hate bad weddings. Sometimes, someone manages to throw a good one, but that is pretty rare. A couple of years ago I went to a wedding and reception that was held at the home of a once-famous 1980’s rocker, and that was a pretty good one. All the guys still had “the hair.” You know, 1980’s rock band hair. All the wives were 1980’s groupies, all grown up and married but still a Size One and obviously, they also still had “the hair.” There was a band (of course) and they played Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.” At a wedding! I’ll never forget that.

Sadly, weddings like this are few and far between. Brides, and mothers, put way too much confidence in hotel catering managers and DJ’s. Why is the DJ dictating the events of the wedding? I HATE that. “And Nowwwa, the whole wedding party will dance.” To some gawdawful Whitney ballad. I don’t believe the DJ should be in charge of the party – we, the guests should be in charge of the party. Well, really, the bride should be, but usually the bride is too nervous, too uptight, or too drunk to be in charge.

Of course, there is always that random wedding where people get up and dance to Kool and the Gang early on, like before their 9th cocktail. Usually though, there are about two hours of everyone sitting around, eating their dry prime rib, soggy caeser salad, and Stouffers lasagna and looking at each other. This is way too long.

I hate the dollar dance, the garter thing, and especially, the bouquet throwing. I’ve been scolded to never use the word “hate” in my writing, but I hate those things! Hate them! How come people are always trying to get me to go up to catch that stupid bouquet? I’ve already been married, twice and I don’t want to get married anytime soon again. (One marriage was annulled and doesn’t count, but still I don’t want to do that bouquet thing.)

So. When I got married – it’s been eleven years now – I threw a party that people still talk about. I planned the whole thing myself, with not much help from my party-loving, gorgeous ex-husband (not that I would have accepted any help.) I heard a cool jazz band at the Fillmore Street Festival in San Francisco, and looked them up and hired them. I talked to this crazy fashion photographer, that the band turned me on to. He said stuff like “do you want pictures with people with boogers in their noses? I think not.” Of course I hired him. He set up a sort of backdrop where everyone had their picture taken “prom style” – the line for this was always long. I have pictures of people airborne at my wedding, pictures of people in all sorts of crazy airborne twists, three feet off the ground. We had the whole thing at a killer place where they have jazz concerts, right on the Pacific. The sunset was fantastic, I had a thousand cases of wine and two kegs, all kinds of food that I never ate, and everyone had a good time but me.

I hated it! I was so stressed out. I think me, and weddings, just don’t mix. Perhaps I’ll go into wedding planning, a la J Lo in that movie “The Wedding Planner” – a control freak type job cut out well for me, except that I hate to wear nylons and beige business suit dress thingys. I’d do it just for the gazillion suffering wedding guests out there. I’d do it for you, people.