Monday, June 30, 2008

Pride SF

San Francisco was overcast, the air was filled with smoke from the hundreds of fires surrounding the Bay Area, and I was hungover like a mofo, but it still chokes me up every time I see kids with "I <3 My Two Moms" and "My Two Dads Love Me" signs and t-shirts at Pride. You don't need to be a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, gendernorm, or hetero to enjoy Pride. You just need to have a heart.

Maria was talking to a photographer for multiple mainstream media (MSM) outlets, who said that the MSM was looking for pictures this year not of the crazy colorful wackos of Gay Pride Norm, but instead of normal-looking happy couples who had just gotten married. I suppose that's a good thing - most of America needs to be fed the "Gay! They're just like us!" line - but in another way, I think it's ok to be as weird or as colorful or as insane as you want, as long as you are not hurting yourself or others, and that people shouldn't be afraid of that. Oh well.

Anyways, I saw fisting for the first time this year, ate bacondogs, sang Karaoke at the Energy 92.7 and Wells Fargo booth, missed Crystal Waters (SOOO SAD!), and danced around to Kat Deluna (WHINE UP!).

Happy Pride, here's to love and equality for all. This November should be fun, both in California (November ballot initiatives tug at personal convictions) and nationally (Barack Obama).

photo credit: Christina Izzo /The Chronicle

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wow. I think I understand.

I've been pretty unhappy lately. I didn't know what it was. I didn't know why I was feeling so alone. I couldn't put my finger on what was making me so depressed. All I could think about was - what was the next thing on my "to-do" list? What should I eat for dinner? Who am I meeting up with tonight? Who should I put a smile on for today?

And it hit me today. I think I understand why I'm so unhappy.

I am at the part of my life, I think, where I know inherently, that it's time for me to grow up. It's time for me to be a better person. It's time for me to learn how to be a better person for myself. I can't keep on using the "I'm young - it's ok!" excuse, while eschewing adulthood and personal & social responsibility. I need to grow up. I need to make my life work for me.

It's not really about what I do. I can't really say, now I understand, and here's what I need to do to accomplish this, and once I've accomplished these x number of things, I'm good to do. It's almost an attitude change. It's a lifestyle change. It's the fact that my life needs to revolve around a social, moral, and personal philosophy that involves more than a calendar of events and a desperate hope that I will find a significant other that will stick to me, but instead revolves around a commitment to a way of living that is right for me.

So I don't what I'm going to do tomorrow.
I don't know how tomorrow will be different than today.

But I know that I know what's important to me.

And I think I kind of get it now. I think. And I think that's good.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chinese, the New Blacks

Check it: S Africa Chinese 'become black'

I guess Chinese in South Africa (200,000 of them. WHO KNEW?!?!) were classified as 'white' beforehand, but were steadily being discrimnated in business and economic opportunities. So, in a country where (some 15 years after the Apartheid) whites make approx. 450% more than blacks, and where there are special legalized Employment and Economic Equity programs intended for black/colored workers, Chinese people are now grouped in the 'colored' classification and can now receive this aide as well.

Hey, as long as I can still call them Chinks, I'm game.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I Lost Me to Meth

When I was growing up, California was deluged with anti-smoking campaigns. I will always recall the women who had to stick a cigarette through the hole burned through her neck in order to breath or some crazy shit like that, and hence, I never touched a cigarette until I turned 21... and well after I had begun drinking and uh, experimenting.

I think we've all seen the advertisements in subway stations, on buses, on TV... the very high profile ad campaign titled "Me Not Meth" which is "aimed at gay and bisexual men, and other men who have sex with men (MSM)" according to the MeNotMeth website. The TV ad was directed by Joel Schumacher and aired on several shows aimed at gay men including (shut up, Lizzie forced me to watch it) The Hills.

Anyways, there are several print ads, all of which can be found here, and which show pretty much ominous and hella janky dudes who are meth heads with sad sayings around them. The one that caught my eye exiting the Church Street Station in San Francisco was this one below:

I know it's hard to read but it says "My family was ok with me being gay. But I lost them because of meth."


So with inspiration, I (with the help of my friend Brendan) made a wonderful inspirational poster I think should be the focus of a NEW statewide campaign against ONE OF THE MOST HARMFUL ADDICTIONS AROUND, CIGARETTES.

"My family supported me when they found out I did meth. But when I started smoking cigarettes I lost it all..."

I can be a source of strength for cigarette smokers everywhere.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Everything that is wrong with San Francisco can be summed up in one word: NOPA

I've been unexpectedly enthralled by this book, called Freakonomics (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!) written by Levitt & Dubner. Freakonomics focuses on how the study of how economics (i.e. using certain tools and data to answer questions) can be used to explain or shed knowledge on social and human behavior.

One of the more controversial theories in the book tries to explain why crime rate lowered significantly in the 90s despite nearly all economic predictions to the contrary. Levitt proposes that this reason is due to the Supreme Court's decision of Roe v. Wade in the 1970s - that children that should have (and would have) been born previously to lifestyles under extreme adversity were now no longer being born. And just as these children would have been entering their criminally prime ages, the rate of crime began to plummet.

Anyways, it's ballsy, it's kind of heretical, it's offensive to both left and right, and I love it. "Conservatives were enraged that that abortion could be construed as a crime-fighting tool. Liberals were aghast that poor and black woman were singled out. As the media gorged on the abortion-crime story, Levitt came under direct assault. He was called an idealogue, a eugenicist, a racist, and downright evil. In reality he seems to be very much none of those. He has little taste for politics and even less for moralizing... genial, low-key, and unflappable, confident but not cocky... he speaks with a considerable lisp. There is nothing in his appearance or manner that suggests a flamethrower." (from book)

Now now, you're thinking, Ed, stop with the fucking lecture, and yes yes I promise you, there IS an actual point to this post.

NOPA (the restaurant itself) fucking sucks. Like hardcore. It's just not good. The braised duck legs are egregiously oversalted, the grass-fed burger consistently dry and mealy, the pork chops unimaginative at best and flat-out bland at worst, and for a place which harps on its "seasonal" menu, why, September 2007 sure looks a lot like May 2008, doesn't it now!!!

Coupled with the fact that the whole "neighborhood comfort" theme of an open kitchen and a communal table doesn't work in a space so cavernous and cold and loud (for a restaurant that does "neighborhood comfort" well, see Blue Plate on Mission), and disinterested servers and a wannabe Pac Heights (MORAGA CHIC!) crowd keen on coming down the hill to "clean up" the Western Addition (oops I mean NOPA oops I mean "we gotta call the hood a trendy name so we don't feel bad about gentrifying it even though OMG we'd never go into a restaurant where Black people go"... ever heard of Stuff White People Like = Knowing What's Best for Poor People?) makes NOPA an overall insufferable addition to the SF dining scene and an insufferable new "trendyhood" leading to the suburbanization of our urban hoods.

And, in the interest of taking this post full circle, I am fully aware that I'm gonna get flak from the "conservative" right (i.e. Newsom Democrats), who think I'm being too harsh on them for being rich and needy for their desire to purchase property and "clean up" (i.e. to marvelously VANILLAFY!!!) every last neighborhood in San Francisco with any morsel of personality whatsoever, and I am going to get flak from "foodies" who orgy over the very words "organic" and "sustainable" and "local" when every fucking other restaurant in the entire city serves the same exact nouveau comfort menu and has the same exact philosophy because I don't fucking care if it's organic if it is NOT GOOD.

But you know what, in the end, I'm just another guy, in an increasingly monotonous one-toned city, who actually cares about businesses and their effects on neighborhoods, who doesn't feel the need to gentrify every corner of The City, and who longs for a simpler time, when normal people could enjoy this gorgeous and modern and breath-taking City just as much as gentry could. In other words, I just want to be a normal guy in a normal world.

I am not a flamethrower.