The Routine of a Black Rock City Dentist

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Black Rock City, 2015. Dr. Dentata, a young woman with pink in her hair, a teal scrubs top with fairy wings sewn on the back & cut open in the front to reveal a sparkle bra, and galaxy print leggings, rides her bicycle. A tent pole arched above her bike reads: “Show me your teeth.”

Enter Patient.

Dr.

You there! I bet you have a dirty mouth. Let’s clean your dirty,  dirty mouth.

(Dr. retrieves a small white bench from her bike and unfolds it onto the playa.)

Sit down right here and let me see what I can do for you.

Patient 

(Sits with some trepidation and maybe a little excitement.)

Dr.

(Dr. unzips a case labelled “REAL OFFICIAL DENTIST STUFF”.  Sharp implements and other tools such as a dangerous-looking set of pliers, are visible to Patient. She starts opening a display box filled with adult molar teeth.)

We’ve done a lot of extractions today. These are – Oh whoops…

(She apparently pops one of the teeth into her mouth. Patient does not know it is actually a corn nut.)

Anyway these are the molars I have extracted today. Very successful. Let’s take a look at you. Open your mouth.

(Dentist chews corn nut loudly in Patient’s ear as she leans close to his face to inspect teeth.)

Oh, oh no, you will not need an extraction. Just a cleaning. Your mouth is really filthy, you know. Okay! Can you hold this for me?

(Dr. hands Patient a funnel attached to a tube. The other end of the tube leads to a milk carton labelled “SPIT” which is attached to the bike.)

If you ever need to spit, just spit right in there. You’re a spitter aren’t you? Well I’m a spitter. You just spit out that gross gunk right into the funnel.

I’ve got some protective gear for you. Protect you from your own spit! 

(Dr. hangs a blue bib around Patient’s neck, using a small alligator clip jumper – the kind used in testing electronics.)

And these. Protect you from my headlight shining in your face. Watch that hippie mace! 

(Dr. puts wrap-around sunglasses on Patient. Next she will remove a toothbrush from its cellophane wrapper. This she will set out on the silver spray-painted tray in front of her kit, as well as a single water balloon.)

Patient

What’s the balloon for?

Dr.

Don’t ask me questions. Just let me do my job honey. 

Ok! I have a gross of these toothbrushes. That’s 144 toothbrushes! Alright now; now I need protection for myself! Protect me from your filth.

(Dr. struggles to put on blue nitrile disposable gloves.)

These are powder free. Playa dust is the best powder, anyway.

Now, you have your choice of flavors. I’ve got this blue one.. It tastes like bubblegum. It’s called tootie fruity but it’s really bubblegum. Then there’s pinkie pie. Tastes like a joly rancher. I love that one. Or we have boring adult mint toothpaste. Whad’ya say?

 Patient

I’ll take the mint. 

Dr.

No, no you’ll use the pink one. Everyone uses the pink one. It’s better. It’s fine. Ok.

(Dr. applies toothpaste and starts brushing teeth.) 

This is the part where I talk to you and ask you questions you can’t answer because you’ve got a fucking toothbrush in your mouth! What’s your name?

Patient

(muffled) Gary.

Dr.

Hi Gawy! I’m Dr. Dentata. But I bet you saw that already. On my name tag! Oh boy, this would be more fun for you if I had bigger breasts.

(Dr. looks down her own shirt.) 

Do you need to spit honey? Here this will help. It’s water.

(She pulls out a spray bottle.)

It’s so hot. I should just spray you all over the face. You’d like that, wouldn’t you? Ok spit! 

Gawy

Thank you.

Dr.

Ok hold this for me. Like this.

(Dr. unspools a generous length of floss. She holds it up, then threads it through the eye at the base of the toothbrush. She ties the ends in a knot, then puts the water balloon over the bristles. She hangs this toothbrush necklace on Gawy’s neck. Then removes and discards her gloves.)

There! All clean now. Let’s get your safety gear.

(Dr. puts away everything, including the bench. So, Gawy is now standing.)

What an ordeal! Do you want a hug? Yeah, a nice hug. 

Scene. 


 

Note, I will not be posting next week as I will still be travelling back from Burning Man! 

 

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How to Eat Just Tuna

It is 4th of July weekend and 22 of your closest friends have gathered in the mountains for a camping retreat. On this property last year, you worked together to build a sloped-roofed structure, which is called “the cabin” when you are feeling proud, and “the shack” when you are self-deprecating. In the nearby shade, you erect tents, on the picnic table you arrange food and necessities to share, and directly beside it, you raise up metal scaffolding to attach shade and a network of many green and blue and white and purple tulle strips — this is the “kelp forest.”

For dinner on Friday night you will have a Meal Ready to Eat (MRE) of beef enchiladas. You make a hat out of long foxtails by gathering them together at the base with a red rubber band and splaying them over your cranium in front of your face and around your shoulders. This protects you from the mosquitos, but you also use the tiny amount of reception you have to send out messages to friends who have not yet arrived, begging for bug spray and incense. Soon it is dark, and you are hungry. You add water to the instant hot pack in your MRE and heat up your hermetically sealed dinner.

MRE-meal-ready-to-eat-TUNATomorrow you will have “TUNA.” You know your future self will enjoy the suspense of wondering what is in this brown bag, ominously labeled just “TUNA.” If it is tuna casserole, then why not label it so? If it is tuna salad, then why is it in an MRE package, which, of every one you have had, always have a heating element? Your friend says her vote is tuna poke and you smile with excitement even though you are scared it’s just a tuna filet. You begin to doubt this challenge when altitude sickness makes you lose your enchiladas (and they taste the same coming out as they did going in).

The cure for altitude sickness (besides quitting drinking for the weekend, hydration, and rest) is apparently zip line rides. The exhilaration of falling forward under a whizzing cable raises your blood pressure and erases your nausea. The headache’s gone, too. So are the flashing lights. This morning you could only lie on the fake grass turf under the kelp forest, but now you are ready to tromp in leaves, dance to live music, and shoot fruit from an air cannon. Then, sundown comes, and you tuck the brown package under your arm.

You can’t bring yourself to open it. “What does it mean, just TUNA?” Your friends tease you for your obsession. One gives you a snack of tuna on crackers to build your courage for the main course. You lie down in the kelp forest with the brown package, and tuck it under your head. With any luck, you’ll break the heating element inside and be absolved of eating it. You sit up and help your friend type an exposition on the subject. A deranged exposition.

What is tuna? t u na is

TUNA (omi nous) it’s what’s for dinner.

tuna is a saltwater f ish

that t atstes not unlike ch icken .

t u TUNAis frequently seen isn

quiet is the night

Whilst you’re in reverie of tuna swimming through seas, a friend tries to tell you another is going to use your tuna bag as a pillow. But you falsely hear that she is off with your tuna and about to open it. You sit straight, suddenly, and shout, “Don’t open it!!” and are afraid like you have just woken up from a nightmare. You apologize to your startled friends when you return to your senses. This tuna is becoming a complex.

Your friends will draw helpful instructions on the TUNA package to make the task of eating it less daunting.

Your friends will draw helpful instructions on the TUNA package to make the task of eating it less daunting.

It’s time to open it. You peel apart the top seal. You dump the contents in your lap. Out of the big brown package falls many smaller brown packages — pretzels, tortillas (tuna tacos?), candy, a cookie — and one blue one. It is a bag of Starkist tuna, packed in water. It is, really, Just Tuna.

You eat it with a spoon.

San Diego’s FREE ZOO (only the cool kids know about)

Did you know San Diego has a FREE ZOO? The owners seem to think it is called “Pet Kingdom” but everyone know calls it Free Zoo.

Me: Do you want to go to Free Zoo?

Everyone I know: YES.

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I have been going to Free Zoo since I was a wee child to look at the fishies. It is probably the best Zoo. I will make a handy comparison.

Free Zoo vs. “real” San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo:

  • Significantly more birds
  • Sky tram
  • You can buy beer (it is kind of expensive tho)
  • Reptile house is almost as good as the one at Free Zoo

Free Zoo

  • It’s free
  • The “keepers” will let you touch some of the animals
  • Sometimes they put a savannah monitor (really big lizard) in the turtle pond it is really cool
  • If you really like one of the animals you can buy the little buddy!! (usually)
  • Salamanders (cute!)
  • Convenient parking

My recommendation is you take a friend to Free Zoo. Look at these pics for a free preview:

monitor lizard with turtle on its back

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Located at
3191 Sports Arena blvd
San Diego, ca 92110

www.petkingdom.com

2 Years of SD Survival Guide

February 6th, 2015 was the actual anniversary, but it wasn’t in my Google Calendar so it didn’t exist.

Luckily today is poop and I don’t feel like writing, so the annual recap is perfectttt.

Links, pics, and excerpts for your enjoyment!!!!!!!!!!!!  The exclamation points are how you know I am enthusiastic and not just boring and sad :D

Snapchat-20140131100329Last year’s recap… Also uses the word poop. I’ve worn a few 2-dimensional identities in my life — the kind people use when they’re trying to describe you to a friend. They’ve varied from “Anthony’s girlfriend,” to “redheaded lesbian” and at least one unpublishable moniker in-between. Slowly, over the past year, “writer” has been taking over.

IMAG0487_1Giving myself excuses to be mean lol. Also viddygames & feminism. I’d like to give you some insight into the spiraling self-doubt that occurs for me whenever I say something remotely divisive on these social media channels.

Paranoia in the digital age, snapchat, and hangovers. Hangover is a philosophy, a way of being, in which fears and anxieties are either muffled, too heavy with the poison in your blood to run rampant over you, or they are amplified with the urgency of vomit.

girlfriend-in-party-hatOne of my fav posts: Crashing parties in PB. I met an incoherent philosopher. He made us give him really long hugs, but they were more drunken than amorous so I was fine with that. Maybe because he shared so many gooey-ooey thoughts about humanity I stole one of Katelyn’s cigarettes and traded it with a stranger who wandered up to the back wall for a high five.

Bad-feminist-fuck-itFEMINISM WITH RAD PICTURES. I saw an article, “5 Conversations Women Should Stop Having,” by HuffPo and got excited to get my feminist morning-read on, but….what was I thinking this is HuffPo.

tutu rave fishnets furry legwarmersRavetastic adventure. Event page said: “dress like Bruce Lee, get in free” which is a dumb and impossible, but Katelyn confidently put me in a cheongsam-inspired top and a tutu and said it would count.

I insult you on the internet because I love you or something like that. The truth is, for me, I’m just obsessed with all of you sometimes. I want to know if it’s okay to write about you. Picasso’s girlfriend probably didn’t tell him to hide away the portraits he made of her saying, ‘baby, what? I look so ugly, do you really think my nose is that big? My eyes are that..awkwardly placed in relationship to the rest of my face parts, seriously they aren’t even pointing in the same direction…??’

Party-planning-guest-listI’ve been obsessed with parties since childhood look read my diary. Candyland was the obvious choice for my “Sweet Sixteen” but I have to admit I was most excited about making giant lollipops out of balloons and cellophane.

If you take out a notebook and write down what a person says to you, they will fall in love with you.

Being Artsy Fartsy because Sports Bars…?? Draw a puzzle piece that’s open on all sides. Explain these connections happen to you all the time, that you’re easy. Explain you understand it was special for him, but it was common for you. When you hug him goodbye, he will recite his phone number into your ear.

I love birds. All of my snapchats are of birds.

I am the worst at nerd so I write an essay on why nerd is boring and I don’t need to try. Check out these birds tho. I understand, I really do, that having a common lexicon is a short cut to establishing shared experiences. But if you go on and on about Naruto, and I don’t know jack about Naruto, what am I supposed to do?

wpid-wp-1397760228272.jpegGood weather in SF means I am cursed. Trust me this makes sense. San Diego perfect weather is relentless. San Francisco sunshine is just a little bit delirious. I know I can’t live here because in my heart of hearts I know how inconsolable I get on a “blustery” day. I know this, but the Curse tricked me into thinking I can do these things.

Snapchat-20140417115114LOL fuck I fucked up my leg. Turns out if there’s a lump sticking out of my shin a terrifying extra 1-inch, my reaction is mostly jovial. This is a battle wound. Also, I had taken 3 Ibuprofen before the concert in anticipation of wearing my improbable shoes.

My friend Alexis found a live scorpion when she unpacked her luggage in America.

Went to mexico. Killed scorpion. Temporary veganism ensues. They are giving their bodies nutrients instead of Taco Bell and are rewarded with endurance and energy. I was trapped in a vicious whiskey / crunchwrap / gatorade cycle just trying to survive ’til next Friday.

EVERYTHING IS ON FIRE.

infantino-squeeze-pouch-for-babies-holds-2-shotsLifehack put liquor in these things and then in your pants. Infantino makes a squeeze pouch “feeding line” (are they children or are they livestock??) so that yuppie parents can package up custom applesauces, vegetable purrée, and other goo for their toddlers to quaff. … I will demonstrate in pictures how to alter this fine product to smuggle liquor in your underwear.

Sami is sad maybe party help? 

Dude my parents are super cool. As I’ve grown, I’ve discovered the joys of combining alcohol with activities I once hated, such as camping, sports, weddings, and now, socializing with my parents. If it is at all possible for you, I recommend getting to the point where you can get blasted with the people who made you.

Yes I am wearing a bunch of beanie babies I hot glued together as a garment.

Confidence. Let’s break it down. I am (usually) good at empathizing.  This makes it easier to understand other people’s actions and motivations and avoid blaming myself for things that aren’t my fault.

Sexual Predators :(

…So obviously feminism.

…And more feminism.

Dafuq am I doing with this blog shit got serious all the sudden? I could form an elite group of partiers who would descend on events like glitter locusts and leave kickbacks sparkling with glaze of alcohol and shimmer of sex-sweat.

This is where my parents met. Well, that's what K'nB Wine Cellars believed for the longest time.

In case you didn’t know, there are real neato perks to drinking at the same place all of the time. Go on Mondays because you need a beer to recover from the trauma of restarting your work week. Go on Tuesdays because you wish you came with an appetite on Monday and really wanted to try those sliders but, tomorrow, I’ll be back tomorrow.

Hi, the weather is great today in San Diego and also I am not your girlfriend.

Back to feminism because I give the people what they want. In a world where, “I’m a lesbian,” works less than half as well as, “I have a boyfriend,” we need more people who are willing to make it obvious that it is simply valid for a girl to reject a man because she says so. No explanation needed.

Le Butcherettes are worth driving to Santa Ana to see, apparently. I saw her pulsate and shake in a way that defies sexually-charged gazes. I dare you to objectify me.

Remember the space koozie I was so proud of....?

Burning man.

More burning man.space koozie after

Also burning man.

dairy-drought-takes-a-lot-of-water-to-make-happy-cowCows are causing the drought, I decided. Also shrubbery. Forget just turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth, the best thing to do is find alternatives to a lush green lawn. If your front yard looks like a sad, tawny shag of neglected responsibility, consider yourself the hero of this story.

Writing partyI’m writing a book!! I’ve started mentioning this wordy beast when people ask what I’m doing with my life. You know, because besides drinking, it’s all I’ve been doing with my life.

How do you speak up when it feels like it’s too late? I have been beating myself up recently for leaving things unsaid. Friends have said or done things that I was not okay with, and I pretended everything was okay and did not say anything.

Just when you think I’m done writing about festivals… I present this packing list. Things You Bring But Never Use: 4 extra friggin shirts; 2 extra friggin blue jeans; Book for “downtime” …

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 6.55.50 PMGoddamnit now this song is stuck in my head again. I “just don’t get” why the skinny shaming in Megan Trainor’s hit single is a big deal.

Unwanted sexual attention :c I often get some variation of, “If you weren’t gay, I would totally have tried to date you.”

Wanted sexual attention :) So, you think your lezfriend is smoldering hot. I’m guessing since you called her “lesbian friend” and not just “friend,” you’re either straight or bi/queer.

Resticles.Day.CloseUpHey look, burning man. And testicles.  Despite resembling hairy sacks of balls, they were very pretty.

matt-taylor-shirt-comet-landing-pensiveIn some ways it’s just a shirt, but really it’s so much more than that. This is what happens when an intelligent man is faced with his mistakes. He feels them more truly than those too defensive to see clearly. He sees the thousands of implications of his tiny, tiny, oh-not-so-tiny mistake.

Thanks drawingThanksgiving feels. I am imperfect. I am too afraid to join conversations when I imagine a response that will overwhelm me (Ferguson). I fantasized about posting a “cheat sheet” today for avoiding cultural appropriation, with cute drawings, timely for Thanksgiving, and posturing as if I have a clue.

Lost-panic-typewriter-drawing.jpgAt least some good writing comes out of my personal problems. I struggle with trigger-induced panic. Often, it is easiest to say I suffer from PTSD, though I haven’t been formally diagnosed and do not want to diminish the experiences of others who may have it worse than I do.

Jury duty made me miss my fun date to the Birch Aquarium so I sent her snapchats of "fish" all day.

JURY DUTY WAS A PARTY AND A HALF. And the prosecuting attorney was kind of adorable. He was soft-spoken, kept messing up what he was saying, and one time didn’t have his notes for a particular witness. “Uh, I’d like to request a sidebar..” he said when he realized he didn’t have them, “It’s kind of embarrassing…”

wpid-wp-1419367560968.jpegBeing quirky and mysterious is another way to avoid writing a serious blog post, lifehack. Go to the liquor store. Buy a cheap pair of sunglasses and an iced coffee. Go home. Drink half of the coffee. Write her name backwards in the the lenses of the sunglasses with a dry erase marker, and wear them.

I AM FROZEN I DON’T MEAN THE MOVIE. Friends of mine from places like Oregon *caughAlexDialcough* try to say that 44 degrees is not that cold. Relatively, no, it is not. But experientially, for us San Diegans, it is THE MOST TERRIBLE COLD WHYYYYYY

Creationism Museum Lol :D Proceed through the days of creation. Find animals. Exclaim, “Oh my god there is animals here!” Wonder if the docents have heard you take the lord’s name in vain.

Why do people treat me like a prostitute is it because I am a woman? *fake smile* kthanksbye North Park: Some guy will yell “How much?” at you from his car when you’re walking with your girlfriend to your car. It kind of ruins your night.

IMAG0150Inclusivity and cats. Recently I’ve gotten myself into a situation where I have a space and the agency to throw my own parties, so that’s added immediacy to my Responsible Friendshipping goals. I get to say who comes to the party and what the theme is! I’m also interested, however, in the bigger picture. Am I helping my friends move in a healthy direction in their communities?

Inviting people to parties the best way possible is something I think about a lot. Another strategy I’m considering experimenting with is masterminding a small groups rotation pattern. I will make it clear to friends that, to limit the size of the party, I will invite smaller portions of my larger friend base. If they are not invited to the current party, rest assured they will be invited to the next.

actually-happyGiving myself life advice on the internet and people liking, nice :) What better way to show I respect someone than to support their ideas? At times it verges on enabling, the way I cater to people’s fantasies, but I’d rather do that than be a source of discouragement for the people I love.

Wow, today is less poops. It was really lovely to remember that I’ve put all this content out there and that, for the most part, I’m pretty happy with it all. In other words, I’m rad and I deserve to feel rad :P

More importantly, thank you so much for your support and encouragement. It means so much to me when people mention reading my stuff. You make me feel heard :)

If any of you blog, please let me know! I’d like to start following more people this year.

*hugs*

sami

How to go to the Creationism Museum in Santee

Wait until it is Tuesday (admission is free on Tuesdays). Obtain a beverage. A horchata is nice. I definitely did not do this, and neither should you put whiskey in your horchata, but it is surely something to think about…

horchata

Drive to the very end of Mission Gorge in Santee, where if you go much further you will be headed out to Lakeside (and there is never any reason to go there). Find the building fronted with authoritative, reflective black letters: “CREATION AND EARTH HISTORY MUSEUM.” You will also see a statue of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Walk inside. Bring your horchata. It’s totally chill.

creationist-museum-santee-san-diego-dinosaur Walk briskly through the gift shop and avoid eye contact with the cashier. Snort loudly, then cover your mouth, when the first thing you see is a cheesy light toy paired with solemn Psalms 22:1. Use the change from your horchata to amuse yourself with the coin funnel that is decorated with stickers of planets. Donate a total of 31 cents.

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Proceed through the days of creation. Find animals. Exclaim, “Oh my god there is animals here!” Wonder if the docents have heard you take the lord’s name in vain. Decide the turtle is secretly atheist, like you, but he’s not trying to make a big deal about it.

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Don’t forget, also, to stare for a long time at the mural of dead animals and dead animal parts. It is a work of art.

IMAG0199IMAG0201Listen to your friend make loud monkey noises in the other room. It is like Disneyland here. Although…a docent does emerge from a hidden hallway, after the shouting. Sip your horchata while your friends discuss topics ranging from skin color to the Tower of Babel with the docent. He will call you “secularists.”

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Don’t forget to try to put the round peg in the square hole.

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Wish you had a T-shirt of the sign that says NO RUNNING IN THE MUSEUM. It is so punk rock.

no-running-in-the-museum

Sit down a spell on the nice couch and listen to the man on the TV. He is in a very busy-looking room. Where is he? In front of a green screen? Chortle at a bad jump cut. You are almost done with your horchata. You are keeping it together. You are doing just fine.

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This is the part where the docent comes back and hands your friends brochures. He will give you the last one, and say, “You probably like dogs.” He is not wrong. Maybe God helps him to see these things.

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Consult your smartphone to check the spelling of “efficacy.” Wait. LOL “tratement.”

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Oh god. Oh god no…. Drop your horchata taking a picture of the fertilization sign. It will seem like it is ok at first, because it landed upright, but actually the bottom will bust open, spilling your remaining beverage in a sticky puddle. Take the horchata to the bathroom. Try to drink the rest of it over the sink, then chuck it in the trash. Wash your face. Use the toilet (it is very fancy). Look at the horchata in the trash and stomp it down with your boot. Maybe that helps? Come back to your spill with paper towels. Hear a little girl say, “Mommy, why does it smell like beer?” Oh god. God no. They know. Everyone totally knows.

IMAG0239Leave immediately. Go straight to the brewery across the street. Wish you could order something stiffer than beer (but the beer is pretty good anyway).

BNS Brewing and Distilling Co

Yes, I’m going to Burning Man

I wasn’t going to write about this here until multiple people, as a response to the news, said, “Can’t wait to read your blog about it!” Well, fine. I’ll blog about it. I can’t think about anything else.

Friends have been asking have I gone or will I go to “the burn” for about 2 years now. Yet, I’ve never been. In 2012 I was offered a ride and a ticket (well, I’d still have to pay) and I said no. I said no to Burning Man. I regretted this such that I said yes to Electric Poncho in Mexico, a treacherous adventure filled with scorpions and heat (and oh my god I have never witnessed so much assault). I’ll probably have to do that one again, just to be sure that I hate it.

Cue 2014, and the usual questions abound;

Hey Sami … are you burning this year?

nooooooooopeeee

:(

unless it fell on my lap on a silver platter

which it did 2 years ago and i said no b/c i’m an idiot

IDIOT!

gonna miss you there!

The thing is, if you invite Burning Man to arrive on a silver platter, it will arrive. My phone rang when I was still in bed, late, on a Sunday, like noonish. Last Sunday. Friend (quoted above) called with a chance to test if I’m an idiot, again. “Hey Sami, I know someone with a ride and a ticket for you at face value. Want to go to Burning Man.”

“Umm,” am I awake yet? “Ye–ess?”

Turns out, this ‘someone’ has a non-split-able will call ticket, and needed to find a trustworthy adventurer to both buy the ticket and ride with him through the gates. So yes, I am hopping in a car with a guy I don’t know to camp in the barren desert of Nevada for the first time, and with only 2 weeks preparation. It sure sounds bad when I put it like that.

The night after “Hmm, maybe I’ll go,” turned into “Yes, obviously I have to go,” I felt like my chest was split open, my ribs pulled apart. My blood was cold and it drenched me from the inside out. I began foreseeing the emotions that I will have out there in the dust. Raw, grateful, alone, together, crying tears of joy and sadness. The ghosts of future feelings have landed in my lungs and are growing, growing to burst.

I am lucky this is so last-minute. I don’t have time to do anything but prepare. So I make a Koozie spaceship.

space rocket beer koozie diy

So I adorn a rabbit fur coat with EL wire.

space case El wire letters fur jacket burning man

So I take on the role of Art Director for this 8-foot tall monolith.

vulnerability booth burning man art

So I make my loved ones write me letters.

letter for burning man

I am crossing my arms over my ribcage. I am holding it all in. I am telling myself, Do Not Open Until )'(

Lost in Hollywood

A friend posted a link in the ol’ newsfeed to Google’s Location History to appraise Droid users of just how intimately your phone knows where you were last night.  A privacy concern, for some.

My first thought was: Haha, yeah! I can show my friends exactly how lost I got in Hollywood last week.

I’ve been feeling lately that to truly get to the meat of what San Diego is like, I need to juxtapose it with other places. So when Katelyn needed to make a trip to Los Angeles to pick up something she won on eBay, I happily joined her do research, and, you know, to make sure she didn’t go into some creepy millionaire’s basement and get murdered.

She went into some creepy french millionaire’s basement and did not get murdered, so afterward we went to Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles to celebrate. As you probably already heard, I scooped chicken and waffle alike with my hand shovels into my mouth bucket, and then wiped all with individually packaged moist towelettes, and felt sated and warm.

Afterwards we decided to go to the Frolic Room, which promised via Yelp to be the best dive bar in town. Based on the reviews and my limited understanding of Hollywood, I guessed it was the best simulation of a dive bar in town, with well dressed white people, new furniture, and an unusually kind bartender. Basically, the perfect spot for a San Diegan in an unfamiliar city.

First, we returned to our car to drop off unfinished chicken and waffles.  We had parked on Carlton Way, which is flanked on both sides by towering palm trees in symmetrical rows – probably a street that has shown up in a movie somewhere – the height and precision of which isn’t seen in comparably modest San D.  I think that is where we started to go wrong; we started to imagine ourselves sauntering down this aisle of palms like Californian rockstars and went absolutely the wrong way down Carlton.

Here’s our goal:
Screen shot 2013-12-12 at 9.25.55 PM

Approximate actual route:

Screen shot 2013-12-12 at 9.25.40 PM

That’s only Part One of our misadventures, and it doesn’t show you the brief moment we started to walk the wrong way down Sunset Blvd. We stopped to consult my smart phone, and exactly as I feared, some “helpful” citizen off the recently departed bus started talking to us, in a creepy old man talking to two young women kind of way. I whipped around, “We’re fine. Bye,” and kept walking, determined not to look as lost as I felt.

We made it to the Frolic Room.  It was an enjoyable approximation of a dive bar…. hipsters, new furniture, and an nice bartender. Besides realizing that LA is much bigger than SD, I’d also noticed that fewer (guy) people talk to me, though Katelyn assured me we had no lack of gawkers with long white beards reminiscent of our friend at the bus stop.

I’d also noticed that drivers in town sort of make up their own rules — running red lights, meandering around stopped cars — in a peaceful sort of way. I’d seen two cars pirouette easily around each other in a parking lot, where back home I’d have seen frustrated 5-point turns, impatient glaring, even honking.  San Diegans have a certain, anxious rigidity about traffic law, and a certain insecurity about parking situations.

We walked along the streets again, and I saw a woman with skunked hair on tall, heel-less platforms, surrounded by jackals, her entourage of sharply scruffy men. There’s a different sort of confidence in Hollywood. Maybe it’s all an act, but she seemed to know she was indefatigably interesting, stylish, that she knew where she was going…. Which, apparently, 10 blocks ago, I did not. We had planned to get just one more drink on the way back to the car, at some tavern or another, but-

Let me remind you of our goal:

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Now let me show you an animation of just how lost we got in Hollywood that night:

lost-in-hollywood