Monday, July 20, 2009

Famous! (By Association)

So my friend Sherry is kind of famous, which means I'm friends with famous people...which means I'm, well,.....friends with famous people? OK, fine. It doesn't mean much about me, per se, but it's still exciting!

Sherry is a real, live artist who gets interviewed in trendy magazines and has a bio that includes coverage in The New Yorker and art showings in Mexico City. She practically needs her own clan of Secret Service people to follow her around.

The funny thing is that the agents would be trailing her from places like jumprope class to various Mission dive bars which means that, in order to blend in, they'd have to lose the dark suits and pick up some skinny jeans. And maybe they could follow her around on fixed gear bikes rather than in an Escalade--just to be sure that no one suspected them. Note: Secret Service agents would have way more fun trailing Sherry than Paris Hilton (who basically goes from her esthetician to her dietician to frat-boy clubs and 'round again). Just sayin'.

Anyway, Sherry had an art opening on Saturday night where she showed a set of paintings, including the one above. I'm the girl on the far right, and yes, I was wearing a Hooter's shirt (no comment). The idea behind the show was to feature the city's different creative communities and invite them to interact with one another at the opening. A jumproper herself, Sherry decided to paint some Double Dutchers, and I was lucky enough to be free the day she needed someone to pose for her. (Three cheers for Funemployment!)

The event was way fun, with everything from a sparkly drag performance to a saucy fashion show to spontaneous, Xtreme jump roping. Even the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were there to kick off the night with a Shel Silverstein reading. (This may be the closest I ever get to interacting with members of a religious order.)

So, if you know any aspiring Secret Service agents lookin' for an internship, let them know the job of the Century is available. Trailing Ms. Sherry would be nothing short of wildly entertaining. Plus, this is who you'd be protecting.

Monday, July 13, 2009

We All Have Our Shortcomings

Not all of us can be good at everything, right? For example, Heb is really bad at remembering idioms. She's always mixing and matching them, like "don't count your balloons before they pop" or "don't put all your eggs in the same nest." It's really amusing, especially since she has a Ph.D. 'n all.

Another one of my friends is really bad at feigning interest. If he thinks a story is boring or a joke is not-so-funny, he'll stare ahead blankly or even look at his watch until the person he's talking to waves the white flag in conversational defeat. The upside of this is that if you manage to keep his interest, you feel like a professional entertainer, deserving of your own HBO show.

And me? Well, I'm bad at lots of things, most notably: spelling, swimming, directions, knives and long distance running. To make up for it, though, I'm extra good at French braiding, handstands, puns and bubble letters. Oh, and I’m at least above average when it comes to playing Taboo, especially if Greg is on my team!

Over the last few years, I’ve been working on my shortcomings. Progress to date:

  • Learned how to spell “exercise” and “razor” (not so easy)
  • Figured out that you’re supposed to reach really far ahead when you swim, which seems to be helping. I also got a polka dot bikini which is mostly unrelated but still worth mentioning.
  • Got an iPhone with the maps app! (Is that cheating?)
  • Have taken on Dayle’s husband Larry as my knife use coach. Well, more like he threw a fit a few weeks ago when he saw me cutting tomatoes for my Gay Pride Rainbow Pasta Salad and forced me to practice tucking in my thumb.

That just leaves running. Well, friends, the day has come for me to take on a new challenge, especially now that I’m funemployed with some “flexibility” in my schedule. Convinced by “Rob’s-baby-cousin-Alex” as I like to call him, I signed up for BootCampSF, which began last week. I had heard great things about it, but was terrified of the running part. Terrified! Well, they’d ease us into it, right?

Umm, no. I showed up on the first day and immediately had to run 1.5 miles! Without stopping! As I jogged around Dolores Park (with a pained look on my face no doubt), memories of dreaded high school soccer team practice came flooding back. I was instantly reacquainted with my 16-year-old self huffing and puffing through the neighborhood behind my teammates, hoping that the boys team wouldn’t run by and see me hunched over with a cramp in my side and my Umbros (OMG, Umbros!) riding up in a not-so-cute way.

Well, the big news is that I did it! I was certainly not the fastest of the group, but I wasn’t the slowest either. And the teacher/coach girl made me buy real running shoes, which means I really can’t drop out now--they're still so white! Rumor has it that we'll be running 5 miles before the end of the 6-week program. I feel nauseous just thinking about it. (Confession: I just spelled nauseous wrong and spellcheck had to fix it.)

Stay tuned for more Bootcamp trials and additional progress on my "Things I'm Bad At" list. In the meantime, I'll try writing nauseaus in bubble letters to see if that helps.


ps. Exciting new business idea: what if there were a spelling bootcamp? The drill sargeant would be dressed like a Catholic school teacher and she'd make you run a mile every time you misspelled a word. Either way, I'd get to tackel something on my "Things I'm Bad At" list!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Every Heart Beats True...For the Red, White and Blue...

I'm wondering if my elementary school was secretly some sort of breeding ground for future members of the Armed Forces or maybe the Presidential cabinet....or possibly NASCAR. As I learned over the July 4th weekend, my fellow countrymen who did not attend Southern Boulevard Elementary School don't share my notably vast knowledge of patriotic jams. Is it weird that I know at least 10 songs celebrating the unparalleled splendor of the US of A, word for word? Seriously, I think it might be.

Other Americans can belt out flawless lyrics to colorful classics like Bust a Move or I Like Big Butts, successfully entertaining bored people on car trips and/or impressing drunk people on dance floors. But, nope, not me. My lyrical memory has been committed to declarations of pride in the land where our fathers died, the land of the pilgrims' pride, from evvvvverrrrry mountainside...

The useful part of all this, I'm now learning, is when it comes to Independence Day sing-offs, I really have a leg up. Yeah, that's right. I know every last word to America The Beautiful, The Star Spangled Banner and even This Land is Your Land (no small feat). I guess that's the result of performing these songs every year at the annual "spring concert"--from kindergarten through 4th grade.

Pretty much the event of the year in small-town NJ, my entire class would prepare for months for this performance where we attempted to dazzle our parents with patriotic melodies...probably boring them to tears. Dressed up in party dresses, white tights and Patton leather Mary Janes, we'd passionately bang red, white and blue percussion sticks together to motherland classics like You're a Grand 'Ole Flag, stomping our feet at the end for artistic emphasis. Afterwards, if you were reeeeally lucky and you weren't in trouble for something you did earlier in the week, your mom and dad would take you to Friendly's for ice cream...where I was obsessed with the rainbow sorbet and my sister with the Chip Witch.

So next time I'm shakin' it at some wedding and everyone around me is singing along to Ice, Ice Baby, I'm going to remind myself that they'll be the ones in the dark, come next 4th of July...when the curiously fascist graduates of Southern Boulevard Elementary take the stage and sing their nerdy little hearts out---from California to the New York Island, from the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf Stream waters!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Glamping In The Great Outdoors

Last weekend my friend Zetta (of Rick and Zetta fame) hosted a full-fledged girls' get-away at a snazzy vacation house up in the Russian River. There were 11 of us, 2 hot tubs (if you count the one in the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous pool), a billion fashion magazines, 1 fire pit, and approximately 300 pounds of food, mostly consisting of strawberries, exciting salads and s'mores. The weekend pretty much ruled, especially since I got to break out my French braiding skillz, around the fire pit no less! And if it makes you happy to believe that we all wore ruffly nighties and giggled our way through champagne-induced pillow fights, you can. Who am I to rain on your parade, especially so near to the 4th of July?

Anyway, at the end of the weekend, 2 of the girls (see above pic of Josie and Louise) asked me if I wanted to go "glamping" with them for an extra night, returning to the city on Monday. "Huh?" I uttered, totally confused. "You know, when you camp outside, glam style," they explained, "with fancy food from your cooler and a blow-up mattress in your tent." I was totally in.

So off we went into The Great Outdoors. After we parked the car at our cush little campsite (complete with one of those wooden landscape scenes with holes where people can stick their faces while someone takes their picture from the other side), we blew up our rafts and paddled into the river. There we spent the day laughing at ourselves for various reasons including the fact it took us hours to figure out how to tie our rafts together without floating into riverbank in the process. Hours! And, yes, we had oars.

An additional complication arose due to the fact that I had not been planning on glamping, or rafting for that matter, and the best I could do for "water shoes" were my canvas espadrilles with a high platform heel and a buckling strap around the ankle. Since exiting the river entailed regrouping on the beach side and then swimming back across to the campground side, it felt like too much effort to buckle and unbuckle my shoes, which were waterlogged after being tied to the handle of my raft all day. So after I put on my shoes in order to contend with the rocky "beach," I attempted to swim across the river in them, which turned out to be, err, the more work-intensive option.

Visual: me in a polka dot bikini, holding onto a large inner tube, doggie paddling my way across a 4-foot deep river while being pulled under by what felt like 10-pound weights on my feet. Every time I kicked my legs, the large and motley gathering of local river goers would see a high heel espadrille pop into the air at which point I would observe their perplexed reactions, start laughing, and then choke on the water--a cycle that repeated itself many, many times. I told one concerned-looking guy (who was wearing a wife beater and a Marlboro hat) that I was training for a Navy Seal test. Unclear if he bought it.

Regardless, glamping was a great success and I may have even improved my swimming endurance along the way.