The Motel Life

I went to a reading tonight. The somewhat soft-spoken and constantly grinning author, Willy Vlautin, read a few parts from his book, The Motel Life. It seemed to be an engaging brother story that made me giggle a few times. I’ll definitely add it to my reading list. If I wasn’t pinching my pennies right now I would have bought it right then. Check it out, and support an up-and-coming author.

Oh yeah, he’s also in a band called Richmond Fontaine. You can find 3 free MP3s of their music on their website.


People suck.

Those are two of the truest words I’ll ever know. Such a rich, profound, succinct and complete thought—all neatly wrapped up in a tiny little sentence.

As I get older, I am often pleased with how many of life’s lessons I’ve learned. I think of all the experiences—good and bad—I’ve had, and I know that I am wiser for them all.

BUT (and there’s always a but) as much as I try to brace myself with the life-knowledge I’ve gathered, the fact that people suck never fails to sting.

anything’s possible?

Email from a friend today:

The winning entry from an annual contest calling for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term. This year’s term: Political Correctness.

“Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.”

don’t I know you?

I have that face—the one people always recognize, whether they truly do or not.

but do you really know me?

Over the years, I’ve had many people say that I look familiar to them. Of course, there are the times that it’s just a line (men in bars—go figure). But other times, I know it’s genuine. In fact, it’s happened twice in the past three days. One of my new kickball teammates was trying really hard to figure out where she knew me from. It was the first time we’d ever met, I swear. And last night, I was at a local café to hear one of my yoga instructors perform some music, when a fellow fan told me I looked familiar, but he realized I looked like a previous housemate of his from years ago with whom he’d lost touch.

I’ve also been told several times that I resemble Jeanne Tripplehorn. One ex-boyfriend’s mom took to calling me “Jeanne,” which was weird because that was her name, too. A previous boss came into work one day and said that I looked like Tom Cruise’s wife in The Firm. A barista in the Marina Starbucks asked me if I knew who Jeanne Tripplehorn was. I simply smiled and answered, “Yes, I’ve been told I look like her.” I’m complimented every time.

I think this look-alike-ness may account for that familiar feeling people get. I saw Maya Rudolph on a plane once, but the first thing I thought when I saw her was “I know her from somewhere…”

I’ve come to embrace my familiar face as a good thing, if for nothing more than the giggle I have on the inside and the chance to meet new people who think they already know me.


I’m officially in business—that is, in the eyes of the city of San Francisco. I finally made it down to City Hall today to apply for a business license.

No Mayor Newsom sightings.

What an experience: first, the building is so grand and opulent I felt important just walking through the front doors; thank goodness there is a map in the lobby (to which I kept returning to find where I needed to be); the atrium/rotunda is a nice place to hang out (not that I did); and finally, government business is nutty.

The amount of paper that gets pushed around in there is unreal! Naturally, there was an initial form to fill out, then a second form to fill out for certain types of businesses (none of which are mine—phew!), then take a number (small piece of paper) and wait to be called, then take a print-out generated from the original form to the cashier window, then return with your receipt back to the spot where they called your number, receive some more papers, then go to a completely different area of City Hall to apply for something else, more forms, another number…really??!

And the patience level of the people there is reminiscent of that found in the DMV. I understand that they do the same tasks all day long, and the “customers” are more and more like sheep to them, but at one point I had to be silent and take a minute to process the rote instruction one of the clerks gave me. It took a minute to sink in, but I got it. [Shook my head so the idea could jiggle into place.]

All in all, it was a fun afternoon—something I’ve never done before. I’m “officially” open for business!


After a long day of Alcatraz touring and Union Square shopping, I knew exactly where I wanted to take Natalie (and myself) for dinner.

A few months ago Larisa and I took the Vampire Tour of San Francisco, and one of the stops on the tour was on the sidewalk in front of the Nob Hill Café. While the vampiress gave her talk, I noticed how good the food looked and smelled and made a note to file away the location for later use.

When Natalie and I found ourselves famished I knew just where we would go—the Nob Hill Café. As we were seated, I saw them—the San Francisco Brown Twins! I discreetly, but excitedly, told Natalie how blessed we were to be in the presence of such local celebrities!

They were sitting in the window seat and graciously posed for photos as passers-by recognized them. I wanted to get their photo SO bad, but I didn’t want to be one of those obnoxious people that make life a pain for celebrities. So I reached deep down to find some patience, and I decided to wait until they were done with their evening and wanted to leave. No sooner than I had made that decision did a lady barge into the restaurant (a lovely Italian trattoria, by the way) to interrupt the twins’ evening and asked to take their photo—no regard for their meal, no regard for the other patrons in the dining room, no intention of patronizing the café. I didn’t see it, but I heard the twins tell her to give them some time to finish their meal. I told Natalie that that lady is precisely the person I don’t want to be and ruins the fun for the rest of us! Grrr…

Since my back was to the twins, Natalie was my look-out to let me know when they were done and ready to leave. They got up from their table and stopped to say hello to everyone in the room. As they got to our table and said hello, I asked if I could take their photo outside. Again graciously, they agreed but wanted a little time to visit the “lounge” before they left. Of course, I agreed.

When they were ready to walk out, all bundled in matching leopard-print coats, leopard-print cowboy hats (which they wore all through dinner), and blue gloves, they came over to grab me! Amazing! I followed them outside, they posed, I shot. I was satisfied. But they made my night even better by asking my name and introducing themselves. They handed me a business card with their address and requested that I send them a copy of the photo (I think they do this to everyone who shoots them). Vivian then made sure that I knew she was 8 minutes older and therefore more experienced, and Marian stepped in front of her and said that it in turn made her the younger of the two! So cute!

I love San Francisco!!


i like this…posted on flickr by harpy

God Says Yes To Me
By Karen Haught

I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic and she said yes.
I asked her if it was okay to be short, and she said it sure is.
I asked her if I could wear nail polish or not wear nail polish and she said honey
She calls me that sometimes
She said you can do just exactly what you want to.
Thanks God I said.
And is it even okay if I dont paragraph my letters?
Sweetcakes, God said
Who knows where she picked that up
What I’m telling you is
Yes Yes Yes


I received a lovely, handwritten note from a friend last week.

It was such a pleasant surprise because a) it was just to say hi and b) she took the time to not email. It made me stop and think about how great it is to receive snail mail in these days of instantly-gratifying technology.

I was lucky enough to be brought up in the days of written correspondence. My grandmother and aunt used to write letters to me when I was growing up. I often wrote letters to friends and received many letters in return. And I’m happy to have even had the exciting chance to participate in the art of love letters! Sigh…

Sadly, those days seem so long ago. My aunt has stopped writing her letters—even after she swore that she would never email since her husband is a postmaster—she now emails me. She shocked me the other day with an IM!

Fetching the mail just isn’t as rewarding as it used to be, but I’d like to try to bring back that spark. I’m returning the “favor” to my friend by sending her a handwritten note, too. I’d like to try to increase my letter writing. It’s one of those pleasures that is so easy to achieve but rarely done.

Go send a note! :D


If you haven’t heard of the book Mortified, check it out.

I first heard of Mortified on This American Life. And then I got the chance to read a few of the pieces at Melissa’s house, since Chris had bought it for her for Christmas. Needless to say, they are giggle-out-loud pieces.

But the Mortified people have taken the brilliance one step further. Productions of live Mortified events are currently running in several locations around the country. I had the pleasure of attending Mortified San Francisco last night. There were seven “cast” members who read diary entries, poetry and even a screenplay from their teenage days. It was one of those times where my cheeks hurt from laughing so much. I’m about to reserve my ticket for next month, since each show has new material—it’s the gift that keeps on giving!

I wholeheartedly recommend you attend an event if you can make it. Mortified Live is currently in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, New York and Chicago.

things and stuffs