Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bar roundup, and why I'm really loyal to Make Out Room.

I'm unhappy with my work situation right now, so I don't want to talk work. Let's talk drinking.

I know I've mentioned bars here before, so it's probably no secret that I'm kind of a major critic of them. Here's what you've got to understand about me: I really, really like bar games. My social life is centered around them. I throw a mediocre game of darts and play a similarly mediocre game of pool, but god help me, I could do both of those things for hours. I love cards. I love stupid little bar machines. And also? I really, really love beer.

San Francisco and I are okay as far as bars go, mostly because I live in an area of town that's littered with them on every corner. We are not okay, because I don't make very much money, and my desire to pay more than five dollars for a beer is really low. That being said, here's a roundup of my experiences so far:

Doc's Clock. I like Doc's a lot. It's on Mission between 21st & 22nd, so it's close to me. Their happy hour lasts from 6-9. Midwest happy hours - and most east coast happy hours, for that matter - exist until 7 if you're lucky. I can get cheap drinks until 9?! Thanks, Doc's. I also like Doc's because I don't like to have to wait twenty minutes to get a drink. It gets busy, but it has a tendency to get busy way later than I arrive. The Roommate and I have a tendency to arrive at happy hour time and be done by 10 or so, which is just when Doc's is hitting its stride. They've got a fantastic shuffleboard table, and an assortment of board games that are all missing a few pieces, but work well if you're willing to adapt. (Our favorites: Trivial Pursuit where all of the pieces have at least one wedge stuck in them and Connect Four missing half of the pieces.) PBR is $2 until 9p, or all night on Sundays. And after that, the PBR price only goes up to $2.50, so you don't have to be too worried. Plus, the bartenders are awesome - I had to wait a ridiculously long time the other night because the bartender was involved in a conversation and didn't see me. Two Anchor Steams for free because he felt bad. Yes to all of it. Thanks, Doc's.

Kilowatt. Oh, Kilowatt, I moved further away from you and now you feel like you are SO FAR AWAY. (Five blocks. Suck it up.) Kilowatt is the best place to play pool in the Mission IF you want to rotate in and out of tables. And if you're not completely worthless as a pool player. Free pool on Sundays. Gets wicked crowded when football is on, unfortunately, so we occasionally end up across the street at Delirium until it clears out. Beer isn't particularly cheap, but isn't the end of the world. They've got a nice selection and a killer pale ale on tap. $3.25 for most beers during happy hour, which only lasts until 7. Also, they've got two dart boards. They're awful dart boards, but they exist - and they're on a raised platform so assholes aren't constantly tripping over you while you try to shoot. Plus one for Kilowatt. Unfortunately, there are two tables up there, and when there's nowhere else to sit, people default to sitting there - making it impossible to shoot. I can't handle Kilowatt when it's busy, but I love it on Saturday afternoons.

500 Club. Love me some 500 Club. I will fully admit, however, that I've only been there when they were showing the presidential debates, so I can't say anything about the clientele. What I can say is that their happy hour lasts until 7, all drafts are $2 on Tuesday during happy hour, and the bartenders are very good at what they do. I will be investigating this deal tonight while I rock today's crossword puzzle, because I am a nerd.

Delirium. I kind of don't feel like I belong at Delirium. Ever. Still, the beer is cheap, and on Sundays, they've got free food and free pool. The free food is seriously an event - they grill about seven pieces of meat at a time and set it on a table in the middle of the bar, and you better be watching for it, because seven pieces of meat go very quickly. Like, seconds. And it'll be about 30-45 minutes until the next run of meat comes up. But it is free, so it's hard to make a major case against them. A couple of TVs if you want to watch a game and don't want to battle the Kilowatt crowd.

The Phoenix. Love/hate relationship. $5 Hoegaarden. Grumble. But they have food, and occcasionally I just want to sit at a bar, watch World Series of Poker reruns with The Roommate, and down an order of fries with mayonnaise. This is the perfect location to do that, if you hit the timing right so you're not battling way too many people that are trying way too hard. I've got a soft spot in my heart for this place, but I just can't figure out why.

Inner Mission Beer Parlor. If I wasn't so poor, I would love the hell out of this bar. It looks super divey, and hell, maybe it is. What I know is that they have a simply incredible beer selection. Absolutely my favorite in the Mission. They're also $5-7 per draft, and that's a little much for me to pay for a real night of drinking. Getting $25-30 deep with tip for a night is a little more than I'd like to pay, and I feel a little bit like an asshole ordering $3 bottles of PBR in this place. They do have two pool tables, a decent amount of seating, and the pool tables aren't as competitive as Kilowatt. I'd like this place a lot if I could feel less guilty about dropping a lot of cash on beer. As it stands, I still like it a lot - I can just only go on nights I don't particularly feel like drinking. Too bad. Good beer = I want to keep drinking it.

Elbo Room. I probably have to say that I don't like Elbo, and that's too bad, because I kind of do. Decent beer selection. But oh, god, it's so dark. SO dark. Your eyes have to adjust something fierce. I know. It's a bar. But if you've never been there, you cannot understand how damn dark the place is. I don't like bright, shiny bars, but this is ridiculous. They have pinball machines in the back. I understand they have an upstairs, but I've never been there. I like sitting at the bar for a beer or two occasionally. Also, they start to get packed pretty early, and then it's obnoxious. They also claim to have the longest happy hour in the city, 6-9p, which is a lie, because that title is held, in my experience, by my favorite of the Mission dives so far...

Make Out Room. I love this bar. I have a really ridiculous amount of reasons to love this bar. Also, please realize that my experience with this bar is mostly before 10, and does not involve shows, and those are the two things that they kind of specialize in. That may be why I have such a ridiculously high opinion of it. But allow me to paint you a word picture. In SAN FRANCISCO, they have $5 pitchers (!!!) of PBR until 10. Look, people, I know it's not great beer. But The Roommate and I can get two beers each for $5, and that is amazing. Their other drafts are cheap during happy hour too, and they have cider, which I can drink like water. They claim to have no cover charge Monday-Thursday. We turned up there on a random weeknight and they were charging a cover. When we talked nicely to the door guy and said we really just wanted a pitcher and didn't want to see the show, he let us slip in and just sit at the bar. (We weren't trying to be assholes - it was a comedy show, we paid absolutely no attention, and sat at the bar chatting instead.) I've never had a huge wait for a drink. I'm also usually there before it starts to get packed.

The most recent reason I love them? I got real, real messed up there last week, and I have a certain bartender to thank. We went to see the debates at 500 and had a couple of drinks, then ended up here a little later. (Post-sandwich.) We bought the first pitcher of beer, then made friends with a bartender who looked really bored. I asked him if he was doing okay, he said he was super tired, and I asked him to tell me about his day. After immediately insisting that I didn't really want to hear about his day, I reassured him that I actually did. We made friends quickly. Turns out he's moving soon. We told him that we both recently moved here and wanted to know what awesome things we should probably be doing. Our beer was nearly out, so he poured us another pitcher as he was talking. We're certainly not ones to refuse free beer, so we hung out for awhile longer. This incredibly nice bartender proceeded to introduce us to some friends and try to integrate us into the bar scene. A little later came the shots. 

People, I can't take shots. I just can't. But when a bartender pours three shots of tequila for him, you and your roommate, you suck it up and suck it down. And shockingly, for the first time in about four years, I managed to successfully keep a shot down. A couple drinks at 500, then two pitchers, then the tequila shot? It was all over for this girl. But I got to chat up a really great bartender all night, I became successfully reacquainted with hard liquor, and I did it for $5 because the really great bartender was buying us drinks. (We tipped him incredibly well on our way out because we were incredibly grateful for how our night turned out.)

Much, much love to Make Out Room. And much love to all of the mission bars. (Except the creepy one on Mission where we drank $4 Coronas and I got hit on by an incredibly lewd fellow who did not speak English, but spoke the international language of gross hand gestures. No love to that place again, ever.)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Mission Street Food.

I have a set of storyboards that I had wanted to get out in an hour and a half, but I literally have no ideas for them, so I've decided to procrastinate by making all of you jealous of the incredible food I got to eat last night.

Have you heard of the new Mission Street Food truck? It's honestly a really brilliant concept. The chef from Bar Tartine, a restaurant I simply cannot afford to eat at, has rented an already-established food truck. On Thursday nights, he parks it at 21st & Mission and makes three sandwiches, as well as an Asian Pear Slaw and brownies. This was the third week. It's been a wildly popular concept, and it doesn't take a genius to figure out why. $5 sandwiches! GOOD sandwiches! $3 brownies!

I'm a food nerd, so the concept is honestly amazing to me. We're taking very good food and making it accessible to a lot of people. It's incredibly experimental - we all know the stigma some people see behind food that comes from a truck - but it's backed by a solid name. This is good food that you can get in a paper tub on the street.

Chef Anthony has a blog, so we can all keep up on what's going on in his world. I convinced The Roommate to walk down with me (two blocks from the apartment!) and grab dinner with me last night. 

Let's face it: the wait is astronomical. I waited an hour for a sandwich. The signs claim they're open from 8p-2a, but I have a really difficult time imagining that to be true. We got down there around 9:20, and the whole experience probably took us about an hour. We waited in line for about 45 minutes, then waited about 15 after placing the order to get our food. The thing is, we knew that was going to happen. For whatever reason, no one seems to really care. Sip a soda, watch the crowd, smell the pork cooking - we all know the experience that we're participating in. They aren't advertising, so we all only know about it because we're blog-reading nerds. We read that there were 45 minute waits, so what did we do? Flooded them with orders and made it last even longer. 

The food is incredible. "Sandwich" is a sort of tricky term. I consider it a sandwich as much as I consider a taco to be a sandwich - because, well, I ate it like a taco. It's one piece of flatbread topped with delicious, delicious toppings. Both The Roommate and I had the cleverly-named PB&J - pork belly and jicama. The pork just melts in your mouth, the jicama provides a starchy textural contrast, and I swear to you I would drink the damned aioli that they drizzle on top of it. I could have killed two of them, and next week, there's a strong chance I'll skip lunch so I can do just that. 

Be aware, though, that they run out of food. And OF COURSE they do - you don't want to bring food you won't sell, so you have to estimate a little low, but this place is being absolutely flooded with traffic. There is no way the truck is open until 2 a.m. By the time we actually got up to the truck around 10, they were a customer or two away from running out of the handmade flatbread - but were substituting tortillas for $1 off each sandwich. They ran out of the brie for the brownies far before we got up there, assuming that most people would probably not be open to the idea of cheese on their brownies. (They compensated by giving me $1 off my brownie as well.)

Oh, and the brownie? Delicious. It just disappears in your mouth. So moist, so rich. These brownies will kill you. It's a good thing The Roommate and I decided to split one, because I couldn't have eaten it on my own. 

The hype and the wait are worth it. They do this once a week, kids. Every week they're practicing and refining. As long as you go into it expecting a learning experience, you'll enjoy it. Also, there's one of my favorite bodegas across the street, so you can go get a beer and pound it while you're in line. (Still hung over from Make Out Room the night before, we opted for sodas, but the group behind us took the 22 oz.-in-bags route. More on Make Out Room and my tequila shot later.) Do NOT go there expecting a short trip, do not get impatient, and get there early. After just two hours they were desperately running out of things and making substitutions. I don't know what the line was like when they first opened, but I wish I had gotten there early enough to get brie with the brownie. Next week, you can bet I'm going to get out of my apartment closer to 8 rather than watching The Office before I go. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day: Perspective.

Today is Blog Action Day, everyone, and this year's theme is Poverty.

I have a history of being exposed to poverty. I also have a history of talking about how I have no money. But if we could, for a moment, let's sit down and consider what it really means to not have any money. 

Growing up, my family wasn't always doing terribly well. My parents were where I first learned the dangers of credit. They didn't make a ton of money, but we always had very nice things. The hot tub in the back yard, the satellite dish back when that was a super huge deal, the new cars every two years. My mother loves Christmas. I was technically an only child (step-siblings and half-siblings, but we never lived together), so I was spoiled. Presents as far as the eye can see, all lovingly wrapped for me to destroy on the morning of December 25th. As a kid, you don't necessarily consider where these things come from. It took me awhile to learn about the concept of credit. 

I worked in pre-foreclosure for my first year of college. I was making enough money to support myself and my live-in boyfriend, who was finishing up an incredibly difficult college major. It paid our rent ($345 for an efficiency; I miss the midwest), it paid for our food, and it paid for us to occasionally go out and do fun things. It was also the worst job experience I've ever had. I sat at a desk every day and listened to people tell me that they could pay their mortgage or feed their kids, and what would I do if I was in their position? The truth is that I could never understand their position. How do you get there? How do you purchase a house and suddenly not have the capacity to pay for it? I pitied these people, I really did, but I had difficulty understanding their situation. But I listened to them yell at me for eight hours a day, and then I would go home and cry. I hated my job. But it was major exposure to the idea of living beyond your means. 

I'm sure we're all looking for some heart-warming tale of how I learned my lesson about credit from that job, but I don't know if I'd get ready for that just yet. It should be noted that I have incredibly good credit. I've got a high credit rating, because even if I'm carrying huge balances, I pay my bills every month. A high credit rating means that my bank keeps raising my limit, which means that my balance keeps raising, because I'm going to pay it off in that magical "someday" where I don't have to worry about money anymore. And now I carry close to $20,000 in credit card debt. It's a combination of factors. College, the year-long stint in New York working at a job that didn't support my newly-turned-21 habits, a wedding, moving to San Francisco after being unemployed for seven months with absolutely no savings.

I live more modestly in San Francisco than I ever have, because, well... it's pretty easy to do so. The Roommate isn't a huge money-spender. I don't really know a lot of people around here. I am a $2 PBR girl, not a $10 cocktail girl. I live in a neighborhood where the best food is often the cheap food. I don't spend any money on transportation and I am splitting the cost of the cheapest studio I've seen in this city. I get by. But when I first moved here, I had no money. However, I've got really good credit. So if I was hungry, I could just transfer a few hundred bucks from a credit account and eat modestly for a few weeks. Sure, the credit runs out eventually. But I've got enough open that if I HAD to pay my rent and get by like that for a few months, I could make do.

This is where I am lucky. If I have to dig up money for an emergency, I can. It's not a smart way to operate. But it is an option. I have parents who don't really make a lot of money, but are willing to give me what they have if they know I'm really struggling. Sure, I moved here with "no money", but I am not going to bed hungry because I have no other options. Also, I am going to BED. In a bed, wrapped up in a comforter, with no concerns about my safety throughout the night. I wake up the next morning and take a hot shower. I grab a bowl of cereal. I go to my coffee shop, with my computer, and I work. I'm buying $1.75 house coffee instead of $5 lattes, but I am still living comfortably. I have nothing to bitch about, ever.

Over the past five and a half years, I have always found myself living in low-income neighborhoods. It's not really a matter of taking advantage of pre-gentrification - the neighborhoods immediately surrounding my college were certainly lower-class. In New York, I moved in with two good friends who happened to live in a safe, but as-yet-ungentrified location. (I have a feeling it's coming eventually.) I live in a neighborhood now that's a strange mixture of people who are legitimately impoverished, families that have been here for years, and hipsters. (I really have no idea how the hell to describe my neighborhood in a way that's fair and beautiful, so I'm just giving up.) 

If I want to walk to the train station, I have to pass people who are crazy. And I don't mean to be derogatory or sound like an asshole, but I mean legitimately crazy. The type of crazy that only comes when you haven't eaten for four days - and when you did eat your last meal, it might have been some McDonald's leftovers that you dug out of the trash. The type of crazy that comes from not having a good night's sleep in a decade. The type of crazy that comes from not having any friends, not having any family, not having a single person to turn to. The type of crazy that has to literally sleep with one eye open lest you lose the possessions that look like trash to passers-by, but are literally all you have to cling to. The type of crazy that comes from feeling like the system has failed you. The type of crazy that KNOWS you are crazy and can't do a single thing to save yourself. The type of crazy that has completely run out of rope.

It makes me feel awful. I feel awful because I legitimately can't imagine it. I'm sure my parents had some incredibly close brushes with being impoverished when I was growing up, but if they did, I certainly didn't know about it. I always had shoes on my feet and a meal on the table, and at the end of the day, I got to curl up in my warm bed and sleep, safe and sound. I have been incredibly lucky in my life. I've got a lot of debt, and it's going to take me a long time to pay it back. But I'm college-educated. I can charge a lot of money for my freelance work because I am good at what I do and I have five years of education and work experience to back it up. My clothes fit a little loose now and I don't look quite as professional as I should, but I still have nice things to wear to a job interview.

Everyone around the blogosphere has been offering their tips and tricks for what you can do to combat poverty, so I'm not going to add to them. The truth is that there are no hard and fast solutions out there. What I want everyone to do is just think. Consider a world where you have to put your head on the sidewalk at night, a world where you have to paw through garbage in front of well-to-do individuals in the morning to see if someone threw out part of a sandwich. Consider how humiliated you might be and how hard it would be to retain your pride and your sanity. I don't have a lot of money. I'm working on making my income a little higher, and I certainly hope that when the day comes that I have disposable income, I'll be trying to help others with it. What I can do right now is smile at someone I pass. If I'm walking out of a restaurant and I have leftovers with me, I can offer them to someone I see digging through a bag of garbage instead of just throwing them away eventually. 

I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen my biological father cry. One of them is when he was telling me a story about why he always carries change. He used to do a fair amount of traveling in dense, urban areas, and would often be asked for money. Rather than ever handing someone a dollar bill, he would always give them change. When you do that, you have to touch the person. You don't have six inches of paper separating you. You give them what you can spare, but at the same time, you're making an actual human connection. He felt people didn't do that enough anymore, that we're too detached, and it's his small way of making a difference.

So what's your small difference going to be? If you can't come up with anything else, I would just like to ask you to think. Consider for a moment what it would mean to have nowhere to turn. Kiss the one you love, and think before you fall asleep about how lucky you are to have the things you have, even if you wish you had more. There are people who wish they had anything.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Full-time freelancer.

My life is a little weird, kids, and I understand that my next few statements are probably going to open the doors to a whole lot of "poor baby" comments. So, just get ready for it.

I have completely abandoned the idea of getting a full-time job. I go back and forth between using the word "full-time" and "real", and this says a lot about how I feel about my current situation. After taking a couple of freelance jobs, I realized that I really love it. I had always felt like that was true about me. I freelanced off-and-on during college to pay a few bills and it always worked out really well for me. Then when college was over, the work simply didn't exist. I picked up a couple of freelance jobs out here, and honestly? I love it. As an indicator of how my life goes, The Roommate actually asked me the other day why I ever bother leaving the house. I'm pretty sure he kind of meant it as an asshole statement, but I couldn't care less. It's a pretty good point. I don't have to leave my house, ever. 

My life as a freelancer is an interesting one. I make a really obnoxious amount of money... kind of. I make a really obnoxious amount of money at an hourly rate, and that would be great if I was actually working 40 hours a week. However, I am not, so it ends up balancing out to a simply livable amount of money, and I manage to live pretty cheaply here (especially since I discovered the $5 pitchers of PBR at Make Out Room, and no, Mom, it isn't what it sounds like, it's just a dive bar). It is the world's most liberating feeling to be able to work when I want to. It doesn't mean I'm not working hard - though I certainly could be working harder. I'd say I divide my time right now between actually doing work that makes me money and seeking out new work. 

I have to be honest, the freelance lifestyle is scary when you first start it. Also, I'm sure this will change when the work is a little more regular, but I honestly don't feel like I'm ever working. I spend my days hopping from coffee shop to coffee shop, occasionally heading downtown to attend a meeting with a client or to network with potential clients. (I also try to schedule my meetings around lunch so I have an excuse to grab the $5 lunch special at Mehfil on 2nd & Folsom with The Roommate, but THAT is another story.) If I wake up at 8 and I'm still tired, I can go back to bed. I'll just work a little later in the evening. If I feel like sitting in my pajamas and drinking milk all day, I can do that. Or I can actually get motivated and go to one of the many free wi-fi hotspots in my neighborhood. (Because, as mentioned before, my neighborhood basically rules.)

It's difficult to say that I won't be getting a full-time job, because if someone came along right now and offered me a lot of money and benefits, it would be really hard to turn it down. I'm not secure as a freelancer yet. I need the jobs to keep rolling in so I can build up a little savings and not constantly worry about how I pay the rent for the next month. But if that happens, I'll be really pleased with my life. For now, I'm just sitting back and letting it happen. I've made enough to pay my credit card bill for this month, pay the rent for next month, and buy the occasional $5 pitcher of beer. And honestly, as long as those things exist, I'm secure enough.

On that note, it's time to get back to work. (You see, even though it's 6:30, I didn't choose to get out of bed until 11. So now I'm overcompensating.) And after that, we'll be investigating those $5 pitchers at Make Out Room. I might even get cocky enough to ride a bicycle there. Fingers crossed.

Monday, October 6, 2008

San Francisco microcosm

To say I love living in San Francisco feels a little strange. I really, really like being in San Francisco. Living here has been an experience. I'm not sure if we can say I love it yet. I don't know many people here, and I really miss my house. I have an apartment that is twice as much as my mortgage for a third of the space. My job prospects are still few and far between. The broken bone factor sort of put a damper on a lot of things. What I can say is that I think someday, I'm really going to love living here. That magical day when the money starts rolling in enough that I'm not actually afraid of how to pay my rent for the next month and I get some of my stuff out here from home, I'll be much happier. There's nothing I dislike so far, there are just things I miss. Like being employed. And having something in my kitchen other than two bowls and a skillet. (And ants.)

Here's what concerns me. I'm concerned that San Francisco is destroying me, and I will never be able to live anywhere else as long as I live. I was talking to a friend the other day, and somehow weather came up. I have literally forgotten it is autumn. The weather has not changed since I got here. It's occasionally a little chilly in the morning or the evening, I suppose. I have no concept of what the rest of the country is going through. I have yet to see rain. I grew up with snow. I have lived through snow in October. If the day ever comes that I actually bitch about weather here, someone should probably remind me that I'm an idiot.

So I'm afraid I'm going to simply lose time. October means something to me in the midwest, but it does not mean a damn thing here. I am still wearing shorts. I can ride a bike year-round. I am petrified that it is going to suddenly become March and I'm not going to know where the past six months of my life went. I am petrified that I am going to turn 30 and not have any idea how I got there. (Note: The jump from six months to turning 30 is a much larger one than I would usually lead you to believe.)

I'm also a little afraid that I'm going to forget how the rest of the country works. Can I ever move back to a conservative town after living here? I will have the experience of observing the presidential election from one of the most liberal towns in America. (Note: I would have said THE most liberal town in America, but a newspaper here recently endorsed McCain/Palin, and I know it's a worthless newspaper, but the point is that A NEWSPAPER IN SAN FRANCISCO ENDORSED JOHN MCCAIN. Ahem.) I come from a somewhat conservative town, followed by an incredibly conservative town. Somehow, one month in San Francisco is managing to make me forget 23 years of living everywhere else. The options of where I'm able to live next are dwindling rapidly.

The San Francisco microcosm is a funny one, and I'm only mentioning this now so that when I forget that a little later, I can look back and see that I actually wrote these words, and there was a time when I acknowledged that the world I'm living in is a little strange. Don't take that as a complaint, by any means - I moved here for a reason, and it's just been a slightly different adjustment than I had anticipated.

Today marks five weeks that I've been here. I'm pretty confident that's the reason my "time slipping away from me" post here came about. The job front is looking up a little. I've decided to be a full-time freelancer rather than getting a "real" job, something I'm pretty excited about. My only concern is my ability to keep the work coming in, but it's going solidly enough so far. I've got a client right now that seems like he's going to be a fairly repeat customer. There are a couple of communication issues, and I hope we're able to resolve those to develop a good working relationship. I wanted very badly to freelance full-time a few months ago, but it didn't quite work out. Now, the work is starting to come in, and I'm just keeping my fingers crossed every day that I can keep enough balls in the air to make this a successful enterprise.

So, thanks for five good weeks, San Francisco, even though you're making me broke and destroyed my collar bone. Here's to the future.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

No on Prop 8.

My freelance job I just finished up was for a political cause that I actually care about. As much as I can care about something that is on a ballot for a state I'm not registered to vote in, that is. I'm choosing to not update my voter registration to California just yet, because I still own a house in the midwest and quite frankly, that state needs my Obama vote a whole hell of a lot more than California does. Also, I'm not ready to deal with all of the official bullshit that comes along with moving from one state to another. 

The point is, I'm not going to speak too terribly much about politics here, because I can't vote on California ballot issues. Since I can't use my actual vote for them, all I can do is say that I really hope people feel the same way I do, and I really hope my opinions are in the majority on election day.

Whether or not I deserve to talk about it, I'd like to call attention to Proposition 8. If Dan Savage can do it, I'd really like to be able to as well. Proposition 8, in a nutshell, eliminates the right of same-sex couples to marry. Every state in American needs to get prepped for the idea that this issue is going to come up again and again. People want, and as far as I'm concerned, certainly deserve to share rights. Feel however you want to feel about marriage as an institution and what "family" means, but as far as I'm concerned, people should be permitted to define their own family and they should have access to the same rights and privileges no matter who they want to spend the rest of their lives with. 

I'm straight, but I'm committed to the cause for a couple of reasons. One, I legitimately believe everything I just said about rights being available to everyone, and two, my dad is gay. The story is much longer than that, as is the case with everyone in my age group with gay parents, but the short version is that I was raised in a home with straight parents and my father came out when I was about 17. I feel physically ill when I think about the idea of him having a partner that he wants to spend the rest of his life with and that partner not being able to make decisions for him if he (god forbid, knock on wood, the whole bit) ever ends up in the hospital after some tragic accident or something. His roommates (living in a freakishly red state, I might add) have been together for a very long time and live as if they're married - but no matter what they feel for one another, whether or not they would want to be married, it's a right that isn't available to them. I have to be against any issue that keeps them from having the option to make that choice.

So, please. If you're the type of person who has money to spare, support the Prop 8 people. I'm not sure how much good it does to donate to political causes sometimes, but if you're thinking about getting involved and donating to something, consider the incredibly bright people behind Prop 8. It's 2008. Seriously. Let's stop keeping people from doing things they want to do that don't affect or hurt anyone else.


It is all too appropriate that the day after I talked about how public transportation is my favorite thing in the whole wide world, I ended up driving a goddamned cargo van through the streets of San Francisco.

First of all, to anyone that actually owns a cargo van - how do you people do it? Fifteen seconds on 16th Street and I simply wanted to die. 

Second of all, the most fun thing about strange broken bones is that you don't realize what you can and can't do with them until you've actually done it. For example, with a broken collar bone, I cannot turn the steering wheel of an automobile. Of course, this isn't information that was made clear to me until I attempted to turn the steering wheel of the van I had just rented.

Thanks to the wonders of craigslist, I went from having no furniture to being the proud owner of a double bed and a coffee table. The bed cost me $140, the coffee table was free because it was literally 100 pounds and the owners really wanted someone to take it down their stairs and get it the hell out of their apartment. The thing is, as mentioned before, I don't own a car. So after considering zipcar, we just decided to suck it up and go U-Haul style. It ended up costing me $48 total, which isn't so bad.

What is so bad, however, is the fact that I haven't driven a car in a month, I have a broken collar bone, I have never driven something this big in the city, and my foray into San Francisco driving came in the form of a cargo van. CARGO VAN!

It went well enough. I took advantage of my situation and did some driving around the city to buy a few things that we need for the new apartment - two gallons of milk, tacky shower curtain, etc. The necessities. (Also: Oreos, cottage cheese, turkey, 6-pack of Anchor Summer.) I managed to hold up my side of the 100 pound coffee table with minimal wincing; The Roommate put a bed together so I didn't have to even with the PDF of Ikea instructions that was for a different model. 

My other thing to bitch about today is internet access. Everyone can feel free to hate me for this, but let's just say I spent September stealing internet. Look. It's a major city. I live in an area that's incredibly densely populated. Nothing is keeping you from protecting your wireless internet. So if you leave it unprotected, there's a chance I'm going to steal it. I am poor and was living in an apartment illegally for a month. It's really hard to keep the morals in tact. So I stole internet for a month. New apartment building is surrounded by people that are incredibly smart, so all of the routers are protected and I can't steal the services someone else is paying for. 

The midwest and the northeast have Time Warner, and while there's certainly enough reasons to complain about them, they never charged me for a single thing other than monthly service. Ever. That means no $100 "internet installation fee" (here's looking at you, comcast) or $80 modem. If only I had realized how great I had it.

So, I ended up selecting the cheapest service that AT&T has, and we'll see if it sucks. I always have the option to upgrade it if it's wicked slow, but I figure I went the past month with really awful internet service and managed to survive, so I'll probably make it through with my $20 internet at least until I have a job that actually enables me to pay a bill or two. 

Oh, right, jobs! The reason I'm out here in the first place. Yes, jobs. Freelance job finished up yesterday, and I'm hoping something more will come out of that. I have a casual coffee meeting with someone who owns a firm I'd really like to work for next week. I emailed about a freelance job that I would be absolutely perfect for today. A company in Mountain View emailed me to ask me about my salary requirements. (No interview yet, but I'm hoping when they realize how relatively cheap I think I can be bought for, they'll bring me in.) Things are beginning to look up. No call from incredibly cute bakery that I applied at a few weeks ago, which is disappointing. Win some, lose some. 

Who's watching the VP debate tomorrow, kids, and where are you going? I'm thinking about hitting 500 again, but realize that I can most likely go anywhere in the mission and they'll have it on. I've learned my lesson with 500, so if I attempt it this time, I'll be there super early.