Sunday, June 29, 2008

party in the castro

i don't have good memories of events in the castro -- hallowe'en two years in a row was a disaster. the first year, i was bombarded by the fumes of burning white sage, which drives my head bonkers and makes me want to vomit. the following year crowding and gunshots made the night a scary time, and not in a "boo!" way.

so, i was a bit skeptical about the pride party in castro on saturday. but i biked over to see what was going on and meet up with people. it was worth it.

first, it wasn't ridiculously crowded. second, the live and canned music was simply fantastic. the freedom band played with gusto and their dancing baton throwers were marvelous. but i want to focus on two stories of sweet obsessiveness. my role as the observer really reminded me of poe's purloined letter, but more on that another time.

the river dance kids

when i first got to the event i saw these two young adults (maybe university students) intently staring at each other as they coordinated a paired river dance, kicking and bobbing their bodies in sync while staring deep into each other's eyes. it was highly coordinated, and very amusing.

what was odd was that two hours later i came by the same spot and they were still doing it! the girl took a big swig of water this time, and after i told neha that i had seen them doing the exact same thing two hours ago, she thought they were definitely on something more than a dance kick.

perhaps. new people were around them, taking in their hypnotic version of the river dance. i couldn't help thinking that regardless of the condition of their heads today, their legs are going to be in a lot pain.

the tender gay couple

staying power was certainly one of the themes of the night. for instance, between 18th and market on castro a number of people had opened up the windows of their houses and proceeded to put on quite a show. asses shook. bodies flailed. howling was de rigeur.

this one bare chested man, high above the fray, had the most beautiful smile, and forced his chest out the window and implored the crowd, in a boisterous but kingly way, to be happy and enjoy. we were trying, and doing quite well, i think. then i spied the tender gay couple.

two men, late forties or early fifties. they held each other fairly close, and were looking, with sweet, kind eyes, at the bare chested smiley man hanging out the window, high above the throng.

at first i thought: "isn't that cute!" the couple had a shared slight smile, and they looked at peace and quite content. bare chested smiley man and tender couple really made my night.

then, an hour later, i ran into the tender couple. can you guess where they were looking? they had not moved! their legs were like cement and i tell you they were oblivious to me stumbling into them. their eyes were laser-like, focused on bare chested smiley man, who continued to survey his kingdom.

the castro. it felt like a wonderfully fun community. even the obsessive behavior was pleasant. i think i'll make this the yearly event and skip hallowe'en.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

omar khan is a common name

at least five people have sent me this story (and here, and here).

it is amusing, no doubt!

but then i remembered how damn common my name is. so, to give you a sense of this, i did a google search for omar-khan (the hyphen forces the words to appear together, kind of like quotes). anyway, i get 93,000 results as of 6/21/2008. i then googled the names of everyone who told me about this story. no one comes close. go ahead, google your name, see how it goes.

my name is pretty damn common. it's not john smith levels, but now you perhaps know why my name was on a list of suspected terrorists.. ie, it wasn't me, just someone making my life miserable :(

correcting my vision

in new zealand, i went bungee jumping. what a thrill! but the unfortunate part was that i couldn't wear my glasses, and so couldn't clearly see the rock face below getting precariously closer with each passing millisecond. tragic! more generally, there are moments i just wish i didn't have to deal with my cumbersome glasses.

and i hate contact lenses. i hate putting them in. they feel sort of funny in my eyes, and while i'm sure i can get over that, i just don't like the idea of constantly putting my finger in my eye.

so i went and did a lasik consultation at a place my eye doctor considers "ethical," in her own words. and it really did seem nice. but now i need to decide if i will take the plunge...

anyone have thoughts?

Saturday, June 14, 2008


my friend chris recommended the band elbow to me, and i've been eating up their stuff. this tune, "grounds for divorce," has a slow brewing tension and an easy rock feel. at the same time, it's quite repetitive, and the video emphasizes that fact. i think that repeition is a nice piece of the meditation on a particular time in life.

plus i just like the lead singer's voice.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

hillary clinton and stupid blog comments

i am sad that it's almost surely over for hillary's presidential run.. i really think she would've been the better candidate. so i was reading news stories and blogs and calming myself and i just had to write this:

i, like many people, enjoy reading the comments that appear after news articles, blog entries, etc.. but when you go to a highly trafficed blog or news story that accepts comments, you often have to filter through just pure trash, like the first comment on an LA times article concerning hillary clinton's likely concession event this saturday:

Those who would seriously think of not supporting Obama because he beat Hillary are being emotional and not very analytical. ........women!
Submitted by: David
6:22 PM PDT, Jun 4, 2008

i want something that can just filter this and other insulting, stupid comments. now, don't misread me: i am perfectly happy to read comments that go against my opinion, that are by respectable commenters.. but as for the stupid comments, i wish they could be compressed into one bullet that says "500 stupid comments" and i could read them if i wanted to revel in the stupidity of those around us.


the san francisco budget

sf requires the mayor to issue a balanced budget, and that budget came out today, and it makes some tough decisions, cutting 150 city jobs and reducing certain services (also increasing spending for things like cops, the roads, etc..). anyway, i won't go into the details here, you can read more at the chronicle site.

what galls me is all the reader reactions i'm seeing. newsom either cut too much or not enough. or not the right thing. or spent too much on X. what i find so startling is that i have yet to find one response which says something to the effect of: "man, maybe the voters passing a ballot measure which guarantees money to X (say, the library system), handties our politicians needlessly." no one seems to trust the politicians very much here, and they'd rather put the budgeting decisions in voter hands. well, if you do that, you have to realize the consequences, because voters aren't going to produce an entire budget. they just impose constraints.

here's a bewildering reader comment that the chronicle actually printed, for some bizarre reason:

There are so many ways to cut costs. One would be having a database of interpreters who are paid only when they are called out. Or a database of people who will volunteer their time. Then again, everyone that is from another country who chooses to live here should only be allowed to do so if they can read, write and converse in English.

- Mary French, 52, Lower Nob Hill, San Francisco (see here)