Monday, December 31, 2007

The Iliad room

The Iliad room sounds like the Beatles: Rocky Raccoon, We Can Work It Out, the entirety of Rubber Soul. The Iliad room resounds with tapping: computer keys, fingers, feet. The Iliad room is huge in my 15-year-old mind. All my heroes populate the sofa, except the one lying under the composition table. He's close to recovery. We all think we are.
Nothing beats getting drunk with my best Fuckface the day before New Year's. Hallelujah!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

But the great news is ...

Liz is bringing, among other goodies, pigs in a blanket for our New Year's party! Hot damn!

So this is what passes for conversation around here

ADAM (sounding very excited): I'm going to put peanut butter on a rice cake.
ME (lots of pig noises)
HIM: It's dinner. Suck my cock.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

"We did shitloads of Candyland and Chutes and Ladders."

- My mom on childhood play. For some reason I found this funny.

Friday, December 28, 2007

All I Want

Listening to Toad the Wet Sprocket on internet radio. They were big when I was in college, and in fact were from Santa Barbara. My college roommate had an English professor who would every so often refer to "my son's band Toad."

I love those guys. I listened to them when I lived within blocks of the beach. I listened to them and got all morose while living in North Platte, Nebraska, a 22-year-old who couldn't figure out why the fuck she'd moved to Hicksville. I listen to them now, at 33, when I cook dinner in my kitchen in Berkeley, Calif.

I feel like I've learned a lot since I first heard "All I Want", but I don't feel older. Does that make sense?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

RIP: Tatiana the Tiger

I've always hated zoos. I also despise little thugs who think it's cute to taunt animals. Needless to say, the San Francisco Zoo story really gets to me.

The only one I feel sorry for is the tiger.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Had a lot of fun tonight. Dinner at Cafe Zoetrope with Joseph and his friends Brenda and Dave, then over to Steps of Rome for dessert before calling it a night. 'Twas cool.
FUCK, I miss Tokyo. I miss how utterly engaged I was while I was there. Like nothing else mattered. Because it didn't.
My mom has a saying: "I'm not a mind-reader."

My father has a saying: "I'm not a member of the Psychic Friends Network."

These family homilies come to mind as I ponder what the hell happened to Carl. I thought he'd be the one to be stoked about swapping Tokyo stories. He's the one who's been there twice. When Adam and I booked the trip, I thought Carl was even more excited than we were.

He's been a super-flake ever since I got home.

"Maybe he's bummed," Adam said yesterday. "Maybe it's the holidays."

Okay, but if the way that you deal with your bummed-ness is to push your friends away, don't expect they'll be waiting when you wake the fuck back up.

William and the fall of Java Rama

Java Rama's one of Alameda's gems: a comfortable coffee shop with free wifi, tasteful colors, in the middle of the action on Park Street.

Lately the action has included William, a Gentleman of Unfortunate Tendencies. Adam seems to think the guy suffers from Down's Syndrome. In any event, it's obvious that not everything is firing on all cylinders up there.

William hangs out at Java Rama constantly. He's there every time I am, every time our friend Dave stops by the cafe. He dances and sings. He high-fives everyone. And when he's off his meds, he's pretty much on the ceiling.

I subscribe to a fair bit of live-and-let-live, but I think the owners of Java Rama have a responsibility both to themselves and to their clientele to get this one in hand. Also, where are the people who are supposed to be taking care of this guy? It's pretty damn sad that he's left to roam the city of Alameda by himself 24/7. He's lucky most people are pretty tolerant. Me, I keep my headphones and I ignore him, or try to at any rate.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I'm glad I'm working on this project as much as I am. I'm glad I'm giving it so much attention and thought, even if about 95 percent of it is trial and error. It's good to feel like you've wrangled with something you care about. It means someday you just may win.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Why do I grind my teeth about Adam's relationship with his sister, when it's his business and his relationship and, really, none of my concern? Why, when I've worked so hard to have my family relations the way I want them and -- even if they're not perfect -- they're at a point I can live with?

Why am I so angry that she won't meet him halfway, at his level, and then tells him how upset she is that they're not close and that it's his fault? Why should I care?

Going forward, I don't. That's what I'm going to tell myself until I believe it. Going forward, I don't.

Now here's a Kundera quote!

"All great novels, all true novels, are bisexual."

Sunday, December 23, 2007

I love hanging out with my dear Adam!

Hello from Davis

So very chill today ... many students gone, right after finals and before Christmas. Drove through Fairfield on the way up. Fairfield's a depressing place. I should know. I worked at the Daily Republic for the first two years (and two months, to be exact) that I lived in the Bay Area. Lots of Bible-thumpers and small minds. Yuck.

But Davis rocks!

"Oh, money shot ... that's all you got? Lame!"

Nothing caps a Saturday night like listening to Adam heckle some Japanese porn.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Alpha and beta

In pairs of dogs there comes the alpha, the one who head-butts the other out of the way so it, too, can get attention. Without fail.

I always prefer the beta.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Relationship meme

1. Who eats more?
He does. I call him Animal Planet because watching him eat really is like watching two wild African wildebeests tear into something or other (possibly each other).

2. Who said “I love you” first?
He did.

3. Who is the morning person?
Neither of us. He's more functional in the morning, but I'm more likely to be out and about earlier.

4. Who sings better?
That would be me.

5. Who’s older?
Again, that would be me.

6. Who’s smarter?
Depends on whose mother you ask.

7. Whose temper is worse?
Oh god, mine. Gotta watch that.

8. Who does the laundry?
We take turns. Since his contract ended, he's been a better househusband than me, but when he's office-bound, I'm pretty decent at it.

9. Who does the dishes?
Both of us.

10. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed?

11. Whose feet are bigger?
Actually, I think it's a toss-up. We wear each other's shoes. I'll wait a minute for you audience members out there to finish throwing up.

12. Whose hair is longer?
He claims it's mine: "Yours reaches down to your titties." Thanks.

13. Who’s better with the computer?
Him, by a long shot.

14. Do you have pets?
He has a cat who I occasionally feed.

15. Who pays the bills?
Both of us. We've never had a fight about money, at least not that I can remember.

16. Who cooks dinner?
We cook together. What, you're puking again?

17. Who drives when you are together?
He's a freaking hog. Good thing he costs too much to insure on my car or else he'd drive that all the time too.

18. Who pays when you go out to dinner?
We take turns.

19. Who’s the most stubborn?
We would each insist that we are, which should tell you something.

20. Who is the first one to admit when they’re wrong?
I think that's me, actually. Maybe that means I'm wrong more often?

21. Whose family do you see more?
About equal.

22. Who named your pet?
Whoever owned him before I did.

23. Who kissed who first?
We haven't gotten to that point yet.

24. Who asked who out?
Oh, god. If you have to ask that question, you really don't know our history.

25. What did you do on your first date?
Had dinner at La Med in Elmwood, then went to The Starry Plough. Then we went back to my place and I tried to read him Pablo Neruda, which didn't take.

26. Who’s more sensitive?
Me. Lucky him.

27. Who’s taller?
Him. Lucky me.

28. Who has more friends?
Me. He's more accepting of people, but I'm better at connecting with people and also with keeping in touch.

29. Who has more siblings?
That would be me.

30. Who wears the pants in the relationship?
The cat. Adam never wears pants.

My God! I'm 6 years old again!

Flaky friends

Ever since I've come home, both Carl and Joseph have been entirely off the radar. Multiple phone calls, emails, nothing. What gives?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

ME: I'm sick of this. I'm going to tell everyone, the thing's at McDonald's, you show up and order your Big Mac. And you don't need no large fries.

ADAM: I love your inner voice.

Getting some professional props

I don't often write about work here, but I was happy to receive an email from Jacob Cynamon this morning. Jacob thanked me for my work on the Commercial Property News message boards and pointed me to his own blog, where he gave CPN a thumbs-up (though not without some constructive criticism, which is always helpful). Thanks, Jacob!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Written on a Japanese love-hotel condom


In the soft light through the window, its shape is clear. The breeze carries its scent. Now, for you. She is still but a nameless, new kind of orchid.

Culture shock

It's pretty tough coming back from 10 days in a considerate culture to the reality of America (and Berkeley in particular) -- the everyone-express-themselves-at-all-times atmosphere. Everyone on cell phones, talking loudly, without any concern for those around them. I don't want to live in Japan, but it sure would be nice to have a little bit of that consideration back here at home.

Monday, December 17, 2007

iPod doubles as a fish tank

I'm really disgusted.

The iPond - up to 15 times smaller than the recommended tank size for the fish it contains - is proving a hit with Christmas shoppers.

One Sydney store has sold out of the $70 device and other outlets are reporting brisk sales.

But the RSPCA has called on the device to be banned because it is too small to provide fish with adequate oxygen supplies and a clean environment.

Is it any wonder I like the animal kingdom better than the human one?

Saudi king "pardons" rape victim

The girl won't have to suffer 6 months in jail and 200 lashes after being gang-raped. How kind of the king.

I am not politically correct. I find some cultures, and many cultural practices, beyond despicable. Thank God I grew up where and how I did.
God, Billy Joel is so sly. I'd do him if given half a chance.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Austin in January

We're booked for the trip -- Jan. 17-20. I perform at the FronteraFest on Jan. 18. We've also found a beautiful cottage that's very near the theater -- perfect!

Saturday, December 15, 2007


I'm glad we went to the gym. It feels good.

The Strobe Cafe, where we hung out in Shimokita, has a blog. No English, but a picture of the cheery Charlie Brown-esque latte that cost nearly $7.

Finally, as I search for another doctor and cross my fingers this time, I will say it again: Clinton Young should be ashamed of the poor care he provides his patients. Or, rather, this patient. Five-second doctor visits costing $300, little hope for anything positive. Yes, Dr. Young, you should be ashamed, and I hope that people who read this blog will choose more competent services over yours.

Diablo Cody and demanding dog owners

I was there with her until I read this: "Cody has likened herself to a naked Margaret Mead." Indeed. I'm sure Mead would be heartened by the comparison. Honey, you're a blogger and ex-stripper and perhaps some sort of prodigy, but please, don't pull some Terence Trent D'Arby bullshit just yet.

Then there's this morning's New York Times story on entitled dog owners, pretty much meant to incite rage over one's ten o'clock latte. I'll just say it rings some bells and leave it at that.
Adam and I just had a debate over whether coughing makes farting better. Good to know our college degrees have gone toward something.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sushi near the Tokyo Fish Market


With granny gown for me and bathrobe for Adam, and cat and smiling Mike for both. Ordering in Chinese at 4, twin laptops for now.

And another for now ... the Pet Shop Boys.

Home and Dry
Pet Shop Boys

So my baby's on the road
doing business, selling loads
charming everyone there
with the sweetest smile

Oh tonight
I miss you
Oh tonight
I wish you
could be here with me
but I won't see you
'til you've made it back again

Home and dry
Home and dry

There's a plane at JFK
to fly you back from far away
all those dark and frantic
transatlantic miles

Oh tonight
I miss you
Oh tonight
I wish you
could be here with me
but I won't see you
'til you've made it back again

Home and dry
Home and dry

Far away
through night and day
you fly long haul tonight
Come to me
you know I'll be here
when you call tonight

Oh tonight
I miss you
Oh tonight
I wish you
could be here with me
but I won't see you
'til you've made it back again

Home and dry
Home and dry

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Last night in Tokyo

We came, we explored, we ate, we drank, we fought, we made up again. We laughed way more than should be legal. Tomorrow at 2 am PST, we'll be leaving this weird and wonderful place. See you on the other side!

Monday, December 10, 2007

A note on the photos

Sure enough, they're not all from Tokyo. Some are from Costa Rica, and others from home. I haven't properly organized my Flickr account, and I won't until I get home. Enjoy.

Passion in Shibuya

For 7000 yen, you too can go to Passion. You can enjoy the round bed and sparkling lights in the mirrored area above said bed. For 7000 yen you can soak in a heart-shaped tub, play Super Mario Brothers on the original Nintendo (albeit for a limited time) and take in the unique local culture in sexually explicit film. You can also buy "Super Sexy Panties" (or something close to that) from an in-room vending machine, and be amused by a non-working pachinko game, also in-room.

Or so I'm told.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Adam, this morning

"Can you check the weather? It was cold when I went outside to shower."

More pictures!

They're right here. We're waking up and battling sore throats, both of us. Does curry rice really have that effect?

Yoyogi Park, Harajuku, and a few classic lines ...

Today we went to Yoyogi Park, Tokyo's answer to Central Park, and Harajuku, teenybopper haven. Both were great. We saw, among other things, the Tokyo Rockabillies performing ... Japanese Elvis-ish sort of characters. Here's a good representation of the things you might see around there. Good times.

A few great lines from Adam today:

"It's like Leonard's of Yoyogi." - Referring to the Meiji Shrine, where they perform Shinto wedding ceremonies in almost assembly-line style. My mother once told us that Leonard's of Great Neck, on Long Island, does it much this way.

"My best guess is that it's a Shabu-Shabu air freshener." - On some incomprehensible thingamajig at the 100 Yen shop.

"Shut up, you pretentious bitch." - Actually, that was the other day at Hase-dera, after I commented that the place reminded me "of Ashland (Oregon) and Zakopane (Poland)." I do love being put in my place.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Tokyo pix on Flickr

They're collected here. Enjoy. Great day, which means tired night. Going to watch some Shawn of the Dead and pass out.

Friday, December 7, 2007


Going here today. The Greenwich Village of Tokyo. Sounds awesome to me!
Adam's sick. I'm sick. We came to Tokyo still sick. Is it any wonder we get pissed at each other now and again? Next time I plan an international trip, I'll make sure we're not going to be out of town doing the family thing beforehand.

God, Andy Ross, shut the fuck up.

Listening to the now-former owner of Cody's Books carp about the poor reading habits of young'uns makes me want to firmly put my hands around his neck.

Listen, for example, to this:

"My vision was of how Cody's on Telegraph was in the 1980s - a great intellectual bookstore," Ross said. "Anything that was intelligent, we could sell. It really worked in the '80s but it doesn't work now. Young people aren't coming in. They aren't reading the way they were. People don't have the patience to sit down with a 300-page novel or a 500-page work of history when they are used to getting information from Wikipedia."

Please. I see people around Berkeley -- and San Francisco, and many other places -- with books in their hands. Big books. Substantial books. Interesting, unique pieces with information that they may have found on Wikipedia but instead are discovering in print.

Andy, don't blame your poor business practices on the supposedly bad reading habits of a younger generation. You're misguided. You claim you lost a million dollars or more in 10 years while still in the Telegraph store. You not only closed that store, but the one in Union Square. You're telling me this all has to do with the fact that people no longer read, rather than the fact that you had a hard time keeping a head for business? Did you learn this technique from your sullen friends from across town, Black Oak Books?

Funny how your former next-door neighbor and competitor, Moe's, still seems to be alive and kicking, Andy. That's probably at least in part because Moe's "embraced the internet" (as the Chronicle puts it) long before Cody's ever even considered the possibility.

Whither the love hotels?

I love Japanese love hotels. I love the idea that you can nip in with someone special -- or someone special for that afternoon -- and have at it for a few hours. Not only that, but have at it in what is quite possibly the most insanely done-up room you've ever seen?

If certain bureaucrats have their way, the boom may be lowered on love hotels. Jesus, people! Were you born in a vacuum? Your mom and dad screwed somewhere along the way ... maybe even in one of those gaudy places up on Dogenzawa hill.

Adam and I decided on a room that glowed under blacklight. The wallpaper was pastel and bedecked with stars. There was single-serving wrapped everything -- toothpaste, toothbrush, hairbrush, soap, shampoo, and of course, condoms. There was a hair dryer. There was a huge shower. There was a deep, deep one-person (or two small Japanese people) tub. There were special bathroom slippers, as is Japanese custom.

The bed had a padded headboard and myriad switches, a few of which operated musical selections coming from the overhead speaker. The others operated the blacklight, headboard light with dimmer, and ceiling lights. The remote control operated the tv, which offered a rolling loop of Japanese porn selections. Konnichiwa!

We pretty much laughed throughout it all. How could you not?


- Sitting right now, Adam snoring next to me on the futon, listening to Japanese people sing karaoke from downstairs.
- Telling a "talking owl" toy (who repeats what you tell it) being sold to tourists near Hase-Dera: "I want some bling!" and getting a laugh from the locals. I love making people laugh, even when we don't speak the same language! I guess bling is universal.


Tokyo thoughts

Was talking to Matt, one of Rose's roommates, tonight. "You think the Japanese are polite?" he asked. "They treat you like a celebrity, they treat you like a guest, but that gets old. They're polite, but they're really thinking, this guy's a douchebag."

I can see that. It's nice to be around a polite society -- especially given some of my frustrations with the Bay Area -- but I can imagine that the idea of face would get old if I lived here. Then again, Matt did mention the idea of a "gaijin pass" (exemptions for foreigners), so maybe that would work in my favor. At any rate, I'm not thinking of moving to Tokyo (at least not right now), but I do plan to read some Donald Richie on Matt's recommendation to learn more about the culture.

So far we've been to:

- Takadanobaba, the university area where we're staying
- Akihabara, the huge electronics town and nerd locus
- Jimbocho, one of the largest collections of used bookstores anywhere (unfortunately, not much was in English)
- Shinjuku, the red-light district and watering-hole area
- Shibuya, the more upper-class party area that winds up into ...
- Love Hotel Hill. I'll just smile and leave it at that.
- Kamakura, which we visited as a day trip today. I found a pretty comprehensive blog post about the area, complete with pictures of Daibatsu and Hase-dera, shrines that we visited while in the area. I found Hase-dera by far the most interesting. It's a shrine to the unborn children -- miscarriages, abortions, the ones wanted and not wanted, but all loved and missed. Extremely touching. It's also totally beautiful. Great views, especially getting toward sunset.

Being here, I'm reminded once again of why I love travel: I'm taken outside myself and pulled back in, at which point I get bitchy and crabby as I mull my flaws and how I need to wrangle with them. If you look at it right, it's an awesome opportunity.

One more thing: Adam is an awesome travel partner. We've always done great together. I really do love him more every day.


I'm on closed-circuit TV in Akihabara.
Adam apres-love hotel, Shibuya.

Not far from Waseda University.

And more Tokyo visuals

Have you heard of Japanese toilets? They're simply amazing.
Kitty cat and wire bike basket.
Adam and I at the curry house.


More Tokyo visuals

Takadanobaba Station.
Suntory Boss is the boss of them all. Since 1992.
Blazing like rebel diamonds cut out of the sun.

The kanji keyboard.

The Tokyo visuals

On the Narita Express coming in from the airport.
Adam and Tokyo.
Choice of beverages.
Shakey's Pizza.
Us and Tokyo.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I love what I do for a living

It's 2:30 am, Thursday morning, in Tokyo. I'm posting blog entries for one of my clients.

How can I work halfway around the world on a whim? I work for myself. I didn't have to ask for any time off. And when my clients heard what I was doing and where I was going, they all said the same thing: "Have a great trip!"

I worked hard to get to where I am. And I love it.

Things to remember from today

The very dignified older Japanese businessmen talking shop at Bad Ass Coffee.

The Japanese girl in front of us as we walked down the subway stairs, wearing a hoodie that said "Black for Life."

The drink list at Garlic Chips, which included the Sea Bleeze and the Meron Ball. I had the Green Banana Fizz. It gave me a new lease on life.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Hello from Japan.

I'm sitting in a bedroom in Takadanobaba, listening to off-key karaoke from the bar next door. This place is crazy. Crazy beyond crazy, and I'm having an awesome time.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Great Adam line

"Woody Allen is the Dan Joseph of comedies."

You'd probably have to know both gentlemen to get it.