Updates & miscellaneous musings!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

But a herring! Doesn't! Whistle!

This post has been two weeks in the making, cause a lot happens in it.

Friday the 31st I had dinner with Amanda, who lives here now, at her garage apartment on the outskirts of the town, near Capitola. It was slightly surreal since I'd kind of assumed I'd never much see her again and now she lives near me. But it was fairly nice.

That night my dad and Jamie came up to bring Farabundo and my bike. Frank and Ryan came in hilariously drunk/stoned and offered my dad a Newcastle. He politely accepted, and they ran away giggling like schoolgirls.

Then we went and ate at Saturn, where after thinking back on the Greenpartment my dad said, "I guess having a ping pong table take up the entire main room is kind of strange."
Across the street and visible from our booth, some guy got kicked out of a bar, tried to run back in, got stopped by the bouncer and left. Then eight cop cars came over the course of 10 minutes. The Santa Cruz police are good like that.

The next day, it was time to leave for Berekely to see MirrorMask. Nikki had gotten a ride from her (now) roomate Kris's boyfriend Ian and was already there, so I had to take the Greyhound alone. That alone wasn't so bad, but there was the added problem of how to get to the greyhound station. You see, there's this bus strike going on. The bus drivers want health care and the management wants, I dunno, to punch kittens, so until they get it resolved, it's obscenely difficult to get downtown.

Theresa said she'd give me a ride downtown to make the bus at noon, but the noon bus was sold out, and she wasn't able to take me to the next one, at 4:30. But she did help me get directions from the San Francisco stop to Berkeley.
So I walked down around 3, desperately hoping I wouldn't miss it. I didn't, and had a more or less uneventful Greyhound trip.

At some point I realized that the bus stopped in Oakland before San Francisco, and that's significantly closer to Berkeley, so I decided to get off there.
I called Nikki up and got her to find directions from the Oakland Greyhound stop to the BART station.
With contained reticence, I got off in Oakland.

I've been to Oakland before, and didn't think anything particularly bad about it. But this particular chunk of Oakland was...I don't know the weird? Scummy? Dingy? I asked some guy how to get to 21st street and he pointed me in completely the wrong direction. It was a really awkward moment when I walked past him in the opposite direction of what he told me, and it turned out he was actually sitting on a bench about 5 feet from the 21st street sign, so that was goofy.

I ran across the street and almost got hit ("Hey, I'm walkin' here!") then after asking for slightly better directions from another guy, found my way to a bigger "classier" street. It's weird how big cities have piles of expensive corporate shit so close to scummy poor shit. This is why I wouldn't like living in a big city. A bouncer looked at me suspiciously for walking past the door to the theatre he was bouncing. I saw that Jethro Tull and P. Diddy were both going to be there soon. I can only hope together.

The BART station had like 3 levels so it was hard to find the right part, but I did eventually. There was one other person waiting to go to Berkeley, a middle aged black woman named Alicia who was in Oakland watching a Will Smith movie being shot. She told me she was an actress and had co-starred in a play with Danny Glover's wife, and had starred in one with Denzel Washington as a stage hand. I don't know if she was telling the truth, but it was a lot more fun to take her word for it, so I did.
She asked me my star sign, both American and Chinese. I told her I was a tiger, and she said so was her late husband, and that tigers are gangsters. She told me she was from Chicago, a gangster town, and I'd fit right in (though she'd grown up in the whiteland that is Wisconsin).
So that was fun.

After rushing back and forth around Berkeley with Nikki and then Anna, we ended up having crepes and then seeing the movie. I got in first, while Nikki waited outside for Anna to come back with her friends. They came in just as it was starting, but didn't miss too much.

MirrorMask is good. It's not as good as it could've been in some ways--the plot's kind of episodic and arbitrary, and it doesn't have a very satisfying ending--but it has neat dialogue, charming (if shallow) characters, and looks gorgeous. I can be but so critical when I want to see it again already.

(If you’re curious, you can watch a lot of clips from it on RottenTomatoes.)

After the movie we ate at some sort of diner where for complicated reasons they gave Nikki a giant pile of cherries, and then Anna and Nikki walked me to David Priddy’s apartment to spend the night. It was slightly weird since David and I never much hung out (except for with Erika), but we just fucked around talking about movies and stuff (especially his copy of SLAMMED, which he let me borrow).

I read for a little while (Neil Gaiman’s latest novel also just came out, coincidentally) and then fell asleep on the couch bed, sleeping far longer than anyone else who lived there.
David helped me find my way back to Anna’s.

Anna, Nikki, and I went to a nearby dining hall for breakfast. Then they dropped me off at Comic Relief, this really classy comic store while they did other things.
They’d just had Neil Gaiman signing like two days before, so they had basically every comic he’s ever done autographed at cover price.
Which would be great, except I already have all of them, and I’m not going to rebuy a $20 book just because someone wrote their name in it, even if that someone is Neil Gaiman.

The last time I went to Comic Relief was in 2001, back when the idea of "serious" comics was exciting and new to me. Back then, I could pretty much pick up anything that looked to be vaguely realistic (or at least non-superheroey) and be guaranteed an interesting experience. Being both better read and more jaded now, I found less indie comics that were to my liking. Though this crazy Dave McKean (who directed MirrorMask) graphic novel caught my eye, but uncaught it with a $50 price tag. Maybe for my birthday.
I ended up reading a Star Trek comic, then getting this adaptation of the beginning of the Book of Mormon (!), by Mike Allred, who is a hip pop-arty comic artist (he did all the art for Chasing Amy, if that rings a bell) and not someone you’d expect to be a Mormon, but apparently he is. I also got a nifty Comic Relief t-shirt.

After meeting up with Anna and Nikki and eating, it was time to go back. Nikki and I got on the BART, hoping to make our way to Oakland in time to get on the Greyhound to SC.

We made it just in the nick of time, only to find out that the bus was sold out. After a probably too loud, “I hate Oakland” from me, Nikki called Kris and Ian, who agreed to give us a ride back to Santa Cruz, which was really nice of them.

We sat on the sidewalk outside the BART station for about an hour, across the street from the Jethro Tull place.For some reason, they couldn’t find their way to Oakland (I certainly can’t blame them), so we had to take the BART farther north to meet them so we could drive back South.

The rest of the trip went without incident. Ian dropped us off at the Greenpartment, where we came in and were laughed at by everyone.

Turns out that there had been a top secret showing of MirrorMask, along with a bunch of other movies, at the theater here, so everyone else saw it without having to go out of their way.

Wah wah waaaah.


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Location: Oakland, CA, United States