Monday, August 27, 2007

Local

I walked into Wishbone the other day to make a quick purchase when I was engaged in a short exchange about the shirt the cashier was wearing. Centered on the front had the word "Local" in small simple font and above it an image of Sutro Tower (a landmark only someone in who lives in SF would recognize), declaring that the wearer was a San Francisco native. I told him I've lived here for nearly five years and then he said I should get a shirt that I'd qualify as a local. Now he may have been using a very clever method to get me make that purchase or he really thought the mere five years was sufficient enough to be classified a local. I didn't buy the shirt citing that I heard somewhere it was actually six. I lied.

I don't know who has the authority to make that call but it guess that power does lie with those born and raised in the City. Or maybe because San Francisco is such a transient city it doesn't matter how long you've been here. I suppose I could go to the DMV, get my address changed and whip that out each time. I know it took me a year maybe two before I really started using the MUNI system and probably three years to begin to understand how the streets are oriented, and five to still not know all the many neighborhoods. But I really didn't know my status until I called my sister.

She lives in Southern California, it was her birthday, and it was about five in the afternoon.

"Hey what's up? What are you doing?"

"Oh I'm with June and we're at the beach."

Now I'm a visually oriented guy so I need to create in my head an image of whatever is going on on the other side of the phone. So when she said that, I pictured Ocean beach with a slight gloom, cold, windy, the two of them bundled up sitting up on the concrete ledge, watching the foaming water come and go from a safe distance.

"What, you guys having good conversation, sitting in the cold?"

"No, we've been laying out all day."

I was taken a back. Completely shocked that I'd forgotten there actually exists beaches with sun and soft sand. My perspective was all San Francisco. Cold beaches, layers of clothing, close proximity was my reality and that's how I saw everything. I realized at that point my instincts were San Francisco. I then understood that was the factor that qualifies someone as a local.

Maybe I should've bought the shirt..

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wild Rover

Wild Rover is the sweetest drinking song. I think it's origins are rooted in the traditional Irish but the rendition I'm used to hearing is of the Boston punk variety-Dropkick Murphys.

Now imagine yourself in a pub with a bunch of drunk Irish guys, then this song comes on and the entire place starts singing in one massive voice which is pretty awesome but the best part is during the chorus where you're queued to slam your stein on the table four times. Again imagine a house full of drunks all singing and slamming their steins simultaneously, beer spraying everywhere. Awesome sight right? So I've never actually experienced this first hand but I always dreamed of being a part of the drunken hoard.

So this is what I did. Back in college, the ole fraternity days I taught the pledges as they came in every other quarter the song hoping that maybe by the fourth year there would be enough guys who knew it well enough to recreate the scene mentioned above. Picture a bunch of drunk frat dudes singing and slamming their keg cups. Beautiful. But it's hard trying to manufacture tradition, especially with a bunch of Asians who don't give a crap about Irish culture and singing drunken beer songs in unison. So I'm resigned to singing alone. I guess I'll have to go to Ireland to seek out the real thing.

And its no, nay, never *slam slam slam slam* No, nay, never, no more will I play the wild rover no, never, no more.

Friday, August 17, 2007

One Year

One day a few years back I was in my '97 Honda Passport bound for LA. I get to the Grapevine (the notorious hill that one must traverse to get to the valley -it's always a bad and good sign: bad-because its a huge hill and good-in that it signals home's near) when suddenly my car starts slowing down and the accelerator ceases to respond. So I pull over and find that the car is completely dead. We wait hours for the tow truck to finally arrive, we leave the car at the nearest shop and my sister comes to pick us up.

The initial diagnosis was a simple fix-a single part of the engine had been worn down and needed to be replaced. But upon further investigation it was later revealed that a bolt head had overheated, broken off and bounced around everywhere, demolishing the entire inside of the engine. Although the exterior looked relatively unscathed the inside was pretty banged up.

That may be the best way to describe my current state. Fine on the outside but all banged up inside. It's the way I deal with things. I internalize. I suppose I should let you know that I am an introvert..yes an introvert..I may seem like a social creature but naturally I’m all about the alone time. Anyhow I digress. It don't know how long it takes a mechanic to go in there and fix the engine; a few weeks, a month perhaps, but for me I know it will take at least a year. It will be a long process, one I'm not sure I've even started. So I'm making it official by declaring to the world today that "I will not date for a year!”. And world, you can all keep me accountable. So if today is the 28th of August in the year 2007 then it will be at least until the 28th of August in the year 2008 and if you think this is being too legalistic..well it is..somethings just need to be.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Point One Percent

I didn't have to smell it to know. I approached the car prepared with my weapon of choice. This morning I had to drench my passenger seat with Febreze (reference post below). Febreze-kills 99.9% of odor causing bacteria. I went back at lunch.. smells fine, fragrant even but that o.1% is not nothing-bothers me-I mean bacteria multiples exponentially. I'll give it another soaking later when the initial one dries and then one more for good measure. 99.9% of o.1% equals I'm not sure but something minuscule and then another 99.9% of that should do the trick. I can't think too much about it-if you dwell on bacteria and viruses it becomes virtually impossible to do anything, touch anything-so we just live with it. Ignorance in this case really is bliss.

Rob

It's 1:26 am and I'm here on the computer blogging. I'm not tired in fact I am buzzed..no drunk..yes I am drunk all alone. The funny thing about drinking alone is there isn't anybody else drunk or sober to reference as to my own state so I'm not sure if I'm just buzzed or completely drunk. I got home from work today finished packing all my worldly possessions and started loading my coche (spanish for car). As I'm doing that an obviously homeless (judging by attire and stench) man approaches me and asks me if;

"You moving? you need help?"

"No, man I'm good."

He said something and it wasn't what he said but the time he gave me to think about it..that gave me the change of heart. it may have been more selfish than altruistic..an opportunity for me to step out of my comfort zone..I mean that's what my entire next year is supposed to be right? What an appropriate way to start the adventure.

So I hire him.

"Twenty bucks and you're coming to Oakland with me."

He's stoked.

Robert Delarippa was his name. Age 39.

Anyhow, we complete the moving, I drop him off at his spot and I get home. I box up the last of my things and sit there not knowing what to do, so I cut my hair, shave, shower and I make myself a drink. Way too much vodka and some mango juice.
Would you like some mango juice with that vodka?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Memories of Matsuko

This morning I woke up with a deep sadness. I dont know why. Actually it is and could be from a variety of things; broken relationship, mind preoccupied by thoughts of packing/needing to find a job, taking multiple trips to and fro Oakland, maybe breathing in the dust that hangs in the air of my room did something to my mind, not wanting to leave the City I love (Je t'amine San Francisco), and anticipation of the show coming up tomorrow-where tons of people will see my mediocre work-why I chose to show this mediocre piece of work.. I dont know.


I'm sure having just seen Memories of Matsuko last night doesnt help either. I have this tendency these days to get too involved in the characters or the story-that may or may not be a good thing. It's good in that this fictional creation allows me to experience things in reality that I never would otherwise but if it puts me into a deep sadness -is it good? I suppose so-it starts my gears turning, my soul churning-a discontent that is holy.


I guess I need to explain the movie a little bit at this point. It's a Japanese film, a women is dead and it goes back into her life from the beginning telling her entire life story. I loved it for so many different reasons. It's one to own, I'll get a copy and we'll watch it.

Then to top it off there's beautiful music blaring through the car speakers as I drive to work (over slept..missed the bus). A womans voice, singing breathtaking opera style songs..they're always kind of sad..that doesnt help either. Why are beautiful songs always so sad....

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Time is Near

Moving, moving, moving. Moving is never just moving. Moving is so much more than grabbing a bunch of things and throwing them in boxes. It is an emotional event. I sit there sorting through things, forced to decide what stays and what needs to go, forced to put value on material objects. It's easy if the value were based solely on things like age, make, material, demand but then there's the sentimental element. And that outweighs all other bases of appraisal. It's a tough deal. And then you're forced to look at your own life contemplate what value these material objects add to your life. Or if they've just become a collection of possessions that make moving way more complicated than it's supposed to be.


As I sort through the stacks of papers and piles of junk, I see pieces of my life being kept and some thrown away. Memories-precious and of course the painful ones scattered across the floor. Even a piece of hair might remind me of someone special or that receipt might trigger the memory of the time I was arrested on my 21st birthday or even the very ordinary day when I had an amazing conversation.


I found a card from my mom given to me the day of my grandmothers funeral-the outside envelope reads "David Kim from Grandmother's Gift", the card is one from the memorial service with a bible verse printed on the inside that begins "Dear friend," but with "friend" crossed out and replaced by "David Kim" and on the top right corner "October 2006"-three one hundred dollar bills folded inside. My mom had obviously made those adjustments but it felt like my grandmother had...I mean that was her style; simple phrases in limited English. And for the first time I felt a sadness I hadn't felt before.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Forgive Me

Brother,
Forgive Me for being jealous. You have a fledgling relationship, a great thing going, and I have but the remnants of something that is no longer. Forgive me.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Siren

The sirens in Greek mythology were a trio of female deities who would sit on an island and sing their song. The song they sang was so enchanting that whomever heard it would not be able to resist going towards them which meant imminent death.

There's an older gentleman that works with us who loves jazz music. So a lot of times the radio would be set to KKSF 103.7 San Francisco jazz. One day while carrying out my daily duties I heard this incredible voice singing this amazing song. But I couldn't figure out who she was or the name of the song. The second time I heard it I immediately went to the station web site and saw it listed the play list in real time-Kelly Sweet "Raincoat". Yes! I went out later that week and got the album.

Kelly Sweet, only 18 which makes it even more amazing, is a siren.

Friday, August 3, 2007

It's Moving

Currently Listening:
Album: Miami
by: The Go Find
Song: City Dreamer
Take any great movie moment, erase the background music-then watch it. Not quite what it was meant to be. Actual life works the same way, take a particular moment, add a soundtrack and it becomes something much more (albeit artificially produced). At night, the drive over the Bay Bridge always has the most amazing view of the City, play City Dreamer the instant you enter the tunnel, emerge and you have a living movie moment. Breathtaking.

Three Words: Spirit, Conversation and Story
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