Nick Douglas, he of Too Much Nick and Blank White Cards, asked me via Facebook if I planned on attending SF Beta 2.5. After a quick Google search to see what this event was all about I determined that no, I hadn't planned on going. The kind Mr. Douglas hooked me up with a pass, there was mention of sponsored adult beverages, and so it was on. I was going to SF Beta 2.5.
I had plans later in the evening, so I arrived at the event at 5 p.m., right when it began. There was already a line snaking out the door at 111 Minna of people waiting, print outs in hand, to get inside. After about five minutes the line moved. Once I made it into the front door rotund security guard huffed past me, almost pouting.
"Are you okay?," a well dressed event official asked him.
"Yeah," he whined. "Those people just went right in!" He sounded like a four-year-old in a giant sumo wrestler's body.
The line of us waited to enter, watching the exchange. Finally, he turned to us.
"I.D.," he demanded.
I overheard something about coat check while filling out my name tag. I stuffed my jacket and bag into the closet and made my way over the bar. The party was filling up rather quickly for having a 5 p.m. start time. The bartender in the GlamNetwork room seemed unprepared for the people, however, despite there being only 2 or 3 of us vying for his attention. A young man in front of me ordered a vodka tonic, which he got, but was charged $6 for it.
"I thought drinks were sponsored," said Vodka Tonic.
"Not those, man. Only what is on this list." He pointed to a short list printed out on a white sheet of paper. I saw wine on the list, and readied myself for a sauvignon blanc.
"That'll be eight bucks," the bartender informed me. Uh, what? Is sauvignon blanc not an approved wine? Annoyed, I pulled out a ten and handed it to him.
"Here you need one of these," a woman informed me. She was with the GlamNetwork, and my magic ticket to free drinks was one of their colorful stickers. I attached it to my shirt, and vowed to make up that eight dollars with subsequent rounds.
The party was an interesting mix of people, none of which I knew. Besides Nick. We talked like a couple of old grannies about the Good Ol' Days of The Internet. Back when you had to walk both ways uphill to post on a BBS and The Well accounts were homemade, never store bought. It was a great opportunity for web heads around town to hook up and mingle about their recent exploits and self-promote their personal projects. But mostly I just talked to Nick. Who, by the way, introduced me to the founder of SF Beta, Christian Perry (CEO of Zaptix). At first I thought Nick said Christian founded SFGate not SFBeta, and was like WTF? Was he even born? Quickly I was corrected. Still, CEO at 23 ain't a bad record.
The party began to pick up as the time wore on. I finished my 8 dollar glass of wine, and headed back to the bar for something sponsored this time. My GlamNetwork sticker in plain view I ordered a sauvignon blanc. He poured it for me. Then he told me it would be eight dollars.
Let me pause here, people, to say that the bartender knew what I was trying to do here. He was working a party where there were sponsored beverages, and he knew very well my intentions were to acquire one. Instead, he had to make things difficult. He was standing right next to me when the nice GlamNetwork lady told me that my sticker would get me free booze. But, alas. It was obvious the man hated his job, and he was going to take it out on these party goers. (Or maybe just me, but I don't think I'm unique enough to get special sh*tty treatment.) I wasn't interested in groveling for a free drink, but I wasn't interested in paying $8 plus tip for a glass of wine with too short a pour, either. So, I simply slid the glass of wine back to him, picked up the dollar I'd already left as a tip and left.
"Sorry!," he called out to my back. But, he wasn't. There was pure pleasure behind his voice.
So, overall the party is a neat idea. Geeks and bloggers mingle and talk tech projects in a pretty atmosphere while (supposedly) slurping comped alcohol. Two out of three ain't bad, I guess.
I'm taking the advice of a man I've never met and having a handful of nuts for lunch today. But don't be alarmed! I doubt I'll be doing any squats.
P.S. I'm trying to update this blog more instead of relying on Twitter. How am I doing?
The hilarious Beth Spotswood invited me to a Nintendo Party thrown just for women. There was promise of free booze and snacks, and getting to meet Beth was high on my list of things I'd been wanting to do. Of course I said I would go. It was at DogPatch Studios in what their website calls the "hip and creative side of Potrero Hill." It was a neighborhood I'd never been to before, and all I knew about it I learned from Google an hour before I was to leave for work. I decided then and there that I wasn't spending ten or more dollars for a taxi to take me three miles, so I called up Google Maps' "take mass transit feature" (love it). It told me that I could take the 12 Folsom bus to pick up the K @ Embarcadero and Folsom, and that it would take around 45 minutes (and cost $3). [Why I didn't just walk to the Embarcadero station and take the K directly there is beyond me. I'm still trying to figure this MUNI shit out.]
So, I head to the bus stop at Battery and Broadway, as Google has instructed me. I note that there are two points marked as stops on the map, but only one bus shelter with arrival times. The electronic sign says the 12 Folsom is 12 minutes away, so I waited. About 14 minutes later the 12 Folsom showed up, passed me and stopped across the intersection to pick up about three people. There was no shelter where they stood or sign designating it a waiting point. That was where I was supposed to be. I'd just missed my bus. I fished out $15 and hailed a cab.
Once in the cab I couldn't figure out why we were getting on the freeway if we were only going 3.3 miles. I was sure the taxi driver had misunderstood my directions. Still, I don't know my way around SOMA or Potrero Hill, so I just rode along silently, hoping he was going to 20th and Tennessee and not 40th and Hennessy, or whatever he'd thought I said. Then, just off the freeway, there we were in a pretty, but quiet part of San Francisco. There were homes, but few people out on foot and not many cars. No eateries or little retail shops, either. Just warehouses and lofts and work/live spaces. Because I didn't need the full hour to travel since I ended up in a cab, I was the first person to arrive at the party. I hate that.
I made my way to the second floor of the DogPatch studio since there was no bar nearby where I could tie one on while waiting for 7 o' clock. Inside was a gorgeous space set up like a large, large living room with couches and lounging chairs and it was all very modern with clean lines. Five young, fit and pretty women, all dressed the same, greeted me when I walked in. The whole setup was creepy and artificial, and I felt awkward when one with super long curly hair gave me this charm bracelet, with Nintendo bling already on it, and told me when I finished each game that I'd get a new charm. Then she asked if I wanted champagne. All at once I got a little more comfortable with the situation.
Beth arrived soon thereafter, and she's just as fabulous and funny in person. No shit. I was even more thrilled to learn that Melissa, she of The Sweet, was coming, as I'd met her awesome ass before. Knowing that she and Spots are BFFs let me know that I was in for a few laughs. They did not disappoint.
"How long do I have to play this game before you'll just give me my jewelry?," Melissa asked the Nintendo gal. Melissa is a whip smart attorney who breaks down city codes and Supreme Court rulings for her readers like it's something fun to do. But apparently the anagram game was kicking her ass. Knowing Melissa, I'm pretty sure she got her charm anyway.
I played Guitar Hero on DS, or rather Guitar Hero: On Tour. This was my first Guitar Hero experience, and it was highly satisfying because every real guitar I've ever picked up has hurt my delicate girl fingers too much to keep playing. It was very hard for me not to bust out some cock rock moves, but I was trying to reign in the dorky amongst new acquaintances. I also owned at Mario Kart on DS, but I have mad experience under my belt from marathon Murfreesboro Mario Kart sessions, so that was to be expected. It was the Brain Age game that really left me feeling defeated. I had to look at a 5x5 grid of numbers and memorize them all. I think I got 8 right. My brain age was evaluated as 39. As a mere 30 year old I find this displeasing. So, I drowned my pain in more champagne. Seemed a good solution.
There was brie, which is my weakness. There were water crackers and strawberries, too, and little sandwiches made from fresh basil, tomato and mozzarella. Then, all at once, I was standing with a champagne flute in one hand, a little plate full of fancy cheeses resting on top of it, in a fancy pants loft in a part of San Francisco I'd never been to before, mingling with writers and editors from the Chronicle, and I thought: where the fuck am I? Me in that kind of situation sounded in my head like the setup for some kind of sitcom, but no. Brittney Gilbert, this is your life. And I wasn't entirely out of my element, either. I had a great discussion with the foul-mouthed, super sharp Eve who Beth mentions regularly, because Eve is Beth's editor at The Newspaper. What was really weird was that Eve knew who I was. I didn't even know what to say to that. We talked Emily Gould and web branding vs. web creating and how women are perceived and reacted to online and Japanese hair straightening techniques. And dogs. The lady is fascinating.
Because I got there early and had a long BART ride ahead of me I decided to jet around 9:30. But not before Beth and Melissa and I discussed how that Bay Area man who said he'd been attacked by a mountain lion. Somehow Beth had not heard this tale.
"Yeah, but there was no real evidence of any attack," Melissa explained. "He was just dirty."
I asked what happens to you when you falsely report a mountain lion attack. Apparently nothing was the consensus.
"Let's do that tonight!," Melissa squealed.
She lowered her voice into a serious-as-a-heart-attack tone. "I was attacked by a saber-toothed tiger. He came into my apartment, and he drank my beer."
"No, no," Beth said. "I was attacked by a dinosaur!"
By this time I was about to piss myself I was laughing so hard.
"And he raped me." This is when I think I totally lost it. "And then he raped Melissa. And then he stole my couch and left."
WHERE HAVE THESE LADIES BEEN ALL MY LIFE? When haven't I wanted girlfriends who can joke about dinosaur rape without a second thought? Never, that is when.
I had to peel myself out of there before I got too wasted for a school night. It was then that Becky and I tried to take the T back to Embarcadero so we could get our bridge-and-tunnel asses back to the East Bay. We didn't know what the fuck we were doing. We were looking for a machine to sell us out ticket to get on, but there wasn't one to be found. We then opted to share a cab, but one never came, as the "hip and creative side of Potrero Hill" is a dead zone. I called Ian and asked if there was some secret MUNI ticket booth that maybe we were overlooking, and he said, "If I were you, I'd just get on. If they ask you for your ticket tell them you tried to pay." This was good enough for me. We headed back to the platform. Becky had the balls to ask a stranger dude how we paid for our ride, and he told us you paid when you got on. Ohhhhh. Huh. Makes sense.
It took me a good hour and half to get to my front door from the time I left the party. I can't wait to move into the City.
I still get hung up. I still act recklessly without thinking. I still let my emotions lead me around like a pup on a leash. I still am entirely too selfish. I still get stuck in the crowded throngs that fight for space in my head. I still obsess about those I fear losing most, and manage to obscure what's truly important.
But I'm so far from where I used to be. I'm pretty surprised at the person I'm struggling so hard to be. She's gonna be awesome.
I just had a conversation with my father about five minutes ago that I am still laughing about. I was just sitting at work, blogging on my blog about blogs, when I see Dad Cell on my phone. I picked it up and carried it to the lobby where I get better reception.
Dad: Okay. I am going down here to this little ol' couple's house to pick up some fresh hen eggs. They live in just a little ol' shack, but they have hens and chickens, and they gather fresh brown eggs every day. So, that is where I am headed.
Me: Okay. Wow, that sounds good. (In my head: Why the hell is he calling me at work to talk about eggs?)
Dad: They are good. There is another place that has fresh hen eggs for $3.75 a dozen.
Me: Huh. (In my head: Is he drunk?)
Dad: Oh yeah, and they are good, too. They taste so much better fresh.
Me: Yeah, that sounds really good. (In my head: I know he is diabetic. Is his blood sugar so low that he is delirious? Should I be alarmed?)
Dad: You had some, remember?
Dad: Yes, you do. You came down here and I gave you some. You were going to use the ones you brought...
Me: Dad, who do you think you are talking to?
Dad: Uh oh, who is this?
Me: This is Brittney.
Dad: Oh my Lord, I thought this was your sister. I got disconnected from her, and tried to call her right back. I got a new phone where you just speak the name and a new Bluetooth, and I can't hear shit. I can't believe you just let me ramble on like that.
Me: I thought you might be drunk.
June was stuffed. I'm going to tell you about it, but backwards.
Yesterday I woke up in San Francisco in a bed I like very much. It's a bed that bites my shins when I walk by it, leaving bruises for days, but I don't mind. There is a soft blanket and it's plenty big and when you sit up in it there is a window you can see straight out of. It's a view of Twin Peaks and Noe Valley. Sometimes the crests of the dual mountains can be clearly seen, but yesterday there were no hilltops at all only fog. I put on a shirt and a cardigan and then a jacket on the day before July and walked to the train to go to work.
Later in the afternoon I went to see my therapist. Have I mentioned I'm going to therapy? Oh yes, girl, and why I didn't go years ago is beyond me. I love it. I love her. My therapist is amazing; I want us to be best friends. My friend tells me this is called transference. I just think it's strange to tell someone such intimate things about yourself and not want to know more about her, too. Anyway, it's fantastic and I'm glad I'm going; I look forward to seeing her every week.
Then I watched the Bachelorette because that DeAnna chick embodies everything that is evil and wrong with pretty princess-types. It's fascinating. You should see how often she blinks her eyes. It would reveal all you needed to know.
Sunday at around noon I went to Taza in the Misison for brunch with Ian MacBean. He's enjoyable to eat brunch with because he is thoughtful. He'll score two sections of the Chronicle from the community table, ask you which you'd like to read, then hand that section over to you. So, I like to eat with him. I ordered a veggie scramble with fruit instead of potatoes and whole wheat toast. I was very proud of my selection because a) baguette was another of my bread options and b) come on, breakfast potatoes are way tastier than fruit. I couldn't go around feeling virtuous all day so I went to Mitchell's ice cream on San Jose after that and bought an ice cream cake for a friend's birthday. I selected a white cake with chocolate ice cream because Molly is allergic to mangoes and Mike is allergic to nuts. I was able to get writing on it even though I didn't call ahead or anything, so I was very pleased. Plus there wasn't a long line, which is par for the course at Mitchell's apparently.
Then I watched two episodes of season 2 of The Wire (so good!) with Ian, who is introducing me to the series. We are also watching Twin Peaks (may the White Lodge treat you well, Major Briggs), but at a slower rate. After a quick lie down with McNulty there was gardening! The garden in Ian's backyard is tended to by many hands. It is a fun sort of group garden, and for my part I harvested the collard greens and planted heirloom tomatoes. (With plenty of supervision, mother, I can see your face.) Later that night there was grilling and salad making and bread and cheese eating and wine sharing and general merriment. I have stumbled onto some phenomenal fucking people.
Saturday my sweet Lisey met me briefly and brought me a delicious thing called a morning bun which is like a flaky, powdery pastry thing that I thought about for two days. I was grateful that she did; it was all I had before I left to play in my work league's softball tournament. Back when in this interview process at KPIX the guy interviewing me asked if I had any softball experience. When I said plenty, I saw eyes light up. I knew this was my in immediately (not really), so I had to live up to the expectation once hired on. And so I played. To say that I suck at softball now, in my 30s would be pretty harsh, but I'm not so hot. I'm sporting a bruise on my ankle right now from attempting to play catcher in a playoff game. It is not pretty and neither is my swing. I'm probably selling myself short, and besides playing was always fun. Especially when we won, which was 8 times out of 14.
Friday night was pretty chill. I went to a blogger meet-up at Zeitgeist in the Mission. Met up with Valleywag writers and Curbed writers and Greg! from N-Judah Chronicles. It was fun, if not a little strange, as those events can sometimes be. I didn't stay long, as I didn't much feel like socializing, frankly. Otherwise my night was chill. I'm fairly certain using the word "chill" in such a manner is not something I would have done before moving to California, and seeing it in print has given me pause. However, let's move on.
Wednesday I had a nice, long heart-to-heart with my CPA about what I (finally) owe for taxes this year. It should be noted that I just finished a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which is how it is going to be around here for mama for a while. For the same reason I like to eat with Ian, I also was able to score a free seat to the Phillies/A's game that night. Because he is thoughtful. A big group of us went, and there were french fries and beer and all was well. I liked finding all the Phillies hats, as there were many. And one Schmidt jersey directly to my right.
I had some cupcakes that blew my mind with a cute girl with the name Caitlin. I have always liked that name. We drank milk with our cupcakes in the late afternoon sunshine, and it felt very wonderfully earnest. I had a neapolitan selection. The tiny ones tickled me the most. The strawberry one with the littlest pearl sprinkles on top was the best, and I wished I'd gotten that one as the big one. Rarely does a flavor trump that of chocolate on my tongue, so these strawberry bites were something extraordinary.
I broke my computer sometime this month. Sort of. I left a glass of champagne on the table where my laptop was sleeping. Cooper dog walked by and knocked the glass over with his tail, briefly spilling some beneath the computer's undercarriage. It was enough so that it won't even start again. NOTE TO READERS: Do not tell the Apple Geniuses. I'm playing dumb. Can't think about the cost of the alternative.
I went to lunch with Lisey and we had bloody marys made with cilantro and habeneros. I got a nice fire in my belly while we talked. She is easy to talk to, and there are few women I'd rather have a drink and a chat with.
I went hiking in Bolinas, which is a tiny town in Marin County, north of San Francisco. Residents of the town take down signs so that their secluded wonderland isn't overrun, so it can be tough to find. After two softball games Ian and I hiked about 2 miles to meet up with his friends who had arrived earlier. We hiked along the headlands, along steep cliffs overlooking a black Pacific Ocean beach. The water was a deep teal from way up there, and I was overcome by its beauty and vastness, but more than that by its proximity. I've never lived so close to the ocean, especially not this one. Now, I can see it or touch it or smell it every day if I want. We hiked to a lake further inland where friends were already floating. The water was cold but clear, and it felt amazing to swim out into the still, wet depths that sat in the bowl of those woods. The scenery was so foreign to me. I had never been to a place that looked like that. So, I swam in it. I floated in the middle and looked all around, and felt a little like a birth. I'm sure my friends will be thrilled to know that there was any birthing going on in that lake, but despite laughing at rope swing attempts and drinking beer in a float, I was also taking it all in. The lake chilled me that day, and I couldn't stay very long, but it left a deep impression.
I made dinner one night as well. This is a nightly ritual for many people, but I can count on my hands the number of meals I have made for people other than myself. It was just a pasta dish, but it came out great. I'm proud of that lemon fettucine.
And with that, I wrap up the June review. All told, it was one of the very best Junes of my life.