(this is annie)

AVT, DVG, East Coast Family

When I was 17, I had an enormous crush on Derek. Immense. He worked at the record store, and I'd go there to purposely look for obscure records so I could talk with him more. Derek introduced me to Stan Getz and The Winter of Our Discontent and the Coen Brothers and all kinds of other good things that I still love. He never judged me for buying awful hardcore records, for which I am now thankful. Before I moved to Ann Arbor for college, I dressed up as him (yet another example of me being quite drag-king as a kid) and made my mother take a photograph. In it, I am wearing a Broken Hearts Are Blue t-shirt, dark green men's trousers, a slicked-back faux pompadour, and a smile.

Last night he informed me that I'm staying at the hotel where much of Combat Rock was written, which made my night. Then we had a quick hour today. Not enough time, of course, but it's funny how old friends always feel like home right away.

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Happy Valentine's Day.

When I was about four years old, I appeared on the Channel 3 Kids' Clubhouse — some local morning show for the little ones. The host asked each child what his or her favorite holiday was. On the tape, there's footage of me nervously chewing my lip until the host says, "And Anne? What's your favorite holiday?"

Valentine's Day, I said to her, because you get to tell people you love 'em. And it's true: I was obsessed with Valentine's Day, and I'd spend weeks making valentines, or writing personalized notes to my classmates on the backs of store-bought Chipmunks valentines. The sting of this, of course, is that my romantic moves did not pay off. When other children began stealing pecks on the cheeks, I was leaving band-fundraiser chocolates on the front porch of my poor junior-high crush, Justin Woiwode. I was a complete weirdo.

I was looking through the old posts here, and I found this one, written a few days before v-day 1998. It's funny to look at it 11 years later. It's also funny to look at this old shot of me and Jaime in our salad days. It's a picture of friendship, but it always makes me happy — especially because we remain friends more than a decade after it was taken.

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In New York, City Loves You

Every time the plane lands in New York, I start to feel excited. And when the Manhattan skyline comes into focus, I feel a tiny leap in my heart. An old friend — born and raised in New York — had never been to Chicago, and he scoffed when I said I thought Chicago's skyline was prettier. I still contend that it's so, but seeing the Chrysler building has more emotional impact. I've been on this weird New York lovefest for the past 24 hours, even though I haven't had time to go to my favorite places. It's like when I was a teenager, and I had met what I thought was the biggest love of my life, and I contented myself by knowing we both saw the same moon at night. Just being here, knowing that New York is doing its thing around me, is enough.

Phil and I went to Public tonight. It was crowded, and service was slow, but the benefit is that we had more time to catch up. Couples were on either side of our table, and both men shifted to sit next to their ladyfriends. Then, there was tongue kissing — which also made me feel like a teenager, but in that awkward and horrific way in which I knew, just knew, that everyone else was doing it while I remained an awkward virgin. All I can say is that it's difficult to focus on your tofu curry when someone else's saliva is a foot away from it, and when that saliva belongs to a long-haired man dating a woman at least 15 years his junior. Does the discomfort make me a grizzle? A curmudgeon? Either way, we didn't stay for dessert.


In a while, I'm going out with Sabs and Burger Time, lady-style. We're going to some Britpop night that involves dancing and karaoke. Sabs is an excellent singer (which is why she'll have to lead in our band) but I have a cowardly habit of choosing songs to purposely sing poorly. Burger may or may not be a good singer, but here's a glimpse of our duet from a while back:

I often feel like a giant klutz when karaoke-ing, because I really want to be good at it. I used to be a soprano in choir (until we were forced to do a Wilson Phillips medley, which threatened my indie cred) and I love to sing in the shower. But you get me in front of a crowd, and my voice turns terrible. I'd rather have people laugh at me on purpose, you know? So if you're out and about, SF, and you hear something like a pubescent toad belting out "This Charming Man," you'll know who to thank.

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Rat and lady

If you pay attention in the Tenderloin, you'll observe the kinds of quotidian patterns that happen anywhere else. There's order to the neighborhood; it just doesn't manifest itself in the way that it does in more pleasant pockets of the city. I ride the bus through the Tenderloin every morning, and I know which characters to expect depending on the time I get on.

I have random bus crushes and bus nemeses, but I also look on the street for certain faces. There's a woman who always stays with me. It's hard to pinpoint her age; she could be 30, she could be 50, but she looks hardened either way. Her brassy brown hair is always tangled, her face is ruddy and puffy, her clothes are stained and ragged. She is living a hard life. Sometimes I see her sitting on Eddy Street, or occasionally panhandling by the BART station at Montgomery. She almost always is caressing a small, twitching rat that seems tame and as affectionate as a rodent can be. It's by far the most poignant scene I see in this city.


No stagediving

I am not superstitious, but I do think that life gives you signs, and if you don't pick up on them, you're going through life half-blind. Yesterday, I had two of them: I sent payment for the last $6.58 of one of my two student loans in the afternoon, and in the evening I crossed the bridge and went to 924 Gilman. The Thorns of Life, the terribly named* but very promising band featuring Blake Schwarzenbach/Aaron Cometbus/Daniela Sea. I'd worried that going to Gilman would make me feel old, or too yuppified, or not punk enough. Instead, everything felt right. (OK, everything but the filthy bathrooms at Gilman.) Things are becoming clearer — even if I can't share how so just yet — and it feels like home again.

* Yes, I know it's a Shelley reference, but the fact that we spent half of our trek to the East Bay trying to remember the name of Charlotte Rae's character on The Facts of Life says something.

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say hello

    it's anniet at gmail.


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