07 November 2013

random acts of carbs

Before you tune out, no, this is not a post about the merits of a no-carb or all-carb (God, Karen!) diet. But, while we’re on the subject, you should probably know that I am staunchly pro-carb. In fact, if you were to set a trap for me, the most effective strategy would be to stock it with strong, black coffee, an impossibly soft blanket, and freshly baked bread. At that point, if I fell for the trap, I wouldn’t even be mad. I would just stay in the trap until I ran out of either coffee or bread.

But that wasn’t what I was planning on talking about. As fun as it was, I have more pressing matters to discuss. I have noticed random acts of carbs all over the city.

The first incident occurred in a park near the Embarcadero. As I was walking through the park (probably in pursuit of a cup of coffee), I noticed a sleeve of unopened saltine crackers resting atop a large boulder, apparently abandoned. I recall thinking that someone must have brought them there to feed the pigeons (with whom I have a blood feud, but now isn’t the time to explain that), saw how repulsive those vile creatures were, and left immediately. In their haste, I hypothesized, that person left those crackers behind. I recall thinking that a homeless person would encounter them eventually and eat them. At the time, the cracker incident was odd, but not so odd that I thought to write down the date.

The second incident occurred a few days later. I wish I could be more exact when sharing this information with you, but as I was yet unaware that this was going to become a thing, I did not record the date. I did, however text and snapchat a few people, but I am too lazy to sift through my electronic records to find the timestamp. I was on the platform of the Embarcadero BART station and noticed a payphone at the base of the escalators. The first thought that crossed my mind was how remarkable it was that payphones still exist, and that this one still had its receiver. Curiosity got the better of me, as it is wont to do, and I walked over to the payphone to satisfy that curiosity. It was then that I found a baguette balanced atop the partition. I didn’t recognize the pattern at the time because the baguette was not packaged, but reflecting upon it, I suppose it would still be considered intact. As I mentioned, I texted and snapchatted a few people about the weird bread, then forgot about it. This incident is kind of an outlier, and I almost didn’t include it in this post. But, as someone dedicated to journalistic integrity, I decided that full disclosure would be the best course of action.

The next incident (the one that classified these seemingly random events as an official series) occurred on Thursday, 15 August 2013. I was house-sitting, again near the Embarcadero, but not close to either the aforementioned park or the water. As I was walking toward the BART station to go to work, I noticed a package of unopened wafer-y cookies sitting atop a fencepost. They were positioned rather precariously, so there was no way that they were there by accident. Someone had taken the time to balance them perfectly. The image of an unopened sleeve of saltine crackers flashed in my mind, and I resolved to keep my eyes out for any more errant carbs.

The fourth incident occurred on Tuesday, 10 September 2013. My sister and I were leaving that same house in search of dinner when we spotted what looked like the aftermath of a mugging on the sidewalk. A torn athletic bag was splayed open, with its contents scattered around its remains—a compact, a novel, some bobby pins, and a lone sock. The scene was grisly, to be sure. But, further down the sidewalk, I noticed something even more harrowing. There, leaning up against a lightpost where the sidewalk met the grass from a pathetic attempt at incorporating nature into the cityscape, was a package of whole wheat bagels, still twist-tied shut. It seemed that, as the size and quality of carbs increased, so too did the intensity of the tableaus in which they starred. There was something larger going on, and I was determined to find it.

I pushed that thought forcibly out of my head while my sister and I walked to buy food, but as we were headed back, I saw a young man inspect the bagels before picking them up and walking away as though nothing had happened. Whether he was feigning innocence because he had just picked up food from the ground or because he was part of a city-wide conspiracy is up for debate, but it only made me all the more suspicious.

You may be wondering why I have chosen today to share my observations with you. Well, as I was exiting the 16th and Mission BART station this morning, I noticed an unopened package of rather nice and hearty sandwich bread perched atop a trashcan that I walk past every day on the way to work. If you don’t hear from me for a while, you’ll know why.

04 November 2013

oops i thought i posted this

Okay, so I had the great idea to post something topical for Halloween, but I suppose I was distracted and, well, didn't. Anyway, here it is. Sorry.

Halloween in San Francisco is tricky because some people just…look like that. That guy wrapped in purple tinfoil? Is he wearing a costume? No idea. The hobo with a hot pink feather boa? Maybe. The girl who looks remarkably like Waldo? Hard to tell, especially in the Mission.

Halloween and I have sort of rocky beginnings. The earliest Halloween I can remember was tumultuous because I wanted to be a ghost (super creative, I know). Not the sheet-with-eye-holes type of ghost, but a more representative one. My mother dressed me in white, as you do, and things were going great. But, when she started painting my face white to emulate a deathly pallor, she became increasingly frustrated because she figured there must be something wrong with the paint. It was only after a few repeated attempts on the same area of my cheek that she realized that the paint was working just fine, but it was my face that was at fault. It already had that deathly pallor I so desired. At this point, I remember crying while everyone laughed at me. I don’t remember what I finally dressed up as (probably a ballerina or something else accessible like that), but that Halloween still haunts me.

Luckily, as I’ve grown up, I’ve started to appreciate Halloween for the opportunity to do two of my favorite things: dress up and be creepy. I’m a huge fan of homemade costumes over store bought ones, but I lack both the creativity and foresight to make it happen. If I actually planned ahead for once, I feel like I could make something amazing, but that type of motivation has yet to strike me.

What usually happens is that I brainstorm characters from popular culture that I could feasibly resemble, take stock of what I have in my closet that could pass with a little imagination, then fill in whatever is missing by making or buying something else. I also trying to make my costumes kind of inconspicuous, in case no one else is dressed up and I need to ditch the campy elements.

One year, I dressed up as Princess Mononoke, which was surprisingly easy. It was for a party, so I figured it was okay to go all out. Navy blue dress with cut up white shirt on top, black bands around my arms, red lipstick as blood, and moccasins. The only thing I was missing was the wolf pelt headdress, but I made do by buying a wolf stuffed animal, cleaving it in twain, removing all the stuffing, and draping it onto my head. It was one of the more disturbing things I’ve done, but the result was cute so it doesn’t matter.

I have also been Samara, the girl from The Ring. I just wore a white dress, black Mary-Jane shoes, copious amounts of eyeliner, and wet my hair. I committed to the costume by waiting in dark doorways and crawling around while contorting myself into unnatural positions. I did not paint my face white because, as we have already established, I did not need to. Apparently my costume was effective, as I made one of my friends cry when I skulked around a dark corner.

Last year, my friends and I did a group costume as hipster Disney characters. We all wore hipster interpretations of their outfits, added hipster glasses, and pinned signs to us to establish our hipster cred. Naturally, I went as Hipster Mulan in a red and purple floral romper (that I bought from a thrift store), a flower hairpin, glasses, a dragon tattoo that went all the way down my arm that my friend drew in Sharpie, and a sign that said “I did androgyny before it was cool.” My other friends were Hipster Tiana (New Orleans was not compatible with my vegan lifestyle.), Hipster Ursula (I have your voice. On vinyl.), Hipster Pocahontas (You just got to America? How cute.) and Hipster Meeko, who didn’t have a sign because she was a raccoon. Obviously.

So, this year, I wasn’t quite sure how to proceed with Halloween. After all, this is my first Halloween in the real world. I decided that the safest way to go was to wear a costume that could pass for real clothes in a pinch, with easily removable elements should I need to look like a normal person. Red and white polka dot dress, sparkly Minnie Mouse ears, and vampire fangs. My costume? Capitalism. Happy Halloween!