I’m Gonna Fuck You, Man!

They’re nose to nose, H and bouncer, a very intimate relationship, when H growls, “You want me to fuck you?” Security guy blinks, says nothing, looks at our friends in confusion.

This is the story of how, after all we’ve been through together, Medjool 86’d me. :(

We went there in the same mood we always do- jubilant, high-spirited, energetic, and ready to dance. The others had preloaded. Ibrahim, after not having had alcohol for several months as a nod to his observant-Muslim homies, decided to celebrate the end of Ramadan by breaking his sober streak in a big way. He drank almost a fifth of vodka immediately after the bottle arrived in the apartment, brought by my boyfriend, H. We quickly confiscated the bottle so the remainder could be put in a drink for H. As H poured his own drink, Ibrahim began dancing around the apartment, singing made-up songs. H and I eyed each other. It was only 8 o’clock and the others hadn’t even arrived yet.

H sipped his mixed drink slowly and rolled several spliffs at a leisurely pace. We planned to bring these out with us and smoke them at intervals throughout the night. There would be no smoking at home because, we concluded, that would just make us sleepy. When we smoke before we go out, we never end up going out.

Ayman, Shaddi, Khalil, and Francisco arrived, and after greetings, we decided to go.

We hadn’t been to Medjool in maybe six months. A couple members of our regular crew had gotten married, others were traveling abroad, and it just wasn’t the same. But with the core group back in town and ready to party, we decided our old haunt was just the place to go.

Continue reading “I’m Gonna Fuck You, Man!”

I’m Down Here, Muthafucka

It’s 10:22 am on Easter Sunday and me and my roommates begin to hear someone yelling outside, “I’m down here!” He then mutters repeatedly, “Where are you, muthafucka?” We peek outside and ascertain that Mr. Black Man with Unrealistically White Shoes has spotted the shoes hanging from the power lines outside our apartment. Or rather, the power lines outside the apartment of the crack dealer who lives across the street. He clearly needs a fix but doesn’t know which apartment the shoes are signaling. So he does the best he can by announcing his presence and hoping for the best.

The guy yells again, in a Barry White voice that booms all the way down to Mission Street, “I’M DOWN HERE!” He then pulls out a wad of money and begins to count it in a very obvious way.

Alas, our neighborhood drug dealer is not awake yet, and Barry White ambles on down the street, muttering and counting his money.

UPDATE: Jack says, “Oh look, drug dealer’s awake. Omg that guy has no pants on. That just ruined my life.”

Benjamin Bratt, Diane Lane Celebrate the Underdog at Mission High School

The People’s History of the United States, written by Howard Zinn, came out in 1980 and has sold over a million copies. Partially because it is filled with primary source material from underdog activists, writers, and other overlooked people, its words are still relevant today.

Last night, Mission High School’s auditorium was filled to capacity and beyond for a reading of this primary source material by actors like Kerry Washington, Benjamin Bratt, Josh Brolin, and Diane Lane. Among the material read was Sojourner Truth’s speech “Ain’t I a Woman” given in 1851 at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention, Susan B. Anthony’s address to the judge in the case in which she was convicted of casting a ballot, and both Martin Luther King’s and Muhammed Ali’s speeches against the Vietnam War.

The works read were both incredibly poignant and still relevant to our world today. As Frederick Douglass said in 1857, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” Zinn, his source materials, and the actors who superbly brought the works to life, have reminded us that it is the underdog who has always changed history, not the powerful.

A film with even more material and even more actors will be coming out shortly, and the website is here.

Medjool Claims New Fan

In fact, any watcher from the mezzanine above could visually separate the Americans from the foreigners just by paying attention to who was yelling the words and who wasn’t.

Ok, I take back every bad thing I ever said about Medjool. Friday night, I had maybe the most fun I ever had at a club. That might be because I don’t really like clubs, but whatever.

The girls were smokin hot, the music was sufficiently kitchy, and there was a nice, bloody fight to finish the evening off. There was a mash-up of The Ting Tings That’s Not My Name and Toni Basil’s Mickey. There was M.I.A.’s Paper Planes, Steve Miller’s The Joker, Sublime’s Santeria, and Beck. Old Beck. Like Loser. And of course, Bon Jovi’s Livin On a Prayer, during which the DJ cut out the music at intervals, concert-style, so the drooling and mesmerized audience could yell out the lyrics. My F.O.B. boyfriend could not understand the crowd’s rabid reaction when Aretha’s Respect came on.

In fact, any watcher from the mezzanine above could visually separate the Americans from the foreigners just by paying attention to who was yelling the words and who wasn’t.

When we finally left, we were standing outside chatting when an angry Arab bum rushed a drunk white guy, and then had to be pulled off, kicking and clawing, by three bouncers. Drunk White Guy’s nose was bleeding so bad, the bouncers had to run inside and grab a handful of towels to catch it all. Angry Arab hung around the nabe for no less than an hour more, possibly waiting for an opportunity to finish the fight. I know because I saw him twice more, before and after my 1am taqueria run.

Cleavage, oldies, and a bloody nose. What else could I ask of the Mission?

Wells Fargo Bears Brunt of Mysterious Protest

Me: So what’s the deal?
Him: We’re protesting.
Me: Against what?
Him: Against a police state.
Me: glances around at the dozen or so police officers protecting the protesters and their right of free speech. Wow, it’s really nice of these police officers to protect you while you protest against them.
Him: blank stare.

Whilst shopping at my favorite little corner store at 16th and Mission, I saw out of the corner of my eye some people run by in the street. Then said people were suddenly awash in red and blue lights. And there was yelling on a bullhorn and big signs and more people. A protest against something or other had materialized in front of my eyes in a matter of seconds.

Strangely, the protesters converged on Wells Fargo holding a 5’x5′ sign that said, “No Police in Greece,” or something like that. I might have remembered more specifically what the sign said had any aspect of the protest- like, at all- made any sense.

After watching for a few minutes and listening to the guy with the bull horn yell (again, not exactly, but basically), “We’ll burn your face off,” I headed across the street to ask some questions. I started with a kid who was holding one side of the aforementioned giant sign.

Me: So what’s the deal?
Him: We’re protesting.
Me: Against what?
Him: Against a police state.
Me: glances around at the dozen or so police officers protecting the protesters and their right of free speech. Wow, it’s really nice of these police officers to protect you while you protest against them.
Him: blank stare.
Me: What’s this about Greece?
Him: It’s about the killing of Alexis Grigoropoulos. He was killed by police in Greece.
Me: Why Wells Fargo?
Him: Huh?
Me: Why are you protesting in front of Wells Fargo?
Him: We don’t like banks.
Me: This bank, or just all banks?
Him: All banks. We’re going to be stopping at a few others.
Me: Ok, that’s cool. So who organized the protest?
Him: Nobody.

Feeling even more confused than when I started talking to this kid, I moved up the street a little and questioned a police officer who was waiting dutifully on his motorcycle.

Me: So what’s the deal?
Police Guy: I don’t know, they’re protesting all over the place. Their last stop was New College. You know the one on Valencia Street?
Me: Yeah. What are they protesting against?
Police Guy: They’re mad at us police. We wouldn’t let them occupy some building earlier.
Me: So why are they protesting outside Wells Fargo?
Police Guy: I don’t know. Earlier they took a vote and everyone voted to just go drink at a bar, but the guy with the megaphone over there, he vetoed that. So they’re here.

I walked away thinking how much I love this ridiculous city.


They don’t fuck around in Athens on Unburying the Lead.

Laser war in Athens on Danger Room.

The Asshole Assumption

I live on Albion, near 16th and Mission, and so I find it odd, cute, and ridiculous when people act as if they live in some comfy suburb, expecting their neighbors to behave accordingly. Even when those “neighbors” are homeless crackheads who use our street as a shooting gallery and then bathroom.

Those same people tend to get especially touchy when it comes to dogs. These are the people who find dogs unleashed to be a menace to public safety. Who, when sitting at Dolores Park, feel that their personal space has been violated when a dog wanders onto their blanket. And then there is the cardinal sin of dog ownership: leaving the poop. It could be that you forgot to bring a baggie. It could be that your dog has the runs and his excrement is impossible to pick up. It could also be that you’re a selfish asshole, and this seems to be what most people assume first when it comes to dog owners. Hell, let’s be honest. That seems to be what most people assume first, period.

I’ve stopped trying to predict what kind of doggie behavior will offend Missionites, but there is one steadfast rule that I’ve found always applies: on every street, there is one guy who rabidly defends the bush in front of his house from being peed on.

He lies in wait for you. When he sees you pass by with your dog, he either runs out of his house or leans out of his window to reprimand you for allowing your dog to urinate on a living thing. His living thing. Invariably, his junkyard dog approach to communication makes you feel defensive. It puts you on edge. You respond, rightfully if unhelpfully, that his bush or whatever is on a public sidewalk.

It could go lots of ways from there, but most likely the interaction will slide into the realm of threats. He’ll call the police, he’ll kick your ass. In one such situation, a guy even threatened to poison my dog if I didn’t leave his bush alone. No doubt he felt that was fair. An eye for an eye. After all, my dog’s urine was poisoning his bush, or so he thought.

Until now, I have been highly disinclined to yield to such ruffians, such cads. Anyone who would treat another person so hatefully, especially without even trying to ask nicely in the first place, did not deserve to get what they wanted.

But now I’m tired. I just want to walk down the street in the morning without worrying if this dude is going to jump out from behind his gate and hassle me. So I dealt with the most recent incarnation of this situation differently, especially since I now have two dogs to shepherd. I muttered my usual, “It’s a public sidewalk,” retort, then went home and drafted a letter in true passive-aggressive style and stuck it on his gate.

Since then, I have walked down the street in peace. Some might say it’s because my letter was so carefully worded. Others might say it’s because I’ve elected to walk down the opposite side of the street from now on.

Who really knows?

And, for your pleasure, dear readers, I give you The Letter:

I’m the girl who walks her dogs past your house in the morning. You have come out yelling at me twice but have not tried the kinder approach so far. If you had come out and asked me nicely, and kindly, to just bypass your bush, I would have agreed. Not because I agree with you but because I believe in neighborliness.

Secondly, please take a moment to imagine how it would feel if you were a young woman walking alone in a dodgy neighborhood and all of a sudden there are two confrontational guys yelling at you and following you across the street. Do you think this would make you feel amenable to a neighborly compromise? Or would it make you feel physically threatened?

Next time you want to talk to me, how about you try the nicer way? And please be more considerate of my position. I promise it will get better results.

P.S. Imagine how you would want someone to talk to your sister or daughter.

And one last thing. Let it be known that the dogs inspiring such venomous reproach were these:

Medjool: Multiple Species of Douche

Went to Medjool again last night. My third visit and my second visit on a Saturday, “International Night.” I made a movie about this experience, during which I was not drunk or high at all, obviously. In the included movie, you can see that we walked for-EV-uh to get there and got distracted along the way quite a bit. In fact, most of the story consists of the Walking to Medjool Adventure. Finally we arrived to find, as suspected, douchebags galore. The movie includes a psychologist’s analyzation of douchebags, security douchebags specifically.

The Trenchcoat Patrol security guards at Doucheb Medjool are on a collective power trip. I felt at any given moment, no matter what I was doing, that it was wrong. That I shouldn’t be standing/sitting/dancing where I was or talking to who I was or recording what I was. I was approached by security guards no less than five times over the course of two hours and told that whatever I was doing at that moment was not allowed. At one point, they actually broke up a hug.

There was pretty good music this time due to DJ Cairo spinning but the crowd was as douchey as it was last Saturday night. My findings are that Medjool is clean, well decorated, and high-end, which means that douchebags are attracted to it.

Previously on Mission Mission: Medjool: Light on the Douchebag, Please

The Mish Isn’t for Everyone

Romantico, the 2005 film that follows mariachis Carmelo and Arturo around the Mission as they sing for tips, was unbearably depressing. The highlights include: a tour of their apartment, which they share with 8 other people and where Carmelo sleeps in a tent made out of a sheet and a shelf. A phone call in which Carmelo calls back home to speak to his wife Carmela (yes, seriously) and finds out that his mother has lost her other leg to diabetes and is now fully legless, blind, and almost completely deaf. Later Arturo enters “daycare” to cope with his alcoholism.

Basically, the message of the film, if there was one, was that these guys have to choose between living a lonely and poor life in the Mission to send money back to their families or living a lonely and poor life in Mexico where they don’t make any money at all.

The film was 83 minutes long. And I felt every single one of them.

After it ended, I looked to Pauline and said, “Oh GOD I need a hug.”

Medjool: Light on the Douchebag, Please

Medjool sticks out in the Mission like an oasis in the desert. Hip, but not filled with hipsters. Crowded and sweaty, and yet it manages not to smell like urine. It has a nice roof, but SF tends toward arctic extremes at night so enjoying the view requires one to be very brave or very drunk.

There was plenty of both of the above Saturday night, the publicized “international” music night. The place was filled with douchebags, and pretty soon it was apparent why. The type of music they consider international was just enough on the ethnic side to make the crowd feel adventurous and exotic, but just enough on the white American side to feel familiar and comforting.

It’s 1999 and Carlos Santana has just made his big return with an album finally tailored to the masses. He mixes his soulful Latin guitar style with white American pop vocals. Rob Thomas singing “Smooth” made us feel like we were a part of the browner crowd while giving us something to identify with. Likewise with Dave Matthews, Everlast and the racially ambiguous Eagle-Eye Cherry. However, normally we did not like to listen to this music in front of actual Latin people, because deep down we realized they would expose us for the posers we were.

This is what Medjool’s “international” night is like. Except you are surrounded by people as white as, or whiter, than you, who are dancing badly to embarrassing music and reminding you with every second that this is exactly what you look like. It makes you want to leave before you are seen by anybody not white.

To worsen the white factor, 9 out of 10 dudes are douchebags of the frat boy or former frat boy variety. They are all dressed exactly the same, with exactly the same hair, and utilizing exactly the same dance moves. But the most characteristic quality of the frat boy douchebag is how he treats his woman. He alternately gropes her and ignores her. Up on the roof, there were several heaters set up. In general, the men congregated in circles around these while their women huddled in the cold outside the circle, suffering because they are wearing the sort of minimal clothing that their boyfriends require to show them off in.

What I do find comforting about the Medjool experience is that for two days afterward, when asked how Medjool was, I responded with some variation of, “Douchebaggery abounds” or, “Sooo many douchebags.” And everyone nodded enthusiastically–there was no doubt what could be meant by this answer.