Inauguration

7:57 AM: I’m heading off to the inauguration with my family, who are all dressed up and excited. Live blogging depending on battery power…

8:39 AM: Now in very long line to enter ‘orange’ section. Lots of people everywhere. Lots.

10:14 AM: Motorcade is on its way. We’re finally through the gate and on the “orange” lawn. We have a view of the press stands but NO view of the inaugural stage.

10:28 AM: Members of congress filing on to the stage. Nieces’ feet are cold in their fancy shoes. It’s sunny but brisk and a little windy. Hand warmers being put to good use. Security is tight, with patrols on the Capitol dome.

11:18 AM: Jimmy Carter coming on stage. Cheers for him, the Clintons, Oprah, etc

[Okay, shortly after 11:30 AM, I lost connection to the internet…no more live blogging was possible.]

Attacked

So, I was minding my own business, taking the bus home from a doctor’s appointment. I prefer public transportation to driving in the city, and not just so I can feel smug and superior for being environmentally conscious. Finding parking is stressful, plus I have to go home to get the car in the first place. And taking an unfamiliar bus sometimes feels like an adventure.

Last night was the exception that proves the rule (or some other cliché). I was transferring from the Divisadero to the Haight line, waiting to board. An older man was standing next to the door, letting people ahead. I couldn’t tell if he was just being polite so I gave him a quizzical look. My mistake. When he saw me make a face, his face turned furiously angry and he lunged at me brandishing something pointy. It wasn’t a knife but could have been a syringe or maybe even a pen–I just couldn’t tell. I tried to shrug it off and move around him. He lunged again, this time more violently, so I instinctively jumped back, toppling into a couple of older women waiting behind me.

Okay, so the guy is clearly crazy. At this point, I have no idea why he’s targeting me and he’s saying nothing but he continues to give me an evil “I dare you” glare. He boarded the bus and I thought I’d give it one more chance, following well behind. He swiveled around, running toward me again down the length of the bus. I backed off, exchanged looks with the driver thinking “um, are you going to do anything?” He wasn’t. I backed off to the curb.

“He’s attacking me!” I said somewhat pointlessly to the driver. The driver clearly did not want the wrath of the crazy man.

Should have I done more to defend myself or at least my pride? Dunno. Clearly the guy was on drugs and a physical mess, but it wouldn’t have been particularly heroic to kick some old man’s ass and, to be honest, my only impulse was flight, not fight. Standing on the street with the two old ladies, I waved the bus on and took my chances with the next bus.

2008

Our gay wedding, June 2008In June, Vince and I got married (again) after almost 19 years together. With my sister, nieces and friends in attendance, we participated in the ongoing struggle for gay equality by tying the knot at San Francisco City Hall.

In August, our household companion of 18 years, our kitty Bianca, died, leaving a hole in our lives I still feel every day.

In September, we closed our cafe, Three Dollar Bill, after over 4 year’s. It was a hard decision but none of our options were good and our landlord wanted more rent. Now they get none.

Then came the election. My excitement about Obama winning and anticipation of putting Bush behind us was bittersweet, as religious Californians voted that one of the most joyous events of the year was so wrong it needed to be undone by changing the constitution to forbid our kind of wedding. Our marriage is in limbo but our love is not.

And now what will happen next year…economic turmoil and a world ecosystem collapsing? Should be another interesting year.

Three Dollar Bill Cafe closes its doors

After 4+ years of business, Vince and I closed Three Dollar Bill Cafe. We’re very sad but have lots of great memories. It will also, however, give us time to pursue our other interests, like making art and writing.

Three Dollar Bill Cafe, 2008

Bianca’s morning scratch

For the last few years of her life, our cat Bianca settled into a routine. In the morning, she’d wait at the foot of our bed for a vigorous scratch and brushing. In the evening, she’d lay on our chests as we watched TV, with her paws resting on our necks, drawing life force from us, we suppose. Anyway, here’s the last video we have of Bianca–getting scratched the way she liked it.

Bianca

In the morning last Wednesday, our cat Bianca came into our bedroom for her daily scratching. As she walked into the room she stumbled and collapsed. A few minutes later, as Vince and I did our best to comfort her, she died. She was almost 18.

Bianca had been Vince and my companion for a long time–almost our entire relationship. She was a gift from Vince to me on our second Christmas together and I cried when I saw her for the first time and the last. I feel her absence every time I come home and think about all of times I spent with her during her long life, how she brightened my day and brought me joy. I now realize the incredible, deep affection I had for her, our cat.

On Friday morning, Vince and I had a short ceremony and burial for Bianca in the hills above our cabin in the woods.

Ambitious

I’ve figured out a new technology (Drupal), which could finally give me the tools I need to make, well, whatever it is I think I’m making. The basic idea for the site is a “Life Archive,” a place to put all information about myself in one place, but also make the site interesting, easy to use, aesthetic and dynamic. I’ve decided to implement it a little bit at a time, so you’ll have to come back to see my progress.

In the mean time, I’m participating in an art show in a couple of weeks. The piece above, is title “Rearranged World: The Seas.” You can read more about it here.

[Note: I never fully finished implementing Drupal and have returned to using WordPress. I’ll discuss it in a future post, perhaps.]

Decorating…

I never considered myself much of a decorator but set my mind to it over the last three months and completely madeover Vince and my cafe. It was only in completing the decorating project that I realized exactly what the old decor lacked–warmth.

I mean, I kind of new the old decor was a little industrial, with pink walls, black concrete floors and exposed ventilation, but I didn’t really understand how to get past that. It took about 2 months of research, looking at other cafes and how their design and layout created cozy atmospheres. We repainted the walls warm oranges and yellows, actually painted the black floor to olive green, replaced our old black Ikea chairs with oak chairs and added dividers to separate the service area from the seating area, creating more intimate spaces.

In the end, I’m really pleased. Now I’d like to get back to making art.

3DB Decorating

Cafe redecoration and party

3DB ReopeningWe’ve remodeled, painted, polished and updated our menu for the new year. It’s cozier and we’re really happy with the results.We’re having a Grand Re-Opening Party on January 19 at 7 PM and are also holding a Quote Contest at the cafe. Lots more information at threedollarbill.com.

 

Instant Artshow report

We had a small but enthusiastic turnout and were able to construct and install a couple of pieces during the course of the afternoon, an abstract net construction that snakes along the ceiling and an interconnected road map piece held together with wires and mounted in a large frame.

The dynamic of the Instant Art Show can be stressful, no matter how much I prepare, because I don’t really know what to expect until people arrive, and people often arrive with very different ideas about what we’re going to be doing. In the end, much of the dynamic depends on how much participants are willing to take initiative and dive into the unknown. After all, most people are not accustomed to creating art within a specified time period, let alone collaborating with relative strangers and creating artwork in a cafe with whatever materials are at hand. As a result, the works we created are spontaneous and somewhat amorphic but, I believe, contribute to the experience in the cafe.

Collective work from Instant Artshow #2