Wednesday, October 28, 2009

On Writing...

A Note From The Universe

Now let me get this straight, friend: 
You want things that you don't yet have, 
people in your life who you don't yet know, 
and events to take place that haven't yet 
occurred, so that once these "things" 
come to pass you'll feel happy, confident, 
and fulfilled; accomplished, desired, and 
appreciated; treasured, adored, and 
like one bad mamma jama, a beautiful sight to see?

But... wasn't that your rationale for 

all the other stuff you wanted, t
hat you now have?

 The Universe

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chana Masala, Een Cheekee Dana, Indian Pizza?

Colorful Bollywood movies, spiced chai tea, Frida Pinto, the Indians must know something we don't. Some ancient om-shanti secret where things just fall in to place, where the flavors are just right. Recently, moving to the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, I passed the corner of Cortland Ave. and Mission St. and was immediately overtaken by the smell of garlic, cumin, curry, and ooozing, cheesy, goodness. Even though it was ten am, I wanted to go inside and eat that smell.

Zante's Pizza, is an Indian restaurant, but it's also a unique home for pizza- Indian Pizza. The wait staff is courteous, re-filling your water glass every two minutes like every other Indian restaurant, but Zante's is a different experience all together. Options include vegetarian Indian pizza, with a sweet and spicy curry sauce, cauliflower, ginger, spinach, eggplant, green onions, and cilantro, all mixed with a delicious white, Indian cheese. Or an alternative for meat lovers which adds lamb, tandoori chicken, and prawns. Vegan options and a create your own pizza option are available. So the next time you're deciding between lamb curry and a slice of mushroom, just go to Zante's and have a little taste of both worlds. Namaste.

Zante's Pizza is located at 3489 Mission St. in San Francisco (415) 821-3949

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A San Francisco Sunday (Hungover)

The sun hit San Francisco just right today. And despite my hangover and inevitable realization that I'm getting older and can't handle having seven beverages in one night, downing beers after vodka tonics, after vodka tonics, after more vodka tonics, I was able to revel in the joy of a San Francisco Sunday. A few weeks ago at Dolores Park my friends and I listened to a man sitting under a tree playing his guitar, singing, fondling a harmonica. We sang along to his songs, closed our eyes for a moment, and let his music take us away, cheering him on as he rolled a joint. He told us that he came to this spot often just to play and sing for whoever was willing to listen. I headed to Dolores Park today, hoping to find this same man under the same tree playing his guitar,  hoping to ease my hangover with the sweet sound of his music. And among the half naked bodies, the dogs running around with sticks in their mouths, people guzzling champagne out of bottles, the jugglers, bums, and little children, the grass a field of happy bodies, I found him under the same tree. He sang some Gillian Welch, Elliot Smith, a few Beatles songs, I clapped for him so he knew I was listening, that someone was willing to listen. He uncorked a bottle of red wine, poured himself a glass, lifted it to the sky, praising the city, the sun, the people around him it seemed. And then I closed my eyes, let the sun soak up my aching body, swore to myself I'd never drink again.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More Things I Like To Look At.


I don't know how to quite put this. But I think I've fallen in love with cheese. I think about it add odd times of the day, during yoga, watching a movie, especially the melted kind I can pick at with my fingers. It's overpowering sometimes, my love for cheese. I try to say "skip the cheese" when the waiter takes my order, but those words hurt, I want to say instead, "extra cheese, more cheese, cover it with cheese." Is it possible to be in love with cheese? Cheese is there when I need it, waiting in the fridge for me, cheese doesn't tell me it likes me and then never calls, sticks its tongue down my throat as if it means it and then pretends nothing ever happened. Oh, cheese. Thank you for being you. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Origin Of The Veil

The 1979 Islamic Revolution transformed the country of Iran from a constitutional monarchy under the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to an Islamic Republic under the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Most people believe that under the notion of a perfect model of splendid, humane, and divine life for all the people of the world, Khomeini introduced the Sharia, or Islamic law, literally meaning -the path to the water source; forcing women to cover most of their body, but mainly, the evil, seductive forces that lay within the strands of their hair, all of it, under the thick fabric of a chador.
The truth, however, is another story. The Ayatollah Khomeini, being a stingy man, who didn’t believe in giving into the material pleasures of worldly objects and experiences, was sick of paying for his wife’s monthly hair removal bill. For, like most Iranian women, Khadije Saghafi was hairy, and her husband believed that if she was covered at all times of the day (and sometimes at night, even in their bed) she wouldn’t care if her husband, or anyone else saw her hairy legs or her hairy arms, or the hair that extended from the side of her face down to her chin. With the new implementation of the veil, his wife’s body and most of her head covered, he would only have to worry about paying for her eyebrows and maybe the hair on her upper lip at most, to be removed by Haleh Khanoom who owned the salon down the street. And thus, “O Prophet! Tell your wives and daughters and the believing women, to cover themselves. Thus, they will be recognized and avoid being molested. God is the Forgiver, Merciful,” from the Koran, turned into seventy four lashes on your bare back for being a slut and not covering all of your hair and body, well except your hands and feet.  Let us not forget that Khomeini had the best interest of all his fellow comrades’ in mind when making this law.
             It is rumored though that Khadije, frustrated with the summer heat and the layers of thick fabric she was forced to wear by her husband and his regime, being an educated woman, and having read the Koran in its entirety at least two hundred times, and finding no text stating that a woman’s entire body and hair should be covered, was so angered by her husband’s new laws, and his underlying frugality when it came to her hair removal needs (for it wasn’t for him or for any other man that she did it, it was more for herself, to feel beautiful and clean and to respect and care for her body-which she saw as her own private temple, or mosque in this case) decided to walk naked through the crowded streets of Tehran.  It was a boiling summer afternoon, too hot even for tea, and she walked with the most beautiful arched eyebrows, the smoothest arms, legs and upper lip anyone had ever seen, and a well managed, thin strip of hair below, thanks to the always reliable Haleh Khanoom and the thin, white string she had used to turn Khadije’s young body into silk.
The religious clerics, and Khomeini himself thought she was a ghost, a smooth-skinned phantom sent by Allah himself, a sign that Yawm al-Qiyaamah or the Day of Resurrection was upon them. Tears formed in their eyes as they got on their knees and bowed to her, mumbling Allah O Akhbar under their breaths, suddenly feeling the heaviness of their sins, and praying for forgiveness. But the women- well, the women knew better than that. And as their husbands meditated on their useless, wasted lives, and watched the phantom move through the city, stopping even the loud shouting of men in the bazaars, the cracking of sunflower seeds between their teeth, the persistence of car upon car on the freeways, as even the birds came down from above to watch, the women lined up outside of Haleh Khanoom’s salon, and waited their turn.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Things I Like To Look At.

Heaven And Hell

From a book I'm reading, Comfortable With Uncertainty by American Buddhist nun Pema Chodron...

     "A big, burly Samurai comes to a Zen master and says, 'Tell me the nature of heaven and hell.' The Zen master looks him in the face and says, 'Why should I tell a scruffy, disgusting, miserable slob like you? A worm like you, do you think I should tell you anything?'
      Consumed by rage, the samurai draws his sword and raises it to cut off the master's head.
      The Zen master says, 'That's hell.'
      Instantly, the samurai understands that he has just created his own hell-black and hot, filled with hatred, self-protection, anger, and resentment. He sees that he was so deep in hell that he was ready to kill someone. Tears fill his eyes as he puts his palms together to bow in gratitude for this insight.
      The Zen master says, 'That's heaven.'
      The view of the warrior-bodhisattva is not 'Hell is bad and heaven is good' or 'Get rid of hell and just seek heaven.' Instead, we encourage ourselves to develop an open heart and an open mind to heaven, to hell, to everything. Only with this kind of equanimity can we realize that no matter what comes along, we're always standing in the middle of a sacred space. Only with equanimity can we see that everything that comes into our circle has come to teach us what we need to know."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

So Love Begins

Yes, so love begins,
and though the road's end is out of sight
I do not think of the end
for it is the loving I so love.
-Forugh Farrokhzad

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

No Sex And The City

Carrie Bradshaw has nothing on me, well except the Jimmy Choo's on her feet and Mr. Big on one arm. I'm not saying those ladies were sluts, because I think there's nothing wrong with sleeping around...if that's what you're looking for. But let's say, you're living in a city, you drink those cosmos but can't afford the fancy meal, so you eat burritos instead, and you have your Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda who support your every move, but what if you're not just trying to land in someone's bed? It's easy to say yes. It means not having to be patient, not having to wait to see if anything worthwhile can come out of this. How do you land into someone's life, and not just their bed? Or rather, let someone land in yours?

The answer is simple, I have no clue. Let's be honest, if I did, I probably wouldn't be writing this. I really, really don't know. I'm not sure anyone does for that matter ( it took Carrie six seasons and a blockbuster movie to figure it out). But after almost five years of being single, I think I finally can make certain statements with confidence. I'm no expert on relationships, or sex, or love by any means, but I definitely have an immense amount of experience on screwing things up, disappointment, and the inevitable realization that if you're looking for true love, you must truly love yourself first. Here are a few pointers to help you on your path to finding your Mr.Big. And please be advised that these are merely pointers...nothing I say, or any one says for that matter can change the truth, that when the time is right he will come.

1. Is it ever OK to make the first move?: I say, yes. I'm not saying to buy him a drink, or put your hand down his pants in the middle of the bar. But if you have someone's attention from across a crowded room, and he has yours, don't look away. Stare long and hard, maybe that will give him the courage to come talk to you. And if that doesn't work, then don't be afraid to approach him. You're an attractive, intelligent woman, surrounded by your equally attractive and intelligent friends, and this will frighten some men. Oh, how easy would it be if life were actually like could send him a friend request, or poke him, or go through his interests and see if you have anything in common, if his status says "single". But, actual life is so much more exciting than that. Smoothly make your way over, come up with something clever to say, and see where it goes. What have you got to lose, really?

2. Numbers have been exchanged, there's a spark, what do you next?: Leave the premises immediately. No more drinks for you. If you stay long enough, have a few more drinks, his eyes will start becoming sweeter, his jawline more chiseled. You will start to feel even more tingly down below, making it a lot more tempting to shove your tongue down his throat. So let's leave it on a good note, and see if he's interested enough to call.

3. It's been a week and he hasn't he just not interested? Maybe he didn't store my number correctly? Maybe his phone fell down the toilet and he's been coming back to that same bar every night waiting for me to appear? : OK, stop. Breathe. Let's focus on reality. He hasn't called, he hasn't texted. Most likely, he just wanted to get laid, he has a girlfriend, or he's too insecure. Do you really want to be with someone like that? Men are single focused creatures, they can only focus on one thing at a time, and if he's not focusing on you, I think it's best to just move on. However, I always say that if you felt a crazy spark, and the curiosity will not let you go...give him a call or send a text. If you get nothing, definitely let it go. You will thank me later.

4. So he called. We hung out. He's really cute and sweet, but there's something missing. Do I give him another chance? Should I go out with him again?  If you're bored and having nothing better to do, and are keen on torturing yourself, maybe. But the key here is to never settle. I'm not saying have a checklist of qualities, but have a vision of what you are looking for. Don't just go out with someone to avoid being by yourself. If you're not having fun or enjoying yourself with someone, a few more dates won't change much.

5. He called. We've been hanging out, and I really like him! Congratulations, but no one cares. Just kidding. Take it slow, enjoy yourself, learn how to compromise, but don't compromise your beautiful self for anyone.

So moral of the story, after many years of not finding anyone who really does it for me, anyone I'd actually want to spend an extended period of time just can't give up. Yes, sometimes it sucks, and yes, other times it doesn't. But we must enjoy our freedom, this time to explore ourselves, to understand what kind of person we want to be, and what kind of relationship we want to have. And the truth is, we can never predict when it will happen for us, but with a little bit of patience, and a lot of grace, we can just know that it will. And maybe, that's enough.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cool Things You Probably Have No Idea About But Should Be Doing in SF

Good Morning Sunshine! So, there are some things I know. Other things, I know I don't know. And then there are the cool things happening in San Francisco that I manage to find out about. October seems to be festival season, the most beautiful month of the year people tell me, so I'm planning to take full advantage of that. I've gathered all my sources, even the top secret ones, and have compiled this special list for your pretty eyes.

October 2- 4: Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
Yes, MC Hammer will be there. But so will Gillian Welch, Neko Case, and Amadou and Mariam, and the sun, yes it will be sunny, so no excuses.

Through Oct. 24: I Heart Hamas
A one woman show featuring Palestinian-American Jennifer Jajeh and her surprisingly funny encounters in Ramallah and here at home.

Oct. 17-18: Treasure Island Music Festival
With a very smart line up this year featuring MGMT, Girl Talk, Passion Pit, Beirut, The Flaming Lips among many others. Dance the day away on this magical island!

Oct.30: Spookfest 2009
With artists like Basement Jaxx, Diplo, and the Crystal Method playing in rooms called The Death Dome and The Deadly Disco Dungeon, you really can't go wrong. Be prepared to get sweaty.

Nov.10: Saul Williams
I know I'm getting a little ahead of myself here, but...
"I am in the process of creating a masterpiece. I am not referring to any album, book, film or creative endeavor, rather, I am referring to the process of self-realization that aligns one with their highest and innermost ideals and values and renders them fully alive. It is a process of overcoming the obstacles imposed upon self, by self, perhaps society, and a fearful mind that refuses to accept the upward spiral of being. " -Saul Williams
Saul Williams is a performance poet whose lyrics will bury themselves in your soul, and leave you no choice but to want to be a better human being.