My Face for the World to See (Part II):
The Diary of Sherilyn Connelly
a fiction


July 21 - 31, 2002

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Wednesday, 31 July 2002 (farewell reel)
10:03pm


(Note to Beth Lisick: you're quite right. It seems like every square centimeter of San Francisco has been given some kind of award at some time or another, and it's all quite silly.)

I was not expecting to still be in Fresno right now. Didn't see that one coming at all. I thought for sure that after a somewhat grueling drive with congested traffic on 101 and 152, we'd be back in our chilly city this evening. But we're not. Maddy wasn't up for said grueling drive (and it was sounding less and less appealing to me), so we're staying an extra night and heading home on Thursday morning. We gave the cats more than enough food, even though Oscar is probably less than pleased right now about the condition of the litter box.

Speaking of the cats, I was expecting to find this in the Bay Guardian's Best of the Bay 2002, since Annalee had told me about it ahead of time:

Best Cable Access Show for Goth Kitty Fetishists
Welcome to the living room, kitchen, and hearts of Sherilyn and Madeline, the two talented goth girls who film, edit, and provide a lush, abstract goth/industrial soundtrack to kittypr0n a public access show that brings you into the complicated interior lives of Sherilyn and Madeline's cats. Watch as the black-and-white cat sleeps to the sound of Diamanda Galas. Giggle as the tabby plays in the bathtub, then on the sofa, then with a fluffy thing. See Sherilyn and Madeline's hands, boots, and striped stockings interact with the cats (neither woman's face ever appears). Like a cross between The Bear and an Andy Warhol movie, kittypr0n takes you into boxes, leads you on an adventure into catnip, journeys to the top of the refrigerator, and even dares to penetrate the never-before-filmed world of cats napping for an entire half hour. Genius, genius! Already a huge hit at certain bars around the city where people root for their favorite kitty kittypr0n is sure to become a cult classic. Watch for the strange invader cat who lives outside the windows, yet seems to bear an uncanny resemblance to the black-and-white cat. 12:30 a.m., first Monday of every month, AccessSF, channel 29.

Which is why I said we finished the new episode just in time—once again, we may have a few new viewers on Monday. So sleep #1 gets pushed back again, in spite of its apparent genius.

For as much as I'm looking forward to going home, there's something depressing about it. We're in Fresno right now, but it's still a vacation, a change of scenery. It's always sad when that ends. But there are things to look forward to: dinner with Dax and the other veggiegoths on Friday, K'vetch on Sunday (I'm rather excited about the new piece I'm going to read), that job opportunity which will miraculously present itself to me next week...

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Tuesday, 30 July 2002 (the wicked messenger)
9:22am


Golden Era is not, as I had previously stated, a Chinese restaurant. Had I bothered to look closer at the page to which I linked, I would have noticed the words "Vietnamese" and "pan-Asian." I guess between hearing people refer to it as Chinese, the fact that we ordered pot stickers, lemon (veggie) chicken and vegetable chow mein, and me being an ign'nt American, I kinda assumed. Mea culpa.

I can say with greater confidence that we had Armenian with my mother last night. I think we'll be looking for bulgar when we get home.

11:29pm

We spent the day with my niece Nicole, thrifting during the afternoon. Swag included a green plaid schoolgirl skirt, a velvet tank top, a long velvet dress with slits up the side, and a full slip. None of them would have lasted more than five minutes at a thrift store in San Francisco. I also found some one-shoulder tank tops at a store in the mall called Rave yesterday. (Didn't make it to the library, but we did make it to the mall. Look, I'm on vacation, all right?) I'm not proud of having shopped there, but damnit, I found something I'd been looking for for a long time. So neener. They're a little tighter than I normally care for, but at $5 per I couldn't pass them by. The irony, of course, is that for how badly I've been eating, pretty soon they won't fit at all.

I did sweat today. It was pretty bad.

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Monday, 29 July 2002 (summer cannibals)
9:22am


After the disappointing meal (note to self: the "avocado salad" should really be called the "iceberg lettuce with processed sandwich cheese strips salad"), we went to the the uber-megaplex out by Blackstone and Nees, it being one of the few places we could be reasonably certain would be open and alive after 10pm on a Sunday night. Among the reasons for coming to Fresno in the first place was to be outside at night, when the sun is no longer in the sky but the earth is radiating the warmth it collected during the day. And without mosquitoes or humidity, thus differentiating it from, say, a similar night in Kansas.

We didn't go into the theater itself—even if we'd wanted to, the only movie I'd would be willing to brave is The Powerpuff Girls (again), and the bastards aren't showing it anymore even though the poster's still up—but outside there's a shopping area with an ice cream parlor, an arcade, a Borders, a fountain area with benches, etc. What weirds me out is the fact that none of it existed when I was growing up, or even when I moved away at 21. There wasn't much out there but fields and the occasional apartment complex, like the one where my father lived in the early eighties. Now it's practially the hub of the city, as Fresno expands relentlessly northward in pursuit of its goal of becoming the San Joaquin Valley's own Los Angeles.

Anyway, there in the new heart of Fresno, in front of a theater with Goldmember on four screens (doesn't get more mainstream than that), we saw two girls holding hands, as well as a goth boi in a skirt. Nobody seemed to be looking at them funny or giving them any static. Which isn't to say it never happens—I'm sure they've gotten harrassed, as is not unheard of even in San Francisco—but evidently they're not going to let it stop them from being themselves. Damn straight. The place really is changing, and for the better.

11:29am

For no appreciable reason, Pac Bell dialup is faster here than in San Francisco. (Maybe it's philosophically related to why there are so many more basic cable channels available here. I have some pondering to do.) The net result is that I can listen to KFJC's 20kbps feed without too many hiccups. Yay.

Not that we came here just to hide until the sun goes down; we'll be braving the outside world soon enough, hopefully having lunch with Danny. Then I'm considering going to the Fresno State University library to revisit my developmental period. I think I even remember the section: HQ 77.

11:39pm

By all accounts, it's been unseasonably cool these last couple days. I'm also told we just missed a week or so of 100F+ days, complete with heretofore unknown humidity. The heat's getting to Maddy all the same, though I'm fine with it. I haven't even broken a sweat.

I'd been worried about wearing makeup, fearing that nobody in their right mind would wear it in the heat and I'd stand out even moreso than usual. Just goes to show how much I'd forgotten about certain female denizens of this city, especially those you'll find populating the malls.

I'll probably weigh around 165 when I get back home.

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Sunday, 28 July 2002 (gone again)
10:02am


We didn't have any plans for yesterday beyond getting packed for the Fresno trip, and possibly going for sushi in Pacifica. Then Dax called at 11am, inviting us to go thrift shopping with her. Since it would get us out of the house and involve something approximating exercise, we said yes. We met her at her boyfriend's apartment near Japantown and went from there. Four stores and several hours lately we all came up empty, but that's okay, because it's better not to spend money and it's fun anyway. At one point Dax confirmed that I didn't mind that she frequently pointed out things she thought I might like. I assured her I didn't, though apparently she has some friends who find it insulting, snapping, "I can look around for myself!" I don't get that at all.

After shopping we were back at her boyfriend's apartment, waiting for him to get back from a motorcycling excursion (it had to be explained to me what the ubiqutious word "Ducati" around his apartment meant) so we could go to dinner. Dax showed us pictures from some fetish modeling she did recently—on the side, not for a living—and she'd had some prints with her at Herbivore last week. Zaleska also recently posted pictures from a shoot. Between the two of them, I've been getting some bad, bad thoughts in my head, things which I'm almost embarrassed to admit to myself. But I admitted them to her. She said her photographer would be at MEAT tonight, and she could introduce me to him if I'd like. I could feel the night expanding in front of me.

I was there until half past three (sans Maddy, who got her fill of the club thing earlier in the week at Death Guild), but he never did show up. Dax apologized profusely, but it was no biggie, especially since I'd managed to park around the corner and Bellacrow was kind enough to guestlist me. No harm, no foul.

So I was standing against the wall talking to Leni's boyfriend when a tall woman with shaggy hair and a croptop walks toward me from the dance floor. I figure she's looking for wallspace for leaning, so I move over. Nope, she's still heading right towards me. She puts her hands against the wall on either side of my head and asks in vaguely Eurotrashy accent (think a less sophisticated Nico) if I'm Raven. I tell her that no, my name isn't Raven. She looks disappointed and walks away. I confirm with Leni's boyfriend that it did just happen. He assures me that it did, though it seems plenty weird from his angle as well.

After what might be termed as slighly inappropriate dancing (in a goth club, if you can imagine) and other bits of drunken disorderliness, she eventually got kicked out by Bellacrow and Yen, who were doing the door/security thing. It was quite inspiring, really.

11:57pm

Fresno in the summer is really very pleasant after the sun goes down, which is when we arrived after a drive which took about an hour and a half longer than it should have thanks to post-Gilroy Garlic Festival traffic. (That's what I get for not taking I-5 like everyone else.) It's after the sun comes up the next morning that the troubles begin.

We ate dinner on Saturday night with Dax at a vegetarian Chinese restaurant called Golden Era. When you ask for rice, they specify white or brown. I'm not expecting that to happen here. Indeed, tonight we went to a Mexican restaurant on the edge of Pinedale, a largely hispanic section of Fresno, and it was very...well, let's just say it wasn't like eating in The Mission. I'm so spoiled by my City.

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Saturday, 27 July 2002 (not broadcast quality)
8:26am


Let's see. It's late July, and we're going to spend a few days in Fresno. (Voluntarily, I might add.) I haven't been in Fresno in the summer since the late nineties. I've been living in San Francisco for eight years, and my wardrobe both reflects an acclimation to the weather and a slavishness to a particular fashion aeshetic. For example, I haven't owned a pair of shorts since a Democrat was in the White House. I think I'm going to roast.

sometime after midnight

no, my name isn't raven. but thanks for asking.

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Friday, 26 July 2002 (one percent)
9:55am


Though I enjoyed myself, I was probably the only person in the audience (which included Charles and Annalee as well as Embeth and her big gay boyfriend ) last night who wished Destroy All Monsters was subtitled rather than dubbed. (I guess I got kinda spoiled by Gamera 2 and the Raymond Burr-less Godzilla, both of which were subtitled.) Of course, it probably wouldn't have been as much of a crowd experience if it was subtitled, since for most people half the fun is the atrocious dubbing. The couple with the braying laughs sitting directly behind Maddy and I certainly thought so.

Meanwhile, I've found what may be the greatest thing ever: an archive of the last couple years' worth of Negativland's radio show Over the Edge on mp3. This sort of thing makes up for everything else that's wrong with the internet.

8:41pm

Much to our surprise, we assembled kittypr0n #7 today. And just in time.

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Thursday, 25 July 2002 (magenta beauty)
8:54am


Thanks to Diane and Pam's suggestion, we went to the kickoff party for Ladyfest at the LGBT Center last night. The End of the World opened, and after that we mostly wandered around, taking it all in. It was nice to see so many of our friends. After teasing us that goth is dead, the blue-haired punker (yeah, that's alive and kicking) Lynn told us she's always been primarily attracted to goth girls. Heh. Given his thing for femmes, and that goths almost by definition are as femmey as they come, I wasn't surprised. No wonder I haven't put away the black eyeliner just yet—it's appreciated by all the right people.

The night ended much better than Monday.

1:57pm

Of course, nothing will bring you down to earth like getting called "sir" twice in as many hours. Well, "sir" once by the clerk at Walgreens, and then "Buddy" by the UPS guy. I let the first one slide since it was somewhat mumbled and indistinct (again, it was at Walgreens), but I corrected the UPS guy, who was speaking all too clearly. Ugh. Okay, so I wasn't wearing any makeup and was in jeans and a tank top—including my less-than-masculine velvet coat at Walgreens—but jeez, am I still that obvious? Yes, and I probably always will be. Just goes to show that even in what Michelle accurately refers to as the "nice homo life here in the Bay Area Bubble," a degree of stealthiness is still sometimes necessary.

I got hit on at Death Guild. It was after the main blowup but before we left; Maddy had gone off and I was waiting for her to return. (Whether she'd said she was going to or I just knew she would, I don't recall.) I was standing next to the bar, facing the dance floor but not really seeing it, when a man I didn't recognize came up and told me I looked wonderful. I thanked him. He asked if he could buy me a drink. I said no, but thank you for asking. Are you sure? Yes, but I do appreciate the offer. He walked away. He didn't know that he was asking at the worst possible moment. Actually, the worst possible moment probably would have been with Maddy right there.

We took the train last night, though since we're lazy we drove to the stop. We parked across from a pub, and as we were walking back to the car from the train at one in the morning, some men called out to us. "Hey, ladies! Want a drink?" And other words and sounds along those lines. At least I know that in the dark, I've still got it.

sometime after midnight

I've discovered that a performance artist we saw at Ladyfest by the name of Penny Arcade was in Paul Morrissey's 1972 movie Women in Revolt, which means she worked with Candy Darling. Unfortunately, I wasn't aware of this last night, although I probably wouldn't have gotten a chance to speak to her anyway. I do hope I'll eventually meet in person someone who knew Candy. I'm not sure why it matters to me (maybe because of the title of this page?), but evidently it does.

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Wednesday, 24 July 2002 (sick of food)
5:30pm


We saw The Powerpuff Girls today, the first time we've braved a multiplex since last December. (Once every six months is plenty.) Since it's one of the biggest flops of the summer—$25 million budget, $6 million gross after three weeks—we weren't at all surprised that there weren't many other people in the audience, though since we're man-haters it was gratifying that it was mostly little girls and no little boys. Though that may account for why the movie flopped: it's too girly for that all-important male demographic. (At least with Scooby-Doo they get to look at Sarah Michelle Gellar's tits, even if they're not entirely sure yet why they'd want to.) I liked it, though; it's the best 2002 movie I've seen. Of course, it's the only 2002 movie I've seen.

Anyway, even a sparsely attended matinee reminded me of why I don't like multiplexes. (Even though it was more a miniplex, with a mere six full-sized screens as compared to the double-digit tiny screens of a place like The Evil Sony Metreon.) By the time the fifteen minutes of commercials (commercials? commercials at a movie?) and previews were over, it had become abundantly clear that the framing was wrong and the bottom of the picture was cut off. I went and told an employee; a few minutes later they fixed it, except they guessed badly and cut off the top. It was then Maddy's turn to complain, since we figured they'd be less inclined to listen to me a second time. It got fixed again, a little better this time, with less cut off from the top than had been missing from the bottom. It's enough to make me hope the DVD is full-frame. I imagine this sort of thing must happen all the time, because employees are seldom properly trained nor are they paid enough to really care. And so it goes.

On a more positive movie front, we're going to see the 1968 Inoshiro Honda classic Destroy All Monsters! at The Red Vic tomorrow night with Embeth. (Videohound gives it three and a half bones!) Poetry Mission's also tomorrow night, but that's twice a month, and this is once in a lifetime. Well, once a year at the Red Vic. But still.

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Tuesday, 23 July 2002 (4-indolol, 3-[2-(dimethylamino)ethyl],phosphate ester:(psilocybin))
9:14am


I didn't get to bed until four, but I was up again at eight. (Although I'm amazed I got to sleep at all. I expected to see the sunrise.) Sometimes I hate that about myself. It can't be healthy. Then again, neither can my current obsession with weighing myself—I'm holding steady at 160. I wonder what I'll do when it inevitably creeps upward.

4:32pm

Why, yes, it is a myth.

4:36pm

Evidently going to Death Guild after getting zapped wasn't dangerous enough for me. I had to up the ante by wearing probably as little as I've ever worn out of the house—a full slip of Maddy's (which she bought to sleep in when she first visited those zillions of years ago, then never wore again) and wide fishnets. And buetz, of course. By my standards, that's not much of anything. I think I was daring the universe to call my bluff.

Never a good idea, because it always does and it always wins. Some pre-existing tensions erupted, and before the night was over Maddy and I were fighting. We found a relatively unoccupied corner of the club and tried our best to keep it to ourselves. (I'd daresay not all involved in drama in clubs are quite so considerate.) Thankfully I'd decided to drive rather than doing the reponsible thing and taking Muni, so when we finally overcame inertia and left the club the trip home was relatively quick. By the time we arrived it was pretty much over, though I suffered an aftershock later, an intense crying jag which I induced with the emotional equivalent of sticking a finger down my throat. (Ironically, I've never actually been able to induce vomiting that way, even when I've needed to.) It was a necessary catharsis to get out not only the negativity of the fight but all the bad things which had building up inside, the fears and disappointments and misinterpreted feelings and (some thoughts are too destructive to be spoken aloud) which the enzymes of my soul had been turning into inert matter. I don't know how well it worked, but at least my breathing eventually returned to normal and I was able to get to sleep.

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Monday, 22 July 2002 (5-methoxy-n, n-dimethyl)
6:07am


I'm getting zapped this morning, the first time in over a month. I can certainly use it, as the dark upper lip hair has returned with a vengeance. But doesn't it always?

In spite of how my face will look, I'm considering going to Death Guild tonight. I won't be at my best, but I won't be at my worst, either. It's not something I would have done in the past, and I think that may be the point.

8:22pm

Maddy drove us to Alameda this morning, but I needed to get something out of my car first. (Yeah, we both have cars. She tried to get rid of hers recently and it didn't quite work. Long story, that.) It's parked in front of the apartment, driver's side facing the street, and as I opened the door and leaned in the passenger side I heard a familiar bird call. More of a whistle, really. And not even from a bird. Something more of the mammalian persuasion. Downright wofish, in fact.

Indeed, it's a friggin' wolf whistle. I stepped back out and looked up to see a guy in a passing van staring at me. It took me a couple minutes to process what happened, but Maddy confirmed it: I got whistled at by a strange man. It was kinda flattering, I suppose, but also weird. Very weird. Among other things, I was dressed about as down as I get, in jeans, a shirt, jacket and sunglasses. And given the angle he couldn't have seen me from behind, which ain't much of a show anyway. (It was tough finding women's jeans which don't assume that I got more back than I do, and I wasn't entirely successful.) My hair was down, and maybe that helped. I hadn't shaved since Saturday morning, but that wouldn't have been noticeable from a distance.

I'm still not sure how I feel about it, and I'm sure those born with XX chromosomes are thinking to themselves, Welcome to the party. It did get me to thinking that I need to brush up on my self-defense skills. Or get some at all, as I have none. I'm going to be looking into Girl Army, an organization for which I was flyered at the Dyke March. It included two crucial words: "Trannies welcome." It's important that I not be mistaken for the enemy.

Meanwhile, we're going to Death Guild, bumpyface be damned.

sometime after midnight

Mistakes were made.

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Sunday, 21 July 2002 (2,5 dimethoxy-4-ethyl-amphetimine (doet/hecate))
7:32am


I hate that none of my friends are up at these ungodly hours. They tend to be pretty ungodly themselves, so you'd think...

7:43am

Sometimes the bad things can build up and the tension gets so thick you can cut it with a Ginsu, although a chainsaw might be more expedient. You can either stay at home and brood (if i don't say anything i won't say anything wrong), or go out and hope the brooding doesn't continue. We tried the latter and got lucky, thanks to Gamera 2: Advent of Legion playing at the Red Vic. (The Red Vic being just about the only theater I'd consider going to on a Saturday night, though multiplexes scare me just about any day of the week.)

Never underestimate what a good Japanese monster movie can do for the soul, the key word being good: this wasn't one of the sixties man-in-suit numbers your local UHF station ran on Sunday afternoons when you were growing up (though those certainly have their charms) but rather a 1996 production with...well, okay, a man in a suit, but a well-made suit, along with decent model work, tasteful use of CGI—it was clearly not an American movie—and even a bit of splatter, all in service of a coherent script with apocalyptic overtones. Most of what's called "escapism" these days leaves me cold, but this was perfect.

Meanwhile, Men in Black II has grossed over $130 million, though I'm not sure why I bring that up. Except maybe this: by all accounts it's a retread of the first film, made because the director Barry Sonnenfeld and his two stars are all in need of a hit movie. Sonnenfeld's last sequel, Addams Family Values, was a vast improvement over the not-too-shabby first film, with an original story taking the characters in new directions. It also happened to be funny as hell. (The less I say about Christina Ricci as Wednesday the better, because she was only twelve years old and therefore any comments I make would be immoral and wrong. But I know I wasn't the only one keeping my fingers crossed that she'd be in the next sequel.) And it was a huge flop, thus ensuring nobody would be making that mistake again.

Not that any of it matters.

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