1. You and your husband (my Dad) are still deeply in love after more than a couple decades of marriage…when I come home for dinner, or to raid the fridge or whatever I see him pat your butt and kiss you a lot. What’s the secret to such a successful marriage?
The secret to a successful marriage is that each day I want him to be happy and to love me, so I put him first. When you marry someone, or have children, you need to become a loving person who puts your spouse and kids first. I don't mean that you should ignore yourself because that would be ridiculous and you would lose yourself if you did that, and for me, it was automatic to put your Dad and you kids first because I just wanted you all to be very happy. I don't wake up thinking "what can I do to make Dino happy today?". I just do things that will make him happy. His happiness is very important to me and my happiness is important to him. I don't do big things at all. I keep the house neat, I always have a meal for him mid-day....even if I'm off doing fun things, I make sure I have left him a great meal. Some would say I spoil him, but if wanting to do for someone spoils them, so be it. I hug him a lot and will do stupid things like stand in front of him with my lips puckered and he'll laugh and give me a great hug and kiss. Or he will just come into the kitchen and dance with me for a minute or two. Just for fun! You really need to keep the love connection. Some people say you have to work at your marriage, but if you do loving, small things daily, it isn't work. We connect during the day with just little things that say "you're special to me". Up at the big house on Navarrone Way where we had those long halls, it was very funny when we would pass each other, and we would joke and say "sup". That always made us laugh and it's silly, but the fun and silly things are very important. You can get lost in daily work and just life very easily. Women have the power if they would only realize it as men just want to be loved, and they need to be told they are important and respected and needed and really appreciated. And women need to be told they are loved and appreciated also. A small example is... I'll go to a movie I really don't want to see just to make Dino happy, and he'll see some pretty silly movies with me just to please me. Sorry if I am too wordy on this subject, but everyday let your wife/husband/friend/lover know that you are there for them. You must give each other a big kiss every day and a great hug. That is such a simple thing to do and so very meaningful. If you have an argument, button your lips as you might say something that you will regret and that will really hurt your partner. Just think before you speak, and pick your issues. Let the small stuff just roll off your shoulders. Don't let something irritate you just because you think you could do it a better way. Maybe you could, but why make an argument about it. You have choices in your marriage, so make good ones. Compromise, compromise, compromise and you'll grow old together and love and appreciate each other more than you ever did when you first fell in love.
2. You really enjoy NCIS. I can’t stand this show, but you seem to love it…on the other hand we enjoy watching Law & Order together…What is it about NCIS that you don’t get from Law & Order? Is it the "hunk" factor?
No, it is not the "hunk" factor, but I do think Jethrow in NCIS is really handsome. I like Law & Order because of the reality and drama of the show, and I like the actors a lot. It also has the police investigations which can get very serious and true to real life, and it then shows the courtroom action which I like a lot. With NCIS, the characters really play off each other and sometimes it is just funny and clever how they do that, and I like getting to really know the characters, and I find myself chuckling a lot watching NCIS, but I never laugh when watching Law and Order as it is a very serious show I also love "solving the crime" with all the forensic scenes they show on NCIS, and it just fascinates me. I think if all this was around when I was a teenager, I might have gone into solving forensic crimes as a career. How interesting would that have been! Maybe that's why I always knew what you kids were up to....even though you didn't think I did!!!!
3. Walk me through your morning routine.
I wake up about 6:30 or 7 am, go downstairs immediately and fix myself a wonderful cup of coffee with hazelnut Coffeemate. I sometimes enjoy this with a banana. Then I take my coffee to the couch and watch the morning news for about 40 minutes. Dino is down by now and has taken off for his walk. While he is gone, I cut up 2 bowls of celery for him to nibble on (celery is great for high blood pressure which he doesn't have, but we are preventing it from happening), and I cut him up a wonderful grapefruit for him to enjoy with his daily bowl of cereal. See, I love doing these things for Dino, but some people think he should do all this himself. But it's the small things as I said in your question relating to a good marriage. If I don't want to walk yet because it is too cold out, I'll go ahead and start fixing whatever I'm going to serve for dinner. I love cooking in the morning and getting it all over with. After I'm done with that, I go upstairs and make the bed, brush my teeth and floss, and then head out for my morning walk which takes about 40 minutes. Then I shower and dress and usually come downstairs and get on my laptop and answer mail, read the newspaper, read your Blog and James' blog which are always fun to read and disappointing when nothing was written that day. It is usually noon by now so that's how it goes. I love my mornings as they aren't hurried and rushed at all.
4. What do you think of your son’s (me!) interest in poetry? Contrast your feelings about your son’s involvement with poetry to his involvement with skating or DJ’ing…
I am in awe of Johnny's interest in poetry. I am in awe of his brain and how it works and wish I could get inside his head to really understand how he writes such incredible poetry. I love that he followed his dream when he went to college and took "Creative Writing" as his major. That was definitely the right decision for him. I have been following Johnny's path in writing since he was in the 6th grade and just could not believe the stories he wrote in his English class. His teacher also thought he was a very good writer with a great imagination. I still think he should try writing a science fiction novel someday! It just makes me happy that he is really in the "poetry world" in the bay area and elsewhere. How do I compare his poetry dedication with his skating or DJ'ing? The main thing is that he loves all three things. Skating was started when he was a young boy, and he had a great group of friends to skate with including his brother James. He lived for skating every day, and I really enjoyed watching them all do their tricks except when he kept breaking all those fingers of his and then the horrible breaking of his arm, but I didn't want him to stop even after that as I don't believe you should just squish what you love, and he would have been miserable if I had ever taken his skates away. I really supported him in this sport even as dangerous as it was sometimes. He had such dedication to be the best and he has the same dedication with his writing. His DJ'ing started, as far as I know, with what I called "spinning" in the pool house. I can't remember when we bought him his "tables". It probably was in high school, but that was a great thing for him as he was always busy whether with his writing, skating or hanging in the pool house just spinning and enjoying himself so very much. There again, he has worked very hard to become a great DJ which is what he has done with his poetry and the skating. All three of these things have made him very happy, and me also! He has always had a passion for whatever he wanted to do, and I hope his passion for writing continues throughout the rest of his life.
5. What is your favorite Christmas movie? Why?
Oh, my gosh. I just love them all as I just can't get enough of the Christmas spirit. But if I had to pick my favorite, it would have to be "A Christmas Story". I like how it is narrated all the way through the movie, and it is just so very funny. I have great memories watching this movie with the whole family and listening to Dino and all of us laughing so very hard. It is sentimental and old fashioned and almost every scene has something funny in it.
6. How long does it take you to decorate the house during Christmas?
A long time for sure! First I call you and James home to get all those many, many plastic crates into the house. Then they are opened and spread out all over the pool table and elsewhere. The decorating then starts and usually takes me at least 2 days to get everything up, and that does not include the tree. As soon as the house is decorated, Deme and I head out to pick out a tree. It used to take us hours of driving to all the many lots to get that perfect tree, but the past two years, we have just walked into the lot at Home Depot and picked out a tree in less than 10 seconds....yup, 10 seconds this year! Dino then has to prepare the bottom of the tree by probably cutting off a few small branches and getting the tree into the Christmas stand. I'm always so excited by now as I know it will be in the house soon. Then the lights go on, the garland, all the many, many ornaments, the candy canes, the bows, all the pictures of you kids, and homemade ornaments from elementary school. It's a great day when the tree is done and the little Christmas scene houses are lit up and everything is red and gold and green. As far as I'm concerned, Christmas could be year round as it is the middle of February and I'm ready to start all over again. Ho, Ho, Ho!
7. A somewhat macabre question…I’ve often thought that if I was on death row I would request your dry rub BBQ’d ribs, pastistsio and a big Greek salad for my last meal…what’s the secret to such a successful meal? How do you mix your dry rub?
Oh, I am going to disappoint you as I use a bought dry rub (just ask and I'll get you some). I use a steak seasoning rub which has pepper, salt, garlic, paprika, and red pepper which is the hot spicy part. I always put some olive oil on the ribs so that the rub will stick, and I like to season them the day before or at least hours before and I season both sides. The secret is that it is Mom's cooking and nothing is better to us all. It is Mother's LOVE that makes it special, and nobody else in this world can duplicate that!
8. Do you think it’s strange that I still want you to cut my pancakes up for me on Saturday mornings?
Not at all as your brother wants me to cut his up also. We all love our childhood memories, and it is a wonderful feeling to relive them when we can, so don't think of yourself as silly or strange at all, and what a kick I get out of cutting up your pancakes also. Come home and I'll make you some!
9. Do you think it’s strange that I refuse to help you and Dad put the presents under the tree on Christmas Eve because I don’t want to ruin the surprise of seeing the presents for the first time on Christmas morning?
It's not strange to your Dad and me, or Deme and James who have helped the last 2 years, but someday it might be a problem to your wife, but maybe not if you explain yourself. You are just a little kid at heart when it comes to Christmas, and I have a lot to do with that as Christmas in our home is still just like it was when you were growing up. We love having you all home for Christmas and spending many nights with us, and if you want to be a kid on Christmas eve for the rest of your life, go for it. I always have said life is much sweeter when our "inner child" is awakened.
10. Name 3 best friends I’ve had throughout my life and name your favorite quality of each one…
Brenden Sullivan, Ramsey Lewis, and Jon Wright. Brenden was such a good friend during your elementary years. My favorite quality about him was his good heart when he gave you his stuffed monkey that was identical to the one you left on the airplane in Hawaii. When he found out you had lost yours, he came to our home and gave you his monkey. That was really being a good friend and it came from his true friendship to you. Ramsey was your big skating friend until he had his heart transplant. He was just a wonderful, sweet kid, and he liked talking to me and I to him. He was "good". John Wright I remember mostly in your high school and college years. He is a very likable person and I loved how you and he would talk and talk and argue and disagree and , but still remain calm and cool. He seems loyal so that is my favorite quality in him.
11. Your Thanksgiving dinners are epic...easily cooking for dozens and dozens of family and friends year after year (peaking in 1998 when you cooked for 45 people)…you’ve fed half the poets of San Francisco and half the skaters of Concord in my 29 years alone…your "to do" list is a work of art and mind bogglingly intricate…where do you get the energy to do all of this? Where do you store all of the food pre-dinner? With all this work do you actually enjoy Thanksgiving? Why have you done this year after year without fail? You’re a beautiful oddity and an amazing person? Explain.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful day for the family. The only way to do a big meal like that is to be organized and make lists and more lists. I make the dolmades and spanakopita way ahead and freeze them. I make my own October/November calendar and have something on most days even down to cleaning up, cleaning down, bathrooms, etc., defrosting stuff, Costco shopping, Safeway and Trader Joe shopping, make the blueberry cheesecake, etc. If I didn't have my calendar and lists, I would be lost and overwhelmed, but having something each day kind of simplifies it for me. The hardest day is the day before Thanksgiving as I do lots of cooking that day like making the stuffing and 6 pies, some appetizers, the yams, etc. I don't know where I get the energy for all this. It must be my excitement again for the holidays that keeps me going. I know everyone will have fun and the more the merrier. As far as storing all the food pre-dinner, you will have to come over a couple days before as the 25 pound turkey and the ham take up a lot of space, the cheesecake is enormous also, and things are just stacked and stacked and balanced, and I give orders to not get anything out without getting me to help. It is quite funny. When Pappou and Grandma were around, it was much easier as I had their refrigerator just down the road. Oh, yes, I also take Motrin for 3 days, drink Pepsi Maxx with extra caffeine, and if I didn't wear that black "home depot" belt, it wouldn't get done. Organization is the real secret though. I thoroughly enjoy our Thanksgiving with most of the family and some friends. I do this year after year because I want to. It's like it is my holiday gift to the whole family and we all feel such love on that day. I love the ringing of the dinner chimes, the Lord's prayer, my silly little speech welcoming everyone to another Thanksgiving feast, and I feel the love and gratitude from each and every one there. I will miss the day that I won't be able to do the Thanksgiving feast, but that is a long way off as far as I am concerned. Thank you for thinking I'm a beautiful oddity. That makes me smile and chuckle.
and they're playing a couple of upcoming SF shows (Hemlock 4/3, RVCA 3/5)...I'm still looking for those photos of me and Kati in tennis visors, polo shirts, JNKO pants; our faces adorned with sequined "stars" stickers...our pupils suspect to say the least, but yeah, let's go see Kati's new band...Black Bow reminds me of burning black candles with Roxy listening to COVEN until 4am on a Tuesday night, but actually it's nothing like that...
"This just came to my attention today, Valentine's Day, No Less. This post and your motives in posting something like this about me shows how desperate for attention you are. Wishful thinking on your part. Stop Obsessing! I never was interested, Never will be interested- Stop playing yourself. If you have any self worth you'll just remove this fraudulent shit and move on with your life and stop trying to report on something that's not true. I feel bad for you. Seriously, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. Times are tough for everyone right now but don't disrespect me for a few extra hits on your vacant blog! Sincerely, SANTINO"
TALKING POINTS IS WHAT I'VE BEEN DOING SINCE I STARTED THIS BLOG
1. Google Alerts has to be the most random and useless thing I've ever been tricked into signing up for. Seriously, can some one explain the logic? Why do I get alerts for things that were posted years/months/days ago. Sometimes I get alerts when I post a new post, sometimes I don't. What's the scoop?
2. I really want to see Neil Gaiman's Coraline. I hate going to the movies. The last movie I saw was Milk because Cat guilted me. And I was grateful I went, but still. The last movie I saw before that was The Chronicles Of Narnia The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe because my Mom wanted to go, I was happy to see it because it made her happy. The last movie I saw before that was The Return Of The King which I took myself to 3 times in a month, I was happy to see that because LOTR rules. So yes, I hate going to the movies (why do thug's hang out at movies? like, I never understood why there were so many thugs at Great America, straight up riding The Revolution trying to look like they're not phased, all "yeah I'm upside down on a giant revolving pirate ship but I'm hella hard, I'm at the amusment park to take care of business")...nothing worse than a fat, masticating thug texting in a movie theater...in my undergraduate Speech class we had to give a persuasive speech...my persuasive speech was all about movie theater etiquette...all about mastication, and cell phones, and thug barbarians, and the retardedness of sitting in a dark room with a group of strangers staring red-eyed at a movie screen...I'm hyper aware of the silliness of it all, to a fault, I can't enjoy the movie, I'm constantly looking around thinking "Jesus look at what that person is wearing..." "go ahead, EAT MORE POPCORN" "your candy bar wrapper is fucking annoying" "did you just say 'that looks good' again?" "can't you just hold it in...you have a pussy-ass bladder" "your laugh is horrifying, shut up, shut up, shut up..." etc...but Coraline looks really good, and it's getting great reviews. I wrote a poem called Coraline years ago, part of this unfinished pretentious book called Yellow (pre-Cold Play)...I think I bought Addonizio's Jimmy And Lucy and then got inspired to write a serial poem about heroin addicts on 6th Street, SF. Yheesh...
3. Last night I met up with Matthew at Lucky 13 for drinks. We then walked in the rain to Q Bar in the Castro where we proceeded to get pretentious. We were talking to this girl and we were being really pretentious. I think I used the non-word "parataxical" and then not to be outdone Matthew said "obstreperous" and then i said "supine" and then Matthew said "feckless" and then I said "truculence" and then we both laughed and said "garrulity" and then the girl said "I'm really good a math" and all was jolly.
4. Yesterday I had beef stew and pretzels for dinner, I had my mom's walnut cake for dessert. I watched The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning and felt sorry for Toby Hooper, or at least for Toby Hooper's legacy.
god i hate The Shins, do you hate The Shins? they really suck. Pandora loves The Shins. no matter the station, a goddamn The Shins song is bound to come on. they remind me of napping, or cemetery water or toothpaste, yah.
The Islands (Nightboat Books), "now, 1/3" and thepoem (BlazeVOX Books) Chinese Notebook (Ugly Duckling Presse)
Maribor (The Post-Apollo Press)
Rude Girl (BlazeVOX Books)
Rave On! (Lew Gallery)
Gary Gygax (Cy Gist Press)
Rude Girl (Duration Press)
The Moveable Ones (Transmission Press)
Benthos (Silas Press). Lives in Oakland. Works for Small Press Distribution.