Day 240: Vegas Picture Taking, Berkeley Dinner Parties

The last few days in SF have been lovely. The highlights have been a lunch with our friend Mari at Refugee Transitions, an organization she serves as a board member for. Mari had invited some of her coworkers, because, as she explained, lots of young professionals want to help out in some way in our fine world but simply don't know where to start. If you are one of them, check out their website. Then last night was the first of many SF holiday dinner parties a friend threw. At one point in the event, Amalia and I had a discussion about the fact that this was what what it was like to be a young professional. We quickly ammended this fact, though, when Amalia noted that we personaly actually do not know what young professionals' lives a la The Office are actually like, since my writing happens in strange countries and her writing happens on her couch.

Tonight, I'm at a dinner party at my parents, but just received a phone call from Paris, where Rory from the Paris videos is hosting 30 people in her apartment and yet still restless enough to call California for 45 minutes at 2 am. We talked about many things, including why some of the potential agents for her novel are calling her novel "dark" even though she didn't think it was, why her younger brother Joe might go to Deep Springs College, and why she thinks I look weird in the Vegas picture in which I have a green necklace on (she saw it on the blog). So here's the video, in which you can see us taking that picture.

At the dinner party, I was reminded once again of what it means to come home to Berkeley. I always forget what a fascinating place it is when I am away, and then upon return I love that it provides me the venue in which to dissect the intricacies of general psychoses on a regular basis. This is what my parents' friends in Berkeley talk about:

- The Freaks, a particularly strange family with a particularly strange living situation which "wouldn't work for anyone else (even in Berkeley), but works for them." The elder freak is soon to attend an Ivy, which an unrelated dinner party attendee who wears rags but is rich will be paying for.

- The imaginary friend, Trevor, of the stock broker in the apartment upstairs, who emailed my father after my father screamed at him in the middle of the night last month for keeping my father awake talking to Trevor about the dynamics on the Cal football team. My father regrets yelling at him, and every neighbor on either side heard the outburst, but all neighbors agree that it seems to have improved the situation.

- The wildly erratic moods of the new cashiers at our local "on credit" shopping market, and why one friend "just knew Star Market would have a better vibe as soon as the elections happened" and promptly walked in the morning after to find the place a veritable happy farm of positivity.

- Jesus Kamp, which is a new film, and not (as Claire thought), just a really funny and appropriate phrase that could be thrown around like "Boot Camp" as a way to discipline people, and why the film is interesting to discuss.

It's like a small town sometimes, in which everyone is slightly crazy and unusually informed (at least the blue New York Times bags every morning indicate they should be), buys organic everything, get psychiatrists for animals, and firmly believes in printing term papers on junk mail. It's a place where your rich next door neighbor is as likely to be showing cell phone pictures of her grandchild to the particularly urine soaked homeless person on the bus as anyone else. (This happened the other day, it appeared, naturally, that the two were friends.)

Here's a video of Claire's reporter dad, Lance Williams, planning and then executing a prank at the dinner party. If you are not laughing, just remember that these are the kinds of jokes people in Berkeley find funny.


Jonathan said...

a much more hilarious video.

best parts:

"it's funny to record people when they're setting up group photos" - claire

"my thighs are burning!" - ?

"let's take a shot" - amalia after seducing the camera

oh, and lara's self-exam

Jonathan said...

by "video" i meant the vegas video. when i first read this entry the other videos were not posted.

claire's dad is funny. does he really think that stephen hawking* used to crawl himself to parties? or did that really happen? it couldn't possibly have happened.

*the "theoretical astrophysicist", so you were both right, i guess.

Lana said...

the vegas video sooo funny. mali at the end is like, ridiculous. its like let me dance for the camera then request that we take a shot in my sexy voice hahaha. oh and i like how after claire got all whiney, i softly called her a whore. this was in jest of course, as i knew the girls wouldnt hear it but the camera would, and then we'd all laugh about it later, which i'm sure claire did. i didnt realize that'd it be on the blog but duh, i should have known. i love you girls so much.

oh and i said my thighs were burning only because lara and i had been crouched down for so long it was like a squat and tiring. ha.

claire your family is HILARIOUS. i mean your dad is just so freaking funny. that whole video thing and then the crawling was just ridiculous. i was laughing the entire time. it made me MISS YOU CLARITA!!!

Amalia said...

oh the shame. though my parents will never see this clip, i still feel like i owe them an apology.

and lance's prank is the most hilarious thing. from explanation to execution. lol (truly.) i especially like how he tries to ID stephen hawking with clues like, "he's someone who's in movies."

and i agree with lipps, i don't think hawking was ever crawling to dinner parties. i think the guy communicates by breathing on a stick, right? and i say that in the nicest, trying-to-be-factual way.

this feels like dangerous territory...

Barbara said...

With Claire's new video camera, I feel like our lives have become a reality show. At least she captures the funny parts and not the boring parts.

sarah mac said...

claire, your dad is hilarious. i really think you should film him doing more practical jokes.

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