Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Finally

I finally posted the travel journals I scribbled out when I was in Italy, along with the photos and a few links, in case you're planning to visit Italy or just want to check out some of the stuff we saw.

Look in April 2005 and May 2005.
I also uploaded some of the photos from my Beijing trip in May.

Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch

So my mother and I scuttered around Italy last Spring, and while I was there to tell her about the art, I counted on her to tell me about all the religious iconography, saints' stories, and relics. She was not much help, I'm afraid, but we did get to see quite a few wonderful things in that vein. Today, I stumbled upon this site, which outlines

Where you can venerate
some First Class Relics

I wish I'd had this list before I went. Be sure to consult it when planning your travel.

today

A few random things:
1.) I love Christmas Music. Right now, a few recommendations:
-Christmas With the Rat Pack. I know, it's a bit obvious.
-Esquivel: Merry Xmas From the Space-Age Bachelor Pad
-Klezmonauts: Oy to the World. I just got this a couple of weeks ago, and it is OMIGOD great.


2.) Pass Left, Move Right. Or, if that's too ambiguous for you "Keep Right Except to Pass." I think this "Slower Traffic Keep Right" crap we have in CA leaves too much judgement to be made by idiot drivers. No one wants to think of themselves as slower traffic. Well guess what? You ARE. Beep Beep!


3.) Chocolate for breakfast.


4.) I need ideas: We have about a week in Ireland. Where should we go? We will probably travel sans car.


5.) Paul has the entire week off of work, and I am totally jealous.

Wahoo! $0.00

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

onward

This morning I registered for the Spring semester. Continuation of Intro to Conversational Mandarin. Let's hope I can still stick with it even without Paul's being in the class with me. He was a great help to my actually going through the entire class this Winter.

We watched a Chinese movie last night, and I was able to pick up a few words. Nothing interesting, just little things. I'm not the best student, so it's something, at least. I really want to learn at least a slightly useful amount of Mandarin. I don't want to give up on this, the way I leave so many started and abaondoned projects.

Monday nights, Jan 23-May 15, I am booked.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Fancy

Wow, I sure did witness a lot of Fancy Driving on the way home from work today. I mean, I know it's raining and all, but, uhhh? Shouldn't *I* be the one with the problem, two wheels and all? Jeebus, drivers are lame.

I would like to personally meet one of these people who pulls into intersections that they know they can't get through, so that when the light changes, no one can move. Some people just need hitting. Well, I can just pick through them, but then you encounter the guy on the other side coming full speed down the wrong side of the road because he assumes that traffic is blocked on that side. (Hello head on collision with a motorcycle) I don't even comprehend where this guy thought he was going. It's fucking raining people, that means you ought to drive BETTER, not WORSE.

Air bags and side impact studies are a terrible thing for darwinism.

My brake light doesn't work today. Who cares, since no one can see me anyway?


I just gave myself an early Christmas present, by setting up my long-ignored IRA to maximize itself automatically from my checking account weekly. Woot.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

clowns and chap-wearers

We went to see Corteo last night, which I believe brings the number of Cirque du Soleil shows I've seen up to 5.
It was not my favorite. I'd suggest to anyone thinking of finally going to see Cirque du Soleil for the first time, to wait for the next one.

This weekend, we spent Saturday baking cookies at my parents' house. It was fairly successful.

Sunday around 1 or 2pm, Paul and I finally dragged ourselves outside to go "downtown" (this is san JOse we're talking about) for the International Motorcycle Show, which was mostly lame. I knew it was lame as soon as we got to the free motorcycle parking lot and saw a grand total of about 18 bikes. Oh, wa-ahhh, it's RAINING. Even the worst rainstorms didn't keep the motorcycles from coming en masse to the shows a few years ago in San Mateo. Next year, let's just call it the cager-who-wishes-he-rode show.

Inside was pretty limited. Most of the small manufacturers that used to come show their gear are no longer represented. What used to be a good opportunity to check out gear and groups you'd never otherwise find, has now just devolved into a place for all the bike manufacturers to show their new line-ups. But, I can see those for free in the dealerships? It WAS cool to see the new Beemer and the entire husky supermoto lineup (drool) and of course, again, the Aprilia twin-moto. But, yeah. The few vendors were mostly catering to the harley-hosen crowd, with cheap leather and a vast array of polishing products and billet bullshit. I don't know why people love their fringe and chaps so goddam much. Nevermind, since none of those idiots RODE their MOTORCYCLES to the MOTORCYCLE SHOW. Next year's show can just be called the Cagers in Fringe and Chaps Polishing Their Chrome Show. Have fun, guys. Live the dream. Drive your fucking cars, and talk about bike parts you can't afford, nor will you ever use.

I'll be on another all-night ride around California or some crazy shit.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Lookit me, I'm tough on crime!

So today I called in sick for the second day in a row. they were like “are you on vacation?” Sadly, no, but thanks for discouraging my staying home and keeping me germs away from you.

Being that it’s just before Christmas, I wish I weren’t sick, so I could call in and use my time off for important Christmas things like figuring out what to give the people in my life. What is exactly the right thing to tell you how important you are to me, how well I know you and your quirks and dreams, that I thought of you all year? Shit, I don’t know, in many cases, but the meaning is still there? I thought I would make all the gifts this year, but in the end, didn’t find the time to do that at all. I’m lame. I’ve felt fairly frantic, hardly any down time to just be at home, take care of the things that need to be done.

The Chinese class has been a challenge, and I’m not sure I rose very well to the challenge. I could have been a better student. It’s fucking hard. Tonight it will be over. I’m still not sure what to enroll in for next semester. Conversational Chinese B? Chinese (written and all) A? Something entirely different? I scoped out classes about Islam and American Government, and some ballroom dancing class.

But I think I ought to stick with the Chinese. I don’t want another thing I started but didn’t follow through. I would like to get a strong basic grasp on some of this. But I can’t decide if that needs to include characters or not. That seems like all too much sometimes. Anyone have any suggestions?

I think whatever class I take will be alone. Paul was a great help in getting through the semester, but I don’t think he can fit it in next semester. Besides, there are other things that make more sense for him to take, for his career and all that.



What’s in the news? We put another man to death this week. I can’t say anything new about this that you haven’t already heard before. I’ll just say I don’t believe in the death penalty. It’s barbaric and pointless, and REALLY. FUCKING. EXPENSIVE. I’m a pragmatist at least. If you want to argue about the morality (which is difficult, since I don’t think arguments can change people’s morals) fine, but one thing we do know, is it costs a LOT more to do the death penalty than imprison someone for life. I don’t think Tookie Williams was innocent, and I wince to read that the witnesses to the execution shouted that when they left the execution. I don’t even know that he was “reformed” especially. It’s all media and conjecture. He belonged in prison. But I don’t need the blood on my hands, and the state could sure use the money we’d save by just housing the guy.

But.
But.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT “CULTURE OF LIFE” that I heard so much about last year? The entire fucking government gets involved in keeping a vegetable propped up on a feeding tube, and those same people are glad to kill someone else? I do not understand it. Fuck you. Jesus was VERY clear about the death penalty. There are a lot of things that are open to interpretation in the bible, but where is the interpretation in “he who is without sin may cast the first stone?” Where is the interpretation in a story about Jesus coming forth to spare a woman who is about to be stoned to death? There’s no mention of whether she’s reformed or not, that’s not the point. The point is for each of us, not dependent on the criminal, to look into our own hearts and lives, and become more human by treating others with compassion and forgiveness.

Well, anyway, it’s upsetting, but didn’t exactly surprise me. Politicians like to pretend to be tough on crime. I’m curious how killing a man who’s already locked up actually cuts down on crime.

Also in the news this week: a report that SFPD has a really shitty record for dealing with homicide. The homicide rate is up this year. (which may have to do with another story about how the poor are getting left WAY behind in San Francisco, or possibly the story about the appalling conditions in public housing in SF) Meanwhile, SFPD has only made arrests in 20% of homicides. Great job, guys! Now I know SFPD has a lot to do. It’s big ugly city, but we need to get more done here. 20% leaves pretty good odds. It’s better than going to vegas!

The flak about the videos, well, the only thing I find REALLY offensive is the fact that these cops are morons. The FIRST rule of doing stuff you’re not supposed to do, is DON’T TAKE PICTURES. I can’t tell you how many times this has gotten people caught. It’s idiotic to document something that is going to bite you in the ass later. Sorry, but I’ve known that since high school. The videos were borderline offensive (at least what I saw) but what really bothers me is how dumb you are. You’re dumb, and you haven’t arrested any murderers. Please try again.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Not moving after all

which, I guess, is good. Historically, I've never liked change, so I don't know why I was so gung ho about moving. I have a pretty great apartment. I shouldn't be so quick to give it up.

That's right, look on the bright side.

Sunday we went to James and Tara's house in the Santa Cruz mountains for Tara's birthday. They have a very cute house (and BARN) and are super sweet people. Saturday we got a little Christmas shopping done, and I worked at New Wave City at the DNA Lounge at night. Friday, we ran into Daniel at Lanesplitter and went to see some EBR people and actually a bunch of my friends too. Seeing Daniel's house after two years of work really makes me wonder what people are getting into when they buy real estate around here.

Earlier this week, I picked the DRZ up from Paul's house, where it had been sitting for several months. I missed my good bike! We need to go dirt riding, but who has time? Plus I think there's something wrong with the XR again? Something about a seized bolt or something. Anyway, who has time? We have a Chinese final, and our Chinese is bu hao. Tai4 bu4 hao3.
Indeed.

Friday, December 09, 2005

ooh! Lookit me! I'm bored too!

FOUR JOBS YOU'VE HAD IN YOUR LIFE
1. Puke cleaner-upper (I think they called it “Floor Staff?”)
2. Wardrobe Designer
3. Door Girl/Cashier. I don’t care who you know.
4. Assistant Technical Designer (assistant to what exactly, I don’t know)

FOUR MOVIES YOU COULD WATCH OVER AND OVER
1. Freeway
2. Dead Alive
3. Queen Margot
4. The Piano

FOUR CITIES YOU'VE LIVED IN:
1. Fountain Valley, CA
2. San Jose, CA
3. San Francisco, TX
4. um, that’s it.

FOUR TV SHOWS YOU LOVE TO WATCH
1. Simpsons
2. I enjoy Gilmore Girls, I wouldn’t say I love it. But I’ll watch it if it’s on.
3. Shit. Um, Twin Peaks? (I know, but I don’t really watch TV that much)
4. I used to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Xena, when they were on.


FOUR PLACES YOU'VE BEEN ON VACATION:
1. Italy
2. Austin, TX
3. Seattle, WA
4. Wales

FOUR WEBSITES YOU VISIT DAILY:
1. craigslist (I’m looking for an apartment)
2. boingboing (I like stuff)
3. tribe (otherwise how will I know what’s better: Harleys or sportbikes?)
4. sfgate (And various other news sites)

FOUR OF YOUR FAVORITE FOODS:
1. Cupcakes
2. Hummus (middle eastern is my very favorite cuisine)
3. Pizza
4. cheese

FOUR SCHOOLS YOU'VE ATTENDED
1. Academy of Art College
2. Joy of Dance
3. St. Simon and Jude
4. Bellarmine College Preparatory


FOUR PLACES I'D RATHER BE RIGHT NOW:
1. Volterra
2. At Paul’s house petting the cats and drinking beer
3. on Tunitas Creek Road, on my DRZ
4. my grandma’s house

Thursday, December 08, 2005

bu hao

The Chinese is not going great.
Last, week, Paul and I skipped class (our only missed class of the semester) because it was raining and winding too hard, and we were lazy.

This week, there’s no class because the teacher is playing hookie.
Week before last was Thanksgiving holiday.
So, we’re a few weeks without our dear Du Laoshi to tell us zombie stories and insist that she doesn’t eat dog. Or was it that she hadn’t eaten dog yet? I’m not sure. I’ll need another semester to be sure.

We’re supposed to have a conversation about food, drinks, weather and time-based stuff for 6 minutes. Time based stuff is basically, days of the week and things like “last week,” “day after tomorrow,” etc.

We wrote a script and it’s the most retarded conversation you can imagine. It’s pretty funny to imagine that there’s a whole half the world just standing around having the following conversation:

1: You good!
2: Do you live in San Francisco?
1: I do not. I live in Berkeley.
2: Does it rain much in Berkeley.
1: It doesn’t rain much. Do you like cake?
2: I do not like cake. I want one glass of beer.
1: I also want one glass of beer. I study Chinese.
2: What day do you study Chinese?
1: Is you mother fat?
2: My mother is very fat. Is your dad rich?
1: He’s not rich. Please have a cup of coffee.

I mean, from the vocabulary and grammar I have, that’s about as coherent as my conversation can get. Feels a little ridiculous, but then again, what is your Chinese vocabulary? I only know a few things in Cantonese, and none of that is formal or sentence-like.

Anyway, we are somewhat determined, but only inasmuch as it doesn’t interfere with my beer drinking. I don’t know whether we’ll continue next semester. I kind of want to, but it’s also possible that we ought to start from the beginning with a real Chinese class (characters and grammar, not just conversational) but actually, that just sounds even worse.

I wish I wish I wish I had been raised bilingual from a young age. This is totally my parents’ fault.

where you been?

oooh! fun widgets!


create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

I may be forgetting something here.







create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands


I like how going to Beijing just filled in a whole bunch of planet at once.
I've got a lot of places to go.
Next year, Isle of Man, the year after that... Turkey? Germany? China for real? Japan? I don't know, but I'd better get busy.

For Chuckles

My favorite jew biker.
I guess?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

If I promise to miss you, will you go away? I hear Kansas is cheap.

The house search has been going… well, not at all, really.
There’s a little something wrong with everything I guess. Basically, we don’t make enough money to even rent in the area. I guess. Or there’s too much pickiness.

Things we need and want, in no particular order:
- Garage (need) (garage must be private garage where we can work on bikes and stuff, not shared garage or carport crap.)
-Cat accepted (need)
-Yard (Paul) or deck or patio or something
-In San Francisco (Rebecca- VERY VERY much prefer)
-Near the freeway (both want)
-Not ghetto (i.e. I can walk to the store by myself at night) (Rebecca need)
-Not in the middle of nowhere (i.e. not Alameda) (Rebecca want)
-West of the Bay to be close to the SC hills (Rebecca want)
-East of the Bay to be close to work (Paul want)
-If it’s in East Bay, would like near BART for occasional commutes (Rebecca want)
-“East Bay” does not include places like “Concord,” “Martinez,” Pleasanton,” etc. Those are NOT the fucking East Bay. (both agreed)
-Dishwasher (Paul want)
-Laundry (Paul, mostly, but it would be nice for me too. I have an unnatural hatred of laundromats, but am resigned to them all the same)

Here’s my ideal: A beautiful craftsman-style home with attached two-car garage in Potrero Hill (North Slope), with yard and cat-friendly. Alternatively, would also like a SoMA split-level loft with attached garage and deck-garden in the back. See, I’m flexible?

So, now we’re looking at Albany, which, as I’ve learned, is a micro-city just north of Berkeley. It’s close to where Paul lives currently.

I keep thinking that I can compromise, and live in the East Bay. OK, I can do this. But every time I go to Paul’s house after work (worse now that it’s dark during the commute, although I can’t figure out WHY) I get stuck in that horrible East Bay traffic I’ve always hated. What is it about the East Bay? There’s nothing there, so why is the traffic so bad? Splitting lanes on the bridge is usually OK, I mean, whatever, but every fucking day? It’s gonna get old real fast. I’m a very impatient person. And I keep thinking, if I’m doing this every day, it’s just a matter of time before one of these mindless shits hits me in the quest to get three feet ahead in the next lane over. (Listen, you dumb single-occupant car fuck, if you want to get there faster, LOSE THE GODDAM CAGE) So, yeah, just a matter of time, right? And the rain. Yes, I have split the bridge in the rain. I hate it. God, and when it’s windy? Oh, that fucking sucks. Really. Sucks. Gusts can get up to like 50mph and in a downpour, when you’re forced to ride at like 20mph by the cages (pass left, drive right is a lost concept on the bridge no matter what the weather is) it can be nearly impossible to control your bike. Let alone lanesplit. Not really much of an option in those conditions. So the nice weather days would suck, and the shit weather days would be fucking horrible.

Ugh.
Thinking about it fills me with yuck.

But there has to be some sort of compromise. There are benefits too for consolidating our lives. More time, less frantic. Sharing a place means we could each get more stuff done in our lives while still seeing each other. I would be living with both of my bikes. We’ll cook more and eat out less, probably. Simplify. Make room and time for the things we’re both neglecting.

But the housing market is ridiculous. So, it’s still a no-go.

Next installment: perhaps a discussion of my theory on “polyamory” is so popular in San Francisco. In short: it’s the only way to afford the housing. Two incomes NOT ENOUGH!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Vegas, except this time it was actually FUN

So, I've been neglecting this blog terribly. Why?
I still haven't written up the Vegas trip. OK, well, before I forget completely, here goes:

Flew in Saturday around noon or so and went for lunch in the Venetian. Some Mexican joint on the canal. It was OK, and it was nice to sit and observe the people who paid for gondola rides. Some of the gondoliers were good singers, some sucked. We watched a couple get married on a gondola, which was mostly funny because the groom was smacking on gum the entire time.

After lunch, we grabbed some Guinness at the store since all the bars were serving crap like Budweiser and Coors, and proceeded to our hotel, The Imperial Palace.
This place is cool because you get to stay right in the middle of the strip without paying the $300+ per night, or more, that the other central strip hotels cost. How much time do you really spend in your room anyway? How MANY flat screen TV's do you REALLY need in your room? (Wynn) Do you actually need a sunken living room? (Venetian) Are you planning to invite fifty people to a party in your gigantic bathroom? (Bellagio)

The Imperial Palace is no worse than a Days Inn or something, once you get to the elevators. (you have to walk through a loud smokey casino, surprise, surprise) And it cost $168 for two nights on a weekend, while being right in the middle of everything.

GOOD things about the Imperial Palace?


1.) The hotel is old enough that the windows actually OPEN, and even onto balconies (new hotels aren't allowed, you're just sealed in) Paul took advantage of this by making paper airplanes of the magazines, and flying Siegfried and Roy around in the courtyard.








2.) The Imperial Palace is home to a pit of DEALERTAINERS. I don't gamble, so I don't know or care whether this was a good place to gamble or whatever, but I got some wonderful free Vegas Bullshit. The dealers in this pit are all celebrity "impersonators." I use that term loosely because they were terrible, and half the time you couldn't tell who they were supposed to be until they got up (which they did every few minutes) and started belting out a song by their victim celebrity. I mean, so what if your a short black dude? You can still be a Brittany Spears impersonator if you want, apparently.
It was really cool.

After getting my drink on in the hotel, we started out to wander the strip and make our way to the Orleans. Snaked a ride on the free shuttle and found ourselves off the strip. The Orleans has an "Irish Pub" (everything in Vegas deserves airquotes, since everything is so fucking surreal and fake) so we settled in for Guinness and pizza while we waited. It took forever, but we got good and drunk, thankfully, because all the arena had for us was Budweiser again.

And then, SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY, we were there!


OK, really, it was Saturday Saturday Saturday, but it doesn't sound the same.
Endurocross.
Was.
The.
Coolest.
Race.
EVER.

I bought tickets for the whole seat, but I only needed the edge. Well, and the cup holder.
The track was INSANE. Sitting there waiting for the lights to go down, I'm like, uhhh, this CANNOT work.

OH, but it did. Top riders from many different places, many different types of races (supercross riders, motocross riders, trials riders, etc) competed on a track they had been given no practice time on, a track that had GIANT logs, woops, a water crossing, a rock section, a monster truck tire "jump," horizontal tires, parallel logs, and, um, rubber duckies.

Well, I know, and I asked folks if they wanted to go, they didn't show interest. You all missed the fuck out. This was SO GODDAM FUN.

It seemed like every rider crashed in every single lap. A race like this is cool because you never know what is going to happen. The front guy will become the back guy, and then back to front again and then crash three feet from finish. So much fun to watch.

There was regular occurrence of multi-bike pile-ups in the giant log section which was right in front of us. Here, even without wrecking into other riders, most guys would lose their shit and have to get off the bike (if they hadn't already ended up off) and coax their machines over the "logs" while standing next to them feathering the clutch. Sometimes they would get hit from behind while doing this.

The winner was from Isle of Man, and appeared to have quite nice teeth for a Manx-man.

I took about a million pictures, and even some crap video, which is cool to see how the track really ran. I got my drink on and yelled. It was a great time.

We snuck onto the shuttle again and enjoyed some really wonderful drunk farm boy entertainment. Again, FREE. Fuck you, vegas, I don't need to drop $$$$ to have laughs and smiles.

Endurocross was THE BEST RACE I HAVE EVER SEEN.



More farting around on the strip. I think this is Saturday, standing at the Bellagio, looking over the water towards Paris.

I'm old and turned into a pumpkin before 2:00 sometime. I don't know. I drink.







Sunday we had to ourselves. We attempted Bellagio buffet, but ended up at the cafe instead. Which was nice. Mimosas were WAY expensive there.
Sunday we decided to wander the strip, going toward Mandalay Bay. I had a place I wanted to show off there (I travel to Vegas occasionally for work, and am getting to know a few "spots" worth seeing)
Worth mentioning:
Drinking in Vegas is over-rated. Unless you're a gambler, you have to buy your drinks. (and if you're putting money in the slots, you're just paying a different way) And the drinks SUCK. Overwhelmingly, they are watered down and way way overpriced. Next time I go for fun, I'm bringing a flask and a bottle of rum or vodka. And possibly picking up a bunch of Guinness on the way in to stash in my hotel and carry around. Because when the mixed drink situation sucks, the beer is a real problem. Budweiser and Coors all around. Something called "Miller?" I don't know, none of it looked beer-like to me. That said, there is a store near the Imperial Palace (where the sidewalk turns in to a cul-de-sack) that sells cans of Guinness. Also, there is a brewpub in the Monte Carlo, a hotel otherwise not notable, except for the INCREDIBLE people watching. We had to sit on the bench and consume our beers so we could get another to go, knowing it would be a long time before we saw dark-brown beer again, and in that time caught some of the most amazing sights of the whole trip.



At New York, we paused to take pictures in front of some meat (I love the fake shit in Vegas. Whose idea was it to put in a fake display of meat?) A few years back, I waited for my friends to get ripped off and ride that roller coaster. I remember it being overpriced and too long a wait. Vegas is lame like that. There is a lot of spectacle to be had for free. So save your money for drinking.
I believe there is also a pub in New York, which I can only assume would have decent beer as well (you gotta map these things out as you plan your day, or risk sobriety)


Finally, we reached my goal: Mandalay Bay, which I'd hoped would have a tiki bar (I wasn't able to find one) But the real thing I wanted to take Paul to was upstairs at MIX. It's a little hard to find from the ground floor, but if you are standing facing the House of Blues (notice the various acts on the marquee in the picture) and turn around to about your 7:00, it is that way. You'll walk into a high-ceilinged room with a back wall of black, with a hostess at a little stand. You'll breeze past her without pause, so she doesn't try to weed out who you are and if you are cool enough, and duck into a small room on the left in the corner, where you'll catch the outside glass elevator (a great view in and of itself) to the top floor. Get here EARLY, and snag a bed/table outside on the patio to watch the lights come up as the sun goes down. Drinks are EXPENSIVE, but there's actually liquor in them so it really isn't worse than what you threw your money away on down in the casinos. Try it Sunday-Wednesday night for the most quiet and least chance of being bumped in favor of some hipster trash who are willing to pay some bottle charge. This is a great spot. Really.

After winding down up at MIX (dinner at the adjoining restaurant is overpriced, in my opinion. I think it was like $30 for nine gnocchi! Thankfully, that was another trip, on the company tab.) we headed down to check out the rest of the Mandalay Bay. I like the restaurant interiors down here. We poked our heads into the various restaurants. Check out Aureole (very cool to see when they are actually getting wine out of the vault) and Red Square, and definitely talk a walk-through of Rum Jungle. Don't miss the bathrooms, but be prepared to tell the bathroom attendants you're just lost. (am I the only one who hates bathroom attendants?) Shanghai Lily is pretty but it was closed, and you can just peek into Fleur de Lys to see the wall treatments with the hostess asking you what you want.

...a nd we hiked back, eventually finding our way to the aquarium at Ceasar's. All the way at the end of the mall. The fish are really neat to watch, and, yes, it's been pointed out to me that those fish don't all belong in the same water, so some or all of them are probably not that happy. The puffer fish was definitely giving off moody airs. The stingray just smiled.







Sunday we had a few hours to kill before leaving. We missed breakfast hour at the Venetian. If you can make it, the Grande Luxe Cafe there has a really good plate of chilaquiles. We did not make it (late by about 4 minutes), so we went for the buffet, which was a total disaster. Don't do it! By the way, on my previous trip, I discovered that the Wynn has a REALLY good buffet. So if you're looking for a good one, that one has little cupcakes and gelato and cheese and all kinds of crap. Cheap, no, but good, yes.

Puttered around the Venetian canal shops, gelato in the "St. Mark's Square" did not live up to my tainted expectations (I've been to St. Marks, and I've had the "best gelato in the world" in San Giminiano) Some opera singers belted out the Fifth Element song (They didn't hold a candle to Marisa.) , which surprised the hell out of me, as I thought they were going for the traditionals, and some other songs. I resisted the temptation to toss gelato on the wedding gondola below, and we left without an escort by security.





Last stop (I think?) was a bar called, I think, Kahunaville? It's probably a chain or something. It smelled a bit like fermenting juice, but they had drinks with big puffy things in them (not quite umbrellas, but there were still eye injuries to be had) and a bartendress who twirled and threw the bottles while she made drinks. She did all of this, behind her back, over her head, into the shakers, into my glass, without really much of a smile. I got a little buzz, and we watched her drop a few bottles before moving on.

Somewhere else, we found a cab and headed to the airport. And home. Where the beer is dark, and the drinks have liquor, and it doesn't cost a million dollars to just enjoy things.
Vegas is kind of lame. It just costs too much. But there is plenty to do even if your a relative cheapskate like me.





Friday, December 02, 2005

What if you ran away and nobody missed you?

It’s sort of a joke, you know, a kid runs away from home, makes it about 2 hours before running back out from wherever he was hiding, the parents didn’t even notice he was gone. What a slap in the face.

Last week, one of my exes apologized for avoiding me. He was sorry he had been avoiding me for the past year, he said, and explained it was because of the “catfighting and snubbing” between (his girlfriend) and myself, so he had to avoid me out of respect for her feelings.
1.) I didn’t notice he was avoiding me.
2.) I didn’t know I was catfighting and snubbing his girlfriend.

I guess I just figured there wasn’t a lot to say, and it didn’t seem weird to me at all that we hadn’t exchanged emails in several months. He was never a particularly engaging person anyway. A very nice person, very cordial, pleasant, funny, etc. But, I mean, I didn’t miss him when we split, and our occasional emails in between have not seemed strained or insufficient in quantity. OK, maybe I’m clueless.

As for the catfighting! This is rich. I’ve known this girl for years, and she’s good friends with many of my good friends. I’ve always been pleasant to her, but don’t think we have a lot in common. What I’ve said about her in the past is that I think she means well, but gets way over-involved in other people’s business. Which, I’ve said on several occasions, I thought was really just because she was a caring person and probably just wanted to be helpful. In my opinion, it just creates drama, but I saw that it was coming from pure intentions. My answer? Nice girl, keep her at arm’s length. Like, “hey, how ya doing? Love your new haircut, it looks great.” Hell, I got her hooked up with a guy she dug (not my ex), from my understanding they went out for a while? Maybe that’s why she doesn’t like me, cuz in my opinion, he wasn’t much of a winner. Other times, I just politely described her as “very social.” I’m a pretty private person, so that’s just a personality difference. Not necessarily a bad thing, but maybe not so compatible.

Bottom line: I don’t like meddling, I don’t like drama, I like my private life. Youse a nice girl, but we have different values, social and drama-wise.

Anyway, as I said, I’ve known her for years on pleasant terms, and my interactions with her haven’t changed at all since. So I don’t really know where the catfighting came from, except that we’re all human, and I know girls don’t really like their boyfriend’s exes. So sue me. I don’t want him back. I know, that doesn’t really help. I’m a girl, remember. Anyway, since this is all a surprise to me, the “catfighting and snubbing” thing just confirms what I’d already suspected: this girl is over-sensitive and likes to start things where there aren’t any. Get a hobby!

So for some reason, I keep thinking about this. I don’t know why. I really stay out of social scenes and drama, so maybe that’s why it’s bothering me? Part of me thinks I ought to talk with her about it next time I see her, but part of me is like “see? I was right! You ARE a drama queen. Good riddance!”

Maybe it’s bugging me because yesterday someone mentioned to me that they broke up, and I didn’t see what it had to do with the conversation. I thought it was just a random thought, but this morning I thought maybe it was because I have some rep for the "catfighting" I’ve supposedly been doing this past year. Ugh. Girls like this trouble me even when I make a plan to keep them politely at arm’s length. You cannot win sometimes.

And people wonder why I never go out anymore?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Oops

Uh, yeah, I’ve totally neglected this blog this week.

Last weekend was nice, Sunday my folks and my sister came up to Berkeley to hang out with Paul and I. We went to breakfast at Venus, where we will never go again, because we waited an hour and a half to get seated even though they told us 30-40 minutes. They have really tasty baked goods though. Maybe we can order take-out muffins?

Then we puttered around 4th Street, and headed over to Scharffen Berger for the free factory tour. It was really fun. I learned about chocolate, really. And they let us taste everything, so of course by the time we actually got out of the gift shop, it wasn’t really free any more. The Venezuelen chocolate is really good!

This week, I don’t know, nothing interesting. Did laundry and blew off my Mandarin homework. I guess we’ve sort of hit a wall in our Mandarin studies, but after a brutal class last night, I hope we are re-focused, and can recover for the final. Still don’t know about next semester, but I’d like to keep pursuing it.

And tonight, going to fix the DRZ (the coolant reservoir shattered somehow) and eat Tasty Indian Food.



Tomorrow morning, we’re off to Vegas! I guess I’ll find out once and for all if I actually enjoy Vegas for vacation. I mean, work trips don’t really count, right? Paul and I going to the Endurocross, which I swear is going to be the coolest thing ever. Invited my friends along, but it’s a bust. Whatever. We’re staying at some kitschy hotel on the strip and planning to spend the entire time drunk, I guess. Any suggestions?

And then, Thanksgiving. And then, Christmas! Oh boy!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Blog Spammers

So I get a lot of visitors to my blog that are just trying to spam. How can I tell? I know. I know that people in remote parts of the "-istans" are not checking in to see how I'm doing. I can tell because I know your entrance page, Mr. Small Village in MALDIVES That I've Never Heard Of, that you are hopping through blogger trying to put your spam in the comments section of anything you can.

WHY?????
WHY do you degenerates have to ruin everything? You can't possibly think you're going to get any business for your Make-Money-At-Home-Stuffing-Viagra schemes from people reading my blog?

So why the fuck do you have to ruin everything?
In case anyone is wondering, this is why you can't just post a comment to my blog without doing that letter recognition thing. It's annoying, but it's because of these fuckers who feel the need to screw up even the simplest thing with their bullshit spam. Spam. In. Personal. Journals. How fucked up is that?

What I said about guns

In response to the following posting on tribe, regarding Prop H in San Francisco:
"There are lots of statistics to show that most criminals get their guns from lawful citizens' homes, etc. And I personally know of too many cases where kids get their hands on their parents guns and either kill themselves or others. Did we not learn anything from Colombine or the many other horror stories of domestic violence in this country?!"

My thoughts:

There are many material objects which can cause death, accidental or purposeful
Like, very obviously, cars. (also prescription drugs, cleaning supplies, power tools, hell, even a bathtub.)

As a left wing liberal wingnut, I like protecting my rights and freedoms, including my right to have guns. I don't have guns, mind you, but I don't like losing that right.

I also think it makes no sense, in an effort to fight crime. Only criminals use guns in crimes. So, am I to believe, that those people are going to turn their guns in? That seems ridiculous to me. The only people who will turn their guns in are law-abiding citizens. Those people are being punished for the activity of criminals?

I don't think guns are used very frequently in self defense, but the possibility that they might is a small deterrant to criminals as well. But that will be gone. So how exactly does this help us?

I keep thinking of the Simpsons episode, where well-meaning Lisa convinced everybody to get rid of their guns, and then the town was invaded by gun-toting outlaws (granted, in this case they are zombies).

The accidental deaths of kids finding their parents' guns? What's the actual number? How does it compare to kids who are left in cars, backed over by SUVs, swallow their parents "candy" pills, or drown in the bathtub? And shouldn't their parents be keeping them away from harmful things like guns, bleach in the house, and prescriptions that look like candy?
You want the government to legislate your safety within your family? Really?

Columbine? It was illegal for those kids to have guns already. Prop H makes it illegal for them to have guns. What changes?
All I have to do is go to Daly City to get my gun now. Any high schooler worth their salt can get to Daly City on BART.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Screw you, weather forecast!

You LIED to me!

I mean, oh, good, now I can test the re-waterproofing I did this weekend. Even though I didn't get around to re-patching the (SV650 caused) hole in the jacket.

Thunder. Rain.
Dumbass cagers. Woo!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Your Rights Require Participation

Today is the day to VOTE.
I voted before work.
It's rare that something so important is so quick and easy
DO IT!
There are some really important issues on the ballot this time:

First issues, most important, is that most of this shit shouldn't even be up for consideration. Arnie put a very expensive election in the work because he wants more power, and he wasn't getting his way. SEND HIM A MESSAGE by voting NO.

"Protecting" teens? Yeah, right! Some teens have fabulous families they can turn to. Others do not. It's fucked up that there's an attack on health rights of a group that can't even vote to defend itself. Prop 73 very very bad. Also this keeps a scorecard of the judges that allow exceptions, which means that the right-wing anti-choice people will be judging these judges based on stats instead of actual cases. WTF?!?!?

Gun ban in SF? Oh, good, so it will finally be illegal to murder someone with a gun. Finally! Um, OK. Making it illegal to own a gun is stupid. Only criminals use guns to shoot people. They are already breaking the law. So what, this is going to make them turn their weapons in? BULLSHIT! Feelgood hippy law that doesn't protect anyone, it just makes us more vulnerable, and chips away at rights, and a fun hobby. There's nothing morally wrong about owning guns. Cars kill more people. Think about it. I see no good coming out of a situation where all law-abiding citizens turn in their guns, and only criminals are armed. I also see no good in slapping a band-aid on a problem, punishing law-abiding folk, while doing nothing really to people who are break the law. Increase penalties for using a gun in a crime? Sure! Penalize people who aren't breaking a law? Fuck you very much!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Step 4, Question #1

I’ve been directed to ask a few particular questions of myself, in my search for my own definitions of meaning and fulfillment.
First Up: What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was very young, it seems my first career aspiration was to be a waitress. Apparently, as my parents understand it, I always saw people giving the waitress money, and decided that would be a good thing.

How does this relate to where I’m at now?

Well, if it’s true that all I saw was that a waitress got money, and I wanted money, perhaps it is this: I really don’t consider myself interested in or defined by my job. I go to work, they give me money, I turn that money into motorcycles, is how I’ve been explaining “what I do” to people for the past few years. It describes me as someone who has made a life outside of work. A good life. But it also describes me as someone who spend at least 40 hours a week being bored or worse.

Later, I decided I wanted to be a teacher.
Which is a very noble concept. I still love teaching, sharing knowledge and experience, and learning. To me, a teacher is among the most honorable professions, or positions. At some times, we are all teachers, professionally or not.

At some point, I seemed to want to be a lawyer. I don’t know how much of that was because I love a good argument (I do), and how much was because people seem to think that’s a good thing for a kid to want to be. I really don’t think I’d enjoy being a lawyer.

The President thing must have just been one of those things kids say. Why the hell would I want to be president? I mean, sure, I’m pretty sure I could do a head-and-shoulders better job than the current president. But as a career, politics sounds horrible. Thanks, but I don’t want to turn into a shell of smiles and bullshit covering up a bunch of dry-rot. Anyone who really wants office is probably the worst person to put there. With a few exceptions. Maybe.

Then I started to mature into my teenage years; hobbies and interests start to take shape.

I think I must have been in junior high when I decided the thing to do would be to buy a semi truck or a Humvee (at that time they were still military vehicles with actual capacity and function) and live in my vehicle and travel around. That has nothing to do with occupation, but a lot to do with what I wanted to do.

In high school, I also cultivated interests in English/writing and history. History doesn’t make much of an occupation, but writing could, if I were willing to really work at it.

But really, I wanted to be a costumer. I loved to sew, I loved costume history, I loved to make things. I still love to make things, but don’t really have the time and space for sewing. I still love history and design, but I abandoned the costume thing when I realized how unstable it would be. I really like having a life with health coverage and a paycheck. At some point, I think I thought a small business: coffee chop and bookstore, possibly retail of my clothes type thing might interest me. Maybe that speaks of a need for meaningfulness in my work, a need to feel like I’m building something? Or maybe it’s just bullshit. I don’t know. Again, I may be too much of a coward to be in business for myself. I really like my health coverage. Have I mentioned I’m obsessed with health insurance? Perhaps the expensive ambulance trips and surgeries that took place while I was in college, are not coincidental to my decision to shift to a more stable, employer-oriented job market. So. Fashion. I mean, it’s what my degree was in.

You think you want to be a designer, because everybody is supposed to want that. But at the same time, you can’t stand the designers you meet. My mind is too technical and pragmatic to deal with this silliness. Design is good, but not when it’s been given a bad name by these morons. I know how to put together a corset and straightjacket, I know the best way to set armholes and zippers, and I don’t understand why I have to explain repeatedly that we can’t change a pocket width by 1/16” because of mass production restraints. Further, I’m not sure I care.

So what did I want to be when I grew up?

I guess I wanted to teach and learn.
I guess I wanted to make an impact in people’s lives.
I guess I wanted to make money.
I guess I wanted to travel and be free of a lot of crap.
I guess I wanted to write, which could mean a lot of learning, or traveling, or research. It could have meant telling stories or it could have meant teaching.
I guess I wanted to create, and in a very hands-on, technical way. I loved the craft, the information, the meanings and histories, and even more, the rustles and smells of the materials.
I guess I wanted to have ownership in something, and a quiet and personal connection.
I guess I wanted to make ends meet, to allow for other needs in my life. Health, proximity to family, and my life in the city, to name a few…

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

November

Things I MUST HAVE/DO in November:
1.) Pumpkin Ice Cream
2.) Candy Corn.
3.) Dig out my Christmas Music.
4.) Pretend I truly believe I am going to get an early start on Chirstmas cards and gifts.
5.) More Pumpkin Ice Cream

My Penance for Art School

I wiped the hard drive from the G3 and need to get rid of a whole bunch of shit in my house: clothes and shoes, mostly. A car would be a handy thing once or twice a year. Goodwill won’t come pick this shit up; I gotta, like, rent a car. But I don’t got no license even for that. I want to get rid of a lot of things in my life, material and otherwise. I’m trying to simplify. Every weekend I get a little more done. Things are starting to make sense. Spending time at home, reading, listening to interesting lectures, or walking around the City, have been really nice.

On the other hand, I really need to streamline my life in such a way as to cut down on the cost. My biggest weakness seems to be eating out. I have to learn to cook more and bring lunches to work and all that. I don’t even know where to start.

But, financially, I WILL make inroads. I HAVE made inroads in the past year or so, and continue to do so. I've started reading about money. Even when it doesn't apply to me, I'm trying to become more literate.

Money can be a sticky subject to some people, but I'm trying to bring it into focus in my life. After all, I spend a lot of my time going to work to get it, so it better be worth something. What do I have to show for that part of my life spent at the office? What do I WANT to show for it? I know I'm not a flat-screen TV and fancy car kind of girl. But, consciously, what do I want? What am I willing to trade my time and effort for?

Something I’ve been doing lately is trying to pay down my student loan debt faster. I’m on some sort of auto-pay plan where the consolidation bank takes payments directly out of my checking account every month. I’ve been on that plan for a few years, and it grants you a reduction on your interest rate.

Well, since I wanted to pay it down a little faster, I decided to start sending them additional money by check every month as well. Sounds good, yes? Well, it’s good for me, but less good for them. It’s a fine line creditors walk: on the one hand, they want you to be in debt. They want you to be buried in it, and just pay the minimum all the time. More interest for them, more money for them to invest in the interim. But they don’t want you to be so buried that you can’t pay. A very fine line. It’s a shitty game they play, and you’re a fool if you let them play you with it in the realm of credit cards. It’s a little less foolish to have the debt for student loans and houses. But still, you want to pay that shit off. Interest charges are free money you’re giving to someone who already has plenty of money.

My $104.69, or whatever it is exactly, is supposed to go out of my checking account automatically every month, and then I was going to send in extra checks. But I wanted them to continue to take the “EZ-Pay” (that’s what they call it) money out every month to keep me on track and keep my discounts. Hell, they even sent me a letter last month that my interest rate was to go down again because I’d been doing EZ-Pay for so long. Oh Boy!

How do I make this happen? Huh. I looked all over the payment coupon to find a checkbox or something, to apply this additional payment without upsetting my schedule: nothing. After reading all the fine print on the back of the statement, I did see a note that you could pay extra without advancing your next scheduled due date if you indicated that on the coupon. Which, since there’s no express place to “indicate” that, I assumed meant you had to write it on there yourself. STUPID. But I did it. Twice. Handwritten on the front of the coupon. Really, that’s good because it’s so noticeable I guess, you can’t miss the handwritten note?

I realize I am a Rocket Scientist.
Dumbasses ignored it. Advanced my payment, and won’t fix it. I spent some time on the phone with “Linda” this morning, who didn’t seem thrilled to deal with me. I was a little irate, and she sounded like she hadn’t had her coffee yet. When I deal with customer service or tech support people who are not particularly interested in being helpful, I assume that it’s because they are sick of irate customers. If they are sick of irate customers, I assume it’s because there are a large number of unhappy customers. So, Citibank probably sucks, is what her tone told me. It’s not her fault the people in the other department didn’t feel like following handwritten instructions, just like it’s not those envelope-openers’ fault that someone in management doesn’t have a checkbox put on the payment coupons to make this fucking simple. It’s nobody’s fault. That’s shitty corporate America’s telephone tree customer support model. Nobody you talk to can actually fix anything.

The conspiracy part of me thinks they don’t do that because it doesn’t benefit them to have you paying this thing down faster.
The part of me that dealt with Linda this morning makes me think they are just stupid and lazy. That’s also the part of me that’s been looking at their pathetic website.

Oh, and also the info on the website about my payment due and amount due don’t match the information on the telephone system. I’ll have to take Linda’s word, and the word of the auto-telephone recording, that I don’t have a payment due in two days, since that’s not what the website shows.

So, fuck you very much Citibank Student Loans.

Monday, October 31, 2005

weekend

Two weekends in a row of relative uneventfulness!
Which is pretty nice, given how much running around we’d been doing before.

Friday, we ran into Daniel at Lanesplitter, got a little drunk, and went back to Paul’s house to drink more, bake brownies, and expose Daniel to the wonders of Get Your War On.

Saturday flew by, mostly while I was sitting in the hammock reading, or nursing the good cat while Paul put his new radiators onto the good bike. Saturday night, I had to return to the city to work at New Wave City. It was OK. I kind of hated the door setup. For the record, I really really hate the “drinking” holidays. Halloween is becoming more and more of that to me, but maybe just because I was working. But, New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day, etc., are really trying for me. Look, are you a drunk, or are you not? If not, you really shouldn’t try to make up for it all in one night. You aren’t going to wear it well.

And, are you a ho or not? If you are dressed as a ho for Halloween, you are basically a ho, but just scared to admit it all the rest of the year. Which means you’re just a self-hating ho the rest of the time. Love it, live it, or leave it. But don’t make it your Halloween costume.

The best costume I saw was a couple that came as Team Zissou, from Life Aquatic. I loved that movie. I also really like the camel outfit, for some reason. Guys in fatigues? Stupid, what are you, a frat boy that didn’t know what to do with himself?

Sunday I cleaned up the house a little bit, and spent what seemed like a few hours on the phone with SBC DSL tech support. Supposedly, they’ve fixed it today, and it should work when I get home. I’m not holding my breath.

Then Paul and I started walking: down to Grant, into China Town, through North Beach, where we stopped at an Irish Pub-slash-Indian restaurant for some Guinness, to Fisherman’s Wharf, where we did not stop at Hooters for another beer, then up to Ghiradelli Square and up Polk Street, which was UP. Stairs and stairs and stairs to some parks and vistas overlooking the Golden Gate and Fisherman’s Wharf. It was quite nice, and somehow a spot I’ve missed before. We were starting to sober up, so we stopped for a bit of Guinness at Bigfoot Lodge before heading to the store and then home.

What's Wrong With America, part #6465854

Right-wing Christians would rather find out the hard way, that Little Suzie's been dry-humping the Smith boy after school.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Goodbye Dr. Gong

Tonight as I sat in Sparky’s picking over my fries and grilled cheese after class, I thought this: Tonight, there is a sprinkling of people throughout this great city, thinking sadly about Dr. Gong, about his end, and feeling small and lonely. I know there are a lot of us even just in the city, because Dr. Gong, just by virtue of his profession, must have known many people, and from knowing him in one small capacity, I know that a person such as that must have touched on many other lives in other ways.

Dr. Gong was just my dentist. I can’t say he was a friend, or that we bonded exceptionally. He was an affable guy, always chatting about his hobbies and work. I could say he was my favorite dentist, but I’ve only had a few dentists. In my life, I saw him two or three times a year, and through his friendly conversations, I’d picked up quite a bit about him. Maybe some of it isn’t even true, just the gaps I’d filled in.

He loved to take pictures, loved to fish, was very interested in bicycle races when they came to town. He’d tell me about flying to New Zealand or someplace to get on a fishing boat for certain types of fish I’d never heard of. I listened to stories that told me about a guy who’d set up a pretty good life for himself. A practice he’d grown, a schedule he’d designed to keep his sanity (worked Saturdays as a way to keep his schedule less chaotic, more calm.) He’d expanded his office and wanted to hire someone to help. But, he wondered how to acclimate his patients, who’d grown attached to him. He had model trains on display in the last room of his office; it always reminded fondly me of my dad.

And of his family, I didn’t know a lot. I knew he had kids, college age, and he was proud of them, as I assumed they were of him (he was a guy I thought you would be proud to have for a dad). I mentally compared him to my own dad, a guy who had the satisfaction and peace that comes from having done the one important thing he could: raising kids that he loved and was proud of, and now just living the life he’d created to be comfortable and meaningful for himself. Yes, he was known to take on projects to help at the school, or some dental work for those in need. I imagined him satisfied, and looking out into the distance, seeing a future of working in his practice, watching his kids do great things, and plodding into old age enjoying his hobbies with his wife.


Which is why it is with such sadness that we have to wonder why. It seems stupid to mention that it was senseless. I live in a city where I hear about senseless things all the time. But never do they touch down in my life, in a way that seems so wrongly placed. It just does not seem right. I first assumed it was a mistake, but as the story developed, the details were a little too close. For the record, a man came up to Dr. Gong at 7:50 this morning, shot him to death, and then went to his car and shot himself. It doesn’t seem like there is any chance of a real motive-- just a truly fucked up nonsensical act. A very *permanent* act.

For some reason, I really liked my dentist. Oddly, I’d recommended him to several people, and it seems I’d mentioned more than a few times to Paul that I liked my dentist, that he was a nice guy. How many of your friends have told you that they like their dentist? Dr. Gong seemed to actually care about his patients. He’d chat with me honestly about my concerns, and check with me on stupid insurance crap. I mean, what do you want from a dentist? He made an impression though.
He was just really fucking nice.

Some knew him only as the dentist, as i did. I can’t claim to imagine the pain of those whose lives have been taken or irrevocably derailed. I feel horribly for his family at this time, and for all those who knew him better than I did. My thoughts are with them at this time as they embark on this unwelcome journey toward healing and learning to live without, and, hopefully, eventually, forgiveness. Some knew him closely, some tangentially, some of us big and some of us small, all tonight, feeling a little smaller and sadder.

Goodbye, Dr. Gong. Thanks for the great work and conversations, the interesting fishes in the waiting room, the stories about fishing and Lance Armstrong, the incredibly beautiful views from your office windows, and the model trains on the wall.

I write this tonight to mark the date and record in my mind the memories of a guy whose life seemed quiet and rich, who is gone now for no reason, and whom I don’t want to forget.

Senseless shit

I just received some really fucked up and very sad news in a very strange way.

A reporter from the Examiner contacted me on tribe because I had given a little review of my dentist, of whom I’m pretty fond. (I mean, for a guy who sticks obnoxious shit in my mouth and drills at my nerves from time to time)

Telling me that Dr. Gong has been shot.

The news shows a man in that area being shot and killed in a murder-suicide, but doesn’t yet show his name.

The reporter said witnesses said it was Dr. Gong, and that she’d called the office and the very shaken secretary had not seen him show up to work (not like Dr. Gong at all)

This is a very very sad thing. Dr. Gong is a really really nice guy.

ipod goodness

So, a few weeks back, I got my new computer. A little iBook, since I’m poor. It worked out pretty well for me, price-wise. Since I’m taking a class at City College, I got a student discount on the computer (I want to say it was like $200 off or something) and a free ipod mini after rebate (which I’m still waiting for, but whatever). Plus a cool printer with scanner and memory stick reader for $29.

If I get nothing out of my Mandarin class adventure, at least a got a good deal on my computer.

Anyway, I wasn’t really in the market for an ipod, but it was free, and I like it. I even got a cool case for it to protect it from me. (I’m hard on my stuff).

What’s cool today in my ipod world? Stanford has a bunch of lectures, panel discussions, and generally interesting stuff to listen to for FREE. I’ve downloaded about ten (slow download, really really slow) and listened to a few so far, and they are worth checking out. I can feel my brain swelling with ideas. I feel smarter today than I did yesterday. Princeton has some stuff too that I have not yet checked out.

I need to unplug my television again, but I love the Simpsons too much.
Oh NO!

Getting paid to poop is one of the greatest things about being employed!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

She's a FUCKING LOBBYIST

This disgusting news from CNN

"According to documents released with the questionnaire, Miers pledged unflagging opposition to abortion as a candidate for the Dallas City Council in 1989. She backed a constitutional amendment to ban the procedure in most cases and promised to appear at "pro-life rallies and special events."

Asked in a Texans United for Life questionnaire whether she would support legislation restricting abortions if the Supreme Court allowed it, Miers indicated she would. Her reply was the same when asked, "Will you oppose the use of city funds or facilities" to promote abortions?"


Wait a minute? I thought that she and Bush were claiming that she had no interests for or against abortion? Wasn't that the bullshit they were trying to feed us last week? So were they LYING? That is unimaginable.


Backing an amendment and promising to appear at rallies make her a fucking LOBBYIST for something, a far cry from the impartial judge they claimed her to be.


Let your senator know this is NOT OK.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Do you really have time for this shit right now?

I will be dead for a long, long time.

Old guys and dirt

Now, I don’t mean to sound too much like a guy who just can’t stand riding bitch because he’s too manly for that, but… It’s HARD passengering when you’re so used to being the rider. I mean, I like riding on the back. It means I get to drink. But after 100-some-odd-thousand miles of my own riding, I find it more challenging than I used to. Early on, the first few times I got on a bike, it was someone I knew, who rode a motorcycle. Now, it’s got to be someone I know and TRUST. Which gets a lot more selective as I get more experienced.

Paul is a very good rider. He’s a better rider than I ever was, even when I was a better rider. He, uhh, maybe likes to enter corners a little hot for my taste when I’m on the back, and I can never tell whether it’s on purpose or he didn’t know where the offramp turned.

We ride a lot, as in “how about we go to Reno to watch a few hours of racing and then come back this evening?” And I am poor, so a couple of weeks ago, I pointed out that those long boring freeway slogs were giving us shit mileage when we rode separately. I can’t gloat about my 50mpg if between the two of us, it’s really cut to 25mpg by bringing two bikes. That doubles the money we’re spending on gas. Which adds up, when you’re the kind of people who ride to Reno for lunch.

So, two up, we’ve been doing for some of these freeway slogs. Which brings me to Saturday morning.
Things I thought about while sitting on the back of the FZ1: (not really in any particular order)
1.) I am a shitty passenger. I have to try really hard to remember NOT to do a head check when I know Paul is going to change lanes.
2.) That hot pink lowrider full of ghetto boys is the funniest thing ever. They look like they are having a lot of fun. Yay!
3.) Concord is NOT the East Bay. It’s, like, the South Delta, or something.
4.) What IS that other dirtbike park that is right next to the freeway just before the pass?
5.) When it’s windy, I try to duck down behind Paul so I don’t give steering input.
6.) Making a conscious effort to look into the turn and lean slowly slightly into it with him.
7.) Oh, hey, that’s the spot where I got pulled over that one time. The one time a CHP officer WASN’T a dick to me.
8.) I can’t believe Jason actually moved out here by Mills. It’s like a million years away from everything, what was he thinking?
9.) Paul is the Best. Thing. Ever.
10.) We are going to die.
11.) Hah! This is the commute they wanted to make me do, if they moved to Tracy! Fuck that!
12.) Cop. Does Paul see him?
13.) Those cows look happy. Where is the goat I saw last time?

So you can see, it was a nice ride for me. I’ve offered to trade off, so Paul can passenger half the time. But I’m not sure he really wants to. For one thing, his legs are longer, and probably wouldn’t be happy on the back of my SV. Plus, you know, most guys don’t want to ride on the back. Even I have to struggle with it.

We were going to Carnegie (Tracy) to watch vintage and sidecar motocross. I have watched vintage motocross, but never sidecar motocross in person. What fun! I took a whole bunch of pictures of weird bikes in the pits, and even a few of the races. Highlights posted here for your total amusement. The crowd at vintage motocross is not as mullet-y as the past few races we’ve gone to see, but more of an old-guy-with-family crowd. It was fun, and we were home in time forPaul to wash his vintage Yamaha MX, and for me to drink beer and get sleepy and too lazy to go to the party we intended to visit.

I can’t imagine it would have been any better than watching sidecars amble around a motocross track though.












Monday, October 17, 2005

Friday: IS "punk" just angry hippy?

I am finally getting to the point in my life where I can go somewhere and feel old. Friday night we went to Gilman (I can’t believe that place is still there) to see MDC. About a block from the entrance, where the kids were sitting in their cars and on the sidewalk, I suddenly felt soooooo old and out of place. I mean, these kids must have averaged about 17 years old. 11 years seems like an eternity when it’s staring at you with its wide-eyed idealistic exuberance. I may have been more like them, once. And none of them would think that in ten years I was what they would become, jeans and a hoodie, no patches, nothing ripped, not a stud or spike to be seen. What happened to us?

When we got near the building, however, Dave Dichtor came out and I felt a little less old. Huh. How long have they been around, anyway? I think they were old-school when I was growing up, so these kids must be, like the children of the original fans. Normally that would make me think that the band was outplaying its useful time, but MDC was still good times. Dichtor wears his years on his face, but he smiles when the music starts, and then he’s got more energy than I’ve had in a long time. And he’s got something to do and something to say. Still, one of my favorite bands. Yay! And getting tapped by an underage girl to buy beer out front made the night memorable.

The biker lifestyle I've been hearing about

If you don't own a good rainsuit, chances are, you are not truly living the "biker lifestyle."

Friday, October 14, 2005

hen hao

I have successfully told the Chinese speakers in the office that I have a very handsome boyfriend, and they even understood me!

I feel so accomplished.

I think the midterm went OK. Not too painful, not too great though, either.

This weekend:
Friday night, MDC is playing
Saturday, possibly the deYoung or a warehouse party thingy. Maybe a ride? Maybe cleaning up the garage and my apartment? I don't know?
Sunday, same? Hopefully with cupcakes and/or ice cream.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

It's JUST WATER!

The fog is setting in heavy; winter is on its way.

My morning commute through the Tenderloin has been road-soaked for the past couple of months (street cleaning?) so I am ready in that regard. I do need to re-waterproof my riding gear, as it’s been around the block a lot this year, and won’t hold water out, I fear.

It’s a love-hate thing with winter now, since I always preferred rainy days before I got a motorcycle. I don’t hate riding in the rain, but there are a few storms I could have done without. Somehow, the worst storms of the year always find me up on 280, slogging through hail and sheets of water and high winds (the WORST) behind some dumbass cager doing 50 in the left lane. Each gust moving me about 5 feet across the lane, gripping the handlebars, wishing I was there already. Worst when I ride the dirtbike; it's like a big sail, with no weight of its own to keep my planted.

Rain just means I have to leave a little earlier for work, and plan on hanging up my frog toggs to drip on the floor in my office. It means dealing with stupider cagers, and finding that I left my pocket open, and all my stuff got wet. It means the Tenderloin won’t smell as bad, and that on those few non-rainy Sundays, the hills won’t be clogged with squids.

Here we go again, time to hunker down.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I’m still making efforts

So I invited people to go to the Supermoto races with us on Saturday, and some people wanted to go. OK, it turned out no one went, but there were people who said they wanted to. People are busy. My point being, I need to start making that effort again; it’s like I forgot there were other people, and that those people might actually be interested. I get a lot of “no” out of a handful of people and I forget there are other folks who might be “yes.” Mental note: try to make plans, and see people, and be social.

I know a lot of people, yet there aren’t many these days who would warrant a phone call for a chat or a ride or a trip to the movies. What happened? I know a lot of people, but they are people I run into places I go. Faces that pop up, but I can’t summon of my own accord. Or don’t. I can’t help but think I’ve wasted my time and heart chasing things that don’t payoff.

It’s time to reset the dial. Turn it a few clicks to the left, rotate out the old, try the new, or at least under-used.

Sunday we called Daniel up and asked him over for BBQ. It was nice, and low key. Paul had spent the morning breathing life into his old dirtbike that had been sitting for a few years. I had given my self a much-needed boredom day of loafing around his place with my laptop but no internet. It’s nice to see old friends, without having to be a big to-do. Beer and BBQ and a whole lot of sitting around. We painted the cat with food coloring.




Saturday we went to Stockton for Supermoto races. It was a lot of fun. I vaguely knew a couple of people racing, so it made it interesting. AND, and this is why you should wish you went, we got to see some guy race the new Aprilia twin supermotard. It was cool, and the guy gave up really racing after the third or fourth lap and just did wheelies and shenanigans for the rest of the race. He still didn’t finish all that badly. Were it a little bigger, say, a 600, it might make a wonderful streetbike. I think. Also, crashes, mullets, free red bull, and some incredibly stupid umbrella girls. (um, the umbrella is supposed to shade the racers. How hard IS your job?!?!?!) A great time.


Saturday night I worked at New Wave City at DNA, which was fun, busy, tiring. I like it when we are at DNA Lounge. I meant to get to Berkeley afterwards, but discovered that it is nearly impossible to get to the East Bay once the bridge closures start. Spent a lot of time trying to get there, then decided I didn’t want to spend any more time or gas with the drunk drivers, and went home. This bridge shit is going to be going on for a LONG time, and is really fucked up.

We have to do some wild cramming to try to get through our Mandarin mid-term, but after this, I mean to make a point to reconnect with old friends. There are plenty of people in my life that I just run into in clubs or on the road. I hardly even go to clubs these days, so I think I’m missing out with some of these folks. On the other hand, I’ve tried so hard with others who just don’t return the thought. Fuck a lot of that. But don’t give up. Just move elsewhere. Keep making the effort.

I am relatively free this coming weekend. I am thinking, perhaps some riding, perhaps some sort of get-together with friends… I don’t know. I hear rumor that MDC may be playing SF this weekend, but didn’t take the time to check that out yet. I may be too old? I also want to hit the deYoung opening for sure, despite the crowds. Am open to other ideas…

credit card companies are dumb.

Hello dumbass companies,
Recently I've closed a long-time DSL account and a credit card account because they just weren't good deals. On both occasions, when I told them I was closing the account, they tried to offer me a better deal. But it's too fucking late. I had already opened more competitive accounts.

How about you take care of the customers you have by giving them a good deal, so you won't have to spend the money trying to replace them when they leave? Why do you only want to take care of me when I'm leaving? Stupid. Dumb business decision. If there doesn't HAVE to be an annual fee on the United Miles card, don't fucking put it there in the first place. Credit card companies spend $50 to get each new customer. So there's your stupid annual fee, only you've lost the customer.

I love the feeling of scissors through a credit card.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Sports

For the record, it is not a sport unless:
1.) It has a motor.
2.) There are fancy outfits.
3.) There is a very real chance of death.


Anything else is just a game, and probably a boring one.

Keep America Rolling

I get a lot of pitches for credit cards and such. I've taken a few steps recommended by Motley Fool to cut some of this crap down, but for now it's still coming in thick.

What to do with these credit card offers? Today I sent junk mail from my recycling bin out to American Express and Bank of America in their prepaid reply envelopes. I hope someone in the envelope-opening department over at Amex will find the Thomas Kinkade offer more useful than I did. And I hope that Bank of America will truly consider some cosmetic dentistry.

Free fun. Thank you Amex! Thank you for supporting the United States Postal Service.

Everybody wins!
Keep America Rolling.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Sidewaaays!


Marisa got older last week. So after a quick oil change for both our big bikes, Paul and I went to stuff our faces with others at Bucco di Beppo in celebration. Marisa has a boyfriend with whom she is constantly liplocked, which is a little icky. But makes me happy for her though. Yay Marisa!

Saturday morning, we hopped on our touring bikes and headed East. The AMA national finals for the Supermoto series were being held on the streets of downtown Reno. We had a lot of fun. High point was watching a little kid plow into a bunch of hay bales. Actually, the whole thing was a high point, except for the Denny’s on the ride to, and the stretch of freeway through the shitty “East Bay” on the way back. We were home by 9:30 or so, in time for pizza.

Sunday we went out to Sears Point to watch the AFM races. Watched a little pileup in Turn 9, some cool old shitty bikes racing vintage and dinosaur, and the real reason we were there, race 10, where Charles was gonna beat Creech, and Dale and Jack were going to do tiny sportbike ballet. Charles did not beat Creech, but it was fun to watch a guy named Brien Whitlock go fast. At least nobody crashed. I mean, no one I know. After loading the tiny sportbikes into trucks and sharing some Murphy’s, we went for shitty Mexican food, and parted ways. I guess this will be the last time I watch Charles roadrace. I really only go to hang out with my friends anyway. Roadracing is bo-ring.

And now, a few photos from Saturday's Supermoto:





Friday, September 30, 2005

Mames

Sometimes you see people who are important to you, and they just look good. Last night, we stopped by SFMC after our Mandarin class to see James. James is one of the coolest people I know, and he looked great. It made me think I ought to drop into people’s lives more often, because it makes me happy to see my friends happy. Sadly, so many are too hard to get to, too busy, too stressed… But James looked great. Yay James! He’s talking about possibly racing sidecars at Isle of Man next year. That means James is way cooler than you or me.

This weekend we are going to do oil changes, a friend's birthday dinner, ride to Reno and back to watch the Supermoto, and go to Sears Point (I will NOT call it Infineon) to watch AFM. Maybe we'll even have time for ice cream and beer at some point.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

And some unpopular opinions

Update:
1.) I went on a Monday Night Ride, for the first time in a long time. I only went for one reason. Keep that in mind when you tell me how busy you are.

2.) I think the Mandarin teacher is hot for my boyfriend. I could get offended and snap her in two. Or I could sell him to her in exchange for an “A.”

3.) I fucking hate laundromats.

4.) Saturday was spent roaming around the city, drinking, shopping for computer stuff, and bitching about the Love Parade. What a useless distraction. There’s an honest-to-goodness peace rally at one end of the downtown, and then there’s this bullshit blinky thumpy tripe. Way to go, idiot electronica consumers. And for fucks sake, don’t get all starry eyed and preachy about the importance of the electronic dance community. Call it what it is: a bunch of blinky blinky bullshit. Your 5-year old has more sophisticated interests. Oooh! TWELVE LIVE DJ’s! Stop the presses. But not traffic, not for that.

5.) Sunday I went to volunteer at the Rider Survival Skills Day in La Honda. It’s a fundraiser for the La Honda Volunteer Fire Brigade. I watched some fantastically bad parking jobs, and saw some really neat old bikes. Including, finally, a GSXR even I wanted! Oooh! I feel so squidly!

6.) Tuesday we went and saw Marisa off on a nice hangover.

7.) The grief is unimaginable. And yet I keep catching myself imagining it. At least, the not-knowing is over, but the conditions make it a new kind of hell. For those of us on the periphery, looking in, it is sad and confusing. For those in the middle of it, my heart goes out to you. As little as I knew Melinda Moore, I did enjoy her and find her inspiring. I don’t want to hear that you knew her, or that we lost one of the good ones, or a hero, oh, another one got taken from us, or some crap.* Of course you knew her; if you rode in the area and didn’t ever meet her, you weren’t fucking riding enough. Remember her the way you remembered her a month ago; death is not a glorifying event. This is the part where everyone is going to bring up some other riders that died in the past couple of years. It’s not the same. It never is. It’s a personal hell for her family and fiancĂ©, and my sincerest thoughts are with them. But to say that it is my own pain, would be insincere. I wonder, and it brings me such sadness to think of the mistake, and the things that were left behind, and the journey that the close people will have to start, but it is not my story. And if its not yours either, just shut the fuck up, offer your condolences, celebrate the life as it was , not the death as you imagine it, and take care of those in your own life. Goodbye Big Red. I hardly knew you, but somehow you always remembered my name. I doubt you were a hero, but you had people in your life who love you. May they find their peace with and without you somehow.
(*I’m still hearing about Sean Crane from people I’m pretty sure barely knew him. Let him rest, people. Let it be as it was, not as you wish it to be.)

8.) We are considering hopping on our bikes early Saturday morning to go to Reno to watch Supermoto, and returning that evening when they are over. I think this means I’m a Beemer guy, even though I don’t have a Beemer.

9.) Mandarin is retarded. Tonal language: a very stupid idea.

10.) I’ve been thinking a lot about life paths and compromise lately. I’m aware of compromise in my life but the very thought of it seems to offend people. Case in point: Going to the Academy of Art, I guess everyone is supposed to want to be some faaaabulous fashion design queen. Actually, I very much knew I wanted to get into costuming. Until somewhere toward the end of my time there, when I realized that Costuming: the Career, was totally not for me. I loved the art, but it would mean finding a new job after each project, it meant low pay, no job security, no insurance, no benefits. Maybe it’s because I was going into the hospital more than my peers, but that didn’t seem OK for me. So, OK, I guess Fashion, I mean, that was my major after all. Well, a few weeks into the job search, it looked real bleak. Nothing remotely creatively interesting in the Bay Area. What’s left of the Fashion Design jobs is mostly in LA or New York. Crisis. I got desperate, started looking at other fields. People were still hiring for every goddam thing in the computer industry at that time. Internet crap, whatever, I needed a job. I got really lucky, I guess, at the job I landed, when I’d really given up hope for an apparel industry job. But the thing I wasn’t willing to do was move. I have family here, and I love the area too much to move out to where the better jobs are. Even though I’d spent 4 years in school chasing the degree, the job wouldn’t be worth it to me.

If someone tells you they don’t compromise, they are full of shit, or an incredibly boring person. For everything you give up, you get something else. For everything you decide is non-negotiable, you will find something that is, if you look. And that’s how your values grow and develop. If you’ve never sat down and acquainted yourself with the choices you’ve made, the things you’ve weighed against each other to put you on your path, you really don’t know where your values are taking you.

So I ask you, what are the compromises you have made in your life, and what do they tell you about yourself?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

rumbling

We just got our first thunder and rain for the season.
I LOVE the sound of thunder!
It seems a little early for the season to start, and I didn't miss some of the storms we rode through last winter, but I do love that sound, and I do love winter.
I'm not quite yet mentally prapared to begin showing up to work every morning soaked, but oh well...

Boobies for a cause!

guilt-free objectification of dumbass sorority girls

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Cleaning the garage, my ass!

Today we went for a long overdue ride through the hills. Nice, saw an overturned semi on Pescadero (oh, the hilarity!) and got a little jump on the 280 flyover offramp.

We stopped in the suburbs to distribute a few Watchtowers while we were out:


Now it is 5pm, and we are going to spend our Sunday getting plastered.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Cleaning House

I’m cleaning up and freecycling a bunch of stuff.
One man’s junk is another man’s fetish.

Please let me know if any of the following are of interest to you. I will not ship anything. You gotta come get it.

15 are GONE!
6.) A bunch of clothes, all types. Some work/office stuff, some old T-shirts, some playa-riffic stuff, some shoes. Size is probably 10-12. Shoes sizes 8.5 or 9.
7-9 are GONE
10.) Lights: big round string lights, blue and red. New. I know you hippies love blinky, but as far as I can tell, these do not blink
11.) 3 Picture Frames: 8x10, with the glass
12.) Random Rat EX500 parts: those plastic bits, I think, go into the front fairing, dashboard-style. The previous owner was an idiot, and so you will probably want to remove his shitty paintjob. Shouldn’t be hard since the red paint is already chipping off. One stock mirror, on not stock, one perch & lever. One handlebar, which, amazingly, appears to not be bent. I must not have put it onto my bike.
13.) Plastic repair kit: Used once, but there’s still a bunch left? I’m not into plastics, but if yours are cracked, and you care, you need this. Apparently. At least, my ex seemed to think so.



Will be adding more later