Friday, November 18, 2005


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 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
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


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.