Friday, December 15, 2006

First Christmas Tree!

It's almost that time, and, well I'm a sucker for Christmas. Really any excuse to hang out with my family is a good time, but Christmas is just more. I have spent the past few weeks listening to Christmas music non-stop, baking the hell out of some Christmas cookies (we baked double batches of 12 kinds of cookies two weekends ago at the Turner Compound), and wondering what to get for the people in my life. When people tell me they hate Christmas, it makes me angry. I don't want to hear that. If you aren't enjoying it, you're not doing it right, and that's a personal problem, not Christmas' fault.

So Paul and I got a Christmas tree (a first!) and decorated it at his house. The cat hasn't knocked it over yet, and it has yet to catch fire.

Last weekend we had dinner with the folks (mine and Paul's mom) at Priya, the oh-so-yummy Indian restaurant near Paul's house. Sunday, we went to the International Motorcycle Show in San Mateo. Which was bigger than last year, but a lot of it was crap. I witnessed the ugliest motorcycle I have ever seen, and wouldn't you know, it had a little sign next to it saying that it had been voted #1 best in show? The most offensively ugly motorcycle I've ever seen in my life, hands down. The best thing was a 50cc cafe racer a guy had made so his two-year-old son could have a bike that matched daddy's restoration project bike. So cute. And, well, a whole lot of fun stuff over at the Husqevarna booth! We entertained the idea of dual-sport sidehack riding again for a bit, then jumped around on some ATVs and a Honda Ruckus. I got some stickers and signed up to win all kinds of crap. Which I never win. We saw people, and that was nice.

I'm pretty sure one of those Husky motards will be in my Christmas stocking? Or maybe that's why Paul put the tree on a table, so bike could fit under it...

I, of course, never got around to making Christmas cards, so consider this yours.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, quit your complaining.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Saturday we went down to San Joser to see friends who we have not seen in way, way too long. I am so sad I haven't spent more time with my friends lately, whatever the reasons are. However, I am a little scared of the fact that it seems like I blinked, and parties are now baby parties. There were like a million babies there. That is frightening. Charles took some time out to offer some career advice outside, and we were joined by all the other folks that were skeered of babytown. I guess I am of that age now? Where everyone else starts having babies? I do not know the first thing about the little creatures, so I hope this does not mean we'll drift apart.

Sunday I got to hang out with my sister, who is now happily back to her own last name and officially dee-vorced! Yay!

We went to the Dickens Fair, which was a lot of fun, and I ran into a few people I know.

I feel so overbusy these days, but I can't quite put my finger on the "why." My class is pretty unintrusive, and the hours flexible. I am tempted to do two classes next semester, and also tempted to do none at all. Chinese is so hard, especially with the semester I took off to forget everything... It would be nice to have time to sew, now that I have a new sewing machine. It would be even nicer to keep seeing people I mean to see. But when?

Monday, December 04, 2006


I decided to get a handle on my finances a year or two ago. This year's big goal was to get my net worth to zero.

I know, yes. ZERO.

I have student loans. this is something our country has decided is a good thing: crippling college graduates with outrageous loans, and discouraging potential college students from saddling themselves with a debt and education. Educated masses are no good for the route we are on anyway.

but, whatever.

I have reached my goal: I am worthless. The positives slightly outweigh the negatives. (and, no, I did not pay off my student loans. I am too smart for that: the interest rate is lower than my savings account interest rate, and student loan interest is tax-decuctible.)

December is the time when I need to map out my goals for next year, but with career change hanging in the balance, I may actually end up bogging back down into the red. Leverage, I hope, for a future payout. But for now, I am just where I hoped to be: worthless.


I got hung up on posting because I got stuck at Thanksgiving. Normally, I have a lot of thanks at the ready, but frankly, this past year hasn't been the kind you would be readily thankful for. Should I be thankful for the disastrous ending to my dream of going to the Isle of Man? How about thankful for one of my best friends being in the hospital with a major head injury and no good prognosis (I still think he'll do well, just slowly)? Maybe about my grandfather passing quickly and too soon. And then sprinkle in the crappy work environment I suffered for months, the bleak occupational outlook and accompanying feelings of being trapped and being a failure, the speeding tickets, the weight gain and generally feeling like ass, the horrible luck we showered onto my brother's house, the inability to move into a new place, and, gee, while I'm feeling sorry for myself, we lost the good cats!

Well, OK, you know, all said and done, this has been a shit year. So the thanks didn't come readily, but where I can find them, they are meaningful.

I'm thankful for the late night conversation I had with James when he crashed at my house. I got to tell him exactly how much he meant to me, point blank. I'm thankful that I showed him how much I admired him. I'm thankful that sitting on the couch at the SFMC alone one evening, he said to me "that's the nicest compliment anyone's ever given me." Because I don't think we'll ever have those times again. But I made myself known. James was one of those presences that changed my life for the better. I'm glad I told him that when I had the chance.

I'm thankful for the home and family that my grandfather built for me. I'm thankful for the wisdom and meaning he passed on to me, for the time we got to spend basking in his character and frighteningly broad intellect. I'm thankful for all the love, and for the love I witnessed him giving to the world at large. I'm thankful for all the too-strong hugs and the courage he's given by example. Mostly, I'm thankful for the last time Paul and I made it up there to help with the garden and enjoy my grandparents without the rest of the noise when we had the chance. There's just not always another chance when you think there will be.

I'm thankful for the courage I've been given, to tell people what the mean to me, in the time that I have with them.

I can't find too much thanks for missing out on the Isle of Man, but I did learn this, and it's got to be worth it:
Paul and I have had a lot of good times, so many it seems unreal. But good times are easy, and it's easy to love someone when times are good.
I'm thankful for the knowledge that Paul and I can withstand extreme stress. I know what it looks like when we are angry at each other. I know how Paul will care for me when I overextend myself, when I have great loss, when I feel overwhelmed, or face failure.

Overwhelmingly, this has been a shit year. Next year, I hope to be thankful for much less heavy things, but for now, these will do.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Now we'll just have to start buying raccoon food

Last night we realized that the good cats moved out.
I'm terribly sad I won't hear Squeeky's big, manly "mew" or Fluffy's pathetic "ack" anymore, and there won't be anymore piling into the hammock with cats.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

For we may and might never

Kind friends and companions, come join me in rhyme
Come lift up your voices in chorus with mine
Let us drink and be merry, all grief to refrain
For we may and might never all meet here again

Here's a health to the company and one to my lass
Let us drink and be merry all out of one glass
Let us drink and be merry, all grief to refrain
For we may and might never all meet here again

One of Uncle Carl's kids or grandkids, or someone, got married at Chaminade a few years back. It was a beautiful ceremony, and I was there with my parents and my grandparents. During the reception, the DJ announced for all the married couples to get up and come to the dance floor, and then dance. My parents and grandparents went up and danced for a bit. Then the DJ asked for those who'd been married 10 years or more to remain while the rest sat down. Then 20 years or more. Then 25, 30, 35... and soon my grandparents were the only ones left. But they still had a long way to go. 40, 45, 50, 60!

The image of the two of them up there dancing alone while everyone cheered (and they did cheer!) will always stick with me. In all the noise and ruckus, there was just my grandmother, smiling in the arms and eyes of my grandpa. They were so proud and happy that day. I think the bride actually gave her bouquet to my grandmother instead of throwing it to the unmarried women. (at least that's how my mother remembers it) When they came back to the table, they were a little tired, and a lot ecstatic.

After the wedding, my grandfather made us all drive to Marianne's to get ice cream. I thought it was a place they'd been recently or regularly, but in fact it was another of those things my grandpa had done once many years ago, and kept filed in his encyclopedic brain. Worth it; I am hooked forever, and going there always will remind me of Grandpa.

My grandparents were preparing to celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary this December 27th. We were all excited, and preparations were being made. Invitation postcards were already mailed. 65 years of marriage is so rare, and 65 years of happy marriage... We all were so excited.

And in the end, it was pretty sudden. My grandfather was out cleaning up sides of highways, having meetings, going door-to-door campaigning for local ballot issues and his favorite congressman. He had climbed Mt. Whitney a few times. He was a strong, hearty man, who gave painfully slappy hugs right up until he didn't anymore. Paul seemed surprised that I didn't take what would have been the last bit of peanut butter for my waffle the last time we visited. Normally, I'd do just that, but you just didn't take Grandpa's peanut butter. Even *I* wouldn't do it. He wasn't the sort of man you'd want to upset.

My grandfather was a champion bellower. He would famously declare at the end of the evening, when parties were still in full swing, "I'm tired, everybody go to bed." And they would.

One of my favorite memories of my grandfather is the time I got to go to a Peace rally march, before the war in Iraq started. Grandpa, my mother, myself, and my cousin's daughter, all got to go together. Four generations, and I know my grandfather was proud. When can I grow into a person I feel would really be worthy of his pride?

For all his loud showy strength and power, my grandmother is the quiet, soft voice that reigned him in and made sense of his life. I cannot imagine my grandfather without her. I grew up in the world they built for all of us; my strength comes from them; my sense of right and just comes from them; my love of peanut butter and family come from them. My big, strong eyebrows come from Grandpa. We've all been trying to cultivate his eyebrows on our own faces. I hope I can cultivate his sense of responsibility, justice, and service as well.

Recently, my grandparents went to a charity auction where one of the prizes was a part in the local drama school (or club, or whatever)'s play. One of the local winemakers actually started bidding on the part, for my grandmother to have the part. My grandmother has been a teacher all her life, by calling, and when I was a child, was very active in getting the kids into drama (specifically, the Wizard of Oz, but I also remember her taking me to see The King and I which one of her students was in). They won the auction, soo that my grandmother would be in the local play, and my grandfather, who is notoriously frugal (well, he is a child of the Great Depression, and wasn't a big spender) got so excited by it, that he started bidding on a prize of the local drama/singing students coming to the winner's house or event to sing "There's no Business Like Show Business." Totally out of character for Grandpa to spend money on such a thing, but, see, he adored his Kay, in a way that outweighed every practical bone in his body. For all his brashness and loud grumpy-face show, Grandpa was a man who lived every deed and thought in love.

It's hard now, to wake up to the reality that Grandpa won't be there to ask who left their glass half full on the table, or look for that piece of paper (he's spent most of his life looking for a piece of paper). I can't imagine that we won't be told where to go (15 miles out of the way) to get cheaper gas. My uncle said it best, that whenever you didn't know something, you could just ask grandpa. Now who will we ask? Who will jump up from every dinner to grab an encyclopedia, almanac, atlas, or dictionary?

I miss him so much.

and all I have is, that, we did make it out there once this year. I meant to go again, though. But things aren't always where you left them; things won't always be there next time. My grandparents have always been my heroes, and I wish I'd made more time, to be there, to absorb everything, all the stories, all the wisdom, all the character.

Don't let it pass you by, and always tell the people that matter, how much they mean to you.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

From the Amador Ledger Dispatch:

John Joseph Pulskamp, an honorable and honest man born in Pittsburg, PA, December 17, 1920 died shortly after midnight on the morning of October 31, 2006 in Jackson, CA. His wife, Kay, is doing well, confident in her faith and appreciative of their sixty-five years together. He spent his last hours in relative comfort, surrounded by his loving family, singing to him and recalling stories from the beautiful life they shared. The impact of his life is large and will continue through his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and many friends.

Retired from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, John and his wife, retired teacher Caroline (Kay) Pulskamp moved to Sutter Creek in 1994. Locally, John was active in the Immaculate Conception Men's Club, the county Democrats club, the Knights of Columbus, the Duck Race, and Call To Action of Northern California (an organization of progressive Catholics).

John is survived by his wife, Kay, five of his children: John Richard Pulskamp (and wife Betty Rose Pulskamp), Ellen Jean Pulskamp-Turner (and husband Ray Turner), Patricia Theresa Busch (and husband Ron Busch), Mary Catherine Pulskamp (and husband Robert Lockhart), and Michael Ignatius Pulskamp (and wife Debra). Their oldest daughter, Carol Ann Pulskamp, died April 29, 2003. John has seventeen grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren with a new great-grandchild, currently known only as Critter, due on John and Kay's 65th wedding anniversary, December 27, 2006.

Asked how he wanted to be remembered he said, "I tried to help." What more can a person offer?

John will be Lying in State at his home until Saturday morning. A vigil and wake will be held at the home Friday evening, starting at 7:00 PM. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, November 4, 11:00 AM at Immaculate Conception Church, Sutter Creek with a reception at the family home following the service. The church is at 125 Amelia Street Sutter Creek. The home is at 290 Gold Strike Court in Sutter Creek. All are welcome.

John would be honored with donations to: Jericho, 926 J Street #410, Sacramento, CA 95814 or to Sutter-Amador Hospital 200 Mission Boulevard Jackson, CA 95642

Services provided by: Mc Crory's of Pine Grove
John J. Pulskamp died yesterday morning just after midnight.

He was the tallest man I'll ever know, an inspiration, and a yardstick few in this world could ever measure up to.

His wake will be held this Friday in Sutter Creek, and his funeral will follow Saturday morning.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I'm so glad they solved the meth problem though

I have been foiled AGAIN by the goddam cold medicine company.

I keep buying cold medicine and forgetting that the manufacturers took out all the useful ingredients in order to stop people from making meth. Which totally worked by the way. Nope, you absolutely cannot get meth anywhere anymore. (file this next to the TSA banning lip gloss: making life worse for those of us who don't know or care, while the perpetrators just work around.)

Last time I got sick and my Nyquil wasn't doing shit for me, I was thrilled to learn that Paul, who almost never gets sick, still had some of the old-style nyquil at his house. That shit WORKED! But now it's gone, and I accidentally got suckered into buying this useless overpriced crap again.

I hate you, Dayquil.

Yes, I'm super sick again. I don't know why, but apparently I have a really weak immune system.

Where should you go, if your home won't have you?

I've come, again, to the conclusion that I cannot afford to live here.

On a day-to-day basis it's all fine, but I know that it can only be day-to-day. Yes, including living in the same apartment, now 11 years, and having to stay here for another 11 or 22, or maybe more like 55?

Rents are too high to move; homeownership is a joke. I have no meaningful gains in earnings in sight.

Staying here means just living day-to-day.

Last year I made a goal and laid groundwork to clean up my financial house. And then I did. But I can see that things being as they are, I can't make any real progress.

About a year ago I started thinking about buying a place. Everyone seemed to be doing it. I guess I figured I was around that age or stage in my life...

But a little research showed something much weirder going on. The majority of these people took out toxic loans, or are living in buildings they bought with strangers... I'm too financially conservative to consider either of these options.

But it will take a long time to correct itself, and I do think prices will remain sticky on the downside, for a long time. I don't know enough for this to matter, but my uneducated guess would be winter of 2008 would be a nice time to buy. Maybe even later.

In case you don't know, wages have been stagnant for several years.
The US savings rate dipped below 0% recently.
Millions of dollars of ARMs are set to adjust next year.
Trillions the year after that.

So it has to come down.

But this is life, not investing. If the best time to buy is in 2011, shall I put my life on hold until then? What if it isn't until 2015? I'll be 38 before I can move out of this apartment?

I don't see any future of much better salaries in my current career path. I don't have a clue what else I can do. I assume I'd have to go back to school, but I don't even know for what? Could I afford to go back to school? Would it be another mistake?

I know there are a few manufacturers in the Seattle and Portland areas I could pursue, but I don't know how the salaries stack up there. I really couldn't see myself living in LA. New York would probably be a similar problem, although I know the salaries there for my position would be nearly double.

The vision I have for my ideal is working in downtown SF, living in the downtown or Potrero Hill or possibly Hayes Valley/Duboce areas... Mainly, specifically, walking to work or taking a bus down Market St. if needed.

But it's meaningless if wages and housing can't line up. I really can't stay.

Friday, October 13, 2006


Dear Cager,
There are two reasons you should be in the left lane:
1.) You are passing that guy, right there.
2.) You are an asshole.

Please advise.

Passedyou Ontheright

Monday, October 09, 2006

Another horrible day in the City

It's possible that I maybe drank a little too much beer yesterday. But just a little too much, thankfully, and not a LOT too much.

We made mimosas and walked out to the waterfront on Sunday to watch the air show and the Blue Angels. Although I've lived her for, like 11 years, I've never actually watched the show. I've been awoken by the practice on many occasions (it is so so so much louder in my apartment than it was from the pier on Sunday) but never actually watched.

It was nice. We walked out onto a pier which is the home of several historic boats (which we will have to visit on a less crowded day) to watch the first air show, which was a really cool stunt airplane guy from Red Bull. And then later the 6 Blue Angels, which were fun too. I could totally do that, I just don't wanna.

We drank a bunch too, and walked out toward the Marina. Which was scary. Marina people are scary. I went toward something I identified as Thunderdome, but which turned out to be a bunch of army dipshits letting people pose with their automatic weapons. Kids holding assault rifles is fucking creepy and wrong. I liked it better when camo-net just meant a bunch of death-hippies beating the crap out of each other with foam-covered weapons?

We fed ducks and a seagull at the Palace of Fine Arts (I just really want to hug a seagull, at some point) and hiked back in, stopping at the small bar on the way back. YAY! I love the small bar. Except, perhaps I should have only had ONE of those beers. Oh, well.

Sunday was perfect, and just reminded me that I love San Francisco (Marina and all, including those fucked up little doggies that are so inbred they can't even keep their tongues from hanging out of their mouths.) Berkeley is nice, but it's really got nothing in San Francisco.

Oh. AHEM. I mean, San Francisco is HORRIBLE and TERRIBLE, and you shouldn't come here. Don't even think about moving here. There's, like, traffic, and stuff. And no parking ! How on earth can I go to the mini-mall without parking? And what about Applebee's? What can I eat if there's no Applebee's? Am I supposed to fry my own cheesecake?

Yep, San Francisco sucks. Stay away.

Friday, October 06, 2006


The Blue Angels are in town this weekend. I have never actually watched the Blue Angels. I have been awoken by them on many occasions, particularly when I was in school and on a strange napping schedule, but never done the whole "watching the blue angels" thing.

I know, it's militaristic, and I'm not exactly a fan of the military. I know, it's Fleet Week, and I am officially annoyed (remember, I live in the middle of this shit. Marines Memorial Hall is just down the street, and totally within "WAHOO!" distance) but it's, like, so totally gearhead-y too, right? Vrrooooom, BOOOM, it's kind of like stupid motorcycle tricks, but much more expensive if you fuck up!

I propose sunday morning walking down to the "farmers market" at the ferry building, and then walking over to join the mob scene at the waterfront. Or, actually, I think that's the wrong waterfront. So maybe walking over to fisherman's wharf, and then... well, whatever. It probably involves mimosas. In my mind, sunday mornings should always involve mimosas.

Monday, September 25, 2006

or maybe I was just reacting to something my boss said

This weekend was another baby shower. Everybody's having babies. I'm not really a baby person, but I do like Jesse and Amy's baby, Quinn, so maybe that's changing? I don't know. But I think it will be pretty neat to be an aunt. And I'm excited for my brother.

So we went to the Turner Compound Friday night. Ben and Megan were flying into Oakland, and would show up later, and we would stay up all Friday night drinking wine and eating chocolate.

Except that's not what happened. Instead, we got to the Turner Compound, looked at some old family photos, then I got sick and had food poisoning and spent Friday night puking every 30-40 minutes. Good times. I felt like shit the rest of the weekend too. Saturday night I wasn't puking but my stomach had a war of the worlds going on inside it, and it was so noisy and bubbly and gurgly, it sounded like we were camping next to a babbling brook.


Sadly, I did not enjoy much festivity with the family this weekend, but I did get to drink mai tais during a few hours of OK-feeling on Saturday evening.

I feel mostly better now. But I feel cheated out of a weekend.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

OK Fine

This semester's failure is official: I've dropped my Mandarin class.


I have too many things on my plate. Mandarin was more important, but the opther class is online, and a lot easier for me to fit into my schedule. Feh.

Bu hao! Bu hao!

Wo yao ren shuo putong hua. Wo bu yao wan Zhongguo. You meiyou ren?

Not that I have time for that either.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Windoze Can Blow Me

How is it that my bottom-of-the-line 12" iBook is blowing my top-of-the-line Windoze graphics machine out of the water in dealing with Illustrator files?

I know Illustrator is a notorious pig and party-crasher, but this is ridiculous.

Next time my IT wonk suggests "upgrading" me to another $3000 machine, I'm gonna suggest he spend $800 on a little student-sized Apple, and spend the savings on beer.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Getting run over by a train is fucking retarded, OK?
No, you don't get my sympathy.
These trains need to run faster, not slower.

If you're concerned about it, stop spawning stupid humans, and you'll have no problems with it, mmmmkay?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I want to cry

It's been a long time since my caller ID has shown James Cornell calling me.

my gloves are ready at Helimot.


Awesome weekend, in the middle of all this hectic-ness.
Thursday I went and purchased Adobe Illustrator finally. I'd been putting it off... but I really need it for my work and sanity. With the student discount, it was only $100. School has paid for itself!

Then I rushed over to Laguna Honda to visit James. Which was more crowded than I would have liked. I can't take the crowds, but am glad he is getting so much love.

Friday night we went to Lanesplitter and saw Daniel, who is doing well. Yay!

Saturday we went to a wedding in the afternoon, then an after-wedding party at the Rats clubhouse in the evening. Which is a rare appearance for us. It was nice to see folks, and I drank too much crappy beer, so Sunday morning, I had a hangover.

I felt worse than I expected, and begged Paul to get me hangover treats, which he did, despite the fact that he really wanted to sleep, and really should have been cleaning up around the house in preparation for visitors. He returned with my 7Up and Salt & Vinegar chips, which made me feel human very quickly.

My sister arrived and we had a wonderful visit. After gawking at the reptiles and amphibians at the Vivarium, we had ice cream at Sketch on 4th Street, and grazed the cheese at the Pasta Shop. We went for a hike and picnic at the Albany Bulb (feral cats and a pelican), then got some shitty screwtop wine and went to Aquatic Park to subject my sister to ducks and geese (and a few cranes). Dinner at Priya (yum) and then, damn the Templebar closed as we walked back. Feh.

Monday we went up to the UC campus and fed squirrels (which were very aggressive, and climbed all over Paul), then we went up to the tower for a view, and then out to Tilden Park looking for some brush-clearing goats Paul promised. We couldn't find them, so we went to the Little Farm and pet those goats and slapped the sheep a little. Also a few cows, more ducks and geese, some showy turkeys and roosters, and boring bunnies.

A quick walk to Jewel Lake revealed tons of tiny fish, a frog, which I petted with a piece of grass, and several turtles which were parked safely out of slapping range (presumably because they knew we were coming).

All told, this was our critter tally for the weekend:
various reptiles and amphibians
feral cats
a pelican
two big white geese
a bunch of grey (Canadian?) geese
roosters and hens
more ducks and geese

oh, and the livestock at the Paul homestead, minus the possums, which we earnestly tried to draw out with a jar of jam, but to no avail.

I think my sister had a nice time, and she seemed in very good spirits.
I spent Monday night trying to catch up on some of the stuff I "should" have been doing all weekend: my portfolio book, my homework. feh. I have not even started studying my Mandarin. Aiya!

Friday, September 01, 2006


Sometimes I just have to say to myself "Self, you are having a shitty time right now. Things are bad, you feel like ass, and you've lost all your patience. This is how things are right now, and not how they will always be."

Aside from the whole "busy" thing (two business trips in the past week, and two classes at CCSF right now), there are a lot of unhappy things. Notably, James still isn't ready to go for a ride with me to get that hot chocolate I promised him, and I still have to come to work every day at this horrid place.

I tried the straightforward channels, and now I have to get more creative about the job thing. It's going to reach a head next week, when my boss finds out that the rest of the department is quitting. Which just leaves me here. I do not want to be here, and have not wanted to be here for a long time. But I'm not as flexible as the other two (one is just going home to Indonesia and has no need for a job anyway, and the other is open to moving to LA, New York, or even Shanghai, which looks like the likely place he'll land. Were I open to moving, I wouldn't have a problem either) But I won't leave the Bay Area. But I *really* need out of this job. I won't go into why, but to say that this is a dead end job with people I really don't respect (can't respect, knowing and seeing what I do) and I need to go where I'm challenged and have room to grow. Besides, I'm so bored here. Same thing over and over? Ugh. No sign of ever having a change? Ugh.

Sadly, there are very few places for me to go in this industry. Levi's, GAP, Gymboree are three of the big ones in The City that I'm looking at (but good luck getting your resume in front of an actual person!) and two other places I'm most interested in are Mountain Hardwear (in Richmond) and The North Face (in San Leandro) These two companies would be perfect for me. Really. Remember all the stuff I did when I was in school? Remember how it always had to have functions and complicated parts? Remember how I was the only one there who could pull off such technical stuff? Well, oops, that doesn't mean anything. HR people screen out everyone who doesn't have 5 years experience doing exactly the same thing they are hiring for. Feh. I would be a perfect fit, but how to convince them? How to find someone to convince?

Outside of that, I also have some wish to get out of this industry. I always thought I should be a project manager instead. But what that actually means seems a little screwy, from reading job listings. Need to contact some people and find out what they do, how they got there, how they think I may or may not fit in and get in.

Mostly I just want to work somewhere where I'm learning and helping and growing, and not surrounded by idiots. That is a really tall order in the fashion industry in the Bay Area. I want out. Or, I want into North Face or Mountain Hardwear. Confusing? Well, OK, maybe I don't really know what I want. But I know what I don't want. I'm really clear about that.

I won't be able to be happy until I get out of this job.
Besides that? James is in San Francisco, but when I went to see him, it was way too crowded, and I hate putting up with other people's bullshit.
I want to see James, not really to see anyone else. Honestly, I've just never been very personable, so I have to be asked like ten times if something is wrong or I'm angry. No, I'm not, I just have hit the bottom of my tolerance for other people. I put up with a lot of personality bullshit when we were doing the events to raise money recently, and I had two rude emails from one of you, got yelled at and hung up on by another one, on the same fucking day. Did anyone ever apologize? No. Did I ever call you out on it? No. I powered through the task at hand. But now, I have no taste left for working with this group. It will take some time for me to come back to it, and then it will be different. I know this is important, but so is my sanity. I have other things going on in my life. I'm tired of making nice to you.

Since I was out a lot in the past week (Milwaukee and Las Vegas, both for work) I'm a little behind on my classes. But for the record, I'm taking my third semester of Conversational Mandarin (which I feel behind in, since many of the other students are already pretty fluent) and my first internet/html class. That one is an online class, hopefully one I'll have more success in than the Chinese Characters online class I dropped this summer.

I have to say this has been a challenging few months. This year is shaping up to be a big downer, on a grand scale. Not good times. But they can't always be. There are the ups, and the downs, but mostly I have it pretty damn good. I have the most wonderful man in the world waiting patiently for me to come down from my stress. Somehow he knows I have to keep pushing. It's not like I have to take classes in my "free" time. But I hate the idea of sitting still, of stopping learning. I don't want to stay where I am, at this job, getting older and staler. I have to keep expanding my education and skills. He knows this. He knows I have to keep going to meetings about James and doing fundraisers. He knows I have to do this even though the politics and personalities drive me up the wall. He pretends to listen when I come home and download all of this. Paul even understands my deep connection to my family, spending time with my dad, and mowing my grandparents' lawn in the boiling sun.

So as bad as times get, and they have been on a downswing, I still have it better than most. I still have so much, and so much to look forward to, in better times.

but if you're trying to deal with me now, you might find me less pleasant. Unless you can help me find a cool new job. Then I'll be your best friend, and bake you brownies.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Poo. I had been tooting their horn for the past couple of years.
But this year, despite zero claims, zero incidents, several discounts, and a clean record, they have raised the cost of insurance on my SV650, oh, about *400%!*

If the cost of insuring it went up, I assume it actually appreciated? Or else how does it cost more to insure than it did last year, given no other changes (aside from a longer history of being a great customer)?

Hey, guess what? Fuck you, Progressive!

You know I have never made a claim; you know I have never costed you a dime. It was free money for you. No more free money for you!

Here's how much the value of my bike, and therefor the cost of insuring it, has gone up:

Last year: $53
This year: $160
Percent change: + 200%

Last Year: $60
This year: $228
Percent change: +280%

Uninsured Property Damage:
Last Year: $7
This Year: $25
Percent Change: +258%

Comprehensive (no collision, $250 deductible)
Last Year: $57
This year: $432
Percent change: +658%

Total Premium for SV650
Last year: $177
This year: $845
Percent change: +377.4%

You'd think I got three DUI's and reported fifteen bikes stolen or something.
I mean, I'm sort of flattered that you think the value of my bike has gone up so much, or it's somehow become more cool.

Incidentally, the insurance cost on the DRZ shows that that bike actually *depreciated* during the same period, by 64%. That doesn't surprise me, given what I know about what that bike's been through this past year.

I contacted Mike Felder to come up with a better answer.
I switched to Progressive after I got sick of Pacific Specialty's bullshit. Progressive cost a little more, but their cusomter service was head and shoulders above and better.
But now it cost a *lot* more. Not worth it, particularly since I feel you're just trying to bilk me for no goddam reason. Is the value of your service going up? Have *I* become a greater risk? NO.

Mike tells me that Progressive (and some other companies) have been targeting SV650's. Which seems kind of dumb to me since I ride the damn thing, and, well, it's sort of a girl's bike.
I have to admit, they are kind of "crashy"
Maybe I need a different bike. I am not sport riding the thing, just toodling around, and really, it is a bit cramped. Beemer time?

Well, Mike found me a more reasonable company, but I am giving up that nice customer service. Nice customer service is not worth $500 per year. Nice customer servioce might be worth $100 per year. But for $500, I should get a weekend in Vegas along with it, or they should throw me a birthday party, something.

Mike Felder is great. Everybody call Mike.

Fuck you very much Progressive.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Rollcages are for Pussies

The SRL show on Friday was sold out, and we had to stand in line a lot to see it.
We were standing in line behind some guy and his geek-hipster-(wannabe)-trash friend. She was a late-thirties woman with blond hair and horrible fashion sense topped by a "kooky" hat. Oh, how outlandish!

she liked to talk loud so people would overhear the cool hip things she was talking about.


We were standing there in our moto-gear minus helmets, but I'm pretty sure it's obvious we came by motorcycle, which must be why she felt the need to start discussing some friend's motorcycle accident. (People do this to me; I don't know why.) Which culminated in the mutual shaking of heads and smug looks of just knowing better than those idiotic motorcyclists...
"you know, it's just, rollcages are so much safer."
and laughing. smug. knowing better.

dumb. boring.

Listen, you stupid, boring, SAN JOSE, over-the-hill, washed up, hipster-reject, you want "SAFE?"
This is an SRL show. "SAFETY," more specifically your illusion of safety, is not really what it's about.

You want a rollcage in life? Stay home, watch TeeVee. Don't think. Don't do anything "risky." Please wait here and someone will be by shortly to tell you what activities are "risky" and which are "safe." your call is important to us, and will be answered in the order...

Happy Brithday to me

Paul took me to dinner last night for my birthday. He is the best. We drank a bottle of wine and ate chocolate cake.
Next year should involve friends. And tiki drinks, or something like that.

Oh, that's wonderful!

I once had an instructor in art school named Rod Corder. He was a fashion illustration teacher, and I am NOT an illustrator. I can't fucking draw.

anyway, in class demos or even one-on-one help, whenever he'd draw, every time he lay down a stroke, he'd ooh and ahhh. "Oh, that's wonderful!" "wow, beautiful!"

In addition to being a good illustrator (none of which I picked up), he gave me this little attitude to carry around. When I feel shitty about what I'm doing, I often speak to myself in his voice.

It's retarded, but it makes me laugh, and it sort of works sometimes.

Once your stroke is down, it's down, you might as well love it and move forward.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


We just came back from an SRL show in, of all places, *San Jose.*
I still think San Joser is an armpit stripmall, but the show was great.
Ran into a bunch of people there, probably would have seen more if we'd stayed longer, but I was tired. I somehow have *ANOTHER* cold. I seriously don't understand what's going on anymore with my immune system... ugh.

Fire, boom, robots, 2 x 4 projectiles, ground shaking, etc.

It turned out my parents are out of town so we have the Compound to ourselves. Tomorrow we go to Helimot to take care of glove needs. I tried to wait for James to come back to work, but he seems to be taking his time on that. After that we'll look at more artsy crap in San Joser, and then back to the City, in time for me to cashier NWC.

Sunday is ours. finally.

Paul is the best.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

San Jose

I'm reminded once again why I'll never call that cop-infested strip-mall of a podunk town "home" again.

But at least I can sleep well tonight knowing we're all a little safer.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


(please spread the word!)

August 5 & 6th is WTF WEEKEND. A two day benefit for James Cornell.

For the adventurous, the weekend will start out Saturday morning, with an organized ride led by the Vampires Motorcycle Club, from Santa Cruz up to San Francisco, stopping along the way to pick up people at Alice's Restaurant.

Santa Cruz: meet at Cafe Pergolesi at 10am. (418 Cedar St, Santa Cruz CA) Ride leaves at 11am.

For those starting from Alice's, meet at the parking lot across from Alice's at 1pm. Ride leaves at 2pm. (Intersection of HWY 92 and Skyline/HWY 35)

The ride will end at the San Francisco Motorcycle Club for activities, beverages and fun. Bring your sleeping bag if you want to camp out at the clubhouse Saturday night!

SFMC Clubhouse will be open at 3pm on Saturday for those who don't go on the rides. You can still participate in the events, just show up from 3pm on. Bands, BBQ and games! Bands include: The Nads, LuridBliss, and the Hut Dwellers. We’ll have BBQ for veggies and meat eaters, NEW Tshirts for sale, and of course, beer, bench racing, videos, raffles, and games!

On Sunday, August 6, there will be a San Francisco city ride that departs from the SFMC Clubhouse (18th & Folsom) at 11am. The ride will end at McLaren Park, where we’ll continue the party with more BBQ, games (bring your helmet for keg wrestling—James’ favorite!), and the raffle of the grand prizes. Map of McLaren Park:

If you can't make the ride on Sunday, show up at McLaren park!

Come on out and check out the activities!

All funds raised are being used to cover James’ expenses and bring him home and back to health. For more info about James, please visit the website:

Friday, August 04, 2006

what I'm thinking about RIGHT now

Beer makes me burp. A lot.
Paul calls it "burp juice." (only for me)

"Drink your burp juice, and let's go."

I plan to drink much the beer this weekend.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I *heart* California.


Tuesday was Paul's birthday.
Daniel was (is) out of town all this week, so we decided to celebrate Paul's birthday on Friday.

So, Friday night, we had a lovely dinner with Daniel, Jesse, and Amy, at Sea Salt in Berkeley. Being a no-fish person, the dinner fare didn't do much for me, but the deserts were teh yummy. I drank a whole bunch, which led to...

me waking up Saturday with a mysterious headache and icky stomach. How does this keep happening to me?!?!

The mini-hangover wore off just in time for us to get a call from Jesse, to come visit him at his new digs on the Alameda Naval Base (or whatever it used to be).

After checking out their new place and watching Amy shove food into Quinn's mouth, we all took off for a wine and art fair thingy in Alameda. Which was fun. I mean, the people watching was pretty good, and Jesse knows people, people who have wine. We proceeded to get loaded, and then had a big-ass lunch. Their house at the Naval base is pretty cool because there's a lot of open space to walk the dog and throw things for her. Also, some wild geese and rabbits for her to chase. We had to get out of there to return to the City in time to get to bed early because...

Sunday we woke up at 5am to go down to our assigned corner in Golden Gate Park to direct traffic for the San Francisco Marathon. When we got there, we discovered that we'd somehow gotten the one station where there would be no action. The route didn't even come to the intersection we were on, and the roads were closed getting to where we were. A few cars got through and we turned them back, but other than that, we lay in the grass, watched the ducks in the pond, listened to birds singing, homeless people fighting... It was relaxing and nice, other than the 5am aspect.

After the free food and *Tecate* we got for volunteering, we returned for a quick nap, then started walking all over the City. Which is one of the very best ways to spend a nice sunny day like that. We saw awesome buildings in Pacific Heights, and even went to people-watch Marina Chicks. Yes, it's all true. Oversized sunglasses and flip-flops. Blech.

Last night we had more dinner for Paul's actual birthday. Eccolo on 4th Street, which we've wondered about on many occasions. The dinner was fine, service good, but the standout was the warm chocolate cake. OMG.

This week will be a blur while I get ready for this weekend's events and needs.

Paul is the best, by the way. That is all.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


I took Paul out to Supperclub last night.
This was our second time, and we had to go because:
a.) Marisa was singing
b.) Every course of the meal was to have chocolate as an ingredient
c.) I totally needed to go someplace nice with Paul, since I've been working too much on this James stuff.

Dinner was awesome. The performances were great, the room was great, the company was great, the food was great. The Black Cherry drop cocktail was great. The only thing that wasn't great was the service. I hate to say this, because, I mean, the waitress was *nice,* and personable, and interactive, but when it came to the waitressing part, she lacked.
The first problem was that we couldn't get water. When we sat down, we were asked what kind of water we wanted. We all(there were 8 people, two at each table, that we knew) wanted still.
So still water came. ONE carafe, set at the middle table. (we're still not sure how we got three tables for two parties of four)
We asked for water again. There was popcorn on the tables with bittersweet chocolate powder. It was tasty, but made me more thirsty. No water. The food started coming out, and I asked the other server for water. The waitress took my order for a bottle of wine.
The water didn't come. I asked a third person for water, now that I had my first course and nothing to drink still. I tried to get Paul to go out into the bar to get us water.
The wine came, but it was the wrong bottle. How about some water?
Finally the water came, and then the correct wine.
Then wonderful food and performance, including the waitress dropping and breaking a glass. I can't really complain about that; I too have dropped and broken things. The waitress was nice, and energetic.
Marisa was awesome; she just keeps getting better and better.
Then some more silliness with an extra glass of wine, and the clincher was that, despite the fact that we were clearly four separate couples (in fact on two separate reservations of 4 tops), the waitress clumped the bill for eight people onto one bill. It took me a while to figure this out; I thought she was just forgetting to bring us our bill. The only upside to doing this, as far as I can tell, is that by making us one large party, they add that automatic gratuity. What. Ever. I'd tip more if you hadn't, and especially if I hadn't had to ask everyone else for water so many times. I mean, nice person and all, but just not really cut out to waitress I guess.

Hot tip for Supperclub: put a carafe of water on every table before you seat people. It's easy, and it will make people happy.

Other than service glitches, everything else was great. REALLY, if you are thinking of a big splurge meal, this is an awesome place for it. You will leave feeling so very relaxed and happy, and well-fed.

Anyway, after Laguna Seca, I just really shouldn't go anywhere without my Camelbak.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Dry Lake

We got up at the asscrack of dawn Saturday to go to MotoGP.
Last year, we got there and spent an hour waiting to get in. I swore I would not return. Laguna Seca cannot get their shit together.
I lied, and I did return.
This time, the line moved OK getting in, but once in the gate, we rode around the entire goddam place trying to find where we were supposed to park. I know, some places you go, they do fancy things like post big signs, but not here! They wanted us to have a tour of the place first. We drove every direction, and yes, I stopped several times to get directions from the various traffic directors. They directed me a lot of places. The last place was to the parking area. Good job, dumbasses!

Fine, so we're parked and on our way finally. We got a bunch of beer (Porter, even, not some pissy frat boy shite) and felt a little better. Oh, yeah, it's HOT. It's going to be even hotter, we know this. I've camped in 110+ weather before, and this doesn't surprise me. We have our camelbak, and a ton of sunscreen, and are staying out of the sun anyway.

But it becomes clear as the day goes by that it is not hot, like, complaining hot. It is, in fact, dangerous hot. I don't like crowds anyway, and being surrounded by idiots kind of freaks me out. In the tent where we stop to sit for a while, there are about a million people eating lunch. We look around to see a lot of people who don't even know their bodies are crashing. I see kids who are completely flushed, and their parents clueless. Heat is actually very hard on your body, folks! I know, we are from California, and not particularly aware of this. But it's kind of sad and scary. We watch a lot of ambulance activity taking place around us. Water? Costs FOUR DOLLARS a bottle! We sat in the lobby area of the bathroom near the paddock entrances/food area, where I had just soaked my shirt again in the sink, and we sat loading up on salt in the form of some noodles, and even sucking down soy sauce packets. Refilled the camelbak and gave our bodies some rest. After a guy came in and then actually dropped in front of us, we were like, "fuck this place, this is getting bad," and left.
It must have been around 3:30 when we got up to our bikes, stepped into our sun-warmed snowsuits, and got on the road again. The most racing I saw was on the way out of the place, I caught a glimpse of some folks riding around the track. Hey, guess what, I'm riding too! I guess that's at least as good as watching some guy I don't even know ride.

On the freeway, I got incredibly sleepy, and pulled off. Paul was the same, and we literally parked at a shopping mall and napped in the grass there. Heat exhaustion is no joke.

After a mall dinner, we rode home, which was more misery. It never got cool. Windchill was more like riding into a hot hairdryer. Even San Francisco was hot, and my apartment didn't cool off until, oh, about 3am.

I hate hot weather.
I hate Laguna Seca.
I hate $4 water.
Motorcycles are still cool.

Friday, July 21, 2006


My brother just sent me ultrasounds of Critter.
Usually, I don't get into baby pictures and certainly not pre-baby pictures, but somehow, this one is really neat. I'm excited.

It's the cycle, happening right now in front of me.

Oh, yeah, and Critter has two feet. Check that off the list of things to worry about.


I'm stretched too thin.
We all are, and some of the weirdness is bubbling up to the surface. Politics are coming out of the woodwork. People are snapping.

Some people have been snapping all along, but lately, even the core group is getting to wit's end.

I'm tired, really, really tired. I don't get enough sleep. I can't remember the last time I got to sit on my couch and do the silly shit I do like balance my financial statements, read a book, or study my Chinese. I don't think we've been to Lanesplitter in over a week. That's, like, a record.

Everything I type is rife with typos and spelling errors.

My house is a disaster, and I can't go to the store or do laundry.

I worry and cry and I can't sleep when I do get to bed.

Not that any of this is enough.

There's still more to do. And now on top of that, there will be outbursts and criticisms and interpersonal dramas. I'd walk away, but it's not about me or my comfort level. I said I was willing to push this. I hadn't really wanted to lose friends over it. It's well known that there are people I'm working with that I really don't even like. I expected those outbursts and laugh them off. But I almost can't bear the wear on friendships I value. I don't want to be drawn into politics. Can we just get the job done? Everyone is tired. The less hysterics we have, the less tired we will make ourselves. I've been ignoring the bullshit from the people I expected it from, but I need the rest of us to stick together. It's not me that needs it most, though. This isn't about us.

I can't give up even though I wish I could. I just want to walk away. But this is not an option. If I cared less, maybe I would. It's too important.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Yesterday I watched a bicyclist collide with a car in Berkeley. Maybe it was technically Oakland, but close enough.

It was the bicyclist's fault, completely. Hey, genius, don't pass a car on the left that is making a left turn.

Seriously, if you can't ride properly, just don't. Buses were made for people like you.
I felt bad for the driver just then.

But what's news for ME?
Not a lot. I'm really crazy lately, trying to get EVERYTHING done. We are getting close to the August 5th/6th event, and there's a lot of cat herding left to do. And real errands, like getting posters and flyers, and all that.

It is coming together, but people are starting to get weird. It's been a few weeks now of work, and some of the personalities are bubbling up to the surface in not so pleasant ways. Whatever.

I've been sick since thursday. I don't really know how I managed to get a cold in July when no one else I knew was sick, but I'm guessing it mostly has to do with the fact that I've been running myself ragged. There is a ton of stress in my life right now, and the only thing keeping me sane anymore is Paul. So I figure the people around me who are losing their shit ought to be pitied because they don't have Paul to make everything better. Well, I'm not sharing, so there.

Girls weekend was a bit of a wash, since I was all sicky and tired. Plus, my sister-in-law is all knocked up and can't drink. Still, nice to hang out and kill time with my family.

I finally got a new front tire on my SV. I was amazed at what a difference it makes in the handling. I mean, it just corners so much better. I forgot what it was supposed to feel like. Maybe I shouldn't be so cheap. The DRZ is still not on the street because some of the spacers I need to replace are on backorder, as is the new front tire. I decided to upgrade to distanzias, but the front is a no-go so far. Maybe I'll do a Distanzia rear and an MT21 front? That's not funny unless you're a dualsport tire geek. Nevermind, I have a headache.

This weekend: MotoGP. Saturday only, just because that's how we roll. Sunday will be nice.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Now one foot, now the other

A children's book I grew up with which I think of daily.

Thursday night, Paul did something that made me very proud to be associated with him. He is The Best(TM) and I am so proud to be seen with him. I mean, there's the obvious hottness factor, but gee, he is so nice. And he knows me, and what is important to me, and understands it in a way no one else ever could.

Times lately have been not so good, but it's all OK, because I have this man at my side.

Thursday night, SFMC again, meetings, etc.
Friday morning, I had to go down to Redwood “City” to drop off some paperwork for our speeding tickets. Po-po bitches!

Friday afternoon, I got a phone call from Tim, from the Isle of Man, just checking in to chat about James. These people are the most incredible strangers, taking care of James like he was family to them. I asked Paul the other day if he'd like to move to the Isle of Man. People there seem so amazing. Nevermind the fact that I could only understand about 50% of what Tim said. The accent is strong, but that makes it more interesting I guess.

Friday night we ate at Priya. Priya is damn tasty. Then we watched about half of a Chinese movie I rented, while hanging out with Squeeky cat, who is all busted. This is one of the downstairs cats, and it's no secret that he's my favorite. Unfortunately, he also gets injured more than any of the other cats. We found him to have a huge swollen chest thingy the other day, and Friday the vet finally had time to see him. It was huge abscess, and now he has a drainage tube and one of those big stupid Queene Anne collars, and we have to give him antibiotics. It is sad, and he's all confused and unhappy, but he was very happy to have our our company. Poor little boo!

Saturday we walked around and got some stuff organized for a raffle that evening. I worked at New Wave City Saturday night, and Steve and Skip had offered to raffle off prizes at the club, with the money from raffle ticket sales going to benefit James Cornell. They don't even know James, and we are all very thankful for their generosity.

Right now, Paul is working on my DRZ while I catch up on some tasks I have not gotten around to yet for James' fundraisers. We've done a lot of great stuff already, and more is in the works. It's pretty amazing to see the outpouring of help. I really think we can do this, if we just keep our shit together and put one foot in front of the other. James has gotten me through some pretty hairy situations, and I know we can return the same. Now one foot, now the other...

That's how the journey goes when you can't see the end. But somehow, you get there, one step at a time. We can do it, we will do it.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Math Class is Tough! Let's go Shopping!

Fourth of July was like it has been: family, food, friends, really tiny fireworks...

That's nice and all, but sort of lazy. I don't think our forefathers were this lazy in the face of a truly fucked-up tyranny. feh.

This morning on my way to work, my mind was racing with things I need to do. "I'll put that on my to-do list when I get to my computer..."

But now that I'm here, I'm drawing a blank. I already have a long list of things to do, none of which have to do with this office. I need to focus, and get through the day, to get home to do this stuff.

Which brings me to one of things floating around the top of the list, having to do with finding a new job. I am ready to move on from this one. I've been asking people at parties what they do for a living, and how they got there, and what they like about their jobs. I don't know, I'd like a change of scenery, and you never know who will tell you something that piques your interest. So, tell me stories. What do you do? What did it take to get there? What do you like about your job? Where do you see yourself career-wise, in five years? Ten years?

Outside of that, I'm pretty occupied with coordinating fundraisers for James. I'm beating a dead horse, and I'm not going to stop until James comes home and has that cup of hot chocolate with me at the place on Fillmore. These tasks are consuming, and Paul is being very patient with me.

Then I signed up for Fall classes, this time TWO. Intermediate Conversational Mandarin, and Intro to Macroeconomics. I've been really interested in economics lately, mostly because I didn't take a class like that in high school, and feel like it's something I ought to understand. But now I'm realizing what kind of math I'll need. And... it's been a while. I mean, I was good enough at math in high school, indeed I was on the "accelerated/honors" track, but that was a long time ago! Aaack! I promise you we did not do calculus in art school, though I am pretty quick with fractions as a result of my patternmaking experience. Math class is tough! Let's go shopping!

And will I regret overextending myself come class time? But I really want to learn! And one class per semester would be soooooo sloooooow.

And what about other things? Like, didn't I used to have a motorcycle? Oh, yeah, I have two, and they are both a little ratty right now. DRZ needs work, and maybe this weekend will get the shift shaft seal and wheel bearings replaced, perhaps even swap out wheels and tires so I can start riding around on the street more? The SV has a mostly bald front tire, and FedEx has shipped the replacement to the wrong place. ugh. Damn, but I miss the days when I actually could ride.

James Cornell needs help

One of my dearest friends, James Cornell, is in a coma in hospital at the Isle of Man in the Irish Channel. He and his driver crashed while racing last month. All the info is here: and

In addition to being a major contributor to the Bay Area biker community (Vampires, San Francisco Motorcycle club, Helimot), James has been extensively involved in the local night club and underground scenes.

Here's the latest coverage from Friday's article in the SF Chronicle

I am asking all of you to send $20 via Paypal to, or send a check payable to the San Francisco Motorcycle Club, 2194 Folsom, San Francisco, CA 94110 The paypal link is on the website above.

Ask yourself, If anyone you called friend were lying in a hospital bed 7000 miles away, would it be worth $20.00 to get him or her home?

This is one of my dearest friends, and I am in agony waiting for something to happen. We need to raise $50,000 for a medivac flight in a very short period of time.

Please help. Please share this message to those you Love.

Thanks Very Much,


Thursday, June 29, 2006

Paul brought me flowers last night, and then I proceeded to ignore him while at the DNA Lounge last night. Not really ignore him, but I felt bad anyway.

The party at DNA last night benefitting James seemed to go well, and I got a bunch of cards to send to James. Also got to meet some of his friends who I've seen for years, but never really met.

Also, after working up some alcoholic nerve, plainly stated my case for a friendship that's been long strained, and was met well. We have so many fears, and they turn out to be mostly unfounded?

It was a good night for me, though I may have drank a little more than absolutely necessary.

Paul was kept out past his bedtime and left in the corner while I worked people over to write cards, and still manages to be perfectly sweet to me. What would I do without him?

Monday, June 26, 2006


On Friday I crashed. No, not my bike. Don't get excited.

The week before, I was weird. Every night I came home feeling like I'd just drank an entire pot of coffee. I had no patience (I know, I don't usually count patience as one of my many virtues anyway), I was angry, really angry, about things that were small, maybe even imagined. I would walk into Paul's house and monologue for 20 minutes about all the crap that was annoying me. I was frantic, moving forward, plugging ahead.

It's all necessary. Everyone deals with their stress in their way. I encountered the hand-wringing defeatist, and became the optimistic locomotive. I wouldn't suffer anyone's soft feelings of being overwhelmed.

We can do better.
We can do this, we will do this, do it now, now, NOW.
If you can't do it, I will do it.

I don't take any of that back. I will still do it.

But Friday I came home and cried for a while, then napped, then cried some more.

My way doesn't show up and cry and wonder what can be done. My way shows up with energy and strategy, and momentum that will steamroll people less quick to move. What are the steps? OK, now we are taking them.

I didn't mean to feel like a speedfreak all week, but I did. Then I crashed. And that was good.

I did a little more working on it this weekend, but mostly I read a book and relaxed. Steamrolling isn't what I want to do. I have to remind myself to be soft.

Saturday I went to a baby shower, then had lunch with some friends, which was so very nice. Seems I hardly have nice quality friend times these days.

Sunday we ran some errands, I read, we downed a bottle of champagne.

Now it's back to work, but soft now. I don't feel my heart racing the way it did last week.

We all have our own way.
But we are men of action, and I won't sit around feeling like it's impossible.

Friday, June 23, 2006

F@#KING Motorcyclists!

Sometimes people wonder why I don't necessarily like other motorcyclists. I wave, sure; those riders are passing through in the opposite direction. But, no, to be frank, I often don't like encountering another motorcyclist on the road in my direction of travel. I've just seen too many stupid behaviors, and, worse, I've actually been hit by motorcyclists a few times.

So the coming of summer isn't all that welcome, particularly during the commute hour, when I get on the Bay Bridge this morning. I start in the carpool lane, and, as every morning, immediately start moving left across all lanes of traffic. Why? Because I think it's best for the motorcycles to split that lane. I think it's especially best if we split the same lanes, so that there aren't bikes in between all cars on all sides. Ever seen a helpful driver try to move aside for you? Well, now imagine there's another motorcyclist on the other side. No, it behooves us to split only one or two lanes in traffic, as much as possible. Particularly when we know, as we do in the commute hour, that there are a lot of other motorcycles out.

So I move over, and this morning, as I got into the #2 lane, I slowed to check the in-between lane, and as I did that, a motorcyclist honked his horn at me, I suppose thinking I was about to run into him. I wasn't, but I waited for him to calm down and go ahead before diving in. Which was a mistake. Well, maybe not, knowing the temper he had. I mean, the guy was slow. He was riding some big late 1970's/early 80's honda thing, I think maybe an Oldwing or something? And, I split behind the guy for a while, but he's slow. Will he let me pass? No. Note: it is the polite thing to do, when someone lanesplits up behind you, to pull into the lane and let them pass.

Fine, I'll wait, and plod behind him, maybe he'll get the hint. He makes a big show of flipping a car off, for changing lanes, about 400 feet in front of him. At his speed, it was NOT a danger. He's just an ass. I start thinking about breaking my rule and going to the next lanesplitting lane over, just long enough to get in front of him. I try this, and he speeds up. Now he is racing me. Look, fucker, I'm just going to work! YOU'RE SLOW. OK, fine, I'll get behind your slow ass again. And he slows back down. And next, NEXT he punches a delivery van, for no reason. This poor cager does NOTHING, and asshole honda guy hits his mirror in. Woah! Yeah, thanks asshole, you've just made a whole new set of motorcycle-haters. And those of us lanesplitting behind you (since you won't let us pass) now have to face these drivers' anger. At this point, I can't follow him anymore, and move over two lanes to get away. At which point he starts racing me again.

I don't say this often, but I honestly hope you eat shit, and soon, since you're making the world a more dangerous place for the rest of us.

so here's a review:

1.) If you are lanesplitting, and another rider comes up behind you, pull into the lane and let them pass, and then go back to lanesplitting. Painless!
2.) If you aren't checking your mirror for riders because you're afraid you'll hit something in front of you, then you are riding too fast/over your head. Slow down, check your mirror, and let others pass.
3.) It really helps if we don't have to go to the next in-between lane to pass you, since this multiplies the problem of heplful drivers accidentally taking one of us out when they try to move out of the way of the one of us they do see. (in other words: don't surround the cars on all sides if you can avoid it)
4.) If another rider does finally go around you because you don't check your mirrors and pull over, please don't take this as an oppurtunity to race. Other riders are just trying to get to wherever they are going. The race is in your head, and you already lost it, if they are trying to pass you.
5.) If you are an asshole, just go crash somewhere by yourself, and stop flipping off and *punching* cars that didn't even do anything, as that makes lanesplitting and riding more dangerous for the rest of us.
6.) Lanesplitting is a separate skill. If you don't feel comfortable doing it and maintaining yourself, your awareness, and composure, just don't do it.
posted by:

Thursday, June 22, 2006

New Rule

OK, I'm sorry if this is crass, but I have new rule, which ought to be put into action immediately:

From now on, when you write a bulletin, email, whatever about so-and-so crashing a motorcycle, having a heart attack, being mauled by squirrels, or dying, please, please, include, or link to, a picture.

I can't tell you how many times I've gotten news of so-and-so's accident, and been unsure if I even know the person. Or if I'm sure which person it is.

How many people do I know that go by, like, three different made up names? How many people do I know named James, or Mike, or Jennifer? How many people do I know, whose names I can't even remember, despite having known them for years, because I'm drunk every time I see them?

Starting now.

Thank you.

James Cornell Fundraisers

As many of you know, James Cornell (of Helimot, Vampires, and San Francisco Motorcycle club) was injured in an accident late May.

James was the monkey on a sidecar, doing a warm up lap for a practice for what many consider the "holy grail" of roadracing: the Isle of Man TT. Currently, James is still in a coma at Nobles Hospital at the Isle of Man.

more info can be found here:

James will need a lot of resources to get back to his home and health. Please tell your motorcycle riding friends about this website and fundraising effort.

June 25 (Sunday) there will be two events in Santa Cruz. Char will have a garage sale, and the Vampires will be selling food and drinks at We All Ride's event.

Next Wednesday, June 28, there will be a party at the DNA lounge benefitting James.

There are other efforts in the works, please keep tuned in to the website for more info.

Dude, WTF?
A fundraiser for James Cornell

Wednesday, June 28th 8pm - 3am 21+

DNA Lounge
375 11th St. San Francisco

Chris Venter
Chris Cendak

PS: Time to wake up James!!!!!

Monday, June 19, 2006


Weekend was nice. We saw people. Friday night, dinner at Paul's mom's house. Saturday, wine tasting in Livermore with my family (minus brother and his wife). Saturday night, dinner with Charles and Sara! Yay! Sunday, saw some folks in Oakland (or is that Berkeley?) and had dinner and ice cream with Daniel.

Aaahhhhh, so relaxing, and yet somewhat fruitful.

Now I'm focused on the organization for fundraising for James.

There are very few things I am willing to completely push my network for, and this is one of them. So, anyone I know, well or tangentially, will be worked over for this thing. Be forewarned.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Roll on with Style and Grace!

I've had my Playstation setup to collect one million red roses for my Katamari for the past few days. When I come home, I flick on the TV to see how my little Kuro is doing with his rolling. It's frustrating to watch. The rubberband-on-controller setup is soooo slow, and most of the time, Kuro is stuck rolling the ball in a corner.

What does Kuro do when the katamari runs into something?
Kuro keeps rolling, moving slowly to the left, until an angle comes up where the Katamari can roll on.

Kuro looks pretty happy doing this, despite the big task ahead. One Million Red Roses!

I found myself running into walls last night. This isn't about you, and it isn't about me. It's about something much more important. I got mad skillz, yo, and the stonewalling and self-defeatist attitude is helping nothing. We CAN do this, and we can do it in a big way. So it's frustrating that this personal crap is in the way.

No matter, I will keep pushing, and the angle will be there, and I will roll on with style and grace, just like the King told me to...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Medical Advancement

Paul has offered to send his cat to Nobles Hospital to wake James up. I think this is a splendid idea, as will anyone who has met this cat.

(says the cat)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

My Crappy Vacation, Part 1

All the reasons aside, we were on our way north on Saturday. “north” was our only destination, with an implied “Seattle” somewhere along the way, as my brother lives there with his wife.

North on Memorial Day weekend, with all the unhappy feelings we had, meant, of course, we got tagged in the speed trap in Redding. The officer who stopped us had a speech impediment of some kind, which made it a little funny, but mostly it was just the icing on a cake made of shit.

What-the-fuck-ever. We both have two matching speed tickets each now. I cannot afford to get stopped again, so the ride north became a painful exercise in speed control. It was inevitable. There must have been at least 25 cops between that area near Redding all the way up to the last pass into Oregon. I was, at that point, riding painfully slow. Which sucks, since I spend more time looking at my speedometer and mirror than the road in front of me. And it makes me soooooo sleeepy to go so slow. Whatever. I fucking hate CHP.

Since I had not packed with a ride in mind, I didn't have a few things I would have liked. Mainly, my electric vest, cell phone charger, and frankly I missed my ipod. But the vest was a real problem, and riding into Oregon at night up to Grants Pass, I could not feel my fingers. Grants Pass doesn't seem to be much of a town, but our room was fine, and Denny's was entertaining.

Sunday we headed west to the coast, sloooowly still, since I cannot afford to talk to a cop again. Then up the coast on Highway 1, which is pretty, and we are getting great mileage, but it is taking forever. Planned to get up to Tillamook or something, but as we came through Waldport, Paul saw that there was a Howard Johnsons on the on the tip of the spit on the other side of the bay. It was pretty, and we were bored of riding, and so we stayed. From the hotel restaurant, we could see seals playing in the bay, and a ton of birds. The views were nice, and there was a bar. Good enough.

Monday we headed north still, through Tillamook, which is very pretty country. North of Tillamook are some small towns on a lagoon-like bay, where we both caught sight of a bald eagle. I've never seen one in the wild before, so this was a real treat.

At Astoria, we turned inland, back to I-5 to make the rest of the trip to Seattle. We had finally called my brother from Waldport to tell him we were on our way to Seattle. Stopped for gas at the junction for the road to Mt. Rainier. I rode that route two years ago and loved it, but this time I didn't have it in me. This wasn't a fun ride, just an escape. I wanted to get to Seattle in good time, so we just took I-5 into Seattle, where I took a bit to get my bearings and then got us to Ben's house just as he and Megan were on their way out the door to dinner plans. Perfect timing. I just wanted to spend some time laying low in Seattle. Both of our chains were shagged, and we'd need to replace them before the ride home. It would have been a good excuse to just hang out in one of my favorite cities. Things should have looked up from here.

But Tuesday, well... We wandered around Fremont in the morning and then came back to Ben's house. He'd left us the spare key and we'd agreed we'd call to meet them up for lunch downtown. Before this happened, Paul spent some time checking over the bikes out front. I went in and out to get stuff and somehow managed to get locked out. I don’t really know how since I didn't actively lock it the last time I came out, but, old locks, I don't know... and with my cell phone inside too, I just decided it was miserable, and sat and felt sorry for myself. We did find an easy way in and called Ben to have lunch with them downtown. After which, we went to the Yamaha dealership where Paul had his chain and sprocket replaced (as he didn't have the right size socket for the FZ1) and then on to the Suzuki dealership to get my chain and sprocket, which Paul would install the next day. It all felt very nice and accomplished, despite the fact that in the afternoon, we dropped the FZ and broke off the passenger peg.

It all seemed great, until we got home to Ben's house and found the door wide open. And the door to the basement open. Both these doors are strictly supposed to be kept closed so the cats don't get out or in the basement. I was immediately sorry that I'd somehow fucked up and left these two doors open. After shutting them and calming down, it was probably about ten minutes before I noticed that the iBook was not on the kitchen counter. Had Megan been home? Shit, the Powerbook was not on the kitchen table! I called my brother, had either of them come home? No, and he'd rush home now, and could I call the police? Upstairs, the two bedrooms (one is really a den) were also opened. Not as they'd been left, again for cat reasons, we knew something was wrong there.

The upside is that the cats were both home, but the downside was that three laptops (Ben's work laptop was stolen from the guestroom underneath a pile of our dirty clothes, and I hadn't even known it was there despite sleeping in there.) The cordless phone handset had been stolen, but not the base (Why? Can anyone help explain this? It's useless without the base!) A jewelry box had been taken from the bedroom, including a sapphire ring that had some family heirloom value, but nothing much else in that box of real value, as I understand it. Megan's wedding bands, gone. And some credit cards, also taken (and used, at Krispey Kreme and gas stations, and some sort of catalog order I think?) Most bizarre, a Trader Joe's grocery bag full of trail mix and camp snacks for Ben and Megan's upcoming Yosemite trip was also deemed worth stealing. It was obvious from cabinet doors left open that the culprit had spent some time looking downstairs too.

The point of entry and exit was exactly as we had come in earlier. Was it a neighbor who saw us do it? It was so effortless, and obvious to us in the morning, perhaps someone had coincidentally come by that day and had the same thought? The point of entry isn't particularly visible from many public areas, so it would be strange luck for someone to have witnessed it... And regardless of anything, we felt horrible about it. Everyone, of course, feels horrible. Ben and Megan took this all very well, considering.

But it was miserable. I hope the best, I hope the stuff comes back, but mostly I hope the trouble ends there.

Wednesday, we had breakfast at a freakish restaurant run by a brainwashed cult (really) and came home to do chain and sprockets, then back across the Fremont Bridge to walk around Fremont eating ice cream and checking out Gasworks Park. With all the excitement, and since Ben and Megan were going to Yosemite in the morning, we decided to lay low with pizza delivery and Arrested Development videos at their house.

Thursday we had breakfast at Coastal Kitchen where I picked up some Italian language CDs and then hiked around Capitol Hill and Volunteer Park, up the Observation Tower for a nice view of the city. We went to the Bleu Bistro, which is a really great bar. We bought Paul a sweatshirt that said “high roller” along with glittery graphics of a roller skate with wings. Cool! Things were looking better. Every day, we kept thinking, OK, now the lemons are done falling, let's make the fucking lemonade and get on with it. How much worse could it get?

At some point in the evening, back at the house, I turned my phone on, which I'd left off to preserve the battery, as I hadn't brought the charger (since I didn't pack for a road trip)

The message was minimal, but there was something wrong. I called back, left messages, waited. I finally called my mother to help. We had no internet access either since the computers were all gone. She looked for me, and saw it, and was sorry. I'd given out my brother's home number so people could reach me as my phone was dying. I got an update later that night, and thought once again that we'd go home the next morning.

But Friday, I got up after dreaming about James all night, with a changed mind once again. There wasn't anything to be done at home, and the ride home would be hell anyway. Speaking with Lionel in the morning helped calm me a bit. To solve the communication cutoff feelings, we went downtown and bought a new cell phone (I'm sad to say, really, as I'd been very attached to the old one) Still no internet, but it was something. I just had to keep calling and bugging people for updates. At this, I truly felt that rock bottom was hit, but not by me. It put everything into perspective, but brought up a whole new range of guilt and grief and worry. It fucking sucks, is what I mean, and made everything else small. Also, shouldn't I have been there with him? That really stung, but what could I have done anyway?

But I'd lost my fight, for sure there would be no trip to Vancouver or the islands or Mt. Rainier; I just did not have it in me. We determined to stay until Ben and Megan returned, and I quietly decided I did not want to do anything besides low key wandering. NO MORE FUCKING ADVENTURES.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I'll still follow you anywhere

The comfort I have now is that I DID tell you how much you meant to me, before it became an “I wish I'd let him know...”

In no uncertain terms... you are one of the two or three most important friends I have, you mean the world to me, I trust you implicitly, you are one of the coolest people I know, you look great, what you're doing is amazing, I really appreciate all the things you do for me and the times we have, I would follow you anywhere...

Maybe it seemed over the top at those times, but it was all heartfelt, and now I'm glad I made it known. Maybe while you sleep you can think of these things. Maybe when you wake up you can look forward to those times again. I am clinging desperately to those tomorrows in the meantime. And I'm keeping the “that's probably one of the best compliments I could get” close to my heart too.

And everyone else, take the time to tell the important people in your life, what they mean to you and how tall they appear in your eyes, how you couldn't do it without them, how you are a better person for knowing them. So the tough times aren't filled with “I wish I'd let him know...”
These days don't seem so grey, knowing I made myself known.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

ooooh! so many geeky!

I am a d12

You are the rare, the overlooked, yet incredibly useful dodecahedron: the d12. You are a creative, romantic soul. You often act without thinking, but make up for your lack of plans with plenty of heart. You easily solve problems that stump others, but your answers tend to put you into even deeper trouble. You write long, detailed backgrounds for all your characters, and are most likely to dress up as one or get involved in cos-play. You can be silly at times and are easily distracted by your own day dreams, but are at the end of the day you're someone who can be depended on.

Take the quiz at