Monday, November 12, 2007

Let's review. If you get hit by a train, it is your fault.
We can assume that the train did not swerve to hit you.
We can assume that it's obvious to, oh, pretty much everyone else, that a train is coming.
We can assume that, especially as a full-grown-adult, you are responsible for knowing that getting hit by a train will *hurt*

SAN FRANCISCO - Nine siblings and step-siblings of a man killed by a commuter train are suing the operator of the commuter rail service for alleged negligence in a wrongful death case, according to documents filed in federal court.

Jorge Guillermo Avila, 58, was running alongside the southbound Caltrain arriving at the San Bruno station when he was struck on July 24, 2005. Avila was rushed to San Francisco General Hospital, where he died. Investigators have ruled the San Francisco man's death an accident.

Avila's siblings and step-siblings are seeking $47,079 for medical expenses and $12,319 to cover burial and funeral costs in addition to unspecified damages for loss of love, companionship and solace, according to the lawsuit.


The siblings argue that passenger walkways at the San Bruno station were dangerous and defective and allowed pedestrians to walk too close to approaching trains. According to court documents, Avila died due to the negligence of the Caltrain operator, including failure to provide adequate warning signs.

Seriously, WTF, people?

Friday, November 09, 2007

Picture from the Chronicle

This outrages me.

I am not a boat specialist, so maybe someone else can explain to me why the hell freighters are always running into shit and then dumping their oil loads with the slightest puncture in their hulls? Is it necessary to design these things such that the water is separated from 58,000 gallons of oil by a thin sheet of tissue paper?

When I read the initial report, this was a minor incident. A day later, it became clear that that had been absolute bullshit. This is a MASSIVE spill, in a very delicate enclosed marine environment. I just can't believe this is right here in our backyard. Where we have walked on many occasions to observe and enjoy these very birds.

As the past few years we've been making an increasing habit of visiting the marine birds, this depressed me terribly. The Bay had been changing right in front of our eyes-- just in the past few years, the life there had really taken off. It seemed the birds and wildlife had been making a comeback, and then some dipshit with a recent history of running ships aground in the Bay Area runs a freighter into the Bay Bridge? Like it was a tight spot? No one has run into these towers in the 70 years the bridge has been open!

The birds and marine life we have been lucky enough to keep in the Bay Area are so delicate, and so beautiful, and so needed... If we can't design boats better, why the hell are we floating them into such a dense habitat?

Not that I think we couldn't design boats better. I just think no one wants to. Except, maybe the birds want us to?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Old Gold Mountain

As I type this out, I’m on a flight from Denver to Austin, for a training thing at our Austin office. I love traveling, and I like Austin, but right now? I do NOT have time for this.

I’m of course falling behind in my two classes. My Intro to Networking class is well-organized and easy-to follow, but the subject matter is dry, and the text is absolutely terrible. I do the work and the reading, but don’t have the time and drive to really do the background studying and extra effort to really *learn* this stuff. But just having a basic knowledge and vocabulary will be a good start, so I’m glad I’m taking this class.

The Macroeconomics class, on the other had, is a complete mess. The instructor can’t keep anything straight. Now I’m just trying to get through it with a relatively respectable finish.


As of Tuesday, I have an offer letter in hand for my continued employment. This is a huge weight off of my mind, as of course, mergers and acquisitions often mean lost jobs. And, I really need, and really, really like, this job. I’m hoping to stick around for at least a few years, for several reasons, some of which are obvious (vesting things) but more importantly, I have a lot to learn, and this is the first step into a whole new career. Getting to this point was a big challenge, and involved a stroke of amazing luck, and I did not want to try to hit that combination again. And of course, there’s the team, which I adore. So, in short. I love my job, and I get to keep it at least a little while longer.


After 13 wonderful years, I will be moving away from my beloved adopted hometown. It’s not something I expect anyone who lives in the suburbs to understand at all, but a city like San Francisco is more than a place to live and park my stuff, or have my crash-pad. San Francisco is a lead character in my life. Cities, real cities, function in people’s lives in a way that suburbs cannot. We live in them, our memories, attitudes, habits, and needs become interconnected. We compromise for each other. We create and complete each other. Sometimes we are mad at each other, but we work it out, knowing that we belong. Wandering around on Saturday afternoons, the City offers up secrets to its inhabitants, twisted alleys blanketed in trees, tiny parks overlooking the bridge views, neighborhood bars, a beautiful fountain, or a peek into the living room of its other lovers. These are intimate moments with the city you love. And out in the open, in the crowds, the city holds even more. A walk one morning found a Maori dance in Yerba Buena, and a Chinese Dragon dance a few blocks over in Union Square. The traditions! Just now the city is starting to move toward the frenetic Christmas traditions. All the things I know will come to signal my favorite time of the year: the SPCA’s kittens and puppies in the Macy’s window, the amazing animated displays at Saks, a giant tree in the Square will preside over all manner of craft fairs, from the ugly dental office art to the local crafty types fairs. The streets surrounding Union Square will become a throbbing retail mass, while the in the heart, families from all over the world will stop in the square to quietly admire the tree amidst the chaos.

Two weeks ago, I walked through and found there were free swing dancing lessons there. A few weeks before, free movie screenings.

It’s a dichotomy of living amongst the masses, that we are crammed in to each other and yet this mass feels so private. As I push through the hordes, I feel so calm, so private, so anonymous. Never *alone* but definitely with my own emotional space. Watching the sun come up over the Broadway Tunnel on a morning walk through my neighborhood, I see the cars zipping by below, streams of headlights, each with a private story inside. Here we all are together, crammed in, enjoying our solitude.

And now to think of leaving, the history of memories, smells, sights, tastes…

The cable car home from work, up through the fog on Nob Hill as we approached Grace Cathedral.

Sitting with my sketchbook out on the rocks past the cave at the Sutro Baths

The Ferry Building on a sunny weekend morning, feeding the seagulls buttery pastries, then retiring to the park across the street to visit the parakeets

Yakety-Yak coffee house, now gone, where I produced a fashion show, including the night before of getting a stinky Irish art student to completely decorate the walls in a cave-like collage.

The walk home from King Street Garage after stopping off at 2am and breaking up with a boyfriend.

The old Trocadero… the riot police… the shooting… the shows… riding home with a few coworkers afterward to stop in a greasy spoon in the Tenderloin at 4am

The giant rats that used to be at the Powell Street Turnaround area at night

Going cruising through the Tenderloin to check out the hookers, before they swept all the cool ones

Hiking out to the Presidio, drinks in hand

Parades, street fairs, cultural events. All the time, everywhere you look.

The Easter Morning Ride to Mount Tam, well before sunrise, mobs of motorcyclists waiting at their start points to join the fray as we proceed to Marin (the only time I’ll go)

The walk through Alamo Square at night, among the ornate Victorians

Being attacked by a squirrel in the park in the rain, and the quails inching slowly away from us

Following James up the road through the fog to emerge to the Sutro Tower and Twin Peaks lookout

Everything. All the time. And almost all of my memories of the last 13 years.

Sadly, the city couldn’t keep us. Paul’s career is in the South Bay, and mine appears to be there as well, at least for now. The commute was killing him.

Given our different tastes and needs, downtown city life is not going to work for us as a couple, so we’ve found a decent compromise in an area that is at least connected by transit to what I need. The new place is two blocks from a Caltrain station, so I can come back when I want, but also situated very close to our jobs so we’ll be able to enjoy our time and stop wasting so much time and mental energy lanesplitting our combined 150 miles each day. Being near each other will be not only lovely, but convenient, and free us to pursue things we’ve been shoving aside for a long time. I can’t believe I stopped sewing some years ago. But maybe I needed to stop for a while. Somehow the idea of sewing while Paul is nearby seems fantastical to me, like a weird domestic dream I never could have imagined.

The new place is in probably the most walkable city-esque part of the South Bay, next to Caltrain, and with plenty of restaurants and stores nearby, which is an ideal compromise of what we each need.

And I can’t wait, though part of me wishes to prolong my time in my hometown. Now I look forward to many days sitting at home pursuing my hobbies and studies while knowing that Paul is in the room next to me, that we can be nearby and create a new home and new favorites and new memories together. I don’t expect Mountain View to ever be the leading love-interest character that San Francisco was, that’s not what the suburbs are for. But now I’ll have space to be with my real leading love, and time and space to do the things I haven’t been able to do in the past couple of years.

Don’t ever expect me to love the South Bay though. I was raised there, and I know what it’s about. It’s a place to hang your hat, park your cars, and keep your stuff. It’s a place to landscape, shop, and plan your kitchen remodel. None of this interests me. I don’t need to park my car, and I don’t need to have space for a third bedroom, and I don’t need a yard to make my own personal park. I don’t want an Applebee’s; I prefer the worn in seat at Orphan Andy’s where we retired after many a night closing nightclubs. The food was crap, but we always knew we’d get the same cranky but genuine service. I don’t want the options, parking, and service of Home Depot, I just want the hardware store that is too small to carry much, but where I remember putting in my special order for 36 locks keyed alike for my senior collection. They never asked, because it probably wasn’t the weirdest thing they’d been asked that day. I could give a shit about your McMansion with a three-car garage. You wouldn’t need a three-car garage if you didn’t live in a wasteland, and you wouldn’t need all those extra rooms if you didn’t have to fill your life with crap to make up for the lack of substance and culture.

It’s the quiet moments I’ll miss the most. Most people respond to my hometown with “there’s so much going on there” or “I hate it; there’s no place to park.” “Too many people, not enough space” They don’t know that every Tuesday night returning from Mandarin class, raccoons would scurry across my path on Church Street, and they don’t know the glory of Delores Park on a summer weekend. That I can walk 30 minutes and see starfish, an overlook of the bay from a remote bench in a national park, wild parrots (not where you think). Every so often, you let something show, a little flash of ankle: a sunken ship off Ocean Beach, an earthquake shack, a grave hiccupped from your depths (weren’t they all moved?), Lotta’s Fountain, some twisted metal unearthed at Land’s End... Memories of all the great people that loved you. All the memories of my life forming in random places. (will anyone discover them a hundred years from now?) That just there, I broke a boy’s heart, four hundred feet away, mine was broken too. In that grocery aisle, in that intersection. That’s where I decided I would never put up with that shit, ever again. There, I forgave someone smaller than myself. There, I got good news, and behind that corner, I cried…

All this time, I saw our future together, but it isn’t meant to be. Besides, I remember when Willie Brown sold you like a cheap whore. I felt bad for you then, but now it just gets worse. It’s not your fault. Your spirit is still there, but hidden in quiet places the tourists never see. They criticize you because they don’t know you for who you are. You’re right to hide it, keep some for yourself and those who are willing to make the effort. They love you for all the wrong reasons, but you coyly keep something for yourself. Hopefully you’ll keep a little something for me when I come to be with you again. And I hope I will, but we never know where our lives will lead. I couldn’t have guessed this path, and I don’t know yours, but I’ll always carry the Old Gold Mountain with me, and the part of you that is shared by all your many lovers, over the years, over the centuries.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I need to pursue professional development programs, ie: PMP Project Management Certification

or other good trainings and certifications

I'm looking for input from someone who has their PMP, about where to start, best paths, good books or classes.

Please to advise.


Letter in hand, I still have a job. Mergers and Acquisitions are stressful. As of today, I am on-board! Yays!

I love this job, and want to keep it for a long time!

Ya vote! Y tu?

In Pakistan, they do not get to vote.

Here, we get to vote, but we don't.

That is pretty sad.