Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bland, Cheap, Somewhat Tempting, and Crammed with Empty Calories

A weekend trip out of town, even just up to Sacramento ... probably a good idea. It's nice to get out of the city, if only to regain one's perspective on surroundings.

While the favorite ex sleeps off the doldrums of a night short on sleep and a morning stuck in a Saturday make-up class (the professor is the one making it up ... which apparently means all the students have to as well), I took a walk to the nearest strip mall for some Pho' and fresh air. Aside from a couple people walking their dogs, and one retiree on her Saturday speed walk, I was the only one wandering the meandering sidewalks — think on that a minute; the sidewalks aren't made straight here, for getting from place to place, because it's assumed if you actually have to get somewhere, you're going to drive in this town. There were trees, and grass, and city-employed gardeners mowing the meridian lawns. I walked by a couple cookie-cutter apartment complexes, and a whole bunch of McMansions that make up the bulk of the neighborhood.

The houses are sort of nice, in a simpletonesque sort of way. But they have no character. Maybe they will somewhere down the line, kind of like how the cookie-cutter homes of my grandparents' Palo Alto neighborhood now seem quaint and retro, even though every house is exactly the same save the landscaping and the color. But at the moment they seem a lot like an analogy for the housing boom of the last decade or so: a whole lot of hot air and plastic, with little actual value in the end.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Obviously, pleasure causes disease.

I should write more often. Even if it's bullshit ... need to redevelop my voice, get used to words on a screen (my handwriting's too messy anymore for the on-paper bit), get used to forming sentences in silence. It might be a good idea, like I was mentioning to Geof last night on the phone, to sign myself up for some sort of writing workshop, just to force me to produce something and hold it up for public criticism.

By the way: attitude is everything, I believe. For instance, Friday the 13th, a random event based on a Western European concept and definition of time, is completely a constructed concept. Whether it's unlucky or just another normal day, completely all psychological. I know this. And yet, I hold the conviction deep in my soul that Friday the 13th is my official Lucky Day. Doesn't matter what's planned for it. I don't let bad things bother me on that day, and generally just try to let the day plan itself. Self-fulfilling prophecy: this last weekend was one of the best I've had in a long time. And I didn't even get laid. Really. (Sorry, Buzz-Buzz, I love you but you don't count.)

In fact, the entire weekend was an exercise in canceled or redirected plans and spontaneous happenings, all for the good. Got more drunk on Friday evening than I had been planning, but in the good way. Saturday's Sonic plans got canceled (you still owe me, Dave), but that didn't keep me from having a burger with Geof and then wandering randomly around town, being goofy — exactly the kind of day I'd been missing lately.

Unfortunately, I also have a deep conviction that everything in the universe balances out, including luck. So of course, Sunday and Monday I had to fight against a virus/worm program that had invaded my computer system, despite the supposedly secure defense system (Spybot Search and Destroy, Norton Anti-Virus) I had against this very type of this. Worms are insidious creatures — you try to track them down in your system, think you've deleted them, only to find that they've tricked you and reinstalled themselves somewhere else. Also: they delete all your system restore points, block access to your own system registry, and generally make an ass of themselves in your personal cyberspace. My advice: don't get one. It's stressful.

Ended up spending the entirety of Monday evening moving things over to my other hard drive and wiping clean my entire Master drive &mdash complete reformat and reinstall. As I slowly begin to reinstall four years' worth of programs and settings (the last time I reformatted my hard drive was when I built this computer ... before that, college), I rediscover all the things I lost in my frustrated rush to get rid of that monster: Outlook contacts, pirated programs, bookmarked favorites ...

To the people who write these nasty programs: I hope your children die of tapeworms, and that you die of hypothermia. Seriously. Fuckers. If I ever find out your names I'll do my Tarot-Gypsy-Jewish magic on you, and oh boy, will you ever suffer.

Still doesn't make me want to switch to a Mac, though. Not one whit.

At least 2009 looks to be a good year for me. Friday the 13th comes up three times this year, and the first run-through went quite well. Can't wait until next month, since it's the day right after my birthday (also a day I consider "lucky").

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Nostalgia: The Silent Killer

Perhaps another year alone really is getting to me, after all. Not usually one to let V-Day get to me anymore, still I started choking up on the MUNI ride home from a work meeting this afternoon, thinking about the last time for this, the last time for that. Secret jokes and smiles, and lazy days; waking up warm in the bed together and drinking together and soaking up the familiar neuroticism. Special moments that I clutch close inside my deepest most secret thoughts, that he probably doesn't even remember. I don't know if I miss him, or if I miss just having someone to share that with. Nostalgia and selective memory are painting everything more beautiful than it was, more sacred. I know better than this, but I still can't help but succumb a little to the siren song of hopelessness.

I think I'm PMSing. That might explain all overwhelming emotion.

Beyond that, I've been in a good mood the past couple of days. A project at work is giving me the chance to become a Daywalker for the last week of February, so I'll actually have the chance to generate some Vitamin D, and see some people I don't usually get to talk to. It will also give me a chance to see how I'd enjoy working during the day, in case I ever do decide to give up my differential and leave Graveyard. Could I survive the ravages of crowded public transit, harsh sunlight, and noisy coworkers? It remains to be seen.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

New Name, Refocus

I finally am going with the name for this blog I've had floating around in the back of my head for months: "Waiting for the J". If you live in SF, you know what a pointless exercise this is: the J train is one of the most notoriously-late lines in the entire San Francisco Municipal Transportation system.

I made this mistake twice this weekend; Friday night on the way to Burgermeister and Lucky 13 for for dinner and drinks with Laura and Jeremy, and Saturday evening while taking friends-from-high school Jenny and Melissa over to the Financial District to watch the Chinese New Year parade. In both instances I ended up walking in frustration, making it to the bottom of Dolores Park (about 3/4 of a mile down the line) before the train finally caught up with us (after already being 15 minutes late). Good for my butt and legs, at least (except for the fact that we used that opportunity to stop by Bi-Rite Creamery on the Saturday trip ... yum).

My last post to this blog reminds me of just how much I've been running in circles this last year. Another pointless exercise.

At any rate, despite my resolution against trips this year, it seems I'm fated to travel nonetheless. Two excursions in mind for this year (so far):

At the end of March I head to Europe for a week and a half; my mother offered to pay for my plane ticket, since this will likely be my grandmother's final year in Belgium before she (finally) returns to the US for permanent. It's been over 8 years since the last time I headed anywhere internationally, and my friend Emily has been trying to drag me out there pretty much as long as she's been living in Bruxelles (about a year and change now). Having half the costs pre-footed makes this trip finally affordable. Flying into Amsterdam for a couple days, then taking the train down to Bruxelles and I plan to alternate between hanging out around town with Grandma Stella and doing day trips with Emily (and possibly Grandma). Then I train down to Paris for four days to meet up with my mom and sister, get fat on éclairs, and practice mon français on hot French boys before I fly back to the US in time for a 12-hour nap before work.

In July, I've already reserved a week off work for the Fourth, and I'm making it official now that I'm going to spend that week on another pilgrimage to Portland and the Northwest. So this is your warning, my friends up north. I'd like to do a little wine tasting (in other words, resupplying my booze cabinet), attack Powell's, take a drive back up to Seattle, and maybe even do a day again at Cannon Beach. We'll see. Who'll be around for that?

And finally, for your viewing amusement, this week's Creepy Photo of the Weekend:

Heil Ronald

Now wasn't that exciting?