Thursday, December 30, 2004

logic will break your heart

It's hard to believe that it's been a year and a half since I graduated from college. That's such a long time...and yet it doesn't feel like long at all. However, it feels like my life is slipping away from me just a little bit, and I don't get quite so many chances to indulge my random, senseless fun side as I did when I was in college. Without the ability to plan fun, random dorm events or engage in fun, random conversations with many and varied people, my life has lost some of the sparkle that it used to have.

I still have it better than a lot of people my age, or at least I think so--I've run into a couple of former classmates while home who have already been married and divorced, or who now have kids, and I have so many more options and less responsibilities than they do. And I still have a lot of fun, and I get to engage in infrequent but wildly memorable random acts of happiness, such as Coachella, or drunken watching of 'The Chronicles of Riddick,' or Germany vs. Austria night. I also have great plans for the new year...Claudia and I (and hopefully Ritu and Marco) want to go to Coachella again, and I want to have a 'Black Death' feast in April, and I have hopes for other fun activities. And of course I have the Shrimp or Feet game, which adds a lot of vim and vigor (and marinated duck tongue) to my life.

I guess my biggest fear, though, is that my friends are slowly maturing past my threshold of optimum craziness. Perhaps maturing isn't the right word...but they are slowly accruing responsibilities and relationships that make continued zaniness hard to achieve. Or, they are moving away, which makes them less useful for my purposes. When I'm thirty-five, I'd like to believe that I will also have a family to think about, rather than fun-filled trips to nowhere, but what if I don't? I can't just hang around college campuses forever looking for younger people to plan stuff with...but I also can't really kidnap my friends for extended periods of time to satisfy my needs.

Ah well, everyone has to grow up. It really is true that logic will break your heart...the cold hard facts of modern life, when looked at objectively and without false hope, are enough to dampen the enthusiasm of even the most idealistic individuals.

However, life is still good in Iowa; my family is really ridiculously functional. The four of us ate dinner together and then played a game of hearts, just like we did last night. So, I really can't complain at all. But, this idyllic little scene of familial 'perfection' makes me realize that it will be even harder for me to find a relationship and, ultimately, a life that will satisfy me, when there are so many ways that things can go wrong and so few instances where love works out. And it's those perfectionist tendencies, at the end of the day, that cost me the most.

Anyway, don't mind me, it's almost the end of the year and so it's a good time to reflect on what has come before and what may come in the future. Have a safe and happy New Year's Eve, everyone!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

tell 'em how your pleasure's set up on slow release

Due to the calamitous circumstances in the areas affected by the tsunami and my own morbid curiosity, I've been reading a lot of news articles lately related to the massive suffering and loss in the region. It really is impossible to imagine what's happening there, how much higher the death toll will rise, and how the survivors will ever be able to rebuild when the vast majority of them were uninsured and were already below the poverty level.

Of course, because I like to know as much as possible about everything, I started reading more about other possible geological catastrophes. In fact, this entire vacation has revolved around talk off apocalyptic events; when my parents took me out for lunch after I arrived in Des Moines, my brother and I told our father that he could engage in schemes where he borrowed money and promised to pay it back in 2013--the ancient Mayans had a 'long count' of 1,366,560 days, and archaeologists have determined that the ending of the current (fourth) cycle corresponds to the winter solstice in 2012. The Mayans had highly developed calendars, accurately predicting solar and lunar eclipses for hundreds of years, etc., and so there are some apocalyptic theorists who feel that the end of their long count (and the abrupt ending of all their calendars at the projected end of this age) indicates some cataclysmic change. So, this conversation eventually evolved to a hysterical image of my father saying 'Mayans!' to the banker after obtaining a loan, and then walking out without explaining his enigmatic comment.

So anyway, 'Mayans!' has become the punchline of my entire break, and I was doing some reading tonight and verified a rumor I had heard that Yellowstone National Park is sitting on top of a massive supervolcano that has erupted 1.2 million and 600,000 years ago, covering the western half of the United States in thick layers of ash and resulting in a worldwide 'volcanic winter'. The fact that it still has so much geothermal and seismic activity is somewhat worrisome, and scientists estimate that a vast magma chamber extends under almost all of the present boundaries of the park. Scary!

Even better, a supervolcano of some sort has erupted approximately every 50-70,000 years somewhere on earth, and the last one was ~70,000 years ago on Sumatra in Indonesia. Geneticists, working independently, discovered that human mitochondrial DNA has much less diversity than they expected based on the several-million-year history of our species--and they had determined that a 'bottleneck' had occurred in the past that narrowed our genetic pool to perhaps 5000 or 10000 individuals, before the expansion that led to our current billions. That bottleneck is estimated to be 70-80,000 years ago...coinciding perfectly with the eruption on Sumatra, which lowered global temperatures by 5 degrees Celsius and triggered a major ice age.

Now, isn't that all fascinating? I'm thinking I need to get out of the west coast; the two most likely sites for a supervolcano eruption in North America are apparently Yellowstone...and Long Valley, California (near Mammoth Lake/Yosemite), where a supervolcano erupted 760,000 years ago and volcanic eruptions continue. Then you have the Cascades, and of course all the earthquakes that California should just assume will come eventually, not to mention the freaking crazy people who inhabit California and are dangerous in their own right.

However, Iowa isn't exactly safe either--the New Madrid fault (in Missouri) had three 8+ magnitude quakes in the early 1800s, and because of the different geologic composition east of the Rockies, shockwaves from a quake of that size can travel much farther--the quakes in the 1800s were centered in Missouri, but damage was reported in Washington D.C., and church bells rang in Boston (1000 miles away!) As far as the human factor here, there is less crime, but the crime that does occur is often more bizarre--just across the line in Missouri, a body was recently found, decomposed to the point that only bones remained, and local speculation is that it was a gang hit from some criminals in Kansas City. However, it turns out that the guy was the brother or cousin (stories change frequently here) of another dude whom the Des Moines police shot earlier this year when he pulled a gun on them during a high-speed car chase...and *that* guy was later discovered to have been an arsonist who burned down a Des Moines church and several other buildings. To top it off, when the police investigated his house in Missouri, they found a stock tank in the garage with a heat lamp over it and three live alligators, which may have been used to dispose of other bodies. Weird!

So between tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, alligators, and the Mayans, I think we're all pretty much fucked. Life sure is interesting, though.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

why can't we just play the other game?

Today was amazingly non-productive, in the way that all vacation days should be--I rolled out of bed around 1pm, sat around for awhile, made a sandwich, talked to my mom while watching 'As the World Turns', watched some Dr. Phil, was amazed and disgusted by my ability to watch Dr. Phil, which is even worse in some ways that watching another rerun of 'I Love the '90s', and so made a batch of my dad's favorite oatmeal/chocolate chip cookies. Then I ate dinner, watched some more TV, read a couple of issues of one of my mom's home decorating magazines, and surfed the net looking for sofas, kitchen gadgets, etc. Now it's half past midnight, and I should go to bed again, since I'm meeting some friends in town for lunch tomorrow. Yay.

I'm listening to Interpol's 'Antics,' which I got for Christmas; I really like it, which is good since I asked my parents for it solely based on the 'If you like this, you'll like...' recommendations on Amazon. I'd also heard the song 'Evil' when I switched iPods with a coworker a couple of weeks ago; we made mixes for each other and switched for the day, and I was a bit surprised/amused when I hit 'swampler's playlist' on his iPod and saw that 'Evil' was the first song. But, the song is really good, and I recommend it. I'm not sure that I'm happy that my taste is shifting to whatever style encompasses Interpol/Franz Ferdinand/Postal Service/Killers, etc., but I'm so sick of my old music that I'll take just about anything right now. So, I'm cycling between this music, techno, and Bon Jovi, and all is good.

However, I was watching the TV the other day and a song came on, and I found myself remembering how much I liked the song...only to realize a fraction to late that it was Beck's 'Lost Cause'. I have professed to hate a) Beck, b) the album 'Sea Change' that this song is located on, and c) the song itself, so I was annoyed that I admitted to myself that I like it before I recognized what the song was. Damn. I hate when I do that--professing an irrational hatred of something that is inoffensive at worst and actually fantastic at best, and then being caught in the lie later when I don't recognize the object of my prior hatred in time. The same thing happened to me with 'The Princess Bride,' which is just retarded. Whatever, I still hate Beck, he's such a scene. The fact that I have a Beck playlist on my itunes means absolutely nothing; it's only there so that I know to avoid all of those awful songs, like 'Loser' and 'Lost Cause' and that song off the 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' soundtrack. Beck blows.

Five full days of vacation left, plus almost all of Monday, since my flight doesn't leave Des Moines until late afternoon. Iowa is great--it was like six below one night last week, with unbelievable windchills, and then there was an unexpected, highly unusual heat spell and it was fifty degrees today. The weather here is always messed up and unpredictable, which is the way I like to lead my life, so it's kind nice. They even think there might be *thunderstorms* on Thursday, which is so crazy since it should be a blizzard instead. Oh well, as long as the airport doesn't get taken out by some freak act of nature, and the airlines don't mess up as badly this weekend as they did last weekend, I'll be a happy camper.

i ain't missing you at all

Merry Christmas, everyone. I've had a very enjoyable few days. Friday was Christmas Eve, and we celebrated with the traditional package-opening with my sister and her three kids, followed by the even more traditional dinner, church, and package-opening at my paternal grandmother's house. Unfortunately, we didn't have the traditional lasagna; instead, we had turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, etc. But, I scored a cool watch from my very chic aunt (it's Paul Frank, so it has a monkey on the face, and the face is *red*, and there are three interchangeable watchbands in red, black, and white). I also got a designer mirror from my grandmother that is really lovely but unfortunately doesn't match anything that I have, nor does it go with my stuff :( It also says 'come home for love' on it, which is about as blatant as you can get with a plea to come home...I know she's not expressing anything that the rest of my family doesn't feel as well, but she isn't nearly so 'understanding' about my desire to stay in California for awhile as the rest of my family is.

Anyway, Saturday was Christmas Day, and it was nice--my parents, brother and I woke up and exchanged gifets, and sat around for awhile, and then my dad's brother, sister-in-law, and nephew came over for Christmas dinner, as well as my grandmother. Aunt Becky had left early Christmas Day to go to her boyfriend's (!) parents' house, so it was a little strange not to have her around. Also, Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day dinner are at two completely different times; Christmas Eve dinner is always around 5:30 or 6 to leave time for church, while Christmas Day dinner is always around 12:30 or 1pm. Dinner in my family is really just the largest meal of the day, hence the different times. We had ham on Christmas Day, which was super tasty, and we played 90s Trivial Pursuit (VH1's 'I Love the 90s' helped me to dominate), then I took a nap in front of the fireplace in the living room while some people watched the Chiefs game.

Yesterday was my immediate family's 'perfect day' together; my mother was expressing sadness that we are destined to have very few remaining days together where it's just the four of us, and she wanted it to be nice. So, we spent it eating brunch: Dad made bacon, eggs, blueberry muffins, toast, and fried potatoes, with orange juice and milk on the side (you get the idea that all we do is eat? no wonder we're all overweight). Then we watched the pilot episode for the TV series 'Stargate: SG1' which my brother got on DVD; turns out that the pilot is two hours, so that took a large chunk of time. Then, while waiting to figure out what game we were going to play, my brother fell asleep, and my dad and I got engrossed in a documentary about Frank Lloyd Wright on PBS. I was surprised to learn so many salacious aspects of his personal life; at one point he had a mistress with whom he was deeply in love, and she died tragically while he was in Chicago and she was at their house in Wisconsin--a disgruntled servant poured gasoline all around the house, bolted all the doors and windows but one, set the house on fire, and then slaughtered the occupants with a hatchet as they ran out the remaining door. The servant split the mistress' skull open, killed her two children from a previous marriage, and wiped out all but two of the workmen who had been in the house. Crazy!

So we watched that, and then my father made homemade pizza (I have a pizza stone that I got for Christmas last year that I need to have sent to me when I move; homemade pizza is so great), and then we played three full games of hearts. My mother was satisfied, despite the TV interlude during the afternoon, and despite the fact that she got trounced at hearts.

Today, my aunt, uncle and three cousin's on my mom's side came up from St. Louis, and we exchanged more gifts and ate lunch. My uncle on that side is paraplegic, so we had trouble getting him in the house; we ended up having to take the back door off its hinges, but he still couldn't progress any farther than the kitchen :( It's a bad deal for family unity that my grandmother on that side passed away; her house was handicap-accessible, but ours definitely isn't. Hopefully my parents build their new house soon; our house is very old, constantly shifting, and likely to collapse someday, and a newer, handicap-accessible house is just a better idea for them as they get older anyway. For instance, it's v. difficult to open and close the back door right now because the house has shifted to hamper it; however, the bathroom door downstairs was also nearly impossible to shut a few years ago and now is back to normal and shuts perfectly. Or, take the example of our icemaker, which worked fantastically when we first installed it, but no longer works because the pipe running water from the main water pipe to the refrigerator is now slanted uphill, rather than down, and so can't get water to the freezer. Isn't that great?

Anyway, the plans for the new house are really cool; a full deck off the living and dining rooms overlooking the pond, a walk-out basement with a home-theater type setup inside, a kitchen built around the antique woodblock that we still have from my great-grandparents' grocery store. But, I will still miss our house; we've lived here my entire life, and it has that cozy feeling that a house gets after being occupied for nearly a century that I can't imagine the new house will have. Not that I'm in love with my room in this house; it's usually full of junk from my brother's attempts at reorganizing his own junk, and it's like a little time capsule from six years ago, replete with my baby-pink bedspread and a calendar that still reads 'September 1999' and has the date when I flew to Stanford underlined in then-anticipation. But, whatever room is ostensibly mine in a new house will never really be mine; it will just be a room that I sleep in when I visit my parents, but it won't hold any memories of my childhood. Oh, well, all things must come to an end, and this house will not survive another thirty years, in my opinion.

I have lots of fun toys to play with when I get back to California, mostly kitchen gadgets--new red silicone kitchenaid spatulas and stirring spoons, a minature red kitchenaid cutting board, a meat carving knife and fork, irish coffee glasses, a bartending/mixed drink guide, a red kitchenaid skillet, a red griddle, a waffle iron, and some other stuff that escapes me at the moment. I also got some dvds and cds, and a beautiful diploma frame from my brother that may encourage me to actually display my degree rather than leaving it to languish in a box.

Oh yeah, and so we did Christmas with my mom's side of the family, then went to a wedding reception for my mom's cousin's son and his new wife. The girl was very sweet, and much too attractive for my smart but somewhat awkward cousin; being the nasty, judgmental person that I am, I figured that she's in it for the green card, but I could be totally wrong and needlessly cynical. Then I came home, took a nap, and went out around 11:30 for drinks with Katie, Elaina, and Katie's boyfriend James. I hadn't seen Elaina in years, since she's been in Spain and we haven't been here at the same time for a long time, I hadn't seen Katie since August, and I'd never met James. All in all, fun was definitely had; we sat at a tavern in town and had $2 bottles of Bud Light and reminisced about the 'old days.' Ha. We're getting together again on Wednesday, just me, Katie, Hannah and Elaina--it will be great to be back together again, since the four of us did everything together in high school, but have grown apart (or at least I've grown apart) since Hannah got married and Elaina's been abroad. Fun times!

This has turned into a novella, which is unfortunate since I should be writing my real novel instead :( Take care, everyone, and sleep well wherever you are.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

nobody makes me bleed my own blood!

I'm back in Iowa, after an uneventful but very long trip back from California. I left SFO around 10:30 last night, and I had to fly through Detroit, which just happens to be in the Eastern timezone, and about an hour and a half east of Des Moines. So I got there around 6am, which was 3am PST, and sat in the airport for three hours waiting to board. The airport was freezing, since the heater was broken in the concourse, so I was happy to get on the plane. But then, my plane sat on the runway there for almost two hours waiting to be de-iced, since Detroit was in the midst of a snowstorm. To make matters even better, it was four degrees when I landed in Des Moines at eleven a.m. today. That's freaking cold! It's so cold that it actually hurts to take a breath. Luckily, my new down-lined hot pink bomber jacket with the fur-trimmed hood held up admirably under the arctic conditions, and was much more suited for Iowa than it is for the relatively tropical conditions of the Bay Area. And, I bought a hat, scarf, and mittens at the mall while we were finishing our Christmas shopping, so I'm ready for the worst. It's a couple of degrees below zero right now, with a windchill of -15 to -20...but it's supposed to get to a relatively balmy 35 or so over the weekend. Yay!

That's all for now...tomorrow is Christmas Eve, which is a big deal in my family; my sister and her kids are coming over for presents in the afternoon, and then everyone gathers at Gram Wampler's house for Christmas Eve dinner and more presents with my dad's siblings and my cousin on that side. I love that I spent an hour wrapping presents tonight and will probably spend a similar amount of time wrapping tomorrow--and then it will be unwrapped almost immediately. Oh, Christmas, how I love thee.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

'suburban teenagers: the new prostitutes. next on oprah'

The above quote was a rather abrupt soundbite promoting Oprah at the end of a commercial break earlier today; it just wasn't a phrase that I was expecting to hear.

Hmm, the weekend. Friday Vidya came over and I made a lemon cake, and then she went home. I picked Claudia up after she went out with her coworkers and she spent the night on my loveseat. Yesterday, I watched a lot of VH1 with Claudia, then Claudia, Terry and I had In-n-Out for lunch, and then watched 'Goodbye Lenin'. It was a German film with a great combination of humor and pathos; basic plotline is that a woman who had devoted herself to the Communist East German state fell into a coma just before the fall of the Wall, and when she came out seven months later, her family was told that it was important to keep her from being shocked, and so they managed to pretend that East Germany still existed. Very good, and highly recommended.

Then I had a bunch of work to do last night, so I worked for a few hours. Bleh. I slept for twelve hours, which was *fantastic*...it was the first time in I don't know how long that I slept in and didn't have work, or brunch plans, or movie plans, or whatever. I finished my Christmas shopping this afternoon (yay), came home, made six dozen cookies and a cake for work tomorrow, and also watched the last two-thirds of 'The Two Towers' with Terry. I *love* that movie; I think it was my favorite of the three. 'The Fellowship of the Ring' has a lot of great scenes, and of course 'The Return of the King' has the climax of the whole story...but the battle at Helm's Deep, the drawing of Saruman out of Theoden, the scene where Elrond forsees Arwen's death, the oliphaunts, the shot of Legolas shooting wolves as the army rides up behind him on the hill (and then Legolas grabs the strap of the horse and inexplicably makes it into the saddle), Gimli getting tossed, the ent punting the orc, etc., etc....it's all so good. I also love the leitmotif for the uruk hai, which is most pronounced in this one, as well as the theme for Rohan, so all in all the movie rocks and I can watch it over and over again. Yay!

I'm excited for the extended version; I hope that my family follows tradition and gets me the extended version for Christmas, but if not I'm buying it for myself as soon as I get back to California. The only thing better than a ridiculously long movie is an extension of a ridiculously long movie.

So yeah, life's good, and I go home Wednesday night! Yay! I fly out of SFO around 10:30pm, to Detroit, which is unfortunate since Detroit so far east of Iowa that it's actually in the Eastern time zone :( I will sit there for approximately three hours, then get on a flight back to Des Moines, where I am scheduled to arrive sometime around 9am on Thursday. It's going to be a brutally tiring endeavor, but worth it...I'll be home for eleven days, since I don't come back to California until late on Monday the third, and I think it will be really fun. It will inevitably seem too short, but it will be great.

Now, to bed...I have a cookie exchange at work tomorrow (that's what the cookies are for) from six to eight, which means I will not get home until later :( Ah well. As long as I get a chance to pack on Tuesday, I'll be good to go. Goodnight!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

get busy child

Today was fun; I had a conference call at 7:45am (boo), then worked all day, then came home. So maybe that wasn't the fun part. No, the fun part was when I got home and made dinner for friends. I made garbanzo bean and chorizo soup, which is a somewhat far cry from the beef stews of my childhood, but only if you are concerned by replacing beef with chorizo and potatoes with garbanzo beans. Anyway, the soup was easy to make, although it took a long time to cook; it required chicken broth, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and garbanzo beans, which cooked for like three hours, then some sauteeing of chorizo, adding that to the soup, seasoning w/fresh rosemary, salt and pepper, and then pureeing half the soup in the blender so that the finished mixture was more smooth. It was really tasty, especially when one dipped bread into it. It passed the 'would I make it again?' test with flying colors, so I should add it to my recipe box.

The strawberry shortcake also made me happy, and either my friends actually liked it smothered in half and half, or they were humoring me, but either way we all had a good time and I like my strawberry shortcake like my mother makes is, straight from the oven, covered in strawberries, and drowning in cream. Mmm. We also had a bottle of wine, although we only finished half of it, so we'll have to drink some more tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, I should go to bed; I have much work to do, and the O.C. is on tomorrow night, which I will of course want to see. Ah, so much to do...and a week from now, I will be on a place somewhere between here and the Midwest! Yay. But that means I need to finish my Christmas shopping, and take care of errands here, and we need to start looking for new apartments, which means that I should start packing soonish. Damn. Oh well, it will be lovely to live someplace else! Take care, friends...and when in doubt, listen to techno. I've got techno in my car stereo right now, and I've been listening to a techno mix at work (in fact, the subject line of this post comes from 'Busy Child' by Crystal Method). I promise, it will make all your problems go away!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

thumbprints and stressing

Let's see. Work continues to be hectic, and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. However, I'm leaving for Iowa next Wednesday! That's v. exciting, and I'm hoping that it will be v. relaxing as well.

Tonight, Terry and I went shopping and grocery shopping, then came home and I tried a new cookie recipe. The recipe: jam thumbprints (shortbread cookies w/jam in the center). The verdict: decent, but won't replace my chocolate chip chewies as my favorite easy cookie. I need to figure out what I'm making for a cookie exchange at work next week, so maybe I'll experiment some more in the coming days.

Tomorrow, Claudia is coming over for dinner, and I'm making the garbanzo bean and chorizo soup that I had in Sonoma. The winery that served it sent the recipes out, and I really want to try it. So, we're having soup and wine, and I'm making strawberry shortcake, which Vidya may join us for (since she can't eat the oh-so-meaty soup). But first, I have a meeting at 8am tomorrow. That's in 7.5 hours! Damn. That means I should go to bed.

Luckily, 'The Librarian: Quest for the Spear' isn't on tonight; Sunday night, I ended up staying up until two because I got sucked into this awful made for TV movie starring Noah Wyle in a blatant ripoff of Indiana Jones. However, Noah Wyle wasn't a professor; he was the newly-chosen 'librarian' charged with guarding important artifacts, such as Excalibur and Pandora's Box. The Serpent Brotherhood showed up and stole one-third of the Spear of Destiny (the spear that stabbed Jesus on the cross). The other two parts were hidden in other places; for context, Hitler only had one piece, so imagine how powerful the Serpent Brotherhood would be with all three. Luckily, the clues to the spear were left in a book, written in the Language of the Birds, which is what we (and the birds) spoke before the Tower of Babel. Even more luckily, Noah Wyle was able to decipher and learn the whole language in seven hours without any comparative/Rosetta Stone-type assistance. To top it off, there was a hot girl sent to protect him, and they ended up falling in love, of course.

I will ruin the ending for you so that you aren't tempted to catch it on TNT when they show it again next weekend--even though only Noah Wyle was the only one who could find the pieces, and so you would think it would have been better to leave them alone than to lead the Serpent Brotherhood to them, they found one piece in the Amazon and the other piece in Shangri-La (oh, it's real). Of course the Serpent Brotherhood took both the pieces. But the only way to merge them back together was to use incredible power, some ridicuously high electromagnetic field--which supposedly, improbably, inexplicably, could only be generated by the full moon shining down on the Great Pyramid back when its original capstone was in place. Of course, some mad professor had just built a model, and the 1:100 model was apparently still big enough to pull off the necessary magnetic field. Just when all hope was lost, Bob Newhart busted out some nifty martial arts skillz and took out an entire regiment of Serpent Brotherhood members. And the bad dude got smashed by the capstone. And the Spear of Destiny returned to the library.

Isn't that special?

And aren't I special for a) staying up until 2am to watch it, b) staying up an extra five minutes to tell you all about it? I'm so stupid!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

...it must be taken deep into mordor and cast back into the chasm from whence it came...

I'm watching 'The Fellowship of the Ring' on TNT right now, which is v. nice, even though it's four hours when you add all the commercials. However, commercials give me a chance to do the things that I need to do, like putting away my laundry (which I folded meticulously during the first hour). And, since I've seen it so many times already, I don't have to concentrate on the movie too hard, which means that I can do work, which is a little sad because I would rather be writing, but I had stuff for work that I had to do tonight. Too bad, but these things happen.

The movie just finished the Bridge of Khazad-Dum sequence, which I think is one of the most amazing sequences in the history of film. That's the non-expert opinion of someone who tends to like trash, of course. In fact, the other day Claudia told me that she preferred the redemption of Boromir at the end over the bridge scene, and I openly scoffed. We're still friends, but it may have caused an irreparable breach.

Anyway, this weekend...Friday, I took Claudia to Outback Steakhouse, because I desperately wanted steak and I wanted her to try the famed Bloomin' Onion (a whole deep-fried onion, for any of you who don't know). Then, we came back to my place, drank mudslides, and watched 'Dodgeball.' Donde esta la biblioteca, Pedro?

Saturday, I went up to the city to have brunch with a couple of my coworkers, which was v. entertaining. I came home, tried to do some Christmas shopping and failed, then had dinner with Zach, Claudia, and Geoff. We went to this Afghani place in Sunnyvale, and I was pleasantly surprised; it was really v. good. Today, I slept really late, then saw 'Ocean's Twelve.' I was mildly disappointed; the story focused far too much on how attractive and witty the stars were, and far too little on heists and robberies and hot, brilliant planning. The first part was entertaining, but then it started to drag, and it seemed like they were just filming it on a whim, which I guess is what it was. There were a few supremely funny shots, and I liked Matt Damon's character, and of course Brad Pitt was beyond attractive, but it didn't have much redeeming value beyond that.

Then, I went coat-shopping, and talked to my brother, and did laundry, and had dinner with Terry, and now I'm working and watching TV (and writing in my blog as a break). Isn't that exciting?

This week promises to be a trial by fire--two of the people I work really closely with both found out over the past week that they're transitioning to new roles in the next couple of weeks, and one of them is on vacation this week, so I basically get to figure out if I can handle everything they do myself. Yippee. We'll see how that goes--I'm sure that I can increase my efficiency levels if I try, and I'm pleased to have new growth opportunities or whatever, but I also like being able to go home and not have more work to do. So, we'll see what happens.

But, I go home in less than ten days! And, I will be there for eleven days, which will be amazing.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

smack my bitch up

I saw 'Closer' tonight with one of my coworkers...I can't decide whether I liked it or not. It was somewhat depressing, not in a crying sort of way, but more an uncomfortable sort of way. It did open up a lot of internal questions for me, which I suppose is what art is supposed to do; but as someone who likes questionless films like 'Troy' and 'Dodgeball', I don't always like films that make me think.

The biggest question is how I deal with forgiveness. Or rather, how I don't deal with forgiveness. I really have a high level of acceptance for things that other people would probably not accept (ill treatment, selfishness, etc.), and I have been nice to a lot of people far longer than I probably should have. However, there is a point of no return...beyond which things will never be the same.

'Closer' dealt mostly with the bad parts of relationships, rather than the good ones, as evidenced by the fact that the plot skipped forward, sometimes more than a year, to get to another one of the moments that redefined peoples' lives. And when you see only the bad parts, it's so easy to say that some things just can't be forgiven, forgotten, moved past, ignored. Like, had I been in any of the relationships in the movie, seeing only the things that we saw, there's no way that I would have forgiven anyone. But, when there are tons of good memories sifted in with the bad ones, everything gets more complicated.

Anyway, I don't really know where I'm going with this, or rather, I totally know where I'm going with this, but I don't know what conclusion it leads to and I wouldn't document it here anyway. Sorry, kids.

Hopefully I'll find time this weekend to write; it's been over three weeks. Sadness. Work has been really hectic, but I shouldn't have to do anything this weekend for work, so writing is possible. I also just want to relax and sit around, so we'll see what happens!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

wait...they don't love you like i love you

Nothing exciting happening; it's another fun-filled week of working, but I have some social plans that will make up for it. I had lunch with Vidya in Santa Clara yesterday, and then I worked until eight, came home, made mashed potatoes (w/sour cream and garlic) and a steak that was so bloody that it was merely warm inside, not hot, and there was a puddle of blood on my plate at the end of it. This amused and horrified Terry, who likes to cook her steak to the point of ruination, apparently. What an abomination :)

Today, Terry got hired full-time! That's very exciting, since it means that she will definitely be here for awhile. She took me out to dinner to celebrate--we went to Pasta? in Mountain View, and I had a surprisingly good spaghetti with mussels and calamari. Then we came home and watched 'Bottle Rocket,' which I rented a week ago and never got around to watching. It was really funny, in that offbeat way typical of Owen and Luke Wilson, and I'm even more psyched to see 'The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou' when it comes out.

So yeah, that's life right now. Exciting, eh? Now if I could just find time to write my romance novel...

Sunday, December 05, 2004

don't wanna be an american idiot

I watched VH1's 'Big in o4' "awards ceremony" tonight, where they gave trophies to the biggest things in 'o4, typically B-list celebs, etc. However, the whole thing was slightly too overly-politicized for my tastes; Michael Moore was on, but I don't know what he said because I vacuumed during his speech. I really dislike him, and I hated 'Bowling for Columbine' almost as much as I hated 'Fahrenheit 9/11'--I don't remember why, which is usually the way things go with things that I hate, but I do remember walking home from Flicks and being incredibly pissed off about it, but I didn't feel like discussing it with anyone because a) I was sure I was the lone dissenter, and b) I was an RA and didn't think that airing my political views was particularly appropriate. Anyway, I'll air them now--I can't stand Michael Moore. I respect his right to say whatever he wants, because that's the kind of freedom that America stands for, and I'm all for civil rights and free speech and all that good stuff. However, it drives me crazy that he reduces things to sound bites and sight gags, without offering any sort of constructive thoughts on how to make things better. He spent about five minutes in 'Fahrenheit 9/11' showing various Bush cabinet members getting their hair and makeup done before interviews. Anyone looks stupid getting their makeup done, and as I recall JFK was the politician who stepped it up a notch in the makeup department and beat Nixon in '60 as a result.

Deep breaths. Now is not the time for a tirade. Unfortunately, Democrats can write all the tirades they want about the election, but I feel that I can't say anything because it's rare that someone understands the point--they think that I'm either stupid or overreacting. So I'll engage in some self-censorship, which is what you really want, right? You can raise my taxes and use the money to 'help' me, and luckily you're so smart that you can figure out what I need without asking me, but you just hope that I'll be quietly, droolingly grateful without taking the time to vote against you. Ah, the American dream.

As for this weekend...

Saturday, we played 'Shrimp or Feet?' in Millbrae, and Claudia got *worked*. She technically won, earning two points and taking the lead at the end of Rount 1. However, it was really more like a loss...she ended up with marinated duck tongues. Like, 12 of them. Tammy and I both tried it, and it was disgusting. Shedletsky refused to try it and lost a point as a result. Claudia considered taking the loss, but instead she ate them all, which was amazing. They were really weird, and I think there's something philosophically hard about eating tongues--it really felt like you were biting off the end of someone's tongue, since the cartilage part was still in the back and you just had to bite off the front half where all the flesh was. It reminded me of the scene in 'Kill Bill vol. 1' where the Bride bites off the rapist's tongue. Alternatively, it reminded Claude of some gypsy ritual where, if a husband finds out that his wife is an adulteress, he repudiates her by kissing her in public and biting off her tongue. Gross!

Then Tammy, Terry, Claudia, Jackie and I went shopping in SF; I didn't buy anything, but we had fun wandering around. Later that night, we made cookies, and tammy came over and watched 'Austin Powers' with us. Today, I went to the office all afternoon to finish the thing I worked on last night, and then Terry and I did some desultory rearranging/preliminary decorating (I bought a small tree at Safeway, how exciting). Now I think it's time for bed! I wish I had written a couple of chapters of my romance novel this weekend, but it was too hectic, so we'll see what this week holds...

Saturday, December 04, 2004

the holidays come early

Tonight was the Christmas party at work, and it was amazing, as expected. It was at the Computer History Museum (across from the Century 16 on Shoreline) just like last year, but to accomodate for our growth, there were two big, heated tents outside. The theme was some sort of tropical paradise theme, and the decorations were fantastic. However, the live entertainment was even better. They paid one dude to just stand in the entrance and tug on a rope so that palm fronds would fan us from the ceiling as we checked our coats. They had rune, tarot, and palm readers. They had multiple performance groups; I saw the African dancers, who later turned into a conga line wending its way through the party, as well as the Polynesian dancers, and I'm sure there were more. One room offered makeovers, hair styling, manicures, and fake tanning (they'd put a plastic bag over your dress and spray you down with tanner). I had sushi and also shrimp cakes and a barbecued pork sandwich from the Hawaiian area, and a barbecued pork bun from the Chinese area, although I missed out on the Mexican food. I also had a cocktail, and custard for dessert. And they were giving out free stuff all over the place--Terry got a grass skirt (I already have one from Mirlo in-house draw that I just never wear), and we both got good-luck voodoo balls from the rune reader, and fake tattoos, and giant bead necklaces when we walked in, and a smaller bead necklace w/a figurine on it (that went straight down between my breasts when the dude draped it over me, not surprising since the dip in my halter top was ridiculously low), and one of those white shell/bead/whatever things like Jimmy Lin has. They had karaoke in one room, and other music in another room, and I saw a lot of my friends from work and all in all I had a lovely time.

Still, it was all rather ridiculous; as Terry put it, it was nicer than most peoples' wedding receptions, and nicer even than the opera opening galas she's been to. We left a little after eleven because our feet were killing us, the shuttle took us back to the 'plex, and we stopped in one of the kitchens and got coffee before coming home. It was a fun night, so that was awesome.

Dim sum tomorrow, and shopping. And then? I'd like to write, but someone needs a whole bunch of stuff from me Monday morning, and didn't tell me this until this afternoon, and so I'll have to work on Sunday. Sadness. But we'll see, I'd like to write the next chapter at least this weekend...

Thursday, December 02, 2004

stress case

I need to finish my romance novel. It is a) a matter of pride, since I want to do it, b) a matter of fulfillment of others' demands, since I hear about how it's not done or progressing from at least one person every day, c) a matter of creativity, since my creative side does not get a sufficient outlet at work, d) a matter of practicality, since I am not cut out for working in corporate America the rest of my life. Or at least, not doing what I'm doing. I mean, I got paid to skip lunch and watch 'Finding Neverland' yesterday (and they bought my ticket, and popcorn and soda)...but I also had meetings at 7:30am and 7:30pm both. Ugh. I'm *tired*. If I were psyched about what I was doing, it would be great. But, I don't want to be one of those people who gets fired for being disgruntled on their blog, so I'll shut up. And the people are still cool, so that sorta makes up for it. And I'm getting paid. And the Christmas party is tomorrow night! I'm taking Terry, since she's not full-time and so wasn't invited independently. And I bought a hot black halter dress tonight, so that will be fun.

This weekend...hopefully dim sum, then some Christmas shopping in the city, and perhaps some cookie baking, and very hopefully some writing. Yay for the holidays! I've only got 14 more work days to go before I go home for Christmas!

Sunday, November 28, 2004

needle in the hay

For those of you who have been reading my romance novel, or rather, irritably awaiting the next installment, I sincerely apologize. I really needed a whole weekend off from work, etc., and the romance novel just didn't happen :( However, while it looks like I will not finish it in November, since that is only two days away, I am not going to stop writing it all together. I'd like to finish by New Years, but we'll see--the next three weeks are going to be super busy at work, so that makes it hard. And, there are all sorts of things to prepare for Christmas--I need to go shopping, and Terry and I are planning to decorate the apartment (we're going shopping tomorrow), and I have a Christmas party to go to on Friday for work, and I want to bake cookies and do other fun Christmasy things. Yay for Christmas!

Anyway, about my weekend, since my mother was concerned that I was dead because I didn't post the entire time...

Wednesday night, I started out with a fun Taco Bell run with Ritu and Sri, and then I mixed up two batches of my grandma's famous rolls, which turned out much better than the test batch I made last weekend, most likely because it was warmer in my apartment with a working heater and they actually had a chance to rise. Claudia and Marco came over (natives bearing pies!...that was Marco, not me, although I was more than happy to throw in some smallpox-blanket jokes, as is my wont) with some awesome pumpkin pies that Claude had made, and they watched VH1 with me for a couple of hours before going to San Diego for the weekend. Thursday, I got up and went to FloMo with 36lbs of turkey, my still-rising roll dough, the pies, 40 boiled eggs for deviled eggs, and all sorts of other fun things, and I proceeded to cook all day. It was fun, although I got a massive headache by the end of it--the turkeys turned out well, and the rolls were good, and my green bean casserole and corn casserole were as good as always, but there were a lot of people there, most of whom I didn't know, and it struck me as slightly awkward that I was basically running a thanksgiving dinner in a dorm when five or six of the current staffmembers were there and could have done it themselves. I don't mean awkward in the sense that I didn't want to do it, rather in the sense that it seemed strange to show up and organize it when it's not my dorm or my kids anymore, and had I been the staff, I probably would not have been overly thrilled (although getting a lot of cooking out of me would have been nice). Anyway, I hung out in Gavilan for awhile after dinner, then came home...

Friday, I went to Sonoma with Ritu and her boyfriend Maneesh. There were supposed to be like eight of us, but everyone else bailed, so it was just the three of us. Sounds like a bad idea, eh? But it wasn't, it was super-fun, and I love spending time with Ritu, and her boyfriend is tres entertaining as well. I only planned to stay until late Friday night, but I ended up staying until Saturday night instead. Friday, we were huge dorks, and saw the Charles Schulz museum (he drew Peanuts, in case you don't remember), and the lame Snoopy labrinyth that they're making that is currently only grass up to my ankles rather than seven-foot shrubs, and then we gawked at some men at a rehabilitation center when we found that the cool-looking chateau we saw from the highway was a Salvation Army men's site rather than a winery, and we had dinner at Chevy's and watched Finding Neverland. Verdicts: the museum was entertaining for awhile, the rehabilitation center was hilarious in a sick way, Chevy's was super-satisfying and way cheaper than the gourmet places nearby, and Finding Neverland tugged at the heartstrings in a surprisingly effective way.

Saturday, we had brunch at a dinner, then toured some wineries. It was really really great--I'd never done the traditional wine-tasting stuff before, and I had a fantastic time. We saw five wineries (Ledson, Kenwood, Benziger, Valley of the Moon, and Sebastiani), I bought two wines (a pinot noir from Ledson and a muscat from Benziger), and we tasted about twenty different wines, which was a good amount. We also took a tram tour of Benziger, which was cool, since we got to see the caves where they store the wine and I learned more about wine production. Yay learning. We had dinner at Panda Express (nothing soaks up expensive wine better than orange chicken!), went back to the hotel, I watched Men in Black while Ritu and Maneesh hung out in the hot tub, and then I decided to drive home, since I wanted to sleep in my own bed.

Today, I slept for like eleven hours, then cleaned the kitchen to rid myself of the filth remaining from the half-washed pans I dragged back from Thanksgiving dinner, then did some desultory VH1-watching, then read a romance novel. It wasn't very good--I hate anachronisms in romance novels, they throw me off, and so I was not pleased when the chick found a color photograph of her husband. The book was set in 1873, the picture was ostensibly of him as a child, which puts the photo in the late 1840s--so it's *possible* that he had a photo taken of him then, but the first color photograph was produced in 1872, and so unless it was hand-colored, she could hardly recognize his cobalt eyes staring out at her. Hmph.

Anyway, that's my life right now. I had a fun Thanksgiving, and Christmas is coming! Happy Holidays, everyone...

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

somebody has to go to prison

The title is one of my favorite lines from 'National Treasure,' which I saw tonight with Shedletsky. I almost feel the need to apologize to anyone I even *invited* to see the movie with me...it was not very good. Granted, it was a cheesy adventure movie that circled around a map hidden on the back of the Declaration of Independence--but for some reason I was expecting more. However, I did enjoy myself, and if I ever get super-rich I'm going to create a game that involves finding clues across New York, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Boston just because I can.

Anyway, one more day of work, and then four days off! Hopefully I get some good romance-novel writin' in during that time period. First, though, I'm making Thanksgiving dinner for thirty, which should prove to be quite a treat :) At the very least it will be a feat of planning; peeling and mashing 10-15lbs of potatoes will be tres exciting. Yay.

Congratulations to Claudia for getting a job! And congratulations to my landlord for fixing our heaters. My apartment is now liveable, and it now has a definite termination date since Claudia can now move. How exciting is that?

Monday, November 22, 2004

better

I slept for like eleven hours last night, and my headache is gone. Yay. Now if only the heater worked, things would be great.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

hiatus

I woke up today, made a test batch of my grandma's rolls (they tasted almost as good, but weren't nearly as pretty), and had dinner w/Terry and our friends Lisa and Doug, who were in town for the weekend for Big Game. Then I tried to write some of my romance novel at Starbucks, but I have a really truly massive headache that is trying to split my head open, and so the mood wasn't really right.

More importantly, though, I've hit a wall. It was all well and good to set up the plot, and pretty easy since the two characters are averse to commitment and relationships, and those are things I'm very aware of. However, now they've met, and I suddenly can't think of anything for them to do. It's very hard to write romance when you yourself have no real belief that it will ever happen to you. My experiences with the opposite sex have been closer to the absurd than to the romantic, and so most of this has to be done as a pure exercise of imagination. Which is as it should be, of course, since it's taking place in Regency-era Scotland. However, a) it hurts to spend hours a day imagining a developing happiness between two people, even if they are figments of my imagination, when I'm not developing any sort of similar happiness myself, and b) I'm afraid that it's just going to sound so stupid and implausible because right now I'm thinking that it's stupid and implausible for anyone to fall in love.

So, my pessimism is making the writing process difficult. I will get back on the horse at some point (even though, to quote Zoolander, I'm not a gymnast), but I'm taking a break tonight to nurse my headache. Sorry, kids.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

wedding bells ain't gonna chime (except in my romance novel)

I just posted Chapter Four; I'm up to 14,217 words. That's still well behind my goal of 50,000 by the end of November, but definitely doable since I'll have all of Thanksgiving to work on it. They got married, but they still haven't really said anything to each other; the fun will start in earnest as soon as the guests leave. This is hard, though, because I feel like kind of a hack for writing romance, since it's all pretty derivative, and I don't like feeling like a hack. However, it's fun, it's going mostly smoothly, and I think with some edits and some work on pacing, it could be really good. Edits will have to wait until I'm done, however, since I don't have time to fix plot issues until I know exactly how the book will end.

In other news, I love Bon Jovi; I listened to the entire box set today at work, which was almost five hours of music. And I listened to 'The Radio Saved My Life Tonight' on repeat for an hour and a half at Starbucks while I worked on my novel. I also had Pizza Chicago w/Joanna (upgrade!) and Curt/Shedletsky (downgrade! - just kidding, kids), so that was fun.

Now it's definitely time for bed, I can't be particularly late tomorrow because I have a ton of meetings, and it'll be three o'clock at least before I fall asleep. Sad times! So I hope chapter four was worth it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

upgrade!

Today was a great day; I went to work, worked, had lunch w/one of my favorite coworkers, worked some more, and then went to Straits Cafe for my group's Q4 dinner. I organized, so I was happy that it went off without a hitch. The food was sooooo good; we had a $50/person budget, and the set menu at that price is great--tasty naan and these awesome garlic mussels for appetizers, and great salad, several entrees (chicken curry, prawns, awesome salmon, some good vegetable stir fry), and fantastic desserts. We also ordered drinks, so I had this really really tasty strawberry mojito. It felt very grown-up, but also very deja-vu-ish, since the westflo staff had dinner there my senior year, and we sat at the same tables tonight that we sat at for staff dinner. It was great, though, and I'm happy we went.

Then, I stopped by Best Buy on the way home (or rather went completely out of my way to Best Buy), and bought '100,000,000 Fans Can't Be Wrong', Bon Jovi's four-cd boxed set of 50 previously unreleased songs from the past twenty years. I haven't gotten a chance to listen to most of it, but that's okay, I'm sure I'll get around to it at work tomorrow.

i'm in total control

I posted Chapter Three, Part Two to the romance novel blog just now. I had written part of it on Saturday, but then I got to the point where the hero and heroine have come across each other unexpectedly and unsuspectingly in the kitchen, neither realizing who the other one is. Then I hit the wall, since I couldn't figure out what they should do next. So they kiss. But that was hard to write, since then it felt really cheesy. I was just so afraid of this because what if they don't like each other? Or what if there isn't any real chemistry? So I left them standing in the kitchen for two days while I had dim sum, and did my laundry, and worked, and avoided them.

However, I've finished chapter three now. The wedding is tomorrow! Until then--chapter three = upgrade! [I mean upgrade in the 'best week ever' sense, not the 'matrix' sense]

Friday, November 12, 2004

sh-sh-shaking

I wrote the first half of chapter three tonight in an hour at Starbucks; I only had an hour because I watched 'The OC' first, then went to Starbucks around 9:30, and the one on Castro St. inexplicably closes at 10:30 instead of 11. Damn. Then I came home and got sucked into Comedy Central, and I started reading up on how to write a Scottish accent (because it's been awhile since I've read any Scottish romance novels, they're not as abundant as I would like them to be), and now I really need to go to bed because I have tons of work to do tomorrow. Sigh. I would have liked to have had my characters finally meet each other tonight, but it's not going to happen. The second half of chapter three will get the proverbial ball rolling, though. I hope to write it tomorrow night.

In many ways I think that posting the novel as I go is good for me; I'm such a perfectionist typically that I don't like people reading my stuff until either a) it's perfect or b) I still have the excuse that I haven't proofread yet. And I'm not proofreading, so I'm sure any roughnesses will come out easily in later edits. But, when you're trying to write 50000 words in a month, you don't really have the luxury of prolonged, perfection-ensuring edits.

I'm currently at 7,962 words, which is a great start, but a little less than an eighth of the way to my goal. Even worse, I looked at the avon romance webpage last night, and they want books for publication that are in the 100000 word range. Definitely doable, since they won't even be married by the time I hit 10,000 words, and there is a lot of story left to tell...but I don't know if I can write 90,000 more words in November, since it's almost half over. We shall see...I'm not giving up yet. Maybe it's a more realistic goal to say that I have to hit 50000 by the end of November, and then finish it/edit it by New Years so that I can start contacting publishers?

Anyway, I think it's bedtime!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

and it continues!

I posted the second half of Chapter Two on my novel blog. Yay! They still haven't met yet :) The goal for the second half of chapter two was to make Malcolm likeable before he turned completely insane in his quest to rid himself of his bride. Wheeee.

I would have written more, but I was distracted. I was at work until eight pm, then I went straight to campus and took Ritu out for coffee, then I came home to discover that one of Terry's old frosh was visiting, then I watched all of Letterman because my parents had tickets for today's show, but alas I didn't see them. So I finished chapter two, but now it's time for bed. I will write more this weekend, I promise! The plot is definitely coming together in my mind...

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

mea culpa

Sorry kids, I just wrote another ~800 words of my novel, but it was the rest of chapter 2, and I can't keep my eyes open to finish the chapter and I don't want to publish another snippet. So you'll have to be patient. I know that I'm slacking off, but it's going to be a hellish week work-wise. I had to do an hour and a half of work from home last night, and I was at work until after 7:30 today, and I have to stay until almost eight tomorrow and then have coffee with Ritu. This weekend, though...I've plotted out the next five chapters, and they should be a piece of cake to write when I get started.

Anyway, I can't complain too much about work; part of staying late was a meeting from 7-7:30, but the other part was a massage from 6-7. It was super nice, although not *entirely* relaxing; it was weird, the wall of the massage room is adjacent to my boss's office, and so I could periodically hear his voice, which just reminded me of all the stuff I needed to get done. But it was nice, even if I did end up saturated in massage cream, and so I may have to do it again sometime. Then Claudia brought over the plague that she has, but more importantly the *amazing* cheesecake that she had made. It was heavenly cheesecake--you should make really good friends with her so she brings you cheesecake. It's the best :)

Time for bed! I'll finish chapter two tomorrow, I promise.

Monday, November 08, 2004

blogging by fits and bursts

So it's definitely true that I have to be in the right mood to write, and for the past few days I haven't hit that place. It's not that nothing is going on, and it's not that I'm in a bad mood--I'm just not feeling the compulsive necessity to document all the minutiae of my life. I'm just feeling...content with the way my life is right now.

Flash of insight--maybe this is what it is like to be Walter. Silent and content :)

Okay, so that was a joke. But life is good. I'm starting to be overworked at work, which is a good thing, actually...I always feel like my presence is more valuable there when I'm forced to kick it up a notch. I'm currently technically 50/50 split between two different jobs, but it's more like 60/60 and will only get more intense as the holidays approach. Yay.

I didn't write anything in my novel tonight because I left work and had dinner with Renee at CPK, then shared my leftovers with John, who happened to be on campus. Then I came home and worked for an hour and a half, talked to Terry, and now it's time for bed. I'm working through the plot in my head, and I think that it's going well, although my writing is pretty rough (repetitions of phrases that I do not approve of, etc.) Of course, I churned out 4000 words in a few hours, so what can you expect? The plot course that I'm charting right now relies to some extent on convincing the heroine that the hero is uneducated to the point that he can't read--which will be difficult, since I've already stipulated that the mothers of these people know each other and the girl has met the guy's mother before. If the mother is all that is polished, how can her son be illiterate? But, I shall figure something out. I've got some rather entertaining scenes worked out in my head, so I hope that I get a chance to write more this week. I think Claudia's coming over tomorrow to bring me cheesecake and a sizable dose of the plague, so maybe I can call in sick later this week and write instead...

Sunday, November 07, 2004

it has begun

I wrote the Prologue and Chapter One of my romance novel today; it's pretty rough, and was written in three hours at Starbucks, but there isn't time for editing in this game. It's on my novel blog, linked through my profile.

Life is good; I had brunch at Hobees today w/Terry, had dim sum yesterday and saw 'The Grudge,' which was terrible, and saw 'The Incredibles' Friday night after I got free movie tickets at work. Yay. I took Vidya with me, and that was fun. This week promises to be super busy, and I hope to write some more of my romance novel...a chapter is a good start, but it does not a book make.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

updates...

1) I'm annoyed about the election, but not for the same reasons my friends are, so we'll leave it at that.

2) I had dinner in Sausalito tonight with Claudia, my aunt Becky, and her boyfriend...it was very very tasty, and Sausalito was gorgeous despite the dark and the wet. Driving up during rush hour was not so fun, but it was really good to see Aunt B, and dinner was great.

3) I had lunch with Vidya today; I picked her up at her place of work, and we went to a Malaysian place nearby. It was v. fun, and now I intend to have lunch with her on a more regular basis. Whee.

4) Day 3 of NaNoWriMo and I haven't written anything. Surprised? You shouldn't be. I shall write this weekend...my idle processes are dedicated to formulating a plot. It will not involve bear porn (Claudia was quite surprised when my aunt told the boyfriend that I look at bear porn at work, and my aunt told her that we have a very open family). When I have started, I will explicitly link to it here; it's already linked through my profile, since the blog has been created despite my lack of substantive material.

5) Work is good, but I'm really tired, and so it's time for bed.

Monday, November 01, 2004

addiction

I watched five episodes of last season' 'The O.C.' tonight. Sigh. A little ridiculous, I know...but we only have two discs left until I'm all caught up, and then I have to watch it one episode at a time, just like everyone else.

The *grossest* thing happened today. I was making spaghetti for dinner, and I was boiling a pot of water, and I guess the steam was the last straw for the kitchen, because it suddenly started raining grime. Honestly. Apparently the hood over the stove, which I have never bothered to look under before, was just caked in filth, which has been progressively loosened by my nightly teas, and finally came undone entirely when the spaghetti pot was steaming. Luckily it didn't rain into the spaghetti, but rather on the front part of the stove, so dinner was saved...but honestly, it was just hideous. Wet, greasy, dirty blobs of filth everywhere. So after dinner, Terry and I took turns cleaning it (she had a bit too much wine and so was actually excited about it, which was strange, but more than welcome). Now the stove is beautifully clean, the hood will no longer rain, and happiness returns.

So I know that National Novel Writing Month has officially started, and I intend to follow through. However, 'The O.C.' was more pressing tonight. I will write tomorrow while watching election coverage...

Sunday, October 31, 2004

the time change is like a personal gift to me!!

You have no idea how happy I was to look at my computer clock and be reminded that the time has changed, and so I get an extra hour of sleep tonight. Yay! I definitely need it...I just got back from Berkeley, I'm tired, I will be hungover tomorrow, and I'm have brunch with Claude at 10am. Except now it's really like *11am*, which is sooooo much later. Awesome.

A word of advice...if you're going to a costume party, don't dress as grown-up Little Red Riding Hood, and don't take a basket full of goodies that contain only Jello shots. Please remember, friends, that you will inevitably end up taking a shot with all the people who take a shot from your basket, which adds up rather quickly. In fact, I lost count of how many shots I had, and since I was incapable of calculating exactly how many actual shots I had, it was easy to pretend that I was completely unaffected. Especially since Jello shots take awhile to kick in, since the alcohol has to work its way out of the Jello. I realized that there were about six cups of alcohol (either Malibu rum or vodka) in the basket, divided into shots, and that that spelled danger for me. Oh, so correct...while I'm not going to die from the amount of Jello shots I had, I was definitely much drunker in the car than I ever was at the party.

So yeah, learn from me and don't take Jello shots to a party, especially if those shots will remain in a basket on your arm until they are gone. I'm only trying to help you with my sage advice, so please take it.

This is a mad weekend...brunch tomorrow (hopefully I'm sober by then), and then Paul Oakenfold at night. We'll see if I'm able to roll out of bed in time for my 10am meeting on Monday. Oh yeah, other lesson--don't drink when you already have problems on your mind. It will just make them worse. And if you can't be happy after eating 15 jello shots, it's really a complete waste of alcohol.

Goodnight! I get to wake up an hour later tomorrow, and that puts a smile on my face.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

tings

I stayed up until four a.m. last night finishing my cloak. It's pretty freaking cool if I do say so myself--floor length red faux velvet, with a hood and everything. Then I went to work this morning, worked, came home and took a nap, had In-n-Out with Terry, and watched four episodes of 'The O.C.' Wheeeee. Then we went to Safeway, I procured ingredients, and I made a whole bunch of jello shots for the party I'm going to in Berkeley tomorrow. And I finished a romance novel. Now it's almost four a.m. again, and I'm reverting dangerously to my college schedule...

I have errands that I want to run tomorrow, such as buying a blanket because I'm too cheap to turn on my heater, but we'll see if I actually wake up in time to do anything productive. Right now, however, it's sleepy-time.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

enforced stillness

I'm going to bed early. It's only 11pm. Shocking. However, since I was at work by 8:15 this morning (when I usually roll in around 9:30 or 10) and I stayed until 7 (which is when I normally leave when I roll in at 9:30), I'm rather tired. And, I pieced together my cloak tonight; I realized, much to my chagrin, that I made a mistake when I was cutting to the effect that two of the pieces were mirror-reversed and so wouldn't fit the other two. However, the pieces are mostly the same both ways except for the neck area, so I'll just have to make the hood, fashion the neck around the hood, and hope for the best. Other than the neck disaster, though, it's looking pretty good, and I can easily finish tomorrow night.

So I went from having no plans this weekend to having too many plans. Damn. Friday is still open and I would like it to remain so since I have to dress up for work anyway and would like to sleep that night. Saturday night, though, I'm going to a party in Berkeley, and Sunday I'm going to see Paul Oakenfold in the city w/Claude and Jackie. The show doesn't start until 9pm, and it lasts until 4am, although I doubt we'll stay that late, but it could be a very brutal lead-in to work on Monday. The thought of an all-night dance party always reminds me of the Love Parade in Berlin, but nothing will ever top that night; I think it burned out all my serotonin receptors when it comes to dancing and partying, because I have never again found anything to be quite as exciting. Drinking red bulls and vodka and dancing in an abandoned factory complex as the sun came up over Berlin was definitely the most incredible party experience of my entire life, and so I don't look forward to dancing and clubbing quite as much as I used to. Although, I was able to enjoy myself while dancing during the Crystal Method set at Coachella, so perhaps there is hope for me...

Okay, exhaustion is definitely kicking in, so it's time for bed!

the oc + red cloak = end of my existence

Okay, so Terry bought the first season of 'The OC' (it came out today on DVD), and we watched three episodes tonight. Which I guess is better than the multiple episodes of 'Whose Line' that we were watching all last week :) I'm amazed at how amused I am by the show so far. However, I need to be sewing my cloak for my Halloween costume, and the TV show completely distracted me. Actually, I'm distracted by how overwhelmed I am by the cloak--it's five whole yards of fabric! Terry was quite amused to see me sitting on the floor starting at this piece of fabric that is a) as wide as I am tall and b) 3 times as long as I am tall, trying to figure out where to start Ah, fun times.

So now I should go to bed, since I have to go to work early tomorrow. And I have to start my novel in less than a week! *shudders* Let's see whether I can churn out a reasonably decent plot for a reasonably decent yet-to-be-determined novel in the next five days...

Monday, October 25, 2004

i know there's a big world out there

Well, friends, I'm sorry for the dearth of updates, but I have been tres busy lately. It has not particularly put me in the mood for blogging, but I think it's important to keep writing or else I will quit entirely...

Yesterday was the Bridge School Benefit, and I must say that I did not enjoy the music overly much. The company was entertaining, as always, but I was mainly there to see Red Hot Chili Peppers, and given that they only played for about half an hour of the nine or so hours that I was there, it was perhaps not the best use of my time. I did read 275 pages of a romance novel, however, which I finished when I got home even though it was complete nonsense (Katie--it was the third in the series that began with 'Lord of Fire' and continued with 'Lord of Ice', if you remember the ridiculous Knight twins and their even more ridiculous poses on the inside covers of those books?) The day before, I had dim sum with Tammy, Shedletsky and Claudia (Shedletsky's turn to play 'Shrimp or Feet?' and he got a shrimp and pork dumpling that he quite ably finished, so he won the point). Shedletsky is convinced that I'm going to be the first one to get burned badly, and perhaps that will be true, but Saturday was fantastic--we got one of the best tables in the whole place, and the first cart to come by was the cart of happiness, with our favorite things--shrimp in bean curd, barbecue pork pastries, golden barbecue pork dumplings (like a donut with pork inside!), deep fried shrimp with mayonnaise, and I'm sure there was something else but I can't remember what it was now. So much tastiness! We definitely ate far too much, and it was far too enjoyable. We came back, Claudia and I sat around and enjoyed our fullness, and then Claudia, Terry and I went costume shopping. Fun was had by all!

Today was uneventful, although Adit came to work for lunch and we had an entertaining time eating and gossipping. I suppose 'gossipping' is a rather strong word, since nothing is going on in our lives, but he was still entertaining. I read another romance novel tonight (Terry living here is bad for me--I just watch TV and read trashy novels), and now it's time for bed.

Really, though, there must be more to life than this. Oh, I'm having a blast, and I'm feeling reasonably popular and well-liked, if I do rather immodestly say so myself, and I'm fairly well capable of spreading humor and good cheer--but is that all life really is? A pretty act put on for a crowd of people, each act slightly more manic and insane than the last so that they won't see that you really want something, anything else?

Well, that certainly sounds bitter, and I'm trying to reign in my incipient bitterness so that I don't end up waking up twenty years from now a lonely, raging bitch. Forgive me my rather melodramatic language, but it happens when I've been reading period romances. But really, when I was fifteen I never imagined that I would someday reach the lofty age of twenty-three and have so successfully made a mess of my love life. The same manic sense of humor that I use to draw people in has created some very successful walls to keep people out. I *like* being crazy...but I would like even more to find someone to be calm with. And that man, unfortunately, is not going to show up tonight. So it's time for bed, and by tomorrow the rain will have washed away my furious mood and handed me back the reins to my temper.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

silence is not the way

Wow, today was so hard to get through. I got up and made it to work in time for my meeting; then I worked all day. I definitely didn't have it in me to stay late, and happily my 5-6 meeting ended at 5:45, so I came straight home and took a two-hour nap. I watched tv with Terry and ate a chicken pot pie that Walter left in the freezer (yay), and now I'm posting this and will go to bed again. I should have gone to bed earlier, but I don't like going to bed at nine, although it would have felt really good.

Yeah, nothing to report, except I started up the blog that will turn into my novel in November. I can't let myself not do this, so I'm trying to keep thinking about it so that I won't decide not to do it. The new blog is linked through my profile; I'll post the link here directly when I end up starting (on November 1).

Now, time for bed!

what have i done?!

That question is about several things:

1) I seem to be living two days at once nearly every day. I have my first day from 9am-7pm when I am at work; and I have my second day from 7pm-2 or 3am, when I go out with friends, or read books and watch tv, or whatever. Today, for instance, I was at work from 8:15-7:15, and then I ran home and stowed my computer, and then Terry, Claudia and I saw 'I Heart Huckabees'. I thought it was going to be way too pretentious, but I really really liked it; there was some great crazy humor, and I love seeing people get tackled and there was a lot of tackling. There was more to it than that, but I didn't let it sink in long enough--then I went to latenight at Lag at 11pm for Eric S's birthday. We ended up going to Happy Donuts and staying there until 2:30, and now I am home and it's 3:30am and I have to be at work at nine. Dammit. But I had a great time, and it's fun to hang out with lots of different people.

2) More importantly, I've signed up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), which is in November. Blogger's running a promotion for it, encourage people to start a separate blog and write their novel publicly. And I'm getting pressure from all sorts of sources (like seriously, everyone) to write something, anything, and I can't seem to get myself to do it. So I'm going to write a novel online. In November. On a blog. Which you can read. And comment upon. The creative process in action, delivered straight to your desk every day!

I want to vomit. I hate committing to anything, let alone to the idea of writing, which makes me nauseous because I feel like I should be good at it but I'm so scared that I won't be good at all.

So, let's vote: should I write a romance novel, or a real novel? Input is welcome--get used to giving it now, 'cause there will be a lot to comment on in November. I have to write 50,000 words. At my top speed during my thesis-writing, that's three pages an hour, or 66.66666 hours. The number of the beast. That's not encouraging :) That means I could stay up and write it in three days. Wheeeeee. Alternatively, that's two hours a night. That's some commitment. Can I do it? I don't know. I do know that I won't stop showering for the whole month (although getting fired for being a hazard would definitely give me more time to write).

Sunday, October 17, 2004

the awesome 'shrimp or feet?' game

Today was fun, although not relaxing enough, as usual. I got up, Claudia came over, we went to campus to pick up Tammy and Shedletsky, and we went to Millbrae for dim sum for the second day in a row. It was once again really tasty. As I mentioned in my last post, we've decided to play a dim sum game every time we go; I was the preliminary tester and ended up with icky sweet tofu, but we scratched that one in the interest of following our new rules. Now, there are three or four things that automatically get two positive points, and there are a few things (basically any feet or tongues) which you can get two points for simply by finishing the entire serving. Other than that, it's a complex scheme of voting/finishing the serving to determine points for everything else, and anything that has been eaten for the purposes of the game cannot be used in the game again. It was Tammy's turn today, as the first official turn of the first official round, and she chose to take the middle item on the right-hand side, on the middle shelf if the cart was tiered, when the appropriate cart showed up. Since it would be cheating to see the cart and then start the game, we set my cellphone timer for nineteen minutes after we received our first desired item (Tammy also got to choose how many minutes to wait, thus she was in control of her destiny). As the minutes ticked down, we thought we were completely screwed; with less than a minute left, the cart of sadness (all sorts of feet) was the closest one to our table. But then, it abruptly swerved, the alarm went off, and Tammy seized victory from the jaws of defeat because the next thing to come by was this amazingly tasty barbecue pork bun with a sweet outer shell that we had never had before but very much enjoyed. In fact, Claudia, Tammy and I would like to get it again in the future. So, Tammy got a definite win, and the game will continue on our next outing. We're going to keep playing until the beginning of May, thus leaving time for any necessary sudden-death tiebreakers before school ends. We also christened the game 'Shrimp or Feet?', which pretty much encompasses the gamut of light and darkness, happiness and sadness, hope and despair, that this game really offers every single week. I can't wait for the next round! We also want to make t-shirts--I came up with the slogan 'Feet happens', which I think is hilariously appropriate despite the fact that it seems grammatically incorrect. So, the Opium Lounge Club, w/Claude as a new permanent member (surprising, since we were originally a closed club, but Claudia likes exactly the same things that we like and so merging caused no hardship), is in for some serious shrimp slaughtering over the next few months.

Then, Claudia and I saw 'Motorcycle Diaries' with Adit and Vidya. I really liked it; the movie was beautifully shot, and the main attraction (Gael Garcia Bernal) was stunningly gorgeous, even when he was in the midst of a hideous asthma attack. Hot! It's highly recommended to all people who are a) interested in South America, b) interested in traveling and exploring new places, c) interested in hotness.

Then I came home, Claude and I enjoyed some tea and VH1, she went home, I talked to my parents, and then Terry and I watched TV the rest of the night. I saw 'Desperate Housewives', and liked it quite a bit; Terry is on the verge of getting me absolutely addicted to TV. That's bad for me, since it takes virtually no distraction to keep me from getting work done or doing anything productive (like writing my romance novel, or hemming my pants, or making a quilt for my bed, etc.) But after a long weekend of running around and doing stuff, it was nice to sit mindlessly for a few hours. And now, I shall sleep, hopefully mindlessly, for a few hours, and then the madness all begins again.

germadness!

Tonight was the much-hyped Germany vs. Austria night that Can, Joanna and I had been planning for some time. It was very fun, replete with sausages and wiener schnitzel, and lots of fried potatoes (always a classic), and other tasty morsels. We also played a very politically incorrect game (imagine our pin-the-nose-on-Michael-Jackson game, only with a different distinctive facial feature from another distinctive leader of Germany and/or Austria). The winner got to stick a German flag in the heart of Warsaw, as depicted on my Poland cake. Yes, there was a Poland cake--I made a 9x13 funfetti cake, and used food coloring to get several different colors of frosting, and drew a map of Poland and its neighbors on the cake using different colors for different countries. It's really difficult to spell 'Lithuania' in a 1"x3" space with icing, but the cake was fantastic.

All of that sounds horribly offensive, but it was also horribly amazingly funny, and I'm glad that my dreams came to fruition.

Then we were going to see 'Team America', but due to lameness, we couldn't. So Shed, Curt, Joanna, Eric S, and I sat around in the lounge, and Doug brought some dolls for us to play with. Yes, dolls. He's in some class where they have to design games or something (or at least that's his excuse) and his current project is to make a structured game with four dolls (two girls, a motorcycle-riding guy, and spiderman) and some random accessories. His current incarnation didn't work very well, but we still had fun despite the fact that I'm pretty sure we were not helpful. Then, it was time to go home, and it's now time for some much-needed sleep.

Earlier today, I had dim sum with Tammy and Shedletsky; I've been there nearly every weekend for the past couple of months, ever since Claudia and I made the pilgrimage to Millbrae. It seems a little ridiculous to drive 50 or 60 miles round trip for dim sum, but the stuff is so amazingly addictive that none of us can seem to help ourselves. We've decided to merge the Opium Lounge Club with the Sara/Claudia dim sum club so that everyone else can get dim sum as often as I do. We've also decided to play a dim sum game, which we started today, which involves trying one new thing every time. The rules are mostly figured out, and involve stating before the next cart shows up that you will take a specific thing from the next cart depending on its location on the cart. For instance, today I decided 'top left' when oriented from me. I thought we were going to get lucky, since one of the dumpling carts was coming by, but at the last second it got cut off by a cart that we had always avoided before, containing four vats of strange liquidy things. Top left meant sweet tofu, which Eric, Michael, and Eric informed me is actually really good, but none of us liked it at all--it was all liquidy, and slimy, and weird, and not deep-fried or shrimp, which is basically all we really like :) So I technically lost, but we're going again tomorrow so that we can start the game over properly, with rules and long-term scoring, and Claudia's coming too so that she can be there for the start. We may or may not have teams, and we're unsure of the prizes or penalties for the ultimate victor/loser, but it will ensure that we always have some delicious (or disgusting) uncertainty to look forward to. Since I saw duck's jaw on the menu, I'm pretty sure we have the chance for some truly weird items.

So, tomorrow, dim sum, then 'Motorcycle Diaries' with Claude and Adit, then maybe a nap, and some work, and maybe Flicks. Yay for the weekend! It's always much too short.

Friday, October 15, 2004

light over me

I'm in a techno phase again, no doubt introduced by the fact that mafia was hectic, work is hectic, life is hectic, and there is nothing like some pulsing beat to drown out everything around you. I also finally got around to extracting all the mp3s off my ipod onto my desktop when I realized that my firewire card works after all, which means that I can charge the ipod quickly and now can listen to all my techno music again. Lovely!

So yeah mafia was a blast even though I went down in a blaze of not-so-glory; it was still a v. fun game, and apparently a lot of other people thought so too because it looks like we're playing again next week. Madness! And let's see what else...we're doing Germany vs. Austria night in WestLag on Saturday, since it's just a hilarious concept; I have some great ideas, only some of which I've shared, and it promises to be a fun occasion. I'm also have lunch with Tammy and Shedletsky (I think) on Saturday morning, seeing 'The Motorcycle Diaries' with Claude and Adit on Saturday afternoon, and going shopping w/Joanna, Can and Shedletsky for German food later Saturday afternoon, then cooking and having fun Saturday night. I also randomly decided to go to the Bridge School Benefit on Sunday, so it looks like this is another crazy, fun-filled, too-busy weekend. My room's a *disaster*, I haven't spent much time w/Terry other than watching TV, and I have tons of stuff I want to be doing. And instead I'm playing mafia, playing with my mp3s, and writing in my blog. Ah, well, I was never very good at getting things done, eh?

Now, though, it's definitely time for bed. And I'm happy that I don't have the ads at the top of my page right now, since that comment would definitely earn me ads for either sleeping aids or anti-depressants.

OH! There is one thing of importance. Try the Google Desktop Search. I've had access to it for awhile now, and it's simply awesome. Upside (huge upside)--it can search tons of different files on your computer. Not just the titles of the files--the contents of the files. Which means that you no longer have to know what the file is called; if you remember some words used in the file, you're good to go. It also caches your web history and delivers up pages that you've seen that match what you're looking for. It also stores IM conversations so that you can search for things you discussed with someone and can't remember (tres helpful if you're coming up with invite lists and can't remember what was decided). Downside: if you're in the habit of looking at porn, or you're doing Christmas shopping on a computer used by the person you're shopping for, they can snoop around. But, you can pause recording if you know you're going to be looking at stuff you don't want people to see. It's really a nifty, nifty tool--I've been using it constantly, and it's made me so much more effective at work. All of the indexing and searching is done on your own computer; once you download the tool, none of your personal info is passed back except bug reports. Neat, eh? Give it a try--it's awesome and free.

Now after that shameless plug, it's seriously time for bed.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

the board is set...the pieces are moving

Well, I died today. In mafia, that is. As everyone playing mafia currently knows, I am dead. Dead, dead, dead. Which is really okay, because I have some serious work to do over the next two days and mafia is such a huge temptation while it is happening. I really wanted to start a new game as early as tomorrow so we'd have two happening at once--but Doug thought of the great idea of having two at once happening at exactly the same time during Christmas break. That would be hysterical! And super confusing. It would be even more confusing if one game had names with regular capitalization (like Sara Wampler) and the other had names with lower capitalization (like sara wampler), and the names were related to completely different people and characters. That would be great.

I do have a life outside of mafia, though...but I'm not thrilled with it. Oh, nothing's wrong--Terry has moved in and she's great, and work is good, etc.--but some things are missing and unsatisfying, and some things that should have been settled long ago remain unsettled, and I have no idea what to do. But that's a refrain that you've heard far too often from me, eh? So I'll go to bed.

But one quick shout-out--thanks for an awesome game of mafia, guys. It has considerably brightened my spirits, despite proving that we're all clinically insane.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

nothing doing

Mafia is so much fun!

In other news, Terry has settled in, which is fun. I watched TV with her tonight, and it is nice to have someone around again. We watched 'Father of the Pride,' which I enjoyed a surprising amount, and we also watched 'Scrubs,' which I have never seen before and am now sad that I haven't watched religiously for the last few years. Ah, I love TV. It's almost as much fun as Mafia. And it's also much less likely to get me fired :)

Okay, it's definitely time for bed!

Monday, October 11, 2004

fear and loathing in los altos

So we're playing online mafia again (http://www.quicktopic.com/28/H/iDAQgKxamtQ) and so far it's a blast! Everyone playing is hysterical! As long as we don't end up hating each other by the end, it will be a fantastic time.

I went to work today, came home, talked to Terry, and then had a later dinner with Shedletsky. Now it's definitely time for bed--if I go to bed now, I can sleep for nine hours. That sounds delicious. The weekend was way fun, but it was far too busy. I can't handle all that continual activity--I must be getting old :)

summer is winter and you always knew

As usual, this weekend was completely unrelaxing from start to finish. I got up this morning, and Claudia and I went to Millbrae for dim sum. The waiters clearly recognize me (one of them came over and said hi to me for absolutely no reason!) That means I'm going there a ridiculous amount. Yay. Then I came home, did eight loads of laundry (I'm not even exaggerating), and cleaned the apartment. Terry arrived around 5 and moved in (!) and then I had dinner with Ritu. We talked for several hours, and then took Maneesh and Eric C. to Flicks (Spiderman 2). We met Can, Joanna, and Curt there, and a good time was had by all. Now I'm home, it's 1:10 in the morning, I have to go to work tomorrow, and I didn't sleep enough this weekend. Oh yeah and online mafia starts tomorrow morning! Wheeeee!

In other news, if you haven't read Walter's blog lately, check it out...he saw Sean Connery yesterday! I'm so jealous.

Okay yeah so I'm exhausted and don't want to think anymore and just want to crawl into the clean sheets of my bed. But as I was driving home from campus, I was on Junipero Serra and I saw Orion perfectly framed above the road. I was startled because I don't see the stars very well or very often here, but Orion was right there, the only constellation I could see in that direction not obstructed by trees or clouds. Orion's my favorite constellation, because in the winter when we'd be driving home from Des Moines, it would be out my window most of the way home. Seeing those stars again reminded me that everything will be all right, and that there is a life beyond my petty current concerns. That was a very timely and appropriate (and comforting) little cosmic reminder.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

promise me she's not your world

Today was rather abriged; I've been up less than twelve hours and I intend to go to bed shortly. As I posted yesterday, I went to bed sometime after five a.m., and therefore didn't wake up until 2pm. It's not even like I was lying in bed being lazy; I woke up very briefly around nine, then rolled over and the next thing I knew it was 2 in the afternoon. So, I got out of bed and promptly went to In-n-Out to have a double-double in preparation for my vegan restaurant experience tonight. It turned out to be a brilliant idea, as I will explain in a moment. Then I got my car washed, came home, took a nap, then a shower, then Claude showed up and we went to the city.

The restaurant we went to was 'Herbivore', on Valencia. As mentioned it was totally vegan...and vegetarian food is fine (although clearly not meaty enough), but vegan food is just silly. No eggs? No milk? No CHEESE?!) Anyway, I was willing to give it the old school try (especially with my tummy still full of double-double), and so I ordered the pad thai, thinking that it isn't typically made with a lot of meat products anyway. My mistake...it was probably the worst thing there, as their version of peanut sauce replaced fish oil with *mustard*. Ugh. I hate mustard. And mustard definitely does not belong with a) peanuts or b) more pertinently, pad thai in general. So that was gross. Luckily I wasn't hungry, and they also brought an extra portobello mushroom sandwich that was surprisingly tasty, so I ate a little bit of that.

Despite the fact that the pad thai was terrible, I liked the place only because the staff was incredibly friendly; they didn't mind that 18 of us took over part of their restaurant, and they brought us plates and forks when we cut and served two (non-vegan) pumpkin pies that we had brought in with us in lieu of cake, since Adit prefers pumpkin pie to cake. I ran down the street and procured some candles and a lighter, and we sang happy birthday to Adit, and he seemed to enjoy himself immensely.

I also had a pretty good time; the seating arrangement was really awkward because the restaurant was small and we brought four or five more people than intended, and so the tables snaked around in a U shape and I ended up on the connector part between the two tables, which made conversation a little less plausible than sitting w/a bunch of people all together. It was still fun, though--I sat by Vidya, and she's entertaining. There were a bunch of Indian kids there whom I didn't know on the right side of the U (as well as Sri, Peder Timmy Timer, and Tennis), and then on the left side was Claude, Ritu, Renee, Steph, Nathan, Harvard Dave, Zach, Vidya, John and myself. Everyone switched around a lot, though, particularly on the left side, and Adit moved back and forth between the two. So, it was v. fun...but I wasn't feeling up for clubbing, and luckily Zach, Claude and Renee weren't either, so we came home around 11:30.

Now it's definitely time for bed...I need to clean up around here tomorrow before Terry shows up, and I'm having brunch with Claude and dinner with Ritu and seeing Flicks with Can, so I won't have much time. Wheeee...I love how weekends just aren't relaxing at all anymore :)

Saturday, October 09, 2004

watching the lights go down...letting the cables sleep

It's 5:02am, and I'm still awake. I'm too old for this :) Seriously, though, I had a great night--it's Adit's birthday, and he finally (after five years!) celebrated it with us. The celebration occurred in Rains' Timoshenko Lounge, the site of many and varied unexciting parties in the past two years. This one, for some reason, was different--I hadn't seen some of my older friends for awhile, I saw a good mix of my more recent friends as well, and there was a very surprising grinding:alcohol ratio (surprising since of the people I was with the most, only one of us--not me--was drunk, although many of the other partygoers were). The fire alarm was pulled (or rather, accidentally leaned against) around 1am, and half the party cleared out; the other half waited for the fire department to show up, and then started the party up again. So I saw Zach and Victor initially, and John was there, and Chris and Connie came briefly, and of course I went with Claude and her friend Jackie, and Ritu and Renee and Steph were there, and Tom and Ratul, and Sri and Vidya and Roopa, and Jack, and the weird kid who kept trying to talk to us, to the point that Zach, John and I were huddled in a tight little triangle to keep him from getting an opening. I also got groped repeatedly, but I suppose it was all among friends, so that's okay? And Vidya licked my eye. And Adit actually danced with me (and everyone else at the party). And it seems like a good time was had by all!

Then, around 3:30, John, Claude, Javier and Jackie came back to my place and we played DDR until five. And now, it's definitely time for bed. The madness begins again tomorrow--we're having dinner for Adit's birthday at some vegan restaurant (ugh) in the city, and the funny thing is that it's most of the same people (about sixteen) who were the core group at the party tonight. We're apparently going clubbing after, so the madness never stops. And then Terry moves in on Sunday!

Sweet Jesus, it's going to be a long weekend.

Friday, October 08, 2004

trivial pursuits

I was at work until after dark today (I hate when the days start to get noticeably shorter), then came home and read a romance novel. That's why I'm still up until 1am. Stupid, stupid. But, very relaxing.

I get to spend the next two days cleaning my apartment...not that it's horribly dirty, but I suddenly wound up with a new roommate who's moving in on Sunday. Terry (who lived in Mirlo w/me junior year and was RA in Gavilan my senior year) interviewed at my place of work today and got a job offer this afternoon, and so she's moving up here on Sunday! Crazy! She starts work on Monday. So, it's quite fortuitous that Walter's room is still empty--and hopefully she won't be scared away by our upcoming Germany vs. Austria night :)

In other news, Shedletsky's moderating a game of online mafia starting on Monday, and I got my brother and Emily to play, as well as a lot of the standard players. It sounds like it's going to be mad fun--if you're interested, contact me or him by Saturday to get involved. It's Stanford Professor mafia, with all sorts of weird Stanford specific roles (so I hope my brother isn't too lost). Oh yeah, and his name's Michael, for those of you who do not know him as anything other than 'Wampler's brother'.

Now, time for bed!

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

my heart's delight

Can I just say that I'm so excited about my new team at work? Things got shuffled around a bit, and I ended up staying with my old manager, but with a new group of people. The job is the same, the manager is the same, the pay is the same, but I switched over to a different group of coworkers. And they are so nice. Unbelievably nice. One woman, who is some sort of de facto den mother for the group that puts even my RA-ish tendencies to shame, gets flowers for all the girls every single week, apparently. Even though I haven't switched desks and so am not sitting with them yet, she came by yesterday with a lovely arrangement of autumn-colored flowers. I was amazed and delighted.

Honestly, people really do make all the difference. Not that my old team wasn't nice, but it was missing that spark (or it was missing a den mother figure to engender that spark). And I've found time and time again that it doesn't really matter the conditions in which you're living if you are living with people you consistently enjoy seeing. Of the four facilities I lived in in college (well I guess it was really only two, since three of my years were in FloMo), Castano was technically the most beautiful, but it was my most miserable living experience. And Coachella, for instance, was an absolute hellhole and there were so many apt comparisons to concentrations camps in the camp where we slept; but, it was one of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences of my young life because the group I was with was so outstanding.

Family is so important to me, probably because I had a really strong one, and so I feel this deep desire to make sure that everyone else has a family too. I feel like that's been my underlying motivator for most of my social actions and interactions...my friends tend to be aware of and become friends with my other friends, mostly because I'm the type of person who finds it perfectly normal to go to a movie with fifteen people. All along, I suppose, I've rather unconsciously been trying to create a tribe, in an effort to combat the modern atomization of society. It's like the sourdough starter in the 'Little House on the Prairie' books (Katie at least will know what I'm talking about)...in the books, Ma brings a bit of unbaked sourdough with her to the unsettled wilds, and she can use it to start new sourdough loafs by always saving a little piece of it back after letting it rise. Laura thinks she has lost it, which would be a disaster, but then she finds the piece under the doughboard, and order is restored. Anyway, it's like bringing a small seed of family, community, whatever someplace, adding the proper ingredients, and letting it rise of its own volition, in an effort to combat the inherent loneliness of 'civilized' life.

Not to say that the tribes I now belong to are my doing, since it's been proven repeatedly that I can be just as much of a destructive agent within groups as I can be a connector. But I've always been fascinated by how groups form, exist, and sometimes die, as well as individuals' roles within them. Mostly, though, I'm just excited to continue to hang out with people, and continue to encourage these bonds. At the end of the day it's probably selfish--I do want other people to be part of a nest in a trust tree (to quote 'Old School'), but the other reality is that the more friends I have, the more likely I am to find a few who will survive and thrive despite my strange moods and weird relationship-destroying tendencies. It is strange that I sometimes feel a compulsion to cut everyone off despite my obvious desire for tribes and families...I guess I don't like to rely on anything or anyone, and the closer I get to someone, the more uncomfortable it makes me.

Speaking of, I got a massage today at work; it was just a chair massage, not a table massage, and it was sorely needed (har har) because my neck has been bothering me lately (to the point that it woke me up the other night and I felt physically ill when I tried to turn my head). The massage only cost me $5, too, which was a great perk. Anyway, the point is that I found it impossible to truly relax. I guess I don't tend to relax anyway; maybe it comes from the fact that my feet rarely fully touch the floor unless I scoot myself forward or point my toes down, or maybe I'm just naturally tense. But I just couldn't handle having a stranger touch me. I'd get super tense, then I'd tell myself that I was being stupid, and I would forcibly think about relaxing, and my muscles would start to relax, but then my mind would be all revved up wondering what was wrong with me, why I didn't want to be touched, whether I was some sort of freak for not really liking massage as a pampering relaxation technique rather than a necessity to work the pain out of my neck...and by the time I pulled myself away from these self-loathing mind tangents, my muscles would be all tensed up again and I'd have to start over. Grr.

So yeah as usual my thoughts on this matter solve or resolve nothing, other than to say that I like my friends and would be quite happy living in a tribe for a long time if I were convinced that the members of my tribe would behave smartly and avoid getting committed or married to people who cannot be part of the tribe. It's also essential that tribemembers not move away, and that's already happening. So, I may have to take my sourdough starter and move someplace else, and begin a new tribe. Although honestly, the older you are, the harder it is to find solitary members to join a tribe, and the tribes in existence probably aren't as cool as mine. They definitely wouldn't understand mafia, or slap the boob, or staying up 72 hours playing taboo, or the opium lounge club, or the race of joseph (current population: 2, plus random unofficial members), or eating thanksgiving dinner under a computer-generated sign that just says 'thanskgiving,' or sitting in 100+ degree weather dry-heaving while having the best time ever, or playing the cooked or dirty game. And if people can't understand any of that, they're really not ideal members for the tribe.