Friday, March 31, 2006

goodbye united states

Sorry that it's been so long since I've written...I got home safely v. late Monday night, and then would have spent most of the week relaxing except for the fact that I had a ton of work to do, so it didn't really feel like a vacation. I spent tonight trying to pack up; I'm taking more to Ireland than I took to India, partially because they dress up more in Ireland and I require more winter clothes there, and partially because I missed my stuff in India and made up for it by buying way too many new possessions. I also had a v. nice dinner with my nephew and nieces in honor of the nephew's 12th birthday--I can't believe they're all getting so grown up! I packed some sufficiently-greasy meals and some sufficiently-late sleep into my trip home, but it would be nice to be here a little bit longer. Ah, well, c'est la vie. The worst thing is that I picked up my brother's sore throat, and I would imagine that it will get worse as soon as I get on the plane. Sadly for me, I already have a ton of meetings lined up for Monday, but hopefully I'll get a chance to settle in on Sunday.

Okay, time to finish packing--the next time I write, I'll be in Ireland!

Monday, March 27, 2006


vidya and claudia - winning Posted by Picasa

my v. packed storage room Posted by Picasa

friends++ at buca di beppos Posted by Picasa

we may have been stuck in tahoe for four hours, but at least it was beautiful Posted by Picasa

I SWITCHED FOR CRISPIES Posted by Picasa

in tracy, ca, they call long john silver's crispies 'krums' Posted by Picasa

do not be concerned by the fact that the suitcases obstruct the rear window. Posted by Picasa

the worst hotel room view in the world: elko, nv Posted by Picasa

150 years ago, i could have crossed this as brigham young's 83rd wife Posted by Picasa

the great american west Posted by Picasa

wyoming, home of rocks Posted by Picasa

is the homeland security threat 'blizzard'? Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 26, 2006

my fast can't hear the sound of the engine over all that country music

So far, the trip across the Great American West has been fun, but it is taking much longer than I expected. It took us nine hours to get out of California, which was completely unwelcome. Granted, we didn't leave my place (or rather, my office, where we printed off directions) until 11am, and we spent almost an hour and a half in Tracy eating Long John Silvers and fixing my sideview mirror.

That's right, my sideview mirror, which was broken on an infamous Fourth of July trip two and a half years ago, is now fixed, thanks to my brother's technical skill and a stop for tools at Sears. However, I got angry all over again at that stupid Pontiac dealership in Menlo Park--when my brother was putting the new mirror on, he discovered that they had given me a manual mirror, rather than a power mirror. Luckily, the new mirror fits, but it will never be adjustable from the inside. Damn them! This made me even happier that they have since gone out of business.

Anyway, we were making fantastic time getting out of the Bay Area, and my brother had quite happily fallen asleep, when we hit a sign around Placer County that said 'heavy traffic over summit - expect three hour delays'. In a typical display of California stupidity, Caltrans was requiring chains on all vehicles on the summit before Truckee, and while it was snowing, there was just slush on the road. As my brother pointed out, chains do keep idiots from going too fast, but the consequence is that they destroy the roads and back up traffic for hours. Luckily, I had the chains that I was forced to buy the last time that I was trying to get out of Tahoe, and we paid some guy twenty dollars to do it for us, which saved a lot of cursing and sibling bickering (and dirtiness and dampness and general annoyance). Past the chain control checkpoint, the road really cleared up, so we made fabulous time out of Reno.

The problem was that by the time we got out of Reno, it was eight p.m. I was able to keep going until midnight (partially thanks to a 'cappuccino' at a convenience store in lovely Winnemucca, NV--it was definitely not a real cappuccino, but it was full of sugar and caffeine, so it kept me up for another hour). By the time we hit Elko, NV, we were still three hours out of Salt Lake City, I couldn't go any further, and I was in a truly foul mood from being in the car for thirteen hours without making it through California and Nevada. So, we stopped at a Comfort Inn in Elko. The place was fine, what with the complimentary high-speed internet access (key! although I was too tired to blog), but the fact that it wasn't in Salt Lake City made me hate it.

So we woke up this morning, and our mother called--to say that the road reports for Wyoming indicate that I-80 is closed west of Laramie. Sweet! We definitely don't need any more road closures, since I looked up the distance from Elko to Cheyenne, and it's exactly 666 miles--armageddon! I had hoped to make it into Nebraska, but I doubt that that will happen, since we probably won't hit Cheyenne before ten p.m., even without any road closures.

We're currently going across the salt flats in Utah, and we just passed the Nevada/Utah border. I can write this because my brother is driving, and I have to keep typing or else I'll grab the scissors in the glovebox and stab him in the face--I love the kid, and we're getting along really well, but he just popped in the 'Garth Brooks Double Live' CD, and so the volume is pumped up and he's singing along to tales of jealous wives, jealous husbands, Baton Rouge, etc., etc. I shall exact my revenge with DJ Tiesto's Summerbreeze mix this afternoon--it will cost me something since I can't sing along to techno, but the raw pain evident in his features will be worth it.

My last night in California was really great. We had dinner with fourteen of my closest friends at Buca di Beppo in Palo Alto, which lasted for about four hours, and much fun was had by all. It had the unfortunate side effect of keeping me up way too late, but I'm glad that we went out. It was a strange mix of people; my oldest friends were there (Claudia, Zach, Adit, Oniel), some of the newer additions to that group were there (Vidya, Sri, Jackie), my brother and Claudia's brother were in attendance (and unfortunately the death match between them didn't happen), and some of my former-residents-turned-friends (Tom, Shari, Julie, Rachel, and Kyle) showed up as well. All of those groups are really winning, although I can't repeat most of the conversations that we had because this is a family blog. I don't want to risk the future, when the FCC will suddenly get control of all blogs and retroactively fine everyone for indecency, so I will have to avoid all mention of what was discussed at dinner. But, it was an appropriately raucous send-off, and I can't wait to see everyone in six months.

I think I'm going to see if playing Civilization will make it easier for me to ignore the music; I'll let you know how that goes.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

goodbye california!

hello extremely packed car and very long drive to iowa!

i'm out. i'll blog on the road if i have internet, otherwise i'll be back in contact monday night.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

this is all you get

Figure out what I did today from this random string of words:

talking chalupa cellphone parents conferencecall lunch alaska 150miles drycleaning packing sorting stacking picturetaking vidya meeting whiteboard thinking packingpeanuts puppy hotsauce email yak dietcoke sparechange suitcase video terry rust gasoline passportphoto walter im reorg sayonara

Now, with less than six hours of sleep before me, I'm off to bed!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

only cream and bastards rise

Sorry about the hiatus, but I can't really blog when I don't have a computer, or when I'm insanely tired. Actually, I can blog when I'm insanely tired, as I am proving right now, but I didn't really feel like it. One night of my hiatus was definitely not my fault, though--my work computer got replaced before my departure, and so I was sans computer overnight while they transferred my data to my new computer. I was kinda sad to see the old computer go; it had gotten slow, and old, and the little mouse-nubbin had worn away, but there were times when it was my only friend. Okay, that's an exaggeration. But, I have slept with my computer more than I have with any person since I got the computer back in 2003, and that forges a strong (albeit depressing) bond.

Unluckily, the guys who do all the computer stuff aren't allowed to transfer music because it takes too long. Luckily, I was anticipating the upgrade and so had backed up all my music. Unluckily, I had about eighteen data cds' worth of mp3s. I haven't had enough time at my desk in the last couple of days to get everything re-ripped, so I can only listen to songs by artists between 2Pac and Jimmy Buffett. It's a little funny that that's where my library currently begins and ends, considering I never listen to either of those fine artists. Luckily, my music currently spans such favorites as Harvey Danger, Counting Crows, and Institute, so I'll probably survive until I have everything uploaded again.

The past few days have been fun (luckily). Monday night, I saw 'The Libertine' with Tammy. We caught the 10:15 show, which was a little dumb, but since I had a conference call from 7:30 to 8:30, I didn't have much choice. We both really liked it; I never thought that I would appreciate someone whose nose fell off due to an advanced case of syphilis, but it really works when Johnny Depp is the guy playing the syphilitic. I particularly enjoyed that the filmmakers made London look like it probably would have looked back in the day, what with all the mud, rats, poor peasants, and rich syphilitics. What I *didn't* enjoy is that I was using wikipedia the next day to read more about the origins of syphilis--and as I was leisurely scrolling through the page, I was quite dismayed to find that someone had uploaded a couple of pictures of what syphilis looks like. Ugh! I mean, it's not like I have never seen any graphic depictions of human genitalia, given my job, but a) I wasn't expecting this and b) at least the stuff that I've seen at work typically wasn't covered in lesions. There really should be more warning about things like that. Of course, this blog post could lead to the Justice Dept trying to censor Wikipedia, which would be a tragedy because wikipedia is a fantastic source of information. Hopefully it will be able to continue without any type of external censorship (although some internal censorship regarding the posting of disgusting pictures might be appreciated).

Tammy spent the last couple of nights here studying, which was fine with me, since I ditched her and went to bed. Last night, before she came over, I went to the Creamery and had dessert with Shedletsky and Eric (the Viking), which was really fun. Then, I went to latenight on campus (despite the fact that I took my last final almost three years ago) and had coffee with Roopa. I really love Roopa, and I wish that I would have hung out with her more when I had the opportunity--she's a cool kid, but now I'm moving away, so our friendship will be no more :(

Tonight, I had dinner with Claudia at our favorite mexican restaurant. I'm starting to realize how much I'm going to miss her, and the rest of my friends; I'm sort of following the same trajectory that I followed when I was leaving for India, in which I was so busy getting ready to leave that I didn't think about the implications of leaving until it was too late to do anything about it. Oh well. Hopefully I will get some fun visitors in Dublin--and as I know from previous experience, six months flies by. I've already been back from India for five months, even though it oscillates between feeling like five days and five years, so six months in Ireland will be a piece of cake.

One more item of interest: when I got home, I realized that someone had shown up to clean the apartment. When I opened the door, I had to unlock the deadbolt, which was freaky because I knew that Tammy had left after me, and she doesn't have a key to lock the deadbolt from the outside. So, as I was freaking out about how Tammy could have gotten out and left the door locked at the same time, I realized that everything was slightly tidier. Then I discovered that it was a lot tidier--like, the place was vacuumed, the towels in the bathroom were replaced, the trash was removed, and they even changed the color scheme of the bedding on my bed. Crazy! I'm so spoiled it's not even funny.

Okay, definitely time for bed--only two more nights in California!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

the angel from my nightmare

The aftermath of my party was admittedly not quite as fun as the party itself, but that's to be expected of any party that consists almost entirely of irish car bombs. I woke up around noon (which isn't absurdly late considering that I went to bed at 4:30), and then Claudia and I had dim sum for the final time before I leave. I was completely stuffed by the end of it, since we ordered all the old favorites--egg custard buns, rice noodles stuffed with pork, deep fried shrimp with mayonnaise, har gar (aka tasty shrimp families), deep fried shrimp in bean curd, and baked bbq pork pastries. That's a lot of food for two people, especially when one person doesn't want to eat much and the other one has a raging hangover, but we pushed through to victory.

I ran some errands after dim sum, although my dark sunglasses really came in handy to ward off the cruelly-sunny day; it was of course my luck that the sun was shining for the first time in two weeks on precisely the day that I would have chosen rain. Anyway, I dropped a purse off at a cobbler to get the strap repaired, then went to the mall to stock up on makeup and moisturizer before my trip. I got the *best* free sample set at Lancome; the gift contained minis of all of my favorite things (a 4-color eyeshadow set of dusty pinks and blacks, my favorite pink lipstick, my favorite shiny lipgloss, and the best mascara in the world). I've never gotten a gift from them that ever contained anything that I would ever purchase on my own, and to get all of the things that I purchase frequently was amazing.

I made the mistake of reinstalling 'Civilization' yesterday, because I didn't want to pack, clean up (the apartment still smells vaguely of beer and pizza), or study for the foreign service exam. So, I got absolutely nothing done. But, Tammy came over for a couple of hours and rescued me briefly from my dorkiness. Thanks for that, Tammy, even if we didn't end up watching 'The Two Towers' like I know you secretly longed for.

Today, I saw 'V for Vendetta' with Zach. I really liked it, but I am inclined to like any movie that promises vengeance, retribution, and effective civilian revolt in the face of totalitarianism. The likelihood that the plot would have worked was implausible at best, but the effects were good and I really like the voice of Hugo Weaving (known for his roles as Agent Smith in 'The Matrix' and Elrond in 'The Lord of the Rings'--and so now he can sound both fair and menancing at the same time without even really trying, which is exactly what this part demanded). One word of advice to you, though--sell your Google stock and buy Dell. After another world war ravages the earth, and after a mysterious virus wipes out most of America (to the point that America is sending offerings of wheat and tobacco to England in a desperate plea for medicines), Google is nowhere to be found on the English governments' computers--but they are using Dell monitors. Who knew that Dell would still be around in 2020? I certainly didn't, but I'm about to get a lot smarter about my investments.

I only have five-ish days left in California, a fact that my mind is shying away from. Luckily I don't have too much to do--I need to do laundry, and I need to pack up my car and take the rest of my stuff to storage, and I need to change my oil, and of course see ten or twenty people, but that's all pretty standard for me, so I think I'll handle it well. I'm looking forward to my trip back across the Great American West, and to my brief vacation...but two weeks from now, I'll be going into the Dublin office for the first time. Scary! Now, though, I need to sleep.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

once upon an irish time

Vidya is about to fall asleep on my couch. This is v. exciting, since she rarely falls asleep on my couch; in fact, this is the first time that this has happened, as far as I can remember. Also, it is exciting that Claudia is going to sleep in my bed; this is the consequence of throwing a St. Patrick's Day party in which two of the major participants are encouraged to sleep over rather than driving home.

If you didn't come to my place tonight, you really missed out. It may not be apparent from my diligent attempts at proofreading and correcting (aka 'guess and check typing'), but I had at least five Irish Car Bombs, as well as some Smirnoff Ices, and pizza and chips (not alcoholic, but also not typical items on my daily menu since I'm trying to eat better, so almost as intoxicating as Irish whiskey).

Did you know that whisky is spelled 'whiskey' in Ireland and 'whisky' in Scotland? I do! and now you do too. How do you think that happened? Which Scotsman, after stumbling home from a night at the pub, decided to excise the 'e' from whiskey's existence? Or, what Irishman decided to add an 'e' as a sign of independence and spelling superiority? The world may never know, but I was quite intrigued by this fact.

Anyway, the party was a smashing success. It was actually like two or three parties in one; the first 'party' mostly consisted of Terry watching the NCAA tournament while Claudia, Vidya and I alternately ate pizza and got ready for the party. Party Two consisted mostly of my co-workers, who showed up at the advertised time and seemed to enjoy themselves. Party Three consisted of my former residents, who showed up after drinking for several hours, and who proceeded to scare everyone else away before hanging out for quite a long time. I'm thrilled that so many people came, and I'm trying to be positive about what I have rather than melancholy about what I'm leaving behind.

Now, it's time to go to bed. Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!

Friday, March 17, 2006

hey tonto, jump on it!

I'm super tired; after going to bed late last night, I had to be in the office by seven a.m. today. I was there for eleven hours, but still felt like a slacker for leaving at 6:15. But, I had a really important preso (as corporate people, ugh, call presentations) that went well, and I got a lot done. I took a break to have dinner with Claudia; we were supposed to see 'The Libertine', but I didn't really have time for a movie outing, and neither did most of the other people who were going to go. Instead, Claude and I had sushi, and we got lucky enough to see Oniel, who stopped by the same restaurant to grab takeout. Yay.

Then, I came home and worked for another three hours while watching the second half of 'Fellowship of the Ring'. If Tammy shows up to my going-away party tomorrow, I would make her watch 'The Two Towers', since I know she secretly wants to, but I don't want to scare away my coworkers with evidence of my lameness.

Okay, no more from me tonight, I'm exhausted. Don't expect a post tomorrow, since my party should still be in full swing 24 hours from now, but maybe you'll be fortunate enough to hear from me this weekend.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

'you know, in some cultures, they only eat vomit. i've never been there, but i read about it....in a book!'

Bleh. No time to blog, but I wanted to fulfill my parents' desire to know that I'm alive. I was at work from 9-6:30 today, then came home, started working almost immediately, and have worked until right now (12:02am). While I was working, I started off by watching 'Dodgeball', just for background noise. After that, I downloaded this song by the Sugar Hill Gang; the song is featured in the scene where White Goodman shows up at what's-her-name's door to ask her out on a date, only to drive away behind Me'chele on his tiny Vespa. I listened to that for like half an hour, and then I watched the first half of 'The Fellowship of the Ring'. This was in direct reaction to Tammy's rather inconsiderate blog post. She may think that 'The Lord of the Rings' is lame, but I shall persevere. More importantly, I've watched them enough that they serve as perfect background--I don't need to watch the whole thing to know what's going on, but it can always provide a good three-minute break when a key scene comes on.

Anyway, you've already gotten too much out of me tonight, since I have to be at the office at seven. Goodnight!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

uggs and eyeshadow can't solve everything

I'm a tired camper, and it's only going to get worse before it gets better. I was at work from 9-7:30 today, met Claude and Terry at a cafe (where I did some more work over a sandwich and a lemon tart), then came home and worked for another 2.5 hours while watching 'Eurotrip'. Tomorrow it's more of the same, except I have to go to some stupid roller-skating activity at work. Ugh. If there's anything I hate more than meaningless group bonding, it's meaningless group bonding whilst roller-skating.

I may not skate, though, given my insurance woes--if there's anything I would hate worse than the aforementioned things, it would be having to pay the entire cost of setting my broken arm. However, a broken arm could be pretty hot--I could request magenta plaster to match my awesome new magenta Uggs. I broke down and ordered them from zappos.com last week; my old knock-off Uggs, which I actually got in Australia about seven years ago, are falling apart. I tried on some Uggs at Nordstrom to get the right fit, but they didn't have any colors that I liked--and while I should have ordered the more subdued 'sand' Uggs, I decided to go with shocking pink instead. I am so satisfied, too; I wore them last night, and had vowed not to wear them to work, but my willpower failed me, and so I paired them with a pink sweater and jeans today. I didn't have any important meetings, so it didn't matter, and my feet are nice and cosy.

Also, I finally got the eyeshadows that I had ordered a few weeks ago; they mysteriously spent over a week in a Fedex warehouse in New Jersey, but they finally make the trip across country, and now they are lovingly stored in my bathroom. They're these awesome cream eyeshadows that go on really smooth and then turn to powder, so I'm quite excited.

Despite my recent string of internet purchases (I have a camera case in the mail to my parents', two memory cards and a Great Britain travel guide from Amazon, and a cute sweatshirt from the company that runs my corporation's souvenir store), nothing can make up for the fact that I'm not going to get enough sleep for the next few days. But now that I've satisfied my parents' demands for frequent blog entries, I can go to bed!

Monday, March 13, 2006

i never meant to be so bad to you

I got a really intense massage this afternoon. On the whole, I think the woman did a good job, but my neck now hurts in a different way than it did before she put a ball under my neck and started pressing on my forehead. Also, I felt a little creeped out when she leaned over and whispered, 'You know you won't be able to go back to work after this.' I know that she meant it to be soothing and relaxing, but I'm rather tense in general, and I'm especially tense when someone is pressing on my face while I'm lying on a table, sans clothes, with only a sheet and a door protecting my modesty from the coworkers strolling through the busy hallway beyond the massage room. The idea of having a massage room at work is strange in general, although I do like getting reduced-price massages, and so I indulge occasionally. But, the woman had no reason to sound quite so creepy--the situation is already creepy enough, what with the mood lighting, the world music, the fake waterfall, and the sounds of people working outside.

Anyway, the rest of the day was pretty uneventful. Actually, that's a lie. My mother called to tell me that she'd gotten a notice, dated a month ago but victim to the chaos that is my current mailing system, that I'd been removed from all of my health, dental, vision, disability, and life insurance, effective February 1. This means that I've been running around doing dangerous things like ice skating, driving, and eating in on-campus dining halls for six weeks, and if any of those things had felled me, I would have been forced to pay the whole bill. Shocking! I think I got the whole thing sorted out--it was a mechanical glitch caused by my homeless state. Now, I'm getting some sweet international insurance that, while it does not really cover anything extra in life, does provide for 'transport of mortal remains'. As I told my dear friend Vidya (who is getting rather demanding for a mention in the ol' blog), I may still have to pay for some medical procedures, but at least I can die for free!

I'm really tired, and it's time to get a grip on my self-destructive behavior. Not that I'm in any danger of actually hurting myself...but tonight I ate a burrito from my favorite taqueria in Mountain View, followed by a whole bowl of leftover chow mein, so now I just feel kinda icky. I'm tempted to stay up late and watch some mindless, soul-stealing television, but I'm going to save myself from myself and go to bed instead. Goodnight!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

you've dreamed a thousand dreams...none seem to stick in your mind

I need to stop watching the Food Network. I've spent a significant amount of the evening watching various cooking shows and competitions, and now all I want to do is open up a bed and breakfast and cook all sorts of delectable things for customers who, in my dreams, will be gracious and grateful rather than demanding and obnoxious.

Speaking of dreams, I have dozens of them, stretching away into a fathomless void where they all float about, periodically to be reexamined before being cast away to darkness again. Every day, I seem to 'discover' what I'm meant to do with my life, only to realize the next day that I want something else, or forget a dream entirely because of the pressures of modern life. Tonight, I remembered the stunning, earthshaking revelation that I had in a rainstorm at Fatehpur Sikri. As you, dear reader, may remember, Fatehpur Sikri is a ruined citadel near Agra, India, built by a Mughal emperor and abandoned after his death due to an extreme water shortage. As I sat under an archway, avoiding the rain and the endless stream of annoying tour-guides, I contemplated a gorgeous city that was doomed from the start by the arrogance and poor planning of the ruling class. All civilizations eventually end, whether by falling to the barbarians howling in the wilderness or by facing a long, slow decline into obscurity. Then, I began to wonder if this fate will be met by America in my lifetime.

While I don't think that America will actually cease to exist before I do, at this point it seems inevitable that the lifestyle of the Plains and the American West will fade away. There will probably always be pockets of people living in the interior of our continent; and I hope that people will gradually realize the insanity of living expensively on the coasts when there is so much space and freedom (cheap at twice the price) between the Appalachians and the Rockies. But, towns like my hometown are dying; family businesses have been replaced by dollar stores, and the inducements for me to return are limited to a) family and b) cheap land.

So, while I was sitting in a hot, rain-soaked courtyard halfway around the world, I felt that my destiny was to travel around America, documenting the lives of small towns before they disappeared forever. I felt this so strongly that I was almost moved to tears (which is quite the feat for me, since tears are rather rare in my world). Then, I promptly forgot about it and moved on with my life.

Am I destined to undertake this project? Or will I follow one of the other myriad dreams that have floated through my mind over the years? Going to Ireland will put off any decisions in an enjoyable, satisfactory way, but someday I will have to choose a dream (or dreams) and follow them. Here's a partial list; if I'm still aimlessly blogging in a year without doing anything to follow any of them, please hit me.

The List:
1) Travel around small-town America and write witty, incisive travelogues/documentaries
2) Write a series of romance novels
3) Write the Great American Novel
4) Move to Kyrgyzstan or some other Central Asian country
5) Seek employment with the Foreign Service
6) Learn Russian, French, and German
7) Plan and host the party of the century


This is all a fight against the 'sensible' things that I could do with my time (and likely be wildly successful at):

The Anti-List
1) Get an English Ph.D.
2) Get a joint law/business degree and go into international consulting
3) Get a business degree and re-enter corporate America
4) Snare a man and raise some adorable kids

Regardless of which options I choose to pursue, it's clear that my interests lie in the realm of literature--but I'm afraid that I won't be successful and that I won't be able to feed myself. Mostly, though, I'm afraid that if it doesn't work out, I'll have to admit that it was all just a dream, and that seems like a devastating turn of events.

Based on the movie I saw today, though, I don't want to risk living with my parents for more than a few transitional weeks at a time. I saw 'Failure to Launch', which was unfortunate since a) I went alone and b) the movie was terrible. I just wanted to see a movie and didn't particularly care that none of my friends wanted to go, but I was unduly punished by having to see extended shots of Terry Bradshaw's naked ass. Why couldn't Matthew McConaughey do the nude scene? Instead, they gave the nude scene to an aging sportscaster. Alas. Matthew McConaughey was still hot, but his character was a little obnoxious, and I've decided that I really dislike Sarah Jessica Parker. I don't think she's pretty or fresh enough to be a romantic comedy lead, and her voice is one of the most annoying things I've heard in a really long time. I will likely change that judgment after I've listened to my brother's country music on the way home, but for now, Sarah Jessica Parker's voice is the worst thing to pass through my tympanic membranes in quite awhile.

Okay, all of this is a moot point for now, and it's time for me to go to bed. After my father told me that I should post every day, I shall endeavor to post more often in the future. You can probably expect a post every day while I'm in Ireland, but my life in California is sufficiently boring to make blogging seem pointless. However, I apologize for my hiatus, and will attempt to be more diligent in the future.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

but she'll bring out the best and the worst you can be

I'm so tired! For maximum effect, please imagine that I said that in the same tone used by Mugatu in 'Zoolander', right after he throws a hot beverage in his assistant's face and screams, 'Are you not aware that I get farty and bloated with a foamy latte?!'

Ah, Zoolander. Those were the days. Days when all of my time was consumed by a) watching Zoolander, b) planning random dorm activities like 'foods that come in a tube', and c) spending five hours a day in the Loro dining hall. Now, my life is a sad and dull reflection of its former self. Perhaps I am just feeling angsty because I have so many early-morning conference calls; they've gotten incrementally worse every morning this week, to the point that I now have a call at seven a.m. tomorrow. Brutal! So, even though it's only 9:30pm, I think I'm going to go to bed now--I could really use eight or eight-and-a-half hours of deep, deep relaxation.

As for the recap of today--I spent a lot of time in the office, but it was mitigated by lunch with Claudia. I love being able to feed her without expending any effort myself; the most I had to do was sign her in and walk with her to the main cafeteria. That's hospitality at its finest, let me tell ya. Since I hadn't seen her since Sunday, there wasn't really a lot to catch up on, but it felt like it had been awhile, so lunch was fun. Then, I had dinner with John in Palo Alto; we inadvertently recreated one of the dates that we filmed way back in the day when we were trying to be television producers, since we had dinner at Krung Siam and dessert at an ice cream place that took over from the previous ice cream place that had stood in that location. It was great to see him, and I'm glad that I'm being mostly successful in my attempts to reconnect with friends before I leave again.

Of course, hanging out in the places where we filmed the dating show was a little melancholy-inducing, since that part of my life is definitely behind me. I am highly unlikely to ever produce a tv show again (although presumably if I do try again, it will be orders of magnitude more successful), nor do I have the time or the energy to stay up until four a.m. every night like I did in college, reading, hanging out, laughing, and generally enjoying life. I still enjoy life, and I still read/hang out/laugh, but it all happens much earlier in the day. The fact that almost all of my days end by midnight now, and begin by eight or nine a.m., feels so impossibly grown up, and life just doesn't seem like it's as much fun when it all happens in the daytime. When I'm travelling, it's different--you want daylight to illuminate your new worlds. At home, though, night is best, since it ensures that all of the 'normal' people go to bed and leave room for the crazy portion of the population to have more intense fun. Now I've become one of the 'normal' people (at least, normal for me), and it makes me sad.

In other news, I forgot to pee after having sex the other night, and now I have a kidney infection. Actually, that's a complete and utter lie. But, my brother mentioned this in reference to the blog of someone he knows, and then said that he would never ever want to read that on my blog. I thought I would oblige him by throwing it into my post :) And on that note, it's time for bed!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

is someone getting the best of you?

I am quite hopeful that I will wake up tomorrow morning in time to shower before work, since that definitely wasn't the case today. Multiple early-morning conference calls in a row are bad news bears. Tomorrow starts at 7:30, which means I need to go to bed now if I have any hope of making it in time.

Today wasn't all bad; after work, I had dinner with Tom and Greg at Slav, which was v. nice even though the food left a lot to be desired. I've never had manicotti stuffed with sweet potatoes, and I sincerely hope that I never taste that particular combination again. I love hanging out with those boys, though, so I'm glad I went despite the mediocre dinner. Our discussions were repeatedly interrupted because they are too popular for their own good, which meant that people kept coming over to talk to them, inciting my jealousy just a wee bit. Greg unfortunately had to work, but Tom and I went to the CoHo, only to discover that it was packed, and so we ended up at the Treehouse instead. It's too bad that dinner was filling despite its mediocrity; I'd been craving nachos earlier in the day, and I totally would have gotten Treehouse nachos (which were my sole sustenance when I was on campus after my sophomore year), but I didn't think I could handle the whole plate without upsetting the work that my stomach was doing to neutralize the manicotti.

The search for meaning in my life continues; I don't think I'm any closer to my goal than I was a few weeks ago, but I feel a pressing urgency to resolve everything that is probably fueled by a) continued proofs of mortality in the form of death/illness running rampant through my friends and family, and b) my fast-approaching departure for Dublin. I think that I need to avoid making friends in Dublin so that I have more time to contemplate and create--once I made friends in India, all contemplation and creativity went completely out the window. But, there's something to be said for living an awesome life in the moment, even though that will probably prevent me from accomplishing something grander. The fight between living for the moment and living for a greater legacy is nowhere close to being resolved, although I know which of those paths I want to take even if I don't have the willpower to accomplish it. Tonight, though, the most important exercise of willpower may come by going to bed before midnight. Goodnight!

Monday, March 06, 2006

the disco hotspots hold no charm for you

I've had Indian food twice in the past 24 hours. Not only that, but I've had lentils--which, if you've ever heard me go off about lentils, may surprise you. However, in Indian cuisine, lentils are called 'dal'; and 'dal makhni' sounds similar enough to 'murgh makhni' (my favorite stuff) that I can almost convince myself that I'm not eating butter-covered dirt. Mmm.

Anyway, tonight I went out with Subz (known more formerly as Lauren), and we attempted to reclaim our Indian past by finding some tasty South Asian cuisine. We tried this restaurant called 'Southern Spice' in Mountain View. Let me tell you, it was the perfect place to go for our reclamation mission--the decor had the same weird mishmash of Christmas lights and Ganeshes that most Indian buildings seemed to have, and the restaurant was strangely empty. The music was also appropriately annoying. However, the place gradually added customers as the night progressed (we did get there absurdly early, since it was our excuse to leave the office), and the food was awesome. I'm always pleased when the clientele match the food being served, since it indicates that the menu items are authentically prepared; I feel the same joy at seeing Mexicans at Pedro's, or at seeing v. elderly white people at Marie Callendar's. Anyway, we went veg because Subz doesn't eat meat, which explains why I ate dirt instead. You know a restaurant is good if I think the food is tasty even without the added benefit of once-living flesh. Also, hanging out with Subz was awesome, and the dinner was a great way to start the week.

Last night, Vidya and Tammy came over to watch the Academy Awards. It was supposed to be a slightly larger tea party, but Claudia and Terry both cancelled due to illness; I was going to bake and cook, but I cancelled that due to illness as well, so Vidya and I ordered a pizza. Tammy showed up much later, and she wanted Indian food, so we ordered some takeout after the Oscars were over. We were going to rent 'Crash' to see what all the fuss was about, but neither of us could find our Blockbuster cards--so we watched the first half of 'The Return of the King' instead. You have no idea how happy it makes me that I watched part of it with Tammy--she makes fun of me all the time by claiming that I watch the Lord of the Rings movies all the time (okay, possibly valid, although I haven't seen any of them in at least six weeks). She also likes to bring up my lust for Aragorn (also valid) and the fact that I lust after the fictional character, rather than the actor (but come on, Aragorn vs. Viggo Mortenson? No contest!) So, of course, I was quite amenable to watching 'Return of the King' with her--but since it's like ten hours long, she's going to have to come over later this week to finish it.

Saturday night, I went out for dinner in honor of Lisa's birthday; she'd flown up from LA with her fiance, and went to dinner with me, Claudia, Terry, Terry's sisters, and a couple of her former residents. Lisa's getting married next year, and Terry will be the maid of honor, so I had quite a bit of fun making fun of that. I tried to blame all of my loopiness on overingestion of DayQuil, but it was clearly just my normally-effervescent personality going haywire, as usual. Since that was the first time in two days that I'd left the house or seen anyone, it was v. exciting.

Now, it's back to the grind at work--I panicked slightly when I realized today that I only have fourteen work days left in the Mountain View office. Where has the time gone?! Oh well, soon this will all be over and I will be in the verdant emerald land across the sea. Or, alternatively, in a depressing apartment block in the middle of a dreary Socialist spring. Either way, it's going to rock my socks off.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

there will be time to murder and create

I stayed home sick today, nursing a cold that does not compare to the miserable fever-and-cough that I had last summer in India. However, while I may be several steps farther removed from death than I was in August, I am still rather unhappy; the combination of DayQuil and tea helps my cold but destroys my sleep patterns, leading me to question whether my headache is the result of sinus congestion or the fact that I slept so fitfully last night. Anyway, I spent the day napping, reading, and watching movies. I watched both 'The Wedding Crashers' and 'Anchorman', since I was in the mood for comedy. I still think that 'Anchorman' is, on the whole, unwatchable, but there are several key scenes that go a long way towards making it an okay film. I was slightly disappointed with 'The Wedding Crashers'. I missed it when it came out last summer, and I finally got around to watching it on DVD tonight. I thought that the plot, especially in the latter third, meandered too much, and I wished that Owen Wilson had displayed more of his natural comedic brilliance. While I'm sure I will watch it again, I don't think that it has any classic lines that will replay endlessly in my consciousness, unlike 'Zoolander' or 'Dodgeball'.

Four weeks from tomorrow, I will be flying to Dublin! Since my brother's coming out the weekend before that to participate in the Great Wampler Roadtrip (an exciting name for what promises to be a v. boring 1800-mile drive across the dreary end-of-winter American West), I only have three weeks left in California. It's so strange that I'm saying that again; when I got back from India, I didn't think that I would be leaving the Bay Area again so soon. But, going to Ireland is an amazing opportunity, and while I will miss my friends here tremendously, I think that I have explored California (at least, the Bay Area) as much as I will ever care to.

I'm super tired, and I should at least try to sleep--wish me luck! I shall post again soon, my friends.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

lux aeterna

Alas, the illness that I feared yesterday has sprung on me full-force today. I awoke for my 7am conference call, but I took it in my pajamas at my kitchen table. I went to work afterwards, but I only stayed until around 2pm, when I came home and took a nap. Unfortunately for my illness (but fortunately for my mental health), I had long-standing plans for dinner with Julie, and I couldn't break them because I had already cancelled on her once and didn't feel like I could do it again. So, we went to the Cheesecake Factory, which I have decided to hate with all the passion I can muster. We chose that place because I really just wanted soup, and since the Cheesecake Factory has everything, it seemed like a safe bet. In fact, their menu is about twenty pages long, and it's so thick and so ultra-glossy that they actually place advertisements for other companies' products on half of the pages. Given the density of their menu, I was shocked (shocked!) to discover that the *only* soup they carry is their 'soup of the day'. And today's soup? Lentil soup with bacon. Ew!! I despise lentils, but the idea of lentils and bacon seems immoral--lentils are a staple of Indian vegetarian cuisine, while bacon most certainly is not. Also, given how much I adore bacon, the combination of bacon and lentils seems like truffles and Franzia, or saffron and Campbell's cream of mushroom soup, or $25/pound tete du moine cheese and Saltines...or shrimp and feet, when you get right down to it, although I may actually prefer pigs' feet to lentils. That's a tough choice, though...and if you add in the petrified eggs that came with the pigs' feet at the Hong Kong Flower Lounge, I may have to choose the lentils instead, as much as the thought brings tears to my eyes.

Anyway, the Cheesecake Factory was annoying, and Julie and I have vowed never to go back. For all you inquiring minds out there, I chose a club sandwich instead, which was okay; but I prefer Quiznos, since it's twice as tasty at half the price. Now I'm sitting in my apartment, drinking some tea and hoping that I feel better so that I can go to work tomorrow. The best way to ensure that is probably by seeking out my bed, so I think that's what I shall do. Goodnight!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

they pass right through you like a ghost

Alas, I think that I am getting sick. I can probably blame most of my friends for this, since almost everyone I've hung out with in the past week has had varying degrees of illness. My throat has that weird, scratchy feeling that always precedes plague-like misery, and my nose is unexpectedly runny. To combat illness, I made myself some soup; but, since I didn't have a recipe for chicken noodle soup, I made vegetarian chili instead. The chili was very tasty, but the downside was that I added several hot peppers--and now the pepper residue is clinging to my left hand and I can't fully remove it no matter how hard I scrub. The area around my left thumb's cuticle is actually slightly burned and very sensitive; I didn't realize that the pain was caused by the peppers until I licked the sore area on my thumb (gross, I know) and set my tongue on fire. Luckily the pain and burning are subsiding, and hopefully they'll vanish altogether before my concern is demanded by my impending illness.

While my soup was simmering, I watched part of 'The Royal Tenenbaums', and I finished the movie rather than working. I don't know why I love that movie so much; it really has nothing to do with my life, since my family was rather functional, but I think that the whole movie is rather depressingly hysterical. 'Depressingly hysterical' seemed to be the right mood for the evening, so I'm glad that I watched it again. Then I did a few last-minute things for work that had to be done before tomorrow, and now I'm going to bed. I have a conference call at 7am that I hope I can wake up for, and too much stuff to do at the office, so we'll see whether and how I make it through the day. Yay.