Saturday, June 30, 2007

you found me passed out in the yard again

After going to bed last night, I slept for eleven hours straight, which I apparently needed, given how tired I already feel again. I made it into work at 10am, where I stayed for ~4 hours to do some testing stuff that required my presence. I ran home to drop my stuff out, and then had an unproductive couple of hours in which I had intended to buy some presents for some people and some decorations for my new office, but after visiting four stores, I purchased nothing. Boo. That means that I will have to do some shopping tomorrow, in addition to tackling my rather desperate laundry situation, talking to my parents, doing some pressing/vital work, and having dim sum and hanging out with Claude and her brother. Hmm - that sounds like more than I can possible complete. We'll have to see how it goes, I suppose.

The nice part of today was that I reconnected with a guy whom I went to summer camp with in high school. He was a fellow TASPer, and also hosted me and several others when we reunited at Mardi Gras my senior year of high school, but we had lost touch when I was in college, since I was terrible at keeping in touch with old friends (Katie can attest to this, alas). However, he discovered that I was in the area and made contact, so I had dinner with him and his fiancee, before going back to their place and playing a board game. I had a really nice time, with very little of the awkwardness that you would expect while seeing someone for only the second time in the past eight years, so hopefully we'll hang out again. It's a huge advantage that he lives in Mountain View, since all of my other friends are leaving me (sniff), which bodes well for the future.

Okay, I'm going to go to bed; Claude's coming over at 10am, which only gives me nine hours to sleep tonight. Rough! Have a great night!

Friday, June 29, 2007

i should have shut my mouth, things headed south

I'm exhausted, so I think I'm going to go to bed after I write this, even though it's only nine p.m. on a Friday. Today was a bittersweet day; it's the end of the quarter and the official end of my previous job, and so I had to pack my boxes and get ready to move out of my awesome office. When I come in on Monday, I'll be in a different office, on a different floor, working full-time with a different team. Today actually felt quite a bit like the last day of a year in college - the nice feeling of accomplishment, thankfulness that the current situation is over, but serious nostalgia for all the great times of the past several months. For all the frustrations that I've felt at work over the past few months, I really loved the team that I was on, and I also really enjoyed sharing an office with Gyre. We'll hopefully keep hanging out, but I'm not holding my breath. We had a ritual of rolling these horoscope dice every day, which were amusing and frightfully accurate - one 12-sided die has all of the signs of the zodiac, and the other has 12 different fates, with the idea being that you will experience that fate with someone of the zodiac sign that you roll. This afternoon, I suggested rolling them one last time to determine the course of the rest of our lives. He rolled a Libra and 'work' - which is the sign of his unborn child, and he will probably end up working for that kid forever. I rolled an Aries (his sign) and 'conflict', which was pretty much perfect. Seeing the Aries/conflict combo made me laugh so hard that Terry could hear me on the floor below, which was embarrassing and also awesome.

After work, I had dinner with Shedletsky, came home, watched some Guns 'n' Roses videos in an attempt to motivate myself to do some work, and failed. So I'm going to go to bed - I have to go into the office for several hours tomorrow to do some testing for a project I'm working on, and I have enough work to occupy me the entire day. Boo. Sleeping will be nice, though. Goodnight!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

mr. death's neighborhood

It's two a.m. and I've been working for the past 3.5 hours. I defiantly took a break from work from 7ish to 10:30ish, because Claude came over so that we could have dinner and a movie. We went to Mike's and shared a delicious tortellini w/pesto and tiger prawns, followed by their delicious bread pudding. Then, we came back here and watched 'Thank You For Smoking'; she hadn't seen it before, and we both enjoyed it (although now I kind of want a cigarette; too bad they smell so terrible).

I'm glad I took time out to see Claudius, since I've been missing my friends due to my insane work schedule recently. Tomorrow and Friday will be rough, and I have to go into the office for several hours on Saturday, but I'm trying to make some plans for Sunday, and I'm also trying to keep my Fourth of July relatively independent (ha!). Now, though, I should really go to sleep, since I have to be back in the office in less than six hours. Goodnight!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

sweet child o' mine

Tonight was the quarterly offsite for my particular management level at work, and this quarter's offsite was a private karaoke party at Blue Chalk in Palo Alto. It was *awesome*...I sang not one, but three of my favorite songs ('Livin' on a Prayer', 'Walk Like an Egyptian', and 'Sweet Child o' Mine'...as well as 'Cecilia' w/a group of people), and everyone picked really fun songs to sing along to. Everyone in that group has been ridiculously busy and stressed over the past few weeks, and it was clear that we all needed to unwind, so karaoke was a pretty good way to go. Unfortunately my ears are now ringing and my throat feels a little scratchy, but it was totally worth it.

The rest of the day was pretty good too; I didn't feel like doing anything during my free hour or two this afternoon, so I ended up packing up my office, and Gyre and I were totally obnoxious in our attempts to blind each other by using reflective objects to shine light into each others' eyes. I also took a two-hour lunch with the smaller group of managers on my particular team; the six of us went out for Mexican food, where I was once again distressed by the fact that I can't eat raw tomatoes. However, in terms of days at work, this has been the best one in awhile. There's tons of stuff that I should do tonight, but I think I'm going to bask in my Guns 'n' Roses afterglow and go to bed instead. Goodnight!

don't point that gun at him - he's an unpaid intern

Craig Ferguson is having a bad night - the lights are off for some reason in his studio, and so he had to pick up his quill and write to Leslie Moonves (president of CBS) asking him to pay the bills so that he could have power again. Also, he just started singing 'Milkshake', which was pretty awesome. He also told a nice story about how he was on a catamaran and somehow got his swimming trunks ripped off his body - since he's Scottish and the hero of my romance novel is Scottish, I'm getting dirty ideas.

There is no time to act on those dirty ideas, though; it's one a.m., and while I wasn't horribly productive at work (I had meetings most of the day, and spent the rest getting 'trained' by Gyre, which meant watching him do some stuff while we made fun of each other), I still felt motivated enough to come home, watch an hour or so of 'Scrubs' as a break, and then work pretty much straight from 8pm until now. I feel so much more on top of my work as a result, which is great. I also put 'The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou' in the background, which was as awesome as it always is. Now, though, I should really go to bed - the rest of the week is going to be pure chaos. I have an offsite tomorrow night, plans to watch a movie with Claude on Wednesday, dinner plans on Thursday, and then it's the weekend again. Sheesh. Goodnight!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

it's bittersweet to hear you laugh

I had a thoroughly mundane weekend, except for the fact that I saw Felicia and Eddie - I only see Felicia ~once per year, and I hadn't seen Eddie in ages, possibly not since I was living with Walter in that hovel in Mountain View, and that seems like a lifetime ago. Felicia and Eddie are in town for an intensive dance camp at Stanford; after only a day, they seemed rather exhausted, so I will be interested to hear how it goes for them. They spent the night with me on Friday because they couldn't find the key for the house that they were supposed to stay in, but they moved out yesterday (after an early dinner of sushi at Sushi Tomo, which is near Fuki Sushi but approximately half as expensive).

But other than the couple of hours I spent catching up with Felicia and Eddie, the rest of the weekend was positively dull - which was somehow just what I needed. I read a romance novel Friday night while Felicia and Eddie were dancing, and I had a glass of wine in one of the absurdly expensive, absurdly heavy Waterford crystal wine glasses that arrived on my doorstep last week - I had ordered wine and champagne glasses when I was in Dublin in April, and they finally arrived. Seriously, drinking wine out of one of those glasses feels like I'm drinking wine out of a chalice, and I could see myself becoming an alcoholic solely for the decadent feeling of drinking wine from those glasses. Then again, if I become an alcoholic, I will eventually lose everything and end up drinking cheap gin out of a paper bag, which wouldn't be nearly so decadent, so perhaps I shall avoid that fate.

Yesterday, I slept in, went to the office briefly, got a facial, came home and did a quick cleanup of my kitchen, had dinner w/my houseguests, and tried working on my romance novel (but only succeeded in typing up the pages that I had written out on paper over the past few weeks). Today, I slept in, made myself some tasty eggs over easy, sat around, talked to my parents for three hours, and did about four hours worth of work. This week is going to be rather hellish, I think, but I've made plans several nights this week (which somehow simultaneously makes it more and less hellish...less because I will have more fun, more because I will have less time to complete things and so will probably have to stay up too late). Wish me luck!

Friday, June 22, 2007

always the al-smaid, never the al

I overslept until almost nine, which gave me six hours of sleep last night, which I suppose was okay. I took the time to shave my legs this morning (I know, you needed to know that), so I was able to wear this cute white skirt that I bought a couple of months ago but hadn't worn yet, with a black top and my shiny bright-red heels. The shoes drew a lot of compliments; while my family may know me as a shoe-collecting fiend, my tastes run toward flipflops (which explains why I have about twenty pairs that qualify as flipflops, in a variety of colors and styles), which doesn't really mesh with the more well-heeled (ha!) crowd of young women at my office.

I had meetings pretty much all day, including a meeting with my new manager, which went well. I thrive in situations where I feel that I have to prove myself against overwhelming odds, and my new job qualifies, so that's good. I may be bored again in a month, but right now I'm too busy to get in touch w/my feelings. After spending all day in meetings, I met Kim at Fiesta del Mar for a nice, leisurely dinner; she switched to a different department after coming back from Michigan, but we're trying to have dinner occasionally to stay caught up with each other.

When I got home, I relaxed by watching some 'Scrubs', and then I got back to work. I actually put 'Sahara' in again (sad, I know) - last night I was concentrating so much that I don't really remember seeing any of it, but tonight I actually caught a few of my favorite lines. I intend to force Vidya to watch it sometime soon - she doesn't realize it, but she's about to fall in love with Matthew McConaughey. Yay.

The movie ended in time for me to watch Craig Ferguson, which was nice, although I was sending out emails and so wasn't paying full attention. Now it's almost two a.m., and I should really go to bed - one more day, and it's time for the weekend! Goodnight!

p.s. Michael, the first year out of college pretty much sucks for everyone. Not that you want advice from me, but it's true.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

you can stand under my umbrella

I have reverted to my true form - ever since high school, when I was cramming to finish up eight separate essays for my correspondence courses in literature through ISU, I've tended to like to listen to one song on constant repeat while focusing on my work. This tried-and-true technique carried me through various papers, take-home finals, and projects, culminating in the eight hours that I spent listening to 'The Gloaming' while writing my thesis in the 24-hour study room.

Tonight is no different; I came home and didn't accomplish much from eight to eleven, because I started talking to people online (particularly Tammy - we want to go to the Olympics next year, so if you're interested let me know asap). I was trying to accomplish stuff, and had put in 'Sahara' so that I had some familiar background noise, but it didn't work. I only really buckled down when I started listening to 'Umbrella' on constant repeat, which is admitted embarrassing because it's a terrible song - but it's no worse than Backstreet Boys' 'Shape of My Heart', and that song carried me incessantly through some pretty bleak days in college. Anyway, now it's almost 3am, and I finally feel like I'm prepped for tomorrow, so I suppose I should go to sleep.

Today was nice, though; I had a couple of free spots in my day, I had some delicious Diet Cokes (perhaps this isn't noteworthy, but the carbonation/syrup ratio was just right, the ice was perfect, and I added lemon wedges), I had some good 1:1s in which I felt that I had given some good advice, and I topped it off w/dinner with Lauren (aka Subz). We ate at some Italian restaurant that wasn't Pasta? in Mountain View; Pasta? was our original first choice, but they had some guy playing music, so we decided to move on. It was v. nice to see her; she's definitely a real friend, not just a coworker, which is v. nice. Now, though, I definitely need to go to bed - if I fall asleep in my meetings tomorrow, all this preparation won't do a bit of good. Goodnight!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

you want to make a memory

Bon Jovi has gone country, and it breaks my heart. However, I still love him - true love grows and changes over time, just as we all grow and change throughout our lives. Yes, I'm crazy.

I don't know which is worse, so I'm putting it to a vote - is it worse that I downloaded 'You Want To Make a Memory' off of Bon Jovi's new country-ish album, or that I downloaded Rihanna's 'Umbrella'? She pronounces it 'um-ber-ella', and the main chorus is 'under my umberella, ella, ella, ey, ey, ey'. She performed it at the MTV Movie Awards for no explicable reason, and I like it for an equally inexplicable reason. So please feel free to weigh in and tell me I have terrible taste.

Today was a pretty great day (sorry Michael)...yes, I had to go into work, and I didn't sit down at my desk all day, but I still enjoyed myself. First off, I saw an allergist - that actually kind of sucked, because she confirmed that I'm allergic to bananas, tomatoes, and watermelons, warned me that I may be allergic to (or could develop a reaction to) avocado, kiwi, and red wine, wrote me three prescriptions for allergy medicines that I'm supposed to take every single day, referred me to get a skin test for allergies, and asked me to bring her pictures of my bedroom so that she can see what the conditions are like and whether it's clean enough that I can benefit from doing allergy shot therapy. I can tell her right now that it isn't, but I may take this as an excuse to hire someone to come in and vacuum/clean for me :)

Basically, I've ignored my allergies for years, thinking that it was a sign of stoicism, since I a) hate to acknowledge weakness and b) am usually too lazy to go to the doctor to get prescriptions renewed, even though I know that I need them. I've been aware of the reaction to bananas for years, but ignored it; I started noticing the reaction to tomatoes about a year ago, but ignored it; the watermelon snuck up on me (and my dad theorizes it is revenge for the watermelon I left in my trunk several years ago).

I probably would have continued to ignore it, but I decided I should get a medical opinion on the matter, and she told me that there was a risk that I could develop a really serious reaction in the long-term, rather than just having the small lip blisters and itchy palate/tongue that I currently get. I'm devastated, since I love raw tomatoes - that means no fresh salsa on my burritos, no greek salads, no BLTs...no fun. Luckily, the proteins that cause the reaction break down with temperature changes, so cooked/canned tomatoes are fine (preserving my ability to eat ketchup and pizza), and apparently I can have frozen bananas in smoothies. Bleh.

Anyway, after that, I had lunch (no tomatoes, sigh, just a tuna melt) with Heather, had some more meetings, and then left for my team offsite. We played bocce at a bona fide bocce court in Los Gatos - they're hardcore, and apparently they have league bocce nights, just like at bowling alleys. I'm way too competitive, and so even though I'm a manager and should be nice to everyone, I instead spent far too many shots just trying to hit other peoples' balls out of the way. My bad. After playing bocce, we had some delicious Italian food and some great conversation. My team surprised me at the end by giving me a token of their appreciation in the form of movie tickets, a gift certificate to Blockbuster, some movie snacks, a card, and a photo album with pictures of all of them. I was completely shocked and touched - I'm in the middle of a massive transition at work and so won't be managing any of them directly starting in July, so this was a nice way to say goodbye.

After that, I came home, watered my flowers (some of which were looking rather unwell--I apparently watered unevenly before going to Ojai), talked to my parents, my sister, and my niece Allie (who had a birthday today!), and then worked until now. Now it's time for me to go to bed - goodnight!

Monday, June 18, 2007

the odds will betray you...and i will replace you

It's ten p.m., and I'm going to go to bed as soon as I finish this - I managed to only stay at work for twelve hours today, and when I came home, I revolted against my laptop. In fact, I went so far as to leave it in my car, and I spent the last two hours finishing a romance novel that I had been reading on Saturday. Luckily (or unluckily?) for me, I have my personal laptop, so I'm still able to blog and check email without my work laptop, which pretty much defeats the whole purpose of trying to disconnect from the routine.

So now that I'm back in the cold embrace of my job, I find that I'm unable to recapture the magic of yesterday's drive up the coast. You know how I am - I tend to get manically crazy for no apparent reason, typically some unholy combination of stress, exhaustion, satisfaction, and general giddiness about life. Then, my brain overloads from the attempt to be both stressed and happy, and I go off about something random, and stoke the fire of craziness until it burns out, leaving me v. tired. That's pretty much what happened yesterday on a deserted stretch of Highway 101 - just as we had decided that we were going to stop for dinner, we saw a sign that said 'do not pick up hitchhikers - next 9 miles', and the beginning of a strong fence on both sides of the freeway. There was absolutely nothing in sight, other than what looked like some military installations. However, we had agreed before we saw that sign that we would stop at the next exit with a fork/knife sign - which led me to ignore Terry's protestations and pull off in San Ardo. Turns out that San Ardo (named for some unknown saint who is presumably named Ardo) has only 501 people, and the restaurant was closed either because a) it was late, or b) the roof had collapsed. I was entertained, Terry was horrified, and Claude seemed to be enjoying herself - particularly when the next place we stopped turned out to have the 'Wild Horse Cafe', where I got to enjoy chicken fried steak, smothered in gravy, and sweetened by Terry's woeful sighs and the irritation Claude was clearly feeling over hearing the Fox News commentary playing on the tv.

After that, the rest of the ride was pretty boring, but luckily it only took a couple more hours to get home. And, the wedding had been lovely - Lisa and Doug are another great couple in the constellation of great couples whom I know, and their ceremony was outdoors at a gorgeous spa that is apparently one of the best hotels in the United States. Lisa works for a casting agency in LA, and the program was written like the credits for a movie - including an 'In Memoriam: Steve Irwin' line, since Lisa was in love with the now-deceased Crocodile Hunter. Now that I realize how blissful Ojai must be, I may have to go down there for a long weekend and blow an inordinate sum of money forcing myself to relax, since it's readily apparent that I can't relax on my own.

Now it's back to the grind - the amount of work coming my way is truly, staggeringly ridiculous, and would make me want to curl up in a ball and whimper if it wasn't for my masochistic nature and my inability to back down from anything that I view as a challenge. Sadly for me, I just checked my work email (I'm so stupid!), saw an email from my manager that had been forwarded on from the VP, which meant that I had to take care of it immediately...which of course triggered both my flight response and my 'yes, i'm important!' response, which left me confused and twitchy. I might as well stop fighting my destiny and go to business school--but it's so much more fun to experience all this angst about what my 'real', alternative destiny might be. No time to consider tonight, though...it's time for bed!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

in which our heroine nearly leads her party to folly and almost certain death, before eating an unearned reward of chicken-fried steak

For those of you who have emailed, wondering whether I was still alive, I appreciate your concern. I most appreciate Tammy's reminder to pull the fluorescent handle if I'm stuck in a trunk someplace. However, I was not stuck in a trunk, unless a trunk can serve as a metaphor for the crushing load of work under which I was laboring last week. Then, I left Friday night for Ojai, the site of Lisa's wedding, and I just got back fifteen minutes ago.

There are many stories to tell, particularly of the awesome car-ride back, but I'm exhausted and have to be at work in eight hours. Suffice it to say that the vast stretches of 101 between here and Santa Barbara provide for endless amusement, particularly when set to the soundtrack of my own rather dubious musical selections. For now, though, it's time for bed - and I shall endeavor not to leave you hanging for so long again. I think this is the longest I've gone without blogging since around the time that I left for India, which is clearly inexcusable. Many apologies - and now, off to bed!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

arm yourself because no one else here will save you

I have succumbed to addiction to another James Bond theme song. Walter doubtlessly remembers (unless he successfully blocked it; the brain is remarkably resilient) a certain drive to Davis in which we listened to 'Die Another Day' all the way there. I'm happy to report that I've moved on - Vidya and I watched my Netflix (great investment - I've been so busy that the same three movies have been sitting by my tv for two months) copy of 'Casino Royale'. I think Daniel Craig is brutally hot...but what's even hotter is the theme song. It's called 'You Know My Name', the lyrics are appropriately ridiculous, and the singer screams unnecessarily. In other words, it's perfect for me! I've already listened to it 16 times since I downloaded it tonight. Yay.

Today has been both fun and bothersome; I had presentation skills training this morning, which isn't giving me the practice that I need. The problem is that they ask us to tell stories to practice our presentation skills, but I love telling stories, and so they are so natural for me that it didn't really feel forced at all. Particularly the killing-turkeys-on-the-swingset story - I had them in stitches, and they asked me to finish the story even though I was done with the eye-contact exercise that went along with it. But, I like the group - which is good, since I have another four hours of it tomorrow.

I had meetings the rest of the day, then met up with Shedletsky and Joanna for dinner at the Creamery. I realized I haven't seen anyone in that group since Easter, which was a lifetime ago, and in the meantime, everyone has moved or is moving away :( But, dinner was nice - it was good to get caught up with them, even if we all seem depressed about the fact that we're growing up. It's rather upsetting that I've been out of college for four years now - bleh.

After dinner, I came home and started working. I was pleasantly surprised when Vidya called and asked to stay over. She and I both worked on our matching laptops while watching 'Casino Royale' (which you already knew, since I already blogged about the song). She went to bed about an hour ago, but I had some stuff that I absolutely had to finish, so I stayed up until now. However, I should really go to sleep - at this point, I'm going to get less than six hours :( Goodnight!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

addendum

Also I just saw something awesome - there was this commercial about some razor that includes shaving gel or moisturizer or something. The main pretense was that your legs would be unbelievably smooth, and it showed mens' hands stroking the womens' legs in various locations.

The amusing thing is that these ad agencies are so careful to show that it's okay for such behavior to be occurring that they usually imply that the couple is married. So, the guy's hand always has a wedding ring on it. The best, though, was the last guy - his wedding ring was on the wrong hand, just to make sure it was visible to the camera. How ridiculous is that? Like anyone believes the commercial actors/actresses are married to each other - so there's clearly some 'sin' going on at some level, even if you try to cover it up with a fake wedding band.

That being said, the next time I grope someone, I'm going to wear a ring so that I don't get arrested.

allergic (to thoughts of mother earth)

Okay, so it's not a lyric, but it is a song title, and it's wildly appropriate for my current state. I came home tonight after a brutal round of meetings, and I spent an hour and a half planting flowers. It was very relaxing - far more relaxing and fulfilling than watching several 'Scrubs' reruns would have been.

However, I'm deathly allergic to the outdoors, and I like to pretend that I'm not - but since I'm also out of my allergy drugs and have to go back to the doctor to get signoff of having Allegra paid for by my insurance plan, playing outside isn't exactly smart. Within minutes, I'm sneezing and coughing and my eyes are itching. It's also making me more sensitive to allergens in general - I definitely have oral allergies to tomatoes, bananas, and watermelon, which is unfortunate because they're three of my favorite foods, and I eat them all regularly. My lips swell up, the roof of my mouth itches like crazy, and yet I persevere and pretend that nothing is wrong. I'm so stupid! And according to this wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oral_allergy_syndrome) I have other oral allergies to look forward to:

People allergic to ragweed may be allergic to:
* banana
* cantaloupe
* cucumber
* honey dew
* watermelon
* zucchini
* Potential: Dandelions or chamomile tea

People allergic to grass may be allergic to:
* melons
* tomatoes
* oranges


Bleh! Eh, whatever. I have to keep gardening - while I've planted ~35 plants, I still have ~50 to go. Yes, I went overboard. At this rate, my entire backyard will be full of flowers, which should be awesome. However, I have to get them all planted before the weekend, or else they will die because I won't be able to water them. Unless, of course, I took them with me to SoCal and babysat them, but that would just be silly. And also, gardening is relaxing, despite being spiced up somewhat by my nagging concern about whether I will continue breathing.

The rest of my workday was either annoying or boring; after sunset, I came inside and worked for the past four hours (while talking a bit to Walter, yay). Now, I should really go to bed - tomorrow morning, I have to spend four hours in presentation skills training, which is super annoying, because it involves being videotaped while the trainers yell at me for talking too fast, swaying from side to side while standing, etc. Anyway, wish me luck!

P.S. Roopa, when you return from Chennai, we will have a lovely garden party with tea, cucumber sandwiches, and deviled eggs!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

claude cla-claude claude claude

Today was a truly lovely day, possibly excepting all of the manual labor in the middle of it. I failed to live up to my goal of getting up early to plant flowers, but I did mange to get up in time to meet Terry for brunch. I told her about my trip to Ukraine, she told me about her trip to Italy, and we complained about work--all in all, a good way to spend a couple of lazy Sunday hours.

After brunch, I did a couple of loads of laundry, filled my car up with gas, swept up my patio (the concrete part, not the garden part), and cleaned off my patio furniture. This was quite the undertaking - when I bought the table last summer, it was a floor model, and so when they shipped it to me, they taped the legs to the top of the table. The problem with this was that they used standard packing tape, which made certain areas of the top extremely sticky, and the stickiness trapped all sorts of dirt and detritus. So I first had to clean off the grime w/some standard household cleaner, and then I attacked the stickiness with some Goo Gone (which worked better this time, since I was more patient and actually let it sit for awhile rather than trying to tackle it immediately). But while I still have lots of flowers to plant, hopefully over the next few evenings, my patio now looks like someplace where people (especially myself) would like to spend time going forward.

I managed to take a shower, make cookies, and buy a watermelon before some of my friends showed up this evening for an informal dinner of take-out pizza. Claude was the first to arrive, and we were soon joined by Vidya, Sri, Oniel, Zach and Maggie (aka Mr. and Mrs. Stinkubus, long story). It was a delightful evening - it was good to spend some time with Zach and Maggie, since I saw them at their wedding two weeks ago but didn't actually get to spend any real time talking to them, and the rest of my friends were amusing as always. I'm sad that Zach and Maggie are moving to Yale and that Claudia will soon join them, but I suppose it will all work out. At least I still have Vidya, Sri, Oniel, and Adit...that's pretty good. And I have several good friends at work, and I would have several more friends if I spent more time with other people (I realized today that I haven't seen Shedletsky since Easter, which was forever ago). But I'm not going to spend time with anyone tonight; instead, it's time for bed!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

with silver bells and cockleshells and pretty maids all in a row

I awoke today and drove to the evil city, where I had brunch with Heather and Salim. Despite the fact that the city is completely dangerous and degenerate, I had a fun time - we ate at this place near their apartment that they had taken me to once before. We talked about nothing in particular, as I usually do with them, and generally had a great time. It was good to see Salim again - I see Heather at work almost every day, but I don't see Salim nearly as often, and seeing the two of them together (usually bickering about something) makes me very happy. We wandered around the neighborhood for a bit, and then I showed them my new car (which I still love!) before taking my leave.

When I got back to the safety and security of the peninsula, I went to a flower nursery and bought ~$100 worth of various flowering annuals. I got impatiens, begonias, snapdragons, lobelia, and salvia in several different colors (yellow, orange, purple, hot pink, white - basically, whatever struck my fancy). Thus committed to doing something about my patio, I came home and spent an hour raking up all of the dead leaves and old mulch from last year, filling six 39-gallon garbage bags w/detritus that I will now have to haul to Palo Alto's recycling/landfill site. I also successfully planted the snapdragons and some of the salvia around the big rock that is in the center of my garden. I had assumed that it was some dumb ornamental thing, but I was forced to revise my opinion (and dig more shallowly) when I unearthed the jawbone of what was probably someone's pet cat or dog. Ugh. Now that I know that the rock is probably a tombstone, I'm not quite so thrilled, but hopefully the decayed remains of whatever animal was buried there will serve as fertilizer rather than poison.

I should have kept planting, but I was tired and hungry by this point (the search for plants had occupied the better part of the afternoon since I went into the office to research partial-shade-tolerant plants, before spending an hour wandering around the nursery and then going to another store to buy supplemental gardening soil). So, I ran out to get a burrito, and when I got home I just really wanted to go to bed. Instead, I managed to take a quick shower, but now I think it's time to throw in the towel. I want to get up early tomorrow so that I can do so more planting before brunch with Terry, but we'll see whether my ambition overrides my body's natural tendency to hit the snooze button for an hour. Goodnight!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

when i win your heart, i'm gonna paint it cherry red

Yay, I'm going to bed, and it's going to be AWESOME. I can sleep until 7:30, which is almost eight hours, which is almost normal, which is almost great. Vidya IM'd me to accuse me of being insane, which I thought was grossly unfair. That bitch.

You might think I am drunk, but I assure you that I'm not - unless one can be drunk on responsibility, stress, and career advancement. I suppose one can - I suppose that's the definition of 'workaholic'. I start getting all twitchy when I'm disconnected from the internet, which is why the BlackBerry was a great (and terrible) move for me.

Now I shall write Vidya a haiku:

her tombstone will say:
'i, vidius chandicus,
lowed to eat cookies.'

That's all I've got for now - I need to go to bed before the crazy completely overtakes me. Goodnight, and let's hope I make it to the weekend!

life is simple - it's either cherry red or midnight blue

I'm exhausted - but happily I just remembered about the great song 'Midnight Blue' by Lou Gramm, and that made everything better! Clearly there are days when I'm pathetically grateful for even the slightest bit of sort-of-awesomeness.

Actually, today was a pretty good day, except for the endless string of meetings (with more action items, yay). I met up with Claudia and Vidya for dinner at my place of employment; I'm pretty lucky to be working someplace where if I don't want to stand in line for the (free) pork chops and mashed potatoes, I can instead go for the quicker (and still free) pizza and pre-made spinach/bacon/strawberry salad. So we had a quick dinner, and then went to the movie theatre to see 'Knocked Up'. I really liked it; there were moments that were more serious than I expected, but they were completely appropriate, and were also outweighed by such classic scenes as when the two main guy characters did shrooms in Las Vegas. The supporting actor was Paul Rudd, whom I absolutely adore, playing a rather bitter married guy, which was nice - it shows that he's really grown up from playing lovesick single guys like he did in 'Clueless'.

Anyway, after the movie, I came home and worked for about two and a half hours. Such behavior should be outlawed, but instead it is encouraged. I definitely succumb to the carrot and stick approach - however, in this case the carrot is a promotion that I would probably get at some point anyway, and the stick is my own self-imposed fear of failure and imperfection. Sigh. But, I'm masochistic and thrive off pain and stress, so my new job is probably good for me. Now, though, I'm going to go sleep for six hours or so; I have a conference call at 8am, followed by meetings straight through until 5pm (when I get a half-hour break before another meeting at 5:30), so I should really get some rest. Goodnight, everyone!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me!!!

I *love love love* pirates. Really, I do. I know, I'm silly, and perhaps I should grow up someday--but I can't let go of pirates, or my glitter eyeshadow, or my hot pink Kangaroos, etc. Anyway, back to the pirates. I came home tonight, ate dinner while watching some 'Scrubs', and then put in 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl' while doing some work. I was rather productive, and so didn't really watch the movie, so could watch it again soon if I wanted to. The first movie was so much better than the subsequent two, in my humble opinion, but in all of them I absolutely loved Jack Sparrow. I started to love Orlando Bloom more as he became more piratical as well.

Okay, but enough of that. Today, I had a bunch of meetings, did some work, gossiped with some people, im'd with some friends, contributed to a ridiculously long email thread regarding simultaneously planning to see a movie tomorrow and have dinner this weekend, and got more responsibilities and projects piled on to my plate with every conversation I had at work. Clearly I'm going to have to hide in my office for a couple of days to catch up on what I already have to do - but since people can dump projects on me via email, that's not the most effective strategy.

I could go on about all my work, or about my friends, or about my glitter eyeshadow, or about pirates, but I'm in a surprisingly good mood and so don't feel like brooding. I also want to go to sleep so that I can get up early and go into work. So, goodnight!

who let the dogs out?

I told Vidya today that I must have a brain tumor - that's the only thing that can explain why I got 'who let the dogs out' stuck in my head last night, or why I say silly things via IM. Or, perhaps it's just that I'm exhausted, but I like to pretend that something more dramatic is impacting me.

Today, I was at work from 8-7:30...the last hour was spent in the tech center trying to get my laptop to stop overheating. It's slightly less hot tonight, since it's not threatening to burn my thigh, but it's still hot enough that I feel vaguely overheated holding it. Then I came home, watched some 'Scrubs', and welcomed Adit, who's spending the night at my place. We had some quiet family time, watching tv while we both worked, and then went to Safeway to get ice cream and a spare toothbrush. Fun!!

Now I should go to bed - I feel slightly better because I caught up on email from 8:30pm-12:30am (with the break for ice cream), but work is going to keep getting insane. Every meeting I have at work gives me another major 'action item' (in other words, responsibility/task/chore), and in some cases gives me an entire project that my team will have to figure out. It's fun because I operate best under stress, but this is getting a bit ridiculous even for me. So now, I shall go to bed, and dream of the day when I'll be able to work 8 hours a day (or, even better, the day I can retire and spend my days drinking mojitos on a beach). Goodnight!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

i only have eyes for you

The lyric for the title of this blogpost is courtesy of Vidicus Chandicus!

Today was a good day - the clouds of yesterday broke, letting in a bit of sunshine in the form of Claude and Vidya. We had a late brunch in Sunnyvale, at a place that was v. reminiscent of Marie Callendars (because the clientele was mainly ninety years old and v. decrepit). We sat around for a couple of hours, reminiscing about the past and talking about the future. I also drank four glasses of iced tea, which means that much of what I accomplished the rest of the afternoon was peeing. j/k.

Actually, I was fairly productive this afternoon--I talked to my parents, thoroughly cleaned my bathroom, cleaned out my fridge and did some dishes, took out the trash, bought groceries for the first time in approximately two months, made myself some greek salad, and was going to do all sorts of work. Instead, though, I got sucked into watching the MTV Movie Awards. Stupidly, I'm now watching them again, but this time I'm im'ing w/Vidya while I do so. While most of it was retarded, there was a great moment where Will Ferrell and Sacha Baron Cohen totally made out--the whole rolling on the floor, groping each other kind of making out. Now, though, I should go to bed--it's going to be another busy week!

maybe i shouldn't have started kindergarten when i was four

Standarized Testing - Education - Schools - Test Scores - New York Times

So I just read this article about how the kids who are the youngest in their kindergarten class tend to do the worst academically compared to their classmates for the rest of their lives. As I was reading, I thought 'hogwash!', considering that I was the youngest kid in my class (I made the cutoff by four days). My best friend and I were two of the youngest kids in the class, and now Katie's a lawyer and I'm working for one of the top companies in the US.

Then I got to the last section, where they were describing this test that a kindergarten teacher was giving to her students. The youngest kid in the class was a disaster at it; look at this extended quote:

----------
The teacher asked him to draw a person. To pass that portion of the test, his figure needed seven different body parts.

“Is that all he needs?” she asked a few minutes later.

The boy said, “Oh, I forgot the head.”

A minute later the boy submitted his drawing again. “Are you sure he doesn’t need anything else?” the teacher asked.

The boy stared at his work. “I forgot the legs. Those are important, aren’t they?”

----------

The sad thing is that I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what those seven body parts are that are required to pass the test. I would have drawn a head, two arms, two legs, and a torso, for a grand total of six. Do eyes count? Is hair required? WTF?

Also, they may have a point - the other parts of the test were 'skip; jump; walk backward; cut out a diamond on a dotted line; copy the word cat; draw a person; listen to a story; and answer simple vocabulary questions like what melts, what explodes and what flies'. I would have probably gotten the textual/vocab questions, but skipping was beyond me for several years after kindergarten.

All in all, think of how brilliant I could have been if I had not a) stopped breathing for several minutes when I was born, and b) gone to kindergarten a year later. Then again, given how bored I was in high school, maybe it would have just made matters worse. And also, I was the kind of kid who sprayed paint into her eyes, and no amount of preparation for kindergarten could have stopped me from doing that.

he tastes like you only sweeter

There used to be a time when I wrote blogposts all in lower case, perhaps in an attempt to feign casualness, perhaps because I was so used to writing ICQ messages in lowercase that I couldn't be bothered to change my typing style. Now, I write in something approaching traditional American English, with proper demarcations between sentences and the appropriate capitalization of names and places. There also used to be a time when I was more honest with my communications, blithely posting what I felt and sending it out into the ether. Now, while I don't lie on my blog, I do tell a thousand lies of omission, whether to save myself from the cost of sharing too much, or to save others from the inadvertent pain of reading the small, fleeting betrayals that we all think but do not share. Or, perhaps we don't all think them, and I'm just a bitch.

Either way, it's hard to tell what I get out of posting here anymore. I do feel a certain sense of satisfaction that I have a written record of most of my life over the past several years, even if it doesn't include all of the emotional stuff beneath the surface of the parties, dinners, and work events. And, I do feel that it has helped to keep my family and friends more connected with what I am up to on a daily basis, since I am terrible at keeping in touch.

* * *

I think that the crux of my issue right now is that I get bored with the big picture too easily - while I can sit for hours and watch tv or reread the same book for the dozenth time or idly drive through the foothills, I get very unhappy when nothing major has changed in my life in recent memory. And, 'recent memory' for me is a very short period of time--it was less than a year ago that I got back from Ireland, less than a month since I went to Ukraine, and yet I'm already looking for the next fix of adventure and newness.

For that reason, I'm not sure that going to grad school is a wise move for me - if I get bored before finishing a PhD, I'm pretty much screwed. But then again, perhaps nothing is a wise move for me - any field that I move into, regardless of how interesting or impactful I find it to be, will eventually be something that I master, and once I master it, I will have no interest in continuing on with it.

* * *

I think Vidya is probably right that I think too much in terms of 'one thing or the other, but not both'; I got the same feedback at work recently as well. Despite all of my pride in my rationality, despite my desire to analyze things to death, despite how much I abhor letting emotion get in the way of logic, I can't help but see things in black and white - and I only admit shades of grey when they help me to win an argument (even if I'm only arguing for the sake of arguing). There I go again - there are probably lots of shades of grey that I admit to. But I for some reason am convinced that, just because I don't know my destiny now means I will never find it; that because I'm alone means I always will be; that because I wasn't loved once when I thought it counted, I will never be loved in the way that I want to be loved.

Yes, I know that this is all patently absurd, and in the morning I will feel better. But I suppose my need for adventure is driven in part by the fact that when I get bored, I start to think about my life, and when I start to think, I can't stop thinking, and as long as I'm thinking, I'm usually wishing that things were different. I had grand plans for getting things done today, but instead I spent the whole evening reading a romance novel, because they are the only things that are capable of getting me to disengage long enough that I stand a chance of calming down and breaking the cycle.

I suppose I should delete this, or write this in my private journal instead, since I don't like coming across as depressed or unhappy. But, I don't really feel like lying tonight by just saying what I did today. I just wish that I knew what I could do to make myself happier, more productive, more at peace with my work (or pursuing work that I could be satisfied with), more engaged with my friends, and less bored, less bitter, and less in mourning for the past. Now, though, I'm going to go to bed. Goodnight!

Friday, June 01, 2007

angels fall like rain, and love is all of heaven away

I was supposed to go up to the city tonight to hang out with Vidya and see a comedy show, but I was exhausted from the events of the past month and so decided to stay home. I left work with grand plans to start cleaning my apartment from top to bottom and perhaps make dinner; instead, I nuked a single-serving bag of popcorn and read 'A Wild Sheep Chase' from start to finish. 'A Wild Sheep Chase' was my first introduction to Haruki Murakami, whose books I have gone on to read obsessively over the past six years.

Strangely, when I first read it, I thought it was hilarious--I remember reading parts of it in the garden outside the Kingscote Apartments on Stanford campus, where John and I had gone to study (the book was for a Japanese pop culture class that we were both taking) and thinking that it was the most entertaining book ever. Reading it tonight, however, I can't see what I thought was funny about it - instead, I just felt overwhelmingly sad.

Perhaps reading it again just brought back too many memories of that spring; reading the book, I briefly fell asleep near the end, during the chapters in which the protagonist is waiting for the Rat to show up, and I had the strangest sense of deja vu that I had fallen asleep while reading the same scenes before. But my initial experience with the book was the springtime after my grandfather died, a time that seems hazy now but that I remember was a wild oscillation between feigned euphoria and serious, overwhelming heartbreak. I spent most of that spring ignoring my classes, reading books, and sleeping in the grass outside the library, wishing that everything would just go back to normal.

But I digress. Murakami's books are so heartbreaking, for me at least, because they tend to involved unnamed, bland protagonists confronting unrealistic, fantastic situations - but the situations are never the point of the stories. Rather, through the absurdities of the plots, the protagonists inevitably seem to draw deep, sad conclusions about their own mortality and their lack of meaning and connection; but, these conclusions are muted, as though they've been submerged in a deep well, because the protagonists are so incapable of connecting with others that they can't even express their disconnection because of the barriers that surround them.

In this book called 'The Secret Universe of Names', I read that the sounds of my name imply that I am, on one hand, multi-talented and caring, but on the other hand, I am pessimistic, sarcastic, and stubborn. Accurate, eh? I don't want to be pessimistic, but reading 'A Wild Sheep Chase' tonight made me consider again what life is supposed to be - and it lured me towards the edge of that abyss where all the dangerous thoughts about the meaning and purpose of life lurk. Perhaps I'm doubting the purpose of life right now because, if *this* is my purpose, I'm v. disappointed. Or, perhaps I'm doubting the purpose of life because I don't want to acknowledge that I need to make some serious changes, and those changes will require a commensurate amount of effort. Either way, there has to be more to life than this - I refuse to accept that life is just a string of meetings and emails followed by a quick and unexpected (or slow and painful) death.

We shall see - perhaps a year or two from now, I will look back at this post and laugh. Tonight, though, I should go to bed.

well, that's just maddeningly unhelpful

Tonight we celebrated Sri's birthday by having pizza in Menlo Park. Vidya was at dinner, so I suppose she deserves a mention here. Even better, Claude, Adit, Sri, a couple of Sri's friends, and I went to see 'Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End'. Sadly, the movie is almost three hours long, so I didn't get home until almost 1am, and I have an 8:30am meeting. Boo.

I actually thought the movie was pretty good - there were quite a few moments that I thought were laugh-out-loud funny, and the ending didn't leave me with the same bad taste that I had in my mouth at the end of the second movie. However, the plot was unnecessarily silly and the end was about half an hour too long - but I think it's forgivable. Seeing the monkey wearing a little Chinese hat alone was worth the price of admission, not to mention the many other ridiculous moments. I'm also in love with Orlando Bloom (yes, I'm a twelve-year-old girl), and Johnny Depp is to die for, so I had a v. good time. Adit seemed to hate it and Claude was apparently bored, but Sri liked the first half about as much as I did, so it's all good.

Now I should really go to bed - morning is going to come too soon, and I have tons of stuff to do tomorrow. Goodnight!