Thursday, December 30, 2004

logic will break your heart

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

why can't we just play the other game?

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

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

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

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

i ain't missing you at all

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 24, 2004

nobody makes me bleed my own blood!

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

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

Monday, December 20, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 16, 2004

get busy child

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

thumbprints and stressing

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

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

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

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

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

Isn't that special?

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

Sunday, December 12, 2004 must be taken deep into mordor and cast back into the chasm from whence it came...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 09, 2004

smack my bitch up

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 06, 2004

don't wanna be an american idiot

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

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

As for this weekend...

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

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

Saturday, December 04, 2004

the holidays come early

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

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

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

Thursday, December 02, 2004

stress case

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

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