Monday, February 27, 2006

i can't see the thief that lives inside of your head

I slept in today, because this was the only morning this week in which I neglected to get scheduled for a seven a.m. conference call. Ugh. Anyway, I spent the day at the office, periodically expressing dismay at the cascading sheets of rain hitting my window, and drinking too much coffee to comfort myself during a particularly dreary California day. I left the office around six to have dinner with Can Sar, which was tasty, and then I came home to do a bit of work in preparation for my conference calls tomorrow.

So, all of my grand plans to reconnect with my friends, formed in the face of the overwhelming proofs of mortality that I've witnessed recently, are running into huge barriers due to my rapidly-increasing workload. But, those barriers don't compare to the huge time-drain that was the Olympics, so maybe things will even out. Tomorrow may be brutal (conference calls from 7-11am, and newly scheduled meetings from 7:30-9pm as well), but at least I won't stay up until five watching repeated Olympics coverage. Perhaps there is hope for me after all. But, it's very hard to self-motivate when the weather is raging outside, and when all I want to do is see a few friends before locking myself away in a room to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. Life is apparently too short to psend inactive, as much as I love to sit and do nothing. I'm hoping that something in Ireland (preferably a leprechaun) will come out and hit me over the head with my destiny, but given that it hasn't happened yet, maybe I'm supposed to take things into my own hands. Now, though, it's time for bed!

you were open and now you are closed

The Olympics are over. I am devastated. Actually, that's an exaggeration, since there are benefits to the end of the Olympics--for instance, I can catch up on all the work that I needed to do over the past two weeks, have dinner with all the friends I blew off, and get ready for my upcoming move to Ireland. It seems like a lifetime ago that I watched the opening ceremonies at the Old Pro sportsbar. A lot has happened in those sixteen days--I got an apartment, I went to New York, I celebrated Claudia's birthday, and I watched at least seventy hours of Olympics coverage. Here are my highlights:

1) Apolo Anton Ohno's performance in the 500m final. This made up for his entirely-expected defeats at the hands of the brutally-talented South Koreans. He led the race from start to finish, and no one can ever dispute any passes or on-ice shenanigans as a result. He looked so incredibly thrilled with his win, as might be expected from someone who sacrificed four years of his life to live in the Olympic training center and practice constantly. The bronze in the 5000m relay a couple of hours later was just icing on the cake.

2) The incredibly angry Italian ice dancer. During the second of three (wholly-repellant) nights of ice dancing, an Italian dancer dropped his partner, dashing their hopes for gold. She was visibly furious with him; they stood on the ice for almost a minute before finally saluting the judges, and she spent that awkward interlude glaring at him with all the fury of a woman betrayed. Dick Button was shocked (shocked!) at this display, since pairs and ice dancers never seem to show how angry they are at each other while on the ice. Instead, this woman glared for awhile, performed a cursory bow to the judges, and then didn't speak to her partner again until after their last performance. They even warmed up separately on the final night, which seemed to guarantee failure, but their final program was okay. She forgave him at the end of the third program and he immediately broke down in tears, probably because he no longer had to be concerned that she was taking out a contract on his life.

3) Joey Cheek trying not to cry during his gold medal ceremony. He's adorable, and I hope he comes to Stanford, even though he's a bit old for the undergrad experience. 'Nuff said about that.

4) The Olympics commercials. Some of them were awful (United, for example, tried to turn a regular 2d-animated businessman into King Arthur, with no success). Some of them were ironic (Nike's 'Join Bode' campaign; the 'Bode on Winning' commercial always seemed to play right after he bombed another race). But some entered that grand hall of fame in my mind where all fantastic commercials live. Three especially stood out: 1) the beer commercial (I think Michelob?) where a guy hard-tackles a girl during a game of touch football and shouts 'you were open and now you are closed!'; 2) the Coca-Cola bobsled commercial in which four guys pretend to bobsled on a loveseat while four other guys chant around them (I can't figure out the whole sequence, but I think they start out by saying 'Bananas! Sledding! Four! One more!'); 3) the Volkswagon 'fast' commercials, where the evil little 'fast' convinces guys to do dumb things (like when an ugly guy tells his inexplicably-attractive girlfriend that he 'can't hear the sound of the engine over all [her] yakking', since his fast likes the windows down). All three of those commercials have impacted my life in strange and wondrous ways, and you should expect to hear me reference my fast for months to come.

5) 'Pass the torch, so to speak'. One of the local SF commentators said tonight that the closing ceremonies were a time for the host city to 'pass the torch, so to speak' to the next host city. Was it really necessary for her to say 'so to speak'? In fact, if there is ever a time in the modern world where a torch is actually passed, isn't it at the Olympics? Didn't this phrase originate from the Olympics? I just thought this was entertaining, probably because I had just watched way too much of Ricky Martin's closing ceremonies performance and needed a quick injection of humor to make me feel better.

6) Tammy. I've seen Tammy every day for two weeks, except for the Wednesday night that I spent in NYC. It's been great fun, and I was rather sad that she left today and took her blanket, her magazines, and her coursework with her rather than leaving some of it here. We're going to have to rent a house or something for the next Olympics so that we can take vacation and watch them together.

7) Dick Button. The best thing about the games was his commentary. It's too bad he's 77--I would love nothing more than to hear commentary from him forever, but that seems unlikely at best. But, he gets a personal medal for being consistently entertaining, even if his commentary does absolutely nothing to illuminate the technical aspects of the sport for me.

Goodbye, Torino! I enjoyed the Olympics, even if I wish that NBC had spent more time on esoteric sports and less time on hyped-up pseudo-controversy, and even if Tammy and I were the only Americans to watch them regularly. 2008 can only be more exciting.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

save my life i'm going down for the last time

Getting up was difficult this morning, but I did make it to work for a meeting that I couldn't miss. I left around 5:30, stopped at the grocery store, and then met Claudia and Terry at my apartment. The three of us went to Marie Callendar's, which has tasty food despite an average clientele age of 67. In fact, we were the only people our age in the entire place. How sad is that? Then we came back to my place, and Tammy came over. I think that our Olympics fanaticism may have scared Claudia and Terry away, since they left together--actually, I think Claudia left because she was sick, and Terry probably didn't want to be left to face our insanity alone. Tammy and I then watched all of tonight's Olympic coverage, including the v. lame figure skating champions' gala. Chad Hedrick got the silver in the mens' 10,000m speed skating. I should have been happy for him since he's American, but I just think he's obnoxious. The best part of tonight was that he told the press that he'd discovered that a screw was loose on one of his skate blades, and he speculated that this kept his skate from performing at its peak potential by at least 20%, but that he 'wasn't going to make excuses' for his bronze finish in the 1500m. The fact that he said he wasn't going to make excuses even though he was the one who told the press about the skate was hilarious and aggravating at the same time. But the best part was when Dan Jansen demonstrated what Chad Hedrick was saying with a real skate, showing how an improperly tightened screw would affect the blade. Then, he showed a still frame from the supposedly-bad race and a still frame from the race that Chad Hedrick won, and demonstrated with the special drawing pen that the skates were performing identically in the two races. Chad Hedrick totally got told on that issue! Meanwhile, Shani Davis doesn't seem to be talking to the press at all, but they did show footage of him cheering for Chad during the entire 10,000m. End result of these Olympics--I think Chad Hedrick is a tool, NBC makes huge stories out of absolutely nothing, and Shani Davis is awesome.

Okay, I'm too exhausted to write more; it's time for bed!

Friday, February 24, 2006

ah, as the heart grows older, it will come to such sights colder

On Tuesday afternoon, I got a call from Ratul (henceforth referred to as Rat), asking if I had time to swing by campus after work. When I arrived, they told me that Errol had been struck by a car and killed while crossing a street in New York on Saturday night. Obviously, as with any accidental death, this came as a complete shock. I hadn't seen Errol for a couple of years, since he had stopped out of Stanford during his sophomore year, but I loved him while he was at Stanford and I had always hoped that he would come back at some point. He was one of the frosh in Loro when I was an RA there, and he was a unique and vital part of what made Loro as insane and awesome as it was. While I made tons of friends in Loro, and remain close with many of them to this day, there was something about Errol that made me love him despite the fact that he was, in many ways, not exactly a model resident.

I think a lot of people who didn't know him just thought he was kind of a joke; he didn't fit the traditional Stanford mold because he didn't study or seem to care about classes, and he spent most of his time drinking, playing video games, and hanging out with his friends. There were times when I wanted to wring his neck over something he'd done (such as burning a hole in the front seat of my new car with a cigarette that he had refused to put out)...but there were more times when I was impressed with his generosity and his caring nature. He just made life around him more fun, and I'll miss that about him.

Several of us flew out to New York for the funeral; I left Wednesday morning and met Julie, Greg, Rat, Sara, and Shari, who had left California late Tuesday night. Consequently, I missed the afternoon wake, but I got there in time for dinner with the kids and for the evening visitation. We picked up Walter on Wednesday night, and then all of us (except Julie, who had to leave New York early Thursday morning) went to the funeral and the pre-cremation service this morning.

Having been gone from California a grand total of 37 hours, twelve of which were spent on cross-country flights, I can say that this was the most condensed, intense 37 hours in recent memory. His death was absolutely tragic, in the 'it doesn't make any sense' kind of way that early deaths always are. He had been dealing with some major issues for the past year or two, but it looked like he was getting back on track, and he had been tossing around the idea of coming back to Stanford. Instead, just as the light was appearing at the end of the tunnel, the more final light appeared and swept him away forever.

I think the hardest part of this was that he was a twin; his brother Travis (who had also stopped out from Stanford and was planning to come back this fall) appeared to be holding up well, but it's clear that his life has been drastically changed. He delivered the only words from the family at the funeral, in the form of a letter from Travis to Errol, as well as a poem that Errol had written. For me personally, I was able to hold it together pretty well in most respects, but thinking about Travis makes me cry. I think I feel more empathy about the twin issue because my grandfather was a twin. At least in Granddad's case, he had lived a long and full life before passing away, but it still left an unfillable void in his brother's heart. The priest at Errol's funeral summed it up perfectly; he said that he had expected to officiate at Errol's wedding, not his funeral. Now, there are so many steps in life that Travis will have to navigate alone for the first time.

For some strange reason, the past couple of days have restored my faith in humanity even though they have broken my heart. We stayed with Rat's cousins in Brooklyn, who were extremely generous--they loaned us a car, they let seven of us sleep over with almost no warning, and perhaps most importantly they helped us to relax after the emotionally-taxing visitation. Errol's mother, despite her obvious grief, was so kind to all of us; I think it meant a lot to her that so many people from Stanford came. All of Errol's family were nice too, and it definitely helped to see people coming together through this loss.

Still, despite the positives, it will take a long time to get over seeing Errol in a casket, hearing the poem he wrote about maturity and impending life experiences, and looking at pictures of him as a child with an apparently-long life ahead of him. He was the first friend my age who has died; and I think for all of us who went, this was the first funeral we've attended where our families weren't present. Friends aren't supposed to die at 21. Friends get older with you, and it doesn't feel like people my age should be able to die like this. I know that it's logically ridiculous to think that people in their twenties are impervious to death, but until it happens, it's easier to pretend. I can't pretend anymore.

That's perhaps the hardest lesson of adulthood--every 'maturing' experience is a time when you have to stop pretending. Whether it's that you stop pretending that you're going to go back to school, or you stop pretending that you have no responsibilities, or you stop pretending that you will never die, there are key checkpoints where reality sets in. You never see them coming, either, until they blindside you and force you to open your eyes. It's still possible to live in a world full of imagination and vibrancy and creativity--but the nature of that vibrancy changes as the possibilities of your world age and become darker. Awakened to the dangers of the world, you discover that every beautiful thing carries with it its own death, a death that you couldn't see when you were a child, a death that is as inevitable as it is irrevocable. Every marriage, every birth, every act of creation will perish; whether that leads to bitterness or to a greater appreciation for the complexities of life is your responsibility.

In this case, Errol's death has made me remember how important friends are, how easy it is to take for granted that they will always be there, how I've been lulled into a false sense of security regarding friendship that I had already lost with my family when Granddad died. Hopefully this will make me a better and more attentive friend, rather than a scared, antisocial loner who can't face the dark side of creation.

I'm going to close with my favorite poem (channeling Walter's dad, who apparently also likes Gerard Manley Hopkins):

'Spring and fall (to a young child)'
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


I never should have opened up I've been reading CNN instead of my usual New York Times online because nytimes has a nasty habit of showing pictures of gold medal winners for the day's events well before they've been televised in America, but CNN has typically kept all Olympic-related content off the main page. So today I open the page, and they broke with tradition by giving the results of the men's 1500m speed skating race on the front page. Grrr. I've been looking forward to that race for days! It features, as you may know, Shani Davis, Chad Hedrick, Joey Cheek, and Derek Parra, and has been hyped incessantly by NBC (almost as hyped as that stupid-looking show 'Conviction', which I will never ever watch). Now my day is ruined. And I'm compounding the sin of reading the news at work by blogging about it from work--but if I'm fired for it, so be it, I'm too angry to care.

And if I get fired, I could then watch Olympics coverage live, which would solve the whole problem. Awesome! Now, back to work, and maybe my rage will sustain me through several hours of painful work on Excel spreadsheets...

i'll have a slice of your mother

I managed to wake up at ten this morning, despite the fact that I stayed up until four a.m. watching the Olympics and playing Nintendo. I was v. lazy in the morning, then did some desultory shopping (fueled mostly by my desire for orange chicken at Panda Express) before coming back to my apartment in time for primetime Olympics coverage. Tammy came over, of course, and so we've amused ourselves by criticizing the ice dancers' costumes while we both attempted to do the work we should have done this weekend.

Some highlights from today's coverage (since I feel that I can't spoil it for anyone, unless I have unknown fans in Hawaii and Alaska who are on a longer tape delay than the west coast is):

1) Bode Miller failed to medal again. He's 0/4 for the races that he's already skiied, and he only has one more race to go in the Olympics. Given that he only spent eleven minutes of his hour-long inspection time on the course, and looked like he wasn't conditioned well enough to complete the race well, it appears that he isn't taking the whole thing very seriously. I noticed that the announcers have stopped saying 'that's just Bode being Bode'; if he doesn't medal in his fifth race, I wonder what that will do to his sponsorship. I can't imagine that Nike is pleased right now...but that's what they get for sponsoring someone who doesn't even wear their shoes in competition.

2) Some Ukrainian chick wore tasselled pasties in the ice dance competition. It was frightening. Tracy Wilson (the only commentator who actually seems to care about ice dance, since she was an ice dancer back in the day) said that there's some rule that costumes must be athletic in nature, even if they are designed to evoke the style of the program. I've never seen an 'athletic' costume that contained pasties, but maybe I'm watching the wrong programs. I'm sure I could find something on pay-per-view where the Ukrainian ice dancer would fit right in.

3) Dick Button still rocks. He was giving out personal medals right and left tonight, when he wasn't saying that he was bored and that the programs were terrible. When Dick Button says something is bad, it's really bad--usually he's very warm and forgiving.

In other news, I'm v. mad at NBC. They showed about five minutes of men's aerial qualifiers--and almost all of them were the Americans, even though most of them didn't qualify for the final. So, we saw a bunch of sub-par jumps (and even sub-par, they're still amazing, since the athletes twist while free-falling 50 feet, and then have to stick the landing completely--I don't understand how they don't break their legs doing this, since that's like jumping off a five-story building). We only saw a couple of people who actually advanced to the final. And then, we saw about sixteen ice dance finals, even though it was clear that only four or five of them had a shot at a medal, and even though is program is four excruciating minutes. It's a good thing they ended when they did, or else I might have stabbed my eyes out with the handle of my teaspoon. Now they're done for another four years, though, and tomorrow promises to be great--women's figure skating, the crazy 1500m speed skating race with four American gold medalists competing in the same event, women's aerials, etc., etc. Yay!

Now it's time for bed, since I have a conference call at 7:30am. Ugh. Goodnight!

Monday, February 20, 2006

that looks like the biggest powder puff i've ever seen in the world

I think that the Dick Button medal for personal excellence in commentary should go to Dick Button. He's a huge fan of saying that skaters have gotten their own personal medal for whatever they've done, whether it's getting up after falling badly, or landing the first throw quad salchow in the Olympics despite having a bad overall performance (and a weird, scary relationship involving a seemingly-possessive male and a v. passive female). So now I'm a huge fan of giving the Dick Button medal to all of the athletes (or friends) who I think deserve it. Like I said, Dick Button gets a medal for commentary; he was the only thing that enlivened an otherwise-excruciating session of ice dancing, except for half a dozen amusing falls in a discipline that should be easily error-free. The title of my post is a quote from Dick Button, regarding some chick's poofy, feathered skirt; my favorite Dick Button quote came during the men's competition, when he said that one skater's velvet, betassled costume was a 'distant cousin to [Dick Button's] dining room curtains'. Since Dick Button won his last medal in 1952 (54 years ago), it's amazing that he's still able to commentate, even if his commentary is usually in the weird middle ground between inane and idiot-savant.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to award a Dick Button medal to NBC. Back when they bid for and won the right to broadcast the Olympics, they were the top-rated network and could afford to spend a billion dollars on the rights. Now, they're the last network, and the company that once held the rights (CBS) is now far ahead of NBC in overall ratings. The fact that the Olympics are getting trounced by 'American Idol' really saddens me. It apparently saddens NBC too, which doesn't surprise me, since I saw a headline that said that NBC was going to give away free advertising to the Olympics sponsors because they're getting so much less traffic than they had been promised. That explains why NBC is trying to make controversies out of nothing, such as the 'feud' between Chad Hedrick and Shani Davis. The more I think about it, the more I've decided that Chad Hedrick is kind of a dick; reports indicate that Shani Davis wasn't asked to participate in the team event until the week before (long after he had planned his training regimen). And Chad kept saying that he wasn't going to beg Shani to skate with *him*, not with the team--which proves to me that Chad cared more about keeping his own goal of five gold medals alive than he did about getting a team gold. And if Shani was tired for the race last night after the team event, it would have given Chad more of an even playing field with him as well. Anyway, I was really pleased to see that Shani wasn't quite as obnoxious and idiotic in his interview tonight as he was in his interview last night, even if it's too late to save his reputation with most of the ten Americans who are currently watching the Olympics.

I would like to withhold the Dick Button medal from all ice dancers, except for the ones who wiped out after tripping on their own feet. But why, why do all the women look like 80s-style strippers? They've cut away as much bodice as possible, their hair is completely teased out, and everything is covered in sparkles and feathers. Don't get me wrong, I love sparkles and feathers, but most of those costumes are hideous at best and immoral at worst. I say immoral only because many of the moves require the guy to put his hand somewhere v. close to the woman's crotch, and the lack of covering leaves little to the imagination. Ugh. If the women were prettier and the guys looked less sleazy, it might be okay. Personally, though, I think it's crap that NBC showed so much ice dance tonight. A couple of major ski events were postponed due to snow, and so NBC filled the block in tonight's five hours of programming by adding ice dance. Where's the curling? Where's more cross country? Where's the biathlon? Then again, NBC's probably asking, 'Where are the viewers?' So if they know that ice dancing brings in more people than it loses, I guess they have a good idea going there. I'm still devastated though.

It's four a.m. and luckily I don't have to go to work today; so now I'm going to go to bed, and try to get up in a few hours to run some errands and do some work. Tomorrow night's coverage should be slightly better--and if nothing else, humanity will get the Dick Button medal for making it through another Olympic ice dancing competition. Let's not count our chickens before they hatch, though; if I were God and had the power to flood the earth, I might conveniently forget my promise not to do it again if I spent too much time watching ice dance. If anthropologists in the future document our Olympic Games and research ice dancing, they will come to the same conclusion that I have--when bastardized ballroom dancing on ice qualifies as a legitimate career choice, the West has once again reached the level of decadence attained by ancient Rome. America may still be too puritanical to allow men to have young male companions, and we may not get to wear the cool laurel wreaths, but what we lack in homoeroticism, we make up for with sparkles and Spandex. Hot! If the apocalypse doesn't come tomorrow, the Olympics are going to rock.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

what if you threw an olympics and no one came?

I've been watching the Olympics nonstop since they opened last Friday, which should explain my unusual silence over the past week. First, a recap: I remained in a state of anger that I would call 'high simmer' until Tuesday, when I played and won the corporate game and secured myself an apartment until I leave for Dublin. Now that I've moved into a place of my own, I am much, much happier. The rest of my time has been filled with the Olympics--I've watched all primetime coverage, and will continue this trend until the Olympics end next Sunday. Until I got my apartment, I was going to campus to watch with Tammy; now that I have the apartment, she's been coming over here.

I still love the Olympics, but the past week has been rather frustrating and disappointing. NBC and all of the major sponsors put too many eggs in a few small baskets (Bode Miller, Michelle Kwan, and Apolo Anton Ohno), when the great performances were turned in by unpublicized athletes (Ted Ligety and Joey Cheek). Tonight was great, though, when Bode Miller wiped out on the Super-G--and his performance was immediately followed by a Nike commercial entitled 'Bode on Happiness'. Ha! My opinions thus far:

1) I still love Apolo Anton Ohno, but there's no way he's going to beat out any Koreans for the gold. They have an *amazing* program, and they're all clearly much powerful than the rest of the world since they're able to pass on the outside of the shorttrack--which means that they're skating a longer distance than other skaters, and at higher speeds to boot. Insane! The Korean women almost swept the medals in the women's 1000-meters, but one of them got disqualified (v. sketchily), so China got a bronze. Yippee.

2) I think the Shani Davis thing has gotten blown out of proportion, and NBC is being rather negligent by not explaining anything about his situation. After he won the gold in the men's 1000-meter long track speed skating, he gave an extremely awkward interview in which he clearly didn't want to be talking to the reporter. From that, it seemed like he was a bastard with a chip on his shoulder, on top of the fact that he didn't skate the team relay earlier in the week. But, it's annoying that NBC is focusing so much attention on the 'controversy' over whether he skated the team event--we weren't going to win that event anyway (see: Korea), while Shani Davis obviously had a great chance at the 1000-meters. Regardless, whether he should have skated the team event or not, NBC devoted so much time to covering Chad Hedrick's annoyance over Shani Davis's refusal to skate that by the time Shani won his individual medal, he was already disliked by a sizeable number of casual viewers. NBC's handling of the situation has now tainted Hedrick's gold (since they only ask him about Shani, not his own races), and also Shani's win. I hate when the media makes up controversies by not explaining how things work and what the background is (see: the Cheney accident and how shooting quail with a shotgun is fundamentally different and more accident-prone than capping someone in the head with a pistol).

3) The Lindsey Jacobellis story was amazing and ridiculous and sad all at the same time. She's the snowboarder who was so far ahead in the snowboard cross event that she tried to grab her snowboard off of a jump just like she would have done in halfpipe--but this threw her off balance and caused her to fall, giving the girl behind her the opportunity to win gold. Lindsey won silver, which clearly wasn't enough since it was her fault she lost the gold. NBC lost no time in turning this into a morality piece for the 21st century--if I ever get to the Olympics (which is doubtful), I'll be sure not to grab a Method air near the end of a race. But since the only sport I could possibly participate in is typing, I don't think Method airs would be a problem.

4) Don't bake five cakes without confirming who's coming. So I made my five Olympic Rings cakes today because I was so excited that I have an apartment. I did everything you're not supposed to do as a hostess--gave only 36 hours notice on a holiday weekend, did not ask for RSVPs, did not offer dinner, and based the whole event around watching tv. Unsurprisingly, only Claude, Tammy, and Oniel showed up. Oniel also picked up the Indian food we'd ordered--surprisingly, I was really craving Indian food again. I never thought I would, but apparently butter chicken is now lodged deep within my soul. Anyway, if you're in the bay area and want cake tomorrow, please come over--there's more than enough cake for you!

I'm falling asleep while writing this, so it's time for bed--I shall endeavor to write more in the future.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

pictures came and broke your heart

I think that if I were prone to nervous breakdowns, I might have had one today. Being homeless is v. stressful. I would say that I'm typically pretty optimistic, and things have a strange way of working out for me. But, I pay for that luck with an absurd ability to wind up in situations that I've joked about for months or years. I realized that I was in another of those situations today when the crisis of where to watch the Olympics tonight was resolved by deciding to crash the tv room at the Stanford women's center. I've made fun of the women's center and everyone involved in it for several years. Suddenly, though, I find myself actively making plans to watch the primetime Olympic coverage there tonight, and potentially sleep on one of the couches there rather than drive to Terry or Claudia's apartments.

This was all funny at the moment, but I almost started crying when I realized what that would entail. So, my pendulum swung in the opposite direction, and I now have a reservation for the rest of the weekend at a hotel. I think the major problem is that I require about nine hours of sleep, but the people I've been staying with require about seven, and so I'm just really tired. Also, I think I'm getting sick, and I freaked out when I realized that I have no home to stay home sick in. So, I'm still going to watch the Olympics tonight at the women's center with Tammy--but tomorrow, I'm going to sleep in, have a laid-back brunch with Vidya, and then spend the rest of the day taking a bubble bath, painting my toenails, perhaps drinking champagne, and watching the Olympics. This will also give me the chance to look presentable on Monday for the first time in a couple of weeks. Yay.

Anyway, other than the constant high levels of stress and my residual anger over the fact that it's not my fault that I'm homeless, life is pretty good. I watched the opening ceremonies last night with Tammy, Shedletsky, Claude and Vidya in the Old Pro sports bar. Luckily we scored an upstairs room where we could turn all the tvs to the Olympics and turn the volume up really high, since the downstairs had turned into a big drinkfest by nine p.m. I was pretty impressed with the opening, other than the completely superfluous and ridiculous segment with Yoko Ono and Peter Gabriel. Ugh. I had dim sum w/Tammy and Shedletsky this morning, and then spent a couple of hours on campus wishing Greg a happy birthday, which was fun.

I'm sitting in my office at 6pm on a Saturday, since I had to come to the office if I wanted to check my email...or if I wanted clean clothes for tomorrow. Lame. I think I'm going shopping tomorrow to boost my supplies. Also, the hotel-thing is good because I'm out of conditioner and almost out of shampoo, so I can replenish for the week with the little travel-sized toiletries. What a bonus!

Okay, I need to go before the battery on my computer dies--I only have one outlet in range of my desk, which I usually use for my monitor and my laptop's docking station, but it's really hot in my office (especially on weekends, when they apparently turn off the a/c), so I had to unplug the docking station and plug in my fan, and now my laptop's about to quit. Sigh. If only they would use the money they save on a/c to either find me an apartment or send me to Ireland, I'd be a happy camper. Or rather, I would no longer be camping. Or something.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

one look from you and i would fall from grace

Run, don't walk, to see 'The Matador'. I wasn't expecting much, and perhaps I should keep your expectations low as well. But, Pierce Brosnan was surprisingly effective as a washed-up hitman (bye-bye Bond), and Greg Kinnear was great as a sort-of boring Everyman caught in a strange situation. The movie was full of colorful characters and moments that turned out to be hilarious throw-away gags rather than vital pieces of plot. Pierce Brosnan's character was also as offensive and ridiculous as anyone I've had the pleasure of watching recently, with such memorable lines as 'She looked like a Bangkok whore on a Sunday morning after the Navy left town'. Yay. Zach and Claude are also v. fun to watch movies with, so we had a great time. I also have 'In the Heat of the Moment' by Asia stuck in my head, so I was forced to download it, and now I want to make myself of a mix of all those terrible New Wave songs from the 80s. I used to have one that I now presume is with my brother, but I could make an even better mix if I gave it the old college try. So, we'll see what happens.

In other news, I'm not going to Ireland until the beginning of April due to a particularly nasty snarl of situations at work. I'm not going to blog anything more about it, other than to say that it's rather frustrating that I'm now homeless and that this homeless situation won't end anytime soon. However, hopefully something will work out. I'm also pretty portable now--I showed up at Terry's tonight with my small rolling carry-on suitcase, a basket with all of my bath supplies, and my laptop, all perfectly contained and ready to go. I just have to plan ahead every couple of days and grab clothes from my office, since everything clean lives there while everything dirty resides in my trunk, waiting for a trip to the laundromat. Anyway, if you want to hear more details, you'll have to email me--I'm much too cautious to discuss anything on my blog.

I'm more than happy to use my blog to discuss 'In the Heat of the Moment', though, and I'd love to discuss it with you as well, so feel free to ask me about it if you wish. At this point, though, I should go to bed--and by bed I mean Terry's pull-out sofa. Awesome. At least I'm not sleeping in my car; I'll just have to make sure that I stay on good terms with my friends so that I don't reach that point.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

zen and the art of meteos

I made a huge mistake yesterday--I bought 'Meteos'. It's a Nintendo DS game that reminds me strongly of 'Tetris Attack', although all blocks are moved vertically rather than horizontally. Also, since the Nintendo DS has a touch-screen, the blocks are dragged by your stylus, rather than flipped using the traditional controls. It is every bit as addictive as my previous forays into similar puzzle games (think 'Snood', 'Tetris Attack', 'Bejeweled', and the original 'Tetris'). The music alone is addictive, but the fact that it is full of intense rearranging can lead to hours of mind-clearing fun. I don't think that 'Meteos' can be considered a true meditative tool, but considering that my meditative toolbox consists of a) romance novels, b) fast drives through the foothills, c) the 'New York Times' online, and d) marathons of 'America's Next Top Model', 'Meteos' is a pretty solid contender for top spot in the toolbox. Apparently, I can seamlessly switch back and forth between the antithetical pariah-groups formed by romantics and gamers without causing my brain to implode, so I might as well embrace 'Meteos' and such classics as 'Gentle Rogue' and 'Brave the Wild Wind' with equal fervor.

I'm staying at Terry's place this weekend, but I'm currently wrapping some stuff up at the office before heading back there. Last night, I had an amazing dinner at Left Bank; the steak and fries, with wine, oysters, and a delicious molten chocolate cake, more than made up for the subpar pasta that I had at the Olive Garden on Thursday. The company, however, was pretty much tied; Thursday was with Claude, Vidya, Adit, Sri, and Stephan, while Friday was with Claude, Tammy, and Terry. Those groups are both equally insane, so the classiness of Left Bank was perhaps wasted on us, but both evenings were fun. Now, I'm going to go relax for the rest of the day--and by 'relax' I of course mean 'meditate', and by 'meditate' I of course mean 'play Meteos'. Yay.

Six days until the Olympics!!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

friendship--the anti-drug

For this year's ski trip, I would like to write a brief, completely sober blog post. I think I've outgrown alcohol. Or perhaps my body has been scared off for awhile after the infamous New Years Eve incident. In an amusing side-note, when I was cleaning my bathroom last night before moving out, I think that I cut my pinkie on the same shard of plastic that I dug out of my foot; that was my fault for leaving the plastic on my vanity as a souvenir. Stupid!

Anyway, ski trip is fun, although I haven't done anything; I took the last bus up here, played my Nintendo DS/slept most of the way, and then met up with Jane, Joann, Lizzie, and Melissa for a v. late lunch. We went to a candle-making store and made candles, which was really fun. Unfortunately, it didn't involve any candle dipping; instead, you get to cut up various colored blocks of wax and put them into a mold, which is then bonded together with white wax and cooled. It was entertaining to take out aggression with the wax-breaking process while gossiping with my friends...and even better, my candle turned out really well, which pleased me. Dinner was tasty, the 80s cover band that we always bring to the party was as good as ever, and hanging out with the girls plus Jay has been great. Now, though, I'm tired, and looking forward to sleeping in a real, real bed for a night.

I will say, despite my sober status, that friends are still the bombdiggitysss. I love you all :)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

money talks...i want to buy you

It's been a rather brutal week, and I am now officially homeless. I'm sorry that I didn't blog over the weekend, but we disconnected the internet on Saturday, which was a bit like chopping off my own hand, but I somehow survived it.

The weekend was v. up-and-down. Friday was uneventful, but I did some desultory packing. Saturday, I packed/organized all day and we got the carpets cleaned; then, Saturday night, Tammy, Claudia and I met Shedletsky and Joanna in the city for opening night of 'Swan Lake'. I'd never been to a ballet before, and I really enjoyed it, although I was in danger of dozing off during one of the pastoral interludes. The orchestra made some major errors involving the horn section, which was unfortunate, but the lead dancers were amazing--even with my lack of knowledge, I could recognize that their performances were outstanding. I'm really happy that Tammy organized this endeavor, and I wish I was going to be here to partake of more cultural outings in the future.

So the ballet was an up, but then it took almost an hour to get out of the city, which was a down. Then we stopped at Peter's Cafe in Millbrae (across from the Hong Kong Flower Lounge), where I had steak and eggs, which was a definite up again. But Shedletsky didn't show, so that was kind of a down. In retaliation, the three of us decided to go to dim sum without him on Sunday (actually, it was out of a need to feed our raging addiction to shrimp families)--which started out as an up, 'til we realized that it was Chinese New Year and it took forever to get seated and for our food to arrive. But, it was all tasty, and even though the waiter spilled some of my Diet Coke on me when he brought it, the overall experience was an up.

Now, though, after packing about fifty-five boxes of stuff and cleaning the whole apartment, I just wish that I could be settled someplace, but I can't. Tonight I'm staying with Terry, where I will probably remain for the rest of the week, except for tomorrow night when I'm in Tahoe for a ski trip. After six days of sleeping on the floor, I'm quite excited about her pull-out sofa, and even more excited about the hotel bed tomorrow.

Also, I am probably the only homeless person who decided to celebrate their newly-homeless status by buying a Gameboy--Terry and I vacated the apartment and had dinner at Baja Fresh tonight, which left me just enough time to run to Fry's and get a Nintendo DS and an old-school copy of Super Mario 3. I'm going to get more games once I research what I want (Mario Kart, perhaps Castlevania, or maybe that cool 'Operation'-like game where you use the touchscreen on the Nintendo to pretend to sew up wounds). If anyone has any advice, please let me know.

I'm feeling all angsty about my homeless status, but other than that, life is good. I shall blog again when I'm back from the ski trip and a little more well-rested.