Thursday, August 30, 2007


I can't wait for vacation, but the cost is that I need to get things done before I leave. That explains why I'm awake at 2:30am. Today was actually not too bad at all - I was in meetings all day, but I managed to sneak in lunch with Alaska Matt, who was visiting this week from Beijing. One of my meetings was two hours with an executive coach - she is apparently a cheaper, low-grade version of the other executive coach I'm using, but for some inexplicable reason we have two management development trainings going on simultaneously, and I just happen to be going through both of them within a two-month period. She claimed to bring a 'toolkit' for talking about things like time management, difficult conversations, presentations skills, etc. Since I did not have the energy, desire, or interest to do roleplays, I steered clear of any problem that might involve roleplaying a conversation, and so stuck to time management. Luckily I'm so overworked that I could easily spend two hours venting about how much I have to do, and we did come up w/a few small tips for what I can do to streamline things - although never you fear, I won't streamline by killing off my blog. In general, though, I would have preferred to take a nap at my couch during those two hours, but c'est la vie.

After work, I had a dinner/intervention with Terry, in which we both simultaneously encouraged and discouraged each other about our progress in moving towards life goals. I tried to use my position of age and wisdom to influence her, but since I'm only three days older than her, I don't think she respected me enough :(

When I got home, I took a nap - it was supposed to be half an hour, but it turned into an hour and a half. Rejuvenated, I then worked from 10:30 to 2:30, and I feel that I accomplished a lot. The downside is that I'll only get six hours of sleep tonight - but if I work myself into a state of exhaustion, I'll easily be able to sleep on the plane. Too bad I want to read on the plane instead - I got all sorts of books from Amazon today about 19th-century England and Scotland, including this gorgeous coffee-table book containing hundreds of photos and illustrations of English manor houses and castles. Yay. I'm such a dork.

It is definitely way past my bedtime...I hope all is well in all of your respective lives!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

what you want, what you lost, what you had, what is gone is over

Wow, I'm exhausted! I had yet another management offsite today - this one was one where we all get together and talk about our feelings in relation to the entire group. It was good, and the dinner afterwards (at a restaurant in Burlingame) was delicious, but I did feel pretty wiped out as a result. I don't think I fully drank the koolaid - probably because most of the comments just reminded me of how much work I have to do.

Anyway, I was at this offsite from 8:30am to 10pm, then I came home and worked for the past two hours to do the stuff on my to-do list that absolutely, unforgivably had to be done in time for tomorrow morning. Now it's only fifteen minutes until Craig comes on, and I'm debating whether to stay up or go to bed - I may actually be tired enough that going to bed makes more sense. How sad is that? But, my to-do list has reached the magical point where I'm using a variety of capital letters as well as several levels of symbols (squares, double squares, and circles - but I haven't gotten to triangles yet) to denote what has to be done right now, what REALLY has to be done right now, and what absolutely must regardless of any other competing needs has to be done immediately. And because my to-do list is so out of control and I want to go on vacation in three days without anything hanging over me, I think I should really spend the next couple of days slogging like I've never slogged before. Bleh. At least it will make sleeping on the plane easy! Now it's time for bed.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

if i don't make it, know that i loved you all along

I'm sure that I've used the lyric in this title at least once, and possibly more, but I like it anyway. Today was interesting - I had meetings straight from 9-5:30, then came home, talked to my parents, and switched into sweatpants before going back to the office to get some more stuff done. I figured I would be more productive at the office, since my apartment was too hot - and I ended up staying there until around midnight. Part of it was spent making crafts w/Laura; the part from 9-12 involved a lot of productivity in the form of emails and spreadsheets.

Tomorrow I have to go to San Mateo for a management offsite, which is unfortunate, so I should go to bed. However, I must say that it was worth staying up to watch Craig tonight - in his monologue, he went off about how he's sick of the obesity epidemic being shown on news stations as 'the battle of the bulge', because it's so disrespectful to the allied soldiers who gave their lives in this epic battle during world war 2. It was pretty great; I also liked when he called Nicole Richie a 'fat bitch' for getting pregnant. Considering that she's about the size of a hamster, that's pretty great.

Now, though, I need to go to bed! Goodnight!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

i walked around my good intentions and found that there were none

I was moderately productive today - I woke up this morning and successfully cleaned up my kitchen, and then talked to my parents while driving to Millbrae to have brunch with Vidius Chandicus at Peter's Cafe. It felt like a small betrayal, since that's where I go with Claude, but then again that's where I used to go with Tammy, and the wheel of fortune keeps turning despite my sadness that both of them have moved away. How melodramatic is that?

Anyway, I had a lovely (or as Vidya would say, 'lowely') time with Vidya, and also quite enjoyed Peter's homemade sausage patty. Then, we had an 'adventure' in the form of walking around the block - walking around the block took us briefly through Burlingame, which means that I successfully hung out in two nondescript, strangely-stuck-in-the-1950s towns on the peninsula. We parted ways amidst much hugging and crying (or rather, no hugging and crying), and I came back to Palo Alto, where I did three loads of laundry and worked on my romance novel. Then, I had dinner with John at Hunan Homes, site of many previous revelries - including my graduation dinner, for those of you who were there. We had the mu shu pork, which I had been craving for months, but we departed from tradition and had honey walnut prawns instead of a 'scissoring' (aka sizzling) platter. It was nice to catch up, although there perhaps wasn't as much to catch up on as usual since I've seen him more in the past six weeks than I had in the past twelve months, it feels like.

Now I shall go to sleep - I have to go to work early tomorrow, since I was boycotting my rapidly-spiraling-out-of-control to-do list. This week will be chaotic, as usual, but I leave for Iowa on Friday!

but he talks like a gentleman, like you imagined when you were young

I just did some checking - they've opened a Sephora in the newest mall on the west side of Des Moines. Now that I know that I can get cosmetics, in Iowa, there's nothing keeping me here anymore!

The weekend is good enough so far - I had an incredibly lazy first half of the day, since I woke up at ten, surfed the net for a couple of hours, and then took a nap from 1-2pm. However, I did some work on my romance novel this afternoon - I didn't write anything new, but I went back through the five different notebooks that I've jotted ideas into over the past couple of years and consolidated everything into a notetaking system on my laptop. I feel pretty good about that - I was onto some great things in some of those entries, but because they weren't always in the same notebook, I was having trouble keeping track of them. I then had dinner and a movie with Subz (aka Lauren) - we discussed our respective lives, and then saw 'Ratatouille'. It was really cute, and there was one surprisingly touching scene towards the end that made me want to cry, so I enjoyed myself. It was also good to catch up with Lauren - I definitely don't see her as much as I would like to, which is probably mostly my fault since I have been in people-avoidance mode for the past couple of months at least.

Now though, I should avoid you as well and seek out the comfort of my bed. Goodnight!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

magic soaking my spine

So as you may have figured out last night, I came home to the distressing discovery that I had forgotten to put my boeuf bourguignon back in the fridge after reheating it the night before. This was rather upsetting, since there were at least four servings left, and I had intended to freeze them for my future enjoyment. The rest of my day yesterday was fine, though, and I had a lovely dinner with Kim--we caught up on our respective lives over enchiladas at Fiesta del Mar, so I didn't exactly go hungry last night, despite my mistake with the boeuf bourguignon.

Today was a relatively decent day as well; I had to be at the office at 8:30, which was a major downer, but I left around five. I also had lunch with Heather and spent about half an hour catching up with Terry, so that was nice. After getting home from work, I sliced up a bunch of strawberries, mixed some dough for shortcake, and then went over to Shedletsky's house. Tonight was an experiment in merging friend groups - I had been trying to coordinate doing something with my friend Chris (the former TASPer) for awhile, and also wanted him to meet Shedletsky, since Chris is into boardgames. So Chris, his fiancee Meggy, and his friend Ryan all came over, and Shed made french toast and bacon. We then played a couple of board games - and I must have been on best behavior, since Shed's roommate didn't leave the game midway through in disgust/anger like he did the last time I played with him. See, I am growing up!

The rest of the weekend will be simultaneously eventful and uneventful - I have made tentative plans with three different people tomorrow, and if they all come to fruition I will have to bail on at least one of them. Sunday, I'm having brunch with Vidya, which shall be lovely. I also need to work on my romance novel and do laundry, so it should be a busy couple of days. In preparation, I'm going to go to bed! In one week, I will be on a plane bound for ye olde Iowa!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

goodbye bourguignon

to the tune of 'Goodbye Norma Jean' by Elton John

Goodbye Bourguignon
Though I never made you before
You tasted great and filled me up
For several days on end

I left you out to cool down
And then promptly went off to bed
Twenty-four hours later
Spores may lurk within your broth

And it seems to me, you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind
Never able to self-refrigerate
When the heat set in
And I would have liked to have kept you
But I was so stupid
Your toxins grew up long before
Your greatness ever fled

Dumping you was tough
The toughest thing I ever did
I created a soupy superstar
And pain was the price I paid

Even though I knew
Oh, my heart still wanted you
All the websites had to say
Was that you would kill me if I ate you

And it seems to me, you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind
Never able to self-refrigerate
When the heat set in
And I would have liked to have kept you
But I was so stupid
Your toxins grew up long before
Your greatness ever fled

Goodbye Bourguignon
Though you never loved me at all
Goodbye Bourguignon
From the young girl in the Palo Alto home
Who sees you as something more than victuals
More than just Frenchified meat stew

And it seems to me, you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind
Never able to self-refrigerate
When the heat set in
And I would have liked to have kept you
But I was so stupid
Your toxins grew up long before
Your greatness ever fled

Goodbye Bourguignon
Goodbye Bourguignon
Goodbye Bourguignon

it took eight years just to one looks when we say goodbye

I'm watching HGTV - started off with 'Decorating on a Dime', then watched some show about home appraisals, and now I'm watching something about selling houses. 'Decorating on a Dime' isn't really on a dime - it's with a budget of $1000, and three people who have major skills with carpentry and artwork. But, despite the fact that the show didn't give me any great ideas, I got to watch it while relaxing and eating leftover boeuf bourguignon - man, that stuff is delicious. I made fresh mashed potatoes to go with it, and also succeeded in cleaning up my kitchen from last night's fun, so I feel v. productive.

Work was also okay today - every meeting I had contributed to a raging headache, but I relaxed by playing Wii and Guitar Hero for half an hour or so this afternoon before having a conference call from 6:30-7:30pm. I'm going to go to bed before I get sucked into staying up late enough to watch Craig Ferguson - I was exhausted all day today, which probably did nothing to help my mood. Considering that tomorrow and Friday are both really busy as well, I should probably get some rest. However, I only have seven more business days before I go home! And one of those is an all-day offsite next week, so it's not all bad. Goodnight!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

tin omen

Tonight was the end of an era - Claude is moving to Yale (aka jail) on Friday, and we got together for one last dinner tonight. The participants were the remnants of our original crew; Adit, Oniel, John, Jess, Vidya, and Sri were all in attendance as we bid a sad farewell to our departing comrade. We had a generally merry time, punctuated by a ritual that I awkwardly forced on everyone, in which we each took a candle, said a nice thing about Claude, and then blew the candle out. In general, though, it was clear that we will all miss her tremendously - particularly for me, this is going to be hard, since Claude was my go-to best friend for all sorts of mischief and merriment, in addition to my partner in culinary adventure. I don't use emoticons lightly, but I shall use one here. :(

Anyway, we had a v. nice evening, and I just parted ways w/Claudia and Vidya. Now, I should really go to bed; the weekend will be soon enough to dwell on Claude's absence. I'm busy at work tomorrow, and will want to clean up my kitchen when I get home (although it's not too bad - I just need to run another dishwasher load and clean up a couple of serving pieces). I will also want to eat more boeuf bourguignon - it turned out fantastically, if I do say so myself, particularly over the mashed potatoes that I made on a whim tonight. I also made a spinach, pear, walnut, and gorgonzola salad that was good, and the quiche that Claude brought was excellent. We topped it all off with some walnut brownies that Sri brought, so in general we had a feast that was worthy of Claude's last supper with us.

Please think of one nice thing about Claude; and now I shall go to bed!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

pass the courvoisier

I really need to go to bed - but instead of staying up working until now, I've stayed up cooking until now. Okay, perhaps I wasn't cooking the whole time - and I didn't start cooking until nine p.m., since I was on the phone w/my parents and grocery shopping before then. But I made boeuf bourguignon for dinner tomorrow night - this means that all I have to do when I get home is reheat the stuff and slice some bread, and perhaps make a salad, so that's pretty exciting. The dish wasn't ridiculously difficult, but it involved waaay too much time spent cutting up beef and bacon. The most exciting part was when I poured in half a cup of cognac into the pot and got to light it on fire - I think I singed the hairs off the back of my right hand because I didn't pull back fast enough, but it was very fun to watch.

Now I'm watching Craig Ferguson while my boeuf bourguignon cools enough so that I can put it in the fridge. Tonight's episode is pretty good - for some reason, I laughed out loud when he was talking about the hotel he stayed in in Glasgow this past weekend, and he said 'he was only a bellboy...but that night, he became a bellman'. Craig is v. good at the lascivious, ridiculous innuendos. He's also very good at dressing up as random people - tonight he put on a blonde wig and a purple skirt and pretended to be J.K. Rowling. He held a fake cat stuffed with money, then bought the White House and laughed evilly for about five minutes. It was awesome!

Okay, that's enough for tonight - I should go to bed so that I don't fall asleep during dinner tomorrow. Goodnight!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

take this's ticking like a time bomb

Last night was very fun, although I was paying the wages of my sin today. After work yesterday, I came home, took a shower, and then went up to the evil city with Claudia and her brother Marco. We had pizza at Adit's place with him and Oniel, hung out there drinking wine and watching WWE wrestling, and then decided to make our way to the karaoke place that Adit had recommended. We ran for the bus and managed to miraculously catch it, and Oniel paid ten dollars to cover all of our fares. We went approximately one and a half blocks, but at the intersection where the bus was supposed to turn, the street was blocked off by police tape because someone had been murdered on that street. Apparently the policy in those situations is for the driver to rejoice and just hang out until they open the street, rather than driving a couple of blocks out of the way to get the bus back on track, so he told all of us to get off. He couldn't give refunds either - he could only give transfer tickets eligible for that night only, which was useless to us because there was no other bus available to get us to our destination. It was also v. difficult to find taxis, but luckily John and Jess were in the general area because they were driving to the karaoke place, so they came and picked some of us up while the others managed to procure a taxi.

Karaoke was super fun, and we stayed much longer than I figured we would - we were there from around 11:15 until 2:30. We had our own room, so we didn't have to share with anyone, which was fantastic. We also brought in our own drinks, which was why I ended up feeling so miserable this morning - I had premixed kamikazes before going to the karaoke place, and they're intended to be shots, but we were drinking them more like cocktails - but you really can't have much of a drink that's 1/3 vodka, 1/3 triple sec, and 1/3 lime juice without getting pretty intoxicated. It didn't help that when we got back to the apartment, Adit opened the bottle of port that I had nostalgically purchased (in honor of the memorable port-drinking night that Adit, Claude and I once had together), and I had a glass of that. It was a big glass, too - port should be imbibed in small quantities with dessert, not in a water tumbler, particularly since it's 40-proof, which was an even worse idea on top of a stomach full of kamikaze. Adit did make grilled cheese and eggs, which had some restorative properties, but it wasn't enough. Add to the mix the fact that Adit's new apartment faces straight east and he doesn't have any window treatments, so I was awoken by the relentless rays of the sun at 8am, after sleeping around three hours.

Needless to say, I was pretty miserable and still a little bit drunk when I woke up, but since Claude, Marco, Oniel and I had all stayed over with Adit, we had a fun, leisurely morning hanging out in the apartment before venturing out to procure lunch. I came home around 1pm, took a two-hour nap, ran a couple of errands, had sushi for dinner, and then read a bunch of random articles on wikipedia. Fun times, eh?

Tomorrow I'm going to try to relax some more, or something, but I have a lot of work-related activities that I should do. It will be nice to have a day to myself though--even though I'm fairly extroverted, I have some deeply rooted desires for alone time, and they're not always being met right now. So, in an effort to meet them, I'm going to stop writing this and go to bed!

Friday, August 17, 2007

you might remember that joke from the '80s, but i don't...i was drunk!

The only good thing about working all the time is that if I work too late, I get to see Craig Ferguson. I'm taking Felicia up on her suggestion and am going to tag all future posts that mention him, since I'm so in love. Tonight, he had one of my favorite segments - his impersonation of Sean Connery. This one was 'Sean Connery: Street Magician', in which he went up to a guy and said 'I have a trick to make your arm disappear'. Then he drank a lot of scotch straight from the bottle before ripping the man's arm off. Crude, but incredibly effective, and I actually laughed out loud by myself like the lunatic I am.

Anyway, today was fine - I ended up only doing nine performance reviews, and they all went well. I have three tomorrow, as well as a whole bunch of meetings, and then I have to come home, change, and drive up to the city to do some karaoke'ing w/my friends. Tonight, I had dinner with Claude at Left Bank in Menlo Park, to commemorate the good times we've had there and the fact that she's leaving. The service was amazingly abysmal - they brought me the wrong wine (and they tried to charge me for it even though I'd sent it back), they never brought us any water, they didn't bring me my green beans (although they didn't try to charge me either), and were generally v. slow. However, we had raw oysters, which I adore, and I had french onion soup and a delicious chocolate cake, so I was very happy.

Now, my friends, it is definitely time for bed. I'm looking forward to doing some socializing this weekend, but I'm also excited to spend some time by myself - I need to unwind, write in my journal, buy groceries, sleep, etc. Doesn't that sound lovely? Goodnight!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

walk me down your broken line

Craig Ferguson is on a freakin' roll tonight. His monologue, regarding mens' and womens' magazines, was hysterical. His second interlude before the interviews was also great - it involved a lot of flashback scenes with some guy who was playing a flight instructor, and the awesome thing about Craig's flashbacks is that he doesn't tape them in advance, so they just run back and forth and slam wigs on their heads while a 'flashback' swirling graphic shows for a few seconds. Then, his first guest was Doogie Howser (who I suppose has a real name and a real career, and I do like him in 'How I Met Your Mother', but he will always be Doogie Howser to me). Anyway, I can't really recreate how great he is, but this does make me feel slightly better about the fact that I worked until now. Although I must say that he just keeps getting funnier - he just said, 'you don't mind if I put the lights down, do you? 'cause I just find you hideous'. That's not funny at all when I write it, but it was great when he said it. Probably because he has the awesomest accent ever.

Also, since when did Lifehouse come back and produce anything worthy of showing on tv? The last I heard from them, it was 2000 and they had that big hit 'Hanging by a Moment'...which, I admit, I liked, but I was fine with them being a one-hit-wonder. Now they're on Craig, which is weird...and they apparently blew all of their previous profits on hair bleach and trendy tshirts. Don't you wish you were a rockstar?

Today was busy, and tomorrow is going to be worse; part of the reason I'm up so late is because I have to give 10 performance reviews tomorrow, and I needed to spend some quality time tonight writing down what I wanted to say for each person so that they got constructive feedback. Since I managed 20 people last quarter who require reviews from me over the next three business days, on top of everything I usually do, I'm pretty much screwed. Oh, well, I'm still going to make time for friends - I'm having dinner w/Claude tomorrow night, and then a bunch of us are doing karaoke in the city in honor of her departure. I'll just have to sacrifice sleep, which isn't really a new situation. Now, though, I should go to bed!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

i don't shine if you don't shine

I woke up this morning with a tremendous headache, and so I ended up calling in sick and going back to bed. It was just what the doctor ordered, in my humble opinion. I slept for a couple of hours, spent some time on the phone with my mother, took a shower, made a grilled cheese sandwich, and waded through the work email that had piled up over the past few days. I recovered from my headache sufficiently so that I could go to Half Moon Bay for dinner tonight - I would have had to be dead not to go, since it was Doug's last hurrah before leaving for Denmark, as well as my last chance to see Eric the Viking. I also luckily got to see Jasmine and Michael, whom I hadn't seen in ages. We went to the beach after dinner, where the stars were out in full force (not as full force as, say, Iowa, but the beach was remarkably clear tonight), and where we played a couple of quick, lazy games of mafia. I was a fortunate witness of one of the best displays of mafia defense ever - Erem pretended to be asleep, so convincingly that he drooled on himself, thus evading being lynched and winning the game for the mafia. Even though the rest of the game was pointless (Doug stabbed himself in the face in the first five seconds), that moment made up for it.

Now I should really go to bed - I have meetings straight from 8:30am to 6pm. Ugh. Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

you're killing me with your love

So I didn't get as much done today as I would have liked to, but it didn't turn out all bad. I woke up in time to have brunch with Terry; we experienced some of the worst service I've ever had at Hobee's (how can you bring someone a completely empty ketchup bottle? what thought is going through your head? like, 'oh, that girl looks like she might not *really* want ketchup, I'll take her the empty one!' I'm the worst person to do that to...I love ketchup!). We also spent some quality time commiserating about our respective employment situations - not that either of us are miserable, but I think we share the same angst as most of our generation in that we're not sure what our long-term goals are.

After brunch, I went to Target, where I procured some cheap white laminate shelving - it's the only stuff that will fit under my windowsill, unless I spend hundreds of dollars on some ridiculous custom-made shelves elsewhere. Then I spent an hour or so putting the stuff together and generally straightening up my bedroom. I talked to my parents for an hour and a half; my father is good at getting me riled up, but I think I will manage to calm down (maybe!) before I do anything stupid. Then again, maybe not.

I felt in need of some serious midwestern comfort food after I got off the phone, so I went to the grocery store and got the necessary ingredients for tuna noodle casserole (cream of mushroom soup, velveeta, and egg noodles), plus some white bread, margarine, and kraft singles (all of which I was out of). It was pretty much the most midwestern basket of food in all of the checkout aisles at Safeway - in fact, it took a significant amount of time to find those ingredients. Cream of mushroom soup and Velveeta were both relegated to bottom shelves, and the Velveeta required ~10 minutes of desperate searching before unearthing a small box lurking under the pasta sauces. I was kind of disappointed in my casserole - the noodles I bought were thicker, I believe, than the kind my mother uses, and so I had a bad noodle:sauce ratio. Or, perhaps I can be blamed for eating a few spoonfuls of the sauce as soup before I combined them. Either way, I have leftovers, but I will probably be able to keep myself from polishing them off singlehandedly.

The rest of my night was spent trying to make some order of my living room (I failed), catching up on a couple of things for work, and generally doing nothing. Too bad the weekend's over - I could use a vacation. Luckily for me, I'm going to Iowa in three weeks! For now, though, it's time for bed.

you could be my industry

I came to the same disconcerting realization today that I arrive at every three months or so and promptly ignore - I'm turning into my mother. It happens to all girls, I suppose - we adore our fathers, but are destined to become our mothers. Or maybe I'm just extrapolating because that's been my experience. Not that I don't adore my mother as well, and I'm not exactly unhappy with my destiny, but given that I have always prized my independence and valued setting my own course above all things, it's still a little annoying.

I came to recognize my cruel reality when I became aware of the fact that for the second weekend in a row, I have actively avoided making plans to spend time with other people. Not only that, but I've decided to embark on a decorating project. The realization fully dawned on me when I was sitting in my favorite cafe having brunch (at around 1pm - I woke up late, but I call anything on the weekends 'brunch' if it happens before 4pm), and instead of writing in my journal or reading a book like I normally do, I was reading decorating magazines. I was also eating potatoes, which are my mother's staple food. Granted, my potatoes were part of a veggie casserole and covered in black beans, mushrooms, peppers, and cheese, but still.

Anyway, about my decorating project. I'm trying to keep myself sane by setting realistic goals, so that I don't overwhelm myself and stop at the absolute nadir of the project, which is usually what I do. Witness my garden, which has died from thirst...but I had fun while it lasted. I decided that I need to make better use of my existing space, and spruce things up since I will probably be in this apartment for awhile. I wasn't doing a bad job of using my space, but everything felt very cluttered. So today I rearranged my bedroom and the eating area of my kitchen.

Because I haven't been cooking for months, had never bothered to buy kitchen chairs, and so used my kitchen table for storing unread mail and for occasionally cutting chocolate chip chewies, I decided that I was wasting the eating area of my kitchen by using it as a dumping ground. I also had a couple of months' worth of recycling hiding behind the table...which isn't as much as it sounds, given that I usually drink tea and not bottles/cans of stuff when I'm at home, but still. So I cleared out everything, scrubbed the floor, and then moved my desk and filing cabinet into the area. The desk is actually narrower than the widest part of my dining table, so it feels like there's more space. I'm going to get a new desk chair, since my old desk chair is a swivel/wheeled hand-me-down that, while comfortable, takes up too much room and can't be pushed under the desk when not in use. But overall, I'm exceedingly pleased - now I can work in the kitchen, where there is more light, and free up my bedroom for other things.

So the goal of reorganizing the bedroom was that the bed was previously pushed against the wall under the window, which had freed up space for my desk, but wasn't conducive to making the bed, constantly endangered me with the 'night airs' (although night air doesn't cause malaria, contrary to the belief of Laura Ingalls Wilder's parents), and would not have been convenient for my parents if they actually deign to visit me. By moving the desk, I was able to move the bed to the center of the room, putting three feet between the bed and the window, and five feet between the bed and the other wall (my bedroom is 11x14 - I bought a tape measure yesterday and have been using it for everything, so perhaps I'm turning into my father too).

I had debated buying new shelves, but shelves are absurdly expensive, and my Ikea shelves are still serviceable - I just hate them, because they're unfinished pine, and I don't like light wood. Then again, I've had them for almost four years and hated them the whole time, so maybe I should do something about it rather than complaining. I want to paint them, but I don't really want to spend all that time sanding and priming and painting - it would involved painting 14 shelves and 4 side pieces, and that just seems like a ridiculous amount of effort. Then again, it would cost at least $400 to buy the shelves that I want to replace them with, and I'd rather use that money to buy other things. In particular, I really want an armchair for my bedroom, but I need to cut out some paper to mimic the chair and see if it will actually fit. I also want to frame some pictures, get some extra lighting for my bedroom, and maybe get some indoor plants. So clearly I should do the smart thing and spend a weekend painting bookshelves. I just need to budget enough time and not expect it to go well, so that I don't abandon them halfway through - although I guess a set of half-painted bookshelves would fit right in in my garden.

Okay, I've written enough - I should really go to bed! Given how much of a disaster my living room in, since it's storing everything that was in my bedroom before I started messing with things, I'll need to be somewhat productive tomorrow. Goodnight!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

abracadabera, i wanna reach out and grab ya

I escaped the office for a few hours today, and the combination of sunlight, the feeling of the wind in my hair as I drove down the winding roads to Santa Cruz while blasting Bon Jovi, and the corndog I ate on the Santa Cruz boardwalk all conspired me to feel much more relaxed. So relaxed, in fact, that I felt no guilt in coming home and taking a 30-minute nap before going back to the office, or, when I got home at eight tonight, leaving my computer turned off and watching tv and reading instead. Shocking, I know, and I'll go back to slogging tomorrow, but tonight I just didn't have anything pressing enough to force me to do work.

Today I learned that I need to spend more time in the sun, or more time driving with the windows down and the sunroof open - both of those things make me happy. Too bad the coastal areas here are all usually cold and cloudy - if they were endlessly gorgeous, I might consider living on the coast and commuting. Then again, if they were endlessly gorgeous, I wouldn't be able to afford to live there, because everyone else would too. Sigh.

Okay, I had all sorts of things that I was going to share with you, but I can't remember them, so I think I'll go to bed. But I'm happy to report that the Opening Ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics are one year from today! I should start setting expectations at work that they should give me next summer off - between the trip that I want to take to Siberia and Mongolia with my dad, and my desire to hole up in my living room watching the Olympics for two weeks straight, they're not going to get much use out of me. And with that pleasant thought in mind, it's time for bed!

lonely but never quite alone

Shedletsky often describes working in the programming industry as 'slaving in the pixel mines'. I'm not sure what my job should be described as. Slaving in the money pit? I'm picturing raking the coins in Scrooge McDuck's money bin so that he has a nice smooth surface to dive into.

Anyway, today was fine in a moderately hellish sort of way - like maybe I was in the circle of hell where there's just a lot of wind whirling people around, rather than one of the circles involving being submerged in boiling tar. And I most definitely wasn't on the level of being encapsulated in ice and gnawed on by Satan for eternity, so that's a good thing. Actually, compared to that, I had a really good day. I had meetings, but they were boring rather than strenuous, and then I had dinner with Sarah - we started within a couple of weeks of each other at work, and like to have dinner every few months and discuss all of our grand plans for finding a bigger purpose in life (none of which seem to come to fruition). We had amazing gourmet burgers at this place called 'The Counter' in Palo Alto - if my parents ever come to visit me, perhaps I'll take them there, although the number of choices was a bit overwhelming.

After I got done with dinner, I came home, took a nap to sleep off some of the food coma, and then worked for the past four hours. I'm feeling a bit more caught up, but it's definitely bedtime - I need to get up in six hours! Tomorrow should be hectic but fun - I have to go to Santa Cruz for an offsite, so hopefully the weather is good. Goodnight!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

i can't wait for this day to end

I've written 700 posts on this blog, and 320 posts on my India blog, for a combined total of 1020. This post will be 1021. The sad thing is that in the month of July this year, I only posted 16 times, which is once every two days. This is a trend that must be stopped! While most of my blog is completely inane, I do like going back to reread it and remember what was going on in my life then, and fill in all of the glorious little details that are missing in the broad strokes that I use here.

Today, however, is not a day that I wish to repeat; the title isn't a lyric (of course it might be, it's a pretty common human sentiment), it's just how I feel. The day didn't get off to a good start anyway - my calendar said I had no meetings until 1pm, and so I decided to sleep in. I got up at 8:37, picked up my crackberry, and checked my email. One email was suspiciously titled 'Agenda for Today's 9am [xx] Meeting' (where xx is the name of the group, which contains a lot of managers, but luckily not my own manager), and the agenda even more suspiciously included a 20min update from me that I was thoroughly unprepared for. I IM'd the leader of the meeting and warned her that I would be late, then got ready faster than just about ever and made it into work by 9:15ish. The unfortunate side effect was that I didn't have time to wash my hair or do anything more than a cursory makeup job - so much for my desire to spiff it up for work. But at least the meeting was okay, even if I didn't have any slides and wasn't happy to be there.

After the meeting, I went back to my desk, where I had a cryptic email from my friend Irish Matt. I found out what he was referencing before I managed to talk to him - one of the guys that I hung out with quite a bit in Dublin was stabbed and killed on a street near the office early Saturday morning. In fact, you can see him here: He's the guy in the bright blue shirt, with his arm around Matt. Anyway, he was one of the nicest guys, and every time I went out with him, I had a great time. I got more details from Matt in the afternoon; he was on his way home from drinking with Finbarr (another great guy, he had resigned on Friday and it was his going-away drinks that they were wrapping up) when they stumbled upon what appeared to be a lovers' quarrel between a man and a woman. Mark pulled them apart, seemed to have calmed them down, and even shook hands with the guy - but the guy came back a few minutes later and stabbed him.

It's just completely senseless and unfair, and while I wasn't exactly close to him, I have really fond memories of him. I can't imagine what the reaction must have been in the Dublin office, particularly since he was pretty well-known and he was killed so close to the office. I was unexpectedly really really sad to hear about it - all I really wanted to do was go home and cry, but I stuck it out and stayed at work. I suppose that anyone my age who dies will seem senseless and unfair, but this was particularly senseless and unfair given that he was trying to help someone - it's not like it was an accident (as in the case of Errol), it was a deliberate act.

Anyway, the rest of the day just kind of sucked; I wasn't very productive at work, got pulled into a depressing meeting from 6-7pm, and then went to see 'The Bourne Ultimatum' with Vidya, Claudia, and Oniel. Even that was vaguely disappointing - I liked it, but I am not a huge fan of the handheld camerawork - it's trying to be artistic, when really I just want perfect clarity and steadiness when guys are beating the crap out of each other. Then again, perhaps I wasn't in the right frame of mind to see strangers killing each other. Also, I would have been happier if Matt Damon killed Julia Stiles - as it is, if they make a fourth one, she'll of course be in it, and I'm sick of her. Ugh.

Okay, this post isn't going to get any more cheerful, so I think I'm going to go to bed. Goodnight!

Monday, August 06, 2007

death to our enemies (we'll make 'em sorry)

I must say that although my three-drug anti-allergy cocktail is making me feel better than I have in ages (it turns out you're not supposed to wake up every morning of your life with a stuffy nose and a congested feeling in your head!), I wonder if it's really good for me in the long run to be taking three drugs, particularly one that involves me inhaling four spray a day of a chemical into my nose. Luckily, I don't believe that Nasonex is a gateway drug to cocaine, but you never know - if you catch me chopping up my Allegra pills with a razor blade and snorting them through a rolled-up twenty, please start asking questions.

Then again, if that's the case, I may just be channeling my secret desire to be a star. I'm not really fashion-obsessed, and I rarely wish that I was taller (except when I can't reach something, or I'm about to suffocate in a crowd)...but I'm rather tired of my wardrobe, which consists of a lot of tshirts and very casual sweatshirts and flipflops. When it's eight a.m. and I don't want to get out of bed, pulling something like that on is about as much effort as I can contemplate. Granted, I usually top all outfits with a ridiculously expensive pair of sunglasses, but the sunglasses only carry me from my apartment to my office, and then I'm on my own.

I'm not sure what, exactly, to do about this conundrum - I want to dress nicer, but I don't have the time or the inclination to go shopping for those mystical 'nicer' things, and when I do go shopping, I end up w/more of the same stuff that I already have. I guess I'm not sure how to put together an outfit that isn't too cute or too casual - even though I wear a lot of skirts, they all fall on the 'cute' rather than the 'professional' end of the spectrum. I would take 'chic' over 'professional' as well, but that's not v. likely to happen. Sigh.

Anyway, I was triggered into thinking about my clothes because I did laundry this afternoon, and I read InStyle while I was at the laundromat - and let me tell ya, the comparison between Ann Taylor/Banana Republic and Valentino/Chanel is rather depressing. So I called my parents, which was wise, because while I'm bitter that for the amount of money I'm spending on rent here, I could be buying a house in Iowa, at least my parents don't talk about fabulous clothes and accessories. I also had dinner with Claude today - we went to Sakae Sushi, this sushi place in Burlingame that one of her coworkers had recommended, and it was well worth the drive. I had what may have been the best dragon roll I've ever tasted - eel, avocado, and shrimp tempura are three of my favorite things in the world, and the way that they were combined in this roll was to die for. To take it one step further, I've never really been truly tempted to drop the $80+ that one can drop on the specialized omakase ('chef's choice') menus at other sushi places, but I would consider it in a heartbeat here - the presentation was gorgeous, everything was extremely fresh, and while other people may not consider raw fish to be near-orgasmic, I guess I fall firmly in that camp. Oh, and seeing Claude was nice too ;)

Yesterday was extremely chill - I got a facial, spent the afternoon accomplishing things (in the form of tearing up my room and putting together a file cabinet that spent the last three weeks sitting in a box in my living room), and then went to Baja Fresh for dinner. I saw something creepy there - there was a guy whose license plate said the seven-letter equivalent of 'seek a knife', and he was just leaned against his SUV coiling a rope around his arm. It was v. strange. Then I spent a few hours reading a romance novel. As a result of this weekend, I feel rather relaxed - while last weekend was definitely more fun, I think I need this weekend to recover. Hopefully this week isn't too rough! And now, it's time for bed.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

i'm practicing your name so i can say it to your face

Today wasn't half bad--I made it into work for an 8:30am meeting, had breakfast afterward, and then had a bit of space to breathe and check email, which is rare for me. I had meetings most of the day, took off around 5:15, and ended up having dinner with the director who likes to do crafts and lend me supernatural romance novels - her son was visiting from Texas and she wanted me to meet him, so we had dinner at an Italian place near the Mercado movie theatre. Before you get any ideas, the son was 12 years old - but she has threatened to take an active interest in setting me up with someone, so that could be interesting. After dinner (which, while the kid was entertaining, made me supremely thankful that I don't currently have children), I came home, took a nap, and engaged in the oh-so-fun Friday night task of cleaning out my bathroom cabinets.

It will be interesting to see how much I get done this weekend; I have the constant goal of cleaning up my apartment and catching up on work, and I almost never do anything on the weekends that would help to achieve these goals. However, I'm tired of my apartment being messy, and I don't want to have another week like the week I just had - I was so behind after going to Tahoe that I never felt like I could catch up, let alone get anything done, and I don't know if I can survive another week of that right now. So, we shall see - although it's just as likely that I'll convince myself that what I really need to do is reread a romance novel or stare off into space or read about random things on Wikipedia.

Okay, my laptop is overheating and I don't want to burn my thighs, so I think it's time for bed!

Friday, August 03, 2007

it was good, it was bad, but it was real

I'm really far too tired to blog, but I shall persevere for a few reasons: 1) my parents apparently think I'm heinous for rarely blogging and for not calling them last weekend; 2) I know that Vidya will check this to see if I mention her and will be annoyed if I don't; and 3) I really should blog more, and always regret when I don't.

Work has been rather stressful; as I explained to my parents and to Vidya tonight, it feels like I've been hit in the head repeatedly with a wiffle bat - not hard enough to cause lasting damage, but still annoying and painful all the same. Going to Tahoe was relaxing in the moment, and I don't regret it, but it contributed to me coming back to work and feeling like I had been thrown into the English Channel with cement shoes and and straitjacket, and expected to swim to France. I'm going to take it easier this weekend, and probably get some work done and try to straighten up the mess in my apartment so that I can feel better at the start of next week.

It hasn't been all bad though - I saw 'Live Free or Die Hard' last night with Claude and Marco, and I absolutely loved it. Bruce Willis is amazing, and the action sequences were awesome. The other patrons in the movie theatre were equally into it, to the point that they succumbed to my traditional social psych experiment and all clapped at the end of the movie when I started cheering. I love to do that - it's always interesting to see everyone start to clap solely because someone else did. Granted, this movie was definitely clap-worthy, and I hope Bruce Willis keeps making these movies until he dies.

Today, I was in no mood to go to work, given that I got home from the movie at 1am, but I made it through the entire day, and even followed through on my plan to go to the evil city and have dinner with Vidius Chandicus. We were originally going to have crepes, but I discovered that she actually eats sushi (not the raw fish kind, but rather the other assorted non-fish-containing Japanese dishes, such as agedashi tofu), and so we went to the sushi place on the corner of the street that she lives on. It was v. good to see her - she's a good person and simultaneously v. entertaining, which seems to be hard to pull off, but she somehow manages. Also, we rarely see each other alone, so it was good that we followed through on our secret plan to sneak away and have dinner without the multitudes in attendance. I may despise the city, but it still makes me laugh - I accidentally drove into the Tenderloin while I was going up, because I was on the phone w/my parents and circling around Vidya's neighborhood, and I was treated to the sight of a crazy homeless guy wandering around in the middle of the street brandishing a big teddy bear at passing cars. Yay. And, of course, I got to see Vidya, so my night was complete.

Okay, that's all you're getting from me tonight - I hope you're satisfied!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

the greatest of teachers won't hesitate to leave you there by yourself chained to fate

I need to go to bed, but I decided that it was worth verifying for all of you that I'm still alive and kicking. Also, I'm sad that my blog has fallen by the wayside in my mad dash to corporate success--it used to be a rare occurrence when I would miss a day, but I've been missing with greater frequency lately, and I need to reprioritize my blogging habits. Luckily for me I can type fairly well face-down on my bed with my eyes closed, so I can still relax and type at the same time.

Work has been really stressful, as usual, but has been tinged with a bit of despair because i've been falling into some of my more self-critical moods, which isn't helping to keep me on an even keel. It's rather silly that I'm so self-critical, since in my more cocky moments I realize that I have very little (from an achievement or ability standpoint) to be ashamed or self-critical about. That being said, I don't like to feel like I'm not doing things perfectly, and I'm so busy at work that I can't possibly keep up with everything that's on my plate, which means I'm constantly shuffling projects and trying to find ways to accomplish as much as possible, as quickly as possible, without dropping anything vital. And, of course, I am always dropping vital things anyway, because I'm simply too busy to be able to do everything. It's a pity. This is probably good for me, though, because I'm going to be forced to either learn to let go and do things less than perfectly, or die in the attempt.

Tahoe was both a good and bad thing for me - on the whole, it was extremely good, particularly since I felt very relaxed during the weekend - I realized on the boat on Saturday that I went a full half-hour without thinking about work, which is like a new record for me. I also got to spend some quality time with Claudia and Oniel and John; I see Claudia a lot, but she's moving away, and I see Oniel and John less frequently than I like because they live in the dirty East Bay. But, it's hard to maintain a feeling of relaxation when things are always piling up, and so even though I'm not thrilled that I was in the office until eleven p.m. tonight, I must say that I feel better because I took the time to get a little more caught up on emails and other mundane activities.

I'd like to free up some time this weekend to see my friends and to spend some time by myself - I could really use some personal space. I also want to work on my apartment - it's in rather a shambles, and I want my place to be nice when I come home so that I have one less thing to stress about. We'll see if I can make the time, though - I'm not holding my breath. Now, it's time for bed!