Friday, March 25, 2005

Teh intarchatweb is funny.

Things which are good or at least not terrible.

Things which have happened this week. Things which may be HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. Things you may not even know about.



Dude, the Decemberists were fuckin' great. Also, all their shit got stolen in Portland just days before, so if you are into them, try to pick up a legit copy of the new record. Or go see a show. Anyway.

So I went up to SF Wednesday night with Jessica. We were both dead fucking tired, but the show? Was totally worth it. The trip to Bimbo's was in three parts: Drive to Bayfair Mall, BART to Embarcadero, hoof it to North Beach. Our timing was impeccable, as we arrived around 9 p.m. and the Decemberists were on stage within 20 minutes. The show let out a little after 11, leaving us just enough time to make it back downtown to catch the last train to the East Bay. Also, Jessica paid me back for the ticket by buying me their new CD, which rocks, but more on that in a minute.

It's a rare show that features a lot of new music from a band I already really like that makes me really want to hear it all again. Usually, I'm interested in a couple songs and bored by the rest. I dug pretty much *all* the songs I didn't already know, and most of them were on the new CD. The performances were over the top. They really nailed it, and with brand-new instruments, too (see: shit was stolen). Totally satisfying, and of course, they played many of my favorite old songs, like "Grace Cathedral Hill." Because how could they play San Francisco without playing that goddamn song? Really.

Okay, other things. Kevin and I braved the astonishingly strange weather last Sunday afternoon to walk around the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. We got sopping wet and our boots were caked with mud. It was pretty nice, but the weather was nuts. When we got home, I saw on the news that a freaking TORNADO touched down that same afternoon just across the Bay, if that gives you an idea of the insanity.

Mostly, though, this week has been a work week. Someone cool is leaving, some new people are coming in, and I got thrust into an interview looking slovenly and having just gulped down 32 oz. of water, which was, needless to say, a very bad idea. Half the office left today before noon, if they were there at all, and I was home by 3. Ridiculous. The last time I got time off for Good Friday was when I was attending Catholic school.

Our internet connection has been spasming every evening all week, which is annoying as hell and making us consider switching to DSL. And, um, cable is now motherfucking $60 a month? Huh? Speakeasy OneLink is practically *cheaper,* and definitely less evil.

We need to cut out lawn. It is a jungle. Also, the front yard smells excessively floral, and the neighbor's cat, who likes to hang out under my bushes, is scared of me.

Nothing else is going on. I would like there to be, but I can't have everything just for the wishing.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Commercials I hate.

Besides all of them. There are a few I actually like, but this post is not about those.

#1 offender: Carl's Jr. ads. Namely the one with the cgi fetus threatening to rip out part of his mother's womb "on the way out" if she eats more jalapenos. I know I'm not in their target demo, but...I just want it off my TV. So gross.

The Lay's "get your smile on" ads. With the kid who won't smile for a Sears fucking portrait until his worried parents nervously pull out a bag of potato chips, at which he cries, "Cheese!" Because, why smile if your WASPy parents aren't bribing you with disgusting salt and fat-laden empty calories? Get your smile on my ASS, bitches.

Commercials for local mainstream radio stations. Lately, the ad for a new popular country station, "The Bear," has been driving me absolutely insane. They keep playing clips of awful, catchy songs, and the goddamn MIX gets STUCK IN MY HEAD. AAAAAGGGHH.

McDonald's and Wal-Mart. Mainly on principle, but also because they promote perverted American corporate ideals that sicken my heart.

That Ford Focus commercial with the girl who's smugly discussing her new car and acts all indignant when her friend states that he was considering a Civic. Yeah, because buying a car that's reliable and has a decent resale value is just retarded. But her Ford Focus came with a moon roof and an MP3 player! And an "environmentally friendly" engine, whatever that means! And you can't get all that in a Civic! Just shut up, bitch.

Yeah, okay, just for fun? I like the Geico "Tiny House" commercial. There, I feel better.

"This is NOT awesome."

The week is long.

And I am tired.

For the first three days of last week, I started my morning before 7 and took a walk around the neighborhood, followed by a little jump roping (jumping rope? Rope-jumping? The correctness of any usage is unclear). This made me VERY tired all day, because apparently I need that extra half hour in the mornings to get my shit together. Or maybe I just always wake up tired.

Either way, I totally punked out on Thursday and Friday with regard to my "fitness" plan, but tried again today. In the rain. My pants are wet and it's not my fault. Blame it on the rain, YEAH YEAH.

A number of intriguing links have popped up while I've been at work, and it was not, at the time, appropriate to get on Blogger and share them with you. Some people already know I keep a blog and are aware of the domain, and...yeah. Not that they'd come over to me all, "Why weren't you putting red ink all over something instead of posting to your childish BLOG, little girl?" if they even read it, but you know. It IS in the employee handbook.

Anyway, yeah, intriguing links. I'll pull 'em up in a minute.

Margot came over Wednesday night, by the way. We ate tilapia, asparagus, salad, and apple pie. I put probably 40-some damn miles on my car transporting her to and from Fremont, but we had a good time.

And now it's raining. I so wanted to go hiking this weekend. A wussy day hike, but a hike all the same. Maybe the weather is nice when you drive inland. I'm picking up my new backpack and water bottle from REI today. The pack is red and the bottle is blue.

Speaking of blue, I bought a Le Creuset dutch oven in blue this week from Amazon because it was on sale: $154 instead of $250, plus $25 off with a code, plus free shipping and no sales tax, plus a free (insanely backordered) 1 1/4-qt. saucepan. Yes, that is a lot of money to spend on a pot, but it is supposed to be a superamazing (although not magic) pot that will last forever. (The blue is more subdued than it appears in the picture, though.)

Interesting Link #1 is about a new paradigm, I guess, for thinking about diet. I thought it was pretty interesting, and it made me want to go home and eat a pile of broccoli. Which, actually, I did.

Interesting Link #2 comes from the PoliTech mailing list and talks about a self-identified Canadian blogger who was refused entrance to the U.S. and harassed by the border guard for...we don't know why. But it's fucked up.

Interesting Link #3 comes from a blog I've been enjoying very much, but this particular post discusses an apparent link between European people who were resistant to the Plague and a genetic mutation in their descendants that makes them resistant or immune to HIV.

And finally, earlier this week, I felt like writing up a top 5 list of my favorite female rock performers. There were going to be comments, but work came in and I lost interest. However, I will share with you the list. Every time I put it together, I think of someone I forgot, though. What's yours?

5. Beth Ditto of the Gossip
(ETA: Janet Weiss of Quasi and Sleater-Kinney previously lived here, but I thought about it, and while Janet's contribution to Quasi, which I love more than I like S-K, is excellent, it's Beth Ditto's performances that kill me. And the whole band, which is not male-fronted. I don't really like Janet's songs on the Quasi records.)
4. Aimee Mann
3. Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth
2. PJ Harvey
1. Bjork

Fuck Sarah Jessica Parker and her enjoyment of being a girl. Fuck it in the eye.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Yummy Saturday.

Graylan just stopped by! It is always good to see Graylan. He's on his way to LA.

Also, I made some soup and some bread. I would like to share with you what was made, because it was good.

Curried Bean Soup

1 1/2 c. dry beans/grains mix (I used 1 c. Trader Joe's 17-Bean Soup Mix and 1/2 c. kidney beans)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. or so each of red pepper flakes, curry powder, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne pepper
1 28-oz. can chopped tomatoes, not drained
salt to taste
water to cover

Precook the dry beans any way you want--I did the lazy, cheater method of bringing them to a boil then simmering for awhile, but traditionally, you'd soak them overnight then cook them, etc. If you are extra lazy, you could just use canned beans. Normally I would, too, but I had this dry stuff to use up.

Saute the onion and garlic with olive oil in a large pot. Add red pepper flakes and saute a little more. Mix in other spices. Add cooked (or partially cooked) beans, tomatoes, and water. Stir, bring to a boil, then let it simmer forever until the beans are fully cooked. Salt to your liking.

Lemon-Rosemary Polenta Bread

Going off this recipe for vegan cornbread, I devised this strange alternative.

Preheat oven to 400'F and grease an 8-inch round pan.

Mix together:
1/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 c. dry polenta
1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. water or soymilk (including the juice of one lemon, optional)
1/4 c. oil
1 Tbsp. cornstarch dissolved into 1 Tbsp. water

Then mix in:
1 stem fresh rosemary, chopped (do NOT use dried herbs)
zest of 1 lemon

Pour resulting batter into prepared pan and bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean (approximately 25 minutes).

The bread should hold together admirably well, all things considered, though it may be delicate, so handle gently.

Friday, March 11, 2005


Boots arrived today. They are LOVELY. Also got paid, plus a $300 bonus, which is what happens when certain sales/collection/invoicing/whatever goals are met in a month: every full-time employee gets a bonus, depending on the amount of the goal met.

So in addition to having lovely new shoes and being able to pay for car insurance, I also just paid off the balance on my credit card. OMG AWESOME. And I am not totally shit-ass broke now, I don't think.

This weekend already rocks!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

A productive 8:09 to 8:28 a.m.

Or at least one in which a lot of money was spent on (hopefully) worthwhile things.

I ordered this pair of hiking boots after checking, totally by chance, to see what was up with the models I'd bookmarked awhile ago. And wouldn't you know it, they were on sale. So, bye, money.

Then I headed over to to find a daypack with (1) sternum straps, because they help if you're booby, and (2) two side pockets for waterbottles. I found it acceptable price, and sprung for a 32-oz. Nalgene bottle (my other 32-oz. bottle is a crappy Eddie Bauer, but it ain't broke). I told the site I wanted to pick up my order from a store rather than pay shipping. Pfft! Shipping. It can't cost $6 in gas to get to Fremont in a '99 Civic. Well, maybe if gas prices go up just a little more...

In the midst of this hopeful outdoorsy shopping spree, my mom messaged me to say her Southwest Airlines "Ding" application brought up some do-or-die, today-only, super special deal between San Jose and Seattle, $52 each way, which she was able to book for me to go home Memorial Day weekend. Yay!

The rest of the day was pretty blah, since I was cooped up inside for most of it and sweating profusely anyway. Dude, I am not gonna like being here most of the year. It's already too fucking hot, and it's early March. I need to find clothes that look less slovenly for work and also aren't going to make me DIE.

OK, it wasn't quite DYING proportions today, but I can't imagine it will get much better, right? Heat = bad. Radio weather reports saying nothin' but 80' and sunny is "great weather" = stupid. Temperatures that knock me on my ass and ensure I won't do anything physical, ever = awful. See? Why did I leave the Pacific Northwest? We have like three of these days all year.

Speaking of things that are bright and blinding as the sun, what the fuck is up with those xeon headlights or whatever that are almost purple and make cars look like their driver saw no distinction between regular headlights and high beams? Californians are trying to get me killed, I'm telling you.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Anyone for a show or three?

And by "anyone," I obviously must mean the exactly two people from the Bay Area who read this. But if anyone else is interested, hey, new friends are good.

Friday, March 11: IQU @ Cafe du Nord

Quirky Olympia-now-Seattle-based dance-y indie pop. When I saw them before, the guy was playing a guitar, a theremin, and a turntable, and occasionally using the guitar neck to manipulate the thermin while he used his other hand to scratch. Also, there is a girl who does things with keyboards and such. They are neat.

Monday, March 14: Joseph Arthur @ Cafe du Nord

Kevin is interested in this one, but from what I heard, it didn't make me want to fall asleep or die. However, Monday shows that begin at 9:30 are problematic.

Wednesday, March 23: Decemberists @ Bimbo's 365

Already have my tickets, baby! And so does one of the people who read this. The other one wants to come. But for the sake of completeness, here it is.

Tuesday, May 3: Sloan @ Slim's

My sister says the sound at this club sucks, or so it did when she saw the Gossip there, but you know what? Sloan. Fuck it. Damn you, Canada.

Tuesday/Wednesday, May 17-18: The Books @ Cafe du Nord

None of y'all will have even heard this band, I bet. But I swear to you they are interesting, and I have no freakin' idea how they can do a live show besides maybe a laptop, but if it's not as interesting as the record, I will be sad.

Friday, May 20: Mike Doughty @ Cafe du Nord

Is it not cool to like the guy from Soul Coughing anymore? I think he's handy with an acoustic guitar alone, and that by itself merits a ticket for me. And for my sister, who will finally be 21 and able to come along.

I keep hoping I'll see something in April I want to spend money on, but it hasn't happened yet. Oh well, I'll have a busy May, at least.

Monday, March 07, 2005

What's going on?

I had some delicious green curry tonight at a nearby Malaysian restaurant, Banana Leaf. When I ordered it, the waiter told me it was VERY spicy, and was I sure I could handle it? I confirmed that I liked spicy, knowing their regular red curry is fairly mild.

The green curry was the perfect amount of spiciness, with a hint of a smoky flavor and a lovely assortment of vegetables and tofu. But when the waiter came by to check on our meals, he made a face at me and asked if it was too spicy. I can't quite explain it, but he fully seemed to expect that it would be way too spicy for my delicate white-girl palate. I delighted in telling him it was not.

This weekend was interesting. On Saturday, I spent the first half of the day being pissed and depressed because I wanted to go spend time with Kevin in San Francisco and see my sister and stuff, but Kevin did not want to go. It was one in a long list of things I'd wanted to do with him, things I am under the impression he generally enjoys, which he has refused to do in favor of doing nothing. And then he complains about how much TV I watch? Yeah.

Fortunately, there was a great reversal of fortune in that his dad called to invite us to go hiking with them on Sunday at Pinnacles National Monument and we both wanted to go, and since he asked me to do something with his family, he felt he couldn't, in good conscience, turn down my request to do something with my sister. So we went to San Francisco.

It was pretty easy to park and ride via Bayfair, where BART does run late directly from the city, unlike certain stops closer to home. We ate dinner at Shalimar on Jones, then walked to Polk and passed the other Shalimar on our way to the Lumiere to see a bunch of animated shorts. Also, there were crepes somewhere in there. And prostitutes on the side of the road. And Kevin had bubble tea. Ew.

We didn't get home until 1 a.m., and I set my alarm for 6:45 so I'd have time to prepare some food and pack a bag before our 8 a.m. departure.

Both of us were exhausted in the morning, but we arrived at the park around 10:30 and almost immediately proceeded to begin the hike. First we walked through park of some caves, but somehow missed all the caves after we climbed above the waterfall. Then it was the High Peaks Trail, the "Steep and Narrow" route to the Condor Gulch trail, which winds around the dramatic peaks and heads back to the visitor center from which we came. It was a beautiful hike, and the weather was perfect: just warm and sunny enough that a t-shirt was just right, not so hot that it felt like burning. Despite my incessant 30 spf sunblock slathering, though, I managed to get a little color on my face and arms.

The hike also reinforced my need to do this kind of thing more often, as it remains about the only form of exercise I like that doesn't involve inconvenience for little reward. (I hate gyms. HATE.) Like I told Kevin, we need to do this every weekend--okay, maybe not exactly that, but even a couple hours in the open spaces in the Palo Alto Hills would do the trick--so I can get good enough that it doesn't kill me. And also, proper hiking footwear is desperately needed. An extra water bottle and a handy, balanced pack wouldn't hurt, either.

That night, tired and stinky, we went to the other Malaysian restaurant in town, Penang Garden, which has a nearly identical menu and similar quality of food. All I wanted, though, was a simple fried rice, which is what I got. Kevin got something with tofu and mango (in the mango skin, no less) slathered in a nice sweet and sour sauce. Yummy.

Apparently Graylan is swinging through town this week, so I hope I'll get to hang out with him. Yay for the people I know!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Remembering Suka Suka.

The itinerary read Kuala Kangsar, but where we ended up wasn't really anywhere.

Oh, it had a name: Suka Suka Lake Retreat. It was a series of cabins on an island in the middle of Malaysia's largest lake, a waterway created by a dam and populated with exotic flora and hundreds of nameless landmasses. Our hosts, a Malay couple with a newborn son, navigated the complicated maze from the visitor pickup spot on one edge of the lake to their island home, then the nearest village, via motorboat. The ripples the boat left in its wake were almost as tranquil as the motor was loud.

Out there, so far from anywhere I don't think I could even tell you where I was, there was such a different state of mind, it was amazing.

I often think of one evening, when I spent an hour in the hammock teetering just over the water. A thunderstorm was brewing behind me, but before the rain, I took a few moments to relax and enjoy the gray.

There was nothing like it in the world. Unless, of course, you were someone who also experienced it.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Usually, banner ads are dull, if not downright annoying.

But sometimes... sometimes you find a gem. Or, in this case, a pair of gems.

water, life, and death

Had to share.