Thursday, June 30, 2005

Foods that are making me happy today.

Besides all of them.

Breakfast of Trader Joe's California complete protein bread with almond butter and marionberry preserves, strawberry yogurt, and cranberry-orange juice.

Lunch from the Trader Joe's refrigerated section: vegetable sushi, noodles with carrots, cilantro-lime dressing, and toasted coconut and peanuts, and a protein with PZAZZ (I swear that is how they spell it, inexplicably) shake.

We picked up a box of lime juice popcicles, too, and enjoyed them later in the afternoon.

Dinner? Ethiopian again. This time with Kevin's mom and grandfather, so we were able to order pretty much every vegetarian item (and his grandfather had the lamb, thanks to Chris's previous recommendation). Gojo's vegetarian menu includes a veggie combo of the spicy red lentils, mild yellow split peas, collard greens, a mixture of cabbage, carrots, and potatoes, and a lightly dressed green salad. In addition to that, we get mitten shiro, which is a smooth gravy of pureed chickpeas and spices, and timatim fitfit, a cold, sour mixture of tomato, onion, bell peppers, and pieces of injera. It is all super delicious and I LOVE IT.

Despite my very full belly, I felt the need to break into my super dark chocolate bar. It soothes the soul. Plus, I have some sparkling lemonade.

And this is all I can think to write about today.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Fellow bloggers, avail yourselves.

The MIT Weblog Survey is cool. It's like making science!

Putting it out there.

I'm not a writer. I write, but I don't think of myself as a writer. You'd think a girl who got a degree in journalism and has a(n admittedly paltry) portfolio of published and non-published nonfiction would be a writer, but no.

But I'd like to be, I think. I'd like to be part of that process. It's enthralling.

And so, as a kind of first step in that direction, I'm going to write down why I'm not a writer now. The stupid excuses I have to get over before I can think of myself as fully realized adult and claim myself for what I want to be. My sister's the artist, my brother's the musician, and I'm the writer.

Is that self-absorbed enough to start? Good. It's about to get worse.

I need to be confident in my abilities. I can get through an interview without stuttering or making people think I'm a complete asshole; I need to stop thinking like I can't.

I need to believe in my own ideas. People read the boring shit I throw up here; surely even a half-researched and competently written story about not-me would be interesting to more people.

I need to stop thinking that the butterflies in my stomach give me an out.

I need to trust people. I missed a lot of opportunities in college because I wasn't willing to put myself out there.

I need to find a way to get the thoughts in my head out that doesn't involve waiting until I reach my destination. I also need to hope these ideas don't come out only to reveal themselves as crap.

I need to think of bedtime as flexible.

I need to value ideas and process over laziness.

I need to treat my blog as more than a schedule receptacle.


This isn't quite a to-do list, just a list of things I'm aware that I blame for my complacency.

Anything you want to know about? I'm accepting story requests. They can be anything that could be covered in a brief entry and wouldn't require press credentials to competently research.

It's an experiment I'm willing to try. Anyone else out there?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Ten Records I Still Love.

In no particular order, and subject to change at whim.

The Northwest Bands:
  • Death Cab for Cutie, We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes
    Before I had to explain to people that the guy from the Postal Service was in this other band, which is also, believe it or not, ridiculously popular for an indie, there was this record. And it is love.

  • Unwound, The Future of What?!
    Every time I try to explain why this record rocks me, all I can come up with is lyrics: “I'm on a subway to a place I can't pronounce / But at least I didn't pay. / A train of thought for a movie plot / Starring me and you, insane. / Can I tempt you with natural disasters?”

  • 764-HERO, Weekends of Sound
    Great driving music from a band named after the number you call in Western Washington to report carpool lane violators.

  • Quasi, Featuring 'Birds'
    A divorced couple sings dirty harmony about broken relationships, bitterness, and depression. I don't know why I wouldn't like it.

  • The Gossip, Arkansas Heat
    This EP captures the essence of their live shows better than the full-length LPs (not to mention the actual length of the average show). It makes me shake my ass for 20 minutes straight, which is no small feat during traffic.

The Non-Northwest Bands:
  • The Pixies, Doolittle
    This should be obvious.

  • Massive Attack, Mezzanine
    So sexy, I want to die.

  • Neutral Milk Hotel, In the Aeroplane over the Sea
    Again, obvious. For the uninitiated, this is a spectacle of near-perfect indie rock insanity. Not for the faint of heart.

  • Talking Heads, More Songs About Buildings and Food
    I don't know if it's cool to like the Talking Heads or what, but I do. David Byrne strikes me as completely fucking nuts in a way that rivals Bjork, which is great. Plus, again, it makes me wanna dance.

  • The Mountain Goats, Tallahassee
    This may be thrown on due to its freshness in my mind, and also for “No Children.” Which is not to discount its awesomeness in any way.

That's all I can commit to at this time. I should update this list every couple months, just to see how it shifts. Yes. I aspire to make list so obsessive that I can put them into a spreadsheet and create a graph. To post on my blog. That would be awesome.


I want to preface this by saying I try not to talk about work, and I sure as shit don't name names. I'm easily googled and a few coworkers (friendly coworkers) know about the blog, even if they don't read it much. (I don't know why anyone reads this, actually.) But considering a majority of my wakeful hours and social interaction occurs at work, sometimes I feel like talking about it--and by it, I don't mean the work I do, just some things I think about as a result of those social interactions. So, coworkers, if you do see this, don't take it personally that I'm a dork.

That enough bullshit disclaimer for you?

On Friday, some people were giving me grief about my "date" for the evening, which did not help my nervousness in the slightest. I get nervous about meeting people. I get nervous about meeting people I think will be cool because I don't want to be a dork. I get nervous about doing things with strangers where I could get in trouble. I do not need the additional crap that is my coworkers wrongly accusing me of going on a "date."

I have no idea why I'm so sensitive about that. But making fun of me was their reaction to my nervous state, and it wasn't helping.

At 5 o'clock, I was so sick of being in the office that I just walked outside and leaned against my car, waiting for a call. It was sunny but not too warm, even in my black jacket. One coworker emerged from the office and made her way to her car, calling out, "You look like someone who's waiting for a date!"

To which I did not react kindly, though (I think) in a sarcastic enough way. I'm not very tactful.

And as she drove off, I waved.

Today at lunch, she announced with a laugh that I'd flipped her the bird. She also did an amusing impression of my body language that I hope to god was greatly exaggerated.

I'm sure I turned bright red as I leapt to my own defense. I only flip off people with whom I have the kind of relationship that we have an understanding it's a joke! Like when you tell your best friend to fuck off! You don't mean it! It isn't undercut with the severity reserved for true ire. The kind of ire I wouldn't dare direct at a coworker I hardly know in the parking lot on a Friday night when all she's done is tease me.

Sometimes I feel like such a little kid in the office. I'm not used to relating to people 5+ years my senior as peers. When I tell everyone I'm fucking 23 and a baby, I don't mean it to imply that I think they're all REAL FUCKING OLD, just that I'm really young, as if this means anything besides half of their pop culture references are meaningless to me. Anyway, it's a weird feeling. I've always had friends who were within 2 years of me, besides adults in teacher-type roles. I've also always been a student. I'm still adjusting to this new role in life. There's still cognitive dissonance to work out.

In other news, my mom and I visited Big Sur this weekend, where the gas is a good $1 more than the Bay Area (the fabled $3.50/gallon!). It was gorgeous, especially this little trail mom read about on the Internet where you drive 36 miles south of Carmel, look for a row of colorful mailboxes on your right, then go around a bend and down the hill a bit and park in a turnout near a locked iron gate (not marked "private property"). It's about 2 miles and you see some nice redwoods, a stream, and some spectacular swells crashing against the rocks.

Did I mention we were on a sailboat Saturday? It was cool.

We also visited Hot Pot City for the first time, which felt like a strange combination of fondue, Mongolian BBQ, and campfire cooking, but it was a satisfying meal.

And today I ordered a DVD-RW/CD-RW drive that supports dual layer DVDs and a bunch of other acronyms and stuff from New Egg for $50 with tax. My 7-year-old 6x Smart & Friendly CD-RW won't burn anymore, but it's had a good run.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

I visited a petting zoo with a murderer.

Or, rather, went to San Francisco to see the Mountain Goats with a stranger from the Internet who could easily have been a murderer, for all I knew.

Obviously, I lived to tell the tale.

So the story is this: Last Monday, someone replied to my repeated requests for a show buddy. He said he was qualified to be my Mountain Goats friend and claimed work for a San Jose altweekly. As the editor. I looked it up and it seemed legit, so I wrote back and said he could definitely have the ticket, but I'd have to think about being show buddies with a total Internet stranger, for obvious reasons.

In subsequent emails, he came off as a cool guy, plus the whole editor thing, plus he has a girlfriend so there went that whole potentially-creepy factor. I decided to take him up on his offer to drive.

This worked out well. We had fun talking (about bands that suck, movies that are scary and give some people panic attacks, how Silicon Valley is boring, the journalism game) before and during the show, even though it was a ridiculously late night. The opening acts started at 10 and were pretty annoying, and the Mountain Goats didn't get onstage until 12.

They played for a lovely and amazing hour and 20 minutes, ending the second encore with crowd favorite "No Children." Though we all wanted a longer set, despite the late hour, "No Children" was enough to shut us all up and make us go home happy.

I'm not effectively communicating the level of hilarious good fortune involved in this encounter, but believe me, it was there.

At 2:30 a.m., I finally arrived home. I got to sleep around 3 and woke up at 9. My mom was here by 10, and we were on a sailboat by noon. It was a great day for sailing, and I learned a few things about sailing and ropes. Not much, but a little.

Now I am tired, but I cannot nap.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Now that was a weekend.

While most of my days off are spent watching DVDs, cleaning, cooking, and irritating my boyfriend, I did very little of any of that this weekend. Chris was here, and we had a blast.

Friday night, we went to our favorite Ethiopian place. On the way home, we stopped off at Albertsons so Chris could get some milk and, apparently, booze that is considerably less expensive than in Washington, and I realized I'd left my purse in the restaurant. Fortunately, the proprietor found it and kept it behind the bar for me. All was well.

On Saturday, we drove down to Point Lobos State Reserve, which some of you may recall is, in my opinion, one of the prettiest places in the country. We wandered around for a few hours, basking in the near-perfect weather (not too hot, not too windy), taking in the sights. We had a picnic lunch overlooking some tidepools, though a smiling park ranger cut our meal slightly short when he informed us that we were setting a bad example by not dining in a designated picnic area.

We drove up beautiful Highway 1 to Santa Cruz in the midafternoon to spend some time downtown. When the sun was starting to set, we went to a beach in Aptos. I enjoyed the sand on my bare feet and Chris made a pair of sand pants. Dinner was at Charlie Hong Kong, after which we were all pretty tired and decided to head home.

Sunday morning Chris informed me that he'd like to do some touristy activities, like driving across the Golden Gate Bridge. Kevin said he'd rather stay home, so we headed up in Chris's car. The bridge was the first stop, and it was lovely aside from all the crazy traffic at Vista Point (please hold your eye-rolling). I learned from my sister that North Beach was a zoo of a street fair, but we parked under a hotel on Washington and walked up Columbus to visit her candy store. We at lunch at a nice little place that wasn't insanely busy.

Chris's old friend just finished nursing school at USF, so we headed to Inner Richmond to hang out with her for awhile. We took a long stroll around Golden Gate park, stopping to watch (1) rock 'n' roll roller skaters and (2) drum circle hippies along the way. Then we got ice cream in fresh crepe cones, which was memorably delicious.

Next weekend I'll go see the Mountain Goats (and someone has claimed the ticket--story to come after the fact), then hang out with my mom. Apparently on a sailboat owned by someone who was a friend of my dad's.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Bleary-eyed, but awake.

This is how I greet my Saturdays. Before the normal time my alarm would jolt me out of bed and into the shower, I'm awake, and once I'm awake, there's no turning back.

I realize there's 80 miles of highway before me, full of swerving sports cars and careening RVs, glistening with the sun of every promising Saturday this state has to offer. I'm recalling the blue skies and groves of evergreens that overlook the churning bay, the dusty haze of wildflowers and overgrown brush, and the cool yelping of sea lions, all lazily sunning themselves. Their only traffic jam is atop the rock with the best sun exposure.

My lips are wrinkled from a night of open-mouthed breathing. My back is a little sore from my harsh mistress of a bed. Without my glasses, the AAA Bay Area map I have tacked to my wall is blurry even from two feet away. But that doesn't matter. Once we get out of here, my maps won't even know where we are.

Soon there will be blueberry pancakes and coffee. I hope the other two are on board.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Come on, now.

I offer a free Mountain Goat ticket and show companion--even a fucking ride to SF from San Jose--and not a word from any available and interested party. Not a word.

Fucking Internets letting me down again.

Someday I will write about my boring-ass life, but not tonight. Except to say that Veronica Mars season 1 reruns are on Wednesdays as of tomorrow, and you should be watching.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Preemptive strike: The Mountain Goats.

Hello to anyone in the SF Bay Area or anyone planning to be here on June 24!

Have I got a deal for you!

If you enjoy the fine sounds of the Mountain Goats, I have tickets to their Friday night show at Bottom of the Hill, and I want someone to go with me. This is a fairly open invite: my usual suspects have been kinda "eh" on the subject, but this should not preclude them from nabbing my extra ticket if they ACT FAST. Or even slow.

Please! Don't make me be a lonely loser! Be my friend! I'LL PAY YOU.

Friday, June 03, 2005

I got paid to watch "Star Wars."

Seriously. My entire company went this afternoon, and we got some cash for snacks. My boss and I went an hour early to reserve seats for everyone, which involved a lot of jackets. (My boss is--and I cannot overstate this--a huge Star Wars fan.) Did I mention that my job is pretty sweet?

I did enjoy it. It was about as good as the reviews generally say--the visuals are great; the dialogue is cheesy. Most of the characters were fairly flat for me, but Ewan McGregor was good. The first thing Darth Vader says and does once he gets the helmet is too, too much. Padme and Anakin make me want to vomit. This is probably the first and last time you'll see me write anything about Star Wars.

So now it's the weekend. I have some more Scrubs to watch, the first Twin Peaks DVD to finish, and the biopic about Peter Sellers to be annoyed by. I might attempt to henna my hair again; maybe it will take better this time. I also might catch some other movie at the Cinema Saver if they still have Sin City or something.

Other than that, I just need to try not to die, or to let my plants die.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Long weekend, short nights.

I didn't sleep much this weekend. I don't do well when I'm not in my own bed, for some reason. But it was all good because I saw some friends, I saw my brother, and I saw my mom. It was good times.

Jana and her new boyfriend Tom picked me up from the airport on Saturday. We headed immediately into North Seattle to pick up Chris and meet Josie and Christine at a Northgate Starbucks, which was mercifully air conditioned. (Seattle was hotter than San Jose that day, ick.) We sat around lamenting the heat for awhile before deciding what the plan was.

The plan ended up involving Jana and Tom picking up her new bicycle (and doing whatever else took them a few hours to do) and meeting us for food at Pete's Pizza. The rest of us piled in Josie's car and hung out at Chris and Jana's apartment for awhile before heading into the University District to meet up with Josie's boyfriend, Joel, order calzones, and pick up beverages from Safeway. Jana and Tom were still running late, so they agreed to meet us at Gasworks, where we were bringing all the food.

They showed up as the rest of us were polishing off our delicious calzones. Mine was the Florentine: spinach and chopped hard-boiled egg. Mmmmm. And also: so much food.

The evening was spent at Chris and Jana's, playing a game that I spent 20 minutes trying to explain to Kevin and failed, but was somewhat entertaining. I won, because apparently, I know what people think of me. Hah. Everyone left, Jana let me have her bed, and I talked to Chris until we were both about to pass out.

On Sunday morning, Chris and I both woke up early, and, expecting everyone else to appear at 10 a.m. for pancakes, visited PCC for some ingredients and coffee. The coffee was eh, and Josie and Christine bailed in favor of Jesus and stuff, then Jana and Tom didn't show up until almost 11. The pancakes, however, were delicious, as was the Naked orange juice and--apparently--the bacon.

Josie and Christine showed up about 30 minutes after I'd eaten some pancakes and were jonesing for some Agua Verde lunch. I didn't eat so many pancakes, so I managed to scarf down a bowl of vegetarian pozole (the corn grains, by the way, are hominy, Josie--my coworker from Mexico had some in her soup today and I asked), and it was delicious. Lunch was followed by a game of '90s Trivial Pursuit at Josie's apartment (Boo!), which I won by boring the crap out of my opponents. And by a lifetime of filling my head with useless knowledge!

My mom picked me up. She has lost a lot of weight since Christmas, so yay on her! We managed to stupidly drive through downtown Seattle on our way south, which was a mess because of Folklife. She made dinner and I was dead tired, but dinner was so good--baked tilapia, brown rice, and a ton of stir-fried vegetables. After dinner, Becky came over--her hair is cute!--and we went out for a night on the town. Or as much of a night on the town as you can have on a Sunday night in Olympia. We drank root beers and ate mozzarella sticks at Jake's, the local gay bar she's been spending her evenings in. The music was good, and the company was even better.

But I am lame and wanted to pass out early, so I made her take me home.

Sunday, my mom and I got a late start because I was coming down with a cold, but we browsed the local Value Village (50% off everything sale) and Goodwill ($0.99 orange tags). She found stuff, mainly for my brother, and I just looked. We went home and made soup, which I put too much black pepper in for her (though the perfect amount for me). I spent a little time with my brother, who is preparing for his second summer at Aspen with a new tux, new laptop, and new iPod. My mom and I watched "Hell's Kitchen," which was kind of painful and stupid. We went to bed early because my flight? Was at 6:40 the next morning.

And I got up at 5. It takes about 50 minutes to get from Olympia to Seatac. I made my flight, but just barely. I went directly from the airport to work and was in time for the weekly meeting. My boss thought it was insane that I didn't just take the day off, but I'd already made the arrangements and I was already up, so I figured it would be stupid to lose a day of pay.

I was so fucking tired, but it was a good weekend. Thanks to everyone who made it possible, and I hope I get to see the people I didn't see this time around some other time soon.