So, what has happened since last here I did spake? The biggest thing is Lucy is not feeling well. I adjusted the brakes, and while they work, I’d like them better – tight adjusting stars, you know? Well, she doesn’t idle anymore …
So i figured I’d take her to this impressive sounding place – AutoWorks, for the royal treatment.
They called me back saying she had severe rust damage and couldn’t be racked, or given the things they really should do it would be just way more than the car is worth fixing.
Oh woe is Lucy. Poor girl. Too long in the Midwest.
But I need a car that’s happy enough to get around, and so, searching the Excite classifieds, I found a Volvo station wagon.
Now this is the car I need – an old car with a solid reputation, that never dies, and being a wagon it can haul shit around. I could buy lumber to build my bed and other shopping ordeals without having to drag anyone else, like Dave, along with it.
You see, shoping with Dave is not a good thing. He’s even more of a guy than me, and the conclusion tends to be the first, nice, expensive sonsumer item. Well, by bedroom needs much more personality than that.
So, once I score a ride, I’m going to check this puppy out. It’s stick shift even, and the $1,000 is right in my price range.
And so, Rene and Heather are visiting, breaking in the new sofabed, making some use of the new DSL connection, putting some mileage on my shower, and leaving a nice female influence on the apartment. Not that these ladies are poster children for any female stereotype, running around crusading against the messiness that has encroached on the apartment, but things just seem cheerier with them around, for whatever reason.
This Sunday we had a party – a good handful of folks came to eat dead cow, and we made nice with neighbor Bruce, who has a grill that we used. It was a good party. Max was there, as well as Joe and Jason. Jason I’d never met before, though we’ve both given each other considerable shit online in the past. He was not at all unlike I might have pictured him, had I ever bothered to picture him. So that was kind of neat. Pat and Jay appeared from Tellme, others from Confinity, and Joe and Brandon Long from EGroups. Little Dave, who is also a neighbor, works for Hotmail, making him a FreeBSD administrator in Microsoft‘s employ. He mentioned that Microsoft was hiring. Somewhat tempting, and if I didn’t already have this Tellme gig, I just might be hip to it. You see, it would be working for the Devil, but from the way Dave tells it, their FreeBSD operations are exceedingly hard-core.
As an illustration of how close the connections run between professionals out here, I met this guy, Sanford, who I think works for EGroups. At one point he was on the cell phone and mentioned that he was at a party with some Confinity people. He was talking to Rod, who works at tellme, who realized Sanford was at my party, and thus conveyed his greetings.
Uhmmm, yeah, so we hung around ’til sort of late mostly talking a lot. Joe had some cool stories about his life in his fraternity, something the rest of us had never bothered with. Then Joe and Jason told some other impressive tales of exploits from their undergraduate days.
And on Monday we rode CalTrain into the city. Joe picked us up and we bummed around Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf for a while, and visited the Ghirardeli chocolate factory for some Sundays. I got much flack for ordering a cheeseburger at a seafood place, but I stuck to my guns, as I just didn’t feel like seafood, and wasn’t hungry enough to spend more money on it. I had a cheaper dish at the sushi bar on Saturday for the same reason – sushi is fine by me, but I wasn’t hungry for it to justify the expense, though in both cases both the seafood and the sushi looked awfully good.
And yet, I hate to see food go to waste, so I was stealing leftover fries from Erik and leftover potatoes from Joe, even though I was as full as they were. I guess I’m funny about food. I remember when I interviewed MikeyA took me out to the same area, and while I had already had a “meal” at McDonalds, I ordered a steak, to be a good guest, you know? Well, as we started eating, I paced myself nice and slow. Mikey thought I was not going to finish. Well, I just kept eating a way, getting it down. Yum yum, eat ‘m up. I finished before him, and he was startled.
Vern has observed to Sharon that I’m funny about food. I’ll have to get introspective about that and write up some bullshit about it here some time.
Twice to Berkeley in as many days past. Yesterday Joe Doyle and I drove out to Berkeley to check out this 1983 Volvo Station Wagon. It’s maroon with a few rust spots, good engine, as far as we can tell, good brakes, new muffler, odometer broken at 135,000 miles, a good interior, missing front grill. Oh and its stick, the overdrive connector relays are broke, the fan doesn’t seem to work, and there’s some problem with battery drain. There’s a loose bit of trim over the windshield and sufficient evidence of duct tape having been employed to compensate for it. The clutch is very easy and the transmission sticks after some good driving.
I paid $800.
Then we drove to Zach’s Chicago Style Pizza in Berkeley – the only good pizza in California. And we headed home.
Today, Rene and Erik were keen on visiting Berkeley, but we don’t have BART, and CalTrain is not that cool. Well, what the heck, I drove them.
I was inclined to lend the car out, but not having it insured yet, I thought it better if I drive, because if anything did happen, I’d rather curse myself than my friends. Berkeley is nice. The campus is hilly and wooded, like I remember Indiana at Bloomington when I used to visit Jeong out there, only with more architectural variety. We walked up and down transit street. For lunch, in the Berkeley spirit, I had the healthiest meal I’ve had in a while – half a roast beef sandwich and a cup of split pea soup, and lemonade.
And we drove home. Three one-ways between Berkeley and Mountain View and there’s still plenty of gas left, so I know she’s not a guzzler.
And what to do with poor Lucy? Dunno, hang on to her for awhile. She’s still insured for Urbana, so I guess I’ll hold on to her until I know better. I feel bad at the possibility of neglecting her entirely, she got me out here well enough, and boy was that a trip! I felt guilty just removing my tassel from her rear-view mirror and moving it to the Volvo.
For Sale, to A Good Home … when I have cash to toss around, I could buy a Thing, a convertible, or just another really nice bug. I hate to love her and to leave her. Analyzing this philosophy, perhaps what I really need is a woman or a girlfriend, so I can handle the cars in a less anthropomorphic fashion.
Lotsa nice vehicles around Berkeley. Lotsa fine women too. I really like getting out of the Silicon Valley. Too many geeks around here, making San Francisco or anyplace else in California seem all the more wonderful in contrast. The Stanford Campus, about a mile away, is also nice, but it’s Stanford – expensive private school. I come from large state University folk.
On the way home we dropped by Alameda. I found Aunt Joyce’s place on Wood Street successfully, but they weren’t home. We returned the map we’d borrowed from Erik’s mom. The Gillings recently bought a new house in Alameda and will be moving from their rental some coming weekend. There will be college students on hand to pitch in for pizza and beer.
Mmmm, Chicago Style Pizza and Beer.
So this morning I slept in good and hard. I like sleeping in and while I still plan on building a real bed, money allowing, the sleeping bag on the floor … so firm, really really comfortable, if a bit chilly at night.
Today I jumped in the car and hit San Francisco all by my lonesome. I got off the highway as soon as I hit a traffic jam. I headed through some streets, over some hills, though a few neighborhoods. By sheer chance I passed right by Brandon Long’s apartment, and later I’m pretty sure I was really close to Joe and Lorah’s.
When I hit Market Street I found some parking on Larkin between Golden Gate and McAllister. I’ll tell you this, as a young driver parallel parking isn’t the easiest thing in the world. As a young driver from Illinois, parallel parking on a hill is a real pain in the ass.
Fortunately, it was an SUV downhill from me with this big pedestrian grater on the front, so my bumping against it left no visible damage. It’s good to know those things are good for something – parking practice.
I walked down the Street, and saw the gold-gilded City Hall … a very nice building with a rotunda that looks more like a state capital than anything else. Chicago’s City Hall is this large, square, concrete building that takes up a city block and extends right to the sidewalk. This contraption has state flags and well-kept palm trees all in a row up front of it.
I had to pee and so stepping in to the nearest municipal building realized I was entering the library. Well, after finding the bathroom, which reminded me of this bathroom I think it was in a Terminator movie, where there was a center kiosk with sinks and mirrors, then some urinals, and toilets. Well, I recall this movie where Arnold, I think it was, was hiding in the bathroom, and he and the bad guy shot it to shreds and scared this poor dude on the toilet who was reading as he went about his business.
I also registered for my Library Card. I figure it’d make mom proud.
I spent some time checking out the library. The architecture is very modern, lots of metal and glass. Nowhere near as big as the University Library (I think Illinois has the largest Library in the country.) or the Harold Washington Library, but a nice place all the same.
Leaving the Library, I found myself in a BART station, marveling at the eight or so transit systems in the area and thinking to myself what a nice thing it is that they saw fit to unify the transit system in Chicago back in 1945. BART isn’t a normal subway – it doesn’t go around the city, it goes through it. It’s a regional system. But then to call San Francisco a city would be to consider Chicago to stop at Fullerton. Errr, well, I really can’t compare. If you think of the Bay Area as a whole as a city, it starts to make sense, only you have to see the business district – the downtown areas, spread out among a few urban centers instead of one single one.
And interesting place.
Walking back toward the car, (I’d left late and downtown San Francisco was a bit dead.) I came back by City Hall and its surrounding government building comrades. There were these fat pigeons sitting casually on the sidewalk. Well, I had to stoop and study them. Haven’t seen pigeons for a while. I walked closer, and closer, in a non-threatening way, interested what sort of personal space they wanted. Hard-core street pigeons aren’t afraid of people, they just like to have enough distance to get out of the way and not get squished. Well, turning away from the pigeons I found myself talking to this writer / sometimes homeless guy named David.
We talked about pigeons, about how they feed cooperatively, without fighting. He said he’d seen a lady feeding a blind pigeon earlier on. A blind pigeon is a severely fucked animal. Since they bob their heads for balance, I guess using their eyes … well this guy kept falling over as he walked. She kept throwing the food close to him, so maybe he could smell it and get at it. Was that a cruel thing to do, David mused?
Looking at that question now, I suppose if you can’t put the thing out of its misery, there there’s nothing cruel in trying to help it find life comfortable.
Anyway, I headed back, through the streets, finding myself on the highway, and back. I’m at work now, trying to help clean a few ends here at Tellme. Joe’s having a pizza party at his house at seven. It’s 1808h here. This is no ordinary pizza party though, he says they’re FedExing pizza from several pizzerias in Chicago and they’re going to compare to some pizza home made on the part of his roommate.
All I’ve eaten today is a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, so I’m certainly in the mood for pizza!
So, I checked out Tellme’s web site yesterday in the morning and what did I
see when I clicked on
Well, it made my ego swell ’til I realized that my picture was selected at random from a bunch of pictures.
Cool, said I.
And well, we take some stuff from Tellme, we take some stuff from Beth:
And now we quiet down those of you who complain that I aint got enough
pictures around the place.
So uhmmm …
The Adam Sandler movie where he adopts a kid is really funny. Wild Wild West I enjoyed because I knew darn well to ignore the plot, and there were scantily-clad ladies, though not too much of it. The acting was great, but the movie was dumb. Uhmmm, oh South Park is a total blast – go see it! And I saw Eyes Wide Shut.
Well, it’s Stanley Kubrick’s last film, and I’m not sure he finished it before he left us. I found it interesting, but rather long and seeming to lack a point. Maybe its the sort of thing like 2001 where it’ll be more appreciable down the road after I’ve had a long time to digest it and have read the book. There’s some interesting stuff in there about eroticism and sex and relationships between men and women and sex and sex and so forth. Probably a good late-night getting-to-sleep-dozing-off-on-the-couch sort of affair.
What other movies have I seen lately?
Run Lola Run kicks complete butt. It’s this German film where the red-haired protagonist spends most of the plot running desperately to get 100,000 marks to save her boyfriend from buying the big one inside of twenty minutes. It’s very fun and the techno/industrial soundtrack sounds really good, and I’m not even in to that sort of thing.
It’s the kind of movie Goth Dan and Brijeet would really enjoy together.
The other day it was the weekend and so I rode CalTrain in to San Francisco. On the way back I sat closer to this group of Japanese Stanford students who sounded like they were forcing themselves to speak in English. The effect was slow speech with very distinct words and a different tone pattern. It sounded like a sing-song text to speech engine.
That I should think a group of girls sounded like TTS sounded like I spend a lot of time at Tellme.
Apparently, Silicon Valley startups, or at least Tellme and Dave’s employer, Confinity, provide food for their employees. This is something of a fringe benefit or an incentive for working long hours. The result is that neither one of us ever eats at home – it’s either company food or a restaurant. The affect of this is that someday we’ll clean our kitchen nice, but neither of us is really eager to enter it without any motive that is greater than my own fear of what I might find.
You see, I speak for me.
I should probably go home. It’s 0041h on a now Thursday morning.
Maybe I’ll bitch about something later.
. . .