Among other things, she is the reason I am in love with water issues, so, yeah, it was kind of a big deal

I got to spend Friday and Saturday last weekend up in the Bay Area again– Palo Alto and Berkeley, specifically. Three really fantastic things came out of that trip:

1. I got to spend time with Sidney, who will be up and moving himself to China in a month. On the flight over, I became patently aware that everything I love about that part of California– the City aside– I only know because of him. He gave me San Jose (Santana Row, within which there was Maido, the French bakery and Sino), Santa Clara (the Rivermark plaza with the mini bagels shop and the gorgeous Safeway) and Milpitas (Vietnamese food, green waffles and the light rail), Monterey (Cannery Row and the aquarium and even the drive to and from SJ, which involved both Gilroy and Hollister), Palo Alto (Pluto’s) and Berkeley (Zachary’s, Telegraph Ave., the Rose Garden and Sather Tower). Oh, and "The Stinking Rose" in SF. He is also responsible for exposing me to Blackberrys; he has since moved on to iPhones, and while the hardware+software alone would make it tempting to continue following in his mobile migration, the data plans are a little off-putting. Especially as I got my current plan back when text messaging was not so insanely expensive.

2. The weather in Berkeley was perfect, which apparently is a rarity. I got to visit my ring guy (my car ate my Berkeley ring back in April and it hasn’t spit it back up, so I had to get a stand-in) and the cereal place was finally open! I forget what it’s called, but it’s on the other side of Telegraph kind of across from Ryno’s (good frozen yogurt, not as good as Cefiore but similar to Yofrutto). Do you know about the cereal place? It’s fast-food cereal! You go in and order two scoops of cereal and they give it to you in what looked like a gigantic Chinese take-out container and then you go to the milk machine (like they have in university cafeterias) and get your choice of milk. It’s genius and adorable, and the last two times I visited Berkeley, there was still only the "Opening Soon" sign in the window. Oh! And they make sandwiches. Sandwiches! Cereal sandwiches! I mean, there’s still bread and whatever, it’s just, instead of pastrami you get Froot Loops. Something like that.

3. I finally, finally got to meet Megan. I guess most people know her as "the other Megan", the first Megan being Megan McArdle, but I knew of this Megan way before I ever heard of, or read, that Megan, so the "other" attribution is backwards for me. But anyway: we got to meet! The previous quasi-attempts had always been foiled by timing, so I was really excited that she was going to be in Oakland that weekend. She picked me up while I was happily trekking from UCB to the Marina and we caught the tail-end of the Kite Festival (a bazillion-foot-long lizard kite! and a lobster kite! and a penguin kite! [Megan, mock-condescendingly: "That’s silly. Penguins can’t fly!"]), and then she took me to the Cheeseboard Shop (which I’d read about ages ago, I think on kottke.org) and picked up a really good zuchinni-pesto pizza, which we got to eat with Megan’s Chris. (I got to meet her Chris! It was such a strange thing, to connect a flesh-and-blood person with what had previously just been a proper noun attached to a little bit of personality and otherwise mostly paraphrased conversation.) He’s in transportation engineering and city planning, so I made him talk about that for a little bit. But for the most part, I was appallingly uncharismatic due to an overwhelmingly unanticipated shyness. Her writing has just always meant so much to me. You know? A variant of Little Sister Syndrome, I suppose.

*****

And I’m supposed to be leaving for Camp in like eight hours, and about all I’ve done today was make and eat 16 ounces of frozen yogurt. I haven’t even started a list of what to pack; considering I can stuff the entirety of my closet into my car, I’m not particularly motivated to expedite the process. I’m a little nervous about the drive, to be honest. It’s been a ridiculously long time since I’ve made a drive like that– lately, I’ve either flown or been a passenger. It wouldn’t be unlike me to get as far as Baker and then change my mind about everything and flip Camp the bird. Maybe I’ll fly down and just learn the L.A. bus system? But I really wanted to drive up to VC for a day, or at least hit the PCH. Man. Complications. I already don’t want to go anymore.

Speaking of conversations, ask my roommate about sweaty toes next time you see her

[during Fight Night]

Re: the sucky ropes for the Affliction matches

B: You know, I think it’d be better if the ropes were wires… steel wires… and they crossed themselves…
S: You mean like barbed wires?
B: No. Uh, more like a chain-linked fence. So basically, a cage.

*****

Re: the final Megadeath performance

L: What are they saying, anyway?
E: "Brush your teeth! Clean your room! Go to bed!"
T: Motivational metal. "Do your homework!"
E: "Your parents are okay!"

*****

And I couldn’t stop comparing my feet to B.’s feet. I think my big toe *just* reached his arch.

S: Well, you know what they say about guys with big feet.
[He and B. exchange glances, and a smug look of satisfaction forms on B.’s face]
B: Big socks!

Wherein I illustrate the proper usage of “who” and “whom”, because who doesn’t love a grammar lesson on a Friday?

My class this session is housed in a cryogenics lab. I had to go outside during our three-minute break today just to defrost. And the first thing I did when I got to my car? Was turn on the heater (albeit only for a minute or two). IT’S THE HEIGHT OF SUMMER IN THE DESERT. I’m either going to have to start smuggling in a flask of brandy or wearing a stupid jacket. Neither option pleases me much.

*****

I’m assuming this has something to do with the battery because my car never started doing this until its last battery died a week ago, but– the horn is doing that little abbreviated "meep" noise when I remote lock the car (and the "meep meep" when I remote unlock it). It never did this before. I’m aware that this is not such an abnormal thing for a car to do, but up until now, my car has been unobtrusive and lovingly inconspicuous in this department. Now I feel like it’s screaming at the world like an unrestrained toddler.

*****

That damned dog– that dog whom I love so much and who wiggles so hard when I visit her that she looks like she’s going to explode– chewed a hole in my phone. In the screen, really, so it still works fine (so far); there’s just a huge crack running up the right side of the face. I had to put tape over it to keep a cracked shard from falling out and also to keep water and general crap from getting in. So now I have a ghetto phone that is TAPED. TOGETHER. So typical me, now I’m even more attached to it. F you, iPhone, you and your siren song of impressively functional (and silent) virtual keyboards and app stores and Nitro Kart Racing 3D and lickable screens and UI’s.

*****

And I cut my hair off. Again. A friend evened it out on Wednesday, but last night I got antsy, so off went– a sizeable length, actually. I look like a boy. Or a little kid. The Wife thinks I look really Asian now. Which means I am two plastic barrettes (aside: when I was younger, I thought "berets" were "barrettes" except spelled funny) and a Hello Kitty backpack away from looking like an incredibly effeminate 8-year-old boy. Yes!

A fraction of the fraction. It’s just been too hot to type these days.

Things that my life has encompassed lately and on which I’ve been meaning to fully expound, but it looks like I never will so here’s a brief-ish summary for you instead:

1. When you say you don’t care, you’d really better not care, otherwise you’ll find yourself on some exit in Victorville, so cold and unhappy that you’ll start to dream that you’ve found a dishtowel to help you keep warm, and then when you suddenly wake up only to discover THERE IS NO DISHTOWEL, your heart will break into a million pieces, but because you said you didn’t care, you can’t complain about crap.

2. I got my parents to buy a Wii. It is the most adorable thing ever.

3. Whenever I fly with The Wife (or, as she likes to pointedly clarify, whenever she flies with me), it’s quite the procedure. Special lines and overly-thorough inspections of luggage and everything. I told her that the next time, I’m going to slip obscene sex toys into her carry-on, and she’s now acquired an additional nickname: Quad-S (which I actually always see in my mind as spelled "quadesse". Which makes me think of "quintessential").

4. The friend who let us crash at his place while we were in Palo Alto? He’s not my boyfriend and we’re not even remotely dating, but all the same, I kind of want to bring him home because he’s just that nice. I want to show him to my parents and say, "See? You have a daughter who is capable of making friends with really good people! Not all of my friends are sort-of assholes! I can’t be *that* hopeless of a case if people like him want to be nice to me." I’m actually hoping I *do* get around to writing the full post re: him because it involves us having a really early lunch together and me inadvertenly looking like a hooker the morning after.

5. There are some people who belong near the ocean so much, so naturally, that it seems an act of cruelty to have them live anywhere else– like taking tigers out of the wild and locking them up in a little cage. Of all the people I know and have met (Hawai’i excluded; I’m really only thinking of the Pacific coast), only one truly, honestly, genuinely fits this idea.

6. And I identify seasons with fruits. Or is it the other way around? Regardless. Oranges and tangerines are winter, and they usually (somehow) carry me through late spring, when I start switching over to grapes. Summer heralds more grapes, then berries and my mother’s apricots and plums. Pears come in at the end of summer and are joined by peaches (and sometimes pluots, depending on where I am geographically) in early autumn; the entirety of autumn, however, is mostly marked by apples. And then it’s back to oranges and winter.

I couldn’t sleep, but I got to see showers of static electricity sparks whenever the boys would toss under their fuzzy blankets

Back in December of ’06, when I drove to Santa La Brea Monica for a last-second getaway weekend, a group of us went to the Laugh Factory and saw four comedians perform. One was a woman, the emcee for the evening whose name I can’t remember– she did a bit on Persian women that was priceless– and I also can’t remember the name of the last guy who performed; he delivered his whole routine so completely blitzed and out-of-it that it wasn’t until he was more than halfway through that we realized it had to be an act. Which it was (we saw him, briefly, after the show). Classic.

But! The other two! I only hunted down this one tonight (from early on, I have been a master of the search engine, and I have absolutely no qualms in making this claim): Ian Edwards. He did a short bit on two Asian women he overheard at an Urban Outfitters:

[pretending to be Woman 1] "Excuse me, are you Vietnamese?"
[pretending to be Woman 2] "No, I’m Korean."
[turning to his imaginary friend at his side, stage whispering] "They don’t know, either!"

He finished with his shark bit. Which is what made him prominent enough to stay in my head all this time and which, king of kings, is on YouTube. His delivery the night of our show was better, I think, but it’s still pretty glorious here (NSFW; starts at 3:36, but his intro is funny. "Big up, stool! Ri-spec, stool."):

The other one who had us dying in our seats from laughter was Mike Marino. He performed this bit:

… and then ended with some joke about how instead of drive-by shootings, Italians from Jersey do drive-by baseball-bat attacks. He gave this fantastic visual imagery on the dude just hanging out the passenger window, bat getting ready to swing at the target walking down the sidewalk.

The night finished with a chocolate chip cookie that almost made me cry, it was so good (purchased from here), a ridiculous handful of hours at Saddle Ranch, where I rode my first mechanical bull (and got hit on by the weirdest guy in the weirdest fur coat while the guys in my party did nothing except watch my discomfort in utter amusement), and crashing out at a then-stranger’s apartment. It was, hands down, one of the most fun nights to be tucked away in my memory banks.

The breakfast version is peanut butter and Spam on pancakes

Two weeks ago, it’s 9 p.m. and three of us are hanging out in the kitchen while The Wife initiates "But I Thought Everyone Ate This Growing Up, No Seriously, Your Family Never Made This?" Night. Her debut cuisine of choice: hot dogs rolled in corn tortillas, deep-fried.

It isn’t until after she’s fried a batch and we’re getting ready to try these suckers that she realizes we don’t have ketchup. We look at the food. We look at each other.

The Wife is openly put-out. "But we *need* ketchup!"

"Actually, I’m cool without it," offers R.

"I need ketchup," she clarifies.

I tell her to go ask the people who live next door; she bugs me to call the boys who live on the other side of the neighborhood. I cave first, but there’s no answer on the other end. The Wife threatens to make us all draw straws, with the loser having to perform the Herculean feat of going to the damn store and purchasing ketchup.

In the end, we all went. Somehow, I got conned into being a participant of the expedition, though there was a brief showdown of stubbornness ("GET IN THE CAR!" "Well what if I don’t WANT to?"). I say "somehow" because I was wearing what ultimately amounted to a towel (with three little yellow ducks embroidered across the top, no less) and I was refusing to change into real clothes. Silverado Ranch: we class up this town real nice.

Cue 10-o’-clock. We’re back in the kitchen, ketchup in tow. The hot dogs aren’t bad– like American taquitos, really– and suddenly I decide to participate in the theme of the night as well and I retrieve the peanut butter from the pantry.

The Wife knows about this, though she’d as yet never tried it; R., on the other hand, was completely clueless and thus reacted the way everyone reacts upon hearing of peanut-butter-and-hot-dogs: a ton of incredulity with a heaping tablespoon of disgust, complete with a dash of curiosity. Curiosity is a lot like oregano, however, in that it might just be a dash, but that dash has the ability to completely overpower the other ingredients.

I wish we’d had a video recording of R. when he dared to try it. If you’ve ever seen footage of people on the street who get approached by magicians (e.g., David Blaine)– and the trick is performed, and it’s SO MIND-BLOWING that the people do an abrupt about-face and speed a few paces away, they just can’t handle what they’ve experienced? That was R. The Wife and I watched him take a bite– chew– swallow– then immediately spin away from the counter and head toward the living room, muttering "Oh my god. Oh my god."

He looked like he was going to throw up, basically.

Except then he turned back around and looked at her, then looked at me, then started laughing. "That was really good!"

Et voila. Peanut butter and hot dogs, as invented (or at least, passed down to us daughters) by my dad. You might recoil in horror, but you’d only be missing out. And anyway, it could always be worse. It could be Beerios.

Real post tomorrow. Maybe. Things have been busyish.

Two water article quotes that amuse me to no end (bold emphasis mine):

Skeptics may feel
squeamish about drinking what used to be toilet water, [City Council President Scott] Peters says,
but San Diego already receives at least some wastewater from other
cities that discharge treated sewage water into the Colorado River.
"The Colorado River is not filled with Dasani," Mr. Peters says. (full article, The Wall Street Journal via wsbt.com)

and

“Know what you’re dealing with if you want to be successful growing
native salvias,” said David Fross, owner of Native Sons Nursery.

This sage advice comes from a renowned native plant horticulturist… (full article, San Diego Union-Tribune)

"Sage advice". You KNOW she was high-five-ing herself and her editors over that one.

*****

I have far too many favorite poems to count– let alone list– but very few of them have I committed to memory in their entirety. This one, however, is well on its way to joining that handful. From the opening line to "while / love was fading out of her" to the closing line, I love every breath and syllable and pause of that poem.

*****

A coworker surprised me today with a bag of jelly beans and it was quite possibly the most adorable thing to happen to me in a while. Certainly unexpected but man, did it make my day. As unexpected adorable things tend to do.

*****

As do unexpected hilarious things. LOLCAT? Nope. LOLBAT. "INVISIBLE BAT-BIKE!"