Pictures, 1997 - 2004

B's in San Francisco today going to Maker Faire with our homie S. One my bachelor activities for the day was scanning 77 pictures from the pre-digital era (in my case, 1997 - 2004; I'm a late bloomer) and putting them on flickr. If I knew you anywhere in that time, you're probably in at least one.

So chiggidy check 'em!


That used to be me. The first time I saw Office Space was when I had been working at a dot com with my homies Ransom and B for a few months. Ransom and I laughed our asses off, because there was our life: the commute, the idiot bosses (B excepted - he was our immediate manager), the corporate park we worked at, the shitty chain restaurants. Then we got laid off.

Grad school is frustrating. You feel like you're always cutting corners, skipping on reading you should be doing, doing a half-ass job studying, comparing yourself to the great scholars in your field and feeling like the gap between your abilities and theirs is unbridgeable. For me, however, I could do this for eighty years and always remember what the alternative is: the private sector. And this is still so much better than that.

P.S. Details on the grant I mentioned in the last post: I was lucky enough to receive a dissertation-year writing grant from the graduate division here. That means I get paid and have tuition covered at about the same rate I would as a TA, without the TA'ing part. In turn, this means I'll be able to finish my dissertation next year and actually do a half-decent job with the rest of the research and writing.


Let's All Not Complain!

I just found out that I got a grant and I don't have to teach next year! I am in a better mood now!

That is all.

Let's All Complain!

My homie A pointed out that I've been lax on the update front, which is only too true. When the days all blend together, one rarely feels the update urge. But today, I can at least complain in a publicly-accessible electro-forum.

Fuck kids who don't know how to use the past tense...in HISTORY papers!
Fuck kids who never read anything even though they're in college!
Fuck the memory of Fyodor reactionary Christian mystic-ass Dostoevsky!
Fuck writing lectures, grading papers, and writing a dissertation all at the same time!
Fuck blepharitis!
Fuck always being tired no matter how much sleep you get!
Fuck Gais Balthar on Battlestar Galactica! Cylon sell-out asshole!
Fuck standard poodles! They're weird! (clearly running out of steam already...)

Sorry to my mom for swearing so much in this blog post. That is all.


Summer Plans

We don't buy much. B and I do a little better than break even every month as long as we don't buy anything besides groceries and don't do anything besides atone for our sins (which is free.) After we decided to stay put in our shoebox last week, however, we concluded that we needed to spruce things up a bit and give the place a new feel, since we'll be in it for at least one more year. B and K promptly headed off to Ikea to make some selections.

As for me, I made a purchase and a crucial discovery that are going to shape the Summer 2009 Kungfuramone Rock n Roll Lifestyle Experience '96:

Classic Blue slip-on Vans. No explanation necessary.

Trader Joe's Simpler Times lager. Holy crap, you guys. This stuff is the Charles Shaw of beer. It's 3 dollars a six-pack, it's 6% alcohol, and it tastes like good lager. This is a summertime revolution.

So yesterday B and I moved bookcases and reshuffled the dining room / living room / tv room / bunny chamber and I built the new Ikea shelving unit, fueled by Simpler Times. Then yesterday evening we went out with K + L to see the new Terminator movie, which pretty much blows.

Let's sum up:
1. Drink Simpler Times lager. It's great.
2. Don't bother with the new Terminator movie. It's like watching someone else play a video game for two hours.
3. Get you some slip-on Vans, pretend you're Snoop Dog, and get in some summertime relaxation.*

That is all.

* I feel certain that Snoop would wear slip-on Vans.


Topical Haiku II

Have fun with phrases:
Get laid. Get off. Get laid off.
Some are good, some bad

Nineteenth century
Seven hundred page novels
Writers not concise

In California
It's budget Armageddon
Somehow Cheney's fault

Our place is too small
Two bedroom upgrade maybe?
Rent: Fifteen Fifty

(addendum to the rent haiku: oh hell no.)


Me: Cheerful Optimist

That isn't true, but last night I was reminded that there are indeed things that keep me going, poles, if you will, that I as Christian Bale hop to whilst ninjas whack me with sticks. I mean this figuratively.

First, there's the fact that my summer classes are filling up. This is a big deal; kids in classes equals money in the bank equals rent check in the mail slot downstairs.

Also, there's the fact that it looks like B's job is secure for the medium-term future. Since we like to think we only have a medium term left in SC at this point, that is a good thing.

I should add that the new Star Trek movie really is that good. They got that guy who played Shaun on Shaun of the Dead to play Scotty! And Kirk gets his ass kicked, like, seven times during the movie! And there's Leonard Nimoy, kickin' out the jams!

In addition, garlic. Seriously, you guys. We've been doing up asparagus, roasted in the oven in olive oil with lots of garlic, and it's really helped me turn some corners.

Now if I can just survive the rest of this term's TA assignment, I'll be doing just ducky. I have 200 pages of Dostoevsky's Demons left, and it's about as much fun as a hammer to the kneecap.


Dirty Feeling

The kids don't get it. It's harder and nobler to write good, clear prose than to engage in pointless literary acrobatics. I just dragged myself through twenty or so long (8 - 10 page) essays and I feel like I just finished doing something degrading, like sell people out to the gestapo or attend a frat party.* Done with that for now, I contemplate everything else I have to do, like write lectures for my two summer classes I'm teaching and, you know, write my dissertation.

* Yes, these things rank at about the same level for me.


Beetlegirl Pizza

  • Five big shallots, or thereabouts

  • One big apple or pear or two smaller apples / pears

  • Cheese: either most of a wedge of brie, a bunch of feta, or whatevs

  • One thing of Trader Joe's pizza dough

  • Olive oil, sea salt, pepper, butter

  1. Chop the shallots against the grain thinly. Think onion rings-style, only delicate. Put 'em on low-medium heat in a couple of tablespoons of butter. Add salt and pepper. After maybe 10 minutes of initial sizzle, turn them down to low and let them suckers caramelize.

  2. While the shallots are on the heat, take out dough and let sit for 15 minutes or so (you don't want to use it straight out of the fridge.) Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.

  3. Cut apples/pears into thin slices. Do likewise with the cheese or, in the case of feta, crumble.

  4. Flour up a board (lightly, fool!) and stretch the pizza dough into something vaguely resembling a pizza.

  5. Brush on olive oil, add salt and pepper. Pop the dough into the oven once it hits 450.

  6. Cook for about 8 minutes, until a few areas are just starting to brown. Take it out and add shallots, apples/pears, and cheese.

  7. Pop it back in the oven and cook for another 5 – 8 minutes.


The Three Things Game

It's a car game B and I invented. It's highly complex. You ask your fellow traveler a question in three-item list format, and they respond and then ask you a different one. You both automatically win the game. Repeat for as long as you're stuck in traffic on 19th in San Francisco, or longer if necessary. Examples:
  1. What three fashion disasters would you eliminate from history?
  2. Three bands who have broken up and/or had people die in that you wish you could see live?
  3. Three colors you don't like wearing yourself, but like seeing on other people?
  4. Three people you'd club to death with a crowbar if there would be no legal repercussions for you?
  5. Three chefs you'd most like to have prepare you a gourmet meal for free?
  6. Three places you'd like to spend a week at, chillin'?
  7. Three technological innovations you wish you could obliterate from history?
  8. Three people, famous or otherwise, you'd like to spend an evening with drinking beer and playing Mario Kart? (Hint: Lemmy.)
  9. Three things you wish you had the strength of will to improve about yourself?
And so on. It's almost as much fun as the anal game.

P.S. On an unrelated note, this glowing NYTimes article about Portland effectively sums up the mood of the city and why B and I miss it so much, even though it's written by one of those east coast people. It's more food-centric than I ever was living there, but otherwise I agree with it right in the agree-hole.


First Time in Years

The last celebrity crush I had was back in late high school: Sherilyn Fenn, who played Audrey Horn on Twin Peaks. H-O-T-T.

I have more refined tastes and demand more than garden-variety hotness these days. Since Flight of the Conchords is, apparently, finished for good, I feel comfortable confessing that I think Kristin Schaal, AKA Mel, is the cat's meow.

(This post inspired by the fact that I found a picture of her in an All Blacks jersey.)


How Things Are

Sums up how things are going right now, assuming I'm in the apartment the wall snake is about to devour.

From this set of pics of amazing graffiti. Stolen from my homie K.


How We Will Solve the Drought

As you may know, California is in a three-year drought. The governator declared a state-wide water bid'ness a few months ago and farmers are freaking out because there isn't any water for irrigation. In SC, since we don't get water from anywhere but local sources, we've got water restrictions in place as of two days ago. The last two fire seasons have been awful and there's no reason to think it'll be any better this year.

Happily, a solution is at hand. Every time B, B's dad and I go camping, it rains. We were supposed to go camping this weekend, and lo, the heavens opened and the whole state is getting its first proper soaking for months.*

So here's how it will work: If you live in a drought-stricken region, e-mail me. B, my father in-law and I will select a campground in your area. You pay for the site, local eateries provide tasty food, local businesses provide cold beers, and local wayward youth set up tarps over the site so that we can stay dry. We charge a daily fee of, let's say, 1000 bucks. We stay as long as your crops need it. PROBLEM SOLVED.

* Ironically, we didn't skip camping because of the weather - other logistics intefered and we ended up just visiting the in-laws in Novato. The thing is, the rain god Tlaloc didn't know that and sent forth a mighty storm anyway.