October 25, 2006

Approximately fifteen minutes ago I biked home after a typical day at work and entered via the back door, as usual. I threw my bag onto the couch, had a drink of water, and fed the cats. Seeing the mail box key lying on the counter, I grabbed it and and headed to pick up the day's mail.

I walked down the hall towards the front door

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I swung open the front door
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I looked down
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I took a step back.
Oakland crime works tirelessly to out-do San Francisco crime: someone has stolen our front stairs.
Posted on 06:55 PM
October 24, 2006

I'm going to play BoingBoing / digg for a second here and direct you to Warren Ellis's blog, where you can see a space-station's view of a shuttle launch.


Posted on 10:10 PM
October 22, 2006
Ad populum

A few days ago a polling company called the wrong person. When they first called on Wednesday night I put them off with some story of unicorns and damsels in distress and being about to leave the house. I never expected them to actually call back on Thursday, but when they did I figured that sort of persistence deserved at least some reward, so I consented to answer their questions. Imagine my bemusement when I found that I was to be polled on my broadcast & print media reading/listening/viewing habits.

I have nothing against TV, radio stations, or newspapers. I just happen to be completely oblivious to them. Which led to approximately fiften minutes of me saying "No".

Pollster: Which of the following radio stations have you listened to in the last four months: KARP?
Me: No.
M: No.
M:: No.
M:: No.
. . .
Pollster: Please name all of the radio stations you have listened to in the last four months.
Me: They're online only, but at work I listen to Indie Pop Rocks and The Atlantic Sound Factory.
P: . . . Are those internet radio stations on the FM or AM band?

This process was repeated for newspapers and television shows/stations. On its own, this exchange isn't all that humorous. What did tickle me was my inclusion as a "representative" sample of the Bay Area. According to faulty statistics, several thousand people consume absolutely no convential media of any kind and rudely eat crunchy celery while speaking on the phone.


Posted on 10:06 PM
October 17, 2006
First and second

One of my roommates (not the one you might think) is on a special "detox" diet. It consists of an herbal lemonade containing maple syrup. And that's it. That's all she's been "eating" for several days. She said she can feel the detox working; that she feels cleaner already. I congratulated her, poured myself a big glass of bourbon, and watched The Big Combo. Speaking of which...

Two Sentence Review: The Big Combo
Though no one in this movie can act worth a damn, it's beautiful as hell and dramatic irony is used to great effect. Unfortunately, a few shots were a little self-conscious for my taste, somewhat ruining the mood.

Posted on 11:26 PM
October 13, 2006
Ik Bin

Sunday nights are awful for seeing shows... Unless it's Brass Menagerie and Vagabond Opera at Amnesia on Sunday the 15th at 9pm! (only $7 cover) Who could pass up a "Balkan Brass Band" and "Eastern-European, klezmer-based original, jazz and belly dance music", all under one roof?


Posted on 04:18 PM
October 12, 2006

(Aside: if you find any part of this entry poorly composed or otherwise obnoxious, you may assure yourself that it was absolutely brilliant the first time I wrote it. You may blame all imperfections upon the accidental closing of a browser tab.)

Two events transpired this past weekend, one very good and one very bad.

I may as well get the bad out of the way first. As I boarded BART on Sunday morning I reached for my music box (a Creative Nomad Zen, if you must know), and was horrified to find it missing. Thinking back on the previous night, I remembered the crowded, jostling bus that scraped its brakes all over town. Having just seen Stray Dog, it seemed likely that I had been the victim of some dastardly pickpocket, and that my moral responsibility would require me to chase the thief across Tokyo.

Now, I normally store my music box in a small, closed outer pocket of my bag, along with a four foot headphone cord and a set of ID badges with associated lanyard. Inspecting the pocket, I found the music box missing but the headphones and badges present. To accomplish this end result, any potential larcenist must have removed the player from the pocket, unwrapped the headphones from the player, rebundled them into a neat package, and replaced the headphones in the bag. Note that, under even the best conditions, I often get the player, headphones, and lanyard tangled into a ropy mess that ends with me dropping something. This indicated an extremely courteous and highly skilled gentleman (or gentlewoman) thief, much like Raffles.

Careful reflection upon the facts of the matter suggested another interpretation. The undisturbed headphones imply that I left the player hooked up to the stereo system at work, and that it was stolen from my desk during the weekend. This is consistent with a recent spate of laboratory thefts on campus. The end result is the same: I am out one music box. But I think I would prefer to have been robbed by a smooth criminal.

The other highlight of my weekend was seeing Mlle. P____, who I haven't really talked to in almost a decade (this is the good event, if you're keeping track). Among other things, she helms 826 Valencia, and in her copious free time teaches kids how to write. The latter may not be as piratical as the former, but is nonetheless quite admira(b)l(e).

Our meeting brought home how the more things stay the same, the more they change (yes, I know). Mlle. P____'s writing was fantastic all those years ago, but now she's traveling to Bulgaria to research a novel. She was great fun to talk to and easy to get along with, but now she's apparently friends with a sizable fraction of San Francisco, including Dave Eggers.

Mlle. P____ is flying home this weekend to visit friends and family, none of whom I have seen in a dog's age. What are they doing, and how have the years treated them? I'm coming to regret my habit of letting bridges crumble behind me. It would be nice to blame graduate school for monopolizing my attention, but that's not the only cause. I'm never as careful about calling or writing as I should be, and I inevitably lose contact with those I care about. This is in contrast to most of my current friends, who have somehow maintained connections across time and distance. I hope that my reacquaintance with Mlle. P____ will help me rebuild some of those bridges, provided she can convince these long-lost friends that I'm not a complete bastard.

But enough maudlin! My interactions with Mlle. P____ also introduced me to Couchsurfing, which might be described as a useful Myspace (though that may be more of an insult to Couchsurfing than to Myspace). The premise is simple:

  1. Lodging is one of the most expensive facets of travelling.
  2. Sleeping on a friend's couch in some Far Off Land not only saves money (allowing for more travelling), but gives one access to otherwise hidden fun stuff.
  3. Llamas belong to the genus "Llama".
  4. Many travellers are looking for couches to sleep on in Far Off Lands.
  5. Many people in Far Off Lands think it would be fun to have travellers sleep on their couches.
  6. The internet lets strangers with common interests find each other.
  7. Wait a minute...

Item #3 may not necessarily follow, but I can assure you that the rest of the logic is flawless. My introduction to Couchsurfing is quite timley, as I plan to take a month or more for wandering upon (finally) graduating. Wouldn't it be nice to leave this continent? I certainly think so. All that remains is to decide between Ireland/Scotland and Japan. And thanks to Couchsurfing, poverty won't stop me this time!

Posted on 02:10 PM
October 11, 2006

My cell phone is back in action, now with more minutes than ever. Posting about it on AC seemed a much easier option than contacting everyone who knew my cell phone was out. So let the calling commence!

Posted on 08:44 PM
October 06, 2006

Two Sentence Review: Touch of Evil
Sure, it's a cliche to love this movie, but I'm here to tell you that Touch of Evil is one of the best movies ever made. If you appreciate noir, or even if you just like a little crime drama now and then, I can't recommend it enough.


Posted on 09:51 PM