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Budgetary Changes 2004

I am now officially living la vida grad student, except that I'm not a grad student and and I have a stunning apartment. That's right. Chris found a place and I'm keeping this one. He'll be making a move over a while, but soon I'll have a guest room and double the rent.

If I am suddenly more reluctant to meet you to do anything that costs money, now you know why. On the bright side, you're probably be trading The Dinah Who Dines Out for The Dinah Who Cooks Yummy Dinners For Friends.

Only one problem: the dining table & chairs move out with Chris. (Mum, remember that holiday present of helping me out with plants for the balcony? I think I may need something a little more woody...)

Posted on September 29, 2004 at 08:37 PM in mundania | Permalink | Comments (3)

The end of a short weekend 2004

I could definitely do with one more day to be home from my trip, but tomorrow it's back to work. It'll be a busy week, I know. I was out of the office the last 6 work days between taking a day to relax before the busy-ness, getting sick, and the trip to Cleveland.

The flight back was fine. We had a good tailwind so arrived 20 minutes early or so. I stopped at Ti Couz on the way home and had an excellent crepe (carmelized onions, tomatoes and sausage) and some tea. Napped for an hour or two and then did epic laundry (four loads!) and grocery shopping. Stayed up late chatting & writing email & stuff which was fun.

Today I slept in (in my own nice bed with the clean sheets) and am definitely feeling much better. Still a little coughing, but doing pretty well. Min Jung and Jason got me out of the house and down to the Folsom Street Fair which was odd but fun until the crowd got far too thick and I began to get a little panicky. Icky sensation. Had to shuffle through the crowd for two blocks before I could get some breathing space and calm down. They definitely need to lay the booths out with better spacing. It was extremely unsafe when the crowds packed in. After escaping we walked back to Rainbow Grocery and then they came over to my place where I invented a new drink which we were going to call a Honey Crush, but Googling now I see the name is taken. Since it's based on a drink called the Bee's Knees, I guess it'll be the Cat's Pyjamas instead:

Cat's Pyjamas

2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce lime juice
1 barspoon honey
3 ounces Korean crushed apple juice

Shake with cracked ice;
strain into two chilled cocktail glasses.
Garnish with a lemon wheel.

Tart, sweet, sassy.

Posted on September 26, 2004 at 09:38 PM in Food and Drink, mundania | Permalink | Comments (3)

I pledge... 2004

... to have sex with voters.
And nobody else.


Democracy is sexy.

Posted on September 24, 2004 at 09:58 PM in politics & philosophy | Permalink | Comments (3)

Dinah in a hotel room 2004


Posted on September 24, 2004 at 08:00 AM in Dinah - introduction, travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

A beautiful dawn in Cleveland 2004


Posted on September 24, 2004 at 07:17 AM in the big room with the blue ceiling, travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cleveland 2004

This town is clearly not gonna get a fair shake from me. I'm doing one of those "fly in, stay at the hotel by the airport (which is always gonna have a nasty view in any city), spend all day at a conference, fly home" trips.

The room is nice though. Mercifully fairly soundproof windows since it's
- at the airport
- above an enormous parking lot
- next to a freeway
- which is next to active traintracks
- which are next to 3 industrial facilities

I'll put up pictures of the slag heaps, smokestacks and mysterious pond of what appears to be liquid later. [A year later I put pictures on Flickr. 9 years later I added the pictures here. Heh. Let know one say I don't put the pro in procrastination.]

My glamorous hotel in Cleveland80060009_ae6f242fe4_o
A view of the slag pool

Now I've finished updating my presentations and it's a little after 9pm my time, but that means after midnight local time and the alarm needs to go off at, ugh, 3:30am my time.

Fortunately the flight wasn't too uncomfortable, the bed looks decent, and I am feeling loads better.

Yes, Mum and krokbunny, I have been drinking lots of water, washing my hands, drinking juice, eating enough and taking it easy. I have a wholesome breakfast coming in the morning and I will either eat a good lunch or, if it's like prime rib 'n' beets day or some shit at the conference, will sneak off and eat a couple of nice healthy Luna bars.

I will give great presentations and have a jolly time. Then will return to my hotel room and sleep (the sleep of the just) until it's time to fly home Saturday morning.

Posted on September 23, 2004 at 09:26 PM in travel | Permalink | Comments (4)

Sick Sucks 2004

So I've been sick all frickin' week and it was icky and I didn't like it. Plus I have a ton of stuff going on at work so I had to pull it together for at least a couple hours each day to check on mail and join meetings by phone and stuff like that. Upside is that there won't be quite so much waiting for me when I'm back on my feet.

Tomorrow I'm flying to Cleveland to visit the sacred springs whose waters can heal my curs'ed wounds... um... well, no actually, no... I'm going for a little conference for work. I have to give a couple presentations which I'm sure will go fine and I'll get to meet some customers I've only worked with over the phone so that's nice, except that I have to remember not to touch anyone or breathe on them so I don't give anybody else this evil headcold of the damned.

This will be the first trip with my PowerBook and I'm worried because I didn't back everything up. Maybe I can do that while I take my shower. That would be prudent. Then again more of my stuff is online than off, so it'd be a disaster if something happened to my sweet little device, but not an unmitigated one. (Hmm, mitigated. Is that another word for the "People never say this" list?)

Posted on September 23, 2004 at 12:24 AM in health | Permalink | Comments (4)

A bunch of walking 2004

Streets completed today:

Nice weather, though it got pretty windy toward the end.80052527_16be7448bb_o
Weird clouds.

Wee solar house
I passed this tiny yellow house with the solar panel roof while walking around (I think on Mount Olympus)

Squirrel fencepost
Fence with squirrels
Beware the wooden squirrel!

Now I'm home just hoping that this runny nose is allergies and not a cold. Given the amount of travel I have coming up, I don't need a head start on getting sick. Time for a hot shower and a preventative retreat to the bed with hot tea and something trashy to read.

Posted on September 19, 2004 at 04:26 PM in San Francisco | Permalink | Comments (4)

Big walk? 2004

I've been craving a great big walk again, so I think one might happen tomorrow (Sunday). If you're interested in hooking up with me for all or part of it, leave me a comment, email me, or use other communication methods I've provided to you. Given my short night last night - stayed until closing at 12 Galaxies - and busy day today - Grandma's 90th birthday party, it is unlikely I'll be up before 10am and therefore unlikely that the walk will start before 11am.

Since it's been windy, I am inclined against a beach walk. I'd kind of like to finish off a couple major streets. I think I only "owe" a few blocks of Castro south of Clipper. Might be a Eureka Valley/Noe Valley/Glen Park sort of ramble. I could be convinced to do Telegraph Hill or Union Street or any number of other places if I have an enthusiastic walking companion, though.

Posted on September 19, 2004 at 12:16 AM in San Francisco | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gypsy date(s)? 2004

Anyone want to try to get tickets to this incredible evening of Roma food and music on Monday night?

I was already thinking of going to see this band - famous from the Guca Brass festival in Serbia - at Ashkenaz tomorrow night, but the possibility of a delicious meal and an added performance by the Extra Action Marching Band is very enticing.

If you want to go, let me know as soon as possible; the show is expected to sell out.

Posted on September 18, 2004 at 05:43 PM in Food and Drink, music, San Francisco | Permalink | Comments (0)

Faces 2004

Kissy face
Mr. Mullenweg says Mwah!

Monkey face
Dining with the glamorous Mr. Mullenweg.

Posted on September 17, 2004 at 08:00 PM in friends & family | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sutro Tower and clouds 2004

Changing skies
Who needs a t.v. with a sky like this?

Posted on September 17, 2004 at 07:00 PM in San Francisco, the big room with the blue ceiling | Permalink | Comments (0)

Music alert! 2004

Don't forget: Lord Loves a Working Man tonight at 12 Galaxies (on Mission near 22nd)! Show starts at 9pm, LLAWM on about 11pm.

Posted on September 17, 2004 at 12:07 PM in music, San Francisco | Permalink | Comments (0)

San Francisco Asian Art Museum 2004

Morning Hair by Torii Kotondo
80040482_0e17d259a2_o 80041245_f3dc18cd6b_o

California Coastlines

[As of 12/31/2005:] Wish I could read this. Wish I'd gotten a good picture of this screen. It was beautiful and now it's not on display at San Francisco's Asian Art Museum anymore.


I was able to find the full piece citation from minutes of the museum board re: its acquisition (thank you, Google):

California Coastlines, 1986
By Masami Teraoka (b. 1936)
Watercolor on paper, mounted as screen
H. 38 ¾ in x W. 155 ½ in


Posted on September 17, 2004 at 12:01 PM in creativity | Permalink | Comments (0)

BGP Presents Beastie Boys 2004

Yes, that's right folks. "Bill Graham Presents presents".


Posted on September 17, 2004 at 12:00 PM in warnings & kvetches | Permalink | Comments (0)

So very busy. 2004

I've been quiet here since I've been crazy busy at work. I come home wanting something amusing to escape to and so I've been surfing the web, chatting with friends and watching DVDs. Not a huge amount of creative output in the evenings since I've been doing so much writing during the days. Admittedly, it is less fun to write & proof read documentation than posts about wonderful weird things seen on the web, but at least my writing muscles are getting worked out.

Not so much my physical muscles. Mental exhaustion can fool me into indolence when what I really need is to move around. The diet I'm on also leaves me with a little less energy, I suspect. Overcoming that pull away from activity is difficult. Today, though, I'll get a good bit of walking in. I have taken the day off to relax and see the geisha exhibit at the Asian Art Museum before it closes later this month.

Earlier this year I'd talked about taking a vacation, maybe up to visit my aunt & grandmother in Alaska, but then my company decided that one of the other product managers and I should put new versions of our products out twice a year instead of once and that made work fairly insane. I think we'll get good at it - already it's forcing us to be more efficient, but it is still a little crazy-making. On the bright side, I'm getting asked to present more at conferences, so that's giving me a little travel.

I'll be in Portland middle of next month and will get to take a 3-day weekend before the conference to play tourist. I'll be staying at the Jupiter Hotel and doing a lot of walking around downtown, visiting museums and parks, and, of course, hanging out at Powell's Books.

Now it's time to be a tourist in my own city. Off to ride the trolley to the museum!

Posted on September 17, 2004 at 11:20 AM in health, travel, work, worry vs. clarity | Permalink | Comments (0)

Moving towards a move? 2004

This may come as a shock to those who know how much I love my current apartment, but I'm thinking of moving elsewhere in the city. My housemate is planning to move and, though we've managed pretty well, it's quite clear that this is not an ideal apartment for a non-couple. There just isn't enough privacy for us to have people over without the other person being affected by noise. Even a normal conversation level in one of the rooms with the doors closed still produces enough soundbleed for inflection if not words to be understandable in the other room.

It's a great place for a couple, though, so if the two downsides we've found with the place - no laundry and a perceptible slope to the floors - don't overpower your appreciation for the view, the quiet, the light, the efficently-laid-out little kitchen, the hardwood floors, the quirky curving front staircase, and the, let's say it again, amazing view, then you should let me know you're interested in talking to our landlady once we let her know we're moving out.

I have been thinking about keeping the place on my own, but the more I think about the impact of doubling my admittedly very low rent, the more I realize I'd probably rather weather the expense of moving and not have to give up going to so many concerts and dinner out with friends.

Which brings me to thinking about where to move to.

I still need an easy commute - I am not a morning person and do not want to have to get up more than 20 minutes earlier. That means I need easy access to Muni or BART to get me over to the Transbay Terminal (or all the way to the east bay where I work).

I like being in a neighborhood which is pleasant to walk around in (and in which there are no drive-by shootings).

I like being within 2 miles walking distance of most places I would like to visit.

I love the main sounds I'm hearing from outside being wind blowing across the trees in the neighbor's yards. (The joy of a house way up on a hill on a long street people tend not to drive on because it doesn't seem to go much of anywhere).

Ah, and that's the hardest thing about the moving idea. The noise. This is probably the best combination of "quiet retreat" and "2 or 3 blocks from Muni, movie theater, and restaurants" and "incredible view" it would be possible to find.

So then I come back to trying to figure out not to move, how to survive when approaching half of my take-home pay would be going to rent. Sure, I could have people over to my place for dinner & drinks instead of going out. I know it's unlikely, given my furniture and the space I'll need, that I won't be able to move without my current rent going up 150% and then saving an extra $100 or so a week to make up the difference just doesn't seem like that big a difference. And then I'd have a fantastic two-bedroom apartment all to myself. That's pretty darn attractive.

So maybe I won't move. Maybe I'll throw a large proportion of my pay out in the street every month for the benefit of living in a place that's bigger than I need and which permits setting a ball down so it can roll from one side of the house to the other.

But, man, then I'll be broke. And I'll still have to walk 5 blocks to the laundromat.

Here I once again break out the calculator and the budget and start working the numbers again...


But first I spent a few minutes looking through the apartment listings in Craig's List and after one too many "wall-to-wall beige carpet" listings, I find myself determined to make staying put work financially until fate drops another golden opportunity in my lap.

So, if you hear of a "quiet, big enough for my furniture, has a gas stove, isn't too far from muni/BART, no upstairs neighbors, in a nice neighborhood with laundry nearby" apartment in San Francisco, do let me know. Otherwise I'll be here trying to pinch my pennies everywhere else in my budget but rent.

Posted on September 12, 2004 at 02:44 PM in San Francisco | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tarragon Shallot Omelette 2004


(cooked just a tad too long on the bottom)


2 eggs
1 or 2 tsp dried shallots
.5 - 1 tsp dried French tarragon
.5 tsp tomato paste
little bit of fresh ground pepper
pinch of salt

Rub 6" pan with stick of butter
Preheat pan for a minute or so on high
Pour in omelette mix
When top starts to turn opaque, use spatula to peek under edge & see if it's browning
When it is, flip it over for a few seconds to finish the cooking
Turn off stove and flip omelette onto plate
Garnish with fresh grated hard cheese such as romano
Red cabbage sprinkled with rice vinegar makes a nice side salad

215 calories


[Posted to Flickr on this day. My pal skizzybiz commented: "One method that I learned from my brother (who works as a line cook) is to lift one edge up with a a spatula while the top is still liquid, and let the stuff drain underneath. Keeps the cooking a bit more even."]

Posted on September 11, 2004 at 02:00 PM in Food and Drink, health | Permalink | Comments (0)

More good music 2004

Tonight at Blake's in Berkeley: That 1 Guy and Fishbone! I'm so there.

Posted on September 11, 2004 at 01:35 PM in music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stop Scripted Theater 2004



spotted this outside the Emeryville Chevy's


Posted on September 11, 2004 at 01:00 PM in the big room with the blue ceiling | Permalink | Comments (0)

Get down with your bad self. 2004

Attention music lovers: Lord Loves A Working Man shows this week and next!

Friday, September 10th
@Mission Control, the warehouse home of the Phenomenauts
with the Phenomenauts, and a few other bands not announced yet.
Show starts at 9 (LLAWM probably hit the stage around 10)
2630 Union St, Oakland CA 94607

Next week:
Friday, September 17th
at 12 Galaxies

2565 Mission St near 22nd
with Hamel on Trial and Scott Young
Show at 9, LLAWM go on last around 11/11:30pm

If you have already seen this Mephis-style, 9 piece soul wonder in action, you do not need me to tell you to get your ass out to the show.

More great news from Max:

For those of you who have been waiting, we will be pedaling some newly pressed 5-song demo cd's that feature some recordings from our last wild gig at 12 Galaxies. We provide this little offering as a means to keep you dancing as well as to raise money for our big time recording venture this winter.
I plan to be at both shows. Hope to see you there!

Posted on September 10, 2004 at 01:44 PM in music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Portland? Portland! 2004

Next month work is sending me to Portland, Oregon for a meeting with some customers. The meeting is on a Tuesday, but since I've been wanting to visit Portland for a long time, I'm going to go up that Friday evening and hang out all weekend and take that Monday off.

Who lives in Portland and wants to show me the sights?

Posted on September 7, 2004 at 08:49 PM in travel | Permalink | Comments (6)

This year it REALLY matters. 2004

Register to vote and remember to vote and help others to vote.

And, by the way, maybe win $100,000 for being a voter.

Don't forget: if you don't vote, you can't complain.
(And if you don't vote this time, you'll probably have plenty to complain about...)

Posted on September 6, 2004 at 10:45 PM in politics & philosophy | Permalink | Comments (6)

5 Unsuitable Morning Serenades for Solo Instrument in Echoing Transit Station 2004

(In tribute to Merlin's 5ives)

1. Caribbean Steel Drum*
2. Chinese Flute*
3. Ocarina
4. Musical Saw
5. Cymbals

*regularly found in San Francisco's Civic Center BART station.

Posted on September 6, 2004 at 11:20 AM in warnings & kvetches | Permalink | Comments (1)

I was using that... 2004

Every now and then my browser will crash, often upon visiting a site doing something clever and/or of dubious standards compliance. Every now and then I'll close the program or restart the computer when I had pages open in the browser I still wanted to do something with. When this happens I lose track of things I intended to do.

What I want is a Firefox feature or plug-in which allows me to always launch the program with the tabs/windows I last had open. I want some way to indicate "okay, I'm done with this URL" and that way is probably most easily achieved by hitting the browser "home" button and then, when launching the program, never opening more than one window with that home page.

If I was planning to tackle this program (which since I'm not a programmer, I'm not), I would start with a file in which the "currently open URLs" are written - this might already exist - and then write changes to the location to it (removing the old location) and append new entries when new tabs/pages are opened, then save it. When launching the program, I'd treat the file as though I'd selected a bunch of bookmarks in a folder and clicked "Open". Or at least that's where I'd start my research & experimentation.

This just doesn't seem that hard...

Posted on September 6, 2004 at 03:40 AM in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (4)

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