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Category: work

03/31/06 06:49 - 47ºF - ID#36688

Welcome to the working week

Ok, I am so over this working thing. It was fun for a few days, but being held hostage behind the Berlin Wall of firewalls 8 hours a day is getting on my nerves. Plus, I got a High Priority request from one of my Premium Support users yesterday, (ok, it was my sister calling to tell me I missed one of the kids in the upcoming birthday countdown on the family web site), so naturally I had to drop everything to fix that. Spent about 10 minutes trying to poke a hole/get around the firewall to no avail. So I got the password for the "open" computer where you can allegedly check webmail and other potentially subversive tasks under the watchful eyes of the admins. I was there for about five seconds when I was reminded to use it "judiciously" or the question "why does a contractor need to use it" might arise. Because you have me in a freakin' straitjacket, that's why! This would take less than 5 minutes and I would be happy to punch out for the 15 minute minimum time-tracking increment just so nobody thinks I'm pulling a fast one. I mean, come on!

Not that it would be anybody's business how I might use my two 10-minute breaks required by California law, but it would be just my luck the "question" would be asked right in the middle of adding all FIVE birthdays for May. (Does my whole freakin' family go fertile in September?) So I decided I would spend that 10-minute break sulking in my cubicle instead. I know, I'm so mature.

And what important milestone on the critical path would I be impeding, you might ask? Printing out the company web site. That's what they have me doing this week. Oh yes, they got me my very own printer to accomplish this important task, and you can imagine my excitement when the project was escalated from "stapled sections" to "3-ring binder with dividers" at the weekly status meeting. If I had an ego, this would be demoralizing. But if they want to pay me an unseemly amount of money to print out their web site, I have no problem with that.

I wish I could tell you some of the Dilbert-esque stories about this place, but this one photo kind of captures it all for me. The employee handbook explicitly states you can only use the provided paper cups for hot beverages. No personal mugs or travel containers allowed. And you must have the company-issued lid tightly adhered in transit. But under no circumstances should you transport a hot beverage -- lidded or not -- between floors.

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I don't think I've used one of these since kindergarten (before the invention of the juice box). I didn't even know they came with lids. It would take approximately 28 of these to make one Starbucks "venti" or whatever the hell they call a large.

Speaking of work, good luck with the job application (e:Leetee,153)! Oh, and for the citizenship question you might want to make a notation that you've got your Permanent Resident (green) card. In other words, have a comeback ready for any potential strike against you. (I don't mean to say that would be a strike against you, but you seemed to be concerned about it. And I'm big on notations, haha.)

Ok, that's all for now, except a few random pix off the cell phone.

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Farmers' market at City Hall. No sign of protesters last Sunday.

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I just thought this was funny. SF is such a live and let live town.

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Permalink: Welcome_to_the_working_week.html
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Location: San Francisco, CA


03/28/06 11:17 - 41ºF - ID#36687

Accentuate the Positive

I'm already late for work, so I'm going to be lazy and round up some comments here.

Good luck with the job (e:Leetee,152)! I have a problem with lying too. Although sometimes I just present what is true in a positive way -- leaving it open to interpretation without actually saying whatever it is I'd rather not say. In your case, instead of choosing one of the supplied answers, I would make the notation "Attended high school in Canada -- now studying for U.S. equivalency degree" or something along those lines. If you didn't attend high school at all, just say "attended school" or "home schooled." Do you know how many kids in the US are home schooled these days? And you may very well have a better grasp of US history than most high school graduates, sad to say.

But the most empowering thing would be to get your GED. If it doesn't cost much, or it's free to retake the test, just take it and see how you do. Then you'll know what you have to study. And if you're really worried about US history, pick up Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States." I'm sorry I didn't keep my copy from Howie's class at BU, but I'll bet the Larson brothers have a copy lying around. Maybe you can borrow it. ;-)

Speaking of the Larson boys, I'm really sorry I missed seeing (e:Joshua,134)'s protesters and (e:Twisted,353)'s, counter-protesters in person -- especially since I walk by City Hall on a regular basis. So much for being a roving reporter. ;-)

I really and truly believe any counter-protest was relatively balanced against the protest, but no I didn't see it first-hand, so I can't say for sure. I have no doubt the "come back in the summer" comment was in good humor -- albeit a back-handed dig at a wasted day in SF.

If a bunch of people decide to publicly protest the traits we hold dear about the Bay Area, you can bet your bottom dollar San Franciscans will show up to defend our way of life. Which includes being free to embrace and express your sexuality.

As tempting as it might have been to align myself with the "I moved here to get away from people like you" counter-protester, I have to hold out hope these kids still have some growing up to do, and might still benefit from other role models. In the end, I think my sign would say, "I like San Francisco just the way it is. Why don't you check it out before judging?"

Damn. That's going to be a big sign.

p.s. -- I am so late now. I will probably edit this when I get home. WHY can't I get a job blogging?


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Location: San Francisco, CA


Category: intolerance

03/27/06 11:34 - 33ºF - ID#36686

Ha!

This is hilarious, (e:Joshua,134). Since when does counter-protesting = intolerance? Ever heard of a debate? Not to mention, the San Francisco counter-protesters were accommodating enough to suggest "next time come back in summer" to avoid any chance of protesting / counter-protesting in the rain. Yeah, that sounds pretty intolerant.

I have a big problem with any organization that exploits people at vulnerable points in their lives. That includes some fraternities and most televangelists. Ron Luce of "Battle Cry for a Generation" may or may not be a televangelist, but he falls into the same category.

And you all know I have a problem with any organization that spends more time pointing fingers at an alleged "common enemy" than focusing on their own aspirations for the future.

If you think "same-sex marriage is another sign of the end of times" and you would rather see "Godly relationships than porn" then why the hell would you come to San Francisco? I mean, there are PLENTY of other places to get that. Is your life so shallow you have to pick a fight to make up for the fact that myspace.com is the Devil's playground so you're stuck with the "Christian alternative?"

All I can say is, I hope any of the protesters with some semblance of open-mindedness will be here next year holding signs saying "I moved here to get away from people like you."

p.s. - first day of work was fine. Thanks for asking.

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Location: San Francisco, CA


Category: estrip

03/26/06 12:14 - 35ºF - ID#36685

Bad Timing

I promised I would write about the new ©Picfeeder and ©Loudfeeder web apps -- although that was before I found out (e:Paul,4255) would throw me over for a Latina peep in a NYminute. ANYway...

I knew I might have some regrets about not getting the sexy, footloose, new MacBook. Don't get me wrong, I still stand behind my decision to go with the equally seductive but more anchored iMac. But having indulged my fantasy of untethered computing with my last two Mac laptops, then being forced to buy a PC laptop, (ok, nobody held a gun to my head, but I had a signed contract for 3 months onsite in Seattle that required I provide my own JSP development environment, so what else was I supposed to do?), I figured I was long overdue for something more substantial. Then (e:Paul,4256) goes and writes all these cool mobile apps for publishing "on the go." D'oh! You know I always wanted to be a roving reporter! This week alone I could be reporting "live" from San Francisco at any of these varied events listed for in the Chron's Pink Section:

NOISE POP FESTIVAL
The festival turns 14 with a jam-packed schedule of indie music, film and comedy at 16 Bay Area venues through April 2. It starts Tuesday at Bimbo's with the Flaming Lips

THE BUTTERFLY ZONE
Go eye to eye with a butterfly: At the Conservatory of Flowers' Butterfly Zone you can watch as butterflies do their thing amid the brightly colored blossoms.

SEX DIARIES
An ever-changing cast of characters read from their journals about getting freaky.

Now wouldn't that be fun? But no, all I get to do is snap pictures and grab sounds in my living room. Anyone want to help me pick out a ringtone? ;-)

But I did try out both apps and they ARE awesome, even though I don't have any content that would do them justice. Maybe when (e:Twisted,345)'s GetADate!® empire gets off the ground, I can justify buying a MacBook to record my interviews -- which not only would be an efficient use of time, but would also provide footage for the reality TV show demo tape. Not to mention an on-the-sly podcast for you guys, but that would be our little secret.

In the meantime, there must be some gizmo for the iPod that turns it into a camera/microphone, right? An iPod would be WAY more stealth -- I mean, convenient -- for my purposes. Hmmm ... I'll have to look into that.

So sorry I can't provide a podcast right now, but I'm working on it. In the meantime, check out the coverville podcast. Even if you're not into Nick Lowe (happy birthday Nick!) at LEAST fast forward to "Cruel To Be Kind" (time marker 6:30) and sing along at full blast. It'll do you good, I promise. Hey, there's an idea for an estrip-produced podcast -- karaoke covers! Put (e:Mike) in charge of that.

p.s. -- you guys are so lucky. I clipped "Cruel To Be Kind" from the podcast and made it my usersound. So now you have no excuse. Come on everybody -- sing along!!

p.p.s. -- is it me or does Ian Gomm sound remarkably like Arctic Monkeys lead singer Alex Turner? Maybe I've just listened to that playlist one too many times. But I swear I can hear strains of Mardy Baum in the background. Maybe it could be a mash-up.

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Permalink: Bad_Timing.html
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Location: San Francisco, CA


Category: fun

03/25/06 06:03 - 38ºF - ID#36684

When I Go to the Beach

Went to the beach this morning with Ron and Sammi. She's a celebrity now!

We met some friends there (three human, four canine) and basically had a great time. I wish I had found my digital camera battery charger on my shopping spree to the storage facility. But here are some generic pix of Fort Funston, exactly 9.2 miles from my house.

While we were wandering and regrouping and basically taking the dogs' lead by investigating whatever seemed interesting at the moment, someone said, "hey! that guy was totally checking you out!" It never dawned on me I might be the object of appraisal, but turned out it was me. And I missed the whole thing! Anyway, now I know how you feel, (e:Mrmike,27).

The last time I went to the beach with Ron and Sammi was in February, so I foolishly thought a jacket might be in order. Everyone else was wearing shorts and/or t-shirts then, so I felt a bit overdressed. Thought I would make up for it today with one of my newly liberated long-sleeve t-shirts. Got to the beach and it was windy and chilly (50degrees!) Luckily Ron had an extra jacket with him.

The moral of the story is, always wear layers in the Bay Area. And check the local webcam of the microclimate you're going to.


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Permalink: When_I_Go_to_the_Beach.html
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Location: San Francisco, CA


Category: clothes

03/24/06 07:42 - 36ºF - ID#36683

tights

I took my friend's advice and went shopping in my storage containers. Found quite a bit of stuff just my size. ;-)

I'm finally weeding out things to get rid of (yeah, I know I should have done that before I moved) and it's kind of scary to actually examine all my stuff. I have quite a collection of stockings. I couldn't tell you how long it's been since I wore any of these, but I remember a time when I had a lot of fun accessorizing. Oh yes, I used to be quite the fashinista! Just ask (e:j3sse) if you don't believe me!

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But I gave that all up when I started working from home almost five years ago. And it's been oh so easy the past five months living out of a suitcase -- makes it very simple to decide what to wear in the morning. But as long as I have to actually go to work starting Monday, maybe I'll give some of these another go. Although I don't know -- are brightly patterned tights in? Not that that ever stopped me before. I definitely have to add some fishnets though.

You don't even want to see my scarf collection. Now THAT'S out of control.

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Category: friends

03/23/06 11:15 - 33ºF - ID#36682

non sequiter

(...?...)

Today I was asked to vote for (my other friend Paul)'s band. Of course I did so immediately. You can tell from my usersound why.

So, this evening I poured myself a nice glass of wine. And when I returned to my "station" at the computer, I found another full glass already waiting there for me. That's the kind of day I've had.

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Category: music

03/22/06 08:49 - 29ºF - ID#36681

NP / B&S

Hey guys. The show last night was stellar. I've only been to the Design Center once before, back in '04 to see Franz Ferdinand with the Futureheads. That was the show that launched my interest in "new" music, so it will always hold a special space in my heart despite the fact that the Design Center is the most humongous vacant warehouse you'd never want to see a band in. Well, I actually don't have that much of a problem with it -- somehow it fits some shows. But most people hate it, although not enough to keep the show from selling out.

I'm more of a New Pornographers fan than a Belle & Sebastian fan, so I was there right at 8PM. Good thing too, since they hit the stage at the stroke of eight. That's one crazy thing about the SF music scene. Some shows start wicked early and right on time. Most venues post the set schedule at the door so you know exactly what time each band goes on. Very handy if you're trying to fit in more than one show in a night, or to text message your perpetually late friend to tell him how much time he's got.

I'm definitely going to buy the new B&S album now. I wasn't familiar enough with their stuff to know if the set list last night matched the one in this concert review which also includes a link to NPR's archive of a live stream they did of the entire DC show. The set list is pretty close for NP's set, although lucky for me last night they DID play my fave tune "From Blown Speakers." I was initially disappointed Neko Case wasn't on this tour (guess I was lucky to see both Neko Case and Dan Bejar with the rest of the band at Bimbo's last year, plus Dan Bejar's band opening). Anyway, any hypothetical disappointment melted away when they started to play. I'm so glad I went.

Seems most people here are more likely to be B&S fans, so I chose my fav tune (which unfortunately they didn't play) as my usersound. For the plug-in impaired, it's "I Don't Love Anyone." I'm dedicating it to (e:Jason,320) after reading his last post. (Is that for real? Not that you'd make something like that up. Wow.) Anyway, I hope you like it.

I got my eyes checked today. My last eye doctor said he didn't need to see me for 3 years, so I thought 6 years might be pushing it. Guess not. Still excellent. I can't wait to tell my little brother when he gets back from Italy. We seem to have dipped into the same end of the gene pool on most things, so he's looking to me as a harbinger of his future. God help him. ;-)

p.s. - I hope you all aren't sick of hearing me blog about music. Seems like that's all I've got going on lately. When I first met (e:Paul) I tried to talk him into using the estrip technology to create a music-based blog community, but no dice. If you're sick of listening to me here maybe you can convince him.


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03/22/06 10:21 - ID#36680 pmobl

Posted from a mobile phone using p:mobl!

See?
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WHOA! Blast from the past using p:mobl!

I'd better 'xplain. I had a rash of bad luck with microwave ovens (don't ask -- nobody got seriously hurt) and JUST when I thought it was safe to make myself a popcorn snack once again, bammo! I guess the glass container I chose from the extremely limited supply that didn't make it into storage wasn't as microwave-safe as I thought. I was telling Paul about it and of course he wanted to see it so I tried to post this pic. But that was quite a while ago. Guess it got stuck in the queue.

This never would have happened if I had my Orville Redenbacher popper handy. Can't wait to get that thing out of storage so I can pop with impunity. I have this 5 gallon jug of microwavable popcorn in the pantry just crying out to be popped. I couldn't take it any longer.

p.s. - NEVER microwave popcorn in regular paper bag. Those brown paper grocery bags contain metallic fibers that can, under some circumstances, (for example if I'm the one doing the popping,) catch on fire.

p.p.s. - my friends keep telling me I should "go shopping" from my storage containers. I really need to do that. I'm going to need more than my suitcase-worth of clothes to get through this 2 month onsite gig. They have a dress code. It's going to be a pain in the ass to dig out what I need since it's all packed tightly into two ginormous, portable crates. Sigh.

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Permalink: Posted_from_a_mobile_phone_using_p_mobl_.html
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Location: San Francisco, CA


03/21/06 10:00 - 28ºF - ID#36679

Harmony in My Head

Hey (e:Leetee,147)! Sorry to entice you with promises of Buzzcock's tunes when you had no way to play them! Next time I'll be sure to include a proper attribution so you can play that "Harmony in (Your) Head." ;-)

My favourite (notice British spelling) Buzzcocks tune is "Ever Fallen In Love (with Someone You Shouldn't've)." Maybe it's the double contraction, I don't know. ;-)

The first time I saw the Buzzcocks was in November 1989 at Citi on Landsdowne Street, right behind Fenway Park in Boston. That was a GREAT venue to see them in -- also just the right size. I know I saw them several times after that, mostly at the Paradise on Comm Ave. I used to like the Paradise (that's where I almost took my brother for his first 18+ show) but over time it became more about the scene than the music, with the volume cranked way above earplug-safe levels and broken beer bottles littering the floor, and getting pushed out the door promptly after the encore fighting against the incoming tide of (what my friends used to call) the Eurotrash dance clubbers. I don't mean to offend anybody if that's your scene - you're totally entitled to it. But I paid good money to see the Buzzcocks in the only venue they were playing and I would have appreciated a decent interval to chug that last beer and make my way out before the house lights came up and I was forcibly strong-armed out the door. That's all I'm saying.

But I still went to see them there several times and every time I swore I'd never go back there for anyone else. Well, except for X with my friend Andy.

I am so jealous you met Pete Shelley! I'll bet you have those ticket stubs safely stashed in a safety deposit box. Very wise of you not to let on where they are!

Speaking of the Buzzcocks and Howard Devoto and that era, have you guys seen "24 Hour Party People?" Possibly my favourite (I did it again!) movie of all time.

And THANKS for the invite to stay with you if the Buzzcock's tour schedule calls for a trip to Buffalo. I really appreciate that! I don't know if I ever confessed this, although it was bound to come out sooner or later. I had quite a thing for your house on Bird Ave long before you put a bid on it. So I have a special place in my heart for that particular house (and of course for the peeps who live in it). It would be so cool to see it in person some day.

And even though I have WAY LESS space now than I did in Alameda, if you ever come out to SF, you're welcome to stay here. It's close quarters, but right in the city. Or I can find you a place nearby. But either way, I would love to be your tour guide. I'm a good one too, if I do say so myself.

Ok, it's off to New Pornographers / Belle & Sebastian. This is the first show I've gone to on my own since Mission of Burma way back when. I'm kind of looking forward to that. I think secretly I would have a hard time giving up my independence, much as I would like to share some parts of my life with someone.

Later peeps!

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Location: San Francisco, CA


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paul said to mike
You are welcome!...

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i'm glad you documented this. I was actually looking for a picture but came across this and am glad ...

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i'm glad you documented this. I was actually looking for a picture but came across this and am glad ...

mike said to paul
i'm glad you documented this. I was actually looking for a picture but came across this and am glad ...