Monday, December 17, 2007

Feeling like a kid again

My sister won a costume contest this year on Halloween, at a big party
in Moab. Her costume deserves its own post.

The prize was an electraglide cruiser, a model named "the betty,"
which I assume means it's a girl's bike. My sister, however, is no
girl; rather, she's a badass female triathlete, with no shortage of
bikes. Now, she could have picked up an easy $400 for the bike, but
instead gave it to her little brother (that's me).

She brought it yesterday and surprised me with it, with a red ribbon
on it and everything. We went for a cruise in the park and down to the
beach... Me grinning like an idiot or small child the whole time. It's
good to feel like a little kid sometimes. Thanks, sis!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Mission Accomplished!


Now the rebuilding of Iraq can start paying for itself!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

phishing PSA

I know most people that read this will already know, but just in case i can keep even four or five people from doing it, it's worth posting:
Don't send bank, credit card, utility, or any other billing information to people who ask for it via email.
Email addresses are easily forged, and links can be displayed that look legitimate, but aren't. A new tactic of these miscreants is providing a fax number to fax information to. Guess what? Fax numbers provide even less accountability than an email address or url, which are more quickly identified as invalid.

Just don't do it.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

How many scarves is too many?

My most esteemed officemates collaborated to get me a hand woven scarf
in my favorite color of toasty warm yarn. I now possess three scarves
which I wear regularly. And have at least three others which I wear
sparingly ( for various reasons). Where does it end!?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Strong flower

This flower stayed in my moto helmet across SF and then across the bay
bridge. I don't care what anti-hippies say, flowers do have power.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

co-housing, exes, and flooring

This dream finds me (and my boys) living with my exes from Portland. The dream is mostly about the logistics of the four adults remodelling the house (the flooring is a contentious issue), but some of it deals with the renewed pseudo-romantic relationship between me and my exes. The dynamics haven't changed that much in my dream, except that now I'm strongly partnered with someone else and somewhat immune to the distance and inconsistency I felt with L while sie was with M.

Likely triggers for this dream: late night conversation about co-
housing in a non-monogamous context, and recently hearing that my exes are expecting.

Monday, September 24, 2007


Reno was a nice, but brief visit with my older, little sister. I feel
like I haven't been there for her much, considering all the times
she'd drive me somewhere when I was a kid.

I would have stayed longer, but she was really slammed with work and I
did not want to be a nuisance. It turns out my departure preceded snow
on the Donner pass by twelve hours or so. Motorcycles don't do snow
well, so the timing worked out for me.

I made it back to SF just in time for a massage from (and visit with)
my oldest friend, S.

Thursday I departed with my good friend, K, for Harbin hotsprings. We
set up our sleeping bags on the deck, and got in the hot water for
what seemed most of the night, but ended up being just a couple of
hours. The kitchens there don't allow meat (except eggs, about which K
and I debated the status of), so we ate fairly light the whole visit,
except for the ten pounds of oatmeal I ate for breakfast on Friday. I
am incapable of cooking breakfast for two normal humans, apparently.

Time seemed to slow down and speed up at the same time while at
Harbin. Sleeping under the stars for just the second time in my life
that I can remember, the hugeness of the sky struck me, and it felt
good to feel small. Spending the time with K was great, and I wish
there were more opportunities for events like that.

I rounded out my time off with my first apple pie from scratch, but
failed to add xanthan gum to the whole wheat flour, which resulted in
a funky-bready crust. Lesson learned!

Vacation: accomplished.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

SF to Reno: the olfactory experience

I decided that I'd rather visit my sister in Reno with my vacation
than exhaust myself bicycling around Marin (my butt has been really
really unhappy with my saddles of late in any case). Fortunately, my
boss is also an awesome friend and graciously allowed me use of her
Triumph Bonneville America for the duration of my vacation, in
addition to insisting I take the week off in the first place. Moto
trumps driving for me. It provides a much richer experience,
especially for the nose!

Starting in SF around noon, I was treated to what smelled like a large
collection of fish sitting out in the sun. Is there an underground
fishmarket set up in the bowels of the bay bridge? The smell started
just before the bridge starts and carried half way to treasure island.
What gives?

I'll not attempt to describe the ebmud water treatment plant in Oakland.

Things remained relatively boring through Davis, where the aggies
really earn their name. I don't usually notice the bovine aroma, so it
must have been a special day. Sac provided river-tree smells,
surprisingly refreshingly.

Auburn and surrounds had that distinctive foothilly dirt-in-late
summer smell, giving way to the crisp, thin chilly air of donner, with
sprinkles of evergreen scents.

A distractingly tarry construction site interrupted an otherwise
lovely descent, into the Reno desert and the muddles smells of greed,
hope, and despair.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Congratulations Finland!

Winners of the first-ever eurovision dance competition!

And condolences to Switzerland, the only team to score no points

Sunday, July 22, 2007

back in the saddle

There exist people that bicycle from San Francisco, to the lighthouse at Point Reyes. To those people i say, "How the hell?" I rode from the sunset (35th and Lincoln) to Sausilito, a scant 18 miles round trip, and was pretty well wiped out by the time i made it home (in spite of an hour for repast).

I haven't been on the bicycle in probably three or four weeks, so that may explain some of my lack of conditioning. Still, my commute doesn't have any ascents comparable to the one to the Legion of Honor (from either direction, but especially the one through the Presidio going south) or the climbs from the water up to the bridge on the north side.

I hope to make this a regular ride, and maybe add Antonio to the back of the bike for a little extra exercise.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Pixar has moved to a small european town, or at least opened a campus there, and i have gone to work there. We try to make nice with the locals, who are rich foreigners (americans) with isolated houses that don't like us... because we've sullied the extravagant opulence by creating an industry where once the only industry was tourism.

Part of making nice, apparently, involves going door to door to have personal conversations with the folks (which seems completely the opposite of helpful in the given environment), so i'm out on a jog (why is it a good idea to be all breathless and sweaty when talking to people you're trying to win over? i have no idea) going door to door. It reminded me of my days selling knives and how awkward i felt talking to some folks, in spite of my fervent belief in the product.

After one particularly awkward conversation, with an obviously hostile neighbor, i leave my wallet and phone at their house. I don't realize this until i'm nearly home, or back to campus. I can't find my way back, but do some ratatouille-game-like moves running around the town's facade trying to find the house (along wires, up drainpipes, etc.)

I wake up to the pitter-patter of little feet coming down the hall, so i don't know if i ever got my personal items back.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Also returning...

... my mom to the hospital. I'm at the family estate with my nephews this weekend because my mom is in the hospital, and my step-dad isn't comfortable taking care of the boys on his own. How did i turn into the father that i am with the male role models that i have?

Six weeks ago, my mom was diagnosed with diverticulitis. This time, it's something else, but with almost identical symptoms... with the addition of an obstructed G-I tract. The experts are stymied and are hoping things will self-correct. If they don't in a day or two, they'll probably do some kind of exploratory surgery and possibly attempt a mechanical correction if that is what seems most likely to restore function. It's all very wtf.

So, i guess this is another memory that Wimbledon is going to trigger: being at my folks' place with my nephews, mom in the hospital, spouse and child at home in SF, and spouse having the chance to go out and socialize with (and be given the evil eye by) dykes.

Wimbledon Returns

It's more regular than saturn returning. I'm not sure what it is about Wimbledon that makes me think on the past. Maybe because it isn't a single-day event like most holidays or sporting events, or as protracted as other events. It's just a week or two, at the same time every year, and it always reminds me of summers in switzerland, when it was too hot to run around outside and i had had enough of going to the public pool.

It reminds me of summers with my husband, again when it was too hot to do anything but sit around and watch two people play real-life pong.

It also reminds me of last year's ex, because it seemed to have a similar place in her life. And, for the first time in a long time, i can think about her and not feel sadness or much regret, and that's really nice.

Also, lately, wimbledon reminds me that switzerland can produce world-class athletes. Hee hee!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

saturn returns

It is a couple of years late, but Saturn seems to be returning for me. Last Saturday, i saw someone i hadn't seen in close to 15 years, at an intentional meeting. It was great to see her, and have some small reconnection to a time that had a huge impact on my outlook and life choices. The very next day i ran into someone else from the same time in my life, who had a relatively large impact given the fact that he doesn't recognize me except for having a vague awareness of my name.

I'm not sure what, if any, connection these two people have to each other in any context other than my memories. I'm not sure it matters, but it is interesting to contemplate the connections one has internally connected to a memory compared to the real-world correlations and connections.

The two people i saw last weekend are inextricably linked to the second time my heart was broken. One of them dumped me after falling in love with, and then losing, someone while on a trip to Paris. This was a blow, but not the telling, shattering one. I was down from that, certainly, but i still had a friendship with her; she still deigned to speak with me.

The man i ran into last weekend was, when i first knew him, paired with someone i idolized and eventually fell in love with. The kind of one-way, over-intellectualized love that some adolescent nerds must go through to learn valuable life lessons. It was a perfect counterpoint to the over-emotional, lust-based love that had broken my heart the first time, not even two years before. Oddly, i'm still in regular contact with that person and consider her a close friend; my oldest, in fact. Both traumas taught valuable lessons, but also implanted deeply-buried triggers that resurface cyclically.

In any case, the man-from-last-weekend's significant other is the only one of the four of them that i haven't seen at all since public school ceased requiring us to have contact. She ended our interaction in the most intellectual of ways: a cease-and-desist letter. She wrote me a note, hand-delivered, telling me that she appreciated our interaction, but that people were like molecules... destined to bounce around randomly, interact in mathematically prescribed ways, and then fly apart. She had finished with me, apparently, and had decided that we were done communicating in the same over-intellectualized, unilateral way that i had decided to fall in love with her.

Within the last year, i've had the trigger of unilateral communication cessation fired, and i'm still reeling. I've lost count of my heartbreaks, so i have no number to give the one from last year. Seeing the people i saw last weekend helps me reflect on where the trigger originated, and was somewhat freeing. I still haven't learned the critical skill of letting go, of not having to ask "why? what is so broken about me, or you, or us?" when someone needs to leave in a hurry.

But it's starting to dawn on me, and i'll have to thank Saturn next time he comes around.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Gender Police

On our way back from taking the boy to meet up with Omi & Opa this weekend (we were treated to a couple of days of just-us time for our fourth anniversary... thanks mom!), we decided to do some shopping for an upcoming black-tie event.

Passing through the behemoth "factory outlets" we decided to bop around in case there were anything appropriate. While browsing in a clothing section of a Puma shop (i remember when they sold shoes, don't you?) a over-smiling cheerleader-barbie-esque staffmember approached.

o-s c-b-e s: "You guys shopping for someone else?"

us: "Not particularly."

o-s c-b-e s (condescendingly): "Just shopping in the women's section?" blahblahblah, saleprice, blahblahblah.

Busted! The gender police totally nailed us for looking in the "wrong" section. It gave us a good laugh and made sure we wouldn't foolishly give any money to this person's employer on overpriced crap shipped here from overseas (even if it was cute).

Sunday, May 20, 2007

mad max-y

There's a caravan moving through crowded streets at high speed, the people lining the streets are mostly bystanders with no ill intent, but parts of the milling hordes are in league with the party in pursuit of the caravan. The dream includes ninja-esque combatants in powered armor. The scene appears to have been directed by Michael Bay. It's a conglomeration of scenes from Blackhawk Down, the Island, and the Grapes of Wrath.

The salient plot point comes with a closeup of an individual scout wading into the crowd and eliminating anyone that seemed like a threat, using split-second judgement calls that seemed very unlikely to have any accuracy. Every so often, passing similar groups of people, the scout kills clusters of five or six, leaving one or two alive, with apparently nothing indicating why some died and others lived. Hello, modern warfare.

This contrasted strongly with the scene in Grapes in which the committeemen organize a quashing of riot-inciters sent in by anti-labor groups, which was highly selective, and marginally violent: "If you gotta sock 'em, sock 'em where they ain't going to bleed."

Friday, May 18, 2007

crushes, milton bradley, and a sheriff

Last night's dream found me getting involved with a crush i've had for a while... this probably could have filled an entire dream, but in this case was merely the beginning of a truly bizarre series of events.

After staying the night at said crush's place, I went to an A's game. Home plate, and the batter's box, was up in the stands, and a woman next to me was ecstatically cheering on one of the players, Milton Bradley (i think that's an actual player). He called time, stepped from the box, and looked around for the source of the incredibly loud, screechy noise, looking enraged. He marched toward the woman, and i stood up next to her to try and help him understand that she was cheering for him. I failed, or he didn't care, or something else, and he punched her really hard in the stomach.

I took him into custody, citizen's arrest style, and marched him out of the park and to a sheriff.

End of weird part 1, segue to weird part 2:
The sheriff and i (why am i with him? i have no idea) arrive at Milton's house, only instead of being a big baseball player dude, it's the guy who plays Sylar, and he's threatening to do himself harm... until i show concern for him, when both he and the sheriff start canoodling and carrying on. It turns out, they're boyfriends, and the tell me how i'm done for. So i take off, and bicycle away, as they throw spinny-blade things which i dodge on my way out... down through some streets and bikepaths/greenways i remember from Portland. My recollection of the dream ends with me trying to get past a big group of little kids on bikes who are having a great time, and seem creepily oblivious to the peril i flee.

I woke up with the familiar feeling of dread that always comes when i reflect on ceasing to exist, because that seemed to be where the dream was headed... children are oblivious to this (at least, most of them are) and seem much happier for it. The fruit of knowledge totally sucks.

Monday, May 14, 2007


My mom has an annoying, though easily controlled, condition. Armed with knowledge and proper diet, she'll be completely fine. If never eating raspberries again can be considered "fine."

Without antibiotics, she'd be gone now. Thanks, western medicine! You made mother's day possible for me this year.

possible worlds

Some physicists think that there are many possible worlds: that at every juncture ever faced, the universe splits to allow for every possible variation. Assuming this idea has any validity, there are at least three worlds now that i am glad to not exist in. The first world split when there was a chance Antonio had suffered some venomous bite that would take him away from me. The second world split when there was a chance my mom had some kind of incurable pancreatitis. And the third world split when i fell out of a tree Saturday, narrowly avoiding serious injury at the hands of several sharp corners raised from the ground i fell on.

We're all living on borrowed time, so let's do the best we can, ok?

Friday, May 11, 2007


Last night A-train freaked me and Andy the f out. He started crying inconsolably, clutching at his left foot, and then switching to his left forearm, which has a little bugbite on it. I had noticed it a day earlier, but just thought it a mosquito bite, but it had become more swollen, and in the context of inconsolable crying i suspected a venomous spider bite, and we made our way to the ER with haste.

Two blocks from the ER, Antonio is babbling happily about the trees and cars and various other things. No sign of pain at all. No discomfort upon re-inspection of the bite, or his foot, or anything. Just mild crankiness from not eating (as we hadn't had dinner yet). I opted out of visiting the ER with a (now) happy toddler, and went home, where he proceeded to have a mellow evening with me.

This morning, my stepdad calls me to tell me my mom is in the hospital, after being nauseated all night. She's so dehydrated that when they drew blood, it came out black. She has such extreme pain that whatever they're giving her IV is having no effect, and she seems to be suffering more pain as time goes on. They've done a first set of abdominal x-rays, but have found nothing yet. They suspect pancreatitis, which is dreadful, but survivable. I can only hope that it's nothing chronic or fatal, and that we can make it up there relatively quickly.

I have a strong dislike for hospitals, but the past seventeen hours makes me glad that both we and my folks live relatively near to them.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Bike-to-work challenge

Pixar is a very bike-friendly place: we have three teams of five competing in a "bike-to-work" competition, where individuals get points for every day a bike is used for transportation purposes. The competition runs the entire month of May, and my goal is to ride for a point every day this month. So far, so good. I've even broken my fear-of-rain this week past, and managed to make a store trip yesterday and a trip (combined with bart) out to Walnut Creek today.

My big challenge will happen next weekend, when we're slated to visit my mom in the decidedly bike-unfriendly rural area around Placerville. Getting the mail (2 miles from their house) could count for saturday, but i'm not sure what i'm going to do Sunday, unless i can get home and make a grocery trip to the store before midnight.

Go Team Red's Dream!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

electric six

Last weekend, Andy and i were treated to a show (which reminded me to write about previous shows) that really helped me remember the pleasure of watching people perform music live.

The two openers, together, could be a really great band. The guitarist and bass player from the second band were hot shit. The frontman had a lot of personality, but i don't think his singing style really fit with what the crowd was looking for. He was more goth-industrial. Sometimes a little flat, probably because he was thinking more about the pelvic thrusts and messing with select members of the crowd.

The first band's singer sounded like Robert Smith (and he completely nailed his set), but paired with indy-pop straightforward guitar and simple base, but with a really energetic and creative drummer. Of the two bands, I enjoyed Test Your Reflex (lookout, flash) more.

I'm not sure i'd see either of the opening bands again unless, like Voltron, they merged to form a super-band, with a giant sword, poised to Rock.

The headliner, Electric Six, exceeded expectations. This is a between-album tour, so they've had a lot of time to hone their set. The band is "from" Detroit, but at least the drummer is from Berkeley (as the frontman reminded the crowd... repeatedly). The band pulls off the suit thing well, and their combined antics (mostly Dick Valentine, lead vocal) are hideously entertaining. The long intermission with Dick talking about politics ("We like to keep things simple, so, we want to just, you know, keep on having everyone vote for bush. Bush. Bush Bush Bush, and so on, down the line") and mocking (or paying tribute. or both) the SF musical heritage of the 80's (The Tubes, Huey Luis, and Journey).

I hate acquiring new music, because i so rarely find something that can hold my attention for an entire album, and i don't like songs piecemeal. I believe, based on the set, that E6 will meet my requirements for albums, and I'm so very glad Del invited me to see them.

Otherwise, i'd only know them for "Gay Bar."

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Minerva and I passed 18K yesterday.

In somewhat related news, i noticed a couple of days ago that the front brake pads on my bicycle are almost completely worn away. This explains the mini-dreams i've had lately about not being able to stop my bicycle. I either need to lose some weight, stop riding hills, or stop stopping. Or replace the brake pads.

the mansion spaceship

A bit like an episode of Dr. Who, I find myself travelling in a spaceship that is very much like a mansion. There's a downstairs, where me and most of the crew reside, and an upstairs where nobody goes. The layout reminded me of my mom and stepfather's house, only on a much larger scale and with more metal and glass.

Everyone was afraid to go upstairs, but i'm not sure why. Periodically, crew would go missing. Eventually, someone saw a strange smokey-tentacle thing come down from the rafters (yeah... rafters between upstairs and down) and snatch someone from downstairs to up. I decided to mount a rescue expedition upstairs, to find creepy mostly empty rooms with kid sized rocking chairs and clown dolls with ceramic faces. Also, zombies, which were dressed in traditional English servant costume, doing things like tidying up. Apparently, the ship needed to replenish this zombie-crew from the living crew below, and so, periodically, plucked someone up at random.

My dreams are sadly without a compelling story arc.

Monday, April 23, 2007

p4wn goal

I watched some of the Detroit-Calgary game last night, including the first overtime. I spent the rest of the evening hanging out with Antonio, and he wasn't interested in hockey, so i didn't get to see the end of the game, but i dreamed that Calgary lost on an own-goal. I felt really bad for the guy in my dream who did it. I was glad to find out that that didn't happen (imagine the shame!) but it's too bad Calgary couldn't hang on against Detroit.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

belated show reviews

Saw a great live show last night, and it reminded me that i wanted to write about a show i saw last year. I think i was too much in the throes of personal spaghetti to write much of anything, and i needed to see another show to make me talk about the last one. Or two.

Andey and a friend of ours (taking the ticket we had originally obtained for an ex) went to see the Indigo Girls at the Warfield. They rocked, naturally. Amy wore an amusing shirt depicting several executive-branch types and the words "war criminals" and Emily wore an... AC/DC tee. Opening for them was Bitch. I actually liked Bitch quite a lot, probably because, as a humanist, feminism doesn't bother me. Others i knew that went to the show lauded her musicianship while lamenting her political bent, which is silly. Politics are part of performance, explicitly or not.

In any case, she plugged her next show at a smaller venue, where she was the headline act. Andey and i decided to check that show out. I'm glad we did, but not because of seeing Bitch again. Her act didn't vary in the slightest. Same set in the same order, same jokes between songs, same "spontaneous" talking to the crowd. So... i'm glad we could support her; you know, as a starving feminist artist, or something. I just wish she hadn't plugged a show to people, when it would be the exact same show they saw during the plug.

It did, however, expose me to Mr. Hayashi, a sacramento band that we both really liked. I meant to promote them back then, but never got around to it. The webpage is a myspace profile, but don't hold that against them. Sean writes good stuff, and plays and sings it like he means it, which matters to me. Someone can perform technically brilliant material, but if there isn't feeling behind it, it doesn't really move me.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Last night's dream involved a return of someone to my life that i didn't expect to return, though i very much wanted it. The breakup happened less than a year ago, and is still fresh in my mind. The best part of the dream involved having all of the circumstances and personalities behind the breakup healed. People speaking who couldn't before, and a return of empathy and love that had once, however briefly, suffused the relationship(s).

The dream was mostly joyous, but held a hint of menace, in that a boyfriend (or ex?) of my ex entered into my life along with her. He was largely based on a roommate i had years ago that annoyed the hell out of me. In the dream, he came to the apartment to pick her up, and was obnoxious about... just about everything. He probably represents my view of reality... that there will always be circumstances and personalities that don't work well together, but which interact.

I don't hold any conscious hope that the person i miss will ever speak with me again, but clearly there are parts of my subconscious that don't feel the same. Perhaps re-connecting with an ex from high school via email triggered this dream.

I don't dream all that often. At least, i often don't remember them. Remembering two dreams in a row is extremely rare, and i wonder if a third is on its way.

Friday, April 20, 2007


Last night i dreamed about having two social-circles overlap. The first was my Portuguese family, who live in the south bay. The second were my new Mission-dyke, FTM, genderqueer, and anarchist friends. We (the younger, more queer) group were in the driveway trying to get a car started (dead battery), when a larger group of my more conservative, catholic, extended family arrived... and chose to enter the house by an entrance that didn't require walking past us.

It's pretty obvious what this dream refers to; I think a visit with my family is in order to help me remember that they haven't shunned me and mine.