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23 March 2013 @ 04:49 pm
well, mostly defunct, I guess.

I got married. And I had a baby. It's her first birthday on Tuesday! I am an excellent 1880s first baseman. Now you're all caught up.
Current Mood: not defunct
18 October 2008 @ 11:09 am
okay, it's the day before the Nike Women's Half Marathon, which I have done the last three years with Suzy. This year she is unavailable due to pregnancy and general laziness, and the person who was supposed to take over her entry bailed on me last week, so I am in principle going alone. I haven't done a training run since May and I'm about fifteen pounds heavier than I was last time I ran. Is this a terrible idea?

Negatives of running:
I'm kind of out of shape for it.
I have a broken left big toe (broken about six weeks ago, but doesn't seem to have healed properly; I've run a block or two and been fine but it does still hurt sometimes and doesn't really bend)
I have to wake up at 5:30 tomorrow morning to do it.
I will probably cramp up massively at some point.
I don't really like running alone and I haven't gotten around to finding an iPod or something, although I'm sure I can if I need to.
I can probably still sell my entry for something close to the $90 entry fee.

Positives of running:
I can prove to myself that I can still run a half marathon without training, which implies that I'm not in as bad shape as I could be.
I would be kind of embarrassed if I wussed out at this point.

so now what?
10 September 2008 @ 02:30 am
Last Wednesday, I took my car to the train to the plane to another plane to a car to a train to another train to a bus to a trolley, and at the end of that I was on a Swiss Alp. Now I am home. I'll write more about the trip later, probably, but here are the pictures:


07 August 2008 @ 03:09 pm
I live in what is supposedly one of the greatest loci of intelligent people in the world, in the center of Silicon Valley, where the brilliant inventors converge to develop the ideas that will carry us into the future.

So sometimes it's good to go into the Palo Alto Safeway and see a little reminder that there are dumb people everywhere:

02 August 2008 @ 11:22 pm
Dad and Andi came out and looked at condos with me.  We decided that nothing that we saw was quite perfect for my needs, and rather than feeling rushed to find something I would rent for a little while and check again in a few months when maybe I'd have more money saved up or know more about what my life status would be.  I was trying to find something that was big enough that I could have someone live with me if I wanted to without feeling cramped, in a decent neighborhood, and semi-affordable, and I think that's just unreasonable to try to find right now.  Rent in SF is kind of crazy, especially if I'm trying to rent in the areas that I want to live in, but I may have found a decent option.  More news as it develops.
02 August 2008 @ 10:54 pm
oh yeah, I never wrote this up.

I ended up staying up until about 2:30 on Thursday night talking to Aaron.  He's like an older, bitterer, cynicaler, funnier version of me.  We had a lot in common to talk about.  He had some useful advice to contribute which involves looking at the world in a somewhat less magical but more efficient way than I usually do.  Not sure how well I can use it, but it was interesting to think about.

Anyway, I was exhausted the next morning and got downstairs a bit late.  I apparently missed whatever minor unpleasantness resulted from the various misunderstandings from dinner Thursday night and defended Priscilla's honor in re how easy it was to go down the street the wrong way with the lights off.  Then the entire group went off to a house to do a bit of yardwork all together.  I got to help knock down an old collapsing fence with a sledgehammer.  I felt quite manly.  Then I spent the rest of the morning carrying branches and clippings and grass to the truck for disposal.  We finished around lunch and a couple people went to the dump to unload the truck; the rest of us went back to camp to shower and change clothes.

At lunch, I got another reminder that I wasn't hanging out with my usual social group.  Julia (an Asian girl from San Jose) was telling us about how she'd gone to the dump and wanted to take pictures of the group at work, and the dump manager came out and yelled at her saying "No cameras!"  Even after she explained that she was just with our volunteer organization and just wanted pictures of us, he kept saying "no cameras" and wouldn't let her do it.  At the end of the story, I leaned over and said "you know, I think 'cameras' might be slang for 'Asians'."  She looked at me, shocked, and said "you really think so?"  I sighed and said "no... no, I don't."  And she looked at me like I was the asshole!  How unfair.

After lunch, Tom and Jules invited me to stay with them and Ernie in their room in the city overnight instead of staying at Camp Hope, which sounded like a lot more fun.  I packed and drove up with Priscilla.  I dropped my luggage off at the Marriott and went with her to her hotel.  She went to take a nap and I went exploring in the French Quarter.  I finally took my first real injury of the week -- I banged my hand on the handle of the shower door at the spa at the Ritz-Carlton after my massage.  I also found a good liquor store and bought a case of Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine (smells like eggnog, tastes like burning) to bring home.  Then I walked the mile or so to the jazz club where we were meeting up that night.  I got dinner by myself at a little diner (my first real jambalaya of the trip) and then hung out with various other people while they ate.  It was nice to spend a couple hours by myself.  The jazz club was dark and loud and fun.  The trombone player/singer got me to buy a CD but then told me to put it away; I eventually figured out that he'd sold me one of his albums and was keeping the money rather than selling me one of the band's CDs.  After a while we wandered off to explore Bourbon Street, which was about as expected but with less flashing.  I was getting very tired and headed home to the hotel around midnight and dozed until Tom and Jules came back, then went to bed.

Saturday was just bouncing through various airports trying to fly standby.  I got home around 9:30, got a ride back to my car, then promptly turned around and headed back to SF to go to another jazz club (apparently I hadn't had enough of that).  Whee.
31 July 2008 @ 11:14 pm
at some point I'll write the day 5 update, but right now is not that time. it's been a long week.

but I got all my pictures together and organized and captioned. they are at http://picasaweb.google.com/wilykatenator/OneBrickNewOrleans02.
25 July 2008 @ 12:53 am
I haven't forgotten about the blog, but I'm finally feeling like I have enough energy that I can go out at night and I have found a bunch of entertaining people to do it with.

It's 1am and in theory I have to be up at 6:45 tomorrow but enh, I'll write.

day 3: They didn't learn from how quickly we painted the first place (it's a three-day job and we did it in two) and assigned us another house for which we just had to paint the attic. It wasn't nearly as hot as the last one and I spent most of the time in the rafters, some of which was lying down across a couple beams and painting behind my head. We were done by lunch. Went to lunch at a little fresh seafood place where I had a hot sausage and a crab-stuffed artichoke and some people had some huge crabs. Then they didn't have another job for us that wouldn't either involve teaching us a new task (which would take a while) or that we could complete without running way over our normal stopping time, so we went home and showered and headed out to be tourists. We drove around New Orleans a bit and visited the Musician's Village, which is a housing development being built by Habitat for Humanity along with Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis to house some of the displaced musicians who would weaken the culture of the city if they left. It's very pretty. Then we walked around a shopping area and chatted and eventually went to dinner at a bar that had mediocre food and apparently good drinks. We talked a lot (people think my stories are amusing, which is nice) and then seven of us went across the street and jumped the fence into the cemetery and walked around for a while. Charlotte cleverly noticed that there was an open gate much farther down, which was useful.

In other news, right about the time that Mom sent me an email warning me that I was allergic to mold, I noticed an allergic outbreak across my upper back. It doesn't seem to have spread and it's not that annoying -- it looks like a bunch of pimples or water blisters or something, and they don't really hurt -- but it was bad enough that on day 4 when we were supposed to do actual mold removal, I begged off.

day 4: I originally got switched to the team that was collecting trash from various houses and taking it to the dump, but then I got moved to one of the teams doing "mudding", which is putting some sort of mud-like spackle (I think) on drywall. Rather than teaching me a lot of new technique, they had me covering screws, which was tedious. And for some reason, this was the first time I got really tired. I kind of slacked. Many other people did, it turns out, although not at my site. At lunch we met up with most of the rest of the crew and two of the other teams campaigned to get me switched to theirs, and I ended up going to the other team that was theoretically doing mudding, but again I got a different job. I re-set a handful of screws that were done poorly, and then I gutted a bathroom with a crowbar. Good times. I felt very powerful and covered in drywall dust. Then I cleaned a lot. Afterward, we went home and showered and got dressed up all pretty and the cool kids went off to New Orleans to a fancy restaurant. We went to a restaurant called "Cochon" and I had fried alligator and ham hock and champagne and they were all good. Then we went to Cafe Du Monde and had coffee and beignets. On the way home, our driver did a poor job of noticing that her lights weren't on and was distracted by the GPS that apparently sent her the wrong way down a one-way street, and at the end of that street (which fortunately nobody else came down) a cop was waiting. We threw enough stuff at the wall (lost, rental car, rebuilding, etc) that the cop actually let us go with a warning. And now I am home and I am going to be very tired tomorrow.

It was an amusing look into my childhood/early adult insecurities that my primary thoughts about dinner were (a) "This was a lot of fun" and (b) "I'm out with the cool kids! This never happens!" and I'm not sure which was stronger. But it was really fun. Three of them live in SF and I will see them again.

I'm sure I am overlooking stuff but tired. Night!
23 July 2008 @ 06:43 am
overslept a little, got a quick breakfast, and headed out to the work site for day 2. We were a little ahead of schedule and thought we might get done today. Most of the remaining work was in the rafters/attic or at the tops of the walls, so I spent most of the day with my arm above my head and/or on a ladder. My shoulder is tired. Also I got paint in the corner of my eye and it's sort of irritated but I seem to have avoided any major problems. The attic was over 120 degrees for most of the day. Tom sweats more than anyone I know except maybe Alex Werner. There was a puddle on the ground beneath where he was working in the attic and you could see drops of dirty water getting ready to drip off the rafter he was sitting on. Ugh. I had a little more sympathy for him once I spent some time up there, but... not much. We got finished around 4:15 and cleaned up and took pictures, after which I noticed a few bars that hadn't been painted, but we were apparently quite done. I know I was. There wasn't enough time for frozen custard before going home and showering for dinner.

Using the scientific method, I determined by experimental evidence that the maximum number of times I am willing to get paint in my beard is one. So I am clean-shaven for the rest of the week.

Dinner was cooked for us by some locals who have a huge dinner for all the volunteers once a month at the Knights of Columbus. The food here is ridiculously good, even things I wouldn't have thought I would like. Grilled pork roast, string bean and artichoke casserole, and "camp beans" which were incredible. I got the email address of the guy who made the beans to get the recipe, although he said that he doesn't use a recipe and the only thing that exists is a record made by someone who watched him and tried to write down what he did. We had a "king cake" for dessert, which many people got excited about (Nada: "Why are people cheering? What's king cake?" Charlotte: "It's cake, who cares?") (it's a Mardi Gras tradition and it's very heavily spiced cake and it is good) and then watched a video made by the guy who was running the dinner.

It's amazing to me that of all the people we've talked to who were displaced by Katrina, some of whom will never be able to go home because of the massive oil spill that rendered a lot of St. Bernard Parish uninhabitable (although this has never really been publicized, it was the largest domestic oil spill in US history), none of them have had a bad thing to say about the experience or about the government response or anything. They are all completely preoccupied with how thankful they are that so many people have come to help. I will write more about this later in the week, but what he was saying was that although it is nice and definitely helpful if you contribute money to the Red Cross or the St. Bernard Project or put a few dollars in the collection plate at church or whatever, it makes a tremendously bigger difference to come in person and remind these people that they haven't been forgotten and that people care about them.

Somebody (one of the other locals, I think) asked why he was wearing the same shirt in so many of the pictures. His wife explained that you could tell all the refugees because they had been told to pack three days' worth of clothes and then lived in them for a month.

After dinner I went to a daiquiri place with the team leader and three of the younger girls from the team. One of them is in her mid-20s and is a public school teacher and is very normal (she's from a suburb near where I grew up and made a big deal about where I went to high school), the other two are 19 and 24 and are from a very different social experience than mine. It was... interesting. I had maybe 2/3 of a daiquiri (they come premixed in big Slurpee machines) and didn't feel anything from it. Go fig.

Woke up a bit early because I couldn't get on a computer last night and the wireless dropped a couple minutes after I got on and I wanted to write. Breakfast now. I'm not sure where we're being sent today, but there's a threat of actually doing real mold work. Ugh.
21 July 2008 @ 10:44 pm
playing Taboo, and I gave the clue "The 'blank' Falcon, Star Wars." My entire team just stared at me and then started guessing random colors. I couldn't think of another hint other than "You can't be serious."