10 May 2010

Hi, do we know each other?

Facebook is driving me nuts.  I'm sure a lot of you feel the same way.  The company keeps changing its privacy policy and setting its defaults to public.  Every time the privacy policy changes, I have to remember to go into my profile and re-set my settings to private so only my friends can see my personal info.  If I haven't been on Facebook for a few days, who knows how long my info has been out there.

On top of that, Facebook has changed the format of its "Likes, Interests, and About Me" section so that if I've indicated I like something, everyone who likes the same thing can see me.  I'm only on Facebook because so many of my friends are, so it's an easy way to keep in touch.  I'm not interested in connecting with people I've never met in person before, so I don't want total strangers who happen to have read the same book and liked it to know that I like it too.  I'm fairly certain I'm not the only Facebook user that feels this way.

Also, Facebook is making assumptions about my personal tastes.  If my "Likes" can't be found on a FB fan page on Facebook (like the book Trust by Frances Fukuyama), Facebook assumes (without consulting me!??!) something else (like the book Trust Me, which I've never read before).  While I appreciate the suggestion, I prefer to have a say in the creation of my own likes and tastes.

The new Facebook is really annoying.  I am considering removing all of my Likes, Interests and About Me info.  After this weekend's FB chat snafu, I've disabled my FB chat function.  I'm probably going to stop sending personal messages over FB as well -- I'm not certain the company cares about my privacy and needs over its need to monetize my information by sharing personal information without my consent or knowledge.

My profile is/was hard to find online -- other than the oversharing due to the issues listed above, only my friends can see me.  Today, some random person from somewhere in Asia sent me a friend request.  Thinking that it might have been someone from high school that I didn't remember, I responded with a message that read, "Hi _____, Thanks for the friend request.  I can't see your picture clearly, so can you remind me of how we know each other?  Did we go to high school together?"

His response: "Yes you can go !"

I'm going assume the answer to my question is NO.  We obviously will not become fast Facebook friends.

08 May 2010

Learning limits

When I started this blog lord knows how many years ago, it was a way for my friends and family to check in on my nonsensical mental ramblings from time to time.  I'm not cool enough to think that anyone really cares what I'm doing or thinking about on a day to day basis, but this blog was an excuse for me to not write each and every one of the people that cared enough to ask me what I've been up to lately on an individual and regular basis.  Want to know what I've been up to lately?  Check the blog -- I probably won't return your emails or calls.

Well, aside from some random postings here and there, I've done a piss poor job returning calls and emails as well as keeping this blog up-to-date.  Er, sorry?

Last week, I promised myself that I would do a better job posting personal updates on this blog.  I swore this at 7am on Monday morning as I tried to motivate myself to be more productive on all fronts -- career, fitness, love, life and personal expression.  Well, fitness won out, and I made it to Yogaworks in time to do two back to back sculpt and yoga classes.  Then career and life took over as my week became consumed by more pressing demands -- job searching, networking, urgent emails, making plans with friends, driving all over northern California, yada yada.  My intentions of being introspective, thoughtful and creative (along with keeping my friends and family posted) went flying out the window, followed shortly by resolutions to eat healthier.

So here I am on a Saturday night, a week late on my new resolve to write more.  Well, a gal's got to start somewhere, so let's pretend it's still Monday, and let me tell you about last (last) week.

It was a week of learning my own limits.  Despite my tender spinster age of 32, I still don't quite know when not to push the envelope.  This is what I learned this week.

Dude, chillax.
I thought I was being productive when I schedule back-to-back meetings along the peninsula on Monday.  The day started early with my third post-op appointment in Redwood City, followed by a coffee meeting/informational interview in Mountain View, followed by a meeting with a recruiting/temp agency in San Bruno.  By the time I made it back to Concord around 7pm, I had spent the entire day in meetings or in my car.  I was overcaffeinated, underfed, and dehydrated, and my body declared war when both my feet cramped painfully.  I wanted to go to the gym.  I wanted to catch up on email.  I wanted to relax.  I was so tired and my feet hurt so much that I could do none of the above.  Everything I wanted to do on Monday night got pushed to the rest of the week.   My attempts to be efficient completely ignored personal and mental health, and in the long run, I was less efficient.

No, bikram and scotch don't mix.  Really.
If Monday night wasn't evidence enough that it's important to listen to my body, I thought I'd test the theory again.  Wednesday was a busy day, and after a long day of emails, phone calls, and research, I hit the bikram studio and made plans to meet a friend for drinks.

Big mistake.  Bikram dehydrated me, and I didn't make time to eat (again).  By my third drink, I was piss ass drunk.  Fortunately, my friend took my car keys away.  Unfortunately for him, I spent the night worshipping porcelain.

While I've had my share of evenings where I may not remember specific comments or conversations (it's usually because it's been a long night where I've had lots of conversations, not because I've been too drunk to remember).  I've always known where I was or what I was doing no matter how many drinks I've had.  Three drinks gets me pleasantly buzzed, not crazy hammered. So, I'm a little freaked that there's a huge chunk of time on Wednesday -- midnight to 4:30 -- that I don't rememer.  I remember blowing chunks, and then the next thing I know, my alarm is going off at 4:30am.  Why it would have been set to 4:30am is a mystery to me.

I embarrassed with my behavior, I feel terrible that my friend had to take care of me, and I'm lucky that nothing worse happened to me.  I've never experienced that before and don't want to again.  Next time, I won't go to yoga, or I'll cancel drinks.  I don't think I can have it both ways.

It does really come back to bite you in the ass.
Thursday -- drunk, nauseous and hung over.  Friday -- exhausted from Wednesday and Thursday.  Did I get everything I wanted to get done this week done?  In retrospect, my efforts to try and cram too much into my days backfired.  One of the reasons I left New York was for a better quality of life, but I'm having a hard time leaving my New York habits behind.  I need to work on taking better care of myself, knowing my own limits and not overextending myself.

...And, the silver lining...
A lot of my past week was spent stressed that I didn't get everything on my to-do list done, angry with myself because it was my fault that I didn't get my to-do list done, and embarrassed that someone had to take care of me.  I'll admit, I was a little depressed and spent a few hung-over days wallowing in self-pity.

So I'm glad something pulled me out of my self- and alcohol-induced funk.  Well, someone.  A boy, actually.

I think we might be dating, but I'm not sure.  I kind of like it this way -- it's a nice, sweet and innocent sort of uncertainty.  The kind that comes from two people who're slowly getting to know each other better.  We're probably both trying to figure out if we're going to end up friends or something more.  While I don't know what I want yet, I do know that there's something about being around him that makes me happy.  I really like spending time with him.

He surprised me on Saturday night with beautiful drive over the GG Bridge and into Marin.  We had dinner at the Parkside Cafe on Stinson Beach, had drinks in Bolinas, and made a pathetic attempt to identify constellations from off of the Shoreline Hwy before heading back to SF.  Even if we weren't on a date and we're just two friends out for dinner, the night still qualifies as one of the best dates I've ever been on.  Spending time with the boy made what was a pretty crappy week end in a good way.

Northwest Passage

I finally got caught up on my episodes of Fringe, and OMG, the show gets better and better with every episode (except for Brown Betty, which was good for character development but did absolutely nothing to move the story along).  I love how the Northwest Passage ended with such a good cliffhanger (even though we all knew that was coming).  Watch FOX cancel this show just as it's getting good.  Networks always find a way to ruin a good show.

Hardcore Riot Dog Seen At Nearly Every Greek Protest (PHOTOS)

Up next: The riot porcupine. Less bark, but more spine.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

20 April 2010

14 April 2010

Astronaut squirrel!

F reports success in her squirrel endeavors.  Astronaut squirrel takes off!!!

I better behave my twinkie self

MTR is a huge fan of Stuff White People Like.  Despite MTR's fair skin and blue eyes, he reports that I'm WAAAY whiter than he is.

These are the things MTR likes:
#123 Mad Men
#114 America
#107 Self Aware Hip Hop References
#99 Grammar
#96 New Balance Shoes
#85 The Wire
#76 Bottles of Water
#73 Gentrification
#64 Recycling
#54 Kitchen Gadgets
#53 Dogs
#42 Sushi
#39 Netflix
#26 Manhattan (now Brooklyn too!)
#19 Traveling
#13 Tea
#11 Asian Girls
#11 Asian Girls
#6 Organic Food

Here are the things I like:
#131 Conan O’Brien
#129 Banksy
#128 Camping
#127 Where the Wild Things Are
#124 Hating People Who Wear Ed Hardy
#120 Taking a Year Off
#115 Promising to Learn a New Language
#114 America
#106 Facebook
#99 Grammar
#91 San Francisco
#90 Dinner Parties
#87 Outdoor Performance Clothes
#84 T-Shirts
#83 Bad Memories of High School
#79 Modern Furniture
#76 Bottles of Water
#73 Gentrification
#72 Study Abroad
#64 Recycling
#54 Kitchen Gadgets
#53 Dogs
#51 Living by the Water
#50 Irony
#49 Vintage
#48 Whole Foods and Grocery Co-ops
#47 Arts Degrees
#44 Public Radio
#43 Plays
#42 Sushi
#41 Indie Music
#40 Apple Products
#39 Netflix
#38 Arrested Development
#35 The Daily Show/Colbert Report
#31 Snowboarding
#28 Not having a TV
#27 Marathons
#26 Manhattan (now Brooklyn too!)
#25 David Sedaris
#24 Wine
#19 Traveling
#18 Awareness
#15 Yoga
#12 Non-Profit Organizations
#10 Wes Anderson Movies
#6 Organic Food
#5 Farmer’s Markets
#1 Coffee

No wonder my parents are disappointed in me.

06 April 2010

This scares me

because I think his picture of the future is right.  And, I think people prefer to play games that provide instant gratification, not games that eventually make us better people.


05 April 2010

This explains so much

about why so many Americans don't know how to use flatware.

Squirrels and their nuts

Remember the squirrels in England that loved their coconuts?  http://allcarbon.blogspot.com/2010/03/nice-nuts.html

Well, F has finally gotten around to creating her coconut helmet. She reports that the "stupid squirrel
can't figure out how to get inside my coconut helmet."

Birthday flowers

from MTR.  Ask me a year ago, and I would have never guessed MTR would be the person he is to me today.  It just goes to show, it's always the ones you never expect to surprise you that end up surprising you.

04 April 2010

Another year, another month, another day, and more of the same. Please don't ask me how I'm doing.

Technically, I've now been in California for six months, but let me cheat a bit and say I've only been in California for one month.  I'm not counting the five weeks I was in Hong Kong or the 2 months I was laid up due to hip surgery.  On bad days, I won't count the three weeks I stayed with Auntie H in Sacramento either.  Therefore, by my adjusted count (this is the rationale by which economists provide forecasts, which is why they are rarely ever accurate), I've REALLY only been in California for a month.  Even if it feels like it's been forever.

I mean, my job search feels like it's taken forever, even though it hasn't.  PW warned me about this.  She said that if I dragged it out and went on and off in spurts, I would eventually burn out.  As always, she's right.  Even though I haven't been aggressive about looking for work and haven't been proactive about networking or applying for jobs until I moved to the East Bay in March, I feel like I've been looking for work forever.  It causes me a lot of anxiety.

Anxiety which is driven in part by the fact that I lost all my unemployment benefits when I left NYC because I also left behind a part time job that paid approximately $100/wk before taxes.  In the eyes of the Department of Labor, I voluntarily left employment, so I'm now ineligible for unemployment benefits.  In reality, I had been laid off from a six figure job and worked part time so I could continue to feel like a productive member of society.  I made a maximum of $100/wk before taxes, or about $70/wk after taxes, which didn't even cover my weekly groceries much less my monthly rent of $2,600.  When I wrote the Department of Labor explaining that: 1) it was a part time job that paid up to $400/mo, 2) I had moved to California, and 3) I was dedicating my efforts to look for full time employment, I received a ruling that said that my reasons were not valid enough to leave my part time job.  But, I digress.

My anxiety which is also driven by the knowledge that I'm operating without a safety net not only on the monetary front, but also on the social front.  I just don't know that many people here -- I don't have many friends or professional contacts in northern California.  I spend my days asking the few people I do know who they know that I might be able to speak with.  And, when I meet with those people, I ask them to provide names and suggestions on more people to speak with.  I play six degrees of separation, but instead of Kevin Bacon, we're dealing with random people who live in the Bay Area.

My anxiety manifests itself in funny ways.  In the past week and half, every time someone would ask me  how I was doing or what I've been up to, I would burst into tears.  I can't quite explain it.  I can't control it at all.  It's really quite embarrassing and horrible feeling.

Someone called me yesterday to ask me what I planned on doing to celebrate my 32nd birthday.  I said that I had no plans, and he insisted that I do something to celebrate.  When I responded that I didn't want to make a big deal out of anything, that it had been a rough few months so I wasn't in the mood, and that I preferred to just keep it quiet, he kept pushing and raving about how it's important for me to celebrate myself and not the things I did or didn't accomplish.  I really didn't want to talk about it and told him so, but still, he kept pushing until I started to cry.  In hindsight, I should have just hung up the phone instead of politely bearing through a conversation I had already made clear I didn't want to have, but I didn't.  And as a result, we both had to deal with the discomfort of my tears and I felt much worse for it afterwards.  Today, I saw R and her mom. Her mom so innocently asked me how I've been lately, and I started to cry.

Really, it's all just simple small talk.  But, I just don't seem to handle even small talk these days.  I oscillate wildly between hope and despair over whether my life will get better, whether I will find work, whether my move to California was a mistake, and wonder if I will find happiness in my new life.  On the days I have hope, I'm fine.  Almost positively optimistic.  And, on the days where I feel despair, I almost can't do the smallest things.  On those days, be sure not to ask me any questions about me.   I'm not sure I can answer any of them without bursting into tears.

31 March 2010

30 March 2010

This is my life

I've been unhappy lately.  I've been unable to motivate, I wage a small war with depression and my ability to get out of bed in the morning, and I'm frustrated.  I often ask myself what I did wrong, replaying what-ifs in my head and wondering where things went wrong.  I can't quite put my finger on things, but I think what I suffer from is a lack of fulfillment.

Which surprises me and teaches me things about myself I never knew.

I've always prided myself in taking joy in the simple things in life.  I've never been someone who has let my job, my possessions, my friends, my looks, or my income define me.  Yet, here I am, one year and four months out of work, newly moved to California, financially insecure, unhealthier and fatter than I've been in a while, recovering from hip surgery.  Unhappy.  Unfulfilled.

Why do I feel this way?

Why am I so focused on the negatives when in reality, I am surrounded by family and friends that love me, that care for me, that are there for me?  When I have a safe place to live, and a functional car that takes me where I need to be?  When I have access to running water, heat, and healthy food?

I'm so caught up in acquiring my perception of happiness and success that I've failed to just live.  To truly experience.  Which was the reason I took 12 months from work, the reason I spent most of 2009 traveling, doing odd non-corporate jobs, volunteering, being a part of my community -- I wanted to experience life in a way that I hadn't before.  I want to be able to say that I lived my life.

Was I truly happy as a desk jockey that worked 50-80 hour weeks?  Was I truly happy living a life that started at 6am and didn't end until midnight?  Was I truly happy because I bought a $1,200 handbag?  Was I truly happy making six figures but paying $3,000 a month to live in a mouse-infested apartment building in a desirable neighborhood?

When I try to place myself in that life again, I remember that I wasn't.  That I hated that life too.

So, why is it that I'm trying to find that life again?  That the life I have now isn't ok?

JP, the world's best therapist, says that when we're faced with the unknown, we often revert back to the familiar even if it isn't good for us or hurts us.  That's why children of addicts marry one or become addicts themselves.  Perhaps in the face of the unknown and uncertain future, I wish I had my old life because I know it "works." I don't know whether my current life will succeed.  I don't have a map that tells me that I should do next.  I am just here.

I'm scared.  Which is why I've been wishing for something I walked away from. To truly experience life, I ought to embrace my fear.  Live in the moment.  Fill up on my experiences.  Even the hard ones.  Because struggles, personal frustrations, fear, uncertainty.  That's life too.

I am not my job or my ability to find a job.  I am not my income.  I am not the clothes I wear, the bags I carry or the places I shop.  I am not my busy schedule, my social calendar or the hours spent at the gym.  This is my life, and I'm exactly where I should be right now.

26 March 2010

F says, "Poor alligator, probably swimming around thinking 'Where the fuck am I? This don't look like Georgia.'"

Fresh water alligator found 20 miles out to sea swimming with whales
This is why animals love F so much.  Because she always knows exactly what they're thinking.

"You are disturbing me. I am picking mushrooms,"

Best fucking response to anything. Ever. If I were as smart as Perelman, I might have the balls to respond to someone that way.

Grigori Perelman, Reclusive Russian Math Genius, Refuses $1 Million Prize

As to why Perelman lives in a shithole, cares nothing about personal hygiene or creature comforts -- perhaps he's so freaking smart he's transcended all of that? The rest of us of average intelligence, we get caught up in chasing creature comforts. What else would occupy the empty expanse of space between our ears if we didn't have TV and video games?

16 March 2010

Does skin color really affect the way people tip?

This article seems to think so: http://www.thegrio.com/money/does-race-play-a-role-in-the-way-we-tip.php

Here's an excerpt:

Dr. William Michael Lynne, a full professor of consumer behavioral marketing at Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration has been examining the relationship between gratuities and race since the late-80s but due to what he saw as a politically sensitive topic, Dr. Lynne only recently began to discuss some of the implications attached to the subject. "It's a dirty secret in the industry that there is a wide spread perception that blacks don't tip well," says Lynne. Because of this perception, Lynne believes that African-Americans might often receive inferior service.
Beyond the perception however, Lynne who has conducted surveys in targeted areas of he U.S. as a well as telephone interviews across the nation, believes that at least some of the evidence from a compiled research paper titled, "Race Difference in Tipping", first published in 2006, supports the negative perception of blacks and tipping.
According to Lynne, one study from the paper concluded that among whites, blacks, Hispanics and Asians, blacks gave or claimed to give the lowest average tip. In another survey from the same report blacks were more than twice as likely as whites to leave a flat dollar amount instead of a gratuity reflecting a percentage of the bill. Part of Lynne's research also came from opinions and data collected from restaurant servers. (It is critical to note that Lynne's studies, at this point, did not take into account blacks or whites from other countries who may have adhere to different gratuity practices from abroad.)

12 March 2010

Maps versus humor

My obsession with all things diagrammatic and maplike is at war with my love of funny, witty and insightful observations.  I can't decide which will win out.  Check it:

Abstract City: My Way
Published: March 10, 2010
Getting there from here: one artist maps out the most accurate routes for all occasions.

11 March 2010

When I grow up...

I love the movie Ghostbusters. And, I think it was because of that movie that I've always wanted to live in a converted firehouse. While other girls were fantasizing about castles, Prince Charming and unicorns, I wanted to live in a firehouse when I grew up. An old school one with a pole through the floors. By the time other girls my age were hanging dream catchers over their beds, I was thinking about how cool it would be if I could convince all my close friends to live in this firehouse with me. We could convert each floor into an apartment or two, have a couple of dogs and cats, and use the ground floor (with its big red fire engine garage doors) as a workshop and garage. That way, I'd have the best of both worlds -- my friends when I wanted to see them, and my own place when I didn't. Naturally, I never actually lived in a firehouse. Neither did my friends.

Now that I'm older, I no longer fantasize about a firehouse full of friends. Lately, I've had a new thought as I've read about a slew of Napa and Sonoma vineyards under financial duress, and I've been fantasizing about a new future. Instead of a firehouse, it'd be awesome if my friends and I could pool together about $2M for couple of acres of vineyard (complete with farmhouse and barn) an hour or two outside San Francisco. It'd be enough acreage to make about 300 cases a year, which definitely wouldn't be enough to make a profit (unless we're talking about Screaming Eagle), but it might be enough for us to be hobby vintners and have a place to go get away, be outside, work the land and hang out. It'll never happen, but with Ghostbusters far behind me, it's nice to have such thoughts.

10 March 2010

Nice nuts

F has the utmost patience and understanding when it comes to animals. Animals gravitate towards her in an uncanny, come to jesus way. Remind me never to tell you about my embarrassing squirrel incident at Golden Gate Park -- Fran reacted to the same incident with poise and aplomb.

Recently, F told me about her new squirrel friend. She noticed that he spent a lot of time in her yard, so she left him a few seed on the patio. The next day, the seeds were gone, but the squirrel had left her a present. A peanut.

This is her next project: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1256202/The-squirrels-love-stuck-coconuts.html

23 February 2010

BlogHer interviews Matthew Gasteier, creator of "F U, Penguin" blog


I'll admit, I lizzed a bit

One of the funnier websites I've seen lately. I'll admit to a bit of lizzing when I saw it.

Fuck You, Penguin

22 February 2010

Engrish license plate

F reports she saw an Asian lady driving a Lexus with a license plate that read My Rexus.