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July 2005

what people say

July 31, 2005   

I often wonder what other couples talk about when they are alone. Seppo and I have a lot of car conversations, as we carpool to work together nearly everyday. We discuss random things such as:

  • If one of our straight friends came out, who would you be the most surprised about? The least surprised about?
  • What is the first frivolous thing you would buy if you won the lottery?
  • If you were to mix-and-match all of our friends into different couples, who would you match up?
  • If you were to start up a band, who among our friends would you put in the band?
  • Who do you think looks the oldest of our friends? The youngest?
  • Who of our friends would you trust the most in a survival situation?
  • How many cars in the Bay Area do you think have both a Bush/Cheney ’04 bumpersticker AND a rainbow one?
  • Do you think there is a higher probability of people dying on or near their birthdays than on a random other day (not counting major holidays)?
  • What will the new wave of energy production be in the future?
  • What are the most interesting uses of flexible display technology?
  • If you were to make a movie and you wanted someone to provide the score for it, who would it be?
  • What do you think explains our respective self-esteem levels when we were going up?
  • If you were to mix-and-match our friends into other friends’ bodies, who would you put in whose body and why?

We do a lot of these. I think this started back when we were doing the long-distance thing while I was in Boston and he was in LA, then we continued it when he was in Oakland and I was in San Jose. It’s fun, provides a lot of insight into the other person’s mindset, and makes sure that phone conversations are not stilted and boring, which is one of the worst thing that can happen to a long-distance relationship, not to mention the easiest. These conversations, which often seem random and irrelavant to real life, often lead into interesting discussions about things that affect us in a practical level.

I often overhear other couples talking at restaurants and think to myself how I would have to throttle someone if I had to have conversation as inane as they did.

backwards in time

July 25, 2005   

Seppo sent me a link to his old homepage on the way back machine, so I took a trip down memory lane.

Don’t hold me accountable for the stuff I wrote then. 😀

By the way, I updated a bunch of links on the right to reflect websites I actually look at. Yes, I am a copycat. Yes, I am always the last to the party. “Hey guys, where are you going? I just got here! Guys?!”

strike two

July 25, 2005   

What did I do this weekend? I can’t even remember. Friday night, we went over to Uyen and Charles’ house for a delicious dinner of lamb, breaded fried zucchini, and green beans, followed by a very blueberry ice cream. Yum. I just love lamb so much.

Saturday was a big blur. I exercised a little and helped Seppo do some gardening. He spent a lot more time than me working outside though, because I hadn’t realized he was working until later. We grabbed lunch with Steve and Joe at Ratto’s, then took Seppo’s mom for our monthly dinner at Angelfish. The suzuki is fantastic every time I have it, but it was particularly good this weekend. I think I read a little Harry Potter then watched Better Luck Tomorrow.

Sometime in the wee hours of Sunday morning, I finished Harry Potter. We went to Merritt Bakery for brunch, sat around for a bit, then took Mobi to the beach. Oh right, before we went to the beach, we stopped by the Boathouse on Lake Merritt to check it out as a potential place for our reception. The place was… abandoned, complete with broken windows. Hence the title of this blog entry. Heh.

We took Mobi to a little mini beach near the Berkeley Marina. It was a sandy, sheltered area where we could keep a reasonable eye on him, so we let him off the leash. Then he ran away. Ok, just kidding. He didn’t run away.

We made a garlic rosemary lemon roasted chicken au jus for dinner, and invited Uyen and Charles to join Joe, Seppo, and me (Colin is out of town). We made endives for the first time ever. Seppo made a delicious plum “soup” from our new Gordon Ramsay cookbook In the Heat of the Kitchen for dessert.

Then we played Boggle.

Wow, this is the most boring entry ever.


July 21, 2005   

I dragged myself out of bed about 20 minutes earlier than usual and used the Concept II for 15 minutes, watching a little tv in the process. Our second room has a small desk chair for computer use, two small chairs that serve as a little “couch”, the Concept II and something called the Total Body Workout or something like that. I really wish there was a good way to fit in the ellipical rider in that room. It is much easier for me to exercise when I’m watching tv and I can shut the door so no one can see me. But I can’t really see how it will fit. It is, after all, a small room.

I am wondering if I should get up a chart and goal meter like I did for NaNoWriMo. It seemed to work really well as a motivator. We’ll see.

da ladeez

July 20, 2005   

On a serious note: Check out the article titled A Place Where Women Rule to learn about the Kenyan village of Umoja, an all-women village that was built up by women who were raped and subsequently driven out of their homes. It is awesome and inspiring to hear about their successes in the midst of threats and harrassment. Apparently, they are making good trade with their cultural center and camping grounds. They provide shelter for women who run from unwanted marriages as well. [Via I Blame The Patriarchy.]

On a hysterical note: Ann Coulter has been caught plagarizing. I can only point and laugh. [Via Shakespeare’s Sister.]

On a really frivolous note: I was wondering what the new wave of women’s clothing trends is going to be. I feel like we’ve gone as far as we can with the ever-so-classic cleavage peep, which grew to include side- and under-boobage as well. Really, the only requirement seems to be hiding the nippleage. Please, no rehashing the Janet thing. As for the butt, we could (and do) go on and on (and some songs claim that it is the buttocks themselves that go for weeks) about how people feel about the bootay. I have seen more people’s bellies than I care to in my lifetime. Low-rise pants have gotten so low that I suspect that for some women, crotch-area grooming is a strict necessity. Either that, or leotards, but I guess that’s better than the alternative. I have two guesses for the next big thing, and one of them is based on the leotard thing.

  • Butt cleavages – Oh yeah, I can see it now: sweetheart “necklines” for backs of pants to appropriately showcase the rear, sparklies for the top of the crack area, butt makeup to deepen the cleavage.
  • Big, juicy calves – Yeah, I wish. I have a theory (or wistful wish) that one day, big calves will be as desireable as big boobies. Hee.

I hope at the very least that the next new trends are not just to be utterly ugly and hideously unflattering. Note who the designer is.

On a random note: I have a PSA for the women. If you are a man, turn your eyes. Ok, here I go. Try the DivaCup. You’ll be glad you did. Wow, that totally sounded like a commercial. Maybe I too am a plagarist.

luncha muncha

July 18, 2005   

The last few weeks, on days when I can’t pack a lunch, I’ve been hitting the grocery store near Seppo’s work before heading down to my work. I’ve been picking up supplies for salads, sandwiches, fruit, soup, and the occasional microwave meal. It’s so much better than the food I can buy for lunch, and I can eat how much I want (or don’t want) without worrying that I am wasting food. And it’s much cheaper. And frankly, much tastier. It’s one of the best things I’m doing for myself on a daily basis.

Now if only I could get into the habit of exercising. I am going to try the tips in the article Installing a new habit and breaking an old one. It sounds reasonable.

strike one

July 18, 2005   

We went to Lakeside Park this Sunday. It’s astounding how much stuff there was to do there, most of which we didn’t know anything about. Some features of the Lakeside Park:

  • Bonsai Garden
  • Bird Sanctuary
  • Sailboat house (and general boat rental)
  • Garden Center
  • Children’s Fairlyland
  • Junior Arts & Sciences Center
  • Lawn Bowling Greens (complete with seniors in white hats!)
  • Rotary Nature Center

We sat on the grass by the rotunda, where a band (brass & woodwind? I’m not sure. Seppo will correct me) played for a mellow crowd of Sunday parkgoers. Children rode by on tricycles and sat in trees. The ice cream vendors were out in full force. Families fed birds and sat on picnic blankets. It was a wonderful day.

We dropped by the Sailboat House and thought it would be a nice place to get married or have our reception. We called this morning and found that they were going to be renovating the building when we planned to get married. Oh well. I tried not to get my hopes up because I knew we were starting late to try to book a place, and I knew that this was just the first place we called, but it was a little sad. Oh well. There are other places. 🙂


July 15, 2005   

I just finished paying myself back for any “borrowing” I did from my savings account since the beginning of the year, and find that I have a nice tidy sum in my savings.

Logically, I know that any extra I have would be good to throw into the second mortgage, but I find that family emergencies come up often enough where I don’t want to have it even slightly inaccessible. Also, I have no sense of how much I’m “saving” when I simply throw extra money in, which I have been doing every payment to a limited amount. What I need to do is to pay in a bulk payment one month, so I know exactly how much I can pull back out of the second mortgage when I need it without feeling like I’m going into further debt. I think I can cut down my monthly interest by about 1/3 if I throw in all the saving I have.

It feels good to feel like I’m being responsible and frugal, while not really sacrificing my “standard of living” (let’s face it, I’m not a big spender to begin with). I feel like I have enough to help plan/pay for the wedding, help my family out, and keep a little in savings for backup, as well as go out and eat some really good food when I want it. Of course, this is heavily dependent on, say, not having any periods of unemployment in the near future. Keeping fingers crossed.

Speaking of employment, my manager told me that he’s been talking to the director and to HR to try to get me a raise because I just passed my year mark with the company on June 1st. 🙂 Even if I don’t get anything, that is a good feeling that he’s going to bat for me.

I’ve been working crazy hours this past week to meet a deadline. In the past, this kind of thing had made me sort of angry with my old job, because it made me feel like they had really unreasonable deadlines that forced me into this mode. But in my current job, this is only because I had a hard time with a couple of bugs I was working on. I had been given plenty of time and not a large amount of pressure to get those done, so it has been ok. I made a breakthrough earlier this week, so I’m down to two bugs, one of which is almost done anyway. I’ve been feeling kind of energized from the workload. I think that I work best under sort of tight, but not impossible deadlines. I get into a zone where I can cruise through complicated problems quickly and come up with alternate strategies for fixing them. If I’m not in the zone, it takes much longer, so it is almost better for me to be slightly overworked than slightly underworked.


July 12, 2005   

I saw a link to PostSecret again today. It reminded me that I like it.

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail-in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.

Overheard in New York

July 12, 2005   

Once upon a time, some anonymous bastard listed websites he likes to read. I got a bunch of other websites from him, but I only recently started subscribing to Overheard in New York via bloglines, it having come up in my list of recommendations.

This is some seriously hysterical shizznit.

HS girl #1: I have a question. No. She gotta question, but she makin’ me ask you for her because she embarrassed. What’s “drag school”? Thas where you go to learn howda be a drag queen?

Teacher guy: What? Drag school?

HS girl #2: Yeah, you said you was leavin’ us because you gotta go to drag school.

Teacher guy: Grad school. I am leaving you because I am going to grad school.

–Prospect Park BBQ

Guy #1: That’s a cute dog.

Guy #2: Thanks, she’s my daughter.

Guy #1: …How is that possible?

Guy #2: Yeah, that’s right: I gave birth to her, she came out of my vagina.

Comedy gold.