Saturday, June 30, 2007
Tina met me there and we went to some tapas place in downtown Palo Alto for dinner. We wanted light food, so we ate about 2 full baguettes worth of bread and butter and ordered two little dishes - a tuna tartare with taro chips and some crab cakes. I love me some crab cakes. We also got a bottle of wine, which for me after the previously mentioned bar outing pushed me beyond the legal limit, so afterwards we needed something to do to sober up before driving. What did we do? We went to the Apple store. There was a line of people waiting to get in, because a bunch of employees were keeping the crowd inside the store at a reasonable level (actually it was pretty open still and not insanely crowded, which is a very Appley thing to do). First we just wanted to witness the spectacle of the line, but then it was suddenly short so we hopped to the front of it and got in. There was a split where you could either walk over and play with the phone, or walk straight up and buy one. I was shocked that they were still in stock. They didn't have the 8GB but they had the 4. I started talking to these two Apple employees - one who works at the store, and another who actually works for Apple in what is called the "Executive Relations" team. Which is, as far as I can tell, the team that does customer service for the people who are pissed off or delusional enough to e-mail Steve Jobs directly. He claims Steve reads every e-mail he gets (any permutation of stevejobs at apple dot com or sjobs or steve.jobs or whatever) and then if for some reason he doesn't answer them (insert editorial comment here: he doesn't answer any of them) he passes them to this team. My personal theory is of course that his beleaguered executive assistant reads his e-mail, but that's just my opinion. Anyway so I basically challenged these Apple guys to sell me on the iPhone. And they couldn't do it! One guy was like "I'm on a family plan with Verizon so I'm not switching. Maybe later." And the other guy is getting one for free, because by the end of the month of July, any employee of Apple who has worked there for more than a year is getting a phone.
After a bit of this, I walked over to the phone and was waiting to play with it. These two guys were taking their sweet time with it, and after a bit, I noticed one of them had a Google badge in his pocket and he turns out to be a Google intern. So I made friends with them as well. It's just insane how you run into all these people out who work for these companies and you can have lame conversations like "Ah, YouTube, one of the front page applications on the iPhone." Which we did, and I did play with the iPhone and it is pretty sweet I have to say, although that keyboard definitely does take some getting used to. Or, would take. I didn't buy one. I may just wait and see if we get some at work (even if we do, I won't, because everyone wants one) or if it ever goes to Verizon. Because I do my research and I hear the data plan sucks. BUT it is revolutionary.
Then Tina and I really liked the bags that people were walking out with - the iPhone bags. So we asked the two guys at the counter if we could have the bags, and they gave them to us with minor grumbling. We said bye to Peter (the family phone plan Apple store employee who is going to be an art student next year) and then before we left we asked the guys outside the store manning the line to take a picture of us with the giant iPhone display. We held up our bags and they totally thought we had bought iPhones and were just so jazzed we had to commemorate the occasion. What IS this place?
We went to Tina's house, which is tricked out because her roommate has his own design company and he has designed most of the stuff in the house, from random gadgets to wall decorations to the giant contraption with a swing on it over the pool to the lighting scheme and to some of the lamps themselves. I am a little obsessed with the lamps but apparently he charges a lot. Tina and I hung out in the hot tub and I jumped in the pool off the swing and it was really an amazing end to the evening. I quite love the random things that happen in my life and the random people I meet. And I love California - for some reason I feel like my life here is singularly awesome. I love jumping from a hot tub to a cold swimming pool. And ending up at a house that is decorated by a self-employed genius artist. And being able to talk about anything with almost anyone you meet, and meeting new people all the time who are interesting and interested.
Now, to read Harry Potter, attempt to clean my room, find myself breakfast, and then to later on barbecue and drink margaritas ("fresh margs" as Kirsten Cohen would say) on my friend Julia's front lawn, provided the two of us can figure out how to get the grill started.
Friday, June 29, 2007
I am moving. My roommate Kelly is moving to San Diego for grad school (PhD, neurology, scary) and I decided I wanted to be closer to my new love in life, San Francisco. Seriously, I'm not kidding when I say that I'm in love with that city. I'm actually sort of obsessed with it, and the idea of living there is still kind of feeling too good to be true. I know there are the annoying city things but seriously, spend one full weekend there and tell me you don't love it.
Dan and I found a place in the Mission that is pretty much perfect. The apartment is small and quirky, in that Victorian San Francisco way, and the street it's on is adorable. All the trees have decorations on them and apparently they have block parties. And you know your neighbors. After two years in an apartment where the most vivid memory of my neighbors was the time the fire alarm went off at 6am, I really can't wait to get to a street/neighborhood that feels like a community. We have a little backyard and a little "front yard" which is more like a concrete square with a fence around it, but we're going to pot some plants and herbs and put them there where they will get the (admittedly so-not-daily) sunshine. It's a three bedroom, so in theory Dan's current roommate Sarah is going to move with us as well (somewhat unconfirmed at the moment). I am so very excited for this!
Here's my new street:
And my house is this one on the right, the bottom floor:
Friday, June 22, 2007
Pablo sent this to me this morning. I won't actually copy over everything that I typed to him in response, but I just have this one thing to say:
Miss Playfoot completed her GCSEs last week and has now left the school.
But her father Phil, who is a pastor, said she still wanted to pursue the case because of its wider significance for all Christians.
"I think there's something bigger at stake here," he said.Are you fucking kidding me? These are Christians in a Western country and they're bitching about discrimination. Shades of "War on Christmas," if you ask me.
In the big picture, I'm fine with religious expression. I understand the school wanting to have a dress code, and I understand that they're trying to allow some religious expression when it's "appropriate" or "integral" or whatever. But what religions make the cut, what religions qualify you for religious expression? A cross is ok, a head scarf is ok, but what about Wiccan jewelry, or a t-shirt that has a Satanic symbol?
What makes something a "legitimate" religion? Who sets the standard?
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Dying pants yellow for my Bay to Breakers costume.
The one calm moment before the insanity. The Gatorade is so the Ninja Turtles could make Ooze.
Me (April O'Neil, in a really unflattering outfit) and the Turtles and Splinter.
Beginning of our camping trip - the dam at Hetch Hetchy.
The view from our campsite.
Why I couldn't enjoy the view: I was sick and delirious in that tent that's just obscured in the background there.
On the hike down.
I love taking pictures in the sun - you can hardly tell if you're getting the picture you want. This time I totally did. I'm super proud.
My friend Matt (on the right) and his friend Ben at a work event at Giants Stadium - in the dugout!
Another BBQ in San Francisco... This one is looking south/south-west (I think!) from Lafayette Park.
Dan and his brother Matt in the park.
These are olallieberries!! We picked them.
This picture reminds me of Blueberries for Sal.
Getting ready for kayaking.
Sunday, in the backyard of Rogue Public House in North Beach.
More pictures here, but not all of them are up since sometimes Bay to Breakers pictures should really be kept under wraps (nothing too sketchy though, I promise.)
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Anyway, here's just one example of this. I hadn't really paid attention to this until today, but La Blogotheque does "Take Away Shows" of musical artists performing sort of on the fly. Like here, Sufjan Stevens on a roof in Cincinnati:
Or how about the National, my latest favorite:
I took a day off work today because I wasn't feeling so great, but it's been sort of an up-and-down. I did some work and spent most of my day catching up on blog reading which was really necessary in that very unnecessary way. I probably will head out this evening to buy PBR Light and tissue paper for Tropicalismo, and maybe I'll do the elliptical and watch some Veronica Mars. I should be mildly ill more often.
Dan sent this to me. It takes me back. Back to around TWO YEARS ago when we went on our road trip! How I wish I could do that again... maybe hit up the Eastern Seaboard this time. Or Canada. Or, make it to Yellowstone or Glacier National Park. I love road tripping. I should be independently wealthy.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
I particularly like this one.
AVC: Was there any one character that you felt most comfortable writing [for Da Ali G Show], that you connected with most strongly?
SR: Oddly enough, we ended up writing a lot of the Bruno stuff. That just started to be very funny to us. I found myself speaking in this gay Austrian voice for weeks and weeks on end. [Laughs.] It kind of begins to seep into your brain. I would go to sleep thinking of Bruno jokes. Ali G was fun to write for, too, just because he was so stupid. [Laughs.]AVC: In the movie, the decision on whether to keep the baby is settled pretty quickly. You have that scene where Jonah Hill suggests something "that rhymes with sma-smortion," but the story doesn't linger there long. Was there any discussion of having that decision be a bigger part of the movie? Or is that sort of a non-starter as far as the comedy goes?
SR: We always knew that was not something we wanted to dwell on. It wasn't a movie about a woman deciding whether she should keep her baby; it was about a woman who decided she was going to keep the baby. We shot a lot of versions of the scene with Katherine and her mother, where her mother's talking about it. And there's the scene you mentioned where the guys talk about it. But ultimately, we just used as much or as little of it as we felt we needed to and was entertaining. Politically, I have no relevant opinions. I'm not going to shatter anyone's world by our take on Planned Parenthood. But it just seemed like, you need her to make that decision to get to the other hour and a half of the movie, so let's just try to get there.
AVC: What were your experiences showing The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up in front of a test audience? Do you feel like there's anything constructive to be learned from that process?
SR: Yeah. I have become a giant fan of the testing process, especially with a comedy. I mean, they tell you what's funny. It's almost tailor-made for people who shoot the way we shoot, trying a million different options and versions of things. Because the audience doesn't laugh at a joke, we put in another joke. If they don't laugh at the next joke, we put in another joke. We did about 10 test screenings of Knocked Up, and I would have happily done 10 more if the studio would have given us the money. You just keep doing them and you can get the movie to the point where every joke is funny, if you have enough options in the can. It's always a little nerve-wracking, because you never know how that first audience is going to react. But luckily, our movies have tested pretty well. I think it's outrageously useful, the information we get from those audiences.
AVC: But aren't there times when you just have to just trust your instincts that something is funny, even if not everybody gets it?
SR: Yeah. Take the crowning shots [in Knocked Up], for example. Like, I'd say, probably more people pointed out that they didn't like that in the movie than that they did. But we're there, we see how the theater reacts to it, and you know, they clearly like it. [Laughs.] They might not want to say they do. Even if, in retrospect, they didn't enjoy watching it, it made the movie a little bit better and more interesting, and we know that, so we just kind of have to trust that. Same with the singing and dancing at the end of Virgin, actually. Over half of the test audience didn't like the dancing. They were like, "It's weird, it comes out of nowhere." And we just had to say, "It's fucking funny." "I think it's funny. Do you guys think it's funny?" "I think it's fucking funny, too." "Fuck it, let's just put it in."I liked the dancing parts.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
That aside, I do feel rather inspired to cook now, albeit with normal, non-black-chicken. I'm loving all the summer grilling issues of food magazines. I bought TWO Martha Stewart magazines the other day (Living and Everyday Food). Luckily it's summertime, and it's time for some barbecues!
And also, Anthony Bourdain is awesome. If I had better drinking tolerance, I'd totally go on a bender with him.
Monday, June 11, 2007
“The longer you work, the less efficient you are,” said Bob Kustka, the founder of Fusion Factor, a productivity and time-management consulting firm in Norwell, Mass. He says workers are like athletes in that they are most efficient in concentrated bursts. Elite athletes “play a set of tennis, a down of football or an inning of baseball and have a pause in between,” he says. Working energy, like physical energy, “is best used in spurts where we work hard on a few focused activities and then take a brief respite,” he says.
And those respites look an awful lot like wasting time.
It has taken me years to make tentative peace with my stops and starts during work. Every morning I vow to become a morning person, starting full speed out of the gate. And every morning I daydream, shuffle papers, read e-mail messages and visit blogs, and somehow it is time for lunch. Then, at about 2 p.m., a sense of urgency kicks in, and I write steadily, until about 5 or 6, when I revert to the little-of-this, some-of-that style of the morning.Amen, sista.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Young Mustafat, who maintains a strict diet of inner turmoil and bleached hope, looks forward to watching the ESPN-televised event to better understand what gigantically wasteful, fucking super-retards we all are.
While it may be impossible to understand the mental temerity and physical excellence it takes to master these dazzling sports, we can expect great things in the future from exciting athletes like Don Lerman and Mustafat Osmana. And although oceans and even the most basic human rights may separate these two great peoples, we are ALL bound together by the vibrant spirit of competition and grotesque displays of boundless, unapologetic shitheadery.I never thought I'd say this about Ryan Reynolds, but I kind of wish I'd written that. via Lindsayism (one of my imaginary internet friends).
Monday, June 04, 2007
According to an authoritative global study, Americans now watch television an average of 4 hours and 35 minutes every day—90 minutes more than the world average. When you assume eight hours of work a day, six to eight hours of sleep and a couple of hours to bathe, dress, eat and commute, that is almost three-quarters of all the discretionary time the average American has.
It makes me wonder where I fall in relation to that average. (Does TV on DVD count?) And it makes me want to excise useless TV from my life. Becca and I were talking yesterday about how we like Heroes a lot, except we don't miss it when we aren't watching it. Whereas the Office, when it isn't on (like right now, sad), I feel a void in my life. I almost think that's the only show that makes me feel that way when it's not on, except for maybe Friday Night Lights. That's it! One half-hour show. And yet I still theoretically "watch" 24, Heroes, Grey's Anatomy (I'm definitely giving that up), and Ugly Betty, plus there's always the reality TV shows like Top Chef which is coming back in a few weeks. The thing about a TV show you kind of care about but don't deeply care about is that it's not just a 2 hour commitment like a movie - it's 20 hours a year, or a season at least, if it's an hour long show. That's a lot of time when you think about it.
I have been thinking a lot though, recently, about getting rid of things that aren't useful - I've been cutting back on my blog reading, trying to only stick to what I care about or am really interested in - I've noticed a lot more clothes in my closet that I just don't care to own anymore - this TV thing - the candy that's been sitting in my room for months - and so on. It's almost like I can feel the necessariness of all these things just slipping off of me like layers of clothing (like a towel falling off). I'm trying to embrace it and act on it - if I feel the need to toss something or if I suddenly have this gut feeling that I don't need something, I'm acting on it. Even if it's something small like deleting part of my Facebook profile.
Anyway, not to digress too far from my original point. I should learn to split up blog entries! There are a few more good bits in the piece of Gore's book that's posted online:
I vividly remember a turning point in that Senate campaign when my opponent, a fine public servant named Victor Ashe who has since become a close friend, was narrowing the lead I had in the polls. After a detailed review of all the polling information and careful testing of potential TV commercials, the anticipated response from my opponent's campaign and the planned response to the response, my advisers made a recommendation and prediction that surprised me with its specificity: "If you run this ad at this many 'points' [a measure of the size of the advertising buy], and if Ashe responds as we anticipate, and then we purchase this many points to air our response to his response, the net result after three weeks will be an increase of 8.5% in your lead in the polls."
I authorized the plan and was astonished when three weeks later my lead had increased by exactly 8.5%. Though pleased, of course, for my own campaign, I had a sense of foreboding for what this revealed about our democracy. Clearly, at least to some degree, the "consent of the governed" was becoming a commodity to be purchased by the highest bidder. To the extent that money and the clever use of electronic mass media could be used to manipulate the outcome of elections, the role of reason began to diminish.
As a college student, I wrote my senior thesis on the impact of television on the balance of power among the three branches of government. In the study, I pointed out the growing importance of visual rhetoric and body language over logic and reason. There are countless examples of this, but perhaps understandably, the first one that comes to mind is from the 2000 campaign, long before the Supreme Court decision and the hanging chads, when the controversy over my sighs in the first debate with George W. Bush created an impression on television that for many viewers outweighed whatever positive benefits I might have otherwise gained in the verbal combat of ideas and substance. A lot of good that senior thesis did me.I like Gore. I think he'd be kind of fun to hang out with.
And, the hitting home. This strikes me as a very Googley attitude:
Fortunately, the Internet has the potential to revitalize the role played by the people in our constitutional framework. It has extremely low entry barriers for individuals. It is the most interactive medium in history and the one with the greatest potential for connecting individuals to one another and to a universe of knowledge. It's a platform for the truth, and the decentralized creation and distribution of ideas, in the same way that markets are a decentralized mechanism for the creation and distribution of goods and services. It's a platform, in other words, for reason. But the Internet must be developed and protected, in the same way we develop and protect markets—through the establishment of fair rules of engagement and the exercise of the rule of law. The same ferocity that our Founders devoted to protect the freedom and independence of the press is now appropriate for our defense of the freedom of the Internet. The stakes are the same: the survival of our Republic. We must ensure that the Internet remains open and accessible to all citizens without any limitation on the ability of individuals to choose the content they wish regardless of the Internet service provider they use to connect to the Web. We cannot take this future for granted. We must be prepared to fight for it, because of the threat of corporate consolidation and control over the Internet marketplace of ideas.
The danger arises because there is, in most markets, a very small number of broadband network operators. These operators have the structural capacity to determine the way in which information is transmitted over the Internet and the speed with which it is delivered. And the present Internet network operators—principally large telephone and cable companies—have an economic incentive to extend their control over the physical infrastructure of the network to leverage control of Internet content. If they went about it in the wrong way, these companies could institute changes that have the effect of limiting the free flow of information over the Internet in a number of troubling ways.
The democratization of knowledge by the print medium brought the Enlightenment. Now, broadband interconnection is supporting decentralized processes that reinvigorate democracy. We can see it happening before our eyes: As a society, we are getting smarter. Networked democracy is taking hold. You can feel it. We the people—as Lincoln put it, "even we here"—are collectively still the key to the survival of America's democracy.From the Time Magazine excerpt of "The Assault on Reason." Which I would read, if I read serious non-fiction.
Friday, June 01, 2007
However, the apps I was initially tempted to use were things like Flixster and iLike and then another one called EF Globalprint. I came very close to adding all of them. And then I realized what it is that bugs me about them. It's too much information. Yeah, I know, I am an oversharer and I have an excessively long facebook profile, especially for someone my age (shouldn't I be over that by now), but this is too much to the point where it actually takes away from potential conversation you may have with people off of the internet. Can't you see it? You are sitting with someone in a coffee shop and you mention that you are going to the Feist concert (woooooo!) and they say "Oh yeah, I saw that on Facebook." Either that, or they don't say it, they just think, "Shit, this person is boring." How often do you talk to people and say "I saw this movie last weekend" and they ask how it was and did you enjoy it and you relate it to the conversation at hand? Not all the time but it happens, especially with movies that make an impact on you or are particularly zeitgeisty ( Knocked Up, for example, or Pirates of the Caribbean, or Borat). But with Flixster, you will already have reviewed that movie online and said everything you thought of it. And I know I have lots of conversations with people about places we've traveled to and where we want to go next and it's one of the best things to talk about with people, and now if you have the EF Globalprint app, you don't need to reveal that information slowly. With all these new apps, you show your whole hand.
I realize that what really makes for human interaction is not what you like, but what you ARE like (that's the big lesson of the High Fidelity book), but a big piece of what brings people together and keeps things interesting is overlapping tastes, interests, and so on - or perhaps more than that, it's the discovery of those overlapping tastes and interests. I know one of the things that stood out to me the most early on with Sean was that he had also had the Spooky the Ghost typing game when he was a kid that I had had. And I love that my friend Santiago has also read the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. And Rachel also listened a lot to Marc Cohn when she was on road trips with her parents. And Jordi and I just discovered last week that we both love Josh Ritter (and solidified our original friendship when we spent 30 minutes in the Stanford Bookstore perusing the Berenstain Bears books). And there are a million things that do NOT overlap and that provides for conversation and debate and connection as well. And so on. (I still haven't met anyone who read The Dwindling Party or Three Days on a River in a Red Canoe or saw The Christmas Toy when they were little.) So I object to putting all those cards on the table. I want Facebook to be a snapshot of me, not the whole photo album. I want it to be the cliffhanger and you have to wait the whole summer to get to the next season. The internet and social networking sites are good insofar as they bring people together OFF the internet. At least, that's the way I see it. ( #432.)
So yeah, it's not just the food and volleyball courts that spoil me at my workplace, it's also the WC.