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Following up on the previous post, Misattribution of Arousal. Aron and Dutton showed when you feel aroused, you naturally look for context, an explanation as to why you feel so alive. This search for meaning happens automatically and unconsciously, and whatever answer you come up with is rarely questioned because you don’t realize you are asking. . . [t]he source of your coursing blood is more ambiguous if you just drank a Red Bull before heading into a darkened theater to watch an action movie. You can’t know for sure it if it is the explosions or the caffeinated taurine water, but damn if this movie doesn’t rock.

Sometimes it's the raging feminist, sometimes it's the rage. Either way, approach with courtesy and respect.

Yesterday the San Francisco Symphony performed in Golden Gate Park. Set list:

Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain"
Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2, with pianist Valentina Lisitsa
Beethoven Symphony No. 5
Encore: Tchaikovsky, Overture from the "Nutcracker Suite"

I was not particularly interested in "Night on Bald Mountain" or the Beethoven, both of which suffer from overexposure. The Rachmaninoff was stunningly beautiful, and broke me a bit. However, who does the Nutcracker in July? Every red-blooded American knows that the 1812 Overture is summer music, fog or no fog.

Over Independence Day weekend, I caught up on the fourth, fifth, and sixth Harry Potter movies, which I'd missed in theaters. I thought I hadn't seen any of them, but Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince gave me deja vu in several spots, so perhaps I caught part of it on cable at some point. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 is waiting at the library. I might pick it up tomorrow, but with Inception waiting as well, it's unlikely I'll pop it in the DVD drive before Friday.

Essays on San Francisco radicals of bygone years are no good for me; my first reaction to protesters disrupting public transit should be "and what train did you get to the BART station, anyway?" not, "and why am I not down there?"
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This weekend's San Francisco Groupon is $10 for $20 at Green Apple Books. Green Apple is awesome: the first time I went there, I browsed the store for 45 minutes, but didn't find the science fiction section. "One of those bookstores," I thought, sighing for absent yellowing paperbacks, "well, it's pretty cool even so." On my way out, I noticed a sign: Mysteries, Science Fiction, CDs, Graphic Novels in the Annex. Two storefronts down, I found more books.

So if you live in San Francisco, heads up. Or for that SF bibliophile in your life. (Disclosure: usually not this shameless, but my birthday is coming up next month. Cough.)
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Yesterday the mail delivered to me a jury duty summons for April. Five days of calling in to find out whether I'm on the hook for one day , or one trial. The honeymoon is over; I forfeit my time and claim my citizenship.

(As much as I'd love to discover the Power of Science is a saving throw against jury duty, in the Bay area, it probably doesn't work like that.)

By the way, the directions for "IF YOU DO NOT SPEAK OR UNDERSTAND ENGLISH" are written in... English. Seriously, judicial branch? Can't you do better than that?

San Francisco is awesome. It's going to be a year on Friday; draft plans included the beach after work, but the weather isn't cooperating. So alternate plans may need to come together: (movie? Music? Mission bookstores? Staying cooped up is not an option.
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Dear Diary: today my new city's baseball team captured the pennant. Tonight, my city celebrates! GO GIANTS!

While the bars and restaurants and taxis and Muni swelled with waves of orange and black, I made Beef Stew 2.0 with several updates*, served with rye bread, and knocked Roommate Number Three into a food coma. Next round of tweaking will feature much, much more pepper, and larger chunks of carrot.

*Reduced meat and vegetables by about one quarter, hacked rough flank cut into stew-sized pieces, used 1 tsp of salt, swapped olive oil for vegetable oil. My concerns about the cut were justified: the tough tendon-y or whatever parts did not transform into meat. However, chopped into bite-sized pieces, it softened enough to be interestingly chewy.

As suggested by the sudden beef stew, winter is coming to San Francisco. The first real rain in months fell Friday night, and left puddles all over my Saturday morning volunteer gig, a fundraising walk. In practical cities, this sort of walk happens in sensible and (presumably) sensibly priced public parks. In San Francisco, "sensible public park" sometimes means Marina Green, a site of dramatic physical beauty enhanced by the Golden Gate Bridge. So I volunteered, scored a coupon for Sports Basement, and bought rain boots just in time for the first autumn afternoon of cool, soaking rain.

I didn't know I liked volunteering until I moved to San Francisco. It turns out that, if you agree to help people herd other people for partying, parades or fund-raising, they feed you, give you ugly t-shirts, and motivate you to get out of the house before noon on weekends. Awesome.
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Off to North Carolina for my cousin's wedding. Waiting for tonight's red-eye flight and my impending 2.5 day separation from the city has been rendered much more pleasant by free wi-fi at SFO. It's hilarious to note that just taking BART to the airport made me so sad: I am missing a huge chunk of Fleet Week, including the Blue Angels air show. I haven't even left, and already I want to be back!

(BTW, TSA's "random screening" pulled the woman wearing a dress in a style that screamed home-made and head gear almost, but not entirely like a yarmulke. Random. Riiiight.)

Stuff I've been meaning to post on, and yet have not:

1.) Aida: soap opera on Italian steroids? Opera as id vortex. Discuss.
2.) How awesome my roommates are, and the dynamics of girls-only vs mixed gender housing. Are there significantly different dynamics, or did I just luck out and get a good roommie set?
3.) Personal integration of a universal truth: job searching is demoralizing.
4.) The struggle to evaluate without judging or criticizing. Your $foo should not impact my equilibrium. (Brought to you by Folsom Street Fair, as well as the random transsexual from a farmer's market event. I'm trying to market stuff to you, and you're trying to tell me about your MTF experience? If that's the life narrative you want to share with someone you met 90 seconds ago, okay, but - is your life about the transition or what you're transitioning to?)
4a.) Actually, that last question could tie into Point Three in ways that suggest I need to stop angsting and get something FT. Anything.
5.)Hey Atlanta,

Here you are looking fine in a fine hat. Hope you had a great time at [event]! Good luck finding that dream [specific type of hat].


[personal profile] ase

Accidental flirting is one of my superpowers. True fact.
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Survived working a booth at Folsom Street Fair, pictures to follow. After work I met with an acquaintance who remarked Folsom always seems to be scheduled for the hottest day of the year. Next year, I'm taking an afternoon shift, and doing the goggly-eyed "vanilla tourist" thing in the cool morning.

I've been sitting on thoughts about several "rich people don't understand they're rich" posts that have recently crossed my radar. The rant about upper-class (mis)-perception of poverty (surely this "friend" must be a straw (wo)man, to be so out of touch) can be deleted, since other people already hit the highlights. (Speaking as someone living in a Point Five situation: dude. Get roommates.) Economist Brad De Long responded to a similar recent kerfluffle (lawyer married to M.D. complains he can't get by on $280,000 should Obama let Bush's tax cuts lapse), saying, in part:

[Mr. Xxxxxxxxx] doesn't look down at the 99% of American households who have less income than he does. [He] looks up. And when he looks up today he sees as wide a gap yawning above him as the gap between Dives and Lazarus. Mr. Xxxxxxxxx doesn't look down.

Instead, Mr. Xxxx Xxxxxxxxx looks up. Of the 100 people richer than he is, fully ten have more than four times his income. And he knows of one person with 20 times his income. He knows who the really rich are, and they have ten times his income: They have not $450,000 a year. They have $4.5 million a year. And, to him, they are in a different world.

While context like this explains some actions, it doesn't excuse that mind-boggling lack of perspective. My own context for poverty is college: I often felt I was in the grip of a liquid cash-flow problem, but adhered to conventional middle-class opinion that I was setting aside earning potential now for more money later. One of the only times I remember feeling poor was the day my debit card was rejected at the grocery store. Even then, I firmly believed that was a limited-time deal. Real poverty, in my mind, is when public transit is a significant line item in your budget, for a period of months or years. It's moments like these that I feel a rally to restore sanity cannot come soon enough.

The Colbert/Stewart "March to Keep Fear Alive" / "Rally to Restore Sanity" October 30th event is the first time I've regretted moving. Is this homesickness? I spent some time on constructing a pretty Thursday-to-Sunday fantasy of relocation contrition, but decided transcontinental travel is too expensive (and irritating) for this one. Perhaps I will organize a sister rally in Golden Gate Park. And by "rally" I mean "picnic, brown-bag, with booze". And maybe a group sing-along for "This Land is Your Land".
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Dear fog,

Come back! I miss you.

All my love,

[personal profile] ase

Summer in California blows my mind: it's a visual negative of DC winters. On the East Coast, lawns stay green after maples and oaks lose foliage and color; an August drive across the Golden Gate or down the peninsula sweeps across vistas of dessicated grass interrupted by deep-rooted green trees.

Of course, this is only visible outside San Francisco, or when temperatures rise and drive the fog out of cross-Bay sightlines. If it gets hot enough, it's still difficult to see the hills: a Monday morning drive across the Bay Bridge gave me the chance to see what Oakland looks like cloaked in 90 degrees and water vapor haze.

As I type this, my ancient but mostly functional laptop is whining. Hand to higher powers, Firefox: give back some RAM or I will end you.


Aug. 13th, 2010 12:30 am
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I have seen Wicked at the Orpheum. My room looks like the victim of a fashion tornado. I'm dealing with the clothes tomorrow; right now I'm going to crash.
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The current household configuration may be equally correctly dubbed the House of Tea, or the Kitchen of Chopsticks.

The extra-deep silverware drawer has chopsticks in front and - surprise! - more chopsticks in the back.

Roommate Number Three and I collaborated on Independence Day grilling and dessert: I procured a grill, he bought charcoal for grilling ribs, veggie skewers and chicken, I made brownies. NOM. After several days of surprise use-or-lose PTO, R's schedule is once more at the whims of his superiors, and I had work this weekend too, but we managed a sit-down pig-out this afternoon. Happy Independence Day indeed.

In a fit of laziness and snobbery, I sort of blew off the fireworks - how can the Left Coast compete with congressionally funded fireworks, except in post-fireworks transit crush? - in favor of chilling at home. They'll be here next year, and with persistence so will I.
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Last week I started working for a car-share program in San Francisco. It's nice to know I'm slowing down the savings hemorrhage, and the employee discount on vehicle use is a major perk, but being physically instead of mentally exhausted by 7 PM is a significant change in how things are done.

SF Pride parade, with bonus annotated Mayor On Parade snapshot. )

I think I made a friend! We're hanging out tonight! I've been terrified that I'd get out here and discover all of my friend-making skills have atrophied, but apparently I have a few left.

Lilith Fair will be at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View on July 5th. I'm tempted to nab a couple of $10 tickets, reserve a car (see "perks of working for carshare program") and fill up the car. Locals, anyone in? Lilith Fair trip canceled on account of missing the window for $10 tickets. Whoops!
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To stave off the worst effects of unemployment, I picked up a part time job with one of the car-sharing organizations operating in San Francisco. It's good skills-expanding experience for me, with useful fringe benefits, but being on my feet for hours and days in a row is grueling. This afternoon featured the reappearance of the Thursday slump that suggests I need to better pace myself.

I'm still interviewing for full time positions. Job searching and networking in California has given me a new and personal appreciation of what 12% unemployment means. Sometimes I try to imagine what, say, a room with 25 people would look like if 88% of the room was working, but then I factor in the long-term unemployed, dependents, PT-seeking-FT, and others who don't fit the basic "recent FT seeks FT", and that room looks awfully crowded with anxious people. I've been putting off contacting labs about volunteer work, but I've been on the market for three months, and it's time to consider the value of focusing on resumes and midday networking events while my lab skills rust.

SF Pride is this weekend: I volunteered to be a safety monitor at the Sunday parade. This will either be awesome or I will get awesome stories from the experience.

San Francisco has finally decided it's summer, and is enjoying a spate of cloudy, windy days with highs in the 60's. No heat index to ruin my day!

In the middle of a discussion of the extended editions of the Lord of the Rings movies, Roommate Number Three mentioned this awesome 90's TV show he had on DVD, and we spontaneously geeked out over Babylon 5. There is a serious problem with the current household configuration: the overlapping interests mean everyone gets along too well. If we don't get the random socializing under control, no one in this house is going to get enough sleep ever again.
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In 480x640 under the cut )

Today I went to Ocean Beach (see first picture) and people were setting up fires and parties on the beach. I'm torn by the intrinsically awesome combination of beach fire and the logical consequences of fire plus ocean winds. Peanut butter in my chocolate, or mint in my orange?

I promise more beach pictures: a significant moving incentive was learning I could get to the beach on public transit in less than an hour. Going by my "don't spend more time in transit than at the destination / activity" rule of thumb, this works out to significant beach time.
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Since I have progressed right through three comfort novels to a rant about footwear, fetishism, and design (core concept: since I love and respect my body and have zero erotic fantasies suitable for a BDSM dungeon, I will never wear 6" stiletto knee-high boots with buckles up the sides) to deleting most of said rant and going to a networking / talk event instead, I am now better. I am not looking forward to hustling for cash flow through on-the-side tutoring and whatever reasonable services I can churn out. (She cooks! She bakes! ...actually, a bake sale might work. I'm good at baking!)

I had the good sense to get a car and drive to the networking event, instead of messing with bus-train-walking shenanigans, which meant I got an awesome networking event and I got me-on-the-highway time too. The greater Bay area offers magnificent driving: even route 101 has the hills and San Francisco Bay opening at your feet, and driving back into the city at night is a unique and hilly joy. A perfect distraction for that horrible creeping feeling you've made a terrible mistake: your life is on the East Coast, your friends and your work and your home is there, and you know what? I realized, between the Third Street and Octavia Street exits, that I do not want to go home. I want to make a new home here.

I moved to San Francisco to make a fresh start: moving does not solve all problems, but in my case it replaced one set of stresses with a different (mostly preferable) set, and it's a daily reminder that if I don't like something, I can change it. I'm trying to be more mindful of other people (this is a really long term project), and more positive about my own life. Some things are in the past, and I can't change them. What I can change is how I look at those events, and what lessons I'm taking from them. Interviews are really great for that, because it's a chance to grab "I quit my job and moved nearly 3,000 miles on a whim" and spin that into, "I took a chance to expand my horizons." Would I have ever run or walked a 12k in DC?

This message brought to you by my opportunity to hear about other women's choices, Life in Technicolor, Magnificent, and I'm Not Dead.
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Signs I am not going to drown in my own phlegm and die: I am filled with irritation by minor impediments, and shaving all the hair off my head doesn't sound like the worst idea ever. (R. thinks the raspy phlegm voice is hilarious. I am pleased I can entertain people between bouts of self-doubt and tea.)

I'm doing some copy and style editing for an acquaintance taking a web 2.0 course. I started compiling a list of blogs I consider high quality, and noticed a trend. Other than a heavy geek slant, what do Making Light, Bad Astronomy, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Whatever have in common? I see

  • significant moderator presence

  • blogger/mod regulars have been through at least one flamewar

  • "personal" content (kids, spouses, opinions)

  • entries tend to be long.

And that's when I realized: I hate 90% of social networking sites. I am not tight with the Twitter and Tumblr model, and I don't care enough to get up to speed in the near future.

Look at that list again. Many of those blogs include short posts, but also include multiparagraph entries. Twitter, facebook, mini news updates: why should I click through ten pages to get ten sentences? Stuff that hasn't even the promise of the Mighty Modly Banhammer, should commenters get hot-blooded? The house internet likes work slowdowns and dropped packets too often for 100% smooth internet, so excessive clickthrough is inefficient and makes me grouchy. (This is a known problem, relating to either the ISP or the lines. Anyway!) Long format is my natural milieu. I am unhappy at two paragraphs or less, unless there's a witty punchline. If I understand correctly, web 2.0 includes about user-added content and social networking as major tenants, but what I actually see is mostly recycled content, or comments without context, or links to third party sources. Forget that noise. If I've gone to the effort of finding and reading your blog, I want to read something relevant to my life: the personal experiences of friends (LJ/DW), what's going on locally (SF Chronicle) and elsewhere (Washington Post, Nature and Science news blurbs), op-ed on what's going on in the world (all of the above and others) and random meta that may improve my life. Lousy content-to-junk ratio may not be intrinsic to Twitter and Facebook, but it's pretty endemic when I try to wade in. If web 2.0 looks like twits and FB updates, I'm going to be getting curmudgeonly sooner than I think. It's a bummer for this copy-editing gig, because they're trying to do a minimum-effort school project, and I'm going to give them feedback demanding actual paragraphs, but it's soothing for me to discover there's a shiny toy I really don't regret leaving on the shelf. (For now.)

Okay, one unmitigated good thing, because today should close on a high note: I didn't thoroughly check the Asian Art Museum's reciprocal admission benefits when I bought a discounted "me + 1" membership. Please note that several San Francisco institutes of fine arts are listed, most of which I have not yet explored. Go me!
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7.46 miles, two hours, and one underwhelming hill later, I have completed a 12k walk.

Next year, I'm gunning for running. With a possible Hayes St "fast walk" exemption.

True facts of San Francisco: Bay to Breakers walkers throw tortillas while waiting for the starting buzzer. Nudity is historically part of the party: I counted 20 nude men and 4 nude women before losing track. Variations on scantily clad participants, or costumes which featured plastic indecency, were beyond number. My favorite costume-related moment of the day was late in the afternoon, on the way home, when I walked past a guy in a green bodysuit, on roller sakes, smoking and discussing risk management. (Signs you're getting used to San Francisco: you're startled when they're smoking cigarettes, not other substances.)

I was lucky enough to fall in with a fellow walker on the course, so we paced each other nicely, and after the race (what? I was racing against my expectations. And I totally won.) I met up with [personal profile] jd and buddy after the race but before seeing my sister over coffee in the Mission. I also hit up Bi-Rite Creamery for a sample of the salted caramel soft-serve ice cream. The sample size is exactly right: enough to get a solid taste of cold sweet-salt-fat deliciousness and soothe an irritated throat, not so much I regret eating it. And then I went home, plotting my week.

Lofty 2011 goals aside, I feel great, until I contemplate any activity other than sitting, and then I feel that anything more active than a very hot shower sounds like too much effort. Exercise and I remain copacetic.
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I am ridiculously proud of myself for figuring out, on my very own, that my bus route will not be affected by the special events surcharge for Bay to Breakers. Which is good, since I will be stumbling around in the predawn, trying to pretend that walking 7.5 miles is a good idea when I have a lousy sleep-stealing head cold, and I do not need further complications. I'm going to perform unspeakable acts with my nose and a bottle masquerading as a neti pot, sleep through the night (please) and rock it out tomorrow.
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Wednesday I declined a hilariously inappropriate cuddling proposition after resume critique but before noon, and after noon got bounced on a job fishing expedition with such promptness and professionalism my inbox is still smarting. (Cuddling. Phfft. If I fall into the relationship roulette, I want someone who brings the sugar to my lemon, and that was not on the table. Turning this into a hilarious bar story, however, is.) Yesterday I explored private health care vs COBRA options, turned over several boxes looking for deposit slips and novels, and brooded. Job hunting is not conducive to my peace of mind, see subject title. But I soldier on! I send out resumes and acknowledge I need to hustle when I'm spending more money than I should.

Today I woke to the first cold breaths of a San Francisco summer with a stuffy nose. Apparently I am allergic to Maryland in box form, and forgetting to breathe before lightheadedness sets in is an unfortunate possibility. Once again with the not going back. On the up side, I redeemed a discounted membership to the Asian Art Museum, so now I get in free with a guest for the next twelve months. So in case anyone wants to go? Hi! I would be delighted to have a museum buddy. Now that I've been through it once, we might even make it out before we're kicked out. (If I ever get back to NYC, I am never leaving the Met.)

Tomorrow I'm going to try to make ingredients into food, mooch freebies at the farmer's market, and pretend I'm neither feverish nor signed up for Bay to Breakers.
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I had K this weekend and we had an epic San Francisco experience: Dreamwidth party, Ferry Building farmer's market, Ebisu, Golden Gate Bridge, crepes, movies, Exploratorium, Ghirardelli Square, Hyde-Powell cable car ride. Win! Then I had to let her go home, and now I must get back on the job path so I have opportunities for similar experiences. Fail!
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First, step away from the laptop.

Second, get a MUNI monthly pass. Just do it.*

On to the list! )

Some of these I have gotten around to, some I haven't. I also left off a lot of cafe and snack stops, since those relieve the walking around but cost money.

Contributions in comments?

*MUNI math: $60 for a pass divided by $2 per ride = 30 rides; ie, 1/day. If you take the bus more than once a day, you save money. If you take it slightly less than once a day, you save a ton of "where are my dollar bills?" hassle.
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If I accomplish nothing else this week, I have moved the miscellaneous junk from the dining room to Goodwill. Recovering an ebay worthy eight-volume VHS set of She-Ra: Princess of Power from the wreckage is entirely secondary to my joy at seeing floor space. For my next trick, I will make counter-top and/or table space appear in the kitchen.

At the moment, it's looking as though the dining room clearance may be all I accomplish this week. My hypothetical goals for tomorrow are garage sales, an M-pass, farmer's market, library stopover for Othello and an afternoon in Golden Gate Park. Tonight that's all looking wildly optimistic.


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