Archive for May, 2009

You’re just going to get hurt

That is what he said. And I knew it was true. But I did it anyways. It
was emotional cutting. I'd felt nothing for so long that feeling
something, even pain, was better than the emptiness I feel.

Why do you do things that you know won't end well? What's your story?

Yesterday in Napa

Icon Boy and I went to Napa yesterday for a little wine tasting. Randomly picked a few wineries. First stop was Luna where I picked up a couple bottles of chardonnay. Our host there, suggested a little winery up the road called Hartwell Vineyards. Selected a wonderful bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. Sadly most of the wines, as fabulous as they are, were out of my price range. I was also trying to buy whites since I don’t have any for summer and I can get away with drinking them now instead of later.

Third stop was at Rutherford Hill, mainly for the tour of the caves, which I think is pretty cool. And last, but never least, was a stop at Mumm for some sparkling wine, specifically the Sparkling Pinot Noir. If you aren’t a big fan of sparkling wine, but like red wine, then I highly recommend trying their sparkling red. It is fantastic! We had a taste of two of their library wines, the DVX Rosé and the Blanc de Blancs. They were both very nice, but I’m still a huge fan of the Sparkling Pinot Noir.

That was all before dinner at Suppenkuche and a party in the Castro. It was a long, but fabulous, day!

Cats and dogs

Living together.

These two act like they are mortal enemies. The other day, Perl was sleeping on the floor across the room when Pablo started feeling randy and jumped off the couch, started screeching, and chased the dog into a corner for no reason. When the doorbell rings, Perl chases the cat around until he is safely hiding under the bed.

Tonight, Pablo was taking up the middle of the couch. Perl wanted a spot on the end. She gingerly hopped onto the couch, turned, and squeezed into the spot, pushing the cat over an inch.

They have a love-hate relationship. Pablo is always trying to curl up next to Perl. Perl usually moves in disgust.

But I know the truth.


A day of wine tasting in Napa.

Dinner at Suppenkuche.

Party in the city.

Amazing day.


Omakase Sushi

Went to Tanto tonight with the boys. And luckily, there were a few girls there too for once! FYI, White House Black Market is our favorite store. Clothes fit, lighting doesn't make you look fat, and the customer service is amazing! We can't ask for more than that. For cheap, we are willing to settle for H&M. But I digress.

Dinner was another amazing night of omakase style–chef's choice, where we tell him how many people are coming and he flies fish in from Japan. I can only imagine that this is the kind of stuff that Garr gets on a regular basis. I'm still fairly new to the sushi thing, but it was amazing. However, I think my first experience will always be my favorite. Again, the Kobe beef rocked the boat. I could have done without the crazy spicy pepper grapefruit dish, but I'll admit it was unique!

Overall, it was worth the ridiculous bill, as long as I don't do it regularly.

Language barriers

In the past few weeks, I've been having many conversations with people for whom English is not their first language. This has resulted in two thoughts.

The first, and most obvious, is that I really need to learn to speak another language. I can't converse in anything but english.

The second thought is about how I ask questions or respond in English. I'm learning not to use double negatives, choose simple words and make non-complex sentences. When I'm asked to repeat something, I repeat what I said, but then also rephrase it with different words. I try to enunciate, without shouting. And I speak slowly and deliberately without sounding patronizing. I do the same when I write to someone, but then I will use more difficult words, but still no complex sentence structures. It is a challenge, but I've really been enjoying it.

Recently, a new friend commented in spanish on one of my photos. I understood exactly what was said, but couldn't respond in Spanish. I figured there would be less confusion if she read the English. She wrote back in English. I really had hoped she would keep writing in Spanish. I'll learn more that way. But really, I need to try writing in Spanish instead.

But as outgoing as you all think I am, I'm still painfully shy. It is hard for me to speak another language, but the only way I will learn is to try.

Cannot reproduce

Regardless of what you all think, this is *not* how I fix my bugs. Thanks, xkcd.


I almost biked over Jesus today.

I was biking to work. It is Bike To Work Day, but I’m also in the middle of a Bike To Work Month Challenge. Our company has now pulled into the lead, but it is going to be a pretty close race. Not so bad for a bunch of slackers.

I was riding along my normal route when I was passed. This happens occasionally, since my take on biking is slow and steady finishes the race. I was pedaling at a nice constant pace, giving me a good aerobic workout, but not trying to win, since the only thing I win is getting to work. Besides, I’m riding a mountain bike with hybrid tires. I’m not going to beat out someone on a road bike.

Jesus—who isn’t Mexican, but I like to say it with a spanish accent—sped by me, pedaling hard on his lighter framed bike with thinner tires. He was a couple yards ahead of me when he bit asphalt. A car slammed on its brakes. Jesus got up out of the road slowly. I tossed my bike on the side walk, and pulled his bike and hat out of the road.

At closer look, Jesus looked almost homeless. His bike was old and well worn, but not well loved. The chain had come off the gears. He himself was bearded, and although he looked clean enough, his clothes were spotted with paint and dirt, and I didn’t think all of it was from the road, but maybe it was. He had a pretty good chunk of skin taken out of his knee and elbow. And another good chunk taken out of his pride.

I stayed while he worked the kinks out, and let him use my phone to call someone. Through it all, I was extremely suspicious. I have a wild imagination. I thought maybe he had ditched on purpose to get me off my bike so that someone would jump out of the car that stopped and kidnap me. I was suspicious that he didn’t have a cell phone when I offered him mine. I dialed it myself and handed it to him when it started ringing, all the while, I held onto his bike. It made me feel better that he wasn’t sitting on his bike and I could definitely outrun him with his injuries. But maybe while chasing him, that would give the imaginary guy hiding in the bushes a chance to steal my bike. I tried not to let on that I thought the whole thing was a conspiracy.

He was grateful as we both continued on our ways to work.

Bizzaro weekend cut short

It originally started as a birthday party on Saturday at 6 pm in SF. Then another birthday party at 3 pm was added. And then a club after the later birthday party. And then a picnic in the park on Sunday.

I survived two birthday parties and then was just exhausted and went home. But not before I met a number of characters.

The first birthday party—a 50th—was at a Yacht Club just south of PacBell Park. I met lots of Omar’s neighbors. One couple is from Denmark and are returning there after a two year stay in the US. The husband just retired from Genentech and they are excited to go home and be with their grandchildren. They have been renting their apartment from a loud-mouthed, middle-aged Italian guy who chews with his mouth open and has food stuck in his teeth. He is married to a younger filipino woman who works at Macy’s, has expensive taste in jewelry, and can see past his bad eating habits. He does all the cooking because he doesn’t like filipino food. The couple that lives above Omar is an old white guy who used to have a wife and family, but, in typical San Francisco style, came out of the closet a few years ago, and is now with a younger Mexican guy. The old white guy had a Flip Mino camera, which I’ve been considering buying, and had attached an old Canon grip to it. He showed me the video he had just taken of his partner with a balloon caricature of himself.

On the way to the second party, we picked up Omar’s young, Japanese coworker. We didn’t go into her place, which Omar said was a disorganized collection of Hello Kitty paraphernalia. The party was for a 48-year-old Italian friend who lives in the apartment above her Italian parents. Her father enjoyed flirting with Hello Kitty Girl and myself while he practiced his English. They have been here for 30 years, so he didn’t really need a lot of practice. I ran into two of Omar’s old roommates from stories past. I met a guy who reminds me of Travel Buddy P’s husband. And after the Italian connection started filtering out, the French group showed up with a 7 ft tall swimmer who works as a bouncer, and a shorter (in comparison) musician and audio engineer from Cameroon who decided I was beautiful and gave me the name Moon. Maybe he will write me a song. He too was practicing his English on me.

And after that I was exhausted. So after Hello Kitty Girl extracted herself from The Bouncer’s lap, where she looked like he was holding a doll. I drove her home, then rescued my dog from doggy daycare and went to sleep. We woke at 7 for our morning constitutional, then back to sleep and I didn’t wake again until 1:30. I needed the sleep after that short tour around the world!

But that is why I love living here.

New Journalism

I was listening to On The Media rehash the events from the Senate’s Future of Journalism hearing where proposals were made for saving the American newspaper. I say American newspaper because I am unaware whether technology is also killing off news outlets in other countries, or if they have found solutions for saving themselves.

The problem is that for quality journalism, a publication must hire quality journalists. However—through the advent of the internet with its free access to news through searches, blogs, Twitter, and the like—people are no longer willing to pay for their news. This in turn, means the quality of the news has significantly degraded. The people reporting the news are not trained journalists, but are common people spreading (mis)information.

Sometimes, bloggers have first-hand knowledge of what they are reporting, and that can be useful, but it is often biased, filled with emotion, and missing supporting facts. In most cases, like this, bloggers are just adding their own opinion to what they have read or heard elsewhere. What I write here is not news, but is an aggregation of news that I found interesting throughout the day, littered with my opinion and thoughts.

But readers now expect immediate information, which is hard to do when facts have to be verified and reputations and lawsuits are on the line. Readers are more willing to forgive a blogger for passing on misinformation than they are willing to forgive a legitimate news source, but they aren’t willing to wait for the news source to produce a report, or pay for it when it is ready. News in a daily newspaper is already old by the time it reaches the stands. Weekly newspapers and magazines have an even harder time trying to determine the value they can add in a digital age. Monthly magazines shouldn’t try to report news at all.

The news media is trying to stay afloat. Weekly magazines are doing more analysis of the week’s events rather than reporting. Both weekly and daily news outlets are using technology to promote the news, but they aren’t making enough money from the advertising to pay for the resources they need to create the news. They have cut back staff and taken pay cuts to stay alive until they figure out how to make money. Just this week, The Boston Globe almost went under.

I have to admit, I am part of the problem. I expect news to be free. I’ve only ever bought a newspaper subscription when guilted into it by some kid knocking on my door, but now my guilt for saving the environment is stronger. I have one magazine subscription, and the only reason I subscribe is to support a friend who writes for it. Ironic, since his stories are usually published online and I read them the day before I receive the magazine in the mail. And I listen to the news on the radio on NPR, but have only ever pledged money after 9/11.

I’ve added The New York Times and the Mercury News to my twitter feeds. I’d love to have the Bangor Daily News and The Piscataquis Observer so that I might read news from home.

I like the Twitter feed model for news because I have a link when the article is posted, I can read the title and decide if I want to keep reading. Most articles I skip until something piques my interest. It doesn’t feel as time consuming as reading a newspaper—I don’t have that much free time. And I don’t have to search for stories, they come to me.

I’ve totally given up on sites like Slashdot and Digg because I don’t like wading through the crap. But would I pay to be able to click on the links from Twitter? I don’t use the Wall Street Journal because I have to pay for that. Or used to. Maybe I don’t anymore.

So what would make me pay for the news? And how much would I pay? Some say the media outlets could charge per article like a song on iTunes. The problem is that I usually hear songs on the radio for free before I buy it. Once I read an article, I am unlikely to read it again.

Some think the Kindle is the be-all solution to the problem. But I don’t have a Kindle because that is like buying a calculator. I already have a calculator on my phone and my computer, why would I want a separate device for it?

Some think the NPR model, becoming a non-profit and asking for donations might work for larger media outlets. It might. Today I made a pledge to KQED. And I pledged more than I was going to pledge because I read through the benefits you get as a member and I wanted to do some of the stuff that people who pledge more get to do. And because I like the quality of their reporting. And when I want to know the truth about what is happening in regards to a news event, I go to NPR. So I’m willing to pay to have them continue reporting. I also chose not to get a gift because I want all the money to go towards NPR/KQED.

I also read the NYTimes to find the real story. I’m close to buying a NYTimes subscription, but I don’t want physical paper. I just asked Meme to cancel my Reader’s Digest subscription and instead give me a subscription to The Piscataquis Observer so that I will have more stuff to talk to her about.

So what would make you pay for your news?


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