Monday, January 29, 2007

a great quote from PBS

"A dog looks at you and says, 'You feed me, you shelter me, you play with must be a god!'

A cat looks at you and says, 'You feed me, you shelter me, you play with me...I must be a god!'"

Sunday, January 28, 2007

rainbows have nothing to hide

Rainy, grey days are my favorites. The main reason: you are free to feel however you want. Happy, sad, gloomy, upbeat, thoroughly neutral. When the weather is sunny and bright, and you feel anything other than sunny and bright yourself, you inevitably run into chipper types who say perkily, "Smile! How can you be glum on a day like today?? It's so *gorgeous* out!!" But on grey days, no one urges you to be gloomier if you are feeling up, no one chastises you for being are free to be yourself.

Another reason to like rainy days:

Friday, January 26, 2007

seeing the honorable sir

The tickets are here and it's official: Susy and I are going to see Sir Mix-a-Lot in March. I'm so psyched...

Monday, January 22, 2007


Not sure what happened, but around 4a, I got hit with some, er, "internal issues", shall we say. Having to stay home, trying to stay hydrated. Good *gods*, the kitchen and bathroom seem so far away this morning...

[pity I can't train the cats to bring me water and soda crackers]

Sunday, January 21, 2007

we are winners!!

Did the MINI of Mountain View "One Warm Coat" pie plate rally today with MyFriendJen...about 50-60 MINI drivers and passengers got together, donated coats for charity, and then headed out on a three-hour drive down 17, through Watsonville, through twisty-turny roads, and back up, all the while watching for pie plates nailed to posts on the side of the road. Each plate had a symbol or word on it; find enough of them and you might win a prize. And....

....WE WON!

Well, we came in third...but that gave us what I thought was the coolest of the prizes: a women's MINI watch [valued at $140!!]. On top of that, each car got a free MINI hat [the Che Guevara kind that Jen had been coveting, so that totally worked out] and a "MINI Motoring Heart" pin [commemorating MINI's charity work].

The drive itself was long, and it took a surprising amount of concentration to watch for the pie plates, and then figure out what was on them once you found one. Jen rocked...she had serious eagle eyes. We missed one sharp turn, but no harm...on turning around, we found a pie plate. Towards the end, after about 2.5 hours of focusing and watching for plates, we missed a turn [the map said "continue on <blah> road", when it should have said "bear right onto <blah> road"]. We ended up on this tiny dirt road heading into the hills...a fun drive, but not the right way. Luckily a gate barred the way not too far in, so we *knew* it was the wrong way. Back we went, found the correct turn, and even caught up with another MINI. We weren't the last ones in, so our egos remained fairly whole.

After everyone made it in, the dealership had a barbeque for us, and we all stood around guessing how many donated coats were stuffed into the MINI convertible [answer: an awesome 266...and they are hoping to break 300 before the end of this week]. Then we found out who won [THIRD PLACE, BABY!!! Awesome MINI watch...w00t!!], chatted a bit more, got a group picture taken in front of the MINI stuffed with coats [for MC^2 for us in the March/April issue!], and headed off into a gorgeous Sunday afternoon.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

well, of *course*...

My landlord came over this evening to look at the furnace...

...and it was working by the time she got there.

Of *course* it was. Sigh.

She was nice enough to leave a few space heaters in case it acted up again...keep your fingers crossed. The awful part now is I don't trust it...I have no idea when it may conk out again. I *hate* when things spontaneously fix themselves.

just ducky

My furnace isn't working.

During the coldest spell in the Bay Area for about eight years.

Color me thrilled.

Friday, January 12, 2007

every once in a while...

...I hear something that suspends my cynicism for a bit. The Bay Area is getting hit with unusually cold temperatures, low 20s and down into the teens, even colder in some inland valleys and higher spots. For you folks with "real" weather, that may not sound like a big deal, and you may be tempted to scoff at the "soft" Californians, but for an area with usually moderate temperatures and a disproportionately high number of homeless men, women, and children, freezing temperatures can be very serious, even deadly. It's one thing to go through a Midwestern winter safe and snug in your home...imagine trying to keep going when you have no address, no shoes, no coat, no warm bed, no door to close to keep the freezing wind out.

That cynicism suspension? Cities around the Bay Area and the state are making provisions for the cold, opening National Guard Armories for the homeless, setting up "warming shelters" around the cities, providing blankets and coats. People are pulling together to distribute warmer clothing, random people are giving blankets to people who need them, businesses are organizing coat drives.

I like the fact that so many people, including municipal governments, are coming together to help an "invisible" population, a group of people that are usually ignored, passed by, passed over. That when it really counts and is really needed, all of that is put aside and people take care of each other. We see it a surprising amount for these bitter and tired times...individuals caring for individuals, ignoring labels, borders, generalizations during a moment of crisis.

I wish it didn't take such extremes to get us there...

...but at least we get there.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

freaking out a little

Turns out I have to get my front struts replaced...service on my car is going to total about $1200. Plus I need new tires very, very soon [$600-800]. And a new windshield [$650] or at least a stop-gap crack repair [$100]. Plus the other expenses that are hitting at the same time [see previous blog post].

I've been really lucky with the MINI, and the struts are the first big repair I've had to have in four years. But of course it hits out-of-warranty...and of course when all the other things are coming due.

Looks like ramen for lunch for a while...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

a convergence of costs

Ugh. The universe is being a bit harsh with the economic timing right now. A bunch of expenses are hitting at once: car service [$800], new tires [$600-800], insurance [$450], windshield repair [$???], higher heating bills [$lots]. I budget for them through the year, but it still hurts when they hit all at once.

Thank gods for the free lunches at work on Wednesdays...every little bit of savings helps.

Monday, January 08, 2007

you try to be a nice guy

Apparently spammers have been using my domain in their reply addresses; this means that I've been getting a bunch of bounces from their annoying spam campaigns [joy]. Today I received an email to one of the spoofed addresses from a woman DEMANDING that she be removed from my mailing list. Since it was direct contact, I tried to be a nice person and responded that I was also a victim of the spammers and that I felt her pain.

Her lovely, ever-so-understanding response: "That is so ridiculousi dont know any of you that means that i certainly dont want mails of any of you" [all typos and bad grammar left intact]. Lovely, eh? She just didn't get it, and seems like she didn't bother to read my response [or didn't care in her indignation]. That's what I get for trying to be a good guy.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

happy birthday, pepper!

Two years ago today, Pepper came into San Jose International airport. Smelling a bit worse for wear and completely confused by the flight from Ohio, and [we later found out] suffering from some nasty internal ailments and bugs, he proceeded to fit right into California life.

Thanks, Ben and Dixie, for Pepper. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for all the trouble you went to getting him out here to me. And thanks, Pepper, for putting up with it all.

Monday, January 01, 2007


today is the first day...

...of the rest of your year.