Tuesday, May 31, 2005

I miss you already, I miss you always

come down now, they'll say

Best random obstacle on a trail: these stairs encountered on Sunday, during my last hike pre-Peru. This sucker was much steeper than it might look, and I had to climb down it, which somehow caused more unsteadiness than ascending the rungs.

Best IM received about my trip to Peru, and possibly best IM ever:

Do me a favor- when you get to the top of the mountain, take a deep deep breath and then whisper some cool poem about fate, death and the wind. I'll hear it in some future lifetime, I think, and it will be very cool.
Yes, b*tches, if there remained any doubt about how lucky a girl I am, the above excerpt should settle it.

Best e-mailed words of comfort about my trip to Peru, from Maisnon, who has made the leap from commenter to blogger:
I will give you the advice my parents passed on to me: when you're travelling, as long as you have your passport, a toothbrush, and access to money - you're good to go. The rest are just details.
Does she not rock?

Best work blunder witnessed: I was called into an executive meeting and a senior director was talking about meetings being repetitive and called them "duplicitous." Technically, I know this is not completely incorrect, but it still caused a ripple of suppressed giggles at the meeting.

Best sense of empowerment: the head of my department tried to pull a Lumbergh Ummm... yeah, I'm gonna need you to go ahead and work on..., and I shot back with a flatly delivered, "Yeah, I'm on vacation starting tomorrow." And walked out of the meeting. Will I have a job upon my return? Tune in.

Best item I'm bringing with me to Peru: since my journal is a bit large, and precious to me (i.e. I don't want it to be destroyed or rained upon or thrown out of my backpack in a fit of trying to reduce the weight of my daypack), I made a 12-page journal yesterday. It's important to note here that I have no skills in this regard. I remember making books this way when I was in second grade- you fold a stack of papers in half, then stitch it down the middle. Next, you glue each of the end pages onto cardboard. After that, you join the two cardboard pieces with binding tape. Finally, you cover it all up with fabric or a makeshift booksleeve. Even then, I was rather verbose, and as a result, my book turned into a tome that was very difficult to assemble. For some reason, in second grade, I thought a book about a friendly alien invasion was the way to go. Don't ask. Anyway, I think the one I made in second grade was of superior quality compared to the one I made for Machu Pichu. But I still lurve it.

So... all the BEST while I'm away. If I can manage access points, I will try to pull off a post or two during my trip. If I don't post by July, you should all assume I met Gael Garcia Bernal at the precipice and ran off with him... or that I am in a coma. Go with the former though, it's a much prettier explanation.

Monday, May 30, 2005

when may is rushing over you

The fear has been quelled and exacerbated at various times during the weekend. Yesterday, I went on an 8 mile hike. The first four miles were up hill. The first mile, I completely bonked. Dizzy spell, pulsing headache, shortness of breath, the whole nine. When you hike like this, you have to pay close attention to your body (especially when your body is as unreliable as mine). That morning, I had felt a bit woozy, the blood kept rushing to my head when I rose to my feet- but I thought nothing of it. At the 1.5 mile mark, I had to stop and get my bearings. I forced down a quarter of a Luna bar, and sat down for a few minutes. The next 2.5 miles were silent. The friend hiking with me feared we would have to turn around, and waited to hear me say the words. But I changed the pace, and slowly but surely, made it the end of the precipice. At the top, we were supposed to be able to see the city, but instead, a blanket of fog rolled in. But it was welcome relief.

And that was at normal altitude. So, I now expect with even more certainty to write about my experiences getting airlifted out of Machu Pichu. On the other hand, I did tough it out through the bad beginning yesterday. In the past, I would have folded like a cheap suit at the first imbalanced, unsteady feeling. You have to listen to your body, but some times, you also have to coax it out of the comfort zone. Or, in my case, play drill sergeant and bark orders at it.

There's a party going on next door, because the weather is beautiful here today. Since I went out and cavorted all day yesterday, I feel compelled to get some things done today, but I'm distracted by the bass thudding against my walls right now, playing on apparent infinite loop- go ahead and envy me, I'm rap's MVP, and I ain't goin'; nowhere so you should get to know me. Great, 50, thanks for pointing that out to me.

On the up side, all the hip-hop did help me along my morning activities- cinnamon scones and gingerbread muffins with vanilla icing. The contents of the refrigerator are slowly being depleted so that there will be less to throw out before I take off on Wednesday morning.  Now, it's back to packing and planning, and last-minute consumerism. Tomorrow, a fun-filled day of last minute meetings await me.

Friday, May 27, 2005

there's a barbarian in the back of my car

Even though there is a sort of baseline ulceration that brews for a good month before a big trip, it's a phase where I worry and talk a lot about all my plans but don't actually do anything. As a result, imminent myocardial infarction from last-minute blood-pressure skyrocketing looms as a possible gift over the next few days. The hard drive having its meltdown didn't help any.

Since I'm leaving in less than five days now, it's probably safe now to list out the finalized itinerary of my ill-planned disaster adventure:
    Day 1: arrive in Lima at a ridiculously late hour in the dead of the night. Attempt not to get killed on the streets of Lima, while travelling to a hostel with large sums of money so that domestic airline tickets can be purchased.
    Day 2: wake up at a ridiculously early hour, catch the first flight out to Arequipa. Arrive in Arequipa, situate in hostel #2. Make arrangements to see Andean condors, which requires a 2-day tour through the Colca Canyons.
    Day 3: start Colca Canyon tour, which stops in Chivay for the evening.
    Day 4: sunrise at a mirador at Cruz del Condor. Respect the wingspan. Return to Arequipa, where a 6'4", 29-year old triathlete will have faced his personal fears and arrived to meet me, all by his lonesome. Seriously, if you're 29 years old and complain about "being scared" to travel by yourself, I have no patience for you. You're lucky I'm even allowing you to accompany me, actually.
    Day 5: hang out in Arequipa, the white city.
    Day 6: fly out to Cusco, pass out from the high altitude.
    Day 7-9: watch as my other travel companion works out her demons about sharing a private bathroom with two other people. Check out Cusco.
    Day 10: begin Inca trail trek, i.e. farewell, cruel world.
    Day 11: begin to wonder why I opted for a 4-day trek instead of the luxury train to Machu Pichu.
    Day 12: hallucinations begin, people hold me down to force Gu shots into me.
    Day 13: make it to Machu Pichu; stare in awe, cry, collapse to the ground, get airlifted out some time that night. Shower, perhaps repeatedly.
    Day 14: fly to Lima; explore a teeny, tiny portion of Lima, then fly out.
My blood pressure went up just chronicling all of this, especially when I remembered how small the bags are that I'm packing. This is quite a test of the low-maintenance/high-maintenance classification for women. Am I low-maintenance? Or do I just think I am? Stay tuned.

To add to all the fun, my friend P called yesterday and informed me that he is squatting in my apartment while I am away. Now, normally, I'd consider this mildly rude but equally amusing, and pass it off. But the problem is- the week leading up to a trip always involves something of a tornado sweeping through my place. I'm spending all of my time working, and gathering up things I need for my trip. Cleaning fell off of the list of things to do. Now, while P is a friend of mine, he's not in that inner circle. You know, that inner circle where I could leave my apartment looking like a disaster zone and he wouldn't report me to Health & Human Services. Yay- my weekend just got even more filled with tasks of great entertainment... vacuuming is so exciting!

Now, let me take a breath, and exhale a big, fat whatever. I know that after all this bitching and moaning, the trip to Peru is going to be awesome, I will love my fellow travel compadres, P will serve as the houseboy who checks my mail and cleans my bathroom while I'm gone (i.e. he will be my b*tch), and this weekend will unfold a waterfall. I can feel it. I just need to stop bugging!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

I will try to fix you

I wanted to be there by May at the latest time

The air in Durango made me dizzy and woozy. When I first planned the trip, I thought I would go mountainbiking on one of the easier trails there. That aspiration was quickly set aside when I woke up feeling like I was nursing a hangover. While A and other ridiculously fit people tackled the trails, an injured friend and I lounged around the house trying to get our bearings. But you don't go to Colorado to sit around reading magazines.

The next day, we strapped on a pair, and went to Mesa Verde National Park, to see these Anasazi cliff dwellings. No picture can capture them, especially none taken by me. I recall that I stood and marvelled at them for a long time, trying in vain to imagine an average Anasazi day. It was difficult to separate how much of my mind spinning could be attributed to awe, and how much to altitude sickness.

There is a lookout point in Mesa Verde National Park where you can see the mountains stretch out to meet the horizon. You can't see where the range ends; it just blends into the sky. Looking at such a view, you can imagine for a moment a world without technology, can envision a time when someone would think a cliff in the middle of nowhere was a good place to call home.

But here, that's a harder concept to grasp. A little over 48 hours ago, my hard drive had a meltdown. Shortly thereafter, I had one. I never thought I needed technology; I don't actually own a computer myself. It made my work seem all the more inconsequential and meaningless, then, when I was completely paralyzed upon the loss of a hard drive. And instead of feeling independent of technology, I felt stupid for not owning my own laptop, on which I could store my most precious iTunes playlists and favorite pictures. When I went on a fishing expedition on the back-up servers, I discovered this photograph. A strange calm settled upon me, and I found myself lost in thoughts of the past and the ever-near future.

Random tangent: here's a useful tip that I learned from watching Lost: if you're boarding a plane and notice that everyone is ridiculously good-looking and/or is exhibiting Yoda-like qualities, it might behoove you to catch another flight. Just something to keep in mind.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

time is a jet plane, it moves too fast

Ghosts inhabit my space, float around in my apartment, appear in the still of the night when I'm trying to sleep. Little angels of the silence appear above my bed and whisper. They don't torture me anymore though. It's a comfort, to know I'll never be lonely, with all these friendly ghosts haunting me. But it's dangerous to be seduced by ghosts, lest I find myself stuck in a virtual world, a universe where nothing is concrete.

There's the whole core of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle- the idea that if there are two variables, you can only know one of them for certain. In that way, the universe is never concrete for any of us. Not perfectly. I know my present, I know it with serene certainty. It's crystal clear. As such, the past is a complete blur, and an obscuring halo crowns the future. If I am absolutely confident of how someone else feels, I have no idea how I feel myself.

Still we go on, like Sisyphus pushing that stone up the hill. We're destined to fail, but the chance, the possibility that we might figure it all out keeps us from abandoning the futile quest. And occasionally, a flash washes through my brain, and some particular aspect comes into sharp aspect. I feel that if I don't capture it right at that moment, acknowledge it, articulate it, it will disappear into the chasm of uncertainty once again. Surely enough, it does.

When that lightning arrives, flooding its momentary light, it's often from the thunder of a Bob Dylan stanza. It's backward. The music is supposed to articulate a feeling; instead, it brings forth a feeling that demands to be articulated in its new, personal interpretation. And those are the types of apparations that are much harder to handle.

Happy Birthday, Robert Zimmerman.

Monday, May 23, 2005

down on fascination street

It might be simpler to just write wow a hundred times consecutively, might be a better way to articulate this nexus where I find myself at this moment.

It's common in manufacturing production facilities to go on shutdown once a year (at least, I'm told). During this time, the facility usually stops all production and takes stock of its equipment, looks at what needs to be cleaned or repaired, troubleshoots. Needing a respite from Peru preparation activities, I went on complete shutdown this weekend.

As luck should have it, this paralysis of planning fit perfectly with my Sunday evening plans- the 826Valencia workshop on music and writing. A topic less pertaining to Peru or trekking, I can't imagine. The panelists: Greil Marcus, Ben Fong-Torres, Kylee Swenson, Garrett Kamps, and Arwen Curry. If it had just been the first name of that list, it would have been worth every penny. I've never been moved by anything Marcus had written prior to this. His writing treats Bob Dylan like a contemporary, as well it should. When I think of Dylan, it's always with this amazement- that Blood on the Tracks could emerge from someone so young, and that its themes can still resonate after so much time has passed.

Marcus had more to say about writing about music than the other four panelists combined, even though he was less effusive, more economical with his words. Marcus got his first break when he excitedly shelled out a few dollars for the promise of a bootlegged Who album, titled Magic Bus: The Who on Tour. His disappointment upon discovering that the album was not a bootleg, and instead a compilation of b-sides and other mediocre material, fueled his first review, which he mailed into Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone published the review, and the rest is history.

What interests me about Greil Marcus' story is that it couldn't happen today. Marcus kept stressing the need to develop one's one voice. Yet, the other editors talked about writing a good pitch, being sensitive to a publication's style and voice. It seems like the classic case of creativity in a constrained environment. Marcus' best tip of the night came when he advised writers to trick editors into publishing the right work. None of the editors dared take exception with this remark. In fact, later, Fong-Torres only pursed his lips when Marcus characterized Rolling Stone album reviews as known to be "cliche, formulaic."

If there is a need of evidence that I had no business being at Sunday's seminar, I think it can be provided by simply noting that Oliver Wang was an attendee. Yes, Oliver Wang, who was recently noted on Sepia Mutiny for his review of MIA's new CD (incidentally, I've finally given up the fight and just become Galang's b*tch already. I tried, people, but the SixxMixx got the best of me). Wang asked a question about the legitimacy of blogs as a credential when submitting a pitch. Some blog bashing ensued, although it was fairly measured. Certainly, Coldplay sustained far more abuse.

Greil Marcus compared blogging to writing without an editor. That would certainly hold water if he were to visit my blog. But if he looked at the recent writings of Abhi, for example, I think he'd have to eat those words. My only point is that blogging can involve legitimate writing or stream of consciousness garbage (i.e. this stuff). Different blogs aspire to different things. While I've heard blog bashing before, I was actually surprised to hear some blog props given to some of the better music sites out there (which is what outed Wang, as an aside).

Four hours into my workday, buried in a sea of nothing vaguely connected to music, I slacked on my lunch hour and was catching up on Jeff Johnson, when I caught a link to the most captivating U2 piece I've read in a long time. Bono unravelling before my very eyes. Marcus had advised that when you write about music, you should think of it as an imaginary conversation with a reader. But what happens when the reader is the musician himself? And what if the conversation ceases to be imaginary? See the U2 piece- it's so wrong, and yet so right. Marcus called it the critics' worst nightmare, when the musician starts reacting to the reviewers' words. Bullsh*t. I bet that's most reviewers' fantasy.

Friday, May 20, 2005

tell us some secrets, honey, we won't say a word

One of these days, I'm just going to post one word, and let the comments handle the rest; they're far more entertaining than the actual posts themselves. Sadly for all of you, today is not that day.

I'm going to strap a pair on, and brave the writing seminar at 826Valencia on Sunday, fully expecting to do something completely humiliating. I also need to strap a pair of hiking boots on, and break them in on some trails. This will be an interesting challenge, because it's supposed to be ridiculously warm (for the Bay Area) this weekend. San Francisco has definitely seeped into my blood at this point, because I have little tolerance for extreme warmth or cold these days.

There are so many other things to do this weekend that my mind freezes or seizes at even the thought. It's like watching a thousand arrows hurtling towards you at once- what can you do? Where can you run? You hope you are made of air, and that the arrows will simply pass through your ghost. But you know it is not so. So all you can do is brace yourself for the inevitable.

Here's a secret about me: I am absolutely awful at keeping secrets. I can keep secrets for other people; if you tell me something in confidence, I will keep it under lock and key. When it comes to myself, however, I am horrid at keeping secrets. The harder I try, the more likely I am to inadvertently let something slip out. Blogging has become a little frustrating as a result. At this point, I'm thinking it's just a matter of time before I blurt it out matter-of-factly. Dudes, this is getting nauseating- I'm blogging about blogging. Could there be a more banal topic?

Now I must go and fulfil the daydream floating in my head all day- clean my apartment and curl up with two articles on cystic fibrosis. Soy un perdidor much?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

I wish I was a little taller, I wish I was a baller

One of my cousins, M, never emails, never calls, is forever out of touch. Whenever anyone in our family gets together, she's the one that is always the subject of the what in the world is she up to now? inquiry. I'm not a superstar about keeping in contact with everyone (although I am a superstar about falling all the time), but she's notorious for her ethereal, intangible state of existence.

It has been one of those craptastic days, where there is too much to do at work and too much to do personally, where the slightest nuisance feels like cause for a storm of rage that is nearly blunt-worthy. But truly, it's at moments like this that I realize I'm one of the luckiest people alive. Yes, b*tches, I said it (that was a shout-out to Chappelle- get better soon, buddy). Every time I think I can't take it anymore, some additional awful thing happens, and I start to fume. And then a saving grace arrives. Today, it was a seven paragraph string of words from M. I was suddenly grateful for the fleeting manner of her presence, because that is what made the email so cherished, such a boon. All the Office Space moments at work today disappeared into the white noise. Sh*t... I'm starting to embody Peter Gibbons' indifference!

Something else that has been keeping me pleased as punch, although it's giving me the urge to dance around my office (thus far, I've managed to keep it to swivelling around on my chair a few times), is this lovely tune by Junior Senior. (warning: do not click on the link unless you are prepared to obey the song's instructions to move your feet).

Since it seems to have suddenly become the day of the most random post ever, here's some things you should know about me and basketball:
  • I used to play, until I was 13, and all of a sudden, everyone was taller than me. I think I can still play a mean game of horse with a little practice.
  • My favorite player is Nate "Tiny" Archibald- speed, agility, short stature, and after retiring, he went out and worked with kids in Harlem.
  • My mom threw a bigger party for the 16th championship of the Boston Celtics than she did for my 16th birthday.
  • I can't keep up with college ball.
  • I hate Phil Jackson with the fire of a 1000 suns. I pray that the rumors are not true, and that he will not return to coaching next year. If he does, I'm sure he will go for Larry Brown's position, because he is a gloryhound, and Brown's turned the Pistons into a team that Jackson can't ruin. My disdain may also have to do with Jackson trying to usurp Red Auerbach's championship record- b*tch, leave those Celtics stats alone, damnit!
  • Because of Jeff Van Gundy, I actually cheered for the Knicks for a long time.
  • I've always been a fan of NBA fights. It's like watching women catfighting. Van Gundy grabbing Alonzo Mourning's leg in the Heat-Knicks playoff series is only second to the Danny Ainge-Tree Rollins "biting incident" as the funniest sports fights ever.
  • It's the Van Gundy name that now leads me to cheer for the Heat. Well, that and Dwyane Wade- that guy is scary. And the fact that Shaq winning the championships this year would be an indirect f*** you to Kobe. And Alonzo Mourning playing with one kidney. Come on, give them the championship already.
  • I stayed in the same hotel as the Nets, and was in a hotel bar when Jason Kidd & David Stern sat down at the table next to me to bemoan the Nets losing the final game to the Spurs two years ago.
  • I like Allen Iverson. I know it's wrong, but I do.
Hey, what can I say? It's NBA playoff season. My brother and I watched the Heat beat the Wizards on Saturday, and I went all Godfather III- "just when I thought that I was out, they pull me back in."

I know I'm going to get in big trouble for writing this, but I'm a little tired of all the Star Wars hype already. My friend Richie Rich sent me some review that claimed Revenge of the Sith is better than Empire Strikes Back. That gets a big fat b*tch, please from. What was the reviewer smoking when he made that claim? Let's review what Empire Strikes Back had going for it:
  • Harrison Ford & Carrie Fisher. In other words, actors who have chemistry and know how to deliver lines tongue-in-cheek.
  • The quintessential macho/romantic line- "I know."
  • Introduction of Yoda and "There is another."
  • Luke Skywalker losing the whininess displayed in A New Hope and getting his hand lopped off by his dad.
  • George Lucas did not direct.
You can't convince me Revenge of the Sith can compete with that. All it can hope to do is not ruin the legacy of Empire (or at least not ruin it any worse than the Ewoks did).

Tomorrow: a post with less expletives.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

help me stay awake, I'm falling

I love the 80s

Perfect evidence that my photography skills leave much to be desired- this is really the only useful picture of all that I attempted to take at Bay To Breakers last weekend. Still, a wave of nostalgia hit me when I saw these Pacman paraphernelia at the start of the race, and it was one of the few costumes that were not seen in duplicate over the course of the race.

I'm operating on three hours of sleep, so this post will make even less sense than my usual ramblings. Have you ever actually been angry with yourself for still being awake? That's how I felt at two o'clock this morning. I was trying to determine the cause of my insomnia, and could only think of how I had spent my time earlier in the day. I've been so caught up with work that it became acutely clear that my job is 99% fluff. Seriously- meaningless confection. Oh, it all seems very urgent and do or die, but in the end, it's completely intangible.

Tangibility is a big deal for me, something I could not have known before. I didn't know I needed it until I experienced life without it. I like the abstract, some aspects of it. I like the thinker, the visionary. But, at the end of the day, to have nothing concrete to show for the daily grind... it feels completely wrong. Cacaphonous, incongruous. Nothing is quite what it should be. So my antidote was to go home and make scones. It may sound foolish, but just being able to say at the end of the evening- there, I have this to show for my effort- brings me great comfort.

That still doesn't explain the insomnia exactly. I dropped the scones and an overdue birthday present off to JP at 10:30. In his neighborhood, it's as though the carnival is always in town. I got out of my car and PHA-TACK!, a handful of firecrackers went off on the sidewalk directly in front of me. When I told JP about this, he shrugged as if it was a nightly occurrence. Then he poured me a glass of port. If his neighborhood is always festive, then JP can surpass it by always being on holiday from reality. Nothing is ever a big deal, nothing is ever urgent, things are just thrown together and the end result always fabulous, just like that, effortlessly. I envy him that.

So maybe it was the green monster that came over me when I got home twenty minutes later. Either that, or just the intangibility of everything suddenly became intolerable. The unbearable lightness of being, maybe. This weird feeling that I'm treading water, and I can't find the shore. I was just looking for something, a piece of wood, some sign of land.

Speaking of which, it's nearly time to go watch Lost. Naveen has not been killed off yet, though he's still claiming to be an Iraqi. I think it would be an excellent plot twist to have him admit that he's actually South Asian. And my boyfriend. JJ, are you listening?!?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

take your time, hurry up, choice is yours, don't be late

By the end of this week, I have to do the following:
  • Find a hostel to stay in while I'm in Cusco.
  • Make a list of all the various things I have not yet amassed for my trip to Peru and the Inca Trail.
  • Cram two weeks worth of work into three days, to compensate for my vacation. This is why I usually don't take this much time off of this PITA of a job.
  • Get at least one package assembled and out the door.
  • Torture myself on my nemesis, aka Stairmaster. I don't understand my lungs- how is it that I can hike 7 miles, but 35 minutes on Stairmaster feels like imminent lung collapse territory?
  • Buy tickets to visit my parents in EBF.
How did I not notice all of these tasks piling up? Procrastination, thy name is... well, mine.

How I would like to complain about all of this, but the fact of the matter is, it's a welcome distraction from thinking about other things- "pray that I may forget, these matters that with myself I too much discuss, too much explain, because I do not hope to turn again". Yep... that's about right.

Monday, May 16, 2005

it seems all right as long as something's happening

My brain is working backwards, so that's how this post will flow. Last night, I discovered a radio gem, and I'm distraught that I didn't find it sooner. I was driving to the grocery store, and stumbled upon the start of The Live 105 Soundcheck. MAN. So this is where all the good songs were hanging out. It reminded me of a show I used to listen to on the east coast- Vin Scelsa's Idiot's Delight. Scelsa's program was nowhere near as tragically hip, but he recognized good music- you could depend on a good setlist. He also had such a following that he could get access to impressive artists, something I don't think the Soundcheck can pull off. I don't care. I'm just happy to find a radio station playing something interesting, instead of Lonely No More for the 7000th time in one day.

Bay to Breakers was the usual chaos. I know I'm going to sound like an old square, but I'm really in awe of people that can drink Budweiser's at 8 o'clock in the morning. I tip my hat to you, crazy drunken hipsters! The costumes varied from creative to I just picked out the weirdest stuff in my closet and threw it all on. My favorite this year was a simple one, a pack of women in pink t-shirts that had, in understated writing, We're just not that into you. Honorable mention goes to a trio of Michael Jacksons- one dressed up as Rock with You MJ, another as Annie are you okay MJ, and the third as the current Crazy MJ (complete with face mask). My brother came with us this year, and he looked at me like I was absolutely out of my mind when I started nodding my head to Best Friend by English Beat, which was playing cheerfully at the beginning of the race. Sometimes I think my brother only has three settings on his internal radio- hiphop, dub and Bob Marley. Anything else just elicits that weird glance of his. Perhaps I'll have some pictures tomorrow- my camera is a piece of garbage, in case anyone was wondering.

Since I am writing this post, it's probably apparent that I survived my solo hiking adventure on Saturday. I went on a great hike, though I had gone there before. Still, hiking a trail alone gives you a completely different perspective on the place. I absorbed more of my surroundings. Unfortunately, being alone also lends itself all too well to introspection. Normally, that wouldn't be unfortunate. But when all you can think about is uncertainty, suddenly getting lost in your own thoughts loses its appeal. No matter- the hike was still fantastic. Also, I was neither eaten by a large, ferocious animal, nor attacked by a creepy hiker. That's a shame, because I was starting to feel really comfortable in my hiking boots, and I would have loved to kick someone with them. Okay, that's not true. I'm glad there were no shady characters. It was all very pleasant. I even had a nice chat with some people at the trailhead. Hiking alone gives you some street cred, apparently, so I was interrogated about the trail conditions, the temperature, the foot traffic.

So you might conclude I came out of this solo hiking trip unscathed. Wrong. On the way home, I stopped for gas. After an entire trek through some uneven terrain, I picked a gas station convenience mart as the place to trip and fall. It made me sad to be alone, all of a sudden. I would have very much liked to jump to my feet, throw my arms up straight, and yell "Superstar!" channeling Molly Shannon in SNL, but I did not have the right audience present. Instead, all I had to show for it were some concerned glances and a minor bruise on my good knee. I rule, no? Okay, no.

Sepia Mutiny posted quite a while back about San Bernadino County's prejudiced tendencies. Interestingly, NPR had a piece this morning that further confirms the county's predilection for acting like pre-MLK era Alabama. Maybe I am not yearning to move down to Southern California after all.

Friday, May 13, 2005

in the dream it's all a test that I face by myself

When there is a lot of external static in life that's distracting me from keeping my sanity, I like to imagine I'm inside a Sigur Ros album. Currently listening to ()- look, I know they're probably heavily strung out on some mind-altering narcotic and that they're speaking in a completely fabricated language. I don't care. It's like Teletubbies for adults, and I am all for it. I saw them live many years ago- it was an excellent show, it redefined trippy.

Since I'm on the subject of shows, I'm vexed that Apple's adverts have seeped into my grey matter- I've had Feel Good Inc bobbing around in my head for the last two days. However, I have a theory that this is some spillover effect from the ghost of Kid Koala's participation in the latest Gorillaz opus. KK opened for a Radiohead show I saw in NJ. KK broke my brain. I never fully appreciated DJs until I saw him at work.

Recently, I have noticed that this blog keeps me honest. I don't necessarily think of an audience when I'm writing this nonsense, but the act of writing some things down is a pact, a commitment of sorts. To myself, if not to anyone else. So here it is again- I'm throwing down another gauntlet. Tomorrow I'm going on my first solo trek. Okay, hike, not trek. It's about 7 miles. If there's one thing I really resent about being an XX, it's that I find myself hesitating before deciding to do things on my own. Truthfully, I'm one of these weirdoes that really enjoys spending time to myself. It may be because I'm scatterbrained, and the time I have alone is the only time I really make sense of things.

Of course, there are plenty of things that can be done solo regardless of the absence or presence of that pesky Y chromosome. But things like a hike in the wilderness set off the uh-oh feeling in me. When I was younger, I was so headstrong that I thought it really didn't matter- the time, the place, none of it. But a few encounters that were less than optimal, and I learned to develop some taste for self-preservation. It's funny though. When I hike with other people, I'm wary of mountain lions, or snakes, or falling into a crevasse, but never of other hikers. But when I consider hiking by myself, the only thing that concerns me at all is encountering some shady dude. Still, I think I've chosen a trail that's pretty open and gets good foot traffic. I need to break in my new hiking boots, and if that means I have to kick someone with them, so be it. Ah, fond memories of self-defense class...

Thank you one and all for suggestions about Inca trail preparedness. I will continue to solicit them in the coming weeks, as my stress level exponentially hyperboles near the date of my departure. As a result of your awesome tips and comments, I've started to ponder truly ridiculous things about my trip, like- hmmm, they have lots of internet cafes in Cusco, but if I take time to post, can I keep blogging on the down low from my travel companions? The prospect of four days of hiking at high altitudes looms, and this is how I'm using brain space.

Hopefully come Monday, I'll have some interesting Bay to Breakers shots in the camera. This race is so very San Francisco, I just lurve it. Want highlights? At the start of the race, it is customary to throw tortillas in the air. Even if it is raining. I've actually been clocked by a tortilla, and let me tell you, it can knock the wind out of you if it has enough momentum. A significant portion of the participants are in costumes, my favorite being the yearly group who dress like salmon, and run the entire race backward. Also, an even greater portion of the participants are not sober, a state that is helpfully maintained by the various kegs that are being carted along the race course. I've done this race before I moved to San Francisco, and it was one of the many things that made me swoon for this place. Coming here has spoiled me in that sense. I've started to believe anything is possible, if I want it badly enough.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

don't run away or let me down

Have I learned nothing? I should have known that the very moment I recorded my itinerary in some written space, it would finally be faulted and rearranged. When planning a trip with multiple people, it's important to keep in mind that somene's going to get the shaft. Lucky for me, that someone is not me. I'm not even going to bother chronicling the itinerary again, because I bet it will change at least once more. On the bright side, the current plan now includes less than 12 hours in Lima and more time for me in Arequipa. Abhi confirms in yesterday's comments what many other friends who have visited Peru have expressed: Lima is a cesspool and should be avoided if at all possible.

The REI in San Francisco doesn't have the best feng shui in the world. It feels like they didn't have enough space. As a result, I wound up walking around in circles in the store, and continually disappointed by the lack of selection. Of course, I did not leave empty-handed. I got a new backpack. My current backpack is a pretty measly Camelbak- it was from my mountainbiking days, and as such fits the hydration sleeve (or bladder, as I like to call it), a little pocket wrench, chapstick, and usually a PB&J. I have another backpack, but I've had that since high school, so that wasn't going to cut it either. Enter the Terrapak 40. I have to say that the biggest problem with buying this sort of stuff is that it makes me feel like an incredible poseur. But I figure it will last me a long while. I also bought some much needed hiking boots, that were not at all on sale, unfortunately. My Merrell hiking boots don't cover the ankle, and on the longer hikes I've braved recently, I've started to feel it. My friend W once gave me some precious advice: there are two things you should never skimp on in terms of price or quality- hiking boots and sleeping bags. Hiking boots, check. Sleeping bag, coming up next.

As I made my rounds around the store over and over, I found myself a little overwhelmed. There are a lot of things I need for my trip, but I just couldn't bring myself to start purchasing all of them in one bolus. Last time I went to an REI in Berkeley, I'd convinced myself I needed everything in the store, right down to a portable pancake griddle. But I was with a friend yesterday who has a more traditionally female approach to shopping- browsing, shopping around, collecting the necessary items bit by bit. So I was swayed from my usual one-stop, get the job done tendencies. In the long run, it's probably for the best.

For those of you who have managed to continue reading this post without drowsiness or the urge to click to a different website, I commend you. And now I ask you for some much-needed advice. I just got a ticket to a seminar on writers writing about music. My question is- should I really be going if I have no intention of ever making a career of writing about music? I'm intrigued by Greil Marcus and the like, I'm curious about their process and how music translates to words for them. McSweeney's series of essays on songs is brilliant and often moving. I'm always wishing I was better equipped to convey how a song seeps into me. But ultimately, I'm worried I'm going to get there and be interrogated on my purpose. And I'll mumble something like, "well, see, I'm a blogger, and I want to write about these writers who write about music." And isn't that just ridiculous? Not to mention, probably at the sound of the word "blogger", I'll probably be unceremoniously shown the door. Am I just being a candy-a**? Do I need to just suck it up and go with my gut? I am at your mercy, people.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

volunteers wanted for a very special trip

Some days, I just want to pull out my favorite Owen Wilson Shanghai Noon line: "I don't know karate, but I do know kar-azy, and I will use it." Just out of sheer boredom. I'm an ingrate to b*tch at all about my job, but as the old EBF tune proclaims, I can't complain but sometimes I still do.

Other reasons I really shouldn't complain: my best bud W sent me a package from Deutschland that should get here this week. I lurve packages. I need to do more sending and less receiving, I know, but I still have to express my fondness for them. I have a few in the works right now, and that might actually be more enjoyable than being surprised by one myself. Except that I'm always so woefully tardy at getting them out the door.

Tonight, I brave REI- like a good Guju, I am chasing a sale here, but I do need some gear for my trip to Peru. I remarked today to a friend that my feelings toward this trip have oscillated between excitement and panic. The itinerary is pretty locked in now, although that's been mostly my doing, and I'm a little weirded out by that. I always assume there's going to be some feedback, but my other travel companions have just deferred to me on everything at this point. Here's what it looks like now, with details to be filled in much more later:
    Day 1: arrive in Lima
    Day 2: wander around Lima, meet up with random person I met a few weeks ago at a party
    Day 3: meet up with the tri-guy at the airport, fly out to Arequipa
    Day 4-Day 5: Arequipa, Colca Canyons
    Day 6: fly out to Cusco
    Day 7-Day 9: Cusco acclimatization
    Day 10: begin Inca Trail
    Days 11-12: pain
    Day 13: get some religion at Machu Pichu
    Day 14: limp back to Lima, catch flight home
When I first started planning this trip, it seemed like an amazing amount of time. It is for me. It's probably the longest real vacation I've had in years. Even a trip to Southeast Asia I made was shorter than this. And yet, when I mapped out the itinerary and started doing some research, the duration seemed so meager suddenly. Still, it's something. And it's something that's keeping me sane at the moment. It's always good to have a light at the end of the tunnel. I keep randomly meeting SOuth Americans lately, who continue to recount tales of how travelling to Machu Pichu changed their lives. My response has always been the same: "Really? I hope that's true for me." They always look at me strangely at that point and move away slowly.

Note to George Lucas: dial it down on the Natalie Portman-Hayden Christiansen nonsense on the previews. You're doing a great job of marketing Kicking & Screaming.

Also, the score with the white chocolate cake remains as it was on Friday- white chocolate cake: 1, me: 0. Hopefully, that will change soon. I decided to take the babysteps approach, and made chocolate chip meringues last night. For anyone who cares, meringues look a lot prettier than they smell prior to going into the oven. They do consist of an egg product after all. However, it's hard to remember this when you have a bowl of fluffy, shiny white clouds that looks like it should smell like marshmallows.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

longitudes, latitudes, it's so absurd

What I'm about to type is a landmark for me. I don't think I'll ever be able to type it again. It was so very Camus in a way. Last night, George W. Bush cheered me up out of an impending depression. It's crazy, but it's true.

I came home and got yet another in a series of blows to my confidence, and I was really blue. Nothing made sense. I felt slighted. I felt like I wasn't good enough. I felt like I had been dealt a bad hand. My usual don't mess with me attitude was eclipsed by wallowing self-pity. Looking for something to distract me, I turned to the book my brother had just given me, Collapse. But as it turned out, that was written so well that it actually made me feel worse and even more inadequate. I closed the book, and, predictably, turned on the television.

And what should appear before my eyes? CNN, George W. Bush, and folk music somewhere in the former Soviet Union. And here's where he melted me, people- W. started doing this weird jig. It wasn't an Ashlee Simpson-esque hoedown. No, it was more understated. It involved him placing his hands on his hips, and making an odd hip movement in time to the music. Laura Bush stepped safely away from him as if to say "Hey, I'm married to him, but I can't control him, don't look at me." I burst into laughter. The absurdity of my current President caused me to think, well, nothing makes sense these days anyway, so there's no reason to be upset about your current predicament. So I never thought I'd write this, but thanks George. You helped a sister out after all.

And now for something completely different (that's a shoutout to Spamalot, which just landed a billion Tony nominations). This is something I've wondered for quite a while, but how is it possible that Vermont and New Hampshire turned out to be such vastly different states? The stark contrast was highlighted recently when I caught these two stories within a few days of each other:
  • Vermont is getting closer and closer to universal access healthcare reform. It's certainly not a done deal, but the strides are being made.
  • New Hampshire, on the other hand, is currently entertaining a proposal to charge the poorest for Medicaid. According to the story, "they argue that making the poor pay would make them thriftier health care consumers." Come on, say it with me now- WTF?!?
Would someone please explain to me how these two states share a border?

Monday, May 09, 2005

it's not easy being green

In Friday's post, I suggested that perhaps I walked away from the family gene pool with all the recessive traits. After I mention the Mother's Day debachle of 2005, that suggestion might be considered wishful thinking. I sent my mom a silk & cashmere scarf and a little batch of cookies. When I called yesterday, my father picked up the phone. He said he'd given my mom the package a day early, and apologized for stealing my thunder- there is no way to reenact the hilarity that is my father using the expression stealing your thunder, by the way. Then he handed the phone over to my mom. As much as I tease her about her penchant for turning her nose up at most presents, I have to admit that she was surprisingly satisfied. There are two things she said that had me in stitches and smiles for the better part of Sunday:
  • "This must have taken you a long time... so... you must have been thinking of me the whole time you were making this. (short pause of silence) Right?!?"
  • "Your father ate a lot of the cookies before I even got home. He didn't tell me until this morning, but he couldn't keep it a secret any longer."
That's right, people. My father ate my Mother's Day present. Now, I would love, for the purposes of blogging entertainment, to rip him a new one for this. But that wouldn't be fair. He's actually a sweet and considerate, albeit eccentric and slightly insane man. He just can't resist the lure of sugar in any form. It's a miracle that he left anything behind for my mother. It's also a miracle that he doesn't have diabetes.

Random thought that occurred to me on the way to work this morning: when 80s music first came out- you know, in the 80s (and yes I have a knack for stating the obvious)- it occasionally annoyed me because it seemed so new age and futuristic. I mean that it was trying to be more futuristic than the 80s actually were. I remember in 1984, there was first that stupid Apple advert that drove every morning news program to draw parallels to Orwell's 1984 vs. the actual 1984 (it seems it would be better to look at the parallels today, incidentally). But then the 80s also found news programs obsessed with what the future held. Oh yes, there were also the apocalyptic future scenarios thanks to the fear associated with the Cold War. But there also seemed to be a fixation on what kind of advances we'd have in the future. Why did I think about this on the way to work? Besides being insane, I feel like 80s music seems to fit now. All the synth-pop and whatnot has become so commonplace now, due in part to cell phones, video games, technology as a whole having this giant leap at a speed that few would have predicted. Those synth noises don't sound jarring or futuristic in music now. It's very now, oddly enough, twenty years later.

I've been reading up about polio for some reason. It's the 50th anniversary of the Salk vaccine, and the actual clinical trial that proved that the Salk vaccine was safe and effective in preventing polio. But I find that media coverage of science often oversimplify stories like this. Everybody wants a hero, maybe. Salk was an impressive scientist, and he did develop the first polio vaccine that worked. But had it not been for his mentor Thomas Francis, no one may have ever known that. Francis had to figure out a way to definitively prove that the polio vaccine was effective, no small undertaking. What's more, a follow-up vaccine developed by Albert Sabin has ultimately replaced the Salk vaccine, since it is most effective in stopping all forms of polio. Salk and Sabin cut two very interesting profiles as scientists- it's a matter of perspective who got more glory. Salk is probably more of a household name when polio is mentioned. But he never won the Nobel prize, was never accepted as a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and was generally thought to violate the gentleman's code of conduct in research/science. Sabin, on the other hand, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and generally held in higher regard by his fellow virologists and vaccinologists. It's hard to tell which of them felt more slighted or sated in the end.

But even with all those advances, it's really sad that there is still a considerable polio problem in Nigeria, even though it does show signs of getting under control. There is no reason for that in this day and age.

Well, this quiz could not be more off the mark, but Kermit did turn 50 today, and I couldn't resist, thanks to Anna:

what flavor pocky are you?

[c] sugardew

Friday, May 06, 2005

get that dirt off your shoulder

A little ranting and raving serves as a good outlet for stress, but I'm going to try to keep the venting to a minimum today. It's Friday. I do occasionally miss the days when Fridays weren't so momentous, when time was not measured by the working week. But it's hard to brood too much about that sort of thing on a Friday, so I shan't.

The Mother's Day present was sent, but in a rush, so no photographs. It was nothing that spectacular anyway, and I'm sure I'll get confirmation of that at some point this weekend. At any rate, it frees me up to work on other things that need my attention.

Last night, I was supposed to bake a cake for my friend JP's birthday. Loathe as I am to admit this, I completely, completely wussed out. I had all these plans of making a white chocolate cake, a small one, 4" in diameter, wee, cute, and covered with milk chocolate frosting and strawberries. But doubts started to surface. I had never tried this recipe before, and I'm never able to follow recipes entirely anyway. I was sitting on my couch reading the recipe, plotting out the various ways I was going to violate it, when the scenarios started flashing through my head. What if I don't know how to make cakes this small? What if the batter overflows? What if the cakes stick to the pans and come out misshapen, or worse yet, in pieces? What if the frosting is too heavy, or too light? What if I don't finish in time? What if I rush, don't let the cake cool completely, and wind up messing it up?

It should be noted that JP is one of the most fabulous cooks and, well, overall, one of the most fabulous individuals I've ever known. The chances that I'd come up with something mediocre outweighed the chances that he'd appreciate the effort, however shoddy. That's not doing him justice, actually. I know he would have been quite sweet, and thoroughly gracious. But I don't want to spend his birthday with a pit in my stomach about the crappiness of this now-virtual cake. It always boils down to something selfish with me, folks. The bottom line is that I have to bust out of this joint and make a quick jaunt to my favorite bakery. However, the idea of this cake has now lodged into my head, and I consider it a personal defeat that I did not accept the challenge. So it's now on the weekend docket.

I recently discovered that my cousin has been keeping a Xanga for quite a while now. If you ever read it, serious doubts would be raised about the claim that she is my cousin, or, in fact, that we share any DNA homology. Her journal is a tribute to Celine Dion, torch songs/ballads, and hindi film tunes, crossed with her ruminations on love/schmoopiness/breakups and the difficulties of a college education. Yes, I know, she's young and so I should not be so hard on her. But we're family, so I'm allowed. At least, we're allegedly family. I'd claim one of us was switched at the hospital. Except that we were both born in hospitals so homogeneously white that there isn't actually the possibility that a nurse could have mistaken either of us for the child of another new mother. I guess this just proves the random nature of genetic crossing. One of us definitely landed all the recessive genes. Based on a brief survey of the family, I have to say, I'm probably the one that got them.

One last thing in my Anna tribute week. I read an article the other day, and the headline had the words "Jane Fonda flogs" in it. My first reaction? Wow, Jane Fonda has a Fotolog? I'm blaming that moment of flakiness on too much Anna on the brain!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

learn to buck up

New members to the National Academy of Sciences were announced yesterday. The NYT covered this, with the spin being that, this year, an all-time high number of women were elected. I was a little annoyed with the article because the Summers debachle was brought up again, and was even insinuated to be a potential driver for the increase in women elected. Before everyone starts crying foul, let's look at the numbers- out of 72 new members, 19 were women. That's around 25%, which is nothing that causes me to call for a ticker tape parade.

I read an essay written by Abraham Verghese today, and much swooning commenced. Here's where he made a mess out of me:
"I could not tell my family how much Of Human Bondage had affected me or that I had now found my calling, because they believed I already had. And I was also learning, from books, that grand outward pronouncements of passion were not as significant as quiet inner convictions."
I didn't even mind when he got cranky after that about the kids these days and their lack of interest in reading.

The reason that quote resonates so much with me is that we're such a talking culture. We have to share our feelings and our histories and our baggage and... it's just exhausting. Honestly, sometimes I'm not into it. I know- this probably comes off sounding ridiculously hypocritical coming from someone who basically throws up on the internet on a daily basis. But hypocrisy has never stopped me from complaining before. Maybe what I'm really b*tching about is storytelling, or a lack of it. And this is specific to conversations for me, I guess- you can always not read a blog, or an email, or a letter. But dude, I'm tired of listening to conversations about nothing, love of Seinfeld aside. It's one thing if we're just shooting the breeze, but if I'm going to spend precious time listening to a history of someone's last breakup, it better have a point. Or at least be entertaining, or novel even. I feel like I'm hearing the same song in different keys covered by different artists of Celine Dion-ilk. Oh, and here's another thing- don't expect me to come at you with my own cover of that tired a** song! Homey don't play that. I get over things the old-fashioned way: by drinking alone in my apartment while listening to Morrissey. Just kidding. Kind of.

That's not the only reason that quote resonates with me though. The other reason is more literal, more obvious- it's a simple fact that no one else can ever understand exactly how strongly you feel about something that you really want. And it's also a simple fact that saying it louder or more forcefully will not help your cause any. It's that phrase quiet inner conviction that I like so much. That's where all the real strength lies. Hmm, I think I just talked myself into STFU.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

pace yourself from me

Close calls and skin of my teeth (that is the weirdest idiom by the way) aside, I finally have booked my trekking tickets for the Inca Trail! Yay! Now I can slowly develop an ulcer worrying about altitude sickness, fatigue, Montezuma's revenge, wimping out, being without a shower for four days, things that go bump in the night, etc. Actually, even as I finally secured the trek, my travel partners started harassing me about all the other planning. I gave them the finger- I need a vacation from planning this vacation. However, as an offering to the Incan G*ds, I will go on the much loathed Stairmaster this evening.

Some random musical notes:
  • Judas Priest covering Joan Baez's Diamonds and Rust is really bizarre and jarring. Not necessarily in a bad way, but when I heard it, I thought "wait, is this... what the... and who?" Yes, I never complete sentences, apparently.
  • They should consider not allowing DJ's to play Somebody Told Me during rush hour traffic. It's incredibly torturous to listen to this song while trying to limit your speed to under 40 mph in order to avoid a collision with the slow-moving vehicle in front of you.
  • I can't get the new Weezer song out of my head, and so I bounce around my apartment, singing (very off-tune, I might add) "Beverly Hills, that's where I want to be... living in Beverly Hills" This troubles me because I have never, in fact, felt that way about Beverly Hills. Damn you, Rivers!
As usual, I'm behind on everything. I have this habit of dropping everything to put out the closest fire, and as a result, there is always another five-alarm flame waiting for me around the corner. Sometimes, it's especially frustrating because it seems as though I've just forgotten or talked idly about something I'm meaning to do- so I'm sure I come off as an insincere jacka**. I really am still meaning to do it, I'm just woefully tardy. So, if you get something from me that says "I'm sorry I'm late," you should know I've written that on everything I've sent for the past three months. Or years. Or decades.

On the other hand, there are some fires that burn fierce with the kind of heat that blue flames generate. Such a fire is what burns in my mother when she is not rewarded for the however-many-hours of labor it took to bring me into this world, on the exact date prespecified by Hallmark. The woman is also notoriously difficult to shop for- she once had a huge fight with my father because he bought her a dozen roses for Valentine's Day. Yes. You read that correctly. Her reasoning? This is a completely thoughtless gift... anybody can buy roses... you probably got them from a gas station. Besides... they're cut, they're dead. What kind of stupid present only lasts a week? It's funnier in Gujarati. You really can't win with her. If you buy her something expensive, it's a waste of money- she could have just waited until it went on the 75% off rack. If you buy her something cheap, it's a sign you don't care. This year, I just gave up and made her something. I put the finishing touches on it this morning before I left for work, running like a chicken with her head cut off. I might post a picture (not of me running madly, but of the present) if I finish it in time to also photograph it prior to rushing it off to her.

Here are some other random items:
  • I hate getting into arguments where I'm 99% sure I'm right, but the other person is displaying 100% confidence with 50% knowledge. At lunch today, I gave up on an argument about the difference between capital and capitol, and I backed down because my opponent was practically banging his shoe on the table in certainty that he was right. And then I looked it up when I got back, and, sure enough, I was right. I was thinking about this later. He wound up feeling smart at the end of the argument, but hey, you know what? In actuality, I am smarter. So there.
  • I hiked 10.5 miles on Saturday and got sunburned as a result. I don't know why I've been getting sunburns since moving to California. I'm brown, it doesn't make sense. I showed up to Greco on Sunday looking like Rudolph the Red-Nosed desi, and Anna said nothing about it- just another reason she is a rockstar (another reason is that she calls smokers "cancer cravers").
  • In an attempt to further my education, one of my Brazilian buddies emailed me a message today written completely in Spanish. It was five lines long and took about 45 minutes for me to translate and respond back in Spanish. Pathetic.
  • Yes, I know I have not posted a single news-related item in, oh, a year or so. Yes, I have fallen behind and become ignorant. I'm distracted at the moment. With any luck, this is temporary.
And that's all she wrote.

Monday, May 02, 2005

I seem to recognize your face

I think I need a new heart

As if to say, Why don't you stay?, San Francisco bloomed into some of the best weather we've had in weeks in preparation for the arrival of Anna yesterday. Yes, folks, that's a three-peat on the posts about celebrity sightings. Reasons Anna is a rockstar:

  • She's the one that went out of her way to come visit SF, and yet, because of my belly-aching (based mostly on utter laziness) about North Beach, she gifted me a box of Pocky. Royal Milk Tea Pocky. Even the crazy Pocky store in my neighborhood has never had this on hand. I showed it to my brother last night, and he actually lit up.
  • Coolest biz cards ever- you can't see it due to my poor camera skills, but the back of the card features the quote- "Well behaved women rarely make history"- need I say more on that?
  • After having met me for, at most, fifteen minutes, she shielded me from completely making a fool of myself, in that way that women do where a few exchanged glances say I saved your a**, now please hush before you put your foot in your mouth again. For that quick, stealthy comraderie, I lurved her immediately.
  • She didn't kill me for my spectacularly flake-tastic behavior in NYC, or for being twenty minutes late.
  • She put up with me cursing within five minutes of meeting her. I really need to get that under control, btw.
  • Thanks to her, I met the lovely Livin' Simple, who emanates sweetness and also, as it turns out, is my neighbor.
  • She taught me a new insult in Gujarati, a language I'm supposedly fluent in.
  • She's an artist who can kick some tail in the IT field- my brother would fall over himself if he knew this much alone.
You know, I could go on and on, but I just realized, you really have to be lucky enough to meet her to understand how much she rocks. So there. I wish that I had been able to stay longer and pick her brain a bit more. Or just watch her in action, because she is great fun, and funny as well. I should point out that, thanks to Anna, I also got two funky anime pencils from one of her Friendsters. Dude, the blogosphere's been good to me.

I'm currently on pins and needles, brimming over with anxiety about whether or not I was able to reserve the Inca trail trek on the right date. This trip has been a bit like herding cats. I'm pretty sure I would have had an aneurysm this morning, had it not been for the afterglow of the Anna experience from yesterday.