Mar 19, 2010

At last

I got into graduate school! At the university where I wanted to go. At a program that will teach me things. How strange it feels to have succeeded at what I've been trying to do for the last four years.

Dec 28, 2009


There have been better years, and there will be better years.

2009 was a year of inertia. I stayed at the same job, in the same office, making the same salary. I applied and was rejected from my third grad program at the same school. I took the GRE a second time, applied a fourth time. Now I await my fourth rejection. Do I then shoot for a fifth? I don't know; I haven't decided. 2010 will be a year of deciding.

2009 was a year of loss. I don't have many friends, but one of my closest ones watched her mother die of cancer. In July, my parents and I went to New Mexico with my aging grandfather to visit his cousins, his old friends, the town where he grew up, and the graves of his family. By September, his dementia had become so severe that my grandmother left him in a nursing home; in early October he died of a stroke. It seemed all too fast, and his death brought to light such sorry depths of family dysfunction that I can only begin to relate--

2009 was a year of really discovering what ugliness--disownment, betrayal, repression, hypocrisy, a kind of stoic cruelty--lies so near the heart of my family structure.

2009 was a year of reading not enough books, watching not enough movies, seeing not nearly enough of my friends. It was a year of watching too many TV series and paying too much attention to disturbing sociopolitical trends.

2009 was another year of not writing enough, of observing my writing get shittier and shittier. 2010 will be a year of setting that right. (I never meant to abandon this place, and I haven't, not yet, at least not for ever.)

2009 was not a good year, but there will be worse years. It was another year in a stable and happy relationship (5 years and counting). It was a year of good roommates, good health, steady employment, and relatively stable finances (that is, for a grad student and a lowly office worker living in an absurdly expensive city). It was a year of regular exercise and of a shockingly pleasant first meeting between boyfriend and parents. It was a year of good food and not too many hangovers.

But here's to hoping that 2010 will be better.

And I'll be back in 2010. I kinda sorta promise, I think.

Jul 12, 2009

Someone broke our window a while back.

We didn't even notice for a few days. Damn kids.

Jul 11, 2009

The Naruto Effect

I never meant to give up blogging, but it's starting to look like I did. Well, I didn't give it up. I've just been extremely bad at it.

I've been pretty much alone for the last two weeks. M. is on the East Coast, one of my flatmates has been housesitting, and the other two are working nightly at their restaurant jobs. I'm not used to being alone anymore. Everything feels silent and strange.

At first there were all these grand plans of Getting Stuff Done. I was going to tighten up the whole ship. Develop good sleeping habits, do my math homework, plan for the rest of my life, water the plants regularly, and so forth. But after two weeks alone, I am pretty sure I have accomplished nothing.

I call it the Naruto Effect after the way it struck one of my flatmates a few years back. His wife spent a few weeks in Europe, leaving him to his own devices. During this time we witnessed his devolution. On the rare occasion of his leaving his room, he shuffled about the house in wrinkled shirts. He drank martinis made of cheap gin, ate bowls of cold rice mixed with Prego from the jar, and watched the whole Naruto series on his computer. As far as I know, besides going to work, this was all he did while his wife was away.

Fast-forward to this week. My productivity is shot. It's been deteriorating for a while now, but this week it's nonexistant. I go to work late, come back late, stick a pizza in the oven, shuffle downstairs to watch a TV show. It's Buffy the Vampire Slayer instead of Naruto, but the same principle applies. I'm experiencing the Naruto Effect. I finally finished the whole damn series, which should set me free, but will it?

I don't think it's about Buffy any more than my flatmate's catatonia was about Naruto. Now that it's over, I will just find another way to waste time. I wish I could figure out how to focus myself. There's no clarity now. There's just the whooosh sound of the days passing. (Yes, and staccato sentences.)

Maybe in the coming days I will direct my lack of focus (can I say that?) toward blogging. Hah! Well, stranger things have happened.

Apr 25, 2009

Blue-laced shoes etc

It was cold and windy last week. Then it reached 93 degrees, record-breaking temperatures for this time of year, and the whole city turned to mush. Just two days later and we're back to 40-some degrees and windy as fuck, and we don't really know what to do with ourselves.

I'm drinking wine now. M. is playing records. I worked from home today, finishing up a little past midnight. It's been a strange week of sickness or allergies, thoughts of ph-duhs, wearing shorts outside the house for the first time in perhaps ever. Our roommate of over a year is moving out, and we can't find anyone decent to replace her. Yet Craigslist has been overrun by douchebags. Longhaired self-styled gypsies; people who can conceive of no world outside Burning Man; robotic CS types with appallingly firm handshakes. Screw this. I don't think I can do the roommate thing for very much longer.

Secretly, we've been going to open houses. M.'s mom is looking to buy a house here, and we would live in it as tenants. Once, years ago, at the zenith of the housing bubble, we looked through some listings and laughed at the rundown pieces of shit priced at a million dollars. Not so anymore. Now, for half that, you can buy something pretty sweet. Something high up on a nearby hill, protected from roommates and noise, complete with deck and small yard. And--as the boring, snotty academic types we have indeed become--we're seriously looking into it. Let us snatch our schmancy espresso machine, our 1950s crystal, our dutch modern table, and rescue them from your unclean plebian hands!

Mar 13, 2009

Recession Liveblog!

Actual lunchtime conversation with a gray-haired co-worker whose name I still don't know:

Him: Good afternoon. Will this explode if I microwave it?
Me: No idea.
Him: It's made of metal.
Me: In that case, maybe you shouldn't microwave it.
Him: Did you know that if you microwave pantyh0se, it catches fire? I read that somewhere.
Me: No, I didn't know that.
Him: So if your pantyh0se are wet for some reason, you shouldn't dry them off in the microwave.
Me: Thanks. I'll keep that in mind.

Wine country biking trip I didn't pay for

The afternoon after the final party

The first cold day of the season

I haven't been blogging much--I see I skipped the entire month of February--but oh, how busy I've been! The tragedy (yes, tragedy) of it is that I've been occupied with such truly bloggable material at work. But I've been too busy working, and I can't blog about work as long as I'm still here, anyway. And given the situation (Stable job + nasty recession + 3-strikes-I'm-out on the masters application process), I expect to remain here for a good long while.

Yes, I did fail for the third consecutive year to get into a grad program. Every year that goes by is another mark in favor of selling out. The older I get, the more I would be willing to trade for the ability to afford a certain standard of living. The less I want to be sharing my living space with people I met on Craigslist, perfectly lovely people they may be. The more I long for middle-class comforts like the ability to go on vacation, maybe once a year, on my own dime without bankrupting myself.

But how to sell out? Is anyone even buying these days? This schmancy degree has got to be worth something, hasn't it?


Or not. Well, I'm employed!

Christmas in Midwest (didn't pay for this either)

Jan 15, 2009

Heatwave 2009

The weather here is unbelievable. It would almost pass for summer in these parts. It's better than summer, though: in summer, sundown brings cold air and fog rushing down through Dolores Park, making the nights feel colder. I'm in my office now with the window wide open. Soon I will bike to the train in a windbreaker and no gloves. Delightful madness, surely a sign of the end times.

2008: good riddance.

2009, a summary thus far:

1. I arrived from the Midwest with a fresh cold and no luggage.

2. I spent a few days at M.'s stepmom's vacation home on the northern California coast, drinking good wine, eating good food, admiring a beautiful view, writing a terribly stilted application essay, and spending literally hours on a sputtering, echoing, many-times-crossed land line with various airline call-center employees in Mumbai who called me "Madam" while explaining to me that no, they could NOT change the address on my luggage to reflect my actual whereabouts. I don't think I can properly explain how bizarre and disorienting it for someone with a phone phobia (hint: me) to be in this situation: hearing 4 conversations going on at the same time, unsure which person I am actually speaking to; trying to filter the conversation through a constant echo; trying to hear what is being said to me through a constant crackling noise and an infernal beeping many times louder than any voice on the line.

3. I got my luggage 7 days later.

4. I resolved to write in a journal every day, as that's the only way I am going to get the writing practice necessary to making my next experience with an application essay borderline acceptable. So far this year I've managed to do so every day but one.

5. I resolved to drink less and spend less money, but alas, I'm already failing there.

6. I applied to another masters program.

7. I inherited another laptop from M. I'm solidly in the 21st century now, with battery power and wireless.

8. My flatmate's boyfriend was arrested driving *her* car with an expired license and a bunch of marijuana plants in the trunk. I took her out for a much-needed drink last night. (See item 5.)

9. Today I learned that one of my 3 true remaining friends is getting married. She met her now-fiance on a dating website. I remember the circumstances under which she joined: she had just suffered a bitter breakup and had learned that her ex (our flatmate at the time) had joined an online dating site. Largely out of spite, she joined one too, and she responded to the first guy who looked compatible. They got along well, and today there was an invitation to their engagement party in my inbox.

10. M. killed his party as a present to himself and to me.

11. I've been majoring in Las Vegas this week: (a) Leaving Las Vegas, (b) Casino, (c) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (some time to read at last!)