30 January 2010

Meanwhile, on Muni...

Muni is both a blessing to have and the bane of my existence.

Since my work moved about 9 months ago, I've had to take one of the grossest buses in SF, the 38. This bus runs from the ocean to the Transbay Terminal downtown, essentially spanning the whole city and bringing riders through many different types of neighborhoods.

Full of characters, it stinks, is dirty, and most times unbearably crowded.

The other day, I was somehow lucky enough to score a seat in the back. I sat down excitedly and thought about how much more comfortable my ride would be (granted, I was running REALLY late to work, so it wasn't typical commute time). But then...

I realized my seat neighbor stunk of patchouli. Like, reeked of it. As if that smell wasn't bad enough, this dude smelled like he lit some incense, and then did some rhythmic gymnastics with the stick, making sure his body got fully coated in the smoke.

And, to top it off...dude had white person dreads. Which had clearly been soaked in the stuff, too.

It made for a long, long ride. And the smell stuck with me even after I left. While this wasn't the worst that I've had on the 38, it was gross nonetheless.

24 January 2010

Lingering Questions: Titanic

"I'll never let go, Jack."

I have watched Titanic at least a million times, or so it seems. I saw it 2 or 3 times at the movie theater (it has to be one of the only movies I have EVER seen in the theater more than once), and since then, pretty much every time it comes on, I watch, from any point in the movie until the end.

Yesterday was one of those days, and I came in right when Jack is tied up in the belly of the ship, the water is climbing, and Rose is trying to find a way to free him. They flash on to her mother, with Molly Brown in the rescue boat, and Mama Rose is worried about baby Rose.

Which begged the question, for me, anyway...did Rose ever see her mom again? Or did she let her mom go on thinking she had died on the boat. I kind of figured she never let evil fiancee know she was still kicking, but, her mom? How rude!

I also wonder if she went by Rose Dawson for the rest of her life? And, did her granddaughter know this story? That actress was so bored-looking throughout the whole movie I can't tell (maybe she was focused on her new relationship with James Cameron...who knows). Like, if you didn't know, wouldn't you be shocked? And if you did know, when you saw a story on the Titanic while your grandma was in the next room, wouldn't you call her in when a new story came on?

And...Did Rose name her first son Jack? It's really the least she could do, right?

18 January 2010

Sometimes, at 2am...

You just need a little Taco Bell. And, if you're in a certain area of SF, it means waiting in a long line for a delicious bean burrito.During our wait in line, a gentleman passed out cold on the counter...while standing...in line for his own delicious Chalupa or something. His friend woke him up, and promptly hit on the people behind them. Which happened to be us. Joy.

And, at 2am, after submitting our orders and waiting for our mouth-watering goodness, we found this hilariously funny...

And perhaps, my friend J here has found her new calling.

15 January 2010

No to H8te

Wow, 2008 seems like such a long time ago. I try not to get too political here, but I am hopping mad.

In 2008, there were vicious campaigns -- presidential, congressional, and for propositions. One of the ugliest, to me at least, was Proposition 8, which essentially stripped tax-paying, law-abiding citizens of their right to be wed to the person they love, simply because that person happens to be of the same sex.

Yes, you read that right: rights were taken away.

The judicial branch of the government is there to protect the people from ourselves. It is there to decide on things like civil right issues that may violate the laws set forth in our Constitution. It was the judicial branch who found that separate was not equal, and that said interracial marriages were legal, two things we take for granted now as a given.

So when the Supreme Court of California said that the ban on same-sex marriages was against the Constitution, and that people in same-sex marriages had the right to marry the partner they love and thus be afforded the same rights as those who were in "opposite"-sex marriages, it was a win for civil rights, civil rights for all of us. But then a group based outside of California with money to spend introduced a proposition to strip people of their rights. Money was poured into the campaign, spewing misinformation and telling blatant lies, and it passed. (the only good news that came out of it is that it passed by the smaller margin than similar propositions had, showing a change in the attitudes of voters)

However, that the people decided on a civil rights issue like this was wrong. Back when interracial marriage was deemed legal by the courts, popular opinion would have shot it down, as well. It was a sad, sad day.

It is something that absolutely baffles me. How does same-sex marriage threaten opposite-sex marriage? How does giving my friends the right to marry hurt me in any way? It doesn't, at all. In fact, it gives me a chance to celebrate their love in a way that I hope they will someday be allowed to celebrate mine.

So why, you may wonder, am I bringing this up now? Why am I mad? Well...A court case started this week to rule on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, in hopes of reinstating the earlier decision by the Supreme Court, thus reinstating the right of all consenting adults in California to marry whomever they chose, regardless of sex (notice I said consenting adults, not children, dogs, or goats). What has be mad is the defense.

It is a "pro-children" defense, and essentially says that marriage is an institution created to create children, something which cannot happen naturally between same-sex partners. So...does this mean that couples that choose to adopt children should not be allowed to get married? Or the married couples that choose not to have children, should they get their rights taken away, too?

I am actually hoping that this hurts the defense. Because several expert witnesses have already said it doesn't harm children, or the institution of marriage. And that states that have legalized same-sex marriage have a lower divorce rate. Isn't that pro-children and pro-family?!

And it comes down to it being a slippery slope. If they take the rights away, this easily, of one group, who is to say they won't do it to other groups. Who is to say a group couldn't decide that women shouldn't work, be educated, vote, and take those rights away? Once rights are taken away once, it is not good for the future.

11 January 2010


About 7 years ago, I traveled from my friend's wedding in Sweden down to Barcelona. I couldn't find my hostel (the Internet was still lacking some information, and I didn't write down the directions well), but I had remembered reading about one near Las Ramblas that was supposed to be fun.

The name? Kabul Hostel.

Most young backpackers who have Barca on their itinerary know of the Kabul. I didn't know it at the time, but it is constantly named as one of Europe's most known party hostels. After being there, I can see why!

My being there definitely brought the average up. There were 19 year olds, kids that were 21, and a few of us that were, ummm...a little older than that. Almost every morning I awoke to new roommates, often times, all guys. Can't say this place was clean, or particularly safe, but it was fun.

Such was the atmosphere when I met a few groups of American boys. "Tall" Tim and Karon from Atlanta, James & John from Washington D.C., and the California boys, Justin, Shelby & Tim. We met in the common room at the Kabul, at a point where I hadn't heard an American accent for some time. The 8 of us ended up spending most of our time together for the next few days, until the Atlanta & Cali boys had to head elsewhere (and they all crammed into an itty bitty car -- 5 grown men -- and all their luggage, which was like 8+ bags). The D.C. boys and I tried to find a way to follow them, but it never worked out.

Over the years, I have stayed in contact with a few of them. This was pre-Facebook, so it wasn't like you could just add them and follow their lives; it required a little bit more effort. It wasn't surprising when emails trailed off...one of the D.C. boys, John, has been traveling pretty consistently over the years, and is good about updating everyone, but last I actually saw him was probably 5 years ago.

Flash forward to 2010. I'm being a bum, that's what New Year's Day is for, right?, and generally not motivated to move. At all. John sends me a text to come meet him out -- he was in SF for a few days. And, he was with Justin, who I hadn't seen since we dropped him off at the teeny car in Barcelona. How could I say no to that?

It took all my effort -- seriously, I am not exaggerating here -- to head out to the bar, about 15 blocks away. Walking in, though, it was all worth it. There was a little bit of catching up, but soon there was the reminiscing, trying to recall our best stories from Barca, or those that still riled us up a little (me: when the boys called me "mom" because I was so much older then all of them...grrr). We laughed about ever going back to the Kabul -- I would not, the boys were both game. And got to meet their girlfriends and some of the other friends they had with them, which was also fun, to see kind of how they'd "grown up" (they were somewhere between the ages of 20-22 when I met them).

And, the best part, to me anyway, was that it didn't feel like that much time had passed, and it was fun.

The difference in travel now and then is striking...back then, which wasn't so long ago in the grand scheme of things, but is eons in the Internet-age, chances were you wouldn't see the people you met traveling unless you really tried. You may email, but that would inevitably falter off after some time. People move, email addresses change...so to me it is pretty awesome that this group still has a web of connectivity.

08 January 2010

Happy New Year!

I know, I know, I have been remiss in my writing, and disappointing my mom many, many readers.

But it's 2010 now, and I will do my best to keep this site updated more.

I didn't make any resolutions this year. Every time I do, I just disappoint myself. So no disappointments in 2010! Whoo-hoo.

This year is already off to a great start...lots of plans already made and many in the works, including Costa Rica, Wildflower, Santa Cruz for Wharf to Wharf again, and, of course, New Orleans for Halloween! It'll be a good year, I know it.

And, of course, it will include a little more fun-loving teasing of my pooch, who got to visit Santa for the first time this year. Happy New Year!

05 January 2010

Reading is FUNdamental: Book Roll 2010

I read a fair amount of books this year...not as many as I would have liked, but still not too shabby!

So...I thought it would be good to share thoughts, recommendations, and what nots! I wrote previously about a few of these, so linked where that was appropriate.


  • The Art of Dancing in the Rain, Garth Stein
    I thought I had written about this...but I guess not. This as a rather easy read, and one, like Marley & Me, that will manipulate you and make you shed a tear or two (well, if you're a pet person). Not the best novel, but a nice, light read for days you need that.
  • Trouble, Kate Christensen
    Sometimes, I regret that I ever started reading chick-lit, as my Amazon recommendations start filling up the minute I do. Trouble is typical fare...a story of sadness, romance, and ultimately some neat ending. Maybe a good beach read, if you can hang with it.

  • Juliet, Naked, Nick Hornby
    I love Nick Hornby, and this one didn't disappoint. A slightly twisted tale of coincidence, love, and friendship...there are several things going on at once, but it is written in a way that doesn't feel confusing. Hornby often writes from a men's point of view, but he gets the female viewpoint pretty well, too. If you like GenX-style, and Hornby, you'll like this one. 
  • Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson
    Inspirational. An absolute must.

  • Frankly, My Dear, Molly Haskell
    A behind-the-scenes look at Gone with the Wind. Only read if you like GwtW, and have a lot of time on your hands (like vacation, which is what I was on!).

  • Little Children, A Novel, Tom Perrotta
    Fairly convoluted and gripping tale...was also a movie with Kate Winslet (who is supposed to be on the fug side...which is impossible). I liked the book much better than the movie, because, like many books, it had the opportunity to build the characters and their motivations, which don't make sense on the screen. Quick, rather intense read.

  • Three Dollars, Elliot Perlman
    I really love Perlman's Seven Types of Ambiguity. I think I liked this book, but it's rather forgettable to me. 
  • Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri
    I have read several novels that recount the immigrant experience, and I find it interesting that those written by Indian authors sound so similar. Often set in the Boston area, they talk about the struggle to fit in versus that of not losing touch with their homeland. I don't think this is unique to the Indian population -- I would assume it is very common among all immigrant populations -- but to me the similarity of tone is striking. This book is no exception, and was a good reminder of how much we take for granted when we are born here.

  • The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn, Allison Weir
    Only read if you are obsessed with the Tudors.

  • Naked, David Sedaris
    Not gonna lie...I tried to get into this one several times, and failed. Did not finish.
  • Open, Andre Agassi
    An absolutely fascinating look at the rise, fall, and rise again of Andre Agassi. He was such a huge figure when I was growing up; I so clearly remembered some of the events he described, it was fun to hear the back story. It's a little too self-indulgent, but still an entertaining read (and written in the exact style of my friend, so much so that I heard his voice while reading. Eerie). 
  • The Big Short, Michael Lewis
    The president of my company recommended that we all read this. All the reviews said to read this. And when I started it, I will say, it broke down the financial crisis in a way that really made sense (which was super helpful to me, who works in the industry and sometimes gets confused in the brain). But after two attempts, I still haven't made it all the way through, mainly because I keep having to re-read parts and then it is due back to the library. I do hope to accomplish this in 2011.

  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Steig Larsson
    The first in the trilogy (which was published right around when the author passed away, but didn't get popular/made into a movie until after). There is a reason this series is popular; it's a total page turner. It is rather violent, so be warned.
  • Zeitoun, Dave Eggers
    Read this. Be prepared to get angry, but read it.

  • The Girl who Played with Fire, Steig Larsson
    The weakest of the trilogy, but still really enjoyed it.

  • The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Steig Larsson
    I read this in one night, that's how much I liked it. I think the first is the best, as it set the stage really well, but this third book really wrapped things up well.
  • Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen
    I finally made it through an Austen book. Whoo-hoo! I like the movies better. 
  • Little Bee, Chris Cleave
    On the first page of the book, the author expresses his wish that we not share the secret of the book, so I won't. But I will say, this book seemed to be part of a theme I had this year of reading books that opened my eyes up to different parts of the world, and how humanity has been lost (but can be found again). 
  • Talking to Girls about Duran Duran, Rob Sheffield
    A cute book about 80s music, and various anecdotes from Sheffield's life. Another book that made me wonder if my life would look more interesting if I wrote a memoir.

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
    A true story about the woman who is central to many of the medical advances made since the 50s, and how her family never knew (and can't even afford their own health care). And, at the center, an ethical question: should people have the rights over their own cells, or would that impede process?