A Good Friday Night

Ah. Starting to feel a bit settled. I’m still having trouble getting to sleep at night, but I can sleep in so my schedule is a little wonky but not painful.

Telecommuted today, working on the next phase of CentralBooking.com and it’s going along well. I think we’ll be able to finish ahead of schedule – which everyone likes. Fingers crossed for continued smooth sailing.

Had dinner at Suppenküche with Clemens and Friederike who pronounced it very good. Clemens had Sauerbraten mit Preiselbeerkonfit�re, serviert mit Rotkohl und Spätzle and said it was the best south German food he’d had in the Bay Area. It’s a fun restaurant and I highly recommend it. The shared seating is actually lots of fun. We were next to two large and pleasant parties of people – a good place for extroverts!

Now I’m all warm and sleepy and faced with a dilemna: if I make the bed (currently in couch form) and brush my teeth and go to bed, will I actually be sleepy enough to go to sleep for the whole night? Or will I, as I strongly suspect, sleep for 2 hours and then wake refreshed and stay awake until 3 or 4 and totally screw up my sleep schedule?

Maybe I’ll make the bed and then play games for an hour. Jeez, so much for being an urbane city dweller – “Oh, goodness, it’s almost 10pm. *yawn*” I blame the good, rich German food.

Dinah’s Busy Busy Week of Fun

Well. What a busy week I’ve been having.

Monday was relatively uneventful, though I did register with RentTech in the evening and performed an apartment search. Got about 10 or so interesting results in my price range (which I had to do a reality check on and up from “under $900” to “$925 or under”).

Tuesday I drove up to The City and stopped by the RentTech office to order sealed copies of my credit report. While they were getting those together, I called the apartments on my list. I left some messages, reached some & found out the unit had upstairs neighbors (“Sorry, but thanks for playing!”) and then got one landlady who sounded nice & competent AND had an upstairs unit. We arranged to meet at the building in an hour, I went in and retrieved my credit reports and drove over to Hayes Valley. Off to a good start: I found a parking space 2 blocks away and had time to walk around the neighborhood. Laundromat 1 block away, good. Natural food store 1 block away, excellent. Pretty quiet area, wonderful. While waiting in front of the building, I stopped a guy coming out and said “Good place to live?” He proceed to gush about the building, the landlady, the neighborhood. Very friendly guy. Turns out he manages the building next door & is just doing some painting work for this landlady. Nice fellow. And when the landlady showed up things continued great. She’s very talkative, but devoted to improving the neighborhood. Really hands-on, make-things-better.

Ah, and the apartment. *sigh* It meets all my criteria (though it’s on the small side) and I decide I’m on to a good thing. Rather than keep hunting around & risk losing it, I choose to rent it on the spot. Fortunately, between my personable manner, my exemplary credit report and the fact that I’m wearing a suit, the landlady agrees to rent it to me. We arrange that I’ll sign the lease & get keys on Thursday morning. Great!

So I head off, leave lots of hyper-bubbly messages on friends’ answering machines and go about my business for the afternoon. La la la. Lovely day in SF. I got together with Carl for a visit and a tasty hunan dinner. Before dinner I amused myself photographing the cats of the person Carl’s housesitting for. Therefore, let us now pay a visit to feline supermodel Spencer:

Spencer sleeps.

Spencer wakes.

Spencer plots.

Spencer sits.

Spencer wants to be where the other cat is.

Spencer climbs.

Spencer climbs more.


So that was an exciting Tuesday evening. When I got home I realized “Hey, as of Thursday, I have an apartment in San Francisco. I better pack.” So I did some and then more in the morning.

Wednesday at work I found it hard to concentrate. I kept wanting to be working on the move. And I got to thinking: I have to go up there on my day off (I’m only working 3 days a week for a while) therefore I can and should take a load of stuff with me. Then I thought, hey, I could rent a cargo van and take the big stuff so that all the rest of the move will be little catch-as-catch-can runs in the Beetle. So, at 4:30 the wonderful Kristin and I left work early so she could give me empty boxes from her move and take me to U-Haul to pick up a van. Thank you, Kristin! Once I was at U-Haul, I noticed that the trucks are the same price as the cargo van, so I got a truck instead. Unfortunately, they were out of the 10′ ones so I ended up with a huge 14′ monster. Hard to drive, but I got the hang of it and got home about 5:30 or 6. The fantabulous Jessa was waiting there for me with more boxes (!) and a willing attitude. With her mighty help, I ended the evening with the truck containing two large bookcases, two cd racks, a large chair & ottoman, two dressers, a coffee table, a microwave oven, two chairs, and a bunch of boxes.

I was already a bit stiff when I woke up this morning at 7:15, but I managed to put a few more small things in the truck, eat some breakfast and get myself and the laden truck up to SF by a little before 10am. Signed the lease, got the keys and… oh my… look at all the stuff in that truck. Well, only one thing to do: I started carrying up everything that didn’t take two people to move. After about an hour or so my super splendiferous friend Beverly came along to help. Beverly is a goddess. She busted her butt with me and we got more than half of it up and were starting to lag when the phone rang and it was super stud Kevin Smokler announcing his appearance shortly to help with the last heavy stuff. Oh and help he did; my goodness, but he’s a muscley boy. I hope he doesn’t ache too bad tomorrow (or at least that the smug satisfaction of being a studmuffin outweighs the twinges).

Wow. I have a place in San Francisco. Tonight, though, I will sleep in Mountain View and I think I will sleep very solidly. My body is stiff and exhausted. Bed is calling even though it’s only 8:30pm. Thanks again for help & supportive email. I’m looking forward to having people over for dinner. Um, in small groups. Very small groups in my very small – but wonderful! – place.

High Gear

Well, it’s sunk in. I am moving out of my spacious suburban nest and into a tiny place in the big city. Awkward, challenging and completely thrilling! In the hope that it will help Edmond to find a new housemate, I’m going to get all the stuff from my room moved as quickly as possible. It’s a lovely big room with an enormous closet and I’m sure someone will fall for it (though that might turn out to be Edmond leaving his smaller, but still quite pleasant room for renting out. Anyhow, that’s all his choice and I hope it goes as smoothly & successfully as mine).

So, I’m moving. Tomorrow. Aieee! Nothing’s packed! Aaaaah!

But I have friends with boxes (hello Kristin & Jessa!), I’m picking up a cargo van from U-Haul at 5pm and I have the capacity to go into Tazmanian Devil mode on projects, so I think it will all be doable. I forsee no more than 6 trips down & up the stairs which will require a second person. I just hope that corner bookcase is light enough for me to carry the heavy end. So far my committed helpers are two wonderful women (Jessa for loading & Beverly for unloading, bless them) who are about equally un-hunky as I. I mean, we’re all mighty mighty, but we don’t have enormous lifting power.

So, ah, if you’re in Mountain View this evening or San Francisco tomorrow midday and you love to lift things, just drop me a little note, okay. 🙂

Hmm, note to self: reserve a hot tub at Watercourse Way soon. You will ache.

I Left My Heart…

I’ve been thinking and talking a lot about moving to San Francisco. I spend as much time there as I can and I love it. The problems are that I have a really comfortable living situation in Mountain View now and I work in Santa Clara. If I could teleport my home (along with cool housemate & good neighbors on either side) to SF, I would, but so far that solution seems unavailable. Damn pity, because if I could do that, I could probably also teleport to & from work each day which is a darn sight more attractive than the alternatives.

So I dither. “Too expensive, too much hassle, too long a commute, would have to move into a smaller place” but “love The City, could walk more blocks anytime I want, nearer to more friends, feels like home, closer to family”.

I go back and forth, but I will end up there. At Fray Day, I said to Derek “I’ll be up here within two years” to which he replied “Ha! I give you one!”. He’s right. As it is, I feel the pull every day. The whole situation is summed up by this exchange:

A guest looks at the map of San Francisco on my wall while talking about the way to Krispy Kreme: “Oh, that’s right. You don’t have a map of your own city.”
Me: “No, I do, I just don’t live in my city.”

I have a new goal.

It’s an outrageous goal, but I’ve given myself the next 40 or 50 years to accomplish it:

I will walk San Francisco.
Every street.
Every block.

I made a nice start this weekend on a 4 mile jaunt with my dear friend Fil around Castro/Noe Valley. We recommend this walk which is #13 in Walking San Francisco. We especially liked the Vulcan Street stairs which were beautiful and peaceful in the midst of the city’s excitement. We agreed that we’d happily accept any of those houses. Not a problem at all.

“How are you documenting all this?”, you may ask. Well, I have a San Francisco Cross-street Directory (bought at the Rand McNally store at 2nd & Market) which fits in my back pocket and I carry a highlighter to mark where I go. I also have a larger map on the wall at home where I can also mark my travels to see the city at a glance. Right now only a tiny tiny percentage of the streets have been highlighted. This is a project to look forward to!

One fun thing to do after a walk is to check the Streets of San Francisco to find out where their names came from. From it, I just learned that the hill we were climbing up was Mt. Olympus, which certainly explains our passing along Vulcan & Mars!

Good Busy

I had a great time in San Francisco this weekend and an odd, but sort-of relaxing day today.

Friday: Worked and then drove to San Francisco for dinner at Tokyo Go Go with Jesse James Garrett. He listened to me chatter excitedly about my many projects and, as usual, asked questions and made comments which brought me clarity and new insight. After dinner I checked in at the Embassy Hotel and then strolled around the corner to have The Billy Nayer Show rock my socks at the Great American Music Hall. Back at the hotel afterwards, I slept well despite all the city noise.

Saturday: Wonderful to wake up in The City, especially so to a beautiful day. Drove about looking at the pretty buildings and people and views. Ended up at Kate’s Kitchen for a delicious omelette. Afterwards, I went to Comic Experience and spent $100+ on books (Alan Moore’s From Hell, Bryan Talbot’s The Tale Of One Bad Rat, Rick Geary’s The Borden Tragedy, Milligan & Fegredo’s Enigma and Gaiman & McKean’s The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish). Thank you, tax refund. Also stuck my nose into Gamescape and managed to keep my Magic card purchases under $25. After all the self-indulgent shopping, I went to Kevin‘s, got a tour of his gorgeous North Beach apartment and went for brunch across town at The Slow Club. My hefty omelette restricted me to a virgin Mary and some of the Slow Club’s excellent biscuits. Well, and a bite or three of the delicious risotto which Kevin was having. We talked about Central Booking and made excellent progress on a site definition document which can be used in the upcoming round of improvements.

After dropping Kevin off later, I drove south on Fillmore and had the pleasure of waving at B.J. as he waved down from his apartment window. Didn’t get the chance to get together this visit, but we had nice phone conversation and a waved hello. When I got home, I’d recovered my appetite and Edmond and Jun were up for some dinner, so we went to Sushi Tomi and ate wonderful things. Tried some new dishes we really liked. After dinner we spent a nice long time puttering around in Bookbuyers. Ah, friends who will happily spend an hour in the used bookstore are good friends indeed.

Today: woke up fully intending to spend most of the day working on The Book Proposal. And then the cramps started. *sigh* I’m not using this womb; I don’t see why I should have all these maintenance hassles. So, I passed most of the day with a combination of Motrin and comic books. By evening I felt better and managed to get 2+ hours of work done, but didn’t make the kind of progress I’d hoped to. Part of the problem is the scope of the task I’ve undertaken. This will be a very substantial book, so describing it in detail is taking some time. On the bright side, given the enormous amount of work involved, I don’t feel a tremendous risk of getting scooped by someone else putting out a similar one.

Well, it’s coming up on 11pm and another lovely workweek looms on the horizon, so it’s off to bed. Take care, dear reader, and don’t forget to take time for fun and friends and good food!

Presents & mundania

Too lazy to move this to the old latest page today. [Apparently I used to only have the most recent post on the home page]

Feeling kind of sick. Maybe I drank too much eggnog. It was only 2 glasses and nonalcoholic, but still I feel all blurghy.

Thanks to the amazing power of Sherman “Ubershopper” Lewis, I have finished all my holiday shopping. Well, ok, all but one special someone whose size I don’t know. (For the anal retentive, here’s two dots to put over the U in ubershopper : )

Recommended restaurant: Tokyo Go Go on 16th near Valencia in San Francisco. Very stylish and tasty new Japanese place.

Gave the most outrageous present I have ever given. My fears were relieved by the recipient appearing to be rather pleased, albeit shocked. No, I’m not going to tell you more than that. I’m just going to encourage you to follow your wild instincts, be unconventional and if the friendship is worth having it will survive.
Oh, all right, here’s a clue.

I wish I could afford to take a week off. I really need it. *sigh* Contracting sucks sometimes…

Of course, I also wish I could spend a thousand dollars at Archie McPhee. Such is the nature of desire.