Almost there...

Thursday, October 26, 2000

Rick and I went to dinner with Dirk and Tracy last night. Tracy is in the final month of her pregnancy. Dirk has just quit his job at Microsoft and Tracy is taking several months of maternity leave from Alta Vista, although with the way her new boss has been treating her lately, she's doubting whether or not she will return to Alta Vista or seek an alternative.

Anyway, we went to Indian food at Janta in Palo Alto.This was definitely the best Indian food I've ever had.Typically, Indian food ends up being so hot that you don't really get to taste the rest of the spices.This place was a huge exception to that generalization. The Chicken Tikka Masala was probably one of the best things I've ever tasted.

After dinner we retired to the Prolific Oven for coffee and a hand of Fluxx. It turns out, Dirk and Tracy are still racing the biological clock to finish remodeling their kitchen before the baby is born. If it comes early, they're in trouble. It looks like it's going to come down to the wire. When it's done though, their place will be truly fabulous. They've replaced all of the cabinets and appliances.They're even putting in hardwood floors.They're really looking forward to showing it off I think because they invited us over to see it about eight times last night.

When we got to the Prolific Oven, I realized I had been there once before, but it had been a very long time. Dirk figured it out for me by saying that we came there after English dancing once about seven years ago. I agreed that that was it. The place hadn't changed one bit, but boy had we! Then, I was in college and he was working for Oracle doing tech support. Now, he's a homeowner with a wife and soon to be a father. I guess this sort of thing always nudges me a little bit to relax and let things go their way. I get in such a rush to move my career along and so forth. If I keep going on the track I'm on, it will all come together.

Which reminds me - I should probably get back to work now. Ahem.


Wednesday, October 25, 2000

So Halloween is definitely my favorite holiday. The only thing I wish is that it were treated more like New Year's Day, where you actually party on the night before, but get the next day off to recover. Since I'll never get that, I'll take a short evening hanging out with friends instead.

This year we're talking of resurrecting a Halloween activity of years past by going Christmas Caroling for Halloween. If you're confused, don't be. What could be scarier than having a bunch of characters show up at your door to remind you that there's only 54 shopping days left before Christmas, hmmm? Plus, handing a candy cane to someone trying to give you candy rates way up there on the reality bending scale.

Apparently the normal Hallows Eve hijinks will be happening in Sacramento. Ann & Mario are hosting a heaven and hell party, with a reminder that although leather and vinyl in black and red are fun, there should at least be a few representatives of heaven there for the big battle later in the evening.

All this makes me think of Janelle, who traditionally hosted the Halloween parties in Sacramento. Not only does she no longer live in Sac, but she and Frank are still wrestling with the life and death stresses of his exploding pancreas. I really hope they're doing okay (better?).



Tuesday, October 24, 2000

I had the most wonderful evening last night. After a very long day at work, Rick decided that he didn't want to go to the Plough with me. So I headed up on my own. I usually forget until it's too late that I need to do things like this on my own from time to time. This came in at just the right moment. I got an evening of dancing, talk with old friends, flirtation with old and new friends, hugs and kisses, and I came away with a feeling of revitalization. It was just what I needed. And maybe 20 percent of it was actually the dancing. Heck, just getting to chat with Kevin and play cards for a while before going to the Plough was so pleasant. He's been such a good friend for so many years and he's definitely one of those folks I can say anything to. Heck, last night we were both talking about women we were attracted to. I have the highest hopes for his finding the woman of his dreams someday. If it ever managed to work out having an intentional community, he's someone I'd definitely want there. I still think it could work. Perhaps the way to do it is to buy an apartment building and start that way. If we all lived in the same complex, that could work out so well. The combined skills and energies of my friends would surely bring us all happiness and wealth.

Did I mention I was feeling revitalized? I guess that also kicked the idealism switch in the process.

Bad news on the weeble front. Hasbro no longer makes them. It's sad really. Is Hasbro buying all of these toy brands to take them off the market?

Monday, October 23, 2000

Lately Rick has been ranting a whole lot about driver's licenses being a privilege, not a right. It seems there are a few too many bad drivers for his taste on the road. Perhaps this News of the Weird tidbit is part of the explanation:
"In September, driving-school owner Bharat Patel, 49, became
the 31st person convicted in a driver's-license bribery
scandal at a Chicago examining station. According to testimony,
Patel did not even bother to teach and spent all his time with
examiners. Some of Patel's students were such bad drivers that
examiners, who took $300,000 in bribes in two years, actually
gave Patel his money back. Some subsequently licensed drivers
did not know how to start a car or engage the transmission;
others turned directly into traffic during the test; and
sometimes, terrified examiners halted the test mid-trip and
hitchhiked back to the station."

Of course, it could also be that everyone is 5% bad driver, and when there's 100 cars on the road with you, at least five of them will be doing something weird while your trying to share the road. Heaven knows I've had my bad driver moments, and Rick, well, he's definitely scared me a few times. Who knows. Just giving folks the benefit of the doubt. Then again, maybe they just paid tidy little bribe for their license.

Thursday, October 19, 2000

We just found out that the project here at Covad will be wrapping up on October 31st. I think I'm one of the only folks here who is really sad about that. I really have enjoyed this project so much. Writing Instructor Led Training is something I'm really good at. What's more, I really love this team. At Fluor I always felt like the outsider who came in in the ninth inning even though there were months of work left to do. At Covad, I really did come in at the ninth inning, but I've never felt like an outsider. Yuxi is a great team lead. He's warm and encouraging and non-judgemental. Karen and Judy are great motivators with a real sense of when to say when. Last night they came back after shopping to pick up Karen's car. When they saw my car in the parking lot, they both came in and said, "Bad consultant! Go home!" I was just trying to finish my work, but they were more interested in keeping their team members sane. I really appreciated that. This is such a change from the attitude at Fluor which was that working eleven hours a day was normal and to be expected and welcome to the life of a consultant. Of course I also love not having to travel. I love being able to come home at the end of a long day and hug my sweetie and snuggle my cat. I never realized before what a difference that makes.

I really hope my next project is local and with a great team like this one.

Wednesday, October 18, 2000

So one of the things I do all day is create Web Based Learning courses. The acronym is WBL, and it's pronounce weeble. Does this conjure a jingle from the eighties for you? Weebles wobble but they don't fall down! The funny thing is that you can't buy weebles anymore. Who knew those would be a collector's item someday? Apparently Hasbro owns the brand. I typed in www.weebles.com and got redirected to the Hasbro site. Those guys own everything! They're the ones who bought the Atari name last year, although I still think that was a really dumb move on the part of Midway games. Everywhere I go with Rick, if he says he works for Midway games, no one recognizes it. They just sort of politely nod. If he says he works for Atari, everyone immediately brings up some game from Atari that they loved. Ah, the mystical importance of a good brand name....

I didn't go to the Plough on Monday because I had a "Forced Fun" dinner to attend with my coworkers. We went to the Banana Leaf for dinner. This was my first foray into Malaysian cuisine. It's much like a combination between Thai and Indian cuisine, which makes perfect sense if you think about the geography. Particularly yummy were the roti prata, the chicken satay, the Belchan Asparagus, the broiled Yoy Choy, and the desserts. We had several desserts making their way around the table and I couldn't pick a favorite if you asked me. The restaurant is in the McCarthy Ranch shopping center, but it's dwarfed by it's giant chain store neighbors. It's always those sneaky little unassuming restaurants that are the best.

Tuesday, October 17, 2000

So sometimes, medical science is the ultimate contradiction. We know so much and can do so many things, but then we can't even figure out why other things are happening, let alone how to fix them. Take for example, Frank's pancreas. About a month ago it just started hemorhagging for no readily apparent reason. Oh sure, medical texts had all sorts of potential causes, but not one of them even remotely applied to Frank. Luckily, he survived, but it will take him about a year to recover and he'll never be able to eat like a normal person ever again. Just yesterday he was lamenting the loss of Guiness and chocolate chip cookies. On a smaller scale, Rick and I both have this weird skin condition where our feet get odd painful itchy (but not contagious!) blisters for no reason. When I went to the doctor about it years ago, she said "Wait a minute!" and ran out of the room. She came back 15 minutes later with a book and said, "Does this sound like it?" After reading the description, I said, "Yes! So what do we do about it?" She shrugged and said, "Well, nothing. It'll just be that way for the rest of your life. At least it isn't contagious." Sheesh. Meanwhile, we're creating synthetic blood and breathable liquid. Go figure, eh?

Friday, October 13, 2000

I'm going to Dave's annual Harvest Party this weekend. It's hard to imagine having the kind of relationship with my current boss that I have with Dave. Dave was the owner of Dave's Coffee Company back in 1990-1993. He was a bit ahead of the curve with his coffee business unfortunately, so Dave's went away before its time. Of course, some of that definitely came from the fact that Dave was a better person than a businessman. He knew how to treat his customers well. All the regulars had a cup stored there on the shelf, and part of the job was to have their cup down and be handing it to them before they ever asked for it. Little details like that made Dave's a great place. It was a little community as much as it was a business. And that community was led by an hippie from Kansas who is still a good friend.

Dave is a little older now. He's got two kids and is talking about buying an SUV. Somehow I still don't picture Dave that way. He'll forever be the loveable guy whose company health plan was to swap backrubs with the boss. I can't wait to see him. He always has a way of reminding me what is really important in life.

He lives in this great old farmhouse built in 1892 on top of a hill in Penryn. Standing on the back porch, you can see the Sacramento Valley stretching out below you. Undoubtedly one of the cats or Albert the dog will be standing next to you there looking for a scratch on the head. The goat will be munching on the lawn below you. At sunset this time of year, the sky will streak with pinks and reds. It's definitely one of those places you just have to stop and ponder your goals in life. Someday, I'd like to own a home that has that much innate peacefulness. In the meantime, I'll have to settle for visiting Dave and rubbing his soft fuzzy head.

I'm having a great deal of trouble thinking about anything this week due to the most excruciating pain in my upper back. And though Rick (bless his heart) has massaged my back nightly, no improvement seems to be occurring, which is supremely frustrating. Does anyone know a good chiropractor in the San Jose/Santa Clara/Sunnyvale area? If so, write to ammy_hill@hotmail.com. Thanks.

Wednesday, October 11, 2000

I guess I really must follow up yesterday's Buffy post with today's Buffy post. The odd thing was that there was no Dawn in last night's episode at all. And no Tara. Hrmmm. Nevermind.

Tuesday, October 10, 2000

So watching last week's Buffy with Rick over the weekend, we were both a bit dissatisfied with the addition of the little sister, Dawn. My argument is that they're going to do something good with the character and that she isn't really Buffy's sister at all but some sort of reality bender like the Jonathan episode. I'm just hoping they get through this story arc quickly. Rick is more annoyed. The petty bickering of this week's episode was just a bit too much for him. This is not the witty dialog we watch Buffy for. He cites her credit in the main credits (while noting that the actress playing Tara is NOT listed there....grumblegrumblegrumble....more on that later) as evidence that Dawn is there to stay. If she is there to stay, there's a lot of explaining to do, like where they hell has this girl been for the last five seasons anyway! Personally, I thought Rick's assessment was just about perfect. He said, "It's like when they added Scrappy to Scooby Doo and suddenly the whole show sucked." My thoughts exactly. Please don't add Scrappy to the Scooby gang!

And as for the character of Tara, there's always been a bit of a weirdness there, wondering if there's more to her than meets the eye. But at the same time, I find her relationship with Willow (and the relationship's treatment on the show) to be one of the healthiest models for what happens when it turns out one of your friends is gay: nothing changes! They're still that wonderful person you've known all along. Just because they're attracted to their gender doesn't change who they are. Love is love and can be had with anyone you find it with, male or female, black, white, or brown. In fact, I think this is the first time bisexuality has ever been positively treated in American TV. Kudos to the Buffy gang for that one. Now don't blow it, okay?

Friday, October 06, 2000

Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Pre-orders for Chrononauts are being accepted now!!! This is a fabulous new game from the folks who brought you Fluxx. In addition, they now sell six packs of Fluxx. For those who don't know, Chrononauts is a card game where you change history to match your identity. At least that's one way to win. Order a copy. If you like playing games with your friends, this one won't disappoint you.

So the weirdest thing happened today. Yesterday I had been told the earliest I would roll off would be November 30th. This morning, I got a note from my PeopleManager saying I was being switched to the Covad project in a week or so. About an hour later, one of the team leads came in and said that I would be rolling off today and starting at Covad on Monday. I can't begin to describe how fabulous this is. Covad is just up the street from my home in San Jose. I won't have to fly away every Monday now. Woohoo! Heck, everything about it is great. It's the sector I want to work in (Technology). It's close to home. Rick and Tigger will be SO happy. I can start climbing again. I can start dancing again.

About a week ago I was thinking about the Starry Plough and how much I missed it. I was thinking about how all the folks on my team here at Fluor were very nice and easy to get along with, but that I never feel like I fit in with them. When I'm at the Plough, I feel like that is a group of people I really fit in with. And it's surprising how important that is. And it's funny how that plays out. I sometimes describe myself to folks here as a "funky Berkeley girl". The funny thing is that when I lived in Berkeley, I didn't really like it there all that much. What I did like was the Plough. And in the long run, it seems that that one association has become a basic part of my identity.

So, back to Northern California for me. How does that song go? "Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft." I think I went soft a long time ago and I can never leave.

Thursday, October 05, 2000

One of the cool things about being at work with BANDWIDTH is that I can listen to This American Life any time I want to. I'm finally getting to catch up on all the ones I've missed this year. I wonder if This American Life will ever do a story on the Weblog phenomenon?

Kevin pointed out to me today that there are now Ammy Awards. Go figure. Turns out that they aren't awards for people who want to be just like me.

Wednesday, October 04, 2000

On Monday we had a carnival here at Fluor at lunch time. There were a bunch of those standard carnival games I've never played because they always seemed like a waste of money. Since this carnival was to benefit the United Way, I bought six tickets for five bucks and tried out a few games. The one that was really interesting was the bowling ball rolling game - where you have to get it over one hump, but not give it enough momentum to roll back. I've always wanted to try that. I think I could perfect it after about 10 tries, but with two chances, it didn't really work out. I did much better at the one where they give you bean bags and you have to knock down the clowns. I won on my first try for that one. Eventually I managed to collect all three Powerpuff girls as prizes. They're now my desk mascots, reminding me nightly to be home before bedtime.